Strega Solstice Ritual, 2020: The Tarantella

Summer Solstice, Strega style: come dance a tarantella. Goddess Diana—Faerie Queen—will bless our magic.

Summer Solstice, Strega style: come dance a tarantella.

We’ll do the tarantella to ward off and cure disease.

We’ll dance to ward off and cure spiritual plague.

Our taranta will reclaim our power and our ancestors’ wisdoms.

Goddess Diana, Faerie Queen, will bless our magic and merriment. (Traditional Italian witchcraft is a form of Faerie shamanism. There are many Faerie shamanic paths, historically speaking.)

The taranta is also known as tarantella.

We’ll meet June 18, 3:00 to 3:45 pm EST, for a Faerie midsummer dance ritual on Zoom. Isn’t midsummer festival a perfect time to dance unto joy and freedom?

If you’re shy or have disabilities: during the ceremony, dance variations are welcome. Heck, if you just want to sit and visualize yourself doing the dance, that’s powerful.

Zoom link and other information about joining in this free event will be in my next newsletter. Subscribe here:

You don’t need the following information in order to attend the rite, but here’s background for the magical spell we’ll do:

My mother, like many Fey-touched souls, was stalked at every turn by a society that hates magic. I see her story every day, around me and in myself.

But, this solstice, we’ll dance to shake off the psychic diseases with which society attempts to smother us like a blanket smothers a fire. Our fires will burn bright.

The sun will be at its highest—a perfect time to honor our inner fires and dance in the glow of the sun’s ascendancy to fuel our own.

My friend Jenn Campus ( posted a Youtube video on her Facebook account. Here’s the vid:

I almost cried. Happy tears. Was blown away. My reaction to the dancing was subconscious and physical, beyond my mental grasp at first.

Something ancient, primal, and inherent in my atoms came forward. My conscious mind couldn’t comprehend it. My cells and subconscious alone recognized what was going on. Only in a while would I understand it on a cognitive level.

I longed to do the dance in the video. It was tarantella. My grandparents on my mother’s side used to do that dance at weddings. We’d all join in.

Piled on top of the video came the experience of reading the lyrics for the song the dancer had performed to. Geez.

Jenn gave me the lyrics. Halfway through reading them, I almost couldn’t breathe. I finally understand the expression It took my breath away. Those lyrics took my breath away. I couldn’t breathe for a moment.

Reading them, my experience was similar to how I’d been watching the dance. There was subconscious and physical impact, beyond my mental grasp. My cells and unspeaking self drank in what was utterly between the lines of the lyrics. I was still having trouble breathing after I finished reading. Click here for a translation. The one Jenn showed me moved me much more. To respect copyright, I’m not posting it here.

I love magic so much. … and watching the dancing and hearing/reading the song gave me back some big piece of my magic.

I decided to dance a tarantella for the first time in possibly decades. It wouldn’t feel right to do it alone. So I decided to invite you to a Zoom meeting. We can dance as fairy tribe.

Shortly after I first saw the dance video, my conscious mind started understanding. I thought of all my mother passed on to me, struggling to do so—and managing to do so—under the weight of oppression that she eventually succumbed to, with her cancer. I love my mom so much.

Some might find it a contradiction that she was an indomitable spirit who died of cancer at an early age. I don’t see it that way. Her immense spirit kept her alive that long. I love her so much for the fights she did win, and the fights she chose, including her finding ways. despite all, to pass on her unassailable spirit to me; without her, I would’ve been nothing, given what society and the rest of the family did to me when I was a child, But Toni (Mom) held my spirit.

The tarantella and song hold the energy that Mom was striving toward, often embodied, but too often had to let trickle through her fingers because she had to instead raise a fist to ward off constant assaults on her dignity, soul, and body.

And despite her struggles, you should’ve heard her laugh—it is one of the things I love most about my mother. She was an elegant, dignified lady … with a raucous laugh.

Goddess, I miss Toni. RIP Mom.

When my conscious mind even more completely understood, I found words for what my body and subconscious had realized:

The tarantella is a traditional Italian witchcraft dance, performed by Stregas for the reasons given above and more: to stop physical and spiritual plague, and to reclaim power, magic, sexuality, ancestors, their wisdoms, and their ways. The taranta creates wholeness. Utter wholeness.

That’s my belief. I don’t know if it’s been documented or not. I haven’t researched it, except on the otherworldly plane. Oppressors bury proof of empowering information.

