Glossary and Other Interesting Things
or Random Thoughts by David
D - F
Go to glossary pages:
Deer medicine, from "Animal-Speak" by Ted Andrews:
". . . Anyone who has deer as a totem will find increasing ability to detect subtle movements and appearances. They will begin to hear what may not be said directly.
When deer show up in your life it is time to be gentle with yourself and others. A new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened or born. There is going to be a gentle, enticing lure of new adventures. Ask yourself important questions. Are you trying to force things? Are others? Are you being too critical and uncaring of yourself? When deer show up there is an opportunity to express gentle love that will open new doors to adventure for you."
When I was very young I had a powerful experience with Deer. I had a deer head, that some grandfather or other had shot and mounted, hanging on my bedroom wall. Kind of weird energy, looking back on it, but at the time it was just one of my room buddies.
In the middle of the night I awoke to this incredibly, unbearably loud screaming argument of complete silence between the deer head and the wall across the room. They were shouting at each other in deafening silence about how much space each one could have. I put up with this roaring argument of silence for as long as I could. Finally I got up, marched into the bathroom, grabbed a towel and threw it onto the floor in the doorway of my room. I shouted at them both, "There, you can have that much and no more!"
That shut them both up and I went back to bed. Go figure.
I always wondered what my Mom thought when she found that towel on the floor the next morning.
We all have natural defenses that protect us from the things in the cosmos that are unhealthy for us. In the physical world this is viewed as the immune system. In the Spirit realms we have natural shields that keep entities from gaining access to us, to our living energies.
However trauma, soul loss, drug usage, etc. can weaken our shields providing an opening for beings to move in and attach to us. Sometimes these beings are the spiritual equivalent of bacteria or parasites. Extractions are the usual way of dealing with these problems.
Other entities are of a higher order. Most possessions are viewed as being a human spirit who is unwilling to go to the Light, to go to whatever is the next piece of their spirits evolutionary path. People who died suddenly and don't realize that they are dead (and wonder why people are being so rude to them by ignoring them), people who are convinced that they are sinners doomed to Hell forever (naturally they are reluctant to see what is in store for them), people who are addicted to some physical experience -- drugs, sex, food, control, etc. -- and can't do without their fix, people who are concerned about the ones that are left behind, etc. these are all reasons why people get stuck or stay close to the physical plane. These beings can attach to us in various ways and to various degrees. The most intense attachment manifests as entities who are in some way radically influencing your life. Many of these beings are feeding off of your living energy.
The less common, if more popularly known, forms of possession are from spirit beings of power who have never been human. In the Western culture they are often referred to as demons. I don't use that term because it is too loaded with the concept of Evil. I don't see them as evil, but as beings who have needs, like a tiger needs to eat, and the person is a kind of lunch. They are not evil any more than a tiger is evil, but they are dangerous.
Depossession work can sometimes be very exhausting and difficult especially if the possessed person has some kind of emotional attachment to the spirit. A lost loved one, or some being that gives them a feeling of power or special knowledge. There are stories of people accidentally getting possessed simply because they were trying to do the New Age thing and call in a Spirit to guide them, or channel knowledge. If you ask for a Spirit to come into you you had better be trained on how to get them to leave, and trained on how to insure that you get a loving spirit being from the higher realms who honors your boundaries. Just inviting a spirit in and assuming all spirits are kind, loving, wise and wonderful is like assuming that every person you meet is kind, loving, wise and wonderful. There really are beings who have a completely different agenda than helping and loving you.
Sometimes depossession work is really easy. It is just a matter of helping them realize that they are dead, that they are forgiven, that it is time to go to the Light, and that there are loved ones all around them waiting to help them and heal them.
An interesting book on this subject is "The Unquiet Dead" by Dr. Edith Fiore. Be forewarned that her approach is controversial, especially in the more traditional therapy circles and that she has been through some challenges, legal and otherwise, for her work.
Also, remember that this is just one person's interpretation of the map of her experience, just as this web site is an interpretation of the maps of my experiences. If her metaphor, or my metaphors, offer a powerful tool for healing then use them. If not then find a framework that works for you.
OK, I admit it. It is a guy thing. I hate to ask for directions even when I am lost.
But, I love calling the directions.
In order to begin doing shamanic work, we need to be in the presence of Spirit. We need to create a space that is sacred and "out of ordinary reality". Sacred space is outside of "space-time" to use a concept from the paradigm of physics. Therefore the laws of physics don't apply, anything can and does happen - this is called magic and miracles.
Shamanic work can be done at anytime and under any circumstances. There are times and circumstances where the formal setting of sacred space simply won't work. For example, the scene of an accident.
Yet, in most situations this ritual is a way of honoring the work that we are doing and honoring the beings and help that we will receive. Calling the directions signals the spirit world that we are coming over - sort of a spiritual phone call rather than just dropping by.
