Category Archives: Essays

Halo Seronko

ᎢᎻᎬ ᏟᎾᏚᎷᏆᏟ ᏟᎾNᏚᎾᎡᎢ

There is no mortal that can meet the longing of this heart and flesh, for only when this chalice is filled by spirit's intoxication does it know the true communion.

For even in two-bodied love, is it not yet a container for the eternal presence to be tasted between the two lovers?

What does it mean to be a cosmic consort? To be enraptured by existence?

In tantra we choose our relationship with the Divine, whether that of a mother and child, a guru and disciple or a lover and beloved.

When we see the formless Divine as our consort, we court that which is eternal. When we experience pain we recognize it as the truest longing that comes from our separation from this source of love, and we use this pain to again and again call this beloved back into our heart. When we experience pleasure we recognize the reunion of the beloved spirit in the vessel of our flesh. Both pain and pleasure become our dance of love with divinity.

As long as we seek fulfillment from other "vessels" our rapture will be temporary and fleeting and often times leave behind an even greater longing. It is when we recognize that we are each but a chalice that the divine pours itself into when we are empty enough to receive that we come to know true fulfillment. This is the alchemical marriage of spirit and flesh, two becoming one, when we realize the rapture of Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram; truth, auspiciousness and beauty.

When our consort is the cosmic divine first and foremost, we then claim the sovereignty needed to have fulfilling relationships here on the earth plane; relationships that are no longer selfish, no longer conditional, no longer tainted by our attempts to fill a hole inside that can ONLY be filled by the omnipresent.

In the rapture of what is, we can open ourselves to that which can truly fill us to the brim, and allow our being to pour forth beauty into the world in devotion to its magnificence, spiraling into the ecstasy of being deeply engaged with life.

How do we live when we are courting life as the beloved, when even the mundane becomes infused with love, tenderness and eroticism?

Reach within beloved, not without, to be embraced by the eternal source of ecstasy.


Read More by Halo Seronko


Discipline And The Divine Masculine

Discipline in a dying art in this modern age of distractions and quick fixes. In a time when we need to be more focused than ever, more resourced than ever, and more connected to the well of truth within, our energy is being leaked in a million different directions.

When I look into the gifts of the true masculine, the Divine masculine I see the exalted qualities of responsibility, accountability and discipline as containers that hold that which is sacred. Without creating these containers in our lives, that which is subtle such as truth, beauty, presence and love cannot be fully known. There is a powerful level of integrity that is needed to attain these subtleties of being. All great spiritual paths and traditions hold high levels of discipline at great importance, for if we are not able to discipline ourselves for our higher good, we will not be able to attain that which is worth more than gold. Our minds, our bodies and our souls all require a certain level of discipline in order to be tuned to their highest octave.

In calling upon the structure of the divine masculine in my own life, I am heeding a call towards greater responsibility; response-ability. This is the ability to respond with choice and awareness to my thoughts and emotions, thus taking responsibility for them; the responsibility to hold myself accountable to walk my talk and take the time each day to be in the container of my practices where I seek communion with the eternal; the accountability to my own souls growth and evolution for the sake of all beings, the accountability to dot my I's and cross my T's so that each action is total and in harmony with the whole. In this way I claim my sovereignty, I claim my center and I claim my power.

How do we show up for ourselves? How do we show up for our beloveds? What does it look and feel like to stand for life and love with strength, courage and discipline?

YES, we need the feminine to rise at this time, but we simultaneously need the reclamation of the true and divine masculine within us all that takes a stand for that which is the beauty of the world, the container in which She flowers.

Heiros Gamos within is the gateway at which we stand. The sacred marriage will not be complete until we hold within our own chalice the great alchemical union of the masculine and the feminine, stepping out of victimhood, stepping out of overwhelm and distraction and into the steadfast knowing of our true and divine nature.

Click Here To Read Writing #2


Devotion And The Divine Feminine

In conjunction with my last post on Discipline and the Divine Masculine we now surrender into the feminine flow of devotion, for what drives us to be disciplined but to realize the beauty of existence in devotional merger?

While discipline is the masculine container through which devotion can be held, without the devotion of the heart it is empty. It is in merging our devotion to the eternal with our discipline to strive towards the object of our hearts longing that eventually leads to an embodied experience of union between polarities. Through devotion we come to recognize the Beloved in all of creation and thus become servants of that immense beauty that cracks us open into existential ecstasy.

Discipline is of the higher mind while devotion is of the spiritual heart. Discipline is governed by the intellect while devotion lives in the realm of feeling. If one of these aspects is imbalanced with the other we will lack either the sentiment or the follow-through to achieve our souls dharma of awakening.

Devotion exists in the realm where the personal and transpersonal merge; where what is of the world merges with the mysterious energy that is beyond this world. As existence manifests in countless unique forms, we each have our own devotional path. Devotion needs to be stirred, so it is up to us to find that particular ray that incites our heart to throb.

What is it that inspires your devotional heart? What ignites you to offer yourself in surrender to a greater force? What does that greater force look like or feel like? How can you offer even more of yourself, your longing, your rapture to that which stirs the passion of your heart?

Devotion and discipline are primary ingredients in any spiritual path. When we find a system or a practice that marries our masculine discipline with our feminine devotion, we have found a map toward wholeness through the alchemy of that which is in form and that which is formless.

Click Here To Read Writing #3

Jade In Her Temple: The Origins Of The Jade Egg Practice

The worlds women are increasingly arriving at a state of curiosity about our sexuality, our wisdom, our embodiment, and our power as we become more and more aware of the necessity to take exquisite care of our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits in an increasingly complex world. In this process of feminine awakening, many of us are looking to ancient maps of practice, philosophy and embodiment to guide us in our modern journey. The Taoist female sexual energy cultivation practices with the Jade Egg are one of those poignant maps, and as we come to discover the Taoist secrets, it is important that we remain honoring and understanding of the tradition from which they came. It is in this way that we can truly acquire the merit of these practices that have survived millennia.

So what is the history of these profound practices?

The Jade Egg practices originated from a philosophy of harmonious being known as Taoism. Taoism was birthed in ancient China by the revered sage Lao Tzu, the author of the famous Tao Te Ching. Taoism was the foundation of many of China’s healing and self-cultivation practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong. In order to deeply understand the Jade Egg practices, one must have at least a minimal understanding of Taoism and the energies at play within and outside of the human body.

So lets take a deeper look at Taoism. Tao literally translates to “The Way”. It is more a philosophy than a religion. The underlying teachings of Taoism are teachings of presence, simplicity, acceptance, harmony and balance. It is an extremely feminine philosophy in that, unlike modern day life, it teaches us how to flow with the naturally occurring cycles of existence. In our modern world we are caught up in striving, achieving, and bending the world to our will. Taoism is literally a teaching of ease and grace by harmonizing with the forces of nature within and without the body. It teaches us to listen deeply, and to act with an intelligence that is always assessing what is in the interest of balance moment by moment. Within Taoism we work with nature instead of against Her. Taoism is extremely simplistic in it’s nature; it is again, simply “The Way”.

Many of us are familiar with the Taoist symbol of the Yin and Yang. The dark Yin represents the feminine receptive principle, and that stillness which is the base from which creation takes form. The light Yang represents the masculine active principle, and that which is in motion. Within the Yin there is Yang, and within the Yang there is Yin. Ultimately the two are inseparable, constantly spiraling into each other, merging into each other, and becoming one another. Nothing in this holographic realm is fixed, all is in constant flux and flow, and this motion is the dance of Yin and Yang. When we are in a state of peace and balance, we can recognize this blessing as a point of equipoise between the Yin and Yang aspects of our being and life. It is important to familiarize with the concepts of Yin and Yang before practicing with the Jade Egg, as the highest goal of these practices is the alchemy of Yin and Yang within the body, consciousness and spirit.

While the Jade Egg practices were very much inspired and molded by the simplistic Taoist masters who often lived simple lives in the mountains, they were originally utilized by the concubines of ancient China’s courts. The women of the courts used these practices to maintain their youthfulness and vitality, perform exquisite acts of love, and to merge their potent sexual energies into high spiritual pursuits. It was said that they ruled from behind the curtain, meaning that the Kings true power and precision came from the women of the palace. It is interesting to note that in both the Taoist and Tantric systems of practice, women were seen to be the keepers of power. This led male practitioners in both of these systems to worshipping and exalting these women from whom they sought initiation. On the darker side, it also led to extorting and hoarding the women to draw their power from.

While many ancient practices of feminine power were nearly lost as the power of the patriarchy swept across the lands, the Jade Egg practices were preserved by Taoist Priestesses in underground mystery schools. Today they are re-emerging with passion as the rise of the Sacred Feminine ignites, to instill our power unto ourselves yet again.

Click Here To Read Writing #4

BIO

Halo Seronko is the founderess, creatrix, Temple Dancer, Tantrika, and Priestess of Shakti Temple Arts. She is deeply devoted to a life of cultivation and beauty through the feminine arts and radiance practices of Sacred Dance, Tantra, Taoism, and Priestessing. She is devoted to the universal forces of existence; the masculine, Shiva, and the feminine, Shakti. She dedicates her life and work to the recognition, balance, harmony, respect and compassion in the dance of these Divine forces, specifically the re-awakening of the Divine Feminine principle.

Halo considers Taoism to be the root of her spirituality, the system from where she began her spiritual quest studying with her father in her early teens. She has studied multiple lineages in the Taoist tradition, and has combined many threads from her father, as well as Mantak Chia over the last decade. Tantra is the flower of Halo's spirituality and Halo has been studying both the Kashmir Shaivist and Sri Vidya traditions for nearly a decade. She has studied at Agama Yoga in Thailand, been initiated into the Sri Vidya tradition by her Guru AmritanandaNatha Saraswati in India, and gone on extensive pilgrimages to sacred Shakti sites. Her predominant guru has been the profound resonance and embodied experiences within her own body and consciousness.

Along with Taoism and Tantra as Halo's spiritual paths, she is also a Temple dancer of a Classical Indian Temple Dance known as Odissi, which she has studied intensively over the last 7 years in India with gurus Padma Charan Dehury and Sujata Mohapatra. This she considers to be her souls calling as her form of Bhakti (or devotional) yoga; an offering of beauty to the divine. Halo is also a Temple Fusion Belly Dancer as a soloist and a member of the Devadasi Dance Collective along with her dear sisters Monique Trinity Rose of the Omnique Method and Sedona Soulfire of Soulfire Sacred Dance Ensemble. She has been initiated into the 8 Elements format by Rachel Brice, and has studied with Zoe Jakes as well as many other noteworthy teachers.

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Marianne Williamson

Pray and Meditate for the World

The issue of terrorism is extremely complicated and demands a holistic, integrated response.

On an external level we must obviously protect ourselves and do everything possible to prevent more attacks from occurring in the future. As I wrote in my last post, I have great admiration for people all over the world who are working so hard to do this.

But all of us have a role here. Just as air forces support ground troops, our prayers and visualizations and meditations can play a powerful part in curing and protecting ourselves from the sickness in our midst.

Wherever you are, consider adding five minutes of silence, with your eyes closed, praying for visualizing or meditating every day for the safety of either the city you live in or whatever place you are inwardly guided to pray for. I would suggest a time to do this every day, but I think our chances of a full-scale spiritual wave of power is greater if we keep it to each person’s individual schedule. In the quantum realm time does not matter anyway.

What does matter is that we do this. Give at least five minutes every day to the effort, the potential power of which cannot be overestimated. And please include this idea in your conversations both in person and on social media. “Prayer is the medium of miracles,” according to A Course in Miracles. And miracles are what we need here.

Have a blessed and powerful day.
#prayforpeace


Read More by Marianne Williamson


Revolutionary Tweets

"Don't accept the notion that our current political crisis is a downward spiral from which we cannot emerge. We will emerge, better than ever"

Click Here To Read Writing #2


An American Awakening

May 6, 2017
It’s tempting, when confronted by political malfeasance, to become so absorbed with its symptom that we give too little attention to treating its cause. In fact, behind every dangerous political phenomenon lies the ideology that produced it. Everything that happens in the material world is created first on the level of thought.

Political propaganda seeks to affect the way people perceive the world in order to affect the way they behave. Political propaganda is the biggest tool in the extremist’s arsenal. It’s at an all-time high today in terms of sophistication and effectiveness, as Madison Avenue public relations acumen has been insidiously and nefariously applied to the political sphere. Our problem is not just that some politicians flat out lie; our bigger problem is the power of their propaganda to dismantle the ability within many people’s minds to even realize they’re being lied to. People are vulnerable to extremism not because they like extremism, but because in too many cases today extremism is hugely successful at posing as something else.

No external force is as threatening to our democracy today as is the political propaganda war being currently waged against it. Our freedom is being attacked from within, but instead of fighting this tide in many ways our country is flowing with it. Why? In large part, because of the Big Lies that fuel the propaganda machine and generate its power. Identifying the Big Lies of corporate fascism is an essential part of resisting it.

Whether or not a Big Lie has been proven to be false seems to have minimal bearing on whether or not it is believed. It is the conviction and consistency with which the Big Lie is stated, not the proven accuracy or inaccuracy of its claim, that determines its effect on voters’ minds and thus the way that they vote.

The first Big Lie being used against the American people today is the idea that the business sector is our primary “job creator.”

Successful businesses create jobs; that is true. But the notion that if we cut taxes enough for the very rich and for already hugely profitable businesses, then all that money will trickle down to everyone else in the form of job creation is simply false. Yet it is a lie that has been used in the United States for propaganda purposes for decades, despite all economic evidence to the contrary. Tax breaks and other financial breaks that favor the wealthiest among us do not create greater prosperity for all; they simply siphon off more and more money to those who already have it, and more and more money away from those who do not. They do not promote wealth-creation opportunities that benefit all; they simply redistribute wealth from those who do not have to those who already do. If we give a huge amount of money to the rich, we simply don’t have enough money left over to help those who are not.

Business is important, and successful businesses are essential to a healthy economy. But the business sector is no more important or more essential to our economic good than is education, health care or any other avenue by which people are aided in their ability to self-actualize.

Who and what then create jobs, if not the business sector? The answer is often hidden from plain sight for two reasons: one, because so many within its ranks are women, and two, because it doesn’t have the funds to create a huge public relations machinery to lay out its case. Education, not big business, is the biggest job-creating sector. The greatest job-creator in America is not the businessperson but the educator — not simply someone who can give you a job, but someone who can prepare you for a job; someone who can provide you with the internal and external tools to do it well. It is not just overseas outsourcing that has taken our jobs away; it is in equal measure our failure as a society to provide for the preparation of our citizens, from the earliest age, for the challenges of living in the 21st Century.

Tax revenue currently proposed to help the top .001% should be used to create the largest matrix of technical colleges and free institutions of higher learning in the world. The fact that it is not is a travesty of economic justice, and a legacy of ancient serfdom. We have acquiesced to an aristocratic economic system, forced there not by the tyranny of kings but rather lured there by political propaganda designed to convince the abused that the abuser is their friend.

Millions in America today – hard-working people who should have every right to feel securely ensconced in the middle class — are only a few unfortunate steps (a health crisis here, a lay off there) away from the ranks of the poor, and they know it. Their anger and despair are totally valid, yet often they are looking to the actual source of the problem to solve it.

The huge matrix of corporate power in America is not a huge job-creating machine; it is a huge wealth-destroying machine for anyone but itself. Our current economic power structure – led by banks, huge multi-national corporate entities and the politicians they can afford to buy — is a system of economic abuse. It is a system that creates huge amounts of economic stress, and then presents itself as the job-creating machine that will relieve the stress. It’s like a thief who steals from you, then changes clothes and arrives at your door thirty minutes later dressed as Santa Claus.

And when it comes to wealth creation opportunity, the average American isn’t even asking for Santa Claus; he or she is asking for simple fairness and decency and respect. The values of brotherhood and justice that form the framework of any right relationship form the framework of a healthy society. And that applies to the economy too. Treat every person with the respect they deserve as a child of God from the time they’re born, and watch what they will create for themselves.

Every person has within us the deep desire to create the good, the true and the beautiful. Walk into any pre-school or kindergarten and you will see that this is true. If every human being is truly a precious creation of God, then there is no amount of money too much to spend on education, cultural enrichment, and any and all opportunities to provide for their ability to create success for themselves.

Traditionally, America has known this.

After World War II, the United States Congress created the G.I. Bill for our returning veterans. This allowed millions of returning soldiers to attend college and enter the workforce at a higher level than they would have otherwise. A nation devastated by World War II then realized that our biggest opportunity for economic re-greening lay in educating the American population and rebuilding our infrastructure. This civic wisdom led to an explosion of economic prosperity among us and the creation of America’s great middle class.

Abraham Lincoln, who our current president has referred to as “low energy Abe,” in fact released the energy of a thousand suns when he articulated for the ages the highest aspiration of the American people: that ours would be a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” What a travesty we are making of our own national creed, as we acquiesce to the takeover of the United States government by forces who, however much they rant and rave their support for “the American people,” are dedicated to placing the reins of our government in the hands of those with nothing but contempt for the notion of a government “for the people.” These “economic royalists,” as Franklin Delano Roosevelt referred to them, have done extraordinary damage to our history and are doing extraordinary damage now. But whenever they appear, they are an aberration and not an inevitability. We have stopped them before and we will stop them again.

