News

,

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.

Read More

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.

Read More
,

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.

Read More

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.

 

Read More
,

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

 

Read More

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

Read More

Jan Presented at The Original Afterlife Awareness Conference

The Original Afterlife Awareness Conference

Jan Engels-Smith presented at The Original Afterlife Awareness Conference in Norfolk, VA on June 4-7.  She guided attendees through a “pushing over” ceremony to make contact with and assist the souls of those who have transitioned via suicide.

Beyond Words is proud to once again present the live-stream video of the Afterlife Awareness Conference, which features presenters that represent the best and the brightest in the field of afterlife research, end-of-life care, psychic development, and spirituality.   Learn about the world beyond death from mystics, mediums, ministers, and medics during one amazing, life-altering weekend from the comfort of your home!  Watch key events at your convenience as often as you want!

Here is the video from Jan’s presentation (Please excuse the first 5 minutes of the video, there were some technical difficulties):

From the Original Afterlife Awareness Conference:

“Where sacred ceremonies, out-of-body journeys and inter-dimensional encounters are an everyday affair”

“Our 2015 conference will feature expanded training in psychic development and after-death communication, as well as teachings on out-of-body exploration, conscious dying and conscious grieving. Our goal is to blur the boundaries between allopathic medicine and alternative healing; between intuitive experience and scientific research; and between religious traditions and a spirituality of oneness to increase awareness of life beyond the physical body.”

Click here for more info and to register for next year.

Read More
,

Thought Forms: Basic Unraveling Method

Thought Forms – Basic Unraveling Method By Jan Engels-Smith

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”  ~The Dalai Lama

The results of our actions are a product of the mental orientations and attitudes that we create as we formulate intents, make decisions, and engage in the activities of our lives. We always act from a place of intention—whether positive or negative—and those intentions generate a field of energy that permeates its surroundings, influences adjacent and distant conditions, and perpetuates itself in infinite encounters. Our intentions create thought forms and we are responsible for them. Thought forms can be viewed as an overarching concept for many different matrices of energy across the wide spectrum of life.

We create thought forms from something as innocent as the planning of a wedding with all the associated intents, dreams, and hopes that we assign to the activity or as negative as thoughts of envy, resentment, or callousness. We may create thought forms from acts of aggression and destructive behavior in times that we might be angry or frustrated. Life is filled with events that people often view as independent of their influence, but the energies they project on to those events create a field of effect and are stamped with our signature. No matter what the topic, if a person is investing time, words, or emotions into a situation or circumstance there is a thought form being created that holds all of the energy that the individual has generated and that energy lingers perpetually among the matrices of others’ thought forms energetically tying us together in the thought form.

In shamanic healing, I have seen many individuals who suffer from problems that they have assumed were only products of outside forces and over which they had little control. Outside forces can and do impact us all, but we either compound or ameliorate these forces by the thoughts that we create in reaction. The process of dealing with the creation of our thought forms I directly relate to the fields of energy that exist throughout space and time. What is initiated persists and what is added to grows in influence and effect. Developing a consciousness of the nature of our thoughts and especially their impact on others and ourselves is fundamental to becoming a well being and healing both physically and spiritually.

Many times our own feelings of loss, helplessness, and pain may be compounded by projections from others, either intentionally or by happenstance. Serious forms of negative energy, which can cause illness or disease, may be the results of others’ negative thought forms. Curses, spells, and projected hatred, jealousy or fear create thought forms of energy that must be addressed if one is to feel well and happy. The Inquisition, which I referenced in my last article, is a good example of how extreme negative thought forms might create a devastating field of energy that persists beyond its historical context.

Whether of minor consequence to the individual or of historical proportion, negative thought forms can be addressed through the process of unraveling. Unraveling involves the peeling back of the external appearance of a condition to discover the core of the circumstance that is the true cause of the suffering or anguish that one might feel. Let me use an example to illustrate the process. Let us suppose that an individual was raised in a strongly religious home where beliefs were rigidly defined for all members of the family and the expectation of behavior was considered as inflexible and necessary. And suppose that this individual had acquired a different set of personal beliefs that conflicted with the family tradition. The individual might feel many emotions in the aftermath of the discovery of his new belief system and after his family has expressed their concern with his straying from their prescribed principles. Feelings of fear, anger, resentment, depression, guilt, and anxiety may intermingle in the thoughts of one moving away from a life well defined to a life with a new definition. Such emotions might easily create a condition that negatively affects the individual’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. In shamanic healing, the unraveling process allows for the discovery of energy dynamics that are created by different thought forms and allows for the root causes to be addressed in a positive and productive way. The first question to be asked is: “What are the fields of energy that are in play in the circumstance?” In this example, the individual who has left the church feels put upon by the other members of his family. He might have the impression that a curse or spell has been cast through their prayers and entreaties. He can palpably feel the energy emanating from others and he might perceive it as having a negative effect on his being—even to the point of physical illness. On the other hand, the members of the family who are praying for the soul of the individual, who has “strayed from the one true way,” may well have acted with all the best intentions and in the belief that what they were doing was necessary to express their love for their “lost” relative and to save him from himself. When these opposing forces are unraveled, the individual can better understand that his fear and guilt and anxiety are contributing to the power of the energy field that is oppressing him. When he comes to understand the motives of his family and recognizes that he has a choice in choosing the thoughts that express his free will and that focus away from the perception that he is under attack, he is able then to create new thought forms of confidence in his choice, a newfound strength in his self esteem, and an appreciation for the positive intentions of his family. He need not change his decision to defy the traditional beliefs of his family but he can create the positive thought forms that emphasize the self-love that allows him to function effectively and productively in his newfound freedom.

Thought forms take many identities and emanate from many sources. They are not necessarily negative. Desires, goals, visualizations, dreams, oaths, vows, promises, declarations, contracts, or enchantments are all ways of creating though words and thoughts and contribute to the creation of fields of energy or add to existing fields.

In all cases your thoughts and your emotions carry your divine essence or your signature. Once your essence is caught in a thought form it is unavailable to you. This can have a compounding affect whereas our essence is part of our vitality. Thus unraveling thought forms is a way to release your divine essence and have it return to you.

A good question to ask may be, “Where I have invested much of my thoughts and emotions?” Scan your life. Were you invested in a marriage that doesn’t exist anymore? Were you an advocate for an issue that is now closed? Have you ever been involved in a law case? Again, where have you invested enormous amounts of thought and emotion? Chances are that all that invested energy is still caught in that situation. The unraveling process releases that energy back to you.

A shaman knows how to unravel energy or thought forms while in a journey; however, you too can be very successful in unraveling using this simple prayer. In the blank, insert the name of the circumstance you are addressing.

Thank you great ones that love me and are compassionate to my needs. Please reach into the thoughtform of (BLANK) and pull my energy signature out. Let this energy be cleansed. Transmute it to divine love and return it to me. Let it then fuel any new desires that I may have.

This simple yet powerful intention will dismantle or unravel thought forms that hold your focus and emotions. The return of this energy in its divine form can feel tremendously revitalizing and fortifying.

© Artwork by Margie McMahan

Read More
,

Thought Forms

Thought Forms by Jan Engels-Smith

Thought forms are bundles of energy that have come together and hold an intention. We create them consistently throughout the day and many of them influence our behaviors, determine our responses in our interactions with others, and create conditions that are either favorable or unfavorable to our well being. They exist throughout time and can gain and lose energy. Understanding thought forms—what they are, how they work, and what role they have in shamanic healing—is a vast and complex subject. In this article, I propose to introduce the concept in a relatively broad sense and then to discuss more specific healing practices associated with thought forms in a future paper.

Isaac Newton changed our understanding of the Universe by enumerating his Three Laws of Motion and his First Law has applicability to thought forms. Newton stated that every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion until an external force is applied to it. If we apply this physical law to metaphysics, we can understand that thoughts and intentions put energy into motion and that energy will continue to radiate out sustaining that energy across time and space. Energy medicine, as it is understood in shamanic practice, focuses on understanding the impactful nature of thoughts, intentions, and actions and how they create a matrix of energy whose influence reaches far beyond our immediate range of vision. This matrix of energy, for example, might hold a moment of time, or a particular event, that would allow a shamanic journey to take one to this exact moment in time or the particular event. A journeyer can travel to any span of time past or future. This phenomenon occurs because of the law mentioned above. Once energy is placed into motion it will live throughout eternity held in a matrix of time and space until something interrupts it.

Some events are enormous and the effects of them can linger for centuries. A pervasive thought form is created and energy can build within it from resonance attraction. This can be either positive or negative depending on the event. Other events might be highly personal and individualized. In either case, the thought form has influence beyond the immediate possessors of the initial event. How individuals in great or minor events perceive the circumstances in which they find themselves will determine the ongoing impact of these events. Our thought forms, therefore, are important not only to our personal well being but also to the well being of humanity.

Let me give you an example of a positive way of building a thought form. When clients call me for an appointment for a soul retrieval, I would tell them that the healing starts the day that they make the appointment. Their intention for the desired healing puts the energy into motion. I would ask them to start praying in preparation for their session. My request is that they pray each day—either an asking prayer or a thanking prayer.  An example of an asking prayer is: “Please prepare me to receive back my soul parts.”  An example of a thanking prayer is: “Thank you for the gift, the return of my soul parts.” If one prays this way daily and several times a day, one will build an enormous thought form.  Through resonance attraction the thought form will grow in density, mass, and volume, so by the time a person arrives for a soul retrieval, the energy will have already been prepared and the person will step easily into it.

Prayers create the matrix of energy that actually lingers over and around the supplicant. The clients literally bring this matrix of energy through the door when they arrive. They have created the sacred space for their healing through their desire for, attention to, and building of energy. When I start my healing journey, I can capitalize on this matrix of prepared energy.

When I was in energy medicine training I worked with an incredible healer that taught me about thought forms. He would literally place energy constructs around the room. He would build them energetically with the energy coming off his hands. He would build shapes and place an intention inside of each shape. He would have them mapped out on paper of where they were in the room and what shape and program was in each. We as students would move through the room with the idea that when we are attuned to notice these shapes our energy perception would inform us when we bumped into one of the structures. When we encountered a matrix we would have to outline its shape with our hands, name the shape and then reach into the matrix and be informed of the intention that it held.  None of this was visible but all was done through our senses. These teachings are invaluable to me and they broadened my awareness of how this could be used shamanically for healing.

Now let’s broaden our scope of thought. All of us are exposed to thought forms daily. They linger. I can share an example of this from a conversation I had with an individual. She was a meek, soft-spoken woman who disclosed a troubling event to me. She lived in a rural area in Oregon and practiced an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. She told me that she had traveled to Los Angeles by car and that when she was driving on the highway a force came over her. She found herself consumed with road rage. She became a rude and aggressive driver, something she had never experienced before. I believe that a particular thought form lingers over the Los Angeles highway system. An accumulation of energy has formed over these highways, fed from years of stressed drivers, who spew obscenities, express rage, and have enormous negative emotional outbursts. Any person driving on these roads will be subjected to this energy. Some may feel it, some may not, but in some way it will affect everyone. We can counter negative energy with positive thoughts and begin to alter the energies that surround us. Even in the high energy of the Los Angeles highway system, if we are aware, we can find a different way to be in reaction to the negative forces around us.

Energy, whether positive or negative, attracts like energy. When astronauts attempt to drink liquids in outer space and the liquids escape into the capsule, the liquids float about in globules of constantly changing shapes because of the lack of gravity. It has been discovered that when two different liquids, such as grape juice and orange juice, escape their containers at the same time, they separate into multiple droplets and move about the capsule and sometimes collide. As they collide, the droplets might merge into ever enlarging masses. Amazingly, all of the grape juice droplets merge together and all of the orange juice droplets merge together, each attracted to their like and creating two completely different puddles of juice. This is a representation of the law of attraction, the process by which energy is attracted to resonant vibration. Every thought, feeling, or word that you speak is like those individual droplets of juice. All float into space and go somewhere. These energies connect with similar thoughts, feelings, and words. These collections of energy grow as more individuals and their thoughts, feelings, and words feed into them. This energy then manifests in a reality of some sort. There are positive and negative realities created in this process. Fear, worry, hatred, greed, and dishonesty all create incredibly negative thought forms, with many people continually feeding them and contributing to their manifestation. We have examples of negative realities all over our planet. In a like manner, positive forces can also be multiplied into positive realities when people choose to broadcast constructive and affirmative vibrations through energies of optimism, hope, love, and compassion.

