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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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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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Life Compass Group

What is the Life Compass Group?  No, it’s not associated with a Health Insurance Company.

CompassGroupI have found that the Internal Guidance System by Zen Debrucke, or what is also known in some circles as a “Truth Chord” is of vital importance of learning how to navigate your life in a graceful and easy flow. The Truth Chord is a skill that we can learn how to hone, and it becomes of utmost importance when we begin (or deepen) our shamanic journeying practice.

This group is something that arose out of a need for people to come together in a community to support each other as we begin to deepen our own practice. It is important for us to be within our own bodies as we live our life, because our body is what holds the wisdom of why we are here. Most don’t even know how to be in their body because their body is generally associated with pain.

When we focus too much on what is in the past because something is triggering us, or worrying about the future because we are worried what might happen – little do we realize we are not in our body. Our attention drifts to those past experiences, or the future possibilities and we get lost in that emotion/chaos of it all. When our focus drifts, that is when we are not here in the Now. This is an embodiment group where we will be able to clear the stuck or stagnant energies in our bodies so we can connect with it (typically with movement or singing), and then using that immediate clear channel of a body in order to gain insight on which direction we should be going in life.

This Meetup will only be an hour long, and schedule will go as follows:

7:00 – Gathering, setting up community altar, getting to know each other

7:10 – Weaving Circle, introducing ourselves and why we’re here

7:15 – Chakra clearing and balancing. Involves either movement or singing. Neither is required, but both encouraged.

7:45 – Going over different techniques for using the IGS, and having exercises to practice on our own or in a group

7:55 – Clean up! Saying goodbye

Bring your journal! This will be a fun and interactive group. If there is enough interest, it is possible this could be bi-weekly like the Journey Group.

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Joining From a Distance

The biggest thing we are facing today as a society is feeling isolated. Many spiritual leaders, guru’s and mystics have already uncovered that our Western Contemporary Society has a large wound of separation. In a shamanic cosmology, we are one with everything, and there is a sacredness in all things. If one believes that God/Goddess/Spirit created the world, then by that same definition, doesn’t that mean that God/Goddess/Spirit is in everything that was created? When we feel separated from this great “web of life” as some call it, then things within our inner landscape become out of balance. If the imbalance progresses, illness or a dis-ease of the Spirit can take place. Many traditional Shamans believe that if a spiritual illness (such as soul loss) were to perpetuate and set in, it can (over time) lead to physical ailments. If you’re interested in exploring this more, there are two Shamanic Podcasts that I highly recommend which talk extensively of this perspective. There is Michael Stone with Conversations, and Christina Pratt with Why Shamanism Now.

One of the ways we can counter this illusion of separation is to remember that we are one with all things. This is where daily spiritual practices and coming together in community are especially important. The daily spiritual practice will help reinforce your own personal connection to a higher power, while the community aspect allows you to be on this journey of inner awareness with others who are trying to accomplish the same thing. The law of attraction states that like attracts like, so pay attention to what you are surrounding yourself with.

Oh no… but what if you see great events and can’t participate in them because you can’t make the commute, or you’re too far away/live in a different state?!

This is where the beauty of the internet comes in handy! I can’t speak for all people that hold distance events, but here are links to the basic guide/overview of how we will run things at Eagle Therapies so if you do not have a local community – you can still participate in one!

Shamanic Journey Group

There is a bi-weekly Shamanic Journey Group that meets every other week at the Intuitive Wellness Center on the border of Burke and Fairfax,VA. There are some people that wish to practice their journeying skills with others, and this is the perfect way to do so – whether in person or at a distance. The Journey Group has been running steadily since 2014, so there is a solid structure to hold people as they engage in the “Journey Tracks” that are posted as we find explore a topic to journey about together. For a link to an in-depth explanation for the structure and format, click here.

Ancestral Healing Circle

Once monthly around the New Moon is a Ceremony called the Ancestral Healing Circle. This is a Ceremony that welcomes both the new as well as the experienced. It is where we gather and work on the unresolved issues/patterns within ourselves, the ancestors, as well as in the land itself. The Ancestral Healing Circles have been apart of the Shamanism Without Borders community and follows the code of ethics set by the Society of Shamanic Practice. Before involving healing of any kind in our circles, we must first ask permission/consent for those that we are praying for. This is why most of the time (especially for beginner ceremonialists), we focus on ourselves and our connection to the topic at hand for the month. As Sandra Ingerman says, the microcosm reflects the macrocosm, and any inner work that we do has an effect on the greater web of life. A post is coming for a more in-depth explanation for the structure and format of joining at a distance.

If there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at info@eagletherapies.com or call/text 571.306.3197. And please also don’t be shy about leaving a message. We are here to help support a growing community of people that want to help each other. We’re all in this together.

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Newsletters Archives

It has been asked for a directory list of past newsletters. So here it is! Keep up to date on what’s going on in the area, and see what has happened in the past.

Click here to go back to the directory

Click here to sign up for the newsletter

 

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Journey Track Outline

This post is an at home journeying guide, which will either guide you into your own journeying practice, or deepen the practice you currently have. If you are interested in joining the Shamanic Journey Group at a distance, click here. If you stumbled upon this page because you would like a little extra help framing your journey practice, then feel free to peruse at your own pace. This is a helpful guide that pieces all of the journey topics from the past two years, and compiles them from basics to more advanced.

