The Gift of Healing

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Yesterday whilst sat in our conservatory I heard a bang. Now from past experience I know that this is one of two things, either a twig falling onto the roof or a bird flying into the glass. Today sadly it was a tiny female chaffinch that misjudged her flight path. No matter how many things we hang, how much we try to make it clear that something is there, sometimes this does sadly happen.

When I looked out of the side windows, there she was, wings spread wide, head on the ground and body slightly twisted. At first I thought she was dead but then I noticed her breathing, shallowly at first then more and more rapidly.

As a shamanic and energy healer one of the things I need to do frequently is decide or seek guidance on which tool is required for the work in hand. This time it was no different but the first step was to seek permission. Connecting quickly with the tiny bird I heard her clearly asking for help and in that moment knew what was needed was for me to channel the energy known as Reiki.

I connected with and drew in the energy then allowed it a clear path through me into my hands. Then sitting on the windowsill inside so not to cause her any more stress I beamed the energy towards her. At first the energy ran as pure white light that formed a ball around her tiny body then gradually after some time it changed to a soft golden light before blue and green light also flowed to her. Oh so slowly I saw her inch her wings closer to her body and then as time passed she began to lift her head off the ground the smallest amount. It was now that I knew she would recover rather than use the energy to support her passing. I continued to send and she continued to recover. Each tiny movement of her head lifted my heart. The energy now was flowing as red and orange light and still she accepted it. Eventually with both of her wings now folded in, she lifted her head and straightened her body. Knowing now that she had all she needed and that the best I could do for her was to wish her well and leave her to rest this is what I did.

A few minutes later when I went outside to get in the washing, from the far side of the garden I could see her tiny body still resting on the ground, but by the time I went back inside she had gone.

This is not the first time I have helped an animal in distress. Sometimes they come and find me, or wait for me to arrive and ask for help, at other times like today I am there when I see something happen. At all times though I feel very blessed to be able to help. There is such joy in seeing an animal or bird recover and move away to get on with their lives and even when this doesn’t happen there is peace in knowing I have helped ease a transition.

Also for me there is the great privilege in being able to be so close to and able to observe those who are usually moving too quickly or are too far away. Yesterday as I sat sending I was able to observe closely the colour, pattern and shape of the feathers on her wings, the soft downy feathers on her breast and the sharpness of her beak. To sit so closely and quietly observe while channelling healing energy has got the be one of the greatest gifts that there is.

Pagan Blog Project – Going somewhere?

imageGoing somewhere?

‘Whatever you are thinking about is like planning a future event. When you are worrying you are planning. When you are appreciating you are planning……what are you planning’? Abraham

We are always going somewhere aren’t we, hardly ever satisfied with where we are, always looking ahead, trying to see where we are going, planning, preparing, worrying, moving forward ….

In many ways this is good as it means we keep healing, growing, learning, becoming more than we are at this moment but stop for a moment and ask yourself:

What is so wrong with where I am?

Or to put it another way:

What is right with where I am?

If we practice gratitude or being thankful we can only do that if stop and in the moment feel what is right, what we have that is amazing, or even just allow ourselves to just recognise what we have rather than what we don’t have. Although in some ways we are still planning, for by appreciating we are actually saying ‘I’d like more of this please’, this much healthier than worrying about what we don’t have, or what might happen.

Being in the moment though is about being here, now. Not looking back, not looking ahead, not worrying about has happened or what may or may not happen, not craving something else. It is about allowing ourselves to just be, not thinking of anything, not yesterday and certainly not tomorrow.

If though we look closely at many of the courses on offer nowadays a common thread is often that of manifesting and if we are to manifest, by necessity we need to be looking ahead to what we want. If we do this we are by its very nature saying that we are dissatisfied with what we have, that it is not enough for us, that we are not enough.

We strive to raise our vibration, to release, to let go, to move forward, to change jobs, to move house, to have better sex, to be kinder, to be more generous and so on and so forth. In the doing so we fail to recognise that we are absolutely perfect for we are exactly where we are supposed to be not tomorrow, not next week, next month or next year but right now.

So stop what you are doing, stop looking at what others are doing and breathe. Take several deep breaths, centre yourself and know that as you do you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Stop trying to be somewhere else, stop trying to go somewhere and just allow yourself to be here now.

Pagan Writers Community Competition

imageI have entered my book Shaman Pathways Web of Life into a non fiction competition. If anyone has read it and would like to vote for it that would be brilliant 🙂

If you haven’t read it yet there is a whole chapter there just waiting to be read and voted on 🙂

http://paganwriterscommunity.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/celtx-round-v-non-fiction-vote.html

The Unpredictability of Spring

imageIn my mind Spring is sunshine, green grass, snowdrops, primroses, crocuses, daffodils, tulips, bluebells, walks on the beach or through the bluebell and wild garlic woods, newly formed buds on the trees and baby lambs gambolling in the fields…….in reality though it could be anything.

