Writing Creatively With Spirit

A journey of psychic discovery


Leave a comment

Messages from Butterflies

Tuesday 30th July 2013

On Sunday I worked in my lounge which has a beautiful stained glass window. Throughout the whole day a white (well kind of cream really) butterfly kept my company. Well, maybe ‘kept my company’ is a little misleading; it would be more accurate to say we shared the same space. We didn’t communicate with each other. The butterfly flapped its wings manically against the window, as if trying to push through the glass, for longs periods of time, and then was still for equal lengths of time. It carried on like this all day making no attempt to leave the room or the corner it was in, even though the door was open.

On Monday morning when I did my cards a single one fell out – the butterfly.

When I went into the lounge the butterfly from the day before was still there, sitting on the window ledge. I vacuumed around it but it didn’t move.

There were lots of white butterflies in the garden, and have been there for some days, I asked it if it didn’t want to go out and join its friends, but it didn’t move or acknowledge me.

My son came to visit and I told him the saga of the previous day and the morning. He was fascinated, but could offer no explanation.

As I drove off on the hot summer day with my windows down to attend a friend’s funeral, I realised there was a white (cream) butterfly flying around in the car. It went into one of the spare pair of my shoes that was on the floor of the passenger side.

As I pulled over to call my son to tell him the butterfly flew out of the window.

Animal Spirit Guides Stephen D Farmer, PH.D.

Animal Spirit Guides
Stephen D Farmer, PH.D.

Today the one in the lounge is still there, so I looked up the meaning of butterfly again. I knew they meant big changes but wondered if there was something else I was missing.

Here’s what Stephen Farmer’s book  Animal Spirit Guides says:

If BUTTERFLY shows up it means:

  • Lighten up and stop taking everything so seriously.
  • Get ready for a big change, one where an old habit, way of thinking, or lifestyle is going out, and a new way of being is emerging.
  • It’s time to make the changes you’ve been considering.
  • In spite of the challenges, you’ll get through this transition, and as always, you know that ‘this too shall pass.’
  • Express yourself by wearing more colourful clothing.

I read the meanings to a friend and joked about the fact that I was wearing cream and black – hardly the most colourful of clothes. She suggested that I should speak to the butterfly and ask it what message(s) it had for me.

Oh yes, I became Mrs Doolittle. I spoke to the butterfly as it sat motionless on the window, as it had done for hours.

‘What’s with all the flapping and all the hanging around?’ I asked casually.

As if in answer it began flapping around, not as frenetically as on Sunday, but definitely flapping. When it opened its wings I noticed the black markings on the outside. It wasn’t just cream, it was black and cream. We matched! Not all butterflies are colourful. Then it was still again. Then another little flap, and a longer spell of stillness.

Then I swear it said to me, ‘I was a pupa before I became a butterfly, learn to be still. At the moment you need more stillness than activity. Be still.’

Have I officially flipped???

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – Eagles and Jaguars

Journey to find the significance of the Jaguar and Eagle in my life.

Monday 29th July 2013

Yesterday I got a reply to the blog Way of the Shaman – Power Animal Retrieval. Sandra asked whether I was aware that ‘The Jaguars’ and ‘The Eagles’ were names given to elite warriors in the Aztec army.

I wasn’t, but Googled it, and sure enough my animal teachers were the noble and elite warriors of that ancient civilization.

Now, this was a little disconcerting because I have no wish to go into battle over anything. Not voluntarily anyway. In fact my whole focus of the moment is towards peace, inner and outer.

I was so rattled by this that I decided to do a shamanic journey to find the answer. This is what happened.

I journey to the lower world through my usual axis mundi, the tree in my front of my house. As I entered the lower world my teacher, the jaguar, was waiting for me. I told him why I’d come.

He contemplated for a little while with his head down. I’m getting used to his ways now. He seems to take his time to consider how best to work with me.

When he raised his head a big round boulder had materialise beside me.

‘Sit down,’ he said softly.

I did as I was told and he sat opposite me.

