We opened sacred space and did fire breathing to open our energy bodies. Then, we practiced a guided meditation for grounding and protection. The visualization was to form a golden light around us, spinning in a clockwise direction. Afterwards, we stood by the fire as we were drummed to rhythm of our unique heartbeat. The teacher found our pace and then proceeded to move the drum around our body as you would if you were smudging. As the drum reached my head, I could feel my cells aligning and becoming synchronized in the perfect internal rhythm. I could also feel my connection with Mother Earth deepening.
We gathered around the fire and wrote down our ideal Divine Mother/Father traits. Then, we wrote down resentments and gratitude we had about our birth Mother/Father. As the resentments came up, old wounds were opened and soothed with the gentle salve of gratitude. My list of resentments was longer for my dad, but I also got to see what he had done. We placed the lists of resentments into the burning fire and asked it to fill us as we let go of the old. When the old released, it formed a void so we needed to ask to be replenished. It was satisfying on such a fundamental soul level to allow the fire to fill my heart and all it took was trust.
It was time to build a shelter to represent the womb of the Mother. We had bamboo, ropes, blankets, stones, logs, and rugs. Within an hour, we had a cozy shelter in the woods. It was completely closed, dark, and invoked a sense of safety. It was perfect to represent the womb of creation. We began drumming, chanting, and moving around the fire in preparation for acceptance of Divine Mother as our ultimate Maternal Guide. The energy was building with great intensity. One by one, we were chosen to embody either the mother or child. Spirit moved through each of us.
When it was my turn to be the child, the mother wrapped her arms around me and spoke in my ear. I could feel the essence of my birth mother speaking to me with love, channeled through another. Then, she let me go to be embraced by the Divine. I walked to the shelter and sat inside. As I asked Mother to accept me and declared my willingness to be open to receive, I could feel fire engulfing my body. It got extremely hot and I could see the flames licking all sides of my body. When it was finished, I felt purified, fresh and new. I walked out of the womb, fully supported.
I was chosen to be the Mother for one of the others in the group. As I spoke words and held the person, my voice sounded foreign. It sounded like I was in another room, listening to someone speak. I released the person and felt immense love as they walked away. I tried not to analyze too much, as I walked back to the fire to chant. When everyone had been reborn, we sat in silence.
Shamanic Retreat Part 2
We started opening sacred space, which is still my favorite, then settled around the fire for a breathing exercise. Fire breathing is a great way to strengthen the Bands of Power. From a seated position, we placed our hands above our heads a foot or so, palms facing out. We reached inside our eighth chakra, opening it and brought our arms down in a semicircle around our bodies.
First we did this to the sides several times and then front and back. We wrapped an imaginary energy bubble around our bodies like an egg of light. After that, we put our palms together behind our backs pointing our index fingers straight out like a gun. We gently inhaled through our noses while pushing our abdomen out and exhaled through our mouths. We were speeding up as fast as we could, which ended up being more like animal panting, then we slowly inhaled three times.
Then, we held our breath as long as possible, while flexing our perennial muscles three times drawing Earth energy into the base of the spine. Finally, we exhaled…feeling the amazing energy flow, as we brought our arms over head and placed palms out into the eighth chakra. We repeated this five times and it was extremely cleansing, grounding, and invigorating. My mind was so incredibly clear after this exercise, and there was a deeper connection with Mother Earth. It was tangible as were the Bands surrounding my body.
We then were guided in a journey to ask for a spirit guide. We drummed and traveled deep into the earth, asking for permission and traveling to the underworld. I was careful not to engage with any dark energy. I asked for a spirit guide and waited. Then, a viper started approaching, which turned into a pterodactyl. It was a funny, awkward, prehistoric bird/dragon. It was clumsy and comical. I felt no threat at all and invited it over to me. It bumped into shrubs and knocked things around. It was like being in a cartoon, but it felt like real life. It was unconcerned about how it appeared, which made it even funnier. It had an unspoken confidence and air of arrogance. Yet, it was completely innocent and adorable. I could relate to the imperfection and felt like I’d known this creature my whole life.
At the moment it was within a few feet of me, it grew into a huge dragon and flicked its tail, which resulted in a thunderous boom. I froze. I was suddenly aware of the power and how it demanded respect. It had come to help me. It was showing me not to underestimate power just because of playful appearances. It is still teaching me. What a great and powerful animal it was and what a sense of humor.
After a lunch break, we performed a Despacho with intentions of the Divine Mother/Father ceremony. We offered beautiful flowers, sugar, seeds, rice, glitter, sequins. We gave thanks to all spirit allies and placed our dreams in silent prayers. We wrapped the cloth around our offerings and prayers then placed them into the fire, feeding it and ourselves. It was gently moving and created a peaceful release. I asked to honor my mother and father. I asked to release all that was outside of love and to open to the Divine in both. I also asked to open to the Divine in all things…including myself. I asked to be ultimate forgiveness.
We walked away from the fire filled with awe and hope for unlimited possibilities.
The first day of our Shamanic weekend retreat started with opening sacred space. Then, we started a fire and put our intentions into the fire. We did this by blowing the intention into the stick. After putting our sticks in, we allowed the fire to feed us with its power. My intention was to purify my spirit and let go of any old resentments around mother and father. The retreat was about embracing the divine father and mother. I was jumping in to the deep end but I was ready!
As we took our seats around the fire, our teacher lead us in a chakra clearing meditation. It started at our root and ended with the crown. It was a simple and essential practice. I could feel heavy energy leaving each chakra, resulting in greater balance and joy. We visualized a tail moving out of the base of our spine, leading to an aquifer deep inside the Earths womb. It was a place to release any heavy or unspent energy in our centers. It could easily move down and be recycled by Pachamama/ Mother Earth. I literally felt years of stress pouring out of my body.
