Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Good Mourning

Back in 2015 we lost my dad. I wasn't there, living halfway across the country, but my family was at a school play that my nephew was in, and, saying their goodbyes, my dad got in and started their van, and in the time it took my mom to walk around to the passenger side, he was gone. The reason I'm recounting this is because a couple weeks ago I had an experience that shook me up deeply and unexpectedly.

Since that fateful day, if I'm in the driver's seat with a passenger, I've half-consciously waited to start the vehicle until the other person gets in. Since I was aware of it, if only slightly, I thought I was just being silly, maybe superstitious, but that was all the deeper it went. So a few weeks ago when my fiancé and I were picking up her paintings from a showing in a local café, I jumped into the car and started the engine without thinking. It was only a few seconds before she got in, but I was already sick to my stomach, having trouble breathing, and had tears running down my cheeks, careening toward a full panic attack. Though I probably shouldn't have, I still drove home through tears and nausea half-denying anything was wrong. 

Once home, with a chance to process what happened, I realized I'd just brushed up against my own mortality, as well as having breached a deeper level of grief I hadn't known was there. I also think that part of it was a rite of passage, stepping into my dad's place and taking the reins of authority for myself - A death and rebirth experience in itself. The dark and heavy feelings stayed with and overshadowed me for at least a couple days. On the heals of this experience, that night or the next, I had a dream that added steam to my already grieving heart. 

Years ago I had one of the best friends I'd ever had. She truly was a sister to me and we went everywhere and did everything together. Then one day something changed. Through an unfortunate misunderstanding, what appeared to me as drawing a boundary was perceived as abandonment, and overnight I lost my best friend. I was abruptly and totally cut off and would never talk to her again. Any attempts at reconciliation or redemption were met with nothing but deafening silence. 

Well, in this dream I had somehow stumbled into a business place she owned, and through the course of our meeting again, we reconnected and made up, agreeing, however shaky it might be, to renew our friendship. When I awoke, the realization that it was all just a dream washed over me and I wept. Again I'd breached a layer and level of grief I didn't even know was there. 

There've been other recent cases of small griefs coming up, but these two are probably the biggest. It does seem to be a pattern, like a great purging and clearing out, making room for bigger and better things to arrive. As best I can, sometimes more successfully than others, I sit with the feelings and allow them to rise up, afterwards finding that stillness and clarity that comes after the storm has passed -- An emptiness, though raw and exposed, that holds the pregnant promise of change and growth. 

Within this same time frame someone has wandered into my life who seems ready to take on the empty space left by my former friend -- One of those first meetings where you swear you've known this person forever. It would seem that the above housecleaning, though difficult and painful, was purposeful for clearing that space in my heart - The space I'd been keeping barricaded and holding in reserve - for one sister, and thereby creating a vacancy to be filled by the arrival of another sister. Until I let go and grieved fully the one friendship, there was no space or room in my energy or my life for another one, who, unbeknownst to me, was waiting in the wings to enter my life. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Instant Gramification

When I started this blog, branching off from my original one, The Golden Thread Road, I had many aspirations of writing entries on a regular basis again as I had in the past, not only for my readers' sake but I've missed the quiet times of unraveling and processing through words whatever I've been experiencing. It is doing journaling work outloud, sorting things out in my own mind and allowing any acorns that fall from that to possibly take root in someone else's. I absolutely love a win-win!

As life has gotten increasingly busy and chaotic. I'm afraid, and embarrassed, I've gotten swept along with the shortening attention spans and the dizzying pace of our techno world, and I have trouble nowadays synching up both the time and the energy required for such endeavors, and I feel the loss of depth and self reflection in my life, at least to the degree my 'yester-me' experienced it.  

Although it has probably further siphoned some of the energy I need to upkeep a blog, my Instagram account has been holding the door open for me and providing an outlet for at least small bursts of self reflection and expression, keeping the spark of documenting my spiritual path as it unfolds. I think of this as my 'royal writ' given me by White Buffalo Calf Woman when she first began working with me and told me, "Your path is to be shared." That was the whole reason I started blogging in the first place. 

