I recently returned from 3 weeks traveling around Kenya with my beloved.
It was one of those journeys I’d been dreaming about and planning since I was a little girl.
I’ve always been drawn to Africa. The animals, the sweeping landscape, the culture of its people living in harmony with the land, and the wildness of it all spoke to a deeply raw part of me that craved that level of wildness within myself.
A part of me that wanted to run with the cheetahs, paint my face with the warriors, and weave baskets from the grasses of the vast savannah with the village grandmothers. I was the girl obsessed with the story of Mowgli in The Jungle Book and watched The Lion King at least 100 times when it came out - memorizing each animal and singing all the songs at the top of my lungs.
So when my best friend moved to Nairobi and invited me to visit, I jumped at the chance to make it happen.
In the weeks leading up to the trip, I noticed I started calling it a sacred pilgrimage. It was clear this was going to be an important trip - not just because I was taking 3 weeks off of normal life to go on an adventure and spend time reconnecting with my guy, but because I has a knowing that something was going to shift for me when I was there.
At first I thought that shift was going to happen through connecting with the women there.
I had a vision of sitting in a circle of women stringing beaded head adornments. I would be laughing with them, learning about their traditions - their food, their medicines, how they birth their babies - feeling accepted into their sisterhood.
Long story short...that didn’t happen.
I was surrounded by men on most of the trip and the Maasai women I did introduce myself to were very suspicious of the white girl in strange looking hiking pants (furiously re-applying sunscreen to her face) asking them about their traditions of handcrafts and rituals around motherhood. That was an important moment for me, actually. To feel otherness and discomfort with a community of women who didn’t understand or trust me fully. I had to let my fantasy of being accepted as a sister to these women go and stay open to the lessons that were coming - which didn’t take very long.
It was the wisdom and medicine of the Lioness that moved me deeply.
The female lion was my greatest teacher on this trip. She kept appearing (almost daily) during my time there. In one morning, we came across 40 lions from 5 different prides.
And every time I saw her, something stirred deep inside my belly - a quivering reverence for this noble being. I would immediately get chills and my eyes would fill up with tears. My whole body was telling me to pay attention and listen to her.
The animal medicine of the lioness is potent.
Female lions are powerful and essential to their pride. They do 85% of the hunting, birth and raise the cubs, and stay alert to protect the pride while the males sleep most of the day. When a lioness is in heat, a male will join her, staying with her constantly. She calls him in with her sexuality. (I love that!)
I also love the bond of the females in a pride. Usually two or more females in a pride give birth about the same time, and the cubs are raised together. They also nurse each other’s cubs and will even adopt ones that are lost or found malnourished.
It’s often said that lions represent courage, power, and leadership. And, while I definitely felt that, what rang true for me was the sense that the lioness was here to show me feminine power and strength.
The lioness walks with powerful presence.
She is graceful and strong.
She is a fierce mama.
She is a sister in all ways.
She is the ultimate protector of hearth and home.
...and she knows it - walking with the confidence of a sovereign queen.
I got the message loud and clear.
Own your feminine power.
Share your voice without shame.
Speak your truth always.
Do not fear your own power.
Roar, mama, roar.
I asked my friend and mentor Lola Pickett of Wild Playground to feel into the medicine and message of the Lioness and this is what she shared:
Lioness says that there is enough power running through this Earth for every woman to stand tall in Her own way. We thrive as sisters when we work together, when we trust that there is enough food, fuel, clientele, beauty, money, and energy for us ALL TO RISE.
We must feed ourselves to have the strength, focus, agility, and courage to keep hunting... and hunters is what we are.
We must not fear our ferocity.
The feminine divine is as tenacious and earth-shakingly-fierce as she is soft, cuddly, and purring. At any moment she can shift and it is ALL true and important.
Let us all be as bold in meeting each other as we are.
I wanted to share a video we recorded of the first moment I saw a pride of lionesses and their cubs in the early morning hours just after the sun had risen. Check it out below.
What about you?
Have you ever had an intimate experience with an animal that gave you a profound message or transformation? Share in the comments below.
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