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The Medicine of Rage

Kerry Jehanne-Guadalupe


Emotions can guide us on our journeys, twist us in knots, propel us forward, and/or stop us in our tracks. On either side of a neutral feeling is a whole dualist range of emotions that come in all sorts of varieties and intensities. Some emotions can be linked to our intuition and help us access our personal truth, while others are linked to our wounds and lead us to project all sorts of stuff onto other people if we are not careful.


Our relationship with emotions can be as complex as emotions themselves. Along with the plethora of emotions accessible to us, there can be a whole range of conscious and unconscious beliefs associated with having them to begin with, let alone expressing them. This can be especially true for rage, which carries an extra layer of taboo for some.


Many people, including myself, were taught to suppress rage. This is understandable as rage, when not wielded, can be violent and massively destructive, especially after it has been suppressed, rejected, denied, and it gets to the point that it can no longer be contained.


I don’t think the rage is innately negative. As a complex and multifaceted emotion, rage, when wielded consciously, can be a powerful alchemical force of transformation, a protector of what one values most in the world, and an ignitor of one’s personal power. When wielded, rage can be an immensely catalytic force that jettisons someone to their next level of well-being and individual sovereignty.


I view rage as a powerful and often overwhelming emotion (anger on steroids) that can be sparked by various factors, including personal frustrations, injustices, or external stressors. When embraced as a valid emotion (rather than viewed as a problem in need of a solution) and approached with mindfulness and purpose, rage can be channeled constructively, initiating profound personal growth.


Rage can transform; rage can protect; rage can ignite.



The Medicine of ‘Negative’ Emotions


I think of so-called ‘negative’ emotions as having medicine in them that can be found by exploring the causal point of the emotion. Emotions such as sorrow, grief, anger, frustration, fear, disgust, anxiety, apprehension, guilt, shame, and humiliation can have an energy of potential change embedded into them.


For example, a ‘negative’ emotion like envy might be surfacing because a person’s soul is letting them know it’s craving to do something similar to the individual they are feeling jealous towards. That is beautiful information to have as a ‘negative’ emotion like envy might nudge someone to look deeper into their soul’s passion.


As much as negative emotions bring a sense of discomfort, distress, or dissatisfaction, they are a natural and essential part of the human experience. They can serve evolutionary purposes, helping individuals respond to challenges. Of course, chronic negative emotions can have detrimental effects on mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health if not integrated.


I have witnessed in others and myself a profound shift in how we orient to ourselves and the world after processing tough emotions. One’s ability to navigate through tough, challenging, unpleasant emotions might lead one to be able to heal an old wound, access a deeper truth, uncover inner wisdom, establish a stronger sense of self and personal power, increase resilience, and feel connected to one’s worth. Accessing the medicine of ‘negative’ emotion can lead to expansion and freedom as well as something as significant as the next version of oneself.  



Befriending Rage


Like many people, I needed to learn how to allow rage as it was not permitted, acceptable, or even remotely tolerated growing up. I needed to learn how to allow rage to move through me, not at someone, but at least out of me. It was a process for me to befriend and even honor rage as a valid experience.


I also had to work through my fear of rage. I have heard people share their fears of rage relating to feeling like rage is a force controlling them rather than a force they are wielding, as well as rage altering one's mind out of rational thought and into fight or flight mode, where the rage can lead them to do incredible harm. For me, the main fear was that expressing rage would lead me to lose loved ones who judge rage as unacceptable.


I did lose contact with a relative after a 20-minute rage release over the phone. I was not yelling at my relative; I was simply yelling. I thought she was holding space for me as waves of rage were moving out of my body through my throat. The waves felt so incredibly wonderful, in alignment with deep healing and appropriate. In my mind, I thought, "Wow, this is great!!"


Since the release felt extraordinary, and I celebrated the transformation of old hurts, I was surprised that after a few days of reflection, my relative sent me a harsh email detailing how unacceptable my rage was from her perspective. Though losing contact with this relative saddened me, I have accepted that the rage that left my being that day was exactly what I needed. The rage had accessed deep pain and burned through old wounds that needed release. The release was a rite of passage to the next version of myself.



The Medicine of Rage


However intense, rage can come with medicine.


Rage wants to move, to be expressed, not suppressed or pent up. Some people run, dance, smash pumpkins, or chop wood to provide rage a pathway of release. Some draw madly across a paper, while others meticulously draw in fine detail. While there are countless pathways for allowing rage to move, what has been most important to me is paying attention to what was at its core in the handful of moments in my life where I accessed pure rage; equally crucial to releasing the rage was being present to what it was transforming, protecting, or illuminating.


Though experiencing rage has not been a common experience for me, the days of accessing its power have been significant. I have never been the same person on the other side of a release of rage. The release brought movement, not just of the rage, but movement forward in my path. Rage has been a fuel to jettison me across the threshold where I have felt more connected to my soul's purpose, a more profound sense of joy, and more connected to myself and my truth.




Releasing rage and integrating its teachings for our well-being might actually include harnessing the destructive side of rage to dismantle and destroy that which we can no longer tolerate. It is not a rage that is unleashed on others. It is a rage that reorients one to their worth, truth, and healthy boundaries by breaking through lifelong ways of being that were suffocating and debilitating.


I have seen this alchemical nature of rage in people who are breaking out of long-term abusive relationships. The rage provided an unwavering “Enough is enough!” that was followed by healthy boundaries that felt foreign as they were not established before, while at the same time, feeling in perfect alignment with the newly established sense of self the rage helped them access. In such occurrences, rage unveiled injustices that one’s younger versions of themselves could tolerate while, at the same time, providing an updated sense of worth and personal power.


Rage can both transform and illuminate, sometimes in the same moment. It can illuminate areas that need to be transformed as well as transform areas that have been illuminated and brought to light. Rage can be a flame that does not burn others but burns through old hurts within us. When wielded, the alchemical fire of rage can be a healing force as it can access and move the energy of deep wounds as well as correct things that are out of alignment within us and in our relationships.


Though rage can be beyond intense, what might look destructive may be the creation of something new or the emergence of something ancient within oneself; some form of hindrance can be consumed by the fire of rage to bring life to a new creation. 





Rage can have a protective nature to it, as it can act as a protector of the soul and guard what is profoundly meaningful and sacred to someone. In such moments, a surge of rage may be related to defending or upholding someone’s deepest values, principles, or beliefs that have great significance to an individual.


At times, I have experienced a link between rage and my inner flame as rage sent a jolt of energy that informed me of boundaries that were about to be crossed or someone trying to be manipulative. Just last month, I experienced my inner flame protecting me, acting as a force field around me. Rage felt like my soul working through my emotions to shelter me. Part of the experience last month was experiencing my inner flame torching the gaslighting coming my way, vaporizing it before it could enter my heart and mind. It was a wildly powerful experience to have my inner flame, along with rage, inwardly burn through gaslighting and scapegoating so that it couldn’t land in my heart and mind and impact me negatively.


In this experience, rage protected me, but it also transformed an old part of me that would typically clam up in such events and ignited an increased sense of personal power and trust in myself.


I welcome and honor the medicine of rage.


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