Beginners

If you are still relatively new to Shamanic Journeying, then I would highly suggest that the first journey that you take is either one that establishes a place of power where you always start off, or to meet a Spirit Guide/Helping Spirit. Whenever learning a new skill (such as journeying), it’s very much like working out a muscle to make it stronger. Some people are innately going to have no problem lifting heavy weights, while some might have to work at it a couple of times in order to produce some results. Remember to not judge the experience of others, and remember that we all have different strengths when it comes to interpreting messages from the other side. Some might be able to hear things better, others might be able to see things, while yet some others tend to just “feel” or “know” that they’re going down through a tree or sitting next to a river. The point about journeying is to be as into the experience as possible. See if you can get as much detail as you can. If you see a waterfall, what does it sound like? What does it taste like? Where are your feet? What type of ground are you stepping on? Do you hear any other things in your environment?

Preparation for:

  • It is helpful to turn off all electronic devices and either let other people know that you’re doing it so they don’t disturb you, or choose a time when no one else will be home
  • Call up protection, or set the intention for safety. There are many people who put up sacred space or set up crystal grids so then that way their bodies are protected.
    • This is a small advisement that some people still don’t know what it’s like to be “fully embodied” and tend not to be fully present. Traditionally in an indigenous culture, they would take their body with them when they journeyed (trance dance states, singing, chanting, etc.), but many individuals in this society have to peel off so many layers just to have an authentic spiritual experience that experimenting in different techniques (such as laying down, sitting, rattling, etc.) would be good to find out what works best for you. This is an experience based skill that is based off of what is best for you. What works for some people might not work for others. The main thing, is to try and stay fully embodied while you travel to the realm of spirit, otherwise if you leave open a space – then that could leave room for another entity to come in. Light some incense, dim the lights, and shake a rattle 🙂
  • Try to sing, dance, or do something that will get you into the right brain state. The left brain state is about words, communication, and invoking. Leave space for repetition, and conscious trancing. All of these things (especially singing, chanting, and dancing) will help get you into an altered state of consciousness, which typically will mean a deeper journey.
  • There are some people who lay down when journeying, but I don’t typically recommend this when first starting out. This reminds us of sleeping, and even though there is a such thing as lucid dreaming – that is a different avenue and is very different then shamanic journeying. Get a comfortable chair or if you want to try dancing your journey, put on an eye curtain (piece of fabric that goes on over the eyes so you can’t see ahead, but only where your feet are), and put a hula hoop on the ground so you stay in the confines of the hoop (this is a purely practical thing, so you don’t bump your shins into the coffee table – nothing takes you out of a journey faster then pain).
  • Don’t forget to grab a journal! It’s always good to have scraps of paper lying around if you don’t have a journal. It’s always fun and interesting to read them later after you have digested the message a little bit. Remember that when coming back from the journey state, short phrases or simple words that will bullet point your journey are best. If you write in full sentences, it put you into the left brain state, and that will take you away from being in the right brain state (which makes journeys harder to remember).

Journeying is a question driven activity. If you do not have a focused intention while going into the realm of spirit, most often our guides will just take us on a wild imaginative ride that might not make sense. Remember to have an intention and to really feel what your question is – other wise your answer will be as non-productive as your question was. It helps to not ask a yes or no answer, because it will not be as open ended and you could potentially trick yourself into hearing something you want to hear.

Great beginning journeying questions:

  • I would like to meet my entrance to the spiritual world, as well as find my place of power
    • It always helps to have the same visualization that will bring you over to the realm of Spirit. It will help even more if this starting point is a real place in nature that brings you comfort. Start by finding a small hole or opening, and then imagine yourself going through. You should feel a going up or down sensation, and then you will be transported to your place of power. Explore your place of power, and be as into it as possible. This is where we will be doing a lot of work (if you will be following some of the journey tracks listed below). It tends to be a place we’ve either visited before, or a place that we’ve always dreamed of being (like a beach, lake house, mountain cottage, etc.)
  • I would like to meet my non-egoic connection to spirit at this time
    • There are many different types of spirits that we can encounter in the journeying state. It is my belief that we are all born into this world with at least 1 to 2 non-egoic helping spirits. These are the helping spirits that we do not need to feed, we don’t have to hide their identity, and they often change form as we learn and grow as individuals. Non-egoic helping spirits are directly connected to Source/Universe/All that is and only care about our own personal development and teach us to be better humans. I have run across many different individuals that practice different forms of Shamanism, and some might call this aspect a “higher self” version of a spirit guide. But this is a very big difference then working with an egoic spirit. A spirit that has an ego is very much like us humans here on the physical reality. They have their own personalities, their own likes/dislikes, and they definitely have their own opinions. These helping spirits tend to be specialists, and can offer very unique advice that non-egoics sometimes cannot give a clear opinion on (because they only care about character development and see everything as a lesson). There is a benefit to working with both of these types of generic spirits (for example, I primarily work with about 80% egoic spirits, but have 2 constant non-egoic helping spirits that I use to vet everybody else), but the benefit of working with a non-egoic helping spirit is that they cannot be fooled because they are directly connected to source. An egoic spirit can be tricked or lied to, possibly bribed to work against you (hence why some traditional cultures do not share their helping spirits identities). The trick is, that working with non-egoics is more about asking the right questions because they are not as opinionated as an egoic helping spirit. Which is why I have the journey tracks listed below, so that it can be easier to ask non-egoics some of these questions. The reason why “at this time” is added on at the end, because we want to be present about what will be beneficial to us right now. I have had a person get a past guide or a future guide that they are not meant to work with, or have had past debts with, so it made journeying challenging for that particular person. These are just suggestions I offer.

