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don Miguel Ruiz



Musings of an Awakening Spirit

Stories, poetry & general musings of Rebecca Haywood, a modern-day Shaman with a penchant for bringing the divine into the human experience.

Fire Cleansing III: Discovering Immunity

This is the story of how I found true immunity, as a human and as a shaman, and set myself free from the ‘Black Magic’ of emotional poison and vexed stories that can contaminate our internal world… 

It was a beautiful Saturday in Descanso, California. Madre Sarita had a full class of healing students and this weekend was all about Fire Cleansing. I was excited to receive her teaching again. Though I had assisted her in all of her Fire Cleansings over the last year and had even received one myself, this elaborate ritual continued to both mystify and terrify me.

Evil spirits, curses, and voodoo dolls— this was the ‘Black Magic’ that Sarita could see as she read the ashes of almost every Fire Cleansing. No wonder I was scared! Why would I dare to combat an unseen foe and one that held such a seemingly invincible power? Sarita could do it; of that I had no doubt, but I still had my training wheels on and I was sure they would be quickly knocked right off their axles.

Furthermore, it was unfathomable to me that such practices could be so prevalent here in the states. Perhaps it was a disbelief convenient to my fear, but I suspected that there may be more (or rather less) to this ‘Black Magic’ business; that somehow it was being delivered through other more common avenues and ones to which we held an immunity. 

Yet, I trusted Sarita’s eyes more than my own. I couldn’t see what she saw, but I could feel the darkness in the client like an emotional weight tethered to their heart. I yearned to develop the eyes to identify the source of this darkness, hopeful that once I did, my fear would give way to faith. 

Today’s teaching was on how to diagnose the need for a Fire Cleansing through a ‘lectura’— a reading of one’s energy. Sarita’s tool for this was an Egg Cleansing in which an egg is used to absorb a person’s energy, clearing it and taking an imprint. The egg is then cracked into a glass of water and read like an x-ray— one that reveals not just the physical, but the emotional, mental and spiritual imbalances as well.  

I was partnered with one of the students and had completed her reading which gave her a relatively clean bill of health. Now it was my turn. She cracked my egg into the glass of water and immediately, I knew I was in trouble. 

The egg was barely visible through a milky fog that penetrated the glass’s once crystal clear water. The yolk was covered in sinewy cobwebs that pinched it into a deformed shape. This had to be a mistake, I thought, I feel fine! I even laughed as my partner’s bewildered eyes found mine. 

From across the yurt, Sarita spied my egg and hurried us to her side. She held the glass, turning it in her hand with a serious look on her face. 

“This is not good, Mija,” she began, shaking her head. “There has been a curse placed on you. A man who wants you to himself. He has tied your sexual organs and your heart, keeping you from having love again. It is someone you once were in relationship with. Do you know who this man is?” 

I reviewed my short list of ex-boyfriends and couldn’t imagine any of them wishing me ill-will. They were all sweet men with whom I had shared a true and deep love. I doubted that any of them would even know how to place a curse on someone and certainly wouldn’t have sought out a ‘Black Magician’ to do their dirty work. 

Dubious of this diagnosis, but mindful of the students’ eyes on me, I simply shrugged. 

“Well, no matter,” Sarita assured me. “All will be revealed tomorrow when we do your Fire Cleansing.” 

Sarita had taught me that, in cases of spiritual possession, it was imperative to name the offending spirit. Once a name was given, the spirit would lose its power and leave its host. Although Sarita had classified my imbalance as a curse rather than a possession, my intuition told me that I absolutely needed to name my ‘Black Magician’. 

So as the class dispersed for the night, I retreated to my room to meditate with a righteous intention to call out the a**hole who did this to me'.

At first, my mind went to the obvious villains in my past— the ones who had imposed their will on me through rape or some version of it. Those events certainly felt like curses and seemed a likely source, but Sarita’s words were clear— it was a man I had once been in relationship with and rape is far from the intimacy of a relationship.

I decided to shift my approach and let my body show me. I cleared my mind and felt my way through my cells. There was a notable tension at my solar plexus. I placed my hand over it and asked for its name. What came was a series of memories that moved quickly through me, pausing at two poignant moments with an ex of mine.

