Author: WinterJade

CHAKRAS 101

Chakras are vibrational wheels, or globes, of energy located within and without various areas of the body.  Their purpose is to organize and regulate your energy.  Chakras receive, assimilate and transmit the life force that is in you.  When you increase the power of your chakras’ vibrations, you upgrade the quality of your cellular intelligence.  You amplify the energy that improves health and happiness, and you build mental strength and spiritual fitnessChakra Development usually results in a renewed zest for life and a sense of inner sturdiness.  You acquire an elegant map for revitalizing your body and mind and making them compatible.  It is a way to enjoy your reality and blend it with your developing spiritual nature.  It prepares the way for a gentle opening of consciousness and gives you a new view of your life and world.

The 1st, or Root Chakra is located at the floor of the pelvis, which is at the base of the tailbone, and is associated with the adrenals.  It represents stability, life, and existence itself.  It helps ground our spiritual nature onto the material plane.  The more you ground yourself, the greater your chance of developing into the person you would like to become, and of making your dreams real.  This first level of personal and spiritual development bestows the right ‘to be’ and ‘to have.’  It entrusts you with the responsibility of loving and taking care of yourself, your body and your physical needs.  It spins clockwise.

The 2nd, or Navel Chakra is located all around the navel, and is associated with the gonads (ovaries and testicles).  It develops your sense of boundary and enables you to understand what will enhance and enrich your life. It represents love, perception, sensitivity and protection.  At this level, extra-sensory awareness begins to develop, and you learn how to feel the world from the viewpoint of another.  This second level of development bestows the right ‘to feel’ and to pursue gratification.  It entrusts you with the responsibility of caring about others as yourself (see First Chakra responsibility).  It spins counterclockwise.

The 3rd, or Solar Plexus Chakra is located at the solar plexus, just below the ribs, and is associated with the pancreas.  It represents hope, justice and fairness.  It gives you your self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, decision-making ability and personal power.  Developing this chakra allows you to make satisfying and healthy relationships.  This chakra bestows the right to act.  The responsibility of the Third Chakra is self-acceptance and the duty to love not only another, but to have best wishes for your associations, societies and communities.  It spins in the direction of a wheel rolling backwards.

The 4th, or Heart Chakra is located in the center of the chest at the heart area, and is associated with the thymus gland.  It represents peace, faith and compassion.  It brings you into unity and kinship with the entire universe.  It expands your love and understanding to the point of accepting the entire world.  This level of development bestows the right ‘to love and be loved.’  It entrusts you with the responsibility of loving all of creation as though it were you (refer to the responsibility of the Root Chakra).  The Fourth Chakra spins in the same direction as the Third Chakra, like a wheel rolling backwards.

The 5th, or Throat Chakra is located at the level of the Adam’s Apple, and is associated with the thyroid gland.  It channels mental energy to your mind and heart, giving a voice to your feelings, thoughts and experiences.  It represents truth, communication, integrity, self-expression and creativity.  When you reach the potential of control and authority possible at the Fifth Chakra, you master the Law of Attraction.  This level of development bestows the right ‘to speak and be heard,’ as well as the ability ‘to listen deeply and to hear truly.’  It entrusts you with the responsibility to control yourself and your surroundings.  It spins at an oblique angle from the right ear, backward, toward the spine and the heart.

The 6th, or Third Eye Chakra is located at the forehead, just above and between the eyes, and is associated with the pituitary gland (some say the pineal gland).  It allows simultaneous awareness of your inner state and the world around you.  It represents wisdom, knowledge, intuition, discernment, imagination, goal and time.  A developed Brow Chakra gives the ability to clearly see what is important for your happiness and well-being, and connects you to your goal and purpose.  This level of development bestows the right ‘to see.’  It entrusts you with the responsibility of self-reflection.  The Sixth Chakra does not exactly spin; rather, it beams out in two directions: from the forehead to the far horizon in front of you, and out the back of your head to the far horizon behind you.

The 7th, or Crown Chakra is located just above the top of the head, and is associated with the pineal gland (some say the pituitary gland).  It provides a point of connection to an abiding sense of peace and joy, based in the knowledge that you are one with Source.  It represents beauty, spirituality, connection with the Divine Source and existence in God.  This level bestows the right ‘to know.’  It gives the responsibility of self-knowledge and requires that you align your will with your divine guidance and inspiration.  It spins clockwise in some people, counterclockwise in others.

Usually, all the chakras are operating together, though some may function more or less optimally than others.  When they are weak or out of alignment, you will commonly experience physical and emotional symptoms.  Chakra Development diminishes these irregularities.  It promotes health and balance throughout the Chakra System.  You will notice some benefits: increased power and stamina in your mind and body, heart and soul; more energy reserves for the activities and challenges of everyday life; less reaction to stress; less fatigue; and an overall sense of well-being.

If you are interested in learning how to activate your Chakras, please consider taking a 7-week class or weekend workshop.  You will learn both simple and sophisticated methods to increase the vibrational strength and spin of your Chakras.  These practices remove blockages and cultivate the clear intelligent flow of healthy energy through your entire system.  You will learn about the Crystal Mountain, the Seven Chakras, Eight Directions, and you will experience them first-hand through specially-designed exercises.  Hand-outs are included.

 

 

MORE ABOUT SHIATSU

Shiatsu, a traditional healing art from Japan, has its roots in the ancient wisdom and principles of Chinese medicine. Shiatsu is often called“acupuncture without needles.”  “Shi” means finger and “atsu”means pressure. 

The shiatsu specialist uses thumb and finger pressure to stimulate the entire meridian pathway, rather than inserting needles into a few specific points along the channel.  The benefits include restoring vitality and healthy function to your body, and harmony and clarity to your mind. 

Clients are fully clothed during treatment.  Shiatsu is non-invasive and profoundly effective for a range of common complaints, injuries and illnesses.

A BRIEF HISTORY

Shiatsu is based on the same system as acupuncture, but with shiatsu, no needles are used.  Chinese medicine dates from the 1st century B.C.E. with the oldest written medical text still in existence –  The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine.  This text documents the sphere of bodywork in Asian medicine and states that “finger pressure is used to promote digestive function and restore vigor.”  Asian medicine was brought to Japan by a Buddhist priest, Gan Jin Osho, in 552 C.E.

In Japan, it is believed to this day that no instrument will ever surpass the precision and sensitivity of the human hand for assessing energy and being able to determine the condition of a person’s health.  For this reason, examination and diagnosis by palpation has been developed to an extraordinary degree in Japan. 

The Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare defines shiatsu therapy as “a form of manipulation administered by the thumbs, fingers and palms, without the use of any instrument, mechanical or otherwise, to apply pressure to the human skin, correct internal malfunctioning, promote and maintain health, and treat specific diseases.”  The ministry lists over 200 health concerns for which shiatsu is considered a primary treatment. In the United States, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has come to concur.  The research on acupuncture and massage shows agreement. 

