then you might also enjoy a book I just wrote. It is called Walking Your Soul’s True Path: Transformative Shamanic Practices to Rock the World, and it means it!

If you have felt curiosity about shamans and what they do in the background to support their shamanic journeys, healing, and big ceremonies, or if you have simply felt yourself longing to live a life that is rich and full, larger than your own interests and concerns, then this book was written with you in mind. Provided here is a clear and accessible discussion of practices engaged in by shamans all over the world to bring themselves and their communities into right relationship with the earth, with all our relations, and with the spirit of life herself; to create realities and outcomes that were unlikely to occur on their own; and to sustain life as the ongoing reciprocity between the human and the more than human worlds. Included are descriptions of the practices, explanations of how they work, and suggestions of how to start to bring these practices into our lives. Whether you have training and experience in spiritual or shamanic practice or are entirely new to this sort of undertaking, this book can act as a guide to a deeper understanding of your self, your life, and of the unseen aspects of this miraculous, dangerous, delicious universe of which we are an interal part. It stands as an invitation to step further in, to experience life more fully, and to help to co-create our shared reality consciously.

The paperback is available in English on Amazon websites by country; you can also purchase the Kindle ebook (currently also availalbe for free reading on Kindle Unlimited, or you can download the book in pdf or epub format right here! The cost is just $9.00 – which is about £6.00.

Walking Your Soul’s True Path pdf

This is a pdf or epub version of the book that you can read on your computer, tablet or phone if it supports pdf of epub. Email me stating your format preference and I will attach and send via return email.


If you do not receive a link to download, please email me at and I will send it on to you. Please do check your spam folder!

Long ago, in the most appropriate time and place, deep in the blackness of the void, rich with the delicate raw fibres of beingness, the unsee-able and unknowable womb of old mother dark birthed the egg of life. It is widely known that this egg contained the beginnings of everything: all space and all time, thought, words, love began here. And in this place, this island which is our home, the first being who burst from the egg was the dreaming tree. In other places other first beings came forth, but here in the land that came to be called Albion the first being was that dreaming tree.

This tree’s roots stretched deep into the fecund richness of old mother dark herself; the tree trunk was slender, supple and strong; the tree spread branches into the enfolding darkness and gathered to them some of the raw fibres of being, folding and twisting the fibres to form dreaming blossoms on the dreaming tree. A dreaming breeze stirred the branches and the flowers of the dreaming tree so that they danced lightly together. The dreaming blossoms released a fragrance so fine, so delicious, along the dreaming breeze that dreaming bees were drawn and spun from the raw fibres of beingness to come and drowse amongst the dreaming flowers.

When the dreaming bees had drunk their fill of nectar and the baskets on their legs were laden with pollen, they flew out from the dreaming tree laying trails of dreaming behind them amongst the raw fibres of beingness. Forward and back, up and down, right and left they flew. The trails they laid were sweet with nectar, fertile with pollen and spun from the stuff of dreaming. Around them gathered the raw fibres of beingness which warmed in the heat of the sun and the light of the moon and cooked themselves into hills and valleys, rivers and streams and mountains: a land sweet with the makings of honey and of flowers, of abundance.

Sailing overhead the moon saw this sweet land forming and she trailed her fingers across the weaving, strumming it like a harp and raising from it the song of life, of lives lived in the soil, of lives lived in the water, of lives lived in the air, lives with voices of their own each singing their own song and making the song of life richer and fuller. Each pass of the moon, in all her faces, each strum of her fingers, drew more life from the land and the waters. In other places things may have been different, but this is how they were here in Albion. Each voice sang the song of love and of death, of abundance and of privation, of life in all their variety. So they have always sung, and so they sing today; if you listen, you can hear them still.

I do not know how others feel about this, but forgiving has shown up more as a duty or obligation in my life than a tool. But I now know from my own experience that it is a doorway to power and a source of huge joy. There are practices which will help you turn the key and open that door (more about those later) and there is a structure to forgiveness which is worth understanding as it makes the process more palatable and easier. Not necessarily easy, but at least less impossible.

The first step in forgiving, in this structure, is the event. Someone has done something to you that shows up like a betrayal, a wrong in your space. This causes a wounding, which hurts. Small hurts we can overlook, but big ones simply cannot be stepped over or pushed under the surface safely. If you are a reader of fairly tales, you know that the buried wrong will out. And generally it will rise up unexpectedly and bite you on the backside. It never seems to rise up and bite the person who did you wrong on their backside; no, it will be your bottom that feels the punctures. So, my touchstone in regards to being wronged is to start to work on forgiving as soon as I notice that I am wounded. The sooner I start, the easier the process is – because I have not become habituated into resentment.

Foot-traps and Wrong Turnings

I want to go through these first so that we all know we are talking about the same thing when we talk about forgiving.

