Totem Sense: One Day…

A Bear, Coyote and a Dragon

…a lady we’ll call Elisa requests a shamanic journey, to find her path in life. We undertake the journey, a work that happens in the mind in a psychological landscape. The vocabulary and order of events, however, are mythical: mythical characters, animals and people, mythical action, heroines and heroes. Both the language of psychology and the language of myth have a voice in healing and evolution.

Totems, power animals, play key roles in the shamanic journey. Nothing really happens without them. When I Googled for a definition of “totem” I find it is considered an animal symbol or an emblem representing a company, a team or a person. That falls way short of the true dynamics of totems in the shamanic journey and in our personal lives, as well.

Let’s imagine you just walked into the altar to ask us about totems. We ask that you bless yourself in the smoke and maybe hand you something related to totems, like a drumstick or a feather.  

Since most English and Spanish speakers have heard the concept of the guardian angel, we like to start here:

Totem equals Guardian Angel

If you’re a believer in angels, or simply curious about them, that’s a powerful statement. It means you basically understand power animals, or spiritual totems, as observed in many tribal traditions.  

In traditions where Mother Earth is honored, totems – animals, their spirits, or other beings – show up at the time of birth, and in one form or fashion, stay close to that person the rest of their life. Like guardian angels, right?  

In Earth-centered traditions, animals were here before humans; they share the Earth with us, the feed us, they teach us, taught us to hunt, for instance, to survive. It makes sense to us to be aware of and have access to our protective, guiding, animal spirit. Being aware of angelic help and communicating with angels is nothing new either, is it? Even the Christian cults which don’t allow prayers to angels pray for God to send those angels.

In the modern world, animal images are seen as imagination and visualization. In the shamanic world these “images” are spirits of animals and are co-workers in making human life a little easier.

When it comes to the shamanic journey, totems and power animals play the critical role of guiding and protecting us in the mental/spiritual plane we are entering. That’s not speaking lightly.

We tell our totems what we want, in detail, as per our patient’s private needs. We follow the animal spirits to a place in space and time where we can find answers. On the way to such a place there are obstacles, some at monster levels, and the totems help us with that. Protection, however, is only one way animal spirits participate in human life and evolution.

Working with totems in the shamanic sense involves real time energy movement. The shamanic journey is likely one of the oldest ever medical/psychological treatments on record. The reason we humans keep doing it, the old fashioned way to boot, is because it works. A key reason it works is the power animal and the role it plays in the action.  

Elisa, as we mentioned above, requested a shamanic journey to help her find her path in life, and to help her unravel some of life’s current challenges.

Totems in Action

We ask the Strong One, also known as Bear, to lead us in the cave, where our journey begins. We explain we are looking for what Elisa needs most, right now, to progress in her path, while dealing with the present moment a little better, as well.

We won’t touch on Elisa’s actual situation and how all that works out. That’s a different story; this is about power animals in action, what they do, what they know, how they guide and protect.

The totems and power animals are spirits like us, and like us, are defined by the context of where they find themselves at the moment. Below is a totem-related excerpt from the journey we performed for Elisa.

We follow Strong One into a dark cave. Dark and narrow at first, the path widens to make for a relatively straight walk, opening onto the top of a cliff and overlooking a deep chasm. The only way down is making the jump.

I hold on to the Strong One’s thick fur as we hit the air.  Floating down we watch the walls of the canyon pass, until we hit a dark cloud that only gets darker as we, suddenly, just fall through it.

We hit with a thud. Strong One takes the bulk of the hit, but I take a good bounce, too. Still being  in the dark, I put my hand on the big one’s back as she walks us toward a distant glow, a light at the end of the darkness. As we get closer, the terrain turns to softer grass and sunlight comes through. With the grass beneath us, we pause expecting…

Strong One moves fast, reacting to something I can’t see yet. Strong One falls on me, over me, in protection. She leaves me enough room to breathe and I peek out at the action.