After repeating those journey questions to yourself at least three times, I would then listen to a good drumming track with anywhere between 180-220 beats per minute. Here are some good ones that are out there right now:

Of course there’s shameless self promotion for the journey track that I created. It’s on the sound cloud. But in case you can’t access that or have trouble downloading it:

  • 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

If you would like more information, follow Sandra Ingerman for up to date Shamanic Journeying Basics courses. She is the person who I learned from, and her online training’s work quite well! Sounds True also has a lovely website dedicated to all things Shamanic Journeying. I will also hold a once monthly Shamanic Journeying Basics class with a journey session afterwards so you can try out what you just learned. Sign up for the Newsletter for up to date events.

Intermediate

Alright, so you’ve got the basics down. You have a place of power and you have a guide that’s willing to work with you. What’s next?

The first step is learning about energetic hygiene. What is energetic health? This is where I introduce the concept of the “energy bucket”, and I refer to this quite often. This is meant to be a daily practice, as well as something that is to be maintained whenever life starts to go awry. It can change from moment to moment based off of what is happening to you in the moment. When we get exposed to different triggers, and enter into a reactive state – our bucket can sometimes become a little unstable. There are many things which can change, but remembering to take care of yourself as well as your energy level is crucial/critical to having a good foundation for shamanic journeying. When we have these introspection’s about ourselves, then we can be of better use for those that we help/serve/love.

The energy bucket meditations are guided visualizations that can help, and I also have a link to a journey track that you can listen to at home as well.

These are optional, but are good starters to anyone that is beginning to step onto a more shamanic path. I also digress slightly when I say this – but the purpose of me putting all of this information into one space is not to promote more shamans out there. Shamanic Journeying is a helpful tool that is very valuable. It can be added to any practice, and is not a religion. It’s a way of looking at life, and it is completely okay to have one helping spirit that constantly helps us rather then more “facebook friends” that we don’t really know that well. On that note…

  • Change and Transformation – Why do we care about these things?
    • Some good journey questions that come out of this article are:
      • What is the greatest challenge that is preventing me from transforming?
      • What aspect of myself is standing in my own way when allowing a change to happen?
      • What is a habit that I can begin to transform so that I can have a healthier relationship with myself?
  • Creating a Container for Transformation – What if we are a little over our heads with the difference between change and transformation. How do we start?
    • Some good journey questions that come out of this article are:
      • What does my personal/inter-personal container for transformation look like now?
      • What does my personal/inter-personal container look like for __(name a particular event you are having difficulty with)____?
      • What is this particular container supposed to look like?
      • What is missing from this container so that this transformation can be a powerful one?
      • Show me the steps to take so that my container for transformation aligns with my path and is healthier for me
      • Show me an example of a transformation that tried to take place but it backfired instead

Courses to Take and Expand Upon

The most basic one that is helpful for anyone wanting to deepen and enrich their inner world/landscape is exploring the elemental system. Each page has it’s own suggested journeying questions and follow through.

  • Purity and the Elements – A beginning introduction to the Four Element System, how they are inter-related and inter-dependent, and a wonderful tool of introspection which can provide clarity to any spiritual practice.
  • Earth – Metaphor for our relationship to our Physical Wisdom Body. Our physical body contains the innate wisdom of how to heal, and how we can live well in this world.
  • Air – Metaphor for our relationship to our Mental Wisdom Body. A lot of people in our society are prone to an excess of this element, and can become subject to headaches, migraines, and anxiety. This is how we begin turning an unhealthy relationship into one of balance.
  • Fire (coming soon) – Metaphor for our relationship to our Spiritual Wisdom Body. Fire is one of those elements that really depends on the other elements to thrive. If its too damp, a fire can’t burn. If it’s too dry, a fire will burn out of control.
  • Water (coming soon) – Metaphor for our Emotional Wisdom Body. Many people in this society tend to have a very unhealthy relationship with our emotions. There is either a tendency to excess and drama – or the complete opposite which is not having emotions at all.

 

This is a lot of information, and hopefully this all helps and fits together! If you have any questions, concerns, or are just lost – please feel free to text/call 571.306.3197 (just leave a message, please) or email info@eagletherapies.com

Fly high, everyone!

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Inspiration and Air

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.

