Category Archives: Reader Questions

Quite often, I find that the process of coming up with a topic to write, and assuring it is relevant, is extremely difficult. So I have invited some of my readers to pose questions. This will allow me to simultaneously stay keep my information relevant to the people that are reading (other than myself), while also making it a bit easier for me to speak about a variety of topics.

Ancestors

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I frequently hear, “It feels like I am going in circles.” You go around and around, and you get frustrated when you see the same tree in the same space on each trip.  But have you noticed that each time you loop around and you see that tree again, you see a bit more about it, or see you more in the narrow field of view you have? Have you ever noticed that after you have seen that tree every day for months, it is almost as if you feel that tree.  You no longer need to be in front of that tree, to see it, but anywhere in your loop, you hold an awareness of the tree.

When I hear, “It feels like I am going in circles”, my first response is that you should consider how this ‘spiral’ is moving you.  I have posted before how nothing is EPIC, magic can be small.  Magic must be small.  This is a great illustration for me about how I work with ancestors, and some problems I see people encountering. Whether or not you see it, Change is constant.  Even when, like on this path, everything feels like it is a huge and drastic change… It really is a bunch of small changes that you put together at the same time, giving you are larger break-through.

Work with my ancestors has been a story of change.  But one thing remains constant.  And I would hazard a guess that this is true for MOST of you.  The one constant has been that my ancestors have a clear and strong will to support me as a human being.  No matter my beliefs, my actions, my dealings, they are a driving force in my ability to move forward.

I had an instance before where I was communicating with my maternal grandmother, and I got the impression that now that I had enough strength to carry on forward, she wanted to step back from aiding me.  This was crushing to me.  It felt like a withdrawal of support from who I was as a human being.  I instantly felt that she was not able to aid me because my path didn’t follow her faith, and that brought up all sorts of feelings of rejection from my catholic upbringing.  I was hurt, and I didn’t know how to respond.

While mulling over this vat of turmoil, I was listening to my mentor’s podcast (The Jaguar and the Owl). And while he and his co-host were speaking, it hit me like a ton of bricks… (Somehow, I frequently break down my own barriers when listening to them, whether or not the topic is directly related.)

My grandmother didn’t step away because she couldn’t accept my path, it was because I was unable to accept hers.  I realized that to bring her back to my alter, I needed to find a way to get over my bias, and learn from that mistake. I had to learn to not push people away, blaming them for my history.  Not projecting my fear on them. Not projecting my hurt on them.

And I learned.

She has returned to my alter, and we have had some wonderful conversations.  In fact, I now have a rosary on my alter, and a crucifix in my Misa. But it brings a very interesting point in regards to your alter.  Who is there to speak with you.  How do they treat you? And step back, and ask yourself honestly, if you had no history with them, if you were listening to them with no suggestion in your mind as to what their intentions are.  What would they be saying?

It could take, “How is your health?” from being a lifelong agony of your family pestering you about your weight, simply being carried into their afterlife, to being, You do not feel like yourself, is there something I can do to help you?

It is amazing how hard it is to hear what is said, and not what we listened for.

Go back to your alter.  Just another loop on your circle.  Speak, and Listen.  Really listen.  What do you hear. They are giving you a chance to grow, and hear who the new, and changed, you is in this moment.  Are you offering the same courtesy?

What do you see on this lap?  How has it changed?  When do you start seeing that your circle IS a spiral?

There are, of course, ancestors who really would still carry their old bad attitudes and prejudices with them. If you cannot hear anything but a negative from them that is not helpful to you.  Pick one or two ancestors.  Two leaders of your family, and ask them to help you.  Let them help to smooth the edges on ancestors that do not understand the truth and reality of now.  And know that you are willing to hear them… When it is not disruptive to you.

I find that this leads to an amazing set of relationships, where you can find joy, and not be weight down by old baggage.

Shamanism, is about forming, and holding relationships.

How do you feel so comfortable calling yourself a ‘Shaman’?

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This is a question that was asked of me by someone from within my Ayllu. This has posed an interesting question for me. Why do I feel so comfortable using the term shaman, when describing myself?

