Sunday, 11 December 2011

Wisdom of the Elders, The Time is Now

from youtube

The Celtic Twilight -- a longing to express the sublime

I think I’ve found a bit of the origins of my heart. 

I've been dipping into The Celtic Twilight, by W.B. Yeats, and found a snippet I feel I can relate to completely and utterly.  Yeats is describing a situation with two different guys, both of whom are striving to encapsulate a sense of something they can't quite reach:

" Celtic!  How full of striving after a something never to be completely expressed in word or deed. [...] This old man always rises before me when I think of X__.  Both seek – one in wandering sentences, the other in symbolic pictures and subtle allegorical poetry – to express a something that lies beyond the range of expression; and both, if X__ will forgive me, have within them the vast and vague extravagances that lies at the bottom of the Celtic heart.  The peasant visionaries that are, the landlord duelists that were, and the whole hurly-burly of legends – Cuchulain fighting the sea for two days until the waves pass over him and he dies, Caolte storming the palace of the gods, Oisin seeking in vain for three hundred years to appease his insatiable heart with all the pleasures of faeryland, these two mystics walking up and down the mountains uttering the central dreams of their souls in no less dream-laden sentences, and this mind that finds them so interesting – are all a portion of that great Celtic phantasmagoria whose meaning no man has discovered, nor any angel revealed."  

 book cover from Better World Books

Munay-Ki rites: my experience

Intro from:

"Known by cultures all over the world, the 9 Great Rites--or Munay-Ki to the Q’ero Shaman of Peru--are energetic initiations traditionally reserved for those training as medicine workers.  They connect us to the ancient wisdom of those who have come before us and lived consciously.  We are called from within, from our own inner wisdom, to blossom and grow deeply. We awaken our indigenous selves.  The rites are given in seed form, for the receiver to grow into a beautiful garden of gifts.  As we evolve personally, we become more available to play a part in the great change of consciousness which is already under way in the world."

Floral divider

I received the Munay-Ki rites over a two day course in February 2010, from Skie and Red Hummingbird in EssexMy getting there on day 1 was sheer luck (or fate?) as I had incorrectly set my alarm clock and having gone to bed very late my waking up at 7.30am was a blessing!

I arrived to the “Self Centre” a house in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, to be greeted warmly by Red Hummingbird, Skie’s partner.  I was excited, but nervous. I’d already cancelled receiving the rites a few months previously, but was to find this the perfect time to receive them. 

There were 3 other girls there on day one, we were told another would be arriving the following day to receive the second set of rites (although during my time there we had an all-female group, these rites are open to both males and females).  I walked into the living room where everyone was sitting on blankets in a semi circle around Skie and Red; in front of me lay a Munay-Ki booklet, a registration form and a rattle. 

First of all we opened Sacred Space, a ceremony that I found to be exciting and beautiful as energy began to surge through me; I felt as though I were taking part in something wild and extra-ordinary.  Instead of smudging the room with sage, Skie used a bottle of fiery liquid from Peru, which she held in her mouth briefly while she called in the spirit energies, and then spat a fine spray in the direction we were facing.  (Peruvian Agua de Florida.)  Skie had printed us a prayer for opening the sacred space:  we called the great serpent to the south, Mother Jaguar to the west, Hummingbird to the north, great Eagle to the south and Mother Earth and Father Sky.  We each took a bit of the drink while Skie intoned the prayer.

We were laughing and joking quite a bit during the ceremony, but there were also tears.  It is a very powerful ceremony.  What I hadn’t expected were messages from Spirit that came after we had received each rite -- these were deeply personal and touching.  We received the Harmony rites which were seven archetypes into our chakras, and had a fire ceremony to begin to grow the seeds that had been planted.  Next we received the Seer rites.  Again I felt peaceful energy.  The other women were already experiencing visions at this point.  Sadly that didn’t happen to me!  The first day ended peacefully, but that night I was energized and unable to sleep for several hours. 

