Dreams: Shadows bring Shadows


, ,

I really like night time dreams. Over the years, I have recorded many dreams in an attempt to understand the language of my personal psyche. Dream images are not always clear and concise. I interpret, for most dreams, each aspect of the dream is myself, an aspect of my psyche. The benefit of dreams, is that the parlance, between the conscious aspects of psyche, and the unconscious aspects, can be deeper, than in a simple waking conscious. Psyche will choose images and content I am familiar with, in order to get my attention. Dreams are important tools, allowing me another glimpse into my self, aiding in a deeper understanding.

On Dec 13 (yesterday) I wrote a bit about Shadow. I like talking about Shadow, my thoughts on it and the work I have done with it. Last night I had very interesting dreams. I had one, in particular, which dealt with shadows in the guise of shadowy figures, getting lost, seeing the “right road” just over “there”, without a way to get there. In one part of my dream, while searching for the right road, I chose to walk through alleys, and across a dark field. In the shadowy darkness were people, people who were “not good”. At one point in my dream, a younger woman comes from out the shadows and tells me “you shouldn’t talk to strangers” . During the dream I recall thinking I was not afraid of the people in the shadows. I had already spoken to some of them. and had not had any issues.

At the start of my dream I was travelling to a house, outside of my community, with an address that was unclear. Kind of like Millwoods, a suburb in Edmonton!! LOl I was able to get to the house, without a problem. When I was leaving, I started walking, instead of driving. This indicates to me that I wanted to explore my landscape slowly and on my own. I got turned around very quickly. I went down dark streets, through dark alleys and into dark fields, attempting to find the road I need to travel on, to get back home.

Writing about Shadow, spurred my psyche to send me dreams, to test the work I have done with shadow. Getting lost,can mean, I need to pay attention to what is around me. The dark alleys and field were ways for me to work into the scary places, and feel safe doing so. A warning sign, in the guise, of a human came through. Acting like that little voice “are you sure you are going to be okay”; as well as shadow saying “don’t talk to me I am not safe”. If I had not worked as hard as I had through the years, understanding, and making friends with shadow, I may have been afraid.

In a separate dream, later last night, I returned to my starting place, a house. Houses, in my dreams, can indicate my soul, or my core self. My boyfriend was there. I am a lesbian, I know, therefore, men in my dreams, or males in general, are my Animus (masculine) side working with me. We united in the dream and left the house. I realized upon exiting I had turned the wrong way on the sidewalk, leading to my initial confusion. Again we left my car behind. I do remember keeping track of where we walked, in order for me to return for my car. I think, that, is years of soul retrieval work, and training coming into play. Never leave a vital piece of myself behind!

Upon reflection of my dream, I had to ask myself if I felt I had left myself vulnerable by discussing my own healing journey. I also reflect, I am constantly changing and growing. All of me is open to review. I also asked myself, if I wrote deeply enough about shadow. My dreams last night leave me feeling pretty peaceful regarding the deep work I have done. I realize, even with everything I have done, there will always be shadows. There will always be opportunity to explore the alleys and fields, and I can do that without fear. I am comfortable with my shadows, I can make friends with my shadows. I had rich dreams, rife with symbols, and images meaningful to me.

So… now what dreams may come??





Over the years Shamanism has helped me to explore my psyche. The definition of Psyche for me, is, all the psychic processes, conscious as well as unconscious. Journey work, ceremonies, rituals and many hours devoted to healing ceremonies, have all shaped me. I have been able, to integrate conflicting aspects of myself. My passion for the shamanic journey has helped me to connect with the Cosmic Psyche. Mixing and Mingling my unique, as indeed we are all unique, psyche with the Cosmic Psyche has created an opportunity to develop the power, and self-knowledge, for me to dive into some of the areas of my Darkest Self, My Shadows.

My ongoing apprenticeship, while on the Shamanic path, has led me to recognize, reckon with, and even battle the forces of the Shadow. Shamanic healing causes me to truly see the nature of some illnesses, while seeking a cure for my patients. (I wish to specify I use the word “patient”, in it’s true etymology as “one who suffers”) I have walked right up the gates of my own Underworld, Lowerworld, Personal Hell, and knocked (three times ;)) before walking in. I have to, and continue to, confront and conquer my own shadows. They appear in guises such as; fear, loneliness, abandonment, self-importance, addiction, unlovable, to name a very few. I have had to unflinchingly confront my own Shadow. This has given me the eyes to see the evil of others, the shadows of others, to successfully deal with forces of Darkness.

Shamanism, has taught me, a language apart from my work colleagues & even some of my friends. I have another post referring to Compassionate Depossession. In Edmonton depossession is not a word commonly spoken. I know, because, I have brought it up in casual (and spiritual) conversations. Not for shock value (alone), but to bring awareness to a very real aspect, of spiritual, and physical, reality. We simply, do not believe, that the dead, can actually inhabit our bodies. We have been given, the dramatic story telling version of possession in popular movies and books. Possession does not look like a body floating up out of a chair, twisting in the air, and puking black goo on the floor. I do not deny, that this manifestation of possession can happen, it has just never happened to me. I have experienced profound shifts, in my self, after being the patient in a Compassionate Depossession. It was a challenge, first to admit possession just might be real, and, then, to release enough self control, to allow another Being the space to speak, and leave my body. It had, and still has, a profound affect on me. My patients often come to me with symptoms ranging from new addictions, to negative thought patterns, to physical behaviour, that just does not feel like their own. Possessions can be very subtle, to quite overt. Shadow can have a voice, it may not always be yours however.

We also don’t speak the language of curses. Curses are a misunderstood concept, and often applied to actions that simply have little, or no, affect on us. A curse manifested for me in the physical by continuously, painfully, and badly, spraining my ankles. Shamanic journeys can take you back in time. I went back in time, to another life, where I had my feet shattered for running away. Using techniques, I had acquired over the years, I was able to rectify the body memory of the event, healing my ankles. I have not sprained my ankles since February 2011. This is the longest I have had healthy legs since I was 13, I am 48.

Through dealing with my own Shadow, and coming to terms with that Shadow self, I have gained peace of mind and balance. Shamanism, is a path, which requires the walker, to deal with personal fears, and inner demons. I could not help anyone, if I recommend a healing journey, I had not taken, and had great success with. Sounds easy, right? Just knock on the door to your personal hell (I suggest three knocks), walk in, face yourself, and voila – chango presto “New Self”!! Sigh. Not quite. Once you have decided to work with your shadows, they seem to increase. Once we have removed one layer, low and behold, there seems to be another. Shamanism does not allow the seeker to wear a mask. I often tell my students, “in shamanism, there is no such thing as a lie”. This is not a path one chooses lights. If, indeed, one even has a choice. I used to quote the Bible in reference to my Shamanic path “Many are called, few are chosen”.

Where do we go from here? Compassionate Depossession

Have you ever wondered if there was life after death?

I never have. I have always known there was more to this world than meets consensus reality.

As a Suffering Being so aptly said:

Me: Do you believe in life after death?

Suffering Being: Well I’m here aren’t I? {With a smirk on his face.}  Even though it was a woman this Being was speaking to me through.

But I get ahead of myself.

Why Compassionate Depossession? I 0ccassionally encountered, during extraction healing sessions, an energy I could not remove. It felt different. It behaved differently in the body. My healing hands knew the difference, no matter how subtle, but I did not have a tool in my tool kit for this type of healing.

Betsy Bergstrom is a fabulous teacher, of whom I have the utmost respect. Through her, I was introduced to the world of Suffering Beings and the art of Compassionate Depossession.

Possession – it’s a scary word right? I am in my 40’s, The Exorcist is what I immediately recall, regarding the gory and gruesome, task of depossession. And seriously, who wants that??

Possession, however, is really quite natural. I think the time is well past to demystify this word. How it manifests. Why it manifests. And more importantly, how do you know when it is manifesting.

We die, some of us move on and some of us don’t. I have been working with Compassionate Depossession since early 2009. I still do not have AN answer to why some souls don’t cross over. The reasons are varied, and frankly, some of them are downright fascinating.

[p’;;;Humans have a light. Our light attracts Suffering Beings. Our bodies will usually tell us when something is going on; like a possession. However, many of us, are disconnected to the subtleties of our physical bodies, let alone our emotional or spiritual bodies. A suffering being enters into our bodies, usually quite subtlety, often without our even noticing.

Over time, not always a long time either, the Suffering Being begins to influence behaviors, thought processes, self-criticism, heightening addiction. These affects, and more, can be very subtle. Some, however, are not so subtle. If we included the word possession in our language, we would likely be able to articulate a noticeable, or perhaps even foreign behaviour, thought or attitude.

A Suffering Being is different from an intrusion, primarily because it has a soul. An energy separate, and conscious, from your own.

There are many countries, cultures, societies and communities, in the world, who have never stopped denying life after death. Never denying that death can be messy and not always go ‘according to plan’. As a result, a process, a healer, and a support system, are available to release the Suffering Being from the patient. Allowing a lost soul the opportunity to go home, wherever home may be.

In Canada, it appears to me, as someone who has buried many family members, we do not have adequate ceremonies, grieving processes or a good send off to the soul that is crossing over. I tend to think of it as a big boat with wee tiny motor. Strong tears are often shushed, and wailing – why that would be downright non-Canadian… 🙂 Sometimes a soul just needs a kick off to get off this world.

Alas, it is often not so. I have heard it said, Canada is like a superhighway of dead people. An image I find somewhat amusing, and yet, oddly, appropriate.

Compassionate Depossession is not an adversarial process. I do not view the Suffering Being as “something” that has to be removed forcefully, against “it’s” will. I compassionately speak to, send energy to, and look at the Suffering Being hidden in my patient’s body. Recognizing another life force. For me,  it is a healing of love, understanding – with an amazing dash of humble awe.

So you got a Soul Retreival, Now What

Many years ago, yet not that long ago, I met the most beautiful Gaia. In one shamanic journey she changed my life forever. She returned to me, a three year old soul piece of me. I had to promise me, myself, three things… and she deftly demonstrated the impact patience and stillness would have on my life.

For me,one of the immediate affects, was becoming OVERWHELMED with a sense of ABSOLUTE LONELINESS. I had no memory of ever feeling or being lonely, ever. I reached out to a friend and asked for help. I became healthier mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

This very experience was so profound, all I wanted to do was share it!!

Spirit gave me all the tools, journeys and techniques to perform the most wondrous of healing techniques, Soul Retrieval. Years later I took, Soul Retrieval training, from Sandra Ingerman.  Everything she taught me in the consensus three D reality, Spirit had already taught me spiritually.

Shamanism is deep and powerful work. But make no mistake it is WORK. Bringing home a soul piece is one thing, working consciously with a more present sense of self, is another matter all together.

SR incorporates the task of integration. My soul piece gave me tasks to do to ensure change. A fundamental aspect of any healing work, is to work with the healing. After your SR, what new images come to mind? Do new emotions arise? Do new urges arise?

Healing is a process of getting to know oneself. Who Am I? The age old question. However.. perhaps… we over complicate things – just a titch. Can “who I am in this moment”, have as much impact as – “who am I, this lifetime”. In my world, yes. It is the moments we live in. If my spirit has changed I want to be aware of how I feel.