Yesterday, for example, in the space of a few hours we had sunshine, rain, heavy hail storm, more sunshine and then something that looked like it was trying very hard to be sleety snow.

Of course if I am honest with myself Spring is always like this. It’s nothing unusual this year. All too often the bulbs come up, flowers open themselves to bask in the sun only to be battered by winds, rain and sometimes real snow. But there is nothing like being optimistic 🙂

And isn’t that what Spring is about? As the wheel of the year turns, Spring Equinox passes and the seasons move on, we optimistically look forward to what is ahead of us even if it doesn’t turn out quite like we imagine it might.

This is the time of year where we allow ourselves to dream and as nature awakens and slips off its Winter cloak so do we. We too change our appearance, wear brighter colours, smile more, spend more time outside and breathe more deeply. We might open the windows to let in fresh air and in doing so clear the stagnant energy that has been building up. We might open our wardrobe doors and clear out clothes, making space for new ones perhaps but at the same time clearing out the old energy. This is a time of year where we may reinvent ourselves in a million tiny ways or even big ones just as nature does. Just as nature needs time to find who it is at this time of year, who it will be this year, so do we.

Many of us consciously live in close connection with nature and the wheel of the year. We recognise the shifts and changes and know that when we roll with them it is healthier and more productive than fighting against them. Others that do not necessarily have this close connection do this too, although perhaps not consciously, for somewhere deep inside all of us is that spark that keeps alive the connection with the Earth, with nature, and with all that exists, the spark that knows who we are and where we come from.

So Spring……whatever form you are in this year…..bring it on!

Pagan Blog Project – Flower Essences

imageFlower Essences are always so gentle and beautiful to work with. How could they not be when they are made from the life force of the flowers of plants?

The first time I made flower essences myself I was amazed at how, once a plant had been identified to work with through using the doctrine of signatures, the flowers would ‘volunteer’ to be used either through shining a bit brighter than the others, a slight movement to catch your attention or some other means. I was also humbled to watch the flowers floating on the surface of spring water in the sunshine, gradually giving their life force so that the mother tincture could be made.

I don’t make all my essences though but rather use the Australian Bush Flower Essences which are constantly being replenished and updated by their creator, a 5th generation Australian naturopath, Ian White. I love that these essences are still evolving, still adjusting themselves to meet our ever changing needs and that when Ian replenishes the mother tinctures if the healing properties of the new tincture have changed this also changes all tinctures already made from the plant, anywhere in the world.

When I work with essences I have many ways of selecting a mix that suits the current need. I can dowse with a pendulum, I can read descriptions of the essences and their properties, I can use numerology, I can see which essences leap into my mind or which call me, or I can journey and see what I am guided to use. As long as the essences are all working for the same purpose I can combine any number together if that is best.

Essences are taken, a few drops under the tongue, two or more times a day. They work almost behind the scenes, gently, discretely, stripping away, clearing and healing, vibrating throughout our energy body to do so. Clients often go home with some so that their healing can be supported when they leave me.

When I am working hands on with clients, I can use an appropriate essence on my own hands which I can weave through their energy field or place on the area of the body in need. If while I am working I find the name of an essence or the image of a flower come into my mind I can connect with the energy of the particular essence and energetically bring it into the healing, to work in whatever way is needed.

The other day though I was reading in the OM Times, about a fascinating new approach to working with flower essences which is through sound using the sound frequency associated with each flower. The full article can be read here

This though is not really a new form of working with plants as Amazonian Shaman have always used Icaros which are the songs given to them by the plants, to connect with the plants and use them in their healing. It is new for those of us in the west though and certainly as a way of working with flower essences.

Even having the energy of Flower Essences present in a room though can be healing and the number if uses for them is endless. Flexible, gentle, sensitive, effective and wonderful to work with they are a very useful tool to have around.

Paganism 101

imageMost books labelled 101 are aimed at beginners but this 101 has a completely different meaning in that it refers to 101 Pagans, all writing from their own very different perspectives about their form of Paganism.

Paganism is a very broad heading and for many people it can be difficult to work out where within paganism their own views and opinions belong. What this book shows clearly is that it really doesn’t matter for within paganism there is space for everyone.

