Fairfax Journey Group
April Journey Group Outline 2017
Hey guys! I sure have been busy this past month, with my recovering from deaths doorstep and heading out to Standing Rock and all. I somehow managed to write up a Journey Track outline for beginner journeyers because my inbox was becoming full with people who had questions about doing it by themselves at home. With all of that being said and done, the next few months are probably going to blow by fast for me. I’ve taken up training with an indigenous teacher, as well as going out on my first retreat with Christina Pratt in June (I’m in her four year training program and starting year 1 this year). So that means that we are going to move a little bit quicker in the journey group.
The last two months we have been working on the topic of earth as an element, and exploring that relationship as a metaphor of our physical body. The rest will be as follows on this big medicine wheel we will be taking a dive into 😉
- Main Post: Purity and the Elements – Exploring the four element system, what it means, and the inter-connectedness/inter-related aspects of it all
- February and March: Earth – getting the grounding, boundaries, and centering under wraps. This is a crucial part to understanding the element of earth
- April: Element of Air – Exploring the mental wisdom body and how to bring about the clarity of the mind
- May: Element of Fire (post coming soon) – Exploring the spiritual wisdom body and how we can use passion to fuel our drive in the world
- June: Element of Water (post coming soon) – Exploring the emotional wisdom body and how we can use our emotions as a useful processing tool instead of drowning or being numbed by them.
Along with the basic journey group meetups, there is also a Shamanic Journeying Basics class on April 8th, as well as the Open Heart Path class on April 18th. Hooray for fun events this month!
Event listings for Eagle Therapies:
April 2nd – Heart Centered Sound Circle
This is the extended version of the 5-10 minutes of singing/chanting we do before we journey. It’s a ceremony that lasts for an hour. Begins at 1pm.
April 6th – Element of Air: Shamanic Journey Group
Today we will find the inter-connectedness and inter-relatedness of the element of air, and see how it fits in with the element of earth. Earth helps us cultivate a sense of wellbeing, as well as a sense of place, presence, and grounding. Earth helps us ask the question, “What do I stand for, and why do I stand for it?”. As earth helped pave the ground work, now we can step into the realm of air and be able to take on responsibility and power. The element of air helps us connect to vision as well as clarity, clear sight, and truth.
April 7th – First Friday in Fairfax – Drum Circle!
This is just a fun get together with drums, rattles, and shaky things 🙂 Come join in community!
April 8th – Shamanic Journeying Basics – The Bare Bones
This is meant for everyone from beginners who know nothing about journeying, all the way to experienced journeyers who want a refresher. This will also include a journey group right after, as well as a question and answer.
Cost: $15 – Please bring cash or paypal ahead of time
April 18th – The Open Heart Path workshop
This is one of my favorite workshops to teach, because the Open Heart Path is very near and dear to my heart (pun intended). Come find out what it means to live in todays world full of courage, and to bring your medicine to the table.
Cost: $15 – Please bring cash or paypal ahead of time
April 20th – Element of Air: Shamanic Journey Group
Whenever there is a light, if the light falls on an object of attention, it casts a shadow. The shadow aspect of the element of air is the tornado. Sometimes in life, we reach a point of hopelessness that it feels like an aspect of ourselves is suffocating. We feel stuck and can sometimes feel like we cannot move forward without being restricted in some ways. The tornado can help breathe a breath of life back into the stagnation that was there.
Fly high, everyone!
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.
Earth Journey Group Outline – 2017
The beginning of February is the middle point between the middle of winter and the middle of spring. It is generally the beginning of spring, as well as a metaphoric time to begin thinking of what we will be planting in the months to come. It can be a rich time as we begin to come out of our hibernation of winter. In winter, a lot of people tend to go inward, reflect upon their year, and take more breaks then normal. It is our time to rest, relax, and recharge to prepare for the coming year.
The Fairfax Shamanic Journey Group tends to look at themes that arise in nature and questions how we can apply the teachings of nature into our very own lives. For the next two months, we will be pulling wisdom from the earth and seeing how the archetype of earth can be applied into our every day lives. If you have not journeyed before, it is helpful to at least read up on it briefly before attending. It’s completely okay if you are new to it and want to give it a try. There is a mixed group of practitioners that come, some that have no experience with journeying, and some that have quite the experience. The more advanced journeyers help hold the space for the beginning journeyers, and we find an interesting array of experiences as we open the forum of discussion to the whole group. Please do not feel pressured to share your journeys – just share if you feel called too.
