#597 Chuck’s Place: The Sorcerers’ Program for Change

Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences! Many of the shamanic and psychological terms used in Chuck’s essays are defined in Tools & Definitions on our Psychotherapy website.

Clara laughed and took a sip of water. “To change, we need to meet three conditions,” she said. “First, we must announce out loud our decision to change so that intent will hear us. Second, we must engage our awareness over a period of time: We can’t just start something and give it up as soon as we become discouraged. Third, we have to view the outcome of our actions with a sense of complete detachment. This means we can’t get involved with the idea of succeeding or failing.” *

In this quote, Taisha Abelar, a cohort of Carlos Castaneda, recounts her sorcery training with Clara Grau, a sorceress from don Juan’s party. We examine Clara’s three steps to enact change in detail.

1. Literally voice your intent. Shout it out loud.

2. Develop a practice and stick with it, no matter what.

3. Have no attachment to the outcome of your practice.

Intent: The shamans insist that intent is an independent energy that exists in the universe, a vast pool. Shamans engage intent through calling for it out loud, beckoning it as they forge a link between their stated intent and this vast energetic pool of intent. The use of prayer and mantras in other traditions also taps the power of intent.

Practice: Shamans engage in many practices to allow their intent to manifest. These include the execution of magical passes, recapitulation, and the art of dreaming. Sorcerers are extremely pragmatic. They insist that practitioners just do these practices and discover for themselves where they lead. Hence, sorcerers do not profess a belief system, they merely report their experiences that have proven to be consistent over time, thus they have accumulated a cohesive body of knowledge. Again though, each individual must discover for themselves the validity of this knowledge through personal experience. The practices one might select to enact change ought to have personal resonance. Practices such as yoga, martial arts, running, breathing, meditating, etc., are all equally valid paths to change. Clara’s central point is the necessity to persevere in one’s practice. Many intentions imbued with promise wash away like sand castles on the shores of inertia. Repetitive practice is critical to all change.

No Attachment: Clara’s final point that we not attach to the outcome of our practice is, perhaps, the most counterintuitive from the point of view of the ego. Most programs for change emphasize the role of the ego with its attachment to a desired outcome. Consider, for instance, any weight loss or body building program that focuses on concrete results in measurable body change. How many times have we attached to such an outcome and, having partially or fully achieved it, regressed to old patterns, only to fall prey to feelings of failure, self-hatred, depression, low self-esteem, defeatism, negativity, self-pity, etc.? By remaining attached to an ego outcome we conjure a world of success and failure, good and bad. In this world of judgments, based on concrete results, we either harness our energy to maintain our completed goals and objectives or fall prey to ego failure. If the ego is allowed to commandeer intent, although it can achieve its goals, it must do so by becoming a task master and control freak, as we enter a world of dominance, threatened with overthrow by subservient energies within the self. The viability of this kind of change is highly precarious. The shamans do acknowledge that the ego plays a necessary part in change. However they limit its role to selecting a practice, following through with that practice, with perseverance, but without attachment to “achievable goals.”

The more subtle limitation of an ego-dominated approach is that it fails to access the energy body, the counterpart of the ego and the physical body. The energy body is the gateway to the world of energy and unlimited possibility. This is at the crux of all shamanic work, to access the vast resources and capabilities of the energy body that remain completely dormant and unknown to a human being that focuses only on the mind and the physical body. The shamans have discovered that the energy body acts on intent, not by the heavy controls of the self-important ego with its goal of mastery and dominance of the physical world. By removing attachment to outcome, whether success or failure, shamans open to the lightness and abilities of the energy body where all things are possible.