There are several ways to call Spirit and set the space. Common ways to clear and set the space include smudging with sacred smoke; Native American shaman use sage wands to smudge, and Celtic shaman use different herbs.
In addition Spirit is called using rattles, whistles, flutes, songs, power words. I use a bell stick.
I call the seven directions, starting in the direction of the season - Spring = East, Summer = South, Fall = West and Winter = North. The seven directions are South, West, North, East, Down, Up, and Within.
Martin Prechtel, a Mayan shaman from New Mexico -[ a story all its own that he tells in his book "Secrets of the Talking Jaguar"] - says that Spirit loves eloquence. I love his image of Spirit becoming intoxicated by our poetry. Spirit is so enamored by our creativity that they grant us our requests. This gives me a new understanding of the real meaning, purpose and power of poetry (and any other creative endeavor). It has also inspired me to moments of grand eloquence when I am calling Spirit.
Calling the spirits to join us, protect us, teach us, heal us, guide us, and help us in our work, brings them into our circle and our sacred space. Calling Spirit from the directions, in fact, makes the space sacred.
If you decide to bring Spirit into your daily life by calling in the directions then be sure, when you are all done, to release the spirits and thank them.
It doesn't matter what technique you use to call the spirits, what matters is your sincerity and your intention. Intention is everything, the rest is just method.
Seeing into the true nature, the true energy and form of something -- a situation, the future, the past, a personal block.
Divination is tricky. You have to work very hard to keep your own interpretations and agendas from getting in the way. I always look for corroborating signs, information and omens. Even then I am cautious. After all, some quantum physicists are promoting the multi-universe theory where every possible possibility exists somewhere in some parallel universe. By doing divination you might be seeing the absolute true event for some parallel universe.
Magic might be less about causing something to happen and more about turning the world axis so that you step out of this reality and into a parallel universe where the intention of you magical workings already exists. Divination, in this case might just be a map making system to guide you to that parallel universe.
Ultimately unknowable, indescribable, it is the Great Mystery. We suspect that it has intelligence and purpose.
"The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao." is the quote from the Tao Te Ching.
I have also heard as "Those who speak of the Tao, do not know the Tao. Those who know the Tao, do not speak of it." (The author of this quote is, of course, excepted from this dictum.) It is phrased as a warning to watch out for those who claim to "Know the True Way" of the Divine.
The Divine seems to involve a lot of Love (whatever "Love" is - another ultimately unknowable, indescribable. . .).
And any direct experience of the Divine, which is within our abilities and is our birthright, is ultimately unknowable, indescribable, and is a Great Mystery.
Doesn't stop us from trying to figure it out and talk about it, however. Lots of books and lots of wars swirling around this one.
An incredible gift from Spirit. It took me nine months of weekends and the help of a good friend to create this tool. I am still learning all that is possible with it. The Diviner's harp is to Tarot what a computer is to an abacus.
The Diviner's Harp is an excellent example of the evolving nature of spiritual work. It is a new shamanic tool.
This is another name for the energy meridians of the Earth. It is a more poetic description of Ley Lines.
Dragons and dragon energy shows up in many diverse cultures and across time. In the Aztec culture, the dragon shows up as a plumed serpent named Quetzalcoatl. China, England, Wales and Ireland are all homes to a variety of dragons and dragon lore. When things show up independently across cultures and time I start to look more deeply into the mythology. Are dragons just archetypal forces or mythology? Or are they real or from some other dimension?
Dragons are my primary power animals and I have a great respect for them. I have learned much from their wisdom and guidance. They are what I call "No bullshit animals". You have to be solidly in your power and integrity to work with dragon energy. (CLICK HERE for my shamanic initiation experience which introduced me to my Dragons.)
For several months prior to September 11, 2001 I kept having what I called "number dreams". Dreams where numbers were the prominent element of the dream. I wasn't in a dream tracking phase so I just noted them, noted the coincidence of lots of numbers and shared them with Annah, etc.
Several of those dreams, in addition to what seemed like addresses or dates or phone numbers, were "Call 911, call 911" . At some point in the dream I had to find a way to make an emergency phone call.
Early in the morning on September 10, 2001 I had this dream:
I am crossing a bridge. Two punks with machine guns are coming toward me harassing everyone in sight. They are loud, rude and mean.
A young boy on a bike rides up behind them and passes them ignoring their threats. This makes them very mad. The boy rides to the end of the bridge, turns around and rides back toward the punks and me. I am desperately trying to get the boy's attention to warn him away. He does not see my efforts and as he gets closer to the punks they shoot him with their machine guns.
The boy is not killed but is filled with tiny little holes like he has been shot with hundreds of very fine needles.