So Instagram has become sort of an extension of this blog, like a roving reporter recounting occurrences of varying depth that is still relatively surface info, only hinting at deeper truths. Those posts seem like small windows into my day to day world, like a day-in-the-life-of sort of way, whereas this blog is the unrestricted receptacle for fathomless diving into the truths underlying all other truths. 

So I am determined to continue both branches, as well as others that beckon on the horizon, in sharing my path, with the intention of specifically setting aside and scheduling time to blog. I have a number of things already at the ready to write, but in the meantime you can keep track of your Friendly Neighborhood Shaman and my day to day wonderings on my Perching Wolf Studios Instagram account, and for a taste, here is my latest post there...


Friday, April 22, 2022

Eye Full

Medicine Bull

Sunday after coming home from the weekly Sacred Pipe ceremony I lead, I was exhausted to the point of not being able to keep my eyes open, so I took a nap. I woke up from my nap with the distinctive memory of seeing a medicine man, complete with a buffalo headdress consisting of the crown of the buffalo's head and the horns, with a couple of feathers protruding out of the wool. I didn't remember anything about what was said or done, just the man himself, so I turned to my fiancé rousing beside me and asked, "You wanna go to the river?" I wanted to connect with him in ceremony to find out who he was and why he'd come into my awareness.

At the river, after setting sacred space and lighting my pipe, I called this man into the circle. Right away he gave me his name - Medicine Bull. Later when I googled him I discovered he was a chief of the Southern Brule Sioux, but that was about all I could find out about him other than that he was part of a delegation to Washington DC in 1867. One of the amazing things to me is that I have had Native American spirit guides pretty much from the beginning of my shamanic path, but as things proceed I am finding they are not just a random sampling from all tribes. They each have ties to the Great Sioux Nation in the same general area of the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Nebraska.

What Medicine Bull told me, or more correctly showed me, was an image of the Third Eye, which because it was vertical rather than horizontal, such as they are shown in Hindu paintings on such deities as Kali, it was the shape of a yoni. As he showed me this vision he kept repeating the message, "Hold the vision!" He explained that the Third Eye is the birth canal of the Future. It is basic Law of Attraction that we dream our future, that our thoughts become things, so no matter what seems to be happening around us, we need to continue to envision the world we desire - A world based on Love, Equality, Respect - if we want to birth that reality. We have to dream the appropriate dream, knowing that we are the ones manifesting that better world.

Further he reminded me that the vision I hold is not in conflict with, or to be compared with, the vision or beliefs of anyone else. There are individuals of a darker or lower frequency who may be drawn to me because of the light of that vision, and they will try to argue, or threaten, or convince me otherwise, but my job is not to argue or convince anyone of anything. For one thing, if the vision is true, it is big enough to hold all other beliefs and visions - no conflict or comparison. The thing he emphasized to me, though, was that they themselves will think they are drawn to me because it is their job to squelch that vision, but in actuality, it is their inner light that draws them to mine so that their 'darkness' can be dispelled. It is their hearts desiring to be opened that drives them to the light so that they may be healed.

And please know that in no way am I saying that I, and I alone, have some true vision, like some prophet or messiah. Nothing of the sort. I share this using myself as an example, but we are all in this together. It takes a village to raise a new earth, and your vision of a healed and whole planet are just as important as mine. By working together and weaving our individual visions of a better future together, it can not help but be brought into reality. We can do this. 

As I sat basking in this energy, opening up my crown and third eye even further, I felt and saw something else. I felt and saw little threads of myself extending outwards and touching all living things. I literally felt like a painting by one of my favorite Native artists, Clemence Wescoupe, with the threads of energy connecting all things, such as his painting below.

Copyright Clemence Wescoupe

Again, as with most revelations, this experience had that beautiful dance between simplicity and profundity. On one hand it seemed so natural and obvious (Duh!) while at the same time taking me deeper to somewhere I hadn't been, rooting all of my previous wisdom and experience to hitherto unknown depths of understanding.

Holy Cow! ...I mean Sacred Bull!

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Of Horses and Dragons

With a reprieve from the rain that has dowsed us for many days now, I headed to the river to perform a Sacred Pipe Ceremony in order to connect to my spirit guides, particularly White Buffalo Calf Woman who has been one of my leading helping spirits over the years, particularly in the last four since becoming a Pipe Carrier, and especially since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. 

