June 2009
Shamanism With and Without Borders - the Way of the Animals

Dear Friends,

As the period of sunlight has increased, so have the various animals here that use this seasonal phase as the time to grow quickly - especially those birthed in the Spring. Observing the increase of Squirrels, Rabbits, Birds, Gophers and Deer to both our garden and feeders, I am aware how my shamanic consciousness has left me less able to adapt to old ways of being. In the old ways, I was quite creative in creating barriers for these beings so they would not "poach" my gardens nor steal food meant for the birds.

Solutions ranged from using Lion's blood hanging from plants, gopher baskets, bitter sprays, squirrel-proof feeders, and fenced areas. The fences themselves ranged from enclosing acres to creating smaller fenced plots. None of these worked and resulted in a never-ending struggle with other beings that consider this their territory too. Over time I discovered that as I fence "against them," I felt both fenced in and separated from these Kin. I adopted a strategy of making unbreakable boundaries for the smallest areas possible while still allowing me the joy of growing flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees.

Only this year have I finally (!) realized the failure of all my clever strategies. What I had not fully appreciated was how my shamanic perspective has resulted in new alliances and realities hinted in the phrase: shamanism without borders. This change has unfolded from years of shamanic walking and the dance that is involved in the process of transformation - whether of thought or of body. It's rather humbling to realize that what I valued at the retreat centers, where I taught, were ways of living within the Land that I had failed to encourage in my home surroundings. I am referring to centers where the necessary corridors for all beings are kept open; where the interaction between humans and our wild Kin develop from continuing conversations and mutual respect.

 I'm sharing this with you because my last newsletter surfaced the issue of how caring for animals on planet Earth is related to caring for our invisible Power Animals... how freely we permit them to move among us is an issue applicable to all realms and worlds.

animal circle

Seeing the Larger Pattern - Shamanic Ecology

As the Summer Solstice approaches, I am using these days to cast increasing Light upon the issue:  how can I learn and create in my immediate environment ways of living that prosper each Being...and thus nurture the Whole?

I truly think that what I learn from living this way daily will assist me in knowing how to respond to these very same issues as they are presented in our relationship with larger patterns.

It's not enough to take pleasure in observing bears, deer, birds, fish and other beings in the wild places: they need for us to behave wisely if such places will continue to be available to them. And for me to act wisely means my consciousness needs to be informed by attention to the details involved in prospering such ecology within the very Land where I live.

I have always believed that applied shamanism needs both receptive hearts and informed intelligence. We can gain both through our daily living and by paying attention to the observations gleaned from scientific inquiries.

I am also curious to know how others in the shamanic community experience and address these concerns. If you wish to respond, I will share your observations with others at my website (provided I have your permission) as well as reply to you.


Jumping Mouse's Journey - the Journey of Everyone

This year I have again turned my attention to the Plains Medicine Wheel for reflection on Summer Solstice themes - and in such perusal, I find the Wheel also reflects concerns related to how we share the planet with other beings. Consider that in this paradigm, Mouse is the totemic Being and Animal Teacher. Mouse exemplifies the importance of paying close attention to the smallest of details while the life cycle of the South points to the phase of "fast growing."

Everything in the Northern Hemisphere is now drawing upon all resources available for development and flowering. As we are affected by global warming and related weather systems, animals that used to find sustenance in the wild now draw closer and closer to human-created communities or to where water is available. Do we understand and appreciate their needs or do we perceive them as threats to our survival? Do we allow them to wander new yet necessary corridors or do we fence them out? Is there enough for everyone or is there "just enough" for a few species (esp. the human species). Where shall we find our guidance as we make decisions on how to live together?

If we dance in the South of the Wheel we find that Mouse offers one source of guidance. Mouse teachers the significance of going on a journey to learn how to be. As Frog says to Mouse: "crouch as low as you can crouch and jump as high as you can jump" and "tell me what you see." Then crouching and jumping, Mouse exclaims to Frog: "I see the Sacred Mountains" to which Frog enjoins him to proceed. It is a long, challenging and exciting journey with various terrors and allies along the way.

On the Sacred Mountain, Mouse sees the whole World reflected in the Sacred Mountain Lake... and is transformed by his vision. We are invited to crouch low and jump high and "see" our own destination----which upon arriving will offer us the World reflected before our very eyes---and from that Reflection we will know the Pattern of the World as shaped by Spirit or Creator's Intent. The rest of our journey becomes one of discovering how to do that which only I can do to keep the Dream thriving as was intended.

medicine wheel

Dancing the Wheel - Summer Solstice Ceremony

Over the years various Circles have posted their Summer Solstice Ceremony and those of you interested, can peruse them at this website.

