7 Dimensions of Consciousness


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There are many different models of the dimensions of consciousness or planes of existence. These models originated from metaphysics, theosophy, Taoism, and Buddhism. The models range from as few as 3 levels to as many as 31 levels. The most popular models use 7, 9, or 12 levels.

Dimensions or planes can be thought of as density layers of energy or different energetic vibrations. They exist simultaneously alongside of our most familiar 3rd dimension physical world. They can also be called parallel worlds. Each dimension has its own properties and energetic resonance.

Our consciousness can exist on most density levels but we are usually not aware of it. We can access other dimensions in altered states of consciousness. For example, when we are in 3D, our brain is in a beta brainwave state (13 to 30 cycles per second). We can drop into 4D by altering our brainwaves to an alpha state (8 to 13 cycle per second). We can drop into 5D by altering our brainwaves to a theta state (4 to 8 cycles per second). Our brainwave states are altered through hypnosis, shamanic journeys, sleep, and meditation.

I personally follow a model consisting of 7 dimensions. Below is a description of each dimension. I encourage you to research different models of dimensions and adopt a model that fits your belief system.

1st Dimension (1D) Entities are elementals, nature spirits, and minerals. These beings are unconscious as they do not have individual awareness.

2nd Dimension (2D) Entities are plants, animals, and the little people (dryads, sprites, fairies, leprechauns, elves, and pixies). These beings have group consciousness. They do not have individual souls or personalities but share a group soul.

3rd Dimension (3D) Entities are humans. Energy bodies are attached to physical bodies via energetic cords and chakras. These beings have individual consciousness with individual personalities.

4th Dimension (4D) Entities are humans that have transitioned out of physical form but are not yet resident in 5D. This is the astral plane or energetic vibration just beyond 3D. This dimension can be experienced in the alpha brainwave state of 8-13 cycles per second obtained through sleep, hypnosis, shamanic journeys, out-of-body experiences, and near death experiences. A cord of energy attaches the energy body to its physical body as it travels on the astral plane. If that cord is severed, then the soul cannot return to its physical body but must begin a new incarnation in a different physical body.

5th Dimension (5D) Entities are spirit guides, teachers, Higher Selves, Oversouls, and the Akashic Records. This dimension can be experienced in the theta brainwave state of 4-8 cycles per second usually obtained through hypnosis, shamanic journeys, and meditation. A portion of the soul always resides in 5D while the soul is incarnated in 3D. 5D is often referred to as the Afterlife, Heaven, Inbetween Lives, Interlife. 4D and 5D together represents the Spirit World, the Subtle World, the Other Side, and Beyond the Veil. The beings in 5D have universal consciousness that all souls can tap into. 5D can be accessed

6th Dimension (6D) Entities are ascended masters (such as Jesus and Buddha, etc) who no longer are in the incarnation cycle. The Laws of the Universe are also in 6D. Souls in the incarnation process usually do not pass above 5D so less is known on Earth about 6D and 7D.

7th Dimension (7D) Entity is the Source of All That Is, i.e., the Creator, Great Spirit, or Universal Life Force. This is the highest, most refined, level of energy. This is the level of God/Goddess Consciousness. It is where souls came from, where they will return to, and what they are always connected to.


Alchemy of 9 Dimensions: The 2011/2012 Prophecies and the 9 Dimensions of Consciousness by Barbara Hand Chow

Imagining the 10th Dimension: A New Way of Thinking About Time and Space by Rob Bryanton

Navigating Dimensions: Reminders for Remembering: Awakening and Ascension Guide Book by Lisa Transcendence Brown


Energy is all there is. You are a latticework of energies. –Donna Eden

All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. We are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There’s no such thing as death. Life is only a dream. And we’re the imagination of ourselves. –Bill Hicks

We come from energy and turn back into energy. We are all matter for only a very short time. Make sure that when you are matter you matter. –Unknown

Remember the high vibrational being you are. You are light and energy not this form that you temporarily occupy. –Unknown

The fact that there is a Beginning or an End is just a concept seeded into your mind by society. You are Constant, Continuous, Infinite Energy and energy never ends, it transforms. –Unknown

Copyright © 2021 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged. www.DrakeInnerprizes.com

The Chumpi Stone Guidebook: Carved Companions from the Andes



Stones are carved stones that are created by the indigenous people of the Peruvian Andes. They have been used for practical as well as sacred tools. In this book you will read about the original uses for the stones as well as discover the mystery and majesty of modern practices for them. These fascinating stones are energetic companions that can be used to activate, animate, and move energy within different grids of time, dimensions, and portals.

The Chumpi Stone Guidebook is a reference guide about these sacred stones as well as other carved items. It is also an exploration of how to integrate these stones into your 21st century lifestyle or spiritual practice. It includes:

  • Description, interpretation, and correspondences for Chumpi Stones.
  • Uses, both ancient and modern, for Chumpi Stones.
  • Fully illustrated directory of imagery carved on stones, dice, tiles, and other items from Andean culture.
  • A comparison of the human energy systems from Andean and Hindu cosmology that influence Western beliefs and how Chumpi Stones can be used with them.


  • Definition of Chumpi Stones
  • Background Information
  • Uses for Chumpi Stones

Chumpi Stones 101

  • Anatomy of a Chumpi Stone
  • Obtaining Chumpi Stones
  • Carving Styles
  • Unique Chumpi Stones
  • Material Correspondences
  • Color Correspondences
  • Number Correspondences
  • Textile Correspondences

Chumpi Stone Correspondences

  • Cosmology by the Numbers (0 through 12)
  • Summary of Chumpi Stone Correspondences

Other Carved Companions

  • Taway (Dice)
  • Tiha Rumi (Tile Stones)
  • Makikuna (Hands)
  • Conopakuna (Votive Offerings)

Visual Directory of Carved Images

  • Images are Mythic Stories
  • Directory of Images

Chumpi Stone Uses

  • A Birthing Ritual for Chumpi Stones
  • Cleansing Chumpi Stones
  • Energizing Chumpi Stones
  • Affirmation Work
  • Divination Work

Energy Work with Chumpi Stones

  • The Energy Body
  • The Andean Energy System
  • The Hindu Energy System
  • Energy Transmission Work
  • Healing with Chumpi Stones
  • Grids for Healing Work


  • Illustrations
  • Fun with Chumpikuna
  • Glossary
  • Reference Links
  • Wisdom Weaver Press Offerings
  • Acknowledgements
  • About the Author

Copyright © 2021 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

The Chakana Oracle: Ancient Wisdom for the 21st Century



In many ancient cultures divination was used to determine if an action taken would be favorable. In ancient Greece, an oracle was a seer who was the intermediary between the people and the gods and goddesses. In The Chakana Oracle, the cards themselves play the role of the ancient oracle, connecting the user to an ancient Andean lineage, whose roots go back over 500 years to the Inka Empire.

Just as working directly with textiles, natural items, sacred places, and medicine bundles are useful vehicles to rekindle connections to the earth and to the cosmos, working with The Chakana Oracle will also serve to promote connection. Over time, with dedication and awareness, we can each rekindle and remember our own personal cosmology and reconnect to our indigenous soul. In doing so, we are engaging ayni, a sacred reciprocity of both receiving and giving back to the energetic universe, known as the Kawsaypacha (Living Energy World).

The Chakana Oracle project is a co-creation of Drake and Wake, who together have 36 years of experience working within the Andean cosmology. They have drawn information from multiple sources including journeys, discussions, ceremonies, and initiations with indigenous teachers of the Andes. They are available for Chakana Oracle readings and workshops. For further information please visit The Chakana Oracle website: www.ChakanaOracle.com. In addition, both Drake and Wake are available to give Chakana Oracle readings and workshops.

The Chakana Oracle project consists of a guidebook, a card deck, and a cloth textile for divination layouts. The Chakana Oracle is a vehicle designed to help the user explore the depth and breadth of who they are, who they are connected to, and what they’re capable of achieving. It also presents ways to find and then engage their own energy companions. So, user, journey, sing, reweave stories, and activate your living energy!

The Chakana Oracle Guidebook is a compilation of Andean cosmology and spiritual culture that is presented from a fresh new perspective. It includes:

  • In-depth information with rich, full-color illustrations of Andean cosmology and symbology.
  • Layouts for divination work with a foundation that is based on the geography of the terrestrial land overlaid with the energy of the celestial sky.
  • Description, interpretation, and practice for each of the 100 oracle cards in The Chakana Oracle Card Deck.

The Chakana Oracle Guidebook is available in printed form as a 6”x9” trade paperback (ISBN 978-0-9862498-2-2). It is 292 pages with 250 full color illustrations. An electronic version of the book (ISBN 978-0-9862498-3-9) will be available soon.



Divination & Card Layouts

Antisuyu (Northeast) Suit: P’acha Q’epe (Woven Textiles)
To Be (Green) – 28 Image Cards

Qollasuyu (Southeast) Suit: Khuyakuna (Sacred Stones)
To Emerge (White) – 19 Image Cards

Kuntisuyu (Southwest) Suit: Rikchaykuna (Carved Images)
To Vision (Yellow) – 18 Image Cards

Chinchaysuyu (Northwest) Suit: Ruruchina (Energy Companions)
To Master (Red) – 29 Image Cards

– Glossary
– Reference Links
– The Marketplace
– Acknowledgements
– About the Authors

The Chakana Oracle Card Deck consists of 101 3.5”x5” cards (ISBN 978-0-9862498-4-6) printed on linen card stock. Each card is an energetic companion from the Andean cosmology that can help the user activate, animate, and move energy within different grids of time, dimensions, and portals. Each card includes a photograph of the companion as well as its title in the native language of Quechua with its English translation.

Cards usually contain archetypal or sacred images that portray a concept. Cards, as symbolic inquiry, can be a powerful adjunct to core spiritual practices. This sacred symbolic dialogue can enhance and deepen our relationship with Spirit. The process involves taking a literal image, sensing its symbolic messages, hearing its mythic story, and moving its activated energy. The essential layers of perception and experience become engaged.


The Chakana Oracle items can be purchased individually or as a set. These include the book, card deck, and other items that accessorize your divination work, such as textiles, chumpi stones, and dice. All of these items are available at The Marketplace (www.SacredPathways.us/shop/). The guidebook is also be available in printed form or as an ebook on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. The ebook is on Apple iTunes, too. You can also visit us at www.ChakanaOracle.com. We invite you to write a review on Amazon or send one to us directly. Thank you.


Photo of don Francisco Chura Flores, doña Juanita Apaza Ccapa, and Wilbert Salas Atasi reviewing the prototype of The Chakana Oracle cards in Cusco Peru.


Photo of don Francisco Chura Flores, doña Juanita Apaza Ccapa, and Wilbert Salas Atasi blessing the prototype of The Chakana Oracle cards in Cusco Peru.

Copyright © 2020 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

Days to Commemorate Individuals with Diverse Gender and Sexual Identities


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Days Diversity
Let us honor those who have the courage to walk their unique personal paths on these memorial days that have been identified to raise awareness about individuals with diverse gender and sexual identities. Not sure what all the identities are about? Look up their definition and pride flags in my glossaries on Gender and Sexual Identities at http://www.soulsexalchemy.com.

