#Shamanism Wish List

Ollantaytambo, Peru

I want to live in a society that rewards people for being good to the water, air, land and animals and people.

I want to live in a society where equal rights for all is rewarded, and shaming or ostracizing others is criminal behavior.  

I want to live in a society where people frequently talk about the other realities that shamans experience.  For example:  What do you see in the Ukhupacha (lower world), Kaypacha (middle world), Hananpacha (upper world)?  How do I know which is which?  What does this mean?  Who is helping right now so I can thank them?

I would like to live in a world where shamanism is respected very deeply–perhaps because it’s tens of thousands of years old and is effective when done properly.  

I would like to live in a world that has respected and researched standards for shamanism so that everyone has the right teacher and learning program for them.  

I would like to live in a society where I am financially and socially rewarded for all the unseen, energetic, shamanic or esoteric hurdles I’ve had to overcome since I was born.  

I’d also like to live in a society that has other people like me who have overcome a great deal and who are positive and healthy.  Perhaps we can all learn from each other.

Listening To Nature In Traffic

Kirsten at Ollantaytambo, Peru

You may sense that something is out of balance and it isn’t just climate change. We are poisoning the Earth to such an extent that we are poisoning ourselves. Instead of feeling helpless about this situation, we as people must renew our relationship with the Earth in a healthy positive way. Like any healthy relationship, it starts with listening.

Learning how to listen to Nature can be challenging in a society that doesn’t teach us how to do so. Even if we do listen to Nature, sometimes it can be a challenge applying the knowledge. I serve as a catalyst helping my clients with shamanic guidance from Nature. Here’s an inside look at one client’s experience.  (Her name is Ellie.)

Client Background:
Ellie has a growing tarot and shamanism business. She has tarot clients but wants to start to integrate more shamanism into her business. She is extremely skilled and talented in both areas. She has been initiated into the Q’ero (Peru) Pampamisayoq tradition and is a misa carrier, so she has received the blessing of this indigenous tradition to be a shamanic healer. While Ellie has confronted some obstacles about using her shamanic gifts, she regularly performs shamanic journeying and taught a workshop in this area. She also has an interest in sacred sites and held a ceremony and workshop about relating to sacred sites.

I asked Ellie what were some of things she was looking for in regards to our session. I also asked if there were any obstacles and what kinds of things would she want to talk about for an effective session?
Ellie: I have been working with the San Pedro Cactus [plant spirit] and dreams and would love to share these with you for feedback. Also, I am working on connecting with the Bayou (a local power spot) and connecting with Spanish Needles as plant spirit healing. I feel that I am trying to integrate something new into my tarot offerings but can’t tell what it is. I feel blocked or like I am waiting. I also am not sure how to move forward with my tarot work with others. Others have asked for some shamanic work and I would love to offer some things. But it is hard to center. My other issue is that I have felt called to learn or do some ancestral healing, but am confused about this as well. If I could understand the messages I receive from nature and from dreams/journeys as well as my joy in doing the workshop, I would feel better about taking my next step.

First Question:
Ellie started to talk about how she felt about the Journeying workshop, what she liked and didn’t like as much. As she spoke, I received a message from the guides:

The guides said, “Zero in on the Shamanic Journeying workshop, especially what it was about the workshop that was the most joyful for you.” This relates to what client will do with bringing in shamanism to what she offers in her business.

Ellie liked that she had a system for journeying. She doesn’t want to do that as a service for clients, but there are aspects of it that were interesting. I let her know that she can be confident in the knowledge she taught a journeying class and this will also help with healing her wound.

Second Question:
At this point in the reading, I contacted the stones and Misa spirits to give her guidance. Ellie told me about a dream where she was walking the streets of Cusco. She saw Incan walls and touched them as she did when she was in Peru. Ellie asked Huachuma (San Pedro Plant Spirit) what she needed to do to center and pull down the imaginary into the practical. The answer was shamanic healing. As she was telling me this I said, “Verdad” –that is the truth.

I received a message:
Most important aspect of this dream is walking the streets of Cusco & touching the stones of Cusco. This is a circuit, like someone taking a plug, and plugging it into the wall. She plugs into the Misa, contacts the stones & Huachuma (Plant Spirit). The Misa plugs her into the ancestral wisdom hidden within the walls of Cusco. I mentioned the ceques are like the spokes of a wheel to get to the center. This relates to her future healing of clients.

One possibility is that when she journeys with a client, doing shamanic healing for them, contacting her Misa & Huachuma, she will plug in directly to the Apus and Cusco ceques (i.e. Plaza de las Armas). I had a vision of Ellie looking at her Misa, praying to Huachuma, using her dream as a template of energy so that she knows she’s there when she journeys. I think she can use her connection to the portal energies of Cusco for shamanic healing.