I encourage Circles planning ceremonies to send an announcement and/or description to Dan Jordinelli (jordinelli@earthlink.net) and we will post them too. Dan coordinates listings and activities for our Global Circles web section. Please let Dan know if the Solstice ceremonies are open to others... we do have individuals who check this listing because they may not be affiliated with a Circle but want to partake in such celebration.

The last two newsletters have focused on "Calling the Spirits" and tending other Beings with whom we share Planet Earth. There are other issues that I wish to address in future writing.  But I'm so aware that we have arrived to a time when the issues of sharing this planet are so critical. Equally true, the real possibility of profound change by humans has never been greater and more globally recognized. We in the shamanic community have a special perspective to offer as well as a responsibility to learn and walk the way of harmony and beauty. On this Summer Solstice may all our ceremonies Call to us Helpers in this task and may our Dance make joyful steps upon Earth Mother.

Continuing Conversations Together

In closing, I invite any of you, wishing for some particular shamanic concern to be addressed in this monthly newsletter, to write me. This is not a forum for questions and answers but rather for meditation grounded in shamanic concerns. I received many responses to my last newsletter and in coming months, I intend to address the concerns raised by some of you. I really appreciate your responses... I don't write these for myself (!) but rather with the hope of keeping alive the ancient art of Word Doctoring: that is, to use our language in the service of healing.

Spoken Newsletter

And speaking of "using our language," we have a new addition to the shamaniccircles.org website. Susan Gilliland, my teaching partner, is creating soundfiles of my newsletters. The sound file of the May newsletter is now available. We are both off on a shamanic river journey from June 1 - 10th. Upon returning, she will create the soundfile of this newsletter.

When Susan first proposed making sound files and podcasts, I wondered just what could be the value but she clearly had a vision for doing these. Having listened to her speaking the May newsletter, I was struck by how the auditory can have different effects than reading with the eyes.

If you listen to this, as with other material posted at the website, we would appreciate hearing your response and to know if this was a useful media for you. Both of us are endeavoring now to find different ways of teaching, and of sharing, from the shamanic perspective. We look forward to using technology for the presentation of articles, stories, songs, drumming and circle experiences.


And now Sun is moving higher in the Sky... day here has fully arrived... out one window do I see Squirrel and furry fingers grabbing at the bird seed... out the other window, a group of Rabbits clustering around my beloved Oriental Irises... the barriers I created do not succeed so  I'm seeking to simply enjoy their delight as they feed... .and thinking, too, to myself: "Well, Carol, thirty-three years ago, when the County required that you establish an official road name and sign, you and Bob decided to name this  Rabbits Run Rd... now, what did you expect? That Rabbits cannot read?... " 

Summer Solstice Blessings
     And Joy while Dancing on the Wheel...
Carol Proudfoot-Edgar
On behalf of Shamanic Circles

Workshops in Santa Cruz June and July

full description of each workshop is available at www.shamaniccircles.org and www.shamanicvisions.com. Registration forms and coordinator contact information are also available online. If you are interested, please contact Pirkko, our coordinator.
**Scholarships are available for those needing financial support.

June 26 - 28: Shamanism and the Medicine Wheel Way (see description)

July 17 - 19: Giving Voice to the Animals - Healing Our Souls (see description)

July 23 - 26 Buffalo and BearMedicine for our Present Age (see description)

We will soon be posting materials (stories, reflections, songs, & information) related to the themes of these workshops. I invite you to bookmark the workshop web pages and return to peruse these materials.

More Information

  • Complete information about  workshops can be found at Carol's website or will be sent to you upon request.
  • These workshops welcome commuters as well as residential participants.
  • Partial scholarships are available and can be applied for when registering.

To register for one or more workshops with Carol, contact the Coordinator  for Shamanic Visions:
Pirkko Miller at Pirkko@embarqmail.com

P.S. We invite you to visit our Home Page to see if there are other shamanic activities listed there in which you might be interested.

Or if you wish to join in a Circle, check our Global Circles web page to see if there is one in your area. If not, then please start one because Circles can be powerful places of support for each of us on the shamanic path.



Copyright © 2019 Carol Proudfoot Edgar
Not to be reproduced without permission