February LGBT* History Month (UK)
February Gay Mardi Gras in New Orleans
February (First full week after Feb 14) Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week
February (Week starting Sun/Mon surrounding Feb 14) Non-Binary Awareness Week
March Bisexual Health Awareness Month
March 1 Zero Discrimination Day
March 8 International Women’s’ Day
March (Third Week) LGBT* Health Awareness Week
March 24 Day of Blood (Gallae, eunuch priests, made their offerings to Cybele & Attis in ancient Rome)
March 31 National Day of Transgender Visibility
April (Second Wednesday) International Day of Pink
April (Second Friday) Day of Silence to Protest Bullying
April 6 International Asexuality Day
April 8 Transgender Day of Empowerment
April 22 Ecosexual Day
April 26 Lesbian Visibility Day
May 16 National Honor LGBT+ Elders
May 17 International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, & Transphobia
May 18 HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
May 19 Agender Pride Day
May 22 Harvey Milk Day
May 24 Pansexual & Panromantic Awareness or Visibility Day
June LGBT+ Pride Month:
        June 1 Gay Day
        June 2 Lesbian Day
        June 3 Bisexual Day
        June 4 Polysexual Day
        June 5 Pansexual Day
        June 6 Omnisexual Day
        June 7 Ceterosexual / Skoliosexual Day
        June 8 Demisexual Day
        June 9 Grey Ace (Asexual) Day
        June 10 Asexual Day
        June 11 Polyamorous Day
        June 12 Intersex Day
        June 13 Trans MTF Day
        June 14 Trans FTM Day
        June 15 Agender Day
        June 16 Genderfluid Day
        June 17 Bigender Day
        June 18 Trigender Day
        June 19 Pangender Day
        June 20 Genderqueer Day
        June 21 Demigirl Day
        June 22 Demiboy Day
        June 23 Androgyne Day
        June 24 Intergender Day
        June 25 Non-binary Day
        June 26 Questioning Day
        June 27 Homoromantic Day
        June 28 Biromantic Day
        June 29 Panromantic Day
        June 30 Aromantic Day
June 5 HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day
June 12 Pulse Night of Remembrance
June 27-28 Stonewall Riots Anniversary
July 1 Chameleosexual Day
July 2 Abrosexual Day
July 14 International Non-Binary People’s Day
July 16 International Drag Day
August Compton Cafeteria Riots Anniversary
August 19 Trans Flag Day
August Last Friday Wear It Purple Day
September or October (TBD) Ally Week
September (Third Week) Bisexual Awareness Week
September 18 HIV/AIDS & Aging Awareness Day
September 23 Bisexual Visibility Day & Celebrate Bisexuality Day
September 27 Gay Mens’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
October LGBT History Month
October (Third Week) Genderfluid Visibility Week
October (Final Week) Ace (Asexual) Awareness Week
October (Third Wednesday) International Pronouns Day
October (Third Thursday) Spirit Day (Day Against Bullying)
October 8 Lesbian Day
October 11 National Coming Out Day
October 26 Intersex Awareness Day
November Trans Awareness Month
November (Second Week) Trans Awareness Week
November (First Sunday) Trans Parent Day
November 8 Intersex Solidarity Day & Intersex Day of Remembrance
November 19 International Men’s’ Day
November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance
December 1 World Aids Day
December 8 Pansexual Pride Day
December 28 Trans Youth Day

Days LGBT June

List Compiled by Drake Bear Stephen in 2022 http://www.SoulSexAlchemy.com

Discover Your Roots Through DNA Testing




Being indigenous means being an original inhabitant of a particular place. Some indigenous people still live on the land that their ancestors were born on while many other indigenous people have migrated through multiple regions over tens of thousands of years. All of our roots can be traced back to single point in Africa. And we may have even originated off planet. Through migration and dispersion, people have migrated to inhabit the entire globe. Most inhabitants of North and South America are recent immigrants but were indigenous to other parts of the world. The point is, that all people are indigenous if they follow their roots far enough back through history.

Some people have inherited documented family histories or are born into a culture that has strong tribal or cultural affiliations. They are fully conscious of their physical identity. However, many people’s histories have not been recorded. Many, especially in the melting pot of the United States, have no information about their roots.

Many in our modern culture are now suffering from feelings of being out of touch with tribal ties and community, emptiness due to loss of ritual and ceremony, and disassociation with deep spirituality. These souls are looking for something to fill these voids. Many latch onto the practices of other indigenous cultures that are still in touch with their spirituality.

However, utilizing modern technology, there is a way to discover one’s hidden or lost indigenous roots. Follow these roots back far enough and you will most likely find a tribe or tribes that you originated from. Discovering these roots and researching these cultures will enrich one’s sense of belonging. You may even decide to add some old traditions, customs, and rituals to your modern life.

Being Caucasian, I became curious about my own roots. From word of mouth within my family, I had suspicions about my origins but no definitive proof. I wanted to know what indigenous blood I actually had. So I took DNA tests from three different companies.  The results indicate that my recent ancestors are all from Western Europe. Therefore I began to research tribes of Western Europe. Below is a map of major tribes in Europe. I add it here to illustrate my point that we all have indigenous roots, even “white” people.

European Tribes sml

The major pre-Christian spiritual traditions in Western Europe include Asatru, Celtic, Druidry, Heathenry, Paganism, Witchcraft, and Goddess worship.

All humans have tribal ancestry and genetic indigenous memory. However, many have lost touch with their indigenous soul. Western society is suffering from soul loss; a disconnect from the indigenous soul. That indigenous soul part has been displaced by patriarchal monotheistic religions. People are awakening and finding themselves starved for connection, ceremony, and rites of passage. It is now time to retrieve those lost soul parts through cultural affirmation.

The only way to save our future on Earth is to resurrect the tribe, re-indigenize the soul, and de-colonialize society. We must move from a Eurocentric consciousness to an Indigenous-Ecocentric consciousness or life on this planet will perish.

My next article will be about what characterizes an indigenous soul and how it compares to a soul that has lost its indigenous consciousness.


DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is a double helix found in all of our cells.

DNA sml

99% of DNA is the same in all people. A soul inherits only half of its parent’s DNA; 50% from mother and 50% from father. A mother always passes down an X chromosome to all her children (both males and females). A father only passes down his X chromosome to his female children.

A mother can pass down the X chromosome with or without recombination. Without recombination, the X chromosome is from one maternal grandparent. With recombination, the X chromosome is a mixture of both maternal grandparents. A father always passes down the X chromosome without recombination.

Therefore, your DNA can differ significantly from your siblings.

DNA contains the following information:

  • Biological genetic heredity from ancestors.
  • Characteristics of ethnicity, haplogroup, migration paths, and geographic origins of ancestor line.
  • Biological sex chromosomes. (Not what determines gender identity.)
  • Predisposition to health issues or genetic anomalies.
  • Karmic imprints.
  • Astrological imprints. (DNA is a snapshot of the pattern of the solar system at birth.)
  • The Akashic Record of all lifetimes of the soul.
  • Physical home for the Higher Self and the Source/Creator/Great Spirit connection.


There are four main DNA tests available commercially. They are:

Y-DNA (Y Chromosome)

  • Traces male ancestors’ ancient migration paths from Africa
  • Identifies haplogroup and migration paths of paternal line
  • Since Y chromosome is required, if you are genetically female, you will need to have a male sibling get tested to identify the paternal line

mtDNA (Mitochondrial)

  • Traces female ancestors’ ancient migration paths from Africa
  • Identifies basic haplogroup and migration paths of maternal line

atDNA (Autosomal, 22 pairs non-sex chromosomes)

  • Identifies ethnic percentages and origins

X-DNA (X Chromosome)

  • Used for academic population genetics studies, extended forensic studies, and siblingship studies

There are four main companies doing DNA testing. The following is a list of what they offer:

23andMe www.23andme.com

  • Detailed breakdown of global ancestry, see if some of your DNA comes from Neanderthals
  • Find and connect with DNA relatives
  • Option to upgrade to add health reports for an extra cost

Ancestry DNA www.ancestry.com

  • Uncover your ethnic mix across 26 regions worldwide, including 9 unique regions of Africa
  • World’s largest consumer DNA network—over 3 million people and counting
  • Connect with distant relatives and new ancestors you never knew you had

Family Tree www.familytreedna.com

  • Interactive tools to find DNA matches, trace lineage through time, and determine family connections
  • Discover roots with the most comprehensive DNA ancestry test kit database in the world
  • Find distant relatives and connect with our DNA test Family Matching System
  • Family Tree DNA is the testing partner for National Geographic Genographic Project

DNA Tribes www.dnatribes.com

  • Tests autosomal STRs inherited from both maternal and paternal ancestors for the most detailed and comprehensive genetic ancestry analysis available
  • Our test compares your DNA to over 1,200 ethnic groups and 32 regions exclusive to DNA Tribes®
  • Algorithms updated in April of 2015 with over 80 new populations including Greenland, Netherlands, Poland, China, Somalia and Ghana and representing approximately 30,000 people

All testing kits are available to purchase from their respective websites. All kits, except DNA Tribes, are also available from Amazon.com. The kits are mailed to you, you collect your sample (either saliva or a cheek swab), then mail the sample to the company. It can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to receive your results. Results are available on your personal account page on the company’s website.

The National Geographic Genographic Project also does mtDNA and Y-DNA testing. (https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com). However, they do not give results of ethnicity-ancestry.

I was tested by DNA Tribes and Ancestry DNA. The ancestry results did not match at all. DNA Tribes was reporting ethnicities that my family was not aware of (predominately Eastern European). Ancestry DNA was much more in line with what we knew of our family tree (predominately Western European). So I got tested by a third company, 23andMe. The results from 23andMe were very close to Ancestry DNA results. In addition, 23andMe gave additional interesting information such as what percent Neanderthal genetic material is in my DNA. For an additional cost, they will also test for health issues that may be inherited.

Ancestry DNA has a feature that assists you in finding relatives based on the results of your DNA testing. I did not pursue this as I am not doing genealogy of my family tree.

Below is a chart comparing the four companies. Bottom line I recommend 23andMe and/or Ancestry DNA.

Chart of DNA Test Comparisons

23andMe Ancestry DNA DNA Tribes Family Tree
Cost $99 $79 $119 $90
Sample Collection Saliva Saliva Cheek Swab Cheek Swab
Maternal Tree (mtDNA) Yes No No Additional Cost
Paternal Tree (Y-DNA)* Yes No No Additional Cost
Ancestry-Ethnicity (atDNA) Yes Yes Yes Yes
X-DNA Partial Matches No Unknown Partial Matches
% Neanderthal Yes No No No
Health Info Additional Cost No No No

*Paternal Tree requires Y (male) chromosome


National, International, and World DNA Day is celebrated on April 25. It commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003 and the discovery of the double helix of DNA in 1953. The first DNA Day was celebrated in 2003 and is now organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).


Blaine T Bettinger – Guide to DNA Testing & Genetic Genealogy

Nancy Hendrickson – Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com: How to Find Your Family History on the No. 1 Genealogy Website

Dr. D. Barry Starr – A Handy Guide to Ancestry and Relationship DNA Tests

Spencer Wells – Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project



With DNA, the ability to find out a lot more with a lot less has increased our ability for identification. –Patricia Cornwell

We are spiritual beings whether we want to admit it or not, and inherent in our DNA is a design to return us home – home to our true essence, our greatest self, our limitless self. –Debbie Ford

It’s good to know where you come from. It makes you what you are today. It’s DNA, it’s in your blood. –Alexander McQueen

Our own genomes carry the story of evolution, written in DNA, the language of molecular genetics, and the narrative is unmistakable. –Kenneth R. Miller

We are in worldwide ecological and social crises. Only a return to the indigenous soul can save us. –Miranda Moon

Some of us have buried our humanity deep inside, or medicated or anesthetized it, but every person alive today, tribal or modern, primal or domesticated, has a soul that is original, natural, and, above all, indigenous in one way or another. –Martin Prechtel

These two-legged will be called the Rainbow Tribe, for they are the product of thousands of years of melding among the five original races. These children of Earth have been called together to open their hearts and to move beyond the barriers of disconnection. The medicine they carry is the Whirling Rainbow of Peace, which will mark the union of the five races as one. –Jamie Sams

All of today’s DNA, strung through all the cells of the earth, is simply an extension and elaboration of [the] first molecule. —Lewis Thomas

Life is a DNA software system. –Craig Venter

It turns out that every person alive today can trace his or her ancestry back to Africa. Everyone’s DNA tells a story of a journey from an African homeland to wherever you live. –Spencer Wells

Antigravity, teleportation, time travel, energetic DNA evolution and consciousness transformation could create a world few of us ever even dreamed of. –David Wilcock

Copyright © 2017 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

Sacred Activism: A Guide to Awakening Your Inner Activist


Earth’s Dark Night of the Soul

There has undoubtedly been a shift in the world. I never used to follow politics or even the news. Now I am checking headlines periodically throughout the day. The subject of politics and current events has also filtered into practically every conversation I have. Even the flavor of my Facebook page has changed. Gone are the videos of cute animals and pictures of people’s meals, replaced by critical current events and calls to sign petitions and join protests.

Yes, we have talked about beginning an ascension or evolution period since before 2012. But I don’t think any of us imagined that it would happen like this. We didn’t imagine the world would turn so ugly. We didn’t think it would seem humanity was taking a huge step backward. We have entered into the Dark Night of the Collective Soul.

Last November, when the results of the election became known, I was stunned but not really surprised. I had a deep foreboding in the pit of my stomach weeks before the election. Despite all the protests, all the prophecies, and all the polls, the far right, with a platform based on corporate greed, repression of social rights, and an intent to deconstruct the environment and every US institution, won the majority of congressional seats and the Presidency.

So, what is really going on? Are we really regressing to the Dark Ages? Or is it possible that a Death and a Birth are occurring simultaneously on our planet? Are all the theories of a dying patriarchy and the rise of the feminine to usher in the Age of Aquarius or the Golden Age true or are they a false hope held by desperate wishers?

Andrew Harvey

Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism, believes we are in a simultaneous death and birth process.

“This Death is the birth canal of a new Divine Humanity; that the Birth is already happening; and that Sacred Activism is the force of Divine Love and Wisdom in action, the Birthing Force of the new human.”
-Andrew Harvey

He has identified seven characteristics of the Death: environmental devastation; population explosion; growth of fundamentalism and religious terrorism; nuclear proliferation; corporate mindset, greed, and control of the media; and technology combined with the hectic pace of modern life. His seven characteristics of the Birth are: our current crises and our response to it; use of creative technologies; new forms of democratizing media; a mystical renaissance; evolving philosophy of nonviolence; the return of the Divine Feminine; and the Divine blessing the Birth of the Divine Human.

Just as a serious accident or illness becomes a wakeup call for us to get to work on our personal soul, what is happening in current events is a wakeup call for the collective soul. The efforts of the far right to deconstruct our institutions and constitutional rights will shine a light on just how corrupt government agencies and their office holders have become. It will create a chance for us to clean our house.

