Tag Archive | Medicine

Crossroads: Beginnings of a Shamanic Journey…

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For those who know my spiritual path, you know it’s not an easy one.  Growing up Roman Catholic for almost 30 years, it’s incredibly hard to overcome the deeply rooted beliefs that you were taught over and over again, even though your soul was calling you onto a new journey.  After about 8 years of searching, I found my foundation within two belief systems: Celtic Druidism and Native American Shamanism.  Both paths actually resemble each other, so it was very easy for me to fall into this journey with much peace and content.  Yet, something didn’t feel right.  I still felt “called”…As a seeker, I naturally love to dive into research and educate myself on all the cultures and faiths of our world.  And with that came the lessons of sacred healing through the Earth.  Both in which Druidism and Shamanism utilize to its full potential.

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Over the course of the last several years, I have delved into education and research on sacred plant medicine and the ceremonies that are involved. Although I took many challenging turns in my own life, I have learned to understand that if you want your life to be truly blissful, one must recognize that life is not necessarily all about rules and power, sacrifice and pain, but joy and happiness, compassion and most importantly, respect.  How modern society today has corrupted the mind of the human to take on such anguish and suffering, all for the benefit of someone else’s gain.  Sure, I can easily sound like some crazy conspiracy theorist, but the truth is, I know what my heart, body, mind and soul tells me.  Conspicuous consumption of the world today is sincerely what drives the human race.  This is why there is hate and separation wherever we go.  Black vs. White, Church vs. State, Republican vs. Democrat, Man vs. Woman, Rich vs. Poor, so on and so on.  All we know is separation.  Separating things is easy for us because it gives us some order of substance to how we want to see our life go in a certain direction.  This, in my humble opinion, is why we are so messed up as a people.

But I digress…Let’s get back to what I wanted to talk about – Sacred Plants and the part they play in our lives.

Nestled deep within the jungles, canyons and valleys of some of Earth’s quietest tribal communities, lie the remedies of almost all the ailments in our world.  Most of us living in the “Western” world, we have submerged ourselves with so many chemicals, that our bodies have adjusted to the chaos going on inside each and every one of us.  Which puts many of us in a day-to-day survival mode.  Why in the hell are we doing this?

Let me ask you this: Are you happy?  Like truly, truly happy?  Can you honestly say you wake up every morning and have a euphoric sense of self-worth and purpose? That life is just truly this brilliant gift and you are strong and powerful enough to conquer everything thrown at you?

Of course not!  We don’t live in that kind of world!  Very few of us can say they do live this way.

But would you say if I told you, you COULD???

I totally believe this.  And I believe that one of the many secrets lie within the healing plants and natural medicines scattered over the world. They are out there to help us heal our emotional, psychological, spiritual, and yes, physical ailments that plague our bodies, minds and souls.  You don’t need to be in a religion or spiritual path to understand that our planet is pretty freaking awesome.  And we have yet to truly get into the heart of what our amazing planet can really do.

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Sadly, the powers that be who control the rules and regulations of the Western World truly regulate what the Western World is allowed to utilize in the terms of these “sacred plant medicines”.  Sadly, any plant that could somehow alter the mind’s perception is considered “dangerous”.  Even though these very plants are what heal the very illnesses that plague our world.  So, why are many of these sacred medicines outlawed in the 1st World?

Money.

Power.

Greed.

Sad, isn’t it?  That plants that have been researched to CURE things are not allowed in certain parts of our world, yet it is perfectly acceptable to combine a bunch of chemicals in some lab, feed it to animals for testing, then if it’s a go, allow the human race to consume it.  Yes, I know, it’s near impossible to try to corner a market of something indigenous to 3rd world countries or native tribal communities and make a 1st world profit.  And honestly, why WOULD you?  It’s one thing to accept donations coming from people who want to help keep the traditions going, rather than making a profit off of these sacred plants.  In that case, this can be completely unethical and disrespectful to the communities that make them a part of their daily lives.