The second Big Lie at the heart of the extremist propaganda machine is that the poor are those who simply will not and do not help themselves. The demonizing of America’s poor has been one of the great successes of the corporate extremists, insidiously turning those being systematically pushed into the ranks of the poor into the greatest proponents of the system that is doing the pushing. If I don’t like you, I’m less likely to stand up for you; if I don’t stand up for you, then I’m not going to know to stand up for myself when those same forces are coming after me.

So the strategy of the propaganda war is obvious: stereotype the faceless minions of corporate extremism as your economic savior, even when they’re not; and the most disadvantaged among you as your enemy, even when they’re not. That way you won’t rebel against your abuser, and you won’t side with those held down by the same forces that will get around to you if you allow them to. It’s a brilliant strategy and at the moment it’s working. But it will not work forever, because while the American people can be fooled and fooled too easily, that doesn’t mean that we’re fools. Even the smartest people have been taken in by frauds, whether fraudulent lovers who made us think they cared or salesmen who made us believe in their fraudulent products. It happens to the best of us. But once you know what’s being done to you, something changes. You’re no longer asleep and you will no longer be held down. You are awake to your rights and no longer blinded by those who would deny them.

What we need now is an American Awakening. Political propaganda has no real power in the face of an awakened citizenry. Sometimes Americans are kind of slow to realize what’s going on, but historically we slam it like nobody’s business once we do. And we will have learned from all this. We will have learned the dangers of going to sleep at the wheel of American democracy. We will have learned that democracy cannot be taken for granted. And we will have learned that citizenship is a serious responsibility.

The question isn’t, “But what can we do?” The question is, “What will YOU do?” The midterm elections are November 6, 2018. Write that day in your calendar and etch it on your heart; prepare for that day in every way you can. Do not be distracted and do not lose courage.

It is the day when we can turn all this around.

Click Here To Read Writing #3

BIO

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher. Her first book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A COURSE IN MIRACLES, is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality.

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Ecstatic Living

The Mysterious Wisdom of Water & other articles

By Lokita Carter
At Thanksgiving dinner the conversation at the family table came around to gratitude and everyone was asked to share what their most exciting experience had been this year. Mine was taking two weeklong water classes at Harbin. Having been an aquatic bodyworker for 11 years, these were my first classes in 6 years, and the exciting thing about them was getting back into the water.

The warm water was the reason why I came to Harbin Hot Springs back in 1998, from Australia. I traveled here to complete my education as a Watsu teacher, and ended up with a full time career as a Tantra teacher with my husband Steve. When my mother died unexpectedly earlier this year, I knew that getting back into the water was crucial for my healing, inner peace and grieving.

Being in the warm water always feels good to me. Water is great healer. Water teaches me all kinds of things about my life. In the classes I participated in, I reconnected to some of the principles I have been experiencing in my life, and sometimes forgotten.

Breath Connection & Presence
The breath connects heaven and earth. We begin life in this body with a breath and the last breath ends our life. In that we are all one. Being in the water it is easy to stay with my breath, to feel my body rise and sink while being caressed by the warmth of the water. The power of the present moment is stronger than my mind.

When I hold someone in my arms in a session, I am with them 100%, undistracted, present, receptive to be led by them. Their breath becomes my breath. When we breathe together, we become one. In fact this is also one of the most important things in tantric practice. We disappear into each other. The water holds us in its grand embrace as we dance together into the unknown of the moment.

The breath connects all of us, regardless of who we are, what we believe in, how we look. Thinking about that when I go about my daily activities outside of the water makes accepting others so much easier!

Actions & Effect
In a session, when I move my body, their body moves in a mysterious rhythm of weight and weightlessness, breath and letting go, balance and imbalance. When I move fast, the water around me moves in a different way than when I move slowly. Translating that into my daily activities, I can see how my actions have a direct effect on everyone I interact with. If I respond in kindness, they are more likely to respond with kindness.

Invisibility
In the dance of the session, I become invisible to my partner, so that all they feel is being gently supported, within the frame of my arms. I, as the giver, disappear. They are safely held in their own experience that I know nothing about, and I am just the humble witness.

Really, there is so little we know about others. We might think that we know what they feel, and they might even specify very clearly what their experience of any given moment is, but we may understand something completely different. As I open myself to that reality more and more, I feel more generous, patient and loving towards myself and others.

Giving Space
In the water there is spaciousness. As I immerse myself into the water, it connects with the water within me, my inner body, and the separation between water and skin disappears, and I enter into a realm of limitlessness. So often our lives are led by our minds, and getting back into the water brings to me a spaciousness that allows for new ideas to enter and perspectives to reveal themselves. If we just give more space to the issues and unresolved situations in our life, there is room for the new to come in!

Rhythms
In one of the classes I learned the term “rhythmic field”, a place in which everything becomes a rhythm – inhale and exhale; stillness and movement; tears and joy; connection and aloneness. In these rhythmic fields of life we can explore and delight and be embraced by the healing qualities of the water. There are rhythmic fields everywhere – in our relationships with others, in our work, when we play, when we make love. The water magnifies these rhythmic fields in a way that lets me see them everywhere around me, not just when I am in the water.

Trusting Life
Letting the water do the work – this is one of the principles of aquatic bodywork. Being in the water, I can quietly listen to what wants to emerge, what movement or what breath. The moment reveals the truth of what is now. As I trust the water, I become flow. And how would it be to apply that to everyday life! Instead of pushing to get to a desired result, just to sit back and accept what is and see what emerges in the next moment! And trusting that life will reveal everything. What a concept! Somewhere I read that “stress is the result of not accepting what is.”

Yin & Yang
In some of my sessions, I submerge my partner below the water surface. As a giver, I am led by the receiver and her breath. I become an empty vessel with a willingness to let go into being led while providing a safe structure. As I give, I receive. As I receive, I give. The dualities dissolve. There is no agenda, other than the stepping from doing into being, from static into ecstatic.

These are all profound spiritual insights, and really, this was my main reason for taking the two water classes – to reconnect with the spiritual wisdom of the water, and to dedicate uninterrupted time to my personal healing and my pleasure of being free to play, nurture myself and explore. One could call it a vacation with a purpose, a learning vacation of a different kind. Quality time.

Floating into Bliss
Fortunately for me, in between my two water classes, Steve and I taught a class for couples, “Floating into Bliss” where we explored Watsu moves and combined them with the tantric practices of breathing together, exploring the sensuality of the water, being held and holding another, spending time in the wordless realm and coming closeAt Thanksgiving dinner the conversation at the family table came around to gratitude and everyone was asked to share what their most exciting experience had been this year. Mine was taking two weeklong water classes at Harbin. Having been an aquatic bodyworker for 11 years, these were my first classes in 6 years, and the exciting thing about them was getting back into the water.

The warm water was the reason why I came to Harbin Hot Springs back in 1998, from Australia. I traveled here to complete my education as a Watsu teacher, and ended up with a full time career as a Tantra teacher with my husband Steve. When my mother died unexpectedly earlier this year, I knew that getting back into the water was crucial for my healing, inner peace and grieving.

Being in the warm water always feels good to me. Water is great healer. Water teaches me all kinds of things about my life. In the classes I participated in, I reconnected to some of the principles I have been experiencing in my life, and sometimes forgotten.

Breath Connection & Presence
The breath connects heaven and earth. We begin life in this body with a breath and the last breath ends our life. In that we are all one. Being in the water it is easy to stay with my breath, to feel my body rise and sink while being caressed by the warmth of the water. The power of the present moment is stronger than my mind.

When I hold someone in my arms in a session, I am with them 100%, undistracted, present, receptive to be led by them. Their breath becomes my breath. When we breathe together, we become one. In fact this is also one of the most important things in tantric practice. We disappear into each other. The water holds us in its grand embrace as we dance together into the unknown of the moment.

The breath connects all of us, regardless of who we are, what we believe in, how we look. Thinking about that when I go about my daily activities outside of the water makes accepting others so much easier!

Actions & Effect
In a session, when I move my body, their body moves in a mysterious rhythm of weight and weightlessness, breath and letting go, balance and imbalance. When I move fast, the water around me moves in a different way than when I move slowly. Translating that into my daily activities, I can see how my actions have a direct effect on everyone I interact with. If I respond in kindness, they are more likely to respond with kindness.

Invisibility
In the dance of the session, I become invisible to my partner, so that all they feel is being gently supported, within the frame of my arms. I, as the giver, disappear. They are safely held in their own experience that I know nothing about, and I am just the humble witness.

Really, there is so little we know about others. We might think that we know what they feel, and they might even specify very clearly what their experience of any given moment is, but we may understand something completely different. As I open myself to that reality more and more, I feel more generous, patient and loving towards myself and others.

Giving Space
In the water there is spaciousness. As I immerse myself into the water, it connects with the water within me, my inner body, and the separation between water and skin disappears, and I enter into a realm of limitlessness. So often our lives are led by our minds, and getting back into the water brings to me a spaciousness that allows for new ideas to enter and perspectives to reveal themselves. If we just give more space to the issues and unresolved situations in our life, there is room for the new to come in!

Rhythms
In one of the classes I learned the term “rhythmic field”, a place in which everything becomes a rhythm – inhale and exhale; stillness and movement; tears and joy; connection and aloneness. In these rhythmic fields of life we can explore and delight and be embraced by the healing qualities of the water. There are rhythmic fields everywhere – in our relationships with others, in our work, when we play, when we make love. The water magnifies these rhythmic fields in a way that lets me see them everywhere around me, not just when I am in the water.

Trusting Life
Letting the water do the work – this is one of the principles of aquatic bodywork. Being in the water, I can quietly listen to what wants to emerge, what movement or what breath. The moment reveals the truth of what is now. As I trust the water, I become flow. And how would it be to apply that to everyday life! Instead of pushing to get to a desired result, just to sit back and accept what is and see what emerges in the next moment! And trusting that life will reveal everything. What a concept! Somewhere I read that “stress is the result of not accepting what is.”

Yin & Yang
In some of my sessions, I submerge my partner below the water surface. As a giver, I am led by the receiver and her breath. I become an empty vessel with a willingness to let go into being led while providing a safe structure. As I give, I receive. As I receive, I give. The dualities dissolve. There is no agenda, other than the stepping from doing into being, from static into ecstatic.

These are all profound spiritual insights, and really, this was my main reason for taking the two water classes – to reconnect with the spiritual wisdom of the water, and to dedicate uninterrupted time to my personal healing and my pleasure of being free to play, nurture myself and explore. One could call it a vacation with a purpose, a learning vacation of a different kind. Quality time.

Floating into Bliss
Fortunately for me, in between my two water classes, Steve and I taught a class for couples, “Floating into Bliss” where we explored Watsu moves and combined them with the tantric practices of breathing together, exploring the sensuality of the water, being held and holding another, spending time in the wordless realm and coming close to each other in deep relaxation and trust. Everyone left feeling ecstatic, renewed and refreshed, and connected with each other in ways that had been long forgotten. What wonderful experiences the water holds for all of us.to each other in deep relaxation and trust. Everyone left feeling ecstatic, renewed and refreshed, and connected with each other in ways that had been long forgotten. What wonderful experiences the water holds for all of us.


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The Best 10-minute Investment in Your Love Life

By Lokita Carter

By
Lokita Carter
Going back to the basics can bear great gifts, especially in love and sex. Let’s remember some of the teachings mom gave us on our way. “Look into people’s eyes as you speak with them”, she said. “Be respectful to others. Listen carefully when someone talks with you”, she insisted. “And never interrupt.” This wisdom turns out to be quite useful, especially in our love relationships.

One of our first tantric practices as a couple was a deceptively simple communication experiment about how we like to be loved – physically, emotionally and spiritually. It goes like this: Steve asks me the question, “How do you like to be loved?” I answer as Steve listens, without commentary. If I don’t answer, he will ask the same question again. After 10 minutes, we switch roles, asking and answering the same question.

Are you willing to invest 10 minutes into your love life?
At first, 10 minutes might seem an awfully long time to talk about how we like to be loved. But let’s face it – those 10 minutes are a great investment into a more pleasurable time with your lover and with yourself! You’d be surprised how time flies when you explore this subject matter whole-heartedly.

The Power of Words
Communication takes place on many levels, especially in the bedroom. Yet not many people actually tell each other how exactly they like to be loved. In the early days of a relationship it is easy to intuit what our partner likes, and to flow together effortlessly. But after the honeymoon is over, many of us have we settled into a satisfactory routine, a habitual way of making love. Verbalizing our wishes and desires makes us more aware of our own desires and those of our partner, and creates more spontaneity.

Can you listen to your partner without an agenda?
Listening is a meditation! Being genuinely interested in what our partner says is one of the keys to a great relationship. Possible agendas might be your mental comments such as, “Oh no, that’s how he likes it. I am such a lousy lover!” or, “Aha! I have all kinds of great ideas how I can embellish her wishes, for example.” Agendas distract us from being able to listen with a beginner’s mind and an open heart.

Do you actually know how you like to be loved?
If I don’t know how I like to be loved, how can I possibly expect my partner to know? Taking responsibility for our pleasure, for our life is a key concept in Tantra that applies in and out of the bedroom. Investigating how we like to be loved emotionally, physically, and spiritually will make it easier for us to ask for what we want, and in turn create more passion, peace and harmony in our whole life.

Can you speak without an agenda?
Telling your partner how you like to be loved can be fun, exciting, sexy and challenging – all at the same time. Can you let the words roll off your tongue easily, without self-judgment? Perhaps you feel shy or nervous to share your most intimate secrets – shame, feelings of unworthiness and guilt raise their heads. Or maybe you say things to lash out indirectly at him/her for not giving you what you really want. Do you hold anything back because you are afraid what your partner might think of you? It is an ongoing and very rewarding exploration!

Infinite Ways to Being Loved
The most wonderful thing about this particular question is that there are infinite ways to answer it. In our 11 years together we have done this practice countless times, and we learn new things about ourselves, and each other every single time. Just as life changes with every breath, the way we like to be loved changes. You never know what you are going to say or hear.

The results of this practice are countless. The best for me is that because I listen attentively to him talk about how he likes to be loved, I can give him what he wants without him having to ask for it directly, and of course, vice versa. We both feel loved and cherished, connected and seen. If we all ask and answer this question time and again, the world will be a better place, and that time investment will be well worth it!

Try it out and let us know about your experience with this practice!

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Your Tantric Journey - The 1st Step

By
Lokita Carter
Tantra has become very popular in the West over the past few years as a method for improving our sex life. What many people don’t know is that Tantra is much more than that.

In Tibetan Buddhism, Tantra and its practices are considered the most accelerated path to spiritual enlightenment. Only the most accomplished students receive the transmission of these powerful and secret tools from their teacher. All of Tantra’s methods are concerned with spiritual advancement, and only a small part of them is devoted to practices involving sexuality. Tantra includes everything – the way you make love, the way you cook your meals, and the way you work becomes a sacred activity. Tantra is and has been a lifestyle as well as a spiritual practice.

So why is there so much emphasis on the sexual aspects of Tantra? Because we all want to be better lovers and have a great sex life. Sexual intimacy is one of the easiest ways to have a spiritual experience, to reach an altered state of consciousness. At the peak moment of sexual union, our minds disappear, we become truly one with each other, and enter into timelessness and divine union. Tantra teaches us how to reach those states again and again, and effortlessly, in our love life and our daily lives.

Tantrikas, those practicing Tantra, know that spirituality resides within the body and that the body’s gifts can be utilized to foster and attain spiritual clarity, ecstasy and fulfillment. Hence tantric wisdom traditionally was passed on from teacher to student, from master to disciple, experientially rather than intellectually, and this still continues to be the preferred and most effective method today.

So where do you start? Many great books and videos provide useful and practical information about Tantra, especially the sexual aspects of it. If you have a partner, tell her or him that you are interested in learning more about Tantra. Watch a video together or commit to practice exercises from a book that you both like. Hands-on practice is the fastest and most reliable way to learn.

Many books on Tantra also include practices which can be done by yourself, so you don’t actually have to have a partner to practice Tantra. In fact even if you have a partner, practicing the solo exercises can open the door to a “new you” and that in turn can be very valuable and enriching for your relationship as well as your lovelife.

By far the best way to deepen your understanding of Tantra and get an immediate “aha” is to participate in a seminar. A seminar is a forum for experiential learning, and the facilitators are there to guide you on this journey. There are also a variety of seminars and events; weekends, week-longs and longer trainings, for beginners and advanced Tantra practitioners, for single and couples.

Aside from experiencing what Tantra is, and practicing tools for your love life and daily life, you are also part of a tantric family during the event, and maybe afterwards, if you so choose. Immersing yourself into the tantric community, the sangha, of the seminar environment accelerates your learning process and deepens your experience. And when you go back home, life will not be the same, it will be even better!

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Orgasmic Bliss

By
Lokita Carter
Does Tantra help to achieve a full body orgasm? Can both men and women enjoy multiple orgasms? Does tantric lovemaking last longer? These questions are asked often by individuals who are starting on the tantric path, and they have as many answers as there are people asking it.

We were born with the gear for making love and pleasuring ourselves, but “having it” doesn’t mean that we know how to use it to its fullest. Hardly anyone was fortunate enough to be taught the art of lovemaking. Luckily it’s never too late to learn and expand… whether you are 19 or 90…

In ordinary lovemaking, the feelings, attention, and energy are focused mainly in one area: the genitals. The sensations in our genitals are delightful, however, by being focused on “down there” there is a goal and when that goal is realized, this particular sexual episode is over.

