Tag: chakra system

New Age Ethics and Taming the Reiki Frontier

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.

After my attunements, something still felt wrong. Going back to my shamanic roots, I realized I needed to approach my unrest the way that I had everything else–by going directly to its spiritual manifestation. I asked the spirit of Reiki how I can make peace with it not being my culture, and if I could still incorporate it into my work.  The being, itself, was fairly indifferent, yet there was this spirit of the people who originated it–and it was plural, not just Usui (in how I felt it), and it was long, not just the handful of years that was his life and work.   I was told by that more earth-connected spirit to teach it that way.  That if I would teach the cultural appropriation part of Reiki, and interject that tension and question of privilege that I was permitted to teach it.
So I do.  In my Reiki classes I raise the really uncomfortable questions, as I do in my shamanic classes, for how we each make peace with these concerns, and how we honor them not just in ideology, but in the work, how we make that agreement manifest.

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.

For those who want to learn Reiki in a deep and provocative way, I will be teaching the first two levels in early Summer.  Contact me for details. For those of you blazing your own renegade spiritual trail, remember to ask the spirits not only for direction along your way, but for permission to go there.
And for the record, elementally speaking, what correspondences you work with for energy healing (metal vs wooden chairs) can matter.  Every component of a room becomes part of the space created for doing sacred work, and being aware of how these elements affect the work is important.  Sometimes you just work with what you’ve got and sit down.


Reiki – Simple Healing, Powerful Ally

Hi Kelley. Some of my Reiki friends get upset because I use Shamanic techniques during my Reiki practice. These same friends, however, will use “psychic surgery” techniques including the psychic extension of their fingers to reach into a client’s etheric/physical body to dislodge or remove energy blocks. My question is: isn’t this “psychic extension of digits” essentially the same as shape-shifting? If so, that is a shamanic practice. If not, I can see little difference between the two, other than degree of transformation of the energetic/physical body. Thanks, R.

Just for today –
I will not worry.
I will not be angry.
I will do my work honestly.
I will give thanks for my many blessings.
I will be kind to my neighbors
and all living things.
The Reiki Principle, Dr. Mikao Usui

Thanks for your inquiry, Roger. Before going into the specifics of your dilemna, I’d like to tell readers a bit about Reiki, as it may not be familiar to them. I describe Reiki as a Japanese form of hands-near energy healing. I’m a Reiki Master and have worked with two different forms of Reiki for many years, one form of which is the original Usui practice, and another called Ascension Reiki (ask me why two approaches in another inquiry). The word ‘Reiki’ translates roughly to “spirit healing.”

There are many takes on the history of Reiki, leaving it steeped in a bit of conflict. As best I can tell from the divergent perspectives on the modality’s origins, it began in the early 1900s, when Japanese ascetic Mikao Usui had a vision that led him to powerful healing. Not an uncommon story in the halls of enlightenment, Usui’s experience spawned a great following that continues to captivate those interested in energy healing.

Heavily influenced by Shintoism, the religion predominant in Japan prior to Chinese influence, Usui honored the spirits behind symbols, believing that incorporating them with other components of etheric healing allowed the practitioner to embody a Universal life force capable of healing. Usui formalized his ecstatic experiences into a system of energy healing called Usui Reiki Ryoho, originally comprised of three levels of study.

Usui’s practice moved into western culture in the mid-1900s, where it took off like wild fire. Today it is likely the most-taught “New Age” healing practice. At best, we in the west practice hybridized Reiki, though that statement attracts all sorts of speculation. There is much argument around what Usuis’s true teachings were. That it is a spiritual practice and energy healing modality taken out of its native space, elements, and teaching, shaped in the form that best adapts to our culture–is what we know, and adapt it has. There are as many forms of Reiki as you care to look into. Given that, Reiki is culturally appropriated, a fact that goes without mention amongst many modern energy medicine circles.

To answer your question, my understanding of Reiki is that it is an alignment with the true self–in other words with All Things–in such a way that there is no ego involvement. There doesn’t have to be. Working at that level of awareness there is no intellectual process driving what is done during healing. The job of the Reiki Master is to be out of the way and merely allow the life force to move through.  In that light, that means no elements are brought in from any healing practice, belief system, or viewpoint, because Reiki happens well above the level of those things. I think this unconscious (?) need to bring other modalities into Reiki is why other forms of it were created.  Is it that we can’t stay out of the way of Source?  Must we project ourselves into/onto it?  Or do we need to custom fit healing methods to what best suits our elements, our space, our teaching?

It is not my experience that you can lift a single technique out of a culture, bring it into another, and expect it to behave the same way.  This has been a concern around the appropriation of tribal healing practices for centuries.  This consideration generates questions like is it respectful to the originating practice to append your beliefs/symbols/deities/methods to it?  Is it respectful to the culture from which it came not to honor it at all in your application of the modality?  How do you honor the originating culture if you occlude it with your ego? Are you doing the same “kind” of healing if you change the foundation of the technique?

