Shamanic Retreat

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…

 

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Day 34 with a Shaman

I have been working on a sand painting for the last three weeks and keep adding objects of intention. I visit it every few days or when I have energy to blow in, but it has become so full of stones and shells! While talking with my Teacher, which happens to be miles away at the moment, she made a comment about how busy my painting was! It was both humorous and awe inspiring.

She is always positive with a delicious flavor of comic relief. This was no exception. I am inspired by the fact that she is able to see my painting from so far away. It is so exciting to have such an example of someone I’d like to emulate, especially when it is my Mentor.

There has been such an internal shift this week and I feel that is definitely time to close this sand painting and open a new one. There is a solidarity deep inside that I have been asking for. I will open a new painting with the intention of diving even deeper and anchoring awareness to walk between the worlds.

I realize that life will throw curve balls but my inner experience can be rock solid. It has been difficult to sustain this with so much stagnant emotional energy in my body. The more it releases, the more opportunity there is for connection with Spirit/Source/One.

 

The Divine is present in everyone, in all beings, in everything.

Like space it is everywhere, all pervading, all powerful, all knowing.

The Divine is the principle of Life, the inner light of consciousness, and

pure bliss. It is our very own Self.

— Amma ♥

Day 30 with a Shaman

Photo from: MauraBertotti@facebook.com

This week was tumultuous to put it mildly. My Shaman Teacher asked me last week how my relationship was. Then, she went on to explain that the astrological influences of Mercury could cause upheaval in relationships. In addition, I was doing a cleansing fire ceremony with the intent to purify any relationships that needed mending or forgiveness. At that time, everything was just lovely between my partner and me. I had no idea of the events that were to come.

It started Wednesday with several frustrating conversations leading to bickering. It seemed like we were speaking foreign languages and couldn’t translate a word. We were able to coexist peacefully in silence and I welcomed the reprieve.  Then, Thursday, it happened again. We made amends and laughed a lot before I headed off to work a late night at the Jazz club.

When I got home, I found my sober partner passed out in the bed. I could smell the alcohol and cigarettes. I immediately got angry. We had talked about this many times and he said he would tell me before relapsing. I tried to wake him and quickly realized I didn’t know this person in my bed. I took off for a hotel, feeling lost, betrayed and confused. How could I ever trust again?

When I came back the next day, it was the same stranger; cold, jaded, and heartless. I became so full of rage and reminded myself of my mother. In a flash I was back to my life as a ten year old, watching my mom rage about my dad. At that time, I just thought he needed a lot of sleep and didn’t understand why she was so angry with him.

He would stay in bed all day and she hated him. I now understood…he was hung over from the night before. I recalled waiting for him to return, crying at the window at 4am. I didn’t understand what could possibly make him so late. He forgot me at school regularly but my mom hid the fact that he was an alcoholic. Today, I could see it so clearly.

I was raging as the ten year old, my mother, and the thirty eight year old I am today. It was messy and I wanted to run. My world was unraveling. Then, it hit me. I had been given tools to work with situations exactly like this. I breathed deeply and allowed my awareness to move into the Eagle.

I drove to the beach, while breathing into the hurt. As I was walking out to the sand, I saw a couple walking on the trail. I did not have any plan to talk with them, as the lady yelled over to me, “Good Morning!” I barely inaudibly mumbled, “Yeah”. Then she responded, “It is a good morning!”

Isn’t it funny how the Universe gets through to you in completely random and unexpected moments? I laughed at myself and made a choice.

I chose to stop and embrace all of it. Therefore, I gave the energy to the Earth and water elements.  I took a lot of showers and several walks on the beach with the intent to cleanse all of it. I softened in conversation, when I would rather have caused bodily pain. I got the message to forgive…mainly myself.  Once again, I was asking myself if I could do this. I knew that I could keep choosing to let go. I trusted that forgiveness would come. I trusted joy would come.

When I let go of  my emotions and was able to meet my partner from a place of acceptance, it provided an opening. He was able to cry and express his emotions. Forgiveness came naturally for both of us.

What does this have to do with Shamanism?  My answer is: Everything.

In my session with my Shaman Teacher, we released the trauma around my dad. We did a journey to the Upper and Underworlds. When she worked on the trauma I could feel a tightness and sharp pain in my chest. It felt like a knife had been removed. Then, there was just an open wound.

During the Upper world journey, I was given a bag with a wand of strength in it and wings for my heart. They were given to me by the Divine Father, which was incredibly fulfilling. The light of the Divine was filling my heart and I felt joy again.

