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Fire of the Phoenix Initiation By Tanya S. Lenz

Both the figures of Shiva (Hindu god of destruction and transformation) and Death bring the message that we must first part with what is not serving us, and say goodbye to our false selves, before we can truly create and be fully alive. In this sense, Death is not the end of the physical body, but the process of putting to rest all the experiences, relationships, beliefs, and wounds that drag us into a living grave and prevent us from embracing life with arms wide open. Reaching for a railing and finding none, I placed my hand on the rough, cold wall for balance. I slid one heel down the front of the first large stone step, and then the other heel down the second. Slowly in this way I wound my way down the crooked spiral, stopping more than once for lack of light and the uneven steps. After what seemed a long while, I arrived on the ground floor where I inched across the pitch-black lobby to a heavy front door. Opening it, I inhaled warm air laced with the stench of garbage, urine, cow dung, and acrid smoke. Peering into the darkness, a tinge of fear pricked the back of my neck as my eyes made out a figure standing at the bottom of another steep flight of steps.

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