These are personal questions that require deep contemplation before you undertake working with clients, IMO, and are components that I teach in my Reiki classes.  To me Reiki is a spirit ally, much as a totem or fetish is.  It is a tool that allows us to connect with the Divine in a way that we can consciously process–symbols, movements, chants, often all at once–what might otherwise be too foreign to hold.  Reiki engages both hemispheres of the brain; thus, brings us fully present in our power. It allows us to be part of the process without having to worry about the process. I do not tell my allies what to do. In fact, I do what they tell me, and Reiki tells me to step aside. Can it tell each of us different things? That is the question, though given Usui’s original teachings, we’d never even ask that.

There are striking distinctions between Reiki and shamanism that should be noted. Part of the role of a shaman is to be active in the process.  Reiki in its true application is only passive. The Reiki Master embodies the life force, and that is the only role. A classic quote is attributed to Usui, though I’ve never read that he actually spoke it: “We do not master Reiki. Reiki masters us.” To me, that is what this quote means. We surrender.

Shamans have many roles, depending on what is needed, and those roles call on active knowledge of plants, animals, elements, symbols, so that we can engage our knowledge with our soul work. In shamanism, we engage the physical layer with the etheric. We spend years distinguishing between being active or passive in our work, as needed.   In short, we know the difference and we fall back on the best tool for the job.

Despite difference, these approaches to healing are very compatible. In terms of actual healing and benefit, I find that a combination of modalities is required, each in its own time. Reiki is often best-suited to people who are early in their healing process–those recovering, gaining strength, not ready for the full marathon. In the presence or absence of Rekik, at some point in the healing process, though, we must all become active participants. At that point Reiki gracefully steps aside for more involved techniques.

That said, I don’t mix modalities; rather, I do them in separate sessions.   I am in the camp that the whole point of Reiki is that I am not part of the process.  For me, Reiki is THE go-to tool that I don’t have to consciously direct.  I don’t drive it or tell it where to go, what to do, or how to do it.  In reality, this passive healing is a very Eastern (feminine) approach to accessing All Things, which flies in the face of the typical western push to be the active (masculine) principle in everything we do (which I hasten to add, “forcing” healing is common in modern shamanism, though ancient and indigenous cultures honor more of a balance–again, another article).  Perhaps this is the real reason that mutations of Reiki permeate western culture? As well, perhaps Usui shaped Reiki as a more passive system in an effort to promote healing without threat of spiritual emergency.

In short, I’m not in favor of psychic surgery or the use of shamanic techniques in Reiki sessions, especially if a client doesn’t understand the distinction, or hasn’t expressed a more active approach to energy healing.  There are plenty of energy healing modalities that do allow us to engage, use our intuition, be an active part of the process.  I reserve Reiki as a gift that is just sweetly here to use, without my or anyone else’s interference.

When we decide to go down any healing path as someone who will work with others, we have to consider the origins of the techniques we are learning, how honoring the originating culture factors into our work every time we use that technique, and how we can find integrity in upholding that heritage without undermining our own innate truths. Moreover, we have to consider when we’re doing none of the above.

Learn more about Reiki and energy healing from the following resources:

Gift of the Dreamtime – Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma, revised second edition now available, with a foreward by modern shaman, Christina Pratt.




Allowing Intuition

Kelley, I enjoy reading your insights. I am 28 years old and have been experiencing bouts of depression for about ten years, although the last few years it has been more consistent. I have tried therapy, medication and even making nutritional changes. I have had a mild positive reaction but the depression seems to be getting worse. I also suffer from anxiety, and have a driving phobia that has affected my life. I often feel disconnected from people I care about. I feel like what I want the most is not available to me, feeling loved and affection. I have a lovely boyfriend but I worry about draining his energy and expecting too much. Please help me, Elizabeth.

Thanks for your inquiry, Elizabeth. I am shown a glimpse of your chakra system, in which the root, sacral and third eye chakras are over active. They burn a bright, silvery white. We don’t often think of these chakras as ‘related,’ in that the lower three primary chakras are “earth” chakras, while the upper primary three are “Spiritual” chakras. The middle chakra is the heart, and it exists in both planes (how fitting!) The thing is, all of our chakras are related and are interdependent upon one another.

The Chakra System

The Chakra System

The root chakra is the first one, located in the base of the spine, and it generally relates to our ability to master the formed realm. literally, it indicates our ability to survive here, at a very basic but needful level. It also indicates that we recognize our tribe and where we fit into it.

The sacral chakra is next, located in the lower abdomen, and it’s associated with how we feel about being in the formed realm, emotions, sexual energy. The second chakra also indicates the places where we do not fit into the tribe, what the ‘punishments’ are for that, and how we will react to the tension of that dynamic.