There was also a feeling of self-reliance.  It was much different than the stubborn girl inside, refusing help at all costs. This was whole. All of my focus no longer needed to be on potential loss or abandonment of masculine love. It was already fulfilled inside my own heart. I now have the strength and the wings to fly.

It reminds me of a lovely quote I will never forget.

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions… When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

Day 16 with a Shaman

 

Ocean air fills my nose like lemon silk with a hint of salted cucumber. Its soothing soft crispness refreshes and rejuvenates. Wind brings a whiff of wild roses, poplar, and elder berries. My mouth waters slightly as a hint of cherries and cinnamon tantalizes my tongue. Sun warms my face and awakens me as it has many mornings shining through my window, beams of light granting me pardon from the chilling wind. They reach me with such purpose, I question my significance.

The golden glow saturates me like sinking into a warm bubble bath with winter storming outside. It engulfs the land and water bringing out their beauty as colors burst all around me. The grass becomes a brilliant array of fluorescent limes, forest green, teal and green hues I’m certain have not yet been named. I can taste the freshly mown sweetness across my tongue, bringing back my childhood in an instant.

The sun pulls my attention to glittery n an organized medley over the water. They are so joyous they appear to take flight, each sparkle taking on a life of its own, competing for my attention. As the sun breathes life into them, they dazzle my eyes with pure delight. Seagulls flying overhead tilt with the wind, barely missing tree branches. The foaming waves slide over rocks like a silk curtain revealing more surface with each passing. Water carries driftwood onto the sand, delivering it from a long journey to rest at last.

As I sit here quietly, waves crash beneath like angry thunder. The water reaches out to shake hands with the sky. My mind begins to wonder about all the mysterious creatures swirling below the tumultuous surface. I sense the absolute stillness they inhabit, permeated with life and yet so serenely still, filling me with peace as I remember another similar moment. I recall the room at the time of my grandfather’s death, full of the most profound peace I have ever felt. It was full and absent at once, leaving a presence comparable to this massive ocean.

An eagle perches nearby like the knight of the air. Its piercing gaze demands allegiance to the creator, every motion deliberate, nothing wasted. It takes flight as its shadow devours the sun overhead. I can hear its wings in on long swoosh as it joins its partner in midflight. I admire the union…a partnership even Fred and Ginger would envy. They glide through the sky with complete effortlessness. Seagulls dive bomb them, bravado their only weapon, protesting the intrusion of their heavenly domain. Their boldness astonishes me. The eagles, however, barely notice as they give me the once over and carry on their flight, leaving me slightly intimidated by their calm natural authority.

I begin to feel a rhythmic pulse beneath me. The ground is hard and cold, but underneath its surface there is a melodic throbbing, a heartbeat I have only known in a dream, bringing back a long forgotten yearning. All of the elements seem to take their places for a mutual orchestration about to commence. The tees groan as they stretch in preparation for the big performance, limbs creaking like an old man rising out of bed. They reach out and grab the wind as they begin their majestic adagio.

The same wind starts as slow violins caressing my heart strings, the waves providing low booms vibrating my bones. Gulls chime in with trumpeting duets. A natural cohesiveness envelops me in a harmony beyond my experience, overwhelming me with a power beyond definition. My inner maestro leaps wildly to attention and begins to direct this masterpiece. I feel as if I have slipped through a portal into the great minds of Amadeus and Bach. In the company of geniuses, I lose myself completely, taking hold of every crescendo as though I am whipping in the wind on the tails of a monster kite. I question, am I dreaming or am I awake?

The tall weeds along the bluff bend and twist in perfect coordination with the strings and trumpets, moving in ecstatic ways I have never before imagined. Such unison and oneness, I silently applaud their uniqueness.

I hear the invitation to feel this alive, everywhere I go. Nature holds a magic that I long for and need to survive. If I ignore it for a while, it welcomes me back like a long lost friend. It’s a comforting companion that challenges me to expand my limits, the example I need in a sea of chaos. It never seems out of reach, patiently awaiting my return…always willing…always accepting. It reminds me of the person I want to be. I wonder how this place, right now, can have such substance.

There is a quote in the movie Cold Mountain, “Sometimes just reading the name of a place near home – Sorell Cove, Fire Scale Ridge – enough to break your heart.”  It shows how much life there is on the planet. The places of solace that it provides can remind us of the Divine, without effort. We just walk away knowing that we have been changed, improved and profoundly moved.

This moment stretches my heart, and shatters what has kept me closed.  This place haunts my essence in the most serene way, existing in the place inside that is pure creativity. It brings me back when I have lost my way. I wish for everyone to be here…right now. Thank you.

