Gratitude- Donna Raymond

The Everyday Priestess

By | Insights and wisdom, Philosophy, Sacred Wombman's business, Spirituality | No Comments

As I sit down to write this to you, the heavy rains roar outside as the frogs echo a chorus of celebration- the monsoon has arrived! I have no idea what is about to come through my fingertips, but hey, let’s see what flows shall we?

Today I was ruminating on my life, and the perspectives of social media. You know that I share quite openly and honestly as I value real and raw expressions of genuine sharing. Anyways, I was thinking about the ways that people might perceive me based on my (limited) sharing online over the last 2 years…

I wonder how the images that I share, the photoshoots that I co create to bring to life my symbolic visions of deep meaning and feminine majick and wisdom… I wonder how they are received and interpreted!?

As an Artist I know the power of the image and how to construct visual language to communicate ideas.

Images are powerful tools that work beyond our conscious interpretations.

Art lives beyond the Artist.

So, I was having a look through these images, the intentional branding of Wise Wombman and the countless hours I have invested in personally designing all my graphics, logo, colours, layouts, website… you know all that jazz..

And It had me wondering about the archetypal language that some are aware of, and some are not. These archetypes speak to a primal layer in our psyche. They transcend time, language and culture because they speak to our Soul.

So I want to speak to this… specifically the archetypal energy of the Priestess… because I have been witnessing something in the ‘women’s empowerment’ arena that well, to be honest has made me retreat back into my mystical cave… HA!

I do not jump on band wagons, I am a rebel at heart and will usually bail when things all of a sudden  “become hip and cool”. I dance to the rhythm of my own song!

I see these beautiful brands being constructed, dominated by mainly beautiful white women (not a bad thing- it is what it is, so very beautiful too, I’m simply noticing it becoming a saturated style) and painting an image of the Priestess as young, alluring, mystical, sexy and of course, fuckable.

Whilst some of these qualities exist, Wombman is so multi-faceted that only focussing on and celebrating one part, discounts the value of the whole range of expressions.

These images do not represent the DEPTH of what the Priestess archetype holds within her medicine.

I see so many women look at these images and their hearts shrink because they feel they can never live up to this ideal, the status quo of “womens empowerment”- they can’t find an entry point to relate to having THE SAME ACCESS to these archetypal energies- because they don’t self-identify with the marketed image or the spiritual narratives.


The semiotics I see are all similar- its like a cookie cutter recipe of “HOW TO PRIESTESS ONLINE” and it makes me fucking gag sometimes!

You want to know why?

It’s because the work of a Priestess is oftentimes ANYTHING BUT beautiful or sexy.

Seriously. Sometimes it’s U.G.L.Y

It ebbs and flows in the rituals of the mundane.

It’s deep shadow work, healing collective wounds beyond the etheric scope and parameters of where most would dare to tread.

It’s on the fringe and is often incredibly isolating and lonely.


Sometimes the emotional labour is so intense there is no reprieve from catharsis after catharsis that transforms your very cells and perception of reality.

You die a thousand deaths whilst shedding skins and stories along with the salt and mucous that pours from your face in the process of your ego being obliterated as timelines crumble around you!

You are tested and humbled by the Great Mother/Spirit/Goddess in more ways than you can imagine because you have surrendered to the knowing that this is to create resilience and grit… you are being shaped to strengthen the psychic muscles to carry forth your purpose work- whatever you are destined to do, in service to the greater good of all.


You are initiated by Spirit before you even knew you could have a choice to feel ready.

There you are.


The work happens in Spirit, Mind, Body and with the Earth. It can be sweaty, messy, dirty, challenging and days where the “holding” is so mammoth that your bones become so tired, only an ancient heart would know the aching to rest yet stay true to fullfill the prophecies encoded inside.

Priestessing is doing what you need to do, to survive in this modern world AND STILL create space for your deep connection to Nature and your majick… and when you can’t do that, you realise that your whole life MUST become a living ceremony, an integrated sacrament to the Divine.

Sometimes this means being covered in blood, sweat, tears, vomit, mud and shit- and still walking forward with a twinkle in your eye, holding the vision of love and beauty in your heart… forging a path forward through the thicket- to be the visionary guide and wisdom keeper of the mysteries.

Sometimes Priestessing is making it through another day alive! Taking on the mammoth task of conquering the beast within, to claim sovereignty over your internal spaces. To show others it’s possible to liberate yourself from suffering and to be the guiding light and hope for those shackled to the stories that bind.

Sometimes it’s being so fine tuned to the Cosmic that you know you have to prepare to bunker down for the oncoming subconscious purge and shit storm that the collective is brewing… sometimes you have to process this before others so that you can help them through when they’re in the thick of it… and when you’re in it… no one knows the scope of what you are feeling and processing. Their time is yet to come. But there you are, map maker… cultivating the language of the emotional realms.

Sometimes it’s head buried in books absorbing teachings from ancient lineages, or countless hours in dedicated service to looking after elders, honouring the wisdom keepers that walked before you.

So I want to shout out to you if you feel this deep connection to the Priestess, yet feel like you don’t fit the depicted mould… it’s because you’re not meant to!

Perhaps you’re an “Everyday Priestess” like me… More time in the thick of real life than the altered ceremonial states, sometimes my sacred tools can stay untouched for months, though I can show up in my full power and medicine at any time of any day because this energy moves through me. Just like it does with many other women… and i want to normalise the incredible potent beauty of the day to day life… the mundane.

I guess thats why I am in awe of this busy season of Mother… because most women in this season don’t have the time and energy to realise how phenomenally beautiful, sexy and powerful they look in the thick of it… full power warrior mama’s and nurturers getting shit done… sometimes it seems by sheer majick!

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way knocking the expressions of alluring beauty… I’m speaking to the fact that it’s NOT ALWAYS THE REALITY, DAY IN DAY OUT!

Let’s be real!

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is this…

Images are fucking powerful, so be mindful not to take things at face value. Look for depth, meaning and of course resonance.

You’re meant to be YOU in all your beautiful messy expressions of the raw feminine- in all your over the top flamboyant or completely unassuming ways.

Embodying the Priestess does not mean that you have to be in a state of orgasmic bliss 24/7, in deep ceremonial presence all the time, adorned and be-jewelled with the fancy sacred geometric and symbolic bling and free flowing mermaid locks…

because you are marinated in stardust and it is etched into each crevice of flesh that covers your gorgeous being.

You can be super cosmic (or not) and covert and carve your own truth of expressions.

When we let go of who we think we should be- or how we think these energies SHOULD be expressed… we open up the space to listen to the wisdom within, that guides us and moves our body in a way that is relevant and organic in our authentic expressions.

So big love to you if you are feeling ‘unseen’ because of these stereotypes.

I see them and I am sure others do also.

So here’s to the Everyday Priestess, may she be honoured in all facets of her embodied presence.


Remember to access the Wisdom Within.

