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.
This summer I unexpectedly and divinely deepened my relationship with flowers. The virus lockdown slowed the pace of life and I had a few months to just be more present and observant. Working at home on screens all day opened a need for daily walks around the neighborhood where I noticed that there seemed to be so many more flowers this year. There were more types I had never seen before, and the volume of blooms was spectacular. I felt them getting my attention, waving in the breeze, flashing their colors, dropping petals at my feet. I found their uncommon beauty in the wild; tiny calypso orchids beneath the firs, and delicate “pussy ear” mariposa lilies at the meadow’s edge. Then I had friends giving me unusual flower starts; red nasturtiums and watermelon poppies. I was surrounded by their colorful beauty, and I was paying close attention.
At the same time I was meeting so many flowers, I was reading co-creative gardening books by Machaelle Small Wright. She works with the Devas and nature spirits to co-create her garden in Virginia, which she calls Perelandra. She makes flower essences from the flowers in her garden and has been using flower essences for healing and balancing for many years.
I realized that the flowers were saying to me that now is the time for me to make flower essences. I have wanted to try making my own flower essences for many years, but never got around to it. Apparently the time was not right until now.
Flower essences are not totally new to me, I have used them on and off for the past 15 years or so. I was introduced to Bach’s Rescue Remedy first. We used to take in and socialize feral kittens and find them homes. I put a few drops of the remedy in their water and rubbed some on their ears to help their anxiety as they adjusted. Impressed, I also used Bach’s remedies for myself and family (if you have an adolescent in the house, I highly recommend checking out Bach’s remedies for teens - and for yourself as well!).
The amazing thing about flower essences is their subtlety. They are a form of energy medicine. Similar to a homeopathic remedy, the energy of the flower is imprinted into pure water, and then highly diluted. I knew how they were made, but I didn’t exactly know how they worked. Then I had a journey.
In a recent shamanic journey circle, we were doing a Lower World journey to an animal who had a message for us. I found myself in a meadow full of flowers. I lay down in the grass and watched the flowers swaying in the breeze. Honeybees and bumblebees gathered around me on the flowers and they began to speak about their relationship with the flowers.
They said in addition to the pollen, they receive the energetic song of the flower. The song is like its frequency. Each flower has their own song. The bees can hear it, and they hear which flowers are singing at the frequency that is resonant with them for what they need right now. This frequency of the flower is what is imprinted in the water when making flower essences.
They took me to a thistle to have me hear what its song sounded like. I couldn’t really hear a sound, it was more of a feeling or sensing of that frequency. Then when we went to a lily next, I felt the song was different, but I couldn't say how. I remarked that I didn’t seem to be very good at hearing the flower songs. They told me that it would take some practice for me because I was not a bee. They said they would help me. They said that learning to tune in to the frequencies would help me to know when flowers wanted to make essences with me. Then as I was ready to make them, I needed to ask the flower to infuse its frequency into the water.
They reminded me to thank the flowers too, so I would have a harmonious relationship with them, and they would want to keep working with me in partnership.
I have much gratitude for my balcony plants and my friend Francie’s backyard garden. We made some beautiful flower essences to work with and share. The joy I felt making the essences helped me know that I was tuned in to the songs of the flowers.
Recently I did a journey to connect with Gaia, the Deva of Earth, for a message about this time of pause and reset that we are in now.
It came as a lesson, as many journeys do, and it came with a sound and sensation.
WHOOMPH. As if she took her hand and pushed me right down into the dirt which absorbed me in an energetic embrace. It was heavy, sudden, serious. And enlivening.
She gave me the feeling of indigenous creation stories where First People were made from her mud and her breath gave them lifeforce.
She gave me the feeling of how she gifted me life in this body, and how when this life is done my body will be returned to her through the Elementals dancing away my form.
She spoke to me as one speaks to a child, and lovingly. She said that my blood is her blood, my bones are her bones. She came into my lungs with a sensation of what it really feels like to breathe, and a knowing that it is her breath as well.
WHOOMPH. This is what it really feels like to be in my body.
She gave me the feeling of being part of the entire world, and that everything on the planet really is my kin. Not just all humans, animals and plants; but also buildings, dump trucks, computers, trash heaps, refrigerators, filing cabinets, plastic bags, sneakers, viruses, everything. I had sensory awareness of a cellular and heart energy connection to everything. It was like plugging into a current of reverence.
WHOOMPH. She says the time for complacency is over.
The great shift in humanity will come when the realization that we are of the earth becomes crystal clear to all our senses. And that we physically are kin and connected to all that is her. I keenly felt that connection as my body was surrounded by her body, and I could feel the energetic matrix of all things. Many indigenous people have not lost this feeling and are aware of it all the time.
Everything we are and everything we have is of the earth. We can know this in our head, and we can feel the intuitive rightness of it, but it really does not sink in until we feel the sensation in our bodies, our cells, our energy systems.
When we can feel and realize the sacred in all things at every moment, we will have shifted.
WHOOMPH. Thank you, Mother.
Gaia by Susan Seddon Boulet
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. Roger has a practice in Asheville, NC https://www.communityshaman.com/
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 -