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Old 03-20-17   #1
feranaja
 
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Default Sandra Ingerman

Just curious as to what others here think of her work?
www.sandraingerman.com
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Old 03-20-17   #2
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Default Re: Sandra Ingerman

Personally I can't give an opinion. Haven't followed her works or read anything she's published in quite sometime. As such not sure it would be fair.

What I hear is very lop sided as one might expect. From the neo-shamanic side, she is very highly praised but is also considered new agey and white light. From more traditional practitioners not greatly praised due to that new age influence and perspective.

It's like soul retrieval her works were aligned with the idea each fragment was unique in identity and persona. Something that pretty well matched many traditional practices and concepts that saw where a fragment could be human, animal, even something in-between. Now she's pushing more of the new age concept where it's "energy" and the fragment is not unique or individual so it's a merging of energy vice an idea of consciousness which really defeats the idea of an awareness of the self.

As I stated though I haven't read up or followed her closely though so can't say for certain her position though so that is more 2nd or 3rd hand. Yet it changes how the psychology of things would be done and the spirit is seen. Sort of moving it from a consciousness to simply energy. Also changing the interaction of the notion of relationship between the consciousness of all things as it were.

To a degree I've heard she tries to change the notion of shamanic practice from being one who walks the worlds and speaks between the spirits and the people. Many shamanic practitioners functions not as individuals for themselves in aboriginal or first nation societies but as voices for the spirit world. So they act as go betweens between the people, the divinities and the spirits. It is a way of life and exists within the framework of their society. Unlike western society where many have tried to make it a religious practice unto itself and spiritual pathway.

That I think is where a lot of the discord probably originates with some of her published material. It's about the self which for many is what neo-shamanism is all about. Serving the self vice serving Spirit and the the spiritworld.

But as to benefit all I can say is right now i'm reading Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing and Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential by Caroline Myss who is also fairly new age and good things come with good thoughts focused. But if you put those aside there is still a lot of truth there as well. Both of which have very heavy shamanic tones and healing with some soul retrieval concepts.
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Old 03-21-17   #3
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Default Re: Sandra Ingerman

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Originally Posted by MonSno_LeeDra View Post
Personally I can't give an opinion. Haven't followed her works or read anything she's published in quite sometime. As such not sure it would be fair.

What I hear is very lop sided as one might expect. From the neo-shamanic side, she is very highly praised but is also considered new agey and white light. From more traditional practitioners not greatly praised due to that new age influence and perspective.
Same old split...I'm trying to read her stuff without being overly influenced by either "side" as I have some sympathies for both.



Quote:
It's like soul retrieval her works were aligned with the idea each fragment was unique in identity and persona. Something that pretty well matched many traditional practices and concepts that saw where a fragment could be human, animal, even something in-between. Now she's pushing more of the new age concept where it's "energy" and the fragment is not unique or individual so it's a merging of energy vice an idea of consciousness which really defeats the idea of an awareness of the self.
That bit, I haven't read from her yet. I'm doing a lot more overtly shamanic work these days, with less emphasis on formal ritual and more on simply drumming into the Spiritworld and taking messages as they come. I think I have been moving in this direction for some time, but as always I don't see it so much as an arrival point but a marker along the way. It seems to me that if one is already receiving messages from Spirit in the form of dreams, omens and trance visions, maybe that's something to explore more deeply, as opposed to formal, elaborate rituals that can seem a little dry, especially when done alone. I'm reading widely, and included Ingerman partly because she is popular so I wanted to acquaint myself with her work and also, as I'm reading through a couple of her books, she is very accessible so may form a good starting place for those with magical background but not specifically shamanic.(Although I see much of what we do in western magic as shamanic in many ways)



Quote:
I stated though I haven't read up or followed her closely though so can't say for certain her position though so that is more 2nd or 3rd hand. Yet it changes how the psychology of things would be done and the spirit is seen. Sort of moving it from a consciousness to simply energy. Also changing the interaction of the notion of relationship between the consciousness of all things as it were.

To a degree I've heard she tries to change the notion of shamanic practice from being one who walks the worlds and speaks between the spirits and the people.
This is what concerns me, because honestly, how can you change that, and it still be shamanism? The book I am reading, I haven't gone into it far enough to see that. Her introductory exercises are the same as I've been taught in several traditions, how to relax and clear space, how to ground, how to call in the quarters and give thanks, how to go into light trance and how to come out. So far, aside from the emphasis on love and light(which I think is appropriate for beginners!) I haven't encountered anything that is really altering the basic nature of shamanism to a total New Age, self-focused thing at all, but again I'm only 1/3 through this book(but ordered two others).





Quote:
Many shamanic practitioners functions not as individuals for themselves in aboriginal or first nation societies but as voices for the spirit world. So they act as go betweens between the people, the divinities and the spirits. It is a way of life and exists within the framework of their society. Unlike western society where many have tried to make it a religious practice unto itself and spiritual pathway.
Exactly. Harner calls it "not a religion, but a method" and many use that method only for self gain. Just for the record, that is NOT what I am interested in doing.... but as being the Hollow Bone for the collective spirit of the Animal World. Sounds lofty when I write it, but I am already doing that in various ways,and my initial shamanic journeys brought powerful and surprising messages from an animal I had not expected, so I am continuing this study now. I don't want to denigrate the practise of shamanic voyaging for the purpose of self-healing, but the question remains - is it really shamanism?



Quote:
That I think is where a lot of the discord probably originates with some of her published material. It's about the self which for many is what neo-shamanism is all about. Serving the self vice serving Spirit and the the spiritworld.
Right.Although some would argue, that healing the Self is a necessary first step before healing of others can take place...if Ingerman makes that clear it strikes me as different from claiming that healing the Self is all that matters as is the core message of some New Age fluff.



