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
Drum Circle Facilitators Guild
Drum Circle Magazine
Village Music Circles
Living Drums (purchase drums)


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.

Head, Heart, & Hara: A Checks & Balance System


, ,



The human has three primary soul centers, which are also energy centers or centers of awareness. These are the head, heart, and hara.

The United States constitution provided a checks and balance system by forming three branches of government: legislative, executive, judicial. This was done so that there would be no possibility of an autocrat ruling the country. So, too, do we have an internal checks and balance system within us. They are the head, heart, and hara.

Most often we rely on the head to legislate what actions to take. We rely on the heart to execute those actions because without passion, we would not take action. And we rely on the hara to provide judgment on our action as it sends physical signals from the body as feedback on our actions. Ever feel butterflies, queasiness, or irritable bowel symptoms? These are all emotions generated from our gut.

By tapping into all three centers of awareness, we provide the best possible support to ourselves especially in the decision making process. When all three centers are balanced, our intuition works at its highest potential.

How many times can you remember someone telling you to pay attention and think it through (focus with your head), or to follow your heart, or to rely on our gut instinct? The highest level of awareness requires us to access all three centers equally.


When we find concepts that exist in multiple cultures, especially those that date back hundreds or thousands of years, it gives added validity to the truth of the concept.

A poem called “The Cauldron of Poesy”, written in the 15th century by Amergin and to Nede Mac Adne, identified three centers of the soul, called cauldrons. These three cauldrons were incorporated into the cosmology of Celtic Druidry. The three cauldrons are:

Cauldron of Knowledge (Coire Sois) – Located in the head, this is the source of the highest spiritual and artistic inspirations. At birth it is in the inverted position. If a person becomes spiritually enlightened, it turns to the upright position.

Cauldron of Motion or Vocation (Coire Ernma) – Located in the heart, this is the source of vision work, and skill. If a person has no gifts or skills, it is inverted. If a person becomes aware of their skills, it is tipped on its side. If a person becomes trained in a skill and is enlightened, it turns to the upright position.

Cauldron of Warming (Coire Goiriath) – Located in the belly, this is the source of physical and constitutional health and strength. At birth it is upright in all people and stays upright throughout life with the potential to be fully filled.

In the upright position, the Cauldrons are capable of holding much more knowledge and wisdom. The Cauldron of Vocation and the Cauldron of Knowledge can be turned by either sorrow or joy. There are four forms of sorrow that occur within a person: longing, grief, jealousy, and hard travel. There are two forms of joy: divine joy and human joy. Human joy has four forms: marriage or sexual delight; good health; vocational prosperity; and success in effort. Divine joy has two forms: delight in the blessings of the Gods/Goddesses and eating at the Well of Wisdom.

3 Cauldrons small


When we use the term “head”, we are really referring to a few piece parts. The head includes the mind, which represents logic. The head also houses the sixth and seventh chakras. The head is also the home of the Third Eye. The Third Eye has been called by various names throughout history, including the “Inner Eye,” “Mind’s Eye,” “Eye of the Soul,” and “Eye of Reason.” Almost all Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as many humans, wear a bindi between their eyebrows, which is a physical representation of the Third Eye. Even the single horn of the unicorn represents the Third Eye and was adopted as a symbol of an illumined spiritual nature. When you are able to see with the 3rd Eye, you feel expanded perceptual abilities, increased sensitivity, increased sense of peace, and a higher consciousness.

The head is also the home of the pineal gland. The pineal gland is a pea-sized gland located between the cerebral hemispheres in the brain. The pineal gland got its name because it looks like a tiny pine cone. It has several functions but most importantly it is known as our spiritual or intuitive center.

Here is a process you can use to stimulate or activate your pineal gland:

  • With your eyes closed, stare at the tip of your nose, then raise your gaze to the Third Eye.
  • Visualize the opening and clearing of your pineal gland.
  • Tap your Third Eye three times to inform and seal.
  • Avoid fluoride, which is believed to calcify the pineal gland.


When we use the term “heart”, we are referring not only to the fourth chakra but there is an energetic center called the “assemblage point” in the chest area.

The assemblage point is the primary place that the energy body connects to the physical body. The assemblage points is in the center of the chest at the nipple line and the ideal entry angle is 90 degrees, or perpendicular, to the body. The assemblage points is about a quarter to a half inch in diameter.

To find your assemblage points, stand up and look straight ahead. Use the tip of your index finger of your left hand to press firmly into the tissue in a four inch circle in the center of your chest. You’ll know you’ve found your assemblage points because it will likely be very tender or painful.

The position of the assemblage points affects our physical and psychological health. When it is correctly aligned we are positive, happy, and healthy. When the AP is out of alignment we are anxious, depressed, lack energy, or are unwell.

If the assemblage points is out of alignment, it can be shifted back to its optimal position. If you feel that your assemblage points is off, find an energy medicine practitioner who is trained in relocating assemblage points.

Carlos Castaneda believed the assemblage points was a shaman’s portal to “the place of silent knowledge”. Shamans shift their assemblage points in order to perceive different worlds where they can gather power to solve problems.


When we use the term “hara”, we are referring not only to the second and third chakras but there is an energetic center in the belly area. Eastern culture has specific terms for the concept of the third awareness center called the “hara” or “dantian”.

Hara is a Japanese word that means “sea of energy”. In Chinese, the name for the hara is “dantian”, which means “elixir field” or “energy center”. The Sufis call it the “Kath”.

The Hara is the center of the energy body. It can be in slightly different places for different people. It is approximately 1½ to 3 thumb widths below the navel and about 2 thumb widths inward from the skin. There are three acupuncture points at the Hara: the Gate of Origin, and the Sea of Qi, and the Stone Gate.

The hara should be soft and relaxed above the navel but full and firm below it. For most beginners, the hara starts out big, about the size of a baseball or basketball, but as a person learns to consolidate energy, it gets smaller. The health and power of the hara can be increased through: meditation, visualization, breathing techniques, tantra, martial arts, shiatsu, yoga, acupuncture, and QiGong.

“Soma-psychology allows us to distinguish three distinct levels of human communication. Soul and spirit, divided into three distinct spheres: a mind sphere with a verbal thought skin as its surface, a body sphere bounded by our sensory and emotional skin, and an inner soul sphere of our overall soul and spirit. These three spheres also correspond to the three main centers of awareness in the body, the head, heart and hara.” –Peter Wilberg

We actually do have a second brain in our gut. It is called the entreric nervous system, which governs the gastrointestinal system. The enteric nervous system can operate autonomously from the central nervous system and has the same neuropeptides found in the brain. More than 90% of the body’s serotonin and 50% of the body’s dopamine are in the gut. The second brain can inform our state of mind through physiological signals, such as “butterflies”.

As a fetus, we were fed nutrients through the navel. After birth, we feed on energy through the naval. In Inka cosmology, the spiritual stomach is called the “qos’qo”. It is the central receptor of living energy in our body. Through the “belly eye” we connect directly to the energy of Earth. Thus, we have an energetic umbilical cord that maintains our connection with Mother Earth.

You can locate the qos’qo by feeling it with your hand. You can also open or close it at will. Learning to use the qos’qo is an important part of mastering your energy body. As a master, you know how to cleanse the hucha (heavy, dense energy that does not serve you) from your energy bubble, called a “poq’po”. A master can also eat and digest heavy energy (called “hucha mikhuy”); perform saminchukuy, which is a process of pulling in sami (light, refined energy) through the crown chakra to the poq’po; and perform saiwachakuy, which is a process of pulling earth energy through the base chakra to the poq’po.

Q'ero Energy small


Most of us are much more familiar with accessing the head and heart for decision making. However, in Western culture, we are not as familiar with acknowledging the hara. If we don’t access the triad of head, heart, and hara, then we aren’t using the full range of our capacities. The head brings logic, organization, and planning skills to the table. The heart brings emotion, passion, compassion, and love to the table. And the hara brings instinct, intuition, and action to the table.

When you are processing any issue or question, call your head to stand front and center in your consciousness. Ask your head what it has to say. Write the answer down on paper. Then thank and release your head. Next call your heart to stand front and center in your consciousness. Ask it what it has to say. Write the answer down on paper. Thank and release your heart. Last, call in your hara to stand front and center in your consciousness. Ask it what is has to say. Write that answer down on paper. Thank and release your hara. Now review what all three said. If there is a decision to be made, there can’t be a tie within a triad. You will know how you really feel about the issue if you agree with the three or if you disagree with the three. And remember, there is also your Higher Self that can be consulted. But that is the subject of another article.

Copyright © 2016 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

The 3 Ds of Dealing with Traumatic Memories



Trauma is defined as a negative psychological reaction that is a direct result of an emotionally stressful experience such as abuse, injury, or combat. Each individual has a personal definition of what is traumatic for them so that what may be considered non-traumatic to one person is felt to be very traumatic by another. Therefore, the details of a trauma are not nearly as important as developing healing solutions to incidents that are perceived to be traumatic. It is not ethical for a healing practitioner to try to remove or change traumatic memories of their clients. However, there are some tools that can assist trauma survivors to reframe unpleasant past memories

THE 3 Ds

Healing is facilitated, not by changing the past, but by changing the perception of what happened in the past. I developed a process called the 3 Ds, when working with trauma survivors:

  • Discover – Identify the original trauma. Trauma can surface as memories of past occurrences that go back as far as early childhood or even to past lives.
  • Defuse – Use of various techniques to work with the after-effects of trauma.
  • Develop – Creating a new reaction when the original traumatic memory is triggered. Install an anchor that activates a switch toward the new reaction.


Traumatic memories may be conscious or they may be buried in the subconscious. However, there events that trigger these memories to surface. It is important to have a plan of action for when this occurs.

Be able to identify when a traumatic memory is triggered and be familiar with the symptoms of trauma. Short term symptoms of trauma may include hypervigilance, hypersensitivity, nightmares, mood swings, anxiety, phobias, amnesia, addictive behaviors, fear, or self-mutilation. Longer term effects may include chronic fatigue, chronic pain, depression, disassociation, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosomatic illnesses, or immune system problems.

The subconscious stores long term memories. All memories run along a network of neurons in the brain. The more often a memory occurs, the more the network connections are strengthened. Each time this pathway is traveled it becomes more deeply embedded in the mind. Beliefs are then created from this memory pathway.

A metaphor that illustrates this is that of a train running down a track. Each time a subsequent event triggers a traumatic memory, a train carrying thoughts and emotions, travels down a track to reach a specific reaction. This track is the neurological network in our brain. The more often the neurological network is traveled, the deeper the pathway becomes embedded or “hard-wired” in the brain.



Defusing a traumatic memory includes deconstructing the traumatic incident and desensitizing the effects of the trauma. Some very effective techniques that hypnotherapists may use are:

  • Employing desensitization techniques to remove the emotional charge of the memory.
  • Doing an inner child rescue.
  • Creating a protection entity such as a power animal, angel, spirit guide, or super hero.
  • Creating a “peaceful place” that is an alternative to the “painful place”. This virtual safe place is created from a favorite place in nature.
  • Working with the sub-personalities to develop an inner support system.
  • If there is a perpetrator, understanding their motive during the trauma.


A new destination (reaction) to the traumatic memory is created. The thoughts and emotions associated with the new destination should foster self-love, self-esteem, and self-empowerment.

If a new reaction is created, one that is desired more than the old familiar pattern, there is a new destination for the train to travel to. In order for the train to get there, though, there has to be a switch installed on the track.

The switch is a physical anchor, such as touching the body at a specific place. Identify a place on the body that is not usually touched. As the new reaction is visualized and felt, touch that specific place on the body. This new feeling becomes associated with the action of the touch. The next time the traumatic memory is triggered, the simply touch this place, recall the feeling of the new reaction, and the train now travels the new track. In this way the switch does double duty as a decision point and as a break state.

An additional aid in this process is to identify where the track of the traumatic memory exists in the consciousness. Then visualize the installation of a switch and a new track.

In this way, the old memory is preserved but there is a new reaction available as a new destination. The more often the new pathway is traveled, the stronger it will become until it is eventually “hard-wired” in the brain. The old track always remains but the train now travels down the new track.



In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness – Peter A. Levine

Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for the Living Past: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Working with Traumatic Memory – Peter A. Levine

Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma – Peter A. Levine

Quick Steps to Resolving Trauma – Bill O’Hanlon

Copyright © 2016 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

Art Medicine: Creating & Consecrating Spirit Crafts



Art Medicine small


What is Contemporary Medicine?

Medicine is derived from the Latin ars medicina, meaning the art of healing. Contemporary medicine treats, diagnoses, and prevents illnesses, diseases, and injuries primarily with medication or surgery.

What is Traditional (aka Indigenous or Folk) Medicine?

Traditional Medicine (aka complementary and alternative medicine) incorporates knowledge about plant, animal, and mineral-based medicines, spiritual therapies, and body manipulation techniques that has been developed over many generations. Indigenous Medicine is usually transmitted orally through communities, families, and individuals. Many indigenous communities have specific roles for healers such as shamans, medicine persons, witch doctors, sorcerers, magicians, witches, psychics, yogis, kahunas, seers, and midwives. According to Native American beliefs, Medicine is an inner power that is found in both Nature and all individuals. When determining is something is good, the question, “is it good medicine” is asked.

What is Earth Medicine?

Earth Medicine is a spiritual method of healing Mother Earth. In reverse, Earth Medicine is also the healing of humans by Mother Earth as they walk, lay, and pray on her surface. Earth-based spirituality honors all aspects of Nature and view Nature as a source of universal consciousness and energy.

What is Shaman Art?

Shaman art is art created by shamans for shamanic practices. Shamans use art for various reasons such as:

  1. To create a supra-normal atmosphere for spiritual healing rituals.
  2. As sensory triggering mechanisms to expand consciousness and/or induce shamanic trance states.
  3. To access the higher self and to reprogram the powerful instincts of the lower self.
  4. To create representations of Spirits.
  5. To create symbolism as a means of interacting with the Spirit World.

Shaman art includes: costuming, masks, sculpture, carving, petroglyphs, painting, sandpainting, bodypainting, tattooing, piercing, scarification, creating talismans and amulets, writing, metallurgy, and crafts. Performance arts include: illusionism, clowning, fire-walking, drumming, music, and dance.

Two beautiful concepts of shamanic art in use are:

Navajo Sandpaintings These sandpaintings are created by a Medicine Person for healing or blessing ceremonies. Sandpaintings are created on the floor of a hogan. When complete, the client sits on the sandpainting where they are chanted over. The sandpainting is a portal for spirits to come to absorb the illness and take it away. The sandpaintings are begun, finished, and destroyed within a 12 hour period.

Tibetan Buddhist Sandpaintings These are mandalas that the lamas create with colored sand over a period of days or weeks. Their subsequent destruction is then destroyed and in so doing heals and blesses the environment and all living beings.

What is Art Medicine?

Art Therapy is a form of art medicine that is used in the mental health profession. The creative process enhances the mental and emotional well-being of individuals. The product of art therapy is used as a diagnostic tool with an individual’s subconscious. Art therapy uses art materials, such as paints, markers, crayons, clay, and sand tray.

I have coined the term Art Medicine as a form of art that is used in Energy and Earth Medicine practices. Working with Art Medicine provides powerful medicine in the following ways:

  1. The process of creation is healing.
  2. The creation process focuses intentions for manifesting, affirming, banishing, relinquishing, or gratitude.
  3. The product can be used to heal others remotely or when given as a gift.
  4. The process can be used as ceremony or ritual.
  5. Using natural materials honors Mother Earth, Spirit Guides, and other spiritual entities..

The product of art medicine is ceremonial crafts or spirit crafts. These items are created from natural materials that will be used for sacred or ceremonial purposes. These items can be placed on altars or in Nature, they can be buried, burned, or released in water, depending on the intent of the creator.

Most medicine people create their own sacred tools because these tools amplify their personal power and focus their attention.

It is a Native American belief that in order to gain the attention or blessings of the Higher Spirits that you offer a gift that will delight them. The more work and effort put into an item for offering, the more inclined the spirits are to bless the request put to them.


Although used often interchangeably, there is a difference between ritual and ceremony.

Ceremony is a formal act of ritual, protocol, or convention. According to Steven Farmer, there are 3 types of ceremonies:

  1. Healing Ceremonies – Performed for healing physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual wounds.
  2. Transition Ceremonies – Mark rites of passage in a human life or are initiations into new phases of life.
  3. Celebration Ceremonies – Observe recurring holidays, events, and celebrations.

Ritual is a set of actions performed for their symbolic value. Rituals provide form for ceremonies or procedures for rites. To design a ritual, answer the following questions:

  1. Who do you want to participate?
  2. What will you use to in your invocation?
  3. Where will you conduct the ritual?
  4. When do you want to perform this ritual?
  5. Why are you doing this ritual?
  6. How will you accomplish your intention?

All rituals and ceremonies will follow this basic pattern:

  1. Set intention.
  2. Select a time and location. Purify yourself and the location. Make an offering.
  3. Establish protection and invoke sacred space.
  4. Perform ritual or ceremony. Include statement of intent.
  5. Give gratitude.
  6. Release the sacred space.

A ceremony can include 3 specific components:

  1. Separation – The beginning of a ceremony is when something is left behind and something new is about to begin. It is separating from the past.
  2. Transformation/Threshold/Initiation – The middle of ceremony is where release and renewal occur. It is experiencing the present.
  3. Incorporation/Integration – The end of ceremony welcomes and introduces the new identity into the world of daily life. It is future-testing the transformation.

As you progress through the art medicine projects in this course, you will notice a certain repetitive theme. The flow of each project is the same process:

  1. Set your intention before you design your craft.
  2. Focus your attention as you create your craft.
  3. Give gratitude when you are complete.
  4. Let your intention go and let it flow to the Universe.

The entire process of creation is a ritual itself. The product of your creation can be used in ceremonies and other rituals.


When you first come into possession of a sacred item, either through constructing it, purchasing it, or being gifted with it, it is necessary to consecrate it before using it. Consecration involves two steps: cleansing and energizing. Cleansing can be done by any of the following methods:

  • Water – Place under running water or dip in the ocean.
  • Crystals – Lay on an amethyst or quartz cluster for 24 hours.
  • Earth – Bury under the earth for 24 hours.
  • Sound – Tibetan singing bowls, tuning forks or ring bells can be used.
  • Smudge – By burning dried herbs and waving the smoke over and through it for 5 minutes.
  • Sun & Moon – Energize in sunlight and moonlight for 24 hours each. The Universe’s energy is enhanced at these times: full moons, blue moons, new moons, eclipses, solstices, equinoxes, and specific astrological aspects.
  • Salt or Crab Apple – Soak in a non-metallic container filled with water with some purifying sea salt or crab apple Bach Flower Remedy and place in the moonlight 3 days before the full moon. Sea salt can be mixed with water or used dry.
  • Herbs – Bury in a cupful of dried herbs. Suggested herbs for this are: rose petals, sage, frankincense, myrrh, clovers, daisies, comfrey, and sandalwood.
  • Pendulum – Hold a clear crystal pendulum over it and pass the pendulum in clockwise circles 9 times. To cleanse, pass the pendulum anti-clockwise 9 times. Keep the pendulum well charged and positive by holding it under cold clear running water and then leave it in water steeped with rose petals, over which a cleansing and empowering incense, such as pine, and a white candle flame have been passed.
  • Visualization – Hold your item in either hand and say these words: I will and command that this be self-cleansing. Visualize the negative energies falling away and natural, pure, energies remaining.
  • Reiki – Infuse with Reiki energy (if you are an attuned practitioner).
  • Florida Water – Spray or blow Florida water over the item.

I perform these steps together in a consecration ritual that involves sitting in front of a lit candle and:

  1. Cleansing the item: Smudge with white sage, Florida water, or cigar smoke.
  2. Energizing the item: Blow my intent into it. Breath is a powerful form of prayer. Infuse the item with Reiki (universal life force energy). Offer the item to be blessed by Mother Earth, Father Sky, the 4 Directions, the Ancestors, my Spirit Guides, and the 4 Elements. Say some words that set the intention of the item.

Each action is performed with the specific intent of the item in mind at all times. It is appropriate to finish with words of gratitude to all the Spirits. The item should be kept on your altar or in a special covering. Covered items are only exposed when it is time for them to be used in ceremony.

No one, at any time, other than you, should touch your sacred tools. Their touch may change the energy with which the item has been charged. If the item is touched, you need to repeat the cleansing and energizing process again.

The item that is being cleansed and charged should be used as soon as possible and after that as frequently as possible. This keeps the power connection alive.


The best way to source materials for your creation is finding them in the natural world. Everything in the universe vibrates at a specific frequency. When choosing your materials, hold a variety of alternatives in your hands and see which one feels right for you. Different materials will feel right for you at different times, depending on what you are constructing and for what reason.

Material that will want to be used will “call out” to you. Find them by going into a meditative state, walking along with a specific intent of being open to finding objects, and they will pop right out to you. If you believe you have found an item, open a dialog with it. Ask its Spirit for permission to be used in your sacred tool. If the item gives you permission to take it along, leave an offering of gratitude.

  1. To make an offering, hold your gift in your hand and present it up to Father Sky.
  2. Present your offering to Mother Earth to show appreciation.
  3. Hold it out to each of the 4 directions.
  4. Leave the offering while voicing your thanks and intention.

In the North American Native tradition, tobacco is most often used offering, while the Celtic tradition uses salt or whisky. The offering can be anything that has special meaning to you and is in harmony with your magic: flowers, stones, coins, bee pollen, cedar, copal, cornmeal, juniper, lavender, rosemary, rose petals, sweetgrass, white sage, or something specially made such as bread or cake. If nothing is at hand, use your own spit or some of your hair.

The most important part of creating your sacred items is intention. The entire process of creation should be done in a sacred and meditative state, constantly repeating the intention for the item you are making.

Besides getting material from Nature, shop at your local craft and hobby stores as well as online.


When creating the intention for art medicine projects, remember the following rules:

#1 RULE: PERFORM NO WORK ON ANY OTHER ENTITY OTHER THAN YOURSELF UNLESS YOU HAVE INFORMED CONSENT! When you do have informed consent, only practice positive medicine.

#2 RULE: It is never ethical to pray for an outcome to another individual’s situation because you are violating their free will and you do not have the ability to judge or intervene in their soul’s journey. Even if you are praying for them at their request, use the words “may this [request] be to their best and highest good.” The best way to support another individual is to share your talents and tools to assist them on their healing journey.

#3 RULE: If you are working on the behalf of a client’s request, ask: Would you please give me permission for my spirit guides to access your spirit guides so that I can bring down the information for your highest good?

#4 RULE: When creating your personal intentions, affirmations, and prayers, add the words, “let this be for my Highest Good.” Trust your Higher Self to know what is the best medicine for your soul’s journey.


