Happy Thanksgiving

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Personally I think Thanksgiving is the most enjoyable holiday in the year: no shopping to buy presents for people who may not need them anyway, less focus on the past (Christmases past), less focus on the future (New Years resolutions) and more focus on friends and family and sharing a wonderful meal. For me, it doesn’t get any better than that! I admit I have been blessed with a wonderful family and wonderful friends and I am thankful. Here is my Thanksgiving wish for you:

May God bless you and your friends and your family.

May you all enjoy the abundance life has to offer.

May Thanksgiving dinner nourish all of you

In body, mind and spirit.

And may these blessings last

Throughout the coming year.

Amama ua noa!

My prayer is free.

It has flown!

Nest blog: December 2nd

My Spiritual Path: The Beginning

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The question is: How can a person go from being a Catholic to walking the path of Shamanism or Medicine Maker?

No doubt, it is a long journey. I don’t have any regrets or negative thoughts about where I started nor do I think my path is the one everyone should chose. Such thoughts are too tightly connected to our egos. I reject them completely. I simply follow the path that started long ago, perhaps when I was born, but certainly starting with the summer of 1950. That summer my mother went into the hospital for a gall bladder operation, developed a blood clot, and died. I was six, my brother Danny was 17, my father was 46.

In the world of tarot cards, you can arrive at a theme for each year which is represented by one of the cards of the major arcana. When you add my birth month (May) and my day of birth, the 5th, with 1950 and reduce it, you end up with the two-digit number 16. In the major arcana of tarot cards, the 16th card is The Tower. Lightning strikes a tower and two figures are knocked out of it and fall toward the ground while the top of the tower explodes with fire. One interpretation is that this represents a major blow to the ego or self image. The year card for 1950 describes perfectly what happened to me. The most important person was eliminated from my life, forever. My world exploded before my eyes along with my childlike dreams. I was devastated. (If you want to know more about how it affected me and my family, see Pauly’s Mother, at http://www.paulysmother.com .)

Years later I read that people who become interested in meditation have often lost a loved one at an early age. I understand that. My mother’s death brought with it an existential desire to discover the meaning of life. My father told me that God took her because he needed another angel in heaven. I needed to know more. I didn’t realize it until much later in life, but that was when and where my path started. I’ll share more about my path with you in future blogs.

Next blog: Giving Thanks for Our Blessings

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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As the news media has been reporting all week, this is the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. I was attending Junior College the day he was shot and I still remember the details of that day clearly. Anyone who was a teen or adult at that time experienced the stunning news with disbelief. Later everyone would talk about how he was taken from us too early and he had so much more to give. I think he did have a lot more to give us but we can’t change the past. Still we wonder what it would have been like if he had been allowed to fulfill his life’s purpose.

Last night I saw the special on CNN about the assassination. As the commentators looked back on that time one of them said that JFK’s death was the beginning of our country’s dissatisfaction with our leaders because so many people became convinced that it was a conspiracy. As I thought about it I realized it was true. His death was followed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King Junior and Bobby Kennedy which brought more conspiracy theories. They were followed by the Viet Nam war protests which caused LBJ to drop out of the Presidential race. Then there was Watergate and Nixon’s resignation, our inability to rescue the U.S. hostages in Iran, the Contra scandal in Nicaragua, the Monica Lewinski scandal and President Clinton’s impeachment, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economic collapse of our economy which has lasted five years so far and shows no signs of serious recovery. And we have to include the local, state and national debts, to say nothing of the gridlock in Federal government. Why have our leaders been so ineffective?

Some of you don’t remember this, but I can remember when our citizens trusted our elected officials. That trust was justified because they knew how to compromise and unite together for the good of our country. But those days are gone. I for one hope they return.

Who among us would have thought that the death of President Kennedy would have been the first of so many disappointments? I never expected it. And that brings me to my point. When we think of JFK we remember the good times and his ability to inspire us. It stands in direct contrast to the time we currently live in.  It wasn’t a perfect time and he was not a perfect man, but all of our citizens believed unquestioningly in the American Dream. We don’t today. Perhaps this contrast is an important part of his life’s purpose. And perhaps his death was meant to allow his memory to stand in direct contrast to our current situation so that we would ask, “Why can’t our country be like it was when John Fitzgerald Kennedy  was alive?”

Soul Retrieval: Jason

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In early April, 2013 I got an email from Jason. He had been one of the observers when I did the soul retrieval for Ze. He wanted me to perform one for him. We agreed on April 25th, 6:30 PM at his place.

When I entered his townhouse, I found three of Jason’s friends were there to observe: Linda, Rita and Joe (?). When I unpacked my bag I realized I left my CD player at home. This meant I would have to use my rattle while I did the journey instead of listening to one of the CD drumming tracks. I explained the ritual to everyone. Jason laid on the living room floor and I walked around him while drumming. Next I rattled and toned for about five minutes. I asked Rita to keep track of time for me and let me know if the journey went beyond twenty minutes.

