Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Your Daily Tolle

"Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One with Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don't live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer and you are the dance."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Wailing Woman of the River: A Shamans Tale

The Wailing Woman of the River
A Shamanic Tale of Power
by Victoria Marina-Tompkins

The river had long been our place of solace and refuge. She was a magnificent river, an old soul river, winding her way through the canyons as she made her way to the ocean. She was not an ordinary river and the stories that sprang up each time we came face to face with her were both life changing and as ancient as the moon. She mirrored to us what we each held inside of ourselves. Remarkably, the mirror was there year after year, never changing, but only shifting and reflecting our internal stories. It was in fact a reflection of our process that she offered to us and the chance to make a leap into the unknown. We came willingly, perhaps with some trepidation, knowing that what occurred during our time there would change us again, for indeed that was the one thing we could be assured of.

We spent the first day remembering her ways. Delighted as we were to be with her, there was a childlike exuberance as we negotiated our way down the trail to the water's edge. Some laughing, giggling, telling stories about what had happened the last year, and who was here and who wasn't, and what direction we would head first. It was pretty easy to decide. West or East and you would stay on the river. Everyone always agreed that this was the beginning point although there was also often talk of walking the road to the redwood grove. Usually that walk came later, for the pull to the lady river was so strong that those thoughts were certainly put aside.

The ritual was always the same. Reaching the river we would each find a quiet place to greet her, to begin to let her magic touch us. From an outsider's view it probably looked pretty ordinary. They would see a woman quietly sitting with maybe a toe or part of a foot dangling in the water. If they listened closely they might hear singing.

During the following years we would remember this particular quest as the time of the wailing woman. That was really because we couldn't think of much else at the time, she appeared so suddenly. The year she came to us, it was the New Moon of the Vernal Equinox. I had said that this new moon was in Libra and that the energies were very powerful.  The weeks preceding the trip we had met in small groups and, after choosing partners, had made masks for the death ceremony."

I was so delighted to be with the River again. In fact, I would say that it felt like a home coming to me. My 'ritual' consisted of bringing her a gift that I had created before the trip. This year it was a rock that I had painted with the story from the year before. Even though it was a small rock, they were all there: the white crane, the flock of birds at dusk, the fire circle. And they were all positioned around the central figure. This year I was staying at base camp in support of the questing women, so it was important to complete my personal ritual before the evening circle began.

Sometimes I wonder if it wasn't during the death ceremony that the woman first noticed us. I mean, think about it: there we were, no one else around for miles, making such a commotion! We had built a small fire that would stay burning throughout the entire weekend, tended by those of us who stayed at camp. So there we were, drumming and chanting around the fire, and I have to think that she must have heard us. Even the sound of one drum could be heard resounding down the river, so imagine what all of us must have sounded like!

We had come to the circle in silence as the darkness enveloped us. Just like during so many years before, the first night of the quest began by sitting in silence, honoring the direction of the West. Our purpose for coming to this circle was to let go of what we no longer needed. The masks were a symbol of what we wanted to let go of and so of course were all different. Some were images of the lost and wounded child, the dutiful daughter, the power that had been given away. The images swirled and danced in the darkness: snakes and crescent moons, goddesses and spiraling rivers, tears, anger, and sorrows. All of these being given to the fire as part of setting our intention for our work at the river the next 2 days.

And so, on the evening went, the masks each danced and burned in turn. Every so often I would notice that there seemed to be an awful lot of spirit energy floating about. Actually, at one point early on, I had been rattling in the directions while walking a spiral path around the fire. Every so often I would stop and listen. I was deep in trance, and ultra aware of even the smallest movement around me. I would turn and look, as if I heard footsteps or detected something outside of our circle. I have to admit it made me pretty jumpy and the other women said they felt the same. I had to tell myself that it was all part of working with spirits and that indeed the veil between worlds could become thin. It took it out of the abstract and into the tangible, into the possible. Regardless, it definitely felt like we were not alone that night.

The following day on the river itself was pretty calm. About half of the women had set out early in the morning with the intention of finding a place to camp for the night. Once they had found their places, they would each make a purpose circle. This circle would represent many people and experiences in their lives and would also serve as a protective wall against unwanted energies. They were free to move up and down the river during the day but once nightfall came, they would set the last rock in place and prepare for their medicine work. The work itself was very individual and really part of the sacred agreement between the Spirit and each of them.

