Category Archives: Spiritual Guides

Will, Wants and Values.

The most powerful thing we have in our lives is our own Will. Our Will gets us out of bed in the morning, causes us to create and destroy. Without a Will we flounder. We can Will ourselves into doing something we don’t want to do or we think we don’t have the ability to do. What directs our Will, what lies beneath is two things, our need for survival and our values.
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We have lots of values, like chocolate, Starbucks, fast cars or football games but underneath that, we also have values like a stable job, a house with access to nature… and then there are values like kindness, compassion, sharing and honesty.

How these values settle in our being determines the product of our actions. Our Will is deep within our core. The deeper a value falls, the more powerfully our Will will engage with it. It is for this reason that many people do not want to spend extensive time looking at their values. If they do, there is no going back; life will inevitably change. Are we ready to let go?

If we don’t know what we value, how could we possibly know what we truly want? When we make conscious choices about our values, we have more control over our lives. We are happier with ourselves. If we do not, then a myriad of forces around us like the corporate media, social peer pressure and relationships with others may have too much influence about what our values are and where they lie. If we are wounded, have soul loss, lonliness, those forces around us tempt us to align our Will with cheap answers rather than real solutions.

The long haul. This is the core of our spiritual practice.

Alignment of Will and Values harmonizes to create Integrity. A state of consistency throughout. With intentional practice, we also can align our Will and our Wants. Wanting is pulling towards us. Will comes from our core and moves outwards, creates. The stronger our Will, the more our Wants will serve our Will.

Now..Desire is something that is deliciously messy. Out of control. It can come from the deepest passion, borne out of our values, a hunger to fill an empty void or from some mysterious intoxicating place. But at the end of desire, whether momentary or permanent, there is always Pleasure. 🙂

I’ll leave the rest up to you.

by Tasara

Support for Psychic Attack

This is an advanced article written for my fellow shamanic practitioners who may need some support during a psychic attack. A lot of this is practical advice that anyone could use, but some components can only be understood by those who have been on the path for some time and/or have been trained in compassionate depossession methods of working with clients.

This article is not about cords, curses or being possessed. It is about the specific situation of one person or spirit sending you harm or more likely, opportunities to connect and become food. It is also not about incidental (and mostly accidental) psychic darts that we send to each other when we are not careful with our energy. This is about enmeshment.

To clarify terms for all readers, a ‘possession’ is usually not related to words like “evil” or “demonic”. It is merely the soul of dead person (or animal or other being) who died and never got a chance to cross over. Many times they don’t even know they are dead. All they want, of course, is life. They have no life force of their own because they don’t have a body, so they drift into someone’s body that has an opening. Such opening is usually caused by soul loss. This soul (or suffering being) is just trying to get more energy and needs, ultimately, love in order to cross over to the other side and finish his/her journey.

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Beginnings

The most common way that a situation can typically wind up in psychic attack, is through a very powerful relationship. It usually starts off full of one-way or mutual enamoring but at some point things goes badly, only for us to realize that the other person is possessed. Enmeshment has been happening all along, sort of like falling in love (or perhaps actually falling in love) but now that the relationship is coming apart, the enmeshment has become a psychological and spiritual danger. It is time to get out.

This can manifest in many scenarios: in friendships, romantic love, a teacher/student relationship, at work..you name it. It is no one’s fault or intention. It is more like two people who have entered a dark and enchanted forest without having seen the signs, having walked too far and now things have gotten out of control and it feels too late to get back to that dreamy clearing where the flowers were.

In this situation, the suffering being is activated and is doing everything it can to create drama in order to get more energy. It is painful, it is personal and it is not happening in a session room where the spirit is being brought in by someone asking for help. Neither the spirit nor the other person may be interested in healing or even hearing the concept of possession. You are on your own and the most important thing right now is to get yourself into the light.

You have the skills, the training and the spiritual alliances to make this happen. What it is going to take, is you, taking the bull by the horns and refusing to be food. This is very hard work but it is also instructive work, as every difficult decision you are going to have to make is going to be a lesson learned for future situations. How you manage getting yourself back to your own spiritual center becomes a template for how you hold yourself in the light from this day forward.

What it can feel like.

Psychic attack is very much like possession, where a suffering being has found shelter in your body and is trying to create scenarios that will produce high amounts of energy so that it can feed off that energy. That familiar “overshadowing” feeling of lethargy that many of us experience in training can be there, too. The difference is that the influences trying to create these scenarios are coming from outside your field, not inside. This is a subtle, yet important difference that most people cannot ascertain. Those who have been initiated into the field or those who have experienced compassionate depossession healings know the difference between energies affecting them from inside and from outside because they have lived it personally.

Because unfortunately, many of us have had to contend with dysfunctional environments and relationships our entire lives, we may not inherently know what it feels like to be clear. One of the first tasks practitioners do in training for this type of healing is to undergo a series of exercises meant to help us get to know what if feels like to be completely and solely ourselves, in our own divine light. That way, we can tell the difference when we are being influenced by something that is not us.

If you do not know what is going on, go see a healer trained in compassionate depossession. Actually, if you are feeling over your head in any way, it is always good to get outside help. Two great resources for this would be from Betsy Bergstrom’s website here: http://www.betsybergstrom.com/referrals/ If you think you need a soul retrieval or an extraction healing, much of this advice will be difficult to take on. You can find very good shamanic healers at this site here: http://shamanicteachers.com/practitioners.html

So what does it feel like to be under psychic attack? It feels like a normal difficult situation on steroids. Women can relate to this when they think of the difference between normal emotions and emotions heightened by PMS. Except that this situation is many times worse. When this happens in a relationship where the other person has a suffering being with them, ridiculous and destructive arguments can be ignited, bewildering both parties. The suffering being in the other person can see into your mind and know your deepest wounds. These areas get intentionally targeted and triggered by the being, unintentionally by the person who is housing that unfortunate soul. Thus, more drama is created. Pain, resentment, misunderstandings… and the other person may have no idea how badly you have just been hurt.

When not with this person, you might find yourself saying things like “I feel that person’s rage inside my body.” You might feel all sort of emotions that are not yours coming across to you from outside of you. You might also have that uncanny feeling of being watched, or get a completely unrealistic fear that the other person might show up where ever you are. The more psychically aware could feel a rush of harmful, seductive or mournful energy trying to get into their field. The other person may show up in recurring dreams. The spirit itself may be showing up in your dreams. The connection with this person and the spirit may be so enmeshed that they are in some way in the forefront of your mind every waking moment. This is not infatuation or obsession. This is enmeshment.

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On the further end of the spectrum, someone under psychic attack may find themselves in a long string of mishaps and accidents. This can be caused by loss of a power animal or by attack from a magical practitioner outside oneself, using their skills for harm. There are people that intentionally do this, for revenge, greed or payment, but I am not covering this there. This is not as common and a much more severe scenario. If you are experiencing psychic phenomena on the physical plane, remember that phenomena needs to be fueled by someone’s energy. Refusing to ‘fund’ such activities can put a stop to it right away. Many of the steps below will contribute to that change, but it is also possible to say, “Not mine. You can’t have my energy for that.” and depending upon how the phenomena is being manifested, make an immediate change.

Overall, what is happening during a period of psychic assault is that the underlying flavor of your life is being colored by this other person and the spiritual influences around them, to a degree that is not healthy. You are becoming emotionally unstable, depressed or thrown into pain by the triggers that have come your way. Life feels like a crisis even though your mind knows that the events that have occurred do not warrant a crisis. Your own baseline energies are fading and you need to get the floor back under you.

Once again, reach out for help if you are drowning. There is no reason, actually no way you are going to make it out of this alone. You may need more than one kind of help. Many of these symptoms can be caused by other things or cause other things to happen that can be prevented. It is the combination of the symptoms with other subtle aspects like where the energies are coming from that make this a psychic attack.

What to do.

These suggestions are not listed in any order. The time is chaos so you are handling energies and emotions as they come to you. Many things may help all at once in every order or all switched up, depending upon what is going on. It would be romantic and exciting to say that you are in a shamanic battle but the whole point is not to battle.

The playing field we have to work in goes all the way from the edge between survival and aggression, to complete enlightened compassion. On the survival end of the spectrum we are contracted, pulled inside, protective. The line between protective anger and sending rage across to the other person is non-negotiable- as in crossing that line, you have lost your integrity. On the other end of the spectrum we are expansive, connected with all beings, including those that we previously perceived as dangerous beings. This state is reached through a strong foundation of spiritual work and receiving.

Our path is about love, loving ourselves being the first priority so ‘what to do’ becomes many series of deflections, side-stepping, letting go and accepting love. Once you are in a stage of feeling more healthy we can focus on emanating love but for now you need to get out of the storm.

Take it seriously but don’t invest in fear. It’s like housekeeping.

In other words, if you are at all concerned about your mental healing and emotional well-being, this is an emergency but we are supposed to be calm in emergencies, right? In the psychic world, fear attracts danger. On the other hand, telling ourselves that it’s nothing is equally dangerous. In the words of one of my spirit helpers. “You don’t want to create panic, but you don’t want to be stupid, either. Just do the work you need to do, like housework. Clean the kitchen and forget about it.” If you really don’t know how bad things are, conduct a shamanic journey on it. Or have someone else journey on it for you.

