A Taste of Stone

Taste the stone
You are holding
In your hand.

It smells of rains,
Like the waterfall
Gushing down your throat.

It smell of winter wind,
When you throw it
High into the crystal sky.

It smells of blood
Which its sharp edges
Cut into your tender skin.

It tastes of salt
Like the balms
Cradling it.

© jsmorgane

Talk to the Animals …

If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other: if you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear. What one fears one destroys.

From Chief Dan George, at the front of Ted Andrews’ “Animal Speak” … how horribly true!

I was set off on this trail by an article about a recently discovered shaman burial in Israel, where a woman shaman was buried with a leopard pelvis. Leopard has always been my totem, it’s been a part of the family crest for centuries, and I first connected with Leopard (the African leopard, Panthera pardus pardus) when I was a wee tad. I adore them!

This is how I see myself …

So I thought I’d go and look at what Ted Andrews says about them in Animal Speak – generally, I like Ted’s work. Ted puts leopards with panthers (jaguars) although they are not the same, jaguar being Panthera onca.  He says they’re loners – indeed! And so am I! – but perhaps the most interesting thing he says is …

“Often people enter the metaphysical field, taking up exercises and meditations to have their inner lights “clicked on”. Individuals with panthers as totems are usually individuals who came into the world with their lights already on.” This is certainly true of me and caused me no end of pain and trouble when I finally decided to “come out” as a shaman. Ted goes on to say, “Thus they should not be discouraged when they do not experience what others describe when their lights are turned on. They should trust their thoughts and their inner visions for there is probably a strong foundation in reality.” Thanks Ted, I could have done with that advice 50 years back J.

African leopard in Kenya

My Dad brought me up to speak with animals … with everything, in fact, including the car, hammers and other tools, loaves of bread, one’s clothes, the house, each room in the house … if folk had known we’d all have been for the straight-jacket if not the stake LOL. I still talk to everything, and I agree with Chief Dan George, everything gets to know me and I them. I’m not afraid of animals, plants, places, mountains, the weather, even things that go bump in the night J. But all around me I see people who are afraid, who cannot understand anything that isn’t human and, often, very few humans either unless they fit in the same box.

Most people call animals “it” although they have gender. They do the same for plants although most of them (excluding ferns and such) have gender too. But we get all hot under the collar if somebody calls our child “it”. I’m afraid I do that as an act of rebellion to everyone who calls animals “it”! Well … I’m not afraid, just sucking up *g*. There is this terrible “them/us” thing going on between humans and everything else, including the Earth herself … have you noticed the daft programmes called “Dangerous Planet” ???

We have destroyed masses of species because of our fear and are heading to destroy loads more as we career along with global warming. And most folk don’t give a damn as long as there’s the “footie”, World Cup, some sort of idiot sport, plus a six-pack and a take-away to slob about on the sofa with. Sheeeeesh !!!

Pic by Scot Stuberg

As a shaman this horrifies me. I cannot get my head around this lack of respect. I cannot get my head around folk thinking we’re separate from everything else. Ye gods, don’t folk realise there’s only so many atoms within the sphere of Planet Earth and we’re all made of them be we leopards, worms, cancer viri, cars, oak trees, cabbages, etc, etc, etc. Every time our body dies all those atoms get reabsorbed into Mother Earth and then come out again as something else. That feels to me like a PhD in the bleedin’ obvious!

Ok, so it’s true at the basic physical, it’s also true at the spiritual levels as well. We reincarnate as everything … every race, colour, creed, shape, form, gender, orientation, as good, bad, indifferent, memorable or (more likely!) infinitely forgettable. We are each other. Even the Christians say this in Cain’s bleat of “Am I my brother’s keeper?”.

For the shaman it’s obvious. One’s first journeys make this quite apparent – if one is willing to look, to actually go there and not fluff off on a pretty pink trip that comes completely out of our own heads.

And we can begin the work, the journeying, by talking to animals … and then listening! That’s pretty vital. If you don’t listen, you don’t hear. And don’t have preconceptions, how the animals talk with you may not be at all how you expect. Why should it be? But they will talk to you, and you will be able to know them, and they you. And so you will lose your fear and recognise your Elder brothers and sisters, spirits who have so much to teach us if only we will stop to listen.

And your lights will turn on really fast once you start listing to the animal.

Elen Sentier

writer artist gardener shaman

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Celtic shaman – Elen Sentier Talk to the animals …

Speaking with virtue

I gather that the Celts held good speech to be a virtue. What does this mean in practice? There are some obvious ways in which speech can be virtuous – being truthful without being offensive is the most apparent. Saying things you do not mean in the heat of the moment is not virtuous. Good speech is thoughtful, measured, and considered even when it is passionate. Here are some other suggestions for making speech into an ethical expression of self.

Speaking with clarity is a virtue. Rushed, clumsy and thoughtless speech can be hard to follow. Poor communication can cause injury and distress. Take the time to make sure that your words convey what you meant to the person listening. This means keeping an eye on how they appear to respond, and if feedback isn’t offered, ask for it, and listen. “But that wasn’t what I meant!” is such a commonly offered excuse when offence is taken. If the other person has heard something you didn’t mean, then the onus is on you to fix that, explain, and try to understand how they got the wrong idea. Tell them it wasn’t what you meant, but carefully re-explain yourself so as not to pile one injury on another by rejecting their reaction. Different people interpret in different ways, and the clearer we can be the less scope there is for confusion. There are people who will wilfully misinterpret, so give them as little scope to do so as possible.

Speak to offer praise. If something is good, comment on it. Anything clever, worthy, beautiful, truthful, brave and so forth deserves to be praised. Use your speech to support that which you value, to talk up those who do well, and to celebrate what is good. In doing this you enrich the lives of those around you and encourage them to continue doing well. Praise is nurturing, it feeds creativity, and helps folks stay brave and honourable in hard times.

It is equally important to speak in criticism, to acknowledge when all is not well. This should be done with care and respect, rather than with a view to knocking down or taking apart. To refrain from commenting on a wrong thing is to allow it to continue unchecked. If people do not know they are in error, they have no scope to repair or improve. Balancing praise and criticism makes it clearer that both are genuine, either offered to the exclusion of the other is not virtuous speech and will seem suspect to those hearing it.

Speak with eloquence. Language, be it spoken or written, is a thing of beauty. Most people only use a tiny handful of the available words, turning to cliché and expletives in search of colour. Be creative with your words, be poetic, graceful and playful. Speak quietly and well, and folks will listen – only rarely is it necessary to shout. Let what you say come from your heart, and offer it with sincerity. Beautiful speech is a skill, an asset, a way of enriching your life. When you part your lips, do so to add something to the world, not to knock down or take away. Make your speech a blessing and a gift to those who hear it.

One of the things I’ve come to realise is that this takes time. In the hurried, pressured modern environment we rush through work and social contact alike. People don’t give themselves, or others, time to think. Without being able to pause before opening your mouth, it’s much harder to speak well. However, good, clear, honourable speech avoids a lot of problems and is inherently valuable. It is worth slowing down to do this properly.

Ancient Calendar: A Magician, Astronomer, the Sun God and Welsh Goddess: July 13, 2010

On July 13th 1527, the noted magician & astronomer who studied at Cambridge named John Dee was born. John Dee made quite a name for himself and his reputation was outstanding. He served the court of Queen Elizabeth I as a consultant, and then created the largest personal library in the world. John Dee spent his entire life studying the Occult and Magic. While many tried to murder him for being a buddy of the devil, Queen Elizabeth I made sure that didn’t happen. While no one could burn his alive, though, after her death in 1603, John Dee was still forced to die a pauper five years later in his home at Mortlake—(Being shunned by James I–her successor) among the many books and literary wonders he had spent his life collecting.


According to Ancient Egypt, Ra, their Sun God was born on this day.


And once the sun went down (as Ra bid his good-byes) the Welsh would have been having a feast, marking their calendars for Gwyl o Cerridwen–in honor of their Goddess Cerridwen, who stood for fertility. She was a triple Goddess–representing maiden, mother, and crone.