I laid down next to Jason, started rattling and asked my healing guide for help. We searched the spirit world and found a soul part that resembled Jason when he was about fourteen. He didn’t tell me why he left but he did say that he was bringing back a positive attitude of enthusiasm. We searched again but did not find any additional soul parts. However, we did encounter two power animals for Jason; a bald eagle and a white colored terrier. I asked the soul part to enter my crystal and he did. Before we left, my healing guide indicated he wanted to perform healing on Jason and he placed his hands over Jason’s body.  At this point I ended the journey, kneeled over Jason and blew the soul part back into his chest. I rattled for a while and then announced that the soul retrieval was concluded.

After Jason sat up, I told him what I experienced on the journey. Jason said that at one time he felt an inflow of energy into his upper torso. Jason also stated that he had an unusual experience. When I started drumming, Jason saw his deceased uncle entered the room and sit on the couch to observe. This was one of Jason’s favorite uncles. Rita and Joe said that when the ritual started they felt my drumming go deep inside them – a pleasant experience. Linda had fallen asleep on the couch – we had to wake her after the retrieval was over. Jason said he was glad I did the retrieval. We agreed to keep in touch. He has since contacted me about doing a second retrieval.

Shamanic Tools: The Drumming Circle

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Definition number 3 in my Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that a tool is something used in doing a job. You may disagree if you wish, but I think the drumming circle fits into that category. I believe it was in early December of 2012 that Lauren Torres initiated a drumming circle in Chicago’s south suburbs. It meets on the second Tuesday of each month in Alsip, Illinois at a place called TranZformation: A Center for Spirit. TranZformation has books on ‘new age’ subjects such as shamanism, has classes on a variety of subjects such as Reike, and also sells gifts like pendulums, incense and such.

The drumming circle, which lasts from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM, usually starts off with drumming, followed by a general discussion of what is going on in our lives. Members are encouraged to bring their own drums and rattles. Sometimes members will share instruments with those who did not bring any. After a while Lauren suggests one or more subjects for journeying and we discuss those ideas. Then she leads the group in the journey process. Afterward we discuss our experiences. Sometimes we journey a second time as well.

The beneficial aspect of the drumming group is that attendees get the opportunity to share ideas and experiences with each other. This is good because it gives everyone the opportunity to hear what others are doing on their paths. Personally I think drumming circle is great. There aren’t that many people who are walking the shamanic path so it’s encouraging to spend time with those who do. Associating with people of similar interests is one of the best ways to get support for the path we have chosen. Drumming circle is the ‘something’ that helps us keep a fresh and positive outlook on our chosen vocation.

Next blog: Another Soul Retrieval

A Soul Retrieval

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January 2012: This soul retrieval was for Tracy, a friend of Ze’s. In fact Ze came with her to my house to observe the retrieval. Before the retrieval I did a Chakra Tarot spread for Tracy and sent it to her. She responded with a long email explaining some issues that she was trying to resolve; especially issues regarding childhood and her teenage years. During meditation that week she had a message that it was important for her to get this healing soon. So Tracy came well prepared for the retrieval.

The ritual was conducted in my dining room. I began it about 7:00 PM. After the drumming I rattled and toned for a while.  I put on a CD and selected a track that had about fifteen minutes of rattling and other percussive sounds. Then I laid on the floor next to Tracy, our shoulders touching. I called upon my healing guide and we journeyed into the spirit world with the intention of seeking and returning soul parts belonging to Tracy.

First we found a part that represented Tracy in her teens; a defiant teenager who was willing to return. When asked, she said she was bringing a feeling of joy back with her. I asked the teen if she knew of any other soul parts that might want to return. She answered affirmatively and took us to a little girl, just a toddler. The toddler didn’t indicate why she left or what she was bringing back; she just wanted to return. The teenager then led us to another soul part, a young woman in her twenties. However the young woman was not ready to return yet. She said she would return at a later date. After conferring with my guide we let the young woman remain in the spirit world. Before returning, I checked to see if there were any power animals who would come along to support Tracy. Thee was; it was a turtle.

I asked the toddler and teenage soul parts to enter into my crystal and they did. I thanked my guide and moved back to ordinary reality. I kneeled over Tracy and ‘blew’ the soul parts into her chest area. Then I rattled and told Tracy the soul retrieval was finished; this was around 8:30 PM.

