Thursday, February 28, 2013
This year, I made a commitment to learn new things. I started by looking at martial arts, since I've always wanted to learn. As I checked out various teachers and style offered in my area, I came across Qi Gong. Strictly speaking, Qi Gong isn't a style of martial arts, but it is closely related. Roughly translated, Qi Gong means "cultivating energy" (nqa.org). It is a self healing practice that teaches the student how to control and balance the energy within his or her own body to promote health.
I have heard of Qi Gong before and had considered studying it, but when I was doing my research I found out something I didn't know. Qi Gong mastery can be applied to energy healing. At a certain level of mastery, the student of Qi Gong can not only manipulate the Qi in their own bodies for healing, but the Qi in others as well.
That was the deciding factor for me. I registered the next day and I am now taking Qi Gong classes with a local instructor. Later this year I hope to begin taking the Qi Gong healing classes and add these new skills to my existing knowledge of energy healing.
Remember that there is magick in even the smallest acts, and even tiny alterations can create big change.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Thursday, February 14, 2013
If you want to read about my most recent dismemberment, check out F is for Facing my Fears
Death. It is inevitable and unavoidable.
I heard a story once about a man's encounter with Death. The man was in the market one morning when he saw Death staring at him. Fearing for his life, the man bought a horse and rode out of town as fast as it would carry him. Eventually, the horse would go no farther, and the man had to continue on foot. Late that night, weary and exhausted, the man became aware of another presence on the road. It was Death. Unable to run any further, the man turned to Death and asked "Why did you look at me so strangely this morning?" Death replied, "I was confused. I knew we had an appointment here tonight and I wondered how you would make it." Then Death collected the man's life.
For believers in reincarnation, death is a natural part of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. It is a change that all living brings must eventually go through. It is our egos that fear death. When our bodies die, our souls live on and reincarnate in new bodies. Our egos, however, do not. They fear the loss of identity that comes with death. To conquer our fear of death we must first conquer our ego. Every tradition has some form of initiation designed to force the initiate to assert control over the ego and face his or her mortality.
Those who practice shamanism eventually experience what is called shamanic dismemberment. During this process, a spirit, or group of spirits, destroy the journeyer's "body". It is then remade. This is a type of initiatory experience that simulates death and rebirth. Shaman's will experience this multiple times over the course of their lives. By the time they grow old, a shaman's familiarity with death, partly through this experience, allows them to meet Death as an old friend instead of fearing it as an enemy.
A shaman that I studied with briefly conducted an exercise. She had everyone pair up and do a journey for their partner. Because there were an odd number of us, she partnered with one of us. The woman who journeyed for the shaman said that the spirits told her that the shaman was going to die. The shaman laughed and said, "They are always telling me that." She then went on to explain the dismemberment process and told us that was what the spirits were referring to.
It was not long after that I had my first experience of shamanic dismemberment. In my journey I met a spirit with the body of a man and the head of a jaguar at the top of a Mesoamerican pyramid. He instructed me to lie down on the altar in front of him, which I did. Then he ripped out my heart and ate it. He replaced the heart with one made of a neon blue light, but the flesh around it smothered the light. He breathed out a swarm of insects that completely devoured my body. When they fell away, I had a new body made of the same blue light. When I returned to my body I felt a sense of empowerment, like something inside me had been cleansed. Since then I have also been eaten by wild animals and ripped apart by a horde of zombies.
Death is a part of the natural process. It is a consequence that follows the choice to be born. However you choose to deal with it, it is something that you will have to face sooner or later.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
But what of those of us who are trying to reclaim our shamanic heritage after generations of religious suppression? My neighbors don't believe the way I do. If I explained what a soul retrieval was they would probably think I was crazy. So what constitutes my community?
I have given a lot of thought towards answering this question. The honest answer is that I am still not sure. Right now I would define my community as those I have formed relationships with. My community is my friends, family, and the plants, animals, and spirits that share the land I live on.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
I've been working a lot of overnight jobs lately. One of the things that happens in the small hours of the night is that it gives you a lot of time to think. Since I have a one year old, the thing I think the most about is how I plan to parent.
I have known that I was smarter than most of the people around me since I was young. I've always been an A student. I'm not very creative, but I can learn anything I set my mind to. My partner has a doctorate and a masters. We are both smart, and it is already evident that our daughter is intelligent and inquisitive.
We plan to home school our daughter which is going to be an interesting challenge. I want to help her live up to her full potential; something that unfortunately the public school system will not be able to give her. There are students in my college classes that have yet to master the basics of spelling and grammar. Unschooling seems to be a homeschooling method that promises to help teach life long learning skills that will continue to be of value all her life. I recently read a very good book about it on Amazon Kindle called Intuitive Unschooling.
But I realized that I don't feel that I have lived up to my own potential. I only have an associate's degree, even though I am intelligent enough to get a higher degree. Plus there are a lot of things that I have always wanted to learn, but never put forth the effort. I didn't have anyone who encouraged me to be the exceptional person I could be. My grandparents didn't do that for my parents and they didn't do it for me.
I plan to do it for my daughter. I want her to know that she is smart and she can be great at whatever she wants to do. I want to encourage her to seek out learning opportunities. I want her to develop to her fullest potential because I know she can change the world. But I don't want to be a hypocrite. I always thought people like that were ridiculous. I'm sure we've all seen the adult who tells a kid to never smoke as they light up their own cigarette. So I plan to do something about it.
I'm already in nursing school and plan to continue my education though a master's degree in nursing. I have always wanted to learn martial arts, so I registered today for my first martial arts class. There are other things that I've always wanted to do, and skills I've wanted to learn. This year I am going to become proactive in my own personal development. I want my daughter to achieve great things, not just because I've told her she can, but because she has seen me do it. I want to be her role model, and more than that, I want to be the person I've always wanted to be.