I see a dinosaur type bird, diving at us. I see bear claws vs bird claws raising a devil dust. I call Owl and Coyote to come help, but Owl is here already.

I hear Owl’s wings flapping hard, followed by the shrill of slicing air, once, twice, three times. Suddenly the battle stops, the only sound, the dying flaps of a large bird.  

We stand and follow the shadow of Owl, slow-flying ahead of us. We step into a tropical forest and on the first turn we find ourselves looking up at another sheer cliff. We see some movement high up, maybe from a cave up there. It looks like the rapid flapping of wings from down here, but vision may be deceiving at this distance.

One of these totems will know what to do, but it’s a third totem, a white Dragon with red wings that makes the next move. Dragon slithers over the ground, right between us, up the side of that cliff.  

Meanwhile, Owl, Strong One and I resize; Owl grows, we shrink. We climb atop her and hold on. We hit the air anticipating the moment Dragon will fly off the cliffside, to show us where to strike. We keep a distance as we fly up to see what Dragon will show.

As we hover, we see it’s a cave in the cliff wall, but the movement we’d thought was wings is a nest of riled up snakes, fangs out, juicing venom. The snakes are hissing and jetting out their poison, reacting to us in the air and the smell of Dragon’s breath, we assume.

We don’t know why Dragon is hesitating to signal attack, and soon we get the message to go back home, talk to the patient, interpret some of this.

We return precisely the way we came, but this time we encounter a little girl at the edge of the forest, before heading back into that cloud we had passed earlier. Little girls appearing all of a sudden, I admit, is mostly scary, and with good reason, but this girl owns the forest. It responds to her. She barely nods at us, giving us the impression, she’s showing up for Elisa.

When it’s time to return, Strong One, Owl, Coyote, Dragon and I go the exact same way back. We yanked those snakes out one by one and let them fall to their death, until we had a clean cave where we were able to complete our journey.

With Healing

The workwe performed is about rescuing a piece of Elisa’s soul from where it had become lost in her past, something we discuss under the topic of soul retrieval, a major treatment in shamanic medicine. In this article, however, we focus on honoring our totems by telling their tale.

Every bit of the terrain we covered and action we experienced found some parallel in Elisa’s life, and particularly in her healing journey. She’s learning how to work with her totems in her time and her way.  Maybe it’s all a myth, maybe it’s how we see the energy move,ormaybe it’s how we use it.

If you have stories or teachings about totems, angels or other guides, we’d love to hear them. Meanwhile, get in touch with your totems, so you can


Poder y Equilibrio

¿Son Disponible?

Todos tenemos algo de divinidad dentro, y tu primer acto de poder fue ser el esperma único de miles que llegaron al útero, donde comienza el resto de la historia, tu historia.

El útero es un poder, en sí mismo, ¿no es así? Por supuesto, el útero no puede ser un poder sin el poder de la semilla masculina, aunque también se puede decir que los dos son poderes solos, en si mismo.

Podríamos decir que estos dos poderes, teniendo en cuenta la población en explosión sobre el planeta, están produciendo bastante bien, pero cuando miras cuántos compañeros humanos sufren caos en la familia, tiene uno que pensar del equilibrio.

El útero y la semilla masculina son los principales poderes humanos, pero tenemos muchos mas disponibles. El problema con todos estos poderes, sin embargo, es la lucha involucrada en el uso de ellos. Cada ser humano se ocupa de esta lucha por el poder personal. Vivir como rey o vivir como méndigo toman poder personal.

El poder, sin embargo, requiere un cierto tipo de equilibrio para ejercerlo: no un equilibrio para la seguridad, no un equilibrio asustado, sino un equilibrio valiente, motivado, dinámico, listo para ponerse de pie, listo para avanzar.

Con todo lo que está sucediendo en nuestro mundo, la necesidad de equilibrio es cada vez más crítica. En los años setenta, un libro popular llamado Shock del Futuro, advertía sobre la explosión demográfica esperada a principios de la década de 2000. Es extraño estar viviendo todas las advertencias adversas de ese libro, pero aquí estamos.