Finally, we received a Bands of Power Rite. The Bands of Power are an energetic protection woven into your Energy Field , the energetic body that surrounds your physical body. These bands help transform negative energy into one of the 5 elements so that you are protected and centered in yourself. I had received the bands previously but the ceremony strengthened their power.
When she got to the band around my head, she grabbed a stone that had been activated at a sacred temple in Peru (I did not know this at the time), and placed it on my third eye. I had to catch my balance as I felt like she had pushed me back. It was so strong; I had to shift my body like I was suddenly on an incline. Then, very suddenly, I felt myself falling backward into an endless void. It was swallowing me but it was not threatening. It felt like something was setting me free. It was hard to determine how much time had passed. It could have been several lifetimes or seconds. I heard the teacher’s voice in the distance beckoning me to return. I did but I was not the same…
I had a vision of a serpent. It was as long as a car and its head was as big as mine. It had fierce eyes and slow methodical movement. I was on a pier and it began slithering toward me with an unwavering focus. I could not stop my heart from racing and was certain it could sense my strong pulse. I tried not to be afraid, hoping it would move past me. Terror filled my body as it raised its body to look directly in my face. It eyes were frighteningly vicious. I flinched, as it sank its fangs in my right shoulder. My awareness moved into the body of the serpent, before I felt the pain.
Suddenly, I was biting and wrapping my body around a human, but there was no violence. It was just movement of energy. I was being moved by the one collective spirit connecting everything. There was no self at all. There was nothing lacking and nothing gained from this action. It didn’t even occur to me, as the snake, that this was food. There was absolutely no thought.
A few seconds earlier, I was certain that this animal hated me or was angry. It was perceived as violent. Now, I was merged fully and there was only acceptance, harmony, and a perfect flow. My awareness switched back to myself and I just felt love as I breathed my last breath.
In a journey to the upper world, I asked for an ally or gift. The ace of spades came back to me. My Shaman Teacher led the journey, while I just traveled. When she told me about the ace, I understood right away.
When I was younger, my family would camp out on the lake every summer. We would gather around the card table at night and play games. My favorite game was spades. We would play partners and I loved using different strategies to win. No matter what strategy I used, if I had the ace of spades, I knew I would win. It was the highest card in the game but that didn’t always guarantee a win. However, in my mind it did and it worked. I would win every time.
The ace of spades was my ally now, which meant no matter what, I would win. It meant that even if the dark side got a few points, I couldn’t lose. It was exactly what I needed to know, on the deepest level, that doubt has no power anymore. It was also a great reminder to not take myself so seriously. I was given the message to follow the signs and this is a big one! As my friend would say, “this is a wink from God.”
Then, there was another opportunity to follow signs. I was asked to do readings for other people. I have resisted because I am studying with a Shaman and felt like it would be a distraction. I’d stopped actively reading to just focus on Shaman practices. Then, I got the message that there was no distinction, if the intention was to serve and get out of the way. There was also a small part that believed I wasn’t ready. Although I wanted to decline, I was being nudged by spirit. Since doubt has no power, I decided it was time for a different answer. After a bit of resistance, I chose to do them. It would be a chance to invite spirit in a different way. Sacred space allowed for clearing and protection, it would just be cards instead of leaves.
I have been pleased with the readings and I’ve gotten surprising feedback. The best part is that I don’t feel like I am doing anything. It is effortless and flows through. It allows a greater sense of trust, which is perfectly timed. Letting go takes many forms but this week it looks like saying yes to serving others. I’ve also realized that the Shaman practices have resulted in more grounding, which makes for better readings. Thank you to the spirit allies!
My Shaman Teacher asked me today if I had purchased my ticket for Peru. There is an advanced initiation training there in November and I feel like I am meant to be there. At this point, I don’t see how. It is expensive and I don’t make a lot. I have put it in a Sand Painting and am asking spirits for assistance. I am also fundraising so that other people can donate as well. I am holding a strong intention and expecting mountains to move to get me there.
I told her I was trying to get the money together. She talked to me about taking steps toward it and asked what other reasons might be holding me back. She spoke as if money were not a real obstacle. Her silence after the questions required me to be ruthless in my internal inquiry. I did a quick scan and could see a fear of the unknown.
I could feel myself sitting in limbo. I had to get real. Wasn’t the real fear that I’d transform and get what I say I want? Wasn’t I really terrified of stepping into power and not being able to pretend smallness anymore? Wouldn’t I be letting go of being a student and taking full accountability for what I’ve learned? Not to say that I’d be a Teacher but I wouldn’t be able to claim that “I didn’t know.”
Peru is not the first place I’d pick to travel. I’ve had friends that have gone there and I never felt the desire. However, since starting Shaman training with my Mentor and teacher, I have felt a faint tugging. It is evident when I am talking to her about the land, mountains and people there. There is a collective consciousness that is already a higher vibration. It lends an ease to this practice and while I wouldn’t go there otherwise, I feel I must.
During my journey to the underworld, I asked if there were any contracts that were no longer valid. The contract to keep me limited came to me and I put it in the fire. I watched it burn and knew that money was only an energetic part of this contract. It would free all energy related to this limitation and I felt ready. A new contract came to me. It was the contract to embody a new level of Love, one that I’ve never known before. I welcomed this new energy, and invited it into every cell of my body.
A black horse and magic vase came back with me as allies. The black horse reminded me of the warrior inside; fierce, bold, courageous, graceful and receptive. The vase held unlimited potential in its purest form. Nothing can be tainted in the presence of this potential and it is bigger than fear.