Containers are on my mind lately. I can’t ignore the physical ones like my little one’s broken lunch box, the bag that doesn’t quite hold all of our beach gear, and those bright beautiful African baskets that west coast moms use to carry everything all the time. My creative containers where essays, poems, and quilts are born seem to be invisible, but even thinking about them makes more art happen. I am sitting back and observing the spiritual containers that I hold for myself and others, curious, quiet, and in awe of cool things that I get to witness every day.
I woke up one day sensing that my writing needed a different container. In other words, I’m ready to change some parameters around how I play with and practice writing. On the way to my office to write I passed my most recent quilt and felt the effervescent love that sloshes around in me each time I see it. This fun mix of ruler and ruler-free patchwork with bright yellow stitching happened over six months of improvisational process. I worked with my ancestors and the energy of the person’s soul who the quilt will be gifted to. I did countless experiments that got cut up, discarded, and recycled.
My quilting container wasn’t defined by a daily practice commitment. It was the threads of deadline, upcycled fabric selection, book of improv inspiration, and mentorship from more experienced quilters that wove together the sweet space I needed to find my way. What emerged is something that I adore more than I ever usually adore my art. I remember:
When you practice the thing, you get good at it! Practice usually happens in some kind of container, and a good container has much more juice to it than a simple time commitment.
A colleague recently asked me about my earlier experiences of spirit guide contact, and I was surprised to realize that while I had psychic and spiritual experiences as a young person, I didn’t feel an accessible connection with any one particular guide until I was in a practice container with a mentor. My first really strong spirit guide contact happened in a workshop! I see that it was the invitation, the intent, and the situation that made it all possible, and I swiftly bump right into one of my own former misconceptions about spirit guides.
There was a time when I thought gifts were innate, turned on like a light switch, and spirit connection just happened immediately and easily with no support. As though a guide would appear in a dream or very clearly at the foot of your bed and just say, “Hey, I’m so and so, I’m here now. We can work together and now I will tell you exactly how.” I actually waited for this to happen to me in my early 20’s. Though that may happen to some people, for most of the people I meet in practice as a spirit worker, it seems more subtle and dependent on a good container, human mentorship, and the desire the person and the spirits have to work together.
My entire adult life I have been drawn to the apprenticeship model. Something in my blood and bones always seemed to say – yep this is the old way! Passing on knowledge 1:1 according to the practitioner’s gifts and affinities just makes the most sense to me. It reminds me a bit of gardening, though I am admittedly more attuned and practiced in spirit work than I am in gardening. I watch and listen to the plants as I move through my garden each morning. I sense their unique medicines and needs. Who needs water? Who needs shade? Which plants thrive with more space and which like more hands on care? Which ones are mysterious to me and ask me to listen deeper and learn more about them?
As more folks complete the Get To Know Your Guides program, my chest flutters with joy, disbelief, curiosity and awe for the different abilities, affinities, and beautiful ways of relating with spirit that I witnessed over the 6 months most people spent in the program. I know that eight 1:1 sessions is a small taste in the world of spirit guide connection (that is partly why I am extending the program to 10), but the containers that people held for themselves between sessions supported beautiful deepening.
I often listened to the client’s guides for homework suggestions, or had the clients ask their guides themselves and agree on homework that felt right. Some people practiced mediumship every day with their guides and others practiced not trying so hard and listening to life in a broader way. All arrived with more trust and clearer connections with ancestors or other guides.
Here is what one client said about it:
“I started out being unsure and nervous if I could talk to my guides at all and ended up with a wonderful team of trusted guides and healthy ancestors that I can call on for help. I learned safe ways to protect myself and vet who I’m talking to and I now feel confident in my abilities! My entire life changed through what I learned and with what I now have access to. Rayann and her guidance through this program opened the door to a whole new world and to a more supported and rich spiritual life for me.”
And after making a few adjustments to the this gentle mentorship container that I love so much, here is how it looks now:
Deepen practice with your spirit guides in safe, healthy, and powerful ways
Ten 1:1 sessions over 5 months
One voice memo exchange each month to answer questions that arise between sessions
Audio recordings and worksheets on ritual design, initiation, doubt, connecting with your essence, and fine tuning your intuitive senses
Free access to any online ancestral reconnection circles that Rayann is hosting
Ethics and use of power agreement that makes our roles clear
5 payments of $330 (alternate payment plans available for those needing smaller or larger payments)
Parenting coach Jenn Reilly: I knew I would have a strong willed child, but I never imagined HOW strong willed she would be or how intense it could be to move through a day with a tiny powerhouse. My 90 minute session with Jenn was a magical blend of deep listening, education, and shadow and ancestral work and I emerged with a much more settled nervous system meeting the ups and downs of my almost 3 year old. I highly recommend her to all overwhelmed parents or those struggling with the particular developmental phase your child is in.
The Path of Integrity by Heather Louise: Her recent newsletter on the harvest celebration Lughnasadh and relating with death and grief in her life as a ceremonial artist
I have been dancing in the mornings lately, and this is one of the beauties that has been moving me
Music for dropping in with spirit allies: Sometimes I sing myself into connection. Sometimes I rattle or rest in silence. Sometimes I love Wavesource, especially for rest and healing
This beautiful trauma informed daycare for Indigenous children is almost ready and accepting donations to purchase plants for the outdoor classroom and books
Thank you for making space for me in your inbox. I wish you a beautiful harvest moon month.