‘You need to learn to breathe like a jaguar’ he continued in his soft voice. ‘You need to learn how to rest properly and be ready for action when necessary. When you get back look up how jaguars breathe.’

We sat for a while, both of us breathing deeply.

‘Why do I need to be ready for action?’ I asked, remembering the warrior link.

He showed me a crowd of people, thousands of heads, like when the spotlight washes over the crowd at a concert.

‘What are they doing?’ I asked perplexed.

He didn’t answer for a while, and then in a voice I could just about hear he said, ‘you’ll touch them all in some way.’

I was about to ask another question but he indicated that I should get back to the deep breathing. He kept reiterating how important it was for me to learn to breathe properly, to relax, and to be prepared.

After what seemed like a long time I asked him why I hadn’t seen the eagle since the course. Almost as soon as the question left my lips the eagle appeared beside him. She was almost the same size as him.

She bowed her head to me, then the jaguar did too, then they both bowed together. I bowed back.

We sat looking at each other in silence for a while before the eagle reached out her right wing and gently, as if I was a baby, stroked the left side of my face. Looking deeply into my eyes she stroked my right cheek with her left wing before enveloping me in both wings.

She felt tender and soft and I could have happily stayed in her embrace forever. It was then I felt the jaguar put his arms around us in a group hug. I felt safe and protected and very reluctant to leave as the music changed to the call back tempo and I made my way back up the tree roots into my room.

The message about relaxing made a lot of sense to me as I’ve been flying around like a mad thing recently. It was interesting, when I reflected on the experience, that I had gone on a journey to meditate, because that is clearly what I’d done for most of the time. This message was reiterated with an experience I had with butterflies. See blog Messages from butterflies.

Touching many people? Yes, that makes sense too, because words can do that. It doesn’t mean I have to personally meet with thousands of people.

But I’m still not clear why specifically a jaguar and an eagle. I looked up how jaguars breathe but couldn’t find anything.

I’d be happy to hear your take on any of it.


4 Comments

The Way of the Shaman – Power Animal Retrieval – Page 9

This was the last exercise of the course and the only one that was optional. By now I was beginning to feel the effects of the lack of sleep.

Essentially it was to give us a chance to experience what Simon and Martha had just done for the two participants in the healing canoe.

The exercise involved journeying to the lower world to see if there was a power animal that once worked with your partner who wanted to return and help.

The instructions were these.

Go to the lower world

Meet the animal at least three times

Gather the energy of the animal and bring it back

Place the energy into the client at the heart and head

Ensure the energy filled up the whole body

Use the rattle all around the body to seal in the energy

Do NOT bring back snakes, reptiles dripping venom, or insects of any kind

As before we would take it in turns. I decided to go first.

My partner lay down on his ample cushion and I made sure a part of me was touching him as instructed.

As the drumming began I set the intention for the journey:

‘I intend to journey to the lower world to see if there was a power animal that was once with my client that wishes to return to help in their life’

I went down the tree roots again and met the jaguar as before. By now we had built a great relationship and after the bear rug incident I trusted him completely.

I asked if he could take me to an animal that used to work with my client. Immediately he showed me, through an opening, a gazelle.

‘Is that it?’ I asked the jaguar.

‘Why don’t you ask it?’ he said as the gazelle made its way over to us.

‘Are you the power animal for my client?’

It nodded and ran off playfully.

‘I need to see it three times,’ I told he jaguar.

‘I know,’ he said knowingly, then proceeded to show me the gazelle through two other openings as we walked along. These openings just seem to appear out of nowhere, and the gazelle was there.

It came willingly to have its energy gathered up, and I had to stretch my arms up, down and sideways to make sure I’d gathered it all. I could imagine how ridiculous I must look to someone who wasn’t aware of what I was doing.

Once I had it all gathered up I thanked the jaguar who had simply looked on, and told him I had to return. On this occasion Simon had said we didn’t have to wait for the call back if we were finished before.

I made my way back to the tree root and, with the gazelle’s energy gathered closely to my chest wondered how I was going to get back up the roots without losing it. I felt something hook into my braids and began to winch me up the roots.

I carefully placed the energy on my partner’s chest and blew hard to make sure it entered his body. Then, as instructed, I blew the remnants into his head.

I found the rattle and when I was satisfied that it had filled up his body sealed it in by shaking the rattle all around him. I saw other people doing the same thing and realised how odd we would look to a passerby.

During the feedback my partner said he could feel the energy enter his body, and wasn’t surprised that his animal was a gazelle, as all his animals were playful ones.

When we did the switch over I lay down and totally went with the instruction that all I had to do was wait and receive. Happy days, no more work. I was drifting into the beat of the drum when I felt my partner’s hands on my chest. As he blew a wave of energy shot through me causing minor tremors at first which soon became convulsions. The drumming became louder and more intense and the convulsions became more frequent and pronounced. I was being totally energised, shot through with something invisible that revived me so that when the drumming reached a crescendo I was fully charged and ready to run a marathon.

At the feedback my partner said my animal was a massive eagle who was virtually chomping at the bit to get back to me. Its energy was so powerful he struggled to bring it back, but he was pretty confident that he blew all of it into my body.

During the final large group feedback I received two profound pieces of information.

1)      One of the women said she had an intense sexual experience. At last! Someone else who admits to this. I spoke to her later. She said, ‘use it; it’s a gift’ but that I should journey on the most appropriate way to use the gift.

2)      One person said she’d been told once that her illness was caused by evil spirits, and wondered whether we risk putting evil spirit into someone in this exercise. She said a shaman had removed the evil spirit and her condition got better.

Simon said nothing was created evil. What we perceive as evil spirits are things that are in the wrong place. The shaman’s job is to remove it and put it back in its rightful place.

I was trying to explain this to a friend and used the analogy of mint. It’s a very useful plant, but left to its own devices it will overtake any space in which it’s planted. It will kill off other plants in its way. That doesn’t make the mint evil. If it’s contained in its proper place it’s simply a useful plant.

Some gardeners say ‘a weed is only a flower growing in the wrong place.’

Viruses in their own habitat are not harmful, but they are when they inhabit human bodies.

This was extremely reassuring for me, and I left feeling spiritually replenished and with a lot more knowledge.

I’d totally recommend this course. I’m really looking forward to doing the advanced course on soul retrieval.

The Amadeus Centre, West London

The Amadeus Centre, West London


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – The Spirit Canoe – Page 8

Yesterday Simon had asked anyone who had a long-standing health issue who would like to be considered for healing to put their names in a hat. I didn’t consider my broken finger long-standing enough so didn’t bother.

The session after lunch was the one which would help us to understand the healing element of shamanic practice.

2002-01-01 00.00.00-1685Simon explained that in a village or community where shamanism is practiced healing is a community issue. If the baker is ill, it is within the community’s interest to ensure s/he recovers as quickly as possible. There is no NHS or private health insurance.

In shamanism when a person becomes ill it is because of some imbalance in the system caused by a loss of their personal power. They are power-empty. The shaman will journey to where the power has gone and bring it back to the person to make them power-full again which enables them to heal.

As a group we were going to assist in helping two people from the group become power-full again.

It would involve travel on a canoe to an axis mundi of the shaman’s choosing. The community would row the canoe there and back and journey with the shaman while rowing the canoe.

This was a big physical exercise involving all fifty-two of us on the course, including Simon and Martha who would be the shaman working with the two people who needed healing.

‘We will form a canoe with our bodies slightly touching,’ Simon instructed us. ‘The oldest in the room will sit at the head of the canoe and will not be required to row. Four people will sit at the back and keep the drum beat. The people forming the body of the canoe will row in unison on the beat of the drum.

When we reach our destination the drum will stop while the shaman recovers and re-inserts the power into the people who are unwell. Then we will turn around (metaphorically) and row back.’

He gave those of us who needed the toilet time to go while the other began to form the canoe. When I returned and saw the bodies on the floor in the shape of a huge canoe with two people lying in the middle of it I was instantly transported back to the slave ships.

