Month: March 2017
If you have found this page, there is no coincidence that you are on a path of self discovery. Even if that wasn’t your intention, you somehow still wound up finding this page. This post directly deals with the Air as an element, and how we can journey to find out the depth of our relationship with this element. It can be a direct reflection upon us and how we function in this world. We will be going through these journeying topics at the Shamanic Journey Group of Fairfax, however this can also be a “follow along at home” directional for those that wish to take this slowly and in a step-by-step process.
I shall update the table of contents as the blog posts get written.
Table of contents:
Purity and the Elements – Main post, Introduction to four element system and why
Earth – Representation of our Physical Body
Air (this post)
Fire – Representation of our Spiritual Body
Water (coming soon)
As we have found out through previous posts, all of the elements are inter-related and interconnected. Through earth, we have cultivated a sense of who we are, why we are here, what we stand for, and why we stand for it. If we don’t cultivate these things first, then we can get very overwhelmed in the element of air. Many people in this society have an excess of the air element. Because the air element represents our mental wisdom body, that means that we can have an abundance of ideas, but lack of follow through. Have you ever heard of the phrase “air head” or thought of the meaning “building castles in the sky”? That is because without the earth quality in balance, we can become very “ungrounded” and can begin to think with fantasy thinking, allowing our brains to run away with us. Air in excess can be manifested physically as anxiety, migraines, and headaches because we are up in our heads all the time. Air in and of itself physically is made up of smaller, less dense molecules then that of earth. The molecules tend to bounce around a lot faster, and sometimes when they are “heated up”, they move at lightning fast speed, bumping into each other and causing all sorts of chaos. Have you ever noticed that when someone gets excited over new ideas they trip over themselves trying to write them all down, but then they burn out before they begin to enact any of the steps? Excited air energy is great and wonderful, but being grounded and methodical is how we begin to plant these seeds that we get from the air. Right relationship with earth helps remind us to take a step back and breathe.
When working with the element of air, it is a direct engagement of Spirit. If we think about it, the first element that we are introduced to as we are born into this world is the element of air. A baby is not marked as fully alive until they “take their first breath”. Air is the element most taken for granted. The same air that we breathe now is the same air that was once breathed by our deceased relatives, animals, as well as ancient beings – including dinosaurs! When we breathe the breath of our ancestors, we can restore ourselves back to the original dream. We commonly engage in ceremony with words and speaking. Air is the energetic driver for taking a particular vow (which most people don’t take seriously anymore because vows are often broken in this society).
The spoken word does have a lot of power, because many words together begin to tell a story. We often tell ourselves stories about ourselves and can portray others and ourselves in a certain light. This is human nature and happens unconsciously. An example of a “story” that we tell ourselves is the story of being “a good husband/wife”, or “being a good daughter/son”. We often get a perception of what is good/bad from the people and community that raise us, so if we grew up in a very dogmatic household – it can be very difficult to unlearn certain behaviors, and we can have trigger reactions when a story that we are telling ourselves is being challenged. For example, if we keep telling ourselves the story of judging our own self worth, it could restrict our decisions. Because we could have a low opinion of ourselves and we see a dream job, we could potentially restrict ourselves from applying to that open job position. The “story” we tell ourselves often comes as a soft whisper that speaks to us like, “Nah, I’m not going to apply for that job. I don’t have the credentials yet”, or “Well, if I apply for the job, I won’t get it anyway”. In the end, that story boils down to our worthiness. Maybe in the past we were told that we couldn’t amount to anything, and over time if things like that keep being told to us – we believe it. When we begin cultivating a healthy relationship with element of air, we begin to challenge these stories and ask if they are grounded in reality, or based in fantasy thinking.
There is a difference between doubt and critical thinking. Doubt is paralyzing, we lose our sense of connection and we only focus on what is wrong. With critical thinking, we are finding what is valuable in the situation and come at the situation from an open place of curiosity and discovery. When you follow the lead of critical thinking versus doubt, you can begin to discern the difference between delusion and imagination, and then begin to make progress forward on how you can move forward with the resources available to you now and in this moment. With a healthy relationship with air, we can begin to cultivate the qualities of truth telling. How often do we lie to ourselves when we think we can accomplish some grandiose task but don’t realize how much energy we really have in the moment? How often do we overstretch ourselves because of the dreams of others and their projection of how we fit into the picture? How often do we lose our sense of boundaries because we really just want the approval of others and try to make ourselves fit into their dream instead of dreaming our own dream? This is where we begin cultivating a proper relationship with air – by asking ourselves these questions. Many times when a person first journeys to find out their relationship with air, they will either find out that they can’t breathe, or that the air is filled with a thick smog. A healthy relationship with air is one that is crystal clear – like unpolluted mountain air.