Actually, the fact is, I am not comfortable using the term shaman for myself. When I label myself as a shaman, I am doing so as much to convince myself as anyone else. But the question, “Am I a shaman?” This is something I ask myself frequently. And it keeps coming to the same. Yes, I am a shaman.  Most of the time, I feel no need, at all, to explain myself to anyone.  But in this instance, I will do so, but I think that we need to talk a bit about the dynamics of an Allyu.  It is kind of like a wolf pack.  Within this pack, you honor each other, and recognize that there is no malicious intent. This question was honestly asked, and she wanted to know. After all, I have not even completed the shamanic training for the four directions…

The long and the short of it: before I met my mentor, over 2 years ago, I had been told that I am a shaman.

The ways that I know to gauge a shaman are as follows:

Someone labels you a shaman
You actively assist your community
You actively assist individuals within your community
You interact with the local deities
You have training by spirit or by a mentor

Well, here is the crux of it.  All of the above are true.  As mentioned before, even before I found my mentor, I was named a Shaman. For almost 2 years, I have been doing work to assist my local congregation grow forward under very difficult circumstances, and almost all of this work was done while maintaining good relationships with individuals within the congregation.  Individual healings, individual work, group work, group healings, and much work on behalf of the building and land around the building to ensure prosperity. I have done a fair amount work and learning from the local spirits/deities, and I have been working with my mentor and spirit, very seriously to learn all that I can about this path, my skill set, and the tools I have available to me.

But after all of that explanation, I don’t actually care if anyone agrees with me, or feels that it is a title I should have. I actually do not want the job of a Shaman.  But I have been chosen for this path, so I will make the best of it. There is a lot of work to do within this community, as well as the greater community that I can access from my computer. And while I see this work, and feel like I can do something about it, I will.  I would also note that the questions I have been asked, and asked of myself in regards to labels, and egos, all come to the same thing.  The term Shaman is not a badge that you earn, and wear for the rest of your life.  Shamanism is a job, and you are only a shaman, while you continue to do that job. No matter whether or not I am labeled a shaman properly in everyone’s eyes or no, I will continue working with spirit, and with my mentor, and I will continue to grow as far as I can within this lifetime.

This brings up a bigger question though. Why do I feel so confident in self-labeling, when there are two females within my Ayllu, with the same level of training, and different (yet equally as strong) gifts, do not? The member of my Allyu who asked, I could see in her eyes that she didn’t understand how I could call myself a shaman, with the circumstances from her own eyes.  Identifying the privilege I hold for being male. When you are a woman, that is to be heard, you rightfully feel as if your words would be questioned without all the documentation proving you are 100% valid.  (And often despite the documentation)  I, as a male, can walk with my head high, and go with the phrase of “fake it ‘til you make it.”  My confidence is all the documentation I need to illustrate my skills.  I bring this up because I feel that this talks to an extreme problem in our society.  We are still segregating in both bold and subtle ways.  It hurts my soul to watch such a gifted and intelligent woman, afraid to help the world with her gifts, due to a deep seeded acknowledgement that she will be challenged and possibly abused for offering to help.  That a strong woman is so threatening, that she cannot help the people around her without fear of reprisal.

Earlier, I mentioned that I don’t often explain myself, and I realized something.  Taking the time, to listen to the question that was truly asked, I realized that refusing to explain myself, would talk only to the disparity in the privilege I have here.  By opening my mouth and my mind, I can talk through the reasons that she too should be feeling confident in herself. And why she too, should be calling herself a shaman.

Am I a shaman?  It doesn’t actually matter, but I am going to keep doing the work.

Reader Question #3

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“Sometimes, I know things days before they happen. How do I do that?”

To understand the answer to this question, you have to know that time is a construct we have created to organize, or better yet, pair down reality into smaller and more tangible doses.

Time is not something that existed before we needed it to understand reality.

So, what is time a construct for? Blips in the ‘verse I call “Awareness Segments”. Please note that I am intentionally leaving out the important and very closely related topics of Space and Oneness.

An Awareness Segment is an instance of everything you are aware of. Even if we were to define this as one-millionth of a second, how many words would it take you describe everything you are aware of in everything perceived by your 9-12 senses, for everything within viewing, hearing, considering, feeling distance…

It is an absurd amount of information. In fact, your brain has built the remarkable ability to filter by importance and forget what doesn’t rank high enough as to not get overwhelmed.

Let’s take a step back in this explanation….

Imagine you have a deck of cards. These are kept in a stack, all conveniently in one spot.  But although you know that the deck contains 52 cards, you only see the face of the one on the bottom.  You have to count them out to be sure there is actually 52. And how do you feel about how well you know your cards in a game like Euchre (5 card hand) versus War (26 card hand)?

