“Do I have to work with Shadow to be a shaman?”
For the last year I’ve been in deep catharsis about what I’m doing on my path, what I want to do in my time on this planet. I’ve discussed it some in the Betwixt series, though it’s largely remained a personal exploration.
Originally published at Pagan Square.
I’ve long wrestled with the concept of ‘life purpose.’ Foremost, it seemed limiting–just one? And it smacked of New Age woo. The true wrestling part, though, was that I felt a deep calling, always, like since I became aware that I was aware, between 5-6 years old. I didn’t know what the calling was, and for most of my youth I was satisfied to just recognize that it was.
Raidho – travel – In the almost-year that I’ve written the Weekly Runes column, this is the first time we’ve cast Raidho. This Rune has always been special to me as a writer, because it directly addresses how we tell our story.
Many people read Raidho in a very literal context, meaning, a journey between two points, emphasizing the mode of transportation involved, movement across space and time, and everything that occurs between origin and destination. Indeed, the stuff of our most compelling stories. What is important to understand about Raidho is that it’s about holding a focus over duration, associating a starting point and result with every choice, decision, thought, and deed committed along the way. Are we acting in support of our intention? Are we really making the choices that align us with what we say we want, where we say we want to go? Are we fixed on a precise destination with blinders to the journey, or are we easily taken off course, dazzled by every glittering crossroad?
With Raidho we begin to understand how our choices affect All Things, and how our ability to gently hold focus while changing coordinates on-the-fly informs the story we tell of ourselves, of our lives.
Take some time this week to consider movement, origin, destination, and purpose. Not only is each of these a vital navigational tool in life, they are also allies in how we craft ourselves.
For those of you keeping score, I’m taking liberties with what many have interpreted as the end of the Long Count, the Mayan calendar that completes next week on Solstice. Mostly, I’m taking inventory of events in my life and coming to fierce conclusions about what they mean, or unmean, as the case may be.
Most of you know, particularly those whom I’ve known since childhood, that I’m a very driven person. Not so much a planner, though assuredly led by some deeper drive to accomplish a particular desire. I know how to bring things into being. I know how to manifest, even if I do it with a sledgehammer and crowbar. And those of you who know me really well know that drive has always revolved around empowering others. In fact, a lot of you who go way back probably knew that before I did. Imagine how fortified I felt to learn in my late twenties that my greatest spiritual goal, my life purpose, as it were, was just that. Specifically, I learned that I came into form to have as many diverse human experiences as possible, so that when I spoke to others about surviving and thriving, I wouldn’t just be talking out of my ass. I would know; I do know.
I designed many facets of my life by that purpose. Why wouldn’t I? I had the stamp of approval of the gods. That’s what ego does. Its job is to protect the form, which is accomplished through taking very esoteric concepts and making them formed, or at least tangible in some way. It takes classes. It tests principles. It jumps hoop after hoop until a concept is wisdom.
I’ve devoted all of my adult life to this process of centering my many experiences of human strength and frailty. Through my shamanic work I’ve even spent 15 years helping others discern their life purposes, so they could set themselves on the proper course of personal development, soul awareness. This year, though, something changed.
I’ve felt it coming for a while, acutely after the birth of our twins. I didn’t realize what it was until now. Some time in late spring, early summer, I began to feel keenly that I have no life purpose. My guides affirmed it. The Runes spelled it out. Everytime I came to them about this feeling, I drew Fehu, the soul coming into form, then Uruz, awakened personhood. The constantly shifting scapes in my dream state and spirit worlds supported it. I felt this truth through everything, yet in my experience of How Things Work, it just didn’t make sense. All of the conventional spiritual teachings (some of which are quite old) inform that we all have a purpose in coming into form. That purpose may not be vividly detailed and doesn’t preclude choice, yet an overarching mission of the soul drives how the self is created over the course of a life, possibly lifetimes. Did not feeling connected to a life purpose mean I was finished with human life? Was I about to be hit by a bus?
I don’t know if this insight is coming to me now because we are approaching this end to an ordering of time that, whether we have consciously subscribed to its truth or been delightfully oblivious to it until recent hype, has engraved its existence on the back of our cultural pocket watch. Maybe I would be arriving at this awareness had I reached this experience in any timeframe. I can’t overlook that regardless, I’m having it now, and given that synchronicity, I finally understand the time of untime.
There is no life purpose. For me, holding onto that singular principle around which I create myself is its own organized religion, a limiting structure that stopped working for me in my teens. Whatever task to widen my empathy came before, it’s gone now. I completed it, or at least completed it in that ordered, linear way. I can’t express how discombobulating and post-traumatic this insight has been, is still. Yet, it is what it is. I can only move forward in my truth as it is in this moment, and my truth is only this moment.
Living with no sense of life purpose means creating living vividly in the present. It means exquisitely connecting with All Things, not because I can, but because I am All Things and in that animistic realization lie my answers, my solitude, my truth. This is the life without a net. This is the leap. I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what I will create of myself from this point forward, because I’m creating her now. I do know that if you’re feeling similar distress, it’s okay. This kind of leap isn’t your undoing. It’s actually, perhaps, your very first actual doing.
Thank you for coming with me on this journey.
Every year for Samhain I publish accounts of my more charged, and in some cases creepy, spiritual pursuits. The Dead Time is a treasured journey to Solstice, and as it is a time of untime, the shadowed season presents a great opportunity to tell the stories that many who do shamanic work won’t tell–the occasions when things don’t go well or the unseen presents itself unexpectedly. You may recognize some of these accounts from my previous stories, while others are more recent. Enjoy the solitude of the darkness, and know the light will soon warm!
The year 2007 was rather strange for me, for several reasons, largely because two vastly significant segments of my life intertwined. In that timeframe health conditions that I had been managing through an intense spiritual emergency came to a head (which are covered in a subsequent story), as well as I began to have mindful interactions with Star People. I’d read stories of experiences in which people had stellar visitors who affected their neural functioning, in essence ‘changing their hardware’ to ready them for emerging frequencies coming into the planet. I’d never felt myself as part of that strata of experience. I was a shaman, an earth-dweller, a Nature spirit in my own right. I’d had many experiences journeying out into the starry vast Unknown, but I had not experienced that facet of the Unknown venturing to me. Many of my colleagues communicate with that level Intelligent Light, reporting such physical sensations of ringing in the ears or feeling as though a cool drop of water was falling on the third eye as indicators that such a base interaction was occurring. I had no reason to think that I would engage in that facet of spirit communication, and that was fine. Truth told I always found it somewhat hokey, talking with angels and aliens. By most measures I’ve had my hands full unraveling the myriad experiences of the wryd throughout my life, I didn’t need to court something more.
In the fall of 2006 I began to have migraines. I’d not experienced migraines since my first bout with them in 1999, the time I now look to as the beginning of my spiritual emergency, or what could have been one of several such etheric crises. What made this episode of discomfort different was that my face went almost completely numb on the left side, and I suddenly could not hear well and had problems reading. All sound seemed to be at a great distance, tinged with a persistent low ringing. Visually it seemed as though I had suddenly become dyslexic, only it wasn’t just that letters and words inverted on a page. I had begun seeing symbols that were unrecognizable along with upside down letters and blank spaces mid-sentence. With the rapid onset of all of these symptoms I returned to the neurologist I’d seen years before. Medical exams yielded nothing changed or harmful in my brain. The neurologist tried to convince me that I had always been dyslexic but at the age of thirty-five just “hadn’t noticed” until now. Being the sort who knew she wanted to be a writer at the age of five and who set her entire scholastic agenda to that outcome, I knew this was a new development and that I had not been latently dyslexic. My sense was that something major was going on etherically, a very profound shifting of synaptic wiring, so to speak. Medically, no diagnosis was reached.
Headaches persisted over the next few months and I began to have a very difficult time articulating myself. The visual phenomenon had abated for the most part, but my hearing was still quite affected by what was happening to me. I consulted my spirit guides ongoing, who informed me that my etheric form was shifting at a rate far more rapid than my physical form could comfortably withstand. As well, they told me that I was clearing out chakral clutter, which was resulting in various chakras elevating into vastly different vibrations than I was used to overall, and that other chakras were feeling very uncomfortable as they had not reached that point of elevation yet.
While I felt their assessment to be fact and I found peace in that confidence, I was physically miserable. I began having headaches more severely and sought out a fresh perspective on my neurological landscape. In early March of 2007 I went to a different neurologist who also held a rather holistic practice as an osteopath. She immediately confirmed that I had not suddenly become dyslexic, but that indeed a cerebral event had occurred. From her perspective it was imperative to assess just what that event was. From my perspective I wanted to see how the body’s mapping was changing to suit my new etheric territory. I consented to the testing that she wanted to do, which initially included another MRI. The results of this MRI were different than the one I’d had six months prior, revealing scaring on the brain as the cause, according to my doctor, of the physical symptoms I was having. In order to rule out deeper implications for the cause of the scaring she ordered more tests.
