Jan Engels-Smith

Articles by Jan Engels-Smith. Please feel free to share on social media. We have provided buttons at the bottom of each article.


The Birthing Sash

Throughout history spiritual practitioners have imbued objects with special powers and have sought healing from the physical world. There are healing waters in special places, physical icons such as pieces of Christ’s cross, and many images and symbolic representations that people of all beliefs attend to for their magical powers. The power of the cross, the star of David, the crescent moon of Islam, and all of the other symbols of religion do not have power independent of the energies that followers of religions bring to the symbols. In the darkest histories of any religion one can identify the powerful negative energy that produces violence against others, wars, and persecution when people distort the power of their religion for evil and selfish purposes. In contrast, in the most enlightened moments of religious faith, people have imbued their beliefs and the symbols of their faith with powerful positive dynamism that embodies the best of our spiritual souls and we have benefited from the power of positive thoughts. The reason that such objects have such profound effects is because of the energies that people have brought to the objects in their quest for healing or the restoration of damaged soul parts or simply to feel an improvement in their emotional state.

In my work I create altars to share with others. The altar might, in any iteration, contain objects from many sources and can serve to connect us to each other as well as to the cosmos. The most significant characteristic of an altar is in the intentions that are placed in the objects and that in turn impact those who would participate in a ritual or ceremony. In some of our gatherings, people are encouraged to place objects on the altar after they have imbued the objects with their blessings and joy. Our accompanying meditations are intended to convey positive energies and everyone in the circle of community can benefit from the shared affirmations.

Many people are familiar with Masaru Emoto, a Japanese author and researcher, who created experiments to demonstrate that human consciousness could have an effect on water. His book, Messages from Water, contains photographs of ice crystals that were formed after the water had been imbued with either positive or negative thoughts and words. The resulting crystal structures reflected the energy of the words that were used, resulting in forms that were aesthetically pleasing if the water had been exposed to positive word images and “ugly” forms if the water had been affected by negative intentions. Emoto has done extensive research with the concept of imbuing. He did numerous studies and published four books. In his experiments he would tape words to vials of water, bring the water to freezing point and then photograph the crystals that formed. He found fascinating results with both the beauty of positive words and the crystals that formed and the ugliness of negative words and the broken or unformed chaotic masses from the energy of negativity. His research contributed to my understanding of how powerful blessings are and how powerful words can affect us especially those that we wear on clothing or on objects against our bodies. Remember that we are 75-80% water and the energy of the words works on our bodies just as it does on vials of water.

Our thoughts and our intentions affect our environment and all the people and objects that fall within our influence. Energy fields pulsate out and carry with them positive or negative messages that impact and alter all with which they come into contact. This effort to imbue objects with positive powers can carry into the everyday experiences of our lives. This phenomenon was the reason that I created a “birthing sash” for my daughter as she prepared to give birth to her first child. I wanted her experience to be positive and an affirmation of the joy of giving birth. With all experience, a positive beginning presages the greater possibility of a more sustained and affirmative result and long lasting joy and happiness.

The purpose of the sash was to bring the positive energies of blessings and well wishes from family and friends and to make the experience of the birth an affirmation of the joy of bringing a new being to life. Pregnancy and giving birth can be a difficult experience because of the trauma that a mother might endure physically and emotionally and this makes the contribution of positive energy even more important both to the comfort of the new mother and to the new infant.

As my daughter prepared for her birthing experience, she prepared a nursery in her home with new furniture and decorations. She chose particular colors to highlight the room and to create the new “home” for her soon-to-be son. I planned the birthing sash to coordinate with her images of the nursery by purchasing a large amount of colored ribbons in the colors she had selected for the room. The ribbons would become the fabric of the sash. I cut the ribbons into appropriate lengths that could later be woven together and rolled the pieces into balls and put them into individual small containers in preparation for a baby shower sponsored by my daughter’s friends. I was hosting the celebration at my house and that provided me the opportunity to organize the event of the blessing of the ribbons by friends and family.

As we sat together we did a meditation and blessing ritual that involved the passing of each ribbon from one person to the next until all in attendance had bestowed a personal blessing on each ribbon. Each attendant offered a blessing for the labor process and for the newborn. About thirty people touched each ribbon, not just with their hands but also with their hearts and their souls. The positive energy of the blessing ceremony was palpable and people were enthused to have the opportunity to send wishes that we all knew would make the experience and the resulting birth a success.

After the shower, I braided the ribbons into strands that I could weave together into sections that I then sewed into a wide, long sash. My daughter could lay the sash across her belly as she awaited the delivery date. During her delivery, we placed the sash across her as her son was born. The energies of the many friends and family members who had blessed the ribbons were present throughout the event and a strong and healthy child was born. To this day he continues to exhibit all the joy and love that was consecrated in him by so many people who shared their love and kind wishes for his life.

Later we mounted the sash on a rod that allowed it to be hung on the wall in the nursery. The positive energies of this object of love continues to this day to create joy in the room of this little boy as he grows up, loved and cared for by parents and grandparents and friends.

We all emit vibrations that have effects on all that we observe and touch. When these vibrations carry constructive and joyful energies they alter all with which they come into contact in a positive way. The birthing sash was an opportunity to capture these energies and transfer them in a magnitude compounded by many people joining in a common effort of caring and love.

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The Election of 2016

Like every one before, the past year brought many challenges, opportunities, setbacks and progress. We are confronted as always with choices in how we view our world and how we respond to the conditions that exist. Politics was a big part of the story of 2016, but I am not one to dwell on political issues in my work and my relationships with my students and clients. We can all agree that there were surprises in this election year and that many people feel apprehensive about the future. I prefer to address the difficult circumstances of the unpredicted phenomenon of changes in the political landscape from an energetic view rather than an ideological one.

For many years, I have taught, written, and lectured on what I call the Creation Laws commonly known as the laws of attraction.  I started this study in my early twenties and became fascinated with the concept of manifestation.  My study started simply with goal-boarding, visualization techniques, and focused attention.  I found the results often profound and amazing. The universe responded in ways that provided positive outcomes and clarity of meaning and direction. 

As I continued my study I realized that it wasn’t simply my thoughts or focused attention that was getting the results I envisioned but the associated feelings (which equates to vibrational) broadcasted about what I wanted to manifest.  This realization of the power of an emotional attitude and an intentional optimism has shaped my teachings on this topic for four decades.

We live in an attraction-based universe. If you desire something, you attract it to you.  If you are against something, you attract it to you. There is no repulsion, only attraction.  As a trained hypnotherapist, I have come to understand that the universe, and by extension your subconscious and unconscious, doesn’t comprehend negatives as a deletion or resistance to negativity but as an attractor. Hypnotherapists are versed in how to compose positive suggestions versus negative ones. For example, we would promote the thought that a client should desire to be healthy and smoke free, rather than thinking that he or she did NOT want to smoke anymore. This example may appear to embody a subtle difference but the results that might be manifest were significant and the modifications in behavior resulting from the positive approach were profound. Thinking that one did NOT want to smoke reinforced the undesired behavior, while the affirmative focus on being healthy energized positive motivations and a greater likelihood to manifest the desire. In an attraction-based universe there is no: no, not, don’t, can’t.  Since we are governed by the same attraction-based laws, our unconscious minds eliminate the words no, not, don’t and can’t. Repulsion or resistance creates more of the undesired outcomes.  You can’t create what you want by pushing against what you don’t want.  You will only create more of what you don’t want.

In all phases of my work I have received spiritual guidance and repeated successes in the application of positive energy vibrations to difficult situations. This was substantiated not only in my hypnosis work but, as years passed, through extensive teachings from the spirits about the Creation Laws or laws of attraction. Where negativity governs one’s thinking, doubt and resignation result. In the extreme condition, hopelessness and helplessness become the dominant forces in one’s life. Contrarily, when one chooses to focus on affirmative solutions and to imagine and feel favorable outcomes, there is alignment with an attraction-based universe and the cosmos suffuses our lives with positive energy that propels us to auspicious and constructive results. Whether negative or positive, we multiply the energies that we project and we manifest the outcomes according to how we feel.