If you would like to keep up to date, we have a discussion forum on Facebook (which right now I look pretty egotistical and just posting journey group topics in there) that I would love for participants to start commenting on or to sharing their experiences about journeys experienced at home. It’s meant to be a safe space for people to explore their journeys without fear of judgement. It can also be a place for people to share helpful links that they shared during the group. You can feel free to read our newsletter for this month for some of the other events, as well as events from others in the area.
Now – down to the nitty gritty! Journey dates as follows! (Date also links directly to the meetup event so you can RSVP to the event if you wish)
Feb 9th – This particular session will be about the four elements, what they mean, and the interconnectedness between all of the elements. This is where we discuss the concept of complimentary dualism and how that can affect our lives. This is the introductory topic, and explores the four-element-system as a whole.
Feb 23rd – What is the earth element? How does it correspond metaphorically and apply in our lives? Here is where we look at our groundedness, our ability to stay in the present moment, and explore some metaphors surrounding our boundaries. What beliefs do we hold very concretely that are the foundations of what we stand on?
March 9th – How do we create presence and autonomy in our lives? In a world where isolation and loneliness fuel depression, there is big medicine to be found in the ability to work with the earth to create a sense of belonging, connection within, and interconnection with the larger reality.
March 23rd – Where there is light, there is always the shadow that is cast. The shadow is not a bad thing, it is the unspoken aspects of ourselves and of larger archetypes. The earth itself has a shadow, and it is the earthquake. The earthquake is what happens when we hold onto our beliefs too tight, our foundation becomes rigid, and things have become so stagnant that the only choice left is to shake things up. What happens when our world seemingly “falls apart”, and what wisdom can come of it?
So exciting to be doing this with a new community of people! If you guys have any questions or concerns, please feel free to text/call 571.306.3197, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fly high these next two months!
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.
The 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!
Month of Water
For the month of June, it is a hot month here in Virginia. It’s a month when I absolutely love dancing in the rain and celebrating the pleasures of Summer. For those just tuning in, this post is directly in regards to the Fairfax Journey Group that’s based out of the Cardinal Center. There are thoughts of continuing it at the Cardinal Center, but it might be moving to Herndon after this month. We shall see where the wind blows us.
The past four months we have been doing the four elements, and how they interrelate with each other. Through the elements, we connect to the four wisdom bodies – the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual bodies. Last month we connected with the Spiritual Body in the form of Fire. This month we connect with the Emotional body in the form of Water. Whenever we begin to journey for ourselves or others, learning how to speak in metaphor is one of the ways we communicate with our subconscious.
When we are connecting with the emotional body, some of the questions we ask ourselves is “What is our relationship with our emotions?”. If we were to imagine that aspect of ourselves, what quality of water would our emotional body be in? Are we not able to express our emotions in a healthy way, leading to stagnant water? Are we constantly spouting our emotions in a constant flow/stream thats constantly changing course? These are some of the questions we will be exploring as we ask our helping spirits to guide us in the right direction for our own personal development.
Here are some of the suggested journey topics/dates for the month of June:
Monday June 6th – What is water in relation to all of the other elements? How do we make sure our emotional body flows and is not stagnant, which at the same time is in balance with the other three elements. If there is too much water, then our fire cannot burn as bright and we become overwhelmed with emotion and feel stuck where we are. If there’s too little, then our fire can burn out of control because we don’t have enough moisture to keep the fire in check. This leads to an overwhelming sense that we can take care of it all, burning our fire all at once, expending all of our energy, and then feel depleted and overwhelmed after. What is balance to you? What is your relationship with water?
Monday June 13th – One of the greatest wisdoms of water is the ability to take the shape of whatever container that is set before it. Water is fluid, moves with grace, and follows the path of least resistance. How then, can we echo this? Do our emotions flow with ease, or do they explode without knowing where the source of them is coming from? Emotions are meant to be flags, they aren’t meant to rule us. Do we ride the wave, or do we allow the wave to ride us? These are all wonderful questions for our helping spirits to provide a more clear and direct answer of who we are as a person so we can uncover the depths of how we work.
