Make change in this world
The remark has been made many times and I wanted to put the big banner somewhere that I am not a self proclaimed 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 contemporary 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. 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. We have lost that point of connection where everyone in community can do those tasks, and it’s only a percentage of the population who are sensitive enough to explore and hone their gifts. 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 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 a trusted Helping Spirit. We as humans need help from the world around us to begin to see things from a different perspective. 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. You can honor the Ancestors 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 and shamanic healer. I have not studied or trained with an Indigenous culture for 20+ years. Yes, I’ve had a near death experience and have learned the shamanic healing forms like soul retrieval, curse unraveling, and compassionate depossession. 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 have experienced and the wisdom that I have cultivated into the world. If someone calls me a Shaman, I won’t correct them because if they happen to be at one of the events I’m leading, 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 in community and to spread ease, joy, love, and laughter into the world.
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!
We use Zoom for people to interact with each other in a virtual space. Please email us at email@example.com, or FB message us before just “showing up” virtually. This helps us prepare how we will be running the event. Here is the login information for when you do join us at a distance:
Shamanic Journey Group
There is a bi-weekly Shamanic Journey Group that meets every other week at various locations (check out our Facebook or Meetup for up to date lists). 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. For support for journeying at home, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
As some people have been following the blogs and newsletters, they might be aware that for the month of June, I had an offer for people to get recycled bracelets from a company called 4Ocean. To look back at the previous blog post click here. These bracelets are made of trash that has been picked up from the ocean. There are several sites all across the world that have “Ocean clean up” days, where volunteers just pick up trash. The glass beads are made from the glass bottles, and the string is made from recycled plastic bottles.
The fun thing is, that over $400 was raised in order to donate to 4Ocean! I am so proud of those that support our community and the love that was raised for the Ocean <3 The bracelets arrived just in time for me to bring to my first shamanic training in the 4 year training program that I’m in. While I was in Arizona for the Masks of Illusion and the Authentic Self (It’s a 4 year program that teaches how to live a shamanic lifestyle), I had put these wonderful bracelets on the community altar – so the proud owners of the bracelets will walk away with some powerful transformative energies as well as some personalized blessings. These bracelets also came along with me as I traveled and camped in the wilderness of the desert.
I happen to be an introvert, and I knew that training was going to be intense. I was right, it was. And I really needed to heavily process. Sometimes in order to process I escape to nature so I can reconnect with myself and the bigger picture of what I came here to do. I camped at Picacho State Park overnight, and in the morning I gave gratitude and blessings to the Land Spirits that helped hold us during our powerful transformational processes. I will tell you a really funny story… because as I was giving offerings to the land, I happened to give gratitude to the desert by pouring some water on the ground. As soon as I said, “I give this to the Land Spirits and the Spirits of Place” and dumped the water on the ground, there was this little ground squirrel that came out of nowhere, scampered up and shyly drank the water that I just poured. I guess the Land Spirits come in all shapes and sizes 🙂
I climbed that big bump you see right there. While I was up at about 2,000 feet above sea level, I had built myself a little offering altar and placed the bracelets up there while it absorbed some really expansive mountain/desert energy. I played a couple of songs on the flute, and sang on the drums. Some of the other hikers appreciated the drumming/singing. It was quite comical because I had found a little shady spot under a cliff, so you couldn’t really see where I was sitting unless you walked past me. I had some hikers comment that they were worried there was a ghost around here, and we had a good laugh as I chatted with some of the good natured folks who also decided to climb Picacho Peak.
I shall start planting the seeds of blessings in them this month. June was a pretty bumpy month for me, and the training took a lot more out of me then I expected. I had to take a break from clients and even cancel a few social/community events I had planned. Thank you to those that are patient in receiving the bracelets 🙂 They shall be delivered soon! With a cute little bag and post cards that say “Thanks for cleaning up the ocean!”
Much love and many blessings to all of you <3 And thank you for caring about the state of our ocean and helping contribute to a cause that is helping clean up the mess humanity is leaving on our planet. We shall do right by the world. Gotta leave it better then we found it so our children and our childrens children can enjoy it.
