Posts Tagged ‘Shamanism’

How are you using your shamanic training?

August 9, 2015

Space drumYou’ve taken a shamanic training program and have learned a lot of amazing skills.

Now what?

The role of the shaman has always been to benefit their community or tribe. Transforming, creating harmony, educating and supporting the people around you can help to provide you with a stronger sense of your worth, boost your confidence, relieve feelings of isolation, help you gain your true voice, find a personal passion and provide a sense of belonging that you may have never experienced.

Our graduate training is designed to deepen your personal transformation and also mentor you to expand your gifts to better serve the transformation of your local community, town, school or workplace.

One of the ways we mentor is to assist our graduate students to create and implement projects in their local area.

Some individual projects have included:

  • Working with municipalities to change green space use
  • Creating marked trails and plant identification guides for a small city park
  • Volunteering to create outdoor programs for local schools
  • Organizing community garden projects
  • Working with developers to create greener projects that have saved mature trees.
  • Bringing the tenants of Reverent Participatory Relationship into corporate trainings
  • Working with a community to found a church–specifically to address homeless issues
  • Developing a odd-job business with the focus on spreading positive energy as service
  • Learning effective herbal medicine practices to assist in underserved communities
  • Mobilizing community to protect a local water source
  • Using shamanic skills for animal communication at wildlife rehabilitation center
  • Being trained to become an Advance Directive Facilitator
  • …and many others

In addition, our graduate students are supported to deepen their personal transformations, to work with the elements, to engage with fellow students in creating support and much, much more.

Graduates of our program have been very diverse. We’ve mentored business people, nurses, physicians, teachers, tech workers, financial planners, lawyers, laborers, artists, counselors, engineers, mothers, fathers and many others from all across New England, New York, Virginia, the Mid-West, Florida, Georgia and California. Each of them is continuing to make a powerful difference where they live and work.

Our eighth graduate program begins in 2017 and will meet for a total of four intensive, long weekends at a lakeside location in coastal Maine. You will be bringing the work home by doing journeywork, specific exercises and ceremony on your land or near to where you live.

More details and registration information may be found here underneath the text about our next two-year training program: http://www.spiritpassages.com/initiatorytrainingprograms.html

© 2015 Evelyn C. Rysdyk 

Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power,A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools, Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, and contributor to Spirited Medicine: Shamanism in Contemporary Healthcare; Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. Her web site is http://www.evelynrysdyk.com.

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Green guerrilla actions you can make now!

March 18, 2015

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There are times when the state of the world—especially the condition of your local water, soil and air– can make you feel helpless. Truth is, the little changes we make together can add up to an enormous shift in our collective wellbeing and doing them can be a part of our spiritual practice! I consider the actions I take everyday to take care of the natural world to be part of keeping good faith with those spirits who support my life, with the spirits of my ancestors and also on behalf of my descendants.

What follows here is a list of a few things you can do to make a difference. You may already be doing some of them. If so, look for other ways you can take a stand for sustaining your family while giving back. (I’ve included resource links whenever possible to make your changes that much easier!)

Shedding light on savings:

If every household in the United States swapped out even ONE of their incandescent lights with a compact fluorescent bulb, or better yet an LED bulb, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road. LED bulbs last up to 25 times longer than their incandescent bulb forbearers. Just make sure to recycle CFL and LED bulbs at your local recycling facility or hardware store.

TIP: LEDs have come down in price! This site offers comparison shopping and tips including wattage equivalents and how to buy the right color temperature bulb for different purposes in your home: https://www.earthled.com/products/feit-performanceled-a23-omni-directional-32-watt-2500-lumens-150-watt-equal#.VQl1JkKIUrk

TIP: If you prefer CFL bulbs and want better illumination, use OttLite true-color bulbs. These are the same bulbs used by artists and crafters for decades in situations where good lighting really matters. OttLite’s new CFLs are brighter and more like real sunlight. They’re a bit more expensive but the true-color lighting is worth it! www.ott-lite.com/c-92-bulbstubes.aspx

Tuck in your electronics:

Many electronic devices suck power even when asleep. At night, power down to save your self some money on the electric bill and do something good for the environment in one fell swoop!

TIP: Turn on the computer on the way to making your morning coffee or tea. By the time your morning cuppa is ready, you’ll be all set to read your daily e-newspaper!

Hang ‘em high:

Did you know your drier contributes to the demise of your clothes? Not only does your clothes dryer use a significant amount of energy, it can actually shorten the life of your clothes because of wear and tear on the fabric. Hang your duds on a clothesline outside or drying rack indoors to save a bundle on clothes.

TIP: During the heating season, the extra humidity in the air from drying clothes can benefit you and your wooden furniture!

Colder is better:

…at least in terms of your laundry! If all the households in the United States switched to using warm or cold water cycles for clothes washing, we could save energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil every day!

TIP: Use a peroxide-based bleach to safely sanitize clothes as well as keeping them whiter and brighter. Peroxide is much safer than chorine for your septic system BUT even safer bleach can actually kill off the bacteria that are responsible for breaking down the waste in your cesspool if you use a lot! That means you’ll be paying to have it pumped out more often.

BYOB:

According to the World Wildlife Fund, Americans went through about 50,000,000,000 (that’s fifty billion) plastic water bottles just during last year! Fill up a reusable water bottle at home and bring it with you. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, buy a quality water filter but remember, your household tap water actually has to meet higher quality and safety standards than bottled water!

TIP: We use stainless steel water bottles by Kleen Kanteen www.kleankanteen.com for everyday. They’re made from #304 food-grade stainless steel, are pretty indestructible (one survived freezing with water in it!) and don’t leave an aftertaste in the water.

If you prefer using glass check out these amazing and beautiful miron violet glass bottles: www.surthrival.com/gear/miron-glass-water-bottle.html Miron Violet glass blocks visible light with the exception of the violet part of the spectrum. At the same time it allows in radiation in the spectral range of UV-A, and infrared light. The unique combination offers optimal protection against the aging processes that are released by visible light, thus lengthening durability and potency of products. This kind of bottle is especially good if you’re somebody that adds medicinal tinctures to your drinking water!

Shorten your shower:

According to Stanford University, 
every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than ten gallons of water. This is critical as fresh water is a scarce resource. (If you don’t think so, ask folks in California who have only one year of drinking water left in reservoirs or residents of towns in Texas and New Mexico where their drinking water sources have completely dried up!) If everyone in our country saved just one gallon from their daily shower, over the course of the year it would equal twice the amount of freshwater withdrawn from the Great Lakes every day.

TIP: A five-minute shower uses 10-25 gallons of water. (Energy efficient showerheads use the lesser amount.) Shut the water off while you lather up. Even a 20-second pause can save nearly two gallons of water!

Local is better:

There is often a considerable amount of pollution created when transporting your food from the farm to your table. To offset the carbon load this creates, whenever possible, buy from local farmers, fishermen and ethical foragers of wild foods. This supports your local economy and reduces the amount of greenhouse gas created when products are flown or trucked in. Here in Maine, we can access locally raised vegetable produce, meats, eggs, dairy products (from cows, goats and sheep), poultry, locally sourced fish and game, foraged vegetables, mushrooms and other treats too numerous to mention. Tap into the local food scene in your area to

TIP: Local Harvest can help you to tap into local resources for food: http://www.localharvest.org as can Local Dirt: http://localdirt.com. You can also contact http://www.eatwild.com/PRODUCTS/index.html.

For an even better positive impact, remember to buy mostly organic! Organic farms don’t use chemical pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, which are often made from petroleum products. They also refrain from sterile GMO seeds. Organically raised animals are more humanely treated and their meat, milk or eggs are not laden with unbeneficial antibiotics or hormones. Your body and your planet will thank you!

Bag it!

Never mind the “paper or plastic” conundrum as neither are good choices. Keep reusable shopping bags in your car for your trips to the market. Washable bags are best as they can be sanitized easily. Bags are a great second-hand store purchase! We keep our market bags folded up inside one bag. The handles of that outer bag are clipped together with a super-size karabiner. This assures that all the folded bags stay neatly inside. When we get into the market, we just clip the karabiner containing all of our bags to the shopping cart handle. That way they’re handy but not taking up room in the cart.

TIP: Bags are a valuable second-hand store purchase! If you’re handy and want a personal touch, you might want to make your own beautiful bags: http://tipnut.com/35-reusable-grocery-bags-totes-free-patterns. Here is a link to purchase the oversized karabiner clip: www.coghlans.com/products/large-biner-carry-handle-1152

Recycle–everything you can!

Most everyone is getting on the recycling bandwagon, but do you know you may have some things that are easily recycled and can bring you a few dollars, to boot? Your electronics (mp3 players, computers, cell phones, etc.) can make you money or be used to benefit a worthy cause.

TIP: My old, iPhone 3 earned me a $120 Amazon gift certificate, which made this book-aholic very happy. I used Gizelle who also will pay cash for old iPads and Mac computers. http://www.gazelle.com It pays to do an online search as there are other reputable firms who will buy back your old phone and even a broken one can net you a few bucks. Some charities also take old electronics. Here is a list from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2010/04/29/donating-electronics

Save a back!

Get off catalog and other junk mailing lists to help relieve your postal carrier’s daily burden, reduce your household waste and contribute to saving a whole lot of trees. In addition, you’ll be contributing to reducing the amount of energy savings used to print these unwanted things.

TIP: Here is a site with tips to reducing your unwanted junk mail: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/reducewaste/home/junkmail.htm

Let your fingers to the walking–on your keyboard!

Stop your phone directory delivery. Now. It is estimated that up to 10% of all waste at municipal dump sites is comprised of old telephone books! Not only are they cumbersome to use and impossible for middle-aged eyes to read, in most cases they are far less accurate than online sources.

TIP: Recycle your old phonebooks or shred them for garden mulch. Use online telephone directories to search for numbers such as http://www.anywho.com/whitepages

Become a part-time vegetarian:

Just one less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. (For example: It requires approximately 2,500 gallons of fresh water to produce one pound of beef.) Adding veggies to the diet also boosts the amount of phytonutrients you ingest which are beneficial for good health.

TIP: Here are a few vegetarian burger recipes you can experiment with: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/veggieburgerrecipes/Vegetarian_Veggie_Burger_Recipes.htm

Lose the lawn:

The typical American suburban lawn is a toxic monoculture that is detrimental to the environment. Indeed, A new study from the University of California at Irvine has determined that maintaining grass lawns produce four times the amount of carbon naturally collected and store by the lawn itself.  Lawn mowing, leaf blowing, irrigation, lawn fertilizer manufacturing, and the nitrous oxide released from soil after fertilization all contribute to an overall degradation of the environment. Not only that, the monoculture of grass is detrimental to healthy biodiversity.

TIP: Let weeds grow in the lawn. We have edible plantain, dandelion, clover, chives and other yummy “weeds” that look very nice when cut! The benefit of these plants is we can harvest them for salads or other treats. Our local beneficial insects, birds and animals are nourished by the natural browse, too. Another option is to invest in easy-care native plants or carve out a part of the yard for an organic vegetable or herb garden! 

Go native!

Help to sustain the birds, animals and beneficial insects around your neighborhood by sowing organic, native seeds. We sowed over 100 native milkweed seeds last Autumn to benefit the endangered Monarch Butterfly by using seed bombs/balls. These are small balls of clay, compost and vermiculite with two or three native seeds inside. In some cities, the same “technology” is being used to turn abandoned urban lots into organic, edible plant gardens. They are a blast to make and fun to toss. Work with your neighbors and property owners to “adopt” a growing site and then do a community seed bombing of that area! By seed bombing empty fields, along roadsides, the islands in parking lots and your own backyard you will help to create healthy, native wildflower meadows for you and other critters to enjoy.

TIP: Here is a site with great seed ball info: http://seed-balls.com They offer kits and supplies to arm your family, school class, scout troop or neighborhood with plenty of seed ball ammo! http://seed-balls.com/shop/supplies

Don’t want to get your hands dirty? This site offers 100% NON GMO seed ball packs that have been premade for your region of the USA: http://www.americanmeadows.com/gardening-gifts/seed-bombs gclid=CjwKEAjwxKSoBRCZ5oyy87DimEcSJADiWsvgDuVlt4mk3dK-9nZlBpo7MSdG_k5jzz_22wsea3sHURoC66jw_wcB

Give away and trade!

Before you toss something that is still useable, think if someone else might need it. You can donate to Goodwill or other charities to get a tax deduction. Another option is to post it on the web as a trade or give-away.

TIP: This web-based community organization is a terrific resource for getting goods into the hands of people who can use them!  http://www.freecycle.org 

 

If you have other great environmental ideas, use the comment section to share them with our readers. Together we can keep working to save this marvelous world for future generations of her inhabitants. And bless you for ALL that you already do!

Blessings to you, Evelyn

© 2015 Evelyn C. Rysdyk 

Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power,A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools, Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, and contributor to Spirited Medicine: Shamanism in Contemporary Healthcare; Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. Her web site is http://www.evelynrysdyk.com.

Sharing the gifts of shamanic spirituality.

December 29, 2014

Psychedelic AiChureck JourneyingSMALLA shaman is someone who intentionally traverses the boundary of physical reality. This intentional journey between the realms of the ordinary and non-ordinary realms is what defines a shaman and is the source of strength, power and ability to solve personal and community problems. The process itself also changes your brain to improve memory, enhance creativity, boost the ability to synthesize information and problem solve, heighten intuition and lower stress. In other words, it improves your wellbeing emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Journeying assists you to better interact with the numinous beings that enliven nature. While spirits are nearly impossible to see or hear with your ordinary senses a person who is trained to expand consciousness at will is able to interact with these beings easily by moving beyond their ordinary way of perceiving the world.

Having the ability to gain a deeper perspective and get the guidance and support from spirit allies changed my life in many ways. It healed my depression, helped me to find my true calling, turbo-boosted my creativity and even led me to my beloved. Through my journey experiences into the parallel realms of consciousness/spirit, I developed relationships with the beings of nature, protective power animals and my ancestors. With their steady and loving guidance, I was much more able to move through my life with more wisdom, clarity and joy.

It is for these reasons and so many more that I am grateful to be able share the incredible worlds of the shaman with you. It is why I write my books and also why I teach advanced trainings.

In my Spirit Passages Two-year Initiatory Apprenticeship in Advanced Shamanism, I am able to guide you and assist you in perfecting your abilities to connect deeply with the beings in higher realms who are eager to help you live a richer and more fulfilling life. Through this program, you can be more resilient, more effective and open up beautiful new possibilities for your life.

In addition, the program will give you the tools to be able to assist other people, animals and even land that have become spiritually ill. All of the classic methods shamans use for healing others will be covered in the program. You will also have opportunities to experience initiatory ceremonies that will strengthen your trust in yourself and the loving support of the spirits.

I am truly excited to provide you with the spiritual tools to help you live a truly empowered life and to be a positive influence in the world. As you change, you will create ripples through out the web of life. As each of us makes our own shifts, we exponentially increase our ability to heal ourselves and our planet. Now more than ever before, we need to have people like you who are ready to heed the call of their own souls.

Are you ready to shrug off your small self to become the powerful being you were meant to be?

Blessings to you, Evelyn

© 2015 Evelyn C. Rysdyk

Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power,A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools, Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, and contributor to Spirited Medicine: Shamanism in Contemporary Healthcare; Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. Her web site is http://www.evelynrysdyk.com.

 

 

A Long History of Serving Life

November 12, 2013

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“Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.”

~Edwin Hubbel Chapin

A skeleton was discovered in Dolni Věstonice, an Upper Paleolithic archeological site in the Czech Republic about one hundred miles north of Vienna, Austria. This site was radiocarbon dated to approximately 26,000 years ago. While Dolni Věstonice is now arguably near the geographic center of Europe, during the Upper Paleolithic period, the area was on the edge of the glacial ice. The remains mentioned above were of a woman in her forties–old enough in those days to have been a grandparent. As an elder, she would have been important to her people. Rachel Caspari argued in Scientific American that elderly people were highly influential in prehistoric society. Grandparents assisted in childcare, perpetuated cultural transmission through storytelling and contributed to the increased complexity of stone tools through their practiced experience. In other words, during the Stone Age an elder was a vital repository of all the collected knowledge, history and wisdom of her or his people.

Not simply set apart by her advanced years, the woman of Dolni Věstonice also had a marked facial asymmetry. Her high-status burial and facial deformity suggests that she was a shaman. According to Simon Fraser University archaeologist, Brian Hayden it was “not uncommon that people with disabilities, …[were thought to have]… unusual supernatural powers.” This special woman was buried under two engraved mammoth shoulder blades. She and the contents of her grave had been painted with red ochre after her death. Over her head was a flint spearhead and in one hand she held the body of a fox.

A shaman interred 12,000 years ago, in what is now northern Israel, was afforded similar honors when she was buried. Relatively old for her time, the nearly 5-foot-tall, 45-year-old woman was placed in a mud-plastered and rock-lined pit in a cave and was buried beneath a large stone slab. She was buried with fifty carefully arranged tortoise shells, parts of wild pigs, an eagle wing, a cow tail, a leopard’s pelvis, two marten skulls, the forearm of a wild boar, which was laid in alignment with her upper left arm and other artifacts, including a human foot. This may have been a talisman to assist her in walking as her skeleton revealed that she would have limped quite badly.

Approximately 9,000 years ago, a younger female shaman was interred in a foot-thick layer of red ochre in what is now Bad Dürrenberg, Germany. Like her predecessors, she was interred with many extraordinary grave goods including crane, beaver and deer bones as well as antlers and shells. She was also accompanied by a year-old-child. Entering the spirit realms for the final time, she wore her shamanic costume. A spray of feathers was attached to her right shoulder. Over her leather dress, she wore a deerskin cape with the face of the deer drawn up on her head as a hood. Antlers were affixed to the top. A breastplate of leather and split boar tusks hung on her chest and the area above her eyes and around her face was lavishly decorated with suspended slices of boar tusks and other animal bones and teeth. Along her brow, a fringe mask or “eye curtain” of deer incisors dangled in front of her eyes.  Her toothy mask was very similar to the fringe masks that are still worn by the shamans of Siberia and Central Asia.

Throughout Northern European and Asian cultures, shamans were frequently women. The shaman’s grave of Dolni Věstonice has many similarities to others found across the region that range in dates from the Upper Paleolithic to a much more recent past. In the far-eastern Russian Arctic, a grave from only 2,000 years ago and dating from the Old Bering Sea culture held the skeleton of an elderly woman with a wooden mask at her knees. Her grave had been constructed so that she appeared to have been laid to rest in the body of a whale. Many of the artifacts found in this grave are objects would have been used in women’s activities, however her grave also held objects related to healing, rituals, and dance, indicating that this woman was most probably a shaman. From the wide varieties of burial offerings in her grave, it was also clear that her people revered her.

An assurance of abundance.

Evidence suggests that the Upper Paleolithic shaman from Dolni Věstonice was also a potter. This shaman was fashioning and firing clay over twelve thousand years before any other pottery vessels were made. She created many ceramicfigurines of animals and one particular figure that resembled other so-called “Venus” statues of the time period. These prehistoric statuettes  of women portrayed with similar robust physical attributes have been found in Europe and as far east as Irkutsk, Oblast, Siberia near Lake Baikal. The earliest figure found in Hohle Fels near Schelklingen, Germany was dated to 35,000 years ago while the most recent found in northern France was dated from 6,000 years ago. This suggests that our ancestors continued creating these images in bone, ivory, stone and clay for over 29,000 years. That equates to nearly fifteen hundred generations! For any cultural idea to be transmitted so accurately from one generation to the next for so many thousands of years, it had to have been considered vitally essential to the culture.

A recent study published in the Journal of Anthropology suggests that the figures constitute evidence that a shared cultural tradition existed in Stone Age Europe. Given that most of the figures were created during the extremely challenging climatic conditions that prevailed at this time, it seems likely that only a very few women survived to become corpulent elders as depicted by many of the figurines. Therefore, these portable images of very well nourished, multiparous mature females may have been talismans for success in the very difficult struggle to survive and reproduce. In this way, the figures can be seen as related to shamanic doll-like effigies used by Siberian tribes until the 20th century that were used to protect the people from calamities such as disease, famine or injury. Like those effigies, these ancestral female figures may have functioned as spiritual containers that held the essence or spirit of the symbolic mother/grandmother—a symbol of bounty, fertility and nourishment. In other words, these figures were may well have been talismans to assure survival, longevity and tribal continuance.

The spiritual image of elder females lasted for nearly three hundred centuries. Shaman graves tell us that particularly gifted women were also honored. Since these ideas persisted for so long, one can imagine that even after a few generations, they would have formed part of the culture’s primordial past. In other words, a female holy image and the female shaman would have been concepts that had “always been so.”

As it was in the beginning…

During the early 20th century prior to the Soviet Revolution, the cultural anthropologist M.A. Czaplicka gathered together much of the remaining shamanic knowledge of Siberia tribes. In her 1914 book, Aboriginal Siberia, A Study in Social Anthropology she quotes a Chukchee proverb, “Woman is by nature a shaman.” Indeed, hunter-gatherer tribes across the Arctic, Siberia, Central and Eastern Asia preserved the tradition that the prototypical “first shaman” was female. It is for that reason that both male and female shamans’ ceremonial costumes across Asia reflect traditional woman’s garments such as aprons, skirts and caps. Czaplicka said it this way, “Taking into account the present prominent position of female shamans among many Siberian tribes and their place in traditions, together with certain feminine attributes of the male shaman (such as dress, habits, privileges) and certain linguistic similarities between the names for male and female shamans…in former days, only female shamans existed, and..the male shaman is a later development.…”

This information is not meant to suggest in any way that men cannot be shamans or that male shamans didn’t exist in prehistory! Rather it is to suggest that a primeval female archetype is central to the deepest roots of the tradition. In venerating the feminine as a source of power, perhaps the people of prehistory were acknowledging that we have all come into this world from a womb and that our species–indeed all species–were born from the body of Mother Earth. Her elements make our physical life possible and a deep connection with the natural world–with Mother Nature in all her magnificence and abundance–is at the heart of shamanic spirituality.

Within the Earth’s sacred embrace, the masculine and feminine energies of life dance together to bring new life into the world. New generations of human beings and other creatures are born from this joining. Each new being is then nurtured by the Earth’s air, her water, her plants and animals. When our physical lives are over, we return again to her body. Our planet is pivotal to Life’s sacred circle of existence. Those who make the choice to align with the Earth and step into service for her multitude of life forms serve to support Life’s continuance. May every generation have people who choose to serve in our shamanic ancestors’ footsteps.

NOTE: The author is teaching the shamanic journey process on the weekend of December 7 & 8 in Falmouth, Maine. You can register by clicking on the links here: www.spiritpassages.com/calendar.html

(Photo credit for the shaman of Bad Dürrenberg © LDA Sachsen-Anhalt, Bild: Karol Schauer)

© 2013/2014 Evelyn C. Rysdyk

Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power, Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, the soon-to-be published A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools and contributor to Spirited Medicine: Shamanism in Contemporary Healthcare; Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is.  Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives.  www.spiritpassages.com

Engaging the soul’s power through shamanic storytelling

August 10, 2013

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From a shamanic perspective, stories have incredible power. They can paint the picture of an era, give you courage, keep history alive, help to prepare you for a life event, teach you about a skill, and so much more. You can learn how to take your intentional use of language to heal, soothe, and enfold a child or support a person to leave the world as they are dying.

I am a fortunate woman, as my entire childhood was filled with stories. I was the firstborn and entered the world at a time when many of my elders were still living. Not only did I have two sets of grandparents, but their siblings were also a part of my life. I was blessed to spend many hours with my great grandmother, who had several living siblings, as well. More importantly, all of these elders were storytellers.

From the people on my mother’s side of the family, I heard stories of Norway and tales of making a new life in America. My grandmother grew up on a farm while my grandfather took to the sea as a young man. I learned many diverse stories, from tales of the little people on the farm to how pitch was gathered in the hold of a ship in South America to be brought back to Norway for shipbuilding. My grandfather, who learned carpentry aboard such a codfish boat, also shared hair-raising stories of building the wooden footings for what became New York’s Throgg’s Neck Bridge.

On my paternal side, I heard wonderfully colorful stories of Old New York and family tales from generations long gone. I heard of ministers, strong women, racehorse owners, fisher-folk and much more. From the old ones’ stories, I learned much about the challenges and triumphs of their lives as well as those of our ancestors. No matter how difficult my family elders’ existence may have been, their stories were deliciously vibrant and were generally well seasoned with humor and laughter.

For orally based tribal cultures, storytelling was a way to preserve the accumulated wisdom of history and transmit all that to succeeding generations. Stories included the tales which explained the cosmos, mythic stories of their ancestors, how their people came to be, how to hunt with respect, proper behavior, and much more. Imagine an encyclopedia of knowledge shared one story at a time! Children in an oral culture would absorb the collective wisdom through the elders’ tales in a way that wasn’t very different to my own childhood.

When the written word became paramount, oral traditions began to die out. This is unfortunate, as it contributes to the unraveling of traditional cultures. As ethnic and tribal groups lose their stories, they lose the glue that holds them together, and what was once an intact culture starts to die. Among more isolated tribal cultures, this dismantling of culture was delayed until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but it was no less chilling. This certainly occurred in Europe. When the Brothers Grimm began to write down the old stories, the tales had already begun to decompose from the lack of being told. When people no longer have cultural supports, they lose an important rudder for finding their way through the world. Then, as cultures die, people themselves can become lost, falling into spiritual illness, depression, anxiety, drug addiction, and alcoholism.

Stories can also be a tool for healing a person, a physical place or one’s own spirit. By changing the stories that we tell ourselves, we can help to transform the pains of our pasts and pave the path for new ways of thinking about who we are. In so doing, we also change the way we behave towards ourselves and also toward others. Working with story can support us to deeply believe in our own power.

A great way to begin to work with stories in a shamanic way is to tell a story about who you are. Either speak the story into a recording device or write it down. Include where you were born, how and where you were raised and how you’ve come to be who you are as an adult. Make sure to include the highs and the lows.

After you’ve done that, it is time to start the story again.  This time, begin with the phrase, “Once upon a time, there was a precious child…”  How would you tell that same story now? Tell it as though you were about to entrance a small child with a story! Don’t alter any of the events that created who you are, simply change the way that you speak about them. Take the ordinary facts of the events of your life, change the tone or perspective and tell them in such a way that they are transformed into a heroine or hero’s journey! This is not to simply romanticize the facts of your story or lie, but to see all the parts of your life’s journey in the larger context of your becoming.  Continue to ask yourself how past events contributed to who you are now.

Completing your new story will take some practice and diligence to achieve. To change your old, tired story you will need to reframe those parts where you are most stuck in old wounds, blame, shame, self-pity, anger or helplessness! Working through this will take some time and must be done in an atmosphere of loving attentiveness. Remind yourself along the way that the prize will be to finally close the chapter on the unhealed aspects of your life that are sapping your strength and power. If some parts of your old story stubbornly refuse to be shifted, get some support to help with the healing. Remember, you weren’t wounded in a vacuum. People participated in your hurts and pains. For that reason, it is important to seek the companionship and guidance of healing people to support your metamorphosis!

While you are engaged in this work, also take the time to reread the fables and fairy tales of your childhood. Observe how many of them were fraught with danger, sadness, loss and peril. The child was orphaned, she was poor, she was hurt and then notice how the change unfolded. Often times, a story’s hero or heroine doesn’t understand what is happening until the story is over! Look at how simple events changed the course of their journeys. Also make note of how the heroes or heroines were changed by their life experiences in the story. In most cases, the stories remind us that heroines and heroes are made by the experiences that they live through. If a “fairy godmother” element is involved in the tale you’re reading, look at how you could rewrite that aspect of the story to have the central character become the one who makes the transformation possible!  Use your creative mind and heart to turn the problem over until a solution reveals itself!

Remember that as you retell your story in a new way, you are actually reprograming your subconscious. This is the part of us that is always listening. By paying attention to how we process and interpret our sensory experiences, our subconscious gets programmed with the beliefs that we hold about ourselves and our world. Why this is important is because this aspect of our mind is what is working with our feelings to create our reality. As we change the information this aspect of ourselves receives, we are teaching it new ways to program our present reality as well as our future selves.

If you are feeling that you aren’t creative enough or don’t have the energy to do this, take some shamanic journeys or do some meditations to get inspired.  I think about inspiration as the action of being inspirited. Extreme and altered states can provide a kind of spaciousness to our consciousness that allows us to “dream bigger.” Indeed, when teaching my students about the shamanic state of consciousness, I do not talk about altering ordinary consciousness, rather I suggest that the shamanic state of consciousness is an expanded state of awareness or perception which produces an altered experience of reality.

While we journey, physical and emotional changes occur in our bodies. Spirit can support us to feel more imaginative, enlivened and enriched. From that feeling of fullness, we have the energy and creativity to move any project forward. Learning stories and how to share them is also a part of a shaman’s journey. While there are very few spiritual storytellers who are living, there are legions of them in the spirit world. Storytellers of every tradition and time period are available to those who can walk between the worlds.

Journey to your teacher or power animal to have them take you to a storytelling teacher. Ask that teacher questions such as, “How do I let go of the parts of my old story that hold me back?”  Another good one to ask is,  “What are the stories the spirits share about me?” Finally a great journey to do is to ask the storytelling teacher, “What is the story I need to be telling about my life now?”

Each of these journeys can help you to reframe the experiences of your past and will change the texture and color of your personal story. By working with the spirit of a master storytelling teacher you can learn how to refine and refresh the storyline to steer the “plot’ of your life in a new direction. As you continue refining your personal story you will begin to more deeply believe in and feel your own intrinsic power.

All of the best storytellers spend a lot of time refining, polishing and crafting their stories until they are mesmerizing to the listener. That is precisely the effect you are reaching toward. Keep refining and telling your story until your true story unfolds. Make your story so beautiful that you subconscious completely releases all of its old limitations! In so doing, you’ll be contributing to having a far more wondrous, amazing and powerful present. And your wondrous present is what contributes to your happily ever after.

© 2013 Evelyn C. Rysdyk

Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power, Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, and contributor to Spirited Medicine: Shamanism in Contemporary Healthcare; Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is.  Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives.  In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is http://www.spiritpassages.com.

Excerpts from Spirit Walking: A Course in Shamanic Power

February 24, 2013

spirit walking smallI’ve ben sharing these excerpts on my Facebook page, but thought you’d like to see a few of them in a collection! The book is available now as a preorder through Amazon.com and will be in bookstores on April 1st. Spirit Walking is filled with many experiential exercises which are much too difficult to share here so you’ll need to pick up a copy! Be sure to read the Foreword by Sandra Ingerman, too! SPECIAL NOTE: My tenth Two-Year Training in Advanced Shamanism and Shamanic Healing begins this April, too! Full-color brochure with a registration form may be found here.)

1.  “…the terms spirit walker and shaman have different meanings in this book. A shaman is a healer—often indigenous—who is recognized as such by her or his community. I use the term spirit walker or shamanic practitioner to distinguish the essence of what it means to be a shaman apart from the role within the community. That is, you not only walk between the realms to access the spiritual, you also walk alongside the spirits of nature and your helping spirits. It is these relationships with spirits, animals, birds, plants, natural forces, and other human beings that provide a fresh way to be in harmony with All That Is.”

2.  “Within every one of our cells, we carry the elemental building blocks of life—DNA—a remarkable double helix-shaped chain of chemical information that shapes our physical form. And housed within the twisting steps of this amazing molecule is the story of our evolution as human beings. … Recent discoveries have documented the fact that inside of the 60,000 to 80,000 genes that constitute our human genome lies the information to create all other life-forms on the planet. When molecular biologists examine the complex strands of our DNA, they also find housed within it more than a blueprint for a human being, but rather an extraordinary library of codes for all life on Earth. We carry the entire interlinked biosphere in every cell. We are part of all of Creation and all of Creation is held within us.”

3.  “Your choice to become a spirit walker requires that you not only learn shamanic methods, but also how to be a true person of power. This path is not one of ego or a journey of grandiosity; but rather instead, it is the humble walk into a deeper relationship with All That Is. A shaman is guided by her or his heart and celebrates the interconnections that unite and nourish all beings.

To be able to become this kind of person, you must go through an evolution. That means learning how to approach the world from a place of love and gratitude that diminishes fear and anger. This is not the way tendency of the culture that surrounds you. Every day you are bathed in the energies of society’s fear, and anger, and the painful expressions of these lower vibrations. From a widespread epidemic of anxiety and depression to outright violence and senseless mayhem, you bear witness to unconscious, poorly modulated expressions of emotional energy. In following the path of the shaman, you learn the discipline to be and behave in a more powerful way.”

