Category Archives: Shamanism

Spirituality Without Fanfare

Once you have been on your spiritual path for a while you will start to realise that it is best to not take yourself too seriously.

There are two types of people who practise spirituality, in my experience. Those who tell others how powerful they are or how enlightened they are or how good their expensive courses are…and those who just get on with it, quietly and without fanfare. Do a course for fun if you think you will get something out of it but do realise that the only thing really worth spending is time itself. Time to learn, time to experiment, time to let things simmer.

Unfortunately being bombarded with all these enlightenment sellers can put some potential newcomers off discovering more about themselves and their possibilities and that’s a shame as there is nothing to be nervous about. Don’t be scared by the hype, don’t be put off by those who dress themselves up as mystical beings who need to be adored. They are selling a service which is the spiritual equivalent of getting your nails painted…it’s fun but it isn’t an essential life choice. You can do what you need to do with a little online research, free resources, reading books and, most importantly, living the life and gaining the experience.

Those who are quietly spiritual know that everyone is an individual who will be spending years on their unique path, no expensive course is going to get anyone there quicker. Sorry. Sometimes it can even slow progress down as you are following someone else’s path not your own. Their way of doing things might not be yours.

Your path is your own and you don’t have to be doing A, B or C to qualify for any award. There is no award. There’s a reward for taking a spiritual path though. Several of them.

If you can successfully meditate you can make your daily life calmer and happier. This can take the edge off the hardest situation. YouTube has some really good meditations. Try Michael Sealey or Jason Stephenson.

Practising mindfulness will give you a better outlook on life and will make those challenges easier to deal with because you stay in the moment, at least long enough to have a break from your mind chatter. Here is a 8 week free course, run by Dave Potter a fully certified MBSR instructor.

Being able to work with the energies to heal yourself and others for free is your way to give back and to do your bit to help change one small part of the world which is suffering…whether that be an individual or a situation.  Learn how to give reiki to yourself with this previous article of mine Reiki For Self Love.  Where you go with it afterwards when it comes to helping others is for you to decide.

Ritual is a way to bring order to chaos as well as engaging in aged practices – whether you just count your morning ritual of shower, tea and toast before work or rituals used with your deity of choice, such as prayers. A good morning ritual sets you up for the day and most of us have several rituals which we enjoy. Perhaps yours is a candlelit bath or a cup of chamomile tea last thing before bed. A ritual is simply something you do at a certain time and, sometimes, for a certain reason. Getting a few rituals of your own in place will bring structure and certainty to your day and you will find you look forward to doing them. They will bring a comfort and a smile, a sense of well-being.

Learning how to work with herbs is another way that you can help yourself. Again there are many online courses out there for the basics but a good book will do you just as well too if money is tight. The work of Susun Weed is a good start if you are in the USA or Herbcraft by Anna Franklin and Susan Lavender is an excellent choice for those in the UK and Europe. Herbcraft gives a broad use for plants including medicinal and magickal as well as a bit of history for interest.

Learning which plants are edible is very important so do take care as there are some deadly ones out there too. 

Knowledge is essential when using herbs in whatever form you choose them. Several good books for cross referencing are essential and you should never rely on just one photo in a book to decide which plant is in front of you in the wild. Several good, clear close up photos are needed. Of course, the company of someone who already knows is ideal but few of us have that and so we must take things gradually and be careful with our choices by being sensible.

Here is a fun video done by someone just starting out using herbs. We all have to start somewhere…

Many of us enjoy a cup of chamomile tea or peppermint tea so why not take it a step further and start learning how to work with the energies of the plants in your vicinity, growing your own or even just in their essential oil form. Pure oils can be used for cleaning and sanitising your home, refreshing the aroma, getting rid of garden pests, used to heal yourself and pets and in a multitude of ways.

I have had no training in essential oils but taught myself gradually over many years and now use them in every part of my life. They are surprisingly versatile, useful and helpful and, of course, chemical free if chosen wisely. There are many articles online which will help you choose a starter arsenal of essential oils. My first three choices would be roman chamomile, lavender and peppermint. I have linked to an article for each to get you started if you are new to essential oils.

If you are starting off on your path and follow the signposts above and in my previous nine articles then together they should give you your first few footsteps. You will be on your way to a spiritual life which allows you to grow, gain confidence, deal with challenges, heal your everyday niggles and give love and strength to those around you. There will be days when it all seems too much and you will want a break. Be kind to yourself on those days and do whatever you need to do. Everyone has a spiritual crisis at some point in their lives…sometimes more than one…but this is good because this is where the biggest shifts happen.