I am running across the bridge to "call 911!". As I pass the lead punk he turns to me and says, "I am called 411". I say "OK" and run to the end of the bridge. I run up to a phone booth but it is occupied. A man on a park bench offers me his cell phone. It is tricky to use. To dial 911 you have to press "Goto 911". I struggle with this messing up the number sequence several times.
Finally, I dial 911 correctly but I am placed on hold and listen to police Muzak and police advertisements.
Then a patrol car arrives and I go up to the officer and tell him that the lead punk has called "411".
End of dream.
In November of 2001 I suddenly understood that dream, or at least one level of it. As I was reading the endless 9-11 news reports I saw it written as "911". Bingo.
My "call 911 dreams" and this dream in particular were trying to warn me ("Call me 411" -- in my part of the country, "411" is the number you dial to get information and "911" is for emergencies) about the terrorists (punks with machine guns) attacking on 9/11/01 (goto 911).
Dreams operate on many, many levels. I pay more attention to my number dreams these days. I go through periods where I track my dreams closely and work to understand them. Then I have to take a vacation from all the amazing information, learning, personal growth and processing that pours through them.
I do wish I had recorded the other 911 dreams.
What would I have done with this information had I understood it prior to 9/11/01? This is an interesting question. I imagine that had I tried to tell people about it I would still be in protective custody with the FBI/CIA grilling me daily, convinced that I must have been part of the plot.
After all everyone knows that dreams can't predict the future. . .
Yet, I am still waiting for my dreams to deliver me a set of winning lottery numbers.
By creating a dream temple and setting up a sacred space for your dream work you can call upon Spirit to bring you a guiding /healing dream. This is powerful work and takes practice and patience.
How to do it:
1. Eat a light dinner.
2. Don't watch TV, go to the movies, or play video/computer games.
3. Spend a quiet evening centering yourself.
4. Create a "Dream Temple". At bedtime, set sacred space by calling the directions. Then place near your bed, in locations to represent the Seven Directions, special objects that represent some aspect of the dream you are seeking to have. This honors and communicates your desire to have a successful dream incubation.
5. Have a journal or tape recorder handy.
6. Hold the intention of this dream incubation as you visualize your dream temple and its contents.
7. Fall asleep and dream.
What to do when you wake:
Immediately upon awakening, even if you awaken in the night, record your dreams and experiences.
In the morning, or as soon as you can, take a moment to do some creative act that captures the essence of your dream -- do a drawing; make a collage; write a poem, a story, a song; compose a piece of music; or find an object that represents your dream. It doesn't have to be complete or a masterpiece. This is a quick reference that you can finish later.
Spend some self-time and/or time with a good and insightful friend looking at your dream and your creations to see if you can understand how this dream is related to your dream quest, you incubation. Sometimes it will be glaringly obvious, other times we won't have a clue. If nothing seems to speak to your incubation the do it again another night. Eventually you will have a powerful guiding/healing dream.
When they land solid it is an amazing experience.
Some basic tenants of shamanism that give foundation to the technique of Dream Weaving are:
-- Everything is a dream and all dreams are real. Our everyday life is just a really persistent and cohesive dream. Hindu and Buddhist cultures call this maya -- our "real" seeming dream of life.
-- Everything is alive, conscious and responsive. Therefore everything dreams.
Dream Weaving is the shamanic art of aligning your inner world, your inner landscape with your outer world and aligning the outer world with you inner world - the dream of your life.
It is aligning the imaginal realms with the physical realms and vice versa.
It is the art of perceiving the true dream of something and offering it a more beautiful dream for it to dream into.
It is working with the fabric of reality.
Dream Weaving is a specific shamanic healing technique, a specific shamanic perspective/set of tools that allows the shamanic practitioner access to the dreams of the client and the opportunity to offer a different healing dream.
The client could be a person, a relationship, a plant, a lost set of keys, or an animal. I have found myself dreaming the dreams of tumors, backs in pain, lost rent checks. In short I enter the dream to find the intention of the dreaming part.
Once you have the dream, you re-dream a more beautiful dream and offer it to the dreamer as a better thing to dream.
You can also use this process to see if you can shift a pre-cog dream (short for "precognitive") where you are unhappy about the ending. There are some specific rules to this, however. Pre-cog dreams are dreams about someone's possible (and highly probable) future. Dream Weaving a pre-cog dream involves reentering the dream either through traditional dreaming techniques, if you are skilled enough to do this, or reentering through shamanic journey techniques.
Once inside the dream you attempt to re-dream a better ending. The re-dreamed ending has to feel natural; it has to "work". It can't be forced or artificial. If you cannot achieve a natural different ending then you may not be able to shift that dream through Dream Weaving. Some other lesson or piece of information may need to be acquired first. A solution may be something as simple as a phone call telling the person your pre-cog dream of them and encouraging them to be careful. Of course you will never know if you actually had a pre-cog dream if your call causes your friend to change a behavior to the point where the outcome of your dream doesn't happen.
