words: Stephanie Victoire image: Lauren Maccabee
I have always wanted to heal all the way through, right from fractured bones in my adolescence to a sad mind in my teens – bruises inflicted on the heart by anything too dear to me. The doctors mended the frame of me but they never spotted the stains left on my organs, or looked closer to find an angry kidney that was storing lifetimes of fears, or the trapdoor to loneliness in my throat.
I’ve always known meditation helps with calming the mind, relieving the body of stress. We paint beautiful places in our heads, don’t we? We search to find our own oceans and meadows. In those places there is peace, euphoria even – our own magic. Like the storyteller I am, I seek the story of me, as a soul inhabiting this body. What has the protagonist been learning along the way? What is the magical world she lives in, that exists invisibly to the external one? What realms are encased in her ribs?
Driven by the moon of Pisces under which I was born on a gentle Taurus day, I was destined to look to dreams to tell me things, to read my worries and fears in my spirit. In ancient medicine, each troubled part of the body represents an aspect of the mental, emotional and even the ancestral self. In our back pains we are storing some sort of guilt; in our high blood pressure we are bottling up our emotions, our deep-rooted anger fights us in fevers. We must change our negative thoughts into positive ones, and if we can map out our minds then why not our bodies?
I decided to journey within and work through every area in my body that had ever caused me tension or pain, which were actually indicated by my emotions. I had come to notice that whenever I self-criticised, my right shoulder seized up. My stomach burned whenever I was afraid. One evening, I created my ceremony: I laid out crystals, lit candles and incense, as if preparing a funeral for myself, setting up for my death. And in a way it was, the death of an old me, an old body.
I closed my eyes and brought my awareness to my right shoulder. As if shrinking down to walk through it, I set off to explore what was there. I was standing in dense brown fog, the ground was arid, cracked and uneven – a place I couldn’t see my way through clearly. I thought: How do I change this and make it positive and beautiful? I broke the fog with the colours of a Nordic sky and sent stars up to twinkle above me. The cracked ground softened into fresh powdered snow. And with this energetic clearing, my right shoulder loosened; I instantly felt lighter. I had released the stagnant energy, set the intention to let go of self-criticism. I wanted to continue. I was feeling the quest of it now, healing myself on this inner-level was liberating. Down I went into my kidney: a dark cave where creatures lurked. The air was cold and I felt frightened. Feelings from where I had been fearful in my life rose to the surface. I wanted them gone. I knew I could use whatever magic I wished to cast them out so I produced my very own Excalibur sword and dealt with each horrid jackal-like being, lancing my way through my anxiety. When the cave was empty, I transformed it into a warm, midnight garden of night-blooming flowers, decorated with fairy lights. I also turned the murky pond of my stomach into a crystalline lake and conjured enchanting water nymphs that sang sweetly to soothe my painful memories.
My body was becoming a vast and wonderful world. I can’t say for certain whether or not the change in my thoughts about myself was the result of this inner enchantment, or the fact that I soon after ended a toxic relationship and travelled the world. But I am a voyager as much as I am a storyteller, in the outer world and the one within, and I choose to navigate through both in perfect harmony.
Stephanie Victoire is the author of the fairy and folk tale collection, The Other World, It Whispers, out 15 November from Salt Publishing. She is currently working on her novel, The Heart Note and is soon to be travelling around the world in search of more inspiration, folklore and magic. Follow her on Twitter: @StephySunkisser and visit her website.
For more tales of magic, pick up a copy of Oh Comely issue 33.