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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Drum Journeys

Credit for the above image:  "Шаман Ташоол Кунга" by Alexey Gaponov - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Beneath the oculus of the yurt

My "cough" signals spirits are waiting

To come through.

The mirror opens doorways, portals

To other dimensions of non-ordinary reality.

My third eye opens

And the drumming begins.

--(c) Catt Foy, 2014


For years, I searched for inner peace through meditation.  And after long hours of practice, I actually did manage to reach a meditative state—once in a while. Then I discovered drum journeying.  Shamanism had found me.

Traveling in my mind’s eye through fanciful spaces seemed at first an exercise in imagination—something my writer’s soul reveled in. But more than simple imagination was going on here.  The more I journeyed, the more real it seemed; indeed, the more real it became.

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  • Catt Foy
    Catt Foy says #
    I have had nothing but positive encounters. Snake, who embodies healing medicine and the ability to transmute and neutralize toxi
  • Me
    Me says #
    Hi, Catt. :-) I'm always glad to see shamanism getting more attention in the online pagan community. I've been a practitioner for
PaganNewsBeagle Faithful Friday July 25

For today's Faithful Friday we've got stories of real life shamanism and comic-book gods. Have a great weekend!

Thor is a .... girl? Heathen blogger Harrison K Hall decries the bastardization of the Norse pantheon -- but not the way you think.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
b2ap3_thumbnail_dixieroadrash---flickr.jpgI've long wrestled with the concept of 'life purpose.' Foremost, it seemed limiting--just one? And it smacked of New Age woo. The true wrestling part, though, was that I felt a deep calling, always, like since I became aware that I was aware, between 5-6 years old. I didn't know what the calling was, and for most of my youth I was satisfied to just recognize that it was.
I came to shamanism for my own healing and deepening of spiritual connection. Typical to modern shamanists, I was on the receiving end, and thankfully so. However, about six months into that relief, my spirit guides began telling me to get off my ass and do something with it. 
So, I did, for about eleven years. The first couple of years I worked with others as a shaman, then the spirit of that work presented itself to me as Soul Intent Arts, and I followed where it led, working in community.
I never really had internal confirmation of that as my life purpose, or anything else, despite that focusing on servitude to community carried its own sort of passion. I was very close to leaving my full-time job to pursue shamanizing further. I published my first book, Gift of the Dreamtime. All the things I'd intellectualized as life purpose had come into being.
Then I had twins, and everything changed. I can blog about how the advent of becoming a parent deepened my spirituality in ways I'd never imagine, or how children are born animists and mine have taught me much about what I thought I already knew. I could go for days on those revelations, but the wisdom of that experience is, when my kids were about a year old, I no longer felt the calling that had been with me since childhood.
No one ever talks about the completion of a life purpose. The assumption in the name itself suggests it takes a lifetime to complete, which by default means the true realization of fulfillment can only happen at the end of life. I felt screwed, frankly. I settled into a raw openness of not having a life purpose, which incited low level panic all the time. Yes, I was elated to be a mom. My struggle was the math of coming through an abusive childhood to finally decide late in the reproductive game to have children, minus one calling. I decided that my life purpose was not to have one. I blessed what felt completed and greeted the openness of not knowing, the freedom of choosing my purpose, every day, every minute.
I sat with this for two years. It seems like a long time to stew, but when you've got two toddlers running in different directions, and sweet potatoes smeared all over your powder room light switch, it goes by pretty quickly.
Late last year I began to realize I didn't really care about life purpose anymore. What was more detrimental was I coudn't feel connected to my passions. Several books and one successful, though mutable shamanic practice later, I just wasn't feeling any of it. And for me, the bottom line is, if I don't feel something, the wolves come out of the walls.
I called in the highest aspects of myself and gave them full control of my consciousness. I asked them to write down what I'm most passionate about. The first thing that came was 'family.' That seems like a perfect sentimental no-brainer, though I can tell you with blushing certainty, I was surprised. Not because I don't love my family or because I'm not fully engaged with their total wellbeing and joy, but because that kind of emotionally cohesive concept and devotion to family just wasn't part of my childhood experience. To behold that my family lights me from within healed me and blessed me, immediately. 
I asked for the next thing, and the word written was 'friends.' Again, I was surprised, not because I don't value loved ones, but because I'm not much of a joiner, and anyone who knows me well knows that fact--see above 'family.'
The next response was 'writing.' Yes. 8,000 huzzahs to the power of infinity, yes. I get up in the morning to write. I wake up because I have something to say, and that has been true since childhood. I couldn't learn the alphabet fast enough. Now there aren't enough hours in the day to write all the words that crowd my head for expression.
I waited patiently then, for the next passion to come. And nothing did. The buzzing presence of All I Could Be in that moment quieted until there was only regular old me in my skin. I can't say how disappointed I was, and to a large degree, ashamed.
I've been on a shamanic path since I was seventeen. I've devoted years to building my practice. How was shamanism not my passion? How could it not be my heartsong? Yet, the longer I sat with the revelation of what sings in me, I knew with absolute clarity that shamanism isn't what gets me up in the morning: it's what enables me to stay up the rest of the day. It's what sustains me when the passion turns into a sink full of dirty dishes, or the fourth night in a row that I haven't slept.

