About a month ago, Mala and I attended a pep talk for the benefit of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies at a beautiful home in Tiburon. Dr. Michael Harner was the featured presenter. I had met him in conjunction with the Institute for Health and Healing event in 2009, where he was honored with the Pioneering Award in Integrative Medicine. He is a lovely man with a warm heart and a peaceful spirit. He is the father of shamanic studies in the whole Western world. Trained as an anthropologist, he spent time in the rain forests of South America studying indigenous cultures and was soon trained in the practices of shamanism. His many books and public talks have made shamanism an acceptable form of integrative medicine.
Susan Mokelke, the foundation director, then spoke about current activities and showed two video clips. One had to do with South American shamans and the other with shamans in Nepalese or Tibetan extract. Then she offered to conduct an evening experience in the practices of shamanism sometime in April, and tonight was the night!
After a short introduction, we did a practice drumming followed by a traditional shamanic journey. We were given the instructions to lie down and cover our eyes to make the room as dark as possible. We were then to descend to the Ã¢â‚¬Å“lower worldÃ¢â‚¬Â through some chosen mechanism and greet an animal. From there, we should just observe or experience.
Susan kept the drum beat for 15 minutes. I started at the top of the stairs leading down to China Cove in Point Lobos State Reserve near Carmel, California. There are 101 steps leading to the beach, but I seemed to float down them at a remarkable pace. Once at the bottom of the stairs, I crossed the beach and slid under the green seaweed that always accumulates there. Within an instant, I was transported to the so-called lower world, where I found myself on a deck of a cabin located about half way down into a forest valley. I lay on the deck and a large bird Ã¢â‚¬â€œ either a raven or a hawk. Almost instantaneously after the bird arrived, it started pecking away at the polyps. Frequently, it would leave, possibly to feed little ones, but it continued to come back to peck away until the returning beats were sounded on the drum.
When I shared the experience with my partner in the journey I recognized the possibility that the bird, which also may have been a falcon, may have pecked away both polyps completely. This would not be the first time that I have seen masses disappear. When Micah was nine, he was rushed to the hospital with a stomach ache which turned out to appear to be a mass in his abdomen based on x-ray data. Mala and I rushed back to the hospital to be with him and the next pictures revealed no such mass. We were there to provide love and support and a whole lot more.