The Shadow is Calling Us

There are various commentaries that have helped me come to a deeper understanding of what is happening now and why.

Steve Dinan

Steve Dinan, in his book Sacred America, Sacred World, says that the cultural roots of the governing class in the United States is mostly from white European culture.

Dinan describes the Hopi belief that there are four races and they are represented by the four elements: the yellow tribes steward air, the black tribes steward water, the red (Indigenous) tribes steward earth, and the white tribes steward fire. Based on this, he says that the United States national psyche has an excess of fire that leads to war, competition, violence, and arrogance. Some indigenous cultures, including the Hopi and the South American indigenous people, have prophesied that when the people of the world unite, the world will come into balance. Many believe that now is that time.

Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra said that Trump’s rise to power represents the United States’ shadow. Indeed, there is much horror in this shadow, including wars and colonialism; enslavement of black people; genocide of the Native Americans; Jim Crow laws that perpetuate racism; Jane Crow laws that perpetuate sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. We all must acknowledge our shadow. A part of the healing work involves asking for forgiveness for any atrocities that we or our ancestors have committed. To facilitate this, we can create our own ceremony or follow the process of Ho’oponopono. Colin Tipping, in his book Radical Forgiveness: A Revolutionary Five-Stage Process to Heal Relationships – Let Go of Anger and Blame – Find Peace in Any Situation, also has some great forgiveness processes.

Read Deepak Chopra’s full article on the shadow here: www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/americas-shadow-the-real-_b_10319848.html

Sandra Ingerman

Sandra Ingerman, a well-known shamanic teacher, also says that current events are due to the shadow arising for healing. Her suggestion is to feed the world with love. She says we ride a different energetic wave than the dense collective when we focus on our work. This work will help create the “new world”.

“Evolution is occurring. All initiations involve dismemberment, disintegration, illumination, remembering, reconstruction, and re-emergence.”
-Sandra Ingerman

Read more by Sandra Ingerman here: www.facebook.com/sandra.ingerman.7

Jose Stevens

According to the Michael channel, there are 5 ages of souls that incarnate on Earth. They are: Infant Souls, Baby Souls, Young Souls, Mature Souls, and Old Souls. In addition, each age has 7 distinct levels. Jose Stevens, author of the Power Path website, says that the world is in the process of moving from a young soul level to a mature soul level. He has identified Trump and all of his cabinet members, which he calls the “wrecking crew”, as being baby and young souls with only two being early level mature souls. There is no one there to represent the older souls which may be a large portion of the population.

Stevens explains how the ancient Mayan mystics predicted that change goes through the following phases:

  1. Extreme polarization, struggle, confusion, chaos, protesting and mini revolts.
  2. Final revolt by the masses, the old order crashes.
  3. Renaissance, renewal, transformation, freshness, and freedom.

Now in our country, the old school refuses to die away without a fight and people have become polarized as a result. Stevens predicts that this polarization phase will continue about another 20 years and that the renaissance period will not begin until 36 years from now.

He also discusses the 250 year period that it takes Pluto to orbit the sun. He says that hardly any nation states last more than this 250 year period. It has been 240 years since the United States was born in 1776. The United States’ Pluto orbit will be completed 2024.

Jose Stevens has written five articles about the election and Trump administration on the Power Path. You can read them here: https://thepowerpath.com/category/articles-by-jose-stevens/

Read more about the soul ages here: www.michaelteachings.com/soul_age_index.html

Read more about the soul levels here: www.michaelteachings.com/soul_age_levels.htm

Joan Parisi Wilcox

Similar to the concept of soul ages and levels, the spiritual people of the high Andes recognize eight steps on the stairway of human consciousness, numbered from 0 to 7.

Just as a kindergartner cannot comprehend college level material until they have experienced, grown, and matured, souls must ascend the stairs of consciousness and progress through the soul ages.

Joan says the most common stair for the people of the world is the 3rd. This level of consciousness is characterized by single-mindedness, identifying with one tradition/group/belief at the exclusion of all others even needing to “show” others the way.

Joan places Trump on the 2nd stair. This level of consciousness is characterized by group mindedness, black and white thinking, us-versus-them mentality, and latching on to one truth at the expense of all others.

Many if not most older souls are on the 4th stair most of the time. This level of consciousness is characterized by autonomy, choosing and standing up for one’s personal beliefs, and respecting others’ personal beliefs. A sacred activist works at the 4th level.

“Our activism should display [our level of consciousness]. There is no place for attack rhetoric, insults, outbursts fueled by frustration, or violence in word, thought or deed at the 4th level. Resistance can be non-violent, communication powerful but respectful, emotion tempered by virtue and compassion, and action for change motivated by community-building rather than enemy-bashing… [We should be] bridge building rather than bridge-burning.”
Joan Parisi Wilcox

Read Joan Parisi Wilcox’s full article “Birds of Consiousness” here: https://qentiwasi.com/2016/05/

The Great Council of Grandmothers

Sharon McErlane, author of the Great Council of the Grandmothers series of books, channels wisdom from the Great Council of Grandmothers. Nadia den Aantrekker says that the Grandmothers have told her that we have entered into an age of destruction called the “Kali Yuga”. Kali Yuga, the “Age of the Demon” or the “Age of Vice”, is the last of four Yuga stages in the Hindu scriptures. This is the age furthest away from God/Creator/Source/Great Spirit and is necessary to destroy “evil” before the Golden Age arrives. The Grandmothers say that the Earth has suffered too long from an excess of yang and insufficient yin. They tell us to stand strong and suggest that we hold Sacred Space by being in service to others.

Read the full article about the Great Council of Grandmothers here: http://netoflight.org/2016/11/14/2016-november-14th-after-the-u-s-election-2016/

David Korten

David Korten, in his book The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, says that we are at a fork in the road. We have the opportunity to transition from the past 5,000-year “Era of Empire” to the “Era of Earth Community”. This period is called the “Great Turning”. The Era of Empire that includes domination, competition, and colonialization has reached the limits of sustainability for both the Earth and its inhabitants. Modern technologies provide resource support for grassroots organizations to organize and facilitate the Great Turning.

Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy, in her book Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work that Reconnects, defines the Great Turning as the shift from the industrial civilization to life-sustaining civilization. She says that our current economic system, based on growth, consumerism, and hoarding of wealth, is no longer sustainable for Earth and its inhabitants. The Great Turning is gaining momentum as people awaken to alternatives to massive consumerism and rape of the Earth’s resources. Her personal guidelines for the Great Turning include: Being in gratitude, not fearing the dark times we are in; daring to vision; getting involved; and acting our age, “all 15 billion years of it”.

William Strauss and Neil Howe

William Strauss and Neil Howe, in their book The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny, identify a pattern in Anglo-American history over the last 500 years and 25 generations.

A saeculum is 80 years or the approximate length of a generation. Within it are four 20-year turnings. When complete, the cycle repeats itself. Our current 80 year cycle includes the following periods:

  • 1st Turn – The High characterized by mostly peace and prosperity: 1945 to 1963 (post-WWII)
  • 2nd Turn – The Awakening characterized by social upheaval and changes: 1960s and 70s
  • 3rd Turn – The Unraveling characterized by unrestricted commerce and economic boom: 1980s and 90s (the Reagan years)
  • 4th Turn – The Crisis characterized by economic collapse and fear that can result in war: Began in 2008

Therefore, we have about 10 more years until The High returns.

Read about The Fourth Turning by Debilyn Molineaux at: www.bridgealliance.us/the_process_of_change_part_i

Carl Johan Calleman

Carl Johan Calleman, in his book The Nine Waves of Creation: Quantum Physics, Holographic Evolution, and the Destiny of Humanity, describes how Mayan creation waves work. They are based on the Mayan Long Count calendar. New civilizations are created at the peaks (called days) of the sine waves and civilizations collapse in the valleys (called nights) of the sine waves.

We have just entered into the 7th night (a valley) of the 6th Wave of Creation. When a night begins, the light on the Western Hemisphere, is lost and civilizations in the Western hemisphere lose power. During night in the Western Hemisphere it is day in the Eastern Hemisphere, therefore, power may be shifting to Russia or China.

Calleman believes that Western civilization’s increase in nationalism, zenophobia, sexism, and isolationism is due to the influence of the 7th night. The 7th night will last approximately 400 years and could include political chaos, economic downturn, dictatorship, and/or a failed war.

However, on the bright side, Calleman says there is a distinctive difference between the current 7th night and the preceding ones. New waves, the 7th, 8th and 9th, have just activated. Every higher wave has a frequency that is 20 times higher than the lower one.

The 7th Wave is in a night that ends in 2031 and will be characterized by a rise in global collaboration and an end of nationalism. By then, children born when the 9th Wave was activated in 2011 will be 20 years old. They, and those born after 2011, will use their unity-oriented consciousness to influence the world.

The 8th and 9th Waves are oscillating quickly between days and nights. The 8th Wave supports the feminine and resonates with the right brain so it is important to expand women’s rights at this time. Right now it is in day, hence the success of the Women’s March, but on September 27 it will go into night, which could be a very difficult time.

Our ultimate destiny is to rise to the highest 9th Wave. People resonating with the 9th Wave will be manifesting unity consciousness during its peaks.

Read Carl Johan Calleman’s full article here: http://calleman.com/2017/03/01/entering-a-dark-age-and-what-to-do-about-it/

Here is a summary of the important dates that have been prophesied in the above commentaries:

  • The Great Turning is happening now.
  • The current day of the 8th Creation Wave will end Sep 27, 2017.
  • The current presidential term ends in 2020.
  • The next presidential term after that ends in 2024.
  • The United States’ Pluto return will complete in 2024.
  • The United States will be 250 years old in 2026.
  • The Fourth Turning of Crises will complete in 2028.
  • The current night of the 7th Creation Wave will end in 2031.
  • The United States polarization will end in 2037.
  • The 36 year struggle to the new Renaissance will end in 2053.
  • The 7th Night of the 6th Creation Wave will end in 2417.

Yes, it seems that these theories support our feeling that we are in dark times. But they also provide hope for the future and a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Sacred Activism is the Answer

Wikipedia defines activism as “efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, and/or environmental/ecological reform or stasis with the desire to make improvements in society.” A major form of activism is protest, which is action that expresses a specific viewpoint about a particular social, political, economic, or environmental/ecological circumstance. Protests can take many different forms that will be discussed in the next section.

“Excluding diversity divides us.
Embracing our diversity unifies us.
Worlds with walls perpetuates war and hate.
Opening doors creates peace and love.”
Drake Bear Stephen

A grassroots movement is “bottom up” activism or action that begins at the local level and rises to a regional, national, or global level. Astroturfing is an action that appears to be grassroots but is actually sponsored by a corporation or think tank. The more corrupt the government becomes, the more important it is to create real progressive change through grassroots organizations. The internet and social media has given us the tools to communicate and organize like never before. Like-minded people are coming together in communities to stand up and have their voices heard. Paul Hawken, in his book Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World, believes there are over one and maybe and many as two million organizations working towards ecological sustainability and social justice.

Sacred activism adds a layer of spirituality to worldly activism. In other words, activism is a preoccupation with our earthly ego and the physical world because we are currently walking a journey on Earth. However, a part of our soul, call it the Higher Self, is living in the spiritual world. A “wholistc” soul will integrate the earthly soul and spiritual soul into daily life activities. This integration broadens perspectives and opens the heart. Using wisdom from the spiritual soul during activist activities brings love and light onto the earthly plane.

Activism = Promotes Political + Social + Economic + Environmental Evolution

Sacred Activism = Promotes Political + Social + Economic + Environmental + Spiritual Evolution

And sometimes revolution (through peaceful protest) needs to promote evolution!

Paul Hawkins describes sacred activism as having three interrelated branches: social justice issues, environmental activism, and the fight of indigenous peoples against colonialization.

Social justice is the fair and equal treatment for every individual in a society, which includes wealth distribution, opportunities, and social privileges. The United States Declaration of Independence valued social justice in a democratic society as shown by the following words:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [humans] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Subsequently the Constitution and its amendments confirm and expand on these human rights. Basic human rights include personal and political freedoms for all.

The Triangle of Disempowerment consists of the three roles: victim, rescuer, and bully. And clearly, we can identify who is playing what role in the news these days. But it is unhealthy to be in any of these roles. The goal of self-actualization is to step permanently off of this triangle. I created a Triangle of Sacred Activism, which has three new roles that a sacred activist can be in: activist, enabler, and soul light. These roles can overlap or be played simultaneously by the sacred activist as they work for progressive evolution and consciousness raising.



There are two key points I feel certain of:

  • Everything is happening just as it is supposed to.
  • Our souls chose to be here for what is happening at this time.

The only real question is, what role do we play in what is happening?

The first thing for us to do is to fully experience all the emotions concerning current events especially if they include anger, fear, frustration, disappointment, despair, hopelessness, sadness, grief, judgment, and even hate. We are human and we are here on Earth to feel the complete continuum of emotions. Besides it is never healthy to repress feelings as they will go into shadow and surface with a vengeance later on.

