We all know people who have received a dire medical diagnosis. Perhaps we have had this experience ourselves. One response is to look for a miracle, willing the threatening illness to disappear. What we get instead in western medicine are drugs and invasive surgeries – often with serious side effects. However, there is another way.
On the heels of his national bestselling One Spirit Medicine, published earlier this year, psychologist, medical anthropologist and practicing shaman Alberto Villoldo offers a rare glimpse into the mysteries of energy medicine. A Shaman’s Miraculous Tools for Healing shares 12 stories of desperate clients who stepped outside their comfort zone and gained far more than they bargained for.
Each chapter alternates observations and treatment notes by Alberto with the first-person account of each individual, as told to co-author Anne O’Neil. The clients reached out to Alberto for a variety of physical, mental and emotional ailments, and the treatments he applied demonstrate a different aspect of energy medicine. During private sessions, clients are taken on healing journeys unknown to modern science. The outcomes not only improve their health but also heal their souls and point them toward their destiny.
A Shaman’s Miraculous Tools for Healing is ultimately about people realizing their own truth. When they embrace shamanic energy medicine, they begin a journey of healing and self-discovery – one they eventually understand they had always been seeking. In the end, these individuals came to know their authentic selves, and this realignment of body and soul resolved much of their original health crises and enabled them to change their lives.
Medical anthropologist Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., has studied the shamanic healing practices of the Amazon and Andes for more than 25 years. In 1984 he founded the Four Winds Society, which offers extensive education in the philosophy and practice of energy medicine, training students to become modern-day shamans.
In his mid-20s Villoldo was the youngest clinical professor at San Francisco State University, where he founded and directed the Biological Self-Regulation Lab to investigate how visualization, energy and psychosomatic medicine change the chemistry of the brain. He soon realized that the microscope was the wrong instrument to answer the questions he was asking. Other scientists were already studying the hardware, Villoldo wanted to learn to reprogram the system.
He heard stories about people in remote parts of the world who claimed to know such things, including the Inka in Peru – among the few remaining shamans. After initial research, Villoldo decided to personally investigate this ancient culture in order to learn about the 5,000-year-old energy medicine known for healing through Spirit and light. Recognizing this investigation would not be a part-time pursuit or brief sabbatical, Villoldo resigned his post at the university and traded his lab coat for hiking boots and a ticket to the Amazon.
Scattered throughout the remnants of the ancient Amazonian empire were a number of sages or “Earth Keepers” who practiced the ancestral healing methods. Alberto visited countless villages and met with scores of medicine men and women. The lack of a written body of knowledge meant that every village brought its own flavor and style to the healing practices that still survived.
For more than 10 years, Villoldo trained with the jungle medicine people. Along the way, he discovered that his journey into shamanism had been guided by his personal desire to become whole. He learned to transform old pain, grief, anger and shame into sources of strength and compassion.
Villoldo later trekked the coast of Peru from the mysterious Nazca lines to the sacred Shimbe lagoons in the north. At Lake Titicaca, “The Sea on Top of the World,” Villoldo collected the stories and healing practices of people from whom, legends say, the Inka were born.
Over the course of two decades with the shamans in the jungles and high mountains of the Andes, Alberto Villoldo discovered a set of sacred technologies that transform the body, heal the soul, and can change the way we live and die. He learned that we are more than flesh and bone – we are absolutely fashioned of Spirit and light, surrounded by a Luminous Energy Field whose source is located in infinity. This unending Luminous Energy Field exists in every cell of our bodies, acting as a matrix that maintains our physical and spiritual health and vibrancy … it is up to us to recognize and work with this gift to change the very nature of our living
By Dylan Greenley
When spring approaches, even folks who enjoy winter time usually greet the first buds of flowers and first signs of warmth with a smile. People feel enlivened when the Earth begins its cycle of regeneration. The turn to spring is celebrated by those who practice the pagan and wiccan traditions on the holiday, or sabbat, known as Ostara. Let’s learn a little more about this time of year.
