Much of my life has revolved around nature and being outside. My dad was a botanist and naturalist and he and my mom took my brother and I hiking and camping a lot when we were growing up in upstate New York. I always felt at home outside, with my bare feet in the grass or dirt and the plant and stone beings all around. It’s been the same in my adult life too, hiking, gardening, just sitting under trees. It seems like I fell out of the habit the past year, as I was devoting more time to activities that had an indoors focus, like writing and other creative projects.
For this year I have made getting out into nature a priority. Going hand in hand with this is that I have entered a mentorship with nature spirits. My teacher is an elemental, and most of my learning has been taking place in non-ordinary reality during shamanic journeys and dreamtime. But he has told me that I also need to spend more time outside with the nature spirits to get used to seeing them as they appear in ordinary reality.
So now I am out as much as I can be, strolling around the neighborhood, and trail hiking once a week. Even though in my current apartment I don’t have a garden or a yard, I feel very fortunate that there are so many amazing trails and forests and woodlands nearby. And because it’s western Oregon, there are waterfalls and ocean only an hour away in any direction.
I like exploring new trails, hiking for a while, then going off the into a grove of trees and sitting to focus on meeting the deva of the area. I like to get a feel for the places I’m walking in, taking note of what I feel in my body and my energy field. Much of the time I find the places feel good, light, sometimes magical as I can feel the nature spirits all around.
Last weekend I ended up on a section of trail in a managed part of the McDonald forest that felt uncomfortable. I didn’t notice it right away, but as I walked, I noticed a heaviness, and a vague sense of unease. I looped back towards the first section of trail that felt fine and light and spotted a dense grove where I could sit hidden from the trail. I sat on the edge of the large stump of what once was an old growth tree. It had rained earlier, and everything was freshly dripping, fragrant with damp cedar, fir and earth. A bird flitted by my head, unconcerned by my presence. I felt welcomed and closed my eyes. I reached out my consciousness in greeting to any deva or nature spirit of the area.
A large presence came in with the essence of evergreen. Boughs and needles formed a vague face that streamed from a green etheric mass of lifeforce energy. They communicated a request for help to my subconscious, which responded by forming a geometric figure in the shape a faceted blue diamond for it.
“Yes.”, they responded. “Three more.” The blue diamonds formed in my mind behind closed eyes and were gathered up by the forest deva in its essence. Then with a breeze of gratitude, they were gone.
It all happened very quickly and afterwards I tried not let my conscious mind analyze it too much. My shamanic mentor and dear friend, Cheri Melton, who works with devas, has told me about her experiences building energetic structures with devas. The devas then use these structures to return balance to the land. I knew these geometric figures were going to be used to build something to bring harmony the area.
I was left feeling immense gratitude for the spirits for involving me in their world and their work. I will go back to that trail in a few weeks and see if there has been a shift in how the energy feels. Maybe I will meet the deva of the forest again and tell them how much I love their work.
*Note –The deva has no specific gender so am using the gender neutral pronoun “they” as I do not feel comfortable using the term “it” for one so vibrant and alive.
Shamanism, or Spirit Medicine*, is universal because it is a unique relationship between a person and their helping spirits. That relationship transcends cultures, ages, and epochs. It’s a completely individual experience, yet the framework for it has remained relatively unchanged for millennia. Spirit reaches out to those it wants to work with, those who are meant to walk on this path. There are a lot of us walking this path now, here to help humanity as it stands on this precarious brink of transformation to either an evolved state or annihilation of ourselves and our home.
When Spirit reaches out to a person, they know it. The calling to this path can be a profound one such as a near death experience or a severe illness. It can be a life-changing event like a divorce, or a bankruptcy or losing a job. It can also come from a natural psychic ability, or a deep affinity for Spirit. And it can also come in gentle nudges, moving you into contact with people and experiences that work like sudden pathways or doors opening up to you, calling you to explore.
In my own experience, it was an abrupt divorce. After 14 years of maintaining codependence in a difficult relationship, I suddenly had to gather and stand in my own power. At the time I was only working part-time and anxious about how I would provide for my 18-month-old daughter. I was also angry, mostly at myself, for letting myself get into this situation in the first place. Finding my empowerment was a slow process, but Spirit was there supporting me all the way.
We lived in a rural area in southern Arizona at the time, with miles of open space around us, neighbors few and far between. The land was my solace. Most days I would put my daughter into her stroller and the dog and I would wheel her down the long bumpy rocky driveway and dirt road to the mostly dry riverbed nearby. I felt comfort being offered to me from the giant cottonwoods that lined the bank of the river. I received healing from the changing river bed itself, full of water and mud in the summer and full of leaves in the fall and winter.
It was on one of these walks that a song came to me. It was short and rather odd, and kept repeating over and over as I walked rhythmically down the dusty road. I knew that it was a song of power. At that time, I didn’t know what to do with it. Even though I had always been interested in shamanism, I did not think that it could ever be my path. I filed that curious song away, and concentrated on finding a full-time job and taking care of my daughter.
Seven years later as I was studying with my first shamanic teacher, that song came back to me. I could understand it and begin to work with it. And today, ten years after that, that song is integrated into my being, wrapped around my DNA and woven through my energy body. And the calling blossomed into a relationship with all my helping spirits, full of amazing synchronicities, grace and ultimate trust.
I am so grateful for hearing the calling through the pain and chaos back then. That major turning point in my life was what brought me back to my true self, my purpose in this lifetime, and the path of my heart.
Whatever is happening in your life, keep your awareness honed. A calling, a song of power, a synchronicity is coming to guide you on your path. Be ready.
*Spirit Medicine is a term Hank Wesselman uses that I really like
Do you talk to trees?
Do you feel closeness with one special tree, one that you feel speaks to you or even hugs you with its loving energy when you are around it?
Many people feel a kinship with trees, a sacred gratitude in their presence. They can have the aura of a wise guide, a loving grandparent, a mystical sentinel. They are as individual as people. Many folks that work in the spirit realms work with a tree or trees, and many also work with a special place in nature that becomes sacred with the work.
My friend Lawrence Birch, who facilitates the shamanic healing circle with me, had an inspired idea for our circle to work with a “shaman tree”. He shared a great book with me by Evelyn Rysdyk, A Spirit Walker’s guide to Shamanic Tools, in which she talks in great detail about how to create a sacred prayer tree for offerings, prayers, and ceremony. At our May healing circle we asked attendees to bring ideas of trees they know in local places that would be accessible to our group. We asked each person to journey to the tree beforehand to make sure they had their permission to bring them as a nominee. Five trees were brought as possible candidates. Lawrence had a brilliant idea to be the neutral organizer and labeled the trees anonymously A – E. He then led us on short journeys to our helping spirits to choose between two letters, A or B. Afterwards we went around the circle and reported the letter we got, then the one who received the majority went on to the next round, and so on, until only one was left. It was amazing in the last round that almost all of us got the same one. This one became our “shaman tree”, a huge, elder Douglas Fir in Willamette Park at the edge of a quiet, but public clearing.
Our shamanic healing circle met at the tree last weekend. We brought offerings to place in the tall grass and blackberry vines entwining its base, we joined hands around it and sang songs of gratitude, gave it poems and prayers. We journeyed to it and to the surrounding nature spirits. We received messages that were powerful and profound. I was moved very deeply by the experience, as were others. After our circle, I was nudged to the edge of the clearing to take a picture of our tree. The next day I looked at the picture and saw that spirit had honored us in turn by becoming visible light in the photo.
Imagine if a group of people in every city and town came together in community to honor the spirits of nature in all realms. Imagine the pure light of spirit emanating in every one of those circles. Imagine the possibilities for healing our world.
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 -