Thoughts on Tribe

THOUGHTS ON TRIBES.  Are you in a Tribe of any kind?  Are you in more than one Tribe?  How big are your Tribes?  Where do they overlap or intersect?  How did you find this Tribe?  How did you gain admission or acceptance?  What are the goals and mission of the Tribe?

A Tribe, for the purposes of this post, is a group of people who may or may not be related by family status, who.have shared values and a shared mission, and meet on a regular basis to do things in support of this mission, but who are not necessarily organized as a 501 (c) (3) organization. 

Over the past year or two, I’ve noticed that more and more of my friends, are referring to the naturally formed groups of friends and family/non-family members as “Tribes.”  It may be that I mingle with groups that are predominantly “hippie,” but the hippie mindset isn’t a requirement of Tribe.  People who graduate in a commencement, may feel a close affinity, and may describe tgat as a Tribe.   I am thinking about this this morning, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans.

When I was #HuntingWaves yesterday, I was thinking about how many Tribes I am in, and I’m in at least three.  Except for the Water Warriors (a subset of which are folks who support the Water Blessing Ceremonies in some way, ) most Tribes don’t have a set name; they just exist.

Facebook helps all these Tribes stay in touch and network.  Oh, I just remembered my 4th Tribe.  And my 5th one.  One is about water.  One is about music.  And the other three are various branches of my spiritual growth and development.

Photo caption:  a Tribe graduating, May 2017.

Does your participation in your Tribes help you share your peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us?  

(c) 2017 to present by Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

There Be Dragons, Rip Tide, and Synchronicity

Before I set out on my journey South by Southeast this weekend, to visit friends, attend ceremony, and go swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, my very good friend cautioned me to be careful swimming, because, “There be Dragons… And Rip Tides.”  I laughed with him nervously about the Dragons, and assured him I know what to do about Rip Tides.  

So I set out on my road trip, covering 100 miles on Friday, arriving at my friend’s house, after some mild excitement on the way down.

Next morning, I overslept my alarm, so I missed the 8:00 am water blessing ceremony.  I eventually completed the last 50 miles at about 10:30 am, arriving in the town with absolutely no idea where to find the Water Tribe, having only a list of four parking lots in my memory.  Ok.  I drove east until I had to go left or right.  I went right.  I drove a few blicks, and saw one of the named parking lots, pulled in and got the last space.  Got out of my car and realized I know the woman walking towards me.  She’s a member if my UU Church from Fort Myers, a member of the Water Tribe.  Synchronicity!

She told me where to find the rest of the Water Tribe.  I headed over to the Beach.  As I reached the crest of the Dunes, I immediately began scanning the surf, to gauge the  shape of the waves, and how they were breaking and running.  I grew up going to the New Jersey Shore, and learned all about Rip Tides there.  I was satisfied the current would be safe, and proceeded to the water’s edge.

I greeted my fellow Water Tribe, peeled off my mumu, put all my stuff in a pile, blew kisses to everyone, and strode into the Ocean.  

The waves were running about 18 inches high, which is hardly worth jumping, but it’s better than the Gulf which is like the World’s Biggest bathtub.  There, the waves are maybe 5 inches high.  On the other hand, there was a fairly strong tow to the North, but not an undertow.  I had to swim back to my mark on the beach, frequently.

Time slowed down, and I relaxed, and enjoyed the waves, the water, the sand under foot.  I practiced my wave jumping form.  I stretched my legs, I did slow spins, and corkscrew spins.  These are all the things you would expect a Pisces Whale Person to do at the beach.

There were lots of people about, some seaweed here and there,  but no bait fish.  But all at once I knew I was not alone in the water.  The Dragon had come.  Or in this case, maybe two small dragons.  It/they was to my right, and close to the sand.  I stopped jumping the waves and stood still and LOOKED.  I had removed my prescription sun glasses when I put everything down to go swimming, so I hoped I could figure out what this critter was, quickly.  I wasn’t positive, but I thought I had a good idea…

(Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, it’s important to remain calm when you are in this kind of situation.) 

I stood still and the critter did not advance.  Good.  I backed up about 5 feet, going parallel to the beach and the critter did not advance.  Good.  Then I turned to the beach and moved 5 feet in, toward the beach.  The critter stayed put.  EXCELLENT.  By then, I calmly skipped out of the water, and LOOKED back to the surf.  The critter was where I left it.  Great.

I think it was a pair of large sting rays.   No pictures of them.  I’m glad I didn’t accidentally step on them!

