Divine Liberation

illustration of a moon with floral inside

by Sharrae Lyon

The night was cold and Tamara Wilson walked through the rough terrain of the forest with fear and relief. It had been three days since she left the Wilson Estate. She had not yet heard any dogs barking after her, no dogs had yet been trained to track her scent, or so that is what she chose to think. Leading up to Tamara’s escape, she feared greatly the consequences of being captured. It had taken Tamara two years to muster up the courage to leave the plantation of Massa Wilson. No one from her memory had escaped or even attempted, though there were stories of other folk finding liberation in the mountains from neighbouring plantations.

Jamaica was a small island, but moving from the center towards the mountains was

no simple feat.

Tamara had to pass by many plantations before reaching the river that separated the

mainland from the mountains. If it weren’t for this circumstance and needing to travel by night,

she probably could have made it to her destination in a day’s time. But alas, she was searching for refuge. And it wasn’t her first time doing so. Tamara Wilson was a new name that this woman of slender-build, brown skin, and piercing eyes was given. She had become somewhat of an expert of escape. Her first attempt was when she was enslaved in New Orleans, but she was found and sold to a slaver from the Caribbean who had connections with Massa Wilson in Jamaica. Tamara could not tolerate being owned by another person, no matter how well they

treated her, or how scary it was to walk into the dark abyss of uncertainty, Tamara had a core sense of true liberation, that she experientially was not of aware of, but sat in the structures of her DNA. She could not muster the ability to conform to the brutality that she and her people have had to endure for the past 300 years. But it had also been so long since she heard her original name, the name that her mother gave her, that she succumbed to the name Tamara Wilson. She hated herself for it, but after being whipped numerous times when she demanded

that she be called her true name, the humiliation created a blockage in her memory.

In fact, Tamara Wilson forgot so much of who she used to be. She forgot who she loved, who her family was, what their names were, what their faces looked like. All brown she was certain, but that was the only thing she held. It felt like nothing. She felt empty, but despite this, she still felt like she had a purpose much stronger than being a slave girl, who laid for her master each night. Tamara felt nauseous each morning, she knew that she was now carrying the child of her Master, her abuser’s seed. It was then that she decided that she would not bring any child into a world of enslavement. Before she left, she had tried to convince her closest friend Winnie to join her. Despite Winnie’s terrible temper, she was the closest thing to family for Tamara and she could understand after witnessing some of the trauma that she had to endure, why she was the way she was.

Although fear had dissipated from Tamara’s consciousness and submerged into the depths of the oceans of her being, Tamara felt utterly alone. She looked up at the star-lit sky. She wondered to herself how it could be so beautiful up in night sky, but be so wretched on the ground that her feet didn’t allow her to lift up towards the sky and join the stars. She had the tendency to speak to one star in particular. It wasn’t necessarily the brightest star in the sky, but it had often called on her in times of loneliness. It was as if the star had wished to join her and keep her company, but because there were other laws and forces preventing the night sky and the Earth below to merge, it wasn’t physically possible to comfort her.

She often imagined what it would be like to be enwrapped in the embrace of her favourite star. Hot perhaps, but she often dreamed herself in the middle core of the star and what seemed like angel dust encircling her. Colours of red and gold surrounding her, dropping lightly on her golden brown skin. She deeply took in the fresh air and let out a moan. She had forgotten what it was also like to have her skin gently touched, caressed. Tamara was lost in her vision traveling in the star-filled sky, until she realized she heard footsteps in the bushes only meters away. Tamara’s heart started to panic and race as she quickly jumped off on the side of the road and hid behind a bush until the person appeared.

Look through the lush leaves, she could make out a figure that was round, and a bit taller than her. The figure was a woman, she almost screamed at the girl, but then the thought came to mind that it would be kinder to approach Winnie without scaring her. As she began to emerge from the bush the dreadful thought that Winnie could have been instructed by Massa Wilson to find her came to mind. ‘No,’ she thought, ‘I will not allow him to make me fear my friend.’ Tamara then slowly emerged from outside the bushes and walked gently behind Winnie and playfully pounce.

