Author Archives: Ananaia OLeary

About Ananaia OLeary

My life-long love affair with humanity has led me to a deep understanding of the workings of the human psyche, and perhaps more importantly, the authentic nature of the human spirit. Over 20 years of spiritual study and both personal and professional experience I have developed my capacity to perceive the subtle energies and spiritual presence, which operate just below the surface of ordinary perception. My journey has taught me that these subtle dynamics shape our lives on every level: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. We may not perceive them consciously, but they impact us concretely. When we come together, you bring your willingness and wisdom. I utilize my skills as a shaman, healer, visionary and teacher and the transformational power of love to help you heal, evolve, discover and share your medicine gifts. As you release impeding energy patterns and mobilize your authentic gifts, life becomes more vibrant, harmonious and empowered. Let's collaborate!

Ash Wed: Remember Man That Thou Art Dust


I was never impressed with the whole idea of Lent, a 6-week season of deprivation in the name of spiritual growth. But growing up Catholic, there was always something just a lil bit badass about having ashes smudged onto my forehead with the forbidding admonishment: Remember, Man, that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.

I remember other kids would rub their foreheads clean in the bus on the way home, embarrassed. Me? Well, even then, I guess, I had an appreciation for symbolism and ritual. I took it in stride. It didn’t seem to bother me that I’d been marked for inevitable death. I felt that something special had happened to me that day and I wanted it to linger.

I never associated that smudge with sin. I associated it with mortality. The ash was death-stuff, not a mark on my soul. I couldn’t have articulated it then, but looking back I recognize that I felt the truth of that inexorable cycle as the organic thing it is. For the living, death is a required course. It didn’t weigh heavily upon me. For the first time writing this, it occurs to me that they were trying to frighten me into good behavior. At the end of life comes judgment and sinners face the flames. Except I’ve never believed in the whole lake-of-fire thing. Ha! the tactic was wasted on me.

From the first time I read it in 4th grade, I knew that “God is Love” is the most powerful statement in the bible. By middle school, I had realized that hell is a separation from God or Love (same thing) – a state we can experience right here on Earth. I’ve never feared hell. I’ve never feared God. Love is not something to be feared. There was a time when I did fear death. As I passed from my 20’s to my 30’s, I felt the acceleration of time that comes with age. I became acutely aware that my life was not on track with my destiny. I was not really afraid of dying, but rather the unlived life.

Now, very much aligned with my Spirit’s calling, I am down with Death. It doesn’t frighten me. I happen to love the idea of mortality. Don’t get me wrong: I’m no middle-aged Goth-Girl, brooding on the morbid and the morose. I’m certainly not welcoming my demise, but I’m not resisting it either. I trust that it will come in its perfect time. Until then, I want to live.

The crisp awareness that this too shall pass brings life into focus. The finite gives life its contour. Limitations of time, energy, resources and awareness shape our choices. Choices shape our life journey. In the end, these outlines form the boundaries of our lives. Within those boundaries, lie our accomplishments, our contributions, our creations, our joys, our love received and expressed and the markers for continued evolution in our next incarnation. These boundaries beget the magic and the measure of our lives. Mine will be a life well-lived.

When I shuffle off this sweet mortality, my body will indeed return to dust. I hope that some beloved someone will take that burnt ash and spread it on the winds over Canyon de Chelly. Let my dust return to to dust, replenishing the Mother. My spirit will fly!

When You’re Feeling Down, Look Up


Ever notice that, when times get tough, we tend to bow our heads & forge ahead, eyes lowered, chin tucked, jaw set? This posture compresses our upper chakras: Crown, 3rd Eye, Throat & Heart. Constricting these vital centers makes it more difficult to access the grace, inspiration & clarity needed to find solutions & a smooth pathway forward. Next time you're feeling stressed, relax your jaw, lift your head, look to the sky & welcome luminous possibilities!