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 Fire 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 – Representation of our Mental Body
Fire (this post)
Water (coming soon)
Fire is one of those elements that requires the right balance in order to burn in a way that is healthy. Previously in other blog posts, we have discussed that Earth represents our physical body, Air represents our mental body, water represents our emotional body, and fire is the pivot point of all of these elements – representing our spiritual body. Our Western Contemporary culture doesn’t value (or in the past has not valued) our spiritual body. We do things that go against our integrity all the time: not fully being “present” and in the moment, falling back on what we said we were going to do, not being realistic about our expectations and overestimating the energy that we have left before we commit to a task, etc. In order for our metaphorical fire to burn well, the other three elements have to be in balance.
Let’s start at the base. Imagine your place of power, or the place you have visited with your guides before. Go back to that same place to see you relationship with these elements and be open to the images that pop up. If our metaphorical “ground” is too shaky, porous, or wet, and it not well formulated – is that a good place to build a fire? Is it wise to build a fire on top of a whole bunch of dry grass? Here is where I introduce the concept of judgement, because I know this has come up in previous journeys. When viewing our metaphors, we must not ask is “Is this wrong or right?” because that puts us in a mind frame of judgement. If we label something as “Good” or “Bad”, then we will automatically categorize things into polar opposites for us. Maybe having something a particular way can be beneficial, but we can’t see the value of it until we appreciate it later. Sometimes the biggest miracle is God’s unanswered prayers. Perhaps someone does need to build a fire on top of dry grass, because that dry grass represents a lot of the “burnt out” challenges they have had in their life and they need to clear it all out. Yes, it turns into a fire storm, and that can be chaotic for a time – but perhaps that drained state once the fire burns out is exactly what they need to be receptive for the next lesson. Sometimes we need to be under pressure before we can grow. For example, conifers are a type of tree where fire is vital in their life cycle. The seeds cannot germinate unless they have been cracked open by fire. Everything has its learning opportunity, and learning to ask the right questions of Spirit is key to understanding ourselves and how we operate.
Now to deepen this metaphor. If we go back to our earth element in the form of wood instead of just the ground, we can equate the wood to our materials for consumption. Do we have too much wood? Do we not have enough wood? The wood can represent what we use to feed/nourish ourselves. If we don’t feed or nourish ourselves properly, then how can we have enough physical stamina to burn the wood? If we happen to sleep really well, eat right, and then wake up with a full stack of logs to burn, do we have a tendency to set everything on fire at once? Usually what that looks like in physical reality is the person getting really super excited about an idea, then they proceed to go forward with many different tasks, throwing all of their logs on their fire and expending all of their energy at once. Before they know it, after they get through half their day, their energy is depleted and they are dragging by the end of the day. The question is not “Is this method wrong or right” but “Does this method serve me?” or “Is this a healthy way for me to expend my energy”.
If our mental state is out of balance, perhaps we might have too much wind to add to our metaphor. If there is too much air (too many thoughts circulating), then sometimes our fire can burn out of control and we can run out of fuel (wood) faster then what we normally would. Because of this excitement of ideas, we can burn through our resources so quickly that we still become drained. Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the spectrum, if we don’t have enough wind, our metaphorical status could be “stagnant” and it could be hard for us to burn anything at all, because there is a lack of air. This lack of air could be a feeling of hopelessness, dread, or depression that we can’t seem to kick ourselves out of. If we happen to fall into this category, then some questions we could ask ourselves are: “What is my right relationship with my mental wisdom body, and how does it affect my element of fire?”; “Show me how quickly I burn through my resources when I become too over excited about my ideas”; “What is right relationship with my mental wisdom body, and how can I stimulate/calm it down?”
