Coyote Face

How I learned I was a "Lonely Coyote" :)

(cross-posted from )

The lessons from Sacred Space Conference continue to percolate in my head, but this morning, I wanted to write about the name given to me out of pure inspiration (or perhaps remembered? <-- Coyote winks), Lonely Coyote.

One of the few classes that I attended included a Past Life Regression workshop, given by a dear friend, Elmdea Bean (the last experience I had with past life regressions involved a group of friends from Ohio State's Pagan Student Association, and although I enjoyed the experience, I have forgotten just about everything I was trying to learn!).

There were many of us that arrived for this class, and my inner "Hermione Granger" was very appreciative of the folders with notes, blank papers, and business cards! With all of the Journey Work that I do in shamanism, I figured it would be really easy and simple to just lay back, relax, and float towards different periods in my life. Ha ha ha-- I was wrong! I kept trying to rebel against the format that she provided, and I had to wrestle with my Coyote-nature and allow myself to be led along by her voice.

Elmdea has structured her Guided Meditations perfectly; each word resonated deeply in my brain, and opened the pathways inside my Soul at a very deep level. I noted that she combined aspects of progressive muscle relaxation, as well as certain verbal triggers that allowed all who participated in the group to feel safe, secure, and blessed by the experience. I also appreciated the specific cues that allowed us to remember our Journeys, so that we could process the information in the next few months.

Because I had lots of different ideas of where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to learn about myself, I found that it took a very focused amount of concentration in order to release my preconceptions, and allow the Journey to grow organically. As a shaman, I am very adept at working with my Spirits on the issues brought to me by clients (sometimes working very quickly in group healings!). But as this was a healing Journey of information for me, I needed a bit of extra Grounding & Centering. Eventually, Coyote popped in, laughed at my attempts to not "race ahead of the meditation" , and said "You are all  over the place! Come, I'm gonna take you to the first time we met."

I remember stepping out of a creekbed, after washing up, and that I was barefoot and naked underneath a brown shift-dress. I was a young girl, slim but not very strong (but I was fast!), perhaps in my pre-teen years. I had long, silky black hair, and I could actually feel its texture as I ran my fingers through it. I felt myself walking along dirty, grassy paths from the creekbed towards a small central area with a long community table. It was warm, with a bit of a wet chill on the air (spring?). I remember sitting down at the table, with other children my age, and laughing while eating food (some sort of corn mush? It tasted delicious). Emotionally, I felt a sense of belonging, of community, and of love within a family/tribe. I heard someone call my name, "Esa" or "Esat" (hmm, will have to research that later).

The Journey then switched to my first significant event in that life: a Shamanic Challenge. I remember being alone, in the woods, in a clearing on top of a small hill. It was dark (middle of the night?), and I was being torn apart by wild animals. In shamanism, it is called "Dismemberment", and I remember that my arms and legs were being torn off my body by a Wolf, a Bear, and a Coyote (and possibly another animal, but I couldn't see it). It was incredibly terrifying, and very realistic. I could feel my flesh tear, my throat scream, and the tears run down my face. In fact, I can remember the body-memories as I type this! Finally, I realized that I was not dead, and that I had survived, and heard Coyote howl as he slowly walked on all fours up to me. I was sitting on a blanket, hugging my knees to my chest, and he sat on his haunches next to me. We both stared at the full moon rising over the horizon, and then I very suddenly plunged my hand into Coyote's chest, and took out his bleeding, pumping, glorious heart. At that moment, when he chose me and I chose him, we became joined, and apart from my community.

(I remember feeling quite ecstatic after Coyote showed me this, and sweaty, too. But the memory resonated so deeply in me, that I knew it to be true.)

As Elmdea guided our class into different significant events, I noted that I was always alone. I lived alone at the edge of the community/tribe, I gave birth to a son alone (no husband, no father to care for him, and the son left me soon after he reached the age of manhood), and I died alone. The themes of loneliness, of being apart, of being misunderstood and perhaps feared by my community, and of being separate from others was a part of my soul's Journey, and there are specific lessons and energies that go along with the name, "Lonely Coyote".

Of course, I've barely scratched the surface of my Soul's journey, and this workshop has helped me to understand some of my personality quirks and preferences (i.e., "hiding in my den" when I'm overwhelmed, desperately needing alone-time to process spiritual messages, etc.). I look forward to learning more of my work in this life, and continuing my own Soul's healing journey.

  • Current Mood: Ecstatic
Coyote Face

Sacred Space Conference: a Review of Coyote's influence!

(cross-posted from )

This past Sacred Space Conference was a complicated jumble of spiritual headspace and social headspace.

Usually, at most pagan workshops/gatherings, I attend each class I can, trying to stuff as much information into my brain as possible (before I have to rejoin the regular world). I find that each conference has a "theme" that is apropos to my life at that moment... This year's theme seemed to be "understanding the 'Lonely' in 'Lonely Coyote'!"

I found that I had very little socialization with others, and seemed to prefer small snippets of interaction, combined with lots of rest and reflection.

I was blessed to be the Travel Hostess to one of the featured presenters, Christopher Penczak, and found him to be a wonderfully grounded and compassionate Soul! Of course, my Kojote car began playing tricks on us as soon as we left the airport (Kojote = "coyote" in German)... I kept getting turned around in DC, not trusting my GPS, and generally being embarrassed as to the silly driving shenanigans (Christopher was a very good sport).

Once we finally arrived at the hotel, we were able to join the Opening Ritual. I found this ritual to be very powerful and compelling, in large part due to the excellent ritual skills of Gwendolyn Reese and Michael Smith. The Patrons of the conference were Athena and Thoth, and were asked to watch over and protect the attendees, presenters, and all those traveling to the conference.

Most of the time, I am able to "plug in" to the egregore of a pagan gathering, but I found that I still couldn't shake off the workweek. I went upstairs to my hotel room and tried to Ground, Center myself, and relax away the tension. Sadly, my mind was racing too fast, and didn't attend any other workshops until late that night.

Thursday evening, I attended the Oracular Seidh ritual, run by Diana Paxson, Laurel Mendes, and students. I always enjoy attending this ritual, as it is a powerful combination of Pathworking, group/community healing, and seeking information from the gods. The previous year, Laurel worked with the spirit of a beloved family ancestor (recently passed), which brought me so much healing and closure. During the ritual this year, I spoke with Diana as oracle, and received some needed guidance for my own pagan/shamanic path.

On Friday, I stayed in my room almost the entire day. Part of it was due to procrastination regarding my own presentation, and part of it was my own inability to fully let go of my own shadow issues in my head (working with mentally ill clients, difficult interpersonal relationships, Saturn in Scorpio (my own issues of Power, Sex, and Death), etc.). As a true coyote, I stayed in my "den" until my self-healing and knowledge was done (or at least more balanced)!

I prepared myself for the highlight of the conference, the Conjure Dance. Caroline has helped to enlarge this phenomenon, as well as UToS, and it is simply incredible. All gods, goddesses, spirits, ancestors, Kindred, etc. are honored with either a statue, a plaque, or a section of a GIGANTIC altar that covers over 5 tables. Music is played while everyone in attendance honors the Spirits that they know, love, or heard about (friend of a friend!) with drink, candies, and peeps (chicken sacrifices)! The dancing gets rather ecstatic, and different Spirits are invited to party, and they join as They See Fit (sometimes with funny synchronicities, sometimes will possessions). Coyote was put in the Dog House, as he broke my jewelry last year, but I think He really enjoyed being last on the list. We danced together, and encouraged everyone to howl with laughter, joy, and energy, and nothing beats the image of Diana dancing with my Coyote pelt, shaking her tail!

After the Conjure Dance, Coyote was Everywhere. He sneakily got people to howl during my presentation on Mental Illness and Spiritual Experience (will discuss in upcoming blog post). He intrigued attendees who had no idea who He was (they will soon). He reminded people of his Awesomeness (those who had forgotten how to work with him). He rekindled relationships with those who missed him. And He began new friendships with those who fell in love with his humor, his eyes full of the star-field, and his Sexy Tail.