Check how your energy is after. Are you elated? Are you sore? How do you feel 24 hours later? I know I tell my patients to spend at least five minutes in silence getting to know the change. I am not sure how many actually take my advice.

I drum for each patient, to show allow their soul pieces to come home and say hello to each other. It is a process of integration. Each part has a story, or a vision… many have very real messages from you, for you. Meditate on the messages. If we listen for the sounds (voice) of our soul talking to us, we can learn the language. If we can learn the language, we can engage more deeply with our own soul/spirit/body language.

I have been fortunate to receive many spiritual gifts and healings from spirit over the years. One of which even saved my very life. Finding a connection to spirit and self; further cultivating the connection is what continues the process of healing.

Healing is a lifelong journey. I don’t really know why, however, why argue.  I continue to follow the path of Healing. Exploring. Cultivating. Researching. Practicing. Living. Being.

You gave yourself permission to heal a deep aspect of yourself. What to do after a SR? Work it baby!!

Now -exalt in your homecoming!!!



Spider Story

I am at peace and I am peaceful. However, it was not always so. I will face challenges again in my life. Most assuredly.

However, right now, I am in a state of reflection. Who am I. Where have I come from. The answer to those question will never be truly answered. For Me. Ever.

In my small basement in a Castledowns townhouse, I laid on the cement floor, put earphones on, and listened to a drumming TAPE. {Yes, it was that long ago} (insert cheeky grin here) (oh heck throw in a wink for good measure) I traveled through the lower lands calling my question out. The only ears around me, were the leaves and the branches, of the dense forest through which I was traveling. “What is my Spirit Name” I was calling out. I asked the Standing Nation, the trees,

The Standing Nation, the trees, are one of the most ancient Spirits on our Earth. The Standing Nation are the go betweens for the lands of the Lower World, the Middle World and the Upper World. They are the Guardians of the secrets of the Sky Nation, our Brothers and Sisters the Stars. As Guardians, the Standing Nation, are Spiritual steps between this world, and the world of Spirit. They are the pathways, and the spaces, between the Human World and the Other Worlds. I heard, three times no less, “Changing Woman”the name they called me. I had never heard such a name.

After my journey, I picked up the phon and dialed (I doubt it was a rotary phone anymore but…) a friend. She had a computer. She called me back and told me who Changing Woman is. …. It was a HUGE name. I did not feel worthy to Bear such a name.

But to start the story I must tell you about Spider Woman. She has been in my awareness, my space, and most recently, in my dreams.
Last night, in my dreams, she was fierce in her attempt to gain my full awareness. Apparently, I can be a bit dense. A huge brown Spider Woman jumped from the ceiling and landed on my head. I could hear her munching my hair. Her mandibles were HUGE. I watched them dig into my thick, wooly, knotted brown hair. I had a HEAD OF HAIR. Now as a blonde with straight hair this was a shock. Spider Woman proceeded eating HAIR. I could hear Spider Woman chewing my hair. And it was LOUD. To think for one moment that I took this calmly, I can assure you, much yelling was ensuing.

Spider Woman has MY FULL ATTETION. I believe I could even say I am in a state of awake awareness.

Hair is that special weave, that tangled, smooth, straight, curly….. bundles the energy of the universe. And if I use my Active Imagination, I can see how my hair is a huge web. And a knot.

In my dreams, a certain Spirit appears; the Spirit represents my physical self. When that Spirit appears, I know I am not being fully present in my body. Meanwhile, Spider Woman, is still munching my hear – louder. My Physical Self is not helping me get Spider Woman off my Head.

Hmmmm…. Could it be that this is, perhaps, not a physical meaning dream? Yes.

Spider is a Great Teacher. An astounding Grandmother. She has shown me the webs she has woven between all the stars in the Universe. I cannot, with any accuracy, describe the incredible feelings I have walking on the Golden Strands of the Web that holds Everything. When Spider Woman wants my attention, it is generally to remind me, to see the whole picture.
What is the whole picture I am to see?? A valid question. My view of the world is Multiverse.

Which brings me back to Changing Woman.

White Shells – White Shells everywhere. I am gifted with White Shells from everywhere. White Shell Woman is Changing Woman’s younger Self.

I grew into White Shell Woman, and this is her story..

A very long time ago, and not really all that long time ago. A wheel began to turn. A small shell of woman was given the gift of birthing ideas and change. Lessons flowed through her like water. White Shell Woman shared gifts of rain, beautiful vistas, far away stars, places beyond the imagination of most souls. White Shell Woman comes from the East, she has the fire of the Buddha put into her belly. She is born of a Fire Sign. She learns the pathways of Shadow to conquer the Enemies, not only of her own self, but the Shadows of her People. For although she gave birth to many ideas, she bore the ideas to physical fruition. She was the Child of Waters. Peace could not be brought to herself until she could embrace, hold and understand her own duality of Protectress of Fire and The Waters of the Soul.

Young White Shell Woman began to mature. Emerging from her duality, Changing Woman emerged.

But that is a whole other story.

Did Spider get your attention?

