Respect Your Elders

amarbharati

The man pictured above is named Amar Bharati. He is a Sadhu, a yogic holy man of India. He is a Saint. He has held his hand aloft for more than 40 years for world peace.
He is one of my heroes.
To me his is the pinnacle of commitment to love and wisdom. I seek refuge at his feet as an Elder who tends the flame of immense courage. He inspires me to the path of surrender completely.

I have been gifted with great Elders, we all have. Those who came before me have made my journey so much more comfortable and efficient than theirs, and the have spared me a depth of suffering when they felt it was something they ought to spare me. In this epoch it is easy not to give credit to those who came before. It is easy not to think of who wore the path that you traverse with ease. Who picked up the sharp sticks, wove back the briars in the undergrowth.  Who left the harvest go dry in the sun and gave up a yield of fresh fruit and vegetables, who gathered the seeds so that the best fruit would ripen another season.
All of these beings who co created these wonderful things had one thing in common.
Commitment.
Commitment to their journey, to the next coming season, to the next coming generation to their families, to their studies, to their austerities.
Yes, it is easy to forget these things.

I want to honour my parents and my sister, for who I am so grateful. The life that was offered me has been an extremely incredible and often challenging one and my family are instrumental in having brought me into and through this world.

Beyond the hearth I have many elders around me. Some are the elders of the trees who’ve lived a century or more, some are other teachers who walked parts of the path before me. . .  There’s elders who wrote the wisdom teachings, who kept the oral traditions, who suffered so we could find greater peace in our time on the planet. The elders who resisted oppression, the people who resisted violence. The animals who gave their milk and their bodies. The explorers who created the technologies of modernity. The rivers that cut through mountains over millennia to quench the plains. All are elders.

There are my teachers, friends and guides, the authors of the books I love and the creators of tools I craft my life with.
They have never stolen from me an initiation they felt I could handle; they never did my learning for me.
They have guided me with integrity and wisdom and offered of their experiences generously.

It is easy to forget how much we benefit.
In forgetting gratitude we are stealing from our elders.

I am sharing a list of great Elders relevant to the work I do in case you want to come into knowing them too.
I share this list in admiration and total appreciation of all they have brought forth.
Please know this list will be ever growing and incomplete!

Most of my clients and students, friends and acquaintances hear about my main teacher Demian Hayes. His influence has been a most grounding excellent and positive presence in my life. He is a wonderful alchemist, magician, teacher and incredible healer. He is an embodiment of commitment to Dharma.

Here is his website

http://www.magicvibrations.com

and here is a video of him speaking on one of his favourite topics; Miracles!

Another teacher who I am so grateful for their presence is Dani Sher, who I met in Northern India at the same time as Demian.
He is the creator of Siddha Kundalini Healing, a powerful modality which he initiated me into. Dani is also a truly committed Guru who is also living his Dharma in all the extremity of it’s expression.
https://www.siddhakundalini.com/about-dani

I studied yoga with Himalaya Yoga Valley under Brahmacharya Lalit Kumar and Lisa Fahy. Their asana instruction and guidance was incredible and inclusive. The anatomy teachings of Adam Divine and the Philosophy teachings of Viriam Kaur were some of the most awakening hours of my journey.

https://yogacorkireland.com/

I have actively used plant medicines for consciousness expansion since my adolescence. Indigenous mushrooms and other cubensis have been powerful teachers for me. I am grateful for the human envoys of these powerful consciousnesses. I am grateful to creation for the presences of these non human guides on our planet.

Another teacher has come in the form of Yage, or Ayahuasca. She is a great teacher and I am grateful for all the forces that facilitated my contact with her.
I drank this medicine in Peru with the Shipibo family of Maestra Elisa in their home Sanken Nete.
http://www.sankennete.org/

The astrologers and readers that I love on YouTube are

New Paradigm Astrology Pele Report with Kaypacha
Rasa Lila Healing
White Light Astrology
MollyMcCord
Illumined Souls

There are many authors who I love and have really inspired me below (this list will also continue to grow)

Carlos Castenada
Don Miguel Ruiz
Eleanor O Hanlon
Joseph Campbell
Jamie Sams
Zygmunt Bauman

What’s in a Name?

ursaminor

For a long time I’ve been fascinated by names.

In many traditions we are given different names and titles as forms of initiation. During the confirmation ceremony of Catholics children receive a Christian name, usually to honour a saint or a relative named for one. In medicine traditions people are offered names by teachers and guides. We nickname one another (I personally love doing this) as intimate terms of endearment and to allow for a more soft engagement.

Names are a type of mask we wear. It’s fine to wear different masks, we live in a world where many roles are required of us and the different name creates a different level of boundary and expectation. In a workplace where a man is referred to as Mr. O’ Keefe, he is wearing a mask, maybe of a teacher, maybe a solicitor. He is not in his essence, his naked self, but in the clothing of Mr. O’ Keefe. There is a wall between him and those present and that wall is the boundary of professionalism. That allows him to take his suit off in a metaphysical sense as well as in the physical.