Share your Peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us.  Remember, when you are swimming in the Ocean, you are in someone’s living room.

(c) 2017 by Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved

Shamanic Driving 

Shamanic Driving is when you drive your car somewhere, and reach an altered state in the process.  I’m not advocating this as a technique, but I’m going to describe it in this post.  Shamanic Driving is different from Sonic Driving, which is when you go into an altered state through the use of a rapid, monotonous sound or vibration.

Here’s home Shamanic Driving works: 

Get in your car.

Put on music 

Head out on a highway, for a 100 mile journey through beautiful, but somewhat monotonous scenery.

Add a rain storm, and then windshield wipers.  

Note the drone of other cars and trucks on the highway all around your car, to the East of you, to the South of you, to the West of you, to the North of you, above you the sky or rain, below you, the hiss of tires running through the rain on the  pavement…

By this time, you have “Siri,” ocassionally telling you, “you are on the fastest route and the way ahead is clear.”

I feel focused yet relaxed.  

My phone rings.  My friend is reminding me how to get to her house.  We’re chatting.  A motorcyclist has just whipped around me, going way too fast in the rain.  I change lanes to avoid him, and end up in the fast lane, and suddenly,  I’m passing a truck.  I’m in the truck’s blind spot, pulling up, now along side the back third of the truck.  

Suddenly, “because everything happens suddenly, or not at all,” the truck signals, and starts moving into the fast lane, where I am.   I begin narrating this, calmly, to my friend,”why’s this truck coming over here?” I’m breaking, defensively, I’m honking the horn, I’m moving to my left, not wanting to leave the pavement, still honking.  My friend on the phone is telling me to focus, and we all are.  And the truck backs off, yet we keep going, and ahead to the right, I see the police car lights blinking blue in the rain, and I realize, the truck was just trying to obey the Move Over law.

I pass him, and wipe my brow, my way of signaling to him, “that was close but we pulled through” because I drive With Spirit, tuned in, where ever I go.

And I am blessed.

Where ever you go, take Spirit wih you, and Share your Peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us.

(c) 2017 to present, by Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

Talking to Plants:  feel the connections

On my present journey, during the day, I go outside and walk among the plants.  The green calls me in, deeper and deeper.  I sniff the air, and take in the scents.  How can I describe these smells, these different shades of green?  They are familiar smells, since I grew up with them.  Arbor vitae, linden tree, rhododendron… When I was young and lived here, I never noticed these smells at all.  Now I perceive them as individual notes.

Some plants are sleeping when I approach, and I let them sleep.  Others are awake and call to me, to tell me their names.  Not their scientific name, or their colloquial name.  But the name they call themselves.

 I visit each plant, reach out and run my fingers on a branch, or a tendrils or blossom.  On it, over it, like you might trace your fingers on you loved one’s face, or their back. 

Yes, some of these plants may have healing properties, or they may make a good smudge substance.  But at the beginning, you have to remember, we are all connected.  When you go out and talk to the plants, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, you will feel this to be true.  Touch the plants and take time to speak with them.  Share your Peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky, and the Big Waters all around us.

For more information about the Earthways Shamanic Path visit, http://www.earthwaysshamsnicpath.com

(c) 2017 by Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

The Work of a Shaman, so much more than Healing

Shamans do many things.  A lot of it is “healing work” but that can manifest in many forms:

