Monday, February 28, 2011

Committing to the Shamanic Path...

In her teachings around the Celtic Drum, Angela told us today that by making our drums, which as i was taught previously, hold their own spirit and become part of our medicine bundle, we are affirming to the universe that we have now committed to walking the shamanic path.

I have been in a flurry of creative activity, tunneled in within myself, visioning, creating, spinning the intangible into a tangibility that brings with it affirmation, not only that i am exactly where i need to be, but that i am not indeed crazy. That all those visions of women in community, priestesses and ritual, were not solely born within the imagination, but instead my spidey senses had been alerted and i was definately onto something. The inidigenous program at this point feels far more initiatory than it was foundational. It took a whole two years of whipping everything i had identified as authentic to the wind, and scuffing my way through a very long integration process before arriving here, where i do feel developed enough to begin lying the bricks and mortar of the foundation of what i am here to do. This week, i began by making the drum.

As lori said tonight, this path is all about trust. When beginning to journey, angela gives very little instruction, does not question and takes the results of our journeys when shared as a factual account of our experience. For much of the time in class in the beginning, i wondered if i was indeed "doing it" correctly, but as angela began to nurture this environment of trust, i too began just allowing what came, recording and working with, so much that now it directs my creative work and here and there the universe sends me indications that i am right on the ball with the journeys i am conducting. It allows me to feel a strong anchor in my personal power, a renewed sense of faith in my purpose and as such much more patience in allowing the mystery to dowhat it needs to do to bring it all about, while i just patiently move with the rythyms and allow it to be. I am so inspired, so regenerated and blissfully grateful.

Last week I conducted a journey to the spirit of the drum, requesting that it reveal itself to me and show me the energy that belongs to it's purpose. In the journey, i appeared without my cloak, instead i was wearing a maiden-esque royal blue embroidered dress, from a medieval era. I thanked my power animal for taking me to the centre to meet the spirit of the drum and he took me on his back up the spiral mountain staircase. Yet this time as we ascended i noted that the steps were no longer rock but instead a bright shiny white ivory. When we got to the top, we continued to move through this vibrantly green, plush and magically alive rainforest, with monkeys swinging from branch to branch over head. We were arriving at a clearing within it, with nothing but a burning fire within a circle of stones. I was directed to step right into the fire, and with a moment of hesitation i did so. As soon as my feet were planted in it, a drum popped up and appeared above my head. I saw myself being shapeshifted into a variety of moving images, in the elixir of the fire beginning with a butterfly, moving into the face of an old woman, then the maiden and the mother, an eagle, a tree, mountains, the earth, the skies and the cosmos. It was showing me the interconnectivity of all things, how i was part of all of it and it was part of me. A voice in the darkness explained that the spirit of this drum is about stepping into the fire, alchemy, transformation and power embued with the purpose of healing the deepest parts of the collective divine feminine. This was symbolized on the drum by the different blues in the crossbars and wrapped with the spirals of sweetgrass.
The sweetgrass was intended to represent the weaving of the different stories in life that create our reality, the waking dream, the sleeping dream and the journeying dream, together in the braid they symbolized the union and harmony of all 3.
At the centre was shiny white ribbon representing my white owl spirit, with a blue medicine bag for women's healing. The trim of the drum was filled with dancing firey flames, a symbolic representation of each face of the feminine collective at the west, north and east directions, while the south had a place waiting to be filled. In the centre of the drum was a small black circle which the voice explained was the dark fertile void to which all things grow. The beater was represented as a tree.

This journey was incredibly fluid and incredibly powerful. I got the feeling that i would need to follow all the guidance in this journey in creating the drum, that this drum would symbolize something far greater than a completion of an art project for a course underway. In my mind's eye the image stayed with me and i saw myself healing people with it, it felt like through it's construction and my attention to it's detail it would harness very strong and powerful medicine for the work i have seen myself embarking on. No wonder my outward helping is underground at the moment, i am most certainly preparing for a battle, one in which my medicine and my tools will need to be keen and sharp. My fight, is for the women, that the women will heal themselves from all these centuries of patriarchy, conquest and colonization.
That they will resume their roles as the wisdom keepers, the visionaries, the healers and medicine people, that in doing so they will also begin the healing of our great mother, our relationships to the cosmos, our children, tribes and community. And in shifting all of that energy, that we may as a collective move back into the balance and harmony with the feminine and out of our imbalance in the masculine, embodying the energy of surrendered receptivity, as opposed to distractive doing, to once again begin to honor the feminine traits in all things. This is the duty i have been charged with, this i know for sure.

So i began preparing for the making of the drum. I had planned on painting the flames on, until recieiving word from Angela, that
fabric would be needed to cover the staples. So i configured a way to create flames with fabric and sew together a beautiful, raw and process evidenced trim that will be glued around the outside of the drum. I had my mom help me with braiding the sweetgrass, attempting to monitor my thoughts and breathe and pray my intentions into the strands, as the women of old did, that as the intentions get weaved into the creation, in the end, that drum is embued with all of that medicine. I bought the paints for the cross bars, some decorative items to add my creative touch and began preparing. There is still a ways until completion, but i have been somewhat awestruck by how similar that tangible result mirrors the way i saw it in my journey. It brings with it a confidence and an excitement of things to come.

When we received our frame of maple wood and chose the elk hide that called to us, we laid down to journey, one hand on the frame, one on the hide and the beater stick laid across our chests. Our journey at this time was one of gratitude and honor for the helping spirits that had sacraficed their lives in physical form for the creation of this drum. Angela spoke about these creations as being the destiny of the matter forms that had made their way to us, which signalled the importance of meeting the spirits of these items to determine what wisdom they may share for us in ensuring their intended purposes are honored.

I had arrived in my power spot, wearing the white shiny cosmology cloak, ellie for the first time, had a matching white bloth across her back and was wearing the diamond jewel on her forehead. She mentioned that our dress indicated the degree of sacredness found within this journey. There was no travelling in this journey, the fire of the clearing appeared at my power spot and the spirit of the maple arrived in the west doorway, the elk in the north and the spirit of the beater stick which came through as a fir tree appeared in the east. Nothing again in the south. I began to dance around the fire but in front of the spirits and circled 3 times before stopping in front of the maple tree, placing tobacco at it's roots and draping my arms around its large trunk, filled with gratitude and love for her contribution. I thanked her for her sacrafice and asked if she could offer me any wisdom to ensure she remained honored in the drums creation and uses. She said that i was to always keep the drum near my heart and to remember that the drum belonged to the heart of the people. I vowed to remember this, thanked her again with another embrace and left one of my tiny purple goddesses' in her roots before moving on to the elk. In front of the elk, while lovingly feeling his body i thanked him for his sacrafice to the people and asked him how i could continue to honor him. He replied that i should use my drum with great bravery, courage and confidence. I also vowed to do this, placing a purple goddess on a chain around his neck, before moving onto to fir and placing tobacco yet again at her roots. When i thanked her and asked the same question, there was nothing but silence for awhile. Than she stated "everything in the universe is given and nothing can be taken away, it is all interconnected and intended to continue to regenerate the whole." I looked a bit perplexed but with no more sign of explanation i hung the goddess on one of her branches and proceeded to dance again around the fire 3 times, before stepping back into the fire. Once in the fire, i looked again at the fir tree and she said, use the drum to stay connected to the silent place from which all things are born". I felt that the message was finally complete and with that, each spirit dissappeared into the air.

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