"Your path is to be shared...It will be called The Golden Thread Road"
~White Buffalo Calf Woman

Saturday, December 17, 2011

First Class

I'm part of a newly formed group, Seattle Shamanic Teacher's Collective, whose objective is for one of us to be teaching an Introduction to Shamanic Journey class somewhere in the Seattle area once a month.  Last Saturday was my turn, and my first shamanic teaching gig ever.  Well, there was the talk I did a Summer or two ago when I was working a psychic fair, where all readers had to give a 15-20 minute talk, and I spoke about Animal Spirit Guides and led a guided meditation for people to find an animal guide.  That was a great warm up for this latest experience.  And like that time, as the magick moment approached I found myself more excited than nervous -- at least until the last minute.

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, teaching is one of the careers I day dreamed about doing when I was a kid (and now the only one left I haven't really done yet is acting -- not counting being the Little Drummer Boy in Fourth grade -- though I do have ideas about how to introduce puppets into my classes for children...), so rather than being a huge stretch into unknown territory, it felt more like stepping into a space that was waiting for me -- stepping into another aspect of my own power.  I was born to do this.  And it seemed a natural next step for me. 

A little over two and a half years ago I went on a vision quest, and in the middle of it White Buffalo Calf Woman appeared to me (actually for the 2nd time) and she told me, "Your path is to be shared."  Shortly afterwards I began this blog to follow through with that Divine request and to share my path.  And now comes the opportunity to share my path in a new way.  It just felt perfect.

So as the date approached a niggling voice in the back of my head started whispering in my ear, saying I wasn't prepared enough.  I still needed to study up, make lots of notes to read from, etc, etc, etc.  Though I was still very excited, the nerves started gaining strength and I started wondering if I really was prepared.  Finally, the night before my debut I sat down with an outline given to me from another teacher, intending to write my own outline and notes to make sure I was covered, and to make sure it was worth my student's time.  But as I looked over the outline, all I could picture was myself in front of the class lifelessly reading off the notes -- "Bueller? Bueller?" Talk about wasting my student's time!  They might as well read a book.  No, this was not a high school book report.  This was a subject I was passionate about, a passion I wished to pass on and inspire others with.  My goal was to empower the attendees, not bore them within an inch of their lives.

At a loss for what more to do in order to get ready, I decided to journey to Hortance, the spirit guide who recently introduced himself as my teaching guide (see my post Teacher's Pet) to get his insight.  When I asked my question of him he walked up to me and placed his wing on my heart.  Two and a half years ago,on that same aforementioned vision quest, amidst the chanting of the stone people in the sweat lodge as the first rays of daylight began to warm my shivering form, the spirits whispered my name in my ear, and now my owl invoked that name, saying to me, "Speaks His Heart must speak his heart.  Trust your experience.  Trust your knowledge.  You will know what to say."

For the first time I was also made to realize what a significant step this was.  This simple, seemingly
insignificant two hour class was nothing short of a full-blown initiation, another death/rebirth, a letting go of everything I'd been taught up to this point and stepping into the unknown where things, and I, would never be the same again.

Along with this epiphany came a mini movie and I watched this man (Me?!) walking toward a cliff.  He had this heavy pack on his back.  Though I didn't see anyone else there, a voice asked, "Would you set aside everything you've ever been told, or believed about yourself, if someone told you that by doing so you could fly?"  Without hesitation the man laid down this ever increasingly heavy pack, in which he carried all his misconceptions and misperceptions of himself, and turning, stepped one foot of the cliff and with the other lightly pushed off the ledge, as if casting off a canoe, floating in the air before soaring off into the sky.

I returned to 'Ordinary Reality' and, with a sigh, tucked the outline away.  "Alright, I'll try it your way," I said out loud to Hortance.  Can owls smile?  I'm pretty sure Hortance did.  On one hand this had alleviated some nerves, but, as in all death/rebirth experiences I've had, there comes this anxious moment when you really have to let go of the past -- consciously part with the seeming safety of the way things 'have always been done' --and lay down the heavy pack of accumulated baggage if you are going to be light enough to fly into and embrace a new expansive future.

And as it turned out, of course, I really had nothing to worry about.  My worry had been that I would run out of things to say, but we ended up going a half hour overtime because I got so carried away with talking and telling my experiences and answering questions, that I almost ran out of time to have each person experience their own journey.  And every person did journey and met a guide, taking the first step on their personal shamanic path of empowerment. And what an honor, that the lessons of all my experiences,
enjoyable and not-so-much, find fruition in touching others' lives and lessons!  And how grateful I am to those brave souls who showed their faith, in me and their own guidance, by signing up for this first leap off the cliff with me!  Eternal thanks to my First Class!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Third Eye's The Charm

I had just experienced one of the most wonderful weekends I remember. Yet all good things must end.  Perhaps it was having to say good-bye to my guest, or nerves about my upcoming teaching debut, or just the encroaching darkness of this time of year, but what ever it was, something left me with a constant sinking, churning feeling in my stomach -- a familiar sensation from my days of panic attacks and depression -- when the weekend was over.

"Crap! Aren't I done with this stuff yet? Do I really have to go here again?" But that's where I went for the last few days -- at least far enough to dip my feet into that familiar, uncomfortable feeling of being cloaked in this buzzing, erratic, jagged energy that squeezes my shoulders, disturbs my stomach, and clouds my head. Blech!

I kept trying to remind myself that this is how I feel before making a great leap forward.  It's like my energy retreats inside of me, coiling for a spring, yet this withdrawal of energy leaves me feeling vulnerable and only partially present.  Double Blech!!

So finally I did what I should have done all along -- asking for guidance.  I talked to Goddess, to Artemis,  to Nathaniel, to any and all guides hanging around -- "Please show me what I need to do to heal this." 

Shortly after that, I had a sudden memory surface from the most recent shamanic workshop I'd attended.  We had done a journey asking for information on what we can do to on a daily basis to remember our Divinity, and one of the answers that came to me was, "Every morning when you wake up, open all three eyes!"

On the heals of that memory came an older memory of another journey.  In a shamanic class a couple years ago, around this same time of year, we journeyed to our guides to ask, "What gift do I have to help me get through the dark times without so much difficulty?"  This is what I wrote:

So I went to Nathaniel, asked him my question, and he promptly flew into the air, zipping around in loop-dee-loops. "What are you doing?" "I'm helping you fly above everything to get perspective." "That's fine and all, but I'm not finding that very helpful at the moment. What else have you got?"

At that point he straightened out and stopped in the air. I'm not sure that I was on his back before, but I was now. He said "Look there." My eyes followed his nose to find it was pointing toward a very bright star. "That is your North Star. It will always help you keep your bearings."

Sometimes these otherworld experiences seem a little too convenient. My favorite book is Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck. On one hand I was thrilled to have found mine. On the other, was I just making it up because of the book? Still, I've found that usually these things turn out to be convenient, or obvious, because of the fact that they're true. I went with it.

As I looked at my North Star I realized what I was really looking at was my third eye. Nathaniel confirmed this saying when I get into confusion and turmoil, to open my third eye, as well as my crown chakra. "Where are your emotions?" he asked. Instantly my attention went to my chest and heart where the churned up past still swirled around my shoulders. "If you don't keep your upper chakras open, your head will become immersed in your emotions. By opening your third eye you maintain a distance, staying above them, and are able to see more clearly. You will still feel them, but being able to see will help clear them more easily."

