31 July, 2015

Blue Moon magic with Plant Spirit Shamanism

Happy Full Moon to all!

from WikiCommons
 Today's full moon is a Blue Moon, which means it is the second full moon within a month. This particular full moon is in Aquarius, an Air sign (the Water-Pourer). Many wonderful astrologers have written about this event (see here and here), and I decided to work with Plant Spirits for my own healing this evening.

 I have struggled with skin issues my whole life, and at 34, I still find it incredibly annoying that I get breakouts and acne. Ugh. When walking through my garden, both Lemon Balm and Rosemary talked with me and told me to make a healing brew with each of them.

(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015
I poured Witch Hazel, a good skin toner, over the herbs, said a few prayers, and sealed it up tight. It will stay in a cool, dry place from Full Moon (July 31) to Full Moon (Aug 29). Afterwards, I will strain it, pour it into spritzer bottles, and use it to help cleanse and tone my skin.

(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015
What types of herbal remedies do you like to use? Have you ever made one before? How does it compare to store-bought purchases?

(For those interested in more about the Council of All Beings, see this wonderful write up here!)

(And yes, I totally won the Scavenger Hunt!)

24 July, 2015

Council of All Earth Beings Retreat

This weekend, I will be in the mountains of Virginia, learning how to connect more fully with the Earth Mother and all of her creatures.
From Wiki Commons, Shenandoah Mountains VA
My skill set and spiritual work surrounds People, and how to empower them in order to go forth more healed in their lives.  But my personal spirituality (Druidry) involves working with the Land and the Nature Spirits, and the connection that comes when social structures fall away.

This weekend will be filled with drumming, singing, self-healing, connection, inspiration, and Silence. I am looking forward to time away from the stresses of modern-day living (i.e., technology, paying bills, etc.), and letting all of the wacky thoughts in my Monkey-brain die down to a gentle hum in the background.

What sort of mini-retreats do you enjoy? How do you re-connect to Nature after long workweeks?

17 July, 2015

Using the Voice to heal, and healing the voice when ill

In shamanism, the voice is one of the most powerful tools for healing. It contains breath, moisture, sound, vibration, and words, and it is the medium through which Soul Essence is blow back into the body.

For me, it is my primary healing modality. My sacred songs put me into trance, and I use a diatonic scale to help each chakra find its normal resting state. I sing to distract intrusions, to call out to Helping Spirits, to dispel glamours, and to re-focus my own mind when I'm having a hard time concentrating.

My voice and its care are of paramount importance to my work, which is why it is so incredibly frustrating when I am sick with a head cold. Schedules have to be re-arranged, appointments moved to new dates, and everything goes into flux while I wait and see how long it takes me to heal. It always brings great anxiety (as a self-employed full-time shaman), but healing cannot happen unless I am healthy first.

There are a wide range of medical, physical, and spiritual supports that I employ when I am ill, to help move everything along as quickly as possible:

(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015
  • Within 24 hours of swollen glands, I make a giant pot of tea, take some Elderberry syrup, swallow a spoonful of crushed garlic, and reduce my stress level by staying offline as much as possible.
  • If that doesn't kick it immediately, then I know I'm down for the count for at least 3-4 days, and begin rescheduling appointments. I hate this part, as my previous experiences working in public mental health have made me feel guilty for taking time off of work (anyone else have that tricky socialized pattern?? Ugh).
  • At this time, I bring out the big guns:
    • Mucinex 
      • I swear that I pray to the Mucinex gods at least once a year. It is the best medication nasal spray for immediate relief from congestion (at least for me).
    • Breath Easy tea
      • I call this my "singing tea" and usually brew it before appointments. It helps open air passages so I can use more breath when singing, and it treats those same passages when I am sick.
    • Peppermint Oil
      • A dear friend who works with plants told me of the magic of this oil. I like dumping a bunch of it into the tub when I am showering, and when it combines with steam, it opens up my nasal passages and lungs very well! Sadly, it's doesn't last very long...
    • Bi Yan Pian
      • My acupuncturist told me about this wonderful blend of Chinese herbs and medicine. In a moment of wonderful synchronicity, I discovered that it was also the main ingredient in the above-mentioned Breath Easy tea!
    • NyQuil
      • Hands down, this is practically the only way I can get restful sleep when I am ill. I am very thankful for this medicine.
During any illness, I stop all magical and shamanic work, even work that I would normally do to heal myself. I consider illness to be a sign of something "out of alignment" in my subtle bodies (that's made its way into my physical body), and if I continued to do any sort of energetic work, I might make everything worse. Also, I get pretty loopy when I'm sick, so I wouldn't be able to tell if what I was "seeing" was real or not!

However, once I'm over the hump, and almost fully healed (around 85%), I will go on a Dismemberment Journey, and ask for healing from my Helping Spirits. A dismemberment is a specialized type of healing given by the Spirits, and can remediate the imprints of most illnesses/issues in healers.  Sometimes, if my Community is available, I will ask others to drum for me and send me love and energy.

To make sure that my voice is finally back and ready for work, I sing scales in the shower, and check the strength of each register. Can I pull in a full breath without coughing? Is my diaphragm strong enough to hold a note clearly for over 20 seconds? Does my voice waver if I add visualization and color to my tone?

I am a firm believer in both traditional and alternative forms of medicine, and I like using them to complement each other when I am sick. What methods have you tried when you are ill? What is your favorite? What never works for you at all?

12 July, 2015

Pictures from my lecture in Ohio!

Last week, I presented my lecture, Differentiating Mental Illness from Spiritual Experience, in Columbus, Ohio.
(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015

A good group attended, even during the holiday weekend, and we spent three hours discussing our own experiences.

For the first time in three years, I was filmed during my presentation. I am hoping to turn my lecture and notes into a DVD, for use in clergy programs, universities, etc. I am starting the process of turning this into a book, which is exciting and overwhelming in its own way.

Here are a few pictures from the workshop, for your enjoyment. Stay tuned for information about the upcoming DVD!

(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015

(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015

(Lecture held at The Magical Druid, an amazing pagan store on High Street, just north of Main Campus, OSU).

01 July, 2015

Upcoming Lecture in Columbus, Ohio!

This coming Sunday, July 5th, I will be presenting my lecture on Differentiating between mental illness and spiritual experiences. It will take place at the Magical Druid, located on High Street, in Columbus, from 1pm to around 4pm. The lecture is open to the public, and the Facebook Event can be found here.

I've traveled to the greater Maryland & Virginia areas for conferences and workshops, but this will be the first time I'm heading west for a good 7+ hours of driving! I begin my drive to Ohio early tomorrow morning, and I am excited to spend the holiday weekend working with my friends, visiting family, and conducting healing appointments.

I am very excited to bring this work and discussion to the Heartland area, and can't wait to hike some of the trails at Mohican State Park. I lived in Ohio for about 12 years, and the corn farms and wooded trails help settle my homesickness when I've been away too long. It's the complete opposite of NYC (which fills a different need & homesickness), but is a big part of me as well.  My druidry is attached to that land and the Spirits of Place there, and I look forward to making offerings and communicating with them again.

(c) 2015 Lonely Coyote