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February 2010
Shamanism Without Borders

Dear Friends,

Shamanism is border-less and un-bounded
And knows no country, no allegiance
Other than the Eternal Spirit called many names
Yet is always One...
The shamanic path means walking
On a trail of no markers
Separating Me from the Other...
Is guided by the ancient wisdom that
Whatever befalls one, truly befalls all...

In June the Society for Shamanic Practitioners (SSP) is holding its annual conference here in Santa Cruz. Some of us are already involved with the preparations for this. Some work involves the development of a Handbook for practicing shamanism without borders.

This project has been in the developmental phases for almost three years.  Initially the society sought to gauge interest among SSP members for such a project. Based on the positive feedback, we decided to use this year's annual conference as an opportunity both to explore the conceptual underpinnings for shamanism thus applied, and to do actual healing work within sites of disaster in the Santa Cruz area.

I am using this newsletter to focus on issues, arising out of these conference preparations, that may interest all of us on the shamanic path - whether involved in this project or doing other types of applied shamanism. For those interested, there are previous SSP articles available that address our earliest thinking on this topic and present an overall view of shamanism-without-borders. I will put links to these at the end of this newsletter.

The following statement appears in the conference brochure:
"We will explore different shamanic ways of being in service, with a specific focus on healing the trauma of the land, the people and the animals in the local area. During the conference, small groups will visit sites to do healing work."

If we are to accomplish the goals implied in this statement, there are some key areas we need to explore and I'm choosing to focus on those that may not have been addressed in our formal shamanic training. These issues are not confined to the conference. These are explorations that may be useful to any one of us, or any group, that seeks to provide shamanic healing to crises arising in their local community. Our larger community is the world. As we become more aware of disasters as they occur, hopefully shamanic practitioners can be another resource of aid in these situations.

I'm going to focus on these key areas:

  • boundaries of the heart and mind,
  • practitioners working in groups,
  • shamanic healing in sites of disaster,
  • and finally 'what is our focus: healing Earth? Healing ourselves?.'

Shamanism-Without-Borders - a little history of an idea
Some background: over three years ago, Susan Gilliland and I were discussing the continuing devastation in Louisiana left in the wake of the hurricane Katrina.

Before Katrina, we experienced the gift of Circles, already gathered, that could offer some healing in disasters that were happening as we gathered. We had BearMedicine workshops in Montana, already planned and gathering, when the huge fires occurred surrounding that area. The following year, the terrorist plane attacked in this country as we circled. We discarded plans we had for these circles and instead, focused completely on doing remote healing for these situations.

The difference in our response to Katrina is that this disaster prompted in us a deep desire to go directly to that area to offer shamanic aid in whatever ways appropriate. We had already experienced the power of Circles working together doing remote healing. Now we discussed having shamanic teams that would do this and would collaborate with other shamanic practitioners and Circles in the traumatized areas. Without doubt, many others in the shamanic community felt the same stirrings to serve in the field.

And, of course, the recent devastation in Haiti called to us as a scattered shamanic community---to focus with singular attention on behalf of Haiti's people, all inhabitants, and also for the people bringing aid to the area. Yet once again we surfaced this deep desire to go to Haiti... not only through altered reality... but also to be there physically bringing healing and hope from our Spirit helpers.

In an SSP Board meeting three years ago, it turned out all the Board members were interested in a similar way and thought it worthwhile to pursue such a project with our larger shamanic community. We used part of that year's June conference to see if there was interest among participants to develop and having found such interest, we began laying some groundwork for Shamanism Without Borders.

This year's June conference, "Self in Service" is devoted to furthering this project and includes actual work with sites and inhabitants in the Santa Cruz, Ca. area that have been the scene of various disasters. The plan is for a combination of both on-site and remote healing interventions.

