Here is what I know.

Here is what I know.

Violence is futile. Violence leads to conflict. Conflict leads to war (internal or external). War leads to suffering. Suffering leads to trauma. Trauma manifests as illness. Illness prevents wholeness. Wholeness is Peace. Peace is Harmony. Harmony precipitates beauty. Beauty is Love. Love is All.

I worry that we are all getting duped here. I can smell the bitter twang of the establishment doing what it does best–squelching rebellion, infiltrating and dismantling the revolution. The media, a militarized police force, deep, penetrating domestic surveillance. Donald Trump is a distraction from a much deeper evil. I see the country submitting to its will. Protestors are playing directly into the hands of the government. For those in power behind the newest POTUS puppet, this is an easy win that allows them to maintain the status quo. Violent, rageful protest is great. Protest without demands?…please…They have suppressed these revolts for centuries.

I choose to open my eyes. I choose to mobilize the courage of my conviction and look deeper than what the media is showing me. I will engage in a compassionate, peaceful resistance to the parts of me that are reflected in the hatred and supremacy that dominates my cultural narrative. I will nurture and grow the one place which they cannot touch–my soul. Inside of my DNA there is a revolution waiting to be deciphered. It is an individual revolution and it will be lonely and painful at times.

I choose to commit to the revolution inside of myself. Do you hear the calling?

My healing is your healing.
Your healing is my healing.
Our healing is ALL healing.


I AM Butterfly [a poem]

I AM Butterfly [a poem]
written by Andy Groggel on 3/2/2016

You can’t convince a caterpillar that it’s not a butterfly.
You can’t stop a leaf from falling. Or the sun from shining.
You don’t question the caterpillars ability to change–so why do you challenge mine?

You see, I’m a human butterfly and my metamorphosis is as unstoppable as the caterpillars. But you don’t see, do you? No, you won’t see. Because if you did you’d see that you’re a butterfly too. And that scares you. I scare you to death.

Deep inside you, you know that caterpillars who deny their inner butterfly just end up as dead caterpillars. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to end up a dead caterpillar.

My whole life you have tried to convince me that the inevitable desire to change and evolve should be redirected into productivity. That duty to ones country and family supersedes ones innate drive to thrive.

You have radicalized me. You have cast me as a troublesome outlier and penalized me for letting my truth set me free. Your choice to hide my true form from me controlled me for a while, yes. But I am writing this now to let you know.

I am a fucking butterfly! A beautiful and unique individual with a tremendous capacity to transform. I am an elastic infinite creature of this universe and I have a choice and I choose to fly! And you’ll never know what that means.

You’ll never know how fucking hard it is to spin a crysallis and be present as your body liquifies and reshapes into a new form. You’ll never struggle with me to break free from your shell and fumble your wings outward, upward, to catch the Suns warmth. And Hey, that’s a your choice.

But you won’t even recognize me when I emerge. You will think that you see the same old caterpillar, but all you will be looking at is an empty chrysalis. Because I’m about to take flight as the beautiful butterfly that I am, and oh what beauty there is to behold!


Hey! Where did all my power animals go?

When I first started journeying my teacher at the time was very adamant that I forge a strong bond with my power animals. I still very much agree that this is a incredibly important first step on one’s shamanic path. The Spirit World is infinite and because of its very nature difficult to navigate safely without a guide. There are many folds, dimensions and archetypes that exist there that are not in and of themselves ‘bad’, but are easy places to get lost without a road map. The guides that we take on as allies exist in the Spirit World for that purpose–so if you are reading this piece and have not been practicing journeying for too long, keep on strengthening your relationship with your guides! But also please keep reading, because there is something important that you need to know about who they are.

About a year and a half ago I began to notice that my two main power animals would come around less and less in my journeys and in client sessions or workshops. When they did appear it was for a brief moment and seemed faint. It was harder for me to grasp their image, and I began to worry. All of my teachers in the shamanic realms, both corporeal and not stressed the importance of these alliances. How could I go on as a shamanic practitioner and lead workshops about finding power animals and spirit guides if I was not myself in daily communication with my own? What did it mean when the landscape of my journeys began to shift away from the rationally constructed milieu of my lower and upper worlds to a less organized format? I was still getting messages from Spirit, sure–but I had made a direct connection in my brain about the presence of power animals and MY power. My biggest fear was that without their daily presence I would lose my power. This shook me deep down to my core.

