I have a little story to tell.

Last week, my son had to go under general anesthesia. After his first dental work, he developed a total fear of the dentist. So despite the fact that he had only minor work to be done, anesthesia ended being the final option. We looked to every possible option and it really came down to that. As an occupational therapist, I had seen plenty of surgeries gone very wrong, so naturally I was worried.

After he had gone under, I went back to the waiting room, surrounded by all the other parents who had children in there. I had read somewhere (though I looked, I couldn’t find where I had read it) that soul loss can happen during general anesthesia. Shamans use soul retrieval techniques to find missing pieces of people’s souls that can happen during trauma or soul theft. I have taken a number of workshops in shamanism, but I had no idea how to do a soul retrieval. But this was my son and I was going to do whatever it took.

I sat cross-legged on my chair in the waiting room and closed my eyes. The other parents probably wondered what the heck I was doing, but I so didn’t care. It was my job to protect my little guy. I journeyed out into the middle world. I ‘got up’ and walked right through the wall to my son’s bedside. I called my guides, I talked to him, I surrounded him with a bubble so that his soul would stay close by. I guarded without pause to make sure that no pieces of his soul wandered off.

Then, in an instant, my focus broke and I was back in the waiting room. The connection was completely severed and though I tried and tried to get back in there, I just kept bouncing right out. What was going on?

Then I understood. They had just taken him out of the anesthesia! And as I realized that, the dentist came out and told us they had moved him to recovery.

Everything went well and he woke up without problems. Relief all around.

The reason I am writing this is that we are taught to fear, to not trust our deepest instincts, to surrender control to those who know best, to follow the Establishment. I didn’t know how to do a soul retrieval. And yet, I KNEW! I knew how to protect my son. And I did! I just went deep inside and did what I thought was the right thing despite what might have looked completely crazy to all those other parents. It wasn’t crazy or irrational. The fact that I knew when it was over confirmed to me how real this power was.

You must understand that I am probably the most normal person around (well, at least, I think so….) I’ve been involved in magic and paganism for over 15 years. But I I imagine dress like a hippie, own an occult store of some kind, do Tarot consultations and workshops for a living, etc…. It is not what my life is like at all. I am the person you sit next to on the bus. I work my day job, manage my business, get my kids to school… My day to day is no different from yours.

I need to repeat this: I am no different from you.

That night, I felt greatness fill my whole being. I felt like I had honored my sacred duty to do what was right and not to follow blindly what was being told to me. I took my own power back. I had power to help my son, a power which was irrational to most and I used it. I left the doubt behind and reached within to find that power. There are many in this world who would have us believe that we are powerless, that someone else knows better. But our power is infinite, beyond belief. Your power is infinite beyond belief. You KNOW what needs to be done and how to do it. I am not just talking about magic. Magic is just a technique. What matters most is believing, reading the signs of the times, seeing what the universe is telling YOU.

May this full moon bring you a taste of this greatness that is within yourself. Blessed be!

I attended a 2-day workshop on Shamanic Dreamwork. I don’t know how much I wrote about Shamanism on this blog, but I think it is the tribe that I feel most comfortable in right now. The people that compose it are varied, very down to earth and very conscious of being in a state of personal power.

I am lucky that Montreal has a thriving shamanic community offering the courses of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. I sign up for the workshops whenever they are offered. This weekend was a workshop on Shamanic Dreamwork.

At the beginning of the workshop, we were taught about the concept of ‘Big Dreams’. Big Dreams are dreams that are particularly vivid. You feel them on different sensory levels and you usually wake up with a very strong feeling. I looked back and I realized what a great part dreams have played in my spiritual journey. I can go back at least to the age of 10 and remember some of these great dreams. Whenever I would go to sleep with a pressing need for assistance, I would always be graced with a dream that would give me an answer to my query, or comfort, or guidance. They are stuck in my memory, as if I had actually been there.

Shamanic dreamwork goes much further than simply ‘interpreting’ dreams. It is truly about journeying to understand what the dream is telling us, what the spirits are telling us through the dreams. We also worked with dance and singing and tribal dreams. We journeyed for others. We journeyed to recall universal dreams.

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies offers workshops throughout the world. You can find a workshop near you at http://www.shamanism.org

If the drum beat calls you, go and have a look.

An Altay shaman beating a gong. Music was one ...

Image via Wikipedia

I just spent a wonderful weekend journeying in the Beyond! Every time I come back from these intense weekend shamanism workshops, I feel so re-connected to my own power. It just feels wonderful.

This particular workshop was on Death, Dying and the Beyond. We explored the worlds souls travel to once they have left this world. We journeyed to meet loved ones who had crossed over and we helped lost souls find their way to a happier place. It was a powerful experience.

I have blogged about shamanism before, but I want to say once more what a great practice it is. It is about regaining power first and foremost. It is also extremely personal, so that it is really the spirit guides and the person who do the work. The Shaman is only an intermediary in the process. I find this refreshing when so many so-called ‘healers’ take all the credit. Since it doesn’t carry a specific spiritual system with it, I find shamanism to be extremely pliable to a multitude of systems including ours. Of all the healing methods, shamanism is the one that attracts me the most because it deals with soul rather than just body. I think that the arts of healing the soul have been lost in recent years. And we desperately need it.

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies offers workshops throughout the world. You can find a list at http://www.shamanism.org

When you start practicing the Craft, you learn a lot and very quickly. Everything is new and every new information leads to something else. With time, your studying slows down, you start focusing more on the philosophy of things and the ‘Great Questions’. Practice itself gets a little lax and it becomes increasingly difficult to test yourself and push yourself a little further. At a certain point, you need to devote yourself body and soul to really progress and that gets complicated in a world where you have other obligations. These advanced shamanism workshops really give me the opportunity to push myself a little bit further every time and to do this in a safe and structured environment. I went into the workshop with the mindset of going in a little deeper, of surrendering to the power. I was not disappointed.

I just spent a most wonderful weekend learning and living to the Shaman’s Drum. Shamanism is a practice that is known throughout the world and has been used by tribal communities since the beginning of time. The Shaman is a healer and a wisdom seeker. S/he journeys in a altered state of consciousness (what Michael Harner calls the Shamanic State of Consciousness) to seek the help of spirit guides and power animals, often on behalf of someone else and often for healing purposes. I took a basic shamanism course a few years ago in a place called The Edge-Northern Algonquin Park (www.shamanismcanada.com) which is absolutely fabulous. We learned how to contact our power animals, how to journey to the different shamanic ‘worlds’ and how to journey on the behalf of someone else. This past weekend, I took a more advanced 2-day workshop given by the Federation for Shamanic Studies on extraction healing, which is a method of removing energy intrusions that cause people harm. I met some amazing, amazing people there, all people who saw their place in the world as a place of healing and of spirit.

Shamanism is a great practice for those of us who struggle with multiple spiritual paths. The FSS teaches core shamanism and as such it is non-denominational. So, people of various spiritual/religious backgrounds can join together and do healing work without having to negotiate their beliefs too much. It is very much grounded into concrete, real-life work, which is nice for those of us who like to get our hands dirty. Also, it is a GREAT teaching tool to learn about energy, about trusting our inner voice and about connecting to the universe. I use the techniques I learned in many rituals and use journeying to talk to my Guides. The FSS gives courses throughout the world, so I strongly encourage you all to check this out. Courses schedules can be found at http://www.shamanism.org/workshops/ A good book is also Michael Harner’s ‘The Way of the Shaman’.