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The Sacred Witness

I did a spiritual retreat in Sedona last December. While I was there, I went into a small gift shop owned by a local Shaman that was recommended by the host of the retreat. There was a woman who worked there of Irish descent who described herself as a Sacred Witness. She wore a white robe like in ancient times and brought each person who entered into a small room where she waved a smoking sage bundle around each to clear off discordant energy around them.

What stayed with me from that visit was this woman who described herself as a Sacred Witness. I wrote this down in my journal and I knew it had significance for me. I wondered what she meant by it. During a second visit, the Sacred Witness told me that when women get to the menopause age that they are now in the Crone stage of life which is all about being not doing. She went on to say that the younger people are the warriors -about doing and making change, and we are there to offer sacred witness. This was an interesting perspective for me since I’m 58 and have been transitioning from doing, doing, doing to a focus on being first and foremost and taking inspired action when called to do so.

The Crone is an archetype that I was never taught about. I found this research paper on the crone archetype though. I also wasn’t taught about the Sacred Witness. The Universe then served up a YouTube video from Carolyn Myss (who wrote about archetypes) about the Holy Witness Archetype.

Being a holy witness is holding space for someone to share what they have experienced so they can explore their next steps. She describes the role of a holy witness as someone who listens to a person’s story without judgment and does not offer comments or reactions. Then afterwards asks, “What are you going to do about it? What do you want to do? How do you want to do that?” When the person asks the holy witness what they should do, the holy witness throws the question back to the person and asks “What do you feel called to do?” The Holy or Sacred Witness does not advise or judge.

Carolyn describes the holy witness as a part of one’s healing journey and inner development - to have a witness at critical passages in your life.

Myss learned about the concept of a Sacred Witness from a woman who she met years before who described the agreement she made with her partner to be each other’s witness in this life, that they would be the witness to each other’s life journey, that they would be the ones who knew each other’s secrets, who knew each other’s deepest sufferings, who knew each other’s deepest ambitions, and deepest imaginings, that they would be each other’s witness to the full journey of each other’s lives and be each other’s richest companions. This is a beautiful description and I found myself wanting to share this with my husband.

When it comes to traumatic stories, Myss talks about how Navajos will listen to a person’s story 3 times but only 3 times because after that they believe the person’s spirit leaves with their story. The idea being the more times you dwell on the painful story, the more it drains your spirit.

Myss recommends after 2-3 times of hearing a story, that the Sacred Witness only listen to what the person is going to do about it, so as to not to listen to the person drain their spirit anymore.

Soul Lesson: You can only tell your story so many times and then you have to figure out what you are going to do about it to get your spirit back -so that your story doesn’t imprison you.

Not everybody has the ability to truly listen deeply and not judge or comment, or the capacity to hold the story and not repeat it for gossip’s sake.

The role of a holy witness is to listen to what a person has experienced without commenting or offering an emotional reaction like “oh Jesus, Mary, and Joseph”. As a holy witness, you are not part of that person’s experience and you cannot step in as if you were. The Holy witness does not to incorporate their Consciousness into the person’s journey but knows their role and holds their boundary.

When you are in search of a holy witness, this is what you’re looking for. Say to the person upfront that you are asking to be witnessed, “I just need you to listen to me, I need to get all this stuff out of me that is talking to me - all of this confusion. I don’t want you to comment on it. I just want to talk it out.”

When the person being witnessed asks the holy witness, “What should I do?” The wisest thing for the witness to say is “What do you feel you should do? Let me ask you first. Because you are the one who has to live with the decision and I will witness what you say. I will witness everything that comes out of you, but you need to hear yourself first, like a recording in the Archives of the cosmos.” The person requires the space to hear their own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs to bring them into consciousness, heal and transcend them.

For the person who wants to be witnessed, you have to recognize where you are in the decision-making process. Are you in a stage of not wanting to make a decision? You have to get to the point where you are wanting to make a decision, and then getting to a place where it is time to make a decision. These are the stages of change within you.

