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Archive for the ‘Shamanic Healing’ Category

I remember years ago when I did yoga in the basement of a Methodist Church in Wallingford with Bill Mitchel. Maybe some of you Lavender Seattle WAuse to go there too. It was magical. Bill was one of the founders of Bastyr. I never met John Bastyr but I met the other founder and author Joe Pizzorno many times. He was the school president when I was there. Bill was much cooler. Picture a healthy, balding, pretty fit grandpa. He believed in nature as healer and was truly gifted as a teacher.

I’d come to class and he’d be in his work clothes then strip down to his undershirt and boxers.  He’d cue some awesome, inspiring hippy music while we all settled in. We waited in relaxed anticipation when it was finally quiet and he’d close his eyes and start to grunt, sigh and talk. “Grandmothers, grandfathers……..”grunt, pause. “Moon and Sun…” Sitting cross-legged and gently but erratically swaying. This is how it always started and he went “somewhere else.” Opening to another world and taking us with him. After the yoga was done he’s always pass around an herbal tincture, tell us about its function, and invite us to taste then meditate on the spirit of the plant.

I’ve used Lavender Essential Oil clinically for many years. Heck, I even used it during the birth of my son! I’ve been amazed at the effects I’ve seen it have to relieve stress, reduce pain, soothe skin and just bring us into the moment. Powerful but gentle. When I journeyed to the plant myself she came as a Grandmother. I really like that image because we are often disconnected from our extended family but Lavender can deliver a big grandmotherly hug whenever you need one. I bought a bottle on a whim to pack for my birth. My doula mentioned that many laboring women find Lavender or Orange essential oils helpful. I thought “oh what the heck.” I swear every contraction I had I was huffing that stuff. It really made a difference for me.

I combined Lavender with Eucalyptus in our bath salts to soften the energizing quality of the Eucolyptus and add more stress relieving effects. Simple but effective and smells oh so good. Eucalyptus on its own is pain relieving, immune boosting and energizing. Adding the Lavender it calms down a bit, but leaves you feeling refreshed and relaxed.

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Curious about the mind body connection and Shamanic healing? This is the second installment in my series about modern Shamanic healing. The last entry focused on my first introduction to a Shamanic treatment. It was not my true “calling” to the medicine which happened years earlier in childhood. This entry focuses on what happens during a session.

I don’t want to undermine the magic, mystery, profound power and tangibility that this medicine contains. I do want to portray the information in a way that is accessible to our Western “ modern” minds. For better or worse until I’m closer to enlightenment those are terms I have to work with. Truly this medicine can only be experienced and can’t be understood through reading alone. Your monkey mind can’t go there. However I will try to write about it on such a way to give you a taste or flavor of the potential.

The Shaman performs a journey on behalf of the patient to determine if and how healing can occur. Sometimes this process begins before the patient has even come for a visit. During this journey various spiritual guides, animals, spirits of nature and protectors are consulted with on behalf of the patient. Shamanism and Chinese medicine believe that part of our soul is free to leave the body at any time. Shamans enter in to an altered state of consciousness, (in my case through the aid of rhythmic rattling) which allows the soul to travel to receive information, retrieve lost power and allow healing.  I like this description of what’s happening.

“It has been found that the monotonous rhythm of a rattle or drum at [a certain] beat induces the altered state of consciousness in which the ability of the human brain to image is remarkably facilitated. This is a process called brainwave entrainment, with the drumbeat or rattle stimulating the production of brain waves in the low alpha and theta range, a state which is associated with heightened creativity and vivid imagery.” Read full article here

“A person who has taken time off from a task and begins to daydream is often in a theta brainwave state. Individuals who run outdoors [or]do a lot of freeway driving often get good ideas during those periods. It is a state where tasks become so automatic that you can mentally disengage from them. The ideation that can take place during the theta state is often free flow and occurs without censorship or guilt. It is typically a very positive mental state.” Read full article here.

While incomplete, these descriptions give a partial portrayal of what it often feels like during and after shamanic session. Most people feel refreshed, awakened, reconnected and the imagery from the journey can be very powerful.

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Iron chef pear continues…

Matsutake’s the much loved and famed “pine mushroom” are highly prized in Asian cuisine. Here in the Northwest we are lucky to have them growing in our own backyard. Hunting grounds are well kept, jealously guarded secrets, and issues have been known to happen between amateur and commercial pickers.

This year I had the fortune of being gifted a large bag by a friend. Double happiness!! I love mushrooms and have cooked extensively with Shitake’s which are similar in texture and firmness, and also delicious.

This recipe would be considered a travesty by real aficionados, as these mushrooms’ delicate, cinnamony scent is what all the fuss is about. Traditional recipes are brothy or ricey to fully showcase the aroma of the main act. Google “Matsutake Gohan” and you’ll find loads of recipes with this guy in a fine fish and Kombu broth, served in a teapot to preserve the steam until the moment your nose is ready to receive it.

In addition to their tastiness, these meaty mushrooms are purported to have numerous health benefits including improved cardiac and anti- tumor functions.

This soup was even more than double happiness because I had this leftover turkey, pear and onion gravy that I used for the base. Nice!

**Feel free to substitute other mushrooms and even apples for the pears.

From scratch version

1 organic pear diced

Half an organic onion diced

Vegetable or chicken stock

Rice vinegar to taste (about 4 tablespoons)

2 large matsutake muchrooms diced (about 2 cups)

Salt and pepper to taste (I use plenty of both of these)

1 tsp Chili flakes or garlic chili sauce

OR

Pear gravy version

1 quart (roughly) left over pear gravy from “Pear onion turkey wings in the slow cooker” (Smooth or lumpy, no matter).

Chicken stock to desired thickness (about 3 cups)

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