As within, so without–As above, so below. Have you heard this phrase before? It reminds us that our inner world is reflected by our outer world. That you cannot remove one pieces of the great web of life without effecting the whole. Or that Great Spirit is everywhere and in all things. This phrase carries deep wisdom and has taught me the following lessons about where all my power animals went.

The first is that I was never separate from ‘my’ power animals. I AM my power animals. When we first venture into the spiritual realms and are awakening our energy body to the infinite universe, it is a jarring experience. All of us have to shed deeply ingrained conditioning and heal trauma that is impossible to touch alone. So we need to project our ability to heal outside of our self so that we can understand it. Our power animals are projections of our own powers. They are not separate from us, they come from us–by us–for our own healing; when we are new to the practice we simply can’t see it. It would be too unbelievable. [note: I am talking about power animals, not animal medicine–animal medicine is a different discussion altogether].

The second teaching that I learned was that the truth above does not diminish the importance of forming such a strong bond with our allies. Projections of our own strength or not, they serve as potent reminders to us that we have power. When we sit a difficult healing process we often lose touch with our power, but if we form a strong bond with it in the Spirit World and anchor the metaphor as real in altered states of consciousness then we free that power to act on its own accord for our healing when we cannot access it through the pain of the healing process.
There is additional importance in projecting our power into an spirit animal when we work as practitioners. It is usually safer for clients to release energy into objects like stones (they are people too!), feathers and other sacred power objects, then it is to release directly into the room or into the practitioner (heavily frowned upon and discouraged in fact). Power objects are a reflection of our power just as power animals are, so by using them in sessions after we have imbued them with our power we are essentially using the projections of our power as healing tools for others.

To conclude, the big take away for me from these lessons is that as practitioners walking a shamanic path one of the main core teachings that we are charged with is to be bridges for others. We are to have one foot firmly rooted in each world so that we can act as clear channels for our healing, the earths healing and her childrens’ healing. To do that we need to work to integrate as much of the raw materials we receive as gifts, messages and guides from the Spirit World as possible so that we can carry them with us wherever we go. So to bring this back around to power animals–my power animals have not disappeared. I have integrated them into my state of being such that seeing them is no longer necessary to prove their existence to me. I walk with them every day because I walk every day. I understand now that they always have been me and therefore can NEVER leave me. Integrating this truth has been an incredible acknowledgement of the power that each of us contain to unlock great healing in ourselves and others.

I express deep gratitude to Great Spirit for these teachings!


Why do trees get struck by lightning?

lightening tree

A thunderstorm is rolling over an open plain. Off in the distance a grove of trees stand along its path. When the thunderstorm passes over the grove of trees a lightning bolt strikes one single tree amidst the grove. The tree was not exceptionally taller than its brothers and sisters, nor was its foliage in any way inferior (or superior for that matter). Similarly the lightning, being a beam of highly charged particles occurring in only the perfect of environmental conditions, did not have much time to think about where or what it would strike.

No, the lightning simply happened to appear in the same place in time and space as the tree. The event happened under unique, spontaneous, specific circumstances instantly and, in that instant, a consciousness was extinguished (yes I believe that trees feel pain and have consciousness).

I often find myself pondering why certain events in my life have happened to me. These musings can be as small as wondering why I reacted to a person the way I did or as dramatic as why I had to lose half of my colon in my early 20s. Or, even bigger, when I ask myself why pain exists, or war, or capitalism. When I have the presence of mind to do so during those times of existential terror, I pause my dialog and ask myself why a tree gets struck by lightning; it seems a fair and reasonable question–and there is never a fair and reasonable answer.

In fact the most frequent answer that I respond with is, “well, Andy, the tree is a tree and that’s all it can be. The lightning is lightning and that’s all it can be. Their natures collided spontaneously…and that’s that.” And for me, that places whatever existential question regarding pain I am pondering within a greater cosmic context. Pain exists because it is a natural result of two materials, be they trees and lightning bolts, surgeons with scalpels or personalities, spontaneously colliding with one another under unique conditions that create friction. It doesn’t ever make ‘sense’. Humans sense things and then ascribe meaning. We choose the meaning to suit our perceived needs. If these needs are oriented towards suffering, then we choose to suffer. If our needs are oriented towards using the energy of that pain to move through an obstacle in life, then we choose that path.

