To my beautiful, loving, outstanding community. It is with a broken heart that I announce my husband Ed’s passing. He died on January 12, 2020 while I was away from the house. I have received numerous open-hearted loving cards, calls and correspondences. I feel incapable of answering these but please understand that I know I am wrapped in your arms and heart. I appreciate the outpouring beyond words.
We will have a celebration of life for Ed on April 11 @ 12:00 pm at Lewis and Clark college ~ Smith Hall. It will be a potluck. I know most of you only know Ed through me but still want to express yourselves in a tribute to him and our love. The gathering will be to join hearts in ceremony and community.
Ed was my “everything”. He was one of my greatest teachers and heart advisors. If I know anything about love it is because of Ed.
One of the things I hold most preciously is that Ed and I were always kind to each other. We spoke to each other with love and respect. We laughed a lot! We valued each other and what each of us stood for. A love affair in its most sacred expression.
For those of you that knew him you are lucky. For those of you that didn’t maybe you can feel into the words in his obituary and get a sense of what an amazing human being he was.
Ed R. Smith
12/30/1942 – 1/12/2020
Ed Smith was a dedicated Husband, Father, and “Papa” who always found more pleasure in giving than receiving. There isn’t a single individual on the planet who loved his family more. A real humanist, Ed always saw the goodness in others; believing in the value each one of us possess. He approached all of life’s problems with a level headedness to be admired, and would always seek to help his family, for which he was very proud, with their day-to-day challenges.
An avid reader and lover of politics, he started his mornings reading the paper cover-to-cover so he was up to date on the news of the day. He also loved completing the New York Times crossword puzzle; particularly enjoying the end of the week as the puzzle gets harder. With a background in English and British Literature, he occasionally submitted editorials to the Oregonian that were always published (he claimed to have a perfect record.) He surrounded himself with an impressive library of both books and cinema and enjoyed discussing their stories with family and friends; his personal collection from The Library of America alone could be applauded. A Mensa member with an IQ in the top one percent of the population, Ed really was a literal genius. He never, however, belittled those with whom he spoke and could ignite interest in all topics of discussion. An exceptional intellectual, his preferred method of communication was through compassion and kindness. Ed’s erudition of language served to communicate his thoughts of moral concern, and while speaking and writing he always championed for the underdog and their basic human rights. A diehard liberal democrat, Ed could often be heard explaining the incompetencies of politicians placed in office, stating “Democracy, although a risky and often messy form of government, is far preferable to a system that limits the choices of the populace.”
Ed was a funny and playful guy. No matter how serious the conversation, he was able to solicit a joke or a pun that would bring smiles and laughter. He adored playing with the kids and entertaining friends; often leaving a group declaring his signature departing phrase, “Glad you got to see me!”
Ed loved to travel and emphatically shared that love with his family; taking them all over the world to experience a multitude of cultures firsthand. As a liberal educator, Ed refused to believe that learning should be limited to the confines of a classroom. While traveling, it was he who would insist on staying where the locals lived. He was fascinated with witnessing others’ way of life and taught his children to honor and respect them equally. Ed and his wife, Jan, frequently traveled internationally.
Having worked 43 years in the field of education, Ed embodied everything it was to serve as an educator. Ed shared his passion for education and was solicited to speak at several educational conferences presenting the keynote address at different conferences all across the United States. Ed was awarded the Oregon Association of Central Office Administrators Achievement of Excellence Award in 2006.
Ed also had an exceptional palate; his passion for cooking and love of food seemed to never be quite satiated. His devotion for creating complex dishes knew no bounds as it was his favorite craft to share. He could often be found in his kitchen, “cookin’ up a storm” as he would say. All whom were lucky enough to dine on his cuisine held his food in high regard. Every holiday it was not uncommon to enjoy carefully constructed multiple course meals, all cooked from scratch by Ed. Often including at least three different homemade pies. Ed could bake, cook, and grill a meal fit for a king. He’d tell you “it’s simple enough”, but you’d never find his recipe as he never really had one; making it up as he went, guided by his taste buds.
He was a treasure, a true gem that was highly valued by all who met and interacted with him. Loved and admired by many; he will be greatly missed. Ed is survived by his wife of 35 years Jan Engels-Smith, his eldest daughter Alexandria Engels-Smith along with her children (Cohen, and twins Miro & Jocelyn), and his twins: son Grayson Engels-Smith and daughter Lauren Finley. He is also survived by his twin sister, Betty Smith in Texas.
Quotes and sayings by Ed
“Life is an adventure of endless possibilities. Dream well, laugh joyously, and love deeply, and the simplest events in life will become everyday miracles.” – Ed Smith
“However ill-defined the journey or indeterminate the destination, dream of unknown possibilities. To “know” what one wants to do and where one wants to end are the limiting factors and provide a measure of failure. Be true to what you value and to yourself and a life well worth living will emerge and give meaning to our existence. Love and joy await.” – Ed Smith
Ed’s response his son Grayson about Grayson’s reading of Paradise Lost. “Life is essentially a series of tragedies that we navigate between desperation and hope waiting for the morning sunrise after the stormy night. Pessimism? Cynicism? Or the motor of the faltering human condition? Is it reconciling this moment or an imagined future? If it is both, there is no need for an explanation- for there is none.” – Ed Smith
Some of Ed’s favorites:
“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” -Thomas Jefferson
“Many people consider the things which government does for them to be social progress, but they consider the things government does for others as socialism” -Earl Warren
By Jan Engels-Smith
Art by Margie McMahan
It has long been know that shamans work with spiritual allies. The belief is that these allies are what give the shaman his or her power for healing and miraculous results in moving energy. The allies are intimate companions of the shaman. These allies are honored with offerings of food, flowers, tobacco and other gifts as an expression of respect and appreciation and to establish a strong relationship that creates a strong bond between the shaman and these accommodating allies.
The most common shamanic allies are power animals and spiritual teachers. (For more information on this subject see my previous article titled the “Mystery and Magic of Power Animals.”) In this article I will expand on the use of allies in shamanic work and refer to very specific usages of allies for everyday living.
There are three worlds (upper, lower, and middle) in which a shaman typically journeys in an altered state of reality. The allies found in these worlds often vary in form and nature. In the style of shamanism that I teach, the upper and lower world allies are benevolent and these two particular worlds are havens of compassion and generosity. These worlds and the information obtained from allies in these places can be confidently assumed to be safe and loving. You can trust the information will be of the highest good. However, the middle world in which we live is very different and one can expect to find conditions that are not always conducive to easy support and benevolence. In this world there is a range of diverse good and evil and indifferent conditions that may or may not provide the spiritual sustenance that we are assured of in the upper and lower worlds. We as humans can not trust that every individual we encounter will act for our highest good or well being; thus, we have different needs to consider for our safety in our daily existence.
Much of what I will discuss was learned from Betsy Bergstrom, a friend and colleague of mine and an incredible shamanic practitioner.
There are four major allies in the middle world that can work to assist you in your immediate reality, although their origins can be traced to the upper or lower worlds. When journeys are done to obtain these allies the intention of the journey is that these beloved friends will work for your care in the middle world. The protection and gifts they bestow are immeasurable and I will refer to these four as the “dream team.” Whether you are a shamanic practitioner or not, you can call on this team for assistance. Once you have established a strong relationship with them, you can use this team throughout your life.
