Friday, December 30, 2011

Preparing for the new year

I have a daily meditation book called The Celtic Spirit - Daily Meditations for the Turning Year by Caitlin Matthews. I would highly recommend this book for some daily readings and good food for thought from a Celtic perspective. It cycles through the Celtic Year beginning on November 1 through Samhain on October 31.
The reading for today was quite fitting to what I might suggest, so instead of recreating the wheel, here is today's reading:
Gathering in the Year

It is at the years end that the fisherman tells of his fishing. -Scots Gaelic proverb
The end of the calendar year is the time when we traditionally look forward and make good resolutions for the coming year. But before can do that, we need also to make a summation of the past achievements and mistakes so that we have a sense of the years shape. It may be helpful to wind the year backward, retracing our steps from November back to January. As we go backward, month by month, we can consider the, following questions: What was the major theme of this month? Which events made the greatest impression on my life? What did I achieve? What mistakes do I regret? The point is not to indulge in blame and guilt but to neutrally survey our findings.

Now look back over the year as a whole and make a summation of its overall pattern and effect upon you. What has this year meant in real terms to you? How has it changed the world? Which new figures and influences have come into your life?

Now for the third part of this review. Looking at the year just past, move forward from January to December, asking these questions about each month: What seeds were sown in this month that affect me now? What wisdom have I learned? Which patterns and connections are poised to continue unfolding in the year ahead? Which obstructing or unhelpful aspects of my own behavior need to change? Having made our review, we can now consider the year ahead and lay down pathways of resolution and intention that will help guide our steps.

Make your review of the year as suggested above.

Have a safe and happy new year.

Until Next time...
Mitakuye Oyasin (A Lakota prayer reminding us we are all related)
Debbie & Gary

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Shaman's Yule Journey

Grab your egg nog and cookies, snuggle up in a blanket and get ready for story time...
A Shaman’s Yule Journey
By Debbie Gent
With a little help from Clement Clarke Moore and The Night Before Christmas

Debbie, Gary & Mother
T’was Yule Eve and in circle we sat.
Everyone positioned on their journey mat.

Gary and I were perched at the drum,
Echoing the rhythm of Mother Earth’s hum.

The World Tree before us, we followed the threads
As altered states visions danced through our heads.

I had just settled down to let myself go,
When way out ahead I saw a red glow.

Then the sound of bells rang and made such a sound,
I focused my “vision” to see what was around.

Siberian Shaman
When what to my altered state eyes did appear,
But a little old man and his crew of reindeer.

Closer and closer and closer he came,
And when he got nearer he called out my name.

“Debbie, come on and join in the fun.
Come join my travels to see the birth of the sun.”

I was astonished, there was no doubt,
But my guides pushed me forward, no chickening out.

In the chariot of gold I came and sat,
Next to this spirit so happy and fat.

Questions were running so fast through my head,
“The birth of the sun, is that what you said?”

“The Goddess is ready, the Sun to bring forth”
He called to his reindeer to head east by north.

There in the east was a crowd up ahead
He grabbed my hand, through the crowd he lead.

Before me sat the Goddess, her belly so large
She was ready to push and asked me to take charge.

Without a thought I took her hand
And the song of “push” rang through the land.

“Push Goddess, Push Mother” the encouragement rang
As the voice of her people around her sang.

And with one last push the Sun was born,
With His light, the world to adorn.

Angelic voices announced the birth of the Sun.
I moved slowly back, my job being done.

And as I moved slowly from sight,
The Goddess smiled at me this night.

To the chariot I returned,
As tonight there was still more to be learned.

Shaman Flight by Amanda Clark 
Up to Spirit we quickly flew
To finish our work without further ado.

We gathered gifts of love and prophecy
To carry back to our community.

Our chariot full, we headed back
To distribute the gifts from within our pack.

Mother Drum played the call back sound
And I started down the World Tree to return to the ground.

With our job done, we said our good nights
And my guide and his reindeer quickly took flight.

And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight…
Merry Yule to all and Welcome the Light!

© 2011 Shamanic Connection LLC

Image Acknowledgements:
Siberian Shaman Image Courtesy of
original artist unknown
Millenial Gaia Image Courtesy of
Shaman Flight with permission- by Amanda Clark and
Winter Solstice Sunrise Photo Courtesy of
Shiningwaters at

Happy Holidays to all our friends. Be safe and may the peace and joy of the season remain with you through out the year.