Pain is inevitable. Lightning happens. It is how we choose to react to it that makes us human.

Shamanism isn’t a magic bullet-or-Healing is hard as hell

updated 5/3

What is an important part of you that you choose to project, protect and portray? Can you sit with yourself and try to understand why it is important to you and whether or not you are presenting it with integrity? Does the identity you feel you perform match your inner sense of self? These are all questions that I have used to help guide me down my healing path over the past few years. What I found at the root of so much of my identity were amassed cultural stories that I didn’t agree with, or beliefs that formed at a young age during unhealthy relationships or behaviors that were modeled for me that were incongruent with my life path.

While this process of self growth and discovery has been a gradual one that has ebbed and flowed over the years the energy of change really crescendoed once I moved back to Michigan this past summer. It was gut wrenching and scary to come to the realization that who I was on the ‘inside’ did not always live in harmony with the me I so often chose to present to people…and there were real life repercussions for admitting that I was living out-of-rhythm with my self. For nearly a year I stood and watched as relationships that I treasure crumbled away beneath my feet, as dreams that I had called into existence turned out to be mirages leading me to a deeper truth and as my relationship with money burned down in a fiery wreck.

What strikes me most about this healing process is the feeling of inevitability that came with it. The stories that I had created for my self couldn’t hold up for shit once I turned to acknowledge my truth and power. What began as a gradual process of shedding and peeling away the parts of my life which no longer served me eventually launched me through a threshold that made it impossible for me not to align my life with my inner truths. And it hurt and I couldn’t stop it. And I prayed and the pain didn’t go away. And I fought it and nothing changed, or I pretended to ignore it and the problems got worse–no, I could not stop it from hurting until I had learned my lessons and earned my way past ‘Go’. And I had to do this after having adorned myself with the titles of ‘Integrative Healer’, ‘Shamanic Practitioner’, ‘Reiki Master’–one who knows how to heal. You see, healing is an incredibly uncomfortable process and I believe that it always will be, even for those of us who have chosen to anchor healing communities. When you break your arm and the bone is set and fusing back together, it hurts. When you go through growth spurts as a child you feel the pain associated with that growth. When your teeth poke through your gums as a child, it sucks real bad and all you can do is wait until they all poke through–I think you get my point. The pain that results from growth (healing) makes exceptions for no one.

Healing is hard as hell and no one in the dominant culture seems to be coming close to admitting that. Instead, healing is defined as a magic bullet–one prescription or steroid or surgery or crystal or shaman or psychologist that can make it the pain go away without the struggle, without the pain. This story is rampant not just in western biomedicine but also in holistic healing, modern religions, and New Age spirituality and I really had to examine the identity that was forming for me around ‘healer’ and ‘shamanic practitioner’ or ‘Reiki Master’. It is just as misleading to believe that all you need one trip to the shamanic practitioner in order to heal decades of relationship trauma as it is to believe that taking depression medication will help the same issue.

More often than not I experience my medicine as being the catalyst for an intense period of personal healing than it is a spiritual orgasm that shakes away all ills. For clients or members of the journey groups I lead my role is to help break through the illusion that is preventing them from walking their healing path. Their job is to walk that healing path until it reaches its logical conclusion, and let me tell you folks that conclusion is often surprising. Sure, the sage and songs and altar can be entertaining, even endearing to some, but to me they are tools to help folks to see their true self. I provide the space for individuals to see themselves in this new way because those are the tools that have helped me to see my self. Because it is part of my healing path to bring my vulnerability to the surface and transform with you. My medicine invites you to heal in-pain together with me and watch with wonder when beautiful gifts begin to emerge out of the deepest, darkest, hardest to reach places and ripple out to benefit not just you but the whole world. Healing is hard as hell and it so often hurts, so we might as well do it together with ALL things and sing some songs and send some prayers. The bliss and the joy that arises from the healing process does so after the labor pains. The tears we shed when we release are tinged with the memories of the struggles we endured to get to the point of release.

Spiritual lessons from three months without Facebook

 

As you may [not] have noticed, I took a three month hiatus from Facebook between January and March. It was a surprisingly difficult and personally rewarding experience that I recommend any regular Facebooker undertake. Because I see the world through a spiritual lens, the lessons that I walked away with from these three months are largely spiritual, and are freely shared below with little editing. If you feel triggered when you read these observations I encourage you to sit with those feelings and ask yourself why you feel that way. What needs to shift within your perception to elicit a different response?