Love is…


Donna Raymond dōTERRA




The Sacred F*ck It Point

By | gratitiude, Insights and wisdom, Journey Work, Philosophy, Sacred Wombman's business, Tools for healing | No Comments

The Sacred Fuck It Point… I’m becoming familiar with this space

So it’s 12:45am as I begin to write this. I’m laying in bed, mattress on the floor listening to the rain fill all the outside spaces with its loud roar. I feel strange, I am not sure if its because I received the news that my cousin is in intensive care with a head injury, or the fact that I have just read through countless stories of abuse which women have so openly shared with me after I released a survey yesterday…

And here I am nonchalantly watching the clock tick back…. Feeling something stir… knowing I “should” have been in bed hours ago…

But I’m here… awake…

In between states of doing and being… listening…

And so I pick up my laptop and go to my room… something that I don’t really do unless I want background music playing…

Deep breaths… here it comes. oh, it’s coming…

I am fucking scared… and I have been for a long time… to share my journey over the last 2 years ‘publically’ to share MY story… the side that I have kept fiercely private, suffering in silence… and so I boldly step forward… I’ve reached the point of no return… I call this…

fuck itThe Sacred Fuck It Point…

Fuck all my fears and insecurities, of holding my tongue out of ‘respect’… where the shortcomings of which show me where I am actually disrespecting myself… disrespecting the platform that I have to speak… Disrespecting the privileges that I have to be able to do this… as a soon to be 30year old ‘white’, heterosexual woman living in a safe country…with a roof over my head, food in my belly and access to the internet through various devices and various technology and tools to express my passions and creativity… I am able to share in the joy of watching happy and content children free to wander and explore their world with curiosity. I have no stress to pay rent or ward off sickness or predators. I  must honour this privilege and use it for growth and change in service to the greater good of humanity….

OH. HUMANITY… where for art thou?

Truth is I’m fucking blessed…

and I acknowledge that privilege for being born into a middle class Australian family. I’m the first to admit the idiocy of my “first world problems” keeping my feet firmly grounded as I walk my path.

My Facebook feed is a cacophony of dichotomies… and I’m absorbing all of this sensory information through my eyeballs that sometimes want to shut off to all the bullshit and violence that I see… I want to disconnect and disengage…but I know this is lighting an internal fire in me.

artist unknown.

artist unknown.

At my last Womb Temple in Townsville I shared the medicine of Lilith and Kali… and feel these archetypes stir in me now… calling me to use my voice, to craft my written words like daggers and spears to pierce through the veils of my own comfort and illusion…

Shake up to Wake up

And I sit and I think about this wave of feminine energy rising… More and more women are being called back to remember the ways of the Goddess and well, some are not… and that is cool too!

Through the pathways of the Priestess, my remembering has shifted old beliefs deep in my psyche… Holy moly my journey has taken me to some wild places within. Fierce, Raw and Wild… the primordial mother tongue speaks… and I listen intently.

Externally, what I am seeing is this shyness to embodying the DARK FEMININE… Archetypally represented in many different facets, which all share the same threads and are often depicted or represented symbolically in a negative light, such as Lilith and Kali.


Because THAT side of the feminine is fucking powerful…. Untamable!

She is Nature and Nurture… Death and Birth, Creation and Destruction coexisting in the same space, walking a sacred balance of creation…

And a huge threat to the patriarchal construct.

Boom… HERstory must be acknowledged!

The dark feminine is rising, and she is fucking full force power…. The primordial mother is pissed off. and rightfully so… look at the state of the world right now… what will the future generations of children experience as custodians of the land and dreaming?

I am 20 weeks pregnant and with my womb nurturing another little Goddess, I am feeling this potent mama energy more fiercely than ever before. Being pregnant makes me EXTRA sensitive to the complexities of the world as I am receiving sensory information that is imprinting my unborn baby, I have to be mindful of what I am absorbing… but also, not walking in naivety.

Lets acknowledge a few things here:

Land of the Free- Mark Henson

Land of the Free- Mark Henson

Let’s face it… There is mass cultural genocide happening in Australia, PNG, Palestine (Gaza) ,Syria, Africa, Pakistan, USA and other places in the the world

Our indigenous wisdom keepers are being forced off their homelands…

Our water is being tainted, bottled and sold

Our Food Security is being hijacked

Our natural Temples and libraries are being burnt or turned to pulp.

Suicide and Depression is on the rise…

Domestic Violence is destroying the healthy constructs of family and relating.

Drug Abuse/Addiction is on the rise, and newsflash the biggest drug dealers in the world wear suits!

Our sacred rites of passage and initiation have been commodified and systemized which disempowers us.

Mass shootings are becoming ‘normalised’

Governments invest more money into the military industrial complex and war machine then they do in public health and education… into looking after our elders.

Innocent people seeking refuge and asylum are being locked away as prisoners of a war they are victims of.

Symptoms of a world gone mad…oh, you’re not coping… here’s a fucking pill… get back to work…


I’m not writing this to be pessimistic… perhaps a little ranty… it’s just that my tolerance level for this is seriously waning..

I’M MAD AS HELL… And Hell Hath no fury like a woman scorned…

This is the threshold of crossing the Sacred Fuck it Point… where niceties are pushed aside for standing Moral ground…Standing for Meaning… Standing for Truth…Standing for Freedom and Beauty… for Kindness… because if not YOU then Who? We are all a ‘somebody’ and when we all join together we create waves of transformation!

Yea, sure we can all turn the other cheek and throw ourselves to the wolves but that’s not solving anything.

Ignorance is not Bliss… Ignorance is, Ignorance.

What’s the cure of this social dis-ease


And how do we build that?


How is that created?

Through TRUST, vulnerability, accountability and authenticity

A-life-unlived-quote-1024x681In my opinion it’s becoming FULLY SOVEREIGN and responsible for Self, particularly our emotional and mental health. This means owning your story unashamedly. Being bold and curious to express yourself respectfully. Being empathic towards others and helping where/when you can.

Being really really YOU.

Beyond what people want you to be, think, feel..

being autonomous and open to express yourself open heartedly with passion and creativity.

Share your story.. not out of wounding… but from a place of empowerment…

because you now what…

You have to own it so it doesn’t own you!

And so I’ve started writing a memoir. A deep soul excavation… from all of my Sacred Woundings and Imprints.. all the lessons I have learnt and wisdom I have acquired along the way…

What of wisdom if it is not shared?

Reading through these heartbreaking stories in these surveys and feeling into other women’s stories and pain, I began to be able to articulate something that I have felt for a while now…

You liberate yourself from suffering the moment you see the value of your pain. The gift and beauty within the chaos

Your Pain becomes an Asset, it becomes of value…

Part of the Journey out of victim into survivor is owning and claiming our stories, no matter how hard or long that journey in suffering and pain was for.

Everyone processes abuse and trauma in different ways. It depends on our beliefs and attachment mechanisms and trauma bonding.

Trauma bonding infuses the abuse cycle, so what if we were to REFRAME the context as a healthy anchor… the next time a trigger comes up, we have certain tools at hand to RESCUE OURSELVES…. Wiring ourselves as the victors, and we enter in to the realms of self championing and mastery.

cos you know what…

Silence is the best friend of Abuse.

And Radical Self Love is the cure.