Buddha made this same discovery as he sat beneath the bodhi tree and resisted attachment to all ego fears and desires. He realized that we suffer because we attach our intent to these illusions, creating a material manifestation of them or a concrete world to live in. In this concrete world, the ego and the physical manifestations dominate and we are cut off from our pure energy state. Buddha achieved enlightenment and access to unlimited change through non-attachment. Shamans access their energy state, with all its possibilities, by canceling their attachment to outcome. This is available to all. Though it seems contradictory, what is being suggested is to set an intent, engage in a practice, impeccably, yet attach no importance to the end result. Jan once sat in an intensive hypnosis practice where the presenter brought up the subject of auras. Jan simply asked herself, “Oh, I wonder if I can see an aura?” and in the next instant she saw the aura of the presenter, simply by innocently wondering, lightly throwing out an intent, with no expectation. This is the lightness of the energy body, responding to intent, unfettered by ego.

Succinctly stated, the program for change: intent, practice, non-attachment. Try it! See what happens! It will happen, but have no attachment to that!

As always, should anyone wish to write, I can be reached at: chuck@riverwalkerpress.com or feel free to post a comment.

Until we meet again,

*The Sorcerers’ Crossing: A Woman’s Journey, Taisha Abelar, p. 62. (Available in our store.)

#596 Today’s Challenge: How to Acquiesce to the Inevitable

Jeanne Marie Ketchel
Channeled by Jan Ketchel

Dear Jeanne,
What message do you have for us today?

Allow the self to flow today, acquiescing to that which cannot be controlled, accepting that this is the natural order of things, that this is the alignment that will further you along on your journey, that this is the next necessary step. What approaches on today’s energy may be quite startling and challenging or it may appear to be a normal progression of that which you have already been experiencing. My suggestion to you is to flow with whatever comes, My Dears. It is inevitable. Once it arrives there is nothing to do but acquiesce, for it is what must be present in your life.

However, how you acquiesce is your challenge. How you use your energy, and how you allow your energy to be intercepted or utilized by outside energy is your personal challenge, today and all days. This process of determining how your energy is going to be part of your daily life, no matter what comes to greet you, is necessary training for an evolving being.

What do I mean when I suggest acquiescence and when I suggest that you determine how to use your energy? I speak of the opportunity to make some vital choices. I speak of energetic choices. I speak of personal inner energy and outer unrelated energy. I speak of the choices you must make, each day, in how you decide to use your energy. This is a good focus for today as the energy begins a grand shift.

Over the next few days you will begin to see signs of this shift. You may see it outside of you more readily than you may feel it inside you, but be assured that you will notice something. You may feel a bit off, you may notice a certain discontent with the status quo, you may feel slightly disoriented or even greatly out of sync. I suggest that you will, in some way, feel that a shift is taking place. I ask you to remain aware of the fact that a shift is inevitable, so use it to grow in awareness.

First, I ask that you accept and acquiesce to this fact of shift and change. Secondly, I ask that you make a predetermined decision to remain aware, and, thirdly, to intend good energy usage. Predetermine and set your intent to flow, but simultaneously to make good choices regarding your energy usage over the next few days of this shift. Predetermine that either you are going to stay innerly focused, no matter what comes to pull you outwardly and away from a time of inner contemplation and quiet work, or predetermine that, yes, you are interested in testing your awareness out in the energy, and then enter it, fully aware that you are doing so to learn how to remain aware while in the throes of it. You see, this is an either-or energy situation, requiring aware choice making in order to learn something of value.

If you can use this upcoming energy wisely, for self-growth, resisting the pull to simply acquiesce without awareness, you will learn something very important. You will have an experience of the self as energetically removed from that which is going on outside of you, and you will begin to more fully understand what it means to be an energy being.

So, I send you off to make some choices in alignment with growth and energy learning. However, if you elect to go into the energy in an old fashion, into oblivion, into abandon, into unawareness, then make that choice be your intent too, for you will learn something necessary. Even in repetition of something old is there great learning potential.

Just remember: You are in control. No one else is to blame for the choices you make. Only you can learn and understand the lessons of the self and the journey you present your self with.

