Mannaz - human- This week Mannaz fosters our fullest potential. Relationships are key, and whatever is on the agenda can only be accomplished when we make use of our collected resources. Rest assured, though, all signs point to success in your work, when you can create outer and inner balance.
I call Mannaz the animistic Rune, though that could likely be said about all of them. I say it regarding Mannaz because it looks like Wunjo facing a mirror image of itself. Wunjo is the Rune of joy or delight, which is often characterized as the Law of Attraction–the point at which we’ve figured out that how we hold ourselves determines our lot in life. Joy beholding itself. By finding joy where we are, joy finds us everywhere. The effect of Mannaz, in that case, would be, how we hold ourselves affects us all.
From a shamanic standpoint, in cosmologies Mannaz represents the strata where humans are most directly empowered, or what some might call the Middle World. It’s the place of Earth spirituality, the fae, Nature Spirits, and the pool of our formed wisdom and compassion. If you’re struggling with how to best tap into the power of this Rune, look no further than your imagination. Imagine what you want. Sense it, see it, taste it, listen to it, feel it. So it is. Such power of manifestation is the gift of the Middle World, the act of Mannaz.
Just as Mannaz indicates humans interconnected and drawing on the spiritual resources in their home domain, it also illuminates the human in balance with itself. Take time this week to address Mind/Body/Soul/Emotional needs. Just as you draw on the support of those around you, truly, deeply support yourself. This act of self love is your calling, your gift, and your greatest secret potential.
A component of shamanism that makes it different from other esoteric paths is servitude to a community. How one defines community can be as unique as the shamanist, herself. When I began my Masters work in 2010, learning what community I serve was a key focus. From my admissions essay through my thesis, I aligned my work with creating the Tribe of the Modern Mystic. I don’t know how it dawned on me, as I’d spent 12 years creating and sustaining The Saferoom Project, a peer support nonprofit for adult survivors of child sexual assault. I’d also devoted 12 years to deepening my shamanic path, personally and in working with others. I fully expected my formation of community to comprise some facet of assault survivors, though no matter how much I devoted to that work, I was pulled to mentoring intuitives in spiritual emergency. No matter how I put out the intention for working with survivors to be my community, the clients and students who darkened my doorway were budding seers and healers, every day people reeling from some experience of the wyrd that left them wholly changed and oppressively alone in their transition.
The first time I heard the phrase “spiritual emergency” was from my therapist in 1994. It had just been added as a diagnosis in the DSM-IV the year before. The day we met she told me that she could help me with symptoms of dis-ease in my life–depression, low self-confidence, PTSD, though she said flat out that she felt my distress was of a spiritual nature. She explained spiritual crisis as an awakening, in which the soul or consciousness is expanding more rapidly than the emotions or psyche can process. I can’t express what a unicorn she was, in the mental health care profession back then, able to make that statement with certainty. I spent just under 3 years working with her, experiencing great improvement of my symptoms, though the day we terminated, wholly affirmed that I was still experiencing spiritual crisis. Within two weeks of that last session I committed to deeper teaching on my shamanic path, had a soul retrieval, and felt relief from crisis for the first time in my life.
I didn’t want to walk back through that. To explore my capabilities in helping others assimilate spiritual crisis into soulful awakening required me to re-examine my rootless beginnings as an intuitive. It would force me to recall decades of knowing I was different in a way that defied vocabulary, the endless frustration and depression around feeling called to something that had no boundaries or guidelines, the loneliness of a solitary path, and the fear of many inexplicable phenomena that were part of my norm. I didn’t want to walk back through any of those things or the feelings they stirred. Yet in greeting the stories of others, mine re-emerged as a strong shamanic narrative, encouraging others to stay the course and affirming that they weren’t alone. Along with reviewing my history of spiritual emergency came unexpected emotional snarls tangling my abusive childhood once again with my spiritual path, even if only that both were occurring at the same time, that despite trauma from those different sources, the pain felt the same.
In indigenous cultures, this dialogue would likely never happen. Not that they don’t experience spiritual emergency. They do–it’s called initiation. It’s called enlightenment, because they understand that enlightenment isn’t a sudden, dazzling solution to all of your problems. It cracks you open from the inside and requires you to rewire, start over, and do nothing the same. Shamanic cultures wouldn’t have this dialogue because they are born into their communities. They come into the world with the support system to witness, honor, bless, and grow their wild, intuitive selves from day 1. Such is not so clear in the west.