This I know, I have been journeying with it since I was small… There are certain people that know different parts of my story, but this evening I had this insight… that If I am to keep this all inside and not DO something with this than my experience becomes meaningless…

All those nights of intense catharsis, feeling completely broken and alone become wasted… all for what?!?

I may not have had any choice is some experiences, some I played a role in, but the reality is…if I just sit and dwell in story and worry then I am actually disrespecting myself…

And I become my abuser.

Healing becomes a committed journey once you reach the Fuck it Point…

the, Enough is Enough…

If I look back and think, Why did that have to happen to me?

Then there is someone else out there that can be spared the similar thread of story

If we can honestly sit with an empathic heart, feeling a deep connection to everyone… then how could we let this happen to others? How could we turn the other cheek… and a blind eye?

This is when I realised that my pain and suffering had value… it’s not a burden but a blessing… now I have a language to connect with others.

my invisible scars become whispers of strength and courage

All of a sudden the experiences have a deeper and more profound meaning, which ignites a fire inside that only those that have experienced being completely powerless will understand.

We are our biggest problem but we are also our Solution.

a331b18c0d70f7780740e63446e5ee85By speaking up and out I claim my story…. my pain body and my suffering. It no longer has a hold on me.

I no longer hide in shame or suffer in silence. I liberate myself from my own shackles.

I acknowledge where my weaknesses have been, I’ve mapped my underworld… my shadow plane…. We’re now pretty good “friends” cos I’ve had frequent visits, behind closed doors… inside the stillness of the night through internal screams and echoes of voices all conspiring against my beauty of being. I dragged myself there out of Guilt, Shame and Self pity.

Truth is I am fucking strong! I’m still here… showing up… and that means something!

The thing about abuse is that it lives on way longer than any act in the moment.

I can’t shake my head at the current statistics of Domestic Violence in this country and not do something…

To stay silent is to enable this unhealthy behaviour to continue.

To speak from a place of empowered reason provides the platform for growth and change. You elevate yourself archetypally from Victim, to Survivor to Prophet.

Just as Nelson Mandella said,

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

So Fuck it… let the shackles go…

horse tied to chair

You have full permission to be the best version of yourself RIGHT NOW! Dare to be bold and different. Speak up for those who have lost their voice.

Be kind and generous EVERYDAY… The world needs your special spark, your smile and your laughter.

You are here to be beautiful, to know love and to be love. Don’t let ANYONE or any story keep you from realising that.

May you find peace in your body… Your only real home on this adventure. May your home be kept de-clutterd and healthy. May it inspire you dance your dance and sing your song, showing you how magnificent you truly are. I hope you claim that. I hope you see it. Be kind to yourself during these wild times. For this will be a legacy we pass on to the children of the world.

Love is…

Donna xx






behind a smile

What’s Behind A Smile?

By | Insights and wisdom, Journey Work, Philosophy, Spirituality, Tools for healing | No Comments

Have you ever wondered what’s behind a smile?

I had my first job when I was 15. I worked a retail customer service position at Lenard’s. I will never forget a very important lesson I learnt at such a tender age… selling tenderloin.

Serving a middle-aged woman one afternoon, the dynamic was one full of tension and frustration. She kept changing her mind at the last second of her order and generally had a very rude disposition. I struggled whilst serving her, that teenage angst brewing inside… You know, where you just want to yell or tell them to go away? You know, SHE was taking up too much of MY time type thing.

Well I managed to complete the sale, upon which I turned to my manager (we had a pretty awesome dynamic, where he was like a cool uncle) and said,

“Gee she was freaking rude!”

To which he said something with the moral basis of… You should never judge someone straight off the mark. You don’t even know her, what her day was like or what she has been through. Of course you wouldn’t know, but her husband just passed away recently and she’s having a hard time adjusting.

I felt my heart sink.

I knew he was right and I felt a fool for offering my service with an agitated smile.

I was ashamed of myself, and my apparent lack of understanding!

I thought about that moment for a long time afterwards… In fact it lingered as a firm reminder and shaped the way I greeted people. It affected my service to customers and I made a promise to myself, that I wouldn’t be so reactive or judgmental… that I would make an effort to see beyond ‘face value’ to look within and feel al little deeper.

Where am I going with this?

Well, This whole blog was triggered by a close friend offering her perspective, that I have a high tolerance for emotional discomfort and pain, that I just seem to handle it, so it’s hard to gauge with me whether I am ok, or not… and It got me thinking.

kindness quoteHow are we to know upon first glance, what people are experiencing?

How easy is it to hide our pain. Masking it as a coping mechanism when really we want to reach out but don’t want to be a burden on anyone so to speak.

We never truly know what someone is going through. Whether they are having a peak, joyful experience or battling an internal demon that has its grips on ones vital life force.

How do we know?

I mean, how do we really know when someone needs help or support if they just smile and go about their day because they have learnt to adapt and tolerate things beyond a healthy threshold until becoming numb, or immune to emotional discomfort.

There is a delicate balance between the art of non-attachment and complete disconnection.

We assume so much… and I know for a fact that there are people out there that aren’t dramatic for attention… that quietly suck it up and keep on keeping on… that go about their day feeling unseen and unheard… not wanting to create a fuss or impact another persons day with their woes.

grieving smile

You probably can’t tell in this photograph, but I am grieving the death of a family member.

So, What’s behind a smile?

You probably wouldn’t know, but there are A LOT of people out there that have learnt to smile through extreme hardships. Perhaps they have cultivated the ability to find the beauty in each challenging moment as a learning experience, or perhaps they have become really good at masking pain.

(I totally identify having these traits by the way).

As the youngest of 4 children, with two older brothers, I learnt to “suck it up” and put on my game face so to speak… I learnt to adapt through pain and discomfort. My physical and emotional pain tolerance is quite high… couple that with people pleaser dynamics and poor boundary issues and I can tolerate people’s bullshit and shitty behaviour… because I perceive things in a way, which allows me to understand where a person is at and the why behind it.

I am constantly forgiving and seeing beyond the circumstance into the very goodness of each individual… A real Pollyanna, and for some reason I have managed to cultivate a depth of awareness that what I think is common sense, isn’t actually that common.

What I see is different to what you see.

I’ve hurt myself in the process, through my naivety and wanting to be the Peacekeeper… Of having hope and faith that things will change, people will see the error in their ways, and make amends.

I have learnt the art of forgiveness as a tool for moving forward. This usually doesn’t arise from an apology… In fact I began to realise early on that people learn in their own time, in their own way. It is not my place or responsibility to fix or rescue anyone.

Even through deeply personal and intense suffering, I have had the ability to look at the funny side of it all. I have had the ability to muster a smile that shows the world that I am ok… even though the stories playing in my head says that I am not… Beyond that my soul is actually laughing at myself for the experience as it unfolds with a deeper knowing that the pain and emotional discomfort I feel is only temporary.

This too shall pass…

Due to the power of contrast in the ebb and flow of life… I will move on and I will see brighter days.

Just as an addict uses vices for comfort or self-medication… I often wonder how many people hide behind smiles. If you are perceptive, you can generally tell the difference between a real and forced smile… It’s all in the eyes but with the current consumer culture breeding apathy and dis-connection to each other…

Do we even see each other anymore?