#595 You Are Now On The Brink

Jeanne Marie Ketchel
Channeled by Jan Ketchel

Dear Jeanne,
It is fall in the Northeast, the weather has been rainy of late and the energy a bit sluggish, at least that is one aspect that we, Chuck and I, have been feeling. On the other hand there is also a feeling of transition, as if we are caught in mid-shift, slightly suspended, anticipating new energy and change. We feel the push to hurry things up, but also the pull to slow down and allow the process to unfold. Do you have guidance for us during this time of pushing and pulling energy? Or is something else going on that we are not interpreting correctly?

You may be feeling the tug of war going on in the atmosphere related to the greater energy of the universe and planetary activity. It is not unusual to be affected by that which is far removed from your world. This is a fine example of what I often speak of as outer energy, and how it has affect on human existence, though it is far beyond your everyday world, your personal issues, and your daily existence. You are correct in surmising that this is a time of transition in suspension. My own question to you is: What are you supposed to learn now during this time of lull?

You are indeed supposed to slow down, yet feel the push of vital new energy at your back as well. It does exist, creating tension, allowing for the motivation that is necessary, yet also requiring participation, now, even while you feel the lack of motivation. This is a time of grave and meaningful energy, a testing time, asking you to hold onto your convictions, your deepest desires for change, even while you feel the energy of old seeking to blanket you in its musty and undesirable comforts; comforts no longer growth-oriented. You are fully aware of this in one sense, while at the same time you are not quite fully cognizant of anything. This is an in-between time. In shamanic practices and traditions this is a time of great test of fortitude. For as you may feel that nothing is happening so why not reach for the old comforts, in fact, very much is happening to allow your forward growth.

Hang in there, My Dears. Reassert yourselves innerly in your convictions to change. Reassert your intent to grow. Realign with your desire for real change because it is about to happen. You are now on the brink. Keep going.

Stay focused and remind yourselves that the veils will keep dropping because that is their job. They fall in front of you at each step. Recognize them for what they are, push them aside, and step forward, even though you are unable to see where your step will take you. This stepping into the void, into the unknown, is a test of your own trust in the self to take on whatever appears next in your journey. It is such a meaningful time of self-discipline, self-motivation, and courage. Keep going.

You are almost there. I encourage you all, My Dear Readers, to use the energy in this way: Keep moving forward, not blindly, though you may feel blinded as you proceed. Look innerly and attach to you incredible abilities of knowing and seeing, connected to your spirit’s knowing and seeing that this is indeed the right road to be on, the right time to be on it, and the right direction to be moving in. Clarity will come.

Stay on your path, with awareness and conviction. These two things alone will guide you through this time of energetic confusion, malaise, and discomfort. It is soon over.

#594 Observe the Self Out in the World

Jeanne Marie Ketchel
Channeled by Jan Ketchel

Dear Jeanne,
What message do you have for us today?

The inner self knows. Allow the truths of the inner self to be more fully and truthfully revealed, for only in knowing the fuller self will you be able to resolve your issues and move on. Do you tend to look outside of your self for someone to blame for the problems that arise in your life? Do you tend to argue with others rather than present the inner self with the same arguments? Do you seek retribution outside of you for all that befalls you and for the position that you find your self in?

Today is a good day to turn inward, proposing the questions you pose regarding others to the self. Why must you do this, you might ask? Why must you do such a painful thing to the sensitive self? Why do I continually ask you to take on the inner battles?

If you do not go to battle against all that drives you to anger and resentment outwardly, by taking it inward, you will not grow. It is that simple. You will stay encased in your fears, your perfections, your controlling habits and behaviors constructed to protect you from your deepest truths. In so doing will you be subjected to repetition of the same issues, endlessly, without resolution, release, and relief from that which holds you back.

I do not suggest that you will resolve your issues with a simple command to move on, for that is not how progress is made. You might not like my proposal that deep hard work on the self, truly getting to the bottom of your emotions, ties, fears, behaviors, and other aspects that keep you bound to that world, is necessary, but this is indeed my proposal.