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Washing the Dishes

DishesSuds and bubbles fill my hands as I reach for another dish to scrub clean. Particles of food drift in the sink, bringing different aromas to my nose. I am aware of the tension between my shoulder blades as I moved my hands from the soap, to the water, to the dishes. As soon as I am aware of that tension, I smile, and I am thankful for this opportunity to wash things away.

When I wash dishes, I don’t just physically clean the dishes. I use the suds and bubbles as a metaphor for cleaning the mental and emotional wisdom bodies. I do a lot of talks about the four main wisdom bodies, but it’s really a principle that a lot of people tend to grasp with ease. When I scrub a dish clean, I set the intention that I’m doing the same thing to my energetic body. As I clean, I’m also sifting through my thoughts and emotions with awareness.

As a contemporary person, I come up against a lot of judgments and critiques. It’s a drawback of being human, and, like you, I’m subject to them. However, this is the reason why I like the suds. They don’t judge; they don’t critique. I’ve noticed that when I start to talk about energy work to a new person, they do one of three things:

  1. Their eyes light up because they know what I’m talking about, and are eager to discuss it with a like-minded person.
  2. They’re unsure of what I’m talking about, but what I said really piqued their interest so they keeping an open mind.
  3. Or, their heart shuts down due to fear and they are triggered by what I say. They immediately jump to preconceived notions of the Salem Witch Trials and assume that what I do is hocus pocus, and all other arguments thereafter are considered irrelevant.

These three categories are the majority of what I face, and most of the time it’s a mixture of them. I always make sure to feel out which category people are in before I divulge more and begin talking freely.

This evening when washing the dishes while Little Bear was in bed, it struck me that the ones in category 3 just have no exposure to the simple joys of energy work. There are too many people out there making things way more complex than they need to be. Even though the majority of people who come to me as clients just want to be better humans, sometimes we forget how to be human and forget to fall back to the basics. It’s human nature to add layers of complexity to things, especially given the fact that, as contemporary Western people, we are a mentally overstimulated society.

But nothing is as simple and pleasurable to me as washing dishes. In this simple act, I don’t have any music playing, don’t have any TV on – it’s just me and the dishes. This allows me to sit with my thoughts and to be able to think about what I’d been doing this past day, or this past week. It’s a chance for me to be good company with myself, and to accept the choices that I’ve made. In this very act of accepting, I am able to let go of what I “should have” done, what I “didn’t get to do,” or the things I “did wrong.”

I feel the tension between my shoulders begin to slip away.

This is where I begin complimenting myself on the things that I did right, and acknowledge where I can make some improvements in life. In this simple act of awareness and gratitude, I shift from my “little thinking” to thinking about the bigger picture and everything as a balanced whole. Too often we get fixated on what’s not working, and in doing so, it sucks us into a negative thought form pattern, where we can run into thought form possession. By shifting our awareness to a gratitude mentality, we can “zoom out” with grace and ease, and quietly sit with our thoughts in a reflective way.

Thoughts are stored in the mental body, and repressed feelings are stored in the emotional body. When we don’t properly express or acknowledge them, they spill over into the physical body. Thoughts/feelings carry energetic weight, and with simple cleansing and restoring techniques anyone can get that “weight off of their shoulders”.

The dishes are finished, and with that last clink of the plate on the counter, I stretch and feel the lightness in my chest. The tension in my shoulder is less. This simple act of doing something without distraction from myself helps me cope and just be at peace with myself. This is the core of my energy work, and how I maintain a healthy energetic body.

What do you do for yours? Interested in starting your own practice? Find out about the energetic bucket and how to begin working simply with a metaphor as a reflection of your own inner workings.

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What is Energetic Health?

For many of those that meet me in person, you will notice that I openly talk about the “woo woo” or “spooky” things, in order to add lightness to the stigma that gets impressed upon people when venturing down avenues of esoteric descent. Energy work tends to be a hot topic due to its various interpretations of what defines “Energy Work”. My personal interpretation is that “Energy work” is pretty much just a blanket term for those who manipulate the other three main wisdom bodies, which will be expanded on later.

There is no “right way” to practice energy work, there is simply the act of doing it. What I write here is my perspective, not the truth. What I try to do is open your mind to the possibilities that are in front of you, not condense them to think there is only one way to “Ground and Center”. Take the classes that you feel drawn to and learn as much as you can, from as many different sources you can. My goal is to get you to question how you think, because your thoughts power your action in the world. As we grow over time, our energetic body grows with us. It is ever changing moment to moment and fluctuates with our feelings/environments. As a teacher, I present my perspective to give you a base to jump off of, and to introduce you to how I think. The quest after reading this is to apply these concepts within your own life in a way that works for you.

Let’s start from the beginning:

What is an energetic body?

I have been taught that there are four main wisdom bodies. There’s the Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, and the Physical. If you notice, there are three bodies that cannot be seen by the naked eye. I have come to term these as the “energetic body” or the “subtle body”. You can call them what you will, but by terms of definition, that is my definition of them so we can provide some clarity for the rest of this article (and also in case you happen to read some other blog articles of mine).

Where a lot of people tend to go awry, is the fact that we know how to care for our physical body. There is physical body hygiene, such as taking showers when we get all smelly and stinky.

But who talks about Energetic hygiene?

