Friday, October 15, 2010

Bioregional animism Forum

Looks like Bioregional animism has a new forum! We will be gradually moving off of tribes and onto the new forum. I woul dlike to invite every one to come and join us as it grows.
Tribes hs been good for us, but we have out grown it and Tribes feels a bit like a sinking ship these days. So we went private with the site.
Many thanks and blessings to Fishbowl for setting it up, it looks wonderful!
We are moving!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Going Local: Localised shamanic/animist healing

October is the harvest time, and we look over what we have harvested through out the year, and among our local harvest we see it is not only food we needed but also medicines. The recent post on healing reminded me of Angelica seeds I harvested this year at Beards Cove a very sacred place to me on the Washington coast. I have had them in my work bag for nearly 5 months now. Ends up I have been carrying these seeds with me where ever I go, and probably for a very good reason. Today and most every day for a while now I have been very fatigued, exhausted really and the seeds, when I smell them revitalize me.

Having studied vegetalismo, and latin american curanderismo practices I have been fascinated for years by the use of perfumes. This fascination for working with perfumes and plant essences shamanicly has become a real obsessive passion over the years. One that I am consitently and slowly persuing, soon I will be taking a class on distilling hydrosols and essential oils. Because of the up comming work shop I have been thinking more and more about my angelica seeds, they are so abundant here in the PNW. They are so powerful smelling, and so unique, but it never really struck me to start working with them for spiritual purposes, and they have been reaching out to me, a part of me has felt it but has ignored it so much, and I have to look at why? For one... I have an exstensive ethnobotany back ground. So many non-local plants from around the world are available to me with the click of a button, and well I can just buy some florida water to do my cleansing. I have some, hell I have lots of it why do I need to even look for somthing local when what I have works? Its effective florida water... and when I need somthing stronger, I have my agua de ruda or rue water. Ive even started growing rue outside my house for protection, though strangely when I think back to harvesting the seeds... I did so with the intention of planting them out side my home. The angelica has been reaching out to me, talking to me... and I have not been listening. I have not been listening because I have been distracted by what I have and can get else where that I have ignored the very persistent and loud voice of a local and prolific plant.

Today I finally listened to this plant spirit. Sitting doing counciling with a client at work... I caught a wiff of the seeds from my work bag. I felt so tired and stressed, and so did my client. It came to my attention that we both needed to breath in the scent of these seeds. that these seeds would help us with what we both needed help with. The plant reached out again and intuatively i knew to just look up the aroma therapy of this plant.

Angelica came from Africa in the 16th century to Europe. Used by pagan Romania for mystical rituals. The Christians used it after the dark ages for the plague devastating Europe. Someone had a dream of an Archangel telling them to use Angelica to destroy the plague. The roots are used in Chinese remedies and used to be used in herbalism. It's translation in French is root of the holy ghost. It protects against evil spirits, enchantment, conjuring spells. Often used to flavor gin and perfumes and traditionally candied for cake decoration and confectionery.

Properties and Indications:

Acts quickly on the nervous system

Anorexia or sudden loss of weight

Increases gastric secretions

Anemic people

Cardiac - purifies the blood

Anti-poison qualities - works on gout, arthritis, rheumatism

Deep drainage - stimulates all organs to evacuate toxins

Stimulates glandular and lymphatic systems - through this it helps to improve the immune system

Chronic respiratory complaints with mucous


Weepy, sweet, frilly, clingy, despondent - over emphasized on the feminine side (both for men and women but not children)

Nervous and frail types

Weak people, tired and worn out (physically and emotionally)

Melancholy, long term depression

Deep stress - useful for someone who has had a deep setback or hard struggles (divorce, dealing with ill people, aching with no specific problem)

Exactly what I NEEDED! As well as being exactly what my client needed too! Then it hit me... I saw how to work with this plant, it showed me what to do with it. I will make a perfume with it ask for its help give it my breath by breathing upon it, as plants love our breath, as it is our continuous offer to them. I will, as I have learned to do, spray this perfume from my mouth, upon people in ceremony, for healing, it will replace my need for working with Rue water and Florida water in most cases.

One can go local with their use of medicines, one can go local with their use of foods, and one can go local with many of their needs. This to me was such a concrete example of localized spiritual practice that it sort of shocked me, for some one who has been writing about bioregional animism for years, it still have lots to learn about listening to the land, and working local. The seeds of angelica humbled me today, and I was reminded of a saying my good freind and teacher Mitra used to say, five feet away from every poison is its cure. Out sourcing as I have mentioned before keeps us from seeing what we have around us and how we can take care fo what is around us. It is amazing how sublte of a distraction it can be that it has kept me from listneing to such a powerful healing being as Angelica.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Healing with a Handful of Dirt and a Marlboro

Originally printed in PNW pagan news letter widdershins, reprinted with permission from author.