I enjoyed watching his influence in different parts of the conference, and giggled at the Joy he inspired. However, his greatest lesson for me involved the first meeting of our Souls (will discuss in another upcoming blog post).

During the evening on Saturday, I found that I had a difficult time socializing with other attendees. I couldn't make sense when talking, I had a hard time keeping track of my thoughts, and I felt I was still not "plugged in" to Sacred Space as a whole. It was not due to any one thing, but I was in such a certain type of headspace, that I felt most comfortable being alone, being outside, and floating on the outskirts of the Party. Eventually, I made my way to the Trance Possession ritual down the hall, and felt much more comfortable in my skin.

Finally, it hit me: I talk to lots of different spirits in my head during Shamanic Healing appointments, and so sometimes, they talk with me in regular, everyday life. I have a hard time explaining what that is like, and sometimes I can't translate what is in my head into English for others (I have many moments like that, and felt a bit embarrassed trying to explain it eloquently). So, when I'm feeling that type of energy, it's just easier hanging out with those same Spirits during celebratory rituals! Once I realized that, the last of my social awkwardness melted away, and I was able to better balance my social-time with my alone-time.

Sunday morning arrived very quickly, and very painfully. The clocks had jumped forward an hour, and I had lost much-need sleep! But, I asked the gods for strength, and was able to facilitate a really powerful, educational, long (~3 hours!) and joyful Shamanic Healing Ceremony. I was incredibly grateful for my dear friend Xtian (Rune), who taught me a lot about his own healing methods, and we worked together to facilitate healing for all who attended.

After that, I was pretty wiped. I returned Christopher Penczak to the airport, and really loved hearing about his own Sacred Space experience. Of course, the Kojote car had a few final tricks (who drives all the way around DC's baseball field for NO REASON?!), but we safely made it on time.

I have many more blog entries to come, as I try to reflect on the very specific and profound lessons of this conference-- stay tuned!
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Coyote Face

A story of how Coyote tricked the Moon

(grr, can't remember how to make a Cut-- sorry if this overloads your Friend's Page...)

