A Day in a Life: A Shamanic Journey

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the human form as an intricate permaculture, from a holistic point of view containing everything we need to be healthy in mind, body and soul if we can keep our living world of the self—psyche, soma and spirit—in good balance. If we think of our body self as a biological unit and tend to it as we wish all people to appreciate, respect, and treat the earth, we may discover that we have the power to maintain not only a healthy persona, but the power to do anything we set our intent to. In fact, we humans are multifaceted, multilayered beings, not simply one size fits all, living organisms as deep as the oceans, as varied as the earth’s crusts, and as expansive as the universe. We are very complicated beings.

Everyone feels that they are different on the inside than they are on the outside. We may present one side of ourselves to the world, the safely prepared and carefully honed ego self but keep our inner self private, as is appropriate. When we delve deeper into the world of the inner self, exploring the layers of the unconscious, we discover that we are more elaborately constructed than at first suspected.

What follows is an excerpt from my upcoming book The Recapitulation Diaries: The Man in the Woods, year one of a three-year shamanic journey through my own multifaceted self. During my recapitulation I discovered that, by intent, I could volitionally experience more than one world simultaneously. I was reminded of the following experience from nine years ago by the violent thunder, rain, and lightning storm that barreled through our area last night. It feels appropriate to post it in this blog.

Entering another world

It’s thundering and lightning and I’m sitting on my bed in my room at night in the dark, surrounded by windows on three sides. I begin doing the recapitulation magical pass, the sweeping breath. Lightning flashes and thunder cracks loudly as I sweep my head back and forth, back and forth, breathing in my own energy and passing out my abuser’s negative energy. The flashing of the lightning and the crashing of the thunder accompany me as I sweep my head back and forth. The rain beats against the windows and the winds whip as the tremendous storm pounds out its flashing, drumming rhythms.

In the dark haziness of my room I’m aware of a scene off to the left and slightly in front of me. The silhouette of a seated figure on top of a mountain ledge appears, clearly discernable through the rain that is pounding down in torrents on this scene, remarkably like the storm raging outside. I’m aware that I am both sitting in my room at this moment and that I am also that figure sitting on the ledge and that I should go to that mountaintop.

Suddenly I’m no longer just sitting on my bed. I am also in ancient times, sitting on the ledge of a cliff, overlooking a vast valley in the dark of night, on a promontory sticking out into air, into the storm raging all around me. I am aware of the presence of others behind me in the shelter of a cave, but it’s my time to sit in the elements, to brave the forces of nature, to unflinchingly allow myself to sit exposed, unprotected, but fully aware that I have within me the strength and courage to sit here for as long as it takes, until I’m done with this challenge.

The storm rages and someone places a rough-woven, thick woolen blanket over my head and shoulders. This is allowed, the blanket is woven with symbols and icons that will protect and provide me with added strengths. I am a native woman, a tribal woman on a journey. Meanwhile, I am still in my bedroom, sitting on my bed doing the sweeping breath, breathing in and out, sweeping my head from side to side, the storm continuing to drum as I ride its energy.

Back on the ledge, I become the storm; I breathe it in and out. The thunder, the lightning, the darkness, the earth, the stone ledge I sit upon become one with me. I am earth and sky, water and sound, light and dark. I am journeying and yet sitting solidly at the same time, both on the ledge and on my bed simultaneously. I am strong, committed to taking this journey without fear and without regret. I know this is my duty, my destiny, and my challenge, but also the fulfillment of my shamanic line. I am completing my tests of worthiness and humbleness before all the gods of nature. I am testing my inner strengths, while acknowledging those sitting behind me as my guides. In full awareness I am marking this moment of my journey, knowing that this is part of my process, trusting all I have experienced in the past, all I am experiencing at this moment, and all that is to come as necessary, if I am to evolve.

Suddenly I am taken into the belly of the storm. I leap into its mouth, I sit upon its tongue, I swallow its saliva, I feel the beat of its pulse, I tremble with the rumble of its heart, and I withstand the blinding light of its intent. I am its apprentice at the same time that I acknowledge its power as my own, simultaneously humbly grateful for it and daringly accepting of it.