Skipping all the way up to the brow is the third eye. The third eye is the point that we have learned the mastery of the formed realm, have found balance being a spirit in flesh, and are ready to perceive the unseen aspects of this realm. It is all about intuition and the culmination of wisdom.

Overactivity of these chakras as a unit tells me that you have begun perceiving unseen aspects of this realm and you’re not comfortable with that, or that you are not comfortable being able to do that in your present tribe. Another aspect to consider is how your shift through puberty and adolescence affected how you see the world, spiritually. This is related to the onset of depression. Depression is our power withheld, specifically it is intuition withheld. What intuitive perceptions do you put away in order to make other people comfortable? What intuitive perceptions do you have that make you uncomfortable?

I suggest finding someone to work with in a soul healing capacity. That work could take whatever form seems to address restoring your power and confidence in your own perceptions. When that healing is done, working with someone to develop your intuition and finding a community with which you can share it is ideal. It may be possible that I can help you with these things remotely, though I support your choice to work with someone near. Ultimately Elizabeth, you have a wonderful gift. It’s OK to allow it.

Supersize Chi: The Spiritual Cost of Overconsumption

In a culture in which more is better and excess is revered, the ramifications of consumerist decadence on spiritual wellbeing are pervasive. The urge to overconsume is everywhere. Try finding a unit price of a single item that is cheaper than buying in bulk. Economic considerations aside, the commercial appeal to the baser hunter-gatherer mentality always pushes, “Why have one when you can have three?!” Value meals, bulk household supplies, combo insurance premiums, BOGO clothing … You name it, we bloat it, then encourage all our friends to join in. We over eat, we over consume, we overspend, frequently all at once.

The Etheric Field

True to capitalist form, when we identify such a cultural dilemma we not only exploit it, we make it entertainment. Obesity, hoarding, and clutter litter prime time slots on network programming. Ironically, we sit on our couches and tune in to watch other people lose weight on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” TLC hosts the reality television show “Hoarding — Buried Alive,” programming that precariously peers into the lives of those who not only can’t stop over-consuming, but can’t throw away evidence of it. Animal Planet raises the bar higher, presenting “Confessions: Animal Hoarding,” delving into the lives of people who keep pets as possessions, often to the detriment of owner and animal. The trend has even caught on in contemporary fiction. To be released next year, “Coveted” by Shawntelle Madison, is the first installment of an urban fantasy literary series about a female werewolf hoarder. To date, the main character is a werewolf who hoards holiday knickknacks.

It’s easy to look at these extreme examples of overconsumption and believe that these people are different, they are ill, unlike us. What does that judgment say about our culture, over all? We consider excess a cultural right, perhaps even a means to greater social mobility. Having more stuff fills our needs, right? If that’s true, why, then, do we see the pattern of overconsumption and clutter creating immobility, and how does that stagnancy affect us spiritually?

Individuals who overeat, over-consume and hoard may be poorly balanced spiritually, even energetically. The etheric field is comprised of the body, the chakra system, the body’s meridians, and the subtly perceivable electrical and ethereal space around the whole works. What we call life force (chi, ki or prana, depending on your cultural influence)is an electrical force that moves smoothly throughout the etheric field when we’re healthy, connecting us with the etheric fields of others, of the planet, etc. When we’re not well, the flow of life force gets out of balance; thus, we don’t connect so well with our environment. We start to lack energy.

Looking specifically at the chakra system — seven or more primary energy bridges roughly visualized along the spine — we can see and measure our stages of development in the formed world. Roughly speaking, our upper spiritual chakras allow us to connect into the soul realm; thus, they connect us with our spiritual purpose. The lower earth chakras root us into the nature realm, giving us the tools to manifest our purpose. When chakra imbalance manifests in overactive Earth chakras and under-active spiritual chakras this state indicates more energy is devoted to material “stuff” than to tapping into the soul’s needs.

The imbalance can also occur the other way. An overactive crown and under-active root indicates too much emphasis on escapist dreaming of spiritual plans, leaving us without the motivation to actually enact them. When we fall out of etheric balance, we generally don’t feel well emotionally, physically or both, and our lives stagnate. We care less about taking care of ourselves and our space. In short, when we stagnate life goes on, literally and figuratively piling up around us. Clutter without mirrors the clutter within. In our ideal state of divining our spiritual needs and bringing them into being, we’re healthy, connected to our space, and balance our consumption according to true need.