Names of expectation, like the Saints name given at confirmation, or the coming of age names given by the Elders of different societies, give us something to chew on in terms of self identification. How do we associate with this acquired name? Where does it fit into how we see ourselves in our society? Our family? Our private world?
What does it mean to be a little bit Francis of Assisi, or Jeanne D’Arc? What does it mean to a Standing Elk? Or The One Who Sings Rivers? What is being seen that you have yet to know? Or what is in conflict with what you already believe? Truthfully we are players, dancers and creators in the great cosmic play. All of this world is a stage, as Shakespeare stated.

My own journey with names began with my older sister. She insisted on naming me Katie. I am grateful for this, as she is a natural intuitive and I am sure she heard my soul calling this name in. When I was born the idea had been to name me either the Irish translation or some other translation of Catherine, but the nurse was no nonsense and harried and wrote on my birth certificate Catherine.

My middle name is Louise, named for my great aunt, the first female psychotherapist to practice in Ireland. Although I never met her, this name carries much power for me. Especially seeing as when I was a child I knew I was in trouble when I heard across the pitch ‘Katie Louise!’.

Finally my last name, Ni Mhathuna, or O’ Mahony, translates in old Irish ‘daughter of the little bear’ (Inion Mathun). To me this has been the most potent and difficult name to honour.

On my journey through life, I have been offered many medicine names and nicknames. I have chewed on many versions of my own names. Nicknames from friends last a season or two and fall away. Some funny, some sweet, some awful. Some sticking, while evolving and changing turning into word plays and tongue twisting. It’s sweet to think of them. They are tender things to swap, these names between kith and kin.

The first medicine name offered me that I recall was Shakti-ma.
It was on a very long bus journey when I was twenty, through the Himalaya. I had made the terrible decision to accept as hit of charras (intense Indian hashish) from a man who transpired to be the bus driver (only in India!). Slowly as we lumbered into the traffic chaos at the foothills of the great abode of Shiva and Parvati, I began to turn white.
My blood pressure dropped and through the jumbling stutter of gears, the dust, humidity and fumes I passed out with my head rattling lightly at the window.

The blurry time that followed that were moments in and out of lucidity. When, finally, I awoke there perched next to me was a small man with a benign face, a gentle cloudy grey beard and an orange dhoti clutching an orange mp3. He smiled up at me and showed me his player telling me his students had bought it for him and it was full of beautiful chants. I smiled back at him and found I could barely speak.

Meanwhile the bus driver whose hashish had blown me away was now standing opposite me while someone else drove the bus. The sadhu sat with me for the entire journey, as this man bartered with him and begged to take his seat, offering him money and charras. He sat and gently shook his head. This man had little more world possession than could fit into his bag. Yet he was not tempted to offer his place to the man, redirecting him to ask another passenger for their seat.
Yet that man only want the seat next to me.
Before he disembarked in a cold rushing glacial mountain town in the morning he said to me ‘You are Shakti-Ma; this is your name’. I could never know what it was I was thanking him for in that moment. He disappeared off, his small shoulder bag bouncing at his hip and I felt a slow awe come over my Western suspicion to all things spiritual…

Shakti-Ma is on of the Sanskrit terms for the divine feminine creative principle. At 20 I was completely oblivious to my own potency as a woman. I had no idea that I held all this energy of life and sexuality stored within me. Many others could see, but some with greater respect and intention than others. Learning the medicine name of Shakti has required owning that feminine creativity and animating sexual force. Sometimes it is overbearing and sometimes it is underwhelming, just as Shakti dances with Shiva (the divine masculine principle) it is always in flux.

The next name I was given I chose myself during a great healing in ceremony. I was under the guidance of Ayahuasca, or Yage at this time. At this point in my life I was transitioning to a space where I was acknowledging my wounds, and also my gifts with sincerity and a determination to actualise and heal. As three great beings of light shook my body they offered me a new name. I chose one emphatically, having reclaimed much of my soul that evening I was so excited to begin life again with a new name.
The name I took remains a secret, known to two people only.

I have since found many names in many medicine realms on my journeys. They have been totems, touch stones to guide me through different epoch of self knowledge and healing. For example my shadow inner child gave me the name Iris, the Goddess of the Rainbow, as a great healing tool to accept the spectrum of life.

Lately I have been returning to my own given names. The names my soul chose. Catherine comes from the word Catharsis, the process of purification, healing and release. Louise is Of the Light, (sometimes Warrior of the Light) and Ni Mhathuna, is the Daughter of the Little Bear (the constellation Ursa Minor is where star Polaris is).
In these names are my medicines. All the names that came before were so that I could honour these from a place of Authenticity.

They are the place of great safety, for in them I am truly myself, in my life and my personal history. The medicine names I held before were necessary so that egos could be worked through and shed, and they we all a part of my destiny.

