As a global group of shamanic practitioners, where do we stand on highly charged and deeply divisive issues? How are we to respond to the outrageous words and actions of individuals and groups, particularly those that may be polar opposites of our own individual beliefs and opinions?
In the mid 1960’s, a close family member was seriously burned in an industrial accident because of a chemical explosion. He was not expected to survive; he had 6 children under the age of 8. Being Catholic at the time, all family members fell to their knees and invoked the power of all the saints, Jesus, the Virgin Mary and anyone else who may be able to help with a miracle! My sister asked our family priest to pray for a miracle, and his response was curt and clear: “There is no such thing as a miracle.” I will never forget this, and, despite my youth and his spiritual authority, I knew he was not correct.
Grief is a natural part of life…as natural as joy and other human feelings. Grief is, however, a feeling we all hope to never have to experience; but, yet, it is inescapable. Sooner or later we will be faced with the loss of a loved one, a colleague, a friend, or a neighbor, and consequently faced with this feeling you want to avoid. This has been historically true for all the days of human life on Earth.
“Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”, sang Mary Poppins. Sugar as a chaser to your medicine, though appealing, is not a panacea by any means. In fact, today we know the opposite to be true. Mary Poppins was surely singing about some nasty tasting herbal concoction she was attempting to get the children to swallow.
Following the theme of the current newsletter, let's talk about expansion and elasticity. Recently I have been reading about neuroplasticity and elasticity and the brain’s ability to continue developing and expanding regardless of aging or developmental challenges. It appears that science is catching up with what ancestral shamans and mystics have known for centuries…that the human experience is not stagnant unless we allow it to be so.
My recent musings have been about trusting and taking many things for granted. Isn’t it true that we just expect and trust that the sun will rise in the morning, that spring will come and the snow will melt, and that the birds will continue to fly to our feeders? These are merely expectations into which we do not generally put much thought effort. But, what if these generally accepted norms were to end unexpectedly? How would you cope? What would you do?
The most challenging love to practice daily, in my opinion, is self love. Caregivers of any genre are particularly susceptible to forget about themselves. Loving ourselves is an essential factor in our ability to be fully present and loving with those we serve, and yet, self love is often an illusive fragment of our lives.
In the midst of these dark days as we approach the Winter Solstice, it can be challenging to see the light in others and in ourselves. I believe it is because of the lack of daylight in December (in the Northern Hemisphere) that we have historically celebrated the birth of new life/light. Our ancestors created all manner of ceremonies and rituals to dance the Sun back to them. It does give us a boost of hope and peace, doesn’t it…just believing in the return of the Sun and gathering with family while holding fast to our traditions and rituals.
This month, we are featuring a guest blog post by Carrie Bancroft, former student and frequent guest teacher. In addition to being my marketing shaman, she is also a spirit worker and shamanic healer. The following post is about her favorite spirit holiday, the Day of the Dead.
As within/so without! There is no separation.These words describe in simple form the rather complex truth that we are never energetically separate from other living Beings. We live in an envelope and that envelope is called Weather! Our weather is influenced by the amount of sunlight, the temperature of tidal waters, air temperatures, degree of moisture in the air, speed of the wind, the rotation of the Earth on its axis, and the movement of the Earth around the Sun.
Today’s chilly Maine morning awakens me to the truth that fall is around the corner. With each passing year my impression is that summer is more and more brief. The consequent sorrow about its departure is at the tip of my heart. With aging comes the realization that there are limitations to life in a body and the experience of precious Maine summers is not infinite. For readers who do not live in the immersion that is a Maine summer, imagine that feeling of emptiness and loss following an intimate and joyful visit with a loved one. That is the good-bye feeling of the waning summer in Maine.
Without a doubt you have been flooded with information about the upcoming Solar Eclipse. I am not going to add to the deluge of data. Let us all agree that on August 21st we will collectively be turning our eyes to the sky. As a Shamanic Practitioner and Teacher, I would be remiss not to share some insight or wisdom about this cosmic happening with you. My spirit guides have given me a simple ceremony and instructed me to share it with you! This ceremony brings down the power of the eclipsed sun to heal the pain and suffering of all Beings on Earth at this time. I invite you to listen to this month’s podcast where this ceremony is shared.
Truth has its own resonance. Can you feel the truth when you are in its presence? And do you know it when you hear it? When a dance is danced with deep authenticity—we feel the truth in it. And when a song we have ignored for ages suddenly hits us, moving us to tears, it resonates deeply, something true we need to hear right now.
When things go wrong we have a tendency to blame others, blame circumstances, blame ourselves, or slip into denial that anything is wrong, bad, unwanted or unpleasant. That is part of being human. But, what if the thing that is going wrong is actually the right thing for you at this time? In shamanism, we call these unwanted life events “initiations.” Is that a cop out or is there some value to seeing unwanted events as an initiation or life lesson from which our immortal soul will grow?
I have been musing about “time” since I recently celebrated my 70th birthday. What in the heck is “time” other than some random human creation to control us. People talk about “saving time”, but how do you do that?
I don’t have a savings account for time, do you? As far as I can see, time is in constant motion and impossible to capture and likely cannot be corralled and added to a savings account at your local bank.
Where is the intersection where faith, action, spirituality and hope converge? I ask myself this frequently. Some people called to the work of spiritual leader tend to lean toward believing in “unicorns and rainbows”… everything will be ok if I just say it will be…and “la la la” nothing bad is happening. And then there are those of us who believe that spirituality and action actually converge and create a far greater synergy than wishing and hoping without action.
Greetings all, and happy New Year! I'm starting out the new year with a new feature: a guest blog from one of my esteemed shamanic colleagues and former students, Carrie Bancroft. In addition to being my right-hand woman for all things marketing (this site included), Carrie is a gifted shamanic healer who works extensively in the realm of compassionate depossession and curse unraveling. She and I will be co-teaching two courses in early February on those very topics! So check out the course descriptions, and read on to find out more about this utterly fascinating area of shamanic study and healing.
The darkness surrounds us in multiple ways these days. The Sun is farthest away from the Earth during November and December and at the same time we as citizens of the Earth are being metaphorically dropped to our knees by the inner darkness of humans whose true beliefs are now out in the open for us to see, hear and experience. Blatant racism, xenophobia, Islamaphobia, homophobia and fascist thoughts and words have slowly crept into our everyday lives and threaten to become a new norm. How do we as people of good conscience with loving hearts respond to this new reality?