Healing with a Handful of Dirt and a Marlboro

Article by Freya Ray

“Hey, we’ve got a healing crisis on our hands!”
“What kind?”
“Well, she went into the sweat lodge just fine. When she came out, she started spontaneously expelling a demon, speaking in tongues — that sort of thing. You should hear the spooky growling voice she’s using.”
“Has she puked yet?”
“Yup – kinda nasty dribbly stuff. While rocking back and forth on all fours.”
“Got it. Let’s see … I’ve got a bottle of Evian, a bunch of dirt and twigs and a pack of Marlboros. Yes. We can do this. Let the healing begin.”
I’m not really kidding. Of course, in the moment I don’t think it’s funny, as I am honestly scrounging around for what I can use to help someone desperately in need of help. Later, though, I can’t seem to resist the urge to find my entire spiritual practice hilarious.
Kitchen witching, pulling a McGyver, using mundane tools for sacred pagan purposes – whatever you want to call it, it works and sometimes it’s all you’ve got.
Some Situations Just Require Improvising
I have a Portable Witch Kit.™ Who doesn’t? It’s full of all the cool things I might want should I find myself in a Situation. A Situation could be any of the following:
· Sweat lodge, healing circle, or ritual fallout
· Someone’s living life a little too intensely and is frying on the energy
· Someone went and got themselves a demon, or a demon-ette (crud, guck, negative energy, that gray spot on their heart chakra)
· A breakup
· Psychic attack (see breakup)
· “Stuff” is up (childhood abuse issues, abandonment stuff, addictive patterns)
· There’s a sudden opening — a sweet spot, a softening in someone’s armor — that would allow some healing work to be done
· Past lives are rearing their ugly heads
· “Look! It’s an implant! Quick, let’s get it!”
I’d love to say I have my Witch Kit with me at all times, but it’s just not possible. I mean, first of all, it’s sort of unwieldy. It’s a small canvas bag, and an entire fishing tackle box of crystals. And even though the canvas bag by itself is fairly small, it’s not sturdy. It’s a precarious concoction including a glass candle; various bottles of things like Florida Water, Rescue Remedy and magickal massage oil; charcoal pellets; dragon’s blood; and a big honkin’ shell with sage in various stages of burnt in it, wrapped in a dish towel. The shell balances on top of the candle, but not well enough to rattle around in my car all the time. Besides, I like to have the shell out on an altar at home, so the whole bag has a tendency to get half-unpacked and then repacked when I need it.
Let’s look again at the list above and consider how many of these Situations would allow me to run home, assemble my kit, and come back. Hmm… that’s not an option. Much of the time, healing is like a first kiss. You seize the moment or the chance moves on and you’re “just friends” forever.