Again the third eye! So I focused my attention on my forehead, maybe even closing my physical eyes to do so, and instantly felt this swirling, flowering energy there -- kind of like the opening of the worm hole on Star Trek Deep Space Nine.  The effect was almost immediate.  All the buzzing, static, interference that I'd been encased in for days suddenly evaporated.  My stomach still felt off center and not totally right, but the weight and pressure of the building steam, like a pot of water put on to boil, just vanished as if my third eye, my sixth chakra, was a release valve allowing that pressure to escape and dissipate. Holy crap!  How easy was that?!

That was yesterday.  Last night I had one of the most peaceful night's sleep I remember.  And today I not only felt 100% better, I also had a number of various intuitive hits and visions, allowing me to sink beneath the surface of reality and taste of the twinkling magick behind all things.  It just took me opening my eyes -- all three of them -- to see it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Random Thanks

Realizing that it is focusing on what's working, counting my blessings, gratitude for what I have, that increases the abundance of those things in my life, for Thanksgiving I made a list of 101 random things I am grateful for--  

1. A councelor who tells me to listen to the voices in my head  2. Chocolate milk  3. William Shatner  4. A warehouse job that allows me to listen to Classical Music  5. Adults who still believe in Santa  6. Long naps with my cats  7. The ability to entertain myself with my own creativity  8. Silence  9. Whimsy  10. Stars to wish upon  11. Where ever it is I go when doing something I love, like drawing comics  12. Rainbows  13. Muppet harmony  14. Everything that led me to being where I am right now -- even the 'bad' stuff  15. Oatmeal -- the perfect food  16. A quiver of new arrows on my back and a beautifully curved bow in my hand  17. Snuggling  18. Friends who become family and family that becomes friends  19. The glory of the full moon  20. Campfires...  21. ...And catching whiffs of wood smoke in my hair for days afterwards  22. Puppy breath  23. Wild places  24. The Faerie folk (and Pixie friends!)  25. Ullian pipes  26. Grande Vanilla Chai  27. Eyes that shine with laughter and wisdom  28. Laughing until my jaw hurts  29. People who are following their bliss, living passionately, and doing what they love  30. Rainbows  31. Moments of deep connection with someone I love  32. Hugs  33. Root beer...  34. ...floats  35. Long, lingering kisses  36. That feeling that lasts into the next day after spending time with someone special  37. Couches to nap on  38. The feeling of awe that comes from looking at something "I" created with the disbelif that it actually came through me  39. Cereal that is just soggy enough  40. Falling asleep to the sound of drums, and waking up to the sound of clanking armor  41. Shoulders to cry on  42. Piggies in a blanket  43. Danny Kay  44. That Xena came along when she did  45. Interlibrary loans  46. Good stories whether ancient sagas, epic poems, faerytales, graphic novels, movies, or what ever  47. Falling asleep to the song of frogs and/or crickets  48. Brilliant puns  49. Rituals with kindred spirits  50. Rainbows  51. Cuddling  52. Egg nog  53. Walking in woods which transform into Sherwood Forest before my eyes  54. Wombats  55. Bells and chimes that give voice to the winds  56. Dancing  57. Bruce Campbell  58. Deep abiding mysteries  59. Coon skin caps and buckskin jackets with fringe  60. Reverse blade swords  61. The Nav'i  62. Faerieworlds  63. Feathers  64. Big dogs  65. Rainbows  70. Glitter  71. Brother Cadfael  72. Jeeves and Wooster  73. Felicity Kendal  74. The honking of geese on the wing  75. Gravel roads  76. Skipping stones  77. A garden burger with mushrooms and swiss cheese...  78. ...Hanging out at the Roanoke Inn  79. The feel of the earth beneath bare feet  80. PBS quilting shows  81. Errol Flynn  82. People to talk to about the 'weird stuff'  83. Seven foot tall, invisible rabbits  84. Rainbows  85. Hope  86. That Honor and Chivalry still live  87. Nag champa  88. A Universe that is safe, friendly, and abundant  89. Four legged, furry children  90. The smell of wet dog  91. Oneness  92. That 42 is the answer and no one knows what the question is  93. Half Price Books  94. The smell of the farm  95. Amazing and breath-taking synchronicities  96. That even when I can't see or believe it, the Universe is unfolding in perfect harmony  97. The soft, gentle kindness of friends' support when I'm feeling weak and/or afraid  98. Smiles that begin in the eyes  99. The sparkly, twinkling magick that underlies all things  100. Being raised near Lake Wobegon  101. Did I mention rainbows?   

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Healing Is Mutual

It wasn't a bad day exactly, in fact bad days have, thankfully, been a rare oddity of late, but this afternoon I did have an emotional challenge that, though it didn't lay me low, did at one point have tears rolling down my cheeks (in the middle of work where, gratefully, most everyone but me was at lunch).

On my lunch break I decided to treat myself to an Egg Nogg Chai (heaven in a cup!) and on the way to the espresso stand I looked over at the pond that is kitty-corner across the street from my day-job, noticing all the ducks and geese there and deciding it would be a healing thing for me to take a walk there, to perhaps find some nice feathers as well as just to connect with Nature.

So upon my return, my cup of 'ambrosia' warming my little tummy, walk I did. Slowly and consciously I strolled around the edge of the water, watching the water birds changing their swimming patterns according to my position.  I walked with my hands open, my arms at a slight angle from my sides, so I could feel the energy of the earth.  Very healing indeed.

The thing that struck me strangely was that, just within the last few days a crew from the city had come in and cut down all the trees and foliage that fringed the pond (which in itself is interesting timing with Samhain and all, amidst a lot of death I've witnessed this season) but the energy of the place was still vital.  A scene that a short time ago would have broken my heart, I was looking upon from a very different perspective.  In the recent shamanic workshop in Santa Fe we really learned how in order to heal someone you can't see them as sick.  You can acknowledge the challenges, but you always see the person, or in this case the land, as whole. 

As I circled around the far end of the pond, feeling more energized and whole myself from the healing vibes of the earth, I silently addressed 'The Spirit of the Land' asking what I could do to help it heal. "You're doing it," came the gentle reply with a hint of a smile, and though I hadn't seen a single feather so far, as soon as the voice spoke in my mind, I spotted a single downy feather at my feet. 

"But, but, but..." I started to protest, expecting some elaborate ceremony involving drums and moonlight and dancing of some sort, "Are you sure you're not just my own mind trying to make my feel important?" "Very sure," came the distinct voice, this time spoken with almost a laugh, "As you walk in wholeness and heal yourself, you heal the land you stand upon. It is that simple.  Besides that, we have been less ravaged than the land around us and are for the most part still intact."

I looked around at the warehouses encroaching on this little oasis of wildlife, and realized what bit of destruction here was but a mere 'trim off the top' compared to the 'development' of the land surrounding it.

I had just about completed my circle around the pond, and I wondered at how curious it was -- healing the Earth which I was receiving healing from. Curious indeed. And suddenly I realized there was one more thing I could do to seal our mutual healing. A song had, unbidden, lept to my mind and onto my lips as I found myself singing out loud over the rippling waters.