Truly… I mean are we really looking… Do we REALLY care? Are we active or passive in reaching out and truly connecting with one another, or do we just let ourselves slip through the cracks of awkwardness.

I remember seeing a powerful photo series about Post Natal Depression, where women would send in photographs with a story along the lines of “You can’t tell, but I am severely depressed in this photograph” and it was an insight into the internal/external expressions that can sometimes take place with being ‘strong’.

Sometimes it is the strongest types of people that suffer the most… and they usually do so in quiet. During the day they suck it up, holding a massive sphere of support for those around their central sphere… and at night collapsing in on itself in the silent chasms of the unseen and unheard void.

This is how I process.

We never know what happens behind closed doors, behind closed eyes. What people are dealing with on a day-to-day basis? I don’t know your story… and you don’t know mine. Until we create a platform for sharing, for reaching out and connecting hearts.

Common unity in Community!

Depression runs in my family. That’s probably why I am so familiar with the energy around it and how it grips you ever so slowly and silently. I have experienced it (mildly) and I have seen loved ones be enticed into those numbed realms of hopelessness.

As an intuitive empathy, for years I struggled with embodying other people’s pain. I found it hard to separate their story from mine, as I can feel the collective suffering screaming in silence… for help… reassurance…

I can see it in people eyes… I don’t even know how to describe it… on a surface layer many will see a happy smiling face… but I have seen suffering behind a social mask that makes other people feel comfortable. When you interact with someone… let’s say at work (if engaging with people is part of your work) how often do you ask questions? Good questions. You know the ones that create room for dialogue other then simple Yes, No answers.

Do you know what makes your colleagues soul dance in celebration?

Do you know what their dreams and goals are?

Do you know anything about their life outside of work, their family, trials and tribulations?

Do you even care?

hide behind smile

Image from:

It is estimated that Depression effects over 1million Australians on any given year and that 45% of the population will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime (extracted from

So lets starting talking about this, lets break the taboo!

That’s why I love facilitating Sacred Circles and gatherings. I also love the initiative of the RUOK movement. Checking in with each other. Mental Health Counseling is becoming one of the fastest growing professions in this country.

In a technocratic age it’s so easy to become distracted and absorbed in our own little reality bubbles… hiding behind screens and written words. So much sincerity is lost without tone and inflection of meaning. We don’t write letters anymore. It seems we are slowly losing the ability to “SEE” one another, beyond the bullshit. We ask mundane questions that fail to give space for imagination, hearts and souls to dance in celebration for being. We are quick to judge and criticize others actions or lack thereof without seeing the bigger picture as to the why?

What’s happening in their world that could be affecting their behaviour?

Compassion and Understanding can go a long way in cultivating kindness and healing.

If you are still reading this I want to thank you for staying with me in this flow.

I would like to take this opportunity to express that your vulnerability is a strength and that reaching out to share your story is not only courageous but can be a step in liberating yourself from the story that runs in your mind about how things are for you.

Silence is the best friend of abuse.

I have learnt to have “Reality Checks” with close friends and associates. It helps to keep me grounded and sane. Everyone has opportunities to create a solid support network around them, if they choose to of course. You are not alone in the world although at times your mind might play tricks on you and convince you that you have been outcast and your behaviour leads to the feeling of isolation.

Limbic Resonance by Amanda Sage

Limbic Resonance by Amanda Sage

This is an illusion!

Seriously, Our minds are so powerful! They can convince us of anything we focus on deeply. If you repeat a lie long enough it becomes a ‘truth’. We begin to extract information from our external surrounding to validate the story in our head. Our emotions are a filter to perceive the world through. They aren’t truth. Rather a flux in energy at any point in time, as we respond to our environment our emotions change.

Our bodies are so intelligent, but this is where deep self-enquiry comes in. To sift through and find what has changed, what is needed and what is not relevant anymore.

Shadow Work.

After doing some deep shadow work on myself I came to the confronting realization that I had been primed for abuse since a child. Understanding myself, my thoughts, behaviour and learning what triggers me has been a path to liberation. It has been a challenge that’s for sure, and I have learnt that everything in my life as helped me to become the unique expression I AM… and that there is great value in that.

In any situation, before I point the finger, I turn my focus inwards and check in to see where I am.

How am I contributing to this situation?

How am I feeling?

Am I reacting or responding?

This has helped to cultivate Emotional Maturity, which provides continual learning and discovery.

Monitoring my internal dialogue. Being mindful of when I get swept up in story and drama and finding the fact and truth in it all.

A smile can be an expression of joy, a mask of pain and a shield to a thousand stories.


Unable to find source of image.

Look a little deeper. Build the trust needed for someone to release and let go. Everyone has wisdom and value. Sometimes safety and security is needed to access these stories, to release and let go. So reach out, connect, explore and find ways to understand one another.

At the end of the day we are all in this world together, all having completely different, (but relative) experiences.

As my Mother used to tell me as a child,

“If you want to get anywhere in this world Donna, You have to be a people person”

It’s so true. Without connection and shared bonds we fail to thrive.

“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” – Mahatma Ghandi

No man is an island and you are too beautiful to hide!

** If you resonate with my words and want to receive future blogs directly into you inbox, please Join my Inner Circle.

Love is… Donna


honouring the feminine

Pierce Your Shadow, Shine Your light: The process of a Shadow Worker.

By | Insights and wisdom, Journey Work, Philosophy, Sacred Wombman's business, Spirituality | No Comments

Pierce Your Shadow, Shine Your light:

The process of a Shadow Worker.

So I was asked by the beautiful Karina Ladet to participate in her 2015 blog Tour featuring a myriad of posts from inspiring women around the world. The Subject was based around Shinning your Light. The questions I was asked to base a blog post around were: How do you shine your light? How do you inspire this in others? What are ways to close off from this inner light and how do we connect with it again? I started thinking about all the ways that I could interpret this theme and what kept coming through strong for me was to shine light on the Shadow Self.

Almost Two years ago, I had the realisation that I was not a ‘Light Worker’ even though so many people called me one. In fact, I couldn’t figure out why I would cringe at the sound of this buzz word being tossed around the (well marketed) New Age Spirituality Scene. What irked me most, was the denial of any perceived negative expressions of the self or society and only focusing attention on the positive. Meanwhile, people are still suffering through many different experiences, continually being disempowered and used as pawns in political agendas across the world. It appeared to me that this ‘scene’ was drenched in the promotion of just focusing on the ‘Light’, whilst flaunting big cheesy grins and sparkling eyes… selling a book about happiness or manifestation along the way. Don’t get me wrong, everything has its place and all, but based on my perception, it seemed that this ‘Western’ scene was drenched in delusion. It wasn’t until I started researching ‘Spiritual Bypassing’ that eventually, I began to see this superficial surface layer full of masks, hiding a deep murky undercurrent.

Enter… The Shadow.

According to Wikipedia: In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative, or (2) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious.