All through this time, we have struggled to find words that would convey what we are seeking to do as a shamanic community. Originally the term was used as one way to indicate desire for developing teams that would be ready to move into sites of disaster. Shamanism Without Borders was simply a way of evoking this image because most people are acquainted with the organization "Doctors without Borders" or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The words we use are quite important. The understanding of shamanic 'word doctoring' is that words have a life of their own and this life can be used for spiritual purposes - especially in the service of shamanic healing. How might we medicine ourselves by taking these words, draping them consciously around our bodies, and experience possibilities of increased clarity of vision.

With this in mind, I'd like to focus on the phrase 'shamanism without borders' so that the label used by a medical organization is not assumed to have the same meaning when applied by shamanic practitioners. As we seek labels for describing emerging shamanic practices, such clarity grows increasingly important. That's because labeling, or naming, can often predicate the recommended actions assumed within the title.

Shamanism Without Borders
or
The Boundaries within Our Hearts and Minds

What is shamanism if not a perception of Reality as timeless and spaceless. Obviously we have to use words whose roots grow out of ordinary reality yet we need to use them, not as definitions, but as suggestions.

Permeating the growth and maturation of the shamanic apprentice is the quest to understand the Real World... the reality in which beings and events are not bound to the rules of matter or physical form, but can follow the way of Energy that flows beyond space and time. Thus, when a shaman embarks on a journey, great "distances" can be crossed quickly. Time can expand or contract, so that the work that is needed can be done in the time available, and the Shaman can easily go where needed.

Although shamanism recognizes no limitations in terms of time or geography, there are boundaries we humans construct within ourselves - these are conceptual and perceptual boundaries that may degrade our capacity to offer healing.

Fifteen to twenty years ago, while studying contemporary shamanism, I don't remember much direct attention being given to the personal issues or questions that invariably would be triggered in someone doing healing work for others. The primary and singular focus was on method-driven shamanism. Personal or self-growth was either assumed to occur within the healing intervention or taken up on one's own time back home.
 
However, I suspect that much of shamanic training, directly or indirectly, is an education of our hearts and minds so that we are able to tap into the limitless reservoir of healing energy that Spirit, using us as channels,
seeks to offer all beings.

Shamanic interventions in the "Self and Service" project include both remote healing and shamanic practitioners working at the actual site. Some of the challenges, to doing shamanic healing at the actual sites, arise from our personal and/or cultural histories. The more we are able to include education of the self in our training, the more able will we be to collaborate with others and to bring help to cultures so different from our own.

Shamanism recognizes that we need one another---that although the human body is constructed with amazing self-repairing powers, humans are also evolved to be limited and thus interdependent. Of course, this is not only true of humans but of all embodied realities or forms.

What are the boundaries we create that would limit us as shamanic practitioners? I'm not so foolish as to think I can know or make some list of these---although I do know something of those that exist with me and require ongoing self-vigilance so that they do not become greater than my capacity to offer service. And I do think there are a few signature boundaries we all share yet we can work together to limit their negative effect in our shamanic work.

Some boundaries also arise from the very limits of the way that contemporary shamanism is often presented; that is, the constraints of the training models themselves. Some arise because we are simply creatures of our times and the thought-forms within our culture emphasize so much "me and not-me," or "mine and not yours." There is also the strong concept of individualism that neglects the communal nature of the human.

I'm not seeking to address these issues in any full measure in this newsletter - I simply hope to point to areas where we will need to work together more to develop our capacities for doing this type of applied shamanism. Again this is a point where I am making choices about just where to focus in this newsletter.

One impetus behind the project, Shamanism without Borders, was our perception that the contemporary practice of shamanism has reached a turning point. Heretofore, much of the training and thus the practice have focused on the model of one-to-one healing whether that be extraction, soul retrieval, psychopomp or other numerous methods. These methods frequently entail the one needing help going to the one who might offer help.

This prior focus is completely understandable. The introduction of contemporary shamanism was done with an eye to teaching methods that could be understood, if not always accepted, by mainstream people. This is not a criticism but rather recognition that unless presented in ways that could be transferred into ordinary language, shamanism itself might be rejected before its conscious re-introduction would have a chance to be seeded.

