Shaman's Net

Winter 2008 Journeys

 


The Winter talisman's blessing is "Compassion"

Journey #1

Journey #2

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Shaman’s Net Journey #1 for Winter 2008 Season

 

Intention: Receive gifts, guidance and protections in relationship to the energy of "Compassion" for the Winter Shaman's Net and to the Net members.

This journey started with my Dragons flying me very high over the ocean.  I looked down and saw a tiny, forested island.  As soon as I noted this island, my Dragons went into a power dive and pulled up just before crashing into the ground.  We then flew in Star Wars fashion and speed through the trees.

Breathless (at least I was!) we pulled up short at a circle of trees around an open space.  It was clearly a sacred grove.  I noticed that on each tree was nailed a handmade, featureless puppet/doll.  It looked a bit like a sock doll -- it was made out of a gray jersey material with hands and feed of a different color (some were red, others were white).  The head was blank.  Being nailed to trees all around the circle caused me some concern -- the imagery obviously suggested crucifixion energy and certainly one of the messages from Christ energy is about Compassion. 

(By the way, it requires constant vigilance, especially when traveling the realms of Spirit, to not overlay our day-to-day world's values, mythologies, psychologies, etc. onto the realms I am traveling.  One person's religion is another's superstition, one person's art is another person's garbage...)

My Power Animals and I very carefully explored the circle's energy especially in light of the dolls.  We explored the idea of taking one of the dolls down (were they meant as a gift?) but the nails were deeply set into the tree and would not budge.  Naturally, I interpreted this to mean, "leave this alone".  (I could have "amped up" my power and ripped the nails free but to what intention?  Without a clear intention for doing this would mean that I was in reaction instead of being in action.)

We stepped back out of the circle and I clearly received the message that the dolls were helping to protect the sacred circle and therefore to be left alone.  Looking for why we had been called to this place, we settled down and watched the circle from the edge. 

After a short while a group of people entered the sacred circle and gathered in a ring around a central figure who was performing some kind of ritual.  Then the people began throwing offerings in toward the center thus creating spokes of flower petals, wheat grains, corn meal, tobacco, rice, etc.  By "sacrificing" items of value to the Divine energies, their ritual was energizing this sacred circle.

I was told that this is the first gift for the Shaman's Net members.  It is a linkage to a deeply sacred space that is powerfully holding the energy of Compassion for each of us to access.  This place is different that your personal sacred garden.  This is a community site which, energetically speaking, makes the place bigger than the sum of all the parts -- the individuals creating the circle.  The symbolism of the different spokes speaks to the truth that we each bring different energies, knowledge, skills, etc. to the site where it is "combined" to create the larger sacred energies of compassion. 

Then it was my turn to create a spoke of offering/sacrifice.  My Dragons had given me a bag of dragon's gold so I tossed gold coins into the circle. 

Once the gift/sacrifice spokes were complete everyone pooled the unused portion of their offering into a community container.   (I was not expecting this.  I had to ask my Dragons for another bag of gold since I had used the entire bag creating my spoke.)  The gifts were shared with all -- the Compassion of giving. 

I was told that Compassion has two "directions" -- the compassion that we extend toward others and the compassion that we extend inwardly -- compassion toward ourselves -- toward our struggles, faults, failures, etc.  Both are essential.

Once the distribution of the gifts was complete, a strange event began.  A weird structure that looked, in some ways, like a man-sized, mason's trowel began to travel around a groove along the circle's edge. It had the flat of the trowel facing out.  As it moved a wall grew, higher and higher, to create an enclosing wall around the sacred circle.  It was a composite of dirt, rocks, leaves, and the spoke offerings of rice, gold, flower petals, etc. 

Once the wall was completed, it caught fire!  As it burned each participant walked up to the wall of flames and blew on them until the flames reached a certain height.  Then water was brought in and poured onto the flames.  They explained to me that this sacred space of compassion is composed of the Divine alchemical elements of Earth (dirt, rocks, and offerings that the weird trowel object turned into the wall), Fire (burning the wall), Air (our breath on the fire) and Water (which I believe came form the ocean).