Opening The Heart

Heart Pool Reflection

(Tracing the Yin Bridge)

Benefits: softens and opens the heart chakra, enhances receptivity to nourishing energies and spirit support, helps you attend to what has heart and meaning, allows you to express your heart more authentically, strengthens capacity for compassionate presence.

Do this as a regular spirit practice, when you wish to be open and present with spirit, when you are feeling cold or close hearted, when you wish to show up authentically in the world.


1. Bring your hands to your heart chakra and rest your fingertips gently on your sternum.

2. With your hands, trace the shape of a heart on the front of your body from the center of your heart chakra to your navel. As you begin to draw the heart, inhale slowly through your nose. When you reach the navel, release the breath slowly out through your mouth.

3. Repeat this process 3-4 times. The last time continue to move your hands down the inside of both your legs, breathing out as you sweep the energy down your legs to your feet.

adapted from a technique from Donna Eden

Luminous Steps

"Why do you seek this?" I ask her, as she sits across from me, expressing the desire to develop her "psychic" abilities. 

It has been such a focus of discussion and attention that the question catches her unawares, and she laughs aloud in that wondrously naked laugh of hers. The one that reveals her willingness to expose the regions she has not yet explored. "That's a great question!"

We go deeper ... she breaths the question into my cuya, one of my stone helpers. It rests on the cloth of my medicine bag, holding undiscovered wisdom. The rattling begins. We are calling forth the spirits of Nature and Ancestors ... calling out her spirit, that which is luminous within her. The rattling continues and the stone begins to speak ... sharing flashes of history ... pain and impeccability, a soul contract to utilize her deep spirit power only in right-alignment ... peeling away the appeal of identities to unveil the purpose beneath. 

Expansion ... "I'm seeking expansion," she breathes again into the cuya, moving its placement within the ring of stones in my medicine bag. Now the stone draws us into the realm of visions, riding the sound of the rattle.  Here is Eagle medicine ... a medicine man embodying Eagle. 

artwork by Susan Seddon Boulet

He is chanting. The words form on my lips and die away, faltering on my inability to shape the unfamiliar sounds rising in my mind. He is showing us impeccability, absolute knowledge of Spirit-force moving through the world, through him. He is calling the spirits. They will answer him. He knows this. He has no doubt. Every cell in alignment.

Now he is dancing, leading a ceremony in sacred circle, sand beneath his feet, rocks rising around him. Others join in the dance ... a handful of human dancers and then the eagles. drawn by the power, like answering like. The eagles come! First one, then another, then flights of eagles soar in the sky above.  Night falls. Dancers fade away until once more he dances alone. Eagles wheel skyward, seeking nests in high places.

Sachamama, Mother Serpent

Now Serpent awakens, slithering up from her subterranean home, moving with messages from the Earth Mother. She writes across the circle beneath the feet of the lone dancer ... danger and wisdom combine. Each footfall must be impeccable now. He curves his shoulders, moving deeper into the dance. Welcoming guidance, allowing it to flow over and through him. Mantling him. Infusing him. Empowering him for the spirit-dance. He is moving without hesitation, each foot perfectly placed, avoiding Serpent's coils.

Night deepens. Heart deepens. He is drawing on guidance now .. no longer from fear, but from love. Careful. Careful, lest he injure this sweet serpent ally. It is love that guides him ... deeper purpose emerges: We are invited to seek spirit guidance ... not simply to ensure the safety of our path, but to ensure that each step is taken in love, with respect for All.

We emerge from the dream, energies dancing across my medicine bag ... across the space between us, around us. She is aligning ... Eagle above her head, Serpent beneath her feet ... aligning with spirit, with love ... expanding ... luminous.

by Ananaia R O'Leary.  Thanks to my spirit sister for permission to tell her story. 

Evolution: Journey to Love


You didn't come into this life whole and perfect. You came in as a work in progress. You may be born with a brand new body, but it's inhabited by a soul that has been journeying through lifetimes. What is the purpose of this journey? Evolution.