If our emotional wisdom body is out of balance, then our metaphorical scene could either be too wet, or not damp enough. If the air is thick and humid, then it could definitely be hard to start a fire because of how wet/saturated the wood is. If there is little to no emotion at all, then it could be too dry – and again, our resources get burned quicker then what we can throw on our fire. Most people in our society have a hard time with our emotional wisdom body, because we either suppress our emotions (because boys aren’t supposed to cry, or crying is seen as a weakness) or we over indulge in emotions (those prone to gossip or drama and feed off of it). It’s hard to find balance within ourselves, but again, we see how this very vital wisdom body can influence our element of fire. If we consider ourselves to be “sensitive” and feel more than some other people, then sometimes some protection against another person emotions could be the key. Perhaps someone is “raining on your parade”, and you find yourself drained and can’t build your fire after interacting with a certain type of person. What that can look like, is someone with a lot of ambition, but then after talking with someone, can become really disheartened because that person does not believe in them or their dreams. Sometimes filtering out these people that weigh you down is the type of protection you need to help protect your fire. Great questions sometimes come from this, “What is the right environment for my fire to thrive?”; “Show me how my emotional wisdom body affects my spiritual wisdom body”; “Show me the type of protection I might need to protect my fire, and how my fire gets influenced by others”
All of these things factor into our relationship with Spirit. If we are imbalanced in any of those three areas, it could be hard to keep our energy going. Fire typically represents our passion, our influence, and what drives us in life. If we feel like we have no passion, if we lack creativity, or we stop short – then what are you doing to feed your fire properly? This is a direct reflection to ones spirituality. Our sense of purpose and what drives us is directly enhanced by our relationship with our spirituality. If taken into context, we begin to see that many people can be out of balance with their spirituality, because all of these things are connected and inter-related. The point is not to have a fire that burns too terribly brightly, or out of balance with all the other elements, because too much “fire” can lead to arrogance, aggression, and ambition. How many times have you been bull dozed by someone with a fierce determination without a lack of care for who stands in their way? There is a such thing as too much fire. If we have too little fire, do we feel stuck, depleted, or feel like we are lacking a sense of purpose?
Fire is perfect for those who feel like they have too much on their plate. One of the best things about the element of fire, is that is serves the purpose of purifying, as well as bringing the gift of instant transformation. It is a universal law that energy cannot be either destroyed nor created. So what happens if you’ve got a lot of baggage? If you learn to utilize and work with these elements properly, we can begin to reflect on some of the things we’ve got going on in our life, and bring it to the fire so we can transform our thoughts/perspective, and then “let go” of anything else that doesn’t fit.
I will bring up a few patterns I see most common these days, that are standing in ones way to accessing their full potential of their spiritual wisdom body. One is that people are using life as an excuse not to get spiritual. Many people say, “Oh, I don’t have time to meditate” or “Yeah, I’m a really stressed out person, and I know I should do something for stress relief” and don’t take into account their spiritual health as well as their mental, emotional, and physical health. On the opposite end, I have seen many people take on meditations of “letting it go” and clearing the stress of the moment, but don’t into account why those stresses pop up in the first place or why it triggers them into an emotional/reactive state. If a person is constantly “letting go” and not diving down to why something is making them upset, it is termed a “spiritual bypass” so then they don’t really get down to the core of what makes them upset. Both can be an abuse of our spiritual wisdom body, and can lead to a superficial relationship with our own spirituality.
Many people can be in many different aspects of these relationships, the main point to draw out of this blog post, is what state are YOU in? This is not a linear path where you can “follow these steps and get this result”, but this is part of a guideline that is more holistic in application, and how you can pick up the pieces to strengthen the weak aspects.
Some questions we can ask our guides in regards to our relationship with fire are:
- What things am I refusing to acknowledge at this point?
- What are the challenges blocking me from accessing the full potential of my spirituality?
- What things can I transform within myself to establish a deeper relationship with my spiritual wisdom body?
- What things are standing in my way between me and living my life’s purpose?
