“For me, the essence of a medicine man’s life is to be humble, to have great patience, to be close to the Earth, to live as simply as possible, and to never stop learning.”
~Archie Fire Lame Deer, Lakota
The Medicine people focus on their Being, not their doing. After all, we are human beings not human doings. The Medicine people are very patient and consciously trying to live a life of humility. Medicine people are servant leaders. Their main purpose is to serve the needs of others. By this service attitude, they become the leaders people listen to and the leaders the people want to follow.
The Medicine people say everyone is their teacher. Maybe we should try to live this way ourselves; humble, patient, honoring the Earth and listening to our teachers.
Grandfather, today, let me know all people are my teachers and I am the student.
Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about his religion. Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and of service to your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place. Show respect to all people, but grovel to none. When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.
~Tecumseh -(1768-1813) Shawnee Chief
“A long time ago, there lived a human being who always went out of his way to help the people of his village.
“When the elders could no longer hunt for themselves, he would bring them food.
“A young couple getting married could count on him to help make their tipi poles and gather the hides needed to cover their lodge.
“If a child’s family was killed, he would take that child in and raise it as his own.
“And there were many more good deeds he performed that no one knew of, because he never sought praise or attention for his actions. Every day he remained alert to what he could do to help his tribe, and he did so with good humor and enthusiasm.
“Many years went by in this way and all the while the Creator watched this man and took note of his virtues.
“At long last, when the man’s hair had turned to snow, and the days ahead were becoming fewer, the Creator thought, ‘All these years I’ve watched him help my people. I could use someone like him to be helping out all the time. I’m going to immortalize him.’
“So the Creator turned the man into a cedar tree.”
Bear Heart continued:
“There are many uses for cedar — it stays green year round, so it can be gathered and dried at any time. Burning dried cedar on coals creates smoke and we can pray with that smoke — it carries our prayers up to the Heavens.
“When children are restless in a home, burning cedar calms them down.
“When you just don’t feel too good for hardly any reason at all, you can burn cedar in your home and you’ll feel better. The cedar already knows what’s needed to bring harmony because he was a man who knew how to help people.
“So that’s the story of cedar. He was a man once.”
Power animals are easier to contact than ancient ones. Their voices are louder. They are easier to see. They will come and speak to you when you need them. The animals are helpers. Like ancient ones they are guides. They tell you what you need to know. They give you their immense energy. No shaman would ever go into sacred space without their animal helper.
Power animals can assist you in the waking state as well. Perhaps you are trying to teach someone a particular theme and they are having difficulty understanding. Power animals are not limited to mammals. The reptilian and insect kingdoms can be just as helpful.
- Ask Wolf for assistance; she is the great teacher.
- Remember the old adages: clever as a Fox, strong as an Ox, etc.
- Perhaps you need camouflage – then ask Brother Fox for assistance.
- If you seek wisdom, ask the Eagle.
- Lynx knows the art of keeping secrets.
- Swan guides one into dreamtime.
- Panther is a good protective animal, though she does have a sarcastic, laid back nature.
- Dragonfly tells us how to break through illusions and how to gain power through our dreams and goals. She teaches higher aspiration.
The energy of the animals, birds and other creatures that assist us should be honored. For too long, we have subjugated these creatures who are our equals in the system of the Universe. The act of honoring an animal is not an act of worship, but is the acknowledgment of their power and their being as brothers and sisters of the entire universe.
When honoring – leave a gift of some sort. The Native Americans leave tobacco as a gift, scattered on the ground. You could also burn incense in honor of the animal. You might also consider donating to The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, or other organization committed to the preservation of our wild family.
Meditation To Meet Your Power Animal
This guided imagery is about meeting your power animal. Like the ancient ones, the power animals come from deep within the consciousness of our Earth Mother. Power animals are our deepest memories. We all share DNA with all the animals alive on earth. A lion has the same DNA as we do for many systems. We can, in our memories, see out of the lion’s eyes. We are them. They call to us deeply, loudly.
Read the following meditation a number of times, and then take the journey from memory. Alternatively, you could record it and play it back.
Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, let your abdomen rise and fall. Allow yourself to become really relaxed. Think about a place, real or imagined, where you feel really safe, where you feel deeply connected with the earth.
Now put yourself on a path. Feel your feet touch the earth, smell the fresh air, feel the warm breeze on your face. Walk down the path. It goes downhill slightly. The ground is hard and has small stones in the soil. It is solid and secure. Feel the ground and the grass that is on each side of the path.
Walk down the path. It crosses a wooden bridge across a rushing stream. The bridge has stout railings. You can hear your feet echo on the bridge like a drumbeat as you walk across. If you need to drop something in the water that you want to get rid, of you can do that now.
The path now goes upwards slightly and comes over a rise. Below you is a large meadow. In the center of the meadow is a grassy circle. Sit in the circle and wait. Now ask for your power animal to come to you.
It might come from a distance or appear from nowhere. Whatever animal appears to you is your animal helper. It is your power animal. Allow the animal come towards you. Watch how it moves, listen to it speak.
You can stay in the meadow as long as you like to and feel connected to the earth. Your power animal is part of the earth. It has tendrils that reach deep into the earth, the sky, and you, and connect it all together. If you feel comfortable, you can invite your animal to come to you, touch you, even come into your body. You can merge with them and see out of their eyes.
When you feel complete, stand up and leave the meadow. The path goes out of the far side and you can walk down the path further. It leads to the edge of an ancient forest of old growth trees. Stand at the edge of the forest by a great ancient tree.
