Secrets of the West

West is transitional, liminal, conscious, unconscious, shadow, introspection and reflection place. It has a voice in matters of life and death & traverses the waterway of the conscious self, leaving one side of the shore, the place of illumination, to the awakening of the deep self on the shores of the land of the dead.

Tuonen (Tuu nun) tytti (TUU Te) is a ferrywoman, who ferries dead people over the River Twaw Ne Luh. She only ferried people who she believed to be dead – but Vainamoonen, you may have heard of some of my adventures with “he who believes he was the First Shaman” among my people, the Saami. But, like many shaman after, he had to travel to the Land of the Dead, and of course he would encounter the Ferry Woman, Tuonen Tytti. She knew he was alive. Now I personally would have LOVED to hear the negotiation between the two, to get him there, and thus said the daughter of Tuonen as her warning to him

“Thou art sure a stupid fellow,
Foresight wanting, judgment lacking,
Having neither wit nor wisdom,
Coming here without a reason,
Coming to Tuoni’s empire;
Better far if thou shouldst journey
To thy distant home and kindred;
Man they that visit Mana,
Few return from Maria’s kingdom.

West is where the Alchemy of unconscious to conscious and conscious to unconscious takes place. We all know we can’t keep everything in our conscious minds. It slowly floats into “just beyond my conscious reach” to deeply settling into the unconscious. But, we know the wheel is forever moving reminding us ~ past is prologue. Where are we going? Where have we come from? What have we learnt? What have we dropped along the way?

The paradox of water – you are brought to life by water, and yet a deadly place, a watery grave.

Historical symbolic representations of water – such as the alchemical/magical symbol of an inverted triangle that symbolizes the downward, gravitational flow of water – and the Cup or Chalice – symbolic of the water triangle – parallel the ancient feminine symbolisms of a downward pointing triangle (the representation of female genitalia) and the feminine elements of intuition, gestation, psychic ability, and the subconscious, respectively. Moreover, the Cup also stands as a symbol of the Goddess, the womb and the female generative organs.

West is the place of the soul. I have recorded sealskin/soulskin I leave the link here incase you would like a deeper dive (pun intended) into the story. Seal Skin Soul Skin

The questions west asks:
Can we also heal ourselves by returning to our inner lives?
Belonging to ourselves?
With radical self-care and self-inquiry?

I think we need to explore how to relate to the world we live in. If we explore how the world feels to our individual self, we can explore ways to answer the questions posed above. I believe most of us are instinct injured. We have normalized the abnormal and abnormalized the normal. I have devoted a podcast to the very real wound of Instinct injured. Healing our instincts and inner life incorporates enclosure, metamorphosis, and re-emergence. Instict Injured

West the place of mystery where we are also known to shape-shifter, access our medicine gifts, taking on the form of another, an ancestor, animal, or element. In our shamanic view we do our healing work in the psychic landscape – that interior guarded ground.

The Ritual of Healing in Our Modern Age


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I would pose civilisations have survived ritualistically because they have associated a part of their spiritual health with the objects of their faith. Over the years peoples such as the Australian Aborigine, the North American Natives have had their spiritual icons or symbols stolen or better yet sold to the highest bidder. The loss of these artefacts and symbols leads civilisation to an impoverished end because symbols are owned and not felt. Rituals associate emotions and life with their ritual object. Each feather is a bird, each rattle a spiritual messenger, each crystal is a being. Our society is coming to an impoverished end in part due to the fact that the symbols of our spiritual culture are owned as opposed to felt.

One of the important aspects of ritual is that it brings us back to who we are or what we believe in, our perceptions of reality. Today in our society our perception of reality is created by things of the exterior as opposed to things of the interior. Rituals and symbols are an aspect of our culture, a residue of our culture investing our life with meaning.

Rituals and symbols can provide a structure which yield new meaning, as well as provide the context for milestone events such as the onset of menses or womanhood, a vision quest for the onset of manhood or marking solstice or equinox. Ritual and symbols are important as an identification of ourselves and how we are going to transform ourselves. Ritual allows us to separate our ordinary selves from our sacred selves. It provides a possibility to create the sacred time necessary to address important questions with the attention they deserve. Removing your shoes before entering sacred space is an act which allows you to see the space from another perspective; you step out of the ordinary (your shoes) and look again (barefoot… or with socks if you have to wear those silly things).

Rituals in groups can have the most meaning and the most power because they reinforce the unity of the community we need to sustain ourselves. Individuals develop personal rituals to signify their truth or what becomes their truth, but we restore our community by celebrating, honouring and ritualizing together.

Healing rituals ask that you take the journey towards your own transformation. We recognize our need for healing by our symptoms. Symptoms are a way of expressing something we are unable to say any other way. The soul speaks through the body in a language that most people can understand, pain… whether physical, spiritual or emotional. Instead of looking for the truth that it represents we almost always focus on the symptom itself.

