This video is a beautiful example of how the medicine gifts we bring to our Healers, Teachers, Facilitators, and Practitioners supports their work continuing for the community.
The dollars we pay is the energy exchange to keep them and their families alive, housed, recognizing their years of training, skills, and continued education, while compensating for their time - much of which is unseen by their clients, students, or members.
Medicine gifts, such as the sacred Peruvian tobacco used in this clearing, may be the only way to ensure certain ceremony or healing work is done. In many lineages, the facilitator is never to purchase such medicines, it must be grown, harvested, or gifted. Such gifts also honours their lineage, their teachers - both spirit and human, and the medicine ways themselves.
Without this gift of tobacco, this particular clearing and the ceremony to the Airts (directions) before it would not have occurred. It is a blessing to the community to receive such, and a sweetness to me to be entrusted and supported in this work. Many of the flowers I use in my offerings, and the herbs used for our smoke cleansing ceremonies have also been gifted during gatherings or even sent in the mail! <3
Don't think this way is only for the spiritual helpers in your community, gift your chiropractors, doctors, massage therapists, professors, mechanics, even your baristas! What would support them in supporting others? What would honour their time and skill?
Working intimately with my lia mala (medicine bundle) is a significant part of my personal spiritual practice and energetic well-being. Over the years of offering the Shamanic Living Immersion, I began carrying a lia mala for the community as well. In this way, each member is able to receive energetic clearing and spiritual healing support via my tending to this bundle.
It is treated similarly to my own, albeit holding different contents. It is brought to sacred places, opened to the healing elements, offerings are made, medicines added, and receives the energy stream of traditional shamanic techniques. It comes with us to each circle and session the SLI members might benefit from. They are welcome work with this energy source long distance or held in their laps as needed.
Working in this way also supports Myself. Before I had received the dream telling me to create one for them, I had been navigating the effects of a large number of people very often "reaching out" to me in unseen, but very real, ways. Healing work and support was being asked of me throughout each day and each night, even into my dream time as members moved through their deep healing processes. Community outside of the immersion program also call on me in this way and I knew I needed to find more effective means to move this work a little more "outside" of myself. Upon creation, the remedy was felt immediately. If you are a Teacher or Practitioner, perhaps this share inspires you should requests for your energetic attention require a different way of holding.
Much of my spiritual teaching practice is based on reclaiming our own forgotten or misplaced cultural practices. The majority of us have been severed from rich ancestral traditions - for all sorts of reasons. Part of this process includes diving deeply into Why a practice/ritual/ceremony is done, cultivating intimate & reciprocal relationships with the plants, animals, elements, and guides involved, plus researching myths, stories, and lore from the lands our families came from, sitting with elders and spirit teachers, reading & listening intently - and importantly - discovering and remedying appropriated methods and terms.
This fills our cup of longing for deeper purpose to this living experience. It brings us fertile ground for ceremony, spiritual holding, and of course our own well-being and that of our communities and the natural world around us. When we are intact in this way, we can appreciate the differences and similarities found around the world in a beautiful way, but when this cup of ours is empty - we are much more likely to grab and fill from cultures we witness or who are undergoing their own revitalization process, even when we don't intend harm.
I have recently learned the term "smudge" is an incorrect usage unless our ancestry is indigenous to Turtle Island. While many first nation people do not mind common use of this term for clearing and blessing with sacred smoke - many Do. I have begun re-writing my language to reflect my intention of decolonizing my personal practice, my words, and my teachings. It will take time to come across each instance - but I am dedicated to it.
Like many of us - my own ancestral traditions have also been decimated. Google and Duolingo is often my "elder" when hunting down appropriate Gaelic languaging to use, along with my human colleagues who are also piecing things together.
These things are highly entrenched and often go unnoticed - until they suddenly stand out in blazing illumination. My apprenticeship was focused on women who's ancestry was that of Irish and Scottish descent - and still I learned this integral practice as "smudging" and have used the term for at least a decade.
The closest Gaelic word I can find so far is "Slain" or "Slainning". Lots and lots of reference to clearing and blessing with smoke in Ireland and Scotland abound - and yet a word for it is seldom mentioned. I am still on the hunt as slainning seems also interchangeable with fumigating a house, person, or animal for purpose of bugs and germs by burning local herbs and plants.
I invite you to join me in this awareness and practice changing our language to reflect this knowledge. Smoke Bath, Sacred Smoke Ceremony, Smoke Cleansing, Smoke Ritual are all acceptable - albeit perhaps focuses on the common modern intention of use purely to clear energy rather than also as carrying our prayers to Spirit or as a blessing by the plants/feathers/shell used. (here's another invitation to take this wisdom-way deeper than is often spoken of)
I've also been working on reducing my use of the word "shamanism" and "shamanic" as this too is a term taken from a specific cultural region that my DNA does not originate from. A complication is it is currently recognized for specifically distinguishing from other spiritual ways of being - an important component when offering community services. It most clearly conveys to those seeking to attend or join me what is likely to happen and often is the word searched for when in need. It too has undergone appropriation and a great loss of depth - a westernization of original practice & meaning, now a buzzword added on to all sorts of other practices that may or may not have those distinctive aspects. I'm still working on this one too.
