Participants Rave Over Empowerment Intensive!
Memoirs of an Empowerment Intensive
by Joseph McMurry, reprinted from The Elixir Newsletter of AHA of Atlanta
I have just finished having one of the--no--THE most powerfully transformative and inspiring experience of my life. I just returned home from the Atlanta Empowerment intensive with David Quigley. This weekend took my previous experience with the Alchemical process and combined it with deeper feelings, memories and inner resource states, down to the cells of my body. This led to a greater release than I'd previously been able to reach and now I feel a greater empowerment to live my life on earth to the fullest.
Yet, I must admit that I arrived skeptical of David's claims. How could something be more powerful than Alchemical Hypnotherapy? Even once the class had begun, I was still skeptical of the techniques, which seemed to me extreme uses of psychodrama and group dynamics including the beating of drums and the shaking of rattles. The world of shamic practices was very new for me, but luckily a description of the psychological effects of drums and rattles in Michael Harner's The Way of the Shaman, which I'd read recently, enrolled my rational mind favorably in what otherwise might have seemed a very bizzare ritual.
Then my turn came. With the drums and rattles keeping me in the primitive "feeling" brain, and other members of the group acting out priests and nuns, several of us who had been raised in Catholic schools joined in an army against religious shaming, I was able to powerfully reclaim my body from the focus of sexual shaming that had stolen it from me and cast shadows of darkness upon its feelings, desires and impulses. Afterwards my rational mind still reeled from the methods, but the new feeling of power in my body was unmistakable - something had shifted greatly!
By the third day of the seminar I was fully enrolled in the process. I dealt with my "belt issues" that day. We found that many of us there had been beaten by our fathers. Before all was said and done, every corner of the room was filled with people processing their own anger! When I finished my releasing, I went and encouraged the others.
We each found within us our "Inner Warrior" to help us reclaim our body from the past abuse. This was a resource, not just in mind, but entering into every cell, muscle, and bone of our physical being; a more thorough union with the power within. We were also able to commune with the forces of love and nurturing as we held and cared for each other, opening our bodies and hearts to receive joy and love from our inner families and our emerging outer family of the group, bringing it into every cell, allowing our bodies to move with a new freedom and expressiveness.
Alchemy is an evolving process; Empowerment is the next step in its evolution. What I received that weekend was the empowerment to be happy, empowerment to know, with every cell of my physical being, that:
"No less than the trees and the stars, we have a right to be here."
The words of the song that we learned that weekend keep playing in my head, "Receive the light of the Father, receive the light of the Mother. Fill your hearts with the song of Love...."
by Dee Spaulding, reprinted from The Alchemy Network
When I heard about David Quigley's empowerment workshop, I wanted to be there. Quigley, Creator of Alchemical Hypnotherapy, Legend, Shaman, Eccentric Genius--so many images conveyed by people who know him. As it turned out, Quigley debunked the myths, I got acquainted with him as a human, and my life was fine-tuned under the influence of the wonderful people who formed the healing community at the First Colorado Empowerment Intensive in July, 1993.
We were told to bring drums, rattles, and personal power objects. Using sound was exciting because of my shamanic training (from masters such as Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman). Traditionally, chanting, singing, or drumming ("tonal drivers") facilitate the shaman's journey to other levels of existence--the shaman "rides" the sound to other levels of reality. The people who play or sing, support both shaman and patient and provide an aural "grounding cord" so the shaman does not lose his way in "nonordinary reality". In directing the drummers to reflect changing moods and express emotions through varying volume and tempo, from soft and tender to loud and frantic, Quigley provided accompaniment for our work. For example, increasing the volume and tempo of the drum beats reflected individuals' emotions while moving up the anger scale.
Great Spirit, hear our prayer. Share with us your mystic light, The healing light of sacred fires Burning in the Spirit World...
David Quigley read this prayer (written with James Fish) to begin the Intensive. It defined our metaphysical journey and set the stage for our transformational work. The foundation of empowerment work, Quigley explained, is the basic training in alchemy. The familiar protocols (EPC, inner child rescue, inner mate and guide work, etc.) are applied in ceremonial initiations, which lead to altered states similar to hypnotic trance. The goal was to clear space in the musculature and cellular structure to make room for alchemical bliss. The initiatory processes integrate experiences, allowing cellular structures to embrace power and permit consistent and ongoing manifestation of inner resources.