See you on the Web…

Pondering Love and Forgiveness

Love and Forgiveness are intricately woven into our psyche. The only way to truly experience one, is with the understanding of the other. Love is, ultimately, unconditional. It is my experience, we, myself included, are far from a daily experience of giving, or receiving, love unconditionally. Loving unconditionally, cannot happen in a psyche unable or incapable of forgiveness. As we are humans, with flaws and foibles, it is not a stretch to believe that we hold onto to events, slights, losses, ultimately wounds, for too long.
Have you ever considered the Shadow Side of Love? Have you ever tried to feel love from it’s opposite polarity. I don’t mean hate, rather indifference. Indifference is not, the only shadow of love, but it is one of them.
Understanding, the width, and depth, of the capacity for us to love, is a lifelong process. Hopefully, we experience amazing love, in different forms, in our lives. This love, the Light Side of Love, leaves our soul with a desire revisit the experience again and again.
Ask the question: “What is Love” and I am sure you will get many different answers. I am sure each of us coming together, whether reading this, or sharing sacred space with me, will have their own answer to what love is.
Romantic love is only one aspect. Self Love is another. Many spiritual traditions discuss the Ultimate Love, the Love for and of the Divine. Divine Love, ecstatic union beyond self, is delicious, but hard to hold onto. For Divine Love to continue to shine through us, or even just touch us, cannot be sustained if at first we do not understand Self Love.
Forgiveness is a deep, much discussed spiritual necessity. Forgiveness is not a weak action. Nor does Forgiveness imply what happened, was alright, or acceptable.
Many tragedies occur in our lives. Many events have left us bereaved and bereft. The tragic events hold onto us, sometimes not allowing us to move forward in our lives. As a healer for many years, I have had many patients, tell me many different stories, but the same ending. We get stuck in a loop of a memory, an event, a loss, a rape, death of a child; unable to get out of the loop; simply because we do not have the tools to do so.
We are often told to “Just forgive” or “Just let it go”. Those words are true and powerful. However, we often equate forgiveness with condoning. They are very far from being the same thing.
Forgiveness is a process. Forgiveness is taking the opportunity to examine an event and release the energy that keeps us stuck. When Forgiveness came to teach me, it explained to me the metaphor of a bucket full of water. Forgiveness said
“Everyday you get up, get dressed, go the kitchen, fill a bucket with water and carry it. You don’t need that bucket. You don’t need the water in the bucket. But you fill it anyway. If you are to live a life free of encumbrances, and unnecessary weight, empty the bucket and set it down for good.”
My definition for forgiveness is: “I don’t want it, I don’t need it and I’m not carrying it”. When we forgive, part of us IS saying: “it wasn’t alright I was hurt”. So when we forgive, it’s not saying it’s alright what’s happened, we are not here to validate it or invalidate it.
I challenge each person to walk the path of forgiveness. They say humans only have one real power, the power to forgive. So forgiveness is our greatest power, it is ironically the one we wish we didn’t have. Because we can easily say “I can’t forgive”.
Often we say “we can’t” which implies an inability. I have heard many patients tell me they don’t possess the capacity to forgive. The reality however is, they do, except most of the time they don’t want to. And that is what makes everything so difficult for us. The one power that we wield, we simply do not do because we make decisions on who deserves it and who doesn’t, who’s earned it and who hasn’t earned it. This is the thing that we struggle with the most. We try our best not to judge, but we fall back into the “I’m not going to forgive”. But the one thing we can do with certainty – is forgive.
On February 16, 2014, the weekend of Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to walk with me, using the sacred tool of the Medicine Wheel to understand our connection to our deepest selves. Our ancestors left us many stories and teachings, showing us the paths of love and forgiveness. To walk the sacred medicine wheel is a path leading first inwards, then opening outward. Using traditional methods of exploration, release and healing, we will unravel the mystery of ourselves.
Courage is required. The ability to look, honestly, at yourself is suggested. I look forward to sharing sacred space with you.

Soul Retrieval in the Modern Age

We cannot practice our spiritual arts as our Ancestors did because we are not our Ancestors. Time changes, the wheel moves and in kind so must we. Our techniques, our practice and our thinking changes with the times; to reflect the changes we must still hear the words of our Ancestors, however we must translate those ancient words to our modern language.

Soul Retrieval work is one of the most important healing rituals I can do for another person. I base it on the belief that we are ALL here to bring spirit into matter (ie ritual/form/dance/song/drum) and matter into spirit (voice/sound/prayers/tears). Our Ancestors, Elders, Spirits want us to be whole, fully conscious and healed.

My role as a shamanic apprentice is to bring spirit into matter by connecting the Spirit World to the mundane world. We heal old wounds from within, by finding balance and harmony and by bringing dreams (journeys) from the Spirit World alive into our lives. By bringing back a soul piece I bring back the dream/journey/spiritual reality of the soul piece, and in turn the soul piece finds expression in our physical/mundane world.

Negotiation is a large part of soul retrieval work. The Spirit World sets a price on the return of the soul piece, and sometimes that price is as simple as finding more laughter, or as hard as confronting your worst fears. The price is a part of bringing Spirit into Matter, and Matter into Spirit. Soul pieces can be very demanding of my attention in the journey or they can be very quiet and unassuming. It is my role to determine which piece is ready to return and which soul pieces are not. It is my role to talk to each soul piece to determine what is required for them to return. Our conscious souls can sometimes create a reflection or “glimmer” designed specifically to trick me, it is a protective measure set up through fear of the unknown or fear of healing or possibly even a test for me designed by the Spirits.

The journey experience after the soul retrieval is how you connect and reclaim your present soul health as well as your own Spiritual Heritage. The conscious and present soul, the one that gently nudges you to heal, is the part of you that reconnects with the soul pieces that have been missing, some for long periods of time and some for very short periods. The soul pieces that have returned have a need to communicate to you, the conscious soul, they have a need to show you, tell you or communicate in some way what they experienced, and what they need from you to stay.

Trauma is often the cause of the departure of soul pieces. Many times when we seek healing we fear reliving our trauma, however, trauma is no longer a part of your daily routine, if it were you would not be in a place to safely heal. Once a trauma has been experienced, you do not have to relive it, you have already survived it. The comfort and joy a returning piece experiences, can be absolutely beautiful and profoundly moving. Your soul piece(s) are so delighted to return to a safe, older, and more conscious you, that re-experiencing trauma rarely, if ever, occurs. It is important to know that. Fear of reliving trauma is one of the reasons we do not seek to be whole, conscious and happy, fear can stop us from healing on many different levels. Our conscious soul can, in self-protection, deny us our healing. Unlike modern therapy (which has its place) shamanic healing does not force you to return again and again to the place or the experience of the trauma. Rather I take on the role of traveling through the worlds to find and return your self back to you. I see what needs to be seen, and I experience what needs to be experienced. It is my role to be the voice and the eyes for what you have experienced. That is one of my gifts to you.