Evolution toward what? The full revelation of love-in-action. The long arc of our evolutionary future stretches so far before us that its ultimate endpoint may be beyond anyone's imagining. Yet, when you look with the eyes of Spirit, it is possible to follow that future thread to a time when human beings fully embody love. Gaze even further and you may glimpse a world, perhaps a galaxy, in which humans, collaborating from love, create harmonious solutions and luminous innovations beyond our dearest dreams.

As individuals and as a species, we are on a path toward this full embodiment of love. Every moment of every life, we have been on that journey. In the course of that long sojourn, we acquire some history. We enter this life with a soul record of all we have accomplished. This soul record is a part of our energy field, which holds all the wisdom and abilities we have developed and are in the process of developing. In our new body, we need to reconnect to this reservoir of experience and activate it at our conscious operating level. When you turn your hand to something new and discover you have a natural knack for it, you are tapping into this storehouse of wisdom.

In addition to carrying forward our accomplishments, we also bring with us unresolved challenges. We have been learning about love by trial and error. In the process, things can get sticky, often painful. When we hurt, we tend to hunker down to lick our wounds. When we are unsure how to proceed, our progress is stymied. If we are unable to resolve these challenges, we bring them forward into our next life. Wherever this painful inertia exists, healing is needed. As we heal, we relieve paralyzing pressure and regain our evolutionary momentum.

Healing is an essential, ongoing process, but it is not the endgame. We emerge from each healing experience more resilient and empowered to express love through our own unique medicine (our gifts, abilities, positive qualities.) Then what? Beyond healing there is growth, limitless opportunities to realize more of our authentic potential. This is where the journey gets juicy. Here we are free to build our confidence, strengthen our talents, hone our capacities and widen out into new territories of exploration and self-discovery. Here we refine our ability to share our gifts impeccably with the world.

Evolution is a joyous experience. As we evolve, we flourish: love flows, wisdom grows, intuition deepens, synergy happens. We learn to express ourselves more authentically, collaborate more effectively and create more harmoniously. We become medicine women and men, building a better world through the power of love.

Synergy: Our Next Evolutionary Step


What would happen if humans learned to work together harmoniously?

That is not possible, you say? I challenge that. Past precedent is not proof of future possibility. Humans are a collective species. We are expressly designed to live and create together harmoniously. We simply have yet to fulfill our design. Throughout human history, we have been to striving to do so. Our progress has been hampered by the fact that this has largely been an unconscious process, driven by our Spirit and unrecognized by our Ego. Now is the time we can engage consciously. When we do so, the way forward is smoothed and accelerated.

To achieve this, we need to heal distortions in our consciousness, develop our ability to access and honor our inner wisdom, evolve untapped capacities and learn to live from love. As we heal and grow, we discover that medicine harmonizes with medicine. Why? Because medicine sources from the Creator consciousness at the core of our being. This consciousness creates for universal good. When guided from this Source, we create for harmony. We create from love.

Synergy is the magic that happens when two or more come together to create from love. When people share their authentic medicine, amazing things can happen. Each person’s medicine has the potential to compliment and augment the medicine of others. We can create harmoniously together without contention or competition, drama or dysfunction. Synergized medicine yields results far greater than the sum of the parts, exponentially expanding our ability to resolve challenges and enhance our collective quality of life.

What would happen if humans learned to work together harmoniously?


We have a lot of evolving to do before we can do this consistently. Evolution is an inside job. It doesn’t happen “out there.” Transformation is up to you. You can heal the distortions in your consciousness, learn to access your inner wisdom and progressively bring forth your authentic potential. You can create from love.

A tall order? Certainly. But if you are willing, it will happen.

It will not be achieved overnight. It doesn’t need to be. We are on an evolutionary journey to co-create from love. As your journey unfolds, life sweetens, joy increases, harmony flourishes and grace flows. You don’t have to take up this challenge alone. Human beings are not meant to operate in isolation. Join me. It is time to say “Yes!” to synergy.

article by Ananaia O'Leary

Emergent Medicine

artwork by Alex Grey
artwork by Alex Grey

Inside you is a tremendous power.  It is the animating force within you. Ultimately, it's all you have to work with.  You can either claim and cultivate this power or allow it to twist and bend into shadow.  You can deny it, but you can't prevent it from trying to express.  It is the drive that draws your breath, the imperative that fuels every action.  It cannot be negated.  It asserts itself in every moment.

