Pagan Blog Project – Xylotherapy

imageFollowing on from last week’s search for something beginning with ‘X’, this week’s endeavour has lead me to discover Xylotherapy.

Xylotherapy I discovered is defined as:

1. The use of certain kinds of wood in the cure of disease
2. Medical treatment by the application of certain woods to the body
3. Certain kinds of wood applied to the skin to regain sensibility to otherwise non sensitive (non feeling) skin

Search as I might though I could find little about how to practice Xylotherapy other than that the practice was to lay circles of the appropriate wood on the person and that any beneficial effects were considered to be in the mind.

Thinking about it though it is perfectly possible to understand how wood might have been, and can still be considered a tool for healing. For instance if we look at the properties of a few common woods we can find that many of them have healing properties associated with them.

Apple for example is associated with fertility and is thought to be helpful for nausea, toothache, fluid retention and digestive disorders.

Ash is said to help digestion and weight loss.

Beech is used for stomach problems, healing wounds and for sores and ulcers.

Elder is thought to help asthma, fevers and the healing of fractures.

Eucalyptus may ease coughs, colds and sinus problems

Oak, kidney stones, bleeding, circulation and fevers

And Pine may be used for chest, throat and lung infections, circulations and fevers.

Whereas in Xylotherapy wood may have been laid on the body, today we are more likely to use essential oils made from woods such as pine and eucalyptus for example. In some cultures and forms of healing, poultices may also be made from the bark of woods, or the sap of the tree used. So although we may not call it Xylotherapy healing with wood is still practiced today.

The Weaving Of Shamanic Medicine Into Ones Life

I didn’t write this but thought this was well worth sharing as it’s a very sensible and considered look at modern shamanism and how to make it part of every day life.

Contemporary Shaman

b5a5f7d4295948872fd80e861960bae3We are no longer living in the old traditional ways. We can’t go back. It’s like asking the butterfly to return to its cocoon. The laws of nature keep moving us forward into transformation and growth.

The leading governments of the world have a surging pull to go back to old traditional values based on fear that they have no control. The Vatican for example is also stuck in a time warp that does not fit this modern age.

Trying to stuff the butterfly back into its cocoon…. It just won’t regress and in doing that they are preventing what naturally needs to transform. Transformation will happen one way or another, nature will see to it if no one else does.

We may have been part of the old traditional ways in former incarnations and may well be descendants of traditional pathways but we are not our past, nor should…

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Web of Life Connections – Thought and Peace

imageTwo for the price of one today 🙂 Dipping my hand into the bag I drew what I thought was one card but which turned out to be two. Rather than separate them I thought I’d share the message from both as they clearly were determined to both be heard together.

So, in the order in which they were drawn….


‘Be still, stop rushing and give your mind chance to settle, only then will you know what that voice inside is trying to tell you. This is the true thought, the one that bubbles up from nowhere and surprises you. Be still now and listen’.

And Peace:

‘When you allow yourself to be still and find that calm and quiet place inside you then, and only then, can you find inner peace. This peace needs to be searched for, it is within you and you can touch it any time you choose once you know where it is, no matter what is happening around you’.

So two clear messages today relating to being still. Enjoy!

Pagan Blog Project – Xylomancy

imageI know that is was not necessary to find a blog post for ‘X’ but I love discovering new terminology so decided to take the letter X as a challenge and in doing so I discovered Xylomancy.

Xylomancy it seems is the art of divination using wood. Now divination is a subject close to my heart as it plays a large role in shamanism. There are of course many ways of divining such as through the use of cards, stones, cloud formations, runes, shamanic journeying and so on, the list is long. Wood though is a new one on me.

Derived from the Greek words xylo, meaning wood and manteia, meaning divination, Xylomancy is divination of past, present or future, using twigs, pieces of wood or the fallen branches of trees.

Like in all forms of divination where artifacts are used, in Xylomancy attention is paid to the location, overall formation and patterns made by the wood, as well as the size, shape and colour of each piece.

In ancient times attention was paid to the formation and patterns of pieces or wood found in a persons path, these were then interpreted by seers and soothsayers.

Later on the practice evolved so that pieces of naturally fallen wood were stripped of half of their bark and then scattered on the ground. The formations of those pieces which fell stripped side uppermost were then interpreted by those able to do so.

Another form of Xylomancy is to interpret the appearance of wood when it is burning.

Like all forms of divination, the secret it seems is to be able to interpret what is being shown to you.

Web of Life Connections – Death

imageI had more than a little trouble drawing today’s card. As I dipped my hand into the bag several cards attached themselves to me and trying to separate them proved difficult. Usually when this happens I draw all of them as they all have messages, but judging by the pile in my grasp this was an unusually large amount and probably too many to listen to at once.

I let the cards go and then dipped my hand in once again returning with what felt like several still but which proved to be only one, that of Death.

Just like the Death card in Tarot, there is nothing to fear from drawing Death as a connection within the web of life for it simply refers to change and the need to let go. So what then is Death’s message for us at this time?

‘ Do not try and hold onto what has passed but look joyfully to the future for there is much there to embrace. Holding onto things that have served their purpose only serves to hold you back. Even when letting go is painful and requires some soul searching this is so. As the wheel turns so does your life. Step into the new knowing that without the past this could not exist.’

Shaman Pathways Web of Life 


Although you may not have realised it as WordPress has been efficiently posting the blog posts I had scheduled before I left, but I have been away on holiday.

Normally this is not a problem as I can get internet coverage pretty much anywhere but this time it was, as I was in Bhutan. Every now and then it was possible to pick up my emails but replying was another matter. This is not unusual as my email provider seems to think that the only place I need to reply to emails from is my home. I have long since given up trying to do so whilst travelling and instead save anything important to deal with when I return….

and herein lies the problem…

This time all the emails I carefully forwarded to be saved and stored safely, emails that I know were there, on my arrival home mysteriously disappeared. I did manage to retreive some emails that were important to respond to but one that was equally important has vanished off the face of the earth.