I had a very uneasy feeling as I found my place toward the back of the canoe and took up my imaginary oar. We were told that the downward stroke had to be on the beat of the drum, and as we began I felt as though my soul had done this before. That I knew too well the downward stroke of the oar and the beat of the drum at precisely that tempo was all too familiar.

I closed my eyes and tried to focus on the journey to heal the two people in the centre of the canoe, but my eyes became more and more filled with tears with each downward stroke. I saw in my mind’s eye my people from hundreds of years ago making this journey, and in a very odd way felt that I had made this journey myself.

I stopped rowing and opened my eyes to watch what was going on. The two shaman made hand gestures and body movements that I knew from growing up in Jamaica and from watching films about witch-doctors and medicine men. Only these people were white, and not wearing traditional head-dresses and animal skins. Everything about them, even the whistling that sounded like bird cries seemed familiar.

Eventually my tears dried, the canoe was returned safely and the community opened its collective eyes and arms to embrace the newly healed.

‘That was very powerful,’ one participant said at the break following the healing.

‘Yes,’ I answered, ‘it took me to a very strange place.’


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – Journeying for Others – Page 7

Refreshed by strong green tea and some cherries brought in from one of the participant’s garden, and basking in the compliment that I looked remarkably fresh despite my lack of sleep, I was ready for the next session.

It began with Simon explaining that journeying on behalf of others is the raison d’être of a shaman. They go to the upper and lower worlds to find answers. If I’ve said this before it’s because it was said on so many occasions.

‘There are no hard and fast rules in shamanism,’ Simon said, ‘but there are some basic guidelines for effective journeying.’

  1. Never interpret the journey for the client.
  2. Tell the client that spirit communicates in metaphors. Pass the metaphors on as you get them. Don’t try to make sense of them for the client. This is an area where spirituality and shamanism differ markedly.
  3. Pay attention to what happens immediately after you’ve asked the question, particularly to any sensations in the body, any sounds, visions etc. And feedback to the client anything that happens to you, for example if it was a struggle to get going, it may be that the client is experiencing a struggle getting going on the issue they’ve brought.

The emphasis, he stressed, particularly for this session, was on having a go. For some it would be the first time of journeying for someone else but trust in the process would help massively.

‘This is where you get to choose your own question for journeying,’ he said.

PICT1217  ‘Think of an issue in your life that you’d like some clarity on, or a question you’d like an answer to. Write it down, and then choose someone to work with. It’s important that you choose someone you don’t know because then you will trust more what you’re given without wondering if you’ve made it up because you know the person.’

I couldn’t think of anything pressing, and eventually settled on asking what do I need to focus on when I go to Cameroon?

A young woman who was to the right of me who I hadn’t worked with before agreed for us to work together.

‘How odd,’ she said in surprise when we disclosed our questions. Hers was What will I gain from going to Geneva next week? ‘We both have questions about travelling.’

Not so odd I thought. People with similar issues have a way of finding each other on these courses.

Although in reality the client would not undertake a journey at the same time as the shaman, Simon said that as this was a training session each person – client and shaman – would journey on the same question/issue and compare experiences at the end. So it was that both my partner and I journeyed on my question first.

The Journeys

Again the blindfold, again the drumming, and again I choose to go to the lower world, even though we had the choice of either upper or lower, and again I went down the roots of the copper birch tree in my garden.

I came straight out into the village clearing and the jaguar was waiting for me.

‘Where’s grandma?’ I asked, wondering why I hadn’t gone through the room again.

‘Her job was to introduce us,’ he said as though talking to a small child who doesn’t yet understand the ways of the adult world. ‘She’s done that now.’

‘I’m so happy to see you.’ I said.

‘It’s good to have you back,’ he answered smiling.

‘Can I ask you a question?’

‘Sure, that’s what I’m here for,’ he replied and looked at me quizzically.

‘What do I need to focus on when I’m in Cameroon?’