The first member of the dream team is the body protector. The body protector’s job is to protect you and your possessions. This protection is available to you in any situation in which you may be involved in your daily life—driving your car, getting onto a plane, walking into a crowded room or in any place or at any time you feel that you need protection. The process of using this ally involves the ally merging with you and embodying you with their protective properties. This predetermined combining of energies is mutually understood between you and your body protector and is part of the intention that is set in the initial communication between the two of you. A typical intention might be, “I am asking for a compassionate, loving spiritual ally to come to me from either the upper or lower worlds that will be my body protector in the middle world. This ally will merge with me and take care of me upon request. This ally will stay with me and become part of my non-physical team that is compassionate to my needs as a human living in this unstable dualistic realty.”
Typically, a shamanic journey is done to meet this trusted ally. If a person is not adept at journeying, guided imagery or meditation can also be used. Once the ally appears, the participant would ask, “Will you be my body protector protecting not only my physical body but also all my possessions?” An agreement, a spiritual contract, is reached and the ally takes on the role of protector. This ally may be present in the middle world but because he originates in the upper or lower world, he can be trusted to meet the expectations of the contract. These spiritual allies don’t lie or make false promises. This journey, guided imagery, or meditation will envision the participant and the ally merging, and the powerful energy of the ally becomes a protective force in the human. Often there is a noticeable sensation that takes place within the participant that recognizes this joining of life forces. The participant can then refer to the ally as my body protector. The form the ally has is in the spirit realm, such as a bear, eagle, native elder, etc., will dissolve in the merging. Although there are many sources one may draw on for this protector, the body protector becomes present in the middle world and immediately accessible for support.
The second ally is a gatekeeper. Gatekeepers have been identified throughout history in many cultures and are often present in mythological stories. One of my favorite examples of a gatekeeper is from Norse mythology and is depicted in the recent film Thor. Heimdall is the gatekeeper standing on the rainbow bridge and denying access into the city to any unauthorized beings. Gatekeepers are all seeing and all knowing and have exceptional authority and powers. Another use of the gatekeeper in spiritual practice is to serve to regulate energy that might impact us. We are exposed to all kinds of frequencies of energetic vibrations in our daily life. Some of these frequencies are good for us and others may be seriously harmful. The gatekeeper’s job is to distinguish among these energies and only allow energies for our well being to enter into our energetic fields. Even good energies can come through too intensely and cause discomfort and the gatekeeper serves to regulate the intensity of the energy that affects us so that it might serve our greater benefit. For example, those of us that practice merging with great forces for empowerment sometimes have trouble handling the intensity of some of the powers with which we seek to merge. Training the body to hold higher frequencies of energy is part of the development that is needed for energy medicine or shamanic practitioners. The power of these energies is often not taken into account by those practicing or dabbling in energy medicine protocols and the person can feel exhausted or “blown out of the water” from an experience. My allies jokingly used the analogy of one who has a 120 circuit being plugged into a 240 outlet. Imagine your hair standing straight up and feeling blown apart.
Being around people or energies that are too chaotic may create difficult energy fields. I have difficulty going to public places such as mall where the combination of noise, overstimulation in advertising displays, and the frenetic energy of shoppers often will leave me headachy, tense, and out-of-sorts. My gatekeeper’s job in this environment is to dial me down—closing down my chakras so I don’t absorb the chaotic energies into my system. Your personal gatekeeper has a full-time job given the nature of our hectic lives.
The procedure for meeting your gatekeeper is the same as that described for the body protector—state your intention clearly and create a positive relationship. A typical intention might be, “I am asking for a compassionate, loving spiritual ally from either the upper or lower worlds to come to me that will be my gatekeeper in the middle world. This ally will merge with me and take care of me upon request. This ally will stay with me and become part of my non-physical team that is compassionate to my needs as a human living in such an unstable dualistic realty.” Once the ally appears the participant should ask, “Will you be my gatekeeper, performing all the various roles for which a gatekeeper is responsible?” An agreement, the spiritual contract, is agreed on and the ally takes on that role. Again, since this ally is usually from the upper or lower world the participant can trust this contract and trust that these spiritual allies don’t lie or make false promises. Also, in this journey, guided imagery, or meditation, the participant allows the energy of the ally to join or merge with him or her. Often, as with the protector, there is a noticeable feeling that takes place within the participant that reinforces this joining of life forces. The participant can then refer to the ally as My Gatekeeper.
The third ally is the Angel of Neutrality. This ally comes from the angelic realm and has the role of alleviating judgment. That role alone can be a full-time job with humans! Some people feel that the angelic realm is part of the upper world; however, I do not. I see it as a separate realm that holds a group of beings—angels—that have various jobs and abilities. Most of these great beings are dedicated to humans and to their well being, protection, and evolution.
A great shamanic or energy medicine practitioner will have the gift of envisioning health, well being, or divinity in the person with whom they are working. If this is difficult for you, the practice of using an angel of neutrality can be extremely beneficial. This non-judging ability can create miraculous things in a healing session. If we all practiced this way of looking at others we would miraculously change the world and the human condition. The Angel of Neutrality keeps us neutral, not judging good or bad but allowing, accepting and unconditionally loving each event or person that we encounter. Energetically a judgment alters that which we judge, just as in quantum physics the observer alters the results of an experiment. The practice of non-judgment or neutrality has tremendous benefits for us all.
The procedure for meeting your Angel of Neutrality is the same as that described for the previous two allies but with a different intention. A typical intention might be, “I am asking for a compassionate, loving Angel of Neutrality to work and join with me in the middle world. This angel will merge with me and take care of me upon request. This angel will stay with me and become part of my non-physical team that is compassionate to my needs as a human living in such an unstable dualistic realty.” Once the angel appears the participant would ask, “Will you be my Angel of Neutrality helping me to stay neutral and non judging?” An agreement, the spiritual contract, is reached and the Angel of Neutrality takes on that role. Since this angel is from the angelic realm and the angels in general are here to help humans, the participant can trust this contract. Also, in this journey, guided imagery, or meditation the participant allows the energy of the Angel of Neutrality to join or merge with him or her. Often there is a noticeable feeling that takes place within the participant that reinforces this joining of life forces. The participant can then refer to the ally as my Angel of Neutrality.
The fourth and final ally of the dream team is your true self. The true self is the part of you that is unwounded and unwoundable. The true self is divine. Technically speaking if you lived always in your true self you would have no need for any of the other three allies. You are unwoundable, so there is no need for protection; you are divine, so chaotic energies would have no effect so there would be no need for a gatekeeper; and the true self carries no judgment, so there would be no need for an angel of neutrality. Your wounds make you vulnerable, expose you to negative energies, and create the judgments that you hold. The true self is the part of you that lives in an actualized state of your full potential. Unfortunately, this part of you is the part that is the most buried and unavailable throughout your life. The understanding of this self merits possibly a lifetime of understanding and practicing; however, he or she is part of your dream team and if recognized through practice and spiritual development has the potential to bring you closer to your own divinity in a subtle but potent way.
Ask for your true self to appear. Envision your perfect self. Perfect body, mind, personality, persona; all the traits you wish you embodied. The only stipulation is that this being needs to be YOU, not the Christ, the Buddha, or some other revered master. Ask to merge with this version of you and feel what if feels like to become yourself.
