Monday, April 5, 2010

Land Spirit in Tuscany

I lay down in the forest on the thick winter brown leaves to communicate with the spirit of the land, the rounded mountains. I asked to be see how it is. I was shown deep red rivers running down the mountain sides. Tree roots twining and bifurcating from the banks, expanding and plaiting, forming bridges across the red. Then under the rivers, more red, warm, covering the countryside. And deeper still, the fire. I was told that the volcano fires were close, too tight with energy. I asked if there was anything I could or should do. The spirit of the land asked me to unwind some of this energy. Later, in the snow covered patches, I uncoiled the energy by teasing out a serpent in the snow. My intention was to gently let go some of the tension caught up in spiral.

Transforming serpent softly melting into our earth.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

The Way of Divine Healing

By Rev. John Todd Ferrier

This is an excerpt taken from an article first published in 1904 in “Life’s Mysteries Unveiled” part of the “Teachings of the Order of the Cross”

…Now, superficial troubles may be helped through purification of the body from without; others through changing the direction of the thought; and others through helping the mind to desire beautifully. But these things, though they are beautiful in themselves and must be applied by the sufferer to the body, the mind, and the desire body, cannot heal the etheric body when it is deeply wounded. That body can be touched unto healing only from the very innermost. By no outward processes can it be healed unto restoration, but only from the Divine Centre.

The emotion is a magnetic stream that circulates through the etheric body, just as the blood circulates through the physical body, and the magnetic streams through the astral body. The emotion, which in appearance to those who can discern from the innermost would resemble an atmosphere, may be compared to a stream of beautiful water becoming charged with magnetic currents greater than those belonging to the natural state of the elements composing the stream. Those magnetic currents are the direct outcome of the polar action of the love-principle. When that outflow from the love-principle is not truly directed, or is in itself not truly pure and beautiful, it affects the emotion, and the emotion affects the etheric body, just as wrong magnetic influences affect the life-stream of the body, the blood, and as a result the body itself through which it courses to nourish and vitalize. When the etheric body is hurt, the whole life is wounded; if the hurt be grievous, the whole life deeply suffers. If the wounding be the result of ages of misdirection, then life after life will have been lived more or less in a state of acute burden-bearing.

It is this which lies at the heart of many organic troubles. The Soul's history for ages is expressed in the very troubles themselves. To understand these is to get to the within of the Being. No one can get there unless they be full of lowliness begotten of pure and beautiful love and reverence. But the true healer will get there, for he will be full of love and lowliness and reverence. Such a one will understand through divine illumination, the history expressed in the organic trouble. In so doing, the healer can direct the Being to be healed, unveiling just so much of the afflicted one's history as may be wise and necessary to reveal, and showing to that one how again to find the Divine Centre of his or her own Being.

It is from that Centre alone that the healing can come. It is God within that Being who alone can accomplish the healing. By means of the Blessed Presence Overshadowing the magnetic pole of the sufferer, stimulating it into direct spiritual activity and giving to it power of equipoise that it may be celestially sustained, perfect healing of the whole Being may be accomplished. For those things impossible to man of himself, are always possible where the Eternal Soul reigns.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Paradise and Absolute Zero

"Just as the awareness of wrong becomes increasingly deep in Hell, the understanding and enjoyment of good grow constantly stronger in Paradise.

Unlike Hell, which is a limited, finite stage, because it has to correct and amend what happened in a finite span of life, the joys of Paradise are endless and everlasting.

To use a physical metaphor, the absolute zero of temperature is defined and closed.

But there is no upper limit to higher and higher temperatures.

The freed, cleansed soul is now able to have a touch of Godhead, which is the absolute infinity that contains the wholeness of everything.

While being connected and confined by the body and by the shadows of the world, the soul can hardly grasp it.

But in another stage of existence, when these boundaries are no longer there, the soul can keep ascending for eternity."

--Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

The metaphor of absolute zero is such a wonderful one for descending into density, as opposed to rising to paradise.

But the question is why did we descend in the first place? The first answer is not to concern ourselves with why, but just to get on with the work, which is to ascend and to release the Divine sparks of light enclosed in the densities that we encounter. That is the work. An answer is that we have been chosen to work in creation. That we are the conscious, or Divine expression of God in creation.

