By Amy Miranda
If you told me that I’d go from writing a commercial for a Brita Filter to using one as an analogy for my healing work I’d have laughed you right out of the drum circle.
I actually did write a commercial for Brita, “Make A Better World, Just by Making Better Water”. I joke about a drum circle only because I’d barely even camped when my teacher first appeared. By teacher I mean Spiritual teacher, and by Spiritual teacher I mean a person who came into my life and gave me the new set of metaphysical glasses that I didn’t know I needed. I’d thought my current prescription was just fine (it wasn’t).
It’s hard to find a spiritual teacher organically when your life doesn’t include much woo-woo. I was someone who could barely stand the idea of getting a massage, or doing yoga let alone being open to the concept of a Spiritual teacher. As a result I learned something big about the Universe. When people say it finds a way, they fucking mean it.
It was 2006 and I’d just bought my house with my partner, and my longtime friend Ben was our real estate agent. When I told him that I wanted to do a little design work in the new house Ben gave me a designer’s number. I never called him. That was the first time my teacher appeared. I wasn’t ready, not for a designer or for the other gifts he carries.
Not many years later, I was in the house alone. My partner had become my ex, and I’d finally begun to realize that my traumas were catching up to me. I couldn’t seem to maintain relationships. I pushed everyone away. I treated my body like a trash can. I fought every kind of authority like a warlord. I’d finally started to connect the dots. I realized the common denominator in it all was me. So, I started to lean into the idea that maybe I needed a massage. I also needed antidepressants. I did both.
When I finally found the right massage therapist, I’d been seeing her awhile by the time I noticed something that grabbed me in the lobby. As soon as I got on the table that day I asked her:
“Who’s Daniel and what is this shamanic healing?” my face planted in the donut of the massage table.
“Oh, he’s amazing, you should go.” She said as she got to work on the years of touchless muscles.
In retrospect that didn’t tell me anything, but by then I was willing to try anything. So that was all it took. When I looked him up after my massage I learned that he focused on working to bring back lost power caused by trauma but not the trauma that caused our power loss. All i knew was that I needed this as soon as possible. I hadn’t felt the same passion for life that I used to. Although I had so many reasons on paper to be happy, I was afraid. I always felt depleted and I was constantly worried about what might be coming next. I’d tried traditional therapy, I’d been on antidepressants for years by then but I felt like I was out of steam. That’s how I met him. My little being had broken down and I knew I needed to find a way to bring myself home.
When I went for my soul retrieval ceremony with Daniel I didn’t know what to expect. I’d envisioned elaborate costumes and weird things being sprayed in my face. I grew up in the rave scene so you’d think I wouldn’t be worried about costumes and shit being sprayed in my face but I was. I couldn’t have been more off base. When I walked into the room for the ceremony it was more like a womb. Scattered with blankets and low lighting I got to meet the man who changed my life. I got to call myself home and he did the work to bring me back. What happened in that room changed my life. Less than 2 hours and I came out feeling more myself. I’d also gotten my first power animal guide, medicine, a totem. The translator for the next part of my journey. That’s the thing about Spirituality, or Spirit, Energy, it doesn’t speak English. It speaks of vibration and frequency. Humans need help, as we tend to enjoy overcomplicating things and playing a lot of broken telephone. I readily embraced and accepted the help. In that ceremony, in that room it was like co-dreaming. I felt, saw and suddenly seemed to know things. I wasn’t exactly sure what happened in that room but I felt better and I wanted to know everything. It was like he flipped through the index cards of my memories, of my soul and brought me back home. I knew in my bones this was my teacher.
What do you do when someone becomes your Spiritual teacher? Well, I decided to connect with him on Facebook. When I connected to Daniel, I saw he was also connected to Ben, my friend and real estate agent. I was perplexed. I messaged Ben.
“How do you know Daniel?” I typed into Facebook Messenger.
…. He was typing back “He’s my next door neighbor.” … Still typing
“Remember I introduced you to him when you moved in and wanted a designer” Ben finished.
