For those readers who have followed this blog a little ways, you know I am stepping out of the all-consuming grief of losing a spouse and the accompanying fear of making it on my own. Because, “I tell ya, sistas,” I ain’t taking on any more significant other relationships. I’m in my crone years, and this is a significant time for me to look at myself and see just what it is that I need in my life. I feel that I have given up a large part of myself in relationships that I have had and I need the freedom now to feel out my own inner spaciousness.

There are a lot of good things happening in my life. The black poodle puppy that I got to help me fill in the empty spaces in the home I created with Alan has earned his Puppy Kindergarten and AKC Starr Puppy certifications. I swear I thought I’d be repeating the last one, but Loki came through for me. He truly is a sweet soul, if he seems a trifle lah-dee-dah-minded some days. In truth he reminds me of me, asking “What did I forget now?” in the act of meeting life playfully and without keeping a strict agenda any longer. Our next puppy class, Puppy Agility, begins in nine days. I am anticipating FUN!!! Then my son, who is serving in America’s armed forces has less than a year to serve. I am anticipating the joy of having him closer to home again.

On a more serious note, I have been getting back in touch with my inner life. My husband and I met when we were both conducting healing classes–me with Reiki and he with Brugh Joy’s method. I really thought we’d build more on that within our relationship than we did, but hey. Old age (he had sixteen years on me) and the lack of population density in our rural area (lack of interest?) worked against us. So I wanted to recollect why I had begun my interest in healing work and regroup the tools and methods I have learned over the years. In my toolbox are the Gurdjieff Fourth Way method, Reiki, Ama Deus, the Mesa I carry, religious ideals I have studied, and the Norse Gods. I create for myself a lifestyle practice that I can maintain on a daily basis without necessarily making it a community practice. I’m not against community, but I am in an internal space where I need a level of solitude to listen to myself, to the Elements, to Nature, to Spirit. Solitude contains more purity of silence than the noisy thought forms of people who haven’t yet tuned into their own inner stillness.

Reiki and Ama Deus serve me by way of the symbols. The initial ideas behind the Gurdjieff method and the Mesa have a commonality I can draw from. The Mesa is a hand-woven cloth made of alpaca hair, which serves as an altar to contain the Four Directions and the Center; it is an indigenous South American equivalent to the Medicine Wheel of the North American indigenous peoples. The Four Directions represent body, emotion, mind, and spirit; these elements within humanity make up the different aspects of a person. Gurdjieff teaches that a human being has three centers–intellectual, emotional, and physical–and once a person has studied a while, sex center is added into the mix. These are all correlations I can work with for understanding myself and humanity. The Mesa makes use of khuyas, or healing stones, that can be attuned to each of the Four Directions and their accompanying elements. This is what I have been doing this week: Reviewing my khuyas for what has changed in my life and the inner work that I am now prepared to take up, for the stones that help to heal me contribute to residual inner work that leads me as a healer to folks I am uniquely suited to guide to a leg up on their own life journey.

There is a story that a lost tribe of Inca came out of the jungle to bring the ancient shamanic teachings of Ayni (reciprocity and love) and the Mesa to modern people who had lost their reverence and relationship to Great Nature and Pachamama (Mother Earth). Mesa work utilizes ritual and ceremony to bring a Mesa carrier into accord with reverence for the Earth, Moon, Sun, elements, and the Supreme Creator (whom Gurdjieff terms the Absolute). One is then able to move reverently with gratitude and humility in service to the great powers of life itself. The practices associated with the Mesa help me to rise up from my ego’s preferences into the spiritual grace of my soul’s purpose. (To learn more about carrying a Mesa, Matthew Magee’s PERUVIAN SHAMANISM: The Pachakuti Mesa on the teachings of don Oscar Miro-Quesada is a good resource).

I have often wondered whether I ought to be following one tradition or another, but I finally decided one tradition is not my path. Foundation to my decision was that the Norns, the Giantesses or Goddesses of Fate and Destiny of the Nordic, Germanic, and Scandinavian peoples, appeared at my Mesa one night in January of 2013, seated themselves at my Mesa and began to show me the work of the Weave. The Norns, and later Frau Holle, had entered into a tradition from halfway across the world. That effort also left me to conclude that the “Great Ones,” the Beings who have achieved the level of Archetype, Avatar, Boddhisattva, God, Goddess, and Ascended Masters do not need human cultural customs in order to communicate or teach humanity. Rather it is humanity who needs ritual practices and customs in order to facilitate the creation of sacred space and focus the mind and heart upon communion with the sacred.

Since the Norns first came to me in 2013 I have taken up Ancestor work which contributes to my own healing. A dear friend whom I consider nigh fully evolved, even though she would never say so, has faced her own battles with the addictions that seek to escape pain. She said to me that as we heal ourselves of the bull shit of our childhood, we are also healing our ancestors. I like this thought. It cannot be scientifically measured, as a lot of spiritual work cannot be scientifically measured; but I know that when I feel healed of something that has been bothering me, the energetic vibrations I pick up from the Ancestor Altar generally also feel freed of that. There is so much that we pick up from our caregivers, teachers, and families of origin in the way of beliefs about life. Instead of blindly accepting that is just how things are, why not put those beliefs and conditioned ideas through the litmus test of your own life experience? Question things that you are told! Learn to think for yourself, if you haven’t already.

Here’s a biggie that can contribute to societal healing. Among the inherent causes of racism, for example, is the discomfort that arises because other people are not just like us. If you get a chance to speak with a person of a different religion, color, or culture, take it! Be discerning and respectful, of course, but use the opportunity to step beyond your own comfort zone. Don’t assume you are better than someone else, just different. See what you can learn.

The gifts of Ancestor work develop as my practice deepens. I have been able to work through the psycho-dynamics associated with my adoptive family. I have approached some issues with my birth family, but these do not feel close to my heart. However, there are ancestors among them, particularly from many generations back, who have reached out to me. My blood family is Swedish, and among the Elder Ancestors who connect with me is a gentleman who was the last Rune master in the family. In order to preserve the family, he advised his children to convert to Christianity. He foresaw a child down the line who would take up the Runes again. That child was me. Another thread from my biological, maternal ancestresses is a disir, whom is like the fylgja. This ancestress has taught me shape-shifting in the imaginal realm, a practice of Odin and Freyja. So the best fruit born by the Ancestor work by far has been a feeling of belonging, since feeling excluded from a sense of family accompanied me until I met my second husband.

If this blog today seems like a rambling missive, it kind of is. I’ve been reading Facebook posts by a writer who has called himself a “fluffy shaman.” He is a big proponent of what is a dyed hard in the wool type of shaman from a true ethnic lineage, and what is different about core shamanism. There is an attitude that one does not call one’s self a shaman, but instead a shaman is recognized as such by others. I got caught up in that for a while, but lately, I am pushing any identification with that aside, and just ramping up my practice. It’s all about honoring what my soul calls me to do, and in the end that is the most authentic choice I can make.


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