Category Archives: Spiritual Sociology

The Raven’s Lesson

And I told her, “You have to make a choice. You can’t go around looking for something or someone to tell you what to do. Where to go. Especially in your spiritual life. That’s why you left the church. You didn’t want anyone telling you what to do.“

“See, some deities and forces of nature will always be the same thing. Like how a cat will always be a cat, until it dies and become something else. A corn stalk will only be the various stages of corn stalk. But us humans, we can be anything. We can shift our consciousness and explore. We can create with our minds. We can meld as we yearn. This intelligence is what makes us special. But, because of this, we are also vulnerable. This is what I am talking about. Our openness makes us easy to entrance, to seduce, to be tempted away from the path we have been treading on when we are not sure if we really want to leave it. So we have be careful.“

“Don’t be fooled, my friend.”, I said. “That there are many deities that are like the corn stalk. If you go to an applesauce maker and you start asking him about peanuts, eventually, you are going to find yourself talking about apples. If you go to the Mother-mother Goddess, she will bring out the mother goddess in you, no matter what the topic. The Mother Goddess force will make you want to stretch your love for anyone, whether it is good for you or not. And then if you go see someone else about the same matter, say Aphrodite, she will show you something entirely different, but very Aphrodite-like.

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“It’s prisms upon prisms. It is hard to know which is what. That is why we keep in close contact with our teacher guides. They have been and still are, shamans. They know this special skill of blending and yearning and twisting and turning around the rivers of energetic influences in the cosmic and real life scenarios. They know how to come back home for respite and leave those influences outside the door. The teachers, they stay outside the drama and they give really good advice. They tell us how and whether to deal with new spirits. They don’t ever get up on the throne or give commands. They rather inspire and speak sweetly. And if they yell, it is out of concern for us. It is never an admonishment. We still have to make our choices.

“We are taught the craft of discernment. Of gratitude to the various beings and forces around us, of the ways of merging, detachment, respect and incorporation. If we can keep our heads, we really can have it all. It’s fun and it only works as we learn to stay in our center. Yes, it’s important to have great respect and honor for our Spirit helpers, but the relationship is reciprocal, not hierarchical. Yes, they are vastly more powerful than we are, but they are not interested in bossing us around, and don’t have life plan for us either. Their agenda is to help us come closer to our own center. How that is manifested on our physical plane is up to us.

“If you are actively looking for spirit to tell you what to do, you are looking for another prison. You are lying down when there is work to do. You are letting your fears take over you. The final answers to what we are looking for are not going to come from the lips of a spirit guide. They are going to come from the realizations we have when encountering the pressure, the currents of life. Well, the spirit guides might tell us those things, but we won’t understand them until life teaches them to us in spades.

“All of the helping spirits are talking about love. While some are committed to supporting our discovery process, others have their specific way to get to it. Kind of like a relative keen on ‘helping’ or a friend obsessed with a hobby. No one can tell you your way. Only you know your way. Maybe your way is through another prison, I don’t know. Maybe I was giving you this big speech because I was just hoping for some company along my own path.”

~~~

She had stopped listening and was receding, I could tell. This frightened me and I became angry.

I shouted, “As Above, So Below. It’s not a celebration every day in the spirit world. There’s a lot of work to do, beginning with ‘Why am I so afraid?’. Can you have a relationship with spirit without giving your power away? Can you accept the love that these great beings have to share with us without feeling unworthy or tremendously better-than-anyone-else worthy?”

I told her that there wasn’t enough room in the boat for everyone when we are all off on our own, looking for the perfect boat, which only seats one, or maybe two, or maybe enough room for a handful of friends. We didn’t even have to go anywhere. We could stay right here and focus on the shadows in the room. And our friendship.

“Let’s do this together”, I said. “Let’s do the great adventure. The one where you fall down and then you wander around wondering why that happened, and then you meet someone new, and then you lose yourself, and then you find yourself again except that you are different. Then you relax into yourself as much as you can with having been changed, and then you get used to it, until it becomes too much and you have to hit the road again. Another growth spurt. See who’s still around from the last round.”

~~~

But she wasn’t around anymore. She had gone back to her search and I was left alone, with my shame and anger. The raven was hop, hop, hopping outside my window and the glass of water next to the sink was once again, my only friend. My truth burned at me through the vanity mirror and my eyes looked away.

“Dammit”, I said, “Why can’t you just be nice?”

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Oligarchy Spell Revealed! The Imposition of Images and the Internalization of Black Magic

There is an insidious black magic woven into the customs of our current ‘civilized’ societies. Its source is greed and its result is loss – loss of self, of values and in every interpretation of the phrase, loss of life. It has a specific mechanism of which we are all familiar with. It is in plain sight, the best place for something lethal to hide; our acclimation and apathy fuels its seat as it digs in deeper the longer it remains a function of our everyday lives.

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It started with the road-side hucksters, the common jesters (not the bards) and the politicians. As the tools to proliferate communication developed over history, this very simple technique of manipulation became the staple of every marketing campaign across the world. People go to school to learn how to form these spells. They do school projects and take exams in how to manipulate your emotions, so it’s important to know what’s being targeted at you.

This is how it works:

Phase One. In order to make someone vulnerable, one must make that person lower their guard, so the best way to do that is to entrance them. To get them ungrounded and a bit drifted away from their center so that they are more impressionable. More open to suggestion. More open to believing something that just isn’t true. Here comes the glamor spell. It is a sexy body. It is a cooing baby. It is a cool glass of water, a day in the mountains. All of these things are meant to invoke emotion and open our field. We might even feel emotions like disgust, shame, self-hatred or sorrow. Maybe it is the adrenaline rush of extreme violence. We all know that the more acclimated to violence we are, the more severe it has to be in order to affect us. We understand this, and think that this understanding protects us.

In any case, once we are in that state, feeling that emotion, phase Two is put into play.

Phase Two is creating a link or an anchor between your strong emotion and whatever it is that the creator of this spell – this curse – wants to lodge deep into your psyche. If you are feeling a positive emotion, then their product or idea will be presented as a path for you to get to that emotion in the future. If you are feeling a difficult emotion, then their idea or product is presented as a way to escape that feeling, – that was just invoked in you, an emotion based on a situation that usually was not even based in real life.

Often, all that is inserted, deep into your psyche is a logo. This is called branding. Once the anchor is made, all the company has to do is to present the logo in order for that emotion to be re-invoked.

Think about it. iPhone or Android? Mac or PC? How do those two words feel inside of you? Are your reasons based in any truth? Aren’t both companies engaged in destroying the planet?

Whatever the image, it becomes a handle that can be pulled at a future time. It can be as simple as that, or it can be the building block of a more complicated language that is all rooted and hooked deep in different parts of your psyche.

The machine of incessant images has been able to create value systems that even if we know that we do not subscribe to, we are pulled into and shamed by. Only skinny can be beautiful. The only kind of wealth that has any value is of money. Young is people. Only white people really exist. By refraining from showing images of normal lives and only showing images of imaginary life, everyone starts to lean towards trying to live imaginary lives. We have become puppets.

At this point, Phase Three, all that is needed in order to portray a whole lot of messages without even having to say them, is to present a recycled archetype that was created by this system long ago.

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Phase Three. The internalization and eventual regurgitation of the entire process. This is where, without prompting or further brain-washing, people take it upon themselves to continue the patterns of entrancing in order to fill their own personal and small business needs. It’s a dog eat dog world. Everyone else is doing it, so I must too.

The destructive virus of thought-form creation is even in our alternative, progressive subcultures. Subcultures that aren’t run by corporations, that don’t have to be that way, that are supposed to run on a different set of values. Unfortunately, until people are able to root out their internalized mechanisms, they will still be trying to fit in, to be ‘someone’, to climb a ladder when we don’t believe in ladders, to give preference to those with shallow, sparkly qualities that are not nourishing to anyone, to glamor others in order to ‘survive’. Who gets most of the attention? Who is collecting the money? Who is given promotion into the ‘cool’ positions? It’s exactly the same game as in mainstream culture. The images are not the same; they are a little bit different. But they are the same.

We have all seen spiritual teachers, yoga teachers, public speakers trying to enamor people to want to take their classes, who use their sexual energy to draw people in. We have seen dogma manufactured that is designed to make us wonder, to make us look outside ourselves for happiness and fundamentally doesn’t really make a lot of sense. But it still gets repeated over and over, because it serves those who want you to think of them as your source of wisdom and revelation.