WHAT SHIATSU OFFERS

Shiatsu addresses a wide variety of complaints.  Some of the benefits are:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Pain relief from backache, headache, muscle tension or injury
  • Increased mobility and flexibility
  • Improved digestion
  • Better sleep
  • Clearer mind

Shiatsu is used to assist recovery from mild to severe injuries from accidents or sports. Shiatsu relieves pain due to backache, headache, arthritis, and sore muscles caused by too much or too little exercise or repetitive motion. Shiatsu boosts the immune system and is effective in the treatment of fatigue, low energy, insomnia and quality of sleep.

Shiatsu has proven successful in treating digestive complaints such as heartburn, constipation, abdominal discomfort and general sluggishness. Shiatsu is commonly used for women’s health, menstrual and menopausal complaints,and  all stages of pregnancy, including fertility and birthing.

Shiatsu is very helpful for respiratory problems such as shortness of breath, asthma, allergies, and sinuses. Shiatsu combines successfully with other forms of treatment.  It strengthens and increases the actions of acupuncture and naturopathy and aids the digestion and absorption of herbs.  It combines very well with chiropractic in two ways:  if received beforehand, it makes manipulations easier; if afterwards, it helps keep adjustments longer. 

Clients report that Shiatsu enhances personal and spiritual development.  They experience feeling grounded and centered and having a heightened awareness of being in the body.  They comment on the added strength, stability and awareness they gain as an extra advantage for their personal and spiritual development. Shiatsu relaxes the mind and strengthens the body.  It promotes health and helps create a positive outlook on life.  It empowers a grounded assessment and interpretation of life’s events, and the ability to respond from the heart. 

WHEN TO SEEK TREATMENT

You can seek out shiatsu treatments for many diverse reasons. You may want to remedy the physical symptoms of acute or chronic pain and discomfort.  You may need some relief from stress, anxiety or tension.  Perhaps you are not really sick but you don’t feel quite up to par. Maybe your brain is a bit “foggy” and you would like to have better clarity and focus or feel more grounded. You could be facing the “empty nest” and need a stronger sense of self and of purpose. 

Shiatsu has proven effective for treating a variety of mild to severe complaints in categories such as:

Injury –  auto accidents, sports injuries, repetitive motion
Pain – backache, headache, muscle tension, joint pain, chronic pain, neck & shoulders, low back & hips

Digestion – heartburn, constipation/sluggishness, bloating,loose stool/diarrhea
Immune System – fatigue, low energy, sleep problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome
Respiratory – allergies, sinusitis, asthma, shortness of breath
Women’s Health – menstrual, menopausal, pregnancy, fertility

Shiatsu also combines successfully with other forms of treatment:

Acupuncture – integrates treatment, assists digestion of herbs
Naturopathy – helps absorb remedies, stimulates detoxification
Chiropractic – makes manipulations easier, sustains adjustments longer

Shiatsu enhances personal and spiritual development. Clients report:
~ Increased vitality and vigor
~ Feeling grounded and centered
~ Awareness of “being in the body”
~ Tuning in to their inner knowing
~ Developing a desire to connect with Spirit
BLUEPRINT OF A SHIATSU SESSION
Before the first treatment I talk with you about your needs and goals and email you some basic information and directions to the office.  When you arrive you fill out a brief health history form, and I will probably have a few more questions based on the information you provide.  When that is complete, you move into the treatment room and change into loose, comfortable clothing.  You lie on the table fully clothed and I come in.
I apply palms, fingers and thumbs to the entire meridian system (the lines you see on an acupuncture chart that connect the points).  I work through the clothing, so no oils or lotions are used.
  • The amount of pressure can vary from gentle to firm, depending on your needs and comfort
  • A session lasts approximately 45-60 minutes, determined by the condition of your health at the time of treatment
  • Your whole body is addressed, even if your only reason for treatment is a stiff neck (the meridians that treat a stiff neck will run from head to foot)
  • After the treatment, you typically feel very calm, relaxed and clear-headed
  • Your complaints will often be either gone, or at least noticeably reduced
  • The results tend to last longer than a regular massage for most people. There is a cumulative effect after  several treatments that lasts even longer – for some clients, as long as months; a few have even said years

In traditional Asian medicine a typical course of Shiatsu treatment for one complaint begins with 10 sessions, 30-50 minutes each, one to three times a week.  These days, in America, we usually see clients less frequently – once a week, once a month, or anything in between.  It depends on the desired results, the severity of the condition, and whether the condition is acute or chronic.  For a strong and healthy person with little or no stress in life, quarterly treatments are recommended at the change of seasons.

We evaluate the effectiveness of treatments every two or three sessions to determine whether the best strategy is to continue with the treatment plan, refine or modify it, or, if resolved, conclude the course of treatment. One fact to keep in mind is that all forms of natural medicine show best results with a cumulative build up. To determine how Shiatsu will work for you, consider an initial series of three consecutive weekly treatments to get a sense of its cumulative effect.

WHAT I PROVIDE AS A SPECIALIST

Since 1975, I have trained extensively with Shiatsu masters, European osteopaths, Asian acupuncturists, American chiropractors and shamanic healers from five cultures.  These, combined with many years of treatment experience, form my personal technique.  I love my work! 

What I bring to the table:

  • I have 35+ yrs of experience treating everything from stress and fatigue to backache and headache, from digestion and PMS to accidents and injuries, from depression and insomnia to allergies and sinuses
  • I listen intently to what you say as well as to what your body tells me
  • I give specific attention to your areas of complaint and pay attention to any additional areas of disharmony
  • I track your progress, answer your questions, and help you connect the dots when you can’t make sense of what is going on in your body
  • I will always tell you when I think a different treatment will help you, and I will recommend someone whose skills and integrity I trust
My wish for you is that you be happy and healthy!

ANIMAL TOTEMS: THE OLD WAYS ARE NEW AGAIN

Fox Totem

You hear people mention Animal Totems more and more frequently these days. You may also have heard them called Spirit Animals or Power Animals. Certainly, the influence of the animal world on the human psyche is undeniable. It has been with us since the earliest of times. We can observe it in the prominence of paintings on ancient cave walls. We can note the recurrence of animals in fairy tales of all cultures since recorded history. They often talk and give help and advice to humans, occasionally even delivering hard lessons by outsmarting people. Our fascination with animals is so innate that we even have a television channel called the Animal Planet where we can watch them anytime, day or night.  And other channels, like Discovery and National Geographic, are filled with documentaries of many of the animals we find most captivating.

Before modern industrialization we were more in tune with the natural world. We were more connected to animals and their wisdom. We learned lessons about life by observing them, and we saw in them a mirror of our own qualities, both good and bad, so that we could improve ourselves and discover how to live in harmony. This lost awareness is reemerging today. It is, indeed, very accessible through any ancestral roots – European, Asian, African, etc. – but the most common view in our culture at this time is through Native American traditions.

Within these traditions, there are variations from nation to nation, and from tribe to tribe within one nation, but some beliefs are generally held in common. For instance, a common view is that when you are born, you enter this life at a certain place on the Medicine Wheel.  You will traverse the Wheel many times during your life, as the Wheel encompasses all the virtues and imperfections, all the ups and downs that a lifetime entails. However, your particular placement at the time of your birth indicates which life lessons will be most important for you to learn during your lifetime.  Creator gives you help to succeed in mastering these lessons. One such aid is your Personal Animal Totem (or totems, in some cases). In one Cherokee tradition, Creator gives each person seven totems in each of seven categories, for a total of forty-nine. You become familiar with your totems and begin working with them.  You then start paring them down until you discover which totem is your strongest ally. This totem is the most influential helper on your path to becoming a “true human being,” someone who who leads your life “in a good way” by developing your gifts and talents to benefit the people for several generations.

