Doorways to the Earthways Shamanic Path

There are many doorways to access the Earthways Shamanic Path. 

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Honorable Shamans, this pagan path looks at earth based spirituality from a Shamanic perspective and is Florida based.    It was previously called the Florida Earthways Path, and then the Florida Earthways Shamanic Path, and you may see it called that in some places.

1.  You are at my Word Press Blog called, Whale Maiden — Suburban Shaman.   The tag line is, “The Earthways Shamanic Path – celebrate the magic of your land.”

2.  My Blog posts are published to the Word Press website and also to the Facebook PAGE called,  Earthways Shamanic Path.  This Facebook PAGE serves as an intermediate zone between the Blog and the Facebook Group.I post my morning meditations with the Kit Tan Who Is Six to the PAGE.

EwSP-FB Page.png

3.  I share my blog posts, and morning meditations to the   Earthways Shamanic Path-The Group  (we added the phrase “The Group” to it, to help everybody keep it separate from the FB PAGE.)   This is where all the content eventually lands.  This is where all the discussion happens, and this is where people share pictures and thoughts.  This is also where I post events going on in Florida.

EwSP-FB Group

4.    The website for Earthways Shamanic Path, is in development.  (Whoot, WHoot!)

So now you know how to find the Earthways Shamanic Path.  I hope this information is helpful to you, and please visit us through any of these doorways.

Walk through a doorway and share Peace with your Earth.

