I turned off the light the other night after reading the following passage spoken by Agnes Whistling Elk in Lynn V. Andrews’ book Jaguar Woman, “‘Children are told to speak when spoken to. We as women are taught that to speak of our power is to be shunned by most of society. When you listen to the voices of many men and women you hear a strangled sound. And it’s no wonder. Women’s voices are often weak or a monotone or barely audible. Voices need to be open and free, so that energy can flow through the throat center. We hold our enlightenment there. If energy is trapped in the throat, it can’t move up into the crown of the head. That’s why we get sore throats, thyroid problems, or diseases such as throat cancer. Whenever you have an energy knot like that, it will eventually cause disease.'” (70)
Agnes and the narrator go on to discuss how this concept of trapped energy pertains to disorders in other areas of the human body, but this is where I ended my reading for the night. It was the message I needed to “hear.” After closing the book and placing it on my dresser, the lyrics “Say What You Need to Say” by John Mayer played over like a stuck record inside of my head.
The message from Spirit was clear and obvious, but the concept itself is complex. When I was about 24 years old, I was diagnosed with thyroid disease. To be more precise, hypothyroidism, which means my thyroid was under-active. I was not surprised. Thyroid disease, after all, runs in my family on my mother’s side. She has it, her sister has it, my sister has it, and the list likely goes on. I have an old photograph of great aunts, 5 sisters posing in pretty dresses that hug their enlarged, goitered throats.
At 24, I thought my thyroid disease was a cause of bad genetics, I neglected to consider the environmental triggers. I didn’t realize I was holding a knot of energy trapped in my throat. All I knew was that I was destined to take a hormone to supplement my deficiency for the rest of my life, and that if I had children, especially daughters, it was likely they would suffer the same fate. This is what I was told, this is what I believed to be true.
I was wrong, thankfully. Over the past several years, I have witnessed the breaking down of the truths that were the foundation for my early life. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful I set foot on this path to spiritual truth. As Agnes states in Jaguar Woman, we heal ourselves, sometimes through the facilitation of others. Awhile ago a psychic told me I would cure, or heal, my thyroid disorder. I’m still getting there. I’ve lowered my dose, but not a lot. I wrote my memoir, but I still have not sent it out wholly and fearlessly into the world. And, I still don’t always “say what I need to say.”
What does that mean? How does the individual who is used to being silenced, often through many lifetimes, clear the trapped, stagnant energy in her throat? It’s not about avenging past wrongs, it’s not about anger or rage and it’s not a matter of turning into a person driven by aggression. I have lived most of this life trying to avoid conflict, assuming that if I were to speak my truths at certain moments, especially when dealing with aggressive people, I would face a verbal battle or worse. Silence became a way of life for me, a life, it seems, not so easy to change.
I still have moments when I flee a room in tears, unable to form the words caught in the web of energy inside my throat. Sometimes we heal “miraculously,” sometimes we heal by small steps with a few leaps and bounds. In Jaguar Woman, Agnes cures the beginnings of disease in the narrator’s throat by using shamanic healing to help her free the image of a black crow Andrews sees trapped in her throat. The crow tells Andrews, “You need to remember the importance of saying what you need to say.” (66)
The words that we need to say come from that place of truth inside of our soul. As Meyer sings, “from a hear wide open.” Our true voice is the clear, bold, yet compassionate voice of the spirit, stripped of the fears of ego. It is the release of constriction from fear’s hands at the present moment, for it does little good to move back to the past in an attempt to alter a situation that has already occurred. The energy has already been lost, or wasted. The moment cannot be fully recovered.
Later in the day, while driving my children into town, I turned on the radio at the moment “Free Bird,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd was playing. Spirit likes using this song as a call to action for me. It’s not an accident that a healthy throat chakra vibrates in the color of a cloudless blue sky, the color of a robin’s egg in spring. And, yes, I saw a robin when I walked out the door of my house that morning, boldly baring its orange chest to the world and pointing its yellow beak to me.