Tuesday, August 29, 2023

A vessel in which love is able to find its way here

Because our deepest wounding, which is always a wounding around love, emerges relationally, it will be most effectively tended, repaired, and healed within a relational field. We are relational beings and all healing is relational in its essence.

The nature of this relationship, and that of the Other, is of the mystery and can take many forms, as a shapeshifter and trickster-ally. It can be astonishing and is sure to never look like we imagined.

The death of an old dream is an essential aspect of the death-rebirth journey, the dream of me and my life and the way it was all supposed to turn out. The invitation is to hold the shattered soul-pieces near and grieve all that we will inevitably lose on the path of awakening and healing.

It is these tears that are the alchemical aqua permanens, which water the seeds of new life. In tending these tears the broken pieces are not mended but revealed to be carriers of light, as they are, in their un-mended state. They are whole and complete in their brokenness, and not in need of being transformed.

It is the Friend, in whatever form It appears, that parts the veil and cleanses our perception, by way of mercy and grace.

That grace is not only the sweet and flowy kind that we cherish and long for – nurturing, holding, containment within the womb of the Divine Mother – but will at times appear in a more fierce and wrathful form, and will reorganize and take us to dust.  

This is the grace of the alchemical yellowing, the putrefaction, which is also the activity of love, but is an emanation of its darker side.

It is a coming together of unity and multiplicity, solar and lunar, that reveals a vessel in which love is able to find its way here, incarnating through our bodies, emotions, and imagination.

Whether sweet or fierce, containing or reorganizing, each are grace, and will polish the heart with a unique fragrance of the divine.

Photo by Anton Maskimov

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Sunday, August 27, 2023

Videos from Matt - Embodied Spirituality & Healing

Dear friends,

A few of you have written to ask about my YouTube channel. We have 25 or so videos uploaded and plan to add a couple new ones each month if you'd like to take a look or subscribe.

>>Visit my YouTube channel here

In the video here, I speak about the sensual, tactile, embodied nature of healing, updating neural networks, and the encoding of new circuitry - and how this emerges by way of the longing of the lost orphans of psyche and soma.

This excerpt was edited from a 2023 session with as part of my yearlong spirituality and healing group and community. The group is currently closed to new members but will likely reopen in February of 2024. 


Matt Licata, PhD is a psychotherapist, writer, and independent scholar based in Boulder, Colorado. He is author of A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times (Sounds True, 2020), The Path is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You (Wandering Yogi Press, 2017), and the forthcoming The Path of the Wounded Healer: A Soulful Spirituality and an Alchemy of the Heart.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The friend is near

As we move through the second half of life, a new voice will often emerge, pouring out through our longing, our grief, our anger, and our disappointment. A figure from deep in the soul.

To hear and respond to that call, we have to slow down and listen through the veil, beyond the noise and density of the collective, and the matrices of intergenerational trauma and trance.

It takes courage to listen to the soul and to take it seriously. To cultivate a real devotion to the messages it is sending to us. We are called into this devotional place by way of our dreams, our study and practice, and through prayer, ritual, dance, art, creativity, and being a parent, a teacher, a lover, and a friend.

It can be a lonely journey at times, as if there is no one who can truly understand us. We turn to look for the Friend though they are not there.

But the Friend is near, even if unable to be seen.

Holding and tending this aloneness, and the grief that accompanies it, lies at the very heart of archetypal process of death and rebirth, and the truth that all healing is relational in its essence.

There can be no unity or oneness without there first being an experience of separation. Otherwise, union would have no meaning. They co-arise together, where a subsequent union lays the seeds for a more subtle separation, and then a more subtle union, and on and on.

Separation and multiplicity are just as holy as oneness and union; they are equally valid emanations of the Beloved.

There is no end to the depths of the human heart. We don’t wiggle into some sustained transcendent state where we’re “permanently” awakened, gone beyond the reality that the Beloved will pull the rug out from underneath us, in order to draw us nearer, and to reveal more of its essence.

In the end, love seems quite uninterested in our fantasies of permanent transcendence.

Even as we may yearn to rise above our embodied sensitivities, emotional wounding, and relational trauma, on the alchemical path they are the prima materia, the required matter, soaked with spirit, and portals into the depths of Soul.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Trusting in our own path

It’s important to honor what it is that we’re really asking of ourselves when we engage a path of individuation and healing. It’s no small thing.

When we make that sort of commitment - to psyche and soma, to the angels, allies, goddesses, and gods, to nature and to all of life - we open the door to the interior castle, that luminous holding and transitional space where the figures of the unlived life await our holding.

Not only the disowned and marginalized, but also those pieces of soul who carry the quantum and the new, lost creativity, awe, wonder, and the joy of pure Being itself.

To step into that castle requires that we break through the orbit of the psychic and collective status quo, and the dense matrix of intergenerational trauma and trance.

While we may have a genuine desire to do this, there are parts of us who simultaneously have an unconscious investment in not healing, because at a very deep level we know what that will require – an underworld journey into the darkness, to liberate the lost ones who have become frozen there.

It will ask everything of us, but that voyage bears fruit beyond our imagination, beyond what we can imagine ahead of time. It is the end of one world so that a new one can come into being.

No, we’re not always going to want to do this, to embrace the shadow, to tend to that grief and shakiness in the heart, that sensitivity in the body, and to stay near while the soul incarnates by way of psychic activation, complex, feeling, and through the imaginal and relational worlds.

It can ache and burn and at times is sure to feel so claustrophobic. At other times, a lightness of being, a moment when the veil parts, and we’re in the Mystery. And in that space of unknowing, we know that love is with us.

The Beloved is there inside the aching and the burning, and will take form at other times as a sweeter grace. Each are equal arrows in her quiver, ways of drawing us nearer, opening us through our longing.

Not to harm, but to reveal… to show us that the path truly is everywhere.

Photo by Jose Antonio Alba

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Safety and companionship

Much of our wounding occurs prior to the acquisition of language and is not able to be healed through the questioning and reorganization of patterns of thinking. In other words, we can’t think our way out of trauma.

When our capacity to process unbearable terror, panic, shame, and rage is overwhelmed, undigested pieces of experience are held subcortically and in our cellular circuitry, unreachable by thinking which is a layer removed from the fires of the alchemical body.

Encouragement to “just get over it, that’s totally irrational, you can’t really believe that, you know that’s not true” and so forth is experienced by an inflamed nervous system as the activity of violence and aggression.

It’s like an autonomic form of gaslighting and reflects a deep misunderstanding of trauma and the workings of implicit memory, and only contributes to re-traumatization, in personal, cultural, and collective networks.

In addition to shattering and unendurable experience – which is painful and terrifying enough – there is a profound sense of aloneness that goes with this, the sense that no one can understand, that there is no companionship into the dark night. I am alone in this. This is devastating to the soul.

When that raging alive little boy or aching little girl cries out longing to be held, to be known, to be felt, to be heard, to be remembered… peeking their little heads out as if to say, “Is it safe now? How about now? I’ve been waiting for so long for a companion and friend. How about now?”, they’re really not all that interested in our clear cognitive analysis, rational inquiry, powerful spiritual insight, and thoughts on the matter.

They’re yearning for something else… for you, for your heart, for your holding. To know that you will stay near, that you will not abandon or shame them, that you will do your best to provide sanctuary and safe passage for them to come Home, to be allowed to come out of that frozen state and live once again.

In this way they don’t even want or need to be healed, but to be held. And to feel safe.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos