As harvest season unfolds, it is a time to reel in that which we have gathered during a summer of plenty. Did we prepare? If not, can we assess the resources we have a proceed without remorse of what has been and potential problems in the future.
As one I have long listened intently to Ram Dass says, can we "be here now"? It is in that space between what was and what is going to be is our personal power. That is the real us--the decision maker. The one who waits and acts.
The last two years have been a struggle at times for me to keep alive the waiting to see the path to success in the recovery field. When I had my personal crisis years ago, I felt that if I could help at least one person find a way to a fulfilling life to include substance abuse, then I could settle a debt of sorts for having realized my own salvation.
I did that in time and have since done so with several other individuals. My own recovery was made easy when I embraced shamanism and began journeying for guidance. Over time, the two have become very intertwined, particularly in my "clinical" work at two practices in Athens. Still, I could tell early on that the setting was not right, and thus for the past year I have been looking for a new setting, gathering my resources, and waiting.
The wait is nearly over. I will pass along more information as the dates near, but it looks as if by November 1st I will have a new office in Athens and be partnered with people who share a similar view on alternate recovery methods and recovery in general.
This move will give me the space to hold free peer-support SMART Recovery circles, work with individual clients, and start introducing my shamanic approach to recovery through focused intent. More on that as they are offered.
On the Celtic and Nordic front, I am journeying on a celebration/ceremony gathering that will be offered somewhere in Athens depending on space availability. The shamanic journey circle I host at Heart Path Studios is probably going to be reduced to twice a month. I will be holding a Rune Circle at Heart Space in Athens in November.
If you are on Facebook, be sure to stop by my page to keep up with what I have going on if you are interested.
Have a great day!
I recently facilitated a journey circle in Athens at Heart Path Studios in which we set the intention for those in attendance to enter into the Shamanic state of consciousnesses and merge with the spirit of Horse and try to overtake a rider on the road. This rider would perhaps be someone the journeyers know or did not know, but she or he had something to tell.
The evening went very well, and all had great experiences. I went back and dug up what I jotted down the first time I did this same kind of journey, and here is what I experienced and my reaction:
Intention for Journey to the Man on a Horse
Imagine yourself in nature in rolling green hills. Imagine yourself as a horse as you walk, feel the muscles and heart as you start to trot, then gallop, and then run. Notice if any animal might appear for you along the way. Ahead you see a man on a horse. This person is someone is important to you, though you might not know them yet. When you catch up to him, ask him for any guidance he might have for you…..
With the intention set, I charged up a bit with a rattle then laid down with a loud drum track, and this is what I wrote down afterwards:
I was in rolling green hills, but they were not as bright as I had expected when preparing for the journey, instead they were darker shades of green. I felt the sensation of walking on all fours, then my chest muscles began to feel the impact of my long front legs as I began to trot the gallop. The choppiness gave way a feeling like swimming or flying as I gracefully passed over the land at a very high speed.
Suddenly, from my left, a man’s face appeared looking right at me. He had sharp features, and two or three feathers on either side of his face coming out of his cheekbones and extending just beyond his ears. His brow looked liked feathers as well, but just from one side of a quill. Where they met, just above the spot between his eyes and the top of his nose, was what looked like a sharp downturned triangular beak. The rest of his features were normal, but I could not see his body. He then turned quickly into an Owl and flew above me and started to circle the moon in what was now the night sky. Opposite the Owl, on the same trajectory, was a Raven. Then the scene was gone and I was again running in the green hills.
I spied what appeared a silhouette of a rider, but I could not be sure because there was a lot of undergrowth in that area. I galloped to that spot and came upon a man whose features were deep brown and weatherbeaten. He reminded me of an Aboriginal from Australia. He turned to look at me and was gone and where he was, but a few feet beyond, was a tall thin man with gray skin and wiry hair that looked like he was having a really bad static cling hair day.
He was naked, and kind of looked like ash. His eyes were a turbulent blue with a slight glow surrounding set in deep dark sockets. His appearance did not frighten me in any way. I felt very peaceful in his presence.
I asked him for advice or direction as I venture into this new land.
“Remain betwixt and between, one foot in both worlds, for if you come to this one too fast you will go mad, but if you stay in the other you will likewise go mad.”
He paused, his eyes got bigger, and I got the feeling he was trying to test my conviction because his look was very startled and stern at the same time. He then softened and said:
“Let this path unfold for you at its own pace, for one day soon you will remain here.”
I paused, and asked if there were any changes I could make in the world I come from that can provide the grace I will need do this work with honor and integrity.
“That is for you to determine, you know when you do the right thing, and in that resides your integrity. But one thing, never take nature for granted and give thanks for all that you receive from man or dog or tree or water (he went on for quite a while with these ‘or ____’), and protect all life always.”
I thanked him and asked if I could come back and see him again and he said yes. I then asked how I should find him.
“Go into the mist and call my name.”
I asked what his name was and he said Sam. I asked if I knew him somehow.
“Yes, I am one of your ancestors, and I have a lot to tell you.”
With that he faded backwards into mist, and for the first time I noticed I was no longer in a path, but a clearing, and all I could see around me was the mist.
I looked up to see the Owl descending and then hovered before me. I asked if it would like to come with me on this journey and it told me yes.