“Don’t you dare!”

“Huh?” Winnie turned around and playfully winked at Tamara.

“How did you know?” Tamara said playfully

“It’s only been three days, did you think we’d already forget to read each other’s mind?”

It was true, ever since Tamara arrived on Massa Wilson’s plantation, Winnie and Tamara seemed to have this uncanny and unspoken ability to understand each other on this deep psychic level. It was as if they could read each other’s minds. Tamara could not believe it was only three days since she left the plantation, it had seemed like three years.

“Thought I wouldn’t come, didn’t you?”

“Well yeah, you seemed to not budge.”

“I wanted to keep you surprised.” Tamara knew Winnie was hiding behind the humour, Winnie knew it too, but neither felt it was necessary.

“I needed to leave. You were right.” Tamara walked to Winnie and hugged her tightly.

“We have to keep moving. Was there anyone tracking us?”

“Not that I could see…”

“Wait what was that?” The bush nearby began to shake and Tamara’s heart began to rattle, but then a young boy, no older than the age of five poked out.

“Child! What are you doing here!?”

“That’s Bullah’s kid. Bullah was killed by Massa Wilson the night after you left. Blamed him for

not keeping proper watch” Winnie explained.

“Bullah…he…he’s dead?”

Tamara dropped to the ground in front of the young boy. Tears began to form in her eyes as she placed her hands on the little boy’s shoulders. He looked much like his father: round face, light skin, and light brown eyes. The young child wore a white cotton shirt and shorts with his father’s brown hat. The hat was too big for the child, but it was the only memory he had of his father. If she had known that her escape was going to cost Bullah his life, she would not have asked him to help her escape.

“Bullah would have been held responsible either way, don’t worry your head with such foolish thoughts.” Winnie mindfully comforted Tamara.

“My child you are with me and Winnie now. You are safe. We will protect you.” The young boy sombrely walked into Tamara’s arms and began to softly cry.

“Yes child, shed the tears for your father. Tears are the pathways to healing and remembering.”

“We better keep moving. Three of Massa Wilson’s slaves are missing, there is no count he’ll have a team after us by morning come.”

“Let’s go. We ain’t no slaves. The stars will guide us.”

Without notice Tamara, Winnie and the young boy were surrounded by three black dogs. Dogs who were trained to individually track each of their scents, dogs who too were broken and enslaved. It was clear that Massa Wilson’s men were not too far away. Tamara had experienced a similar situation back in Louisiana, but she was more fearful of what would happen to Winnie and the young child. With the boy still clutched around her, Tamara had the impulse to crouch down to the ground. As she did, she emptied her mind and began to chant what was an old language that she had not spoken it what seemed like lifetimes.

“Sha ro lay, ma et

tomah shengo,

shengo, shengo

tuet lohm meh.

Mahsa shemeoneh,

Shango

Shang”

As her voice raised from a whisper into a strong bellowing call, the wind began to pick up, a fierce wind that circled around them, leaving the three of them unaffected, as the wind that was being conjured began to push the dogs against their will. A heavy set of clouds began to cross the sky, making the stars that were just visible moments ago, disappear. A heavy grumbling bellowed in the depths of the Earth. The ground beneath them began to shake.

“Gaiath mahyo,

shango, destsa.”

Tamara’s eyes had gone blank, and when she awoke from her trance she had found that all three dogs had been struck dead. Winnie grabbed Tamara, and they began to run, but Tamara had become too weak. Winnie quietly hauled her over her shoulders, with the young child running quickly by her side.

“Guide me, which way do we go?”

Tamara had lost most of her strength, and all she could muster was raising her hand to the sky and she pointed towards the moon.

“Wait, this must be it.” As Winnie looked up towards the moon, she realized she was in standing at the bottom of a large mountain. Without any hesitation, she began to climb up the path that was created.