Take the bull by the horns and move.

What is at risk here is pretty big. You don’t want to lose your sense of self and compromise your ability to see clients and continue your work as a healer. The longer you wait, the more enmeshed you will be so it is time to take full control over the situation and make change now, as fast as you can, in ways that will become permanent. There is no room for wavering.

Forgive yourself of the notion of pulling out of the dark and magnificently transporting into the light. We are not machines. We are organic beings. It takes time to clear and every little thing we do ourselves moves us towards the light. There is a guarantee that things will get better if you just keep moving.

On the practical level there is a lot you can do, around healthy food, exercise, drinking enough water, time alone, time with good friends, applying all your favorite uses of self-care you have learned over the years. Keep moving. To stop and fester or trip out too long on what is going on is to weight in on spiritual death. Energy needs to flow right now. Even if you don’t know where you are going, just keep moving.

The goal is to disconnect

You have got to get into lockdown. Step one is getting the walls up. Some really practical things that can help enormously are as follows:

Do not speak (or type) the person’s name. Speaking someone’s name invokes them and all the energy around them. There is a distinct difference between the person that you love and the being that is trying to gain access to your energy but right now, the name is invoking them both, so just stop. You have to get your world right first. After that, there will be room for more human consideration.

Disconnect internet connections. Social media connections bring people into our thought-stream when we are not choosing to think about that person. Seeing what someone is up to is just another way of getting pulled into the emotions around the situation so closure is best.

Do not accept gifts. This is not about material gifts. When disconnecting from someone who is harmful to be around, it is common to be overwhelmed with the sweetness of how the relationship was before it went sour. This can be a memory or it can actually be a seductive energy being sent out by the being, (not the person). Understanding this can allow you to identify the energy, close in to yourself and just let it pass by, like the wind. Or put steel on the outside of your walls, saying, “There is nothing here for you.” until it gets bored and goes away. Maybe not as easy as it sounds, but possible.
These are temporary measures that are not sustainable. They are tools to use along the way to getting re-centered and plugged back in with your own divinity, at which point, these sorts of attacks won’t phase you at all. You will even be able to have compassion.

Do your cord-cutting practices. There are a myriad of ceremonies to help remove unhealthy bonds between people in the many pagan books out there so I will not list them here but I will say that it is far more effective if you ask your helping spirits to do the work for you, rather than doing it yourself. They have perspective and neutrality that we do not. They know the difference between healthy connections and unhealthy attachments. When this happens, all we need to do is ask and receive. Take this seriously. Don’t do it in your car in the parking lot where you have to be wary of people around you. Go home, create sacred space and invest the time. It is perfectly normal to have to do this more than once, as you or the other person may reach out again out of habit.

Let go of what you think you want.

In accomplishing the goal of disconnecting, you have to convince yourself that you do not want anything from the other person. Wanting anything from someone that is hurting you will only bring more pain. The focus is on you. You and getting yourself to a better place so that you can function. That’s what I mean by lockdown. No energy sent out towards that person and no reaching out by dreaming of what could be. Nip all ‘future pictures’ in the bud.

You do not want their apology. You do not want the money they owe you. You do not want the (fill in the blank) that you shared that you miss so much. It’s not coming back. Not this way at least. You are not waiting for healthy, clear compassionate communication or reconciliation to materialize. If it happens, it happens. It is true what they say about letting people go. If they truly loved you and want to be in your life, they will return. Shamanically speaking, we give people free will to be in our lives or not. If it helps, tell yourself you are going to be the super-Buddha, wanting nothing. Simply, do not want.

Do not need to heal the being. You have all this training. You have helped other beings cross over. You may have even encountered beings that presented themselves as evil, found their true faces and guided them to their own light. Good job. You cannot heal this being. Just because it showed up in your life doesn’t mean that it wants healing. If it showed up in your session room, brought by someone that is looking for help, that might be different. Maybe this one just wants to attack. It wants power. These beings are bigger than we are and if they are not in the mood to work with us, it’s best to stay away. You can hide your energy signature in many ways, one by changing the spiritual symbology that the person and spirit are aware of that you use. Ask your guides about this.

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The goal is to realign

The sole, only and only powerful focus you have is the focus on yourself. Not the person and not the being. The person is drowning, and not asking you for your help. Don’t PAY any attention. Attention is energy that you cannot afford to be flagrantly spending anywhere right now. Power lost to you and gained by other. Ironically, the only thing that will heal anything outside of you in this situation is you focusing on yourself and nurturing your own light, anyways. This knowledge is not small. It is not a cliché. It is wider than the world. It is ‘the’ only way we can help anyone, is to nurture ourselves. When we are well, the cup over-floweth and there is more than enough for others.

Here are ways to get back into alignment with that which supports your health:

Start a daily practice.

Not all of us are cut out to be daily practice people. In a situation psychic assault,  however,it becomes critical because we are encountering difficult energies and emotions every day–so every day we need to allow ourselves to be cleared. Take some time in the morning to do whatever it is that you do to clear your field. Meditate. Practice a martial art or yoga. Shamanic journey. Sit with your cleansing crystals. Get you butt outside in nature.

Open yourself to the divine energies outside of you and ask them to clear you. In this practice, you may begin to understand the difference between the other person and the being they walk with. You may even naturally find yourself shining light their way. This is the first step towards compassion. But don’t pressure yourself. You are not well and this practice is for you. When the session is over, close the sacred space and allow yourself to be human, having human emotions.

And then do all those things you do when you are freaking out. Chocolate, talking to friends, seeing a ridiculous movie, dancing to bad music in the living r0om… that stuff. Remember that alcohol is a depressant, caffeine shields you from your natural body rhythms and any mind-altering substance takes you out of your body. If you are going to get better, you have to get in your body. Exercise. Loud shower singing.

Expansion and movement. Instead of isolation, tunnel vision or stagnation.

The number one way a powerful spirit who wants our energy can overwhelm us is by making us feel….well, attacked. The fear that can be invoked, the “Am I crazy?”, the extremes of emotion can make us dig into ourselves and isolate. A tunnel vision can ensue, where the topic of this situation is all you think about as everything else in life begins to fade. This is exactly what the suffering being wants. We must remember that these beings really are bigger and more powerful than we are. That is why we work with our helping spirits. It is only through connection with the divine that we can have any sort of constructive interaction with them.

This is what I do. I find that sick place in myself that is comforted by being isolated, that place that wants to curl up and die. It’s a powerful want that can be utilized. Then I lock into myself just like I want but–I shut out the being. Then I expand in an entirely different field, the one where my friends are and my spirit helpers and power animals are waiting for me. Where the waterfalls and spring flowers are. The opening happens and the light literally rushes in. They have been here all along! It was me that was blocking them out, as I was blocking absolutely everything out of my field except the being that wanted to overtake me. But now, I am not alone. I am with. I am in relationship, as we are supposed to be as members of this beautiful planet. Connected. Inter-connected. Now you are part of a team working together to bring more light into the world, starting with your own system.

Good job. Repeat as many times a day as necessary.

It really is ok to feel. Emotion is useful

Underneath all this drama created by the suffering being, there is a real human situation where there is loss, confusion, pain and misunderstandings. Allow yourself to process the un-exaggerated emotions that are running through you. It’s ok that you got in this deep and it’s ok that you feel this much and it’s ok that you are separating to take care of yourself.

One strange comment I want to make is that you are also not obligated to feel bad. Some of us grew up in environments where the only kind of intimacy we knew was through emotional drama, rage, psychological or physical abuse. Because of this, we may feel the strange notion that getting out and feeling better is a form of abandoning and betraying the other person.  It is not. It is actually better for everyone to get better. If the other person loves you they will want this for you too, so please, take care of yourself.

The purpose of anger in this situation is clarifying, clearing, unbelievable sharp sight, not the same as the tunnel vision of rage. Anger creates instant, unpenetratable boundaries – that you need right now. It allows you to be alone, separated from all the murky confusing, binding, slippery energy of the situation and to get the soul food you need. Use this energy to create energetic boundaries that are deeply rooted, very high, yet do not project anger out.

Do not plan to use anger to maintain your protective boundaries over time though, as prolonged anger will burn you up and can damage your health and relationships. This is a way to use anger to get you to a safe place where you can access other type of protection through relationship with your helping spirits.

The purpose of weeping in this situation is cleansing. Releasing toxins, getting the anger away from attacking your body and making you sick. Crying is good. Use this energy to listen deeply to the issues that are surfacing from your past so that they may be cared for.

Your emotions are for you. They are instructive and healing. They are not meant to be projected, psychically shared with the other person or judged. You are in your lockdown room and you are taking control back of your life. You want to have this space to let all your emotions run but under no circumstances should you allow the intensity of these emotions to go flying towards the other person. To do so can truly harm the other person and will surely give energy to the suffering being. You do not want to do to the other person what has happened to you.