In addition, training occurred in groups that could be quite large and the opportunity for small, evaluative and critical discourse about one's personal questions or experiences in the training was minimal. As far as I am aware, limited attention has been given to "how" to work in cultures different from one's own or how to build, and sustain, teams of healers. And not included in the training was how to work, in the same setting, with people having different intentions or skills yet everyone seeking to improve a traumatic condition or situation.

So, when I consider what it would mean to establish an organizational project "Shamanism without Borders," one of the first issues that arises is "what other training... or education... do we need in addition to that already provided for in shamanic courses and workshops." I don't think it is the method that needs elucidation but in how we bring these methods into different situations around our planet Earth.

I would love to see a focus group whose purpose was to gather essential information from the shamanic community with respect to the boundaries within our hearts and minds... boundaries that need to be illuminated so they don't throw unwanted shadows and darkness onto the fields of trauma that need healing.

Then we would have a project proposal for "Self in Service: Shamanism Without Boundaries" that would include recognition of shamanism as timeless, spaceless, and geographically unbounded.  Equally important, and included, would be the continuing education of the heart and mind of the practitioner so that one's personal history does not become the source of boundaries excluding other beings and places. This is the point where the vulnerable human being engages with the everlasting One.
The Challenge: Working Together as Shamanic Teams   
In addition to this self-education, we need to learn the ways of working as teams. In that respect, Doctors without Borders offers so much wisdom from their work in the field. Various reasons exist for using teams in the field. The two that seem persuasive to me from the perspective of applied healing:

One reason is that teams can be composed of practitioners who have different shamanic skills and together, they can offer a range of healing methods

A second reason is that working in the field itself can be incredibly demanding of an individual's energy. Even when working in altered state, we are using our bodies' resources to be present and focused. Some have suggested that if it is truly shamanic healing, then the practitioner does not tire for he or she is using limitless Power and Energy and not their own. But we live and walk in both worlds...we heal from both worlds...and it is expected that we would take good care of our very Vessels upon which these Helping Spirits depend. Teams can provide opportunity for sharing, rest periods, and healing interventions for one another if/or when needed.

As for the first reason: a wonderful aspect of teams is that we may complement each other's weaknesses and thereby increase our strength for healing service.  Some folks are, by nature, shy and reticent; some are more comfortable in groups or reaching out to strangers.  Some need support for healing space to be held while they work; others see their gift as the ability to hold healing space strongly. These are personal predilections and the manifestations of one's own unique personality. Spirit uses us... me... you... the embodied human... through whom to intervene on behalf of other Beings or places.  We can't set aside our limited, human self yet by joining with others we expand possibilities for intervention.

Most of us do not have the history or the opportunity to dwell within villages or tribes who still practice shamanism. We don't get to see how others (e.g. family members, colleagues, or trained assistants) actually have important roles during the entire healing session for someone. In sandpainting healing, there are those who know the medicine of the colors, the paints, brush hair, and bring them to the healing space as seemingly simple carriers of a brush or bowl of paints. As a healer uses the power of Fire, in the background is the bringer and sustainer of Fire. Over the body, a shaman seems to be muttering into the heart while off to the side, two or more people chant strong and clear. At various times, the shaman grabs the trails of sound and pierces a singing river into the patient's abdomen. Those present see a river of sound from the very tip of the skull to the very bottoms of the feet.

These are but a few examples of shamanic teams working together. And I am sure that some of us have such a team in our own healing work - at least from time to time. And certainly do some Drum Circles work together for others in some of their sessions.

And that brings me to an interesting point: the Circle itself would probably be a more preferable shamanic term to use for what I am calling 'teams or team work.' In our culture, too often teams indicate a leader and leadership itself, as a phenomenon, can lend itself to all sorts of competitive and unwanted energies as related to shamanic healing. A Circle, however, indicates a round container within which spirits can arrive, move around and through on behalf of those needing help.

Thus some of the focus in training to work at sites of disaster would be on how to form such teams so that they function as healing Circles. In some instances, a specified leader is needed: how to lead so that you are in Circle? To lead so that you are pointing to, not yourself, but to the Center of the Circle where the mystery of healing actually takes place. We need to include in our project, modules for team building and sustaining.