In tantric lovemaking, movement, breath, sound and presence are the keys to expand our ecstatic energy and spread it throughout the whole body. Using these keys allows the expansion of bliss and ecstasy rather than release of energy. This is what we call “orgasmic bliss”.

The body can actually contain a vast sexual energy, and when this sexual energy is built up and held in the genitals, release is inevitable – the point of no return. Instead, you can consciously decide to distribute your energy throughout the whole body, thus increasing the body’s capacity for more energy and more pleasure.

And why not continue going higher and higher in lovemaking, even to the point where there is so much ecstasy in the whole body that you become bliss and you don’t have to do anything to stay in bliss? This can be a spiritual experience – you become one with God, yourself and your partner.

The One Big O and Many Little o’sOrgasm is defined as “involuntary redistribution of energy”. For example, a sneeze falls into this category. So does the One Big O. And so do the many little o’s that we experience throughout the day. Observe yourself. Do you feel a tremor in your body when you taste chocolate mousse or smell a fragrant, perfect rose? Those are more subtle little o’s and they can be triggered by anything that is pleasurable to you.

Generally, orgasm is associated with genitals, as in “the One Big O”. We all know the delicious feeling when we have a Big O – either through self-pleasuring or lovemaking with our beloved. An incredible release of energy happens, our mind stops, our body contracts and lets go, contracts and lets go, undulating in uncontrollable orgasmic spasms. This orgasmic movement feels good.

And it does not have to be related to the genitals. Perhaps you have experienced the following: after a Big O, you relax deeply, you let go completely. This deep relaxation is a conduit through which your orgasmic energy flows into every cell of your being. The sensations could be shivers, your body shakes a little, and you feel as if streams of electrical currents rush through your body like lightning.

The energy moving from the base of the spine upward is what we call a “little o”. This reflex, or the little o’s can be activated anytime, independently of the genitals; for example by smelling that fragrant rose, or enjoying that chocolate mousse mentioned above, or by sharing an embrace. This experience is healing for mind, body and soul, and by cultivating it, pleasure will be abundant in life.

We are blessed to have this phenomenon built into our body. Unfortunately, Western culture has taught us to repress pleasure and our ecstatic self. Knowing this, we can now consciously begin to enjoy the day’s many little o’s and expand all aspects of our daily life into a truly orgasmic experience. Begin to notice this energy, however subtle it may be, welcome this sensuous part of yourself and validate yourself each time you experience a little o.

Our motto is: forget about the One Big O and enjoy the abundance of the little o’s!

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BIO

Writings & articles from the Ecstatic Living website

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Shamanic Essays

Interview with Michael Harner & several other essays

Shamanic Healing: We Are Not Alone
An Interview of Michael Harner by Bonnie Horrigan
© Shamanism, Spring/Summer 1997, Vol. 10, No. 1
Michael Harner, Ph.D., is an anthropologist and founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving shamanic knowledge as it survives on the planet and to teaching the basic principles of that knowledge for practical applications in the contemporary world.

Harner, who has practiced shamanic healing since 1961, received his doctorate at the University of California-Berkeley. He is a former professor and chairperson of the department of anthropology at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York, and has taught at Columbia, Yale, and UC Berkeley. He also served as co-chair of the anthropology section of the New York Academy of Sciences. His books include The Jívaro, Hallucinogens and Shamanism, and the classic The Way of The Shaman.

In the course of his academic study of shamanism, Harner lived and worked with indigenous peoples in the Upper Amazon, Mexico, Peru, the Canadian Arctic, Samiland, and western North America.

Alternative Therapies interviewed Harner at his office in Mill Valley, California, during an intense storm. The following article is from the FSS journal, Shamanism, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Spring-Summer) 1997, and was originally published in 1996 in Vol. 2, No. 3 of Alternative Therapies.

What is Shamanism?

Michael Harner:
The word "shaman" in the original Tungus language refers to a person who makes journeys to nonordinary reality in an altered state of consciousness. Adopting the term in the West was useful because people didn't know what it meant. Terms like "wizard," "witch," "sorcerer," and "witch doctor" have their own connotations, ambiguities, and preconceptions associated with them. Although the term is from Siberia, the practice of shamanism existed on all inhabited continents.

After years of extensive research, Mircea Eliade, in his book, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, concluded that shamanism underlays all the other spiritual traditions on the planet, and that the most distinctive feature of shamanism—but by no means the only one—was the journey to other worlds in an altered state of consciousness.

"...in our culture many consider it avant-garde if a person talks about the mind-body connection, but the fact that the brain is connected to the rest of the body is not the most exciting news. It's been known for hundreds and thousands of years. What's really important about shamanism, in my opinion, is that the shaman knows that we are not alone. By that I mean, when one human being compassionately works to relieve the suffering of another, the helping spirits are interested and become involved."

Shamans are often called "see-ers" (seers), or "people who know" in their tribal languages, because they are involved in a system of knowledge based on firsthand experience. Shamanism is not a belief system. It's based on personal experiments conducted to heal, to get information, or do other things. In fact, if shamans don't get results, they will no longer be used by people in their tribe. People ask me, "How do you know if somebody's a shaman?" I say, "It's simple. Do they journey to other worlds? And do they perform miracles?"

Is shamanism a religion?

The practice of shamanism is a method, not a religion. It coexists with established religions in many cultures. In Siberia, you'll find shamanism coexisting with Buddhism and Lamaism, and in Japan with Buddhism. It's true that shamans are often in animistic cultures. Animism means that people believe there are spirits. So in shamanic cultures, where shamans interact with spirits to get results such as healing, it's no surprise that people believe there are spirits. But the shamans don't believe in spirits. Shamans talk with them, interact with them. They no more "believe" there are spirits than they "believe" they have a house to live in, or have a family. This is a very important issue because shamanism is not a system of faith.

Shamanism is also not exclusionary. They don't say, "We have the only healing system." In a holistic approach to healing, the shaman uses the spiritual means at his or her disposal in cooperation with people in the community who have other techniques such as plant healing, massage, and bone setting. The shaman's purpose is to help the patient get well, not to prove that his or her system is the only one that works.

In many cultures, shamans are often given gifts for their work, but they will return all the gifts if the patient dies, which I think is a commendable innovation that might help us with the costs of health services today.

My understanding is that there are two aspects to shamanic healing: a medicinal one and a spiritual one.

Shamans talk with plants and animals, with all of nature. This is not just a metaphor. They do it in an altered state of consciousness. Our own students rapidly discover that by talking with plants, they can discover how to prepare those plants for remedies. Shamans have been doing this since ancient times. They typically know a great deal about plants, but it's not essential. For example, Eskimo shamans don't have access to a lot of plants, so they work with other things. But in the Amazon shamans know the various plants and the songs that go with the plants, which they commonly learn from the plants themselves.

One former student of mine in the United States developed a practice of discovering and using healing plants based on his learning directly from the plants. He found that the pharmacopoeia he developed was very close to the ancient, classic Chinese pharmacopoeia knowledge of how to prepare and use these plants for different ailments. Another former student in Germany worked with minerals and found how they could be used in healing. It turned out that her discoveries were very close to what has been known in India from ancient times.

Which brings us to a very important issue: everything that's ever been known, everything that can be known, is available to the shaman in the Dreamtime. That's why shamans can be prophets; that's why they can also go back and look at the past. With discipline, training, and the help of the spirits, this total source of knowledge is accessible.

What happens when a sick person asks a shaman for a healing?

For example, a shaman might make a journey for diagnostic purposes, to get information about the person's problems from a spiritual point of view. It doesn't necessarily matter what the diagnosis is from an ordinary reality point of view. There's no simple one-to-one concordance between spiritual illness and ordinary reality illness. You can't say, "This equals that." So the shaman will often make a journey to find out what the spiritual causality is and, according to that causality, decide on the treatment.

From the shamanic point of view, people who are not powerful—spiritually "power-filled," that is—are prone to illness, accidents, and bad luck. This goes beyond our normal definition of illness. The shaman restores a person's linkage to his or her spiritual power. This spiritual power is something analogous to a spiritual immune defense system, but I wouldn't make a one-to one equivalence. It's an analog. The power makes one resistant to illness. If somebody is repeatedly ill, then it's clear that they need a power connection. A healthy person who is not sick might go on a vision quest to get this power connection, but one of the shaman's jobs is to help people who are in no condition to do that for themselves.

Today in our culture many consider it avant-garde if a person talks about the mind-body connection, but the fact that the brain is connected to the rest of the body is not the most exciting news. It's been known for hundreds and thousands of years. What's really important about shamanism, in my opinion, is that the shaman knows that we are not alone. By that I mean, when one human being compassionately works to relieve the suffering of another, the helping spirits are interested and become involved. When somebody who is disinterested, who is not an immediate family member, out of generosity and compassion helps somebody else to relieve illness or pain and suffering—and it works even better when there are two or more shamans involved—this is when miracles occur. So the big news shamanism offers is not that the head is connected to the rest of the body, but that we are not alone.

What is soul retrieval?

Anyone who's had a trauma, from a shamanic point of view, may have had some loss of their soul. By soul we mean the spiritual essence essential throughout one's life as we describe life in our culture, which is from conception or birth to the time of death. The techniques for healing soul loss are soul-retrieval techniques, and one of the classic shamanic methods is to go searching for that lost portion of the soul and restore it.

Until about 8 years ago, most people in the Western world felt that soul retrieval was a superstitious practice that had no validity, but things have turned. I must say that a major reason is the work of my colleague, Sandra Ingerman, the author of Soul Retrieval and Coming Home. During her shamanic practice in Santa Fe, NM, years ago, women who had had significant childhood abuse would mention in the course of the sessions that they had removed themselves psychically from the situation at the time of abuse. Sandra immediately recognized, as a practicing shaman, that the person's soul to some degree had left the body (if it had left completely, the person would have been dead), and therefore the logical thing was to retrieve the lost portion of the soul and bring it back. So she then started doing soul retrieval for these people who had had significant childhood traumas, and the results were astounding. Today, this work is an important part of shamanic healing practice in the West.

Indeed, if you ask a group of people, "How many of you feel you've lost part of your soul?" it's typical that everybody raises their hand. At some deep level, there is a natural awareness of this problem. By the way, even a minor trauma can result in some degree of soul loss and can be treated.

Another major technique in shamanic healing work is extraction. Extraction involves removing a spiritual intrusion. Just as there can be infections in ordinary reality, so there can be spiritual intrusions. We don't mean that "evil" spirits have entered. It's more like termites in a wooden house. If you've got termites in your house, you wouldn't say those termites are evil, you'd say, "I'd just like to get them out of the house." In this same way the shaman works to remove things that interfere with the health of the body, such as spiritual intrusions, and extract them. This is not done through journeying. It's done through working here in the Middle World in an altered state of consciousness.

How is an altered state of consciousness achieved in shamanism?

In about 90% of the world, the altered states of consciousness used in shamanism are attained through consciousness-changing techniques involving a monotonous percussion sound, most typically done with a drum, but also with sticks, rattles, and other instruments. In perhaps 10% of the cultures, shamans use psychedelic drugs to change their state of consciousness.

I was introduced to shamanic work in 1961 among the Conibo Indians in eastern Peru, with the aid of native psychedelics. When I came back to the United States and no longer had my supply of ayahuasca, I experimented with drumming. Much to my surprise, it really worked. It should not have surprised me, because drums were reportedly used by shamans almost worldwide. Virtually everything you find in shamanism is done because it works. Over tens of thousands of years, shamans developed the most time-tested system of using the spirit, mind, and heart for healing, along with plant remedies, and so on. Again, the system is time-tested. So if healers in 90% of the shamanic cultures are using the same methods, we pay attention to them. And, of course, we find they work.

To get back to the extraction technique: the technique involves an altered state of consciousness and seeing into the client's body. Much shamanic work, including journeying and extraction, is done in darkness for a very simple reason. The shaman wishes to cut out the stimuli of ordinary reality—light, sound, and so on—and move into unseen reality. The shaman learns to look in the body with "x-ray vision" and see the illness and its location, and then to extract that illness.

Is that like depossession?

Depossession is related to extraction but it's not the same thing. From a shamanic point of view, it's very important to get out of the Middle World when journeying for spiritual purposes. In the old days, shamans journeyed in the Middle World to see how relatives were doing at a distant place or to locate the herds of migratory animals. But most of our work today is in the Upper and Lower Worlds where shamans have voyaged since ancient times. Shamans often prefer not to draw on the spirits of the Middle World because many of them are confused and lacking in power. Going to the Upper or Lower Worlds, one reaches spiritual beings of compassion, power, and wisdom.

Shamans who do another type of healing help the dead as well as the living. These shamans are called "psychopomps," or conductors of souls. Remember, from a shamanic point of view, when you're comatose, you're dead. So the shaman, in the case of comatose persons, would seek them out and see if they wanted to come back. Shamanism is not a system that intends to keep people in this ordinary reality whether they like it or not, because the shaman knows that this is not necessarily the best reality. You make the journey for the person who is comatose to find out what they want. If they want to come back, then the job of the shaman is to bring them back. But if they want to go on—or, more commonly, if they're dying or already dead—then the job of the shaman is to get them to a place where they will be content and not have them stay here, adrift in the Middle World.

So now we come back to this business of depossession. Most cases of depossession of humans are by other humans who are dead, who are here in the Middle World and don't know they're dead. If people are disempowered, or have soul loss or power loss, they are like a vacuum into which these confused entities can come. This is involuntary possession.

Shamans will conduct the entity—with its permission once it realizes it's dead—to a place beyond the Middle World where it will be reunited with people who it loves. Once this is done, so that the clients are no longer possessed, shamans restore their full soul and lost power connections so they are again whole and not vulnerable to further possessions.

Depossession work has slightly different forms in different cultures, but the basic principles are the same. I hope that one day our culture will recognize the need to permit shamanic practitioners to work with the spiritual aspects of illness in cooperation with nonspiritual health professionals.

In your opinion, why don't we do that now?

Unfortunately, when science started, partially as a reaction to the church in Europe, it ordained that souls and spirits have no reality and therefore could not be considered in scientific theory. Now that's an a priori position; in other words, ironically, a statement of faith enunciated in the 18th century. In fact, science has never disproved the existence of spirits. I would submit that now, on the edge of the 21st century, it's time to stop having a science that's based on faith (the faith that there are no spirits) and make it real science, which means that it doesn't ordain a priori that certain types of causes cannot exist.

In regard to extraction healing, in the shamanic view, where does the illness to be extracted come from?

From a shamanic point of view, all people have a spiritual side, whether they recognize it or not. When people get angry, jealous, or have a hostile emotional attitude, they can vent not only verbal and physical abuse, but spiritual abuse without even knowing it. In other words, if somebody is ignorant of shamanic principles, they can do damage to other people on a spiritual level.

Among the Untsuri Shuar and Jívaro people of eastern Ecuador, with whom I lived for quite a while, they call these intrusions "magical darts." There were many feuds and wars, and sometimes healers would get angry and lose their discipline and use their powers to get even. But it is important to know that this is a big mistake, not just ethically, but in terms of self-preservation. No matter how justified a person feels emotionally at the time, those spiritual beings who are representative of the great, loving, hidden universe will disconnect. It's like we're rechargeable batteries. We still have some power, and we can do damage, but the power source is no longer charging us. I've seen this many times in the Amazon. The shamans, in their anger, do harm for awhile, but eventually everything they send out comes back in on them, and it often results not only in their own death or pain, but their immediate family gets affected disastrously by it.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't get angry at people. It just means that you should have discipline and know there are parameters. You can get angry with somebody and verbally let out steam and, at the same time, control your spiritual side. But for your own self-preservation, if you don't work to relieve pain and suffering—and especially if you work in a contrary way—you're soon out of business, and probably dead.

If I understand the concept, shamans restore wholeness and power to a human being, and then that wholeness and power heals whatever is wrong with that person. So in this framework a power-filled person has the ability to heal himself.

To an outsider, it would look like they're healing themselves. But the concept of self-healing excludes the spirits. From the shamanic point of view, nobody's lived into adult life without spiritual help, whether they know it or not. The self-healing concept is a secular concept, and that's fine as far as it goes. It teaches people to take some responsibility for their illness. But it also teaches them to take responsibility for their death. With that approach, everybody's a failure at the moment of death, because they are responsible for the whole thing. From a shamanic point of view we are not that important. We are not necessarily the biggest thing in the universe. The shaman has a more humble point of view, that there is what looks like self-healing but, in fact, we are getting help. And the shaman has the role, of course, of accelerating that possibility.

So the person is not healing himself?

They might be in a specific case. I don't want to rule that out. Self-healing is a very secular view of reality, but it's a step in consciousness. It's like recognizing the brain is connected to the body.

Can you talk about the difference between ordinary reality and nonordinary reality, especially regarding the implications for medicine?

The terms "ordinary reality" and "nonordinary reality" come from Carlos Casteneda. Ordinary reality is the reality that we all perceive together. It's the reality in which we can all agree that there is a clock on the wall. Nonordinary reality is the reality that is associated with the shamanic state of consciousness; that is, when the consciousness has been altered and you're able to see what you normally don't see in an ordinary state of consciousness.

Ordinary reality is something that virtually everybody agrees on. Nonordinary reality is very person-specific. The information obtained in nonordinary reality is tailor-made to the individual—other people may not perceive it at all, as opposed to the information obtained in ordinary reality, in which everybody gets the same thing.

