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This was inspiring. I’ve been in bed the last week with one outing to have lunch with a friend, to rest and beat this cold. Meditation, books, Netflix instant, the net, and Trixie have been my friends. 🙂

Anyway, while poking around I found this on the Whole Life Times (online). I never realized how much more of a resource the WLT is online.

((BLOG EXCERPT))

When Glendale artist Joy Feuer first visited the burned remains of the Cisco Homes warehouse in Pasadena, she looked beyond the charred furniture ruins and saw potential.

“Everyone kept saying, ‘There’s nothing left. It’s all destroyed.’ But I knew that something could come out of it,” she said.

Months later, Feuer’s vision became a reality when she founded ART from the Ashes, a nonprofit organization that creates art from the wreckage of local fires. In November of 2008 their first show featured monolithic statues, spiral wall installations and free-standing art pieces fashioned from fragments of corroded wood, twisted metal and shards of glass.

On the opening day, flutes of champagne were passed as visitors viewed the 90 works of reclaimed art incorporating materials from the previous fire site. More than 500 exhibit visitors raised $12,000 in donations for Cisco Homes and the charity group Making Education the Answer.

Since fires are never scarce in Southern California, ART from the Ashes has held two other shows. Artwork in their October 2009 show incorporated debris from the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens fire, and materials for their more recent June 2010 show came from the ruins of the station fire at the Deukmejian Wilderness Park in Glendale.

“With every site we visit, we always find new and inspiring pieces to make into art,” said Feuer. “That’s the beauty of it. You never know what you’ll find.”

via Whole Life Times Blog » Blog Archive » Up in Flames.

Through 12/18 at ART from the Ashes Pop Up Gallery, 216 South Brand Blvd., Glendale (additional images in the Whole Life Times print issue)

– –

Be well,

Scott K Smith
http://lifencompass.com

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Scott Lifencompass


I was reading through this coming months Transmutation News, thoughts on the Shaman’s Death. I am aware that the last few chapter reviews were about Death and Dying and I thought the newsletter, on the tail of these posts was an important connection to the last three articles in Awakening to Shamanism.

The following contains a few excerpts from Sandra Ingerman’s newsletter, Transmutation News.

((EXCERTPS))

Transmutation News August 2010

“When one embarks on a spiritual journey there is a process of dying to the ego – spirit sculpting us to be greater spiritual beings. And this journey of the shaman is filled with initiations that keep asking us to let go of our egos and a separate state of consciousness that can lead us to a unity consciousness and an experience of light that brings forth our clairvoyant, psychic and healing gifts.

As our ego is carved away at by our spirit, divine light can shine through. It is like a burning away of what keeps us separate from our spiritual state and what prevents our spirit from fully shining through us.

I have written about this many times in my books and also on the Transmutation News.

I think that the setting the intention of “the experiment” with the working in community groups brought me personally to a new stage of the shaman’s death.”

Then

“We are all on a journey – and we are all at different phases of the path – that will ultimately lead to a whole new evolution of consciousness. I think we need to move away from the focus being on the process of individuation. Individuating I think has been necessary on many levels but it is time to grow away from being so self absorbed into a consciousness of unity.

But first a death must occur before we see the possibilities.

When I was in my late teens I experimented with taking LSD. One night some of my friends had taken LSD and we went to a Grateful Dead Concert. At the concert I was separated from some of my friends.

I went into a real place of “ego death” there was no “me” and there was no “other” we were all one. I was in a glorious state of being.

I wanted to tell my friend Robin something but I knew I could never find her amidst the crowd of people. So I thought to myself that if we are all one I can tell the person standing next to me the message and it would be the same as telling Robin.

And then I had the realization that if we were all one I only had to tell myself the message.

The shaman’s death in the true sense of the term is letting go of the ego that provides any containment of the spiritual energies coming through to heal and to transform.

The shaman’s death is dying to anything that keeps you from being in the present moment. And that means letting go of outcomes, desires, needs, wants.”

You can read the full newsletter, and subscribe, at Shamanic Visions.

– – –
Be well,

Scott K Smith
http://lifencompass.com

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Subscribe via RSS. Leave a comment, those are always appreciated. Submit something for posting, topics and ideas are welcome.

Scott Lifencompass

If you are just joining me in these posts you can catch up on the chapter-by-chapter book review of Awakening to the spirit world through these posts:

Experiential Work With Death & Dying | All Change Involves a Death

First the technical and then the personal. I put these two chapters together. As an after thought, I feel that I should have put all three chapters on Death together, but maybe the acceptance and understanding I have of the passage is a bit more “accepting” than others. I’m doing my best not to condense down the subject and breeze through it.