About a week later I was cruising down Raleigh’s outer beltline when in a flash I felt a ripple go through not just my body but the whole car and space around it, and I saw a split second visual of a group of lanky silvery grey Beings standing in a walled space surrounded by huge boxy electrical conductors. Though blended they felt predominantly feminine, and they were looking back at me through the windshield the way one looks at animals through glass in a zoo. As soon as the Beings realized that I could see them they gasped and appeared rather sheepishness, imparting a very clear sense of playfulness at being caught stirring the cosmic cookie jar. In another blink before me was only highway. I heard the murmur of a collective voice say, “she knows we just pushed this down.” I heard other voices, but they were hypnagogic, fluid, not unlike a melody. I heard this soft strain the rest of the way home.
The intensity and pervasiveness of this experience was very much like my strange mind-reading experience at Walmart, only the data coming in this time was purely pleasant. As I drove along, bemused, the meaning of this exchange was perfectly clear. I’ve read many instances in archaic history and modern experience of Star Beings collectively injecting radical transformation to passively open up options to an energetically stagnant populace. I never had cause to disbelieve it but I’d never experienced such personally. This intervention had been personal in that I felt it, but it also stretched beyond me over the land, in the space between the Earth and the firmament. It was not personal and yet was custom fitted to every Being who could receive it in this plane.
For all the strange encounters that I’ve read about, this one I saw happen—an image opened in my mind that did not originate from me–and I knew it was a radical transition being gifted us instantly. The entire event lasted about six seconds and I felt like I was surrounded by a silvery aura that was not my own afterward, like an etheric cushion so I wouldn’t hurt myself with my new information, a buffer to assimilate. I laughed the rest of the way home. I realized then that my wyrd had moved up to an entirely new level.
Medically, my doctor performed a lumbar puncture to discern the origin of the scaring on my brain. The results of this were normal, though an unrelated but peculiar outcome was the revelation that I apparently tend to be lower then the norm on spinal fluid, which can create a collection of annoyances, none of them particularly threatening. I walked away from the physical observation of the changes in my body know that my brain had indeed been remapped, a cause for concern to my neurologist, though to me it was a mirror of what I knew to be happening in the shifting template of my life force.
The last event in that sequence of changes came almost ten days later. In the early hours of sunlight I lucidly became aware of existing in two spaces at once. I was aware of myself lying in my bed, though I was also lying in what appeared to be an encampment in another plane. The scenery was a small arrangement of beige tents and bedding flanked by tall waving grasses of a meadow. There was a rather bleak feel to the space, though, as if it was a temporary meeting place between realms, a multiplanar MASH unit. I found myself lying on a beige pallet on the ground, surrounding by about 20-30 others reclining nearby. They, too were consciously aware of their location and of being outside the bodies. I recognized one of the people as a childhood playmate, someone I’d not seen in years. A Being stood over me, fairly masculine in energy, and quite a large presence. I felt him reaching into my head, specifically into the area of my brain that bore the scars. I felt him moving things around and became extremely agitated. I fought him quite hard, all the while having an inner dialogue with my spirit guides. They told me that it was his job to “install” the etheric component of the changes that had been made in my physiology and that it was up to me to decide if I wanted to allow it.
“Will the headaches stop if I allow this?” I asked them.
They informed me that gradually they would abate with this new balance of energy.
“What will it change in me?” I asked.
As soon as I formed the thought, the Being plunged its “chip” into my brain. I felt a jolt of electricity shoot through my body and crackle far out into my etheric form. My ego was quite distressed about its gruff methodology, though I knew that having uttered my last question I was expressing positive intent. By the time the energy traveled several feet out into my form I felt marvelous. I felt an indescribable cellular rapport, as if I was finally able to experience all of myself in a basic formed manifestation.
Indeed my neurological symptoms did calm significantly after the culmination of this series of events. I began to see silvery white orbs on a daily basis that I know to be the consciousness of creatures guiding us into a much wider practice of experiencing ourselves in this plane.
Over the past few years, my life has changed in several ways. I’ve been in love with a woman for several years. She knows this, and there is chemistry definitely between us. My question to you is, will she ever “be” in my life and share my life with me or will she always walk the periphery? regards, wyldorchid
Thanks for your note! I see this woman as very much a muse to you in some energetic sense. Literally, when I ask your guides about your connection to her and how it manifests now, I see her standing in a vortex, interacting with what is on this side of it, and what is on the Other side of it, feeding you inspiration, and in some respects, power from that Other place. She is in some way a channel for you to grow spiritually, but also for you to gain some ability or gift you are to do in this life. It seems to be a mutually agreed upon act, although on the surface it seems very selfless of her. She gains from it, as well, though I can not clearly see how–that’s not for me to know. The thing is, I don’t see you doing anything WITH what she brings through for you. The sense of it that I have is you are very fixated on making a particular outcome to this relationship, specifically that it be romantic. But it isn’t, at least not in the way you want it to be. I can not say for sure that it can be that, but what I see is that by fixating on her in a specific way, you are missing out on the gift she is really bringing you. In fact, focusing on the connection being romantic at this point is actually thwarting both the Other gifts she can facilitate bringing you, and a deeper connection in that relationship. When you can relax the hold on “driving” your feelings for her in a certain direction and you can flow into the space she is holding for you, you will know with clarity what the best and highest nature of this connection and relationship really is. Moreover, you will learn something very significant to why you are on the planet at this time. Be well!
Dear Kelley,I left a comfortable job with the government service and stepped into commercial sector thinking that I will make it. However, it’s been 3 years, and it seems that I have moved from bad to worse. I have learned a lot and gotten what I want in terms of experience and exposure. More often, whenever I am given a task, I know inside of me that I can do a fantastic job but I just couldn’t give the kind of output I thought I would like to. What is happening? Thanks in advance for your help and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Best regards, Tristen
Thank you for your note, Tristen. There has been a radical shift in the job market in almost every major industry over the last three years. You are far from alone in your feelings of concern and confusion. This transition has been difficult for many to hold, yet it has also refined for many their true paths, when without the bumps in the road, they would never have noticed the scenery around them. Your guides tell me first thing that you need to make part of your belief system that you are capable of knowing and conscientiously making your own path. What you are dealing with is not about a job, or the means by which you support yourself, so much as manifesting your natural abilities into what makes you whole. When you make that transition in thinking and awareness, you will also have manifest the path that supports you. We have a tendency to get locked into thoughts of paying the bills, putting food on the table, defining success in a particular skillset or career, meeting certain financial goals or providing an expected level of creature comforts… None of these things fill the void of not being connected to our path. Few people realize the need for the transition in focus to the soul, and try harder to fill the void with mundane trinkets. A quite modern convention of dealing with this has become believing that one’s job must in and of itself meet and maintain the desired lifestyle AND fulfill the soul. Even in that line of thinking, which is still very ego based, the emphasis is still on meeting the material needs, and very much not those of the soul. It must work in reverse, that when the needs of the soul are met, the mundane is secure.
When I ask what your life purpose is, I get a great deal of confirmation that it has to do with speaking, or teaching. Specifically, teaching others through your own ability to speak your truth, to speak their own. You are a wonderful orator, but this ability has been honed around speaking the truths of others, not your own. In other words, teaching the concepts of others, delivering a message based in a construct not of your own devise, has been the arena in which you displayed these skills. As a result, the skills have reached a point at which they can no longer develop. This is the place you reference in not getting the output you wanted from your efforts. Your efforts are being directed externally, and not internally. The way that these skills develop further is by speaking your own truth. When you speak your truth, you empower not only the words you are saying, the concepts you are expressing, but yourself and those who hear them. It is a rich process of co-creation and manifestation, fostering the same in all who hear you. You also build your own esteem.
Your guides also indicate that you know what your truth is, you just haven’t expressed it, and it has never occurred to you that this omission is affecting your “professional” life. I highly encourage you to begin exercising this ability further by speaking whatever your truth is about the topic at hand. Even if you are only saying it to the mirror, make it a daily ritual to get up in the morning, and first thing say something true to yourself. Create this habit. This practice alone will hone your intuitive abilities exponentially. Practice speaking your truth in the company of others, even if it’s only about food items, or the way your current project is going. You will learn quickly who wants to hear your truth, and who doesn’t, how to deliver it without prejudice, ego, or defense. And as with all authentic action, you will attract those who share your truth, and can help you not only develop all of your skills further, but to expand your truth, itself. You will realize how delicate and precious truth is, also how subjective and ever-shifting. The more you practice this skill of speaking with authenticity the more avenues are going to unfold for you professionally, to the extent that part of your path IS sharing your truth with others on a regular basis.
Value your own worth, your own spiritual insights. If you feel that you have not cultivated your feelings enough to articulate them, do some reading, and especially some soul searching. Learn methods of communicating with your soul. Create that rapport so that you refine this life purpose to utter clarity, so that you can share it. What you have to share is much needed in this world. I look forward to listening. Be well, Tristen!