The techniques of Dream Weaving involves four parts:
1. Entering into the dream.
2. Understanding the intention of the dream.
3. Re-dreaming the dream in a more beautiful way that maintains the intention of the original dream.
4. Offering the more beautiful dream back to the dreaming part as a better dream.
A story about my wife's injured wrist will help define Dream Weaving more clearly.
Annah's wrist had been in pain for several weeks. We were both intensely busy with coordinating my out-of-state shamanism workshops, which is why we hadn't worked to heal her wrist earlier.
The problem naturally got worse since we weren't paying any real attention to it, other than sympathy.
Finally at 11:00, the night before the workshop, Annah said to me, "David, if you want me to drum tomorrow, we have GOT to do something about this pain in my wrist. I can hardly move my hand."
Well, now the pressure was on! Of the several shamanic techniques that I could have used, I was instructed by my spirit guides to use Dream Weaving.
If everything is alive and conscious, then everything, including Annah's wrist, is dreaming. As I journeyed to find the intention of the dream of Annah's wrist, I saw Annah's wrist bones were made from granite rocks; very hard, durable, lasting for millions of years and, unfortunately for Annah, very, very rough.
This was the dream of Annah's wrist bones. The painful part of their dream was that these rough bone/rocks were grinding together.
Now that I had the wrist's dream (that her bones were as strong and durable as granite rock), the next stage of Dream Weaving was to create an even more beautiful dream for her wrist to dream. This more beautiful dream must maintain the original intention of the wrist's dream to be strong, durable and hard.
To this intention I "dreamed" the dream that her bones were highly polished jewels -- diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire, and amethyst. Sparkling with colorful, glowing light, beautiful, durable, strong, hard and smooth! By midnight, Annah's hand had ceased to hurt and remained pain free for several months - until she re-injured it.
One of the great mistakes that the Western Culture has made was to jump onto the Freud psychological bandwagon where dreams are just a personal psychological event.
Dreams are actually one of the gates into the realms of Spirit and it is a natural entry point for every human being. We obviously have the abilities and right to travel in the realms of Spirit. It is our birthright and legacy.
In many cultures dreams are considered an opportunity to tour the possible places we can choose to go when we die. The shaman are often known as the Dreamers. An Iroquois shaman will say, "I had this dream about you" when referring to a shamanic journey for a client. Aboriginal shaman talk about "Dream Time" as the true realms more real than this place where we stub our toes.
It is true that some dreams are just about us. It works like this: You live in a city. In the city is your neighborhood, your house, your living room, your bedroom and your bathroom. Your bathroom is your most private room in the house where you do your most private things. This room represents the portion of your dreaming experience that is just about you.
Your bedroom, living room, front yard, neighborhood, etc. are progressively more public, more shared spaces. This is the true nature of dreams. An opportunity for various spirits, including your own, to interact and learn and share.
It is actually more complex than this. Just as your bathroom can be occupied at the same time as people are having a party in your front yard, so too are dreams operating at multiple levels simultaneously. So, each dream can be interpreted in personal psychological ways and at the same time can be worked with in terms of sharing and learning and healing involving other spirits and dreamers who are sharing the public dream space with you.
Also realize that real work happens in dreams. It is a curious fact that during dreaming we consume large amounts of glucose -- we are burning up energy like crazy. Our body/mind is working hard.
We dream multiple times each night and we are lucky if we remember one dream per night. It is clear to me that important work is being carried out regardless of whether we remember or ever understand a single dream. After all, our bodies are reasonably efficient biochemical machines. It wouldn't waste vital resources just goofing around in our heads at night. That glucose resource, being our primary energy source, might be needed to run from a tiger later in the day. So dreaming is as important to our health as tiger-dodging is.
Real work is being done towards keeping us whole and healthy and encouraging our spiritual evolution along our soul's path. Now, if we get to remember and interpret our dreams then we will progress faster than otherwise along our personal path. Yet, we progress none the less -- dream remembering and interpretation or not.
As a way to consciously work with our dreams I recommend doing dream incubations.
The Druids were part of the revered members of the Celtic tribes. The Druids, the Bards, and the Ovids were the shaman, the wisdom keepers, the artisans, the lawyers, the teachers, etc. of the entire oral knowledge. Each had a different role. The Bards are singers and poets; the Vates, diviners and natural philosophers; while the Druids, in addition to natural philosophy, study also moral philosophy.
Eagle is one of my power animals that came to me in a dream. The dream appeared early in my shamanic training and was undeniably telling me that Eagle had arrived to be part of my power animal team. It is an honor to work with Eagle. When he is inclined, Eagle appears to me in one of his other shapes, a Native American warrior in full regalia.