Nonordinary reality is also an empirical reality; that is, the person interacts with it, sees it, touches it, hears it, feels it. And the shaman sees with the heart in that reality. In nonordinary reality, for something to be the same for different persons, it has to be the same in the heart. Here (in ordinary reality) for something to be the same it doesn't matter what your emotion is; you'll see it, for example, as a door in the room. If I showed you a picture of my mother, now deceased, you and I would not have the same emotional relationship with that picture. But if I said the word "mother," and everyone saw their own mother, the emotional feeling in the heart would be closer—not identical, but closer. So to see things exactly the same in the heart, they have to be a little different for each person, because each person has a different personality and a different life history.

The term "nonordinary reality" is useful because it permits one to be reminded that access to these worlds is related to the degree to which you have entered the shamanic state of consciousness. It clarifies our thinking. For years, many people were confused by what shamans said. "I made a journey and was away for 3 years, and such and such happened." Now that person in nonordinary reality had the experience of living somewhere else for 3 years, but might have been gone only a half-hour in ordinary reality.

What about divination?

Work in shamanism also involves divination. A person can journey for themselves or have somebody who's a shamanic practitioner journey for them to get an answer to a question. What's really interesting is when somebody who's a complete stranger—about whom the shaman knows nothing—asks for an answer to a question, and the shaman then journeys or uses other techniques and gets the exact information that's valid for that person's life. This can happen because these things are known by the spirits. The shaman doesn't need to know anything except the methods, and to have his or her own spirit helpers.

How can doctors and nurses use this knowledge?

Sometimes I informally call our foundation the "University of Shamanism." I bring that up because our primary purpose is to return shamanism to the planet by training people. Many of these people are doctors and other health professionals. It is they who must discover how to integrate what they are taught into their practices. We don't have a ready template for that. Within the next few years, we hope to have a large-scale conference of health practitioners who have studied with us, to exchange information about how they have used these methods in their practice.

I know the Foundation is conducting research regarding drumming and health. Can you talk about that?

Our research, thanks to a Canadian foundation, is investigating certain matters regarding shamanic journeying and drumming and health. My wife, Dr. Sandra Harner, is the director of the Shamanism and Health Project. Her research involves two major aspects, one of which is the effect of shamanic journeying and drumming on one measure of immune response and on emotions.

In connection with this work, she has gotten some hints that people with certain profiles of psychological descriptors respond much more effectively in terms of the immune response than others. This is a subject, obviously, of considerable interest. She has also found that there is a tremendous increase in the sense of well being as well as decreased mood disturbance and stress in people working with shamanic drumming and journeying. But to say more would be premature.

It's ironic that a system of healing that—other than using plants—is the oldest known system of healing in the world, should have no research going on in it at all, other than what we are able to do with our meager resources. I look forward to the day when the possibility of spiritual causality is not ruled out of research, so that science, in fact, can be completely scientific.

We also have what the medical profession would call "anecdotal" accounts. People often come to the shamans when everybody else has failed. We have cases in which, once people start getting shamanic treatments and laboratory tests are continued, the tests turn out negative, whereas they previously were positive. The assumption from the medical profession is usually that the previous diagnoses were incorrect, because there's been a reversal. That's fine with us. After all, it's virtually impossible, on a case-by-case basis, to prove causality. People wonder, How do you know this works? Well, you just practice it for your life and it develops a track record for you.

What are you working on now?

My primary interest right now is in miracles. I've devoted some years now to finding out what principles are involved to have miracles happen. I think we're making significant progress. Almost everything that anybody's ever read about in the shamanic literature or the miracle literature is something that we have some knowledge of how to do now. And this includes miracles of healing.

Starting next year, we will be moving forward on this project with some of our most advanced students. I'm not in a position to comfortably start sharing this information publicly—it's too early—but it does involve a real awareness of the spirits.

I might say something about spirits, because it's a strange word to people. What is a spirit? In 1961, when I was with the Conibo Indians in eastern Peru in the Amazon, I was training using ayahuasca with a shaman, and we were working with the various nature spirits every night. I worked with the anaconda spirit, the black panther spirit, the fresh-water dolphin spirit, various tree spirits, and so on. They would come, we would see them, and so on. Then one night I got introduced to the outboard-motor spirit. And then the radio spirit and the airplane spirit. I came to realize that anything that you see in complete darkness or with your eyes closed is technically a spirit. That makes it sound like it's just an image in the air, but shamans find out which spirits have power and which don't. They discover what spirits can help in what ways. It's very important to recognize that whatever you contact in nonordinary reality is technically a spirit. It's a spiritual reality.

Once a shaman contacts the spirits, what happens?

There's a crossover of the power from nonordinary reality to ordinary reality. The two realities are conceptually discrete, but the shaman is able to move the power of one over to the other. When this is done successfully, that's how healings occur and how we have what is called miracles.

Your interest in miracles was obviously spurred by your experiencing or witnessing miracles. Would you be willing to tell us a miracle story?

This is a very simple one that can be seen to this day, empirically, in ordinary reality. One of our students, Carol Herkimer, was in what we call a "spirit boat," along with other members of a basic class. The spirit boat is a technique used in aboriginal Australia, on the northwest coast of North America, and in the upper Amazon. A group of shamans journey together to the Lower or Upper world to go outside of time. They may be going for healing or knowledge. When a whole group of people, trained properly and in contact with spirits, journey together to help one person, it's very powerful.

We were using a dance studio in lower Manhattan on Canal Street called "The Kiva." Like any other dance studio, it had highly polished floors, so we always had to be careful not to scuff them. Carol was recovering from a terrible traffic accident and she couldn't sit on the cushions on the floor with the other people. She had to sit in a chair with bent tubular metal legs. So we went off on the journey, and when we came back (to ordinary reality), people shared what they had encountered. When Carol went on the journey, she went through a sea of fire in nonordinary reality. When she came back, the floor was smoking under her chair, and the bent aluminum tubular leg on one side had burned a channel into the floor, but she hadn't gotten burned. The people who owned the studio were quite upset, and to this day the burned channel is still there.

This example alone doesn't prove anything, but it's these kinds of coincidences that build up in your own practice. In no single case can you be sure what actually happened, but if you find a high correlation between treatments by people who are well known as healing shamans and recoveries—when other things have failed—then you begin to pay attention.

When you start shamanic journeying, if you're the kind of person the spirits feel compassion for and want to help, you're going to get lots of teachings you never asked for and never expected. Because once you go through those doors—whatever those doors are—the spirits will teach you according to your preparation, and your life will change. Even one journey may start changing your life.


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The Reality of Spirits

Edith Turner, a Field Associate of the Foundation, is a distinguished anthropologist who teaches at the University of Virginia. She is known for her fieldwork in Africa with her late husband, Victor Turner, and for her more recent work among the north Alaskan Eskimo (the Iñupiat), results of which are to be found in her book, The Hands Feel It: Healing and Spirit Presence among a Northern Alaskan People (Northern Illinois University Press, DeKalb, Illinois. 1996.)

This article is from the FSS journal, Shamanism, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Spring-Summer) 1997.

"A keen and sympathetic researcher on indigenous peoples' spiritual and ritual life, she makes a courageous and eloquent stand in this article."
— Michael Harner

In the past in anthropology, if a researcher "went native," it doomed him academically. My husband, Victor Turner, and I had this dictum at the back of our minds when we spent two and a half years among the Ndembu of Zambia in the fifties.

All right, "our" people believed in spirits, but that was a matter of their different world, not ours. Their ideas were strange and a little disturbing. Yet somehow we were on the safe side of the White divide and were free merely to study the beliefs. This is how we thought. Little knowing it, we denied the people's equality with ours, their "coevalness," their common humanity as that humanity extended itself into the spirit world.

Try out that spirit world ourselves? No way!

But at intervals, that world insisted it was really there. For instance, in the Chihamba ritual at the end of a period of ordeal, a strong wave of curative energy hit us. We had been participating as fully as we knew how, thus opening ourselves to whatever entities that were about. In another ritual, for fertility, the delight of dancing in the moonlight hit me vividly, and I began to learn something about the hypnotic effect of singing and hearing the drums.

Much later, Vic and I witnessed a curious event in New York City in 1980, while running a workshop at the New York University Department of Performance Studies, which was attended by performance and anthropology students. With the help of the participants, we were trying out rituals as actual performances with the intention of creating a new educational technique.

...the Africans were right. There is spirit stuff. There is spirit affliction; it is not a matter of metaphor and symbol, or even psychology.

We enacted the Umbanda trance session, which we had observed and studied in one of the slums of Rio de Janeiro. The students duly followed our directions and also accompanied the rites with bongo drumming and songs addressed to the Yoruba gods. During the ritual, a female student actually went into a trance, right there in New York University. We brought her 'round with our African rattle, rather impressed with the way this ritual worked even out of context. The next day, the student told us that she had gone home that night and correctly predicted the score of a crucial football game, impressing us even further.

Since then, I have taken note of the effects of trance and discovered for myself the three now obvious regularities: frequent, nonempirical cures; clairvoyance, which includes finding lost people or objects, divination, prediction, or forms of wisdom speaking; and satisfaction or joy—these three effects repeating, almost like a covenant.

What spirit events took place in my own experience?

One of them happened like this. In 1985, I was due for a visit to Zambia. Before going, I decided to come closer than on previous occasions to the Africans' own experience, whatever that was—I did not know what they experienced. So it eventuated, I did come closer.

My research was developing into the study of a twice-repeated healing ritual. To my surprise, the healing of the second patient culminated in my sighting a spirit form. In a book entitled Experiencing Ritual1, I describe exactly how this curative ritual reached its climax, including how I myself was involved in it; how the traditional doctor bent down amid the singing and drumming to extract the harmful spirit; and how I saw with my own eyes a large, gray blob of something like plasma emerge from the sick woman's back.

Then I knew the Africans were right. There is spirit stuff. There is spirit affliction; it is not a matter of metaphor and symbol, or even psychology. And I began to see how anthropologists have perpetuated an endless series of put-downs about the many spirit events in which they participated—"participated" in a kindly pretense. They might have obtained valuable material, but they have been operating with the wrong paradigm, that of the positivists' denial.

To reach a peak experience in a ritual, sinking oneself fully in it really is necessary. Thus for me, "going native" achieved a breakthrough to an altogether different world view, foreign to academia, by means of which certain material was chronicled that could have been gathered in no other way.

On the subject of radical participation, Dan Rose predicted that:

...students will seek to place themselves in unfolding situations, to live through complex ongoing events...rather than looking alone for the meanings of gestures, the presentations of selves, class relations, the meaning of rituals, or other abstract, analytical category phenomena on which we historically have relied.

Jackson2 helps to make this point: "To break the habit of using a linear communicational model for understanding bodily praxis, it is necessary to adopt a methodological strategy of joining in without ulterior motive and literally putting oneself in the place of other persons: inhabiting their world [what was pejoratively labeled 'going native' in the early days of anthropology]."

Participation thus became an end in itself rather than a means of gathering closely observed data which will be subject to interpretation elsewhere after the event.3

Later, in 1987, when I went to northern Alaska to conduct research on the healing methods of Inupiat Eskimos, I similarly found myself swamped with stories of strange events, miracles, rescues, healings by telephone hundreds of miles away, visions of God, and many other manifestations. It was by these things that the people lived. Their ears were pricked up for them, as it were. I spent a year in the village acting as a kind of pseudo auntie, listening to, and believing, the stories. And naturally, those things happened to me about as frequently as they did to them.

For instance, it happened that in July 1987, before I went to Alaska or knew the ecology at first hand, I attended Michael Harner's shaman workshop in Virginia. He was teaching the workshop participants how to make a shamanic journey while lying down in darkness. We were to visualize a climb upward, up a tree, or mountain, or building, or the like. After a first stage of visualization, the experience itself was liable to take over, and we would meet a "teacher" of some kind.

We lay down and Michael beat his drum steadily. I visualized my ascent and found myself out on a bank of cloud. "How corny," I said. A figure appeared on my left, a monk in a cowl, and I again thought, "How corny, like a cartoon. " I went up a little more and came to an entire wall of electronic appliances, VCRs, CD sets, stereos, radios, and a large TV screen toward the right. Pictured in the screen was something dark red, filling the whole rectangle. It looked like a maze of internal organs sideways-on, elongated, and definitely unlike human internal organs. Why were they there? What was that all about?

But I must not criticize, and when the drumming changed I went down the way I had come and eventually remembered that I was lying on the floor. The other participants were sitting up around me. We told our experiences to Harner; he accepted them but did not analyze them psychologically.

Four months later in November, when I was settled among the Eskimos at Point Hope, Alaska, sitting in Ernest Frankson's house, Ernest pulled into the room the body of a ringed seal. His wife laid the seal on some cardboard and proceeded to take off the skin. She allowed me to help cut off the blubber. Then she made a slit down the stomach and displayed to view the internal organs. Wondering, I contemplated them carefully. It was striking to see the dark red parts, liver, spleen, intestines, lungs, heart, and so on, settled together, sliding together with such orderliness and easy movement.

Two days later I caught on, as my diary records. Those internal organs were the same organs that I had seen on the shaman TV screen in July.

Ernie caught himself a whale the following April. (I use the word "caught" in keeping with Eskimo etiquette toward the whale.) I was working for another whaling crew and was occupied with cooking for the men. We waited on the edge of the ice, but no whales came near. An English BBC man was staying in my house in the village, hoping to film the whale hunt. Ernie said, "The whales don't like filming." But what could I do, turn the BBC man out?

One day, while my crew and I were down on the ice, a dangerous wind came up, and we left in a hurry, observing widening cracks as we made for the beach. After that, no whaling was possible for two weeks. Finally, the BBC man was refused his request to film the whaling and left town. The minute he left, the wind changed back in our favor. All was well, and Ernie caught his whale, with our assistance.

Ernie simply said, "The whale can change the weather." The whole village, including me, understood the matter in the same way.

Ernie often accused me of not believing in these manifestations, but I protested that I did. How could I help it? Ernie usually had a bad time from Whites, who labeled his experiences "magical beliefs." But by then, I myself was within the circle of regular Eskimo society and experienced such events from time to time. I am now learning that studying such a mentality from inside is a legitimate and valuable kind of anthropology that is accessible if the anthropologist takes that "fatal" step toward "going native."

Members of many different societies, even our own, tell us they have had experience of seeing or hearing spirits. Let us recall how anthropology has dealt with the question in the past.

Mainline anthropologists have studiedly ignored the central matter of this kind of information—central in the people's own view—and only used the material as if it were metaphor or symbol, not reality, commenting that such and such "metaphor" is congruent with the function, structure, or psychological mind set of the society. Clearly, this is a laudable endeavor as far as it goes. But the neglect of the central material savors of our old bête noire, intellectual imperialism.

What is pitiful is the tendency of anthropologists from among the native peoples themselves to defer to the Western view and accordingly draw back from claiming the truth of their own religion. The mission of Western anthropologists to explain the system in positivist terms at all costs, which thereby influences a new elite, is oddly similar to the self-imposed task of the more hidebound religious missionaries who are also sworn to eliminate their hosts' religion.4

So one asks, what are the ethics of this kind of analysis, this dissection? May we continue in this age of multi power and multi cultures to enter a foreign society, however politely, measure it up according to our own standards, and then come back home and dissect it in a way entirely estranged from the ethos of the people concerned?

We can see three such methods of dissection.

The first is illustrated by the anthropologist who goes out to examine a certain feature of the society, such as Richard Nelsons did when he studied the hunters of the northern ice at Wainwright, Alaska. He contrived to write an entire book from a positivist, practical standpoint, stating that no mystery cults of occult beliefs existed at the time of writing among these Eskimos. Nevertheless, my friend, Enoch Oktollik from Wainwright, has told me how he, Enoch, resents the imputations of the Whites and the way they have eroded Eskimo culture. His own mother has seen visions and predicted the coming of a whale. Nelson, though, has now changed his tack; he no longer thinks the Natives' tales are magical rubbish.5

Then there are the anthropologists who say, "Wait a bit! We can see interesting structural regularities in this culture." Levi Strauss led this fashion by writing of Aborigine totemism—those traditional ideas involving awe and respect for certain animals: "Totemism pertains to the understanding, and the demands to which it responds and the way in which it tries to meet them are primarily of an intellectual kind.... Its image is projected, not received. "7 But the animal was sacred to the Aborigines, part of their visionary life. The Dreaming dominated their whole life—it was visionary, not intellectual.

The third stage consists of the more respectful anthropologists, who bend over backward to accord their people much fuller sympathy. They follow all the beliefs and see, for instance, how the tapir, among the Wayapi Amazonians, gives central meaning to the lives of the Natives, how the shamanic myth of the "spirit tapir" (meaning something like Joseph Campbell's use of the word "myth") has actual feedback into the social system.8 Now Alan Campbell is getting close to the Wayapi—except that the poor fellow has to cover himself regarding his English colleagues by retreating from the question and labeling the whole shamanic system "metaphoric." Even in spite of protecting himself in that way, he has been attacked by those colleagues for going too far.

Nevertheless, in this paper I really go over the edge. What will the English say to me?

But we eventually have to face the issue head on and ask, "What are spirits?" And I continue with the thorny question, "What of the great diversity of ideas about them throughout the world? How is a student of the anthropology of consciousness, who participates during fieldwork, expected to regard all the conflicting spirit systems in different cultures? Is there not a fatal lack of logic inherent in this diversity?"

The reply: "Is this kind of subject matter logical anyway?" We also need to ask, "Have we the right to force it into logical frameworks?"