So what am I to make of this I now wonder?

The email was one asking about shamanic training, not a workshop in learning how to journey but long term or apprenticeship style training. This is something that I am asked to do every now and again and which I have so far resisted. I had been wondering if the Universe was giving me a shove towards this with the new request but now it has vanished I am wondering if it is something I should let go of, something I am not meant to be doing after all.

This is a dilema that is not infrequent when we start paying attention to the messages we receive from the Universe or our guides. It is not just enough for us to be aware of the messages or signs we are being given, we also have to make sense of them and making sense of them can at times be hard. Sometimes we make sense of things in the way that we wish to, in a way that meets what we want to do,  at others we make sense of things in a way that stretches us, leading us forward and helping us learn which is obviously more rewarding in the long term than taking the easy way out. Sometimes we have to be patient and wait for more information or messages to arrive as trying to make sense of something with incorrect or incomplete information can lead us into all kinds of problems.

Me….I’m just going to sit on this, be patient and see what, if anything, else turns up. Better to be still and wait, than spend time trying to find something that isn’t supposed to be found.

Pagan Blog Project – Walking Through Webs

imageA few years ago, when working with Hummingbird, it showed me the threads of the web in which we are interwoven, interconnected, all part of the whole. On this occasion, and at times since then, these were shown to me as fine fibres of green light, like lasers and it was explained that to connect to anything and any time within the web all I had to do is to reach out my hand and touch the right connection. Hummingbird also explained how we walk through these threads every minute of every day without being aware of them.

Now just for a moment imagine yourself early in the morning, overnight the spiders have been busy spinning and weaving, the garden, the path you walk down, the doorway you step through, are full of stunning, intricate webs. Take your time to have a good look at them wondering at the creativity of those who wove them. Now imagine yourself walking through these webs. Even when if you fail to notice these wonders of nature they will let you know they are there, clinging to you, sticking in your hair, against your skin or your clothes so you cannot fail to notice what you have done.

If only the web of life, the web that connects each and every one of us, to everything that exists, the web of which we are an intricate part, could do the same. If only as we moved through life we could see the myriad of connections we brush against, walk through, pass by every minute of every day. If only these threads clung to us and made us pay attention in the way that the spider’s web does. What would we be aware of, what would we learn if it was so.

Perhaps we would be fully aware of the resonance of the actions of anything, including ourselves, within the web. Perhaps we would have a greater respect for the way in which different aspects of the web impact on us, sometimes supporting or helping us, sometimes showing us the way and of course of how we impact on the world around us. Perhaps we would know the ability we have to tap into the universal consciousness or speak with anything or anyone at any time. Perhaps we would also tread more lightly and with greater awareness as we moved through our lives.

Web of Life Connections – Ironstone

imageIf the connection last week was one I hadn’t remembered being there, this one is that and more because I actually have no idea what Ironstone even is. This is a connection that is not part of my usual life and so in order to connect with it and find is message I needed to sit with it and give it time.

This is what is needed with any new or unusual connection and often this brings deeper insight or an unexpected message, so it is always worth being patient and being prepared to spend the time.

The message that eventually came from Ironstone was…

‘On the surface things sometimes look dull and unworthy of our time but if we take the time to look beneath the surface and our first impressions we can often find true and unexpected beauty within’.


Shaman Pathways Web of Life 

Pagan Blog Project – Why I Don’t Do Spell Work

imageAs a child I was fascinated with the idea of spells but I have always avoided them for for reasons that completely escaped me. Sure, in my work there are aspects that could be described by some as magic, but actual spell work….No!

Why I always avoided spell work in any form puzzled me until I read ‘Wicked Business’ by Janet Evanovich. Whilst not a particularly good book I loved it because as I read it, slowly but surely, I began to understand why spells and I do not mix under any circumstances.

In the book a young female character, called Glo, visits a local shop and if I remember correctly, returns with a book of spells. Needless to say that nothing goes right, Glo is not a witch, she does not have any experience in any way nor anyone to teach her. As she experiments, ingredients are improvised through lack of the exact one specified in the book, things go wrong and this was where it hit me….

When I cook I usually begin with a recipe. My tried and tested method is to choose what to cook by looking through cook books, or online, to find something that sounds or looks nice. I then look through the ingredients and if I don’t have exactly what it says I decide what to substitute or to miss out completely. When asked what’s for tea the most common answer is….

‘It started off as this, but I didn’t have any x, y, z so now it’s this but I don’t know what it’s called’

And this is exactly what would happen if I did spell work. I wouldn’t have the right herb, colour candle, colour ribbon, incense or whatever was needed so I would use what I thought was ‘near enough’ or I would leave it our completely. In other words I would experiment and see what happened. Whilst I realise that there is a degree of flexibility in spell work, I also realise that experimenting to the extent that I do, would not really be safe.

So there you have it….in order not to do harm or blow anything up, I do not do spell work 🙂

Be very glad that it was shamanism that became my path and not Wicca. For that the world is a much, much safer place.

Web of Life Connections – Colleagues and Peers

imageSometimes when I draw a connections card I pull out one that I had forgotten was in there. This week’s is such a connection, that of Colleagues and Peers. The message this connection brought was…

‘In life we can sometimes feel desperately alone but if we look around us we can see that we have company. We may not know this company well, for colleagues and peers can sometimes be distant,  but they are there and if we allow ourselves to connect with them, can be a tremendous source of support, strength and inspiration’.

Shaman Pathways Web of Life