Donna Raymond. Wise Wombman DreamingMy Spiritual journey has lead me to researching Jung’s work as well as a myriad of studies on Psychology, Philosophy and Spirituality. As I journey on my own path towards embodying Authenticity, I have come to realise that I am the type of person that naturally journeys into the internal depths, facing hard truths about myself, looking at myself critically as a way to identify what is mine… what is a learnt behaviour/pattern, and what is Story. I am not perfect, and I don’t ever pretend to be. My journey is about being here, now, as a woman… real and raw… In 2015, I’m approaching 30 as Single Mama and soon to be divorcee. Yep! It’s been a wild ride for me and I am learning so much in my humility… having a long hard look at myself in my raw and honest Truth, when no one else can see or hear me cry, as I question myself… in the full expression of what it means to be human in this time and space.

More and more I am becoming disciplined in the art of ‘Owning my Shit’ taking full accountability and responsibility for my thoughts, words and actions.

In Short, I have dubbed myself as a Shadow Worker.

I have found that by being so fiercely dedicated to these processes and owning and integrating my shadow unashamedly, I am giving others permission to do the same. Becoming a Shadow worker has become a path to my own liberation and shinning my light into the world with integrity and sincerity. Funnily enough, I have learnt that the Shadow Self isn’t always those negative aspects about ourselves that we repress, they can also be positive which, will mostly manifest through the journey of discovering Self Worth. HA!

What is Suppressed or Repressed will be Expressed in another way.

I have learnt that if we don’t shine our Light (conscious mind) on our Darkness (sub-conscious mind) then these expressions become distorted, leaving us to operate through veils of illusions and cast projections, perceiving the world through a blurry lens. Where we can become disorientated and so far removed from our core truths and values that it can be hard to even remember who we are.

The subconscious never sleeps. In fact it is that part of us that I would liken to the ‘We are all one’ mantra, and to an extent I find this to be true. Let me attempt to briefly explain why. The subconscious picks up on so many pieces of information from a completely subjective point of view. The Subconscious, using Spiritual terminology would be the part of us that is ‘All that is’. It is the neutral platform of our experience in Conscious Awareness… Kind of like a camera… the silent witness to the great unfurling.

The Conscious mind however, only perceives a small percentage of what is actually happening in our environment Whether from the material or energetic world… acting like the shutter on a camera. The information is absorbed in a completely objective manner which shapes our world with context and meaning. We shape language around form and energy to relate with one another. Our Conscious perception of the world is filtered through, what NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) terms ‘Meta Programs’. These deep rooted programs determine how we interpret the world. Information is filtered through these programs via a narrative based on our perception of the World, our beliefs, thought and emotional state. Continuing with the Camera analogy, these would be the lens and also the internal mirrors that refract (distort) the light onto the film.

It is in the deepest part of our Psyche that the Shadow usually rests… it is safe there in the Sub Conscious or Unconscious mind. Becoming familiar with this space is (in my opinion) the most profound Spiritual Journey and path to so called, ‘Illumination’… Where we radiate our light into the world in the embodiment of a Whole Self, rather then simply shining it from the projection of Ego.


The more I journey with getting real with myself and understanding why I do what I do, why I think and behave in certain ways, the more I discover parts about myself that have been hidden… in the Shadows. I am often called through the unspoken realms of Spirit to look there… the feeling kinda bubbles up from my womb or heart as if my cells are purging things that don’t belong… things that have been trapped… that require attention. Things holding me back from really BEing.

It takes discipline to bring your Conscious awareness to your Shadow Self. It takes Courage, Strength and commitment to identifying where we are acting out of a program, installed belief system and perhaps out of Story. Sometimes we become so overwhelmed that it is so easy to slip into habit and ACT OUT rather than to truly BE.

80dc22c796d1e0f31947aedfe7102410-1I have found it essential to learn how to ask myself directed questions, and learning different techniques on how to validate what is real and what is fabricated story to stay balanced and healthy. My journey has also lead me to seeking help. During the process of letting go of my marriage, I was fortunate enough to find two professional counsellors in my area who were able to help me sift through the muck in my mind, bringing me back to my centre… to my breath.

My mission as a Shadow Worker, is to embody my authenticity as a holistic being, integrating and healing my Subconscious… so as to live a Conscious Life as best as I possibly can. We are both Human beings having a Spiritual Experience and Spiritual Beings having a human experience. As I ebb and flow through my own discoveries and growth I share what I have learnt, encouraging others to become familiar with these parts of ourselves that we’ve turned away from… and that it is completely OK to have these thoughts, feelings and desires…

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”


Lately, I’ve ben pretty gentle with myself and my journey has been in simply identifying and mapping my Shadow, becoming familiar with the way it feels and the language it uses…It has lead me to feeling into stories anchored in my cells, passed through my DNA…

Stories so ancient and familiar, yet so foreign at the same time.

Interestingly, through my 1 on 1 sessions that I have just recently started facilitating, it seems more and more that I am being called into this Shadow Work more fully. I find this fascinating, as when entering into the womb space, not only have my clients been clearing and healing personal shadow aspects, but also that of the collective feminine experience. It is through witnessing my clients journey so deeply in a very primal way,  that I am becoming familiar with the collective shadow and the archetypes that can be embodied and played out… 

heartwings memeI find the most authentic way to embody ourselves fully, is to understand and integrate the Shadow Aspect of ourselves. I feel that this is how we radiate our internal light out into the world, from the centre of our BEing. Once we merge the Shadow, we become a more authentic version of ourselves that is liberated from unnecessary drama and story.  This can be done in the quiet of your own mind or directed by a facilitator that you resonate with.

As with any inner work, only YOU will know if and when you are truly ready, and if you need to seek out Professional services in the realms of Psychology or Counselling…

Do it!

There is no shame is seeking help and guidance!

Having said all of this, One should not feel forced to face their shadow. It is my opinion that being forced to look at something that you are not ready to look at, can be not only traumatic, but also damaging to any potential growth. The best way to proceed with this type of deep soul excavation is of course with a sense of humour. Having the ability to laugh at yourself and the situation at play will soften the hyper-critical mind into acceptance. We must all cultivate the ability to laugh at ourselves afterall, Life is a pretty radical journey and no one gets out alive!

 I find so much beauty in the rich emotional tapestry of this human experience… Hard to explain. Maybe I’m just weird!

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

― Maya Angelou

If you managed to read all the way through this very organic flow of writing then chances are you are also a Shadow Worker… and for that I offer you my deepest gratitude for you having the courage to look a little deeper and being of service to your authentic Self!

 *** This blog post is featured in the Shine Your Light in 2015 Blog Tour, Hosted by intuitive reader and channel Karina Ladet. I had the pleasure of meeting Karina when she came over for a cuppa before facilitating her Spirit Guide course in Kuranda. This beautiful sister is offering you 4 intuitive readings and 4 guided meditations to help you tap into the energy of each season throughout the year and 1 on 1 guidance to help you Shine Your Light in 2015. The journey starts in January and is only valid until January 31! join in now.
 (By the way, I’m not an affiliate… Just sharing a link)
Don’t forget to check out more featured posts in the Shine Your Light Blog Tour series!
Paintings by Donna Raymond

Creating your hearts Art with Integrity.