I invoke and commit myself to my spirit helpers when I journey on your behalf. I am always able to return to you tell you the dream/story your soul piece(s) has to share with you. I commit myself to your healing, and to the time that it takes to move you, and your newly returned soul pieces, to a place of wholeness and completion. I cannot heal for you, but I can and do provide, the means and the tools to enable you to find that healing on your own. Spirit gives me a deep knowing of you and your conscious self, that knowing creates a deep Compassion for you. The Compassion I feel for you and Spirit expresses for you is an integral part of your healing. It is my role to honor your need to feeling safe and aid you in your progress towards integration.

The Knowledge of the occurrence of soul loss and soul wandering is present in many global shamanic cultures. There are as many different shamanic techniques to return soul pieces as there are shamanic cultures who return them. Knowledge also is that soul loss is not a bad thing, rather it is a way for the conscious soul within you to cope. Many times soul pieces return of their own accord, it is when they do not return of their own accord that my role is enacted to enter into the Spirit World and retrieve those pieces for you.

I have been taught, mostly through a long and sometimes grueling process, to diagnose soul loss and then to track and return the soul pieces to you. Often times your soul piece is held by another being, some cultures refer to them as soul thieves others refer to them as guardians. Sometimes they are one and sometimes the other again it is my role and my task to negotiate (however the negotiation looks) to retrieve your soul parts. Spirit has never let me down I always seem to have the right object to negotiate with.

I believe, and I teach, that you can travel to places within the Spirit World that hold keys to your healing, your health and spiritual growth. Soul retrievals provide your conscious soul with new eyes, new energies and experiences previously unavailable to you. Imagine how far you can go, and how much you can learn by simply asking and accepting your soul pieces home.

My prayer for you is health, happiness and healing. My joy is to see you whole, complete and at peace with yourself. My eyes see the beauty of you and my heart holds the wonderment of you.

Blessings and Joy


Rattles and Healing


Mysticism, and psychic phenomena, are not clearly understood, or widely accepted, within the mainstream. We are all born with certain abilities, psychic or intuitive, as well as shamanic abilities.  Abilities are just like a muscle… if we don’t use it… it atrophies… work it out and it gets stronger.

We have times of waxing and waning in our “inner” life much as our “outer” life. The only inevitability is change; our resistance to it causes conflict, not the changes themselves.  Shamanism challenges us because it creates numerous opportunities for change.  We are encouraged by our spirits to grow, decay, evolve and simplify.  A path is continually opening up before us. However, our job is to find the path; an element of shamanism is path finding.

As an example I encourage my students to discover a personal relationship with a rattle. How does that rattle fit into your present path.  Through journeys, alone time and healings we will either discover, or deepen our relationship with Rattle.

Shaman’s soul flights, journeys if you will, invite us to become intrepid explorers of our inner landscape. Discovering our way through the worlds of spirits, one journey at a time, is as important as marking your way on a path when you are in unfamiliar woods. Understanding that the path of the shaman is one built on patience, awareness and passion.

Through ritual and ceremony we work here, in the Middle World.  Rattles, Drums, Song and Dance keep us centered and grounded.  The irony of shamanism is that you are grounded and centred in both the spirit world and the physical world, at the same time.  One challenge we face, is to learn to find a path that will successfully lead us to blending the worlds at the same time.  The learning, is the fun {??} part.  Know that you will be fine, even when the rudimentary parts of your mind sense something unusual and stimulate a fear reaction. Fear, like pain, can be a friend, if we can discover what about the situation is disconcerting us.  Learn what is ours and what is not, so that we can sublimate the unpleasantness yet still be capable of seeing clearly.

Our Rattles

Rattles are seen as divine gifts; markers of identity; tools of magickal intent and certainly as musical instruments. The rattle has a history of being a predominant instrument in climates that were too moist for skin drums, however they have been found to be a part of the majority of ancient cultures. Most of us remember seeing rattles in our toy boxes as children, or have given them as gifts to the children in our lives. Rattles were originally given to infants as both a toy as well as a protective spirit. Certain traditional Navajo rattles were connected to the Spirits of the Sky by having small holes drilled into the gourd representing constellations. Small gourd rattles are worn on the legs f dancers in Zimbabwe in order to underline the rhythm of the feet in counterpoint to the drums. Ewe women of Ghana, West Africa play gourd rattles called Shekeres accompanying the drummers, and while sitting perform very energetic body movements to show off a stylistic form of playing that I have read is amazing to watch.

The Bella Coola shaman generally had three types of rattles used during soul retrieval ceremonies.  One rattle has a carved face on one side, the other side is flat and painted with intricate art. The second rattle was made woven wooden hoops with crossbars from which hang many deer hooves or even puffin beaks. The third rattle, unique to Haida shaman, was a carved wooded double headed dance wand with many attached puffin beaks. {Puffins were revered because of their ability to dive and quickly disappear into the underwater cosmic zone, analogous to the shaman slipping into the spirit world.}

Rattles are voices of spirits activating the healing properties and spiritual essences of herbs, beads, stones, as well as being recognized as containers of magickal items. Shamans have long held rattles as Beings of the water.  Rattles are water streaming over the body, or rain washing over cleaning and refreshing our physical and energetic selves.

