• Ruth Tilley

Rebirth & Transformation

And shamanic ways of being in that cycle.



Shamanism is a whole cycle of death and rebirth that is what this is as a healing modality. Its about recovering your wholeness.

The rebirth could be physical, emotional, spiritual or any other variety. Here I’m generally talking about spiritual but I do find they all overlap.


Rebirthing the self is the work I did with Jane Hardwicke Collings – and included midwifery practises to help us rebirth ourselves through shamanic healing. Re birthing is literally the birth of the new. Birth is not always peaceful or easy. Its a labour. But the elation one feels afterwards is second to none.


Think of some of the animals that represent rebirth – the butterfly is one of the main re-birth metaphors. If we think about what happens to birth the butterfly that is an amazing metaphor for the cycles of transformation. The cocoon is this safe space where total change occurs. And you only emerge from that liminal space when you’re done. There can be no pushing, or urging it on. You’re ready when you’re ready, not before. Spending time pushing to be ready to emerge and to rebirth is wasted energy, and precious energy that you don’t have. It may be scary to not know when you will have the energy to ‘do’ and ‘create’ again but trusting in the process of the cycle is key. Scared cycles shows us that will happen because day always comes after night. The amount of night time you need depends on so many factors: it doesn’t only depend on the type of trauma you may have endured because as we’ve looked before we all have different ways we can process the same trauma, it depends on if we are doing our families shadow work/ healing, our whole culture’s healing… it feels big because it’s likely not all yours.

When the rebirth comes it comes organically, it will just happen after all the hardwork of the process and then the stillness of death. And these cycles of rebirth can be those that happen every moment of the day in our breath: the first millisecond of your inhale is a rebirth, and it can be the rebirth we experience in our healing journey which again can be small and can feel huge, they are all different.


The Buzzard recently reminded me that it not only offers death (to the things we no longer need) but also a rebirth. A reminder to me that problems, pains, triggers, disagreements are the death and they make way for the re birth.


Energetically during a shamanic session the rebirth can look lots of different ways but it usually feels very similar. It will follow the ‘clearing’ or removal of energy that no longer serves. It feels (to me) expansive, heart centred, truth, orgasmic, enlivening, awakening, like warm golden energy rising, sap rising..


The reason I rarely talk about the rebirth is because this is not the part we tend to need help with, that is the part of the cycle we all long for ad look forward to and when it happens we run off skipping and joyful. What we need help with and what helps the rebirth come around is the part before that, the letting go and the sitting in the liminal space, the quiet, the rest, the death. Being with that.


I started to think about my rebirths and realised there have been many, of varying intensity. One that springs to mind is following a lot of fear, panic, stress and triggers of mine, my ancestors and the collective's shadow came about after having weekly sessions with my first healer and teacher. We had been clearing away patterns, many many clearings because I was creating new problems quickly plus many other problems were coming to me to be sorted, but I wasn’t yet in a place of power or knowledge or practise to sort them completely myself. So I’d been sitting every evening going through these patterns I’d been taught to clear with and I went to bed. Up until this moment I’d been petrified of snakes, literally petrified, I would run, sprint so fast (and I’m not and never have been a runner) if I saw a snake in a picture let alone in real life. The next morning I sat on the grass in my little garden, early summer sun, it was warming me and my body, and I could feel this tingling at my base, I could feel where my body touched the ground, and it felt like there was support there from the earth AND it felt like I was a part of the earth at the same time. I was getting this tingling of energy, it was fear and sexuality and complete joy combined. And I was convinced there was an enormous snake, right under the earth where I was sitting. I could feel it moving just inches under the grass I was sitting on. Previously without the support I was getting in my healing journey and without so much clearing, I would have run away. But I kept feeling this point between fear and sexual energy (kundalini/ shakti). It was pretty clear that much that I’d been fearful of had been my own power. Anyway I sat there for a while daring myself to stay there. I kept looking around me to see if anything was popping up out of the earth and I remembered a time when I was living in Thailand and I went to stay for a weekend on Koh Pha Ngan, and I lay on the beach for a while, and had a very similar feeling, in that case when I looked around I was surrounded by huge snake holes and I did run. So anyway back to the day in my garden, I stayed with it as long as I could then I had to drive somewhere. I was feeling trust, trust, trust running through my body, connecting to whatever this power was that was showing me something. And as I drove along a road I knew well, a snake, real, physical grass snake, slid out from the side of the road and under my car, I looked in the wing mirror and it had gone between the wheels and reached the other side un hurt. I was totally astonished, I’ve never seen a snake on a road in England before, let alone it happening the same morning id been experiencing this snake energy.


That was one big rebirth, when I gained true big connection and trust with my power animal. And for weeks afterwards I was walking on sunshine, I could connect into that rebirth energy whenever I needed.. until I headed back into the underworld for more transmuting of energy and death.


What happens after a rebirth? We practise this new way of being. That could be easy or it could be difficult. It can change relationships and it can change how we live our lives. It tends to be unnoticed transition in many respects you just flow into a new way of doing things and the stuff that can be tricky is other things and people who are more stagnant and we just need to flow around that. Keep flowing and being with the new.


I often have to ground myself in the new because sometimes I get very excitable in the new energy of rebirth and keeping myself grounded helps.



Enjoy it, and feel free to share your stories here or in the Facebook Group @darkmoonpriestess Ruth Cato.


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