Pain is an acknowledgment of something not right. Pain generally has a location, the location is a memory or a sense… our emotions, our experiences are energy stored in our body. The body responds in pain as an acknowledgment that you are either pushing away from the experience, burdened by the experience or holding onto the experience, or lastly it could be another experience coming in. The Elders of the Daagara peoples of West Africa believe that pain is two memories fighting, when the pain leaves it is because one of the body memories has lost and must leave. My training with a Sangoma from West Africa encouraged me to allow the thought that perhaps pain is the Universe telling me that I have to go inside and speak to my body to find out what is going on. To tell you that I have had 100% success with pain, would be untrue. I have however had very good success with myself and with my patients when I attempt to understand

In my role as a healer if someone comes to me for assistance due to some type of symptomatic condition, correcting the symptom will not solve the problem. I am sure we all know this. However, if I doctor the person for the condition which is causing the symptoms, then I will have truly assisted the person.

As an example a man came to me a few months ago for doctoring for depression. In
determining what needed to be done to be of most assistance to the man, I doctored him in such a way as to make his spirit able to be heard more powerfully. You see, he was working in an office type job, yet his spirit intended that he work in a job that was outdoors–or that he at least spent much more time in the wilderness. He has a choice: either follow his spirit or feel even worse. He won’t be able to hide from his spirit’s intent nearly as easily as it continually yells at him to get out of the office into the outdoors.

It is not enough to talk about our issues, it is not enough to confront our truths in private to rid ourselves of old dysfunctional learning you have to slay your dragons publicly. You cannot fulfill your dreams until you actually acknowledge them for others to see. Otherwise it is only your head doing your talking and your body doing the walking. Nothing is so absolute that it cannot be seen again from another perspective.

During ritual we are a projection of the Spirit World, the microcosm (us) and the macrocosm (the universe). It is in the process of the ritual we assign/attach/become one with the Spirits and the Ancestors developing a communal relationship between the ritualizers and the spirits with whom we are attempting to allay ourselves with. So the use of ritual not only gratifies and allows the inner spirit and the inner person to grow the use of ritual also moves us to a point of understanding and recognition of where we came from and what our future is. In other words, we attempt to recapture the initial event causing the wounding allowing us to move forward into our transformative healing experience. Ritual has the ability to slow us down physically, mentally and emotionally creating an opportunity to see and feel the anger, sadness, desolation and abandonment that created our initial wounding.

Sounds simple doesn’t it. Well it is and it is not. Ritual is a huge component of shamanism and shamanic work. Shamanism is a slow and steady path of healing supporting and moving with ritual allowing a person to connect to Spirit, an essential component to our health and peace. In order to make that connection the doctor and the patient have to slow down and look deep within his or herself to see what lies beneath the mask and the façade. It is a slow and at times arduous process to tear oneself down and open eyes fresh to see the truth behind the masks. I think that our modern attitude of do what feels right, although inviting and seductive in its simplicity and its immediacy is a lack of respect to the process and the pact that was before us. And what was before us is again inevitably ahead of us. We must have a path that grounds us, that keeps us solid, keeps us moving. That is not to say that spontaneous ritual does not provide that for the ritualizer however I question the ability of a spontaneous ritual to have the same effect, ie depth, that a learned ritual would have.

In order to remember things we have to slow down, in order to learn we need to slow down and remove the barriers, we have to face what is inside. It is the facing of ourselves that can be the most frightening.




Learning divination has been a hit & miss process for me.  My main form of divination has been interpreting the ways my Stones Bones Nuts & Teeth fell. As with every Diviner I had to learn how to learn how to read patterns. While each throw may seem random or accidental the patterns that I see are not at all accidental.  Each individual stone bone nut & tooth falls exactly as they are directed to do by the spirits wishing to communicate to the seeker by this means. As diviners we have an essential role, that of interpreting signs.  Each throw becomes like a text, describing the relationship connecting the seeker’s destiny to that of the dependent and independent relationship of the universal forces.

Connecting to Spirit in a tangible form has helped me to listen and work within what has already referred to as an invisible realm.  However to me I never thought that the invisible necessarily meant the unknowable. As I grew in awareness I remembered to look for signs from the invisible realm. The irony of which is how can we see the invisible if we don’t look for it?

As an example any of us can look into another’s eyes and see the beauty of their color.  A trained iridologist however will study the same eye and note certain characteristics that have been pointed out to her from her teachers.  The teacher taught and encouraged the student to become aware of patterns within the eye. The teacher’s intention was to successfully teach the student to see these formerly invisible, but always present, patterns and interpret them.

The world of spirit is both separated from us, and continually linked to us, independent and dependent. The invisible realm is a subtle aspect of our everyday-every moment reality, accessible to disciplined investigation, like all scientific pursuits.