First, there is a piece of our industrial western/northern culture telling us that forgiving a person who has hurt us is the same as telling the person that whatever they have done is all right. Clearly it is not, or there would be no need to forgive. And yet we sometimes conflate forgiveness and approval. Do not be fooled. If you have to forgive someone, that requires not-approved-of behaviour on their part. And when you get to the other side of this entire process and are no longer carrying the burden of resentment towards them, that behaviour is likely still to be not approved of by you. But you will be lighter and more full of the joy of creation than you were. Letting go, really not still being invested in their behaviour – past, present or future – is the best revenge there is because it is not revenge at all.

There is another piece of our culture that uses carping on about our exes, or men, or women, or our boss, or our spouse, the opposite politcal party (and so on…) as social currency. You complain about your ex and I complain about mine and we have established a (tenuous) social bond, much like talking about the weather. This easily can become an expected part of social interactions. The sinkhole here is that it keeps you engaged with the wounding and with the resentment that arises from it. So, rather than being a good and helpful thing, you may find that it keeps you stuck. Or you may find that, as you travel along the process of forgiving, you just lose interest and have to think of something else to talk about.

And then there is the matter of how we define ourselves. I was taught a prayer for opening sacred space which includes (in the West direction) “Teach us to be impeccable warriors, to travel light, with no need of enemies in this life or the next.” One of the ways we define who we are in this complex and sometimes confusing life is by who our enemies are. If I have an enemy, I can feel safe in saying “I am not that.” If we have a good list of what we are not, it helps us to define who we are. It builds a container inside of which our identity can exist with come sense of stability. If we give up the container, bit by bit, how will we know who we are?

I would offer, as an alternative to defining ourselves by who we are not, by our enemies, that we might try another way. That would be to be in the process of creating ourselves moment by moment as we rediscover who we are in our deepest, truest, finest, highest selves, the self we came into this life to be or to become. As we are on the path of transforming ourselves so that our families and communities and world transform, we are constantly being asked to recognise what it is that keeps us small and limited and to release that. Possibly this “container of enemies” form of defining ourselves is one of those things that keeps us small and is asking to be released.

Walking Forward

The making of enemies, whether personal or institutional, can often be used as a shield to keep out of our consciousness the grief caused by betrayal or other woundings. Coming at us hard on the heels of injury, the next thing that feels like the end of the world is the grief that this has happened at all. If you have any experience of grief (and what human doesn’t?) then you know that it is not a singular thing, or even a quick process. Grief is a journey, a necessary journey from wounding to wholeness. In order to become whole we must walk into the grey and barren desert of grief and through it to the other side.

I really don’t much know what to tell you about this. If you have made the trip yourself then you know what it is like for you, what it requires of you. If not, there is nothing but putting one foot in front of the other that will teach you about it. On the other hand, it sounds like a big deal, a grand adventure, and it is, but it is also not. You just do it. You walk through the desert one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. You keep your heart open even though it hurts, and you ask for help with that. It can be boring and it feels like it will never end, like this is the way your life will always be. It will end; your life will have other flavours and colours in time. But that is cold comfort when you are hurting and when joy is drowned by grief.

There is a big deal at the end of this, though. I write “end” with a wry smile because so long as we are in this life there is no end, just the journey. There is an end to this stage of the journey, though. And when your inner sky does finally begin to brighten, the light that shows up is the luminosity of your own true self, your highest, finest, deepest, truest self, the self you came into this life to be. That is what calls you onwards through the dull time and what allows your world and your soul to expand so that you are no longer simply focussed on what happened to you, but your view is large enough to see the event in a context, to get a measure of how it fits in the overall scheme of things, and to see what value may have come to you in the midst of pain.

All of this takes time. For us here in the body, working our way through space and time, it is a process that takes as long as it does. For some people and some woundings this could be weeks, months, even years. Or possibly a few moments. Or it may become the work of a lifetime. You cannot wish away this walk through the desert of grief; likewise I would recommend that you not tarry here, either. We humans have long legs compared to many others of Earth’s children – we are designed this way so we can keep moving. Continue to move through the grieving that follows wounding and it will lessen and then lose its power over you.

Move through it holding the intention of being free, the intention of continuing to become your truest, highest, finest, deepest self – not in some far away afterlife or reincarnation, but in this lifetime, in this here and now. This intention is like a lifeline in the dull landscape. Hold on to it, remind yourself as often as you need to why you are here. Let it lead you to the light and compassion at the heart of all things. Let your intention lead you to an expanded vision and an expanded self.


You may have noticed that I have not been wittering on about forgiving the person who hurt you. It is entirely possible that by the time you have spent your period of grieving the emotional loading will have completely evaporated and forgiveness will have occurred in your soul unnoticed. It could happen. Or possibly not. If this particular instance falls into the “not” category and resentment continues to hang around like a bad smell, this is simply an indication that there is more to be experienced – and, therefore, learned.

Never forget, despite the prevailing culture and beliefs today, we were not incarnated here so that we could be placid, never disturbed and always happy. Or so that we can get everything that we want, or do everything on our bucket list. We came here, according to many teachers, to learn and to become. You came here into this life with a purpose all your own, which only you can discern. 

