If you keep an altar, formal or informal, it is most important right now, especially in the pandemic when many of us are cooped up inside that you tend to it. Left unattended, an altar can become a drag on your energy rather than a place to go for refreshment and clearing.
Altars are magnifiers of energy. Some have open portals. In one sense they are a way to communicate with and receive from the unseen. In another sense, they are a reflection of yourself, where you are and how you are feeling.
Untended altars can have residual spells left from long ago, doors left open that should have been shut. They can be holding onto energies that helped you in the past but because you have changed, no longer serve you.
It’s easy to forget. We all do it. Life is so full of challenges and things to mediate. I’ll tell you my story so you know that we are in this together.
This morning, I was feeling claustrophobic, as I usually do on New Year’s Day, looking at the holiday decorations and lights. I put them away. With great effort, I dissembled two jigsaw puzzles that had carried me through the solitary holidays. Things felt better already.
Now that the way was clear to my altar, so I took a look and noticed – oh my goddess – an offering for the dead from Samhain! I saw a mini-altar set up for a friend a month ago. She is ok now. She doesn’t need it. And the water had long dried up in my wild mountain creek effigy. The candle holder I was using was made of rock salt. I never really liked rock salt. Why do I have that up there?
In less than five minutes, through removing everything that felt energetically “dead” to me and restoring the foundation of the altar, it started humming along. My entire apartment immediately felt significantly better! Wow! Such little effort with a clear focus and I am back on track. At least for now, right? This pandemic is really hard!
Take a look at your altar. Does it need a little freshening up? Bless you for taking care of yourself.
If you are having a hard time today, whether you are feeling alone or actually alone, I extend my circle to yours, if you allow it. I do this because I have been where you are, many a year, hearing the inner screaming while the forces try to pull me down into a whirlpool of despair. I could be there right now if I didn’t maintain and guard my sacred circle.
So take my hand. Join me. I will show you how to get here.
First you have to make your own circle.
Draw it around yourself with your finger, perhaps a silly flapping sock, a butter knife, a piece of Lego. Dance a jig and say,
“This is my space, my place, my space!”
As many times as you want, but make sure you get the blood moving.
Light a candle in your space. If you don’t have a candle, focus on the lantern deep inside yourself and give it some room. Air it out. Let it glow.
Spin your arms and whoosh the circle out to protect your entire living space. Stamp on the ground or clap your hands and say it, with conviction,
“This space is safe! Only good cheer can stay near! And my kind good cheer, no other!”
Now, start naming the things you love in this earth. Say them out loud. Take your time. Let them embody you. Relive those wonders. For me it is always a particular forest, a time with a friend, looking at how far I have come in life, even when it doesn’t feel so great. What is it for you?
Good, now. Good. This is your good cheer. Not only do you have hope but you know what you have. Now you are strong enough to reach out.
There is a vast circle of people who hold sacred space together, consciously or unconsciously. Some call this space the web of light, some call it the Circle of Circles. It has many names and many interpretations.
Imagine your circle extending to this sacred space. Perhaps the edges will meet. Perhaps your circle will transport. You may get there by rattling or dancing, or maybe humming or rocking. You might close your eyes and feel the grounding cord from the divine above, through your body, to the divine below and know yourself there.
Just writing this for you is making me feel better. I will feel your presence on the other side. I will know you are there and be nourished in that knowing. We will shine upon one another, fueling our living rooms with the connection of tenderness and light. We will send out hope to others who are struggling, drawing them near, into the protection of our togetherness.
So.. join me. We are not alone. We are blessed.
Blessed Be, and fuck to the Christmas you didn’t want in the first place.
(Modify if need be to make the most meaningful for you.)
Sometimes we wrestle with demons in order to show them -and ourselves – who we truly are. The demon is annihilated or transformed or disappears into a mist.
Sometimes the battle coming on is old and too similar to ones we have fought before. In these times, we kick ourselves and murmur, “Let it go!” after which we can simply turn the page and move on to a new chapter.
Sometimes change comes upon us like an avalanche, an earthquake, a tsunami. We are torn apart and have no choice but to survive it and later, languish on the road, waiting for rememberment. We may find a few pieces and put them back together but more likely, we encounter ourselves in new ways, finding our flesh growing back over our bones all on its own.
Sometimes we hear a click in our mind and the whole world changes. Old patterns are no longer compatible, old friendships drift.
Sometimes the need for change, it’s shape and the way to it have been sitting our doorstep for a long, long time. An event in our lives pushes us into a situation where we have to make a choice. Allow the change to enter or endure a suffering that has nothing left to teach us.
I heard somewhere that wisdom is not a collection of knowledge but rather a shift in perspective, again and again until all the perspectives fit together in a great flow upon the earth that sings under the cosmos. I heard somewhere that peace is riding the wheels of change.
“There will be times in your healing process when you will be reminded that you don’t need to fight anymore. You don’t need to endlessly scan the land, looking for trouble, as you once had to. Each gate you go through, there will be a clear sign of certain dangers falling away. You will forget those signs and need to be remembered.
But here’s the clincher. In the lack of danger, there will be a void that will seem as frightening as your life was before. You will feel like you are floating out into space, into the unknown.
Remember your mantra, ‘If lost, return to self.’
There is always something to hold onto. It is you. The gorgeous light you have found inside yourself. Sing your song. Kiss the blessed earth and don’t forget to enjoy the garden you have cultivated within. Survival skills do not understand gratitude practices. They seem ..not very useful when things need to be done.
Walk into this terror. Feel it enliven your body. It is the first good terror you’ve come across. Remember the gates. You know what you have survived, what has left you and what is still to be mastered. Trust the truth of what you have accomplished. Trust the changes you have already made in your life.
This work you have done – you have earned your own trust, so use it. What does life have to offer when there is not imminent danger? It is not what they tell you. Go find out for yourself. Go make the life you wanted when you were held down.”
Yes, I laughed my ass off when, half-asleep, I opened my laptop to find that Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19. I didn’t want him to die, but I couldn’t bring myself to the shore of other people who were truly concerned for his health.
Now it’s been a few days and it’s become real. It is no longer symbolic or part of the game of politics. It’s about a human being. I was able to shift and put out a message on social media saying,
“I envision that Donald John Trump receives the care he needs and the outcome of his illness is aligned with his pure soul’s deepest desire.“
Lots of people are having moral conflict in their own reaction to Trump’s hospitalization. I completely understand. After he bullied Biden in the debates, as he puts his own staff at risk of infection, it is hard. But this is a test. As you are concerned about ethics, and karma, and the trajectory the world is on, this could be a turning point on your spiritual path. I am not perfect. I think that writing this is helping me get to that shore, so bear with me.
We created this situation with our political apathy and cynicism. If we don’t want this person to be the President of the United States, we are meant to use our power and vote in someone else. We can even reach across state lines and reach people in swing states. There is still time to make this happen. See the links at the end here.
But wishing someone unwell is a malevolent use of magic. Period. It is in times like these, time of crisis and real feelings of life and death for our planet, ourselves and our brothers and sister, it is times like these when people can sooo easily turn to using their metaphysical abilities for harm. Doing so sets off a whole chain of events in oneself, changing the shape of who you are and making the likelihood you would do such things like that again in the future. Deciding to channel your energy in a way that aligns with your true values, despite the great duress, will also shape you. Times like these reveal one’s true character, and can mark one’s character, too.
Let the forces of the Wyrd decide. We are not Gods and Goddesses. There is POTUS, and there is the man, who we know is profoundly traumatized, wounded and out of control. He is not asking for prayers, as far as I know. We do not know what his soul wants. So we don’t try to heal him, just as we don’t try to kill him. We send up a flare with an image of hope that his soul find what it needs, but we send it no where.
It is also important to decide and cement what your energetic response to his illness is, so your strong emotions and unconscious thoughts do not leak out and send energy you do not intend. Time to tell your whole confused system who is in charge and what the energetic directive of the hour is.
Keep doing what you were doing before this happened. Do more if you can. Do something if you haven’t been doing anything. Let’s invest our energy where it is needed, rather than reacting to the news. Let’s keep going. I am with you. I love you. I need you, and I see a world where were we all come together and rejoice in the relief we feel when we discover that we are working together, rather than waiting for someone to save us. And through this, we find each other and our sense of true community and family-outside-of-family is restored.
Here. Over here. Point your magic here. I need you right now. And I’m not the only one. There is still time:
We have entered the land of the She and the sun, she has slipped past, is making her way into the darkness. She is taking with her our dreams, our dead, our ideas of who we think we are, and what we think would have happened.
Now in the second harvest, we see the truth what we have gained what we have lost and what has never been all along, the illusions.
Mourn like the rain for those we have lost. Let it be easy, like the cool river as she flows in the darkness.
Let fly free with the crows your plans and visions which are not so.
There is much to do in the darkness and we must be prepared.
Empty yourself. There is time. Empty yourself. There is a shining within you. Empty yourself For the new dream that is coming.
Lately, I have taken to driving for hours in search of the right high mountain road, where I can return my crystals to the earth. I have been picking through my crystal beads, asking, This one? Yes. This one? Not yet., mixing the yeses together in a box, with salt for purification, in preparation for when they will be released to the waters. I am thinking ways to let them be wild, where no human will catch them.
I am not infusing them with prayers or directing their energy into any configuration. I am not even making proclamations. I am saying, Here. This is yours. Be at peace. Knit yourself back together, now.
This is my act of love. Mother Earth needs no more.
It all started with a group journey to the Spirits of Kindness. We were asked to go the ley lines of the Earth and ask if there was anything we could do to help. I saw them, so beautiful..
Immediately, a loud voice shouted, again and again, “STOP BUYING CRYSTALS”.
Now, I had done my stopping of buying crystals years ago, but I started up again recently. I already knew. In my journey, I saw images of the land being gouged by the mines. The destruction. The dissipation of the earth’s power centers.
I knew this was a message I need to listen to, and at the same time, I also was conflicted. I asked, What about the magnified power and healing we get from them, each in their own way? The answer was: If you have ever known a crystal, you can always tap into it again. It’s like knowing a mudra.
I asked: What about the ones I already own? In answer, I felt a deep desire from the crystals to go back into the earth. They can’t communicate, connect with all the others, be charged, do their thing when they are trapped in all these little boxes we call homes. I could see that if I had my own backyard, I could put them down and visit them there still. But I don’t have my own backyard. I was told to journey more about it and take my time learning how to transition out.
In the weeks after this journey, I have been slowly and silently guided by the Spirits of Kindness to find alternative magics. See, I use crystals a lot for protection and I need to be taught some other ways. I am in my home, often gazing at crystals, asking, You? Where How? Thank you.
I have found that different stones desire different things, so I listen, and listen. I am not getting rid of all my jewelry in a fell, unthinking swoop. I am listening. I am learning so many things. The stones that have been locked away say to me, See how well you have done without me!
I do not hope that my short post here compels you to purge every stone person in your house. I only hope that it reminds you to listen.
In case you haven’t heard, I have changed the name of a group I created and facilitate on Facebook from Pacific Northwest Shamanism to Pacific Northwest Spirit Walkers, to accurately describe the practices which were meant to be described in the forum. I would rather use a made-up title, than twist and turn an ancient word used for generations by an ancient people, whose land I have never visited, nor have I met the spirits who reside there.
A Spirit Walker is a person who, using repetitive rhythm, goes into an ecstatic, altered state for the purpose of meeting their guides in the other planes of existence in order to find healing and or information. The goal of the Spirit Walker is to bring the medicine from the other side back here, to our precious Earth, the home we have all chosen to reside for the extent of our lives. We strive to make a better world using these practices.
No one can take away another person’s relationship to the land and the spirits. We are the land and the land is us. The longer we live in one part of the land, the deeper that relationship grows.
At the same time, it is an offense to take on a sacred title from another culture, because you could not have possibly earned it in the way it was meant be earned, and to have this hard-earned vocational name watered down in order to use it is an offense. And further, to MAKE MONEY by drawing people to you with the title is unbelievably offensive.
In a recent rant, I asked,
“Should we all start calling ourselves Bishops? Should I say to people that I am a Pope and that it’s not a big deal because I can use the word Pope any way I want? Heck maybe I’ll use it as a verb because it is fun. I will be doing my poping work with you when you come to my sessions. Or what if I tell everyone that I am a Nun? Would that be fun? It certainly would create a rise in people. I’d get the attention I need to make a bit of money. Next week I am going to call myself a Buddhist Monk. Heck, who needs vows?
”People in Mongolia did not CHOOSE to have their sacred name traipsed all over the world by powerful white men making money off of their interpretation of their sacred, sacred, very sacred practices. Our use of the term did not come from the slow and comprehensive merging of cultures that happens with the mingling of peoples. Imagine growing up in a poor, rural area your entire life and then discovering that the oppressors of the world, the ones who colonize and start wars everywhere, the ones who are responsible for much of the poverty of the world are now the taking practices that shaped you as a child, that brought you into being an adult and are passing them around like candy, with no life-long relationship to the land they came from, with little understanding, and MAKING MONEY off of them? If that scenario does not bother you, I don’t know where your heart is.
”Practice your faith, your path, your sacred journey but don’t call it something that isn’t yours to call it. Us white people have lost our own culture and that is very, very sad but it doesn’t mean that we should take from others. We need to make our own. It would be FAR MORE POWERFUL to create our own culture than to try to fit into someone else’s shirt.”
Thank you for listening. As you can see, I feel the time has come for this change. Even if I have been carrying the word with the most utmost of respect, energetically it does not come from my home. It does not relate with my body or speak to the land here for me.
‘Spirit-Walker’ feels dynamic, creative, accurate and safely me. I am free. The burden is gone.
Notes: I had already made this change on my personal sites but I needed to take this further. I still do work with Shamanism Without Borders which is under the Society for Shamanic Practitioners’ title, because the work we do is unique and globally important – and it is not my call to rename the organization.
So far, my studies have not found the terms spiritwalker, spirit walker or spirit-walker to have originated from any one culture but I find they have, I will find another name.
May you break free from the patterns that bind you.