Let me share some examples that may coincide with your own experiences and give you a more tangible connection with the concept of a collective consciousness that is filled with thought forms. Take a moment to think about some of the cities you have visited. Cities usually have a distinctive feel to them. You may have felt energized, nervous, scared, or enveloped in the history of a particular city you’ve visited. Places hold collective consciousness in them. When you walk into buildings they each have a “feel,” especially the old ones. I was nearly brought to my knees when I walked into the Sistine Chapel in Italy. The magnificence of that place was truly overwhelming. I was only 22 years old, with absolutely no wisdom concerning spiritual matters, and had not entered looking for or expecting spiritual energy. Yet when I walked in, my knees started to buckle and I got goose bumps all over my entire body. I was awestruck. Millions of people had walked into that chapel before me and shared their awe, their prayers, and their love of God. The energy of those feelings lingers and grows.

I had a very different experience when I visited the concentration camps in Germany. I cried uncontrollably. The terror, sadness, and depth of despair still linger there; it was a horrific experience. Although these are examples of two extremes in accumulated energies, they describe the phenomenon. All places have an energy in them – even your home or the individual rooms of your home. Become aware of what the energy of places feels like. As you tune in to these feelings and understand them in terms of energy, you enhance your work with energy. Thought forms can control behavior and influence thinking because, knowingly or unknowingly, individuals tap into a collective consciousness, which actually exists. Even though you may not be able to see it, it is there. Remember, we are made of energy and are affected by the energy around us. Ideas, concepts, experiences, events, issues, cultures, and spiritual doctrines all have prevailing thought forms connected to them, which may represent hundreds of years of accumulated energy.

Probably the most pervasive thought form that I encounter is from the Medieval and Spanish Inquisitions. Yes, the impact of the Inquisition still affects us all. During the Inquisition many women were burned at the stake or otherwise executed. Thousands of families lost their mothers, wives, sisters, aunts; all of humanity was affected on some level. These women were killed because they were healers, herbalists, midwives, doctors, and they were “known” because of their gifts. Even in the 21st century, we have people afraid to be “seen,” especially if they have metaphysical gifts or understandings. The residue of the energy of the Inquisitions lingers still, as people often fear revealing their different ways of thinking or being. We fear ridicule or shame or rejection. Anyone in the healing arts has experienced this or knows someone that has experienced this. We would be better served if we chose to express our spiritual beliefs, intuitions, and gifts in a positive manner and held true to ourselves. Such positive thoughts would contribute to a collective consciousness that encouraged an optimistic view of the infinite potential of the human spirit. From a shamanic perspective, a damaging thought form can be unraveled, and a person can find comfort and confidence in converting a negative energy into a positive force. I will address this process in my next article.

Acrylic on canvas artwork by Raina Imig. ©

Read More

Through the Rabbit Hole: Explore and Experience the Shamanic Journey and Energy Medicine

Jump into your True Self with Through the Rabbit Hole: Explore and Experience the Shamanic Journey and Energy Medicine by Jan Engels-Smith, Sh.D.

“This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in discovering how shamanism and energy medicine can provide the skills for a more meaningful life.“ –Tom Cowan, Author of Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit and Yearning for the Wind: Celtic Reflections on Soul and Nature.

Author and Shamanic Practitioner, Jan Engels-Smith, skillfully guides you through the rabbit hole by exploring the meaning and definition of the term shaman, and the evolution of 21st century shamanism. You will find yourself immersed in a world of energy and potential, leading to an understanding of the basic tenets of core shamanism, and how to apply these principles to your daily life.

Engels-Smith encourages us to open our hearts, to think outside the box, and to balance our minds by developing our right brain function. These concepts will awaken your senses and prepare you for your first shamanic journey. Here you will discover non-ordinary reality and learn about your Spirit Allies and the Universal Laws of being human.

The shamanic journey is an ancient practice and an inherent skill available to all human beings. The journey is facilitated by basic tools such as the drum, rattle, and song. Exercises and supplemental audio are provided to assist you in an experiential journey of discovery.

The mechanics of understanding and developing your senses enables communication with the Spirit Realms, prepares you, and sets the stage for your first journey experience. This begins with the process of creating sacred space, calling in the Spirits, stating an invocation, and setting an intention. Now fully prepared, you will take your first journey to the Lower World to meet your Power Animal. This Ally will accompany you on all subsequent journeys as you discover the many facets of Who You Are!

Read More