Don’t Look Back

12 01 2016

Sometimes we can be so startled by the magnitude of a change which has happened during a healing that we look back rather than forward. Often it is hard to believe that a goal, long sought, is accomplished. Changes such as the loss of something unwanted, such as an emotion, or a connection to something, or positive change in health do happen. It can be hard to believe.

Sometimes our brilliant analytic mind, in trying to understand how this change happened, attempts to trace events. This looking back can undo a lot of good. In some cases, look toward what you want, not what you don’t want is best. I don’t mean neglect reality. Continue appropriate treatment. But, be brave in facing the unknown which is your new reality with the changes that have been made. It is like a child clinging to an abusive parent because it is all they know. We run a risk of become what I call, “united in our woundedness”. Run or tiptoe bravely toward what is next.

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Is a Shaman Scary?

12 06 2014

This post is about the shamanic practitioners you may come across in North America today. Most people who visit me come from personal referral, but a greater and greater number are coming from this blog. These folks often have little or no experience with a shamanic practitioner. I sense a lot of hesitance in them so I’m answering some of their questions here.

Like most of us, I was skeptical about shamanism before I began to study it. I also thought Tarot, Palm Reading, and Psychics were all foolish nonsense. It was only because I wanted to understand myself that I ever started to study the occult and eventually shamanism. I just knew stuff and didn’t know how I knew it. Elsewhere in this blog you can read about what brought me to this work.

I am a normal person. I’m probably not that different from you; with a family and obligations, struggles and bad moods, and everything else that goes with this earth walk. I learned a lot from shamanism and feel lucky in that. Because of it I am happier, kinder, and more thankful for my time on this precious earth. I’ve had enough experience with scary stuff through shamanism to try and answer this question.

Because of the shaman’s ability to sense information and call upon spiritual help the shaman can be a powerful friend or foe so is can be scary. With the information below you should be able to find a shaman who can be a powerful force for good in your life.

Good and Evil

My prevailing thought about this issue is that there is only power, which may be running with our desires or against them. Electricity can light our homes or electrocute us. Disease can grows in our bodies and ants can roam out homes looking to feed themselves. It doesn’t make them evil. Yet the source may be an evil intention somewhere.

Good and bad exist in each of us and sometimes there are outside influences which create strings of “bad luck”. Beyond seeking balance there is more to know.

Evil can be powerful, attractive, and easy, even if you aren’t a Jedi Knight. As long as that is true there will be people who have one’s best interests at heart and those who have their own interests in mind. Like a product that has been modified in a way that seems only to cost more money and deliver less, unscrupulous “healers” may put their interest above yours.

In finding a practitioner, as in finding a friend or adviser; look for one who has your best interest at heart. If you know yourself to be seduced by unlawful or unethical actions you may be attracted to unethical practitioner. If you have clear ethics you can probably trust yourself to reject unethical healers.

An unethical practitioner won’t only be the one with demonic symbols in the window or who offers black magic. Those are the easy ones to avoid.

Intentional or Unintentional Harm

Other healers may seem quite pleasant and knowledgeable and still be a poor choice. It is more difficult to detect healers who intentionally or unintentionally causing harm. By being aware of what this type of practice looks like, you can avoid it too.

An example of intentional or unintentional harm would be a healer who lingers with you in your misery. They may feed your victim status because it makes them the “superior” person in the relationship and gives them a sense of power. They may actually feed off your feelings of dependence. Their primary focus may be to create repeat business. A hands-on healing from such a person may feel like you are stuck in a circuit of remembered pain rather than making you feel a movement toward health and returning vitality.

Such a healer may consider him/herself a paid friend or councilor to whom you return again and again. If this is what you want it should be called a consultation, reading, or divination, not a healing.

Another practitioner may just go through the motions with the hopes of effecting change but have no belief in, awareness of, healing or confirmations of past success. They may or may not be successful.

What to look for in a healer

Happily, there is a lot of good news! By using the following tools you can find people who will be powerful forces for good health and a good life.