Facebook encourages an illusory portrayal of our self. It is allows us to tell carefully edited stories about our lives. By only sharing the best parts of our stories we can only have the best parts validated by others. Not only does this affect the perception of our own life experience (we are always filtering it through a lens of what is Facebook worthy), it limits our ability to be grounded in our experience in the present moment. For example the first few weeks that I stopped I found myself thinking in status messages, or narrating to myself how I needed to post this thing that happened to Facebook. Instead, I could have been actually experiencing what was happening in the present moment. Allowing Facebook to become a habitual part of our day makes what happens on it fact, when in reality it is an illusory experience.

Once I removed myself from the illusion that Facebook mattered as a part of my constructed reality I could begin to examine it from different perspectives. I looked at the role it plays in the cultural construction of capitalism. Visiting Facebook daily perpetuates consumer behaviors that allow capitalism to thrive in our collective consciousness. Just visiting the page is a consumer act. We gobble up what others do, what they see and where they go and then we make decisions about our own lives based on that. Computer programs then monitor our sessions and suggest content to view or materials to purchase. Do I sound paranoid? Good!

I also looked at the role that Facebook plays in the construction of our egos. Ego is a storyteller, the narrator in the construction of our daily reality. It portrays itself as omniscient and benevolent; always acting in what it says is our best interest and knowing the right time to do it. One of the stories so many of our ego’s tell us is that it is important to be liked. It is important to be liked because that shows us that we are valued by others. If we are valued by others than there must be something about us that is worthy of love. Therefore, the more people we perceive as liking us the more we will tell ourselves that we are worthy of love. That’s right, Facebook lets us stroke our own egos. But that’s not all, Facebook also allows our ego’s to only share things about ourselves that we think others will find likeable. It teaches us to create illusions about how we are authentically experiencing life. Our illusions then become quickly validated through our interactions with others, both on and off of Facebook.

And here’s the thing. All of this is happening at the subtle level. All of these interactions are happening between mind, body and spirit and we can’t hear them beacause we are on Facebook–or Gawker, or a blog, or listening to a podcast, or shopping, or working, etc. The beautiful architecture of internet networking sites (and what site isn’t a networking site these days?) is neatly netsled in a part of our experience that is convieniently too hard to hear beacuse of our contemporary urban lifestyle.

“Yeah, but I only use Facebook to spread positive loving vibrations into the world.” Right, I know you do and I know that your intentions are as beautiful as your Facebook posts: rainbows, beautiful buddhas, sage bundles, Angels, and Power Animals. I’m right there with you and I posted and still might post content like that. It feels good to be positive and inspiring, but what gave me pause was how so many of these posts only point to the bright fluffy side of healing, of ‘spiritual enlightenment’. Folks who are walking a spiritual path will tell you that “healing” is not all kitty cats and pretty flowers. It is scabs, bruises and scars from falling down so much. It is learning how to shift our perspective on getting better away from the cultural illusion of healing and into a grounded version of what is really going on for us [blog post on divine illusion coming soon]. And that is where Facebook has fallen short for me. Facebook puts me out of touch with my authentic reality, one I have sacrificed so much for and fight so dearly for on a daily basis.

So what has changed in my behaviors? Well first off, I think that the time I spent away from Facebook was more time spent with myself. I made some pretty big life changes in three months and did so without the perceived support of ‘all of my Facebook friends’. In that sense, I gained confidence in my ability to live authentically in my power without the perceived approval of others. I also feel like I gained a new perspective on what Facebook is actually used for–marketing, both personal and professional. It is a marketing tool and so I think you will see my interaction shift to focus a bit more on professional marketing, not personal marketing.

