I just need to say that I’m not now, nor have I ever
been, a ‘Weather Worker’: individuals, usually shamans, who can communicate and
intercede with Weather Beings.
Apparently a solid indicator that one has been called to
that line of work is surviving a direct lightning strike. ( Eliot Cowan, PSM )
Last year I was spending a lot of time walking around in
woods and fields near where I live, and began experiencing the subtle yet
profound sense that everything around me was alive and communicating.
Now I ‘know’ from reading the Science Times that all
manner of plants and critters are communicating, negotiating and fighting with
each-other and their environment ; through sound and visuals and chemicals, but
this felt like something. And
connected to it was a feeling of place – a spirit of place – that that
particular square mile or so that I was stumbling around in had its own
For much of my adult life I’ve worked outside, and when
not doing that, I’d be outdoors taking pictures or painting paintings; so it’s
not surprising that I’d be somewhat sensitized to “nature” ( for want of a
better word ). But up until last year I may have had more of a ‘duality’ thing
going on – me first and foremost looking at ‘nature’ through a frame, seeing
pictures, using it for pictures.
Again, what I was
sensing in my walks seemed different – maybe I’d just gotten weary of carrying
this conceptual frame around in my head - but I’d find myself unselfconsciously
talking to plants and birds and ( the occasional ) deer. It didn’t seem ‘loopy’
; it seemed like the appropriate thing to do.
I always got a big kick out of hearing the first
distinctive ‘ Konk-or-eeeee’ of the Red – Wing Blackbirds arriving back up
North in early Spring ( March 1st on the dot in 2014, about three weeks later
this year ), and was really enjoying them last year. They’re beautiful ( the
males are more striking, like a lot of birds ), they’re territorial as hell –
real bad-asses; I’ve seen them literally beat up birds who’ve wandered into
their territory – and I love how they just announce their presence.
I was talking about them with a guy I was buying a
hand-made ‘stick’ bow from ( the basic bow used by indigenous tribes for
thousands of years – more of the ‘Spirit Of Place’ thing. I have to say I never
got used to it – I’m too used to my Sage recurve ! ) – anyway, he turned me on
to ‘What The Robin Knows’, which is about bird calls and communication. Cool
fact: if you’re quietly walking in a field/woods, and you start hearing
‘chit-chit-chit’ sounds from the birds, that means you’re busted ! Not only is
that bird calling out a warning to its species - all the other species of birds
and even mammalsunderstandthe warning, too !
Sometime after that I happened to hear a ‘Sounds True’
podcast of an interview with Eliot Cowan, who practices Plant Spirit Medicine,
and was later privileged to take part in a healing, conducted by him, that was
part of a teacher training for a new crop ( ha ) of PSM healers.
He underwent a rigorous apprenticeship with a Huichol
Indian shaman – he really has his bona fides – and opened The Blue Deer Center
near Woodstock, NY.
There’s a great section in his book, Plant Spirit
Medicine, where he interviews several indigenous Plant Healers/Shamans. They
talk about what they do, and when asked what he does -“ I contact various plant spirits directly in
order to heal people”-their reactions are great : “ Oh, that’s
good, important work” – they understand it, they’re unsurprised !
Now, I routinely talk to trees and plants. The first
thing – among the little I’ve learned about PSM – is to pay attention to what
plant or tree you seem drawn to : what is callingyour attention? After that, the etiquette is
to introduce yourself – by name – gift the plant or tree with a little sprinkle
of tobacco around its base, and then request whatever help or healing from it
that you think you may need.
The paradox here, according to Cowan, is that where we need
healing is often right in our blind spot, so that’s where a qualified PSM
healer comes in.
Mostly, when I’m communicating with plants or trees
these days, I’m just saying hello, showing respect and expressing gratitude.
Some, like Eliot Cowan, will find themselves seeing and speakingdirectly to a Plant Spirit – his descriptions
of some of his communications are pretty entertaining. Maybe you’re one of
those who get a strong feeling or image – I’ll get the occasional dream ; I’m
mostly content with knowing that I’m at least a little in sync with some basic
ancient knowledge, and honoring it through a little bit of ancient ritual.
And, to his credit, he relates his own sense of Western,
20th century skepticism; “Is this real? Am I making this up?” With
Mr. Cowan, I do get the feeling that he’s in it more to share, than to sell,
which is often super foggy line with psychics or shamans or astrologers.
Speaking of Astrology…
I was a little more sheepish about my attraction to
astrology until I heard an astrologer say ,’ asking if I believe in astrology is like asking if one believes in
art’ ; it’s a beautiful, complicated, esoteric way to look at all the
psychological/enviromental influences, shadings and gradations that make up a
person. Starting (natal chart ) with one individual, one moment( birth ), in one particular place, and connecting
from that point to the edge of our solar system and beyond. And birth charts
just look beautiful – a wheel that
contains our solar system and pinpoints what was happening at our moment of
birth. And all the permutations of the different energies the Sun, Moon and
eight different planets convey ( not to mention additional minor planets and
asteroids ), how they convey those energies ( the twelve different signs ), and
what areas or dimensions of a person’s life they tend to display most strongly within(
the houses ). And throughout one’s life the transiting planets – moving through
different houses and signs –create meaningful aspects to the natal planets.
A good Western astrologer today is less predictive and
more psychological – concerned with revealing tendencies and possibilities
inherent in a chart. I greatly enjoy listening to Eric Francis’ podcasts – he’s
a natural, highly experienced, and entertaining astrologer. One might quibble
with him over many minor points, but right up there with conveying deep
experience with astrology , he loves
what he does and it shows.
There were astrologers before there were
astronomers. Sir Isaac Newton was an astrologer, btw -
love to read about almost anything mystical, shamanistic, religious, weird and
otherworldly. I’ve given myself permission in the past few years to just let
myself go with it – at least in an armchair sort of way – and it’s quite
interesting what I’ve stumbled across and what very unlikely connections
Like what multiple kangaroo (!) sightings in
the Midwest may have to do with quantum physics. Or what Lourdesmight have to do with fairies. Or why, after
many years of investigating ‘aerial phenomena’, astronomer and information
scientist Jacques Valee would say that he’d be disappointed if U.F.O.’s
turned out to be visitors from outer space – as all the evidence accumulated
from thousands of sightings and encounters ( spanning thousands of years ) seems
too strange tobe explained so
As drawn as I am to the esoteric, I believe it and
not-believe it at the same time. I just read something along the lines of,”…
this world ( the spiritual/mystical world ) is insubstantial, but without it
the real world would have no meaning.”
To loosely paraphrase Jacques Valee ( his ‘Dimensions’
is a great book ) ; these myths ( of spirits, angels, fairies or ufo’s ) arise
from people’s direct experience – over the course of thousands of years – and
they shape us, shape what we believe. And ifone says they believe or disbelieve them - it’s a flimsy distinction. On
some level we all ‘believe’ them. Two sides of the same coin.
I can’t help but think of the part in ‘Catch-22’, where
Yossarian is expressing hatred towards God for all the suffering in the world.
His friend the nurse is an atheist, like him. But she bursts into tears and
pleads, ‘Stop! Stop! – The God I don’t believe in is a just God, a kind God – “.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.