I try to live within what might be described as “shamanic principles”. Briefly, that means respect for and appreciation of, the natural world. It means accepting what William Blake wrote: “For everything that lives is holy”. It means recognising and working with the elements, the seasons, the cycles of life generally. Sometimes it can involve taking a shamanic journey and working with compassionate helping spirits to try to make the world more whole, and to heal. It’s about connecting. It’s about gratitude. It’s about lifting the veil between visible and invisible realms and walking, and working, in different worlds.
When I presented my book to my publisher my proposed title for it was, “From Caterpillar to Amphibian.” I thought this described my personal journey- starting as a caterpillar, transforming into a pupa and then butterfly, but also an amphibian- able to survive quite happily in two different worlds. However, they quite rightly suggested that this title might be more appropriate for a book about heavy duty farm machinery!
So, how does this “walking a shamanic path” work on a day to day basis?
My book describes healings. But those are “special times”. On a more mundane level, I have two examples- one of which was successful, the other (still) causing me problems.
Shortly after we moved into our current home we found we had mice in the kitchen. Indeed, there were signs of them elsewhere in the house. The previous owner had put down poison- it was still in piles under the utility room sink; he had left behind a sonic device that was supposed to deter them.
We live in the countryside. We have many acres of fields, set to various arable crops, bordering our garden. It is no surprise there are mice around.
I removed the poison, unplugged the sonic thing and just asked the mice to leave. I told them I was happy for them to seek shelter under the house, but to please stay out of the kitchen. I told them that I was putting up bird feeders, which would have seed in them, and they could eat that- rather than coming into the house to eat our food.
Within a couple of weeks there was no longer any sign of mice in the house. And we have never had them in since.
More problematical- moles.
We were not told (unsurprisingly really!) that the garden was mole heaven. I found mole traps in the garden shed- I didn’t know what they were at first. Then we started to find large mole-hills springing up on the lawns.
I researched ways to remove moles that didn’t require killing them. I couldn’t find any that looked worth trying. So I began to talk to them- just as I had with the mice.
What a difference! I had no idea how aggressive and generally stroppy moles can be. They told me that they were here first and they weren’t going anywhere. I asked them nicely- many times. And still they kept tunnelling away. I tried telling them that it was OK as long as they didn’t make hills in the middle of the lawn- they could try excavating the lawn under the patio fence or in the bank leading down to the field. That partially worked. But either they soon forgot, or other moles came along- or they just didn’t care.
I really tried engaging in positive dialogue with them. To no avail.
So I decided to “up the ante”. I told them that if they continued then I would put traps in the lawn. They didn’t believe me. So I dug holes under their mole-hills and put in traps. But, what I didn’t do was set them. It went against my principles to kill them; if I could avoid that, then I would, but I wanted them to know I was serious when I wanted them to leave our lawn alone.
This worked. For a while. Signs of mole activity decreased significantly.
However, by now ( a good few months later) I found signs of badger in the garden- there were indications that a badger had been snuffling around and in places digging for worms.
So I encouraged badger to come into the garden. Badger obliged. I put peanuts on the lawn where there had been a mole-hill. I installed cameras so I could see what was happening.
We seldom get mole-hills now. If we do, it is often after badgers have only visited very briefly- not long enough to spread much scent. But seeing mole-hills is now a rare event, rather than an every -morning thing when sometimes there would have been up to a half dozen.
They are still there, though. Walking across the lawn it is not unknown for me to suddenly find a new large dip and my foot sinks down an inch or so- signs of tunneling underneath. However, it is definitely better. And now they know that I mean what I say- so maybe they will ease off permanently.
Working with Nature can, for me anyway, provide moral and ethical dilemmas. It is always possible to ask advice from those in non-ordinary reality- but, ultimately, it is down to each of us to live our lives the best way we can.