It's true that shamanism isn't my passion; it's my gift. It's the gift I bring, and the gift I receive, ongoing. It's not my job; it's what I am. It's not what I do, it's how I live.
I can't say that figuring those bits out fixed everything, though it was a start. The one thing with clarity that I can say is, a life purpose isn't the thing I do to fulfill some mystical calling. It's the things I do to give my life purpose, to make the time I have here meaningful.
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  • Kelley Harrell
    Kelley Harrell says #
    I'm happy to hear from you, Lia. I'm glad that you are finding what you need, now. Thank you for the inspirational boost!
  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    I relate to much of this. I had children early (when I was 20 and 22) and have been continually wondering where to fit in my call
  • Kelley Harrell
    Kelley Harrell says #
    Thank you, Lizann!
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you. Wise words.

This essay appears in Eternal Haunted Summer magazine, where it was originally published. It's part of my memoir about shamanic experience.

Sigyn and Loki_Shirl Sazynski

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  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thanks, Jill. Having known Loki for awhile, he is definitely not evil. If you want to learn more, there's an excellent article ab
  • Jill Swift
    Jill Swift says #
    I have been very intrigued by Loki. I know its weird with the movies that are out and about, but for some weird reason,Loki was th
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Good luck to you as well. (:

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

This blog post also appears in print with more photos in Sacred Hoop Issue #85.

Central Albuquerque, New Mexico USA. Seen from the sky. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

"Look wide, and look far. Look upon your city. This is your community. These are your people, all of them. The people you know and the people you will never meet. Even the ones you don't like. Good or bad, rich or poor, status and class and family don't matter. Politics don't matter. They're still all your people.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Thanks. I enjoyed the description of wandering in the hills near Albuquerque. I spent several years there and have hiked extensiv
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    You're welcome. Thanks for responding. Sounds like a fun wedding, Greybeard! And Jemez is gorgeous.
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thanks, Kimberly! I'd love to read those if you decide to share.
  • Kimberly Glaser
    Kimberly Glaser says #
    So beautiful! Makes me think of my own journal entries about Cerridwyn

Sigyn: Loki's wife by Shirl Sazynski
This essay first appeared at Eternal Haunted Summer last year and is part of an illustrated book on Norse Goddesses I am creating from my journeys as a spaekona (Norse seer).

Butterflies: A Meditation on Sigyn

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  • Cara Freyasdaughter
    Cara Freyasdaughter says #
    Hi Shirl! This is a lovely picture of Sigyn. It's so nice to see her get some attention. This is a great teaser; I'm really lookin
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    And if more of us talked about these sorts of experiences, the process would be easier on everyone. While all of these encounters
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Hi Kara! Thanks for your response and the compliments. It's why I'm writing things like this; I want to bring humans and the Gods

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Odin / Lugh as the Yule King by Shirl SazynskiA past December:

It's the season of mistletoe and holly, when bells are ring-jing-jing-a-ling and the year-round Northern outdoor signs that say, "Beware of Falling Ice" finally have meaning. The night is hushed in a way it only gets when there is a blanket of snow, on the eve before a holiday, when everything is closed. Snuggled in a hotel room in upstate New York, red and blue-foil snowflakes covering presents gleam out of the corner of my eye, while real ones slowly fall, dancing over the parking lot.

               It's almost midnight. Drowsy with hot cider, lying on my husband's chest and listening to his heartbeat, there's nowhere else I'd rather be…

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