Quote:
But as to benefit all I can say is right now i'm reading Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing and Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential by Caroline Myss who is also fairly new age and good things come with good thoughts focused. But if you put those aside there is still a lot of truth there as well. Both of which have very heavy shamanic tones and healing with some soul retrieval concepts.
See how we mellow with age, MonSno? You're reading Myss and I'm reading Ingerman. Well, maybe we've been down a long enough road we have earned the right (and the mental clarity!) to read these things with discernment. I have some Myss upstairs somewhere, I bought years ago and the New Ageiness put me off. But as you say, important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I'll take another look at her as well. Thanks for a thoughtful discussion here.

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Old 03-21-17   #4
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Smile Re: Sandra Ingerman

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Originally Posted by feranaja View Post
Same old split...I'm trying to read her stuff without being overly influenced by either "side" as I have some sympathies for both.
I know what you mean. I've gotten softer I suppose as I've grown older, maybe wiser. Especially where it straddles the line, not sure when it's so far out in left or right field though.

Quote:
That bit, I haven't read from her yet. I'm doing a lot more overtly shamanic work these days, with less emphasis on formal ritual and more on simply drumming into the Spiritworld and taking messages as they come. I think I have been moving in this direction for some time, but as always I don't see it so much as an arrival point but a marker along the way. It seems to me that if one is already receiving messages from Spirit in the form of dreams, omens and trance visions, maybe that's something to explore more deeply, as opposed to formal, elaborate rituals that can seem a little dry, especially when done alone. I'm reading widely, and included Ingerman partly because she is popular so I wanted to acquaint myself with her work and also, as I'm reading through a couple of her books, she is very accessible so may form a good starting place for those with magical background but not specifically shamanic.(Although I see much of what we do in western magic as shamanic in many ways)
I do agree that there are many shamanic techniques found in the western magical systems. Heck there are many world walker techniques though not sure shamanic is the correct term or incorrect term to be honest. But it certainly has become the collective term used to describe them in general.

It is sort of funny or ironic I suppose that it wasn't that long ago many western groups used "Crossing the Hedge" or something similar to denote a difference between magically going into the spirit realm versus shamantically going there. Though I suppose it was sometime ago if I really think about it. I was both a shamanic practitioner and a Hedge Rider back then, the early 1980's and forward.

I do think, personal opinion, that most shamanic practitioners do things through personal visions, dream visions, journey, etc that does not involve elaborate rituals, costumes (regalia), etc. When they are used it's more often when people are involved and the costumes, rituals are used to bring the people into the events. Make them participants. Not to say we don't use aides such as fires, smokes, substances to alter awareness, etc.

Some of the things I recall from her books do touch on those things but they also have a lot of the new age stuff like dream vision to find your guide or totem.

Quote:
This is what concerns me, because honestly, how can you change that, and it still be shamanism? The book I am reading, I haven't gone into it far enough to see that. Her introductory exercises are the same as I've been taught in several traditions, how to relax and clear space, how to ground, how to call in the quarters and give thanks, how to go into light trance and how to come out. So far, aside from the emphasis on love and light(which I think is appropriate for beginners!) I haven't encountered anything that is really altering the basic nature of shamanism to a total New Age, self-focused thing at all, but again I'm only 1/3 through this book(but ordered two others).
What you describe there though is part of the issue. For instance shamanic practitioners in a traditional sense do not call quarters. Don't recall how she has you clear space but for many Native American practices clearing space is by sweeping with cedar or burning sage yet it's not the same as a magical sense of clearing space. For them, and others, it's purifying space, not clearing it and it's psychologically different. Many times when giving thanks for instance it's through offerings which are given to ones allies and to the spirits which were called or are acknowledge as being at the sacred place. Sort of the idea of "All my relations" which recognizes all creatures, great and small as well as the spirit world. Regarding the love and light I think that one many traditional practitioners say if you give or recognize love then it means you have to give or recognize hate. So we were taught you neither give love nor hate you simply give respect and acknowledgement. Doesn't mean you care for it or even accept it but you do acknowledge it and respect Spirit's hand in creating it and putting it here.

That's part of what I'm hearing about how she is changing what shamanism is and what it means to be a shaman. Figure religion for a people is basically the gods / goddesses or GOD telling a people what is right and wrong for them but the Shaman or world walker is not here to do that for them. He / she is here to act as a go between, a link between the Spirit would and the living world. A reader of the spirits through his / her allies in the various kingdoms or peoples that reside here with them. About the only difference is some practitioners are better at hearing plant allies, some at hearing animal allies, some better at hearing what might be called non-earthly allies, some better at dealing with restless dead, etc.

Though I think the old guard probably still clings to the one teacher one student thing as well. Figure for many Shaman are chosen by the Spirit world never by a student wanting to be a shaman. Many of the books, hers as well, seem to gloss over the old idea of those chosen by the Spirits tend to have died or suffered such a serious sickness that basically the last rites were given to them. When the books do touch on it the "Shamanic death or illness" is broadened to such an extent that it becomes "You stubbed you toe" that qualifies.

Quote:
Exactly. Harner calls it "not a religion, but a method" and many use that method only for self gain. Just for the record, that is NOT what I am interested in doing.... but as being the Hollow Bone for the collective spirit of the Animal World. Sounds lofty when I write it, but I am already doing that in various ways,and my initial shamanic journeys brought powerful and surprising messages from an animal I had not expected, so I am continuing this study now. I don't want to denigrate the practise of shamanic voyaging for the purpose of self-healing, but the question remains - is it really shamanism?
That's one of the bigger arguments I see today. For many it's a religion while others say it's a practice or method that exists within a religion. Of course the rising trend now is the cultural appropriation kick. Both arguments battled out in books though I swear it seems most books seem to fall into the it's both at the same time perspective for anyone who wants to be a shaman. Which of courses adds to the cultural appropriation claims.

Being a Hollow Bone or Talking Stick can be a painful task. But the pain from my perspective usually is not from being the messenger but from being stuck to the message. Being a Hollow Bone many times is like being an old telephone operator, Spirit calls and tells you to deliver a message to so and so. You patch the message through to so and so and see the line has cleared and disconnect and wait for your next message.