4.  “… a shaman’s ability to heal is based upon the power-filled relationships forged with the spirits. Since their shamanic abilities are dependent upon these affiliations, shamans understand the fundamental necessity for keeping these alliances healthy and strong. An attitude of harmonious give-and-take becomes the guiding principle in exchanges within those associations. The Quechua-speaking pacos or shaman-healers of the high Andes refer to this idea of mutual, respectful interaction—which must be always monitored and lovingly attended to—as ayni, which is translated as “sacred reciprocity.” By referring to this mutually beneficial interchange as sacred, they underline a kind of holiness to being in right relationship. In other words, when we interact in this manner, we are somehow more in alignment with the fundamental framework of existence.”

© 2013 Evelyn C. Rysdyk   www.evelynrysdyk.com

Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power, Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, and contributor to Spirited Medicine: Shamanism in Contemporary Healthcare, Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is http://www.spiritpassages.com.

The author’s new Two-Year Training in Advanced Shamanism and Shamanic Healing begins this April.

Picking up the shaman’s drum.

February 9, 2013

Cosmic DrummingSeveral of the tribal shamans with whom I’ve studied began their journey toward becoming a healer while they were still very young children. For instance, the Quechua-speaking Peruvian shaman Puma Quispe Singona, began his training when he was just a child. As a six-year-old boy, he was playing in the river and was struck by lightning. Fortunately, Puma survived. His grandfather, Maximo Quispe recognized that this meant the spirits of the mountains–known there as apus–were calling Puma to be a paqo.

My Nepalese teacher, Bhola Banstola has a similar personal history. He received his calling at a very early age and was taught traditional shamanic healing methods by his family elders. While many tribal shamans have had the benefit of beginning early, there are those who found their lives taking new turns much later in life. I was fortunate to meet several of those people while visiting Nepal.

The Tamang shaman Buddhi Maya Lama, who is better known as Aama Bombo or “Mother Shaman,” began life in Nepal’s North-central hill country. Aama’s people are the indigenous inhabitants of the Himalayan regions of Nepal. Her people are the largest ethnic group found there. They are a Tibeto-Burmese speaking people who trace their ancient ancestry to the Tibetan plateau.

Aama wanted to be a shaman from as early as five-years-old since her beloved father was famous for his gifts as a shamanic healer.  Unfortunately, traditional Tamang culture prohibits women from practicing shamanism and so her father discouraged her desire to follow in his footsteps.

When Aama was sixteen, she moved with her husband to his military residence in Kathmandu. While she was in the city, her father grew ill and before she was able to return home, her father died. This was a terrible blow to her as she lost both her father and her connections to his spiritual world.

At age twenty-five, Aama suddenly began shaking uncontrollably. Her family took her to the hospital as she was thought to be mentally unstable but soon the convulsions ended. A while later, her shaking began again and continued off and on for fourteen months. However, this time Aama was fortunate to have been taken to a Buddhist lama who determined that her problem was spiritual in nature. The lama told her that the spirit of her late father was trying to work through her. Aama’s father had died without finding a suitable person who could receive his shamanic power. Apparently, his spirit believed that, in spite of the Tamang cultural prohibitions, it was only his daughter Aama who had a pure enough heart to work with the power of the gods and his other healing spirits.

Since that time, Aama has continued her work of healing people. Each morning, she starts her day with prayers to Shiva, the deity that is most sacred to Nepalese shamans, and then proceeds back to her home. There, she sees up to one hundred clients a day from all walks of life for healing, divination and blessing. Now seventy three-years old, Aama is widely recognized as a powerful shaman, healer and member of the Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.

Hari Bahadur Khadka or Guruji began his shamanic career at an even later age.  Known as the “egg shaman,” due to his unusual form of shamanic extraction work that is accomplished with eggs, Guruji resides in Durwakot a rural village in the Bhaktapur District of Nepal. He is known all over that country for his ability as a spiritual healer and diviner. His method has been proven effective for a variety of mental and physical diseases and conditions. He has helped people suffering from AIDS, cancer, paralysis, tuberculosis, infertility and ulcers.

While he began his spiritual life at the age of eleven, Guruji did not initially pursue a shamanic calling. He served in the military, became a police officer and worked as an administrator for the Ministry of Finance. It wasn’t until much later that Guruji finally began his shamanic practice. The egg shaman was then fifty-eight-years-old.

Sometimes the life of an established shaman takes a dramatic turn that forces her or him to start over in a new way or a new place. The last Tibetan shaman or lhapa, Pau Nyima Dhondup is one such person. Pau Nyima was born in the Bungpa, Kepyand part of Tibet. When Pau Nyima entered puberty, he was spontaneously chosen by the spirits to continue his family’s healing tradition. At that time, the powerful mountain deity, Nyenchen Thanglha entered his body and the young lhapa began having the visual and auditory initiatory experiences that signaled his calling. Unfortunately, this is the time that people were fleeing Tibet and so he was unable to receive training he needed to master the power.

Finally, when he was in his late twenties, he was able to apprentice with two other lhapas. Like many other Tibetan people, Nyima was forced to flee his homeland. Since that time, he has resided in the Tarshi Palkhiel Tibetan Refugee Settlement on the outskirts of Pokhara, Nepal. There, Nyima performs healings in his modest home. While working, he merges with Nyenchen Thanglha and other spirits including a fierce wild canine that bites and sucks out illness from the lhapa’s patients’ bodies. During these healings, the entranced shaman reveals actual objects to show the patient the sources of their illness. People from around the world have found their way down the grassy lane to his home to receive healings by his spirits.

My partner Allie’s shamanic calling didn’t begin until her very early fifties. She had a severe infection that was treated by a medical center. The provider there also told her that while her illness would be cleared up by medicine, it may also have some underlying message. The practitioner sent Allie to a well-known psychic to get a reading about her illness. There, it was revealed that Allie was being called to be a shaman. While she had always been a spiritual person, this was shocking news! Yet, some part of Allie knew the truth of what the psychic told her. From that point forward, Allie began her shamanic path. She learned the shamanic journey process, which she practiced daily until she was able to begin more formal training.

My own journey along this path formally began in my early thirties. Initially experienced upheaval in every aspect of my existence from where I lived to how I made a living. Initially these changes felt somewhat disorienting, however since I was terribly depressed and in an unfulfilling job I continued my explorations. I soon realized that developing relationships with benevolent spirits and traveling along the shamanic path led me to something far better than anything that had gone before. Today, I am far more fulfilled than at any other time in my life!

Indeed, this sort of calling is becoming more common today. People all over the world are awakening to the path of shamanism. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, executives and other people are discovering that their lives are taking a sharp turn toward the spiritual. They are drawn to work with the spirits. They learn to journey and take our shamanic training programs to develop their relationships with the numinous world. While a few become healers, all of them bring their new connections with the spirits into their ordinary experiences. They find themselves enriched, changed and often make incredible transformations in their own lives as well as the lives of those that they know and love.

While starting something new can feel disorienting or even disturbing, it can lead you to a life of wonder, beauty and service. I believe that those who have stepped into deep relationships with the spirits and with nature are the ones who will make the changes in our culture that will heal our people and our planet. This happens by getting trained to work with spirits safely, learning how to be in heart coherence with those spirits that are around you, and developing shamanic skills that support all aspects of your life to be sacred work. It doesn’t matter if you are very young or well-seasoned, there has never been a better time to take up the shaman’s drum!

© 2013 Evelyn C. Rysdyk

Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic PowerModern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, and contributor to Spirited Medicine: Shamanism in Contemporary Healthcare, Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is.  Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives.  In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is www.spiritpassages.com.

The author’s new Two-Year Training in Advanced Shamanism and Shamanic Healing begins this April.

Information: http://www.spiritpassages.com/initiatorytrainingprograms.html

Printable brochure: http://www.spiritpassages.com/pdfs/2YearGradFlyer.pdf

Living as a Multidimensional Human

January 3, 2013


For as many as one hundred thousand years, shamans have moved beyond the edges of ordinary reality.(1 ) Defying any perceived limits or ideas of what is “real”, they have expanded their minds and spirits into transcendent realms. Their shamanic journeys showed us that we are more than our physical existence and that the invisible world can help us to thrive in this plane of existence. Their journeys helped to open up new pathways of human thought and ability. Furthermore, it is likely that their altered consciousness experiences and relationships with transcendent spirits has contributed to our evolution.

During the shamanic state of consciousness the brain produces high alpha and theta waves while the majority of the brain’s functions shift into the right hemisphere. Though best known for its spiritual benefits, this state of consciousness provides many other blessings. When we experience expanded awareness it literally changes our mind. It produces an enhancement of creative thinking and imagination. Both of these are critical skills for tackling new or challenging situations and for being able to innovate unique solutions.

Additionally, the alpha brain state supports the release of accumulated stress and tensions in the physical body. This in turn supports the organism to be more resilient and able to bring a fresh attitude to any task at hand. At the same time, right brain states enhance the ability to learn new information as well as being able to retain what you have learned.

Intuition is also heightened by right brain activity and especially by alpha brain wave states. A Harvard study determined that up to 80% of business innovators considered intuition a critical component to their success. In addition, high alpha wave states also contribute to better rapport between members of a community or team. This enhancement of cooperation was certainly a contributing factor in the advancement of human culture.

Indeed, author Michael Winkelman suggests that the heightened states of awareness that develops through expanding consciousness has had profound effects on our evolution, our psychology and biology. Furthermore, experience has proven that the alteration of consciousness that shamans perform holds tremendous potential for healing and transformation.

I would argue that when these brain states are coupled with the guidance, insight and support we receive in relationship with our tutelary spirits, the enhancements are even more profound. Based upon my own experience, those of powerful tribal shamans and of other profoundly committed shamanic journeyers, I believe our physical nature and the physical reality around us undergoes transformation when we expand our consciousness. More importantly, these changes are driven by our need to continue our evolution.

For millennia, shamans have moved beyond ordinary time and space into the spiritual realms. Over many thousands of generations, these spiritual dimensions have become nearly tangibly physical locations. Indeed, the Upper, Middle and Lower worlds of spirit are part of every shaman’s spiritual landscape. Thanks to all the journeyers who have come before us, they have become reliable sources of inspiration and guidance.

Following in our ancestral shamans’ footsteps, many more people now enter into the realms of spirit than any other time in our evolution. The influx of people entering these states of consciousness is contributing to a collective evolution. Our journeys are changing us even as the reasons we seek the spirits have also shifted. Today we face challenges to our physical reality and planetary survival that our ancestors could not have imagined. Our new problems require new solutions. As a result, our guiding spirits have begun stretching us beyond the map of the well-know spiritual realms into new dimensions of reality.

For instance, many more people are visiting past and future time bands or entering the quantum world of vibration, or are using the portals of their physical bodies to gain wisdom and insight. Still others are entering into realms that were never previously explored or that have no recognizable parameters. These journeyers are able to accomplish this work because they have nurtured dependable relationships with power animals and spiritual teachers who function as reliable guides for new experiences.

This kind of shamanic evolution is also made possible because all human beings are capable of multidimensional experience. Using our imagination as a springboard, we have the potential to reach solutions that lie beyond our perceptual limitations. As Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Since the act of journeying changes us, stretching ourselves into the familiar shamanic realms and through to previously unexplored dimensions, creates new possibilities. As people continue to open to journeying, our collective consciousness evolves. That is, those of us–who choose to stretch our minds and hearts beyond the known world and into the Multiverse–are actually contributing to the evolution of human potential.(2) We are changing the definitions of what it means to be a human being. Our shifts and changes contribute to the whole and this happens because we are not separate from each other.

If you journey or use deep meditation techniques, you may already be experiencing new dimensions of reality. Your teachers and power animals may be taking you beyond the known spiritual landscapes to assist with your healing or to find solutions to particularly difficult problems. Their assistance is critical for your safety, as the process of expanding consciousness must have clear parameters to assure safety for the physical body and psyche of the journeyer. Every consciousness expanding experience must have a beginning in our familiar ordinary reality. The process of expansion into the spiritual realms must follow a path that is clear so that a final return to ordinary consciousness is secure. If the shaman does not return to ordinary reality, then the healing, guidance or insight they received will not be implemented. This can cause the physical body to either suffer or expire and perhaps more tragically, the evolutionary potential of the experience for the collective will be lost. My spirit teacher, Grandma has said on many occasions that, “It isn’t how far your go, but how well that you return for it is here that the magic is made manifest.” And I would add the very act of going and returning actually manifests a magic of its own!

Having the constant and loving guidance of spirits you have come to implicitly trust allows you to transcend previous limitations of thought and being. With their nurturance and support, it is possible to move beyond the map of the known and into wondrous possibilities that we are only just beginning to imagine. Joseph Chilton Pierce has said that we are “hard wired” for transcendence. If this is true, we are on a most marvelous journey together!

© 2012 Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path and the soon to be published Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power, Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is http://www.spiritpassages.com.

