Wild Rose Tincture

We still have some bottles of Wild Rose tincture available for purchase: $15 for a 1 oz. bottle (postage included) or $20 for two.

I have been receiving questions about how to use this tincture and so thought I’d share some thoughts with you.

This tincture is an energy medicine. When I was recovering from childhood trauma, flower essences provided me with invaluable support on my journey. I never forgot it, and so make this tincture each year at the peak of the Nootka rose bloom here at my farm. 

My suggestion is to add 6 drops to water, 1-3 times a day. Honeybees are all about the number six, building comb using the shape of hexagons throughout. Using 6 drops at a time helps to build a resonance, or sacred architecture, of energy within.

You are of course welcome to use a number of drops that have a special significance for you. Just make sure you aren’t using so many drops that you are getting soused on this stuff.  It’s made with a vodka base.

Much of what and how we experience life operates on the basis of subtle energy. We feel our way through life far more than our minds recognize and it is the feeling sense that wild rose nurtures. 


The glorious color, scent, and softness of the wild rose petals encourage the opening of our energetic center: the heart. But wild rose energy is more involved than simply opening the heart chakra. With its thorny stems and prodigious root system, wild rose helps guard and anchor the heart’s blossoming energy.

Add these drops to a big bottle of water for sipping over the course of the day. You might want to take a moment to bless the water with your undivided presence as you add the drops. 

Use this water blessed with Nootka rose energy to help you come home to your wild, fragrant. and deep self throughout the day.

Email anna@gaiashamanism.com to place your order.

Gratitude

This week, on the eve of American Thanksgiving, I propose that we journey together to clear the way for the spontaneous upwelling of gratitude in our lives.

I am not a fan of manufacturing gratitude. There’s subtle aggression at work in the common belief that we should always find things to be grateful about. We force it and think that forcing it is a necessary condition of becoming the kind of people who meet life, and misfortune, with greatness of heart. 

But we cannot get from here to there without being real. I, for one, am a big fan of waving my fist at God as a form of prayer. Until we dare to be brave and honest with ourselves about how we really feel, there is no hope of deepening our connection with the divine or growing in generosity of heart.

Sure, profound love and gratitude for life abide at the center of each of us. That’s our normal, natural state of being in the world. 

This well of gratitude, however, can be blocked by layers of judgment and unmetabolized feelings. Those who practice feeling their feelings, no matter how difficult, grow into people who can one day meet life with a grateful and fearless heart.

Back to the agression: it is not up to our minds, or our culture, or our religions to dictate how we “should” feel and when. You can’t actually legislate that shit from above, and if you make a habit of trying to do so anyway, you will find that the inexhaustible well of gratitude at your center is increasingly difficult to locate and choked off with rubble. 

To be truly grateful, to practice giving thanks as a nation as Covid-19 deaths mount, food lines lengthen, and political theater threatens to spill into violence, let us journey down into the terrain of our souls where our true feelings roam wild and free. 

If there is anger or grief or fear or anything else that seeks our attention before we might drink of the waters of gratitude within, this journey is our chance to show hospitality and deference to these elders. Let us sit at the feet of the uncomfortable teachers in our lives, whomever and whatever they might be, so we might be able to receive their blessings.

Offering

Think of someone or something that is especially hard for you to feel grateful for at this time. You don’t have to tell us about it, but make an offering of beauty to this person, feeling, or situation to help you soften in relationship to what is.

Intention

To clear the way for the upwelling of spontaneous gratitude in the journey of life.

RSVP

You are invited to join us for a free online journey circle this Wednesday, November 25 from 4-6 pm PST. Open to all skill levels. Email anna@gaiashamanism.com for more information.

Becoming useful

I have found myself longing for a text, a spiritual elder in the form of words to help guide, ground, and keep me honest in the crazy whirl of these times. 

The Bible is the sacred text handed down to me by all four of my ancestral family lines. The Bible is the spiritual text which shaped and informed me and it is the one in which I am professionally-trained.

But whenever I return to the words of the Bible, I feel imprisoned by a system of thought that orders the world into hierarchies of dominance and has the unfortunate habit of splitting organic wholes into antagonistic polarities such as light vs dark, male vs female, mind vs. body, human vs nature. 

For me, reclaiming the value of the dark, the female, the body, and the natural world constitutes a large part of the spiritual and social justice work of this age. 

