The last weekend in August, we had a great time at the Venus Music Festival in Vandalia, Illinois. There was music and healing in the air and new friendships on the ground. Even a scared, injured little dog knew he could find sanctuary on Venus Land.
Some amazing singers graced the stage, among them: Summer Osborne, Ginger Doss, Sara McCracken, Crys Matthews, Carole Walker, Jen Norman, Chasing Nadean and Brooke Sleme as well as some talented and powerful spoken word poet/performers: ReeCee, Jen Harris and the funny and talented MC, Trish Busch. The vendor area included Tupperware, T-shirts, candied jalapeño -yum, and, of course, we had doTerra essential oils, and offered energy work.
There were also workshops on everything from moving through difficult feelings to ghost hunting. There was never a dull moment.
Lori Osborne was amazing in her ability to juggle multiple unexpected challenges, organizing volunteers, housing artists, and still presenting a workshop and finding a bit of fun as well.
The Osbornes host Venus Festival to bring love, healing, peace and music to the world. They also seek to nurture the next generation of dreamers and doers. Much of the money (well, really all of the profits this year) goes toward helping kids pursue their dreams of being in the arts. They may use the money to provide musical instruments to kids in need (as the late Mrs. Osborne did), or to help pay for dance lessons and other expenses. This year, one girl, Jilly, a dancer, was chosen as THE Love Mrs. Osborne kid.
Many of the temporary residents of Venus Land attended a healing circle led by Deb and I. Deb did a guided meditation to help people get grounded and centered, moving up through every chakra and bodily system and organ. We invited anyone who wanted healing into the center of the circle. Many people and a few dogs entered the middle. Deb and some other energy workers also entered the center to work one on one with people. My part was to hold the outside of the circle with those wanting to provide healing and support as a group. To raise energy and consciousness, I led everyone in singing songs of healing. I started each song by first teaching it by singing it and encouraging everyone to join their voices together. I then walked clockwise around the circle, singing and sending energy to each person through my breath and eyes. I did stop and touch Sir Vinny, the injured dog, each time I passed.
We felt a lot of loving, healing energy all along and within the circle as we moved and sang and listened and watched. The kids of VenusLand were amazing! They offered support and unconditional love through holding the circle, passing out tissues, and even individual energy work. We were very impressed and grateful for their presence.
Quite a few people had emotional releases during the healing circle, and the love kept flowing and growing through the rest of the weekend. Even Sir Vinny was thriving by Sunday, the final day of this year's Venus Festival.
That morning many of us gathered for a "Soul Circle", a solution - based discussion on events happening in the world. It was a powerful discussion, and more emotional releases occurred. Deb and I brought water and a candle from the last Michigan Womyn's Music Festival and shared it there, nourishing VenusLand with the water and passing the candle to the Osbornes who are doing a lot to keep women's music and culture alive.
After the festival, we spent some time privately with the Osbornes and the cows. (By the way, I discovered that Terra Shield is a great deterrent to vicious horse flies. Too bad we didn't think to use it until after Venus was over!) We left our tent there so it can be the start of an artists' tent village for next year. Having 15 people staying in one house is just too much, unless it is a mansion.
Once we got home and had a chance to talk to each other and a few others that we met at VenusFest, we realized that we should have talked people through how to shield themselves energetically. It is so hard to return to the mundane world after being someplace like that (Venus Music Festival, Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, or any other intense safe gathering of souls). Part of the difficulty in returning to the outer world is not just that there is a major cultural shift, but also that while in those safe spaces, we tend to let down our energetic or aural shields. Then we forget to re-shield in a healthy way when we enter the mainstream again. This can leave us feeling discombobulated emotionally, physically, psychologically and/or spiritually.
Shielding helps keep positive, healing energy flowing, while deflecting or grounding unwanted energy. There are several different guided imagery exercises that can help someone learn shielding. Deb and I each learned from various teachers, books and trial and error. I'd like to share one technique that I find useful. If you do better with hearing visualizations rather than reading them and trying to remember them, you may want to partner with someone you trust. You can slowly guide one another through this meditation visualization by reading it to each other. Or, you can read it to yourself with a voice recorder. Pace it fairly slow, allowing time for your mind to fully form the images. Be patient with yourself. You may get it on the first try, or you may need to practice a bit. Either way is fine. Relax and have fun with it.