Unfortunately, for many it's not that simple. They forget they are only the Hollow Bone and their job was to deliver or route the message. Instead they hang onto the open line and try to follow up on the message and see if it is acted upon and what acts were taken. So much so infact that many times not only do they miss other incoming calls they become corrupted and spoiled by unwanted feedback or circuit chatter. Like the song says.."Don't leave me hanging on the telephone..."

I have a friend that was a pretty good healer and hollow bone at one time. he could look at a person and would get images about them. If he did as was guided to do and let it go he got lots of messages. Yet he started to hang on and try to guide and inspired those he was compelled to speak to. Muddied the waters really bad. He'd become upset if they didn't act on what he was told to tell them. Became troubled if they didn't take it as serious as he though it was. In essence he stopped being the Hollow Bone and started trying to decide what the message meant and how important it was vice leaving it to the person it was meant for to do so.

In many ways he forgot what his job was. He used to ask me why I could simply let go when I knew there was pain and hurt there. Couldn't understand when I'd tell him as a shamanic practitioner pain and hurt was part of our training. It was something we had to deal with everyday and learn to let go of and not cling to. If we clung to it we'd get no where. Figure life starts with both the love of our mothers and the very pain of birth we inflict upon her. Yet she shows us even the agony of having her body torn open can be healed and one can rise above it and move forward if there is a reason to do so. Yet even if all the reason are there sometimes you simply can not survive and death will claim you. That is the first lesson of Spirit and tied to the drum in many ways.

Quote:
Right.Although some would argue, that healing the Self is a necessary first step before healing of others can take place...if Ingerman makes that clear it strikes me as different from claiming that healing the Self is all that matters as is the core message of some New Age fluff.
It's hard to put into words but what I recall, and remember its been sometime, that it came across as healing made new. That was what was very new agey. A shaman knows that the body heals but it never can be the same. The soul is brought back together but it is never as it once was but it is healed as the parts are together again. An arm can be healed but the scar is still there and the arm is never the same as it was before the injury. Even the mind can be healed but the mind is never the same as it was before the injury.

When you read her books, and yes others as well, that fact seems lost. Healed seems to imply so often that things are reset to a status of what existed prior to the injury or incident. yet the truth is the person has only learnt to "Live" with the awareness and acceptance of the incident or injury and the new conditions that now exist.

Unfortunately sometimes healed also means false or incorrect information. A book cites some case of a person who attended a workshop, did their exercise and is healed. Males it look like a perfect example of success. We the reader just never get the full truth but a desperate person tries it and suffers or worse. Sort of like the sweat Lodge death's in Sedona Arizona a dozen or so years ago.

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See how we mellow with age, MonSno? You're reading Myss and I'm reading Ingerman. Well, maybe we've been down a long enough road we have earned the right (and the mental clarity!) to read these things with discernment. I have some Myss upstairs somewhere, I bought years ago and the New Ageiness put me off. But as you say, important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I'll take another look at her as well. Thanks for a thoughtful discussion here.
Well they say things get better with age. he he he

Definitely been down a long road though. Lots of changes and perspectives along the way.


Sad part about many of these authors is read their books years ago or buy those books years ago and then have to spend more money to buy the re-writes. Many times significant re-writes as the books have changed just as much as the times.

Does make you wonder, well makes me wonder, did the author change or just update the content to make the book sell again?
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Old 03-22-17   #5
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Default Re: Sandra Ingerman

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I do agree that there are many shamanic techniques found in the western magical systems. Heck there are many world walker techniques though not sure shamanic is the correct term or incorrect term to be honest. But it certainly has become the collective term used to describe them in general.
Sometimes I think we are just all a little too uptight about nomenclature. People can follow an authentic spiritual path that differs from our own and not be "wrong", you know I agree with you 100% about the whole "love and light" gang, not truly advanced in the sense you and I have faced darkness within and without and understand the world to be made of more than fluffy bunnies and rose quartz crystals. And it's even more irritating when these guys all assert how they are great spiritual masters, by virtue of having read Eat Pray Love. But, the trick is (IMO) to learn to ignore it. I have loads of friends who call themselves witches and don't know simple ritual construction, haven't read anything after Starhawk, cannot heal or harm...but my perspective is, meh. To them it's a game, it's "cool" and to me it's a path, a calling a way of life. So be it.Most of these people are good folks so I just try and ignore the pretentiousness.

Does that make sense to you?



Quote:
It is sort of funny or ironic I suppose that it wasn't that long ago many western groups used "Crossing the Hedge" or something similar to denote a difference between magically going into the spirit realm versus shamantically going there. Though I suppose it was sometime ago if I really think about it. I was both a shamanic practitioner and a Hedge Rider back then, the early 1980's and forward.
I don't think I ever even heard the term Hedge Witch until the late 90s. You're right, today all these terms are wildly jumbled up and applied almost at the whim of the individual.

Quote:
I do think, personal opinion, that most shamanic practitioners do things through personal visions, dream visions, journey, etc that does not involve elaborate rituals, costumes (regalia), etc. When they are used it's more often when people are involved and the costumes, rituals are used to bring the people into the events. Make them participants. Not to say we don't use aides such as fires, smokes, substances to alter awareness, etc.
Exactly. I don't use the term shaman to describe myself, but I do find that going into vision via drumming or breathwork, with little more set-up than simply clearing space and acknowledging the directions, produces much more powerful experiences than all the hours devotes to a ritual bath, getting all the correspondences right, then a multi-level ritual with very specific words and method...as you say, this is most true for practising alone. All the outward "stuff" is really important if doing a ritual for many people and especially, if beginners are involved.

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Some of the things I recall from her books do touch on those things but they also have a lot of the new age stuff like dream vision to find your guide or totem.
I found a couple of her books here I didn't know/remember that I had, and they were much as you describe. Working through this one (Walking in Light) I find it less annoyingly New Age than the others, but I also ordered a couple new ones and will see what I think. You know, there can be value even in annoying pap, and some people condemn not just Ingerman but Harner and all his students and followers as well. It isn't classical "shamanism" for sure but it seems to have much value to many, so I'm not about to judge too harshly....