           EE    EE
 HEE     LA    HEE                              
                             YO             EE    EE
                                        HEE     LA    HEE

What the words, if that's what you can call them, mean or where the fully formed tune came from I do not know, but the resulting healing was mutual, I assure you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Breakfast At Ereshkigal's

As Samhain (pronounced "Sow Win" -- the Celtic term for Halloween) rolls around each year I like to reread this entry to a former private blog I had, of one of the most powerful rituals I've ever taken part in.  It took place a couple years ago with a local Pagan group and still I feel the ripples from it influencing my life to this day -- particularly the promise I made to the Queen of the Underworld...

The other night I took a trip to the underworld. Though it was “just” a ritual, the experience was authentic and powerful. I thought I had come to this gathering to see a couple friends who would be there but, as the rit unfolded, I realized that it was the real reason I was there.

The ritual was centered around Inanna’s descent to the underworld. In the pre-rit discussion, as they were preparing us for what was to come, I felt anxiety rising, and my chest beginning to tighten. I could tell this was not going to be a normal, just-along-for-the-ride type, ritual, but had deeper, more consequential ramifications. I had doubts, and questioned if this was truly something I wanted to take part in. I also knew that I had to go through it, because it was exactly, in a nutshell, what I’ve been doing this season.

We met inside, where we watched Inanna, the Sumerian Queen of Heaven, decide to visit her sister, Ereshkigal, Queen of the Underworld. She was confident because of Her rank with the gods, and who She was, that this would not be a problem. However, we witnessed Her meeting with Ereshkigal’s guardians who literally stripped Her of everything until bowed and shaking, naked and crying, She was ushered into the lower realms. And as Inanna disappeared out the door, into the dark night, one guardian turned to the group, telling us that if we wanted to travel to the underworld, we were to join them outside, along the building.

Once we were lined up outside, we were given blindfolds of gauze, and a rope to hold onto, by which we would be guided through the seven gates to the Queen Herself. So we were led slowly, blindly, through the night and over the rough, mucky ground, sometimes brushing against trees or rocks, and at seven points, as we passed through a ‘gate’, we were asked a question: “Will you release…” What we were asked to release were our power, our relationships, our possessions, our wealth, our bodies, our beauty, our minds. If ever our answer was ‘no’, we would need to let go of the rope and return, but I continued to answer ‘yes’. This is what this whole exploration has been about for me, getting to my core. As we were told at each gate, “These things have no power in this realm. Who are you without them?” That is what my exploration is about. Who am I at my essence, when everything that is not me is removed? It is something I faced on my vision Quest, and here, 6 months later, it seems I needed to be reminded again.

And so, as we neared the Nether Realms, and I let go of more and more of the things that I have wrapped a false identity around, I felt lighter and lighter, until finally we were told to remove our blindfolds. We found ourselves in the Royal Presence of Ereshkigal. A fire burned in a brazier, just off the ground in front of us, and beyond that was a raised platform, a stage, upon which sat the throne of Ereshkigal, and upon which sat Ereshkigal Herself.

What unfolded next was more drama, as Inanna was brought before Her sister -- Her sister filled with anger, bitterness, resentment, and hate for being relegated to the Underworld while Inanna had been raised to become Queen of the Heavens. Inanna, on Her knees, still weeping and asking why, kept crying “It’s not fair”, only to be slapped by Erishkigal who repeated “it’s not fair!” “You will never leave this place Sister!”

Then the Queen of Darkness turned Her attention toward us. She descended the throne, and walked to and fro before us, and though her black attire and skull-painted face seemed aimed at frightening us, there was a beauty and an allure to her that could not be denied. “What were you looking for when you came here? Enlightenment?!” She asked, “Well, you’ve found me, and you best pray that you can find something in your heart to draw you beyond this place, because if I find one spot of darkness in you, my bitterness and resentment and regret and anger will use that opening to eat at you alive from the inside out!”

Now, I guessed that all this was meant to push buttons, make us question ourselves, and even scare us, but having just released all those things, on the journey down to this point, that would bring up such feelings, I could look upon Her with nothing but Love and Compassion, for at my core I knew myself to be Light and Love and Truth. I saw in her a reflection of all the things that distract me and get in the way of my connection with that core, but at that moment, all I was was Love.

She continued by saying that there was no way out of here but through Her. She was the final gate, and we would have to have good reason to be released back into the land of the living. With that She ascended the throne once more, where She sat and motioned each of us before Her, one by one. As we filed up, I watched Her interact with the others. Despite Her rage and bitterness, she showed quite a bit of tenderness, reaching out and holding someone’s hands, placing her hand on the top of someone’s head, or beneath their chin. Still I felt a tinge of anxiety as my turn arrived, in fact enough anxiety that I wasn’t paying attention and tripped going up the steps. D’oh! I regained my composure, approached Her Majesty, and knelt at Her feet. Looking up into Her eyes I knew for certain I was kneeling before a Goddess and no mere human.

“What would bind you to my realm?” “Low self esteem,” I answered. “Ah yes. When I close my eyes I can see that you appear this big.” She held Her fingers a couple inches apart. “But you are not this big. You know this!” “Yes.” “If I release you from my realm you will take all of you, your full size with you. You may leave that little you here, but you will take the rest with you.” “Yes.” “Now, what ties you so strongly the Land of the Living?” “Love, Creation…” “Ah! Creation!” She sat back, closing Her eyes. “I remember that well! I was quite fond of Creation, but I have nothing to do with that now,” She said, a sliver of bitterness slipping back into Her words. She opened Her eyes, sat forward again, and once more I found myself captivated by the beautiful eyes of the Divine. “You will not waste this?” She asked, though more as a command than a question. “No.” “You will live and you will create?” There was the sense of personal purpose in this, of not allowing anything to interfere with it. “I will.” “Then go,” She said, tilting her head toward the far end of the stage.

Once we had all been released, Ereshkigal again addressed Inanna, telling Her to get up from where She had lain, next to the throne, this whole time. She rose, to be told again that She would not be permitted to leave. Inanna protested, saying She had done all that had been demanded of Her. At this point, a priest stepped forward, addressing Ereshkigal, saying it was the Law that if She could find some soul to take Inanna’s place, the Queen of Heaven must be released. He waved a hand toward us saying, “There are plenty of souls here. Choose one.” “Wait!” Cried Inanna. “This is my shade.” She pulled the same gauzy fabric that our blindfolds were made of, from about Her head. “This is all my bitterness and fears, you may keep these.” She descended the stairs and tossed the gauze into the flames. She stood, once again naked, before the Queen of the Underworld, but no longer shaking or crying.

“Your requirements have been fulfilled. Thank you Sister. I have learned a lot from you, and for that I will always be grateful.” Inanna’s friend and companion, then draped a robe over the Heavenly Queen’s shoulders, and She turned to us, directing us to throw our blindfolds into the fire. When all had done so, leaving behind the things that blinded us to our true natures, Inanna told us to clasp hands, and She thusly guided us back to the Land of the Living.

On the way back, only one question had we to answer – “Will you live?”