cross-posted from

            In the ancient past, when earth and spirit were one, the moon was always full. Luna, for that is what she called herself then, would keep her face fully turned towards the earth because she enjoyed watching Brother Wolf and his pack hunting at night. His pack’s hunting skills always amazed her, and she enjoyed the new tactics they came up with to hunt their prey. Wolf knew that she watched and blessed them with her full face each night, so at the end of each hunt they would leave an offering for her, as she sunk past the horizon each night.
Some nights the hunt was harder than others, as if the prey seemed to stay one step of them. What he did not know was that Younger Brother Coyote, the Trickster, would hide in the shadows that Luna’s light provided and warn the prey of the pack’s arrival. He would sneak ahead and tell them from which direction the hunters were coming, and which areas were safe. Luna enjoyed watching this game from the sky above, though she only caught glimpses of Coyote in her light between the shadows. One night, she saw that Wolf’s pack was going to pass very close to a shadow in which Coyote hid. So she altered her path just a tiny bit, so that her light shined on a small bit of his tail. Coyote was so intent on the night’s mischief that he failed to notice the light on his tail--but the pack did not miss it. Wolf sent his pack to chase Coyote away from their hunting grounds; now he understood the cleverness of the prey.
Luna was truly entertained!
Each night after, Wolf split his pack in half--to hunt dinner, and to keep a watchful eye on Coyote. Coyote worked hard to avoid his Wolf cousins, and continued to manipulate and trick the hunters every night. Luna’s delighted laughter did not escape Coyote’s large ears… that night a mighty Trick was being born.
At the end of the next day, before Luna rose in the sky, Coyote hid behind a large stone so that her light would not see him. He knew that she could not see into the shadows as he could, with his sharp eyes. That night he used every trick he knew; not to disrupt the Wolf pack’s hunt, or even to hunt his own dinner-- the moon was his prey that night. He tracked Luna for hours and saw, for the first time, the offering Wolf laid out for her.
The hunt had been very good for the wolves, for they did not have to chase Coyote while hunting, and so the pack feasted on deer. For Luna, they offered the eyes of all the deer, so that she may look through them and witness the hunt from the deer’s point of view. Coyote appeared pensive as he looked at the eyes, and his Trick began to take form in his mind.
He waited for Luna to take the offering, and as she descended towards the horizon to accept the offering, he followed her further.
He followed her past the horizon and into the Celestial realm of Spirit, for in those days you could cross the boundary as easily as putting one foot in front of the other. He watched as she deposited the offering in her Altar Room, near the other offerings that Wolf and his pack had given her. He followed her still, always staying in her shadow, as she spoke to the Spirits of the Planets. She spoke to them of Wolf and his pack, how their hunting prowess amazed her, and how she delighted as they hunted within her light. Luna then fell asleep, resting for that night’s trip across the sky. Coyote watched her. When she woke and prepared to leave for the horizon, he waited for her at the entrance to the moon’s pathway.
Startled, she asked, “Younger Brother Coyote, is there a problem? Why do you wait for me at the horizon?”
He kneaded his tail; “I have come to give you a gift, Big Sister. Many nights I have seen the wolves leave an offering for you, and I realize that I have never left you one myself”. She saw his eyes begin to shine with tears, and bent down to place both hands under his jaw. “To leave an offering is not your way, I do not blame you--” “But still,” Coyote interrupted, “I wish to give you a gift, for I have played in the shadows you create during the night.”
As soon as the sentence left his lips, he plucked out his eyes and offered them to her. With a grin, he said, “Please take my eyes for the night--with them, you’ll be able to see into the shadows your Light creates.” Luna was stunned; “Oh Coyote, that is a mighty gift! But how would I be able to see my moon’s pathways if I am wearing your eyes? Only my eyes can see the paths…” She saw disappointment on his face, though his eyes were still in his outstretched paws.
Coyote turned his eyes around and around in his paws, thinking of how to solve this obstacle. Suddenly, he jumped up on his hind legs and exclaimed, “Sister, I have it! How about you take my eyes for tonight, and I’ll take yours. This way, I can walk your paths while you hold my tail and we will travel across the sky together!” Luna began to feel apprehensive, for she knew Coyote was a great trickster, and she did not want to be played a fool this night.
“Coyote, my tricksy brother, your cunning is known around the earth and even here in the celestial realms. How do I know you are not planning on tricking me this night?”
“Luna, I only wish to give you a gift.” He stood up as straight as he could, looking at Luna with sincerity; “If it would put your mind at ease, then let me say this; I promise on my eyes that I will not trick you this night.” Luna saw the earnestness in his eyes (still on his paws) and made her decision. She plucked out her eyes and handed them to Coyote while scooping his eyes up and put them in her sockets. At that moment she looked around and did not see the stars and planets as the friends she knew, but as the beautiful and awesome display for the creatures of the earth. She saw her great shining grey eyes in the sockets of Coyote, and laughed in delight at the sight of him.
Coyote lifted his tail, allowing her to grip tightly, and slowly followed her pathways across the sky. Coyote led her faithfully, and noticed that as he walked along the path, it seemed to disappear from view for a moment, but recreate itself behind him. In this knowledge he knew his scheme would work, but tonight he enjoyed just leading Luna across the sky. Luna for her part was thoroughly enjoying the experience. She could see into the shadows as if they were not there, and she could see the fear in the prey as it ran from the wolves. When the pack brought down the beast she could not contain her excitement anymore and laughed with glee across the night, “Yip. Yip. Yipeeeeeee!” Wolf looked up at Luna with confusion for he had never heard her make that sound before, and then looked at the woods around him in suspicion; this was the second night in a row that Coyote had not been spotted.
When they reached the horizon and crossed through into the Celestial realm, they returned their eyes to each other. Luna picked up Coyote in a great embrace, “Thank you so much! That was the greatest time I have ever had, that was a mighty gift!” They parted ways and Luna raced to tell the other Planets of her adventures that night. Coyote returned to his den to sleep, for he had not slept in two days and needed to be rested to trick the wolves this coming night.
The normal patterns of life continued throughout the weeks and months that followed. Wolf and his pack would split in order to hunt at night, and keep Coyote away from the prey, while Luna watched their games from her paths in the sky. But soon Luna began to miss the adventure she and Coyote shared, and she asked him one night as she was about pass below the horizon:
“Coyote, it has been awhile since we shared time together, and I do miss the excitement of that night. Would you lead me across the sky again this coming night?”
Coyote yipped in excitement, “It would be my pleasure to meet you at the horizon! So we can dance together across the sky!”
That coming night they met at the horizon and once more traded eyes. Luna grabbed onto Coyote’s tail and was immediately guided across the sky. Again she was amazed by what she saw, heard, and smelled in the forest below…which is why she did not notice how Coyote was changing her path. He erased her old path with his footsteps, and began to lead her in slow spirals across the sky. Because she now wore his eyes (eyes that could see into the shadows as if they were lit), she did not notice the change. Coyote was leading her in great spirals, and her light did not always shine fully towards the earth.
Luna thanked him, as they dipped below the horizon and exchanged eyes. Both slept during the day, eagerly dreaming of the next night’s entertainment.
As Luna stepped across the threshold at the horizon, she stepped onto her paths and came to an abrupt stop. She saw what Coyote had done, and began to despair. Finally, she loosed a long howl of grief and frustration, because she did not remember the lines of her pathways. When Coyote heard her, he smiled and began to mimic her previous laughter; “Yip. Yip. Yipeeeee”, so that all who heard it knew it was He that Tricked Luna. Wolf howled with her, to help her mourn her loss, and understood that Luna’s light would now be ever-changing.
(c) David Tyrsson, Spring 2011  (do not take without crediting/permission)
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  • Current Music: dishwasher rumblings
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Dreams of Changing Woman

