Wednesday, May 29, 2013

We could make beautiful music together

Shamanic healing is like playing the theremin. It is. The person receiving the healing is the instrument, the shaman is the musician. What we shamans do is move around, move our hands especially. We focus deeply, sometimes go into a trance. We become one with a greater wisdom. And then: we dance.

Without ever touching the receiver, we make the music of healing. Should say, before making the music of healing, we spend time sensing the energy of the person on whom we're going to work. This would be analogous to the doctor asking you about symptoms, taking your blood pressure, looking down your throat and such.

We practice sensing the subtle energies in the same way wine aficionados practice tasting wine. My palate is not trained. I can tell if wine is "good" or "bad" (i.e. do I like the taste) but no way I could name the grape, the vintage and the vineyard. There are people who can, though. It's kind of incredible. Of course, aficionados have a knack and love wine. Still, it takes practice to get as good as many of them are. The maps for smell and taste in their brains must be enormous.

Shamans, too, have a knack. We are sensitive - too sensitive (or so my mother always said about me) - from birth. Sensitivity alone is not shamanism, though. We have to know what we're doing if we expect to be of any help to others.

In shamanic healing we focus on the ineffable and the indescribable. We notice, and then we shape the ineffable and indescribable. We conduct energy, as best we can. In so doing, it's our intention to lay in an energetic pattern that will generate wholeness, balance and well being.

I know. That doesn't really explain anything, does it?

Below is an explanation of how a theremin works, from the site I linked to in the first paragraph:

In a 1989 interview with Olivia Mattis, Theremin said, "I conceived of an instrument that would create sound without using any mechanical energy, like the conductor of an orchestra." What Theremin dreamed up was an electronic instrument with two primary circuits: a pitch circuit and a volume circuit. The pitch circuit used two tuned (radio frequency) oscillators: a fixed oscillator and a variable oscillator. The fixed oscillator generated waves at a static frequency. The variable oscillator was capable of producing a range of frequencies and was connected to a vertical antenna. Through a process called heterodyning, signals from the fixed and variable oscillators were mixed together. The frequency of one oscillator was subtracted from the other. The difference was amplified and, finally, output as an audible musical tone.
The second circuit (the volume circuit) controlled the level of the tone generated by the pitch circuit. Much like in the pitch circuit, it used an oscillator connected to an antenna. Disrupting the electromagnetic field around this antenna raises or lowered the volume of the music tone generated by the pitch circuit.

Um ... huh? Does that mean anything to you?

Here's what I see when I watch great theremin musicians: I see a shaman, sensing and shaping electromagnetism. His shamanic dance is magically amplified. We get to listen to a musical interpretation of his work. That's what I see when I watch the video above. What do you see? Do you see a fixed oscillator generating waves at a static frequency? Me neither.

Below is a video of one of the greatest American shamans ever. He was a very original thinker who regularly fell into a trance, became one with the music, then drew exactly what he envisioned from the musicians in front of him. Watching him is mesmerizing. He was a great shamanic healer.

I've seen terrible conductors make a mess out of the music, I've seen people chop through the static frequencies of the theremin, a brutal act that creates the most horrible sounds you can imagine. That is not shamanism and is not healing. And it is not music!

May you be bathed in an ocean of harmonies and melodies. Shalom.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Does it work?

My acupuncturist told me a group of neurologists arranged to meet with him. They were exploring what is called, in modern medicine, "alternative" approaches for people with chronic headaches.

I could get into a whole thing about the marketing mind that came up with the idea that modern medicine is the central pillar of healing while all other approaches are alternative, but I will save that rant for another day.

One thing the neurologists asked my acupuncturist was, "Does it work?" Evan said, "Well, that's like asking if fishing works. It works if there are fish, if the fisherman knows what he's doing, if he uses the right bait. It works if the fish are biting."

I wonder what the neurologists made of that.

When a fisherman has had a bad day, no one ever concludes that fishing doesn't work. For heaven's sake. Yet this is the mindset of modern medicine: does it work? It's a tight tunnel of vision that distorts the idea of healing and creates a kind of blindness in those who believe only in science based medicine. In fact, modern medicine does not work for everyone or every condition which explains why the neurologists agreed to meet a practitioner of Chinese medicine. Though the modern medical approach to treating various diseases has been carefully designed to be consistent, the truth is, everyone responds differently. Does modern medicine work? You tell me.

