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Red Eft, Spiritual Nomad

red eft eastern newt on the ground under leavesThe red eft appeared from under some leaves and walked slowly down the hill towards the woods, seemingly oblivious to my presence. I shifted my gaze from the sapling that had been my meditation focal point to watch the eft. The bright red salamander stood out against the leaf litter, but the squirrels and chipmunks paid him no mind. By the time my meditation practice was complete, there was no longer any sign of him. He had disappeared under the leaves again.

The red eft is the juvenile stage of the eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens), an amphibian abundant in most of eastern North America. The eastern newt begins life as an aquatic, brownish green larva. After about three months, the larva sheds his gills, transforms into a bright orange sub-adult with darker red spots, and leaves the water. The red eft is a terrestrial traveler.

The day before I watched the red eft had been the closing of my first year of the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary program. During that day, we had each been asked to speak about our experience during the year. Still struggling to define my spirituality in a coherent way despite a year of study, I described myself as a spiritual nomad.

As spiritual practices go, wandering is not all that uncommon. Jesus wandered in the desert. Before enlightenment, Buddha wandered from place to place. There are countless examples of pilgrims and transients among followers of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions. In Shamanic Reiki, we are encouraged to aimlessly wander out on the land with an open heart and without an agenda, to connect with nature.

And yet I was embarrassed to admit I was still wandering through my spiritual life while I was supposed to be learning to minister to others. I wondered what my classmates and the deans and teachers thought of my wishy-washy approach to spiritual matters. Would I be judged “not good enough” next year?

That question was on my mind as the red eft came into sight and it did not take long to realize the significance of his appearance. This small being was not afraid to be bright and bold, and he embraced the nomad life. The eft may wander for two or three years until he figures out where he belongs and walks back into the water, where he will transform again into an aquatic adult eastern newt. He has to be sure he is in the right place, because he will call it home for the next decade. It is no wonder he sees all that he can before deciding.

As for me, I guess I will remain an eft as well, and figure out how to shine as a spiritual nomad.

You can wander with me when you follow my podcast. Subscribe in your favorite podcatcher or find past episodes here.

Podcast Ep 61: Forest Meditation to Meet an Animal Spirit

Follow this episode’s guided meditation into the forest and meet an animal nature spirit. What question is most heavy on your heart? Take it into the forest with you. The meditation was inspired by the Golden Egg card from The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck by Kim Krans. (The Yoga Nidra recording I mention is episode SF06 from August 2018. Time is tricky.)

Turtle rehabilitation season is coming. Now is the time to become a Patreon sponsor and contribute towards needed equipment and supplies for Dancing Turtle Rescue and Rehab, the wild turtle rehabilitation clinic in a bus. The turtles and I thank you!

Registration is open for a limited number of complementary Break Open calls. Book an hour to share your vision for your life and the world and what is preventing you from stepping into a leadership role and manifesting that vision.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways you can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook, leave a comment, and sign up for the newsletter.

Much love and gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music. Blair is also an outstanding webmaster and makes sure I can share these episodes with you. Thank you, Blair!

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Podcast Ep 58: You Are Your Body

Happy Valentine’s Day! You are the heart of this podcast, dear listener, and you are loved and appreciated. When Cobra uncurled from Kim Krans’ The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck to inspire this episode, I was drawn to the energy of the inner teacher. Have you been looking outside yourself for spiritual guidance? Really love yourself and open to your body as teacher. Drop the separateness. You are your body! The short yoga practice gives you opportunities to explore.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways you can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook, leave a comment, and sign up for the newsletter. Become a Patreon sponsor and contribute needed equipment and supplies for Dancing Turtle Rescue and Rehab, the wild turtle rehabilitation clinic in a bus.

Much love and gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music. Blair is also an outstanding webmaster and makes sure I can share these episodes with you. Thank you, Blair!