It is a challenge to find this role of the Holy witness because you want to be able to speak to a person without feeling cautious, without feeling embarrassed or judged. You want to be able to speak freely. “This is why we’ve turned to therapists for this or spiritual directors,” Myss observes.

Myss points out that we need our wounds to be noticed and witnessed by someone or we can’t go forward -we stay stuck in that -so that is truly the role of the Holy witness. This need is based upon the survival mechanism of humanity, the capacity to cling together to tell our stories of hope and grief and to put the two together in the archives of our lives. This is what it means to have a Sacred Witness. Myss observes that our society is suffering from the absence of the Holy Witness.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for empaths and uplifters in being a Sacred or Holy witness is the temptation to help, “solve” or “fix” a situation, correct someone’s errors or misperceptions or trying to heal them. It requires a pause and a refocusing of your natural inclinations and to avoid giving advice and “processing” someone’s issues. It is a refraining from placing yourself in an advisory position. The other challenge for the witness is the common unconscious act of lowering their vibration to comfort the one who needs witnessing who is resonating at a lower vibration.

When Jesus (Jeshua) was among people who sought him out for healing, he did not see the perceived illness or problem that they presented, he saw the person in their wholeness, divinity and the truth of who they were as children of God, whole and complete.

I served as a Sacred Witness for my mom as I watched her dementia progress in her final year. She could no longer speak so I did my best to be there in a state of acceptance when visiting as I watched her body deteriorate and her mind go. Definitely this has been the most challenging thing I had to witness. Many of us are becoming Sacred Witnesses for our parents and other loved ones who are struggling with health issues, life threatening diseases, and aging. This is why I felt called to write this article.

Being Your Own Sacred Witness

We can be our own Sacred Witness as well. In fact, this might be the first step in being able to be a Sacred Witness for someone else. If we are able to do this for ourselves with compassion and non-judgment, we are able to serve in that role for others. You have to be able to be comfortable with uncomfortable feelings and emotions and know how to embrace them, love them and transmute them. (This is challenging for people who were raised to stuff or repress “negative emotions.”)

Here is how to be your own Sacred Witness… Be still and move into the silent place within yourself. Locate your internal source of power.

In silence, you will find your sacred witness. It is the dwelling place of the soul. Your spirit loves the truth, and in peace you can seek and discover your truth.

If you are in pain, go into it until you can find the source of the pain, so it can be revealed, embraced, and healed. Move past the bustle and chatter of life into sweet quietude, and surrender to stillness.

Resist the temptation to indulge in feelings of overwhelm, urgency and emergency. Your power is born in silence. Seek solitude to listen to the voice of your Higher Self, Angelic helpers, Spirit mentors and guides, and awaken your inner wisdom, this peace gives birth to your serenity.

Become more connected to the noticing/witnessing aspect of self. Name the feeling or emotion you are experiencing. Is it familiar? What is the false programming or adopted thought that is causing the negative emotion? Anything but love, is not the truth of you. It helps to remind yourself that you are not your thoughts.

Then Choose again, a better feeling thought based on unconditional love and acceptance. Move into forgiveness and non-judgment. Judgment has an emotional reaction in it. Observation has no emotional reaction to it. It is a neutral response. Emotions come from the Inner Child. Feelings are our teachers. Love and witness the one (inner child) who is feeling the negative emotions. The negative emotion will dissolve with love. Replace the old thought with positive I Am declarations. As these I AM declarations are repeated, they begin to replace the old faulty idea and create a new and better experience in our lives.

To wrap this up, I have one more idea to share. I have been studying Jeshua’s Way of Mastery teachings and will end with the related teachings he imparts.

“Cultivate a deep love and respect for yourself, for you are not here to “fix” the world. You are not here to “fix” your brother or sister. It is only love that heals.” - Jeshua

“For the way to heal the world is not by seeking to change what is on the outside, but by first changing what is on the inside…And when you change your mind, you literally change what you experience in the world or the solar system in which your self spins.” - Jeshua

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