These two chapters contain a lot of personal experience, and sections about:

  • There are No Unfinished Conversations
  • Soul Stealing (about forgiveness)
    • Exercise: Creating Closure
  • Saying Goodbye
  • Recapitulation
  • Granting Permission to Die
  • All God’s Creatures Grieve
  • All Change involves Death
  • Dismemberment as an Initiatory Journey
    • A Journey for Dismemberment
    • Erasing Personal History

In and throughout the stories and exercises in these two chapters are guidelines for helping others to cope with Death. For the self, the parent, and those in need. The second chapter covers more initiatory processes and how we, encountering life or visionary happenings can potentially be transformative from a shamanic or mythological sense.

I think that the authors have done well in this.

As I said I have tried not to gloss over the subject, and not for any reason other than my personal experience in the last 4 or so years has been heavily washed with the passage of family, and a psychological erosion of a youth’s belief in physical immortality by the nature of life’s entropic (physical) journey.

We die. All of us. You will die. I have to say it because I need to remind myself that in time I will. It’s not a constant awareness, but it is there, hovering near, when I heal, hurt, wake, eat, and go about doing. It is something we can or cannot accept, true ,but eventually we end up there whether we accept it or not.

That’s why it is important to know it, say it, accept it. I’m not advocating running around depressed, or in fear, actually I find that by living in a process of accepting Death, there is liberation from a lot of psychological snags. Tho I do believe that my essential self (soul, what have you) may continue on is some form, and I believe that meditation and self-discovery help you to connect with that true being, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel some natural instinct to keep, continue, and create. I am not sitting around planning my funeral, bemoaning my fate, but I am also blessed with health, job, home, and love. I could be much “worse off” compared to many millions of people, and I count that as a blessing.

What does strike me is that many people do not accept this fate. It is a destination yet not a goal, it’s as if Death is a demise, or punishment. Tormented with sorrow, anguish, fear, anger, and so many other mind-traps that throughout history we have needed those who know Death near us when it too becomes our time for passage into that otherness, whatever it ultimately my be. And because it Death perceived is a punishment, we have states in our own country where you forced into dying, in accordance to the law.

Death has become reviled. It’s so terrible, it is the greatest punishment… Where did we go wrong in our understanding?

It’s thoughts like these that drive me to the point that (I think) Sandra & Hank are making: There needs to be a personal re-address of the dying process and Death. A look at first realistic and then metaphysical in the sense of our relationship to ourself and those that have/are passing, and then the greater relationship to the bigger circle of living that we are part of.

Spiritual systems abound, throughout our history from small tribes to the great ethnic groups of human kind, that express an after to what we are living now. There are many similarities in myth, legend, story, and personal experience that tell us we are part of something greater and into the greatness we go when we expire. It is fundamental to most of us (some people believe we live and die, and once dead nothing more) to prove a link at some point in our life with that other world in whatever shape that takes hold of us.

When my grandfather passed away I knew, almost to the minute, even though I was hundreds of miles away. I felt a presence. There was a whiff of Old Spice and a splash of motor oil. I was sitting at my office desk, the door was closed. His memory, smell, and spirit was there in the light before me. Saying goodbye.

At a much younger age when one of my dogs died, we lived apart at that point, I had a dream she was across a vast chasm from me. Kahlua, my dog, was on one peak and I on another. She was barking and wagging her tail at me. I called her name over and over.

The next day, my mother called to let me know she passed away.

When my boyfriend Sean took is own life, I woke to see a light in my room and someone standing in it, waving. I woke. Smiled and waved. I honestly thought it was a Guide. The next day I began to receive calls…

My great-aunt and her funeral. The spirits in our various houses. “Ghost stories”, near death experiences, encounters. We go somewhere. We become something else. We meet that greatness.

“There is nothing to fear”, as they say, “but fear itself” and when we release that fear we enter a new life. It is part of living to know this. A shamanic perspective is but one way in which we can find the Sacredness and Grace that is helpful to meet it, to complete the circle. We can aid that sacred moment through paths as described in these chapters: Conversation. Forgiveness. Acceptance. Understanding. Connecting. It is one of our task while living.

We can find it in our spirituality, yes, but ultimately we make these graces within ourself.

I hope that this finds you well.

– – –
Be well,

Scott K Smith
http://lifencompass.com

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…Favorite blogs.

I’m a little low energy this weekend and I got nothing accomplished. On Friday night I went to a birthday and took a tumble in The Mezz bar (Downtown Los Angeles) over a dark little step that wasn’t roped off or lit well. Long story short, I walked through the front door and while marveling at the old-style architecture, cornices, and other details, I failed to see the step/stage in the middle of the floor. Brandon pointed out that while he was looking at me the lights were right in my face and it made it almost impossible to see the step. Which I hit with my foot causing me to loudly and painfully fall right on my upper chest, hands, and arm.