Quote:
What you describe there though is part of the issue. For instance shamanic practitioners in a traditional sense do not call quarters. Don't recall how she has you clear space but for many Native American practices clearing space is by sweeping with cedar or burning sage yet it's not the same as a magical sense of clearing space. For them, and others, it's purifying space, not clearing it and it's psychologically different.
It's profoundly different, I should have made myself more clear there. There is a sense of union/unity/communion in purifying/smudgeing but a strong energy of "banishing unwanted energies" in much Western magic. In Avalonian magic, the clearing is very gentle and kind of straddles the two, but in many forms of Wicca and certainly, in Golden Dawn style magic, you're kicking those bad entities to the curb. VERY different energy for sure.


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Many times when giving thanks for instance it's through offerings which are given to ones allies and to the spirits which were called or are acknowledge as being at the sacred place. Sort of the idea of "All my relations" which recognizes all creatures, great and small as well as the spirit world.
And this is exactly what I practise in my informal, daily work, with much more of a Druidic feel though, less NativeAmerican (which I am drawn to like so many other,s but i have a lot of misgivings about appropriation.)




Quote:
Regarding the love and light I think that one many traditional practitioners say if you give or recognize love then it means you have to give or recognize hate. So we were taught you neither give love nor hate you simply give respect and acknowledgement. Doesn't mean you care for it or even accept it but you do acknowledge it and respect Spirit's hand in creating it and putting it here.
That can be a challenging position to take, for those of us who have a strong sense of good and evil (for which I have been lambasted many times) and who cannot always accept that "Spirit knows best". I mean, there are (in my worldview) good and bad spirits, and part of any magician/shaman/ Druid's job is to support the good guys and oppose the bad. But these are major philosophical issues (and beyond my grasp right this moment, it's too early!) It's certainly true that the practise of watching nature brings a lot of our assumptions about good vs evil into question...I'm not suggesting I have any answers, but I do remain in deep contact with the questions...

Quote:
That's part of what I'm hearing about how she is changing what shamanism is and what it means to be a shaman. Figure religion for a people is basically the gods / goddesses or GOD telling a people what is right and wrong for them but the Shaman or world walker is not here to do that for them. He / she is here to act as a go between, a link between the Spirit would and the living world.
I would just have to interject, that the deities I work with (and some for 30 years now) don't "tell me what to do"... or what or right for me AT ALL. I have strong, loving relationships with several who have more or less seen me through a lot of difficulty and have served as beacons, guides and sometimes, protectors...but not been rigidly demanding as to my behaviours, aside from perhaps a few rules one definitely needs to follow with the Orishas! Just a comment here.



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A reader of the spirits through his / her allies in the various kingdoms or peoples that reside here with them. About the only difference is some practitioners are better at hearing plant allies, some at hearing animal allies, some better at hearing what might be called non-earthly allies, some better at dealing with restless dead, etc.
Agreed, I can hear animals much more clearly(and sometimes can't drown them out, lol) but plant allies are speaking more to me throughout the years. The dead, no so much for me although I have had a few startling experiences throughout life, but not on a regular basis. You?



Quote:
Though I think the old guard probably still clings to the one teacher one student thing as well. Figure for many Shaman are chosen by the Spirit world never by a student wanting to be a shaman. Many of the books, hers as well, seem to gloss over the old idea of those chosen by the Spirits tend to have died or suffered such a serious sickness that basically the last rites were given to them. When the books do touch on it the "Shamanic death or illness" is broadened to such an extent that it becomes "You stubbed you toe" that qualifies.
Oh that kind of thing is what gets my goat, too. Although I can agree that some personal trauma that an outsider might not regard as so big a deal, could be experienced in a profound way by an individual...but it can get silly. I agree 100% that there is a world of difference between the classical idea of a shaman who is called to the role by spirit, who comes back from the brink of death with powers and who serves the community - and people who are looking for a spiritual path, feel drawn to this work and begin to train with someone like Harner. A WORLD of difference that is not always respected or acknowledged. But, I also feel that the person who feels drawn to the work and studies with Harner etc may well become a powerful and evolved practitioner. The problem is, so many don;t, so many just buy the rattles and deerskin pouches and try to look the part, and don't do the inner work at all. That's where a need for discretion and tolerance comes in - I personally have learned to see who is authentic and who is a loser, and extend tolerance to the posers...whereas in past I was always angered by their presumptions and arrogance.Nowadays, I just try to wish them well and then keep my distance.




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That's one of the bigger arguments I see today. For many it's a religion while others say it's a practice or method that exists within a religion. Of course the rising trend now is the cultural appropriation kick. Both arguments battled out in books though I swear it seems most books seem to fall into the it's both at the same time perspective for anyone who wants to be a shaman. Which of courses adds to the cultural appropriation claims.
I know - well, I know OF, a local woman who has a sort of Native look to her, physically, and about 1/8 Native blood, same as I have actually.But she is all about the "Oh i am so NA."....it's sickening to me. The dreamcatcher in the car mirror, the hair dyed jet black, the moccasins...all the trappings.But she is neither wise nor knowledgeable, just manages to suck people in with a few catchphrases and some jewelry. I admit, I hate that kind of thing and you're right, there's so much of it.
These days, I consider it a part of my own innerwork to recognize this kind of BS and then just get as far away from it as possible.

Quote:
Being a Hollow Bone or Talking Stick can be a painful task. But the pain from my perspective usually is not from being the messenger but from being stuck to the message. Being a Hollow Bone many times is like being an old telephone operator, Spirit calls and tells you to deliver a message to so and so. You patch the message through to so and so and see the line has cleared and disconnect and wait for your next message.

