Volcano Gods by Jan Engels-Smith
Recently, I revealed an excerpt from my upcoming book- Sitting in Circle with the GODs. I concluded with a question, who did I discover on the other side of the portal? Before I can reveal that information I would like to weave one more imperative aspect into this mind-blowing voyage that I found myself in.
Each year LightSong, the school and community that I founded, puts on a Spirit Quest practicum. We have since changed locations but for years the quest was held in Duffer, Oregon, a high desert area with ponderosa pine, dry brush, and harsh conditions. The land is arid and scenic. During the quest the normal routine of the day starts with me doing a shamanic journey to gather information from the spirits concerning the questers out on the hill. One particular camp a few years ago had about 15 questers and a camp of 60 people in support. Those in camp pray and live in constant telepathic communication with those on the hill. All are also involved in an environment with instruction and learning in daily gatherings related to the quest.
During my journey this particular morning, I found myself stating the intention that I would like to go to the descendants. I would journey into the future and ask these beings about how to guide the others in camp and what would be best for the questers on the hill. Shamanic thought would understand that there is a dimension where past, present and future presides and there are dimensions where they don’t exist. This allows the journeyer to go to any moment in time – forward or backwards to obtain information. The idea to travel to the descendants was spontaneous and intuitive, it presented as an idea and I went with it. I immediately notice a circle of people. They were sitting and I immediately assumed that the circle was familiar to what we had in camp. I said to the spirits, “Oh things are still the same, even in the future people are coming together in a circle to hold space and to unite.” The spirits replied, “Look more closely at the circle.” As I zoomed in my perspective I realized that yes there were figures of humans sitting in circle but the circle was actually composed of other figures too. I was informed the other figures were GODS.
Information started to stream in. Typically during these morning journeys I lay on my cot and Terry Kem, my “right hand Man,” sits in a chair next to me drumming. The drumming stimulates my journey. I always journey out loud, which gives me much better observation description and takes me deeply into the journey experience. The information that started streaming in excited me and I wanted to signal Terry to also take mental note of what I was saying so ever detail would be remembered and recorded. I had wished that someone else was in the room to take notes or that I had a recording device. I was surging with information and getting louder and louder with my channeling. Terry being a very respectful person drummed louder to give me the privacy that he thought I needed and turned away from the loud speak that I was excitedly projecting. I was left to myself with my excitement and passion of the event. I felt as if I had unlocked a door that was waiting to be opened and upon opening it rushes of energy was spilling out. Energy in the form of information the spirits wanted to share.
First my intention was addressed. Since most questers always desire as their intention to be “more connected to source” my journey intention has that imbedded in it. How can I help the questers obtain the connection that they seek? What can I do to help?
The descendants said- one of the problems with human kind is this extreme feeling of disconnect that is commonly felt. Not just the questers but humans in general have a longing, a need a desire to connect with some sort of spiritual force. The spirits informed me that this disconnect is even more pronounced in our 21st century atmosphere. They further accentuated that the God that we pray to isn’t of this world (which I will call middle) but in another world (which I will call upper or above). The idea being that many people don’t see God living on the planet with them but is some place else, some place greater. This vast separation is part of the problem. Our indigenous fore-fathers worshiped the GODS around them. They shared the Earth together. They intermingled and communicated, they interacted.
Since I was doing the journey located in a city outside of Portland the spirits told me the primary GODs of this land were the volcano GODs. That these GOD lays dormant and silent. But she could provide so much fulfillment to those that connected in with her. The descendants where saying that in the future the peoples would be back connected to the GODS of their land and not feel that this was a blasphemous act but one of wholeness and unity. These GODS are involved in the circle that I was experiencing in the journey. There was oneness, togetherness, love and great empowerment. No one was less than, it was a circle of empowerment. The spirits said that the volcano GODS had much to share but they were plugged from the energies of disbelief, fear, and evolutionary disconnect.
People once danced at their feet, sang and drummed to them, made offerings, and asked for their guidance, protection and help. Now those that do drum and sing are drumming but not directing their intentions to those of this middle world but again seeking guidance and healing from those allies not of this world. If I really wanted to help the questers and the camp for that matter we would commit to listening to the middle world GODs again.
I was in tears by the end of the journey. Excited, enthralled, yet a bit worried of how to present this information to the group. I was still new to the vast information that came through at quest and how the template of the quest offered a container of great magnitude to connect with spiritual beings in an authentic and clear way. Now in 2012 and having conducted 27 quests, I am aware and still in awe of the vast and life changing information that comes through during these times.
I came out of the journey, took notes and sent out a message that we would gather as a community under the prayer tents. I brought my notes because I didn’t want to omit any of the details. I decided to read them to the group. I had a bit of fear course through my body as my strong Christian background surfaced often wanting to hold me back from attaining a certain empowerment that the old rules forbid and punish, thinking, “Oh Jan you have said some really blasphemous things before but this takes the cake.” I thought well if I read my notes, I won’t have to watch body language. I proceeded with my eyes down reading. I had about 5 pages of notes so it took some time to cover the material. When I finished I swallowed hard, surprised at how nervous I was and lifted my eyes. Before me were 60 people weeping and emotionally moved into a place of grace and passion. They were overwhelmed in passion to reconnect. Making declarations such as “I want to commit, I want to listen, I want to honor the volcano GOD!” I was overjoyed with their response and realized how silly it was for me to worry. Of course they would respond this way. Truth rings true. It brings a body response that resonates in a loving way. We decided to act as a group.