~Whale Maiden~

~~~ ♡ ~~~

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere. You just need to explore the magic of your land. What is it saying to you? What are the seasons, where you live? What do they mean to you? How are they celebrated?

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

(c) 2016, Whale Maiden. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Halloween and Samhain and the time in between

I have developed what has become a very complicated relationship with Halloween and Samhain. But first, let’s talk about the Full Moon. I love watching the Moon change over time. There is something so quietly sacred about this simple process, which we watch and are part of. Month after month, year after year, it is a natural process, it is a spiritual process.

For the Full Moon, just before Halloween 2015
For the Full Moon, just before Halloween 2015

When I was a kid, I couldn’t understand why Halloween didn’t occur on a Full Moon each year; I thought that only made sense, because of Easter and its connection to the Full Moon. But all the grown-ups would say was, “Halloween has always been October 31st.” I grew up in a Unitarian-Universalist household, and we didn’t celebrate All Saints Day or All Souls Day on November 1st. But I had friends who were Catholics, and they did. But all they could say was, “it’s all in Latin…” so they didn’t understand it, either. We were just kids, of course. Yet, on a basic level, I knew the whole time frame of the end of October and the beginning of November was somehow special, sacred even. At least to some people.

Halloween was special to me as a kid, because I got to design and dress up in a costume, and go outside walking around outside at night, and get candy. Each of these features was a rare opportunity in my childhood. I think Halloween should be kept as an event for children, as a right-of-passage.

As I grew a little older, I went through the phase where I felt I was too “grown up” to go trick-or-treating. And then, I grew a little older and began to find Halloween parties and other occasions where I could dress up in costume. Since Halloween wasn’t tied into the cycle of the Full Moon, it gradually became all about dressing up and partying to me. The partying was mostly indoors, so the connection to nature at night, was severed. And I watched as Halloween became just another over-commercialized consumer–oriented event in our economy, one where in 2014, it was “estimated that Americans will spend $350 million just on pet Halloween costumes…” And as the costumes for adults became more and more sexy/provocative or violent. And I gradually quit celebrating Halloween.

As a kid growing up, my connection to my Ancestors was an on-going lesson in History, since my Mom spent so much time researching our genealogy. Yet, it wasn’t presented as, ‘these are your beloved dead.’ Due to circumstances in my family, the deaths of my grandparents was treated in a somewhat remote fashion. I collected mementos of my grandparents to maintain connections to them, small objects that I carry with me to this day.

In my on-going spiritual path, I met some Native Americans. One was an Algonquin, and he shared with me the concept of Great Spirit, and how we were connected to all beings, and these were, “all my relations,” and I liked that, because I felt connected to all the animals and plants and rocks and trees and the Moon and the Stars. And also in my Spiritual path, I learned to SEE the energies of the fey and connected with the spirits of the animals.

happy samhain

And then I met my Wiccan and Druid friends, and was invited to my first Samhain. These rituals were celebrated outside and that was wonderful, to be outside at night time. And I liked the connection to the Spirits and the acknowledgement of our Ancestors and our Beloved Dead. I liked the idea that the “veil is thin at this time of year,” where we could make contact with our Ancestors and Beloved Dead.

After a year with that coven, I gradually felt that it was important to me to identify the holidays of my place here in Southwest Florida and to celebrate those holidays. So I left the Wiccan coven and went off on my own. I developed the Earthways Shamanic Path, and in Southwest Florida that is expressed as Rainy Season, Hurricane Season, Dry Season, and, Fire Season. Those holidays have “spiritual meanings,” and accompanying rituals, to be sure. But none of these holidays as yet address the deep spiritual need people have to connect to our Ancestors and Beloved Dead, and to do it in community.

In my Shamanic practices, I readily connect with my Animal helpers and guides, spirits. And with the Fey. And I can certainly connect with my Ancestors and Beloved Dead, at my Altar space. And as we are all getting older, and my Parents are now across the veil, I feel deeply, the need to honor them, to connect with them. This morning, I rearranged the things on my altar, the feathers, rocks, special objects and photographs of my parents and departed cousins. I lit candles and I lit some rosemary, to remember…

But what about that shared community experience? I belong to several spiritual communities. The Wiccans and Druids I met years ago are still my friends, and they have open Samhain gatherings. These are spiritual gatherings outside and at night, which satisfies my Earth-based needs, too, I’ll go to that tonight. And then tomorrow morning at my Unitarian Universalist Church, we have a ceremony honoring our Ancestors and our Beloved Dead. I’ll go to that, too.

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

(c) 2015 Whale Maiden All rights reserved

 

And Now it Begins: Hurricane Season in the Florida Branch of the Earthways Shamanic Path

Yesterday marked the 11th  anniversary of Hurricane Charley hitting Southwest Florida.  This weekend is the start of Hurricane Season, as celebrated by the Florida Branch of the Earthways Shamanic Path.  [The Good Folks at NOAA define the Hurricane Season as starting June 1, and going until November.  But that’s for the entire Atlantic Ocean.  In this Blog, and throughout the Earthways Shamanic Path documentation, we are talking about what is experienced in focused locations.]  Our Shamanic Path Hurricane Season runs from mid-August to mid-October.  It is mercifully short.

During June and July, the air temperature heated up, the water temperatures heated up and everything is warm-to-hot.  This heat stimulates storm activity.  Over the years, I have noticed that the intensity and frequency of Hurricanes
“increases” after the middle of August.  And here we are.

When we presented the Wheel of the Year for the Florida Branch of the Earthways Shamanic Path at our recent Monthly meeting, someone asked, “why would we celebrate Hurricane Season?”  Like her, several people attending our meeting had lived through the Hurricane Season of 2004, and still have vivid memories of that time.

Hurricane Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hit Florida in 2004.
Hurricane Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hit Florida in 2004.   Photo from NOAA.

So, I asked her, what is the Spiritual Meaning of Hurricane Season?