The day had gone pretty smoothly with four of us back at camp, as our job was to essentially hold down the energy for the rest of the group. I had walked up and down the river myself earlier, checking out where each woman had camped just in the case of an emergency. I also checked to see if the women had left their markers for safety at a prearranged place. The river was beautiful, serene, and as always, a powerful teacher. I knew that everyone would experience whatever it was that they needed to for that was the way of the river and of spirit.

I returned to camp as nightfall approached. The fire was still burning although it was on the low side because we wanted to conserve wood for the all night drumming. Everyone was pretty hungry and we soon had a small meal of beans and tortillas cooked on the Coleman stove perched on top of an old rickety table near the east end of the campground. Within a short period of time the light was waning, and we prepared for the long evening ahead, clearing the table and putting everything away, so as not to attract the attention of the resident animals who might come prowling for food later in the night.

We drummed well into the evening, and the fire burned bright that night. As is our usual practice, we focused on each of the questors, including doing a journey for each of them to check in and see how we might best support them during their solo time out on the river. As the time approached midnight, we took a short break to walk around a bit and stretch our cramping legs and arms, and to take a much needed rest. It was during this break that one of my most experienced students began to ask about ways of perceiving energy and a lively, energetic conversation ensued, discussing ways in which they could open more to the perceptions of spirit and to the medicine work. We talked about journeying, dreaming, solo medicine work at the river, and stalking. The questions wove in and out of the answers, blending both what had been learned through study and what had been directly experienced.

Returning to the circle, we began to drum again, but it was different. As we focused our attention on Rachel, the final woman who was questing and who would be receiving our support that night, the beat slowed to a steady heart beat or 3/4 rhythm. The sound echoed throughout the canyon as the women drummed together, sounding more like a heartbeat than the usual steady beat of the drums. I started to hum and then to sing the words which flowed from me:

Mother, hear me calling
Mother, hear me now 
Mother, hear me calling for you.
Mother, hear me weeping
Mother, hear me cry
Mother, hear me singing
Songs of sadness, songs of Joy.
Mother, mother, mother
Songs of sadness, songs of Joy.

I was so lost in the song, that I didn't notice the sounds coming from the trees behind me, nor did I notice that the women in the circle were leaning away from me with frightened expressions on their faces! I was a bit puzzled and I put my drum down to ask what was going on. They pointed behind me toward the trees. There, floating in the branches, was the shape of a woman! She was faceless really, but the form was clearly female and it was fading in and out. I only saw her for a few seconds, and later I thought that this was because my drumming and interaction with the spirit world was contributing to the energetic presence, so when I stopped she was unable to maintain the physical form. Later my students would tell me that they had begun hearing her when I was drumming, first a soft whispering and then a slow crescendo to a more audible sound. She was singing! Her voice was other worldly, rather etheric, a cross somewhere between a moan and a howl. But it was clear that she was interacting with us as we sang and drummed.

The group moved to one corner of the circle, in fact, the farthest away from me and the tree. I thought, "This is like one of those early Carlos Casteneda stories with poor Carlos scared out of his wits out in the middle of the desert with the allies chasing him everywhere!". I put down my drum and stood up, turning to face the tree. At that point she was beginning to fade, the last notes trailing off into the night. Two of the women went over to the tree and tried to clear the energy. It wasn't until months later that we would really learn what the message was that the woman was bringing to us. And it would be different for each woman who was present when she began to sing with us.

During the months that followed the quest we worked intensely with our 'guest' from the other world, attempting to discover the meaning of the experience. In general the group agreed on one primary point. They had been asking about energy manifestation that night and got a very vivid demonstration! This was a wondrous example of the spirit world working in tandem with ordinary reality. She had come to us as a teacher, to show us that we could set our intentions and receive what we were asking to learn about. There was also the powerful connection to the words of the Mother Song I had spontaneously created that night (along with the assistance of my Spirit helpers). The woman we had been drumming for was in fact working on deep mother issues at the time of the quest, and the grief and sadness expressed through both the song and by the wailing woman were a mirror of her personal quest work. The Mother Song also tapped into a deep well within each of us, both for our own mothers, mothering, and for the mother earth as well.

