Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time in a faraway land….

It's a familiar beginning isn't it?  There is something very powerful about those words.  We hear them first as children and then later read them to the next generation.  Still there is something that grabs at our imagination when we hear them.  We know something magical is about to follow.  As children we really do believe a magical adventure is just around the corner, at the edge of the backyard, or down at the bottom of the deep end of the swimming pool.

As we grow up (a bad idea if you ask me), we are told that life is not a fairy tale.  Reality is drummed into our heads.  We are programmed for what is not possible, so stop wishing and trying for it.  All of this is done with the best of intentions, well okay perhaps some of it is well intentioned.  Mostly it is because we are navigating a world of the broken dreams and shattered hearts that have come before us. We are told to not get our hopes up, and so after a time we learn not to hope, not to dream, and to simply accept the world as it is.  Some people embittered even go out of their way to prove to others how cruel the world can be for their own good, or so they say.

Well my friends on my sojourn this summer I received several important messages from spirit.  One of them was that life is a faery tale (note the spelling difference…spelling counts especially in magic).  Now at first I thought maybe this was wishful thinking, but as I was making the last leg of my round a bout way home I found myself behind a van while I was pondering the spirit messages.  When I looked at the license plate it had one of those vanity plates.  It was Cinderella.  Spelled to fit the plate but very obviously that ashy little princess.  Spirits do tend to have a sense of humor at least the ones that work around me do, I might have rubbed off on them over the years.  So in my mind the message that life is a faery tale was real.  So how to reconcile that with the world?

The thing most people remember is the happily ever after part of the story.  In narratives particularly simple ones we skim along to the pertinent events.  What we miss is that many of our protagonists go through many trials and suffer for long periods of time (try reading some old versions of Rapunzel if you don't believe me).  It was not a brief struggle and then onto true love with a side of royalty.  Most of us are not valiant knights, or secret princesses, but we are beings of great power capable of changing our world if we believe we can.  This is why the faery tale is important.  It speaks to our heart and how we wish the world could be.  (No I don't mean pushing carnivorous old women into ovens).

The world is what we make it, and the changes that happen are the ones we believe that we can make.  This is the faery tale,  the magic of our hearts dreaming combined with our actions and perseverance.  A faery tale is not meant as an escape from the details of life, but rather a compass to navigate them.  The washing up will have to be done whether or not you make it all the way down the yellow brick road.  There will be challenges, but the biggest one is you.  You have to stop believing that a better more meaningful world is impossible or not realistic.  You just can't afford that belief if you want to live  in a world of wonder.

So how about you?  What's your story?  What would your happily ever after look like?  What sort of world would you need to create to have that ending?  Think on it for a while.  If you don't know where to start it's easy.  It always starts the same…once upon a time.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Voices in the Fire

Greetings all,

What a week.  The ups and downs continue here.  My foray into deeper mysteries continues along side my day to day concerns.  Such is the way of it, you wouldn't want to be pulled too far one way or the other.

I find it is a constant balancing act between staying grounded and also opening to the wonders of life.  If you get too bogged down in the mundane life loses its shine, if you wander in the lands of myth too much you lose all connection to consensual reality.  For most people it is the loss of mystery that becomes the more dominant end of the pendulum.  This is typical for western society.  We bleed the mystery out of our children before they get too old.  Some people take far too much joy in the process.  The business of living is important, but so is having a reason for going about the business of life.

So ladies and gentleman the reason for ceremony comes into being.  Well one of the reasons is to create a touchstone to mystery.  We are all much more than we seem to ourselves and the world we inhabit (for that matter so is the world).  Occasionally we need a reminder of that connection to the mysteries beyond our conscious knowledge.  Ceremony can act as a gateway to that unknown and often untapped potential within us.  Believe me with the culture we have we need a reminder.  (Some people need a siren and five alarm fire).

The truth is we do the miraculous everyday.  We create the world in a particular way just by showing up.  In quantum physics they'd say we collapse the wave form into the particle form of matter and energy.  What we see is a product of what's out there but also what's inside of ourselves.  So if you want to change something the best way to do that is to change yourself, and change how you look at it. It really is that simple, but not always easy.  Changing our minds is dicey, we like things to remain fairly predictable.  We need some way to access that other vision and ceremony provides that bridge.  The ceremony is not the change, we are.  It helps us access it though and for that it is useful.

