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I am not a Shaman

The mistake has been made many times and I wanted to put the big banner somewhere that I am not a Shaman. There’s a difference between being a Shamanic Practitioner and a Shaman. This is currently a hot bed of a debate, and I don’t want to argue with people. That’s not my interest. But I do wish to clarify where I stand with this situation, and also define myself as a practitioner.

There’s this wonderful organization called the Society of Shamanic Practice that is a collection of Shamanic Practitioners. They organize different events, and have a directory of events, teachers, and practitioners organized by State. If you sign up to be a member, you might want to listen to the audio recording they released back in January of 2018 which has Lena Stevens moderating a discussion between Sandra Ingerman, Jose Stephens, and Ben Boomer. This was a very enlightening conversation between three very experienced individuals that are leaders in their field. Sandra Ingerman is world renowned for her leadership in teaching Shamanism for over thirty years. She got her start with Michael Harner and the Foundation of Shamanic Studies, and has since been on her own path of spreading her teachings that she has received through her Guides. Jose Stephens is one of the founders of the Power Path School of Shamanism and is a board member of the Society for Shamanic Practice. He has completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol Maracame in Mexico and has studied with the Shipibos of the Amazon and the Paqos of the Andes for the last thirty years. Ben Boomer was raised participating in both traditional Diné ceremony with his mother’s family and traveling to California for Christmas with his father’s side of the family. These experiences created a deep recognition of the validity and importance of the ancient ways of knowing from a spectrum of cultures. His life has created natural fusions between the modern western society and indigenous civilization.

The summary that I took away from that interview really helped clarify a lot of things for me. In order to be a Shaman, you must have a community that you belong to. A weekend workshop or a 1-2 year training program does not count. The community recognizes you as the Shaman and the Shaman recognizes the community. To use the word “Shaman” because it’s something cool and fashionable does dishonor to the role of a Shaman. In this society, there is currently a glamour around the word Shaman. It also breeds ignorance because there can be a superficial context of which to understand what exactly the role of a Shaman is. We as a Western Contemporary Society generally do not have the context for healthy community. Traditionally it would take years of apprenticeship, study, and dedication in order to follow that path. And even further still, the role of being a Shaman is gifted by the Spirits. The Spirits choose who the Shaman is, and a community recognizes and feels the vibration of that choice.

Let’s put this into perspective. In a traditional Shamanic culture, everyone would be able to communicate and talk with the Spirits. It was a daily act of cultivation to be able to interact with the sacred. The Diné have the expression to “Walk in Beauty”, because the Sacred is in everything and should be honored. That is the meaning of respect, and cultivating that respect with the world around you. It’s knowing that the world around you is connected in a great web of life, and seeing the hands of Spirit/God/The Universe reflected in all things.

However, in our culture, those who can talk to Spirits and communicate with them regularly are marginalized. There is an emergence of psychics, mediums, and other varieties that are becoming more common. Nothing is wrong with them, and they do have gifts. This should be more commonplace, to recognize the people that have true gifts. We should celebrate this instead of shame them. This would be considered “normal” and a functioning part of being in a Shamanic culture, because divination is still practiced in active Shamanic Cultures today. This is one of the reasons why I teach Shamanic Journeying (and have been for years now), because it’s a way to begin having these experiences of interacting with one trusted Helping Spirit. We as humans would do need help from the world around us. To project what we feel is “right” or “wrong” is actually imposing our will on our outside world, and is not taking into account that everything has its own Spirit.

Have you ever walked into someones house and felt nice and calm? Just started relaxing as soon as you walk in the door? And then what happens when you walk into an office building and you feel your shoulders start tensing up because of all of the stress that’s in the environment? Buildings have spirits too, and so does the land that the buildings are on. No one needs to be a Shaman to tap into that.

To be a Shamanic Practitioner means to be able to use Shamanic skills in your everyday life to interact in a healthy and respectful way with the world around you. It’s about constantly improving our language with Spirit and understand the messages we are being given. To Journey to the Spirit of the Land and give respect to the stream in your backyard by tossing some tobacco or cornmeal outside is a great way to begin cultivating the relationship with the world around us. To honor your Ancestors, the ones who have walked before you, by setting aside a little tiny plate of food at each meal to give gratitude for the food you are about to eat. These are things that (in my opinion) should be normalized to help us feel more connected to the great web of life. So many of my clients suffer because they feel the strain of loneliness, feeding into the story of separation – that they are separated from God/The Universe/Spirit. In an indigenous culture, everyone would be expected to maintain this relationship with the divine by honoring the Sacred in all things.