The practice of merging with this dream team daily or even several times through daily repetition will have amazing effects on your consciousness. You will be using the gifts of non-ordinary reality in your ordinary world. The blending of these two realities is part of the New Earth, the new reality that I envision our future to be. Empowered, loving, unlimited humans enjoying life to the fullest.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Winter solstice is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. This day marks the death period, the turning point from darkness to light. The day is recognized and accorded special significance in many cultures. Often it is designated as the North on the medicine wheel of life. This dark time is indicative of a time of release, to let go of the old self, and to prepare for new beginnings—the new growth of spring. Rituals are performed in order to enact this time of release. The period of darkness extends from December 21st Solstice to March 21st. This is a perfect time to let go of the old and to bring in the new. Whether it is the winter solstice, the first of the year, or any time during the cold winter months, the time is right for the psyche to respond to a releasing and reclaiming ceremony.
During the change from one year to another is the only time of the year that so much of the world is on the same page energetically, which I actually find quite amazing since one of the hardest things to do energetically is to have agreement amongst people, especially worldwide. This like-mindedness creates a massive wave of energy, more than you could ever muster on your own, no matter how elaborate the ceremony you are conducting. It is the largest possible amount of energy coming in from around the world.
One of the laws of energy is that the more energy that is added to something the greater impact it has and that like frequencies of vibration actually gain in mass, density and volume as they accumulate. This cumulative force creates an enormous thoughtform. With intention you can wield this thoughtform to work for your advantage. Thus, ceremonially we can capitalize on the wave of agreement throughout the world, that it is a good time to let go and to declare something new for yourself.
Rituals are performed in order to enact this time of release. Rituals help us to feel the experience, to have an actual tangible event locked into our memory. Rituals also help us to focus our intention and with focused intention miracles happen. One of my favorite rituals is that of creating a Talisman.
A Talisman is an object which is created to hold an aspect of an individual. Many people are trying to rid themselves of a belief, an attitude, a characteristic, a behavior, or even a feeling about another person that has burdened them—whatever is making their life less than perfect. From a shamanic perspective the making of a Talisman is a powerful procedure to perpetuate the release process. In fact, the Talisman becomes the object of release. This is the incredible power of the Talisman; it isn’t just a symbol of an attitude or belief, but it becomes the attitude or belief. This all comes about through focused intent and learning how to imbue power into an object.
I highly recommend that you intensify the power of your Talisman by designing and constructing a Talisman using great care and intent.
To fashion your Talisman, I suggest you go out into nature. Have in your mind your intention and ask Spirit to help you. Take a walk and start to collect sticks, grass, flowers, leaves, and other objects that you can put together into a talisman. You might create a Y shaped talisman, one side representing release and the other side representing what you want to gain or create. As you are crafting your talisman you want to imbue it with energy. To instill the positive energy you seek, hold both the images of what you want to release and what you want to declare in your mind. I suggest that you release what you wish to divest yourself of and what you wish to bring into being individually and separately, going through the imbuement process twice. Imbuing can take on many forms. Shamanic imbuing is done by physically transferring energy into your object or talisman. You can blow it in, dance it in, drum it in, rattle it in, or by any combination of actions. The point is to transfer from you the suffering or pain that you feel from whatever you want to release and move it into the talisman so the talisman now embodies this feeling and becomes it. The suffering has now transferred out of you into the talisman, so that now you are free. The same is true for the transference of the things you wish to declare but in the opposite direction. The talisman then assumes the nature of that which you wish to create and transfers it into your being. In this ritual, the talisman is destroyed by fire. When the talisman is burned there is a great transmutation of energy back to you during the ceremony. Your declaration is heard in the universe and you receive the feelings of this transference. Since I do this ceremony as a community event, I often have my students verbally declare to the community what it is that they declare and then the community parrots that back to them in a strong voice. The receiver is then receiving from the fire as well as from the community the affirmation of their declaration.
When you add in elements such as fire you compound the power of the action. Calling on the power of the elements has been a shamanic practice since the beginning of time. Fire is often identified as the element of transformation and transmutation. When things are thrown into the fire with intention the fire then takes from us what needs to be released and transmutes the energy. Make sure that everything on your Talisman is burnable. You can perform a fire ceremony as a community event with a huge bonfire or it can be in an outdoor fire pit, a fireplace or even with a candle that represents the transmutation process. In the case of using a candle, I would write down what is in the talisman on a piece of paper and burn the paper in the candle flame, then bury the talisman in the ground and let the Earth work her magic for you in replacement of the fire.
Working with fire can be extremely exhilarating. As a community we form a circle around the fire. We all have drums and rattles. Individually each person steps out from the circle and begins to dance his/her talisman. They dance around the fire, holding all of their intentions in their heart, building energy with their dance. The community enhances the energy with their drums and rattles. Possibly, there are encouraging calls going out to the individuals as they dance, encouraging them to build more and more energy as they dance. When the time feels right, the person with the talisman will stop at the fire and plunge their talisman into the fire. The community breaks into chaotic and exuberant supporting sounds heightening the experience for the release process. The person at the center then pauses, gathers his or her thoughts, then declares with strong voice what it is that they wish to declare or claim for them self. We all say this back to them in exclamation.
The sacred smoke will carry the intentions of both release and declaration out into the universe.
As you are constructing your Talisman, bring your total intention and concentration into the fact that the Talisman is your belief. The nature of your object is not what is important; the power and the intention that you put into it is. Do this in silence, in a place where you will not be disturbed and where you can concentrate. Do not share with family or friends what you are intending. Many of us have the habit of breaking the power of the moment by talking about it. You want the power to build inside of this Talisman until you are ready to burn it. When not praying with it, keep it covered, preferably in red cloth. You may wish to keep the Talisman with you for a few days, even sleep with it by your bedside. I suggest that you meditate with it, forming a strong energy of intention. This is another way to imbue your talisman. You will do this until you feel that the Talisman “becomes” your intentions. Watch for magic, the Talisman can actually start looking different as it shapeshifts into your intentions.
Intention is one of the greatest creative forces that exist in the universe.
Intentions have a profound impact on your brain and your heart. Forming the intention puts energy into motion, both in the body and energetically in the ethers. That is why focused intention is so powerful—actually miraculous at times. We witness this power in the results of prayer, of conscious visioning and consciously bringing things into manifestation. Prayer is focused intention. Masterminding is focused intention, Envisioning is focused intention. When intentions are focused, the power is greater and the manifestation potential is accelerated and magnified.
Acknowledging the miracles that we have all witnessed and received adds power to our intentions. This is a divine time to say thank you to the helping spirits, power animals, faeries, weather beings, light beings, angels, arch angels, ancestors, descendants, counsels, star and earth beings and teachers. Be sure and thank the fire after the ceremony. Acknowledging the bounty given to you from the invisible realms and holding this appreciation in your heart during this ceremony will enhance your experience.
If you have others that want to share in this ceremony, invite them. You are creating the aspect of community, like minds coming together in support and a way to intensify the energy. When you add in fire, community as witness, and the emotional impact of your actions, you have an intention that lives on in the Universe! The power is enormous.
A powerful declaration to the universe!
by Jan Engels-Smith
My life has been filled with changing situations, opportunity, and shifts in consciousness. Where we allow our self to be open and receptive to possibilities, we live in a state of constant learning and expansion of awareness. My training and degree in the hard sciences provided me with traditional knowledge of our world and universe. My degree and training in psychology helped me to explore the intricacies and mysteries of our mind and our behaviors. My experiences with a Lakota family, where I was adopted by a Lakota elder, added to my understanding of our relationship to the Earth and spirituality. My work with shamanic healing and energy medicine, including the creation of a school for passing this knowledge to others, has freed my mind to engage with the spiritual world and alternative universes. I am amazed at how life unfolds in all of its magic, mystery, and the unexpected.
We live in many realities even in our everyday existence. We might have a work life where our behaviors, attitudes, and interactions differ in significant ways from our family life or our social life or our spiritual life. Obviously, these “realities” intersect but there is also distinctiveness and originality in each of our lived worlds. Imagine then the extension of this analogy into the broader presence of our being in multiple universes where we act, react, and interact in alternate realities—true to our essence and in a sustained reality that is faithful to our true self but unconstrained by limitations of space, time, and possibility. This is the realm of a quantum existence—nonrational, true, and infinitely expansive.
The boundlessness of such universes is the source of unimpeded opportunity, ceaseless joy, and confirmation of the greatness of our existence. The recognition of such truths diminishes and ultimately eliminates the negative impacts of our false sense of tragedy, pain, and emptiness.
Evidences of alternate realities come in many forms and from many sources. People often remember vividly and precisely different events from their past that conflict with the accepted truth or historical record. This phenomenon is so prevalent that it has been given a name—the Mandela Effect. The term comes from the fact that many people recall that they had read about the death of Nelson Mandela when he was incarcerated in South Africa in the 1980s. This well-known leader of the movement against apartheid died in 2013 after leaving prison and becoming the leader of his nation. The vividness of the memory of his earlier death has raised questions about what happened. Many other instances of memories held with great certainty by people across many cultures and in many eras has given rise to the idea that these events, although seemingly contradictory, did occur in alternate universes or dimensions and alternate realities.
I suspect that we all have had the experience of looking for an object where we were certain we had left it (imagine your car keys) only to find that it was not there. After a fruitless search, we return to where we began and the object is where we had originally imagined it to be. We might ascribe this strangeness to our faulty memory and our carelessness but we also were certain that the object was not there until it was there. However, what if had been both there and not there simultaneously and we had been in both places. Before rejecting the irrationality of this idea, consider the following experience I had many years ago.
When I began my career, I worked with many patients who were diagnosed as having dissociative identity disorder, which is characterized as the presence of more than one sense of identity within a single human body. These alternate identities are commonly known as alters or dissociated parts. At the time this was popularly known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). I had the opportunity to work with a doctor from Africa who integrated some indigenous ritual practices into specialized treatment in a hospital setting. These unconventional approaches proved to be of interest to a number of practitioners in the hospital setting and a decision was made to create demonstration sessions with patient volunteers and to have panel discussions related to the observations. One of the members of the panel was Truddi Chase, an American author best known for her book When Rabbit Howls (1987) and her interview on the Oprah Winfrey show. Her life was depicted in a television movie. Truddi brought insight and attention to the event. Doctors and the media exhibited a high level of interest.
I specifically remember three of the patients in the study—one who expressed cerebral palsy as an illness of one of his alters, one who was completely blind in one of his alters with a thick blue film over his eyes, and a heart surgeon who had multiple alters with different personalities. Thorough physical exams had been performed on the first two patients by doctors outside the study. The determination of cerebral palsy in the first patient was based on the deformation of his limbs based on bone measurements and atrophy of muscles. Eye exams were performed on the second patient to determine total blindness. Each of the patients was asked to move into a different alter. The patient with cerebral palsy transformed into a robust and athletic appearing individual with evident strength and energy increases. The blind patient became sighted and the blue film disappeared from his eyes. The heart surgeon did not change physically but his new alter differed in attitude, vocabulary, and posturing. He seemed to take on the persona of a person who lived on the streets.
This experience affected me in profound ways, but it would be many years later that I would come to realize its true significance. I became a shamanic practitioner and along with my experience with my adopted Lakota Sioux family expanded my understanding of the healing achieved with shamanism, the existence of paranormal mysteries, and the significance of the unexplainable. These realms of enlightenment opened many doors for me to expand beyond the artificial limits of our so-called rational condition. Miracles became common events of possibility rather than fanciful imaginings.
The concept of simultaneity references the relation between two events assumed to be happening at the same time in a particular frame of reference and is common to quantum physics. Imagine extending this concept into explaining the “unexplainable.” Dissociated personalities, seemingly contradictory histories of events, déjà vu, simultaneous expression of same thoughts by two individuals at the same time, a predilection for knowing what will happen before it occurs, and other strange unexplained phenomena—all disrupt the rhythms of our rational world and compel us to think beyond our simplistic “proven” conventions.
My curiosity about quantum physics and how it relates to shamanism led me to the realization that many of the unexplainable events that I have experienced could be explained by the existence of parallel dimensions. In reflecting back over my career as a shamanic practitioner, I realized how different my approach to healing was from my colleagues. I was never able to fully understand and name that difference until recently. Now I believe that what I have been practicing all these years is quantum shamanism.
My awakening to this recognition began over two decades ago when I asked the spirits to show me what I looked like to them. They revealed me as having no body or physical form. I was light, sound, and patterns consisting of small particles bouncing around with no physical restraints or boundaries. Because of this realization of “who I was”, I could become “unidentified” with my body when I was doing healings. I could also see my clients in their unbound states. I could actually see them as a radiant being unafflicted by whatever concern we were working on together. My client and I were two intersecting fields of energy that were disengaged from the confines of the projected affliction. There was freedom, love, nonjudgement, gratitude, and awe. This was a world of high frequency, and magic. A parallel reality where radiance and health existed as the norm.
We exist in multiple forms simultaneously in different but parallel universes. The idea that the blind can become sighted, that tumors can suddenly disappear, that miracles occur may be nothing more than an individual moving from one dimension where one is experiencing an infirmity to another dimension where that same person is simultaneously free of the affliction.
Ancient shamanism often involved trances where shamans assumed different personalities and spoke in mysterious ways as though they were in two places at once. Shamanic practitioners today pass from one dimension to another as they engage with clients. We have long recognized the existence of spirit beings from other realms that guide and assist us in our efforts. The modern practice of shamanism does not necessarily conflict with our current life but only with our limited capacity to see and understand ourselves as sentient beings in alternative universes who can gain the capacity to better comprehend our limitless possibilities.
Imagination by Jan Engels-Smith
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
Often when I teach I find myself moving into an altered state of consciousness and realize that I am beginning to channel my allies that are invested in communicating a message to my students. I then listen intently to what comes out of my mouth and learn, as do my students, the meaning of the message. One of these teachings came through recently. In our gateway class at LightSong Through the Rabbit Hole: Explore and Experience the Shamanic Journey and Energy Medicine, we teach how to journey and meet two of our allies in the spirit world. A basic tenet of this experience is to convey how to move into an altered state of consciousness that is actually using different parts of the brain. I have written on the topic of left brain-right brain on various occasions. In a brief description here, I am using the description from my spiritual allies and it is not necessarily limited to the scientific explanation.
The left side of the brain processes information sequentially and is considered the source of analytical thought. This part of our brain recognizes parts that make up a whole. It looks for an anticipated organization that “makes sense” in the way that we have been trained to think. In processing verbal information, this part of the brain recognizes that one stimulus comes from another, and verbal perception and generation depends on the awareness of a sequence in which sounds or stimuli occur. A left-brain dominant individual might have trouble “making sense” of right-brain thinking.