Monday June 20th – No journey group, I will be helping out with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax for their Litha ceremony.
Monday June 27th – Shadow aspect of water: There’s always going to be a shadow aspect of every archetype that is out there. Wherever there is light, there is always a complimenting dark. Just because something is “dark” doesn’t mean we should fear it. The shadow aspect of water is the the tidal wave. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves if our emotional life is being lived in the shallow end of the pool, where if we fall down we are safe because there’s not much emotion there to begin with. When we are able to swim out and expose our true/deep emotions – yes, there’s possibility of getting hurt, but when you feel more deeply, you’re able to get more joy out of life because you’re able to feel it for what it truly is. The tidal wave signifies that we haven’t been feeling to our deepest capacity and comes to help free up the stagnation that has settled in the cesspools of our emotional body.
As always, any questions or concerns are always welcome. Feel free to email email@example.com or to call/text 571.306.3197
Month of Fire
It’s been a while, everybody 🙂 I’ve taken a step back with a lot of things in my life because life has just been hectic, and unfortunately Eagle Therapies was one of them. However, I write this outline while at an event because I’m choosing to move forward with what has heart and meaning to me. The journey group and the sound circles are some of them. First, a short message of gratitude for those that have supported me to make it to this place in my life. For those relationships that have broken apart and degraded, I thank you for the lessons – for you have helped me grow into the person who I am. Yeah I’ve made mistakes, but who doesn’t? We’re all human, and we are all learning and growing together.
Onward to what is here and now, as well as toward the brighter future! During the less advertised months of March and April, we began a new series of journey topics or themes to explore. Here is a link to the previous blog post explaining the interconnectedness and balance in association with working in an elemental system. No, I haven’t bothered writing blog posts in association with the elements. I will eventually, but for now they will be covered as we go through each journey group together. I like what people bring to the table and the different perspectives they add to these things. Remember that distance option is always an option, but please message ahead of time to get the link and also to let me know and reserve a spot. If all of this is new and you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s an intro to shamanic journeying and also the basics for the Weekly Shamanic Journey Group.
Here is the outline and description for the Month of May:
May 2nd – We will be exploring fires purpose in the elemental system, and how it works in balance with the other elements. As we explore the elements, we learn that they are the doorway to the four wisdom bodies (mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual). How do we make sure all of them are in balance? How do we uncover if one is overactive/underactive and if another element has stepped up in order to compensate for the deficiency/excess? Fire in excess is arrogance, aggression, and overly ambitious. Fire in depletion is an overwhelming sense of depletion, feeling drained, or not having any motivation.
May 9th – NO JOURNEY GROUP SCHEDULED
May 16th – What do we go to the fire for? What has it been used for by indigenous cultures as well as how do we harness it for ourselves? We go to the fire for transformation as well as to dispose of the things that no longer serve us. We can’t accept more or take on more things in our lives if we keep holding onto old patterns, old behaviors, and old relationships with people/things that are actually holding us back. We are meant to grow and evolve, and fire is a wonderful way to transform ourselves.
May 23rd – Balance – what is too much and what is too little? There is always a shadow aspect which represents the crazy logic. When the fire element is in shadow, it can turn into an out of control raging forest fire. The energy is fierce, abundant, destructive, and eating everything in it’s path. Sometimes it is needed, and examples of this can be found in nature. The Conifer cannot procreate without its seed being engulfed by flames. Death frees us to feel the flame of our true passion. When there are times in our lives where the path of destruction sets everything in our life on fire, when the flames die down, it clears the way. Its a possibility for us to start over again.
May 30th (Memorial Day) – Completion for Fire. What is our relationship with our spiritual body and the connection to our own fire that burns within us? Fire symbolizes the passion that we have for life, how deeply we love ourselves and others. We will be sharing tips and techniques in the group of how we rekindle our own flame and recognize when we need to step back to preserve our own fire. When is an appropriate time to stoke the fire and keep adding fuel? When is there too much fuel and we burn ourselves out?
Thanks you guys! Hope you guys have a wonderful month 🙂 Hope to see you at one of the journey groups or sound circles!
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.
I 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!
