There is an unflinching light that is being focused on the massive inequality and injustice in our world. It is illuminating the deep shadow work we are all doing as a collective. The shadow of racism is very old and runs through all our ancestral lineages. We are steeped in it, have been steeped in it for centuries. But this light holds us all in in its embrace and is making us accountable to end the culture of killing, fear, hate and irreverence.
We stand in the light of our soul. But we look at the shadow.
We look at those times in our lives where we witnessed racism and intolerance and kept quiet. It is so prevalent in our society; chances are good we have also participated in racism and prejudice. We also see and accept that we may have unconscious bias.
Our most sacred work is to recognize the shadow within ourselves and own all parts of it. To become whole. To continue our journey into consciousness. We must also look for the gifts in owning our racism. That may make us feel uneasy. How can there be any gifts in it?
There is a gift in seeing that we cannot arbitrarily judge people as good or bad because its not so cut and dried. Not so black and white. And by recognizing that a generally kind person can get caught up in the collective social ills. And as we see just how pervasive it is as a collective shadow, our eyes open and we become conscious of any privilege we have due to the color of our skin. And due to our economic level. And where we live.
This shadow work activates compassion. We can’t help feeling compassion when we see suffering. Compassion for families and communities who fear they may never recover from the grief and PTSD because the murders keep happening again and again. And compassion for the murderers who were programmed by centuries of prejudice and the repression of the reverence for all life.
We become ever more conscious of racism around us. And we get to decide how we participate in the healing of it. If we feel called to take action to bring about the healing, then it is a spiritual act and we don’t need to worry about whether we are perpetuating duality or failing a Divine neutrality ascension test. We open our hearts to sacred activism.
Inner actions we could take:
Clearing ancestral wounds that may reside in us that were hundreds of years in the making. Using shamanic journey, meditation, or journaling, we ask to be shown the seeds of racism in our lineage. They may show as contracts, vows, imprinted belief systems, past life karma, or other issues. We then call on our team of helping spirits and healed ancestors to energetically tend to the issue. They will help us clear the contracts or unravel the imprints of old belief systems. This healing will travel throughout our lineage and will affect our ancestors as well as our descendants.
For most of us, our soul has had many other incarnations, being both the oppressed and the oppressor. A deep healing shamanic journey is to ask our team of guides to show us if there are any parts of our soul essence that got split off and lost from any past life trauma that needs to be returned to us now. If there are, they may facilitate their return right then or guide us to seek out a practitioner for help.
Another powerful journey is to ask our guides if we have inadvertently taken any soul essences from another. If they show us that we still have custody of any soul essences that are not ours, we ask our guides to return them to where they came from. Then we can seal the work with a ceremony symbolizing the returning.
We do forgiveness work for those we may have hurt, knowingly or unknowingly, with our words and actions. We can include forgiving ourselves as well. We can do this by using recapitulation, prayer, ceremony, or other methods our team of helping spirits may suggest.
Outer actions we could take:
If the color of our skin gives us privilege, we use it to be an ally.
We take to the street and stand in solidarity in vigils and protests for every person who is not in a place of safety because of their color, creed, or economic level.
We support businesses owned by blacks, indigenous, and people of color; and donate to social justice causes.
We call out intolerance and injustice when we see it.
We have courageous conversations explaining why we are focused on Black Lives Matter with people who contend that All Lives Matter.
We are decent and kind to one another no matter what the circumstances.
We have reverence for all life.
Social reform is part of the human consciousness crisis. It will not happen by itself. We need to do the work to make it happen. These are just a few ideas of what we can do for ourselves, each other, and humankind. Even if we only do one small thing it effects the entire collective. Never doubt our power to make a positive shift in the world.
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
Have you checked in about that lately? We are so forward thinking as a society in general, we get stuck in thinking about goals and affirmations of what we want in our lives and what we want to be. Then as we progress down our spiritual path, and we study meditation we get that there is only the present moment. We strive to be present more than we think about the past or plan or worry about the future.
But there are times when it is necessary to revisit the past and look ahead to the future, especially as we approach mile markers like the start of a new calendar year or the solstice, or taking on a new job or course of study.
The time between the December Solstice and the calendar new year is a perfect time for a year review. This review can actually extend into January’s New Moon on the 16th. For the last week or so I have been thinking back through each month of 2017 and remembering the events that were big for me, like teaching and leading ceremonies, but also the smaller ones like spending time with special people and exploring new places and trails, and just sitting at the beach.
I have also been looking at where I may have given power away, or experienced a trauma that I have missed integrating into my whole self. In shamanic work we call that Recapitulation. When we find an event from the past that still has an emotional charge, it usually means that we have not fully allowed ourselves to feel and process the emotion when it happened. Sometimes, we just cannot do it at the time, it is too big and we may be broken, floundering or in a circumstance where we cannot process it. But when we are doing a review of our lives or when we are doing deeper work, we can come across these emotions and then know it is the right time to feel and release them. We get in a quiet and safe spot, like a corner of the bedroom under the covers and start doing the breath-work, going back to that moment and fully feeling the emotion in our physical body and in our emotional body. Once we fully feel it, we can release it from our cells and from our energy body with our breath. Often there is forgiveness work that comes afterwards, towards ourselves as well as another. When we do this work, we are reclaiming our own personal power that has been tied up keeping those emotions in place. Once they are fully felt and released, a sense of lightness takes their place. Deep healing can happen.
In looking forward to the future, of what this year will bring, I’m trying a new way of looking at it. Instead of focusing primarily on the goals I want to achieve this year, I’m trying to think about how I want to be in the world. How I want to live my life through the words I speak, the actions I take and the thoughts I think. Now that will require me to be mindful of the present moment! I will let you know how it goes.
For now, take a moment to send yourself blessings for all that you have been this past year and all that you are becoming in this new one. Namaste.
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 kindredspirits 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 -
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.