At the end of 2008, I did a 10-day Death Lodge Journey in Death Valley, CA. I went through this experience with my ex-boyfriend at the time. We did this ceremony shortly after we broke up & considered it a lovely prayer to support the shapeshifting of our relationship.
The first part of the journey we spent together in a cabin on the west ridge of the valley. We each set up our own space in the cabin & spent 3 days in individual shamanic ceremony. It was powerful to journey this way; individually, yet held in the same container.
On the first night there was a knock at the door. We opened it and an orange desert cat walked in. She jumped on my bed, laid at my head, and sat vigil over me the whole night as I journeyed through cosmic realms.
The next night another cat knocked on the door. This cat was black. He went to the head of my friends bed & allied him through the night. Both cats stayed with us the 3rd night and we all journeyed together through a powerful portal. It was amazing magic.
On the 4th day, we left the cabin to wander the land & go deeper into our individual journeys. The cats went one way, we went another. I am so blessed to have had this experience as my initiation into my Death Lodge. It primed me as I moved deeper into the wild, ready to meet my next spirit guide.
During my solo quest in Death Valley, I was visited by the shamanic force of Raven Man. He entered my consciousness, flying circles above my head, cawing: “That which you want, you are not ready for. You are not vibrating at the frequency that will attract the energy you want in life. You are not ready.”
“What do you mean I’m not ready? I replied. "I’m spiritual. I teach workshops. I’ve made it through my past. Of course I’m ready.” My ego was defiant, however, I knew deep in my soul that Raven Man was right. I knew what my inner landscape was like. I've heard the words I call myself in my head. I knew the thick defense mechanisms that guarded me, holding me captive in pain, shame & fear.
I finally admitted out loud, on my knees, drenched in the wetness of my tears, that no, I was not vibrating at the frequency of that which I wanted from the world. And so, my relationship with Raven Man began.
At the end of my 10-day quest, I engaged in a commitment ceremony with Raven Man. I took this archetypal force on as my lover, my teacher, my guide. I did not know what this meant exactly, however, the calling to do so was deep & required. All I could do was follow the impulse to enter into this commitment and see where it led me on my path of healing & evolution.
I became a dedicated student to the magic of Raven Man as he guided me down the Chakras, starting in my Crown and working down deep into my Roots. I spent about 6 months in each chakra, devoting myself to vibrating at a higher frequency at each tier of being.
What a life changing journey this turned out to be. Little did I know this Raven Medicine Download was initiating my decent into the Underworld of Soul, an 8 year journey that would take me deep into my Sacred Wound, through many dark nights of soul, and eventually through a powerful naming ceremony to become Raven Shree.
Raven Man started his teachings with me in my Crown Chakra, caw’ing for me to witness my beliefs & thoughts, and expand my connection to Divine God presence. During this time I worked with the Gunas to increase the vibrational quality of my thoughts. I made lots of art on this journey. Many of those collage pieces are displayed in this blog.
Then Raven Man entered my Brow Chakra, calling me into wider archetypal realms of being. I was called to expand my ability to see beauty in the world, and that meant within my own self as well. I was encouraged to imagine wider possibilities for myself and the world at large.
Then Raven Man activated my Throat Chakra, calling for me to increase the vibrational frequency of my inner dialogue. It’s amazing how negative my self talk can be. It became clear to me that if I wanted to attract the life & love I truly yearned for, the content of my self-talk needed to evolve into something that matched the power & love of that vision.
When Raven Man entered my Heart Chakra, he visited me in a lucid dream. In the dream, I was walking in a strip mall. I looked to my left inside a shop, and through the plate glass window, I saw him; Raven Man. This was my first time seeing him in human form.
Our eyes locked. The power of the moment & the gravity of our connection spooked me so much, I ran away. I ran along the black asphalt of the parking lot, then jumped into a freezing lake, plunging myself into the ice cold water, numbing myself.
Raven Man pulled me from the freezing lake, cradled me in his arms and tended me back to warmth & life. I opened my eyes and he looked deep into me and said “You’re still not ready”.
“Oh my goodness! I’m still not ready! I've been working this medicine for 2 years now! Are you serious!” Of course I was not ready. If my response to him in a DREAM was to drown myself, then no, I still was not vibrating at the higher frequency life was calling of me.
I took Raven Man into my Solar Chakra. I dove deep into the work of aligning my actions with my higher frequency intentions, and holding myself more accountable for who I was in the present moment. I found myself in deep conversation with Raven Man, and his message was clear: “You are not going to meet me living in San Diego. You need to move to the ecology of my species.” It was this message, along with other synchronicities that lead me to move to Colorado.
When I moved to Denver, I was instantly immersed in community that showed me a whole new definition of the masculine. I found myself surrounded by yummy juicy men, that were loving fathers, attentive lovers & joyful friends. These men owned their masculine energy and honored the feminine in ways that were new to me. This was a huge paradigm shift for me.
This new interaction with the masculine brought Raven energy down into my Sacral Chakra, where I found myself in weekly ecstatic dance community. This sacred, relational space supported me with embodying & expressing the powerful life force moving through me. It was quite divine, very healing & deeply integrative.
Then winter came, my first one in Colorado. I got consumed with learning how to live in the snow and I forgot all about Raven Man. That is, until I bumped into a man that brought this energy back into my life in full force.
I met a man fresh out of prison, working on similar themes in life to me. The demons he was facing were similar to mine, and in that mirror reflection, I was provided something solid to push against. This interaction reignited Raven Man energy in my life, this time in the flesh, right in front of me. This time I did not run into the frozen lake to numb myself, but rather stood my ground and claimed Raven Man energy in manifest Root Chakra form.
Towards the end of this 3-year Raven Medicine Download, I came to see that I had been Raven all along. Raven was not separate from me. It had been me all along, fathering myself through this transformation, mentoring my evolution, one chakra at a time.
I came to understand Raven Man as my Inner Father, a powerful masculine guide calling me into wider responsibility for naming, claiming and cultivating my light, and engaging the soul work that was mine to do.
In this revelation, I merged with Raven and claimed it as my new name. As I went through the process of legally changing my name, I let go of my birth name (first, middle & last). As I released the last name given to me from my biological father, I claimed the name of my Soul Father and stepping wider into my birthright & presence in a much wider lineage.
Here's a collage I made of my Raven Medicine Download. This piece is about 3 ft high and stands vigil in my house as a reminder of the journey that transformed my life in so many ways. I am at a point in my journey where I think it might be time to add another later to this piece. Keep it alive as I move towards the end of my Middle World Apprenticeship (which is content for another blog)
Here's a video of a 7-min speech I gave at Toastmasters about "Finding my Name". This was a fun speech to write & deliver. On this link page you can also subscribe to my newsletter to stay connected and get future blogs delivered to your email. I'd love to stay connected.