Muslim Prayers in the Longhouse!?!

Yesterday were at the monthly Longhouse celebrations at Wahta. Our Sachem (Faith Keeper) is since recently teaching some courses on Native studies at Georgian college in Barrie = 100 km south of the res. and from the course had invited some students to come up and join us for the celebrations this month. The students he invited however were newly landed immigrants– from Pakistan and Syria. Only as soon as they came through the door it was clear, that few of the Longhouse participants had any idea, about what it means to BE Muslim.
5 young guys had brought their veiled women and small kids and also 1 set of doting parents and a friend from Syria, that was in the country less than a week and spoke no English. So I ended up explaining to everyone, that, no, there is NO pork in any of the pot-luck dishes, we had Beaver stew, Venison and Moose.

What what IS Beaver??? Is it halal?
What is venison?? What is a moose????? Is it halal?
I explained, that all meat is blessed by the person that killed it using the smoke of Cedar and Tobacco and the Spirit of the Animal is send home to its Ancestors, to be born again. So happily our friends dug in.
They however had brought a rice dish that blew everyone’s mind, it was so spicy!
Then, no sooner were tables and dishes cleared away to make room for the round dances, that it was time for our guests to pray.
They asked, can we do this here in the Longhouse??
Our Sachem  is– aehmm…. – not known for being a very flexible adaptive person.

After all he has to “hold on” and keep the Faith pure against all outside influences…..
So no, you can not pray in the Longhouse!
But now praying outside – in the snow that was coming down – and in the pitch dark cooooold?????
When I offered to give them a large comforter as a blanket to kneel on, they asked the Faith Keeper, iffff the shaman lady is willing to be helpful and accommodating, could not he too…….
He said nothing and they just knelt down right in front of all of us and prayed.
I am sure, it gave all the usual Longhouse visitors an opportunity to think and reflect…….
I decided to also pray, quietly– for cross cultural understanding and tolerance.

Then we proceeded with the usual “Standing Quiver Dance”, followed by traditional teachings – this time around Beaver and Deer hunting, Corn bread and marriage customs, when the woman goes out to choose a husband -among others…..
Our Muslim friends were all encouraged to join in the dances. The men did with gusto and also used our horn rattles in the Women’s Honour Dance.
The women did not dance. It took a while until my Mohawk friends understood, that Muslim Women are not permitted to dance in front of men. – So I went over to them to talk and teach. They told me, that they were astounded at Native customs and the matrilineal Clan system and the leadership of the Clan Mother.
I took the time to show them around the Longhouse, pointing out all our beautiful Wampum Belts and explaining their history and specific meanings. I let them reverently touch the mighty Wolf fur at the side of the Wolf Clan and explained our ceremonial Turtle Shell Rattles and a few other things.

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There was also the “thing with the Red Indians”
“Red Indian” is not an appropriate term – rather use Native American or First Nations Person….”
“Oh” said one of the ladies, “That is the same as people calling us Pakies”
Yes!
(Oh maaan, I do not even know, how to write that word…)
And trying to explain that Ojibwa and Mohawk and Sioux are not different casts, but tribes, formerly independent Nations, now coexisting within Canada (or at least try to…..!!)
At the end of our gathering, after the last Stick Dancer gave up hollering for more songs and the Clan Mother did the Closing Prayers, we go around in the circle and everyone is giving everyone else a by by hug.
Of course the Muslim ladies can not allow another man to hug them, so after I explained that to the Clan Mother, everyone agreed, that a handshake would be good Medicine as well.
I hope we see our new friends again next month.

HIAWATNA WAMPUM BELT

Reflections

Soooo – I think, it is time for a little update as to what I am up to the days.

Well, busy for sure. Now in late October whenever the weather is halfway decent Peter and me are working hard – getting winter wood ready. Recent storms have brought down some huuuuge Maples, that we cut and carry out of the bush, section by section…..

Then there are a couple of craft shows coming up and while it is raining Cats, Dogs and Howler Monkeys – or rather Chipmunks, Weasels and caterwauling Catamounts we are making jewellery, lots of little things, that are fit for small budgets. Many of them are inspired by the recent trip to Bon Echo and Algonquin Park:DSC_5927

Spirit Boat petroglyph:

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 I am also making a few nice Medicine Pieces.

Like this Rattle for example:

Shamans Rattle 1

here is another view

SR 2

While sitting on working on pieces like this, I again think back on the “Vision-Teachings I received at Bon Echo and I yet again find myself drawing the pictographs seen on the face of the rocks = or their counterparts shimmering in the water onto the leather of my Medicine items.

The sonorous voice of a long-time enspirited Medicine Person reaches from the beyond into my ear – or rather my soul:

They call it Bon Echo.

But not for the voices reflecting back from the rock walls.

The bon echo is the one coming of the Medicine Spirits as they dance in the Water and teach the People!”

I reflect about these reflections……..

Bon Echo indeed!

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Cultural Roller coaster:

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Healing Chants for D. on Lake Mazinaw

 

I am running up and down in my own living room.

What a contrast to the above image!

I feel full of nervous Energy!

Energy waiting for release and directions

What to do first,

What to attend to, what to leave for later, what can wait a day or 2…..

I am on a cultural roller coaster!

OK:

Let me tell you guys what’s up:

LongHouse

Culture 1:

Well, A week ago we were at the Haudenosaunee Longhouse teaching with our Mohawk friends and yet again received powerful teachings, feasted, laughed and danced……

I should sit down and jot down these teachings, so I remember –

– – the words…..

Mohawk is a tricky language and I only understand the Sache’m, when I go into trance and what he says comes in – in pictures……

Often later he or J. translates and then I am amazed, how accurate it is!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Baby Snapper2

Late at night we rescued 27 freshly hatched baby Snapping turtles 🙂

Culture 2:

We were away on a mini vacation for a week – over to Bon Echo Provincial Park to canoe and see the pictographs that the Anishenabeg Ancestors drew into the mighty rocks rising out of Mazinaw Lake.

While there, I received a VERY powerful vision and Medicine Teachings directly from- –

? – Yea – where DID they come from?

The Spirits –

I can not classify it any better, because that would mean labelling the experience and thereby limiting it, make it smaller, maybe more manageable to my little Bird brain, but also “cutting it down”…….

As of right now, I do not dare to do that……

RL1

Culture 3:

Coming home from this trip we of course had to immediately attend to “modern mundane life” = yet another Farmer’s Market to go to, set up and sell our own handmade Bearpaw Jewellery…

Also of course finding orders in the e-mail, phone messages from family, friends, students and clients, deal with a broken down car and an empty fridge…..

Mergansas

Mergansas

 

Culture 4:

That out of the way I had to hustle and get cracking on my homework for my on line Curandera course and then write the exam for this last week…..

Mexican Folk Healing, Healing Plants, Temazcal teachings and Risa Terapia = Laughter Therapy….

The differences and the similarities of doing a “Limpia” = cleansing prayer over a patient – as done in Mexico versus how I do it in my own practice according to my Ancestor’s and my family teachings or how it would be done in Nepal……..

It all brought me back to the many winters in the mid 1980 that we lived travelled and worked in Mexico…..

I also much enjoy being able to use my Spanish language knowledge, that up here in Canada can easily get rusty…..

Never mind all the Aztec words I remember the yerberas and curanderas using, when selling the Herbs in the Markets……

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Well, my exam passed I now will go for a little walk out into Mother Nature, swish swush through a deep carpet of fall leaves, breath deeeeep, clear my head a little,and then –

– Return to write my Medicine Diary/ journal about what happened in Bon Echo and – eventually tell you guys all about it 🙂

 

canoe

Red Willow Bark:

red willow in winterToday Peter send me this article, about an Archaeologist discovering pottery shards with residue of Red Willow Bark, a favoured pain reliever the world over.   http://westerndigs.org/prehistoric-pottery-found-in-colorado-contains-ancient-natural-aspirin/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_aspirin scraping the Bark Red Willow Bark is also a favoured ingredient of the Ojibwa smoking mixture” giniginige ” = to mix something animate with something inanimate”) meaning plants with Animal grease, which is seen as inanimate as long as it is not Bear grease….   The word “kinikinick” comes from “giniginige”. The making of kinikinick nowadays can be a well kept family -or Clan secret. These ingredients are most often found in varying concentrations:  Leaves or bark of Red willow bark, as mentioned, freshly dried Dogwood leaves, Arrow Root, Red Sumac, Blueberry twigs, Bear berry leaves, Raspberry leaves  Choke Cherry twigs, stems and dried berries, Juniper berries, Mullen and dried Yarrow flowers. As fat the smelllly musk from the gland of the Muskrat was so popular, there are songs and chants about it, but Beaver grease or Badger fat was used as well.   For those of us, who wildcraft, early to late summer is the a busy time to gather, dry or prepare all the different plants we need for our medicinal mixtures. steeping  Willow Bark

Summer Solstice Prayers for the Community and the Natural World

Summer Solstice Greetings and Gratitude to the Natural World:

 

In Canada, National Aboriginal Day has been placed onto the day of the Summer Solstice because since time immemorial prayers to the natural world were offered up on this day in all Native communities. Each celebrating in their way, in accordance with their traditions.

So, following these ancient ways, today we have come together to also offer up ancient and sacred prayers

so that they may unite us as people with the Natural World all around us.

Now, let us put our hearts and minds together as one:

 

In a sacred manner we wish to send greetings and gratitude to our Mother, the living Earth, upon who’s back we all live, who provides us with everything we need to survive and thrive and who right now is filled with an abundance of new life and is growing the new harvest, that will feed us and all living Beings far into the future.

Let us always respect the living body of Mother Earth and vow to protect her from all harm.

To our Mother the Earth we send greetings!

 

Let us turn towards the Waters of our World, the Rivers, Lakes, Streams and Oceans, the Rains and Mists and the Snows of Winter.

Water is life. Water is the Life Blood of Mother Earth.

Our own bodies are largely made of Water.

For that reason we need to protect the Waters and keep them clean and pure.

To the Waters we send greetings and gratitudes.

 

Let us also send our greetings and gratitudes towards the Fish and all the Beings that live within the Waters of this Earth. Many of them sustain us and all of them are our brothers and sisters.

 

Now with a prayerful mind, let us send greetings ad gratitude towards the Plants. They are the living dress of Mother Earth and they all are our brothers and sisters.

 

Let us honour all the many Food Plants now growing in the gardens and fields.

They are the ones giving up their life to sustain us.

For that, we send them greetings and gratitudes,

 

Let us also send out greetings and gratitudes towards all the many Healing Plants, that carry the Medicine, that restores our health and well being. We are thankful that they show themselves to our Medicine People and that they offer themselves up to us all.

May they thrive in Beauty and in Balance.

 

Let us also send our greetings and gratitude towards all the many different Trees, large and small. They provide us with wood to build our homes, with sweet fruits like Apples and Pears and with Maple sugar in Spring.

May they thrive in Beauty and in Balance.

 

With hearts full of love and admiration let us now turn towards the Animals:

All the 4 legged ones that live wild in field and Forest, let us honour them!

All the ones we keep in the stables and pastures -the ones we plan to eat – let us honour them!

The the Winged Ones up high in the air, let us honour them!

The Swimmers, the Shape Changers and Insects… let us honour them!

They are our older brothers and sisters, they were here first, on Mother Earth and each of them has a sacred Medicine to teach us.

From them we learn how to live in Beauty and in Balance, in Peace and so let us send greetings and our gratitude to all of them.

May they all thrive in harmony.

 

Let us now send greetings and gratitudes towards the 4 Winds and the mighty Thunder Beings that reside within them. The moving air around us brings us the change of the seasons. It also points towards the special Medicines of the 4 Directions:

From the East we receive confidence and courage and joy

From the South we receive patience, passion and compassion

From the West we receive introspection, strengths and endurance

From the North we receive wisdom Visions and dreams

For all these powerful gifts we are deeply thankful

 

Now we come to send greetings and gratitude towards our Grandfather the Sun , who provides us with light and warmth so sustains all life upon Mother Earth.

May he always be there, in Beauty and in Balance.

 

Next out greetings and gratitude goes out to Grandmother Moon, who rises in the night sky and provides us with a sense of rhythm and time.

She also guides the woman folk through First Blood, pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood and gives all of us sacred intuition and sensuality .

May she always be here for us, in Beauty and in Balance.

 

 

We also wish to honour the Stars that reside in the blue black blanket of Father Sky high above us.

The shining ones among them are the brothers and sisters of Grandfather Sun,

the dark and hidden ones are the brothers and sisters of Mother Earth and many of them carry life just as she does.

When we look up towards them, may we always remember, how small we are in the vastness of creation.

 

Let us now send greetings and our gratitude towards all of our Elders, our Medicine People, our healers, leaders and teachers.

May we absorb their wisdom, carry it within us and pass it along to our children and all young folk.

 

 

Now, with our choicest words and reverence in our hearts we send greetings and gratitude towards the Creator,

Shonkwia’ ti’son, Gichi Manitou, Gemne’do’o,

The Great Spirit, who is neither male nor female but

the very Life Energy, that is within everyone and everything

everywhere and at all times.

May this living Natural World be kept in Beauty and Balance for future generations.

May we and all our families and loved ones be kept save and in Beauty and Balance.

May everyone and everything upon Mother Earth be kept in Beauty,

in Balance

in Harmony

and in Peace.

Aho!

Shyan am!

 

May our harts and minds now be as one!

Gichi Meegweech

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drumming:

About me and drumming:
To me my work with drums and drumming, is an inseparable aspect of being Shaman —
My people call a person that does the things I do a “Kham”, leading a Khamlanie = a healing and/ or other rituals. Udega is another Siberian word but it rather describes a person working with herbs and potions. 
Someone who uses drums and chants , who has one or more Spirit Guides, mostly in animal form that he or she contacts while drumming in order to find out what is wrong with a client is called a Kham. The word this culture uses is Shaman, also a Siberian word, Tunguse to be precise and descriptive for someone entering ecstatic trance in order to help, heal, or otherwise aid the community.
In this culture I claim this word as a befitting description for me because it points not only towards what I do but also to my Siberian heritage and distances me from the also often used term “Medicine Woman” that implies Native American heritage and incidentally would be analogues to the word Udega among Siberian people. 
Shaman however is not what I do, it is what I am.
It permeates every aspect of my daily life, my art, the way I teach at elementary and university level, the way I mentor my private students, and how I conduct public multicultural gatherings and rituals.
Teaching at the Pow Wow
………………………………………………………………………………………………….The musical aspect of my practice as a shaman involves drums and drumming as well as chants, traditional ones and others received in trance states and by extension movement and dance.
To me drumming in itself has different aspects that all fit onto a fluid continuum from light-hearted fun all the way to deep states of conflict resolution and healing.
Describing this continuum in more detail I want to first mention community based events that I facilitate and supply a multitude of drums and percussion instruments for:
There is the Bracebridge Drum Circle that gathers every Tuesday evening and provides everyday fun, good for you drumming. People come to jam together and also practice culture specific rhythms from around the world.

Next is my Frame Drum Circle, called “The Healing Drum” It is centred around spirituality and personal growth and I teach the use of the drum as a tool for relaxation and meditation, anger management and conflict resolution and -on occasion- I facilitate cathartic psychological ab-reactions for participants and lead them into profound healing states.

Next there would be the Native American ceremonies and other events I attend and also participate in as a teacher, setting up my teaching tent and bring drums for the people that gather around. Aside from other teachings I teach drum songs and chants. And we of course have the big Pow Wow drum there. I am a Drum Keeper, have received a 4 foot in diameter grandfather Drum from one of my clients… I bring that to events for the community to use. – See a pic about all the kids around it on the previous post about me in schools……

Here we are at home:
HealingprayersonthelargeMedicineDrum
 
In the Longhouse we sing and dance to the Mohawk water drum, that the Sachem plays. We accompany him with horn rattles..Even further along the continuum is my use of drums in shamanic healings. When I either drum with or for an individual client in order to put him/ her and me into trance, so I can “see” into the body/soul to find the cause of an illness or dis-ease.

The last on the continuum is me, alone, drumming and chanting, most every night to initiate and maintain altered states of consciousness and thereby see/find out about concerns I have for self and others. 
That is also where I receive most of my chants and where rituals are “born” as finished entities, ready to be used with the community and where the concept of much of my artwork comes from….. 
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Hemispheric synchronization
or 
How the healing Drum works
One of the most powerful aspects of drumming and the reason that people have done it since the beginning of being human is that it changes people’s consciousness. Through rhythmic repetition of ritual sounds, the body, brain and the nervous system are energized and transformed. When a group of people play a rhythm for an extended period of time, their brain waves become entrained to the rhythm and they have a shared brain wave state. The longer the drumming goes on, the more powerful the entrainment becomes. . All of the oldest known religious rites used drumming as part of the shared sacred experience. 
It is interesting to look at these ancient drumming practices from the perspective of the latest scientific research into the functioning of the brain. Using electro-encephalographs, scientists can measure the number of energy waves per second pulsing through the brain. A system of classifying states of consciousness according to the frequencies of these waves was created. 
Normal outwardly focused attention generates beta waves which vibrate from 14 to 40 cycles per second. When awareness shifts to an internal focus, our brain slows down into the more rhythmical waves of alpha, vibrating at 7 -14 waves per second. Alpha is defined by relaxation and centering. Dropping down to 4- 7 cycles per second the brain enters the theta state in which there is an interfacing of conscious and unconscious processes, producing hypnagogic dream-like imagery at the threshold of sleep. 

Theta is the source of sudden mystical insights 
and creative solutions to complex situations and is 
marked by physical and emotional healing. People with a preponderance of theta brain waves are also able to learn and process much more information than normal. Without some form of intensive training, it is hard to stay awake in theta–one slips quickly down into delta. This is the slowest brain wave frequency, 1-4 cycles per second, the state of unconsciousness or deep sleep. 
The brain is divided into two hemispheres that are basically split in their control of the thinking process. The right brain functions as the creative, visual, aural and emotional centre. The left brain is the rational, logical, analytical and verbal administrator. Generally, either the right or left brain dominates in cycles lasting from 30 minutes to 3 hours. While one hemisphere is dominant, the memories, skills, and information of the other hemisphere are far less available, residing in a subconscious or unconscious realm. Not only do the right and left brain operate in different modes, they also usually operate in different brain wave rhythms. The right brain may be generating alpha waves while the left brain is in a beta state. Or both can be generating the same type of brain waves, but remain out of sync with each other. But in states of intense creativity, deep meditation or under the influence of rhythmic sound, both hemispheres may become entrained to the same rhythm. This state of unified whole brain functioning is called hemispheric synchronization or the awakened mind. As the two hemispheres begin to resonate to a single rhythm, a sense of clarity and heightened awareness arises. The individual is able to draw on both the 
left and the right hemispheres simultaneously.
The mind becomes sharper, more lucid, 
synthesizing much more rapidly than normal,
and emotions are easier to understand 
and to transform.

User avatar
Mi-Shell
 

A busy summer :)

At this time of year our summer season with busy markets and art and craft shows is still in full swing. On top of that I am kept busy with students, bringing teachings into resorts and health care facilities and with patients coming to the house.

This is the problem with writing a blog about working as a shaman. Most of the “more interesting” things are strictly confidential. I can not write about the consultations with patients, about individual cases and problems or private hours with students.

Oftentimes, when I bring drums and teachings into groups and healing and recovery centres, I – and the students, that accompany me have to sign strict confidentiality agreements and especially taking pictures is prohibited.

At the same time however, it just may happen, that the caretakers themselves are videotaping the sessions and circle activities.

Sometimes that makes me wonder, what will they use these videos for?

Will they try to replicate my teachings?

Are they becoming part of the public domain?

Are they on U-tube somewhere??

Anyway…

Here a few pictures, that recently were put into one of the many public networking sites and so are OK to re-post here.

Thank you to the very talented photographer ♥selling my large Siberian medicine Pouch

Here I am on the annual Baysville Craft show, showing of my large Siberian medicine Pouch.

It worked! 🙂

I sold it! Yaaaaayyy!!!

Drums for recovery

Drums for Recovery

grandmother Drum at pickerel Lake

Buffalo Medicine Teaching Blanket

Buffalo Teaching Blanket

Bear Medicine Teachings

Bear of the west 2

A Guardian Bundle for a new Tipi:

When a new Tipi is erected, it is seen as a new female person and member of the camp circle. It receives many Blessings.
One for each lodge pole, one for the hides of the Animals that gave their lives – or the Plants and minerals, that provided the canvas.
In the olden days Tipis were constructed out of up to 24 Buffalo Cow hides = only female hides were used!
They all were individually blessed and given a protection “dot with ground catlinite or red ocher mixed in Bear grease (Bear= healing power)
When erected, the Tipi also received a special protection/ Guardian Bundle, that was hung onto the mid pole at the back. This “Fetish” was usually conceived of in a shamanic dream by and Elder or medicine Person.

This is the bundle, that the Spirits of the Land instructed me to prepare for this Tipi:

Guardian Bundle

Materials used:
– – Buffalo wool to honour the ancient ways and the Buffalo Nation  as being the ultimate provider and giving their life for the benefit of the Human Beings
– – A Prayer Bundle containing a Buffalo bone, Sage and Cedar
Red trade cloth = Red= Life, East, New Beginnings,
Turquoise: Healing stone, prevention of injury and harm

.
Feathers:
Hawk:
East, discernment, independence, guardianship, protection Spirit of the Men
Crow:
Keeper of the Sacred Law of Cause and Effect, protection Spirit of the camp, the Clan, especially, when the men are out -at war or hunting and the women are alone
Sapsucker:
joy in hard work, harvest of riches, protection for small children, especially when nursing = growth of the family

Dusted-Sun-Tipi-by-Kira-Fercho

Tipi Facts:
The origin of the Tipi is the North-Eastern Boreal Forest – among the Cree and Chippewa Nations
Tipis are tilted cones: The Back of the Tipi is steeper than the front, to guard against the prevailing West winds.
The entrance is always East – towards the rising Sun.
So in East winds Tipis are somewhat shaky and may “wander”
At least 12 sometimes up to 24 Cow Buffalo hides were used. NEVER hides from a male Animal.
A Tipi usually belonged to a woman. Her family provided the hides and poles. In some tribes, If she wanted to  divorce her husband, she could just put his belongings outside.
Among some tribes however,it was quite different: The men may trade, exchange or loose one or several of his wives in gambling games and then she would have to move into the Tipi of the winner.  She would have to sleep at the lowest place – near the door, often having her children with her.  So husbands may change but it was important to get along with all the women of the camp, because one never knew, in who’s Tipi one may end up, but the Sisterhood of women stays the same.
Tipi poles each have a spiritual teaching, no matter, who’s Tipi you reside in.
A normal mid 19th Century Tipi made from Buffalo hide may weigh from 90 to 110 pounds,it was  18 to 25 ft in diameter when set up.
When the camp was moving the poles were tied – 5 to 6 on each side onto pack Horses. 2 further poles were lashed together to form a travoi and the 90 pound rolled Tipi skin was hoisted upon it. 2 women had to work together to load a Tipi. A second pack horse with another travoi transported bedding, parflechs and other household items. So the owner of a tipi also needed access to 3 pack horses.

Nowadays most tipis are made of high quality fire resistant canvas and a lot easier to set up.

My next post will be a picture essay of the Tipi raising at a friend’s home.

🙂

 

Shamanic journey during Dalva’s teaching circle:

As I had previously mentioned I was participating in a teaching circle about Finnish shamanic traditions that practitioner Dalva Lemminmäki gave in Toronto. She spoke about Finnish traditions, Tree worship, a Finish creation myth involving the egg, about working and journeyingand many other things. We also did a 1 hour long shamanic journey. here is what happened on my journey:

Dalva had previously explained, that in her tradition one drums for at least an hour, often 2 to 3 and that she at times drums up to 5 hours when journeying after sun down until sunrise next morning.

I agreed with her, that too is Siberian practice, but here in the very popular “shamanic workshops” they do a number of short 10 minute trips – which is why many people in the end have trouble journeying and rarely go into full (theta brainwave) trance…..

In the circle several people were drumming, using frame drums and djembes, others had rattles, others also chanted or sang… I was a bit like a prolonged community drum circle, but pleasant. I prepared my fur, so I could lay down on Ee’ren Eder ( my Reindeer Spirit and Clan Guide, represented in physical reality through my Reindeer fur, used for journeying only.) – To put the fur into the tight chair would not work and it was comfortable to use the armrest of the chair to keep the drum level….To drown out some groaning and squealing that was going on, I settled into a steady 180/ minute beat.

.I “see” Lira (my Screech Owl Guardian) flying ahead of me ~~ 2 meters above the ground, leading the way through a scraggggly Forest with lots of rocks, gray granite with veins of white quartz, huge boulders, deep barren ravines, boggy at times, Aspen and Spruce, underbrush with Blueberry bushes… It is a gray evening on a cold rainy day.

We come up to a steep rock wall. Lira lands on a small Spruce Tree that is almost leaning against the steep incline. I have to step across a wide crack in the rocky ground to get there and – – – find myself standing on the granite rock cheek of a GIANT!!!Forest Spirit Person, that has been here forever. I am standing on his left cheek, in front of his massive granite nose, to my right looking up into his GIANT eye and furrowed brow high above it. Looking down, to my left I see the Giant opening his cavernous mouth with large ivory colored teeth and then and there I am being sucked towards that, I see his tong like a giant Beaver tail… I am sucked into this maw and slide down a long tubular “riffely tunnel, that must be his gullet. Like coming down a water slide I am splashed into a large reddish brown glistening cave. There are – like stalagmites and stalactites – but all made from living flesh and bone. Nevertheless, there are rock drawings and carvings in red and black everywhere on these formations. In the middle the cavernous stomach is a large fire. Beyond that, further down there is a dark black tunnel..

A little back from the fire there sits an old man, skinny, with white hair,

– – playing a kantele!

I recognize Väinämöinen!

Oh!! now even in the trance journey I know, where I am!

The belly of the Forest Giant!:)

There also is, on the other side from Väinämöinen a large Bear sleeping further in the back and a large Moose is sitting in the center on a rock. He is crying. In his lap he is holding one of his broken of antlers, while a strange stubble on his head is rapidly growing into a sizable Wapiti Elk antler. Then the other large majestic Moose antler falls of and the Moose wails in futile desperation. “ They will not know me!!!!” he wails, while a small bird settles on the now quickly growing Elk horn and starts chirping loudly.

canada-moose

Moose

I try to help the inconsolable Moose, try moulding the second, just growing rack into a more Moose like looking antler, flattening it out a bit, …. But I need more stuffff and grab dripping spittle and juice from the belly stalagmites and some flesh from the ground nearby. Like as if it was puddy I manage to form it all into a Moose antler. – But for the other side it was already too late – that one was fully hardened into a sizable Wapiti antler. Now however Väinämöinen on the other side of the fire starts to sing and to my and the Moose’s high horrrror the newly formed Moose antler changes into another Elk/ Wapiti horn and then , oh shock, the whole Moose changes into a Wapiti Elk in front of my eyes.

Wapiti Elk

Lira appears and gives me more “cave spittle juice” and I rub the animal with it and it starts to flimmer and shimmer as a Moose again… – until Väinämöinen again starts to sing…. When he stops the animal is half Elk, half Moose and a mess.

Then, all of a sudden I hear a loud sound – and almost “wake up” Someone in the room (tonal) started to sing or whatever and the disturbance transformed into a strange egg yolk yellow cube with bright red Chinese writing symbols on all sides. !!??!! (6 inch x 6 inch cube)

(This strange cube appeared several more times – whenever there was a disruptive -to me- sound in the room that “made me come up” from the trance. I just resolved to drum a little louder, so as not to hear it and went back “down”)

I went back to the cave. The Moose/ Elk Wapiti and Väinämöinen I are gone, the Bear is awake and brings me a Pow Wow drum to look at. He tosses it into the fire and now I also see Lira sitting there with several old movie reels and bits of ripped film, that she tosses into the fire.- – –

– – I say:“YES!! I KNOW!!!! I WILL tell her and explain – (like sooo many others )– and just hope she will not take it the wrong way…“ I promised the Bear. Healing comes with understanding – on both sides….

When I look again there is part of Dalva’s skirt in the fire, halfway burnt.-

– Again the scene is split up by a loud noise and the yellow cube with Chinese kanjis…

When I get back there, it feels like “late” But now the fire is out and through a vapory smoke I see a black Wolf with a white triangle on his chest standing at the entrance of the passageway into the gut of the Giant, beckoning me to follow him.

I do, through the gut of the Giant….. On and of there are flashes of the Chinese kanji cube, but I just disregard them…

We get to a place, that is the beginning of the “Fire River” there are several Beings there, but again loud noises make me start to shake and “be tossed up”and hear the 2 3 4 drumming = Oooo Oooo Oooo Oooo…..>

By the time I am back down I am “not very deep” and hear the room in the background.

For a flash I see Sandra D. sitting at the River’s edge reading a book made up out of Oak leaves.

I now “know” where I am and ask the Wolf to show me something that I need to know or bring back . Right away the crying Moose/ Elk appears and Lira with the stupid movie reel lands in my lap – Literally! Nice! Yes, OK, again….. I will not forget to tell…

Lira leads me up to the stomach cave with the rock art. There I see a white envelope hanging among the Medicine symbols. It says “Message” and Lira directs me to take it and open it. I do – but>>> again the strange yellow cube with the red Chinese writing…

Shitt… x#*ZZOOßo**^#ZZ*ßpvochchch!!!!!

I think I loudly say something like that and wish I had not…. 😦

But I am halve “awake” and realize, the drumming has almost stopped – it is just me and the djembe left….

Dalva is winding down the journey …

Someone sings and promptly there is the yellow cube again…

I have to return – never mind the other messages… I feel being dragged own by a soup of heavy molasses and struggle against it… I should journey on, but I am no at home but at Dalva’s circle….

I struggle against the sour smelling molasses until Lira brings a watering can with “Muskoka rain water from the flood” and douses me until the molasses comes of.

I feel Peter and Janet next to me…….

.

.

So….

What does it all mean?

Well:

In one of the Runes = song/ poems Elias Lönrot used for the Finnish folk epos the Kalevala, is about Antero Vipunen, who is seen as the primodeal Elder shaman, an ancient Forest Spirit on a perpetual journey hidden deep in the Forest, turned to stone, incorporated into the living Earth. He holds a lot of secret wisdom and even the sage Väinämöinen went to him for wisdom and to learn a Rune that would aid him in “singing himself a boat” (creating a Rune = chant -vehicle that allows him to go on a shamanic journey)

I traveled to this Being,

Lira is one of my Miahanits – Medicine Guides….. Read more on : https://shamanicdrumm.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/134/

The Moose/ Elk Wapity: During Dalva’s teaching talk she referred to her special Guardian ans an Elk – and the picture that came across to me (in pre-verbal imagery ) was a Moose. However, most of the circle participants – hearing the word “Elk” envisioned a Wapiti, like we have out in Western Canada.

Wrong critter. The Moose in the cave – and in the Kalevala is upset because he is not seen by Canadians as / for what he reallllly is!

Here for the First nations out West, that are familiar with Elk he stands for sexual prowess and allure while the Moose, Hottha (Ojibwa) or Moosee (Cree) is the sacred balance of gentleness and strength within a human – and other Being

Meaning : these 2 have VERY different Medicines and the Moose in the journey wants to be seen for what he is….

I try to fix him in the journey, but Väinämöinen starts singing = the Kalevala itself talks about Elk and – so I can not fix that….

The strange yellow cube with the bright red Chinese writing is a visual manifestation for the sounds, that I am not used to, during journeying (they are yellow = alarm and red Chinese = to me = unknown and foreign. But they also represent the circle members, the many for whom journeying was unknown and new and foreign. And the Chinese writing yet again emphasizes the communication gap that exists due to language barriers in the circle……

So on one side it is Chinese to me to hear strange sounds during journeying but on the other side I could be the translator… ifffffappropriate of course…..

The Drum , the film reels and the Bear.

Bear is for healing and much healing needs to be done. Healing comes through understanding the other better. Many First Nations People consider 1234 = drumming “White man’s war drum tom tom drumming a’ la’ in the old Westerns, when you hear the war drums and the Natives circle the burning wagon train and… You all know…

So nowadays there is resentment against this and it comes up, when First Nations Elders hear none Natives play that rhythm on a drum. Some are quite vocal about it…..

It happens often and on several occasions I had to defuse the situation with teachings for both sides and so bridge the gap…..

What many first Nations so far are not yet familiar with is, that other shamanic Ancestor ways – like in Europe and South America use this rhythm and it is part of their culture and not just miss appropriated or picked up from an old movie… We in Siberia for example use this drum rhythm as one of the East rhythms – to ward of unknown disease Spirits that usually – as seen by my people – approach from the unknown future = East. For us Bear guards against these. So here Bear is well aware and points out the problem by tossing the old Pow Wow drum into the fire and Lira adds snippets of moovie reels….

When we shamanic practitioners from other cultures play this rhythm in Native American company we should be wise to qualify = explain, where we got this rhythm from and why we play it right now and maybe ask, ifffff it is OK with the “Spirits of Place”

In this case it comes from Dalva’s Finnish tradition and that is wonderful and very spiritual. And yes, there are many drum circle songs with that rhythm and also some First Nations chants from the Southern tribes = rain songs for example…. Not that we need more rain in Ontario right now….

Here we are being made aware of cultural sensitivities – no rain songs when there are floods – or no John Wayne drumming ….

And Yes, my Guides alert me to the problem and tell me to explain to Dalva, because it is her skirt that was burnt in the fire = “something” happened somewhere in the recent past and the smoke is still in the air but the fire is out.

The Wolf leads me to another realm I “know” from studying the Kalevala: The River of Death, where the old shamaness, the mother of the hero Lemminkäinen has to revive her son, who got killed and tossed there. This is a place, where she sang healing Runes that are very powerful…

Kallela_Lemminkainens_Mother

I still wonder, what she would have sung to me…

I will have to go back to visit her another journey…

As Dalva said in her teaching: In Finland and in Siberia we journey for looooong times – and 1 hour just flew by. When a journey needs to be aborted – or I get “tossed out” by – the proverbial phone ringing, someone touching me, or whatever, I often start to shake quite badly and it takes a while until I am back in OC…..

This time it felt like being stuck in heavy molasses that was dragging me back….

Later in the evening Dalva and me had a long wonderful talk and several other practitioners joined in.

🙂

Blessings to all circle participants who read this! 🙂

Ancestor Drawings from Finland, Siberia and Canada

For the last couple of months I have – on and of – communicated with Dalva Lamminmäki, a shamanic practitioner from Finland, who is now coming to Canada to visit and teach for a month.

Dalva’s Blog:

http://dalvalamminmaki.wordpress.com/

Her visit here has inspired me to reminisce about my own stay in Finland soooo many years ago >> see: https://shamanicdrumm.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/my-kalevala-summer/

It also encouraged me to create a special shamanic piece to commemorate Dalva’s stay here, the similarities of the rupestrian art (petroglyphs and pictograms) in her home land, my ancestral homeland, Siberia, and our chosen homeland Canada. Not only do we share similar – if not identical rock art / Medicine drawings, we also share a vision – as shamans always have.

Our stories and legends may be slightly different and now is the time to compare them and rejoice.

The shamanic piece that created itself through my hands is a Medicine Pouch in honour of the ancestors:

Finnish Siberian side

This is the Finnish/ Siberian site 🙂

Ontario Petroglyph site small pic

and here is the Canadian site 🙂

Medicine Pouch

Symbols

of the Ancestors”

Deer-leather: Shishkeshkeshi, the Deer stands for Morning, East, Future, Love-magic, sexual attraction, poise and non-violent means of defence. Deer is grace, swiftness and gentleness  It lives in the dawn of morning.
The Celts see the Doe quite similar as female allure and beauty
Reindeer and the mythical antlered Doe travelling the sky of Northern Europe and Siberia is a bringer of fertility and prosperity
Read more about it here:

https://shamanicdrumm.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/the-deer-as-medicine-animals-spirit-guide/

Deer antler with Sterling silver petroglyph design of Misquadey-she, Mother Earth the Turtle – from Peterborough Petroglyph Provincial Park
Bone carving of Migizze, the Eagle
Wolf fur – recycled from a fur coat given to me Maheengun the wolf stands for endurance, survival skills and family values
For the early hunter/ gatherers in Northern Europe and Siberia, the Wolf was the symbol of powerful Magic, strengths and the teacher of the hunt. From my Siberian indigenous Father’s side I am a member of the Wolf clan.
Rabbit -fur   in honor of Nanabush/Nananbhozhou, the Rabbit-Man and trickster-creator of the Anishenabec People
In Celtic lore the Rabbit is seen as the familiar od Ostara, the Spring Goddess that comes forth on the spring Equinox, bringing fresh flowers, painted eggs and baby Chickens
In Siberia Kaltes is our Spring moon Goddess and awakens the frozen Earth to new life. She is always shown either as a Rabbit or with a Rabbit. Deer and also Rabbit is one of the main food sources for Wolves.
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Feathers:

Seagull – messenger of water spirits

Ruffed Grouse = drumming, chanting, ceremony

Hawk – East, morning, future, discernment, vision

Mallard Duck = Family values – In Finish creation legends the Duck laid eggs onto the knee of the primordial Mother of the Waters. One of them fell into the water and out of it the Universe was created

Crow = the sentinel, keeper of the sacred law of balance

Gichi Mooshka, the Heron -stands for order and patience, the pragmatist, leader of the Medicine Circle

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Now a closer look at the materials used and close- ups of the 2 panels:

Finnish Siberian panel

Top and bottom row: Mnemonics customarily drawn onto Sami and Finish drums

Moose: Sakatschi-Aljan, Siberia – showing ribs, innerts and life giving spiral/circle Energy

Pipi”of Alta, Norway = female shaman with hanging breasts = after childbirth and braids, holding her wisdom

male with antler boats = Birch-bark scroll, Ojibwa

Hotah the Moose – gentleness and strength united within one person

Moose and boat – Lake Onega, Karelia, Russia – across the arbitrary border with Finland. Prehistoric Fino-Ugric boat glyphs often clearly show a large antlered Moose or Deer steering the boat.

Bear with Heartline – Bossecop, Alta, Norway

Elder of Astuvansalmi, Finland

and here is the Canadian site 🙂

side 2 sm pic

Top row: OjibwayBirch bark song scroll mnemonics: Latice grit = trance, Binese’e’ wok, the Thunderbird, Wolf Clan healer, Spiral of Life

Bottom row: Village, Gineebik, the Snake, shaman with drum, Mide’ leader, gathering place, People of the Pine =Haudenosaunee, Mohawk = 3 feathers, Sun, lightning bolt – Power

main panel:

Upper world- Middle World Lower World Shaman = Stone relief Tübingen, Germany (yes, 🙂 they had them as well!)

From Peterborough Petroglyph Provincial Park:

Birthing Woman, chiselled over a crack in the rock as if giving birth from it with water flowing from her yoni in early spring

Gichi Manitou – Great Spirit/ Great Mystery with enlightened Sun circle and Megis shell sign in head

Spirit Boat: Gichi Manitou and a shaman/ pupil are going on a trance journey (down the River of Life = arrow down) to find a cure to bring back to the peolpe

Nanabush/ Nananboujou, the Rabbit Man and culture heroe of the Anishenabe people

Ma-Qua, the Bear – strengths, goodness, self knowledge and healing with herbs. Circumpolar the Bear was highly regarded as the bringer of healing and herbal Medicines

Shaman with Otter Medicine bag (first year Midewewin teachings) Bloodvein River, NW Ontario.

Clearly seen on this petroglyph panel are the Spirit Boat beneath the shaman – looking identical to all the ones in Siberia, Finland and Karelia. Also again, Gineebik, the Snake – and a Porcupine, with needles were used for wound stitching and – decorating the Medicine Bags…

Bloodvein Otter shaman

Bloodvein Otter shaman

When 18 years ago I did a shamanic journey to the shaman depicted on this panel, I learned a lot about the Ancestral spirits of the Land and was given a specific chant to sing, when needing to contact Gineebik. in her capacity as Guardian of the Land. It then to me were “strange words”

Only when I sang them to a hereditary Chief of the Anishenabe from Curve Lake reserve, he told me, that this was Ojibwa, what it means and that it was a Sacred song, that was old and very special, had been lost for a long time and I was not to sing it in “ordinary context“, just to my students and when doing “Medicine Work” He then asked me, if I would allow him, to “bring this song home to his people. Sure I said and taught it to him.

He then gave me a Tobacco Bundle with Eagle down in exchange.

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