We all wear a mask in the underworld. It is natural to develop alter egos for various spaces, even within yourself. Doing so consciously, with boundaries and conscious expectations of this alter ego stops it from becoming consuming. There must always be a space where we can be wholly truly ourselves.

I encourage clients and students to examine their names or in their own inner work ask their archetypes for names to work with, see what arises. Often our medicine is held within our names and often our deepest wounds are revealed through them. They are the key in which our souls are sung. Notice your name and who or where it comes from, why it was chosen and how you feel with this name.

I hope you have playing with this idea and it leads you into a great space of self discovery.

Beannachtai

The Joy, Infinity and Ecstasy of Heartbreak

‘The Wound is the place where the Light enters you’

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (Rumi)

This is my first post on the controversial topic of ‘Twin Flames’. I’ve kept away from this terminology and I’ve kept aloof from indulging when others use it. Yet in nature when you see a pattern; you learn how this pattern creates the design of life and you learn how to integrate and use it. Definitively the Twin Flame process is a veritable spiritual vocation that I recognise as being a great journey of personal development for the aware within it. I have certainly seen the pattern of the Twin Flame manifest around me and this sharing is for those of you who wish to integrate and use this energy for the benefit of yourself and the collective.

The internet has plenty of literature on the path of the Twin Flame. This post will not really deal with the human relationship dynamic of Twins (runner/chaser etc). This is more about the spiritual path of unconditional love manifest through an ‘other’ and how it can be embraced with awareness.

It is the ultimate energetic carrot and stick game. For many feminine people (hereby referred to interchangeably as ‘women’, with no attempt to exclude anyone identifying how they like, simply as shorthand) this is the agent provocateur towards a spiritual path. The seeking often begins with the realisation that one is jaded with what is passing for love in the modern world. What we call love in modernity is oddly pragmatic and often lacking in the spiritual connection that sensitives are seeking. This is not to denigrate the pragmatic experience of love, every partner is a teacher and every partnership is a teaching and a blessing, this is simply to note that for these women, pragmatism isn’t sufficient.

So the soul starts calling in true unconditional love, spiritual connection; and the synchroncities, and the (super intense) healing begins.

The Heart Knows Without Knowing

I welcome in as a parable for the concept of unconditional love the Sanskrit name for the Heart Chakra, Anahata, meaning ‘The Unstruck’, with great respect to those who brought this wisdom forth.
anahata

This is an approximation of the yantra of the chakra, meaning the power symbol (there will be a future blog post on Yantras and Portals). The symbolism of this yantra is most succinct in the meeting of a descending triangle with an ascending triangle creating what is usually referred to as a six pointed star (often associated with Judaism). The descending triangle (the ‘upside-down’ one) represents the Earth, or Shakti, the Divine Feminine Principle. The ascending triangle represents Ether/Air or Shiva, the Divine Masculine Principle. The Heart is the fourth in the Seven Major Chakra system and the crossing point where the Energies of the Earth in the lower chakras meet with the Energies of Consciousness in the higher chakras.

The insinuation in this symbol is that it is in the heart space that the purified feminine, material energies (of security and groundedness in the root, emotional and social in the sacral and self-identity and social role in the solar) meet with the purified energies of the masculine refinement (of spiritual connection in the crown, clear consciousness in the third eye and right speech and creation in the throat).

Take a moment to reflect on archetypical gender roles in the present society. It is often women who are more drawn to the spiritual and intuitive, where many men are more drawn to the material. In the Vedic construct, masculine energy is the spiritual intuitive and feminine is the creative material. In purifying ourselves our paths cross in the heart. From what I have perceived largely the feminine (or women) of a twin dynamic is learning how to ground the spiritual energies they innately own, by working intuitively in the material world, with the earth or whatever their vocation is, to create and nurture abundance in the face of a scarcity paradigm. The masculine is learning to relinquish their material biases around scarcity to embrace the spiritual by trusting the feminine abundance and surrendering to realising their spiritual intuitive self. Thereby both people become integrated energies.

In my observations the feminine energy is the ‘leader’. By that I mean she is the energy manifesting her personal lessons around unconditional love through the other. Any fears or resistances that she may have to unconditional love are being played through her ‘other’ so that they may be dealt with and reset to love. I do not know if these roles will switch. I expect so.

(Although in this post I refer to love romantically, in spiritual awareness we see all experiences of bliss and abundance as love, and all experiences of hardship as lessons around resistance to love. In this sense money (where received through boon or vocation) is also a form of universal love, as well as time and anything that holds innate personal value the individual at that moment.)

Another reason I call in this powerful symbol is mainly contained within the name Anahata; The Unstruck.

In the wisdom traditions of the subcontinent there was a great knowing of the role of vibration in the creation of this universe. Hence the use of sacred syllables such as Aum or Om. That the resonance of the heart is considered to be the unstruck resonance suggests that the frequency of the heart is the original frequency of all creation BEFORE collision or resistance. Before the Big Bang in Western terms, the great explosive expansion of the universe.