I’ve been on my healing path since I was six years old. From the age of seventeen I began my shamanic path. At twenty-seven I began working with others as a facilitator of healing. I realize now, as with all spiritual truths, the shaman doesn’t find the community, the community finds the shaman.
If you feel a need for such support not only of your experience, but in the development of your mystical life, learn more about the Tribe of the Modern Mystic. My life’s work, my heartsong, and my compassion welcome you.
Laguz - Water - Interesting that I’ve written this column since June of last year, and I haven’t drawn Laguz until now. What about this timeframe and the elements available to us makes flow a more pressing concept to bring into our awareness?
The mutable, emotional element, Laguz is the realization of abundance, the indicator of All Things flowing as Nature intends. That sounds all nice and tidy, though the water element is anything but. When we think of flow, most of us envision a stream, neat current framed by boundaries, picturesque evidence that life goes on regardless of debris in the way. We forget that it can be torrential, smothering, devastating, and overwhelming when its boundaries change. However presented, though, of how the space around water is defined by it. Every stone, shell, grain of sand, blade of grass, animal, perhaps human, in its vicinity is shaped by how water moves along its path.
Take time this week to consider how your emotions are driving you, and how you can move with them. We often resist feelings that are too intense, too heavy, too wet. We create tight boundaries to keep them in check, when sometimes they just need to spill over, be messy, saturate. What we can’t feel won’t heal, and the presence of Laguz informs us that now is the time. As in the Buddhist practice of tonglen ,we can let feelings come up, breathe in their utter distress, and upon exhaling intend compassion, for self, for All.
In truth, we can breathe through and release pent up feelings anytime, though Laguz announces to us that specifically now, the flow of life around us can carry them away. The ally of water helps us do that work.
Berkano – Tree – How wonderfully appropriate to draw a sigil of spring, as the Northern Hemisphere approaches warmer climes. Having survived the cold and dark winter, we greet this message of ‘dues paid.’ We can begin again.
Associated with the Goddess, or Feminine Divine, keep the focus on ideas, projects, and plans you are birthing this week. This second Rune of the final aett follows Tiwaz, connected with Tyr, or Tuisto. Tuisto’s legacy is two-fold. Having sacrificed his hand to save humanity, he realized with deep anguish that he couldn’t save his people. The result was a heart-wrenching and abrupt change of plans, resulting in the creation of another iteration of the human race. How natural that Sacred Mother Berkano follow the birth of this new people, not only to nurture their survival and guide their growing consciousness, but to heal their father, Tuisto, in his time of need and restoration.
Truly potent things are brewing. Stay with the process of their development, and carefully tend their needs, as well as your own. This week is about caregiving what you are becoming, and being willing to accept the resources that support you in that endeavor. Likewise, bless the path behind you, and realize that all of new life is ahead.
The ethics of energy and spiritual work is a topic I bring up often, not because I want to push a specific viewpoint, but because we don’t discuss it enough. A component of the imperialistic western mindset, particularly of Americans, is that if something is available, we have the right to use, repurpose, repackage, and redeliver to consumers whatever we so desire. This truth also pertains to the acquisition of esoteric insight in the New Age.
In classes that I teach, I speak very openly about the many routes on my shamanic path, one of which is Usui Reiki. I’ve discussed in prior blogs my concerns around the New Age handling of Reiki, though I’ve never clearly stated how I came to it, why I incorporated it into my practice, how I do so, and how I bridge its cultural differences. I’m not Japanese, that I’m aware of. I’m also not Shinto or Buddhist, per se, though am well-informed of both. I was, however, firmly on my shamanic path when I sought to learn Reiki, and was very familiar with cultural appropriation. For those of you who may not know, cultural appropriation is taking a component of a culture not native to one’s own, and adopting it in some fashion. Why on earth, then, was I attracted to Reiki?
Initially, an off-the-hook co-worker told me about it, and invited me to attend a community Reiki Share in Raleigh. A group of about a dozen people sat in circles of wooden chairs (because the Reiki Master refused to allow us to sit in metal chairs. When I asked why, she said it interfered with the life force. When I asked how, she said. “It just does.”). Vague peculiarities aside, we opened the space and the Master came to everyone in the circle and allowed Reiki for whatever each needed.
When she came to me, tremendous pressure fluttered in my chest . My heart cracked open in a metaphoric break. I was overwhelmed with an indescribable emotions, something I referred to for years as “The Great Sadness.” At that point I’d never allowed anyone else into that space, and I wasn’t intentionally allowing the Master, then. That breach was new territory, and so overcome with sadness and embarrassment was I that she could feel it, too, I shook.
