A blog about astrology, astrology aspects and Tarot.
|Posted on May 6, 2020 at 9:50 AM||comments (2)|
Tomorrow’s (May 7-8) Supermoon in Scorpio is overflowing with beaming energy, the richest creative inspiration, lots of practical magic and so much empowerment! (Rebirth!)
It's the Flower Moon of the year and it's the final supercharged Supermoon of the year.
In so many ways, the cosmic stage is being set for huge positive transformation, even if for some of you it may feel dreadful at times, let Mars and Pluto know you’re ready to roll! A’Ho!
First and foremost, as always, I hope that you and all your loved ones are safe, healthy and well.
And, if you're at home right now like I am, I hope you're feeling as grounded and as centered as possible.
This Supermoon shines a light on a new-- or a more clear-- path forward in life.
Its themes urge us to stand in our power and glow even brighter. It's a time for more creative freedom and radical self-expression, intuition and innovation.
All of this will help you to becomes more magnetic, multiplying your manifesting power. (Mars)
Release what needs to go. (Pluto)
Every Full Moon is thought of as a time to let go of what's not needed to make space for what IS wanted! There are so many habits and patterns we can release from our lives to make space for more greatness!
Are there things you're ready to release in terms of lifestyle habits or patterns in order to gain more of what you want?
--You can write a list of everything you want to release.
--Once you're done writing it, read your list (I like to read it out loud) and decide that, without a doubt, you're ready to release all of it.
--Now, tear up your list, imagining that you're really releasing it all as you shred that paper!
-- If you're adventurous and can do it safely (*safety first!) you can even burn your torn-up paper list in an old pot, then extinguish it in water. (my fav-really does burn away old beliefs)
--Once you're done, it's time to write out all that you're ready to welcome in! (great manifesting power)
And, of course, you can clear some clutter at home if you've got something to clear. We can always speak to our roomates(belongings we have) and switch them around if needed for re-new! energy and attraction. Create more magnetism in your home and your life.
Scorpio-a water sign. Refresh everything with the power of water. Water is the start of all creativity. It's where new things begin. We are made of 3/4 water! It's also the incredible purifying element that cleanses away unwanted energy. (Salt bath, soak feet in salt water, showers-allow the water to cleanse you by internally speaking to the water element and it is so. Spray your apt/house and mop your floors - you don’t need ingredients-the power of intention and belief is your best dis-infectant! Purify your drinking water with a pendulum or just the power of intention and belief that it is purified) use your imagination. Get deep beyond the norm. Scorpios do this. Great investigators of the unknown-lol, me)
Wash wash wash!
Here’s a recipe if you need one for your floors.
You can mix up a bit of white vinegar in water (I use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, but always test your floors first-- this works for me on well-sealed surfaces) or use any floor cleaner you prefer.
Typically there are things-- big and small (Pluto) that never get cleaned because we just don't think about them often. Washing them can be epic renewal that's instantly rewarding!
Making (and using) Moon water is ultra-refreshing.
Put jars (or even glasses or a jug) of water out in the moonlight Wednesday, Thursday or even Friday and let them sit for at least a day. If you don't have a space outside, place them in a window or on a patio with the intention that they'll soak up the moonlight.
You can use this moon-infused water for just about anything. I love to water houseplants with it, and I always love to clean with it.
Embrace your magic!
Navigating new situations, starting new projects and emerging into the world with new perspective, these actions all flow easier when you're guided by your deepest feelings. Scorpios feel deeply.
Draw, paint, doodle. There, behind the scenes, scorpio will find an answer.
Nap! They’re great. Beyond a nap is a nap. Downloads and uploads are happening!
Meditation, deep breathing, yoga, meditative walks, gardening... these are all excellent as well.
Bake. Nourish yourself with healthy seafood or foods that nourish your internal water system. Hydration is always powerful.
If you can, head to any nature water, sit with the water. Listen to it speak to you. If you can’t get out to nature water, then listen to tte water run in your bathtub, shower, YouTube videos offering meditation with water.
Embrace your Inner Mystic.
If you've studied ancient healing techniques, have decks of oracle cards, tons of oils, magic herbs or anything else that shifts your energy that's considered very mystical or metaphysical, now's the time to embrace it all in the service of strengthening your intuition and who you truly are!
This Moon calls us to go deeper, to investigate the details and make the plans(Pluto/Mars). Even if this process takes some time, it's well worth it. You'll be astonished at how much more crystal clear things become once you dig into the details.
Looking for deeper answers through the dream world? Write your question and place it under your pillow at night when you sleep. You’re bound to get your answer.
There are so many cosmic shifts happening right now!
Stay blessed and loved!
|Posted on May 5, 2020 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
I know Pluto has been throwing some punches since its Retrograde on April 25 in Capricorn.
The May 7 full moon in Scorpio has a spiritual, healing and compassionate influence because of Mercury sextile Neptune. Breathe Breathe Breathe. This is the first positive moon phase for six weeks. FINALLY! It will help soften Plutos power. Also the retrograde Pluto contains the message, “Return of lost power!”
A full moon has a relationship with the previous new moon. The April 22 new moon conjunct Uranus and square Saturn brought unpleasant change that was restrictive and depressing. Full Moon May 2020 allows you to heal and then dream and imagine a brighter future. The May 7 full moon lasts for two weeks up to the May 22 new moon.
|Posted on May 5, 2020 at 6:10 PM||comments (0)|
Venus retrograde 2020 begins on May 13 at 21° Gemini and ends on June 25, at 5° Gemini.
Venus retrograde generally makes it harder to give and receive love and affection. During this FATED (meaning not conscious about the situation) period in your love life, old friends or lovers may reappear or you may relive past life experiences in order to sort out karmic issues.
Venus retrograde May 2020 is square Neptune which increases the need for tenderness and affection but can also cause disillusionment in love, confusion, and deception.
You may experience feelings of insecurity about yourself and how you look. A poor self-image can lead to relationship difficulties but there are other effects of this aspect that can lead to disappointment in your love life.
You may also be more susceptible to lies, deception, disloyalty, fraud, and generally being taken advantage of. So if you are dating during Venus retrograde 2020, it is most important to avoid over-idealizing a romantic interest as you could ignore their obvious faults which are plain for others to see.
Venus square Neptune will be especially challenging for love relationships that already suffer from suspicion and mistrust. But relationships based on mutual understanding and trust may actually enjoy increased tenderness and romance.
The potential for low self-esteem and lack of self-discipline present a challenge if you are dieting. I know I’ve been in and out of the kitchen, lol. You could also be more susceptible to the depressive and addictive influence of drugs and alcohol. Regular users should beware of overdose or being ripped off by dealers. This aspect also suggests the coronavirus pandemic will be more difficult to control, with an increased risk of infection and disease. Please be cautious, not so risky when it comes to your health.
|Posted on March 20, 2016 at 9:25 AM||comments (0)|
The butterfly is an archetypal symbol of transformation, transmutation, and magic in world mythology and religion. Virtually all cultures have marveled at the magical process that transforms an ungraceful caterpillar into a magnificent fluttering butterfly. According to Hindu mythology, Brahma became filled with deep calm while observing a caterpillar’s transformation and was convinced to achieve perfection through rebirth. In China the butterfly was a symbol of conjugal bliss and joy. In the Hopi tradition unmarried girls of the Butterfly Clan wore their hair in the shape of butterfly wings. In many traditions, this most exquisite yet fragile creature was a symbol of the soul. Many cultures around the world believe that butterflies are the spirits of the deceased communing again with the earth.
I love to commune with the fluttering butterflies I encounter in my earth walk. They are dancing spirits made of color and joy. Many butterfly encounters have been powerful spiritual experiences in my life, like the monarch butterfly that landed on my nose the day after a loved one passed on. When I encounter one of these remarkable beings, I stop and observe them carefully. I have learned to trust these endearing spirit guides. Butterflies have brought me messages from my ancestors and guided me to specific places of power in the web of life on many occasions.
Sacred Power Places
Earth, human, and solar processes are interwoven through a vibrational resonant network around the planet. At the intersection points of the planet’s energy web exist holy places, power spots, or acupuncture points. According to the Hopi, the world would fall apart without these nodes of concentrated vitality. These sacred places are like nerve centers that distribute vital energy throughout the surrounding natural systems. When a human being goes to a power place, the attention of the Earth Mother is drawn to that area, and energy begins to flow to that spot because our bodies, like hers, are electromagnetic. Like acupuncture needles, humans are capable of maintaining the harmonious flow of the planetary energy meridians by making an Earth connection at power places.
There are special energy fields at power places that facilitate healing and transformation. Natural ionization occurs at power sites and ionized air is known to affect hormone levels, brain function, and consciousness. Air ions are charged molecules of common gaseous elements in the air, which form when uncharged stable molecules lose or gain an electron due to some disruption. Negative air ions carry an extra electron, producing a negative electrical charge. In nature, the catalysts of negative ions include waterfalls, ocean breakers, evergreen forests, caves, the summits of mountains, and the presence of unusually strong electromagnetic fields at power spots. An abundance of negative air ions invigorates us, reduces fatigue, stimulates the immune system, and helps open the portals of the mind to alternate realities. The spirits that inhabit power points are ready and willing to communicate their energies to those who come in gratitude, openness, and humility. Butterfly Medicine protects sacred power places and facilitates transformation.
The Cycle of Transformation
Butterfly Medicine is all about transformations, the element of Air, and mental powers. Butterfly can bring clarity to your mental process, help you organize the project you are undertaking, and assist you in finding the next step in your career or life path. The power that Butterfly brings to us is akin to the air. It is the mind, and the ability to know the mind or to change it. It is the art of transformation. Butterflies teach us by example about self-transformation. Scientific research has shown that the butterfly is the only living being capable of completely changing its genetic structure. During the process of transformation, the caterpillar's DNA totally changes into that of a butterfly. Thus, it is the symbol of the never-ending cycle of transformation.
To use Butterfly Medicine, you must determine your position in the cycle of self-transformation or transmutation. Like Butterfly, you are always at a certain station in your life activities. You may be at the egg stage, which is the beginning of all things. This is the stage at which an idea is born, but has not yet become a reality. To bring an intended pattern into being, you must first undergo a self-transformation. Make a clean sweep of negative, limiting, or otherwise outmoded patterns, and then start anew. The larva stage is the point at which you decide to create the idea in the physical world. The cocoon stage involves going within; doing or developing your idea or project. You must listen to your inner voice. The final stage of transformation or transmutation is the leaving of the chrysalis and birth. The last step involves sharing the colors and joy of your creation with the world.
The Rhythm of Transformation
The above linear image is Hexagram 50 from the I Ching, the ancient Chinese oracle and "book of change." It is known as Transformation. This hexagram image symbolizes the transforming power of intent (wind) when aligned with the clarity and flow of intuitive mind (fire). It implies that you must rely on your intuition to guide you toward your intended objective. Following the intuitive sense connects you to the guiding forces of the cosmos. When you renew the flow of intuitive mind, synchronous activity appears within consciousness as the most natural thing to do. Whatever it is, it will carry you to what you need to do next in order to embody your idea in the material world. Just as a caterpillar emerges as a beautiful butterfly from the cocoon, so this cycle of transformation will give wings to your vision.
More importantly, this hexagram image depicts a particular drum pattern that renders the essence of the hexagram into sound (see my book I Ching:The Tao of Drumming). The pattern image or six-line configuration is the visual representation of an archetypal condition. The I Ching is a codebook of archetypal patterns, in which the hexagrams counsel appropriate action in the moment for a given set of circumstances. While the pattern image symbolizes a particular condition, the drum pattern pulsates a particular resonance, which stimulates, works with, and informs the body, mind, and spirit in the most optimal manner for effecting change or harmonizing with change. A solid yang line _____ symbolizes consolidated, unified energy moving upward or forward and represents one beat. A broken yin line __ __ symbolizes collective, cooperative energy pressing downward and represents two beats or one heartbeat. All I Ching hexagrams are read or played from bottom to top.
The rhythmic pattern of Hexagram 50, Transformation is depicted below. To play the rhythm of Transformation, you simply drum a heartbeat, followed by three single beats, followed by a heartbeat, ending with one final beat, and then pause before beginning the cycle again. Follow your inner sense of timing as to both the tempo and time span to drum. Trust your inner timing. It connects you to the resonances affecting you at this moment in time.
Line 6 _____ drum
Line 5 __ __ drum—drum
Line 4 _____ drum
Line 3 _____ drum
Line 2 _____ drum
Line 1 __ __ drum—drum
While drumming, you should have a receptive attitude of calm, positive expectation. Such resonant receptivity allows whatever factors or forces are present to fully penetrate your senses. Any attempt to analyze or conceptualize the experience will only fragment the resonant field. The key is still the mind and focus your attention on the hexagram image. As the drumming progresses and your inner image of the hexagram becomes clearer, close your eyes and feel yourself being carried away by the rhythm, as if going on a journey into yourself. With time and patience, the rhythm archetype will begin to release a rush of intuitive ideas. Inspiration and insight regarding the unfolding pattern of your destiny may flow into your awareness. However, it is not essential that you become cognizant or consciously aware of any particular insight or guidance. Simply resonate in sync with the vibrational pattern of the hexagram. The qualities needed to transform a personal vision into a reality will interpenetrate every aspect of your being. These qualities will be engendered in you and resonate out to influence all aspects of your experience in the same manner.
After drumming the hexagram, repose in the sonic afterglow of physical and spiritual well being. When the final drumbeat fades into silence, an inaudible, yet perceptible pulsation persists for a brief period. This silent pulse is ever present within each of us, but our awareness is rarely in sync with it. Sense this silent pulse resonating within your body. You may experience the sensation of every particle in your body pulsing in sync with the rhythm you just played. This inner pulse entrains to the rhythmic pattern as soon as you begin to drum. This synchrony of inner pulse with the appropriate hexagram rhythm brings you into accord with the dynamics of change.
The Opportunity for Transformation
Butterfly Medicine reminds us that we need to allow ourselves to adapt to changes taking place either within us or surrounding us. We should make necessary changes when the opportunities present themselves. Change is inevitable, but Butterfly teaches us that it does not have to be traumatic. Butterfly teaches us that growth and change can be as gentle, sweet, and joyful as we wish. We should emulate the magical butterfly by moving out of the caterpillar stage, cocooning ourselves within the opportunity for transformation and waiting with seeds of patience for our final manifestation.
Watch out! When you encounter Butterfly Medicine, be prepared to undergo some form of transformation or internal growth.
Copyright © 2013 by Michael Drake
|Posted on March 20, 2016 at 9:10 AM||comments (1)|
Frank Fools Crow was a revered Lakota Holy Man who taught that you must become like a "hollow bone" to be a great healer. He believed that to become a conduit for the source of all creation fulfills the destiny of the human spirit: to sustain the order of existence. According to Fools Crow, "We are called to become hollow bones for our people, and anyone else we can help. We are not supposed to seek power for our personal use and honor. What we bones really become is the pipeline that connects Wakan Tanka, the helpers and the community together." In his becoming a hollow bone, Fools Crow believed that he went through four stages:
1. First, he called in Wakan Tanka (Great Mystery) to rid himself of anything that would impede him in any way, such as doubt, questions or reluctance.
2. Then he recognized himself as a clean tube, ready to be filled with hope, possibilities, and anxious to be filled with power.
3. He experienced the power as it comes surging into him.
4. Finally, giving the power away to others, knowing that as he is emptied out, the Higher Powers will keep filling him with even greater power to be given away.
Becoming a Hollow Bone
Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply seven times. Let your abdomen rise and fall as you breathe. Inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, and then exhale for a count of four. Focus on the breath as it enters the nose and fills your lungs, and then gently exhale any tension you might feel, clearing the energy channels of your body. Release all of your worldly concerns, doubts, and fears, allowing them to drift off on the air of the wind, on the breath of life. Feel yourself relaxing with each breath.
When you are fully relaxed, ask the "Higher Powers" to remove any blockages that prevent you from functioning as a hollow bone. Repeat the affirmation, "I choose to be a clean, hollow bone." Visualize yourself as a hollow bone or tube that is all shiny on the inside and empty. The cleaner the bone, the more energy you can channel through it, and the faster it will flow.
Now begin drumming a steady tempo of about 3 beats per second and imagine the power of spirit flowing through you. You may feel it, see it, sense it, or simply imagine it. As you focus on it, it will occur, for all energy follows thought. If your mind wanders, bring the focus of your attention back to the beat of the drum. Drumming opens portals to the spirit world, draws spirit in, and opens you up to receive it.
|Posted on March 20, 2016 at 9:05 AM||comments (0)|
Power Animal Drumming
© 2011 by Michael Drake
A shaman or shamaness, by definition (vide Prof. Hutton, Shamans, Hambledon & London, London 2001), is "someone who works with spirits to help others." Shamanism is the intentional effort to acquire and nurture ongoing relationships with personal helping spirits to gain wisdom, healing techniques, and other vital information that can benefit the community.
What I mean by the term spirits is all the material and immaterial forms of life energy that are all around us. We are woven together into a net of life energies that are all around us. These energies can appear to us in different forms, such as spirits of nature, animals, or ancestors. The spirit world is the web of life itself.
Whether you realize it or not, you have always had helper spirits. Helping spirits are like family and friends, and each has a unique personality. The majority of helping spirits take an animal form, most commonly a mammal or bird. Not everyone experiences helping spirits as animals. In cultures where there are no indigenous animals or even birds or insects, the messengers of spirit are experienced through representations of the elements: air, water, fire, earth, sun, moon, planets, stars, and so on.
A power animal is the archetypal spirit that represents the entire species of that animal. It is actually the spirit of one of the First People, as they are called, who at the end of mythic times turned into the animals as we know them today. Raven, for example, is embodied in each individual member of the raven species, but Raven himself still lives in mythic times. In practice this means that while many shamans may work with Raven spirits, there are not many different raven spirits that work with different shamans. Power animals are valuable allies who can help you navigate through life's challenges and transitions. Many animals will come to guide you, some briefly and others throughout your life.
In the worldview of the shaman, power animals or animal archetypes such as Eagle, Coyote, and Bear represent and protect their entire species. When you connect with a power animal, you align yourself with the collective strength and wisdom of the entire species. One of the most important gifts that animal allies offer is protection and guardianship to the shaman during arduous shamanic tasks. Without this alliance, it is widely accepted that it is impossible to become a shaman. Power animals are themselves great teachers and shamans. In many shamanic cultures, the knowledge imparted by a power animal is considered more important than the practical guidance of a master shaman.
Power animals offer humans a much needed medicine. They remind us of what is innocent and truthful. Animals subsist from the heart, with a deep instinctual knowing that is always connected to the web of life. They live from the heart and are not entrapped by their reason. Humans, on the other hand, tend to live from the head, trying to figure everything out. But the energy that comes in from the source is directed through our hearts. We come into our own power when we learn to live from the heart. The heart attunes us to the flow of a dynamic, interrelated universe, helping us feel connected rather than isolated and estranged.
There are many ways to bring power animal energy into your life. Try any of the following:
Hang pictures of animals around your house or work area.
Read books about animals.
Learn about their connection in the web of life.
Go for a walk in nature.
Take time every day to meditate and tune into an animal.
Simply call or invoke an animal. When you call upon the power of an animal, you are asking to be drawn into complete harmony with the strength of that creature’s essence.
One of the best ways to connect with power animals is through shapeshifting. Shapeshifting is more than just transforming into an animal as is often depicted in shamanic accounts and tales. It is the ability to shift your energies to adapt to the demands and changes of daily life. We all learn which activities, behaviors, and attitudes support or hinder our survival and growth. It is a natural and instinctual ability that we all share. The minimal development of this talent is the ability to mimic. We often mimic for the purpose of learning something or to blend in with our social or physical environment. It implies changing one’s pattern of appearance or behavior, rather than just using what you already have. Actors, for example, are known for their ability to take on the characteristics of another person or thing.
A shapeshifter is one who manipulates their aura or energy field to access a higher or inner power in order to grow and learn. All shapeshifting occurs on an energy level. If everything is broadcasting its own energy pattern and if you could match and rebroadcast the same pattern, then you would take on the appearance and qualities of the thing you were matching. The only constraining factor is the degree of belief, connection, and energy. Learning to shift your consciousness, to align with and adapt your energies to power animals, opens your heart and mind to the wisdom and strength of the animal world. You must empty yourself so that spirit may embody you. "Become like a hollow bone," a Lakota elder once advised me in the sweat lodge.
Power Animal Drumming
Drumming is an excellent way to induce embodiment trance states and facilitate shapeshifting. When an animal spirit is invoked, there is often an accompanying rhythm that comes through. Shamans frequently use these unique rhythms to summon their helping spirits for the work at hand. As Ted Andrews explains in his book Animal Speak, "Some are so skilled at drumming, they can duplicate the rhythms of various animals. There is snake drumming, wolf drumming, hawk drumming -- a drumming for every animal. As the rhythm is created it plays upon the metabolism of the individual causing entrainment -- the individual’s own heart and metabolic rhythm is brought into synchronization with the drum beat. This is used to facilitate a shapeshifting, an aligning with the archetypal forces represented by the animal." (Animal Speak, © 1993 by Ted Andrews, page 224)
Through drumming, it is possible to co-create a resonant field with a power animal. I recently recorded the CD, Power Animal Drumming: Calling the Spirits to help the listener connect with power animals. The spirit calling rhythms on this CD evolved over many years through me and fellow shamanic circle drummers who gained and nurtured enduring personal relationships with helping animal spirits. Each pattern creates a vibratory resonance that allows these spirit helpers to be called forth. The drumbeat is the tuner sound. Each rhythm projects onto the body a supportive resonance or sound pattern to which the body can attune. As one resonates in sync with the rhythm of an animal, energy and awareness are exchanged.
The basic steps to connect with a power animal are as follows:
1. First, select a private and quiet space. Make whatever arrangements are necessary to assure that you will not be disturbed. Dim the lights and sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor.
2. Next, close your eyes and focus on the breath as it enters the nose and fills your lungs, then gently exhale any tension you might feel. Continue this breathing exercise until you feel calm and relaxed.
3. The next step is to frame a simple and clear statement of your intentions. Whether asking for help or merely getting acquainted with an animal, one must clearly convey the purpose of invoking them.
4. After clearly stating your intent, begin listening to the track on the CD corresponding to the animal you wish to invoke, or begin drumming the animal rhythm yourself. It may take a few moments for you to fully synchronize with the drum pattern.
5. As the drumming progresses, vividly imagine with every sense the animal you are invoking. When you can visualize it fully in front of you, imagine that your body is merging with that of the animal. Allow the change to come slowly. It is not uncommon to be and see the animal simultaneously. Be open to the sensations and feelings of being that animal. Feeling is the most important sensation because you want to imagine what it feels like to be that animal. It helps to mimic the posture, movements, and sounds of the animal. Animal sounds and calls often accompany the drum on the CD as an aid in merging. The degree of merging is limited by any negative attitudes such as anger, fear, and doubt. The goal is to merge to the greatest degree possible while still retaining a bit of self-awareness.
6. Finally, separate from the animal by imagining yourself back into your physical body. Do not rush the transformation. Imagine the animal fully and completely outside of you once more. Thank the animal for its power, presence, and assistance. Then allow its image to dissipate.
Be flexible with the steps outlined in this exercise. Adapt and experiment with them. Moreover, your animal guide may gift you with a unique drum beat to summon its presence and power. Remember to thank power animals and seek practical ways to give something of value back to the animal world.
|Posted on March 20, 2016 at 8:55 AM||comments (0)|
Shamanic Music: Sounds of the Soul
© 2011 by Michael Drake
Shamanic music is traditionally performed as part of a shamanic ritual, however it is not a musical performance in the normal sense. The shaman is focused on the healing intention or spiritual energy of what he or she is playing, to the point that musical considerations are minimal. Shamanic music is improvised by the shaman to modify movement and change while actively journeying into the spirit world. It is a musical expression of the soul, supporting the shamanic flight of the soul. Sacred music is directed more to the spirit world than to an audience. The shaman's attention is directed inwards towards communication with the spirits, rather than outwards to any listeners who might be present.
A shaman uses various ways of making sounds to communicate with the spirits, as well as relate the tone and content of the inner trance experience in real time. Shamans may chant, clap their hands, imitate the sounds of birds and animals, or play various instruments. Of particular importance are the shaman's drum and song. Each shaman has his or her own song. It announces the shaman to the spirits and proclaims, "this is me…please help me." The song is usually sung near the beginning of the ritual and is often accompanied by drumming.
The sound of the shaman’s drum is very important. A shamanic ritual often begins with heating the drum head over a fire to bring it up to the desired pitch. It is the subtle variations in timbre and ever-changing overtones of the drum that allow the shaman to communicate with the spiritual realm. The shaman uses the drum to open portals to the spirit world and summon helping spirits. As Tuvan musicologist Valentina Suzukei explains, "There is a bridge on these sound waves so you can go from one world to another. In the sound world, a tunnel opens through which we can pass -- or the shaman’s spirits come to us. When you stop playing the drum, the bridge disappears."1
When a spirit is invoked, there is often an accompanying rhythm that evolves. Shamans frequently use specific rhythms to "call" their spirit helpers for the work at hand. A shaman may have a repertoire of established rhythms or improvise a new rhythm, uniquely indicated for the situation. Shamans may strike certain parts of the drum to access particular helping spirits. The drumming is not restricted to a regular tempo, but may pause, speed up or slow down with irregular accents.
