Tag Archive | Balance

Wicca and Shamanism

Day six in Roderick’s book deals with the connection between Wicca and Shamanism. This is something that I have been seriously interested in for the past year, when I started looking into Core Shamanism. Roderick reminds us that in both traditions there seems to be a “calling” to the path. He says “ the powers of the shaman are those of the earth, the wind, the waters, and the fire” – the same energies used in witchcraft – and their power comes from ecstatic rituals that alter the state of consciousness – which is also what Wiccan ritual aims to do.

He also gives a little bit of information as to the difference between the shaman and the madman/madwoman. The madman cannot remain in balance; cannot remain centered; cannot properly perceive the different between the spiritual and physical realms.

Part of what makes Wicca and Shamanism so similar is the deep connection to nature

The exercise for today is to contemplate a few questions:

Describe in writing your own “calling” to the Witch’s path. Take note of which of the shamanic hallmarks describe your own experience.

For me, this is a two part question. The first deals with my leaving the Church. It was perhaps when I was 7 or 8, during Lent. I don’t know if all Catholic churches do this, but St. Michael’s here in town covers all the of statues of Mary with black cloth. This deeply disturbed me, and there’s no way that I can put it into words. It really freaked me out – and I knew right then and there that this wasn’t the right thing for me. I mean, I understand the symbolism behind that, I really do, but something about it… I guess it was my first intuitive experience (that I can remember). After that, I was open to other religions and experiences.

Secondly, I came to Wicca through, of all things, a Scooby Doo movie. It was Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost; they mentioned Wicca a few times and that prompted me to look it up. I instantly fell in love and felt at home with Wicca. Looking through the list of hallmarks Roderick gives, I went through a long bout of serious depression through most of my middle school years. Also, I wonder if my childhood experiences with crows count as “traumatic incidents” which he mentions. My mother tells me often of how crows used to chase me – CHASE me – around when I went outside. She says I would be screaming and crying because they were chasing and pecking at me and she had to chase them away from me with a broom. I still to this day cannot remember this ever happening, but I wonder if I didn’t repress these memories. Sounds pretty traumatizing to me.

In what ways are you a shaman? I suppose most simply, I am a shaman because I’m a shamanic practitioner. I feel connected to the ways of the shaman – moving between words, journeying, dancing, drumming, and serving the community. It is simply something I’m called to.

In what ways are you a madwoman? At times, I have trouble staying balanced. There are times when I wish to exist only in the spiritual realms. This happens less and less often, after I overcame my depression, but still happens from time to time.

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Full Long-Nights Moon

The full moon in December is the Long-Nights moon, which makes sense seeing as it falls around the winter solstice. This year, the full Long-Nights moon falls on the solstice. But that’s not all – this year, there is also a full eclipse – however we’re in the middle of a snow storm here. It is at this time that we truly notice how long the nights have become. This is a time for introspection; a time to face the darkness that surrounds us. This is the time to go into the darkness to learn from our shadow-selves. Rest, recuperate, take care of yourself – this is the time of the Dark Mother.

The Hanged Man – Odin

I’ve been thinking about the Tarot as of late, so I thought I’d share some of my feeling about the Hanged Man. I’ve always felt called to Odin, the most common myth associated with the Hanged Man. So, I think now is a good time to focus on this card and what it means to me. The Hanged Man is about decision making – namely the decision to sacrifice yourself for yourself. The Hanged Man sacrifices himself and gains wisdom and insight as his reward. This is why the story of Odin on the World Tree shows this so well.

Here, Odin is drawn as a traveler - a form he often took

138 I know that I hanged on a windy tree
nine long nights
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.

139 No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn
downward I peered;
I took up the runes, screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there.

Havamal from Poetic Edda
translated by Carolyne Larrington

Odin hung upon the World Tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and nights. He was a sacrifice unto Himself, seeking wisdom and knowledge from Well of Wisdom. From His sacrifice came the Runes – the gifts of magic and writing. He also sacrificed one of His eyes for a drink from Mimir’s well, giving Him great fore-sight.

The Hanged Man teaches us that we have to make sacrifices in order to attain our personal truths and wisdoms. Not physical sacrifices but spiritual and personal sacrifices. Learning takes time, takes energy, takes dedication. There are times when we will have to set the word aside and hang by ourselves in order to understand and find what we seek

Spontaneous Soul Retrieval

In shamanism it is believed that part of the soul is free to leave the body – often at dream time or journeying. The soul can also split off parts of itself in times of distress or trauma and these part can “flee” the situation as a survival mechanism. Sometimes, these soul shards don’t return right away. This is called soul loss and can lead to many mental/emotional aliments including depression and memory loss. Most often soul loss creates a feeling of incompleteness; you know when people say “I feel like a lost something when [something happened]” or “a part of me died when [something happened]”? That is soul loss.

Drumming on one of my hand-made drums. Drums are a common tool for shamanic practitioners.

Part of the duty of a shaman is to help in the retrieval of soul shards. This is something I have not yet learned how to do, but have (I believe) experienced in the form of a spontaneous soul retrieval. When I was a sophomore in high school my parents were going through a “rough patch” which led to a long and rough divorce. In this time, my friends were my escape – I spent as much time with them as possible so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the fighting and the anger. One friend in particular stands out, his name is Jeremy. I believe that at some point, a part of my soul split off and, for lack of a better word, attached to him. It was only after hearing that Jeremy was about to move that I “knew” (not in an intellectual sense, mind you) that something was missing.

Of course, at the time I didn’t know anything about shamanism or soul loss. Not long after taking an introductory class on core shamanism, I kept seeing Jeremy in dreams or stumbling upon old pictures. So I meditated and journeyed about this in an attempt to understand what this meant. Then I remembered a few things my shamanic instructor had said about soul loss and soul retrieval – so I looked it up and was surprised to see how well that fit how I’d felt when he left – like a part of me was missing. Not long after this revelation, Jeremy called me up saying that he’d be in town for a day or two and wanted to get together. As I dropped him off after spending a few hours running around town, I felt a massive shift in energy. I got some sudden insight, like Spirit whispering in my ear. It was back – the piece I was missing.

I can’t seem to find any information on what I’ve decided to call spontaneous soul retrievals, but I know that’s what I experienced.

~Take care and Blessed be

Healing: Chakra Stones

Recently I’ve started using stones for healing – this is a learning process and is sure to change as I go. My first attempt has been with chakra stones. Within our bodies are energy pools (chakras) that act upon both the physical and spiritual bodies. This system can be thrown out of balance for many reasons, but this is something able to be “corrected” for lack of a better word. Just as there are many ways our energy system can become unbalanced, there are just as many ways to bring that balance back. In this method, each stone corresponds to one of the seven chakras. The stones are placed on the body, where the chakras manifest.

The location of the chakras on the physical body

The stones and their energies help the energy in your system to flow and heal itself. I find this to be a very gentle form of healing as it allows the energy system to work in its own way and at its own pace. Now, the stones I use are in no way a definitive list – just stones that I have found to correlate to the chakras. Here’s a video where I show all the stones and give a little info about them:

Base chakra: Snowflake Obsidian
Sacral chakra: Carnelian
Solar plexus chakra: Yellow Opal
Heart chakra: Green Adventurine
Throat chakra: Sodalite
3rd eye chakra: Purple/Blue Flourite
Crown chakra: Amethyst

I’ll tell you how it works out as I continue to experiment with this form of healing.

~Take care and Blessed be