I dislike that the dancer who performed extraordinarily in the video has not been named yet, at least not anywhere I searched online. If you find her name for me, please let me know. The difficulty of finding this dancer’s name speaks volumes to me about our modern world’s attitude toward the body and magic. Namelessness can be erasure, part of burying magical facts and joy.

But I did find this second video. It shows the woman’s face, which means the world to me:

It might be surprise you that I hadn’t realized the full ritual nature of the dance until now, though I was raised in a Strega family tradition. I was an imperfect student. At times in my childhood, I rejected much of what Mom conveyed. In retrospect, I realize my subconscious embraced the tarantella as ritual, but that’s as far as it went.

An aside: here’s a story about visiting my deceased mother in an ancestral ritual. The post also discusses 1) a mother’s nurturing of her children despite they and she struggling under the weight of an oppressive society 2) why oppressors try to alienate us from the power of our mothers’ love.

A ritual dance that can help manifest everything I listed above is no small thing. I felt nonetheless something larger, a reclamation of such enormity that my heart and cells could not stay still. A sacred frenzy is upon me.

Supposedly, the dance is named after the tarantula spider, whose bite makes people move bizarrely. But it must be the other way around; that’s what my body and spirit tell me. The sacred mandate to own one’s power is so powerfully physical that it looks like someone driven to wild movement by a tarantula. A holy fevered agitation has taken hold and will abate only if I dance until I release all bondage and more fully than ever become a glorious witch, holy woman, sexual Goddess, and delighted human. I’ll dance tarantella until I’m completely whole.

Everything in me longs to dance a taranta again. Everything.

Join me.

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A sacred frenzy is upon me, the mandate to own my power. This fevered agitation will abate only if I dance until I release all bondage and more fully than ever become a glorious witch, holy woman, sexual Goddess, and delighted human. I’ll dance tarantella until I’m completely whole.

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Breath Work and Sound Healing Classes

Lately, more people are talking to me about speaking—and living—their truths:
“I want to say what I really think.”
“I want the confidence to be me.”
“I want to express my creativity.”
“I want to be of service.”
“I want to live my truths more than ever.”
“I make a positive difference for people but want to do more.”
“I don’t know what I believe in anymore.”
“Everything feels so uncertain.”
“I’m not sure who I am anymore.”
“I’m a pretty together person, but I feel powerless today.”
“ Everyone tells me thinking big is stupid. But I believe in a world where I can do something huge.”

Two upcoming courses help with all those concerns:

Learn Shamanic Breath Work and Sound Healing

These Techniques Help You Live Your Truths, Express Your Beauty, & Own Your Power

The above painting represents a sacred circle of individuals who are speaking and living their truths of morality, compassion, joy, service, and more.

As a shamanic guide and ritualist, I want my work to support and strengthen such individuals and those struggling to become one. So mote it be!

Please join me in one or both of the upcoming courses if you want to embody your beliefs and wisdoms.

In these upcoming courses, you’ll learn to apply Sacred Breath and Sound techniques to find and stand on the solid ground innate in you—including the beliefs that make you unstoppable and confident, keep you going despite challenges, and affirm your magical and mundane ability to manifest what you want.

And you’ll receive many other benefits, described below in pink text and the boxed class outlines.

Perhaps you lose sight of your truths, were never sure of them, or have another problem with them. If you’re like me, you can forget the magnificent powerful competent person you are. You can forget what you trust in.

Some days, I constantly move into that uncertainty. If fear, other inner blocks, or circumstances distract me from the wonderful things I deep down know to be true about myself and life, I use practices that I’ll teach you. They settle me back into the reality that I believe in deep down. These methods also return me to my most effective, happy, giving self.

Holy Mother, Holy Father, Your breath moves upon the atoms of our being. Help us not resist.  May our cells dance to the rhythm of Your heartbeat. Francesca De Grandis

Our exhalations, inhalations, and the sound of our heartbeats can weave with the exhalations, inhalations, and heartbeats of Gods. Then we can saturate our beings with joyful health and join in Gaia’s dance of abundance, strength, and kindness.

What is breath work?

Breathwork is the use of breathing exercises to transform yourself and the world. In the particular methodology I created, we also honor our natural, innate breathing patterns and, in the process, learn self acceptance and more, which I’ll discuss below.

Course One: Breathing Your Truths. Learn shamanic breath techniques that empower you to * Convey your truths—from standing up for yourself and others, to telling a friend they’re wonderful, to selling your paintings. * Be your most powerful self consistently. * Express yourself as a free spirit, artist, innovator, or otherwise. * Love and honor yourself exactly as you are.

We’ll also learn how breath work supports sacred sound techniques, but the course emphasis is the breath.

