Muse - Brooke Skinner
MUSE - Brooke Skinner, Director & Founder @theritual___ | www.the-ritual.com.au
When did your journey with meditation, tarot, writing and healing work and therapy first begin?
I have always loved telling stories; some of my earliest memories have been sharing them as if I were in one of Shakespeare's plays, even though it was mainly my cat and dog as the audience. As an only child, I would dive into my imagination to find belonging through words. My journey with meditation and esoteric practices began around the age of 17 when my grandmother stated sharing the history about her mother and the what she was a part label as 'superstitious' I found it all so fascinating. Although I had dabbled here and there, it didn't become the central part of me until confronted with motherhood. I had already been studying within these fields for many years, but I didn't integrate with it all until then.
When did you first come up with the concept of The Ritual?
The Ritual was created during my last pregnancy just over two years ago. I had closed my previous business where I taught a lot in person and came to the realisation I wanted to take this globally and in a more user-friendly way that drew on all facets of my background. I took all the bits and pieces that had helped me along my journey and birthed them into The Ritual, which is still unfolding every day.
The Ritual community is like nothing i've ever experienced before. It is so authentic, engaging and visually powerful, it ignites all my senses. Working in the Fashion Industry previously do you think this aesthetic and visual language was paved then for what was to follow with The Ritual?
Oh wow, thank you that is really powerful and also so encouraging as my main focus is always to forget about what others are doing and remain true to myself. I am a very visually driven person; my husband will happily vouch for that as he is on the receiving end if that more than I would like to admit. I have always had this eye for detail with stories and with the beauty in things. This was all part of my world as a child, I would get quite lonely at times, and I found running wild with my senses and with my imagination, I was limitless. From this understanding, I also realised around the age of about eight that if I could imagine it, if I could dream it up in my mind, it could become a reality. Of course, it took over a decade to be able to make that concept tangible, but I believed it deep within me. These early beliefs I created within myself have never left. I have taken that into everything I have ever done. I naturally progressed into the Fashion Industry out of sheer coincidences; it was not something I
planned on. Most of the things I have done, I did not plan on doing, it all just naturally evolved. I have some pretty strong astrology in my chart that desires things to be aesthetically pleasing and the duality of that is it can also cause me much grief as I can place so much focus on how something presents and looks that I get lost for hours and days one little detail. I am at a place in my life now at 36 years of age where I don't want to compromise on integrity and who I am for something to sell more, or be more well-received. I am at a place where if I want to do something, I will apply everything I have to achieve it and whatever becomes of it is out of my hands.
Sacred circles and circles of women supporting one another has been a connection that dates back to ancient cultures. I feel like in more recent centuries the divine feminine has been challenged as we have been in such a heavy patriarchal society. However in recent decades there has been a real shift back to our roots as women to empower one another and lift each other up. What are your thoughts and ideas on this? And what do you see happening in the future?
Yes absolutely, this focus on returning back to sacred to the Matriarchy is not to be free of man but to release this concept and idea that we are less than. We have been silenced and taken advantage of for centuries now and as we see the world become more and more dogmatic and Patriarchal, our freedom taken away, we see want more for our children, for the next generation than what lies in front of us right now. We are in a time of tremendous pressure to even be able to live on this planet, and that creates a sense of uprise, it invokes a sense of depth beyond just believing what is on the news and following along like a flock of sheep. We are beginning to establish a connection with ourselves thanks to technology and the internet; it has changed the way we connect due to the accessibility of information. We can discover truths and find the reverence within. I see this unfold every day with my clients, within the courses and workshops I run, to the communities I am connected with and most importantly in myself. WE as women and as a collective are waking up to the idea that we can no longer rely on the systems, the organisations, the institutions that have suppressed us, to save us. We are beginning to awaken and see how those very systems that let us down can not be the same ones that liberate us and set us free. We have to come together and create new ones, new ways of being, new ways of doing.
What does the word Ritual itself conjure up / mean to you?
It is quite a buzz word at the moment. Ritual has always expressed a place of stillness where I can connect with something greater than myself and what is happening
around me. It is where I can escape my daily duties and intentionally show up just for me. Ritual takes these long-discarded shards of ourselves and merges them with our hopes and dreams and alchemically transmutes them into something powerful. It is the act of mindfulness to slow down and recenter, to connect with that inner compass and listen to what guidance our authentic self wished to convey. Ritual is where we find clarity and has been one of the most significant healing components on my journey.
Do you feel like your reawakening after you experienced burn-out was your inner calling to lead you to the work you do now?
100% - As I mentioned earlier, I did not plan on doing what I do right now, which is what makes it so unique. I didn't have this big plan; I still don't. I only have my experiences and my truths. I had been replacing my trauma with hard work as a means of survival and a way to disassociate from the pain and suffering I was experiencing. The more I worked, the harder I worked, the greater the distraction. And when that work stops as it did for me when I got sick, you are left with nothing but yourself. And when you choose to have a child and birth that child, you again are forced to be confronted with all the things you buried so deep. Somehow children have this way of presenting you will all the stuff you don't like about yourself, with all the things you thought you had buried long ago. As someone who has to conceptualise everything I took up studies in each area, I found discomfort in, to further understand it. I had this idea that if I learned about it and understood it, I would be free of it. Eventually, I realised I had so many different skills within the healing arts that I thought, why not see if there are others who feel this way. That is what The Ritual is, a culmination of all I have learnt and experienced from my sufferings and how I got out of it and continue too. It is my life assignment. *I would also like to sidenote that I had a great therapist who supported me on this journey; it was not through studies alone that I was able to heal it was with incredible support also.
I have personally experienced burnout as well in a rather drastic manner. Why do you think we are we so geared to run and work so hard that we end up running ourselves into the ground and damaging our own self, our home? What is some advice you give people who are on this track or have experienced burnout - how to come back and rebuild from it?
I am sorry to hear you have experienced this, sadly it's just so common in this current society, especially for women. We have become the ultimate experiments. We have moved on from this 1950s housewife expectation to now more of the expectation to be a CEO; who is also on the board of school committees; sex kittens in the bedroom; an attentive and giving friend; caring and present daughter; financially independent; involved hands-on mother; nutritious chef; fit and healthy body, mind and spirit; all whilst somehow trying to figure out who the fuck we are. It is exhausting to write it all. I am not saying that these things are wrong, but rather that we have so many expectations placed on us by other women and from society. It is not possible to do all those above things and not experience burn out. We have forgotten what balance is because it was not demonstrated to us from a young age. Our parents and grandparents grew up in a time where the world was completely different from what it is now. It is like we expect ourselves to be this beautiful, fancy, expensive sports car that can travel at ultimate speeds, but never actually stop to put fuel in the engine, never stopping to book it in for a service. We just keep going until suddenly the engine blows up. It took me being told from my specialist that I had three weeks to live at the age of 26 to stop finally. For the months and weeks before that, I was literally driving to the hospital to get treatment for chronic kidney disease and returning an hour later to work, I didn't listen to my body even then.
Laying in that hospital bed, the day after I had my kidney removed I finally got it... I made the declaration that I was going to put myself first because I loved life, I had so much to give, and that fighting spirit got me through everything. I guess as women we have has to face so many adversities and that we become numb to checking in with our bodies because if we did would all that pain come rearing its ugly head? This is what Ritual does and why I created the courses. The foundation of moving forward from burn out is the realisation that we need to feel. There is something incredible waiting to be revealed to you if you just surrender and stop going 100 miles an hour. If your career or relationship is causing you to have burnout than start to ask, "How do I want to feel?" and build from there.