But merely reversing the polarities in our Western worldview isn’t enough. If we are to heal our people and return to our earth-honoring origins, we need to disrupt the linear, conquering, and separating habits of the Western mind. 

The practice of drum-based journeywork is a big part of the equation, helping us to remember how to speak the heart-centered language of kinship with soil and soul once again. But this, too, isn’t enough.

We also need to find ways to counter our culture’s tendency to toxic individualism. Spirituality needs to be grounded in shared understandings and communal practice if it is to help us live in ways liberated and liberating.

And so we will anchor our journeys in the teachings of world religions outside the Western canon. These sacred scriptures have much to teach us about the work of cultivating and sustaining Life in ourselves and the world.

This week and for some weeks going forward, I will offer readings from the ancient Taoist text, the Tao Te Ching, written by Lao Tsu some 2,500 years ago, as the basis for our journeys in the circle. 

This week’s passage, titled “Eleven,” in the translation by Gia-Fu Feng:

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;

It is the center hole that makes it useful.

Shape the clay into a vessel;

It is the space within that makes it useful.

Cut doors and windows for a room;

It is the holes that make it useful.

Therefore profit comes from what is there;

Usefulness from what is not there.

You are encouraged to carry these words with you as you go about the days before our meeting. Allow them to work on you. Together, we will journey on this passage and its teaching for our life, individual and collective. 

To deepen your journey experience, search these words for their connection to what you are experiencing in your own life and in our common life. 

How might you practice the wisdom of this passage?

Offering

This week we will attempt to make the sacred offering of an open heart and mind. 

However you wish to symbolize this intention, while putting forth some kind of time or effort, will be what we share at the start of our circle.

Intention

To plumb the wisdom of what it means to become useful to Spirit, self, others, and/or the natural world.

RSVP

You are invited to join us for a free online journey circle this Wednesday, November 18 at 4 pm PST. Open to all skill levels. Email anna@gaiashamanism.com for more information.

The dawn of tranquility

I awakened this morning to the sound of my mind chattering away. It was so busy in there that it took me some time to notice that there was virtually no space between my thoughts. This is how life used to be for me. It was painful to find myself back in the cramped and noisy prison cell of my mind. 

It sneaks up on you, or at least it does me, this increasingly noisy mind, detached from reality, distanced from body and breath, lost in the narrative, separate from the moment, unable to access the real reality just outside ourselves.

How did I get here? TV, for one thing. Refreshing the NYT home page all day long for four days for another. But more than that, I climb up into my head when I am scared. 

When I used to pick my son up from daycare after a full day of work, he would invariably cry, yell, and meltdown on the ride home. I couldn’t figure it out; the staff always told me what a good day he had. No one had bitten him, no punches were thrown, pizza abounded at Friday lunch, and yet here he was howling like a banshee the whole way home.

What I came to learn from my son is that when we feel safe we naturally discharge tension and distress. Until we feel safe, we carry it.

I take this morning’s nonstop narrative in my mind to mean that I have been in distress for the past four days, not to mention the past four years. Adults are a lot tricker than toddlers when it comes to feeling and expressing their emotions.

This morning reminded me that stuffed feelings can take the form of mental chatter. This chatter is far more of a problem than any temper tantrum because: a) we tend to believe our thoughts (no matter how off-base); and b) the cascading waterfall of thought distracts us from the quiet awareness just beneath our thoughts. Only when the rowboat of the mind is stilled do we notice the dawn of tranquility.

If you have a monkey-mind like me, take heart: there’s hope. I’m not great at stilling my thoughts in meditation, but I can dive beneath them with the help of the drumbeat. But maybe you find yourself in the throes of some old behavior again, your left eye has developed an involuntary tic, you keep accidentally breaking glassware, or you just want to yell or cry or sleep all day instead.

Consider the possibility that you are in the process of releasing pent-up stress and distress. And that’s a very good thing.

Offering

Bring an offering to the circle that symbolizes tranquility or safety for you. For the first-timers, we do a bit of a show-and-tell before we share our intentions and journey.

Intention

This week’s intention is wide open and responsive to whatever you feel you most need from Spirit at this time. 

You are invited to join us for a free online journey circle this Wednesday, November 11 at 4 pm PST. Open to all skill levels. Email anna@gaiashamanism.com for more information.