So what does this have to do with unconditional love? Consider the striking the creation of conditions. Consider your unstruck heart as the original creator of the universe, your personal subjective universe, but then your heart was struck. Perhaps through cruelty, accident, shock or trauma. We learn through these shocks to create barriers, conditions, expectations and resistance to things that we truly wanted but may have shocked us. This is trauma, how it works.
To simplify; take the example of a child who loves dogs. The total joy of seeing a dog means the child approaches the dog merrily and reaches out to pet her. The dog snaps, the child is shocked at the betrayal from a being who he had perceived as a friend. The child is so shocked she feels the need to protect herself and thus stays away from all dogs and grows up believing that dogs are dangerous. Her heart has closed to an expression of life where she had such fondness for creation.
The child is struck and has fallen from her heart love of animals.

In returning to our hearts path we must return to the place of the unstruck, of one who has not be taken off the innate vibration of the infinite.

How do we do that?

The Wisdom of Self-Worth

By refusing to create prejudice. Prejudice is the result of trauma. This trauma can be personal or applied. If you grow up in a household say and your mother speaks pityingly of the neighbor whose wife had an affair,  children will integrate being on the receiving end of an infidelity as something to be ashamed of. The other types of these social, familial and cultural integrations, also known as ‘samskaras’ are endless. So we build a resistance. When love is unconditional we accept the person as having their reasons and do not judge their actions as reflections on us.

When our hearts have been broken or battered we seek others to jigsaw into our broken spaces and make a complimentary model of a person between two hearts. If your soul chose the journey of unconditional love (which it seems the TF vibe is all about); you don’t get to do this.

The twin journey, as far as I have collated, is to undo every barrier to love you have, from prejudice to people pleasing. It’s a nuanced expression of your highest yearning, and that masquerades as a union with a seemingly unobtainable ‘other’. Yet the highest yearning is to live in unconditional love and allow that to manifest through you. It’s not actually about that person, it’s about being free from triggers and able to just be your true self fearlessly, without needing any other for approval or security.

Loving someone without condition does not mean being in relationship to them at all costs. It means loving them through each choice they make, even on choices that do not include you being with them. It means ‘hands off’ supporting their life’s journey with acceptance if that’s what they want, and hands on if that’s what you BOTH want.

Unconditional love is not being a pushover who does not meet their own needs so others will like them. It is not some’thing’ that we ‘do’ for others. Loving without condition means living without fear of loss, rejection or inadequacy and refusing to mediate those fears in others. It’s radical self acceptance and self esteem so that we may mirror that level of acceptance and esteem back into the world through our family and community. It is not mindlessly and benignly tolerant of mistreatment.
That is enabling others to stay in fear.
It is also not an extreme level of openness that negates ones on process or intuition. It’s self-responsibility and the awareness that everything has it’s place in creation, even the tougher medicines of guilt and shame.
Love is also not possession or control.
Loving without condition is as often a goodbye as it is an embrace. In trusting that there is a timing to every encounter, just as fruit will fall from the tree when it is shook, the path is meant to be effortless receiving, never seeking.
It is having the self-worth to know that what you are met with is a reflection of you and to keep that reflection clear and polished. The higher your frequency the better you can receive the right things. This comes with the wisdom of knowing when to receive.
Self-trust.

We’re living in a constructed reality of limitation. Limitations are placed on us from the moment we incarnate. With all the applied prejudices we already discussed it’s often hard to find personal truth. Again, personal truth is not an absolute. Just as we are not forever hungry likewise we are not forever angry or forever disliking something. To experience unconditional love first surrender the language of absolutes. Accept that everything can change in the blink of an eye.

Without absolutes we can cultivate self-trust in the moment. I will keep the method for self-trust simple;

Is a decision being made from fear or from love?

That is all you need to ask your self.

Am I doing this out of fear? Fear of loss, discomfort, rejection, abandonment, failure?
Or am I speaking, working, connecting and being with people and non-human beings from a place of love? Is this a choice that really invites a feeling of bliss, love or happiness in me?

We when value ourselves and our bliss we do not try to force others to validate that with their presence, but instead welcome them to our lives as participants in our bliss journey. When our lives are geared toward our personal bliss MOMENT TO MOMENT that is the only constant that we need be vigilant of, and we are empowered to bypass on that which is not in resonance with that journey.

Once you know how to answer that simple question honestly, and know which answer to trust you are now in self trust.
It is a choice that will arise a thousand times a day.
Make the right choice, and trust that there are no missed opportunities when we are in self-trust and deciding from love; only delayed gratification.