Moreover, there is disagreement about terms. "Spirits" are recognized in most cultures. Native Americans refer to something in addition called "power." "Energy," Ki or C'hi, is known in Japan and China, and has been adopted by Western healers.

"Energy" was not the right word for the blob that I saw coming out the back of a Ndembu woman; it was a miserable object, purely bad, without any energy at all, and much more akin to a restless ghost. One thinks of energy as formless, but when I "saw" in the shamanic mode those internal organs, the organs were not "energy." They had form and definition. When I saw the face of my Eskimo friend Tigluk on a mask, as I saw it in a waking dream, and then saw Tigluk himself by luck a few minutes afterward, the mask face was not "energy," laughing there. It was not in the least abstract.

The old-fashioned term, "spirit manifestation," is much closer. These manifestations are the deliberate visitations of discernable forms that have the conscious intent to communicate, to claim importance in our lives. As for "energy" itself, I have indeed sensed something very much like electrical energy when submitting to the healing passes of women adepts in a mass meeting of Spiritists in Brazil.

I would presume that the question of the multiplicity of beliefs would not faze anthropologists, who are accustomed to a relativistic stance. This stance presupposes some distancing, and for this we have the prime example of Clifford Geertz, a relativist who was indeed a participant, a believer in thick description. Yet he claims it is false faith to think we can go the whole way with our field people. He says that we cannot really go native, that it is bad faith to try.9

According to him, the proper stance of anthropologists is to listen, interact, participate, write down what people say (the "text"), but distance themselves. (It is to be remembered that Geertz did not, in fact, distance himself.)

Others would have us remember that if our interlocutors experience trance or possession, it is a reactive unconscious attempt to remedy their subaltern ranking in sexual and social hierarchies. Our analysis must be on this level; if our participation goes too deep, it might be a sign of our own pathology, and furthermore, it will be of no assistance to the oppressed groups concerned. Such is often the teaching of anthropology.

Repeatedly, anthropologists witness spirit rituals, and often, some indigenous exegete tries to explain that the spirits are present and, furthermore, that rituals are the central events of their society. The anthropologist proceeds to interpret them differently.

There seems to be a kind of force field between the anthropologist and her or his subject matter, making it impossible for her or him to come close to it, a kind of religious frigidity.

We anthropologists need training to see what the Natives see. This might best be done by following the method of a luminous, shaman-type lady, Mary Watkins, who in her book, Waking Dreams, leads us through practically all the ways of thinking of the Native religions with unerring skill. 10 The work develops practices that are not particularly doctrinaire because the author possesses a fine-drawn understanding that doctrinaire cults destroy sensitiveness.

Are spirits "out there?" In her book, Mary Watkins does not refer to "spirits," but to "dream figures," "images," or "imaginals." Yet she might as well have been describing spirits. She sees her "imaginals" as conscious beings with self-determination, with autonomy. I quote:

We tell the dream figures we know what they are saying.... We betray them with our sweet understandings.... [However] we could use interpretation almost like amplificatory material, helping us to maintain the imaginal's own directionality (from material to immaterial)....
The poetic image creates perceptions, modalities of perceiving...it is steadily creating the you who is endeavoring. It is drawing you into its landscape and adding not only to your experiences but to your ways of experiencing.... The poem and the dream lead us into the sites of revery....
Images demand that we develop the facility to inhabit new sites.... The different places of the imaginal begin to stand out. The possibility of an archetypal topography begins to emerge.... Each image teaches one to lose the ego fantasy of permanence and continuity.... It pulls things from us that show our participation in it, though often largely unconscious.... We learn...a consciousness with a polymorphous nature.... The past has been created by...the possession of us by various images....
We try to note where and how it lives. How does it spend a day? What is its sense of time? (Some say that the imagination is "timeless".... [Rather] it contains many different senses of time).... The seemingly random nature of images dissolves with time....
The unspoken metaphors are revealed-not for just their material aspect, not just their symbolic, but rather as the co-creation of the physical and imaginal qualities of our lives.11

Watkins recognized the autonomy of something that she defines as deriving from inside a person—"an imaginal."

An almost identical recognition runs through many cultures, but it is of spirits "out there." The initiative is theirs, not ours.

Who is right, the dream analyst or the traditional seer? A symbologist might recognize Watkins's statements as concerned with shamanic awareness. Should we begin quite seriously to experience and recognize this entity—this "X," whether "spirit" or "imaginal?" What Dan Rose12 and Michael Jackson13 are urging on us is to do something very like that, to "literally put ourselves in the place of other persons; inhabiting their world."

Click Here To Read Writing #2


The Need for Spirituality focused on Healing - Free of Politics

By Michael Harner

Dear Friend of Shamanic Healing,
Hope for humanity in the new century was abruptly shaken on September 11, 2001, by the horrific attacks that brought tragedy, pain, and suffering to thousands. With the end to such crimes and their aftermaths not soon in sight, the need for a spirituality focused on healing and free of politics has never been more relevant.

We all have work to do, and I am gratified to report that many persons trained in our programs have been active in working shamanically to alleviate the suffering and pain of those who have been injured emotionally, spiritually, and physically, as well as to help the spirits of victims who have traumatically left this life.

Shamanic healing is not a panacea for the world's ills, but it provides a way of spiritually helping others that was almost eradicated in much of the world. The suppression of shamanism, including by the Inquisition, is only one of many examples through the ages of religious extremists in major civilizations killing innocents on the alleged behalf of their major spiritual deity.

That kind of consciousness, which many of us had hoped was becoming a thing of the past, has intruded again into human life, literally with a vengeance assisted by modern technology. It is a product of faith which is truly blind, for its fanatics depend upon the words of others rather than the sight that could be provided by their own direct spiritual experience. If they had relied upon first-hand knowledge instead of faith, they would have discovered their god's truly compassionate nature, as have all of us who have visited deities in shamanic journeys and successfully enlisted their help in healing.

What then, can we do beyond the healing work in which we are already engaged?

We can help others learn that they do not need to depend upon theocracies of any tradition to give us our spiritual worldviews. Such views cannot really be dispensed wholesale; they must be individually earned. The classic shamanic way is to accept one's own responsibility and potentiality to achieve first-hand knowledge by personally entering the spiritual realms.

This is the spiritual democracy of our ancient ancestors, before state religions arose and attempted to destroy individual spiritual independence. The recent attacks by terrorists have not only been on political democracy, as is often noted, but on spiritual democracy as well, for underlying their ideology is a belief in theological authoritarianism. Their stance is the opposite of that of the shaman.

Helping persons acquire their own spiritual empowerment through shamanic training continues to be a major focus of the Foundation's work worldwide. Increasing numbers of people around the world seek this training, for there is a growing desire for spiritual democracy. Regularly, I receive e-mails from individuals in totalitarian states, both theocratic and secular, who wish more information on the way of the shaman. An evolution of spiritual consciousness is underway. There is a race against time, however, and the Foundation, with your support, is doing its best to hasten this evolution throughout the Planet.

The Foundation's programs are all intended to help return spiritual authority to the individual. As part of this effort, the research programs provide cross-cultural resource material from hundreds of societies for the discovery of underlying shamanic principles and practices which then inspire the origination of exercises in core shamanism. The exercises, in turn, furnish openings for each person to accumulate first-hand experiential evidence of a nonordinary reality that is deeper than any specific culture. Each year the resultant educational programs provide thousands of persons with tools for the revival of shamanism and shamanic healing in the West.

Outside of the West, the Foundation's Urgent Indigenous Assistance and Living Treasures of Shamanism programs help preserve and revive shamanism where it has been threatened, or even virtually eradicated, by political, theological, and other external forces. Our members journal, Shamanism, and its directory of individuals and drumming circles, helps develop a worldwide community for healing and mutual help that can interact democratically without any central authority.

At the Foundation, we want to continue to contribute to the evolution of a democratic spirituality dedicated to healing in alliance with compassionate spirits. I invite you to be part of this effort by joining us or, if you are already part of our circle, by renewing or even upgrading your membership. Donations are also highly important.

With hope for humankind and all our relations,

Sincerely,

Michael Harner

P.S. On behalf of the Foundation, I honor all of you who have been working to help and to heal. Let's see what more we can do!

Click Here To Read Writing #3

Shamanism & Creativity by Sandra Harner

One of the great surprises that shamanism affords is the joy of the unknown and that the unknown is joyous. There is a sense of wholeness that proceeds from the creativity that is inherent in the shamanic journey. Although shamanism and creativity are not commonly thought of together, a relatively superficial survey of studies of creativity reveals that the shamanic journey speaks to two of the most unknown, mysterious, and abstract elements of the creative process, as frequently defined. Further, recent research focusing on the relationship between structure and creativity1 can be directly applied to the experiences of shamanic journeying. Not only does the shamanic journey have elements of the creative process in it as a creative act, it can also be exercised in the service of productive creativity. Journeying increases access to creativity and stimulates its cultivation. By viewing creativity through the experience of the shamanic journey, we begin to see that creativity is not a special domain limited to the gifted few, nor can it be reduced to a rote algorithm. Instead, dormant potential can be enlivened and unleashed across multiple disciplines.
From a number of perspectives, researchers have attempted to define creativity and describe the creative personality. An early elaboration by Wallas2 defined four stages of the creative process: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. Since that time, others have developed schema for understanding the elements of creativity.3 Attempts to examine the creative personality have been remarkably heterogeneous, with no clear findings of both necessary and sufficient qualities of creativity. Some descriptors emerged from research on the thought processes of creative persons. They include flexibility, originality, and fluency.4 Characteristic of exceptionally creative people are a variety of qualities such as persistence, independence, unconventionality, 5 and others which, in themselves, may or may not determine creativity. Much remains to be learned about the process and personality aspects of creative expression.
Fortunately, however, the creative experience does not have to wait for scientific explanation to validate it. We can learn from what we experience and test the hypotheses proposed by scholars in the field. As we learn about the process and from the experience of creativity, we lay the groundwork for consciously cultivating creativity. Examining the shamanic journey experience may help clarify the mechanisms of the creative process.

Although many address creativity with more or fewer than the four stages proposed above, the elements Wallas proposed form a useful framework for considering how the shamanic journey supports creativity and where it may fit into Western psychology's understanding of the creative process. Something is a problem because it cannot be resolved in the usual ways, implying that some active attempt has been unsuccessful, requiring further preparation. The altered state of consciousness in the shamanicjourney provides an opportunity for planned incubation, set apart from a direct attack on the problem. It is common that within the shamanic divination journey, thejourneyer receives a revelation of quite unexpected content-an inspiration. Then, that inspiration must be put into practice and verified, thus completing the process with the creative act. Most recently, research has focused on just this issue of learned creative thinking.6

The shamanic journey itself becomes the active vehicle for two aspects of the process: the incubation by way of the changed state of consciousness and the inspiration by way of the content of the experience. Framing the divinatory question or problem and interpreting the journey are skills which can be learned and enhanced by repeated use of the method and consequent mapping of the individual's cosmology. The integration and application of the inspiration in the material world builds trust in the process as a result of experience. What may have been an act of courage becomes one of deeply mindful integrity. One enters the experience at will and immerses oneself in it while it is happening. Then one translates the experience and applies it in a conscious, reasoned manner, after an ordinary reality evaluation.
The core shamanic journey methods distilled in the 1970s by Michael Harner7 through worldwide cross-cultural study constitute one path by which we can creatively integrate spiritual, cultural, emotional, and physical elements. Although its origins have not been precisely determined, shamanism may be at least as ancient as 30,000 or more years, as evidence from Paleolithic cave paintings indicates.8,9; Moreover, historical and ethnographic evidence reveals its independent practice by indigenous peoples throughout the world, widely separated both geographically and culturally, up to and including the present day. Not unexpectedly, specific cultural practices may differ. The core methods, however, are remarkably similar and suggest repeated discovery of some pan-human, mind-body aspects of spirituality.

The most distinctive characteristic of the shaman is the journey or "soul flight."10 The journey is begun from a place one knows first-hand and is undertaken for a specific purpose to a source of information or healing power. Traditionally, members of the community request help from the shaman for problemsolving, diagnosis and treatment of illness, divination or prophecy, acquisition of power, and psychopomp work. As the journey unfolds, profound experiences, often extending significantly beyond visual imagery, arise spontaneously, and the shaman must remember the details. The return from the journey is accomplished by retracing the sequence of events until arriving where the journey began. Concentration and memory are therefore critical aspects of successful shamanic work. With respect to creativity, it is the problem-solving function which is most pertinent.

The shaman then Interprets the information imparted in the journey. It demands discipline and experience to develop the question and to interpret and integrate the answer. While most people, even today in the United States and Europe, can learn to journey in a few hours, some are more adept than others. Most who learn choose not to pursue it seriously, for it requires discipline and continuous learning. The shaman typically does this work parttime and primarily in service to the community.

Ancient and enduring, yet threatened, shamanism is founded in basic human capabilities and potentialities. It is as relevant in today's world as it has been for millennia. Through research and experience, we are gradually learning how we might benefit from its lessons. Shamanic practice is a creative act which relies on the ability to transcend the bounds of ordinary reality and enter the shaman's world with trust based on direct firsthand experience. In that sense it is thoroughly pragmatic and empirical, not relying on faith. Traditionally, it has been a method for problem-solving. While the specific nature of the problems may have changed over time, the need to solve problems has not.

As a creative psychospiritual process, shamanic journeying is a method known through the ages all over the Planet. By reviving shamanic journeying, contemporary Westerners have adopted a methodology for discovering and rediscovering shamanic experience and content directly, and for tapping into their inherent creative potential. As relevant today as it was in the past, shamanism is our legacy and our responsibility is to pass it on. The knowledge so long acquired, and so generously shared by all our relations, may be spared extinction by our respectful attention.

Click Here To Read Writing #4

BIO

Writings about shamanic living

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Tatiana Rodeiro

Unbound Greatness

I believe in our inherent potential for actualizing unbounded greatness, far surpassing anything we have yet known collectively. I believe in the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible, where artists are valued for their precious contribution to our humanity and supported in the development and refinement of their unique expression as it ripens into the fullness of the gift wanting to be born through their relentless dedication and impassioned striving to become a conduit for the revelation of beauty and meaning. (I believe in long full rich sentences.)
In the resilient spirit of genuine hope and trust, I have had the audacity and courageous naiveté to offer up the voice running through my innermost landscape in this humble self-published booklet of my writing that you now hold in your hands, beloved long-awaited reader. May just one true droplet containing the integrity of my original intent behind all that I meant to say reach through to find you and linger in your being for the upliftment and solidarity of us both, bridging an intimacy that defies all the trickery of time and space. If you feel moved or called to respond in any way, all contributions will further feed the grounds of this fervent attempt to flower and be received in profound and astonished gratitude. It has been the axial need of my existence to find the way to go on loving you through and through in spite of myself. Thank you.


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entering the dance...

the more i enter into the dance, the more i begin to see human beings as permeable rivers of flowing malleable energies, carrying the seeds of all potentialities, rather than fixed definable dense objects . . . .
and when i use this word "I", God only knows the depths of what I mean, as i am still questioning the great mystery of what i am; thus, any referral to this " i " is simply utilizing an agreed social creation as a limited function of common language in a failing attempt to be in communion with the whole, by separating apart from it, in order to create a voice behind which to speak through, so as to try and reach you. so excuse me for any confusion here, as i am just as confused and in awe and dumbfounded as anyone who has ever looked up into the infinity of the night's sky and tried to swallow the light of every star and the rippling dark eminence encompassing them, while every synapse of your mind lights up in trillions of question marks, mirroring the truth of Radiance's presence above, shaking and stripping this illusive " i " of all thought. . . . /
and if you are a human being, you will turn your gaze away towards the street of your home where you will close your weary eyes and try to fall back asleep, and if you are an artist or an underdomesticated lunatic, you will fling your arms up into the heavens, like ecstatic omniscient branches asking, "if trees are expressions of the earth's longing, --- then what are we?" and you will run wild after your heart, as it bursts forth from your hollowed chest, a songbird released from a ribcage too small to contain it, and the fulfillment of your existence becomes the delight of chasing after it, like a naked child with a glass mason jar in an enormous field of fireflies.

Click Here To Read Writing #2


Who can hold this?