Unfortunately, for many it's not that simple. They forget they are only the Hollow Bone and their job was to deliver or route the message. Instead they hang onto the open line and try to follow up on the message and see if it is acted upon and what acts were taken. So much so infact that many times not only do they miss other incoming calls they become corrupted and spoiled by unwanted feedback or circuit chatter. Like the song says.."Don't leave me hanging on the telephone..."
Well, that's one of the better analogies I've heard -

Quote:
I have a friend that was a pretty good healer and hollow bone at one time. he could look at a person and would get images about them. If he did as was guided to do and let it go he got lots of messages. Yet he started to hang on and try to guide and inspired those he was compelled to speak to. Muddied the waters really bad. He'd become upset if they didn't act on what he was told to tell them. Became troubled if they didn't take it as serious as he though it was. In essence he stopped being the Hollow Bone and started trying to decide what the message meant and how important it was vice leaving it to the person it was meant for to do so.

In many ways he forgot what his job was. He used to ask me why I could simply let go when I knew there was pain and hurt there. Couldn't understand when I'd tell him as a shamanic practitioner pain and hurt was part of our training. It was something we had to deal with everyday and learn to let go of and not cling to. If we clung to it we'd get no where. Figure life starts with both the love of our mothers and the very pain of birth we inflict upon her. Yet she shows us even the agony of having her body torn open can be healed and one can rise above it and move forward if there is a reason to do so. Yet even if all the reason are there sometimes you simply can not survive and death will claim you. That is the first lesson of Spirit and tied to the drum in many ways.
Wonderfully put - I would say that it's similar for those of us who work in physical healing (at least initially, there is always Spirit at work when there is illness but I can't always get into that with clients). I have to walk a line between a deep caring for whomever I am working with, and getting too entangled. I have clients who latch onto me like mad, and email multiple times a day... I can feel their need and fear and even desperation (remember that although 70% of my work is with domestic dogs at this time, with every dog-case I am also getting a needy, frightened, often lonely human, too). I used to get way too entangled thinking it would help the client, but of course it doesn't, so distance has to be maintained. I've often written just a few lines to a client, thinking "this is what they really need to hear now, but I wish I could spend more time" only to learn in days or weeks to come that what I had sent was very powerful for them I hadn't really needed to write more at all. So that is an internal issue I had to overcome, feeling that nothing I ever did was "enough". Often the most important thing we can do is step away...even when, maybe especially when, we feel an urge to hang on.





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It's hard to put into words but what I recall, and remember its been sometime, that it came across as healing made new. That was what was very new agey. A shaman knows that the body heals but it never can be the same. The soul is brought back together but it is never as it once was but it is healed as the parts are together again. An arm can be healed but the scar is still there and the arm is never the same as it was before the injury. Even the mind can be healed but the mind is never the same as it was before the injury.

When you read her books, and yes others as well, that fact seems lost. Healed seems to imply so often that things are reset to a status of what existed prior to the injury or incident. yet the truth is the person has only learnt to "Live" with the awareness and acceptance of the incident or injury and the new conditions that now exist.
hhmm, interesting point and I'll watch out for that as I continue to read her material.

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Unfortunately sometimes healed also means false or incorrect information. A book cites some case of a person who attended a workshop, did their exercise and is healed. Males it look like a perfect example of success. We the reader just never get the full truth but a desperate person tries it and suffers or worse. Sort of like the sweat Lodge death's in Sedona Arizona a dozen or so years ago.
Yes, now you mention it she does list off a bunch of examples in Walking in Light, that sounds like shamanism is a great New Age healing technique "anyone can master". I don't disagree that a spiritual path which connects an individual both to their own depths and the nature, is likely to have a great effect, worked diligently...but it does seem too easy and also that the ultimate GOAL of shamanic study is to "fix your life". That is definitely where the accusation that this type of work is "shallow" finds most justification, for me.




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Well they say things get better with age. he he he
Some...not all, lol! I lose my readers 100 times a day, for one thing...

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Definitely been down a long road though. Lots of changes and perspectives along the way.

Sad part about many of these authors is read their books years ago or buy those books years ago and then have to spend more money to buy the re-writes. Many times significant re-writes as the books have changed just as much as the times.
Does make you wonder, well makes me wonder, did the author change or just update the content to make the book sell again?
Partly why I have more books than furniture. But it's all good, as long as I can have music, animals and BOOKS I'm a happy camper.

Gotta run for the day but thanks for the great discussion...
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Old 03-22-17   #6
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Sometimes I think we are just all a little too uptight about nomenclature. People can follow an authentic spiritual path that differs from our own and not be "wrong", you know I agree with you 100% about the whole "love and light" gang, not truly advanced in the sense you and I have faced darkness within and without and understand the world to be made of more than fluffy bunnies and rose quartz crystals. And it's even more irritating when these guys all assert how they are great spiritual masters, by virtue of having read Eat Pray Love. But, the trick is (IMO) to learn to ignore it. I have loads of friends who call themselves witches and don't know simple ritual construction, haven't read anything after Starhawk, cannot heal or harm...but my perspective is, meh. To them it's a game, it's "cool" and to me it's a path, a calling a way of life. So be it.Most of these people are good folks so I just try and ignore the pretentiousness.

Does that make sense to you?
I think for me the nomenclatures are important to the extent they give us clues as to what to expect from the person. An idea of what they mean or we think they are trying to say by the words they use. But we also shouldn't use them specifically to box them in or judge their worthiness.

Unfortunately, today so many words are being re-written and definitions changed that it's almost useless. Even when a definition tries to stay relative many are so watered down that they convey little of what they once meant.

Personally I figure it's not my place to judge the pathway of another or it's merits. I know mine has changed and evolved over time and bears little resemblance to what it was when it started out. Even with people guiding me and lots of hands on presence in retrospect there is a lot of fluffy stuff that was there. Fluffy being supper sugary and super icky dark in its own way as the currents pushed me to the left and to the right.

Definitely can't say all the authors I read along the way were any better or any worse as influences than what is there today. About the only difference is probably not as popular and no major occult publishing houses behind them so no mass following.