I would like to close this by saying that I am not writing this from a position of piety. I do not believe that I am better than anyone because I relate to this website differently now; Facebook just isn’t that important. I am also not holding myself to an expectation that I have come to these conclusions with finality. My experience tells me that finality is also an illusion. Perceptions shift from instant to instant, just like Facebook status’. Oh, and yes I know how ironic it is that I am posting this to Facebook 😉


The Importance of Power Animals in Contemporary Western Shamanism

by Andy Groggel, M.A. and Erica Christenson

The past four decades have seen a blossoming of non-native individuals offering to guide groups through shamanic experiences using the practices of core shamanism (ala Michael Harner). Core shamanism emerged from an assertion made by Anthropologists and academics that any one could access the altered states of consciousness (ASC) necessary for ones soul to travel to the spirit world, commonly referred to as the shamanic journey or soul journey. For this experience to be facilitated safely, the founders of the core shamanic movement created a system of ‘best practices’ that were rooted in the ancient healing wisdom’s of the indigenous cultures they studied. Participants first sit in a circle, are cleansed by sacred plants such as sage, cedar, tobacco, or palo santo. Then, sacred space is created through a ritual of calling in the cardinal directions. Prayers are offered for protection and the shamanic practitioner hosting the gathering appeals to his or her helping spirits. Typically a brief introduction is made to explain the shamanic journey and the principle elements of core shamanism and then participants are invited to listen to drumming, rattling, singing or a combination of those elements (also known as auditory drivers) to assist their transition into an ASC.

While these rituals have come under [justifiable] scrutiny by indigenous peoples and the cultural anthropologists for appropriation of various indigenous knowledge systems, the phenomenon has become so popular in western cultures that I have personally come to recognize core shamanism as an intentional manifestation of non-specific ancient wisdom by contemporary techno-culture’s across the planet. The techniques presented in core shamanism represents knowledge contained within our shared consciousness as a species.

Contemporary western culture is a surprising, perhaps ironic, place to see such practices emerge. The history of its pandemic spread from the European continent and the suppression of its own indigenous healing systems leaves a majority of its population unaware of their own ancestral/indigenous roots. Even after centuries of violent suppression, a call to return to ancient ways of knowing remains and is growing with the passing of each year. Shamanism, in the most broad application of the term contains the tools and technology of human consciousness needed to help contemporary cultures answer the call from Mother Earth and the Spirit World.

How then can a culture so far removed from its ancestral roots reestablish a connection with the great tree of life that unites us all? The answer for core shamanism lies in developing a close, reciprocal relationship with ones power animals and helping spirits. This concept is of central importance to a responsible practice of shamanism, but is often left underexplained in popular culture.

Power animals and helping spirits can be understood via the concept of the archetype. Archetypes are primal energies that exist as entities in and of themselves, but express themselves through human behavior and natural phenomena. An archetype is an energy existing outside space and time; it arises spontaneously through intention and awareness. Mother and Father energy. Creation and Destruction. Expansion and Contraction. We can use our minds to tap into archetypes. To let them guide us and provide greater ease and comfort in life. An example of an archetype is the Mother. There is a strong mothering instinct expressed throughout existence and across species. It is made manifest through nurturing oneself or others, giving birth, feeding and being an empathic presence during a troubling time. These set of behaviors are mutually agreed upon within the collective conscious and compose the archetype, Mother.

Animals represent their own set of archetypes. Animal medicine speaks of the archetypal energies an animal carries. Owl medicine, for instance describes energy steeped in careful watching, in wisdom. Owls carry the archetype of the wise one, the watching one, the patient one. Seeing through illusion. Seeing through lies and deception. Deep seeing.

In my own experience as a shamanic practitioner and a facilitator of shamanic journey groups the topic of power animals and helping spirits is often met with resistance. Whereas the idea of entering into ASC to receive healing and find answers to some of life’s biggest questions are sexy to a culture obsessed with quick self help remedies, being asked to first take the time to locate and form an alliance a non corporeal energy form is met with skepticism. To do so requires at minimum an often unanticipated suspension of disbelief. But to consciously jump into the experience of non-ordinary reality vis a vis ASC requires the participant to begin a lengthy process of confronting, then letting go of a deep set of cultural programming. This programming tells him or her that helping spirits and power animals only exist in the realm of ghost stories and the fanciful imagination of children and artists. If they do exist, then they do so in a third world native context far removed from the sophistication of the “modern world”. And so begins the sometimes jarring process of reconnecting with our ancient roots.