I have develop a course in Art Medicine that draws from many cultural sources, such as pagan magick, witchcraft and wizardry, African hoodoo, and Native American crafts. Comprehensive handouts include subjects such as: Introduction to Art Medicine; Ritual and Ceremony; Setting Intentions; Creating Petition Papers and Sigils; Consecrating Ceremonial Tools; Personal Concerns; Optimal Times to Create; Correspondences of Color, Numbers, and Woods; and Reading and Supply Resources.

The course begins with a guided meditation journeys to a past life where the student has been an artist or craftsperson. The talent from that life is brought back to enhance the creative journey of this lifetime.

A series of projects in the course include creating: Amulets and Talismans; Bath Salts; Candle Dressing; Corn Husk Dolls; Crystal Grids; Fairy Affirmation Kits; Fire Throw; Jizos; Magick Wands; Medicine Bags; Mojo Bags; Paper Skulls; Prayer Beads; Prayer Bundles; Sacred Herbs & Oils; Spirit Sticks; and Spirit Traps.

This course supports personal journeys and transformations, as well as providing skills to create products that can be used as gifts, tools that can be used in sacred ceremonies, and product ideas that can be used for your personal business. No artistic talent is required for these projects. Just bring your intention. This course is available in person, over Skype, individually or in a group setting. If you are interested in getting on the wait list, please contact me.

Copyright © 2016 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

Anatomy of a Soul


, ,


The field of Western psychology is one-dimensional in that its focus is limited to individual’s present lives in the 3rd (physical) dimension. Although Western psychology is very effective in what it does cover, its shortcoming is that it does not take into account the fact that we are multi-dimensional beings.

Our souls have lived multiple lives in many different dimensions. In fact, as we will explore in this article, our souls are living in multiple dimensions at this very moment.

Soul psychology includes all aspects of the soul, such as past, future, and inter lives; karma; life lessons; other dimensions; spirit guides; and soul groups in order to assist clients realize their highest potential. Methods used include past life and life-between-lives therapy and working with spirit guides. Soul psychologists support clients as they work on their soul history, soul imprints, soul lessons, and soul inclinations (passions and gifts). In addition, the soul psychologist helps clients process their interactions with others in their soul sphere of influence.

To read about the different dimensions referred to in this article, please access my blog on “Dimensions of Consciousness” at:


Often, spirit and soul are used interchangeably and can have different definitions based on the culture defining them. Spirit is action energy. It is our divine connection to the Source. It activates purpose, mission, and evolution opportunities. Soul is identity energy. It contains consciousness, memory, personality, and ego when we are incarnated. When embodied, we are spirit, have a soul, and live in a body.

Holographic energy can create a whole universe from each individual part no matter how small or distant the part is. The part contains the whole and yet is clearly distinguishable from it. In a holographic universe, every moment (past, present, and future) exists simultaneously. Every place is connected to every other place. Every particle contains the full awareness of every other particle. The soul is holographic. The part of an incarnated individual that resides in the 3rd dimension is just one part of a greater soul that stretches across multiple dimensions.

Ian Lawton, in his book The Big Book of the Soul, describes soul consciousness as holographic. He says that a soul is simultaneously the individual aspect of Source and the full holographic representation of Source. Therefore the Soul is a part of Source but retains its own free will. Every individual consciousness is a part of Universal consciousness. He says “All is in each and each is in all and all is in Source and Source is in all.” This is how we are all related.

In this article, we will focus on the anatomy of the holographic soul.

Many cultures believe that an individual has multiple souls. In many cases, one of the souls is associated with the body and the other one can leave the body (free soul). Each of the different souls has a different destiny after death. Among many northern Asian peoples one soul remains with the corpse, one soul descends to the underworld, and one soul ascends to the heavens. Following is a list of how some different theological belief systems view the soul:

Animism – Everything has a soul.

Apapocuva Guaraní of Brazil – A gentle vegetable soul comes fully formed from the dwelling place of the gods and joins with the infant at the moment of birth. Soon, a vigorous animal soul joins the vegetable soul. Upon death, the vegetable soul enters paradise and the animal soul becomes a fierce ghost.

Buddhism – Humans have no permanent self. Anatta means no-self or no soul.

Chinese – A human has two souls: an ethereal hun (spiritual soul/spirit that leaves the body after death) and a p’o (physical soul that remins with the corpse). The p’o is linked to the dead body and the grave, whereas the hún is linked to the ancestral tablet. Chinese traditions differ over the number of hun and p’o souls in a person. Taoism believes in 10 souls, sanhunqipo (3 hun and 7 p’o).

Christianity – A human has a body (soma), soul (psyche), and spirit (pneuma).

Egyptians – Souls reside in different parts of the body. An individual can have up to 10 souls, which include: Ren, Ka, Sheut, Ib/Ab, Sekhem, Aakhu, Khaibut, Khat, and Sahu. At death, the Ka remains in the tomb and the Ba ascends to the spiritual regions.

Eskimo – A human has more than one type of soul. Some believe one is associated with respiration and the other accompanies the body as a shadow.

Hawaiian – There are 3 parts of the soul: Aumakua (Superconscious Self), Uhane (Conscious Self), and Unihipili (Subconscious Self).

Hinduism – There are 25 coverings wrapped on a soul: Iccha avarka, Linga deha, Avyakta sharira, Avidya avarna, Karma avarna, Kama avarna, Jeevacchadaka, Paramacchadaka, Narayana rupa avarna, Vasudeva rupa avarna, Sankarshana rupa avarna, Pradhyumna avarka, Anniruddha avarka, Anniruddha sharira, Vasudeva kavaca, Narayana kavaca, Anandamaya kosha, Vignanamaya kosha, Manomaya kosha, Vangmaya kosha, Shrotrumaya kosha, Chakshurmaya kosha, Pranamaya kosha, Annamaya kosha, and the Gross Body.

Hungarian/Baltic-Finnic – Humans have a dualistic shadow-soul called Itse.

Jainism – Every living being has a soul. The soul (Atman) is categorized by its liberation state. It can be Liberated (having attained Moksha) or Non-liberated (exists in either human form, in the form of another living being, in heaven, or in hell until the birth and death cycle is complete).

Kabbalah – The human soul has 3 basic components:

  • Nefesh is the “animal soul” or “lower soul” and represents instinct and personality. At death, the Nefesh remains in the grave.
  • Ruah is the “middle soul” and represents intellect and the conscious. At death the Ruah ascends to the terrestrial paradise in accordance with its merits.
  • Neshamah is the spiritual portion of the soul or the “higher self”. It is the power connection to the Source. At death, the Neshamah goes back to the Divine world or Divine Mind.

Plato – A human soul has 3 parts: Logos (mind, reason), Thymos (emotion, spiritedness, masculine), and Eros (desire, feminine).

Q’ero of the Andes – When a human dies, their body goes to Earth, their wisdom go to the mountains, and their energy goes to the stars.

Rudolf Steiner – A human has 3 stages of soul development: the Sentient Soul, the Intellectual (Mind) Soul, and the Consciousness Soul.

Siberia and Mongolia – A human possesses at least 3 souls: the Suld, Ami, and Suns. Some groups, such as the Samoyed, believe there are 4 souls in women and 5 souls in men. These extra souls are not permanent, like the core 3 souls that all Siberian groups agree upon, and the extra one or two souls gradually dissipate after the death of the physical body.


Our souls are multi-dimensional. This means they exist in multiple dimensions concurrently. There is also a soul “hierarchy” that supports our soul’s journey.

Our incarnated Soul, in the form of an energy body, overlays the physical body. The energy body is attached to the physical body through the chakra system. However, the incarnated Soul is only a small part of our total soul energy.

The Oversoul is an intermediate level that exists between the incarnated Soul and the Higher Self. The Oversoul does not incarnate. Its function is to coordinate multiple soul journeys. For example, the soul can be having multiple experiences in different dimensions simultaneously, including parallel lives on Earth. The Oversoul keeps a bird’s eye view of all of the soul’s activities.

The Higher Self is the intermediary between our Soul/Oversoul and the Source of All That Is (aka Creator, Great Spirit, God). It is the individualized essence of Source. It is called by many different names, such as: I Am Presence, I Am That I Am, Pure Being, Love, Essence of Life, Cosmic Consciousness, Universal Mind, Atman, and Monad. The Higher Self holds all knowledge and wisdom. It knows all that the Soul has ever experienced. The Higher Self is the highest point of consciousness within the Soul. It is totally and irrevocably one with the Source of All That Is. It is the source of our intuition. The Higher Self, representing the Eternal Self, is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, infinite, wise, loving, light, free, and indestructible.

Being holographic, the Oversoul and Higher Self are aware of all the Soul’s fragments as well as the Soul’s wholeness simultaneously. When a Soul is ready to incarnate, it works with the Oversoul, Higher Self, and its guides and mentors to create a life plan for the upcoming life.

Our conscious minds are tapped into the Soul level that is incarnated on Earth. The Oversoul and Higher Self can be accessed through the subconscious or superconscious mind. Deep trance, shamanic journeying, and meditation can open these portals. Much of the communication between the Oversoul and our other Soul Parts occur while we are asleep. Sometimes, when we first awaken after sleeping, there is a period of time that bleed-through of awareness from the other dimensions can occur.

By acknowledging and listening to our Higher Self, we expand our perception to view a much bigger picture than what our everyday incarnated consciousness provides.

The whole of eternity is present in each moment.
When I live my life one moment at a time, one breath at a time,
I live from my Highest Self which is one with all.
I am a child of the one light, a bridge between heaven and earth.
When love flows across that bridge, miracles happen.
–Joan Borysenko & Joan Drescher, On Wings of Light

The Layers of the Soul:

Soul Layers

The Cosmology of the Soul:

Soul Cosmology


Below is a list of different relationships that the soul can be a participant in:

Member of a Soul Group: Every soul belongs to a soul group. A soul group is a group of souls who come from the same soul family and soul origin. Often soul groups reincarnate together on Earth. Sometimes only a part of the group incarnate at the same time. Individuals in the same soul group have the same soul purpose and can have similar feelings, thoughts, and inclinations. When an individual is incarnated with members of their soul group, they feel deeply connected.

Soul Mates – Soul mates are souls that have had many lifetimes together. Their purpose is to help each other grow, evolve, and process karma. Soul mates play many different types of roles such as siblings, parents, children, best friends, co-workers, teachers, and romantic partners. Soul mates feel a deep connection through friendship, love, intimacy, and sexuality or they feel intense resistance, loathing, and even hate. A soul can have many soulmates in a lifetime. Soul mate relationships can be brief or they can last for an entire lifetime.

Twin Flames – If is a popular belief that when souls were first created and began their incarnations on Earth, they were split in two, creating the twin flame or twin soul phenomenon. In addition, many believe they were split by binary gender (male and female). This leads many people to believe that they must find their “other half” and be reunited in order to become whole. I, personally, do not support this concept, mainly because it fosters the belief that our souls are not good enough by themselves, that they are incomplete. Sri Ram Kaa & Kira Raa, through communication with Archangel Zadkiel, define 4 different soul groups which supports the belief that twin flames exist for some but not all souls:

  1. Union Souls: These souls were birthed as one but split in half when Atlantis deconstructed. They are seeking to reunify with their other half (twin flame). Union souls experience many marriages over multiple lifetimes.
  2. Omni Souls: These souls were birthed as one and have never split. They feel complete without a partner. Omni souls experience temporary relationships.
  3. Dual Souls: These souls were birthed as one complete soul but have another counterpart (twin soul). They are whole as individuals yet find greater connection with their counterpart. Dual souls, while looking for their twin, can find earthly fulfillment without their counterpart.
  4. Multi-expressional Souls: These souls were birthed as one soul but have the ability and desire to express in many ways. Multi-expressional souls often practice polyamory and may find it difficult to stay in a committed relationship.

Parallel Souls – Parallel souls, also known as parallel lives, is one soul that is living multiple lives in the 3rd dimension simultaneously. Technically all lives are happening concurrently because in other dimensions, there is no time-space continuum. Time is not linear, it is a frequency. So past, present, and future lives are all happening at once but at different frequencies. A parallel life is two or more lives happening concurrently at the same frequency.

Soul Transfers (Walk-ins) – In this process, a new soul merges into an existing incarnated body and the original soul leaves. This is always done with agreement between the incoming and outgoing souls. The human self may not be aware of this transfer because the agreements are made on the soul level and the incoming soul assumes the memory of the outgoing soul. In addition, the incoming soul agrees to take on the karmic responsibilities of that body’s life. The incoming soul is usually more evolved than the outgoing soul. Many times the soul exchange takes place during a traumatic situation. The advantage to the incoming soul is that they can activate their mission right away instead of waiting for the physical body to grow through infancy and childhood.

Soul Braiding (Walk-alongs) – In this process, a new soul merges into an existing incarnated body but the original soul does not leave. This is usually a short term or temporary situation. There are different reasons why a soul may want to “borrow” an existing body such as they may never have been on Earth before and want to test it out or they may come in with special abilities in order to carry out a particular mission.

Soul Entities – These disembodied souls have crossed over through the death process but remain in the 4th dimension (the astral plane). This happens if the soul is not ready or willing to “pass through the Light” to the 5th dimension. Instead, they desire to live vicariously through a body that is still incarnated so they attach to a physical/energy body of an incarnated soul. Disembodied souls that become entities can be divided into two categories: the “lost” (souls may not realize they have passed or feel they have left the physical plane with unfulfilled agendas) and the “fallen” (souls that have less than desirable intentions when attaching to an incarnated soul). A host is an incarnated individual who voluntarily shares their body with other souls while retaining their own consciousness and sense of self.

Starseeds – These are beings from other planets, star systems, or galaxies. The motivations for starseeds to come to earth are usually to help Earth’s evolutionary transformation. Starseeds have an awareness of galactic consciousness. New starseeds have had few or no previous lifetimes on earth and may have a difficult time adjusting to Earth’s environment. Typical starseeds may have lived 5-50 life times on Earth but retain some of their extraterrestrial abilities. Old soul starseeds have had hundreds of life times on Earth. They are often spiritual teachers, shamans, prophets, light workers, healers, and leaders. Technically speaking, all humans are probably starseeds if their lineage is followed all the way to Source.

 We have calcium in our bones,
iron in our veins, carbon in our souls.
and nitrogen in our brains.
93% stardust, with souls made of flames,
we are all just stars that have people names.
–Nikita Gill

Wanderers – These beings are souls from other planets or dimensions, who come to Earth with a specific mission. Often this mission is helping prepare humanity for coming changes. After completion of the mission, they return “home”. Technically speaking, all souls are Wanderers because they experience many realities simultaneously. A soul’s ultimate “home” is the return to higher consciousness as sparks of light and the eventual reunion with the Source of All That Is.

Our Soul Relationships:

Soul Relationships

Copyright © 2016 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

The Tale of Two Feathers


2 Feathers

Once there was a Chameleon that had forgotten it could shapeshift into human form. Chameleon had forgotten it had already had many previous lives as a male and a female human. You see, Chameleon was quite sensitive and easily intimidated by the world so it spent its days being invisible by blending into its surroundings. It had a safe cave it stayed in quite a lot.

One day, as Chameleon was peacefully dozing in its cave, a Spirit appeared. Chamelon asks “Who are you?” The Spirit replies “I am The Reincarnationist.” Chameleon asks “Why are you here?” The Reincarnationist replies “I am here to bestow the Power on you. You already have the gift of Sensitivity so that will balance with Power to keep your Ego in check.” Chameleon asks “But why are you giving me the Power and the Gift?” The Reincarnationist replies “It is now time for you to shapeshift into a human. Only this time you will be both male and female in one lifetime. You will learn to embody the masculine and feminine by blending both into one identity.” Chameleon asks “But how will this happen?”