Ted Andrews in his book "Animal Speak" has this to say about Eagle:
"To align oneself with eagle medicine is to take on the responsibility and the power of becoming so much more than you now appear to be. From a karmic aspect, it reflects that the events will now fly faster, and the repercussions for everything you think, do or say (or fail to think, do or say) -- positive and negative -- will be both stronger and quicker. To accept the eagle as a totem is to accept a powerful new dimension to life, and to heightened responsibility for your spiritual growth. But only through doing so do you learn how to move between worlds, touch all life with healing, and become the mediator and the bearer of new creative force within the world."
Couldn't have said it better myself. My experience of Eagle's arrival in my life was the herald of being bigger in the world with all the responsibility and integrity that demands. It was a major push in my personal shamanic growth.
I used to call the directions starting arbitrarily in the South. I did this as a way of reminding myself and emphasizing that the form of the ritual does not matter. What matters is your intention and the meaning you give to it from your heart. I have even worked with those who pick any position and arbitrarily name it so. That is they might pick "Up" and call it "West". This is a good way to claim your power and stay centered in your intention. I tried this approach for a while. However, I found that when the work was over and I was ready to do my thanking and releasing ritual I had forgotten who I called what. ("Now did I call "Up" "South and "West" "North"? Or was it "East" was "Up" and . . . I am too easily confused!)
Just recently I received guidance from Spirit to set sacred space by calling the directions based on their season. I start with the "East" during Spring, and "South" during Summer, etc. I am waiting guidance for when to call "Up", "Down", and "Within".
Obviously my calling to shamanism has put me into a unique and powerful relationship to eggs. Eggs speak to new beginnings, rebirth, and fresh starts. I have several of Annah's egg art pieces hanging from my East window.
Eggs also speak to sexual energy, and the generative of new generations.
Their form is beautiful. And they make a mean egg salad sandwich.
Their presence in Easter rituals is wonderfully ironic. Eostre is an Anglo-Saxon goddess whose name is related to the word "East". This makes her a Dawn goddess and related to Spring. This is yet another example of the Goddess making her presence felt within a religion where she has been reduced.
In writing this glossary item I just learned that Eostre and East are related. Something I did not know when I put my eggs in the East window. Spirit speaks to us all the time.
Chakras, Ley Lines, Dragon Lines, Acupuncture, Dowsing these all mark patterns and flow of energy through any system. Many healing and magical systems are founded on locating and healing blocks in how energy flows.
If you are reading this then you are at least acquainted with the language.
I have been including various geographic references in my glossary because shamanism is very geographic and Earth based. It is important to know where you are in the world and who you have come from. Ancestors and place are very important in the shamanic way of seeing the world. My genetic roots include the English as well as Welsh and Scottish. There is German in there too.
England, as opposed to the United Kingdom, is that large land mass south of Scotland and east of Wales.
Entheogen is the new PC word for psychedelic. This renaming was done, in part to clear the negative connotations that the use and misuse of mind altering and Spirit awakening substances in the 60's and 70's created. The renaming also serves to more accurately describe their purpose -- truth in advertising. Entheogen means "god within"; god- or spirit-facilitating. It is a psychoactive sacramental. This plant or chemical substance is taken to connect one with Spirit, with a primary purpose of having a religious experience. Most people, for example, know that the peyote cactus is used as a sacrament in the Native American Church.
It could be argued that for some the Holy Eucharist is a kind of entheogen.
The path of power plants is an ancient, honorable and powerful path for contact and communion with Spirit. It really is not for party time though many in the Western culture use it that way.
It is also mostly illegal which also opens the question to why our governments and dominant religions are so interested in restricting an individual's access to Spirit. To be sure, it is a dangerous path if used improperly and without guidance and training. This is the key. The Western culture has almost no structures to guide and contain a power plant experience. If we did, our culture would be very different. Certainly it would be more honoring of the environment and our connection to it and Spirit. And there would be far, far fewer casualties from inappropriate drug use.
There are many web sites regarding Entheogens. Google.com came up with 11,300 hits at the time of this writing. Terrance McKenna has written a number of books about his experiences in this field. Richard Evans Schultes has written several classics about entheogens. My favorite is his "Plants of the Gods".
If you choose to follow this path find yourself a teacher and guide. Read and study the literature. I would include "Joyous Cosmology" by Alan Watts and "The Doors of Perception" by Aldous Huxley in this list. There are many, many other books, magazines, web sites and chat rooms to help you educate and prepare yourself.
By the way, this is not my current path. I use the path of drumming and dreams.
What is insanity? What is disease? What is fear? From the shamanic perspective these experiences can be caused by spirit beings and intrusions that are lodged in our spirit selves. The fact that some chemistry can help in some situations only reminds us that we are biochemical machines. The chemistry may close the gate, may close the feeding valve that the entity is connected to.