This is a relatively new concept that I would like to push people to think about and consider. Even if you know about it, I believe that now is the time to start applying these basic foundations and term them, so that it gets brought out into mainstream culture. I, myself, have had to dance around this subject to people that aren’t as open to these concepts, but I’ve always been “out of the broom closet” and do not hide what I do. People have always marked me as weird, and I’m completely okay with that – but my point is that energetic health applies to us all and we shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about it. We shouldn’t be marked as “weird” when bringing up these topics. We should all know about grounding, centering, and empathy – these are basic skills every human should have, and caring about our energetic body should matter just as much as caring for our physical.

How many times have we let our best friend cry on our shoulder, and we cry with them. They feel better by the end of the conversation, but we end up feeling drained. How many of us have had a toxic relationship where we have fought with that person and have had no energy left? How many times have you watched that ASPCA commercial late at night feeling like you could adopt one more animal? How many times have you seen some political move upset you so much that you have to dump on your facebook how upset you are?

All of these are examples of not tending to our energetic body. Some people might not feel this way, they may lack empathy, while others might identify with the above paragraph. I tend to be under the school of thought that believes everyone has the ability to have empathy, we just need to tend our energetic body better.

Now… how do we do that?

bucketHere is where we get introduced to the energy bucket metaphor. If we compare ourselves to a bucket, there are three main things that we must look at. The bucket itself, what’s inside the bucket, and the bucket’s stability. Lets pretend our energy body is a container and follow along with this metaphor.

The energy bucket itself is a container. This can be representative of our boundaries. It takes daily “energy cultivation” to be able to discern what shape our bucket is in. Do we have a leaky bucket? Do we have a steel bucket that’s dented but can otherwise still hold energy? Is the bucket made of porcelain and easily breakable? Sometimes we get caught in this cycle where some trauma happens and we can’t seem to catch up because we have “leaky bucket syndrome”. If our bucket has a hole in it, no matter what we do to replenish the energy in the bucket (take a walk in the park, color, take a bubble bath) we still “run out of energy” faster than what we normally think we would.

What’s inside the bucket matters, because this is the equivalent of our energy level. Is our energy clean, or dirty? Is it stagnant, or flowing? Is the energy in that bucket ours or are we carrying a mix of someone else’s energy because we overidentified with their struggles? Or are we simply out of energy and our bucket is empty? Sometimes when we reach the “empty” part, and we feel like we have nothing left to give, we feel drained. If we continue to push even though we know we don’t have any energy left, the energy has got to come from somewhere – and we will begin to take energy from the bucket itself. This can leave us feeling even more exhausted, and we sometimes take days, possibly even weeks to recover.

Last basic thing that matters in this metaphor, is what type of environment is the bucket on. This can be a great comparison to our emotional or mental stability in the current moment. Is the bucket on steady ground? Is your bucket in a hole in the ground and unable to move? Are you placing the bucket right in front someone who you know is going to kick your bucket around? Sometimes with certain situations, we can lose track of where we have our bucket. Which leads us to situations where we can easily “tip over” and spill the contents of said bucket. There is a wisdom in recognizing when the bucket becomes unstable, and when to come back to center to make sure it doesn’t tip over and spill out the contents.

If you happen to journey, then asking your helping spirits what state your bucket is in can be very enlightening so we can actively work with our energetic health. It’s perfect for pinpointing if you have any holes in your energy bucket, and asking how to help fill those holes. At the bottom of this page I have posted guided meditations for people that either don’t know about journeying or have trouble journeying at home, so that they can follow along at their own pace at home.

The metaphor of the energy bucket can help us with our energetic health and hygiene. Our energy can sometimes be very much like working with a puppy. A lot of us don’t have any knowledge in this realm, and that’s not our fault because we weren’t taught. Some people have really obedient dogs, while others have dogs that jump up on you and don’t listen well to commands. The energetic body is the same way, if you don’t control and maintain it, we fall into bad habits like dumping on our friends when we’ve had a bad day, or project our anger onto the next bystander because they remind us of the real person/situation that made us angry. If you work with and train your energy body, it can become obedient so then next time when the ground becomes shaky and our bucket is in danger of falling over, we can simply move the bucket to more stable ground. There are going to be moments where our bucket just get’s kicked, and that’s out of our control – because life happens. But a majority of the time, we do have the ability to control our responses to a degree.

It’s good to somehow integrate this metaphor and do a check-in whenever we feel it’s necessary. Feeling low on energy? Check to see the status of your energy bucket before saying yes to going out after work. Torn between a girls/guys night out and a bubble bath/reading a book? Check on how low your energy in your bucket is, and if you need to do something to refill your bucket or empty it. Notice that new boss at work and how sometimes you are quicker to anger when they are around? Check the stability of your bucket and ask yourself why it has become unstable. By tending to our thoughts, emotions, and spiritual fulfillment – we are able to clean ourselves on a mental, emotional, and spiritual aspect. This is how we start energy body cultivation.

If you happen to be an auditory learner, and you would like to expand more on this concept, feel free to listen to this podcast on Why Shamanism Now hosted by Christina Pratt. Stay tuned, for videos and mp3s are to come.