The Reincarnationist then gives Chameleon the following directions: “Lie under the light of the next full moon to absorb the feminine energies and dream your body into being.” Chameleon follows this direction and lies under the light of Grandmother Moon. Its body morphs into a human female body with fully developed female genitalia.
The next day in the cave, The Reincarnationist looks at Chameleon’s body and nods with approval. Now he says “Tomorrow lie under Father Sun to balance Grandmother Moon’s energies.” So the next day, Chameleon once again follows the Reincarnationist’s directions. Her now female body begins another transformation, this time adding male characteristics and fully developed male genitalia alongside the female genitalia.
The next day back in the cave, The Reincarnationist nods approval again. He tells Chameleon “Tonight lie under the stars.” And so, Chameleon does lie under the stars and as s/he does, Brother/Sister Star Dust falls on him/her and activates his/her Androgyny. Now his/her emotions, thoughts, and entire being is balanced perfectly with masculine and feminine energies.

The next day The Reincarnationist is ecstatic with his creation, however, he gives Chameleon one last set of instructions. He says “Lie under the sky today once again.” So as Chameleon lies beneath the sky, soaking up the healing energy of Mother Earth and the healing rays of Father Sun, a rainbow appears and shines its colors down upon him/her illuminating his/her body, chakras, and heart.

The next day The Reincarnationist says “Your physical body is made of Mother Earth and your energy body is illuminated by Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, Brother/Sister Stars, and the Rainbow. It is now time to leave your cave and venture into the World. It will be a great journey that you travel as you share the light that has energized your body with others. Now you no longer need to hide by blending into your surroundings. You will be visible so that you can guide others to the light. Once in a while you may feel a need to return to the cave to rejuvenate but it will be a temporary respite and you will return to the World refreshed and ready to serve. I have one additional gift for you. That gift is your new name.” And with that, The Reincarnationist blew the name “Two Feathers” into Chameleon’s body. “From now on you will be known by the name ‘Two Feathers’.”

Copyright © 2014 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

Medicine Carriers



Med Carrier 3

Medicine is derived from the Latin ars medicina, meaning the art of healing. When the term “medicine” is mentioned, many are triggered to think about our Western medical profession. Western medicine includes the science and art of diagnosing, treating, curing, and preventing disease, relieving pain, and improving health. A large part of the practice includes medicine that medicates the patient, also known as drug therapy.

However, there is another perception of “medicine” that originates from Native American culture. From this perspective, medicine is any object, spell, rite, or anything at all, really, that has natural or supernatural powers as a remedy, preventive, or protection. This form of traditional medicine (aka indigenous, folk, complimentary, or alternative medicine) comprises knowledge about plant, animal, and mineral-based medicines, spiritual therapies, and manual techniques that have been developed over many generations.

According to Native American beliefs, medicine is an inner power that is found in both Nature and all individuals. Annie Spencer defines Native American medicine as “a state of being in harmony and balance with ourselves, the world, and with Spirit.”

Medicine is not just a pill that can be taken to treat symptoms, but it refers to anything that promotes goodness or healing. Common medicine can include plants, healing techniques, teachings, and spirituality.

The simplest definition of medicine, then, is anything that is good for you.

Native Americans also call the individuals who provide this medicine as “medicine men”. Their role is similar to that of shamans. However “shaman” is a term that is from Siberian/Mongolian indigenous culture while “medicine man” is unique to North American indigenous culture.

Sadly “medicine man” is a term that excludes more than half the population. There are very powerful “medicine women”, too. And there are also Two Spirits or Third Gender individuals who quite often had been the “medicine people” of the tribe. So the term “medicine man” is just too narrowly defining and perpetuates a non-existent belief of a binary gender system.

I propose changing the terms to “medicine carrier”. Quechuan is the language of the indigenous people of the high Andes of Peru from whom a lot of my spiritual study has been with and about. The Quechuan term for medicine carrier is “collawaya”.

A “healer” does not heal. If a healer tells you that they can, then they are speaking from Ego. Every individual soul heals itself. Our souls are our one true healer. Our Higher Self has all the knowledge and resources needed to heal the physical body for its Highest Good.

As Karen Paolino Correia, a hypnotherapist says, the soul knows the root cause for healing and one of the ways this information can be accessed is through hypnotherapy techniques. She says, “It’s important to understand that the soul knows everything about your client; past, present and future and the soul will always guide with unconditional love, protecting and guiding your client to their highest and best outcome.”

It is the function of a medicine carrier to carry the medicine to the client. In Reiki, the practitioner is a conduit through which universal energy is passed to the client. In shamanism, the practitioner is called a “hollow bone”. It is not the practitioner that is healing the client, but the practitioner’s healing spirits work through the practitioner to assist the client’s healing.

Medicine carriers have many different tools in their individual medicine bags. Someone who is searching for assistance should research the available options and then choose the tools that most resonate or feel right. It is not uncommon to pursue many different options over the course of a lifetime because each alternative addresses specific issues. We are “holistic” individuals therefore we should treat ourselves with “holistic” solutions.

Med Carrier 2

Western medicine has made incredible advances in healing the physical body but they only look at a portion of the entire picture of the human being. They routinely exclude the energy body and all spiritual aspects of the soul since these are not something that can be “proven” in a lab setting. Eastern medicine is very balanced in its approach to healing including not only treatment of the physical body but focusing largely on the energy body.

I know when I am in pain, I want to have my entire being treated, including body, mind, and soul. I don’t just want the symptoms treated but I want to understand the core cause of my suffering because it’s a soul lesson. So I will go to my Western medical doctor but I will also seek out assistance from medicine carriers.

There are a few questions you can ask to determine if a form of medicine is good for you. For instance, “does it grow corn?” This question is rooted in Native American philosophy. It means that if what you are doing isn’t making your life and the lives of others around you better, then why do it? “Corn” is an English word that means “ears of growth”. Corn is a symbol of sustenance and survival.

So ask yourself when you are about to take some medicine, “does it grow corn?” Will it provide healthy growth? Will it contribute in a positive way? Will it provide results that support your Highest Good? If the answer is “yes”, it is good medicine. If the answer is “no”, leave it alone.

Sometimes, when emotion and ego interfere with receiving authentic answers, we need to step back and get a bigger picture of the situation. Distancing ourselves emotionally can provide more clarity. Other techniques to aid in providing an answer to “is it good medicine” is to do muscle testing or use a pendulum. These techniques make it easier to tap into our unconscious which really holds all of the drivers of our behavior.

Lastly, when we experience those times when we feel lousy, when something hasn’t gone the way we wanted, or we feel something “bad” has happened to us, if we tell ourselves that it was just “good medicine”, then we can accept the experience as necessary for our soul’s growth and heal on… This also helps us move from victim mode to a place of self-empowerment.

Med Carrier 1

The symbol associated with Western medicine is the rod of Asclepius, the image of a single snake wrapped around a staff. Asclepius is a Greed deity associated with healing and medicine.

The incorrect symbol often used to represent Western medicine is the Cauceus, which is the staff of Hermes. It was carried by the Roman deity, Mercury, the messenger of the gods and guide of the dead. The staff of Hermes has two snakes and a pair of wings.

Med Carrier 4

Snakes are a predominant archetype associated with healing and energy movement. In the Andean energy medicine tradition, the healer uses the archetype of sachamama, the snake, to track energetic blocks and dis-ease in the physical body.

In Ayurvedic medicine there are snake-like energy pathways called nadi. Two of these are the pingala and ida, which flow along the spinal column. A third major nadi, the kundalini, sits at the base of the spine like a coiled snake, until it is stimulated through tantra or yoga to rise up the spinal column.