Big thanks to Michael Kleinsasser from Pixabay for the episode image.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Animal Spirits – totems for heart chakra work

The heart chakra, Anahata, spins with the energy of love, joy, and harmony. If your heart chakra is feeling out of balance, by journeying to one of these animal spirits you can gain insight and guidance to make your heart happy.

hummingbird in flight

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

The joyful nature of Hummingbird invites you to find your own inner happiness. In Hummingbird’s quest for the sweetest of experiences, he playfully spreads joy and love. Hummingbird is linked to the healing power of plants, and reminds you there is powerful beauty everywhere.

 

Deer in tall grass

Image by Lubos Houska from Pixabay

Gentle, peaceful Deer epitomizes the energy of the heart chakra. Anahata, which means “unstruck,” is pure love, untarnished and untraumatized by any worldly goings on. Like an innocent child, Deer is offers only unconditional love, without judgement or condemnation. Call on Deer to learn to be sensitive, compassionate, and, at times, courageous. (“Courage,” after all, comes from the Latin word for “heart.”)

 

Dove on a cherry tree


Image by Susann Mielke from Pixabay

Long a symbol of peace and love, Dove flies in when your heart needs healing. Dove’s qualities are diplomacy and gentleness. Dove soothes grief, the wound of this chakra. Dove also symbolizes faith, and her energy can be accessed through Bhakti Yoga, the practice of joyful devotion.

 

Antelope in the wild

Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

Antelope is associated with Anahata in yoga philosophical symbology. While the horns suggest the rising of spiritual consciousness, the soft eyes remind you to be guided by compassion. Antelope brings empathy, grace, and atonement to your heart chakra work. He invites you to free yourself from your emotional blocks, and comes with the message that you are loved.

Animal Spirits – totems for solar plexus chakra work

Exploring the Chakra system side-by-side with shamanic journey work reveals animal helping spirits for each of the energy centers. The third Chakra, Manipura, which means “lustrous gem,” is your personal power and transformation center. In your solar plexus, located between your naval and your sternum, the fire element lights up your sense of self-worth. The animal spirits that visit to help you work with this Chakra are confident, unflappable, and at the top of the food chain.

 

Tiger roaring

Image by TeeFarm from Pixabay

Tiger always comes to mind when I think of the third Chakra. The big cats embody the energy of this Chakra as they stalk their prey, never doubting the power they are projecting and their ability to take action. Action is the theme of solar plexus Chakra work. No transformation will happen in your life unless you are ready to pounce. Call on the spirit of tiger to show you how to move assuredly.

 

The radiant yellow sun is a symbol of the third Chakra, and lion’s mane reminds me of the sun’s rays. Like tiger, lions are dominant, confident hunters, especially the females. Unlike solitary tigers, lions form prides and hunt cooperatively, so lion is an excellent totem to work with when exploring power dynamics and your role within teams or communities.

 

Orange corn snake

Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay

A snake’s shed invokes the transformative power of Manipura. When its outgrown skin no longer serves, snake leaves it behind. Thus snake has become a symbol of death and rebirth as part of a spiralling cycle of transformation. Surviving the bite of a venomous snake – being able to transmute the toxin in the body – was an initiation into shamanism in some indigenous cultures in the Americas. In dreams and journeys, a snake bite might be nudging you to let go of an old way of being so you can be reborn.

 

If you have ever witnessed a duel between rams, butting heads until one is dominant, you can understand why the Hindus chose ram to symbolize the third Chakra. Rams represent great force and power. Consider “battering rams” used to break down doors and castle gates. If the spirit of ram comes to help you with your solar plexus Chakra work, consider your own power struggles and where you might need to stand up for yourself. Rams also trust their ability to land safely as they leap from one tiny foothold to another. Do you trust yourself enough to take a risky leap? Ask the spirit of ram to show you how.

Podcast Ep 49: Working With Ego Fear in Yin Dragon

Raccoon from The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck by Kim Krans challenged you to ask, “Am I ready to grow into something more?” You ARE ready – that’s why you are here – and you are invited to join me for 5 Solid Steps to Get Real and Change the World on Thursday, December 12th at 8:00pmEST. Grab your complementary pass here. Then unroll your mat, grab a bolster, block, or folded blanket, and move into Yin Yoga’s dragon pose to open your creative energy center and awaken your core will.

We’re making the Winter Solstice magical in our Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook beginning December 12th. Join and participate in ten fun activities leading up to the Winter Solstice on December 21st.

There you can also chat about this episode or learn more about yoga poses like dragon, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth. Please consider becoming a Patreon sponsor and help me purchase needed equipment and supplies for Dancing Turtle Rescue and Rehab, my wild turtle rehabilitation clinic.

Much gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Animal spirits: totems for sacral chakra work

A couple of months ago I started a new exploration of the Chakra system by linking chakra energy into the interconnected web of life through the spirits of animals who embody that energy. Now that I am pretty grounded in Muladhara’s energy, I’ve begun to look at the second chakra.

Svadhishthana is the center of watery, flowing movement and creation. The animals that share the energy of the sacral chakra have a relationship with water and the creative process.

nile-crocodile_643_600x450The crocodile governs the second chakra. He easily transitions from water to land and back again, but it is in the water that this chakra’s work happens. Crocodile goes deep into the emotional world, then resurfaces with new creativity.

 

dolphin-kristian-sekulic-ispWith playful grace, the dolphin embodies freedom. Although living fully in the water, dolphins must surface to breathe air like a land mammal, representative of the duality of nature. It time they surface is a renewal of sorts. Dolphins seem to have an intuitive understanding of and a feminine friendliness towards us humans.

green_frogThe life-cycle of a frog has made it a symbol of transformation across many cultures. In Native American traditions, frog medicine is cleansing and healing, and associated with life-bringing rain. Frog’s cleansing takes place on the emotional level, where true healing begins.

 

beaverThe busy beaver is the builder of dreams. Ever creative, the beaver works hard to manifest all it desires. Yet there is a sense of balance with beavers. They work when it is time to work, eat when it is time to eat, and play when it is time to play. Beavers have strong family relationships and often work as a team. In the group, each is honored for its contribution to the whole, bringing beaver close to the source of oneness – the original creative energy of existence. Beavers’ work transforms their environment in a harmonious way, so each place they leave behind is reborn in their wake.

Animal spirits: totems for root chakra work

I am a Chakra junkie. I love exploring the energy of the Chakra system, and I am always looking for new ways to connect with and experience that energy. Lately I have been seeking to link chakra energy into the interconnected web of life by invoking the spirits of animals who embody that energy into my chakra work.

The first, or root, chakra – Muladhara – is the center of earthy, stable energy. The animals that bring that energy are solid and heavy, with one exception.

african_bush_elephant_big_animalDespite weighing 10,000 pounds, elephants walk softly on the earth. Nurturing elephants fare well in their often harsh natural environments, and demonstrate a strong commitment to their group’s protection and survival. As a symbol of safety and strength, elephants can be called on to support first chakra explorations. In addition, the gentle eyes of the huge elephant are full of ancient wisdom. The elephant is a worthwhile companion for your grounding practice.

highlandbOx represents strength, endurance, stamina, prosperity and productivity. These characteristics reflect the energy of the first chakra. Consider a pair of oxen as your guardians while you settle into a deep, rooting meditation.

 

bullThe bull is the Earth Lord, embodying abundance and contentment when calm. When running, the bull’s thundering hooves make the earth quake. Call on bull to bring power to a deficient first chakra.

 

shutterstock_mole.jpg.CROP.original-originalMole is neither heavy nor strong, yet offers a strong connection to the earth. Moles represent the ultimate in groundedness. Ask mole to teach you about eating right, an important first chakra lesson, by sharing her knowledge of herbs and roots.

To connect to the spirit of these first chakra animals, you can simply meditate on them or their qualities. You might also try imagining yourself in the body of the animal. What would it feel like to move like an elephant, an ox, a bull or a mole? You can also call on them as guardians during any root chakra work.

Can you think of any other animals with first chakra spirit?