The next thing we can do is then raise our perceptions to a higher level, the spiritual level or the soul level where the Higher Self resides. As we tap into the Collective Conscious, we can see a much bigger picture of what is really happening. We can also call on the higher emotions like love, acceptance, compassion, joy, serenity, understanding, forgiveness, and optimism.

Finally, we should outline a plan of action from a position of neutrality. We must determine what role we want to play in the course of events happening now. I know from my experience after the election that two things immediately made me feel better:

  • Doing activities that I felt I had control over. Part of our grief over current events is the overwhelming feeling of disempowerment, that we have lost control. Getting involved in activities that you can control helps re-establish empowerment.
  • Join communities of like-minded people. There is comradery and mutual compassion in groups that will help lighten the feeling of being lost, loss, and aloneness.

There are many ways to be an activist and many activities that activists can be involved in. Currently, there is a grassroots movement to “Resist”. Although I understand the intent behind the word, I do not like the negative aspect of the mantra. I have been in search of a replacement that is a more possible mantra. My friend, Kirk Prine, did create a beautiful mantra, called “Rise Up Lovingly”. You can see this slogan on merchandise at https://shop.spreadshirt.com/FleshandSpirit/

Here is a list of nonviolent forms of direct action that an activist can employ:

Artistic and symbolic displays Fund raising Raasta roko (blocking auto traffic with their bodies)
Bannering Get out to vote activities Radical cheerleading
Blockades Hosting house meetings Rallies
Blogging and social networking Humor & satire Recusancy
Boycotts & buycotts Hunger strikes Rent strikes
Build community Information distribution Samizdat (distributing censored materials)
Bully pulpits Lawsuits Setting up social centers
Candle lighting Letter writing Sick-ins
Ceremonies Lobbying Silent protests
Chanting Lockdowns Sit-ins
Civil disobedience Lock-ons Slow downs
Conscientious objection Lockouts Soapboxing
Consumer courts Marches or parades Speechmaking
Culture jamming Motorcades Street theater
Dancing Nonviolent resistance Strikes
Demonstrations Occupations Talking with pedestrians or walking door-to-door
Destruction of symbolic objects Peace camps Tax resistance
Die-ins Petitions Teach-ins
Dramaturgical demonstrations Phone-calling Vigils
Emailing Picket lines Walkouts
Flag desecration Press conferences Whistle blowing
Food & housing cooperatives Protest graffiti
Formation of tent cities Putting up posters

Here is my list of actions that a sacred activist can employ:


  • Heal your shadow
  • Maintain a daily spiritual practice that includes gratitude
  • Ask for forgiveness – Conduct forgiveness and reconciliation ceremonies
  • Educate yourself – Learn about social issues, environmental concerns, and current events
  • Empower your inner feminine
  • Live Green – Connect to Mother Earth and practice sustainability
  • Practice population control
  • Vote with your money – Boycott and buycott
  • Vote with your vote – About 48% of eligible voters did not vote in the last election


  • Volunteer – Be in service to others
  • Find community – Unite
  • Donate money to social justice and environmental protection organizations
  • Support microlending – www.kiva.org
  • Protest – Make calls, sign petitions, write letters and emails, march in rallies
  • Shine your love and light into the world
  • Create safe, sacred, and inclusive space for others
  • Combat poverty
  • Acknowledge that we are all related – Work towards global unity and a planet without borders
  • Support and empower others on their journey
  • Teach, write, and speak – Build bridges
  • Use your creativity – Create a painting, song, dance, poem, article, or film
  • Advocate for social justice, equal rights, and environmental/ecological sustainability
  • Care for animals and protect endangered species

Here are some additional resources:



Anne Baring – Soul Power: An Agenda for a Conscious Humanity

Kimberley A. Bobo, Steve Max, Kim Bobo, Jackie Kendall, Midwest Academy – Organizing for Social Change

Adam Bucko & Matthew Fox – Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation

Michelle Bollinger & Dao w. Tran – 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History

Adrian Brooks – The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQ Activism

Carl Johan Calleman – The 9 Waves of Creation: Quantum Physics, Holographic Evolution, and the Destiny of Humanity

Stephen Dinan – Sacred American Sacred World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All

Andrew Harvey – The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

Paul Hawken – Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World

Steven B. Herrmann – Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

Dennis Johnson & Valerie Merians, ed – What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Turmp’s America

L.A. Kauffman – Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism

Christopher Kush – The One-Hour Activist: The 15 Most Powerful Actions You Can Take to Fight for the Issues and Candidates You Care About

Michael Lerner – The Left Hand of God: Healing America’s Political and Spiritual Crisis

April K. Mills – Everyone is a Change Agent: A Guide to the Change Agent Essentials

David Nicol – Subtle Activism: The Inner Dimension of Social and Planetary Transformation

Chris Saade – Second Wave Spirituality: Passion for Peace, Passion for Justice

Randy Shaw – The Activist’s Handbook: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century

Gene Stone – The Trump Survival Guide

Stephan A. Schwartz – The 8 Laws of Change: How to be an Agent of Personal and Social Transformation

Sita Venkateswar – The Politics of Indigeneity: Dialogues and Reflections on Indigenous Activism


Margaret Atwood – Handmaid’s Tale

Ray Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451

George Orwell – 1984

Aldous Huxley – Brave New World


It is time to get on with many tasks that await us today. At stake is the sustainability of our species and the planet as we know it. Issues such as resisting the spread of empire, advocacy of the use of condoms in a time of AIDS, birth control advocacy in a time of population explosion, equitable distribution of the world’s goods, the use of clean and renewable energy, the importance of community life, the elimination of poverty, the creation of good work, the defense of minorities including gays and lesbians-all these call to us. –Matthew Fox

I mean that humanity has come to the moment when it will have to choose between trying to play God, with the catastrophic results we see all around us, and trying to become what all the true mystical traditions know we can become-one with God through grace in life. This is a dangerous and yet wonderful and hopeful moment because if enough of us can choose the latter, the birth of a wholly new kind of human being, and so of a new world, is possible. –Father Bede Griffiths

What fills me with hope is that millions of human beings are now, in the fire of our current crises, waking up to the need for inner and outer transformation, making possible the quantum evolutionary leap I have been describing. The time for the Birth of Sacred Activism on a global scale has arrived. Everything is now at stake and everything is possible. –Andrew Harvey

The Divine is longing for human beings to turn up in this active spirituality, and when you do-it’s been my living experience-you will be guided directly by dreams, by synchronicities, by books that fall off shelves, by people that you meet because there is a mysterious power in the universe that is longing for this next evolutionary leap in humanity which can only be done through Sacred Activism, through really putting love into action. And when a person-however tremblingly and however afraid-takes the first step, the universe rushes to meet that person and to shower that person with everything that they could possibly need. There will be tests, there will be ordeals, but in those tests and ordeals you will receive direct guidance from the Beloved, because the Beloved has willed the birth of another kind of humanity and once you already know that and align yourself with the powers of the birth, those powers will sustain you and invigorate you and point you in the direction in which your life was meant to go. –Andrew Harvey

Global spirituality works to sustain a sacred community on earth by bringing the voice of the spirit to matters of common economic, political, ethical, and religious concerns. As engaged practice, global spirituality is an orientation toward life that is concerned about the sacredness of, and reverence for, all human and nonhuman life; deeply committed to how social, political, religious, and economic institutions can be in service of the divinity of the world; and founded on the locus of the spirit, where there is absent a sense of “I” and “mine.” –Beverly Lanzetta

There is an alternative to unrestrained corporate globalization: it is the globalization of Spirit. It then becomes possible to ask the relevant spiritual question: how do we shape globalization in a way that maximizes ecological sustainability, enhances our global responsibility to reduce suffering and promote health and ethical well-being, and increases our capacity to see our unity with all other human beings and our part in the Unity of All Being. –Rabbi Michael Abraham Lerner

Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. –Margaret Mead

Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul. –Thomas Paine

A tour of any bookstore today reveals that the “spirituality industry” is alive and well. Seldom do [those books] address the intersection of spirituality and injustice and oppression. A privatized spirituality is a cocoon spirituality, incapable of assisting persons to be involved in the challenges of political and social life. Indeed, it may well be not only a distorted spirituality but a heretical one, if it fails to locate itself in the midst of the suffering of the world. The energy of the mystic experience radiates out to others, not only encouraging them to embark more intensely on their own journey, but also to learn that one’s relationship with God has social implications. –Susan Rakoczy

Blessings and gratitude to all those who are passionately serving humanitarian causes, advocating for justice, and being activists for love’s dream. You are the real and abiding heroes of our world. You are the ones we admire. We respect your spirit. We honor the compassion and wisdom of your hearts. You embody the model of a spirituality in action-an engaged spirituality that will usher in the possibility of a thriving and sustainable world. –Chris Saade

A chick isn’t born without cracking its eggshell; a snake doesn’t grow without shedding its skin, and a butterfly doesn’t exist unless a caterpillar first unmakes itself. Change isn’t easy. And during change, there can be a messy transition as the old morphs into the new. –Joan Parisi Wilcox

Copyright © 2017 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

Cultural Appropriation: When Is It Appropriate?





I became interested in researching cultural appropriation because many of the shamanic practices I have learned over the past ten years have come from various cultures other than the one I have grown up in. I wanted to examine if what I was using in my practice was ethical.

I found through my research that there are many flavors of cultural exchange, which include the following variations:

Appropriation is defined as the taking of control, or possession, of property including intellectual property, for one’s own use. Cultural appropriation, which more precisely could be called “cultural misappropriation”, is when the dominant culture borrows, uses, or takes the characteristics of or intellectual property of a minority culture. To misappropriate is to appropriate dishonestly for one’s own use. To expropriate is to take possession of something quickly and forcibly. Most importantly, when something is appropriated by the dominant culture, it is done so without reciprocity or permission.

Assimilation is reverse appropriation. The minority culture takes on the customs and values of the dominant culture. This is usually done in order to survive and most of the time is forced upon the minority culture by the dominant culture or the dominant culture’s religious authorities.

Colonialzation is cultural appropriation in its most extreme form. It is the subjugation of a minority culture and the taking of pre-populated land by a dominant culture for the purposes of exploitation and profit.

Acculturation is a transfer of culture from one group to another.

Culture-sharing is the sharing, interaction, and intermingling between cultures. It is a shared activity and is inevitable in our non-homogenous world, a world that is continuously shrinking as population increases.

Syncretism is a practice of fusing different belief systems, especially when the beliefs of the dominant culture are overlaid on the beliefs of the minority culture. Examples of syncretism is found in Celtic Druidism, Santeria, Voudou, Candomblé, and indigenous Mesoamerican and Andean culture, where the Catholic saints have been merged with the deities of the now subjugated culture.

The dominant culture is almost always Western (mostly white) and the minority cultures that are most commonly appropriated from are African, Asian, Native American and First Nations, as well as other indigenous tribes and people of color worldwide.


Cultural appropriation involves ideas, symbols, artifacts, or other aspects of culture. The seriousness of the appropriation is based on a continuum from virtually harmless to extremely harmful. Some of the examples below, such as appropriating artefacts and sacred ceremonies, are very serious ethical infractions and some seem very minor, such as eating a burrito if you are not Mexican.

Western culture is an amalgamation of many cultures. Some cultural aspects cannot even be traced to their original source. For example, the Christian religion appropriated many customs, especially for Christmas and Easter, from pagan cultures. Many straight people have adopted characteristics from gay and trans cultures. Some cultures, such as Buddhism, have freely shared their traditions of meditation and other activities.

Being an indigenous soul and a member of a tribe is in our DNA, but modern Western society has stripped these concepts away from most people. People from the Western world are starved for spirituality, hungry for meaningful ceremony, and searching for a community they can connect to. I believe this is one reason that so much is being appropriated from Native American culture, which has retained its spiritual roots throughout the long history of abuse by Western society. And so, understandably, Native Americans do not give permission to have their culture appropriated because of the long history of genocide they have endured.

Below are some examples of how culture is appropriated:

Spiritual Beliefs and Systems Example: The term “shaman” was appropriated by anthropologists from Siberian cultures and has become a mainstream term defining a specific type of healer/mystic/medicine person in non-Siberian cultures.

Spiritual Ceremony Example: White non-Native people running sweat lodges or the Boy Scouts doing Native American dancing.

Art & Archaeological Artifacts Example: Hiram Bingham illegally exporting to Yale University enumerable items from Machu Picchu.

Plants Example: Corporations that take plant medicine from indigenous wisdom to sell for profit without sharing revenue with the indigenous people.

Music Example: Rap or Hip Hop music performed by white artists, white rock n’ roll, jazz, and swing artists taking musical style from black musicians.

Performing Arts Example: White people belly dancing or twerking. White minstrels painting their faces black for entertainment purposes.

Dress and Decoration Example: White people wearing dread locks, corn rows, “gang” fashions, feathered headdresses, saris, bindi dots, turquoise squash blossom necklaces, quill earrings, or henna tattoos. Decorating with dreamcatchers or in the “Oriental” style.

Food Example: Eating ethnic food such as Thai, sushi, burritos, etc.