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I don't think I ever even heard the term Hedge Witch until the late 90s. You're right, today all these terms are wildly jumbled up and applied almost at the whim of the individual.
I think a lot of it came about due to authors seeking new or old terms to populate their books. Lots of the terms or variants of them were already there in some form in many of the folk practices or certain regions. But since they weren't known or used they became perfect "Fodder" or "Filler" for the many 101 books flooding the markets.

Figure we didn't really hear anything associated with the African Disapora practices until the 90's near as I can recall. Even then it was more so the late 90's before the terminology really became involved and the Loa's and such came about. To a large degree the Native American influence and Shamanism influence enters into things around the same time. Maybe a bit earlier, say the late 80's but not much earlier.

Prior to that it's almost entirely Greek and Roman with a smattering of Egyptian and a fairly heavy focus upon Arthurian / Nordic lore. Yet even the Nordic / Heathen stuff is fairly limited at that time so Heathenism is not as well known outside of certain areas.

Granny or Folk magics get some attention but I really do not recall to much outside of what is taught locally. Streghia comes in but I recall it actually being more of a folk practice at the time when I was introduced to it not the idea of a formalized Italian survival practice you get today.

But so much "Filler" material or so called pedia books were produced. Think I still have a few of the "Pedia" books around that are the Encyclopedia of Spirits, The Encyclopedia of Demons, The Encyclopedia of Plants, etc.

So many pedia books that people started to simply pick out a term from some place and insert it though they had no actual understanding of its full meaning.

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Exactly. I don't use the term shaman to describe myself, but I do find that going into vision via drumming or breathwork, with little more set-up than simply clearing space and acknowledging the directions, produces much more powerful experiences than all the hours devotes to a ritual bath, getting all the correspondences right, then a multi-level ritual with very specific words and method...as you say, this is most true for practising alone. All the outward "stuff" is really important if doing a ritual for many people and especially, if beginners are involved.
I dislike the term Shaman as a descriptor for myself. I get labeled as such but I am not one though people tag me as such. Sad part is I really do not know what word would be correct and the spirits, my guides, the gods & goddesses I am bound to and Spirit itself simply say I am what I am and what they want and need me to be. No name is ever given for it.

Personal wise I find I don't do all the bells and whistles stuff most of the time. Probably 90 percent of the time it's sit down, clear my head and listen to the wind, smell the air and get "urges" where I start speaking to things and moving things, sweeping things, etc. Sometimes like a humming chant with a few song like words and movements. Heck a lot of times following some animal that has caught my attention and i've followed it to a place or simply lead to it by my dog when I was walking him. That or a smell or sound on the wind that calls me and I just go with it and see where it leads me.

Not to say I don't do more formal things that have some planning to them. Sometimes I will have visions or dreams of things I am to do that develop in stages over a few days or even weeks and the process and needs are shown to me. Ironically or on purpose the greater the danger or intensity of the ritual / ceremony the more detailed the vision.

Sad part is i've never been able to do any of the journey or visualization exercises from any of the books i've read. Was in journey time once and actually asked one of my guides about it and their response was basically why would we want you to. The point is you journey to learn what we think you need not what another was told was their purpose. You fail because their journey and lesson is not yours. Those who succeed do so because they are not doing a lesson from Spirit. They are simply watching another's movie. They simply mimic them they do not learn anything of their own.

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I found a couple of her books here I didn't know/remember that I had, and they were much as you describe. Working through this one (Walking in Light) I find it less annoyingly New Age than the others, but I also ordered a couple new ones and will see what I think. You know, there can be value even in annoying pap, and some people condemn not just Ingerman but Harner and all his students and followers as well. It isn't classical "shamanism" for sure but it seems to have much value to many, so I'm not about to judge too harshly....
I used to be hung up on parts of that. Heck not telling you anything there you don't already know. But then I got to thinking that if I am guided and pointed to them then on some level I must be expected to understand and perhaps relate to them. Don't have to be like them but have to understand and relate to them.

Admit still have a hard time with the core shamanism aspects at times as it removes or in my opinion ignores all the cultural influences. That is what made the Shaman, Medicine Person, World Walker or whatever name they used a part of the people and trusted by their people. It also IMO created the condition that resulted in the individual above the group mindset which I think is collectively bad for society and the planet as a whole.

But it did look at the techniques in a sterilized manner. Compared and contrasted them against various backdrops which as a practitioner if I am honest is not a bad thing. At times that has given me alternative methodologies to consider in approaching things I might not have otherwise considered. It also serves to remind me that I have to be conscious and aware that how I aid others may be more effective if I change my approach.

Those who are Pagan or Occultist I can use pagan or occultist terminology and phraseology to aid me. Yet when I am dealing with my Christian friends I have to use Christian terminology and such to aid them so have to be aware of that paradigm and mindset. The practice is the same but the sterilized methodologies are different.

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It's profoundly different, I should have made myself more clear there. There is a sense of union/unity/communion in purifying/smudgeing but a strong energy of "banishing unwanted energies" in much Western magic. In Avalonian magic, the clearing is very gentle and kind of straddles the two, but in many forms of Wicca and certainly, in Golden Dawn style magic, you're kicking those bad entities to the curb. VERY different energy for sure.
I agree there. Much of western magical systems is heavily influenced by ceremonial and high magical systems. Dominance and control / subjugation of the location and system is more the ideal. For many shamanic like practices your not trying to dominate or control / subjugate as you exist in harmony with them. Granted that harmony can be difficult at times given you know some of them are not fond of humans in general but you still try to exist not control or dominate.

I think in part because many shamanic practices recognize the presence of a trickster element. Ceremonial and high magical systems in my opinion do not typically recognize the trickster element. Yet the trickster is so dominate in that it can aid you one moment yet screw with you the next. It can be beneficial yet also malign, many times depending upon its mood as well as the season and time of day. Yet it can be appeased or intrigued due to its curiosity. That trickster is also the unknown or uncontrollable.