By | Art, Insights and wisdom, Philosophy | No Comments

I had a lovely opportunity to paint this week as you can see the work in progress in the video below. It felt amazing to re-kindle my inspiration to work on this wonderful commission I have had since 2011. Throughout my journey as a visual artist, and alongside my husband Adam, (who is one of the most profound painters I have ever met) I have made a conscious effort to be respectful of the energy that I weave whilst painting and being discerning as to which symbols I choose to paint onto canvas. For me personally, I find the role of the artist is to help shape and form discourse around culture- dialoguing with the unseen worlds, bringing back new maps and beacons to alter perceptions and steer society in a particular direction.

Visual Art is a powerful medium and a form of communication which is to be crafted and used with respect and integrity.

Art lives beyond the artist. As an artist, you are in service to being the conduit for consciousness to flow through, it comes through you and from within you… and once birthed, ripples out into the world with it’s own language and meaning which is interpreted in a myriad of different ways depending on the audience. Symbols are an easy way to add more depth to what you are trying to say but I feel there is a responsibility to uphold when working with Symbols or Sigils etc. When I gravitate towards a particular symbol, I will research to find the history of use, meanings throughout different cultures and ways in which it has been used and/or misused. When I paint, I am always in an inspired state where I feel love coursing through me…I tend not to paint if I am not feeling this energy flow through me as I do not want to imprint my artwork with any discordant energy… Probably the biggest reason why I have not chosen to establish my career as a professional artist… It’s not where my energy is best served for the purpose of what we call work.

Ultimately I like to make an informed decision as to which symbols I use. Sacred Geometry is used quite alot in my work, though I find myself more drawn to the circular forms as I find them “safe” to work with. As with any creation that you dream into being, I find it is important to be really mindful of what you choose to bring through. This of course is not just to say we should only create and produce all things perceived as positive, as it is important to create dialogue around pressings issues that humanity faces, which obviously will not allow for painting a pretty picture… Such is the nature of communication, taking the good with the bad is all in the way of delivery!

bEARTH painting by Donna RAYMOND

Womb Lineage and why I’m keeping my “maiden” name.

By | Insights and wisdom, Intuition, Philosophy | No Comments

My mother asked me an interesting question out of the blue this evening.

“If you were to track your ancestry, would you be more inclined to go through your mothers side or your fathers?”

“Through the Mother!” Was my response.

“Why?” she quizzed

“Well, because of the womb to womb connection.”

As a wombman I automatically inherit the stories of all mothers that have come before me in my blood line. I have spent my time growing and developing inside my mothers womb, absorbing sensory information and receiving signals from her about the external environment in which I was to be born into. All of her feelings whilst I was in utero were absorbed by me. My conception, womb time and birth have all imprinted me with reference points for Love, and many other subconscious behaviours all stem from these experiences. This is the same for my mother and her mother etc, and of course for both men and women in general.

As wombman, I have direct access to the lines of creation through the portal of the womb, from mother to daughter, mother to mother… I am bound by blood to a myriad of stories that the collective feminine contains.

Being the youngest in my family, I often wonder if this why I am so energetically sensitive to my siblings emotions- as I was the last one through the womb, so would have absorbed the imprint of those that were sharing the “womb room”.

This is another reason I am fascinated by journeying with deep womb work and clearing energetic imprints from this area- particularly if subsequent children are to be conceived.

When I became a mother, I was more interested in learning about my heritage, about my roots and the stories of bygone eras. I started researching my ancestry, and one thing became apparent very quickly. It can be quite challenging tracking your mother’s lineage back- as traditionally women would lose their maiden names upon marriage. This really struck a chord with me, and I wondered if this was engineered (in the social context) to suppress the feminine even more so. We have all heard the tales about the suppression of the Goddess archetypes and Deities of ancient times, with multitudes of burnt scriptures left in the coat tails of a rising patriarchy… of women being considered “property” and traded with family dowry.

So what’s in a name? Why, in todays age, is it still a common practice for a woman to forfeit her surname upon marriage, and why do children usually only take the last name of the father? Where is the respect for the Mother? What happens when traditional husband and wife split? Most women I know who have had this experience, keep the ex-husbands name for the sole reason of having it the same as their children… my mother being one such example!

Obviously I am speaking from within the realms and experience of being a “Migaloo” (white fella) and do not have an in-depth grasp of indigenous cultures and practices that allow for deeply connected pathways to ancestral roots. So for me, this is the model that was learned as the “norm” and the only one that’s been given to work with. So until the day comes when we all fell the connection as consciousness experiencing itself collectively- than I really feel that a new model is to be created.

Think about it…

It is for these reasons I have felt to hyphenate my daughters last names and why I have chosen not to change my name after marriage. As far as I am concerned I have entered into this devotional practice called marriage as a whole unto mySelf, and will not to be considered as the “other half” .  In written word, I am connected to my children for life, and they too, to my nuclear family, as equal to their father’s family. If it felt right to change my surname, it would also be hyphenated. My decision to do this came from feeling stuck in my Family Tree search, and wanting to create a clear pathway for the generations of children that will flow through daughters and forwards. I only hope that they will carry on this namesake legacy, otherwise it potentially stops with them. Of course on a Soul level, none of this really matters anyway… as we are so much greater then our 3d fleshy confines- but in this fleeting experience of life here… there is something so poetically beautiful about feeling the deep threads of those that have walked before you. Feeling that deep sense of belonging and connection to the Earth and all beings.

There is SO much I could write on this and perhaps I will save it for another blog-or my book. As the clock approaches 1am, this mama needs some sleep!


Love is…

Donna xx


Traversing the thresholds of Death and the Bardo- A journey through Grief. (Part One)

By | Journey Work, Philosophy, Spirituality | One Comment

I know this will be one of the hardest stories I have ever anchored and woven with my written words.  I’m starting to type this on the eve of the second anniversary of my fathers journey into another world… leaving behind his worn out fleshy vehicle, empty promises, muttly laugh and… his teeth! To give this story and experience justice I have to back track to set the scene and give context to my emotional state at the time. Rrr Rrrr RrRrrr Rrr RrrRewind…. 2011. Adam and I were shocked by the news that his father had suffered a heart attack. The weight of distance suddenly hit us both like a freight train, albeit Adam more-so as I had not yet met his family. Without going into that story, I urged Adam that it was time for me to meet his parents. Under those circumstances, as brutally honest as I was at the time, I tried to compassionately reason that I didn’t want the first time meeting his family to be at a funeral! So I organised to fly to Pennslvania, leaving on my mothers birthday. It didn’t sit well with my mother that I would not be home for Christmas, but I felt this strong sense of urgency to go, as the heart attack really weighed on my heart how important it was to meet my future In-Laws, particularly my new father in law…and gather as many stories as I could to pass down to our future children!

