The shaman in tribal cultures is the person who sees into the sacred
world. The shaman brings their sacred visions of ancient spirits and power
animals out as ritual. By this ritual process, most similar to prayer,
imagery, and art, the shaman heals themselves, others, and the earth. By
having visions of healing, and doing sacred ritual, the shaman makes the
visions come true. The shaman manifests reality in the outer world, from
the visionary world. That is the same way the world was created from Her
vision. We are all Her vision on earth, we are.
What is a vision quest?
A vision quest is a quest for the visions in anyone's life that will heal
them and make them whole. In traditional first nations cultures young people
were sent into nature to listen to the voices of the living earth. The
elders taught them to do this to find their path in life and to find their
power animal helpers. The person on the vision quest spent days in caves,
on mountain tops, on rivers, in the desert, waiting, and inviting the voices
to come to them. When they heard the voices and saw their vision, they
would return to their people and know who they were and what they were
to do. This book will be about how to evoke a similar experience for you
in our own contemporary culture.
What is a spirit animal?
Lion spirit sits in the sun, is this your power animal?
A spirit animal or power animal is the spiritual energy of the animal
on earth. The spirit animal is greater than the actual animal because it
embodies the essence of that animal. It is the animal. It is not a human
form of the animal or an human dressed as an animal, it is the animal spirit
itself. For example with a spirit bear, it is the voice of all the bears
that have ever lived. It is the shamanic bear. It is the bear that can
see itself and speak. A spirit animal appears to the shaman as a vision.
It is the voice of the wild, the voice of nature, the voice of the earth.
This animal informs the shaman of the earth energy it holds. It gives the
shaman power and protection. It is a helper that assists the shaman on
the journey inward. No shaman would attempt an inner journey without the
help of a power animal. The power animal conveys to the shaman and their
people an energy they need to heal.
Who are the ancient spirits?
The ancient spirits are the embodiment of the ancient peoples of the earth.
Ancient spirits speak in the collective voices of ancient peoples. They
are the spirit guides, the inner voices of the earth. Ancient spirits are
archetypal visions given form. They appear to the shaman in visions to
give them messages from the earth. They come you with the intention to
communicate with you. They come to you to help you heal. Initially you
see them from afar. They make themselves known to you. When it is clear
that you invite them, their voices become clearer. Ancient spirits need
to have a relationship cultivated to stay visible. They bring you back
into forest. They coax you deeper into nature. They take you on their ancient
paths. When you follow an ancient spirit, that is when you discover the
feather and understand its meaning. The ancient ones take you on The Path
of the Feather. The ancient ones tell us the story of The Path of the Feather.
What is a medicine wheel?
A medicine wheel is an ancient way of creating a sacred space. In a medicine
wheel each direction has an animal that lives there and stands for one
type of energy. For example in our medicine wheel the East has the owl
and stands for change, the South has the lion and stands for passion, the
West has the bear and stands for healing power and the North has the turtle
and stands for grounding. Each person calls in their own animals that hold
or represent for them each energy and each direction. The medicine wheel
can be populated by many of the animals that live on the earth.
The medicine wheel is built by placing a small object that stands for
the animal or energy in each direction around a circle. The circle can
be as small as a hand or as large as the earth. The object can be a animal
fetish, a feather, a sea shell or a special stone. It is always something
deeply meaningful to you, something you have found or been given as a gift.
In the process a center is also created and another special object can
be put there. Through this process you create a sacred space that becomes
a mini vortex of power. It is used to create intention.. Balance is created
by the equal presence of all four energies acting at once.
By creating the medicine wheel, you makes a physical manifestation of
earth's energies. It is a sacred alter which evokes the powers of the earth.
Like an alter it brings your prayers in harmony with the energies of the
earth. By actually making something real in physical space you act and
create. The energy and prayer to heal is embodied and seen and can be touched.
A medicine wheel is simply a way of making sacred space more real and
more visible. Ancient peoples believed that the medicine wheel in itself
had great power and helped create change and healing. Medicine wheel are
circles that were made all over the world. They come from the most ancient
cultures and persist to the present. They were found throughout history
in every culture.
Medicine wheels were always a place of ceremony and rutual. The rituals
that were done at the medicine wheel are hidden or long forgotten. They
probably were about the hunt, rites of passage, the stars, planting, migrations,
the spirits. They were done at a community level, and involved huge amts
of energy. Often the making of a medicine wheel involved moving huge stones
hundreds or thousands of miles. It was like the making of the pyrimids
in Egypt. The technology of making a medicine wheel or stone circle is
not clear, how did they move those huge stones? Medicine wheel or stones
cirlces exist from Europe to North America. There are stone circles in
Florida cedar key England. They were certainly a place of great cermony,
a place for the gathering of peoples, and were often away from village
sites. Sometimes they were places of burial and temples too.
Where were medicine wheels built?
Medicine wheel were always in sacred sites. The sites were often at the
intersection of rivers, on mountain tops, in the center of plains between
mountain and rivers. People could get there via the rivers. The water ways
lead you to them. They were often on the high places, a point to look at
the distant landscape. In any case, the palces were deeply sacred. You
can feel the energy. They are in places that are the intersections of ley
lines, energy lines, places where chuches, and later sacred sites were
built intuitively by more modern poeples.