I seem to be straddling this place between “being” and “doing”. On the one hand, my practice is about being an active participant in life, creating things that I want to see in my world, and cultivating and sustaining the relationships I have, including those with nature, spirits, and deities. On the other hand, it seems like there is this still point where I need to actively NOT feel the need to DO anything, that I need to be in tune to my deep consciousness and that in doing so, that is where profound changes happen to not just soul, but to the earthly landscape itself. It’s been a dance, and I still struggle with that feeling that I’m not doing enough in my practice because I have no clear idea of what to work on. I’m also concerned about how I’m integrating things into my life, psyche, and practice. In listening to Christina Pratt’s podcast about Integrating Shamanic Peak Experiences, I’m concerned about my effectiveness at integration. I know it when it’s been done properly because I feel the difference, but since I have no real guidance from my human teachers on this particular topic (or not that I can recall) I’m not sure I’ve completed this portion of the work in each instance, and where it has not happened, what can I do about it. I’m still listening to the podcast for tips on how to integrate, but this is the trick: I think some of what she’s talking about is a KNOWING from spirit on what is the next step, and that usually would be deciphered by the shamanic practitioner doing the journey for you, or your teacher in working with you personally, or by the individual but they would then have to be able to read that TRUST and KNOWING already. If that makes any sense. So for beginners who may be struggling to hear or trust their intuition, it may be quite difficult for them to understand what it is to DO with the information given.
For instance, all of my journeys to the Great Reindeer included pieces of ancestral information that built upon the previous journey, and as I encountered the Reindeer, I was introduced to a village of Sami people and noadde (Sami shaman) who would then take me into a sauna tent in order to teach me things. In these journeys, I kept seeing my mother’s father seated next to the noadde, and each time, I would just KNOW that I was supposed to do work in ordinary reality on his (my grandpa’s) behalf. Each journey, I would understand a little more information, even if it wasn’t obvious to me until some time later (within a few days or weeks.) So after several of these journeys, I was then initiated by the Reindeer, the village and the noadde into another level of spiritual wisdom, or whatever, and that was recognized by ceremonies and gifts given to me in that world. In the final journey, the noadde showed me my grandfather as a boy, and the noadde imparted to me that I needed to “call him in” at that age because the ancestral trauma that he inherited was significantly dumped on him as a young boy, and there seemed to also be personal trauma that he endured at that time. In order to heal that part of my lineage, I needed to call him in a final time (I had already called him in several times to release some of his grief) as a boy this time, and when I finally did that, I could see his spirit as a boy, I released the grief that boy had acquired and when I felt the grief lifting, I saw my grandpa’s spirit appear to me as a man, and a look of great relief and gratitude, and a lightness about him, and he smiled at me and said, “Thank you”. And after that, I knew the work “felt” done. See how subtle it all is? The thing is, though, this work is tricky, and I had done this all based solely on what I was compelled to do by spirit. That’s not a bad thing, and in some cases I think it’s good just to jump in and give it a try, but there are some pretty significant dangers to the living in doing this work, and it should be done properly so that the living do not become sick. This is when I stopped ancestor work and I am learning methods to do this work with more precaution by wisdom from the living on these matters.
(A small tangent…)
I had a healing done by a couple of trainees of my shamanic teacher, and they told me of some ancestral “sticky black stuff” that was draped over me by an ancestor who stood at my head during the healing. They sensed it was a masculine ancestor, and that this was not a malevolent act, but rather that it seemed to be residue (from what I assume comes from the work I did with my grandpa) and that their spirit helpers could only eat away some of the residue, and that I was supposed to actively work on the rest of it, that it is work that I MUST DO. Also, they sensed the blockage in my neck, that has been present for quite some time, and they worked on releasing this tension. I think I’ve blogged of this before, because in staving, Kabbalistic systems, and Traditional Witchcraft, the neck is an area of primal energies (and is the physical location of the pituitary gland/reptilian brain) and is a difficult area in terms of energies as well as initiatory learning. I have done a lot of work in this area in terms of spiritual encounters (this is where you can let the ancestors “into” you, and is where Jötenheim (land of giant/primal/chaotic energies) resides. In the Kabbalistic map, it is called Daath, and is a place of great struggle. Because of the work I’ve done, and likely not being thorough in asking for proper protection or asking spiritual guardians to stand at this gateway, I assume this is the reason (at least partially) for blockage in terms of energy flow in this area.
Anyway, I have been mulling this idea over in relation to the past few journeys I’ve had within the framework of my past year’s training (of which I have to keep most details private) in journeys to Cerridwen and the Cailleach that I’ve been pondering how to integrate the information I received. What does it all mean? In those journeys (which were dismemberment journeys) am I supposed to DO anything with them, other than understand that I have been dismantled again in order to be put together differently? In these journeys, it seemed more like a passive kind of “allowance” to be dismembered, and I didn’t seem to get that nagging feeling that something needed to be DONE in ordinary reality. But what if I was supposed to do something, but just didn’t understand what? I suppose the answer to that would be, “journey again and ask”. This is where I think private work with a practitioner helps, but when I’ve done this with my current teachers, they don’t seem to give information on how to integrate this, or what is to be done next. This seems to be the single most important reason a practitioner would do a journey for someone, and so I guess I’m a little discouraged by that. But I also see this as test of my own trust. And when I really look at the situation, I already have a lot of skills in this area, and I can’t always go crying to teacher. I think this was largely what the initiation with the Reindeer was all about; that I have come into and must accept my own power.