Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The meaning of vivid dreams

I have been reading an excerpt from THE POWER OF PREMONITIONS by Larry Dossey, MD that first appeared in the Shaman’s Drum Magazine No.81, 2009.  Vivid dreams, that  “grab hold and just won’t let go” may indicate a warning coming from the future, or the announcement of something pleasing or important , or a reminder of an agreement or intention we made that is at risk from our forgetting to take next steps.

My partner had a vivid dream about our old cat, and I drew this Journey Oracle card to understand what the message was coming in the dream’s image and action.  See if this oracle card has meaning for you.  Take a moment to remember a vivid dream—one that stayed flickering on the edges of your awareness with an urgency for translation into meaning and action.  Follow the instructions in italics as you work through this guidance from the Journey Oracle about the meaning of your vivid dream.

Gaze into the picture on the phrase side of the card.  This is an image of your situation.  Describe what you see in simple language.  These five sentences deepen the meaning.

This situation began by forgetting prayers.
The prevailing energy of this situation is roaring from the northwest.
The core energy pattern of this situation is not very common.
The Mother of this situation is many as one.
The Father of this situation is plenty.

Turn the card over and gaze into the picture on the question side of the card.
This is your relationship to the situation. Describe what you see in simple language.
These five sentences deepen the meaning.

Your relationship to the prevailing energy is filled with light.
Your perception of the situation is inward.
The impact of your perception is glowing.
The connection between the core energy pattern and the situation
 is felt as a cool breeze.
The momentum of this situation is fed by finding a mystery.

Read the sentence below.   Visualize this external support.

A relationship with business is the support that will guide you.

Gaze again at the question side of the card.  Read the question aloud.
This question about your situation came in a dream.

 Have you had enough? 
Are you making a choice?
How is this an answer to the question?    swim

Feel the question change your situation.
These sentences will deepen meaning about change coming into your situation.

 The power needed to shift this situation will be a sound of thunder.
Change will come by not being chosen.
Your relationship to the change in this situation is sparkling.
The moment of letting go into the change will smell of cool wet forest.
The concern to be avoided within this change will taste flat.

These sentences will deepen meaning about the transformation resulting from change.
The wisdom of lack of alignment will empower the transformation.
Completed transformation will be felt as a quality of riding on by.

Turn back to the phrase side of the card.  This phrase is guidance from Divine Will.

INNER  TRUTH                     

Read this guidance from the Oracle.  Some phrases more than others will echo in your situation in a way that you can best hear right now. Allow time to reflect and integrate. Wisdom will be revealed by feeling the truth of the Oracle in your own way.

confirmation of spirit power
clearing, rain

inner truth overwhelmed

not seeing you

inner truth, being seen
confirmation of spirit power
fire work
spirit signs in the physical, sudden loss
not seeing you

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Shamanic plants in your garden

 There are many powerful plants, capable of bringing shamanic connection t0 wild nature, growing just outside your door. It is true that the local plants and animals in our immediate area are the most powerfully capable of bringing spiritual and physical support into our lives.  This is why I value most receiving Cortes Island deer hides for my drums, because these creatures ingest the same rain-soaked sun-dappled plants that nod to my passing when I walk through the forest.  We are fed the same energy and the vitality of our mutual home radiates out from the drum to feed me.

This is why I chose palm frond spines to become the “yarrow stalks” for the traditional reading of the I Ching book I found while on holiday in Hawaii.  The book and the spines are related in the energy they share, and are therefore able to speak with the same vibration when I ask that Oracle for advice, as an occasional change from my Journey Oracle card deck.

 Martin Prechtel said we need to “ask the plants we grow, eat, and work with to adopt us.” This is wise counsel for our relationship to the plants in our own backyard.  When we ask the wild current if we can become its child, we become the fierce shining warrior energy of the hummingbirds that depend on this delicate flower when they first arrive from migration.  When we are adopted by the sword fern our creative efforts become filled with its ornately curling and unfurling stories.  Scotch broom is a mother that brings us such a bursting, expanding growth—we may find others are a bit overwhelmed at our own outpouring.  And who could resist being adopted by a mother skilled in the lacy weaving of grasses to support her winged children?  When we seek a shamanic connection with wild nature, we ask to be the child with wings who can soar into realms beyond our place and time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to be a student of shamanism

I have been deeply interested in shamanism for more than 35 years, following the faint trails and tracks of its wild nature.  Initially in books, rarely with a human teacher, mostly in direct experience—I have shown up again and again to something I cannot see, who doesn’t talk back in English, and who doesn’t notice if I’m tired or hungry or dispirited from lack of ease.  So how do I know I am a student of shamanism? Because the wild in nature keeps showing up to me—and this is the trickiest lesson of all.

The wild nature of spirit in the world does not accommodate my self-doubt and uncertainty by showing me again and again its message, or by waiting until I am fully ready to pay attention.  The hummingbird that appears over my head in precise alignment with my thought about the desperate business of being a wild mom keeping frail babies alive in a world where everything is food—can be a shining confirmation of motherhood’s fierce beauty, or just the flash of a little bird I didn’t quite see before it was gone.  The ability to receive shamanic teaching from wild nature is entirely my response-ability.

All the most permeating mental qualities of our human condition: anticipation, expectation, judgement, impatience, and control, seem the most toxic states for being a student of shamanism.  Whatever internal dialogue keeps me from sharing a calm and neutral moment with the wild in nature is keeping me from receiving the lesson in that moment.  This is why I consider my shamanic skill-building  “homework”  to be trance drumming, and oracle card reading and meditation, because each of these  require that  I stop telling myself stories inside my head, and listen instead to wise silence.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to receive a lesson from Nature

Several weeks ago I posted a blog about taking in a stray cat.  She has become a fine shamanic medicine teacher for me—although the lessons haven’t been easy on my ego.  I think we humans have a tendency to think we know best about almost everything concerning Nature and her creatures.  At least I imagined that the sturdy nest box I built and fitted with an insulated pad was just right for safety and comfort.  The Mama cat seemed to tolerate being inside and I was so pleased with my being in charge of her family.  And then our house sitter brought her friendly but large dog inside one cold night and Mom and the kids promptly decamped to the wilderness.

I was rough with anxiety for their safety.  What of the wolves? And owls? And everything else large and carnivorous lurking just outside the fence? When we returned I followed her after a morning food visit, and came upon a pile of kittens in a hollow log. And isn’t a hollow log the perfect wild nest with its soft, springy floor, rain-shedding cedar overhang, and entrance ramp of powdery wood?  But again I meddled, imagining that I could add a windbreak, and move her food conveniently close.  And again she moved her babies.

This time I was rough with myself: full of self-criticism at my inability to get it.  The only thing this wonderfully competent, mostly wild mother needed from me was trust. I vowed not to go and look for her new location—and managed a whole day of not knowing.  But then I was returning to the hollow log to move the remains of my interference, and up popped a Mama cat head.  She had only moved the kittens to a ground level room because presumably they were a few days too big to fit inside the log which had now become a playpen.  So there I was, stymied again.  None of this was about me.  This feline spirit of place was just going about her day, making decisions for her family, full of the rightness of her instinctual knowing.

This journey has become another kind of oracle reading for me.  Now I just go watch the kittens play in the log while Losha and I sit in companionable silence. And by the way, I’m learning to not bring anything to fix her beautiful wilderness nursery.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fine art print of a shamanic story

The subject for this chalk pastel is a literal scene taken from shamanic work I have done with my students.  The client of this work was a herd of buffalo spirits of place in Buffalo Lake, Alberta.  In dreams and forms of divination we were shown that the buffalo were still part of the nature of the place, even though now the lake edge was massed with summer cottages, boat ramps and recreational vehicles.  Their presence was strong in winter, when all the human toys were stored away and the lake edge whispered with the dry rattle of bare branches.  We understood the buffalo were starving because no one was feeding them by remembering the beauty of their living there.  And of course as spirits, they could not die, but could continue to starve.

In one of those synchronistic moments of inspiration before leaving for Edmonton, I asked my partner to make us some little arrows of wood, plus I cut some pieces of doweling and drilled holes to fit the two together—knowing not what the little boats were for.

Upon arriving and settling in our guest house on the lake , my students and I realized that the winter birds could carry our prayers as food to the buffalo, and so we set about building boats full of seeds for the birds, that they would look kindly on our request for their help.  In order not to build competition or jealous comparison into our project, which would not taste good to birds or buffalo, we passed each boat to the next woman at each next stage of its construction.

When all the boats were built and filled by everyone, we took them to every kind of terrain we could find so our prayers would fly in all the voices of the land.  From high on hills, and in the tangle of sedge and willow, and along the lake edge—we sailed our boats to feed the birds who could carry our prayers of remembering to the buffalo. And later, it did seem like everything moving among the empty, silent summer cabins that night was warm and well, and had full bellies.


Custom fine art print on acid free velvet art paper
with archival inks

17” x 11” (43 cm x 27 cm) unmatted….$190.00
shrink wrapped on foam core for shipping
shipping included

To order contact Kristen at

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