Silence is a teacher.  In our dial a day reality there are way too many distractions.  Many of us are urban dwellers living with an electronic, white noised filled world. Our rural dwellers, although have the quiet, also have many tasks and responsibilities occupying their mind.  Silence is taking the opportunity to sit quietly and listen to the whispers that surround us. 

 I encourage each of us to find stillness, and a place to sit with the intention of quieting our mind, and focus on the voice of the rattle. We can connect to the voice of the rattle in the Middle World.  The language of the rattle is not easily translated by everyone. Some of us will hear our fondest grandparent as the voice our rattle, and some of us will hear stones and peas rattling about in a cylindrical object.  Easy answers are not easy to come by.  The path of the shaman is patience, awareness, passion and a bit of free license!

 When we are walking on an unknown path in the woods, we make decisions where to go. At times, only to come to very thick underbrush and have to either turn back, or find an alternative route.  Listening to the voice of the rattle can be a hit or miss path.  We learn the language of the rattle.

I had a wonderful horse as a kid, he was a true woods horse.  I would often ride him deep into the trees, only to get myself hopelessly lost.  In complete and absolute trust I would place the reins down on his neck and he would lead us out. In time I developed confidence and experience that enabled me to find my way out of the trees.  When I listen for the voice of a rattle I have complete and absolute trust that it knows how to reach me, but I still get lost in the woods sometimes! Connecting with our Rattle know that it may not be an easy path, but it will still be an experience made with the intent of connecting.

The voice of the rattle is important to be able to connect with when we begin to perform our healings.




A Moment With a Movie


, , ,




The movie “The Boy In The Striped Pyjama’s” was a fascinating story regarding awakening, duty, innocence and loss. It was a movie regarding a journey with the tribe. Three aspects of tribe were represented by the family, the military and the country. The movie is based in Germany during the second world war.

The first chapter of the movie explored the safe tribe. It was artistically filmed in a beautiful big house with contrasting colors of rich deep wood, rich colors on the walls and in the carpets, deep laughter and genuine happiness. There was one dissenting voice; the grandmother’s voice, the Crone. I reflected on how many myths and stories I had read contained the warning, or shrewd, voice of the Crone. The Grandmother in the movie looked fondly upon her grandchildren. I interpreted her worry for the loss of her grandchildren’s innocence. As I look deeper into the film I see my own reflection of safety and comfort. Innocence lives in richness. It lives with alive colors. Our innocence rests in places nothing can touch. In each of us rests a Crone or The Sage, the wise old voice shouting at us something is wrong. Often, however, we are too young, or too innocent, or too naive or unwilling to hear the words of our Elders.

The mother was innocent and, I interpreted her, as unwilling to hear what is actually happening and what danger lies ahead of her. In stories she is often cast as the young woman constantly looking into the trees, or onto the horizon, with a niggling something bad is happening, but simultaneously distracted by the goodness of the life she has. She is the part of our psyche that paces our subconscious, knowing the Crone is calling, but not quite old enough, wise enough, or willing enough to listen.

The main character is a young boy who loves his life, but appears to be born with a strong intuition. He knew he was sad to leave, and, yet we are led to believe he sensed where he was going would not be to his liking. He was very aware of his surroundings and the moods of the adults in his world. The vigilant aspect of our psyche.

Our innocence is often our saving grace. We do not see the world beyond us. Innocence is not lost to the future, rather it is preserved in the present. The little boy is playing with his friends on his last morning in the warm, rich, safe house. We see wide hallways, where they are chasing one another. Wide hallways in stories are the easy paths. The paths where there is nothing lurking. Playing with his friends the morning he leaves, interprets as the rise of innocence. The prime time of the young; the morning, when, not yet anything has marred the day. I found it to be a very ominous scene, not unlike the ominous adventure that was awaiting him.

The move to the country side is beautifully filmed. The house they move into it concrete, harsh, contrasting colors, dark floor (watch the soil of evil under your feet), high windows (best not be to seen from), cold colors, cold senses. A stark contrast to the first place the psyche dwelt. I noted that each round window has bars on it, the detail followed to even the round lights on the walls had cages around them. How would you, dear reader, interpret the symbolism to that?

Houses in stories, in our dreams, often represent where we find our soul dwelling, where we find our comforts. The deeper the house goes, generally the deeper we are asked to look into ourselves. The higher the house goes, the loftier the ideas of ourselves go. Perhaps as well, our higher consciousness is being challenged and asked to join in our spiritual and intellectual conversation. The house artistically, flawlessly, portrayed the stark, rigid reality the boy and his family were moving into.

The father, the masculine aspect of the psyche, in our movie is a rigid man. He reminded me of Bluebeard. His innocent wife was told to keep the children out of the backyard. In fact, in the movie we see the backyard as being impenetrable. Un-breach-able. The father is the German military presence. Rules, warrior, controlling, an overseer. Much like Bluebeard, he gives his wife and children a big sprawling house, no connection to the outside world (unless escorted off the property by a driver), no connection to other children. Isolated.

In our own lives our psyche is often isolated from our more conscious actions. We often act behaviourally, from our unconscious selves. The aspects of our first through third chakras. The young boy acts from a place of innocence and guilelessness. He is dismayed to be trapped in the house, in the small yard. Much like the adventurer of our own soul, it is unhappy to be locked in small places, no matter how attractive they may be. The adventurer and innocent part of us is constantly seeking stimulation outside, it looks for ways to escape.

We have another side to our innocence. It was portrayed in this movie as the twelve year old sister. She is on the praecipe of innocence lost. She was trying to break out of her innocent self. She played the part of us that wants to go along with society, finding comfort in belonging – buying into the sold, or consensus reality. There is nothing wrong with that. It is a living aspect of our collective soul. She represents the part of the story that gives us, the viewer, the listener, comfort by demonstrating safety in belonging and conformity. Even when her belief of the consensus as the ‘only’ way to live is challenged, she would not let go. It is like the complacent sister, or young captive, in any story we are told. It is the part of our psyche giving us permission to belong and be completely okay with belonging. She wanted to mature and grow up to blend into the collective personality.