El punto es, en estos días, la confusión está mucho más disponible que la claridad.

La claridad, un poder personal, está disponible para todos los humanos que no tienen daño cerebral. Solo se necesitan un par de otros poderes personales, a saber, la respiración y el ejercicio físico, para alcanzar la claridad.

Y pueda ser que sea necesario el estudio y autodesarrollo para comprender y aplicar la respiración y el ejercicio físico. Y eso, naturalmente, toma lectura y escritura, también poderes humanos.

Estos poderes son habilidades humanas inherentes, sin embargo, pedirle a una persona que medite o lea un libro es como pedirle que coma un tazón de mierda. Algo exagerado, ya se, pero ese es el nivel de la resistencia que existe.

Decimos que nos aburre o es demasiado difícil, no hay tiempo, odio a la lectura, mi cuerpo no puede doblarse así, etc. son las reacciones, las respuestas y las excusas que damos.

¿No crees que es irónico que los mismos poderes que pueden ayudarnos sean los menos utilizados?

Nuestros poderes enfrentan resistencia y dudas a cada paso del camino. El balance, la claridad, la respiración y el ejercicio físico, el estudio y su desarrollo, y al final, la lectura y la escritura enfrentan una mala fama que no merecen. Al contrario, son poderes a nuestro alcance.

O sea, recibimos el mensaje,“No hagas lo que te hace bien.”Nadie puede explicar realmente por qué no pueden meditar, leer o siquiera estirar el cuerpo. Realmente no pueden explicar por qué no realizar un acto simple para mejorarse a sí mismos. Simplemente reaccionan a la sugerencia, principalmente en el negativo.

Tal vez sea hora de superar la ironía, darse cuenta de que estos poderes están disponibles para usted y pues, persistir un poco mas.

Querido Ser Humano, estos simples poderes pueden convertirte en una dinamo. El esfuerzo continuo es todo lo que se necesita. Anda por favor, y


Create Another Reality

Make Art of Your Life

Imagination provides freedom, myth provides structure,

and you make art of it.

Something wrong with that?

Easier said than done, of course. No doubt, sisters and brothers,

no doubt.

But, so what? Most good things require effort and dedication. Everybody struggles. Is making an art of your life a good thing? Worth your attention?

Making art of one’s life certainly doesn’t sound bad. Making art of life means whether you’re a ditch digger or a senator, you make art of it to the best of your ability. Simple: make art, good things happen.

“Imagination Provides Freedom”

What has more built-in freedom than imagination? It’s there and available, even if the rest of you is in prison or disabled.

The challenge to using one’s imagination is that we’re told and messaged constantly that imagination isn’t a real thing, it’s for children to learn in school, and it doesn’t pay the rent, we’re told.

There’s not room here to get into the reputation of imagination, but truth be told, Imagination creates reality. It’s how one uses it, and for some of us, it’s how one doesn’t use it.  

“Myth Provides Structure”

Myth gives you ideas, helps you find something you like, or at least find a direction for your imagination to go. Myth comes from many places, from the human race and for the human race.

The history of myth is well-written, definitions and examples, all that. Much of literature is devoted to myth. And all that proves and records our connection to myth, but interesting that it doesn’t matter if a human knows what myth is or where to read it, all humans live myth.

Your myth can be around a national figure, a celebrity, from the past, present or future, or the myth can be the story of how your Uncle Roberto escaped the Border Patrol. Myth just happens, it’s there.

All cultures are bursting with ancient and modern myth, and we live it out every day.

“Make Art of Your Life”

Insert, infuse and ignite the life you seek with your imagination! Write it out, draw it out, plan it, calendar it, focus it, live it.


Autoridad Sobre Los Espíritus

¿Los humanos la tienen?

