Category Archives: Shamanic Healing

Inquiry As A Tool For Transformation

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ForestLightIt’s been a combination of different things that have come up over the last couple of weeks that have reminded me of how powerful Inquiry is a Transformational Tool

One was a call from my shaman to open up and deepen into my inquiry of “What I am called to do in the world?”.  There are times when I feel clear on the answer to this question and at others more uncertain.  I view Life not as a linear path but more of an upward spiral. I find that as I grow and change, the answer to this questions shifts. Perhaps I am still moving toward to the deeper truth of “Who I am?”.  

One thing I have learned is that it is in being open and willing to the practice of asking questions and deep listening that our inner wisdom and guidance emerges.

Knowing oneself is a key to transformation and healing.

Using a process of inquiry is seen in many spiritual traditions and cultures around the globe as a way access a deeper truth.  There are many ways we can work with this. Some questions may be ones that we have answers to – that can help us to know ourselves more deeply and inform our healing process.  Others may be quintessential questions that we may never have the answers to; and yet, by being willing to practice asking and listening, we allow ourselves to enter into the unknown, to perhaps expand into a bigger truth than our rational mind allows and to open to possibilities that we have not yet imagined.

Many shaman or indigenous healers begin with a process of questions when someone comes for healing.  In my practice, I often use a combination of questions. Some come from the Bach Flower Essence System of Healing and others are more traditional questions that I’ve learned from my shamanic teachers.

I first learned the following four questions from one of my favorite teachers – anthropologist and author, Angeles Arrien.  (Check out this wonderful TedxTalk featuring Angeles Arrien from August 2013… The questions she shared, which she found were universal questions used in indigenous cultures around the world as part of a journey of healing include the following:

  1. When did you stop singing?
  2. When did you stop dancing?
  3. When did you stop being enchanted by story?
  4. When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?

Our responses to these questions can be indicators of when we lost our voices, disconnected from our ourselves and/or may have experienced soul loss in some way.

Exploring them can also be a way to come back to ourselves!  

Asking questions also helps to bring us more fully into the present moment and opens a doorway for expanding our conscious awareness of who we are and how we are experiencing life.

Be curious! Ask, explore and listen for your inner wisdom to emerge!


Discover The Healer Within

 

If you feel you’d like some personal support in exploring Inquiry as a Tool for Transformation or in your Journey of Healing, I am available for one-on-one Integrative Shamanic Healing sessions by Phone/Skype or at my office in Annapolis, MD.  

Schedule a complimentary phone or Skype consultation today to explore what’s possible. Schedule Now…

Now is the perfect time to honor our ancestors and ourselves!

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There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, 
which through the summer is not heard or seen, 
as if it could not be, as if it had not been! 
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Each season moves us through a period of transformation.  It is always beneficial to harmonize with the energy of nature and the season. And, as autumn and spring tend to be the times of more intense change, it can be especially beneficial to take time to connect. Traditionally, autumn is celebrated as the harvest season.  It is the time to allow our bodies to harvest and gather energy for the colder months ahead. As the yang/outer energy of summer gives into the growing yin/inner energy of the approaching winter, there is strong contraction of energy occurring.

In Chinese Medicine, the organs most active in this season are those of the Metal element – Lung and Large Intestine, both of which have strong functions of absorption and elimination.  With the Lungs this has to do with respiration and with the Large Intestines it has to do with digestion.  It is a natural time for gathering and letting go. Also, it is a time for us to nurture ourselves.

The emotions associated with this season are grief and loss and it is not uncommon to experience a lot of sadness bubbling up this time of year. By moving into harmony with what is natural arising in our being and nurturing these parts of ourselves, we can support ourselves in creating greater balance, joy and ease of well-being.  We can also create a strong foundation for moving into the stillness of winter – one that can support body, mind, emotional and spirit.

In many cultures around the world, Autumn is seen as a time when our thoughts turn to those who have left us; we think about our ancestors and their legacy – what has been left behind.  It said that the “veils” are thinner this time of year and that our ancestors often come home to visit their loved ones or “kin”.  This may come through memories, dreams or other surprise visits, too.   Often this “remembrance” arises naturally as our feelings of sadness, loss and grief come to the surface.

Autumn offers us a powerful time to honor our ancestors through ceremony & ritual. This can be for the gifts we have received and also for what we might like to let go of. It is a good time to allow ourselves to release feelings of loss and grief, limiting beliefs and/or patterns that are no longer serving us.  Sometimes we have a need to come to greater completion with our ancestors or loved ones or even to honor our own life experiences. Perhaps there are ancestral patterns such as addiction, abuse, shame or isolation that it’s time for us to let go of for ourselves and future generations.

Ceremony and ritual can be a potent vehicle for finding connection, honoring transitions and letting go.  It is something that is part of many cultures and that is a bit lost in our modern culture today unless we choose to create space for it in our lives, our families and our communities.  Learn more about Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual…

Suggestions for this season:

  • Take some time to think of your ancestors. Are there any memories surfacing or visitors in your dreams?
  • Is there someone who has passed that you need to work with to move to a place of greater peace in your life?  
  • Are there are feelings of loss or grief that you need to share or honor that are unresolved?  
  • Is there is a pattern or limiting belief that you have become aware of in your ancestral lineage that it might be time to work toward transforming?  
  • What might you do to honor your ancestors and yourself this autumn?
Now it the perfect time to do this type of soul work. Take some time to reflect. Simply connecting and asking your ancestors for help is a place to begin. And, consider taking some time to create your own ceremony or ritual to honor your both ancestors and yourself!

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Come Explore!

If you would like to explore this type of sacred soul work in community, I invite you to join me on Saturday, October 29th in Annapolis, Maryland for Letting Go, Embodying Life: Honoring Our Ancestors & Ourselves ~ A Shamanic Journey Workshop for Autumn. It’s going to be a day full of rich exploration and connection.  Learn more or register at https://lettinggoembodyinglifeworkshopoct2016.eventbrite.com.

