In my online class, shamanism101, I am learning about working with the Elements. This is my first introduction to working in the Middle World. The Middle World is tricky – this is where there are all sorts of beings and energies – good, bad and amoral. The Elements are the latter. Neither good, nor bad, they just are what they are. Which is powerful and possibly dangerous if not dealt with carefully and with respect.
To use the power of the Elements in shamanic work, I am learning that I have to be merged with my helping spirits or power animals. Actually, I have two who do this work with me: one animal from the Lower World and one from the Upper World. Here is my experience:
In order to meet the element, I had to learn what to do and how to call in the Element. So first, I merged with my power animal. Then, a powerful compassionate helping spirit from the Upper World showed up. I merged with him as well. While merged with the two of them, I asked how to bring in the Element that they told me I’d be working with and they told me what it was first: Wind. I am to merge with them, and then use my turkey feathers to swirl the smoke of the sage and cedar around in a spiral. That will bring in the Wind to work with and once I do that, I can do the work I called the Element in to do. I can then end the merge by simply stepping back and letting go. Note to self: always make sure I am completely unmerged before I end.
On to the work to actually merge with the Element. I put on my scarf, my moccasins, my dragonfly necklace that I made a few years ago – all the things they told me I needed to merge fully with them and to do this work. I then took my elephant fan with me as well as my drum, rattles and turkey feathers. I went down to my living room and lit a sage stick and cleansed myself and the two dogs in the room with me. I then lit the shell filled with cedar and sage. I welcomed Father Sky, Mother Earth, the Great Spirit of the Adirondacks, the Spirit of the Hudson River, the mountains, the rocks, mammals, birds, reptiles, plant friends, trees, I forgot insects!! I welcomed the directions, and the UW and LW spirits, ancestors and animal spirits. I sang a welcome to them all. Then I put the sage/cedar down, and began drumming. I went to the LW and them switched to my rattles. I rattled to my power animal and did the dance that she had previously showed me. I felt her there and asked her to merge. We did, and danced and sang for another minute or two. Then, together, we went to the UW. When we got there, we had to climb up to my compassionate helping spirit’s house in the trees. My powe animal flew us up there. I asked my UW spirit to merge and it took a few minutes, but he did, and I felt it, and I sang lower and more powerfully. At that point, I put the rattles down to lit the cedar/sage again, as they told me to do. I took it lit and with the fan and then the turkey feathers made a spiral over it. I asked Wind to merge with me in preparation for work we would do together.
I didn’t feel anything so I took my rattle and sage/cedar outside and walked a spiral and then sang and rattled with my helping spirit and power animal in the middle of the spiral. I asked the Wind to merge with me again, and I think I felt something for a minute or two, but it wasn’t as strong as it is with my power animals. I made sure they were still with me, for protection. I heard the wind coming, and did feel it almost go through me, and I danced and sang for a few minutes outside, and then I told the Wind we would release the merge, and I stepped back, and perhaps felt it release. I walked the spiral from the inside out to make sure we were unmerged, as I had the feeling to do that.
I went back inside and unmerged with my UW helping spirit first and then down to the LW to unmerge with my power animal. I sang and rattled thanks to them and all the other spirits and directions and released them, and came back to ordinary reality.
Since I’m wasn’t sure how strongly I merged with the Wind, I asked my shamanic teacher about it when I reported my experience with the lesson. He said it was my first merge with the Elements. Elements are different. They may lack the ‘warm’ feeling that helpers in the UW and LW can share. That as I gain more experience, I may find a stronger merge or different feeling.
We shall see. I also am always happy to recommend the course I’ve gone through the last two years, shamanism101. You learn in three Levels, each one separated into about 12 lessons. I am now in Level 3, and I’ve been studying for about two years. It really started me on this path, and my teacher has been a strong and compassionate beacon throughout.