A Weekend of Death, Dying, and Beyond

Medicine Man, Performing His Mysteries over a ...

A few weekends ago I attend another advanced shaman class. This one was titled Death, Dying, and Beyond. These series are from the Foundation of Shamanic Studies as developed by Michael Harner. The course I took was taught by Nan Moss and David Corbin. I forget how I originally heard about Nan and Dave, perhaps Weather Shamanism caught my attention once while searching around the Internet. The workshops I’ve taken with the dynamic duo have been phenomenal not to mention extremely helpful in the energy work I conduct for myself along with others. This last one, I knew was going to be emotionally challenging but essential for my spiritual growth and understanding of shamanism.

The workshops are something to be experienced, writing about them feels out of context. The understanding gained is thrilling but hard to explain in type. Nevertheless, I did want to share some of what I’ve come to believe with you because it is useful for all of us.

From my notes taken during class discussion and after journeying (a form of meditation) here are some key points around the topic of death, dying, and beyond:

Bat

Tried viewing or understanding the end of this life differently; thinking of death as another state of existence. I was able to learn from a bat, during a lower word journey, that the world is not just understood by a human’s existence. Animals and other kingdoms go though life and death with all sorts of understandings from how they operate (get on in this lifetime). I was taught about opportunities to view the world upside-down, use other senses than our eyes, and the importance of movements in the dark. Then, to top the lesson off, I realized a bat is classified as a mammal making the lesson heavier to this mammal.

 Another take on the topic of death, dying, and beyond is the belief gained about levels of a soul’s journey when the body is no longer living. The class meditation was done individually by the group and then those who wanted to share their experience afterwards did so in circle. Many people, including myself, witnessed in our dream like state, types of places where souls were waiting or learning or regrouping or figuring out just what is going on. Yes, we can interact with those on the other side. I have done it a few times pryer to this workshop but it was good to get a stronger base of how to conduct the meetings, so to speak.

sunset on goulais bay...

 A piece of the weekend’s wisdom sticking with me is realizing my death is important. It is a normal phrase of life. When I pass on, the people who love me are challenged to adjust their lives allowing them to grow and fulfill what they intended to do when they came into this world. Typically my guides and spirit helpers always put in something light hearted to help me with the seriousness of it all. With realizing death is part of the cycle, it was pointed out how my death creates jobs for others as well, ha! Funny cause there is truth there too!

Rocks 101: An Introduction to the Mineral Kingdom

I am reworking the design to the handouts for a workshop I’ve titled, Rocks 101. There are a few classes I have put together over the years, based on what I know and deem to be true. Rocks, minerals, stones, gems… whatever you would like to call them, I love them so. Many friends and family know me as the rock go-to girl and I’m always looking to learn more to better serve. Allas the rock workshops I have attended left me disappointed with no new knowledge or deeper understanding. I don’t mind spending money or traveling but it has to be worth the effort. On all my drives home, I would start to replay the workshop and add or take out parts to make it worth my time. If these people are pitching rock info, why do I feel ripped off? What could be done differently ensuring everyone attending would leave knowing more and reflecting on how it was money well spent. Sure one might detect a hint of arrogance in that statement but it’s unintentional. Another way to word my thought is, “I can teach people about rocks in a way where learning will be more comprehendible and improve ones abilities to understand the mineral kingdom.” After complaining on how the workshops I attended were lack luster, my teacher (for many metaphysical studies) said to me, “You should create a rock workshop” and that was enough to push me to doing so.

Keeping the material familiar enough, making sure the people will remember the names of the stones was the first task to tackle. Birthstones seemed the best way to go about revisiting many common names. My research proved there are many takes on 12 gemstones corresponding with the months of the year. Once I settled on a grouping, it was a matter of getting the minerals.

A scattering of "brilliant" cut diam...

I wanted to have the guests be able to hold each of the minerals being discussed. After all, a hands on approach is one of the best ways to learn about a subject. Using all of our senses would help the information get absorbed in a deeper way. I was able to obtain the majority of stones but a few gems I ask the participants to bring from home. I wish I had enough money to pass around diamonds!