If you are not local to the MD/DC/VA area and would like to explore Letting Go, Embodying Life: Honoring Our Ancestors & Ourselves this season, I am available to support you in exploring your own sacred soul work and creating your own ceremony and ritual through One-on-One Shamanic Healing Sessions via Phone or Skype. Visit http://www.bethterrence.com to learn more or schedule a complimentary consultation today.

Join Me For A Heroine’s Journey…

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I am excited to be a part of my friend and Purpose/Success Coach Stacey Curnow’s upcoming online event. The Path to Your Purpose: A 10-Part Mastery Series Based on The Heroine’s Journey is a completely FREE online event happening from May 9th – May 20th.

In his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell first communicated the idea that heroes in most mythological adventures follow a sort of formula represented in these rites of passage: separation–initiation—return. Think Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz, or any great story that has stood the test of time.

Stacey has adapted the traditional Hero’s Journey to support our modern day Heroine’s.  She has interviewed 10 amazing women to help you navigate your life and your purpose. And, I’m delighted to share that I’m one of the 10 speakers.

Here is just a small sample of what you’ll discover:

  • What does it mean to be on a heroine’s journey? What is the arc?
  • As the heroine on your own journey, what do you absolutely need to know?
  • How does the journey turn hardship into insightful periods of inquiry and massive personal growth?
  • The barriers that prevent you from receiving the gifts the journey has to offer and how to overcome them.

The dates are May 9th through May 20th, 2016 and you have a full 24 hours to access each interview and listen at your convenience! You can find out more and register by clicking here.

I hope you’ll join me for this adventure!

Love & light,

Beth

P.S.  In addition to the 10 segments on the Heroine’s Journey, each speaker will be sharing a bonus offer.  There will be lots of great resources; and I am excited to be sharing a free Guided Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey audio recording for you to explore

To find out more and register for FREE, click here.

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out Virtual Writing Retreat Part II Starts on 4/18!

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Spring has appeared to begin with fits and starts this year here in Maryland.  We just had a bit of snow this past weekend! Now, it’s beautiful and sunny in the 50’s and we’re headed to 70 deg. on Sunday.  I’m not sure if that’s why the Virtual Writing Retreat also had some fits and starts; initially, it was my intention to go straight through but it turns out, we’ve have had a Part I and now it’s time to explore Part II.

I actually found that taking the time to tune in and reflect on Part I’s explorations, looking at body, mind, emotion and spirit, helped me to create a foundation for some of things I have a deep desire to plant seeds for in my life and begin to cultivate this Spring.  And, it took a few weeks of exploration in that way for me to feel the call for a full on “Spring Cleaning”.  I’m in the process of doing that now and it feels good to focus on my physical space as well as personal space.  There is such a powerful interrelationship with our inner and outer spaces.  We’ll take some time to explore this in Part II of this series, which will run from April 18th to 21st.  Stay tuned!

Here is a summary of the posts from Part I if you are just joining in or if you’d like to re-explore them:

Day 1 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Body

Day 2 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Mind

Day 3 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Emotions

Day 4 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Spiritual

If you have any reflections from Part I, feel free to share them in the comments below.

Looking forward to exploring more starting on Monday, April 18th!


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Spring Cleaning Inside & Out Virtual Writing Retreat Day 4 ~ Spiritual

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We’ve been looking at Spring Cleaning through a holistic framework – one that addresses body, mind, emotion and spirit.  Today, we’ll focus on the spiritual aspects of ourselves to see what we might like to shift or change as we harmonize with the energy of Spring.  Spring is a particularly good time to harmonize with the natural world.  With the warmer weather and longer days, it often seems like we are more easily drawn outdoors and with so many things beginning to bud and bloom, it is natural that our attention is on the natural world that we are a part of.

Let’s take a look at what an imbalance in the Wood element might look like on the spiritual level:

  • Lack of enthusiasm for life
  • Feeling disconnected from Nature
  • Lack of sense of spiritual connection
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Missing a sense of soul purpose

I feel like this really represents something I consider to be one of the greatest diseases of our time – DISCONNECTION.  From the shamanic viewpoint and other spiritual traditions, it is understood that everything is interconnected through what we call the “web of life”.  As humans, we often tend to see or feel ourselves as separate.  This often starts with the natural world, but continue with our sense of connection to spirit, to community and ultimately to our own selves.

Spring can be a wonderful time to tune in and reconnect.   I hope you’ll take some time to explore how you can create greater connection in all areas of your life.  Here are some questions to write and reflect on for today:

  • Do you feel connected to your own inner voice?
  • Do you spend quiet time just “being”?
  • Are you able to feel a sense of oneness?
  • Do you feel a connection to Spiritual Source? God? Spiritual Community? Nature?
  • Do you know what Spirituality means for you?  
  • Is there something that your need to resolve or let go of that affects your ability to connect on a spiritual level?
  • Do you have a sense of your soul purpose?  Make a list of things you love most and explore what that might be.

Make a list of 3 – 5 things you can do to support yourself spiritually.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Find a spiritual practice that suits you (be curious and explore!)  
  • Attend a spiritual service or community.  
  • Connect with nature.  
  • Create time and space to meditate.  
  • Find a creative activity that allows you to express yourself more freely.  
  • Awaken your inner self – explore what ignites your own inner spark.

Happy explorations!

See you tomorrow!

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat Day 3 ~ Emotions

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Day 3

So far in our Spring Cleaning Virtual Writing Retreat, we’ve explored body and mind. Today we’re going to take some time to explore our emotional body and how we can support it at this time of year and beyond.

We’ve been exploring the Wood Element, which according to Chinese Medicine is most active in Spring.  Let’s look at the some of the indicators of a Wood imbalance on the emotional level:

  • Anger
  • Shouting
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • “Stuffing” feelings
  • Control issues
  • Feelings of overwhelm
  • Sense of separateness

Take some time today to write and reflect on the following questions:

  • Are you in touch with your emotions?
  • Are you able to express your feelings appropriately?
  • Do you allow your self to experience a full range of feelings – anger and sorrow, love and happiness, etc?
  • Are you able to develop close and intimate relationships? 
  • Are there feelings your holding onto that it might be time to let go or work on releasing?

