Q: What has been one of your greatest struggles?
A: My greatest struggle is happening right now as I go through divorce with a man I truly love. My heart is in the trenches, and I’m dissolving like a caterpillar in its chrysalis. It’s messy. I feel like I’m being digested. I’m encountering a spinning wheel of emotions with many nights; as Mirabai says, in the “heat of midnight tears.” This is a time of utter surrender and humility.
I’m recognizing parts of me that are living in exile and how I’ve made choices from my woundedness. I’m attempting to be accountable for my mistakes and to grow my soul in this dark night. I’m in a sacred rearrangement from within.
These are the tools I’m using right now:
• Prayer and invoking my guides and guardians, especially the angels.
• Mantra. My two life supports right now are the Sri Durga Ashtotram, (108 names of the goddess Durga) and the Lunar Mantras by Govind Das and Radha.
• Shadow Work. This is essential for me, and I can’t imagine going through this process without skillful Shadow Work as I navigate this dark terrain and become increasingly intimate with my emotions. I’m tracking my shadow more than ever before. I’m especially dealing with shame, blame, regret, and a fierce inner critic. I wish to see the hidden places in my psyche and all the ways I’ve cast out parts of my own self. I want to wake up my innermost vision and learn how to see in the dark.
• Being in nature, especially the ocean, and grieving with the Great Mother.
• Journaling and dancing to give voice and expression to the raging storm of feelings.
• Lots of sleep, acupuncture, nourishing foods, and being quiet and very still.
• Underworld priestess journeys with two main myths: (1) Persephone’s abduction by Hades, lord of the underworld, and her loss of innocence as she transforms into a true sovereign queen of her inner domain and (2) Inanna’s descent into the underworld to meet her sister, Ereshkigal, queen of death, who hangs the queen of heaven on a meat hook as a rotting corpse until her transmutation emerges from within. Both myths are helping me to descend more willingly in my psyche and see the truth versus any facade that my ego might attach itself to.
• And, perhaps most of all, holding kindness for myself and for my husband as we move through this gateway of tremendous change and trusting in the Great Mystery.
Q: One truth you know for sure?
A: The only truth I know at this time is this: when it’s all stripped away, and we are in the nakedness of death, what really matters most is love and that we give our very best effort to open our hearts into life.
Q: Best lesson learned or advice received?
A: At the moment, this is my refuge teaching and I’m hanging in there for the pearl of wisdom to shine within me.
The pain of transformation is real, physically and psychically, but only the intensity of the fire can unite the body and soul. This is a soul-making process. “The body is the grit that produces the pearl,” as one of my greatest heroines, Marion Woodman, Jungian analyst and mythopoetic author, puts it.
Sianna Sherman is an internationally renowned yoga teacher, visionary spirit, and founder of Rasa Yoga, Mythic Yoga Flow, and the Goddess Yoga Project.
PHOTO : KiraGrace + Claire Sheprow