We ourselves are Divine sparks in the densities of our very existence, our very bodies. And the densities we encounter are of the nature of the double darkness described as one of the plague of Egypt. It is the darkness within the density.
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Shaman Journey Tree

oil (and some mixed media) on canvas
1.5mts x 94cms

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

An Old Psychiatric Couch

what remains when the narrative is done...

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Key elements of Shamanism.

Key Elements of Shamanism
copyright Alison Sinclair 2009

Mircea Eliade, historian of religion, considered the classic forms of shamanism, in his seminal Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy with particular reference to practices and beliefs in Siberia and Central Asia. The term shamanism comes from the Manchu-Tungus word šaman. The noun is formed from the verb ša- ‘to know'; thus, a shaman is literally “one who knows.” The shamans recorded in historical ethnographies have included women, men, and transgender individuals of every age from middle childhood onward (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Important Elements
Some key elements of shamanism are identified below:

1. Eliade defines this complex phenomenon as “shamanism = technique of ecstasy.” By this he meant that “shamanism specializes in a trance during which his soul is believed to leave his body and ascend to the sky or descend to the underworld.”

2. The shamanic flight implies a sacred cosmology, often identified in tribal myths and beliefs that see the ultimate reality as structured in a three-storeyed cosmology: upper world, earth and the lower world. The vocation of the shaman allows him or her to travel in trance through the various planes of consciousness and reality at will. In this world view, the lower world, central world, and upper world are all experienced as inhabited by spirit-beings.

3. Shamans often utilise some variation of an axis mundi, a central axis linking the upper and lower world with our world and supporting it, which is often symbolized by a cosmic tree, a sacred mountain or a ritual pillar. Elements of the shamanic ascent may still be found in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, for example Jacob's ladder in the Old Testament with angels ascending and descending on it, and the golden ladder rising to heaven seen by Dante in Paradiso.

4. A shaman works with helping spirits, who are under his or her control. Sometimes shamanic power is derived directly from the supreme being or other divine entities, ancestors or guardian spirits, (the owl, fox, bear, etc.), which can act as messengers of the spirits or gods. This collaboration with spirits should be distinguished from possession by spirits, since the shamanic operator retains control. According to certain tribes, transmission of power takes place in dreams and includes initiation.

5. Shamans through their trances act as intermediaries between people in their community and the spirit world and are thus able to heal others, accompany the dead as psychopomp, serve as mediators. “The shaman is the great specialist in the human soul; he alone “sees” it, for he knows its “form” and its destiny.” (Eliade, pp3-9 Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy”)

6. Although the classic model of shamanism is found in the Arctic and Central Asian regions, the phenomenon is not limited to those countries. Elements can be found in other regions of the world, and among mystical elements of different religions. Notably, shamanism occupies a role of central importance in native American traditions. In some societies, the priest or priestess may also be a shaman, for example, a Bon Po or a Tibetan Buddhist shaman.

7. Eliade mentions the chief methods of recruiting shamans as follows:
(1)hereditary transmission of the shamanic profession;
(2)spontaneous vocation (call or election); or
(3)some may become shamans by their own free will or that of the clan but they are considered less powerful than those called by the spirits.

8. Shamans are recognised in the community after receiving two kinds of teaching:
(1)ecstatic such as dreams, trances etc.;
(2) traditional (shamanic techniques, names, functions of spirits, mythology, etc.) This course of instruction given by spirits and old master shamans is equivalent to initiation. “It is only this twofold initiation – ecstatic and didactic – that transforms the candidate from a possible neurotic into a shaman recognised by his particular society.” Eliade, p.14.

9. Friendship with animals, knowledge of their language, and experiencing transformation into an animal are signs that a shaman has re-established the “paradisal” situation lost at the dawn of time. (Eliade, p.99)

10. According to anthropologist and proponent of neo-shamanism, Michael Harner, there are two main methods of shamanic healing:
(1)Removing something that does not belong: this technique does not require a shamanic journey, i.e. it consists in working in the middle world typically using divination techniques and moving back and forth from what Harner calls “ordinary” and “non ordinary” reality. (Smith, p. 17.) Typically the shamanic efforts are focused on locating foreign or pathogenic objects in the body of the afflicted and then extracting it.
(2)Restoring something which is lacking in the sick person: The restoring method does typically involve the shamanic journey to retrieve the lost soul. The person may be stressed, distressed or traumatized, resulting in the loss of a vital principle or power. The shaman then typically journeys into the other world to retrieve the lost soul or power and restore it to the person.
(Cited in Smith, p.17, who also mentions other conditions that may require shamanic intervention, including spirit intrusion, breach of taboo and sorcery.)

Shamanism in today's society
Psychotherapist and trained shaman Sandra Ingerman, a student of Harner, developed a shamanic approach to soul loss, which is adapted to western culture. Ingerman believes that the shamanic view of soul loss speaks to the widespread experience of soul loss in modern western society, which can also apply to other contemporary societies. She claims that a whole variety of disorders have their underlying cause in soul loss.
C. Michael Smith, a Jungian psychotherapist, writes about how C.G. Jung's views of complexes relates to modern western understandings of soul loss and dissociation. Loss of vital souls, vital energies, correlates well with Jung's notion of psychic libido. In a Jungian view, the shaman can be understood as employing a trance device similar to active imagination for accessing at will the personal and collective unconscious of his/her patient (depending on where the split off energies are located.) A special advantage of the shaman is the the map that he or she has acquired through numerous ecstatic journeys. This map of the inner world serves as can be held or lost.
Ai Gvhdi Waya, hereditary Eastern Cherokee Metis shamaness, in her book “Soul recovery and extraction” explains that the shamanic technique described as “flight” is in fact an expert use of the right hemisphere of the brain to access other dimensions in order to locate lost parts of an individual's soul. This is typically, although not always, induced by drumming. She identifies signs of soul loss, which may be helped by shamanic intervention, as indicated by symptoms including depression, memory loss especially of early years, addictive behaviour, codependence, and victim's mentality. Although shaman is usually thought of as helping human beings, work can also be done for other parts of the natural world, including animals, plants and the land.
Shamans differ greatly in quality and in degree of expertise. For example, some shaman based cultures use hallucinogenic drugs to achieve the necessary altered states; and some shamans may use their powers negatively, becoming sorcerers. Furthermore, not all are able to perform long distance journeying. It is therefore recommended that clients exercise caution when approaching shamans to have work done on them, and ensure that the person has adequate training, experience and a heart-centred orientation. No hallucinogenic substances are required, in fact, to make the shift into alternative reality.

Eliade considered the ecstatic experience to be a primary element of shamanism. It was not the result of any particular historical civilization but rather was fundamental to the human condition, and hence known to the whole of archaic humanity (Eliade, p. 504). What changed with the different forms of culture and religion were the interpretation and evaluation of these experiences. Shamanism is a practice originating in early hunter-gatherer societies that is still practiced today, whereby trained and experienced practitioners can, through accessing alternative reality and altered states of consciousness, assist people in becoming more balanced and integrated individuals.

For further information see the references below, or


Eliade, M., (1951), 2004. Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Bollingen Series LXXVI. Princeton University Press.
Encyclopædia Britannica. " shamanism ." Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Ingerman, S., 1991. Soul Retrieval. Harper-Collins
Harner, M., 1980. The Way of the Shaman: A Guide to Power and Healing. Harper & Row Publishers, NY.
Smith, C. Michael, 2007. Jung and Shamanism in Dialogue: Retrieving the Soul/Retrieving the Sacred. Paulist Press.
Waya, Ai Gvhdi, (1992) 2004. Soul Recovery and Extraction. Blue Turtle Publishing.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Inter-Dimensional Highway

In quantum physics they speak of branes describing certain aspects of quantum space. If we thought of these spaces as dimensions between which there were inter-dimensional highways, these slipstreams would emerge on the outer limits of the derivatives of these manifolds. We would travel these energy streams from dimension to dimension at incredible speeds. Steel yourself to jump on!

Traveling with streams of energy.
oil on canvas. 90x76 cms

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