List 3 – 5 things that you can do to support emotional well-being.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Keep a daily journal list of your feelings
  • Share you feelings with a good friend or family member whom you feel safe with
  • Seek out a therapist, counselor, shaman or other guide if you need support in getting in touch with your feelings
  • Join a support group – there are many kinds available and sometimes it helps to connect with others dealing with similar challenges as you are
  • Move your body – dance, exercise, etc. are great ways to allow your emotions space to move through (talking in not the only way!)
  • Make a list in your journal of ways you can connect with and express your emotions and keep adding to it.

Have a  beautiful day!

See you tomorrow!

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat Day 2 ~ Mind

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Day 2

Today, we’ll take a look at our minds.  In the Day 1 post, we explored a bit about the Wood Element, which is most active in Spring.  Here are some indicators of a Wood element on the level of mind:

  • Poor Judgement
  • Disorganization
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Control issues
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Lack of clarity
  • Unable to focus

One thing I’ve noticed it that even if someone doesn’t have a Wood imbalance in general, it is somewhat common for people to experience these types of symptoms as we transition from Winter into Spring.  And, giving some time and attention to our minds, is a good way to bring about balance in this area.

Here are some questions to help you explore for today:

  • Can you think and express yourself clearly?
  • Are you intellectually satisfied?
  • Does your belief system support you?  
  • What are the beliefs you are holding on to which are limited or no longer serve you?
  • Do you believe in yourself?
  • Are you able to focus?
  • Can you relax your mind easily? 

Today, pay attention to your thoughts.  Look for recurring patterns to see which ones support your well-being and which ones may limit your satisfaction and fulfillment in life.  Be open to creating new ideas and beliefs that will support your growth.  Writing and journaling are great ways to explore our beliefs and begin to explore and release thoughts, which may no longer serve us.  You may wish to create a list of limiting beliefs and adding to it as you notice them, so that you can begin to work on letting them go.  Awareness is a first step toward transformation.

Make a list of 3 – 5 things you can do to support your mental well-being.  And, keep adding to this list as you learn more about yourself.

Also, be sure to celebrate your mind. Give yourself recognition for your own intelligence, talents and abilities!

See you tomorrow!

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat Day 1 ~ Body

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As each season arrives, we move through a period of change and transition.  This can be seen easily in  changes of the natural world all around us but it is also something that is going within us on many levels.  By taking some time to harmonize with the energy of each season, we gain an opportunity to look at the patterns in our own lives with a deeper perspective and insight.  And, we can be supported by the energies that are most active during the current time of year.

As Spring sets in, the days begin to get longer giving us more light.  We can begin to observe new growth in the natural world ~ shoots break through the previously frozen ground and buds pop up on plants and trees almost miraculously, all in preparation for the big Spring Bloom.  Spring is the truly a season of new growth and transformation. With all this happening, we may feel our own energy is expanding, flowing and blossoming with new ideas, too!

This makes Spring a wonderful time to reflect, refresh and renew.  It is a time for new beginnings and offers us a time to tune into our whole self – body, mind, emotion and spirit.  It’s also a great time to review and update our self-care plans as well as explore what might support our well-being during this transitional time and beyond.

I am excited to be sharing this Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat with the HOA community.  I’ve started to offer a number of virtual writing retreats throughout the year as a way to tune in through writing and reflection; and to support transformation and healing in ourselves, our relationships and our world.  I invite you take some time to explore as you feel called to.  It’s not always easy to take time off for a retreat, however it is something we can always create for ourselves in our own way.

I just finished my early Spring Cleanse last, a nine day fast of juicing and master cleanser, which I find helps me to detoxify and recalibrate my system.  It may seem like a fast is focused on the physical, but it is actually a way to clear ourselves on many levels.  I was amazed out how much more spaciousness I found in my mind and how many emotions were moving through during that time.  We often tend to think of spring cleaning in terms of the physical – our bodies, our houses, etc.  However, this is a perfect time to really look as all aspects of ourselves inside and out.

Each day for the next seven days, I’ll be offering a reflection and a prompt for you to explore how you can work with the energy of Spring to support transformation and healing in all areas of your life.  We’ll be looking at body, mind, emotion, spirit and space – inner, outer and sacred.  Come Explore!


 

Day 1

Spring is a great time to look at your life and make a new self-care plan.  Take some time this Spring to look at how you care for yourself, consider where you may be out of balance and where you need to give greater attention to support your overall health and well-being.  Consider what you may need to let go of and what you might like to create in your life – this is what Spring Cleaning Inside and Out is all about!

According to Chinese Medicine, Spring is the season of the Wood Element.  The organs most active are Liver and Gall Bladder.  The color is Green.  So, this makes Spring an ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation of our overall health and well-being.

A person with a balanced Wood Element would experience much of the following:

  • Sense of Connectedness to Nature
  • Clarity
  • Organization
  • Energized
  • Ability & Capacity for Control
  • Spiritual Connection
  • Enthusiasm
  • Healthy Expression of Emotions, especially Anger,
  • Mentally Relaxed
  • Creative

Wood element imbalances may be experienced in a variety of ways.  Let’s take a look at the physical today.  These many include:

  • Spinal Problems
  • Poor Flexibility
  • Headaches
  • Poor Resistance to Illness
  • Allergic Sensitivities
  • Skin Problems
  • Irritated, watery eyes
  • Muscle Fatigue and weakness

Whether or not you notice that you have some type of Wood imbalance or not, now is a good time to reflect on your physical well-being.  Take some time to reflect on the following questions:

  • Are you physically healthy and active?
  • Do you feel comfortable in you body?  
  • Do you have health issues that limit your life?
  • Are you eating a diet that supports you where you are and where you want to be?
  • Are there certain things it might be time to let go of from your diet that you are aware aren’t healthy for your body?