In July I officially became self-employed as a fulltime Shaman, and I have been enjoying quite a bit of success with my practice as my clientele and students steadily increased. Then a couple weeks ago things seemed to dry up considerably. Readings didn't just decrease but fell off completely. Between the store I read at on Mondays and my office where I am for the rest of the week, I have had no readings. None. In the past two weeks I have offered my Introduction to Shamanic Journey class twice and have had no one sign up. I'm about to begin my 6th or 7th year of offering a year-long, monthly course on Shamanism and again have had next to no interest other than from a friend who actually teaches Shamanism himself. 

So I have been left in a bit of a fugue, keeping the faith that this is just an ebb and that things will flow again soon, but still dealing with a rising of old self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy.

This comes right on the heels of an incident around my work space that felt like the rug being pulled out from under me, and which put me into an existential tail spin. I am withholding the details as it concerns others and as the point of this is not in what others have done, but in how I deal with what triggered me. Suffice it to say, I spent many tearful hours in Pipe Ceremony seeking guidance and realignment, as well as a few angry moments yelling and punching my bed -- Truly atypical reactions for me. 

As I regained my equilibrium and could breathe again, White Buffalo Calf Woman put things into perspective for me, saying that up until now my roots could only go so deep because it was like there was a layer of bedrock beneath me that kept me from reaching the depths that were necessary for my work. This 'shake up' was actually my metaphorical roots breaking through that hard layer of bedrock so they could extend down, with out limit, to attain the proper depth needed to support me and the work I am being called to do. I literally needed to descend deeper before I could rise up into my full height. I think it was the following week that this was validated for me when my beloved elder and teacher, who was instrumental in my becoming a Pipe Carrier, died and I was handed the reins of the weekly Pipe Circle that she had led for years. Through the grief and surreal feelings surrounding her passing, I could feel my roots deepening and holding me in a sense of rightness. I felt prepared and ready for this honor.

So at the river today I asked White Buffalo Calf Woman if there were anything I'm doing wrong or that I need to do differently to shift things in order to stay afloat and be available to support my community. It is still sometimes difficult to override the old Catholic upbringing and not take seemingly unfortunate events as some sort of punishment, or at least as a result of doing something wrong. Of course her answer was that there was nothing wrong.

"Listen to your own words that you tell others," she told me, going on to quote a live video I'd done the night before, "You are perfect. There is nothing wrong with you, and you have done nothing wrong. You are still in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. It is so easy for you to see this in others but you exclude yourself. There is nothing wrong and there is nothing to fix. We told you we would not let you fall, and so we shall not."

She explained how, with the earlier occurrence and the deepening of my roots, that the majority of my energy is literally focused below the surface, underground, to establish the stronger foundation with my roots embracing the earth as she embraces me, so that I can grow into the person I came here to become. Hence the lack of work coming to me above the surface at the moment. 

Suddenly her words were interrupted by the realization that in my mind's eye I was staring into the eye of a horse, whose head hove right in front of my face. A little startled I exclaimed, "Wind Dancer?!" Almost immediately I realized this wasn't my Horse power animal with whom I was well acquainted. This horse's coat was brown rather than the pure white of Wind Dancer, and his energy was much more serious and intense than Wind Dancer's playful rompiness. The name that came with him was "Salvik" and he informed me that he had been my horse many lifetimes ago. At this time he was coming forward to help me remember my personal power and to carry me to new horizons beyond what I had known thus far in this life. 

I found myself on his back running across a very Mongolian appearing barren landscape. He told me to feel the wind and to let it cleanse me, blowing from me anything that was not mine to hold onto. It was exhilarating and I could feel my stomach clenching at our unbridled power and speed. "Yes," he smiled, "That! Your Solar Plexus, the seat of your power! Let it open and ease into this new level of power now surging through you!"

At that I notices that Salvik had extended wings from his sides -- Not bird wings like Pegasus but batwings like... a Dragon! At that same instant it registered in my mind that I wasn't bobbing up and down anymore because we were no longer running -- We were flying! We were soaring just above the ground at a horse's normal height. To accentuate this entire experience, it was at this moment that an Osprey chose to call out twice, a rather dragon-sounding call, and settle into a tree across the river from me, Osprey's message being "Eyes on the prize! Stay the course without distraction."

