Dharma Talk

Shamanic teacher San­dra Inger­man helps us cel­e­brate chang­ing tides.

Yoga Journal - - CONTENTS -

As a new sea­son dawns, shamanic teacher San­dra Inger­man helps us cel­e­brate chang­ing tides.


1980, I was in­tro­duced to shamanic jour­ney­ing. I loved this prac­tice, which taught me how to re­ceive my own spir­i­tual guid­ance by trav­el­ing out­side of time and space to meet with help­ing and com­pas­sion­ate spir­its.

Us­ing the an­cient power of cer­e­mony, shamans move beyond or­di­nary think­ing into unseen realms, which are filled with great beauty and spir­i­tual heal­ing en­er­gies that can em­power our lives. In these realms, shamans can see dishar­mo­nious en­ergy pat­terns that need to be re­bal­anced in or­der to im­prove the health of peo­ple and the

planet. And it is also through cer­e­mony that shamans re­ceive guid­ance on how to res­tore har­mo­nious en­er­gies—from the nat­u­ral world, help­ing spir­its, and their own in­ner wis­dom.

In shamanic teach­ings, ev­ery spir­i­tual act we per­form is a cer­e­mony. When we rec­og­nize the sa­cred­ness of

each mo­ment, mir­a­cles hap­pen. Dur­ing the early 1980s, as I ex­plored the many facets of shaman­ism, I was drawn to cre­at­ing shamanic cer­e­monies to heal my past and to man­i­fest what my soul de­sired.

Cre­at­ing sa­cred cer­e­monies dur­ing sea­sonal and lu­nar tran­si­tions helps us nav­i­gate changes within and with­out. It is im­por­tant to cel­e­brate the sun­rise, sun­set, new and full moon, and sea­sonal changes as con­nected rather than sep­a­rate. When we ob­serve changes in the qual­ity of light be­tween the sun­rise and sun­set, or the chang­ing phases of the moon and sea­sons, we re­con­nect to a sense of or­ganic flow— how all life ex­pe­ri­ences are wo­ven to­gether. Here are some sim­ple prac­tices to get you started:

Con­nect with na­ture’s f low

Stand in na­ture. Close your eyes, and no­tice in your body how ev­ery­thing is mov­ing and flow­ing.

When I was grow­ing up, I used to watch car­toons of the sun, trees, and plants singing and danc­ing grace­fully. This is ac­tu­ally what oc­curs in na­ture. Ev­ery sea­son, lu­nar cy­cle, and tran­si­tion is part of a great flow. Feel this flow as you rock back and forth and from side to side.

Once you en­ter this state, you can join the flow of life rather than try­ing to con­trol it. Na­ture’s flow can­not be con­trolled. Once you learn how to sur­ren­der and move with it—when you walk with the flow of life in­stead of against it—health re­turns on all lev­els. Bring­ing a cer­e­mo­nial frame of mind to your time in na­ture in­fuses the sim­plest acts with sa­cred­ness.

Ob­serve the sea­sons

No mat­ter where you live, you ex­pe­ri­ence the four phases of the chang­ing sea­sons. You can ob­serve al­ter­ations in the land­scape, mi­gra­tion pat­terns of birds, and ap­pear­ances of cer­tain an­i­mals. Wit­ness the death of older life forms in au­tumn and win­ter giv­ing rise to new plants, trees, flow­ers, and baby be­ings in spring and sum­mer.

Be­come at­tuned to times of the year when na­ture is more ex­pan­sive and ex­pres­sive and times when growth around us slows down—when na­ture lets go of the old and turns within for re­gen­er­a­tion. Dis­cover how the light changes at these dif­fer­ent times of the year. No­tice how the tex­ture and qual­ity of the air feel dif­fer­ent as the sea­sons flow into one an­other. This will help you to re­flect on your per­sonal cy­cles so you can align with sea­sonal changes, within and with­out.