Another spiritual factor influencing the drive to overconsume is commonly called soul loss, or what I think of as “soul shelving.” When we suffer a trauma from which we feel we aren’t moving on, the shamanic narrative interprets that state as a facet of the soul having become inaccessible. Everyone experiences soul loss at some point, as it is a natural state of healing and growth. When we need access to that soul aspect and can’t reconnect with it problems arise, such as chronic patterns of depression, distress in relationships and in fulfilling personal obligations. If soul “loss” isn’t recognized for the spiritual lack that it is, we attempt to fill ourselves with anything that will temporarily make us feel alive. In a compromised spiritual state, it’s too easy to think that we can buy happiness. Superficial filling distances us emotionally from what we don’t want to deal with. What we can’t feel, we can’t heal.

Eve Ensler shared similar insight on emotional filling and its dissociating effect on the state of her health in a recent presentation “Suddenly, my body.” Her story expresses the epitome of the common belief, “If I ignore it and fill myself with something else, it will go away.” It didn’t for Ensler. It doesn’t for anyone. When we examine such stagnancy through the lens of soul loss, we become able to integrate our power into a focused, functioning drive toward wellness in our personal lives.

In an animistic worldview, all things are connected. What, then, is the collective soul price? The immediate impact lies in the earth, itself. Disregard for the self reflects disregard for the environment. In his book, “Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth,” Ralph Metzner describes that interconnectedness as resulting in ecocide. Modernized humans, by virtue of how we live, are at war with Nature. The trash from living lavishly has to be discarded in some ocean, some forest. The resources to supply our demand have to be extracted from some precious naturescape. By harming the planet we’re harming ourselves, and vice versa. On a level closer to home, we look again at the etheric field, through which every thing is connected. What we don’t heal in ourselves we pass on to others. It shows up in our relationships, our children, our work performance. It affects how we live in the space around us, how we treat ourselves and others. Our obligation to heal our spiritual wounds lies not only with ourselves but to every thing.

Promising is the fact that within that connection lies the power to heal over-consumption and clutter. When we begin to declutter our lives, we create a domino effect of wellness. By becoming mindful of our own living style, we can stop the cycle of excess. We become aware of what we need versus what we want. We become aware of others’ needs. In that awareness we take better care of our surroundings and learn to foster their health, as well. When we make peace with the state of our physicality, we unearth the sources of emotional and spiritual needs and we begin the journey to heal them. We start to feel empowered. When we feel better we incorporate better living patterns for ourselves, our health improves, and we raise the life force of every thing. In that union, how we choose to live in our personal lives and space truly does affect the life force of All Things.

Bless us all with radiant wellbeing by taking exquisite care of yourself.

Reality TV: The Root Chakra Darling

Who will survive the crocodile pit to win the $10,000 and a trip to Disney? Will Dave ditch Anya in order to find out if Greg is really a virgin? Stay tuned, as we decide tonight, right here and now, who deserves to realize the dream of a lifetime, and who goes back home to sell car insurance…

Reality TV by Chucknado ~FlickrIt’s definitely slim pickings if you are looking for higher awareness entertainment on television these days. What? Did I just suggest that television, the raging noise box that brought the hips of rock-n-roll into the homes of innocent Americans, ever had the potential of providing material capable of creating higher consciousness? Why, yes, I believe I did. And I have a couple more questions for you: When you watch these “survival of the fittest” shows, do you feel like the mighty warrior triumphing over the elements? Or do you feel like the last kid picked to play kickball?

Reality TV shows are designed to appeal to our lower instincts. They anger us. They call out our strongest desires to win, achieve and stomp into the ground anyone who stands between us and The Prize just as easily as they call out our weaknesses and contempt for having felt weak. Reality TV brings out the most basic feelings in people, what energy workers refer to as “root chakra” stuff. The root chakra, known in Sanskrit as theMuladhara, is the first energy bridge into the etheric body, or the energy field that connects our life force to our form. It is the first of seven or more major chakras, depending on which system you follow, roughly visualized along the spine. Each chakra has its own identifying characteristics and connection to the Divine. Together they make up the Chakra System, part of the etheric body, the subtle extension of the life force into transpersonal space. The root chakra is located in the area of the perineum, between the genitals and anus. Because of its location low in the spine, it acts as the “root,” grounding the meridian lines of the Universe into the body, grounding us into the meridians of the Earth realm, itself.

On that spinal “Living Cross,” the root chakra is the first level of mastery in the physically formed realm. This first chakra is most often observed as red in color, and relates to our ability to find our way through the most survivalistic aspects of life, both mundane and spiritual. We begin developing the major traits of this chakra before birth, with some children fully mastering its skills in their first year of life. Those aspects include learning to relate to our surroundings, such as learning the rules within the family unit and community, how to sustain ourselves in our basic needs — clothing, eating, hygiene, sexual identity, etc. In short, the root chakra supplies us with the energetic ability to take care of ourselves and master the elements, both tactile and metaphoric. It is the point at which we make the biggest strides in defining who we are with regard to the manifest world.