Snakes, then, are also medicine carriers in many cultures.

Med Carrier 5

Copyright © 2015 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

The Wheel: An Online Shamanic Apprentice Program


These days we all are very busy in our personal lives and perhaps a bit reluctant to leave our home. And we have an amazing tool at home with which to connect without leaving home. This is the Internet.

I have gotten numerous requests for shamanic training from individuals spread around the country. Most are not able to travel to me and it would not be economical for me to travel to each one of them. So I began offering many subjects from my Soul School: A Shamanic Mystery School as an online apprentice program.
The best aspect of an apprenticeship is that it is designed especially for you and you alone. So we cover the topics that you are interested in and skip the ones you already know or have no interest in.

The goal of this apprenticeship is to spend 1-2 hours on Skype every 1-2 weeks. Then we may formulate some homework such as doing a ritual.

It will be optimal but not required to eventually meet in person to complete experiential work that cannot be done over Skype.

The only thing we can take with us out of this lifetime is the knowledge and wisdom that our soul acquires. So any gain we make in knowing ourselves will stay with us. There are two rules of the road when you are traveling on a journey of personal transformation:

Can you answer this series of questions associated with self-knowledge? Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? What is my life’s purpose? What are my gifts?

By knowing the answers to these questions, you become self-empowered. A self-empowered individual can manifest their dreams into being. Each one of us is a prize from the Universe to our Self and from our Self to the Universe. Each one of us has a unique gift to give.

What we see when we look in the mirror is what the world reflects back to us. We get what we believe we deserve. The more we love ourselves the more of our dreams we can manifest. When we believe we are not good enough or deserve what we want, we block the flow of abundance, prosperity, and love.

You may feel that you are blocked or stuck and unable to manifest your dreams. There are obstacles such as past contracts and vows, pre-life selection beliefs, past defeats and traumas that can be moved out of the way. Learning shamanic techniques will give you the tools to get your energy flowing freely.


Following is a list of subjects that are available in the Online Shamanic Apprentice Program:

____ Shamanism & the Medicine Wheel
____ Shamanic Journeys: The 3 Worlds, OR & NOR
____ Power Animal Retrieval
____ Dancing Your Power Animal
____ Shamanic Tools: Drum & Rattle
____ Skeleton Dance
____ Smudging
____ Opening & Closing Sacred Space
____ Power Song & Passing Power
____ Entities & Protection
____ Entity Extraction – Crystalized and Fluid
____ Soul Retrieval
____ Psychopomp Work: Eulogy & Soul Flight
____ Working with Nature Spirits – Plant Spirit Guide
____ Ethical & Legal Issues for Shamanic Practitioners

____ The Q’ero
____ Q’ero Cosmology by the Numbers
____ Inka Archetypes
____ Tracking with Archetypes
____ The Mesa
____ The Khuyas
____ The Chumpis
____ Munay Ki
____ Build a Mesa: Inform Stones 1-12
____ Mesa Divination
____ Mesa Manifestation & Tawantinsuyu Cosmology
____ Mesa Huaca
____ Apu Calling and Energy Field Clearing
____ Qosqo & Poq’po Exercise – Hucha Mikuy

____ Energy Medicine: The Energy Body & The Physical Body
____ Energy Systems & Exercises
____ Grounding & Running Energy
____ Cutting Cords
____ Body Stories
____ Meridian Tapping
____ Aikido – Breath & Ha! Exercise

____ Components That Make Up Who We Are
____ Levels of Beliefs
____ Ways of Perceiving & Projecting
____ The Sensory System
____ Muscle Testing
____ Using Pendulums
____ Crystal Gridding
____ Soul Stages & Levels
____ Vibration Scale of Consciousness
____ Time Frequencies
____ Ascension
____ Lightworkers & Light Beings
____ Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening
____ DNA Activation
____ Divination Techniques
____ Reincarnation & Journey to the Afterlife
____ Two Spirits & Gender Energy Quotient
____ Structural Clearing & Blessing
____ Magical Names (Bean Naming Ceremony)
____ Spiritual Bypass & Spiritual Arrogance
____ Ecstatic Postures & Mudras

____ Despacho
____ Fire Ceremony

____ Chakras & Auras – Repairing & Healing
____ Soul Clearing Techniques
____ Sandpainting

____ Spirit Traps
____ Mojo Bags
____ Corn Husk Dolls
____ Candle Dressing
____ Prayer Stick
____ Medicine Bag
____ Prayer Ties

____ Anointing
____ Letter of Manifestation
____ Creating Core Statements
____ Forgiveness Exercises
____ Vows & Contracts
____ Journal Quest
____ Self-Referencing Exercise
____ Role Exercise
____ Tarot Exercise

Copyright © 2015 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.

Journal Quest



A vision quest is a Native American rite of passage, similar to an initiation. In traditional the Lakota culture, Hanblecheyapi (crying for a vision) is one of seven sacred rites. A vision quest is a journey alone into the wilderness to seek personal growth and spiritual guidance from Great Spirit. The seeker finds a special place and sits in a rectangle, approximately 4-6’ wide and 6-8’ long. Usually the seeker brings nothing with them except water and a blanket. A usual vision quest lasts 4 days within this rectangle. The isolation in nature and the associated hunger is designed to trigger a vision or a message from Great Spirit. Visions from a quest can guide an individual for a lifetime.

Vision quest is a time of transition, a death or ending of something old, and a passage to new beginnings. In that respect, preparation for quest is a psychological grieving process. Thus vision quest is done with great sacredness.
Anthropologists have identified three universal stages of vision quest:

1. Severance (Departure) – Severance begins as soon as you answer the call to quest. You prepare to die to an old life as the unknown awaits you. To prepare emotionally, you must be willing to separate, detach, and let go of the old.

2. Threshold (Trial/Initiation/Transformation) – This is the time of aloneness, hunger, exposure and the trials that test your spirit and your purpose. Threshold is entering into sacred space, ritual and ceremony, and being with Great Spirit, one on one. You must empty out that which no longer serves you before you can be filled with something new. You awaken to a new way of seeing.

3. Incorporation (Return) – A quest never really ends because the vision is brought back to make your life better and to create changes for you and your people.

The goals and purposes of a vision quest include:

1. Gaining power and clarity through self-discovery of life goals and purposes.

2. Healing emotions, relationships, and illness.

3. Receiving a vision or message that will spiritual helps your soul.

4. Develops self-confidence by surviving in the wilderness and your fears alone.

5. Strengthens connections to your higher self, spirit guides, nature, Great Spirit, and Mother Earth.

6. Taps directly into your own source of wisdom assistance from books, churches, or teachers.

7. Fosters a greater appreciation of life after the temporary deprival of material comforts.

Vision quest is not only a Native American tradition. A very famous vision quest was done by Usui Mikao, a Japanese doctor. During his 21 day fast on Mount Kurama, he received the wisdom of Reiki.

In Buddhism, a peaceful warrior is defined as one who is willing to know oneself and willing to face one’s fears. This is the intent of vision quest in a nutshell. Change your perception, change your life.


In 2008, I did a vision quest at Mount Shasta, spending 4 days and 3 nights in a small square encircled by 808 prayer ties. Preparation and execution of vision quest is quite rigorous. A seeker sits in sweat lodge before entering the sacred space and sits in sweat lodge again when returning and before breaking fast. It is a very powerful experience. However, not all are able or willing to undertake this intense journey.

I believe that there are other roads that can be traveled to obtain the same results. For one, someone might consider camping out in their back yard for several days. Another way is to take a shamanic transformation class most commonly marketed as “going around the medicine wheel”.