I'm incredibly grateful for patience being shown to each other as we all find our way and I hope my share sparks some inspiration to use our words carefully. If you like, it would be neat to hear what sacred smoke rituals are called in your ancestral language! If you don't know - now is a fine time to start the quest!
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As we move around the medicine wheel of the year, we also move through the different energies of each direction/season. In many lineages, we have shifted from the feminine half of the year into the masculine half. In this month's "Deepen Your Personal Practice" column in the Luminous Wisdom magazine, I write about how we can align with this natural energy and draw on it to support our day-to-day living.
With Spring Break this month I pulled from reader suggestions for a topic relating to children and our personal spiritual practices. I find parenting is often seen as a barrier to navigate and fit around our personal ways of soul tending - many cling to this idea so much they will halt or stunt their own needed expressions. Truly, from my own experiences raising 3 solo, I view it rather as an invitation to let go a little more, get creative, and consider them as our valuable teachers in humour, wildness, and unabashed honesty.
Here are a few ideas on how you can bring your children closer into your practice, rather than trying to keep them out or that perpetual "waiting for a quiet moment or better timing" before tending to your soul work.
Sweetly timed for release on the Eve of Imbolc (Feb 1st) - a long standing, cross cultural, time for divination. Here are 3 easy methods of Divination absolutely everyone can step into. If this peaks your interest, "Divination Techniques ~ Introduction" is an experiential workshop offered February 16th (register here https://www.facebook.com/events/984373698385103/) and if you are keen for more on Imbolc, along with its associated Celtic practices of healing, protection, and divination, have a look here http://www.3foldbalance.com/support-your…/celebrating-imbolc
Energy Update for January 2018 is ready! On The Wheel are excerpts from our monthly shamanic journey circles that touch in on the natural influences in our lives that we may, or may not, realize are at play and how we can tap into them rather than accidentally going "against the current" Our circles have grown so big that we have now separated them into 2 offerings each month. The first is for current Shamanic Living Immersion Members and the second one will always be open to the community. This On The Wheel excerpt is taken from the SLI circle - you are most welcome to join us January 20th 2018 where we have 1 shamanic journey before stepping into ceremony for planting our "seeds of intentions" into medicine pouches.
I don't make new year resolutions anymore, but I do take my cues from the natural world and plant the most viable seeds of intentions during January's journey circle. We will be doing this again this year and working with the "garden" of our medicine pouches over the months ahead - tending to the sprouts, weeding out what needs to compost, and feeding those projects, dreams, and ways of being in life - just as the seasons show us. This month's Deepen Your Practice article is support for those who are unable to join us but wish they could.
I invite you to co-create what you want to harvest this year. People often say to me, "wow you manifested x,y,z!" No. No I didn't. I couldn't possibly take all the credit for such things. But I do try work in alignment with nature, I aim to make space for Spirit to intervene, I do the leg-work of walking through the doors of opportunity that open, and of course am surrounded by an incredible clan of people. This process here of planting seeds is a major aspect to this <3
Winter Solstice Blessings to you! We don't have a Journey Circle in December, but I do put out a quarterly newsletter called On the Medicine Wheel that includes an energy update portion (and spiritual practice suggestions, event details, articles, sometimes videos). Here I read from that newsletter.
If you would like to see the steps for a fire ceremony that I mention, here is a link ow.ly/XLLW30hji5y
Journey circle dates are posted here if you would like to join us in Squamish BC, www.facebook.com/groups/3FoldBalance
Fire ceremonies are a time tested ritual for marking certain points of the year, for energetic maintanance, and honouring vital forces in Nature. A common practice is to hold a fire ceremony at the "4 fire festivals" Samhain (Halloween), Imbolc (Groundhog Day), Bealtaine (May Day), and Lughnassad (1st Harvest) as well as at Winter Solstice (the longest night), Vernal Equinox (Equal day/night), Summer Solstice (Longest Day), and Autumnal Equinox (Equal day/night) as opportunities for a deeply personal soul tending experience. Truly, incorporating fire ceremonies into one's energetic maintanance routine can become a beautiful and profound support.
Not everyone can attend a community ceremony however, so here I share the basic steps, as I know them, to support others in holding their own fire ceremonies - from great outdoor bon fires to a single indoor candle flame.
*Please use the utmost fire safety practices and take your inner work as deeply as you are ready for - perhaps even a little deeper ;)
On The Wheel is the energy update portion of our monthly shamanic journey circles held in Squamish BC. Based on the natural energies influencing us from the seasons, celestial activity, and community collective experiences - this portion of our evenings help us consciously work "with" the natural flow rather than being buffeted about or inadvertently trying to go "against the grain". A short text version of On The Wheel is also included in the 3 Fold Balance quarterly newsletter timed with Solstices & Equinoxes. Please note we are in the Northern Hemisphere - sorry about that southern friends
A bean feasa of Celtic lineage shares stories & insights from her shamanic practice.