My final suggestions are to enjoy life, love who you are and do what you have to do to make your life your own. Never be dictated by those who surround you or even those in your area of choice spiritually. Always trust your instincts and if you aren’t sure what they are saying then meditate and wait. The answer is there.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Using Tarot Cards To Receive Answers From Your Spirit Guides

I believe everybody has their own spirit guides. Whether they come in the form of guardian angels, your own higher consciousness or separate energies such as ancestors, reiki guides or deity is entirely up to you to decide.

Some time ago I found having a scientific brain made the of concept of believing I was able to talk directly to my guides quite difficult to accept. I thought if I did (or was trying to do so) that it could well be just my imagination and that the answers received were therefore not reliable enough to be taken seriously. I needed another way.

I have a few tarot decks which I have bought myself or that other people have bought for me for special occasions. I had been starting to learn the tarot for use with the Kabbalah and for self improvement purposes only as I wasn’t that keen on using them for divination as such. I prefer to make my own future and always hope that I do a better job than some of my past decisions. I believe that the future is a fluid, changing wave and therefore any type of fortune telling is a bit of a waste of time. This is just my opinion, based on my energy work, and I am happy for people to disagree with me 🙂

I had a particular deck of cards my partner had bought for me. I couldn’t seem to get these cards to work for me in the usual way I used them. The cards were shuffled and dealt as normal but never seemed to deal with the matter at hand. I was very disappointed as I loved the look of them and had asked him specifically to buy these ones for me but now I couldn’t gel with them.

One day I had got the pack out to try again and I idly shuffled them as I pondered a difficult family matter, my mind drifting off the task at hand and on to more personal matters…happens to all of us! As my mind mulled over the problem a card flew out of the pack. Instead of thinking myself clumsy and putting it straight back in the deck I felt compelled to give it a closer look. What I found was exact guidance to my family matter. Curiosity compelled me to carry on. I talked about the problem as if talking to a friend out loud and asked for two more cards to fall out. These came as I talked and the three cards together gave me the guidance I needed.

Of course, I tried this several times after that. I would sit and talk fluently out loud about a problem or situation and the cards would fall out as necessary.  They have never been wrong since and I now use this particular deck all the time as my own special thread between myself and my spirit guides. It is a great comfort and extra special as my partner bought them for me.

You don’t have to know how to read tarot cards to use them to communicate with your spirit guides.

To start with you can use the guide book to look up the meanings and write each session up in a journal so you can look back on the situation, and the insight given, another time. As you go forward you may find your intuition allows you to decide what each card means for you personally. The interpretation in the book which comes with the deck is the interpretation of the decks creator but it is not cast in stone and you may find the meanings change for you. This is perfectly okay. You can meditate on the cards individually without a question and answer session to decide their meaning for you and write this up in your journal or you can simply let nature and determination take its own natural course and let their meanings make themselves known as you go along.

There is never an incorrect way in spirituality and your path is your own…always and without reservation.

The advice you get through the tarot will always be helpful when it comes from a place of unconditional love. Before the start of each session it would be sensible to visualise yourself in a crystalline egg, surrounded by white light. Set your intention at the start of the session for the work ahead and ask your spirit guides to come through with unconditional love, protection and advice for your highest good.

Your guides will always give loving advice and will never tell you to do something which you find uncomfortable. Neither will they mind if you don’t follow their guidance. Everything is your choice and you are always in control.

Try this for yourself and let the answers you seek flow freely, in trust that the help is there whenever you need it.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Red Apophyllite

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This piece of clear, red and green Apophyllite has been with me for a little over a month now and has been a real pleasure to work with.

It gives off a really palpable, strong energy which everyone who has held it has remarked upon, even those who aren’t earth energy minded. There is just a power to it which buzzes in the hand and it is a truly extraordinary piece. I would say it is on par with my Lemurian Seed Crystal for energy output and there is something ‘otherworldly’ about it too.

Apophyllite is also called the Reiki crystal as it is said its effect is similar to a Reiki treatment. I can certainly vouch for its healing energy which is very powerful. This crystal can chase away the darkest of days and brings joy and peace when held. When I have worked with it for longer I shall start to use it in my long distance healing work along with my Lemurian Seed Crystal and my Amethyst cluster as I feel this is the way it wishes to be worked with.

Apophyllite is a stone of truth and it is said it will help you see the truth of any matter more clearly. It is usually clear or green so it is unusual to find a piece with this red hue to it. It is simply the result of minerals near the crystal being absorbed into it as it is forming and it makes a unique crystal. The photos really don’t do this particular crystal aesthetic justice…the clear, green and red sparkly formations on their igneous matrix is really delicate and beautiful up close. I am pretty certain the matrix is basalt (giving strength, courage and fanning the fire within!), which hardens into a vesicular texture (similar to a pumice stone in appearance) and so this crystal is very light in weight too. It needs very careful handling as the crystal can flake and the matrix is very fragile. Don’t drop it!

