Planning a road trip and blog entries for 2017
Seeing in the Dark
The practice of shamanism is 30,000 to 40,000 years old. As a cross-cultural, worldwide phenomenon, it is part of the human spiritual heritage. Indeed, in the book, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Mircea Eliade concludes that shamanism has much to offer contemporary Westerners.
The word “shaman” comes from the Tungus tribe of Siberia and means “healer” or “see-er in the dark.” Using the strong eye, or the heart, one “sees in the dark” by means of a technique called journeying. Easy to learn, journeying allows one to move into the world of spirit (also called non-ordinary reality), outside of time and space. Usually journeying is done to the accompaniment of monotonous percussion or rhythms such as drums, sticks or rattles; singing, breath, Tibetan singing bowls, didgeridus or dance.
Practitioners of shamanism use the journey to enter visionary states of consciousness and to explore the usually hidden realities known more often through myths, dreams and mystical experiences. Rather than receiving information second hand, journeying provides the opportunity to interact and communicate directly with the world of spirit. When journeying, one has access to information, loving wisdom and guidance that can be used for personal growth and healing, and/or for the healing of others and the community.
The journey itself is similar to a lucid dream. When daydreaming, one has control over everything in the dream. When night dreaming, usually one has no control over anything in the dream. In a lucid dream, however, one has control over oneself, but not over anything else in the dream. This is what a journey is like, except that when journeying, one makes a choice to enter an altered state of consciousness at will to contact and utilize non-ordinary—and mostly hidden—reality.
When one journeys, one usually does so in the company of guides and guardians. Guides may appear as mythical figures, angelic beings, wise women and men, and animals. The term “power animal” refers to an animal that takes pity on us, volunteers to protect us, keeps us healthy and safe, and helps us to connect with the loving energy of the universe. Most shamanic cultures believe that each of us is born with at least one power animal and guide. Most of us have two to three power animals around us at any one time. Indeed, some of us seem to have a whole zoo. Other guides may come and go as needed.
Many of us forget about our power animals by around age seven (those so-called “imaginary playmates”). If we lose the connection completely we will likely start showing signs of power animal loss. These signs include chronic illnesses such as colds, viruses or flu, where we seem to have difficulty protecting the body’s integrity. Other signs include chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, or persistent “bad luck.”
Shamanism is a methodology, not a religion. It is remarkably safe. The techniques require a kind of relaxed discipline; and, if one does not remain focused and maintain the requisite discipline, s/he will simply return to ordinary consciousness. Most people can accomplish in a few hours what usually takes years to achieve in meditation. It is estimated that 95% of persons, if properly taught and willing to practice, have the ability to journey.
If you are interested in learning to journey, come join us in one of the basic workshops we offer on shamanic journeying.
Barbara Bloecher is offering a series of (mostly) one-day workshops on shamanism. The basic workshop on how to journey (including meeting your power animal and upper world guide), or equivalent experience, is required for the intermediate workshops.
The Way of the Shaman
Shamanic Journeying (a Beginners Guide) **
Medicine for the Earth
Awakening to the Spirit World
Fire in the Head, Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit
Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life **
Journey to the Secret Garden
Animal – Wise
Steven D. Farmer
Animal Spirit Guides
The World is as You Dream It: Shamanic Teachings from the Amazon and Andes
Psychonavigation: Techniques for Travel Beyond Time Shapeshifting: Shamanic Techniques for Global and Personal Transformation
Roger N. Walsh:
The Spirit of Shamanism
Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy
Nan Moss and David Corbin:
Weather Shamanism: Harmonizing our Connection with the Elements
Shaman – one who sees in the dark. Healer. A hollow bone.
Shaman – utilize aspect of sacred technology to expand their conscious awareness, allowing them to engage in visionary journeys into the inner dimension of reality.
Shaman – master of trance. They dissociate aspect of their soul and literally spiritwalk into levels of the inner worlds where they encounter spirits…of nature god’s, deceased ancestors, spiritual masters etc.
Shaman – a man or woman that interacts directly with spirits to address the spiritual aspects of illness, perform soul retrievals, divine information, help the spirits of deceased people cross over, and perform variety of ceremonies of the community.
Shaman – act as healers, doctors, priests, psychotherapists, mystic and storytellers in a tribal community.
Shaman – a person that can voluntarily enter altered states of consciousness, experience themselves journey to other realms, and use these journeys as a means for acquiring knowledge, or power, or to help people.
Shaman – a person who understands that there is life in everything, who has direct personal experience of realms of non-ordinary reality and is able to function within them. A shaman is a harmoniser, one who heals at all levels – physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual – and in a particular way.
Shaman – spiritually developed men and women who recognize that life is in all things, who are able to work with cosmic and natural forces and to experience different levels of awareness from physical reality.
I have taught metaphysics and shamanism for more years than I would care to admit……and I have been privileged to sit in circle with so many inspiring people. For me, one of the biggest joys of teaching has been to watch the evolution of the circle members and to learn from them while we are all evolving! I am sharing a writing (with his permission) from one of those circle members, Thomas Mooneagle. It is worth the read and you can find more of Thomas’ wisdom at http://thomasmooneagle.blogspot.com
Ascension and Embodiment
The past few years we’ve heard a lot about ascension in the metaphysical circuit. The solstice of 2012 (or as I liked to call it THE GREAT CONJUNCTION) has come and gone. When we look around at our world it still seems neck deep in crises. Where is this promised golden age? The problem I think is the misunderstanding of the ascension idea.The picture we have been painted by various channelled messages and new age thought about ascension has been one where everybody just wakes up and suddenly agrees on the same things. It sounds like the metaphysical version of 1984 when you examine it. When in our entire history have we all agreed on anything? The only way that would be possible is with some vast system of mind control. (The Mooneagle isn’t ruling that out, but who watches the watchmen)? In other versions it dictates a rapid ascension of those that “embrace these energies (or ideas)” and continued struggle and extra suffering for those who do not. Does that sound judgmental at all? Of course not it’s for their good right?When I have looked at how these ideas work I have noticed that the solutions all seem to come from outside. I’m not saying that you can’t get solutions or ideas from elsewhere, but I doubt seriously that they appear out of nowhere. When I’ve had a solution just come out of the blue it is usually something I’d been working intently on and contemplating for a while.
