Blog post by Lauren Feldkamp
Some people use tarot cards or other methods of divination, others engage in ritual, and yet still some others choose to engage in the practice of shamanic journeying.
Shamanic journeying is based around the concept of astral projection, which supposes that under certain circumstances, the soul is capable of actually leaving the physical body and journeying.
This can take place in a dream or state of altered consciousness, such as can be brought about by the guidance of a shaman.
What is a Shaman?
Shamans are medicine men and women, people who are believed to have an established connection with the spiritual realm.
They can serve as a conduit between these realms and the world of everyday life, and are often able to travel back and forth between realms at will.
Through inducing trance or a dreamlike state, via drumming, chanting or other methods, these shamans are capable of leading others on a spiritual journey of their own, providing guidance and offering comfort.
There are other reasons one may want to engage in shamanic journeying, aside from simply wishing to establish a deeper connection with the spiritual.
It can also be a very useful tool in past-life regression, or for helping those with repressed memories and/or trauma finally begin to conquer any hold the past may have over them.
The following blog post is written by Lauren Feldkamp
What is my Spirit Animal?
Spirit animals, which are also sometimes referred to as totem animals or simply as familiars, are animals that help to provide us with guidance and protection.
These animals may appear in a concrete, tangible form, or they can be astral or ethereal as well, appearing to us in visions, dreams, during meditative practices, etc.
Spirit Animal Symbols
Spirit animals take on many different roles in our lives. Some attach themselves to a person, family or even an entire clan of individuals for many life times, while others are temporary, appearing in their power or when medicine is needed, or when they have a particular message to relay.
The concept of spirit animals comes from animistic belief systems (for example, Shamanism), which are characterized by a tendency to attribute human qualities to animals, or even inanimate objects like rocks, trees, rivers, etc.
Many cultures throughout history have revered animals as guardians, protectors, spiritual assistants and even embodiments of, or messengers from the Divine.
Different pantheons associate their Gods and Goddesses with spirit animals. Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, was accompanied by an owl, while the Norse God Odin, who received the Runes through a vision has two ravens which sit upon each shoulder.
The Egyptian Goddess of magic and sexuality, Bast, was represented as a cat, while the Welsh Moon Goddess Rhiannon rode atop of a white horse.
Animal spirit guides figured heavily into Native American belief systems as well.
Many tribes elected a totem animal for each family or clan, and as all animals were considered to be intrinsically connected to mankind, they were all held in sacred esteem.
Coyote was rumored to be a trickster God in disguise, while Spider Woman wove the web of all of creation and life.
How Do I Connect with My Spirit Animal?
1. Pay Attention
Oftentimes, your strongest tool in connecting with your spirit animal lies in strengthening your intuition.
Pay attention to any animals that might cross your path, especially if it happens multiple times. This doesn’t just mean physically encountering the real deal either, it can also come in the form of pictures, images on television, etc.
A good rule of thumb is that if a particular encounter with an animal seems significant to you, it probably is.
2. Record Your Dreams
Often times, we forget the vast majority of our dreams within a few seconds of waking up.
This is why it’s important to keep a pen and a few pieces of paper or even a formal dream journal near your bed, so you can record anything you remember as soon as your eyes open.
3. Participate in Meditation
Meditation allows your mind to enter a quiet realm where your spirit guide can easily connect with you.
We would love to hear your experience with spirit animals and how they changed your life!
Animal Medicine of the Great Blue Heron
Written by Cara Sadira
1. Strength and grace amidst chaos
Herons can stand still in turbulent waters on one leg for quite some time while hunting. The heron is strong and poised.
Waters may flow, fish may jump around, starting events may appear, but often the heron is unfazed.
This has great personal meaning for me, as I facilitate adventures for survivors of trauma. Often, our group works out how to have strength and grace amidst surrounding chaos.
2. Precision in reaching a target
3. Patience and a feeling of wellbeing
The heron is still, focused and calm, for extended periods of time when fish were not around. After time, a fish nears and the heron strikes, again catching a fish.
This may be a personal message to have patience because there is balance, abundance and well-being in nature, and we are also a part of that balance.
Next time you are graced by the presence of an animal that you feel is important to you, reach inside of yourself for that meaning.
What are your goals and dreams for life? What are your challenges? Do you see that animal moving or behaving in a way that is inspiring to you?
Start a journal, write down those meanings. With medicine wheel teachings from many different cultures, even the direction that an animal is moving and where you saw the animal has importance. Is there an animal encounter that you want to share?
We’d love to hear in the comments below.
Cara is a facilitator of Cacao Healing Ceremonies, in which participants are led on a shamanic journey to receive messages and guidance from animal allies. Check out our schedule of ceremonies here.
What Kind Of Chocolate is An Aphrodisiac?
When we think of Valentine’s Day, one of the most popular images that comes to mind is a large, heart-shaped box of chocolates.
Long associated with romance, chocolate is one of the most well-known, tastiest aphrodisiacs around.
Yet the chocolate that we buy in the store is usually chock full of sugar, dairy and other ingredients, which makes it a less than healthy snack.
Cacao is the source of chocolate, and when consumed in its raw form, it has a powerful effect on the mind and body. Not only is it an excellent source of anti-oxidants and a natural stimulant, it also releases endorphins and dopamine.
These are the chemicals in the brain that are responsible for making us feel good.
Cacao has been tied intrinsically to love and sexual desire for thousands of years. In fact, the famed emperor of the Aztec people, Montezuma, was said to have been particularly fond of drinking large amounts of cacao in order to increase his sex drive and virility.
