Much of my life has revolved around nature and being outside. My dad was a botanist and naturalist and he and my mom took my brother and I hiking and camping a lot when we were growing up in upstate New York. I always felt at home outside, with my bare feet in the grass or dirt and the plant and stone beings all around. It’s been the same in my adult life too, hiking, gardening, just sitting under trees. It seems like I fell out of the habit the past year, as I was devoting more time to activities that had an indoors focus, like writing and other creative projects.
For this year I have made getting out into nature a priority. Going hand in hand with this is that I have entered a mentorship with nature spirits. My teacher is an elemental, and most of my learning has been taking place in non-ordinary reality during shamanic journeys and dreamtime. But he has told me that I also need to spend more time outside with the nature spirits to get used to seeing them as they appear in ordinary reality.
So now I am out as much as I can be, strolling around the neighborhood, and trail hiking once a week. Even though in my current apartment I don’t have a garden or a yard, I feel very fortunate that there are so many amazing trails and forests and woodlands nearby. And because it’s western Oregon, there are waterfalls and ocean only an hour away in any direction.
I like exploring new trails, hiking for a while, then going off the into a grove of trees and sitting to focus on meeting the deva of the area. I like to get a feel for the places I’m walking in, taking note of what I feel in my body and my energy field. Much of the time I find the places feel good, light, sometimes magical as I can feel the nature spirits all around.
Last weekend I ended up on a section of trail in a managed part of the McDonald forest that felt uncomfortable. I didn’t notice it right away, but as I walked, I noticed a heaviness, and a vague sense of unease. I looped back towards the first section of trail that felt fine and light and spotted a dense grove where I could sit hidden from the trail. I sat on the edge of the large stump of what once was an old growth tree. It had rained earlier, and everything was freshly dripping, fragrant with damp cedar, fir and earth. A bird flitted by my head, unconcerned by my presence. I felt welcomed and closed my eyes. I reached out my consciousness in greeting to any deva or nature spirit of the area.
A large presence came in with the essence of evergreen. Boughs and needles formed a vague face that streamed from a green etheric mass of lifeforce energy. They communicated a request for help to my subconscious, which responded by forming a geometric figure in the shape a faceted blue diamond for it.
“Yes.”, they responded. “Three more.” The blue diamonds formed in my mind behind closed eyes and were gathered up by the forest deva in its essence. Then with a breeze of gratitude, they were gone.
It all happened very quickly and afterwards I tried not let my conscious mind analyze it too much. My shamanic mentor and dear friend, Cheri Melton, who works with devas, has told me about her experiences building energetic structures with devas. The devas then use these structures to return balance to the land. I knew these geometric figures were going to be used to build something to bring harmony the area.
I was left feeling immense gratitude for the spirits for involving me in their world and their work. I will go back to that trail in a few weeks and see if there has been a shift in how the energy feels. Maybe I will meet the deva of the forest again and tell them how much I love their work.
*Note –The deva has no specific gender so am using the gender neutral pronoun “they” as I do not feel comfortable using the term “it” for one so vibrant and alive.
The subject of power often comes up in shamanic practice. Power within comes from the knowledge that one can respond to situations from a place of inner strength and integrity. Power is also shared as a partnership with helping spirits, as in with one’s power animals. It’s very common to hear about and to have power animal retrievals. A shamanic practitioner can work with helping spirits to retrieve a power animal for a person who may have been separated from theirs. We can also track where we may have lost power in other ways and retrieve it.
Just about everyone has experienced giving power away or having it taken from them. Often this comes with a feeling of being victimized. With assistance from helping spirits we can go back to those points on our timeline where we felt like we gave away our power to another person or circumstance. We can work with our helping spirits in non-ordinary reality and gather up our lost power.
This week I recently had a major power retrieval situation come up for my own healing. I went back to Arizona for the holidays to visit family. Driving in Tucson I turned down 22nd street, instead of another road I had planned to take. My arms moved the wheel while my mind was occupied with something else. I realized I was going by a duplex where I lived for three years back in my early 20’s. There were many painful points in those years, coming up from the deepest rock bottom I had ever been in my life. Pluto was just coming out of conjunction with my natal sun back then, its depths obscuring my brightness and bringing many of my shadows up for me to deal with in a harsh way. What I remember most from that time is feeling like a victim; of relationships, society, and circumstance. Now almost thirty years later my shamanic self is finding this route not accidental, but a meaningful nudge from helping spirits.
I did a check in. Am I coming back by here because there are still cords to cut to disconnect me from the energy of this place? No, not cords, but I’m seeing that there are threads of power that need to be reclaimed and brought back home to myself. An Ah-hah moment! Then later due to road work, I had to detour and drive through another neighborhood where I lived before the duplex, which was the point where I began my slide down into that lowest, darkest time of my life. Ahh, now this is getting very interesting.