What’s wrong with Reality TV stimulating the first chakra? Nothing. People who truly manifest a healthy root chakra are those who get along well with their surroundings and with themselves, and they have a healthy alliance with adversity. Such people grow from healthy competition and typically see themselves as moving with the elements, not against them. People who don’t have a well-developed root chakra constantly compete in every area of life, have little respect for their environment or the people in it and don’t feel particularly functional in themselves or as part of All That Is.

Sound familiar? It should. We are being spoonfed root chakra dis-ease on prime time television — on every major and minor network — every night of the week as entertainment. It would be fine if Reality TV inspired people to examine the motives behind their tendencies to compete to the detriment, or to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in being the sole caretaker of themselves or their household. But it doesn’t. Reality TV has spawned an “All in the Family” backlash, in which people model their behaviors to compete more by fostering an “every man for himself” mentality, either literally in their lives or by proxy, betting on which Reality contestant will outlast the others, or who can consume the most of which vile substance. And for what? Money? Infamy? A step up the career ladder? The satisfaction of winning a hand in marriage to someone picked from a lineup? Even the prizes of Reality competition reinforce imbalanced root chakra development.

In truth, there is nothing wrong with any of that. It’s just entertainment, right? Healthy competition? Being able to examine the foremost influences in our lives isn’t about judging what is right and wrong. It’s about being able to hold the full picture of those influences, even when the full picture isn’t what is readily presented, and to know what is healthy for you, by virtue of your connection with yourself and All That Is. By having mastered the root chakra, the supportive connection to All allows us to make choices with compassionate discernment. Reality TV focuses on the shadows of the root chakra, or the behaviors that manifest when the root chakra isn’t well-developed. By all measure, we live in a culture that ignores its shadows. We repress anger, fear, jealousy, greed, sexuality, etc. So when programming comes along that captures and capitalizes on basically every shadow that we tend to repress, it’s logical that we would collectively come to use that influence as a means of and parameter for expressing our own shadows.

So what does it mean? That our television programming is largely based on the energetic challenges meant for a one year old? Does it mean that we are mastering the lessons of our own roots? Maybe. Maybe through those light beams bouncing from satellite to satellite we are actually having the worst of our base development projected into our homes — a cosmic mirror for closer examination. Maybe Reality TV is actually higher consciousness programming, a real kick in the root to take the responsibility upon ourselves to remember that there are loads more chakras that need to be mastered, each with their own shadows and strengths whose success of mastery relies on wellness in our relationship to the first chakra.

And just maybe the deities of Reality TV are telling us that no matter where you are in the development of your root chakra, you can be the triumphant warrior, and the last kid picked for the kickball team, and all the feelings that come with whatever you perceive yourself to be… are all just fine.

Mothering Twins, Healing the Self

Kelley, I’m a single mom of six-year-old twin girls, whom I adore. Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with single motherhood. Their father is minimally involved, emotionally and financially. I’m feeling the brunt of parenthood, which is especially difficult for me at the holidays. I am on a spiritual journey which is comforting but I also would like a life partner. I’ve dated since my divorce 3 years ago but the situations have all ended disastrously. Is there anything you can tell me as far as steps I can take to find romantic love? Is that in my future? Thanks so much! G

Thanks for your note, G. Having twins myself, I understand what kind of pressure you’ve been under, and I commend your hard work. Your daughters are nearing the age to take command of their spiritual wills. From infancy (and possibly, in utero, depending on when the soul decides to enter the form) until about the age of nine, parents are custodians of their children’s spiritual wellbeing. Ideally this means caretaking them not just physically, emotionally, and mentally, but also in how they manifest their souls into form, helping them stand in their power, to speak their truth, to connect with All Things, ect, so that as they emerge spiritually independent in the earth plane they go forward confidently, whole, and well. At six, your daughters know they are spiritual beings and are at the point of identifying themselves as individuals with unique life purposes and desires. You, particularly as a single mother of twins, expend a lot of your energy helping them accomplish these desires. You still hold much of their grounding for them and serve as their spiritual and energetic protector—and will for a few more years. This level of soul parenting takes a toll on your personal freedom, literally by forcing you to be more in your lower chakras.

Monument to the Single Mother by Elca Branman

My sense is that you are a fairly balanced person, elementally speaking. Some people are naturally more in their upper chakras, some in their lower ones, some strike a nice balance throughout. I don’t feel that you were upended by pregnancy and new motherhood by a radical energy shift in that way (women not used to being in their lower chakras are a bit shell-shocked from that alone, postpartum). What I see is that you have cared for two new little ones alone, and that has depleted you energetically. All women experience this depletion to some degree after every birth, just as all women are naturally more in their lower chakras the first few years of their children’s lives. The lower chakras are the earthly chakras. They make us very aware of our surroundings, of tactile senses, of the drive to protect, hunt, create space… as Nature intended. In other words, it’s the state of being exactly opposite that of seeking new soul love.