Emotional Need and the Ability to Receive

Needs, in the yogic philosophy, are only minor material experiences of the body and are the responsibility of the self to meet. Being in an energetic partnership signals that you probably ought to skill build to meet all of your own needs. This does not mean you must become an island, but it does mean you must identify when you feel abandoned, sit with it and take all the fear from the emotion. Likewise betrayal, likewise jealousy, etc etc. When you look beneath these emotions you will see there is only love. Fear of abandonment is fear of losing a loved one or the life you love, betrayal is again fear of loving someone who may harm you yet still having to love them (we do not experience betrayal from beestings, unless we love that bee), jealousy is rooted in the fear of scarcity of love and a desire to protect someone from what we perceive as inauthentic love.

The more you find love in these experiences, the less likely they are to manifest externally through your match.

If you are having fear based needs; ‘I need him to contact me’, ‘I need approval’, ‘I need a stable relationship’. Try to turn them, or alchemise them, into experiences you are willing to receive. ‘I’m looking forward to being contacted by the right person’, ‘I’m ready to receive appreciation’ ‘I’m cultivating stability by being definitive with my energy’.

Being fully in ones power means that your needs are met primarily by you or through your authority. If you are in some kind of need you are seeking (often subconsciously) a relationship of dependency. Interdepedency is fine, when it is sought and agreed upon by both people. Problem is, in most relationships, the dependent part of us is something we are rejecting in ourselves and hiding. And so it is revealed through projection onto the other as something intolerable. What irritates you most about your energetic match? Now try and find what part of yourself you are repressing, AND LOVE THAT IN YOU FIRST. With this practice you’ll notice yourself being less triggered.

If your match has a violent temper call in all the times you were transgressed upon and kept your mouth shut. Allow yourself a safe environment to react to those moments and love yourself for feeling rage. It’s just a feeling. Once you can love that part of yourself you will no longer be irked by your partner. You are effectively telling the cosmic game, ‘I have learned the lesson of loving rage’ and although you will be tested occasionally, you will no longer need to re-experience it again and again.

Final Advice

For those of you on this path of loving without condition I really encourage you to seek within yourself the conditions you have placed on your ability to love yourself. Seek those conditions projected onto the people around you and what bothers you about them. Change what you can lovingly and accept what you cannot, also lovingly. Allow yourself the human experience for all it’s glorious messiness. If you are triggered by your match, step back and take a long hard look at what it is they have/do/are that you are resisting and then look within to find that part of you. Once you can love that in yourself, you can love that in another.

Beannachtai.

Shamanism as a Path of Unity

‘Shaman’ has become a shorthand term in the west. Taken from the word ‘Saman’ meaning ‘healer’ in the Tungus language and culture of Siberia.

Some are in resistance to this term in Western technocracies, believing that what this word represents can only exist in indigenous societies. Ironically this belief is in contradiction to the essence of what the word ‘Shaman’ and concept of ‘Shamanism’ has come to mean. In Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, the word ‘Chaman’ is also being used as shorthand by holders of long lineages of healers. Likewise this term is being used by different peoples on Turtle Island (commonly referred to as North America). Despite it’s wide usage, shaman is not restrained by it’s origins. It’s etymology, though curious and of course originally appropriated by Dutch colonialists, is not it’s essence.

In it’s essence Shamanism, which for this article I’ll use interchangeably with Animism, is the view that all of life and all experiences and expressions of life are sacred, accepted and interconnected.
It is a non-dualistic practice, it does not reject things by listing them as essentially positive or negative but sees the power of all things in ones approach. Death and dying is a perfectly accepted rite of passage and a process to be revered rather than avoided by any means necessary. Where there is preventable death within reason then death is prevented, where there is inevitable, the suffering is eased and dying is respected.

Rocks are considered to be life just as much as plants and animals. Mountains vibrate with ore and crystal, as well as soil and sand. All of creation has roles and identities in the order of the universe just as much our own family of humans. Rivers carry life giving water from the mountains to the plains and are not forgotten or mistreated but honoured and respected. Just as our own family can teach us, guide us, protect and nourish us, so can our extended family of the plant, animal, mineral and spirit realms.

In animist practice once we are weaned from our natal mother and have begun to walk, we are then introduced to our collective Mother Earth, she who feeds, houses and clothes us. In this time of early childhood we are already in the psyche state of animism, as studied by Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. The difference in cultures where our interconnectedness is revered is that animism isn’t a stage of childhood that ends in adolescence (when we form, strengthen and test the ego), but an initiation into the mechanisms of life, which introduces the reverence carried through our life journey.

The role of the ‘Shaman’ or Healer, Animist practitioner or what they are known as in their context, is to mediate this interconnection. They are seeking to reinstate you in right-relationship in the world. They mediate these connections through dialogues with material beings and non-material essences of beings. As you speak to the healer before you they likely on some plane of experience are interacting with all the composite energies that have created you in this moment. If they are working with you to alleviate a dis-ease you are experiencing they are likely negotiating with the conflicting elements of your being. The elements of your being are comprised of your parents, your diet, your social groups, your footprint on the planet, your soul and memories and many other things. The helping spirits of rivers and mountains, food and medicine plants, the energies of animals and more are enlisted to rebalance you in a comfortable state of interconnectedness, rather than a rebellious or disconnected one.

