29 January, 2015

New shamanic healing rattle has arrived!

A little over a month ago, my wonderful and powerful Coyote Rattle exploded.

It began very subtly. At first, the black wrappings started to loosen. Then, the coyote rattle-head started to soften and muffle. Finally, I used it during a healing appointment and the whole thing came apart in my hands (super intense appointment!).

I've always made my own rattles, either with rattle kits, or purchasing materials and creating it from scratch. I worked very hard on my Coyote Rattle, and although it looked a bit weird, and sounded even stranger, it was mine, and put me in spiritual headspace with a flick of my wrist.

I decided that although I loved to create my own spiritual tools (rattles, runes, etc.), I wanted a professionally-created rattle that would last.

I found a gorgeous one from a maker in Denmark, and stared at it lovingly for about a week. Rattles are tricky things, and although different ones look amazing, it is really all about the sound (that puts the shaman into Otherworld headspace). There's no way I could tell what it would sound like until it was in my hands, so I threw some Runes, converted some dollars, and purchased it.

It arrived the other day, and I had to giggle at the timing. I had made my previous rattle during a Mercury Retrograde, and this one arrived during the current Mercury Retrograde!

(C) 2015 Lonely Coyote
I've used it in a couple healing ceremonies, and I both enjoy the sound and the fun energy of it. The twisted birch handle is the perfect thickness, and the Blue Macaw* feathers add a joyous tone to the work. I am making a little rattle case for it, so that it stays protected on all of our travels.

How did you find your first rattle? Current rattle? Do you like to make them, or purchase them? What is your favorite rattle hide?

*I've never worked with the Spirit of Blue Macaw before, and looked him up in my Animal Spirit Guides text:
"If Macaw shows up, it means
  • You'll benefit from getting out in the sunlight for at least a few minutes each day.
  • You're at the beginning stages of heightened spiritual perception and an increased creative pulse.
  • You're going to notice a shift in your communication abilities that prompt people to pay attention and listen closely to what you say.
  • Trust your perceptions, no matter how outlandish and bizarre they seem.
  • Wear brighter and more colorful clothing, no matter the season."
-- from p. 237 of Steven D. Farmer, PhD, Animal Spirit Guides, (c) 2006.

20 January, 2015

Coyote Medicine: Words from Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madroma

Last week, I saw a free lecture given at Johns Hopkins on Wolfe Street in Baltimore City.

Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madroma, author of many Coyote Medicine books, gave an 1.5 hour lecture, in which he told wonderful stories about using the knowledge of traditional Elders in both psychiatric and internal medicine.

Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madroma, (c) 2015 Lonely Coyote
 Here are a few of his more profound pieces of wisdom, written down during his lecture:

"One can be deeply spiritual and deeply 'rascally' at the same time!"

Traditional stories, that provide societal roles and mores, are helpful to those who did not receive instruction in childhood.

"Elders need 'roadies'-- that's how one learns the teachings!"

"Powerful relationships with Spirits allow the Work to happen."

Dr. Mehl-Madroma also spoke about suicide rates among Indigenous populations: Those that kept their ancient language in use (spoken) had lower-than-US-average levels of suicidality. Those that lost their ancient language (both spoken and written) had higher-than-US-average levels of suicidality.

That discussion sparked a powerful moment of clarity for me-- Cultural Soul Loss on a grand scale. Patterns of behavior, physical illness, and family turmoil clicked in my mind, and I started to have a greater understanding of the incredible violation of Indigenous Peoples by my ancestors.

This revelation is powerful, and will take some time to integrate. I am thankful for the lessons, and to be able to do shamanic work to help remediate some of this Soul Loss.

12 January, 2015

Pictures from the most recent Grand Healing Ceremony!

The Grand Public Healing Ceremony on the 4th of January was incredibly powerful and intense. Although it was scheduled months in advance, it serendipitously took place during the following powerful Astrological phenomena:
The effects of healing conducted during that time will be felt for many months to come (if you missed the Healing Ceremony, but would still like to work with Astrological Events coming up, please consider attending the Main Ritual at Between the Worlds/Sacred Space Conference).

Here are some photos of the Crystal Grid Caldera created for the Ceremony. As the only Druid Shaman working, I was supremely happy of the creation of the Sacred Middle Pillar (Well, Tree, Fire):

Crystals, stones, woods, pelts, & bones! (C) 2015 Lonely Coyote

Inner-grid representing "Fire in the Head" (C) 2015 Lonely Coyote

Inner-grid representing the "World Tree" and Irish Oghams (C) 2015 Lonely Coyote

Inner-grid representing the "Sacred Well" and Norse Runes (C) 2015 Lonely Coyote
The ceremony lasted many hours, and everyone received the healing that s/he most needed to go forward into 2015. At the end, when packing and cleaning were done, the Healers were greeted with an amazing sight:

Sky Spirits give Blessings! (C) 2015 Lonely Coyote

Perfect Omen at the end of an incredible Healing Ceremony! (C) 2015 Lonely Coyote

The next Grand Healing Ceremony will not be until November 2015. Stay tuned to this space for details!

