Shamanic living is more than a practice. More than something one "does". Definitely more than attending interesting workshops or a periodic ceremony. In this time and place, where our urbanized and generally spiritually neglected lifestyle creates a sense of disconnect, and "nature deficit" has become a condition - the draw to a deeper life is strong - yet sometimes we fall into thinking our spirituality is something "to do" instead of a way of living. Around the world entire cultures, ways of being and daily life tasks were intrinsically infused with our relationship to Spirit. There was no separation between collecting a hen's eggs and our prayers, no distinction between grinding corn and divination, dreams were important, living by the phases of moon and sun was normal, souls were tended to after trauma, blessings were sewn into clothes and always offerings to ancestors and nature deities were a first thought - not something to "remember to do" but naturally arising from day-to-day activities. Living life as a million little ceremonies and sensitivity to unseen aspects. Here is an article I wrote for elephant journal on 10 ways to turn ordinary moments into sacred ones. Early in one's practice yes, these may be things "to do", but for those of us who feel shamanism & spiritual living is more a remembering of forgotten wisdom or a path of clarity through the distractions of our day - we can come to a place of constant spiritual awareness and dialogue while we move through the mundane. But lets be clear - we aren't at the whim of guides, not half checked out in the land of non-ordinary reality, and certainly not being drawn off into journeys or possession by spirit all willy-nilly. When one is noticing omens, listening for insights, allowing spirit to give us nudges throughout our day, we must also be fiercely present, grounded and firmly in our human plane. This is where discipline and discernment play an integral piece.
It is also where a human teacher can be a wealth of support. Spirit has sooo much wisdom to share - but spirit also doesn't live as a modern day human. Some of our guides may have lived in times where cursing and warfare were normal parts of community living and advise us accordingly. Spirit also may give us intense lessons without certain sanity saving tips and supports. And to be honest - not all spiritual entities have our best interests at heart. Having an integral human teacher to notice your blindspots, alert you to potential hazards and bring you wisdom on healthy shamanic technique, energetic management while navigating current day-to-day living and importantly - to support healing during challenging times. Its one thing to grow through a spiritual crisis - its a whole other ball game to go through it alone. It is often said we are Spiritual beings living a Human experience. So while some struggle to bring a spiritual side into their lives, others struggle to keep humanity in balance. Does anyone come to mind when you think of someone living more in the ethers than seems to serve them well? Someone who appears to crash through life, burning up friendships or always choosing complicated circumstances saying "Spirit told me to" ? A friend? A 'healer' in town? You?
Shamanic living is both a spiritual practice and ordinary life walking side by side every step of the way. Its living fully, with a rich knowing of self. Diving into the deepest, hardest personal work to better revel in the beauty of the world. Its aligning our hearts with our actions - bringing internal healing out into the mundane world. Consulting spirit during hard decisions and using our intellect to implement a plan. Its going to a job every day and finding ways to be a harmonizing agent in the world - no matter what we are doing. Knowing what is our sh*t is and what has been projected onto us or what we are picking up on from another. Its feeling when things are out of balance between the mundane world and the spiritual realm, and having the wisdom to look within and to our guides before acting. Its buying less packaging not to be "environmental" but because we actually treasure our relationship with mother earth. Its thanking the land for its blessings and allowing safe passage before a road trip. Listening to the nudge to take the next bus but being wise enough to discern if it is a passing whim or actual guidance. It's a strong relationship with spirit while having both feet firmly on the ground. Doing our work, bringing balance and holding the light while we go about our ordinary lives. Walking the walk and knowing our practice is something to live - not do. This is shamanic living.
If these words tug on your heart strings, if you hear the call but can't see the first step, my suggestion is to find your tribe, connect with a mentor, keep company that raises you up and "speaks your language". You are more than welcome to visit www.ShamanicLiving.ca for inspiration and if you would like to join us, please do. The world needs wise hearts, compassionate intellects, and sensitive warriors as change makers. I truly believe by repairing our relationship to the natural world and tending to our own healing, we are having a huge overall impact. In my opinion, tending to our personal healing is just what needs doing when we feel helpless in the face of atrocities. Plus... it's science! We have all sorts of scientific demonstrations - everything from Russian experiments linking the electric impulses in DNA samples with the owner's emotional states over distance to Dr. Emoto's work with water. From Sandra Ingerman's Transfiguration healing work measured with GVD cameras (I was a lucky participant in some of this!) to the famous Rice Experiment (Here is my home study with photos) I am reminded of Spider wisdom - if you witness a spider building a web, first they put their support lines firmly in place. Then they begin in the center, tending to the small things. The work then grows out from there into something bigger and far reaching. It's balanced and beautiful. Sometimes it shines in the light, and other times hidden from view. We can do the same with our spiritual and ordinary lives.
Ahhh summertime soul-work season is upon us! So many exciting, deep, fun, and powerful opportunities for collective yet also personal healing work. Solstice celebrations, fire ceremonies, the Conscious Goddess Festival, workshops, vision quests, plant spirit experiences, spiral dances, labyrinth walks... yummmm! Such good stuff! and yet... afterwards...
What happens after?
After such moving and personal healing work, after our heart-felt connections and tribe building, we head home. Back to our mundane world of jobs, spouses, kids, emails, bills, television, grocery store lighting, facebook trolls, rigid scheduling or simply home alone to more solitary and solo lives...alone. Yet you just had this powerful, earth shattering internal experience! and these two worlds may feel like separate realities that really have a hard time even coming close to meeting. You might feel irritated, discombobulated, frustrated, having strange dreams, or simply dying to convey your amazing insights to others who can't fathom its depth. You might even just forget - like a lost dream upon waking.
This time of Integration is often considered the hardest part of any initiatory or deep healing work.
I can tell you from my experiences as a brainwave technician, as well as my personal development, and field of shamanic practice - this happens much more often than is desirable. It happens in the realms of medical, mental health, spirituality, alternative therapies, and training schools - this western workshop mentality has forgotten how to hold people all the way through to the other side of Integration. There is a lack of guidance and support for people working to bring their new gifts, healing and insights into their regular lives. (and actually the personal process often starts BEFORE the event!)
Here are some tips to support this sensitive and important time:
A bean feasa of Celtic lineage shares stories & insights from her animist and 'shamanic' practice on the West Coast of Canada.