Within this same vein, there is a difference between stagnation and suffocation. With earth, things feel very heavy – almost as if you can’t move. This is stagnation, when things are unmoving or you are too unwilling to let go of your own beliefs. With suffocation, you are living in something that is dead. Have your dreams died? Have you lost sense of what your dreams once were? When you feel suffocation, it is because we lose our sense of hope, or we drift away from the things that are aligned with our true path. This often leads to fast paced moving thoughts because we keep “spinning our wheels”. When we connect back to our dreams and our passions, that is how we can “breathe life” into a particular situation – by bringing in new ideas from our mental wisdom body and being able to discern which ideas will really be able to take off with the resources we have available (earth based realization). By flowing into this relationship between air and earth, we must realize the choices that we are making. Every time we say yes to something, we are also saying no to at least 10 other things. Earth can help us realize what is important to us, and how to prioritize, while air can help inspire us to take care of the situations we already have growing. We can ask vital questions such as:
- By doing this particular action, what am I feeding?
- What possible actions can I take in this situation that help feed what drives me?
- How is this aligned with my path and does this stray from who I am?
- Show me with clarity the choices I have available to me that I can reasonably accomplish
The element of air is very strongly connected to the element of truth telling. Truth can be a double edged sword in the fact that is can cut both ways. The hurt comes in the fact that it cuts, and the wound can hurt very deeply when we find out a truth. However, the blessing is that it’s a clean cut and it heals faster. How many times have we been fed lies, and the lies feed a blister or an abscess that just keeps growing. Many times people try to ignore the sore spot, lying to themselves that this abscess is not really forming underneath the surface. Doesn’t a clean poke hurt in the beginning but drain the abscess, leading to wellness? How many times have we allowed the abscess to pop because we didn’t realize/ignored that it was there. After it bursts on it’s own, note the length of time it takes to heal as opposed to when it was cleanly cut. This is a metaphor of a healthy relationship with air, and being able to have the wisdom of asking what the “spiritual antibiotics” are so that we continue to not get sick from our choices. When we cut with the sword of truth, it can help breathe life into things that were once dead. It can hurt at first, but it helps with the awareness and healing of it in the long run.
To help cultivate a strong relationship with air, we need to focus on truth telling and find out where we are lying to ourselves. Once we have this sense of awareness about the reality of a situation and begin to move from fantasy thinking (imagining that we are some place instead of actually realizing the state we are in) into a grounded sense of who we are, what we are, and the resources we have available – we become so much more productive in this world. This in turn helps us become more grounded and more efficient in fulfilling our lifes purpose. When our mind and heart move through with intention, we can begin to discern where it is we are really going. By cultivating a place to stand with earth, we can step up and grab some of these ideas from the mental wisdom body. It has no power unless we ground it in physical reality.
As with any archetype, the shadow of air is the tornado (if you are confused at what the shadow is and what it represents, scroll down to the bottom of the earth post). The job of the tornado is to dismantle. Perhaps a new perspective is needed because it’s being encumbered by your limitations, expectations, and views. Because of some of the stories we tell ourselves, we can lead ourselves into set patterns of thinking, and sometimes these thoughts swirl in our head so fast that we can challenge ourselves to question our ability to think. When we have such a strong degree of suffocation where we feel like we have no hope in a given situation, we might need a tornado to come in to “wake us up”. What are you feeding? What are you giving life too? How can we be thankful when a new perspective brings to light a huge story that we tell ourselves in regards to how connected we feel to other people, as well as how worthy we are to receive something. Remember that a shadow is neither good nor bad. It is a natural disaster that can have the positive aspects of wisdom once we clear out the debris/rubble.
Some journey questions we can ask ourselves based off of this article:
- What is the quality of my relationship to the air element?
- What shape is my mental wisdom body in?
- Is there a particular area of my life that is suffocating right now?
- Show me an aspect of my life that is in excess, and how do I calm this down?
- Show me what right relationship with the air element looks like
If you are an auditory person and would like to listen to these same ideas in a podcast, feel free to listen to it on the Why Shamanism Now podcast.
If you have found this page, there is no coincidence that you are on a path of self discovery. Even if that wasn’t your intention, you somehow still wound up finding this page. This page is the unfolding of a path to explore the metaphor of a four element system. This post directly deals with the Earth as an element, and how we can journey to find out the depth of our relationship with this element. It can be a direct reflection upon us and how we function in this world. We will be going through these journeying topics at the Shamanic Journey Group of Fairfax, however this can also be a “follow along at home” directional for those that wish to take this slowly and in a step-by-step process.