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Swan Song

It was, synchronistically, the day of my Birthday at the shamanic workshop I went to in Santa Fe that we were dealing with Creation Stories.  In the work we were learning, we were merging with the Creator, and so it was important for each of us to know who our personal creator is, thus we did a journey to literally 'meet our maker' and to discover what our personal creation myth was, as well as to come back with a symbol of our creator that we could put up somewhere to remind us to connect.

Now I have a deep, expanding body of personal myths that I've been building for years, and had actually written a creation myth long ago (Swan Mother -- A Creation Story), so when we began our journey I was nervous -- if Swan Mother shows up, that's just too convenient and I know I'm just making it up, if not downright cheating because I already wrote it.  Well, guess who showed up?  But as I watched this living story unfold before my eyes, whether I'd already written it or not, there were changes and depth added to it that were not part of the original story, and I can't describe the immediacy and exhilaration of witnessing it play out of it's own accord before me.

The following is an updated version of my personal Creation Story, melding my original writing with my first-hand eye-witness account...

irst was, is, Swan Mother. She-Before-All-Else. You wouldn't have known that was who She was, though, for She appeared as but a ball of pure white light. She was alone, but not lonely, for She was complete in Herself. So complete was She that a feeling began to make itself known to Her from deep inside. A tingling, bubbling feeling. A feeling of love.
Now Swan Mother knows love. One complete in Herself knows all about love, because it is love that makes one complete. A deep abiding love that is the touchstone and ground of all Being. Swan Mother is Love.

But this love was different. This love was growing -- Growing and expanding in such a way that Swan Mother knew it could not be contained. If She did nothing She would burst! So in Her wisdom, Swan Mother gathered Her wings about Her, like a great downy cloak, and in one swift and graceful movement, spread Her vast wings as far as they would reach. In so doing, in this unimaginable expanse from wing-tip to wing-tip, Swan Mother had created Space.

As Her wings unfolded, so too unfurled Her long, curved neck and in a great expression of release she sang out a song of Joy.  Now this tingling, bubbling, effervescent feeling of love, growing with in Her, had somewhere to go, and go it did!  From Her snowy throat, amidst the notes of Her beautiful song, sprang a serpent of flame which curled and twisted and danced through the new-born space, rolling and stretching in it's new found freedom. And as the serpent danced, his fiery form coalesced into a stallion -- Fire Horse!  

So filled with His new found joy and freedom was Fire Horse, that He ran and jumped, played and pranced throughout the whole of space between Swan Mother's outstretched wings.  And in His excitement and play, the sparks from His hooves ignited all the downy feathers, that floated everywhere from Swan Mother's great exertion, and these became the countless multitude of suns and stars in the heavens. 

Swan Mother flapped her wings, fanning the flames of these myriad suns, and the the currents which formed in the wake of her wings drew all the stars into their myriad patterns and constellations.  So much Joy had She at this creation that tears fell from Her eyes, each tear drop falling into place around a star -- each a pregnant salt-water world ready to blossom with life.
And so it was. And so it is. Aho.

...and as I was beginning to return from my journey, and to the class room in Santa Fe, I was left with one last image -- I was a wee-babe held lovingly and tenderly in the interlaced wingtips of Swan Mother, as her long, graceful neck craned down in my direction and She smiled at me.


In The Footsteps of the Master

In the recent 5-day shamanic workshop I attended in Santa Fe, our teacher, Sandra Ingerman, was talking about how the Universe is always talking to us, and it's really up to us to recognize and interpret the signs and omens presented to us.  It may be as simple as a particular bird or animal crossing your path, or the snippet of an overheard conversation.  But whatever your question, the answers are all around you, and the Universe attempts to communicate them to you in meaningful ways.  I believe it was just before lunch she was telling us this, and as we broke to eat, our assignment was to ask a question and then to expect and to look for an answer. 

At the soul retrieval workshop I'd taken with Sandra acouple months ago, I'd learned that she has a two year Teacher's Training program.  Immediately I felt excitement and a pull in that direction, but for the intervening time between that workshop and this one, whenever I asked my guides if I should sign up for it, my answer has been, "One step at a time. Just get through the next workshop..." etc. So here I was at the next workshop and a lot of people were talking about teacher training, and a lot of people had already been accepted into the program.  "Okay guys! I think I need an answer here! Is it for the highest good for me to take this teacher training?"

I went to lunch, a little disappointed that some of the faery folk who abounded in this magickal place didn't jump out of the bushes yelling "Yes!! Do it!! We want to see you again ion April!!"  Oh well.  I kept my eyes and heart open as I wound down and processed all the info and experience from the morning's class.  I wandered back up to the class room a bit early, thinking that maybe I'd take a short nap in my spot and that way not have to worry about oversleeping into class time.  As I walked into the building, there at my feet, inexplicably to me as to how it got there and pretty sure I hadn't seen it before, was a paw print, dug into the solid tile floor. A wolf's pawprint.

It's not like it was a solid concrete floor where some animal could have stepped into it before it had dried.  And it wasn't a decorative tile where there was a theme with other decorative tiles around it. It was absolutely on it's own.  Besides that, had it been cut there by a professional craftsman, it would most likely have been more 'perfect'. This print was perfectly imperfect.  There may be a totally logical way it got there, but I can't even guess at how.  And besides that, the 'how' isn't important -- that just adds to the juicy mystery of the miracle.

The significance is simply in it's presence, and the fact that it is a wolf paw.  Wolf, aside from being my Totem animal, carries the medicine and symbology of the Teacher.  Whether male or female, Wolf gets its energy and power from the Moon, the intuitive Feminine side of its soul -- a trait of the greatest teachers, rolling with the flow of what needs to be illuminated and putting the importance that things are seen clearly rather than following to the letter some syllabus or schedule.  And every wolf pack has its scouts that venture forth into unknown territory to bring back to the pack what they've learned from their own experience.  This is the essence and embodiment of the teacher.   

The fact also that the print was pointing into the heart of our class room rather than away from it seemed highly symbolic.  A clear enough sign to me, as if Wolf were standing there in person, ushering me into the room and whispering, "You're on the right path. Follow my footsteps. This way..."

So to my hidden faery folk friends, including the little guy with the long tail who climbed up into my closet the first night, I will see you in April!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Down The Pub

We interupt your normally scheduled blog posts to bring you this very important Blantant Self Promotion...


It seems almost anti-climatic, as I sort out what the word "published" means in today's era of technology and computers. I've been periodically posting original comics to my facebook page, and eventually ended up dedicating an entire blog to my latest works (http://drawingbreath-comic.blogspot.com/) but in the same way that I still prefer a book in my hands with real pages to turn rather than reading things online, there's something in me that said that, until I hold a solid book of my comics in my hands, I am not published.

It started almost by accident, and as an experiment. Recently my sister published a book of her art with an online publisher -- 
Aside from absolutely loving her artwork, something switched on in my brain. If she can do that with her paintings, then I can do the same thing with my comics!  I checked into the website she used, found out how easy it was, and voila!

The timing was perfect! After I'd been to the Soul Retrieval training with Sandra Ingerman acouple months ago, I was looking at a comic I'd drawn about 15 years ago, and with the new insights I had garnered from the class, realized I was looking at a soul retrieval in comic book form, drawn years before I even knew they existed. I decided I needed to share this with Sandra when I saw her again for another workshop that happened just last week.  I gathered all my original drawings, made sure they were all in the correct order, tucked them into a manilla envelope, and prepared to go to the local printer to make copies.