There is a big difference between commercial advertising and someone beaming in their authentic, unique light, sharing their medicine so others can find theirs. We have all had enough of people casting glossy projections of themselves in order to hook people into wanting to be like them, but we allow it to continue. We allow it by giving these people our energy. Many of us actually want to be taken on a ride because it’s much more like eating a chocolate chip sundae than doing the work within. This is the where the loss comes in. We give our precious, divine energy, time, money to forces, companies and people who do not have our best interest in mind and actually are willing to go to psychological warfare to get what they want. It pulls us more and more outside of ourselves. It can pull and pull until we don’t know what happened or who we are anymore.

This, my friends, is addiction.

Phase Four, the most lethal phase, is when both the source and the receiver of the black spell becomes ourselves. We mentally impose pictures over our own experiences, comparing them to illusory images we have seen in the outside world and then we give our experience a grade. Am I having fun? I am attractive? Did I do that like the guy on the show I liked? Would they think I was crazy? Does this mean that I am getting closer to the life that I have been shown? Am I doing this right?

We think that we should be happy – all the time. Not just content or at peace with the wide spectrum of life, but blissful. If we are not the kind of happy we think we should be, we impose images on ourselves in order to invoke the emotion we want. Then we run to a product or we put music on to drown out our true feelings. Or we create flowery dogmatic language to describe our reality in a way that makes it more epic-like. But nobody lives an epic, not like in the movies. Actually, the epics which are our true lives are far more interesting and fruitful, it’s too bad Hollywood wouldn’t just get a clue on that. How about a show around the inner workings of a blue collar town where all the characters are at work or running to get their kids or at the grocery store?

Repercussions

We all know this stuff but do we really think about it enough? As children, we naturally modeled ourselves to those around us. We had no scope of the world and human behavior. We were trying out ways of being. Many of us had very mixed up big people around us to show us what love was supposed to be. But we were trusting of those big people. We didn’t know any better. The thing is, if we never got a chance or a challenge to figure out for ourselves what is right for us, what our values are, we are still susceptible to outside forces to tell us how to think.

Because the media has become our parents and the strong comfort of reliable friendships is not presented to us anymore, we meet someone we like and wonder if they are going to be the one to take us away from our lives to an permanent castle of love bliss. We look around the world and we see the downcast, the millions of people who are not rich or skinny and we blot them out in our minds. This goes for people of color as well. If they don’t exist in fantasy land, we don’t want to engage with them in the real world.

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[art by Aeryn Davies]

 This is called marginalization.

The revolutionary battleground in countries like ours is not out in the streets. Oh no, we are a “free country”. We would see no need for that. Besides, we have become so apathetic that we would not know where to begin or who to target, since the incessant mental attacks comes from every corner in current times. Every corner.

We owe this to ourselves. We have to stop thinking that the world of adults is full of grownups and strive to be one. If we don’t extricate ourselves from this twisted, sticky web, no one will do it for us. We can’t withdraw from this black magic without withdrawing from its loudest sources. We have to stop looking around the corner hoping something better is coming around. We have to commit, to ourselves and the life of authenticity, which is the only life that can bring true satisfaction.

Even so, we could invest great amounts of time and money in therapy finding ourselves, but the moment we are strong and ready to rejoin the world, we will find that the world has not changed. Yet. The barrage of mis-messages will still be there, challenging our true values without cease. No one can withstand that without significant spiritual support and clear boundaries around what goes in their cauldron. So we need each other. We can’t do it alone, even for ourselves. We can’t shut down entirely. We are social creatures and we are part of this world. Metaphysically, isolation leads to death, but in this world, overexposure is another kind of death? Managing this, navigating this is our puzzle.

First step, is to clean house and get to know our values.

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Our Sacred Cauldron is our inner vessel. It is our bodies, our minds, our very souls. What we choose to expose ourselves to, is how we take care of this vessel, this tabernacle. This means media, food, people, music, communities. We choose what is good for us. We have to stop trying to live other people’s lives or fantasy lives and live our own.

We need to get away from the swarm of messages, get off the high speed train, the Ferris wheel, the pheromone ride, the puppet dance – and stop running around, slow the fuck down and be more present with the people that we call our friends. We need remember to listen within and without and let arise that which is singing underneath the debris of catastrophic psychological and spiritual warfare. This song is a pure song, we know, because it arises by itself with no prompting. We need to trust that life is inherently resilient and that the fresh inspiration that comes from a real sunrise or the gait of a heron -not the photoshopped pictures of them that we place in front of them – will always be real. These are the types of things that cannot be changed or marketed.

Life is something to behold, not to manufacture. The images between ourselves and our lives can be eradicated, first by disassociating from their sources, then by nourishing that which is nourishing and real to us. If you don’t know what is nourishing to you, be excited, be still. Your body will tell you when you find yourself trying something new and relaxing into joy. Maybe some of you will find joy.

There is so much to learn about nourishing the good in life, about holding space for all parts of the cycles of life, death, sorrow, the delicious mundane and joy in our lives. For now, hopefully there has been enough said here for you to be able to understand and take apart a powerful mechanism which binds so many of us.

Knowledge and discernment is power. Real power.

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by Tasara

The Quest for Spiritual “Power” and Spiritual Awareness

What is it about Power?

Power. Power. Lots of people seem to be seeking power in their spiritual, self-evolutionary.. path of power.

Personal power, spiritual power, the power to, to… what?

The power to impress? Who? Oneself?

Ironically, power is all around us. It is in the air. It is in our bones. It runs through our emotional body. Most of us are knocked over, overwhelmed day in and day out by power coming from sources around us. So, there is nothing to look for. As for our personal power, it too is enormous, but often smattered across a myriad of interests, concerns and emotional investments which we may or may not have consciously chosen to engage in. How are we able to truly experience the magnitude of our personal power when it is rarely centered in one place?

The focus we need is not in finding power. It is in removing our precious energy from the activities, people, habits and media that do not serve us. We need to bring it all back to the core. Then we can redirect the power both around us and within us to align with our true values. This way we may become effective channels for powerful change and healing in a good way.

We can lose personal power through trauma, through soul loss, in power-animal disconnection as well as through entanglement with other beings or spiritual systems. When we commit ourselves to the healing journey, over time, personal power returns to us. It returns sometimes in big satchels all at once, through rejuvenating lifestyle changes. It can come in a POW through a major spiritual healing to be wondered at and re-embodied over time. Personal power can also come back to us like the tide, sure and steady, gradual and reawakening, as we grow and learn to root our passions from the center instead of always reaching out.

So, our quest is not in finding power but in reclaiming the power connected to our bodies so we can focus it towards the areas where we do our life work. Then we will naturally experience deep healing, have courage to face up to our fears and then with all our extra energy, lavish the world with our unkempt, beautiful passion. Our raw, wild power has been too long held down by twisted, mangled ideas. It’s time to clean them out.

May our values be our true beacon. Those values which guide us to right action, which the power-filled spirits can get behind and support. May our spiritual training be in learning the secrets of Power-With, as we learn to open ourselves to the vast resources of wisdom and dedication from these spirits willing to be our partners in bringing discordant energies back into balance.

For, we do not do anything alone. We do not create without resources. We do not affect without connection and we do not bridge without other parties. The way to move power is Together. This is more healing, individually and collectively than anything we could attempt to do alone. “Working with” requires that we work through our fear of other to learn discernment and then trust. Trust, fundamentally, in ourselves. Trust, always, in the allies we have met in the other planes. Trust, gradually in the people who we have forged our bonds with, based on the values that we hold in common.

Power is in aligning ourselves to our values so that we may be a clear channel and in learning how to redirect power to align with our clear selves.

So, I ask you, why do you want magical power? What will you do with it? What will you do? What is it for? Are you clear?

If our goal was to gain personal power and we hadn’t sorted out what are values were, what a convoluted message that would be to the spirits!

Would you really want power if you weren’t clear?

And Spiritual Awareness?

What is spiritual awareness? To be aware of stuff that our physical senses do not pick up, right?  Some people find themselves infinitely frustrated in this area, a-liking themselves to a board or a little pea when it comes to spiritual awareness. Before striving to leap into the realm of the ‘claire’s’ (clairvoyant, clairsentient, etc.), it may be helpful to ask oneself how much of the physical senses are really being paid attention to, to begin with. When you listen to your loved ones are you really listening? Are you aware of their posture, the subtleties in their voice, the strain on their face perhaps? Are you using your mind to understand the context and history of the conversation? Can you listen to all of that in addition to the words that are coming through? How is it that you know what someone else is thinking?

When you have revelations or ideas, do you allow them to fill you and flesh out or do you take the information and keep flying? When you have ‘gut feelings’, what part of your body do you feel them in? Do you “see”, do you “feel”, do you just “know” in your heart?

Asking oneself these questions can really help get a scope of what is already there. Spiritual awareness is just an extension of physical senses. The lines can get blurry, so it is easy to discredit something that feels so..natural.

Why do you want to be spiritually aware? Are you not getting the information you need already? Are you following your heart’s desire and your true values or do you need something supernatural to tell you something you already know?

One wonderful thing about developing spiritual senses is that it allows us to know deeply that we are not alone. We can communicate with our spirit guides with lucidity. We can understand the connections between events in our lives more fully (through more senses). We can actively partake in the vast web of energy that we are part of. We can merge and make love with aspects of nature that make us feel passionate.

Just as there are many people who are trying to become spiritually aware, there are many others who are trying to find a way to shut down those senses because they have become overwhelmed.

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This ties into the previous section about choosing where to engage our personal power, where we choose what to pay attention to and what not to. This can be very easy or it can seem ever elusive. Spiritual training can help one gain sovereignty over one’s psychic boundaries and be free to choose when and where to be open to the broader energies of the world.

Bless the Boundaries, Preserve the Power.
Healing to Get Us Started.

Because, really, there is a time and a place. In our culture of sensory barrage, our constant exposure to the oppression of choice, we forget that little dark quiet places can be nourishing and that in being open forever, we will inevitably drain out, fade, become less potent, lose power.

Nurturing personal power being the number one priority in life. Sound awful? Sounds healthy. We really, really cannot be of service to anyone when we are depleted and broken. How silly. In order to contribute to this gem of a world we need to be in touch with the gem of ourselves. Too many of us in the developed worlds have become like ghosts of ourselves, passing from day to day, unable to track or get traction or trace the real story of how we got here.

This power stuff. It’s so important. It’s like money; we decide how to spend it. But if our bank has been robbed or the treasure hidden elsewhere than in the chest, then it sure would be the right thing to seek the help of an experienced shamanic healer. Power loss is considered an illness and major power or soul loss is something that we need the big stuff – meaning LOVE – to bring back. Love is two or more people doing for each other or another. So, that is why healers are healers. They become a hollow bone from a place of utter service and love to allow the ultra-super-loving spirits to come in and take care of you.

Let them take care of you. When’s the last time someone took care of you? We are not looking to be bigger or better or special. We are looking to join the Indras web of infinite jewels as the jewel that we are.

Some folks cannot reach their power or awareness because they have such loss. Or because they are blocked by intrusions or a fellow soul taking a ride in their body. Helping these souls release to their heaven, removing the intrusions can get the whole system moving again.

It’s getting complicated, right? That’s what makes it so much fun! We all have our Tolkien maps etched into our bones as we pass from one entry to the next, scratching down our notes and picking up what sustenance and skills we find along the way. Oh, friends! Don’t forget to make friends on this journey. We all might look like freaks to each other but that’s why we love it. Each gem, so unique; each person, doing their very best. Earning due respect just for that – doing our best stuff.

The Trick in the Searching is in Being Present.

If we are seeking power, maybe we are not being aware of where our personal power has been spread out to or how we are letting external powers affect us. If we have no sense of power, then we may need a healer.

If we are seeking spiritual awareness, maybe we have not been still enough to understand the plethora of information that is around us, for the messages of spirit are manifest in every aspect of our experience: in our relationships with people, with the world, in the patterns of the mud splattered on the metro bus ad, in the way that woman walked in front of our car and how we reacted to it, in our own frustrations, in how we treat our bodies…

If we have become completely blocked to any messages but dullness or same-flavor pain or anxiety, perhaps we need to see a healer.

In general, if we are seeking at all, maybe we are trying to make our present match a picture of the past, or of how we think the future is .. “right around the corner”. There is no “right around the corner”. It will never exist here. It is all happening here.

When we are in our power and utilizing all of our senses, physical and metaphysical, the patterns of our world make sense. We understand that there is nothing to do. Nothing to plan for, only to be in the dance, in the present, on the wheel. Trusting in ourselves to do what we feel will align with our true values. For that is all we care about. Staying true, to our values and our word. Staying in integrity and watching the world fall into place.

Knowing that we are not alone.

by Tasara

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

Dilectable Ceremony

There is hunger for ceremony in our communities. The free, open-hearted, accessible and powerful movement of healing energy in a safe and sacred way. This sort of thing is so close to us as human creatures, it must be written in our DNA. We are creative creatures. We love symbology and we love doing things together.  ….

Full article here: http://www.alchemistsjournal.com/2012/08/guest-post-delectable-ceremony-by-tasara.html

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by Tasara

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.

https://tasara.wordpress.com/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

Respecting and honoring your spirit teachers, yourself and the spirits

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.

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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.

Tasara