Until Next time...

Mitakuye Oyasin (A Lakota prayer reminding us we are all related)
Debbie & Gary

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Void and the Empty Chalice

Winter has joined us here in Oregon and nightly covering us with her blanket of deep white frost. If there was any moisture in the air, we’d certainly have snow. Since the beginning of Samhain (right after Halloween), I have been slowly moving deeper into my personal cave, covering up with warm blankets preparing to hibernate for winter. For me it’s just instinctive… weather turns cold… hibernate! Give me a snuggly blanket, a book and a pair of knitting needles and I’m one happy bear!

As Yule approached quite a few years back, a teacher of mine, Patricia Ballentine (, explained this to me with the idea of the Empty Cup or Challice.
“Long ago and far away in the land of my Scottish ancestors this time of the year was recognized as the end of Smahian (SOW-en) and the beginning of Yule. It was the season when we had completed our harvest, drawn our animals in from summer pastures, stocked our pantries, piled the wood, and we snuggled in for the winter. Our time was purposefully spent pausing from so much ‘in the world DOing’ and focused more on BEing connected to those in our homes and ourselves.

In the lives of those of us today who still embrace a relationship in a spiritual sense to the seasons of the year and the ‘old traditions’ this is the time of the void (the empty chalice)…the very holy pause from which new life will be birthed from the divine spark of inspiration when Spring draws near. It’s not a time for DOing things and going places, but a time for BEing with our selves, nurturing our integrated aspects of body, mind and spirit and WAITING with a deep sense of trust for what will surely come in due time.”

Yup, I’m convinced, hibernating is hard wired in our DNA! Hibernating is entering the void…But how many of us avoid this yearly draw into the void, into the depths of ourselves and the Great Mystery and spiral into the frenzy that has become the “Holiday Season”? Not only is all the DOing activity exhausting, but we are going against our true nature! It’s like paddling upstream! No wonder we get so exhausted this time of year!

What keeps us from stepping into the void, into the emptiness? Is it fear? Or guilt? Or…? Fear is a pretty big deterrent for most of us humans. But what is it we fear in the void? If you’re reading this, you’re grown up and most likely not afraid of the dark (and who says the void is dark?). Oh yes, there it is…I see it…it’s the fear of CHANGE. Change requires letting go of what we’ve always known and done to allow in something new. It’s unknown and uncomfortable! But with like anything, the more time we spend being “uncomfortable” the more “comfortable” it gets. We learn to trust ourselves and Spirit to unfold a new reality for us. We learn to welcome the gifts and new opportunities that the void brings to us. It is only in emptiness of the void can meaning, intuitive guidance and our truth arise.

Certainly our modern work ethic doesn’t recognize, let alone honor, the idea of rest. We are taught to feel guilt or shame if we are not DOing. BEing, is slacking, lazy and unproductive. Boy do they have it wrong! If we don’t have a place to BE, we can’t dream and grow and invent. These seeds of creation all begin in darkness, in the womb, taking in the energy that they need to grow. The void is that place of silence, calm and rest that we need to grow.

We want to invite you to begin making an annual pilgrimage to the void beginning this winter. You may not want to stay long at first, but it’s okay to take baby steps. Journey to the open doorway of the void if that’s where you need to start. Ask your Animal Guide or other Spiritual Guides to accompany you. Explore that place of potential, the place with no expectations.

If you are working with your Aspects, check and see if you have an aspect that is driving your DOing. Do you have an “Energizer Bunny”, or the “Over Achiever” somewhere? If so, move them to your heart center and let your other Aspects teach them the ropes and how to play well with your group. Then, take your journey into the void.

What seeds are being charged for you? Experience the peace of reconnecting to the Great Mystery, of simply BEing. Allow yourself to be that empty chalice that is simply waiting to become filled with your dreams...The dreams that are ready to burst forth with life as spring approaches. For now, let your cup remain empty and ready to receive them. And don’t forget to return each winter when you hear the void’s call.

So, as we prepare the altar for our Yule celebrations, my chalice remains empty, upside down, with a candle to represent the spark of inspiration that will come through the void. May your chalice also be empty and at rest this Yule.

See you in the void!

Mitakuye Oyasin (A Lakota prayer reminding us we are all related)
Debbie & Gary  

PS- If you're looking for a special celebration for the Winter Solstice (Yule) check out last December's post.