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So, what do they do?  The powers that be “create” medicines made out of chemicals created in laboratories, to create similar “effects” of these natural medicines, so they can get a profit.  But, what happens, is that these very “medicines” that the pharmaceutical companies create end up having several times the severe side effects that may be more detrimental to the person’s original path to health and well-being.  And thus the cycle repeats itself until it results in a spiral of madness and chaos of the human body and mind.

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It’s more than just the plant medicines, though.  There are the ceremonies that are part of the consumption of them. As a devout believer in Mum Gaia (aka Mother Earth) and all the plants and flora she creates on this planet, it is with utmost importance we recognize that these plants are indeed, Sacred, and therefore should be given the respect and reverence of how we intake them.  This is why indigenous people of our lands and other communities around the world get so upset with us “white man” who tend to perverse what is Sacred to them by using these plants and ceremonies without the proper respect that needs to be given to those who originated them.  I don’t blame them at all for feeling like this, however, there HAS to be a time to stop the separation.  What the “white man” did to our Natives so long ago can never be rewritten or forgotten.  It’s part of our history and today’s society is proof that the pain still exists, and our privileges are still met before anyone else’s are.

THIS HAS TO STOP.

A few years ago I was introduced to the benefits of Kratom, Kava, and Sacred Blue Lotus.  These plants are part of my everyday life.  Because of their great healing effect, I no longer need depression or anxiety medicines.  Very rarely will I need something medicinally to help me sleep.  The properties of all these plants have the relaxing effect to help me fall asleep.  I suffer from chronic insomnia.  And Kratom, Kava and Blue Lotus help me to achieve going to sleep at night without any aid like Ambien. Every time I take them, I bless my cup, and pray for healing.

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(Me and my cup of Kratom Tea, and a bunch of Red Vein Kratom Leaves)

The frustrating part of this, however, is that many people look at these sacred plants as “drugs” or a”legal” way to get high.

So now this is the part where I’m going to drop some knowledge on the misinformed:

I am a 42 year old woman.  I have a husband, 2 children, a dog, a mortgage, car payments, and an incredibly busy life.  I think it’s an insult to my character if you want to make the assumption I use these beautiful and sacred plants to “get high”.

Plants are not drugs.  Shit that’s created in a laboratory?  Those are drugs.  Know the difference between the two and educate yourself before speaking, because sooner or later, these plants are going to come back full force as more and more people are waking up from the viscous cycle the pharmaceutical companies have us addicted to.

Another ceremony I learned about but never was able to participate in was a Native American Sweat Lodge.  One of the most powerful physical prayers a person can do, Sweat Lodges are also deeply rooted in many traditions outside our Native Americans.  Nordic Vikings and some communities in Africa are also knows to have these.  But it is through the Native American Sweat Lodge do most people come to an understanding with. Sadly, modern day New Age enthusiasts tried to make profits on these “Sweats”, and in 2009, an investigation was made in the wake of a death of a woman who died while in a Sweat Lodge. It was later confirmed that the organizer did not follow the rules of the Sweat Lodge, causing serious health concerns for the individuals who did survive, but who became very ill from that event.  This is why our Indigenous People here are so incredibly protective of their traditions, and become very angry at how they are irreverently used for profit, gain and power.  Many fake or “plastic” shamans, as the Indigenous People call them, are found on every corner preaching how to help you gain “consciousness” and “enlightenment”, all for a price so many people are desperate to pay.  And people don’t understand why are Natives get so insulted when these people give themselves “Indian” names?  These traditions, like the plants, are sacred to the people that have been practicing with for thousands of years.

