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Shamanic Circle of Spiritual Seekers Level 1 – Awakening the Spirit

Banish your own darkness and reveal your light with your Shamanic Circle of Spiritual Seekers

The vision of a Shamanic Circle of Spiritual Seekers came to me in a meditation. It was an answer to an on-going question: how can I be of service to Spirit and to my fellow human beings during my time on Earth?

Although this vision/answer came many months before the novel coronavirus pandemic changed our lives, the uncertainty of our times makes it seem even more apropos. Because things are not the same. Because we humans don’t really like change very much. We have a hard time with it. And it makes us uncomfortable.

This current discomfort, however, goes beyond our outside circumstances and topical news stories. Somehow, it has  stirred a place deep inside. Something way down in our core is waking up, longing to stretch, arise and go out to play! It’s your spirit remembering how much it loves to be open, strong and free!!! Shamanism, which is the oldest healing tradition known to mankind, takes you on a journey that leads you ‘back home’ to your entire complete self.

THE Shamanic Circle of Spiritual Seekers
Welcome to the road less traveled


Level 1:

Awakening the Spirit    




The Shamanic Circle of Spiritual Seekers is a spiritual fitness training program. What it requires from you is a good sense of humor and the ability to find fun in the midst of hard work and sincere effort. But it also asks for your serious commitment to the program, to your Circle-mates, and to Spirit.

It’s a wonderful way to meet and spend time with people like yourself who find satisfaction and fulfillment in developing and sharing their gifts. At the same time, you learn powerful timeless ways of strengthening your inner being and connecting to forces of nature and spirit that are waiting and wanting to help you through your life.

A Shamanic Circle of Spiritual Seekers points you in the direction of a new life

This 6-month course covers 7 named months.

The number 7 honors the Sacred Directions.

There are 13 classes.

The number 13 honors the year’s Lunar Cycles.



THE Shamanic Circle of Spiritual Seekers 

Classes meet on 5 weekends, plus 3 Thursday nights

Mabon: 9/19 & 20Sat, 10AM-4:30 or 5:00 PM* & Sun, 10AM-3PM*

  • Introductions
  • Sacred Pact
  • Fundamentals of Shamanism
  • Making Sacred Space
  • The Sacred Circle/Hoop
  • Mother Earth & Father Sky
  • The 7 Directions

Thursday: 10/86PM-8:30 or 9:00PM*

  • Making an altar
    • Setting it up
    • Materials
    • Intention

Samhain: 10/31 & 11/1Sat, 10AM-4:30 or 5:00 PM* & Sun, 10AM-3PM*

  • The Medicine Journey: Finding your personal Power Animals
    • The Four-Legged
    • The Winged One

Thursday: 11/196PM-8:30 or 9:00PM*

  • Prayer Ties:
    • What they are
    • How to make them

Yule: 12/19 & 20Sat, 10AM-4:30 or 5:00 PM* & Sun, 10AM-3PM*

  • Deepening your connections with your Totem Animals
  • Meeting your Guide

Imbolc: 1/30 & 31Sat, 10AM-4:30 or 5:00 PM* & Sun, 10AM-3PM*

  • Working with your Power Animals and Guide

Thursday: 2/186PM-8:30 or 9:00PM*

  • All about Ceremony

Ostara: 3/20 & 21Sat, 10AM-4:30 or 5:00 PM* & Sun, 10AM-3PM*

  • Commencement Ceremony
  • Preview of Level 2
  • Potluck feast
In Addition  
  • 4 optional Zoom meetings (dates to be set by the group at the 1st meeting)
  • These are recommended but not required for the training
  • They offer additional guidance as needed, review of class material as requested, and answers to any questions about the teachings or your practice

* All sessions are held on ” Indian Time” 

The road isn’t always easy

So, this means classes may run late or end early.  Trainees must be willing to arrive 10 minutes before class and stay until the flexible ending time. They must also be willing and able to commit to getting together with Circle-mates to practice lessons between meetings. This is an intensive training meant for dedicated individuals. But your dedication yields knowledge and practices that continue to grow with you for your entire lifetime. And you get it all in only 6 months! 

Level 1: Awakening the Spirit is for you if you:
  • Are looking for a firm foundation in these times of upheaval and change
  • Long to step into your Whole Presence more fully & whole-heartedly
  • Want to stop procrastinating and start answering your heart’s call
  • Do better when you have support to stay on your path
  • Desire the fulfillment of the promise within you
  • Need more trust and faith in your own growth process
  • Lack the ability to to say no and establish healthy boundaries
  • Want to carry less emotional baggage
  • Need more energy
  • Haven’t yet discovered your innate gifts and their blessings for others
  • Are tired of feeling fear, guilt, shame, unworthiness
  • Wish to start feeling unashamed, unafraid, unabashed and unapologetic for being all that you are
  • Long to step into yourself more fully & whole-heartedly (I know, it’s already up there, but that one bears repeating 😉)


Level 2 – The 3 Worlds of the Shamanic Realm: Advanced Journeying(dates TBD)

Level 3 – Extractions & Healing Ceremonies (Soul Retrieval, etc.) – (dates TBD)


It’s your road, and yours alone
Sign me up



  1. $1,730 by August 1
  2. $1,820 between August 2-21
  3. $1,910 between August 22-September 17

FOR PAYMENTS PLANS AND REFUND POLICY, CONTACT grandmother@grandmotherwinter.com


Prayer to Great Spirit


SOUND HEALING RESONANCE: The Medicine of the Future Is Here NOW

brass singing bowls can be used in sound healing

Human civilization has recognized the healing power of sound since the Aborigines began using the didgeridoo – some say 4,000 years ago. They used it to heal broken bones, muscle tears and illnesses of all kinds. And we now know that the sounds emitted from the didgeridoo are in alignment with modern sound healing technology.