How then does right-brain thinking occur? The right brain hemisphere specializes in combining the parts to produce a whole. Unlike the left, the right hemisphere organizes things simultaneously and perceives holistically. It specializes in a method of thought that recognizes and constructs patterns and is most efficient at visual and spatial processing. This is our source for processing non-verbal stimuli. We are born right-brain dominant. Dreamers, artists, musicians, and visionaries are often right-brain dominant because what left-brain thinkers see as “non-sense,” right-brain thinkers understand as an alternative way of “making sense.”
Modern Western societies, especially since the time of Isaac Newton and Rene Descartes, have developed a highly analytical and mechanistic approach to understanding the world. They have sought a natural and rational explanation for existence that is highly dependent on observable and scientific phenomena that leaves little room for accepting the possibility of supernatural causality. Spirituality has a lesser status, as such, in left-brain dominant societies.
The Nature of Left Brain Thinking:
- Dominate in our society
- Sequential ordering
- Grounded in logic
- Cause and effect dependent
- Linear and defined by past/future thinking
- Seat of the ego and judgement
- Governed by rationality
- Restricted by language
- Limited possibilities
The Nature of the Right Brain
- Unlimited possibilities
- Non-dependent on linear time lines
- Open to possibilities
- Promotes unity in all things
- Capable of nonrational thought
- Senses beyond the limitations of language
- Source of creativity
- Home to the emotions of love and compassion
- Less valued in modern Western culture
We are all familiar with the term clairvoyance which derives from the French clair meaning “clear” and voyance meaning “vision.” It is extrasensory in that it implies gaining knowledge beyond the restrictions of the five senses. The right brain lends itself to the developing of many forms of increasing clarity that can be obtained through openness and practice. For example, consider the following clarifications of one’s mind:
- Clairvoyant—clear vision
- Clairaudient—clear hearing
- Clairsentient—clear feeling
- Claircogent—clear knowing
- Clairolfactory—clear smelling
- Clairtangency—clear touching
- Clairgustancy—clear tasting
- Clairempathy—clear emotion
The shamanic journey involves the full employment of the brain. In classes on journeying, I emphasize that the experience is using a part of the brain that is not utilized much in our left brain society. Journeying allows you to become more whole brained. Moving into this unexplored area of the brain can be feel odd and untrustworthy to the egoic mind, but we can acquire greater and greater clarity in all of our senses and develop an expansiveness of thought that is not limited by the constraints of the analytical brain. By developing our powers of insight and creativity, we can broaden our vision of the truth of the universe and understand more fully who we are and who we can be.
We live in a time where most people seem to live in fight or flight state of reality, which means you don’t feel safe or capable or don’t have time to feel connected. People are functioning in a survival state of existence. During fight or flight, it is impossible to access your natural abilities, your inner truth, or to move out of the grip or the ego in the left brain that functions in high gear around survival. We also live in a time of fantastic verbiage and movies that visually explore the use of superpowers and virtually realities; however, this seems to be restricted to a group of Marvel characters that have these superpowers and the rest of us are left dependent on their intervention into our life. As I was speaking to my class I heard myself say, “You too have a Super Power—one of the greatest on the planet. It is hidden in plain sight and has laid dormant inside of you. This superpower is your imagination. The Imagination is the key that unlocks the door into the right brain and into the creation of a new reality.”
The imagination has been denigrated into a meaning of falsity, unreal, or made up. The spirits then went on to explain how the imagination allows us to see into parallel realities of existence, through the veils, and informs us as to what is there.
The imagination can kick start a journey propelling us into this alternative reality that the right brain has access to with all of its functions of the clairs, the non-existence of physical law, the essence of NOW and total and full empowerment of self, to just name a few of the powers we can acquire. The imagination has roots and expressions in daydreaming, another superpower of the human mind which has also been belittled and vilified especially by teachers as their students would lose focus on their lectures.
Years ago, I was training a group of people to prepare for their vision quest, which is prayer intensive. The participants are literally supposed to constantly pray as they sit for days and nights in the wilderness “crying for a vision.” The spirits in their guidance to me said, “Tell the questers not to pray.” I was shocked and puzzled at the message I had just received. The spirits went on to explain that people are notoriously poor at praying. Many prayers are filled with fear, doubt, begging, uncertainty, and many of the low frequency feelings that prevent the prayer from manifesting. Instead, I was told, have the questers DAYDREAM. A daydream is filled with empowerment, visions of grandeur, unlimited possibilities, unlimited potential, magical thinking and of course imagination. It brings about feelings of joy, happiness, awe, appreciation and gratitude and excitement! These are the feeling that manifest the reality that you wish to produce.
I realize now that imagination is a superpower, daydreaming is a superpower and I can use these understandings not only when I teach journeying to students but in my own life during my prayers and meditation and most of all when I am interacting with my grandchildren! Kids today understand the language of superpower. They easily engage in developing the superpower of imagination. Try it out with the little ones and explore and celebrate where they take this ability. Let’s create a new generation of beings that revel in and acclaim imagination. Let them loose to release what has been captured and hidden in plain site within humans since the beginning of time.
Realize that imagination is a creation energy. It is a human power and has been used to create everything from a rocket ship to calculus to a hairpin. It is obvious that man-made objects were conceptualized from someone’s imagination. But what of the stars, galaxies, and lifeforms? Could these too be from someone’s imagination. The New Earth already exists in its exquisite form of collaboration, unification, health, and wellbeing for all things. We can bring it into manifestation through our imagination by imagining a world that lies within our reach if we have the prescience to envision and accept it.
Power Animals and How they Differ
By Jan Engels-Smith
LightSong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine, the school that I founded, is based on linking people to their divine connections in the spirit realm. All too often this connection has been lost. We start this process in the basic journey class called Through the Rabbit Hole. This is a gateway class that is amazing and is transformative in multiple ways. Doors open, hearts are healed, and there is inspiration, motivation, enthusiasm and hope. The feelings that many people have of disconnect are lessened and an awareness occurs that this disconnect is and has been an illusion that our culture and lack of understanding has created. I teach the class called Through the Rabbit Hole two times a year, usually in January and September.
We start with the basics—connecting you to your power animal. I was adopted into a Lakota family in 1992. I learned from one of the elders that the Lakota believe that we are all born with 405 helping spirits assigned to us. 405 is not a literal number but a number of huge qualities. Very different from “one power animal,” there is a team of divine beings that are assigned to YOU. Just you. They are of service to you for all your needs. These Beings know who you have been, your purpose, and how to help you, and they have magical powers of intervention and healing. You do not need to know all 405 but throughout your tenure with LightSong you learn about many of them and learn to use and incorporate their abilities into your daily life. It is a wonderful experience. Not all spirit allies are animals; however, there seems to be a special bond with the animals for the initial undertaking of discovery that is loving and natural.
I always bring back a power animal for my clients in their healing ceremony. More often than not, the animal that appeared had a special feeling to the client—one of connection. They often discover a past connection such as having lived on a street named Wildcat Way or that the power animal was a favorite stuffed animal as a child, or that they had lived at the coast during their childhood and talked the sealions daily. I remember there was one power animal that I didn’t recognize when it appeared. It was a bird and I told my client, “This bird is here but I am not sure what it is.” The bird flew right into my face and said I am a Night Hawk. My client laughed and said that was one of her favorite birds. Years later this client asked me to perform her marriage ceremony. The ceremony was outside in a beautiful meadow. During the ceremony a group of night hawks started circling above us. My client and I both laughed as the amazing divine connection that nature was vividly displaying for us both.
