Sunday, November 20, 2011


The longest nights are definitely from late October to late December. Some years offer a more challenging experience with darkness than other years.

What is darkness?
To most people darkness is just another word for horror, tragedy and fear; but for others it’s excitement, comfort, silence or peace.

This year Fall seems eternal despite the few flurries this weekend. On Saturday ET and I went to Bromont. ET went to get his ski pass. It was a nice ride: A mix of clear sky, sunshine and snow-promising-clouds (cold, dark and menacing). I remember imagining the Gods of Winter when I was a child (at least that’s how I called them). They had gray silver skin, puffy cheeks with white, long beards and always appeared in early December hiding through these types of dark clouds. I hadn’t seen these Gods for a while and then, yesterday they were there a top the mountains predicting a good snow season. As if ET could see them too, he started to explain to me how important it was to have a few days of consecutive cold because without the -0 weather they can’t work the machines to make snow. Obviously my husband is anticipating a good ski season. I chuckled and looked up to the heavens.

“They won’t need the machines for long,” I said.

These Winter Gods were never friendly as far as I could tell and yet, I was always impressed with their presence. I even remember seeking them out. Like darkness they inspired me with inner strength. A challenge or an enemy is not always a bad thing especially when it’s designed to empower. According to the Medicine Wheel it’s always a matter of perspective and attitude. So many First Nation ancestors have left us quotes; which translate into gladness or gratitude. We were born to appreciate ourselves, the people around us, our environment, and Creation (God-made and man-made). In the last month I’ve had numerous conversations with different people on the topic of friendship. I must have repeated countless times “if a relationship doesn’t empower it should be reconsidered.” The idea is to bring one another to learn, to heal, to grow, to change, and to become whole or conscious. I find it incredible to see how so many individuals choose darkness to mean pain, guilt, shame, regret and suffering.

Shift into a different state of mind.

I’m sure many of you have watched the show the Dog Whisperer on the Discovery Channel with Ceasar Millan. Basically, Ceasar who’s native from Mexico and now resides in California, teaches dog owners to shift their state of mind into calm and assertive energy in order to become strong and positive influences on their pets. He shows that you can make a difference in the life of a dog if you build trust; cultivate discipline; and master personal energy. Personally, I love the show because Ceasar speaks of attitudes and concepts; which are very similar to what we learn and teach in Shamanism. From my perspective with or without dogs we should all learn to embody empowering states of mind. It would help us with relationships (human and other wise). On his show Ceasar Millan makes it look easy to “shift states of mind.” It’s not something that takes years to learn and to reflect on. It’s done in the moment and it’s repeated by choice.

I often tell my students to surrender to their first perspective. This point of view is always influenced by cosmology and nature. Basically it’s filled with programs, memories, judgments, issues, expectations etc... It’s filled with possibilities. If we explore our first perspectives as if we were to interpret a dream we’ll find our way to answers, solutions and potential of growth and change. Our first step when it comes to working with perspectives or what I call the Medicine Wheel is to “listen.”

Our first perspective always tells us what’s going on around us. It gives us clues about external influences. Before we can shift our state of mind or change perspective we need to know where we are coming from and why we often find ourselves there. For example, these days I often find myself contemplating death. I know there’s nature and cosmology behind the experience. It’s actually been incredible to listen to the synchronic stories on my path and to my own thoughts.

I don’t think I have ever felt death as much as I have this Fall.

I’ve asked myself the question is it because this season is dragging and lingering?
Is it because more people than usual have been dying these past few months?
Or is it because the Moon and Nature are whispering death songs?

The dark Goddess is more and more manifested it seems.

During the past month I’ve learnt that not every Autumn season offers long lasting colourful leaves. A perfect mix of heat, cold, sunshine and rain plays a role in the making of beauty in Fall. Interestingly enough it’s the mix of elements and how they come together in a kind of circle; which decides on when things die and how they die.

Perhaps it is the same for humans?

Death can be peaceful, enchanting, scary and terrifying. I think it all depends on the process and how much you commit to it. The idea of war or plagues scares me because suddenly death is cruel and violent; and life finds an end. I try to commit to the soul through death and with that perspective, I devote to a notion of immortality and what I call “the beauty of death.” I don’t like the idea of being dispensable or forgotten. I believe in integrity in death. Perhaps this is the reason why I retain such a strong connection to Spirit and the Ancestors?

I love cemeteries. I’m a bit like the Ravens who flock around sacred burial sites and become their guardians. Cemeteries don’t speak of death to me; but instead remind me of life after death. As a traditional dreamer I can pull from the bones the stories they have left behind. In indigenous dreaming we believe dreaming comes from our cells rather than our brain. Our minds help us store imagery, impressions, sensations, emotions etc… Like a good projector the brain is the technology; which allows us to visualize and sense what our cells are communicating.

A good example is when we are sick. We usually have the most phenomenal dreams when we’re ill. The cells of our liver, our kidneys, our skin or our throat – transmit to us solutions, cures, treatments in order to get better. They also tell us why we are sick and help us grow, change… Often when we’re back on our feet we never dream those kinds of dreams again. There are countless cells on our body and we only dream from a small fraction of them. Shamans who move in and out of numerous diseases have a greater archive of dreams – hence, wisdom and consciousness.

Cemeteries give traditional dreamers access to bones. Within these bones remain memories, stories -- hence, dreams. For an undisciplined traditional dreamer a cemetery can no doubt be incredibly overwhelming; but for a disciplined dreamer it can be an opportunity to dream the stories of Spirit and the Ancestors. It’s a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. In cemeteries I always feel nostalgic and although I can’t often control the tears, I know that the emotions are connected to a sense of eternity. It’s not often that “life feels complete.” Most days it makes no sense.

Darkness still has a month to torture or tease; teach and heal. I can see there’s a theme setting in and that it’s connecting to the Moons of Humility and Metamorphosis. We’ll be starting the year with Welcome and so positive predictions are in the making. Cosmology is telling us that the present darkness is advising and guiding each of us to prepare for 2012. We can make a difference. It’s all about changing our state of mind and empowering ourselves and the World around us; but first, we need to walk through the darkness and listen.

What is it telling you?


Rose said...

Oh my! There is so much in this post and I have so many questions, almost too many to even begin.... Do you mean that past illnesses increase our range of dreaming? How do you pull out the stories when you visit a cemetery? What do you mean by integrity in death and how does that work in a slow painful death?

A truly lovely post! Thank you

Lisa F. Tardiff said...


Yes ALL illnesses increase our range of dreaming...
Past or present.

To know more about how "we" dream --- techniques and all, consider coming to one of our workshops.

As for integrity in death -- I may consider writing another blog on the topic.

Thank you for being a faithful reader.

Emily said...

Love this post.
I also believe death is beautiful. I dont think I would have arrived at this perception had I not experienced it for myself, in being with people who are dying, and afterwards. I have been visited by people after they have died, usually they are happy and healthy. For me, Its been an honour, a truly valuable experience to walk with someone through the process of death. It has brought me to tears at times, but tears of happiness, rather than sadness, because I see it as eternal, rather than final.
When you talk about surrendering to your first perspective it brings me back to my own, around death, and I see the huge amount of growth and change in me since then. With every experience there is huge potential for evolution. Sometimes you cannot even imagine so in the beginning.


Fishrarr said...

I once read somewhere that a person should be as happy as their dog. I find at times that is good advise. The times when life drags me down with all of it's little problems. That's when it's time for me to take some space in nature and once again realize how lucky I am to me here right now and give thanks for all the things, energies, folks, who have, are supporting this journey of mine, because it a very short time this chapter will be done, but for the memory of the experience. That for me is integrity weather the next step is death or not. Tom.

Michelle said...

Walking through the Darkness and listening is key right now for me...I am being pushed and somtimes, I feel myself resisting alot. I give myself a shake and say just go with it life is always changeing why are you hanging on to past programs and regrets...It can feel scary at first but then I feel it changes to empowerment. I am learning to accept the darkness somthing to continually work on for sure.

Linda R said...

I like what you said about walking thru the darkness & listening...that's been my "homework" since Golden. I'm not sure if it's resistance, denial, or unconsciousness but sometimes I don't even see the darkness.....maybe I'm in too deep? It's been a struggle for me to recognize it in myself....I can see it in others. Still have a lot of work to do!