I love to learn new things, especially when they happen to be completely out of my realm of previous experience. This summer I was enrolled in a class with shamanic teacher and healer Christina Pratt called the Shadow Transformation Protocol. I’ve been doing shadow work for a few years, but I’m interested in different ways of approaching that work. I was ready to go for a deeper dive and explore her methods of shadow transformation, which included shamanic journeying, engaging the archetypal Crazy Woman for our spirit guide, ceremony and ritual…and dance.
When I signed up, I didn’t know about the major role that dance would play in the work. Most of my life I have never been much of a dancer, I always felt awkward the few times I tried. But when I moved to Corvallis, I saw a lot of regular community ecstatic dance events being advertised on social media. It sounded like fun and I was interested, but it was out of my comfort zone. I was told by friends who went that everyone just did their own thing, it was very freestyle. I finally got some courage, and a friend who was also out of her comfort zone about it, and we went. I loved it! Since then I attend the community ecstatic dance events whenever I can. It clears my mind, grounds and balances my energy centers, and it’s a romping good time!
But in this class when I found out that we would be getting to know our retrieved shadow selves by using dance, I had no idea how to do that. I was out of my comfort zone again. Not only did I have to get to know my shadow self, I had to get specific information about them, and Christina wanted us to do this primarily with dance.
Slowly, I gave myself over to the dancing. Using the excellent tools she gave us, and sharing playlists with other students, I began to dance regularly in my living room. I had my notebook open to jot down whatever information came through the dance. After a few nights, a surprising breakthrough happened. I was able to actually divine information through dancing. I was so astonished this actually worked for me. The key was letting go and trusting Crazy Woman to help me divine what I needed to know through movement and felt sense. So now I dance for fun, I dance for physical and mental well-being, and I dance for information.
As I was in this process, I remembered being in training with my Reiki Master, Sensei Kelly Jackson, in 2015 before I left Arizona for Oregon. As she trained and attuned me to the master level, she told me she had a vision of me in Oregon dancing with spirit beings all around me. At the time I thought that was figurative, but it turned out to be exactly what I am doing here now!
We all will experience Divination in our own unique ways. It can come through seeing, like Kelly’s way, or hearing the voice of spirits coming through our ear or onto paper, or a knowing that floods the mind and body. Or it can come through the dance. The key is to be open, release expectations, and allow yourself to move out of your comfort zones.
"Moon Dancer" by artist Julia Watkins
I am still being taught by my elemental friends and each lesson in the natural world is profound. The integration of this latest lesson is an ongoing process right now.
A friend and I planned a camping trip to the coast last month and we both had the same place on our list for a stop. It has been on my list for two years, since I first went to Tillamook on business and drove by the sign for Munson Falls. I remember thinking immediately “I’ve got to go there!” I was going to stop on my way back but somehow, I ended up coming home on another highway that day.
The modest rural road goes by a scattering of houses and suddenly, surprisingly, leads into a dense green forest that is home to the tallest waterfall in Oregon. I got the impression then that we had just left ordinary reality. Nature spirits, fae, and the hidden folk there create a subtle etheric matrix that makes it a most magical and timeless feeling place. As soon as I got out of the car, I felt pulled right into their world. The stream called to me and I explored its boulders that held plush green islands of vibrant plant spirits. I could feel the hidden folk in tree trunk hollows and under flowers.
From the small parking lot we started up the trail that ran beside the stream. Huge Douglas fir, ash and maple created a green canopy above. In a few minutes we came upon a railing around a viewing area and saw that the trail was closed off before we could get close to the falls. But we took the well-worn path around the gate anyway and went on just a bit further, wondering why the trail was closed. Then we saw a mountainous tangle of fallen tree trunks and branches across the stream leading up to the base of the falls. Nature had made its own barricade. Perhaps the nature spirits want to keep that part of their magic for themselves. Who can blame them - after all we humans don't have the best record when it comes to caring for them and their homes. It made sense then why the trail was closed. Anyone climbing on that to get to the falls is risking limb and life. We respected that, took pictures from there and headed back.
