Long before I started my formal training in energy medicine or shamanic work, I resonated with the Goddess and nature traditions. I paid attention to the cycles of the moon, and to the seasons in the wheel of the year.
I wanted to give my daughter that way of seeing the natural world too. When she was little she loved to mark the new moon and the full moon with me. On the new moon we would go around the house opening the windows and doors and smudge every room with sage, saying goodbye to all the old stale energy. We would sing songs and our dogs would follow us like it was a parade. On the full moon we would carefully carry a candle throughout the house into each room welcoming in the light and its blessings. As she got older, she lost interest, so I let that ritual go. And that was okay, it gave her the foundation that I wanted her to have. And it gave me a consistency that I needed in my moon rituals then, plus a lot of sweet memories.
In my own practice my attention would fluctuate. Sometimes I would pay attention to the moon phases and how they matched up with my moon cycles. Often I would do short ceremonies or write out intentions with the new and the full moon, but not every month. Other times it was more of a mental tracking as I got more into astrology and followed the moon’s trek through the signs. Sometimes I was just too busy to notice the moon at all. So our relationship has been all over the map.
Then in this past year the moon started reaching out to me in my journeys and meditations and giving me short lessons about herself and other nature beings. I also began getting all kinds of synchronicities – receiving emails and links to podcasts about other people feeling called to renew their connection with the moon cycles. My Higher Self brought through messages about working with her by keeping track of her again. This is one of my favorites:
“There are archangels of the cosmos that hold the moon dear, it has been imbued with Divine light. What is your special connection with the moon? It is your water connection – time and tides. You are a force of water and so you move with the moon. Not just on a physical level, but on a metaphysical level. To understand what that means is to immerse yourself in the mystery of moonlight. It unravels knots. It wakes your cosmic meridians. It becomes part of you that you revel in. We want you to be aware of her, just like you are aware of any loved one. When she is coming home. When she is going out. When you connect with her you will receive the gift of knowing within you that lights up. There is no other way to explain this.”
She is a great teacher because she is visible, and we can feel her on an energetic level and work with her on an emotional and mental level. Her changing aspects reflect facets of our inner selves; waxing and waning, full and dark, each one familiar yet unique in our expression.
In the morning I sit at my altar and look at my moon calendar as part of my spiritual practice.
Where is the moon today?
What does her energy feel like?
How best can I work with her this cycle?
Where am I in my own cycle of becoming and blossoming?
I feel like I have reconnected with a whole family of wise aunties and grandmothers. And I feel like I have renewed a primal part of myself.
One of the things I like best about shamanism, and any kind of spiritual work for that matter, is the knowing that all kinds of helpers, teachers and allies are available as consultants in challenging times. And we are in some hellified challenging times right now.
Here in western Oregon in less than two weeks, over a million acres have burned from wildfires. Entire towns have been destroyed. There were so many fires happening across the western states at the same time that there was a shortage of firefighters. Fires here had less than 25% of the optimum number of firefighters. The ones that were here worked 14 hour days doing the most difficult work in the worst conditions. I am so grateful to them and to their guardian spirits who kept them all safe.
Those of us who did not have fires advancing toward us and did not have to evacuate dealt with a pall of smoke so thick that for several days we had the worst air quality in the world. It was dangerous to go outside.
Our first reaction as humans is to want to do something to help. In our shamanic and spiritual communities a call went out to focus on rains coming instead of fires burning.
I thought about who I could ask for help.
I decided my action would be to go into journey mode to ask for help from ancestors who had faced something similar before and who experienced a good outcome. My helping spirits took me to where a tribe of about 15 people stood gathered in a circle. Fires burned in the hills close around them and smoke filled the sky. They were gathered on a small dusty plain. Water was scarce, but they had a little bit left in a jug. They poured it into a bowl and set it in the middle of the circle. They included me in the circle, we held hands and began to sway. I locked eyes with a young boy who wore a cloth wrapped around his head turban style and had white dots painted on his forehead, nose, and cheekbones. He grinned and bounced up and down on his toes. Others also had painted dots on their faces. Some were humming.
I began to feel a shift in my body as they showed me that they became the feeling of rain in their bodies. Someone was speaking kind and loving words to the bowl of water in the center of the circle. It was being invited to merge with the people, with the air, with the sky. I felt a luscious cool expansiveness within me and in the circle. The first few big drops of rain drew giggles from the children. The drops hit the dust in beautiful spatters. The swaying and humming continued. The drops became a shower. I could hear steam hissing from the hills as the water met the fire. The circle unclasped and everyone swirled and danced with one another in the downpour. An elder picked up the now overflowing bowl from the center of the circle and gave it to me. As he did, I saw the future of the next season with the hills being thick carpets of green dotted with colorful wildflowers. There was a feeling of partnership and harmony, and complete trust in the outcome. I thanked him for the water and the wisdom.
Back at my sacred garden in non-ordinary reality, I set out an altar cloth and put the bowl of water on it. I asked that the Undines, the water elementals, teach me what I need to know about being in balance with the rain within myself.
Nature has an intelligence that most of us do not understand. That is because we have not been taught how to have a harmonious relationship with the spirits that make up nature - the Elementals, the Devas and Nature Spirits. We can ask the fire elementals to be merciful and stop burning, we can ask the winds to change direction and ask the rains to come. But we need to realize and respect that they have their own greater purposes which we know nothing about. We don’t want to cross the line into thinking we can manipulate the elementals with our will, or on the other end of the spectrum, feel as if we are always completely at their mercy. Our relationship with nature is always a co-creative process. If we are unconscious of that, as many of us are, our environment is unbalanced because what we are creating is unbalanced. So nature will reflect that.
I believe that in the future humans and nature having harmonious relationships with one another will be the norm, not the exception. We will develop new beneficial ways of living and working together with natural resources that we will think of as kin instead of resources, and we will nurture instead of manage.
Nature Spirits are trying to get our attention, trying to get us to connect with them. They want us to hear their messages, to realize that they exist in the subtle realms around us. Nature Spirits are a broad term that I use for beings that include Elementals, Devas, and Hidden Folk like dryads, fauns, faeries, sprites, elves, leprechauns, and many other beings that most of us don’t usually see, but are part of our world nonetheless. Since they share the world with us, they are trying to help us become conscious so we quit destroying so much of it. And then we can work together to create harmony and balance in it.
Some of these beings become emissaries. These are majestic, special, larger than life, and something we can relate to on an emotional level. Sometimes they become iconic, showing up on postcards, gift shop art prints, in films, on television and social media. They work their way into our collective consciousness in images of famous waterfalls, rivers, mountains, trees. They are part of our personal consciousness as the “make believe” friends we had in childhood, and in the gardens and backyards that we cultivate as adults.
I was fortunate to meet an emissary on a recent stay in Astoria, a port town on the northern coast of Oregon. We had done the touristy things on previous visits, going to the historic forts, and the Astoria Column. Now we just wanted a walk in the forest. We found a trail to the Cathedral Tree, a 300-year-old Sitka Spruce in a forest on the hills above the town. The trail is well maintained by the city and climbs up through hemlock, Douglas fir, cedar, and spruce. Another trail splits off it that leads to the Astoria Column about half mile away. There was a family ahead of us, so we waited on a bench nearby as they took pictures of their Corgi pups in the hollow of the tree.
Everything about this tree is majestic. Its base has a hollow big enough to climb through. Its roots create a textured floor in the ground all around it. The solid, deep presence of its roots firm in the earth and its soaring height caused my energy body to feel the same way. As I sat there looking up at it, I felt the tree reach out to me. A gentle but sure voice arose in my head and said, “I am the original Astoria Column.”
I opened all my senses to the tree. Its energy is that of a guardian; not as a warrior, but as a teacher instead. It continued.
“I have opened myself to be a bridge between the spirits of nature and humans. Even to those who don’t consider nature as spirits being alive. When humans come and stand on my roots or duck inside the hollow of my trunk, they receive a subtle shifting. They give their permission to it by coming to visit me. It is a better take home than any postcard. They might not realize it, but in the exchange of energy between us, there is an exchange of love, recognition of connection, unity.
“Yes, I volunteered for this. I have seen, heard, and felt so many changes during my lifetime planted here. The cries of the native people as they slipped away, the silence of the fish as they have diminished, the static and strange smells in the air. But humans still come to visit me, and their hearts connect with me. And so I have hope that I will continue to stand here and witness more and more humans recognizing that they are all part of the web of all that is and that what they do, say, and think has an impact. When this is realized we will step into a new co-creative relationship. For that, I will stand here another 300 years. But let’s hope it doesn’t take that long. Thank you for coming. Thank you for hearing. Thank you for relaying my message.”
Nature spirits have interesting ways of reaching out to us. A couple days before our hike, we went to Astoria’s Fort George Brewery and Public House for dinner and sampled a few brews. One of the beers we had that we really liked was called Cathedral Tree. We had no idea what that even was then, but it planted a subliminal seed. This Sitka Spruce has a savvy spirit marketing team.
The Astoria Column
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 -
Roger Wheelock and Gayle Ruth are shamanic practitioners and teachers in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition. https://www.rainmother.com/ I am grateful to be able to take part in ceremony with them, and to support their love for the Peruvian people through the World Ayni Association.