Speech Example: Adopting slang or accents of non-white minority groups.

Sports Mascots Example: Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins, and Florida State Seminoles.

Commercial Capitalism Example: Jeep Cherokee, Winnebago Campers, Urban Outfitters Aztec designs on clothing. Winnebago campers trademarked the word “Winnebago”. The Winnebago tribe is prevented from using their own name to market anything.

Media Example: Disney movies romanticizing figures of other cultures such as Pocahontas. Disney even tried to trademark the Day of the Dead until they had to withdraw the proposal due to protests.

Holidays Example: Wearing Halloween costumes that portray minority cultures such as Indians or witches. US citizens celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead with costumes and skull painting but stripping away the intent, which is to honor dead ancestors.

Tattoos Example: White people getting tattoos of Celtic, Aztec, or Maori designs or Chinese characters.

Other Example: Doing yoga, meditating, or taking martial arts.


Just like power and energy, culture-sharing is also neutral. It is the intent driving it that can make it positive or negative.

The positive aspects of culture-sharing are:

  • It fosters cross-cultural understanding.
  • It creates a new hybrid culture, hopefully adopting the better part of multiple cultures.
  • It is a natural evolution process of humans.
  • It promotes mutual admiration of others’ cultural perspectives.
  • It is a mutual exchange that occurs willingly by participants in right relationship.
  • It is a mutual exchange that is done with reciprocity.
  • With increasing globalization, it is inevitable.
  • It promotes empathy, education, and respect for diversity, free speech, and free exchange of ideas.

The negative aspects of cultural appropriation are:

  • It strips the object or custom of its meaning, significance, or sacredness.
  • It disrespects the members of the originating culture.
  • It robs minority groups of the credit they deserve.
  • It reinforces stereotypes of minority groups.
  • The appropriated objects or customs are taken without permission.
  • Profits from the appropriated object or fashion is redirected from the minority group to the dominant group.

Maisha Z. Johnson posted the following reasons why cultural appropriation is considered unethical:

  • It trivializes violent historical oppression.
  • It lets people show love for the culture, but remain prejudiced against its people.
  • It makes things cool for white people – but too ethnic for people of color.
  • It lets privileged people profit from oppressed people’s labor.
  • It lets some people get rewarded for things the creators never got credit for.
  • It spreads mass lies about marginalized cultures.
  • It perpetuates racist stereotypes.
  • White people can freely do what people of color were actively punished for doing.
  • It prioritizes the feelings of privileged people over justice for marginalized people.

Read her full article here: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/whats-wrong-with-cultural-appropriation-these-9-answers-reveal-its-harm-hesaid/


Researching this article has really opened my eyes. There are things I have bought and things I have done where I was completely unconscious of the possibility that I might be “stealing” something from another culture. I am glad I am now at least aware of the issues and I can consciously evaluate what I consider would be inappropriate appropriation. I believe each of us must establish our own value system. We should all take the time to develop our own set of “rules” regarding what is appropriate and what is not. It is not for me to tell you what your moral system should be. I may even be guilty of doing something you think is inappropriate.

I have, though, compiled a checklist that can be used to evaluate when cultural appropriation may be appropriate. It is always important to separate your earthly ego and search your heart, soul, and conscious for the best answer. The appropriateness of instances should be evaluated on an individual case basis since the details of each instance will be unique. Below my list, I have included suggestions from other authors.

Drake’s Cultural Appropriation vs. Appreciation Checklist:

  • Be conscious of everything you are doing.
  • Identify what your intention is for obtaining or using from another culture.
  • Determine the context in which you will be using something from another culture.
  • Always recognize and respect the source of what you are obtaining or using.
  • Educate yourself about other cultures. Learn what is sacred in these cultures.
  • Always seek permission and practice reciprocity for obtaining or using from any source.
  • Purchase culturally-related products from their source and not from mass-market reproduced items.
  • Explore your own ancestors’ cultures. Learn about your own cultural roots.

Jenni Avins created this list of dos and don’ts of cultural appropriation:

  • Don’t dress up as an ethnic stereotype.
  • Pay homage to artistry and ideas and acknowledge their origins.
  • Don’t adopt sacred artifacts as accessories.
  • Remember that culture is fluid.
  • Appropriation is no substitute for diversity.
  • Engage with other cultures on more than an aesthetic level.
  • Treat a cultural exchange like any other creative collaboration—give credit and consider royalties.

Read her full article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/10/the-dos-and-donts-of-cultural-appropriation/411292/

Katie J.M. Baker’s article quotes Susan Scafidi, author of Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law, as saying that to determine if something is cultural appropriation to consider:

  • Source: Has the source community either tacitly or directly permission to use this element?
  • Significance or Sacredness: Is the element an everyday object or is it a religious artifact?
  • Similarity: How similar is the appropriated element to the original?

Read her full article here: http://jezebel.com/5959698/a-much-needed-primer-on-cultural-appropriation

The Unitarian Universalist Association adopts spiritual rituals from many different cultures. They have done diligence is determining whether they are appropriately acquiring these rituals. As a result they created a comprehensive list of questions to guide in the decision making of appropriation. Some of those questions are:

  • How much do I know about this particular tradition; how do I respect it and not misrepresent it?
  • What do I know of the history and experience of the people from whom I am borrowing?
  • Is this borrowing distorting, watering down, or misinterpreting the tradition?
  • Is the meaning changed?
  • Is this over generalizing this culture?
  • What is the motivation for cultural borrowing? What is being sought and why?
  • How do the “owners” of the tradition feel about pieces of the tradition being borrowed?
  • If artifacts and/or rituals are being sold, where does the money go?
  • Is this really spiritually healthy?
  • How can we acknowledge rather than exploit the contributions of all people?

For a full list of questions, read: http://www.uua.org/multiculturalism/introduction/misappropriation/23371.shtml

In summary, if you want to culture-share, do it with respect, reciprocity, relationship, and permission. Always ask yourself this: is what I am doing cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation?

Copyright © 2017 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

Earth Medicine



In the Native American Tradition, good medicine is anything that is healing to the body, mind, or spirit.

Earth medicine is a two way energetic exchange between humans and Mother Earth. It is about Mother Earth healing us with her energies and it’s about us healing the damage that has been done to Mother Earth. Earth medicine is the only solution that can save our future on this planet. Mother Earth will endure but humans may be shaken off her surface in the near future unless there are drastic changes made in our living habits.

We all need to be living in right relationship, which is the law of reciprocity or karma in action because what goes around comes around and what we do unto others is what will be done to us.

In this article I present the idea of Earth as a living, sentient being. I also present the most fascinating concepts associated with Earth as Medicine. An earth based religion (EBR) focuses on worship of the divine through Earth, Nature, and the gods and goddesses associated with them. EBRs include Asatru, Druidry, Paganism, Shamanism, Shintoism, Wicca, and all Indigenous Spirituality.

I am a member of earth-based spirituality.
My congregation is everything on Earth.
My place of worship is everywhere on Earth.
My times of worship are every minute of every day.

While incarnated, we are made from the substance of Earth, we are an inseparable and integral part of Earth, and we are influenced Nature, by the moon’s movements, by the sun’s rays, and by planets moving direct or in retrograde. Our entire existence in this life is owed to Earth and Nature. Our obligation of right relationship is to treat them with love and respect and protect the sacredness of their beings.



Nature is derived from the Latin word, natura, meaning “birth” or “character”. Mother Nature, also known as Mother Earth, is an anthropomorphic representation of nature that gives the mothering characteristics of birth, nurturing, and regeneration to Nature.

Prior to the rise of the patriarchy, goddesses were worshipped for their fertility especially in relationship to agriculture. Between ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, correlating with the rise of the patriarchy, the Earth’s gender changed. The ancient Egyptians believed Geb was the Earth Father while Nut was the Sky Mother.

Gaia is a compound of two words: Ge, which is pre-Greek for “earth” and Aia, which is Indo-European for “Grandmother”. In mythology, Gaia was a Greek goddess of the Earth. Her Roman counterpart was called Terra Mater. She was Mother Goddess or Great Goddess. She also existed in many other ancient cultures including:

  • The Akkadian goddess Kubau was the Mother of Life
  • The Hurrian Hepa became Hebrew Eve (Heva) and Phygian Kubala (Cybele)
  • The Norse Jörð, Hlöðyn, Fjörgyn, and Fjörgynn personified the Earth
  • The Irish Celts worshipped Danu
  • The Welsh Celts worshipped Dôn
  • The Hindus worshipped Dana
  • The Lithuanian Gaia was called Žemė, the daughter of Sun and Moon
  • The Māori worshipped Papatuanuku
  • South Americans in the Andes worship Pachamama, which translates as Mother Universe (pacha means “world, space-time, or universe”). She presides over planting and harvesting.
  • Mesoamerican cultures had Tonantzin Tlalli, which means Revered Mother Earth
  • The Indians had Gayatri, who was the Mother of all Creation
  • Southeast Asia & Thailand’s Phra Mae Thorani was Goddess of the Earth
  • Wiccans worship Gaia as the Goddess of the Earth
  • Neopagans worship Gaia as the Goddess of all Creation

James Lovelock proposed the Gaia Hypothesis in the 1960s. This hypothesis states that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth form a complex interacting system that maintains life. In short, Earth is a single living organism.

The Gaia Hypothesis, also known as the Gaia Theory, is the Western scientific label for what indigenous peoples have always known: that the Earth is a living conscious organism and that we as humans are Earth’s relatives and thus a part of the web of life. The Western patriarchal view is that Earth is inert, thus dead, and can be exploited by humans.

Thus the organisms on the Earth, especially humans, have altered its composition. We are at the point now where the alterations are overcoming the Earth’s ability to adjust the biosphere to maintain life. The history of evolution and ecology show that the Earth’s attempts of equilibrium have sometimes undergone rapid changes, which have caused extinctions and perished civilizations. Climate change is one of the symptoms we are now experiencing.

The present population of Earth exceeds the Earth’s capacity by 50%. This means that it now takes the Earth 1.5 years to regenerate what we are using in a single year. This is absolutely unsustainable.

David Fideler, in his book Restoring the Soul of the World, lists the following startling and scary facts:

  • Human population never exceeded the level of 1 billion people until around 1800. It now exceeds 7 billion.
  • During the 20th century human population quadrupled. Experts believe that Earth cannot support another population doubling.
  • Between 1975 and 2000, total material consumption in the United States grew at more than twice the rate of population growth.
  • During the past 50 years, humans have consumed more resources than in all previous history.
  • If everyone on the planet lived like an average resident of the United States, a total of 4 Earths would be required to regenerate humanity’s annual demand on nature.
  • Habitat destruction has contributed to species disappearance at rates about a thousand times faster than normal.
  • Forest cover has been reduced by 20% to 50% worldwide.
  • Half of the world’s wetlands have been lost in the 20th century.
  • 37% of freshwater fish species and 40% of amphibians are threatened or have become extinct.
  • 24% of all mammal species face extinction in 30 years.
  • 70% of biologists believe that we are in the midst of the fastest mass extinction in the Earth’s history.


Besides Gaia and Mother Nature, Mother Earth has other spirits associated with her. Every place has a spirit. This is a naturally occurring energy that oversees the life force of place. Here are the major ones:

Spirits of a Place There are specific masculine and feminine nature spirits that are present at our birthplace. Our feminine nature spirit resides at a place of emergence closest to our birthplace, such as a body of water, a valley, or field. The masculine nature spirit resides at a large hill or mountain closest to our birthplace. We remain connected to these spirits throughout our lifetime even if we move away.

Elemental Beings These beings are associated with a particular element: air has sylphs, fire has salamanders, water has undines, and earth has gnomes.

Devas Deva is Sanskrit for “body of light”. A deva oversees the elemental beings. Overlighting devas are responsible for overseeing regions or areas of land.

Little People There are many types of little people. Some have intentions of supporting Earth and its habitants and some are mischievous or have less than desirable intentions. Some types of little people include: brownies, dwarfs, elves, fairies, fawns, goblins, gremlins, leprechauns, nymphs, pixies, sprites, and trolls.

Masculine Spirits of Earth Gaia, Mother Earth, and Mother Nature also have some masculine counterparts. They include:

  • Cernunnos or Herne the Hunter – a Celtic horned god associated with male animals, fertility, and vegetation.
  • The Green Man – a god of vegetation and plant life.


The Schumann Resonance is the heartbeat of the Earth. It is a measurement of peaks in the Earth’s electromagnetic field between the surface and the ionosphere.

In the 1950’s the Schumann Resonance averaged 7.83 Hz, the frequency of OM. This frequency is under 20 beats per second compared to 50-60 beats per second that power everything in our world. Since 1980, the Schumann Resonance average has increased to a 12 Hz average and sometimes spikes as high as 16 Hz. This means that time feels like it has sped up.

The Schumann Resonance is so important that NASA developed a Schumann Resonance generator for astronauts in space. The best way to get in synch with it on Earth is to lay on the ground beyond the grid of electric and telecommunication networks.