Tools to Consider:
You have the whole world at your disposal. What sorts of things can be turned to your evile witchy purposes?
When I teach healing with energy work, I ask my students in the tools class, “I can think of six ways off the top of my head to heal someone with dirt. How many can you come up with?” They start throwing out ideas, and it goes on for more than six every class. You can use mud to draw out toxins, make a fetish, hold a handful in your hand and put energy you want to get rid of in it and then throw it away, you can bury things in it, you can put your hands or body on it to ground, etc. It’s almost always available to you (even indoors – I’ve grounded out excess energy into a houseplant’s soil). Same thing with rocks and twigs, should you find yourself outside.
My favorite grounding ritual: lay face down on the dirt and give it back to Mama. One time a boyfriend and I were fighting, and he told me later, “I was so mad and I was crying and I went out in the yard and laid on the grass, and then I remembered it was you who taught me that and I was even more pissed at you.” Ha! Useful technique trumps current attitude about teacher. Doesn’t get better than that.
Of course when working with tobacco we’d all prefer to have a nice pouch of Drum or a fine Cuban cigar rolled on the thighs of virgins. All smoke has powerful smudging properties, and tobacco is unique in its flavor. In the right hands, it’s completely different from sage or sweetgrass or dragon’s blood or Epsom salts and rubbing alcohol or cinnamon or any of the other things you might burn for the smoke.
However, when you can’t have the best, any old crap-ass menthol will do. Honest. Just don’t inhale. Pull smoke just into your mouth and then puff it out onto the area you want to clear. For yourself, pull it into your mouth and then puff it out into your cupped hand. Use your hand to pull it where you need it – heart and crown chakras being the most common places.
Use that bottle of Evian! Water need not come from the Glastonbury Spring nor be buried by Rumi-chanting elves under the light of the Full Moon in order to be sacred. Wave a blessing its direction and put it to good use. Water can be used to help flush stuff out of someone’s system — that’s why massage therapists tell you to drink lots after a massage. You can use it to wash things out of your aura — add cider vinegar, sea salt, or Epsom salts, and it’s even more powerful. Water can be used to anoint, to gently bless. You don’t have sage handy? Throw them in the lake, or the bathtub!
Throw Something Away
So one time, at this festival, I had the opportunity to be the recipient of the combined healer energy from a Vicky Noble healing class. She was looking for volunteers for the group to practice on, and I happened to have a very groovy lump growing out of the side of my neck. Turns out the healing circle had zero effect on the lump (that benign cyst required surgery), but it was my ticket to some massive amounts of transformative energy that I desperately needed.
After this circle, I found myself standing in a doorway. My energy was stirred, shaken, massively bedrock disturbed. I needed to move it, fast, before I imploded. I was dancing at an outdoor performance, barefoot in a dustbowl surrounded by other festivalgoers. It came to me that I had to walk through that doorway naked and alone. Alone was easy — strangers who weren’t paying any attention to me surrounded me. Naked, well, that meant my jewelry.
I was wearing a little goddess in my ear, with a dangling amethyst crystal. I had on a string of rose quartz beads. There were toe rings. There was a silver fairy pendant, a gift from my sister, around my neck. I was wearing my juju! These things were all doing particular magickal jobs: balancing my energy, invoking the other realities I was learning to dance through, giving me rose quartz teddy bear love, and importantly — advertising to other baby witches that I was a proud new member of the clan. Naked. These things were performing functions, but they were also locking me into my previous energetic matrix. They were holding the vibrations of who I had been before Vicky Noble coordinated the energies of forty healers, all pointed at me. Although now, 10 years later, I can still tell you which pretty things I let go of, I can also tell you it was an easy decision. No deep thought was required at all. I just started stripping things off and hurling them into the woods.
The best was the rose quartz. I snapped the string and pulled the beads loose. I dropped them into the dirt. Then I danced them into the dust with my bare feet.
I was free. I walked through the door.
Should you find yourself in a Situation, look at what else is there with you. Is there some talisman that is holding on to what you seek to release? Can you or the person you’re working with be persuaded to throw or give it away?
Bring in a Little Sweetness
A friend brought a friend over to my house, and one thing led to another in the way things do. Next thing you know, I’m deep in energy work with the friend of my friend. After much excitement and an impressive display of our healing talent and her willingness to heal, things were settling into a quiet, wrapping up mood.
My friend and I settled on either side of our healing victim. I felt so strongly that she needed to know the sweetness of sisterhood. She needed to know, all through her, that she was loved and cherished.
I fetched the honey. I put a single drop on her tongue, while my friend and I held her and let her know she was loved. The honey communicated this message to her body on a level we couldn’t reach. I know it made an impression — I got several letters from this woman who had been a stranger a few hours before.
Puking is Your Friend
Never underestimate the value of puking. Both for you and for the person you’re helping. I mean, sure, there are nice, controlled Reiki types who make it through their entire healing careers without yakking their guts up on behalf of a client. Bless their hearts; I’m sure it must be wonderful.
I’m a shamanic type, though. I don’t get the luxury of standing off at a distance waving my arms around. I mean, sure, I wave my arms around (and yell and bite and whatever it takes), but I’m also directly involved in the crap coming out of someone. There’s a reason why I don’t do much healing work. I can’t avoid it all the time, though, and puking can be great.
When removing junk from someone, one technique is to suck it out of them. Now this is like siphoning gas from a car. (Anyone tried this recently as the prices keep going up?) You need to start sucking, and then get your mouth off the tube before you get a mouthful of toxic death. Same exact principle with energetic guck. You do a Clinton Inhale™(or a We’re Already Married Swallow™— pick your metaphor). Suck into your mouth, and then spit it out real quick.
If you’re a shamanic, full-body sort of healer like me, sometimes stripping stuff off with your hands isn’t enough. You have to suck it out instead. Two problems: Sometimes you don’t spit quickly enough, and sometimes the guck is extra wily and gloms onto you anyway.
What do you do then? Puke. If you’re lucky, you can do some meaningful dry heaving and call it good. If you’re not, sometimes you just have to use the full physical metaphor to get that crap you just ingested right back out of you.
If you’re dumb enough to add this sucking technique to your repertoire (or are already stuck with it — it’s not really something you choose), please remember one thing: If you have the urge to gak, don’t fight it. You will really regret it if you work to keep someone else’s demon-nasty slime-trail inside you. The short-term pain of throwing up is a thousand times better than the long-term pain of trying to find another sucker (oops! I mean healer) to get it out of you.
On the other side of the healer equation, puking can be good for the one being healed, too. If they’ve got the nasty in them and they’re trying to expel it themselves, encourage them to follow their urge. You’ll see them going green around the edges or perhaps retching a bit. Let them know that this can be an effective way to move energy, and they should go with it rather than fight it.
The body knows. If it can move the energy out with just a little mucous, it will do so. If it needs to go throw up for half an hour, it will do that.
Other Special Techniques
All right, I’m finished being disgusting. What else do you have at your disposal besides your digestive tract? Hands, breath, voice, warmth, the rest of your body. When helping someone move energy, I have wrapped myself around them and rocked them, using that instinctive child-like rhythm to help sort things out to where they needed to be. I have used my breath to blow things away or move them around. The voice is wonderful for toning (you and/or the recipient), doing a kung-fu cry to break up stuck guck, or telling a story about the energy leaving (guided visualization).
The hands are magick. With nothing but your hands, you can pull energy out, put energy in, balance chakras, smooth someone’s brow, or hold their hand. You can fix, heal, support, and love.

What else could you need?