Boom! That's when my sister finished her book and I realized how cool it would be to hand Sandra the very first published copy of this comic book! ...signed of course. So the following is that comic --

I drew it when I was rediscovering my love for cartooning.  In the comic, Putar, my childhood feline version of Tarzan and the one character I drew semi-consistently up to recent times, is sent back in time to retrieve my other boyhood charcters, and thus restore that creativity to my current self.  In the final panel Putar holds my younger self and wishes him, "Welcome home."  This is exactly what we've been taught to whisper into the ear of every client when we finish a soul retrieval. How cool is that?
So as I continue to do soul retreivals, and make plans to teach shamanic classes, as well as attend shamanic classes, and draw new comics, I am compiling a number of older comic projects and am slowly getting them published into book form.  And as I watch this bit of childhood dream unfurling before me, easier and more effortlessly than I could have imagined, I whisper to the little boy whose dream this has always been, "Welcome home."
My sister's book is "30 Dogs in 30 days" 2011 by Kat Corrigan http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2496995
and while you're at it you can check out her other paintings at http://katcorrigan.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How Weird Is That?

One of my favorite Star Trek quotes (...Yes. I am a geek and I do have more than one favorite Star Trek quote... ) happens when Captain Janeway is walking with a crew member through the decks of Voyager. The crew member is talking about how weird their latest adventure was, and Janeway replies, "We're Starfleet. Weird is just part of the job!"
At my second Sandra Ingerman workshop in so many months (which I will talk about in more detail in other posts) I heard a few different people on a few different occasions specifically mention the word 'weird,' in reference to what family and others called them, or how they felt, usually with a negative conotation. But all I could think of was the above quote and how, when you're walking off the beaten path, things are going to naturally get a little strange. To me it's a sign post that I'm going the right way.  You can't walk a magickal and/or shamanic path and expect to be normal. If things were 'normal' where is the adventure and the wonder?

Besides that, there is the etymological root the word comes from -- "wyrd" -- which ties into the Fates (particularly the Norse version called the Norns and specifically the Norn who was named "Urd"), often referred to as the Wyrd Sisters whose most famous incarnation is as the three witches at the beginning of Macbe... --The Scottish Play

So, fittingly, 'weird' is a word brimming with magick, and prophesy, and other such shamanic things, and I tend to wear it as a badge of honor. So if you are on a shamanic path, and things start getting... interesting... just remember -- "You're a shaman. Weird is just part of the job."

(Second favorite quote: "Sir! I protest! I am not a merry man!")

Monday, September 26, 2011

Soul Train-ing

A month or so ago, I finished a training in Soul Retrieval with Sandra Ingerman -- The woman who literally wrote the book on the subject.  I have written a number of posts on what was happening with me leading up to the workshop, and now as the subtle but palpable changes settle in I'm feeling ready to write about this slow-motion turning-point of my life.

As the date approached I was both nervous and excited. I knew something big was about to happen, if by no other means than by the emotional roller-coaster I'd been on for months prior.  Death/rebirth cycles can be a little rough on the ego, and when it starts fighting, and whining, and whispering doubts and fears into your mind, you know huge changes are around the corner, and oo-doggie was mine making a nuisance of itself!  But as I pulled off the main road and started down the lovely, long driveway winding ahead of me into the deep green forest, and the retreat center I would call home for the next five days, I felt a peace descend  upon me and I breathed a little easier. 

We met that first night in sort of an introductory capacity, and to help us gel as a group we drummed and danced like crazy -- and we weren't the only ones.  More than a few folks mentioned feeling or seeing the Fae that were dancing with us.  And that was not the only otherworldly thing going on.  Despite having spent around 6 hours straight, drumming on the beach a few weeks earlier, not until this night had I developed blisters on my hand from my drum stick.  Not only that, but I had to stop and look at my drum stick a couple times because I felt like it was bending, as if it were made out of rubber, and I was afraid it would break.  Another friend said she experienced the same exact thing.  What a way to start the week, and what an indicator of what an awe-inspiring week it would be!

I won't go into all the details and notes of the week, otherwise I won't ever get this posted.  Plus, by sticking to the highlights, perhaps I can inspire someone to investigate and explore it deeper for themselves.  Suffice it to say I took tons of notes (50 plus pages), and that Sandra prepared us very well and thoroughly on the subject.  Even with just highlights, this post became quite lengthy, so I tried to make it a bit more digestable by breaking it into bite-sized 'chapters.'

At this point, for those who don't know, I should probably explain what Soul Retrieval is -- When we experience a trauma, part of us leaves to avoid the full brunt of the pain. In itself this is a great self protection mechanism, but sometimes those parts don't find their way back on their own.  In a Soul retrieval, shamanic practitioners, with the help of  their spirit guides, can journey into the other worlds to find those missing parts and reunite them with the client, returning to them that lost essence and vitality, as well as the sense of wholeness that is every person's birthright. 


One of the key things to shamanism is that it is not the shaman or the practitioner who does the work -- It is their spirit guides.  The human is the "hollow bone" through which the spirits heal, and like humans, spirits specialize, so one of the first things we did was journey to find out who our Soul Retrieval specialist(s) were:

Even before the drumming started to send us on our journey, I was aware of a salmon jumping and swimming through my mind, providing the four different views of himself which is an agreed upon sign that a spirit is your personal guide. Perhaps a little over-cautious, once the drumming started, I asked my scaly friend to hold on a minute while I checked with my main power animal.  Nathaniel, my reindeer, came running and stopped nose to nose with me. I asked him to take me to my soul retrieval specialist.  I swear he rolled his eyes as he took one big step to the side, revealing the salmon leaning half-way up on a river bank, head resting on one fin while he waved to me with the other.  He said to call him "Sal" (short for Salomon I was to find out) when I asked him to tell me a joke --

Q: What do you get when you cross a parrot with a coconut?
A: Some crazy nut who won't stop talking!

He went on to tell me we'd been working together for some time, just not on a conscious level, and I thought about how often in at least the past year that Salmon has jumped into my awareness. And I thought to myself, what better guide for soul retrievals than a fish who can swim up stream to find the the missing pieces of peoples' pasts!

Seeing as most of us were introduced to a new guide that we hadn't worked with before, we did a couple of journeys to work with and familiarized ourselves with them, and to begin building our working relationship.  So I talked to Sal about various things -- preparation, singing and dancing during sessions, tools, etc.  Apparently I will come up with a healing song to sing as I'm preparing to do a soul retrieval -- something to instantly put me into the right consciousness and to merge with Sal -- but at the time I was too distracted by drumming for my own journey (we'd been sent outside to do this while connecting to the spirit of the land) to receive it.

Finally, after a couple of days of preparations, journeys, and note-taking, it was time to jump into the deep end.  We partnered up to give each of us the opportunity to experience giving as well as receiving a soul retrieval, and switched with each other between the morning and the afternoon.