Shamans are also known for their ability to create unusual auditory phenomena. According to Scottish percussionist Ken Hyder, who has studied with Siberian shamans, "Shamans tend to move around a lot when they are playing, so a listener will hear a lot of changes in the sound…including a mini-Doppler effect. And if the shaman is singing at the same time, the voice will also change as its vibration plays on the drumhead."2 Furthermore, in a recent ethnographic study of Chukchi shamans, it was found that in a confined space, shamans are capable of directing the sound of their voice and drum to different parts of the room. The sounds appear to shift around the room, seemingly on their own. Shamans accomplish this through the use of standing waves, an acoustic phenomenon produced by the interference between sound waves as they reflect between walls. Sound waves either combine or cancel, causing certain resonant frequencies to either intensify or completely disappear. Sound becomes distorted and seems to expand and move about the room, as the shaman performs. Moreover, sound can appear to emanate from both outside and inside the body of the listener, a sensation which anthropologists claimed, "could be distinctly uncomfortable and unnerving."3
The Shaman's Horse
The drum -- sometimes called the shaman's horse -- provides the shaman a relatively easy means of controlled transcendence. Researchers have found that if a drum beat frequency of around 180 beats per minute is sustained for at least fifteen minutes, it will induce significant trance states in most people, even on their first attempt. During shamanic flight, the sound of the drum serves as a guidance system, indicating where the shaman is at any moment or where they might need to go. "The drumbeat also serves as an anchor, or lifeline, that the shaman follows to return to his or her body and/or exit the trance state when the trance work is complete."4
Recent studies have demonstrated that shamanic drumming produces deeper self-awareness by inducing synchronous brain activity. The physical transmission of rhythmic energy to the brain synchronizes the two cerebral hemispheres, integrating conscious and unconscious awareness. The ability to access unconscious information through symbols and imagery facilitates psychological integration and a reintegration of self. Drumming also synchronizes the frontal and lower areas of the brain, integrating nonverbal information from lower brain structures into the frontal cortex, producing "feelings of insight, understanding, integration, certainty, conviction, and truth, which surpass ordinary understandings and tend to persist long after the experience, often providing foundational insights for religious and cultural traditions."5
It requires abstract thinking and the interconnection between symbols, concepts, and emotions to process unconscious information. The human adaptation to translate an inner trance experience into meaningful narrative is uniquely exploited by singing, vocalizing, and drumming. Shamanic music targets memory, perception, and the complex emotions associated with symbols and concepts: the principal functions humans rely on to formulate belief. Because of this exploit, the result of the synchronous brain activity in humans is the spontaneous generation of meaningful information which is imprinted into memory.
Shamanic experience can be expressed in many ways: through writing, art, and film, however it must be created after the fact. The one artistic medium which can be used to immediately express shamanic trance without disrupting the quality of the shamanic experience is music. The shaman's use of sound and rhythm is an audible reflection of their inner environment. This is the traditional method for integrating shamanic experience into both physical space and the cultural group.
|Posted on March 20, 2016 at 8:50 AM||comments (0)|
Many people in today's world are being called by spirit to become shamans. A yearning exists deep within many of us to reconnect to the natural world. It is a call to a life lived in balance with awareness of nature, of spirit, and of self. We live in a culture that has severed itself from nature and spirit. Humans have lost touch with the spirit world and the wisdom of inner knowing. The spirits, however, have not forgotten us. They are calling us to a path of environmental sanity, to rejoining the miraculous cycle of nature.
Spirit calls us to a path of shamanism in many ways. It can be as dramatic as a life threatening illness or as simple as a dream. Some people receive signs of a shamanic calling through their dreams. Shamans frequently journey during their dreams, often flying through the air. Shamans may have recurring dreams in which they meet certain animal or teacher figures that are manifestations of the very spirits who are calling them.
In Siberia, the homeland of shamanism, it is believed that certain characteristics are a sign that the spirits have selected an individual to become a shaman. Sometimes the shamanic candidate will have unusual marks or bodily characteristics such as being born with extra fingers or toes. Being born with a caul (thin membrane) covering your head is recognized worldwide as a sign that a person has a special relationship with the spirit world.
The more common signs of a shamanic calling are ones of personality, such as a desire to spend time alone in nature. Shamanic candidates tend to be loners and are often considered eccentric or "different." One of the most reliable signs of a shamanic calling is the urge to learn about shamanism. One of the things I have learned working with spirits is that they often prompt me through urges to do one thing or another. This is a common form of communication and instruction by helping spirits. The very fact that you are reading this article at this time is meaningful. It is the spirits themselves who are guiding you to search for information about shamanism. Your yearning to learn more about shamanism is a sign that the spirits are calling you. The call functions to awaken your own inner knowing and the yearning to express your true self through the artistry of the shaman.
