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Newsletter 3/1/09 :
February-March 2009
Current Reflections and Workshops Announcements

 
buffalo Dear Friends,

Winter dominates now in so many ways: internally and externally.
Rain and snow muffle the landscape and even the stars seem to have disappeared. It's hard to separate the outer contracting cold from the inner contracting - exacerbated by the daily news of a world shrinking and that seems more overcast each successive day.

I've been reflecting on a few issues during these wintry days:
How do we as shamanic community respond in these troubled times?
What does shamanism offer to the Present Age?
How do we support one another in ways grounded in our current realities and use our transforming powers to assist the birth of new social forms: ones that pursue the common good for all.

Our deep unease is not just for the economic order but includes the growing effects of global warming. And these are not unrelated issues - both of which require that we find ways to collaborate that recognize there are no geographical or national boundaries: we are each and all seriously affected by this unraveling of nature and of economic order. And the health of future generations depends on what we can accomplish in bringing positive change.

Visoning and Dreaming Together our Future
We are living in unique and wonderfully challenging times. The need for restructuring social and environmental priorities has been evolving for years: this Present Age demands a new vision and the courage to enact our vision. We are given the opportunity, if not necessity, to rethink how we humans shall live on this planet. 

How shall we care for this Earth? Our previous paradigms no longer work. We are truly on a new adventure to dream and manifest new social orders and environmental practices. Just as nature has the promise of Spring embedded within the cloak of Winter, we have the ability to envision a more positive future, and sew seeds of change that will, in fact, keep faith with future generations.

Shamanic cultures have always grounded their spiritual practice in the pursuit of respecting the natural order and prospering the people. These goals were not perceived as being in opposition. In times out of balance, the shamanic task was to do whatever would assist the community in realigning its behavior so that harmony would return. This might require periods of consulting with various Spirits, ceremonies of cleansing so that 'clear vision' would return to the people, or working with the forces of nature to see what changes would correct some current crisis.

Covenants and Agreements - our Shamanic Storyline
Shamanism is grounded in the belief that hope is always available. Our Covenant with Spirit is based on a collaborative relationship. In this relationship, both the humans and Spirit abide by agreements to restore health and prosperity to the landscape and its inhabitants if specified changes are made. For example, one ancestral story involves over-fishing River and depleting the Salmon People….then River pulls away from its banks…in the midst of catastrophe an Agreement is reached in which River will return as long as the people agree to respect River and All who live within and depend upon River. We need to revisit such stories for therein are teachings. It's not that stories necessarily have the answer but they point us to the signature issues and provide us examples of our own heroic natures: courage we can summon.



We need to explore deeply our Covenant, understand the Agreements made between our Ancestors and Earth, and recognize what Agreements we have forsaken and how to rectify. Through sourcing these ancient stories, we may find lessons that will assist us in our changing.

This is the issue before us:  "How will our times be reflected in the focus of our practice, our teaching, our workshops and conferences?" Clearly we continue with our basic healing modalities such as soul retrieval, extraction, and psychopomp. Yet these address specific, individual problems and do not speak to the broad systemic problem that can sap the vigor and enthusiasm in our daily walk and communal relations. If we don't speak to this systemic issue, we shall be Winter-Walking through all our seasons.


Buffalo Medicine in the Present Age

I've had this recurring image of the contemporary shamanic community walking the Medicine Wheel. In this image, we began consciously walking about forty years ago and now find ourselves in the Place of the North-with Buffalo as our Totemic Teacher. We have grown ourselves from our early visioning place (Eagle), explored with great curiosity and innocence (Mouse), hibernated, internalized, and matured the teachings within us (Bear) and are now moving into the place of wisdom, of community, of leadership, of Give-A-Way. In this paradigm, the Medicine of Buffalo calls to us - seeks our attention so we might continue evolving on this path and become active members in our communities.



In so many ways, the history of Buffalo is the story of our times: there was Buffalo roaming the prairies, plains and high grounds…treasured for both substance and shadow. During a relatively short period of time, wasteful use of this treasured Being left them now living on limited reserves. Yet Buffalo Spirit is alive and calling us..willing to once more give and to teach us how to survive.

There are many teachings and ceremonies unique to Buffalo Medicine. If we can gather and practice this Medicine, we help to bring balance, prosperity, and peace to our world. These are not just idle words: these are the promises given to us by Spirit. They are based on countless years and generations of the humans covenant with Creator.

In many ways, the Plains story of White Buffalo Woman encapsulates these teachings and the promise. Instructions from this story include: "seek for all the people, prepare yourselves to receive new visions and understandings. You will learn new ceremonies and rites that will restore health and balance among yourselves and in your relationship with all other beings."

Workshop Offerings and Focus
Thus, the workshops Susan Gilliland and I will be teaching in 2009 will focus on this theme: Shamanism in the Present Age.