Handouts are one of my favorite things to receive when attending a workshop. The presentations I give have some great take homes and the Rocks 101 is no exception. A 16 page booklet has been designed and created with all sorts of history and lore, facts and beliefs. It’s not the 8×11 paper folded in half type of booklet but each page is standard letter size, stapled in the corner. The layout is baby bear style, not too much and not too little, just the right amount. There is a nifty glossary and a rockin’ reference ensuring future questions get answered or guidance to another path to find the answer.

My teacher has listened to this presentation twice since I developed it 3 years ago and is hinting at a Rocks 201. I will have to let her know I’ve reworked the handouts and give her a new booklet. Maybe some point this year I will start formulating the next level workshop. As of now, towards the end of June, Rocks 101 is scheduled for a road trip making it the first time I’m traveling with the kids (cute way of saying rocks). I’m excited to share my knowledge with others and witness what they pick up from the minerals. Discussion and insight is another component I like my workshops to have.   From rereading all of the booklet’s pages I’m learning more information and become more familiar with the stones to be presented. I look forward to further insight the people attending the class are privy to and growing my knowledge along with them. I love rocks.

Day Three of Aromatherapy Auditing

Sevilla has orange trees everywhere.

Earth Day was the ending date of the level one aromatherapy class I audited over the weekend. The hour long meditation we participated in that morning had a very strong mother earth involvement, unlike any I have felt before. It is always an honor to respect, send love and gratitude to the being (she is very much alive scientifically and metaphysically) who struggles every moment to take care of all of us, regardless of any belief system humans have. Mother earth does a fantastic job, my wish is for everyone to become more respectful towards nature and one another. If anything, taking an aromatherapy class makes a tree hugger out of you for sure!

The Secret Life of Plants
The Secret Life of Plants                 Christopher Bird

4-22-12 A brief break down of the secret life of plants… Body language is a representation of how we feel inside. The unspoken messages we are communication with one another has a lot to do with how we truly feel about that particular subject or topic being discussed. Let’s look at how a plant (bush, tree) talks to us. What conversation are they having with us after all of our years not fully listening to them? If a particular part of the plant was harvested for distilling to make an essence, what could we expect it to assist us with? An orange tree needs specific things to grow up big and strong, we basically need the same things for a healthy life. Though the leaves, oxygen and nutrition is taken in. If that part of the tree was made into an essence chances are it will help improve our body’s respiratory system along with emotionally problems preventing us to fully inhale life. The inner wood of the tree would assist heart issues because it is the center structure of the tree. The bark would represent our skin (as it is the tree’s). An orange, the fruit of the tree, has vitamins, nourishment for our bodies. The rind, peel is protection for the fruit and the essence will help with the body’s immune system while energetically assisting us with personal defense. Seeds represent a new beginning or is reflective of how to deal with a core problem. Now take a look at how the plant (bush, tree) holds itself. Aromatherapy helps to bring more awareness to becoming more flexible, grounding yourself, reaching up high. The flower’s colors indicate symbolism and additional benefits too, don’t overlook that detail. The characteristics of the flower, how it presents itself is another association important to healing physical and mental issues. This is a quick interpretation of conversations available when we choose to listen to the plant kingdom. A brief overview of the myriad of possibilities aromatherapy can help one defeat to regain a healthier, natural life.

After many hours of learning, sampling, sharing, smelling, applying, talking and holding consultation with other students, it was our turn to go ahead and pick an essence for ourselves. There are over 200 bottles to choose from. Someone had chosen the one I was planning t0 take back with me and mediate on, so I had to use my intuition and approach the task the way I should of. Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath in, held it for a few seconds exhaled and opened up my eyes and reached out without over annualizing the situation.

The key message from the weekend’s adventure is to listen. Be still and listen. Observe and interpret. Abolish, diminish, expel fear and embrace love. There is no need to second guess, trust and you will always do the right thing. Support is abundant, just ask because it can come to you from many angles.

