Welp, I’ve gone and done it and set up the Christmas tree. It’s a fake one, so it was fairly easy to do, though it took me awhile because I’m genetically incapable of undertaking a task without pausing after every completed phase, however tiny, and having either a hot beverage or potty break or simply sitting on the couch and staring at my handiwork. Something that should have taken only half an hour, tops, took about three and a quarter. But what a great way to spend an afternoon, no? We live in a small apartment and the tree was bought when we had a largish house, so I pushed it a ways into the corner and left off the back limbs. It looks great, especially wearing the big fat old-fashioned multi-colored bulbs I bought last year, and it hardly takes up any space at all. Perfect. Heeey, look at that! I thought I wasn’t feeling Chrismassy this year, and here I’ve gone on about the tree for almost a full paragraph! That’s nice. I’m not sleepy yet so I’ll probably do some more decorating before bed. I’d like to put up the creche in the entryway and possibly some lights and garlands here and there around the house. Thankfully, we’re not planning on hosting any holiday extravaganzas so there’s no hurry.
You know, it was good hearing from four awesome women yesterday because that segues neatly into one of the things I wanted to share. Lately I’ve been longing for a deeper experience of God, and not just of God, but of myself. In my mind this amounts to the same thing, since I consider God to be the intelligent source of every single thing, the soil from which we spring, the old block from which we’re chipped. We’re not separate from him (“him” because I’m most comfortable using this pronoun; otherwise it doesn’t matter), except in temporary form, but are permanently part of the entire whole, ebbing and flowing and jumping around like little whitecaps on the wide ocean blue. There’s so much imagery I could use… it’s incredible , this life of ours. And because our life is so long and broad and eternal, and offers so many avenues for exploration, I’ve been open to tasting all kinds of treats in this particular lifetime! An especially delectable treat, I’m finding, is shamanism, which I’ve been drawn to over the past few weeks. Not the stereotypical hoodoo-voodoo variety of skinny demon-possessed men with bones stuck through their noses placing curses on hapless people, because that one scares me. No, instead, the healing kind that’s practiced mostly by women (and highly-conscious men). The Reiki kind. The kind that believes in sound healing *with voices and rattles and drums, oh my!* and especially soul retrieval and all manner of healing for the soul. It’s everything I used to do as a charismatic Christian, but without exclusion or thinking that anybody else has to share my specific belief system in order to be with God. Of course, shamanism is also a specific belief system, but it’s inclusive and I like that. It’s nigh impossible to join a community of people who have no common identity of some kind, because then, duh, they wouldn’t be a community. Even if you don’t believe in belief systems, the fact that you don’t believe in them can amount to a belief system in itself, and etc etc, you know the drill. So, I think the point is to find people who think as closely as you do about a thing and band together solely for support and encouragement and nourishing soil in which to grow.
Unless of course you want rapid growth, in which case you’ll throw yourself in with people who buck you at every turn. Honey, talk about accelerated spiritual fruitiness then. You’ll be dropping your fruits all over the place. There’s no one way to do this thing called living. You just listen as you go, grow wherever you plant yourself or find yourself planted. Anyway, I’m massively digressing here. What I wanted to tell you about was the “ecstatic experience” I had the other morning while praying in the shamanic tradition.
I lit my smudge stick (jasmine incense until I get some sage) and through the smoke invited God and the angels and my guides and ancestors to join me, because I like feeling protected and surrounded by love. Besides, I need them. Then, after singing a little in tongues, which remains a marvelous practice for clearing my mind, and sitting quietly for about ten minutes, I started the drum and rattle CD, closed my eyes, and began to let my mind move even more deeply into itself. After a few moments, I saw myself walking, alone, down a dirt-floored tunnel toward a firelit cave. I was barefooted and wearing robes. As I got closer to the cave I saw many women dancing around the fire, whooping it up and swirling and banging drums and being incredibly primal and free. I joined the circle and was so filled with happiness that I began to sing and dance and even run up and around the walls and ceiling as the music swelled in volume and power. At that point, my vision swooped me back into the tunnel, but this time there were women walking behind me as we entered the cave… and then I saw us all flying, one by one, up and out through the smoke hole in the ceiling, where we flew around like birds in the pale blue sky, entering into the bodies of people on the earth, and spreading healing–like God’s feathery cropdusters–all over the land. It was intense and wonderful.
I forgot to tell you that as I was praying before I started, I had asked God for guidance regarding my next steps, and for comfort because I was feeling alone. Through this vision I got both. It was one of the main reasons I left Facebookland. It was too brightly-lit, too crowded-yet-empty, too shallow and non-sustaining to keep me alive, and I’d been sucking from its teat and coming up dry for far too long. (Just to be clear, this is for me, of course! Facebook is great for lots of people, so I’m not criticizing anybody for using it. It just wasn’t working for me anymore.) And oh bum! I’ve run out of space! I’ll have to continue our conversation in the next post…. Until then, love to you sweeties. xo