  1. Writer — The most obvious thing I do as a Shaman, is write these blog posts about Shamanism and about the Earthways Shamanic Path.  I start with the kernel of an idea, set it down and it unfolds.  I have to step aside when the words flow, or else the message gets mixed up.  I write in an Altered State.
  2. Founder–The second thing I do as a Shaman, is nurture the Earthways Shamanic Path.  I arrange for ceremonies and classes.  I get the rooms or spaces and post the announcements.  I write the class materials and the ceremonies.  I haul the ceremonial or instructional material to/from the location.  I set up the Altar or training space, establish sacred space, conduct the class or ritual, thank and release the energies, close it all out and pack it all up.
  3. Diplomat — I assist other people when they are conducting training or ceremonies.  Sometimes I function as a diplomat between groups and help carry the message from one group to another.
  4. Coach — I’m here to Listen to people.  People seek me out, send me messages, talk to me, ask me questions.  I respond with information, insights, “thoughts and prayers,” and referrals.  This is what I call, Shamanic Coaching.  I don’t know everything, but I know many people, all with their own areas of expertise.  I check in with them on a regular basis and learn more.
  5. Facilitator — I arrange sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly, for you to meet people or receive information or make connections or to have experiences.
  6. Prayer-er — I say “Prayers Going Up,” and send prayers to people because I BELIEVE it helps.  I visualize my prayers going up from a sacred fire or a candle or even a crystal, and I see it going UP and reaching the person in need.  It is Energy/Love and not directed to a specific outcome.
  7. Healer — when people need healing, I serve as a conduit of energy.
  8. Singer/Teacher —  I am connected to music, through the Whales.  I sing songs, and each people to sing these songs.  This is a healing aspect.
  9. Explorer/Journeyer/Connector — I go out in Nature and renew my connection to everything that is there.  I meet and greet the helpers in the  Plants, Trees, Birds, Insects, animals, the water, the wind — what ever is there.  I gather plant materials to learn what can be used for smudging.  I am a Water Warrior.
  10. Researcher/Journeyer  — I research techniques to achieve Altered States of Reality.  “Oh, the places I have been.” I teach what I have learned.  I attend classes, ceremonies and events.  I read.
  11. I’m a Change Agent.  I help people make changes that they want to make.  Sometimes, I’m a catalyst:  I don’t change much, when I provide you with a book to read, or a phone number to call for information on a subject you are interested in, but it might be something that helps you make a big change.  But if I conduct a class or a ceremony, or attend an event with you, I am learning and growing, along with you.
  12. Medicine Carrier — be it songs, or jars of smudging materials, or a book, or a feather, I bring with me, elements of ceremony and ritual which are essential to complete the healing that is to take place.

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[Digression:  if the word ‘Shaman’ doesn’t seem to fit for a person who does all of this, what would you call them?]

Share your talents and skills and passion (“Your Peace”) with Mother Earth, Father Sky, and the Big Waters all around us.

Learn more about the Earthways Shamanic Path by visiting, Earthways Shamanic Path

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

Journey of the Heart: The Symbols Within

This post substantially edits the May 10th post,    “Journey of the Heart:  The Shamanic Path Within.”

In this Blog, I am describing a Journey which I am on, to find my Spiritual Path.  I am on what is called the Earthways Shamanic Path.  That much is known and clear.  But since it is a path of my own invention, and I am blazing a trail, I have to feel my way, with each step.  Recently — at a New Moon meditation ceremony, two months ago, I came out of the ceremony with the vision of a great green spiral.  It looked something like this:

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A green spiral. (Photo credit unknown)

Green is the color of the Heart Chakra.  I am on a journey of the heart, but I knew the message wasn’t about romance.  Instead, this is about finding my soul’s connection to the great green spiral that pulses at my core, (at my Soul’s Heart,) and about my on-going dedication to honor my Path, “the Path with the most heart,” which was the most important lesson I got from the Carlos Castenada books.

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Photo Credit, unknown

[I thought the Spiral referred to the Sea…]

Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, you must find YOUR Path.  The one that will best nurture you and challenge you to grow and flourish.  This is the Path with the most Heart,.  Sometimes, following this path may require that you take focused steps winding along mountain sides.  Other times, you will discover the path completely drops off a cliff and you must ‘high back’ and leap across the chasm.  Trusting you will drop into the Sea, the deep waters all around us, and discover you are body surfing, jumping waves and the curl of the waves drops you off in a forest glen, densely green and lush and so soft and you enter it and the big green hum of cicadas sings to you, calls to your heart, their rising and falling crescendos a giant spiral yet again. Find your song, follow your path.

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Cicada by Whale Maiden 11/2015

Here’s the Important update, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans:  a few days after I posted   “Journey of the Heart:  The Shamanic Path Within”  I had a conversation with a helpful reader, who helped me understand that I had written TWO posts in one blog post.  (One was all about Music and Messages From Spirit. and I have pulled that one together, elsewhere.)  I realized the point of this Blog, was the symbol, the Green Spiral.  So, I searched the internet for images of green spirals, and that is when I found this:

As you can see in the accompanying text, the Koru spiral refers to “going back to the beginning, in order to nurture new phases in life”  And, what this means to me is, at that New Moon Ceremony, two months ago I was being encouraged to go back to my Path’s roots, and feel my way forward, to make sure I would make good choices in the subsequent time.

My experiences on my path began in Nature at the Jersey Shore (the wave as spiral) and included lots of time in the Pennsylvania woods, surrounded by cicada, who’s noises are an all enveloping spiral,   so, it is important to return to Nature to “Find the Path with the Most Heart.”