In the 150 hour basic training in Alchemical Hypnotherapy, we learned about psychodrama--assuming roles to embody an aspect of self as part of an individual's clearing process. Quigley explained that to clear an issue, physical release is as important as mental and emotional release. One participant noted that through physical expression we can "release the energy and the trauma from the emotional body to more fully bring the spiritual body in." Physical expression of the issues included addressing perpetrators (represented by pillows, chairs or "actors"), ritual cleansing, direct communication with judges and victims, and establishing personal rituals to reinforce our empowerment.
The ground rules for the Intensive were the same as for all Alchemical Hypnotherapy training. In essence, we formed a healing community to support our challenging tasks. The participants included seasoned professionals and individuals who had recently completed the basic training (such as myself). Sharing with role models as well as peers enriched the total experience.
We started the weekend with the Magic Mirror. A volunteer would call upon someone with whom they needed clearing. Sitting face to face, but separated by an imaginary magic mirror, each would express his/her feelings. Under Quigley's very capable direction, perceptions were clarified and often proved to be one's own issues projected onto the other person.
For example, I faced a person to discuss our difficulty in trusting each other. Due to our divergent backgrounds, and because of previous interactions, we each had what you might call serious reservations concerning the other's motivations. Through the magic mirror, we realized we were projecting our self-doubts and concerns regarding the possible misuse of hypnotherapy. With Quigley coaching and reinforcing, we listened carefully, spoke from our hearts, and achieved a mutual understanding and respect. Indeed, my partner moved into a past-life process in which I played the role of judge for her actions concerning power. We cleared our misperceptions and now relate to and respect each other as professionals and friends.
Many issues were addressed during the weekend, and part of our empowerment was to participate in empowering others. The issues were diverse, but past-life atonement came up several times, probably to clear the space for proper use of power in this life.
Called during the weekend to play many roles in the psychodramas we staged, the direction that came to me in assuming the characters which others required for clearing amazed me. In roles as divergent as judge, priest and abused child, I felt emotions and made statements that came through me rather than from me. My inner healer and inner guide constantly reassured and instructed me not to edit because the messages weren't mine--I represented other peoples' parts, finding positive use for my lifelong empathy and sensitivity to others' emotions. That particular empowerment was a little strange and a lot wonderful. While I was being rescued by a survivor I became her inner child and felt the terror and pain of repeated incidents as well as the ecstasy of adult self/mother holding me in the safety and love and security she found within. I will always remember the warmth and power this beautiful woman reclaimed. (Quigley even asked privately whether childhood abuse was one of my issues because of this role. It wasn't.)
My own process was next to the last of the weekend. I had planned to address an issue concerning my father, but my guide and inner healer had something else in mind. Throughout the intensive the sensation of my crown chakra opening grew--and created a feeling of beauty, strength and vulnerability that was entirely new to me. David's contribution to my process was beautiful and simple. He helped me into a very light trance and, while I rested in the arms of one of my dearest friends, I was honored and overwhelmed in receiving my higher self. An incredible sparkling, crystalline light, like a small constellation of stars and stardust, poured into my crown chakra (or the soft spot, as it were) . Sensations of being electrically charged, scoured from the inside out, and introduced to ultimate beauty made me shake and cry and laugh--I was ecstasy. The gladness was overwhelming. David and another group participant created a ritual of passage in which I made vows to serve my clients and use this wonder with purity of purpose. Sharing this marvelous energy and love with the individuals there reinforced my joy. The community helped me dance my initiation. A loving friend reassured me that I am worthy of this honor, and another gave me a symbol of my empowerment (which I treasure daily). I have re-experienced this power writing this, and I weep gladly. I will never be as I was before. I am empowered. And from all of me, I send thanks to all of you who helped me celebrate this extraordinary dawn in my life.
Afterthoughts ... Life goes on. My experience of empowerment was intense and culminated many issues I've worked on, simplifying my subsequent work. Others say that the intensive helped them break through blocks to continue their work in ways that took them a step beyond their individual work in hypnotherapy. It was a great workshop.