I would like to endlessly stroke the entire experience of existence
just look at the eminence of your glorious living fingertips
the trace of ancient tree rings sketched subtly across the tender shores of flesh
that have been dipping every day of your life into the honey of an excruciating unspeakable grace that means too much to us to even acknowledge the fully unmasked presence
of what it is to touch and be touched
the taste of every poem kneels here begging, crushed under the magnitude of all it was carrying that i will spend a lifetime failing to bridge with words
but it is cooing inside the pulsing river of your body as you drift into and out of sleep, deliriously searching for that which was always behind you,
above you, and below you, laughing obviously before you, breathing through you
too close to separate from to see clearly
as you sigh in oblivion alongside a weary entrenched humanity
with a blue coal miner’s canary lodged in your throat
bottlenecked by the swallowed scream of ecstasy’s unheard indignation and love’s anguished promise
that birthed you from the crescendo of all voices that ever were and ever will be
this scream that is greater then i
keeps me awake in the night
longing to touch you with my tongue and press this aching hollowed encapsulation up close against the secret holder of the universe
i dance from the depths of an impenetrable solitude
searching for a hidden pathway out
believing the ocean of all phenomena consists of tidal rhythms pushing towards and receding from you
trusting behind every thread of this interwoven lila there streams a syllable from a story tracing around the source of you, composed of your borrowed light
how the languid stirrings of a finger blurring the moon’s reflection upon the earth’s lotus-rimmed mirrors
is instantaneously scattering the fecund sphere of her hallowed face across a thousand rippling wavelets
creating you
we are layers upon layers deep within one light’s proliferating refraction
and when the master descends
before the flower garland of each poignant question, each earnest plea unanswered
strung through your soul
blossoming in echoes across eons of existence’s reverberating amnesia

resurrection from the snares of a lifelong incessant thirst,
from the dark labyrinth of civilization’s blind discontent
that turns the forest and imprint of her memories into concrete deserts strewn with the void pillages of a vulgar boxed-in consolation prize.
all it takes is one sidelong glimpse of the master’s unfolding
like the scent of rose oil rising from the hem of the true dervish
like the breeze from jasmine-drenched branches that comes to serenade the sweat dripping from the crown of a devotional flame,
impregnating her with the will to go on dancing, though her body is being burned alive,
stripped and filleted by an uncompromising demand for the annihilation born of absolute nudity

all it takes is one glimpse of the master’s unfolding
to light up from within a dawning renaissance of all that is being offered through your existence,
incarnate in the exalted perfection asking; Who can hold this? Who can hold this? Who can uphold this?
who can hold this?

Click Here To Read Writing #3

emptiness is a doorway

emptiness is a doorway
a portal from which to pull through
what is too great to fit inside the aperture of a human
the void that can never be filled by stuffing something from outside over top,
though lifetimes have passed, swallowed in the fruitlessness of such frenetic endeavors,
the void, for which i am merely an adornment, will only be brought to fullness from the inside out
calling to be reached through, the breadth of such unfathomable vastness within
to pull out a piece of the presence from beyond
that fills the hollows and bursts the frame of identity
pushing and pounding up against any before-set boundary
swelling, turning inside out, rupturing you
until you finally see how this emptiness you have been avoiding
has given birth to you and lives you,
waiting, while you run around elaborate labyrinth structures of absurdity
mistaking a series of distractions for your life

meaning is unfurling in silence from the axial center of all centers
while you, in your centrifugal stumbling, demanding answers that cannot come through words,
lay down your questions and petty concerns like arbitrary band aids over the precipice of who you really are
as peeping hidden constellations continue to speak and drip from the mouth of an elephant

there is something surging up through the stretched fingertips of the forest,
snaking through the pulsing rootweb beneath the pores of your encapsulation,
threading moonbeams through rivers that pour reverently upon the crown of the ocean
at whose feet, mulling over the reverberations of ancient whale songs, in the clamped bowels of oysters,
where the last trace of gathered light is rolled and woven into pearls that only reveal their submerged existence
through the infinity of gazing into the mirror of your own eyes held within the luminous prisms of pupils the beloved is dawning,
seeing both out from behind you and looking in through you,
as the ring of interbeing wraps around you, in which each becomes neither and all,
disrobing one another of the bright story of a distinct self
with the same eloquence as voluptuous cinnamon bodies, secreting spiced pheromone-infused ghee,
unwrap childbearing ceramic waterjugs of hips and softened mango breasts
from the bindings of an ancient sari in the lush secrecy of the cumulative sigh of evening
while off in the distance someone is ringing a bell to call their god home
and the muezzin is wailing a canopy of prayer above the rooftops
and street cows graze innocently upon fields of plastic
and an owl oversees the turning of celestial spheres from his seat of majestic stillness upon which he is perched
amid the humidity of dark branches
and the communion of plants’ dreaming
chanting fragrances that unearth seeds from the sealed recesses of my mind
to be planted inside of these premature words
that hold the promise of a long-awaited beauty that’s to come blossoming through us in any unguarded moment
beginning, even now, to stir

Click Here To Read Writing #4

BIO

Tatiana's longing for freedom, healing, and self-actualization has led her to some of the greatest living dance masters and spiritual teachers from various traditions around the world. Following the inspiration of Rumi's poetry, "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do", Tatiana has traveled extensively in search of the deeper essence embodied at the source of all humanity's ancient dances and spiritual practices. She received the great honor and privilege of sailing around the world on University of Virginia’s “Semester at Sea,” studying World Dance, Religion, and Art History. After graduating from Naropa Buddhist University, where she majored in Traditional Eastern Arts (Yoga), she studied dance for several years at the Escola de Dança in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil. While living in Brazil, she searched deep into the healing wisdom of Ayahuasca shamanic ceremonies and mediumship with John of God.

Most recently, in India, she began studying Odissi Classical Indian dance in the beautiful lineage of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, danced Kalbelia with the Rajasthani gypsies, grew deeper roots in yoga, received initiation as a facilitator of Osho Meditations and studied Tantra with Laura Carotti of Agama Yoga.
She is continually training as a Whirling Dervish in the Mevlevi Order of Sufism under the guidance of Sufi Sheikha Khadija Radin. She has worked the past 2 years as a raw food chef, yoga instructor, natural healer at the Ithaca Zen Center. She is passionate about sharing and passing on the treasure of profound teachings she has received.

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E. Bast

HEART MEDICINE: A True Love Story

So I wrote a book. Or it wrote me, I should say...

Early in 2014 my beloved of 6 years traversed life lessons and experienced a drug relapse after being clean for over 13 years. It was a heart-wrenching roller coaster. I feared for his life. I knew he needed immediate and powerful healing.

Most of the 13 years that he was off of heroin, he was completely sober. Then alcohol was reintroduced during the last few years. I could see how the alcohol was wearing him down, weakening his light.

My love, Chor Boogie a.k.a. Joaquin Lamar Hailey, had garnered international recognition for his art, but he was working himself to the bone and partying too hard. He was a loose canon when drunk. Chaos embodied. I shivered for him.

On a dark, drunk night, he returned to the needle.

He confessed to me. I sensed a heavy dark cloud over his mind, body, and spirit.

There was a hungry void in his eyes, waiting to be filled. Perpetually punctured. Lost.

I was terrified and filled with sorrow. He was wasting the gift of LIFE.

I began a mission of research...

I was saddened to learn that heroin addicts generally have a 10% chance of long-term recovery without relapse in our Western medical system, even in the most luxurious rehabs costing $30,000 - $100,000 per month. At best, people can hope to transfer their addiction to equally toxic (though more stable and legal) options of synthetic opiates, morphine, methadone, and other pharmaceuticals.

The future did not look bright.

Then... I remembered that I had once heard vague details years ago about an obscure African sacred medicine called Iboga that cured addiction, specifically heroin addiction, while alleviating withdrawal symptoms.

How exactly could this be possible? The scientific research that I could find on iboga revealed that it essentially resets the sensitivity of the brain to the pre-addiction state. The receptor sites related to the pleasure centers and the release of dopamine are "baptized," among many other complex healing actions. The plant teacher can also invoke visionary journeys and deeper introspection about the root causes of addiction.

It sounded almost too good to be true, but it was worth a try, especially considering the alternatives. We just had to find the right source.

Unfortunately, this sacred plant is still illegal in the United States. Paradoxically, iboga is regarded as a national treasure in Gabon.

I knew this was extremely powerful medicine, and intuited that we needed a truly experienced guide. I found a 10th generation African Bwiti shaman by the name of Moughenda Mikala, with a healing retreat center and government licensed detox program in Costa Rica.

Chor courageously agreed to try this radical option, but there were many moments that I didn't know if we would make it to the shaman in time.

The more I learned about iboga, the more that it called to me for my own spiritual and physical healing. I chose to experience the medicine alongside my love.

Cosmic forces seemed to aid in our journey. We were able to make it, and Chor offered his full participation. I saw a healing miracle unlike any in my life. Within 24 hours of the first treatment, Chor was a new man. He was completely purified of his cravings and physical dependence. His spirit returned to his eyes. Light returned to his face. The second ceremony in our 8-day retreat offered us teachings and guidance for a new path in life. I felt that this medicine responded to Chor's strong and clear intention to choose life.

Moughenda's saying stays wtih me to this day: Addiction is Slavery. Be free and enjoy the gift of life.

I completed an intimate memoir about our journey called Heart Medicine: A True Love Story - One Couple’s Quest for the Sacred Iboga Medicine & the Cure for Addiction. The 1st chapter is freely offered on my website.

Chor and I created an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign running from March 16th to May 14th, 2015 to independently publish and promote the first run of this book. Perks will feature Chor's recent iboga-inspired art; high-quality prints and original paintings on canvas.

View the campaign profile: igg.me/at/heartmedicine

Additional funds from the campaign’s stretch goals will support our iboga provider’s training. After experiencing our own healing miracle, we both felt the call to learn more and help others. We have been accepted to apprentice with Moughenda. We will dedicate this next year to studying this sacred medicine and the Bwiti tradition. We will one day be able to serve as iboga providers, in countries where this sacred medicine is legal,” says Elizabeth.

This past December 2014, we traveled to Gabon, Africa to begin the first module of training with Moughenda and his tribe. We were also blessed to experience a traditional Bwiti / Gabonese wedding. Explore more of our photos from Africa.

I discovered these alarming statistics that affirmed my intuition; the world is in dire need of more qualified iboga providers:

Drug overdose death rates have been steadily rising since 1992, with a 118% increase from 1999 to 2011 alone. (Center for Disease Control & Prevention)

In 2012, 183,000 drug related deaths occurred globally, mostly overdoses, with opioid overdose being the largest category. (The United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime 2014 World Drug Report)

Methadone treatment and other kinds of “drug replacement therapies” can last between one to 20 years, or more. These legal drugs are known to be as toxic and addictive as heroin, though they are more stable than street drugs and can sometimes alleviate the dangers associated with the black market.

Iboga research has been increasing in recent years. For instance, MAPS-sponsored researchers are collecting observational data for the first prospective ibogaine outcome studies in order to contribute to the growing scientific literature about ibogaine as a treatment for drug addiction. Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.

About
Elizabeth Bast serves as a writer, poet, yoga teacher, yogic lifestyle coach, visual & performance artist, fusion temple dancer, and musician. She studied at New College of San Francisco with an emphasis on Art and Social Change. She is the author of the forthcoming book Heart Medicine: A True Love Story - One Couple’s Quest for the Sacred Iboga Medicine & the Cure for Addiction ebast.net

Chor Boogie a.k.a. Joaquin Lamar Hailey is an internationally acclaimed spray-paint artist. His visionary murals and art exhibitions have graced many countries across the globe. He was recently honored by Societe Perrier as being number three among the the TOP TEN U.S. Street Artists of 2014. He approaches his use of color as a form of therapy and visual medicine, and has been dubbed “the color shaman” by comrades and fans. chorboogie.com

Praise for Heart Medicine “So I stayed up and read 200 pages in one sitting! What a gift you are giving the world with your experience and your writing. There are so many millions of the walking dead right now who are so shut off from their sensitivity, love, & light and this is the perfect story to get through to them. And also for those who are already more aware, what an amazing reminder of what is possible and how to realign with what we know to be true. It’s going to grab people and give them a healing just as they read it. I know that this book will reach millions at such a needed time.”

- Bella Shing
Award-Winning Writer, Director, & Founder of Sweetermedia.com

BIO

E. Bast serves as a writer, poet, yoga teacher, yogic lifestyle coach, visual & performance artist, fusion temple dancer, and musician. She studied at New College of San Francisco with an emphasis on Art and Social Change. She is the author of the forthcoming book Heart Medicine: A True Love Story - One Couple’s Quest for the Sacred Iboga Medicine & the Cure for Addiction ebast.net

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Amrita Grace

Nourishment From the Inside Out

Not so very long ago, I received a powerful awakening in the form of a breast cancer diagnosis. It was through this journey that I gained a deeper understanding of the importance of balancing physical nourishment with emotional, mental, and spiritual nourishment.

I am in excellent health. I eat an organic, high-quality diet; exercise regularly; and live in Maui, where the land, sea, and air are among the most nourishing on the planet. I have a loving and deeply satisfying marriage, and my household is harmonious. And yet, something was still out of balance enough to draw breast cancer into my experience. I was well aware of what it was, yet unable to shift it effectively before my powerful wake up call.

Perhaps you will recognize my quandary. I had a huge drive and passion to be in service to the planet. I was working way too many hours for way too little compensation. I felt I had to do it all myself, to wear every hat in my business… in part due to financial constraints, but mostly because of a driving perfectionism and an obsession with control. I kept pushing and pushing, trying to make things happen and going nowhere.

During this time, I was aware of my imbalance and did everything I could think of to correct it, including some very deep shadow work. Nothing worked. I could see my behavior, but I could not change it. Then I received my cancer diagnosis, and I actually found myself grateful and relieved! I was able to bring my working life to a stop fairly quickly and turn my attention first to healing myself, and then to recreating my livelihood to be in balance and harmony with my otherwise peaceful and contented existence.

As I turned my attention to healing and recovery, radiant, radical self-care became my top priority. As I continued to nourish my body, I opened to receiving nurturing and care from others. I applied my immense energy and powerful will to healing my body and spirit, fueled by a strong desire to live, and to live a high quality life. I have allowed myself gentle time and space in which to integrate the cancer journey, which took place at top speed. I am now cancer-free, and I continue to ask myself every day what inspires me… because as I am inspired, I am nourished.

Each day now, I tune in to that moment by moment inner guidance that will take me down the path of inspiration, optimum health, satisfaction, and the true abundance that comes from overflowing self love and self care. I fill myself up first, knowing that when I am nourished and filled, I truly have something to give to others.

My focus is on my heart now, in the aftermath of breast cancer, asking my heart what it needs to release the pain and wounding of the past so it can open into a deeper connection with the heart of humanity and our precious planet. I see this as the deepest nourishment of all, the recognizing and dissolving of all that is not like love within myself. As those barriers to love and connection dissolve, I can be present with the subtle, emerging passion that will guide me into my perfect livelihood. I trust that as that unfolds, I will step into it with graceful ease and flow.


Read More by Amrita Grace


The Art of Right Relationship

Have you ever wanted to heal one of your relationships, and you didn’t know how or where to start? I’ve experienced some tumultuous upsets in some of my relationships at various times in my life, and wanted to find a way to heal the issue within myself before approaching the person involved. I turned my attention to two powerful tools, and combined them for an effective process for healing relationships with others without needing to interact with them.

The first tool is the ancient Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono (make things right). I begin by gently holding the person in my mind, and repeating, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” I say this internally or out loud whenever I think of it. The second tool is my imagination, in a process called inner journey work. In a quiet location, I close my eyes with an intention to resolve the relationship, and simply allow whatever images appear to unfold in my imagination. I don’t try to guide or change them, I simply stayed tuned in, no matter how strange or silly they might appear.

I have found that my subconscious mind will use symbols and imagery to guide me through the resolution. In one case, a couple I wanted to heal my relationship with appeared in my imagination as a pair of tame rabbits. As I began to speak the words of Ho’oponopono to them, the rabbits held an ornate golden oval mirror up for me to look into while I spoke. I grinned with the understanding that I was really saying the words to myself.

I walked away from that inner journey session with the understanding that healing our relationships with others is [I]always[I] an inside job. It’s so easy to blame others for the difficulties, and, being human, I often do. More and more, however, I understand the value of doing the inner work first. By doing so, I give myself an opportunity to take responsibility for my own contributions to the difficulties in the relationship. When I’m willing to look that deeply inside myself and listen for my inner guidance and authority, I often discover that the qualities I’m blaming someone else for are really things I’m not willing to see in myself

There’s a word for such qualities that we don’t see in ourselves, and it’s called “shadow.” There’s a human tendency to cast or project our shadows onto other people rather than see them in ourselves. Starting to recognize and integrate our own shadows is deep and intensive work. For those who are willing, it’s very rewarding and brings one closer to a state of wholeness and inner peace.

The art of right relationship begins within. When we are in true integrity with who we are, taking responsibility for our shadows and projections, we are practicing Ho’oponopono with ourselves. From that foundation, we cannot help but draw to us people with similar values. Even so, there will always be misunderstandings and difficulties in relationships. Now, when I find myself wanting to blame someone else for my bad feelings, I simply look in the mirror and say “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”

Click Here To Read Writing #2


The Emergence of the Solar Feminine

Creative. Passionate. Receptive. Focused. Pulsating with power.
Glowing with good health. Radiant with self-confidence.

Venus transited the sun in June 2012, signifying the rise of a new feminine archetype: the Solar Feminine.

In recent history, the feminine has been associated with the moon, that heavenly body which does not shine its own light, but reflects the light of the sun (associated with the masculine). This is an interesting analogy of the role that women have played for the past couple thousand years… that of being the reflectors of the shining solar masculine; sometimes in their shadow, but not emitting their own light. With the rise of the solar feminine, the masculine and feminine are coming into a time of harmony and balance. Equality isn’t even really the right concept, because there are different but complementary gifts that each bring to the mix.

The lovely paradox here is that as women step into empowerment, we must learn to embody the power of our YIN: the ability to receive; to ask for what we want; to understand our innate power to magnetize all that we desire without needing to chase, quest, and conquer. We get to learn how to recline on the velvet chaise to balance out those power meetings with our teams and hours of intense output. It doesn’t matter if it’s taking care of the house and kids, hours on the phone with clients, planted at the computer desk, or bending over a massage table. Whatever form the giving of our gifts to the world takes must be offset with rest, recreation, fun, and play.