It was like time folded in on itself like one of those MAD Magazine Fold-ins. The designer I never called. The same man, the man who designed this beautiful wellness clinic too, and who had just retrieved part of my soul. Living right next door to one of my oldest friends.Holy Shit, but also as I’ve learned since, of course. There’s no woo-woo. Energy is part of us. It’s you-you. The Universe had made sure that I didn’t miss this call. It will do the same for you, promise. The Universe is like a worried Mom, in that they’ll keep at it until you pick up. So please don’t worry you’ve missed your window. There will be more windows, think a Burj Khalifa amount of windows.
The more work I did with Daniel the more I was being reintroduced to myself. It was a remembering. I was coming back into myself. It was magic and I was hooked. The Ancient Egyptians used to describe things as happening “by Magic”. I’d always loved that, and them. As my experiences continued my wonder and curiosity were back in ways they hadn’t been since I was a kid. It was like I had to remember. As a kid I’d always loved Ancient Egypt, The Egyptian Gods. By 3 I’d begged my Mom for a witch costume and by 7 I was begging my Mum to order me the Time Life Mysteries of the Unknown Books I saw on TV. I whined that they even came with a bag of crystals. FOR FREE.
I was successful in my sales pitch and when the book arrived I scoured through them like sacred texts until the next one came. It was like I was remembering instead of learning. I would talk to whoever would listen to me about the pyramids, about the Gods and Goddesses. The Sphinx. Stories of Pharoahs and Magic. I went to Catholic school so this wasn’t the kind of school yard talk that interested anyone but me. I didn’t care. I had the knowledge of a little egyptologist and I felt more at home in those worlds then than I did in my own.
As I moved further into my newfound Spiritual work and away from my writing and producing ads something shifted in my life. Like I suddenly remembered these giant allies. It was like the Egyptian Gods began to appear just as they had done since I was a kid. Not in the imaginary friend kind of way but in actual feelings of calm and groundedness. The feeling I got when I was among their statues at the museum (so far the closest I’ve come to Egypt). As a kid my grandmother used to take me to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. I’d spend as much time as she let me in the Egyptian section with the Mummy. I always wanted to hang out with the Mummy. I loved the statues, the little tomb they constructed. I felt at home there. I’d examine all of the Gods painted on the sarcophagus. I’d name them. Point out to her who did what. Of course, it was my grandmother, the artist who was the only one who seemed interested then in my 7 year old Egyptology lessons.
I always delivered them like a sermon from underneath my overgrown bangs. At the museum I always wanted to touch everything. It was like a compulsion. I couldn’t help it. I knew I wasn’t supposed to but my little arm would rise up like an antenna searching for something ancient. Signs marked DO NOT TOUCH with a big red X through the illustration of a hand weren’t enough to deter me. One time I triggered the museum alarm (which is silent by the way). This was followed by a security guard suddenly coming out of the dimly lit Egyptian Wing reminding me not to touch the antiquities.
I felt ashamed and never told anyone. My grandmother didn’t tell anyone either and she still let me pick something out from the gift shop. She still didn’t get mad at me on the subway home. She had leaned over as the subway cars swayed under the fluorescent lights. She whispered to me that when she’d seen the mask of Tutankhamun a few years before she wanted to touch it too.
As I got older I still spent a lot of time at the museum. Time moved on and acquisitions grew. Not long after my best friend passed away the museum acquired a beautiful but broken statue of the lion-headed warrior goddess Sekhmet. Known as the Mistress of Dread and Lady of Slaughter. Great one of Magic, Great Enchantress. The statue was chipped and broken but the power that came from it was palpable. Of course, the Museum was tempting my no longer little hands. The statue wasn’t enclosed. It was out in the open. Seated in the entrance to the Egyptian wing. The goddess of both plague and healing. From the moment it arrived I felt the need to bow or kneel at the statue but always felt embarrassed.
Not long after I was called to practice and did my year long shamanic training with Daniel, I got the most amazing email from the museum. Of course as an adult I’d become a member, secretly hoping that one day that could give me some kind of special permission to touch things, especially that statue. When I read the email it was a note about how the museum would open for halloween. That ticket could be bought in the evening and that ALL exhibits would be open. I couldn’t believe it. Not only was I going to get to go to the museum at night, I was going to get to wear a witch costume AND do ritual at the place I’d felt safest in my life.