This power residing at the core of your being is love. It is your true Spirit nature.  It is Consciousness seeking to express itself within the world of Form.  24/7 we are only doing one thing: attempting to bring this power fully into the world.  I am not kidding.  I am in lively earnest. Every moment, all we are doing is seeking to bring love into the world.

It doesn't look like that, you say? I understand.  On the surface it doesn't look like that. It often looks like the farthest thing from love.  Why?  Because we have a long way to go before we learn to bring love in its purest form.  Humans are on an evolutionary journey to learn how to do this.  We don't yet know how.  We haven't developed the wisdom or energetic capacity to express this love clearly and cleanly.

But  we can!

Please understand me, I am not offering you secondhand New Age platitudes.  I am speaking from direct personal experience of the human energy field.  When I look deeply into the energy fields of my fellow humans, I witness this sacred drama unfolding.  At our core is Light/Love/Consciousness seeking to manifest in the world.

Our energy fields are ultimately designed to carry the current of love, but we have not yet fully developed this capacity.  We are on a pathway to do so.  Lifetime to lifetime, generation after generation, we are developing our ability to express the power of love. With each life, each generation, we are strengthening our capacity to love.

Where we have developed capacity, we are able to bring forth love from our core.  It flows through us, expressing as presence, creativity, humor, honesty, tenderness, zest, clarity, craftsmanship, wisdom, sacred sexuality, generosity, justice, care of self and others, speaking truth to power, joy and much more.

Where we have faltered in our ability to express love, our energy fields become stressed. Under this pressure, the flow of love becomes distorted.  It bends into shadow and manifests as fear, hate, pain, anger, greed, cruelty, depression, neglect, indifference, doubt, inertia and much more.

Love is powerful medicine. It heals, empowers & transforms.  When we express love authentically, our actions, our very being, become medicine, helping to heal and harmonize the world. Where we are creating distortions, we have the opportunity to heal and evolve, truing the streams of our medicine so it can flow clearly and lovingly into the world.

This will not transpire overnight.  Discovering the love at your core and developing your authentic pathways for expressing that love cannot be accomplished in a single weekend retreat.  You cannot actualize your medicine in 5 easy steps, 15-minutes a day.  It requires a zesty full-bodied, on-going commitment.

If you are willing, you will!

Not all at once, not entirely in this lifetime, but it will happen.  As this transformation unfolds, your quality of life improves.  Anxiety eases, courage grows, drama reduces, peace increases, joy flows, love moves. You become a gift to yourself and others.

article by Ananaia O'Leary

Operational Holy Grail


I've been exploring a dynamic that my Spirit Allies call our "operational Holy Grail."   The concept here is that, on a day-to-day operational level, each of us has a key quality or condition we are seeking.  When that condition is met,  we find ourselves in the sweet spot, optimized for functioning.  We experience ease and a sense of right alignment. Things flow.

When Spirit brought this information through a few years ago, it carried a ring of Truth, which has inspired me to learn more. With the help of Spirit, I've been deepening my understanding and helping myself and others to explore our personal operational Holy Grails. I have a strong sense that identifying our operational Holy Grail and learning how to attain it is a vital key to harmony-in-living and effectively bringing our medicine in the world.

Discovering and cultivating our personal operational Holy Grail, empowers us.  What is your operational Holy Grail?

My operational Holy Grail is clarity. When my mind is lucid, I am in the sweet spot.  My entire system hums. I am cleared for action. When my mind is muddled, it slows my roll. Confusion creates a micro-chaos, which stymies momentum and sends my creative energy spiraling into unfruitful back eddies.  For me personally, it is the most miserable state I know. Of course, no one likes to be confused, but for me clarity is a core organizing dynamic. Without it, nothing good can happen.  Operationally, clarity empowers me to be at peace and to act in alignment.