We strolled slowly, just taking in all the beauty. The place had a playful, innocent feel, and I felt a childlike curiosity about everything. Many interesting features caught my eye; unusually shaped stones, a cathedral-like space next to a tilted stump, lacy flowers in the trees. Two pale cream-colored butterflies came to flutter around us, and I realized I could feet their movements as small waves in my energy field! That stopped me in my tracks. My friend felt it too. We stood there feeling the butterflies until they moved away into the trees. The lesson was subtle and unexpected.
The remarkable experience got me thinking about the butterfly effect. For those not familiar with that, it’s basically the theory of interconnectedness. It uses the example that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can affect the weather thousands of miles away. Some might think of it this as a rather unscientific hypothesis. I personally believe interconnectedness is a universal law, a theory that quantum science is exploring now.
As an energy practitioner I see it as an illustration of how we affect our world by not only what we do, but how we are. It’s how our energy field – with its frequency influenced by our thoughts and emotions – interacts with the universal web of life. When we are in nature and fully in the present moment, we are open to feeling that web. We can interact with nature spirits and beings on a different level, like feeling the flight of a butterfly. When we keep in mind that we are also the butterfly, we may take greater care of our own energy field, our thoughts, emotions and actions.
Some thoughts to ponder in your practice this month:
What vibration are we sending out and how is that being felt or perceived by the people close to us, nature, the collective consciousness?
And what vibrations are we picking up from our environment, people we spend time with, social media?
I walked by the place where an old red oak had stood for at least 100 years on campus. There was nothing to show where it had been, no stump remained. It’s now just a patch of grass that is a lighter shade of green than the surrounding lawn. But I remember its huge branches making so much shade, and the funny hollow in the base that looked like a perfect home for faeries. I sent a blessing to any of its essence that was still in the ground; tiny adrift root threads and sawdust mulched into the soil.
The campus daily news wrote about the tree removal due to structural issues that made it unsafe. I watched the arborists slowly dismember it over several days. One day I was watching them work from a bench nearby and I felt like it was the day for honorable closure. Groups of crows came and settled in the surrounding trees. I felt the energy of nature spirits circling all around the area, and the hidden folk; faeries, elementals, elves, and dryads in solemn respect for the old oak. As I tuned in, I got the message that the essence of the tree would always remain in some form. It would remain in the decades of composted leaves that had enriched the soil, the acorns that squirrels had stored away and forgotten, the pollen from the flower buds that dusted into the cracks and crevices of nearby buildings and fields. The spirit of the tree was moving on, but the vibration of all it had been is in the energy imprint of the area. The nature spirits knew that. They honored its energy as well as witnessed its transformation. I sent my respect as well. I thanked it for everything it was, grateful that I got to know it, and let it know that I would miss it. I wished it a good journey home. The sadness was there, but the honorable closure gave it a place to settle within me.
I’ve been in a large online study group with shamanic teacher Sandra Ingerman all this year. She has been talking to us a lot about honorable closure as being a way to acknowledge loss and endings. By honoring death, we respect and revere life. It doesn’t mean we can’t grieve. It doesn't mean we don't feel the pain when someone we love dies. But for me there is a comfort in recognizing that the cycle and flow of energy does not disappear or end with the death of the third dimensional form.
This is also a way to honor other things in our lives that pass away; relationships, cars, jobs, ways of being in the world. We can honor them for the experiences; nourishment received, services rendered, and lessons learned, while deeply acknowledging what we are feeling. Simply thanking them for everything they have been and given helps create an ending for our own peace and fertile ground for fresh starts. Honorable closure is a vital part of energy work and shamanic practice. It helps us move forward, and it also sends a beautiful energy out into the world. And we need that now more than ever.
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 -