The Sacred Calling of Corn

Brought to you by Darcey Blue

maizecobfiguresCorn has always been sacred- as food, medicine, spirit guide- to cultures throughout the Americas. It is only our modern culture which has turned corn into a commodity that has been abused and vilified. Corn asks us to begin to reclaim our sacred reciprocal relationship. I ask you today- what can YOU do today to begin to bring corn back into health and sacredness?

Spirit of Corn Altar

Spirit of Corn Altar

“Recently I was clearly called by the spirit of Corn to offer a community ceremony to begin to reconnect with and heal the relationship we as a culture have with the Corn Plant.  At this community ceremony- offerings of corn, tobacco, handmade stylized corn ocarina, corn husk dolls and prayers were placed on the altar as a on offering to the spirit of corn.  And each member of the circle that night asked the spirit of Corn what they could do as an individual to transform their own awareness and relationship with Corn- as a food and as a being of sacred wisdom- and what comittments they would make to the Corn spirit to bring the awareness of the Sacred medicine and wisdom of Corn back into our culture.”

You can listen to Darcey share about corn during her recent ceremony at the Institute for the Shamanic Arts in Tucson by clicking here.

You can read Darcey’s full post about her sacred journey with Corn here.

“There is much healing to be, there is much work too. I know not where it will take me – what more will be asked- but I know, with every cell of my being, that it will be meaningful, deep and healing- for me as an individual- as a healer- and for the world around me.  And I am in humble gratitude.  To the land- to the Corn-to the Ancestors- and Spirit in All to be here, doing this work – not just by words on a page, or a small circle- but taking this work into the physical world, with my body, with my song, with all of me.”

Healing Arts Sampler

As participants traveled down the stairs on Sunday, November 11th, an aura of uplifting, mystical, and calming violet purple welcomed them.

They were greeted at a welcoming table by Elisabeth Black and then escorted inside the Grotto where they quickly became aware of the energetic qualities of centering, blessings, love, sweetness, respect, clearing, radiance, joy, grounding, and light.

This energy radiated from the practitioners and their altars.

Each practitioner had an altar that was filled with sacred items from their practice to promote healing.

Participants commented that they received just what they needed for the day and about how wonderful they felt after receiving sessions.

Practitioners that offered sessions for the day were: Dee Watts, Quynn Red Mountain, Alyson Greene, and Darcey Blue. (Read more about each practitioner at: https://shamanacircle.wordpress.com/is/practitioners/ ).

What follows are pictures of the different altars and a short description about the altar.

Dee’s altar had crystals and owl energy. She said that her crystals were feeling neglected and all called out to come share in the Healing Arts experience.  Owl energy also wanted to be present. She used the crystals in her work and one crystal in particular for divination in showing which chakra was out of balance and needed attention.

Quynn received the message to work with illuminating the “heart”. Her altar had heart stones that included aventurine, selenite, and stone hearts.  Red cloth and rainbow cloth wanted to be present. She also used olive snail shells that she had since 1999 in the same jar. These had been collected on the Olympic peninsula. The shells were smooth and beautiful. LED light was used to focus on the heart and provide illumination.

Alyson’s altar illustrated movement from the underworld up through the earth and out into the air/cosmic with the inclusion of elements.  The underworld was represented by a pomegranate. A blue silk became curving water. Earth elements were shown with animals, crystals, and a turtle. A shell recalled the ocean. Butterflies flew gently with air reminding us of transformation. A cosmic squid lovingly held the idea of Sky People.

Darcey set her altar up according to the four directions. In the south, she had a candle to represent fire. For the west there was lichen to illustrate letting go and releasing (like the cycle of life). The north demonstrated the idea of ancestors and helpers. She did this by using a sacred rock from the root of a juniper tree that first empowered her to become a plant shaman. She also had blue corn because of her strong connection to the spirit of corn and the land. There was a turtle because that is one of her close helpers. Finally, in the east, to aid with clarity, there were bird feathers that she had picked up during her own moments of clarity.

The smudge was for clearing.

For Elisabeth’s altar, a spiral functioned as a gateway to welcome each Healing Arts Sampler participant into the gentle, peaceful, and mindful practice of tending to their sacred SELF by receiving sessions from the practitioners. Some of the tokens that were present were rose quartz for heart, shell for feminine energy, pine cone for male strength, bell for clearing, words: “joy”, “smile”, “fun”, butterfly to soar with your beauty, and a mirror for self-reflection.

I hope that each one of these beautiful, gratitude filled, creative, and inspiring altars has perked your interest.

If you would like the chance to explore more about personal shrines, which are very similar to altars but are more for making personal offerings and devotions, you can do so by attending an upcoming workshop that Quynn is offering.  Find out more at:

http://www.meetup.com/tucson-institute-for-the-shamanic-arts/

Thank you to all of our practitioners and participants for a wonderful Healing Arts Sampler. If you were not able to make it to this one, don’t worry, we will be offering more in the near future!

Thoughts from ISA Practitioners

Recently ISA Practitioners gathered to journey and reflect on how ISA is growing and evolving.

We began by lighting candles that represented each practitioner and the light we carry with us in all of our work. Then Celia Blackwood called in all the directions and asked that our spirit guides be present. This is really important because all ISA work, events, circles, journeys, labyrinths, etc. are spirit guided.

Next, we tuned into what messages our spirit guides wanted us to share. Each of us received meaningful information from our journeys that we imparted to others in our group.

In the picture to the left you can see a big octopus. It represents ISA and the different branches of ISA. All around the octopus is an ocean and that is like Earth Web Media-the umbrella for ISA.