I’m still in a good deal of pain but the second day isn’t as bad as the first. This week will be interesting as I attempt to do my normal routine. At this point getting out of bed is an interesting maneuver in avoiding pain while wiggling down to the edge to lean off the mattress and onto my feet. Bear with me, please. Send some healing (for my greater health and healing) if you would like. An harm none.

Any-who-who, I need to do a little shout out to some of the blogs I read, often. These are the blogs that give me some food for thought (listed alphabetically). On days like today they are essential reading. Homebound and sitting around a lot can get monotonous. It’s not like this world cup game is any entertaining.

Without further adieu…

Blogs.

101 Cookbooks

Heidi Swanson (aptly  named don’t ya think?) creates some of the most yummy looking and tasty dishes. Often simple, with natural whole grains, vegetables and good foods.

http://www.101cookbooks.com/

Chatishin “Life/Art/Life”

Chati Coronel brings art to us as a provocative spiritual practice. It’s breathy, inspiring, and transformative. Once our neighbor, Chati, her husband and Edber, and beautiful little daughter Mecha have moved but you can follow along and explore her latest journey through her blog.

I find her poetic process of creation most interesting.

http://chatishine.blogspot.com/

East Village Boys

Great photography, writing, and often some awesome beats to go along with the flavor of the week, East Village Boys has been the spotlight of all sorts of amazing creative folk. Sexy, funny, dirty, real, entertaining.

http://www.eastvillageboys.com/

Food Renegade

This is another new site for me, introduced by Carla Golden. The Food Renegade is not just about food on the “eating level” but what is IN your food, why it could be controversial and / or unhealthy and how to shift our perspective. From the site:

Everyone has an idea of what “healthy” food is. Vegans, vegetarians, Paleo dieters, Atkins-for-lifers. You. Me. For most of us, this food worldview takes shape unconsciously as we go about our lives absorbing the not-so subtle messages of food marketers.

Most of us grew up thinking fat was evil. Food manufacturers paraded a host of low-fat options in front of consumers. Margarine was supposed to be “healthier” than butter; skim milk was supposed to be better than whole milk. People picked up low-fat versions of their favorite junk foods and felt wise and healthy.  Saturated fats were the devil incarnate. Avoid red meat! Chicken is king! Cholesterol is bad; avoid eggs. But as a nation, we still grew more obese and sickly.

When the Atkins diet became the rage, breadmakers went out of business all across the country. Low-carb became our new mantra. Even if we didn’t jump on board the Atkins bandwagon, we still probably hold some residual low-carb prejudices.

The average person’s food worldview is a wild and often contradictory mix of popular nutritional mumbo-jumbo.We walk through the supermarket and are inundated with marketing messages left and right — all of which make some sort of health claims. We pick up on these hints, add them to our conflicted understanding of what is and is not good for us, and wait for the next nutritional expert to tell us how to eat.

But what we eat shouldn’t be determined by diet dictocrats. It should be determined by history, culture, and traditional cuisines.

We have lived for thousands of years on this planet. Every native community has a highly developed food culture — what food to eat when, how it should be prepared and eaten, what it should be eaten with, and what foods are taboo and should be avoided.

http://www.foodrenegade.com/

for the love of yum

Another great food blog. Although it isn’t always “vegi” I think that the food prepared and presented has been simply delicious. We’ve dipped into FtLoY a few times for parties, dinners and snacks. This blog, like many food blogs that I consider great, draws me in through the food, photography, and the personal stories that come around them.

http://fortheloveofyum.wordpress.com/

Herbivoracious

I think it was iHerb who turned me onto to Herbivoracious. I’ve only just started to receive the blog and recipe’s in my rss reader. So far, so good! From the blog, “Herbivoracious is all about reinvigorating vegetarian cuisine with modern techniques and bold, authentic flavors.”

http://fortheloveofyum.wordpress.com/

Runeworker

Christopher is a great and informative teacher of the Runes. His daily draws and explanation combine ancient verse and meaning for meditation on the Runes.

I have to say that his class over at Points of Light, in Long Beach, is AMAZING. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m glad I signed up.

http://blottytinesrunemagic.blogspot.com/

Strategic Sorcery

Hours of entertainment. This guy is a brain. His “ask me anything” blog has had me going ‘huh?’ a few times and caused several nose dives into books, research, and internet scavenging to learn more.

http://strategicsorcery.blogspot.com/

The Healthy Haven

The Healthy Haven is the iHerb.com blog. An informative read about foods, supplements, herbs, oils and uses. I picked up the Quinoa recipe through the Healthy Haven!

http://thehealthyhaven.wordpress.com/

****

Here’s hoping you enjoy the reads and are having a good Sunday!

