Moving to New Mexico dramatically changed my life. We first lived in the small town of Ramah near the Zuni Pueblo. Here we became friends with the family of the Zuni governor who invited us to attend Shalako, their most celebrated and sacred all night ceremonial dances of the year. On that auspicious evening, we waited patiently with other bystanders in the on-coming cold of the night. What was to unfold was still a mystery to me, but the sense of awe and reverence in the air was palpable. Then all of a sudden, gracing the distant horizon like a filmy mirage, appeared six towering Kachinas. The Shalako had begun their approach.
Much later into the night, carried on the waves of drumming rhythms and chanting, I found myself standing in the familiar, invisible soul place of my childhood. I knew then that I was not a stranger or a mere spectator here. I was part of a human, collective heartbeat that transcends divisiveness and separation. There is a deep taproot of shared humanity existing in our earth-based rituals and ceremonials.
The dawn of that morning seemed like the first. The Longhorn climbed to the rooftop, his prayers calling out to the East. Elongated shadows crept across the frozen river as the rays of the morning sun bathed the sacred mesa. The light was returning to the memory that throughout the world, humankind has continually ritualized spiritual renewal and connection within the deep tides of being.
I continued to follow numerous paths and travels to distant places and sacred sites. I loved the sheer mystery of adventure, riding in the back of pickup trucks on unknown treks; hitchhiking on roads leading to crystal mines and amber fields in Mexico; taking a Bolivian bus on the most treacherous single lane, dirt road in the world, descending a one thousand foot drop, its rear wheel clearly a little off the edge.
During this time I also had many wonderful teachers and studied a variety of ways of going deep into the realms of soul. I danced, explored chi-gong, tai-chi, yoga, ceremony, meditation and spirit journeying. All ways in which the body itself, its positions and movements, mudras and hand placements, chakras, ritual postures, change our energy fields and our mind states, dispersing fixed energy, setting us free . . . out of time and mind into the heart and soul’s high-level virtues of integrity, inner peace, compassion, wisdom and joy. Many of these techniques throughout the world are accompanied by music that creates fields of harmonic resonance where the individual soul meets the collective heartbeat that we all share.
And so, along this way I began to write medicine stories, and the Spirit Friends gradually emerged. With my son, Amani, sound healer and composer of richly laden medicine music, the Shaman’s Eye music was born to accompany my healing work. Shaman’s Eye is an interweaving of indigenous rhythms with the sounds of the natural world, otherworldly percussion and worldwide sacred songs and chants.
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