Take some time to write and to explore how you might change this area of your life.

Here are some suggestions to explore:

  • Begin to develop your own program to keep you body fit and healthy (this may involve trying different things to see what works – be creative!)
  • Take a walk for 15 to 20 minutes daily.  
  • Try a yoga or tai chi class.  
  • Eat a balanced diet (explore and discover what diet best supports you today!)
  • Listen to the messages that your body is sending to you.  
  • Go for a massage.  
  • Drink plenty of water.  
  • Fast or cleanse to detoxify and rejuvenate your body.  
  • See appropriate health care practitioners or get supports as needed.

Make a list of 3 – 5 things you can do to support your physical well-being.  And, keep adding to this list as you learn more about yourself.

I hope you’ll take some time today to write, reflect and explore a whole new you!

As always, you are welcome to share reflections and thoughts in the comments below.

See you tomorrow!

 

 

Winter Solstice Meditation & Message

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For those of you on my email list, I shared a Winter Solstice Message & Meditation yesterday.  And, tonight I led a Solstice Ceremony & Meditation in Annapolis.  This is one of my favorite times of year and as we approach the Solstice at 11:49 PM ET here, I wanted to share this message with the Heart of Awakening community, too!

Many blessings to you for love, light and peace on this Solstice!

Beth


 

The Solstice is a powerful time of transformation ~ one in which we can connect more deeply our natural world and to the true essence of who we are.  I am sharing with you an audio meditation and message for this Winter Solstice time. You might like to listen to it at the time of Solstice or sometime in the day before or after.  Click here to lookup what time the Solstice is in your area.

Listen to Beth’s Winter Solstice Message & Meditation…

I hope you will take some time to tune and celebrate the Solstice energy wherever you are.  I often share that I believe that one of the greatest diseases of our time is DISCONNECTION.  As we take time to harmonize with the energies of nature and with our own deeper essence, we are able to experience connection and harmony in our lives, our relationships and our world.  This may be something you wish to do on your own or in community.  You can use this meditation or there are many ways to create your own ceremony or ritual – it’s good to be creative and explore what resonates with you.

Read my post on Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual to get some ideas for creating your own Solstice Ceremony or other ways to incorporate ceremony and ritual into your daily life.

Upcoming Events

January 1 – 30 ~ Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams 30 Day Writing Program (Virtual)
1st Sundays ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Telelcass (Virtual)
2016 Dates TBA ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Process Group in Annapolis, MD (Local)
May 1 – 31 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: 31 Days of Loving-kindness Meditaton & Practice (Virtual)

June 2016 ~ Discover The Healer Within 4-Session Virtual Program

For details and registration information on events, visit http://www.bethterrence.com/Events.html 
or Sign Up my for Discover The Healer Within E-News to get updates on events, articles and special offers.

Join Me For A Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Teleclass Group on 6/27

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Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey
Monthly Teleclass Group

Saturday, June 27th at 11 AM ET

  • Do you feel stuck in certain areas of your life?
  • Do you feel that you keep repeating the same patterns again and again?
  • Are you struggling to find your life direction or soul purpose?
  • Do you want to feel greater joy and well-beng in your life?
  • Are you ready to discover the healer within?

Join us monthly to explore connecting with your inner wisdom through the Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Process developed by Shaman Ross Bishop.  This powerful tool will open the gateway to self-healing on a deep level.  

You will begin a process of uncovering and transforming limiting patterns, feelings and beliefs, which keep you from moving more fully into the truth of who you are.  This time will support creating a foundation to move into greater love and compassion for your self and all beings.  

Cost: $25 per session*

*Registration will offer access to the live teleclass as well as an audio replay. 

For additional information, contact Beth at beth@bethterrence.com or call 443-223-0848.

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Poem Of The Week: Some Days By Beth Terrence

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Salmon

I was feeling to include some original poems in the Poem Of The Week post and had one in mind for this week but as I sat down, I saw Lessons From Salmon in the Top Posts.  It is consistently one of the most visited posts on The Heart Of  Awakening Blog and it features a poem I wrote many years ago that was the inspiration for the post.  Here’s the poem:

Some days
I flow with the river
Surging
Like a rainbow trout
Others days I thrash and flail
Like a salmon
Desperately trying to get back upstream
Not even knowing what I struggle for

I learned a lot about life and struggle since I wrote that poem close to 20 years ago.  You can read more about those explorations as well as some of the messages Salmon can bring as an Animal Totem in Lessons From Salmon: A New View On Struggle.  There is also a followup poem I wrote at the end of that post.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections and any insights on struggle you may wish to share.  Have a beautiful day.

 

Seeking the Shaman Within: An Interview with Beth Terrence

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I wanted to share an interview done by my good friend and colleague Herbalist/Health Educator Leigh Glenn about my path as a shaman and healer. Leigh and I live local to each other in the Annapolis, MD area and had a mutual friend suggest that we meet, but it was actually through our blogs that we connected in the Spring of 2012. I just love that! Since then we have explored together in many ways.

Leigh and I will be offering a workshop on Saturday, July 27th in Annapolis on Living From The Heart From Cholesterol To Consciousness. This workshop focuses on the heart as guide. Through education and experiential practices, we will explore living a deeply heart-centered life through accessing the heart holistically – on the level of body, mind, emotion and spirit. To Register or learn more, visit http://livingfromtheheartworkshop.eventbrite.com.  I hope you enjoy Leigh’s post and be sure to explore her site, Art of Earth, which offers lots of great information and insights on herbs, health & wellness, plant spirit medicine, sustainable living and more.

Art of Earth

My first personal encounter with shamanic practices came in 2007, in an appropriate-to-our-times trio of CDs recorded by therapist and shamanic practitioner Sandra Ingerman. It was entitled, The Soul Retrieval Journey: Seeing in the Dark.IngermanSoulRetrieval

As Ingerman defined it, “Shamanism is the first spiritual practice of human kind,” dating back at least 30,000 years. Shamanic practices are cross-cultural, with variants used in Siberia, Australia, Africa, North and South America, and parts of Europe and Asia.