As with any archetype, the shadow of fire is the wildfire (if you are confused at what the shadow is and what it represents, scroll down to the bottom of the earth post). The wildfire comes when we become too arrogant, sit on top of our high horse, and put all of our eggs in one basket. A more common expression of the wildfire is when our emotional wisdom body runs out of control, and the archetype of the “Wounded Child” drives the bus. Some people may or may not be familiar about it, but I tend to have a pretty unpopular view of the “Wounded Child”. What this usually looks like is someone who is fired by jealousy or their repressed emotions, and does something out of spite. They become “alive” and “on fire” because they feel like they need to get back at a person, or a group. Another thing is that we could have false passions that can drive us. Sometimes our addictions can fuel our motivations in the world, and we can become feverish to fulfill these desires we have. The wildfire is an example of chaos that can be used to drive us either into a state of madness where we destructively burn things without meaning to, or we can use it constructively in a way where we set forth fire in a way that allows for clear, concise break down so we can emerge as seedlings of a conifer that has been through the flame. The earth is generally extremely fertile after a fire, depending on what was burned. Could this be a new beginning for you that you can be proud of? Or is the wildfire a result of your repressed/unresolved issues that you continue to project on your surrounding situation? All of these are good questions to ask.
Other valuable links:
Journey Track Outline – Lost and need a refresher? Go back to the basics before moving forward
Purity and the Elements – Need a reminder on the element system and how these all play together?
Earth – Representation of our Physical Body
Air – Representation of our Mental Body
There are three different groups that Eagle Therapies runs/moderates. The Ancestral Healing Circle was founded on Samhain of 2016. The purpose of this group is to come together to honor the lives of the people who have lived and died before us. Our Ancestors helped shape this world by the way they lived, and in a Shamanic way, we can journey to them to ask them their advice on real challenges presented to us at this time. Keep an eye out on our Ancestral Healing Circle Facebook group, Eagle Therapies Facebook page, Meetup group, or sign up for our Newsletter to stay connected with events.
This is for both the beginner and advanced ceremonialist. The beauty of working in a group is to be able to lean on other people’s experiences so we can figure out things together. We are all apart of the same human race, and the best thing that our culture creates is diversity. Let’s work together in ceremony so we can get down to the root of our fears, be in gratitude, and connect with the land in a healthy way. These events are consciously held around the New Moon. New moons are wonderful for seeing in the dark. We can examine what the underlying themes going on are, so that we can fly in the night.
If you are unable to attend in person, you can join us at a distance. The topics of the Ancestral Healing Ceremony will be presented on the Facebook group, as well as in the event listing itself. These events are now associated with the Shamanism Without Borders program, and there will soon be a blog post that explains what exactly that means. We abide by the ethics and code of the Society of Shamanic Practice, and we will only perform healings/prayers/blessings for people/animals/land that we have the consent of. This is one of the reasons why we do the diagnostic journey in the beginning of the ceremony.
Shamanic Journeying is a helpful pre-requisite. There are monthly journeying classes held at the Intuitive Wellness Center as well as several courses offered through Sounds True, the Shift Network and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. The monthly classes are listed in the monthly Newsletters. As well as on the Facebook or Meetup pages. For a link to the old archives of Newsletters, click here.
There is Shamanic Healing that happens, but please do not be alarmed if you have never done it before. Sometimes just singing or holding space is healing in and of itself, so please trust the process and participate with your whole heart, not halfheartedly because you don’t trust yourself (or are scared/nervous). Just trust that you are in the right place at the right time. Please arrive on time, after ceremony begins, no entrance is permitted into the space. Here’s how the structure will go:
6:00 – We gather, set up the ancestral altar together, and mingle. It’s good to know who we are doing ceremony with, so please open up and get to know each other.
6:30 – Ceremony begins and the circle is cast. No late admittance after this point. This is where we honor the spirit of the circle, as well as the ancestors themselves. Let it be known that we drum loud, sing hard, and sometimes dance the dance of bones.
6:45 – Discussion begins. Why are we here? Why are we interested in this? Here is where we discuss some of the major themes that we are seeing, and talk about how they impact us.
7:00 – Diagnostic journey: This is a quick journey which gives us insight from Spirit about what is really “going on” with the topic at hand, and how we are personally affected by this. The beautiful thing about working with a group is that when we all journey on the same topic, we bring our own unique perspectives to the table. Sometimes it works like puzzle pieces and each one will have a vision that completes what the other had. This is where we discuss and put everything together
7:15 – Plan. Well, not as much planning as coordinating. Some people will feel really called to help hold the space, while others will feel called to do healing work. Some will focus on personal connection with ancestors and healing aspects within themselves, others will feel called to help with working with archetypes and larger modules. Whatever is meant to happen will happen, all that is required is to be open to what is in the moment and be present.
