Healing the Self

The University of Minnesota has a Creative Arts Program called Split Rock Art Program. I called it summer camp for adults. Spending a week writing, painting, weaving or any other manner of “PLAY” without responsibilities of work, family, or daily choreswas truly a gift. I went for many, many years and am indebted to the professional artists/teachers who guided me there.

So while I do not have transcripts, I have been educated by the best. My writing career which circles around my shamanism like a vulture, began publicly in a one week workshop by Christina Baldwin entitled “Self Is The Source of the Story.” In this creative environment, we began with a guided meditation each time we met. Christina was my Shaman. She led me into the Inner Room, a safe place where my small, broken self could be protected while I wrote.

I have used this technique for probably thirty years. It is deep work, healing work, and it is shamanic work. To ignore this spiritual protection when dealing with trauma, is to invite psychic distress. I know from my own experience as I wrote a memoir about incest.

The Inner Room Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply. Imagine a room, a beautiful room. It has no doors. No one, no entity, no thing may come into this room unless you invite it in. Look around. It is a comfortable place. How is it decorated? What is the shape of the room? Does it have windows? What are the wall like? What is the texture and feel of everything in the room? Explore. Try out the furniture. Replace any furniture that isn’t comfortable. Bring into the room any artwork you would like. Are their momentos or pets you would like in your room? Make it just the way you want. If it has windows, what do you see out of your window.

Now, invite an entity into your room to protect you. It could be a person you know, living or dead, or a pet, or an animal. Notice who or what comes to mind.

When your inner self, is safe and protected, feel free to leave the room to write or journal. But upon completion, return to the room. Thank your guardians.



What are the things that have happened in your life “by chance” this week?

Here are mine:

  • The shaman who led me in my own shaman kindergarten thirty years ago suddenly appeared as a possible friend on Facebook, and we reconnected.
  • The native american woman who led woman’s retreats which held a deep shamanic significance for me also appeared suddenly as a Facebook recommendation.
  • While visiting my daughter in Portland for the weekend, I met her neighbor who happened to have just been at the San Francisco Writers’ Conference and gave me much encouragement for my upcoming book, Carrot Seed Tea.
  • While visiting a hospice patient as a volunteer, I learned that his wife also wrote feminist historical fiction.
  • The above novel was about Hildegard of Bingen, who is a relative of our family’s exchange student also named Hildegard.
  • What is a Shaman, anyway???

    An ordinary person. Just like you and me. With developed skills. This isn’t a religion. It is a way of being in the world. We are Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim. We are atheists and agnostics. We are all of us.

    Wikipedia describes as Shaman as “a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.”

    This is an accurate description from my knowledge and experience. I want to place an emphasis on healing. In the beginning we focus on healing ourselves. With more experience we focus on healing others, and the world. Gosh, there is a lot of work to do.

    Right now, I am caught in a maelstrom of thoughts and ideas as thirty years of experience is trying to tumble out of my brain.

    Shamans have been connected for tens of thousands of years before the Internet. It is difficult to parse and share this knowledge using social media. Imperfect as it is, I will continue. I hope you will join me and invite others into the maelstrom.

    Homework: Think of something or someone who needs healing in your life. Light a candle each day for two weeks and pray for them.

    May they find healing. May they find peace. May I find healing. May I find peace.

    Feeling Our World

    Body’s energy fields

    One of the first things we learn in Shaman Kindergarten is how to feel our world in a different way. Rub your palms together briskly, like it is a very cold day. Faster, and faster. Now hold your hands three inches apart. See if you can feel the energy between your hands.

    What you are looking for is something like the push and pull of a magnet. Test out the edges of this field. Move your palms close and then apart. What can you feel? When does that feeling change? When is it the strongest?

    Share your experience in Comments

    Shaman Kindergarten

    Stay awake! Several days after my soul retrieval, I was having a chiropractic session. While on the table, I discussed the transformative shamanic experience I had been given.

    Did you know I’m a Shaman? they asked. In fact, they continued, I’m starting a Beginning Shamanism class in a few weeks.

    I was hooked. Sign me up.

    My First Shaman

    When did I first get pushed into this strange and mysterious shamanic world? It is hard to say.

    It was suggested by an acquaintance that I attend a weekend workshop on Soul Retrieval. Sounded interesting. They were going to miss the Saturday event, so I would know no one. I arrived on a beautiful fall sunny day. One of those perfect days in Minnesota when no one wants to be in an old warehouse. The doors were locked. Sigh of relief. I could enjoy the weekend.

    But another arrived on my heels, and then another, who by chance was an artist in the building and had been given a massage by my new friend. The doors were open. And so it went.

    We needed a blindfold, a pillow, and a blanket. I was given everything I needed. The two days were segmented into four parts 1) find your power animal 2) healing physical trauma 3) healing sexual trauma and 4) healing emotional trauma.

    Our Shaman was Wilbert Alex. I was pulled apart and put back together on a cellular level and healed from a lifetime of trauma that years of therapy could not fix. I went through a worm hole, re-experiencing every childhood terror visited upon me while knowing that I was perfectly safe. In that old warehouse I screamed. We all screamed as if our lives were at risk. And we were healed.

    It was the most transformative moment of my life.

    I am a Shaman

    I am called by many names.  Shaman is only one of them.  I am also a writer and an artist.  I am a mother, step mother, mother in law, spiritual mother, grandmother, wife, ex-wife, member, contributor, creator, searcher, mentor, sponsee, sponsor, encourager, waiter, walker, meditator, sewer, knitter, painter, beader, follower, leader and much more.  Labels are so limiting.

    Toss all of these asunder.  Sit quietly.  Now notice your gut, deep within your belly.  Who are you?  I mean, who are you?  I mean, who are you really?  Who do I need to know?

    Welcome.  Let’s form a circle.