15 January, 2012

Musical Coyote!

A dear friend of mine gifted me with an image of Coyote as a musician. I love the emotion captured by the artist, and it inspires me to pick up my own flute when I need a dose of silliness.
It also reminds me that I need to create a Song of Healing.

Songs are used in shamanism for a variety of functions:
  1. To increase blood flow through the body by strong inhales/exhales.
  2. To stop the shaman's Ego from getting in the way of the healing (it's hard to help another when all you are thinking about is how silly you might look in your outfit and whether or not the client is silently judging your cracking voice).
  3. To help focus the intent of the ceremony on healing. Singing can help shamans who become easily distracted-- "Oh look there's a cute squirrel outside!"
  4. To call in all the spirits who are willing to work with the shaman in healing the client.
  5. To help the client focus on the intent of the ceremony. Songs help the client's right-brain pay attention and even help calm the logical left-brain.
  6. To help alter the shaman's state of consciousness.
My teacher and classmates have excellent songs; they invite all kinds of helping spirits, honor the working relationship between the spiritual and physical, and are very pretty musically.

I am slightly intimidated by the whole process of creating individual Songs of Healing. Should I honor all those whom I work with in a general way, or create specialized lyrics for each one? (Would any client last all they way through a Spiritual Opera?) Should I create songs for individual healing treatments? Should I Journey with my rattle and wait for something to happen? What if all I Hear is 1980's pop music? Can David Bowie really be my muse? <-- As I type this, Coyote nods his head excitedly and begins to sing, "Fame."

Clearly, this is going to be quite an undertaking for me, and I plan on starting the process with some serious brainstorming...

14 January, 2012

Dreaming while awake

Back in October 2011, I was drawn to a book: Robert Moss' Conscious Dreaming. I had purchased the book in a used bookstore in Ohio over 12 years ago, and had never even opened it since then, until Samhain of 2011. (Random side note: there have been numerous times that impulsive little purchases will sit around on my shelves until the "perfect time" in the future (when they connect to a current life-experience). I used to think that it was a convenient excuse for large Barnes & Nobles bills, but now I'm not so sure...)
I began reading the book with the idea that exploring and documenting my dreams might help me with my shamanic work. I might be able to remember my visualizations better, or pay attention to a wider range of sensory information and details. Or, hope against hope, I may even dream a "True Dream," in which I sense information about the future.
I've been writing down my dreams every morning since October 2011, and I've learned the following: I am really clueless in the morning (meaning lazy and cranky and illogical). Half of my journal entries make no sense, because I can't even read my writing!
I've discovered one pattern, however; my dreams seem to have two parts. In Part One, I'm able to remember a random jumble of images that are usually a mish-mash of the previous day's events. In Part Two, I have an original story-dream, complete with a plot and bizarre images. I feel like Part Two dreams hold some sort of message, but in typical Trickster-fashion, I have much better recall of Part One dreams than Part Two dreams.

There are numerous Dream Dictionaries in public libraries, bookstores, and online, and I don't think any of them have ever made me have an "Aha!" moment. In Conscious Dreaming, Robert Moss states that it's up to the Dreamer to decide what the images mean, as everyone has his/her own symbols for things. I like this idea. It makes me trust my instincts, instead of translating a message of "Your mother's brother's sister's cousin's aunt's dog is warning you of impending doom!" from four different dream dictionaries.
Of all the dreams that I have recorded in my journal during confusing mornings, I think that only two of them have had any spiritual significance.
Two. Out of Hundreds. 
The first I dreamed the night after a Yule Ceremony: I was riding in a car with an unknown driver, who I felt comfortable with, but I couldn't see his face (I have a really hard time picturing faces in my head). We were driving through an urban cityscape, trying to help a dead guy figure out how he died. We drove down highways that curved further and further down into the city, and eventually stopped in front of a public restroom. I went in with the dead guy, and saw lots of homeless, prostitutes, drug addicts, etc. in the hand-washing area of the restroom. They didn't really notice us, as they were all talking with each other (I was reminded of some of the communities of counter-culture in NYC). The dead guy and I stopped in front of a stall, and we were able to see a small movie play out of his death. He had met up with another guy for a quick sexy tryst and the other guy ended up killing him. As this played out in front of us, my heart ached for the dead guy, and I could feel the emotions well up in me as I was asleep. I remember giving him a bit of supportive counseling, and let him vent his anger and frustration at the way he died. And then I don't really remember what happened after that, cause he disappeared and I woke up.
For me, I saw this dream as an example of Psychopomp work, a type of shamanic healing done for the Dead (here's a quick link for information: psychopomps). I picked up a few books on grief counseling and the philosophy of dying, and I'm using my dream as an inspiration for a different type of shamanic study. I've also paid attention to more and more seagulls, which I'm using as an omen that I've figured out the correct lesson from my dream (seagulls remind me of Manannan MacLir, who is a god associated with psychopomp work, and a dear friend).
The second dream of significance to me occurred last weekend. I began reading a book of short stories that center around the Trickster archetype, and I had a dream the night before my shamanism school class. I couldn't remember too many details, other than I knew that Coyote was in it, and that there were lots of adventures and silliness and laughter. The next day, shamanism class was full of insanity. One of my dear friends took a different road to class and got a speeding ticket. Our entire class was distracted by the most mundane things, and we all couldn't stop talking, interrupting each other, and giggling during the lecture. We all stuttered over our words, and every time someone misspoke and someone else laughed, a few of us would cup our hands and put them on top of our heads (like Coyote ears). It was madness!

So, even though I've only had two dreams that have connected with my waking life in any way, I continue to write down my dreams each morning (although I grumble each time). I still don't understand any of my personal symbols, but I have increased my memory and visualization, and I've learned to pay attention to the emotions that underlie strange dream-plots. What dreams have you remembered?

02 January, 2012

New year, new blog/website

My name is Lonely Coyote, and I am a Shaman. Well, an apprentice shaman, but I am just about done with my 2nd year of shamanism school, so that means I'm closer to being a shaman than getting my PhD in Particle Physics (although by that standard, everyone is a shaman)!

I've seen many things, and all of them in my head, and although I've filled many many notebooks and journals with my lessons, I think that by sharing stories of healing and laughter, others might benefit. Or at least spend some time reading funny stories.

So this site is sort of a New Year's resolution, sort of a personal homework assignment, and definitely a learning experience.

Join me as I learn things the hard way, so you don't have to!