You are absolutely free to pursue this intention in whatever way you choose. As you experience receiving forgiveness and, perhaps, granting forgiveness to others, you will find that forgiving is a powerful teacher. Should you choose not to forgive, no doubt you will find that resentment is a powerful teacher as well. But do keep in mind while you are choosing your teacher, that it takes a lot of energy to keep the blame / anger / resentment shield against grieving in place. You carry it all day every day, spending your own life force to keep it firm, come home pretty tired – possibly exhausted – fall into bed and get up the next morning having to reformulate that shield and hold it all day again. No wonder we are too tired to actually live. So resentment is a very powerful teacher as well. Just depends on what and how you choose to learn. Having spent years in the company of resentment I can recommend the journey to forgiveness as preferable – but the choice is entirely yours.

One other thing. For forgiveness to happen there is a need for justice to be addressed in some way. Or at least for it to be acknowledged that justice has not been addressed. In the face of the emotional rawness caused by hurt and betrayal it is difficult to see the difference between justice and revenge. As time passes the two will begin to resolve themselves as two distinct paths you can take. And you can see that forgiving does not necessarily mean stopping seeking justice. It will, by definition, mean stopping seeking revenge – but justice is another thing. I cannot tell you what justice is in whatever situation you find yourself, and you may not be able to say either, but do not abandon enquiring after justice, and it will come clear to you in time.

In this whole process, in which you will distinguish approval from forgiveness and vengeance from justice, in which you will experience the flatness and sorrow of grief in order to emerge into the daylight once more, you will expand your soul and your view of life so that you are aided in becoming more and more the person you came here to be. In fairy stories and folk tales the wounding or betrayal that puts you in a situation where you need to consider forgiving is in itself an initiation into power, an invitation to step into the person you came here to become. It allows you an opportunity to become the larger person who can do the task which is required. In many stories, betrayal IS the motivating force in the initiation into power.

And there are things you can do to help the process along.

For you to do:

1. Release heavy energy into the earth. Whether or not you are ready to release the wounding or betrayal, you can release the heavy energy that collects around it on a regular basis. This is a similar process to the creation of pearls in oysters, where they seal in a piece of grit and avoid the irritation it causes by surrounding it with a smooth coating. That is fine for oysters, but we are humans, and surrounding the wounding / betrayal with heavy energy is fine for a temporary patch while you get your feet back under you, but eventually it will weigh us down and hamper our expression of our selves. So, at some point release of the heavy energy accumulation will be needed.

Stand still, breathe steadily and deeply, maybe close your eyes. Using the tools of breath, will and imagination find the connection that runs from low in your belly down to the centre of the earth. It usually passes through the arches of both feet and through your perineum (pelvic floor) so that you have a tripod of energy lines connecting you to Earth, our mother. Locate any heavy energy that has accumulated in your body and your energy body and ask it to flow out through these energy connections as far down into the earth as it wants to. Some people see it going all the way to the fiery core and transforming there into light. Others see it simply emptying out into the earth we stand on and composting there.

If this makes you feel worried that you are giving more heavy energy to an earth already burdened with our abuses, here is what indengenous people say: The earth is very large, so large you can hardly imagine it. Your heavy energy entering the earth is like a teardrop entering the ocean, hardly noticeable. Furthermore, it is the nature of Earth to take heavy energy, which is after all only energy (it just looks “negative” because that is the shape we have allowed it to fill and the label we have put on it), and compost it into food for all her children. What was not helpful to us becomes nourishing for the biosphere by having passed through the Earth, who is by her very nature (as are fire, water and wind) transformative. Trust her. She can handle this. When she stops being able to or wanting to, she will just get rid of us. Easily done.

Allow the heavy energy to run out of you into the earth until you can find no more of it lurking around, until no more of it shows itself. Repeat this exercise whenever you begin to feel weighted down again – or maybe daily, just for maintenance!

2. Live into the questions.

If you are an impatient child of the earth like I am, you will have the urge to shut down any questions arising out of the wounding / betrayal that are uncomfortable – they feel like they might open doors onto aspects of myself that I will not like or onto internal landscapes in which there might be monsters. If I can settle the answer to any question quickly then I can slam shut each door that might open before I can even get a glimpse of the scary thing that may be on the other side.

This is fine for anyone whose primary intention for this life is to maintain the maximum comfort level that they can. However, the very fact that you are reading this tells both me and you that your fundamental intention is much deeper than this.

So, the idea will be that the questions that arise will remain unanswered so that they remain potent and powerful as tranformative beings. My advice is to respect the questions as the teachers they are. They will open the doors to power inherent in this process if you allow them to.

The first question that inevitably arises is “Who is to blame?”. This one usually is answered so fast you will not even know you have asked it. However, my invitation to you is to let this question hang, even if you know the answer beyond a shadow of a doubt. Every time you find it answered, let the answer go. Then see what happens.

The next question that often arises is “What did I do to cause this?”. The nice thing about this question is you can mostly rest assured that you did not cause the event, at least not knowingly. The reason I feel assured about this is that if you had caused it you would not feel betrayed. You did what you did, there was a consequence, you most likely did not like it, end of story. But there is a wound or a sense of betrayal, so most likely in your experience you are not the cause, this is not a predictable consequence of your own actions. When you come up with an answer, let it hang there in the air with the question. See what else turns up to keep it company.