The following day, the energies became extraordinarily powerful and deep beyond anything I’ve experienced before.  The fourth girl joined us and immediately put me at ease.  I had been unable to sleep much of the night before, and so began the day pretty tired.  However, as the day’s rites began, I had a feeling of powerful nurturing, of connecting to something so beautiful I felt it was an absolute privilege to be there.  We began with the Daykeepers rite.  We sat around, again in a semicircle, crushing herbs into a large bowl, while connecting with deep feminine energy.  Then Skie brought the bowl round and we each placed our hands in it, feeling a connection with wise and powerful medicine women throughout the ages; allowing ourselves to be female.  We then dowsed ourselves with the water and herb mixture.  My messages from this rite included a message that I needed to seek healing (Skie and Red were able to give me some healing but had been instructed by Spirit that I was to seek the rest.)  I was told I’d be given help to find my path, it was noted I’d wandered off it a fair bit up until that point!  I felt beautiful energy as Skie came round.  She placed her hands on my shoulders and then placed her forehead next to mine.  I felt held and blessed. The depth of both days was just out of this world, it was like being in the womb and being stripped back to my core, without the many facades I usually functioned behind. 

The Starkeepers rite was to anchor us to the energy of 2012 and the changes to come.  For this we lay down underneath blankets, while Skie passed us the rites and then drummed the energy into us.  She drummed around me and I felt a huge surge of powerful energy coursing through my whole body – the drumming felt incredible.  She had felt compelled to drum by me a fair bit and I felt taken back to a previous time.   By this time energy was still pulsing through me; I especially felt it in my crown chakra; it was almost as though I had taken drugs, the effect was almost palpable. 

For the final rite we sat in chairs, spaced quite far apart in the room, while Skie came around and delivered the rite.  She blew all 9 rites into a Pi stone, a stone that dates back to the Incas, which has a hole in the centre.  I felt such incredible, deep energy, I felt held, warm, loved and blessed.  Skie whispered my message to me and  it was exactly what I'd needed to hear.  I had a deep feeling of release. The word Munay means:  "I love you" or "be as thou art" and I certainly felt loved and accepted during my two days with Skie, Red and the other brilliant women in the group.

We performed the closing ceremony to close the sacred space.  I felt a bit lost when I got home; as though I had been part of something profoundly deep and beautiful and womblike, and suddenly it was back home and back to normal again!  But I’m so grateful I did this.  I felt like my path had now truly begun.  Thank you, amazing universe! (And Skie and Red!)  I had been given several messages which themselves were beautifully healing, and this and the ceremonies gave me a sense of trust in the universe, something I had been lacking for a while.

If this taught me anything it’s that the beautiful spiritual journeys and feelings I’ve been reading about for so long do very much exist.  There is so much beauty, joy and depth to the world, and it’s a world unseen and unknown by so many.  No wonder people turn to drugs, sex and alcohol.  We yearn for something intangible, perhaps a memory lingers of a time when we had a deeper, primal, connection. Our healing nowadays often consists of healing only physical symptoms without any deeper soul work that I believe is so necessary, not only for our survival but also for the health of communities, and therefore the planet. Learning that love and openness are our natural states of being, and that we must embrace life fully, not hide from it.  We're not here to accumulate masses of material wealth and hide behind our masks which our egos think we need, such as job title.  We need to come back to a nurturing love we’ve become cynical about; not eros love which our society has become so fixated upon, but to allow a gentle loving-kindness to permeate all that we do.  Through increasing our love for all life, we might connect with something more powerful and beautiful than we could ever give voice to.

Floral divider

If you would like to book either a Munay-Ki course or check out other events and healing sessions from Skie Humminbird, her website is here: 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

If you should own only one spiritual book...

...then get hold of this one! Peace Pilgrim, Her Life and Work in Her Own Words.  Peace Pilrim (1908 – 1981), or Mildred Lisette Norman, was a deeply inspirational woman who gave up all her possessions and began a pilgrimage, walking across American in the name of peace.

From the website
"I shall remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the ways of peace..." 
She walked more than 25,000 miles, carrying in her blue tunic her only possessions. She crossed America for nearly three decades, bearing the simplest of messages: This is the way of peace-overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.
Peace Pilgrim talked about peace among nations, between people, and the most important Inner Peace.
Penniless, walking with no organizational backing, Peace Pilgrim touched the lives and hearts of countless thousands of Americans. Some were charmed by her simple but cheerful presence; many others were profoundly inspired by her message and her remarkable lifestyle.
Mildred began her pilgrimage at the head of the 1953 Rose Parade in Pasadena. She walked ahead along the line of march, talking to people and handing her little peace leaflet to those interested. She later said,
" was the proper time for a pilgrim to step forth. The war in Korea was raging and the McCarthy era was at its height ....There was a great fear at that time and it was safest to be apathetic. Yes, it was most certainly a time for a pilgrim to step forward, because a pilgrim's job is to rouse people from apathy and make them think."(Peace Pilgrim, 1982, p.24)
She carried with her three peace petitions: one requesting immediate peace in Korea, one pleading for the establishment of a national Peace Department, and the third, directed to the U.N., seeking freedom for the world from the burden of armaments and, in its stead, the furthering of world prosperity. Signatures for these petitions that she and others collected were presented to the White House and the U.N. upon her arrival in the East Coast 11 months later.
She didn't stop there. She kept on walking, criss-crossing the United States six times, walking for the rest of her life."

"As I lived up to the highest light I had, higher and higher light came to me."

Inner Paths to Outer Space

Another book I'm reading about awakening experiences, is called Inner Paths to Outer Space.  It's interesting, outlandish, and rather wonderful.  Drawing upon different accounts from ingesting psychedelics such as DMT, Ayahuasca, and magic mushrooms and drawing upon shamanic experiences, the authors weave fantastical tales of connecting with the mystical.  One woman having taken DMT, recalls being watched by friendly beings, and recalls  this:

[...] 'At that point, it opened, and I was very much someplace else, being, dancing, with a star system.  I asked myself, "why am I am doing this to myself?" And there was "This is what you've always been searching for.  This is what all of you has always been searching for."

(image from

Reading about the Ayahuasca experiences and studies, it's becoming apparent just how important a book this is.  There is a great deal of respect for the sacred, the numinous, and how no-one should ever engage with a sacred medicine such as Ayahuasca, lightly (if you were thinking of ingesting for frivolous reasons, perhaps the account in the book of one person's alien abduction while under the influence of Ayahuasca might give you pause for thought.  People have reported many different types of experience after taking Ayahuasca, it can bring you beautiful experiences but also you may have to confront some painful ones along the way.  However, from most reports I've read or heard, of participating in an Ayahuasca tea-drinking ceremony, people seem intensely grateful to have had the experience and it can be literally life-changing).

People undertake experiences like this to find deeper meaning, a sense of touching the divine, or to bring healing into their lives.  As the author notes, in our increasingly fragmented and postmodern world, the need to find connection and meaning is increasingly important.  I also believe the need to touch the mysterious is important, to connect with the wild parts within ourselves that often get neglected in our increasingly materialistic world.  When we try to govern ourselves from a rational standpoint only, we often can fail to appreciate the depths within us that don't wish to conform simply because something appears to 'make sense'.  The journey the soul wishes to take might differ wildly from what our ego wants for us.  Using a sacred plants or meditating can offer us a way to find and connect with hidden parts of ourselves as well as offering a glimpse of communion with Divinity.  

Waking from Sleep

I’ve finished reading Waking From Sleep, and it’s a great book.  Presenting lots of different awakening experiences from all walks of life, Percy Bysse Shelley is quoted in there, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Henry David Thoreau, Jill Bolte-Taylor, are just some of the examples of people who have been able to see beyond the narrow world-view we are presented with, to have a deep insight into the richness and 'oneness' of everything.

The author, Stephen Taylor, describes two different common experiences, one, which he has abbreviated to the ISLE state, is an intensification and stillness of life energy.  As it suggests, this is a low key experience, often brought about through meditation or quiet periods of solitude.  His high intensity awakening experiences are the more volatile kind, such as with raising kundalini energy.

The author describes his own mild awakening experiences and the routes he took in order to facilitate them.  He explores different reasons for ‘waking up’ at the end of book, and discusses how it might benefit us from an evolutionary perspective.  And he quotes a native Sioux Indian.  ‘We believe that land and people are one.  We believe that only people with an integral relationship to the land can survive.’  And he notes that some contemporary indigenous peoples such as the U’wa people of Colombia or the Kaiowa of Brazil have threatened to commit collective suicide if their land is taken from them.  One Aboriginal elder said:  ‘unless whiteman learns to enter the dreaming of the countryside, the plants, and animals before he uses or eats them, he will become sick and insane and destroy himself’.

It does seem to me that in these times where we are so dependent upon materialism to the point where we’ve forgotten where we truly begin and end, where we place great value upon meaningless things and place self-interest above our fellow human being, that we are in urgent need of change.  There is a beautiful force at the heart of everything, of this I am sure.  And we do need to pursue ways in which to ‘wake up’ to become balanced again, remind ourselves of our place in this wonderful universe.