– – –
Be well,

Scott K Smith
http://lifencompass.com

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Subscribe via RSS. Leave a comment, those are always appreciated. Submit something for posting, topics and ideas are welcome.

Scott Lifencompass

Like. Like. Like. Like. Like.

I can’t wait to try. Thank you Tes for the recipe, ‘how-to’ and great family photos!

Scott

Homemade Pasta with Mushroom and Asparagus Homemade pasta is something to cheer your kid up. Nothing stop Yaseen from running around the house making a mess like show him a big plate of freshly made pasta with rich hearty meat sauce. Making pasta seems to a lot of work. “Why can’t I just snug a bag of dry spaghetti from my pantry and drop them in the boiling water? Won’t it do the justice?” if you haven’t tried the fresh pasta, you wouldn’t know how different and amazing the fresh pasta i … Read More

via Homewarming

If you are just joining me in these posts you can catch up on the chapter-by-chapter book review of Awakening to the spirit world through these posts:

Chapter 9: Death as a Rite of Passage

Be welcome to what most feel is an unwelcome topic of conversation: Death. There are obvious reasons for the discomfort, namely that the majority of people fear death!

Awakening to Shamanism, the Path of Direct Revelation continues to surprise me with each chapter. There is an intent to shift the vibration upward but the author and joined voices of Modern Shamanism do not spare us the darkness in the retelling of their practice. I think that needs some explanation but Alberto Villoldo illustrates this “darkness” it well in the first few pages,

“In the West, we no longer remember how to die with grace and dignity. We shuttle the dying off to hospitals where death is considered a disease and extraordinary measures are taken to prolong life at all costs. Families do not know how to come to closure with the passing of a loved one. Many people die in fear, with unresolved issues, not having said the “I love you’s and “I forgive you”s that would be so healing for them and their families. We have tried to make death invisible; we think that if we ignore it long enough, it will go away.”

Sandra Ingerman writes,

“When someone starts to speak about impending death, the usual social response is, “Don’t talk like that, you are going to get well and you will be back on our feet before you know it.” Yet we are all going to go through the death experience sooner or later.

Denial that a big change is coming, and that this change is inevitable, blocks understanding. It also blocks true loving and supportive communication on all sides. As a result, many people die in a state of acute fear and anxiety, while their families and doctors try to hold them here for as long as possible.”

~Pgs. 180-181, Awakening to Shamansim

We have a wealth of spiritual and cultural traditions all over the world who speak of an afterlife among spirits of friends, family, and even deities. There are stories throughout time of near death experiences, visitations by those who have passed and encounters with other  entities from places beyond our sight. It’s strange to me that we have built a culture of horror around the passage from this life into the other world(s).

Personally I have had more encounters than I can count in a moment. I would have to take my time perusing journals and memories to pull every thread together, weaving for you the blanket of my, and my families, experiences with “the dead”.  A few come to mind…

I have written about my great Aunt Joyce a few times, she had a great and lasting impression on my life, shaping much of my childhood as the one constant figure who was there for me. I love my mother, she was there, sometimes she wasn’t, but our Aunt Joyce would always step in and take care of us.

When Aunt Joyce passed the family collapsed.

Days leading up to her funeral turned to the moment when friends and family gathered at the Chapel near the foot of the Mission Hills. We came together in solemn and then teary remembrance, and with the Priest in charge of ceremonies we laughed, we cried, and then as entertaining priest began the Rosary a funny thing happened.

A light appeared behind the priest in the shape of a robed woman, crown ablaze with rings of light, hands folded in another nimbus of prayer. As I stared at her, this luminous being behind the prayers, feeling like a grain of sand to the sea, I heard my sister ask, “Who is that lady?”

When my sister spoke between my mother and me, we both turned from looking at the vision to stare at my sister, we had all seen her!

Our family has many such stories, I think coming from the South, my mother’s family had a way with connections, ours I think is spirits in one degree or another. I don’t claim to be a “Ghost Whisperer” but I have had my moments and time to think about a lot of these things, namely my own fear of death.

For a few years my thought was, if I am having this experience that tells me that we continue on after this life as we know it, why do I fear it? Really, it’s kind of silly.

I find that in the last year my perspective is changing. I’m in no hurry to leave / die, in fact I’d like to live a long and healthy life and end up on the Today’s Show, Smucker Jar as a Centennial. Here’s hopes for being upwardly mobile until my twilight years!

The rest of this chapter focuses on the aspects of transition, Death as a Rite of Passage:

  • The Life and Death Cycle
  • Stages of the Death Experience
  • The Bardos: The After-Death Realms in The Middle Worlds of Spirit
  • Maps to the Landscape Beyond Death
  • Psychopomp Work (this is an illustration, there is no way (stated) that the reader should attempt this work without advanced work).

The next chapter focuses more on this subject and I look forward to reading it. This is a singular issue that we will all face in various forms, from the passing of loved ones and eventually our own journey into otherness. It is vital that we learn to understand our relationships in life, and just as vital that we learn to accept with grace our eventual portal into the afterlife.

– – –
Be well,

Scott K Smith
http://lifencompass.com

Want to support Lifencompass?
Subscribe via RSS. Leave a comment, those are always appreciated. Submit something for posting, topics and ideas are welcome.

Scott Lifencompass

Greetings. Welcome back.

I was about to start a new post for the Chapter 9 review of Awakening to Shamanism, when I decided to post a bit more on sound. Chapter 8, Working with Sound and Light, inspired some connections this last week when I attended class on Wednesday evening. I’m now, happily, participating in a 10 week course entitled Runes 110, at the Points of Light bookstore in Long Beach. I mentioned this class a few weeks to a month or so back because one of our friends, Christopher Lung, is teaching it.

First week was refreshing, interesting and entertaining. I honestly didn’t realize the depth of history that the Runes carry, nor did I realize the span of years that they had existed. History can become boring to me but fortunately the topic is within the realm of “more than interesting” and Christopher is an entertaining, and informed, educator.

It takes me over an hour to get to Long Beach during traffic hour but it’s worth the commute.

This last Wednesday we did some Runic breathing and chanting, and this is why the class corresponded to the Chapter 8 topic.

Singing, chanting, and toning have been used throughout history in ritual and ceremony. It’s a powerful tool socially, brining us together in a common voice and cause, and in my opinion an important part of magickal work. No I don’t sing like Whitney (used to), or chant like a Tibetan Monk. I’ve had my moments of singing in tongues and of course there is always the use of vibration with magickal symbols, like the sacred Reiki Symbols, when healing… I must be silly, I wasn’t connecting the dots.

Chanting the names of the Runes, while visualizing them, in a group was “neat”. More than neat, the resonating with the Runes in carried voices was intense. OK. I’m solitaire for the most part. I have worked with others over the years on many occasions. I’ve been part of countless classes, lectures, and workshops, but raising our voices in vibrating unison was AMAZE-BALLS!

We worked on 4 Runes:

f Feoh / u Uruz / th,þ Thurisaz / a Os

The primal powers of the Runic alphabet, up and to the point of the point of consciousness (Odin / Os). We chanted each rune nine times. At points I felt like the power of my voice was raising up a little too loud but I let myself enjoy the experience. I may not sing very well but I do have some powerful lungs. *smile*

This got the hamsters spinning the wheel in my head. The power of the Rune was intensified by breath and sound, the same way that I empower the Reiki symbols (Cho Ku Rei, etc).

With Reiki symbols I use the following technique.

Reiki Gong: Technique’s in Reiki Practice

(Previously mentioned in the entry, Reiki-Gong).

Practice with Cho Ku Rei

As with the Violet Breath exercise, tongue to top of mouth, breath in circularly. Allow the energy to flow through nose and down the energetic paths of the chakra. Instead of cycling the energy down through the root chakra and up the back of the spine, breath it into your second chakra, just below or about your navel. Fill that area up with the energy, a golden light.

Next we will draw the symbol.

Draw the golden light up from this Chakra, our center, and out the arms to the palms of the hands and with your dominant hand, draw the Reiki Symbol, in this case the Choku Rei. Imagine it as a golden symbol. The seven and the spiral.

Place this symbol into that which you are sending Reiki. Hold the symbol as if you were holding a dish, about the size of a dinner place and gently feel it descend into the client or object. Gently move it about until you feel some resistance. Gently push into that resistance until you feel it “click” into place.

Vibrate the CKR name three times. Say it aloud, draw it out, vibrate the name. Three times. Place your hands on the recipient / object and pass Reiki.

When you feel the Reiki complete, when the energy ebbs, gently withdraw the symbol and bring it back to your center, just around or below the naval and put the golden energy back into this place. Take your hands, palms flat to leave the hand chakras open, and push the symbol in. Breath into this center a few times.

Check out your results. Was it different? How?

I’ve practiced with this new technique on the three traditional Reiki Symbols. I have drawn the symbol large enough to fit a room and gently clicked it into place and vibrated the name and sat with the energy. I have used it on myself, on the crystal grid that surrounds my home and even in distance healing. For myself I’ve been pleasantly surprised each time at home much more effective the energy seems to flow.
Notes:

Why the center, the 2nd Chakra?

Because this is our Ki, our energy that we are using to draw a path, a channel for the Reiki energy to enter. Think of it like a straw or a catch for the Reiki energy.

Why do we lock it into place?

We do this because it sets a focal point for the symbol to recieve the energy. Drawing the Life Force Energy into place and purpose. Where it is needed and the effect of the symbol.

Why do we withdraw the symbol?

Because the gold light is our ki. It has been infused with Reiki and it will continue to empower your Reiki center over time. Consider this spot below the navel, the 2nd chakra, like a well of personal energy. it is replenished by the Reiki with each use. The more you practice this form of Reiki the stronger that center becomes.

Let me know your results. Try the SHK and the HSZSN as well.

If you are interested in that particular form of Reiki practice or would like to read more, visit the entry on Reiki Gong for more info and a link to the book / author who I learned the technique from.

I’m thinking that the next 8 weeks of class will be a whole lot of fun. I’m also feeling that my magickal practice just expanded in a new way and all it took was a big breath and a strong vibe.

Until next week.

– – –
Be well,

Scott K Smith
http://lifencompass.com

Want to support Lifencompass?
Subscribe via RSS. Leave a comment, those are always appreciated. Submit something for posting, topics and ideas are welcome.
Scott Lifencompass

If you are just joining me in these posts you can catch up on the chapter-by-chapter book review of Awakening to the spirit world through these posts:

Chapter 8: Working with Sound and Light

Welcome back. First I want to say that I did finish the project from Chapter 6, Dreaming: The Dream Circle. It is a painting, created to safely access the World of Dream. It was a work in progress and I will post a few photos this weekend so that you can get a better look at it. The Dream Circle will be part of the evolving body of work that I had planned for the collaborative show in August… which is “evolving” on its own and becoming a bit more than I had anticipated. Anyway, as I said, details are to come.

This chapter is about Sound and Light. I assumed that sound would come along eventually as sound, ceremony, and ritual are generally brought together for altering our state of consciousness, bringing people together into a group mind or energy field, and to call in the helping forces and spirits that one wold need. These are a few of the ways in which sound compliments healing or magickal work.

The chapter begins with historical and cultural stories of first sounds and sound healing deities and then moves into topics like:

  • Drumming and Healing
  • Gods of the Harp
  • Power Songs, and finding your power song
  • Singing and Healing Patterns

Tom Cowan, in the Gods of the Harp part, writes:

“This is keeping with other cultures that we see the universe as something vibrational or something created by a voice, song or sacred word.

In an old Irish myth, the goddess Boann (later her name become Boyne, on of Ireland’s sacred rivers) gives birth to three sons who become harpers. As each son is born, Boann’s husband, Uainthe, plays music on his harp to accompany her experience. The first birth is difficult, so he plays a lament or song of sorrow; the second birth is joyful because she realizes she is having another child, so he plays a happy tune; and she falls asleep during the third delivery because she is tired, so he plays a lullaby. When the boys become harpers, each specializes in the type of music he heard when he came into the world. I think of them as the gods of the harp.

(Later) …A simple way to  use this matrix for healing is to hum these three strains of music for someone as a kind of prayer. Visualize the person in distress or pain and hum a low tone, then watch the person’s face begin to smile as youmove up a couple of notes on the scale, then see the person in total peace as you move the hum up a coupel more notes (C, E, and G work well). This can be done in one slow breath as you exhale. Then keep repeating this as a kind of breathing-humming meditaiton for several minutes in which ou send out healing with your breaths and intentions. Not surprisingly, you’ll find that this brings you too into a wonderful state of peace”

~Tom Cowan, Awakening to Shamanism, Pgs 162-163

Although I personally find the harp relaxing, I find the toning to be an interesting of simple sound therapy. I don’t know much about toning or sound therapy as a medium for healing, I have benefited from experience.

My friend Jamie Bechtold is a great Sound Therapist and recently performed at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, during the Autumn, Spring, and Summer Equinox’s. Three powerful planetary gongs accompanied by four crystal singing bowls, and two sound healers. Phenomenal!

I attended the Spring Equinox Sound Bath among revelers, and friends old and new. Initially the sound was overwhelming. I don’t to say it was scary or distracting but the power of the gongs and bowls are overwhelming. It is a “bath” of sound. The beat, pulse, and vibration took me deep, and then into a state of release, before brining me back to (that moments’) present. The only other time I can think that I have experienced something like this was with drumming.