I’ve been through a lot of changes since that New Moon Ceremony, two months ago:  I’ve left a ten-year relationship.  I moved away from the house where I have lived for 15 years, the County for over 30.  I got a new job.  I’ve reconnected with my inner spirit, I am happy.  I’ve had some wonderful adventures out in Nature.  Has my Path sustained me during all this?  Yes, it has.  Am I connected to Spirit?  Yes, I am.

So I say to you, We are all Connected.  Share your Peace with Mother Earth, Father Sky, and with the Big Waters all around you.

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path, all rights reserved (Except for the spiral photos.)

Music: Messages From Spirit

Stick with me, there’s a point to all of this.

I wake up, not with the memory of a dream, but with a song, The Drugs Don’t Work, by The Verve, rolling out in complete recall: The lyrics, the melody, the complete orchestration…something like this acoustic recording, only more-so,

Spirit is giving me a message!    I do not do drugs, so, superficially, I can say this isn’t a message for me. But the odd thing about hearing this song this morning was, in spite of its melancholy tone, it didn’t make me sad; because of the ending, it actually makes me feel, and I mean, feel,  hopeful and connected to Spirit.

I’ve only recently heard this song when I reinstalled my entire CD collection onto my phone in April.  I have 2,095 tracks on my phone.  My cd player is set to play tracks, not albums, and it goes alphabetically from ”   “, (   ), 01, 02, and then A through Z.  I play these songs, end over end on all my various road trips across Florida.

You might think I’d get tired of hearing these songs in alphabetical order, but several factors are at play which  make every road trip a wonderful conversation with Spirit. Frequently, the system will jump from the T’s back to the S’s as if it is important for me to hear one particular song — like Scarborough Fair by Glen Campbell, followed by … Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkle.  I’m obviously meant to get that message… whatever it is. Deciphering these messages is a work in progress.

Due to the way a lot of CDs are produced, copied, shared and uploaded, I have a lot of songs called, Track 01, Track 02, Track 03 … so, there is a point in time where I get this strange rotation of songs by Albannach, and, Mbrascatu.  This is a strange pairing.  Albannach is tribal, Celtic, mostly pulsating drums and bag pips and some vocalizations.

Mbrascatu’s songs are sung in Italian, and accompanied by violins and other instruments.  I heard this band play live in Seattle in February 2016.  They are great fun to watch, they have great stage presence.  You know I danced.  I loved their music, but I do not speak Italian.  I don’t know what they are singing about.  It could be about their family, their lover, a lost love, their land, their wine or pasta.  I haven’t a clue. But the songs make me feel happy.    Here they are playing  “Cittu Za Vecchia” which they say means ‘shut up grand mother,’ but I think they were joking —

Here is what I’m really writing about today, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans.  Because of my Whale Energy (The Whales are some of my Spirit Helper Animals,) I pick up music and songs easily:  I’m tuned in to the way songs sounds.  I know romance languages and can make out syllables, I can sing La-La, La-La. La. La La La, la la la,  along with Mbrascatu.  I can learn the songs without knowing the words.

Recently, I was honored to attend a Sweat Lodge Ceremony where all the sacred songs were sung in Lakota.  Now, I do not speak Lakota, but when the people began singing, my Whales do their thing, and I respond in sound bytes and syllables, and gradually pick up the songs as time goes on, through repetition.  The first time I attended this Ceremony, back in late December, even though I didn’t know the words, the songs touched my Heart; it didn’t matter what the words were.  In one of the Ceremonies this past weekend, someone taking their first Sweat asked if the songs were available translated into English.  They wanted to know what the songs meant.  It is always a challenge to translate songs from one language to another because of grammar and sentence structure.  Lakota doesn’t translate to English very well at all because Lakota will have one word for a beautiful concept that must be described in a complete sentence.

This weekend, as I attended this wonderful and beautiful Ceremony, I learned more of the songs, and more and more of the words are seeping in, touching my Heart.  One day I will wake up singing those songs.

Footnote:  Maybe now, this part of my post “Journey of the Heart: The Shamanic Path Within” on May 10th, will make more sense:

I sing a lot.  Sometimes I sing out loud, and teach songs in sacred space.  Other times, I sing along to my cd player in my car as I am driving around Florida, on my circuit of road trips.

… the Song [the Messages from Spirit] is in my head and ears, rolling around in a great widening spiral to my heart… 

[On your Sacred Path,] the big green hum of cicadas sings to you, calls to your heart, their rising and falling crescendos a giant spiral yet again.  Find your song, follow your path.

And share your Peace with Mother Earth, Father Sky, and with the Big Waters all around you.

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path, all rights reserved (Except for the music videos.)