Deer Totem

So how does your Animal Totem help you do this? Well, at the most base level, your Totem helps you muddle through your life with a little more grace and peace of mind. But it can do more than that if you work closely with it. It strengthens and deepens your sense of connection – to family, friends, yourself, your purpose, and to the Great Mystery of life. Your Personal Totem shows you where you belong in the great scheme of things. Creator gives you this gift and asks you to cultivate the bond between yourself and your Totem because, as you begin to integrate it into your daily life, you discover how to use its wisdom to remove barriers to your personal and spiritual development. Unfolding your relationship with your Totems brings self-knowledge, healing and purpose. It deepens your intuition and awareness.  It improves the stamina in your mind and body, and promotes peace and power in your heart and soul. You arrive at a place where you are contributing to the balance and harmony of all things on earth just by being you. Your Personal Totem takes you there.

So, how do you know what your personal animal totem is? And how do you make its acquaintance? Sometimes an animal enters your awareness because it startles you by flying across your windshield or darting in front of your car as you are driving down the road.  Or maybe you just begin seeing a particular kind of animal everywhere you look. People can mistakenly assume that this is their personal animal totem. Usually it is not. Often this is an animal that has come to give you a message for a particular time or circumstance in your life. But your true personal animal totem is there with you throughout your life, all the time, even if you don’t notice it.  The way to discover it is through a traditional method called “journeying.”

A journey is a very deep meditative state arrived at by traditional grounding methods and calling on the assistance of the Four Directions, Mother Earth and Father Sky or Great Spirit. Usually  you have a guide to lead you, accompany you through the Journey, and bring you safely back. The guide does this through guided visualization, which may or may not be accompanied by drumming.  Once you are in the receptive state that Journeying induces, your guide gives you the traditional suggestions that lead to recognizing your Totem, both within you and as a separate being who will assist you. You will be able to ask questions of your Totem, and it will give you insights and answers to what’s been on your mind.  You can see your circumstances from a previously unimagined perspective, and new information is offered for considering whatever is at hand.

Horse Totem.

Meeting your Personal Totems is a profound experience. It connects you deeply to yourself and to the Great Mystery – Creator, Spirit, God, Goddess, or however you conceive and call the awe-inspiring wonder of creation. Developing your relationship with your Totems brings self-knowledge, healing and purpose.It deepens your intuition and awareness.  It improves stamina in your mind and body, and promotes peace and power in your heart and soul. Its value is timeless – as uplifting and meaningful today as it has ever been.

It has been my great good fortune to have met and studied with some amazing teachers and healers over the years. Medicine people of four cultural traditions have graciously put enough trust in me to give their endorsements so that I might guide others on traditional Journeys to meet their Totems and Spirit Guides, open their Energy Centers (Chakras), find their missing soul pieces (Soul Retrieval), and other such Old Ways of healing. It is a blessing to have received this knowledge ~ and even more so to be able to share this beautiful Medicine with others.

MY STORY: FROM BEGINNING TO NOW (‘END’ IS YET TO COME)

All the practitioners I know in the field of healing say that, when they look at how they got to where they are, they can trace their choice of profession back to their childhoods.  I am no exception.  In my case, it showed up in the way I welcomed taking care of my four younger siblings, or how I would find a baby bird who had fallen out of its nest and bring it home to nurse into a fledgling.  I would feel so proud and joyful as I watched it fly away, sure that it would have a wonderful life.

My natural inclinations were undeniably influenced by being brought up Catholic (being half Irish and half Italian, was there any other option?).  As a child, I loved the incense, Gregorian chant and the ceremony of mass.  It was all in Latin then, so no words got in the way of my experience.  I absolutely loved Jesus.  I wanted to be a healer like him.  Even as young as 6 or 7, I was impressed by the way he could talk to people and have them realize that they could think and do things differently, that they could be loving and helpful . . . to themselves and to the others around them.  His laying on of hands, healing lepers and bringing back the dead, touched me in a profound way that went beyond the awe of the miracles.  I went to mass and communion daily throughout junior high and high school and prayed to be of service.

I went to a catholic college and chose a major that was called Speech Correction because I wanted to help people express themselves.  However, the nuns there were so nasty that I stopped being Catholic.  I decided to find out what spirituality had been like before it was institutionalized.  That was very enlightening because I discovered that indigenous cultures honored allof God’s creation, not just a hierarchy of church officials.  They did look up to their elders and leaders, but all their voices were heard.  And, unlike churches, women had the trust and respect of their tribes and clans, and were just as likely to be the leaders as men were.  This gave me a new sense of possibility.  I understood that even a woman could make a significant contribution to society.  [That might seem strange to say, but it was quite a revelation for a young woman coming to adulthood in the mid -1960’s. Afterall, I had grown up in the 1950’s, and the movement for Equal Rights for Women didn’t even start until after the Equal Rights Amendment passed in 1972.]  I was inspired!

My inspiration was put on hold, however, because I married a pretty macho guy at the age of 21.  The Women’s Liberation movement hadn’t happened yet.  Several years later I marched for women’s rights, divorced, and moved to New York City to study Shiatsu.  Now I was living a life of my own choosing . . . and it was fantastic!  I was an enthusiastic and dedicated student.  I organized study groups so that I could be “in it” day and night, and I practiced on people all the time.  The school I was enrolled in was so pleased with my attitude and aptitude that they hired me to teach the beginning levels before I graduated!  They also hired me to work in their clinic after graduation.

I met fascinating people and worked on stars from the movies, the ballet, modern dance and Broadway.  I learned yoga.  I became a Buddhist monk for a short time (or, as I like to say, a “monkette”).  I was sent to Canada and to several European countries to teach shiatsu.  Some amazing healers from Japan came to our school.  I found one of them to be so astounding that I moved to Germany to apprentice with him for two years.  Besides being an internationally reknown healer in the shiatsu world, he was a Shinto priest.  Shinto is the ancient indigenous spirituality of Japan.  He taught me much of what I know about healing, both on the physical and esoteric levels. Just being being in his presence was an uplifting experience for everyone around him.  He worked “miracles” on those of us who studied with him.

By this time, my own reputation was growing internationally.  I was recruited back to the United States to design nationally certified shiatsu programs in massage schools, community colleges and acupuncture colleges.  I did this over a period of 18 years in five states and many institutions, and loved spreading this beautiful work from coast to coast.  During this period, four national certifying agencies hired me as their subject matter expert (SME) for on-site visits at various schools to assess the eligibility of their programs.

This was a very exciting and prolific time in my career.  From all across the country, twelve other practitioners and I envisioned a national professional organization for Asian bodywork that was distinct from European and American style massage.  We realized our dream in 1989 with the formation of the AOBTA (American Organization for the Bodywork Therapies of Asia).  I wrote the initial draft of the educational requirements for student clinic, and chaired the committee that brought it to completion.  Next, in the mid-1990’s, several of us worked with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) to develop a national exam.  It took over a year and was a BIG accomplishment for our profession . . . and so satisfying.