I shall update the table of contents as the blog posts get written.
Table of contents:
Purity and the Elements – Main post, Introduction to four element system and why
Earth (this post)
Air – mental wisdom body
Fire – spiritual wisdom body
Water (coming soon)
Earth is the first element we start off with, because there is a need to be grounded and centered in this world. Our needs of the physical body can be symbolically represented by the element of earth in this four element system. My teachings are based off of the four basic wisdom bodies. In this series, Earth represents the physical body, Air represents the mental body, Fire represents the spiritual body, and Water represents the emotional body. Before we can venture into any of the other bodies, we must take care of the vessel. We cannot venture into the spiritual or emotional bodies with a clear mind if we are sleep deprived, malnutritioned, or in a state of panic/worrying about our safety. This is why the most logical approach at a healthy start is through the earth element. When following a true path of shamanism, it is about the depth of relationship. Lots of people have superficial relationships with people, nature, and most often themselves. People that have a good relationship with the element of earth tend to be people that feel secure with who they are and bring a sense of belonging with them. Have you been around a person who just feels “solid” as compared to a person who is scattered, or doesn’t really feel like they belong? A person can feel rooted in one particular area of their life, but then when they get moved out of that environment of safety, their “stability” can change (having social awkwardness, not good at public speaking, etc.) and they can become fidgety, nervous, and not be as interactive as they once were in their “safe zone”. Meanwhile a person with a strong earth element can bring this sense of “home” or safety with them, emanating it. Others who feel less secure can gravitate towards this type of person with a strong earth element. The thing is, very similar to the earth, our relationship with the earth element can grow. Things that we were once uncomfortable with, we can explore and “grow into” liking. Very similar to how a plant takes time to grow, we ourselves can grow into a different person, changing our comfort level as time goes on.
Technically speaking, there are two different “earth” energies. One is earth as an essence energy, and the other is spirit of the earth as a planet. Most indigenous cultures have words that distinguish the difference between the two, but in the English language we have one word that represents both. This is why some make the distinction and say “Mother Earth”, “Pachamama”, or “Gaia”. For the simplicity of this series, we will mostly be talking about the earth element, and I will emphasize the spirit of earth with a capital E. The earth element represents cleansing, grounding, centering, and a sense of belonging. It can help restore connection and interconnectedness. It is the element that we go to for restoration and rejuvenation. The Earth as a planet is an archetypal energy that can be reflected through many different avenues (most common ones are Goddesses or consciousnesses such as Pachamama or Gaia), but an archetype is the energy that is behind a Goddess. The Earth represents the wisdom that comes from the spirit of the Earth. We go back to the Earth for restoration, it can be the driver of a slow transformation (as compared to fire, which is a quick type of transformation).
There are two different sides to each coin. A healthy relationship with earth looks like what we have listed above. Someone who feels secure with themselves, their choices, and their decisions. They know their place in the great web of life, and are grounded/centered individuals. There can be “too much” of a good thing, and earth in excess can appear depressive, stagnant, too heavy, slowing down/unmoving, feeling like you’re not going anywhere, or having a low self esteem. There could also be a time where there is a feeling of betrayal, as if we had an idea of what our life/life’s purpose was – but then we got “dropped” from the big web of life. This is usually an act/event that breaks trust within the person. Broken trust makes us feel like we are unstable and on “shaky ground”, so doing something that helps re-establish a right relationship with earth can be helpful in bringing us back on track.
What are some ways to work with the earth? It is definitely helpful to have a “hands on” approach with this, because the earth element is about our physical body. It’s great to receive messages from spirit, but the main thing the earth element teaches – is how do we ground these visions we see into reality? There is a tendency in this westernized contemporary culture to “overthink” things, spending way too much time in the mental realm instead of the physical realm. This is why we have predispositions to anxiety and fast racing thoughts. When we learn to slow down and take a walk through nature, we can learn to appreciate our physical body and recharge. For those that need a refresher on energetic health and recognizing when we need to focus on our relationship with earth, please read the Energetic Bucket metaphor. When we feel that we are feeling “drained” or our energy is running low, sometimes replenishing ourselves by eating some comfort food, getting a good nights rest, or simply taking a walk outside in nature can help to “refill our bucket”. It’s good practice to feel the earth on our skin. When was the last time you sang? When was the last time you danced? Getting into our bodies is the first step into getting us our of our heads. For some that have trouble with the earth as an element, taking up gardening or finding a nice park to sit in could be helpful things to help restore our connection to this element. We often go to the Earth to listen for the heart beat and to synchronize with a bigger picture, and feel connected to something larger then ourselves. Restore that sense of awe and bring gratitude back into our daily practice. The Earth carries an innate wisdom to be whole, as well as how to heal. If we are having trouble with a particular sore spot, or wound (whether emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually), we can go to the wisdom of the earth to help correct this balance.