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(Traditional Native American Sweat Lodge)

Several years ago, I was introduced to Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is the sacred marriage of two plants.  The Mother Ayahuasca Vine, or Caapi Vine, and the leaves from the Chacruna tree. Now, I have never taken, nor been in ceremony with this beloved plant of South America.  Mainly seen in Peru and Ecuador, retreats from all over these two countries are popping up yearly, in assisting the population with the ongoing spiritual awakening the Earth is currently going through. Sadly, some of the original retreats are rarely seen, as larger, more spacious and luxurious retreats are now in demand, with some weekly retreats ranging from $1500-$4000.  What we find is the wealthier population or 1% having the ability to go on these retreats for their “awakening”, which isn’t bad per se, but leaves out a significant portion of our population unable to go because of the financial burden one must endure in order to participate.

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(Traditional Ayahuasca Ceremony in Iquitos, Peru.  Held at Blue Morpho, and run by Master Shaman Hamilton Sauther and Master Don Alberto Torres Davila – one of the exceptions to these retreats – although this is a very expensive retreat, it is probably the best retreat for Ayahuasca in terms of safety and emotional well being.  It’s not about the money for them – it’s about the respect of the medicine AND the safety of the people who come to take the medicine)

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(The Caapi Vine or Mother Ayahuasca)

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(A forest of Ayahuasca and a pot of the ingredients, Caapi Vine and the leaves of the Chacruna tree)

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(Finished Product – Ayahuasca Brew)

I found out about 11 years ago I had a calling.  A calling of Spirit to heal and to teach.  The very Shamanic energies rising from within get stronger every day.  How does a person like myself, a member of the 1st world, with no financial access, be able to bring these sacred plants to the people of my land, without disrespecting the indigenous people from where the plants originate from?  This is currently my quest to find out.

We all need to survive, but understand, we all will NOT survive.  We are not getting out of this life alive. There is no way around it.  So, how does one follow a calling where there is absolutely no way for me to answer?  These are the very troubles that plague my mind.

I have visions.  I have dreams.  Dreams involving camps and retreats not built to accommodate the person, but to accommodate the journey of the person.  I have this desire to bring the sacred plants and ceremonies to people who truly want to be a part of, with respect and reverence, divinity and compassion.  To help those on their journey to self-awareness.  The Shamanka in me is calling out, and she knows I hear her.  My goal this year is to be in ceremony to ask for aid in the sacred plants, and see what they are telling me to do.

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It is truly the only way I know how to best respect what they are here on Earth to do for us.

Earlier this week I had a dream.  A profound dream.  Involving dream catches and feathers, sage, drums and flutes. And something inside me called out to someone.  A friend I have not seen in over a year.  I felt compelled to tell her my visions, and sure enough, she is leading me to my first Sweat Lodge, which I now believe, is the beginning of my Shamanic Journey. I am at a crossroads once again, and this time my path is telling me to walk towards a specific road that no doubt, will be incredibly difficult, but will provide the necessary healing that I have tried so hard for 36 years to fulfill.

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I know now, this new journey will bring my total healing of all the traumas I faced as a child, a teenager, and as adult. It will also bring the necessary forgiveness I need not just for myself, whom I need to forgive, but for those in my past as well as current life, hurt me to my very core.  My journey has already begun by writing this.  I look forward to sharing with you all how it goes.  Aho.

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(Me – Ready for the Journey)

 

Sunday Ramblings of a Tired Hobbit….

It’s Sunday morning, and I’ve accomplished SO much, and yet I feel I haven’t even broken a dent in my day.  Summer can be truly glorifying when your home is at a state of organization.  But I am sure most of you would agree with me that rare do we have an organized home.  Still, I am grateful that I got up this morning, that I got to the store, made 3 ½ pounds of homemade meatballs, and picked up a bag of clothes from my sister.  All in all, a productive day so far.  My darling husband, sweet man that he is, has been domesticated bliss and I cannot appreciate him any more than I do right now.  While I was out gallivanting around to get the unordinary chores completed, he was at home doing laundry, dishes, and taking the trash and recycling out.  How amazing is he?  And yet, I come home from my chores, incredibly stressed out and irritated, and still manages to be romantic and sweet, even though I wasn’t able to reciprocate it back to him immediately.  It’s how we complement each other that makes me so blessed.