Christmas was majickal I saw snow for the first time- On Christmas! It was a dream come true for me and the 4-6yold Donna came out for a play in the winter wonderland of Rural NY.  Over the Christmas period we had a nightmare of a hassle with Adam’s parntership visa, consequently he could not re-enter Australia. We were both booked for Rainbow Serpent festival, which we had to unfortunately cancel our involvement! I Returned back to Australia alone, not knowing when I would see my beloved again. We were told copious amounts of immigration horror stories of people waiting for years before they were reunited with their spouse or family. Our only form of communication with our case worker was via email, and we made sure that we wrote every other day, so as to not become a “number in the system”. After a strangely emotional departure from the USA, I arrived in Cairns over 30hrs later, to be greeted at the airport by Ma and Pa with Auraura who ran towards me with arms open calling “Mama!”. 3 weeks was the longest I had ever been away from her, and I really felt the distance. That night I stayed at Ma and Pa’s I think… and Auraura and I went back home the next day, happy to be together. That night I organised to skype with my parents to let them know that I had arrived home safely. I had a fun conversation with my mum, and then my dad appeared behind mums back pulling funny faces and being silly. He made me laugh and I said a quick hello before he retreated to his habitual drinking place out on their back patio.

I checked in with Adam and let him know that I had arrived safely and got an update on the visa situation. It seems we would have to experience a lengthy, unprepared separation from each other. Neither of us were happy about it, but there was nothing we could do! The next day, the Jet lag hit hard. I struggled to get out of bed in the morning, to be fully present and engaged in activity with Auraura. Movies were my saviour as I started to unpack. After lunch, Auraura and I went for a nap and ended up sleeping for a couple of hours. When I woke up I felt a little better, made myself a cup of tea and then went to check emails and facebook. Auraura was playing in her playroom nearyby. There was a message on my wall from my sister that read:


It’s really hard to express the impact of reading those words on the computer screen in front of me. Like a surreal brutality they ripped through every facet of my being with such force that there was a strange clarity… like a hyper clear moment- before the shockwaves hit- before my emotional body could even have a chance to digest and react… In what seemed like slow motion, my hand rose to cover my mouth in dis-belief- my eyes widened and I whispered What the fuck?! progressively getting louder…


My energy body started closing in on me…I choked on my words


I started to shake as my body surged with rushes of adrenalin… fight or flight instinct was in effect… I raced to find my phone…This couldnt be true… what a cruel joke… No… No way… So many missed calls and messages… I listened to some voicemails from my brother, mother and sister… My tears hit the floor in spatters as I felt the dispair and hopelessness in their voices… I called my sister, who apologised for the way I found out, but since I wasn’t answering my phone, and she was in a panic herself, that was the best she could do at the time to get the message to me…Dad had had a heart attack at work and died after lunch. Here one minute- gone the next.

After I got off the phone to her, it hit me with the full force of brutal reality… thick…hard and fast… My dad is dead!

I buckled- fell to the floor on my knees and let out 2 of the loudest, most primal, blood curdling screams I have ever heard. I didn’t even know I could make those sounds… but there they flew… from my broken heart and through my throat with such fury… as if to catch my dad’s spirit as he transcended this Earthly realm. In an instant… The fabric of my comfortable little world was torn open… I wept… in a pool of my own tears and mucous… I mourned. I was completely shattered. My stomach convulsed so strongly that no sounds came out. The pain was so deep. The loss was so real. Paula came running over after she heard the screams. She lived in the granny flat 10 metres behind my place. To her it sounded as if something terrible had happened to Auraura. She heard my pain and saw me on the floor- her hand to her heart- scanning the surroundings- She came over to comfort me and asked what had happened…and then Auraura popped her head out from the playroom…phew, I felt her nerves ease. My dad just died I said… and then I looked up and saw Auraura looking at me timidly… unsure of what just transpired, but on a subconscious level she knew it was huge. She was 4 and a half years old at the time. I called for her to come over to me, collapsed on the floor.

The initial release had allowed me to kick into practical mode. I have to get to Townsville now. I apologised to Auraura if my screams had scared her, and said that Poppy has just passed away and that mummy was feeling really sad and raw. Paula then took Auraura into her room to pack a bag of clothes. I went online to book flights to Townsville using my sisters credit card as my debit card had been cancelled by my bank the day before as the account seemed to be compromised. After the flights were confirmed and Auraura was packed, Paula left us to process. I grabbed Auraura’s hands and told her that we are now going to do something really special. We are going to have a ceremony for Poppy. I grabbed a candle and she grabbed some crystals. We sat opposite each other and I lit the candle. We sent our prayers for his safe passage. We sent our love and gratitude for his being and after our little ceremony was finished, we both said “I love you dad/poppy” at that exact moment, the candle flickered and went out. I wept. I could feel dad’s energy, I could feel that he was transitioning out of his earth bound body, back to spirit. We walked the house and sang to him. I started to feel this sense of peace overcome my body… I feel that the ceremony helped to transition out of shock/survival mode and that my body was now processing and integrating the experience after an epic surge of hormones.

It was all so surreal, those moments waiting to go to the airport. Ma had come over to take us down the hill… when she embraced me, the well of emotion started to spring again. I know it must have bought up emotion for her, reminiscing on losing her own father many moons ago. Death connects us in that way . It’s beautiful really. I decided to check the flight time and then realised that I had booked 2 lots of one way flights for Aura and myself .. from Townsville to Cairns!!! I frantically called Qantas, only to be put on hold for 40min. When I finally got to speak to a customer service representative, and expressed the mix-up in flights due to my circumstances he tried to put us on the next flight out.

“How far from the airport are you? He asked. “40min I said- as it was right on rush hour” “That’s a close call” he replied, “But you’re not going to make it, and that is the last flight of the day I am sorry.”

I was prepared to drive to Townsville but Ma was very hesitant to let me drive and offered to take us to Townsville instead. By late afternoon, we were on our way. The whole drive was so strange. I called my sister to let her know the mix up with flights and that I was on my way in the car and would be there in 4hours. She asked me whether I wanted to see the body. They had all been up at the hospital for the afternoon, and before taking his body to the morgue, I could go and view “him” if I wanted as I was a direct family member, though the hospital policy was to have police present, so I would have to confirm arrangements for viewing in advance. I wasn’t sure on what to do. My dad was gone, what was left was the vehicle in which his spirit resided in… The remaining corpse wasn’t my dad. Being a hyper-sensitive person anyway, I wasn’t sure I wanted to imprint myself with the visual. Particularly due to the fact that if I arrived at the hospital at 11pm- that would have been almost 9hours post-mortem… Rigamortis would have set in and the colour would have drained from his flesh…his lips would start turning blue. I couldn’t bring myself to do it… and to this day I am happy I trusted my intuition.

I am so happy that the last time I saw my father, was the skype session the night before he passed. Dancing behind my mothers back. He was drunk. He was care free. He was Dad… and that is a great last visual for me to have for the rest of my life.