This week I had the opportunity to participate in a large ceremony with one of my teachers and shamanic groups in my area.  There was a despacho ceremony (there's always despacho).  This ceremony was different in that it was linked to a larger one that was a global event.  The Global Vigil Fire happens twice a year, once in the fall and the spring.  Shamanic practitioners light bonfires all over the world and pray for the world, weaving webs of power between the fires like ley lines.  Through these fires they connect with one another, and help support each other.

Our group was much larger than I expected it to be.  Most of us had been to gatherings before.  We were greeted with a brand new fire pit.  I called in the energy of the south for the fire.  I had brought my dijeridu for this, I'm not very good at playing it but people seem to like it.  The fire was lit and it burned furiously bright.  The wind came creating a vortex of flame sending the sparks high up in the air.  To me it seemed like it was our prayers rising up into spirit.  This fire had green in it at the base and several times during the burn I saw strange colors in the flames.  As we began to drum the fire danced with us.  It was several minutes in before I began to hear voices singing, not around the fire but coming from within the fire itself.  I couldn't tell you what they were saying, but my drum changed to match their tempo.  At one point my speed doubled suddenly, not by my choice but by the insistence of the fire.  I began to dance and move about listening to the singers in the fire.  Oddly enough whenever I stopped the rest of us around the fire stopped.  I felt like I was holding the rhythm for people.  (Sorry to all you tired ones I made drum faster).  After I finally lifted my voice to whoop and sing back to the fire our group started joining in too.  Later that night as we watched the last bit of fire burn and talked strange colors would appear in the fires and a light came out of it that was not of the flame but very bright like a strobe light.

I had been exhausted all week.  I actually had debated whether or not I should go.  I had hurt myself in my studio the prior week.  Still I had made the choice to go.  I am very glad I did.  Some of my major aches and pain went away that night.  While I was tired I no longer felt so worn out that I would drop.  This after nearly an hour of dancing and very intense drumming.  The voices from the fire worked a bit of magic on me.  I hope my gifts did the same to others around similar fires around the world.

So other than the field report why tell you this?  Well has your heart been longing for mystery of late?  Have you gathered with others to support each other's quest for beauty and wonder?  Do you ever connect to the great web of life to draw strength or give aid?  Have you let your cares loose in ceremony?  There is magic in coming together, in connecting with something greater.  Why not gather a few like  hearts and minds together for an evening around a fire.  Tell the fire your dreams, your hopes, and what you love.  Give support to those around you as they spill their wishes into the light of the flames.  Be mindful of all the others in the world sitting by the fire speaking their words into it, and give them your love as well.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wax and Wane

Greetings all,

I hope you had a lovely week.  We had the last of the super moons for the year this week.  This final full moon of the summer was a doozy.  To top off that I led a public despacho ceremony and a friend of mine did some workings on my behalf.  Well things definitely changed.

I've been in  the middle of a work cycle in my ceramics studio the past few weeks trying out a new method of working on the potter's wheel.  Unfortunately for me the boxes where I stored my clay had been compromised so I have been working with much stiffer clay than I ever have before.  I have also been working larger.  This has presented me with quite a challenge.  The bad news, my body is sore my muscles are knotted, and the clay didn't dry right so it is all cracking.  It really knocked the wind out of my sails to see all that effort yield no results.  The good news is that I was able to work with the clay and shape it more effectively.  The new method worked, and if I'd had clay that was at the normal consistency I believe I could have had even more progress with my skills.  The muse giveth and the muse taketh away as it were.

This theme of growth and decline has been present the last three moons.  At the same time as my foray into recalcitrant clay was going on, I've been investing more into my teaching role.  For those of you who don't know I teach tai chi at a local wellness center.  I started in May and I must say it's been one of the nicest experiences in teaching I've had thus far.  The center is beautiful with bamboo floors, high ceilings, good natural light, a great sound system, and wonderfully appreciative students.  My skills as a teacher have blossomed here.  I feel I am a much better teacher now because of the particular challenges to instructing I've had in this space.  Well just as I had given notice to let go of more of my hours at my part time job to make room for more teaching time I was informed that the center was closing.  When did this happen?  You guessed it on the full moon.