According to Deepak Chopra, “The body is held together by sound. The presence of disease indicates that some sounds have gone out of tune.”

G clef with notes waving through air

All your organs – indeed, all your cells – vibrate constantly. Their metabolic processes result in movement. Their movement produces vibration, causing them to emit sound. The ratio between the rate of the movement, revolution, and vibration between any two of these bodies results in resonance.

sound healing music from a woman's voice

In my opinion, the voice is the instrument best suited for matching resonance. No other instrument is capable of expressing so many nuanced sounds. Sounding with the voice affects your body, meridians, and chakras for a deep healing.


What is a sound healing session like?

channeling sound healing energy

When I am with a client, I’m listening for the sounds their body and emotions make – the ones that are asking for some healing energy. My client is in a relaxed position, usually seated or lying down. I listen for the sounds coming from their heart and soul to find the sounds that bring that healing. That ease. That harmony and balance. I sing those sounds into the room or directly into their body. When the frequency created matches with the natural frequency of my client, it creates a resonance. The resonance principles are activated and any cells that have been imprinted with disruptive frequencies – like pain, toxins, emotional traumas, pathogens, or even noise pollution – can re-harmonize.

In addition to the vibratory frequencies made up of the depth, fullness and reverberation in the sounds, resonance has another factor: amplitude. Amplitude measures the sound’s breadth, range and magnitude in waves. Resonance has the ability to evoke memories. Images. Emotions. So the sound healer modulates both tone and volume to create a sound of the proper frequency and wavelength to guide it to the appropriate place in the client’s energy field, which includes the physical body.

Sound enters through the ear and travels to the brain. The brain directs it to anywhere it is needed in the physical or subtle body to restore sympathetic resonance and harmony. Very quickly! After all, sound travels about four times faster through water than it does through air . . . and we are about 70% water. When the brainwave patterns relax, the heart and respiratory rates become steady, deep and slow. Stress hormones decrease to a minimum.

But the brain is not the only director. There is another: intention – the intention put forth by the sound healer. Admittedly, sound has an inherent transformative power all its own, even without intent. But when the sound healer has the intention to create an environment of healing for whatever is needed by the client, it magnifies the healing effects and helps the client assimilate them smoothly and comfortably.

Healing sounds can come from voice, instruments, or recorded music. The advantage of a sound healing session is the pure, clear, strong and focused intention of the sound healer to accomplish the right outcome for the highest good of the client. Equally important is their ability to gauge the client’s responses to the channeled sounds, frequencies and wavelengths, and adjust as necessary. 

Matching the frequencies of a healthy resonance will bring a body back to its own healthy harmonic resonance and transmute the lower frequencies of emotions like anger, fear and resentment. “Letting go” just happens. By using rhythm, tone, frequency and amplitude, the sound healer synchronizes your fluctuating brainwaves and gives them something to attune to. Your normal wakeful alert state can downshift to a state of relaxation, meditation, or sleep. In this state, internal healing can take place. You experience a deep soothing of the soul, so to speak. Your energy flows again, and a sense of well-being and balance takes over.

sound healing registering in the brain

Sound not only helps with inducing relaxation, but also has a propensity for moving through areas of blockage. Blockages may be located in our physical bodies, our subtle bodies, or both. The physical body is where we experience localized pain and discomfort.

Sound healing

has been used to treat a variety of symptoms, including:

  • General physical complaints like tension, headaches, stiff neck, shoulder pain, joint pain, digestive disorders, low back pain, etc.
  • Everyday psychological complaints including anxiety, depression, and stress
  • Mood swings, or negative emotions such as sadness, aggravation, anger, self-pity, and heartbreak

It can also bring about…

  • Clarity and balance
  • Deep relaxation
  • Improved memory and concentration
  • Improved sleep (both in quality and quantity)
  • A stronger immune system
  • Improved creativity
  • Heightened awareness, both of the self and the environment

Are there other benefits of Sound Healing?

Our subtle body, or energetic body, is where we find our life force. In east Asia it is called Qi (Chi). In India it is called Prana. You may be familiar with these words if you receive shiatsu or acupuncture, or if you practice yoga. Imbalances and traumas typically hit our subtle bodies first. But if they are not taken care of at that level, they can eventually manifest in our physical bodies. So, it’s important to look at health from a holistic perspective that addresses both the physical and non-physical aspects of our life. Tending to imbalances before they manifest physically is the key to staying happy and healthy.

spirals, like in the ear's cochlea

In conclusion . . .

Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, we innately desire a life that can thrive, not just survive. We are naturally inclined toward harmony and balance. Sound has a special way of bringing us to the inner peace we all desire.





shooting star


Distance Healing verifies three things I’ve learned in my time on this planet:

  1. We are all connected 
  2. Where you end, I begin, and vice versa 
  3. No matter how hard we try to control it, nothing is exactly as it appears to be

Distance Healing really works. Physicists have explained to us that time does not exist. It is just a human construct we use to organize experience and catalog existence so we can quantify, confirm, and remember it. Einstein did not believe in time. He believed in timelessness, and that all of time – past, present, future – exists at once. He did not acknowledge the concept of now. The way he put it was “The reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. Time is an illusion.” So, all moments are equally real and equally accessible at any time . . . if we know how.

There are infinite ways to communicate, some better than others.  Today the average person will say 17,520 words to 7.4 other individuals. But, simply change the language, one foreigner to the next, and we are hopeless, stumbling to explain the simplest of concepts. Einstein said “I rarely think in words at all.” He said “I never made any of my discoveries through the process of logical thinking.”