When I first started throwing stones I had no idea that there was a comparable practice in West Africa. Nor did I realize there was an actual name for the reading of stones, Lithomancy.

Throwing stones is not a form of fortune telling.  My stones bones nuts & teeth are sacred spirits and are used only with for those who will respect them. Together we look into the seekers spiritual relationships. Each stone has spoken to me, as yours will speak to you, and explained their expression of relationships. I listen to hear what the stones tell me about the seekers connection to not only the physical reality, but how they are also connected to the spirit reality.

I started off with a small pouch of stones.  The pouch itself was a hand made gift to me from a lady in circle for whom I had retrieved parts of her soul.  She included in the pouch four stones.  Other stones have mysteriously appeared in the pouch.  In working with my stones bones nuts & teeth I saw yet another example of the relationship between all things.  The stones bones nuts & teeth are more than just a reflection of the seekers life; they are the seekers life.

One stone had told me that it was the interpreter of the seekers relationship to money and or wealth.  It is a pendent I have had from my childhood.  Many years after I started working with my pendent spiritually I was told that it was light Jade, a stone whom the Chinese have ascribed good fortune to for centuries. Discliping and trusting my awareness was validated for me.

The teeth part of my pouch is one of my actual molars with a long root.  On one side of the tooth is a very deep cavity. During the excruciating pain that only a tooth can bring, I was attempting to distract myself by reading an autobiography of a native healer named Rolling Thunder.  At the height of my pain I read a passage about a similar incident with Rolling Thunder who described the tooth as his elder who was leaving his body.  When I sat in the dentist’s chair the next day to have my tooth extracted I said a prayer of thank you to the tooth, the pain immediately lifted.  I prayed that my elder would speak to me through my tooth and continue to guide me.

My elder tooth regularly shares with me messages of either the seekers mother’s health, or the seekers own health.  If it is cavity side up, obviously we have illness.  However, where the tooth lies in relation to the seeker will also describe illness.  Twice the elder tooth has landed at the knee of the seeker which I interpreted as a very soon death of the mother.  With the right gentle questions I was able to confirm what the elder tooth had shown me.  If the elder tooth lies closely to the centre stones of the seekers throw I interpret that as an indication of their own health and worries.

Interpreting the relationship that is shown to you is a learning process; the language the stones, the reading of the patterns, is between you and your tool of divination.

Ceremony to Awaken the Warrior Within


When: April 30, 2017 at Healing Connections 10548 115 St NW, Edmonton

Time: Doors Open at 9:30, Ceremony is from 10 – 5

Cost: $80 ~ payable at the door

What to bring: Lunch, comfy seat, drum or rattle (If you have one), eye cover, and a mat to lay on.

The Warrior Spirit tells us we cannot go into battle when we are at war with ourselves!

 The wisdom of the Warrior lies in:

Realising what is worth fighting for

Cutting away old wounds

Honouring the self

Understanding how to use power

In Ceremony we will:

Release Heavy Ancestral & Familial Patterns

Recognize Self-Doubt, Fear, & Sabotage

Let Your Voice & Intuition Blossom

This powerful Ceremony is to help you engage with the part of you that isn’t afraid; that part of you that serves as a source of strength and gives you confidence to approach your life in a direct and meaningful way.

Through discussion of the Warrior on the South of the Medicine Wheel, we will engage and deepen our understanding of our True Warrior Self. We will use Ceremony and Trance work to engage The Warrior to show us, the Sword and Shield of our Soul, so that we may heal ourselves & our Family Lines.

You will come away from our Ceremony with useful tools to reengage and utilize the skills we have learnt in our Ceremony.



Handbook of Smudge

I have been making smudges for years. It all started with a Mortar and Pestle… eventually leading to a dedicated coffee grinder for smudge creations. I have spent time learning the different properties of resins, plants and essentials oil.

  • How to Smudge
  • Aspects of Smudge:
    • Tones: Related to the perception of smell, there are High, Mid and Low tones that can align well when working with the chakras.
    • Directions: As with power animals, the ingredients have directional alignments and can help with working in each of those areas.
    • Worlds: Upper, lower, middle or a combination thereof, use the right ingredients to deepen your journey into each.
  • Ingredients: Explore many common smudge ingredients each complete with a listing of it’s aspects and a spiritual description.
  • Feather Fans: A bonus chapter on feather fans how and tailoring the fan can further enhance your spiritual journey.

Here is where you can purchase and download it:

Handbook of Smudge


Multiple Personalities ~ Kriket’s Perspective

I had the chance, to see M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie, Split. Now, I do have to say, I truly appreciate the way he tells a story. I have not been entertained by every story he has told, but I have been, for most of them. The premise of the movie, is a man who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). James McAvoy, the lead actor, did a very good job, playing multiple personalities (Dennis / Patricia / Hedwig / The Beast / Kevin Wendell Crumb / Barry / Orwell / Jade – Hedwig to me). I knew M. Night would bring a certain flavour to the telling; he has a spiritual bend, I find most critics, do not get.