Other questions will arise. My invitation to you is to entertain them like honoured guests, allow them space to be and see what they stir up. They are the openers of the gateways to power, the bringers of transformation.

3. Find or make a safe place to put the wounding and the offender so that you are not face to face with it in every moment.

Oldest sister, who is a mighty shaman with a feather-light touch, uses a cauldron – drawn from Celtic traditions – as her safe place. Whenever she finds herself plagued by blaming someone who has wronged her, she pictures a cauldron (Celtic tranformational motif) simmering away on a low fire cooking up something that is nourishing for the earth, for life, for the universe. With her spirit fingertips she picks up, very delicately, the situation or the wrongdoer or whatever aspect is plaguing her and slips it in over the lip of the cauldron. Then she turns and walks away and does not look back, leaving the plaguing thought form to simmer and do whatever it does in the cauldron of tranformation. Every time she notices this (or any other) thing related to blame that could benefit from forgiveness she repeats the process immediately. Some days she does this a lot, some days not at all. But invariably the longer she applies the cauldron to a situation the less frequently she finds it is required.

If a cauldron does not spark your imagination feel free to come up with your own safe place to digest and transform the wounding and the energy that gathers around it. I like feeding mine to the muppet Cookie Monster, a truly transformative being who also makes me smile on even the darkest of days.

4. Look to move into a state of neutrality.

As you let go of the heavy energy associated with wounding and/or betrayal and, thus lightened, move through the landscape of grief in which you find yourself as a result you will probably discover that the emotional charge fades, the blaming of the others who were involved fades. You may have entire days when the subject simply does not surface in your consciousness. Keeping in mind that we cannot un-do the wounding or betrayal, that the only direction we who are in time are allowed to move is forward, you can arrive (eventually) in a state of being which is able to recognise the events as simply events, to look at them from outside rather than as a participant. At this point they will no longer show up as an attack on you or a catastrophe or a knife in the back or as the theft of your very soul. They still happened, and most likely even in calm retrospect the actions were unacceptable. However, they no longer hold the power to do you in or to send you into a rage or to make you want to crawl into a hole in the ground and pull it in after you. The power in the remembered situation now resides with you, not with the perpetrator or with the events themselves. In the process of grieving your way through to even possibly forgiving, the power you lost has come home. And chances are very good that you are now more full of power, more able to live as your truest, finest, deepest, highest self than you were before the events that caused the wounding occurred.

This is the true meaning of forgiveness, of the word. To give as before. Not necessarily to the person who did you wrong – maybe that will happen and maybe it will not. You will, however, be more given to your life, to your self. You will give yourself to Life as before. Or more than before. That is what successfully going through an intitation into power produces. Richer life. Fuller life. Abundant life. Transformation.

If you get to this point of neutrality and do not see that you are transformed, look around you, ask your friends how they think you are doing. Ask yourself the question “In what way has this transformed me?” and let that hang in the air for a few days – see what the universe brings your way. You may be surprised.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

– Howard Thurman

Those of you who have aready learned shamanic journeying will know without me telling you that intention is the undergirding of a shaman’s work. Before we begin any journey (or other shamanic work) we repeat our intention three times so that it is firmly embedded in our consciouness, so that our conscious mind, our subconscious mind and our body have all heard and absorbed the intention of the journey. This keeps us on track, keeps us from wandering off aimlessly and getting lost. It enables us to sense when the journey is over and when it needs to be taken further by giving us an intended outcome against which to measure our progress in an experience that can overwhelm our senses, and in which rationality must be set to one side. In the midst of a changing inner landscape, our own intention is a lifeline to which we can hold, a solid ground onto which we can step while the marvels of the universe swirl around us.

This the usual context in which the student of shamanism thinks of intention. I am considering intention in a wider context as well. In order for any change in human circumstances to be wrought by us or by spirit, there must be intention. Intention can be described as will, pointed in a specific direction.archer

Intention is what the universe around us responds to. It reads our intention and moves to fulfill it. You can tell, to some extent, what the motivating intention for your life is by looking at how the universe shows up around you. This is more than just projecting your unacknowledged self onto the world around you. This is the world taking shape in such a way that it matches up to your motivating intention. So it behooves us to take stock from time to time of exactly how the universe is treating us. Are you constantly surrounded by work colleagues who decline to do their own jobs and then twist and turn so that they can blame someone else for their own failings? Check yourself to see what unexpressed deeply held intention you may have lurking below the level of consciousness that might give rise to such an arrangement in the universe. If that were me I would probably be intending to justify my withdrawal from / washing my hands of the real, human society I live in. When you do find one of those intentions, just notice it. Don’t fight it as you will just give it energy and make it stronger. Just notice it and let it go. If it persists, thank it (genuinely) for the learning it has brought you, tell it that now it is time for it to go, and send it on its way to its perfect place in the universe. Picture the intention blowing away on your exhaled breath like smoke in a breeze.