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And this is exactly what I practise in my informal, daily work, with much more of a Druidic feel though, less NativeAmerican (which I am drawn to like so many other,s but i have a lot of misgivings about appropriation.)
I walk that tight rope as well. My heritage is so far removed from the blood lines it feels wrong. Yet the way the land itself and many times the spirits of it speak to me is through those ways. But I definitely do not walk around or surround myself in Native American motifs and regalis and such. Heck try not to use words unless I feel compelled to do so and even then hesitate to speak them.

Sad that many times I feel a stranger in a strange land. it doesn't make sense to most people. I connect most times to the land I am upon at the time but can not talk of it. I have Scottish ancestry but when I was in Scotland I was not Scottish for my ancestors left to long ago. My native ancestry is to far removed to claim it legitimately in many eyes. There are those who claim if I did a DNA test it will show I have a Hellene trait given that Hekate and Artemis claim me so strongly. Yet it to is so far in the past.

That is one thing I find haunts many in the shamanic practices. The traditional tests claim us, heck I died and suffered the shaman's death in other ways. Yet I am disconnected from the land by time and the blood that claims me.

Will continue
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Old 03-22-17   #7
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.. That can be a challenging position to take, for those of us who have a strong sense of good and evil (for which I have been lambasted many times) and who cannot always accept that "Spirit knows best". I mean, there are (in my worldview) good and bad spirits, and part of any magician/shaman/ Druid's job is to support the good guys and oppose the bad. But these are major philosophical issues (and beyond my grasp right this moment, it's too early!) It's certainly true that the practise of watching nature brings a lot of our assumptions about good vs evil into question...I'm not suggesting I have any answers, but I do remain in deep contact with the questions...
Oh I didn't say Spirit knows best, just implying that I can't judge Spirits action against human constructs and perceptions. Good and evil is a human construct that is mostly defined against culture and cultural morality and its ethics for the most part. Granted there are some concepts that are more universal than others such as murder for instance but generally good and bad are culturally defined.

As such it's not Spirit defining what is best or correct but humankind defining it. As such it's a fluid definition and subject to frequent change. In most instances it's also a survival association that defines the degree of acceptability.

In nature there really is no ethical or morale interference. One species will destroy another without care or concern to ensure its own survival. If survival can be possible through mutual union then it is done, if not then destruction or push the other out. Yet nature will also only breed normally to the point where it can sustain the particular species. Beyond that then something happens to reduce that population. Introduction of predators, famine, reduction of births, deaths from challenge for breeding, disease, something to thin the populations.

Unfortunately mankind is seen as both above and beyond that nature selection and beastly uncaring towards other creatures. In truth both perspectives being correct. Our intelligence reducing many of the natural threats and conditions that act upon us that should limit and control our populations. Our distance and inhumanity from the other member's of the animal kingdom making many of us less sympathetic to them and their plight. Causing many to see them as things or objects vice seeing them as living and breathing creature's to be treated and respected as living creature's.

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I would just have to interject, that the deities I work with (and some for 30 years now) don't "tell me what to do"... or what or right for me AT ALL. I have strong, loving relationships with several who have more or less seen me through a lot of difficulty and have served as beacons, guides and sometimes, protectors...but not been rigidly demanding as to my behaviours, aside from perhaps a few rules one definitely needs to follow with the Orishas! Just a comment here.
By telling us what to do I mean by moral, ethical, cultural influences. Granted seldom are the pagan / heathen practices seen as revealed cultus or religions in the sense of the Abrahamic religions with their revealed dogma and commandments. Yet all of them have some set of influences that tell us and mold our morality and ethics.

Normally evolving and changing as we grow older and better understand them. Yet none the less still "telling us" through stories, legends, fables, etc how we should live our lives and such.

But this also crosses into the idea of free will and determination and whether ones future is actually open or is it preordained. If preordained then your still being told what to do and when to do it. If it's free willed and the sequence is never set then perhaps your not being told what to do. But then why get guidance? All the guides and such I've had have left little doubt that if Spirit, the Gods / Goddesses have decided I need to do something there is no doubt I am being told. Figure when your punished in some manner until you make the right decision or go in the right direction that is being told what to do. Of course that is my own experience though it tends to match up with most traditional shamanic type practitioners I am aware of.

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Agreed, I can hear animals much more clearly(and sometimes can't drown them out, lol) but plant allies are speaking more to me throughout the years. The dead, no so much for me although I have had a few startling experiences throughout life, but not on a regular basis. You?
I hear the standing ones more than the smaller green peoples. The winged ones probably call to me quite a bit as they catch my attention fairly often though especially Herons and Eagles. For the four legs though it seems deer are the big ones. Yet in dreamtime it's wolves and snow leopards that seem to dominate as guides and such.

I see the dead fairly often. Sometimes hear them speak. Have been called upon to act as a Spirit Keeper a few times or sing travelling songs for the deceased. Been an adviser more than a few times for people who are dealing with deceased loved ones and need to help them cross and drop their earthly garb.

Been called on a few times to do a crossing ritual for animals. Those were sort of strange as you didn't do travelling songs or such. Remember one year doing it where I had to gather lots of fruits and such and put them out around Christmas. Pull over a bunch of cedar tree's and build snow traps where the heavy cedar catches the snow and leaves a opening underneath it so the deer and other smaller animals could nest. Was sort of weird as the smell of rotting meat was always in my nose and you could taste it all the time. Couldn't eat meat for something like a week or more at the time. Burnt lots of candles and had small fires and spots fires at four different places at the time.