What ever is "really" going on matters less than the work effectively transforming the problem.
My basic philosophy is that everything has its perfect place in the cosmos where they belong. We would be deeper than deep in dead trees if termites did not exist, but termites in your house are a bad thing and they need to leave. I feel the same way about entities. I do not see them as bad or evil, just miss-located and in need of going to their perfect home, which is not in you.
I have never found evil spirits, and I am not sure that I believe that ultimate evil exists. I have found confused and wounded spirits whose activities are bad for the person. I come from the belief that the ultimate force of the cosmos is Love. It takes some of us (physical and spiritual beings) longer than others to really grok that fact. And, to be certain, there are beings out there (in our world and in the Spirit realms) that do not have our best interests at heart. To a tiger we are lunch. That does not make the tiger evil, just hungry.
What about Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson? To me they read as deeply wounded and confused people who did terrible things. I measure against myself. I know how messed up I would have to be to commit such acts. Their wounds are unimaginable to me so I immediately move to the place of compassion. It is a tough life. We do not come with instruction manuals. Any number of things can happen that alter the course of our lives and in shamanism, as in many mystical systems, we are all one. That too is in me.
So, I approach entities with compassion. My work is guided by Spirit. My goal is to remove their presence and interference and send them to where they are supposed to be. Which might include some karmic clearing for them. Sorry, but every being needs to take responsibility for their actions.
I moved to Eugene in 1974. Some friends of mine had visited here and reported back to me, in Laramie, Wyoming, that I would really love Eugene. "The consciousness is so high out there, David. You will love it!"
I thought to my self, "What the hell does that mean, 'the consciousness is so high'?"
I moved out here and my friends were right! People in Eugene, and Oregon in general, are active, passionate, committed and involved on all kinds of issues, Left and Right. Lots of interesting dialog and confrontations occur out here. It is never dull.
I have definitely found many members of my tribe here.
I thought I would be here for just a few years. Well, I guess it has been a few years. I had more hair back then.
A sweet little town on the Utah edge of Wyoming. I have done workshops there. There is a thriving, if somewhat underground, alternative spiritual community in this town. I have found wonderful people there. The workshop I did , on Dream Weaving, had too few people for us to rent the bigger hall so we ended up renting the city counsel's chambers for the weekend. I had to get there early to set up. So, for a brief period of time I had the "Keys to the City". I found this wonderfully ironic.
Evanston is also home to a powerful protective spirit who revealed herself to me as a plumed serpent. (Quetzalcoatl?) She is guarding this land and is cautious about humanity. She lives, at least some of the time, in an amazing abandoned roundhouse.
This is the ugly work in shamanism. Truly. It is about removing spirit intrusions that are causing illness. It is different from depossessions in the same way that getting a boring neighbor to finally go home is different from removing a really big splinter. Well maybe.
I have had some really boring neighbors that made me wish for the "Jaws of Life" extraction tool used in car wrecks. But you get my point -- depossession is more personal; beings with a human consciousness level that are attached to you because of who you are.
Extractions are really ugly. At least they appear that way for most shaman. Gooey, smelly, slimy, gross things that obviously do not belong in that person. This is Spirits way, I believe, of communicating to the shaman that "That is supposed to go away!" Some shaman are so grossed out by what they are dealing with that they wretch and spit. It is quite dramatic.
I am not a wretcher and spitter, thank God. I hate to puke. For me it's "put on my power animals like a body suit" and get in there and scrub it clean.
It is my belief that everything has a place and purpose and right to be in the cosmos. So, I don't destroy these intrusions. I give them to my power animals to take them back to where they truly belong -- which is not in my client.
This is the Islamic equivalent of a Papal Bull, a religious decree that supposedly carries the Seal of Approval from God.
Sometimes a fatwa results in a really bad day, or week, or life for someone. In fundamentalist Islam when some Imam decides that your beliefs are bad (read "different from theirs") and that you deserve to die they will issue a fatwa calling forth the holy and righteous to find heavenly glory by killing you. A sort of religious loophole to the "Thou Shalt Not Kill" law. I hope these fatwa issuing guys have good lawyers in Heaven -- they are going to need them.
Salman Rushdie, an excellent writer, has a fatwa on him for his book Satanic Verses in which he explores a rather unorthodox view of Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam. Cat Stevens a musician from the 60's and 70's, who converted to Islam, supposedly endorsed the fatwa against Rushdie. (In protest I stopped listening to his music and complained to my radio stations when they played him. After all, every time a Cat Stevens' song is played he gets money. And if his money is being spent to fund religious sponsored assassination attempts...)
Cat Stevens, now called Yusuf Islam, currently denies that he ever supported the fatwa. Who knows.