Mystery Dwells in the Center of the Circle
Learning this moves beyond the boundaries of one-to-one or the single healer working alone. Education in such teamwork also helps address a most vulnerable place for shamanic practitioners and teachers today: the elevation of the self. Again we are simply embedded in our culture and our culture is a celebrity-making world. In any shamanic setting... teaching, healing, circling... it is useful to ask "To whom or to where is attention being directed?" and if it is not to Spirit (s), then one might infer we are at that moment embedded in the culture's elevation of the individual self or the celebrity-making model.

Years ago I remember the wisdom of learning the difference between dark and light magic: in dark magic, the magician sits in the center of the circle and everyone looks at him or her. In the other, the magician sits in the Circle's rim and everyone looks at each other and themselves... then eyes return to the real Center wherein the Mystery truly dwells.

Shamans and shamanic peoples have always known and respected this 'team' aspect of healing work - whether members of that team be actively seen by the public or be doing work behind the scenes. And part of the shaman's humility arises from the realization of the need for helpers in all the realms and worlds.

When doing healing for those traumatized by natural disasters, such teams are almost necessary for work that takes weeks, months, and sometimes years. We are living in a time when many of us have been trained in shamanism and shamanic healing - our next phase is to join together as such teams or healing Circles that can go to areas of natural disasters and make use of our wide range of skills and methods.

Shamanic Healing in Situations of Natural Disasters
The Shamanism Without Borders project has its primary focus on working in situations of natural disasters. Obviously issues and methods involved in this focus may be applied to other situations in which trauma exists due to events not so readily labeled 'natural.'  And even within areas of natural disasters, some of the trauma is related to the behavior of humans within that field. I am limiting this newsletter to a couple of issues that seem essential when we speak of responding to natural disasters.
 
Remote Healing or Being-There while Being-Here
As we develop plans for the shamanic community to become increasingly involved in areas of disaster, we shall need to address both off-site and on-site healing interventions. With extensive experience in such situations, various aid groups have developed their models for effective interventions. I think it behooves us to discover what we might learn from them and, as we develop our own models, to find ways of working in appropriate partnership.

First, however, we need to articulate just what is involved in responses grounded in shamanism. And the first response needs to be divining what is needed - assessing the situation spiritually. For other aid workers, what is needed may be quite obvious. This is not necessarily the case for shamanic healing practitioners.  Along with divining the overall situation, we need to ascertain what we specifically are called to do. Based on information received, we must decide if we shall be traveling directly to the site or if we shall be intervening long-distance.

Many of us may not be able to travel, on short notice, to a disaster site. All of us can, however, do remote healing. Furthermore, remote shamanic healing is often useful while working directly at the site itself. Remote healing is done when, for any reason, someone, some being or the place itself cannot be touched. This may be due to such issues as physical danger, contagion, or by request from the one needing healing. Frequently when animals are involved--- they are unwilling or unable to sit sill long enough for touching.

Such remote healing can be analogous to what is done when a person is unable to travel to a shamanic practitioner and both agree the intervention shall be done through remote healing methods. A major difference, between the singular practitioner-client situation and remote healing for a disaster site, is that often when working within the trauma site, many other health workers are involved and the practitioner may work with or call upon their help in long distance work.

Finally, we are developing a handbook that offers some guidelines for shamanic healing both on site and from a distance. We are clear, however, that no shamanic healing involves using fixed and prescribed steps. We can only develop general guidelines and point to some cautionary issues.

Just because there is no fixed method, however, does not mean we work without prior thought or don't build on previous experience. Even in our journeying, we tap into vast archives of wisdom from Ancestors, from Place, and from the intelligence of our Helping Spirits. If we fail to align ourselves with these helping resources, we can spread more traumas and even take traumatic spirits from one disaster site back to our homeland. Shamanic healing involves the commitment to doing no harm and un-informed shamanic interventions can lead to harm---in that way, intention is not enough... intention must be combined with attention to the 'what and how' of our healing work.