Movie sets, and designs, intrigue me. I look for symbolism. I search for clues of spiritual messages, or pieces used to create, an ambience, or understanding. The use of a beautiful curved staircase caught my eye.… long camera views allowing the *seer* to feel captured by the spiral. Spirals have been explored as doorways between worlds, and levels of ourselves, for millennia. The Spiral, from a historical perspective, has existed in art for thousands of years. The Spiral, a path inward & outward, in the same form. A scene was shot from the bottom of the stair – the ceiling was a mandala. I love the attention to detail M. Night has. I, at times, love the exquisiteness, of another person’s view.

At the top of the staircase, was the office of the, very Crone, Psychiatrist. The Crone, clearly advising and healing, the fractured psyche. She was attentive, wiley, intuitive… a clear and strong character. To reach back into “the middle world”, Hedwig had to walk into the lower parts of himself. Hedwig was a part of the 23, who shared the Light. (not an uncommon phrase referring to the conscious part’s location). They were awaiting a 24th personality. So, unfamiliar to the others, even the Crone, could not envision it.

I was reminded of the book I read, The Minds of Billy Milligan , who had 24 personalities. In the early 80’s, I was a teenager intrigued by some of the early writings on, what was then referred to as MPD, Multiple Personality Disorder. I was very fascinated with Trudy Chase& . They made a TV movie event, about Trudy, starring Shelly Long, who surprised me with her acting chops. One scene replays in my mind occasionally… Trudy bursts into her Therapists office, and flashes a T-shirt saying “2, 4, 6, 8 we don’t want to integrate”. Integration, and Separation, became life long interests, for me. I never had to be convinced the soul could shatter, the question, for me, was always…. In what manner will it manifest. And later, the added question became… and how do we Heal Soul.

Orphan Black deals with a different perspective of multiple personalities, by exploring clones. The *connection* between the sestras is beautiful. Written, to draw the observer, into the truth.They are genetically identical, with very different manifestations of Self, connected, therefore They share, Connection. Matter, Body Space, and Time; Connected. Even separated, they are influenced by their shared isolation, from the rest of the world. Much like Hegwig could not share, with the outer real 3D world, further isolation. Separation and Integration. Different in the telling, but an interesting thread.

In Norse Mythology, Odin, has a friendship/relationship…. With Huggin and Muninn, two Ravens who sit upon the right and left shoulders of Odin. They are commonly referred to as Thought and Memory… I am not convinced, they are both. In my journeys with Raven, I have been visited by Thought. Odin doesn’t need memory. Odin is… well ODIN… But Thoughts gathered from around the world… different eyes, told in different ears, different perceptions ~ filling Odin. Odin has different voices whispering in his ears, sharing different information.The multiplicity of experiences. This too, has been explored in our Myths.

Durga, Mother of the Universe (The Prime Psyche, the First Person, Primordial Cosmic Energy) had eight arms, often referred to as her 8 eternal companions. The Myth emphasizes the many sides, and many aspects of Durga. They, in turn, are interpreted as the 8 quadrants in Hinduism. This suggests, that She protects the Devotees from all directions.

To comprehend Primordial Cosmic Energy as One, sounds simple, but, really, it isn’t. Our ancestors, in a sly about manner, constructed a Cosmogony, an understanding. Which grew, and matured, into a Cosmology, Which then, became our Myths, which became Stories to speak to the individual tribe member…. The Ancestors remind us, even our own selves, have Divine permission to crack into many different pieces… and sometimes, it is a way of Being, enabling the One, to just to get the day done. The mind fractures, the soul fractures. We are reminded of our absolute humanity, in our Myths and in our Lives.

M. Night retold this story, in a tense way… I found myself rooting for the naive selves ~ Hedwig, and the Young Strong Female, Casey… both fighting for their Survival… far below the High Stair case blocks away (the outer reality), deep within the Soul of Self (inner reality). The soul struggles in many ways.

The coming of the Beast, the 24th personality arising ~ the unknown, incomprehensible, aspect of Self is, going to emerge. The tension of the Story, is the impending doom of the Unknown. The Beast rises and with it a shapeshifter emerges. I was captivated by the Shapeshifter. I suspect, a person not versed in mythology, shamanism or… May not have identified the rising Beast, as such. The clincher, was the whole story, took place in the deepest parts at the very end of restricted and unused hallways of the Philadelphia Zoo. The Story teller is asking us to, at the very least, give consideration to the mere Idea, The Psyche, in it’s self of many eyes (23 pairs), could merge with the Spirit of Animals, and have the ability to change form in 3D reality.

In stories of Old, Our Ancestors, and even some practised Shamans today, shift and transform, into a whole other expression of the Primal Cosmic Self… 😉


Winter Solstice Ceremony

When: December 16, 2016

Where: 10804 – 119 Street, Edmonton Alberta (Unitarian Church)

Doors: open at 6:30, Ceremony starts at 7

Cost: $10

What to bring:

A drum or rattle (if you have one, there are always extras)

A cover for your eyes

A blanket to keep warm

A pen and Paper

We are celebrating the last of the Dark Days of Winter. The longest Night of the year, is a time to reflect on what you have seeded, grown & harvested!! Join me by drumming up our Spirit Song, Journeying to the Deep Dark aspects of Ourselves and Sharing a story in the Dark!!

Traveling in the Real World

I took a journey to South East Asia from September to October. I had promised myself a big trip, as a present for turning 50. I had no expectations, and only two things planned. I had no idea, traveling for 28 hours would be so incredibly long… and ultimately tiring. I took a few days to turn my sleep schedule around, as I was 12 hours ahead of my time zone. But I did!!

When I travel, unless it is specifically to learn about shamanism, I don’t travel “as a shaman”. Which, I realize makes little sense, since what I am is inside me, and not a tool I can pick up and put down. So, let me explain. I do not actively seek out individuals to “heal” or “teach”. I do not seek out traditional healers to meet. I am just a regular tourist, with what I consider to be, an added perspective.

Traveling through Vietnam and Cambodia were eye openers, on different levels. The two countries, even though they share a border, are very unique to themselves. Once leaving the large city of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, I was able to see what Vietnam looked like, without 19 million people jostling me about. I traveled by train, which was slow, but offered many beautiful visions of the country side and the ocean views. There were not always English speaking people, and at times, places with zero English. And I confess, beyond the extremely important words, such as hello, bathroom, food, hostel, I speak no Vietnamese. I also confess, this was my very first travel experience for a month, completely alone, with a very small backpack. I carried everything I would need in a 35ltr backpack. I took a small one to remind me to travel with little or no impact. I could not buy many things, because I simply did not have the room in my back pack to accommodate much. I did send a few things home, via mail, from Vietnam, but not from Cambodia… their mail system simply did not exist.

My absolute respect goes out to people who traveled before the advent of Data and Cell Phones. Fortunately, every hostel, eatery or tourist site, had a place on a Map. And my taxi (often the back of a scooter) drivers can use a Map… 🙂 Yeah me. I had to use Google translate a few times… fortunately it was available. But, the people who traveled to these countries before, were true mavericks. Hats off… truly.

It was a challenge, at times, to travel alone. Tour guides and tour companies are not always interested in dealing with solo travelers. I did stay in different Hostels, and was very grateful to meet so many wonderful humans, all with interesting stories, and good advice to share. I was always the oldest in the hostel, and was always treated very respectfully. I did stay in small hotels, here and there, completely eliminating the opportunity to meet others. I found as the days went by, I became more and more silent. I even stopped talking to myself. Now, don’t be all surprised, we all talk to ourselves, and if you don’t… well, I am not quite sure what to say to that, except… yeah(??). I stopped journaling very early on. I found even writing to be “too loud” in my head. What I really needed was silence and time to contemplate my navel. What a luxury.

As I traveled from Vietnam to Cambodia, I found my pace also slowing down somewhat. Cambodia is a very slow, gentle (to an outsider) country. With a very horrible past, recent and ancient. My shamanic senses really came alive in Cambodia. Which I was not quite expecting. I was able to energetically sense the people more. I was able to tap into my intuition more accurately there. I felt even more alone there, but at such peace with my alone-ness I felt liberated.

Why am I writing this blog post? Good question. First to mark that I did it, at 50 I traveled alone,to countries where English was not a given, and my personal safety was not guaranteed. I felt the layers of my “western” life, slowly falling away from me. I felt the burdens I had, dripping off my body. I came back, still silent, very tired, but… freer. Traveling in 3rd World countries is, to me, so incredibly important. I am always really impressed with the ingenuity, of the people. They created, invented, machines from bit and pieces of everything. There is far less of the “toss it away” mentality, than in Canada. There were far more genuine smiles, than greet me here. There was far more generosity, than I encounter here. There were far less barriers to person, than I feel here. Despite not being able to speak the language, I understood (with my own limitations obviously) the people I met. I did not feel at home, or like I had found a home, but I went somewhere I felt truly comfortable being.

I hope to translate this peace into my practice. I felt ready to pick up my drum and my  smudge and lite candles, to say my many prayers of gratitude for such a heart opening experience. Some days were incredibly hard, some experiences left me so angry I just wanted to fly home early. But, that is all part of travel. I am supposed to be uncomfortable and unsure. I am supposed to be able to navigate through the bad waters, to reach the good waters. I wanted to test myself. I came home with gratitude for all I have. For the simple liberties I have taken so for granted.