I’m going to quote Einstein a lot in this blog because Distance Healing requires a different language . . . one that is similar to the language of quantum physics, although not in its mathematical form. 😊

I love Einstein. I once read that he said he discovered space was curved by imagining traveling on a shooting star. Wow! I love that. He said it took him many years to prove it scientifically, but he never doubted his imagination – his “experience.”

Distance Healing is like that – you might not be able to prove it scientifically, but you cannot deny your experience of it. In this world, we live by the dominant paradigm that holds: things are separated by distance, and time moves in only one direction – forward. The experience of our physical reality is that time and space are real and fixed. And this perception works well for keeping us grounded and able to go about our daily activities. It’s a good thing.

experiments with plants

But it’s not the only paradigm! And clinging to it, as if it were, limits our understanding and experience of our complete being, our whole presence. I remember reading The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Thompkins & Christopher Bird over 40 years ago, when it first came out, and I still remember two of the experiments that blew my mind.

They used an apparatus that functioned in a similar way as a lie detector to attach sensors to plants and measure their responses to various stimuli. One time, they split a leaf in two, kept both parts alive, sent one piece to Europe and kept the other in America. When they applied a particular stimulus to one of the piece, the other reacted simultaneously . . . from thousands of miles away!

Another time, Thompkins was driving and thinking about what experiment he could do next. He thought that maybe he would light one plant on fire to see if other plants in the lab would react. But then he realized that he could never do that because, by then, he had discovered that these living beings had emotions and felt pain. So he decided that he would just “make believe” he was going to light it on fire and see what happened.

distance healing blows the mind

You have to understand that the plants were always hooked up to monitors, 24-7, even when he was out of the lab. So after he got back and conducted the fake experiment, he looked at the read-out to collect the data. What it showed totally shocked him. He saw that the plants reacted negatively when he was in the car thinking of lighting them on fire. But when he actually performed the fake experiment, there was no reaction – they knew he wasn’t going to do it!

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition, or what you will.” And, “Mystery is the most beautiful thing we can experience. It’s the source of all true art and science.” Einstein.


Human beings are hardwired to connect. Our brains, our entire nervous systems, are designed for us to form bonds. But still, we define ourselves by our borders and boundaries: I am me; therefore, I am not you. We feel safe within our territory, though borders can be places of instability. And yet, it is at the edges, at the frontiers between us, where ideas are exchanged and knowledge is gained. I am me, but I must push past my borders if I am ever truly to know you.

During a distance healing session, a bond is created that develops a profound connection and a deep intuitive knowing.

distance healer working on the subtle body

A Distance Healing session is very much like an in-person session. You talk with your practitioner and tell her of the needs and concerns you want to address in the session. Your practitioner then leads you into a guided visualization to free your mind and body of any tension. Next, she goes into a meditative state and connects with your being, beyond space and time. The specific intention for the healing was set when you talked, and now the healer adds another general intention to restore your health, well-being and wholeness. The practitioner transmits healing energy to activate your own innate healing power. She directs that power to go where it’s most needed. And, with a quiet mind, she uses a soft focus and relaxed concentration to integrate the newly organized energy throughout the field of your body, mind, heart and soul.

The session comes to completion in its own natural time, usually in 45 minutes or so. Occasionally, it may be a little shorter or a little longer, maybe as much as an hour. By the end, you will typically have had pleasant sensations during the healing. You may have had memories or seen things in your mind’s eye, and there may be an accompanying emotional release and relief. Insights and solutions may pop into your head out of nowhere. If this happens during your session, you can trust this information to be meaningful and helpful for your healing.

you have great self-healing ability

All healing comes from within. An outside force is simply a catalyst to help us sense and recognize energy vibrations – to heal ourselves. Your distance healer is such a catalyst. All you have to do is open up to the energy. In Einstein’s words, “The mind is like a parachute; it only works when it’s open.” And he gave us this encouragement: “The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.” Einstein. Mmm.

To use his words again to sum it up . . .

Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.

sending love, light and distance healing

IMBOLC – The Initiation of Spring Life springs forth, the sap begins to rise

At Imbolc, the sap is rising The sap is rising in the trees. Leaf buds are ever-so-slightly swelling. Under the snow-covered belly of the Mother Earth, the faint stirring of seeds has begun. Bulbs are pushing up.  Snowdrops and crocuses are breaking through the snow. You can hear the difference in the chirping sound of your backyard birds, and you know they are building nests. Ewes and nanny goats are ready for lambing and kidding. The Wheel of the Year has turned once more. 

Imbolc marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. It is hard sometimes to think of Spring in what feels like the depths of Winter. But if we look at the ground, we can see the first shoots of green beginning to reach towards the Sun. It is the true start of Spring — a new awakening under the sparkling frost of the slumbering fields.

Now is the time for the banishing of Winter and the welcoming of Spring. This is the time when the waters begin to melt and flow, a time for cleansing and purification. It is the time when we notice the sun’s light lengthening and our own spirits growing brighter as well. This is the time both of water (the melting snow) and of fire (the growing light and warmth). Imbolc blessingsThis is a time of hope and preparation. It’s time to creep out of the hibernation of winter, cautiously, like the Ground Hog who emerges on this day to check his shadow. It’s the time of germination, the traditional time for new beginnings. This is the time of the growing of the Light. It is a time to go to the well for healing, and to the fire for inspired creativity. It’s the time of soul-stirring, when we begin anew.

Now is when we start our Spring cleaning, not only of our homes, but also of our bodies and minds. It’s a good time for purification diets (particularly for the liver and gall bladder) and for new perspectives, ideas, plans and goals. It’s the right time to do a thorough house cleaning, banishing the gloom of winter and creating a sparkling, shiny new setting for spring. We give life and light to our own visions and wisdom, and take the first brave steps toward manifesting them into reality. We sweep away the cobwebs, not only from the corners of our rooms, but also from our minds, and clear space for the newness that is blossoming within.