This past election was probably one of the most toxic elections in United States history as well as the most blatant example of the laws of attraction at work. It was rather fascinating from an energetic standpoint.  We can all learn from this example when we acknowledge how these energies created the results.  Partisanship, distrust, and anger fueled the actions of candidates and their supporters. I am not proposing some false equivalency to suggest that there was no difference in the policies of the opponents or their behaviors, but I am suggesting that negativity was the dominant force at play in this long, tortuous process at the center of our democracy and many people were left with feelings of rage, anger, disappointment and anxiety. These caustic and toxic energies attracted greater pessimism and angst. This went on for 18 months. Negative energies will always create harm.  With a vibrational broadcast of despair, loathing, hatred, rage, anger, or fear a tragic world will manifest.  The vibrational matches for those emotions are manifestations of war, greed, poverty, crime, abuse, violence and disloyalty. 

This may seem dismal; however, I believe that we as a country and as individuals have the potential to learn from this and change.

Now we are at the crossroads to continue down the same path of negativity, pessimism and dismay or to envision and feel into a different future.  If you desire to have world peace, universal health care as everyone’s right, environmental awareness and alternative energy that does not damage our planet, peaceful cites, productive schools, equal opportunities and mutual respect, and happy children with bright futures, then we must be an energetic vibrational match for these desires.  Emitting vibrations from emotions such as joy, passion, enthusiasm, positive expression, optimism, hopefulness, appreciation and empowerment create a vibrational resonance that results in the manifestation of these matching desires

What will we promote in our lives, how will we address the future, and who will we become? We have before us a beautiful and uplifting opportunity. Like the phoenix arising from the ashes, we will choose our destiny, and in our alliance with the universe and our spiritual helpers we will manifest the world that we desire.

Our individual frequencies not only affect our immediate surroundings and ourselves but they affect the whole of humanity.  As the spirits emphasize, you are a powerful creator.  Everyone alters the universe by the energy that she or he emits. Collectively, we all contribute to the whole and individually we all make a difference.

Consider these energies and the outcomes that they might create:

Joy =    World peace                                                  Despair     = War

Passion               =     Health care                             Jealousy          = Greed

Enthusiasm =     Environmental awareness          Hatred/Rage   =   Poverty

Positive Expression =Alternative energy               Anger     =   Crime

Optimism   =     Peaceful cities                                 Unworthiness =   Abuse

Hopefulness   =     Peaceful schools                         Fear       =    Hunger

Appreciation   =    Equal opportunities                  Grief       =    Violence

Empowerment   =   Happy kids                               Depression       =    Disloyalty

Mother Teresa once said, “I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” Activism and creating change in the world needs to involve a new tactic. Being “anti” something is not the answer.  “Anti” energy is usually an angry, frustrated, fearful, or aggressive vibrational broadcast.  It might seem to make a difference for a moment, but the problem one attempted to solve will usually pop up in some other form. “Anti” energy doesn’t work according to the Creation Laws in an attraction-based universe.  If you want to be an activist, be an activist of the light.  Dream your new dream of reality and then be a match for it vibrationally by being enthused, motivated, excited, appreciative, passionate, and happy.  Spend time in altered reality envisioning your dream by engaging all your senses. Create it in the imagination with detail and then feel so excited about this creation that it easily is drawn to you through the power of the law.

This election was amazing and profound from an energetic perspective, especially watching how the Creation Laws prevailed in the most unpredictable ways.  There is no getting around them; they are law.  Because there was virtually no broadcast of being “for” something, all the “anti” energy accumulated manifesting in an unexpected and unpredicted outcome. These negative energies are so powerful that against all odds and even the popular vote, they will turn results toward whatever gets the most energy. If “anti” energy gets the most attention, it will prevail.

The universe is the ideal democracy where every energetic vote counts.  No one has more clout or power, everyone is treated equally and everyone’s energy broadcast contributes.

For greater clarity of some of the laws of the universe here is an excerpt from my book Becoming Yourself:

Change occurs when energy shifts. To understand change, one needs to understand the dynamics of energy. Everything emanates energy and frequencies of vibration—animate beings, physical objects, even thoughts and feelings—and these energy vibrational “fields” impact and alter all that they touch. If we are to have control over the changes in our lives, we must also understand the importance of thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and feelings as vibrational frequencies of energy. Only when we understand and can apply these basic Laws of the Universe will we be able to consciously affect the change process:

  1. Energy follows intention.
  2. Whatever you add energy to multiplies.
  3. Thought followed by word and action equals form.
  4. What you believe becomes.
  5. Vibrational frequencies attract like-minded frequencies.

These laws apply to all of life and are fundamental in understanding how to work with energy in order to create.

For example, when someone gets cut off in traffic and explodes in anger that explosion feeds a negative thought form proportional to the negative feeling being broadcast. When a person lets another driver into a line of traffic, there is a gentle wave of thanks.  This kind act feeds a positive thought form in proportion to the positive broadcast.  Unfortunately most people express negative responses with much more gusto than positive responses. 

Think of how you talked or responded to the news in the past eighteen months concerning the election.  Notice what you contributed, what you were against, or what you were for.  Then notice how much of your broadcast contributed to a positive feeling or a negative feeling.

The spirits have called us to declare what we stand for, not what we are against.  Be passionate and joy-filled as you envision and feel what you are for.  Talk about it, be excited about it, stay focused on it.  Let go of any grief, resentment, sadness, or worry.  These feelings will only prevent the outcome you desire. Pay attention to your words and feelings.  You make a difference and your energy contributes to the whole. There are only two choices—positive or negative. 

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Grief Ceremony

Shamanism and energy medicine are dynamic alternative approaches for wellness.  They employ techniques that encompass the mind, body and spirit—your whole being.  They view a person as an energy system or a soul that needs maintenance for optimum health and well-being.

Our energetic system was designed by the cosmos to operate perfectly and to be capable of constant regeneration, but in the context of three-dimensional reality and the exposure to toxic energies (not only in out environment but because of our thoughts) we often suffer from the misplacement or distortion of our energy fields in ways that cause us to suffer illness, depression, pain, and a host of other maladies. These negative forces require significant attention if we are to achieve a restoration of our perfect self.   Shamanism offers many modalities for healing, such as extraction, which is a common method used to eradicate lower frequencies.  However, in this article I am going to touch on the method of the Grief Ceremonies that are used in dealing with energies that extraction might not be able to expel.

Grief Ceremonies are a natural occurrence in some cultures and are performed
soon after a traumatic event has occurred. In some cultures if a person dies, the friends and family gather and grieve together.  This is often very vocal and physical. In the Dagara tribe of Burkina Faso West Africa, the ritual of grief might be conducted for several days as a way of releasing the tremendous amounts of stress caused by loss. The Dagaras cry and wail, often beating the ground with their fists. This may go on for 4 days. The ceremony also served to bring the community together in a supportive fashion and then to restore and reclaim vitality.  Once the ritual was complete there was closure to the grieving cycle and attention was refocused in a positive direction.

Indigenous people have practiced wellness of the soul for centuries.  In fact there is a group of African Spirits that I have learned to use in ceremony that eat grief.  They view grief as nectar and they are attracted to it and feed upon it.  When I first learned of these spirits and this relationship with humans, the idea of eating grief struck me as odd. But then as I sat with the information, I was reminded of our amazing relationship that we have with the plant and tree nations.  Our waste product of carbon dioxide is nectar or food for the plants and trees and their waste product is oxygen, which is essential for our life. I was reminded that the perfection of the cosmos also includes the spirit realms and, of course, it would be natural to have spirits that feed upon the energies of grief that we need to expel, to clear us of harmful perhaps deadly energies and to return positive healing energies.

Other examples of grief ceremonies include Israelis at the Western Wall (sometimes called the Wailing Wall) in Old Jerusalem, where prayers are offered to God and lamentations, howling, weeping, and crying take place publicly and without restraint.  Examples are also found in an Irish wake, Italian Catholic mourning, and traditional Eastern European ceremonies. I recently visited New Orleans and was reminded of the burial practice of playing dirges and weeping in route to the cemetery and playing joyful music in the march back. This Creole tradition is the perfect example of grief being expressed and released which the soul replaces with joy and celebration.

Grief rituals happen to help a person dig deep within and release the suppressed wounds, pains and suffering and to rid the body of harmful, toxic energies that can cause illness.  Expressing grief aloud and loudly, as well as through physical exertion, are natural ways to expel energy from the body.  Unfortunately these ceremonies are mostly forgotten in the Western world except where ancient tradition has sustained them.

Western culture generally loves to highlight joy, happiness, glee, and enthusiasm, but shuns expressions of grief as debilitating and a sign of weakness.  Even death rituals have been politely glossed over with positive affirmations of afterlife renewal. I am an advocate for positive attitudes, but sometimes in life, the sorrow is too great and the grief too severe to be ignored by an optimism that overlooks the residual energies of heartache that remains and tortures the soul.  A return to joy is the second step, not the first. If grief is suppressed it not only causes damage to the body but also to the mind and the emotions of the individual.  Often there is an inappropriate projection of anger towards others that is the result of suppressed grief.  When grief rituals are practiced there is a healthy avenue for the grief to be released and to allow the mourner to reconnect with people in a positive way.  It is not projected at someone or something else but expelled from the body in appropriate ways. Grief ceremonies are part of shamanic practice and, when used appropriately, can relieve current heartache and old wounds.  They can be used for individuals in private ceremony or they can be used in a supportive group expression.  Many times communities or groups of people are unified in their agony.  Bringing these groups together and preforming a grief ritual or ceremony can bring multiple healings, not only in the expulsion of the grief but also in fostering unification, collaboration and support. New directions and optimistic outcomes can be envisioned together.

I recently conducted a grief ceremony for the LightSong community. The following template can be used individually or with a group. 

  • I chose a location that felt safe and private.  No matter how willing or in need people may be about releasing their grief, there is still a reluctance or stage fright at being watched. 
  • I started the ceremony with the ground rule that we were finding an appropriate way to release grief, anger, rage, deep-seated sorrow, wounds, or pain without projecting these energies onto anyone. 
  • I asked the participants to bring supplies for two altars.  One altar would house the sacred beings to whom they would pray or honor.  These altars would line both sides of the room and literally hold space in their love for the process.  The other altar would be a grief altar.  They were to bring representations of their grief. We would burn this altar at the end of the ceremony.
  • I then created a threshold for the participants to step over into the grieving arena.  As they stepped over the threshold they were to ask the African Spirits that eat grief to come to them and to allow the deep feelings that were stuffed inside to surface.
  • We as a community would support their process with drums, rattles and sound.  However, we also would keep our eyes down and not watch their process.  This would give a sense of privacy. 
  • I had a punching bag for those that wanted a safe physical release and pillows on the floor for those that wanted to sit in front of the grief altar. 
  • I called in the spirits and said an invocation.  We as a group began to drum in a rhythmic, high energy way.  It was a loud and alluring dynamic energy. 
  • When felt called people would approach the threshold, pause, and then step over.  They began their release. Between the drums, rattles and other sounds in the room there was an odd juxtaposition of privacy and support.   The spirits seemed to know exactly how to stimulate deep release and unified support simultaneously.  People moved in and out of the grief circle throughout the evening.  Exhaustion set in.  The exhaustion was a result of a deep cleanse. Like a good cry, when you finally let “it out,” you feel cleansed and tired at the same time.
  • We decided to all cross the threshold one last time together, hold hands, arms around each other and do one last release together, unified and supportive of each other.
  • As a conclusion we took the grief altars out to our bon fire and watched them being engulfed in flames.  The fire was the great transmuter of energy in full power.  We sang songs together and talked—cleansed, renewed and ready to move forward in life in a healthy way.
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The Words Before All Else

Thanksgiving is such an incredible time. In the last couple of years the spirits have been adamant about their teaching around reverence, gratitude and appreciation, which of course is what real thanksgiving is all about.   The spirits say that these emotions and feelings are actually the gateway to: good mental heath, physical well being, emotional balance and spiritual connection.  How much of the day do you spend with these feelings?  To revere and appreciate the world around you, your teachers and co-workers, your family, friends, and yourself:  Such an incredible concept.  One that opens the heart, frees the mind, expands the body.  It illuminates the soul allowing for the wonder, mystery, excitement, and fullness of life to be exposed and appreciated.  Awe and it feels so good. 

I feel that instead of celebrating a day of Thanksgiving in the month of November, we should celebrate the month of November. Some indigenous elders feel that the reason that our life on this planet is so out of balance is because we only ask and don’t say “thank you” enough.  I share with you a prayer: A prayer of thanksgiving. It is very long, as it should be. Some of the thanksgiving prayers of our ancestors were actually four days long!  Can you imagine praying for four days straight?

The style of this prayer originated with the Iroquois people.  It came to me via an Iroquois elder, Jake Swamp, who passed it on to a wilderness school, Jon Young, where Deb Scrivens, a former associate teacher with LightSong, learned it and shared it with me.  At each stage it was modified and personalized. I personally have had a tremendous response from its energy.  People used it and revised it for their own personal use.  They used it for prayer each day or around the thanksgiving table. The purpose of this prayer is to remember that we are all divinely connected to all things.  We share the same planet and universe.  What one does – affects us all.  I invite you to pray like this, it has an amazing affect on your heart; it is full of reverence, gratitude and appreciation.  It heals through the power and energy of the words and how they in themselves affect the body, mind and soul.   

The format of this style of prayer is: Starting with self – and then reaching out around self – and out into the universe.

You can devise your own prayer, if you like, using this style, personalizing it to include your own family, friends, teachers, coworkers, and environment:  Actually inserting names into the sentences.  Use your imagination. 


I start with myself and extend out into the world that surrounds me.  I give great thanks for my health, my wellness and ability to greet each day with a smile and open heart. I give great thanks that I see well, feel well and can start each day by giving thanks.  I give great thanks that I love what I do for a living and I have the opportunity to make a difference each day in someone’s life.  I give great thanks that I smile more than I frown and laugh more than I cry.

I give great thanks for all of my students, the LightSong community, you, for your willingness to learn, to grow, to participate, and to challenge yourselves.  It is because of you that I get to live in “my original instruction, my song.” I learn from you and you amaze me daily. I give great thanks that you want to help people to heal, to have less pain, to have better lives and more happiness.  You are amazing people that I will love, respect, and remember always.

I give great thanks to my teachers.  Because of them my life is forever changed and enriched.  I owe everything to these incredible seekers.  I give respect, admiration, and heartfelt gratitude.

I send a greeting and give thanks for all the people in my life. I extend out away from me and my immediate loved ones and I look to this beautiful earth that I have the privilege to experience.

****** Deb Scrivens version:

I greet and send thanksgivings to my Mother the Earth, who has not forgotten her original instructions since the beginning of time. She has given of her life so that I may exist. She gives me all that I need. All that I have, have had, or will have has come from her.  With the sun and the water she supports all life. My bones are made of her bones, from the minerals that come from her, and my flesh comes from her. She supports me in every step.  She supported me before I could walk, when I crawled upon her. She will hold and cradle me inside of her when I walk no more.  I marvel in her beauty, I marvel in her diversity, I marvel in her power.  I strive to understand something so magnificent, so complex, and so forgiving.  I respect her and wish to acknowledge her throughout every moment.  Without her I would not be. So I give thanks for my Mother the Earth, and I express my love and gratitude for her.


I send thanksgivings and greetings to the Waters of the Earth, and all those beings that dwell in the Water, for they too have not forgotten their original instructions from the creator of all life. For all these waters remember their cycles and give continuously to us all. The rain that falls is recycled from sweat and tears, baptisms and swimming pools linking us all into the magical wonder of the water cycle.  No life can exist without water, and our planet is a water planet.  Our bodies are made mostly of water.  So I send thanks to all the forms of water on the planet: from the polar ice caps to the frozen glaciers to the cold rushing mountain streams.  From the peaceful lakes to the estuaries and bays to the pounding seashore with its mighty surf and tides.  I send thanksgiving greetings to the great oceans that blanket our planet, to the deepest abyss of the oceans, and the mysterious chasms where dwell undiscovered forms of life.

And I give thanks for all the living things that dwell in the Waters, in their great variety of color and form, from the caddis fly in the mountain stream to the great whales in the sea.  I call to mind the myriad of creatures that live in the water and that provide me with beauty and wonder at the world; the starfish and the salmon, the seals and the tropical fishes, the coral reefs.  I give great thanks to the Waters of the world for supporting all life and to the great variety of life in the Waters, and for all that it means to me. I give thanks for the dolphins that greeted me in the open seas off the coast of Belize.  The experience of sonar pulsing through me taught me so much of these great ones that live in the water. I am thankful that my son was able to reach out and touch one of these magnificent creatures and was able to participate in this awesome event. I am thankful for that special and personal experience.


And now I turn my thoughts to the low growing things and the plants that blanket the Earth, and the small forms of life that creeps and crawls in and under the plants.  I send greetings and thanksgiving to all the small living things that help plants grow, and refresh and recycle the Earth.  Frogs, snakes, ants, worms, beetles and honeybees; each have remembered its original instructions since the beginning of time.   

And I give thanks for the Plants.  In its great variety of color and form, the Plant Nation provides us with beauty and food and medicine and shelter and clothing, and with air to breathe.  I give thanks for the tall grasses that blow in the wind and give us grain; I give thanks for the grass that gently covers the graves of our dead and rolls in luscious landscapes on the sides of hills.  I give thanks for the berries and the many plants that provide us with food.  I give thanks for the medicine plants, the herbs and for the healing that they provide. For they too have not forgotten their original instructions for there are many members of this incredible Nation that sustain those who walk upon this Earth and there are many others who continue to fulfill their duties to take away the sicknesses of the human family. I give thanks to the plants that hold the Earth in place and keep the Waters clean and clear, so that the living things in the Waters may thrive.


And now I lift my eyes a little higher and notice the four-legged ones that move among the plants, and I send a thanksgiving greeting to the Animal Nation.  I send a greeting to the Animals, in their great variety of color and form, and I call to mind the elephant and the horse, the wolf and the great cats of Africa, the buffalo, tiger, deer, raccoon and the red fox. 

I send thanks to the Animals for they provide us with so much.  They give themselves to us for food and clothing. They lend us their power.  In their grace and beauty and naturalness, they teach us by example.  They are our older brothers and sisters, and we can learn everything we need to know by observing them.  The tracks they leave on the ground disappear into the forest, and our minds turn to their hidden and mysterious lives.

Our hearts draw close to them as we think of the animals that live in our homes and share our lives, and of the love that they give to us so freely. 

I say a special prayer for all the animals that are lost or lonely or cold or frightened or injured, and for any that suffer abuse at the hands of people.  To these I send my heartfelt love and compassion and I am thankful that they have never turned against us.  For without the Animals, we would experience a great loneliness of spirit.  For their love and companionship and for all that they give us, I send thanks and greetings to the Animals.


Lifting my eyes higher still, I see green leaves against blue sky, and boughs waving in the wind.  I send my thanksgiving greetings to the Standing (Tree) People.  Their roots go into the Earth beneath us, their branches stretch into the sky above us.  Connecting Earth and Sky, they are our older brothers and sisters and our teachers. 

Some of them are very, very old, and they remember and remind us of the ages of the Earth.  In their rings they record the coming of the flood and the drought.  Many tribes of trees around the world make the mighty forests, and they carpet the earth with their canopies.  The forests of trees give the plants and animals shelter and homes.  The trees give the birds a place to rest their feet and to raise their young. 

The trees also shelter us and keep us warm.  We need look no farther than the walls of our houses to understand what the trees give to us, for they give their bones to make our homes, and to make the fire in our hearths.  They give us food and fruit and shade on a hot day, and beauty and comfort and air, and the gentle sound of leaves rustling in a soft wind.  And so we give heartfelt thanks and send greetings to the Trees.

I give thanks to those that protect the trees, the lungs of our Earth.  I give thanks to those in South America that strive and fight for the rain forests.  If the rain forests die so shall we.


High in the trees, I hear music; the gentle sound of silvery bells in the branches, and from the river comes the sound of a silver flute.  The sounds come from the throats of the birds, and I lift my eyes to the skies and see Winged Ones and I hear them singing.  In their great variety of color and form, the Bird Nation brings great beauty to the world, and the wonder of flight.  It is said the birds were put on Earth to lighten the hearts of the people and lift them from their heavy thoughts, and every time we lift our eyes and listen to the thanksgiving song of a bird, this is so. 

There is a line on the Earth, where the darkness meets the light, a line we call Dawn.  At this line the birds sing together in a chorus of thanksgiving, and this line of song travels around the Earth.  So always, somewhere, the thanksgiving song of the birds radiates from the Earth into outer space, all the time.  For dawn is always happening somewhere.

I give thanks that the birds greet the Sun with song.  I give thanks for the raucous call of the jay and the raven and the piercing call of the eagle and the hawk, and for the lovely songs of the thrush and the lark and the wren.  I give thanks for the mysterious sounds of the owl at night. I give thanks and send greetings to the birds.


Under the wings of the birds flow the Winds, and now I turn my mind to the Four Winds that blow from each direction and carry the rain to the Earth.  I send a thanksgiving greeting to the Winds, for they cleanse the Earth and carry the Weather Spirits and the ThunderBeings upon their backs.  I send a thanksgiving greeting to the ThunderBeings, who harness the mighty power of the storm.  The ThunderBeings have the power to teach humility to every single person on the earth, as we witness the magnificent and awesome power of the mighty storms.  And so I send my humble thanksgiving and greetings to the Four Winds and to the ThunderBeings: those that give life and also take it away. 


Turning my face higher still, I see a silver face looking back at me from above, and I recognize my Grandmother the Moon.  I send greetings and give thanks to my Grandmother the Moon, for she holds hands with all the women of the Earth.  She tugs on the seeds and she tugs on the tides and she tugs on the rhythms in our bodies.  Perhaps we learned to count beyond the number of our fingers and our toes, long ago when our species was young, by sitting at her knee and noticing her changes.  She gives us silver light at night that helps us to see in a special way and she bathes the world in silver light and makes it beautiful.  And so I send greetings and thanks to my Grandmother the Moon and that she too has not forgotten her original instructions.


And now I turn my mind to our oldest brother the Sun.  The Sun.  Our star. He provides all of the warmth and energy for our life. The Sun is the great engine that powers all of the life on our planet.  We shut our eyes and turn our faces to the warm, golden light of the sun, and feel his warm kiss on our cheek. We exist in a narrow band of temperatures, and the sun provides for us perfectly, not too hot and not too cold.  With a single flare or shift the sun could extinguish all life on Earth or freeze it into solid stillness, but that has never happened, and we are perfectly provided for with just the right amount of warmth.  For endless ages the Earth has danced with the Sun, and he holds her in a warm and perfect embrace.  And so I give great thanks to our Eldest Brother the Sun, for him remembering his original instruction and for the life he provides for us.

Turning my attention beyond the sun, I see many suns, millions and billions of stars, and I send a greeting and thanks to the Star Nation. The galaxies stretch the limits of the human imagination, for they are unimaginably old.  The matter that is in our bodies may once have been in a star that burned out long ago and changed form, as the universe endlessly cycled.  And so we wonder at our kinship with the stars…we are stardust walking.  We look at the stars in great wonder.  And we give great thanks for the beauty of the night sky.


And now I turn my attention to the Unseen, to the Spirits of the Four Directions, and the many spirits that protect us and guide our steps and help us in our lives.  It is said we each have 405 loving spirits surrounding us at any moment.  We acknowledge that we cannot survive without their loving protection.  They guide us and we feel them in many ways.  They whisper into the ears of our heart, and they show the eyes of our heart things of great beauty.  They guide our steps so that we do not stumble.  We are thankful for their protection and guidance and compassion.  We are thankful that they love and care for us.  And so we express our heartfelt gratitude to the spirits, and for the Wakan (sacred) in our lives.


Finally I turn my mind to that which is beyond the human imagination, the Creator of All Things that existed before time began and which will exist beyond the end of Time.  I turn my mind toward the Mysterious Force that we cannot understand or imagine… The God, Great Spirit, Great Mystery, the Alpha and the Omega, Essence, Source, Word.  We can only turn our faces toward this Light and say Thank You.  Thank you giving us all that we need.  Thank you for our lives.  Thank You for This Life.  Thank You.


And now, keeping my heart in touch with the Infinite and at the same time pulling my attention into the center of my heart, I look forward into the Future and I look over my shoulder back into the Past.  And stretching seven generations forward I see the descendents of the human race, and stretching seven generations into the past I see our ancestors.  And our ancestors still care for us and our descendents depend on us.  They depend on us to keep them in mind when we make choices at this moment in time, the Perfect Present, for they are coming, and they will depend on what we do Now.  And our hearts are connected to the hearts of our children and their descendents, forward into the future, and connected to the hearts of our ancestors, backward into the past, an unbroken chain of humanity, connecting like a thread, heart to heart to heart to heart….  And so I send a greeting and a prayer of thanks to the unbroken chain of the human race.


It has been my intention to greet and send thanks to Everything, but I am a two-legged learning to be a Human Being, and so it is not possible for my mind to know of or remember Everything.  So now I send a greeting and thanks to everything that I have left out, and ask you to please remember that I did not leave you out intentionally.  I have done my humble best to bring my mind together with All Things, and now my mind is One.  Mitakuye Oyasin. (All my relations, I am related to all things.) 

I ask myself have I forgotten my original instructions? In truth yes, for I am human and I struggle with ego and mind, but when I let myself be lead by my heart into the area of thanksgiving, (reverence, gratitude, appreciation) and pure joy, I feel that I am closer to my original instruction.

I give thanks to you, my dearests of relationship, for you have touched my life, you have a cord to my heart and soul.  Since we have met our souls will remember each other through lifetime and lifetime.  The meeting of souls is a sacred thing, for all is in divine order.  I give great thanks for our meeting and our continued exchange.  Smile and have great joy during this holiday season and always.

With great thankfulness, appreciation and love,

Jan Engels-Smith

Thanksgiving address: a version, adapted from our indigenous forefathers, the prayer given by Chief Jake Swamp, and wilderness awareness school. Put so poetically together by: Deb Scrivens, former associate teacher LightSong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine.

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Remembering Our Lives to Become Ourselves

I have trained myself to elicit guidance from the spiritual realms as a daily occurrence.   I usually do this by going into a shamanic journey and asking the question, “What action would you like me to take today?”  A shamanic journey is an altered state of awareness that is induced with some sort of sonic instrument.  I like to use a recording of drums using earphones to block out all other ambient noise. I cover my eyes to create total darkness and I move energetically into the invisible realms where my unseen spiritual companions reside.  I commune with them.  They are part of my family and I interact with them naturally and with ease.  I believe these allies are part of all existence and their mission is to help humans have an easier time of life.  They offer guidance, direction, protection and teachings.  Since they don’t have physical bodies themselves and we exist in a physical three-dimensional reality, they need humans to provide a vehicle for action.  For example, they may give the remedy for some type of illness but their human counterpart needs to take the action to bring this into the physical realm where it can be applied. This is a sacred relationship that people involved with shamanism or energy medicine understand and value.  For me this relationship is as sacred as my physical family and I nurture it and care for it like I do my most important physical relationships.  So just as I sit and visit with my husband each morning sharing ideas, dreams, tasks, and love, I do the same with my spiritual allies.  The information they give to me has molded my life in exquisite ways.  This information has a range that is vast and can be very basic with chop-wood-carry-water type of everyday needs or can be philosophical or conceptual and propel me into exemplary, mind-altering views of life and existence.

A couple of years ago a profound teaching came through from my meditation.  The spirits were telling me about the human condition.  In most cases humans view life from a narrow, miniscule container that holds the mind in restricted, confined, patterns of privation.  My teaching this day explained that the spirits and actually the cosmos view humans as elites. We experience life to work on high levels of understanding love. Humans are spiritual beings of the highest order that have incarnated to work on extremely difficult projects.  In fact it takes lifetimes upon lifetimes of advancement before a soul even qualifies to be human.  I was surprised at this information.  The spirits continued to expand my awareness and said that actually a soul will experience everything of the Earth before being human, and since the web of interdependence is so profoundly complete that a soul learns intimately about each other thing on the planet by being the other things on the planet.  For example, a soul might incarnate as a mineral, tree, and animal.  What did the soul “learn” from being these other lifetimes?  Each existence has value and adds to the understanding of existence and love. The point of this article is twofold.  First, to give the readers a way to pull wisdom up from their core that can aid in life.  Secondly, to help empower readers by valuing their existence and hoping that they will recognize that value.

As a teacher of shamanic principals and energy medicine I attempted to explain this information to my students and have them work with specific shamanic methods. I asked the spirits to choose some categories to where my students could journey and discover. I put the different categories on slips of paper and then put the slips of paper in a hat. There were eight categories.  I had about 80 students present.  Each person pulled a piece of paper that defined which group they would be involved with.  There were about ten people to a group. We later did other categories in repeating the exercise. Some of the categories were crystals, fish, trees, elephants, ants, butterflies, songbirds, trees, and rocks.

The students were instructed to merge with the essence of the category in their group. For example, if the category was a butterfly they were to remember what they learned when they were butterflies and how that information can service them in being a better human.   Another task was to let go of all the preconceived ideas of what they thought being a butterfly would offer them, such as on an intellectual level a person might perceive that being a butterfly would teach them about transformation or the value of cocooning.  Although useful, these preconceived ideas come out of knowledge or data not wisdom from their internal Akaskic records. They had to stretch themselves to better understand the significance of their prior incarnations.

A person’s internal Akaska holds all the wisdom of every lifetime ever lived. The merge allowed the journey to reveal the actually feelings of being a butterfly and what they were doing in that lifetime as well as what they learned. The results were often staggering.

One student said that being a butterfly taught her about directing light.  Their wings are directing the light coming down from the stars and sun and directing this light through portals. That’s when we learn how to direct light into our being using the resources of the universe and that we can then know how to use the light from the sun and stars to expand and nurture our chakras. As humans our chakras are often stagnant or full of congesting energies. Cleansing the chakras with light from the stars and sun is invigorating and creates health and vitality. Remembering how we did this when we were butterflies helps us be healthier humans. Also this remembering brings us closer to love and the heart connection to all things. It’s in the remembering that we’ll recall the lessons we learned about how to be a good human. Just being human will not be enough. It’s all the lessons we learned to get here.  Everyone holds this information within his or her internal Akaska and everyone has access to the information. 

A simple method to achieve this experience might begin with music. I like drumming because it induces an altered state of consciousness.  Cover your eyes and relax.  Hold the intention that you will remember and become whatever it is that you are interested in, such as a butterfly, a rock, or an elephant. If you find in your journey that you are struggling on the planet because of lack (dirty water, unclean air, poaching, etc.) you are still too involved in this three-dimensional reality and haven’t moved into the real truth of existence, which is pure love.  There are no negatives in the truth of creation. Ask to go deeper and transcend limitation or lack and move into the truth of that species. Notice your interactions with life and how you contribute through your existence to the divine whole of creation. Notice love that you feel and the interconnectedness to all. After you have sustained this for 10-20 minutes ask how this information can help you in your human condition.  Enjoy the process. It is beautiful.

Again, human are these advanced beings that are attempting to “be love” in the harshest of conditions. There is nothing easy about becoming. We must agree to “forget” or to store these memories in the depth of our being, so that remembering becomes a very directed and conscious decision.  The experience is like running a gauntlet.  With cleavers, hammers and dangerous objects swinging around from every direction, triumph can still be attained. 

A few days ago a student of mine that participated in this activity sent me this quote from Rumi.

I lived for hundreds of thousands of years as a mineral,

And then I died and was reborn as a plant.

I lived for hundreds of thousands of years as a plant,

And then died and was reborn as an animal.

I lived for hundreds of thousands of years as an animal,

And then died and was reborn as a human.

What have I ever lost by dying?

Rumi (version by Robert Bly)

In reading this and realizing that Rumi is a 13th century Persian poet who’s message and spiritual awareness is based in understanding love and the human condition, I was reminded of this incredible teaching from the spirits and the value it holds for all of us.  I share this with you so you also can expand and discover your magnificence.

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People of the New Earth


The drawing on this page is of an ascension pyramid for the New Earth. The pyramid and spiral design (not the classifications) came from the book “Hathors” channeled by Tom Kenyon and denotes ascension for humans. A team of us working at LightSong, (including our spiritual team) used this template to develop the labels to help explain what is needed for the New Earth to manifest in a healthy, productive way.

In order for the New Earth to be fully expressed and actualized on the planet, each corner post needs to be strong. Each corner post is mandatory. If one of the corner posts is weak the spiral of ascension will topple as the spiral rotates and ascends.

The apex of the pyramid with the designation of humanity applies to both a collective and individual reference. Every person needs to apply the foundational attributes into their daily lives. As each person does his or her share, humanity will evolve in a good way. In the gestalt, the whole will be much greater than the individual parts; however, the parts need to be strong in order to create the whole.   Each person needs to become a master of loving kindness.

Let us look at one aspect of this vision for achieving a New Earth. We as humanity have been imprinted with competition, which is emphasized throughout our culture, in schools, sports, media, and workplace. It is everywhere, invasive to our psyche and controlling our behaviors and attitudes. Imprint is a term that describes any kind of phase-sensitive learning. It is rapid and independent of the consequences. The consequences of competition are robbing us of attaining strength in any of the four corners of this New Earth Pyramid. Competition is self-serving and promotes greed and win-lose outcomes. Practice is needed to not be seduced into the competition thought form.

As a young woman in my late 20’s I received my first messages about this. I was a competitive runner and competitive sailor. I often won or placed in events. I found myself endlessly practicing for the purpose of winning, which then resulted in someone else losing. This realization was profound for me as I was seeing how this mindset was in all facets of my life. I made the decision at that young age to not compete anymore, at least not with the gusto that drove my life. I still ran races for the pure joy of it but practiced pulling back near the finish line to let others move ahead of me. I was surprised at how egoically painful this was when results were posted in the paper. Still I was committed to my new way of being.

Through the years I noticed how “kind” I had become. Kindness, helping, and being of service developed and fully bloomed within me. In hindsight I can see how this decision shaped my life for the better; it allowed me to think altruistically.

When I was living in Dallas, I was a counselor working with kids from treatment centers. They weren’t capable of succeeding in high school or functioning in the real world. They seldom made eye contact and they’d cover their face with their hair and remain non-communicative. They didn’t have a sense of personal worth and they felt that nobody wanted them around. At times they appeared menacing to others.

I was thinking, “How can I get through to these kids?”

I was listening to a radio program where there was a discussion about the difference between heaven and hell. One story involved a room where there were lots of very hungry people. There was an enormous cauldron full of hearty soup or stew. All of the people had these long-handled spoons. The handles were so long that the individuals could not get the food on the spoons to their mouths. That was “Hell.”

In the next room, the same scenario existed but the individuals were dipping in the soup and feeding the person across from them. This was “Heaven.”

I took that idea and I asked if I could go to the elementary schools and have the counselors identify the kids that were on a path that might bring them to the same place as the older students I was working with. My plan was to identify early in life when they needed the most attention to alter their trajectory in life.

I then paired the kids that needed attention early in life with the older students who I had been working with. The program took off and it won two prestigious awards.

What happened was that the teenaged kids started changing physically—combing their hair out of their eyes, looking up, participating with enthusiasm in conversations, and actually having conversations. I attribute this to the sense that they had that someone finally cared about them. As mentors for the younger children, they felt valued. The little kids were great because they had someone to buddy with and they responded to the attention from an older student. I learned that we receive in direct proportion to what we give of ourselves in a non-competitive and collaborative way. The result was a win-win-win-win. The younger kids gained, the lost older students gained, the schools gained, and I gained; it was beautiful in all aspects.

The four corners of the ascension pyramid—love, unification, collaboration, and support—are all closely woven together into an attitude of positive interaction. None of the four attributes are the product of a sole action but each involves the interactions of beings that are collectively creating the New Earth by their actions, their words, and their thoughts. The world we seek to alter is one grounded in fragmentation, conflict, and rivalry. Our social system is desperately in need of a change that will refocus all of us on an improvement in which all of humanity will benefit and the individual can succeed not is spite of others but because of our mutual effort.

Climate change is an excellent example of the crises facing humanity and the solution to this challenge can only be achieved through the collaborative efforts of all nations, all economic systems, and all individuals. Fragmented, competitive energies have been employed in a competitive environment by nations and individuals to gain advantage over others. The destruction of the ecosystem was perpetrated so that some might gain much while many more lost a great deal. Ultimately, even the “winners” became losers as every person has had to endure the destructive forces that have fouled our water, air, and land. The solution obviously now lies in our decisions to act collaboratively to limit our selfish devastating actions that serve no one and damage us all. The New Earth is a place of balance acquired through the spiritual ascension of humanity that is grounded in the attributes evidenced in the four corners of the ascension pyramid. The restoration of the natural condition of the earth achieved by all of our actions in concert will bring us back into alignment with the perfection of the cosmos.

Collaboration allows for the both the intellectual and spiritual powers of individuals to create generative solutions that are impossible in isolation. The power of systemic thinking is that the outcome of such collaboration is greater than the sum of all the individual outcomes that might be achieved separately. Generative thinking in a collaborative environment produces ideas, solutions, and spiritual awakening that did not exist prior to the alliance of minds and spirits—except of course in the spiritual realm we seek to access. Collaboration does not lessen the significance of personal mastery and development; in fact, it demands of us a far greater commitment to our personal evolution than might have been expected of us as isolated beings. In collaboration we assist each other in moving in the ascending spiral of universal evolution, ever closer to the New Earth.

Closely tied to the experience of collaboration is the movement to unification. The universe, by definition, is the ultimate form of unity. It is not many things; it is but one thing. Just as Newtonian science created a view of existence as component parts that interrelated but held place as independent elements, so has the new science of quantum theory emerged to redefine existence as a unified whole with individual elements having no meaning except in the context of this oneness. We individually have meaning in the universe only as defined by the meaning of the universe. Separate from this unity, we may exist as some blob of protoplasm but that is merely an existential denotation. When individuals are desperate to find meaning only within their own definition of themselves—the ego—they are fraught with self-doubt or narcissism and struggle with existence. When we evolve to find unity in existence, we realize that we are the universe and the universe is us. Seeing ourselves as unified with all of the cosmos does not diminish us in any way. As a matter of fact and as a matter of spirit, we are elevated to the greatest of significance in this great unity of being.

A third corner of the foundation of the ascension pyramid is support. We are powerful and the products of perfection, but we strive to regain our rightful place in an emerging New Earth. One of the greatest sources of strength for individuals is in the encouragement and assistance of likeminded individuals to nurture and reassure each other in this mutual quest. Within the spiritual community of LightSong, we have accomplished much by the simple act of support. A spiritual community finds compatibility among widely diverse individuals and engages the spirits of many remarkable persons in a common effort by assuring that all are there to help and sustain each individual. Support strengthens not only the person being supported but also the person providing the support. When one expends energy in support of another, the supporter does not lose energy but actually generates greater energy for herself or himself in the act of supporting. Our mutual assistance multiplies the benefit for all involved.

Someone might imagine collaboration, unification, and support in unemotional ways and see these components as actions of the mind and the intellect. They are that, but they are so much more. Without love, the pyramid collapses. When we exist in the true spirit of the universe we are drawn together by a powerful force that is greater than simple reason. We find our true selves in places where our feelings of attachment and common purpose are enhanced by the friendship and honest desire to care for each other, not because we have to but because our recognition of our oneness does not distinguish us as isolated beings without connection. Love is an amorphous reality that defies easy description but exists as surely as the smile of a friend or the laughter of a child. In its true form, it is never competitive but available for all and essential to ascending to the New Earth. Without competition or conditions love has a new definition and this corner post will take much attention to master.

At any given moment each of us can self reflect and decide to make changes. The visual cues of the included diagram can help direct you in your behaviors. You may take this pyramid and apply it to your work environment. Let it change your language, your attitudes and your beliefs. Bring it into your family, your friendships, and your hobbies. Notice yourself and how you have been imprinted by a culture of competition and how changing your attitude away from competition can alter your view of the world and bring you much greater joy and appreciation for a life in ascension.


Click here for more information about the People of the New Earth teleconference class!

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The Limitlessness of Reality

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”

Albert Einstein

Science involves the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the natural world through observation and experiment. One might say that science is a process of discovery. We learn in every era of human existence new information regarding the physical nature of our universe and the relationship of human beings to the cosmos and the intricate workings of reality. The history of scientific “fact” has been one of a continuing alteration of our understanding of “certainties” as new discoveries have enlightened us and extended our sense of wonderment. Remember that we once believed that the earth was the center of the universe and all things revolved around it, until Copernicus and Galileo helped us to see differently.

Most of us recall from our high school science the definition of an atom as the smallest unit of a chemical element that consists of a nucleus composed of neurons and protons with one or more electrons orbiting about the nucleus. It can combine with other atoms to form a molecule and subsequently into matter. This seemed in the past as a fairly simple concept until we consider that we have altered this definition by the discovery of quarks which are elementary particles that combine to form composite particles called hadrons—the most stable of which are protons and neutrons. Every discovery in science that seems to have a certain finality to it (such as the smallest unit of matter) must always be understood as to be only of this moment in time and that it could soon be replaced with another discovery.

One theory associated with quarks called “Boltzmann brain” creates a scenario that self-aware entities could come out of random collections of atoms—essentially that people could materialize out of nowhere. Scientists agree that it is unlikely but the scenario is used to demonstrate the infinite possibilities of existence. Furthermore, electrons in an atom may leap from one orbit to another orbit without occupying the space in between. This is known as a “quantum leap.” In other words, material energy may disappear from one location and reappear in another location without passing through the space that separates the two locations.

The evolution of scientific theory suggests that there is much we have not yet discovered. Whether you smile or wrinkle your brow at such ideas, you have to agree that the emergence of quantum physics has strangely moved science closer and closer to a rationale for a spiritual interpretation of existence and an ultimate merging with metaphysics—that branch of philosophy that deals with the first principle of things. Because metaphysics addresses abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space, it has not had a place in the “pure” sciences, which purportedly deal with known fact. The term metaphysics has even been used to mean abstract theory or talk with no basis in reality. But the fantastical natures of spirituality seem ever more plausible as science explores equally imaginative concepts and the mysteries of both come closer and closer to merging.

The spiritual practice that seems to me to be most impacted by the alignment of science with mysticism is the ancient art of shamanism. Let me provide an example that suggests that quantum physics and shamanism might actually cross paths in their respective realms of knowledge. Shamanism employs spirit helpers, which are called forth to assist in the healing and spiritual development of the individual. The shaman “affects” the changes in the individual by this mysterious connection to the spiritual realm. Consider this in light of the quantum physicist’s reality being dependent on the interplay between how our reality manifests and how we observe it. In quantum physics this is called the “observer effect.” The theory posits that the act of observing a phenomenon alters the reality of the phenomenon. The experiment producing this theory involved a double slit through which light passes. Depending on the observer, the light could become particles or a wave. In other words the observer altered the reality of the thing being observed. In shamanism, the shaman alters the reality of what has been conceived as one thing in a way that it can become a new thing.

Additionally, experiments in quantum physics, as an extension of this double slit experiment, has hypothesized that an object might co-exist in two locations at the same time—the Co-existence Principle. If such were the case, one could see in it the possibility of the shamanic practice that allows a simultaneous life to exist in different space and time. In contemporary society such beliefs have been dismissed as fantasy but in shamanism the fantastical may be merely the alternative dimension reality that has yet to be recognized by the next discovery in science.

Shamanism involves dealing with alternative realities and transitioning in space and time into past and future realms in ways that seem to defy scientific logic, but such might not be the case. Science now sees the universe as more than a smooth fabric with straight-line sight dimensions but as containing curvatures in both time and space that do not conform to earlier assumptions of space as an infinite continuation and time as tightly controlled by the ticking of a clock. Time and space warps are the subjects of science fiction but they are derived from the science of string theory and relativity. Modern cosmology reveals that the universe has an inherent curvature and so it is possible that objects can move from one point in space to another point without passing through the space that separates the two points. Shamanism does not propose that we would act in irrational ways but that to discover the different dimensions of the possible we must act in non-rational ways. This intuitive and imaginative approach to thought and action allows the mind to free itself from the artificial constraints of a rationality that cannot see beyond the simplest forms of so-called “facts.”

As quantum physics has informed our thinking in ways that seem to violate traditional scientific principles, we seem to have opened ourselves more fully to possibilities that our ancient ancestors had grasped in their close and interdependent relationship with the universe. Shamans connected across time and space with spirit helpers and living and deceased beings that help us to restore lost soul parts and heal, discover the beauty of our perfect selves, and find unity with a seamless universe.

The so-called conflict between science and spirituality has often been argued as a conflict between reality and that which we imagine. The former has been associated with reason and the latter with intuition. Albert Einstein once wrote: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Perhaps the “observer effect” of quantum physics needs to be employed in the resolution of this perceived divergence of science and spirituality. If we can see the compatibility of reality and that which is yet to be realized, we can bring our understanding and knowledge full circle to rediscover how our past informs our future and how the wisdom of the ancients intuitively defined the reality that science now discovers.

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A Place to Belong: Thriving Shamanic Communities in Action

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 entitled 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.

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Create a Healthy Community

As a spiritual and community leader I receive many questions about how to build community and how to help people thrive. I have presented in this short article the components of a thriving community. I have used LightSong, the name of our community, as the template. You are free to use this template for your own dreams of community. I share this with you to inspire, illuminate, and guide you through helpful steps in this creation process. I believe that the more people strive to create communities of healthy people that this will directly influence the world in a positive way.

LightSong is many things—a school, a healing center, and a thriving healthy community. Our vision includes the statement:

LightSong is dedicated to the cultivation of thriving communities of well-beings through the exploration and practice of shamanism and alternative energy medicine.

People who come to LightSong seek to find acceptance, a place to practice shamanic techniques, and an environment where they feel the presence of like-minded individuals. I believe that people in general quest to be accepted, included, valued, and loved.

The conception of LightSong was actually presented to me during a vision quest. This was long before I had started teaching classes or doing personal healing work and was during a time of my own searching and questioning. During my isolation, I found the site of my quest invaded by numerous ants. They were everywhere. With such an obvious sign from nature I immediately asked them, in my shamanic way, why they had come to my vision quest. I came to understand that they wanted me to build community and they would be my teachers to show me how. Ants know about community! That message motivated me to more exploration of possibilities through numerous journeys to the ants as well as communication with my other spiritual allies and the LightSong community began to emerge.

The beginning was the result of a simple message from nature, but the process of the realization of the community took many years, hard work, and constant vigilance to ensure that the community would reflect the best spirit of a thriving association of individuals bound by a commitment to meaningful personal and communal development. After years of designing, organizing, implementing, and refining the structures and determining our roles and obligations as individuals in a common purpose, it became clear that community required a mutually held spirit of resolve and perpetual attention to core values of trust and caring and love.

As an adult, I have been involved in numerous communities that were created for these same purposes and few of them are still in existence. I often asked myself why such communities so seldom sustained themselves over time. I reviewed what I had observed in communities that didn’t survive or didn’t thrive. What I noticed was a lack of respect amongst individuals, competition rather than cooperation, and leadership that was focused on gaining advantage rather than distributing power. These were not very honorable attributes. In contrast, LightSong’s community is remarkable. People in our community hold our values in their hearts, not just in their minds. As people associated with LightSong have grown into the thousands, we have thrived by maintaining our core values. I attribute this success to certain qualities that were established at the heart of our infrastructure—such as LightSong’s mission to give great respect to others, a stated non-competition agreement, a by-law of no gossip, and moral role modeling from those in leadership positions. The not so obvious but also supportive attributes that contribute to success are based on shamanic practice and incorporating spirit into everyday life. In the design of a spiritual community, spirit must be present in the foundation. Spirituality may be incorporated into religion but the latter often conjures up an image of a governing authority and judgment. Judgment is grounded in the ego and will continually set people up for competition.  Removing the obstructing variables of authority and judgment will guide a person to a more healthy community structure where inner authority replaces outer authority and judgment gives way to mutual support.

Below is a list of the goals that were established and have guided LightSong through its evolution from a healing center and school to a thriving community:

LightSong’s Principles and Philosophy

Practices of LightSong are based on the following values and principles:

  • The complete expression of Love is the highest goal;
  • Healing ourselves is central to facilitating the healing of others;
  • The importance of acknowledging and respecting our teachers, the origins of our practices, and our mentors;
  • Belief in compassionate spirits and the divine self as the basis for all healing;
  • The united belief in the positive, generative nature of the universe;
  • Utilizing the Laws of Attraction or Creation Laws as a template for humanities highest good;
  • Words and thoughts are always conscious, positive, constructive and respectful;
  • Trusting completely in the Higher Power regardless of the name one chooses to call it;
  • The willingness to open to spiritual guidance in developing honesty and clarity in one’s thinking;
  • The willingness to recognize prejudice, bias, or projection in oneself and replace it with truth and love;
  • The conscious awareness of tempering the ego with persistence;
  • Speaking the truth without judgment or blame;
  • Respect for the right of others to form their own values and beliefs;
  • Honoring your own learning from experience and inner guidance as well as those of your teachers;
  • Basing the value of a theory or technique on the verifiable results it helps one achieve;
  • Using negative and positive experiences to heal and grow;
  • Being open to results rather than attached to them;
  • Taking personal responsibility for one’s situation in life;
  • Holding compassion for those who have decided not to do this;
  • Realizing that transformative experiences are not limited to the course work, and contribute to a well-rounded healer;
  • Appreciating the fact that healing and growth is maximized when we transcend the limitations of the ego and live from our true, divine self;
  • Understanding that to strive and reach beyond the current paradigms of limitation and scarcity results in miraculous manifestation;
  • Recognizing that healing requires a deep belief in oneself; and
  • Knowing that there are always internal and external resources available to meet life’s challenges.

These principals, as well as our vision, are the corner posts of our establishment. They emanate an energy out into the cosmos that fortifies and nurtures us. These tenets also hold us responsible to what it is that we wish to create. As with all evolution, the pattern of change isn’t a straight path but produces a learning curve of adjustments and modifications as we grow. Our efforts are in constant need of evaluation. However, this evaluation will always serve us in positive ways because it is imbedded in our goals and our connection to the cosmos.

Although there are other ways to become involved, most people join the community because they have participated in a class offered by LightSong. From the very moment new participants walk through the door, there is a welcoming and a sign of respect. Immediately there is a positive feeling and a sense of inclusion. The intention that I hold as a healer, leader and founder of LightSong is that we as a group are immediately adjusting the fields of energy for the class to be a container that emanates energy of a shared purpose. The vast majority of people throughout their involvement with LightSong will speak about how good they feel at LightSong events. Participants most commonly refer to respect, openness, honesty, safety, voice, problem solving in positive ways, and attention to individual needs as descriptors of their experience.

Our community also incorporates indigenous (not necessarily shamanic) principals at its core. Medicine wheel cosmology designs are one basis for our community involvement. We studied the Iroquois traditions, which actually influenced our Declaration of Independence and the writing of the United States Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was greatly influenced by the community living of the Iroquois. He spoke the Iroquois language fluently and incorporated the Iroquois principals into our country’s founding documents. There are many components of the Iroquois system of governance; however, at its core is the belief that everyone has worth and a job to do that is important and of value and this recognition of the individual’s value to the society instills a sense of belonging and self esteem and promotes the individual’s pursuit of happiness.

LightSong is supported through volunteers and the volunteers’ placement on the medicine wheel is physical as well as energetic. The energy is a constant broadcast that supports, enriches and strengthens each person and their position on the wheel. The idea of volunteering can be exhausting for those who have been involved in faulty programs; however, when benefits are provided and positive attitudes are at the core, great devotion and enthusiasm prevail and everyone thrives.

Thriving communities are a microcosm for the New Earth and how people desire to live. I believe that each time a person in involved in a LightSong function there is an imprint into their energy system that they then broadcast out into the world. This imprint knows there is a better and different way to live than what our history as a civilization has taught us. This experience of true community provides a knowingness that helps drive the quest for the well being of individuals and society.

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The Constancy of Spirituality

The Constancy of Spirituality by Jan Engels-Smith

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received—only what you have given.”

St. Francis of Assisi

Reason and spirituality may seem at times to be in conflict and either of the two might see the world in different terms. However, spirituality anchors itself in the deeper rhythms of our existence and, although we may misinterpret it and act with selfish intent, the truth of spirituality and its greatest gift to us is its constancy. How might we know that this constancy is real? Our recognition of climate change and the contribution of humans to the deterioration of the environment offer an interesting perspective for understanding this constancy.

First, let us put aside the issue of religion. Spirituality does not equate with religion. When spirituality and religion are in alignment, religious people will act with selfless compassion and strive to make the world a better place. People of all religious beliefs are capable of such actions and there are people of all faiths who in their spirituality contribute to the benefit of the human race and to the environment in which we live, but we all know of the abuses of religious doctrine that motivate wars, promote intolerance, and justify evil acts. Spirituality does not harbor such inconsistencies.

In the early Agrarian Age of the human race, humankind began to see itself in competition with the natural world and the effort to produce sustenance from the environment led to much destruction of the physical ecosystem.  Much could be justified rationally, as the needs of the ever-expanding human race required more crop production and the expansion of protein production in the domestication and processing of animals for food. In its early stages, the agrarian revolution’s impact was limited by the size of the population. The early rationale for wholesale destruction of the environment began to fray as the numbers increased in a planet that has finite resources.

The coming of the Industrial Revolution drove more and more of the population into crowded urban areas with poor sanitation and the burning of carbon-based fuels for energy for the industries and homes. Many of these cities grew up along rivers that served as easy dumping grounds for waste from homes and factories. In London, the river Thames became so polluted that Parliament could not meet in the Parliament Building because the stench was so great that politicians were forced to evacuate the premises. At that point, when their personal comfort was compromised, they acted to clean up the river and improve the city sanitation system. As late as the 1950s when the burning of soft coal in London led to the deaths of hundreds of people from respiratory failure, the members of parliament acted again to eliminate coal burning and restore breathable air. Initially, the use of polluting fuels and the contamination of water sources were rational acts that met the needs of the people in this new expanding economy. Reason promoted progress when progress was seen as the immediate solution to human needs for food, for jobs, and for housing. Reason changed when people’s needs for healthy conditions became essential for survival. Therein lies the inconstancy of reason.

It is natural for human beings to find rationales for their acts while failing to see the larger context for their actions. Even today, in spite of all the scientific evidence, climate-change deniers still contend that creating changes that will make for better living conditions and enduring sustainability of the environment will be too expensive, too unrealistic, and too long-term in its realization. This is the reasoning of tunnel vision, short sightedness, and immediate gratification. It is also the product of the inconstancy of reason in an age when progress is measured in unbounded growth, depletion of natural resources, and profit.

But consider the contrast of spirituality. Indigenous peoples from ancient times have maintained a spiritual view of human existence that does not see the human race as in competition with the elements but as existing in a spiritual unity with the universe—a mutually beneficial perspective that imagines that there are no competitions among the spiritual entities, of which man is one, but instead envisions alliances of humans and spiritual helpers that insure that whatever happens to any one facet of existence happens to all entities in the Cosmos. Every flawed action of man is an act against the Cosmos and represents a failure to sustain a spiritual unity that recognizes the oneness of all of existence.

Some native-American nations speak of considering what impact any decision will have seven generations from the time of the decision. This simple perspective would alter many of our contemporary choices by placing all of us in the mode of acting for the distant future instead of the immediate present.

Religions evolve from a core of spirituality, often framed in concepts of love, respect, and mutual identity with others. In Buddhist philosophy, all life is sacred and interdependent. Aristotle contended that all living things have souls in that they are alive and possess an animating force. When he is entreating his followers to care for their fellow man, Christ is purported to have said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” The spiritual base of religions is inclusiveness. It is the practice of religion that sometimes leads to exclusivity and the need to assert one’s moral superiority, much in the same way that humankind has chosen to assert its dominion over the earth.

The modern world has drifted away from the realization and acceptance of its spiritual nature. We have lost much of that understanding of the symbiotic condition of all beings in the universe—the understanding that all of existence is a unified being that we perceive as fragments but exists, in truth, as a single entity. To clear-cut a forest is to scar ourselves, to pollute our water and air is to poison ourselves, and to lose respect for the perfection of our universe is to disrespect ourselves. Much seems wrong with our world but that sense of failure lies within us not in the spiritual realm. That which is unified and that which is perfect remains so—such is the constancy of the spiritual and therein lies our belief in possibility.

I believe that humanity can reestablish itself as spiritual beings.  The simple act of saying hello to nature when you venture outside creates the feeling of relationship, friendship and possibly kindred sameness.  The gentleness of talking to your plants or flowers, gazing into the sky and saying I care puts the heart into alignment of oneness. Regaining our spiritual awareness does not need to be difficult.  Small acts of kindness to nature can produce enormously positive results in the environment.  I beseech you to try these small steps for a month.  Notice how it feels inside of yourself.  You may actually feel more healthy and nourished from the action.  Possibly your friends, family or neighbors will notice and they too will start expanding their spiritual awareness.



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