During the drive south, waves of tears hit me, like the ebb and flow of the ocean, my emotions surfaced with random memories and realisations of all the things that dad would miss in our lives… How I never got to say goodbye. His death rocked me in an unfamiliar way, and I knew that I was navigating unchartered waters. I knew that I would need to be gentle with myself and with Auraura. I arrived at my mothers house just before 11pm. My brother, who was by dad’s side when he passed, was out the front smoking a cigarette. We are not close, but I hugged him longer than I ever have before, and he hugged back- which was a rarity. I took a deep breath before I went inside- carrying Auraura half asleep in my arms. I put her to bed, and then prepared to face my family. It was strange- there was this subtle void like energy present- like I couldn’t have felt further away from them, yet so close. We all went outside and mum asked me to hold a little ceremony. So I did. It was difficult, and then this majick hit me in that moment, when I realised my role in this family… In my world. I facilitate ceremony… It’s what I do naturally. Someone came up with the idea to all sit in dad’s chair out the back, drink one of his beers and smoke a cigarette each.

It’s moment’s like these where I guess I give peer pressure a free pass in my world. I don’t drink or smoke, and here I was, drinking a warm VB and smoking a Horizon Blue durrie- gazing up at the stars. Being as stubborn as I am, I finished the whole beer and the cigarette. When I got up off his chair- one of those white plastic outdoor chairs, with the thick taste of chemicals coating my tastebuds, it suddenly dawned on me just how toxic my father’s lifestyle choice was.

He was an alcoholic, a smoker, work-a-holic and gambler. We joked about how he would gag putting in his false teeth! I went to bed. Another surreal feeling as it was in dad’s room. (my parents had been divorced since I was 8, but had this toxic drama fuelled on-off dependency on each other for years) I could feel his energy in the room. In the dark of the night, I felt his presence and wept as I had a moment of seeing him hovering above my bed, and reaching out my hand for him to hold. Whether or not I constructed this whole experience through the lense of grief, I could feel this warmth envelope my hands, and he was smiling back at me. I also felt that he didn’t know he had passed and that he couldn’t cross over. My experience could have well been a conditioned and programmed belief- but at the time, and to this day it felt like an authentic response to the subtle energy environment I found myself in. Particularly because I could still smell him in his room- on his pillow. I could still feel his presence from the morning, where he woke in the same room, in the same bed. I couldn’t sleep. Mum came in around 3am. we spooned and I held her. Still to this day I can’t imagine what those moments were like for her. Losing her lover, life partner, abuser and father of her 4 children. Dawn broke and light filtered in through the window behind our heads. It was the peak of summer so I had the air conditioner running. I am left with this memory, were the light flittered on my mother skin, and danced on her hair- there was a softness in her face that I had never seen. Everything was still in the dawn of this new day.

My mother looked the most beautiful I had ever remembered seeing her…as a widow, the morning after my dad passed away. Bittersweet really.

My sister, mother and I organised to have dad’s remains cremated, as he had always expressed were his wishes. We chose a blue urn, that matched the blue of is work uniform, and  his eyes. Upon collection of the ashes, I peered inside the fancy urn. Strange how all that was left was a small bag of ashes… This is what we are left with- even after burning the casket, I thought there would have been more volume. One thing that became quite apparent is how funeral parlours are money making machines… As our society is so far removed from this natural cycle, death becomes a commodity- with all the bling you can imagine. It is my honest opinion that they capitilise on peoples grief to make quite a profitable business. My sister had wanted to get some lockets where ash could be stored so that we could all have a private scattering. She rang the company directly to get the prices and was about to ring back and place the order. The woman who was filling out all the necessary legal paperwork told us that we weren’t allowed to buy directly through the company and that they had exclusive dealings with them, the mark up was over 300% for retail.

With Urn in hands, we held a private ceremony for dad and the place where he died. His brother and Nephew were flown up from Melbourne where we met, awkwardly for the first time. Dad’s best friend and close friend to our whole family was present also. In a scorching hot carpark. We all dressed in one of dad’s work shirts and skyped with his family in Wales. I kept walking around the area where he last layed- trying to feel some kind of imprint. There was nothing but a subtle outline of his body that I could see energetically- but that was probably just my imagination trying desperately to connect in such an un-assuming place. Once our simple ceremony was complete we walked across the road to his favourite pub, the Kirwan Tavern. I always shudder walking into these pubs- the familiar smell and sounds brings back memories of waiting for hours as a child whilst my parents played the pokies. Out the back, his wake was held which was more like a lot of people sitting around getting drunk. Not many people came up to me which was fine by me, as I’m not one for small talk. I made a speech about dad and shared my sentiments in regards to the illusion that you never really “lose” anyone. That he is now apart of the breath and life that pulses through all things around us, that in the quite moments when our hearts and minds are still, we can have dialogue with spirit. Around 10 people- some that I didn’t actually know, expressed how much they appreciated what I had shared.

Grief is such an intimate and unique experience for each individual. For me, it is a time of great receptivity and complete presence to the moment. I felt so connected to everything. Over the years of dealing with anxiety around death, I had explored many different perceptions and teachings on death. It was after my younger cousin committed Suicide when I was 15, that I had constructed a personal philosophy on our journey into the “after-life”. Throughout my early 20’s and my explorations with psychedelics, that perception became more refined and I had made peace with my childhood fear of dying, and understood it as another journey. A dream within a dream within a dream! I guess that was all preparation for this journey, and having a solid emotional foundation to be an anchor, helping my mother to navigate through her journey with grieving.

Two of the most bittersweet aspects about this whole experience was that I knew my dad was going to pass. My intuition had told me he had between 2-6months to live. I remember visiting in September 2011 and witnessing the energy of death slowly creep in and envelope him. I pulled him aside one evening and looked him directly in the eyes and asked, if everything was ok? Being his usual stubborn self he denied anything and said he felt great and not to worry about him. Then went outside to his chair, cracked a beed and just sat there in silence…in the dark…When he came back in, he looked gaunt and pale. His skin had aged dramatically and his lower calf muscles had sunken. his legs just looked like thin sticks. There was no muscle definition at all. When I went back home to Kuranda I had a deep emotional release to Adam and I remember saying that “My dad is dying, I can see it… he’s got about 4months left in him.”

The last one, which is kind of like a big slap in the face, was the fact that I flew to the USA to meet Adam’s dad- since he nearly died from a heart attack, and it was MY DAD that was dying! This one still pulls some heart strings as I missed the last family christmas with dad alive…

Two weeks after dad passed away I had the opportunity to sit in a sacred medicine circle. I knew I was meant to sit, not to help with the healing, but to help dad’s spirit cross over properly, as the more I tuned in, the more I realised that on a soul level he was stuck. I was hesitant at first, my rational mind told me that it was too soon. I felt pangs of fear rise up from inside just thinking about sitting… but my intuition told me that I had to push through this fear. Mainly confronting this philosophy I had constructed about death, and actually having an intimate experience with it. Ayahuasca is often referred as “the vine of the soul” or “the vine of the dead.” With butterflies in my belly and a waive of anxiety I confirmed my place. What took place in that circle and shortly after has deeply altered my perception of reality, life death and the Bardo.

To be continued…



William Raymond 23/03/1955- 10/01/2012

Dad's chair

Dad’s chair

tuning into the place where my dad passed away

tuning into the place where my dad passed away

a simple man

a simple man- these where all of his belongings left in his room

Ddad and I on his 50th birthday

Dad and I on his 50th birthday


dad's old van "Betsy"

dad’s old van “Betsy”

a funny drunk

a funny drunk