Walking Blessing into Places - Suffering within Place & Space
Even the Stones shall speak...

Each of us has probably experienced being in places that arouse unsettled and uneasy feelings... We may not know why but we do know something is remiss. We can say quite simply "there is inbalance here"... and then use our shamanic skills for determining just what is that inbalance and is there some way in which we might contribute to movement towards balance.

We can consider this as aspect of eco-shamanism in which we educate ourselves to read the energies of a place - and learn how our participation with these can affect positive outcomes and/or contribute to further negative energies.

All places are spaces inhabited by energies whether we call these the residue of memories, spirits, or simply the flow of life through time. Likewise every place has the potential to affect the well-being of every living inhabitant.

There are two distinct approaches to working with Place in terms of this applied shamanism.

One approach is reaching out and responding to places of natural disasters e.g. earthquakes, fires, and weather-created.

Another approach is to educate our selves so that we are tuning forks that vibrate to the places we may visit in travels or in our daily lives. Learning to be a tuning fork allows us to both receive and respond to troubled voices that may arise within places of human-created disasters.

Although natural and human-created disasters may overlap, there is difference in the cause and sometimes difference in the shamanic healing methods to employ.

All of us are familiar with the natural disasters and many of us are currently focused on the situation in Haiti or other situations around our Planet. Thus, I'd like to give an example of human-created disasters whose effects survive within Place and Space.

I shall extract from an email sent to me by my friend, Susan Gilliland:

In late 2007 I took a trip to SE Asia... when we reached Saigon, we took a day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels... This place was just as deathly for the North Vietnamese who lived in the tunnels as it was for the South Vietnamese and Americans who were bombed from here... The place was filled with people from all over the world, scrambling through some open tunnels, taking photos and buying souvenirs.

I was walking with my family when I was suddenly overwhelmed with grief. Tears came streaming down my face and I could hardly stand... my family thought it was my grief at the memory of war, but I knew right away that it was not mine and that it must be attended to. I closed my eyes and asked my spirit helpers what was happening.  I immediately saw hundreds of Vietnamese spirits, stuck here in trauma and torment, lost and frozen in time.  I knew they were the Viet Cong who had died in the tunnels. My spirit helpers and I focused and cleared a path to the light. I felt us encourage and direct and send spirits upward.  It was a tangible whoosh of energy as they rose in a steady stream.  I felt their gratitude and release and was stunned to see more and more coming and moving onward.

This was one of the experiences that taught me that trauma lingers, that unrest is real and that we can make a difference with our shamanic training even if we are going about our daily lives in ordinary reality.  If we are called, we can answer, we can be of service, and perhaps we can affect one small patch of jungle or perhaps thousands of trapped spirits.

Susan sent me this email following a conversation we had about a mutual experience in Georgia that had a similar quality to hers in Vietnam.

At this site in Georgia, about 12 years ago, we were doing a workshop that involved some extended power dancing. Rain was pouring, the paths slippery, the dancing ground potentially treacherous in footing; and just as the skies were leaden in gray, so too were we experiencing heavy, gray, moisture soaked spirits. We had work there to do to release trapped sorrows and grief from that land but it wasn't until later that the owners informed us this was a site of a key Civil War battle in which hundreds of Confederate troops had died.

Our education together as a shamanic community involves learning to be walking receivers and responders to the suffering beings we may encounter... and this may include calling on one another to gather in Circle at such a place to strengthen the help being offered and do Ceremonies of Blessing. To bless anything: place, person, animal, mineral, etc. is to amplify the health and well-being of that which we bless.

If the events and energies of all who have gone before are somehow held within the Land, it is not surprising that in our various walkabouts we shall feel the rising up of many feelings from delicious joy to utter grief. We increase the joyous energies by allowing our own Joy to flow as a River through us and into the ground. We can transmute utter sorrow with compassionate embracing and through ceremonies that involve lifting up of grief.
 