She then began to see other people who looked like them; seekers of freedom. Dark, brown, and red skin; people that had features she had never seen. They did not try to stop them, they were on watch for any others who had escaped the brutal plantations.

They finally reached what looked like the opening of a cave. A man stood strong and tall at it’s opening. He looked to be about seven feet tall, muscular, his chest showed his status, he was a leader of the people. He skin was a mixture of reddish and chocolate brown, and the fire torches held by those around them, shone a yellow glow. His face was serious, yet calmly he had his gaze on Tamara. His eyes were dark brown, almost black and it appeared like two pearls were sitting in the middle of his eyes; the reflection of the moon. He motioned to his companions sitting around Tamara, Winnie and the young boy. One of the companions approached Winnie who was wearing a brown cotton dress, and he extended his arms to carry Tamara.

“Where will you take her?”

The companion looked at her with an understanding look and gently took Tamara from her grip. He then carried her, over to the chief of the community.

Tamara now lay at the feet of the tall man. He then began to extend his arms in front of him, his eyes were now closed and his breathing became very heavy. Tamara, although still alive, appeared lifeless. His hands were extended over her body and he began to speak a language that sounded very similar to the language that Tamara spoke while she had conjured up the storm. His eyes then opened and the two pearls began to float from the centres of his eyes, they drifted over Tamara’s body, leaving his eyes now completely black. Winnie lifted the young child, and felt the urge to run away, but a young woman approached her and calumny eased her fears by simply holding her hand. The two orbs began to cross and dance over Tamara’s body, as the man continued to mutter words from his lips. Tamara’s breathing began to become deeper and more full and she finally got up, walked towards the man and placed her hands on his, her eyes became white once again, and the caves now became lit by the torches along the walls of the cave.

The two began to levitate and the companions began to sing, drum and dance as they whirled upwards in the cave. Tamara’s face began to brighten with a smile.

“Welcome home, my love, my Tamraha we have been separated for too long. I left you a star to remember my love, our love. You had been so alone. You’ve endured so much. I can never forgive myself for not protecting you how I should have, so long ago.”

“No Onek, my love, there was nothing that you could have done to change the circumstances that led me to this point. We are now here together, reunited. I have taken care of myself, the ancient ones shared with me our teachings. I did not forget. Your star had become my companion. Now it is time that we change what has been done to our people.”

“Our time is returning. We shall free our people from the bondages that have been placed around them.” Time seemed to slow, the wind that had been roaring transformed into a light breeze, and Tamraha and Onek began to descend to the ground. Winnie was stunned at what she just witnessed, but there was a memory that lived deep in her bones; a memory that alluded to the normalcy of what she witnessed.

Tamraha, her true name, as reminded by her long lost love Onek walked towards Winnie, grabbed her hand. This time Winnie could not read Tamraha’s mind, she was blocking her out. She had become more powerful.

“My sister, We suffer no longer. We are free. We must now free this island.” Tamraha placed her two thumbs in between Winnie’s brow, and Winnie began to see visions of her people being placed on ships, of vast oceans, she began to smell the decaying scent of flesh and feces, and was transferred back to the lush forests, the red soil of her ancestor’s village. She began to remember her true nature, a free woman.

“Whatever it takes, Tamraha. I am with you.”


Sharrae Lyon
Sharrae Lyon is a transdisciplinary artist, writer and facilitator. She believes in the powerful role of science fiction and futurism to answer the spiritual and internal questions around “Otherness,” with the curiosity to redefine what it means to be human. Through the engagement in ancestral healing, Sharrae is driven by unleashing personal and collective power in order to create futures that are sustaining, life-giving and affirming.

