Tag: shamanism

After The Shooting The Shadow

I woke up this morning with a profound sadness.

The worst part of yesterday’s shootings seems to me to be the death of the 9-year old girl.  She was apparently at the Congresswoman’s political event at the Safeway because she had been elected to an elementary school student council.  She might have been inspired to meet an actual Congresswoman.

All of the deaths and the many serious injuries lie like a heavy brick on my heart.

The many analyses of why these shootings happened began too soon for me.  They started immediately after the echo of the last bullet was drowned out by the agony of the victims and the Medevac helicopters.  They  continue today with renewed force.  And increased monotony.  They will ebb and flow for the next few days. It’s not necessary to enumerate these here.  There are many different ideas but the central idea seems to that there is something very wrong, and that’s what caused this to happen.

We have come to expect from these discussions the fixing of blame and righteous recrimination and finger pointing.  And also the scrubbing of web pages and the editing of previous statements and the making of pronouncements.  The reactions are all terribly predictable. I don’t expect anyone who did not actually pull the trigger to take any responsibility for these deaths and injuries.  And I expect that the actual shooter to have a defense as well.  This prepares a fertile ground for continued blame and justification.  And arguments.  And shouting.  And more of the same.  And more violence.

This brings me directly to the Shadow.  My Shadow.  Jung’s definition and explanation might be relevant, but what I am drawn to this morning is far less academic.  I’m drawn to how Loughner lives inside me.  My internal Loughner.  Or put another way, the aspects of my personhood that I dislike, that I am afraid of, that I have shunned and hidden, that I do not reveal, that I keep secret.  I am drawn to the aspects of myself that I consider horrid and ugly and deformed and despicable.  This morning I find that these weigh heavy on my chest. I think this is what today requires my attention.

For example, I ask, where in me does the deranged, incoherent, violent Loughner live?  Where in me is a person who writes such bizarre Youtubes?  Where in me is the person who carries and uses a concealed weapon so devastatingly?  So coldly?  Where is my seething but covert anger at apparent authority?  Where is my belief in illusory, mysterious, demented magical thinking nonsense?  And where does my persistent blaming of others for all of my pain reside?

These are hard questions.  It is very hard to look at this ugliness.  But my view is that this is what needs attention.  Today.  It needs to be looked at.  And it needs to be acknowledged.  And even harder, it needs to be honored for why it is there and what it has done for me.

I would like us to ask ourselves these tough questions and to begin to attend to them. Otherwise, I fear, embarking on an impersonal, academic analysis of yesterday’s tragedy might amount to our again disowning our ugliness, our pushing it into the darkness, and our unintentionally creating the conditions that will surely make it happen again.


simulposted at The Dream Antilles    

There’s More To Being An Elder Than Being Old

It takes more than being old to be an Elder.  Not every senior citizen can be an Elder.  Or wants to be one. And it doesn’t depend on whether you’re healthy.  Or “spry” as younger people would put it.  It depends on something far more elusive.  It depends on whether one actually occupies the role of being an Elder.   And how.

What does it mean to be an Elder?  I’m going to be 64 in October.  I imagine that I should be assuming the role of an Elder, and that I would like to do that.  Am I ready to do this or do I need more time?  Am I ready to be a beginning Elder?  A novice Elder?  Am I ready to  start paying my dues to Elderhood?

Dear Pachamama: This Too Can Heal

despacho 6/19/10

The Despacho

Beyond the anger, frustration, sadness, depression and fear of the BP oil disaster there must be something else.  The Gulf of Mexico is fast becoming a deadly petroleum gumbo garnished with oil coated, dead pelicans, life in the sea is massing and trying unsuccessfully to escape the pollution, and there may really be nothing on a practical level that can be done to staunch the hemorrhage of Pachamama’s vital fluids.  We watch in horror.  And grief.  Is our mother dying?  I awoke in the middle of the night to write this haiku:

I watch you dying.

Pelican can’t fly away.

Oceans fill my eyes.

BP: Wounding My Mother, Wounding Pachamama,

It begins as helplessness.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I watch as oil spews from BP’s well into the Gulf of Mexico, killing sea life, destroying the ocean, ruining the breeding grounds near the shore.  The Gulf of Mexico is becoming a vast petroleum gumbo garnished with oil soaked sea birds and drowned turtles.  I watch this.  I wish that all of the wise men and women of the world could find a solution, could stop the flow.  But as the time elapses, and the 48 hour periods to know whether the flow can be stemmed mount up, it should be obvious to me.  There may be no solution.  At least not for the foreseeable future.  And by then, by then what even BP is calling a “catastrophe” will be that much more enormous.  That much more irremediable.  The leak will have killed much of the Gulf of Mexico, and unchecked, it will continue to kill.