If you’re ready, listen to the guided meditations to take the next step in energy body cultivation. There is also a journey beat that is recorded so you can go back whenever you need to.

Mastered the energy body and want more? Feel free to see the article on change and transformation or to learn about the crucible of transformation within our own hearts. We have the ability to have these changes in our life stick. Are you ready for it?

Take care, everyone. Blessings to you on your journey!

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Journey Outline for Month of July

The crest of another month is upon us! So many wonderful events coming up, so be on the lookout for a newsletter in your inbox soon. Here we are at the beginning of a Sun-filled and hot month (at least here in Virginia). If you’re new to Shamanic Journeying, and you’re curious about joining us, feel free to find out about the Structure of the Fairfax Journey Group as well as the “What is Shamanic Journeying” page. If you haven’t already connected in to the community, there is a Facebook group as well as a Meetup for support.

Experience is helpful, but not necessary. This outline provided is always a suggested journey topic. Journeying is question driven, and the little forum at the beginning of every journey group is to meant to spark that questioning within us. Distance journeying is available, but please message ahead of time for a spot. The method we use is either Skype or Google Hangouts.

BucketThe main theme this month is going to be taking care of our energetic bucket. All too often we do things, even when we don’t have the energy to. What type of repercussions does that have on our subtle body? This is what we will be exploring this month.

Schedule will be as follows:

Monday July 4th

No journey group! Spend time with your family and enjoy Independence day.

Monday July 11th

We will be delving into the “Energetic bucket” and finding out exactly what state our bucket is in. We will be sharing self care techniques as well as any helpful advice for finding out when to recognize when our energy is running low. One of the other topics that will be introduced is the concept of Energy Hygiene. We clean our physical bodies, but how about our other 3 wisdom bodies (mental, emotional, and spiritual)?

Monday July 18th

Further working with the metaphor of our energy bucket, we will be exploring boundaries and what healthy boundaries look like. There are many times when we subconsciously place our bucket on the ground right where someone is about to kick, how much of that is our own control? Yes things happen in life, but when do we start recognizing that we might potentially be caught in the Victim mentality or the Martyr mentality? It happens to the best of us. Learn from others who join in our circle as we discuss boundaries and what they mean to us.

Tuesday July 19th

Year of Ceremony satellite option. For a more extended version of this digital broadcast, visit the meetup for more information. Connection with ancestral spirits is an essential part of shamanic traditions worldwide. Like us, our ancestors experienced suffering and healing and —from the shamanic perspective—they remain connected with us through the life energy they share with us. While this dynamic association can provide us with wisdom and support from our forebearers, we may also inherit their unresolved sorrows and pain. When our body’s defenses are down, when we are under stress or ill, it is easier for an ancestor’s energy to affect us adversely.

Monday July 25th

There are some times when our intentions mean well, but we don’t realize that our actions are being guided by something else. Here we introduce the concept of “whose driving the bus” and who is really in control? Are you letting your emotions drive when you just want to key someones car out of anger? Are you letting your ego drive the bus when you’re too proud to turn down an offer that you know you probably shouldn’t accept but feel you have to anyway because of social status? What happens when our unresolved wounds come to the surface and react before we have a chance too? Join us as we share our coping techniques or our self awareness techniques, and then ask our helping spirits about it and what works best for us individually.

 

We hope to see you out at one of these! If not, then maybe either digitally or in spirit 😉 Happy July, everyone!

 

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F.A.Q. for the Heart Centered Sound Circle

These frequently asked questions will continue to be added as time goes on. If you have additional questions, feel free to email eagletherapies@gmail.com

Q: What typically happens at one of these events?
A:  For the long Heart Centered Sound Circles that happen on Sundays, they are scheduled for 2 hours. We arrive at 1, and together we socialize, catch up with each other, and set up the community altar. Around 1:30 we start the ceremony with the opening song. After that, it becomes very fluid, and we all get to pick and choose what songs to sing. Sometimes we go off of the song sheets, sometimes someone introduces a new song, sometimes we make up our own songs. After we’ve sung ourselves silly for about an hour (break adjustable), then we sing the closing song, take home excess energy/send it into the earth, pack up the altar, and head on home.

Q: What is meant by “Heart Centered”?
A: There are many different ways to look at this, but to break it down simply, there are three “main” consciousnesses that we have. There’s the head, heart, and gut. The head is where we go to think, to plan, to dream, to create. This is where inspiration comes in and how we communicate to others in the world. The gut is where we react, we manifest, we respond (most people talk about having a “gut feeling”). The gut is also where our safety and security come in, as well as feeling grounded. When we feel “off center”, our gut is usually not in alignment. The heart is the connection between these two. We can communicate with others, but we can lack empathy until we connect our hearts. We can create meaningless things in the world that we pour our energy into but don’t get “enjoyment” out of it because our heart isn’t in it. All great power is mediated through the heart, and the process of awakening our hearts is to find out who we truly are in the world. To not know who we are, what our gifts are, and to live a life that is “half hearted” would be considered an abuse of power in a shamanic civilization. Our job is to find what makes us full hearted and to take off those layers and to live fully in the moment. That’s what heart centered means.

