Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Question Period

I thought it would be interesting to have a blog where individuals ask quick questions and I attempt to give quick answers. With the help of comments – YOU could help in directing me to the questions that would need more elaboration. For example with one of Rose’s question I know I will have to revisit the topic of “winds.” I’m already on it….

1) From Rose: I had a dream about a wasp flying around my face and it wasn't until I wrote about it that I realized what this connected to. When I was a baby, I was asleep quietly in my cot when a wasp flew in and for no reason, stung me on the face. I think this probably happened in my first year of the Moon of Welcoming (because of the house we were living in). So I had a little look at what wasps mean and I guess I have a little more respect for them as a totem now. I have heard people mention that they have totems for different parts of their personal wheels on the facebook group. So I guess I wondered how this worked exactly and if this dream reminder of a previous event would be suggesting that the wasp is my totem for the Moon of Welcoming? Or did I get that completely wrong?

In “our” tradition, the Medicine Wheel has 36 stones. When we work with totems we often stick to the anchors. For example our eastern totem speaks of our personality and how we present ourselves to others. We often refer to this totem as our “face totem.” In the South, we find our “medicine totem.” This totem is about our power and our tools. It’s how we meet challenges and deal with life. In the West, our totem speaks of our “duality.” How we learn and how we teach for example. In the North, we find our “destiny council totem.” This totem talks to us about path and purpose. Some legends and stories speak of the center totem as the spirit animal; which dreams up our Medicine Wheel. Usually this totem talks about “us” as a whole.

Definitely, we can continue to explore totems with the remaining 27 stones of the Medicine Wheel. For example, I have no doubt your Moon of Welcome is about the Wasp. Your story makes it quite obvious. You could probably find a totem for every single one of your Moons.

Continue to explore your personal Medicine Wheel. You seem to be a natural at it…

2) From Rose: I had another dream where a symbol was given to me (it is a circle with one line going from NW to SE and a second going from NE to SW so that they cross in the centre of the circle. A third line goes from N to S but only goes half way towards each edge and has a little circle on each end). Not sure if the way the dream unveiled the symbol has any meaning. The centre was Glastonbury and the four ends of the longer lines were churches, around Glastonbury in places all beginning with B. The dream then moved on and there was some drama involving children. One drama occurred North of Glastonbury and the other South and one involved a male child and the other a female child - but in the dreams I was able to intervene and rescue the children (although I can not remember what from). In relation to the wheel - how would you interpret it? I wondered if the short line was going between Wisdom and Love? Are the two longer lines paths? Can you write a post on paths as I am still none the wiser after the discussion in the group.

Paths. From South to North is where we find the Red road. East to West is the what we call the Black road. The “Red road” is about walking a sacred path or walking a spiritual trail. Where some people may judge the notion of the Black road – I understand this road as challenging and sometimes even testing. The idea is to learn, to heal and to grow “off” the Black road and onto the Red road. The White road is beyond the circle and refers to “our journey to the stars.”

The lines you describe in your dream speak of winds more than paths. For example the lines from NE to SW speak of the Fire Keeper and Nomad winds. The lines moving from NW to SE illustrate the Initiator and Peace Keeper winds. The line with the dots from S to N does seem to emphasize love and wisdom. It seems you are being called to explore the process; which brings love into wisdom. It makes sense that it elaborates on the Fire Keeper, Nomad, Initiator and Peace Keeper.

Perhaps you should explore the winds…
I believe the details of your dream are helping you uncover your personal Medicine Wheel. Work on it all through the month and see how it refers to your present day life.

3) From Eli: What is it to be a Shaman in the 21st Century? And is the word "Shaman" the right/effective one to use in the world at this time?

I love this question.
In “our” tradition it takes 8 years to go through the Shaman initiation. During this journey the word “shaman” is experienced and integrated rather than used as “vocabulary.” I was told that “Shaman” means “the breath of Creation.” Different traditions will give this energy many different names. It’s not about the word; but about the “actual experience or process.”

Shaman is not something you aspire to become. It’s an energy you embody and it holds it’s own story. I was told that the Shaman energy chooses individuals, trees, rivers and even animals to feed Creation (so to speak).

The Shaman energy has a very specific “signature.” First, it’s all about collectivity. The Shaman serves community and in return, community serves the Shaman. In the 21st century – individualism dominates. It is difficult to build functional communities and to create a solid bond between the Shaman energy and the community. And yet – it still happens and exists. It does take a different form than the old fashion tribe.

Another signature of the Shaman is “its” ability to communicate to Spirit; to bring consciousness to others; trigger healing often through soul retrieval and journey through the dream time. Because of “its” connection to the different realms of the dreaming and to the entities that live there – the Shaman has access to sacred knowledge; which obviously comes in handy in self-discovery, community building, and the process of learning, healing and growing. The Shaman energy is God-like and Goddess-like (so to speak). The initiation of the Shaman asks the individuals who are chosen by this energy to make ready or to make whole in order to translate as accurately as possible what this energy is all about.