Yarrow Mind Medicine

illustration of the yarrow plant

by Sharrae Lyon

           Healing from ancestral trauma is no easy feat. In fact, it’s a revolutionary act done in private, it is done in the silences of our minds, hearts, our spirit guides and our ancestors. The process  is not out on display, to be judged or critiqued. It is the pathway to stepping towards our visionary futures as it requires us to step into the spiritual realms of our deepest and oldest past, to reintegrate with the authentic power we have within ourselves to push past our illusionary limits. For many of us, our inclinations on how life works may have been met with rejection by our families, and now we have to re-parent and re-pattern what we have known to be true our whole lives. Pattern to the ancient knowledge; that life is magic, life is what you make it, life gives you gifts worthy of development and nourishment.

For many of us, we may be holding responsibilities that don’t belong to us, and avoid the ones that do. The responsibility to heal our own wounds, not our lover’s, not our father’s, not our mother’s, but our own. Because that is the one and sole responsibility that we have the most leverage and influence and that will influence the changes and visions by mere virtue of stepping deeper into our authentic expression.

Our communities have been shamed into locking off our imaginations, holding ourselves hostage within our own cells. The violence inflicted on our bodies intergenerationally has sent an invisible message across space and time that you should not dream, should not envision your destiny, because it is unsafe. Yet look at what my people managed to accomplish in the midst of collective insanity. Past patterns can change.

Do not let your inner workings surrender to that which has attempted to annihilate you.

Remember your childhood knowings. Your vision of a better Earth. Ask yourself how much deeper can you feel? Along the journey, plant medicines have been so helpful in re-integrating back into my centre.

Yarrow most recently has been such an aid in supporting my Becoming. Below here is amessage, a reminder to all of us visionaries.

With love,

Sharrae

 

Yarrow Mental Fortitude and Will- Messages from Mother Yarrow

To envision your individual and collective futures, you must feel the presence of it NOW. You will not bring in more peace and harmony if you don’t embody it within yourself. The power of mental fortitude – aligning and yoking oneself to the thoughts and visions that give you peace and propel you to step into your purpose, with your heart and courage. I will assist you.

Lesson of Patience:

Slow down. Nothing worth the while is done without the gift of falling in love with the process. My leaves steeped in tea will help you to see your own belief systems, it will connect you to your Star family. Your star origins, only if you desire to know. But if you are trying to manifest more abundance to you that is deeply centred in your authentic expression and you need some help with keeping your thoughts aligned, yarrow will be a kind friend. Reminding you that what you envision is possible. Your relationships will improve, those that no longer vibe will go.

Letting Go:

At some point the heaviness will transform into light. What aspects of Self hidden in the dark will come to light, will become integrated. The voice of critique will transmute into the voice of guidance. Keep strong. Remember nature’s way, of fall leaves gently falling. Soften and build self-compassion. Your becoming is emerging.

Say Yes to Your Becoming:

Why deny the vision of yourself that contributes greatly to your community and family? That fills you with a wellspring of joyous clarity? Let not the mental chains of another trap you, let not the colonizer’s hopes be solidified in the quiet stillness of your mind. Let go, and say yes to your brilliance. At first it may be small steps, in time towards building momentum towards the newly formed you, by You, day by day.

When you drink me allow your mind to traverse and listen closely to the courage emanating from your heart and solar plexus. Feel your presence. I will support you in remembering how to live within your body as your mind finds the path to answers to problems awaiting to gift you your treasures. Your glory. Your legacy towards an Earth that is abundant. An Earth that all are free to be. Mix in a little of my sister Lavender to calm your nervous system, especially those of you healing from intense psychological and emotional trauma. Sweeten us with honey.


 

Sharrae Lyon
Sharrae Lyon is a facilitator, writer, filmmaker and public speaker. Her work is grounded in  reframing mental health as transformation.

To inquire about current workshops, contact her at sharraelyon@gmail.com.

Darkness – The Void of Possibility

Excerpt from the upcoming e-book “Quantum Healing: Changing the Stories We Tell Ourselves.

by Sharrae Lyon

Illustration by Eli

When I think of darkness, two things comes to mind. That of the Hindu goddess Aditi and the many nights I spent as a child afraid of the bumps, the eerie shadows. One representation of darkness is expansive, the other an experience of fear, replicated in other life experiences portrayed as real dangers.