7:30 – Then we sing, dance, call up our power and get to working!! It will last however long it lasts (usually 30 mins) and then we will talk about it after.
When all is said and done, and everyone feels the work is complete, we open circle. Sometimes we don’t always “end” at 7:00pm, so please keep that in mind when planning. Sometimes it’s not up to us what time this ends, but we will definitely be done by 7:30pm.
This work will seem very uncanny, like a lot of things will happen in a flow. This is how true healing works 🙂 if there are any questions, feel free to post them here, on the Facebook group, or message me privately. We will have the right amount of people come, and everyone who can make it will be exactly the people meant to show up. If interested, there is a Facebook Group that you can join so we can discuss these things and future topics.
THINGS TO BRING:
-Journal and something to write with
-(optional) rattle, drum, or musical instruments for when we drum up our power
-Something to put on the communal altar (helps to add personal energy to the circle)
-A lite snack or some food to help with grounding after the ceremony. There are people with dietary restrictions in the group, please bring an ingredient list.
-Your true self and sense of fun/adventure 🙂
-Suggested donation of $20-$40. This flows with the concept of Ayni, and sacred reciprocity. This work will be intense, and to hold the space takes a lot of time/energy. Give back to the circle and the community where you can.
Move forward in a good way, and hopefully will see you at an event!
There has been a great deal of turbulence in the air, and many people have been affected in some way by the issues that are being brought to light. It’s not the fact that more “bad stuff” is happening in the world, it’s just the fact that we are able to see more it than ever. It means that we have to stick together as we peel the rest of this facade off and we get down to really being who we came here to be.
For as many opinions as there are out there, there is a plethora of causes to stand for. With fear running rampant in our main culture, there’s rising amounts of racism, sexism, acts against people of other religions, acts against transgendered or LGBTQ communities/individuals, and more issues of violence and discrimination than we can count. I urge people to pause, breathe, and get out of a reactive state before proceeding forward. We can’t do good in the world if we don’t take care of ourselves first. I know there are many heated emotions flying around, and people are quicker to get reactive because there is so much going on that’s triggering people to be defensive and protect what they “know”. I don’t blame them. But if you’re going to stand up for something, really evaluate your values and morals and see which movements align with them.
The first step after self-care, is to think about things that really make a change in this world. No, putting posts all over social media about how upset you are doesn’t change anything. It might trigger other’s anger and outrage, but engaging constantly in what makes you upset makes more of us upset, and is a trend that has been perpetuated by the masses. Instead, focus on the little things to help make a change or a difference. Here’s a great article from CNN on just this, if you are ready and in a state of mind to take more action that makes a bigger difference in the great scheme of things.
Part of self-care is recognizing what is within our ability to change, and what is beyond the scope of our ability to do. I have two jobs and a kid, so obviously I’m not going to go gung-ho and do everything listed there – it’s meant to be a roadmap for some of what you can do. That goes for joining every protest that’s out there. Be selective, and it’s generally recommended to pick a cause that is close to your heart. It helps because our energy is not scattered, and more focused so that it can effect a greater change.
Now that that’s out of the way – let’s talk about Standing Rock. Why do people care about Standing Rock? What is it? Obviously it’s something that is dear to my heart, but why should we care about it?
