I mean no disrespect to shamanic practitioners, but I have just become aware of how unproductive, and maybe spiritually vulnerable, that attempted practice has been for me. Yesterday, I stood at my alter, before an overwhelming clutter of totems of various animals that have played a significant role in my life, many totems of some of them, and felt a cacophony of guilt in my head for not being more disciplined about staying in connection with each of them, as is supposedly my responsibility if I want to accept their gifts. But I have failed in that responsibility again and again.
And I had tremendous guilt about not acknowledging Yeshua more, whom I consider my spiritual leader, my tribal chief – but I hate the images of him painted in our culture by obnoxious evangelists and corrupt doctrine-writers, so unlike my image of him as the counter-culture, anti-materialist, love and peace prophet. And since the foundation of my programming was done in churches with all that other religious iconography and his “name” – JEEZ-suz – being used (American South rendering of the Greek translation of his Hebrew name). (And I’ll save for later the story of how a “Christian” church helped my abusive husband take my kids from me for two years.) So my picture of Yeshua has him in a lotus pose, in saffron robes, flowers in a necklace, surrounded by lotus flowers, his heart open, wounded and shining, a crown of thorns on his head, a halo, a hand sign of peace, a gesture to the heart, and a look of calm sincerity. (It came from a magazine cover, and I’ll appreciate if anyone can help me with the source – I’d like to credit it and the artist.)
So yesterday, I stood before my altar, hands at prayer pose, namaste, feeling very real with him, confused about who I am and how I’m doing, a racket of other voices – or my imagination of them – telling me I’m a bad shamanic practitioner and I can’t keep up any discipline. Suddenly, I realized I didn’t have to. Yes, I’d really believed I was strong enough to accept the shamanic initiation invitation, and I’d told myself, “Once the doors are opened, you can’t shut them” – and that’s true – but I had assumed that that meant I had to use those shamanic practices to keep my bearings in that world. Suddenly I realized that, even though I was invited, and that means the doors have been opened, I don’t have to play by their rules, i.e., shamanism. Yes, I’ve had many amazing, sublime shamanic experiences, but I don’t feel the need to sit in counsel with animal spirits. I believe the animal spirits, trees spirits, insect spirits, and all the elementals and devas and intelligences of every sort in this Ocean of Spirit can come to my aid, and they will when called, but I will take my counsel in prayer with Yeshua. And I realized all those totems were way to much visual noise. I kept a few things to remind me of special events, but those very few are scattered now around the house. My eagle feather hangs in a tree, where it probably likes it better. And Yeshua is uncrowded in the center of my wall.
Oh, my Lord, I can’t tell you what an energy rush that was to remove everything!! Once I began, it was like an avalanche: many, many items now sit out in the sunroom awaiting separation into piles of gifts, piles of things to throw away, and things to sell. (I’m not assuming these things are wrong for someone else, and thereby am recycling them for someone else’s life lessons.) The clearing in here is palpable!
Last night, we talked about some things I’d thought we’d never be able to face, but we did. We hardly slept last night, both racked to our souls, and today we both feel clean and clear and dedicated to love and creative living. What a relief!
At one point I sobbed, “I feel like I’ve been in a balloon, tossed around in a harrowing storm for 21 years, and I just touched ground safely.
Another image appeared of an abscess lanced, gaping open, being flushed out. Relief.
its very cool you bear the Eisenhower surname for real not like some others. You strike me as a very intelligent person so you must of inherited the Ike brains.
Yes, I was born Jean Ann Eisenhower. The ex-President was my paternal grandfather’s second cousin.
Since it was my own spiritual practice, I’ve never made that a big deal, and I wasn’t consistent, so didn’t think I always deserved to call myself that. Also, the whole idea has been muddied with cultural baggage and even a certain amount of “coolness” in some places, so I avoided talking about it – until recently. For a couple weeks, I put it on my “About” pages, right up top – probably helped me realize it was time to commit to it or not.
Doesn’t it! Thanks always, Robert ~
“Yeshiva” feels so right. I have seen this immage somewhere recently. If I find its source I’ll let you know.
Thank you for sharing beautiful Jean! Much love, Pamela
Thank you, Pamela. “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” Love to you, Jean