She stepped back from me and said, “You have a lot going on there,” intimated that I really needed a lot of work, then went on to the next person. Pressured to believe the healing she had done and the summary of it was this precious treasure, in reality I felt violated and abandoned to deal with its aftermath alone. Of course in hindsight, I realize that unfortunate experience was a great example of what not do so as a group leader, particularly as a responsible facilitator of healing, and what the Master was doing stopped being Reiki the second she opened her mouth (if it ever was). I also learned later that it wasn’t an appropriate “Share.”
I swore I’d never approach Reiki again, and that I wouldn’t attend garden variety energy work stuffs on the whim of lesser-informed friends.
A couple of years later, in my shamanic work I felt led to expand my knowledge of energy healing approaches. I didn’t know of another avenue, so I completed the Shoden and Okuden attunements (Another unsavory interpersonal experience, but a brilliant joining with Universal Life Force.). I asked that teacher about the cultural appropriation of Reiki, and I had to explain to her what that meant. She informed me Reiki was for everyone. Shortly after, I completed the Shinpiden level under another Master, via unorthodox means. For those who don’t know, it’s a big no-no to switch Reiki teachers (or was then). Part of the reason I did is despite that my final teacher didn’t directly address cultural appropriation, she incorporated original Shinto and Buddhist tenets into the study.
That’s how I got to Reiki. How it came to me is something other.
I knew from the peacemaking and culling of personal truth in my shamanic education that I had to go through the same process with Reiki. One thing I never encountered in my shamanic learning is the concept of secrecy, that there are some truths meant to be kept from others, those who are not initiated on the same path. Being a middle class American with no awareness of gentry and little respect for elitism, this made no sense to me. I honored that one must be ready for certain truths, though the shroud around Reiki–that the attunements, symbols, and process must be kept hidden–gave me pause. Often such secrecy comes from oppression, or it has elements of control. Maybe both? I don’t know, because for me, wandering down the path of clarifying such points is going away from the work I want to do, which is in engaging who in the spirit realm will walk with me, regardless of tribe, etc. Of course I can’t say what tenets of Reiki are true to Usui’s original teaching. The thing is, nobody else can either. Even if there are surviving originals with perfect branches from Usui’s original roots, they are lost in a sea of disinformation as much as misinformation and ego. Maybe it is all supposed to be a secret, and perhaps that is a cultural separation that I can’t understand. I can say that having worked with Reiki for 20+ years, the personal relationship to it is key.
As with all spiritual paths (renegade ones, in particular), my experience is that humans supply the ethics. My experience is that once I breached beyond the earth nature/spirit layer, no delineations exist. There’s no gender, no ethnicity, no regional boundary, no belief system, not even deity. That’s the place my spiritual path started in, literally, when I began to intuit my own origins and drive in this plane. It was a lesson for me to come back into these earthly layers and understand the pride and lineage of certain practices. I still source my work from that One space, but I tread carefully among the delineations I respect the people who uphold them, the lines, and the legacy they represent. Likewise, I practice what my experience has been, whatever it bears similarity to something. I don’t claim any traditions, when it comes to spiritual legacy. I feel certain ones in the mix, and I resonate with specific paths, but I wasn’t raised in them. I wasn’t given permission by the elder of a line, even my own, to work in a certain way. I also realize I wouldn’t have walked into most of the learning that I have, spiritually speaking, of my own volition. So much has been led, without regard to how it would retrofit into culture.
Regarding Reiki, it was presented to me as fair game, yet that never felt right. Not once in my educational experience did Master directly address cultural appropriation. I chose to take that on as my peace to make. Going into Reiki, I erroneously assumed that addressing cultural ownership would be part of the teaching, because every Reiki Master I’ve known enjoys pointing out their descent from Usui, as in, “My teacher was so and so, who was taught by Master so and so, who was the student of Ms. Takata (the woman credited with bringing Reiki to America)…” Cultural titles were taught, not heritage, not the rich traditions that birthed them.
Nauthiz - Need - There’s a pattern of receiving Nauthiz as the weekly Rune after having a wonderful reprieve or long-desired breakthrough. Isn’t that just the way? Last week we had the ‘Green means go” support of Mannaz carrying us on its shoulders, now followed this week with Nauthiz’s firm but supportive, “Are you sure?”