Q: I really don’t have any experience and I’m intimidated on coming to this, but I want to try this out because it sounds interesting. Do I have to have experience?
A: Of course not. There’s many different experience levels that come to these events. You don’t have to be a music major, or even a drum master. The main thing is that you’re always welcome to experience and ask questions. We will try to explain things as they come up, because occasionally we will have many people that show up from different religions or pantheons. Once we started singing mantras, and even though I’m not versed in them, we attempted them anyway. We’re all open to new experiences, just come and have fun. Meet new people.

Q: Can I bring other instruments besides drums and rattles?
A: Sure! We’ve had someone bring a didgeridoo and talk about bringing in stringed instruments. Just as long as you’re able to play it and “zone out” with the rest of us, and still keep an ear out for the change in tempo when it comes up.

Q: Why do you guys keep singing songs that repeat the same lyrics over and over?
A: Sometimes when we get so stuck in our head or stuck in one area consciousness wise, it’s hard to break us out of that paradigm, and we need help shifting our consciousness. Using sound, or music is a wonderful way to do that. Repetition is a great way to bring us to a light (alpha) brain wave state (see this link if confused) to induce a light altered state of consciousness. Some other chant circles will sing “rounds” for hours. This is obviously an abbreviated version with songs lasting anywhere between 4-10 minutes.

Q: Is it okay that I choose not to sing along directly with the lyrics?
A: As more and more people join in, the main thing that this group focuses on is to enter into our heart consciousness. A lot of people won’t sing the main chorus and overlay another chant they know, or they will add harmonies. If singing isn’t your jam, then shake a rattle and dance to get in your body. The point is not about escapism, it’s about living. If you choose to hum, or dance, that’s your process. And it’s honored here.

Q: What if I feel really weird and awkward and I don’t know what you guys are doing?
A: No worries, you can sit in a corner and draw/paint/journal. Being in the same room can be just as impactful on the energetic body even if you’re not participating.

Q: Is this a pagan ritual or something?
A: Although a majority of people that come happen to be pagan, no this is not a pagan ritual. The only intention is to hold the space for us to honor ourselves and what makes our heart sing. How many times in life do we do things half heartedly? The intention here is to find out what makes our heart happy. Even if it’s just meeting other people that like to bang on the drum all day. It’s more a ceremony to honor our heart. No religion needed. We do give honor to the ancestors and helping spirits and set up circle so that as we expose ourselves and become vulnerable, no bad juju will enter the circle.

Q: Why is there an altar or shrine?
A: The key to having an altar is to have a focal point for grounded energy to come through. We make sure to honor all of the elements, the ancestors, and any deities that call to any of the participants. This is a community altar that you can feel free to add to 🙂 If you believe in ghosts or the things that go bump in the night, then that means you believe somewhat in “spirits”. We give honor to the spirits, because even though we can’t “see them” doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

The main thing about the sound circles is to HAVE FUN!! Where are we in life if we can’t laugh at ourselves and join in fun with other like minded people?

Heart Centered Sound Circle
Artwork by Kristin Hansen of August Moon Farms
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Purity and The Elements

Winter is typically a time to go within and to rest, reflecting the Earth and how it gets covered by a blanket of snow. As we enter into the spring in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a tendency to emphasize a theme that leans toward planting seeds and beginning to emerge from the slumber that is winter. As we unfold and begin to awaken, the Journey group shall reflect upon basic foundational understandings and go back to the simplicity that is the elements. What are the elements? How do we relate to them? Can we harness the wisdom inherent in them to find deeper meaning within ourselves and others?

There are many cosmologies out there that deal with the foundations of the elemental systems. They span anywhere from a three element system, to a seven element system (sometimes even more). They are akin to an operating system on a computer, and each works better for different individuals and for different purposes. There’s nothing wrong with preferring a Mac over a PC, or vice versa. The problem that we encounter most is that a lot of people are running on autopilot, not aware of how they operate on a foundational level. All of these systems are right in their own way, and the purpose of these journey groups is to find out what your personal foundation is, and to create/maintain an operating system that is right for you.

MedicineWheelI will be introducing these concepts from a four element perspective because that is what I am most comfortable with. I do not want the individuals attending to limit themselves to condensing to my viewpoint of how I see things. If you follow one of the other numbered element systems, feel free to read through these blog posts and take what you need. Come to the groups and share your knowledge. Find the hidden gems to deepen your own practice. All paths are welcome, and I encourage others with different viewpoints to come. It brings diversity and a clarity of shared vision to the whole.

If we go back to the elements, we go back to the simple nature of the way things used to be before humans even got here. Human beings have this tendency to add layers of complexity. I have seen many of people anthropomorphize the elements in a negative connotation, because interacting with another human is what makes them feel more comfortable. This creates a complexity that sometimes muddies the clarity we receive from the oldest of ancestors. By not opening up to allowing the river to interact with us as just a river, we can sometimes project human qualities onto natural forces. What that does is add the “baggage” in association with being a human. Human beings are beautiful, creative messes. But humans are fallible. Not all anthropomorphizing is bad, because there are underlying archetypes that relate to our psyche on a subconscious level (Mother, Father, brother, sister, etc.)