Historically, breath work has been overly complex to the point of being intimidating. It’s also been foreign to our physical makeup, thus systematically—and thoroughly—alienates practitioners from their bodies, spirits, and the immense, easily accessed shamanic potency in their innate breathing patterns.

My breathwork is atypical. I believe our natural breath is sacred just as it is. You’ll learn to unlock and support that most natural breathing, and use my simple, transformative methods that rely on natural breaths.

I also believe that whatever one’s breathing is like, it is sacred. We’ll work with that in the course.

I combine simple methods with more technical and complex ones. More about that below.

What is sound healing?

Sound healing is using vocalization and other noises to create positive shifts in yourself and your environment. Sound rituals can be loud or subtle. Ancestors hear the echo of my quietest breath and respond by blessing me. My heart’s a drum calling tribe, “Come! Come!” Sound is magic.

Course Two: Heart Drum. Learn shamanic sound techniques to: * Journey within, where the entire cosmos resides, that all powers may be yours. * Drench body and spirit with health and delight. * Center into your core wisdoms. * Return to that sure knowledge when distracted by hurtful messages oppressors prefer you believe. * Align your cells with your truths so you can embody them. * Follow through on visions of serving others. * Live in the real, where Gods take care of you.

We’ll do some breath work that supports our sound healing, but this course’s emphasis is on sound.

Additional benefits from both courses:

The Old Gods’ love for us manifests as a flow of blessings throughout creation. My sound and breath rituals weave us into that flow, so prosperity and all other blessings can more easily come to us.

This is gentle work with tremendous results. E.g., certain breath exercises and resonances open our atoms—on all planes—to seeing our truths and embodying them with our individually unique paths to prosperity, love, peace, and more.

The classes also help us leave the past behind, enjoy the present, and move forward.

The system I developed for these courses isn’t available elsewhere. That might be obvious from reading this page, if you’re familiar with breath and sound work. If not, let’s look at two of many differences from typical approaches:

1) We’ll use shamanic rites I developed that support our breath and sound work, so they’re remarkably effective and happy-making.

2) I mentioned embracing the natural breath, the techniques I have built on that, and the benefits thereof. Here’s more about that: I sang professionally sans voice lessons. Then I received the vocal training for opera. The earlier experience revealed a need to create simple, natural breath and sound methodologies. The later experience taught me singers’ highly technical breath and sound techniques that inspire my more complex rites. So you’ll learn methods that range from the easy, powerfully effective to the more detailed polishing.

Before 2020 started, I made a commitment it’d be the year of speaking and living my truths more than ever. Then the pandemic hit.

I decided my commitment was all the more important if I was to survive, be happy, and be of service.

Journal Entry: Affirming Life and Eternal Truths, 2020-4-13

A supposed reality has been thrust upon me—a fabrication in which I am powerless and uncertain. My fears believe that lie is true.

But it is not real.

I refuse to live in a world defined by fear.

Today, I will live fully, in freedom, by living in the eternal and living in the moment.

I embrace eternity, by acknowledging that losses and joys
inevitably come.

I live in the moment, by accepting its losses and joys.

I find and honor the magic in the moment. I use it to make a better world, both for myself and others.

When my fear and selfishness distract me from what I hold dear, I will turn my attention to my truths:

I was put on this planet to serve the earth and all its children.

I was put on this planet to savor the earth and all its children.

My Gods want me to learn from my sorrows and my joys.

My Gods help me to live in freedom.

My Gods help me find certainty.

Goddess, today, please help me remember what eternal truths I need cleave to.

Both courses have three dynamic parts:

1) Experiential hands-on lessons, one per week, for three weeks. Lessons are via group phone calls. To participate, just dial your phone.

Enrollment limited to 16 people so participants who want individualized attention can receive it.

2) I’m available for one-on-one support by phone, should you want to privately discuss a problem, or you have a concern that’d take too long to discuss in class.

3) Direct spiritual transmissions for three weeks, five days a week.

“Spiritual transmission” can mean different things. I don’t do anything to you; I don’t inject you with energy, rearrange your energy, or even dust off your aura. I simply give off a blessing energy during a transmission, much like burning incense gives off specific magical energies in a room.

One of each week’s transmissions is during the group lessons, deepening experiential learning.

Between meetings, transmissions settle you further into your truths, ideals, powers, and beauty.

My transmissions also increase the serenity, strength, and safety of your shamanic process, further personal growth, and add luck when you do anything to improve your life.

Enroll in either or both courses. The first course, Breathing Your Truths, meets Thursdays, 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST, three consecutive weeks, starting June 25. Reserve Thursday July 16, same time, for a makeup meeting, in case I’m unexpectedly unavailable for one of the planned sessions. The second  course, Heart Drum, meets Sundays, 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST, three consecutive weeks, starting July 19. Reserve Sunday August 9, same time, in case I need a makeup meeting.

Full cost for one course—that’s three ceremonies, three weeks of spiritual transmissions, and one-on-one private support—is $250. Your carrier might charge you for phone calls into the group meetings.

Enroll in both groups before midnight June 3 to save $100. Total cost: $400.

Use the drop-down menu to select one of three enrollment options. Then pay securely with PayPal:

Pls give yr phone number.

Upon payment, your place is reserved. You receive course details—e.g., the phone number to dial to participate in meetings—by email. No refunds. To discuss payment plan, trade, scholarship, or semi-scholarship, or if you have other concerns, call me.

Every inhalation and exhalation can open wondrous possibilities.

My every atom is ready to sing me happy and free me to act as I want.

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Ganesh Painting

I just finished this picture of the elephant-headed God Ganesh, with some of His symbols.

… Well, I think it’s finished. I might go back and tweak it. If I spend a long time on a painting, I still might realize, days after I thought I’d finished it, there’s more work to be done. Taking a break from a picture lets me see it in a new light.

Ganesh gives you abundance and success, but He’s also a God of chaos and a Trickster. That is not a contradiction.

To learn more about that, here’s a story about my feline familiars showing me the beneficence of life’s jumble, tumble, and bumble. Cats can reveal chaos to be the Pagan Gods’ kind, mischievous lessons:

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Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

About this guest blog by C. M. Wild:

Even when it is not Beltane season, Wild’s following poesy is a worthy read because of its timeless themes: struggle, tragedy, hope, freedom, urgent needs, frustration, lack of confidence, and the spirit to win and grow despite all.

Beltane, also known as May Day, is a Pagan holiday that falls on May 1. Beltane is a celebration of spring time, vitality, and passion for life. And with that:

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

We’re going down!

The aviator in the clouds
The captain at sea
The hotshots overtaken by flames
The ER team

And still the two fools in the invisible boat row on.

It’s May! It’s May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev’ryone goes
Blissfully astray!

May Day.
Workers of the world unite.
You have nothing to lose but your chains.

May I? May we? Might you?

Mighty oak. Little acorn.

Little acorn, dear one,
You do not need permission to sprout.

You are not waiting for someone to bless your dreams of being an oak tree.

You lie in wait only for the alignment of your life force with the force of all life.

When it is time, you will sprout and you will not be an oak tree yet, no not really and not by far.

You will be two small leaves and one deep questing root.

You will go, here I am!

Here I am! What now!
You and life will answer together.

C. M. Wild is the pseudonym of a biophiliac who lives near a western coast and once said, “I forget at my peril that my soul lives outside.”

The poem is a brilliant juxtaposition of Wild’s original writing with that of others. The result is a trickster weave, creating a fast paced sense of passion and urgency that carried me along joyfully, so I really wanted to publish it. Here are Wild’s attributions:

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Mayday, the international audio distress call, originated in the 1920s with English aviators searching for a signal as clear and unique as the dot-dot-dot-dash-dash-dash-dot-dot-dot of SOS, and who liked that it sounded a bit like the French “M’aidez” – “Help me!”

It’s May! It’s May! The lusty month of May!
Opening verse from “Lusty Month of May,” in the 1960 Broadway musical Camelot.  Queen Guenevere leads her court into the spring fields to celebrate the pagan holiday.

the two fools in the invisible boat
From a story by Clancy Imislund, which Francesca De Grandis told me with Clancy’s permission.

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Upcoming Shamanic Event

A Three-Month Direct Spiritual Transmission,
starting June 1, 2020

Have constant shamanic support tailored to you.

A direct spiritual transmission is a method I use to send blessings. To define my particular transmissions:

I was born generating a beneficial field of energy. It shapes itself to your physical, spiritual, and emotional needs, even when they change from moment to moment. E.g., you might need more money, a peaceful environment, a soul healing, safety on the mundane and etheric planes, the spiritual strength to get back up after life’s knocked you down, or a lot of different blessings all at once.

You don’t have to attend an event or do any work. Just sign up, and I do the work for you! It is easy to receive this transmission. I spent many years honing my natural born gift. It is a privilege and joy to serve you.

Even if you’re a shaman yourself, you deserve a constant ally who has your back.

No experience needed. But adepts are deeply impacted.