This raises a major issue involved in healing within place and where so-called natural disasters have occurred.

What is our focus: Healing Earth or healing ourselves and other inhabitants
This is actually a signatory question because what we do... even the guidance we seek from our helping spirits... is profoundly influenced by how we understand the cause of the trauma.  And here again, our language usage is very important. We have seen many references to "healing the Earth." From that perspective, we may perceive that Earth herself is the client, is the suffering Being, and something needs to be done to or for Earth to repair or mend Her. Even the phrase 'natural disasters' can convey this understanding. Some of us may intend this meaning - that is, that Earth is sick and needs healing.

Yet such a conception may preclude our perceiving Earth as a large, great, living Being whose cycles of change occur on scales of time impossible for us to comprehend. They may obstruct our appreciation for this Being's nature as one that is always trembling, quaking, spewing forth fire and water. Within Her own rhythm of time and cycles, She assists into being different creatures, elements, minerals, and previously unseen shapes or forms. Whatever is done by the creatures living within and upon Her, are simply enfolded into the greater dynamic processes that are part of Her very nature.

From this perspective, Earth does not need healing for She is the Supreme Physician, the source of all medicine powers, and with great benign indifference, She takes everything living on Her, periodically sweeps them away and uses their dust and ashes for evolving other forms.

Indeed we recognize something of this great recycling, self-transforming Being called Earth. Contemporary people are developing tools that might help us appreciate, if not predict eventually, some of these magnificent ways in which Earth performs and reforms Her self. We create tools to see far beyond the stars... seeking to know Her birthing time; tools for probing Her times of trembling... seeking to know where and when She might quake open; instruments for measuring Her response to Sun, her neighbor of great influence... seeking to know if their partnership will dissolve... seeking to know if, in their present form, both shall return to the Elsewhere from which they came.

Compared to these great and grand cycles, we are indeed puny and pitiful wanderers on Her surface, hitching a ride with many others in the time She allows. Even without these tools, I think all peoples have known and felt how truly temporary we are while also sensing something called 'our spirit' does not seem bound forever by or to Her. We know in our souls that we are pilgrims together... seeking food and water in our wanderings... hoping we can find, if not create, shelter for ourselves, our families.  All creatures are pilgrims from this perspective... they share the same quest and we are bound together with them. We know our commonality even when we ignore it. We know this is a shared temporary home even if we behave as though it shall always be home or as though it is only home for me and mine... when me and mine exclude all but whom I choose with which to associate those terms.

This is the knowing that prompts us to respond with help when Earth behaves in such a manner that results in deaths, loss of home, food, and water... we see our fellow travelers in great difficulty whether they be fourlegged, twolegged, fin or fowl.

So the basis of our response is not to make Earth behave herself according to our preferences but to behave ourselves in a way that allow us to be the neighbors we are... one to another and to all other beings.

Thus, when we are doing healing in places where an event of Nature has produced upheaval and trauma, it is important to focus the intentions of our healing with two purposes:

One is to help souls of the dead move to Elsewhere, to the Light. Earth is no longer their Home---they may need help knowing this in the confusing chaos of their dying.

Another is to do whatever shamanic healing is necessary, and available with our Helping Spirits, to mend the profoundly disrupted memories of all beings there so that they are able to re-member that yes, Earth is Home and, yes, there is place for you in this Home. That is simple wording but it includes the various healing methods (extraction, soul retrieval, cleansing, releasing) and ceremonies that we do to bring about the reality of 'yes this is Home and there is place for you).

Ceremonies of Re-membering: healing traumatized history

We are beings part of whose essential nature is to be walking historians. Our self is known to us through the available archives in our being. We can experience some event whose impact scatters the archives or reduces to flimsy importance everything preceding that event and cheats us of hope for the next moment or day.

The power of ceremonies is due in part to re-minding and re-membering ourselves of our history together... including our ancestors and the capacity for bringing forth descendants.