The innocent, adventurer finds a way to escape the enclosed world. He used a window high up on a wall, to escape. This, to me, is again, asking the higher self, the higher consciousness, to become involved with the adventure. At the age of eight he cannot yet comprehend the world around him. He is still cocooned in fun and adventure. He ventures out of his family compound to explore and finds a German concentration camp very close to his house, where he meets his mirror, his twin psyche, behind the electric fence wearing what he believes are pyjama’s. Between them they try to find a language to understand why there is a fence between them. The trapped innocence has no ability to explain it to him. He has already been broken without the ability to question. Question often leads to misery. Many aspects of ourselves can identify with this aspect of self. The part of us told no 100 times. The part of us shunned for asking questions. The part of ourselves hidden away, knowing how cruel the consensus, over-culture can be.

It is similar to the struggle we face when we come to a place or time in our life when we need to go deeper to understand something. We have, as of yet, no language to create a different understanding. It is difficult to comprehend what we have not yet learnt about. It is the joy, and the frustration of innocence. On our path to understand ourselves more deeply, we are often challenged by our shadow side, the darker side of ourselves. The captured innocence, the innocence we have starved, beaten and thrown away, for fear of looking too closely at ourselves.  The adventure of our growth is attempting to make friends with our shadow innocence. The innocence that has been lost to us, often times through trauma.

As the story progresses the innocent wife finds the truth behind the door her husband tells her never to open. Much like Bluebeard, giving his wife all the keys, but forbidding her to use “this one” and never unlock “that door”. What is behind that door is death, decay and the deepest shadows and ugliness. Upon discovering his innocent wife has seen his true nature, Bluebeard must then, in his evil mind, kill his wife. The wife in the movie finds her loud and dissenting voice, admonishing  the overseer masculine psyche. The Feminine is Awakening. Her first instinct is the revolt in horror. To argue the emotional illogical reasoning behind locking in and killing ‘the shadow side’ of society. The final wife in Bluebeard kills her husband, although is some lesser tales the brothers rescue the sisters. However, our older stories generally acknowledged the feminine was fine and able to rescue herself.

As the story reaches its climax a horrible rain storm comes. Storms do not require an explanation. We understand them as portents to great danger and great change. The adventurous boy wants to help his friend behind the electric fence. He vows to dig under the fence and aid his friend in finding his father. Adventurous parts of us take on outlandish and risky roles and actions. Actions such as these, the fully conscious, consensus bound, aspect of our selves could never do. A vow made is made from the second chakra, the place of tribe. It is a vow that should never be broken. Ultimately, innocence pays the final price when it pays with its very life.

The tale is incredibly tragic. Not only is it tragic, it is also a reflection of the journey of our own soul, as we move through phases of innocence, adventure, loss and rebirth. The loss of the son/brother in the story is the moral lesson to each of the individuals remaining. The dark masculine, father, could not, even with his soldiers and fine dogs, rescue his son in time. The awakening feminine mother sees the hole under the fence, knowing, intuitively her son has sacrificed his life. The sister truly loses her innocence through the awareness her belief structure helped to fracture her existence, the loss of a sibling. A younger aspect of her own innocence.

We are constantly changing and constantly growing. On my shamanic path, I see this as moving around and around the medicine wheel. Awaking and putting to death different aspects of ourselves. The movie is a heavy handed reminder of blind faith couched artistically and metaphorically in a beautiful symbolic package.

This movie gave me much to ponder regarding the journey of the soul. The aspects we throw away. The aspects which overcome. The aspects wishing to remain blind and silent. The beginning of our wounding. As difficult as it can be at times, it is vital to our selves, we never stop the journey. It is painful to wake up. Much of our innocence does die. However, the benefits of knowing and understanding ourselves more deeply ~ strongly compels us to move ahead.