Un día nos despertamos y nos dimos cuenta de que, aquí en el altar, nuestros compañeros de trabajo eran, en su mayoría, ciudadanos del Mundo de los Espíritus, seres desencarnados, por decir. Algunos son deidades, avatares, santos, budas o ángeles. Algunos son espíritus animales. Unos pocos son ancestros, y algunos son otros tipos de seres, todos en armonía con nuestro trabajo, afortunadamente.

Realmente no nos gusta la palabra “autoridad” en comunicaciones con el mundo espiritual. Estas personas responden a preguntas, curan a quien pueden, sirven sin ninguna compensación, nos alertan sobre el peligro y nos salvan del peligro. Usamos nuestra “autoridad” para fomentar las relaciones: pedimos cortésmente, decimos gracias, no damos ninguna orden a menos que estemos hablando con un desencarnado de malas intenciones.

Aprendimos que, si bien el Mundo de los Espíritus es realmente desalentador, nosotros los humanos primero que nada tenemos un Espiritu también y esto nos da derechos dentro el mundo espiritual. Además, sobre la Tierra nuestro cuerpo de carne nos da gran ventaja en relaciones con el mundo espiritual.

No es porque seamos tan santos o grandes o cualquier otra cosa; tenemos esa autoridad porque este planeta se trata de la experiencia humana, el aprendizaje y la evolución. O sea, nosotros somos el planeta y el planeta es nosotros.

Nosotros somos los que batallamos para vivir sobre la Tierra y lo sentimos por medio de nuestro cuerpo. Eso realmente nos da autoridad sobre el mundo espiritual, el cual no paga renta, ni sufre dolores. Nosotros pagamos el alquiler, vivimos la angustia, desempeñamos los papeles de víctimas, perpetradores, tontos y sabios.

Los desencarnados, o nos vienen a ayudar o nos vienen a devorar.  Nos ayudan por un camino difícil o devoran nuestra esencia, algo como la batalla eterna entre ángel y demonio. Es decir, sea para bien o mal, los desencarnados desean ser parte de nuestra herencia humana y nuestro futuro. El futuro de esa idea esta nuestras manos.


Are You Called?

As in Helping, Healing or Conjuring?

Are you hearing voices, seeing things that may not be there, getting information on others you may not want to know? Are you dealing with aspirations to heal, or perform magic or save the world?

Are you experiencing feelings that don’t quite fit in “normal” settings? Do you have thoughts that scare you or perhaps bring out your worst? Maybe a few weird “powers” you never knew you had?

You might have had plans to have a “normal” life, but no, no matter what, this draw pulls you to the non-normal, weird, off-the-wall, woo-woo stuff. Familiar?

Among veteran healers/magicians/spiritual servers there’s an understanding that one doesn’t really choose the work. The work chooses you.

Being creatures of reason, we wanted to understand our own strange attraction/draw, but there were so many things to consider: signs, dreams, synchronicities, visions, prophecies, ghosts, ancestors knocking, surviving major illness, saw the white tunnel, saw an alien, curses and witchcraft, slept on a spaceship, walked through a wall, and so forth.   

We needed one word to focus us, and that one word that in many ways, says it all, about everything. That word is awareness.

It’s not like being aware of the stop light or the law or the weather, or whatever obvious thing we see. No, it’s an awareness that pushes the boundaries of what most can see. Awareness like that is a dynamic, not a static event.

And just like the DNA that forms each of us, that awareness is there for a reason.

When we dealt with the “Am I called?” question, we followed our roots, studied, disciplined ourselves and hoped someone would just tell us what we should do next, someone to say go forward, or tell us to keep our day job.

To be quite honest we wanted someone to anoint us, give us a title, with a clear path ahead.

Well, since we weren’t willing to sign our lives away to any organization, cult or religion, that anointing didn’t come. It would be 20 years before our patients gave us the title we hold, curandero, and by the time it came it didn’t matter much anymore, we were so busy doing the work.

If you identify with this awareness, you might see itas a gift, or just as possibly, as a curse.

