One thing all my spiritual practices over the years of Wiccan, shamanic and Druid traditions share is the strong relationship with Elementals. The elements as we know them are earth, water, air, and fire, The Elementals are the spirits of earth, water, air, and fire. And they like to be called by their names; Gnomes, Undines, Sylphs, and Salamanders. That helps us - and them - resonate with their spiritual life force energy.
When we set our intention to interact with the elements as Elementals, it means that we recognize that they are both the water, and the spirit of water. A huge shift occurs in ourselves and the collective when we realize and interact with them as sentient beings.
Recently I had the unique opportunity to be an emissary for an Elemental. At the shamanic retreat this summer in Asheville, I partnered with three other shamanic teachers to initiate ceremony and workshops focused on accessing and honoring the living spirits of nature. Each person in attendance came from different traditions, but we were able to create a coherent and power-full container so that the Elementals and devas could co-create with us. As facilitators, we each partnered with an Elemental that we felt we could best co-create with and share their unique wisdom with participants. I partnered with water. Having this opportunity gave me the gift of taking my relationship with it to a deeper level.
I knew that would be my element, as I have always felt at home in the water. My sun is in the fixed water sign of Scorpio, I Iearned to swim when I was 4 and was always the last one out of the pool, the lake, the creek. But as I accepted bringing water to the ceremony, I inexplicably felt it was a difficult task. I suddenly felt like any of the other elements would be much easier for me to relate to and work with. I found that interesting and I spent a lot of time in meditation about why I felt that way. I came to the realization that it’s complicated!
Sometimes what we love and resonate with can be hard to explain. I questioned my relationship with water and the Undines. Water rules emotions. It seems like I have spent my life trying to be balanced emotionally. I feel like finally after many decades my emotions have settled in the center of the spectrum instead of going from one extreme of being too intense and letting everything spill out wildly to the other extreme of being shuttered up and cold.
Spiritually I have loved water with deep gratitude, created many ceremonies with it and for it, prayed for it, even marched in the street for it. But then I have also brought thousands of pollutants into it with soaps, cleaners, leaky oil pans and plastic fibers from my laundry. I have taken it for granted, turning on a tap without thinking, forgetting that I am interacting with a spiritual being, full of other energetic beings like sprites, nixies, and nymphs.
I realized that this is a universal issue for humans as all of us care about the state of the world’s waters as we have watched oil spills, radioactive materials, agricultural runoff and other pollutants contaminate waters over and over again. Because we are spiritually sensitive we want to help, we want to do something about it. Many of us have probably connected with the spirits, or journeyed to them, asking what we can do to help. I have done that myself several times, and always I get a similar message of “Thank you but please don’t concentrate on the contaminants. Please see us in our perfection, our original and constant divinity.”
But we can not be in denial of pollution either. We have to address that as well in our practical lives.
When we are in nature, it’s easier to feel the powerful Deva energy of the ocean. Easier to see the nixies and nymphs dancing in the sun sparkles on the surface, and to see the shape of undines in the waterfalls. It tends to be harder for us to see the spirit in the mundane, the nixies in our bathwater, the undine presence in our dishwater. It’s not that they are not there, it’s that sometimes their vital life force may not be as vibrant because it has been harnessed and trapped in ways that are against its true nature.
When we hear about the contaminants in water, we see it as impure and not life-giving. And that is a legitimate concern, as there are many places in the world where the water coming out of the taps is not safe to drink. As we navigate our thoughts to those issues unfortunately, it diminishes its vibrancy even further.
So I asked the Undines what we can do to help this difficult situation on a spirit level and they said, “Love the elemental around the chlorine, around the lead, around the bits of micro plastic. Love the being who is the Deva that over lights bodies of water. Thank it for all it has done for us to keep life flowing and vital on the planet.”
We must train ourselves to see the essence of the water and its perfection by recognizing the soul light, the spiritual blueprint of perfection that radiates from the elementals, the undines, nixies, nymphs, mer people as much as possible. It may mean tacking a note above the sink so that we remember not to take them for granted, and we remember to thank them with a prayer, a song, or a feeling of gratitude radiating from our hearts.
It is not the only remedy, but it is something we can do now. Then they can use that energy to restore their vitality and purity and for whatever else they need, especially when it is infused with the power of our love.
The wild untamed Metolius River west of Sisters, Oregon
There is a huge collective calling to work with ancestors right now. The time is ripe. Humanity is at the doorway of our evolution into higher consciousness. It’s definitely happening, it is just a question of if it will be sooner or later. In order to make this leap as graceful as possible, our collective healing must progress swiftly and gracefully. That is why we are doing our personal tending; meditating, retrieving our power and soul essences, recapitulating a lifetime of stuffed emotions, integrating our shadow, doing the forgiveness work. And as part of that, we are looking at the lineages that brought us to where we are now.
Humans have experienced a lot of trauma, especially in the past 12,000 years when nomadic cultures began to gather together in groups and settle. More conflicts inevitably arose. And of course we are human, so our emotions and relationships get out of hand. They damage ourselves and others and can fall upon the land to create an unpleasant lingering vibration. Like all the other pollution we have created, it’s up to us to clean it up.
Many of our ancestors have healed after their lifetimes on earth. They can serve as helpers to us in our own personal tending and also in the tending to other unhealed ancestors and wounds in our lineages. As I talked about in my previous article, they can be valuable allies. And once we have a relationship with these whole and healed ancestors, they may ask us for help in tending to our lineages. Because we are embodied, we have the power of will. The way I see it, we are like a nexus point for past and future lineages.