In my own initiatory experiences the word ‘Shaman’ was given to me as a shorthand for my conscience engagement with the Great Game of Creation. A passport to awareness in Non-Ordinary Reality. Through initiation I was taught the infinite power of Forgiveness, Compassion, Kindness and Courage. Following these lessons (which are continuing) my engagement with the Game of Life increased and I absorbed deeper understanding of the greater cycles and smaller cycles of Life and my  own places within them. In this knowing one can consciously Way-find through life toward specific manifestations, engaging in ecstasy and embracing lessons along the way.

The shaman knows that nothing comes into our lives without a lesson. We do not vanish dis-ease, ailments or emotional pain, but simply identify it’s essence and speak with it until it’s expression leaves the realm of the material, emotional and spiritual body. Shamanism does not dismiss pain, but instead dialogues with anguish as a teacher and seeks to understand the teaching for the being or place experiencing dis-ease. It’s understood that a pain can be invited by the soul to teach the person how better to nurture the body, mind or community. The shaman will invite the form that is causing the pain to clarify it’s purpose so the pain can leave. The quicker the lesson is committed to, the less likely the pain is to return.
The shaman is a universal archetype, as suffering and healing are universal. Those who are called to this work will often appear as distant or disengaged with constructed reality. In honouring the Web of Life often we must remove ourselves from that which is not in harmony in order to restore balance. The outsider element to this role is the act of the Shaman holding the space of the bridge between Spirit and Sensory.

In animism this pain that removes the person from the community is a divine intervention to allow both the individual and the community to heal from the a disharmonious connection. In the case of a depression, the desire to be alone is honoured while the individual is supported to heal their identity. The individual is not isolated completely as there is an awareness that their is a soul sickness. If the individual requests the healer will retrieve their soul from a trauma, or if the sickness is an initiatory one the individual is encouraged to begin a learning journey of self-healing. Likewise in Western technocracy many see ‘disability’ as being something to avoid.  The animist approach is that those born with, or who develop different capacity are welcome teachers to their community about developing different types of cohesion, co-operation, patience and compassion.

The soul is interested not only in your body, but the body of Earth. Pay attention and you will notice that the holistic actions being requested of those with dis-ease are often those that nourish the natural world. ‘Eat less meat and dairy’ ‘Refrain from gluten’, ‘Spend time barefoot in nature’. Often the client will need to not only repair a relationship to a person, but also to a non-human being, either by eliminating that plant or animal from their diet or by giving offerings. Obesity, in the Web of Life, is an illness of mindless ‘cultivation’ of plants and animals, which leads to mindless consumption, which brings about the karma of the suffering the beings who were mistreated down the chain, to those consuming (and their progeny). In the Web of Life, our bodies are the Universe, made of all the elements, with their origins in the stars.

Why Shamanism/Animism is the Original State

It is a state of universal experience; what is in the Macrocosm is in the Microcosm. As Above, So Below. As the many archaeologists and anthropologists have noted Animism (or Shamanism) is the original ‘religion’ (a word which means ‘to bond’). Therefore Animism is our first bond to the spiritual experience historically, and also our first perceptive experience of the material in early childhood.

In creating Eden one could say we each are borne into an animated, fully interative and living world. That our Eden lasts as long as we are allowed our ‘imaginary friends’ and our bond with the natural material world. In this world, all the material is sacred and nuanced. We ‘fall’ with the arrival of the myth of seperation, the myth of objectivity or ‘Other’. We are introduced to the notion of non-feeling beings. Objects and in contemporary society animals and plant and elemental beings are percevied as such also.

This is where goal oriented ‘rationalism’ is introduced at the cost of connectedness. This can be our first major trauma in this life (birth/ our first day at school/ our first separation from our mothers) where we are not enabled to re-establish our place in the web (as what is necessary to re-establish it is not in the interest of the goal oriented society) we gradually fall further away from it.

When the shaman retrieves the soul fragments of a person that were lost through difficult experiences, the soul is being brought back to their Eden. Thus the individual becomes further empowered to return to their state of Eden and connection in the Web of Life. What does this look like?

This looks like an individual honouring their talents and gifts, honouring those they love, all their relations and the living land and elements that support them. The individual is supported by Spirit to realise their reason for being, be it Motherhood, Leadership, Stewardship, Creation, Connection or any of the other myriad expressions of the soul.

Being truly oneself and honouring Creation by doing so IS the return to Paradise.

As the source of all religions, the animist, to borrow the Australian Aboriginal term, ‘Dreamtime’ of early childhood, and early humanity, is the essential roots of our humanity. The lessons and connections learned in these personal and collective epochs are to be nurtured and protected, not discarded. In seeking your souls purpose, ask the child within you what she (/he) truly believes in, for herself and for the world. Nurture that, for it is the key to your souls journey forged in the time before you knew the rights and wrongs of duality.

What is needed for real thriving and real healing of society and the planet is for us to remember ourselves and remember that we are ALL indigenous to the Earth, we are ALL connected to Her and one another, we all crawl, walk, swim, slither, and stand beneath Father Sky and we are responsible for right relationships to our true selves to cultivate right relationship to the illusion of other also. These relationships are not for other cultures, they are universal human experiences that we all can reawaken as we reawaken and explore to potential of our own souls.

Animism, through the practice of sacredness revives the value of all experience. The more we can value the original cycles of life in ourselves and our society, the more the living earth can thrive.

Ahau

Kissing Cobras

 

In the above video a priestess kisses a cobra three times to bring rain to her people.

This is an act of someone with much more than wonderful reflexes. In actuality her strength is in her lack of reflex, her non-reactionary dance with serpent, that deflects but never rejects him. She is a woman with great awareness. They are matched, dance partners coaxing and chiding one another with graceful cadence and gentle rebuffs. Yes the cobra is deadly, and can kill her. Likewise the priestess is deadly to the cobra and could also be the end of him.

In this act there is so much more than stolen kisses from the crown of a King Cobra. These kisses are not stolen but earned through the grace of her movements and knowing. The cobra is muted by her intuitive response that mirrors him before he can move and her body’s oscillation around the stillness of her center. This is a high act of equals. She is not taming, thieving or intimidating, but matching her partner perfectly.

There is a dialogue, a potential affection; beyond reaction. This is the space in which we swap medicines. What rains come from the cobra the same gains come to the cobra through this exchange. Both are exhilarated by the chance to dance with the untamed, the respected and feared. The electricity between them mimics the sky lit with lightening before he releases upon the earth his rain. The serpent comes forth from his cave like lightening from the cloud. His throws and tongue are like flashes and cracks that split the sky and stick the plains below.

How does this bring rain to the people?

As the alchemical maxim goes; as above, so below

The tension of this dance, and the romance between earth in the form of the woman and sky in the form of the snake is like that of pre-monsoon. In the labouring, sweltering season before monsoon all the grudges flare up, the sky rumbles threateningly, and the earth looks to it hopeful yet exhausted, hardly able to bear another scorching. Yet here it comes, the thunderbolts and the lightening, to lift the last of the dust and the pollen from the earth and swirl it in the air. So that when the rain finally pours, the seeds are pushed into her in exactly the place they need to be.

The awareness of this ritual is in knowing that sometimes what we are seeking is veiled beyond the thundercloud and can burst forth through violent means, but it is in receptivity and non reaction that we can be quenched by it’s true intention and meaning. Once we are witness of the other and their grievances,  resistances, fears and intolerances; only then can we receive their essence.

The metaphor in this powerful ritual speaks to me that what we fear the most often mutually fears us.
We all fear the other, but through that fear is the greatest creative potential; deep trust. There is such depth of trust between these two beings. Both have a true innate knowing that they are equals and mean the other no harm, yet they play their roles to test the others commitment to that trust.

The lesson of this priestess and this serpent is in fact about safety and trust. That when we are flowing and receptive, allowing for the nature of things to be; we can flow beyond the reactionary and flow in harmony with what seems to be dangerous and defiant, accepting threat as potential that is as of yet unrealised, and can manifest in a different guise if we allow for it.

This immense trust is what inspires and relieves her people that the rain will come. If this priestess can place her lips upon the crown of a cobra three times; then surely we can trust the sky to quench us with rain at the right time.

We all have cobras to kiss, whether they are aspects of ourselves or another. We all need to love and be in flow what cannot be controlled, what we cannot tame.
Trust in the timing, trust in the dance, trust in your role in the cosmic romance between what scorches and quenches you.
It is with this that true power gushes forth and our lives, loves and our relationships are washed in a great soaking of compassionate and creative rain.

The Diamond in the Labyrinth

lanbyrinth

A labyrinth is distinct from a maze as there is only one path to the center. Although complicated, it’s not fruitless trickery, but an allegory for the meditative processes of life.

It is the archetypical representation of the Medicine Walk. The labyrinth does not just take us through life but also through ourselves. We can find this pattern repeated in the fold of the grey matter of the brain to the arteries of the heart to the intestines of the gut; our three major experiential processing and intuitive centers. The subtlety of what lies within the center is the cumulative experience of the walk, the diamond we chip our route through stone to reveal.

This is likewise the symbol of the Walkabout. I am using the Australian Aboriginal term Walkabout to describe the initiatory journey after the experience of separation occurs. Separation, like it says on the jar of nut butter, is a natural process. We separate at points in our paths in order to further ascend through the spiral of life. Those who resist experience harder separation, those who embrace often find they have more terra firma to return to following their Walkabout.

Separation is not only from family, or place, or community. Separation can be from a concept of self that is dying away. We can cling to concepts of self; ‘nice guy’, ‘wild one’, ‘responsible one’ and create great suffering for ourselves and those around us with this attachment. This happens either by refusing to journey outward and gather new tools for learning, loving and living, or by resisting the journey inward to integrate our shadow, our regrets, expectations and our truths.

The Walkabout is a process wherein we distinguish ourselves beyond conditioning and external narratives.

When we enter the labyrinth of the mind, either through journeying away from our normal life into a state of pilgrimage or liminality, or by retreating from social expectations and responsibilities, we begin to navigate towards what it is we essentially think. For example you may grow up in a society that decrees that the role of man is to own women, cattle and land, and that this is the Holy calling of Mankind. As you begin to question these ideals you will feel yourself called further away from your kin in order to gain perspective. Similarly, you may perceive the devastation of consumerist capitalism and it’s influence within you and begin to question the norms surrounding you as demonstrably toxic to a healthy life.

In our Walkabout through the mind what does not rest easy within will be met as personal demons. The Walkabout of the mind can likewise be experienced through the Labyrinth of Life. We can encounter these demons in human forms as those who trigger or repulse us. Our Minotaurs, who seek to slay us with our hypocrisies and attachments. In our minds they are the uncomfortable thoughts, the stifled memories and jack-in-the-box epiphanies. On this journey, either of intro(or extro)spection we also meet teachers, guides and versions of ourselves in those we admire or are assisted by.

On the Walkabout of the Heart we are often compelled by a lack of passion, a lack of meaning, a feeling of isolation. We begin to seek true love, real purpose. First we seek with grasping, then as we meet all the ideas that we had of true love, we realise it was not those we were looking for. As we begin to release what we thought true love looked like we create a space of trust i vulnerability of not knowing. Once this space is cleared we can allow for unconditional love to flow.

This Mantra offers insight to a route to this treasure within.

ॐ मणिपद्मे हूँ

Om Manipadme Hum

‘The Sound of Silence the Diamond in The Lotus’

My interpretation of this multifaceted Mantra;

‘In the absence of all Thought is Love, Beyond Judgement we find the Jewel of the Heart beneath the protective walls of the Labyrinth, or the guarded petals of the Lotus.’

Eventually the meander through twists and turns to reveal the sparkling source of this seeming chaos is the first two phases of the initiatory process of the labyrinth. The next challenge is to return with your treasure intact. On the Walkabout of the Will our mettle is tested in the change we want to effect in ourselves and in the world around us. This Walkabout is the Walkabout of the intuitive instinct, the ability to trust your knowing above all else, no matter what narratives attempt to sway, entice and compromise you. This is the initiation of determination and practice, wherein we must defeat remaining demons, overcome old obstacles and embrace new challenges so as to implement all that we have learned.

At all points in our lives we are navigating one type of labyrinth or another. To do this with awareness means we can further embrace our calling and better actualise our paradise. Doing this unconsciously can leave us circling through someone elses journey, as we attempt to evade our truth by avoiding the Initiation of Separation.

Life will create initiations where culture will not. By this it is meant that what we do not confront in a timely manner will enter into crisis. An example of this is delaying the ending of a relationship. Many times we can put off ending relationships in a timely fashion before greater interdependence grows (or co-dependence) due to there being something going on for one or both parties. The lesson is that painful endings are never going to be timed well, and the more we delay the more likely it is that the relationship dependency will deepen and it will become a greater and greater challenge for one or both to remove themselves. An example of this is a case where a woman who, after a decade, had finally committed herself to ending her marriage. When she waa ready to speak with her partner she was greeted with the news that her husband was dying of a terminal illness. The decade evolved into a further five years of mediocrity of life and stress. She remained with her husband on his journey through his illness rather than taking her opportunity to self-actualise. Had she left during her initial need for separation who knows what may have come of her life.

Choosing what North American Indians refer to as ‘The Red Road’, the personal Medicine or Power Path is to seek initiation consciously through mapping the contours of the psyche; so that others may walk their path more lightly. The Red Road is the path of authenticity and personal truth. The Red Road requires that we take opportunities to mature as they arise and we do not resist the growing pains of separation, disappointing others and ridicule. We know on this path that all we do is clearing the way for those who will come after. There is no sacrifice, as our engagement with our truth is how we honour our predecessors; and it is a blessing.

Choosing ‘The Black Road’ is to seek ‘ease’ through bypassing (and thus dishonouring) the sacred cycles of death and rebirth in this lifetime. The Black Road is the road of the status quo and stagnant culture. The road of excuses and avoidance, that does not seek integrity but simply accepts applied law and standards. Many will chose the Black Road. Many won’t realise that choice until the initiation of separation is forced on them through crisis. Those who can embrace the lessons of separation will transfer to the Red Road, those who run may never know true growth.

So Brothers and Sisters, Blessings on your Path and Remember;

Seek Initiation, Walk your Red Road, Find your Medicine, Keep the Treasures Safe, and Bring your Power Home.

Ahau