Then you will need to replace the unconscious intention with one that lines up with your intention for your life. This leads us to the question “Who am I?” or better yet, “Who do I intend to be in this life?” Put another way, “Who did I come here to be?”down the well

Long ago, when I first put my feet on this path, I spent some months questing in that direction. Wondering, living in the question, asking myself and the universe and listening for what the universe had to say. It is a method humans use. Clarissa Pinkola-Estes calls it “hollering down the well”. If you shout down a physical well you will hear a nearly immediate echo back of the words you just shouted, coming right back up the well at you. If you call out down the well into your uncouscious self (which is connected to our collective uncouscious and so to the unseen aspects of all that is) you will get an echo, but not right back up the aperture that you shouted through. Instead, you will find that echo in the world around you, possibly in a conversation you have or overhear, or a book you just happen to pick up, or a radio program playing in the background, a piece of music, a conversation about something completely else. If you wait awhile, still living into the same question, then probably the same answer will come to you in a different form. I have friends who ask the universe to give them the same answer three times in different forms and through different media, so they can have some surety it is an answer and not just noise. Not a bad idea. Do whatever sits right with you. But do ask. And do listen, expecting answers without preconceived ideas of what the answers will be.rock tower

As an example, that answer I received looked like this. In that drowsy betwixt and between state of consciousness as I was falling asleep I found myself flying through a dark, formless space. I flew and flew and flew until I came upon a stone column, rough and natural like a rock formation. I wondered what it was and the word “compassion” floated through my mind. Then I was asleep. This happened several times, with further columns discovered (“honesty” and “consistency”). Out of this grew an awareness of my basic motivating intention, living compassion out in the world, honestly and consistently.

I was thirteen at the time, so I did a lot of awkward, immature, ill-advised and embarrassing things in an effort to put this insight into practice. And I learned a lot. The most memorable thing, though, is that the universe was very forgiving of my stumbles and faux pas. It continued to advise me in the most lovely and subtle ways. You have probably had the experience of chuntering along, doing whatever you are doing, with the radio on in the background which you are not really hearing. Then suddenly a sentence leaps out of the background noise and enters your ears clear as crystal, just the sort of idea you needed to make a next step along your own path. Or you pick up a book, it falls open randomly and your eye finds on the page exactly the paragraph you need. Or you find yourself in conversation with someone about something mundane and something that they say, or the way that they say it, brings into sharp relief your own situation so that you see it completely differently all in an instant. These are all indications that the universe is acting as your friend and partner, your guide and teacher. That you are, in fact, on your own “right path”.falling-pages-21

Identifying your own fundamental intention for your life and self (which will very likely be different from mine!) gives you something OF YOUR OWN against which you can measure the validity of all the details, demands, requests, suggestions and so forth that life, your family and loved ones, your work and your world offer you. Does what is on offer / being requested / being demanded support my fundamental intention for my life? If not, it is not for me. If so, I shall enjoy it thoroughly and be

When you have a grasp on your intention, for you life or merely for some aspect of living, then is the time to make use of the trio of breath, will and imagination to set the intention into motion in the world. Use your will to call into being a picture, as multi-dimensional and techni-colour and surround-sound and olfactorily enhanced and everything else as you can make it in your imagination. Hold it there, an act of will. Speak a description of what you are seeing in words – this also takes will. When you have fully described what you are seeing / hearing/ feeling / smelling / etc., draw a long deep breath and then exhale even more slowly, blowing your intention and its “imaginary” picture out into the universe on the exhaled air. This is called the breath of intention. Do it as regularly as you need to in order to embed your intention into your life, your universe, your eveything. This is a powerful practice, not only for your own self, but for All That Is.child blowing

Us living out our truest, deepest, finest, highest selves is certainly a gift to us and possibly a gift to those around us who love us, maybe even to those who don’t love us. It is most assuredly an enriching gift to All That Is, enhancing hozho (balance and beauty) and allowing spirit to shine the joy of creation into the material world even more brightly.

Whenever I undertake work that is close to my heart, that is transformational, I like to invite spirit, both generally and specifically, to be present and to participate. Being old I know a lot of stuff, but spirit knows and sees way more than I ever can. So it is comforting and wise to have friends and allies to hand, working in partnership with me, so I do not have to rely on my own seeing alone.

Here is a prayer I often use, in this form or another, to invite spirit to be near and around me in whatever undertaking I am turning my hand to. Feel free to use, adapt or otherwise modify to suit your own ends and needs, so long as they are rooted and grounded in compassion and a commitment to work for the good of the whole earthly community.

Spirits of the east, you who throw open the gates of the dawn and invite us to greet the sun, you who are the midwives and nurturers of new beginnings, the protectors of the young, the nourishers of all that is new and uncertain: teach us to nurture, protect and nourish that which is new and tender in us; join us in this conversation; lean in to us and make your wisdom known.

Spirits of the south, you who are the brightness and satisfaction of noon, the coming to fruition and the brightness and bodily joy of high summer: teach us to wiggle out toes in the green grass, to stop and turn our faces to the sun, to love this life we have been given; join us in this conversation; lean in to us and make your wisdom known.

