Persephone's Journey: Emma Ocean

We crossed the threshold into the womb tomb of the forested earth, greeted upon our arrival by frog medicine, we blessed the ground with my blood and your words.

These woods are not well known, we whispered each step we tread. I began by posturing my body in familiar ways, ways I had been told that were Good. With each pose my body held, my breath was too; you could see the frequencies of Self that I was holding back.

(The following essay was written by Emma Ocean over 1 year after our session)

Beneath the path, cloaked from sight, I stepped out of ordinary time and into mythic space. You called me into the clear, cold spring - to feel my feet on the moss, to feel the water on my skin, to feel myself held with flowing stability. And it worked. As soon as my head was received by the spring, I was released of being caught up in how I looked and focus on how I felt. I closed my eyes to immerse my whole Being in the baptism of the expansion of my Self.

My belly softened, my essence awoke, my whole being was anchored by the earth. My body was soft, my breath was deep and my spirit was strong. I opened my eyes slowly and it was New.

The immersive initiation began. I was completely content, fully at peace with my body held by the rocks, the stream undoing the contrived persona I had sculpted to be captured that day. Instead, my hair was wet, my heart was open, and I felt fully Alive.

After the (re)birth in the spring, I donned the nightgown of the pure archetypal maiden, blindfolded with disembodied knowledge separate still from experience. I held emblems of light and dark, innocence and shadow and invited transformation of these elements into integration. I revisited times of innocence and shadow in my viscera, polarity etched in the cells of my skin.

The blindfold protected me from feeling so much pain, for which I am so grateful. I also recognize I blindfolded myself, that remaining in the dark made awakening much more arduous. I had become afraid of myself, simply because of unfamiliarity not out of real danger. I had to find the light within myself.

My inner world was never empty - the torches of my own power had simply gone out. I just had to relight my inner flame.

Casting off the silk & lace, a memory from my childhood was unearthed. I was 5 years old, in the silk and lace nightgown of my mother. She had tied the straps at the top of my shoulders so it would fit my childish frame. I groggily got out of bed far past my bedtime and found guests visiting with my parents in the living room.

They oohed and ahhed at the opulent taste of this toddler before them. I felt so proud, I began to dance and twirl like I had lifetimes of practice. I was quickly escorted back to bed with admonishment that dancing in this nightgown in front of strangers wasn’t appropriate. I didn’t understand because it had felt so powerful.

You had no idea of this memory when you had me don this nightgown.

Now, standing blindfolded back in silk and lace, I stepped out of service for the patriarchal gaze and into raw authenticity. I approached a pool of never-stagnant water with nothing between the edges of my skin and the cool embrace of the water.

It felt so natural to keep exploring the woods free from the interference of clothes. You gave me permission without batting an eye. So I did. My monthly blood pooled down my leg, reuniting creative energy with the earth.

I had brought frilly panties for the occasion but they felt like gaudy accoutrements now - I realized and didn’t care that what we were capturing wouldn’t be approved by the algorithm. It was a simultaneous epiphany and release.

My body needed the medicine we were creating and it seemed important that the creative outcome couldn’t be USED. I had spent a lifetime of being used. These images would not be used; they would be experienced. In this moment and in every moment since.

It was clear “something” else was guiding this session, that my control and contrivance was not needed. That something else was an archetypal myth birthing itself in the space between your lens and my body. The story was being written, not from being squeezed out forcefully but simply by holding the pen to paper.

This archetypal intuition pulled a bright red lace dress next. In the cycle of grief, the blindfolded nightgown was denial and this red gown was anger embodied. She recognized injustice and felt righteous rage. She would not be violated without recourse.

This was Hektate, the guardian swamp witch so often depicted as ugly, fearful, invisible. She, protector and guide of the crossroads, the three-headed trinity completely whole in herself. It was embodying Her that I climbed a precarious stump and roared & bellowed what I never let myself utter before.

You left our bags under the watchful gaze of this mossy grandmother tree. You said she would watch over them, that what we didn’t need to carry to move forward, we didn’t need to carry.

You were right. There was so much I was carrying that I didn’t need to move forward. Trusting in this tree to protect was another iteration of letting go that I keep inviting in and the trees keep responding to.

We crossed another threshold closer to the shore, the womb of the forest you called it, and her canal opened for us. I stood at her opening, covered in the veil of my own illusions until I could see clearly the rising feminine power of receptivity and surrender.

I allowed the veil to be lowered by the wind. It was a natural unfolding, a mutual submission. The wind did not force the veil down but we danced together until it was time to enter the point of no return. To experience power in this womb of the forest allowed me to experience the power of my own softness. That my vulnerability is not something to fear, but a gift of sacred protection.

We finally reached the shores of white sandy glass with heavy branches of pine dipping toward the frigid sea. Enshrouded in a merlot hood, you nestled mazzaella japonica seaweed beneath my fingertips. It was there we channeled the raw sensuality of Mary Magdalene.

I could feel the embodied power crouched like The Star, dipping into endless waters of renewal, the transformation of sex magick palpable in each breath. Waves of being misunderstood washed over me, feeling the ancestral grief leaving behind homelands.

I could feel their tears as I stood in the sea. I stood in the frigid cold of the sea, remembering my Christian baptism in these same waters, protected by the comfort of a wetsuit, by the certainty of doctrine. Now it was just me, doused in my own embodied wisdom, trusting in the mystery of the sea.

This was not what I had planned and it was so beautiful. It was here on these shores I realized the divine feminine is the spontaneous creator, the wise Sophia midwifing the birth. It was my inner masculine that supported her creative process, whose structures and knowledge informed her labour but he was not in charge.

No one, was in fact, in charge. The power dynamic I felt within myself was not binary nor requiring exploitation. The power within myself was a natural geyser channeled in a consensual dance between these parts of myself. It was more beautiful than I could have concocted with egoic interference.

On the shores between here and not yet here, I dropped pools of pigment on my skin and watched the colour ripple into the clear waters. A baptism in colour, the arrival into Oz where Dorothy becomes animate. The layers of shedding did not feel like death, though in every sense they were; the layers of shedding felt like birth.

I was becoming more myself like clay being shaped into who I was always supposed to be. It wouldn’t be for many months, guided by mushroom medicine, that I would undergo the fires of transformation in the kiln and become full of my own power.

But this was the container for impregnation - it was on these shores that I became pregnant with my own desires. I washed the colour baptism with the exfoliation of sand, experiencing firsthand the polarities of existence - of softness and hardness, the transformation of irritation, the wisdom of integration over denial.

We began our trek back and were both called to a fallen tree, roots exposed. I was exhausted and couldn’t resist mounting this tree grave that had fallen, its life force uncovered. We crossed threshold after threshold, the return of the hero’s journey, inexplicably different from when we left.

At the treed entrance to these enchanted woods, we were greeted by a family of deer. The four of them silently and slowly circled us, then left for their home.

The entire day felt like a dream, something so impactful it was hard to believe it was real. It truly was an outer manifestation of my inner process, it brought together decades of therapy, healing, reckoning, recognizing, unlearning, discovering into consciousness. It concretized that which was being moulded from my inner clay.

I saw myself more clearly than I ever had before. It was not my body captured through photos because I was the captor. It was the myth of Persephone where she is Hades and she impregnates herself with the pomegranate seed, the original red pill of reality. It was the witnessing of my essence in its truest form, this body, my temple where I worship. It was and is the space and time of my reunion, where all of my Selves took the stage.

Together we crossed points of no return and I have not once looked back.

-Emma Ocean

To learn about Emma's healing work visit her website.