Pregnant Goddess Brighid at the Imbolc cauldron At Imbolc (February 2nd), the goddess has become young once again, and is recovering from the birth of her son. She delivered the Light from the darkest of the dark days. She has nurtured the child and now brings him forth as the new hope. The lengthening periods of light awaken her. The little god feels his strength increasing day by day, as the days grow longer with the power of the waxing sun. The warmth fertilizes the Earth (the goddess) and causes seeds to germinate and sprout. And so, the earliest beginnings of Spring occur.

The Goddess of Spring seeds the land at ImbolcThe promises of the return of the light and the renewal of life which were made at the winter solstice are now becoming manifest. It’s the dawn of the year.

Common Rituals

Imbolc is also known as Candlemas. In times gone by, it was the day when the fireplace and hearth were completely and thoroughly cleaned.  All the lights in the house were extinguished and new candles were made for the entire year ahead. It took hours! At the end of the day, when the sun went down, the first new candle was lit in honor of the returning light with its promise of the warmth and abundance of Summer’s fruits and Autumn’s harvest.

If you have a fireplace, go ahead and clean out your hearth, and then light a new fire. Sit around the fire and reflect on your hopes for the coming year. What do you hope to accomplish? What are you passionate about? What seeds do you wish to plant? Discuss these ideas with others or write them down in a journal, but make them concrete in some way so that on Lammas (August 2nd, the festival of the first harvest), you can look back to see what progress you’ve made.

As Imbolc marks the dawn of a new Spring, seeds are a third symbol of the season, along with Water and Fire.  If you like, you can make a simple ritual of taking a seed and “planting” a project, goal or pledge. Whisper or breathe it into the seed and put it into a pot with fresh soil. Nurture it, water and feed it, maybe plant it in your garden when it’s ready, and help it grow strong and healthy for reaping at Lammas.

For myself, I like to go from room to room in my home, lighting a candle in each room as I go, and chanting. I don’t remember where this chant came from, but I find it to be lovely and completely within the spirit of the emerging Spring.

I open

Gently open

To the divine inside me

I open

Gently open

To the sacred Light

8 candles lit for an Imbolc ritual


May you find strength and warmth in the returning light of the sun.

I wish you illumination and inspiration.

I wish you love and light.



I wish you a blessed IMBOLC!

Lit candles sit on the snow, illuminating the blossoming snowdrops

SAMHAIN The Most Sacred Day of the Year

The Celtic Wheel Of The Year is also known as the ever-turning circle of life.  SAMHAIN is the most sacred holiday in this cycle.  It is considered the New Year, as it is both the ending of one cycle and the beginning of another. 

SAMHAIN marks the beginning of the Season of Darkness and the Festival of Death.  Now, these may seem scary or negative in today’s terms, but the dark time of the year is welcomed for deep introspection, just as the darkness of every night is welcomed for sleep.  And, without Death, there can be no rebirth.  Therefore, at Samhain, we celebrate the Eternal Cycle.

At SAMHAIN, the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest and our consciousness has easy access to both the land of the living and the land of the dead.  So we honor our ancestors and our loved ones who have passed on.  This is not the time for mourning them (though we may miss them).  This is when we release their spirits and celebrate them.  We light candles.  We can visit and talk with them in ceremonial journeying.  We feast and tell stories, sing and celebrate the triumph of LIFE!  So go ahead and tell them how much you appreciate all their efforts on your behalf (to spend their blood, sweat and tears so that you could be here!).  Tell them you want to continue to do a good job at life on their behalf, and ask them if they have any suggestions for your best next steps for the coming year.  Then, just be quiet in your mind and soul, and wait to see if you get any inspirations or feelings about something that seems to right to you.  You might be surprised at what occurs to you!

The Wheel of the Year is often explained by the relationship between the Goddess and God.  SAMHAIN is the time of the Third Harvest, when the God has grown old and died.  His spirit is deep in the ground now, waiting to be born again as the son of the Goddess. 

The Goddess, who never dies, has nonetheless become very old.  As the Crone, she now commands her most powerful and magical aspect.  She is both the destroyer and the healer.  She is the Wise Woman and the Midwife of Transformation.  SAMHAIN is the peak time of her power.  Although she is now the Hag, the Crone, the Ancient Wise One, her cauldron is the womb from which all things are conceived, nurtured and grown, and finally born forth.  The God is now a sleeping seed in the womb of the Goddess.

SAMHAIN is the time of the year for introspection.  We look back at our accomplishments and disappointments/defeats to receive their lessons.  We contemplate these lessons to look ahead at what is coming.  We ask our ancestors and our personal spirit guides to help us decipher these lessons, and we incubate our new dream for the coming year in this wisdom. It is a time to assess and re-tune ourselves to two seminal beliefs: 1) the oneness of all spirits, and 2) that physical death is not the final act of existence.  We plan and dream our new dream for ourselves and for the generations that will follow us.

May the ancestors deliver blessings on you and yours . . .

 May the New Year bear great fruits for you . . .

 May your granted wishes be as many as the seeds in a pomegranate . . .

 May the slide into darkness bring you light . . .

 May the memories of what-has-been keep you strong for what-is-to-be . . .

 May this Samhain cleanse your heart, your soul, and your mind!

 Blessed Samhain to all, and a Magical Night!!!

MABON – the Autumn Equinox Shifting Winds and Crinkling Leaves – The Second Harvest

At Mabon – the Autumn Equinox – the time of the harvest, we gather what we need to see us through the coming cold and darkness of winter.  As the light fades from the outdoors, we take it inward, into ourselves.  We give thanks for all the beautiful and nourishing blooms, fruits and vegetables of summer’s bounty, and all the harvested grains that will keep us fortified through the still, quiet restfulness of winter.