In the Christian faith, people often speak of guardian angels as beings that are available to provide special assistance in the time of need. In the blending of faiths that I practice, I too believe in guardian angels, but in shamanism there is the belief that we are born with a power animal that serves as an ally throughout our lives; although, we may not always be aware of this formidable supporter. As we grow into adulthood in the West, it is likely that we are not familiar with the concept of a power animal, but these beings are always available if we decide to seek them out and call on them for support.
Children, in their divine innocence, are assigned a power animal at birth and this spiritual helper intervenes to buffer the child from the notorious bumps and bruises that each child is so subject to. Children’s resilience and adaptability is enabled by these divine spirits that keep them safe until they mature. We often lose contact with these divine spiritual beings as we grow up and unfortunately put away “childish things.” Our loss of imagination and dismissal of “magic” as a force in our lives causes us to sever our connections to the spiritual world and to our power animal. Power animal loss affects us in many of the same ways as soul loss, as they are closely connected. In shamanic practice, the restoration of lost parts of the soul is aided by the retrieval of one’s power animal and this spiritual helper sustains us in difficult situations.
The signs of power animal loss and/or soul loss may include:
- Chronic fatigue, depression, misfortune, faulty or failed relationships, emotional problems or suicidal tendencies;
- The inability to overcome some emotional trauma from the past such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or distress in childhood;
- Addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other debilitating dependencies;
- Repetitive or major illnesses or a problem with recovery;
- Shame, guilt, or a feeling of unworthiness;
- A feeling of powerlessness.
In difficult situations, when we are in our greatest need, the absence of our power animal exposes us to greater danger and the opportunity to heal is lessened without this divine intervention. Fortunately, as we seek to recover from trauma, possibly by seeking out a soul retrieval from a shamanic practitioner, the retrieval of our power animal can help us to fully mend and this spiritual helper can remain with us to sustain our recovery. Our power animal does not cease to exist when he has left us because of our ceasing to believe in him; he has simply bided his time awaiting our decision to seek him out and bring him back to help us.
You may think of your power animal as having traveled from you (although it might be more accurate to understand that you have traveled far from him) or you might consider that he has been sleeping for many years. In either scenario, you have been exposed to debilitating and harmful conditions and have suffered the consequences of facing your suffering alone. If you have entered in a quest for personal enlightenment, healing, and reconnection to the universe, then you would be well served to retrieve your power animal and accept his willingness to aid and abet you in the restoration of your wellbeing, regaining your own personal power, and thriving in your spiritual development.
I would make one distinction in reference to power animals. If you engage with shamanic healing, you may be aware of the shaman calling on a diverse range of power animals to effect healing and to restore wellness in an individual. These power animals are allies of the shaman and assist the shaman both in healing sessions as well as everyday life. The power animals incorporated in shamanic practices often are assisting with tasks that you are involved with. These power animals can come and go without power loss to the individual. These are not the power animals to which I am referring when I speak of your retrieval of your personal power animal. As an example of this, when I was writing my first book Becoming Yourself, I asked for a power animal to come forth in the writing process. A raccoon appeared. I inquired from the raccoon what were his gifts that he could offer me during my writing. He informed me that it was his dexterity with his hands. He would help me with typing.
Your unique connection to the spiritual world is shaped by your individual divinity and your power animal is specific to your birth, life, and person. In your life you may not have a full awareness of your power animal because you have created a distance between him and you, but you possess the capacity to recover this important ally in your life and the ability to reconnect and draw on his strength. Your personal power animal is important because he is specific to you and, once retrieved, can be one of your strongest allies. For me, the discovery of my birth power animal took years. I had many allies by this time that did all sorts of tasks for me, especially in my career of being a shamanic practitioner. I had a power animal for soul retrieval, my primary healing technique, and one for extractions that I performed regularly. The list is extensive, with various allies that I use for various reasons, but I could never get an answer to my question, “Who is my birth ally?” I finally had an experience that undoubtedly revealed my birth power animal. It was powerful, magical and extraordinary. It changed my life. I will write about this experience in the future.
The variety of power animals that I access provide different support in different circumstances. You might have one power animal that you call on when you are feeling fear in a frightening experience. A powerful tiger might cause you to feel safer because of the fearlessness of your ally. In another circumstance, you might seek out a power animal that you identify with as providing peace and comfort when you are in need of gentle solace and a relief from tension.
People often confuse power animals with totem animals. With totem animals there is a recognition of a particular animal that most characterizes a person’s own natures or their desired natures. I have a friend who is funny and playful in his everyday habits and he identifies readily with the coyote, which often reflects those same behaviors. An adventurous individual might find that his totem is an eagle that soars to great heights. An individual seeking confidence might discover that his totem is the brave lion. Again, totem and power animals are different. Our power animal does not necessarily represent parts of our persona. We do not invent our power animals; we discover them, or they discover us. To find out their purpose in our lives it is best to ask the animal. Many people will turn to books such as Animal Speaks by Ted Andrews or the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sands to find out why an animal came into their lives. Turning to resources such as these can be helpful in understanding the basic qualities of the animal but your best source of information about its appearance as your “power animal” will always come from the animal itself.
There is no better or lesser power animal. The great elephant is not superior to the small prairie dog or even the earthworm. In the great design of the universe, each living being plays a significant role in existence and is equally valued. There is no hierarchy in the spirit world, which is where these allies exist. The earthworm, the honeybee, and the songbird are essential and make invaluable contributions to the continuing functioning of the universe. As you seek out the restoration of your power animal, stay open to all possibilities and you might be surprised by your discovery of this divine ally.
I have known of animals actually appearing in Ordinary Reality when its human was in danger. A client of mine was at home late at night and a burglar tried to enter her house. She instantly asked her panther to protect her. Hiding in her hall closet, she heard the loud, aggressive growl of a huge cat emanating outside the house by the door where the burglar was trying to get in. In moments, she heard the burglar scream and run off. She called the police. After their arrival and their usual questions, she went outside with them. One of the policemen pointed out that her very dusty and dirty car had huge paw prints that started from the hood and went to the trunk. Stunned, she realized that her panther spirit guide had chased the burglar away and left its tracks on her car to prove it! Power animals are the greatest protectors in the spirit world.
We have much to learn about the spiritual realm. The journey provides a format for gathering information concerning your own intention and also for listening openly for what the spirits may want to express to you. I have found the shamanic journey to be one of the most profound ways of connecting with the spirits and one of the richest sources of understanding and awareness.
In novels, movies, and television shows, the concept of alternative realities has become a staple of contemporary science fiction. This phenomenon extends beyond the visionary imaginations of novelists, screenwriters, and film directors. The expansiveness of the new sciences has exposed us to the factual consideration of the mysteries of the universe and human consciousness. More and more we can conceive of spirituality and science as fellow travelers in the exploration of meaning in existence by confronting the mysteries that have engaged civilization from ancient indigenous cultures to the communities of quantum physicists. The questions raised by these disparate groups seem to lead to remarkably similar enquiries.
As a shamanic practitioner with university degrees in biology, chemistry and psychology, I have come to understand that the seeming conflicts that we think exist are not a problem of truth, but an issue of how we perceive the universe and how we can come to a deeper knowledge of reality. Let me provide an example and a practice that might help us to understand.
Each July my school and healing center, LightSong, hosts the LightSong Telepathic Communication Practicum. It is an annual event that often has profound spiritual experiences laced through each day. I am the intercessor for this event and get numerous direct downloads from spirit that I incorporate into the teachings at LightSong as well as use for my own personal growth and evolution.
The template for the workshop is a vision quest and I have anywhere from 8-15 people that are out “on the hill,” by themselves, with no food or water for five days and four nights. We in camp (usually 75-100 participants) are telepathically eating and drinking for them. This article is not specifically about the practicum but highlights a specific event that happened in the practicum in 2018 and then continued to unveil information this year 2019.
I walk a narrow dirt road several times a day when I am out on the land where the questers have secured places. Here they can pursue their visions and the revelations that accompany their meditations, prayers, and personal growth. In checking on the questers, we as a group go and sing to them two times a day, and I have various other duties that put me on this road. Thus, I have walked the road literally at least a hundred times. About 4-5 years ago I was walking with one of the other facilitators in the camp and we came to a small bridge. There is a beautiful crystal-clear stream that runs through the land adjoining the Trask River just a few hundred yards further downstream. It is a magical place with large rocks, ferns and tall Douglas fir trees. One of the persons who has often assisted in the practicum was walking with me as we had done many times before. As Terry and I were chatting, my attention was drawn to some enormous boulders. Huge boulders the size of cars made a regal landscape as the outcropping embedded the embankment down to the stream. I said to Terry, “How did these huge boulders get here?” Terry laughed at me and asked if I wanted the accurate geological history of the place? He was teasing me, and I realized the ridiculousness of my question. I was dumbfounded because I had never seen the boulders before. Being astute and highly conscious in my communications with nature, my habit would have been to greet the boulders and speak to them as I passed. I was shocked that I had never noticed them before. After we had a good laugh, I made it a point to introduce myself to these mighty grandmothers and grandfathers and from that day forward I would say hello to them each time I passed by.
In 2018 Terry did not attend the practicum. I once again traveled the narrow trail I had walked so many times before, but this time accompanied by two different people. When we came to the bridge, I had crossed so many times before, I asked, “Where are the boulders?” They both looked at me inquisitively and responded, “What boulders are you talking about, Jan?” Incredulously, I insisted, “THE boulders, the ones I have been saying hello to for the past five years. The ones I introduced myself to and spoke to each year.” Again, as with Terry, I was greeted with laughter. My companions insisted that there were not now nor had there ever been boulders on this site. Immediately I knew that spirit was showing me alternative parallel realities that I live in—a reality with boulders and a reality without boulders. My mind opened and I listened.
This was a turning point for me in something I have given much lip service to and taught as a shamanic concept for years. There are infinite parallel realities and there are infinite versions of yourself that can move within these realities. Until this time these were concepts that I believed; now I faced an irrefutable experience that I physically witnessed.
I did and am still doing numerous journeys to the spirits for clarification.
In shamanism it is understood that each moment stands independently from every other moment and so there is only NOW. Past and future are concepts where we have linearized time. In shamanism everything is happening simultaneously and not on a timeline. One way of conceptualizing this is to think of a motion picture. The film used is actually thousands of captured moments made to move very fast in front of our eyes giving the illusion of movement or a time line, but in truth each one is separate. In some ways you could say each frame of the movie is a parallel reality slightly different from the previous or next frame.
A memory of an event is just that. It is a projection in the mind. It is not something that is currently happening, and the memory is always different in some way from the actual event. In fact, as time passes the memory distorts the event sometimes to absurd degrees. Every time we review a past experience, we change it. This is like the principle in quantum physics where the act of observation alters the experiment. The observer determines whether a light is seen as a particle or a wave. Our rational mind would suggest that the physical presence of light must be one or the other independent of our observation; but such is not the case. In truth, this may not be a distortion but rather a revelation that provides an awareness of simultaneity in existence. The question is not about what is real or not real but rather a revealing of alternative realities that are all different and coexisting.
I have been an advocate of the idea that we need to create a New Earth. One that is based on collaboration, unification, support and love. I talk about this often and at our practicum we practice these customs. What the spirits are now saying to me is: You do not create the new earth. It is already in existence. You are already a part of it.
The practice is to live in that reality to its fullest, bringing into the norm that which your body and mind recognize and respond to. This is the creative process that will reveal the truth. Each parallel reality has its own data stream of information connected to it. These data streams are realized as you practice with intention consciously moving between the realities.
The strategies of this practice can lead to a higher enlightenment and bring forth a future that already exists and is waiting to be realized. Consider these practices in your daily life:
- Create in your mind the version of yourself you would like to experience.
- Imagine that version of yourself and embody it completely.
- Practice the body language of that version of you.
- Align your life to that which you know to be this version of you.
- Ask questions that reveal this self. What type of books do you read? What do you do for a living? What type of people do you associate with? What are your morning rituals?
- Identify and take on the belief system of that version of you, and the daily habits you exhibit that confirm to this reality.
- Consider what you have learned that is unique to this version of you.
You will know when you have moved into this parallel reality when all of these conceptualizations seem normal and natural.
You will also notice a change in the past, because this new version of you has a different memory of the past. You will also notice that you have broken a continuity that is unexplainable. For me it was the boulders. What will be your experience?
Due to an outpouring of interest in community development I have decided to write on this subject again. Please refer to my last article Create a Healthy Community for more information.
The evolution of spirituality in the modern world has led to significant efforts in personal development. This personal development will boost the creation of thriving shamanic communities, which will then greatly enhance the impact of these individual efforts. These communities hold the potential and pre-create microcosms of a future spiritual society, a society where everyone is essential and honored, and the individual’s contribution to the whole is seen as a valuable asset. Personal development can lead to healthy communities, which creates a healthier world.
The community I founded is called LightSong. LightSong is also a school, LightSong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine, and a healing center. All three expressions of LightSong have been successful in their individual expressions because at their foundation is our realization and recognition of the basic needs of humans. Basic needs that create emotional thriving stem from the feelings of love and value or to feel significant. The acts and words of love feed the soul in a way that is unmatched by any other effort we might make. A healthy community offers the opportunity in its functionality for mutual acceptance, inclusion, recognition, and appreciation. By these acts, individual’s emotions and spirit are enhanced and their value reinforced. In these ways the community makes the commitment to consistently and constantly reinforce the common positive energy of belonging.
I have found in my work as a Licensed Professional Counselor, shamanic practitioner and energy worker that you can either contribute positive or negative energy to any situation. This contribution will have a direct effect on the situation manifesting either a positive or negative outcome. There are only two choices. Of course there is a vast array of subtle variations to the spectrum of positive or negative energy; however, each variation can be identified in one category or the other—positive or negative. What you choose will create a corresponding outcome.
A Cherokee Legend: Two Wolves
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person, too. “The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
This is the way energy works and this holds the key for the creation of healthy individuals, healthy communities and a healthy world.
As spiritual beings, we often pursue individual development and growth with the desire to attain actualization through the understanding of connection to source and unconditional love. What we seek as individuals reflects, in many ways, our desire for community. We look for inclusion, acceptance, appreciation, gratitude, and ultimately love. The acts of personal development often employ a need for engagement with others where we can learn from others’ experiences and understanding and where we might benefit from sharing. Human beings coming together can generate greater possibilities than all acting alone. Community is an expansive experience. Much is to be gained from individual experiences but mutually shared enlightenment can compound the effects both on our singular person and in the wider world.
Most often, people come to LightSong seeking spiritual connection, acceptance, a place to belong, a place to practice shamanic techniques (which sometimes can feel isolating), and an environment where they feel the presence of like-minded individuals.
I attribute LightSong’s success as a healthy thriving community to certain qualities that were established at the heart of our community’s infrastructure and to which we all adhere:
- A commitment to show great respect to others.
- A stated non-competition agreement.
- A by-law of no gossip.
- Moral role modeling from those in leadership positions.
Since LightSong is a shamanic community we base our activities on shamanic practices and incorporating spirit into everyday life. In the design of a spiritual community, spirit must be present in the foundation. People usually join our spiritual community through shamanic classes and training. As soon as they walk through the door in a Basic Level 1 Through the Rabbit Hole journey class they are personally welcomed, accepted, and honored. We also strive to broaden people’s awareness of themselves. We immediately do a series of journeys asking the spirits the question “Who am I?” The individual takes an assessment of himself or herself not from a physical measure but from a spiritual measure. This opens a door for information to inform a person of the gifts, talents, and positive attributes that he or she might never have considered or recognized. This simple act might offer a major transformation in one’s perception of self in outstanding and beautiful ways. This is all part of not just learning but thriving and growing. Important to sustaining this experience at LightSong is a mutually held spirit of resolve and perpetual attention to the value of life, the exquisite nature of being human and the diversity of learning that other lifetimes present.
There are many opportunities for individuals to thrive in the LightSong community, but one of the more significant experiences is our shamanic practicum workshop. This immersion in community and shamanic practice requires a commitment of time and energy but the results can be momentous. The workshop is titled Telepathic Communication and participants practice shamanic principals through practical application. We live together in nature communally for a week. Tents are pitched in a common living area and food is prepared and shared in common. Everyone contributes to the physical maintenance of the community and as many as a hundred people might participate at one time. The goal is to demonstrate and practice the art of telepathic communication. Telepathy is the foundation of shamanic communication between spirits. Since everything has a spirit form, including humans, telepathy is used in everything from journeying to taking a walk in nature. Participants discover that telepathy is natural and happening constantly and continually. Using the template of the vision quest, we design the community practicum to provide some distinctive markers to learn about this major form of spirit communication. Certain individuals do a vision quest where they go without food and water for four nights and five days. In a spot they have chosen, questers live with very few comforts, exposed to the elements without a tent, with minimal amounts of clothing, and confined to a relatively small space. For many people, this setting offers the greatest opportunity they have known for personal reflection, prayer, meditation and an occasion for communing with the spirits that surround all of us.
The community in camp learns to telepathically take care of these individuals’ basic needs of hunger, thirst, warmth and physical pain. The community also learns to live in complete harmony with each other and nature. The community shares and receives direct feedback on what is happening in camp and what is being telepathically transmitted to the questers. Persons in camp can telepathically send a quester the feeling of fullness after a meal or the sense of quenched thirst or a simple feeling of comfort. These physical and emotional feelings are sent to the questers with conscious intention. When the questers share their experience of what happened to them during story telling at the end of the quest, the community hears that their efforts were successful and that the questers did actually receive what was sent to them. We then highlight that this is the way energy works around the world. That you don’t need to be on the front lines of a crisis in order to help in the crisis. Telepathic communication knows no boundaries. In other words we can and do make a difference no matter the proximity in the world.
As a community we can create a microcosm of a perfect world where we are taking care of each other through conscious attention to our own actions and feelings. When self-aware individuals come together in community, they can compound the impact they have on the world and the universe. Individually, we can do much, but in community the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, thus there is a immeasurable amount of good feeling and positive effects that are generated and projected out into the world from the community.
The events of the practicum are transformative for both the questers and their supporters. Year after year, the shared stories of spiritual events in this week speak to the power of a community connected by spirit and mutual support. Many individuals have found this to be one of the more profound experiences of their lives. People realize that they can make a difference in someone else’s life by the positive attitude they choose to project. The realization of personal responsibility is highlighted where people realize how they respond or the emotions they project out into the world effect the world and everything of the world. This of course works in both directions either positively or negatively.
Community is more than a gathering of people. Community is a feeling of fellowship and connection that is drawn from shared beliefs and common commitment. Community is the central design of a civilization and a universe that exists to fulfill the natural purpose of existence—a wholly unified and perfect cosmos.
Jan Engels-Smith Renowned Teacher of Science and Energy Medicine Launches Visionary Energetic Healing Webinar Series
Jan Engels-Smith, renowned Teacher of Science and Energy Medicine and founder of LightSong School of 21-Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine, launches her first Webinar Series: ‘Recreate Yourself: 7 Truths to Guaranteed Success’
PORTLAND, Ore. (PRWEB) May 12, 2019 — Jan Engels-Smith, renowned Teacher of Science and Energy Medicine and founder of LightSong School of 21-Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine, launches her first Webinar Series: ‘Recreate Yourself: 7 Truths to Guaranteed Success’. Engels- Smith is a leading expert in the healing arts and a sought after counselor, teacher, and shamanic and energy healer.
‘Recreate Yourself: 7 Truths to Guaranteed Success’ addresses humanity’s core needs for love, acceptance and life mastery. The energetic healing process throughout the course activates a profound energetic transformation accessed through the heart to create sustainable healing for the purpose of love, success, peace and joy.
“Most people experience a lack in areas of money, time or love and have tried unsuccessfully to have lasting mastery over these areas,” Engels-Smith says.
This new webinar is a call to heal, transform, and learn self-love in new ways for success and joy. With decades of shamanic healing work, teaching, and counseling in areas of personal development and spiritual awakening and enlightenment, Jan Engels-Smith is now offering this online series of modules so that this healing work can reach more people and effect positive change for the collective human condition.
‘Recreate Yourself: 7 Truths to Guaranteed Success’ is available ongoing through http://www.LightSong.net.
About Jan Engels-Smith
Jan Engels-Smith ShD., MEd. is an author, a Shamanic Practitioner, Licensed Professional Counselor, a Chemical Dependency Specialist, Hypnotherapist and a Tibetan, Usui, and Karuna Reiki Master. Through decades of experience as a master teacher and shamanic practitioner, Jan has captured the essence of transformation and well-being.
Jan’s mission is to provide excellence in shamanic education, and to support personal growth for well-being, adapting ancient healing techniques to contemporary life in the 21st century. Jan is a leading expert in her field. She personally has performed 3500 soul retrievals, which is a shamanic healing method. In 1994, Jan founded LightSong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine and has developed the first energy medicine curriculum of its kind, which allows for those with a curious interest in energy medicine, right through to those that would like to obtain a bachelors, masters or doctorate in shamanism.
Jan’s has written two books: Through the Rabbit Hole: Exploring Energy and the Shamanic Journey and Becoming Yourself: The Journey from Head to Heart, which won the readers choice award. Jan writes a monthly article for Sedona Journal of Emergence. Jan authored two CDs: Take Your Body With You a shamanic drumming CD. Awaken~Unburden~Create a meditation CD package of shamanic principles.
Jan is a featured author in:
PRWeb ebooks – Another online visibility tool from PRWeb
– Shamanic Transformation: True Stories of the Moment of Awakening
– Shamanism for the New Millennium by best-selling authors Betsy Chasse (What the Bleep Do We Know) and Cate Montana
Jan is published in The Journal of Science and Healing. A case study: Shamanic Healing for Veterans with PTSD.
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Article originally posted on prweb.com