When it’s done, when the storm subsides, I am spat out of its mouth. As the winds die down, as the thunder rumbles off into the distance and as the rains slow to a drizzle I find myself back upon the ledge where I have been sitting for days, still under my blanket, now damp on the outside though warm and dry in the inside. My guides come out of the cave. They lift me by my arms, steadying me upon my feet. Helping me to walk upon my wobbly legs, they take me with them into the warmth and dryness of the cave where they have kept a fire going.

“Well done. You have done well,” I hear them say.

As I finish my recapitulation breath magical pass the storm ceases, the thunder rumbles off into the distance and the lightning quiets to intermittent flashes. The mountaintop scene where I have just journeyed disappears from my room. I’m still sitting on my bed, fully aware of having been in two places at once, having gone on a journey of significance into an ancient experience while expelling alien energy from my current body self. Though I’m not sure what it means I come away with a greater understanding of my self as wholly in alignment with the greater universe.

I also now know that my inner strength and determination are solidified, firmly aligned with my spirit and with my greater intent to continue trusting this shamanic recapitulation process that I have been allowing myself to take. I also know that I am indeed just beginning my journey, a journey of humbleness and awe, of inner self constantly being asked to make adjustments, to nonjudgmentally acquiesce to the process, to stay in alignment with what comes to guide. In addition, by constantly pushing myself to keep taking the inner journey, I have found that true self and innocence are completely compatible, trustworthy, reliable, and viable, no matter what world I might find myself in. I am indeed on a magical journey!

Here’s to magical journeys for everyone!

#765 Set Your Intent

Written by Jan Ketchel with a channeled message from Jeanne Ketchel.

Today, I asked Jeanne for a message of guidance as we begin a new week. Here is what she offers us all:

My Dear Ones:

Do not be thwarted by the interferences that may appear as blockages in your paths—they are mere hurtles to be leapt over, mere lessons to quickly assess and move on from. If you find yourself stumbling along, unable to gain clarity, I ask that you point your radar innerly and question the self most directly, asking why. For it is only in asking the self to take full responsibility for all actions and decisions in life that you will evolve into an emerging being of light and energy, ready for the next journey. In finding the self open to life and its vicissitudes as a path of learning and higher evolutionary potential, you offer yourself the way to truth.

Do not shirk your responsibilities in life. Take care of those who need you and depend on you. Guide them, protect them, educate and teach them when necessary and appropriate, but do not force an agenda nor do their lessons for them. All must learn even as you have had to learn.

Some students of life are reluctant, refusing the greater calling, but that is not your problem. You can only be an appropriate teacher to such recalcitrant ones by your own example of living harmoniously, flowing with what comes to greet you each day, accepting your direction, taking responsibility and keeping yourself always in tiptop inner shape. By that I mean: keep your own inner process alight. Fan the flames of your inner work so that they never die, no matter what comes from outside to thwart you from your intentions.

On this day, I suggest that you set your intent for yourself and that you abide by the terms of your spiritual and life path as you desire, but also working with what comes to you each moment of the day. All may not go as you wish, but wait and see, for in the end your intent will rule. How that happens is the mystery and beauty of life. Learn from this day and walk on into your week stronger, both innerly and in the world you live in.

You are all on a journey of enlightenment. You are all prepared well. Everything you need is with you already. You are not alone and you will not fail.

Accept yourself as your own guide and life as your teacher. Pupil and master together, walk now onward into a new day. Every minute of your life is open and waiting for you to greet it.

Take this with you as you go into your day:

You are expected. The world awaits you. Greet it with openness as it also greets you. You are exactly where you should be. Happiness is in your heart and in your hands. Open both and you will discover that they work quite well together if you allow them to be your guides. Look at your hands now and ask them to hold your heart gently and kindly today as you venture on your day’s journey.

Here is a prayer to the Self:

Take me on my journey with gentleness and humility.
Carry me where I need to go.
I take full responsibility for myself.
My life awaits me.
I am open and awaiting it as well.
I go now into my life with openness and joy.

I am alive.
I am grateful.
I am faithful to my self and my journey.
I love myself for the lessons in my life,
as they lead to my own higher Self.
This I accept.

I am one.
I am whole.
I am all that.
Today my life begins anew.

Most humbly offered and with thanks to Jeanne.

Chuck’s Place: Shadow—Friend or Foe?

At a gathering of student analysts eager for exactitude in definition, Jung, in an exasperated reaction, expressed that the shadow was simply the whole unconscious! If it’s not in the light, it’s in the shadow. And what lies in the darkness—that unknown part of ourselves—effects us profoundly, though we see it not.