Sense of Purpose and the Open Heart Path
Eagle Therapies is about empowerment versus enabling – and the point of Eagle Therapies is to point people to the tools and resources that most resonate with them. There is a core group of teachings that are based off of my experiences and what has been taught to me – but I am still a student myself and do not claim to be an expert on anything. My teachings and events are fueled by my motivation to get people exposed to more holistic ways of living, as well as finding ways to connect more profoundly with themselves on a deeper level.
One of the consistent things that Eagle Therapies offers is a weekly journey group.(If you are unfamiliar with journeying please click here) The groups themselves only meet for about an hour once weekly on Mondays to make it easier to fit into one’s schedule. They can be a-la-carte and people can drop in whenever their schedules allow, without fear of missing a “curriculum”. I offer “suggested journey topics” that are broken down into 15 minute learning tidbits, followed by a discussion between fellow journeyers before we actually journey. These journey topics rotate based off of the themes that I see present in society, or just good introspective tools that might be useful.
As Eagle Therapies is still new to the scene of offering a safe and sacred place for people to explore their individuality, there is questioning from participants as Eagle Therapies comes to discover itself. This questioning is valuable because it helps the small community forming around the Eagle Therapies events to define itself, while Eagle Therapies shapes itself to fit the needs of the community. This article is meant to provide a brief summary of the Open Heart Path and why it’s a good tool for cultivating personal development.
There is a lot of movement in the growing spiritual community in terms of getting people to “awaken” somehow. A lot of these ideals and concepts are too large and grandiose to condense into a short blog post meant to provide highlights and a general summary for the Open Heart Path. I mean no disrespect to some of these movements, and I encourage you to research them if they intrigue you. However, they are pretty much the same thing but called by different names. You may have heard of the New Earth movement, the Great Awakening or the Great Turning. There are many other names that it goes by, but it is all a matter of how you resonate with either the message or the speakers that have stepped up as leaders in this movement. This movement encourages disengaging from the mass unconscious and becoming more aware of our actions, empowering our sovereignty/how much control we have over our choices (like choosing to be happy despite horrible circumstances). It can be as small as realizing your impact by supporting local farmers, or aligning your purchases to buy from companies that have values that support fair trade. We are realizing as a society that when we feed the illness, we are starving the cure. Slowly we walk more in our authenticity and become an advocate or steward for the Earth by caring about the environment and turning around the pollution that humans have inflicted upon Mother Nature. Every great movement starts with the individual, and these are what the movements focus on.
Sandra Ingerman is a wonderful example of a leader that is an advocate for this movement. She is an author, teacher, and Shaman that encourages focusing on ourselves, advocating for personal development and living in a way that is in good relationship with nature and all that is around us. If interested, there are many good books that she has written on the topic. Walking in Light is a wonderful introduction and provides direction to the path.
There are many wonderful teachers that are out there participating in this movement, and each has their gift that they bring to the greater community. The path that resonates the most with me is Christina Pratt’s version of the movement called the Courageous Heart. Christina is the founder of the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Studies and she has a podcast called “Why Shamanism Now”. Her teachings have come from her lessons that she has received from her Guides and Teachers. Medicine of the Courageous Heart is based off of Angeles Arrien and her work called the Four Fold Way. These teachings have evolved in a way that is great for standard application with contemporary people. It’s not too “far out there” in terms of hard to grasp or understand.
I strongly believe that the medicine of this time is the medicine of the courageous heart, or the Open Heart Path. So many people have grown weak hearted in their actions, and their integrity does not match what is within their hearts. Our consciousness as a culture is in our head, and we need to be able to bring that consciousness down into our hearts. The heart has four chambers that work in tandem with each other, and all four of these chambers should be functioning properly in order to have a strong heart that is not easily seduced by things that distract us or draw us away from our paths. In order to work with these four chambers in a tangible way, there are four main archetypes that represent these chambers.
If you’re interested in the source of these teachings, please click on the links above or below to lead you to Christina’s Podcasts, or to Dr. Angeles Arrien and her book the Four Fold Way.