When we decide to consciously do this tending, we may want to set up an altar to honor our ancestors. We can start with photos and maybe an object or two that reflects something about them, and that feels right to us. We may offer them gifts of a bit of food or drink that we know they were fond of and maybe find a picture of a coat of arms, family crest or clan totem. This is very similar to the ancestor altar that I ritually set up around Samhain, also known as Day of the Dead, except I leave it up semi-permanently when I am focusing on my ancestor relationships. It works like an energy center for me. And also a beacon for them.
And if we or our parents were adopted and do not have knowledge of a blood lineage, start with the adopted ancestors. Let them know we honor them for all they have given us, getting us to where we are right now, where we need to be. And then they may be able to introduce us to blood ancestors after we start doing the journeys, meditations and journaling with that intention. We may also be called to work with soul lineage ancestors instead.
We may also be called to tend to the land where we live now, or where our lineages come from to remove heavy or negative energies that are lingering on it from our human traumas and dramas. We always want to make sure we receive explicit permission from the land, as it is alive, with many beings on and within it. We always ask first if the work is right for us to do, and in the best and highest good for them and for us.
Just as there are healed ancestors who are allies, there are unhealed ancestors who are not helpful, and can cause chaos and keep old wounds moving through the lineage. These are the ones our allies can help us tend to. We all have unhealed ancestors, and not everyone is called to do this kind of work. It can be messy. It takes training, very good journey skills and an excellent and deep relationship with your allies and helping spirits. If we are called to it, we will be drawn to the tools and teachers we need to help us.
But even if we are not familiar with or trained with this kind of work, we might occasionally get called into service during dreamtime or our shamanic journeys. A few years ago I was called to journey for a soul retrieval for my father who had crossed over 25 years ago. I was surprised and happy that I could help facilitate that for him. And it got me interested in learning more about ancestor tending.
All it takes is one person to tend to an unwell ancestor or heal a wound in the lineage and that is automatically transmitted forward to descendants, as well as backwards to the rest of the ancestral line. It transcends time. Strands of the collective web become whole and healed. It’s a powerful way to be of service in these shifting times.
On our spiritual path, no matter which path we follow, we have access to a powerful wealth of wisdom held by our ancestors. In the Druid and core shamanism traditions that I am a part of, we honor and directly engage with our many ancestors. There are all kinds of ancestors, but the most commonly thought of are those ancestors that are of our blood or adopted family lineage. These can be ones we actually knew like grandparents or parents that have crossed over, or ones we have never met from many generations back. They may frequently check in on us and can even act like guardian angels as needed.
These ancestors are a tremendous source of wisdom and support because we can ask for help from those who have experienced something similar to what we are going through in our lives now, and have had a successful outcome. We can’t forget that last part - that’s where the helpful wisdom is! When covid first came on scene and we were locked down, uncertain of what the full impact was going to be, many of us called on ancestors who had lived through times of plague, flu and other contagions. They could help our mental and emotional processing of the circumstances, as well as boost our physical immunity and strength.
We can meet and engage our ancestors in a shamanic journey, meditation or in dreamtime. We always want to state the intention beforehand to meet only those ancestors who are whole and healed and who are the very best ancestor to be our ally at this time. Sometimes when we meet them we will get a name or an area of the world they were in, and often I will get a power animal for them which is offered for me to call on as well. Sometimes we get a lot of information and sometimes it can be rather sparse.
Keep in mind that each of us gets information in different ways, but everyone receives the information that they need.
Another thing to keep in mind is that we may meet an ancestor in an area that we do not associate with our lineage. My family lineage is primarily Celtic; from Ireland, Scotland, Britain and Germany. But in a journey to my father’s lineage I met an ancestor ally who was from Mongolia. It could be that he is from my ancient family lineage, or he may be a soul ancestor.
A soul ancestor may be thought of as people or beings who do not fit the family lineage ancestor description. They could be an ancestor from a past life, or a star being ancestor from a different planet or galaxy, or from our “soul pod” (I think of this as a collective of souls who are connected at the soul level). I was recently introduced to the concept of “plant-cestor”, as some of us have soul lineage where we were plants, trees or fungi.
These sound pretty heady and maybe hard to imagine, but since we are infinite multi-dimensional beings, our souls have had a myriad of relationships and experiences. This gives us an opportunity to even be our own ally across time and space.
Once we meet our ancestors, the next step is to honor them and to thank them, as we would not be here without them. And then as in any relationship, we ask what we can do for them. I’ll write more about that next month.
In the meantime, let’s send a prayer of gratitude across all our family and soul lineages in gratitude for all those who were, so we could be who we are.
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.
FAIRY CONGRESS - Offers a summer weekend gathering in person with workshops, circles and of course faeries and nature beings! They also offer a winter virtual weekend with amazing guest speakers like Orion Foxwood, David Spangler and R.J. Stewart. I highly recommend joining the online network to participate in monthly workshops, circles, and book clubs.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Owner Valeria Pearson lovingly created SOLE TO SOUL YOGA studio with a community focus. There are classes for all levels and events that lift the spirit. I am delighted to partner with her to offer a kirtan chanting circle once a month.
My friend and herbalist mentor, LAWRENCE BIRCH is a Certified Clinical Herbalist, plant whisperer and shamanic practitioner. If you need custom tincture blends or are interested in a wildcrafting apprenticeship, he is the teacher extraordinaire:
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.
NEW WORLD KIRTAN = Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -