Being a hollow bone is not a concept.
It is availing one’s body to the spirits to be used as a vessel for the healing spirits to come through and do their work for the good of others.
It is dedicating one’s life to the continual retransformation, clarity and care of this vessel so that it may be able to be the purest channel possible.
It is through the disciplined training of the mind that we are able to track energetic patterns, distinguish between the past and future, time and place, emotion and atmospheric pressure, to be able to cut through to the truth, and further to be able to release the mechanism of the mind completely and fall into experience, or stasis–whatever may be needed for the work at hand.
It is the earnestness of the effort of the heart opening and reopening, as boundaries shift and become more seasoned, allowing the right light in, the distracting elements out, in order that we may expand in love and not falter in it.
It is the endless, ever-shifting dance of relationship with every aspect of life and the living, from which there is nothing excluded.
It is the passion and joy of communion with the divine, as manifested on every spectrum from the formless, through to the metaphorical spirits, down to the lusciousness of the corporeal divine.
This being a hollow bone is not a world view.
It is a reality, a station and for many, not a choice.
It is an algorithm that continues to unfold the patterns of love in their multi-layered aspects, reflecting the ever changing state of it’s vessel, one that stretches that vessel to it’s very limits, many times beyond them, creating a symphony of open and closure, of birth, growth, clash, renewal, terror and bliss.
It is life itself, and everything that comes with it in unabashed nakedness.
The Raven, she embodies the hollow night.
She sits in the blindness next to you, quiet, yet unspeakably noticed.
She peers into the spaces between your bones, and she sees everything about you. She sees it all, and then she envelops you with great comfort.
A glow escapes her feathers, whose crevices are unable to keep back her infinite soft light, this compassion, this grace, this calm.
Both powers held in her shape
of daunting yawn of night
of complete and quiet acceptance.
You are known here. You are loved here.
In the silence.
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.
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.
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.
I try to teach good boundaries. I try to hold good boundaries as well. I expect students to be aware that they are coming to participate in an event which is interdependant. Even if you go through an entire course without getting to know your colleagues, your actions and presence have great effect on everyone else. Please consider the following before attending a Littlelight Ceremony or course.
Shamanism is about relationship. A spiritual class is an offering of time, space and love, crafted by someone with a deep well of life and spiritual experience they are eager to share with you. Your payment is an exchange of effort and commitment back to this person who is thinking of you in every step of their workshop preparation. If you commit, you are commiting to being in relationship with everyone who attends in some way.
How you approach the class makes an impact on everyone else. Please be aware of how your approach towards your spiritual training affects your teacher and your fellow students. Please do not treat the class like a commodity that you can take or leave.
Sign Up On Time
Please make your decision about a class as timely as you can, so you can sign up. When you wait to sign up until last minute, you are putting stress on the teacher and other students who may be turned down if the class does not fill. Spaces that are rented have cancellation policies which require 2 weeks to a month notice.
Informally telling the teacher you are coming is not signing up. By paying a nonrefundable deposit you are putting an investment in that shows strong intention of your attendance and some compensation towards running the class for other people if you drop out.
Show Up On Time
Spiritual classes are pockets of sacred energy built up for transformational work. They are spaces out of time and place where people hold trust together so that they can do personal work in a public venue. Every person contributes vital energy to the nature of this container when sacred space is created together. Missing this opening alters this energetic pocket. Habitual lateness is disrespectful to everyone, including yourself. It is not being aware of your own value and how you are important to the medicine of the circle.
Teachers will treat those who are late with love and understanding, but no matter what the reason, your lateness has affected the circle.
Show up Prepared
Shamanic classes and circles are strong when we are all focused. You are expected to complete any homework so that we can progress as a circle to the next material. Please bring something to contribute to the altar. This can represent a power animal, a prayer or an offering. When we all add to the altar, the circle is strong. Consider your commute to class as the beginning of circle for you. Perhaps, play music that contributes to a grounded state of mind and consider what your intentions are for the coming session.
Be Present to Sacred Space
Apply your full heart and effort into the calling of the spirits as if you were home doing it alone. Shamanic teachers always create a container for you but you want to be strong with your own spirits when you do your practice. We also want to earnestly call to the spirits for assistance in supporting the work of our colleagues.
Try to notice the things that contain or deplete the potency of the container and support the container. Your awareness will grow, as well as your skill. Keep mundane conversation to a minimum when in the altar room.
Honoring Other’s Boundaries
Spirit speaks to people in their own language, so there is no way any one person can interpret another person’s shamanic journey. We hold space for each other and encourage our colleagues to hear their own wisdom, celebrate with them when the road becomes clear.
Journeying for others without prior and explicit permission is not acceptable in our circles. On rare occasions, we are given information in our journeys that we did not ask for about someone else, but we do not seek it out. Even in this case, we can ask our helping spirits, “Why am I being shown this?” or “What does this have to do with my journey question?”. To deliver messages about others without permission can make people feel violated and unsafe in our circle.
If you are learning great lessons from our journey, please be mindful and speak in the first person, rather than hiding behind “you” language, which feels and sounds preachy to the listeners. Telling others ‘how it is’ creates barriers, whereas sharing our own path creates intimacy, the basic ingredient for deep work, deep love, deep transformation.
We try not to ‘take care’ of each other, but rather support each other in finding our own divine widsom and light. If someone in circle is going through difficulty, we may ask that person what we can do to help. We perhaps may offer ideas but with always with respect for the boundaries of that person, the circle and ourselves.