The Rune of discontent and drive to change comes up now that we have a plan in mind, yet are waffling on following through. Nauthiz can’t tell us what direction to choose, or how to implement our choice. It can, though, shed significant light on all the soul checks that need to happen to be sure this is the right action. The fact that this Runes comes up now indicates that something about our current plan isn’t right action.
This gentle caution doesn’t necessarily mean we have to go off the rails and start again from zero. Or does it? At the very least, walk around the frame. Kick the tires. Look under the hood. Make sure the details are covered as much as can be in awareness, and bless the ones that can’t.
Nauthiz comes down to basic economics. Humans are built to want more, whether it’s consciousness, money, or icecream. Yet sooner or later, we all must learn that there is a balance between what we have, what we want, and how what we will do to get it affects us. We must first find that balance within ourselves, then realize there is a greater ledger of balance with All Things. Nauthiz is the scale upon which we weigh what we think we want and the effort it will take us to get it, against what we really want and can heartily enjoy having.
Take seriously that this yellow light may not mean stop or go. It may just be a reminder to slow down and pay closer attention.
Kelley, Last year my friend’s eighty-some year-old father went into the hospital for the fourth time in a few months. He had fallen, had a brain bleed, and other serious problems. She sent out an e-mail asking for prayers for her dad, saying she had been “shown” the possibility of his full recovery. I offered a prayer and sent energy from heaven and earth to be received as his higher self directed. I had no intentions beyond these. When I was praying for him, I “saw” him and experienced his presence. I also saw an etheric issue in his field, which I could imagine my guides shifting. I asked him if it was okay to allow them to do this, and his response was along the lines of, ”Of course I want to be helped out of this! Anything you can do, do it. Let’s get started already!”
Our guides and some other angelic took charge of the energy. I don’t remember what they did, though the matter was handled. A few days later I heard he made a remarkable recovery and was released to rehab. Eventually he went home, though he never fully recovered. He had other medical incidents and passed away two weeks ago.
My question is, did I do something ill-advised? I have since read that one should never do healing work of this nature without permission from the subject on the physical plane. According to these sources, they need to say “yes” verbally or in writing. Believing that one has permission from that person’s soul or higher self is not adequate. Also, could I have retained any energy from this interaction that is damaging to me? Thank you, C.
Thanks for your note, C. What a great question, and what a great experience! I do distance soul healing as part of my shamanic practice, and I’m often asked about the ethics of it. For my professional work, I base my intentions from what clients inform me needs balance. I do a very careful assessment of the request and determine if I’m a good fit for that distance work. If not, I will say, and if so, I proceed with the client’s permission.
Working from a general request for healing is a very different approach. I am in the camp that you get the verbal agreement when possible, and that you don’t sit down and intend to do healing without someone’s knowledge of it. In cases like you describe, where it wasn’t at all your intention, I think you were at the right place and the right time for some other touch that needed an earthly vessel to work through, for him. Because you didn’t intend it, this experience is different. You intended the space. What happened in it was beyond you. You were likewise blessed by witnessing it.
As far as picking up things from doing healings for others… You always have to clean yourself after, even when the session went great, with no tension or distress–to you or the recipient. In the same way that you wash your hands before you eat at a restaurant, clear yourself before healing work. The same way that you wash them when you are done eating, clear yourself after. Part of what makes shamanic healing successful is the long-established relationship with one’s guides, as well as great finesse in traversing the spirit realms. That said, when doing healings, whether in-person or remotely for others or self, we pass through layers that are beyond our awareness. Even those of us who do such healings and soul interactions regularly don’t know every little detail of what’s in that space, what’s been there, ever. That’s why we do rituals before and after healings, to clear out what is not appropriate to the healing, and what isn’t appropriate for us to bring back from it.
Clearing yourself after directing healing can be as simple as, “I release anything from this experience that doesn’t bless me,” or “”I release anything from this experience that isn’t aligned with my wellbeing.” Use the wording that literally gives you a tingle or some clear sense of a shift.
C, you are wise to consider the parameters of ethical remote healing, as well as its potential to affect you. Thanks for probing thoughts we all need to consider as we become more responsible, responsive Universal citizens.
Mannaz - human- Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it, and solicit all the help you can to sustain the momentum. This week isn’t about acting alone, being the star, or any other solitary victories. Sure, this is your life, and it all comes down to your choices, actions, and energy, though your ability to be successful with any of that sources from your ability to connect.