This stage between summer and winter is the time of transformation. Things die to be reborn.  And this Autumn Equinox, this day of Mabon, when daylight and nightdark are equal, beckons us to honor this moment of balance as an opportunity to accept and harmonize our own polarities – our yin and yang, our female and male, our strengths and vulnerabilities, our thoughts and actions, our need for rest and activity – and to find their appropriate proportions and timeliness . . . their seasons within us.

May your journey begin

Through darkening nights

To your paths within    

And to your inner light

Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, divides the day and night equally. It is a time of balance. It is a time of the Mysteries. We honor the changing seasons and the Aging Deities of the Spirit World, and pay our respects to the impending dark. We watch the earth die a little each day and consciously embrace this slow descent into the dark as another dimension of appreciating the light. Thus begins the traditional time of year for meditating on the themes of life, death, and rebirth.

At the same time, we give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our second and final harvest of this year’s crops – the fruit that has stayed on the trees, and plants that have ripened under the summer sun. We thank the Earth, in her full abundance as Mother and Giver, for the great harvest. As Autumn begins, it is the time to stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, as well.


I open,

Gently open

To the Divine

Inside me



Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, is a time for harvesting and reflecting on the past year.  Considering the theme of the balance of light and dark, we take a few moments to contemplate the contrasts in our own lives. Is there any unresolved issue inside us we’ve been longing to reap the rewards of?  

Now is the time to take this energy and turn it to our own purposes. Regard it as part of the harvest of your life; food for thought; something to chew on, etc. Feast on the nutritious parts – the lessons . . . and eliminate the waste – the pain, hurt, negative feelings. Offer the “waste” to the Earth Mother as compost. It will enrich your ground, the ground of your being. Count your blessings!

May your hearts and spirits

be filled to overflowing!

The Medicine – Old And New

What is meant by the Old Ways?

When we speak of the Old Ways, we are referring to the innate spirituality of human beings across cultures, from the beginning of time up until the industrialization of our modern era. It holds all of nature in reverence. It calls the earth Mother, and the sun or sky, Father. Indigenous cultures throughout the world shared a surprisingly common creation story despite their separation by continents – and without any means of communicating, or even knowing of the others’ existence. The story goes something like this:

In “the time before Time,” all beings lived together in harmony. They spoke an unspoken language and understood each other’s hearts and souls. In the words of Chief John Snow, Nakoda elder, “We talked to the rocks, the streams, the trees, the plants, the herbs and all nature’s creations. We called the animals our brothers. They understood our language; we understood theirs. Sometimes they talked to us in dreams and visions. At times they revealed important events or visited us on our vision quests to the mountain tops.”

The interplay between the spiritual world and the material world was a common daily awareness. However, as time passed, humans lost their way. They lost connection with the imagining and intuiting functions of their spiritual nature and could no longer speak the language of Spirit. The more they relied on their physical senses alone, the more separated they became from their inner direction. They fell out of harmony and balance. They invented weapons and began killing and eating animals, birds and fish. Later, they even began killing each other. And so the story goes. Each culture has its own details and characters.

There are a few aboriginal tribes, however, who have resisted becoming “civilized” to this day and still live according to the Old Ways. They are known for their uncanny ability to “know” and prepare for events that they have not read or heard about.

The Australian Aborigines may be the best known to us for this skill. They say they get their knowledge from the “dreamtime.” The Dreamtime is where the Aborigines’ world came from. The Dreamtime also brought the knowledge of the laws of existence. Aborigines continue to observe these laws to this day; they are the laws for survival. In addition, they continue the Dreamtime (Creation) as the Dreaming. That is, they continue to dream the world into existence.

What is Medicine?

While this type of knowledge is not typically brought into play in today’s busy lifestyle, it IS still part of our make-up, and we can avail ourselves of its benefits. The Old Ways offer methods for developing the spiritual side of our intrinsic nature – the means to know and understand who we truly are, our best options and actions to take, and how we can contribute to good of all. In many indigenous cultures, this is called Medicine.

Medicine is the power to heal and strengthen the body, mind, heart and soul. That Medicine may be a physical substance, like herbs; a non-substantive agent, like music; or something with both qualities, like touch. Anything that eases the mind or body . . . anything that uplifts the heart and soul . . . that’s Medicine. The means for developing your Medicine is also Medicine. In addition, each being (animal, plant, mineral) has its own special Medicine, a quality or gift that is unique. And you have your own Medicine. Your Medicine is whatever gifts and talents you possess for contributing to that beauty.

The Medicine the Old Ways

There are age-old traditional prayers, songs, practices and ceremonies that have been done in the same way, for the same reasons and commemorations, for incalculable generations. These practices and ceremonies are commonly called the Medicine of the Old Ways. They include ways of praying, meditating, honoring Mother Earth and Father Sky, Moon ceremonies, feast days, sacred songs, pilgrimages and vision quests, to name just a few. There are also prescribed task for rites of passage, as well as practices for clearing and purging oneself. They are tried and true, and still have a potent impact to this day.

Any medicine, be it spiritual or pharmaceutical, has to meet the challenges of a changing world. It must stay abreast of the needs of the people facing new demands. The Medicine of the Old Ways shapeshifts effortlessly to accommodate the needs of the current times. However, that is not what makes it “new,” as that is a quality of the “old” Medicine.

The New Medicine of the Old Ways

The New Medicine of the Old Ways is a term I coined to address the contemporary direction of the latest surge of interest in the Old Ways. Many seers of Native American (and other) Medicine people foretold of the day when the knowledge that had been kept secret and protected for so long should be shared with the white man. Although many indigenous people do not believe they should do that, many others began sharing a few decades ago, believing in complying with the prophecies.