In a dream, Jan and I are walking up a hill. It is night, dark and cloudy. Suddenly, I realize we are standing on slippery snow/ice and I lose my balance, falling, sliding down into the unknown, completely unable to see. I keep my composure but have no possible way to orient myself. I am truly in the shadow, without light. I awaken.

It’s the morning of June 21st, the summer solstice, Jeanne’s birthday. Jan has just emerged from a similar dream. Clearly, I am being shown that we are headed into the unknown—something that cannot be controlled. Can we get comfortable with the ride? Isn’t it really all preparation for the journey we all must inevitably take—our ultimate appointment with death? Isn’t it all about getting comfortable enough with the ride into the unknown so that we might find safe passage?

Isn’t it really our daily challenge to allow ourselves to go forward and grow, to become a new self as we integrate new truths of who we are into our lives? Or do we awaken stubbornly each day, insisting to reincarnate our familiar selves, grasping onto our familiar habitual attitudes and habits?

Jung resisted exactitude in definition because he respected the unknown and unknowable too much to assign anything more to a definition than a possibility or a metaphor. Rather than shirking scientific responsibility here, he was instead expressing scientific humility—a true scarcity in our modern world.

What Jung could hint about the shadow, however, was the compensatory function it served to balance our ego’s stranglehold over the unrealized or unconscious portion of the psyche.

In practical terms, if we consciously insist on attitudes or behaviors that thwart our deeper selves, the shadow will strike, as Freud observed, with verbal slips that reveal our heart’s true sentiment. In other instances, our shadow may have gathered enough steam to literally take possession of the ego as we find ourselves possessed by an intense mood or affect that takes control of our otherwise level behavior.

These states of possession can range from a profound depression to extreme acting out where ego control is literally obliterated. These are the extremes that lead us to fear the shadow, brand it as evil, and seek relief through a controlled life of goodness. Indeed, at an extreme state of imbalance the shadow might strike in an evil way.

On closer examination, however, we might discover that what we brand as evil—and may in fact be evil—is the compensatory action of the unknown part of ourselves, reacting to the falsity or limitation of our conscious attitude. Here, the shadow drives us to extremes to wake us up to grapple with other facts and truths within ourselves.

The more rigidly we cling to a one-sided attitude, the more intense must be the shadow’s counterattack to both balance us out and awaken us to introspection upon the truth of who we are, what we feel, and what we need.

Ultimately, the role of the shadow is to expand our consciousness by leading us into greater acquaintance with our unknown selves and our true reason for being in this life. We cannot, as my dream depicts, avoid our slide into the darkness, into the unknown.

Truthfully, what do we really know? What we think we really know is but the ego’s castles in the sand that, as Jan’s dream of Monday night depicts, will be washed away by the tidal wave of the shadow. The question that emerges in both of our dreams, and in the time of now, is: How we will take the slide or ride the inevitable waves of our lives?

Can we get calm in the midst of the unfamiliar? Are we open to discovering more of who we are as we glide into the unknown where even a compass doesn’t work?

Jung was wise to resist the exactitude of definition. Exactitude becomes another ego sand castle. However, Jung’s discovery of the mechanism of compensation provides a basis for relationship with our unknown selves.

Rather than get caught in the moralism of good and evil, or goodness and badness, we can suspend those judgments and shift to an appreciation for darkness as necessary to prod and challenge our ego self to broaden its purview into the vast unknown of the self with an attitude of respect and discovery.

In this respect, shadow is truly a friend yet also a foe that pushes us onward and keeps us honest.

Calm without a compass,

A Day in a Life: Dreaming in Alignment

On Monday I channeled a message from Jeanne about learning to flow. Using a water metaphor she instructed in how to meet the challenges in life head on rather than allowing them to overtake. That night I had the following dream:

Learning to flow...

I’m with Chuck in a large, sprawling ancient city, Rome perhaps. There is very little vegetation in the city proper; everything is manmade. There are large plazas and stone structures, huge buildings of light colored sandstone, gigantic columns, streets covered in large planks of a similar light colored sandstone. The city is beginning to flood.

We are out walking before dawn, aware of the coming flood. We can actually see it coming from a distance as we stand on an elevated plaza overlooking the city and the valleys beyond. As we walk, the water begins to rise, swirling around our ankles. We see a tidal wave beginning to form, making its way in between the buildings of the city. The tidal wave quickly takes shape and overtakes us.