Throughout all these  years, there remained a continual inner drive to increase my understanding and skill set.  I wanted to know everything about what it means to be human, and how we become happy, healthy and wise.  I studyied with American chiropractors, European osteopaths and Asian acupuncturists.  I furthered my knowledge and practice of Asian medicine by on-going  personal, professional and tutorial relationships with my most influential teachers.  Sadly, they have passed on.  I miss them.

Some of my most gratifying and fulfilling courses of study and apprenticeships have been those with native healers of different cultures.  I feel so fortunate to have been taken into such magnificent worlds of wonder – and to have been shown how to lead others there.  These are the realms within the human potential where spontaneous realizations and unexplainable remissions happen, where the mind is at peace and the soul rests in the silence of deep joy.

Yes, I have been lucky.  I have visited these worlds . . . admittedly, only for moments . . . but repeatedly.  My inner drive to sustain the stillness, the peace, persists.  And it is my sincere and heartfelt desire to share that space with those who want to know that experience for themselves.

MORE ABOUT CHAKRAS

Chakras are vibrational orbs of energy located at specific areas of the body. They regulate your energy and activate the life force within you.  When you increase the power of your chakras’ vibrations, you amp up the energy that improves health and happiness, and you build mental strength and spiritual fitness.

The 1st, or Root Chakra is located at the floor of the pelvis at the base of the tailbone, and is associated with the adrenals.  It represents stability, life, and existence itself.  It helps ground your spiritual nature into your material existence.  The more you ground yourself, the greater your chance of developing into the person you would like to become, and of making your dreams real.  This first level enables you ‘to be’ and ‘to have.’ It entrusts you to love and take care of yourself, your body and your physical needs.

The 2nd, or Navel Chakra is located all around the navel, and is associated with the ovaries/testicles.  It develops your sense of boundary and enables you to understand what will enhance and enrich your life.  It represents love, perception, sensitivity and protection.  At this level, extra-sensory awareness begins to develop, and you learn to how to feel the world from the viewpoint of another.  This second level of development enables you ‘to feel’ and to pursue gratification.  It entrusts you to care about others, as well as yourself.

The 3rd, or Solar Plexus Chakra is located at the solar plexus and is associated with the pancreas.  It represents hope, justice and fairness.  It gives you your self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, decision-making ability and personal power.  Developing this chakra allows you to make satisfying and healthy relationships.  This chakra enables you to act.  It equips you to accept yourself, and entrusts you to have best wishes, not only for another, but truly for the whole world.

The 4th, or Heart Chakra is located in the center of the chest at the heart area, and is associated with the thymus gland.  It represents peace, faith and compassion.  It brings you into unity and kinship with the entire universe.  It expands your love and understanding to the point of accepting the entire world.  This level of development enables you ‘to love and be loved.’  It entrusts you with loving all of creation as though it were you (see the Root Chakra).

The 5th, or Throat Chakra is located at the level of the Adam’s Apple, and is associated with the thyroid gland.  It channels mental energy to your mind and heart, giving a voice to your feelings, thoughts and experiences.  It represents truth, communication, integrity, self-expression and creativity. When you reach the potential of control and authority possible at the Fifth Chakra, you master the Law of Attraction.  This level of development enables you to speak and be heard, as well as the ability to listen deeply and to hear truly.  It entrusts you to control yourself and your surroundings.

The 6th, or Third Eye Chakra is located at the forehead, just above and between the eyes, and is associated with the pituitary gland (some say the pineal gland).  It allows you to be simultaneously aware of your inner state and the state of the world around you.  It represents wisdom, knowledge, intuition, discernment, imagination, goal and time.  When developed, it gives you the ability to clearly see what is important for your happiness and well-being, and connects you to your goal and purpose.  This level of development enables you ‘to see’ and to self-reflect.

The 7th, or Crown Chakra is located just above the top of the head, and is associated with the pineal gland (some say the pituitary gland).  It provides a point of connection to an abiding sense of peace and joy, based in the knowledge that you are one with Source.  It represents beauty, spirituality, connection with the Divine Source and existence in God.  This level enables you ‘to know.’  It entrusts with self-knowledge and aligning your will with your divine guidance and inspiration.

A BIT OF HISTORY

The first written references to chakras are found in India’s most ancient sacred texts, the Vedas (circa 1,500 BCE) and the Upanishads (circa 600 BCE).  However, it was not until the translations of 10th and 16th Century texts by an Englishman, Arthur Avalon, that the information came to the West in 1919.  Chakras are most commonly linked with the science and practice of yoga.  As yoga flourishes in the West, chakra development becomes increasingly sought out.

WHAT CHAKRA DEVELOPMENT OFFERS

By increasing the vibratory rate of your chakras, you upgrade the power and quality of all your functions.  You amplify the energy that improves health and happiness.  You build mental and spiritual strength and fitness.  Chakra Development results in a renewed zest for life and a sense of inner sturdiness.  You synchronize your body and mind and make them compatible.  Your energy is more easily revitalized and your spiritual nature can begin to blossom.  This gentle, gradual opening of consciousness brings a new optimism and appreciation for your life and the possibilities that await.

WHEN TO SEEK CHAKRA DEVELOPMENT

Usually, all the chakras are operating together, though some may function more or less optimally than others.  When they are weak or out of alignment, you will commonly experience physical and emotional symptoms:

  •  1st – Obesity, anorexia, sciatica, constipation, fear, survival
  •  2nd – Sexual problems, urinary trouble, guilt, desire
  •  3rd – Digestion, chronic fatigue, hypertension, shame, will
  •  4th –  Asthma, coronary or lung disease, grief, love
  •  5th – Sore throats, neck & shoulder pain, thyroid, lies, communication
  •  6th – Vision, headaches, nightmares, illusion, intuition
  •  7th – Depression, alienation, confusion, attachment, understanding

Chakra Development diminishes these irregularities.  It promotes health and balance throughout the Chakra System.  Some of the benfits are:

  •  Diminished symptoms
  •  Increased mental clarity
  •  Power and stamina in your mind and body, heart and soul
  •  Energy reserves for the activities and challenges of everyday life
  •  Less reaction to stress
  •  Less fatigue
  •  Overall sense of well-being

BLUEPRINT FOR CHAKRA DEVELOPMENT

Chakra Development is how you acquire the skills to activate and upgrade your Chakras.  It is available in two formats:

  1.  Seven Classes, 3 hours each, that meet once a week
  •  The benefit of the weekly course is that you have time during the week to practice and integrate the experience and information.
  • This format allows for a deeper understanding and more clearing of blockages.
  1.  2-Day Workshop that meets from 10:00-5:30, usually on a weekend
  •  The 2-day format benefits those who are not available for the 7-wk course. All the information is covered, but there is less time for self-discovery and clearing out.
  •  Both formats provide you with the opportunity to ask questions, and to learn from your classmates’ questions as well, which is a benefit that cannot be overestimated.

Topics include:

  •  Building the Crystal Mountain
  •  Spinning the Seven Chakras
  •  Activating the Eight Directions of Yin & Yang

You learn methods for increasing the vibrational strength and spin of your Chakras.  These practices remove blockages and promote the flow of healthy energy throughout your mind and body, heart and soul.