1. The author will be teaching new workshop, “Living as a Multidimensional Human” on January 26th and 27th in Falmouth, Maine. Register at: http://www.spiritpassages.com/calendar.html
2. The author’s next Two-Year Apprenticeship in Advanced Shamanism and Shamanic Healing begins in Spring 2013. More information may be found at: http://www.spiritpassages.com/initiatorytrainingprograms.html.

Spirit Passages Shamanic Inner Body Healing: A Portal to integrated Wisdom

July 4, 2012

In our culture, shamanic healers serve a community with its own special issues. In large part, our culture has honored the cerebral at the expense of the heart and we have neglected the spiritual side of life. The result is that the individuals within our culture are often disconnected from themselves, each other and from Nature herself. Just as peoples of the world living with poor sanitation suffer terrible diseases like typhus or cholera, we Westerners suffer from diseases that have arisen from our way of life.

Whether a person arrives at a shaman’s doorstep due to physical, mental or emotional illness, much of the malaise we experience in our contemporary world originates from our perceived disconnections. A person may feel disconnections within the Self–between her or his body, mind and spirit–as well as with the larger world of society and/or Nature. Whether conscious or unconscious, these disconnections contribute to chronic stress and to illness. Anxiety, depression and autoimmune disorders are wide spread and the incidences of stress-related illnesses are continuing to rise even as conventional therapeutic interventions fall short. Indeed, it is often the case that a patient who seeks out the shaman has tried many other therapies that have failed to alleviate their symptoms.

Spirit Passages Shamanic Inner Body Healing is a form of healing developed by my partner C. Allie Knowlton, nearly two decades ago. This unique method evolved as a tool to access the wisdom and healing that is locked away inside of your being. Whatever the issue–physical, emotional, or spiritual–often times the most valuable pieces in your healing puzzle is seemingly “missing.” You may have done traditional psychotherapeutic work, received shamanic healing, taken medication, learned how to meditate, and kept a dream journal yet still don’t feel “whole.” You may have become discouraged or even despondent at your “lack of progress.” It is in these situations Spirit Passages Shamanic Inner Body Healing work can be most useful.

This practice is based on several key principles. The first is the idea that all healing is a process. All of nature follows this paradigm–the seasons, the weather, the many rhythms of life are all in constant movement. Natural ebbs and surges are normal and expected. More importantly, processes are never complete. Unlike the goal-centered model that contemporary culture seems to ascribe to, a process model offers permission to focus on the present time. You have the freedom to savor sensations, ruminate over imagery and browse through what your mind may have judged as irrelevant details which are, in actual fact, often the keys to healing.

A foundation of the work is realizing that your symptoms are not the enemy, but instead are signposts that show you where you need to focus your attention and energy. Spirit Passages Shamanic Inner Body Healing is one way to access the imagery, sensations and memories which can provide, not only immediate information for healing but also reveal the next steps in your unfolding life process.

Another important key to this work is the understanding that your body is a manifestation of your divine spirit, which is not limited by either time or space. While your spirit is what shapes and infuses your physical being, your body also shapes how your spirit can manifest itself. As a result of this interplay, your physical body can function as a portal into a spiritual realm of wholeness and balance.

During a Spirit Passages Shamanic Inner Body Healing, your own body and spirit act as a doorway to wisdom. This wisdom is unlimited by the restrictions built by the conscious mind or the personality. A session involves an open-ended inquiry process that takes place in the sacred inner landscape. Shamanic realms exist both inside and around your physical body. As a result, you can be supported to go outside of ordinary time and space into your inner spiritual landscape.

Spirit Passages Shamanic Inner Body Healing can be very effective in unwinding many different kinds of limitations you experience. With the assistance of the helping and healing spirits, old traumas and misperceptions that may have been unreachable using other methods can finally be healed. This process has been successful in healing people from wounds and limiting beliefs sustained in utero or during preverbal infancy, to identify and eliminate unconscious, familial and generational patterns, and to heal unresolved issues that have their roots in a past life.

During the course of a session, traditional shamanic healing methods may be used to release a possession, retrieve a soul fragment or bring back a power animal for an aspect of your self, to heal a past life experience or to release your from curses, addictions or a familial dysfunctional pattern. The entire process is witnessed and facilitated by Allie and I. We ask questions to help you find your own interpretation for sensations, images and feelings. Since the information arises from within, each healing unfolds with a rhythm and pace that is safe and uniquely suited to you.

The method is also effective for negotiating better outcomes for surgery and invasive medical procedures by supporting your body, mind and spirit to accept and work in harmony with the intervention, thereby reducing the potential for further traumatization.

To discuss how this dynamic healing modality can support your own healing and personal evolution, call our office at True North Health Center (207-781-4488) to set up an initial consultation. Allie and I would be delighted to help you!

© 2012 Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path and the soon-to-be-published, Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power; Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is http://www.spiritpassages.com.

Shining a lIght in the shadow

April 30, 2012

This Spring, the country of Norway chose to recognize shamanism as a “religion.” In truth, shamanism is not a religion, but rather a way of perceiving the world that includes the use of visionary  methods which  facilitate our communication with the marvelous field of sentience surrounding us. Yet, this recognition by Norway is a breakthrough. Firstly, the edict finally legally acknowledges the legitimacy of the indigenous spiritual traditions of the Sami people. These people are the ancient inhabitants of Scandinavia. Over the centuries, their spiritual practices were driven underground by government and the church. Indeed, the Sami experienced the same kinds of repression that Native Americans experienced in this country. From  children being forced to attend boarding school, suppression of language and culture to the widespread destruction of Sami shaman drums, ritual objects and sacred sites.

Norway’s step, which echoes the 2008 applogy the country of Australia made to the Aboriginal people for laws and policies that “inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss”, shows that some governments are willing to own their shadow sides and begin to create change.

Knowing our own dark shadow sides can offer us a pathway to liberation. The shadow side of us often holds judgement, creates blame,  shames or hates, and capable of inflicting pain. It is the side of us that can hurt others and even have the capacity to kill. It can see other human beings as animals or “things.” No matter who we believe ourselves to be, a dire enough circumstance can cause us to be cruel, hateful or even seek to destroy another.

These feelings are a part of our human psyche. To be able to liberate ourselves from these demons, means first acknowledging the existence of them.  The process of exploring the horrors of darkest self, or what I call “getting to know the inner Mengele,” can prevent us from taking unconscious actions from a shadow feeling, perception or thought. When we know our darkness and heal those places that make us operate from the shadow, can we truly make conscious choices about how we desire to be and behave. Only then can our Light be honestly and deeply bright.

http://www.tnp.no/norway/panorama/2792-shamanism-approved-as-a-religion-in-norway

© 2012 Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is http://www.spiritpassages.com.