So you need to watch your rage, in both its upper levels and the deeper levels so you do not curse or wound the other person. Or get yourself hooked back into the being. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you have it covered because your hot firey anger is in check when the depth of your rage could silently knock a house over. If you are a skilled shamanic or energy practitioner, to slip would be to use your knowledge and power for destruction, rather than creation and healing. Because of your training, the results could be more damaging than you know. This is highly unethical and there are severe repercussions for this kind of practice.  You are risking your entire life’s calling being turned in a direction that will harm many, many people.

You must know how to perceive and separate your human emotion from spiritual aspect of your emotion so that you can allow yourself to feel without harming others. As was mentioned before, an attacking spiritual being will go after your deepest wounds so take the opportunity to face them and grow. Separate the old wounds from the source of the trigger and be grateful for the opportunity to have these things unearthed.

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Allow yourself to receive

Allow your spirit helpers to come into your field and surround you. They want to! Don’t know they are there for you as a concept. Be present. Invite them. Ask them for support. Journey to your heart home in the lower world. If you have never done that, ask your power animal to take you to your heart home in the lower world. It is a very nurturing place to be.

Be open to new energies coming into your life. They are a blessing, will break up the dark pattern. New people, unexpected events or invitations, new flavors of ice cream. Literally, intentionally focus on spiritual light. On being a shaft of light…. but don’t get all crazy about failing or overdo it. After all your training and years of pulling yourself to where you are, just getting to feeling ‘normal’ is probably a ton of light compared to how it has been lately. Invoke happy feelings. Favorite things…just like the song. This is not a cheesy, shallow lifestyle suggestion whipped up by teenage new-agers who think they can project happy thoughts as a way of solving real world problems. This is an emergency. You MUST keep your head above water and not forget what the light feels like. You want to raise the bar in your energetic field, not allow it to be lowered.

I realize that not everyone has good friends in their lives, but if you do, hang out with and see the people you trust. Just being in their presence will change the energy in your field. Sing. Make music. Make anything. Creative action is flow and flow is very, very good for you right now.

And then lie down and let yourself feel bad.  🙂 Because you love yourself.

Don’t be a fool. Ask for help.

You are not super human or a super spiritual practitioner. Actually, any super spiritual practitioner knows that we cannot walk this road alone. To do so is far too dangerous. We are super because of our connection with all that is beautiful and divine. We are super because we show the same care we offer others, to ourselves.

Do ceremony to get your life going in the right direction.

This might be difficult but you have to do it. When we are in ceremony what we say and do changes the imprint of the world we are living in. So, really, you only have to keep your compassion, optimism and positive vision clear and sharp for the length of the ceremony. Then, as before when sending love and light, close the circle, go on your way and allow yourself to be messed up and human, trusting that the work you did and the help you are receiving from the compassionate spirits will change the energetic course of your life.

The goal is compassion.

Ok, so I know there is a popular song out there by MC Yogi that says, “Don’t follow the guru. You are the guru!”. It reflects a positive notion that all the wisdom and compassion we are seeking is within ourselves. This it true but not instantaneously! I am the Buddha and you are the Buddha but the cat just knocked a bunch of stuff over in the living room and I am busy and my family of origin stuff has been triggered and there is a monster at the door and if I do not lock the door I am going to die, so I am going to lock the door and worry about openness and compassion later. K?

So,  once the place is safe and the alarms are installed we can sit down and meditate from a very small, equally locked room. In this room, we may find the healing and strength to be filled with our own divinity, self-love and light enough to be able to focus our attention outside the house. To consider a stance of compassion to that which just hath fucked us up.

This is a gift. A rush of joy, pure gold to be able to do this. This is good for everyone involved and actually creates a better field of protection around you. Do it as long as you can, then get up from the small meditation room, put your work clothes on and continue with the day. Disconnect from the spiritual meditational mindstream before going on with your day so that the opening you created in order to send compassion does not become an opening from which to receive more interference. Or be pulled out of with your dreaming of what could be.

The big compassion will come with persistence. The daily practices of self-care, allowing yourself to feel and also keeping the ultimate goal as reaching a compassionate state will slowly increase your state of grace. What was once, “Big scary demon. Oh fuck,” becomes, “Big scary demon. I’m not alone. How do you like that?!  Ha! Ha! Tee Hee!” and eventually turns to “Big scary demon not look so much like big scary demon anymore.” Looking more like what it usually is, a lost and frustrated soul needing love.

Allow yourself to mourn.

And then one day, your old friend, or lover, teacher or boss is just a person. It’s clear. You can move on. Maybe it was all the releasing that let you get to the root of the pain, maybe it was finding the catch in your past that allowed you to let go, but now you can grieve. Once the attachment is gone, what is left is simple human-sized emotions. There might be relief, joy, sadness, anger, disbelief, betrayal, very likely all of that. You can go through them now and feel the pain without feeling like the entire universe is being ripped apart. There is no magic pill for the loss of the connection you had with this person. Just know that on some level, it was real. It’s just lost. There might even be opportunity for resolution with enough time passed and patterns stopped. For now, your job is to continue to process the real wounds that were triggered so that no one can ever trigger them again. Face that. Don’t avoid it. You’ve come this far.

Compassion arrives

When you are strong again, feeling protected and back in flow with Spirit, the first thing to do is to enjoy the freedom you have to think about love and where it fits in the situation while still keeping you safe. Remember the pure love that you shared and the highest view you had of them as a loving person. Everyone has a good heart. Wish them well. We are not allowed to do healing for others without permission but you can send them compassion to be received or not. To prevent old habits of sending personal energy out, as your helping spirits to guide you in how to be a channel for a higher light.

And finally, there will be a time when compassion reaches you, instead of you seeking it. I call this is a gift, as it comes from outside. We are in the flow of something greater than ourselves. Perhaps the energy is centering out from a great crystal in your heart that is in touch with something beyond. This gift is a gift like no other because suddenly there is no reaching, no work or trying, there is a blossoming within you that colors everything you are aware of. She is not a helping spirit to interact with. She just is. There is no worry about protection or sliding backwards because compassion for ourselves gives us good boundaries. There is a shield made of light and understanding and whatever is reaching out to touch us will only touch light.

Let this. This blessing of Be. Allow and place gratitude in the grace of being.

Who knows how long this beauty will sustain? Ask your Spirits for guidance. Ask the guardians of the crossings to come down and show this suffering being what light feels like. Of what could be possible. Keep working. We want to be able to carry love in our hearts for all the people we have known and spirits we have met. This is a good goal. It is the road we have chosen.

Blessed Be.

Tasara

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If this article was helpful to you and you are in this situation, read it over every few days. Your world is overwhelming and ever-changing so some suggestions may be more helpful on one day than another.

Many thanks to all my teachers from both planes, notably Betsy Bergstrom, whose compassion, bravery and patience has changed my life.

Peak Spiritual Experiences

Peak Spiritual Experiences are meant to open our minds, our hearts and our bodies to a new way of being. They can be found through shamanic journey, planned ceremony, fire walks, relationship with entheogens, meditation, fasting, exertion.. and sometimes we knocked over by them spontaneously. They are a flash in the pan of what life can be. They turn us inside out. They change us on a molecular level and give us the seeds we need to bring forth more positive realities into our everyday lives.

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Once we incorporate these experiences into our personal lives, we become rooted in a new reality filled with more comfort, or compassion, or creativity, or light and love, or simple honest communication and then we are able to reach again and go further. We are reaching, not always up, but sometimes down into the blessed divine of mother earth, or across, as we are able to extend our awareness to include more and more of the world that we live in.

For many of us, finding simple happiness as a baseline is the big trip. For others, finding our way out of our heads and into our hearts is the big trip. And then, expanding our embodied experience of compassion could be the lesson. There are many lessons. It may take many spiritual experiences over many years to incorporate these things, depending upon the amount of shadow in our lives that needs to be dissolved in order for us to interact with the world with clarity.

Unfortunately, many people use these experiences not to grow, but to avoid. When we are in a high level of life pain, our systems become consumed with survival. All we are literally able to focus is on is ourselves. We are blocked from being truly aware of those around. We are alone. And as is the Law of Energy, only alone can we find our way to the root of the pain, to understand it and learn to walk through it to the other side. Only alone do we find connection with the Compassionate Spirits and open ourselves to receive their love. Only alone can come to know ourselves, deep, to the bone. This is the journey we must go on to fulfill our spiritual destiny, if there is such a thing as destiny. It is called the Walk through the Valley of Death. It is the prerequisite to initiation on any serious spiritual path.

But for many, it is too hard, too scary, too shameful to walk the hard road. There is too much fear of what we would see in ourselves or what would need to change in order for us to return to integrity. There is too much pain and shame in our systems, so we run, looking for a way out. We run toward another spiritual peak experience, hoping it will take us away from our pain. We seek peak experience after peak experience, even creating sub-cultural memes around the benefits of such repeated experiences to encourage us to keep running. Underneath it all, we know that the real benefits will never come until we commit ourselves to the hard work it takes to digest and manifest what has already been shown to us in these experiences.