To get there we must dissolve the complex mental constructs that we have formed around what is ordinary reality versus non-ordinary reality. These constructs are so much a part of the composition of our brain, we cannot see them. Much like ideology functions on the level of collectives, we carry beliefs in our mind and they drive our behavior. How to suspend belief? What is it? It is a flexible, receptive brain. And this is the state of ASC we try to enter. A place where the brain is available and open to a great, huge, mysterious, omnipresent knowledge. Where we are not necessarily ourselves, thinking of all the tasks we need to do or who we are. We suspend belief in ourselves for a while so we can be open to cosmic/ancient/inherent wisdom’s of the archetype.

For those of us who are fully engaged in the process of reconnecting, remembering and releasing, our connection to power animals and helping spirits marks the beginning of our path. Their appearance in our journeys to the spirit world not only confirms their existence to us, but they validate our experiences in a non-ordinary reality governed by very different rules than our waking life. This validation is extremely important because with it comes a host of teachings of how to navigate the spirit world safely. Without a strong relationship, or at least an earnest desire to form a strong relationship, the practice of core shamanism is not sustainable.

Why? Because our power animals and helping spirits serve as our translators between the spirit world and our reality. They have the ability to move fluidly through the liminal space between worlds. They teach us how to stand with a foot in each world so that we can learn to bring medicine back and forth in a grounded way. Through observing their behavior during the shamanic journey we can learn how to move with the rhythms of nature, how to let go of spiritual detritus that no longer serves us. They are the gatekeepers to the deeper truths that exist transpersonally in our collective consciousness. Without this strong bond the practice of entering into ASC/the spirit world is risky.

Spanning the multiple layers of the spirit world is a great tree; the world tree. This is the origin of all living things on this Earth. It’s roots run deep into the lower world and its branches stretch far into the upper world. The practice of shamanism, irrespective of indigenous lineage or spiritual state, provides us humans a technology with which to remember that we are all a part of the same tree. Regardless of which root we connect with first they all lead to the same trunk, they feed the same tree. Our power animals and helping spirits help us find this tree, they help us feel connected to its power, they remind us that its power lies within us and that we are all interconnected.


Why shamanism? Why now?

This past Wednesday I hosted my monthly shamanic journey group. This is a chance for seekers to come together in community and bring important medicine to the circle from the Spirit World. One of the participants in this weeks journey group asked me a question that is worth exploring on this blog. She asked, “Andy why do you think that shamanism is becoming so popular?”

Well, here is my answer:IMG_0294

For one of the first times in the history of our species we are facing the very real fact that if we continue to live our lives the way we are currently, our species will not be around seven generations from now. The evidence is hard to ignore. We are destroying our selves by destroying the earth. And I believe that most of the seekers out there are healing so that they can play their part in the healing of the earth. If we heal ourselves, we heal the earth. Shamanism holds the keys to living in right relation with everything around us.

Think about it. This current period of self-destruction (lets use the Industrial Revolution as the starting point) has lasted a fraction of a second in the life span of life on this planet. For the rest of the time our ancestors lived in a close, reciprocal relationship with the earth. We are giving ourselves an ultimatum: either return to our ancient ways of living, or perish. On the individual level it was that very ultimatum that encouraged me to seek out shamanism. I faced death twice in my early twenties and realized that if I didn’t begin to do something differently, I would die. This is the exact same thing happening on the level of collective consciousness. We are all being asked to return to our ancient ways of knowing. Shamanic lineages have been carried through generations of indigenous cultures all around the world for millennia.

Shamanism is growing in popularity because we are calling ourselves back to our roots. And where indigenous roots have been severed, singed, transplanted and controlled by human greed new roots systems are beginning to form for us to plug back into. These new roots systems are represented by movements of contemporary culture like core shamanism, shamanic counseling and the influx of westerners to places in the world where indigenous shamanism is still in tact. All of the indigenous shamanic root systems lead back to the same source and feed the same world tree. The source is Spirit, All, Infinity, Universe. The world tree is our beautiful mother planet.

May all beings find their way back home!

 


The tricky thing about healing…

Here is a really tricky part about healing from a shamanic point of view: it is completely non-linear. The cultural story we tell about healing paints a linear trajectory. You go to the doctor, she listens to your symptoms, prescribes a pill, and you ‘get better’. You go to a therapist, tell her your problems, she gives you suggestions on how to work with the symptoms you feel and eventually you ‘get better’. Well, my experience of healing is much different. My experience tells me that healing is just as messy as life is–it is just as hard…because it IS life.Infinite galaxy

When I work with clients we both consciously step outside of ordinary reality (everyday life) to enter into non-ordinary reality, where we can easily attune to the spirit world and its infinity. Within this infinity all of us can find the power that we need to heal ourselves. We connect with our power animals and spirit guides, energetic manifestations of our own potentials, and they guide us and teach us. Once we step outside of this infinity, however, we cannot immediately separate out the mundane from the sacred. It is easy to lose track of our infinity, of the power we need to heal ourselves.