Maybe I’d even get to bow. This is how the Egyptian Gods show up in my life. Not down from the sky, not some booming voice everyone can hear from the clouds. They come in breadcrumbs. They come in wishes come true. It felt so good to be true that I had to call the museum to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. Really, All exhibits would be open? Even the Egyptian wing on the third floor? YES.
When I went to the museum in my witch costume (not the one from when I was 3) I brought a printed copy of the first draft of my book with me, as well as some of my tools and sacred objects. As I mentioned about Daniel not having costumes or spraying stuff in your face, I tend to me more of that kind of healing practitioner (and person). I am big on adornments. Though typically not in session with clients, just on special occasions with permission in case you’re worried I’m going to spray you in the face.
When I got to the third floor of the museum it was empty. Not a soul.
More magic. I walked toward Sekhmet and kneeled in front of her. I said my prayers and proceeded to do my usual circuit. The mummy, the little tomb, the paintings on the sarcophagus, the tools, the jewelry, the statues. As I got closer to being finished with my ritual I felt the voice of Sekhmet. So clearly in my head. Like an idea, that wasn’t mine clear as day.
“You can touch the statue,” she said.
I answered her back in my mind. “Thank you, but I really can’t because you’re in a museum and you’re ancient and security will come”. As I tried to show her a visual of me being dragged out by armed guards. It was like she smiled to me at that revelation and I felt a bright light and at the same moment heard the first sign of life behind me. I didn’t need to touch her. She was radiating to me. I was basking in it when I heard a young woman’s voice.
“Ask the witch”.
I turned around to see who was speaking and it was a group of 4 girls in their twenties dressed in costumes. I smiled at them.
“Can you take our picture?” they asked. I did, and then I left the museum. I’d gotten 30 minutes completely alone with the statues and antiquities I’d visited since I was a kid, and I got permission to touch them. I wasn’t sure how I was going to convey that to the museum, but enough dreams came true.
It wasn’t long after that that Daniel relocated from Toronto to Salt Spring Island, it gave me that beautiful perspective that he’d been here for exactly the time I needed him. Living next door to my lifelong pal. It wasn’t much longer after Daniel had been there that I found out he’d moved in right next door to my ex-father in law.. My ex’s parents aren’t together but my ex-mother in law had done healing work with Daniel as well so the irony wasn’t just mine. It triangulated around him like a little pyramid. More synchronicity, more breadcrumbs.
Without the house I bought with my ex, without being literally triangulated around Daniel, and now this. It was like a hug from the Universe that although he was thousands of miles away, he was no further away. He was still nestled into the connections of my life. When I went to visit Salt Spring Island not long after Daniel’s move I stood on his deck overlooking the mountains of British Columbia as one of my totems flew across my vision. I followed it to the right and saw my Ex’s Father’s place. I imagined him walking out of his home across the country and looking up and seeing me. I laughed. Imagining the moment of shock “is THAT AMY”?” it never came but I howled about it. What the fuck are the odds of that? As I like to say, you can’t make this shit up
That energy of my ex and the magic running through from Daniel seemed to move to my ex-mother in law who I call my Bonus Mum- Jennifer. She told me not long after I got back from the magical trip to Salt Spring Island that she was planning a trip to Egypt. She told me an old friend had reached out and offered an opportunity for a trip to Egypt. She told me she was being drawn there and just felt she had to go. Wait for it. The name of the man who was leading the trip, her old friend. Daniel. It was like some kind of permission from the Universe, the Gods for me to ask. Because, Daniel, So I’d made one request of her. I asked her to leave a crystal I’d given her at the Sphinx, and to bring me back a piece of Egypt. A rock, a stone. anything. When she was there she had messaged me a photo of her kissing the Sphinx and told me she’d completed my mission.
I was over the moon. In her message she also told me she’d had a life changing experience and that she would share more about it with me when she returned.