After Tracy had a chance to return to normal consciousness, I told her about my experience. Tracy said she had dreams earlier in the week; in the dreams someone was doing something with her chakras. She also had flashbacks during the soul retrieval that had to do with some negative family experiences. Neither of us understood the significance of the turtle. So I got out my copy of The Elemental Encyclopedia of Sacred Signs and Symbols. In the section on turtles or tortoises it indicated several connections to ancient symbology, especially relating to the idea of support. Turtles supported the Tree of Life and the mountain upon which the universe rests. During this discussion Tracy remembered how she and her husband had ‘saved’ several turtles over time while they were on camping trips. Tracy and Ze stayed and the three of us chatted until about 10:30 PM when they left.

As you can see, it is a good idea to have reference books regarding symbols and animals. I couldn’t possibly remember all the details of symbolism associated with the animal kingdom. And since I have started on the shamanic path I have found that I am paying more attention to animals I encounter while outside. For example I went for a two mile walk today (11/15/13) in my neighborhood and encountered two flocks of geese, two separate sightings of a Harrier Hawk, two woodpeckers (one downey and one red-bellied) and a tree full of starlings (no partridge in a pear tree). I will check out the symbology of these birds after finishing this blog. I’ll let you know if I find anything significant.

Healing The Dead

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I quote Sandra Ingerman in Awakening to the Spirit World, page 189: ” Shamans, in their essential work as healers, are able to heal the living and the deceased.” On the shamanic path, this work is referred to as psychopomp. Psychopomp is a Greek word that means “leader or guider of souls” (Ibid.).

It is possible for departed souls to continue living near their families and friends long after they have departed. They may stay around to help friends and relatives or they might not be certain how to move on once they find themselves in a disembodied state. Either way, it is possible to journey to the middle world to contact and help them.

In early December 2012 an elderly friend of the family died. Prior to attending a memorial service for this man, I decided to journey to the middle world to see if I could be of assistance. I journeyed to the lower world, met with my younger male teacher and the two of us went to the middle world. We went to the street in front of his condo. The deceased man was standing in front. I approached him, reminded him who I was, and explained why I was there. He recognized me and was agreeable to getting our help. I called out, asking for someone to come to help him on his journey back into the spirit world. Shortly, a woman showed up.The deceased man explained it was his mother. They were happy to see each other and soon walked off together.

I thanked my teacher and ended the journey. Right after the ritual I felt the warmth of positive energy flowing into me. I decided to perform more of these rituals in the future.

Our Ancestors: The Olmec Teaching

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Back on July 24th I wrote a post titled “Our Ancestors: LIfe on Earth”. In it I mentioned that the Hawaiian indigenous people believe that their descendants came from the stars, specifically the Pleiades. I then connected that idea with some speculation about the age of organic life from Professor Cockell. His estimate is that all organic life began about 10 billion years ago. And since the estimated life of our planet is somewhere around 4.5 billion years, it made the possibility of our life being from elsewhere in the universe even more intriguing.

This week a friend of mine loaned me a book titled Ecstatic Trance: New Ritual Body Postures, written by Felicitas D. Goodman and Nana Nauwald. The gist of the book is that ritualistic body postures, combined with rhythmic stimulation can produce changes in consciousness that enable us to experience different areas of alternate reality: healing, rebirth and divination are a few. Using the Olmec Baby posture in a workshop in 1997  helped people access the spirit world and get a picture of the philosophy of the Olmec people, a group that lived around the Gulf of Mexico about 3,800 years ago.

On page 26 the authors cite information learned from the spirits. “In ancient times”, the spirits reported, “we had our home in the stars. One day we decided to fly out into the universe. For thousands of years we circled through the universe on energy lines, until suddenly something unexpected happened: we became stranded on solid ground. This place was hot; there were many trees.” They then decided, “Here was the location where further human development should take place.” These colonists from the stars decided this was where they could live to further their spiritual development.

I find it interesting that here we have another group of indigenous people claiming that their heritage is from the stars. If both groups lived near each other it would be easy to imagine that cultural exchanges had taken place and that a belief like this had some common ground. However the Olmec people lived thousands of miles from the Hawaiians separated by the Pacific Ocean. I’m going to continue looking for other beliefs that are similar. If you know of any please let tell me, or send me your info and I’ll put your blog on my site. Thanks.

Soul Retrieval for a friend

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In early October, 2012 I journeyed to ask how to find people who wanted soul  retrievals. The answer was that I should casually let people know I had been trained. Then people would come to me. The spirits said to be prepared, the first would contact me soon. Later in October Ze, a friend of mine, told me she would like to have me perform a soul retrieval for her. We checked our calendars and decided on November 15th at a location in Aurora.

As I drove to the soul retrieval I noticed the crescent of the new moon was setting in the west. I took that as a good omen for new beginnings. Two of Ze’s friends attended to observe the ritual. After  I explained the process, Ze laid on the floor. Her friends sat nearby. I started the ritual. After drumming and rattling, I laid next to her on the floor, our shoulders touching.