Courageous Heart Part 1: The Healer – 45 minutes
Courageous Heart Part 2: The Warrior – 45 minutes
Courageous Heart Part 3: The Teacher – 45 minutes
Courageous Heart Part 4: The Visionary – 45 minutes
This consciousness that is beginning to form is based off of a collapse of vision. Most Americans live in a very mentally stimulating society. We have cell phones and are constantly plugged into social networking, emails, and constant flows of information. We are encouraged to multi-task and skim the surface of many different topics at once so we can move at a faster pace. The last chamber of the heart is the Visionary, and the archetype of the Visionary has grown weary of untruths. The relationships that we have established with money, housing, and politics have grown too complicated with too many clauses in the contract. The contracts are falling apart, which (in my opinion) is the source of more people stepping into an awareness of their own actions and the actions of their communities. People are waking up because they were caught up in this superficial “big vision” that society has helped weave together. A lot of people are realizing that there is no depth to it, and instead are reaching inside to deepen themselves. The way I have deepened myself is with an open and courageous heart.
When we move through our lives with an open heart, we are able to communicate our boundaries effectively, interacting with others in an open and aware manner. Life happens to us, and I’m one of those people that believes that life is a mixture of things that happen for a reason, and sometimes things just happen. That’s the beauty and process of life! Things happen! Our job as we navigate through this life is to be able to be in control of our actions and reactions as these life processes happen. We are human, and being able to have an open heart while moving through these life processes enables us to get more out of the experiences that life provides. When we are living with an open heart, our passion and our unique genius is able to flow through us. We are able to live our lives in a way that is good for all living things, and to communicate effectively with others because we are aware of our actions and the impact it has on others.
The problem comes in when we come across a life process, and our heart shuts down due to fear. When fear gets in the way, then we tend to have our life force energy moving through what is called our “Shadow”. The Shadow is an archetype that was introduced to Western Contemporary culture by Carl Jung. When our life force energy moves through our closed heart or shadow, our good intentions don’t matter and we instead do things for the right motivation, but our actions speak to something else or just “come out wrong”. It can sometimes be a compulsion or an easy fall back pattern to become the victim in a situation – to see how everything is working against us. We can fall into the martyr where we feel we have to sacrifice in order to get what we want in life. Sometimes when we see a leader or someone in power, we subconsciously project our power onto them, making them “even bigger” in our minds in terms of us never really reaching to that level of awe. When we pedestalize, we give away our power because we subconsciously are down on ourselves since we cannot reach that “level” the person in power has. These are all examples of meaning well, but our intentions being shifted by our shadow.
The medicine or the remedy to this is by realizing when our heart shuts down, and doing the work to open our heart back up. We do this by stepping into our sovereignty and realizing these patterns that we move into subconsciously. The archetype of the healer helps us realize these patterns so we can do something about them and work on them. The archetype of the warrior helps us to be in the moment, and fully present with our experiences in hand. The teacher helps us draw the wisdom out of those experiences that we move through. The visionary helps us see the bigger picture and how we fit into it. All of these chambers work in tandem, building on the other for strength. If one chamber is weak, then we will encounter these “Shadow” aspects of ourselves, and our actions that mean well are instead misinterpreted by either society or those we care about.
As we become more present and learn to live with an open heart, we begin to uncover the wisdom of the heart – which is our own unique genius. Everyone has a different medicine we bring to the table that no one else can bring. We have been incarnated into this life for a reason – and that reason is to express our own unique genius, or to express our lifes purpose. To wield the power of the medicine we possess, we need to step fully into the path of the open heart. We are not here to meet the needs of other people. But as we learn to step into our own sovereignty, we realize that our gifts meet the needs of others. This is the core belief of the Great Awakening. To know that everyone has a purpose and that their own unique genius is what is needed in order to fit into the greater community.
This is why I work hard as a networker, to provide sources for people to uncover themselves on a deeper and more profound level that works for them. My journey groups may not resonate with some people – and that’s okay. However the reason why I host these weekly journey groups is to have space for people that wish to explore this framework of personal development. To ask themselves these fundamental questions as we explore the archetypes in a way that is personalized by them, with their own sets of teachers. When we ask these bigger questions of ourselves, we are able to receive insight that is more impactful. This is the path of direct revelation. And I stand firm in offering the space once weekly at the Cardinal Center for people that wish to delve deeper into their own work.
You are more than welcome to journey at home, and are even encouraged! But for those beginning, it can be easier to do it in community and not feel as “alone”. All of these are “suggested” topics, and you are always free to bring your own questions to the journey group. These journey groups are run off donations to cover the cost of renting the space. A distance option is also available through google hangouts. Visit the Eagle Therapies Facebook page for more information or visit the calendar section on the website.