Here’s the thing about magic and wonder. It doesn’t matter how much you believe in it, how much you know it to be true. It never gets old. Not ever. When she got back to Toronto we set up lunch and she handed me a gift bag. I tried to act cool and put it beside me but my 7 year old self was eager to rip into it. Somehow, I managed to hold myself off until we’d eaten lunch. Inside the bag were two stones from Egypt that she’d picked up for me pieces of the pyramids. A tube, a tube I had at home. My best friend Chanda had gone to Egypt 18 years before. It sounds like the beginning of something out of the Time Life Mysteries of the Unknown Books. “Two people who don’t know each other but are incredibly close to one person, both travel to Egypt 20 years apart both choose and bring back the very same papyrus as a gift for the person they both know.” . As I slid open the tube and pulled out the papyrus Jennifer said something that still makes me laugh.
“I hope you don’t already have this”
She said it as if the hand painted piece of papyrus she’d chosen from dozens across the world was a mass produced object. When I opened it, it was papyrus that is identical in depiction to one I received from my best friend 18 years before. The only differences are slight, and that the Papyrus from Jennifer shows one figure now wearing a crown.
I was, for once, speechless. When I told Chanda later all she could say was “Holy Shit”. Holy Shit indeed.
There was one more thing in the bag. How could she have known?
It was a little amulet, a statue of Sekhmet that instantly had me in tears. I thought about her words to me at the Museum those years ago and cried harder because this, I could finally touch.
As I sat speechless Jennifer went on to tell me about her life changing experience. She told me that her tour group was led through the World Heritage Site and Temple of Karnak in Egypt. As she wandered through the 70 foot columns of Karnak towering over her she felt the power and magic of what constructed this place. The place that once held over 200 statues of Sekhmet. She explained that she felt a strong pull to one area of the temple. She moved through the gateways of the temple to a small room at the back. She described to me that there were security guards outside of the room and they were only letting a few people inside. She wasn’t sure how they were deciding but felt herself pulled to wait to go into this room. She described it as a compulsion. I nodded, holding this gift of the Sekhmet amulet in my hands as she spoke.
Once it was her turn inside the room the guards opened the dark sanctuary for her. She walked into the darkness stepping out of the blazing Egyptian sun. Now cold and damp in this room she told me she felt home. And as the doors of the room closed the lioness appeared to her gradually through the darkness. As the 7 foot tall statue of the goddess Sekhmet revealed herself before Jennifer she began to weep. I was already crying at the restaurant holding this amulet of Sekhmet in my hands. Inside half laughing about how I was once embarrassed to kneel in a museum and now I was bawling in a restaurant with the same goddess statue. As Jennifer wept in the sanctuary of Sekhmet the guard motioned to her that she could touch the statue. She was confused at first by this permission but didn’t bother to question why. She didn’t just touch it. She embraced it. That’s what I’d have done. She described the embrace and feeling of unconditional love. I was floored. This is how magic shows up. She even hugged the guard after they shared the magic in that room. She described feeling warmth, bright light and complete acceptance. I know that feeling. I’ve been wanting to touch it most of my life. She told me as we parted that she hoped I liked the gifts and that she’d splurged and purchased a larger statue of Sekhmet for herself.
The following summer I got a call from Jennifer out of the blue one afternoon, she was crying. She told me she’d been careless and had knocked the Sekhmet statue she bought in Egypt from its place on her dresser. She was beside herself. She told me she didn’t know who else to call.
I paused for a minute. I thought about Sekhmet. I thought about everything I know about her. She is a warrior. A healer. A goddess. She is the medicine of transformation. I saw the face of the statue at the museum in my mind. Broken. Missing an arm, part of her face. I told Jennifer that the statue wasn’t too broken to be fixed. She still had the pieces. It didn’t make the statue or her experience at Karnak any less meaningful. That Sekhmet would never be upset about this. She brought war, and plagues but she also brought healing. Most of the statues of Sekhmet still in existence from 4000 years ago are broken. They’re chipped. They are no less powerful. They still sit in museums and temples around the world bringing the same energy. Hers would be no different.
I’d had my own practice for a while by then when Jennifer called me. I have been taught well by the teachers I can see with my eyes, and with my heart, but as they say, healing heals the healer.