Spirits of the west, you who open the door for the setting sun, who prepare our eyes and hearts with the softening dusk to walk into the velvety dark of the unknown: teach us to be impeccable warriors, unburdened, with no need for enemies in this life or the next; join us in this conversation; lean in to us and make your wisdom known.

Spirits of the north, ancestors of our bodily lineage and of our spiritual lineages, you who have the heart to make the epic journey beyond death and return to stand behind and and to our left hand, to teach, guide and protect us: teach us to be aware of your presence near us and of the richness of your contribution to who we are now; join us in this conversation; lean in to us and make your wisdom known.

Spirits of the sky, the holy winds and the cloud people, Papa Sol our star, Grandmother Moon, star nations of whose stuff we are made: shine you light upon us so that we see ourselves clearly and the path that we are walking; shower your teachings onto us and around us and open our minds to receive them; join us in this conversation; lean in to us and make your wisdom known.

Earth my mother, Earth my mother, Earth my mother, you cradle us now as always; you meet and support us; you remind us that we are bone of your bone, blood of your blood, breath of your breath: teach us to walk with grace upon your skin, to dance in beauty upon your belly, to live in harmony with all your children our relations; join us in this conversation; lean in to us and make your wisdom known.

Blessings on you, my dears, as you go upon your way, as turn your hand to the work you have chosen, as you dream the dream that you are. May you live in beauty.


This a good question to ask about shamanic work in general. I stand or sit or dance or drum or rattle, entering another form of consciousness while doing so. Beings who do not have physical bodies speak with me, show me things, guide my hands in providing release and healing and recovery of self. So far as the western, developed-world mind knows, this is mostly taking place on the field of my imagination; how can it be real?

Which raises the question of what is real, a deep question that anyone in the “developed” world must face who chooses or is chosen by a path that requires faith or prayer or any other relationship with the unseen, unseeable world. Out of my own background with the church I am reminded that Jesus was asked the same sort of thing about the holy spirit. His response was along the lines that you also cannot see the wind yet you are in no doubt that it exists because you see the results of the wind blowing; likewise, those that have eyes to see (a favourite phrase of his) can see the result of the actions of the holy spirit.

The tricky bit for me has been allowing myself permission to develop eyes to see. In this world, there is always the voice (well, certainly in my own head) that says I am just making this up. I am making up the experience, and I am making up the connection to results; the whole thing is a fantasy of a weak mind, a wish-fulfillment exercise in making myself believe I have some power in the world, or my ego playing “I am special” tricks on itself about which I will feel really silly later. Self-delusion on a grand scale. Laughable at its best, cringingly humiliating at is near worst. Soon they will put me on medication and if that does not snap me out of it there is a special padded cell with my name on it waiting.

The bad news is, that for me there is no fighting this voice. The more I fight it the stronger it seems to become. So I have, for years, had to let it run on and on until it slows down and then choose: do I give up here and now or do I just go on with this work that I feel called to and that appears to give at least comfort if not actual help to the person in front of me? Uncomfortable, but effective. The more experience I gain with spirit the weaker the voice becomes. It is a slow process, but effective.The good news is that recently I have found a world view that helps me sidestep that developed-world critical voice. I hope it will help you as well. It is based on indigenous views of reality from around the world taken from The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicine to Life on Earth by Stephen Harrod Buhner….

“While containing numerous variations, themes, and differences these nonindustrial epistemologies do contain a basic framework that is very similar in a number of areas. Most assert that:

  • At the center of all things is spirit. In other words, there is a central underlying unifying force in the Universe that is sacred.
  • All matter is made from this substance. In other words, the sacred manifests itself in physical form.

  • Because all matter is made from the sacred, all things possess a soul, a sacred intelligence or logos.

  • Because human beings are generated out of this same substance it is possible for human beings to communicate with the soul or intelligence in plants and all other matter and for those intelligences to communicate with human beings.

  • Human beings emerged later on Earth and are the offspring of the plants. Because we are their offspring, their children, plants will help us whenever we are in need if we ask them.

  • Human beings were ignorant when they arrived here and the powers of Earth and the various intelligences in all things began to teach them how to be human. This is still true. It is not possible for new generations to become human without this communication or teaching from the natural world.

  • Parts of Earth can manifest more or less sacredness, just like human beings. A human being can never know when some part of Earth might begin expressing deep levels of sacredness or begin talking to him. Therefore it is important to cultivate attentiveness of mind.

  • Human beings are only one of the many life-forms of Earth, neither more nor less important than the others. Failure to remember this can be catastrophic for individuals, nations, and peoples. The other life in the Universe can and will become vengeful if treated with disrespect by human beings.”

This gives me a different place to stand, one that pre-dates the voice in my head and seems to confuse and render it powerless or, at least, less powerful. That is because it have stepped sideways from a world view based in the material. It says, “First there is what is solid and can be touched, tasted, smelled, heard with the ears, explored with instrumentation. This is real. Out of it arises everything that is intangible and, therefore, ephemeral and not to be trusted. Not real. Not important.”

The indigenous world view says, in short, “First there is the intangible, the sacred intelligence. This is real. Out of it arises all that is tangible and measurable, still imbued with sacred intelligence, able to relate to humans who have eyes to see and ears to hear.”

