We are all born into a family, and without stating the obvious, not everyone feels connected or nurtured and embraced by their family. There are, of course, some families who are inordinately close and supportive, but even there, there are always shadows or wounds, often inherited down the line, that call for healing.
Yet there are also gifts. I don’t just mean inheriting your mother’s gift for cooking, or your dad’s ability to solve crossword puzzles. There are deeper gifts, and these gifts are not only exchanged but resonate back in time, and into the future. These are the shamanic gifts of knowing that ultimately time does not follow the rules we think it does, and that it is an ever flowing river, flooding back and forth in all directions.
There are many Native American Indian teaching stories that are simple and yet utterly profound. You may remember the coyote road-runner cartoon show which was actually based on the famous coyote teaching stories Native Americans. Coyote is always trying to outwit everyone but always ends up hurting himself rather than the innocent ones he tries to take advantage of.
The other well known story is of the Two Wolves. A grandfather tells his grandson that everyone has two totem spirit guides walking either side of them, guiding their path. One is a black wolf and would lead you astray and the other is the white wolf, who leads you out of the darkness into the light. You are guided by the wolf you feed. The black wolf feeds on all negative feelings and the white wolf feeds on love, truth, kindness, compassion and all good things.
We live within a great, holographic mystery filled with many challenges and puzzles. So many people feel separated and out of touch with an invisible God. Millions of us suffer ill health, emotional problems, loss and loneliness. When we question this, people in religious or spiritual authority assure us that there is a heavenly realm where we go after death where all is love, sunshine and comfort. Yet there are others who want to know and experience peace and happiness now, in this world.
These are the ones who ache to know. They desperately want to experience other worlds, other realms, first hand. They want direct and clear communication; they want a full and soul-changing experience that opens their spirit eyes once and for all time.
These people are the shamans and they follow the beat of a different drum.
The wolf is a mysterious and powerful spiritual teacher. In this the second part of the Journey of the Timberwolf I will illustrate how traditional shaman teachers help people understand the two wolves, black and white, who guide us to the transformative Timber wolf. This is the teaching of the three wolves! And it is this story that creates full spiritual transformation.
The shamanic journey is one of self-healing. Your totem on this journey is the Timber Wolf.
I have been so blessed and at times challenged by our world, but despite the best and worst experiences, the inner song of who I am and why I came here has guided me, around the world and back again.
Many years ago I lived and worked with traditional Native American Elders. I learned very quickly that the old ones have a power, a secret and an understanding that only comes with living to an old age. Sadly, in the west, Elders are not generally respected but usually seen as burdons. I have visited nursing homes to see our Elders drugged and wheeled in front of a TV and then fed a sugar-rich, plastic diet. Yet the Elders have enormous wisdom for us, if we could get out of the way, listen and learn!
Since the dawn of time, the shaman has been the healer and spiritual helper of his or her tribe or group. The shaman is a way shower, a pointer to the answers to the mysteries of life. The biggest question we all face, at one time or another is the fact that we die. Babies die; old people linger in pain for years; almost everyone eventually becomes sick or distressed. Life can be painful, difficult and very short! . Like so many others, I wanted to know why some people get sick and others don’t. I went in search, just as so many others have at other times.....My journey led me to Canada and right around the world. I have written several books on my journey. I have called them the Shaman’s Door, because I believe it is a door we can all enter to walk in a new world, and have a new life. Not everyone is meant to be a shaman for others, but everyone can benefit from a shamanic healing.
John Lennon once said that life is something that happens while we are busy making plans. Wise words! I have to truthfully declare, hand on heart, that every plan, dream and fantasy I made for my life has never worked out -- thank heavens, the angels and every little fairy!
Like so many of us, my ideal “dream” life with many dreams of a successful journalism career and walks on the beach with Mr Hunky. Now I just laugh at those dreams because what actually happened was so much better than anything I could dream up.
Some people believe in fate. They believe lives have been pre-planned by a higher force. Others believe we have an inner power that can be harnessed through meditation and journaling. That may be true for some, but I had never heard of such processes so I settled on using my intuition and it served me well.
Despite what we see and witness in the world, every person is in the process of their spiritual awakening. This may seem a bold and sweeping statement, but it is the core wisdom foundation of the true Shamanic Pathway. So many people think the shaman’s work is all about beating a drum and offering healing using various rituals, sacred herbs or magical powers. Yes, these things can be employed, but (and this is a BIG but...!) The true Shaman works at the level of the seeker (client).