We begin swimming. I see three people in the water ahead of us, the only other people in this seemingly deserted or still sleeping city. They are dressed in evening clothes; a man in a tuxedo and two women is short black evening dresses. The tidal wave hits them and they go under. I can see from my vantage point that they are not taking the situation seriously. Tired after a night out, they are still in a boisterous mood, unaware of the power and danger of the water.

I take my attention off them as I struggle to swim. For some reason I can only get my left arm out of the water, the right hanging useless beside me. I can barely lift my head out of the water and it’s a struggle to breathe. I’m aware of Chuck swimming strongly behind me and I want to keep up with him, not slow our progress. I can feel his encouraging energy and I want to show him that I can do this, that I’m a strong swimmer too. I lift my heavy left arm out of the water over and over again, trying to swim, flapping like a bird with only one wing. It’s cumbersome and frustrating and I’m not getting anywhere.

I don’t feel panic or fear. I don’t sense imminent danger or death, but I do know that we must flow with the water, that we cannot let it overtake us as the threesome in evening dress are doing. I’m aware that they are still floundering in the water up ahead of us when suddenly I flip over onto my back, without even thinking about it, and now I can swim! Both arms are functioning beautifully. I take long and swift strokes, my chest expanding and opening. I’m breathing easily, deeply, and comfortably by swimming in this manner. Effortlessly I glide along, fast and strong. I can also hear Chuck picking up speed behind me as we take off in the water. I’m amazed at how simple it is, how easily I’m flowing along now, loving it, when a moment before I was struggling to move my arm and take a breath. I am now in totally right alignment with my body and the water.

Next, in a second dream, we go to a friend’s house. Her ceiling is leaking. She has had someone come and look at it and the diagnosis is that nothing is wrong with the roof. I ask her if she trusts the guy because to me it’s very obvious that something is seriously wrong. We stand in her kitchen while the water pours down. It’s as if we’re standing outside in a heavy downpour.

I turn to Chuck and whisper: “I think she just doesn’t want to face the truth that there is a problem. Tired of having so much to deal with, she’s electing to ignore what’s so obvious. She’s almost insisting that her roof is not leaking.”

“People can ignore things for a long time. Eventually they get there. She’ll get there,” he says, as we leave her to resolve her issues in her own manner and in her own time.

My dreams ended there, but meanwhile, Chuck was dreaming right beside me, of slipping on a steep icy mountain slope. On the eve of the summer solstice and cusp of the water sign of Cancer—the night after Jeanne had guided us to learn to flow, using a water metaphor—we both dreamed of water. My dreams were of water in liquid form, feminine energy, as I see it; while Chuck dreamed of water in its solid form, ice, masculine energy. In his dream he too did not feel fear or danger, only the process of trying to figure out how best to navigate the slippery slope. We both had to figure out how to flow with what we were presented with, all in keeping with Jeanne’s message of learning to flow rather than float, taking charge rather than being overwhelmed, overtaken, or simply ignoring the truth of what is happening.

I see, in my own dream, the struggle of my ego, wanting to keep up with Chuck, and wanting to show off. For a long time I have envisioned my right side as my ego self. I’ve had many experiences of this, a true fact as I now see it. In this first dream, this right side, my human earthly self, is compromised. My left side, which I consider my spirit self is struggling. I am dreaming and in my energy body so my ego, my right side, does not function properly, yet my ego is making the decisions. Suddenly spirit, my energy body, usurps ego. It flips over and it is only then that I am in total sync, dream and energy body in alignment. This was a moment of enlightenment for me, when Jeanne’s message made even deeper sense, showing me the greater meaning of spirit in alignment with circumstances that are beyond our control.

These dreams were dreams of awareness, yet there was also another part of the deeper self in operation, offering guidance: the ancient deserted city perhaps suggesting this ancient self in my dream and the mountain in Chuck’s dream implying the same. Both Chuck and I did not struggle with the circumstances, either with worry or attachment, but we dealt only with the immediate process of how best to navigate the situation, how best to flow.