Find a tree that speaks to you and tells you to come to it. Now put your hand on the tree touch its rough back. Feel its warmth, it life. Now imagine that when you put your hand on the tree, you spiral deep into the spiral of your own being. You spiral deep inside yourself, into your heart. And inside your body, your heart opens with wings. A spirit eye opens within you and sees this experience.
Walk back to the meadow, then to the bridge, retrace your steps until you are back to where you started. Bring your spirit animal with you. Bring the connectedness with you. Now move your feet, your hands, your body. Look around. Your life has changed.
Source: The Powers That Be
Shamanism is a great mental and emotional adventure, one in which the patient as well as the shaman-healer are involved. Through his heroic journey and efforts, the shaman helps his patients transcend their normal, ordinary definition of reality, including the definition of themselves as ill.
The shaman shows his patients that they are not emotionally and spiritually alone in their struggles against illness and death. The shaman shares his special powers and convinces his patients, on a deep level of consciousness, that another human is willing to offer up his own self to help them. The shaman’s self-sacrifice calls forth a commensurate emotional commitment from his patients, a sense of obligation to struggle alongside the shaman to save one’s self. Caring and curing go hand and hand.
How is it learned?
Ultimately, shamanic knowledge can only be acquired through individual experience. You must learn the methods in order to utilize them, however. They can be learned in a variety of ways.
For example, among the Conibo of the Upper Amazon, “learning from the trees” is considered superior to learning from another shaman. In aboriginal Siberia, a death/rebirth experience was often a major source of shamanic knowledge.
In certain preliterate cultures, persons spontaneously answer the “call” of shamanism without any formal training, while in others they train under the guidance of a practicing shaman anywhere from a day to five years or more.
At what point are you a shaman?
That status can only be conferred on you by those you attempt to help in matters of power and healing. In other words, it is recognized success in shamanic work that determines whether you have indeed become a shaman.
~from Michael Harner’s The Way of the Shaman
The following is a general summary of my current understanding of the physical locations and elements associated with each chakra. Over the years I have noticed some minor discrepancies between how different people “define” each chakra, (particularly the second and third chakras) but the differences have only been minor. Certainly the colors and locations of the chakras have always been consistent. The base chakra extends down and the crown chakra extends up…the chakras in between have vortexes both to the front of the body and to the back.
- The First Chakra
The first chakra is located at the base of the spine and is associated with red. It is the chakra that governs our physical existence, our bodies and our health.
- The Second Chakra
The second chakra is located in the area of the womb (or thereabouts for men) and is associated with the color orange. This chakra governs creativity, and some say emotion. (I associate emotion with the heart chakra).
- The Third Chakra
The third chakra is located at the solar plexus and is associated with the color gold (yellow). It is associated with the will or desire.
- The Fourth Chakra
The fourth chakra (the middle chakra in the chain of seven) is the heart chakra and is associated with the color green, and also the color rose, which is the “color of love.” This chakra is connected with emotion and human love.
- The Fifth Chakra
The fifth chakra is located at the throat and is a bright blue. It governs communication and personal magnetism. It is the chakra that most influences intercommunication and our “personas.” It is also the link between emotion and thought.
- The Sixth Chakra
The sixth chakra is located at the third eye (mid-forehead) and is indigo (deep purply/blue). This chakra is associated with thought (though some say the third chakra governs thought) and with vision, particularly psychic vision. It is also the chakra of spiritual love and connection.
- The Seventh Chakra
The seventh chakra is at the crown of the head, and is violet fading to white further away from the body. This chakra is our connection to our “higher selves” and to the “divine.” It is associated with wisdom and integration of our eternal selves with our current physical selves. It is like our umbilical cord to “God.”
About The Chakras
When all the chakras are “whirling,” open, bright and clean, then our chakra system is balanced. When a chakra becomes blocked, damaged, or muddied with residual energy, then our physical and emotional health can be affected. Often this occurs habitually as the result of negative or incomplete belief systems. The effects of our habits, feelings, beliefs, thoughts, fears and desires can be found in our chakras.
For example, if you eat poorly (a lot of processed food, for instance) and don’t exercise, chances are your root (red) chakra is going to become sluggish, darkened and dull. If you “close off” your emotions because they’re painful or overwhelming, your heart chakra is likely to become tight and closed and block emotional energy.
If you, on the other hand, are extremely centered in your intellect, you may have a bulging and bright third eye chakra but a disproportionately small heart chakra or root chakra or womb chakra. Or perhaps you’re cerebrally focused on finding answers to deep questions about “reality.” (as I was for a while). In the West we tend to value the upper chakras over the lower chakras. This probably has it’s roots in our ancestors’ religious aversion to the “flesh” and their focus on the rewards of “heaven.”
The goal is a strong, clear, balanced energy system. The more open, clear and balanced the chakras, the more energy can flow through your system. This energy is essential for vitality, health, and continued growth on all levels.
There is a bunch more information about the Chakra System over at Chakra Central.
“When one defines oneself as Pagan, it means she or he follows an earth or nature religion, one that sees the divine manifest in all creation. The cycles of nature are our holy days, the earth is our temple, its plants and creatures our partners and teachers. We worship a deity that is both male and female, a mother Goddess and father God, who together created all that is, was, or will be. We respect life, cherish the free will of sentient beings, and accept the sacredness of all creation.”
- Khetani Machangana: Learn To See