I combined the intent of self-discovery with the art of journaling to create a “journal quest”. The journal becomes a record of your journey of self-discovery and revelation. By examining the deepest, darkest recesses of your soul and bringing your secrets into the light, a transformation of vision occurs. I have prepared a series of questions designed to prompt a self-examination. My integration stage includes a ritual to anchor your vision in the material world.

The benefits of journal quest is that it is done at home, in your own time, and at your own pace.

I expanded the three stages of vision quest (Severance, Threshold, and Return) to four, so that the model represents the four directions, hence a medicine wheel of transformation. The four stages are:

1. Initiation – South Direction. Know Yourself.
2. Foundation – West Direction. Love Yourself.
3. Transformation – North Direction. Be Yourself.
4. Integration – East Direction. Share Yourself.


The only materials required for journal quest are a journal and pens. However, additional items that support the journey are music that entrains the brain or shamanic journey drumming or rattling tracks that facilitate dropping into a beta brainwave state that facilitates deeper meditation.

Journal quest can be customized to your style and needs. Associated activities might include:

1. Creating a vision altar placing items that represent your intent for this journey. Perhaps finding a vision stone in nature, lighting a candle, placing cornmeal, sage, tobacco, flowers, herbs, crystals, and/or prayer ties as offerings.

2. Creating a vision stick decorating it with feathers and other natural items. Focus on the intent of your journey as you create the stick.

3. Creating a small sacred circle with rocks or crystals to sit in just as you would on a vision quest.

4. Taking an Epsom salt/herb bath before and after the journey. (This is a substitute for sweat lodge.)

5. Opening sacred space.

6. Saying a prayer requesting clear vision or messages. (see below)

7. Doing your journey in isolation, perhaps taking a day or two from your schedule to do nothing but focus on your journey.

8. Fasting during this time to intensify your experience is also an option.

9. Do some drumming, rattling, singing, chanting, or dancing.

10. Fire ceremony to conclude the quest, burning petition papers so that your prayers and intentions are taken on the smoke to the spirit world to be manifested.

While journaling, sit, meditate, breathe, be, think, watch, listen, feel, surrender, be in the present moment with no judgment, expectations, or goals.

I offer the questions and mentoring support for your journal quest. If you are interested, please contact me.


Heya, Great Spirit, Ancestors, and Spirit Guides. I feel you here with me, showing me the way and sharing your wisdom. I open my heart, mind, and soul to your spirit voices. Open the doors of opportunity as I am ready to step through them. Let me meet my guides and be shown a vision to help me as I travel my path and live my purpose in this lifetime. Protect me from my fears and any harm that might come to me. I have so much love and gratitude for all my spirit guides and teachers who help my Highest Good. Thank you, Great Spirit, for the clear vision that I will have. Let my love and gratitude float on the four winds to the corners of the Universe. Aho!


When you begin to feel you are a spiritual being which, in fact, you are, you begin to activate the medicine wheel in your life. –Tony Ten Fingers


Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. –Joel Barker

Vision is not forecasting the future. Nor is it walking around with your head in the clouds or peering into crystal balls. It is a creative act. It is creating the future by taking action in the present. –Jim Collins

What I hear is valueless; only what I see is living and when I close my eyes my vision is even more powerful. –Giorgio de Chirico

I started concentrating so hard on my vision that I lost sight. –Robin Green

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. –Carl Jung

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible. –Jonathan Swift

The nature of the cosmos is such that whatever vision you have about yourself and the world will become reality. Whether we realize it or not, we are all dreaming the world into being. When we’re unaware that we share the power to co-create reality with the universe itself that power slips away from us, causing our dream to become a nightmare. –Alberto Villoldo

Vision does not truly exist because it is ever changing. The vision is really the journey. And your journey is now. –Stalking Wolf


Writing makes a map and there is something about a journey that begs to have its passage marked. –Christina Baldwin

Journal writing is a voyage to the interior. –Christina Baldwin

You are conversing with someone much wiser and saner as you write: your authentic self. –Sarah Ban Breathnach

To have some account of my thoughts, manners, acquaintance and actions, when the hour arrives in which time is more nimble than memory, is the reason which induces me to keep a journal: a journal in which I must confess my every thought, must open my whole heart! –Frances Burney

Writing is medicine. It is an antidote to injury. It is a companion for any difficult change. –Julia Cameron

Writing is a means of prayer. It connects us to the invisible world. It gives us a gate or a conduit for the other world to talk to us whether we call it the subconscious, the unconscious, the superconscious, the imagination, or the muse. Writing is a spiritual housekeeper. –Julia Cameron

Writing is a spiritual tool. We undertake it solo (soul-o). Moving alone onto the page, we often find ourselves companioned by higher forces, by a stream of insights and inspirations that seem somehow other than our routine thinking. –Julia Cameron

Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Your words are the greatest power you have. The words you choose and use establish the life you experience. –Sonia Choquette

The soul lies buried in the ink that writes. –John Clare

The palest ink is better than the best memory. –Confucius

We do not write in order to be understood. We write in order to understand. –Cecil Day-Lewis

A journal is a book that is entirely yours. It not only belongs to you, it is you… the best you, the worst you. –Charlene Geiss & Claudia Jessup

When we write from experience we harvest our lives. –Bonni Goldberg

Journaling connects me with my inner self; it’s like a safe harbor for expression and privacy. –Sondra Holtzman

Every person is a book yearning to be written. Journaling your life will give you the edge to rediscover yourself through the creative power of your journal or diary. –Journaling Your Life

Every minute of our lives is so precious. By documenting those moments, journals can give us wonderful glimpses into our souls, hearts, and minds. –Kelly TM Kilmer

Telling a true story about personal experience is not just a matter of being oneself or even finding oneself, it is also a matter of choosing oneself. –Harriet Goldhor Lerner

For $10 a journal you can be your own self-analyst. It’s the cheapest therapy a person can do. –Janice Lowry

I will write myself into well-being. –Nancy Mair

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. –Anais Nin

Leave self-consciousness at the gate. A journal’s destination is itself. –Jean Francois Podevin

Live life then write it. –Dan Price

Once you begin to keep a journal, the entire world and everything in it instantly becomes material to be observed, written about, drawn, photographed, or collected in some manner. –Dan Price

Seems like most of the good journal keepers are collectors. They have a passion for noticing and gathering all those things of value to them. Collectors of life you might say. When you decide to look at the world in this new way, life become an adventure, because you are always on a treasure hunt, saving things. –Dan Price

A journal is like pages from your soul. A journal is an interior journey. –Sark

Your Journal … It’s not just a book. It is a part of you; a place you can share your innermost thoughts, feelings and reflections. Your Journal is the repository of your experiences. It becomes a guide, a mirror … a confidant and friend. It is important to have a journal that is a statement of who you are. –Gerry Starnes



The Sacred Journey: A Quest for Vision – Carol Hannagan
Quest: A Guide for Creating Your Own Quest – Denise Linn
Book of Vision Quest – Stephen Foster & Meredith Little
The Trail to the Sacred Mountain: A Vision Fast Handbook for Adults – Steven Foster & Meredith Little
Vision Quest – Wolf Moondance


Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth – Open the Door to Self-Understanding by Writing, Reading, and Creating a Journal of Your Life – Kathleen Adams
Keeping a Journal You Love – Sheila Bender
The Artful Journal: A Spiritual Quest – Maureen Carey & Raymond Fox
Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within – Janet Conner
Journalution: Journaling to Awaken Your Inner Voice, Heal Your Life and Manifest Your Dreams – Sandy Grason
Writing Begins with the Breath: Embodying Your Authentic Voice – Laraine Herring
Spiritual Journaling: Writing Your Way to Independence – Julie Tallard Johnson
Complete Idiot’s Guide to Journaling – Joan Neubauer
Journaling Basics: Journal Writing for Beginners – Lisa Shea

Copyright © 2015 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged.