06 Aug Shamanic Energy Medicine for Treating Trauma and Other Contemporary Afflictions: Introduction

I have a mission to make contemporary western shamanic energy medicine relevant and understandable to practitioners in mainstream clinical psychology, psychotherapy, medicine, and science.  This desire has grown out of my personal journey as I sought healing from chronic anxiety, depression and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress...

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06 Aug Shamanic Energy Medicine for Treating Trauma and Other Contemporary Afflictions, Part 1: Keeping an Open Mind

This is the first blog in a series called Shamanic Energy Medicine for Treating Trauma and Other Contemporary Afflictions in which I seek to make contemporary western shamanic energy medicine relevant and understandable to practitioners in mainstream clinical psychology, psychotherapy, medicine, and science.  In this first blog, I provide a brief overview of what shamanic energy medicine is and how it can be applied. One day many months ago, I was cleaning my house and listening to a radio program on the problem of post-partum depression in women.  The researcher being interviewed had done a study of a large group of women who had experienced depression and more mental and emotional imbalances following the birth of their child.  These were women who otherwise had been happy to become mothers, loved their babies, and prior to their pregnancy and birth, had never had any serious problems of a psychological nature. One of the women told the researcher that a few months after the birth of her beloved daughter child, she suddenly started to have compulsive and horrible images of killing her daughter.  They would appear unexpectedly, such as one time when she was standing looking from bleachers down into a skating rink.  She suddenly had an image of throwing her daughter onto the ice and killing her.  Eventually, she told a social worker who referred her to therapy. She also was prescribed anti-depressants.  The researcher commented that she would need monitoring and support from drugs. I stopped vacuuming and said aloud to the room: "She needs a shamanic energy medicine session!"  I knew that in a single session, these disturbing images and feelings could be banished without long-term talk and drug therapy.  Hearing her story made me resolve to find a way to  make shamanic energy medicine and ceremony relevant to contemporary medicine, psychology, and recovery from trauma. I want to reach out to readers who are themselves practitioners in alternative and mainstream medical and therapeutic practice and who are interested in new and alternative ways to address various physical, emotional and spiritual illnesses and imbalances.  I believe there is a role for this contemporary therapeutic movement particularly in the treatment of trauma. This will be the first blog in a series on the topic.  
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06 Aug Shamanic Energy Medicine for Treating Trauma and Other Contemporary Afflictions, Part 2: The Science of Transgenerational Trauma

In my blog entitled "Dreaming Violence into Peace, Part 1", I shared that I had recently had a series of violent dreams which seemed to presage the beheading of the American journalist, James Foley in August, 2014.  That series is a call to all of us to understand how deeply we are impacted by violence and to dream together a new vision of peace--even if our immediate lives lack direct conflict.  This blog is also relevant to Dreaming Violence into Peace, but extends the topic to be useful in particular to clinical and medical practitioners working who wish to understand the impact of transgenerational legacies of trauma from the perspective of shamanic energy medicine.  In the first blog of this series, Shamanic Energy Medicine for Treating Trauma and Other Contemporary Afflictions, Part 1: Keeping an Open Mind, I provide some basic definitions and introductions to shamanic energy medicine and energy healing, in general.  In this blog, Part 2, I discuss contemporary scientific perspectives on transgenerational transmission of trauma, behavior, environment, and epigenetics. 
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19 Jun Meeting Puma Marca: Save the Mountains of Peru

Some people love the ocean.  I love mountains.  I have lived in and near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for the past 30 some years.  They have taught me a lot--about endurance, faith, presence, spirit, hope, and love.  Whenever I strike out on a hike up and around these ancient beings, I connect to a transcendent yet grounded presence.  My troubles fade as I open my heart to a consciousness greater than my own.  I feel loved and taken care of.  I know I am part of the landscape of forests and streams, red quartz and shale, caves and crevices, Mountain Laurel and Solomon Seal, box turtles and deer, and the ruins of ancient, Appalachian farmers' homes. This deep mountain love has been true for as far back as I can remember.  Hence, when I discovered about 8 years ago that the indigenous peoples of Peru believe that the mountains are sacred beings who source and advise them, I was not surprised. I was happy and inspired.  Here was confirmation of something that I had long experienced intuitively but which the society I grew up in never gave credence to. When I finally was able to visit Peru this year, I was most excited to meet the Andes mountains, some of whose names I knew by heart: Ausangate, Salkantay, Huana Lipa, Huana Wari, Sacsaywaman, Illimani, and, of course--Macchu Picchu.  
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30 Mar Your Heart is a Planet at the Center of the Wheel of Mother Life

"Did you know that your heart is a planet? It rests at the center of the Wheel of Mother Life--your life.  Dance in its medicine of oneness to the very center of your body, mind, soul and spirit.  When you do, you will  be amazed to find that you are interconnected with all beings, both seen and unseen, all the way up to the smallest star and down to the smallest grain of sand. Within that pulsing globe of love, all suffering dissolves.  All that remains is pure joy." This message came to me one morning I was dancing with my students in a beautiful Earth Wheel at Galleywinter Farm just outside Charlottesville, VA during the North Lodge.  We flowed in circles and back and forth from the outer ring of the Wheel to the center Grandmother and Grandfather stones.  As we moved, we connected with our own heart and, through sacred dance, song and drumming, activated the natural harmonic resonance of our collective heart. Then, as our bodies tingled and our heart centers hummed from the energy brought from Mother Earth and Father Sky by the dance, we sat down to do the Loving Heart Meditation.
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15 Feb The Continuity of Consciousness; the Continuity of Lives

When I was a child, I knew I had lived in other bodies, in other lifetimes.  It was as if this knowledge came with me out of the womb. It was a remembering--a felt sense.  When I was 11 years old, I read the now famous Seth Material channeled and recently published by Jane Roberts. In it, Seth spoke about the multidimensional nature of reality and the fact that we live in many probable lifetimes and many probable selves. He also spoke about how our experience of a linear time is an illusion and that time is, in fact, holographic: everything is happening at once. So it is that our greater consciousness is one continuous stream of experience. Within that great stream we choose to incarnate in many bodies, many lifetimes, and even to experience more than one probable destiny line of our self. In this worldview, there would be more than one probable Rachel living out a number of possible expressions of myself within a similar space-time continuum. I was excited by what Seth said because as a young girl, I knew it was true
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02 Feb 6 Sacred Rules of Spiritual Engagement in Dangerous Times: How to Walk our Talk

In the past two weeks, all of us in the United States and even around the world have been feeling the impact of our new president’s executive orders, particularly the ban on Muslims from 7 countries.  I myself have felt the collective chaos, fear, anger, and confusion ripple through my energy body, just as I did on 9/11 after I watched an airplane fly into the second Twin Tower and heard reports throughout the day of the crashes into the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. In the view of Mother Earth mysticism and shamanic energy medicine, we are connected through a web of light from the personal outward to our family, to any larger communities with which we are affiliated through gender, ancestry, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or membership, and from there out to the collective of the nation, as a whole. We are also through this web connected to the world, writ large.  This is why those of us who may be tuned into these subtler layers of our physical existence may feel so deeply at the very core of bodies the tearing of the fabric of our nation. It is a stunning truth and perhaps overwhelming to even contemplate. This is not an abstract, intellectual fact nor a merely political and economic reality, it is also deeply spiritual. One does not have to be involved in new spiritual movements or alternative forms of spirituality to understand this view.  Martin Luther King, Jr. put it this way, based on his readings of the teachings of Jesus: “In a real sense, all life is interrelated in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever effects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
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07 Oct Shamanic Energy Medicine for Treating Trauma and Other Contemporary Afflictions, Part 3: Rings of Consciousness, Shamanic Journeying and Multigenerational Imprints on Consciousness

In this third blog of the series on Shamanic Energy Medicine for Treating Trauma and Other Contemporary Afflictions, I go more deeply into the perspectives behind and tools used for working with clients presenting with symptoms of PTSD, depression or anxiety.  This builds upon the second blog in which I...

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03 Sep Straight Outta Compton: The Dark Matter of Violence and the Energy of Light

As a continuation to my series of blogs entitled "Dreaming Violence into Peace", I want to comment on the film, Straight Outta Compton, now in theaters.  The movie chronicles the rise to fame in the late 80s and 90s of the gangster rap group, NWA--"Niggers Wit Attitude".  Known especially for their two songs, "Boyz in the Hood" and "Fuck Tha Cops", this talented group of young black men from the projects in L.A. put hard-core, violent lyrics on the top of the charts: The boy JB was a friend of mine Till I caught him in my car trying to steal my Alpine Chased him up the street to call a truce The silly cluck head pulled out a deuce-deuce Little did he know I had a loaded 12 gauge One sucker dead, LA Times first page... (Boyz in the Hood) I will say up front that I am a white woman who grew up in the comfortable middle class. So I know that what I am about to say about NWA and the movie could be misconstrued--another white person saying what is wrong with young black men.  Let me be clear here that my intention is not to bash them, nor even the police (white or of any other racial or ethnic background), nor to shut down free speech.  My message is all about how we get out of this sad and destructive pattern of violence and racial discrimination built on the edifice of millennia of perpetration and abuse of men, women and children--in the past 5 centuries most prominently on people of color.  In order to do this, we must look more deeply at the pattern of violence in our bodies, minds, feelings, and actions.
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