These are the Four Sacred Gifts that somehow help us connect to the sacred center of Compassion -- we are the sacred center of compassion -- the nexus point the links the inner and outer compassion, the sacred and the mundane (compassion toward self which is essential to healing ourselves and the compassion toward others/the world which is essential to healing our world and our communities.  Compassion directed toward both connects us with the Divine).  These alchemical elements comprise the second gift to the Net members.

I thanked Spirit.  I then asked if there was more for the Shaman's Net members.  Suddenly an imp appeared and wanted us to follow him.  I checked in with my Power Animals about this as imps are often tricksters.  I was told that we were to follow him.

He headed through the forest and then down into a hole.  As we arrived at the hole I saw that he was leading a string of pack horses.  We stepped aside to let the horses through.  Then more horses appeared, then more, then more until I realized that the next Big Bang would come before we saw the end of his caravan of pack horses.  (I told you imps are tricksters!)   We stepped into the line of horses and followed the imp through a tunnel until he came to an opening into his world.

And what a strange world it was (and I have seen some pretty strange places traveling in shamanic space).  We arrived at the tunnel's exit and saw a world that was always changing geographically.  The best way to visualize this world is to think of the landscape as being layers of clouds at different heights and moving at different speeds and directions.  Cartographers in this realm must have nightmares (but they do have unrivaled job security!)  The geography would flow and shift one form into another -- mountains became fields, rivers grew into forests, rocks became cliffs, etc.  It was geography imitating the cloud-form game -- i.e. "that cloud looks like a rabbit".  I was very glad to have the guidance of my Power Animals.

I was told that this dynamic geography was the third gift for Net members.  This was explained to me that our inner landscapes always evolving and changing.  Sometimes we negotiate our inner planes with grace and ease and other times we crash and burn.  The gift was the reminder that we all travel these realms and that it is vital that we learn to let go of our judgments. 

"There too go I" is the message.  We have inside us an entire "geography" that includes the millionaire and the homeless person, the fundamentalist and the liberal, the bank depositor and the bank robber.  And, while certain actions are karma generating and others are karma clearing, it is our choices that guide us along the higher paths.  It is quite challenging to hold to the " there too go I" when looking at someone engaged in karma generating behaviors. It is important to release judgments because you never know what part of the "geography" you may find yourself having to traverse.  

A judgment of someone else is a judgment of yourself.

Once it was clear to the imp that we understood the message of the geography -- the third gift -- we jumped into his world and landed on one layer that was currently stable.

I was told to look up.  Carved into the side of a cliff was a gigantic bull's head with a giant ring through its nose.  We are talking Mt. Rushmore big.  I saw that someone was up there cleaning out one of the bull's nostrils (which I am thinking has got to be a strange job).

We were told we needed to pass through the bull's head (to which I was thinking, "Oh great, I get to explain to the Shaman's Net why I am taking them through a bull's nose...")

We entered a tunnel that took us up into the cliff until we arrived "inside" the bull's head.  I saw that there was an opening out through his mouth -- at least this was somewhat better than exiting through the nose.  A stone tongue "platform" connected to the nose ring. Invisible from the ground was a suspension bridge that connected the ring/tongue to some far distant landmass across the valley. 

We carefully traversed the bridge.  (I don't like heights!)  When I was almost to the other side, the bridge began to give way under the weight of Dragon.  I leaped onto the land and Dragon flew up and over to my side.  As soon as we were both settled the bridge popped back into place.

I saw that the bridge was not actually attached to this side, but just abuts it (a necessary design feature in a realm where the geography is always in motion).  I was told that this was a gift of information for Net members. 

This is a tricky concept to put into words.   It has to do with how it is that we perceive things.  The bull symbolizes the inaccuracies of our perceptions -- as in "cock and bull story" or something false being recognized as "bulls**t".  

Much of the way we interact in the world is from a place of inaccuracy.  Our story about the world and about ourselves sometimes touches the world-as-it-actually-is ("Reality" with a capital "R"). This moment of contact is called illumination -- when we know the world as it really is, not as we "map" it to be.

Most of the time we are "carrying" the world across the bridge, across gap between mind and matter, between inner landscape and outer landscape.  When we actually anchor this bridge to the other side is our moment of highest Compassion because we are connecting inner and outer exactly as they are.  We cannot help but have compassion, in both directions, as we and the world are the same -- we become One with Everything. The only response we can have to such an experience is compassionate love.