Maybe the awareness stems from family life. The ins and out of that major human survival task, family, aren’t always easy to maneuver. Maybe you saw a ghost, heard a voice, saw something before it happened…who knows?

Point is, you’re drawn to it – whatever your awareness may be – for a reason.

I know we hear that “for a reason” quite a bit, and many times, it just means we don’t have answers. However, it’s also true. The reason may be significant or insignificant, but it exists. Are you called to find it?

We know this:

Everyone has gifts. These gifts can turn to curses when denied or abused.

The gifts bestow that certain awareness, that certain knowing. Working with that awareness can become functional and useful in living your life.

The awareness itself is the calling, by its mere presence in your being. So yes, you’re called.  

The challenges of dealing with your calling are phenomenal, yet humans do it daily, win, lose or draw. While anything but easy, taking these challenges turn the awareness into gold.

Take the challenge. Embrace the question. Determine to get the answers. Use them wisely as the answers come, because they will. Like anything you already do with intention and action you get better at it.


Almas Perdidas

Los Olvidados

Cuando un humano muere y no lo sabe, esa alma humana se pierde. Claro, habrá excepciones a esto, pero al fin es tan simple como eso. Las almas perdidas son demasiado comunes en el Mundo de los Espíritus. No es nada bueno para ellos, ni para nosotros, los vivos.

Cuando se trata de los ciudadanos más negativos del Mundo de los Espíritus – los malditos, los depredadores de varios tipos, demonios, espantos, energías oscuras o diversas maldades – nuestra primera pregunta es si hay almas perdidas, humanas, dentro la mezcla del asunto.

La respuesta es, desafortunadamente, que las almas perdidas son los peones y los premios en los eventos agitados por esos ciudadanos negativos. En otras palabras, la mayoría de los eventos oscuros en el mundo espiritual involucran el uso y abuso de almas perdidas, humanas.  

La mayoría de nosotros, durante la vida, hemos escuchado, o posiblemente contado, una historia acerca de una persona que muere inesperadamente, tal vez en un accidente o un homicidio, o simplemente, demasiado joven para morir. Estas tragedias causan una gran conmoción entre los vivos, y lo mismo sucede en el mundo de los espíritus.

La muerte inesperada presenta un desafío para nuestra alma. Como no lo esperamos, no nos preparamos. En el momento del shock, es posible que nuestra conciencia simplemente no sea consciente de lo que acaba de suceder. Como nuestra alma se compone de conciencia, y dado que estamos viviendo algo de lo que no somos conscientes, las posibilidades de confusión son altas.

¿Cuáles son las opciones de un alma al momento de muerte?

En su mayor parte tenemos dos opciones, aunque nunca es tan simple, especialmente si el alma no tiene toda la información que necesita.

Primero, al morir podemos elegir lo que muchos llamamos la Luz. Cuando un alma sigue la Luz, va con antepasados y espíritus serviciales a un lugar seguro, para pasar por una revisión de la vida, preparándose así para el siguiente paso en el largo viaje de nuestras almas.

En segundo lugar, podemos seguir la conciencia con la que morimos y ver a dónde nos lleva, ciertamente en direcciones sin el beneficio de la Luz. Fuera de esa luz guiadora, las almas se convierten fácilmente en víctimas de Espíritus mas impuestos a la vida espiritual que los recientemente muertos, o sea los perdidos llegan a ser víctimas de practicantes vivos que atrapan a las almas para hacer su propia maldad.


Una de las llamadas más comunes que recibimos es una solicitud para limpiar la energía de muerto que se pega a un ser vivo. Esto sucede por accidente o negligencia, pero igual de probable es que un alma muerta fue ordenada a manipular un alma viviente. Ten en cuenta que esto no es posesión, pero si podemos decir que el acto tomó algun territorio dentro el aura del vivo: para mirarlo, confundirlo y manipularlo. 

Este territorio tomado está compuesto principalmente de emociones humanas, lo cual es lo que buscan las energías malignas. La mayoría de las veces el alma perdida no está allí por elección, o porque tiene algo en tu contra. Más bien son seres, vivos, seres con habilidades oscuras, seres con intenciones malignas, los que están forzando esa alma a ser lo que ordenen. 

Dado que las almas son una gran parte de nuestra vocación, trabajamos con ellas todo el año, constantemente honrando, buscando y ayudando a los antepasados, ayudando a las almas perdidas donde podemos. El año de los muertos comienza y culmina el Día de los Muertos, el 2 de noviembre, por lo menos, aquí, en este altar.

En realidad, todos, todos, sabemos más de lo que pensamos. Si te sientes atraído por el tema, lo más probable es que tengas algún llamado para ayudar, para servir o tal vez solo para entender.

Nuestra experiencia nos ha demostrado que es lo más fácil del mundo conectar con los espiritus y a la vez, lo mas peligroso. Todo se trata de la intención y el enfoque del participante. Así que, por favor, participa con cuidado y no dejes de… 


Is Death an Advisor?

Of course, it is.

Everything that lives on the planet, dies on the planet. Everything, plant, animal, human, every single one of us has to die.

“We know that, duh,” many say in response, “Everybody knows that, so what?”

So what?

So, death is a singular event that every living thing on the planet has in common. So, death comes in a million manners, and it seems no one really knows when it will happen, nor how it will happen. So, we know the Event of Death is a given, on the way, day by day.


the Event of Death is a given (and on the increase these days), wouldn’t it be wise to know something about it? Wouldn’t it be helpful if you had some idea what you’ll do in your head when that moment comes, since we can’t be sure how or when it will?

In some traditional medicines, like the toltec ways, Death becomes a teacher, a mentor and advisor to many, and to a few, death becomes a place they go for answers. But these are our roots. Every People, every religion has death knowledge in some way or fashion. This knowledge is seen in the rites, prayers and practices around the event of death.    

Let me ask you this. Why do most people who have near death experiences, NDEs, and wind up changing their life, usually for a higher purpose? The Higher purpose is almost cliché among NDE stories, but from what we’ve seen, most NDE survivors and their stories are legitimate and sincere. Not hard to understand when we realize these guys spent some time in Death, whatever that place/process/moment is.

No matter our race, color or creed, death comes. And no matter race, color or creed, a belief, a way to handle it, a set of beliefs and ways to handle it, are already there, already available for those who want to know. So,

What if

you gave the concept a moment or two, if nothing else, out of curiosity. You don’t have to be and Monk or a Master. You’re qualified: you’re human and your death will come. When you place your attention on something, even for a brief moment, you’ve entered a place you can


Power and Balance

Is it available?

We all have some divinity within, and your first act of power was to be the single sperm of thousands that made it to womb, where the rest of the story begins.

Womb is a power, in and of itself, isn’t it? Of course, womb can’t be a power without the Male Seed part of the picture. One could say these two powers, considering the bursting population of the planet, are producing rather well, but when you look at how many fellow humans have no business being parents, well, you have to think about Balance.

The womb and male seed are major human powers. Luckily there’s many kinds of power available to us, so maybe we can use those to find some balance.

The problem with all these powers, however, is the struggle involved in actually just using them. Every human deals with this struggle for personal power.  

Power, however, requires a certain kind of balance: not a safety-aiming balance, not a frightened balance, but a courageous, motivated, dynamic balance, ready to stand, ready to charge. (This description of balance echoes the toltec way of thinking, by the way.)

With everything going on in our world, the need for balance is ever more critical. All of us, all humans, are striving in some form or fashion.

Back in the seventies a popular book named Future Shock warned about the population explosion expected by the early 2000s. It’s strange to be living all the adverse warnings from that book, yet here we are. Point is, these days, confusion is much more available than clarity.

Clarity, a personal power, is available to all humans who don’t have brain damage. It just takes a couple of other personal powers, namely breathing and bodywork to reach clarity.

It may take Study and Self-development to understand and apply breathing and bodywork. And we all know we may need Reading and Writing, those very basic human powers.

The ability to bring these powers to our aid are inherent human abilities, yet, asking a person to meditate or read a book is like asking them to eat a bowl of shit.

“Boring, too hard, no time, I hate reading, I can’t bend like that, etc., and so forth,” are the reactions, the answers and the excuses. Don’t you think it’s ironic the very powers that can help us are the least used?

In other words, the powers we do have face resistance and doubt every step of the way. Qualities/characteristics, and powers like:

  • Balance
  • Clarity
  • Breathing and Bodywork
  • Study and Self-development
  • Reading and Writing

face some pretty bad press out there. We get it from all sides, from media, family, friends.

No one can really explain why they can’t meditate, read or stretch. They can’t really explain why they won’t perform a simple act to better themselves. They just react to the suggestion, mostly in the negative.

Maybe it’s time to push through the irony, realize these powers are available to you and persist just a little.

Dear Human Being, these simple powers can make you into a dynamo. Continuous effort, another power, is all it takes. Go please, and


Convocatoria de Paradigmas

¿Qué es lo que realmente funciona espiritualmente?

Los patrones – rutinas, mañas, así – pueden traernos grandes triunfos en la vida y a la misma vez estos pueden derribarnos. Al usar la palabra “paradigma” queremos enfatizar que estamos buscando el lado positivo de los patrones y las rutinas. Específicamente, hablamos de Paradigmas de Inteligencia Espiritual.

Si estás de acuerdo en que el mundo necesita aprender más espiritualmente, entonces nos encantaría escuchar tus pensamientos.

En particular, queremos patrones, modelos o ejemplos de prácticas espirituales que funcionen. Oraciones, rituales, ceremonias, observancias, meditaciones, cantos, tratos con fantasmas, historias de eventos espirituales en donde aprendiste algo útil. Pueden ser tus historias personales, o historias que escuchaste, en las cuales crees, por supuesto.

Para muchos de nuestros proximos el tema de la espiritualidad es difícil, incluso hasta difícil para los que profesan la fe, pero no la viven.  Las cosas del espíritu, al entrarle se vuelven real, profundas, mejoran la vida de alguna manera, pero el camino es duro, a veces.

Si has leído hasta aquí, es probable que hayas tenido experiencias espirituales de las que eres consciente, que promovieron tu vida o la vida de un ser querido. Tienes una idea de lo que es la espiritualidad:  alguna idea, en otras palabras, del panorama general, hablando espiritualmente.    

Claro, todos queremos lo normal: paz, claridad, abundancia, pero, además, debemos aceptar que buscamos satisfacción en el desarrollo de nuestra vida.

El punto es, estimados lectores, espero que algunos de ustedes sean escritores, porque muchas personas que nos rodean necesitan escuchar algo sobre la espiritualidad y sus muchos beneficios.

Queremos limitar artículos y cuentos a unas 500 palabras, para la serie Paradigmas de Espiritualidad. Publicaremos en inglés y español y seguido. Si alguna idea te despierta, no la dudes y haz clic aquí para…


Mind Earth

In A Hot Sweat Lodge

I made my life, career in education, degrees and all that, thinking I knew lots about the mind. When Grandpa made me a grandson, in my fifties no less, he took me into circle after circle, each one physically and directly on the Earth, in Navajo Way. With all that mainstream education behind me, it was actually in a circle, in a sweat lodge ,where I started really learning about the mind.

We sat in many circles, on the dirt in a hogan, a tepee or a sweat lodge, singing, speaking or remaining completely silent. My “classroom” became the Earth directly without human architects chopping up wood and glass to prove man’s superiority. We sit, rather, in the architecture of our True Mother, where’s it’s about her aerodynamics and structure, her schooling, her teaching methods, her life and breath – in the manner our true Mother actually lives.

I remember one time, the subject of “mind” came up in a sweat house, as the Navajo say, and “education” was applied.