Embracing the process

On the eve of national elections here in the US, I find myself preparing not for an outcome, but for a process that may take a while for us to work through.

There is something called the Stockdale Paradox that you might find to be of help in the days, weeks, and perhaps months ahead. In the words of Admiral Stockdale, who spent more than 7 years as a POW in the Vietnam War:

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end–which you can never afford to lose–with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

To me, this is no paradox, but rather a bringing two different forms of wisdom together to create a more complete picture. 

2020 is the year of perfect vision. One of its lessons is that it takes two eyes, or two modes of seeing, to truly behold reality. We are to have faith in the generous, wise, and democratic soul of our nation and the discipline to oppose unjust social systems and address hatred and brutality in both our communities and nation.

When asked who did not survive the experience of being held as prisoners-of-war, Admiral Stockdale replied: 

“The optimists. [The]…ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.” And Christmas would come and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.” And Easter would come and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart….”

How did Admiral Stockdale make it through?

“I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

These trying times, pandemic and election alike may prove to be the defining events of our lives, something we wouldn’t trade many years from now. Let us cling not to any particular date, but cleave instead to the sacred process in which we are engaged as a people.

We are in the midst of a collective birthing process. Births, by their very nature, are messy, unpredictable, dangerous, bloody–and beautiful. 

In the days of labor ahead, be prepared to ride the contractions. Remember to breathe, drink water, and surround yourself with supportive allies and aunties. But most of all, take heart in the larger picture at work here. 

Let us stay disciplined and real about the dangers we face and never doubt that “we the people” will prevail with our participation and effort. 

Be well and raise hell, y’all.

You are invited to join us for a free online journey circle this Wednesday, October 4, at 4 pm PST. Open to all skill levels. Email anna@gaiashamanism.com for more information.

Dia de los Muertos

Intention

One sunny fall afternoon in Austin, Texas, as I walked into a Walmart with my 3-year-old son, we heard the sound of laughter and music to our right. My son dropped my hand in the parking lot to point to a graveyard that I had never noticed before. “I want to go ober dere,” he said.

When we walked over to take a closer look, the smell of bar-b-que and the sight of balloons greeted us. My son wanted to know why there were so many parties out on the green lawn that day and it took me a moment to realize that we had stumbled upon a Dia de los Muertos celebration. 

Some of you might already have an ancestral altar or otherwise continue your relationship with departed family members. What was so compelling to my son and me that day was the communal and festive nature of the celebration. This was no stale church service, but instead a colorful weaving of the reality of death into the fabric of life.

So this week, in the midst of a deadly pandemic and just before a consequential national election in the US, I invite you to join me for a virtual version of a communal graveside picnic.

Nothing brings life into perspective like celebrating our love and the memory of those who have died, and Lord knows we could all benefit from some laughter, tears, and perspective about now.

Offering 

 Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of the dead that originated in Mexico and coincides with the Catholic feast days of All Saint’s Day and All Souls’ Day.   

It is customary in Dia de los Muertos celebrations to offer trinkets, favorite candies or drinks to the deceased at the grave. See if you might track down something for your beloved(s) to offer in the circle.

Also, sharing a picture of your loved one(s) would be appropriate. If you wish to remember an animal companion or a spiritual ancestor who has passed on, do feel free to do so as well. Ancestors take many forms.

Intention

Our intention will be to celebrate our beloved departed in the circle and then journey to the unseen world to feed our attention, love, and tears to our loved ones through the help of our whole and healed ancestors–the elders–in our line. If there is anything we need to say or to ask, or that they might wish to say to us in return, our elders can safely convey any messages for us. 

RSVP

This is a free, online journey circle offered by Gaia Shamanism on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm PDT.

If you would like to join us, feel free to email anna@gaiashamanism.com. All skill levels welcome.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

The land we call home
The land we call home, situated on the homelands of the Kalapuya people.

In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, let us reflect on the potent words of a woman, inhabitant of the Amazonian rainforest, and the leader of the Waorani people, Nemonte Nenquimo:

“I never had the chance to go to university, and become a doctor, or a lawyer, a politician, or a scientist. My elders are my teachers. The forest is my teacher. And I have learned enough (and I speak shoulder to shoulder with my Indigenous brothers and sisters across the world) to know that you have lost your way, and that you are in trouble (though you don’t fully understand it yet) and that your trouble is a threat to every form of life on Earth.