I woke up this morning, with the taste of my dream still on my lips. Although I have a journal next to my bed, I was way too out of it to try and write anything, or even sit up. So I grabbed my phone and typed this into my Blogger App:

I was traveling in a car with friends, and we were to pick someone up from an arts & crafts workshop. I walked into the living room of a house, and it immediately expanded into a longhouse in the Desert. There were many people walking around, completing tasks for the general community (washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning, etc.), and there were animals all through the house. They were both working and playing with the community members, and they included foxes, wolves, etc. I got the distinct impression the Coyote was there too, but as a man, and outside of my view...

I kept bumping into things, dropping things, and generally being a nuisance as I tried to figure out what was going on, where I was, and what I was supposed to do.

Finally, I saw a gorgeous woman in jeans and a white T shirt, with long silky black hair. She was battering chicken wings with spices, and then frying them. I began helping her, and we made small talk. I didn't mess anything up as I helped her prepare food, and she smiled. She asked after my diet, stating, "we don't have anything that's fully gluten free-- can you still eat carbs?" I gave a confused "yes" and we continued preparing fried chicken with hot sauces & spices. She introduced herself as Estsanatlehi, and then I woke up.

by Robert Paterson,

 What was really interesting about this dream, was that this Goddess gave me her name (it was longer in my dream), and I actually remembered part of it! I heard her say, Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé de lsdfhsldsngksdiesbr (yep, my brain gets screwy upon waking), and spent the next hour going through my goddess books and indexes in order to find her. She is known better as Changing Woman, and I am eager to discover her lessons for my life.

Going back through the emotions I felt during my dream, I think it was helping me to assess my purpose for my Community. I have almost reached a year since I have graduated from Shamanism School, and I have been all over the place, trying to figure out how I fit in, what the Universe has in store for me, and what I want to do with myself.

Of course, it's a very Coyote place to be-- weaving in and out and sometime making a fool (i.e., bumping into stuff) and sometimes being very helpful!

But as I think about the nature of chicken wings (<-- Coyote says they make good offerings!), I think that they represent Nourishment, Healing, Joy, Family, Comfort, and Love. I think that I am supposed to keep those High Ideals (and delicious, mouthwatering taste!) as I work for the Mental Health Community, and the greater Community of Maryland. I am to seamlessly intermingle both Shamanic elements and Mental Health elements into everything I do (at my regular job, my Shamanic job, and my interactions with everyday life).

Now that may sound pretty obvious to many of you who read this blog, but as my subtitle states, sometimes I need Spiritual Two-By-Fours!

How do you weave together the Spiritual and the Mundane?
Coyote Face

Sacred Space Conference Teaser!

(cross-posted from )

One of the things that I absolutely love about Paganism is that it is very inclusive. There is great importance placed on the experience of the Divine by the individual (which is why there are an infinite number of religious practices underneath the umbrella of "paganism"). There are many open groups that allow anyone to visit/join, no matter where s/he is on his/her spiritual journey.

Because of this inclusiveness, many individuals who may not fit into mainstream religions find a place of community. Additionally, many individuals who many not fit into mainstream society (i.e., mentally ill, physically handicapped, differing sexual preferences, different races/ethnicities, Coyotes, etc.) are also welcomed into the Pagan Community. All are encouraged to develop his/her own experience with the Divine, and all are given the benefit of the doubt that what s/he is experiencing, is Real.

But how can you tell the difference between a real Spiritual Experience and Something Else? How can you help someone evaluate his/her own experiences? How do we increase Faith? What if s/he is making it up in order to victimize others? What if s/he feels like the victim of some malignant force, but it is a symptom of mental illness?

These questions, and others, are the focus of my next Conference Lecture at Sacred Space:

Boundary Issues: Recognizing the Difference between Spiritual Experience and Mental Illness: When working with others in Ritual, Healing Ceremonies, or other Magical Workings, it is difficult to maintain one’s own boundaries, both personal and mental. Some symptoms of mental illness can easily overlap with Psychic Phenomena, and without training, it can be stressful trying to figure out the difference between the two. This class will give a very general overview of Axis I/II symptomology, and how “”Boundary Intrusions”" may be dealt with in a supportive and ethical manner. Additionally, guidelines will be given on how to refer someone to mental health services.
--Monika Lonely Coyote
Please join me as we discuss this tricky and confusing subject, and attempt to develop guidelines and a supportive philosophy for assisting individuals with their own Spiritual Experiences!
Coyote Face

The removal of emotional pain

(cross-posted from )

In writing a new client, I was asked about my specific shamanic skillset and training.

In my head, I giggled, because I pictured all of my fellow graduates in Avengers/Power Animals costumes! <--Coyote appreciates the hilarity.

Shamanic healers are trained to facilitate spiritual healing in a variety of ways. We can reduce pain, speed physical healing, assist with pregnancy issues, reduce symptoms of disease, etc. We can bring messages to loved ones, and receive ones for our clients. We can work with a variety of Spirits, especially those of the Land/home, and help settle the relationships between a family and their House. We bless and honor the community with which we work, and help facilitate important growth periods (and death periods). And we can call you on your bullshit, if you lie to yourself about who you are or what you do.

Each person I graduated with has exceptional skills in different areas above, and I love coming to them for my own healing.

But I am well-trained in spotting bullshit :)

My Spirits and I work together to remove emotional pain, and the emotional causes of physical pain.

In my belief-system, I understand pain, disease, and disorder to come from three different "bodies:"

My drawings are awesome.
  • The part of an organism* that can be related to Soul, Anima/Animus, Divine, etc. It resonates at a high vibration and frequency, and can be thrown out of "alignment" with thoughts, emotions, lack of spirituality, curses, etc.  This is the part of the organism that extends outwards from the physical body the farthest, and I use singing to try and bring everything back into balance. This is where disease starts (and if not treated spiritually, it can manifest emotionally and physically).
  • The part of the organism that is energetically powered by the mind and the heart. The human mind is especially powerful in causing physical disease through emotional states (similar to psychosomatic illnesses and causes). One of the most difficult symptoms of self-induced illness centers around Ruminating Thoughts, and our culture's lack of ability to Let Things Go in order to fully relax. If emotions start to take over, without proper coping skills or "venting" skills, then it can very quickly manifest into physical disease (and some even believe cancer).
  • Many Addictions begin with disease and disorder in this Emotional Body. Emotions become too painful, and are not evaluated/integrated, and so a substance is used to numb out the pain.
  • Sometimes, food allergies, pregnancy issues, and memory problems begin in this Emotional Body, and manifest physically.
  • This is the origin of Bullshit-- all the lies that we tell ourselves (and others) begin in this Body, because of difficult emotions.
  • he part of the organism most easily seen in regular, every day life. Numerous accidents, bumps, bruises, pains, diseases, etc. manifest in this Body but begin in other Bodies.
So where does your disease and discomfort manifest? Do you have a nagging pain and you don't know where it came from? Having difficulty with turning off your worrying brain at night?