I’m sure many people have heard of it at this point. It has finally hit mainstream media to some degree, but mostly it’s through social media that this movement has thrived. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a pipeline being built by Energy Transfer that will be used for transporting crude oil over 1,172 miles and through 4 states. Click here to read the fact sheets on Energy Transfer. Sunoco Logistics (whose parent partner is Energy Transfer) will take over transporting the crude oil once the pipeline is complete. The reason for the pipeline? They claim it moves oil faster over longer distances, and it will help boost the economy in certain areas. Prior to the construction of the proposed pipeline, they have been transporting crude oil via trucks and rail. They claim they take the utmost care and security during transportation, however Sunoco has the highest spill rate of all of the companies that transport crude oil. Their public statement says they will do their best to “minimize spills”. They have also not been documenting all of the spills that take place, stating that they didn’t want to “over-report” their spills. The biggest recent spill happened October 20th, 2016 when a Sunoco pipeline burst, leaking 55,000 gallons of oil about 100 miles North of Harrisburg, PA. Because the oil was leaked from that area, it soaked into the water supply and has reached down as far as the Susquehanna river (it first spilled into Loyal Sock Creek which then flows into the left branch of the Susquehanna) about 15 miles south of where the oil spill occurred.
- Read about other fatalities of other oil spills
- Read about oil spills in other areas and their environmental impact
We now begin to understand the severity of the situation on a physical aspect alone, of the environmental impact of transporting crude oil via pipelines. Another layer to add to this, is the fact that the construction process did not even consult with the owners of the property this pipeline will be going through. Many farmers and people that own private property have been pressured into selling their property so this pipeline could be created. Some of the land that this pipeline runs through was promised to the successors of the Great Sioux Nation in the treaties of Fort Laramie in 1851 and 1868. The government itself has broken the property stated by seizing 56,000 acres for the Lake Oahe project (dam and reservoir) by the US Army Corps of Engineers without prior consent from the Sioux tribe. Technically speaking, the property that the Energy Transfer, DAPL is cutting through military property – and they continued construction on the pipeline even without consent from the US Government. When approached with this legally, the CEO of Energy Transfers released a public statement that equated to drilling first, asking forgiveness later. Even with the Army Corps of Engineers, and President Obama getting involved and sending official letters and documentation, Energy Transfers still decided to proceed with the construction of the pipeline, have dug the trenches and have brought equipment for drilling underneath Lake Oahe on both sides.
As if that isn’t enough, we are also able to witness the layers of inappropriate action in regards to the handling of the protesters. They arrested people at the camp and threw them into dog kennels for “protesting” when they were practicing their freedom of speech and religion through praying. They fired rubber bullets and sprayed pepper spray on a crowd of protesters as they tried to protect sacred burial grounds. The basis for their non-violent protests have been a message of peace. When people come to Standing Rock, there are multiple classes a day that try to educate people about their way, and about how their fight is based on prayer. When beginning any protest, their elders lead them through a ceremony with prayer, and make it a point to include everyone there, including any law enforcement officials present. I was there myself during the protest in Washington DC, and I was there as they gave the blessing that “Everyone was to stay safe and continue to be so.” I was in the back of the protest line that was close to half a mile long, and I didn’t hear any arguing, or fighting. Just the chants for freedom, equality, peace, and the sweet smell of tobacco and sage being burned as we marched to the White House.
If you have questions about what exactly this fight is for, the Indigenous Youth Council put out this wonderful video which highlights the fact that this isn’t just about Native Americans fighting for their land. It’s not just about this one pipeline. It’s about the human race fighting for survival against tyranny and corruption. The blessing of this movement is the fact that a Global Community has been formed around Standing Rock, because they see the value in protecting what is Sacred. There are tales of people not understanding what this movement is – so they go to Standing Rock to see what this change is about – and instead it changes them. This is not just about fighting for what it right, it’s a wave of a mental, emotional and spiritual awakening that’s being led by prayer and ceremony. Its changing lives, the way people look at things, and how they interpret what they see.
It’s obvious the acts of disrespect have been seeded by the creation of the pipeline, which was started and continued without consent from the indigenous people, OR the hundreds of private landowners that the Energy Transfers Partners have cleared out/bought out. We need to be more mindful about what we are manifesting in this world. A good majority of this Western Society is founded on profit, and emphasizes sacrificing many things in light of convenience.