You forced your civilisation upon us and now look where we are: global pandemic, climate crisis, species extinction and, driving it all, widespread spiritual poverty. In all these years of taking, taking, taking from our lands, you have not had the courage, or the curiosity, or the respect to get to know us. To understand how we see, and think, and feel, and what we know about life on this Earth.

I won’t be able to teach you in this letter, either. But what I can say is that it has to do with thousands and thousands of years of love for this forest, for this place. Love in the deepest sense, as reverence. This forest has taught us how to walk lightly, and because we have listened, learned and defended her, she has given us everything: water, clean air, nourishment, shelter, medicines, happiness, meaning. And you are taking all this away, not just from us, but from everyone on the planet, and from future generations.

It is the early morning in the Amazon, just before first light: a time that is meant for us to share our dreams, our most potent thoughts. And so I say to all of you: the Earth does not expect you to save her, she expects you to respect her. And we, as Indigenous peoples, expect the same.”

Nemonte Nenquimo’s whole letter is here.

Intention

Let Nemonte’s words lead you to formulate an intention for your journey. We will use our time in the circle this week to listen deeply and learn from this voice of the rainforest. She is addressing us.

What do you experience when you journey on her words? What guidance do you receive? What practices are you guided to adopt or what changes might you consider?

Listening is what we’re working on in this journey. May we enter the landscape of this journey with the intention of opening to the wisdom of this new, and profoundly ancient, perspective. 

Offering

The land where we live is an elder and a source of wisdom. 

Make an effort to spend some time outside, listening, as your offering this week.  We will share stories (and souvenirs) of the experience. 

If you do not yet have a “sit spot,” a place in nature you visit regularly, this would be a lovely way of honoring Nemonte and the original stewards of the lands where you live.

RSVP

This is a free, online journey circle offered by Gaia Shamanism on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm PDT. If you would like to join us, feel free to email anna@gaiashamanism.com. All skill levels welcome.

Upside-down


In my last journey with Gaia Shamanism’s weekly online circle, my guide invited me to sit with him on the blue buckets in which I had been harvesting apples. The buckets were empty; he turned them upside down so we could chat.

Small details like these in a journey, I find, are fitting subjects for meditation. Anything from your journey that snags your attention, or leaves you wondering “why?” indicates a place to dig for more insight. It gives you something to chew on, spiritual food, as you go about your day. Seek to extend the journey into your waking life so that it better informs, or inwardly-forms, you.

This upside-down bucket called to me as an image all week long. Sensitives, those who get their information directly from the world in the form of feeling (and if you are good at journeying you are a sensitive) often have a wide-open crown chakra. This openness makes the sensitive “useful” to Spirit as it also makes Spirit useful to the sensitive. 

Sensitives often find themselves guided to do the right thing at the right time, putting things together in ways the mind could never orchestrate. Because of this openness, we have the capacity to be filled with the fruits of the harvest, both spiritual and practical.

This energetic openness, however, can be a liability. In the past week, I have been filled with the toxic fruits of these times, paying way too much attention to the news cycle, dreaming of Trump, and getting pulled outside of myself. No good.

To journey is to explore the world from a different center than that of the mind. To journey is to flip the energetic sensitivity we were gifted at birth, using it to connect not to the outside world, but to our inside world, if even for a few minutes of the day.

When we tune into our deep selves using the sacred drumbeat, we have access to the wisdom that lives in us beneath the conscious mind. This turning upside down, decentering the mind with the help of the drumbeat, can make the difference in our ability to navigate these upside-down times.

The message of that journey, spoken in the heart’s language of image, reminds us that we are always accompanied and beloved. If we invert the world’s ideas of safety and information, if we make a regular date to sit on the humble throne of sensitivity with Spirit, we will be safer, saner, and more able to carry the spiritual fruits of love out into the world

Intention

The circle this week is an opportunity to turn the tables on the crazymaking ways of our mind-made world. Let’s turn logic on its head and ask for a journey that will help us reorient, reconnect, and remember what we’re here to do and be and do-be-do-be-do.

Offering

Our offering is intangible this week: let us offer our overly-full, jumbled, and jangled selves. Let’s turn all our instincts to present a pure and perfect self to Spirit on its head and resolve to show up in the unseen world with a bouquet made from the flowers of our messiness and confusion. Put differently, our offering this week is our heart’s honesty, humility, and sincerity.