This phenomena is not any different than an addict clinging to the next high and honestly, is not any more fulfilling. Approaching peak spiritual experiences with a consumer attitude degrades the experience to being merely…mind-altering with the chance of something phenomenal happening, rather than being truly transcendent. Mind-altering does not necessarily mean good or even healing, just as “spiritual” does not necessarily mean safe or healing. I just means mind-altering.

This stepping out to avoid everything painful, it creates a form of soul loss and only makes the journey longer and more difficult. It not only removes us from the pain of the past but it also prevents us from being present with ourselves and those we love. In this way, it can actually create more destruction than we have already suffered. It takes away our traction on the road to finding life.

What needs to be present at these spiritual events in order for the experience to be healing is a component of honor between ourselves and the elements/spirits that are assisting us. There needs to be a trust in something greater, a giving over to guidance and a significant energy investment in intention, preparation and giving thanks and offerings. When the experience is over, we must do our homework. We go home, we process, we write, we do further meditations. We are honest with ourselves. We make changes in our lives. If we do not do this homework, we are not getting anywhere. We are dishonoring the gifts that have been given to us in our peak experience. We must take the spiritual insights we have received and manifest them here. Otherwise, what is the point? For some of us, if we repeatedly do not do our homework, we fail to have any more peak experiences because the spirits have nothing new to show us. We are not listening.

The big spiritual experiences are not the path. They are indicators on the path. Rather than using them to step out of ourselves, we need them to grow into ourselves. This is more thorough and complete, and it takes time. Most good things do. The prize we earn through the hard work is that we are able to find a true way out of our old pain. A permanent release and a building of character.

When we do this work, we become greater channels for love and healing. Peak spiritual experiences disorient us by rearranging our energy on many levels at once. Once we become acclimated, being in the presence of the same energies is not disorienting anymore, hence..our experiences are no longer what one might call peak. We turn around in a new role by becoming human channels for loving energy to reach the mundane world around us through our bodies, life’s choices, ways of being, listening skills and kindness.

The spiritual path is not an event. It is life’s walk. It is every step. It is not finding a life without obstacles. It is about learning how to dance with the obstacles. As we incorporate what we have experienced into our personal lives, the infinite small changes in our actions and awareness, like the petals on a lotus, entrance us and we become in love with our carnal existence, our human form, with all the struggles and the times in-between.

The spiritual path is nothing if not about love. We receive and we offer. These two together become a beautiful flow that nourishes self and others. We are here to grow, high and low, deep and wide, in a single point and all encompassing. There are no words. There are no words. There are no words but devotion.

by Tasara

After a Soul Retrieval

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After a soul retrieval, a person can feel elated, buzzing with energy, emotional, having a sense of ‘being in their body’, a shift in physical sensations, a wonderful sense of groundedness. Of coming home. Home to self. It is beautiful beyond words.

Directly after a soul retrieval, a person can also feel nothing at all. Feeling nothing at all means..pretty much nothing. It can take over a month to really feel the settling happen in order to notice any kind of shift. That is what is was like for me after my first soul retrieval. After a month, I realized, holy moly, that hole in me is gone and I am no longer going to need to fill it. I lost a bunch of friends that were not serving me and the direction of my life changed course.

In the time that ensues over the several months, there can be epiphanies, increase in energy, restoration of qualities particular to that person, such as artistic expression, ability to communicate clearly, to be organized, to complete projects, to be filled with a bursting need to sing, to cook, to love.. you name it.

There can also be grieving, if the event that caused the soul loss was never grieved. This is something that people often have fear about before going into a soul retrieval ceremony, but it really isn’t that common. If it does happen, know that the emotions are not about rehashing; they are truly about release. What a blessing to be able to give honor to something that happened by being present enough to honestly grieve it, rather than trying to live around it, pushed down somewhere in our psyche for the rest of our lives. Grieving is not fun, but grieving is beautiful, like a river that cannot be stopped or hurried up. It just is, and it will continue and it will end.

This all takes time. Healing is a process. Soul retrieval can take over a year to fully come into.

Bottom line is, when we are finally returned to our bodies, we are home. We are able to make better decisions in our lives. Soul retrieval can be viewed as the first step of a long journey because now that we are home, we might not like the way the furniture has been arranged or think that there is a bit of cleaning up to do. For instance, a job or living situation may need to end. Boundaries in relationships may shift. Certain dynamics may immediately become unacceptable. There may be an ability to change emotional habits that one has been warring with for years.

There may be a new ability to be more open and loving, now that we know that we cannot be hurt anymore. Because we are finally present to take care of ourselves.

If I am confusing you with the variety of reactions, it is because we are all on our individual path and the event of coming home will be received uniquely for all of us.

There can be a feeling of finally getting traction in life. A newly returned power that is up to us to decided how to shape into the world. This is a glorious, glorious event in life, for some very dramatic, for others, subtle yet sure. Something worth sharing tears of joy over.

Blessed Be.

by Tasara

The Power of Words – The Advanced Course and the Firing of the Word Police

We cast spells with every word we speak. The words around us can wrap us, bind us, free us.

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Word, words, words. Words have power.

The words we surround ourselves with, the words that come out of our mouths, our computers, our songs, our media, they shape us, they weave us, they form our world both inside and out.

Words are power. Their sounds, their meaning, their iteration and the intention of the speaker all packaged together become a force of creation as their meaning takes the ethereal and transforms it into a thing that can be grasped. This thing becomes, and then has it’s own power. It’s being ripples out to the world and at the same time, it’s being makes itself known to other beings, that can now manipulate it, as there is an ‘is-ness’ from which to react, to deflect, to attack.

Getting deep pretty fast? The simplest guidelines when utilizing the Power of Words are “Speak only in the positive.” And “Cease all negative talk.” But this truly is simplified, as this power we are talking about is multi-dimensional and needs to be understood with more depth.

There are some realities though.

“I am ____” statements have huge powers of manifestation, not only in the words themselves but in our own belief system about ourselves.. as well as other people’s who hear us talking. The belief system causes us to react as if what was said is so, reinforcing the concretness of a negative form that did not have to be formed in the first place.

So, saying negative things about oneself is exactly the same thing as cursing oneself. It is serious business. It is something that at some point in our lives, we all must just stop or we can’t continue further. How can we go further when we are moving up hill against the wind with a shock of darts coming our way that we ourselves set off?

Let’s look at the statement. “I don’t have my act together.” When we say that, we have locked ourselves into a definition. Failure. Don’t. Feel the energy signature of that. It is complete. Final. No way out. Saying such a thing is a death sentence. It is also giving up. It is saying, “I don’t want to put energy into living.” It is suicide.

What if instead of saying something like, “I don’t have my act together.” we said, “I would really like to ____.” and focused on our dreams? Created a tunnel for which that passion to come out? How would that feel?

But really, what if someone cried “I am a failure!” as an expression of self-amused exasperation? It may feel like a relief to get that feeling out and say it with vigor! Imagine, “I am a failure!” loudly said with laughter afterwards. Which had more power, the words or the intention? Our feeling in our bodies when we hear and say the words gives us the truth of the direction of the words, so… when we listen to ourselve and others, we need to listen to more than the words.

When we call oneself or another person a name, it’s the same way. We are freezing that person into a shape, not allowing them to change and grow, to be inconsistent, to wonder, to be wonder, to be unpredictable. If we paint a picture of someone in our heads of being a certain way, then we will always react to them as if they are, reinforcing that behavior and disallowing them to just be.

On the other hand, if we have a friend who is caught in unconscious self-cursing and we start reflecting back to them the beauty that we truly do see, their self-image weakens. See the light pour in. See the laughter.

Pretty different from making your friends feel bad for making themselves feel bad. That kind of compounds things.

Saying positive things creates a positive field. It shifts the dimensions of reality so that the possibilities of the future are expanded.  People, connections, physical objects and opportunities are drawn towards the projected field like a magnet. Words are an amazing force of manifestation, they really are. When we tell everyone we know about the dreams we are moving towards, those dream magnets become magnified as they pass through all those other people’s awareness, as they hold you in the same light you are projecting. That’s not even talking about all the stuff that comes from practical human networking.

Getting into the practice of saying positive things isn’t about candy-coating harsh realities. It is about looking at reality with a broader scope and pulling out the things we like about it and making them bigger. It can help break old habits of focusing on the pain and teach us to tend a garden of joy, the seeds of which were always here. It is a beautiful thing. But…. no rules. We love our dark sides as much as the shiny stuff too.

So, as we see, every force has a balance point. An imbalanced use of naming, as we have discussed, can create malforms, but there is another phenomena that can happen, too. This is the lack of naming energy forms that are already wreaking havoc. If something is around that is taking a lot of space and energy and it is not life-giving, it will continue to do so until it is named. Naming something brings it out of the dark. It allows us to understand it, form opinions, have relationship with it, lose our fear of it, love it and allow it to transform.

Imagine how the world changed when we came up with names like “alcholism” and “domestic abuse” instead of “That’s just the way men are.”? Will it really be useful to recite positive affirmations in the middle of a PTSD episode if the emotions coming up are new and have never been processed?