Because of the widespread dissemination of ancient traditional practices across cultural lines at this time, people who have not been brought up in a discreet lineage are prone to mixing and mat

ching the practices from separate traditions. While I can understand how some perceive this to be a misappropriation and watering down of ancient wisdom (and to a certain extent I have to agree), I also see that every generation has a similar complaint about the upcoming generation, even within their own culture.

The best analogy I can come up with (and it may, or may not, be a very good one) is to liken it to adapting a foreign country’s cuisine to one’s own. The taste is not exactly like the country of origin’s typical palate, nor is it like the customary taste of the adopting country’s food.

However, if the persons eating it have an open attitude to something new, both sides will find the adventure stimulating, the taste fresh and the experience rewarding.

There is another difference. The Old Ways require the shaman, priest/priestess, Medicine man or woman, etc. to do all the work on behalf of the person who asks for help. It is my belief that we have reached a time in our evolution where it is not just “special” people who have the power to maneuver in higher realms. I recognize that we have grown enough that Spirit is asking us to assume a more active role in the goings on of everyday life. We’ve been given a promotion, if you will. We’re faced with a new responsibility to step up and be part of the team.

The way I practice the New Medicine is to bring you up to speed on the skills you need for the new position you are wanting to hold in your life. Rather than perform ceremonies for you, I help you conceive your own “ceremonies,” your own new beneficial ways of thinking, new habits, etc. And, most especially, I help you deepen and strengthen your own connection with Spirit and the profound assistance that connection affords you.

I believe the New Medicine of the Old Ways is true to the traditional values of honoring Mother Earth, Father Sky and all living beings. I believe it respects and requires the custom of grounding, centering and clearing oneself to connect with Spirit with a calm mind and open heart. I believe that ancient practices, carried out in their traditional ways, are powerful and have a place in the New Medicine. And I also believe that all the wisdom from all the teachers – if practiced with commitment over a long period – can come together in a new way. It will go straight to the heart and soul of a present-day seeker to touch her and change him in deep and positive ways. The New Medicine takes substance and meaning from the Old Ways and respectfully makes something fresh, stimulating, profound and meaningful for the person journeying in these current times.

All About Smudge

Smudge is the term used for an herb, combination of herbs, or resin that is burned as incense for the purpose of purification. The herb may be burned loose, or in the form of a smudge stick. The “stick” is made by bundling the herb or herbs together with hemp cord or string to form easy-to-burn smudge sticks. A resin is usually burned on a coal.

The most common herb used by Native Americans is sage, but just as familiar are cedar, copal, lavender, sweet grass, or pinon. Common to the Celtic traditions are copal, frankincense, myrrh, and Dragon’s Blood, among others.

When you smudge/purify yourself, you are clearing your mind and auric field. You attune yourself to a higher vibration that reminds you to speak and act in a sacred way, with an open and compassionate heart, and with your ears open to hearing the guidance from your spirit helpers and from Creator or the Goddess, depending on your tradition. Keep in mind that when you smudge yourself, you traditionally want to be very thorough and take at least ½-hr or more.

You can also smudge a house or room to clear it of previous owners’ energy or any negativity that may have entered in the form of arguments, illness, or other entities. You can smudge an object to clear it and make it “clean” or “pure” for use by the new owner – like a book, jewelry, second-hand clothing or furniture, etc.

You can use smudge to pray. The smoke from the smudge will carry your prayers to Creator.

Here is more about Smudging . . .


Clear Your Energy and Lift Your Spirits With the Sacred Art of Smudging

by: Bess O’Connor

If you’re feeling stuck, negative, sluggish, or even downright depressed, it may be due to some stagnant energy in your field. Your field can include your emotional, energetic, mental, spiritual or physical body, and your environment—whether it’s your home, office, or other physical space. Stagnant or negative energy can have extremely detrimental effects on your mental and physical state and is even believed to manifest into things like a lack of happiness and success as well as pain and disease.

Smudging can help combat this negativity, clear the energy in your field, and help you start anew. Smudging is an ancient ceremony in which you burn sacred plants, such as sage, to allow the smoke to clear and bless a space.

To get some insight into the ancient art of smudging, healer and singer Grandmother Wapajea Walks on Water—with lineage from the Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee tribes—sheds some light on the topic.

Grandmother Wapajea says, “The goal of smudging is to make a place clear of lingering energy that is different from what you may be intending for that space. You want to prepare the space for ceremony, the way you would clean your house, cook, and decorate when your family comes for a holiday. We are welcoming Great Spirit, angels, and ancestors to come and share clean space with us as well.”

What you use to clear a space depends on your location and what plants you have access to. Grandmother Wapajea says that people on the East Coast use tobacco, cedar, sweet grass, juniper, pine needles, deerstongue, cypress, and sage. Out west they use tobacco, pinion, desert sage, and sweet grass.

“My family uses sage and cedar to purify, tobacco to send our prayers to the Chihowa, and sweet grass to attract angels and sweet-spirited ancestors. We also use sweet grass to bring ease to a space when we need to discuss something that is difficult to say,” Grandmother Wapajea says.

What You Need

  • Sage or other sacred plants listed above. Sage represents the earth element and when burned, the smoke from it represents the air.
  • Abalone shell. This is meant to hold and burn the plants. The shell represents the water element.
  • Matches or a lighter. These represent the fire element.
  • Feather. This represents the air element.
  • Drum(s) or sacred drumming music, which represent the beat of the heart.

For indigenous people Great Spirit is in all of nature and creation, each thing representing a different aspect of divinity and sacredness. Therefore they honor the elements, and all natural things, from plants and minerals, to animals and people.

The Smudging Process

Often, smudging involves a four-direction ceremony. Here’s a guide to help you get started.

Clear your space of clutter and mess and open up windows and curtains and allow for clean air to enter. Light your sage (or other herbs) on fire and then fan the smoke with your feather around your body and anyone else in your space.