By the completion, you have a practice that is so flexible you can do it all at once in less than a half hour, or you can break it up throughout the day, doing a few minutes here and a few minutes there.  This practice is simple, yet it deepens very quickly.  Over time, you will find that it is very effective and quite profound.

I give thanks and acknowledgement to Gregory Anthuin,

the “shaman without a drum”

who taught this to me and gave me permission to teach it to others.

WHAT I PROVIDE AS A TEACHER

As a teacher, I like the mood in the classroom to be relaxed and light-hearted, yet focused.  I encourage participants to bring forward their eagerness to learn and to respect all who are present.  I prepare and organize the material so that each segment builds on the previous one.  My knowledge base in the subject matter is always greater than the class material.  I make time for questions and give answers in several ways for clearer understanding.  I provide hand-outs so that  you can continue practicing at home what  you have learned.

In a class such as Chakra Development, I create an atmosphere for you to get an actual physical sensation of the subtle energies of the Chakras using specific exercises that I specially designed.  I generate an alpha state induction technique taken from my shamanic studies to lead you through the exercises.  This allows you to raise the level of your brainwave activity so that you have a first-hand experience.  You have time during class to express and record your experience to make sure it is easy for you to recall your sensations.  Time for sharing with the group also gives you the opportunity to inspire, and be inspired by, your classmates.  You may find yourself deeply touched.  I always am.

 

SHIATSU VS. MASSAGE

For 15 years I lived in the Pacific Northwest where alternative/complementary medicine is used as commonly as conventional medicine.  Doctors there converse freely with acupuncturists, chiropractors, shiatsu specialists, etc. and are happy to coordinate care with such practitioners for the benefit of their patients.  They often referred their patients to me as part of their treatment plan.  Insurance companies on the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest cover the whole range of alternative therapies from bodywork to naturopathy to acupuncture and chiropractic.  When I moved back East and settled in the Mid-Atlantic, I was surprised to discover how rare it was to find that type of cooperation and coordination here.  I also found that a lot of people had never even heard of shiatsu, let alone used it.  In the time since I move here eight years ago, many more people in this town have heard about it but they still are not sure what shiatsu is and they often ask me how it differs from massage.   I thought it might be helpful to shed a little light on that question.  And, because people are often reluctant to try something new and unknown, I’ve added a little guidance on how to choose a bodyworker, regardless of the modality.

There are many different types of massage and bodywork.  Two of the most commonly practiced are Swedish massage and Shiatsu.  Massage is done with oils or lotions directly on the skin.  The practitioner uses palms, fingers and forearms in a horizontal plane along the main part of the muscles.  Massage is geared toward the skeletal muscles and the circulation of blood back to the heart.

Shiatsu is an acupressure technique that is often called “acupuncture without needles.”   The practitioner uses palms, fingers and thumbs in a vertical plane to stimulate the life force (qi) throughout the entire body. Shiatsu is geared at targeting your area of concern and harmonizing it with all your body’s functions and systems so that the effect is integrated and lasts longer.  It concentrates at the level of the nervous system to rejuvenate and enhance the:

  • Mobility, strength and flexibility of your joints
  • Circulation from your heart to all your cells, organs and muscles
  • Proper operation of your central nervous system  (brain, reflexes, etc.)
  • Harmonious coordination of your organ functions

Typically:

  • Your pain will decrease;
  • Your joints will have better range of motion with less discomfort;
  • You will recover faster from injury or surgery;
  • Your stamina will increase;
  • You will sleep better,
  • You will digest better, and
  • Enjoy more peace of mind.

Many of the written descriptions of the various types of massage and bodywork sound so similar that it is hard to tell the difference between them.   How can you know which kind of bodywork will be the best for you?

There are several things to consider. Are you looking for relief from your neck and shoulder tension?  Do you want to calm your mind and sleep better?  Is your back pain beginning to get in the way of everyday activities?  Are you suffering from indigestion, allergies, headaches, menstrual discomfort?  Most types of bodywork address the muscle tension that results in tight neck and shoulders and/or back pain.  Depending on your individual response to treatment, you may favor lighter or deeper pressure.  Be sure to let your practitioner know if you have a preference.

You will also want to consider the training, skill, experience, and [most importantly] the goals of the practitioner who will perform the treatment.  Some practitioners are focused on the physical complaints.  Some are oriented toward the subtle energy of the body.  Still others like to address any suppressed emotions that tend to get jammed up in the various tissues (there should be additional training for this orientation).  There are practitioners who feel more comfortable concentrating on science and technique, while others prefer the art and flow, adjusting their technique according to intuition.  Most bodyworkers will practice some combination of art and science in various degrees and percentages.  Pressure can vary from a very light touch to medium to deep (or very deep) work, and a few practitioners have enough skill, talent, experience and intuition to use the whole range appropriately for the client’s needs and goals.

Referral by a healthcare provider or friend is always a good way to find the right person.  Even then, don’t be afraid to ask questions when you make your first contact, whether by phone or email.  In addition to the areas mentioned above, you might want to find out why most of their clients come to see them.  This may give you an idea of what they are used to treating in their practice.  You can also ask how much experience they have with your particular reason for seeking them out.  I know that if I were the one looking for a practitioner, I would not rely on an email for the first contact.  I would want to speak with them personally to get a sense of who they are.  I would want to feel confident about their professionalism and have the sense that we would “get along,” so to speak.  I would want to feel that the person understands me when I convey my needs and concerns.  Feeling comfortable, confident and compatible with your bodyworker can be the pivotal factor that turns a “good massage” into a great one.

 

TEACHING BY TRANSMISSION

I  have been very touched by the responses to my first few posts.  Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know what you got from them.  The responses seemed to sort themselves into two groups of distinctive characteristics.

One group, writing about the blessings, was appreciative of such a positive insight and open sharing.  Some said that they, too, had gone into that deep darkness and come to a deeper appreciation at the end of the experience.  For them it was nice to see someome put it “out there,” as not everyone will speak about it.  To these people I want to say ‘thank you so much’ because it was not easy to do.  The writing of it is so personal, and yet I feel it is time to give voice to those common human experiences that our culture does not acknowledge.

Another group, mostly writing about the Chakras (but a few about the spiritual insight from the blessings, too), felt my presentation made these matters sound so easy, though they may actually be too complicated to ever understand.  To these people I want to say ‘I know what you mean.’  And the answer to the problem is that one needs a teacher in these cases.

All these matters that have more to do with energy than material substance are difficult to understand with words alone.  It is like trying to describe the taste of an apple.  You can say it is sweet, but many other things that are sweet taste nothing like an apple.  Then, of course, there are apples that are more or less sweet, or even tart or sour, that still taste like apples.  How can you explain this to someone who has never had an apple?!  Well, you have to make sure there is an apple available, show them where and how to bite into it, watch to make sure it all goes well, bear witness to their experience, and be able to taste what they taste as they taste it for the first time.  This is called teaching by transmission.  It is the art of teaching, over and above the skill of teaching.