Perception and Awareness

Perception and Awareness
Perception is a funny thing. A very funny thing. Following the path of shamanism I have studied perception, and have come to appreciate, the role, perception plays in moving from point A to point B. My teachers have taught me to handle perceptual awareness, with a subtle grace, which was not an easy awareness of acquire, I assure you. If you have read some of my blog, you know my relationship with my spirits can be cantankerous at times. I often ignored advice given to me, or sometimes, even failed to FULLY observe my surroundings. My perceptual system was not acquired overnight. I doubt it is an easy process for anyone. Well, okay maybe for some of you. I am sure someone reading this is saying ‘oh yeah that was totally me. I woke up one morning (or after a sunny nap) and POOF total awareness of the ALL.’ Lucky you.
Those marked for, or who choose, to pursue a shamanic path, come to grips with an ever changing perceptual awareness and yet remain balanced in this world. Learning to handle perception is one of the major steps in learning the way of the shaman.
The first question we have to ask, of course, is “What is this thing called perception?” Defining perception seems easy on the surface; we perceive the world through our physical senses and therefore “assemble” a reality within which we can function. POOF right?? Our five senses give us a fairly concrete understanding of the world. We can all agree in the physical up is up and down is down. Some of us can jump. Some of us cannot, but we can all fall. Agreed? Good. We can all agree the pain of meeting mass’,( ie car and human hitting each other) generally determines the level of pain one experiences.
For some of us, and I suspect most of you reading this, have even agreed to leave room in our reality for the supernatural, the odd, the unusual and perhaps, just perhaps, a little frightening. In my reality a pendulum swinging very fast in my hand whilst performing an energetic house clearing, generally means lots of energy. Obvious to some, not to all. Perception is rarely, if ever, viewed as a physical sense in itself. One which can be controlled and manipulated to expand our world view; in fact, it makes other realities available to us. Our ability to perceive is the true sixth sense and the one which unifies all the others. Is awareness without perception possible? No. Is perception without awareness possible? Again, no.
Our perception locks us in a virtual prison for most of our lives. Stay with me here. Depending, as most people do, on the five senses, taste, sight, sound, tactile and smell ~ we all assemble a world, which is familiar, and above all, has rules everyone can depend on, to work. As I said before… up is up and down is down. The five senses reality, in person I often refer to this as the ‘dial a day’ reality (I have no idea why), is not an easy place to live. Goodness knows, the news tells us so.
But by locking ourselves in a perceptual prison, we largely ignore the ELSEWHERE. Unless, of course, it intrudes itself upon our working perceptions of reality. (Such as smelling a hint of that perfume Oma always wore). Even then we make excuses, debunking our experiences, and pass those events off as merely aberrant ones, produced by forces we can explain, and keep within our perceptual framework. We are still left, however, with the question of exactly what is perceptual awareness.
The five human senses are taking in a different aspect of your environment nonstop. Your brain reassembles, some, not all, of your environmental perceptions, and awareness. Your perceptual system, is trained to perceive what is important for you to know, at any given moment. Your eyes tell you there is a red light, you, hopefully, appropriately stop. Your ears, at the same time perceiving the sounds of your interior vehicle, and the exterior environment. Do you remember what you were listening to when you slammed on your brakes to avoid a collision? Perhaps not. Perception operates at every level of your awareness, and at the same time, creating the very awareness within which you live. What you perceive is based solely on you. We adapt and change our perceptual awareness in each situation we are in. Our ears work much better when there is something we crave to hear, than something we don’t. Adaptation is a key element to any human reality.
But seriously, what does any of this have to do with shamanism?? I know right. Sometimes I get on tangents. Whew. However, there is a bit more to go…
We only adapt our awareness when we have reason to focus. Focus drives our perception and awareness in this reality. We consciously, and unconsciously, choose a systematic series of actions, and reactions, created over a period of time, a framework, upon which we peg the daily reality of living. Our daily reality of living can be broken down into even smaller realities, our reality changes, based on what our reason/focus for changing it is.
Shamans change realities often, through trance, eye contact, conscious breath work; a myriad of systematic series of actions and reactions necessary for us to perceive the ELSEWHERE, with our perceptual system. Our active awareness. Conscious awareness is a learnt behaviour. 95% of what the brain perceives is generally unconscious.
Practicing shamanism has given me the tools to be conscious, more than, 5% of the time. It has been shown to me over and over again, we perceive what we believe. And every once and awhile we get a GOD SHOT. An amazing experience ‘designed’, perhaps, to move the boundaries of our reality. Sometimes just a little bit, and at other times, far more than just a little bit.
Someone once said to me that “reason is the bullying guard at the gates of perception”. ‘Finely put’ I said. Then I replied “reason appeared to be the nag that follows you around during your supernatural experience claiming “oh no you did not see that” or “it must have been a coincidence” Nag, guard, really, what is the difference? The question is then: How do we get around not destroying the guard? We do need that aspect of ourselves, to function in our dial a day reality. It can be as simple as occupying our “bullying guard” with other activities. I always refer to is as ‘candy for the conscious mind” In other words, trapping your own attention. Think of it as giving your guard a toy to play with, and while totally occupied with the new toy, another aspect of your perceptions and awareness catch a glimpse of the unknown. That conscious bully gets bored easily, so at first you may only be able to look past quickly, but in that brief glimpse there lies an eternity of possibilities. Eventually, with practice, the CB will become less concerned with where you go and what you perceive. The CB will no longer, in it’s/your, own perception, see it as a threat. You will pass by into a new and undiscovered country.
Discussion of just how to trap your attention would have to be keyed to the individual since we all structure our perception differently. We can only speak in generalities here. Some people use drumming, some use other forms of music, some use physical activities. All of these are valid, but the make up of your particular perceptional biases; makes it a highly individual endeavor. The only thing to keep in mind, or be conscious of, is that once your perception grows and changes you must still drag these new “visions” back past your guard of reason. This filtering back through the temporal window of reason/focus creates our biggest problem. How do we know what our brain is telling us is, in fact, what we have really witnessed?
Countless is the number of times I have heard people say, but is this real? Reality is based on perception, And perception is a funny thing. Very funny indeed. For some individuals the pushing of the aforementioned structure, can be a daunting task. For some people, perceiving with all of the senses is one of the keys to perceiving an alternate reality. Not discounting what is experienced as ‘only’ this or ‘only’ that. Expansion of the boundaries of your perceptual reality is a conscious choice. Perceptual awareness can only expand with experience. For me, I can’t speak for you.
Many circles and thousands of shamanic journeys recounted to me, has been my teaching ground for much of what I share with you. For many the first shift in perception, in my circles was through a boring nonrythmic beat of a drum. The sound of the drum lulls the CB. Many participants the first, and perhaps even more times, were generally confused when re-entering into our agreed upon reality – the dial a day. What do you do with a spiritual journey experience to a place, possibly never seen before? How do you integrate your experience?. Interesting. Each person has their personal experience, some participants are confused, while others have completely been blocked by the CB, and do not remember what happened. Some are at peace and at home, with what they experience.
Practice and dedication to uncovering and discovering a changing perception of reality, takes conscious effort. As our world view grows, the nature of what we are perceiving, becomes, or seems to become, clearer to us.
Well that is a short version of my thoughts on perceptual awareness. I am going to explore this further in our work together at Elk Island in September 2013.