Dur­ing sea­sonal changes, bring your cer­e­mo­nial work to your fa­vorite place, and sing, write let­ters to the earth, and re­ceive mes­sages of deep wis­dom. For ex­am­ple, if you live near an ocean, try per­form­ing a cer­e­mony on the shore. The ocean is a pow­er­ful source of love and wis­dom. There is so much to learn by watch­ing the ocean, lis­ten­ing to the sound of the waves, smelling the salt in the air, and feel­ing the hu­mid­ity. Stand­ing with bare feet on the sand while per­form­ing a cer­e­mony in which peo­ple sing to the ocean, talk to it, and lis­ten for mes­sages is heart­warm­ing and in­spir­ing.

Honor the cy­cles of the moon

As the moon tran­si­tions from new­ness to full­ness, be­come aware of how this cy­cle deeply af­fects you phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. Our bod­ies are mostly wa­ter. Just as the lu­nar phases change the tides, you can feel changes hap­pen­ing in­side of you.

When you tune in to the phases of the moon, you may no­tice that dur­ing cer­tain times

As the moon tran­si­tions from new­ness to full­ness, be­come aware of how this cy­cle deeply im­pacts you phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. Our bod­ies are mostly wa­ter. Just as the lu­nar phases change the tides, you can feel changes hap­pen­ing in­side of you.

your cre­ativ­ity and ac­tiv­i­ties are bet­ter sup­ported. We are all unique be­ings, and your cy­cles may be dif­fer­ent from any­one else’s. Be open to dis­cov­ery as you ex­plore how the phases of the moon sup­port your needs.

The new moon is a time of be­gin­nings. It is a time to ex­pe­ri­ence re­birth and be­gin work­ing on new en­deav­ors such as wel­com­ing a new re­la­tion­ship, start­ing a project or job, or mov­ing into a new home. Imag­ine your­self look­ing up at the night sky and see­ing the sliver of the new moon. Feel the strength of re­birth.

As the moon waxes, nur­ture what you be­gan dur­ing the new moon. For many, the full moon is a pow­er­ful time to per­form cer­e­monies and heal­ing work. This is when the moon’s en­ergy is strong­est. Dur­ing the full moon, peo­ple’s moods change; hos­pi­tals and po­lice sta­tions get busier. Peo­ple do not know what to do with their en­ergy. A won­der­ful way to chan­nel this en­ergy is to per­form a cer­e­mony to honor the full moon with heal­ing and bless­ing work. The abun­dance of power makes the full moon a po­tent time to gather groups through vir­tual cer­e­monies and work to­gether in ser­vice to the earth.

Once we move into the phase of the wan­ing moon, we can take a breath and re­lax be­fore a new cy­cle be­gins.

Many shamanic and spir­i­tual prac­ti­tion­ers choose to per­form their re­leas­ing and bless­ing cer­e­monies dur­ing new and full moons and on the equinoxes and sol­stices. Spir­i­tual en­er­gies are abun­dant to sup­port cer­e­monies as we re­lease chal­lenges, ask for bless­ings in start­ing new projects, or face life tran­si­tions. As we ask for as­sis­tance, we also cel­e­brate the phase of the moon, equinox, or sol­stice through our in­vo­ca­tions, songs, and dances.

Slow down

Most of us live fast-paced lives and are not aware of how our phys­i­cal en­er­gies and moods change with the sea­sons and lu­nar cy­cles. When we slow down and per­form cer­e­monies to honor the flow of life within and with­out, we learn how to fol­low the cy­cles of na­ture. When we re­con­nect to the lu­nar cy­cles and changes in the sea­sons, we feel more em­bod­ied and at­tuned to our con­nec­tion to the earth.

Just as you honor the land and all of life dur­ing sea­sonal changes and lu­nar phases, re­al­ize that ev­ery day is a nat­u­ral cy­cle. Each day, you can in­te­grate sim­ple cer­e­monies to ex­press grat­i­tude and re­spect for the land where you live; all liv­ing be­ings; the el­e­ments of earth, air, wa­ter, and fire; and your own life.

As you honor land and life dur­ing sea­sonal and lu­nar changes, re­al­ize that ev­ery day is a nat­u­ral cy­cle.

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