This awareness has made cultivating clarity an even greater priority.  Through energy work, ceremony, spirit alliance and prayer, I continue to welcome and nurture clarity. When I am unclear, I am not myself.  In this moment, I am reminded that whenever I feel confused, I need to step back, insert a liminal pause and reconnect to my authentic core, which is always clear and aligned with Truth. Confusion is simply evidence that I am coming from Ego, rather than Spirit - a timely reminder.

Of course, the operational Holy Grail is simply that: something we seek in order to optimize our ability to function. Beyond this operational level, there is a deeper dynamic: the spiritual Holy Grail that inspires our evolution and drives our destiny.  Ultimately, the spiritual Holy Grail is Love. We are called to our own unique pathways of experiencing and expressing Love and the creative synergy that arises when we collaborate from Love.  Understanding our personal operating system, helps us to answer the call of destiny.

article by Ananaia R O'Leary

Spirituality Doesn’t Require Suffering

Here's a meme that's been going around lately.   It expresses ideas that are commonly held in the metaphysical milieu, which contribute to misconceptions about the relationship between spirituality and sensitivity.  These misconceptions create confusion, which can impede people's evolution.

The meme reads:

Spiritual Sensitivity meme

The suffering described in this meme may occur during early stages of the spiritual journey, when we awaken to awareness, deepen intuition and begin to heal. This is not spiritual maturity nor attainment. This is merely spiritual awakening. Unfortunately, many people don't move past this stage to achieve a hardy capacity for deep presence and awareness.


Suffering is not actually a product of being spiritual. It is a product of unhealed dynamics in your energy field. When we begin to open our spiritual awareness and senses, we shed some of the defenses which guard these unhealed areas. This may make us more tender and vulnerable, but it is designed to bring our awareness to areas where we require healing and growth. We associate this with spirituality, because the exposing of our vulnerabilities coincides with our awakening into greater spiritual awareness.

The key is to keep going -- to deepen your wisdom, learn healing approaches to transform these vulnerable areas and strengthen spiritual capacity.  If you do not understand the deeper workings of your consciousness and your energy field, there can be a tendency to think of your suffering as evidence of the depth of your spirituality. I assure you -- it isn't. It's evidence of a need for healing that your spiritual journey is bringing to light.

As we heal these dynamics within us, we are able to be deeply aware and present without suffering. A beautiful process!

article by Ananaia R O'Leary

Balance Your Chakras with Color Breathing

Chakra are vital keys to our health and well-being, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Each of these energy centers resonates in a unique and specific frequency range. When a chakra is stressed, it can become unbalanced and compromised. Its frequencies become dampened or overly intensified. Chakra balancing helps to restore the chakra frequencies to their natural range.

You can help to balance your chakras through using the natural color of each chakra as a kind of "tuning fork" for its specific frequency. Here's a simple exercise which combines breathwork, color visualization and intention to support the health of your chakra.

  1. Begin this exercise with an intention to offer healing and balancing to your energy system.
  2. Bring your awareness to your root chakra. (Placing your palms on or above the chakra can help your focus.)

  3. Breathe in and hold the air in your lungs for a few moments.

  4. Imagine that the air in your lungs is turning a rich, vibrant shade of red.

  5. As you exhale, imagine that you are breathing out your root chakra. Envision the red energy in your lungs is flowing down to your root chakra and through it out of your body.

  6. As this red energy flows to your root, imagine the chakra itself glowing brightly with this vibrant red light
  7. Send 3 red breaths to your root chakra

  8. Take a deep cleansing breath, in through your nose, and release red from your imagination as you release your breath out your mouth

  9. Repeat for each chakra with the corresponding color. Root: Red, Sacral (belly): Orange, Solar Plexus (diaphragm): Yellow, Heart: Green, Throat: Blue, 3rd Eye (brow): Indigo/Purple, Crown (top of head): Violet or White

article by Ananaia R O'Leary