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Monday, December 29, 2008


Synergy is Shamanry

syn·er·gy (snr-j)
n. pl. syn·er·gies
1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
2. Cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect.

[From Greek sunergi, cooperation, from sunergos, working together; see synergism.]
[New Latin synergismus, from Greek sunergos, working together : sun-, syn- + ergon, work; see werg- in Indo-European roots.]

Years ago, sitting in my bedroom with my very good friend Eric, we passed back and forth Eagles and crows feathers... and we discussed the relationship between Law and Freedom. At one point I handed Eric a handful of eagle feathers... over a dozen I believe. They were to many eagle feathers for him to hold so he handed them back to me. I sat above him for a moment, and I wished that he would understand how to hold and work with an eagles feather. Spirit moved through my words at that moment and eagle filled the room as well as wolf. I told Eric that when he smudged some one with an eagle feather he was not "using" the feather, controlling it, but instead the eagle was there still a part of the feather and that all he must do is hold the intention in his mind to cleanse with the feather and smoke. The feather started to move his hand and arm on its own, and his face turned to a look of pure amazement. I could feel the insight and the excitement that comes from realization, at that moment spirit and I shared with him that shamanry is not using nature or spirit to our own end, but holding a larger intention that nature holds as well and WORKING WITH NATURE to accomplish what is truly needed. Eric bowed and was grateful to learn this, and I sat down next to him on the floor once more, just as much a holy fool as he.

Tonight I discovered that the definition of the word synergy is what was being communicated through me from the whole that evening. It was eagles message and wolfs message to both of us that night. I had never known that that was how I worked or the insight that spirit was gestating within me for so many years until I had had an opportunity to teach it to my beloved friend. This point of view on shamanry and animism is what I try to share so much in my work... SYNERGY... In so many ways animism is the spiritual practice of natural synergy.
I will be contemplating synergy through out this winter time... this long cold deep dark in the PNW. I will contemplate synergy and ask bear to help me to understand the role of synergy in relationships more deeply as we dream through this long winter.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

the importance of communion

Many years ago now, I moved my friend to New Mexico. He was a buddy, brother and a cohort, a teacher to me in many ways, and when he left it was a big transition for me to be with his friendship and guidance. I drove all his worldly possessions, his dog and his cat and his soon to be future wife and mother of his child from the PNW to New Mexico in a U-haul and before I left him there to start his new life in a new bioregion, I felt some what over whelmed, like a cloud was surrounding me and I couldn't see past it... I kept thinking, now what am I going to do with out my best friend? He called me up stairs and held out in front of him a hawk feather ( hawk being one of his personal medicines) and handed it to me say. " What your going to do now is go back to the PNW and teach people about the importance of communion."
So since that day this is what I have been doing via bioregional animism. If I could further simplify what bioregional animism is to some one I would perhaps say it is communion with nature, or perhaps it would be the art of conversation with nature, or communication with nature where you live for mutual benefit. WOW I could just keep going... but really its communing, its communion, or as Graham Harvey would say a relational ontology which is place based or locally-centric.

What is communion? What does it mean to commune?

- sharing thoughts and feelings
- a sharing of thoughts, emotions, or beliefs
- communion with strong feelings for: private communion with nature
- a religious group with shared beliefs and practices
- the act or an instance of sharing, as of thoughts or feelings.
- religious or spiritual fellowship.

as well as to commune... from Old French communer, to make common, share...
- to be in a state of intimate, heightened sensitivity and receptivity, as with one's surroundings
- to experience strong emotion for: communing with nature
- to talk intimately with
- communicate intimately with; be in a state of heightened, intimate receptivity; "He seemed to commune with nature"

and ironically...

1. a group of people living together and sharing possessions and responsibilities

For me these words commune and communion are KEY to really being animist. Quite possibly the very foundation of cultivating animist relationship dynamics. They were certainly

Recently I posted a short piece on a ceremony I had with my partner and my friend and I spoke about the communing people experienced with other than human persons. This has felt like the real basis and focus of Bioregional animism. Having respectful relationships with the living world requires communication and not just communication but communing with each other... to talk intimately with another, with an open heart and an open mind so that we do not harm each other out of carelessness. It takes real communing to have that authentic respect for the living world we seek to manifest through our being animist.
To commune with other than human persons and many time each other it often requires an approach I have called transrational or an intuitive approach that may require some slight shift of awareness or a drastic shift in awareness via an altered state. Animist people traditional embrace some form of transrational practice. For me personally and the people I generally associate with this is done with the aid of visionary plants and substances, though not relied upon to do so. This communion with these visionary people aid in communion and communing with other than human persons, just as any altered state of awareness will do so, though in some times subtle and not so subtle ways.

So how are you communing, how is this communing shaping how you live your life? Who have you been communing with and what messages have been received and given?

Being a bioregional animist I have focused on communing with the land I live upon and those that live around me so that we might live well together. Currently my life ha been changing in very big ways because of this communion and I am in awe of it.
I would love to hear from others who have been changed by such communion.

Green man

I had a dream of the green man the other night... its a classic image the green man being driven out of a village out of fear of his wildness by the people... it was a sad scene...
it makes me wonder about deforestation, habitat loss, the destroying of large areas of land to create housing developments.
People do not build or create their communities with nature or with any mindfulness to the wild... natural communities, wild communities of other-than-human-persons are destroyed to make room for homo-domesticus. The green man is most definitely driven out of these areas.
I was also thinking of a faun that comes and enters into my body from time to time... it often feels that Cernunnos, the green man and the faun share a common ethereal body manifesting as either or depending on what is needed of them. The faun was of a large wild wooded area near my home I had given offerings to him and asked for him to share space with me so I could learn from him... and he did... it was an amazing process... at any rate his level of mischievousness was intense... bordering on a sick sense of humor, and a wrathful sense of justice. What made this faun sick? The forest was nothing compared to the size it used to be that he was one with. The level of respect payed there was higher then most however trash was to be found all over. The forest itself was chopped up into islands with pavement roads and developments tearing it apart.

The other night my grrrrl friend pointed out how dangerous and mischievous forest spirits can be, I know to well how much this is so... and she pointed out how much more mischievous and dangerous they are when threatened, we discussed how important it is to make them our allies if possible, to be wild and a part of the forest again in our communities and ways of life.
I look at the forests destroyed by housing developments and i see that none of it is necessary at all! That its all poor planning and life style decisions as well as ecological and social apathy brought about and perpetuated by those first colonized European Christan’s driving the green man from the village.

How can we invite the green man back into our communities again? What offering and ritual action is needed to invoke him into our communities? What will bring the faun back to health, to make him seem less of a demon to those who see him as such out of ignorance? How can we honor the horned god where we live?

We can start by looking at how we consume the bounty of nature, how we live our lives daily, where we get our food. We can invite the green man back into our village by including the wild into the village again. Creating bio-swales instead of draining street water into the sewer system, creating green roofs on our houses, building with natural materials like cob, straw bale, and renewable resources, getting rid of pavement and the need for mass transit by re-designing our communities around COMMUNITY, so we can walk to all the places we need to go. Or we can create our own villages as a permacultured part of the wild forest... human beings have the ability to actually aid ecosystems with their presence as well as bio-remediate the areas that have been damaged. What would the psyche of a people be like if they lived not in civilization but in and with the wild again, not beside it but a part of it?
The joy of the green man and the growth and balance of his dancing feet would be in our hearts, the masculine stereotypes and gender roles would change and no longer would men be seen as symbols of oppression. Art and beauty would be just another natural expression like a birds song, simple and humble and to be found in the artifacts we create for daily living.
To invoke these beings of nature, these spirits and powers the ritual is a change in the way we live our lives. The new magical training is skill building in eco-design, whole systems design, permaculture, renewable resources, sustainability, and alternative energy. The circle that is cast is the recognition of our interdependence, and the chants are the affirmations and oaths that we will change the way we live and no longer participate in this driving of the green man from our village. We invite him back and give offerings to him, by create the pace for him to exist in our village and in our actions.