Family Constellations is not Astrology. It is YOU.

Family Constellations is work that I love. The work is beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful at times, and is such a powerful tool for healing and transformation. And that healing and transformation works on the individuals who attend, the families into which they were born, the families they find themselves in now, and even the larger world itself. So I love it, but it's one bear to write about!  I'm going to do that here, anyway, in hopes of sharing with you what I think makes Constellations work so powerful, and why I think you should come to know it. First: Constellations is not astrology. In fact, it has nothing whatsoever to do with stars. (Well, except for the fact that we, ourselves, are star stuff.) Family Constellations is a therapeutic way to heal our relationships, bodies, minds and spirits through an exploration of the unseen energetic patterns at play in our families. We acknowledge that we receive many gifts from our families, some of which serve us well, and some of which do not. In the work of Family Consteallations we seek to uncover the hidden energies in our family systems, and to create healing "movements" that liberate us from the gifts that do not serve us well. Having thus cleared space in ourselves and our families, we are able to invite in ever greater blessings and gifts, which serve to strengthen us, and to help us thrive. One very beautiful part of the work is in HOW we create that healing. In Constellations work, we create a visual, emotional and kinetic reproduction of your family's dynamics, and look at what movements, revelations of truth and healing words and actions can bring about your best healing and transformation. [...]

By | January 14th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments


"The stairs are your mentor of things to come, the doors have always been there to frighten you and invite you, and the tiny speaker in the phone is your dream-ladder to divinity." Everything is Waiting for You --David Whyte So here we are, together, in the place between what was and what will come to be. It feels to me that January is a time of our standing on a threshold, an "in between" place. The wheel of the year is coming 'round to laying to rest the last round of last year's life, to allowing to die what has lived out its use. And the new year, the infant waiting to emerge into the world, is still sleeping, still growing, still imagining what it will become. We who think in the shamanic way tend to view thresholds as places of great power; standing here, we can gather ourselves and prepare for whatever we emerge into on the other side of this passage. There is energy for emerging that is gathering now; energy for being born into life--for the first time, for the second, for the 6oth or 80th. In the shamanic way of understanding the year, we will welcome Spring on Feb. 1. We who live in a scientific, technological world, wait until Spring evidently arrives before declaring it the new season.  But if we are able and willing to tune into the energy of this Earth, to feel into the bones of it, to sense the stirrings of spirit and life itself, we know that the seeds of what is to come are stirring now; the seeds of what life presents next are dreaming of what is to be, what is to come. Are [...]

By | January 14th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

When the Call Comes

Look: When the call to the shamanic path comes, it is strong. It is compelling. It is, in some ways, irresistible. It thrums in your ear as you go about your day: there is more, there is so much more. It enters into your dreams, showing you both sorrows and delights that you never before knew existed. It accompanies you as you walk about your day, saying: oh, look here, the birds have so much to say to you. Or: oh, look here, at this human sorrow that is waiting for you to bring it resolution and healing. The call has so many manifestations. If you are like I was, you've used all of your power to hold closed the door to shamanic work that asks you to surrender, to allow that opening. Because it is so frightening or so costly or so fraught with the possibility of abandonment. And yet, the knocking on that door, the knocking to step into your own power, to claim and declare who you truly are, the knocking to be the healing presence you stepped into this human life to be: that knocking never stops. It knocks each and every day, with a persistence that cannot be quelled. Look: I pushed the calling aside for so many years. I eventually came to see that holding that door closed bought me nothing. I was still not like everyone else; I still could not buy my way into proper society. I didn't gain a single moment of happiness or peace in my turning away from the call I heard each and every day. No matter what achievement I obtained in the material world, I still heard that I was destined, that I'd [...]

By | September 5th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

When we start the fire, the fire comes

I think about the element Fire a lot. It's the earthly element we shamanic folk call on when we want rapid, even instantaneous, transformation. When a situation is so intolerant, so in need of transformation, that we can't stand it for one more year, month or day. And the element of Fire always seems to rise to the occasion, burning away in a flash the old structures, making way for the new dreaming. Sometimes we experience that fire as devastating, taking away comfort, protections and structures that we have come to rely on-- even if we find ourselves stuck in that structure.  Sometimes we need the power of ancient, all-burning Fire to bring down structures that imprison us; the ego structures, our shadows, and our family stories that are ready and destined for release. I wonder: what would it look like if you lit a fire beneath and within the tinder of your ancient family stories and structures? What if you consigned your shadows to the fire of transformation? What bright horizons could you see free of what holds you behind? Let's talk about what your free, bright, light-filled horizons might look like and how we will plot your escape to there.

By | August 29th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Meeting the Ancestors

Here is what I know about our ancestors: We are the children of their dreams. Think about it. Whether you are a parent or not, you've dreamed about what you will leave behind with humanity when you depart this life. Will your life's work be valuable? What about what you do makes it easier or simpler for your fellow humans to live on this earth? What can you do to answer the unmet yearnings of your ancestors? What can you do to meet the unmet yearnings from those ancestors that live, still, in your heart? When we are in relationship with our ancestors, the ancestors have our backs. Our ancestors want, more than anything, to be remembered. They want us to hold their lives, their destinies, in our hearts. To honor what they lived, what they sacrificed, to bring the next generation into being. They want us to honor and respect their love for us by our reciprocal love and respect. Their experiences, their ecstasies and their agonies, live within us. And when those old experiences, good or ill, entangle us we may not be capable of living our fullest expressions of who we are. I call that our Soul's Purpose: the reason we, as a Soul, embodied as human on this earth and at this time. The sometimes mysterious or hidden purpose that drives our lives. I've spent a significant portion of the past two years studying to be a certified Family, Systemic, Organizational and Nature facilitator of Constellations. I've struggled to find a way to talk about Constellations and the power of that work to heal both individual circumstances and larger circumstances of families, businesses and our world. I'm ready to bring this work into the world; [...]

By | August 29th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Do-it-yourself shamanism

There are times when we are called to step forward, roll up our sleeves and take on the job of doing the important work ourselves. That might be because we are fostering our power, and need to learn where our boundaries truly lie. Or, perhaps we have grown a deep curiosity about understanding the "guts" of something, like the technology we blithely take for granted, and so take up learning about how to maintain our own cars, or upgrade our computers. Or maybe we want to place ourselves more firmly in the rhythm of our lives by, for example, growing a home garden so we can experience the circle of sustenance our food provides to us. Or maybe we are just moved by the grace and beauty of something important, and want to put ourselves into the center of that. My husband Jon recently had the opportunity to deepen his own connection with music by taking two weeks out of his busy life to attend the Whetstone School of Lutherie in Brattleboro, VT. He's been a player of all kinds of musical instruments in his lifetime, from various wind instruments, to piano, to mandolin and guitar. His deep curiosity about what makes each musical instrument unique, his appreciation of the beauty of the result and the process, and his great enjoyment of working with wood, combined to inspire him to learn to build guitars on his own. In two weeks, he was able to transform a pile of various pieces of wood into a unique and beautiful instrument. In the doing, he has gained a deeper knowing about wood and music, and a greater understanding of his own power in both of those realms. He thoroughly [...]

By | August 5th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Shamanic healing is a process, not an event

It delights me daily that people all over the U.S. are discovering, or re-discovering, shamanic healing. Because of the articles I've written about soul retrieval and compassionate depossession, people from all over this country find their way to my site and ask their questions about shamanism and shamanic healing. A question I hear very often is: Will I need more than one healing session? My answer is that no one can say, and I'd like to discuss why that is so. One thing I've observed in my work is that the soul yearns to be both whole and free to live its purpose. In fact, the more whole our soul is, the likelier it is to successfully live its purpose. And so sometimes the events and symptoms we experience in our bodies, minds and lives are the soul's way of prompting us to seek our healing, which leads to our wholeness. Depression and sadness, for example, are a common reaction to soul loss. So a client will come for shamanic healing, feel either immediately or gradually free of depression, and look forward to plunging back into life with vigor. And then, a few months later, the depression and sadness return. And my client is then puzzled: Why didn't my shamanic healing stick? When old symptoms return, it is often an indication that the healing stuck very well. So well that the soul has grown strong, is craving more healing, and prompts the feeling of sadness to drive the client to it. The return of a useful symptom, then, often indicates that the client's soul is ready for the next step in its healing journey. The shamanic healing process is most like peeling that proverbial onion. We [...]

Manifesting Joy in Your Life

I am very fortunate to be a participant in Betsy Bergstrom's 2 year shamanic training in Middle World shamanic skills.  Betsy's training is designed to help shamanic practitioners like me to sharpen our disciplines, learn new skills to support our work and find fellowship and replenishment among our colleagues. Betsy has dedicated a lifetime of work to studying the Middle World, and sharing what she's found with those who are living a shamanistic life and to those who are just beginning to learn. Betsy's work is also shaped by one of my favorite human qualities: compassion. Studying with Betsy you will learn how deep and effective compassion can be as strong a force in this World and others. Participating in any of her classes is life-transforming. In this Middle World work we strengthen our relationships with many helping Spirits of the Middle World, using various techniques. One of those is the art of Mediumship. In Mediumship, we agree to "share" our consciousness and, sometimes, our physical bodies, with other Spiritual helpers. This is beautiful and powerful work, and must be undertaken within carefully planned and supported places and processes. In such a carefully planned way, I was able to share my consciousness recently with a helping Spirit who brought many lessons for me. This helping Spirit is one who manifests Joy in this world; she expresses herself and the Joy she carries in the form of the element of Fire. Sharing my physical self and my mind with her was an experience beyond my ability to describe. And yet, she charged me with sharing with you, and all who will hear, her lesson of how to manifest Joy in your life. Joy, she explained, is [...]

The Shamanic Worlds: Claim Your Birthright

Many decades ago anthropologist Michael Harner developed and presented to the Western world the cosmology of Core Shamanism. As a result of his study and experience with shamanic cultures around the world, he determined that all have some things in common. One of those commonalities he described is the division of our experience of existence into Ordinary Reality (OR) and Nonordinary Reality (NOR). Ordinary Reality is this reality in which we find ourselves living; I call it the "consensus reality." In this reality, we don't perceive that trees sing, rocks move of their own volition, etc. Nonordinary Reality is the spiritual realm, which in the shamanic realm is the source of the reality we experience. In other words, Ordinary Reality is a reflection of Nonordinary Reality. And in Nonordinary Reality, trees sing beautifully, rocks move about freely, and we converse with spiritual beings to gain knowledge, help, healing and perspective. It is in Nonordinary Reality that the shamanic practitioner does the bulk of his or her work. Another organizing principle Dr. Harner presented is that Nonordinary Reality contains (at least) three Worlds: the Upper World, the Lower World and, of course, the Middle World. And there are various "levels" or locations within each of those Worlds. The Lower World is a very dense and expansive version of our own reality, with landscapes and animals like those in our reality. These caves, rivers, oceans, meadows and these Bears, Owls, Eagles and all other Power Animals, are very much more intensely SO than in our reality; it is as if we are perceiving the essence of these things and forces in the Lower World. The Upper World has, in my experience, opposite qualities from the Lower World; [...]

Is Shamanism Real: And What About Dreaming?

Thanks to the sponsorship of the amazing Rubin Museum I discovered the fascinating documentary film Edge of Dreaming. In this film Amy Hardie documents, very intimately, a year in which she transforms from a "rational" scientific documentary film maker, into a dreaming, shamanic-journeying film maker. In the course of that transition, she experiences a convincing dream-based prediction of her own death and the healing that was needed to make that death an ego-death, rather than a physical one. I was initially drawn to the film because Amy declares early on that she is a person who doesn't dream. My Beloved is also one who rarely remembers his dreams, and I often wonder about the meaning of that. One night, Amy dreams that a loved pet horse has died. She awakens from this unusual dream to discover that her horse has, indeed, died, and in precisely the way portrayed in the dream. Some few months later, Amy dreams that she is to die in her 48th year, which is about to commence. Amy's life begins to focus on what this possibility might mean to her, to ponder what this dream might mean, until she becomes ill in her 48th year with a lung illness that threatens her life. Amy then embarks on an exploration both intimate and scientific, within her own life and in interviews with various scientific experts in dreaming and neurology, eventually deciding that there might be some kind of "knowing" in her dreams. It is then that Amy consults with a shaman, Claudia Goncalves, who helps her to journey to the source of the problem. In this journey to non-ordinary reality Amy encounters helping spirits who show her how her life is connected to [...]