Ideally when we’re allowing a soul partner to enter, we’re in our best, most balanced shape, etherically, and on all levels. Realistically, we want such a partner, regardless of circumstance. Romantic love is available to you, G; however, other things need to come first. Your life force is discombobulated from all it’s been through and it’s not attracting the kind of partner you crave. Until you get a bit more energetic support for yourself, it can’t. At present, you attract suitors who resonate with the erratic energy of the last few years, and their behaviour toward you reflects that. You must address the fatigue that single motherhood has introduced to your life force, preferably through some form of chakra balancing or energy work. I don’t see any particular problematic area, just a general lethargy that needs revitalizing. You need this for yourself, but also, without standing in your power as fully as you can, your daughters won’t learn to, and you won’t attract your best match in a soul love. Take time to focus healing energy and work on yourself with a trusted practitioner, and consider it a reward well earned. The benefits will be a more empowered you, daughters modeling a dazzling female lead, and your pick of soulful equals in love.

Soul Intent Arts – Ten Years, Ten Observations of an Animistic Soul – #1

Soul Intent ArtsIn 2000, I created my neoshamanic practice, Soul Intent Arts. I’d worked with others for two years, and had crafted a personal animistic path with strong shamanic influences for ten years prior. Making the transition from spiritual seeker to committed shamanic practitioner was a huge step. Twenty-two years of experience seeing life through a shamanic lens and working with others has given me insights that feel right to pass along at this auspicious time. To celebrate Soul Intent Arts’ presence in this plane and this exceptional dance we’re doing toward this Winter Solstice, I’m closing this momentous year by listing my ten most poignant observations of personal shamanic work and maintaining a shamanic practice, and will present them over the next few days.

Thank you to all of the readers, clients, students, confidantes, comrades, and spaceholders who have contributed to Soul Intent Arts’ sustaining life force. Bless all of your dear hearts.

  • Passive and active healing each have a place on the journey to balance, which is what we call wellbeing. I’ve trained in modalities of healing that merely require me to be actively present as the life force works, such as Usui Reiki, and I’ve also trained in modalities in which I am required to observe and move life force, as in theta healing, shamanic techniques, and general chakra balancing. There is a time and place for both. The biggest distinction between the two is realizing that there are forces available in the Multiverse whose role is simply to support us when we ask. Other forces require us to actively step into the role of healer of ourselves. Thus, passive healing cannot sustain us, and neither can active. There must be a balance of both, as elaborated upon in the article Etheric Eating – When Spiritual Emergency Becomes Physical Sabotage.

Etheric Eating: When Spiritual Emergency Becomes Physical Sabotage

Dear Kelley,
I’m at crossroads, and feel as if I soon will “take flight.” I recently realized that I’ve been spending my energies in an effort to be everything to everybody, but left myself off the list. One of my current quests is to discover myself and learn how to take care of myself. I’ve had a long-standing battle with my weight. I now have an awareness of my habits, what is good for me, how I comfort and punish myself with food, etc., yet I continue to choose to eat in a way that keeps the weight on. Can you offer any insight into my apparent need for this weight and how I might move past this to heal and be healthy?
Thank You! Faith

Thanks for your note, Faith. Eating is a grounding experience. In fact, after very intense trance work, eating a healthy protein is a good way to feel back in the body, to feel energetically stable again. In this case, eating has the effect of downward movement of life force in the chakra system, enabling you to root the knowledge from the trance into your formed awareness, and to feel physically balanced with your etheric field. What I’m seeing is that somewhere at the onset of puberty, you began feeling radical shifts in your life force that felt very uncomfortable. The way that you sought to feel stable in your body was to eat.

Puberty isn’t just biochemical changes. It is in essence a spiritual crisis. It’s the point at which we are coming into command of our spiritual wills, and our parents can no longer be our primary intermediary with All That Is, as we experience it in the formed realm. There is a lot of activity in the chakras at this point, choices being made around compassion for self and others, as well as burgeoning awareness of one’s sexual presence and ability to express sexual truth in the tribe and community. Our culture doesn’t include this aspect of puberty in how we help young people cope with it, and it most definitely doesn’t understand how to usher these changes into a balanced manifestation of Selfhood. It’s not a coincidence that kids who have been easy going and respectful suddenly become rebellious and/or frequently emotionally distraught.