RSVP

This is a free, online journey circle offered by Gaia Shamanism on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm PDT. If you would like to join us, feel free to email anna@gaiashamanism.com. All skill levels welcome.

The harvest of the Equinox

This Tuesday, September 22, 2020, brings the equinox when, for a short period of time, the heavenly powers of light and darkness will be evenly balanced.

Natural cycles build and grow and ripen over periods of time much longer than that of the news cycle. These natural cycles carry the seeds of the ancient mysteries within them about the waxing and waning of life.

The equinox is a time when the unconscious and conscious forces within us are equalized, amplified, and supported by the larger environment. This is an auspicious time to journey.

In the Northern Hemisphere, we are invited to journey to harvest the lessons of this past growing season. What nourishment has life yielded over the past six months? What crops have ripened and grown within and around you since the onset of the pandemic?

Our minds may be pissed off by the pandemic, our hearts likely ache over the loss of community and of human life, but this is a journey to check in with our souls to learn what has been the deeper spiritual harvest of these days.

Take your time. Do your best to let go of the mind’s judgments. Endeavor to experience your soul’s harvest from this past season in terms as tangible and sensory as you can muster in the journey state.

If there is a fruit of your harvest that you don’t understand while you are in the imaginal world, ask it, feel into it, or request the assistance of a guide to assist you. My hope is that you will seek your answers principally in images rather than words to help bring the unconscious symbolism of your soul’s harvest to light.

In the Southern hemisphere, you are invited to journey on the same questions. Dark and cold days accelerate inward growth and activity in the unseen worlds of dream, journey, and creativity. What has been the harvest of these past months of inwardness and isolation?

What new harvests might the change in the balance of light bring to your life over the next six months? Try to see and feel and investigate with as much specificity and detail as possible.

Offering

This week, bring an offering of water to the circle. Choose a vessel sacred to you to hold the water and/or find a source for the water that is special to you.

We will each offer a few words of thanks to the water, grower of harvests, in the circle. After our circle closes, we will use this communally blessed water to pour libations of thanksgiving to Gaia on the land where we live.

RSVP

This is a free, online journey circle offered by Gaia Shamanism on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm PDT. If you would like to join us, feel free to email anna@gaiashamanism.com. All skill levels welcome.

Grief

Grief

There’s a blue plastic bucket that has been sitting under my parents’ apple tree for the past week. Each day, more ripe red apples fall to the ground and roll down the driveway.

The air is hazardous, filled with the smoke of forest fires burning only 12 miles away, so we dare not spend the time outside to collect the apples. In so many ways, these apples, coated with ash, represent our harvest as a people.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the prophets of old responded to catastrophe by calling upon the people to rend their garments, put ash on their heads, and wear sackcloth as a sign of entering a time of collective repentance and grieving for their transgressions against the laws of Life.

In place of our grief and repentance in the face of ongoing climate catastrophe, millions of acres of forestland are instead ablaze and rent by fire. Here, Gaia is arrayed in wildfire smoke, Her breath the sackcloth that scratches our lungs and reddens our eyes. In the absence of our heartfelt prayers for forgiveness and acts of reconciliation toward the natural world, ashes of lamentation rain down upon our heads from the heavens.

No matter where you live, these fires and this bitter harvest is yours as well.

But the scale and magnitude of this disaster also indicate that this is a liminal moment, a time out-of-time, a sacred summoning to stop, take stock, and change direction. Catastrophe calls us to conversion, to turn away from the path of error, and to face in the direction of Life once again.

To realize the great collective turning that is being called for by these times of COVID, hurricane, and wildfire, however, we must start small, beginning with ourselves, beginning by honoring the wisdom of our grief.

Offering

Bring something tangible to offer in the circle for the many who have lost their lives in one of the many ongoing catastrophes in our world.

Intention

Our intention will be to reunite with our true depth of feeling and kinship for the natural world.

We can ask for forgiveness from our mother, Gaia, and from our human and non-human kin—tree, deer, vole, salmon, hawk, raccoon, coyote, bear—who are losing their lives. 

Let us witness, feel, and listen deeply to our larger family at this time. 

RSVP

This is a free, online journey circle offered by Gaia Shamanism on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm PDT. If you would like to join us, feel free to email anna@gaiashamanism.com. All skill levels welcome.