Send me an email, and we will discover together what is out of alignment, and your own "Shamanic Homework" for a better life!
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Cross-posting is awesomeness

Hello to all!

I haven't written in LJ in over a year, because my other blog/website is my actual primary. However, there are wonderful and dear friends that only use LJ, and by reading Friend's Pages, I'm able to catch up with their lives.

Instead of feeling like a total stalker, I figure that I would start cross-posting, since it will make it easier for friends to see what I'm up to.

Love to you all, and miss you all!

Coyote Face

Healing the anxiety and hypervigilance of PTSD and panic attacks

(cross-posted from my blog at )

Over this past weekend, I worked with three different people during Healing Ceremony. One ceremony provided many lessons on how to work with anxiety, grief, and PTSD-like symptoms.

(I am changing the personal details in the following story, to protect anonymity.)

I was contacted by a gentleman who was experiencing great anxiety, ruminating thoughts, and panic attacks. He works in the healthcare field, and recently lost a patient in the Emergency Room. He had to perform CPR, but wasn't able to save the patient.

I immediately felt compassion for the man, as the patient's death obviously affected him in some way. He agreed, but felt that it was only a "surface pain" and that there was something much bigger and more "shadowy" affecting his ability to cope with regular life. He felt that he was "loosing it", because he had such hypervigiliance at work (senses heightened for any crises, always feeling on edge, not being able to calm down, feeling paranoid that co-workers were silently judging him, etc.). He stated that he had lost patients before, it was a necessary evil of working in an Emergency Room, and his training usually kicked in and kept him compassionate but distant from the effects of death. But now he felt panic, and had so much difficulty even getting out of his car to walk into work, that everything felt like a crisis, and he wasn't sure he could cope with it anymore.

I worked with this gentleman shamanically, and together, Coyote, Bear, Flamingo and I worked with his chakras.

As we began at the feet and Root, we saw great inflammation and pain. Bear spoke of a need for better shoes at work, and the lack of trust in other co-workers. The client agreed, stating that he does not trust in his coworkers beyond working with them, and so he felt as though he could not start any close friendships with any coworkers because of the backstabbing and gossip that he perceived. Because of the constant stress of holding everything in and not trusting others to "vent", the patient's death severely affected his self confidence and his ability to stand firm.

We moved to working with the Power chakra, and it was full of intrusions and cords (mostly placed there by the will of the client). He looked exhausted. We saw images of money, banks, and "allowance" given out. This highlighted to me that this gentleman's concept of power and will centered around money. I asked about his relationship with money, and if he thought it was healthy, or anxiety-provoking, etc. He spoke of the difficulty of "always ensuring that I have enough money to support others."  Because of the economy, many of his family members were unable to find gainful employment, and so he felt it was his responsibility, and a demonstration of his love and power, to financially support them. Coyote helped highlight a darker aspect to this type of power, and we spoke to the client (very delicately) about the use of financial power as a means of feeling in control.

Immediately, his face changed from anxiety to confusion to wonder. "Wow!" he exclaimed, "that's really interesting! Maybe by trying to help my family with money, I am trying to control their own emotions of disappointment and sadness, and then I feel in control of my family's joy and feelings of self-worth!" It was a wonderful breakthrough, and I had him write it down, as "shamanic homework" for the next few months.