I am not interested in bringing back the Matriarchy. I am not interested in preserving the Patriarchy. Both are extremes and as long as one dominates the other there will be trouble. I am seeking to find the balance, the marriage of these two energies. Out of this union will come something completely new. And if we all nurture it and raise it lovingly, this new energy will be transformational. It will carry humanity to our next evolutionary level.
I honor both female and male energies in my work and in my life.
Ok, if you arrived at this glossary word by clicking the linked word "Elemental", you may find yourself confused arriving at the word "Fetish". However, there is a practical reason for this. Originally Annah's Elementals sculptures were called, correctly, "Fetish Guides". Unfortunately, most people, thanks to Freud, think in terms of kinky sexuality when they hear the word "fetish". It is a much deeper concept. Fetishes, when made correctly in conjunction with Spirit, help to ground potent spiritual forces making that energy available to an individual. The kind of energy that gets grounded is defined by the intention of the fetish maker.
Annah makes beautiful fetishes to guide people on their path. And, after years of fighting the "good fight" to liberate and reclaim the word "fetish", we have bowed to social pressure and renamed her Fetish Guides, "Elementals". (And, boy oh boy, did I reference the word "Fetish" a LOT in this web site.)
The various religions of the world, such as Buddhism and various Native American spiritual traditions, have the same "pollution by association" problem thanks to Hitler. He, or rather the twentieth century version of toxic insanity that he was part of, the Nazis, took a perfectly wonderful sacred symbol, the swastika, and have so tainted it that to use it in any other form, except to represent "insanity made into a government", creates so much mental static that the original use/purpose gets lost. At a certain point it is best to cut your losses and move on.
A truism for many different aspects of one's life, I suppose.
In Celtic tree lore the Fir tree, specifically the Silver Fir, represents clear vision into the future and into the past.
Tree's are very wise beings. I have been in relationship to trees for as long as I can remember. In my early teens I was sitting in a park in Virginia when I suddenly could sense the immensity of the tree I was next to -- not just its height but also its total presence beneath the ground. That's the best I can describe the experience, which essentially transcends language. It was a strange and wonderful knowing. I tried to explain it to the woman I was visiting in Virginia but I think that she just thought I was a weird poet. Which I guess I was / am.
These are beautiful crystals that come in many different colors. The large crystals are becoming more and more rare because toothpaste companies are grinding them up to make fluoride toothpaste.
My large purple fluorite crystal helped to ground me and get me through a period of personal struggle and depression in my early 30's.
Traditional uses of fluorite are for mental advancement, greater concentration, increases psychic development, brings spiritual peace and wholeness. Aids in meditation and helps you to verbalize what you have learned during meditation. It is supposed to help one to grasp higher, more abstract concepts and facilitate inter dimensional communication.
There are websites galore regarding crystals and their use in healing.
We all have done things and had experiences that we regret being part of. Some of those experiences generate guilt, others anger, rage, shame, etc.
These experiences get knotted up in us causing stress, illness, diminished capacity and on and on and on. These problems are reason enough to work on clearing our relationship with those experiences and the people attached to them.
What's worse is that these trapped experiences effect us spiritually. One place that it is especially nasty is in what is called the Karmic Wheel -- loosely defined as, "What goes around comes around again and again and again" -- lifetime after lifetime after lifetime. Your actions generate karma that has to be cleared in another lifetime (if not cleared in the current one).
And really, how many lifetimes do you want to repeat with some people, especially those whose presence and actions you experience as pain and deep challenges in your life? The more you blame, hate, rage against, etc. them the more you entangle your lifetime with their lifetime and you extend the Karmic Wheel -- "Oops, now I have to go through another lifetime with that person in order to clear the karma I have generated as a result of my interactions with them. Rats (and stronger words)."
In theory once you step off the Karmic Wheel -- meaning that you don't have anyone you need to spend another lifetime with in order to attempt to clear karma -- you get to go on to...? Heaven? Nirvana? A really great lifetime as someone's pampered pet? Frankly I am uncertain where you might get to go, but I do know that I am pretty certain there are some people in my life that I hope I don't have to spend any more lifetimes with.
Here is a simple meditation to help in clearing the karmic tangles that we generate in our lives.
After entering meditative space and mentally contacting the person in question, do the following things:
1. Forgive the person for having caused you pain.
This meditation really works. At least it has cleared a number of tangles that I had with others. I don't know yet if I have successfully stepped off the Karmic Wheel with them.
When I find out I will send you a postcard, if I can.
Charles Fort was a writer who in the early 1900's made a name for himself by collecting and writing about High Weirdness in the world. Mystery lights, ghosts, aliens, rains of frogs and blood and fish, etc.
For a fun taste of Forteana see the movie "Magnolia". Or subscribe to Fortean Times magazine.
Fort emphasized in his writing the absolute necessity of keeping an open mind about everything no matter how weird. Be skeptical of skeptics and true believers alike.