You quickly see that it becomes more difficult to be fully aware of each card, the more there are.

But it is still very possible to set each unique card out on the floor, and be aware of all 52 at the same time.  Imagine that the deck of cards had 1,326 unique cards in it… This is harder to hold awareness of.

Now imagine that each card, instead of being a simple combination of color, number, and symbols, it is an Awareness Segment.

I believe this example does a good job at illustrating why we created the construct of time. With so much information on a single card, how can we do anything more than look at a single card at one time, and then flip to the next when we feel ready?

This, however, does tell tales of the falsity of time. As quantum physics shows us that people don’t agree on the amount of time an event takes, nor do they agree about the amount of time between events. How quickly time is perceived is completely dependent on how quickly they are flipping through their decks. The truth of the matter is, all Awareness Segments exist in the same instance. We just cannot yet perceive them in the same instance.

So to answer the question directly, you or someone with whom you speak can perceive more than one Awareness Segment at once, therefore, they can tell you about a card that you have not yet flipped to.

And truth be told, this is not so far fetched.  Our brains are built to slowly perceive more information, when we are ready. This is the easiest to see in babies.

For the sake of ending this post today I will give only one example. Object Permanence.

After a baby is born, and after they are aware of you, you only exist to them, when they are aware of you. If you walk away, and they can neither see nor hear you, you no longer exist to them. Between the age of 6 – 9 months, a baby has developed enough of their brain to be able to retain the information that you can exist, even if they don’t see you.  Their brain has developed enough to deal with the amount of information they have, and is ready for more, so it starts maintaining that extra information; which is you.

Your brain is protecting you from further awareness because it has a hard time coping with the knowledge with each Awareness Segment, before it accepts it all, processes it, and you flip a card.

Further Reading (as you have no reason to believe my physics claims):
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/07/humans-have-a-lot-more-than-five-senses/
http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/in-no-time
http://www.iflscience.com/physics/your-future-set-stone-spacetime

Reader Question #2

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What [does] opening up to spirit/guides/power animals feels like? [This is a part of the entire question, but  I will answer the rest on another post]

This question has really had me thinking hard, to find the right words, please let me know if this answers the portion of the question listed above. (If you would like your name to remain anonymous, feel free to email me directly)

Let’s as assume that we have the capacity to see black, and white.  Not gradients, not shades of gray, just Black, and White.  You don’t think of it as strange; however, everyone around you can also only recognize black and white.

Now, in opening myself up to my spirit partner, Natalia, let us say she introduces a beautiful shade of cerulean.   I can now see it, but it doesn’t fit with the world I know, as I have only ever seen black and white.  Now I have this new thing.  This new color to see, and I am so overjoyed about he beauty and how it is such a drastic change from the way I had seen before.  But how do you describe cerulean to someone who has never seen anything more than Black and White?  Finding the words to describe it becomes the ultimate challenge.

How do you describe a sunset or an eclipse to a person who has never had sight?  There are no words to describe the detail, or the feeling of beauty it conveys to you.

To continue on with this metaphor, imagine a new color of some subtle and perfect shade for every spirit I have learned to work with.  Eliseo (Dusky Gray), Aeiulli (Royal Blue ~ actually more of an ombre affect from Royal to Periwinkle), Michael (a Silvery White), Luz (Burnt Sienna), Isabel (Buttercup), Hecate (Jet), Rabbi Jesus (Linen), Tatiana (Burnt Orange), Oliver (Chocolate Brown), Timber wolf (Emerald)

Each spirit adds a new vivid color.  Now, to answer your question more fully, Imagine the challenge that is added to describing these wonders to a person who cannot make time to hear your attempts to explain…  With our fast-paced, chaotic society, it is easier to see only black and white, as there is no time to hear about this thing you call blue.

How can you convince someone to make the time to see a beautiful truth, when they are so concerned about picking up their dry cleaning before the shop closes in 15 minutes.

So I would illustrate the feeling as cherishing a beauty that is indescribable, and infuriating because no one can make the time to hear you find the words for your experience.

Reader Question #1

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“How do I deal with the loneliness of not being able to share this part of my life with the people who are in my life. I feel like I live two lives and have since I was very young.”

One thing you will see, time and time again, throughout this blog, is how I have struggled with this exact problem. I think the loneliness comes from our own acceptance of prominent social expectations.