Back in 199*mumble* I attended a small circle in San Francisco. We all had various instruments and I, a small hand held drum. I was nervous about the chanting and drumming because I am a perfectionist about certain things and I didn’t feel that my voice was very harmonious… and I think the last time I had played on a drum, I was five. Irregardless I joined along with the drumming, and kept my chanting to myself. Somewhere in the rhythm we were generating, us four, I got lost. I’m not sure where but I had one of these fall into the ecstatic states. I can recall plains tribes, being an old woman with a long life and a deep sorrow, singing a song for those who had passed.

No wait, I did sing it. I not only sang it but I took the lead in the circle and sort of dominated it with this painful song. I was a little embarrassed but the people I was drumming with, after a moment of shock (which makes me laugh at this point) were pretty supportive.

Sound has a profound and amazing effect on many things, not just me. 🙂

This section continues into something entirely interesting, which I want to call weaving tapestries of sound and light, but it isn’t really an exercise. There are exercises in the chapter to explore the world of sound in making song and working with the “song” of things. One exercise helps us to find the song of a plant. Jose Stevens worked with the Shipibo and their use of healing through song. This is where I draw the feeling of tapestries of sound and light.

“According to the Shipibo, everyone has a song, everyone can sing, and Spirit gives  everyone song upon request. All that matters is that you are willing to sing.”

~Page 166

You’ll need to pick up a copy for his full telling of the Shipibo’s use of song in mystical work, it’s fascinating stuff!

Though you may  not sing or use song in your work, you can use music to find altered states, to accompany your journey. There are albums created for healing, dream, and shamanic work (and more) that you can find to work with. These may or may not be healing songs, but they can provide stepping stones into the world of sound and singing.

(Dead Can Dance is one group of artists that can quickly take me into altered states and I often use them for meditation, sessions, and magickal work).

Personally I recommend finding a rattle, drum, or other hand held instrument that you can use at home. Try some rhythms, find what feels right. It shouldn’t be complex. State your intent and begin to make music with the intent as the meaning of the sound. When you are comfortable with that level of work, trying sining along. It may or may not have words that make sense, it doesn’t need to vocally make “sense”. In moments I’ve found that just singing the language that comes to me can be a powerful thing in cleansing the house, calling in helpful spirits, or vibrating the energy that we wish to bring into the space we are working in.

The later part of the chapter begins to focus on light. Not the light of the Sun, or color therapy, but the light of spirit, the white light, and the light of our spirits.

  • Working With Stones of Light
  • Working With Light
  • Exercise: Transfiguration
  • The Human Spirit
  • Maintaining A Spiritual State
  • A Journey To A Descendant

If you are reading along and you have or are working with the “Transfiguration” exercise I would love to hear about your experience(s). This process involves using the Light to shift, or transform parts of self, illness, or thoughts (for example) into lighter forms of being. Imagine shifting a stagnant form that you find within your journey work that is stuck in pain, in the past, or in the type of darkness that does not serve us.

We’re coming into the three final chapters of Awakening to the Spirit World, The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation. As I wind down I’m going to begin to incorporate more of the experiences and lessons from The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft, Christopher Penczak, to continue the work.  I hope that you will join me.

Until then, enjoy the Journey.

– – –
Be well,

Scott K Smith
http://lifencompass.com

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If you are just joining me in these posts you can catch up on the chapter-by-chapter book review of Awakening to the spirit world through these posts:

Chapter 6: Creative  Art as a Bridge

I blazed through this chapter! As an artist it had some creative ideas, and affirmations for my own practice; And as it is I’m now in a creative frenzy because of the upcoming show; and the dream circle (still forthcoming) it paired up nicely with everything that is happening in this moment.

I spent the better part of today painting and trying out the casting materials for the August Show. I’m in the creative space.

Chapter 6, Creative Art as a Bridge, illustrated by example how various tribal peoples use art and the shamanic practices of healing throughout time beginning with the caves of the Late Stone, which houses ancient works somewhere between 32,000 – 36,000  years old. Theory, reasoning, provoking depth, Sandra notes the history of art and shamanic practice.

It’s interesting.

We come to Art in SHamanic Healing (page 142), where the connection between art as a practical application of the path cast for us,

“There are many different ceremonies that can be done to restore power and, by  association, harmony within the client. The Ulcchi shamans in Siberia, for example, might work for a person who is ill or suffering from a loss of power in a way that incorporates shamanic art.

