Puzzle Pieces:

 

I always tell the people that come for shamanic consultations as well as thouse I mentor, that I will try my best, to find one- or maybe a few of the puzzle pieces that are missing in the panorama of their lives – or from the very matrix of their Souls…..

I always hope to succeed, but there never is a guaranty, since i work and shamanize at the Power and behest of my Miahanits = Ancestor Guardians and Medicine nimals…..

But there are also times, when I myself am presented with puzzle pieces like these, treasured and lovingly integrated into the fabric of who and what I am.

And then there are times – like right now, – since Nepal, where it is raining puzzle pieces and I feel like a wet Wolf pub, overwhelmed by a storm.

I am fanatically trying to picking them all up – or at least try not to loose sight of too many, I am trying to remember how I fond them, so as not to forget their “story”

I am struggggeling to keep them “together”, never mind trying to properly fit them together. No, I am in no way shape or form “THERE”, where I am able to fit and integrate them into their rightful places, where they are supposed to go.

I should not even write about this here – yet.

It is all still unsorted, rough, scruffy and has neither beginning or is there an end in sight…..

So then I should just shut up – and delete this post!

Right?

Well, probably yes, but then again this – these writings here may just become the manuscript of “what is going on” right now, the “process” and iffff you guys read this, you get sort of a window seat to the event and wherever it may take me. Also, then maybe at some point you may recognize, when something similar happens to you – or a loved one or maybe a client…….

Soooooo where to start????????????????

Where is the beginning???????????????????

NO idea!!

You decide!

I will just write – and we can sort it all later……

feet

OK: First weird puzzle piece NO 1 – not because it IS the first one, no, just because it is the first one I will write down here:

Since mid summer 2013 – just when falling asleep – or sometimes when waking up, I “see” a young’ish lady (~~maybe late 30ish?? )in a turquoise dress – blond shoulder lengths hair standing in ???– the street of a city. Sometimes she is pregnant and sometimes not. I do not know, who that is…..

Soon after coming back from Nepal am making dinner and with half an ear listen to the TV Peter forgot to turn of after the news was done. We have only 1 canal out here and after the news there is the pesky “ entertainment show with Ben Mulroney, ex prime minister Brian Mulroney’s son…. By chance I look up and – there is “THAT LADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I find out, her name is Uma Thurman and she is an actress……?

So what?????  I have NEVER seen her or any movies she was in…..

I told you, these were all weird puzzle pieces that did NOT make sense, didn’t I!!!!!

And – you have the choice to … just not read on…… 😉

It will probably take me 10 more blog posts to write them all down and then, you and I can see, how they all fit…..

My Kalevala Summer

In my early 20ties I was working as an RN at the psychiatric clinic at a large university hospital and was struggling to incorporate the elements of my shamanic / tribal upbringing and World view into my work with patients and clients.

At the time I was a member of a group of Native American medical students, all in different stages of their training, that were facing similar challenges and had therefore come together in a spiritual/ social support group, meeting almost daily, cooking and eating together, studying and cramming for exams together and also coming together in worship, which largely took the form of Peyote meetings in keeping with the Native American Church. There I learned the prayers, songs, chants, ritual and also acquirer a rudimentary grasp of the Lakota and Inde’ languages.

But I also had 2 Finnish friends, who made me aware of the rich shamanistic tradition of their homeland, underlining, that this was so much closer and in keeping with my Siberian traditions.

How right they were!

First and foremost they introduced me to the Kalevala, the Finnish folk myth and its runes = songs/ chants about the heroes of Finnish myth, their exploits, their spells, charms, their magic and their stories. First painstakingly collected and formated into an epic by the Finnish Doctor Elias Lönnrot throughout much of his life (and revised and expanded several times…) the Kalevala preserves the the many previously only orally transmitted runes, magic incantations and spells and wove them into what today is regarded as a Finnish National Treasure.

Most of the characters of the Kalevala have only thinly veiled shamanic roots:

There first and foremost is Väinämöinen who is the elder wise man, tragic loner and a magic musician. Born from Ilmatar, the Mother Spirit of Air, who was pregnant with him for 700 years and birthed him in the sea, he knows all the runes and spells to form and create and bewitch his contemporaries and create magical instruments like the very first kantele, made from the jaw of a large pike, his tangible gift to the people of Finland.Vainamoinen

There is his buddy, Ilmarinen, the heavenly smith, master of iron and Fire who creates magical talismans like the Sampo, but also replicas of the Sun and the Moon.

There we have the whimsical Aino, Ilmarinen’s sister, who refuses to marry Väinämöinen and changes herself into a Pike.

There is the young swashbuckling Lemminkäinen, son of a powerful lady shaman who learned all kinds of charms and rune spells from his mom and still gets in all kinds of trouble ….

Then also there is the magical Sampo, the treasure that the smith Ilmarinen is asked to forge while chanting spells and that will bring happiness, protection and prosperity to its owners.

I was fascinated by the Kalevala and having an 6 week summer holiday coming up, I decided not to go back to New Mexico but to travel to Finland and immerse myself into the landscape, its Spirits and the runes of the Kalevala.

Another friend of the family had a summer cottage near Hämeenlinna and that became my temporary home base. I was soon introduced to Yalava, a lady in her mid sixties, who still knew how to sing a few of the old runes. In itself that is not very surprising, since many parts of the Kalevala as well as other rune circles have been set to music by the Finish composer Jean Sibelius starting in 1890 with the story of the tragic mythic hero Kullervo.. The work of Sibelius soon was recognized as yet another Finish cultural treasure and still is popular to this day.

Yalava however also knew a few different chants from her Sami grandmother, that had much more of a shamanistic feel. I loved listening to her. All she used to accompany herself was a strand of small bells – from the tack of a domesticated Reindeer and, at times, a branch of long dried Oak leaves, that made a rusteling swirrling sound.

Another Rune singer Yalava knew was Olaus and he also had a Runebomme, a traditional Finish drum that needed to be tightened over a fire and was beaten with a piece of Reindeer antler.

Incidentaly it was most often not in the house, but outside or in the sauna, that my new- found friends shared the songs and stories of “the olden times”.I got introduced to the Spirits of the Land, of specific Trees in the area and to the Animals, like the “Guika” the Northern Diver – the Loon, the Moose and the Bear, who was not permitted to be called by his name – less he comes. That was/ is very much in keeping with my own Siberian tradition.

Especially the stories about the Bear and my own connection to Bear via my mother’s side of the family, (Usari) eventually encouraged me to do a 3 night “sit out” deep in the forest.

I wanted to communicate with the Spirit of the Bear, who’s Powers, according to Olaus, were seen as being very similar to the ones my Ada (father)had taught me about Ee’ren Adik, the Bear Spirit of my Ancestors.

Back then I had never encountered a Bear in the wild and was terrrrified – but also filled with anticipation.

For my vision sit I had chosen a small clearing deep in the forest.

In it’s center was a large flat rock, covered with Lichen. It would become my scrying mirror. Onto it I placed the jaw bone of a Pike, the talisman Olaus had given me to take into the forest. Next to it I build a small lean-to out of fallen branches and there I spread my blanket and faced Nature – with cold nights and drizzly rain, myself and my fears, which were mitigated by the comforting hoots of an Owl that roosted nearby, but that I never quite got to see.

I had a powerful vision, being confronted by “Otzo” the Bear and eventually mating with Him and melting into Him. Bear would guide me, feed me and I would facilitate healings, singing his name….. When I returned from my forest quest and related parts of my experiences, Olaus said, that Ukko had send me the Bear and now I must follow it. Only now, looking back today, I know, how true this would turn out to be: Bearpaw Jewellery, our business indeed feeds me/ us, spiritually and by providing us with a good living. And yes, upstairs in my home there is the huuuuge Bear fur, where I put my patients and clients when doing healing work, which always involves Bear chants.

There were many auspicious encounters during that summer: Tending to a dying Swan, that had been caught in fishing net for days before I found it and relating this back to the Swan Maidens of Siberia, but also to the beautiful maiden Aino of the Kalevala…..

There also was a visit with Tellervo, the daughter of the Forest Spirit at the pictograph site of Astuvansalmi, competing with 2 Moose while picking giant Mushrooms at nearby lake Saima.

Tellervo daughter of the Forest Spirit

Then there was the rather rainy week I spend further north neat …….. among the Sami and their Reindeer and many other meaningful encounters, all worthy of their own essay….

When it was time to return home I had a much deeper understanding about myth, magic, the deep rooted similarities of different shamanic cultures, of Bear Medicine and of myself.

Finlands giant Mushrooms

We have come a looooong way :)

August 16/ 17 1987

Do you remember, where you were on that auspicious date?

For me it is easy, we have diaries where, after a little digging, we can find out all kinds of details about our own past, that would normally silently slip between the cracks of time and memory. I remember August 16/17 1987 so well, without going into the boxes full of diaries, because we had heard about the apparent “harmonic convergence” and the coming of the new era of Aquarius on the radio in our little yellow VW bus in which we lived at that time.

on our way up to Wabush Labrador 1987

Yes, we were living on the road since May 1981– crisscrossing North America from Alaska to Guatemala,visiting all kinds of historic sites, National Parks, Nature preserves, festivals and noteworthy places in between. Every December we returned to Key West, Florida, where, on a campground we pitched large working tents and for 3 to 4 month, made jewelry which we sold every evening on Mallory Square at the legendary Sunset celebration. Funds accumulated there were stuck into the bank, where back then GICs fetched between 1o and 13% interest and leisurely lasted us for the remainder of the year.

We also picked the occasional flea market, when conveniently located on our route and sold treasures from quartz crystals collected in the Ozarks to Mexican handcrafts traded in remote villages.

So on August 16th we were in Newfoundland, at L’Anse aux Meadows, the  first viking settlement of the Vikings found in North America

The next day we traveled to another ancient site nearby Fleyr de Lys where the ancient Dorset People had cut large flat slices of soft soapstone out of a quarry to fashion their shallow blubber lamps.

Sopestone quarry of the Dorset People

It was there, where Peter picked up a few discarded pieces of soapstone and started to carve. Soon I recognized a little Bear. Peter had never done anything like this in his life and was surprised, how easy it felt and how much joy it gave him to discover this talent. In the late afternoon we started on the long drive back to Gander, where the next day, the weekly flea market was held. I drove, Peter kept carving.

Peter carves while I drive

We talked about settling in Canada. Should we choose the beautiful remote valleys of Northern British Columbia and eek out a living of the land? –

– Or was the bush in prosperous Ontario a smart home base with markets and arts and craft shows to choose from – in driving distance from a little log house?

For us, these days were fundamental turning points in our lives.

Not only did we give up our travelling live and apply for citizenship in the country of our choice, over the next 26 years we build our home and integrated ourselves into the community. Peter became a well respected artists with quite a following of collectors admiring his work.

I slowly and hesitantly picked up the Talking Stick and started teaching about shamanism and shamanic practices, the teachings received through my family heritage and wisdom received through journeys and working with patients, clients and our First Nations neighbors and friends.

Harmonic convergence?!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic_Convergence

We sure have come a looooong way…… and more is to come. 🙂

We still have the little Bear – to guide us along the way….

Soapstone miniature Bear with cub and micro Bone Bear

miniature carving of Owl for my mother, who's Guide was "Kauze"         Kauze

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More info on L’anse aux Meadows and Fleur de Lys:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Anse_aux_

http://www.heritage.nf.ca/environment/soapstone.html