In some respects it's been one bitch of a moon.  Many people in my social circle are experiencing hardships (all in time with the lunar cycle).  It's been everything from a beloved pet dying, to a husband in the hospital, to relationships ending, and of course lost jobs.  Still in my case the 2 main challenges have given me as much as they've taken (more really once time has passed).  In both cases my crafts were honed. An increase in skill is an increase in opportunity as far as I'm concerned.  While I've been exhausted with my schedule I now have an opening coming up.  New doors, new paths, and new opportunities lie before me.  I can feel that now.  ( I gave myself 3 days to sulk and wallow).  I had to feel my fears and disappointments.  They waxed full and now they are waning.  Like the moon our emotions follow a rhythm, if we can ride it we can capture opportunity when it passes close by.

So as far as my losses go, I lost some time in the studio.  I've lost a certainty about a physical space to continue teaching.  As far as gains go, I am better able to use my clay skills.  I am a better teacher than I was at the beginning of the summer.  (I actually have students willing to follow me to a new space when I find one).

What about you?  What has been on the wane in your life recently?  Beyond the discomfort and fear that comes with it are there any benefits?  Is it making room for more growth or  more opportunities?  They say the moon is the mother of luck and risk, what have you risked lately?  What venture have you boldly put your stake into?  Did you lose your shirt, your pride, or your way?  Perhaps what was lost was simply not good enough for you.  What if the universe ripped it from your hands because it has something bigger just beyond the veil.  Tricky thing is luck, it's like fire light and wild, and its also like water slippery and flowing.  We can't hold onto luck it moves in and out.  We can only recognize it, partner with it, and cultivate our lives as it waxes and wanes like the silver moon.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Greetings all,

I hope you've had a good week.  Long weekends always throw me off as I have a 7 day schedule.  Basically I am scheduled every day of the week.  This week took that phenomena and really took it to the limit.

One of the biggest shifts in my life from my unspent youth (in my case that is the correct word choice) is that I don't get bored.  Growing up and into my twenties I was bored a good portion of the time.  I had a lot more free time, but I also didn't cultivate too many interests.  Now that trend is reversed I have next to no free time and tons of interests.  Apart from my metaphysical pursuits I also have many artistic avenues I like to explore.

This has led to the ultimate in juggling acts.  Currently I am teaching tai chi twice a week, working a job on the weekends, seeing clients, making pottery, learning about leather working, and preparing a group teleconference for the end of the month.  I also have 3 speaking events coming up in the next month.  I stay busy.  Sometimes I think I might be too busy.  However the bright side is I am not bored and my interest is always piqued with some project.

Nobody can sustain all of these avenues of interests without having to set some on the back burners for a time to allow others to take center stage.  This is what I'm learning,  pacing is everything.  Just because I have an interest or excitement about a topic or project doesn't mean I have to charge off and add it to the mix right this second.  Journals, sketchbooks and notebooks are my friends because they allow me to get an idea down before it evaporates so that I can explore it when other activities die down.  My next trick will be to add in some down time and fun time.  I look around at how much people accomplish and am amazed that they can do it all and not fall over.  All of you with kids out there that still manage to pursue a hobby or past time I am in deep admiration.

So why am I talking about this?  Well it comes to my mind that all of us need a bit more breathing space.  Society has been shouting the dogma of productivity and overachievement for decades now.  It's like being a rower on an old barge and the drummer has been slowly increasing the tempo until our arms can barely keep up.  With our technology we are expected to be available and productive 24 hours a day.  In order to combat this I have been putting my phone on air plane mode at night when I am done with people for the day.  It doesn't come back on until I've done my self care the following morning.  This seems to be the only way I can reign in my time for myself.

What about you?  Are you always on the move?  Do you ever slow down and have a space for nothing?  Do you allow others to guilt you into giving up free time for more activity? Do you buy into the myth of 100% efficiency and productivity?  What would happen if you allowed yourself to be less productive and rested a bit more?  Could you allow yourself the time to just be without filling up your schedule?  Try it out schedule some absolute free time in your week.  Don't fill it just let yourself enjoy the respite.  See how that feels.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle