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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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The basic shamanic journey skills course provides an excellent introduction to Spirit in a shamanic way. Journeying is the foundational tool for shamanic study, healing, and provides the passageway used for centuries to obtain information from other realities.

Build a partnership with the spirits by connecting with your power animals and spiritual teachers as they share information, knowledge and wisdom for solving problems and gaining clarity about life’s circumstances. Understand the different worlds beyond by experiencing them first hand. This is an exceptional class.

In this basic shamanic journey skills course, you also explore a central theme of “who are you?” This theme launches you on a potent and essential shamanic inquiry–the quest for your true self and leads you on a magical and intentional discovery of self-radiance. The entire LightSong School of Shamanic Studies program is based on this rediscovery, and so we begin our inquiry in this course.

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Cutting the Cords of Negative Energy

Cutting the Cords of Negative Energy by Jan Engels-Smith

Human beings are primarily energy systems having a human experience.  Our energy systems are complex and reach far out of the body surrounding the body in fields of energy. These fields can be called auras, subtle body fields, or electromagnetic fields depending on which discipline you follow: metaphysics or science.  These fields of energy can extend out several feet from the body. There are also energy fields inside the body, which are called chakras.  Chakras are more like broadcasting towers and actually feed the subtle body fields around us.

My point in describing this is to help readers understand that energy is the predominate part of our make up and is a major component of our emotional stability, mental clarity, and spiritual awareness.

Our energy is not static but is extremely fluid.  It can be lost, hijacked, contaminated, or stolen.  It can also be refueled, ignited, heightened, attuned and returned.  Maintaining our energy fields and energy system is a major component of good health.  Unfortunately most people are unaware of this need and go through most of their life not sustaining or performing maintenance on their energy system.  The outcome from this lack of attention can present in emotional instability or complications, mental cloudiness or obsessive thinking, and spiritual stagnation.  In fact, all illness is caused by faulty energy frequencies in the body.

The emphasis is this article is on the “cording” of energy.   Every event that you encounter or interaction that you have results in a connection of your energy with this external experience.  These “cords” create the synergistic interchange that both affects the experience and, in response, alters your own being. The result may be minor (although cumulatively significant) or majorly impactful. For example, your memories are a result of the energy interaction you are experiencing with your environment.  Your memory is a result of synapses in the brain (energy currents) bringing a recall into focus.  Metaphysically, we can understand the cords are being “read” and a vague memory may achieve clarity—even into all of our other lifetimes. These connections may be very positive in providing constructive and useful benefits, but there are dangers as well. In the myriad of experiences in our current life combined with the incidents from many past lives, we can become severely entangled in cords, which can present in multiple ways.  We may not be able to let go of lost loves, wounds, or haunting memories. We have all experienced the mental conversation with ourselves after a difficult conversation where we imagine what we wish we had said and even, at times, invent a new conversation and believe a new truth that differs from what actually happened. This is an example of cords being energetically activated to keep this situation alive and present in our psyche.  These energetic connections can affect a person’s heart rate, pulse, and temperate as well as create an extreme emotional state, such as experiencing anger while remembering an uncomfortable incident. The incident may have happened years previously, but we still respond because the energy is still contained in our long-distance connection. Needless to say, these counterproductive cords can be very destructive for the individual and need to be disengaged or cut in order to find peace and wellbeing.

Cord cutting is part of the maintenance of the energy system.  Not all cords are negative or binding in nature.  Some cords are part of our energy imprint of our soul’s evolution through space and time. Children often cord with their parents and parents with their children.  If a situation feels unfamiliar or possibly scary, a young child will step between a parent’s legs.  Energetically a cord is coming from the root chakra of the parent that feels nurturing to the child, energetically informing him that he is safe. However, a negative entanglement may only be resolved by performing a cord cutting. In this act, intention will always be a key factor in finding the correct cords to cut.

Cords usually are connected to energy centers or chakras in the body. The presence of the cord in connection with a particular chakra will determine the emotional component of the cord.  Each chakra exchanges particular energy with our physical, emotional, and spiritual environment—such as love relationships in the heart chakra, loss of power in the solar plexus, or not feeling worthy in the root.  However, since no event is usually singular there can be many cords connecting for various reasons throughout an energy system. Fatigue or exhaustion, guilt, obsessive thinking, not being able to let go of an issue or person, or prolonged grief are a few examples of symptoms of needing a cord cutting.  In my personal view, one could do cord cuttings daily to relieve anxieties and to strip away unhealthy thoughts, just as one might take a daily shower to enter the day fresh and energized. Of course some cord cuttings require more extensive attention and effort.

There are many different methods that can be used in cord cutting. In my personal healing sessions with clients, I always incorporate a very specialized cord cutting—one that the spirits taught me and is very ceremonial in nature. This ritualistic severing of the cord can also be used to restore lost soul pieces.  Many of my clients have experienced amazing results where difficult issues fade away out of the conscious mind and even sometimes out of the memory.  I myself experienced this after I did a session on myself.  My father was a main perpetrator in my life and it seems most of my healing work for myself was about him.  Workshops, private sessions, readings, and self help classes I participated in always seemed to surface him as the source of pain that required my healing.  When the spirits taught me this particular cord cutting, I performed a full session on myself employing all of the ceremony and ritual that I would use for a client.   A few months later I was attending a healing training seminar with a friend and we were to bring up an event that had created an energetic wound.  My friend leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Are you going to work on your dad?”  Since at that moment he was the farthest thought from my mind, I then realized how effectively that ceremony had worked.  I could barely remember my issues with him; they were gone.   I had been truly freed.

In the case of cord cutting concerning family members or loved ones that you are still very involved with, please realize that the intention of cord cutting will remove the difficult situations not the person from your life.  It is always good practice to keep your most precious relationships clear of negative cords; this keeps the relationship healthy and vital.

I can not fully describe the previously mentioned ceremonial cord cutting in this brief article because I can’t explain its contents without readers being fully trained in shamanic energy medicine techniques; however, I can share a ceremony that is profound and I use in workshops with my students.  It is important to remember that it is your birthright to be happy, vital, joyful and sovereign.  Many people are not in those states of well-being because energetically they haven’t been taken care of or learned how to care for themselves as adults.  But happiness and well-being are the natural conditions of life.  Cutting cords and performing energetic clean up is natural and necessary.  Nature does it automatically and naturally.

My favorite example of this is from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  Tolle shares his observation that after two ducks get into a fight they separate and float off in opposite directions. Then they each flap their wings vigorously a few times to get rid of the surplus energy that built up during the fight. After flapping their wings they float on peacefully, as if nothing had happened. Dogs shake, ducks flap, and cords are cut automatically.  Humans seem to have lost this natural release function as the ego developed and ruled.  Now we need to incorporate ritual to obtain the same outcome.

Here is a basic technique:

  • State your intention to envision the cords that are binding you to your unhappiness.  You can change the intention with whichever words feel more fitting, i.e.  “My intention is to cut all the cords that are negatively binding me to unemployment.”  or “ My intention is to cut all the cords that are negatively binding me to unhappiness with my spouse.”
  • Envision yourself sitting in nature in a beautiful place.  The sun is shining and you feel safe, peaceful and full of grace.
    A bright light appears and you realize that this light is creator, source or the divine.  It shines brightly on you and illuminates your chakras.
  • Starting at your feet, ask to see the cords that are coming off your foot that are binding you to your unhappiness.  Once the cord appears in your imagination follow it out and see what or who is attached to it. (This could be this lifetime or any other lifetime; don’t try to control this with what you know.)
  • Once the person, place or thing appears, envision that you are holding a great sword, laser, or some sort of cutting device.
    State: “With the power of love and the empowerment of Source within me I cut this cord and I am free.”
  • At that moment cut the cord off of yourself and then make a second cut to remove the cord from whoever or whatever is attached to it.  Actually move your arm through space in a cutting motion.
  • The cord will fall to the ground and who or what it was attached to will float off untethered from the cord.
  • Go through each chakra: root, adnominal, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown.  You can also do your shoulders and hands before the crown.  The crown is always last.
  • Once this is complete ask the light of source to fill you completely.  Envision this and your true self appearing. Your true self is yourself that has no harm, wounds, or disappointments.  It is the version of you that is your perfect self.  Ask this true self to come and merge with you and source.  Once this happens the cord cutting is complete.
  • Envision yourself in this merged state gathering up the cords and envision a sacred fire burning.  Burn the cords in the fire.  Once the cords are burned, state, “It is finished” three times.  Say “Thank you” and come out of the visualization.

The power to be free lies within each of us and only requires a personal decision to accept the perfection of our true self in a perfect universe.

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The FEEL GOOD CHALLENGE will change your life, it will help humanity, and it will be FUN.

Say yes! Participate in the FEEL GOOD CHALLENGE.

Join the FEEL GOOD Challenge group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FeelGoodChallenge/

Click on the “JOIN” button for this Facebook group for two reasons:
1. Receive the daily FEEL GOOD message as a Facebook notification.
2. Grants you the ability to comment on the post with your FEEL GOOD words.

Participate by reading and interacting daily with an inspirational motivational idea. The intention is to keep you motivated throughout the year and to help you change your vibrational broadcast to joy.  You can learn more about the Challenge HERE.

The FEEL GOOD CHALLENGE will change your life.

 

 

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Realization

Realization by Jan Engels-Smith

Lately I have found myself in what I call the  “North” energies.  To me the North energies represent a time of great reflection, being still, evaluating my life and noticing what it is that I am undertaking, holding on to, or resisting, and what it is that I need to “die to” and let go of.  It is also a time of being in awe of the marvelous life ride I have been on, the choices I have made, and possibly being able to view those choices with 20/20 hindsight of how they have unfolded.

I believe that each person is eventually called to connect with the vastness of spirit and the mysteries of life, and that each calling is unique to that individual.   Some of these callings will be blatant and others subtle; however, all will encompass a decision, then action and change.  Many times there is a loss of the familiar. It is in the loss that many people bail from their commitment to follow the internal call that has sounded. However, the loss or the letting go of the familiar is what clears the way for the remarkable transformation that is brewing just below the surface. Resistance to this change can cause stagnation and lack of growth.  If there is trust, perseverance, determination, patience, and receptivity there can be life-changing transformation that propels a person onto a new purposeful life path that continually unfolds.  Life is never stagnant.  While consumed by these North energies I have been reflecting on my life’s work, which is soul retrieval through the template of shamanism, and this is my beginning story.

I was introduced to alternative healing in a very alternative way. I had a vision. In my vision an old Indian woman approached me. When I asked who she was, she replied:

I am you,

I am your mother,

I am your sister,

I am your grandmother,

I am the Earth.

She had gray hair pulled back tightly in a bun, and her skin was wrinkled and weathered by life. She was wrapped in a wool blanket and was smoking a pipe. She asked if I wanted to join in the sisterhood but warned me that my life would be forever changed. I was doubtful, but I kept hearing the word “Trust” in the background. I nodded my head and spoke the word “Yes.”

I remember being extremely nervous, but there was a peculiar kind of strength surrounding and supporting me. We sat down and she handed me the pipe and we smoked it together, passing it back and forth.

When we finished smoking the pipe, she spoke again. “Your guidance will be provided. Your medicine that you carry is North—Wisdom, Healing, and Love. Begin at this time to start reading and learn to understand the Ways.”

Looking back on this experience, I see the meaning of the vision with clarity and understand fully the intent of the visitation, but at the time I was left perplexed and wondering. I had had no exposure to any indigenous teachings. I didn’t know what sisterhood meant. I didn’t know anything about the pipe ceremony; I didn’t even know that it was traditional for Indians to smoke pipes. My only exposure to this Native American ritual was from Westerns on TV when some white person would come across a tribe of Indians and they would sit and smoke the peace pipe as a sign that they would try not to kill each other anymore. I had no idea what the word medicine meant except as some combination of chemical elements to take when you are sick. I was engulfed in the mystery of the vision, but confused as to its meaning. Why had I had a vision? What did it mean? What, if anything, was I supposed to do with these strange images that had invaded my consciousness? So many unanswered questions.

Even to start reading about the Ways presented a mystery. What were the Ways? Where would I find readings that would teach me the Ways? I was involved in psychology in a very traditional way; I knew no other way. I was active at the time in the Methodist Church. In fact, I was considering studying for a Doctorate in Theology and perhaps pursuing a ministry. This vision was not at all a part of my existing reality system; it left me completely baffled. However, my love for Source was so great that I honored the experience. I reminded myself of the many stories in the Bible where visions had occurred with wondrous messages accompanying them. I believed that this vision had come to me for a purpose I did not yet understand. However, for me to fully honor this spiritual visit, I needed to seek greater understanding. Thus began my voyage of discovery. It would prove to alter my very existence and it is a voyage I continue to this day. The wonder of it has proven to be in the journey itself, not in any final destination.

I am a person of commitment. I am dedicated in the pursuit of my goals and persistent about overcoming any obstacles. My tenacity has often helped me to reach success in spite of difficult objectives. I love to see the impossible become possible, and the unrealistic become real. I did not know where the new challenge of my vision would take me, but I was prepared by habit to pursue it to its conclusion.

I committed to joining the sisterhood, whatever that was. I had made a contract with the vision, and I would keep my commitment. I just had no idea what to do or where to start. I felt that I needed guidance, but there was no one in my network of friends with that kind of knowledge, and only one with whom I was comfortable even mentioning the experience. It took one year before I found anyone that could help me understand what it meant.  During that year I experienced extreme loss.  Best friends that I loved deeply could not understand the deep changes I was experiencing.  Talking about a vision or aberration that showed up in my living room left me sounding “crazy’ to them, like I had folded from the stress of my job.  At the time I was working on the dissociative ward in a psyche hospital specializing in multiple personality clientele.   For many of my friends and family members my new truth was strange, perhaps abnormal, and it was in conflict with the Bible belt religious belief systems that were prevalent where we lived and my beliefs were more than many of my friends could manage.  My friends started to abandon me in very hurtful ways. Thank heaven my marriage survived this shift. I also became extremely ill, which now in hindsight I recognize is often another sign of deep transformation.  I was weak, exhausted, and brokenhearted. My losses were unimaginably difficult and I was suffering.  I needed to escape the pain.

We moved from Dallas, Texas to Portland, Oregon. This move created wholesale changes in my life: a new job, new community, new church, and new friends. I did not know at the time, but I understand now that this move was part of a major shift that would lead to a reordering of my life.  In fact I now see how I was plucked out of that environment and placed into another.

Shortly after the move, I was at the Oregon coast with my husband who was attending a convention. He returned to our hotel room from a presentation saying, “Jan, come down to the vendor displays with me and meet this person who has a booth with some very unusual books. I think you will be intrigued.”

I followed him down and browsed through the various books. They addressed a wide range of spiritual matters, many from nontraditional perspectives. I don’t remember the specific titles of the books, but I do remember feeling an uncontrollable urge to ask the sales woman if she knew anything about visions/aberrations. She did not, but offered me the name of a woman who might help. I remember the excitement, the bolt of energy, that ran through me as she handed me a business card with the woman’s name and phone number written on the back. I called immediately when I returned to Portland.

The woman referred to herself as a channel and claimed that she connected with the client’s guardian spirits or angels, for guidance. She told me over the phone that she felt that my own guardian spirits could help me understand my vision. I caught my breath. The whole concept of guardian spirits was completely foreign to me. I had been to psychics in the past, but I had never experienced anyone who claimed to channel. I had little idea what the word channel meant or what I had gotten myself into. Yet still I was curious and felt innately that this was the right choice. I drove to her house.

The woman took me to a small room and, after some preliminary information; she entered into a trance and started speaking to me in a strong and unusual accent. My mouth fell open. I was overwhelmed with the information I received, but equally awed by the feel of love that emanated from the words. During the session my guardian spirits explained to me the different symbology that was used in my vision. They also suggested that I buy books about shamanism, healing, and soul retrieval. I was to learn of this ancient healing technique. Through the process of learning about shamanism, I would remember many things recorded in the cells of my being that had to do with my purpose in this lifetime.  It was later revealed that they were referring to my life long career doing soul retrievals.

My mind raced at the conclusion of the session. I had heard so much that was new to me, most of which I had little or no understanding. At this point in my life, reincarnation and the possibilities of other lifetimes existed only as a part of Eastern religions. Now, I was being told that I too had previous lives, and that it was possible to remember them. All of this felt very odd to me, but at least I had received an explanation of my original vision and a suggestion of books that would help me understand more. The directive to read was a comfortable and acceptable assignment, so I immediately bought several of the recommended titles.

From that point on everything changed. Due to this shift in my awareness and my willingness to open to new possibilities, I became exposed to the people, training, and concepts that completely remolded my life and my profession. Each shift has been a step along the divine path of my development and my understanding of how we all can heal.

I have questioned spirit on many occasions about the loss, suffering, or hardship that frequently accompanies transformation.  The spirits have redirected my question and asked me, what have you been praying for? I realized that my own heart yearnings had been present most of my life.  My prayer of greater understanding of God, life, and what I would call religious understandings (remember at that stage of my life my only context for God was enmeshed in Christianity and I was considering a doctorate in theology) put these creative energies into motion.  However, my involvement with the church was not the venue for my deepest connection and severing this relationship would not come without resistance on my part.  On the whole, humans hate change and will not easily give up their attachments, belief systems, friendships, or loyalties.  The resistance to the change that is necessarily for the transformation to take place is the problem and causes the suffering.  In my own life example I could have chosen to try and heal the friendships that were being severed and deny the esoteric experience of my vision.  That route might have felt safer, more familiar and easier but I believe I would have suffered more emotionally with a lack of satisfaction or fulfillment in life.  My prayers opened an unexpected door and my decision to follow the new path paved the way.  At the time it seemed to be the hardest thing I had ever done; now it seems the most obvious choice.

Possibly you have had longings, curiosities, or just felt like you don’t fit in traditional belief systems.  Maybe you have had extraordinary encounters with spirits, angels, emotions, or places and tried to explain them to others but received back only odd looks, disparaging comments or, worse yet, humiliated.  These judgments can cause people to step back and shield themselves, cutting themselves off from the necessary movement forward.  It can be very confusing but realize that change must happen within the individual and this change has to do with letting go of old ways of being—letting go of friends, spouses, careers or whatever is in the way and not supportive to the initiated change.

Since the original vision, I have had numerous additional spiritual experiences. I began to reorder my life, to renew my thinking, and to interlace my knowledge of psychology with elements of spirit and actual teachings from the spiritual realm. As I integrated these experiences into my own consciousness, I became acutely aware that my experiences were not only for me but to be used as teachings for others. The teachings and experiences hold universal messages, or basic truths, that need to be shared. In fact I would go so far to say that the extraordinary is now the norm in my life.

Truly, each person is called to connect with the vastness of spirit and the mysteries of life and each calling is unique to each individual.   If you feel that you fit this call of the inner shaman, take action, let go of resistances, seek out a teacher and move forward in your own self-discovery.

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LightSong is growing! New courses starting soon!

We are adding some courses to the 2016 schedule including a new Mystery School course entitled Wisdom from Within!

Check out all of the offerings here:

http://lightsong.net/community-classes-and-events/classes-events/
http://calendar.lightsong.net/calendar/

Please feel free to contact jan@lightsong.net or call 503-669-3013 with questions.

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Faeries

Faeries by Jan Engels-Smith

“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world, For I would ride with you upon the wind….”

W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

Our world is diverse, not only with the obvious diversities among humans such as race, socio-economic status, religion, language, and cultures, but also in the diversity in the unseen worlds. Several years ago the spirits told me that we see less than 1% of our surroundings, and quantum physics posits that our perceptions of energy are even smaller and that we are aware of less than .001% of our surroundings. In other words, we are blind to most of the context in which we live. There are dimensions and realities that we share on the earth that are as developed and comprehensive as our own natural world and there are diverse “other” beings that live among us.

One of these mysterious worlds is the faery realm, the hidden folk, or people of the Shea (pronounced Fay). In the early 1990’s I saw a documentary on Iceland and the residents of this country who hold beliefs in the faery realm. The documentary included interviews with the president of Iceland, teachers, road workers, city planners, and country folk. The Icelandic culture is steeped in their beliefs in faeries and their respect in sharing the land with this mostly invisible culture.

Before housing developments, highways, roads, malls or other structures are built on open land, survey crews take note of where faery villages are located and either move them or go around them so as not to disrupt or destroy the faery habitat. The documentary did not go into an in-depth explanation of how the villages are identified; however, it was implied that the Icelandic culture knows how to do this. I was intrigued with the documentary and how this culture taught about the faeries in school, featured them in newspaper articles, and had a widespread acceptance of the faerie kingdom. The president himself stated that of course he believed in faeries.

During my many years as a shamanic practitioner and teacher, the faeries have been instrumental in my work and my play. Making the decision to open the door of the truth to this realm, I have then allowed there to be interaction. “I’ll believe it when I see it” is a statement of limitation and contributes to the perception of blindness to the greater mysteries of existence. We make a choice of how open we will be to possibilities and one of those choices is to decide “I’ll see it when I believe it.” New realities emerge in direct proportion to our willingness to imagine and to dream—our access to the places of alternate realities. The spirits have often said that if a person just suspends their disbelief that new realities can present.

Faeries can be found anywhere. They are not limited to pristine natural environments, although these locations are often full of faery activity. If you are a city dweller you can find faeries in parks, in your yard, or in other natural settings and you can invite them to present. Classically, faery rings, which are circles of stones, can be constructed with the intent that you would like to interact and the rings invite this realm into your life.

My first induction into this world of faeries was the result of a dying tree in my yard. The nursery that I used came out to diagnose the blight I saw on the tree and I was told that the tree had a virus that would not only cause the tree to die but would spread throughout my yard, killing many plants. It was recommended that I destroy the tree, dig up a majority of my yard, and dispose the effected soil. This was devastating news to me as my gardens are my pride and joy. I don’t even have grass in my front yard but have landscaped it with gorgeous flowers and trees.

I remembered a story that my friend Tom Cowan had told. Tom is a renowned Celtic shaman and I have taken several classes from him. Celtic shamanism has many traditions steeped in faery lore.   Tom told a story that involved a tree he was trying to save from dying (Elm’s Disease I believe) and how he had invoked the faery realm to help. Remembering this story gave me the incentive to try something similar. I decided to create a faery ring around the tree with a circle of stones. I then journeyed to the faery realm and asked the faeries to help. In exchange, I committed to make daily offerings to them, which included singing to them. The faeries use the essence of energies to keep their world strong and vital. Since the faery realm is based on music, joy, and beauty, the essence of these things can be used as vital life force. The faeries always require an exchange for services much like we do in the human realm. With this in mind I hung tiny wind chimes in the tree and adorned it with other special decorations. Faeries love beauty and cleanliness and shiny things so it is always good practice to pay attention to the circle and maintain it in good ways.

At LightSong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine we have a number of songs that are designated “faery songs.” We often sing them with the intent to send powerful life force to this realm. It was these songs that I sang each day to my personal faery ring. I never treated the tree with harsh chemicals to kill the virus nor did I try to cut out the black bark that was a result of the virus. Almost the entire lower half of the tree was discolored and black. Yet soon, a new growth appeared not at the top of the tree but around the base. This new growth started to encase the weakened areas of the tree. It was obvious that the tree was being “helped” for the growth was out of the norm of tree growing patterns. For years I would show people the miraculous change in the tree and tell the story of the faery doctoring that the tree received. Now almost twenty years later there is no evidence of the damage to the tree and the story needs to be taken on faith. I realized this when Tom was visiting last spring and I wanted to show him the results of his teaching that summoned the faeries that we both admire and love. I still keep the sacred stones and regularly tend the faery ring. The faeries have become a major ally for me entrusted with my most precious prayers and concerns.

I have many great stories of faery interaction including one involving a friend of mine. Robin was on a trip to Scotland with Tom Cowan and the intent of the trip was to travel to famous Celtic sites and conduct ceremonies. One of these sites is a faery glen that is famous for faery interaction. Robin attended more for the sake of his wife Colleen, who was studying shamanism, and he had only a minor interest in the topic of faeries. Robin reluctantly decided to participate in the designated activity and he took his rattle out into the glen. He was immediately altered and felt a strong directive coming from somewhere. He was told to “clean up the glen.” He could feel a pull from an invisible force and hear a distinct voice directing him to go to certain places. The necessary cleanup was not obvious to others that visited the glen. Even though the faeries claim to like shiny things they don’t like metal and they don’t like a mess. Robin was directed to dig with his hands into the dirt where he would find metal scrap—objects buried in the landscape invisible to public view yet unacceptably invasive in the faery realm. Sometimes Robin would hear a comment such as, this is scaring our children or this is in our way or this is ugly. He was asked to remove the intrusive objects. He even had to dig with his fingernails into a tree to pull out a nail. His fingers bled with the effort. All in all he found 19 items, which he still has to this day. He brought them home as mementos of a magical time in the glen. From Tom’s perspective, Robin appeared to move in a trance-like fashion. Tom also saw shimmering lights in front of Robin, directing his path. Tom commented that he was fascinated when he first observed him but he had no idea what had happened to Robin or why he was behaving in such a strange way. Since that trip in 1999, Robin has had an intimate relationship with the faery realm and many magical things have happened to him and for him especially in the area of his business and prosperity. The exchange seems to be one that keeps on giving.

Shamanically speaking the faeries live in the middle world, which is the same world that we live in. They have many of the same cultural structures in place as we do, such as nurseries for the children, schools, hospitals and villages. They live in groups. They have social gatherings and conferences. Their mission is to keep the earth beautiful. They are bound to their original instructions forfeiting free will to maintain their mission. They are not all knowing like many spiritual allies are; however, they are magical, directly influence the human realm and can make things happen for us that many other spirits cannot. If you are interested in building a relationship with them, build a faery ring, sing to them, make offerings to them, and watch what happens.

Note the faery playing a flute in the photo I included. The photo was taken by my daughter of a plant in my yard.

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Jan in Energy Magazine

Jan Engels-Smith in Nov/Dec Issue of Energy Magazine

I am so excited to share with you my article about prayer that has been published in the winter issue of Energy Magazine!

You can read the entire article and more by signing up for a free Energy Magazine subscription at http://energymagazineonline.com/subscribe. Subscribe now and receive a free gift.

Energy Magazine is a free bimonthly, online publication. The magazine explores the dynamic field of Energy Medicine—healing that works with the subtle energy fields of the body to restore balance, holistically support health and well-being, and encourage healing. With gorgeous images and thought-provoking content, you won’t want to miss it. Subscribe and receive a free electronic version in your email inbox.

Here is an excerpt form the article:

Prayer is a powerful energy. It not only connects you to the Force-greater-than-self, but it stimulates the power of creative energy within you and puts into action your ability to create. You literally merge energies with Source. You step beyond limitations and into the realm of possibilities. It is a powerful means of adding energy to one’s desires. Each time you pray, you add layers of energy to your desires, energy that will actually accumulate in volume, mass and density. Thought forms emerge from this accumulation and energy multiplies. I believe the more faith and trust you have, the more you stay in joy or peace with your feelings and the faster thought/prayer manifests into physical reality.

 

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Availability, Willingness, Saying Yes

Availability, Willingness, Saying Yes by Jan Engels-Smith

Each year LightSong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine conducts a practicum for the students.  The practicum setting is beautiful and blissful.  We use pristine land in Tillamook, Oregon, an area that is part of the rain forest of Western Oregon.  We spend a week together camping, singing, journeying, applying the teachings and using the land as a teaching arena. This year was LightSong’s 30th practicum.  During the practicum our spiritual connection is profound and intense. The spirits have consistently supplied me with invaluable information that has literally molded the structure of LightSong and molded the lives of those that participate.  I continually use this information as teaching material in our various classes. It is rich and encourages mind-expanding insights.

There is always a theme that presents during my initial journeys when I am preparing for the experience. These journeys precast the teaching I will deliver to the group.   I never know what the theme will be until we actually embark upon the land. There were four interlocking themes that presented this year:

  • Humans are revered in the universe and being on Earth is equivalent to working on a doctorial degree in spiritual development while enrolled in the Earth school.
  • Life on Earth is about relationships and emotion.
  • The spirits have more access to you to help when you are available and willing and say “Yes.”
  • There is always a bigger picture occurring energetically that is often divine in character.

Each of these themes has several subcategories to them, which I will flesh out in future writings.

Human beings are very complex and accelerated beings in the universe and are esteemed and revered in the cosmos. That doesn’t mean that humans have accelerated intelligence or technical skills, but that we have been many lives in many places and times, and becoming human is to be part of the advanced “school.” In my journeys, the spirits said that before incarnating as human on this planet we incarnate into many animals, plants, geological features, nature spirit forms, and, in fact, most of the things that exist on the earth. We use these incarnations as teachings. Teachings that when remembered bring us into the full expression of being human. Humans are the only species that develops a strong ego, but lifetimes as other creatures are pure and uncomplicated.  Origin instruction isn’t lost in the imprisonment of the ego.  Lessons on love, cooperation, unity, harmony, balance, communication, collaboration, and telepathy are easy and natural from nature.  These lifetimes are documented into our individual signature, which the spirits call our own personal Akashic record that we hold within.

In previous teachings the spirits explained to me that frequently the more difficult the life the more advanced the soul.  I learned while performing soul retrievals on individuals whose character and integrity I might have doubted that the spirits rebuffed me for any negative judgment.  The spirits often displayed extreme reverence for individuals whose character I might have doubted. A person’s actions that might create problems for others might not be appropriate but they are also a challenge to the person who must overcome any interior faults or shortcomings. When I asked about this, the spirits explained that challenges in a person’s life can lead to great advancement and that often extremely difficult life experiences, especially those of the handicapped, are often the source of extremely advanced souls. The degree of success of the individual will be determined by how the person develops in love. The trials and tribulations of a challenging life may well produce a stronger and more developed loving expression, which is seen as an advancement of the soul.

I thought of Stephen Hawkins and his debilitating illness, Ludwig Beethoven’s loss of hearing, and Michelangelo’s failing eyesight that might have ended their lustrous careers before they had accomplished their full destiny and recognized that their challenges might well have compelled them to greater heights of achievement. Each of us faces challenges that may seem insurmountable, but the very act of choosing to overcome these hardships of our life circumstances will lead to ever-greater potentials for accomplishment. Each lifetime contains lessons and humans, to be successful, have to balance heart, mind, and spirit in the rich fields of awareness, love, harmony, and peace if they hope to fully realize what the spirits know to be the natural conditions of existence. Our effort is facilitated by the spirits insistence that we recognize our perfection and move away from judgment, attachment and any sense of futility and toward becoming our true selves.

Earth is the planet of diversity and emotion. We are a people of diverse cultures, races, religions and language. Our emotions govern much of our actions and create strong egoic opinions. Amid this entire myriad of influences, the human race strives to develop a common understanding of the cosmos and attempts to develop an actualization that determines our future and allows for the general ascension of human beings to an awareness of our universal perfection in a loving and supportive universe.

Humans have to coordinate all of this. Every moment of every day each of us is dealing with diversity and attempting to establish positive relationships. It is a challenge that the human race faces as individuals seek self-actualization and collectively we strive to allow our spiritual natures to break free of our egos and self doubts. The fundamental question is how to bring humanity to a higher place and achieve oneness with the cosmos. Every human experience is ultimately about relationships.  We seek personal mastery but with the goal of living in harmony with the entire planet and as one with the universe. Since Adam and Eve first established a relationship, civilization has always sought—often with little success—to bring harmony and peace to our world in congruence with all of humanity. The barriers of ego and the attractions of greed and power seem to have always held more appeal than the values of a spiritual life lived in concord with an understanding of the unity of all things in a perfect universe. We seem too willing to accept the inevitability of conflict and divergence because we have been taught in an ego-driven world that that is the nature of existence. The spirits have made it clear that such a decision is in opposition to the true nature of existence.

hathor pyramid

Tom Kenyon, in his book The Hathor Material, supports this concept with a descriptive graph titled the Pyramid of Ascension. The movement of the spiral as it spirals upward strikes all four corners repeatedly. If a corner is not solid in its foundation, the spiral will topple. The four corners are about relationship: to yourself or your Body, to others, to Earth or the elements, and to service.

I want to emphasize that as long as humans have existed or will exist, we will be occupied and engaged with this issue. Our individual attention to the ascension pyramid assists us to focus on our personal challenges with understanding that what we do individually will either help or hinder humanity. Often we don’t realize or comprehend that our individual actions affect all of humanity. We think of ourselves as individuals, with personal experiences and desires, often forgetting that our experiences have a profound affect on the whole of humanity. As we are challenged and work through issues, we are working through issues millions of people hold. They are common to the human condition. As you find success in your concerns, you bring success to others.  The common denominator in all things is relationship. Relationships are about love and the human condition is about discovering what true love is while still juggling opinion, judgment, loss and difficult situations. The spirits say we are learning what it really means to be human as we strive for the glory of harmony in diversity, which they deem as a mastery level incarnation. With that we gain understanding on why we would be revered in the universe and why we are in such a rigorous and demanding school—the Earth school. The concept of the Earth as a school may not be new—in fact I have heard the term Earth School for probably 25 years—however, the new information that the spirits delivered beckoned me to review these teaching another time.

I want to read something that I experienced when my mother passed two years ago.  I made contact with her on the other side on the two-year anniversary of her death.

I wrote about this in my article titled “Death and Dying from a Shamanic Perspective.”

My mom appeared in all her radiance.  The love emanating from her was spellbinding.  We greeted, hugged, kissed, and wrapped ourselves together.  I was overwhelmed with recall of special intimate moments.  My life flashed before me with magical instances with my mom.  It was holographic in nature.  All my senses where activated: smell, touch, sight and sound.  I was reliving my life with my mom much as I would image a life review but everything happened simultaneously and holistically instead of in chronological order. I fully embodied our life together from my birth to her death. I basked in this love fest for several minutes.

As our time progressed and I gained my composure, I asked her what she wished to share with me.  She said: Life is all about relationships.  Love is just another word for relationships.  All relationships need to eventually be unconditional. What you don’t bring into alignment in this lifetime you will repeat until you get it right. (I was thinking Groundhog Day on steroids!)  Time passes on earth like a flash, enjoy and foster good relationships.  Make that happen for yourself. Do whatever you can to make that happen, always. Share this information with your children, your grandchildren, your friends and all that you know. Relationships are the foundation of love.  I contemplated her statements. My mom never taught with words, always through example.  Her relationships were exemplary. Had she discovered the truth about love while living? My heart was bursting.

At our practicum this year, the spirits taught on this subject for the entire week.  In this article I will emphasize three words that they used: availability, willingness and saying Yes.

Availability. What does that mean? How many times a day do you make yourself available to spirit? We are busy beings and often we aren’t available to spirit. We must take the time to listen. The spirits are communicating in everything that we come into contact with every day.

Willingness. Are you willing to be different? Are you willing to make the changes the lesson is asking you to make?

Spirit can do a tremendous amount for you, but you also have free will. You are ultimately in control. When you are ready, say Yes and ask “What can I do every day to put changes into action?” If your actions support your change you will make progress.

 

**Artwork by Margie McMahon

 

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A note about Practicum 2015!

A kind note from one of the supporters in camp about Practicum 2015:

I have so many thoughts about the entire practicum experience.  I wanted to share a few – from a first year/newbie perspective!  I am just so deeply grateful for the creation of this special event; I feel compelled to share.

In general, practicum surpassed my wildest dreams.  I really could not have imagined the profound, and yet simple and easy experience that it was.

I will admit that I did not understand the intensity of the container until I got there.  Though I should have, since my car literally felt like it was being pulled down that last driveway!  The first evening, I thought that maybe I wasn’t really connected.  All the talk about feeling the questers, sending things to the fire…and then…as I was nestled, warm and cozy, so very comfortable and happy in my tent…I suddenly felt great fear.  Huh…there it was.  Clearly not mine.  And, energy does find its match.  I had thought about how I would love to be out questing one year…but, then second-guessed that after dropping them off that morning and realizing that they would be in the absolute dark with critters running around!  (Um, let’s just say that I would have to really find peace with the rodent nation before I could say yes to a vision quest.)  I sent that brief thought to the fire earlier…and now here it was back with me, in a very intense way.  I sent it on its merry way to the fire.   Sent the questers my yummy feeling, and that was that!

One of the other very strong feelings I got during the last morning was a feeling of not having gotten enough out of the practicum week.  HAH!  Hysterical.  Since I felt almost overloaded with learning.  Happy and content.  Not a trace of self-doubt.  So…I sent that one along too.  What was so marvelous was that it was all so very intentional.  And, simple.

practicum 2015 kitchen

 

The kitchen crew really was unreal.  In my 20’s, I cooked at a salmon hatchery on a remote island in Alaska.  Cooking for a group is not easy, camping style even more so!  The grace and ease created in the kitchen and in the energy of the food was spectacular.

The singing.  Hmmm…who is healing who here?  I cried tears of joy every single time.  The beauty of that.  Where it made my mind go…the community and love.  And, I don’t sing!  I can’t really carry a tune.  But, there was so much love in my heart for the world that it didn’t matter.  – I have always known that selfless service is right.  I have been in many situations with this intention.  But, never one like this.

practicum 2015 singing

 

The teachings and expansion of the mind, with journeying and discussion was something I hadn’t expected.  And, the connection to the earth and humanity’s role right now…wow!  Things just start aligning like crazy!  And, I was so happy to be able to come home and share this new perspective on “climate change” with my teenagers.  They are afraid.  And, this was lovely to share.  Through all the discussion, I also got a very strong message that LightSong should expand—into mainstream somehow, and definitely to the younger generations!

It was also great to share the idea of how difficult it really is to be human.  Like getting your doctorate.  All teens should hear this message!

The energy of the people, getting to know so many folks while in that container.  Sharing tears and joy, singing and laughter.  It is how humans should be.  That also goes back to my songbird journey…that as a songbird, there was a peacefulness in just being what you were designed to be…a songbird, an elephant or a fish…and this way of being in practicum IS the way humans should be.

And, just when I thought it was over…we stepped into the gift-giving circle.  The gratitude was SO strong.  Palpable.  I could feel it welling in my being.  I just totally lost it.  Sobbing.  It was for spirit, for you, for all people and the world.  So much love.  And, felt in a way that I don’t do so much in my daily life.

And, speaking of daily life…for the journey for the lodge, we were told to ask for a method to find our signature on a regular basis.  Well…my guide very clearly told me to breathe into that every time I wash my hands throughout my day.  I asked for something more …um, beautiful or glamorous…the answer was, “Nope.”  So as others were speaking in tongues, going off to far away lands, all this magical stuff…I was a little disappointed.  Really?  Washing my hands. — But, oh, the wisdom of Eagle.  It is just what I need.  A great reminder, all day long.

On a more earthly practical level…though I know spirit and intention truly were the driving forces for the success!  I have never been to a camping event that ran so smoothly.  Ever!  With so many people.  And, I have been a part of a LOT of large group outings.  I have never seen one so well-orchestrated; without strife or emotional outbursts, with leaders so very poised…truly remarkable

Finally, I carpooled with a few others.  We went to the ocean before heading home.  It was a lovely transition.  Nice to be able to share the jolt of being in public with others!  When I stepped out into the ocean, I realized that I was going to go back to life in Portland, and I burst into tears.  I didn’t want to leave the container.  I’ve really been thinking about this moment a lot.  My daily life and many relations just are not a match for my vibration.  And, this even stronger, newer vibration after practicum makes that even more clear.  Rather than slip back…I am consciously trying to hold on.  – It makes me think of the question you asked me after your reading at New Ren this last year.  I remarked that I couldn’t take another class, because I could barely get out to the once a month Level 2 class.  You asked, “Why is that?”  That question comes into my mind a lot.  It’s the same reason that I burst into tears at the ocean.  I am not being my true self.  Practicum enabled me to finally answer that question truthfully.  I thank you.

On a funny note…I found myself snorting with laughter and just at ease after practicum.  I love that.  I want more of that.

And, on a totally selfish note…as a full-time mother of two, I haven’t had a series of days without having to worry about anyone else, AND have amazing meals made for me…maybe EVER!  Sheer bliss.

It’s difficult to describe to others, outside of Practicum, how truly remarkable the time was.  How it felt as if we were in a valley of spirit, a bowl of energy that allowed, effortlessly, such deep and profound connection to spirit.  It was like stepping into a journey, that lasted 6 days.

~JM, Portland

Practicum 2015

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