You will have to make you own choice in this matter, – and you do get to chose because it is part of your inheritance as a human being to co-create your own reality with spirit; you are doing it already by accepting the reality your own culture hands you when you are born, and you may have to develop the eyes to see and the ears to hear – but as for me, I choose to stand in the non-industrial reality. It is painful because what we are doing to this beautiful, wonder-filled sacred-intelligence-imbued physical earth is painful to see, but it is a place that gives me access to healing for myself, my family and the world. That is what I came into this world to do, so clearly this is the place for me to stand. It may be helpful to you to stand there as well, particularly if you have arrived at this blog because that probably is an indicator that you have come here to heal and serve as well.

Only you can know that.

Home is that place where,

when you have to go there –

and you have to go there,


face sagging

through the gate

up the path

knuckles brushing

the reluctant door

so long forgotten hidden lost

until the homing urge


scratching yawning farting

pushing back the duvet

with imprecations, muted

or otherwise

flinging open the door



to find yourself on the road.

Come home.

Home is that place where,

when you have to go there,

they have to take you in

to their hearts

to their lap to rock and dandle

to their arms to wrap

to their shoulders to comfort

to the hearth side to belong.

If you come into a house

with no heart

no lap for cradling

no arms for wrapping

no shoulders for leaning

no place at the hearth,


no matter what their names

or their claims

it is not home.

Shake their dust from your toes

clap your sandals together

in their faces.

Find your feet again upon that road.

Come home.

The shaman in each of us knows that “as within, so without”, that we are all so intimately interconnected that transformation of the world around us is rooted in transformation of ourselves.

It is clear that we are called to transform the world; the world is crying out for transformation, and who else is to do it? So, then, surely we are called to transform ourselves as the foundation of this work of transforming the world. And in order to transform myself I must know myself.

To do this knowing of myself is to wrestle with  a great, slippery shape-shifting mystery. How do I come to know myself when myself is forever hiding from my conscious mind, camouflaging, playing the internal chameleon?

One way is to learn to recognise my reflection in the world around me.


Many shamanic traditions state outright that the way the world appears to us is a direct reflection of our internal state, our self; other traditions take that to be so obvious as not to need stating. Whether or not this is actual, verifiable fact, taking that point of view can be very useful in terms of coming to know myself, so I would ask you to try it on for size and see what you can use it to generate.

In using this viewpoint as a tool, the easiest place to start is likely to be the aspect of your world you find most affecting, that stirs up the strongest emotional response in you. The emotion it provokes in you can provide extra energy for the hunt – because you are hunting. You are stalking your true self, just like an expert hunter stalks her prey.

“Most affecting” in this case could mean most annoying, most frightening, most enthralling or any other most that pops up uninvited as you go about your daily life and grabs hold of your attention, spoiling your mood and maybe even your day – derailing you from your normal, automatic daily routine.


I (and many others) would assert that whatever it is you and I are finding most affecting is that affecting because it is reflecting into our conscious mind an unacknowledged aspect of our truest self, or of the habits, ideas, patterns, etc. we carry along with us and which hide our truest self from view.

Once the uproar in your head settles down, please read that last sentence again.

In outward aspect, you may indeed be nothing like that aspect of the world that is annoying, frightening, enthralling you. Now take a deep breath. There is, however, something about that aspect of life which illustrates to each of us some aspect of self, or of the baggage we are carrying (frequently mistaken by us for our selves, as we are so used to it and find it so familiar).

Take a quiet moment and sit in your own mind with that affecting aspect of life; allow it to be just as it is, and ask the question:  What is it about this aspect that I find so annoying / frightening / enthralling? Try not to grab the situation by the scruff of its figurative neck in order to shake an answer out of it; just let it be there with you witnessing it. Then go about your business with the question echoing; “be in the question”.

At some point when your deep mind has processed the task you have set it, an answer will float up into consciousness. It may occur as a random thought picture, or as a dream or perhaps as words that float into your ear from an overheard conversation and suddenly ring like a bell. Whatever form the answer takes, you will know it, it will “ring true”.


Or perhaps the answer will not come, as the tides of everyday life sweep over us again and wash the affect and the question from our consciousness.  Not to worry; that aspect of self will show itself again, soon, in another guise. Then once again your job will be to notice it, let it be what it is, and live in the echo of the question.

Now here is the tough news. You may very well not like the answer. It is possible this reflection is showing you an aspect of your self you have tried to hide from view, something that you do not think worthy or something which runs contrary to your chosen values and your idea of yourself. Once again, not to worry. This is aspect of yourself is not part of a spiritual conspiracy to do you in. Allow it to be.  Do not fight it; do not give over to it and give it license. Just hold it in your heart and allow it to be.

This allowing, without judging or justifying, is what turns you from a hunter into a warrior, full of the right kind of power, able to transform the world by transforming yourself.

As you are still and allowing, this aspect of yourself will gently transform, sometimes without any effort in that direction by your conscious self, and you will have taken another step along the path of becoming whole.

Breathe deep, wiggle your toes and turn your face to the light. Enjoy.