I gave first, but won't go into details because it's my partner's story to share, not mine, although I will say --what an awesome experience!  We were told that performance anxiety is natural before hand, and I was a bit worried -- "What if I can't do this?" "What if nothing happens?" "What if I do something wrong?" -- but the second part of that message was that, the truth is you can't do this! It's the spirits working through you who are doing the work, and our job was to be the hollow bone and let the spirits do their work. And what awesome work it is!

The most interesting thing that happened, though, was that the anklet of braided leather that I'd been wearing for months prior fell off immediately following this.  Just fell off.  Hadn't been loose, or anything else. When I got back to my seat I investigated to see what it was I was feeling under my foot, and there lay my anklet. A more blatant sign of a rite of passage being completed I can't think of, and I can't help but think of my recent reunion with Snake Medicine and it's inherent shedding of old skins.  The cool thing is I'd already talked to a friend about making me a beautiful new anklet with bells and beads, which I am wearing now.

After lunch and our afternoon break, it was my turn.  Again I was nervous and excited, not exactly sure what to expect.  And again I was struck by the ease of these transitional moments.  I had been feeling a 'disturbance in the Force' for months before this time, and now, with nary a whimper, it had passed.  After soaking in the retrieved vitality and energy for about 20 minutes, my partner told me how she had brought back my 16 year old self, who brought with him Clarity and Knowingness.  There was also a message that "Masculinity equals Inspiration."  Fittingly, her Stag spirit guide was very excited about that.


At this point everyone in class had received a soul retrieval, so we were sent out to sit with a tree and to ask it how to better root these returned soul parts into ourselves.  As I walked outside I was amazed at how different everything felt and looked.  I was definitely more grounded and present in my body.  And looking around was almost like when you get a new eye glass prescription -- everything looks the same but a bit sharper, and you're not quite sure how far away the ground is as you're walking. And as I leaned back and allowed the tree to support my weight I had to smile.  Just like my vision quest 2 1/2 years earlier, the first thing I heard was a Raven.  Deep, deep magick was a foot!

The tree answered my question with the image of a drop of water joining a bigger body of water -- there was no distinguishing it from the rest.  It was like a raindrop rejoining the ocean, and all the energy and essence of that drop is now infused with the rest of the ocean of my soul.  So, the message went on, I can't root that soul part to me as if it were separate, but can help that essence remain in my soul y rooting myself to my own essence/divinity.  Meditate every day. It doesn't matter when or how long, or whether in stillness or motion -- just touch base every day.


The rest of that day and into the next, we learned more about life after soul retrieval, and setting up for clients, and other more 'mundane' subjects.  Then in the afternoon we journeyed again.  We had talked at length about "soul stealing" and how, particularly in our modern society, we are constantly giving our soul away, or trying to take others' soul or power.  Co-dependence is a good way to put it.  So from generation to generation this is passed and taught as the normal way of things, but, as Sandra emphasized, this is neither good nor bad, it's just time to stop it, heal it, and evolve into a different behavior.

So the intention for this journey was to ask our guides what souls we had that weren't ours, and for a ritual we can perform to release them --

When I emerged from the tunnel into the Lower World, Nathaniel came running. I asked him my question and he said I'd been doing a good job of unburdening my soul, and that it was more important for me at this point to focus on my own soul and the future rather than the past -- so it didn't matter whose souls they were.

Then he gave me a ritual to release whatever souls I was carrying:  I was to dance in a spiral while sowing cornmeal.  As I danced I was to sing --

"Go with Love
I let you go
And give Goddess
More seeds to sow"

I was to start out kind of crouched down, standing taller and taller as I get to the center of the spiral.  Once at the center, and I believe this was to honor my returned 16 year old soul, I was to face the sun and let loose with a Tarzan yell.

So, of course, the next step was to perform these rituals, and the moment I began to strew the cornmeal/lavender mix I carried in my hand, I palpably felt lighter. And when I got to the center and gave my Tarzan yell, though it didn't come out exactly Johnny Weissmullerish, I was surprised by the strength and duration of the call (as well as the fact that, loud as it was, no one seems to have heard it!).

The next journey we did, after making sure our soul parts had at least 24 hours to settle in before bugging them, was to go inside ourselves and meet the returning soul part(s); To find out in our own words why they left, what are the gifts/talents they are bringing back, and to ask what changes we need to make in our lives to make them feel more welcome and to support this wholeness--

I met with my 16 year old self, and the first thing that occurred to me was that I didn't look as dorky as I thought I had at the time. We sat across from each other in my old high school's cafeteria sipping on root beer floats while chatting. He told me that he had left because of lack of support and being invalidated, and I think back to how little support I had back then -- I mean my physical needs had always been met, but emotionally there was not a lot of support for my true-self, so I really had become a shadow of myself as I constantly found the only way to express myself in an acceptable manner was in a self-belittling, self-invalidating way.  Okay. Understood.  

The good news was that that was over, and along with excitement and enthusiasm, he was bringing back a renewed sense of whimsy to help me not be so serious -- or to take myself so seriously.  He was bringing back Authenticity!

I asked what I had to do to make him welcome, and he said I needed to support him -- literally.  I needed to pay the bills and take care of the details of everyday life, then not worry about them.  Get them done and out of the way to leave space for me/him to play and be ourself. 

Still a buzz from our soul retrievals, I was particularly giddy and giggly with this new teenage energy, and began to get concerned that I was laughing too much and too loudly.  It didn't help matters that my friend sitting next me had had her soul part from the same time period as mine retrieved, so we were constantly breaking into 80s songs and stuff. Fortunately I was the only one who felt I was being obnoxious because everyone I talked to complimented me on my laugh and said how much they enjoyed hearing it, and how much it cheered them as well.  And it suddenly struck me that here was the validation I'd been lacking for my authentic, goof-ball self.  As Fred would say, "I'm perfect just the way I am!"

Then we learned that not only do we each have a soul, but that every part of us has a soul or spirit of its own. If someone has a body part that is damaged and needs healing, or even if something has been removed, like an arm or leg, or even a womb, the essence and vitality of that body part can be blown back into the person in the same way we learned how to blow soul parts back into someone, making them that much more whole and less susceptible to further disease and complications. 

We partnered up and did this form of soul retrieval for each other, choosing 3 or 4 physical things we needed help with.  I have had a history of challenges with my teeth, so I asked my partner for help with that.  She ended up doing an extraction -- removing some unhealthy energy -- from the area and then, as we joked afterwards, literally gave me mouth to mouth as she blew the spirit back into my teeth.  But my mouth has never felt as good as it has since then, and I find I don't have the same fears and concerns about my dental health that used to plaque me, having been replaced with a healthy confidence.

I won't mention her comments after I blew the soul of her hamstring back in...


Finally we learned one more form of soul retrieval that Sandra calls "Dream Remembering."  Basically, because when we journey in non-ordinary reality it is beyond time and space, we can specifically journey back to the point of a person's birth to find out what their original dream and intent for this lifetime was before all the physical and social conditioning began to erode that away.  Then retrieving that and blowing it into the person, we can return to them that original vision and sense of purpose for the path they were meant to walk, and in that way help them move in the direction of their dreams, which may have lay buried and forgotten.