I came home, joyfully, to the people (that means you) in my home country. I wanted to share my thoughts, albeit, skimming the surface. I wanted to feel different when I came home, and I do.

Thank you for reading… I know there is more to come. I need to “unpack” my trip. Lay all the things I have brought home, onto the floor and examine them… piece by piece. What do I want, and what can I still release. Being in such poverty opens my eyes to the richness surrounding me…. every time.

Sweet Sweet Water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“At the end of February 2016, El Nino continues to exert its influence across the earth and is expected to continue at least through spring of 2016. February was the warmest February on record (137 year history) for the earth, according to NOAA and NASA. In Europe, drought conditions further intensified around the Mediterranean Sea this month. In Asia, drought remains entrenched across the Indian sub-continent, around Mongolia, and in the West. Tree ring research in the Middle East indicate the present drought, beginning in 1998, is likely the most severe in the last 900 years, according to NASA. In Vietnam, the Mekong River is at its lowest level since 1926. In Africa, short-term drought intensified again this month in the northern portion of the continent, around the Mediterranean, and remains intense in the South. In Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls are being affected by the Zambezi River flowing at a 30-year low. If the drought continues, downstream hydroelectric power is expected to be reduced or stopped in the next six months. In Morocco, drought has reduced the wheat harvest by half. In North America, drought remains entrenched in the higher latitudes, while the Southwestern U.S. experienced some drying. In the US Pacific Northwest, an ample snowpack has improved, and is expected to further improve, drought conditions there. In South America, drought remains in the northern part of the continent while the South saw much-needed rain again this month. In Colombia, farmers from the Bolivar Province have abandoned their land after drought ruined their crops. In Oceana, drought continues in Southern Australia and Papua New Guinea. Australian beef sales to the U.S. have increased over the past three years, while drought in the U.S. Southwest reduced livestock there.” source

These are troubling times, globally. Where I live, in Alberta, we are experiencing a shortage of spring rains, again.  I have no illusions surrounding the loss of water and global climate change. I turn my shamanic eyes to drought. Throughout the years I have led, and been a part of, water ceremonies. Most have been successful in bringing rain to our area.

Water is fundamental to creating and sustaining of life. As a result of this, water is most often symbolically regarded as the Great Mother, or the prima materia, the universal womb. As the ultimate source of life, water is associated with birthing, fertility, and the feminine/yin, and is connected to goddesses, and other mythological female creatures. Equally present, however, are myths regarding male deities, for whom, control of the waters is central to their existence. In my journeys I have encountered masculine and feminine spirits, who have presented themselves to me, as the keeper of the water. It is never lost on me, there are so many versions of prima materia, depending on where we live. Many of our associations are available to us in the Collective Unconscious. To say one element is ruled by either a masculine or feminine deity,  is dependent upon which spiritual reality you ascribe to.


I have often found water spirits express the dual nature of water. Examples:  Water sprites were tempters of evil, embodying both water’s life-giving and destructive properties, while the Naiads, Nereids, and sirens of Greek mythology were envisioned dualistically, emerging as either shy nymphs or dangerous, luring creatures.

Like water’s mutable scientific properties, its symbolic meaning is variable. Water is the source of all life, and it also has the power to drown and destroy.Water teaches us about fluidity – nonresistance.  Water shows us how to be open to our emotions.  As water flows around rocks, bends, trees etc., it teaches us to be fluid and more in our own emotions.

The Mother Moon shows us her influence on water, she controls the ebb and flow of water, if we take this one step further, she controls, or influences, the ebb and flow of our own life river; meaning our blood. In journeys to Water, I encourage myself, and others, to open to water,and trust the Spirit of Water.  Water has taught me to move within myself while practicing faith and trust, not only in myself, but the Spirit of Water also.  I trust that we, like water, are a part of the whole, and we are a small part of something much bigger than ourselves. Its paradoxical nature lends to the notion of water, specifically immersion in water, as being a return to the primordial state. This is experienced through water’s many manifestations:

  • Rain (fertility)
  • Springs (the supernatural)
  • Vast, undifferentiated seas (the primordial state, birth, and rebirth)
  • Dark depths of the ocean (death, shedding of the old)
  • Raging billows and waves (chaos, power, formlessness, destruction)
  • Waterfalls (transition, the unification of feminine and masculine).
  • Dualist View of Water Symbolism

Symbolic Water Meanings 

  • Life
  • Motion
  • Renewal
  • Blessing
  • Intuition
  • Reflection
  • Subconscious
  • Fertilization
  • Purification
  • Transformation

Symbolically, water represents a return to the primordial state, a death of the old and rebirth of the new. J.E. Cirlot’s A Dictionary of Symbols p. 165 describes the following “Water is, of all the elements, the most clearly transitional… By analogy, water stands as a “meditation” between life and death, with a two way positive and negative flow of creation and destruction… Transparent death…stands in particular for the communicating link between the surface and the abyss. It can therefore be said that water enjoins the two images”.