The learning that has been most valuable to me has been taught in the age-old ‘oral transmission’ tradition (no textbooks or written materials) by teachers who had mastered the art of transmission.  This does not mean that I do not value other learning.  I absolutely value what I have gotten from reading and studying, both by schooling and on my own.  However, in the case of those things that cannot be seen or touched but must be felt with the heart and soul, that knowledge only springs to life in the presence of someone who knows how to create the atmosphere for it to become your own awareness.  That is why I say you need a teacher.  I have been lucky enough to have had such teachers.  And I have been lucky enough to have been taught to be such a teacher (tho’ I do give out written materials).  So, if any of the courses and workshops that I offer are of interest to you, but you are afraid that they are beyond your grasp,  I say give it a try.  You might be surprised!  Here are some of the testimonials from people who have been in my classes:

I attended a class on Power Animals taught by Lindy Ferrigno.  The class was not only informative on the informational level but on the experiential level as well.  It offered me a direct experience of my personal relationship to my power animals.  Lindy is a skilled Shaman who guided me on a deep journey with patience and skill so that I could have the direct experience of being with my animals.  She created and sustained a very safe relaxed atmosphere, allowing me to receive the information that I needed to continue on my healing journey.  Lindy’s deep visceral experience of the shamanic world and her connection to it allows for a rich and deep experience in any class she may teach.  I highly recommend her as a teacher.

Anna KD Blum, PMH, CS, BC

Dear Lindy,

I thought you might be interested in my response to the Chakra Workshop.  I came home afterward feeling contentedly sleepy and very much in my body.  I went to bed early and slept like a baby, unusual for me in both cases.  The next morning I awoke expecting my standard stiffness.  But there was none.  No aches or pains either.  Very strange indeed.  “Stranger” things were yet to come.  I sat down and journaled for the first time within memory, although there was a time I did that every morning of my life.  The journal pages helped me focus the work we did on Saturday.  If I were to chose one thing that resonated most deeply from all the wonderful things in that oh-so-rich workshop, it would be this idea:  Spirit does not have a body, but we do and it is time for all of us to step up and take part in the work of Spirit.  We are the hands, the feet, the body of Spirit and one of the reasons to stay alive long into old age is to further that work.  Following is one of the notes from my journal: “I want to take those things that have worked for me in the past and bring them to my life now so the flow that is me continues and I don’t feel chopped up into ‘chapters.’  The growing older will not seem an aberration, a ‘wrench’ from who I was, but a way of opening, of accepting my ‘leaky margins’ and my eventual dissolving into the whole of being.  The aspect of the day that spoke to me most was the idea of the partnership of Spirit and this body.  How they – we – need each other, how we must rely on each other to accomplish what we came here for.”

There were many other things I said in those pages, many important realizations, but that was the essence, that is the reason (for me, at least) to set my chakras spinning.

And speaking of spinning, after I wrote, I went downstairs, turned on music, and spontaneously began to dance.  I danced and danced until I began to cry for joy and shout “Yes!  Yes!  Yes!”

Yes.  Thank you so much, dear Lindy, for all I learned in those precious days.

Tinka

Catherine Finn

I have experienced first hand, Lindy’s wonderful ability to teach.  She shares her vast knowledge on many topics by condensing the material and making the information understandable to the layperson.   Her seminars are concise and offer both skilled practitioners of other modalities, and those just curious, a window into the seemingly endless mastery of her studies.  

JoAnn M. Christy, C.M.T.

 

 

ME AND MY SISTER

BLESSINGS SPRINGING FROM SORROW

Last year was an extraordinary one.  I couldn’t have predicted it, and I couldn’t have prepared for it. I never would have expected the blessings that came from such difficulty and sorrow. But, ultimately, what I experienced reinforced for me that God, Creator, Source, The One (whatever name we use) is truly with us at every turn, whether we notice or not. What follows are some of the things I happened to notice. To me, they seem like blessings. There are four, in particular, that I would like to share with you. To be honest though, I have to admit that when it began, this piece of personal history did not seem at all like a blessing – – at least not to me.

In January 2011, my youngest sister, Meg, called me.  She sounded strange. She wasn’t talking right. She told me that she had been struggling for several months with a swollen and painful tongue. It was not responding to the antibiotics her primary care physician had prescribed for the “infection.” As she told me about it, I had a sinking feeling that it was cancer and that she didn’t have a lot of time left. I kept it to myself. She was “my baby.” I was 12 when she was born and I helped bring her up, as my mother was very ill.

It wasn’t until April that the doctor took Meg’s problem seriously enough to get a better diagnosis. It was cancer. Thus began my grandest journey with Meg – both literally and figuratively. Perhaps it is only in hindsight that we see how grand an ordinary life really is.

Strange is our situation here on earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose.

– Albert Einstein

 

THE FIRST BLESSING CAME ON THE ROAD

Have you ever done a favor for someone and thought nothing of it?  Maybe it was easy for you to do, or you thought to yourself: “Ofcourse I would do it. Anyone would.” I can tell you now that you may have been an angel to someone in need. You never know how much it can mean to someone when you respond to someone’s need – – even if they didn’t know they needed it. The great philosopher, Lao Tse, says in the Tao Te Ching: “The softest thing in the universe overcomes the hardest thing in the universe.

I began driving round trip from central Virginia to western Vermont every week to help take care of Meg on the weekends. My shift was a 12-hour stint from 9:00PM until 9:00 the next morning, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A few times I made the 10-hour drive in one stretch, but it was soon apparent that I could not continue to do that plus stay awake most of the night to perform the duties necessary for Meg’s care.

The first blessing came from two wonderful long-time friends. They generously invited me to spend the night (after driving for about seven hours) for as long as there was a need. One of those friends and her husband had me stay with them every week. My angel-friends kept me safe (no fear of falling asleep at the wheel) and, more importantly, they gave me an inflow of tender loving care to replenish my outflow to Meg. They kept my reservoir of energy full for the entire period of this long journey of love. They also saved me at least one night of hotel expenses every week, sometimes two. When finances were threatening to make the trips impossible, more “angels” appeared. Clients, friends and colleagues made appointments, bought gift cards and sent checks. I received many notes of sympathy and encouragement. These generous acts of kindness and support meant so much to me.

People say there are angels among us in human form, and I know what they mean. I even know who some of them are! I always believed we are all connected, but now I could feel it. It felt as if the people, with their care and support, were soft silk filaments, woven around and through me, that connected me to them and to everyone by virtue of our shared human experience. And I know deeply that Lao Tse was right: the softest thing in the universe – simple kindness, tenderness, and compassion – will overcome the hardest of thing in the universe.

 

 THE SECOND BLESSING CAME IN THE WEE HOURS

The driving was not the only aspect of this venture that was physically demanding.  My sister had severe physical disabilities from early childhood that multiplied and worsened into adulthood. Although her mind was sharp, she was unable to perform any physical functions. There was lifting her in and out of bed and the wheelchair, bending down to give her food and meds, cooking and cleaning that had to be done, etc. Somehow I was able to do it all. How did I keep going at this pace for nine months?! It was a miracle that stunned everyone – myself, my siblings, all my friends and my clients, too. Not only was I doing it, but everyone kept telling me that I looked great. Some even said “radiant.” I’m sure it was because I was supposed to be doing it. And, precisely because this was mine to do, it felt right and good. There was never a question whether or not I would continue. There was a very powerful, almost tactile sense that Spirit was carrying me along. I was lifted up. My car was gliding down the road. If my back hurt, it got immediately better. If exhaustion began creeping in, I got revived. Everything was being managed. God/Creator/Spirit was taking care of it – and taking care of me. I felt I was more than myself. I knew I was not alone. I was spilling over with love and gratitude. But words just can’t describe the sensation. You have to experience it. If you have ever had that feeling, then you know what I mean when I say you get a sense of being in the state of grace.