The Chakra System

The Chakra System

When I ask to see the source of your need to hold this weight, I see you at the age of puberty (which happened earlier for you than for most), and your etheric field is fluttering, winding in on itself, sending off sparks. I do feel that there was some event in younger childhood, the deeper relevance of which didn’t sink in until puberty. I don’t get a vivid idea of what this was; rather, I have the vague sense that you observed someone else being hurt and did not have the words to express or explain what you saw. When you hit puberty, along with the normal changes it brings, you realized the harm you witnessed and it fueled the already wild energetic ride of your maturation process. I do not see that the realization of this event is connected to the weight, just that the timing of processing it and your etheric field being erratic coincided. The result of the changes in your field compelled you to find a way to control them, or to at least ease the effects of how those changes made you feel. You were a very intuitive child, and for that reason the effects of this energy shift were very debilitating. You did not have the emotional capacity to deal with all of the information coming in at that time. A way to dull that sensation was to eat, particularly sugar. Sugar unbalances the upper chakras, especially the crown. It creates a quasi-trancelike state, but the ravages of sugar on brain chemistry keep you from being able to draw meaning from the trance. It’s like inducing an altered state of awareness and being visited by the most profound wisdom you could ever want to know in your life, but because the etheric and physiological systems are out of sync from the sugar, you can’t recall any of that wisdom when you ground again. You felt this way repeatedly growing up. As soon as you would start to feel that anxious tweaking of your life force, you would eat to stabilize it. This pattern has persisted into adulthood.

Many people cultivate ways to quell spiritual emergency. It feels so distressing that we are willing to believe we’ve suddenly gone mad, and the only way most of us know to deal with it is to seek medical help. Some doctors and therapists understand spiritual emergency, but many don’t. They end up prescribing antidepressants or diagnosing stigma-inducing mental conditions that are really part of a process of spiritual maturation. This doesn’t mean that symptomatic relief is bad, or that you shouldn’t seek support or help from others. It means we are holistic creatures, and we crave holistic support. The thing is, developing a coping skill–any coping skill-to stave off etheric changes is also going to prevent you from the benefits of those changes. We need support to move forward through that process, so that the symptoms we don’t like can come to a true end, so that the coping means we’ve adapted to ease the tension in shifting life force can be released, and so that we can manifest that changed life force in a healthy, powerful, lasting way.

Sit with this info and see how it resonates. If you feel compelled to greet that life force now, enlist the support of friends who understand your spiritual perspective and the help of caregivers from all sides of the holistic spectrum to help you allow it in and manifest it. You are an adult now. Your fears of having more than you can handle coming in spiritually and intuitively can be released. And if you do feel panic around this shift, make use of that support network. Remember to tell your guides you need them to slow down and take things more gently. You are in control of the transitions you make in life, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. When you feel the groundedness of your own life force, you won’t need food to provide that for you anymore.

Thank you, Faith, for doing this reading. It’s been really nice to meet you.

Inherited Hurt, Karmic Patterns

Kelley, I am currently working through old issues and past hurts to clear the way for my spiritual development. I hope to become a healer of some sort. Currently, I feel that I am holding a great deal of negative energy in my stomach area, and I also find it very difficult to lose excess weight there. Are you able to suggest ways that I can clear this negative energy so I am able to move forward and become healthy? Thank you, Elizabeth

Thanks for your note, Elizabeth. I see a general fogginess around your lower middle that feels quite rigid. It’s about six inches to a foot out from your form, which tells me two things: one, that your chakra system is functioning well, overall (were it not, the fog would be in your form rather than a bit out from it), and two, this fog is connected to the second chakra. The second chakra is, generally speaking, the point that we manifest our desires. When we don’t, the result is defensiveness, resentment, anger, bitterness. When I ask to see the source of this fog, I see you in your mother’s womb.

The Etheric Field

The Etheric Field

In utero, you experienced your mother being physically assaulted around her middle. She was fairly far along with you when this occurred, and was terrified that she would lose you. All of her thoughts and energy were devoted to preserving you. The correlation that I see between her reactions and the fog around your middle is that you internalized your mother’s instinct to protect you–her middle- by focusing on holding all of your energy in that area. This fog functions like a shield, buffeting anything you don’t want or perceive as harmful.

This fog has served you well in many cases, energetically thwarting unwanted relationships, advances, situations, almost without effort. It has enabled you to draw boundaries and know you would be protected. The thing is, this fog has been deflecting wanted interactions and situations, as well. Instead of culling through boundaries and what is wanted with your higher awareness, it has been done reflexively through this sacral shield. In the course of interacting with your High Self and guides in this journey, the fog was released; however, I feel that because so many of your decisions have redirected through it, learning to pass that process up to your higher awareness will be what releases it permanently.

Your energetic insight into yourself is keen enough to feel when this fog is in place, thus to know when you are not approaching a boundary or choice from higher insight. I think you could still do some visualization of allowing earth energy to flow up the chakra system and out the crown, drawing higher energy into the crown and down the chakras, through your soles. My sense, though, is that the energy work aspect of this is very clear and easy to manage. The challenge will be instilling that habit to appeal to higher counsel, instead of reacting instinctively and letting that shield push things away. However you appeal to your spirit guides, ask them to raise your awareness, so that you react from your soul’s wisdom. When you find that process more natural, even automatic, you won’t carry any murky energy about your middle, and you won’t gather unwanted physical shielding there, either. With a healthy flow of energy through your chakra system, the balance of your skills and health are restored. Be well, Elizabeth.