Our brainwave frequencies correlate to the Schumann Resonance as shown below:

  • 7.83 Hz – Alpha/Theta, relaxed and dreamy
  • 8.5 to 16.5 Hz – Alpha with some Beta, cognitive awakening
  • 12 to 15 Hz – Sensory-Motor Rhythm frequency (SMR), awakened calm

So a shift in our consciousness occurs as the Schumann Resonance increases. This also correlates with the weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field over the past 2000 years. One source I read said that an old sage from India described how the Earth’s magnetic field blocks memories of our origin. It was put in place by the Ancients so that souls could learn without remembering the past. The reduction of the Earth’s magnetic field is now allowing more memories to flow across the veil.


Electrons are emitted from water molecules, then combine with oxygen, to create negative air ions. Most outdoor places contain 1,200 to 4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. Over 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter exist at waterfalls and oceans. Pine forests also contain high levels of negative ions.

Negative ions induce alpha brain waves, which creates a higher awareness level. This creates a calming effect, benefiting meditation and concentration. Negative ions alleviate depression and stress, boost energy, and serotonin levels.

Positive ions are high in polluted and indoor areas. A high concentration of positive ions causes depression, tiredness, tension, irritability, migraines, nausea, and breathing difficulties. On the west coast, winds that blow westward, usually in the fall, contain a high percentage of positive ions.

So if you want to experience a really big hit of negative ions, visit Niagra Falls, where 5.5 billion gallons of water spill over the edge every hour, or take a week-long ocean cruise.


Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) was introduced by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. It is not a medical diagnosis but a concept that children, by spending more time indoors, are becoming alienated from nature. In his followup book, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, Louv extended the concept to include adults.

There are many reasons for nature deficit disorder such as the rise of electronic communications, disappearing open space, less emphasis placed on the natural world, and parents’ fears that keep children safe inside the home.

Alienation from nature has been found to be correlated to diminished senses, attention disorders, obesity, negative emotions such as depression or anxiety, and behavioral problems. In addition, nature knowledge deficit, which is a lack of understanding about the natural environment, has caused a big reduction in stewardship of the Earth.

There is a coalition called “No Child Left Inside” that is working to get children outside into nature. Adults with NDD need to take responsibility for reconnecting with nature. Further along in this article, I will introduce various ways to do that.


“Earthing” is the term used in Europe for what is called “grounding” in the US. We are grounded when our bare feet are touching the Earth. During this process the Earth’s negatively charged electrons transfer to our bodies through our skin. These free electrons are antioxidants that neutralize positively charged free radicals that cause inflammation.

Throughout most of history humans walked barefoot and slept on the ground. However, in modern society, we no longer walk barefoot but wear shoes that insulate us from the Earth’s energy. Plastic, rubber, or composite soles do not conduct energy. Leather soles usually make the feet perspire and energy is conducted through this moisture. If you cannot go barefoot on the Earth, the next best alternative is to wear leather moccasins.

Research indicates that Earthing has the following benefits:

  • Reduces inflammation and chronic pain
  • Improves sleep
  • Increases energy
  • Lowers stress
  • Relieves muscle tension and headaches.
  • Speeds healing
  • Reduces jet lag
  • Protects the body against EMF (electromagnetic field) energy

Earthing should be done daily by walking barefoot, lying down, standing, or sitting in a chair with your feet on the ground for at least 30 minutes. The ideal location is on damp earth or at water’s edge.

The Earth has a north polarity and the bottom of our feet have a south polarity. If you experience headaches or disorientation, your polarity might be flipped. Try rubbing the smooth side of a stainless steel spoon on the bottom of both feet to bring your body’s polarity back into balance.


Vivaxis is our life axis, our umbilical cord to Earth. Vivaxis is a sphere of energy created at our place of birth during the last 2 months of pregnancy. This is the location we connect to Earth’s energies. We remain linked to this place throughout our lives no matter how far we travel from the point of birth.

The Vivaxis connection can become harmed, polluted, distorted, or damaged by chemicals, EMFs (electromagnetic fields), and lightning. A disturbed Vivaxis connection can make us ill. But by channeling (aligning) ourselves in the direction of our birthplace, we restore our health by putting ourselves in phase with the Vivaxis energy.

The Vivaxis connection was discovered by a Canadian researcher, Fran Nixon, in the 1960’s. She states that the most effective healing occurs when our magnetic energies are properly aligned. In order to align with our Vivaxis, Nixon describes a channeling technique that first uses dowsing rods to find the channel, then standing in the channel to absorb the energy. Before the channeling is started, a neutralizing process should be completed. Since this process is too complicated to describe in this article, I recommend reading Judy Jacka’s book, The Vivaxis Connection: Healing through Earth Energies.

I believe that we can ask the spirits of our birthplace to aid us in tapping into our Vivaxis bubble.


The concept of forest bathing originated in Japan in the 1980s, where it is called “shinrin-yoku”. It is a visit to a forest. While there, volatile substances, called phytoncides (wood essential oils) are inhaled. These phytoncides are antimicrobial organic compounds derived from trees. They resist insects and slow fungi and bacterial growth. Pine and oak trees give off lots of phytoncides. The benefits of forest bathing include:

  • Boosted immune system
  • Improved mood
  • Increased focus and intuition
  • Accelerated healing
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced stress


Norway has a similar concept to forest bathing called “friluftsliv”, which translates as “free air life”. Henrik Ibsen introduced the concept of friluftsliv in his 1859 poem On the Heights. Friluftsliv is a longing to be outdoors, exploring and appreciating nature. It can include sleeping, camping, hiking, photographing, meditating, playing, or dancing outside. Friluftsliv is connection to Mother Nature both a physically and spiritually.


Monumenteering is the process of visiting a sacred place and getting to know it, especially on a mythic level. Paul Devereux, in his book Re-Visioning the Earth explains the process of monumenteering. Here is a summary of the steps to creating a mythic relationship with a sacred site:

  1. Choose a sacred place. You may feel an energetic connection to a particular place. There are many books available to assist you, such as Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations, Sacred Places North America: 108 Destinations, Sacred Places Around the World: 108 Destinations, Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations, and Sacred Places: Sites of Spiritual Pilgrimage from Stonehenge to Santiago de Compostela,
  2. Say the name of the place out loud a few times. Notice what comes up.
  3. Research information about the place and study photographs of it.
  4. Energetically journey to the place and see what comes up.
  5. Physically visit the place. Use all your senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, feelings and emotions) to get to know the place. Take photographs. Sketch. Sit and just be there.
  6. If is non-harmful and nonintrusive, go into the vicinity of the place to take a blade of grass, a leaf, a pebble, or a small handful of soil or sand.
  7. When home again, put the photographs and items together in a special place. Before going to sleep, go over the material. Repeat this until you recall having a dream about the place. Journal these dreams and keep with the other items. Continue until you feel no new information is arriving.


Tree whispering is connecting and communicating with trees, plants, and other beings of nature. Through this process, we are able to receive wisdom from elements of nature which have their own intelligence. We empower our connection to nature as we feel the life force of a tree or plant. The general steps to developing a connection with a tree are:

  • Develop a respect of trees and plants as life forms.
  • Approach the tree. Feel its energy. Establish harmony with it. Ask its permission to touch it.
  • Open a dialog with the tree. You can ask questions or just listen for wisdom from the tree. Answers will come to you in the perceptual mode you are most attuned to. You may experience:
    • Inner seeing through the mind’s eye
    • Inner hearing of the little voice inside
    • Inner knowing through “gut” feelings
    • Inner feeling through heart-felt emotions
  • Ask the tree if it would like to receive healing energy from you. Being in right relationship means that the tree is healing you as you interact with it but also you may send the tree healing energy.
  • Give gratitude to the tree for your interaction and for its being there, supporting you and the environment.

For more information about tree whispering, read Jim Conroy and Basia Alexander’s book, Tree Whispering.



Ecosexuality can be defined as a new sexual identity that encompasses multiple expressions, such as:

  • Environmentally conscious individuals whose green living extends to their sexuality including acts of skinny dipping, masturbating in nature, or making love to Mother Earth.
  • Partnering with the Earth and treating the Earth as an intimate partner, including marriage.
  • The use of ecological and sustainable sexual products including condoms, birth control meds, sex toys, and lubricants. For more information refer to Eco-Sex by Stefanie Iris Weiss.

Ecosexuals identify Mother Earth as Lover Earth. There are as many as 100,000 ecosexuals already existing around the world. Ecosexuality helps develop ethical relationships with Earth and fosters environmental activism.

An ecosexual wedding is a ceremony where individuals commit to a place in nature, an ecosystem, the Earth, or the solar system. Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephens, married the Earth in 2008. Since then they have officiated weddings where they and other ecosexuals have married the sky, the sun, the moon, snow, soil, and other natural entities. They also published the Ecosex Manifesto in 2011. For further reading in ecosexuality, refer to Anderlini-D’Onofrio and Serena Gaia’s book Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love.

May Day, May 1st, has been designated as Ecosexual Coming Out Day. May Day is also associated with Beltane, the pagan fertility festival, and with dancing around the maypole.

Many gender identities and sexual orientations have adopted flags to symbolize one’s unique identity. I couldn’t find one for ecosexuals so I designed one. It includes the sign for ecology that was created by Ron Cobb in 1969. The symbol was formed by combining the letters “e” for environment and “o” for organism to form a symbol like Greek letter Θ (theta).



Astrocartography is a map of the world that your astrological birth chart is overlaid upon. It shows where each planet was angular (rising, setting, on the zenith) at the time of birth. These maps can assist you in determining the most harmonious place to live.

Astrocartography is also known as locational or relocation astrology and astrogeography. Astrogeography was developed by Don Neroman in Europe in the 1930s. Jim Lewis of the United States developed and popularized astrocartography maps in the 1970s and 1980s. There are several online sites that can provide a map for you based on your birth chart.

Astrocartography maps can be used to plan relocation or travel. Depending on where your planetary lines fall, your life may be easier or more difficult. As a generalization, the most favorable lines are Sun, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury. The more difficult lines are Saturn, Pluto and Mars. Some individuals do well while others do not on the lines of the Moon, Uranus and Neptune. Your choice of which line to visit or live on should be related to your goals and desires for this lifetime. For example, matters of spirituality are my highest priority in this life, so I am living on my Neptune line. If love and relationships were your primary priority, you might choose to live on your Venus line. Likewise, if communication were your priority, you might choose to live on your Mercury line. There are astrocartography readers who are proficient at interpreting maps with your birth chart. If you are serious about relocating, I highly recommend getting a reading from an expert.

The influence of a planetary line can be felt approximately 400-700 miles of either side of the line however the strongest influence is felt within 200 miles. If no line is near you the closest line can have a secondary effect on you. There can also be secondary influences based on latitudinal crossings of two planets (called parans). If there is neither a primary or secondary line, it is unlikely you will stay very long in such a location. Again, using myself as an example, I was born in Ohio but there are no planetary lines closeby, therefore, I moved away when I was 18. My physical moves were done unconscious of astrocartography at the time, therefore it supports that idea that we end up where we are destined to be.

If you have experienced tough times your entire life, you may be living on an unfavorable planetary line. Perhaps you were meant to live on this line for karmic reasons. If you are contemplating a move, perhaps you have worked through that karma and are ready for a change. Moving does not change your core issues but it does give you a fresh perspective.


A form of divination using the Earth is called “geomancy”. The word “geomancy” comes from the Greek word geo for earth and manteia for divination. The Arabic name for geomancy is ilm al-raml, which means the science of the sand. Geomancy is a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground (Chinese), how handfuls of dirt land when tossed (African), interpreting the topography of the land (Korean), or sketching random lines of dots in the sand or on paper (Arabic and Western Occult). This form of geomancy uses 16 figures created from random marks. Geomancy is also living in harmony with the Earth and the practice of it involves feng shui.


Mother Earth has the ability to heal us and in the relationship of reciprocity, we can provide healing for Mother Earth. If you are a skilled healer or shamanic practitioner, you might consider using the techniques described below.

Places that most need healing are:

  • Damaged or abused land
  • Land with energetic imbalances
  • Places where violence or accidents have occurred
  • Places that have entities or heavy energies

Just as the human physical body can hold body stories and is surrounded by an energy bubble that holds imprints, the Earth also can be imprinted with energetic occurrences. Imprints may be positive or negative. Working with the spirit of place can neutralize negative imprints and balance energy.

It is extremely important to research the following issues if you are considering undertaking any form of healing for Mother Earth:

  1. Discover both the energetic and physical aspects of the place.
  2. Learn the history of the place.
  3. Examine how the place affects people.
  4. Obtain permission from the owner or steward of the place.
  5. Find out what the spirits of the land recommend as a healing intervention and when it should be performed.

A healing can be done directly by visiting the place or through distance healing by using a map. Healing interventions may include the following:

  • Grief rituals include recognizing and expressing grief where a traumatic event has occurred as well as facilitating any requests for atonement or forgiveness from the spirits of the land that is required before healing can begin.
  • Psychopomp services include assisting entities to move to the light or an alternate location in astral space.
  • Transformation work includes introducing light and love to balance heavy energies. For more information refer to Sandra Ingerman’s book, Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins.
  • Soul retrieval for the land or spirit of place. Soul retrieval is returning power to a place that has been lost due to trauma or abuse.
  • Energy balancing includes balancing the elements, balancing energy flows along ley lines and in sacred places, and inviting the nature spirits to return to a location.

