Archive for the Autumn Category

And so…

Posted in Autumn, dreams, Forgiveness, Healing, Initiation, Medicine Wheel, poetry on November 9, 2016 by Standing West

We get the government we deserve…

It is decades of greed, arrogance, fear mongering, laziness, stubbornness, bigotry, Jingoism,unbridled Nationalism, and our refusal to play a larger role in our own governance that have led us to this place.

And now that we’re here, what will we do? Will we, as a people hunker down and learn the hard lessons? Will we wake up? Become more politically involved? Learn the power of protest? Change the system that spawned this entire affair? Will we look deeply into the soul of this country and pray for the courage to admit and accept the sickness there? Will we do whatever is necessary to bring about its healing?

Or will we continue on same as before: asses glued to couches and bar stools; bitching about how “the system is rigged” and how “we can’t change anything…”

All the while ignoring the fact that WE are the ones who’ve allowed this to happen.

And yet a soft rain falls. Grackles and starlings peck the earth for a last few seeds before the first snows come. The rain feeds us. Washes away the dust of what came before. It brings life, and assures us green…in time.

We stand in the place of work and responsibility. The time of gathering in what we have sewn.  Soon we will eat of it; letting it carry us through the long dark of winter.

We’ll sleep in our thoughts and plan for spring.

But what will we do when the snow melts and the rivers flow again?

Checking In…

Posted in Autumn, gratitude, Healing, Shamanism, Spirituality on October 2, 2015 by Standing West

The rains have gotten colder. The tomatoes are putting out the last of their fruit, but the mums are having hell of a good time for themselves. Even though we’re busier than we have been for quite some time, the hours and minutes don’t seem to carry as much weight as they used to.

I spent the morning painting miniatures and listening to the rain come down…a nice reward after a week of appointments and last night’s talk on shamanism at a local studio.

Tonight my wife and I will be catching up with some friends we haven’t seen for many months. And tomorrow afternoon we’re off to lunch with a dear friend who’s visiting from Ireland. She’s an amazing harpist and a powerful healer. We’ve worked together a couple of times, combining the harp and the frame drum; but tomorrow it’s bar food, a couple of pints, and some well-anticipated laughter.

I’ll round out the weekend with a day of teaching for a couple of advanced students on Sunday.

I like this life.

In between the healing and the ceremonial work, there’s time for a home life and all the things that go with it. We’re learning to live on faith these days, and allowing the path to shape us – instead of the other way around. Bits and pieces fall away; opening space for new things.

We head into Autumn not really knowing what it’ll bring. More and more our focus is on the present. It’s been a struggle to get to this place. And while there’s still a good deal of work to be done, it’s also good to take stock of how far we’ve come and to sit with that for a while, breathing it in…breathing it out…simply letting the current carry us forward…


Posted in Autumn, Healing, Initiation, Medicine Wheel, Shamanism, Spirituality on October 28, 2013 by Standing West

The circles are growing smaller these days.

Autumn with its darker mysteries brings a need for slowing down.  Even the blood seems to thicken as Grandfather Short Tail prepares himself for the slow, purposeful crawl into darkness where, through dream journeys and quiet solitary work, he’ll shed the bulk he’s gathered and step forward once again into the light of a new day after the initiation of his healing.

We, too, sometimes, must lose the things we’ve gathered:  emotional ties sustained for naught but reasons of perceived security;  the burdens of friendships that no longer serve, or drag us back to places left behind;  old habits crumpled up and tossed in a pile like clothing that no longer fits, but kept because of the comfort it provides.

Autumn is a time of difficult questions, and often, more difficult answers.

The ground, much like our own life path, is strewn with dead and dying reminders of greener times cast off.  Sometimes we are saddened by this; and yet we might take comfort in the knowing that this casting away of dying things not only nourishes the roots of our existence, but opens space for a new and deeper greening once the snows of winter have subsided.

It is our clinging to these things that holds us back; our fear of leaving the closeness of our cave to gaze in childlike wonder upon the light of new and stranger visions.

Perhaps we tell ourselves that we’re too old. Or else we fear the lack of financial stability.  While our years have taught us to weigh our responsibilities, our culture has taught us to bind our feet with them.  And so we stumble from one extreme to the other, and this stumbling invariably becomes our initiation.

We might lose faith and walk away from it all, or bury ourselves in the security of the material.  We might become short-sighted, and convince ourselves that it isn’t worth the effort.   Or perhaps we’ll simply offer it up, and soldier through for the good of All Our Relations – placing ourselves in the hands of the Creator, and fervently allowing things to be as they are.

My own path has provided no easy answers.  Old attachments still get the better of me.  In this, I’m reminded of the child still learning to walk whose bruises tell of many misadventures, and also of once more rising to his feet – walking is, after all, a series of interrupted falls.

The nights grow longer.  A brisk wind shakes clean the stiffening branches.  And in the gathering shadows, a lumbering Old Man of the Forest takes stock of his provisions in preparation for the sacred work ahead. . .

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