Blessed Midsummer!

Jun 19, 2018

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to
the Mainstream

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.


The Gateway: Gizmodo's New Podcast About
Controversial YouTube Guru Teal Swan (TRAILER)

The Gateway is a six-part series about Teal Swan, a new brand of spiritual guru, who draws in followers with her hypnotic self-help YouTube videos aimed at people who are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. Some followers move to Teal’s healing center—a spiritual startup in Atenas, Costa Rica—where they produce content and manage social media accounts. Teal insists her therapy saves lives, but her critics say Teal’s death-focused dogma is dangerous.

**TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with suicide and other awfulness.**

Last fall Gizmodo gained incredible access to teal's operation. Reporter Jennings Brown not only interviewed teal several times, he was allowed to take a crew into Philia, her retreat center in Costa Rica, to observe one of her high ticket Curveball retreats. The result of his year-long investigation is a six-part podcast series that is by far the most extensive profile of teal yet by a mainstream media outlet. Days before Gizmodo first interviewed teal, she was interviewed by reporter Addison Nugent for OZY, an international, online magazine. The interview was uncomfortable for teal, which she expressed immediately, and somewhat intemperately, on her blog. Neither the resulting OZY article nor "The Gateway" podcast series — which began airing at the end of May and has aired three episodes to date — have been mentioned by teal or her team.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I was interviewed by both reporters and my statements appear in both pieces.)

The day ends.  The house falls into the dark silence of sleep.  The next morning we board a plane to Paris.  I have one more interview to do; a segment for the provocateurs section of OZY.  This interview marks the end of this European tour.  I have five minutes to change my outfit before the camera is switched on in our hotel room.  The style of this interview is not what I expected.  There are two different styles of interview, one is supportive and the other is antagonistic.  In a supportive style interview, you are already going into the interview being loved.  The entire structure of the interview is set up to make you look good.  In an antagonistic style interview, the majority of the focus is placed on challenging you.  No one holds your hands in support in this type of interview.  Instead, the interviewer gives you the opportunity to fight though the power of narration to earn people’s good opinion by putting you on the spot.  The interview started off with this: “I have interviewed spiritual leaders from everywhere and many of them have been doing this for more than 30 years and to be honest, none of them have the amount of controversy, hatred and dedicated antagonists as you do.  There is so much written against you out there in the world, they call you things like ‘the suicide catalyst’, why do you think that is?”  In an antagonistic style interview, you spend your time trying to answer questions while simultaneously trying to caretake the vulnerable aspect of you that feels targeted and like hiding under a blanket while sucking its thumb.  Sometimes the interviewer is already biased against you and is simply setting up the interview as a trap to make you look bad so their pre-conceived, concrete concept of you can then be shared by the world in order to make them feel personally validated.  But if the interviewer is genuinely non-biased, the antagonistic style of interview often leads to the best content.  Nonetheless, it is always awkward when this style of interview ends because everyone acts as if nothing just happened and everyone is really friends when in reality both you know and they know that it was an antagonistic interaction that made all parties involved socially uncomfortable.  I decided to order minestrone soup after the interview was over to comfort myself and take a bath before I fell asleep. [all emphases added]

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Plants and Elementals: Working with Helping Spirits with Daniel Abney

Elemental Spirits are often ignored as we reach for helping spirits in the vast range of land spirits, from the smallest garden sprite to the great mountain spirits and all the many manifestations between. And yet the spirits of the elements are constant teachers of balance and flow, the two fundamental energetic principles for physical health and mental well-being. Join us this week as geomancer, Daniel Abney, joins host and shaman, Christina Pratt, to explore our health and its relationship with the plant and elemental spirits. In our addictive rush to the altered states offered by the plants like ayahuasca, San Pedro, and peyote, we miss the powerful medicinal force of plants as helping spirits and the exceptionally direct and wise restorative force of the elemental spirits.

This week's guest:
Daniel Abney, LMP


Daniel discovered a strong relationship with plant spirits and elemental spirits through his exploration of shamanism and decades of dedicated spiritual practice. Today he offers himself as a geomancer and healer to the energies of the earth, the elementals, and the plant spirits who are often set awry by unconscious human action. He is a founding member of Last Mask Community and is regularly called upon to work with the earth elements at the retreat sites and ritual locations that house the Last Mask Community's work and teachings.

Daniel's massage training commenced at the Brenneke School of Massage in 1992. He has been active in advanced training and certifications since, accumulating over 3000 hours of formal massage education. Daniel's curiosity and fascination with the human body and its amazing and beautiful inter-supporting systems is the inspiration for his drive to keep studying and learning.

**This show originally aired June 14, 2016.**

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Jun 12, 2018

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Working with the Spirits of the Land with Ana Larramendi

"Nature communicates through energy, not words. It communicates with us through signs, symbols, omens, and feelings," explains our guest Ana Larramendi of thehollowbone.com. Ana joins host, Christina Pratt, this week to share her wisdom and experience in communicating with the vast range of spirits of the land, from the smallest garden sprite to the great apu spirits of the volcanic mountains of the ring of fire. Ana cautions that our human tendency to approach all experience from an anthropocentric perspective is our greatest hurdle in communicating with our most abundant and ever present helping spirits. We need to slow down, be silent, visit regularly, and always engage with gratitude and respect. When we help the spirits of the environment around us they are able to help us live more vital, vibrant, and interconnected lives.

This week's guest:
Ana Larramendi


Ana H. Larramendi has spent her life weaving together her spirituality with nature skills to create a skill-set of tools for land healing and teaching students to detect and heal earth trauma. Of Spanish and Basque ancestry and born in Spain, Ana is a full-time shamanic teacher and healer, at The Hollow Bone, a private practice in Madison, Wisconsin. She offers a full range of shamanic healing forms, space clearing, and various land healing practices and offers a range of shamanic course work and her Earth Tenders Apprenticeship for more advanced practitioners.

Ana has been studying shamanic traditions since 1989 and is an international teacher of shamanic healing practices. She is a minister, public speaker, Vision Quest leader, wilderness enthusiast, ceremonialist, chef, translator and an initiated mesa carrier in the Inka tradition. Ana has studied extensively with teachers from many traditions including: Alberto Villoldo, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Sandra Ingerman, Angeles Arrien, Betsy Bergstrom, Tom Cowan, Dr. Larry Peters, Marko PogańČnik, indigenous Alto Misayoqs of the Andes, and Weather Shamanism with Nan Moss and the late David Corbin. She also studied for 6 years with Tom Brown Jr. of the Tracker School, learning tracking, survival and wilderness awareness skills.

Ana has been a lecturer for the University of Wisconsin Medical School, as well as teacher and Peruvian guide for Madison Area Technical College. She is a founding member of the Society for Shamanic Practice and was a keynote presenter for their first annual conference in 2005. Ana's work has been published in The Journal of Shamanic Practice.

**This show originally aired June 7, 2016.**

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Jun 10, 2018

Teal Swan Down Under



Her ladyship Teal Swan recently voyaged to Australia as part of her international career as a spiritual leader on the world stage. She met with some challenges, courtesy of Australian customs agents, but such is the price of fame.

Ironically my trip here this time started on that note.  It turns out that we didn’t procure the correct type of visa for this trip.  I’ve become big enough that like any celebrity, I will be made an example of if anything is not exactly as it should be.  As a result, I had the worst experience of my international career upon arrival.  After a 15 hour flight, I was separated from the rest of the team and I was taken to a white jail like room with a window looking out at a collection of officers all debating what to do with me and making phone calls and reviewing security tapes.  For hours, I was interrogated, cross-examined, threatened and then shamed for not knowing better in my position as a ‘leader of something that is so much bigger than myself’.  I ended up in tears.  I came so close to not being let into the country, sent back to the US and being banned for years from re-entering, it is actually mind blowing that someone made the final call to let me in.  It is so strange to experience the contrast that comes with fame.  On the one hand some people and some places give you special treatment and special welcome.  On the other hand, some people and places oppose you as if you are a monster.  Being treated like a criminal for hours upon arrival was a bad way to start the trip.  It was a genuinely traumatizing experience, not just for me but for the members of the team who traveled with me.  It was one of those defining moments where you have no option but to move up to a different level.  I can no longer travel to any part of the world without involvement from immigrations agents and special invitations.  I so hate this aspect of the society we have created.  After that experience, I completely get the fear that the Mexican immigrants in the United States live with every day.  It is a fear that no one should ever have to live with.

I'm pleased to report that Mistress was able to turn that situation around and went on to have a lovely, successful trip. She was even able to "meet and greet" attendees of her workshop "The Mirror." It is always amazing to witness the way she absorbs energy from her adoring fans. Even on such an exhausting trip, she emerged as lovely and renewed as Lady Bathory. But it does not come without risk. Mistress has many enemies and such events must be scrupulously vetted by her security team. Mistress marshals on, through thick and thin, because, as she says, hers "is a mission worth dying for."