I'm working on a course I'll be teaching the weekend of July 20-21st in Washington DC. The first day will be a training in shamanic healing techniques. On Sunday I'll teach a simple form of soul retrieval. You can sign up for the first day only if you're not interested in soul retrieval. The Saturday class is a prerequisite for the soul retrieval training.

Here's a link to information about the class. If you're interested, contact me on Facebook or leave a comment here. I'll turn on comment moderation so your email address and/or phone number will remain private.

You might wonder about shamanic healing, what I mean by that. You can learn more about my approach by clicking on the link above. Also, I'm going to write a lot more about what I mean by shamanic healing techniques in the days ahead. You could google shamanic healing - I did - but most of what you'll find doesn't in any way square up with what I've been taught or the way in which I practice. I'll write more, but I'll also try to find links to reputable sources about this most ancient human art.

You might wonder, does shamanic healing work?

Hmmm. Does fishing work? Only if the fisherman knows what he's doing. If you'd like to learn a little bit about the oldest healing profession, if you have some background in trance/journeying/meditation, and know more than a little bit about your psychology, join us.

I'm looking forward to the chance to share a little bit about the world's oldest art.

May you be well. Shalom.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Emotional First Aid

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, fires in the American west, the escape of the women who were kidnapped and held captive in Cleveland for ten years, and following the Moore tornado, we in the U.S. are reeling.

I remember this feeling from the 1960s. Our president was assassinated, and his brother, too. And Martin Luther King, who was kind of the Dalai Lama of that era. Some folks think of the 60s as all about flower power and peace signs and hippies, but it was terribly unnerving as it unfolded. We watched the Vietnam war on television, black people and gay people were beaten for protesting their horrible situations. It was a time of chaos and destruction as much as it was about peace, love and Woodstock.

Many beneficial shifts in the way we thought about each other and the world came out of the chaos of the 1960s. I believe the same thing will happen as a result of this current time of change. One obvious example is marriage equality which has reached its tipping point. I read yesterday that in England and Wales marriage equality has become law. And in France, and in many states in the U.S., etc. Boom. In ten years we'll look back and wonder what the big deal was, as we do now in the U.S. about interracial marriage. Interracial marriage? That doesn't mean anything anymore, but it did - it really did.

How are we supposed to respond to this time of radical upheaval and change? What's the healthy response? It will vary according to the individual, of course. The most unhelpful and unhealthy response is to try to resist what's happening. Resistance is futile. We must try to be open to the changes that are afoot and be ready to engage with what is, not with what we think should be. Those who wish for the good old days, well, good luck with that. I say, onwards and upwards. You can not grasp the river.

Please learn about first aid and CPR, but especially first aid. The first responders at many disasters are bystanders and victims as we saw following the Boston Marathon bombings and the tornado in Oklahoma. It's good to know how to help and how to keep from becoming part of the problem if you jump in to assist after a disaster. Here's a link to a post I wrote earlier this year that includes a link to a top notch online first aid course. Unless you wish to be certified, it's free. Please learn about first aid so you can be prepared, just in case.

Physical first aid is important. But we are far more than physical beings. We humans are highly emotional, even if we wish we weren't. Experiencing, as we have in the U.S., one disaster after another lately, takes its toll on the emotional body. If you're feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, exhausted, head-achey, if you're experiencing a-typical insomnia, a perpetually sour stomach, or if life seems more surreal than usual, you may be in a state of low level emotional shock.

This isn't the kind of shock that means you should lie down and put your feet up while covered with a space blanket, but it does indicate that taking steps to soothe your emotional body are in order.

First and foremost: turn off your television. The never ending videos of destruction and devastation are not good for us. Find out what you need to know, then switch off the screens. Listen to music, read design or cooking magazines or do something productive, like cleaning out a closet or baking a pie. Go to a museum and gaze at beautiful paintings. Or go see a play or live music. The living Arts are healing, believe me.