Christina Mark provides this general outline to performing healing work:

  • Grounding – ask to be fully earthed in your body.
  • Attunement – ask to be attuned to the energy of the land.
  • Protection – ask for protection for your own personal energy.
  • Permission – ask for permission from the owner and then from the land itself for the work to take place.
  • Observe any impressions and listen for any information during the healing.
  • Allow the work to follow its own natural order.
  • Close down from healing mode when the work has been completed.
  • Permission – give thanks for the permission which was given and for the work that has taken place.
  • Protection – ask to be returned to your own circle of energy.
  • Attunement – ask to be returned to your normal state of consciousness.
  • Grounding – check that you feel fully earthed in your body.
  • Pass on any relevant information to the owners of the land.


Besides engaging in activities described above, here is a list of additional activities that will help connect you into the energies of Earth Medicine:

  • Create a natural altar that honors Earth
  • Press flowers
  • Collect stones and shells
  • Paint and decorate rocks and shells
  • Work with clay
  • Make prayer/medicine/spirit sticks & wands from sticks
  • Sketch nature and create a nature journal
  • Greet the sun in the morning by singing, prayers, or chanting
  • Dance under the moon
  • Wish on stars
  • Hug Mother Earth by lying face down belly to belly with her
  • Meditate, chant, pray, sing to Mother Earth
  • Transmit Reiki to Mother Earth
  • Communicate with and get to know Nature Devas
  • Build a medicine wheel and/or labyrinth
  • Pay attention to messages from rocks, flowers, the sky, water, and other natural elements
  • Have a dialog with Mother Earth by opening a hole in the earth and closing it when done
  • Grow plants in the garden or in pots

Copyright © 2017 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.



How to Conduct Drumming Circles



A drum circle is any group of people playing drums and percussion in a circle. They may also use: movement, dance, voices (chanting, singing, poetry, spoken), and other devices. The drum circle is an end in itself rather than preparation for a performance. The drumming is improvised and co-created by the participants.

Drum circles can be used for: team building, recreation, wellness, education, celebrations, spirituality, or personal growth.

Drumming can provide the following benefits:

  • Reduces tension, anxiety, pain, and stress.
  • Releases negative feelings, blockages, and emotional trauma
  • Boosts the immune system.
  • Induces synchronous brain activity.
  • Produces natural altered states of consciousness.
  • Creates connectedness with self and others.
  • Synchronizes us with the natural rhythms of life.
  • Provides a secular approach to accessing a higher power.
  • Keeps one in the present moment



A shaman’s drum is the typical type of drum used for spiritual drumming circles. It is a frame drum that has an animal skin stretched over one or both sides. If one sided, the back side has a handle to hold the drum. The drum is beat with a stick called a beater. These drums are usually 4” deep and up to 30” in diameter. Other types of drums that can be used are: tom toms, congas, djembes, bongos, and bodhran.

The drum can be used for calling in healing spirits, purification, power dances, extracting negative energies, calming anxiety and agitation, and as a divination tool.

Most drums sound best when the head is struck about halfway between the center and the rim. The tone at the center tends to be harsh with few overtones. A ringing tone works best for journeying and a more strident tone helps facilitate extraction work and the power dance.

Generally, the larger the drum, the deeper the tone. Also the thicker the hide the deeper the tone. Hides used on drums are generally one of the following (listed from highest to deepest tone):

  1. Cow: medium weight; light color; rougher texture
  2. Elk: thinner, lighter weight
  3. Buffalo: thicker hide; darkest color
  4. Moose: produces the deepest sound; lighter color than buffalo

Commercial plastic headed drums are available that retain their tone in all weather and do not need to be tightened like natural hides do. They cost considerably less and are “vegetarian” for those who don’t want to own animal hides.

Store the drum in a warm, dry place. Natural hides tend to loosen and stretch in different types of weather especially humidity. The drum head can be restored by heating the instrument slowly in front of a fire, using a hair dryer, or warming it on a heating pad. Don’t heat it any hotter than your hand can tolerate. Heat and dryness could split the head.

Clean your drum by rubbing it softly with a slightly damp cloth. Once in a while, the rawhide on the drum will benefit from a very light coating of Neatsfoot Oil compound on the back surface and on the cords.

Honor and respect the drum by not displaying it ostentatiously, by keeping the drum face up when setting it down, setting it down on a textile, and by smudging it regularly.

When a drum is new, it needs to be awakened. A relationship will develop with your drum and you will discover that your drum has moods. You will get spiritual benefit and guidance from playing your drum regularly. The following list of procedures will facilitate a good relationship with your drum:

  1. Smudge it with sage.
  2. Run your hand over the skin so that your oils will moisten it and wake it up.
  3. Play it gently at first.
  4. Journey to the spirit of your drum and meet the animal it was made from to say thanks and begin a partnership of healing work.
  5. Journey to the tree who gave the wood for the frame.
  6. Journey to the beater.
  7. Journey to the spirit of the drum itself. Ask your drum to be your sacred partner. Ask for an opening symbol to be shown to you that you can draw on the skin each time you drum.


Known as the voice of the spirit, rattles are used for: ceremonies, healing, cleansing and purifying, soul retrieval work, visionary work, and to gently call ancestral spirits. (The drum is not normally used to call The Ancestors lest they be awakened in a sudden, loud manner.) A shaman’s rattle possesses strong powers and should be kept in its own special medicine bag. Rattles can be made from many different items such as: turtle shells, snake, buffalo testicles, rawhide, gourds, deer hooves, and horn. There are many different items to make the rattle sound such as: seeds, crystal chips, pebbles, and bone pieces.

Other Instruments

Besides rattles and drums, other instruments that can be used are: flutes, whistles, conch shells, fiddles, clappers, tambourines, and clappers as well as singing and chanting.


A general outlive of a drumming circle session is listed here:

  1. Smudging (see more below)
  2. Opening sacred space (see more below)
  3. Checking in (passing the talking stick, see more below)
  4. Jamming (informal drumming session)
  5. Journeying (optional, see more below)
  6. Jamming (informal drumming session)
  7. Closing (passing the stick again)
  8. Closing sacred space
  9. Social (optional)

The above is just a suggested framework from which you can design your own circle. Your drum circle can be structured in any way that you wish. One structure that I particularly like is called a Medicine Wheel Drumming and Prayer Ceremony and is outlined in Jim PathFinder Ewing’s book Finding Sanctuary in Nature: Simple Ceremonies in the Native American Tradition for Healing Yourself and Others. This ceremony recognizes the 4 directions by including 4 rounds of drumming allowing the energy of each direction to come in and facilitate prayers. It is similar to a sweat lodge without the sweat.

Being an informal jam session, drum circles do not play established songs. Drumming is started by one player beginning the rhythm and the other players chiming in with complementary rhythms. It is good to designate who the leader for a session is. This can be rotated among members or remain the responsibility of one of the more experienced drummers.

The following drum circle principles were created by Christine Stevens:

  1. It is inclusive.
  2. There is no teacher. The drum circle is led by a facilitator.
  3. There is no audience. Everyone is part of the musical experience.
  4. There is no rehearsal. The music is improvised. Spontaneity thrives.
  5. There is no right or wrong. It’s about much more than drumming.

It may also be fun to add some drum circle games to your sessions, such as the following:

  1. Play your name on the drums. It can be done in call and response, or to start a groove.
  2. Use Simon Says to call out rhythms or things like “Simon Says play the drum 2 times.” “Simon Says play the drum with your elbows.”
  3. Invite the group to jam until someone comes into the center and facilitates a stop. That person says one thing they’re celebrating and then go into another jam, waiting for the next person to recognize their personal cause to celebrate.


Smudging is the burning of herbs or incense for cleansing, purification, protection of physical and spiritual bodies, banishment of negative energies and creation of sacred space. Smudging releases the energy and fragrance of the herbs and botanicals so they can heal, cleanse, and purify. Great respect must be given to the process of smudging for a relationship is being formed between you, the plant spirits, the Ancestors, and Great Mystery.

Typical herbs and incense used for smudging are: sage, sweetgrass, cedar, juniper, tobacco, palo santo, bay leaf, cypress, copal, fennel, frankincense, hibiscus flowers, lavender, lemongrass, mugwort, mullien, myrrh, orris root, osha, pine, fir, hemlock, spruce, pinon, rose petals, uvi ursi, yerba santa.

There are “smudgeless” forms of smudging that can be used in environments where people may have sensitivity to burning herbs or incense. One method is to use Florida water as is common in South America (I will demonstrate). The other form is to use rosemary or bay laurel branches to “whisk” the physical body with them.

The process for smudging with herbs is:

  1. Light smudge stick and wait for it to smolder, letting the smoke start to rise, it carries your prayers to Great Spirit.
  2. If using a smudge bowl, rub your hands in the smoke to cleanse them. If using a smudge stick, use a feather to direct the smoke.
  3. Scoop the smoke:
  • to the 4 directions
  • downwards to Mother Earth
  • upwards to Father Sky and Great Spirit. You may also offer to the moon, sun, waters, winds and universe.
  • over the left shoulder to the spirits
  • over the right shoulder to the ancestors
  • to the head, so you will think good thoughts
  • to the eyes, so you see the truth
  • to the throat, so you will speak in truth, in kindness, and in non-judgmental ways
  • to the ears, so that you will truly listen and hear only the truth
  • to the heart, so you feel connected to all living beings in a loving way
  • to the solar plexus, so your emotions connect with the Earth Mother
  • [if a woman] to the womb, so your life giving energies go out into the world in balance and harmony
  • under the feet to the dark side of your soul and to walk in peace
  • breathe in the smudge, visualizing the smoke purifying your body from the inside
  1. Say a little prayer asking the powers that be to remove all negativity and unwanted energies. Here is a sample prayer: Great Spirit, may my prayers travel up this smoke to you, that you may bring blessings and peace. I give thanks for all the blessings received.

Opening Sacred Space

Opening sacred space, also called “calling in the directions”, calls in the Spirits that are willing to support and fuel your intentions as well as protect space during ceremony where all will be connected to the divine.

Begin with any cardinal direction that you desire. North American native traditions usually begin in the East honoring new vision and the dawn.  Some Celtic and Scandinavian traditions begin in the North, referencing the North Star and Big Dipper. South American traditions begin in the South as a reference to the Southern Cross (Chicana). Usually six directions are called, the four cardinal directions plus Mother Earth and Father Sky. Some traditions add a 7th direction that represents the Within, the Center, or Parallel Dimensions.

Using rattles, whistles, conch shells, drums, and Florida water, greet each direction. Then the caller of that direction invites the spirits to join the sacred space. Usually when sacred space is open, candles are lit or a fire is built.

After all ceremonial work is finished, it is important to close sacred space. Gratitude is given to the spirits of each direction and they are released.

Talking Stick

A very nice custom to use when doing a check in at the beginning of circle is the passing of the Talking Stick. A Talking Stick is used to give the floor to one person at a time to speak uninterrupted. The stick reminds the speaker that Great Spirit is listening to the message as well. If the speaker feels they cannot honor the Talking Stick with their words, they should refrain from speaking. All people must listen and not interrupt the individual holding the stick. The stick is passed to each individual in the group so that they have a chance to say their piece. Many items can be used as a talking stick including a stick, feather, peace pipe, wampum belt, shell, or some other sacred object.


Shamanic journeying is a very ancient technique that has been practiced by healers, shamans and medicine people all over the world for at least 40,000 years in many cultures on every continent.

Journeying enables one to mindfully send their awareness into the hidden realms of their own consciousness to connect with inner wisdom, receive healing, receive answers to problems, or to discover information that can facilitate personal growth and understanding.

A shaman is one who can go into an altered state of consciousness at will. While in this altered state, they make a conscious choice to journey to another reality, a reality which is outside of time and space. This other reality is composed of 3 realms: the lower world, the middle world, and the upper world. These non-ordinary realities are inhabited by helping spirits and guides. The shaman is able to establish relationships with these spirit-guides and to bring back information and healing for the community or the individual.

Shamanic journeys are always undertaken with a specific purpose in mind. The classic way of entering the spirit world is by using a steady rhythm of drumming. The drum is known as the horse that the shaman rides into a trance.

Shamanic journey drumming is a 180-cycles-per-second beat that approximates the frequency of the Earth itself. This induces the theta brain wave state of altered consciousness.

Not all drumming circle participants may be experienced journeyers so journeying is optional. If the group does journey they can do individual journeys or they can journey as a group on a common theme. Spirit Canoe is ceremony where shamans journey as a group. Spirit Canoe originated in the Coast Salish culture of western Washington. They ride in an imaginary canoe to travel to non-ordinary realities. The journey is accompanied by singing, drumming, and rattling. The traditional purpose of a Spirit Canoe ceremony was to recover power for a client. Today the ceremony has been broadened to include journeys to the spirit world for various purposes.