Each October since 1989 there are ceremonies here in Santa Cruz - marking the Earth's great quaking on that day. Not only do such ceremonies remind us that Earth does and can quake; they remind us that we survived this together and therein is joy and the confidence to move into the morrow.

Developing such ceremonies and supporting them as they arise in areas of disasters is also part of shamanic healing.

Seeding the Site
If there has been one continuing criticism around disaster relief efforts, it has focused around the momentary nature of these efforts. This is another manner in which we are sometimes governed by the media's giving people and events their 'moments of fame in the spotlight' and then moving on to another, different focus.

Yet we all know that trauma - physical, mental, spiritual - exists and sometimes spreads in time way beyond that spotlight of fame. In our model for practicing shamanism without borders, we need to tend this issue both in what we do at such sites and what we leave behind... a form of a care package.

This includes what I am calling 'seeding the site.' These are seeds that when held and/or planted have the power to evoke creating shamanic ways or events: this could range from leaving tools (rattles, drums) and/or helping to set in place circles or teams of people who live there and who want to help spiritually in the recovery of the people, their land, and other beings.
 
If we work in teams, then this could be the complete focus of one team: learning how to seed in that particular place and seeding in partnership with people there.

Finally, in closing I recognize the difficulties in choosing upon what issues to focus in this newsletter. Doing shamanic healing in situations of disaster, or with the effects of other traumatic events, is a very complex subject.

Working together, I do believe the shamanic community is both called to offer help and can offer healing interventions. Part of our work together involves sharing of our experiences in this work. If you are already doing such work, I invite you to email me a description which can be posted at the websites of both nonprofits: www.shamaniccircles.org and www.shamansociety.org.  You can also visit these sites for more information about Shamanism without Borders and the SSP June conference in Santa Cruz.

Also, we are going away on vacation towards the end of Feb. and will return in mid-March. My next newsletter will be the first of April.

In closing, we know that we shall always have suffering with us and we can expect Earth to continue moving in ways that disrupt our lives - sometimes massively and other times less so. Our challenge is to offer aid and support to one another and to bring healing to the suffering. Our deeper call is to KNOW this as home and us as pilgrims... if we know and act upon this, we will realize what a magnificent and beautiful home is Earth... and that celebration of her includes easing the suffering that can render Home as inhospitable, alien, and needing to be fixed. Nothing living needs fixing---many of the living do need healing and essential supports. That is our obligation, our gift, our call from Spirit and our call to each other.
Blessings and Love,
Carol

Note regarding future workshops:
A complete description of each workshop will be available by early March. As stated above, I use the Winter months for working with Spirit re: what issues are calling to be addressed during these workshops. 

These workshops dates have been confirmed with the Retreat Centers. Check with Pirkko or at my website for additional workshops not yet confirmed.

**Except for the SSP Annual Conference (June), these workshops are limited in enrollment.

Except for the May Women Healers Retreat, all these workshops are for men and women (referred to as Mixed Group). There has been some confusion about this because for several years I was teaching many Women's Circles and some people presumed my workshops were for Women only. I have always felt it is our working together, men and women, that will lead to a transformed world.

Susan Gilliland and I continue to teach together. In addition to working with Susan and Pirkko, plans are underway to teach another workshop (at an animal shelter) with Dan Jordinelli in Los Angeles in mid-Summer.

If you wish more information or to be on a workshop mailing list, please contact the coordinator
Pirkko Miller at pirkko@embarqmail.com. Information and registration is also available at my website: www.shamanicvisions.com

Carol's Workshop Calendar for 2010
May 7 – 9
Women Healer’s Retreat - Santa Cruz, CA (Fri - Sunday)

June 3 – 6
Society for Shamanic Practitioners (SSP) Annual Conference "Self in Service: Shamanism without Borders"    Soquel/Santa Cruz County, CA - for information & enrollment: www.shamansociety.org

June 25 – 27
Mixed Group - Santa Cruz, CA - (Fri - Sunday)

July 29 – August 1
Philadelphia, PA

Sept. 9 – 12
Mixed Group - Santa Cruz, CA (Thursday - Sunday)

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