We exchanged positive thoughts regarding ISA and then finally we closed with a beautiful blessing offered by Alyson Greene.

Each of us took time to reflect and write a thought about ISA down.

Here are our offerings:

Alyson Greene: Hummingbird magic journey of delight. Room filled with energy of Hummingbird (joy, love, beauty, quick flight, far journeys between the worlds). Everyone (all of us) had profound Hummingbird experiences in our journeys. One theme that came through was being courageous, shedding what is not needed, and the steady loving presence that arises when the busyness is set aside.

Celia Blackwood: Being involved with ISA has been a deeply enriching experience on a personal and community level. ISA has helped me discover and develop my own abilities and connections with my helping spirits as well as my own highest self. My confidence in the tools and techniques of shamanic practice has grown and continues to be nurtured. I am so grateful to offer circles and teachings to others because I know how transformative this shamanic experience can be.

Darcey Blue: The Idea! Yay! series helped me to define, clarify and enhance my professional image and presentation-with spirit guidance.

Plant Journey Walks that are magical and deeply move people to connect with nature in a meaningful way and put them beyond their usual comfort zone helping them to grow and feel the joy and magic of the world.

Plant Journey Circles help people of all skill experience levels to trust their intuition, the shamanic process, and their ability to communicate and understand nature and its messages and gifts.

Quynn Elizabeth Red Mountain: I am very happy to say that our recent shamanic performance came together perfectly. I am grateful that each performer was brave and listened to their guides about what she was to present. Each segment shared an aspect of the shamanic path as experienced by the performer. I don’t know if the whole audience “got it” but I know our spirit guides “got us”.  Thanks to all who attended.

I am grateful to be back to offering personal sessions for people. I took a break over the summer and then while I drummed for participants in a workshop in September, I was given a clear “go ahead” from my guides to offer shamanic journey sessions. I am thrilled to be of service in this way once more.

Elisabeth Black: My positive note is that ISA is having a greater outreach to younger people. Children have started attending circles and labyrinths with their parents. Sensorium for Kids is having a growing outreach. We are striving to meet the needs of children and their parents.

ISA has a strong foundation of beliefs and practitioners that understand and live these practices. They are models for healthy, vibrant, light filled, shamanic mindfulness.

Thank you to our ISA practitioners for bringing us all of the wonderful workshops and circles!

If you are interested in becoming an ISA practitioner, your first step is taking the Healing Practitioner series offered by Quynn each season. The first meeting for this takes place on Saturday, November 3. You can find out more information about it on our meetup page at:

http://www.meetup.com/tucson-institute-for-the-shamanic-arts/

Adventure with the Plant Spirits

As shadows lengthened across the saguaros and sunlit clouds gathered above us, six journeyers hiked into Sabino canyon. Herbalist and plant whisperer Darcey Blue led the way. As we traversed a rocky, narrow trail above mature cottonwood trees and willows, we could see and hear the water flowing below. Our recent monsoon rains have brought out perky new growth on shrubs and trees, and everything smelled fresh and lovely. Even the rocky outcroppings seemed to be a more vibrant shade of desert pink.

 As we walked, we discussed the deliciousness of freshly-plucked prickly pear trail snacks. Then, as we rounded a bend in the trail, we spotted a prickly pear fruit loose on the path. Darcey quickly (and valiantly) rolled the fruit on the ground to remove its spines and then skinned it for us. Happily, we each tasted a bit of the succulent red fruit. Smiling, we continued along our way. 

At our lovely gathering place nestled in the canyon, with the sounds of flowing water and rustling cottonwood leaves, and with flying clouds all around us, Darcey invited us to imbibe the scent of the intoxicating Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi), which is also amusingly known as “hippopotamus lavender” to a few of us. After several dreamy “oohs” and “ahhs” were uttered, our group gathered in a heart-shaped “circle” and began a special heart meditation. We were invited to connect with the plants by way of our deepest heart knowing, rather than with our thinking minds. We felt very peaceful, and then Darcey instructed us to each choose a plant and to settle in with it for a shamanic journey.

Our group dispersed, some people sitting with trees or herbaceous plants next to the water, others with mesquite or willow. As dusk floated into the canyon on pink clouds, the brilliant red and orange hues of the river rocks intensified. Even the water began to glow. Cottonwood leaves turned a deep green, seemingly lit from their own source of light. As Darcey began to drum, the cicadas immediately began a lively concert. It was a symphony of summer night sounds—the insects, leaves, water, hawk, sky! Darcey drummed and drummed, and the journeyers traveled with the spirits of their chosen plants. When we gathered back in our heart-shaped “circle” to share our experiences, we heard that vivid messages and imagery had been received. Also, Snake and Hummingbird had visited two of us.

 Darcey drummed for us a second time, and this time Nature loudly called out to us! Soon after the drumming began, the winds suddenly raised a wild ruckus of cottonwood leaves, and then Hawk let out a sharp greeting across the sky! During this second journey, the plants themselves made strong requests of at least two of the journeyers. Later, while hiking out, we were a merry little group walking through the night. The temperature was perfect, and the breeze so lovely. After we arrived back down at the trailhead, a few little drops of rain (and three frogs!) blessed our evening, and we all said good night to each other.

In the coming weeks, Darcey Blue and others with the Institute for the Shamanic Arts will be offering more shamanic events in nature. You are invited.                               

 

–By Alyson Greene

 

 

Darcey and Alyson both offer circles through our meetup group. To find out more information please see:

http://www.meetup.com/tucson-circle-for-the-shamanic-arts/