We all know that if something weird is going on with a friend that to name it and bring it out sometimes helps whatever it was go away. Sometimes it’s better to let such things lie, though. Some things that are uncomfortable are only passing and to bring them out would only make them bigger than they need to be. Delicate, that power of naming.

There is a big difference between someone saying, “I am a failure.” And someone saying, “I feel like a failure.”

Even bigger difference between someone hearing the first sentence and replying with the scold, “You shouldn’t say that about yourself!” Or someone replying with compassion, “I hear that you feel that way but do you really believe it? I see something totally different. I see something magnificent!”

Despite all of this, Intention is everything and though Words have Power, Intention Trumps All. Words are a strong contender and can put its teeth in a strong intention but the force of Intention will always come through a little stronger.

Sometime people say awful things because it’s fun. Because it is satire. Because they grew up in a culture where such phrases are commonplace and don’t hold so much power. “Fuck you!” with a big smile can mean “I love you, you rascal.” “Shut up!” screamed with a feminine lilt, “No way!” meaning “I  like it!”…. see. Words have power but what the f*** are people really trying to say?

So, that said, “I love ya, fuck y’all now and good night.”

by Tasara

…. (it could be a draft. it could be a rant. it could be what it is. don’t know. haven’t figured it out.)

Community Building in Neo-Shamanic Subcultures

There is something wonderful going on in the Neo-Shamanic subcultures that I have noticed.  It is a repeating medicine story that goes something like this:

Somebody falls into a pocket of beauty. It changes their life in profound healing ways-so profound that they feel compelled to share the beauty they found. They start up a class. The medicine is transmitted and many benefits come out of this. People from all over the world get to meet each other and exchange ideas. Powerful containers are created for deep, transformative experiences. Most importantly, love is modeled in a larger theater, where the imprint of it can affect people’s lives and the lives that they touch in a good way forever.

However, in terms of community, there is an aspect to this story that rarely gets talked about. It goes something like this:

People go to workshops, get intensive downloads of spiritual information. When they go home, it is often to some sort of isolation, as they are not connected to other people in their area who are doing the work.  There is a reintegration period to the everyday life, which can be difficult and then a process of distilling the lessons that were learned at the workshop.

After a while a longing grows, for more information and also community. So, it becomes time to sign up for another workshop. Sometimes people go to workshops soley because they are yearning community. There they find connection again-not sustained but well needed.  The struggle with isolation goes on. Some people stay committed to their path, follow their calling and then start up a personal practice. They start to teach workshops filled with the wonderful medicine they have found. People from all over the world come to receive this medicine…and the paradigm continues.

 My Dad’s view on community is this, “No one has to build community. If you have the right people together with the right circumstances, it happens all by itself.” He grew up in the farmlands of Southern Minnesota in the 50’s and to me, his logic still makes a whole lot of sense.

Community is relationships.  Relationships are organic. They grow over time. However in today’s modern society, we do not stay still long enough to be in the same place with the same people long enough to get to know who they are. Plus, as we know, shamanism is not something everyone does. The time of the town square, where everybody comes to hang out, is over. Heck, in Seattle the time of the sidewalk bench is over, since the businesses got all concerned about not giving homeless people a place to sit.

You can hold a class but a class is not a community. You can set up a Yahoo group and even recruit 200 members but if nobody talks to each other, that’s not community either. In order to have community we have to create the circumstances that allow people to have sustained face time with each other so that relationships can build naturally. Fertile soil. The spinning sound of Spiderwoman’s web.

This is what I believe.  People need each other. Students need fellow students to be scholarly with. Students need teachers.  Teachers need students to follow their calling and to grow with. Teachers need teachers to help each other become better at what they do. The same goes for Practitioners. The community needs all of them, in good balance with each other in order to be healthy and well.


This is my vision of a thriving shamanic community.

Filling the need for community should be free. I see different kinds of open circles for folks to journey together, to drum, to make sacred music and to play. There are public ceremonies to benefit individuals and community needs. There are potlucks, storytelling sessions and sharing of shamanic poetry and art. Deep relationships that grow around these frequent gatherings support us through life’s challenges and spiritual awakenings.

There is supervision and support for teachers and practitioners. Psychologist and therapists have built in requirements in their profession for both supervision and continuing training. We don’t have that, so knowledge about key areas can be hard to get: boundary issues, projection and transference between clients and caregivers, power and ego issues, money issues. Because of confidentiality, classes and community gatherings are not the place for these people to get what they need. Being isolated as a teacher or practitioner is not only difficult but dangerous for everyone involved if they only have themselves to rely on when the going gets complicated. It is too easy for shame and blame to enter the picture when things go wrong and without a network, someone in trouble is liable to try to work it out on their own. So, we need peer circles and peer emergency healing networks for the times when we get whomped in session. We need open dialog between teachers comparing class structures and typical workshop issues.

The benefits of this vision of community are vast. There is support in the fiber of our everyday lives as shamanic people. There is more opportunity for learning, growing and applying what we learn from our teachers. There is an arena where people who are not trained can participate, have powerful experiences and find their way to teachers and healers.

 Barriers to Coming into True Community

Knowing what the barriers are to true community will help us work around them. Here are some that I see.

Scarcity perspectives around money:  What would happen if I was living paycheck to paycheck as a teacher? I may be afraid to encourage community activity because I think that it may steer ‘business’ away from me. I might not be willing to refer someone to a teacher that is more appropriate for that student than I am. The truth is that rich communities will create a nurturing flow to and from the teachers. There is enough for everyone. The more practitioners and teachers support each other rather than compete, the better exposure the whole network gets to the public. It is also an option for practitioners to hold part time or full time job.

Ingrained Hierarchy in our dominant culture. Unfortunately, as much as we may believe hierarchy is not the best model, it is still ingrained in us. We still look to authority figures to do what needs to be done and sometimes do not support non-authority people in their efforts to bring us together! Unfortunately, teachers and practitioners are busy holding space for people so they are not the ones to rely on to build our webs and till the soil in the P-patch!

Unless a teacher is consciously creating circles in order to encourage them to co-create or fly the nest, using words like community in class can create power and boundary confusions. For example: If this is a community can I disagree with my teacher in circle? Can I make contributions and/or suggestions? Communities do arise around teachers, though and there is nothing wrong with that but they are not independent. The teacher becomes the lynch pin of the community. Whether they want the power or not, they steer and shape the container just by being who they are. And if the teacher leaves, community falls apart.

 Fear around empowerment

Lots of people prefer to follow than to lead. We want things to be set up for us so we can walk in and participate when we have the time but not be expected to be anywhere consistently. This can happen for a few different reasons. Consumerism has certainly crept into our attitudes about most things that happen outside the house. But also, a lot of people just do not know what to do. Often we do not feel capable or empowered to contribute to community. We become afraid that contributing to community will become an all-consuming activity.  Lots of fears come up. I believe that in our society, choosing to be part of community is as challenging as going on a vision quest is to someone who comes from a culture where one’s identity is tied to place in community.

A solution to these things could be to verbally encourage students to create shamanic activities outside of paid events. Even allow a brainstorming session about it during class. I’ve seen this work. Sometimes people think of starting a study group or circle but don’t because they are shy and need a little boost. There might also be unfounded fear of walking on a teacher’s turf. Openly speaking to these things can bring down barriers to community.

What we need to do is teach others how to be leaders, to empower and then slowly step away. This is a process which includes instruction on how to hold a circle, group facilitation, and the skills we used to put on a public event. It is as crucial as teaching healers to do soul retreival. Granted, it is not easy to find willing students but stubborness around expecting people to shine really pays off.

Community-building needs to be a shared value.

A few motivated people cannot do this work alone. That is why unions pay their organizers. Because of this, I try to instill the big difference that small things make. Cooking for events warms the whole dynamic. Offering one’s living room for a circle can be a goddess-send to the organizer who lives in a studio apartment.  Once a structure is set up, people can come and go but the container will still be there for people to flow through. The trick, I tell people, is to only do as much as you can. Small things make a big difference.

Here is a list of suggestions that might help you jump in. You can post it on your website, send to your email list or put on your refrigerator.

  • Offer something for free. A healing drum event, a public ceremony in a public park…give a reason for people to come together.
  • Be brave, have a potluck for a bunch of shamanic people you don’t know.
  • Start a website like Spiderlinks.net so local subcultures and teachers can get connected and find circles to practice in.
  • Start a circle.
  • Go to a circle, just to explore, even if you don’t know if you will go again. You are sure to run into those people again.
  • Sample a local teacher you don’t know much about.
  • Be generous.
  • Give people in your community compliments on their work. Tell them how much you appreciate what they do.
  • Gift someone something without them expecting it.
  • Let someone know that you are here for them, to do journeys or healing if they ever need you.
  • Take around flyers for the teachers that you love.
  • Send referrals to healers that you really trust.
  • Honor everyone no matter how bumpy we all may get on this wild path of introspection and healing.
  • Be brave. Reach out and make a new friend with someone you met at a circle or class.
  • Ask for help. Sharing and love is as much about receiving as it is about giving.
  • Get some training/Give some training in community organizing.
  • If you are a teacher, give your students assignments that engage them in community
    • To try out local circles
    • To practice your teachings with colleagues outside of class
    • To partner up and do something together for the broader community
    • Be clear in our classes where people can help
      • Holding and creating space
      • Seeing each other in light
    • Go out for tea with all the other practitioners in your area
      • You don’t have to be friends, you are in community. Think of the village square. You don’t pick who lives in your village – but you know them.
    • Encourage your students to hold practice circles. Give them some pointers on how to structure a circle.