When, in the past, you have shared something that you saw or heard with others, so many people have told you, in one way or another:

  1. Ghosts don’t exist
  2. It was just a dream
  3. Maybe you ate something funny
  4. I am worried about you

With each time you hear one of these things, your faith in what you see is subtly undermined with a shelf of doubt. Most people don’t realize that they can hear, and sympathize without having experienced it themselves. But, people have been trained to not trust anything more than the physical senses. I have so frequently been told that by seeing spirits I am being seduced by the devil. Ironically, they say it this way so it is not like I am at fault for this. They speak so it is something that is being done to me, so it is kinder. Funnily enough, having experienced these spirits, it would be a form of torture if I were a victim, and had no control. (But that is another story) So many of the fears and biases come forward as a self-defense mechanism to keep us safe within our society.

For instance:
When I was 4 or 5 years old, I realized that the people around me did not see the other ‘people’ I saw. And from that age, I started changing the way I acted. I would stop staring at these other ‘people’, no matter how fervently they were trying to get my attention, as I was already learning that it was not acceptable to see them.

We have all changed the way we act around others to deal with THEIR level of comfort with the spirit world. This is the basis of the problem. And to be honest, this doesn’t yet answer your question. Simply identifies how your question has become so relevant for so many of us.

There are two possible answers for how I deal with the loneliness that comes from separating an aspect of yourself from the world within which you live.

This first option is to accept that the world will never see what you see, and allow that aspect of yourself to die. Not the answer I would propose to most, but there are times when people are not ready for the more difficult option. And if living in the current limbo between solutions is too much, this is the route to more quickly deal with the issue at hand. But I am happy to say that this is not the solution that is right for you.

~ And for my readers, I do know who this question came from. But, by looking at the question above, you will see that in writing the question above, ze (gender neutral pronoun for he/she) has written this with a longing to bring those two aspects of hir (gender neutral pronoun for his/her) life back to one. Ze does not want this aspect of hir life to die.

The second option is far easier in words than it is in effort. But here is the list of tasks you must do to deal with the loneliness (and in this order). And as I have gone through these, and (barely) survived (and still struggle everyday), I would like to share them with you.

  1. Accept yourself as you are. You must know that when you see or hear ghost/spirits/energies/deities/etc you are okay.
  2. Think about your fears in detail. Think on each one, and find its source. “If I tell people that I hear my dead friend speaking, everyone will think I am crazy, and shun me.” After you have thought about what this fear is, take some time, in your own head, and think about that fear. Where does it come from? If you are willing to hear it, I bet you will come to several instances in your life where there have been large or small comments that have made this feel like truth to you. And as you think back, you will find the ONE comment that made the difference. “I had a girlfriend in high-school, and I REALLY liked her, but when I asked her about ghosts, she told me I was crazy, and ran out. I got a text later that she had broken up with me.” (This is an example, this did not really happen to me.) Take the time to think on that memory, and realize that YOU ARE OKAY!
  3. Put consistent effort into loving yourself. Loving yourself in your entirety, even accepting what fears you have not been able to let go of. I have even found some chanting can assist. (Learned from Emotional Freedom Technique) “I am afraid my friends will abandon me, if they knew all of me, but I accept myself.”
  4. Be Brave. Test the waters, or come right out with it. Don’t hide this part of yourself. Be true to yourself, trust yourself, and trust those you chose to spend time with. If you are spending time with a close friend who doesn’t know this aspect of you. Give them a chance to know you. Preface it however you would like, but you should start a conversation. (Start one person at a time if you need) Tell them that there is an aspect of you, that you want them to know about, but you fear telling people. And tell them as much as you feel you can in that moment. This will get the ball rolling.

It is important to note that almost all of the people I have been clear and honest with on this topic, have been truly honored that I would share something so personal with them. This truth has brought me closer to many people. There will always be a few that do not take it that well. And here is what I have to say there. If a person cannot accept the whole of who you are, are they worth having in your life? So take a chance, try it. If they don’t respond well, simply appreciate that their response is about where they are in their personal journey, and not about where you are in yours. That will allow you to still offer them care, and find a way to separate yourself from a tough place. I have the greatest confidence that you will start finding that as you tell people, you will see more clearly that separating the aspects of yourself, has built a wall between you and your friends. By being honest, and speaking your own truth, you will give them the trust they deserve, and you will form closer bonds.

Even when you have 2 or 3 people who know your truths, you will find the loneliness abates.

I wish you luck in your adventure, and I loved answering this question.