Nobody can do it for you, that’s a given. So, neither hero antics, nor suffering in martyred silence are necessary. Get up, get out, and do. Engage. Talk about your plans. Share your insights. Get insightful feedback. Listen. Give insightful feedback. Be genuinely interested in what others have to say, about your plans, as well as their own.
The message is that you can get there, wherever ‘there’ is, possibly this week. You can be done with what’s on your plate. The way this happens is by becoming authentically involved. The energy created from your liaisons with others not only manifests your desires, it also fosters the desires of others to manifest.
This is how creation happens. This is how the actions of one affect All. This is how we come together to be community for each other. This is how we remember we were never separate.
Thurisaz - thorn- There is an expression, “in the weeds,” in the food and beverage service industry, in which not only have you gotten overwhelmed by the tasks before you, but you’ve fallen behind. Given that Thurisaz translates to “thorn,” I find that an apt symbol for the present vibe. Worth noting, the last time Thurisaz was the weekly Rune, Mercury was retrograde. It just went direct yesterday.
While that may seem, and certainly feels, dismal on the surface, keep in mind that under duress, amazing outcomes manifest. Elements conspire to form diamonds, metal is whetted into sharp blades, nectar becomes honey. In each of these, experience creates an outcome utterly unfathomable from its original form. Thus, our attention turns to how we apply our knowledge, how we acquire it, and the tools we use to move forward in it.
This, too, shall pass. In fact, it is already passing, and from some deeper vantage point within, has passed. Imagine what the new, improved you looks like. How does it feel to be not just through, but beyond the present rough patch? Situate yourself into that moment. Breathe it, practice walking around it. When you deeply immerse in the senses of what you want, what is most needed, you will realize that is precisely what you possess.
Hi, Kelley – I have recently been very bothered with the concept of the end of physical existence. This just hit me as I am watching my small children grow. I have been doing lots of web searching on any proof of existence beyond death, i.e. the afterlife. In your experience, do we really have existence after physical death? If so, is it your understanding that we get to interact with our loved ones on that plane? Thank you for any response! Randy
Thanks for your note, Randy. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling the spirit realm, processing my own perceptions of what that is, as well as what those who dwell only in the spirit realm say the experience out of form is. I can’t say for certain if the experience fully removed from the body is the same or similar to soul travel out of the body. I can say that the experiences I’ve had in soul travel are beyond what my imagination could create, and I’m always left compelled to explore the possibilities more. With that in mind, the short answer is yes, there is something after and beyond being in form, as I’ve experienced it. Exactly what that is seems to vary.
Initially I’m told by my spirit guides that what we believe in form is how life out of form shapes. It makes sense if you think about it, as what we believe is how life in form shapes, too. That we create our own reality isn’t a far-fetched concept anymore. So, as someone who carries no preconception of punishment or reward after life in form, I don’t experience that there is such. What I experience in spirit space is an opportunity for total clearing of my worries, completing or releasing unfinished business, recognizing needs to be filled, deep blessings and gratitude for experiences I treasure, blessing the form and bringing it peace. That space can be very complicated or very simple, it seems, and how much we have managed mindfulness and found peace on stresses in life dictates how gently we fare between lives.
With that concept in mind, I have experienced that the space between lives is rich, if not a landscape for entire other lives, as well. The idea that we have lives between lives, in the space where we are utterly and completely out of form, is precious. In that space I’ve encountered soulmates who never come into form, who volunteer to be an anchor in that between space, feeding the work that their physical counterpart does here. Likewise, the notion that we have needs, relationships, tasks to perform that only pertain to life between lives is amazing.
Coming back into form? It’s a choice. It seems that some feel they can best make peace with unfinished business by coming back to create themselves again. I know some cultures honor a very strict hierarchy in returning to form, though I’ve never observed a specific pattern or rules around doing so.
Regarding whether we know each other and can interact out of form, my experience is that we do, though it’s different. We do recognize Aunt Millie in the spirit realm, though our perception of ourselves and Life becomes so big that we don’t need to restrict her to being just “Aunt Millie.” We don’t need to restrict ourselves to being only what we were, are, in form. When we traverse the spirit realm, our perception becomes bigger, fuller, deeper. Our concept of ‘relationship’ becomes less about how we knew each other in form and more about how we find each other in ourselves, in everything, all the time.
The questions you’re asking Randy, are ones we all must confront. By doing so now, you are creating the kind of mindfulness that will allow you to be aware out of form. I truly believe that one of the great disservices our culture has done itself is in not teaching how to die mindfully. The overall message I get from my guides on life after life is if we know how to die well, that means we’re living well, too.