This attitude of flowing was contrasted by the second dream I had, of my friend, indicative of the tired ego self not wanting to deal with yet another catastrophe, another problem. In choosing to ignore the water pouring into her house, she offers us the same insight that the three partiers from my first dream suggest, that we can get overtaken and swept under by the force of nature taking its natural course. How long do we really want to do that? How long do we want to allow the ego, tired or inflated, to be in control? How long are we going to struggle before we shift ourselves into a more comfortable swimming stroke? For as long as we need to, as Chuck suggests, but eventually, as he also suggests, people get where they need to get.

I think it’s funny that Chuck and I lay side by side and dreamed a balanced sort of composite dream, the masculine and feminine actually in sync, attempting to get it right, both equally focused on seeking the means of flowing, in alignment with what we were presented with by Mother Nature.

Happy dreaming, happy flowing,

#764 Flowing

Written by Jan Ketchel with a channeled message from Jeanne Ketchel.

Today is the eve of the summer solstice and of Jeanne’s birthday, entry into the astrological sign of Cancer under which I was also born. I believe that a water sign challenges us to flow with life, to accept what comes our way and yet to not attach, but to constantly learn how to let go and keep moving on. This has been my personal process and now, as we enter the water sign of Cancer, perhaps it’s everyone’s present challenge: to learn how to flow with life.

As Riverwalkers, the name Jeanne gave us years ago when we set up this website, she urged us to learn from the river, to walk beside it rather than jump into it unaware. But, obviously, sometimes we find ourselves in the water, in constant motion, churning along seemingly out of control, dragged along by the current. Today, I ask her for guidance as we enter a new time of energetic alignment and consequence. What message do you offer us today, Jeanne?

Here is her response:

To flow with what life presents also means getting the self into a good state of inner balance and calm, for it is only in being innerly set that one will truly be able to flow through life.

What do you mean by innerly “set”?

I use the word “set” to mean grounded, anchored by inner knowing that the journey you are each on is prefect, that you are exactly living the life you should be living, dealing with what you should be dealing with at this particular time in your life.

Being set implies acceptance, but it does not mean that you sit back and let the river of life drown you in its turbulence or even its quiet boredom, but that you truly engage it, knowing full well that you are set on your journey. All you have to do is flow with it, as Jan suggests. This idea of flowing with life allows one to constantly confront what is presented while simultaneously investigating it for the potential it holds.

I suggest that deep questioning and processing of life’s issues, challenges, turmoils, emotions, and joys be fully explored so that all aspects of possibility in life are investigated and nothing is left behind unexplored.

One never does know where one will be led by the vicissitudes in life and that is the beauty of it. Do you choose though to be sad and depressed at your lot, tossed about by the waves and swells of the river of life, or do you choose to swim out of it to new ground? Do you choose to struggle against the current when there is another option? Are there boats in sight, islands to stand upon and gain new insights and perspectives from? Are there places of rest, both within and without, that you have failed to anchor in?

Get set inside the self as to how you desire your life to go from this day forth. Turn inward and confront the fears that keep you floating along but not necessarily flowing. There is a difference; floating implies no action, while flowing implies action and decisiveness.

Do you float through life without firmly being present and self-accepting, or do you flow through life accepting your own powerful abilities to direct, by choice, your direction?

Life is full of possibility. It offers, each day, a new choice, a new direction option. Even in the mundanity of life is there great opportunity to shift the self, even incrementally, if one chooses to be optimistic.

Seek the light upon the water, but be fully aware of the dark depths as well. Have respect for the power and the softness of this metaphor for life, for water cleanses, bathes, and gently touches the skin of babes, yet does it also destroy, cut down and through the strongest of mountains of stone. An essential ingredient to life, it must be protected, guarded, admired, and properly used for life to indeed survive.

Think of your own lives now, My Dears. Do you merely survive, or do you engage in life to the fullest? There are many things to learn from water, the flowing life energy not the least of them. How do you intend to flow with your life this week? What decisions will you make that are energetically in alignment with a new time upon that earth?

Set yourself firmly in your calmly centered self, anchored in your inner knowing, before you set off on your adventures into life—only then will you indeed be able to flow. Know the self well and then will you be set to know what else comes your way. You will know what to do because your alignment will be immediately apparent, your energy linking properly to its only possibility at that moment. That is what you will find if you can indeed flow with your life!

Good luck as the sun enters the picture, rising and setting over the picture of your life. Watch the moonlight as well, for all life is lit from above. Use both sun and moon, light and dark, day and night, inner and outer life aspects to guide you as you seek right alignment.

Most humbly offered.