We partnered up again and did this beautiful retrieval for each other.  Once we received what the dream was that we'd brought into this life with us, we asked for a symbol of this dream, which was then what we blew into our partner, and returning to Ordinary Reality, we drew the symbol for our partner so they could put it up somewhere in their home to remind them.  This is what my partner drew for me--
What my friend brought back for me, the dream I came into this life with, the intention and purpose with which I was born, was to help unite all faiths and teach people to see the common base at the root of all religions. Go fig! :)


So that was the highlights of the week. There were smaller details (and a couple bigger ones I left out that may become posts in their own right) but that should give a hint of how intense and awesome the week was. It took me a while to acclimate back to Ordinary Reality and an 8 to 5 job again, but the funny, and somehow ironic, thing is that my 16 year old has steadily helped me mature since then, something that continues increasingly as I turn around and share what I've learned with the community.

Welcome home!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Teacher's Pet

So, during my soul retrieval workshop, in a journey to ask what I could do to help integrate the essence and vitality that was returned to me, my guides gave me a list --
  • Draw everyday
  • Walk in Nature
  • Meditate everyday (whether in stillness or in the movement of Tai-chi)
Wha-huh?! Teach?! Really?! Me?!  "Yes," Nathaniel said, half-hiding a smile, "It's about time you began to teach."

Picture my surprise upon arriving home and, in checking the stack of emails that had accumulated over the past week, I opened a message from a friend, and former teacher, asking if I were interested in coming over for an evening class on how to teach Introductory Shamanic Journeys.  "...If you feel inspired," she said.  "How can I spend a week with Sandra Ingerman and not be inspired?" I replied.  In fact I was so inspired that when I received a catalog for the local Park & Recreation Dept, I suddenly got a flash of seeing "Introduction to Shamanic Journeying" in the class listings.

So, one of the first things we did in the aforementioned class was journey to meet whoever is going to be our spirit guide(s) for teaching.  Right away I met an owl by the name of Hortance (later it occurred to me -- Hortance hears a hoo-hoo!).  I ran him by Nathaniel, just to check him out, and then, in a little trick I learned from another teacher to 'test the spirits', I asked him to tell me a joke -- the idea being that if they have any other agenda than your highest good, they will not have the humor to do so --

          Q:  What do you call a person sitting alone on a sidewalk?
          A:  A 'dumpling'!   (Think about it from a bird's point of view... flying over... uh-huh...)

Okay. Definitely one of my crew (Though I wouldn't ever have come up with, let alone have told, a joke like that...).  

I was a bit surprised that Fred didn't pop up, since he's a model teacher for me, so I went to his place.  He told me Hortance was my main teacher guide, but he would definitely be there (then Jeshua and another guide chimed in with a "Me too" each).

So I went back to Hortance to ask how we would work together.  Hortance called it "Creative Inspiration" -- he would supply the energy and inspiration, but the words would be my own.  We would ride a whole spectrum of varieties on the theme, from him talking through me to me expounding on my own experiences, but for the most part it would be his creative inspiration.

Finally I asked what were the gifts/talents I was bringing to the table for my future classes?  Stealth and Humor.  Like an owl who is totally silent in flight so that it's prey doesn't know it's there until the owl's talons are sinking in, my classes will be so busy laughing and enjoying my passion for the subject, they won't realize until afterwards how much they have learned and how much has sunk in.  No wonder my Teacher's Aide is an owl!

It's funny because, as a kid in school, other than being a cartoonist, the two careers I could easily see myself doing were acting and teaching. I used to watch my teachers, particularly the passionate, inspiring ones, and imagine how, and what, I would teach.  And now this new direction seems imminent (which it must be if I already have a designated spirit guide for teaching!) as I begin setting up plans with a few others to teach Shamanic Journeying.  And even before receiving that email, when I was finishing up the Soul Retrieval workshop, I was feeling a strong tug toward taking Sandra Ingerman's Two-Year Teaching Program. It seems like the natural next step, especially as I remember what White Buffalo Calf Woman told me on my vision quest almost two and a half years ago -- that "my path is to be shared."  Sharing is teaching.

Of course when I ask my guides about it, they tell me, "One step at a time."  So I will continue to simply put one foot in front of the other, and see where I end up.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wren Faire

Having spent almost an entire week learning Soul Retrieval with Sandra Ingerman, the woman who literally wrote the book on the subject, was one of the most incredible weeks I've ever experienced.  And now that I'm home and have had a couple days to acclimate again, and share many cuddly nap-times with my lonely kitties, I'm feeling a bit of internal pressure to write and share about last week.  However, I'm also still integrating the essence and energy of my 16 year old self that was returned to me, and as our energies merge and become one, I'm finding the prospect of detailing last week's highlights a bit daunting at the moment.  So stay tuned -- SAME PAT-rick TIME, SAME PAT-rick CHANNEL!

In the meantime, I do wish to add a sort of epilogue to my last post concerning Wren's sudden and meaningful presence in my life.  At the workshop, on one of the first days, we were sent outside into the woods to journey and connect with the spirits of the land and the trees and thank them for allowing us here and working with us. 

When I had finished talking to the spirit of this Old Man Tree that I was sitting in front of, and was writing down notes from my journey, a wren flew right in front of me, between me and the tree which was only a couple feet distant, then around the tree again before disappearing into the underbrush. I couldn't help but laugh, and thanked Wren profusely again for his timely appearance.

I wrapped things up and returned to my place in the little chapel that was our classroom for the week.  Before she started teaching again, Sandra told us of how, once everyone had left, this "little bird" had flown in the door on one side of the chapel, hopped around the entire circle of seats, checking out every single one, then after a failed attempt to leave out a closed window, just flew out the open door on the other side of the chapel.  "Did it have a stiff little tail?" I asked, demonstrating with a couple fingers hopping bird-like in front of me. She nodded.  "That was Wren!" I said, sitting back with a huge smile on my face.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wrenaissance Man

Okay. It was weird, even for me...

So I'm in the warehouse at my day-job Thursday  afternoon, and out of the corner of my eye I see a shadow flit across the ceiling.  I look up and my heart sinks when I see a small bird perched near one of the hanging lights.  "Alright. Here we go." I sigh.  It is not an easy thing to do, and I am not looking forward to trying to coax the little guy to fly down from the ceiling and out the wide open bay doors. There was something different about this bird, though.  In the few times a bird has flown into the warehouse, it's usually a sparrow or a junco, but this wee fella was neither.  "Oh my gosh! I think that's a wren!"  It had a little pointy beak, and a stiff little tail that stuck up into the air, and I recognized it from the wrens I'd seen hopping and bounding through bushes and undergrowth.  "What the heck is he doing way up there?" I thought. I'd never seen one more than a few feet off the ground. 

Standing beneath, and looking up at my feathered friend I said, "Alright Goddess. What do I do?" I closed my eyes to better listen for an answer, and I swear they were closed but for a couple of seconds.  I opened them again, having not moved from the spot or averted my gaze, yet the bird was gone -- just gone! I looked back and forth to see where he might have flown to, then walked around the warehouse, my neck craned toward the ceiling.  Gone!  No where!  What the...?!

The rest of the day, as I went about my business, I kept looking skyward but never again spied my little buddy, and began to seriously wonder if he'd actually been there at all.  Weird...