The themes of Hurricane  Season, are about planning and flexibility.  Here in Southwest Florida, in early June, the Hurricane Planners and Media folks do a great job to remind people that Hurricane Season is coming, and to make sure people know what to stockpile at home, what to keep in their car, and what to do when a Hurricane is approaching.  Due to the hard work of a lot of really good people, Florida has good roads in place, to help people evacuate.  There are wayfinding signs to help people evacuate.   It has hurricane shelters available.  The media print awesome Hurricane Guides.

Our job is to heed that advice.  We should make sure we have fresh batteries, stockpiles of water, and get our important documents in order.

And then we wait and wait and see what happens.  Most people do not like Hurricanes, because they do bring damage to man-made property.  However, some people really like the approaching storms, and get kind of excited about it.  The interesting thing about Hurricanes, is that they are a vital part of the Earth’s weather system.  It is how the Mother moves heat around and moves water around.

So the spiritual aspect has to do with planning ahead, and being ready to take correct action, but not letting that constant state of readiness exhaust you, or make you anxious.  During the 2004 Hurricane Season, there were Four major Named Storms in six weeks, and there were also  several tropical storms that we thought would come through, so we were in a state of constant readiness for weeks.

So as Hurricane Season approaches, in our Celebration, we will ask that we not be complacent.   We will ask that we learn to read the weather signs.  We will ask that our preparations will ensure us safe passage through the storm(s) that may come.  We will ask for Strength.

Another aspect of Hurricane Season, is learning how and when to ask for help.  After a hurricane blows through your house and your town, you will need help.  Recovery doesn’t happen all by itself.   Yes, we are strong and independent people.  We are grown ups, we are adults.  But after a Hurricane, it is ok to ask for help.  And it is certainly ok, to provide help to other people.

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere.  You just need to explore the magic of your land.  What is it saying to you?   What are the seasons, where you live?  What do they mean to you?  How are they celebrated? 

And Honorable Shamans, as we observe our holidays, “Let’s Share Peace With Our Earth.”

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden.  All Rights Reserved.

A rainy Fire Season

This time of year we celebrate Fire Season in Southwest Florida, which starts in mid-February and usually runs to mid-May.  In the Florida Earthways Shamanic Path, Fire Season is characterized by an influx of seasonal residents, and an influx of tourists.  Fire Season is also the time when it doesn’t rain much here, so there are numerous festivals each weekend.  You have to save your money all year to be able to attend all the Festivals and Faires that happen during Fire Season.  And, you have to decide what matters to you because there are so many choices.

Do you like food?  Music?  Art?  Dancing?  Car Races?  Swamp Cabbage?  Hot Air Balloons?  Charity Auctions and Balls?  There are festivals devoted to all these kinds of things, and more, all over Southwest Florida, this time of year.  But you can’t do it all!

Normally, the temperature is “seasonable,” which means that the end of January is still kind of cold, and then in February, the air temps start warming up and we have cool mornings and dry and comfortable afternoons.  We typically see the afternoon heat reach 80 degrees.  And there is usually little humidity.  And, we usually get very little rain during Fire Season, hence the name.

This year, we have had higher temps, more humidity and, rain.  Lots of rain.

Strange!!

Road trips and bioregions

I’ve recently had the opportunity to take several car trips from the North to the South and back and forth, over the past few weeks.

On one of the trips, I was by myself for three days of daytime driving  (18 hours total.)  This was something I have never experienced before, and I really enjoyed the Journey.  It was an extended meditation:  I listened to music, I looked at the scenery, I thought about things, and I drove.  One of the things I thought was interesting, was how the scenery changed about every 30 miles or so.  And I realized, that is about the extent of the bioregion.

When you have the opportunity to take a long car trip by yourself, try it.

When you have the opportunity to look at the scenery on a long car trip, notice how it changes.  Notice where the Big Hills turn to the smaller hills.  Notice the different trees and where they stand with different types of water.  Consider the names of the small towns you pass along the way.  See if you can identify where the boundaries of the bioregions are, along this route.

Discovering Your Bioregion

Bioregions were a big deal 10 or 20 years ago as a functional concept.  You don’t hear about it too much anymore.  Well, at least, I don’t.

A bioregion is the distinct area, surronded by creeks, canals, rivers, forests, or whatever.  They are usually fairly small, maybe a mile or so.  And they are biologically distinct from the bioregions next to it.

We see this vividly in Southwest Florida when the rain comes. It may be raining on one side of the street, but not the other side.

A bioregion contains animal life and plant life, distinct from nearby bioregions.

How do you know what bioregion you are in?  Do you know the boundaries of the bioregion you are in?  How about the one east of the one you are in?  And east of that?

(East is where the sun rises.  Remember the rest this way:  Never Eat Soggy Waffles.)

Messages from the Gods: Feathers

You are wandering around outside, thinking of something and you  look down and see a feather.  You’re about to pick it up. 

STOP! 

Before you lose your train of thought by touching the Feather, make a note of what you were thinking about.

Then note the direction the Feather is heading.  (You may want to orient yourself by putting your feet near the quill end of the Feather.)

The Direction the Feather is pointing to, signifies where additional thinking work is needed, on your part.  For example, if the feather is pointing to the East, this means you need to Think some more about the topic.  If it is pointing to the South, it means you need to consider your strengths and weaknesses.  If it points to the West, it means you need to consider your emotional response to the issue.  If it points North, it is time to put your thoughts into Action.  What resources will you need?

Oh, and if you come across a feather sticking straight up in the ground, or caught in some shrubbery, this means you need to center yourself.

Now pick up the Feather.

Because Birds fly close to the Heavens, Feathers represent messages from the Gods.  They clarify THOUGHTS.  (They clarify your thougts about your feelings, for example.)   Think about your issue again, and then let the Feather guide you. 

If you are facing North at your computer, here is an example of a feather pointing North West, (NW) which means you have some additional thinking to do about your emotions and your action plan:

 

And here is an example of a feather pointing South West (SW) which means you need to think about the strengths and weaknesses, and your emotions.:

 

The next layer of analysis has to do with where you found the feather, (city, woods, at waters edge) and how that relates to your situation, and, what kind of bird did the feather come from?

I’ll cover that in another post.