I’ll start with my nighttime childhood experiences.

Actually, I wasn’t entirely afraid of the dark. I never wanted to go to sleep and spent my nights watching television with my mother. When I would retire into my room, I would lie in bed, staring up at the ceiling where glow-in-the dark stars would reflect back at me. I liked nothing more than standing under a starry sky and feeling so tiny and insignificant, but in total awe that I could possibly exist.Night was in some senses, enjoyable. But it also unearthed many fears of being kidnapped and alien abductions. This probably didn’t help that I watched The Learning Network’s (TLC)’s primetime programming that always talked about serial killers and aliens! I remember lying in bed, unable to sleep, recounting the possibilities that something bad could happen. I’d look over to my wall, and I would see a shadow bouncing on it’s surface, my ears told me that there was something rustling out my window. I would lie there, frozen, petrified. But I decided that I needed to see for myself what was dancing on my wall. I slowly took off the covers and sat on my knees and gently peered through my window. To my total relief there was nothing but a tree outside my window, and of course it was its branches that were playing on my bedroom wall. I would sigh in relief and my ever-pattering heart would slow down and I would drift softly to sleep.

I think as children we all had these monsters in the closet type scenarios. We live in a society that conditions us to fear the dark. In fact, our obsession with escaping the dark can be seen in our need to always have artificial light to make us feel safe and comfortable. It almost seems that we as little children have actually not grown up. This is the case for those who live in urban. For those of us who live in the country, the darkness covers like a blanket. A moment to retire, to slow down and regenerate towards the next day.

Indigenous cultures all throughout the world have remarkable understandings of the rhythms and purposes of the sun and moon. All of which align with their own community connection to the cosmos. In no way is fear and darkness synonymous entities, but the darkness, much like fear are lessons, messages for us to look deeper at who we are, and what drives us forward.

Aditi, The Hindu Mother of the Sky, the Mother of all the planets, galaxies, she is the Mother of all Life. It is through her dark womb that all is dreamed and born. She is the embodiment of Time and Space. The Mother of what we know to be the zodiac. She is the Darkness, the Void and within her endless black darkness of space, lies all possibilities. She is the Mother of the Past and the Future and it is through connecting to the dark reaches of our soul, that we can birth the Light.

I have lived with anxiety and depression, having many bouts and episodes. As I’ve aged and deepened my spiritual practice, some truths have come to light. Three of which will be the premise for this e-book.

  1. Our fears are actually clues to our deepest desires 
  2.  We do have the capacity to control our mind, and thus impact our feelings and lastly change our behaviours.
  3. Love transforms all.

When we are moving in and out of our days experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, we are in essence living unhappily. We feel that we don’t have control over our lives. We look at our defeats and lose all confidence that we are able to deal with the complexities of life. We may look also at our triumphs and accomplishments and they may make us feel better for some time, but something just doesn’t seem to stick.

Many spiritual traditions talk about the importance of learning how to transcend our circumstances, to ascend to a transcendent consciousness, one that builds our mental, emotional and spiritual resilience.

But how the hell does one do that?

Starting With Self — So within, So without

Indigenous traditions understood that we as humans have the power to self-heal. We once lived intimately with nature, understanding that we were one with nature. We didn’t see ourselves as separate or above plants, animals or other creatures. Instead, we had a great respect to the many beings that existed, and found ways to co-exist. When we needed the meat for survival, or to pick plants and herbs we always expressed gratitude in the form of prayer, not only to whatever name of the Creator we had, but also to the animal or plant that sacrificed themselves to us.

Of course there has always been periods of history where this was not the case. It is so important not to essentialize indigenous cultures or to blame solely European colonization for the ills that we have today. However, the events of European colonization and enslavement of indigenous, African, Asian peoples plays a more vivid role in our contemporary means of existing. But even with this being said, there are others who may not function from this lens. In order for us to move forward towards a harmonious future, we need to develop the capacity whereby we do not force perspectives on each other. Though, because there does exist pockets in our society that desire to spread fear and division, it is important to name it when doing the work of undoing unhealthy patterns to come back to our communities more strong and capable of standing to the values of truth, love and harmony.

