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Posts Tagged ‘shamanic journeying’

Apparently my last post about connecting to the cockroach deva creeped peopled out rather than inspiring them to connect to nature spirits, which wasn’t my intention. So I thought I’d share some of the books that inspired me along this path with their stories of connection and magic. I hope they inspire you as well.

  • The Findhorn Garden – Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation, by The Findhorn Garden
  • Behaving as if the God in all Life Mattered – A New Age Ecology, by Machaelle Small Wright
  • Three by Miachael J. Roads:
    • Talking with Nature – Sharing the Energies and Spirit of Trees, Plants, Birds, and Earth
    • Journey Into Nature – A Spiritual Adventure
    • Journey Into Oneness – A Spiritual Odyssey

My first helping spirit that I was conscious of was (and is) a eucalyptus tree spirit in Golden Gate Park. Trees love to connect with us, and are a great place to start if you’ve never journeyed to a nature spirit before.  (What are some of yours? Would love to hear your favorites.)

And if you’ve never journeyed before, or if you don’t have a shamanic practitioner to work with, a great resource is Sandra Ingerman’s Shamanic Journeying – A Beginner’s Guide, which comes with a drumming cd. I also have some drumming music you can download for free from my website (www.lyndaskeen.com).

Many blessings.

© 2014 Lynda Skeen, Fall Color in  the Sierras

© 2014 Lynda Skeen, Fall Color in the Sierras

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Considering that we spend approximately a third of our life sleeping, it can be empowering to develop a conscious relationship with our night dreams, a relationship that can easily dovetail with shamanic journeywork and other spiritual practices.   It’s no coincidence that some cultures call non-ordinary reality “dream time.”

 

KINDS OF DREAMS – I recently read Robert Moss’ book The Boy Who Died and Came Back, which I highly recommend, and was inspired to start working more consciously with my night dreams again.  Although my primary practice is journeywork, I’ve always been connected to my dreams as well.  I can still remember dreams I had as a child, particularly recurring dreams of fire and of my parents disappearing out of the front seat of our car as we approached a busy intersection.  I remember once telling my mom a dream where a cat had scratched my foot and it had gone numb, and how when I woke up and it really was numb; she suggested my foot might have been numb first, inspiring the dream (this supported my curiosity about my dreams – thank you Mom!).  I have had periods where what I dreamt the night before would happen the next day. I dream mostly in colors, and I smell and taste and feel and hear in them as well. I have died in my dreams, and yes, I did wake up; and I frequently fly.  I have had friends come to say good bye when they died before I knew they had passed on, and dreams of reconciliation with people I was estranged from which paved the way for getting back together.

 

All this to say that there are different kinds of dreams – there are big dreams, small dreams filled with the flotsam and jetsam of the day, and dreams where our spirit helpers meet with us, just to name a few.  One of the tricks is to learn how to discern between “clearing house” dreams and “bigger” dreams. The more you pay attention, the more you will be able to tell which dreams are just random images from the day, which are showing us our deepest fears and joys, which are visitations from helping spirits and loved ones, which are potential futures, etc.

 

WHAT WORKS FOR YOU? If you’ve never worked with your dreams before, it can be a bit daunting, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel or to feel isolated.  There are plenty of resources and workshops available.  But don’t let anyone claim they have ownership or proprietary information over your dreams.  This is about your soul’s relationship with the Infinite.  Work with archetypes and dream dictionaries if they are helpful, but use them as guides, not tyrants.  So much of it depends on our relationship with it, with the frequency of the images, and with the context.  What resonates with YOU?  What works for YOU?  It just takes practice, intention, and tenacity.

 

JOURNEYWORK AND DREAMING: One of the ways shamanic journeywork and dreamwork can dovetail is by journeying into a dream, or dreaming into a journey for more information and clarity about what we were shown or experienced in the other modality.  Many people are more comfortable and/or adept at one or the other.  Again, experiment and find out what works best for you, but do stretch your comfort zone. If you want more information about what you were shown in a journey, try setting your intention before going to sleep at night to find out more about it in your dreams; if you have a dream you’d like more clarity on, revisit it in a shamanic journey.