I then reared up on my back lets. My front hooves were scratching at the air and I got the feeling I was breaking through something. As my front hooves hit the ground I let out a huge breath through my nostrils and the wind blew away that before and I again saw the hills. I galloped back the way I had come with Owl flying by my side.
Arriving at a small stream, I resumed the form of a man. With one foot on dry land I launched to the other over the small stream and the moment my foot hit the ground on the far side I was upright over the stream and through the gate into my sacred garden. I turned and thanked the ancestors, the ...the spirits of the forest, and sat up.
The name Sam has long held a special place in my heart. As a young boy in a small rural country town, my best friend’s first name was Sam. We were inseparable, playing in the woods, running endlessly down the rows of corn that surrounded our town in fields lying between thick fingers of forest that followed the many streams. The black dirt of ...as always a welcome relief to our feet as we dashed from here to there without a care in the world. It all came to an end when I was whisked away to the big city to live with my mother. After moving, I rarely visited tiny ...and I never saw Sam again. The memory of him and the time we had as just kids is the last of a enchanted childhood in a wonderland of nature.
While I could probably come up with a reflection on every facet of this rather involved journey, I want to skip to what I think it all means. Like the Otherworld, Sam is a place that is neither here nor there, a place I can go, sort of, but not in a complete physical way, and certainly not back in time. Still, as the feathered man showed me, if I step outside of where I had been headed I may still find enchantment right now, and become like the Owl with its cunning, patience, watchful eye that is aware of much more than it may seem.
To do that, I must reach for that non-ordinary place while staying grounded in the ordinary place. The same goes for my approach to all of nature. I am not a part of nature, I am nature, so there is nothing else to do by see a symbiotic relationship in everything regardless of if I agree with it, or even find it can’t seem to find it pleasant to be around. I am no more important and anything, because I am everything. It is not possible, and to think so would only be a vain effort of hubris.
If I can live with the integrity this knowledge beacons, and that is what Sam, my ancestory and best friend, want me to do. The Owl and the Raven, circling in concert, each lifted by the tailwinds of the other, and one.
I will continue to facilitate experienced Shamanic journey groups on the first, second, and third Wednesday of every month at Heart Path Studios. If you would like to keep up with what the intentions will as well as other events that may be scheduled, visit our events page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/windandraven/events/
The last few weeks have presented a new set of considerations as Wind and Raven Recovery and Retrieval starts to make a footprint. For the past two years, I have worked in recovery support for individuals who had struggled with substances at the Recovery Cafe. Though this time, the Recovery Cafe has been the drug and alcohol conditions area of The Banyan Tree Center, but those days are coming to a close.
While the Recovery Cafe will carry on, the partnership with the Banyan Tree Center is ending. Why this is happened is not important, and it is simply the closing of chapter and the beginning of after. Though this transition, my clients will continue to see me at The Banyan Tree Center, but that too will change over the summer.
Regardless of what exactly the future holds one thing is for certain and that is that I will continue with the work of my clients.
Now for a bit of an announcement about a future offering that will not begin until a location is establish: I am going to work with people navigating recovery in a way that introduces them to Core Shamanism. This will be a series of sessions, probably five or six, in which several areas will be explored. I am currently putting together the structure of combining all that I can into this Spiritual healing.
I think of those a lot, in a variety of ways, and do so in the hopes of gaining a new perspective on something. Often times, what is presented, or comes to mind, is something seemingly unrelated to what I had considered before. That is when I know I am in the in presence of an alternate path, and I explore.
This week, I have done some new things, tried out one thing in particular that I had not done in a long time and when I did so years ago I did not give it my full effort. It is out of my comfort zone.
Often times the way we view, "the last few days", is either overly critical of ourselves or saying things are just fine, a comfort zone that can lead to complacency.
Refraining from self deprecating behavior such as being overly critical of yourself is one thing, and if things are "just fine", that might be all you need, but are you sure that your comfort zone is a place you can grow? If so, that is good, if not, call out that complacency or that comfort zone from time to time to make sure it is indeed consistent with moving you along the path you would like to follow to a fulfilling life?
Like I said before, I have been thinking a lot about this the last few days, and I invite you to comment below if you would like to continue the discussion.
The last few years have offered many changes in what I do as I strive to be the best me I am. Confused? I was as I bounced between phases of life that often times seemed connected by a known common thread. Eventually it dawned on me that the thread was me, and that the tangles and knots of life that I seemed prone in getting stuck in, and I set out to weave my own world.
Then, in 2010, physical health began banging at the door it had only taped or at loudest knocked on before. Two years later the door broke down, and with it the life in me physical body....almost. It was not time, but it was time to call to the carpet all that I held as knowing or truth, and if it could not pass a test of serving my higher good it was shown the broken down door and told not to let it hit it in the .... well you know.
A more expansive world opened for me during that process. One that did not allow for inconsistencies between what I was doing and who I was becoming. The door once left ajar is no longer needed when I had no more need for walls.
This website serves as a meeting place between various facets of my work to include: evidence-based substance abuse recovery in both individual and group environments; hybrid recovery consisting of both evidence-based and alternative methods; Shamanic journeying and soul retrieval; Celtic and Norse spirits of wisdom.
If I could help you in any way please do not hesitate to reach out on my contact page.
Have a great _____