24 February, 2013

Dreams of Changing Woman

I woke up this morning, with the taste of my dream still on my lips. Although I have a journal next to my bed, I was way too out of it to try and write anything, or even sit up. So I grabbed my phone and typed this into my Blogger App:

I was traveling in a car with friends, and we were to pick someone up from an arts & crafts workshop. I walked into the living room of a house, and it immediately expanded into a longhouse in the Desert. There were many people walking around, completing tasks for the general community (washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning, etc.), and there were animals all through the house. They were both working and playing with the community members, and they included foxes, wolves, etc. I got the distinct impression the Coyote was there too, but as a man, and outside of my view...

I kept bumping into things, dropping things, and generally being a nuisance as I tried to figure out what was going on, where I was, and what I was supposed to do.

Finally, I saw a gorgeous woman in jeans and a white T shirt, with long silky black hair. She was battering chicken wings with spices, and then frying them. I began helping her, and we made small talk. I didn't mess anything up as I helped her prepare food, and she smiled. She asked after my diet, stating, "we don't have anything that's fully gluten free-- can you still eat carbs?" I gave a confused "yes" and we continued preparing fried chicken with hot sauces & spices. She introduced herself as Estsanatlehi, and then I woke up. 

by Robert Paterson, http://www.robpaterson.com/ 

 What was really interesting about this dream, was that this Goddess gave me her name (it was longer in my dream), and I actually remembered part of it! I heard her say, Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé de lsdfhsldsngksdiesbr (yep, my brain gets screwy upon waking), and spent the next hour going through my goddess books and indexes in order to find her. She is known better as Changing Woman, and I am eager to discover her lessons for my life.

Going back through the emotions I felt during my dream, I think it was helping me to assess my purpose for my Community. I have almost reached a year since I have graduated from Shamanism School, and I have been all over the place, trying to figure out how I fit in, what the Universe has in store for me, and what I want to do with myself.

Of course, it's a very Coyote place to be-- weaving in and out and sometime making a fool (i.e., bumping into stuff) and sometimes being very helpful!

But as I think about the nature of chicken wings (<-- Coyote says they make good offerings!), I think that they represent Nourishment, Healing, Joy, Family, Comfort, and Love. I think that I am supposed to keep those High Ideals (and delicious, mouthwatering taste!) as I work for the Mental Health Community, and the greater Community of Maryland. I am to seamlessly intermingle both Shamanic elements and Mental Health elements into everything I do (at my regular job, my Shamanic job, and my interactions with everyday life).

Now that may sound pretty obvious to many of you who read this blog, but as my subtitle states, sometimes I need Spiritual Two-By-Fours!

How do you weave together the Spiritual and the Mundane?

10 February, 2013

Sacred Space Conference Teaser!

One of the things that I absolutely love about Paganism is that it is very inclusive. There is great importance placed on the experience of the Divine by the individual (which is why there are an infinite number of religious practices underneath the umbrella of "paganism"). There are many open groups that allow anyone to visit/join, no matter where s/he is on his/her spiritual journey.

Because of this inclusiveness, many individuals who may not fit into mainstream religions find a place of community. Additionally, many individuals who many not fit into mainstream society (i.e., mentally ill, physically handicapped, differing sexual preferences, different races/ethnicities, Coyotes, etc.) are also welcomed into the Pagan Community. All are encouraged to develop his/her own experience with the Divine, and all are given the benefit of the doubt that what s/he is experiencing, is Real.

But how can you tell the difference between a real Spiritual Experience and Something Else? How can you help someone evaluate his/her own experiences? How do we increase Faith? What if s/he is making it up in order to victimize others? What if s/he feels like the victim of some malignant force, but it is a symptom of mental illness?

These questions, and others, are the focus of my next Conference Lecture at Sacred Space:

http://www.sacredspacefoundation.org/



Boundary Issues: Recognizing the Difference between Spiritual Experience and Mental Illness: When working with others in Ritual, Healing Ceremonies, or other Magical Workings, it is difficult to maintain one’s own boundaries, both personal and mental. Some symptoms of mental illness can easily overlap with Psychic Phenomena, and without training, it can be stressful trying to figure out the difference between the two. This class will give a very general overview of Axis I/II symptomology, and how “”Boundary Intrusions”" may be dealt with in a supportive and ethical manner. Additionally, guidelines will be given on how to refer someone to mental health services.
--Monika Lonely Coyote

Please join me as we discuss this tricky and confusing subject, and attempt to develop guidelines and a supportive philosophy for assisting individuals with their own Spiritual Experiences!

03 February, 2013

How do you share your spirituality with others? By sharing Sacred Space!

In the cold of winter, many people stay inside and focus on responding to their needs in a gentle, healing way. The weather and atmosphere encourages self-reflection, and it can be very powerful to focus on healing one's self.

But sometimes, it can be lonely.

Not everyone has a stable spiritual group/church to practice with, and in doing work alone, it's sometimes hard to tell if you're doing anything right at all...

In moments like this, when even Coyote has a hard time getting through my thick skull, I enjoy attending conferences on spirituality. Even if I don't know anyone there, and I'm nervous about making the trip/commitment, I find that some class or workshop will resonate with the lessons that I need to learn at that moment. It's especially helpful for building confidence in your own connection with the divine Universe, and by talking with others, you may find that they experience the same hang-ups and confusion that you do!

In the mid-Atlantic area, I have found that the absolute best spirituality conference is Sacred Space, hosted by the Sacred Space Foundation in Virgina/Maryland.

Sacred Space Conference Banner


Sacred Space 2013: March 7-10, 2013
15101 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, MD 20707
 
Every year, my spirituality is jump-started by the different classes, workshops, and rituals; and I am always able to find a new friend or two!
 
This year will be my third year attending, and my very first year presenting. As I grow in my spirituality and my shamanism, I find that there is a great amount of overlap between my "spiritual job" and my "everyday job" in the mental health field.

I will be presenting one class (Boundary Issues: Recognizing the difference between spiritual experiences and mental illness) and one workshop (Shamanic Healing Ceremony for the Community/Attendees).

As I work on the PowerPoint for class, keep an eye on this blog for updates!