Tag Archives: shamanism

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. 

Catalyzing Clarity


Clarity is such a blessing.  When we are clear, we can move forward with confidence.  When we are muddled, momentum slows and tension rises.  Often we try to push forward, despite confusion.  The results are seldom satisfactory.

Angeles Arrien, writer, cultural anthropologist and medicine woman, once wrote: When we are not clear, we wait. There is wisdom in these words. Baffled action is never advisable. Yet, if we are unclear, do we simply wait passively? At times, yes, quietly resting in ambiguity can be the best possible choice. In this liminal pause, wisdom can surface and insight emerges.

At other times, there is a bonafide need for action.  We feel it in our bones, like a pressure pushing us forward, but without clarity how do we proceed? By stepping back from the issue at hand and focusing on the impediment: lack of clarity.  If you are unclear, take action on that.

When caught in a spiral of persistent confusion, recognize what’s happening, stop pushing, pause, take a breath, redirect your energies. Don’t try to punch your way through. Catalyze clarity through ceremony.

If you’re conversant with creating your own ceremony, go for it!  Get creative.  If ceremony is new territory for you, keeping it sincere and simple is a good rule of thumb. Remember, the point of ceremony is to engage body, mind and heart in a communication with Spirit. Sometimes the best communication is eloquent in its simplicity.

Here are a few elementary suggestions for catalyzing clarity by … 

1)  Air:  Breath

  • Take a few quiet moments in a comfortable posture and align your intention for clarity
  • Breathe in and hold your breath gently in your lungs
  • Tune to the confusion within, allowing that energy to permeate the air in your lungs
  • Exhale, breathing out confusion
  • Pause with your lungs empty to align with your intent to welcome clarity
  • Inhale, breathing in clarity
  • Repeat slowly until you feel complete
  • Do this daily or several times a day to energize your intent to release and clear

2)  Fire:  Burning Bowl

  • Supplies: paper, markers, crayons or pencils & a safe place to burn paper
  • Be present with your confusion, without immersing in it
  • Make an abstract energy drawing of your confusion. Try to draw from your feelings rather than your thoughts.
  • When your drawing feels complete, be present with it briefly (just a few minutes)
  • Say “Yes!” to releasing this confusion
  • Set the paper on fire and drop it into a fire-safe bowl or fireplace
  • As you watch, invite the cleansing power of fire to burn through your confusion like the sun burning away fog.

3)  Water:  try this Salt Water Purification ceremony

4)  Earth:  Stone Ally

  • Choose a stone willing to help you release confusion and attain clarity
  • Tune to the confusion within, allow that energy to permeate the air in your lungs
  • Exhale, breathing out into the stone — the stone will hold this confusion for you
  • Carry the stone in your pocket
  • Throughout the day, as confusion arises, blow it into the stone
  • At the end of the day, place the stone lovingly on Mother Earth and ask her to help the dense energy of confusion breakdown and return to her to be recycled
  • Leave the stone on the Earth overnight to clear
  • In the morning, lift your stone from the Earth and feel its clarity
  • Hold the stone and let the energy of clarity flow through you
  • Continue to work with the stone until confusion dissipates and clarity emerges

Personally, I would not do all 4 of these processes for the same issue.  I’d choose the most resonant one for this situation and focus on it.

When working with ceremony, expect change, but don’t demand it.  Do these simple workings in a spirit of trust and empowerment, not desperation.   Spirit moves on its own timetable, so surrender attachment to outcome (as best you can) and pay attention to what is emerging.  Clarity may come in unexpected ways from unexpected sources.  Expect it!

Calling Out Your Spirit

At the luminous core, we are medicine. Light and love emerges from within us, seeking expression.  Where it finds a clear path, it pours out uplifting the world with healing, harmony and wholeness.  Where it is blocked or impeded, the light of our being bends into shadow, expressing in ways which create challenge and suffering.

But whether our light is flowing straight or bent, 24/7 we are only doing one thing: attempting to bring our medicine.  

I mean this literally, and without exception, stating this from deep and direct observation of the subtle energies of humans -- no rose-colored lens involved.  Truth -- subtle, but observable.

When we come home to the Truth at the core of our being, we discover the healing and harmonizing power of Love.  When we witness this clear light of Truth, we energize and call it forth.  When we acknowledge and call out the light of our Spirit from the core, we help the wounded and blocked places in our being to remember their true nature, enhancing their ability to express the light within.

  • Take a few moments to calm and center yourself.

  • Tune deeply to the column of energy that runs through your body from above your crown to beneath your feet: Heaven to Earth.  If you are new to sensing energies, use your imagination to help you connect with your luminous core.

  • Reflect on your intent to call out your Spirit.

  • Use a rattle to energize your intention.  Each time you shake the rattle you are calling to the light within you, inviting it to shine forth.  Energy follows intention, so trust the process.  No effort or energy manipulation is required on your part -- this is as simple as call and response.  Align with your intention and rattle to energize and convey your intent. (If you don't own a rattle, you can improvise with a chime, tapping two rocks together or shaking a bag of beans.)
  • Breathe and welcome the emergence of your inner light.

  • Rattle until you sense a lightening or uplifting shift in your state of being.

  • Take a few moments to experience and appreciate your own luminous nature.

  • Explore the benefits of incorporating this practice into your daily or regular routine

article by Ananaia O'Leary

Align with the Luminous

The Luminous is Source Consciousness existing within all form, manifesting as light, expressing as love.   We are luminous: our souls, our cells, our sacred spirits and our blessed bodies.   Everything we see, touch, taste, know, feel and are — is light manifesting as both matter and energy, particle and wave.

Ekstasis by Brian Froud
Ekstasis by Brian Froud

Matter is consciousness experiencing itself in finite form.  Consciousness cannot be divided.    Every particle, every being contains within it — not a “piece” of consciousness — but  Source Consciousness itself:  indivisible, unified, whole.   When we recognize this, we discover that what appeared to be the tension of opposites is in fact the harmony of Oneness.

Within us, lies the deep wisdom of the whole: the pattern of Creation and the consciousness which created it.  When we perceive only the physical plane,  we are caught in the superstition of the material (the false belief that matter is the only reality); we experience separation from Oneness, creating disharmony and the experience of suffering.

When we identify only with Light and Consciousness, dismissing matter as illusionary, we disdain the beauty and power of Creation and disregard the very purpose for our existence.

We are here to create.  We are Source Consciousness incarnating in a body in order to create and experience from our unique perspective within Creation.   As creators endowed with free will, we can choose to create from the fragmented perspective of the finite or to align with the Luminous, creating from the perspective of Source Consciousness for the good of All That is.

The Luminous is Love, the medicine which heals and harmonizes Creation. As we align with the Luminous, we progressively free ourselves from the superstition of the material and recognize the presence of divine Consciousness within all form.   In the presence of the Luminouswe are uplifted, revitalized, reconnected with the ecstatic Song of Life.

We remember who we are.   

When we liberate the Luminous Within us, we express our gifts and discover our authentic ways of being.  As we live and create in alignment with the Luminous, we infuse our world with beauty, grace and harmony, transcending suffering through the power of Love, flowing direct from Source.

article by Ananaia O'Leary