To quote from Fortean Times:
"He (Charles Fort) was skeptical of scientific explanations, observing how scientists argued according to their own beliefs rather than the rules of evidence and that inconvenient data was ignored, suppressed, discredited or explained away. He criticized modern science for its reductionism, its attempts to define, divide and separate.. Fort's dictum "One measures a circle beginning anywhere" expresses instead his philosophy of continuity in which everything is in an intermediate and transient state between extremes."
This is one of the most important mathematical discoveries of the last century. This math, also know as complexity math and chaos math, has opened many powerful analytical tools for almost every field of scientific exploration. The infamous Wikipedia has an excellent overview of fractals.
What I like about fractals is that they remind me of holograms -- every part contains the whole. With fractals you can zoom in on an area and the patterns repeat themselves over and over forever. The most famous fractal pattern is the Mandelbrot Set. It looks like a fat snowman on his side covered in warts or something. If you zoom in on one of the warts you will see that it looks like a fat snowman on his side covered in warts or something. And if you zoom in on a wart on that snowman...
My Fractal Fire Dragon power animal has a fractal form and looks like roaring flames. He often shows up when I am doing healing work with people.
A rather frightening amount of our belief systems, our consensus realities, are based on "friend of a friend (FOAF)" stories. I know someone who is the brother of the person whose friend's great aunt met a ghost -- and I am sure it is true.
My wife Annah's experiences bending spoons with her mind is, for you, a FOAF story. You know someone whose wife bent spoons using mental energy. This is a true story. But that's what they all say.
Urban legends are built on FOAF stories: The baby in the microwave: The government's secret warehouse full of 5000 mpg engines, etc. There are several great books and websites that explore urban legends. A couple of examples are:
Do a Google.com search for many other sources and check your local library (remember books?).
I just checked one of the above links to make sure it was still live and naturally the first thing I see is "Did you know that: Many of the shamans of old -- as of now -- were masters of sham?"
Dang. Oh well. You will have to make up your own mind about the High Weirdness of shamanism and whether it is "real" in a way that transforms your life. And of course we could have a long philosophical conversation about what is "real" and "reality" anyway. See also The Amazing Randi and Martin Gardner.
I would call shaman the "masters of story", where "story" is the power, the tool to access the energies and forces that generate transformations. These forces are beyond language and scientific instruments and can only be approached in mythic and "poetic" ways. By "poetic" I don't just mean poetry, either, by the way. I am speaking of the Ur text here.
The Chinese have created a science of Geomancy -- the study of the power and magic of space. Harnessing the energies of the planet and how it flows with environment. It makes total sense to me. I have been many places that for some indefinable reason feel special, sacred, relaxing or contrarily dark, dangerous, uncomfortable, etc.
Some of that response is my own baggage but when others respond the same way it is clear that more is happening. Many sacred sites are built on places where Ley Lines converge or spiral. One of the reasons that modern religions feel uninspiring is that their sacred buildings are built where the zoning works instead of where the location is in resonance with the Divine.
Feng Shui is a piece of High Weirdness. We have red ribbons tied to all our drains to keep our money from draining out of our lives or something. Hey, do you walk under ladders? How about Friday the 13th... Well there is no harm...
Besides given what I do, Feng Shui is way less weird. And, as I said, it actually makes sense to me. The art of arranging space and place to be in resonance with the Divine forces as they flow through my life. This is sort of like the tuning knob on an old radio (pre-computer/digital circuitry). It had two sets of metal plates that could move in and out of being interleaved together. When you turned the knob, the relationship of these metal plates changed (space and place) and therefore the frequencies and energies that the circuit connected to this "capacitor" (the name of the interleaved metal plates attached to the tuning knob) could resonate with would change making the radio receive one radio station and not another.
For example, "98.1 FM" is the resonant frequency of the metal plates in that particular interwoven "space and place" configuration. Radio station call numbers are assigned by and leased from the government a la the FCC. It is the frequency that they are allowed transmit their programming on. Of course, if you are a Pirate Radio Station then you broadcast illegally using any frequency you want. You have to keep moving your base of operations, however, to keep from getting arrested, etc. Pirate radio is often very political and / or "alternative". A word that has no longer has any real meaning. It is tricky to find pirate stations as they occasionally shift broadcast frequencies. Probably some web site tracks such stations and suggests possible places to tune your radio to.
Human beings and environments as tuning knobs for the Divine. Which is one reason why I left Wyoming. The Divine was definitely Country and Western back there.
This is Annah's primary art form. Layers of glass are stacked to create image and design. It is then melted in kilns to form a single sheet of glass. I liken it to frozen light. Annah is a master.
I could never work in the medium of glass. It involve lots of breaking. Breaking glass has long been associated in my mind with disaster. Plus Annah cuts herself a lot.