Overhead the Eagle is Circling
While below cubs turn circles on the ground
I dance in the shadow of both
Joining Sky with Earth
Both I am...and They are me...
Making Circles together...we are One..
In this Shamanic Circles newsletter, I want to share three topics that are connected with this poem of "We are One.." I've divided this letter into three main areas:
Enstatic & Ecstatic
- Ectastic and Enstatic shamanism - and related workshops
- A new project called "Shamanism without Borders"
- The Summer Solstice 2008
Ecstatic shamanism is the practice whereby the shaman goes into trance for the purpose of leaving the body to journey to realms 'outside' time and the body.
Enstatic shamanism is the practice whereby one goes into trance for the purpose of going deep within to discover the wisdom hidden within the Body.
Both forms have always been fundamental to shamanism around the world. However, the emphasis in much of contemporary shamanism has been on the 'ecstatic.' I think we need to rectify this imbalance in our shamanic practices. Otherwise we potentially go down the road in which the body itself, as a Holy Vessel, is denigrated or at the least, neglected. By body, I mean the body of each person, of other beings, and the Body of Earth herself.
More fundamentally, we bereft ourselves of a broader shamanic legacy that is a resource for all who will receive it.
Practicing enstatic shamanism is done through paying attention to both some particular Being's Body and to the Body of Place. Both involve seeing one's self and other Beings as inhabiting a specific time and place; and then learning from this specificity what seem to be enduring needs if all Beings are to thrive.
One way I am undertaking the practice of enstatic shamanism is to focus on spiritual teachings that arise from a specific Place and on wisdom that is rooted in specific Bodies.
The workshops on California BearMedicine, and on the Medicine of the Northeastern Woodlands, will be weekends when we connect with spiritual practices that arose from people living in a specific time and place. We explore them first; afterwards we can learn what of these ways might be applicable elsewhere. These two workshops take place in retreat settings that are rich in the natural environments from which the shamanic practices arose.
The other two workshops focus on the body in different ways: the Totemic Body of the Shaman involves learning how to access the wild nature of our being. In the shamanic paradigm, during evolution other animals left signatures of themselves within us. Some think that to know these 'within animals' allows one to move, see, speak, and sense with their particular powers. As one elder says "all we need is here but we've forgotten who we are." To re-member our totem self is the very essence of enstatic shamanism.
Just as we are called on to re-member ourselves and our own wild natures, there are other beings who live among us who need our assistance to re-member who they are. I am referring to the many animal companions we have brought into our families but especially those that are now in animal shelters due to neglect or being abandoned. Sometimes these animals are not 'adoptable' because human neglect has rendered them unable to recognize the humans as their friends or their companions during their Earth journey. Shamanism and our Animal Companions is an opportunity to learn ways of doing animal soul retrieval/soul remembering and to extend the hands of compassion to them. We will focus both on spiritual work with animals in the shelter and with animals in our families.
Obviously these weekends are but beginning places in bringing enstatic shamanism into our contemporary practices. By beginning, however, we invite more wisdom into our lives and continue to make of shamanism a truly transformative path.
For more information on these workshops, you can go to Carol's website, or contact the coordinator, Pirkko Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partial Scholarships available: As I have said in previous emails, scholarships are available for these workshops. The generosity of some individuals has enabled participation by others who otherwise would not be able to continue their shamanic studies. If you are able to contribute, please do so. And if you need scholarship support, you can contact Pirkko.
|July 11-13:||California Shamanism: BearMedicine & Doctoring|
|Aug 1-3:||Shamanism & Medicine of the Northeastern Woodlands|
|Oct 4-5:||Shamanism and our Animal Companions|
|Oct 24-26:||The Totemic Body of the Shaman: the Personal Totem Pole|
Celebrating the Solstice by honoring Place
Summer Solstice will arrive
soon. This year I've been contemplating
the importance of Place in
Shamanism since all shamanic
practices have their roots
in Place. The more I study
and research, the more aware
I have become that working
with specific Places needs
to be a complement to 'core' shamanism
or to the assumption that any
type of shamanic practice can
be done in every physical location.
I invite all circles and individuals celebrating the Solstice to consider just what the "increase of Light" means in their particular Home place. Can we pick out plants, animals, waters, and other bodies of being and see the increase of light from their perspective? Perhaps wherever we gather for Solstice, we can take some time and note what lives in our immediate environment. In this noting, we can sing and dance on behalf of their thriving for all are dependent on this cycle of Sun to Earth.
And if we trance ourselves, we might be permitted some vision of what earlier peoples living in our Place did to honor this time of year. Aligning ourselves with these Ancestral Beings, and with all that is wild and elemental in our immediate landscape, we forge a co-creative relationship with this sacred Earth.
We would like to post any Solstice gatherings that are occurring and would appreciate a description of your activities. Please send them to me or to Dan Jordinelli at email@example.com
and they will be posted at our shamaniccircles.org website.
Shamanism without Borders
At this May's conference for the Society of Shamanic Practitioners, some of us introduced the idea of developing a project called "Shamanism without Borders."
One objective of this project is to weave together the resources of circles and individuals who are affiliated with the two shamanic nonprofit organizations: SSP and Shamanic Circles. This joint effort would maximize our opportunities to be of service when disasters occur in the world.
I am posting the proposal at our Shamanic Circles' website. Although I wrote this proposal for presentation at the SSP conference, Susan Gilliland and I were also there to represent Shamanic Circles.
This is a project being developed to help bring the practice of shamanism to areas of disaster. At such times, we see various organizations mobilize to assist: fire departments, medical aid, search teams, religious institutions, police, etc. We think there is a place for service that is based on the shamanic paradigm but just how such service would be offered involves careful thought to many issues e.g. acceptance by the affected community, ethics, trust, appropriate intervention etc..
The project will by its very nature require considerable thoughtfulness --- especially in the early formative stages as we consider the various parameters for even working in these situations.
Our objectives for now are
1) To develop a Handbook focused on working in situations of disaster and
2) The formation of two or three working groups that will focus consistently on this project between now and next May.
3) To write all our affiliated members and circles to gather information and to share the planning as we proceed.
In a few weeks, we will be writing more about this to all of you who are somehow connected with SC. If after reading the proposal, you are interested in some involvement in this project, please write and let me know.
I realize this newsletter has turned out to be much longer than I had originally intended! I appreciate your taking the time to read it. I am quite enthusiastic both about the focus in my teaching and this new project. I have been deeply heartened by the initial response of our shamanic community to committing ourselves to a project that transcends the boundaries of our individual shamanic practices while asking for nothing except to be of service.
Just as Light increases in the Sky and assists the flourishing of the Earth community, may we increase the warmth from our hearts and touch all others with Light-sharing hands.
Blessings of the coming Summer Solstice
On behalf of Shamanic Circles
To register for one or more workshops with Carol, contact the Coordinator for Shamanic Visions:
- 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.
Pirkko Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.