When I returned home I looked up the name Salvik to see what it meant, not to mention whether it actually existed. It does exist, is of very old Russian or Polish origin, and has spread throughout Central and South Eastern Europe as well as non-Slavic countries such as France and Germany. It is actually a pet name for the given name Stanislav and it means "Someone who achieves glory and/or fame."

So despite the familiar nervous flutterings in my stomach, I feel reassured that everything is unfolding in harmony and according to plan. I am learning to trust the patterns of ebb and flow as I ride my Dragon-Horse to glory!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Omega and Alpha

 It was about 12 years ago that I began The Golden Thread Road blog, immediately following a Vision Quest in the course of which White Buffalo Calf Woman made her self known to me and began guiding me in ways that I'm only now beginning to understand. I've been telling people recently that it's like my life is like the Harry Potter series (the movies for me as I bashfully admit to not having read the books). At the so called "beginning" of this shamanic path, shortly after my divorce around 15 years ago, everything was brand new with a seemingly random novelty to them...

...My main Power Animal spirit guide is one of Santa's Reindeer named Nathaniel whose first words to me were "You don't need wings to fly!"

...Journeying to meet my Upper World Spirit Teacher, I ended up in Olympus excitedly awaiting to see which Greek Deity (otherwise why Olympus?) would volunteer to be my guide, when I look over and see Mr. Rogers sitting on a stone bench inviting me over to sit with him. "Call me Fred."

...White Buffalo Calf Woman AND Sitting Bull both appear to me in my Vision Quest and continue guiding me for years, Sitting Bull eventually handing off the reigns to Standing Bear, renowned chief of the Ponca tribe.

Random, right? Not so much. And now I get the inklings of a deeper meaning to my path, named The Golden Thread Road by White Buffalo Calf Woman based on a vision I had in the late 80s before I knew anything about shamanism, as a golden thread has been emerging that ties all these things together into a bigger, more profound picture, than had at first appeared. Just like with Harry Potter, all the elements were there at the beginning, and as the characters grew and evolved a deeper reality and plot was revealed so we realize there was nothing random or accidental about any of it.

And so it is with my Golden Thread Road. Things are coming into focus now that connect and make sense of the seemingly random occurrences and experiences of the past decade and a half, not to mention all the years prior. This bigger vision comes on the threshold and rite of passage for myself, again not by accident, as I step willingly, if a little hesitantly, into a bigger, more profound role than I would have ever mapped out for myself. With this widening of vision and deepening of purpose comes a new name bestowed upon me by my spirit helpers, and fittingly it seems appropriate to bring this Golden Thread Road blog to a close as I open to a new set of experiences and journeys - Journeys of the Wind Buffalo.

When I began The Golden Thread Road, it was at the behest of White Buffalo Calf Woman at that original vision quest when she told me, "Your path is to be shared." That sharing has tapered off over the years and particularly in the last couple years amid the Covid pandemic -- Though one of the most active periods of my spiritual life, there has been little if any sharing here. Granted, with the pandemic came new avenues of sharing as I branched out into live videos, offering weekly readings and ceremonies to support and uplift my community, but my blog lay, for all intents and purposes, fallow. And that is okay. I tend to get down on myself for not continuing with such commitments, but with clearer sight I can see that it's the way it was meant to be. My path over the past couple years needed the darkness and silence of Mother Earth in order to grow the necessary roots to support me in its sharing. And so comes time, even as the earth herself begins to turn toward the vibrancy of Spring, a quickening takes place within me as the buds begin to show their faces, and I begin anew with a new blog - Wind Buffalo Journeys

The story of the new name will have to wait. I merely wanted to begin the process, this post being the last post in The Golden Thread Road (Omega) and the first post in Wind Buffalo Journeys (Alpha), one blog melding into the next as the colors of the rainbow blend one into the other, and as Winter gently transforms into Spring. 

I have many stories from the past to share, as well as those from wherever this path of mine will lead, and my deepest hope through their sharing is that they add to the enlightenment and empowerment of your own path as we walk in beauty, hand in hand, arm in arm, toward home.