Day 14 with a Shaman

As a child, I started speaking in complete sentences, beautifully voicing my independence. Most sentences, started  and ended with, “no, I can do it myself”!  Then, my mother taught me the value of being a good little girl, polite in all the right ways. Being from Texas, politeness was the first garment you put on in the morning. Polite with a little stubbornness is the Texas way. I didn’t realize I was losing my soul by being politically correct. I just became accustomed to giving others what I thought they wanted, with a smile. I made money doing this for years in restaurants. Later, I did the same in sales. I was actually rewarded for it over and over again. I never really understood the emptiness inside. I just lived with it and kept smiling.

It’s no wonder that I end my days feeling exhausted. Holding on to all of this old programming has become cumbersome.  As the old contracts gradually come to the surface, I learn to let go even more. This week was about letting go and speaking my truth. I got to see that just going with the flow is often a compromise for me. It’s more polite than honest. Distinguishing the two has been extremely challenging.

I opened sacred space and held a fire ceremony on the Full Moon. It was powerful.  My belief, that life has to be hard, was burned in the fire. I had started letting go last week, while doing a journey to the Underworld. It has taken conserted effort to release. I’m very glad to have such powerful allies.

I’m working with some pretty big intentions in my sand painting. Life is fun, I’m excited about my life, and I’m completely prosperous only working two days a week. Boy, that one is a huge one! How can I only work two days and be prosperous? Even though, I’ve gone months at a time with no job and never wanted for anything. Then, I work four jobs, finding I’m always scrounging to just pay the bills. Is this not proof enough? Still, I sit, paralyzed with fear to close my back door. The one that tells me life has to be hard and a struggle. I don’t care to live a life that is hard and a constant struggle. Yet, I am still trying to play the rules according to that false belief. It gives me a purely false security and doesn’t meet my basic needs. It’s like staying with an abusive husband because I’ve been here so long.

The old ways of our culture don’t work anymore and it will take courage from a many of us to walk a new path.

I am holding the intention of finding balance, as I walk forward.

 

Day 13 with a Shaman

When do we need boundaries? Is it when we are working a job we actually hate? When our parents still want the ultimate say in our lives? When our own voice is overruling all that we think is good? When do we say no? When do we say yes? I thought I knew the balance. I thought it made sense.

Lately, my body has been yelling at me to slow down, find my own pace. It is hard when, others are urging me to stay busy. It’s about tangible results, and productivity that leads to money in the bank. It’s about being a good employee and a nice girl.

I get so much out of meditation, reflection, leisurely walks alone, but now I find myself rushing to get done. I don’t want anyone to see me slacking. I don’t want to be late for work. I don’t want to run out of time. I asked for abundance and now I have all this work. However, I don’t have time and my soul is paying for it. The practices that give me the most fulfillment, get pushed aside.  I feel a struggle inside, between the longing for what I am here to do, and what I have been taught to do for survival.

I hear the call to step into more, take the leap and know that greatness is waiting. I know that part of that is not knowing what it looks like. We aren’t meant to know what it looks like.

I journeyed to the Underworld today and took my Jaguar ally as protection. It was the most soul satisfying quest. It lasted only ten minutes and held the most delicious richness. It contained a sweetness that I could die for. My intention in the journey was to bring back a gift.

I traveled through the chambers, stopping to burn my old contract. It is the one that says, “Life has to be hard”. I then, grabbed my new one to move on to a gift. I waited…   Then, seeing a flash of something flying in front of my face, I heard a faint whisper in my left ear.  It was an inaudible rambling of words that were not English but I knew it was a secret of what is possible. It was given to me to hear and treasure. I felt honored and complete for a moment.

It’s the coming back that’s hard. I am working to find a balance in my life that truly reflects the intent of the Soul, rather than programming of a society that has lost its way. I guess this is my job. I am learning…

Day 7 with a Shaman

A New Story

I love my life!!! I wake up every day excited to get started…I feel like I should pinch myself because it feels like a dream come true. I feel free, joyful, powerful, fulfilled, in the flow of creation, like I am doing exactly what I came here to do. I am a true asset to humanity.  I feel free to do exactly what I want in every moment. I can travel and enjoy the luxuries of the world. My Husband and I are madly in love. I feel worthy of the relationship and it continues to grow into a Holy union. I am physically in the best shape of my life.

I dance every day, uplifting spirits and healing Earth. I am living my genius and earning a living doing it. I never have to think about money and feel free. I am a pure channel for the Feminine and empowerment of Source. Did I mention I feel free? 😉