Looking back on this remarkable event, I am also reminded that music is universal and is one language of the worlds beyond the veil.

© 1996 Victoria Marina-Tompkins 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Michael: More on Choice

"When a fragment is able to validate through experience their own choices in life, then they may also begin to grok that they make the choice of when to be born as they validate the cycle of reincarnation. Following this validation it is then possible to make the connection between choices made during the life and what occurs at death or just prior to in terms of  the cause of both in genetics and lifestyle influences. We think that the truth of learning through experience is a cogent one here for when a fragment validates that each and every experience contributes to evolution, then great progress is made."

Michael as excerpted with permission from a private session
All rights reserved 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Zero Circle

A poem by Rumi

"Be helpless, dumfounded,
Unable to say yes, or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we're lying.
If we say No, we don't see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying, finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness. "

note: Rumi never put any of his poems into writing, but rather he would spin and as he did, his scribe would listen and write down as much as possible. It is from this practice that the Sufi Whirling Dervishes were born.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For the Anniversary of My Death

by W.S. Merwin

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless Traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star.

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the Earth
and the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Last Night As I Was Sleeping

Last Night as  I was Sleeping  by Antonio Machado (versed by Robert Bly)

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt  - marvelous error! -
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of new life,
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt-marvelous error!-
that I had a beehive,
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt- marvelous error!-
that a fiery sun was giving light
inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt 
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt-marvelous error!-
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Race is On: 5th Level Young and Communications

"When I was young, we had to walk to school because there were no school buses" mused my 81 year old father.

" Oh yea, well when I was a boy we had to use rotary phones" said the daughter, pushing to make her point and one up her dad.

The grandson looked puzzled. "You mean, there were no buses? And what's a rotary phone?"

During the last 50 years there has been an explosion of technology as our world moved into the 5th level of the Young Soul cycle. Some of the advancements, for better or for worse are Cell phones, digital music, portable phones, computers, instant communications, the internet, email, microwave ovens, electronic cars, air travel...to name a few! Wait, there are more, Im sure there are more!

Whew, I'm feeling overwhelmed just thinking about it but truth is our world has made amazing advances in the past century with more on the way. The focus of the 5th level is expansion in the positive and too much, too far, too fast in the negative. For older souls, these changes can be beneficial in that life becomes easier- think of all the friends we can choose to be in contact with now that the internet is blazing. But at the same time, the fast pace of expansion is more than some of us prefer as many mature souls head for common living spaces where the pace is not so quick and old souls go along for the ride so long as it doesn't interfere too much!  Of course, there are no absolutes here and often exceptions as no one fits neatly into a perfect box, but there are social and cultural trends.

Look around you and see how the world has changed and how it continues to become more immediate and "instant" as we move more fully into the 5th level. Oh, and don't forget to hang on :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Addiction to What isn't Working

The next Shamanic addiction on the Medicine Wheel is the addiction to what isnt working. Here we find the tendency to focus on the difficulties in life, wrapping us up in endless cycles of fear and feelings of frustration and failure. Avoiding this trap does not include becoming Polyanna-ish in our way of seeing our lives which would then focus on only the good and looking through proverbial rose colored glasses. Instead, breaking this addiction starts with acknowledging all aspects of our lives; what we are satisifed with, what we would like to change, and all that lies between. Once we see the bigger picture then we can begin to see where we might like to make adjustments while maintaining a balanced perspective which is not run by fear. We can change our lives and step around the tendency to create woeful stories and avoid the pitfalls of negative thoughts which create anger, hurt, resentments, and any number of other emotions. Begin to look at how you think about your life and fill your thoughts with appreciation for what IS working rather than what isn't working. You may be surprised at the result.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ask Me the Time.....

"Ask me the time and I'll sell you a watch".   -old saying

What a reminder of how easy it is to say more than is necessary!  How often do we respond to others with our own stories, agendas, needs, all of which take the focus away from the intention of others by refocusing the question on ourselves. Of course, it's true enough that sometimes it is beneficial to include thoughts which may compliment the original question but more often it diffuses the conversation.

Try a new practice of saying only what is needed and see how your conversations change.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Your Daily Rumi

Soul receives from soul that knowledge,
therefore not by book nor from tongue.

If knowledge of mysteries come after emptiness of mind,
that is illumination of heart.