In contemporary Western culture, people who have shamanic callings often don't understand what is happening to them, and may find themselves overwhelmed by fear of their non-ordinary experiences. To help potential candidates gain an understanding of these events, I have provided the following list of signs that you might have a shamanic calling. Have you had:
An intense desire to spend long periods of time alone in nature
Vivid flying dreams, prophetic dreams, or recurring dreams with the same animals or teacher figures
Recurring encounters with the same animals in ordinary reality, possibly in unusual ways
Frequent feelings of déjà vu
Imaginary friends as a child
Any physical, mental, or emotional abnormality that set you apart as a child
An strong connection with plants or animals
An awareness of subtle healing energy in your hands
A near-death out-of-body experience
Astute and accurate intuition and the ability to "read" other people
A parent who has paranormal abilities, such as prophetic dreams or telepathy
Ancestors who were healers, herbalists, or doctors
An occupation in the healing arts
Frequent clairvoyance, clairaudience, or other paranormal experiences
Were you born with a caul (thin membrane) covering your head
A life threatening illness, accident, or unusual event such as being struck by lightning, especially if this included a long recovery
A strong inner urge to learn about shamanism
If it seems that these signs are very general and happen to a lot of people, it is because the spirits call many to work with them, but only a few may respond to the call. Choosing to ignore a calling may have undesirable consequences or none at all. For some, it can lead to depression and illness as the life force is constricted and thwarted. Those who choose to follow their shamanic calling may have no idea how to begin.
What do you do if the ancestral shamanic tradition no longer exists in your culture, but you still feel the call today? While traditional, indigenous shamanism continues to decline around the world, shamanic ideology has gradually entered Western humanities and social sciences and developed into the neo-shamanic movement. Neo-shamanism is a term used to describe the creation or revival of a shamanic culture. Most modern shamanic practitioners fall into this category. Neo-shamanism is not a single, cohesive belief system, but a collective term for many such philosophies. Neo-shamans use a variety of core techniques from different shamanic disciplines.
Mircea Eliade, a religious scholar, was perhaps the first to write about neo-shamanism. In his classic work, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques ofEcstasy, Eliade discusses the three stages of becoming a shaman: the Call, Training, and Initiation. The first stage to becoming a healer, as described by Eliade, is that of the calling -- this call comes from the family, the community, or from the world beyond. Some are called, initiated and trained by spirit guides and/or human teachers from childhood.
Shamans are called, and then receive rigorous instruction. Training may follow an ordered tradition or take a spontaneous course guided by the shaman's spirit helpers. The function of training is to develop the skills and talents so that shamanic practitioners don't unintentionally hurt themselves or others. Though the spirits give shamans their healing powers, shamans must learn the technique of invoking them. Traditional shamanic training requires considerable devotion and personal sacrifice, not so much to gain power, but to become the person who can wield that power responsibly. Ongoing practice and learning are essential to perfecting any art or skill.
Where does one find shamanic training in the digital age? There are growing numbers of spiritual seekers who learn about shamanism from the internet or through reading the published works of individuals who have received shamanic training. Though a handbook is no substitute for an apprenticeship program, it can convey the fundamental methodological information. Authentic shamanic knowledge can only be acquired through individual experience; however, one must first acquire the methods in order to utilize them. Once you have learned the basic skills, your helping spirits can provide you all the training you need.
Then there is Initiation. Shamanic initiation is a rite of passage, connecting the apprentice shaman intimately to the spirit world. It is typically the final step in shamanic training, though initiation may be set in motion at any time by spirit's intervention into the initiate's life. Ultimately, shamanic initiation takes place between the initiate and the spirit world. It is the spirits who choose and make the shaman.
In my 2012 book, Shamanic Drumming: Calling the Spirits, I recount my own journey into shamanic practice and explore what someone should do if they feel the call to become a shaman. Working with the guidance of my helping spirits, I have written a guide to becoming a shamanic healer that encompasses the power of the drum, of community, and of the accountability inherent in authentic shamanic practice.
How does someone embark on the shamanic path? To be an effective shamanic healer, one must go through the three steps. The first step is to acknowledge the calling.
© 2013 by Michael Drake