There was snow on the ground and this time I decided not to bitch about undressing in the cold or the inevitable frozen boots at the end. A brother in the struggle was with me, and he already knew better about complaining at a ceremony.

We put trunks on and crawled into the lodge, thinking we’d be the first in, aside from the lodge leader, who feels to us like he was born in there and will always be there.

The leader and two guys, unknown-to-us, were in there already and the conversation was rolling. Since it came in a mix of Navajo and English, I can’t really speak to the actual content of their conversation, but it had all the bells and whistles of bitching, whining and complaining.    

The lodge leader was silent most of the way, maybe hoping these guys would feel better when the ceremony begins.  

The conversation was a semi-whispered barrage of “No more, can’t do it, impossible, no más,” evolving into litanies of ”can’t make them understand, can’t do anything right and can’t pass the test,” with references basically to boss, wife and family, complete with self-esteem bashing at various levels.

The level of talk slowed way down as other participants filled the lodge. When it actually went silent, a crappy cloud hung over the ambience in that sweat house. And it would continue through the first, second and third round.

Grandpa was the last to sit in on that first round, and of course, sat in the Honor seat, first spot left of the door flap. The mood cloud hung over the circle; even greetings were a bit muffled. Grandpa didn’t say a word the whole round. Since most of us were there to hear his words, everyone noticed his silence.

When he sang in the second round, he sang the four songs short and sweet, uncharacteristic for him, as well. He usually sang long and hard, with gusto, making us all drop our noses to the dirt, to endure the heat.

Both of the unknowns performed two no-one-suffers-more-than-me tirades in the third round. This time Grandpa interrupted, first in Navajo, then in Spanish (for my brother and I) and finally in English, and with a little anger, “Fill your mind here, take in the heat, smell the cedar deep, clear your mind.”

The lodge leader says, “Aho, everything we do takes mind. We have to put something good in it.”

My brother, myself and most participants added their own “Aho,” to the comments, but the two unknowns didn’t say word one.  

Silence hit fast and nobody said anything more about it. We took a break outside the lodge, in the cold, to prepare for the heavier heat that always comes in the fourth and last round.

Grandpa would be the first singer in the fourth round. I offered, since I’d be next, to handle the water drum for him to sing without having to play. He passed the drum and stick to me, and just said, “Don’t stop before I do.”

Grandpa sang his four songs so long we all had our head to the ground to withstand unbearable heat. The higher your head in a sweat lodge, the greater the heat hits you. All of us got to the point where groans replaced prayers until Grandpa finally finished. I’m not sure how I handled the drum through that, considering my nose was in the dirt most of the way.  

The lodge leader opened the door flap for a short two minutes, letting some cold air in, allowing us recoup and sit up again to finish the fourth round.

“Can’t” didn’t come up again until the last singer, the lodge leader, took the drum. He sang the first two songs sitting, then he asked the man next to him to play the drum for him over the next two songs.

Then the lodge leader stood straight up. That’s at least 10 degrees hotter than the heat we’re dealing with sitting down. With rattle in hand the leader and a drummer, seated below him, start the singing. He doesn’t rush or slow the last two songs, but toward the end he splashes a full scoop of water on the hot rocks, thereby shooting another blast of heat, another 10-20 degrees maybe, all at once.

The idea of running out crossed my mind, but my mind also pushed back on that and like the others in the lodge, we all found a way to endure the heat, except for one of the unknowns. He suddenly crawls for dear life over everyone on the way out the flap.

When the leader sits down, he put his hand on the remaining unknown, “Tell your mind what you want, right now, this moment. And don’t say ‘can’t.’”

Then the leader thanked us all and opened the flap. Grandpa was the last one out. I thought he’d be at least a little miffed, but instead he was telling another joke, actually giggling.

Later, I had to ask, “Grandpa, you think they got the message?”

“Don’t know, Grandson, only Shimá, our Mother, really knows what happens to those two.”