Shamans have always understood that their job was to raise the Call, work with Spirits, and promote the spiritual ways that would bring hope and wisdom to the people. So Now are we called and together, in our Circles, we must learn "just what are these ceremonies and activities" that shall prosper us during these lean and contracting times. What teaching is Spirit wishing us to receive both for the present moment and for unfolding our future. We shall revisit some of our ancestral stories and seek visions with Spirit. Together we will discover what we, as walkers of this path, offer our larger community and Earth herself.

Now is the time for us to seek, to receive, to enact---and together in Circle we shall do this.

Workshop Dates and Costs
I am announcing these workshop dates (June - August) now because enrollment is limited. Except for the workshop in Philadelphia, all others will take place at EarthRetreat Center that is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This Center has been designed especially to support the gathering of small groups - which I prefer for weekend workshops because this allows for more sharing and individual learning. This will be the second year of teaching there. The Center is located midst an incredibly rich coastal ecology and provides several sites for gathering within the woodlands.

All of my workshops this year are for both men and women. Just as in previous years, I considered it important to offer some workshops just for women, I now think we must vision, dream, and Circle together to meet the challenges affecting all of us.

Money matters: I have worked hard to keep workshop cost as minimal as possible. Previously I have requested that participants lodge at the retreat centers where the workshops take place. This is still my preference but for some individuals, commuting is more cost effective and if commuting allows someone to participate, then this can be their choice for lodging.

Scholarships are available for those needing financial support. Scholarships are possible due to the generosity of previous participants. If you are able to contribute to the scholarship fund, please to so. This is one way we can continue to support one another.

Cost is based on choice of lodging and ranges from $250 - $400 for a weekend..That includes all costs except for travel.

Complete information on these workshops will be available at my website by the first of April. (www.shamanicvisions.com)
June 26 - 28 (Fri - Sun)
July 17 - 19 (Fri - Sun)
July 23 - 26  (Thurs - Sun)
August 7 - 9- Philadelphia

If you are interested in one or more of these workshops, I recommend you contact Pirkko Miller. Your name will be placed on a mailing list to receive updated information regarding both focus and specific cost for each workshop. Pirkko is the coordinator for all my workshops (except the one in Philadelphia) and can provide information for any questions you might have re: my teaching work.
Pirkko's email: Pirkko@embarqmail.com

For the Philadelphia workshop, contact Gail at:
GW 8215724@aol.com

Journeys on and within Earth
These past six months have been bookended by two journeys: to the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada, in September, and to Akumal in the Yucatan early this February.

The first journey involved lodging on a houseboat and using our days to observe the Bears while sitting quietly in 'sighting blinds'. Spending a week with these wild friends, and their other relations, was comparable to my safaris in Africa in 1982. I am so altered that when seeking to describe I can but sing, drum, rattle and smile broadly. I shall find the right words - just not yet! 



With the Yucatan journey, I have images of our ancestors building great monuments, of stone tablets inscribed with many 'messages' creating tablets containing mysterious information. Yet the most enduring image is that of the Caves - wandering within a crystalline underground city created by Natures powerful interactions of earth and water. Within one Cave I was within Her womb…as were thousands before me. These two journeys spoke of the wonders upon and within Earth herself.

From both journeys my soul remembered our human covenant to honor, treasure, and take good care of MotherEarth and her Beings. This is our covenant whether of the Stone Age or the Present Age. My prayer is that my teaching always keeps this Covenant alive to our consciousness and witnessed in our daily living so that wherever we walk, we leave those we have touched sighing with contentment: "ah, the humans have come by again." This is a prayer best done by Walking with soles giving blessing and souls receiving blessing. Gathering in these Circles, may we so Walk.

In closing I glance out my window and see again the presence of Winter visiting the Land. Immediately I feel this invitation to withdraw, hibernate, avoid the cold and wet outdoors. Unlike Bear, however, I am not a true hibernator and I know that heat is generated by my own activity. I remind myself to share, to reach out to each of you - to not contract and withdraw but to warm ourselves by the fire of friendship delights; and to pursue with passion, the lessons being taught in this our Present Age.

Blessings,
Carol Proudfoot-Edgar


More Information
  • Complete information about  workshops can be found at Carol's website or will be sent to you upon request.
  • These workshops welcome commuters as well as residential participants.
  • Partial scholarships are available and can be applied for when registering.
To register for one or more workshops with Carol, contact the Coordinator  for Shamanic Visions:
Pirkko Miller at Pirkko@embarqmail.com

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P.S. We invite you to visit our Home Page to see if there are other shamanic activities listed there in which you might be interested.

Or if you wish to join in a Circle, check our Global Circles web page to see if there is one in your area. If not, then please start one because Circles can be powerful places of support for each of us on the shamanic path.

 
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Copyright © 2016 Carol Proudfoot Edgar
Not to be reproduced without permission