The energy now may be a little rough on you as the next transition time approaches. Do not lose sight of the evolutionary potential and progress that is expected of all of you who reside upon that earth. Do not lose sight of expectations for growth as you go into that world of everyday life. All are expected to grow, to learn what it means to be in that world, and to learn to connect with the inner self.

Staying connected to the inner self, at all times, is the challenge, while keeping the outer world’s demands in perspective. Loss of connection to inner self and inner work will result in those repetitive behaviors I spoke of earlier. When finding the self in such places, perhaps now bored with repeating energetic attachments that no longer give anything, remind the self that there is another self, far more interesting, asking for some attention. How you begin to pay more attention to the inner self is a very personal process, but I suggest that this is a good time to make a new connection with this inner self. If you already have a viable and lively debate and relationship going on then this is the time to go deeper, to give a new challenge, to push for something new.

Greater connection now will mean greater growth in the near future, and this is what you seek, to tap into the energy of growth so that you have the opportunity to evolve. The inner self is patiently waiting, always. The inner self does not judge or blame. The inner self offers only the challenges that are truly necessary, right now, for you to push through the malaise that keeps you back.

Here is how to do this: Observe the self out in the world. Listen to how you speak to others. Listen to your conjuring mind, to your judgments and your reasoning. Do you truly believe what you hear your self saying? Challenge the self to only speak the truth, or do not speak at all. Challenge the self to think only the truth as well. Challenge the self to feel only the truth. Challenge the self to push aside the veils so that you may gain clarity, so that you may clearly speak, hear, think, see, observe, and know what truly is. This is your goal now: to access and know the truth of the self, inside and outside.

#593 Chuck’s Place: Broadening the Paradigm: Nature, Nurture & the Soul’s Intent

Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences! Many of the shamanic and psychological terms used in Chuck’s essays are defined in Tools & Definitions on our Psychotherapy website.

The reigning paradigm to explain human behavior has two major variables: nature and nurture. Nature includes genetics, brain chemistry, archetypes; in essence, all that is inherited. DNA, physical traits, talents, and core perceptual structures, etc., belong to this category. Nature refers to all that we are; most recently as a function of who our parents were and more remotely our ancestral and species lines.

Nurture, in contrast, focuses on what we become as a function of our environment. How we are raised, the foods we consume, who our teachers are, our economic, social, and environmental conditions, etc., all mold our bodies and personalities.

Biologists, psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists enjoy lively debates as to which variable, nature or nurture, is more significant in determining who we are and who we become. Although extremists in each camp will argue the dominant influence of one variable over the other, nearly all agree that some combination of nature and nurture must be considered to explain human behavior. Thus, a musical virtuoso, as the genetic product of generations of musicians might also emerge, with no genetic antecedents, from the midst of an impoverished but musically enriched environment.

The shamans place major significance upon the nurture side of the argument. From their perspective the human potential for perception is nearly unlimited; here they acknowledge the role of nature. However, what is key for the shamans is the impact of socialization upon the individual, which, from their perspective, is the determining factor that both fixates and narrows our perceptual boundaries whereby generating a cohesive world that all agree upon; a consensual environment.

In our current world, the fascination with the brain has tilted the nature/nurture debate definitely in favor of nature and its “imperfections.” The drug companies would have us believe that all that ails us is a function of nature’s imperfection, easily remedied with balancing drugs with but “a few” side effects.