Contrast this with the idea of embodiment. It’s not as fancy at first, for one we have to stay in our flesh suits. It requires being present, being conscious (not that ascension doesn’t), and fully engaging with the world around us. By fully engaging I mean coming out of our heads and truly feeling our lives. In the past I have been guilty of meditating my feelings away, living in the abstract rather than the visceral. Ascension is great don’t get me wrong, but what our world truly needs is some of these high energies anchored securely here by the people making choices. We forget that the world is a shared dream. When we don’t fully embody the energies of spirit by placing it in some ethereal realm we cut ourselves off from our ability to change the nature of the dream. We can then fall prey to those that want to shape the dream to their benefit at the expense of others. Things like media, culture and religion all attempt to control the narrative of the dream. Some of them mean well, but even so they present an incomplete picture. The more we embody, the more conscious we become of the dream like nature of our reality.
Embodiment is not easy. It requires us to feel strongly. That means sometimes it hurts. If you think spiritual growth means not having to feel unpleasant emotions I have disappointing news for you. There are times when I feel awful about everything, and yet it seems from those places I have moved into even higher patterns of life. It’s my goal to fully embody the quality of joy, but what most people don’t realize is to do that you must also experience deep sorrow. The weight of depression has caused me to develop skills and strengths I never would have found in any other way. It caused me to seek new ways of being, to seek change. Let’s face it if we felt awesome all the time we’d never change.
So how about yourself? Are you living in your head trying to ascend to some ideal plane of existence where the problems just drop away? Are you mired deep in the pit of collective nightmares? Are you trying your hardest not to feel fully? Well friend you aren’t alone. Gandhi said to be the change you wish to see in the world. If you believe in that idea embodiment might just be for you. What energy would you like to see more of in the world: love, peace, wisdom, creativity, joy, innovation? Pick one or pick all of them, and then embody them. That is how you are the change. You live them, you feel them, and ultimately you become them.
Peace and Blessings,
Posted by Barbara’s Blog at 8/22/2013 3:16 PM
Yesterday, during my prayer/meditation/journey time, I was directed to draw a card from the Shaman Wisdom Cards deck. I did so and received the card Cedar.
“I am Cedar. I am the Sacred Tree of the mountains and deserts. Burn my bark, needles and wood, and offer my healing and purifying smoke, which cleanses and removes negativity. Protection is found within my shadow. I am abundance and prosperity on a material plane as money and wealth, and on a spiritual plane as enlightenment. Use my wood to make practical items, as well as spiritual objects such as masks, which help you focus on the spirit and not the person. I am guardian. I am longevity.”
Great message that I was glad to receive, briefly thought that I needed to harvest some cedar for smudging, blew through that, put the card away, went on about my day.
Today my dog Noodles and I went for a walk on the Lane…which is what we call the gravel road on which I live. When we go for walks I always pick up sticks that have fallen from the trees and toss them back into the woods….I have done that for years and today was no different. Noodles and I were about 1/2 mile down the Lane and I suddenly heard a lot of popping, snapping, squeaking and moaning…..so I stopped to see what was going on and discovered that I was right in the middle of a stand of cedar trees. I knew that I was being greeted by those trees because nothing else was making that sound. I said hello and started back on my walk.
I walked maybe 5 feet and saw a small piece of cedar laying on the road right in front of me. I picked it up and stuffed it in my pocket. A few more feet….more cedar. By the time that we got to the end of the Lane I had a plastic bag FULL of small, smudge sized, cedar pieces. I have walked that Lane for 17 years and this is the first time I have seen or found cedar on the road.
On my way back I stopped in that stand of cedars and thanked them for their gift. Not just the pieces for smudge – but more importantly the teaching.
Nature is constantly speaking to us…..trying to get our attention…..to help and to teach. So much of the time we are lost in our troubles or personal focus that we do not see nor hear the messages from nature. If I had not been in the habit of watching the road for off fall sticks I may have walked right over the gift that Cedar was giving to me.
To say that this was coincidence would be negating the power and spirit of creation…..and my experience of it. This entire lesson was given to me with love…..and I am grateful.
Posted by Barbara’s Blog at 2/18/2013 4:02 PM
Video by Scott McKinley Productions, Produced for Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for Ad campaign. Licensed music by Kenny G.. This short video won Grand Prize – Best of Show at International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula Montana! The majority was shot on location in Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and The National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Posted by Barbara’s Blog at 1/31/2013 3:03 PM
I sit in the dark and rock, listening to the wind
Play in the trees,
It speaks to me of expectations that have not been fed
And of flowers and rain.
It moves the dross from the trees while they dance
In graceful pleasure.
I know the wind and the wind knows me.
It has caresed my body on muggy summer nights
And has jarred me into awakening while
Cutting through me like a knife.
All the while whispering…..live……live……live
Posted by Barbara’s Blog at 1/13/2013 6:23 PM
This link is certainly worth 5 minutes of your time.
Posted by Barbara’s Blog at 11/11/2012 1:45 PM