When I was a little girl, my grandmother taught me how to feed chickadees sunflower seeds out of my hand. Grandma Kane would sit with me, silently on the deck outside facing the evergreen trees, and wait patiently. Eventually one would light on my fingertips with a whisper of air, pluck a seed out of the palm of my hand and fly away to enjoy it in solitude. They would come in groups of 2 or 3, each taking their turn. It was thrilling to know that a wild creature would trust enough to actually fly to me for food.
One in particular stood out. He had one leg so I nicknamed him peg-leg. Even at that tender age of perhaps 10 or 11, I felt such compassion for him, knowing that his life with one leg would probably be shorter and more difficult than others due to this vulnerability. Of course he faded from my memory as I blossomed into a teenager with other priorities but I am called back to those days of wonder as I engage in what has become my life calling and passion. In my sixth decade, half a century later, there are remnants of those sweet moments on my deck with my grandmother lingering in my awareness.
I believe she nurtured in me a love of birds, of wildlife. She taught me the basic birdcalls and songs and helped me to identify birds and even lure them to my hands with food. This instilled in me a reverence for nature and wild birds that has stayed with me and has blossomed into what is becoming my passion.
Recently I became an apprentice to a shamanic practitioner and will be studying with her and a group of 10 others for 8 months to understand, learn, and practice shamanic healing. What the heck does that mean?
Shamanism dates back millenniums and has been practiced all over the world in almost every culture, on every continent. Sandra Ingerman states, Shamanism teaches us that everything that exists is alive and has a spirit. Shamans speak of a web of life that connects all of life and the spirit that lives in all things. Everything on earth is interconnected an any belief that we are separate from other life forms including the earth, stars, wind, etc. is purely an illusion. And it is the shamanism’s role in the community to keep harmony and balance between humankind and the forces of nature.
Shamanic practitioners create a life intimately connected to nature with a deep reverence for all living beings. For me personally, that has meant spending more time in the woods, meadows, and by the streams, creating relationships with plants, trees and wildlife and a profound respect for what they contribute to the planet.
One of the major ceremonies a shaman performs is called a shamanic journey. During a journey the shamanic practitioner uses some type of percussion, usually a drum or a rattle, to journey into another realm of consciousness. This is where the practitioner connects with helping spirits, compassionate spirits, who offer their guidance and also their healing help on behalf of all life on earth.
As an apprentice in this work, I am learning how to connect with spirits for different purposes; for healing for myself, my family and friends, for the animals, and for the planet. It is what I feel called to do to assist in the healing of the planet and for each other during this most challenging time.
Over the years I have spent hours in the woods, alone with my dogs and horses, in silence observing, connecting with the wild animals, plants and birds. It wasn’t until I found my current teacher that I understood that all along I was being called to this work, that I wasn’t quite ready. I prescribe to the saying, When you are ready, the teacher will appear.
I write about this now to let you know that I am deeply engaged and committed to this work. My goal is to phase out of traditional hospital nursing and move forward into this work. Part of my work as an apprentice is to practice what I am learning with those who are interested, curious, who desire healing or information that is available through shamanic practice. This could be connecting with a departed loved one, physical/emotional/spiritual healing, guidance on a particular question, or healing of a companion animal.
PM me if you are interested.
With gratitude for the planet and each other