A good majority of the humans running things are doing so with power, greed, and without thought for the communities or environment. What would happen hypothetically if the pipeline was created, and everything went through and a major oil spill happened just like what was witnessed on October 20th? Lake Oahe feeds into the Missouri river. Obviously there’s going to be the immediate area that would be affected, but who’s to say what will happen when the other contaminants leak into the surrounding water supply? What happens if all of those chemicals associated with crude oil get into the water supply that feeds into the bread belt of the United States? We already have a large number of people that are allergic to wheat or developing gluten intolerances with the amount of preservatives in our food, and other factors. If the food that we grow is being fed by water that is contaminated, what do you think that is going to do to the food that is grown? It’s a chain effect.
The Standing Rock movement isn’t just about the DAPL. It also is a call to action for all people to wake up and see what is going on around them. What is the environment we live in now like? What pollution is around us that we are contributing to, for the sake of ease and convenience? All of these are big questions, and we turn inward to find the answers. If we are not in a stable place as we ask these questions of ourselves, then how can we be in a position to think about the greater world/community that is stitched together because of this simple thing we all need.
This movement isn’t JUST about the Oahe Lake and the surrounding water of North Dakota. It’s about all of the water that the Oahe Lake feeds into. It’s about ALL rivers and ALL life. Water is Sacred. #WaterIsLife
If you want more up to date information on Standing Rock, visit the Sacred Stone Camp Facebook page. Find out facts about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protesting.
Feel moved by what was said here? Feel inspired to help now that you have a broader understanding of what is going on? Then congratulations, you just took the first step by reading this article and educating yourself more on the situation. This blog post is not meant to be all inclusive, but provides only a small sampling of the information available to you about why people are making such a big fuss about the situation. I encourage people to do their own research and to double check all of the facts provided here. There will be many sides and perspectives, and the side of the story you get will often be filtered through the eyes of the person seeing it. I know that my view point of the world is very different then others, hence why I encourage you to find your own truth.
If you’re so called to help with this particular protest, then here are some things that you can do to support this movement:
The Sacred Stone Camp is the compilation of different camps at Standing Rock. They are on the front lines where they are directly bordering where construction is taking place. They are keeping an eye on the pipeline construction with drones, and are keeping themselves informed on the progress. Many people here are praying, surviving, and doing their job to protect the land. These protectors are being called to stay at Standing Rock, and have either left their jobs or have taken time off work in order to come support the cause. A lot of people that have gone there are living off of donations.
- Here are Frequently asked questions and how to Support the Camps at Standing Rock.
- They are winterizing their camp so the Land Protectors can stay warm during the oncoming Winter. They have an Amazon Wishlist for supplies.
- There are many people who have gotten hurt at the protests, and that have acquired injuries. Click here if you would like to donate to medical funds.
- If the Standing Rock movement is something that moves you, but you would like to support the Non-Profit organization that is helping them legally in this matter, then find out more and donate to Earthjustice.
Don’t have money or supplies to donate? There are other ways that you can help. In order to “starve” the Black Snake (oil pipeline), there are efforts to defund the project.
- Letters to Officials to stop DAPL – email list to stay in contact with the movement
- List of Banks to write to – Banks are much more susceptible to pulling their funding from projects. Especially if large numbers of people write to them asking them to change their minds.
- Largest Bank in Norway pulls its assets
- DNB bank threatens to pull their assets
- Latest update as of November 14th – still a chance! Our hope is growing! Obama administration and Army Corps of Engineers have stomped down their foot because of protesting
- (Not immediately connected, but by proxy connected because of the awareness the movement has brought about) Interior Cancels Oil Leases On Sacred Tribal Lands In Montana
- As of November 16th – NADL in Financial Jeapordy (Letters to Banks have been working)
Shadow side of this movement
Obviously with the majority of people following along in the Standing Rock movement and its footsteps, we also have those that have become so moved/touched by this movement that they jump in without really knowing what it’s all about. These extremists do not understand the true meaning of standing with Standing Rock, but that shouldn’t be the whole example that can appear to discount what this movement stands for. With every act of balance, there is always a side of the argument/movement which is done with good intention, but their actions come out as warped and twisted. Read about the Killing of Buffalo “in the name” of Standing Rock. It would be unwise to pull up all the wonderful facts about Standing Rock without understanding the other aspects of what some might be reading about. We must embrace all sides of an argument and understand that they exist and are still apart of us – even if it is misguided.