It didn’t start as I expected. I found myself in complete darkness. My healing guide helped by grabbing my hand and moving us ‘forward’. We found a soul part right away; a little girl 8 or 9 years old. She wouldn’t tell me why she left but agreed to return and said she was bringing the gift of peace. She entered my crystal.

Next I encountered a dark haired woman who looked nothing like Ze. I tried to question her but she ‘ran away’. My guide got her and brought her back. She admitted she was not a soul part but said she knew Ze, and was there for forgiveness. She wouldn’t tell us more so we let her go.

Next we met a part that represented Ze in her thirties. She was bringing more energy for Ze. I forgot to ask why she left. She entered my crystal as well. Before we returned we encountered a power animal that wanted to help Ze. I recognized it was a Harrier Hawk because I had seen one a few months earlier and looked it up in my book on birds. It did not enter the crystal but agreed to return to be by Ze’s side. We returned to ordinary consciousness. I knelt next to Ze and blew the two soul parts into her chest area. I rattled for a short time and then whispered to Ze that she could open her eyes, stretch and get up.

When I told Ze about the darkness she laughed and told me she always goes to a place of darkness for meditation. That made sense. She didn’t know who the dark haired woman was. She said she would think about the two soul parts and let me know. One of her friends, who observed, said that she was startled to see a little girl walk through the front door; then she realized it was a spirit. Both friends enjoyed observing and liked the drumming and rattling. After it was over, the four of us sat and talked for about an hour before I left.

My point of view: the first two soul retrievals I did were in class. This was the first on my own and it did not go as I imagined it would. Later I would learn that every one is different in some way and that is why my healing guide is so important. I wasn’t expecting the darkness; it was disconcerting. Fortunately my spirit guide moved things along to where I could take charge again. I was not prepared for the dark haired woman either. Strange! After it was over I was not tired. I had plenty of energy to drive back home, watch Jay Leno and have some milk and cookies before going to sleep. Overall, the experience gave me the confidence to continue with soul retrieval, especially because I knew I could rely on my guide.

I will ask Ze if she would like to comment on this posting. It may not occur right away because she is currently very busy with work and what not. To my readers, feel free to comment or ask questions, especially if anything I wrote is not clear. Thanks.

Soul Retrieval: The Ritual

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For those of you who want to know more about it, this is a brief overview of the soul retrieval ritual as I practice it.

Sometimes I practice the ritual in my apartment, sometimes it is in another person’s home; whatever is most convenient for all the people involved. And there are usually more people involved than me and the client (person receiving the retrieval). Often there are friends or family members who are present as well. Observers sit around the area to watch; I remind them about the importance of remaining silent. The client lays on a blanket and pillow in the center of the floor; his or her focus is to remain receptive. I perform the ritual.

At the beginning I remind everyone of their role. I read a short statement to the client on how he/she should become as receptive as the day lilly is to the warming rays of the sun. This usually puts the person at ease and in a mood conducive to receiving a returning soul part or parts. Next I use my Buffalo Drum; beating on it as I walk around the client. The drum is very loud, has a penetrating sound, and is used to clear energies out of the room and welcome helpful spirits.

After several minutes I stop drumming, use my rattle and tone, or chant, in order to bring positive energies into the room and to call upon the spirits to help with the soul retrieval. After about five minutes I lay down next to the client, shoulders touching. I keep rattling; sometimes someone will rattle or drum for me. I place a bandanna across my eyes to keep light out so I can concentrate on the journey. At this point I call upon a special spirit, my Healing Guide, who helps me with the journey and retrieval process. We travel together into the spirit world with the intention of finding parts of the client’s soul that have departed.  We usually find one or more parts and ask them to return with us. They are usually very willing to return. I ask them what strengths or helpful talents they are bringing with them. Finally I ask them to merge into a crystal I use specifically for this purpose. My Healing Guide and I return to the ordinary world. Note: I never do soul retrievals without my Healing Guide. He is invaluable; often helping me in unusual situations or when I am unsure what to do next.

Upon returning from the journey, I kneel next to the client, hold the crystal in my hands, and symbolically ‘blow’ the soul part(s) into their chest area. Afterward I use my rattle to help the parts begin the reintegration process. Finally, I tell the client that the soul retrieval is over and to return to normal consciousness; the client has usually been in a very relaxed state, sometimes asleep. After they are fully awake, I tell them what parts returned, what talents they brought, and anything else I may have learned during the journey. In turn, they relate any experiences they had. Usually clients do not have experiences, but some do.

I always advise the client to schedule the soul retrieval so that they can relax afterwards, even take a bath or shower, and go to sleep. This helps with the reintegration process. I keep in touch with clients to see how they are doing. Sometimes they also give me specific feedback on how the retrieval has helped them in their daily lives. They may ask for a follow up retrieval, but this is usually done several weeks after the first.

Next blog: I perform a soul retrieval for a friend.

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