Here is one meditation visualization for shielding:
Begin by breathing deeply at a relaxed pace.
Ground and center yourself by focusing on your breath. Focus only on your breath. Feel the air moving in through your nose, down through your lungs, pausing, then back out slowly.
If other thoughts or concerns enter your mind, acknowledge them, then promise them that you will deal with them later. Imagine them surrounded with a loving bubble of light, then when you exhale, blow the little bubble away from you, like a child with a bubble wand.
Keep returning your focus to your breath. Inhale, short pause, exhale.
Once you have focused only on your breath for several cycles, imagine that you are also drawing in energy from the Earth from the deep, healing well of energy beneath her surface, up through the soles of your feet.
Draw the energy up through the soles of your feet, letting it flow and fill you like a cleansing stream. Allow it to fill your toes, heels, ankles and calves. Feel it wash clean your knees, thighs, hips, pelvis. Your abdomen, organs and chest are refreshed by the flowing energy from the Earth. Allow the energy to to continue to flow through you, into your shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. Feel the tension leave your neck, throat, jaws, cheeks, and sinuses. Feel your eyes and ears gain clarity from the Earth's energy.
Allow that energy to continue to flow up through your feet, throughout your body, and allow it to gently move out of your body through the crown of your head and the palms of your hands. Like a fountain of light, healing energy flowing freely. Let this light cleanse you as it moves through you. Mother Earth will purify the energy as it flows back to her again.
Now, put your hands out in front of you as if you are holding a basketball sized sphere of light energy. Envision that sphere growing larger as the energy flows from the Earth through your body and out of the palms of your hands, into the sphere. Once the sphere is large enough, step harmlessly into your protective bubble of light.
Once inside your bubble, you can make it as large or as small as you need by controlling the energy flow from your hands and head while you constantly allow the Earth to feed you from her deep healing energy wells.
Your bubble can be whatever color you need, whatever color makes you feel safest at this moment. It can even be many colors, like a soap bubble refracting the sun's rays into prisms.
Your bubble is soft and permeable, like a soap bubble. You can expand it to welcome in positive energies, people and animals, while negativity moves off and around without entering your safe space.
You can keep your bubble up as you move through your day, expanding and shrinking as you need it to.
If you feel your bubble begin to weaken or falter, take a moment to breathe deep from the Earth and exhale energy to refill your bubble.
Try practicing this meditation visualization on your own. After a few times, it will become easier, and eventually you will start to automatically shield without thinking about it, like opening your eyes when you wake up from sleep.
If the bubble image is difficult for you, choose another. If you have suggestions for imagery for other readers, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Let us know how this meditation visualization works for you.
A few other things that we find helps with shielding ourselves or our home include:
Balance Essential Oil Blend- we use it on our earlobes (and on our dogs ears) to help dispel anxiety and promote relaxation and balance. You can also use it in a diffuser to help bring balance to your home. I sometimes set a shielding intention when I turn on the diffuser. We even take one with us when we travel.
Rose quartz- this is one time when wearing a bra really comes in handy. Placing a rose quartz near your heart chakra, for some, helps them feel protected and shielded from negativity, especially emotional negativity. During my really difficult days, I used to keep a rose quartz shaped as an egg in my sports bra. Yes, it got sweaty and smelly. I cleansed it physically and energetically through cleaning it with running water. To super cleanse, I would leave it outside in the rain or under the full moon's light. I have long since given that egg to someone else, but we still sometimes use rose quartz this way. You can also put it on your windowsill to add boundary shielding on your home or office.
Salt or clear quartz- some people put clear quartz crystals or small dishes of salt in the corners of their home as an energetic cleanser and shield.
Smudging- if you don't have issues with asthma or other breathing problems, you could try smudging with smoke from (careful) burning sage, sweetgrass, cedar, or a combination of these. Some people and traditions prefer incense to smudge with.
We hope this article has helped you find some clarity, not to mention great new ideas for your music collection and yes, ways to spend the last weekend in August of 2016!