He held his head down for a while then beckoned to me to walk with him. After only a few paces he stopped and I saw a circle of stones of different shapes, sizes and colours. I looked at them for a while expecting them to either do something or for him to explain what they were for.

When it became evident I didn’t know what to do he indicated to me to pick them up. It was as I bent to pick up the first one that I noticed there were twelve of them in the circle.

I held the first stone, a pale looking one that fitted snugly into my left palm, and watched in astonishment as it changed into a dove and fluttered away.

The second, slightly larger stone, was covered in moss. As I rubbed the moss away I instantly found myself in a brightly lit cafe somewhere in Birmingham, England, with orange and yellow decor.

I was there just long enough to think ‘how strange’ before I was back with the jaguar and the stones.

I had massive resistance to picking up the third, a very dark, almost black flat stone. The jaguar noticed my reluctance and kept quietly encouraging me to pick it up.

I finally bent down, and as I picked it up I felt a wave of energy rush through my body. It was as if someone had turned a fire fighter’s pressure hose full on and the water was being pumped through my body at full force. I gripped the stone tight, the only thing I had to hold on to as the force pushed me backward. I feared I would fall, and at that moment noticed that the jaguar had positioned himself behind me to support me if indeed I fell.

I was still holding the stone and trying to steady myself when I heard the call back tempo. I said a quick thank you to my jaguar teacher and ran, still holding the stone back up the roots. I left the stone on my drive before returning to the room.

After I told my partner what had happened, she apologised and said nothing quite that dramatic happened to her. She said she saw a big cat lying chilled out on a beach allowing the waves to wash over him.

Was it a black jaguar?’ I asked intrigued.

‘No, it wasn’t black, a bit mottled and I think it was a leopard.’

He kept disappearing and appearing again until she asked him to stand still long enough for her to get a good look at him. Then he was suddenly ‘in her face’ but not in a scary way.

The beach was a small cove with cliffs behind it, and the leopard encouraged her to lay down with him and let the waves wash over her too. The odd thing was that the waves were rainbow coloured, not the usual white foam.

There wasn’t time to process the information to any great degree because we had to move into changing over.

I went straight back down through the roots again to ask the question on her behalf, but this time there were some obstructions that I had to get past, so the ride down was not as smooth.

The jaguar was there waiting for me as before.

‘Back so soon?’ he said half jokingly.

‘Yes, I have a question about someone else. Can I ask you on someone else’s behalf?’

‘I’ve told you, it’s what I’m here for,’ he answered patiently.

‘Well, the question is ‘what will Trina gain from going to Geneva next week?’’

He was still for so long I wondered if he’d heard me, and I was just getting ready to ask the question again when he began walking around in a big figure of eight.

‘Anything else?’ I asked when he stopped.

‘Tell her she will learn to climb.’ Then he showed me two ladders. ‘Tell her she will learn to climb quicker without the ladders.’

Then he rapidly showed me Trina flying a kite on a hill. The green body of the kite had a pink tail attached and was flying free.

Pineapple

Pineapple

Next he took me down what appeared to be a grove or a tropical orchard. On the right was an orange tree with one orange on it. On the left a pineapple tree with one pineapple on it, and straight ahead a hibiscus bush with a fully open stunning cerise flower.

‘Tell her she’s wiser than she knows,’ he said. And just when I was thinking it was a lot to remember I heard the call back drums. As I was saying thank you and getting ready to leave he said, ‘show her the bear skin rug,’ and showed me a bear skin rug.

As I did her feedback her eyebrows raised further and further up her face, and when I mentioned the bear skin rug her hand flew to her mouth. The only thing she asked me was whether a hibiscus is similar to an orchid.

She shared a bit of her story. The trip to Geneva is to see a partner who had recently become her ex. As the ticket was already bought and they were still friends they’d agreed that she’d still go.

It was her intention to climb while she was there, her ex-partner was mad about orchids and the reason her hand had flown to her face was because he’d always said he’d buy a bear skin rug to put in front of the fire place and make love to her on it.

She could not yet make sense of the other pieces of information, but those three pieces had been convincing enough.

This is where I felt a strong conflict between working spiritually, psychically and shamanically. (Is there such a word?) Working psychically I would be trying to make sense of the metaphors for her. I’d be looking at the fact that the kite was green and pink and therefore connected to the heart, that the ladders were not necessarily about physical climbing, that the orange, pineapple and hibiscus represented tropical regions. But I couldn’t, and as I held my thoughts to myself I realised that it probably wasn’t a good thing to try to interpret the metaphors. I’d never have known the meaning of the bear skin rug.

A few days later when I was telling a friend about my part of the journey she was fascinated that the stone turned into a dove. She googled ‘stone turning into a dove’ and came up with an RSPB project called Dovestone Reservoir Memory Bank Oral History Project

http://www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering/6258-dove-stone-reservoir-memory-bank-oral-history-project-volunteer

It’s a project using volunteers. It would appear that at least some of my volunteering in Cameroon should be spent looking at oral history.

With some reflection I think the other images were about looking at or supporting an enterprise project, and certainly the black stone represented a deep and powerful connection with the land.

I know that this is a long blog, but if you have any comment on any of it at all, however tiny I’d love to hear from you.


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – Voluntary Possession – Page 6

Day two of the course.

I was hoping to be in better shape for today’s activities as Simon had said we’d be focusing on working for the community, with the emphasis being on working. It’s what shaman do, their raison d’être.

Exhausted from the previous day I’d gone to bed at 9.30 p.m.  Despite the noise and sirens on Kilburn High Road I slept like the proverbial log. I stirred when I heard a key in my door lock but drifted back to sleep thinking that maybe I’d imagined it.

Alas no! I hadn’t.  There followed a few minutes later a very determined effort by someone on the other side trying to turn a key in my lock which was clearly not designed for it. Rather than question the lack of fit the person just kept trying.

I was awake now, and even more so after I bellowed at him ‘It’s the wrong room!’

‘Oh, sorry, sorry,’ came a very slurred Irish voice from the other side of the door. Obviously another resident uncertain of the location of his room; convinced he knew where it was when he went out and now wondering why it had moved.

I trust he remembered in due course as he stopped trying to get into mine, but now that I was awake I became aware of the heavy thumping music somewhere outside. I’m pretty certain the barman told me the Black Lion (the pub I was staying above) closed at 1 a.m. Were they having some kind of lock in? Even so he’d told me the noise wouldn’t travel up to the second floor, and indeed it hadn’t the night before.

I checked the time on my phone. 1.35. I look out of the window and note with dismay that The Good Ship opposite the Black Lion is a night club.

At 3.30 was hoping, no praying that they would end at 4.00, but that prayer went answered. I used the next hour to catch up on my journaling before sliding into exhausted oblivion at about 4.30.

I did think though that there’s no such thing as too much noise – just not enough fatigue. When we’re tired enough we’ll sleep anywhere.

At 7.30 a.m. when my alarm woke me all was quiet and peaceful outside.

I only mentioned all this to give an idea of the state I was in when I arrived for day two of the course. I was incredibly grateful Simon said our first exercise would involve a lot of movement.

He referred to it as voluntary possession, explaining that the word  possession has been a given a bad name by Hollywood, with film like The Exorcist, The Shining and many others.

Possession is essentially allowing spirit to work through you. By allowing your spirit teachers to merge with you, you save your own energy, because you don’t have to do the work.

It was one of the things he said anthropologists found baffling when studying indigenous shaman who could perform rituals for hours, sometimes for days without fatigue.

Becoming voluntarily possessed basically means allowing spirit to move you in whatever ways it feels appropriate, and to speak through you. Very much like trance mediumship.

The first exercise involved all of us standing up and moving around the room in a clockwise direction to the beat of drums – four experienced drummers from the group were enlisted to supplement Simon’s drumming.

‘Just allow yourself to be and to do,’ he encouraged. ‘Allow yourself to become completely merged with the animal or the human teacher you met yesterday.’

We began with a power song that we all sang while standing and holding hands.

Come, fill me, give me a song, move me.’

We sang this three or four times before the drumming began and we started to walk around the room.

I connected with the music straight away as it was very reminiscent of the reggae beat. Within a short space of time I became the beat again, as I did in the journey to the upper world. I was stamping and twisting, jumping and spinning, snaking and sliding.

It reminded me of how I get sometimes on the dance floor when I’m lost in the music, when I dance all night without a break, even for a drink.

That bit was familiar. What wasn’t was the sound  that started some somewhere deep in my belly and worked its way up through my chest, became amplified in my throat and boomed out of my mouth.

It wasn’t a song as such, more of a deep moan, a groan that sounded ancient even to my own ears. I’d never made a sound like that consciously, and it came over and over again, until I realised that my skin was wet with the sweat of dancing and my face from the tears that flowed from a previously untapped source.

The music became faster, more insistent, and something inside me felt ready to burst out, to find life in the outside world after eons of being trapped. It felt as if I was in that space for days, not just the fifteen minutes Simon said.

When the drumming stopped I was breathing heavily, as if I’d been running a long race. It took a couple of minutes for my breath to return to normal.

It reminded me of something that happened to me when I was seventeen, but that was a long time ago.


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – The Stone Speaks – Page 5

In this the last exercise of the first day the purpose of the stone we were asked to bring became evident.

Lilacs

Lilacs Tools of a Shaman

‘Shamen are masters of observations,’ Simon explained by way of introduction. ‘They have knowledge of the physical world, of the nature and properties of plants, of crystals, rocks, the sea, animals and birds. They are able to ask any and all of these for help in healing and helping individuals and communities.’

It was time to pick up our stones as we were going to use them to find answers to questions.

The exercise required that we worked with a partner, one as client, one as scribe. The client was to write down a question they’d like an answer to and pass their notebook to their partner who would write down the answers as they were given.

The client was to look at one side of the stone and try to find four images on it, then turn it over and do the same on the other side. The scribe would record. Then in turn the client would ask each image the question, speak the answer, and the scribe would record it exactly as said.

This would enable the client to stay focused on getting the answers without the distraction of having to write it down.

I found this exercise quiet easy as I’m used to reading objects – all those months in the psychic development circles came in useful. My partner similarly found he exercise quite easy.

I asked the question ‘What is the purpose of my shamanic practice?’ and looked at the stone. I saw a heart, raindrops, a cave and a tent with only two sides, an incomplete tent.

On the other side I saw railway tracks, an old man, back to back linked c’s like the logo for Channel, and a gorge.

This is what they said after I asked each in turn ‘What is the purpose of my shamanic practice?’

Heart said – open your own heart.

Raindrops said – cleanse the world.

Cave said – bring yourself and others into the light.

Incomplete tent said – bring completion.

Rail tracks said – create a path that others can follow.

Old man said – give up the belief in age.

Crossed cs said – know that we are all linked.

Gorge said – leave a legacy.

Once we had done that we had to combine the first four answers into one sentence, and do the same for the second four, then combine both sentences into one to give a complete answer. One or two small linking words were allowed but essentially the words shouldn’t be changed. I ended up with,

By opening your own heart you cleanse the world, bring yourself and others into the light and bring the completion that carve a path that others can follow; by giving up the belief in age, knowing that we are all linked and by that leave a legacy.’

Sounds a bit like my mission statement for my shamanic practice. I see now why the jaguar said some of the things I would do would scare me. Carve a path for others to follow!! No pressure then.

The following day Simon told us that the rock should be taken back to where we found it unless we had further use for it. He said it was a way of not walking the ‘Path of Paraphernalia.’ This is where we acquire stuff that we keep even when we can’t even remember why we got them in the first place.

‘In shamanism the acquisition of things equals lack of spirit. Addictions equal a lost part of the soul,’ he advised.

I made a mental note to throw out a few more things, and shop a little less.