Speaking of circles, there’s a lot to know about starting one so here is a little guide to help you out. It should also help members of existing circles be more present to circle dynamics.

http://ravenspeaks.littlelight.info/2011/09/01/creating-a-stable-spiritual-circle/

Well, have fun and don’t forget that the land, sky, water and moon are part of your community, too. They long for us as much as we long for them.

Much love,
Tasara

http://www.littlelight.info

Creating a Stable Spiritual Circle

We need more gatherings of people in spirit. Our planet needs it, too. If you have wanted to start one but don’t know the first thing about it, maybe I can help you out. I’ve made this little guide here to help you out. This should also help members of existing circles be more present to circle dynamics and possibly solve some ongoing issues.

So let’s dive in, eh?

What is a circle?

A spiritual circle is a place for people to come together in spirit. The purpose and structure of the circle can be one or many of the following:

  • A study group: to further research common interests.
  • A supportive group: to talk about each other’s lives.
  • A practice group: to practice spiritual methods everyone has learned.
  • A transformational place between time and space create for healing works.
  • A place to take turns teaching.
  • A place for community and friendship.

A circle is not a class.

It’s important to not confuse a class with a circle, or vice-versa. A class is when people come to learn another person’s Way. There is typically no discussion on agenda or content. A circle may have agreed upon sessions where one person is teaching but overall decisions are usually made by more than one person.

Structure of a Circle

This section is about things that need to be decided before the circle ever meets – at least temporarily. It can be done in discussion in the first meeting or the organizers can decide ahead of time based on what they want to offer.

In my experience, it is the political groups that are hungry and willing to talk about power dynamics and group structure for hours on end. In spiritual circles, I have noticed that many people don’t want to bother with the logistics of setting up and maintaining a circle. They lead busy lives and consider it a big deal to just be able to attend in order to get the soul food they need.

So someone has to figure this stuff out.

The most effective way to answer these questions -and the way that takes the most time- is to poll everyone individually to get a feel for what the community needs. This not only helps create a group people want to invest in, but the polling process makes people feel important – and builds relationships. When you poll a community, have a list of questions. Believe me, if they are open ended questions, give example of the kinds of answers you are looking for or no one will respond at all:

–       How often will it meet, where and for how long?

–       Is the group led or facilitated by one person or is that task shared?

–       Who decides what the activities will be? Can they be vetoed?

–       Is there a fee? Where does the money go? This needs to be transparent.

–       Who is responsible for sending out reminders and keep a list of members?

–       Does the group have a prerequisite? Will it assist people to meet that pre-requisite?

–       Does this group require a certain level of commitment?

–       Is it ok to come late or leave early?

–       Is it a closed group or open group? (Closed groups tend to go deeper and have a higher level of expected commitment.)

–       How deep will the work go? Are the people involved ready for deep work? (You do not want to lose people by pushing them outside their comfort zone.)

What makes a spiritual circle work

Here are some crucial elements that are needed to make a spiritual circle work.

Clarity on what the circle’s purpose and method is.

This might seem obvious but no one wants to carve out their valuable time after work to drive across town for a journey session and find that their shamanic circle is hosting a presentation on druidic practices. What if that journey was really needed?

Integrity in using the structure that was set up for the group

A clear power structure is clear flow of power in the group. It creates a safe place for people to work on themselves, share and take risks. They can engage and so will more likely get behind it. A clear power structure makes the circle strong. It prevents miscommunication, unnecessary conflicts or just bad feelings over power and communication. People go and people come.  The structure stays the same. Formal power structures that are designed to promote power-sharing will prevent informal misuse of power.

Changing the structure together if it is impeding what the group wants to do.

It’s not uncommon to spend a bunch of time coming up with the perfect structure and then trying it out to find that emotional or spiritual forces keep bending the group in another direction. Honor this and follow the heart and spirit of the group.

Awareness and honoring of the group as its own spiritual/emotional entity

Every circle has it’s own spirit, whether its members tap into it or not.  It can be a beautiful guiding force and a temperature taker when issues start bubbling up from the sacred shadows. Sometimes, conflict can be avoided by taking a wider perspective, including this over-arching presence.

Tending to the group’s health.

Letting issues slide again and again only builds up frustration and sometimes resentment. As a leader, when you are able to address uncomfortable energies that no one else is talking about in a calm and strong, loving way, you are giving people permission to speak. You are also modeling healthy behavior for those that have no idea how to act.

Universal dichotomies in circles

There are certain areas of tension that come up in all community groups, whether they are spiritual, political or any kind of group that tries to accomplish things together. Knowing what they are enables us to not be surprised, to not be emotional when they pop up and to troubleshoot around them.

Spiritual activity vs. Social time

It is natural for people to crave community. So if there is not a space designed to meet this need, there will likely be times when the spiritual work is not getting done. One solution can be an optional early time before circle when people can hang out and catch up. Another idea is to have regular social get-togethers outside of sacred time.

Spiritual activity vs. circle business

The business of running a circle can be handled by a few people, done in email discussion or in the circle itself. If there is not a place for it, the business will find it’s way into an activity unplanned. This can be difficult for those that are badly needing spiritual work, so it is good to figure out how to handle this.

Personal sharing vs. Energetic workings

If the group has agreed upon longer check-ins, then that is healthy for the group. If the group is supposed to be about spiritual work, then long stories tend to drag the energy out. Each circle has it’s own needs so it is good to make a decision together and stick to it, unless it seems that decision does not reflect the desire of most people in the group.

Mundane conversation vs. Reverence in sacred space

When doing things like raising energy, sending blessings, doing shamanic journey there are a few different philosophies out there on how to maintain sacred space. If this is not agreed upon there may be times when someone is upset. More serious magical practitioners desire perfect focus and minimum energy leaks. Native cultures honor community as sacred in their circles so there might be food passed around, children running in circles and even gossip shared as the spiritual work blends together with all.

Structure vs. Mystery

Structure is good for safety, common expectation and mutual intention but there will always be circumstances where the best thing to do is to throw out the structure and punt. Thoughtful flexibility in this area can be very helpful. When this is done, make it clear to everyone what is going on so there are no surprises.

 Inclusiveness

I’m sorry but all-inclusiveness is just too idealistic. I went through the 90’s during the Gulf War I protest and tried complete consensus with all-inclusiveness and I tell ya, some people are not ready for group work. It does not mean that they are bad people. It only means that the level of problems some people are dealing with makes them unable to focus on others. We cannot function as a group if we are consistently working on or fielding one person’s issues. There is a time for circle and there is a time for private therapy.

If a group’s energies are drained by people too needy to function collectively, they will not find the group a healing environment, nor will anyone else.  – Starhawk

Being in Circle: Staying present to power flow

What is Power? Power is a word that can be as scary as money or love to some people. Power is the ability to make change, to move energy, to influence people, to create, to destroy, to heal, to impact. Some power is not ours or something that we  should try to hold on to. It is something that moves through us. It is something we borrow and then return to the earth with respect.

We also have personal power, some more than others. It is important to never forget that a lot of power is still parceled out by societal factors like gender, race, education or financial status. There are also people with high levels of charisma. Access to information is power.

Power is not bad. It is just power, the ability to make change. In order for it to be useful it’s flow needs to be clear and balanced, so we need to learn to watch power move in a circle. A good way to do this is to consider the group itself as an entity with a soul that can be tended to. When you are listening to one person speak, try to develop and ear to the entire group, even though only one person is speaking. There is a whole world of information there.

 What are some power structures?

As Starhawk teaches us, there is power-over, power-within and power-with. The first power we work towards is power-within. This makes our power-with in circle so exciting! Vibrant! Creative! Power-over might work in a class where one person has agreed to maintain structure. There is also a style where there is one decision-maker but decisions are based on input from everyone in the circle. This might work well for circle that meets on a frequent basis and include members that are too busy to take part in the business of running it.

Formal Power and Informal Power

Often there are people in the group who are natural leaders, who people respect and listen to. These people may or may not have official positions. This is totally natural, however we try to keep the informal and formal power structures to match as closely as possible. We don’t want someone to single-handedly sway a group even though it is formally supposed to be using a process that invites all opinions. We also don’t want to shut down a natural leader or someone with a lot of wisdom just because what they have to offer is very strong. Some very wise people may not want a position of leadership but they still should be able to contribute, even if their views are consistently popular.

Conflict and Tension

Oh wow, I get all excited when conflict starts to arise in a circle! Conflict is a sign of a healthy community. Conflict is natural. Conflict is going to happen if people are being real with each other.

Tension is a good thing. It means something is coming. It means there is something we are not looking at. There is an opportunity to growth, which is going to bring the whole circle to a new place.

As M. Scott Peck says, there are 4 Stages of Community: Pseudo-community, Chaos, Silence, Community.  First everyone gets together and they are all excited. It’s a honeymoon. A dream come true! Then, if people stick around long enough, chaos comes rolling in and everyone gets blown out and challenged. After this, silence. People are thinking, ‘What the heck?” If the individuals are brave enough to come back and be honest about what happened, they reunite in a new way, working through and learning from their problems. This last stage is community.

Oh boy. We are human. I guess we haven’t worked it all out yet.

Facilitator Tips

OK, now that you know what you need to know about circle dynamics, let focus on you as a leader. Your role is unique. Your actions are being watched by everyone and your love is contagious.

Be extremely aware of your own power as a facilitator. We live in a hierarchical culture where people give leaders power and hang off of their every word. Just by unconscious habit. Especially if you are a white man, so be careful. The words of a person in a position of leadership carry more weight than anyone else, even if that is not their intention or desire. It can be too easy to crack a joke and hurt someone’s feelings. Do not take this on as a weight to be a perfect person. Just be aware. Sometimes it is a relief to everyone else if you insist on being yourself. It give them permission to be imperfect too. So.. be imperfect in a healthy way. 😉

Sometimes being a good leader means to be silent in order to give room for others to express themselves. Staring at the floor can be helpful when circle members forget to address the entire group when they speak. You will find yourself having to be insistent on not receiving everyone’s attention. When planning spiritual ceremony, I have been successful at getting all the ideas on the floor but when it comes time to weave them together, sometimes I have to leave the room. I say, “I’ll be over in the kitchen. Someone come get me when you have a plan. Then I will contribute my part.” The moment I leave the room, they are rockin’ and having a good time. Or they are struggling, in which case I keep walking and let them struggle. I cannot help another person find their strength by telling them to find their strength.


Here are things that a facilitator can do to support the health of a circle

  • Keeping track of where you are in the conversation or in the energy work.
  • Providing and asking for clarity when it is needed.
  • Model the behavior that you are looking for. Everyone learns through example. We are not all perfect but try.
  • Defend the health of the group over the needs of one individual. Clearly there are exceptions but overall, if someone cannot include the groups’ needs along with their own, the circle may not be the place for them. If there is a conflict between two people, the easiest way to diffuse it is to refuse to deal with personal issues and to ask how the issue at hand fits into the work of the circle. If it does not, then those people need to take it outside.
  • If the energy feels dead or tense, address it. You might not want to be the one to name the issue but you can ask “how does it feel in here right now?” and encourage others to speak up. This is a great teaching opportunity, allowing others to find their way.
  • Outside the Circle – Be All Ears: Ask people how it went. If you want an honest answer, don’t give your views before you hear a reply. Outside the circle you may hear things that people don’t feel comfortable saying in a group. Heck, your opinion may not matter at all because as an organizer, your opinion is highly shaped by listening to the experiences around you. You are listening for what is needed to serve your community best.
  • Thank and Compliment People on their Contributions: Everyone wants to feel appreciated, even if they are volunteering for the hundredth time. Some people have gifts they are not aware of so a simple compliment can not only make someone’s day but affirm their sense of self. Do not forget this, ever. Not being thanked can feel pretty yucky, especially if the event was stressful.

OK, you got it? Go out, make circles happen and have fun! Don’t be surprised if you don’t get a lot of help right away but over time as people get to know each other, things may change. There is great joy and great reward in serving your community in this way. Let me know how it goes and write in if you run into any trouble.

Much love,

Tasara

http://www.littlelight.info

What is Prayer? The Shamanic Sense.

What is prayer?

 For some of us, the word prayer invokes feelings of power-under, being small while making entreaties to a god that is big and far, far away. Some of us might associate prayer with guilt, as in “I don’t pray enough” or more likely, “I am _(lazy, unenlightened, lame, etc)_ because I have not kept up with my spiritual practice.”

But there is no shame or blame in the spirit world that we choose to engage with in shamanism. There is only love.

Shamanism in all things is about relationship. Relationships with the awesome, embracing, guiding spirits, relationship with the self ­— and just as profoundly, relationship with the land. This relationship with the land is where prayer comes in.

Prayer, meditation, yoga, martial arts practices all talk about Being. As a shamanic person, this means being myself as the magnificent carnal creature of the earth that I am. As I go deeper into my meditation, I am more and more awakened to my fibers, to the breathe of the trees, to the birds, to the concrete and cars passing by. I am awakened, once again, to the passages that connect it all together. The connection, all around like crazy and wrapping back to me, is relationship. It is highly intimate if I open my heart to it.

This work, this gentle finding of our way back into relationship with the Mother Earth is prayer.

The experience is more like Ahhhh… There you are! Ahhh… There I am! And Ohhhh, it’s so nice to be back.  It’s a home-coming. It is unique to all of us and unique each time we practice. We practice and practice with no goal, really, because we reverently know that there is always more to find. This practice of finding, communing and balancing is all there is. It is what it is. It just is. Delicious.

In this conversation with her, some of us may find peace, some may find revelation, in some, a long awaited release of emotion. After we have been able to clear the private rivers of mind and emotion, there is, waiting for us, joy. This being in relationship, being in balance, is intrinsically, joy.

As a shamanic person, I do not find that I teach or hold ceremony out of an altruistic desire to help, nor from a feeling of obligation. Rather, I do it because it is my function in this vast web of beings to bring things back into balance. Myself, the land, the humans I walk with and between the earth and sky energies. I do what I do because it is who I am, so I don’t need any reasons. It makes things less complicated. I am a love-earth creature and my job is to bring balance. It is my place.

Prayer is the first step to coming back into relationship with my home, Mother Earth. It is the prerequisite to doing any other work. She is always there, waiting. Or not waiting. Just being. But she is always there, willing to connect. All the good stuff.

Shamanism. Relationship. Balance.

by Tasara

How to Make a Talisman or Sacred Power Object

First of all, what is a talisman or power object? It can be a power necklace,  amulet, a sacred flute, a medicine bundle or a healing drum. It can be a healer’s tool to use in helping others. I can be a protection or a portal to clearing energies.

A power object is where the metaphysical meets the physical, where it is bound, met, married, sealed or kissed together in a form that allows for the metaphysical to be rooted in the solid. It emanates the energies drawn forth upon its making and the intentions of its maker. Depending upon how it is made and how it is treated, it can have a limited lifespan or it can have a life of it’s own, taking on rhythms of sleep and waking states.

There are two ways to make a talisman. One is to play the role of the magician where you are like a cook, gathering the right ingredients, mixing them with elemental energies in the time with the seasons or moon or sun cycle and being very, very careful to hone one’s intentions clearly, fueling such item with emotion or other such source. This is how most beginners work and the results can be perfectly fine as long as the cook can keep a good focus and put disclaimers on your work such as “I invoke this amulet with ____ intention for the good of all and according to free will.”

The other way is to do it in partnership with the helping spirits. Co-creation. In this case, the initiation of the entire endeavor is often a calling, the forming of it is more like sculpting, being a process of listening, revealing what is already there. It is a specific vibration being asked to be brought forth into the physical so that it can manifest it’s signature here This way is more advanced because you have to have some skill in communicating with the spirits and most importantly, you have to know who your spirit helpers are. Having tried and true, benevolent spirit guides allows us to really open and trust. This level of trust invokes deep intention from ourselves and with that, more fuel.

Let me talk about spirit guides for a minute here. Power animals, totems, guides, spiritual teachers have our best interest in mind. Their total purpose in their relationship with us is to help us be better, more healthy, more loving people. They don’t have moods, don’t play tricks, they don’t get sick or busy or lost and don’t throw our lives into chaos. You can choose guides like that, but really, there’s no point. Isn’t life hard enough already? Even if you are aligned with a Goddess of the dark mysteries like Hecate or Kali, you can choose to only work with the benevolent aspect of that goddess.

Ok, back to co-creation. The entire purpose of being on the spiritual path is love and love works better when we do things in partnership. One helping another, two in tandem, sparking the creative together. The spirits actually get really excited and put way more oomph into something if you are doing it for someone else than if you are doing it just for yourself. They love that love stuff. The spirit guides can help us hone our true intention ,too. It is not simple as pie to invoke a true intention into an item without help. With our wonderfully messy human emotions and fears and pride and hopes, it can take a tremendous amount of mental discipline to infuse an amulet with purely creative and loving intentions without a shadow of a doubt. When we allow our benevolent guides to enter into this making, we can trust that they will fill our sacred creation with pure love and intention – for it ‘our’ sacred creation, not yours or mine. This sacred item is shared with spirit. After it is made, it contains mystery, continues to teach us and changes and deepens as we grow with it, as we tend to it well.

Let’s dive in.

The first thing to do is to spend a lot of time mulling on the what’s and why’s of making the sacred creation. Are you making this item because you want to bring healing and love into the world, are you working for protection, for help in a clear mind, closer connection to your helping spirits? Or is this sacred item being made for your helping spirits as an offering to them?

As in all things metaphysical, we stay within the bounds of free will and privacy. That means stay away from healing for people, human or otherwise with out permission and avoid scrying into other people’s lives. Sometimes we think we know what is best for someone but ultimately, we really don’t. It would be awful someone did a healing for someone else and averted them from a disaster that was about to change their entire life for the better. If you are making a spiritual gift for someone and you want it to be a surprise, go ahead and make it. They have the choice to receive the gift or not. There is more on that at the end of this article.

If your true intention is to gain more spiritual power the rest of this article might not make any sense to you. When we are yearning for power, we are really yearning for healing. True personal power just emanates when we have found our way to wholeness. Power from other sources (helping spirits, elements) is to be used for healing for self and others. Focusing on love creates more love.

So, here we are, mulling on intention. Driving around, picking up the kids, mulling, mulling in the back of our minds. Is this for my own healing? Is it for clarity? For a new drum? What is the drum for? Intention is everything in any kind of manifestation magic. It is what guides all the decisions around materials, shape and song. This is why you need to have intention as figured out as you can before beginning. It doesn’t have to be complete; the stuff you can’t figure out, Spirit will help you with along the way.

By the way, this intention-setting is exactly the same that a designer goes through before making a TV ad, except that person is manifesting energies of need and desire so you open your wallet instead of manifesting energies of love and healing.

In this conversation, you want to also feel around to discover ‘who’ is asking for this talisman to be made. Is it your guide for personal healing? Are the ancient trees asking you to bring their energies into the world? Are you crafting a salve for medicinal purposes or a healing amulet for a friend? If you know who or what wants to come through, then you can direct your questions that way when you are working. You can send your love and appreciation that way, too.

Next, think about materials. What carries the energies that need to be embodied? Are they gleaned or made in a way that has minimal impact on mother earth? Do you support the industries that made it? Do you require the skill to make this item or do you need to hire someone to make part or all of it? Does that person carry energy that you like? You don’t have to include the craftsperson in your process but you do want to be fond of what is coming from their heart. When I make sacred items, I will have most of my materials gathered and then do a sort of ‘whatever I have in the house will fit in’ game. If you are working with crystals, ask the crystal what its nature is and whether it wants to take part in this venture. Crystal are beings and some crystals already have a set energy signature. It isn’t going to be an effective component if it’s job doesn’t harmonize with our intention.

We are in relationship with mother earth and every manifestation of her, rock, bone, clothe, song. We are not guardians, tenders, rulers or rapers. We are as of the earth as any of these things and beings. We are in sync, in balance, in relationships. We are in love.

Clear the materials in the many, many ways there are to clear materials: water, fire, earth, salt, sage, moonlight…once again, it’s all about intention. There are hundreds of book on how to do this so I won’t spend time here laying those ways out. But don’t use a recipe from a book unless it is perfect. Ask your helping spirit to help you figure out what seems right. You might want to find out if any animals involved had a good death and ask what you can do for them if they didn’t. Think of the people who made the parts, whose lives touched them. Realize the vast resources already in play just to create the materials and get them to your town. Take the time to be in a space where you are profoundly in tune with this and how this yet-to-be-made sacred creation already is a gift from many parts of the earth. Awesome!!

Create a sacred space to work in. Once again, there are many books on how to do this and be sure and do what is meaningful to you. Be mindful of what sort of music or media is on when you are working because all of this energy is going into your item. Well, not all of it but anything intense that happens, around you or inside of you.
Begin! Have fun! This is the dance between you, your hands, your heart and spirit. Listen, smile, cry, ask, learn. Stop working when you get tired or your concentration wanes. You want to be enthused and not lose perspective. But at the same time know that sometimes, work is just work and you cannot have precision focus all the time. If you wish to have a consistent flow of intention, make up a song or a mantra that supports your intentions and sing.

Be easy on yourself and keep listening. For example, I was working on a talisman once and I started thinking about how cool it was, how all my friends were going to be so impressed when they saw it. Then I immediately felt terrible because the last thing I want embedded in my medicine tools is pride. I thought I ruined it. I started beating up on myself. But then I felt a pulse come from the item I was working on. It was love. It was self-forgiveness – and I found that the element of self-forgiveness was being sewn into the power item as well as everything else. A gift from the heart of the item itself, which had already begun to bloom even though I was far from finished with the physical making of it.

Awwwww. This is the co-creation part.

The stopping for breaks is awesome. Once enough work has been done to warrant a break, the dream has been awakened and is more alive within us. It keeps growing even when we are not working on the physical item, so lingering questions get answered before we go back to work. The breaks also allow time for Spirit to work on the talisman without us. It is a beautiful process.

Sometimes we fall into trance and let Spirit take over our mind and body, doing much of the work for us. Don’t be afraid to cut away entire sections that you thought would be just right but no longer seem to have a purpose. Every single part of the sacred creation must have a purpose or it does not belong there. Often we have a knowing that something should be there and that the purpose will reveal itself to us at a later date.

This is a process, not a feat or a project to finish and cross off the ‘to do’ list. So relax. Make some good tea. It will be done when it is time to be done. Get excited. Be a kid about it. Listen. Feel the elements of color, form, line. If you find yourself going through a cathartic experience, keep working. All that pain coming up is held in love and your partnership with spirit is the true element in play.
When the sacred creation is finished, physically, spend some time meditating with it or journeying (this is a shamanic method) to find out it’s nature. Ask it to teach you about it’s medicine, how it is to be used. Ask it how it wants to be blessed. If the item really feels alive, ask it how it wants to be tended. Some items like cedar smudge where others like sage. Some want to sleep for periods of time and some like to be talked to. You will find out. Some want to be wrapped in a clothe and kept hidden when it is not being used. It’s all about relationship.

When this creation is spiritually fully blessed and birthed, find out from it how public it wants or need to be. Some items are entirely private. Though it is wonderful to share and rejoice with friends about these wonders, never boast. Boasting will diminish your relationship with it and hence, it’s effectiveness.

If you made it for a friend, when you present it to them, share everything about it, each part and what it means, all the energies running through it and what it told you about how it wants to be cared for. Tell your friend they have free will to accept or reject this gift and once you have given it, you have to let go of it. Let go of its meaning and purpose as well, for the gift may totally transform in the hands of the receiver into something else. Someone made me a gift once that turned out to have a very different purpose than what she had heard it was for. Who knows, maybe as I grow with it, it will include what she intended. It is very possible. These things are mysterious.

Allowing mystery is allowing growth, giving respect to the spirits and … is totally fun.

With deep gratitude and joy, be glad that you are having yet another experience into the deep learning about this ever-changing, ever-mysterious thing we call love.

by Tasara

Tips in Finding a Spiritual Teacher or Shamanic Healer

Effective shamanic teachers are doors for us. They embody the personal work they have done and the intimacy of their relationship with their helping spirits. They create a safe place for us to do our work and manage group dynamics in a way that allows everyone to share freely.

Healing is an art form. Each healer’s techniques grow and flower over time as they are taught by their experiences, human teachers and spirit guides. Because of this, each healer may present their Way a little differently. Some specialize in Divination, some in beautiful co-created Ritual, some may have learned from Native American culture, some are rooted in Celtic Shamanism.

Finding a teacher or healer that is good for you may be a confusing process, so here are some tips that may help you along the way. In all cases, listen, listen, listen to your own sweet heart.

Boundaries: A good shamanic healer or teacher has excellent boundaries. This means that they will not ask you to do anything you are uncomfortable with. It also means that they will be very clear on what is expected of you in your role as a student or a client.

Accessibility: A good teacher is available to answer your questions during instruction. They do not try to make things sound more mysterious and powerful than they are. They are also comfortable with not knowing everything about how the universe works.

Deferring to the Spirits: A good healer or teacher will never tell you what they think is “wrong with you”, what they think you need for healing or interpret your journeys for you. They will honor your unique relationships with your power animals and guardians.

The first thing a shamanic healer does when encountering a client is go on a diagnostic journey to find out what that person needs and how to go about helping. This is a safety precaution to take the healer’s ego out of the picture and enable them to be a good “hollow bone”, allowing Spirit to work through them for the benefit of others.

A good teacher knows that all they can do is show you the door through teaching  – that it is you who must walk through the door. They know that no one is going to find their own Way through imitating them. Expect to be encouraged but run from those that want you to put them on a pedestal.

Compassion: Love heals, not techniques. If you do not feel heard or cared for as a person, do not work with that healer or teacher.

Safety: What is most important is that you feel safe with the healer or teacher you have chosen. If you find yourself coming home from sessions feeling smaller and more insecure than when you came in, something is very, very wrong. If this is happening on a consistent basis, you do not need to have a reason to leave. All you have to do is listen to your gut and go. Figure it out later in the safety of your own home, with people that love you.

Sometimes our sacred yearning is so strong, that we rush to sign up for every session we see, forgetting that important steeping time between classes. It is good to stop the brain sometimes and ask the heart: Is this what I yearn for? Or do I really yearn for a circle to practice what I have already learned? Or do I yearn for community? Or was there a different class that matches my spirit more closely? Or? Or?

Take your time. The real learning is happening inside of you, the real practice is today.
Blessings upon your path.

Tasara