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

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."