The symbolic mixture of water and wine amplifies the element’s dual nature, indicating the mingling of water (passive/feminine) and fire (active/masculine), and of human and divine.

On matters of life and death, traversing a waterway can symbolize crossing over from life to death. In the Greek underworld, the ferryman known as Charon carried souls over the river Styx to the realm of the dead. In ancient Egypt, it was customary to bring the deceased Pharaoh across the Nile River to the west, a ritual of crossing over to the after world.


In analytic psychology, water is the primary symbol of the feminine. This is derived from water’s fluid quality, portraying the dynamic, fluid female side of the personality. For many psychological and spiritual traditions, water also represents the power of the unconscious and the deeper layers of the psyche. In dreams, birth is often depicted using water imagery.

Throughout the ages, water has grown to symbolize many things to many cultures. At the crux of it all, it is that from which all life springs, and in the same moment is the grave of all things.

Waking The Bear – Shamanic Ceremony

Hear Ye Hear Ye!!!

The time has come, once again, to gather to Awaken the Bear…

When you might ask: March 18, 2016 ~ an auspicious day to Gather.

Where you might ponder: 10804 119 St NW ~ The Unitarian Church

What to Bring – a bandanna for your eyes; a rattle or drum (if you have one, if you have more… bring to share); a blanket to lay on… and a most unusual request from a Kriket a long stick or staff … most importantly – a sense of humor coupled with a sense of adventure…

Time Doors open at 6:30 – Ceremony starts at 7!!

Cost – a bank breaking – no holds barred – are you ready for it…. $10

We are gathering to raise energy to send to the most Amazing Spirit Bear. We will sing… also known as Joik… We will ride in a spirit canoe… We will stand in the Postures of our Grandfather… and a Tale of Bear….

That, is it, in a nutshell…. For the short – get to the point – readers. See you at the Shamanic Spring Ceremony

For the rest of you… carry on

Why, you ask… is this an Auspicious Day??

Well… let me tell you… some of you know, and some of you do not know… but I am fascinated by the number 3… it is found in fairytales… in Finnish Shamanism, and others, there are three worlds… Upper, Under and Middle… there are trinities galore… innumerable Triads… even Baba Yaga, A Russian Crone, had three faithful servants; the White Horseman (Her Bright Dawn), The Red Horseman (Her Red Sun) and the Black Horseman (Her Dark Midnite).

Pythagorean numerology allows me to seek a deeper meaning:

(Numerology and the Divine Triangle; Faith Javane and Dusty Bunker; pp.10-11}

“3 Combines the qualities of 1 and 2. It is a fascinating and diversified vibration, carrying the qualities of 1 and 2. It is a fascinating and diversified vibration, carrying the qualities of manifestation and self-expression. The ion, which sprang into existence form 0, sought to assert its individuality under 1 and felt the attraction of others under 2, now awakens to its need for social interaction. 3 is the need to communicate and become involved in the pure joy of living… Its creative imagination allows all things to be possible; it therefore becomes involved in many emotions and experiences…”

Said differently, three solves the discord created in the polarity of two, resulting in a new integration and wholeness. We encounter a manifestation of this in the human condition, through the divisions of our: mind, body, and spirit. Through the number 3 we can see to possesses the attributes of wisdom, understanding and knowledge. The Shadow Side of 3 can manifest as pessimism, foolhardiness and unnecessary risk taking.

Three is seen as a very magical number.

In Pythagorean numerology the symbol 3 is the triangle, the harmony that forms the three-sided triangle combines ~ fire, action and will. As we work through Bear you will see how each component, offers a different perspective or dynamic. These three elements work collaboratively, in the creative effort for new growth.

In my studies, over the years, I have read a titch of the the Qabalah. Within it’s deep and spiritual text lies Binah, the Third Sphere on the Tree of Life. Within the energy of Binah we find the Mother. We are going to explore Bear as the Divine and Cosmic Mother, Divine Creatrix. In Binah, The Great mother, contains within herself the archetypal womb, through which all life is has potential to be made manifest. It is the nature of the male to provide the seed of life, but it is the feminine principle that gives it life, provides the space for gestation, and ultimately releases the manifest form into existence or being. It is that feminine principle that holds the primal form within the womb that is both void and full. The vessel that holds nothing also provides the space and potential for it to be filled. : Binah – Understanding. This reminds me of the Oldest Stories of Eros who was born of Darkness and Night – the vessel, who too, holds nothing but the potential… Fascinating…

In Tarot 3 is the Empress… Mother of all life. She, who sits in quiet repose and strength in the verdant landscape of her own domain. She is the promise of continued life and expression of that life in all of the elemental worlds over which she reigns supreme.