With headings such ad Druid, Heathen, Witch, Wiccan, Shaman, Christo Pagan, Goddess Follower and Eclectic Pagan there really is something for everyone. With many of us working in isolation, treading very individual paths it is enlightening to read the thoughts and beliefs of others. I turned directly to the section on Shaman and was not disappointed. I particularly enjoyed reading about Elen Sentier’s background.

Paganism 101 also includes writing on Deities, Nature, Ethos, After life, Ancestors, Past and Present, Ritual, Magic, Prayer and Meditation, Healing, Herbalism and Celebrant Work.

This is a real treasure chest of a book, full of diverse ideas and opinions yet with many common threads running through it. I can see myself dipping in and out of this as my own ideas shift and change. This is a book that will be of interest to beginners and the experienced alike, there really is something in it for everyone who walks or is interested in walking a pagan path.

Patience

imageOne of the biggest challenges for me in this life has been patience and it is something I often struggle to find.

I tend to have more patience with others than I do with my family and certainly with myself. If something doesn’t work out then I give up rather than persevere, if there are instructions then I ignore these and dive in, if I can’t do something then I stop. I get cross, frustrated, angry with myself or whoever is around and of course it doesn’t help one bit.

A few years ago I took up watercolour painting and here I have had to learn to be patient. I have had to learn to work and then walk away in order to leave something to dry. I have learnt the hard way that rushing means a muddy mess, something unretrievable and which often ends up in the bin.

If I use masking fluid then again this has to be left to dry. If not then any paint going over it picks up the masking fluid and spreads it across the paper ruining whatever idea I had. If I use salt to create an effect then this too needs to be left to dry. If it isn’t dry then the salt won’t brush off cleanly but instead dissolves into the paint and again creates a mess.

I am used to keeping a journal and through it to have chance of looking back to see if there are any patterns in what is happening around me. As I write this I can see there is a clear pattern in regard to my lack of patience. If I am not patient then the result is all too often a mess. If I think about it I can see that this doesn’t just apply to my watercolour painting but also to other areas of my life including my relationships with others and with myself.

Perhaps if I persevere with watercolour painting I will learn to be patient enough to be able to carry this into other areas of my life and as with my painting will then be able to see the benefit of giving everything the time it needs.

Pagan Blog Project – Fire

imageFire is my favourite element to work with. It’s the one I feel drawn to most, closest to in many ways and the one I always go to first when I need to release, clear or transform anything.

As a shamanic healer, fire is also very important in my work I am not sure I could manage without it. When I am working I always light candles around my room knowing that they will combine with everything else I do to form a layer of protection around me. I am especially careful to place them in corners and the darker areas of my workspace so the fire surrounds me.

Without fire I would not be able to work with sage as fire is necessary to light the bundles. The smoke from the sage is then used to clear energy and space.

Fire is always part of any ritual or ceremony that I do, be it on my own or with others. This may be as simple as having a candle lit in the centre of the space I am working with or as complex as having a fire pit with fire blazing in the centre of the circle. I am not sure that I have ever held ceremony or carried out ritual without fire being present.

When working with Munay Ki fire is always used to feed the rites and to energise the archetypes in the harmony rite.

When making Despachos, a form of prayer bundle, I often use fire to send the prayers and intentions on to the spirits rather than bury the bundles and work with earth.

When I wish to release something, to let go, in order to make space for something new I use fire to burn the old and transform the energy that has been held there. There is something really empowering about writing down what you need to let go of and then watching it turn to ashes as the fire eats it up. Equally though when I want to bring in something new I use fire to energise whatever it might be, again writing it down and giving it over to the fire but this time using fire as a driving force.

Fire is, in my mind, the most transformative of all the elements and although it needs to be handled with care so that it does not run wild and become destructive it is also remarkably easy and flexible to work with.

I journeyed as I was writing this to ask my helpers for a fire ceremony that could be used in the Spring and this is what I was given to share here:

Collect up twigs, dried leaves and small branches that have fallen over the winter
In a safe place to light a fire use the wood to make a pyramid shape and the leaves as fuel to light the fire but do not light it yet.
Collect up a bundle of twigs and hold them so they form a small brush
Use the brush to clear a circle around your wood pyramid. If you are used to casting a circle as part of your practice, begin in the East and cast your circle as you brush.
As you brush hold the intention to create sacred clear space in which to work.
When you have brushed your circle move to sit facing East, direction of Spring and new beginnings.
Call in the energy of the East, in your own way, asking it to work with Fire in the space you have created.
Light your fire using your breath to help bring it to life.
Once your fire is lit, again working with your breath, speak your intentions into the fire. Ask for whatever you wish to bring in to be energised by fire.
Visualise your intentions coming to life as fire carries them, bringing energy to them as it does so.
When you are finished wait until the fire burns away to ash and is safe to leave. While you are waiting you could continue to visualise your intentions becoming reality.
When the fire is no more and has finished its work thank the element of fire for working with you.
If you have cast a circle then make sure you close it before you leave.

Stopping

imageI spent last week feeling really tired and by the end of the week was feeling so rubbish that I knew I had to stop…and so I did, for the briefest of time possible. I’m not good at stopping completely so for me stopping meant spending a little time watercolour painting, reading a lot and watching more than a bit of tele. But physically at least I was reasonably still and to a large extent mentally still too.

Yesterday I felt better so today what did I do? I steam cleaned the floors! And now I am sat still again as ….yes you’ve guessed….I’m not feeling that good again and it’s actually dawned on me that I do need to conserve my energy.

This all got me wondering why it is that I find it hard to stop, why I find it difficult to let myself do nothing. I do have a very low boredom threshold and a strong work ethic which if you combine them go some way to explaining how I am, but then as a severely asthmatic child, confined to bed for the odd week here and there, I know I used to be able to be still for I had no choice.

It was during some shamanic work a few months ago that I found myself meeting a younger me who had been in trouble at school for daydreaming and suddenly I understood that this need to keep moving, to always be doing something, was not really who I was but who I had allowed someone else to make be.

I think ‘the system’ does this to many of us. If we don’t fit the mould then we are manipulated in to fitting. The daydreaming, hyperactive (yes I know they don’t really go together) child became the adult that felt she had to be doing something all the time. Whether it was school that ‘persuaded’ me to be this way or whether it is a reaction to being forced to be still by asthma doesn’t really matter. Either way what I need to do now as an adult, is give myself permission to stop, to allow myself the time I need to recover and to let go of any the guilt that accompanies this.

Making any change needs to happen in stages. The first stage is the realisation of the need to change. Shamanic work is a great way of gaining insight into what needs to change and I am lucky that this is so much part of me, the daydreaming child was never daydreaming at all 🙂 The next stage is observing the continuing of the old way of being which is where I am now and then the final stage is behaving in the new way not continuing the old pattern.

So now that I have permission to stop, now that I can see what is happening I can enjoy just allowing myself to be, for long enough to recover anyway that is.

Pagan Blog Project – Exploring

imageFinding my first ‘E’ blog was easy, this one less so. I have spent the last few days tossing around all sorts of E possibilities. I was very tempted to wade into the discussion about either energy or elements but just as I was about to start writing I realised that what I really wanted to blog about this week was exploring. After all isn’t that what we are all here to do….or hopefully what we are all here doing at any rate.

Looking back I can see that in many ways I have spent my whole life consciously exploring, looking to see what else is out there. This is not because I am unsatisfied, far from it really, but because I am and have always been, inquisitive. This desire to explore has lead me to some interesting places, especially over the last decade or so and I fully expect it to continue to lead me to yet more, for I know I am far from finished.

I think I have probably been lucky in that I grew up having experienced being temporarily part of several different strands of religion, encouraged to take what resonated and leave the rest behind, not to believe anything because someone said it was so, but to question and discover for myself what fit me.

As a teenager and young adult, first in need of a bit more than my pocket money and then to supplement a grant I tried on a selection of jobs; clearing tables, cook, life guard, sales assistant, bar person. None of them were me but who I became for a brief period of time. I leant to shape shift, to take on a role, perform it and then leave it behind when I took off the ‘uniform’.

From these early experiences it has been easy as an adult not to get drawn in to the mentality of being only one thing and so as I have moved though life, as I have learnt, so my beliefs have changed. I have continued as the child, holding onto what fits and letting go of the rest.

This world of ours is very big and contains infinite possibilities for us if we allow ourselves to be brave and to explore. It makes me wonder sometimes why we are in such a hurry to label ourselves or others: child, parent, wife, husband, mother, father, teacher, shop assistant, chef, bank clerk, light worker, pagan, Druid, shaman, healer or whatever.

Why is it that feel we need to do this to make sense of everything? And why are we so wary, dismissive or overawed by anyone who we label as something other than ourselves? What is it that makes us so insecure that we need to restrict ourselves? What makes us afraid to stretch and explore?

The only thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt from my exploration so far is that I am only whoever I am at that particular point in time. No more, no less. At any given moment I am the sum of all my explorations up to that point but only up to that. Tomorrow as I explore further I may well change. My beliefs change as I change, how I see myself changes as I change and with that comes great freedom.

And isn’t that what makes this life so exciting? If we can let go of our fears and let it be that is.