I don’t think today’s Shaman energy is different than the Shaman energy of yesterday (going back to prehistory); but I do believe the contemporary individuals who embody this energy are worlds apart from their ancestors. The idea behind Shamanism is to listen to the natural and cosmological realities. These realities change every day and the demands of these realities are never the same. A Shaman has to adapt and follow these realities.

It is difficult for a “human being” to understand a fraction of what the “breath of Creation” needs to know and needs to accomplish. Eight years is only the initiation. To be “Shaman” (so to speak) is a whole life commitment and what it asks of “man” is unexplainable and unimaginable. It is because of the magnitude of the experience that a Shaman never owned the title (so to speak) of Shaman. Only community members or teachers were allowed to speak of a Shaman as Shaman. It’s something you recognize through the experience.

Definitely the path of the Shaman has been around for a very long time. We can speak of “it” in the past tense; but we don’t quite know the form “it” will take in modern times. What role will it take in modern collectives? Will it be very different than what we’ve seen in the past? I guess, we’ll have to wait and see.

I think we should stick with the word that “holds power” to us. For me the word Shaman works. I’ve journeyed with other words equivalent to Shaman and they didn’t offer anything more or less than the word Shaman. The idea is to work with the medicine within the word. Certainly, I would love to see new words for Shaman and see new Medicine offered to the next 7 generations. As long as we can continue the tradition of embodying the “breath of Creation.” Humanity needs it to survive.


taranova said...

Lisa, this post has connected quite a few dots!
first... thanks for letting rose pass on the medicine wheel diagram/info xo i really must get onto facebook!

2nd... rose, having seen your symbol pic & now, the medicine wheel... i was picturing the patterns on the wheel as i read your description... duh... just seen how embroidery patterns connect!
lisa, your explanation has unravelled (or at least pointed me in the direction) of how you connect certain things, tho still have to grasp anchors & winds.
really, really have to get onto facebook!

third... hadn't heard shaman as breath of creation... i breathe/sing awen with the trees... and as i walk the woods.. awen defined as 'inspiration, often of divine nature'... i think of it as breath of creation... have been hearing/feeling message of 'i am/we are awen, i am/we are shaman, i am/we are creation'... i am/we are cos its like all strands of energy... i am/we are everything that you/we are...

sorry for the essay... lol... just appreciated all the connections!

Fishrarr said...

The way I know shamanism is from the peoples of northern Europe and Siberia. The word Shaman is from the Tugus tribe in Siberia and means "to see or journey in the other world". The goal is to bring "balance". Balance to all things the world, community, and the self. You are so right in saying that one does not choose that path, but spirit chooses you. It is a hard path to walk, always has been, probably always will be. This is because you do not really fit in either world, not on the earthwalk or the other world because you know a bit about both places. You have a foot in each world. That is a balancing act no matter what life time you are in.
So I have a question, Lisa. What numbers are the most important or magical in your tradition? I would say that 3 and 9 are the most important in the northern Europe or Siberian way with 9 at the head of the list.
Hope you are feeling better, blessings, Tom.

Rose said...

Thank you ever so much Lisa! I certainly have a lot to think about.... I certainly think my understanding of the winds is a little ropey too!


Lisa F. Tardiff said...


There are several numbers that are meaningful.
4 -- which implies the four directions and our connection to our basic nature. Seasons.
8 -- which refers to the gates to the other realms or the winds. Also speaks of challenges.
3 -- which speaks of the soul and spirit.
12 / 13 -- which refers to the moons, our inner children and fragments. The cycle of life.
16 -- which is about mysteries.
7 -- which refers to families, clans... Collectivity. Prayer and eternity.

I think every number opens up a world of "something."


Rose said...

The more I think about this post, the more curious I am about tree shamans...

Lisa F. Tardiff said...


Tree Shaman?


Rose said...

Yes, tree Shaman!

"I was told that the Shaman energy chooses individuals, trees, rivers and even animals to feed Creation (so to speak). "

I find the idea of trees as shaman particularly interesting. Maybe because if I can find some tree shaman down here I could go visit them (more trees than rivers and easier to find than a wild animal). Maybe because I spent some time as a tree in a journey. Maybe just because I like trees...


Lisa F. Tardiff said...


England must have lots of "Tree Shamans". There are so many stories about "sacred forests." Plus with the Celtic tradition out there -- I have no doubt you have "lots of shaman energy moving through the trees."

I love TREES too...


Rose said...

Now you have me thinking - about the feel of different woods and trees and how really ancient woods seem to have a wild and secret feel that most people would rather avoid.

Lisa F. Tardiff said...