Her message is: Go ahead and do this, you are ready to start shamanic healing. Here is a suggestion and she has blessings and encouragement from Huachuma and the Misa to go ahead and start. She is ready to heal by journeying.

She can also do ancestral work, but work on herself first. But she will be able to do ancestral work on others very soon. She can do shamanic healing right now. She can do the nuts and bolts of it right now. (My hands motioned as if making adjustments). Go ahead and start, you have their blessing. Start the baby step process. I heard a message that I should tell her to draw or write that she is a shamanic healer and place on her wall.

Ellie asked: Can she do the same protocol for her own healing?
Start with lower world journey and middle world journeys. Soon after, she will be dealing in the upper world. Build lower and middle world first and then upper world. She can start to practice shamanic journeying, like practicing using a muscle, building strength using incremental steps. Journey for yourself first, consider that practice. Then you can start. You can still work on yourself while you are working with other people.

Third Question:
When Ellie is out walking and interacting with nature spirits, she leaves an offering, dialogues with them and asks them to bring energy into her third chakra. At Place A, her telepathy feels jammed up a little.

Message from Pine and Oak trees: There is lots of chaotic energy at Place A because of traffic. There is a small amount of personal energy interference from her, but in comparison to the chaotic energy at this place, she is experiencing empathic distortion from traffic.

I asked her to compare the energies at three different locations where she interacts with nature spirits: Place A, B & C. No distortion chatter at Place C, some distortion chatter at Place B, a lot of distortion chatter at Place A. Ellie told me that between the three places, that Place C was the most peaceful in terms of energy.

She is empathically receiving communication from the land both about the unhappy energy and happy energy. It’s harder to tap into the peace of a place when the place has its own chaotic unhappiness. This doesn’t change the fact that she still has a positive and powerful connection with the land and water!

I’m offering free fifteen minute consultations to people who want improve their relationship with nature.  You can contact me at nowmomentjourney@gmail.com.

#BlackHillsUnityConcert Begins a New Way of Relating to Sacred Sites

 
Oglala Sioux Tribal President Theresa Two Bulls explains:  “We feel that we have a sacred obligation to our people to come together in unity.  We put forth sacred intentions to help our Great Sioux Nation understand these grounds are beautiful and sacred and they are not for sale.”  The Black Hills Unity Concert will start a new way of relating to sacred sites on the Earth.  At the core of the environmental protection of sacred sites, is the need for each person’s spiritual connection to the land, in this case the Black Hills.  The concert is August 28-30, 2015, free admission for those attending.  If you can’t attend but want to donate, go to:  Unity Concert.  Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/08/20/star-studded-black-hills-unity-concert-focus-sacred-161455

 

Step Into Their World With Respect: Promoting Indigenous Travel

It is difficult finding indigenous travel experiences that communicate the importance of indigenous wisdom within the tourism framework.  Ayniglobal.org is a great example.  They are “dedicated to preserving authentic traditions and passing on indigenous wisdom.”  Unfortunately, most indigenous travel day trip itineraries are too superficial.  They usually include a dance/artisan display, authentic food, meeting local people and exploring nature; but, many trips usually do not include information about the indigenous group’s spiritual beliefs and practices, their cultural philosophies or even their views about everyday life.

There can be a conscious effort to talk about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of indigenous peoples’ beliefs even on a day trip.  For example, instead of travelers learning just about food, also talk about the cultural and/or spiritual symbolism of certain types of food.  When out walking through nature, instead of just showing travelers a mountainside important to indigenous people, explain why it is important!  Many indigenous people revere all nature as sacred and certain areas of nature are equivalent to a church or temple.  There is a direct personal relationship to nature and everything in it.  Some indigenous people, like the Q’ero people in the Andes Mountains, “have individual names and uses for all plants, grass, birds and animals” (Williams,100).

When planning indigenous travel, it is important for tourism businesses to learn how to communicate with indigenous communities in a respectful way.  Dr. Susan Guyette, in a webinar about Sustainable Cultural Tourism, suggests asking these questions:

“Are sacred sites being protected?  Are welcoming songs being practiced and documented?  Are indigenous entrepreneurs being assisted, being trained and given promotion?  Is ecological restoration taking place?” Have respect by listening.  Listening is a central aspect of communicating with indigenous community.  Make sure that decisions come from within a community.”

Indigenous travel has the potential to empower indigenous communities economically as well as culturally and spiritually.  If done in a respectful manner, indigenous communities have the opportunity to preserve culture as well as alleviate poverty.  Dr. J.E. Williams from Ayniglobal, shares his thoughts on how social businesses can empower indigenous people:

“A social business for indigenous people gives everyone in the community the opportunity to participate, just like they would in growing crops, in creating the kind of lifestyle they deserve. They have the opportunity to mobilize their innate talents and to employ their creativity and skills for solving their own problems, for determining their own destiny, for banishing poverty from their lives by their own efforts, and freeing their children from the damaging effects of generations in poverty.”