Do Your Homework
When we are given big messages or blessings in shamanic time, a crucial part of the practice is to bring the medicine home. This means carrying out the message of the journey in our lives. How this manifests depends upon the circumstance and journey. When this work is done between circle meeting times, our spiritual lives become a constant flow. We become practitioners rather than students. When we return to circle after having done this work, we come bearing new wisdom and stronger presence to the circle. In this way by giving to ourselves, we inherently give to our spiritual support network as well.
These are staples of being a spiritual adult.
Being accountable, being prepared, being present, serving our community with care and doing our homework. Honoring ourselves in our path with commitment and in turn, honoring our teachers and community. Thank you for being awake. Thank you for being alive. Thank you for being part of this powerful, powerful web of healing and light.
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.
Effective spiritual 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 Neo-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 spiritual 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 neo-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.
Shamanism is a Path of Love and as all in paths of love, it requires the kind of courage that our leader Martin Luther King had. Shamanism is not about how far you can get out there to meet the spirits but what you bring back for your community, how skillfully you can bring it back and how effectively you can deliver the medicine with love. It is a path with concern for the health of community.
This is why I encourage you, even in the rooms where spiritual people go to seek peace, especially there, to speak your truth.
In the alternative spiritual subcultures, spiritual people can sometimes be so afraid of conflict that silence opens the door for the old illnesses of the dominant paradigm to take root in our sacred settings. But believe it or not, conflict is a sign of healthy community. Conflict allows deep passionate differences to be clearly seen. Without it, there is no true growth. In political and spiritual circles alike, it is extra important for people to be aware of the value of conflict because in political and spiritual circles, conflict is inevitable. Why? Because in both politics and spirituality, if we are true to our path we are being motivated by our deepest values. When our deepest values are crossed, it causes strong emotional response. It’s kind of like math.
If you have tried to speak your truth and experienced being shut down with words like “you are being negative” or “you create your own reality”, don’t let this push you into a place of self doubt. Even if you were not entirely correct in your words, that sort of response only means that you are pushing up against people’s fear.
Every movement, whether spiritual or political comes with its rhetoric. When the rhetoric is used without context or insight, it becomes dogma. Dogma is often used to control others. The rhetoric of positive thinking and positive speaking has become dogma in many corners of our subculture and our nation. It is sounding a lot like the old “don’t rock the boat” of other oppressive cultural ribbons of the past.
Conflict is a place where people are outside their comfort zone, in a place of vulnerability and risk. It is when social interactions are not all tied up in a bow over a neat package. It can be scary, a place with high stakes, where bridges are easily burned…or deeper understandings made or where trust and growth can be forged. Without this risk we cannot learn about each other.
This is the practice of love. Love for the self requires speaking one’s truth. The cantankerous process of speaking one’s truth is more healing than the silence of covered wounds. Don’t let anyone pacify you with that “everyone has their own truth” dogma (remember that dogma is good rhetoric used in ungrounded and out of context circumstances, often as a way to wield power). We have a common truth, too. We CO-create our experiences together and in order for us to live together we have to negotiate. Truth is “what is” and if “what is” is not working for all, rather than shut each other down, why not break the box open? What’s the worst that can happen? Burned bridges and the old familiar isolation? Isolation is the prison of the developed countries. It is long due that we break out of that prison.
Have faith. Courage was explained to me as not a circumstantial thing like bravery but a way of living. Take heart. Truth is inevitably more healing than the silence of covered wounds. The courage to be oneself will allow others to do the same.
None of us has this stuff down all perfect. This essay is not perfect. It’s just a draft. Perfection is the enemy of love anyways-we all, so beautifully imperfect. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to wish we were able to say things differently. I do. But better to say something imperfectly than to not say it at all. There is not enough time to worry about being liked. If we are silent we will drown.. as gay activists around the world know too well, silence is death. Death of the soul and for many death all around.
Thank goodness we live in a country where speaking does not mean death. This gives us extra responsibility to speak when so many others cannot.
Let’s co-create our realities for common cause to bring more love and healing in the world for everyone, not just our friends and people like us. Let’s tune in today to the massive power behind the speeches of Martin Luther King and allow ourselves to be infected with that fire, to be inspired to do whatever it is that we are called to do.
The weather turned and so did I. The dark came down early, the day ended, so I closed the doors. The shutters took a snap. I wondered what the night might bring. I am done. I am tired. I am taking off all of my tools.
The great forces of deconstruction say purge, purge, purge. The gates are yawning open and the maw of the crooning crone is soon upon us. The crisp air, the taking stock, the pull into retreat, these things we cannot avoid.
She calls, she calls, she calls.
She says look, let go, cover your eyes, it doesn’t matter because in the folds of mystery you cannot see. Time for the sacred to take the helm. Time to sleep. Time to sleep.
Who are your spirits to stand beside you in the dark? Where is your candle stick and your flint stone? What forms out of the dark are down the road?
Is it the nurturing womb of stasis? The crone’s cave? The turning spit of dismemberment? The hallows of memories past, released from their cages to fly through into the void? Who will help you?
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Prepare to lie down. To be one, to be naught, to not be, to be only what is left after everything else has left.’Tis the season. We come, we came and now there is nothing.
Sleep, sleep, sleep.