  • Ask for recommendations from people you trust.
  • Trust your own intuition.
  • Ask questions about the kind of work you seek. Elsewhere in this blog there is information about the many types of service possible.
  • Seek someone who has been doing the work for a while. I had successes early in my career but know I have gotten more knowledge and tools now. This goes a long way toward treating cause, not just symptoms.
  • Ask about their experience. They may or may not respond but it is appropriate to ask. Since time is valuable I have put this information on-line to educate potential clients.
  • A competent healer is usually modest, humble, and doesn’t sing his/her own praise. If they tell me how wonderful they are I would walk away.
  • The Foundation for Shamanic Studies, The Society of Shamanic Practitioners, and the website Shaman’s Portal are where I would start looking for a practitioner to refer someone to out of my area. While I do distance work at times, it may be easier to see someone is your area. Inclusion is these references is no guarantee but is a likely place to start. As you wade in you will learn more about questions to ask.

Don’t be afraid. I was lead magically to wonderful people at nearly every turn. I didn’t encounter anything scary until well into my journey into shamanism. By then I was prepared for it. I’m pretty sure there was a guardian angel watching over me. You probably have one too. Nearly any shamanic practitioner can help you learn to call on him/her.

 





Should You visit a shamanic practitioner?

12 06 2014

I encourage you to visit a practitioner if you want to. What is holding you back?

For most Americans a belief in magic, evil, and/or demons is considered:

  • Primitive
  • is associated with lower income or status
  • is foolish
  • is irrational and unscientific
  • a good way to be victimized by unscrupulous charlatans

Primitive – It is certainly true that the people most connected to undiluted shamanic practice are found in the most remote areas of the world and certainly don’t live by modern western standards. They may or may not have historic records of their civilization going back centuries and have complex medical, social, and political histories. It is very likely that they have not been fully involved in our narrowly defined “western civilization” so I’m okay with primitive so long as we don’t think it means less than, just different. They live in the natural world far more than we, often with access to traditional knowledge we have lost.

Lower Income and Status – Let’s face it, who needs control over their lives most, the wealthy and successful or those of us who struggle with economic reality. Shamanic healing isn’t covered by health insurance. If you don’t have health insurance maybe you are more open to other possibilities. Also, many of our immigrant poor carry shamanic experience with them to our shores.

Foolish I don’t think it is foolish to listen to your intuition, learn from nature, seek an authentic spiritual life, and not allow others to make you fearful of the unknown. If you are afraid of looking foolish just don’t tell anyone.

Irrational and Unscientific – Many things are irrational and unscientific. The scientist who thinks of the answer to a difficult question while standing in the shower doesn’t question it, nor does the composer who has a breakthrough during a daydream, nor does someone who falls in love, or you when you just know your sister is going to call just before the phone rings. I’m okay with that. I believe old knowledge has been lost in the pursuit of all that is new and scientific, especially spiritual knowledge.

Unscrupulous charlatans – they are out there. This work is difficult, often thankless, and a service not a business. Those who seek to brand “their” methods and find followers may make better teachers than healers.

The Last Resort

The most common words I hear from someone entering my door are, “I’ve tried everything else”. They have usually been to doctors, therapists, and an amazing assortment of practitioners before, as a last resort (their words); they came to try something they didn’t believe in. Most likely a friend has referred them after having spoken about their own skepticism, experience, and change of heart. I respect their hesitation because I was there once too.

The Two Foot Rule – If you visit a shamanic practitioner it should feel safe. If it doesn’t, use your two feet to walk away.

 





What causes the trouble in our lives?

16 02 2014

Dear Friends-
Welcome to those of you who are new subscribers to my website. I value the time you take to read this and hope you find the content helpful.

It has been longer than expected since I blogged last. A wedding, the flu, and now catching up on stuff I postponed while I was sick, have kept me away from my computer.

While I was sick I heard messages I do not hear when I am in the normal rhythm of my life. On one hand I wished to be available to do the things I love, and even some of the mundane chores like cleaning the house seem important and luxurious. On the other hand, I observed how well things went on without any participation from me. I considered a number of topics to blog about and found my thoughts trivial. I ruminated on the question: what does one really need to do to be a worthwhile member of society?