And so this is why we engage in shamanic practices. Through shamanic practices such as the shamanic journey we are able to entrain our consciousness to the vibration of the spirit world. We can attune our energies in ordinary reality to the frequency of the spirit world and listen in whenever we want! Attuning to the frequency of the spirit world helps us navigate the non-linear nature of healing because acts as a compass bearing. When life feels topsy turvy we can enter into non-ornidary reality to ground our energies are re-orient to our healing potential. The same is true of nature–we can engage with it the same way. Nature, mother earth, is the spirit-world’s manifestation of infinity.

Life may never be easy, healing certainly will never be so…but by tapping into the infinity of our healing potential we can change the story that we tell about how and why we heal. Once you walk a shamanic path for long enough, develop a solid relationship with your helping spirits and shed enough of your past you will convince yourself that all of the struggle, the pain of life, is worth it. It is leading you somewhere, guiding your life in some way. You may even begin to see the hand of God at work in your life, teaching you how to gently cleanse yourself of lifetimes of karmic baggage so that you can step into the light and share your infinity with the world.


A thousand names, yet unnameable

…A thousand names, yet unnameable. A thousand physical forms, yet formless. God simply IS.

I saw this posted to Facebook today and wanted to share this beautiful message with you.

“A very long time ago, the rocks, trees, winds and animals could all speak and understand one another. And there began… an argument.

The breeze said, “God is the wind that is never still”. And the stone answered, “God is a great rock that never moves!”. The mountain rumbled, “God is a snowy peak, high above the clouds!” The fish argued that God was a great swimmer, and the stars insisted God was a bright light far far away. “She is a great tree” protested the willow.. “always growing and always giving!”

“You are wrong”, said the island… “God is separate and apart!” But the blue skies insisted that God is like the shining sun, far above all things”.. and the argument grew louder and louder, with the lions insisting that God is a huntress, and the bears insisting that God is powerful. Until one day a new voice finally spoke. It was the voice of an old turtle, who hardly ever said anything at all, and certainly never argued about things like God. But the old turtle began to speak.web-of-life

“God is all of those things”, she said, “God is as deep as the sea and higher than the mountains, swift and free like the wind, and as great as a rock. God is both gentle and powerful, and God is within and above all things. God IS.”

The old turtle had one more thing to say. “There will soon be a new family of beings in the world, and they will be strange and wonderful. They, in fact, will be reminders of all that God is. They will come in many colors and shapes, with different faces and ways of speaking. They will possess many powers, be strong yet tender, they will be a message of love from God to the earth, and a prayer from the earth back to God.”

And the people came. But the people forgot that they were a message of love and a prayer from the earth. And they too began to argue about who knew God and who did not; and where God was and was not; and even whether God was… or was not. And some of the people misused their powers and hurt one another.. or killed one another. And they hurt the earth. Until finally, even the forests began to die… and the rivers, the oceans, the plans and the animals.. the earth itself. All because the people could not remember who they were, and that God was in everything and everyone.

“Please stop!” said a voice that seemed to come from the mountains, who now said they see God in the ocean. And the ocean sighed, saying they see God among the snow-capped mountains. The rocks saw God in the breeze, and the wind saw God among the rocks. The stars now agreed that God is close and the island felt God’s love touches everything. And after a very long and scary time, the peopled listed and began to hear… and finally.. to see God in one another.

And the old turtle smiled. And so did God.

This is from a children’s book called “Old Turtle” by Douglas Wood.

To add on another quote and contextualize this within a shamanic worldview:
“Shamans in the Americas live in a world where the Creator is not separate from the Creation, Heaven is not separate from Earth, and Spirit and matter infuse each other.

The shaman does not believe in a division between the body and the spirit, or between the visible world of form and the invisible world of energy.”

Alberto Villoldo, from his book “Shaman, Healer, Sage”