Second Class

“So here we are at our second class. Thanks, Uri for smudging us. Anyone want to share about how the first class settled in you this past week?” Ursula looked around the room at the mostly eager faces. Ken looked disgruntled. Should she address that or leave it to surface in words when he was ready? Owen’s green eyes were twinkling. She suspected he saw the same thing in Ken and was waiting to see what she as official teacher would do about it. She carefully looked elsewhere. “Anyone?”

“I began seeing the blue light more and more,” said Rhea. “Sometimes other colors, especially lavender. In fact I realized how much Celeste quietly uses healing touch with the kids at school. I guess I should have known that but it was exciting to have it become so obvious.”

“Cool. Practicing and observing this stuff enhances it in you and those around you. You have the opportunity now to bring it alive in the kids you teach.”

“Yeah, I talked with Celeste about it some and she said she’s always been cautious, feeling a need to keep it hidden.”

“She’s of a generation when that was necessary. But these little ones need to know about it so they can enhance their own and I’m guessing today’s parents will be comfortable with it.”

Fern raised her hand and Ursula nodded in her direction. “I tried it on Anise when she was feeling tempestuously cranky the other morning. She was in my lap and I put one hand on either side of her body at her heart chakra. She calmed right down.”

“She told me about it when she got to our house,” Jay said with a smile. “She said you put happy music in her heart when she was feeling sad about leaving you, even though she wanted to see me too.”

“Good job, you guys! It does my heart good just hearing about it. The conflicted feelings of a kid who must go between two beloved households. How healing for all of you!” Ursula’s hand had flown reflexively to her heart and her voice definitely had tears in it. “And she experienced it as music. Just in case anyone thinks that seeing is always visual. Way cool! Anyone else?”

“I started using that energy from my hands on the plants that I am hoping will winter over in the Conservancy Trust garden,” offered Janna. “Kind of strengthening them for the wet and cold to come. I wonder if I should do a little experiment and give the energy to some and not the others. Though that seems cruel to the ones I don’t give it to.”

Ursula smiled. “Owen, what do you think of the ethics on this?”

“I’d say that was a great adaption of the exercise and to go for it. If you want you could ask each one if they agree to be part of such an experiment. Full disclosure and all that.” Everyone laughed. “Seriously. I think that would be cool especially if you keep notes. I never can remember to be so organized and then kick myself afterwards.”

Gabe spoke up. “A few weeks ago I had an interesting conversation with Molly about the subtle healing she says goes on at ReBound. So since the last class when it isn’t too busy I consciously put my hand out to shake when I am greeting people – I’m not much of a hugger. Most people didn’t react at all that I could discern, but one man grabbed his hand back, looking startled. An old lady held on and began telling me about a problem with the coons in her garbage can and then how her son never comes to visit and…. It took a while to extricate from her.” Everybody laughed. “But I experienced some sort of reaction in me almost every time I touched with intent like that. Sometimes I felt a burst of sadness or depression. One woman made me gloriously happy – almost giddy – for quite a while afterwards. It was really powerful.”

“That’s great, Gabe! I’m so glad you were willing to experiment with such an inventive way of adapting touch to suit your own comfort level.”

“Yeah,” the young man chuckled. “I didn’t expose myself too much but put a little energy into the ‘manly’ shake and actually felt some stuff coming back. With the needy older lady, I ended up with my other hand on hers as well – until I really had to get back to work.”

“A hand on the elbow works well too,” Owen offered.

“Just be sure you don’t hang on to any energy you don’t like,” instructed Ursula. “You don’t have to take it in. You can quietly shake it off – literally or mentally. If you feel it clinging or icky, go put your hands in running water or in the dirt.

“Okay, then. I have a disclaimer to make about calling myself a shaman in last class. Many people assert that you can’t name yourself shaman, that others have to call you such. I was embarrassed after class when I realized that word had popped out of my mouth. Usually I describe what we do as shamanic, not making that further claim…. I don’t even think I am a shaman because I don’t journey into the spirit worlds to find what’s wrong with someone, nor do I take others’ hurts consciously into myself to heal – at least as far as I know. It’s all much more subtle than that. There are a lot of good books out describing different shamans, past and present. I’m putting together a list of them for you. Owen is much more of a shaman than I am, both as a plant whisperer and doing the journeying he does…. So I really don’t know why I said that….”

“I’m not a shaman either and I don’t think you were really naming me that,” Owen took up the gauntlet Ursula had tossed out. “Though I certainly didn’t contradict you the other night. It slipped right by me. I was more caught by the wizard/witch thing. But maybe Spirit was giving you – and I – a little goose. Our blurts often give new meaning and dimension…. And it’s good to try these things on even if they are shocking. I’m guessing you’ve thought a lot about it since.

“I certainly did. It was so weird to play back the ‘tape’ in my head and realize…. In case you think we’re perfect, or anything,” she said to the group. Jay snorted and grinned at his mother.

“Maybe it was my future self speaking to me somehow. I can imagine that I might be working my way slowly towards that…. But Shaman now? I don’t think so. Even if others named me that I don’t think I would claim it…. Let’s settle on what I and others do as being shamanic.

“Okay. On to the content for tonight’s class. I’m sure you noticed that I set out a few things in each of the four directions. These are items that have meaning to me – our family’s beloved sparkly cloth snake in the South for her hissing, heated energy and her love of the sun. Also for all the Goodwin-Brown memories she holds and for her ability to shed her skin – to grow and change. Some might put her in the north as an Earth spirit because she lives so close to the ground. Instead I put my Edward Curtis photo of a native medicine man in the north to ground us into the deep traditional shamanic energy of the Old Ones. I also put my whale vertebra there. Even though whales are certainly of the water, bones are of the north and this was found on the beach. In the East I put the eagle and condor feathers I’ve been gifted with over the years. They bring in air and cleaning energy. Also song – bird song and omens. For the West, I have the dolphin and the mermaid and one of Charley’s surfing T-shirts. Just in case you think this has to be all serious.

“From the looks of your bags, I’m thinking that most of you have brought some objects to add to these. Let’s go one by one and tell us what you brought and why. But how ‘bout if we don’t comment on each others’ offerings. All offerings are sacred and exactly right for us in this moment. We’ll do a little processing after everyone has put their things out.”

“I brought bells for sound in the East,” said Janna adding them to Ursula’s feathers. “And a pot of mint for the south that I’m hoping someone will take home afterwards. My watering can over here in the West and compost (of course!) for the North.”

Rhea stood in the South to make her first contribution. “An aloe plant over here for the healing and regenerative energy. A conch shell my mother gave me in the West, magic mushrooms in the North for where they grow and also in the East for visions.”

“I wasn’t sure what to bring,” said Ken. “But for the West, I brought my dream notebook that you suggested I start keeping and here is a spruce branch – wasn’t sure if it should go in the North or the South…” He hesitated then placed it in the North. “So I’ll put my mother’s photograph in the South and this flicker feather in the East.”

“I couldn’t think of anything for the north, but now I realize I could put my moonstone ring there.…This rose quartz heart belongs in the South….”

“Ganesha in the South….”

“Walrus tooth in the West…”

“I think this pile of rocks goes in the North….”

“My little frog in the East cause they croak in the spring….”

“My drum in the East…”

“A bottle of our beer for the West. A Jaguar mask for the South. A snake skin for the North and a bird skeleton for the East.” Jay knelt reverently with each offering.

Ursula watched delightedly as each person moved thoughtfully around the circle. She could feel the power growing in each as they placed their sacred offering and in the circle as a whole. Blessed Be!