I was off again, with my blue holdall on wheels, to study with Tom Brown. I met Mark in Newark at the Shuttle to a Quality Inn in Toms River, he was going to the same workshop, so we shared a room for the night. He was a well-travelled and grounded healer and car trader from Nottingham and good company. We had a long wait on Sunday for transport and it took us to a Scout Camp in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where Tom and Rick had spent their time learning from Stalking Wolf.
The large hall trebled up as classroom, dining room and bedroom. Sunday was a gentle introduction forming groups of ten and we were sent out to find a group sit spot and build a tepee fire with enough wood for two hours. We put up four direction poles around the group sit area. Our group was a good mix of men and women and we sat around the unlit fire getting to know each other.
The last class had been about developing Sacred Silence, a form of meditation. For many people meditation s the end point. For our class is was the start point of journeying and developing Inner Vision, sensitivity to the energy around us, which Tom calls the Force.
On Monday we set up a tripod on the trail to our group sit spot and each tied something on it. We had group fire with Daniel using his bow drill to light the fire and Bob leading the pipe ceremony. We shared prayers and visions and held Sacred Space for each other. Later that day we did a visualisation in the hall of us going to the sit spot and passing the tripod. Afterwards we talked about who arrived first, what direction they came from and what people were wearing etc. There was a lot of similar experiences, building again our belief in remote journeying.
During the week we did more long form meditation and journeying along the path, down the stairs across the courtyard and into our beautiful place. We were given more detail. The path represented the physical world, and, on the path, there was a place of all memories, a zone of primal energy (I had a tiger in mine), a zone for body control and a zone for healing.
The stairs represented the Force and off the right hand of the steps was one space for communicating with near entities and one for distant entities. Off the sixth step was a crystal cave for healing in the Force.
In my beautiful space there was a sacred place, a stone circle with a flat stone big enough to lie down in,, which I could use for distant healing. I also used it for practicing the pipe ceremony. Nearby we were directed to root ourselves in Spirit. This is a form of protection and I later rooted my whole family there, each of us protected by a bear, a wolf, an eagle and a coyote.
These zones all felt different and we practiced many times so that we could eventually travel straight to a zone. To remember I go to the zone of all memory. For healing myself I go to the healing zone in the physical. When I am healing someone with hands on I go to the crystal cave and for distant healing I go to the sacred place.
Later in the week we stepped out of our personal space in spirit onto the path through the spirit world. We looked into the Dark Side or Hell and a lot of people were shaken up by that journey, so we were given an extra break. In my belief system hell is on earth and this part of the spirit path was not full of demons. Instead it was full of accentuated negative emotions, the sort I experienced with entities stuck on earth.
This week we spent time working with the Force energy. One of our group exercises in our sit spot was lighting a fire and using our group Force energy to move the flames left and right, up and down, swirling around and changing colour. It worked! In the hall we hung feathers on string and moved them. We moved wood and stone on string. We floated bits of wood on water and moved the wood. All the time we were building our experience and belief in moving the Force. We each made a coup stick showing the elements we had moved. It advertises our powers, a bit like a doctors shingle.
One of my favourite exercises was empassioning. You take a stone (it can be any object) and really look at it until you have a mental image of it. Then you hold it in your hand. You imagine you are growing roots from your feet into the Earth and then with each in-breath you are pulling green earth energy through your body into your heart centre. You keep building this energy in your heart until you channel it using your intention, with love, down your arm and into the stone. Really feel you are filling that stone with the energy, push it in! You then swap stones with a partner. Someone leads a visualisation where, at the same time, everyone visualises their stone and tells it to release the energy. I got this warm tingling feeling from the stone in my hand that spread to my whole body. You can empassion any object, a toy for a child, water for healing, anything. On the last day we all empassioned a teabag for one of Tom’s students who was in hospital.
The healing technique we were taught was similar to empasssioning. Your client lies down, with you at their side, with your left hand on their head and your right hand on the waist. You envision yourself in the crystal cave. You draw energy from the Earth into your heart centre and build it to bursting. Then you visualise opening a channel into their body, where your right hand is, and you open a channel out of their body. You push with strong intent, and with tension through your arm, the energy from your heart centre into their body and imagine it flooding their body and releasing, and taking away, heavy energy through the out channel back to earth, where it is transformed. You keep running this energy through you and through them until you sense that the energy in the out channel is running clear, then you close the out channel. You cut off the energy from your hands and you stop the flow into your feet.
N.B. Do not direct energy to a cancer because that makes it grow. Direct the energy to wash through the cancer to take its momentum away so that the body can heal.
We all experienced as healers and clients. We also learned about Grandfather’s Touch – where healing energy is concentrated into a finger, or a hand, which you then touch a client with. I tried this out, not long after coming back home, during a business briefing where the owner of the business was berating his daughter, one of the managers, harshly I thought. I could see she felt bad, so I just gently build energy and put my hand on her shoulder. Later she asked me what I had done because she had felt like a warm blanket was wrapping around her and it helped her relax and smile.
Other exercises in this workshop included carving a totem out of soapstone. I carved an oyster shell with a pearl in it. When all the totems were finished, we split into pairs, one of the pair placed their totem on a table set up outside the hall and then was blindfolded. The totems were all moved around, and you were then asked to sense where your totem was, with your partner keeping you safe. 25% of the 60+ people found their totem. Of more interest to me was that we all reported than at one point our blindfolded partner was going straight for their totem only to veer away. That showed me the importance of a clean canvas and trust.
Another exercise was tree preaching. When you feel emotional take your emotion and pour it out to a tree, with passion, full volume. Choose somewhere private! Just tell the tree all about it. After a time as you slow down you will feel something coming from the tree. When I manned the listening bench on Skyros, one of the female guests came to me really upset. I listened and then suggested tree preaching. She went off on own into an olive grove. She followed my instructions and said she fell asleep and woke up in the roots of the tree feeling wonderful and refreshed. Tom said that this is one of the three top things that Grandfather taught him.
We each made a bad medicine stick (aka Shit Stick) where we wound around a stick string and objects representing all the bad medicine in our life. We then visualised gathering all the emotion linked to the bad medicine and pushed it into the stick. Our sticks were then burned. It was a nasty fire with lots of heavy black smoke.
We asked questions for guidance from the spirit world outside of our beautiful space. In a visualisation we walked between two stands with flaming torches through the membrane that separates our private space in spirit and the spirit world. There are different zones in the spirit world. Before the exercise we formed a question (if you could only ask one question, what would it be?) and imagined a sphere filled with the essence of that question. We took it to the band of Physically Manifesting Spirits and handed the sphere over as we asked the question. It felt powerful. And guidance was received.
Another packed week came to an end. I felt lucky to be walking two paths with Tom and Alberto. It all made sense to me. Using energy is a mix of belief, attention, intention and need. The need was us to learn and the exercises from both of them were building attention and intension and belief. Shamanic learning is a journey of experiences with no faith needed!
Mark and I got a lift back to airport. On the way we stopped at a mall for a coffee and a snack. The people there looked alien, filled with heavy energy, and quiet desperation. We didn’t stay long.
To be continued…. Philosophy 3 & 4 – Presence