One suggestion for a new drumming circle is to have the group journey to retrieve a totem spirit for the circle. A totem is a spirit being, animal, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe. The word totem comes from the Ojibway word dodaem and means “brother/sister kin”. People from the same clan have the same clan totem and are considered immediate family.


Effective Core Shamanic Drumming Circles http://shamanism.org/articles/article14.html
Drum Circle Facilitators Guild www.dcfg.net/
Drum Circle Magazine http://drumcirclemagazine.com/
Village Music Circles http://drumcircle.com/
Living Drums (purchase drums) www.livingdrums.com


Sacred Drumming by Steven Ash and Ash Renate
The Shamanic Drum: A Guide to Sacred Drumming by Michael Drake
Shamanic Drumming: Calling the Spirits by Michael Drake
Drum Circle Facilitation Book Building Community through Rhythm by Arthur Hull
Drum Circle Spirit (Facilitating Human Potential through Rhythm) by Arthur Hull
The Art and Heart of Drum Circles by Christine Stevens
The Healing Drum Kit by Christine Stevens
Sacred Beat: From the Heart of the Drum Circle by Patricia Telesco and Don Waterhawk

Copyright © 2016 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

Fire Ceremony



Fire is the force that produces heat and radiates light. Fire connects us to the ancestors, the stars, and the Creator of All That Is.

Fire is a powerful transformer. That is one reason that it is often used in ceremony. Transformation by Fire is sudden and total. Fire is both a creator and a destroyer. It must be controlled in order for us to benefit from it. Fire consumes oxygen and material and transforms them into light, heat, smoke, and ash. Transformation burns away the old to provide space for the new to appear.

Fire is most yang of the four elements. It represents the South, Summer, High Noon, the Masculine, and Youth. Fire is found in triangular or pointy-shaped objects and the colors red, orange, and yellow. In Asia, Fire is represented by the Vermilion Bird.

The elemental of Fire is the salamander. Commonly known as St. Elmo’s Fire, salamanders were thought of as glowing orbs of fire bursting with immense energy. They are said to control emotions such as passion, anger, and love.

The archangel of Fire is Michael; the angel is Aral; the ruler is Seraph; the king is Djin; and the astrological signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.

Fire is represented by wands or swords in the Tarot; flint by the Aztecs; a mouse by Native Americans; the lightning bolt by Hindu and Islamic faiths; an axe by the Scythians; an apple bough by the Greeks; and lions and ravens by the Christians.

The gods and goddesses of Fire include: Pele from Hawaiian tradition; Brigid, Bel, and Lugh from Celtic tradition; and Kali, Sita, and Agni from Hinduism. Agni is Sanskrit for “fire”.

Just like us, Fire has a light side and a shadow side. The characteristics associated with Fire on the light side are: action, assertiveness, authority, boldness, cleansing, consumption, creativity, energetic, enlightening, fertility, forceful, illuminating, lively, masculinity, passionate, power, purification, reflection, renewal, sexuality, untamed wildness, warmth, and will.

The characteristics associated with Fire on the shadow side are: anger, commanding, destruction, feisty, eruption, explosion, impetuousness, lust, temper, and war.


Below are the recurring Fire ceremonies conducted within different cultures:

Chanukah The Jewish Festival of Lights, is observed for 8 nights. Candles are burned in a menorah. On the first night one is lit. Each night an additional candle is lit until on the last night all 8 are lit. The 9th candle is called a shamas and is used to light all the other candles. Late Nov to Late Dec

Homa (Homam, Havan, Yajna, Yagya, Havan, Agnihotra) In Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, this Fire ceremony includes kindling and consecrating a sacrificial Fire, invoking of one or more divinities, and making offerings while saying prayers and mantras. These Fire ceremonies are performed to let go of patterns and obstacles, express gratitude, petition for success, and for healing or purification.

Kwanzaa Kwanzaa, the celebration of African heritage, is observed for 7 nights. Candles are burned in a kinara. There are 3 red, 3 green and 1 black candle. Each of the 7 candles are dedicated to one of the following principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Dec 26 to Jan 1

New Fire Ceremony The Aztecs celebrated every 52 years when their 260-day ritual and 365-day civil calendars returned to the same positions relative to each other. All Fires were allowed to burn out. A new Fire was lit during a ceremony from which the people rekindled their personal Fires.

Pagan The wheel of the pagan year is celebrated with 8 festivals. Traditionally there was always a Fire at these celebrations. (Dates shown below are for the Northern Hemisphere and would be reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.) The Fire Festivals are:

Imbolc, Brigid’s Day Many candles are lit to celebrate the return of the sun. Brigid is the Triple Goddess of Fire. Feb 2

Beltane, May Day From the Irish Gaelic Bealtaine, which meanings Bel-fire (the Fire of Bel, Celtic God of light). Beltane is celebrated with bonfires, feasting, dancing around the Maypole and lots of sexual energy. Renewal and purification rites are performed by jumping the bonfire. The Celtic herds were driven between two bonfires to purify and protect. May 1

Lughnasadh, Lammas Honoring the Celtic Sun God Lugh. Aug 1

Samhain, Celtic New Year Since the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest at this time, scrying by viewing the flames of the candle or Fire is an excellent way to connect with the Spirit World. Oct 31

The Seasonal Festivals based on the solar calendar are:

Spring Equinox, Ostara, Eostre Fires are lit at sunrise to welcome the new spring. Mar 21

Summer Solstice, Litha, Midsummers Night A celebration of the Sun God, traditional herbs are cast into the bonfire and people dance around the flaming pit and jump the Fire for fertility, luck and a prosperous harvest. Jun 21

Autumn Equinox, Mabon Fires celebrate the harvest. Sep 22

Winter Solstice, Yule, Saturnalia Welcoming the return of the Sun God, the yule log is lit. Dec 21


Fire is alive and has a spirit. So when we conduct Fire ceremony, it is important to recognize Fire as a living organism. Call on ceremonial Fire for the following reasons: banishing negativity, courage, energy, protection, purification, renewal, sexual matters, strength, and transformation.

Fire ceremony is one of the most powerful ceremonies there are because Fire is a powerful transformer. Fire ceremonies are common in almost all spiritual practices and across all ancient and native cultures. Smoke from Fire takes the intentions from the offerings to the universe so that they can be manifested. Fire ceremonies are traditionally held around a holiday, full, or new moons. However, any time you have an intention or a need for a ritual, Fire ceremony can be performed. In the past, Fire ceremony was conducted by an experienced medicine person after extensive training. This tradition no longer holds true. Anyone with pure intention and open heart can lead a Fire ceremony, whether for individual use or for a group.

Fire ceremony can also use the following representations of fire: candles, a storm, and stars.

Here are the natural steps to creating a sacred fire:

  1. Place kindling in a square and then build a short teepee of wood over it. Fill in with paper and kindling as needed. Use natural Fire starters and avoid commercial lighter fluids.
  2. Designate one or more Fire keepers, who will tend the Fire throughout the ceremony until the embers die out. Each Fire keeper writes their name on a piece of paper and places it in the unlit wood.
  3. Place tobacco on the unlit wood.
  4. Add a pinch of sacred ashes from a pre-existing collection. In the shamanic tradition, cold ashes are collected after a sacred Fire has burned out. These ashes are added into a collection of ashes from many sacred Fires. The bits of charcoal in the ash may be affectionately referred to as “the bones”. Ashes can also be handed from shaman to shaman as the collection grows. When lighting a sacred fire, a pinch of the ashes are added.
  5. Open sacred space or call in the spirits from the directions, whatever is appropriate for your personal tradition.
  6. Light the Fire.
  7. Feed the Fire. The Fire is made friendly with olive oil or other offerings (see list below).
  8. Sing Fire songs or chant while waiting for the Fire to become friendly.
  9. Approach the Fire to put your personal offerings into it. The Fire will transform your intentions into light and smoke allowing them to go to Spirit. Come to the Fire without fear and with an open heart so that the heat and flames will not harm you.
  10. Another stick can be used for global prayers, a prayer for Mother Earth. The stick can be passed so that each participant adds their prayers. Then the stick is offered to the Fire.
  11. At the close of ceremony sacred space is closed and spirits from the directions are released.
  12. The Fire keeper stays with the Fire until it is embers.

Here are a few common rules of Fire etiquette:

  1. Always walk clockwise around a Fire.
  2. Never throw trash into a sacred Fire.
  3. Never put anything in the sacred Fire without getting permission from the Fire keeper or Fire leader.
  4. Always insure that the Fire area is safe. Make sure that sparks will not ignite surrounding brush, grass, bushes, and trees
  1. Never douse a sacred Fire with water. Dirt to smother the Fire can be kept nearby in case of an emergency.


Making offerings to Fire helps affirm our intentions. One way to create an offering is to use sticks about pencil size. Create a desire for each of the sticks you have gathered, whether it be manifesting something, banishing something, or gratitude for something. Call up the feeling around each of your desires and blow one into each of the sticks. Place the sticks into the Fire and watch them burn.

Below is a list of additional offerings and what they are usually associated with. To make an offering, simply blow your intention into a pinch or handful of the offering. Then throw it directly on the fire.

3 Sisters: Corn, Beans, & Squash seeds. Corn is for sustenance and gifting back to the earth what we have been given. Beans are for protection and represent sacred places or places of emergence. Squash is for honoring the Plant People.

Bee Pollen: For transformation, fertilization, sweetness, and nourishment.

Cedar: Purify, cleanse, or decrease negativity. Induces psychic powers. Attracts money.

Copal: For purification, uplifting spirits, protection, spirituality, and attracting love.

Cornmeal: For protection and abundance.

Juniper: Purify, protect, create sacred space. Aids clairvoyance. Attracts good energy & love.

Lavender: For peace of mind and inner calm.

Lemon Verbena: Increases power in spell workings, purifies, increases sexual attraction.

Petition Paper: Write your desire, affirmation, prayer on a piece of paper.

Prayer Ties: Tobacco-filled cotton squares tied on a string that hold prayers, intentions, and affirmations.

Pine Cones: Symbol of growth.

Popcorn: Jumping between the worlds. Kernels of truth popping into awareness.

Rosemary: Protects against evil and cleanses.

Rose Petals: For good luck in love, psychic powers, healing, and protection.

Sweetgrass: Brings in positive energy, calls spirits, ancestors.

Tobacco: Amplifies prayers, provides healing & purification, allows communication with spirits.

White Sage: Purifies, drives out negative spirits, thoughts, and feelings.


During Fire ceremony, you might see messages as you observe the fire. There may be images that you see in the flames. Look for indications that have a particular meaning for you and the circumstances you are in at the present time. Below is a list of some characteristics and what they might indicate. However, like in dreams and other divination techniques, it is always best to interpret the events with your own meanings.

Is the Fire hard to start? This may indicate more effort is needed to manifest your petition or it may not be the most auspicious time to have a Fire ceremony.

How quickly does the wood catch fire? This may indicate Fire’s receptivity to your petition or reason for ceremony.

Does the Fire burn very slowly or does it go out? This may indicate your petition will be very slow in coming to fruition.

Does the Fire burn more to one side? This may indicate love may be in the air or that your situation may be one-sided.

Is there a lot of crackling, hissing, popping? This may indicate Spirits are trying to communicate.

Is there sparking? This may indicate that your petition will be fulfilled.

Is there a distinct hollow in the flames? This may indicate an ending of a problem bothering you.

Does the Fire suddenly roar up into the air for no apparent reason? This may indicate an argument or explosive drama may soon occur.

Do sparks fly up aggressively into the air? This may indicate important news is on the way.

Do 3 bolts of flame rise up and burn separately? This may indicate a momentous event will occur soon.

Do the flames burn high? This may indicate that power and energy are going into your petition.

Do the flames burn low? This may indicate that obstacles are being removed before your petition is manifested.

Is the Fire strong? This may indicate your desires are moving toward manifesting.

Is the Fire weak? This may indicate you are facing strong opposition.

Are the flames flickering a lot? This may indicate the presence of spirits.

Are the flames jumping? This may indicate bursts of energy are being transmitted.

Do the flames look like a rainbow? This may indicate that the energies being produced are very strong.

Is the smoke moving toward you? This may indicate your petition has been acknowledged.

Is the smoke moving away from you? This may indicate perseverance will be needed for your petition.

Is the smoke moving to your right? This may indicate you will need to be patient and success comes from using your head.

Is the smoke moving to your left? This may indicate you are too emotionally involved with the petition and in danger of subconsciously sabotaging your petition


There are many songs that can be sung around the fire. Songs not only feed the Fire but knit the community connections into a tapestry of sacred space. Here are just a few recommended songs. Most of these can be downloaded from Apple iTunes.

Brooke Medicine Eagle – “Mother I Feel You”
Donald T. McMahon & Pam Mc Mahon – “We Circle Around”
Elliot Diamond – “Nitche Tai Tai”
Kate Marks & Friends – “Earth My Body” & “Wani Wachialo”
Kinlen Wheeler and Scott Johnson – “Long Tail Feathers”, “Fly Like Eagles”, & “Infinite Sun”

Copyright © 2016 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged. www.DrakeInnerprizes.com