One of the beauties of shamanic practice is that we are inspired directly by spirit. This means that we aren’t bound by a single tradition and are free to follow our own, unique path. This freedom comes at a price though as we sacrifice the benefits that come with belonging to a group or tradition that can help guide us on our path and stop us from straying too far off course. Back in the dim and distant past a shamanic practitioner would have worked within their own ‘local’ tradition, it would have been unique to them but built on the solid foundations of what came before and, perhaps even more importantly, they wouldn’t have known about the myriad ways of working which we (with ready access to the internet and books) are bombarded with every day.
For a modern day spirit worker the problem can often be that there is simply too much choice and variety out there. So many festivals, so many potential spirit quests and journeys, so many methods to learn, so many places to explore, so much healing needed in the world. I, for one, struggle with even beginning to understand what my path should be. I feel guilty every time I decide not to take up a new opportunity for learning, and I always feel that I could do more if there was enough time. I have so many interests that I could easily be performing observances every day, but if I were to do that they would merge into meaninglessness.
If we are to truly embrace our own unique path then we need something to hold on to. Something to keep us grounded and anchored, as well as something to spur our interest and keep us moving forward. I have entitled these my ‘anchors’ and ‘inspirations’. My anchors remind me where I am in time and place and what is important to me, my inspirations are the torches that shine the way and remind me that there is so much that is new and exciting to discover and be thankful for.
I invite you to think about your own anchors and inspirations as you move through the Wheel of the Year and would love to hear back from you about what you find. In the meantime, here are mine on 17th March 2012:
Anchors are like your own personal calendar, some dates are fixed year-on-year while others are special occasions which give meaning to that period of time in your life. Anchors present points of retrospection where you can look back on what you were and celebrate what you have become, mourning the passing of some things, and rejoicing in the birthing of others. Keeping a diary is one way of recording your anchors. For me, the runic wheel, the eight festivals of the Pagan Wheel of the Year, and family holidays (including Christmas and Easter as part of my Christian heritage) are all important to me.
- Half month of Berkano. This month the rune of women and motherhood has been speaking to me of Sunna, the goddess of the Sun (more of that under inspirations).
- Mother’s Day. As well as giving me the opportunity to tell my Mum just how great she is, Mother’s Day reminds me to honour my disir circle, spirits of the hearth and the many ‘mothers’ who have helped shape my life. It may be a modern festival but the sentiment is an old one and it pleases me that it falls bang in the middle of the half month of Berkano.
- Visit from my brother and sister – this happens once in a blue moon and my brother and sister are very tolerant of my pagan ways. Last weekend they were happy to raise a glass of wine to honour our family and friends.
- High Seat Rite for Hela – last week I recorded a High Seat Rite performed by the wonderful oracular priestess Emily Ounsted. This will be broadcast in this month’s episode of Shaman of the North on The Shamanic Voice, prepare for awesomeness.
- Holiday! Ah indeed, myself and Mr Magin are off on holiday after all the lovely healing received ensured that he got the all clear for us to go after his operation two weeks ago. Thank you everyone who sent healing. We are going to our new favourite holiday destination in Exeter after a wonderful trip in October last year; much has changed since then and it will be great to see the countryside there awakening to spring.
Your inspirations are simply that, points of light that lead you on and make you think, feel, imagine and transform. Often they signify things we haven’t yet begun to understand ourselves, it is only in retrospect that we see where the path was taking us. Your inspirations are those things that make your spirit soar that little bit higher.
- My garden. Spring is here people! It’s a hideous grey day as I type, but my garden is filling up with flowers already, blue bells, grape hyacinths, cherry blossom, black lenten rose. Marvelous.
- Sunna, the goddess of the Sun. I didn’t expect the rune Berkano to present Sunna as a patroness, but Sunna is a mother (a working mother in fact), who will one day pass her responsibilties on to her daughter. Sunna has lots to teach us about soul purpose, responsibility and love; I will share some of my work with her later this month.
- Manni, the god of the moon. Sunna’s brother has also been making himself known to me; I can feel his energy stirring and I know he is going to be important for me in the next half month of Ehwaz.
- Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life by Tom Cowan. Loving his ‘betwixt and between’ journeying technique and methods for working with the spirits of the land. Wonderful.