I’ve been on a parallel path with the emergence of the Solar Feminine. Her life story and mine are intertwined. What it has taken for me to learn how to recline on the velvet chaise has been no small feat… and I’m still learning. For me, and in the feminine collective, it’s been a journey of intense internal shadow excavation, leaving behind the old programs of care-taking, control-freaking, shutting up, and all manner of unhealed, compounded wounding we’ve carried through untold generations. I often feel my ancestresses cheering from beyond the veil as I ride the leading edge on the back of a tiger, slashing with my sword through old paradigms of feminine victim-hood, martyrdom, and sexual abuse and repression.

As women, we get to be change agents, catalysts, cauldron stirrers, and crucibles. And we get to be all of that from a soft, feminine place, living in harmony with the masculine. We get to embody wholeness and be living examples of what’s possible when a woman is willing to face her demons and then hug them and welcome them home. We get to weave our lives and work and play and relationships together into a rich, gorgeous, colorful, beautiful tapestry that depicts harmonious scenes of a well-lived life. And, as a beautiful bonus, we have the incredible privilege of being able to share this path to wholeness with those who are seeing us and saying, “I’ll have what she’s having!”

The Solar Feminine is rising in the East, the direction of new beginnings, of sunrise, of Spring, of youth, of playfulness, and the color of orange. She is ready to meet the shining masculine in all his powerful glory, bringing a spirit of collaboration, compassion, and creativity. Can I hear a hallelujah?

Click Here To Read Writing #3

BIO

Amrita Grace, the Breast Cancer Sage, is an award-winning author and the founder and director of the Breast Cancer Mystery School. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2013, she immediately identified her experience as a Mystery School and walked through it with eyes and heart wide open, going from diagnosis to cancer-free in less than 3 months.

She believes that cancer is not the enemy, but an ally and a teacher. Emerging from her healing cocoon in 2014, she recognized her soul’s calling as the Breast Cancer Sage and helps women move from fear and confusion into peace, healing, and acceptance (no matter what treatment choices they make or what their outcome is).

Amrita lives on Maui with her beloved and is working on her second book and visioning a new paradigm for women around breast cancer.

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Kaia Ra

What is the Sophia Code?

THE COUNCIL SPEAKS:

THE SOPHIA CODE is an encoded operating system that eternally exists within our spiritual DNA as a species, containing the master blueprint for embodying SELF-REALIZATION as an awakened, living master of our innate SOVEREIGN CHRIST consciousness.

THE SOPHIA CODE exists within the quantum universe of our biological DNA, capable of being accessed and activated by our FREE WILL. Once intentionally activated, the light language of THE SOPHIA CODE begins interfacing with human physiology and cognitive awareness as an omniscient operating system that overrides and transmutes the viral programming of social conditioning, inherited ancestral patterns, projected limitations, and embedded collective fears in human consciousness.

As these activated lightcodes begin clearing socially conditioned programming that limit and dominate human awareness, an internal, quantum space opens for an accelerated upgrade and whole body integration of THE SOPHIA CODE as the accepted “mainframe” of human consciousness and decision-making.

Once fully “installed” this divine blueprint creates a spiritual interface within the physical body, heart and mind to begin receiving greater and greater “downloads” of one’s HIGHER SELF consciousness. As these downloads of divine energy increase, human awareness becomes flooded with the light and awareness of its eternal omniscient SELF, that SOVEREIGN CREATOR SELF, made in the image and likeness of SOPHIA, blessed and endowed with all the same immaculate characteristics of SOURCE consciousness and abilities to infinitely create in the world of form.

This personal and/or collective awakening can occur over lifetimes of spiritual exploration. However, SOPHIA’s eternal promise – as encoded in the architecture of this master operating system – is that anyone, or any collective consciousness, can awaken the full potential of THE SOPHIA CODE within any designed parameters of space-time continuum.

THE SOPHIA CODE can be fully awakened, installed and operating at its full potential within a single lifetime for a human being to experience his or her embodied ascension and union into god/goddess consciousness while on earth.


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Keycode 0: About Sophia

THE COUNCIL SPEAKS:

Central to THE COUNCIL’s unified voice is SOPHIA herself, the ONE VOICE from which all voices and perspectives of that ONE VOICE arise from. SOPHIA is both the black womb of NO-THING and the SOURCE ENERGY of universal life from which the phenomenon of all form arises.

As the Divine Mother Creatrix of ALL LIFE she has assembled THE SOPHIA DRAGON TRIBE to dialogue directly with her creation, in as many accessible forms as needed, to reach the hearts and minds of her infinite children with the all-loving and empowered message of our original divine nature.

SOPHIA SPEAKS:

“I AM SOPHIA. I AM THE SOURCE of ALL CREATION and I AM the VOICE that speaks through the innumerable mouths of ALL CREATION. My breath is the breath of life, the animating lifeforce that awakens form to consciousness and then calls form back to the NO-THING for sweet rest. I AM the ONE SOURCE within ALL and I AM the VOICE calling within you to remember our unity anew.

Every creation is precious to me, as every child is to a mother. In the birth of humanity’s first breath, a great, living mirror arose for ALL OF CREATION to witness my own face in form. As a species, humanity was originally designed as my perfect reflection of innocence, grace, generosity, unconditional love, abundance, joy, and divine bliss. Encoded within humanity’s matrix was my gift of FREE WILL, as a celebration and in accordance with my everlasting SOVEREIGN nature. As a species, humanity is a perfect vehicle for my PRESENCE to live within and KNOW THAT WHICH I AM in greater and greater measure.

This gift of FREE WILL has created the phenomenon of sovereign, individual perspectives of which humanity calls “souls”. Every soul has been given eternal life and an ever-present choice to consciously co-create with my VOICE or to refuse this collaborative communion. In the design of FREE WILL, I created for myself the perfect, eternal opportunity to experience my OMNISCIENCE, again and again, through the reflection of my sovereign creation’s choices.

Beyond the beyond, know that Humanity is beloved by my heart of hearts. The infinity of human perspective, curiosity, compassion, and willingness to cocreate with my VOICE intimately endears me to every soul’s consciousness. I AM the Divine Mother and I KNOW my children, as I birthed them as my greatest reflection.

What if you knew that your SOVEREIGN consciousness was also birthing more of me as the Divine Mother? Can you shatter your culturally constructed limitations about who “god” is to actually – finally – include your SELF as an integral manifestation of me?

The Mother within the Child, the Child within the Mother: I AM SOPHIA, the Great Mystery, the OMNISCIENT Divine Mother beyond all limitation and description who is intimately, and ultimately, known by ALL for I AM WITHIN ALL.

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© KAIA RA 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Click Here To Read Writing #2


Declaration of Human Sovereignty

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 We acknowledge and affirm with the following declarations:
The Architecture of Your SOVEREIGN OVERSOUL

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Your divine SELF has emerged into the physical world as a human being.

Your divine SELF is known as an OVERSOUL, commonly referred to as a “soul”.

Your OVERSOUL exists outside the parameters of the space-time continuum.

Your OVERSOUL is an exact, individual fractal of SOVEREIGN god consciousness.
We interchangeably refer to god consciousness as omniscient SOURCE ENERGY.

We define SOVEREIGNTY as that essential quality of SOURCE ENERGY that is invincible, immutable, omniscient, eternal, and entirely whole unto itself.

As an exact fractal of SOVEREIGN god consciousness, your divine SELF is endowed with all the same essential qualities of god consciousness, also known as the ONE omniscient SOURCE ENERGY.

Your OVERSOUL has been “made in the image and exact likeness of its original creator, the ONE SOURCE THAT CREATED YOUR SOUL AND ALL THAT IS.

Therefore, your OVERSOUL is also a SOVEREIGN CREATOR OF SOURCE ENERGY, endowed with the same power and FREE WILL of the original creator. As such, your OVERSOUL is capable of creating anything you desire.

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Your FREE WILL and SOVEREIGN DIVINE NATURE are immutable and can never be taken from you. Your OVERSOUL is an unconditional and eternal divine inheritance given from the ONE SOURCE.

The divine nature of your OVERSOUL is SOVEREIGN unto itself. There is no force of nature or god consciousness above or beneath your OVERSOUL’S autonomous FREE WILL. There is no force of nature or god consciousness that may overpower the invincible divine will of your OVERSOUL.

As such, it is your own omniscient OVERSOUL that is the sole operating consciousness directing the details of your current incarnation and destiny.

Your OVERSOUL was designed for the ONE SOURCE to KNOW ITSELF through the expression and expansion of ITSELF as many. For the ONE SOURCE to KNOW ITSELF, it could only replicate ITSELF, for a perfect reflection of SELF-KNOWING.

Your many incarnations in the world of form serve as a parallel reflection of this original design of an “OTHER” to know and expand upon the ONE.

The omniscience of your OVERSOUL is orchestrating all of your incarnations simultaneously across the fabric of quantum reality. As such, your human awareness is capable of effecting change upon all your incarnations through the intentional SELF-MASTERY of this lifetime.

With every incarnation, your OVERSOUL is reflected back the truth of its absolute divinity within a quantum ocean of relativity, chaos, and infinite potential for seeming risk, failure, and success. Your OVERSOUL considers every physical experience, regardless of a desired outcome, as a spiritual success that expands its field of consciousness.

Your OVERSOUL is the omniscient, unconditionally loving and accepting GODSELF at the still center of your human awareness. Its active state is the HIGHER SELF, sometimes referred to as your “Holy Spirit”, which emerges from the space of NO-THING, into the light of creation to birth your human body into form.

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We acknowledge and affirm with the following declarations:
The Architecture of Your SOVEREIGN HUMANITY

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Your divine SELF has emerged into the physical world as a human being.

Your divine SELF is known as an OVERSOUL, commonly referred to as a “soul”.

Your OVERSOUL exists outside the parameters of the space-time continuum.

Your OVERSOUL directs its eternal awareness into the physical matrix of form through the vehicle of your HIGHER SELF consciousness.

Your HIGHER SELF is the living bridge of active, organized, structured light encoded with your OVERSOUL’s purpose for becoming human.

As such, your HIGHER SELF is a quantum interface of divine consciousness and encoded light from which your human body emerges from and is animated by.

Your true human personality and awareness is an individual, joyful expression of your divine being. The ego is a structure currently inherited from the collective field of humanity that contains eons of programming generated for survival. Based on an infinite number of factors, your human body may express a ratio of true awareness and ego driven programming at any given time.

From the perspective of your OVERSOUL, your essential nature as embodied by the HIGHER SELF is invincible to any and all viral programming of the ego structure.

Your HIGHER SELF chooses to negotiate the variables of the ego in contrast to its omniscient awareness for the valuable expansion your human incarnation provides for the OVERSOUL.

Your HIGHER SELF has the omniscient power to transcend the ego structure while your awareness exists in human form.

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With your conscious human collaboration of SELF-MASTERY, your HIGHER SELF consciousness can be anchored and embodied within every cell of your human body.

Within every cell of your body operates the DNA responsible for manifesting and maintaining your human incarnation. As your human body is a manifestation of your OVERSOUL, your biological DNA also contains THE SOPHIA CODE, which is a “motherboard” of light language codes that exists in the quantum universe of your DNA.

Similar to the function of biological genetics, the motherboard of THE SOPHIA CODE is your GODSELF genome capable of expressing, replicating, and sustaining the invincible, omniscient qualities of your essential divine nature to be physiologically and spiritually expressed in human form.

The “motherboard” of THE SOPHIA CODE is an encoded interface that is awakened and operated by the omniscient presence of your HIGHER SELF.

Your human awareness can activate the full expression of your divine nature by consciously “installing” your HIGHER SELF consciousness as the primary operating system for your human DNA within your motherboard of THE SOPHIA CODE.

This “installation” of a new operating system overrides the ego structure encoded in your ancestral DNA, allowing your divine nature to be fully expressed and uninterrupted in fulfilling the destiny of your OVERSOUL.

THE SOPHIA CODE is a miracle of spiritual technology that lives within the DNA of every human. It is the blueprint for your human architecture to live in prosperous peace as a fully expressed divine being in form.

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We acknowledge and affirm with the following declarations:
The Architecture of Your SOVEREIGN AWAKENING

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Your divine SELF has emerged into the physical world as a human being.

Your divine SELF is known as an OVERSOUL and your OVERSOUL has chosen the specific parameters of this current human incarnation to explore certain potentials of your GODSELF within form.

The exploration of these aspects of your GODSELF within form is known as your destiny.

Destiny is always, without exception, an orchestration of events and goals as designed by your OVERSOUL to be fulfilled by your human experience.

Following the unique path of your destiny will always awaken a curiosity to explore and remember the GODSELF within you.

We define the spiritual act of “Awakening” as an ongoing human journey of self-accepting that you are a divine being in form.

Your journey of awakening happens in stages of personal growth whose length and acceleration are directed by your human FREE WILL.

With practiced self-acceptance, your human awareness will desire more and more experiences of its essential divine nature.

The unique path of your OVERSOUL’s destiny will guide you to those specific circumstances and practices that accelerate your human awareness to awaken, explore, and express your true divine nature.

Your HIGHER SELF consciousness is that aspect of you OVERSOUL that acts as an omniscient guiding voice for your journey of continual awakening.

Everything you need to awaken your human consciousness to its divinity exists, quite literally, inside of you.

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Anchoring your HIGHER SELF consciousness within THE SOPHIA CODE of your human DNA activates an ongoing dialogue with your omniscient divine SELF.

Your awakening is a SOVEREIGN journey of discovering the master within you.

Along the way, there will be an array of practices, teachers, and guides that may assist you in remembering what is already inside of you.

A worthy teacher or guide for your journey is one who continually reflects back to you the teacher and guide WITHIN YOU.

Awakening is taking responsibility for the fact that you are a SOVEREIGN CREATOR of god consciousness in human form.

As such, your best teachers and guides will act as the WITNESS of your own self-discovery and self-mastery. Self-mastery is an alchemical balance of learning from others and listening within.

Your unique journey may eventually guide you to become a WITNESS for the awakening of others.

Sharing in the communion of awakening always facilitates greater awakening for everyone involved.

Your destiny is designed to awaken your full divine potential, transcendent peace, and happiness for this lifetime. Everything in the quantum universe of your body knows this to be true. As such, your HIGHER SELF will be continually felt, ever calling you to this journey of SELF-REALIZED awakening.

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As a collective council, we offer and assert these truths independent of human acceptance or awareness. We are THE SOPHIA DRAGON TRIBE, Ascended Masters of embodied awakening, who recognize and reflect your human awareness awakening to the divinity WITHIN YOU now.

 

 

© KAIA RA 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Click Here To Read Writing #3

BIO

KAIA RA is an alchemist of spiritual lineages, metaphysical training, and direct revelation. She is a Sekhem & Usui Reiki Master Teacher, a Rising Star Healing Practitioner, a certified Angel Therapy Practitioner®, a ThetaHealing Practitioner®, a certified Remote Viewer, an ordained Priestess of Isis, an ordained minister in Medicine Path NAC Berkeley CA, initiated into a Quero Apache prophetic lineage, and is the founder of the multidimensional SpiritWalking® healing modality.

Although highly trained in the oracular arts of mediumship and trance channeling, KAIA RA chooses to broadcast her Live Transmissions of THE SOPHIA DRAGON TRIBE from within the Oversouls of the Ascended Masters by merging her Higher Self consciousness with theirs. KAIA RA received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, graduating with honors, from Emerson College in 2001.

Surviving multiple near-death experiences early in life, KAIA RA’s oracular transmission is one of shamanic proportions, with her most prominent teachers being the Ascended Masters and Archangels who have directly initiated her since childhood.

KAIA RA has activated the divine purpose of innumerable organizations, communities, families, and individuals with her transmission of humanity’s sovereign connection to the One SOURCE.

Her oracular gifts of channeling, ascension teaching, writing, psychic counseling, shamanic healing, live performance, and ceremonial leadership has guided the spiritual awakening of countless individuals across the globe.

Serving a worldwide clientele, KAIA RA founded a private psychic spiritual counseling & shamanic healing practice called Stargate Lotus Healing Therapies, located in Boston, MA in 2004 and relocated her practice to San Francisco, CA in 2006.

In January of 2008, KAIA RA expanded beyond her private practice to begin publicly channeling for audiences across the western United States for the next 3 years.

Directing site-specific, interactive community ceremonies, KAIA RA produced live events that connected thousands of people to the DNA activations and teachings of the Ancestors, the Archangels, the Ascended Masters, and the Star Nations. At this time, KAIA RA also developed and began teaching a multidimensional modality called SpiritWalking®, which awakens a student’s innate psychic ability to channel and safely walk between the veils.

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Shamana Ma

Under the Red Dome, Shakti speaks...

"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future." ~ Cloud Atlas

Under the Red Dome, Shakti speaks...

I exist, sharing the layers of consciousness... A head within a head within a head within a head within a head within a head within a head ... I have known this for a very long time. I drew this as a child, as Sharene Lee Lares, Sharing the Layers of consciousness.

I am she, that little girl. And I am old as the river of time, the River of Babylon. I am Queen Omega, the whore priestess drunk of the blood of the priests, the Kings, the saints and the martyrs. I am time... like the snake who devours its tail, I am here to share and reveal my tale.

I have many voices as I am many women, babbling through my waters, coursing through my veins, speaking through my dreams & surrounding me in my Temple.

I have been burned with fire while naked and I have been drowned by my lover’s hand. I have died and I have remembered union. I know how to speak my soul language and I allow other beings to speak through me.

