Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dog Shaman

Once a week Cassie Sawyer and I work with an elderly black lab named Max, who used to be quite athletic, but advancing years have slowed him down and made him stiff. Cassie does massage and acupressure with him, and I do Reiki, shamanism and animal communication. The purpose of the sessions is to give him better quality of life through increased mobility, good energy balance and flow, and reduced pain. He has gotten quite used to our sessions, now as soon as we approach he lies down and obligingly presents one side for us to begin his session. His walking and vitality have improved as well.

That particular week the lab’s person had to leave early and it was her mother that spoke with us at the end of the session. She shared that she and her daughter had taken a walk the other day in my neighborhood and that she was very inspired by my garden with its Certified Wildlife Habitat sign. She was curious about how she might be able to do that for herself even though she lived in a condo, so I told her about the campaign that the National Wildlife Federation is running nationwide to make every backyard a certified wildlife habitat. So many habitats have been certified in the Pacific Northwest that we may become the first certified region, which I think is wonderful.

Then she dropped the line that made me smile, she said that as they walked past her daughter pointed out my home office and told her that that was where her dog’s shaman lived. The phrase just struck me as humorous, it is not every dog who can say they have their own personal shaman!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pachamama's Ambassador

This past weekend I taught the last class of the shamanic 4-part series Spirited Living: A Shamanic Journey into Self-Healing.

On Saturday night we had a potluck dinner before the fire ceremony. As part of the Peruvian shamanic tradition we have a single bowl set aside into which each person places something from their plate. This offering of the first and best to Pachamama (Mother Earth) is done in thanksgiving for all that we have received and enjoy with this meal. The Pachamama Bowl is then taken outside and placed on the ground and left overnight. Usually the contents are gone by next day.

That night we gathered under an almost full moon for our last fire ceremony together. As was usual my dog, Puma, joined us, however this time he snuck away at some point and went off exploring. I had to push my concern away and focus on the ceremony, something I managed to do until he came back quite damp, and I had a moment of angst wondering what mischief he had been up to, but decided that I would not ask. Sometimes with dog moms it is better not to know!

Next day we had leftovers from the previous night’s dinner for lunch, and again we put out the Pachamama Bowl in offering. With a sense of satisfaction I noticed that the previous night’s offering was gone.

Later in the day we again went outside for another fire. This time we were burning individual despachos to give thanks for all that we had received in healing during the training as well as to bring ayni (balance and harmony) to who we were becoming.

I noticed that Puma was quite eager to join us; he bounded down the stairs ahead of everyone. Once outside the reason for his haste became clearer; he made a beeline straight for the Pachamama Bowl, and quickly gulped down the contents!

The students have now tagged Puma with the nickname “Pachapuma” in honor of his chosen role as representative for Pachamama.