The reason why I work with the elements? Because they’re pure and simple. They just are. They do what they do and there’s no motivation to be anything different than what they are because they have been that way since the beginning of time. There is a story that I will tell, that one of my Shamanic Teachers first taught me when I was learning from her. This is a shared story by a lot of shamanic cultures, and these are the roots to a lot of “creation” stories.

Back in the beginning, there was nothing. There was a void. For us as humans, it’s hard for us to understand the vast nothingness because we are something.

But for some reason, this nothingness dreamt. And out of this dream was birthed a spark of fire, and crystal of ice. As the first two manifestations of these dreams emerged from the great nothingness, they began to dance.

The spark of fire grew bigger, and it began to melt the ice crystal. The ice began to melt, and the water began to flow. As the water flowed, it began to put out the fire. When the fire was almost out, it grew cold and the water began to crystallize. When the water crystallized, the fire began to grow stronger again.

This was the first dance of our oldest of ancestors. Grandfather Fire, and Grandmother Ice. And because they were born of the great dream – they too had the ability to dream. Because all dreamers that come from the big dream have the same ability to create and have dreams of their own.

When the water and fire grew, they needed land to support them. That is when Mother Earth was dreamed of, and then birthed. When the rivers had a place to run, the fire found that he needed more fuel to grow. Father Sky was dreamed into being and we get the introduction of air. From the dreams of the earth, air, fire, and water, the first ancestors began to dream of the things to be grown in the ground. They dreamt of plants, of trees, of mountains and landscapes. The dreams of these natural landscapes gave birth to creatures that walked the land, swam in the water, and flew in the sky. Eventually humans were dreamed into creation. And because we come from that dream, we have the ability to dream ourselves. We can create things that still carry that spark of dreaming that comes from the great dreamer that gave birth to us all. This dream weaves us all together, as we are all a part of this Big Dream. Nightmares happen when we feel we are apart from this dream, and there is this lie of separation where we feel disconnected or isolated. The simplest way to connect the closest to these dreams and to have our dreams synchronize with the big dream – is going back to the first ancestors. The elements.

The reason why I shared the story of shared story/concept of creation is because we are all born out of the big dream, and we have the ability to return back to the big dream if we align our thoughts, actions, and behaviors with simplicity. In this creation story, we are introduced to the concept of complementary dualism. In a lot of Eastern Traditions, it’s best explained as yin and yang. Most westerners get confused between the concept of dualism because there is a difference between antagonistic dualism and complementary dualism. Most are accustomed to an antagonistic dualistic perspective, so it’s hard to sometimes see the flip side of the coin without bias. Antagonistic dualism is believing that there is a concept such as good and evil, and that they constantly battle each other. Antagonistic dualism feeds the “lie of separation” because the sides tend to be clearly distinguished between good and evil, and there becomes this “other” that people view themselves as separate from. For a lot of westerners, it’s hard to wrap their minds around the concept of complementary dualism when their major core beliefs and values uphold the lie of separation. They may grasp these concepts in smaller doses and say that the concept of duality can be applied in certain aspects of life, but it is a process of opening up to this system of philosophy that encourages a state of “one-ness”. In a lot of shamanic cultures, there is a core belief that we are all a part of this bigger unity, and everything is connected to each other in ways that are interconnected and interrelated.

When one begins to drop the “lie of separation” and see everything from a more “holistic” sense (and being a part of that whole), then they understand that everything in life is a balance. Yin is a word used to describe the inner aspect, while yang represents the outer. Everything has a yin and yang aspect. When there is too much yin energy present, that leads to a stagnation. If there is too much yang energy, that leads to a depletion. When looking at the elements in this four element system we will be exploring, the elements that represent more of a yin quality are water and earth. These are the elements that are restorative, that which we lean into when we feel tired or exhausted. They are replenishing. The yang elements are represented by the fire and air. We typically go to these elements to carry out certain actions, or to be viewed by other people in a larger setting. They are how we interact with each other (one of the main archetypes that air typically brings is communication). Fire is interesting because it’s an element that requires the other elements to even be initiated. The environment has to be right, and the right potential for combustion needs to be present. Fire needs to constantly be fed, and all of the other elements need to be in balance for a fire to be more properly utilized – otherwise it burns out of control and causes chaos.

There is a simplicity to the elements, but there is also an implied complexity that is intuitive. The four element system correlates to the four wisdom bodies of the human consciousness. Earth is directly correlated with the physical body. Water corresponds with the emotional body. Air corresponds with the mental body. And finally Fire corresponds with the spiritual body. When we apply the four elements to these four wisdom bodies, we can harness our own elemental alchemy for personal transformation. When we bring these questions of self discovery to uncover our own “operating system” to spirit – we get personalized answer back from our helping spirits through journeying.

Journey track as follows:

Month of March: Earth/Wisdom of the physical body
Month of April: Air/Wisdom of the mental body
Month of May: Water/Wisdom of the emotional body
Month of June: Fire/Wisdom of the spiritual body

Remember that even if you are in a distant location and cannot make it in person, there is the option of joining us through Google Hangouts 🙂 Hope to see you there!