The first memory was of our ‘break-up’ to which he responded with an unprecedented anger, throwing and breaking whatever he could find. Though his aggression wasn’t aimed at me, it scared me and that fear was the opening which allowed his negative energy to penetrate my being. My own energy had retreated, gotten small and even felt responsible for his hurt. Although I had the wisdom to physically part ways with him that day, emotionally-- I was more attached than ever. 

The next memory was weeks later when he told me that he had attempted suicide, showing me the evidence on his body. He was convinced that his survival was a sign that we were meant to be together. He was smiling with tears in his eyes as he professed our fated union. The arrows of guilt and misguided loyalty immediately sunk into my heart.

In an attempt to reclaim my energy, an anger rose to my mouth, “I am not yours.”
“These," I said, touching his wounds, “are not mine. How dare you hurt yourself in the name of love. This is not love and it is not where I choose to live, nor should you.” 

It was quite the proclamation and one that I thought had sealed the coffin of our relationship, but reliving these memories showed me that I had failed to climb out of the coffin before burying it. I had rebelled against the guilt, but I had not healed it. It continued to quietly eat at my flesh, or rather, I continued to eat of its poison. 

Like Persephone, I was held captive in an underworld of shame and the sunlight of my love was timidly hiding in its shadows. I was now afraid of my own love and what it could produce in another— heartbreak, anger, even death. Just as Sarita had diagnosed, I was cursed to never love again.

The beauty of this revelation was that I had indeed named my ‘Black Magician’ and it broke the curse. However, it was not my ex that had placed this vex; it was I. Though he had offered the ill-intended fruit, I chose to eat of it and then to hold my love captive in a long winter of self-betrayal.

It was time to set myself free and, unlike with Persephone, there would be no compromise of summer’s end. I would let my love shine in its full force and glory without fear, shame or responsibility for how others choose to receive it.

I arrived at class the next day, ready for my Fire Cleansing and I went for it in true warrior style. Though my newfound awareness had broken the curse, I still needed to exorcise the energy of it from my body. I needed to forgive: to give back the energy of those moments and reclaim my power from them. This is exactly what the Fire Cleansing did for me.

Sarita’s prayers reverberated through my mind, reseeding the soils where my malediction had taken root. The smoke reached into my being and dislodged the emotions from their hiding place, my tears rising to coalesce with the showers of her Holy Water. The caress of the egg drew out the darkness while the salt crystal carved new pathways of light within me. And finally, as she swept my body with healing herbs, I felt the cords of attachment being cut. I was free. 

It was the most powerful and complete act of forgiveness; for there was no righteousness or blame. I was released from that history as if I had never been touched by its words or the emotional poison within them. What once inhabited my body and mind had returned to light in a sweet death that seamlessly rose into a birth. I hadn’t just forgiven; I had given forth in a declaration and reclamation of my love. 

Beyond the personal freedom garnered that weekend, I had found a truth that would forever fortify me as a human and as a shaman: that we cast and catch our own spells. There is no force that can inhabit us without our permission. We can give permission by agreeing with their words, or emotionally, by aligning with their vibration. Either way, we are the gatekeeper. As long as we stand in awareness and love, we are immune to all else.

Self-possession is the key to immunity: maintaining your presence in spite of. As my story displays, the quickest way to abandon ourselves is through fear and misguided loyalty. Fear is a vibrational chink in our armor that allows other lower frequencies, like rage, to enter. Though fear can help the gatekeeper to know when to pull up the drawbridge, our misguided loyalty tells us that we owe them a causeway. When we make ourselves responsible for another’s feelings, we abandon our post as gatekeeper and take on their emotional presence. It is an act of self-betrayal and it is ultimately disempowering to them as well. 

Though immunity is not an invincibility to outside energy—we continue to perceive the energy of others which is an important guiding force as practitioners and as humans—we do not have to allow those perceptions to possess us. Empower your gatekeeper with the right to act in the presence of fear, raising that drawbridge when needed and retreating not to a place of smallness but of restoration. Be mindful of the chinks in your armor and tend to them with love and loyalty to you. As you build your immunity, you may fall from grace on occasion, but remember: just as you were the way in, you are also the way out.


Are you interested in a Fire Cleansing for yourself, your home, or a friend? Reach out today, and we'll get you set up! Yesss! Light me up! 


Read more about Fire Cleansing in my previous blog, Fire Cleansing Part I: The Simple Science of an Ancient Art.

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