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My sweetie, isn’t he dishy?

When I am down, he balances me back up, and when he is down, I do the same.  As humans, it is impossible to be 100% of the time.  We are bound to make mistakes and mess up.  And it had been so long since I had a partner in my life who actually GROUNDED me.  His love shows me every day I still have so much to learn not only about myself, but how much I can truly give if I just try harder.  So, I’m doing my best to be less irritated, and spend more time at being happy my boys are spending some downtime to themselves, something we ALL need.

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This summer has been at the very least, semi-challenging.  Most weekends have been spent busy at parties and events that required our presence, and although I love being around my friends and family, the lack of quiet time that many of us actually do get in the late autumn pre and post-holiday chaos is significantly felt, which no doubt, aids in my tension.  As I am preparing my journey from the Mother to the Crone stage of life, I have found my love for Spring, although still very strong, is beginning to wane, while my love for Autumn is beginning to grow.  Spring and Autumn have always been my two favorite seasons, but Spring has been without a doubt my favorite.  Easter/Ostara has always been my favorite holiday, however my love for Samhain has definitely curbed my Spring appeal.  Something about quieting down, going within, that makes my stomach warm with butterflies.  My longing for October and November gets stronger every morning I wake up.  I feel the seasons changing as we speak, and my desire for the following things is seriously heeding my call:

  • Bon/Camp Fires
  • Hot Apple/Mulled Cider
  • Caramel Apples
  • Burning Leaves
  • Everything in their orange, red and yellow glory
  • Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes
  • Hayrides
  • Mums
  • My apartment being adorned with orange lights and leaves

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Beautiful enchanted forest during fall or autumn, great fairy tale background, hdr

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I am sitting here, enjoying a nice warm cup of Kratom tea, and the butterflies are fluttering like crazy in my belly.  My headset is currently listening to “Embraced” by Paul Cardall, and realizing I need to start making my Autumn 2015 playlist!  What shall I put on it this year??????  Last year, I had Ingrid Michelson start my playlist with “Girls Chase Boys” with a follow up of All About That Bass by Post Modern Jukebox featuring Kate Smith and Adele’s Set Fire To the Rain.  Would love to know your thoughts, as a musician, I am ALWAYS looking for new music to listen to.  Right now I am straight head-on listening to mostly New Age/Dark Celtic music such as Enya, Clannad, Loreena McKennit, Gandalf, 2002 and Secret Garden.  Really, this music is sort of my go-to music when I am turning inward, so it only goes to understand why I would be listening to this kind right now.  But I do like a twist during my Autumn-time, as I always see Autumn as the romantic season.  There is something about cloudy, dark, rainy, cold days that puts me in that “mood”.  Maybe it’s the cuddling!  Some other artists that have made an Autumn playlist in the past include:

  • Omnia
  • Nox Arcana
  • Faun
  • Damn the Bard
  • Emerald Rose
  • Spiral Rhythm
  • Coyote Run (now respectfully called Picti)
  • Albannach
  • Dead Can Dance
  • Qntal

I love using these artists above because they make SUCH AMAZING music!!!!!!  Please let me know if there is a specific band you want to hear more about, because I will definitely blog about them!  I am a singer, writer and pianist and sacred drummer, so I’m always looking out for new stuff!

So, I know this was a hodge podge of information today, but I wanted to get it out there, so we can talk more about things!  I still have to get back to my 40 days of Spirit, I promise this week I will get a new post on that!  In the meantime, I leave you with my new favorite band, I’ve been in love with these ladies since I found them last year on a Woman Tribal Facebook page I am a member of.  It’s my new theme song (you know how I feel we all need one), as it truly speaks of who I am.  As a Northern Appalachian Shamanka/Hedge Witch, whatever you want to call me, being able to help heal people through the Earth is something that lives within me and truly gets me out of the bed every day.  I hope you like them…They are Rising Appalachia: