Statement of Intent Regarding The Time of the Warrioress Gatherings

As political events have unfolded, I’ve become more and more aware of the negative impact they are having on women. Although I do sign petitions, complain far too much on FB, and make calls at times, I’m not cut out to be a political activist. However, there is something I can offer women who are being traumatized by the rhetoric and actions of Donald Trump and our new government: feminist shamanic practices that heal and strengthen women.

That’s why I’m offering The Time of the Warrioress Gatherings, which are designed to do just that.

Feminist shamanism offers many ways for women to process and free themselves from negative feelings they may be experiencing in response to the current political climate.
Becoming a feminist shamanic Warrioress for these times, by means of awakening and integrating the full spectrum of feminist shamanic goddess energies available to us, is one way women can become both potent adversaries and powerful antidotes to the patriarchal abuses our new government is directing at women and others.

Formal feminist shamanic talking circles, during which each woman’s concerns and thoughts are attentively listened to but not challenged, can help heal feelings of “not being heard.”

Engaging with other women in feminist shamanic drumming, singing, chanting, and movement releases negativity and engenders a sense of belonging and feminine empowerment.

Direction-specific feminist shamanic meditations, visualizations and affirmations bring one into alignment with the stability of the feminist shamanic Medicine Wheel Mandala, and with the strengths and accomplishments available to us within each direction within the mandala.

Psychic protection methods, which involve breathwork and movement, protect us both from our own imbalances and from the imbalances of others, while simultaneously empowering us.

And feminist shamanic journeys, during which one can engage with various shamanic goddess archetypes, will over time enable us to awaken, activate, and integrate the many faces of the Sacred Feminine into our individual sense of self-identity.

This is a major focus of the Gatherings, because the patriarchal culture in which we live values only one aspect of the sacred Feminine as expressed by women: its “make nice,” seemingly submissive face. I say “seemingly submissive,” because when one begins to shamanically engage with that aspect of the Feminine, one soon learns that behind that pleasant and diplomatic façade lies the awesome power to free us from internalized patriarchal religious and social belief systems.

I believe that women are going to need to take the lead in pushing back against Trump and his agenda. I believe that we can find the strength to do so by awakening, accepting, integrating, and learning to value and express the many faces of the Sacred Feminine in every area of our lives. I believe that by banding together in an effort to do so, once-traumatized women, standing side by side with female political powerhouses, can become a force capable of resisting and bringing down Trumpism, and of eventually reversing the tsunami of patriarchal abuse that we’re being subjected to in today’s socio-political climate.

Posted in Feminist Shamanism, Time of The Warrioress

Choosing a Shamanic Teacher

In our culture, there is a great deal of confusion about what it means to be a shamanic teacher, as well as what it means to be a student of such a teacher, and many people have been harmed because of this confusion.

In feminist shamanic practice, there is no hierarchical structure, as there always is in patriarchal traditions and practices. Rather, the teacher, if healed, understands herself to be like a compass, pointing the way towards a  feminist shamanic awakening, but always allowing the student to proceed at her own pace. Needless to say, the dance between shamanic teacher and student is a delicate one, and the bond between them can easily be broken should either the student or the teacher become entrapped in ego-generated thinking.

In the early stages of the student’s experience, she will very likely perceive the teacher to be flawless. To counteract that tendency, the teacher must make an effort to demonstrate her humanity to her students at the same time that she demonstrates her shamanic power. The reason for this is that it is understood that each one of us brings a valuable perspective to the interpretation of reality, even the most raw novice. This understanding must be balanced with the teacher’s responsibility to guide her student correctly, and to counter eruptions of ego imbalance within the student’s psyche that will be detrimental to the student and to those the student may eventually attempt to heal or teach herself. And almost every student, at some point in her shamanic development, will succumb to the urgings of her ego to test her power against that of her teacher.

This is a critical point in the student’s training, and a trial for the teacher, for she must simultaneously realign the student’s ego, while maintaining her stance as guide rather than authority figure. It is at this juncture that the student will either quit training, be released from training by the teacher, or realize her ego-imbalance and become willing to bear the humbling experience of bringing it back into balance under the guidance of the teacher.  The successful negotiation of this struggle by both student and teacher is a necessary prerequisite for the student’s admission into advanced levels of training.

As the teacher-student relationship develops over time, the feminist shamanic teacher encourages the student to rely more and more upon her own judgment and direct shamanic experience, and to bring all that she is becoming to the talking circles and councils of her shamanic group. Eventually, the student and teacher stand side by side, working together on healing and research projects, advising and supporting one another in countless ways.

Some tools used by feminist shamans.

Some tools used by feminist shamans.

When one fails to completely heal one’s own wounds or to release one’s own sorrows before becoming a teacher of others, one puts oneself and others at risk in particular ways. One such risk, and perhaps the most dangerous one, is that one may overcompensate for feelings of low self-esteem and victimization by perceiving oneself as somehow enlightened or spiritually superior to others. When this occurs, one becomes blind to one’s own flaws, wounds and neuroses, and they are then often projected onto others. We see this kind of thing happening all the time, particularly among cult leaders. The supplicant or student or apprentice is convinced by the teacher or leader that this or that or the other is wrong with him, and that the teacher is the only one who can fix him, or show him the way to lasting health, wealth and happiness. The results of falling into such a trap can be emotionally, psychically and financially devastating.

To anyone considering apprenticing to a shamanic teacher, I urge you to exercise extreme caution and critical judgment about the character, ethical stance, possible hidden agendas, and camouflaged personal issues the teacher may be struggling with before you make either a financial or an emotional commitment to the person. Sometimes two people simply don’t click, for whatever reasons. Naturally, you will want to continue your search for a teacher elsewhere if this occurs, but sometimes there are much more dangerous energies at play. Following are a few good rules of thumb to help you make sound choices. If you experience any of the following symptoms during or after an encounter with a potential teacher, or any other person, you should consider that you have entered a psycho-spiritual danger zone, and you should exercise extreme caution regarding continuing the contact.

1. You are left feeling frightened, guilty, inadequate, diminished, or wrong in some vague way after talking with the person.

2. You feel “high” or somehow seduced by the person’s charismatic personality;

3. You feel confused after reading materials the person has written, or after attending a workshop of having a private session with the person;

4. An attempt is made to convince you that you have some special gift or talent that could or should be directed towards helping the teacher carry out a messianic agenda of some kind.

In all such instances, your body is the best alarm system you possess. Pay attention to what it’s telling you. If you experience fear, unease, anxiety or any other such indicator of danger, especially when it’s accompanied by an unpleasant physical sensation or thrill of fear anywhere in your torso, you should immediately back away from the person who triggered such sensations, and stay away.

Whether or not you ever grasp intellectually what transpired between the two of you, you can completely trust your body’s knowledge of what transpired between you at a psychic level. When you experience physical sensations of danger in the presence of another person, however charming that person may seem, it may mean that at best, you and this person are simply not psychologically compatible, and at worst, that the person has a hidden agenda for you that may not be in your best interests. Such warning signs can also mean that there is some unresolved issue in your own psyche that may not be ready for healing, but which may nevertheless be triggered repeatedly for you by a corresponding unresolved issue in the other person’s psyche. Whichever the case may be, if you continue exploring the relationship, it’s very likely that you will be hurt in some way by doing so, later if not sooner.

Often twistings of “truths” and symptoms of hidden agendas are very subtle and hard to recognize, so you should allow yourself time away from the person to think, to evaluate, to listen to what your own body and heart are telling you about the advisability of working with a particular person. If you are recovering from a profound trauma of some kind, or have recently experienced a devastating emotional loss of some kind, it’s likely that your capacity to engage in critical thinking may have been compromised. In such instances, you must be even more careful and rely upon the input of trusted friends and family members, and perhaps that of a good therapist whom you trust, to help you make a good decision in the matter of choosing a teacher.

Posted in Feminist Shamanism

Dealing with Contemporary Patriarchy, Part One

"Portrait of a Woman" Acrylic on gessoed paper 20 x 24" - Early work - 1970s

“Portrait of a Woman”
Acrylic on gessoed paper
20 x 24″ – Early work – 1970s

Have you ever been told you’re “too emotional” when you express hurt or sadness or confusion in response to the way a loved one is treating you? Have you ever been told by an intimate partner, family member, friend, teacher, or boss that your perception of reality is flawed, or that you have a personality defect, or a “problem,” or that what just happened didn’t happen, or that you take things too personally when you seek to resolve the issue by telling them how you feel in response to the way they’re treating you? Do you know only that you felt bad in such instances, but not how to deal with them? Do you know the name of the cultural paradigm behind the way you’re being treated in such instances? Many of us go through life never understanding that the hidden intent behind the cultural paradigm responsible for these kinds of hurtful behaviors is to gain power over us; to thwart us; to hold us back; to keep us “down,” and to gain control over our thoughts and actions on every level. This cultural paradigm has a name. Its name is Patriarchy.  Many of us believe that patriarchy is a thing of the distant past, not realizing that as women, we deal with very intentful forms of contemporary patriarchy on pretty much a daily basis.  Often we fail to realize that hurtful or confusing words and behaviors we encounter on a daily basis, whether in our intimate and family relationships, at work, in the classroom, or sometimes even in the grocery store, are expressions of contemporary patriarchy. Naming something for what it is, is the first step in understanding it. Understanding it is the first step in becoming able to free ourselves from it.

But then, once we’ve named and understood something, and want to free ourselves from it, we’re faced with the question: How, exactly, do I go about doing that?  Since the late 1700s, women in this country have been addressing patriarchal abuses in various ways. We have used social and political methods of doing so, and have made many gains, and yet, we are still dealing with patriarchal attitudes and behaviors in contemporary culture. Why is this? One of the reasons is that patriarchy is all about males exercising power over women, and the “power-over” paradigm is so deeply entrenched in most cultures in the world that most people don’t recognize it for what it is. Another reason is that most males believe, to varying degrees, that they are superior to women and either consciously or unconsciously want to control and dominate them.

"Patriarchy" w/c, ink and acrylic on gessoed paper

w/c, ink and acrylic on gessoed paper

Why do they want to do that? They want to do that because they are victims of the pathologically inflated ego consciousness which has been infecting cultural consciousness for thousands of years now. Ego consciousness is a function of the Masculine principle. It is entirely goal-oriented, and its genius lies in its ability to “get things done.” We need it. However, ego consciousness is completely lacking in Wisdom, which is a function of the Feminine principle.  Patriarchy is the result of ego-consciousness having become inflated to the point where it believes it has the right to take control of everything – not only getting things done, but also interpreting events and deciding what should be done about any given situation. In order to accomplish this goal, it must usurp the role of Feminine Wisdom. In order to usurp the role of Feminine Wisdom, which is to guide ego-consciousness towards right action in the world, it must assert itself as the ultimate authority. In order to do that, it must silence the Feminine principle, thus rendering its inherent Wisdom unavailable to women, lest they speak it and insist upon the Masculine heeding its advice.

Posted in Dealing with Contemporary Patriarchy, Part One, Patriarchy, Shamanic First Aid

Notes on A Woman’s Shamanic Retreat in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains: Part Eight

PART EIGHT: Black Bear & “Soft Paw” Medicine

Black Bear: Crop from the painting "Where the Women Go to Heal"Oil on Linen: 30 x 40" - $4800. Available through Turtle Mountain Mythic Art>br/>To see entire painting visit

Black Bear: Crop from the painting
“Where the Women Go to Heal”
Oil on Linen: 30 x 40″ – $4800. Available through Turtle Mountain Mythic Art>br/>To see entire painting visit


It was the last day of the retreat, and Moon Dancer and I had the day to ourselves to review the work we had done. Early that morning, soon after the others had left, I had realized, during a conversation with her, that I had not attended to all of my own issues during the retreat, being focused on the other’s needs, and was feeling very uncomfortable about a particular issue having to do with the recent loss of a very important relationship.

Black Bear has been one of my medicines for some time now, in addition to my primary Grizzly medicine. While Black Bear had appeared to me in dreams and journeys many times, I had not as yet learned a great deal about its medicine ways.



Bear Medicine was approaching.

Bear Medicine was approaching.



The first sign that this was about to change was the huge pile of very fresh black bear scat Moon Dancer and I came upon during our mid-morning walk on our last day at the farm. (We didn’t think to photograph it, not knowing what was about to happen, but the photo above, which I downloaded from Google images, looks very much like the scat we saw in the middle of the farm road not far from the house.) Neither of us were certain that it was bear scat at the time, because of its fresh, grassy appearance, but I suspected it might be, given its size, and the wide range of colors and shapes bear scat can take.

Bear was approaching.

Bear was approaching.

An hour or so later, after a lunch of leftovers, Moon Dancer took another walk, this time up to the top of the slate quarry on the property. On her way back down, she came upon a huge, very fresh bear paw print, although the claws were not part of it. A bit shaken, she quickly took a photo of it, and returned to the farm to show me. Bear was coming closer. Knowing Bear medicine can heal heartache, I asked Moon Dancer to look into my issue in a journey. The guidance she was given for me had to do with one of the many differences between Black Bear and Grizzly medicines.




K326-G - "Standing Bear"16 x 17" Archival Quality Giclee Print: $475 matted; $675 framed

K326-G – “Standing Bear”
16 x 17″ Archival Quality Giclee Print:
$475 matted; $675 framed

Having worked with Grizzly medicine for over two decades, it seems that I’m all too comfortable with its aggressive nature, and while I try to mitigate that, I don’t always succeed in doing so. In her journey, Moon Dancer was shown an image of a Grizzly bear leading with its long claws, juxtaposed against the Black Bear paw print in which no claw marks were evident. “This [paw print without claws showing] represents Black Bear ‘soft paw’ medicine,” she was told, “and Scarlet needs to learn how to use it. While Blacks can also be aggressive at times, it’s their basic nature to be somewhat shy and retiring, and to avoid conflict. In shamanic work Black Bears can do healing with a ‘soft touch’ in which they do not always use their claws. The teaching is to frequently touch the hearts of loved ones with the ‘soft paw’ of Black Bear medicine rather than with the ‘sharp paw’ of Grizzly medicine.”

Bear in the farmyard.

Bear in the farmyard.

Just then, Moon Dancer’s phone rang. She arose and went outside onto the slate patio to take the call. Suddenly she beckoned for me, and I went to join her. A huge black bear was lumbering through the yard, moving north to south. (In feminist shamanic practice, the North-South axis within the Medicine Wheel Mandala is symbolic of one’s walk through physical life, which was the source of my distress.) She was able to get a photo of the bear as it crossed the farmhouse lawn, before it disappeared off into the forest beyond the farmyard. That bear definitely got  our attention that day, as though to emphasize the importance of paying attention to the teaching we had just received.

Mastering the ability to control which kind of Bear medicine I’ll express when interacting with loved ones (and others who may be sensitive to my Grizzly ways), will be a major piece of shamanic work for me, but one that will doubtless bring positive changes in my relationships with loved ones and with people in general.

This was a perfect conclusion to our weekend of intense shamanic work. One knows one has gone deep shamanically when the natural world and its inhabitants begin expressing what one has encountered in the shamanic realm. And…what better way could there have been to end the retreat than with a teaching for the teacher!

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Posted in 2015 In Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains

Notes on a Women’s Shamanic Retreat in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains: Part Seven

Sea Turtle Teachings & Secondary Shamanic Initiations

Stone Woman & TurtleDream No. 2Available as archival quality giclee print through Turtle Mountain Mythic Art.

Stone Woman & Turtle: Dream No. 2
Available as archival quality giclee print
through Turtle Mountain Mythic Art.

As we continued our talking circles and shamanic scanning, it became clear that one of the women in our circle was experiencing a secondary level of shamanic initiation, and that the imagery she was seeing in dreams and shamanic journeys was trying to make her aware of that fact.

When we put our feet on a genuine shamanic path, answering a call resulting from a physical or psychological trauma of such magnitude that we have experienced a shamanic “ego-death,” we cannot know where that path will lead us. Shamanic ego death occurs when one is stripped of one’s previous ego-identity as a result of the intensity of the psychological or physical trauma one suffers during one’s initiatory trial and calling. Shamanic ego-death is a requirement for receiving a shamanic calling, and is one of the hallmarks of a genuine shamanic initiatory crisis, leading us into deep introspection and humility about who we once were but are no longer. It is this aspect of the initiatory crisis that makes one psychologically “fit” to ethically handle shamanic power, for there is no room for ego-responses or emotional reactions to others when doing this kind of healing work.

Nor do we usually know, unless we have an experienced shamanic teacher to guide us along our shamanic path, that we will be facing additional initiation trials as we grow in shamanic understanding and strength. Each new level of shamanic understanding and strength we achieve must replace its predecessor, which is no longer appropriate for us. While the initial crisis is usually quite dramatic and ego-shattering, the additional levels of initiation that may follow are not always so. In preparation for the deeper level of shamanic consciousness that awaits us in such instances, we may experience a slow breaking down of ego and shamanic identity over time. Many of these secondary initiation trials become teachers of shamanic endurance and tests of shamanic commitment rather than of finding the will to survive and embrace the sudden “cracking open” of shamanic consciousness that one generally experiences in the original shamanic initiatory crisis. If we are shamanically alert, we may become aware of this gradual erosion of identity by means of dream or shamanic journey imagery, or by means of experiences in physical reality.

K299 Turtle & Stone Woman Dream No. 5

Stone Woman & Turtle Dream No. 5
w/c and pastel on paper. Illustration for my upcoming book, “The Stone Heart Turtle People: The Place of the Springs”

These additional trials of shamanic endurance come to us, not because we seek them; those of us who have gone through the trauma of a genuine initiatory crisis know better than to actively seek shamanic power. The way of it is that shamanic power approaches and calls us when it will, and only when we have, usually all unawares, achieved a level of shamanic consciousness to which it is attracted.

As we looked into the situation, we received new teachings from Sea Turtle, perhaps the most important of which was that shamanic archetypes such as Sea Turtle live and die as do all living beings in physical reality, reincarnating in new forms appropriate to individual shamans and to the times in which they live and work. When one is going through such a secondary initiation, one may feel detached or somehow distant from one’s personal and shamanic identities for a time, until the old identity-perception has dissolved and the new one has taken form as the process of moving into the new level of shamanic consciousness completes itself. It’s critical that the initiate discipline herself to psychologically tolerate this feeling, and to cultivate a shamanically implacable and intentful confidence that the process will successfully complete itself. The test of this particular kind of secondary initiation is to find the shamanic ability to endure the discomfort of letting go of the familiar and simply allowing the new to find its shape and form within one’s psyche. This teaching can be a tough one for us Westerners, who are so enmeshed in patriarchal cultural values, and have been taught from childhood that action, not waiting or enduring uncertainty, is the best way to deal with any and all dilemmas.

Sea Turtle Medicine, with its enormous capacity for creating and holding psychological and shamanic balance, and for patience and endurance, is the perfect medicine to help us through not only times involving secondary shamanic initiatory experiences, but also times of uncertainty and loss of ego-identity that any of us may experiences as we love, lose love, marry, divorce, become parents, or make geographical moves or career changes.  For more teachings about Sea Turtle Medicine and holding one’s “center” in times of stress, refer to The Center teachings offered in my new booklet, Shamanic First Aid for Today’s Woman.

Posted in Feminist Shamanic Intensives & Retreats, Primary posts Tagged with: , , , , , , ,