However, to change our circumstances, we must do the difficult work of traveling within. In indigenous understandings of the intricate relationship between the individual and the external, they all say that what is experienced in the Self, is experienced without.

But what exactly is the Self?

If we are to accept that we are Human, which is by no means a low status of being, we will need to start to recognize the powerful role that we play in this natural world. We have to begin to challenge the notions that we have been fed of limitation and constraint. To be human, is in fact to be a representation of divinity. However, because we live in a high consumer culture that would rather have us dumbed down and distracted with junk that doesn’t feed or nurturer us, whether that be in food or culture of consumption, we have to struggle to remember who exactly we are. You are not your possessions, you are not what you do, you are not an identity, you are a Being that is consistent of the ingredients of the five elements: water — your blood, semen, saliva, fire— , earth—-, wind—your mind, thoughts, and metal. You consist of a body, a mind and a Soul/Spirit. When we are fed things that do not feed our minds, or bodies and spirits, we become sick. When we are surrounded in environments that do not nurture us, we become sick. When we are sick, we descend into a darkness, we land in perhaps the most fertile soil. The soil of change and transformation.

The first step to healing our lives is by taking responsibility and acknowledging the fact that all the things that seem to consistently be misshaping comes down to us. We cannot blame anyone for where we are, because we are where we are due to the ways that we have respond to all that happens to us. In fact, we cannot even blame ourselves. We have to just accept where it is that we are and give ourselves the permission to move forward. There will be days that will feel like you are going backward, but just keep on moving.

Stillness in motion. Motion in stillness.

I speak from experience. I have felt beaten down after losing jobs, being betrayed, surviving toxic and abusive relationships. It wasn’t until after one particular relationship that literally threw me in the ring when it came to psychological and emotional trauma that I had to say — “wait one minute, how did I get here? To this place where I would allow someone to literally come into my own home and dump upon me all their own warped traumas?” I had integrated their false claims of who I was and identified with it. I had lost a sense of who it is that I truly was. It was tough and it influenced many areas of my life. However, what I didn’t know in the moment that I was experiencing it, is that it actually was preparing me for an entirely new chapter of my life. A chapter that I am only beginning to surrender to and unfold. If it were not for that relationship, I perhaps would still be living my life, an artist not practicing her art, living in a city that didn’t inspire her. Since that relationship I have gone up and down in establishing balance within myself. I still have bouts of depression and anxiety, but with each episode I learn more skills of not only how to cope, but also how to gain balance and solidity. In my dive into my mind and emotions, in addition to establishing a spiritual practice, I learn the teachings of the powers of love, the interwoven co-existence of light and dark, and the ability to greatly transform.

All we gotta do, is let go.

When I realized that it is the pillars of beliefs that I hold and the attached thoughts that are used to uphold those beliefs that were dictating my life, I took it upon me to dive deep and challenge these beliefs. I’ve recognized that many of the beliefs that I have been operating under actually were never mine to begin with, but were adopted by family conditioning, a current friend group, or absorbing other elements of society. I consistently have to challenge my notions around purpose, love and relationships, what is possible, by asking myself the question: what is it that I want to believe? What is that I want to create?

It is there that we begin the journey of healing our lives. It is then, that we realize that we are our own medicine.


Sharrae Lyon
Sharrae Lyon is a facilitator, writer, filmmaker and public speaker. Her work is grounded in  reframing mental health as transformation. To inquire about current workshops, contact her at sharraelyon@gmail.com.

Eli
Eli is queer artist residing in Toronto. They are an aspiring illustrator and writer. You can contact them at piscesprincx@gmail.com. Check out their bigcartel: @piscesprincx , or their instagram, twitter and tumblr by the same names