Wapajea’s Smudging Process

  • “We start in the East where the sun rises, and brings us the opportunity to begin again with each new day. Breath.
  • We go to the South and honor our creativity, our children, the child in us, our playfulness, joy, and hope. Earth.
  • We go to the West where the sun goes down, and the blackness of introspection begins when the day is done. Water.
  • We go to the North where our rest awaits us. Knowledge, stamina, compassion, silence. Fire.
  • We use a feather to fan the sacred smoke in each direction, one drums, one sings, one dances, one prays, until we have circled back to the east.”

Tips for Smudging

The art of smudging is a sacred act and Grandmother Walks on Water says these are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Hold sacredness and respect when connecting with the plant people who help you in this ceremony and when you pray.
  2. Remember and honor your ancestors with good deeds.
  3. Honor the divine by caring for what the Great Spirit has created.
  4. See the divine Mother in everything. Women are the embodiment of Great Spirit’s creation on Earth, thru the gift of birth, so women are holy. We are all from the same womb.
  5. Everything is related to everything; nothing is random.
  6. Caring for creation is everyone’s responsibility.
  7. This will is not religion; this is love.

Clearing Your Body

Smudging is not only for spaces; it’s also for clearing your body, mind, and spirit of any negativity, stagnation, or energetic disturbances within or surrounding you. Make sure to invite the sacred smoke around your body from head to toe and front to back before smudging your space.


A Smudging Prayer

May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.

May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be.

May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly.

May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.

May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.

May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.

And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling, to the heavens.


Chakras are vibrational wheels, or globes, of energy located within and without various areas of the body.  Their purpose is to organize and regulate your energy.  Chakras receive, assimilate and transmit the life force that is in you.  When you increase the power of your chakras’ vibrations, you upgrade the quality of your cellular intelligence.  You amplify the energy that improves health and happiness, and you build mental strength and spiritual fitnessChakra Development usually results in a renewed zest for life and a sense of inner sturdiness.  You acquire an elegant map for revitalizing your body and mind and making them compatible.  It is a way to enjoy your reality and blend it with your developing spiritual nature.  It prepares the way for a gentle opening of consciousness and gives you a new view of your life and world.

The 1st, or Root Chakra is located at the floor of the pelvis, which is at the base of the tailbone, and is associated with the adrenals.  It represents stability, life, and existence itself.  It helps ground our spiritual nature onto the material plane.  The more you ground yourself, the greater your chance of developing into the person you would like to become, and of making your dreams real.  This first level of personal and spiritual development bestows the right ‘to be’ and ‘to have.’  It entrusts you with the responsibility of loving and taking care of yourself, your body and your physical needs.  It spins clockwise.

The 2nd, or Navel Chakra is located all around the navel, and is associated with the gonads (ovaries and testicles).  It develops your sense of boundary and enables you to understand what will enhance and enrich your life. It represents love, perception, sensitivity and protection.  At this level, extra-sensory awareness begins to develop, and you learn how to feel the world from the viewpoint of another.  This second level of development bestows the right ‘to feel’ and to pursue gratification.  It entrusts you with the responsibility of caring about others as yourself (see First Chakra responsibility).  It spins counterclockwise.

The 3rd, or Solar Plexus Chakra is located at the solar plexus, just below the ribs, and is associated with the pancreas.  It represents hope, justice and fairness.  It gives you your self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, decision-making ability and personal power.  Developing this chakra allows you to make satisfying and healthy relationships.  This chakra bestows the right to act.  The responsibility of the Third Chakra is self-acceptance and the duty to love not only another, but to have best wishes for your associations, societies and communities.  It spins in the direction of a wheel rolling backwards.

The 4th, or Heart Chakra is located in the center of the chest at the heart area, and is associated with the thymus gland.  It represents peace, faith and compassion.  It brings you into unity and kinship with the entire universe.  It expands your love and understanding to the point of accepting the entire world.  This level of development bestows the right ‘to love and be loved.’  It entrusts you with the responsibility of loving all of creation as though it were you (refer to the responsibility of the Root Chakra).  The Fourth Chakra spins in the same direction as the Third Chakra, like a wheel rolling backwards.

The 5th, or Throat Chakra is located at the level of the Adam’s Apple, and is associated with the thyroid gland.  It channels mental energy to your mind and heart, giving a voice to your feelings, thoughts and experiences.  It represents truth, communication, integrity, self-expression and creativity.  When you reach the potential of control and authority possible at the Fifth Chakra, you master the Law of Attraction.  This level of development bestows the right ‘to speak and be heard,’ as well as the ability ‘to listen deeply and to hear truly.’  It entrusts you with the responsibility to control yourself and your surroundings.  It spins at an oblique angle from the right ear, backward, toward the spine and the heart.

The 6th, or Third Eye Chakra is located at the forehead, just above and between the eyes, and is associated with the pituitary gland (some say the pineal gland).  It allows simultaneous awareness of your inner state and the world around you.  It represents wisdom, knowledge, intuition, discernment, imagination, goal and time.  A developed Brow Chakra gives the ability to clearly see what is important for your happiness and well-being, and connects you to your goal and purpose.  This level of development bestows the right ‘to see.’  It entrusts you with the responsibility of self-reflection.  The Sixth Chakra does not exactly spin; rather, it beams out in two directions: from the forehead to the far horizon in front of you, and out the back of your head to the far horizon behind you.

The 7th, or Crown Chakra is located just above the top of the head, and is associated with the pineal gland (some say the pituitary gland).  It provides a point of connection to an abiding sense of peace and joy, based in the knowledge that you are one with Source.  It represents beauty, spirituality, connection with the Divine Source and existence in God.  This level bestows the right ‘to know.’  It gives the responsibility of self-knowledge and requires that you align your will with your divine guidance and inspiration.  It spins clockwise in some people, counterclockwise in others.