 

FIRST STEPS: Here are some other suggestions for getting started:

  • start a dream journal – keep an easy-to-access pad of paper and pen next to your bed and write in it as soon as your wake up, and set your intention to remember them before you go to sleep
  • set your intention at night for what you would like to dream about
  • ask for a healing in your dreams
  • for lucid dreaming (being aware you are dreaming while you are dreaming), intend to see your hand in your dream as a trigger to remember that you’re dreaming
  • before you go to sleep, set your intention to receive for information about a particular question
  • you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – many people have explored these realms – experiment with various paths and see what resonates with you – for instance, read some of Robert Moss’ books or take one of his workshops
  • there are some good smart-phone apps available to explore – some that I’ve enjoyed are:
    • “Brainwave – 30 Binaural Programs”
    • “Alarm Clock Sleep Sounds Pro”
    • “White Noise Plus”
    • “Relax Melodies”
  • pay attention to how different foods and sleep patterns affect your dream life – does eating spicy food late in the evening give you vivid dreams? Does it make it hard for you to fall asleep? Do you have more vivid dreams if you have trouble falling asleep?
  • try taking naps – often our dreams and easy to work with are more vivid right before we wake up; when we nap, it can be easier to reach that same place
  • pay attention to how the phase of moon affects your dreams – for instance, mine are most vivid and easy to remember during the full moon when the veils between the worlds are thinner
  • explore the idea that each character in a dream could represent an aspect of yourself – what if that were true – what would that reveal about you
  • get some dream buddies – share them with your family at the breakfast table, and encourage your children to participate!
  • have dream buddies you dream with and on behalf of – just as we can journey with and for other people, try dreaming with and for others

 

So, sweet dreams!  And if not sweet, may they be full of much magic and adventure, and catalysts for much growth in your waking life.

Backyard Clouds, © Lynda Skeen

Backyard Clouds, © Lynda Skeen

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We are continually bombarded with reports in the news of atrocities that invite us to distance ourselves from suffering that we can’t wrap our heads – or our hearts – around.  But the beginning of suffering is actually that separation.  Suffering doesn’t start in a vacuum and neither does compassion.

Everything is alive, connected, and sacred, including the incomprehensible.  To become conscious of this web, start by offering gratitude, which awakens an awareness of the basic fibers of our connections.  It’s easier to start becoming aware of these connections in our day-to-day lives rather than waiting to try to make sense of things in difficult times.

Some practices I recommend:

  • Start right where you are.  In this moment.  Breathe.  Connect to your heart.
  • Start by offering gratitude for our bodies.  For the elements.  For the elements which are all in our bodies – water, air, earth and fire.  As you take a deep breath, offer gratitude for each, one at a time.
  • Offer gratitude before you eat the food on your plate.  Say thank you to the life forms that gave their life for your meal, for all the energy and elements that went into its being on your table, for the people that harvested and transported it.
  • Build up to saying “thank you” to a difficult person or circumstance in your life.  If your difficulty is that you don’t feel connected to anything, start by offering some gratitude to that, to whatever you will learn from that.  Acknowledge it.  Connect to it.  Try this once a day for 30 days.  Note how you feel at the beginning and how your relationship shifts as you go along.
  • Select an element or cause that you feel particularly connected to, and find a way to improve its condition in your neighborhood (or on a larger scale).  Be of service.  Get out of your head and into your heart.  Clean a river.  Adopt a pet.  Install solar panels.  Read to a child.
  • A formal mindfulness meditation (or other meditation form) can be extremely helpful.  Besides books, retreats, and DVD’s, you can also learn to practice on your own with some apps that are available for smart phones.  One that is very user-friendly and loaded with great information and practices is called Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson; he has a book by the same name as well.
  • And of course shamanic journeying is a great way to connect consciously with the essence of things.  Learning to practice shamanic journeying changed my life.

The farther away we feel from ourselves, each other, the natural world, and our spiritual essence, the more depressed and angry we are likely to become.  Just remember that it’s ok to start small, to start right where you are.  Breathe.  Breathe again.  Connect to your heart.  Practice remembering.  Start small – with saying “thank you” for your meals, smiling at a stranger, opening the door for a loved one.  Eventually, acknowledge your connection to natural disasters and even psychopaths.  We don’t have to understand.  We are connected to what we understand as well as to the Mystery.  Start small; save a seat for the rest.

As we offer gratitude for this moment, for our connection to All That Is, for its incomprehensible beauty as well as sometimes awfulness, we can start to feel the suffering of alienation eased by the reality that we are all connected.  We are not alone.  We are part of the web of life.  And that we don’t have to figure it all out before we can love and be loved.

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Just wanted to announce that I have a new page on my website: http://www.lyndaskeen.com/Drumming_Resources.html.  On it I posted a 15-minute recording I made of drumming to support shamanic journeying, which you can download for free, as well as some other suggested resources.

Happy journeying!

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