Laura, Author at Experiential Online Animism Class - Page 7 of 15
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How I Lead Group Ceremonies

By far the most controversial thing I have ever written was an article called "Please Don't Call it Native American Shamanism." Another article called "What You Need to Know Before Engaging in Group Rituals" fleshes it out a bit more. Since I still get questions and arguments about who is entitled to lead group ceremonies and do rituals, I want to just let you know how I lead group ceremonies. This is not to say that this is how it must be done. It's just to give you something to think about when you choose your group facilitator or if you are considering leading group ceremonies for others. I Know Who is in Ceremony With Me It's my job to know who is in ceremony with me because the ceremony is for...

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looking without seeing

Looking Without Seeing

I recently went for a walk in the woods with a friend. She stopped and gasped when we came across this magnificent tree. Oh, it was fine, and it took her appreciation and surprise to help me see that I was looking without seeing. Yes, I noticed it the first time I came across it too, but after a while the novelty wore off, and I forgot. We all do this. The brain looks for what is new. It also pays more attention to what's potentially dangerous. So, we are programmed to overlook wonder and see negativity! Yep, if something is bad or harmful, we will pay more attention to it. If we've seen it before, even beautiful things can fade into the background. Knowing this, you can see why life can...

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amazon jungle

Rain in the Amazon Jungle

Oh, there is nothing so wild and wonderful as rain in the Amazon jungle. It's a rainforest. You'd expect to see rain there - lots of it. But last season they said they only got two months of rain. Fewer trees means less rain. So when it started raining in May, a month after rainy season was supposed to have ended, it was a heavenly delight. The air suddenly changed. It became thicker with the essence of life, as if the plants were opening their pores to receive the life giving water. Each morning, the leaves from the trees dripped with so much humidity that it sounded like it was raining. So how could the forest be so thirsty? How could it drink it all up so hungrily? Yet it did. Rain...

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group ritual

What You Need to Know Before Engaging in Group Rituals

In 2011, best selling author and motivational guru, James Arthur Ray, was convicted of felony negligent homicide after conducting a sweat lodge where three people died. Every year pilgrims to South America die in pursuit of healing. Unfortunately, with the rising demand for rituals, spirituality, and transformative experiences, this may become more common. These types of tragedies don't have to happen to you. Here is what you need to know before engaging in group rituals. Go With Someone You Know In indigenous societies, healers serve their communities. Community members know their healers. There is a relationship. There is accountability. I hope you check out your doctor, therapist, massage therapist or other health care provider's credentials and reviews before you ask them to help you. Engaging in spirit medicine is just as important....

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Today I Lingered

Today I lingered. This is not my usual pace. I am focused, purposeful, and direct. My thoughts and actions are meaningful and targeted. Lingering isn't part of my program. Lingering encourages seeing, feeling, and discovery. It is what children do. That makes me happy. During our spring retreat, we focused on giving a voice to our inner child. I think most people do this in a Shadow way. They let out their Wild Child in rebellious hedonism. They vomit all over people putting their woundedness on display. That's not what I am talking about. I am talking about daring, play, laughter, and a lack of keeping score. A lack of self consciousness. I am talking about being without a reason or explanation. Animals are. They don't ask if they are worthy enough. No...

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ancestor pilgrimage

Have You Gone on an Ancestor Pilgrimage?

Spiritual travel is a big business now. Lots of people go to the pyramids, Stonehenge, and Machu Picchu, but have you gone on an ancestor pilgrimage? What's that, you say? An ancestor pilgrimage is a journey to the land of your people to reconnect with them and to see yourself. It's a way to reclaim your family stories, remember, pay respect, and deepen your relationship to the land. When I went to Cornwall for the first time, I knew that I had a past life connection to the place, but I didn't know that I had a hereditary history too. When my feet touched the ground, I felt more at home than anywhere I had ever been. I felt a deep link. There was a sense of exhaling, like I had come...

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high after pilgrimage

How to Hold On the the High After Pilgrimage

If you’re a sacred travel junkie, you know the routine. You go somewhere amazing and have an absolutely transformative experience, then you get home and feel like you a fish out of water. What happened? Who are you now? Why is this life so ill fitting all of a sudden? How can you hold on to the high after pilgrimage? The only option available seems like you just have to go again. Maybe there is another way. Let’s take a look. Be Present One of the things that makes pilgrimage so amazing is that most people are mindful and present so they see things in a different light. How you do anything is how you do everything. If you simply transfer that skill into your every day life, you will see beauty in...

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autumn equinox

Spiritually Connecting During the Autumn Equinox

Twice a year, on the spring and autumn equinoxes, the day and night are the same length. In September, the sun's long reign comes to an end and he is "conquered" by his partner, the moon. For the next three months, the nights will grow longer and stay longer than the day until the day and night become equals once again at the spring equinox. So what's this got to do with spirituality? Well, people are part of Nature. Nature is now transitioning from a time of action to rest. We're moving from the fire element of summer to the water element of fall. Masculine energy is giving way to feminine. We're moving from outer directed energy to inner directed energy. If you're not moving with the flow of Nature, you may...

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plant medicine

Is Sacred Plant Medicine Ceremony for You?

It's a good time to talk about is sacred plant medicine ceremony for you. In keeping with the seriousness and introspection that plant ceremonies require, this won't be a check list type of article but a list of questions that I urge you to contemplate mindfully. Are You Ready to Sacrifice Something? Healing rituals are about you asking the spirit world to give something to you. In order for something to come in, you have to make space. This may mean that you need to sacrifice your ego, your identity (as victim, hero, the "sick" one, or whatever), or your control. If you go in there with the will to keep your problems and defense mechanisms intact, that is what you will walk out with. Are You Willing to Exchange Energy? All of Nature...

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