Two years after that trip to Egypt and being busy writing that book I asked for the Gods to bless at the museum. I’d leaned into doing some self care, inspired by Sekhmet moving out of being a warrior and into my healing years. I registered for a peer support group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and also asked for a ceremony with Daniel. My Mum gifted it to me. What came through was another soul retrieval. My 5th. Magically both of these gifts came to me in the month of May 2021 within 10 days of each other. Witnessing the things I lived through as a child, the things that I was going through in between my trips to the Museum were bookended by a soul retrieval ceremony with my teacher. Unlike the times I’ve done ceremonies with Daniel before, this time I am a practitioner. He has taught me the ceremonies, I have been practicing them with my own clients for years. Survivors like me. People who have lived through trauma, or just life, because it’s hard as much as it is magical. As we moved through this ceremony, I walked with him for this journey. I walked beside him through space and time to retrieve the parts of me that left because of pain, or trauma. This time we both brought back my power. The first piece was far back in time, the first thing we both saw were the columns. 70 feet high. We were tiny standing among them. We were both being guided back through the gateways, and into a room. Dark. Making an offering to a statue, the light coming through and then in that room, there was me. A piece of me from another life in that room with that statue. A priestess. I knew as Daniel described what he was seeing that he had no idea where we were. I knew it in my bones.
As we left that room in the temple and journeyed back through space and time looking for any other pieces of me ready to come home the newly retrieved Priestess inside of me insisted on going with us. We moved together through darkness and desolation to get there. Crying together as we looked for her in spirit. This tiny girl with the overgrown bangs. I could see her hiding behind a stone. I could feel her there. I am 4 Years old. The wonder, and brightness. The magic of my childhood. There. Returning and remembering.
I could see them vividly. These pieces of me through the veil. The Priestess and the child holding hands and walking home to me in the here and now. I welcome them home. They tell me “it’s time” and “bright, bright, bright, light, light, light.”
As we came out of the ceremony Daniel asked me “Where was that?”
And I said “it’s Karnak, that was Sekhmet” I recounted Jennifer’s story and Daniel sat back.
When we closed the first thing I did out of the ceremony was to research the statue of Sekhmet at the Royal Ontario Museum. Every piece of my body started to vibrate as I read about its origin. Then not just my body, the lights flickered. It was like I already knew. The statue came from the temple of Karnak. Now I could understand why I wanted to touch everything, why she’d told me herself that I could touch her. In some iteration of my life I already had. Not long after, within days, I decided it was also time to prepare to return home where I’d left a piece of my soul and a lifetime. Egypt. Within 60 days I met an Egyptian woman who would tell me that she would take me back to follow the breadcrumbs. When I finally determined the origin of the scene featured in the papyrus Chanda and Jennifer had both brought back for me from Egypt it all made sense. The image depicts a scene from the tomb of 19th Dynasty Queen and Priestess Nefertari.
Nefertari is making an offering of magical oils to the goddess Hathor.
The goddess Hathor is known as the ascended Sekhmet. The healing component of Sekhmet is Hathor. Of course these two women brought me back this same image. It was my destiny. From the Mistress of Dread to She who Heals with Magic.
This is time, Time is like taffy. We can move through it like an ocean. We don’t have to let our trauma hurt forever. It’s time to remember that like Sekhmet you are never too broken to be fixed. It is never too late. It is never too much. We can be put back together, in witness, in beauty and in bright, bright, bright, light, light, light. It’s time to remember what you’re made of. Light and star stuff. Welcome home.
Footnote: In May of 2021 – Egypt held the Golden Parade and moved the Pharaoh’s and Queens to the museum. For the first time in thousands of years these sites were used for major ritual. Hymns sung came from the Book of Going Forth by Day (this is the Hymn of Isis)
In November of 2021 – Egypt held the re-opening of the avenue of the Sphinx from the Temple at Luxor to the Temple of Karnak. Again the ceremonies, chants and hymns haven’t been used for thousands of years. The chants and ritual performed brought Amun-Ra , or Spirit – to the temple. In December the Ministry of Antiquities confirmed this ceremony will now happen annually. It’s time, indeed.