Remember… Fire Action and Will…

Bears have been a constant throughout our human existence. Bear is often considered one of the Spirit Keepers of One of the Directions. Various Medicine Paths, and Medicine Wheels, share the same respect and reverence for Bear. Bear is an excellent manifestation of an eternal Archetype. An Archetype exists outside space and time; it arises spontaneously, sometimes we are lucky enough to connect to it, through intention and awareness. The Bear has both Masculine and Feminine energy. It is the Great Dreamer, Creation and is known for its ability to be a fearsome predator, Destruction. When Bear awakens from it’s great slumber, we experience Expansion. When the Bear retreats to its dens for the Long Dream, we experience Contraction. Awake, alert awareness, allows us to build relationships with Archetypes.

Chthonic – I could not leave that word alone. It took me forever to remember it and even longer to be able to intelligently use it in a sentence. Chthonic, literally means, belonging to the earth. In tales, the Shamans of Old shared their gathered wisdom, with their Tribe their adventures with Chthonic spirits. These are the spirits of the Earth and lower worlds. The Oldest Shamans, told the stories of the prima beings, the original ones. We have lost many of our oldest shamanic stories, but every once and awhile one comes, floating, as if on a spiritual wind.

Bear is a Chthonic Spirit.

The intention for our Gathering is to awaken our hero, the one who allows us to continue, or perhaps, begin our hero’s journey into the Great Unknown to Create with Fire Action and Will… Bear is a great power of the Unconscious mind who awakens, and then protects us on our hero’s or heroine’s, journey into the subconscious and Collective Unconscious. On the Medicine Wheel, Bear can symbolize resurrection, rebirth & initiation into a new life passage. The Great Dreamer, the manifestation of the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. In alchemy, Bear has a similar meaning, representing the dark night of the soul–the darkness that occurs before spiritual rebirth or a new phase in life. And in some hero myths, Bear represents the solar, masculine principle.

The Den is a symbol of the womb and the Collective Unconscious. Bear symbolizes Great Mother, both archetype and personal mother, with all that implies. She therefore carries the positive power and “medicine” of the creative feminine, birth-mother, nurturer, protector and teacher. Feminine is understood to be Wisdom, and the Masculine to Action.  There can be no right action in the world, or in one’s life, unless the active principle, the masculine allows itself to be guided by the principle of wisdom, the Feminine.

Bears have a fierce history in our collective folklore. A bear’s claw was one of the talismans frequently included in medicine bundles. I personally, wear Bear talismans under my clothes, for protection, whether I am performing shamanic healing ceremonies, sitting in sacred space with others, or holding space for Waking the Bear.

Hunting Bear, if it was allowed by the Tribe your Ancestors lived in, was generally surrounded by many taboos. It is said one cannot mention the name of Bear, when it is in the Dream Time, otherwise you anger the Bear.  For the Ainu peoples of Japan, bear is distinctly masculine and not the Great Goddess as Bear Mother. Ainu bear is the earthly manifestation of the head of the mountain gods, his bear form is his disguise when visiting the earth. The ritual surrounding the bear sacrifice frees the god to return to his kingdom where the deities can enjoy the fruits of the ritual; those ritual ‘fruits’ magically increase when they reach the abode of the gods.

In folklore, Bear is often portrayed either as a sort of enforcer figure who punishes disrespectful or improper behavior among other animals and people, or as a humorless “straight man” for weaker but cleverer trickster characters to play against. Bear personalities in these stories range from wise and noble, to morally upright but somewhat stupid and gullible, to aggressive and intimidating, but in most cases, they do not bother people who have not done anything wrong.

Bear creates, for young males, the challenge of separating from the Mother, in a positive way, in order that they may come into their own power. Failing to separate, implies that sons forever seek to return to the womb, and seek mothering from their significant others, regardless of orientation. In presenting this challenge to males however, Bear strengthens them, and gives meaning to their journey through life, for it is only through struggle with opposition, men discover their inner strengths, winning their way to freedom. There can be no right action in the world, or in one’s life, unless the active principle, the Masculine, allows itself to be guided by the principle of wisdom, the Feminine.

As we see, the dual nature of human kind, is absolutely possible to merge within the scope of bear. We are on our hero’s journey, the fierce male bear, towards our Hero return, but this cannot happen without the feminine constant dreamer. The manifestation is us… we are the third component for today… together we will raise our own warrior, receive messages from the unconscious, and step forward changed, dreams can be manifested… perhaps all in one night… perhaps you will see the fruit of your journey nine months from now at Winter Solstice…

Bear is a great power among our animal teachers
Awakener of the Power of the Unconscious
The Great Mother Archetype
The Great Sleeper-Dreamer
Raw Power, Primitive Instincts