Usually, all the chakras are operating together, though some may function more or less optimally than others.  When they are weak or out of alignment, you will commonly experience physical and emotional symptoms.  Chakra Development diminishes these irregularities.  It promotes health and balance throughout the Chakra System.  You will notice some benefits: increased power and stamina in your mind and body, heart and soul; more energy reserves for the activities and challenges of everyday life; less reaction to stress; less fatigue; and an overall sense of well-being.

If you are interested in learning how to activate your Chakras, please consider taking a 7-week class or weekend workshop.  You will learn both simple and sophisticated methods to increase the vibrational strength and spin of your Chakras.  These practices remove blockages and cultivate the clear intelligent flow of healthy energy through your entire system.  You will learn about the Crystal Mountain, the Seven Chakras, Eight Directions, and you will experience them first-hand through specially-designed exercises.  Hand-outs are included.




You hear people mention Animal Totems more and more frequently these days. You may also have heard them called Spirit Animals or Power Animals. Certainly, the influence of the animal world on the human psyche is undeniable. It has been with us since the earliest of times. We can observe it in the prominence of paintings on ancient cave walls. We can note the recurrence of animals in fairy tales of all cultures since recorded history. They often talk and give help and advice to humans, occasionally even delivering hard lessons by outsmarting people. Our fascination with animals is so innate that we even have a television channel called the Animal Planet where we can watch them anytime, day or night. And other channels, like Discovery and National Geographic, are filled with documentaries of many of the animals we find most captivating.

Before modern industrialization we were more in tune with the natural world. We were more connected to animals and their wisdom. We learned lessons about life by observing them, and we saw in them a mirror of our own qualities, both good and bad, so that we could improve ourselves and discover how to live in harmony. This lost awareness is reemerging today. It is, indeed, very accessible through any ancestral roots – European, Asian, African, etc. – but the most common view in our culture at this time is through Native American traditions.

Within these traditions, there are variations from nation to nation, and from tribe to tribe within one nation, but some beliefs are generally held in common. For instance, a common view is that when you are born, you enter this life at a certain place on the Medicine Wheel. You will traverse the Wheel many times during your life, as the Wheel encompasses all the virtues and imperfections, all the ups and downs that a lifetime entails. However, your particular placement at the time of your birth indicates which life lessons will be most important for you to learn during your lifetime. Creator gives you help to succeed in mastering these lessons. One such aid is your Personal Animal Totem (or totems, in some cases). In one Cherokee tradition, Creator gives each person seven totems in each of seven categories, for a total of forty-nine. You become familiar with your totems and begin working with them. You then start paring them down until you discover which totem is your strongest ally. This totem is the most influential helper on your path to becoming a “true human being,” someone who who leads your life “in a good way” by developing your gifts and talents to benefit the people for several generations.

Deer Totem

So how does your Animal Totem help you do this? Well, at the most base level, your Totem helps you muddle through your life with a little more grace and peace of mind. But it can do more than that if you work closely with it. It strengthens and deepens your sense of connection – to family, friends, yourself, your purpose, and to the Great Mystery of life. Your Personal Totem shows you where you belong in the great scheme of things. Creator gives you this gift and asks you to cultivate the bond between yourself and your Totem because, as you begin to integrate it into your daily life, you discover how to use its wisdom to remove barriers to your personal and spiritual development. Unfolding your relationship with your Totems brings self-knowledge, healing and purpose. It deepens your intuition and awareness. It improves the stamina in your mind and body, and promotes peace and power in your heart and soul. You arrive at a place where you are contributing to the balance and harmony of all things on earth just by being you. Your Personal Totem takes you there.

So, how do you know what your personal animal totem is? And how do you make its acquaintance? Sometimes an animal enters your awareness because it startles you by flying across your windshield or darting in front of your car as you are driving down the road. Or maybe you just begin seeing a particular kind of animal everywhere you look. People can mistakenly assume that this is their personal animal totem. Usually it is not. Often this is an animal that has come to give you a message for a particular time or circumstance in your life. But your true personal animal totem is there with you throughout your life, all the time, even if you don’t notice it. The way to discover it is through a traditional method called “journeying.”

A journey is a very deep meditative state arrived at by traditional grounding methods and calling on the assistance of the Four Directions, Mother Earth and Father Sky or Great Spirit. Usually you have a guide to lead you, accompany you through the Journey, and bring you safely back. The guide does this through guided visualization, which may or may not be accompanied by drumming. Once you are in the receptive state that Journeying induces, your guide gives you the traditional suggestions that lead to recognizing your Totem, both within you and as a separate being who will assist you. You will be able to ask questions of your Totem, and it will give you insights and answers to what’s been on your mind. You can see your circumstances from a previously unimagined perspective, and new information is offered for considering whatever is at hand.

Horse Totem.

Meeting your Personal Totems is a profound experience. It connects you deeply to yourself and to the Great Mystery – Creator, Spirit, God, Goddess, or however you conceive and call the awe-inspiring wonder of creation. Developing your relationship with your Totems brings self-knowledge, healing and purpose.It deepens your intuition and awareness. It improves stamina in your mind and body, and promotes peace and power in your heart and soul. Its value is timeless – as uplifting and meaningful today as it has ever been.

It has been my great good fortune to have met and studied with some amazing teachers and healers over the years. Medicine people of four cultural traditions have graciously put enough trust in me to give their endorsements so that I might guide others on traditional Journeys to meet their Totems and Spirit Guides, open their Energy Centers (Chakras), find their missing soul pieces (Soul Retrieval), and other such Old Ways of healing. It is a blessing to have received this knowledge ~ and even more so to be able to share this beautiful Medicine with others.