Keith Olbermann thinks that Obama should show more anger about this.  That, he thinks, will show people that Obama is with them.  Or something.  Personally, I have more than enough unproductive anger about BP.  I don’t need it to be mirrored.  Or extended.  No.  What I want is internal.  I want to understand what BP is doing and has done to my interior landscape.  I want to come to terms with that.  And to comprehend it in this way, I use what I know: I look at the mythic, and I look at myself.  It’s Shamanism 101.

Please join me on this voyage.  

Taking Care Of Old Mom Earth

The oddest thoughts.

If I lived in suburbia and my dog ran out and pooped on my neighbor’s lawn, my neighbor would be angry.  My neighbor might tell me to clean it up.  S/he’d be much angrier if I spilled a truck full of chemical fertilizer or garbage on the lawn, something that would be hard to clean up and looked and smelled bad.

I live in the country.  I go for a walk in the fields with my dog.  On my own land I come upon an enormous horse poop.  Later, I see my neighbor and ask if she’s been riding on my land.  I shake my head, no, at her.  She says she’ll clean it up.  I think, well, what if she had left instead a few leaking barrels of hazardous material or poison.  What if she left behind baited leg traps so my dog and pets could be injured.  I’d be much angrier.

Saving Pachamama: A Beginning


Don Mariano Quispe Flores

Pachamama, mother earth, Santa Madre Tierra, the earth, the planet is obviously in trouble.  This should by now be obvious.

The Q’ero of Peru, the descendants of the Incas, live in remote villages that are above 14,000 feet above sea level.  They have lived in these areas for hundreds of years. They live above the tree line.  They raise llamas, alpacas, vicunas, and other similar animals, and they grow big kernal maiz (“choclo”) and hundreds of species of potatoes.  And until recently they kept to themselves.  They stayed away from the cities.  And the Government.  And, of course, they kept their understandings of Shamanism and energy medicine to themselves.  They certainly didn’t tell North Americans about it. But then, relatively recently, they noticed the oddest thing, that the glaciers surrounding them were slowly melting.  Slowly becoming smaller.  Slowly disappearing.  And the spiritual teachers in the lineage decided that Q’ero who were healers, who were powerful Shamans, who knew that it was necessary to heal mother earth and her children, would have to go down the mountain and bring out their teachings and carry them across the world.

I spent this past weekend with Q’ero Shaman Don Mariano Quispe Flores at The Abode in New Lebanon, New York, along with some three dozen other shamans.  Don Mariano is 72 years old.  He does not know how to write.  Or to read.  He speaks only Quechua (though he does say a very few words in English and Spanish).  His village in Peru is about an 8 hour bus ride and then a 4 hour walk uphill from Cuzco.  This trip to the United States (he stopped in California and Washington State and Colorado before journeying to the East) was his first trip to the US, though he has been to Europe.  He is a very sweet, gentle, and humble man.  And a powerful, traditional healer.

Because Don Mariano speaks Quechua, his translator sometimes translated first into Spanish, and then someone else translated into English.  This was an incredible gift: I could hear what Don Mariano was saying three times.  No, I didn’t understand the first statements in Quechua, but I could feel and hear his tone of voice, and then it was repeated in both Spanish and English, so the content was repeated.  I’m not going to try to bring you all of Don Mariano’s teachings.

Instead, I bring you this very short essay to tell you something important that you probably already know only too well, just to remind you.

Pachamama, your Mother Earth, Santa Madre Tierra is in trouble and she needs our help and our caring for her.  She needs us to honor her.  And protect her.

This might involve traditional practices, like making offerings (“despachos“) and prayers for the healing of the earth.  It also might involve ceremonies, calling in the power of the Twelve Sacred Mountains (the Apus), the six directions, prayers, and healing thoughts.  These are all important.  But also important, perhaps even more important is our continuing awareness of Pachamama and our actions to take care of her as she takes care of us by feeding us, by giving us water, by providing shelter.

So I have a very simple request.  Please pause now, look up from your screen, go outdoors if you can, and see, if you can, the unbelievable, abundant world surrounding us, the world on which we walk.  Look at Pachamama.  And feel, if you can, in your heart gratitude for all Pachamama provides us.  This gratitude is incredibly important.  It is the beginning point to help the planet.


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Dreaming The World Into Being

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


Q’ero Shamans Don Francisco (l) and Don Humberto (r)

A Q’ero shaman from high in the Peruvian Andes will visit my home in early October to share the wisdom that the Inka Elders have kept alive for thousands of years.  I’m really excited again to welcome to my home my Q’ero spiritual brother, Don Francisco, and Shaman friends from across the US.

Turtle Women Rising – October 10-13

Native American veteran Eli Painted Crow is leading this drumming event for peace in Washington DC.

Please do what you can to support this event.

I, the carrier of the spirit of Randgríðr, the White Shield, Handmaiden of Freyja Vanadis

will be attending and lending all the energy toward this working that I can.

If you want to save our nation and our world – join in as you can.