Admittedly, Meg’s personal care was not easy on me 
(I am not young anymore!), which made it hard on Meg, too. We had some tense moments, there is no denying it. We had some deep tender moments, too, like holding her on my lap and letting her sob. But the real blessing came in the wee hours of the morning, when we got to experience deep joy tending to Meg’s spiritual needs, which had been neglected for so long.

Meg loved natureso my training in Native American shamanism served her well. We would sit out on the porch under the stars with the trees around us, and I would take her on traditional shamanic journeys. We went week after week to meet her personal guides and animal totems. We always felt the power and loving embrace of God and Spirit so stunningly – and the insights were profound. Then, sitting in the still-glowing embers of this great love and tender power, we would talk in soft, awed voices about what had just happened, what it might mean, and how blessed we felt. She went for longer periods without pain medication when we did this, and I could stay awake all night without any fatigue. It was extraordinary!

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

– Helen Keller

 

THE THIRD BLESSING WAS FOR THE FAMILY

On a Friday morning in February of 1974 my divorce became final. Late that afternoon I got a call from my brother saying my mother was nearing the end of her long struggle with cancer and that I should probably come home. I think I went into shock because I started scrubbing my apartment clean on my hands and knees all night long. Then I got into the car and drove home. The following Friday, she passed away. I remained at my family home to take care of Meg and get her through high school. My two brothers and other sister came and stayed as well. My parents had been in the middle of divorcing, and we all felt, strongly, that my father would not be able to take good care of Meg, and that she would be better off with us (that meant me). As the eldest, I had been bred for the role of her surrogate mother and caretaker from her birth because both she and my mother were so challenged with their health. I got custody of Meg. Our main goal was to get her through high school. Once she graduated, we drifted in and out of each other’s lives over the years. I was farthest out of the loop, having moved to Europe. When I returned I moved across the country to Portland, OR. On occasion, I got back for Christmas. More often, many months would pass without calling each other. Except for Meg. Everyone stayed in touch with Meg on a consistent basis.

When she was diagnosed with cancer, we all rallied together again to help her get through her most challenging ordeal. We went to see her regularly and ended up spending days together. In this way, we got to meet each other anew and see each other through our adult eyes. Because Meg’s situation had everyone in a compassionate state of mind, we were able to talk about things that had happened in the family when we were young, and we shared with each other the hurts and traumas of those days. Many long-held perceptions of each other’s shortcomings were dispelled and we began to know who we truly are and to appreciate each other. I have some awesome siblings!

The third blessing was seeing each other’s special qualities and experiencing the love and strength of our family bond, which had eluded us for so many years. I had long abandoned the hope that this would ever happen . . . yet here it was. In many families, such a situation drives them apart. We were, indeed, blessed.

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.”

– Anne Lamott

 

THE FOURTH BLESSING IS PERSONAL

The fourth blessing is still unfolding. I suspect it will continue to evolve over the remainder of my lifetime. It is what is happening in my heart of hearts, and in my soul of souls, since Meg’s death. But I have to back up a bit. This is one of those blessings that grows slowly over time, like a mountain or a pearl. I’m probably only beginning to see it, but from my current perspective, I would say it began years ago when I felt Spirit nudging me to move back East from the Pacific Northwest.

I didn’t want to leave Portlandso I had been resisting for six years. Finally, in 2003, the moving van came to load and transport everything to Boston. The way I like to tell the story is that, even though I know I am the one who packed the boxes and hired the truck, it felt like Spirit just picked me up by the scruff of the neck and drop-kicked me across the country. It’s not that I ever stopped resisting – – I was just no match for the force of Spirit. I had been studying Cherokee Medicine with Grandmother River, who told me that the reason I had to leave was to make things right with my family. I didn’t understand this because I didn’t think it was possible to change the family dynamic of ignoring the hard stuff and just going along with the good stuff, as if the good stuff was all there really was. As you might imagine, all the hurt and anger was so close to the surface that everyone felt it, anyway. My previous attempts to bring up and sort out the past had failed. Of course, I hadn’t yet become fully aware of my part in it all. That would come later (see the Third Blessing).

I left a lot behind in Portland It was the place that had become home to me, having moved from state to state after returning from Europe. It was where I had my closest friends, a full and lucrative practice, and a busy and gratifying teaching career. Teaching was my greatest joy. Although I was still teaching while in Boston, when I moved to Charlottesville I knew only one person. I had no clients or students, and no professional or social network. I lost my professional visibility, my high profile in the field, and because I was so work-identified, I began to lose my sense of self. I looked for “my community” but things were different here, and I didn’t really understand it. What had worked for me in the past had no visible effects in this new place. I didn’t know what else to try. I felt as though I had lost my compass and my anchor.

Little by little, things got better, but never to the level I was used to. Meditating and praying did not change my circumstances, but it did changeme. I began to understand that I had to keep surrendering the self-image I held for so long. Naturally, that did come easily so I continued to cling to it as hard as I could. It’s always a shock to realize that the emotions can lag so far behind the aspirations of the mind and spirit! I understood, but I was not yet able to accept. Time continued moving forward to 2011. Meg was in trouble and the family rallied to her side. Having so much regular contact gave all of us the opportunity to finally tell our stories to each other, understand the other’s perspective, sort it all out and begin to heal the past hurts. The reason why I had felt such a strong urge to be back East, and what Grandmother River had forseen, became clear. I had to be near enough to be available for Meg and for this healing.

I now believe that such a well-defined sense of self had to disintegrate in order for me to be open enough to receive the beauty, love and healing that awaited me. During that year of deep caring and sharing with Meg and my siblings, I felt such a sense of purpose. I had a meaningful place to be and meaningful work to do, I was learning about giving and receiving love in a meaningful way – – and it had nothing to do with my profession.

It has to be said that Meg was an extraordinary human being. Everyone who met her was inspired by her. Coming through these past two years of caring for her and grieving her loss, I am re-inspired by her passion for life. I feel re-connected to my own indwelling passion for teaching and healing. I no longer have them confused with “who I am.” They are simply what I mostlove to do and am meant to do. Nothing in the world makes me happier. I feel blessed to have had that sacred time with Meg. And I feel blessed to have this new surge of energy released for the endeavors that bring my heart to joy. I truly look forward to sharing with you all I have learned about inducing healing and kindling joyful inner peace.

May we all have peace.