Then I recovered and rushed happily to catch up on cancelled appointments and obligations. Among these appointments I had a number of shamanic healing sessions. As is often the case, I saw clients with a variety of problems who seem to have one important thing in common. It is so common to see clients with a “theme” that I believe it is my focus and not something they bring. That, however, does not prevent specific and unique treatment for their individual conditions.

The theme I am currently observing is that clients seem to intently focus on their personal failings. The events currently causing trauma in their life are viewed as a result, challenge, or perpetuation of their personal failings. This become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But more important, it prevents one from seeing beyond their current perception and leads to them feeling guilty about and responsible for what is happening in their life. They often say something like, “I can’t change because I haven’t been able to in the past, don’t deserve anything better, am depressed and lack the energy.”

Their questions seem to be about how they got where they are, even though they are usually able to explain that to me in detail. There is probably shamanic help for their situation in so far as it involves things outside their control.
But something else is needed that they can only do for themselves.

Self Forgiveness
The important thing is self forgiveness. Focus less on how one got here and a focus on nurturing one’s self, forgiving one’s mistakes, and giving one’s self the loving kindness one would give to a beloved child. That is so easy to say and so hard to do. It is a practice worth a lifetime of work and one that will lead to so many good things.

So, begin this practice despite the difficulties, and keep giving yourself that forgiveness, kindness, and compassion as many times as it takes. If we even think we have mastered it, life repeatedly givens us opportunities to practice. As you practice this, also try to become the observer of yourself. With even a little detachment you may start to see other possible interpretations of your life events. Perhaps life is a still precious gift full of infinite grace if we can just lift ourselves out of our sick bed of self-criticism and see beyond our narrow focus. Treasure yourself. Somewhere within, you are a bright, powerful, important, worthwhile person even if all you usually see in the tarnish of life that has obscured that light.





Autism and Shamanism

17 03 2012

Theologian turned geologian Thomas Berry postulated that the western humans had become “autistic” in relationship to the natural world as a result of viewing the world as separate from ourselves. I was in awe of the accuracy of this diagnosis and stunned at its profound implications.

If you haven’t thought about autism recently, I looked up numerous and differing definitions. However, a basic definition is that it is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Anyone who has interacted with an autistic child, and these days that is nearly everyone, realizes that they may act as though others, even loving parents, didn’t matter. The analogy to how we treat the planet is so similar. I immediately visualized a loving mother giving her child everything he needed but he just does not respond. Then I thought of that Mother being the Earth. I could go on, but I’m sure you get my drift.

It goes a long way to explaining why we feel drawn to vestigial tribal people who live close to nature.  This isn’t just sentimental and romantic.  These people have so much to offer us if we can just find a respectful way to learn it.

From the Macrocosm to the Microcosm

This alone would be a worthwhile thought to share but I can’t help but find a parallel between this macrocosm event and the microcosm many families are facing today.

I just looked at the Autism Society webpage and found the following statistics:

  • 1 percent of the population of children in the U.S. ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder.
  • Prevalence is estimated at 1 in 110 births.
  • 1 to 1.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder.
  • Fastest-growing developmental disability; 1,148% growth rate.
  • 10 – 17 % annual growth.

Thinking of this, I remember Frost’s poem, Fire and Ice from my high school English class.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Autism may have a scientific explanation. Undoubtedly autistic people have much to teach us. They certainly live in this moment.  However, what if so many children are born with autism that society cannot function?  Could that be the ice Frost proposed? Whatever the cause, and benefits, the call for living closer to nature by recognizing our mother, loving our mother, and meeting her needs are imperative. That is probably the greatest gift the resurgence in shamanism has to offer this world.

Help for Families

With so many parents looking for help for their autistic children it seems appropriate to address the question, can shamanic healing help these children?

There seem to me to be three main opinions about the effectiveness of shamanic healing.

  • The first, and most common in this autistic age, is that it is foolish superstition and has no validity.
  • The second is that shamans were the  precursors of modern psychologists and could possibly be of some help with emotional or mentally based issues. Their answer would likely be no, shamanism could not help decrease the unwanted symptoms of autism.
  • The third group, my group, recognize that healing, magic, or spiritual power, does exist. Individuals may define this as a gift from God or as a natural expression of this universe which our ancestors know and used (back when they lived in harmony with nature). It is still available today.

The answer isn’t simple. Any action taken has to respect the individual gifts of the autistic person and even then, in every case, the practitioner can only go to the compassionate spirits and ask for help. Still, there is the possibility of help.

If you are a parent seeking such help, here are some suggestions for finding a practitioner:

  • First, trust your feelings.
  • Only go to a practitioner that you know, feel good about, or who comes highly recommended by someone you trust.
  • Be aware that most practitioners have the desire to help, whether or not they have the ability, experience, and power to do so.
  • The practitioner cannot promise anything but their best effort.

I am aware that organic diet, some vitamin supplementation, and interactivity with nature such as through animals has provided help to some autistic people.  I prescribe time in nature for all of us.   I also send my prayers to those whose lives are so profoundly affected.





December 2011 Events and First Quarter of 2012 Events

6 12 2011

Dear Friends-

Everyone seems to be learning from the same teacher, the economy. This forced letting go of our identities is sometimes harsh and difficult but also opens the door for learning and growth. As I let go of identities which no longer serve me new visions appear.  Chief among these is the desire, finally, after years of saying no, to step humbly into the role of teacher, mentor, and workshop leader.  I am happy to announce the following activities. Some are designed for those seeking tools for self-healing (Basic) and some are for those seeking growth as healers (Advanced).

(Basic)Self-healing and basics of shamanism

 

Basic Journeying – this is an introduction to the terminology and cosmology of the shaman’s world. Learn about power animals, spirit teachers, and nature spirits by experiencing them, not by hearing about someone else’s experience. Come prepared to participate. This is a six hour class being offered twice. Since this is a great preparation for the advanced program I am offering it despite the hectic season and will consider offering it at other times if requested to do so.

  • Saturday December 17, 2011.  9:00 through 4:00 with a one hour lunch break. $60

Or

  • Saturday January 7, 2012.   9:00 through 4:00 with a one hour lunch break. $60

Power Dance and Shamanic Healing

Experience a traditional community ritual including the opportunity to receive multiple healing in a shamanistic style.

  • Saturday, January 14, 2012 7:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m. $10
  • Saturday, February 11, 2012 7:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m. $10

(Advanced) An apprenticeship/mentoring program

This program requires a one year commitment to the members of this working group. Membership will be closed once the program begins. The three month sessions are simply a way to make the cost more affordable. Please do not begin if you do not intend to stick with it for the year.

This program will be a series of four Three Month Sessions.

The First Three Month Session is scheduled for:

Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 11, 2012 9:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m.

Residential

Friday March 9, 2012, through Sunday March 11, 2012

  • Friday March 9, 2012, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Sunday March 11, 2012, 9:00 to 12:00 a.m.

One working definition of a shaman is “one who goes into an altered state of consciousness at will to bring back information for the healing of others, the community and/or the planet.” This program includes instruction in typical shamanic activities such as extraction, soul retrieval, de-possession, curse removal, divination, psycho-pomp, space clearing, and working with nature spirits and other compassionate spirits to achieve these results.

Approximately one-half of our time will be spent outdoors and will include visits to local power places. We can’t learn what our shaman teachers have learned through a lifetime of living in harmony with nature on a Saturday afternoon. The weekend sessions will provide a time to be still in nature and go deeper into our lessons. At least as important as learning the techniques of healing is learning about the spiritual wholeness that makes it all possible.

While this is not designed as a program for those seeking healing, there is not a healer alive who does not receive healing through helping others. Be prepared to learn about yourself, your ancestors, your fears, and your strengths. Learn to trust and utilize your abilities and receive affirmations and validation of them.

Since this is Santa Cruz, I add the following. You cannot use mind altering drugs (including marijuana) and participate in this program ergo the words “go to into an altered state at will”. Participation is at my discretion.