Ostara falls on the Spring Equinox. The previous holiday, Imbolc, had occurred six weeks prior and celebrated the promise of life stirring within the still-cold earth. Now, Ostara is the time to begin celebrating that promise being fulfilled as we continue to experience more light and warmth.
The Spring, or Vernal, Equinox occurs between March 19 and 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere, and September 20-23 in the Southern Hemisphere. The sun is at 0 degrees Aries, and as we know, it is one of the two times in the year when there is an equal amount of dark and light. The other time of equal dark and light of course is the Autumn Equinox, occurring six months later, on the opposite spoke of the Wheel of the Year.
The word Ostara, also known as Eostre, refers to a fertility Goddess. There are different claims as to which tradition this Goddess comes from (the origins are Germanic or Norse), and how much about her has been made up by modern pagans. She does appear in the writings of the medieval scholar Bede, so we know there’s some history to her legend. No matter, the thoughts and energies she provokes are engrained in the spring lore. With her attendant symbols of eggs, chicks, lambs and rabbits, we find clear examples of how the pagan traditions continue through the secular symbology of the modern Western world.
In terms of the male energies, the young God is represented now; curious, passionate, untamed, and unimpressed with status or title. Thus, the trickster archetype runs through these times, represented in various traditions as Coyote, Raven, Brer Rabbit (prototype of Bugs Bunny), The Fool of the Tarot, and the young son of the faery King. Following this, it’s no coincidence that April Fool’s day is right after Ostara.
Any warm days can be taken advantage of to spend longer amounts of time in Nature and perform prayers and rituals outdoors. If you have a green thumb, it’s time to start preparing the soil for your spring herb garden.
Indoors on your altar, you can keep living plants, branches, seeds, colored eggs, representations of rabbits and hares, and of course anything else that seems appropriate to you. This is a good time to cleanse your living area by burning sage. Rituals can use milk and honey as symbols of the season.
As we greet this time in the Wheel of the Year when light surpasses darkness, the following are commonly used:
Herbs: Any flowers of spring. Peony, Iris, Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, Daffodil, Jonquils, Olive, Peony, Iris, Narcissus.
Incense: Any floral. Rose, Strawberry, Jasmine.
Colors: Pale purple, pale green, yellows, pink.
The Ostara sabbat is a time of rejuvenation. As the Earth rises from the slumber of winter, so do our spirits. This is when we do our final spring cleanings and begin to put our refreshed goals into action. We honor the regenerative powers of Mother Earth. Celebrate it as you wish with gatherings of loved ones and devotional spells, but also know that simply walking outside and appreciating the awakening earth is celebration enough as we greet Ostara.
About the author
Dylan Greenley has been studying and practicing pagan spirituality for several years, with an emphasis on Celtic traditions. He wants to disseminate solid information on the subject and hopes you have enjoyed this article and perhaps learned something new!
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Wheel-of-the-Year—Ostara&id=7140638] Wheel of the Year – Ostara
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Teen Spirit Wicca by David Salisbury
It’s time for a fresh approach to Teen Wicca, especially one written by someone who began to walk the Old Path as a teen, and now can look back on that experience as an adult. Young Wiccans will learn the fundamental tenets of Wiccan practice, guidance for rituals, and the full text of a self-dedication for those who wish to journey further. No longer should any teen Wiccan feel alone.
-Edain McCoy author of The Witch’s Coven and The Witch’s Moon
Teen Spirit Wicca will cut to the chase and give you just what you need to start practicing the Craft and living your life as a Wiccan today.
David Salisbury offers keen insight for teenagers wondering where to start and how to practice Wicca. I especially like his analysis of the Charge of the Goddess, one of my favorite pieces of pagan poetry—and one that is not well understood. Being a 20-something himself, and not so far from his own school days, the author has good advice on bullying, ethics, working around being a magical kid under someone else’s roof, and how to keep your balance in the middle of teenage energy.
– Dorothy Louise Abrams, co-founder of the Web PATH Center in Lyons, NY and author of Identity and the Quartered Circle: Studies in Applied Wicca.