Life holds mystery for us yet.  In a hundred places we can still sense the source: a play of pure powers that – when you feel it – brings you to your knees.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

 

MORE ABOUT SHAMANISM

ABOUT SHAMANISM

Everyone wants a little magic in their lives.  Well, there is a certain kind of magic always around us here on Earth.  You can recognize it whenever you feel that surge of delight that courses through your cells as it permeates the space around you.  It is the joy of throwing off your jacket in Spring because the sun is finally, again, all you need to warm yourself.  It is the delicate explosion of pink that enchants you at cherry blossom time.  It is the acute awareness of peace and expansion brought on by the thunderous yet tranquil sound of a cascading waterfall.  It is the sensation that accompanies the inspiration for a painting, the pleasure you get from the smile that bursts from a child, the awe you feel in your heart and soul as you gaze up at the Milky Way.

These experiences open you up and you feel “connected.”  Time is suspended and you find yourself in a state of exuberance and gladness that is, yet, so serene.  You are in a state of connectedness – to nature, to the Source, and to yourself.  Shamanism is a means of entering that state at will.

A BRIEF HISTORY

Human beings of all cultures have practiced shamanism in one form or another since the beginning of time.  Archeologists and anthropologists have found evidence on the markings of antlers and bones that date back at least 30,000 years and suggest shamanic rites and practices took place in deep caves.  There is evidence as far back as Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic eras that shamanism was widespread in many indigenous cultures.  It is apparent in Greek and Roman myths, and it is obvious in the present-day indigenous cultures of the Americas, where it is enjoying a resurgence. Likewise, it is reemerging in Europe and Asia, and growing in the United States.

The word shamanism, itself, has its roots in many languages.  The Manchu-Tungus word, saman, comes from the verb “to know,” so the shaman is “one who knows.”  In Sanskrit, shaman means ascetic.  In Japan and Korea, shamanism is called mugyo (alluding to the Great Void from which all springs) or shingyo (referring to the sacred in everything).  In Mexico, it is called curanderismo.  Most cultures do not use the word shaman and shamanism.  They have their own word for their connection to Spirit and healing.  However, there are common elements across cultures:

Within the society, shamans are typically the spiritual and secular leaders, the teachers, healers, herbalists and midwives.  Their ability and authority comes not from dominance, but from a strong relationship with Spirit that provides vision, guidance, healing and protection to the community.  The shaman understands the importance of harmonious relationships – with one’s own mind and body, one’s own family and friends, with community, with nature, and with spirit.  The shaman develops and refines his/her relationships on all levels to benefit and enrich the community, and to be in service to the people.  To that end, shamanism grows and changes with the evolving world, yet never looses its essence or relevance.

WHAT  SHAMANISM OFFERS 

Shamanism offers us ways of accessing the exquisite peace and beauty found in the silence between our thoughts.  It is a very special stillness where you can hear your guidance whispering to you, and where you can find healing for your mind and body, heart and soul.  Shamanism directs you to a deep honoring of life – – your own life and all life in this miracle of creation. It helps develop your relationship with the Source of All Being, and you begin to have a more fulfilling and satisfying life.  When you honor life, you begin to notice your own place in the grand scheme.  When you see how you fit into the design, you can recognize your gifts, realize who you are, and offer your contribution to peace and goodness on earth.

WHEN  TO SEEK SHAMANIC GUIDANCE

Recurring Issues – Sometimes there is an issue in your life that you have been trying to resolve for a while.  You have tried everything you can think of but cannot find a solution.  The issue just repeats or continues, despite all your efforts.  You know you must be missing something but can’t figure out what it is.  Shamanism will give you another approach, another view, previously unseen, that can help you get to the next level.

People In Your Life – You may look around you and notice that the people who fill your life are angry, jealous, needy or generally unhappy. You wish you had companions who were more  loving, caring and compassionate.  Know that the people who surround you reflect your orientation toward the world.  Your orientation can only change when you do.  Shamanism offers the tools to make that change “in a good way,” as the Native Americans say.  In Celtic shamanism they say “if it harms none, do as you will.”

Times of Transition – You may be experiencing one or more of the top three stressors in life: 1) moving (home or career/job); 2) divorce; 3) death in the family.  Perhaps a mid-life crisis has grabbed hold of you.  Maybe facing the empty nest is more difficult than you anticipated.  More support than you could have imagined is available to you through shamanic avenues. Your personal allies and your personal power to handle the transition are within reach.

Restlessness – Maybe you are in a good place in your life right now, but things are happening that you don’t understand. You may be feeling restless or ready to break free of old restrictive patterns.  You may get tingles or shivers on your scalp or skin.  Events seem to flow with more synchronicity.  Perhaps you have more energy, and yet you feel a little lost, or waves of emotion come upon you suddenly, for no reason.  These can be signs of spiritual awakeningthat calls out for the kind of direction that centuries-old shamanic wisdom and meditations offer.

BLUEPRINT OF A SHAMANIC GUIDANCE SESSION

The first thing that happens in a session is an in-depth about your personal history and what is going on in your present life that has you seeking shamanic counsel.  Next, a sacred space is formally set up and prepared, both spiritually and emotionally, for you and your session.  The guide prays to be of service and connects with Spirit to hear what is needed for your personal development, healing and spiritual evolution at this time.

Sometimes you will learn meditations or techniques to build you up and make you effective in your area of concern.  Other times you may receive healings that erase negative self-images or old beliefs that do not serve you. Usually you will receive messages suggesting specific attitudes and practices that reinforce your hopes, insights and endeavors.

Almost always, depending upon the directive of Spirit, you will learn to “journey.”  Journeying is one of the most commonly used practices of all shamanic traditions.  It involves going into a meditative state to meet your guides.  They can be angels, animal totems, spirit guides . . . They are the beings given to you at birth by Creator to help you through your life. They are your allies, and you can rely on them for advice and assistance.

WHAT  I PROVIDE AS A SHAMANIC GUIDE

A shamanic practitioner is especially beneficial during those periods when “going it alone” isn’t really working that well and you could use a little boost to navigate the ups and downs of life.  The services I offer include a variety of journeys and healings that will get you in touch with your inner voice and guidance, and help you identify tools and practices for improving the quality of your life.  Some of the most common traditional methods, across all shamanic cultures, are:

  •  Grounding
  •  Connecting with the Elements
  •  Employing the Four Directions
  •  Meeting your totem animals
  •  Identifying and retrieving your Soul
  •  Chakra development
  •  Messages from your angels and guides
  •  Hands-on or off-the-body energy work

Neither you nor I get to choose when a particular method will be used.  The timing and sequence of events unfolds according to a greater wisdom.  In a prayerful meditative state, I listen to hear the message from Spirit of how to best serve you, and proceed accordingly.  It is always Spirit that directs what will happen in a session, depending on your need at the time.

It is my aim and endeavor as a shamanic practitioner to walk evermore deeply in harmony with All That Is.  This is much to your benefit, for it is the power of that well-established connection to Earth and Sky that helps me bring Spirit closer to you.  When the two of us are together in the same space, you will feel the strength of that connection, and it helps you identify your own connection.  Working with Spirit and my own guides, I will do everything I know to give you clear access to your own spirit . . . and to Great Spirit . . . and put you in touch with your unique guidance system.  I will introduce you to the shamanic realm, where you will learn how to reinforce your bond with Spirit and elevate it to the next level.  We can then orient these new skills and knowledge toward the areas of your life you want to enhance or improve.