Am I Doing This Right? Unpacking Intuitive Perception

“Am I doing this right?”
“How do I know I’m not just making it all up?”
“Is this real?”

Any of that sound familiar? These questions are standard for many people beginning to use intuitive perception. They are good questions because discernment is important when accessing intuition, but when over-applied they can also get in the way of developing trust in your perception. I have witnessed many people going through this stage in the process of intuitive development, and I went through it when I first started training in spirit work. The following are tips for those struggling with intuitive perception.

Safe & Sovereign: Interfacing with the Spirit World

There are two general categories of people who want to learn about interfacing the spirit: those who are already open to it, and those who want to be more open to it. Each category has its challenges and benefits; and the two states can call for somewhat different approaches.

Lunatics, Idiots, and Charlatans: Bridging the Secular and the Spiritual

I was raised in a secular-intellectual environment firmly grounded in materialist reductionism: there is no world but the physical world and that which can be verified through research science.  Religion had no part in my upbringing, and spirituality even less.  Spirituality was the realm of lunatics, idiots, and charlatans; people who were either too crazy or stupid to be rational, or people who were intentionally trying to con the naive and gullible.

Imagine, then, what it was like as an adult to find myself going from the field of neuroscience into traditional Chinese medicine and then into shamanic healing.

The Spiritual Teacher – Student Relationship

A spiritual teacher is someone who serves as a guide along the path of your soul’s journey, providing information, methods, and modeling that help you realize your life dream.  They help you access and strengthen your connection to the source of your own soul and spirit.  Spiritual teachers come in different varieties, from well-known gurus to personal mentors.  There are some common misconceptions about spiritual teachers, and ways that we tend to give away our power to them.  Below are some guidelines and considerations to keep in mind when seeking or interacting with a spiritual teacher.

On Death and Suicide: A Shamanic Perspective

As today, November 16, 2014, marks the 10th anniversary of my sister’s suicide, it seems a fitting time to write a post on death and suicide, starting with a disclaimer: death is ultimately a mystery and a sacred contract of the soul. Every contract is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the subject. The views I will present on suicide and death are what I have observed from my work as a shamanic practitioner and are a reflection of my current personal cosmology. They are not meant to be taken as absolute statements or applied indiscriminately as every case is unique.

When the Earth Moves Under Your Feet: The Soul in Times of Great Change

St. John of the Cross, a medieval Spanish mystic, went through a period of several months in which he was detained and tortured by the Catholic Church.  From that experience he coined the phrase “dark night of the soul” to describe a time in which a person experiences challenges to the very foundation of their […]

Creating the Moment: Shamanic Practice in Musical Performance

The following is a write-up I did for a conference on musical leadership in churches.  They asked me to contribute by answering the question: “Why might we want to include a shamanic element to service through musical performance?” First, we need to define what we mean by the word “shamanic.”  I recommend taking it out […]

The Power of Community

One source on the etymology of the word “community” has it related to Old French comunete meaning “reinforced by its source”.  When we access community we are, in essence, being reinforced by our source.  In this context our source can be our extended family and cultural communities – our biological source, or communities based on […]

Reframing the Patriarchy – The Goddess in Winter

For approximately the past five thousand years, Western culture has been dominated by the values of the masculine, what Joseph Campbell calls a “masculine accent” to the culture and what is popularly called the patriarchy.  The elevation of the masculine and the suppression of the feminine in culture has led to the same state within […]

Seiðr: Past and Present

Seiðr (pronounced “SAY-ther” in Reconstructed Old Norse) is a shamanic-magical tradition that was practiced in pre-Christian Northern Europe, primarily in the Germanic and Norse regions. Practitioners of seiðr were called völur (plural of völva), given the interpretive translation “staff-carriers”, or alternatively seiðmann (seiðr-man) or seiðkona (seiðr-woman). There are 24 accounts of seiðr in medieval Norse literary sources (update: there are more, an up-coming resource by Maria Kvilhaug will compile the references). Based on these accounts, völur would travel between villages and serve as oracles by sitting on a an elevated seat; a ceremonial platform or the high seat of a hall. From this seat the völva would enter a trance state and speak to the community.