The nature/nurture debate is so engrossing and ripe for controversy that it consumes all our available explanations for why we are the way we are. Without disputing the value and truth of the role of either nature or nurture, I propose another variable be introduced into the argument: our soul’s intent. If we consider our soul’s journey through infinity as the backdrop to the lives we have lived and the life we are currently living, we have new considerations as to why we are in this life with a particular genetic constitution and social milieu. Perhaps, the soul has chosen to be born into this time, into this family, to encounter a set of circumstances critical to its own evolutionary needs. Though evidence for this argument might not pass strict, rationalistic, scientific method, there is significant evidence beyond reason, in the realm of experience, to support this conjecture. For instance, Jung pointed out and demonstrated that there is a dimension of the human psyche that exists outside of space and time. Although we may be born with a blank slate, remembering nothing of life before birth, many individuals have been capable of lifting this veil of memory loss and been able to recover many past life experiences. Shamans, as well as out of body explorers, routinely venture into other worlds freed of concrete time and space. All of these experiences point to a continuity of life beyond the human form, the life of the soul.

The consideration of our soul’s intent for necessary experiences, for its own advancement, is absolutely central to understanding our reason for being here now with the specific challenges our genetic and social contexts create. The point I am making is that our soul chooses the family we are born into and the conditions we will encounter for its own purpose: that of evolutionary advancement.

The challenges we will encounter are the same whether we include the variable of the soul’s intent or not. For instance, if I am born into a dysfunctional family and subjected to violence and abuse, I will, in my lifetime, be challenged both by the genetic predisposition I inherited, as reflected in my family’s behaviors, as well as by an ego heavily defended and compromised by the circumstances that my child self was exposed to at fundamental developmental stages. The challenge to heal and flourish from this compromised place is the same whether I am aware of my soul’s intent for this life or not. However, there is a fundamental advantage to awakening to the soul’s journey in the context of a present life. It offers us the opportunity to avoid the danger of fixating on victimhood in reaction to the life we have been born into. Victimhood is the scourge of the soul’s evolution. If we become captivated by victimhood we can spend our entire life bemoaning our fates, missing the deeper meaning of why we are here with the opportunity to complete the task of our soul’s intent. This would result in a cosmic “repetition compulsion,” where we would need to reincarnate to a similar set of circumstances to again attempt to complete a necessary task.

The shamans propose that the true culprit behind victimhood is self-importance, in a nutshell: “I don’t deserve what has befallen me.” Behind deserving is attachment to being special. When we are special we sit on our thrones with a deep sense of entitlement. In this state all our available energy is spent on expectation and disappointment; we have no available energy for the true purpose of our life.

Shamans call the circumstances and individuals that oppress us our petty tyrants. Shamans actually seek out petty tyrants as opportunities to lose their self-importance through mastering detachment as opposed to conquering the tyrant through ego triumph, which is merely another permutation of self-importance. For shamans, conquering self-importance provides the necessary energy to open the door to heightened perception, and the journey of the soul.

When we view our lives from the position of our soul’s intent, we ask ourselves: “Okay, why am I here? What challenges have I been presented with? Let me gather my energy to meet my challenges versus spending it protesting my fate.” This perspective does not negate the fact that we are all victims, beginning with birth trauma, or even in utero trauma. In recapitulation we relive the truth of all our traumas as we release all the feelings buried within, which accompany our lived experiences. The end result is release and neutrality, and an appreciation for the journey we have taken and the advances we have made. Perhaps the most significant test is to be able to view all the petty tyrants of our lives as necessary encounters to advance our soul’s intent. There is nothing to forgive. If we find ourselves feeling deserving, desiring, or withholding of forgiveness, our energy, on some level, is still bound by self-importance; we are not done with our recapitulation because we are still victims.

By including the variable of our soul’s intent, we do not change the facts of nature and nurture in determining who we are in this lifetime. However, this perspective opens us to the deeper truth of our soul in its infinite journey, and the relativity of the space and time of our current life. We are offered the opportunity to reconcile the relativity of this life with the infinite life of our soul, an alignment that opens us to ultimate adventure and magic, right now! In addition, it allows us the opportunity to take full responsibility for being in the life we are in, with all its genetic and environmental components, uniquely constructed to fit our soul’s requirements to advance ourselves in the ultimate journey.

As always, should anyone wish to write, I can be reached at: chuck@riverwalkerpress.com or feel free to post a comment.

Until we meet again,