As we moved to the Heart Chakra, we discovered a battleground. Barbed-wire fences, band-aids, smoke, and feelings of despair. Underneath the band-aids (symbols of the client trying to mend his own heart), there was intense image of Grief and Death. The patient that died was a mere shadow, barely on the surface of this warzone, but as we waved the image away, we saw two deep, bloody scars along the heart. As we shrunk ourselves down to go inside, they showed images of the times in which they occurred. One looked like a female that was paired with the client, and another, a stereotypical mother-figure.

I asked the gentleman about the images, and he grew very silent, and then began to cry. He spoke of two deaths, of his ex-wife and his mother, and that they both occurred within the past 2-3 years. Bear showed me that his grief process had been aborted, as the gentleman felt that he had to show love, compassion, and power for the remaining relatives (for the kids when his ex-wife died, and for the family when his mother died). This was the root of his anxiety & PTSD-- the patient's death at the ER was the Universe's way of restarting this man's grief process, so that he could experience these emotions (and not cover them with scars).**  He had poured out so much love to others, that he was unable to focus inward anymore. Bear and I spoke about the need for self-love, in order to balance the love and compassion that goes to his family, patients, and significant other. And we also spoke about the need to reflect and integrate his experiences, which may be painful.

At this moment, the gentleman relaxed, and began talking aloud (while we brought parts of his Soul back to himself). He spoke of the need to call EAP (employee assistance program), as it was a confidential and free way to seek out therapy. We heartily supported him with this, as it may help him process out loud, and move the great anxiety and panic out of his physical body.

We completed the healing, and gave him a big Bear-Hug at the end. He appeared stronger and more peaceful, and stated that he was already thinking of ways in which to deal with his grief and loss. We thanked him, said our goodbyes, and wished him luck and love.

I am constantly thankful for the working relationships that I have with different spirits, and that they are able to help others in this way. I am also amazed at how emotional health and well being has such an affect on physical health. I pray that this man continues with his "shamanic homework" so that he may feel greater healing.

** All emotions can be processed through the physical body, which can be both positive and negative. In the case of this gentleman, he was unable to work with and integrate his grief emotions, because of his need to support others (a noble need). The human mind is wonderful at being able to section off different painful thoughts so that we can continue with life. However, if that pain is not processed at a later date, and/or  is constantly ignored, then it may have the side effect of creating physical symptoms in the body (panic attacks, hypersensitivity and vigilance, etc.). This is called the psycho-somatic effect, and is a very real power that the mind and body share.
Coyote Face

updated the blog-ness

Updated my website with a few blog entries and some nifty buttons over at .

Had a blast visiting my sister, and caught a nasty head cold. Just about over it now, thank goodness.

Reading Starhawk's The Pagan Book of Death & Dying-- anyone ever read that before? Like/Dislike?

Trying to catch up on everyone's awesomeness, as well as some truly long comments/emails to my dearies...
  • Current Mood: sick sick
Coyote Face

how weather affects my motivation

It's Thursday, Jan 12, and it is 60F and sunny here in Maryland. I've been hoping and waiting for some snow this winter, and it just ain't here.

I've noticed that in the past 3~4 years, my immune system seems to be tied to either weather patterns and/or barometric pressure changes. I seem to catch colds when the weather becomes cold & wet (from sunny & dry), or my motivation/energy lags when I am expecting cold & wet and I get warm & dry. Wacky!

The clients I work with had an early day today, and so I've had the past 4 hours to complete paperwork, and I just can't seem to do more than drag my feet. Part of me wants to cut out early for a nice hike in the sunny weather, and the other part of me wants to cut out early for a nap. :)

I've had the pleasant surprise of learning that I actually enjoy ebooks! My library is quite large, and I really love the feel of a new book, freshly purchased from Barnes & Nobels. But my beau got a tablet for the holidays, and has let me have his Kindle, and there is something wonderful about the immediate gratification that comes from purcasing a book online. Of course, I've purchased too many, and now I have 3-4 in my que!

Well, I'm gonna stretch out another 30 minutes or so here at work...happy times.
  • Current Mood: lazy lazy