We will be hosting a Cacao Healing Ceremony on Valentine's Day. If you are in the South Florida region, come join us!
This is an excellent opportunity to pamper yourself and become aligned as we sip on the cacao and connect with the fire! Click the button below to take you to the event's page.
Five Ways to Open Your Heart Chakra
Chakras are ports of energy entry and exit located in the body. There are seven major chakras located in the human body, and each is believed to have its own particular energy and influence.
When a certain chakra is open or activated, it promotes the positive qualities associated with that chakra center, whereas if it’s closed off or blocked, one may also find themselves restricted or negatively affected.
The heart chakra, also known as Anahata is the fourth major energy center in the body, located in the center of the chest.
Its color is green, and it is associated with compassion, emotional healing, kindness, beauty and love.
Commonly believed to be the bridge between the everyday world and the spiritual realm, connecting to our heart chakra enables us to deeply feel and express our love for others and ourselves.
It also promotes the qualities of empathy, altruism and gentleness. On the other hand, when we are disconnected from the heart chakra, we may find it difficult to relate to anyone, including ourselves.
We may also find that we are easily irritated, jealous and in some, it may even manifest as a lack of sympathy for others or a outright anti-social tendencies.
Making time to connect to our heart chakra is a vital part of our spiritual balance.
Below, we will discuss five different methods of doing so:
1. Practice Breathing Exercises
It’s amazing how easy it is to connect to our higher selves when we simply sit quietly and pay attention to our breathing.
While it is different then meditation, regularly practicing breathing exercises forces us to quiet our minds and be still, which makes it much easier to tap into spiritual energy and access levels of self-awareness.
2. Participate in a Cacao Healing Ceremony
A cacao ceremony is a shamanistic practice that involves the ritual consumption of cacao combined with dance and the open voicing of emotions.
Cacao ceremonies are ideal for increasing focus and soothing emotional wounds. They assist with opening the heart chakra by encouraging open expression of feelings and insecurities.
The participant is able to move past any hang-ups they may have regarding past trauma, and because they are able to get in touch with their deepest feelings, they are also able to open themselves to harmonious energy.
3. Practice Visualization
Lay with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing until you feel completely relaxed and at ease. Then, in your mind, visualize your heart chakra in the middle of your chest.
While everyone’s interpretation may be a little different, most people see their heart chakra as a swirling vortex of green or an emerald-hued light that grows brighter or pulses as they observe.
4. Do What You Love
There’s no doubt that the heart chakra rejoices in that which makes us truly happy.
Nearly everyone has something that they are passionate about, something that makes them feel as if they are at their most alive when they are participating in the act, whether it be dancing, singing, healing, painting or whatever else.
Whatever it is that you love to do, from taking pictures to listening to music to exploring art galleries, make time to do it, and pay attention to the way your mind and body feel at the time.
5. Love Yourself
Low self-esteem is a very hard obstacle to conquer, and it’s often the result of a blockage in the heart chakra area.
The way that we talk to ourselves and how we talk about ourselves to others is vital in shaping our idea of who we are.
Therefore, try the best you can not to be too hard on yourself, avoid negative self-talk and learn how to face up to and forgive yourself for mistakes you made in the past.
Make time each day to do something just for yourself, like taking a bath, relaxing with a good book, going for a walk, and strive to express kindness towards yourself as well as others.
- This awesome blog post was written by Content Writer Lauren Feldkamp
Why Join a Cacao Healing Circle?
With all these Shamanic trends going on, you might have heard of Cacao Healing or Cacao Healing Ceremonies.
Cacao is a powerful plant medicine that has been used for many years by ancient cultures to connect with their deities. That is why it is called the "Food of the gods".
Various cultures like the Mayans, would use Cacao in their medicine and healing ceremonies to open up their hearts for healing.
In a ceremonial circle, Cacao has been known to have so many benefits. Below are five amazing reasons why you should join a cacao healing ceremonial circle:
1. Cacao opens your heart
When you sip on the warm cacao, something happens in your heart. There is a warming effect on your body and it brings a certain calm that is quite inexplicable.
While you are sitting around a fire with either a group of strangers or friends, the cacao helps you to feel at ease and gives you a feeling of being supported and loved.
2. Cacao contains polyphenols
Cacao is packed with polyphenols. Polyphenols are chemicals found in plants that are micronutrients which possess powerful antioxidants.
They help with digestion, neurodegenerative issues, brain function, weight issues, cardiovascular problems and a bunch of other body ailments.
3. Cacao contains Magnesium
Most Americans are deficient in the mineral: magnesium. Our brains need magnesium to function well.
Magnesium helps our nervous system to function effectively and efficiently, bringing about a feeling of wellbeing and balance.
It is also important in bone functioning in our bodies. Low levels of magnesium can lead to depression, pregnancy complications, muscle spasms and a bunch of other issues.
4. Cacao boosts your mood
Not only does cacao boost your energy, but it contains certain chemicals that act as neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and other mood boosting chemicals.
These chemicals are excellent for your brain which works with all the other organs in your body to produce a feeling of wellness, happiness and balance.
5. Cacao helps with meditation
When you sip the cacao, it brings you to a place of surrender where you are awakened to the moment you are in.
You become aware of all the senses and start to notice subtle things that hadn't caught your awareness before.
Cacao helps you to be calm, yet very aware of your surroundings and puts you in a state of meditation.
Photo in header by Ksenia Makagonova
We're two ladies with a passion for facilitating healing.