Get outdoors and take a walk or a run. Or go to a public park with beautiful landscaping and take in the beauty of nature. Do this even if it's too hot/cold/rainy/whatever. You don't have to stay outside all day, but stay outside for at least an hour. Fresh air is so good for you!

Spend time with people you love. Make time for someone you haven't seen in awhile. Have a laugh, catch up, tell stories.

Eat carefully, and don't drink too much. The tendency to self medicate on junk food and/or alcohol can be a problem during eras of social change, but it doesn't actually help anything. Please don't eat junk food, eat real food. Opt for a glass of wine, not a bottle of wine, please (or ... cut back on whatever intoxicants you prefer). Go easy with the caffeine.

Let your jaw relax. Relax your tongue and let your eyeballs be soft. Breathe deeply, and drink plenty of water.

Please be gentle with yourself and others right now, as gentle as you can be. Will you please?

Chaos always attends times of social change. Chaos is unnerving even to the most macho among us.

Take good care, y'all. We will prevail. Shalom.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Getting it off my chest

For several days I've been trying to, also simultaneously trying not to, write about Angelina Jolie.

In one attempt to post about it, I went on and on about the "middle room" of the body, the heart, lungs, ribs, shoulder blades and breasts, about scar tissue and intercostal muscles, the after effects of surgery, the dangers of anesthesia. Blah blah blah.

I tried coming at it from another direction. I wrote about the soul and its home in the heart chakra, the placement of breasts in humans on either side of the heart and the disruption of the energy of that chakra from mastectomy which is sometimes necessary when people actually have cancer. I wrote about ways to help ensoul the heart after mastectomy, something I've been a part of with clients who had breast cancer.

I also wrote about genetic medicine - a very young science that is anything but tried and true. People keep talking about Angelina's disease, but she has no disease, none. What she has is a probability based on a gene marker and family history. Otherwise as far as we know, she is in perfect health.

All attempts were boring and way too long. I abandoned every draft, after which I tried to write more about the class I'll be offering in July. I've made some adjustments to the outline, decided on a date and am now trying to figure out how much to charge - that's always the hardest part, how to ask for a sum that's fair compensation for the work I'll put into it, without asking for more than people can afford. I want to donate a part of what I make to something or another, too. It's a dilemma, but I'll figure it out.

However, until I write something about Angelina, it seems I will be unable to address anything else. So, here goes.

People say it's her decision and none of our business, but she made it our business by publishing her story in the New York Times.

I'm glad people are talking about this surgery.

I worry that women who might have considered alternatives to this drastic, ghastly approach might be swayed because Angelina did it, and especially because she's being touted as a hero for doing it. This worry does not mean I think women are stupid. It's instinctual to look to our heroes and leaders for guidance. She is a big celebrity - even I know who she is - and she plays glamorous super heroes in her movies. We in America worship celebrity. We confuse artists with their art. It's not stupid to do so, it's human. I think my worry is well founded.

Is it heroic to mutilate your body for no reason other than a probability based on a gene marker? I think it's horrible! I think it's tragic, and crazy and it makes me very sad. There - I've said it.

Maybe now I can move on, let go, and refocus on the class.

Thank you for listening. Shalom.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

For Enquiring Minds, a Shamanic C.V.

How I did I become a shaman? Someone asked me to tell the story. Indeed if I'm going to offer this course on the weekend of July 20-21, I should present my credentials. It's only fair.

The problem is, to tell the story of how I became a shaman would mean telling the story of my life. It would take a long while and be tedious to read. It could be equally tedious to write it all down, come to think of it. Good lord.

Even the short version is likely to go on and on. I'll post several pics here, to break the tedium.

I have always been a shaman, just like you, just like everyone. By that I mean everyone feels energy, senses the subtle flows of time/space. I'm certain you've had the experience of walking into a room full of people - a meeting, a party, a funeral or whatever - and sensing something immediately. Sometimes you walk into a room and are drawn into a happy feeling. That can even happen at a funeral by the way. Sometimes you walk into a room and immediately sense some sort of imbalance. There are those who call these imbalances "negativity." The point is, you can feel it. Everyone can; it is part of our birthright, as human as a prefrontal cortex and opposable thumbs. I could give a hundred examples, but I've probably made my point.

Some have more of a knack for this kind of sensing, in the same way that some are better suited to playing clarinet or fixing appliances. Some of us work well with wood, others are great gardeners or cooks, others are artists of the mind, thinkers and scholars. Shamans feel everything. It's a blessing and a curse.

The way shamans have become shamans, throughout history, in all the stories I've read, is by way of a call. The calling involves a trauma of some kind - a grave injury, insanity or terrible illness. From the north pole to the south pole, in every culture I've studied (not nearly all of them, should say) the story is the same. A shaman is an odd child, usually an orphan, or treated horribly by the family, or just weird. There is injury, illness and/or insanity after which the shaman becomes acquainted with spirit and animal guides and hooks up with a teacher or two. And the rest is history, as they say. Some shamans study intensively with a human teacher or teachers. Others work directly with spirit guides. Every one of us needs training.

I love the Haida myth about the beginnings of shamanism. They say that after they created humans, the gods realized the people were too stupid to understand the language of the world. Grandfather Eagle volunteered to teach us. He was the first shaman.

Though I have always been a shaman or at least a mystic, I wasn't called to the path until I was almost killed during a collision involving a Southern Pacific freight train and the mustard yellow Datsun B210 I was driving that day. While I was unconscious (for a few days), I have no doubt that, between the worlds, as we say, some serious negotiations were taking place.

After I woke up (startling the nurses who believed I was in a long-term coma) I began studying herbal medicine. I radically changed my diet, began taking long walks and also started seeing an osteopath. I went to Europe, expanded my world view. I was on my way.

In order to recognize my calling, I was hit by a freight train. Rather amusing to think about.

Nevertheless, that event was an awakening. This was when my formal study of shamanism began. Though I didn't know it consciously, I had become a healer in the rough. I was 26 years old.

The first part of my study in healing involved self examination. I spent ten years on the psychotherapeutic couch when I lived in San Francisco and had great health insurance. Know thyself is the first rule of shamanism. If you don't, things will go very wrong.

I took the de rigueur pilgrimage to India where I witnessed first hand the way spirituality can be a normal part of the daily routine. On the way to work, people leave offerings at Shiva shrines that are everywhere in the city of Varanasi. When they bathe in the Ganges, they are literally immersing themselves in a goddess. The life of the spirit is ongoing in India. Seeing that firsthand was a revelation. I wasn't the first, nor will I be the last, to receive a spiritual jolt in India.

After that, in San Francisco, I studied and taught Reclaiming tradition witchcraft for many years. I was initiated twice and facilitated dozens of shamanic death/rebirth initiations for others over a fifteen year period. During the 1980s in San Francisco, the Goddess was alive and magic was afoot, as the bumper stickers said. At the time I got involved with Reclaiming, across a wide swath of spiritual traditions, the feminine divine was being rediscovered. Jews were hosting feminist seders, Christians were immersing themselves in the deep history of Mary Magdelena. Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote Women Who Run With the Wolves, and Marija Gimbutas published books about ancient goddesses and matriarchal societies. (Her theories have since fallen out of favor.)

Reclaiming was an earthy, grassroots, down-home community of ambitious, good-hearted people dedicated to empowering others with the fecund energy of the earth goddess via transformative pagan ritual and practice. We would live in harmony with the seasons and the moon, we would celebrate the beauty of the green earth, we would call down the power of the moon and the divine feminine. In so doing, we would grow stronger, more courageous, we would reclaim our power. I gravitated towards Reclaiming though I could have followed feminist Judaism or Buddhism just as easily. A wave of spiritual feminism was moving through the Bay Area. It was an exciting time.

There was an agenda within Reclaiming, unfortunately, which revolved around the idea that empowering the masses might lead to healing the planet, always a grandiose ambition, no matter who undertakes it, yes? The people who created Reclaiming were hard core lefty activists, seeking a way to super-charge their political activism. When they connected with earth based spirituality, an anarchist, allegedly egalitarian, politically active community was born. This is where I first learned how to sense and shape energy, about ritual and trance journeys and transformational energy work.

Along with my work in Reclaiming, I studied with many of the top dogs of spirituality in the Bay Area. It was a banner time to connect with the shining lights of spiritual learning, especially in SF. I learned to meditate from Jack Kornfield before Spirit Rock, when he taught in a community center in Marin County. I learned storytelling from Angeles Arrien, and took my first workshops in shamanic healing with Vicki Noble.

Believe me when I say I had the best teachers. I really did. I had many teachers, too, which - anthropologically - is rare for shamans. The concentration of super star spiritual teachers in the SF Bay Area happened to coincide with the time I lived there.

I could keep dropping names, but I'm sure you get the point.

I studied not only with the bright lights of spirituality, but with some of the darkest, troubled teachers in the Bay Area. Trolls. As well as the refined, beautiful teachers of spirituality of that time, there were many dark and twisted spiritual guides - of course. I studied with some extremely disturbed "teachers." I don't regret it. From some teachers I learned what to do, from others, what not to do.

I had a well rounded education in the Art, to be sure.

When I moved to Washington, I began working directly with the land and have ever since. I met a woman from the tea growing foothills of the Himalaya who eventually, after several years of work together on Civil War battlefields, inside the U.S. Capitol, and with the Masonic geometry of the city's design, brought me "into the blood" of Mongolian shamanism. It's within that tradition that I'm most comfortable.

What I'll offer in the weekend course is an amalgamation of techniques gathered from all my different strains of training and experience, in shamanism, bodywork, massage and Reiki. I have the credentials, for sure.

Yes I have spirit guides. I have animal guides. I have past lives. But I also have a sense of humor. I recognize that in this culture, at this moment in history, my path is not mainstream - quite an understatement. It's an interesting dynamic to negotiate, believe me.

But in terms of all of human history, what I do is commonplace, venerable. Humans have always practiced shamanism. I maintain it is the oldest profession. And as I say all the time, as a shaman, the world I live in is never boring.

And now I am tired of talking about my journey. I hope I've provided sufficient information. I'm eager to return to writing about the work itself, rather than my history. But I'm open to questions, of course. Those considering taking this course should know who they will study with.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

What is shamanic healing?

(In preparation for the course I'm teaching this summer, I'm going to be writing a lot about shamanic healing. This is the first piece.)

What is shamanic healing? What is a shaman? Probably if you asked nine shamans, you would get ten definitions. There are many strains of this ancient religion.

If you google shaman, (I did this morning), most of the definitions include the idea of doing magic, being a "master of the elements" and curing/controlling the situation at hand.

I am not that kind of shaman.

Master of the elements? Show me anyone who is master of the elements and I'll show you an individual with a serious ego problem. Same goes for the ones who brag about curing and/or controlling the situation at hand. Oh the arrogance! My goodness.

There are many warrior shamans who will go to the underworld and fight demons to save a part of your soul. These shamans will go hand-to-hand with sickness spirits. They are brave and valiant, unafraid to engage in astral battle whenever necessary.

I'm not that kind of shaman either. Good lord, no.

Below, a definition posted on a meet-up website for the Tribe of Beltway Shamans, of which there are almost 300. Who knew? I didn't, until I googled shaman.

Serge Kahili King, the author of `Urban Shaman', defines a shaman as "a healer of relationships between mind and body, between people, between people and circumstances, between humans and Nature, and between matter and spirit. In practicing his or her healing, the shaman has a view of reality very different from the one most of the world uses, and it is this unique viewpoint ... which really sets the shaman apart from other healers."

This definition comes closest to describing what I do and how I think about shamanism, though I have a few quarrels with it. The view most of the world uses? What would that be? I also would argue that we are not separate from nature, we are a part of it. Perhaps he means the green world, I'm not sure.

As a shaman, I am a diplomat, a negotiator. My job is to mediate, facilitate meet-ups between the worlds, realities, and beings. Once I'm able to put all parties in touch with one another, and when we all seem to be on the same page, my job is to take a big step back into my energy, hold space, and basically get out of the way of the healing. The only exception is when I do soul retrievals, but what I do is not the big super-hero soul retrievals that the warrior shamans do. I go after bits and pieces lost or wandering sometimes for no discernible reason. It's a gentle, non-confrontational kind of soul retrieval.

I am no master of the elements. I do not engage in sorcery of any kind, nor am I some kind of supernatural healing force. Hell no. By the way, I am not diminishing what I do. In my diplomatic niche, I have a lot of experience. There is never a guarantee that shamanic healing will have noticeable impact, but what I do harms no one, and has been extremely helpful in certain cases.

I admire warrior shamans and am glad they're out there, fighting the good fight. Sorcerer shamans scare me. Grandiosity is a distortion that can lead to faulty decisions as well as harmful outcomes.

In my work, there are no plans to save the planet, cure cancer or be heroic in any way, shape, or form. I love my work. It is very satisfying.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Course in Shamanic Healing Techniques

I'll be offering a course in shamanic healing technique this summer in Washington DC. It's a weekend course. Below is an outline and a description of criteria in case you're interested. I have also posted this information on Facebook. It's posted as a note and is public. If you're interested, leave a comment here or PM on Facebook. 

May you sail smoothly through today's eclipse and may your dreams and wishes come true. Shalom.

Saturday: Shamanic Healing Techniques, July 20, 9:00-5:00
Sunday: Soul Retrieval, July 21, 9:00-5:00

The fee for each course is $100. Saturday's class is a prerequisite for Soul Retrieval, but if you're uninterested in that, feel free to sign up for Saturday only.

This course is designed for people who have well developed self awareness, through psychotherapy or other paths to self knowledge, such as a long-term practice of meditation or prayer, or persistent and honest journaling. These are only examples. Please do not be afraid to look at yourself honestly, with compassion and humor.

To get anything from this work, you will be well acquainted with your personal energy field. Yoga, meditation, T'ai Chi, chakra work. chanting, praying, mindfulness and many other practices bring an increased awareness of the field.

Please have experience with trance journeying. If you have ever listened to a guided meditation, you have the necessary experience.

If you can show me the periphery of your field and describe it (name the color(s), shapes, textures and/or sounds that are typical of the sea of energy around you), you'll do well in this course. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, this is not for you.

The techniques work for humans, animals and the green world. 

Saturday morning, individual work. KNOW THYSELF.

1. Cultivating Accuracy. The exercises will help us:
. Identify personal filters that interfere with incoming impressions.
. Interrupt habits and assumptions. In this way we're able to open to fresh perspectives.
. Develop a handful of ways to receive impressions through the senses.
. Temporarily unravel the habit of creating stories.
. A couple of ways to avoid ambition, judgment and agendas.

2. Generating the Therapeutic Field. 
. Identifying therapeutic qualities.
. Infusing the aura with these qualities.
. Owning the room.
. Generating the field, expanding to fill the space.

Saturday afternoon, working with a partner. LEARN SOMETHING YOU DON'T ALREADY KNOW.

1. Receiving impressions. 
. Well groomed energy and the therapeutic field.
. Including the partner in the therapeutic field.
. Stop, look and listen.
. Does it merit attention? Does it resonate?
. Wait for it.

2. Healing techniques
. Witnessing, mindful listening.
. The dance.
. Laying on of hands.
. Extractions.

3. After care - what to do after a session.

4. Ethical considerations.

Sunday: Soul Retrieval

There are shamans out there who will go to the underworld and fight demons to gain possession of parts of the soul that were lost during intense trauma. This is the kind of work done by shamans such as Michael Harner. It's powerful and healing, and can be challenging since bringing back a major hunk of missing soul often requires an extended period of re-integration. That is not what this technique is about.

This is a method for bringing back to the roost (as it were) the minor bits that wander off, sometimes for no discernible reason. We'll go after the jigsaw puzzle piece that somehow got lost under the coffee table, rather than the great treasure chest of personal wisdom that was stolen by demons or vanished during crises and times of great duress.

We will learn the technique, then assist each other in regaining one lost piece of soul.

. Anchor to the Pole Star.
. "Bungee jump" to the under world.
. Retrieve soul bit.
. Rebound to upper world; purification of the recovered soul.
. Return from trance journey.
. Ensoulment of the recovered, purified soul bit to the body/being of the receiver.
. Blessing the work.
. Completing the session.
. After care for both people.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Disease and spirit, and the soul of disease

For 100,000 years, from the north pole to the south pole - until the Age of Enlightenment, that is - most humans and especially shamans have lived in an ensouled world. In our world, trees have souls, as do rivers, mountains, weather patterns, and every kind and variety of animal, too.

As a healer, I work not only with the physical and emotional symptoms of clients, but with what I perceive to be the imbalances of soul or spirit - personal, familial and cultural. It's a complicated way to work, also interesting. Sometimes I wish I had eyes like a fly, with many lenses and many facets with which to take in the layers of soulfulness that accompany clients into the treatment room.

Wait. What am I saying? I do NOT want fly eyes - good lord. I'll do the best I can with human eyes.

Among my clients are people dealing with serious illnesses, hence I've had many opportunities to sit with, dance with, and otherwise engage with the souls not only of my clients, but also with the souls of disease.

Cancer is ravenous. The soul of that horrible disease has no sense of restraint or moderation. It is a glutton that cares about nothing but itself, like an invasive plant. Cancer is like kudzu, selfish and voracious. It's a disease whose soul remains separate from the person suffering. People say they have cancer, but they never merge with the disease, like they do when they have a cold (one example). People with colds might say I'm sick - they have embodied and identified with the cold. But with cancer, very few say they ARE cancer. I've never heard it said. In fact, most people who develop cancer can't wait to get on a surgical table so as to have the diseased tissue sliced clean out of them. Cancer patients speak the language of battles and wars. Cancer is the enemy. Those who suffer from it have no desire to identify with it - and rightly so. Cancer patients willingly bomb their own bodies with hideous toxins and radiation in order to triumph over the disease. By and large, those who develop cancer are very brave.

Lyme disease is very different. There's a murky energy to its soul that makes it extremely difficult to diagnose. Even in its advanced stages, the spirit of Lyme knows how to disguise itself behind other symptoms. I perceive the energy of Lyme as evil. That is something I rarely say or think - that something is evil. I see the world as whirls and currents of energy, which I think of as neither "good" nor "bad." Sometimes there's too much energy or too little, or energy is somewhere it shouldn't be. But I hardly ever think in terms of evil. It's not the tick's fault - they're just living out their lives after all. It's the soul of Lyme that is evil.

When Lyme spirochetes get into the brain of the person suffering, that condition turns the sufferer into a zombie of sorts. I had a client a couple of years ago who became one of these Lyme zombies. It was horrifying to see her get so mixed up that she served the needs of the disease rather than her own soul's and body's needs. Eventually I had to stop working with her. I'm definitely not up to the task of dealing with that evil disease in my treatment space.

I know someone, not a client, who has been ill for years with Lyme. She said recently, after a series of trips to the emergency room, that even though her doctor advised her to stay out of tick infested environments where she could easily be reinfected with Lyme and other tick bourne diseases, she would not listen to the advice. She was strident, as if the doctor was the bad guy. She said nothing would keep her out of the woods. That is the craziest talk I've ever heard. What is she thinking? I'm thinking she can no longer speak for herself. She is enslaved to the soul of Lyme. God it is so spooky.

Heart disease, on the soul level, is a malady of the overarching family soul. Sometimes everyone in a family shares the disease. Sometimes just one or two members take on the karmic task of dealing with a heart that flops around or forgets how to pump blood. To my shamanic fly's eye, heart disease is a condition in which the personal soul of the sufferer is separated from the living beating heart, its rightful home. Separated, neither the spirit nor the physical heart functions well. Heart disease is personal, very personal. I've never seen anyone become a zombie from heart disease. Usually people become more heart felt in some way or another - either kinder and more compassionate, or angrier than ever, though that's rare. Dick Cheney is an example of someone who was not softened by heart disease. He just got worse. What I've observed is that heart disease, more often than not, renders the sufferer more authentic - whether they want it or not.

I could go on, but I've probably made my point. How is your personal soul today? If you've been feeling a bit off, you can blame it on the planets this week. I hope, though, that you're feeling balanced, inspired, safe and at ease with yourself. I hope your sense of humor is intact. Having a laugh is generally a sign of good spiritual health.

May you be healthy on every level. L'chaim.