References:

Guyette, S. (2012, November 12). Sustainable Cultural Tourism [Webinar]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/53652132

Williams, J.E. (2005). The Andean Codex: Adventures and Initiations among the Peruvian Shamans. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing.

Williams, J.E. (2013, May 19). Social Business: Not Just a Dream, a Reality – Founding of a Q’ero Run Tour Company [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://ayniglobal.org/social-business-not-just-a-dream-a-reality-founding-of-a-qero-run-tour-company/

Seminole and Miccosukee Tourism: Keeping the Culture Alive in Florida

While researching Florida Native American Tourism, I learned about the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes as well as some of the current cultural tourism businesses.

In the Miccosukee Tribe, Buffalo Tiger was a legendary activist in establishing tribal governance.  He started Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours, which is family owned and operated where you can see “Tree Island”, Buffalo’s ancestral homeland.

The Miccosukee Indian Village not only has a museum but also artisans demonstrating Miccosukee patchwork, woodcarving, etc.  My sister studied native art in college and she thoroughly enjoyed the level of craftsmanship and authenticity at the village.  To learn more about the Miccosukee Tribe, here’s an interview with current chairman Colley Billie, nephew of Buffalo Tiger.

In the Seminole Tribe, it is Abiaki/Sam Jones who was a legend in Seminole history, but currently the Billie family and the Seminole Tribe of Florida are associated with several cultural tourism businesses, like the Billie Swamp Safari, located on Big Cypress Reservation.  The Seminole keep their culture alive through the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum,  offering authentic artisan work both live and in the museum.  To learn more about the Seminole Nation, this interview with Victor Billie provides more details.

The annual Sarasota Native American Indian Festival is also an authentic Native American arts and crafts event usually held at the end of January.  Rex Begaye was instrumental in bringing in authentic artists and musicians to the festival, and his legacy continues on today.

For an overview of Native American Florida, the Florida Division of Historical Resources has an informative guidebook full of historical details, stories, pictures and maps about the Florida Native American Heritage Trail.

Some Thoughts on Responsible Local Travel

While viewing the Responsible Travel and Wildlife Conservation Hangout, I was inspired by Martin Hatchuel‘s conversation with Nombulelo Mkefa where she said, “Sustainable travel is the destination, responsible travel is the journey.”  What are the principles that embody responsible travel?

1. Respect and care for the environment whether it’s land, air, water, animal or plant life.
2. Indigenous culture should be represented in an authentic way so that it is not a commodity, but a celebration of the culture and sacred sites with respect and dignity.
3. In the case of hotels, workers should receive competitive wages, work in a safe and clean environment, and live in the local area.
4. Travelers and businesses are responsible for buying local.

Tourism in the USA has a long way to go to meeting these goals, but with innovation, discussion and action, maybe tourism can work in harmony with the environment.

Sacred Sites and their #Indigenous Guardians

(The Gaia Foundation)

Over the last five years or so, I have become more aware of sacred sites both locally and abroad.  In an effort to understand my experiences at sacred sites, I have looked for information about the native cultures that lived at those sacred sites.

For example, when I went to Peru and visited Machu Picchu, I was enveloped in the most wonderful energy, but noticed that the energy improved as one climbed higher in altitude.  However, even mountains as powerful as they are, have to be honored from the work of the shaman, and by giving offerings and performing ceremony, the mountain spirits, and their energy are transformed.   “The wellbeing of huacas [quechua word for sacred] depends on the constant flow of offerings from the living to deceased ancestors, and the spiritual domain as a form of reciprocity.” (Staller, 2008, p.276)

Here in Florida, the mounds here as well as throughout the mound culture in the rest of the US, are places of great power and complex energy.  The complexity is most likely a result of years of environmental degradation and disrespect for these special places.  Because there is a highly elevated energy associated with power places or sacred sites, when the land they are on is disrespected or degraded, the energy becomes more turbulent and sometimes very unhappy.  “Sacred sites are living places. They have their own feelings like humans.  And just like humans, they can be happy or sad” (Sabella Kaguna, Custodian, Tharaka, Kenya)

Also in Florida, it is the Gulf of Mexico that is a very powerful nature force instead of mountains.   It is the Gulf of Mexico, the palm trees, plants, minerals and animals among many other things to whom we can offer our thanks.  In historical context, the Seminoles in Florida had core beliefs of giving thanks to the land and having a deep connection with the land as if it is one’s mother.  “Traditional Seminoles consider their environment a sacred source of life, and they themselves believe they are its guardians.” (Caufield, Catherine, “Selling a Piece of Your Mother”, 1998)

As I continue to learn more about sacred sites, I hope to integrate the same beliefs of reciprocity to the land as the native cultures who lived here before us.