When we begin to work with earth as an element, we begin to talk about our boundaries and our sovereignty. Sovereignty is having a healthy relationship with our ego, making sure not to dip into arrogance, but having a firm knowledge that we are in control of ourselves and establishing dominion with our choices. Most people who are operating on “auto-pilot” tend to not be aware of their own actions and their impact on others. For those raised in a dogmatic household, perhaps we have been taught from a young age that it’s bad if we stand up for ourselves, and things are “wrong” if we do them a certain way. We could have a past history of abuse and have had our trust broken so many times that we don’t know how to begin to open up. Perhaps we might have a lot of clearing work to do before we can actually get down to the real working relationship of earth. With a more balanced earth element, we can set our own rules, and take up responsibility for our actions. We must be willing to take up space. For those with a spotty relationship with earth, they will often find themselves shrinking when they are not sure of themselves.
When working with the element of earth, we ask ourselves these basic questions:
- Why am I here?
- Where do I stand?
- What do I stand for?
- How do I gain confidence in these aspects?
The healthiest aspect of being in a working relationship with earth is carrying your sense of belonging with you. This cultivates Presence. There is a difference between engagement (which is chatter) and presence (going deeper). Many people can talk a big talk, but what is the solidarity behind their words? What actions do they take in the real world which back up what they are saying? A person with a healthy relationship with earth will be able to say something, and then follow through with it. We must remember to be nomadic, and bring this sense of presence with us. Where have we been laying double standards? Where we get upset at someone for doing something when we do it ourselves? Maybe deep down we are really upset at ourselves because we keep performing an action that we resent ourselves for and instead are projecting our upset onto someone else. It’s easier to see the sickness in others rather then ourselves.
Whenever there is a light, there is always going to be a shadow that is cast. For every aspect that we will talk about in this four element system, we will also briefly explore the shadow aspect. The shadow is not a bad thing, however many people put a negative connotation on it because of this societies fear of death and polarization (good vs. evil mentality). In an indigenous culture or true shamanic path, there is no such thing as good or evil, everything is perceived of as a lesson. This polarization is a relatively new concept which indicates that anything that has “darkness” is bad. The shadow (the term coined by Carl Jung, one of the major influences of modern Psychology) is originally supposed to be an archetype that represents a respite, a break because of a challenge/trauma. Now-a-days, the shadow is pretty much a closet that we shove repressed aspects of ourselves in because it’s been viewed as “bad” or “not fitting in”. We still have access to these parts of ourselves, but they come out in “shadow patterns” or archetypes. The shadow of earth is represented by an earthquake. Again, this innately is not a “good” thing or a “bad” thing, because the earthquake represents a time in our life where we need to be reminded of our bare bones of who we are. Many times when there is an earthquake, our relationship with earth has become so shaky that the shaking energy has the ability to bring us back home again. If we have created a life built on an illusion of what we believe we are supposed to do in this world, an earthquake can be extremely detrimental because we realize that underneath we don’t have the best foundation. For those that have a healthy relationship with earth, an earthquake will just reinforce the “support structures” of our life, and realize how unshakable we really are.
Abundance is not dropped from on high, it is cultivated from the earth. Don’t forget to look down at your foundation. Who are you? Why are you here? What do you stand for and why do you stand for it? If you journey, it is an activity that is question driven. Some good journey questions to ask for the element of earth are:
- What does my relationship with earth look like?
If your relationship is not what you had originally envisioned, you can then ask:
- What does a healthy relationship with earth look like for me?
If it’s still something that makes you uncomfortable, the next journey question should be:
- How do I bridge the gap? What are the next steps for me to take to create a healthier relationship with earth?
Hopefully these questions will begin to help kick start you on the path of finding your stability and relationship with your own inner world. For those that tend to be more auditory learners, feel free to listen to this helpful 45 minute podcast from Why Shamanism Now about Earth.
Any questions, concerns, or generalized comments, please feel free to call/text 571.306.3197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fly high, everyone!
Hello beautiful friends, family, and followers
As many know, there is a situation that is brewing out West that has been going on for quite some time. For others who haven’t read it, I have posted why I believe so much in the Standing Rock movement in this previous post. This is an expansion of that, because I have taken up training with an individual that was largely based out of Standing Rock. I started working with her in January, and since then she has passed away – but other indigenous teachers have stepped up in my training process. This post is made in honor of her memory (Hail the traveler, Buffalo Woman), and a promise to myself as well as her, that I would make it out to Standing Rock.
Please have it be known that I do not go out there for glory, or for the fact that I’m a half white woman who is “Playing Indian”. Over the past few months as my love for these people has deepened, I see the struggle they go through because of Indigenous rights. I have become immersed in Shamanic training for the past few years of my life, and my studies have lead me deeper in the paths surrounding Native American culture. The religious intolerance that is growing in this country can be appalling, but I choose to focus on the beautiful people in my circles who cannot fathom such things. I cannot lie to myself and tell myself that these topics are not real, but I can certainly press forward knowing they exist, knowing that there is much resistance to the amount of love that is growing.
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” C.G. Jung
One of the reasons why I love the Standing Rock community is because it has started a movement. No, this is definitely not the only oil pipeline that is happening in the United States of America – but what this has done has shown that through peaceful protesting, we can accomplish so much. Because of Standing Rock and other similar movements, there has been a ripple effect where people are looking into the pipelines that have been proposed in their own backyards and fighting them. What this movement has also done, is raise awareness for why we need to preserve what we have for our future generation. Water Is Life, and it has been proven that oil pipelines leak. For example, less then 150 miles away from the Standing Rock reservation, a pipeline leaked 176,000 gallons of oil. As another news flash, the city of Flint, Michigan still does not have clean water. Do we want a future similar to Flint, Michigan to be popping up all over the United States, where they have been battling for clean water since 2007 where they began suspecting sewage spills and industrial waste were contaminating city water supplies? With Donald Trump lifting the EPA regulations, it has been allowing certain companies to dump their waste into rivers, creating more problematic situations that will soon be affecting more rural cities/towns. THIS is why I stand with Standing Rock, because this isn’t right, and I pray for a future where my son can drink clean water from the tap without fear of it being contaminated.
What most people don’t know is that the Native Americans have stood for the rights of the land because there is this stewardship that is born of a people who have lived off of the land for so many generations. There is a sense of pride, and a belief that the Earth is alive. The Sioux tribe and the rest of the Native American tribes that have gathered in North Dakota have been in constant prayer and ceremony since the beginning of this movement. This peaceful protest and the constant prayer that was going on at Standing Rock have been consistent and running 24 hours a day – because prayer is powerful. If you don’t believe me, look at how much attention this movement has gathered. There have been no guns used by the Water Protectors, and the only things they are armed with are bundles of sage as they clear out the negativity thrown on them by the opposing forces. At this current time, prayer at Camp is currently paused (but not stopped), because there was a forced evacuation by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum on February 22nd, 2017. During that time a total of 47 arrests happened, including one of Grandmother Regina Brave. Please listen to the wise words from this elder. We could stand to learn something from the elders who have walked before us and lead us during this chaotic time. From the words of Ladonna Tamakawastewin Allard, the Sacred Fire that has been burning at Standing Rock is not out. The fight is not over, and the fire still burns.
It is because of all of the above that I choose to go to Standing Rock. There are many personal reasons why I want to go, but my heart is firm in wanting to support a movement this large. I am traveling with a dear and loved friend by vehicle, and we would appreciate donations for gas money and food (as some who have been following me know that I have life threatening food allergies and carry an epipen with me). No, I don’t have a 401-C, but many people who I have told my story to want to support Standing Rock in some way, and they want to support individuals going out instead of just sending money to a random charity. If this is your choice, then may I humbly ask that you support us as we choose to help rebuild this camp so that this can be a more sustainable protest. We will be participating in ceremony over there, and listening to the elders. We are bringing our own supplies so we are not a burden on the community, but instead helping contribute in a way that is healthy.
As one of my teachers have said on many occasions – if the Standing Rock movement has moved you in any way, please allow that movement to be mediated from the heart and do something in this world that is a direct reflection of that movement. If you feel impassioned by the oppression of the Indigenous people and you want to help support, or if you feel passionate about protecting/conserving the water for our future generation, then please support by sending prayers, donating gas funds, or donating supplies that we can take over to camp as we help to rebuild. Even $5 helps.
All Eagle Therapies events are run off of donations, but donations made to this paypal will go directly toward supporting Standing Rock and rebuilding a more sustainable protest.
For those that would like to participate closer to home, there will be a Native Nations March and Camp on DC between March 7-10th. They will be having an indigenous tipi gathering in front of the White House, and then followed by a prayer and march on the 10th. There will be no camping overnight, this is just a metaphor. There will be a ceremonial fire, however.