Archive for the Initiation 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?

Yo, Lazarus!

Posted in Compassion, Forgiveness, Healing, Initiation on February 12, 2016 by Standing West

Well, after nearly 4 weeks down with what had to be the worst head cold I’ve ever been hit with, I’m finally back on the beam. I’ll be the second to admit I can be a sonofabitch of the first order when I’m under the weather (second, that is, after everyone who knows me!)

Felt pretty damn good to be able to throw some iron around this morning without feeling like Meatloaf after a back-flip.

From what I’ve heard from other people who’ve had this thing, it’s a real beast. Nothing you can do but lay low, whack it with your remedy of choice, and ride it out; which, typically, I’m only good at for about two days before I start acting like a shithouse rat.

The lesson here – for me, anyway – is to learn to become a patient patient; bed down when I need to and let my body take care of itself.

Hope I learn that before I’m wearing six feet of earth as a blanket…

So lately…

Posted in gratitude, Healing, Initiation on August 19, 2015 by Standing West

…life has been very, very good to me. Most particularly so since my day job went tets-up in May and left me free to throw myself completely into my practice. There’s a calling here, and straddling both that and the nine to five world had left me feeling like I was standing on two drifting logs in the middle of a river and needing to leap firmly to one or drown.

Then, with little input from yours truly, Spirit made the decision, and that was that.

Soon afterwards, we set the home office up and two studios jumped in to offer use of their space at a very reasonable rate… In short, the fuse was lit and there was no blowing it out. Nor, to be honest, is there even a desire to.

Money’s a little tighter these days, but the Spiritual abundance is amazing; and Obamacare and savings spackle the cracks.

I’ll also add that entirely absent from the equation is a sense of worry about the future which, given the way things were, would’ve absolutely crippled me had these circumstances arisen a couple of years ago.

As I sit here typing this in my office at 11:24 on a Wednesday morning listening to Van Morrison, the joy of that fact is not lost on me. My wife has taken her mother out for the day and soon I’ll be up to my armpits in paperwork…my paperwork. There’s filing to do and preparations to make for a 7 o’clock appointment. Should time permit, I might even go a couple of rounds with the crab grass…or throw myself into a video game and chill out for a while until my wife comes home.

It seems these days the possibilities are endless…

Posted in Healing, Initiation, Inspirational, Spirituality on August 12, 2015 by Standing West

As we wrapped up the Medicine Wheel the other night, people started thanking me.  Rolling through my mind came the question, “What have I done?”

Without hesitation, in words clear as day came the simple answer, “You said ‘Yes’…”

Pruning the garden…

Posted in gardening, Healing, Initiation, prayer, Sun Moon Dance, yard work on July 7, 2015 by Standing West

There’s been a lot of new growth around here these last few weeks.

The two timid strawberry plants I stuck in the ground a couple of years ago have exploded into a patch that yielded us 6 gallons of berries by the end of this year’s harvest. A multitude of tomatoes and peppers hangs fat and lazy in the early morning sun, and spaghetti squash – an unexpected discovery rescued from the rotary composter – proudly distend their mottled bellies among the dandelions and the  ghosts of last year’s onions.

The new herb bed out front is bursting with life, secure behind sturdy walls lined with Marigolds unfurling their orange and yellow banners defiantly against the ever-present threat of hungry rabbits.

And although we’ve certainly been blessed with abundance, our space here is limited. The success of our harvest is due in no small part to ruthless and diligent pruning.

I see the recent changes in our lives reflected in the garden. May 21st marked my last full day of 9 – 5. My position was phased out and so I left a job I’d held for nearly ten years. I’d sensed for some time that it was coming; not only from the slowing down of work, but also from the subtle – and not so subtle – nudging of Creator to plant my feet firmly upon the spiritual path, tend to my own self-healing, and simply let the rest take care of itself.

For the last two or three years I’ve been praying almost ceaselessly for the removal of anything that might interfere with this journey. During that time, friends have gone their way, habits and hobbies have waned or disappeared, and interests once deemed vital have completely flickered out.

In the space that has opened up, two new studios have generously offered to accommodate an increasing number of appointments; and my wife and I have finally finished converting our downstairs family room into a home office. During this time, we’ve had ample opportunities to focus on our own healing work; and also to pursue our work with others in ways we’d never imagined.

As we enter the arbor in two days for the Sun Moon Dance, I’m keenly aware that as it’s my 7th time, I’ll be dancing in the West of the South: the place of sacred work in the direction of emotion, opposition, and the dying away of things which no longer serve. Admittedly, I enter the arbor this time with no small trepidation – even writing about it now stirs some tension in my solar plexus, and reminds me that the years that have passed since I first picked up the drum have led me to this place.

And while I feel the symptoms of deep and difficult work approaching, I’m no longer focused on the outcome.

I seek only to walk, and to work, and to serve; to prune away the dead and dying branches, that Spirit’s light might reach and nourish the rest…

Tuesday…

Posted in Compassion, Healing, Initiation, Inspirational, poetry, Spirituality on April 7, 2015 by Standing West

And so it is:
golds and browns
giving way to sleepy greens
and grays tinged with blue.

On days like this
even the rain is meditation.

We’re called to these things.

And as we rise to meet them,
they become us;
or rather,
they fold us into themselves,
so that after a while one fails to notice
the difference
between the service
and the one who serves…

Someone gimme a stone…

Posted in ceremony, Healing, Initiation, prayer, sweat lodge, visions on January 7, 2015 by Standing West

I’ve found myself being called upon to welcome the Stone People into the sweat lodge on a regular basis lately. As is typical when undertaking a ritual, one must be aware of both the practical or exoteric component, and the deeper or esoteric component that empowers the physical container with the Sacred, enabling it to become a vessel for the breath of God.

The Grandfathers leave the fire cherry red; the images on their skin whispering stories in the dark for those who will open themselves and listen. We receive the Stones from the pitchfork into a basket formed by interlocking the tines of White Tail antlers. Then they are placed into the pit to receive their blessing of herbs and the water which, in the form of steam, will carry our prayers to the Great Spirit for the good of All Our Relations.

On a practical level, the antlers are sturdy, resistant to heat, and fit together securely, keeping the Stones from rolling away and burning someone. They also provide better control over where the Stones are placed in the pit.

Symbolically the antlers represent gentleness. The fire from which the Stones are taken is a violent, masculine environment. Rather than bathing the participants in this emotionally aggressive energy, the Grandfathers are cradled in a softer, feminine energy before being brought into the lodge. Focusing on this, one transcends the self and becomes the instrument through which the process unfolds.

The last time I was asked however, a deeper level of awareness opened up. As we move through our lives, or rather, as our lives unfold through us, we will encounter difficult situations which will test us in every conceivable – and perhaps not so conceivable – way. We can meet these challenges carelessly, injuring ourselves and others in the process; or we can open up to them and receive them with gentility and grace, allowing their energy to serve, through our interaction with it, as a lesson for All Our Relations. . .

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