Jun 5, 2018

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Deities and Archetypes: Working as Helping Spirits with Langston Kahn

Deities have a long history of engaging as helping spirits with people in shamanic altered states. What does it mean when a deity enters your journey scape? How do we navigate cultivating right relationship with a being who has a living tradition and long history with humans, expects certain protocol we may not know or understand, and has their own agency? And how do we know the difference between big, intense energies like deities and archetypes and why should we bother with them? Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, and her guest Langston Kahn of Occupy-Your-Heart.com, as they discuss how to navigate right relationship with deities and archetypes, the distinction, the cautions, and ultimately, the gifts that they offer to those who are willing to step out of the safe constructs of the mind and enter the deep waters and intense currents of a nonordinary life.

This week's guest:
Langston Kahn


Langston Kahn is a shamanic practitioner specializing in emotional clearing and radical transformation. He stands firmly at the crossroads, his practice informed by the western modality of Inner Relationship Focusing, initiations into traditions of the African Diaspora, the contemporary shamanic tradition of The Last Mask Center and the guidance of his helping spirits and ancestors weaving it all together.

Langston has studied and facilitated Inner Relationship Focusing, developed by Ann Weiser Cornell for the last 8 years. He has completed 5 years of training with Christina Pratt in the Cycle of Transformation and also serves on the leadership council for the Last Mask Community, a community of contemporary people striving to live in alignment with ancient shamanic beliefs and principles in a way that answers the unique challenges of our time. Additionally, he holds initiations in several traditions of the African Diaspora.

Langston, who is centered in New York City offers sessions in emotional clearing and shamanic healing and classes both in person and online.

**This show originally aired on May 31, 2016.**

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

May 29, 2018

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Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Ancestors and Descendants: Working with Helping Spirits

Why would I want a working relationship with my ancestors when I can’t stand my own relations? Fair question when so much addiction, depression, social pressure, and sexual dysfunction gets handed down generation to generation. What we fail to understand is that our break with our Ancestral Helping Spirits is in large part why we experience such illness and abuse of power in our family lines. Join us this week as host and shaman, Christina Pratt, explores how we cultivate a strong working relationship with true ancestral helping spirits, avoid ghosts, use our relationship with our ancestors to mend our feelings of alienation, isolation, and loneliness. As we learn from those who have gone before us we can properly reach to the descendants to learn to ask for more from life and more from our selves.

**This show originally aired on May 23, 2016.**

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

May 27, 2018

Esoterica



A controversial study has a new spin on the otherworldliness of the octopus

Octopuses are strange, smart creatures that certainly seem alien—what with the tentacles, camouflage, and shape-shifting skills. Still, the idea that they actually came from outer space would seem to fall strictly into the realm of sci-fi; an update of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, say.

But in these interesting times, real life reads like fiction. Recently, a group of 33 scientists worldwide—including molecular immunologist Edward Steele and astrobiologist Chandra Wickramasinghe—published a paper suggesting, in all seriousness, that octopuses may indeed be aliens.

The paper, published in the March issue of the the journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, is controversial, obviously, and the vast majority of scientists would disagree. But the paper is still worthy of discussion—for one, as a thought exercise, because outlandish ideas are often initially rejected. And in provoking us with seemingly bizarre theories, it forces us to acknowledge that there are aspects of life on Earth for which classic evolutionary theory as yet has no explanation.

. . .

The transformative genes leading from the consensus ancestral nautilus to the common cuttlefish to squid to the common octopus can’t be found in any pre-existing life form, the authors say.

May 22, 2018

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"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Working with Helping Spirits in the Age of Entitlement

Direct communication with our helping spirits is one of the greatest gifts in the reintroduction of shamanism into contemporary life. Yet in this age of social media and everyday twitter fights, people have all but lost the art of honorable, sincere, and heart-felt communication. Your helping spirits can’t hear your whining, don’t care how many people are following you, and see dishonor in the entitlement you take for granted. How do we cultivate a strong working relationship with our helping spirits when we don’t even know how to communicate with each other without our Smart phones. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she explores the simplicity of working with our helping spirits, ways to cultivate a strong working relationship with spirit in everyday, “normal” life, and how learning to discern with your helping spirits can restore your trust in the path of your heart.

**This show originally aired on May 17, 2016.**

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

May 15, 2018

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Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

What Does Shamanic Practice Look Like?