The land in Duffer is extraordinary. We had 140 acres to roam and expand upon. There is a ridge up above camp that has an exceptional view of Mt. Hood. Mt. Hood is one of the mountains in the Cascade Range that cuts through Oregon. It is a peak of 11,500 feet. In the summer there is often snow on the peak defining some of the massive glaciers that exist on her surface. The people of Portland often resonate to the mountain calling it “My Mountain” or “Our Mountain” some sort of affectionate term. In the morning at Quest, we often walk up to the ridge and sing songs to the mountain, the morning sun, to nature, and to all life. The view and aesthetic quality returns us with feelings of astonishment, grace, magnificence and awe: Qualities of nature that so irreplaceable by any other source.
The decision was made that we would make offerings for the mountain, things made of nature. That we would reside together after a couple of hours with our offerings and do a ceremony of reconnection. It is amazing what can be made from sticks, grass, pine cones, and love. I was in awe of the offerings that were put together. Some of them masterpieces of talent and imagination. They have burned a picture in my memory however I have no physical photographs of them.
We congregated on the ridge bearing our gifts. Hearts were open, minds were expanded and the ceremony began. Ken Shirk was our “singer” at that time. A singer in native tradition holds a very important role in the community. Songs that are considered sacred and powerful are held in the singer’s heart. They are shared at particular moments and the singer chooses which will be appropriate. The singer holds hundreds of songs and calls them up with accuracy appropriate to the moment. With a loud voice they sing out each tune. The rest of us follow along also well versed in the songs words and vocables.
At LightSong we have song classes to learn and study the songs. The songs carry great power from the ancestors and when sung summons these ancestors and other spirits to orchestrate the ceremony. Their presence is palpable even though they are non-physical beings. Ken began to sing and we all chimed in. Our feet were moving in a pow-wow fashion pulling energy up from the earth in a motion that always reminds me of pulling taffy from the ground. It is rhythmic and hypnotic. We all dropped into our hearts and out of our mind space feeling the moment with our entire beings. One by one people moved out of our line facing the mountain and stepped forward with their offering. They spoke out loud their commitment to listen, to connect to these middle world GODs, to reestablish a reverence to the vitality of nature and how it can fill us with indefinable fulfillment. Tears were streaming down our faces, voices raw from singing but exhilaration maintained until all of our 60 people had their special moment with the mountain. The offerings were mounded and spread across the ridge, facing Mt Hood. The energy was surreal and powerful; a spiritual interaction had been defined and captured in the matrix of energy. We left the ridge at our own pace, some people lingering for hours praying and filling with the extraordinary energy that had been evoked.
This particular quest took place in August. The follow September I took a trip to Nepal and Tibet. That trip was magnificent in itself but there is only one component of it I wish to expand upon for this story. Most of the time we were not in areas that serviced mass media but it happened that this particular day we were in a hotel that had television. Across the news was a broadcast from Portland Oregon. Mt. Saint Helens, a peak that is actually in Washington had erupted again with great significance. Significant enough to make international news! Mt. Saint Helens was an ice-cream peaked volcano that erupted in 1980 spewing ash and rock for hundreds of miles in the surrounding area. She is very close to Portland even though her actual location is in the state of Washington. After her eruption she appeared flat topped and concave. My children when they were little said that she lost her head.
The years after 1980 not much was happening with her at least not from our Portland view vantage point. An occasional puff of smoke billed out of her top but it was rare and definitely not international news worthy. On this particular day….she blew again and I heard about it on the other side of the world. I immediately knew from my shamanic perspective that there was a message that I was to tune into and investigate. I had my rattles with me because my journey to Nepal and Tibet was definitely a shamanic adventure with our group being lead by a well know shaman of Nepal.
I began my whistling and calling to my spirit helpers, stating an intention to connect in with this defined moment of Mt. Helens’ eruption. I was quickly informed by the spirits and the GOD of the volcano that “we were heard” that the volcano is now speaking directly to me/us and that this is a shaman’s dream to have an active volcano in the “backyard” to directly communicate with and obtain the information that was summoned. I was in awe and literally taken to my knees in appreciation, gratitude and respect. I was informed that our ceremony on the land in Duffer had conjured up enough power to unplug this mighty volcano GOD and that it was my responsibility to gather information about what is being offered to us as human beings begging for connection and the feeling of fulfillment.
Upon my return from Tibet I started this monumental process. The information that fills this book is the result of this. I have laid the background to help define that this was spiritually directed with such divine intervention that no part of me could deny this purpose. It was what I was to do. To bring this information forward to the best of my ability to be of service.