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Oh that kind of thing is what gets my goat, too. Although I can agree that some personal trauma that an outsider might not regard as so big a deal, could be experienced in a profound way by an individual...but it can get silly. I agree 100% that there is a world of difference between the classical idea of a shaman who is called to the role by spirit, who comes back from the brink of death with powers and who serves the community - and people who are looking for a spiritual path, feel drawn to this work and begin to train with someone like Harner. A WORLD of difference that is not always respected or acknowledged. But, I also feel that the person who feels drawn to the work and studies with Harner etc may well become a powerful and evolved practitioner. The problem is, so many don;t, so many just buy the rattles and deerskin pouches and try to look the part, and don't do the inner work at all. That's where a need for discretion and tolerance comes in - I personally have learned to see who is authentic and who is a loser, and extend tolerance to the posers...whereas in past I was always angered by their presumptions and arrogance.Nowadays, I just try to wish them well and then keep my distance.
I used to think it was like going to a ren fair. You see everyone walking around dressed up in period dress, talking the talk, holding all the right hankies, wearing the right robes and cords, everything in the right places. Yet take away their script and they knew nothing about what they were trying to pull off. Even worse, change the sequence of their script and they were lost. They couldn't get from A to C except to go through B. Didn't understand that what happened in scene A from an entirely different play was the basis for everything going on.

That's the problem with Harner, his group could handle the changes to the script but didn't know about the other play. The group that picked up the book or simply wanted to play the part couldn't handle the role without the script.

I understand that many are selected. That means that Spirit, the spirits in general or the spirit world will reach out and in some manner influence those people. Once touched and selected they will always be touched and changed in some way.

Being selected means that of those selected some will be pulled from the group and pulled in deeper. But it doesn't mean they will be pulled in all the way. Yet because they were pulled in some way it will still change them. Cause them to have interest in and actually pursue those interest in some capacity.

I know there are many levels and degree's that the Spirits will take those who are selected. Can't think of the nation but was told of one nation where everyone selected went into the same clan. Yet the clan recognized some would never advance more than being people who would gather herbs. Some would be trained to apply herbs, attend the moon lodges and attend the birthing lodges, others would actually be the doctors. None more important or less important than the others, each selected and touched by Spirit. Yet each only pushed to go so far in the greater scheme of things.

I think the problem with modern shamanism and many authors, Ingerman included is they try to tell everyone they can advance to the greatest of heights. Yet that is not possible. However, if the person doesn't become the greatest then they are seen as a failure in some capacity. Especially in their own sense of self worth and self esteem. Basically because they've been taught it's about the self not the group.


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I know - well, I know OF, a local woman who has a sort of Native look to her, physically, and about 1/8 Native blood, same as I have actually.But she is all about the "Oh i am so NA."....it's sickening to me. The dreamcatcher in the car mirror, the hair dyed jet black, the moccasins...all the trappings.But she is neither wise nor knowledgeable, just manages to suck people in with a few catchphrases and some jewelry. I admit, I hate that kind of thing and you're right, there's so much of it.
These days, I consider it a part of my own innerwork to recognize this kind of BS and then just get as far away from it as possible.
The Plastic Shaman. That's a trend that hurts not only the shamanic practitioners but also hurts the Native American's in general.

There was a site that came out not to long ago selling a bunch of Native American jewelry in support of the resistance to the pipeline. Had lots of necklaces and such about DAPL and resistance sayings and slogans and how people needed to support the water protectors. Saw it pop up all over the place being endorsed. I follow a couple of Native American sites on fb and shortly afterwards the warnings started about how it was a site that had nothing to do with anything Native American. None of the funds were being donated to the DAPL site or any of the various reservation projects. Just another person jumping on the "I'm a native american" trying to make a dollar off of it.

Got compared to Elizabeth Warren and how she used a non-existent Native American blood claim to get special treatment.

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Well, that's one of the better analogies I've heard -
I always liked it better than how others used to say we had a god phone.

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Yes, now you mention it she does list off a bunch of examples in Walking in Light, that sounds like shamanism is a great New Age healing technique "anyone can master". I don't disagree that a spiritual path which connects an individual both to their own depths and the nature, is likely to have a great effect, worked diligently...but it does seem too easy and also that the ultimate GOAL of shamanic study is to "fix your life". That is definitely where the accusation that this type of work is "shallow" finds most justification, for me.
I think one of the things I hear most is that Ingerman and many others make it sound so great being a shaman. Yet most shaman or shamanic practitioners I know would give it up in a moment. It's a heavy burden upon them and is very costly not some glamorous life.

Most don't go around saving lives or making lots of money from it. Most don't seek glorification much less any sort of glory at all. The majority see it as a job or task Spirit has given them to do. Not a lovely job or task at that. Never a pretty sight seeing the underbelly and pain of people, animals or society in general and that is where a lot of the work is done.

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Some...not all, lol! I lose my readers 100 times a day, for one thing...

Partly why I have more books than furniture. But it's all good, as long as I can have music, animals and BOOKS I'm a happy camper.

Gotta run for the day but thanks for the great discussion...
Not sure how often I loose those who read what I write. I get told at times I write beyond them. I know at times I just start writing and grammar & spelling is the last thing on my mind. I try to go back and correct it but other times just leave it as otherwise i'd be more inclined to simply delete it all.

I have a few books now but have donated others or now have more on the computer than in hard print. Used to have a lot with lots of notes in them on on paper inside them.
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Old 03-23-17   #8
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Default Re: Sandra Ingerman

Wow, a lot to think about and reply to here.. some of you know that yesterday was my court date, to contest the repossession of my house (n bad faith) by the owners, and it was emotionally exhausting in every way, including the all day shopping event on Monday, to get me something presentable to wear(apparently, floor length Holy Clothing dresses and various ruanas and shawls won't cut it in the courtroom). The very great news is, we won! and can now stay here in Rupert another 15 months...life-changing for Alex (The Thing) and I. But I'm super tired today and just doing as little as possible. Will look forward to coming back to this tread tomorrow or the weekend. Maybe some other members interested in shamanism might drop in...BigAl? ANybody?

But just to let you know MonSno, I am not ignoring your detailed answers...I'm recuperating...<3
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Old 03-23-17   #9
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First congrats on your win.

Regarding the other it will be here when your ready, so will I to continue our discussion. Till then get some rest and recharge and take it easy.
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Old 03-29-17   #10
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So is this conversation over now?
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