Even now the world is adjusting your reflection. Your next step awaits you.



(NOTE: If at any point this gets to be too much for you and you are unable to function in your life as a result, seek help; there is no shame in that. Find a therapist or a shaman or some other powerful, compassionate healer and work with that person to become whole. Lean on someone else for a while until you are stronger.)

One of the ways that Jesus taught was, like many – perhaps all – rabbis, through the use of parables.  Some of them were fairly straightforward to understand.  Others leave us – or at least, me – to puzzle, trying this interpretation and then that, often for years.  Not without tea breaks, I must add.

One of these long-term puzzlers (for me) is the parable of the bags of gold (or talents, if you were raised with the King James Version). If you cannot remember the story itself, you can find a version here for revision purposes:

I have always thought that this parable had to do with duty, obligation and not much fun. And the failure to live up to some secret, unspoken but stringent requirements for spiritual acceptability.  As you can imagine, this could only add to my tendency to step back from organised religion and keep my own counsel.

Recently, however, another view has begun to dawn on me.  Probably you have already figured this out.  If so, just put me down as a slow study.

Nearly every culture, in the story it tells about being human, has a thread that runs like this: Before you are born, the energetic/spiritual source of who you are splits off part of itself which incarnates and becomes you.  When this body dies, that part of the energetic source return to its original home.

Some of us come in to this bodily life with riches already, full of talents and the fire of life.  Others are less generously blessed. However you came into this life, though, throughout your life you are continually becoming; at any point you are the sum of what you came in to this life as and all of the choices, helpful or not, that you have made from that moment on.

All of those choices have an impact on who we are, on the riches we carry along with us, on who we become.  Am I becoming someone who is larger than the person who came in, who has a greater capacity for living, loving, seeing clearly, learning, teaching, blessing, celebrating? I hope that I am – that is certainly my intent.  I be becoming that by choosing to act as if that is who I am at each crossroad I encounter: the momentous ones ans well as the ones which seem minuscule and of no import at all. Or, when I do not choose wisely, by learning from that and making a better choice for me at the next one.

And when we die, we take that improved, expanded self back to our spiritual origin, whatever it is, as our gift to the whole of life. Whatever we have gained – freedom from fear, capacity for love, ability to forgive or be compassionate, clarity about ourselves – all of this comes back at our death to the source of our life and, therefore, to all that is.

So not only are we a gift of whatever degree of delight (or not!) while we are here on this planet, we are a gift ultimately to that which gave us life itself. A chance to say “thank you” with our entire being.


How do I bless myself? Let me count the ways….

It is so easy to identify what we do not want and what is doing us harm.  Not so easy to identify and put into words” what is missing, the presence of which would make a difference” – a difference that is good for the expression of my truest, finest self here in this life. So, here are a few examples to get you started.  There are loads more around, books of them in fact, but do be cautious.  Blessing speaks someone more whole, more free, fuller of life and light.  If what you are reading or saying contains words like bind or tie, or negatives like not and no, then that is not blessing.  It may indeed  be prayer, but not blessing.

Blessing speaks things / conditions / situations into being, so it does not bother to exclude. When your blessing find expression in physical reality it will occupy all the space with its fabulousness; anything else fades away.

Here is my favourite blessing on bees, which can use all the blessing available – please feel free to join me in this daily well-wish for these caretakers of the earth.  I live in a valley that faces the sea; hence the first line of this blessing; feel free to change it to suit, or to make up your own!

Bees who have this valley under your care, and bees who have this planet under your care, may you be full of light.  May your queens be strong, long-lived and fecund. May your drones sing mightily.  May your young rejoice.  May the air of your homes and your hives breathe health to you.  May your maidens be wise and capable. May they find nectar, pollen, propolis, water and minerals in abundance, and may the wind be always at your foragers’ backs, coming and going. So it is; so it shall be; so be it.

Currently I am closing all prayers and blessing like this one, followed by a sharply exhaled breath, to seal the prayer or blessing with my own intention.

Here is a short blessing I use for friends and siblings in general, sometimes on a daily basis whenever I sense that they need support in finding and walking their own path (and who doesn’t, really?

May _______ this day find her feet upon her soul’s true path.  May she have the eyes to see it, the ears to hear the invitation, a mind that is clear and calm and a heart that is free to make the choice that is best for her. So it is; so it shall be; so be it.


And here is the blessing I use on myself at the end of each day.

May my heart be pure and turned toward Spirit. May my wellsprings of creativity be clean and free-flowing. May my eye be filled with luminous intelligence, and my my feet always find my soul’s true path. So it is; so it shall be; so be it.

Often I touch the bodily part in question: heart, belly, third eye, feet and I speak this blessing.  It is comforting and powerful to bless yourself.  I cannot urge you enough to give it a try and to go on and find / make up blessings of your own for the circumstances of your own life.  It can be a mental puzzle to figure out what to call in.  It is certainly an adventure worth having when you do!


May the light eternal illumine your heart and mind. May your body pulse with the joy of life. May all who meet you befriend you, and may your feet always find your soul’s true path. So it is; so it shall be; so be it.