As I’m heading south on the interstate, I’m thinking about the timing of revisiting so many places I used to live. And I’m thinking about all the times and places in my life where I have lost or given away power. I realize that I need to do a journey to reclaim and gather back that power. Right after that thought, a semi-trailer comes into view, and painted on the side is a green lightning bolt and the word SKY. Power, Sky. I laughed out loud. Sometimes Spirit wants to make sure I really get the message!
The day after I got home from my trip, I sat before my altar and went into journey. My helping spirits took me to the places in non-ordinary reality where my lost power was waiting for me. We visited five places. In each case my lost power was being looked after by guardian spirits who were glad to return it, and told me about the gifts that were returning with it.
This kind of work is profoundly personal, but my helping spirits want me to share a little of what I experienced to help others understand this kind of healing. In one part of my journey a gray-green swirling water whirlpool appeared. There was a tunnel going down through the middle of it. Suddenly from out of this tunnel rises a big beautiful dragonfly, iridescent with water droplets. It flies around me sprinkling water on me, its presence full of joy which rains down on me. I feel the joyful iridescence infusing my energy field and into my cells, and especially my eyes. I was shown that this related to a time thirty years ago when the water company shut off our water for non-payment. I remember the feeling of helplessness and anger as I was pleading with the water company employee that there had been some mistake as my husband had told me he had paid the bill (he hadn’t). The gift in this power return was primarily joy, but also the ability to see through illusion.
I have had plenty of joy in my life since then. This gift was related to the power of joy and trust that I had lost in this one incident. Its loss in effect was a small hole in my energetic make-up, that is now filled in and repaired. It was apparently a nexus point of some kind for me that required this attention. Not every power loss is going to require this kind of specific healing.
Being open to the messages that our spirit helpers send our way will help us track what kind of work needs to be done to return us to wholeness. The more we can achieve wholeness, the more inner power we can hold. That makes it easier for us to do our work, to help others, and to shine our light in the world.
Shamanism, or Spirit Medicine*, is universal because it is a unique relationship between a person and their helping spirits. That relationship transcends cultures, ages, and epochs. It’s a completely individual experience, yet the framework for it has remained relatively unchanged for millennia. Spirit reaches out to those it wants to work with, those who are meant to walk on this path. There are a lot of us walking this path now, here to help humanity as it stands on this precarious brink of transformation to either an evolved state or annihilation of ourselves and our home.
When Spirit reaches out to a person, they know it. The calling to this path can be a profound one such as a near death experience or a severe illness. It can be a life-changing event like a divorce, or a bankruptcy or losing a job. It can also come from a natural psychic ability, or a deep affinity for Spirit. And it can also come in gentle nudges, moving you into contact with people and experiences that work like sudden pathways or doors opening up to you, calling you to explore.
In my own experience, it was an abrupt divorce. After 14 years of maintaining codependence in a difficult relationship, I suddenly had to gather and stand in my own power. At the time I was only working part-time and anxious about how I would provide for my 18-month-old daughter. I was also angry, mostly at myself, for letting myself get into this situation in the first place. Finding my empowerment was a slow process, but Spirit was there supporting me all the way.
We lived in a rural area in southern Arizona at the time, with miles of open space around us, neighbors few and far between. The land was my solace. Most days I would put my daughter into her stroller and the dog and I would wheel her down the long bumpy rocky driveway and dirt road to the mostly dry riverbed nearby. I felt comfort being offered to me from the giant cottonwoods that lined the bank of the river. I received healing from the changing river bed itself, full of water and mud in the summer and full of leaves in the fall and winter.
It was on one of these walks that a song came to me. It was short and rather odd, and kept repeating over and over as I walked rhythmically down the dusty road. I knew that it was a song of power. At that time, I didn’t know what to do with it. Even though I had always been interested in shamanism, I did not think that it could ever be my path. I filed that curious song away, and concentrated on finding a full-time job and taking care of my daughter.
Seven years later as I was studying with my first shamanic teacher, that song came back to me. I could understand it and begin to work with it. And today, ten years after that, that song is integrated into my being, wrapped around my DNA and woven through my energy body. And the calling blossomed into a relationship with all my helping spirits, full of amazing synchronicities, grace and ultimate trust.
I am so grateful for hearing the calling through the pain and chaos back then. That major turning point in my life was what brought me back to my true self, my purpose in this lifetime, and the path of my heart.
Whatever is happening in your life, keep your awareness honed. A calling, a song of power, a synchronicity is coming to guide you on your path. Be ready.
*Spirit Medicine is a term Hank Wesselman uses that I really like
To help you tend to soul issues that may manifest in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual aspects of your life, and to give you tools to empower your path to harmony and well-being.
-There are so many kindred spirits doing the work out there. I include these links to help our community connect with one another.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -
Energy Intuitive and Nature Communicator - Cheri Melton's work with Devas and Nature Spirits is profound. So happy to have her as a friend and mentor -