Contemporary shamanic practice looks different depending on the tradition, cosmology, or beliefs that guide your practice. The variations in authentic shamanic practice are a rich and complex field of good work being done today. At the same time there is a line for most practitioners when their early experimentation and uncertain dabbling became a way of living that they could not back out of. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she responds to multiple questions from listeners about what contemporary shamanic practice can look like. How do we hold space at work or in our unwieldy extended families? How do we practice without community? How do we practice in a community that doesn’t? How do we maintain balance sufficient to practice when contemporary life seems determined to distract, deny, and disillusion? How do we deepen our practice with all the demands on our time to become the practitioners needed by our time?

**This show originally aired on May 10, 2016.**

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

May 11, 2018

Esoterica



Did the dystopian ‘Matrix’ movies predict the rise of Trump?

“Welcome to the desert of the real,” Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) ostentatiously tells Neo (Keanu Reeves) in an important scene not quite halfway through “The Matrix,” the groundbreaking 1999 science fiction film written and directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski. (Who were then known, let us note, as Andy and Larry, the “Wachowski Brothers.”) Neo has of course taken the “red pill” and discovered that what he took to be reality is actually a computer simulation, used by a malignant machine intelligence to enslave the human race.

As most fans of the “Matrix” movies surely know, Morpheus’ expression has both a prehistory and a long-tail legacy. My point here, however, is that “The Matrix” and the currents of postmodern theory and dystopian sci-fi that informed it didn’t just predict the future but also seemingly shaped it.

We’re all lost in the desert of the real now. We all believe we took the red pill — but how can we be sure it wasn’t a placebo? Many of us, like the treacherous rebel played by Joe Pantoliano in the movie, long to climb back inside the Matrix, where we can live within the comforting illusions of yesteryear. But there’s no door that leads there, and no there on the other side of the nonexistent door.

That phrase comes from an extended metaphor in Jean Baudrillard’s “Simulacra and Simulation,” an influential (if borderline unreadable) work of critical theory that was partly an inspiration for “The Matrix” and partly just a prop. Neo has a copy on his bookshelf early in the film, or at least he appears to: In a joke Baudrillard may or may not have appreciated, the book has actually been hollowed out and used to conceal a disk of illicit data. For that matter, it only exists inside the Matrix — it’s a fake book in a fake universe.

May 8, 2018

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

The Body Deva with Mary Shutan

Our bodies hold the inherent knowledge of how to heal. We can access this knowledge through the body deva, or the spiritual consciousness of the body. Author, teacher, and healer, Mary Mueller Shutan, joins us this week to share her new book, “The Body Deva,” a healing system that arises from decades of study and practice in healing. Shutan explains, “Spirituality should bring us closer to our bodies, closer to our lives. We should be able to become healthier…and more embodied if we are engaged on a spiritual path. Learning to work with the spiritual consciousness of your body, the body deva, will allow you to do so.”

This week's guest:
Mary Shutan


Mary Mueller Shutan is a Spiritual Healer who focuses on helping others work with their spiritual awakenings, spiritual callings, and psychic abilities. She is a painter and the author of The Spiritual Awakening Guide: Kundalini, Psychic Abilities, and The Conditioned Layers of Reality from Findhorn Press. Her focus in all of her work is on the understanding that the spiritual is part of our daily lives, that we are meant to have emotions as well as physical bodies, and that we can have deep compassion and love for even the darkest aspects of ourselves.

Since she was a child Mary has been highly sensitive and creative, with the ability to see, sense, and interact with the spiritual realms. Over a ten year period she focused a tremendous amount energy into finding out how to work with her sensitivities and abilities. This led her through four years of Chinese Medicine school and certifications in Upledger-style and Biodynamic CranioSacral therapy, Asian Body Therapy, Massage Therapy, Zero Balancing, Reiki and Energy Work, Rootwork, and Meditation. Mary also has intensive education in different forms of bodywork, energy work, folk magic, occult practices, and shamanic/spiritual healing.

Mary is particularly known for her distance healing work. Her focus is on Dark or Middle World work– trauma and emotional release, spiritual clearing and protection, spirit release, past life and ancestral healing. She also teaches individuals who are called to this type of work to become safe, effective, and powerful practitioners.

Mary runs a personal blog (www.maryshutan.com/blog) that covers a variety of thought-provoking spiritual subjects and offers email based programs and individual consultations worldwide to people experiencing Kundalini, Spiritual Awakenings, Psychic Abilities, Shamanic callings, and other spiritual experiences to learn how to understand and navigate their experiences and abilities.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

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