08 January, 2015

Guest Article: "Is Tarot a Living Entity?"

For those of you who are interested in the amazing divination system of Tarot, here is an excellent article, written by my dear friend Caroline Kenner. Not only is she a force of nature as a shamanic teacher and healer, but she and her husband own and operate the best company of Tarot Card Apps I've ever seen (The Fool's Dog)!

(C) The Fool's Dog, 2012

Q:  Do you sense Tarot to be a living entity?
A: "O, yes. The oracle of the Tarot is a massive egregore. I hear the oracle speak sometimes when I'm working with the cards, and even when the oracle is not speaking, I sense its presence. The voices change depending on the deck I am using. Crowley's Thoth deck is possibly the most focused oracular voice I hear, so I am learning to read with it, even though I don't like Uncle Al at all. It is a brilliant deck."

"When we were creating The Fool's Dog, we took the Tarot's egregore into account: Ivo Dominguez Jr. had given us a spell, reading, or other magical working for our wedding present. We saved that magical working for something important. Ivo is a great mage, and he knows how to render spells in what appears to be junk code. So in every single copy of every Fool's Dog app we've ever sold, there is a bit of junk code that connects our apps to the oracle of the Tarot more closely."
"I address the oracle directly when I am framing the question in a reading, similar to what I do with my spirit allies in a shamanic healing. The biggest difference is that I can see my spirit allies in journey, and I've never seen the egregore of the Tarot. The Tarot is just a guiding voice. But the timbre and tone and even the gender of the voice I hear changes with each deck."
"Egregores are everywhere. There is an egregore for every organization, every religious tradition, every school or nation or company. An egregore is the spirit that forms when there is group consciousness. Focusing on work, play, religion, sports, whatever: egregores take etheric shape whenever we humans join our spirits together for a common purpose."
(<-- This is why there are egregores that have to be remediated during House Clearings/Blessings! MLC)

Using Bryn Mawr College, my alma mater, as an example:
"The egregore of Bryn Mawr has a lot of consciousness from Athena, Who is our Matron and a strong guiding presence on campus. Built on the Athena part of Bryn Mawr's egregore, there are layers and layers composed of the thought forms of everyone who's ever attended, taught or administered at the college. So, since we have a long tradition of brilliant, ornery women demanding change, Bryn Mawr College has grown into a cauldron where very bright women from all over the world come to be "cooked" and then emerge to create fundamental societal change in the world. We who graduated from the college carry that spirit, the egregore of Bryn Mawr, with us everywhere we go in the world afterwards. I am proud of this, it is a great strength, and I give thanks."
"So: Bryn Mawr is not that old, it was founded in 1885. The Tarot is a great deal older, and with many more minds involved in the egregore. There are layers from the Tarot's history as a gambling game, there are layers of flattering lies and tall, dark and handsome. There are layers in the Tarot's egregore that connect with all the oracular tools of the world: at its base, the Tarot egregore shares features in common with I Ching, Runes, Ogham.....but Tarot also has fine art in its egregore. This is one of the parts of the Tarot that really makes my heart sing: the art."
"Far from being mere symbolic figures like the three divination systems mentioned above, the Tarot partakes of all the artistic symbology of Western culture. One of the things I notice most about the Tarot: it is pan-European. The egregore of Tarot is strongest from cultures/language groups that use it the most, but all of Europe is in there. So a deck that roots itself in ancient Europe and features imagery from our ancient European ancestors: well, that's a really strong deck that speaks in a particularly clear and compelling voice. I am thinking of The Wildwood Tarot here."
"Other decks claim different turf, and bring yet a new layer of thought form to the Tarot: Egyptian, Cowboy, Trees, even Housewives.....the oracle of the Tarot is very diverse at this point in time, and speaks in many different accents. I believe the egregore comes to whisper where it wants to go into the dreams of Tarot artists. I believe that each individual deck has their own egregore, not just Thoth. The Tarot egregore is a chorus, a symphony of all the egregores of all the decks that ever were, plus the living thoughts of all the people who ever used those decks, plus all the clients. No wonder it is a bit chaotic."
"Finally, here's a fun suggestion: we all know that Pixie's deck has had an unusual trajectory in its history. Most of us own Pixie's deck, even if we read with a different deck most of the time. I got some very interesting results when I asked the oracle to comment on the publishing history of Pixie's deck. Judging from the reading, the deck has very mixed feelings about the way a certain individual and company have treated the deck. Fascinating. We rarely ask the Tarot how it feels about itself, and it's a very worthwhile and interesting query."
(c) Caroline Kenner, 2015 (do not use without permission)

Interested in hearing/learning more? The Fool's Dog runs a "Tarot Tuesday" meet-up in Silver Spring, every first Tuesday of the month.  Hope to see you there!