The word “shaman” comes from Tungus, a Siberian tribe (today called the Evenki), and it translate as “one who sees in the dark.” That phrase resonates as shamanic work often involves going into the depths of what we don’t see in our everyday, conscious lives and bringing ideas, revelations, and more nuanced views of old experiences into our consciousness so that we can grow our awareness of ourselves.

Fast-forward to 2011. I’d heard about…

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Animal Totems & Archetypes, Part II

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“A human being is part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole [of] nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

Bear Drum

You may have noticed by now two themes that come up on The Heart of Awakening Blog are Animal Totems and Archetypes.  Until recently, I have not done too much exploration in the similarities and relationships of the two.  In January, I met Janet Roper of Talk2TheAnimals, an animal communicator, advocate and host of Talk2TheAnimals Radio.  Through our conversation, the idea to explore this topic arose.  I wrote my first guest blog post for Talk2TheAnimals last week and will be joining her tonight at 8 PM EST on Blog Talk Radio.  The topic was Animal Totems & Archetypes: A Shaman’s World.  You might like to drop by and read that post, as this one continues from that exploration.

Lascaux+Cave In many cultures around the world, Animal Totems or Power Animals are a way to connect with the  wisdom of animals and the natural world.  This can be seen in artwork such as cave paintings, jewelry, and statues as well as many legends and stories.  Animal wisdom helps us connect to our innate being and to access our inner wisdom and strength.  In earlier times, there was no sense of separation between human and animal and it was understood that we were connected to animals and to all of creation through the web of life.

Shamanic traditions carry this awareness forward and offer a way to bridge the separation we have created through our modern world.  If we just look at the treatment of animals in our world today, it is evident that we are most often moving from a place of disconnection.  Working with Animal Totems offers an opportunity to reconnect with our place in the natural world and to access a spiritual connection that can help to guide us into a more balanced way of being.  At this time in our evolution, this is something that is much-needed as evidenced by the chaos, turmoil and toxicity of our world.

There are a number of ways to connect with an Animal Totem.  Sometimes a shaman will do an animal totem retrieval for a person or an animal will come as part of a soul retrieval process.  Also, one might be guided in a shamanic journey or facilitate their own journey in which they connect with a power animal.  Traditionally, animal totems come when one takes a vision quest, a ceremony to find spiritual guidance and deep understanding of one’s life purpose.  Also, power animals may likely be ones that repetitively appear in our lives and that we feel a strong sense of connection to.

There is so much to be learned if we are observant and aware of the natural world around us.  Animals can speak to us in so many ways.  Often by observing their behavior or actions, we can receive guidance.  Connecting with an animal totem helps us to connect with nature and to access aspects of ourselves, which may be lacking or hidden.  They can help us to find our strengths and qualities that can bring us into a place of wholeness and greater peace.

For a few years, I had the privilege of serving as shaman and holistic practitioner at a residential holistic addictions treatment program.  One of the main tools I used in our shamanic healing group was a power animal journey.  It was always amazing to see what animals came and how easily clients were able to reconnect with lost aspects of themselves, finding new strength by connecting with their totem animals.  The sense of protection and support that came from this connection was so beneficial for clients, especially in early recovery when their sense of self and the possibility of change was quite limited.

One client found himself encountering an alligator, which was actually an experience he had when he was a teenager.  He was amazed that this animal came to him in the journey and he was able to reclaim a part of himself that he felt was long-lost.  This is a great example of how an animal that is present in our lives may be a totem animal and yet, the beauty of the journey is that we never really know who will show up.  This is where the magic lies!

Archetype&TotemPsychologist Carl Jung defined an archetype as “a universal and recurring image, pattern, or motif representing a typical human experience.”  In a sense, archetypes are an encoded energetic structure that lies within our unconscious but may be accessed as a tool for transformation and healing.  It is relatively modern phenomenon that archetypes have been labeled or identified and yet, just as with animal totems, they have been present in many cultures through artwork, stories and mythology since recorded history began.  Another way they have shown up is in the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck, which can be a great way to explore these patterns.  Archetypes tend to have a human or sometimes divine form.

Based on our personal life experiences and even, our astrological charts, we may hold the pattern of certain archetypes more strongly than others.  We may also have work to do with a certain archetypal pattern during our current lifetime.  Examples of this include the Victim, Hero, Divine Child, Visionary, etc.  Also, archetypes are collective and may be held in common by a social group or culture.  As we consciously work with archetypes, they have a vitalizing power and help us to access more of our potential, supporting our soul purpose and empowering our universal experience.

As we consider power animals in relation to archetypes, we can see that both serve similarly in helping us to access deeper aspects of ourselves and provide symbols to guide us.  They may connect to us personally or culturally as in a tribe that has a certain animal as its totem or a certain mythology that is present.  As we connect with our animal totems, they reflect to us own innate qualities and help us to better understand our connection to the web of life and the natural world.  Perhaps this differs from archetypes, which seem to have more to do with our human or spiritual connections rather than the natural world.  Clearly, both animal totems and archetypes can serve as spiritual and energetic symbols that convey wisdom, understanding and a treasure map for life on earth.

All of this is just the beginning of an exploration on the subject of Animal Totems and Archetypes.  I see many similarities and some differences to consider.  I look forward to exploring this more in coming posts and dialogues.  From my shamanic perspective both serve as spiritual resources for awakening consciousness through accessing energies and qualities that are inherent in our nature and yet, often remain dormant until a conscious connection emerges.  When accessed, these gifts of spirit can provide a path to greater personal awareness and understanding as well as a gateway into our collective consciousness.

A major intention on The Heart Of Awakening Blog is to help to uncover our authenticity and truth as we explore embodying the big picture in daily life.  I view this as a key to creating change in our own selves and in the world.  By coming from a place of connection and wholeness, anything is possible.  I find actively working with animal totems and archetypes to be a powerful part of creating wholeness and living the big picture in daily life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, insights and reflections on this subject.

Listen to my conversation with Janet Roper, host of Talk2TheAnimals Radi on Animal Totems & Archetypes.  Here is a link to the replay:

hear

Are you looking for a speaker, radio show guest, or someone to write a guest post on your blog?  I’d love to explore with you!  Feel free to contact me through my website, www.bethterrence.com.

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Discover The Healer Within Teleseminar Series Starts of Monday, February 18th

Join us for an exploration in discovering the healer within.  Everyone has the potential within them to become their own agent of change.  This 4 part series will focus on experiential tools and techniques that support cultivating the healer within and stepping forward in one’s own process of transformation.  Some of the tools that will be explored include shamanic healing, meditation, energy awareness practices, self-reflection, journaling and connecting with the heart as a gateway for healing.  See below for specific dates and topics:

Part I: Connecting With Our Sacred Space – Monday, February 18th at 12 PM EST

Part II: Energy Awareness Tools & Techniques – Thursday, February 21st at 7:30 PM EST

Part III: Transforming Limiting Patterns & Beliefs – Monday, February 25th at 12 PM EST

Part IV: Reclaiming Our Essence – Thursday, February 28th at 7:30 PM EST

Preparation: Participants will want to be in a comfortable and quiet place as we explore together, somewhere that you can be sitting and/or lying down.  You may wish to have a journal on hand as there will be some writing exercises and time for reflection.

This is a free event.  Registrants will have access to all parts of this series and links to replays.  Call in phone number and instructions will be sent prior to the event.

For additional information, visit www.bethterrence.com.

Celebrating 10,000 Views On The Heart Of Awakening Blog

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thank you languages

It may seem like a small milestone to some but it’s an exciting one for me.  Last night, we passed 10,000 views.  I am so thrilled to see The Heart Of Awakening Blog Community growing and learning together.  It was my birthday on Wednesday, 1/23, and one of the things I have begun to share here already is that I intend this year to be a year of CELEBRATION!  So it feels fitting to celebrate here on The Heart Of Awakening and most of all, to celebrate everyone who has journeyed with us over the past 10 months.  I am so grateful for the community that has emerged and the connections that have been made.  I am amazed to see people visiting each day from all over the world.  Visitors from such places as Denmark, Chile, Japan, Australia, Italy, Mozambique, Pakistan, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka are a few that have visited in the last week.

Curiously, are some of the key words that come up in searches most regularly.  The most popular include:

Soham mantra ~ soham breathing ~ soham meditation ~ bach flower remedies ~ transformation~ salmon power animal ~ breath connection ~ metta meditation, ~ power of intention ~ animal spirit medicine ~ prayer for a new day ~ the heart of awakening

I have been so fascinated by the popularity of the Soham mantra meditation that I plan to do a follow-up post soon.  I, personally, find it to be one of the most simple and profound practices available to us.  It is wonderful for any beginning meditator as well as an experienced practitioner.  Stay tuned for a new post on this topic soon.

The following are the 10 most popular posts on The Heart Of Awakening Blog:

Soham Mantra Meditation: Breathing, Connecting, Being

Day 2 of May is for Metta 2012: Loving-kindness Practice For Oneself

Lessons From A Salmon: A New View On Struggle

7 Ways To Cultivate Love And Compassion For Yourself

Bach Flower Remedies: A Tool For Transformation

Grounding In A Rapidly Changing World

Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual

Exploring Metta Meditation

Visionary Voices: Dr. Edward Bach

Shamanic Healing: A Journey Of Reconnection

Although folks tend to land on a specific post, May Is For Metta is actually a 31 Day Guided Practice of Loving-kindness Meditation which occurred here in May of 2012 and other sites previously.  I am so happy this is here as a resource for people to explore this wonderful practice and to support cultivating a daily meditation practice.  I am planning to do additional daily guided meditation programs here in 2013.  There is a page dedicated to May Is For Metta which summaries the practice and has links to all of the daily posts for anyone who wishes to explore this as their own guided process.

Most of all, I celebrate and thank everyone who has journeyed here and explored the path of the heart as a gateway for awakening and creating a new paradigm for our world – one based on Love, Compassion, Acceptance, Collaboration and Unity.

If you have a favorite post or if there is anything you’d like to see more of this year and would like to drop a note, I’d love to hear from you.  I am so looking forward to exploring in new and beautiful ways in 2013.

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin… All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today.

Love & light,

Beth

Reflections Of A Wounded Healer: From Victim To Visionary – Heal My Voice Radio Show

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“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
– Kahlil Gibran 

Bear Drum

Yesterday, I joined host, Andrea Hylen, on Heal My Voice Radio.  Continuing on the theme of my recent post Reflections Of A Wounded Healer: Finding Light In The Darkness, I share some of my own experiences of walking the path of the Wounded Healer and how having a willingness to journey in our most painful places can become the catalyst for a new life.  For me, this was a life that I never imagined was possible due to my childhood experiences growing up with a mentally ill parent.  It is said that as the Wounded Healer heals, there is an opportunity to become a healer, teacher and guide.  In a wonderful dialogue with Andrea, I share how this journey unfolded for me to step forth as a shaman, becoming a guide for others to embrace their dark places to find the healer within.

I have found that sharing my story and being open and authentic is one of the most powerful catalysts for healing and transformation.  Often, we want to leave our stories behind or just “get over it” and although we don’t want to continue to live out our stories, there is much wisdom, healing and “medicine” that can be found there.  Our life experiences are here to teach us and guide us in our soul’s evolution.  As we are willing to journey into those experiences, no matter how painful they may be, we have the opportunity to heal those places and to find the blessings held therein.  In a sense, this is a type of soul retrieval as we are reclaiming a part of ourselves that we have lost or disconnected from in some way.  Often our desire to move forward and leave that part of us or the pain behind, actually becomes an obstacle to our growth, healing and to living a joyful life.  When we consciously attend to the past, with all its sorrows and joys, we move into a place of greater alignment, which allows us to be more awake, alive and available to the present moment.

Listen to Reflections Of A Wounded Healer: From Victim To Visionary on Heal My Voice Radio

Reflections Of A Wounded Healer: Finding Light In The Darkness

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“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” – Rumi

LightofBeing

I just finished reading a book called The Lost Prince, by Selden Edwards.   It is a beautifully woven tale of that explores the edges of free-will and determinism, sanity and insanity, and collective and individual consciousness.   The theme of archetypes is very present in the tale and Carl Jung is actually a character in this masterfully told historical novel.  Archetypes are something I think about quite often.  The term “archetype” originates from the ancient Greek root words archein, meaning “original or old” and typos, meaning “pattern, model or type”.  The combined meaning is an “original pattern”.

Psychologist Carl Gustav Jung used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche.  He believed that universal, mythic characters or archetypes reside within the collective unconscious of all people.  These patterns, once awakened, have the potential to mold and transform the individual consciousness, shaping our human behavior.  He felt that these archetypes represent fundamental patterns that developed along with the evolution of human experiences. This is why we often see certain recurrent themes cross-culturally in our mythological stories, folklore and spiritual traditions.

According to Jung, all of us inherit the same archetypes, the same invisible patterns or motifs.  These patterns are built into the structure of our psyche, similar to emotions, but they manifest through our particular personal and cultural experiences.  Some examples of archetypes include the Hero, the Divine Child, and the Great Mother.  Jung considered four archetypes as the most important – the Shadow, Anima/Animus, Wise Old Man/Wise Woman, and the Self.  Although we can go through our lives without conscious awareness of these archetypes, it is often when we access them in a conscious way that deep transformation and healing can occur.  Archetypes offer a context for our human experience and help us to connect to the sense of awe, wonder and curiosity that we so often lose in our modern world and in the busyness of our daily lives.

Here is a short clip with one of my favorite visionary teachers, Angeles Arrien, sharing on Archetypal Forms and Functions:

In my journey as a shaman and healer, I have found that working with these mythic themes creates a powerful context for understanding life and patterns of consciousness.  One of the main reasons is that archetypes can be viewed from both the psychic and material perspective, affecting both our inner and outer realities.  This is very much in line with the realm of shamanism – walking between worlds, bridging the seen and unseen, living in sacred space in each and every moment.  As we become able to stay conscious of the unseen and move about in the world from that place of awareness, the door for new possibilities can emerge.

The archetype I have probably felt the most connected to in my life is that of the Wounded Healer.  This is not uncommon for someone in a healing or helping profession.  I have found that it is my personal journey of healing and transformation that has been the driving force in my life and ultimately, in my work with others and the world.  Perhaps the severity of some of my life experiences, one of which included growing up with a mentally ill parent, was so strong a catalyst that I had no choice for this to be my path.  Had I not chosen to dedicate my life to the work of healing, I may not have found my way out of the darkness that I witnessed at a young age.  And yet, at this point, I feel clear that I did not choose the path, it is the path that chose me.

Over the past eight months I have been participating in a writing project entitled Heal My Voice.   The mission of Heal My Voice is to empower women and girls to heal grief, loss, and trauma, and reclaim their inner authority, so they can discover and use their leadership skills in their homes, communities, and the world, by developing collaborative projects that encourage leadership, community building, and the reclaiming of each woman’s voice.  A major part of this process is birthing a story we wish to share with the world, which will be published in a collection of stories from our group.  It has been an honor and a joy to participate with such a powerful and courageous group of women on this path of exploration.

The journey has been a very cathartic one, even more so than I had imagined before we began.  Going into the process I held the intention of writing a story about how my childhood experiences of growing up with a mentally ill parent were the catalyst for my becoming a shaman.  I really had no idea how deep I would need to go to tell that tale.  It is a story I have wanted to share for some time, one that truly defines who I am and how I came to be living as a shaman in a modern world.  And, as this project is coming to completion, I am finding that it is just the beginning of my writing on this subject.

I have always known writing was a part of my life.  I began writing poetry and journaling as a young adult.  It was often fueled by much of the reading I did.  I often read a book a day as a teenager.  It was one of my saving graces and I found losing myself in the written word, whether a tale of fiction or through learning about the world and myself, was a way to escape the horrors of my immediate experience.  My own writing became a way to express myself when I had no voice or other way to express to the world what I was experiencing. Writing was something that I could share or choose to keep hidden.  Like many other writers, for much of my life, I chose to keep it hidden.

When I started The Heart of Awakening Blog this past year, I envisioned writing quite frequently.  I had a great run with May is for Metta.   I have shared this process in other ways, but I am so happy that it emerged here as a resource that is available for anyone to use to begin or explore a meditation practice focused on loving-kindness and compassion.  This practice has been one that has changed my life and I come back to it again and again.  I have found that since May, people come to May is for Metta everyday from all over the world.  It is something people are searching for – a way to practice loving-kindness, for themselves, for others and the world.  I have come to view loving-kindness and compassion for oneself as the key to healing and transformation both personally and collectively.

Coming from an environment where criticism and shaming were extreme taught me to be incredibly harsh with myself.  For many who have suffered from various forms of abuse, trauma or a critical parent, it is not uncommon to continue to “abuse” ourselves emotionally with a ruthless inner critic or perhaps, even physically through addictions or lack of self-care.  It is something I have made tremendous progress with and yet, I continue to work on it today.  It is so easy to fall into a pattern of feeling not good enough, not worthy enough and having a sense of being a failure.  I have learned through my shamanic work that these are not just personal issues but what we can consider to be core human issues.  Also, it is interesting to note that self-criticism is particular strong in American culture, often fueling the need for outward or material success and leading to repetitive patterns of self-sabotage and discontent.

Probably, at the top of the list of core issues for much of humanity is a sense of unworthiness.  This may come from the original wound of separation from the creator, however one views that energy, i.e. God, Creator, Spirit, The Universe.  This core wound or rather, the illusion of it, continues to manifest in our current life and past life experiences as well.  From a shamanic perspective, we can view all of our relationships, and particularly those with our parents or those closest to us, as a reflection of this original wound.  How this manifests will vary based on our personal experiences but the dynamics that develop reflect what we have come to understand or work through in this lifetime, both personally and collectively.  This is one of the reasons archetypes can be so beneficial as they give us a framework for understanding and working with our experiences.

My mentor, Shaman Ross Bishop, has been instrumental in my understanding of this concept, which has become a foundation of my life and my work as a shaman.  In his post on Understanding Life, he explain this concept as follows:

“Because of your inner uncertainty and vulnerability, when you left “heaven” you felt as though you had been cast out into the cold, uncaring vastness of The Universe.  You concluded that you had been abandoned, unwanted, unworthy and unloved.  None of that could be true, they were completely impossible, but your Misunderstanding was profound and deep.  This was intended.  Your feelings of unworthiness and unlovability would serve as the pivots around which your earthly learning experiences would evolve.  They would form the foundation for the learning you needed.”

I was working with a client recently who clearly identified a sense of unworthiness and rejection from God as the issue she felt was keeping her stuck in unhealthy relationships, both personal and work related.  We journeyed for her to meet with the Creator.  She asked God why she had to suffer so much and why he had abandoned her.  The message that she so clearly received was that it was a misunderstanding.  Although sometimes there are words in this type of experience, it is really the energetic imprint of connecting with the creator that provides the answers and the healing to the core wound of separation.  It is so simple and yet, so profound what can happen in that moment of knowing that we have never been abandoned by God and that it was the illusion of separation that has kept us in pain and suffering.

I believe this experience and understanding is one of the great gifts of the Wounded Healer.  It is believed that the wounded healer has the capacity to travel into the darkness to find the energy of light and understanding that brings forth the true healer.  This archetype reveals that it is only by being willing to face our wounds and consciously going through them that we are able to find the blessings that lie therein.  In many traditions it is held that shamans are the original wounded healers and as they have found their own path through the darkness to the light, they are then able to guide others on that path. Really this is a part of every person’s journey and yet, some are called more strongly to this path than others.  This path has been the center of my journey in this lifetime.

I have found that it has been through being willing and allowing myself to go into my wounds and the deepest, darkest places within myself, that I have come to know and understand “The Misunderstanding.”  This is an ongoing journey. Wounds are not static – they are continually unfolding and manifesting in various aspects of our lives.  There are many layers to explore and as they emerge our wounds are teaching us about ourselves.  Going through our wounds is a process of death and rebirth, as the old self “dies”, a new part emerges from the decay; and just as the phoenix rises from the ashes, we emerge into a new way of being, one of connection and wholeness.

As the Wounded Healer heals, there is an opportunity to become a healer, a teacher and a guide.  It is in knowing the path through the darkness, learning how to connect with spirit and being willing to go to uncomfortable places that many may tend to avoid that provides a framework for supporting others on this journey.  This is the foundation of my work as a shaman and as a writer I hope to embody that understanding as well.   I wrote a dedication for my story in the Heal My Voice project, which feels fitting here:

“I write this story in honor of my inner children, the ones who were willing to travel into the darkness to find the light.  The ones who walked through fire and instead of emerging charred and burned, transformed themselves into the light of illumination which carries me through this life, allowing me to be happy, whole and filled with love.”

I am hoping to be more present on the Heart of Awakening in 2013.  As I step into this next phase of my journey, I hope to share more of what I have learned and to really honor the path of the Wounded Healer.  My message for this year is to LOVE OURSELVES, all parts of ourselves and especially those that we don’t want to see or explore.  Accept the journey of life as it unfolds with curiosity, wonder and awe.  Know that even when there is the experience of pain and suffering, we are not alone – we were never alone and we are always supported.  There is wisdom that comes from being exactly where we are and opening to all of the nooks and crannies of that experience – the joy and the pain, the happiness and the sorrow, and the light and the dark.

Listen to my interview from January 23rd, 2013 on Reflections Of A Wounded Healer: From Visionary To Victim, a with host, Andrea Hylen, on Heal My Voice Radio or read my story, “Lost & Found: The Birth Of A Shaman” in Inspired Voices: True Stories by Visionary Women, available on Amazon.

Are you ready to go deeper in your process of transformational and healing?  I’d love to support you in your journey to discover the healer within.  Learn more at www.bethterrence.com/Individuals.

Prayer For A New Day

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Grandfather Sun
We wake to see your shining face
Honoring the spirit of the new day

Spirit of the East
We welcome you
The path of the rising sun
The way of Eagle
Bringing new beginnings, soaring vision and hope

Spirit of the South
We welcome you
The path of the noonday sun
The way of Coyote
Illuminating our hearts, minds and spirits
With clarity and purpose

Spirit of the West
We welcome you
The path of the setting sun
The way of Bear
Bringing strength, courage and trust
Taking us deeper into spirit with each breath we take

Spirit of the North
We welcome you
The place of sacredness within
The way of Owl
Helping us to find the light within the dark
Uncovering those places in ourselves which need transformation

O Great Spirit.  Creator of All Things
We welcome you
Gifting us all of the support of spirit in each moment
The path of Angels, Archangels, Ancestors, Mentors, Guides and Spirits
Help us to walk in the way of spirit today
Remembering our connection to the energies of creation

Mother Earth. Sustainer, Nurturer and Provider
We welcome you
Honoring all of your children
The Two-Leggeds, Four-Leggeds, Winged Ones, Elementals
Plant Beings, Stone People, Insects and Spider Beings
Hungry Ghosts and all who walk in the earthly realm
Great Mother Earth carry us into the day
So we may walk together in harmony and peace

Sacred Center
Connecting earth and heaven, heaven and earth
The place where all directions merge and where all beings meet
The way of Oneness, Love and Light
Help us to walk together in Oneness, Love and Light on this day and always.