After work I went to a friend's house.  We have so many things in common and so many synchronous experiences, that it really feels like we're more sister and brother from another mother than we are friends.  So, I probably should not have been surprised to find out that the day before, she had had a wren inside her house. Now I was really paying attention!

She fetched her copy of "Animal Speak" by Ted Andrews to see what the significance of wren is, and what messages the appearance of a wren carry.  Among the lines of the entry on Wren, these stood out to me-- 

"Keynote: Resourcefulness and Boldness"

"...The wren has the vocal power of a bird much larger. It will sing from daylight to dark, as if overflowing with confidence. It is also a bit of a spitfire, and it will not hesitate to confront any threatening bird or animal..."

"...Are you using the resources available to you? Are you not displaying enough confidence?  Are you not attacking your life with enough gusto? Wren holds the medicine for using what is available, and can teach you the most effective means to build within your own environment."...

As soon as I heard the "Resourcefulness and Boldness" part, I breathed an "a-ha!" I have been becoming more and more aware lately of where I put my energy, and the consequences of expending my energy into areas that do not nurture me -- the need to be more resourceful.  This became especially apparent as I was preparing for my Soul Retrieval training in a few days.

So, yeah, I'd just had Snake retrieved for me as a power animal, bringing some intense shedding of old skins, attitudes, etc -- a very emotional, uncomfortable time. And, as I mentioned in my last post, Crow has been very conspicuous of late, pointing me to the darkness of the void of death and rebirth. All these things churning up to be released and to make room for this new change and transformation has put me into somewhat of a tail-spin, and I've found myself wandering through my days barely present, depressed, and a shadow of my former self -- yet feeling powerless to do anything because it is all just part of the process and I just have to endure it. 

Well, the day before my little friend flew into my life, I'd been reading the soul retrieval book required for my class during my lunch break, and as I read about soul loss and soul stealing, something clicked.  It just sounded and felt too familiar. I realized it was describing how I'd been feeling for quite some time.  I returned to work, these thoughts and feelings still weighing on me as I recounted people/situations, in the past year or so, that could have stolen bits of my soul/power -- who and what I may have given my power away to.  A slow anger started to simmer as I fluctuated back and forth between my previous powerlessness and the possibility that all the suffering and exhaustion has been needless.  Like the sun coming out and burning off the morning clouds, the rising anger burned off the fog in my mind, and brought into clarity and light the truth of the situation. Fortunately I was alone in a corner of the warehouse when this fire crescendoed.  I said nothing out loud but, realizing my own power in deciding my own fate, in my head I screamed, "GIVE ME BACK MY G*DD*MN F**KING SOUL!!!"

Now, those who know me personally know that I don't swear (I swear I don't!).  That was how serious I was.  And with that out-burst, or in-burst as the case may be, the anger instantly dispersed, and I felt strangely... Solid. Present. Grounded. Confident. Whole.

Almost disoriented, I nearly broke into a giggle. "Whoa! Did I just do that?" Powerless to empowered, in 5 minutes flat. Have to admit, that is pretty bold. From a place of feeling so small and insignificant, or more accurately, inadequate, and challenging the vastness of the cosmos to take back and claim my personal power -- yep, bold.  Worthy of a visit from my tiny avian friend. Thank you Wren!

But wait! There's more! The next day after seeing the phantom wren, I was just going about my work when I heard the word "bird" come from another part of the warehouse. Instantly I was on my feet making a beeline for where I'd heard it, and there, in the middle of the floor sat my wren -- still alive but barely moving.  I scooped him up as gently as I could, completely overwhelmed at the opportunity to hold him in my hands, and deposited him outside in the shade of a bush.  He hopped off my hand and just sat there in the dirt.  I prayed over him, hoping the reiki I'd been dousing him with since I picked him up would help, and asked if there were anything else I could do.  The answer came back as no, so I turned back toward the warehouse, fully cognizant of the fact that I was in plain view of everyone in the office, and again hoped the little guy would be alright.

On my morning break I returned to the bush with a cup of water, but the wren had gone. I breathed a sigh of relief, taking that as a good sign that he was recovering and able to take care of himself.  Still I poured the water in the spot where I'd left him, in case he was still near-by and thirsty, and as I turned around, under the next bush over was a beautiful crow feather.  It felt at that point like it had been a bit of a test for me, and the feather was my gift for passing. 

On my way back to the warehouse, I slipped the feather into my car through a slightly opened window and watched it float down to the seat.  When I returned at lunch time and opened my door, the current of air created by that, made the feather stand up in my seat and dance around in a pirouette.  I laughed out loud at this display of celebration of new found wholeness, and wondered how much more celebration was in store this coming week in this training -- This being just a sample of what's to come.

And with Wren in mind, singing his song boldly, I think I will bring along my copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass so I can read (again) the Song of Myself, and in his electrifying words celebrate my own song and my own path and my own wholeness.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

As The Crow Flies

Crows have been blatantly everywhere in my vicinity lately, and not just in the air and the trees.  A friend offered me a crow-tail fan, and, at about the same time, I know of two people who found dead crows within a day or two of each other. In fact I helped one of them --


Shortly after that I was talking to a friend about Crow and, though I know some of what Crow Medicine entails, he gave me some insights I hadn't thought of -- the main one that stuck with my Taoist heart being that Crow is the dark 'eye' of the lighter Yang half of the Yin-yang symbol.  Yang is the masculine, sunny, summer, day-time, active side of the symbol, which holds within it the seed of it's feminine, shadowy, winter, night-time, passive counterpart.  This seed is Crow.  Crow carries the Great Mystery, the womb of darkness within which all manifest creation is conceived, into the day light; The peace and stillness and dreaminess of winter into the heated activity of summer.

This in particular struck me because, at the same time that I've been feeling more in tune with the seasons and the turning of the Wheel of the Year, I have been feeling strangely out of sync with the rhythms of the earth.  When this aspect of Crow was brought to my attention it made so much sense.  There has been a noticeable lack of usual group activities for me this summer as I have been more introspective.  I actually have camped more this year than I have in the recent past, once or twice just to get time to myself in the woods. I have welcomed the longer hours of light and the spaciousness they bring, which seems to allow me to breathe easier.  But rather than spending this extra time, and fillling the extra space with the teeming crowds of summer, I've been drawn to quieter, more introspective things. Even at Faerieworlds this year, amidst the dancing, celebrating faerie masses, I hardly saw or interacted with anyone -- even the friends I was camping with.  Most of my time was spent with a dear friend who came for the first time this year, so that my experience was quieter and more intimate than normal.

The other obvious thing with all this Crow energy, is my upcoming Soul Retrieval training (which I may have mentioned once or twice).  I can not explain the shifts that are taking place inside of me right now, on a deep, deep level.  Exciting and scary at the same time.  At any given moment I am just as likey to burst into tears as I am to burst into laughter.  What does this have to do with Crow? In the words of a website entitled "Crow Medicine":

"Crow guides the magic of healing and the change in consciousness that will bring about a new reality and dispel "dis-ease" or illness. You can rest assure when ever crows are around, magic is near by and you are about to experience a change in consciousness. Crow can give you the courage to enter the darkness of the void, which is the home of all that is not yet in form."

 That pretty much says it all. "Engage."