Day Two of Aromatherapy Auditing

Not exactly sure about all the comments I made today (not to mention the stories) with the group. Because of all the essences on our bodies and in the air, things get rather zany. There are moments of deep thought and pure relaxation followed by anxiety and apprehension settling back into peace and harmony. Because I am so sensitive to energies, it’s rather challenging for me to figure out what my personal struggle is within a group dynamic. Yep, I know it may read like a cop out for not dealing with my problems, not my intention however. There are dramatic pros and cons with involvement in workshops for me. I’m very particular for what I sign up to do and where I go. This aroma group is very special to me. Part of the love I feel is the ability for total strangers to open up and share personal issues. I really do hope it was much different for the group in a positive way but today was a very tough day for me in figuring out which way was up. I am grateful to audit because the time spent is observing in a room filled with fabulous smells and love. I’m loving this audit advantage because I’m sharing the weekend with my journal. Little bottles of essences, full of big beautiful LOVE. All you need is love! (click if you would like some music to read along to)

4-21-12 Know your limits. Believe and trust yourself. Wisely try some different things but take a few seconds first and tune into your inner knowing. Trust with education and body acknowledgment. Stand in your truth. Tune into the plant, aroma, essence and ask to elevate the problem before you. Allow a communication to occur. Unplug your ears and hearts. You will be fine, you’ve gotten this far why not explore a bit more. The better one of us is, the better we all become. Ask questions. If you don’t know who or how you will receive the answer, reset your posture, make a shift, then ask again. Pay attention to your body’s reactions, the reply can come to you as a heartbeat, ache, twitch, lean or pendulum sway.

Something I have come to believe: We are never alone. There is always support all you need to do is ask. Love is abundant.

Resistance, facade, armor… they all take way to much energy to cover who you are. Of course there are times (with love) we dawn a hat to protect those out of our respect with a need to support them. Putting on a hat to act in a way opposite of our true feelings is appropriate at times. Go within, drop the anchor, let it fall without fan-fair (relaxed quote from John). “What you resist, persists” said Wendy. Use your intuition, ask and enjoy how you get the message. Start a new habit. Build upon what you know to be true. Allow health to flourish inside and out, within without.

It is wild how the conversation keeps on spinning amongst the members of the group. Questions are raised with a different structure but all seem to have the answer in common, love. Chapters in our lives fill with suggestions picked up from advice, solicited or not. Aimed at us, for us or not, it all matters. Don’t give away your power. Have a strong support group to surround yourself with blessed family and friends.

Animals have an acute awareness to the aromas and other emotions. Our furry (scaly-feathered-smooth skinned) friends need fewer drops of essences because of their small size in comparison to our body mass. The animal companions mimic many of our troubles, sample our worries, celebrate our joys and take on problems in order for us to have a better day. We love them for many reasons and value their friendship and limitless concern for our well being. Love, love, love.

Believe systems. You have our own sets of values that can be changed whenever you wish. Be respectful. Plants teach from their core from a place of compassion for all life. The plants live this way adhering to their natural cycle dependent on other organisms and environments. They are in harmony with others accompanying the earth. Humans (for the most part) have transplanted and forced an unnatural rhythm upon the plant kingdom. Pushing our needs and wants on another kingdom is not coming from a place of love. No integrity, concern or honor is felt with any invasive action. We should all be more aware of our actions. More thoughtful movements will effect others, no matter how big or small or if they vote or have pockets to carry cash. Humans should strive to mimic the Golden Rule and adhere it to the earth, continuing the love spectrum in a healthy balanced way.

Day One of Aromatherapy Auditing

I wrote in my journal as I felt inspired to. The following will be a copy with the entries separated into segments. I’m not going to rework the notes into a story, just present it as pieces reiterating a topic talked about or general understanding from experiences, all encompassing. I believe in plants, the earth, animals, us and all other things that appear and not so much to have a conscience. The energy coming from a group of like minded people allows walls to be taken down and a new improved outlook to develop. Learning more about the wonders of nature and the voice of your body only makes me want to speak my mind more and become stronger in my resolve. I love auditing aromatherapy classes!

4-20-12 Family, we are family (nope, I will not be linking the song). The unity of family envelops me, surprises me and brings great comfort at the same time. It is fascination how many of us are the same. When we group together, join, band together the focus becomes clearer and we become stronger, healthier and more alive… wide awake. Aromatherapy helps you to look deeper, explore, fix, change, understand and heal. Aromatherapy helps to open you up, reminding us that we are connected to the earth. The plants will reveal themselves when we allow them to enter and heal our lives.

Cover of "The Power of Myth (Illustrated ...
Cover of The Power of Myth

What you are drawn to tells about your level of inner bliss. Joseph Campbell talks about following your bliss and has used myths to explain what bliss is and what it can be. I understand it to be a guttural resounding approval, important to and for well being for me and others around me, in all circles of life. Past, present and future. Something I believe to be true: When we improve ourselves, others respond. This action and reaction might not always turn out as what we envision or what we desire. Taking a step back and allowing things to fix themselves is positive advancement towards our goal (bliss). Those that are closest to us, their higher selves will notice the shift, allowing the information to channel into the brain and eventually into the soul. A voice of some sort is given to the silent change, we need to listen to hear it’s cry. When one of us is better, we all are improved.

From childhood we are very trusting. All too often trust gets mangled, abused, taken advantage of or is mismanaged in some detrimental way. Trust is very important to human kind, any race for that matter. We learn early on to trust our instants. When that trust is abused, the harder it is to recover from that injury to ones soul.

“Illuminate an instructor that shines the light” said my friend Victoria. Communication is part of why we are who we are. To understand is wisdom. The body is smart. Listen, it’s talking to you every moment of the day.

Connection even though the body is different (has changed) the spirit is still the same. The plants will change to adapt. Their body changes often too, yet remain the same. Work from your overflow point when practicing energy work. Receive first in order to give. Ask any essence and you shall be granted the desired outcome. Ask and no matter what the essences are reported to do, they can alter properties to assist you. Masaru Emoto studied water and one lesson was along the line of the more love, the closer bliss is (my wording). Be kind and thoughtful, trusting and loving towards all, smart and steadfast. Unwavering in your understanding but open to change, allowing new information to come in and educate yourself on all matters.

Aromatherapy Audit Weekend

This weekend I will be auditing a level one aromatherapy class. It’s been over a year since I’ve sat in on a class and feel it will be a powerful few days. My plan was to write a piece for the blog about aromatherapy but have decided to make several entries instead, in an attempt to take you along with me on the journey. There is an apprehension building in a way which is different from say, butterflies in the tummy or sweaty palms. When I feel a sense of resistance mixed with eagerness tied together with interest… I know something big is about to go down. It might be a small thing with a large affect or several medium sized Ah-has’ or possibly the ever frightening enlightenment *gong* growth spurt! Who knows, maybe there will be something in the writings causing a change or shift in yourself, for yourself?

I’ve gotten my level one certification from Wisdom of the Earth back in 2008. One of my teachers will be holding the class and a very good friend of mine will be a student. She’s a bit apprehensive as well. How the class is going to be held will be different from what I’m used to. Back in the day, two people were teaching the material but for this class there is one teacher plus more hours have been added. It will be nice to revisit the essences (the term most often used because the brand does not mix with other materials, it’s the pure essence of the plant) and watch the reactions of those new to the world of aromatherapy.

Why Should I Own a Wand?

The base of this wand is a White Sage stem

This is a question I get asked a lot from people and I hesitate because the answer varies from minute to minute,  person to person. To put it simply, a wand is an extension of who you are and what you can be. They are great for making wishes and getting your point across with gusto. If you think of it, when someone is talking and begins to point they are adding physical punctuation to their story. A finger wag equals more emphasis on what is spoken. Presenters behind a podium are asked to hold down their index finger with the thumb to control their natural wand, I mean to eliminate pointing at anyone. Substitute a wand for that finger and watch out people a  bold statement is directed your way, resonating in every direction.

Another reason to own a wand is for support. I turn to my wands for courage and confidence in many matters. I have various sized wands all created with different intentions. As the days go by the wands get stronger and wiser just like someone who is learning, wanting to improve with every day that goes by. There are several wands I have crafted for myself and several I have given as gifts along with consigning some. All are unique, even those that seem to be similar in color or structure have a different feeling about them, kind of like the way good family and friends are.

I’ve developed a wand making workshop, none of those are quite the same either. The amazement and joy I get from hosting a workshop or adorning a tree branch is something to be experienced. I’ve give descriptions for advertising and have worked on signage for displays but it really is something to participate in to get the full understanding of owning a wand. There is a journey that happens specific for the individual while a relationship is wrapped around what appears to be an inanimate object. A bond is formed before a base is chosen and stone beads are picked out. The action of creating the wand weaves magic, mixing joy and surprise. The finished product is very personal because a lot of who you are and what you want to become and accomplish is what the wand has become an extension of yourself.