Nature-based practices like Wicca and Witchcraft are exploding in popularity all over the world. The days of old dudes spoon-feeding us religion from a pulpit are giving way to the age of information and active learning. Young people are growing up with an understanding of how to connect with the divine on their own terms. If you’re a teenager today, you’re in a great position to seek out spiritual teachings that are more widely accessible than ever before. Wicca is one of those teachings. With this practical guide, you’ll get the lowdown on what Wiccans believe and practice, and how to become one yourself. Some of the information on the Craft of the Wise can seem vast, overwhelming, and even a little boring. But have no fear! Teen Spirit Wicca will cut to the chase and give you just what you need to start practicing the Craft and living your life as a Wiccan today.
David Salisbury is Wiccan clergy within Coven of the Spiral Moon, a coven based in Washington DC. The focal point of his spiritual practice is one of service, activism and respect. He currently lives with his partner (a psychic medium) in the DC/Maryland area of the United States.
Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.
*Ask Your Mama™ Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™
by ©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman
Dear Mama Donna
I am not a follower of the goddess, but I was walking around downtown Brooklyn with my six-year-old daughter Beatrice when she said to me, “Mommy, I don’t believe in God. I believe in Mother Nature and the faeries in the woods. That’s why I make the circles with the rocks.” Clearly she is on a spiritual path and I would like to support her but I really don’t have the background to show a 6-year-old the path to the Goddess.
I have seen some of your literature about spirituality and ceremony and thought that you might give me some ideas as to how to help her find her way to the Goddess.
Mom On a Mission in Brooklyn
Ah, to have had a mom like you when I was six and building shrines! I am so impressed with your desire to help your daughter pursue her own personal spiritual path. Brava!
I established several rituals with my little granddaughter who spent every summer with me until she became a teen. At bed time, after we read stories or talked, we would “Do Om.” I would sit on her bed facing her. We held each other’s hands to create a complete circle, and then we chanted together, Ooooommmmm. Every night was different, sometimes longer, sometimes softer. Occasionally it got all silly and giggly, but more often, we chanted until we felt peaceful. Shaleike would drift off to sleep and I would be reenergized for my night’s chores. This was sacred to us. Sometimes she would ask, “Can we do om for a really long time tonight?”
You might say some version of grace at meals, acknowledging the bountiful Mother Earth Goddess for all the fruits of her belly. Since she already seems to be drawn to creating altars and shrines, you can encourage her to make a special one for her room and “make offerings” there. I’ll bet she has her own version of what that might mean.
The moon is a great way to link to the Goddess. In most cultures, She is the Lady in the Moon. I never could understand how anyone could look at that lovely, smiling, serene lunar face and refer to it as The Man in the Moon. Watch the lunar cycles and do something special on the full and new moons.
The New Moon is the perfect time to start something. Begin a project, Make a plan, Set a goal or an intention. Make a wish. As the moon grows to fullness, so will your ideas. This is a great opportunity for Beatrice to understand that her ideas are powerful and that she can strive to manifest them. She can make offerings to the growing moon to send energy to whatever she is focused on.
On Full Moons we often got dressed up as for a party and drove out to the beach on Stateb Island and danced in the moon light. With sncks, of course1
The first thing Shameike asks when I pick her up in the summer, is “when is the full moon.” When she was little, she called it the “whole moon.”
Take your cues from her. She still remembers.
With blessings on your grand adventure,
Dear Mama Donna,
Can we do a fire circle? A water circle? An air circle? And an earth circle together?
Yes. We can do a circle together. I would love that.
And you can also do a circle whenever you want to all by yourself – or you can invite your mom or a friend if you want. You can sit down with a bowl of water and a bowl of earth and some incense to make fire and smoky air. You can talk to the Goddess whenever you want to. You can ask Her for help, or you can just tell Her how great you think She is. You can also tell her how great you think you are! She will be proud.
Keep on making your stone circles. People all over the world make circles of stone to use alike a temple for the ceremonies to the Goddess. When the weather is warmer, you could have a ceremony circle outside. What fun!!!
Whenever you have a question, please write to me and I will answer you.
I can’t wait to meet you. You are a real soul sister!
Lots of blessings of light and love to you,
*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com
Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she offers intuitive tarot readings and spiritual counseling and works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.
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