The Ulcchi shaman will journey into the spirit worlds on behalf of the client to find a power animal or helping spirit who is willing to come into relationship with the client to help restore the client’s personal power and proveide him or her with support and protection. Then the shaman will commission a carver in the village to make an image of the power animal – a bear for example. From the traditional perspective, shamanic art does not represent power. Rather, it is power. The carving of the bear becomes the vehicle, the embodiment, of the spiritual power of bear, so the next step is for the shaman to imbue the carving with that power. Then the carving will be placed by the shaman in the client’s home in order to serve as a literal and symbolic bridge between the person and the bear spirit. “

Personally I think that I find this true in most, if not all, of the work I do. I may be painting or crafting for someone in particular, or just for my own creative calling but the Spirit(s) connect, and imbue the work with the flavor and vibration of the creative evocation. I used to call this “Spirit Portraits” (thanks to Astrid!) and I honestly didn’t make the real connection to now. I’m not the only modern “city person” who crafts in this way! I keep thinking I need to dip into Urban Magick, but I have enough books on the shelf that are begging for attention…. Anyway.

You can see this channeling of spirit in dance, photography, sculpture and other mediums. Myself, I don’t think this connection and empowerment of spirit to the physical is limited to spiritual practices… but then again I don’t think “spiritual” is just spiritual practice as recognized by most. Spirit can come through in dance and it can be of any sort, expressing needed energies for those that are viewing. I think that you can see this with creatives like Johnny Raymond (Johnny 2.0) in his exploration of the boundaries of flesh, pain, emotion.

Artists are edge-walkers, skirting the world of the invisible, in touch with beings others experience in the craft of the creative.

Yeah… Ha. Well I did say I take a mystical approach to things. For myself I make sure what’s coming through is for healing or benefit and the rest is a matter of channeling or transcription.

Other topics in the is chapter were useful as well.

  • Working with craft in your practice.
  • Exercise for Crafting shamanic art.
  • Healing words in song and affirmation.
  • Blessing with words and walking in Truth.

This chapter by far has been my favorite. The practical application of the tools they offer rang and gonged my inner bells, most probably because I could use them right now.

Sandra Ingerman writes (page 149),

“The Navajo people have a saying, “May you walk in beauty.” Whenever there is someone from the Navajo nation at one of my lectures, he or she comes up to me and tells me about this term. It means that one can choose to speak words that are loving and that will be healing to others – words that create beauty.”

The chapter goes on. It’s a gem.

I’ve taken a small break from the work here at home and popped out to do some errands. As I write, I tingle. I’m thinking about the new work that’s pouring out and thinking, I will sing this beauty, this beauty will sing. I will sing this power, this power will sing. I will caress this work, this work will caress. Incanting the vibration of the creative, sensual, empowering words into the work.

It’s all in the book, Awakening to Shamanism, The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation.

See you next week.

********

A couple of notes here. You may have noticed that I’ve bumped the day that I post the chapter review. This was necessary as my schedule is changing throughout the month. Trying to make the Tuesday evening (personal) commitment was difficult when I began to journal the Tarot Journey in addition to the review.

I also have a show coming up in August. Details to come. At this point the entire operation is under wraps to build a sense of excitement. Tee hee. I’m glad the work I am doing pairs with that. 🙂 Think Priapus, healing, fertility, recovery


– – –
Be well,

Scott K Smith
http://lifencompass.com

Want to support Lifencompass?
Subscribe via RSS. Leave a comment, those are always appreciated. Submit something for posting, topics and ideas are welcome.

I think I’m going to stick with that for Wednesday posts: “Arty Farty”. It’s a term of endearment. Deal with it. 😉

In this interview, our friend Johnny. I think the dialogue speaks for itself. Catch the note on his upcoming show “The Weight of Color”. You may remember I wrote about Johnny back at the Clive Barker art event at Bert Green Fine Art, Imagining Man.

Thank you Frank Closet for the great post.

Johnny… you’ve come a LONG way. That’s awesome!

Scott

((BLOG / INTERVIEW EXCERPT))

Meet performance artist, Johnny 2.0 – you’ll be seeing and hearing quite a lot more of him in the next year, year and a half! Especially if you’re a hound for horror!

If you happen to be in or near LA when he’s performing, you MUST go see and experience the raw intensity and emotion this man can exuberate into his performances! He’s actually been known to bleed in/for his performances…

But what does he see? How has he turned his life around?

The former gogo dancer and club personality has essentially grown up after staring death in the face. Johnny, was kind enough to take some time to answer some of my questions. Click on the link below to read the interview and see some of Johnny’s NSFW photos!

via Spotlight: Johnny 2.0 « Frank Closet.

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