Apophyllite can be worked with when seeking knowledge of spirit guides or power animals. It can clear a room of negativity and your aura too and is a perfect stone to have in the bedroom to help encourage a decent night’s sleep.  It is said to be a crystal which can heal family rifts, encourage togetherness and lift the vibrational energy of any room it is placed in. A stone of high vibration, it can be used to cleanse other crystals and can be easily cleansed itself by waving it through a wisp of incense and voicing your intention to cleanse it.

If you are a healer then I recommend getting a piece of this and experimenting with it. I feel it has great potential to significantly enhance my personal spiritual work and I am just about ready to jump in and see just how good these vibes really are 🙂

 

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A Reindeer Is Not Just For Christmas

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I have had an interest lately in British shamanism and Elen of the Ways (I wear a stone necklace for her with a picture of a ‘cave art style’ deer on it) so I have decided to talk about Reindeer today.

I have always had an affinity with deer as my grandfather was a man of the land and he and my grandmother would take me on walks in woods where deer would often make themselves known. A few months ago, my partner and I were lucky enough to come almost face to face with a beautiful stag near an ancient wood we visit locally. This sealed the deal for me. I have bought a couple of books since about Elen of the Ways by Elen Sentier which have been of great interest – Elen of the Ways and Following The Deer Trods which give an interesting glimpse into British Shamanism.

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In the days before land and animal ownership, when man, woman and child moved with the herds, the people worshipped the Goddess of the animal that kept them alive. They worshipped her spirit and respected her laws. In return, they were fed, and their own young were given life and sustenance. This was a time when all the land and that which was on it was held in high regard. It was a time when the balance of life and death between all things was weighted equally. For these people, she (who we call Elen for the purpose of this story) was the spirit of the reindeer and it is to she herself whom we now look to experience the energy and medicine of the reindeer.

Reindeer gave those who followed her strength and stamina. She also gave social skills for she travels with her family and friends en masse, all heading towards and onwards. Yet there is no dependence on the others as she is also her own heart and at peace with herself.

Reindeer encourages those who are faltering to regroup and move forward. She gives the determination to succeed and the tenacity to get things accomplished. Determination, endurance and trusting one’s own instincts are also gifts given by reindeer.

When you feel stuck and directionless, reindeer, as a power animal, will show you what you need and share with you her gifts to get you there.

The Reindeer Clans used kulning (a Swedish herding call) to call to the herd. A shaman female would use this song to call forth the reindeer (or other animal or bird she was working with) to let them know she was there. A beautiful example of kulning can be heard being given by Jonna Jinton on YouTube. It is one of the most beautiful things I have heard. There is something very primal about it which touches my soul.

There is a fascinating site called reindeerherding.org which gives lots of information on reindeer herding, as well as a history for each region.

Various Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Northern European and Asian peoples performed reindeer sacrifices. The ritual was performed at the beginning of their hunting season and consisted of sacrificing a young doe in a lake or pond or burying it in the ground as a sacrifice to their chosen god. On special occasions, Mesolithic hunters would place the skull and antlers of an older reindeer on a pole at the edge of where the doe was sacrificed. Superstition and the need for sacrifice has always been rife in all cultures, ancient and some more modern, so this behaviour is not unusual, despite being so difficult to read about for some of us in these modern times.

Reindeer shamanic rituals have been carried out as recently as 1980 by the Evenki people of Northern Siberia. The ritual centres around the belief that –

“Reindeer were created by the sky god, Houki, not only to provide food and transport on Earth but also to lift the human soul up to the Sun”

From Piers Vitebsky’s book, The Reindeer People: Living With Animals and Spirits in Siberia.

Bronze aged peoples thought there was an association between reindeer and flying which we can see by their use of Reindeer Stones. These were found above graves or places of sacrifice, with images of reindeer with their necks outstretched and their legs out as if flying through the air. There antlers are like wings and go as far back as their tails. The disc of the Sun was also present, again giving an impression of skyward travel.

Reindeer amulets have also been found in herding regions and the Sami had depictions of reindeer on their dress, pendants and brooches too. Zoomorphs of reindeer were drawn by Sami people who lived along the coast of Northern Norway 10,000 years ago.

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Mjandasj was the primordial Sami ancestor who was half reindeer and half human and birthed by Máttaráhkká herself who was known as the Sami Earth Mother. Rock art depicting the birth of this ancestor was found on a wall in Russia on the Kola Peninsula and has been dated to 2000 – 800BC.

If Máttaráhkká is the Sami equivalent of the Earth Mother then it wouldn’t be a stretch to argue that, by the Sami at least, reindeer are considered to have been present at the very birth of life itself. Perhaps this is because, to them, reindeer were givers of life providing all they needed to survive the harsh arctic conditions.