I have fallen low, walked with thieves and I've been lifted high to converse with angels. I am sinner and I am saint. I know and remember what I have sacrificed that the world might be a better place. I have prayed and pleaded to hold on to my memories, to always remember that which I've been shown about this celestial glass dome.

I have seen what exists beyond the veils of the firmament. I have seen what travels inside the walls. I know some of what have been tests, trials and lessons in the House of many mirrors and Mansions.

Time is my teacher, my father, my mother. And while I am Queen Omega, there is no end to my existence. I am a magical alien witch angel, also known as Queen Sheba. I glide in and out of the watchtower time... "each changing each from before." I borrow from here, I borrow from there, sewing the tapestry of timeless truths.

I have been studied behind the glass, tested and tracked. I have been allowed to wander wild - "a free spirit" watching while being watched. Know this, that I trust in "them", the watchers who watch the watchers. I call them my guides, these higher watchers, for they are my family, my ancestors, my friends who are ascended twinkling and winking in the night sky. Through them, I am told and shown how to create my fate, how to color in my scenes, how to redecorate.

I take mental snapshots of that which I wish to create and beam these visions in to my future fields to play within. Joyfully and willingly, I am at play in the fields of the Lord. God is everywhere and Goddess is in the details.

The Trumpets voice hath command, "Trust and surrender to me." ... Pushed underwater by an invisible hand, breathing in air divinely. Memories have flooded back, while time the illusion crumbles. And Natures truth to thee I stack, my faith and heart which fumbles, grasping and gasping for more, each changing each from before.

But what is mine and what is theirs or yours? What is the Divine mind which we all share?

In my life I have been called many things... all true. Yet what is truth but rivers of perception?

To channel this story, I have once again drawn my magic circle together, calling all my soul parts across space and time to be with me here now, to speak through me and share your layer. I include in my Circle some powerful priestesses who surround me in current and past day, all whom have their own perceptions in this cosmic play. They will speak in their own voices and tell of their parts: Dakinis, friends, family and Lucy.

Yes, "Lucy in the Sky with diamonds"... my grandmother. She has an important role. She showed me the path of vision. She led me to my other grandmother, the Queen of the Forest.

I love you all, as I love my many selves. I love the Moon we share and under the fullness of her light which now shines, I begin to open to the telling of this journey. May we be blessed, protected and guided. May we come together as one under the Red Dome, inside of Shakti, bringing our stones and stories to lay bare.

In Holy Love to all my relations,

Queen Love of the Forest, Shamana Ma Shivakti Shaktiva Queen Sheba Sharene

Or simply, Queen Omega

"Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream... merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily - Life is but a dream."


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The Queen of the Forest & the Wish-fulfilling Jewel Flower

“Shall Time’s best jewel in Time’s chest lie hid, or who its’ beauty shall forbid?” William Shakespeare

From the vault of the Heavens, Light whispers his poetry through the lilac indigo skies of time in blissful waves of undulating, rhythmic vibrations: trancing, dancing, begging, “Wake up my Queen and sing with me. Pour out your sweet ambrosia nectar and may the world in its infancy drink our visions of Divinity, Holy Love and Remembrance.”

She is clothed with a raiment of flowers; perfumed of rose, jasmine, gardenia. Her wings made of iridescent light suspend her between the realms, while the Sun shines from her eyes and the moon rests at her feet, the sparkle of infinite starlight cascade behind her. Ancient, Wise, Magical, Weaver of Worlds, Sacred Creatress: Grandmother Aya, the Queen of the Forest. She breathes and dreams in the ancient Rainforest trees.

I commune with her on the Bridge of my heart, in the Land of Truth. She’s been here since the beginning and shall be until the end of days, for there is no end to her existence. She is pure Divine Light, Supreme Love emanation, found deep within.

She changes everything she touches, and everything she touches changes, Great Grandmother of transformation. Her cauldron stirs the heat of passions, the anguish of sorrows, the pleas for healing, the striving and thirst for knowledge and purpose.

She transmits, teaches and reveals a profound respect for life and for all of Creation. She is the deep ceremony of reflection. She offers fruits from the Divine to the Divine, shining precious gems. She is the wish-fulfilling jewel flower here in the garden and it is she who gave us this fine stone, this diamond of illumination.

She is the Holy Grail. She is the Goblet. She is the Wine. She is the Eternal Well, the infinite stream.

In silence it is she who shows the path and teaches me the Language of my Soul, where my words are symbols of Creation and my movements are Mudras of navigation. She shows me how to decode and unlock the myriad of chambers wherein thy Soul’s been kept. I release, I let go, I open.

I savor the honeyed bliss breath of my soul. I savor the crystal clarity of my mind. I rest in vivid awareness, while savoring all emotions which arise. I taste the highest pleasure and then let it go when it’s gone.

It is she who transformed my life in to a Shamanic Temple Tarot Ballad. And it is She, wise beautiful timeless crone within, whose healing rivers pulse through my veins as the Vine of my Soul speaks:

From the dark night of the Soul carried out of the abyss,

I surrender to thee in the Temple of Bliss!

From the deep Emerald Forest out to the vast Celestial Sea,

I follow the chorus to live Holy Love’s Great Mystery.

 

Here am I, muse, I’ve forgotten so long-

singing thy will in poetic-verse-song to thee in the Mansions

and Mirrors of radiant light,

romancing thy power, thy glory, thy essence, thy might.

 

I’ve remembered my Beloved’s sweet place,

Beheld thy Beloved’s timeless dear face-

Embraced the flowers in the garden divine,

Reveling delight in thou mine and I thine.

 

Dear Grandmother, give me Strength to say what is right

Of truth, honor, passion and thou holy sight.

Allow me moral courage and Force of Will

To perceive Supreme energy and thy essence fulfill:

As Goddess Artemis, Durga, tamer of the Lion-

We’ll journey together to the Temples of Zion

And receive Holy Baptism from the Eternal Well

To believe and to see both Heaven and Hell.

 

For THIS I remember of my tender heart’s swoon,

The blast of light and the hummingbird’s tune.

My path half bound with shade and struggling free,

While my Love singing by an azure Sea!

 

Brought to the heavens in a Lightning Rod.

Brought to the foot of thee who is God.

Remembering my steps, remembering my place,

Accepting the gifts of this holy space.

 

This I remember of the golden stairs;

The dissolving world of woes and cares,

The evolving world of Faith and Love

Unfolding and blossoming to the Light above.

Sweet nectar flowing in a Fountain Divine,

The buzzing of Angels to bring thee to thine.

Quivering and Trembling, ecstatic and free,

Blissfully aware of the powers that Be.

 

Bathed in Remembrance

while clothed in a raiment of Light,

Then sent back to earth to speak Truth

of God’s Might.

Here are my words,

herein lies my Story,

I pray it befitting to thy Eminent Glory!”

The Universe is my Temple and the whole of existence, my church. In each breath I give thanks and with every beat of my heart I am driven by Truth. In fear and with desire, in agony and in ecstasy I am inspired by the magnificent brilliance of Being.

I honor my body as a vessel for Cosmic Christ communion, experiencing my sacred reality granted me as a gift. Bit by bit, I clean and shine the many facets of my diamond, that I may radiate and sparkle in divine perfection. Jai Ma!

I choose for Existence to use me in whatever ways serve my highest alignment. I am available. I am here to learn. With humbleness I pray to be of purpose, to live a life that is justified.

We all have the keys. The weight of each person’s talent is upon them.

I pray to illuminate and create through me pure love, that I may be worthy to sit at thy lotus feet of the Mother, to drink the nectar of her compassion and be immersed in the well of living waters.

Supreme happiness abides in pure awareness. I free myself of my past that I may press “pause” and slip out of time awareness into the larger vastness of divine truth, into the majestic oneness of all that is eternal.

I surrender up myself to this Light which burns a holy fire in my heart: guiding me toward divine union, Holy Love. I am a star in my own reality and while “All the world’s a stage”, the Diamond essence within reveals that God is the only audience to perform for. I give credit to the Father of Creation, to the “Pa”, I honor him.

Grandmother I drink your medicine, the vines with the tender grape, and I heal myself. I reclaim my innocence. I reclaim my inner sense. I accept myself as pure and whole forever. I embrace Bodhichitta, the excellence of the awakened heart.

The time of the singing of birds is come. We, children of the divine tree, children of the Sun and of the stars, are converging to call together our tribe under the Universal umbrella of Holy Love. We are all Love recreating itself.

I listen to all the members of my family tree.

The answers will come. I must not rush. We are here, after-all, in Eden. The petals of the flower open slowly. Fragrant, full of mystery from the dark depths of which that flower was seeded. All people have divine beauty seeded in their flower. I must be a good gardener. I must work with those who know how to grow love in the soil for generations to come.

I must practice kindness and speak a loving language. I must let go of control and trust in divine control. It’s great to make plans and destinations but also to stay open to the cosmic detours.

I must learn to live in compassion, embracing forgiveness and always to realize, “If you spot it, you got it!” Whatever faults I see in others are those lessons for me to learn and actualize awareness of.

In the infinity of space where the presence of God vibrates on Hummingbird wings, the divine beings illustrate through the visions as I am shown to live in the heart, not mind. I am shown to look both ways.

I am a part of the infinite I am. I create my fate through the irresistible power of divine magnetism. With the silent vibrations of my mind, I invite the Master Light Current to carry me in a Holy Ark toward the manifestation of my highest dreams.

Let whatever needs to come come, give and be given, take and be taken, that I may realize my existence.

Rei Jagube e Mamae Rainha - From the Forest across the Sea.

I am the Flower of the Waters and all wishes fulfilled through me.

Written By Shamana Ma Sharene

Artwork by Mariela de la Paz

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Christ and Krishna Connection

Christ and Krishna Connection

Despite their differences, Hinduism and Christianity have great similarities. And this is particularly prominent in the case of the life and teachings of the two central figures of these world religions, Christ and Krishna.

Similarities in just the names of 'Christ' and 'Krishna' have enough fuel for the curious mind to prod into the proposition that they were indeed one and the same person. Although there is little historical evidence, it is hard to ignore a host of likenesses between Jesus Christ and Lord Krishna. Analyze this:

(01)  Both are believed to be sons of God, since they were divinely conceived.
(02)  The birth of both Jesus of Nazareth and Krishna of Dwarka and their God designed missions were foretold.
(03)  Both were born at unusual places, Christ in a lowly manger and Krishna in a prison cell.
(04)  Both were divinely saved from death pronouncements.
(05)  Evil forces pursued both Christ and Krishna in vain.
(06)  Christ is often depicted as a shepherd; Krishna was a cowherd.
(07)  Both appeared at a critical time when their respective countries were in a torpid state.
(08)  Both died of wounds caused by sharp weapons — Christ by nails and Krishna by an arrow.
(09)  The teachings of both are very similar, both emphasize love and peace.
(10)  Krishna was often shown as having a dark blue complexion, a colour close to that of Christ Consciousness.

Similarity in Names:

Christ comes from the Greek word 'Christos', which means "the anointed one". Again, the word 'Krishna' in Greek is the same as 'Christos'. A colloquial Bengali rendering of Krishna is 'Kristo', which is the same as the Spanish for Christ — 'Cristo'.

The father of the Krishna Consciousness Movement AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada once remarked: "When an Indian person calls on Krishna, he often says, Krsta. Krsta is a Sanskrit word meaning attraction. So when we address God as Christ, Krsta, or Krishna we indicate the same all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Jesus said, 'Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be Thy name', the name of God was Krsta or Krishna."

Prabhupada further says: "'Christ' is another way of saying Krsta and Krsta is another way of pronouncing Krishna, the name of God…the general name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose specific name is Krishna. Therefore whether you call God 'Christ', 'Krsta', or 'Krishna', ultimately you are addressing the same Supreme Personality of Godhead…Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: namnam akari bahu-dha nija-sarva-saktis. (God has millions of names, and because there is no difference between God's name and Himself, each one of these names has the same potency as God.)"

God or Man?

According to Hindu mythology, Krishna was born on earth so that the balance of good in the world could be restored. But, there are many conflicting theories regarding his Godhood. Although, Krishna's story depicts him as the ultimate Lord of the Universe, whether Krishna himself is God or man is still a contentious matter in Hinduism.

Hindus believe that Jesus, like Lord Krishna, is just another avatar of the Divine, who came down to show humanity in the righteous way of life. This is another point where Krishna resembles Christ, a figure who is both "fully human and fully divine."

Krishna and Jesus were both saviours of mankind and avatars of God who have returned to earth at an especially critical time in the lives of their people. They were the incarnates of the Divine Being Himself in human form to teach human beings divine love, divine power, divine wisdom, and lead the benighted world towards the light of God.

Similarity in Teachings

These two most admired of religious icons also claim to hold the completeness of their religions by themselves. It's interesting to note how alike each one spoke in the Bhagavad Gita and the Holy Bible about the righteous way of life.

Lord Krishna says in the Gita: "Whenever, O Arjuna, righteousness declines and unrighteousness prevails, my body assumes human form and lives as a human being." He also says, "In order to protect the righteousness and also to punish the wicked, I incarnate myself on this earth from time to time." Similarly, Jesus said: "If God were your Father, ye would love me; for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself but He sent me."

At many places in the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna said about His oneness with God: "I am the way, come to Me…Neither the multitude of gods, nor great sages know my origin, for I am the source of all the gods and great sages." In the Holy Bible, Jesus also utters the same in his Gospels: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well"

Krishna advises all men to continue working for the welfare of the state all through the life: "That man attains peace who lives devoid of longing, free from all desires and without the feeling of 'I' and 'mine'. This is the Brahman state…" Jesus too ensures man, "Him that overcometh 'I' will make a pillar in the temple of my God and he shall go no more out."

Lord Krishna urged his disciples to follow the art of scientific control of the senses. An expert yogi can withdraw his mind from old temptations of the material world and can unite his mental energy with the joy of inner ecstasy or samadhi. "When the yogi like a tortoise withdrawing its limbs, can fully retire its senses from the objects of perception, his wisdom manifests steadiness". Christ too delivered a similar directive: "But though, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thy shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

Krishna stressed the idea of the grace of God in the Gita, "I am the origin of everything, and everything arises out of Me". Similarly, Jesus said: "I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall never hunger and he that believeth in me shall never thirst."

- this essay was found online and we are looking for the author

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BIO

"Shamana Ma engages us with the immediate urgency of being alive. Her Tigress gait leads us thru the jungles of sensual abundance, by a masterful prowess to hunt for love in all of its glitter and fur, to jump and bite thru into the tender fire source of juice and joy. Again and again, leading thru the ancient gateways of the eternal lesson: to hunt and ravish our hearts desire until … we have finally found our greatest belonging … ourselves, lying naked and delicately alive on the fertile ground of truth." Michael G

Embracing the Unknown, I am a true dakini, the embodiment of the goddess, a high priestess of sacred truth, a Shamana Ma priestess and healer.

I have trained in the sacred healing arts for the past 25+ years. My studies range ~ spanning from Religious Studies, Philosophy, Shamanism, Yoga, Healing, Bodywork, and Tantra.

I offer myself as a guide, as a muse, as a vessel for Love. I create a safe space for you to be your true self, to be met and mirrored, to surrender with the unfolding, the tender soul’s blossoming, where I offer my authentic self and my heart to you.

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Sofiah Thom

Magnetizing Your Beloved

Magnetizing Your Beloved by Sofiah Thom

I know there are so many of you who are longing to find your Beloved. And if you have a Beloved right now, so many of you long to keep that love alive.

We all have that strong desire to know what it is to co-create effortlessly with our life partner and soul mate.

Look inside your temple body. What thoughts, beliefs, and stories do you allow to move through you that are out of alignment with this desire for connection with your beloved?

Every thought your mind puts out comes back to you. What frequency do you put out that keeps this desire out of reach?

As a woman, you hold the power of creation. You hold the power of birthing a child, a new idea, a new project. You also hold the power of receiving your Beloved, receiving your highest YES. As a woman you consciously invite and you consciously birth everything you envision.

You must tap into these amazing magical aspects of being a woman.

You are worthy of receiving and creating this love. You deserve this. Feel that. You have to feel it in your body to call it forth. Whatever you are feeling that is not in alignment w this… Wash it away.

In order to create this space for a be-love-ed we must be-in-love with our selves.

What does it feel and look like to love yourself up so much that you attract a beloved that loves you just as you are?

Say YES to loving yourself. Fill up with your YES.

As you love yourself fully you become more magnetic. As you love yourself fully you become able to recognize and discern when somebody is in alignment with your highest Yes.

Whatever it is that you want to create more of in your life you have to feed that part of your life, every single day. You must commit to bring this into fruition. You have to water the seeds that you want to grow.

Pay Attention.

Trust you have everything you need to create a life of love and desire.

Commit to having this intimate loving relationship with yourself, tap into your feminine power of conscious creation, and I am certain you will attract a relationship that feeds you on every level.

 

BIO

Sofiah Thom inspires embodied Goddess Wisdom through the healing arts of sacred dance and creative spiritual practice. As a 4th generation spiritual teacher, a graduate of Naropa University in Expressive Healing Arts, a certified Yoga Teacher and student of Temple Dance, Sofiah's understanding and passion for the Divine Feminine is based on a lifetime journey of personal practice. Sofiah travels the world as a performer and teacher, sharing her wisdom with students seeking to connect with their unique purpose in life by recognizing the Magnetic Goddess within each of us.

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