I send you this spiritual transmission five days a week, every week for three months. This is big! Whether you’ve already made significant changes for the better, are only beginning to improve your life, feel completely stuck, or are on top of the world, big shifts can happen.

You have power, even when you don’t know it. So why use my services? Because the transmission furthers your goals and dreams, helping you survive and soar, then soar some more, despite huge flights you’ve had—or not—before. The magic I do helps you, whether you’re using your power 100% or feel you’re not using it at all.

Click subscribe button to pay securely with PayPal: three easy, automatic monthly payments of $150. You receive mega-support each month for that amount. Total cost: $450. Payments appear on the credit card associated with your PayPal account.

Upon receipt of payment, I email you confirmation of registration. If you need more info, can’t afford payment, or need reduced payment, phone me. No refunds, but you can cancel your subscription any time.

Abundance, power, serenity, love, and compassion permeate every atom of existence—for you to receive. Imagine what it’d be like to have constant shamanic support tailored to you, for three months. I have your back.

A direct spiritual transmission does not substitute for medical care by a physician, psychiatric counseling, or other therapeutic treatment. Participants are personally responsible for the consequences of their voluntary participation. This spiritual treatment is extraordinarily effective, but may not work for some individuals.

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Whitethorn and Blackthorn Trees Protection Spell

Protect yourself with this quick spell that helps ward off awful people and keep you safe despite society’s wrongs.

If there’s more than one nasty person affecting you, the ritual works well for that, too.

You can also use the spell when no one’s giving you trouble, and you want it to stay that way. For example, you’re about to take a job with a company that has some shady characters in it. Plus society as a whole, though wonderful in some ways, is mean in others. Doing this spell now and then helps keep you safe despite society’s wrongs.

Here are examples of the sort of troublesome people I’m talking about:

* Takers—people who just take take take. Perhaps they drain you by demanding too much at your job. Or they only call you when they need something from you, and disappear when you have a problem you need help with. Or they take credit for your ideas, getting a promotion that should’ve gone to you.

* Fakes who hurt others when they can get away with it. Perhaps, they are smiles and grace until they’re around someone who can’t fight back, and then the mask comes off.

The spell even works for more sophisticated fakes. Let’s say someone pretends to have your beautiful spirit, appropriates your story—and thereby steals the credit you deserve for the hard work you did to overcome challenges—and makes money by seeming to be a good person since they’re pretending to be who you really are. You end up robbed on so many levels.

* Monsters whose cruelty drains you of hope, blocks opportunities, or otherwise heartlessly hurts you.

* Haunters who harry you, by saying nasty things that stick in your mind, or by constantly getting in the way of your success.

Those are some of the many types of mean people the spell protects you from.

Book of Shadows Entry

Here’s a bit I wrote about the spell on August 9, 2019, adapted to give you additional information:

While I was walking through the trees today, this protection spell came to me. I polished its concepts and language as I kept walking. Reciting it, even while I was polishing it, felt powerfully protective.

I’m happy I was able to memorize it, to write it down when I got home. Now I can keep using it, add it to my arsenal of tools that keep me safe from a troublemaker.

I like to have various protection rituals. I used to do a certain bedtime protection ritual regularly, and haven’t done that as often lately. Thinking about that on my walk kicked in this new spell.

I intend to say it on a regular basis, using it a lot during times it feels particularly relevant and just using it now and then at other times. I think I will sometimes use it right before retiring, since it’s quick and easy to do.

Ritual Instructions

To do this spell, simply recite the liturgy. Simple, la!

When reciting it, its power does not depend on you being surrounded by trees.

Part of the liturgy says that serving the black thorn and white thorn trees allows them to protect you. Any service you provide to anyone serves the Greater Whole, and thereby serves all trees.

If you believe your challenges are too great for any simple spell to make a difference, here is a secret of adepts: anything you do to overcome challenges—even if all you can mange is the smallest act—opens a door for the Goddess to improve your life in ways larger than you yourself can. Each small act you manage to perform, whether it is magical or on the mundane plane, opens the door more.

Don’t rely on magic alone to protect you. Also take practical steps to keep yourself safe. Combine magic and common sense.

Lessons Directly from Blackthorn and Whitethorn

The next two paragraphs are not information you need to do this spell but might interest you.

In Traditional Druid Tree Lore, black thorn and white thorn are known as protective. The other concepts this liturgy represents are not traditional but are, instead, information white thorn and black thorn themselves told me.

… Hm, except, I might have read somewhere that whitethorn has a joyful aspect. If so, the information was minimal. You might consider asking whitethorn herself to expand on that information for you, then visit with her to give her a chance to do so. The same goes for any concept in this liturgy: talk with blackthorn and whitethorn to understand and benefit from all the magics this liturgy embodies and implies.

Whitethorn Blackthorn Protection Liturgy

Whitethorn, blackthorn,
Come to me.

Push from me the takers.
Push from me the fakers.
Push from me the haunters.
Push from me the monsters.

Keep from me the takers.
Keep from me the fakers.
Keep from me the haunters.
Keep from me the monsters.

Takers, fakers,
haunters, and monsters
pervert your love,
using it for ill.

I, instead,
serve you well,
which, in turn, lets you
protect me.
Whitethorn, blackthorn,
come to me.
You are joy.
So mote it be!

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My Witch Love for Herbs That I Forage or Grow

Summary: Herbs provide an abundance of magic, health, and joy. I adapt to my environment when I forage. My ancestors and the Gods, Herne and Elen, bless my harvest of chickweed and other greens.

I call herbs The Little Father, a term I coined years back to express my experience that herbs are one of the places Herne—the Green God of the forest—most sustains me, with all His immense power.

I also call herbs The Little Horns, a term I made up because Herne and Elen—She is the Green Goddess of the Forest and is horned like Herne—are particularly accessible to me in herbs. Their magic and worldly blessings move toward me when I even touch an herb. The horns of those two Gods appeared to me in a vision as a way those Gods weave Their power throughout all of creation; Their antlers extend out until the tips encircle the furthest stars and the tiniest plants, imbuing all with love and power.

It is important for me as a shaman to adapt to—and integrate with—the environment. (I call myself both witch and shaman because the terms are often used synonymously in ancient European based traditions.) Mid winter, the only place I can forage where I live is my refrigerator. Okay! But right now, oh my!

Chickweed and dandelion, considered by most to be troublesome weeds, are great additions today to what I grew myself.

A pot that I left out all winter filled with chickweed! I interpreted that tasty blessing as a message to walk my property. Part of how I adapt to my environment is by watching for signs in it. The potted chickweed is part of my environment. I’m now munching on a wee salad.

Along with the chickweed, my bowl has dandelion flowers, which is one of my favorite things in the world. Here’s more about my love affair with dandelion blossoms:

The salad also includes plants I grow intentionally: there are chives, Egyptian onions, young comfrey leaves, and some garlic tops. All the greens for my salad are in the picture at the top of this post.

I must’ve planted garlic 15 years ago, but some still pops up now and then. My disabilities don’t allow me to dig into the earth to harvest the few remaining bulbs, but I do harvest the tops.

I am part of the environment, so adapt to my own needs. My disabilities keep me from having much of a garden. I adapt by growing a few things that are hardy. Chives, Egyptian onions, and comfrey are among them.

My salad was tiny, but packed with delicious ingredients and health.

Afterwards, before I ate the rest of my lunch, I sat for a moment to just be with whatever my body felt like from eating super fresh greens.

My cells sang, and then I heard my ancestors singing along. They were embodied in the sky and in the light I felt in my eyes from having eaten sunlit food.

My ancestors were calling, smiling, and laughing a bit at me about what a big deal I made about the salad. It was good humored mockery. They agree that the salad is as powerful as I feel it is. They laughed at me because my ego was a little overinflated with pride about my relationship with herbs. Healthy pride is a good thing. Overinflated ego is not.

Important aside: though this post focuses on herbs I forage or grow, many of my experiences with them also occur with store-bought and dried herbs. I adapt to my environment, and the Old Gods do, too.

Another important aside: If you want to forage for chickweed or other herbs, research first. A lot of harmless weeds have toxic look-alikes. I always check three or four sources on a plant before I harvest it wild. There’s too much careless information on the web. To get you started on chickweed, here’s one source I used:

I try to apply my shamanism to everything. To learn more about that, subscribe to my free Faerie witch newsletter.

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If I Feel Anxiety, Rage, or Hopelessness

Midday Contemplation

Am reasonably serene—given the Covid 19 pandemic and my statistically being at greater risk of dying in it.

But anxiety, rage, and hopelessness visit often. These reactions are appropriate and part of the human experience. If I believed myself above worldly concerns, there’d be something really wrong with me. But I don’t want to use that as an excuse to let my feelings and worries run amok.

No one thing alone can fully bring me to my senses during such a crisis. I need an arsenal of tools.

Today, one thing I’ll do is try to put my worries in perspective. I’ve done that in the past by remembering my victories over hard times, as well as the gifts those challenges gave me:

I got through a childhood that would’ve killed most people.

That brutal experience gave me a self-reliance that helps me earn my living doing what I love, and demanded I create a world of my own, a world of beauty, morality, and love. I get to continue to create it every day. I also learned some people have nasty hidden motives. Now I’m less likely to get hurt by taking everyone at their word.

I conquered poverty and bounced back financially.

Poverty taught me humility, empathy, how to stretch a dime, avoid waste, including waste of my energy, and how to get past my shyness and false ego to serve my Gods.

I got through unethical individuals slandering me and appropriating my original work, and thereby walking away with a large number of my clients.

I bounced back financially, again. I healed the heartache from beloved clients deserting me, after I’d supported their journey for years, often without charging them. I also saw the need for better boundaries. Plus, I recognized that people who flatter and otherwise build my false ego might simply be on the take. And I committed to love, opening my heart all the more, and now my many new clients, dedicated to Spirit—and equally dedicated old clients who remained in my life—are inspirations to me every day.

When my body became so crippled that survival seemed impossible, and so weak that death was months away, I reclaimed my energy, e.g., relinquished pure terror. Almost twenty years later, I’m still thriving.

I survived many more things and received many more gifts and had many more victories. So I pray, “Great Mother, thank you. I am open to the lessons and gifts you are giving me. I know they’re going to be awesome. Some of them already are!”

My belly feels much better now.

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During Crisis, Self Love & Acceptance Can Heal a Core Spiritual Wound

When crisis calls my core wound out of hiding and energizes it into activity, it’s a wonderful opportunity to heal that part of myself. I become more free to live fully.

Please note: This post is a shaman’s perspective, and specifically about healing the spirit. As such, it is not a substitute for a psychologist’s expertise or care.

Perhaps all individuals have at least one character trait that causes them major problems and that, no matter how hard they try, remains. Or that, no matter how much progress they make regarding that trait, might return.

These traits often arise in childhood, as coping mechanisms to deal with a crisis. When such attributes start during our developmental years, they may, over time, become deeply ingrained in our cells. They’re an actual part of us and, even when they seem far in the past, might re-emerge during a new crisis.

For example, someone might grow up thinking their life has no value, so as an adult they let others take unfair advantage of them, work themselves to exhaustion for other people, and ignore their own needs. If they overcome that negative belief about themselves and start to live more happily, a crisis might cause their lack of self-worth to flare up again, perhaps as bad as it was in the past. They once again forget their own needs and take care of everyone except themselves, at least to some degree.

I think of this kind of trait as a core wound because, in my case, it has been core to my problems throughout my life and returned so persistently. It also feels core to my being. In fact, sometimes, I feel like I’ve left my core wound behind but then see it is, right then, messing with me in subtle ways.

There’s one more thing to add to my definition of core wound. For the purposes of this post, the term refers to self-defeating thoughts and devastating emotions, not actions one might take based on those thoughts and feelings.

A core wound is flaring up for me right now, big time. Not at all subtly. Here’s what I’m doing about it, in case you want to try the same approach.

I committed to spending a week not trying to change that trait in myself. Instead:

1. Occasionally during the week, I’ll take time to love the part of me that is that trait.

Self love is vital in self healing.

2. During the week, If I notice I am harshly judging myself for that trait—for example, thinking I’m not spiritually evolved if I have it, or I should have eradicated it by now—I will remind myself that no human feeling or thought is wrong. They are simply feelings and thoughts.

Compassion for self helps self-healing.

3. Occasionally, during the week, I’ll just be with that trait—sit with it for a few minutes. I don’t mean I will analyze it, invalidate it, validate it, or journal about it. I will just rest my attention on it. That attention will not be an effortful, sharp focus. I will rest my attention on that part of myself the way my head rests on a pillow at night.

That attention is not the same as morbidly dwelling on the problem, e.g., worrying about what further problems it might cause or worrying if I’ll ever be free of it.

And I won’t make decisions based on that feeling or thought, or build a life philosophy around it. I can do that later if I want. But if I do it now, I might be making decisions and building a philosophy as a way to escape facing a feeling or thought.

I’m going to just let that trait be and feel it. In other words, I’m going to accept it and be with it.

I’m not talking about an intellectual acceptance, but a gut level acceptance that I achieve when I pay relaxed attention to whatever it is I want to accept.

Accepting a trait does not mean resigning myself to forever being at its affect. In the context of this essay, accepting a trait means acknowledging, at a gut level, its existence.

When sitting with the trait, I will try to note when I’m distracted from it by disheartening thoughts like, “I am stuck, so will never get to the point where I’ll live the way I want” and then turn my attention back to the trait.

I can easily think, when old troubling traits re-emerge, that their revival proves I haven’t grown. I find their return discouraging. I might start to feel hopeless and convince myself all my efforts toward spiritual growth have been futile. In that dispirited state, it’s easy to convince myself I don’t, to substantial degrees, already live the way I want. However, over the years, moving from a life I hated to this life I love, setbacks occurred all along the way. My finally reaching my beloved way of life proves setbacks don’t keep me from moving ahead.

Acceptance of one’s rage isn’t the same as giving oneself permission to lash out at others. Extrapolate from this sentence accordingly when it comes to other traits and actions.

A note: when I led one of my students in being with a core wound, he found it too difficult to sit with an especially painful emotion. Don’t expect the impossible of yourself. Perhaps you’re not ready. Trust that you will know when you are. Or perhaps you need further support than this article. You can do a private session with me. I can help you get ready, or sit with you while you sit with the pain, or I can otherwise use my spiritual tools to help you face awful pain. We can do that long distance by phone. Click here for more information:

And, right now, I’ll tell you something I realized. It helped that student, so might help you: I noticed that, sometimes, great emotional pain is easier for me to be with if I focus on it as a physical sensation, feeling it the way I’d feel a lovely breeze on my face or an awful bump to my shin.

Shamanism is about connectivity. Shamanic healing is about connectivity. Speaking only for myself, I cannot heal a spiritual wound until I allow myself to “be” with it. As long as I’m pushing it away, that part of myself loses its mooring, becomes disconnected from the rest of me. Disconnected, it cannot become fully healthy.

Acceptance of a wound and being with it are two steps in healing it, for me. In fact, they can be enough to heal it, to greater or lesser degrees.

As I said, a core wound is part of me. When I accept, love, have compassion for, and sit with my problematic aspects, I’m not only better connected within myself, I also open to a connection with the Greater Whole—the love of the universe can invisibly flow to and through me to heal me. I also open up to healing support from other individuals.

During the week, as I’m doing these practices, I will not expect myself to do them perfectly. Far from it. The attempt is what counts and often sufficiently does what is needed.

When the week ends, if I think other work is needed to shift my energy, and I feel ready for that, the aforementioned steps I’ll have taken this week might be the difference in whether additional steps work or not. This week’s work can definitely make further efforts more successful.

When crisis calls my core wound out of hiding and energizes it into activity, it’s a wonderful opportunity to heal that part of myself at a deeper level than I had in the past. Therefore, it might become less a part of my cells—less influencing me in any ongoing ways subconsciously and less likely, during a crisis, to emerge fulltilt to sabotage me. I become more free to live fully. So mote it be!

Important addition: If you’re concerned that sitting with a certain feeling or negative belief is going to result in harmful behavior toward yourself or others, my above methods might be wrong for you. And, this post aside, if a crisis ever leaves you feeling like you might hurt yourself or others, I urge you to do an online search to find whatever help seems most appropriate to keep yourself and others safe.

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Claim Your Power to Heal During Crisis

I’m concerned. Some “experts” are spreading an erroneous message that can have disastrous results. They’re telling us we can’t process our trauma symptoms at depth while we’re still in the crisis causing the trauma. That’s not always true, not at all.

It can be true during a short crisis—running out of a burning building doesn’t leave much time for introspection—but is less the case during long-term upheaval.

We all have our own ways of getting by, ways that suit us best, or that are the best we can do for the time being. If you personally can’t—or choose not to—deal with your trauma symptoms until after a long term crisis has passed, I support you. Perhaps, you need to just hang in and focus on surviving.

And perhaps no one can deal fully with their trauma symptoms until after longterm extremities are past.

However, sometimes the only way to find the strength to overcome a crisis is to face and heal your trauma symptoms.

I am wary of voices telling us to ignore our emotional and spiritual healing. The agendas and motives of people who are spreading the narrative that we’re powerless and unable to substantially heal our spiritual and emotional injuries are suspect. E.g., are these “experts” projecting their own sense of powerlessness, or invested in playing savior so discourage others from recognizing their own power?

In traditional shamanism, disaster was seen as an irreplaceable opportunity. A shaman guided a traumatized individual through an inward journey of facing trauma symptoms. Through this, the person would gain spiritual fortitude, otherworldly power, and enormous ability to thrive on the mundane realm, to extents that few other situations can foster.

I should probably add: a clinical psychologist concurs that you can heal from trauma when you’re still in crisis.

Be gentle with yourself. Do what you need to do. Don’t let anyone tell you what that is.

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