So in short: No, I am not a Shaman. I am a Shamanic Practitioner. I have not studied or trained with an Indigenous culture for 20+ years. Yes I’ve talked to Spirits since I was a kid and have been immersed in other books about Shamanism, following a Shamanic Path without realizing it since 2006. But I didn’t really find my path until I found Mary Tyrtle Rooker and picked up Sandra Ingermans journeying book back in 2013. I find myself a beginner on this path of Shamanism. Constantly going back to the basics and spreading the truth of what I know and what I have learned into the world. If someone calls me a Shaman, I won’t correct them because if they happen to be at one of my events then they are part of the community that’s there. The community has the right to call me a Shaman, but I myself will not call myself a Shaman. I’m just here to do my part and to spread ease, joy, love, and laughter into the world.

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Journeying at Home

This is a specific break down of protocol, songs, and links that will help one prepare for journeying at home. It doesn’t take too terribly long, but it’s a practice. If this is absolutely your first time, please read this post. This is a companion guide to make it nice and short and sweet for those that want to journey on a tight schedule and still follow protocol.

If you are tapping in to a Shamanic Journey Group, it is recommended (but not required) to prepare your space before hand by either smudging with incense, sage, singing bowl, or bells. Then tap into the energy of the group by watching the video on the forums. Actually try to engage or participate by writing down your questions as you think of them, and then after you journey, share them in the posts on the forums. These forums are here for you, and you have permission to be as inquisitive as you would like to be.

Once you are done watching the suggested journey topic, set the container by listening/singing along to this song:

The Container Song
Tune and Original Lyrics by Kellianna
Re-Written by Stephanie Seger

Facing East, I send my prayers away, away
East sky enlighten me, I pray, I pray
Air, communication, help me speak my truth
Harpy Eagle I welcome you
And give thanks for visions of peace, of peace

Facing South, I send my prayers away, away
South Sky for purity, I pray, I pray
Fire, flame of passion, help with transformation
Golden Eagle I welcome you
And give thanks for healing in peace, in peace

Facing West, I send my prayers away, away
West Sky move with me, I pray, I pray
Water, deep emotion, restore to great flow
Now bald eagle I welcome you
And give thanks for balance in peace, in peace

Facing North, I send my prayers away, away
North Sky stability, I pray, I pray
Earth, cool and dark, cradle me in your arms
Oh white eagle, I welcome you
And give thanks for teachings in peace, in peace

Mother Earth, I send you my prayers
Father Sky, I send you my prayers
Oh Great Mystery, I feel your breath in my mouth
Oh Great Mystery I welcome you
And give thanks for you in me, in peace, in peace, in peace

Then once circle is set, sing or drum for a little bit. Typically in the circle we would sing one song that repeats its lyrics. Sing and dance your own song, or you can choose any number of songs from the youtube channel (it is helpful to choose before you sing the container song so there is a flow). This is also a chance for you to call in your helping spirits to be with you, and potentially merge with them through song and dance.

Then place headphones in to begin listening to any of these Shamanic Drumming tracks:

  • 12 minute track – Has whistling in the beginning to call in protection and the ancestors by Sandra Ingerman
  • 30 minute track – Single track drumming by Michael Harner
  • 30 minute track – Single and double drumming tracks by Michael Harner
  • 30 minute track – Beautiful Taiko drumming with Nagado drums, Odaiko, and rattles by Sandra Ingerman featuring Taiko Sol

Once you receive your answer, take a few moments to write down your journey notes. It’s better to use short phrases or single words to describe things. If you write in sentences, the visions and experiences tend to slip easier from your frame of mind.

After that is done, you are set to close up circle! We give great gratitude to the Ancestors, land spirits that we stand on, and then we sing this following song:

Now you are all set! And can go about your daily business 🙂

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Bridge over the Potomac

I wish to share a private moment with you. Sit down with me as you read and join me up here as I share this moment overlooking the Nations Capital.

I currently live in Alexandria, and for most of my friends across the states and around the world, I live close enough to DC to say that I live in DC. I’m writing this tonight while sitting on a bench, on top of a bridge that goes across the Potomac river. I’m looking directly at the big penis of America (the Washington monument) and am considering the big internal process I just went through.

I came up here with doubts, fears and insecurities. I can hold myself together pretty well. But while I was up here, I decided to give humble offerings to each of the 4 directions (if you’re feeling lost, this is a perfect way to find yourself again and be your own compass). I don’t have much to give, but I caught myself saying, “I am enough” as I found items on my walk that were pretty and reminded me of the directions. I have to admit, I fell apart and cried up here on a bridge over the Potomac. Good thing I don’t wear makeup, because it was an ugly cry. I fell into my practice and I asked for help from the universe after I gave my offerings.

Right as I recovered from letting go and surrendering, I faced towards DC and noticed a plane was taking off from Reagan airport. It felt like the universe heard my plea for help, and I felt connected to the plane. I felt I was that plane. Full of vision and at the beginning of a long flight. I asked if this sign was for me, and right at that moment a ship came from the opposite direction, directly under me and heading straight for DC. For a brief moment I was simultaneously under an airplane and also over a water taxi at the same time. It felt right.

The only way to grow stronger in your faith is to break it. It is the process of losing it, and then finding it again. I came up here with all my fears, doubts, insecurities, and worries that I was failing. I spoke them out loud and I let myself go. I opened up to the bigger energies out there and got an almost immediate answer. It’s taken me years to build my own vocabulary with Spirit. To be able to see what these messages mean to me instead of looking outside of myself for the answer. Tonight I broke and I was held by the Universe in a safe context. Because I had my practice to fall back on. I did the crucial thing and instead gave time for Spirit to answer me back. I listened. It’s a conversation, not a one way street where you keep asking for stuff. I gave and spoke from my heart. And am walking away with a deeper sense of connection.

I couldn’t begin to find a way to thank Mary Tyrtle Rooker and Christina Lee Pratt enough. For giving me the foundation to really break down in a good way and build myself back up with the context of my true soul self and my authenticity.

So thank you for reading this, and thank you for joining me momentarily on this bridge over the Potomac while having this grand view of DC. Blessings for you to find the courage to break down and get back up again with a stronger sense of self.

Disclaimer: this whole post was written while sitting on the bridge with the view. So you technically did join me on the bridge.

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Singing to your food

I know it might sound ridiculous and you’re afraid people might laugh at you or judge you if they catch you doing it. However, being kind to your food actually helps you in the long run.

Sensitive people can tell the difference when someone makes them food, and they really put their love and care into that food. When we get food prepared for us (especially from a fast food restaurant), it’s disconnecting in a way. Sure, it might taste good, but somehow it doesn’t fill us up like Grandmas Apple Pie did.

We can be magical just like our Grandparents and make amazing food with depth and meaning if we just focus our attention on our food in a conscious way. Most people live to eat. We should be making the switch to eat to live. If we slowly stop overconsuming food because the food that we cook or eat has our intention cooked into it, we can become “full” even easier. Thus learning to stop overeating can become easier.

Many people that are Reiki practitioners bless their food with Reiki. Hey, if that floats your boat then cool! I actually pray by singing. I connect my intention with my voice and singing always puts me in a good mood. I intentionally connect with the food that I’m about to cook and will often sing to it. What does that mean energetically? I am blessing my own food and eating my prayers. I’m not as disconnected from my food and I feel a sense of connection to something bigger out there in the big web of life.

Even if you’re a horrible cook and can’t cook for yourself, try just humming something to your microwave dish. Make the intention to connect to your food and give gratitude for the many hands it took to get it to your table. If you’re also looking to deepen your Shamanic Practice, set a little food aside for the land spirits and ancestors in gratitude for the food that is about to nourish your body.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

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What’s with all the spiders?

As some may notice as we begin upgrading our site and constantly changing/evolving it – it is fitting into a bigger picture. This is the official webpage that we will be using to honor the spirit of technology as it was originally presented to me.

The spirit of Technology and I have had a very interesting ride so far, and the beauty of working with things in a shamanic sense is being able to have a relationship with almost everything out there in the greater web of life. It was almost a “duh” moment when I journeyed to meet the spirit of technology and found a spider. Get it? World wide web? It has the potential to weave people together.

One of the reasons for reaching out to the spirit of technology? It was part of my community work with the cycle teachings (the 4 year shamanic program I’m in) and I really began to see the potential of hosting space for a non-local shamanic community for people that wanted to authentically begin connecting with themselves on a deeper level. If you’re interested in the teachings, feel free to visit Why Shamanism Now as well as the Last Mask Center where all of the trainings are listed. I will be able to offer some of the classes/skills as an extension of the community in the years to come, but for now let us focus on what we have here with the Eagle Therapies community.

One of the things that we must realize is that when we begin interacting with different spirits that offer to help us, and us help them – they are a reflection of how we treat the wider universe. Each relationship, wether it is spiritual or in physical reality, must be treated with respect. Hence why creating an altar or shrine is a very authentic and shamanic way in building right relationship with the natural world around us.

This post will over time be gently upgraded in order to reflect my relationship with the spirit of technology. For now this is the virtual spot online, and we will keep adding to it as time goes on!