Cost of Program:

$400 for each 3 month commitment payable in advance of the first meeting of each quarter.  In some cases there will be additional modest costs for camping or other accommodations for the weekend events.

Schedule for the three remaining quarters will be presented to participants at the first session. The schedule is somewhat flexible at this time but will generally be the second weekend of the months with a weekend event culminating each quarter.
Registration Form:

Event for which you wish to register: ____________________

Name: ____________________

Address: __________________

City: ________State:__Zip:___

Phone: ____________________

E-Mail: ___________________

Amount enclosed: ___________

Send Registration Fee to:

 

Fee will be cost of event except for the Advanced Program. For that program you can send $100 to hold your place with balance payable before first event.

Location will be announced. Instructions will be given once registration is received.





The Shaman’s Calling

7 07 2011

In the Nepali culture potential candidates to become a shaman are abducted by the “bon jhankri” between the ages of seven and twenty years of age.  The “bon jhankri is ” a partially human and partially animal Yeti type creature called a jungle/forest shaman. During the period of this dangerous abduction the candidate is introduced to the mysteries of his/her calling. Alternatively, and increasingly more rare are calling received by candidates “aph se aph” or by spontaneously receiving their mantra’s and healing knowledge. Either way, these candidates can suffer shamanic illness as they are attacked by bokshi (evil sorcerers) and lagu (the bokshi’s evil spirit allies). Even with its unique cosmology, this calling fits within the candidate’s world view and is thereby similar to receiving a calling in many traditional indigenous cultures. Their life struggles are often viewed as shamanic illness and as battles with the bokshi and lagu.

In our modern western culture people who have characteristics which would make them candidates for learning and using shamanic knowledge often don’t understand what is happening. Typically shamanic candidates function well in society and are successful in their chosen field. Then something happens which causes them to wonder “is this all there is”. Not everyone who reexamines their life is a potential candidate. However, some are. The precipitating event isn’t important, though there are amazing stories in this area.

My subject today is helping people who have unrecognized callings. Many times their lives contain struggles with shamanic illness and battles with evil which rise havoc but which seem bizarre and unfathomable.  It is important is that the candidate gains understanding of these events and finds a place that feels like home in which to learn to counter negative effects of the struggle.

The current issue of The Journal of Shamanic Practice, (Volume 4, and Issue 1 Spring 2011) has articles on “Taking a Teacher” and “Apprenticeship”. This post isn’t about that. It is aimed at helping anyone who might feel lost, off track, or who has through some participating event reached the bottom on the wheel of good fortune. When we reach this point where we question everything in our lives, even to wondering what is worth living for, learning about shamanism is one way to regain our sense of purpose in our life.

Many times I am visited by people within whom I see a shamanic warrior or potential healer who hasn’t found themselves. It appears that their calling is stalking them, often through shamanic illness.  It will continue to do so until they see and accept this calling.

I list the following sign posts that you might have calling though it is, by any means, an all inclusive list.  Have you had:

  • Ancestors who were healers/doctors, herbalists, etc.
  • A job in the healing field
  • The awareness of healing energy in your hands
  • Strong and correct intuition and the ability to “read” other people
  • A strong desire to spend time in alone in nature
  • An intimacy with animals
  • Imaginary friends or an awareness of spirits
  • Frequent déjà-vu
  • Vivid dreams and an awareness of their importance
  • Where you born with a caul (thin membrane) covering your head (My old Aunties swear this is a strong sign of a future healer)
  • Any physical, mental, or emotional abnormality that set you appear as a child (In Brazil there are hospitals which achieve wonderful results by training patients as mediums to treat illnesses like schizophrenia, paranoia, and depression. In the US these patients would be labeled and often receive powerful medications. I suggest that some of these people who could  be helped by exploring shamanism and the possibility that these illnesses could have a spiritual cause.  I have written on this subject before so forgive me for repeating myself.)
  • Surviving an illness, accident, or unusual event such as being struck by lightning, especially if this included a lengthy recovery or is of a chronic nature
  • An intense interests in learning about shamanism