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Shifting Awareness Through Shamanic Eyes 4.09
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“I am part of the rain forest protecting myself.” --John Seed  

In the Koyukon world, “trees are aware of whatever happens around them, and like all living things they participate in a constant interchange of power…the tree I lean against feels me, hears what I say about it, and engages me in a moral reciprocity based on responsible use…the forest is both a provider and a community of spiritually empowered beings. There is no emptiness in the forest, no unwatched solitude...” --Richard Nelson, The Island Within  

This morning I stood at my window as the sun filtered in through dew-sparkling, lichen-covered Blue Oak branches. The light changed from red-orange to gold to white-gold, surrounding my body, filling my cells. In my hand a stone from San Bruno Mountain sparkled crystal veins. I became aware of the whole Bay--the waters, the mountains, the cities, the people I love--and thought, “This is my body. This is my being. Not just this small physical body, but the body of the earth. I am connected, all the time. All I have to do is open my awareness to this connection.” 

The Shamanic Way of Opening

A wonderful, inspiring way of opening awareness and accessing our sacred wisdom is, for me, through shamanic journeying. It is an empowering way to discover answers we need, and to develop our relationships with spirit beings and ancestors, animals and mountains, earth elements and star beings. 

Reciprocal relationship is key. Power animals and spirit guides--all the beings in “non-ordinary reality”--are ready and willing to help us. The more we get to know them, work and play with them, and develop a relationship with them, the more they show us how to experience deep connection and mystical vision!

I have always found that my spirit helpers give me the exact guidance I need at any given time: they don’t push me beyond what I can do, and they keep me on track. They help me develop my own internal authority, and discover the divinity that lives within each of us. My job is to formulate specific questions when I am asking for help, to pay attention, and to maintain a reciprocal relationship with the beings who help me. That means I hang out with them; thank them; make them offerings; treat them as friends. 

Remembering What Is In Our Cells 

Molecular anthropologists say that we are all ancestors of 12 to14 people who moved north from Africa into Europe, and across the Himalayas into Siberia, across the Bering Straits, and into the Americas. Knowing this DNA connection, the traditional native North American phrase “all my relations” takes on deeper meaning. Knowing this DNA connection, the prophesies of cultures worldwide, regarding this time of change and opportunity leading to 2012, take on new meaning. The worldview of shamanism is in our cells; what we need to do is re-member. 

All of us who practice shamanism have remembered by learning experientially, by doing, by exploring. Rhythmic percussion--drumbeat, didgeridoo, rattle--is a good vehicle, because percussion shifts our energy and alters our brainwaves, allowing us to stop “thinking” and access different threads of imagination, knowing, and “seeing in the darkness.” We talk of becoming a “hollow bone” to allow insight to flow through us and out again, bringing balance to the world. We “see with our hearts,” a crucial skill in this time of change. And we learn to “step between worlds” as seamlessly as a bilingual speaker switches languages. 

Stepping Between Worlds

This ancient practice of stepping between worlds--shifting out of purely visual and mental understanding into experiential, energetic, heart awareness--broadens and deepens our connections to the alive, inspirited, quantum world we inhabit. 

Our questions and experiences in the concrete, physical world frame our quest for guidance in the spirit world. Let me share a few examples of how this works with both personal and global issues.

One of my dogs, named Waiki, was diagnosed last year with lymphoma. As I worked to heal her on the physical and energetic levels, I also wanted to know how to help her as she crossed over. Since this question was beyond my mundane knowing, I went to the spirit world for help. My helpers showed me images of exactly how to bury her. As soon as I made a physical altar with the bones that were to accompany her, Waiki came into my healing space (not her ordinary behavior), smelled everything, and lay down. From then on, she periodically returned to “sit” with these bones, this transition; it was reassuring to both of us. As she got sicker, I returned to my helpers to make sure I was doing everything I could, learning more about the role Waiki would play after she died. When we buried Waiki, I was prepared and incredibly comforted in the reassurance I had received.

With the threat of a flu pandemic creating much fear in people, my journey group decided to merge with a mountain spirit, asking “what do we need to know?” and then asking the spirits of swine flu, avian flu, and/or mutating viruses for more information. Experientially, our journeys were profound (it was a challenge to speak afterwards!). Each of us, as is typical with “world work,” received personal guidance on what to focus on: “Dissolve the illusion of boundaries.” “You are not grounded if you are resistant.” “Mutation is a vibration, not an enemy.” “Silence.” “Clear water.” “Wind is the connector between the solidity of mountain and the fluidity of mutation.” Such guidance, if we follow it, is what then helps us shift awareness, and shift our consciousness.


Developing relationships with our helping spirits empowers us. As we connect more deeply with what Martin Prechtel calls our indigenous souls,” we can live in a more powerful way; enhance our connections to all beings; and find the specific answers we need at any particular time! As indigenous peoples have for fifty thousand years, we can use shamanic practices to find our way back into harmony with the universe and our own souls, forging sacred, reciprocal relationships that nurture the planet. 

An invitation: Send your paradigm-shifting, inspiring stories to us. We'd like to include your experiences in the newsletter!

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