One of the healing classes I run is a shamanic healing class. Last class was particularly beautiful, with the way everything unfolded and slipped into place.
Om: “Look around you at the corners of my clinic. Why do I have cobwebs? Why don’t I clean them away?”
Student reply: “Because it’s someone’s home”
Bless her! Isn’t she gorgeous? Yes, indeed, the cobwebs are someones home. We talked further and I explained that spider is my power animal.
As shamans, we have lots of animal friends and allies who guide us and help us with our healing work, but our power animal is particularly important to us. Our power animal introduces us to our power (our unique gifts, skills, talents, strengths) and helps us make the most of it without abusing that power.
As per my cobwebby clinic, us shamans will do unusual things that might be looked upon with puzzlement by non-shamans, simply because we are intent on maintaining a good relationship with our power animal by treating them with kindness and respect.
I grew up with a shaman: my mother. She might never have thought of herself using this term, but at her core she was definitely wicca/shamanic/pagan with a deep love and respect for nature. Her cobwebs were magnificent. I have followed her lead and from time to time will clear the old webs away. “It’s nice for them to have a fresh start” says mum. I agree. And on the very odd occasion, when my desire for a clean clinic over-rides my shamanic sensibilities, I gently scoop up cobwebs with the spiders still in them and move the spiders outside. I wonder if I would still do this if I didn’t care what people thought?
Then I talked to my students about the tree frog that lives in my laundry sink.
“It’s a hassle. I can’t use my sink the way I normally would because he could be harmed by washing detergents. I could just move him. But I don’t. Why?”
“Because he would just come back again”, replied one of my students. I laughed. Don’t you love these students? They are so sensible.
“Yes, but there’s another reason. Frog is here to teach me something. He is another shamanic ally for me. He is teaching me to be more aware of what I contribute to my waterways.”
Then we had a discussion about how frogs are studied by scientists who want to understand environmental impact issues, because they are highly sensitive to environmental changes.
My students are at that stage in their training where I have to take a step back and let spirit step in. I have demonstrated the basic principles of modern shamanism and explained the links to neuroscience and psychology, now it is time to immerse them in some ancient culture. So I took them on a guided journey to meet their shamanic spirit teachers. These teachers will guide them in ways that are specific to them as individuals.
Once my students were connected with their teachers, we guided each other through guided meditations while giving healing, following prompts from their new/ancient teachers. It was such an honour to observe!
There were many animals who came to guide and help them, and Nature in all her glorious forms was ever present. A shared teacher for all present in class that day, including myself, was water.
“What does water teach us?”, I asked. Here are some responses from the students. So good to see everything is sinking in, and they are thinking in the shamanic way:
“Water is for cleansing”
“Water is nourishing. And it’s associated with emotion.”
“Water is linked with clairsentience (empathy)”
We discussed this last observation in more detail. Water has the capacity to change shape, just like the empathic, shamanic aura. An shamanic/empath aura pours into whatever it is observing, so that it can feel what the other is feeling. Then I asked a question:
“If I have a bowl of water in front of me and I’m gazing into it as a shaman, what am I doing?”
The students thought for a moment and then one replied: “Scrying”
Correct! Still water is like a mirror. It reflects us back to ourselves and because we are connected with the entire world- all places, and all time- we see not only ourselves but all of life. When gazing into this mirror we are lead into journeys within ourselves that help us see ourselves more clearly, and we have a window into the world around us. Ancient shamans used water to scry into other places and times. Like a crystal ball, the flat reflective surface gives the mind a focus, inviting intuition forth via stillness and the imagined images that surface from the reflections.
I love teaching, especially when I am co-teaching with spirit and nature.