Our experience of the world, of reality, touches the world-as-it-is but is not "bolted" to it.  Any shift of the bridge distorts our understanding of reality.  Too much story, too much judgment (weight) causes us to lose our connection to the world, to reality, to our community.

The bridge metaphor is a reminder that our link between the inner worlds and the outer worlds -- the link that is called consciousness -- is not as accurate as we often think it is and as we live it.  It links well enough for us to get by but not well enough to pass judgments.   It also links us well enough to have and act from compassion.  Each compassionate response we have helps to "bolt" us to Reality.

I was told to return, which I was a little sad about.   I wanted to explore the lands across the bridge.

Many blessings

David

To summarize the gifts, guidance and protections for the Shaman's Net members:

1.  The first gift is linkage to a deeply sacred circle that is holding the energy of compassion for each of us to access.  It is access to the energies of compassion that are backed and supported by a community.  The community helps to shoulder the burdens of compassionate action.

2.  The second gift is the four Alchemical elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  These are to help us connect with the sacred center, the sacred circle, of Compassion.  I am still working to understand this.  It may simply be a gift of energy that was delivered to Net members -- that is there is nothing to "do" with this except receive it with grace and thanks.  It could also be used as a meditation tool that will act as a guide to the sacred circle -- gift #1 above.

3.  The third gift is the dynamic geography.  This reminds us to stop passing judgments on others and on ourselves.  The continuous evolution of our inner landscapes is best negotiated by coming from the Compassionate mind-set of, "There too go I".

4.  The last gift is the visual metaphor of the bridge across the valley that touches the other side but is not bolted to it.  This is to remind us to remember the gap between our inner and outer landscapes. To see and act from the truth that our bridge only touches and the more we act from Compassion the better that bridge connects reality into a seamless whole of illumination.

 

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Shaman’s Net Journey #2 for Winter Season

Intention: Receive gifts, guidance and protections in relationship to the energy of "Compassion" for the Winter Shaman's Net and to the Net members.

This journey was one of those journeys that was disjointed, chaotic, and hard to clearly see across the veils.  Journeys like this happen from time to time.  Maybe my shamanic antenna is off kilter or maybe there are energy storms that make viewing in shamanic realms like driving in a downpour with no windshield wipers.  When these conditions appear all I can do is keep on keepin' on.  The information still seems to be as powerful if less cohesive and contiguous.  With that caveat....

This journey started with the imagery of a young boy who was a prisoner about to be sacrificed.  It had the appearance and feeling tone of an ancient Aztec ritual.  He was locked in a room and tied up. As I was exploring my options for the best and most appropriate way to deal with this, a priest entered the room, untied the boy, and set him free.

Then this priest sat down in the cell and waited for the other priests to arrive and discover that he had freed their sacrificial "lamb".  I was riveted to this scene as I watched to see how this story was going to play out.

Eventually several of the other priests arrived.  They were surprised and outraged to discover that the boy was gone and in his place one of their own was calmly waiting for them.  At first I thought that he was simply resigned to being sacrificed but then I saw the deference with which they treated him.  I realized that he was a priest of very high standing and that, while they might strongly disagree with his actions they were prohibited from any immediate action -- his actions would need to be resolved before a higher court.

I was told that this was the first gift for the Net -- it is Compassion from a place of power.  Compassion is an act of power and to act compassionately is not about feeling sorry for someone.  It is about action that makes a difference for someone else even at the risk of personal consequences.

While I was working to understand the first gift I found myself dropping back into the visual confetti of journey fragments from which I could not pull any information or meaning.

After some time I learned that the second gift is the "Wings of Justice".  I found myself at the edge of the dark pit of darkness, despair, and shadow stuff.  I was getting ready to descend into this pit to see what was there, when I saw, across the pit, a courtroom bench with a judge, a bailiff, and other legal types.

Behind the judge was a big mural.  In one section of this mural there were a pair of wings that flew off and into the pit.  These, I was told are the Wings of Justice.  This gift is directed toward self compassion. 

The idea is that as you look at the darker aspects of yourself, your shadow side, that using these wings you can lift yourself and your shadow stuff out of the darkest pit and bring them "to the light".  This is about rehabilitating those parts of yourself that have long been denied and judged without justice.  Judged in uninformed and compassionless ways, by others and by yourself (which is often conditioned by others' judgments of us).

The key to this pit/shadow work is to face those dark parts with the compassion of knowing that your shadow-ized aspects were "tossed" into the pit without the benefit of a fair and just examination and evaluation. 

Shadow aspects are the parts of ourselves that are considered "bad" by the culture, by family, and by friends regardless of the truth of that judgment. Now some shadow parts, such as our murderous self  (which anyone who has driven on a freeway knows with some degree of intimacy) need to be contained and rehabilitated carefully.  But a majority of shadow aspects were created because our friends and family didn't like that aspect -- being too individualistic, too boisterous, too ______ (fill in the blank here). 

Ultimately all our shadow parts need to be more justly evaluated (lifted out of the pit, for a fair and compassionate examination, on the Wings of Justice) and our attitude toward ourselves needs to be compassionate -- we have all done the best we could, in each moment, based on the information, skills, and abilities that we had at the time of action. 

With this second gift of the Wings of Justice the aspects we tossed into the pit without a fair "trial" can be more easily examined without judgment and with justice.

After the second gift, I next traveled down a shaft into a deep and giant cavern.  The cave was illuminated by crystals in the walls.  In the center of a low stage was a grand piano! 

(Journeys are as weird as dreams and with good reason; it happens that one of the gates into the shamanic realms is the Gate of Dreams.  The imagery weird because the realms of Spirit are transcendental -- they are beyond language.  Our limited human brain dresses this language-less experience in the clothes of metaphor, mythology, poetry and art .  It is our "best guess" description of the energy forms that are presenting themselves and offering to assist us in manifesting our lives.)

Back to the grand piano:  After a few minutes a woman walked up to the piano and began to play.  At first I thought she was just smashing the keys in random clusters.  However, after listening to her I realized that she was performing an avant-garde piece and after a bit I could "hear" the patterns of the music.  It became more and more interesting.

I explained to her the purpose of this journey, but she did not respond.  She just kept playing as though we were not there -- perhaps we looked like ghosts to her or something.

Eventually we were directed to another section of cave where I saw a very elaborate stained glass window.  The imagery was a "Book of Kells" style illuminated manuscript.  However, in keeping with the weird imagery theme, this window was also a pillory. Locked in the pillory was a priest. (Priest energy seems to be a theme for this journey -- curious.)

Here is a picture of a page from the Book of Kells so you can see what a beautiful stained glass window/pillory I was privileged to see:

Book Of Kells

I checked with my power animals and was given a key to release the priest, which I did.  To explain this third gift, I was told that the key was the release of things that may have been too harshly judged. 

Therefore we need to reexamine ourselves to see where our story or judgment may have inappropriately locked something valuable away from ourselves -- taking away an important piece of our personal power because we bought into a huge, elaborate "story" (illuminated Book of Kells stained glass window) that brought restrictions and limitations (priest locked in a pillory) into our lives.

Strong themes between Compassion and Judgment. In many ways one informs the other.

I was told to return.

Many blessings

David

To summarize the gifts, guidance and protections for the Shaman's Net members:

1.  The first gift is the guidance to practice Compassion from a place of power.  Compassion is an act of power.  To act compassionately is not about feeling sorry for someone (pity is an act of judgment).  It is about action that makes a difference for someone even at the risk of personal consequences.  This power could be acting from a place of courage -- facing situations with an uncertain outcome much as the Aztec priest did by turning the sacrifice loose and waiting to face his fellow priests and their reactions with confidence that his "case" would be heard.  It is a kind of studied action where acting in a compassionate manner -- because it is the right thing to do -- even in the face of possible consequences.

(This is not to say that compassionate action because you "feel sorry for them" is wrong or even inadvisable. This is to expand your compassionate actions paying attention and choosing wisely so that you bring your power into your transformational actions.)

2.  The second gift is the Wings of Justice.  This is an energetic/meditative tool to help discern and work to rehabilitate our shadow aspects from the truth of compassionate justice.

3.  The third gift is the key that frees us to reclaim personal power that may have been inappropriately judged and imprisoned.

 

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