A Houseful of Virgos and the Saturn Legacy

Kelley, I am a Virgo and have dealt with Saturn since September 2007, when my life turned upside down. I have worked diligently and have made progress, but I don’t have a job that can sustain my son and myself, I have not received child support since the beginning of Saturn’s visit, and my Virgo son has gotten into trouble and a toxic relationship. We are completely broke and live with my mother. Is this karmic? Am I suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder? Why is this happening, and will it ever end? Sara

Thanks for your note, Sara. The story I am shown is in your chakras. Your root chakra, which is the first of the primary chakras along the spine and is situated at the perineum, is very overactive. The root chakra does what it sounds like–it roots you as a spiritual being into the form of this world. Mastery of this chakra involves gaining the basic survival skills to stay alive as a formed being, and psychologically it entails that you become aware that you are part of a tribe, in preparation for the mastery of the second chakra, which is all about how one relates (or doesn’t) to the tribe, itself. An overactive root chakra can indeed give the effect of being locked in fight-or-flee instinct, the perpetual feeling that you are being pursued even when there is no threat. The other major point about the root chakra that is vivid for you relates back to the tribe–your family unit. You have a birth family unit, the one you learned to survive in and prepared you for surviving in the world, and you also have created a family unit, your son, whom will be leaving the tribe soon. In your time of peril you have returned to your original tribe, and in doing so have brought your created tribe with you. It’s good to have a support system, but in this case, sharing living space with your birth tribe is only creating more inner conflict for you. Another facet of this overactive root is OCD–Obsessive Compulsive Disorder behaviour. Virgos are given to wanting order and turning themselves inside out to preserve it. I feel like this is something you generally have good habits on, but the constant trigger to preserve survival has created self-harming habits, mostly at a mental level–spinning scenarios in your head until panic ensues, allowing irrational thoughts to trump approaches you know are more healthy. Sometimes we best manage by stepping back. We think that disengaging and being present is a passive act, when in reality it is the most challenging active pursuit. This is your greatest challenge right now, and as you master it, so shall your son.

Because connections of tribe are so interwoven with the way Saturn is affecting you, I do feel that this experience is karmic. Distress with your birth family is being unconsciously acted out by your son. He is expressing your repressed stress, which is a long-standing pattern between you that has only increased with Saturn’s focus. He is not consciously aware that he is playing out this dynamic. I have a sense of spinning wheels. He is at the threshold of stepping out into the world as an individual, and he feels that he should be able to help you more with the household. His own stress cripples him. This ‘inability to provide’ is creating a block for him. He is mature enough to feel the pinch and longing to help, but he doesn’t have the experience or emotional grounding to effectively help. Few his age do. Teens deal with ‘spinning’ by acting out. Rebellion feels productive, despite that it only divides and conquers. Crazy as he may be driving you, disciplining his behaviour won’t improve circumstances. His underlying stress has to be soothed, and the best way to do that is by example. Strategically placed, “My emotions are my own to process,” in talks with him can unconsciously help him let go of responsibilities that are yours alone to manage. It will also send him the signal to let you be the parent. Conversely, it will send the signal to him to be the child, ie, to listen and observe.

Your guides are only showing me how this karmic stress is affecting your chakra system. Because everything in our etheric form is connected, so, too, is the internal and external. It’s a matter of time before it affects other aspects of your wellbeing, your health in particular. Regardless of what is going on in your external right now, it is imperative that you address the internal. When I observe the rest of your chakra system, I can just make it out for the overwhelming size and brightness of your root chakra. The lower chakras pertain to our earthly growth and maturity, while the upper chakras relate our spiritual growth and maturity. Etherically speaking, what needs to happen is the root chakra energy needs to be moved up the spine, balanced throughout, as it were, and the life force that comes in through the crown–the topmost primary chakra in the form, needs to be drawn down. Whatever meditative technique appeals to you, bringing your awareness to this process will be helpful. Visualize doing it, feel it moving, imagine that primal balance taking place. If you can go to an energy worker to do this work for you, or if you’re comfortable with doing it at a distance I can do such work. Either way, some self-maintenance is required. I do not get information on job or new residence, because giving attention to your life force is imperative. My sense is that in giving yourself some solitude and care, you will have better perspective and opportunity will arise from that.

It’s been a long haul with Saturn. I completely empathize with you, Sara. You have come through it, and through the aftershock you are regaining your power. Be open to the wisdom Saturn leaves you, and some sweetness will prevail.