Mar 31, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 22

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

James Ray Sweating in Court

There is much to report on the trial today. But first, this fascinating item from reporter Tim Geller. Ray may be on trial but that doesn't stop him from sell, sell, selling.  Nor from relying on the adage, there's no such thing as bad publicity.  A sales letter to James Ray's email list went out for a product called Mind Movies:

You know, when I first started to study the laws that govern our Universe, I diligently practiced daily visualization. If I had the Mind Movies technology, it would have added a whole new powerful dimension to my "going 3 for 3" practice!

Gee wiz James, are you saying that if you'd had Mind Movies technology you wouldn't currently be  on trial for reckless manslaughter?

But here's the catch...

The team at Mind Movies are only able to offer the incredible Mind Movies 2.1 software at a MASSIVELY discounted price with all the extras to the first few thousand people to take big, bold, fast action.

Oh! There's a catch? And time pressure... What to do? What to do? Tick, tick, tick.

So they're sweating it out, because there is a good chance they will sell out today.

Did he say "sweating?" He did, didn't he. Bad taste? Perhaps. But we can't let all that great media attention to the sweat lodge trial go to waste, now can we? Not if his current website is any indication, where news videos of the trial are featured prominently. But a sweating reference? Seriously?

Well, this is the man who featured death as the prominent theme at a seminar only a few short months after Colleen Conaway died at another of his seminars. Some might find that to be in bad taste as well. But they don't know how the universe works.

Mar 30, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 21

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Joel Swedberg

Joel Swedberg is a flight paramedic. He was part of a team that came to the scene by helicopter and transported patients to the Flagstaff Medical Center. He arrived on scene -- he was told roughly three hours after the incident -- to find numerous fire trucks, EMTs, paramedics, and other aircraft. He explained to prosecutor Bill Hughes that helicopter teams are called in when the conditions "preclude ground transport." In other words, when patients' conditions are extremely critical and they need more speed than an ambulance can provide.

Such was the case with Liz Neuman to whom Swedberg attended.

Neuman was unconscious when Swedberg's helicopter team arrived. She was brought to him strapped to a spine board, not because of any spinal injury, but because they provide overall stability.  None of the medical personnel knew quite what had happened and they took every precaution.

Swedberg described Neuman as not responsive or alert; in other words, not conscious. She exhibited a rapid heartbeat and low blood pressure. She had been started on IV fluids before he arrived which had caused slight improvement. But he administered a lot more fluid, in the form of IVs -- 500 cc's an hour -- and a fluid bolus. The IV was run with the clamp completely open to rush the fluids into her body.

Mar 29, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 20

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Someone called Vortexter passed along her blog entry on James Ray and the Sedona scene. Her comment can be found here and her blog entry here. It got me to thinking about how I got interested in this whole James Arthur Ray debacle. It was really an outgrowth of my interest in The Secret. I started writing about the The Secret a few years ago when I realized I couldn't ignore the problem any longer. I posted a long entry here and thought it important enough that I sent it out as an e-newsletter. I expected a lot of hostility from people but I thought that even if it meant I lost some clients and some friends, it needed to be said. I got exactly one overtly hostile message and one somewhat quizzical one. And I got reams of messages from people saying, "Thank-you." A client told me just recently that he keeps that email in his quiver to send to any of his friends who bring up the subject.

So, my interest in this whole phenomenon grew out of my concern over something that I consider to be just bad metaphysics. When I first heard reports that James Arthur Ray's sweat lodge had gone so horribly awry I thought, geez, I knew The Secret was dangerous. I really didn't expect anyone to die. But aside from the recklessness, the egomania, the long con, the cultish manipulation, and everything else that characterizes this horrible event, I still keep coming back to bad metaphysics. As I wrote in my first post on the sweat lodge deaths, "A little learning is a dang'rous thing."

Years ago I was taking a class with shamanic healer Christina Pratt. She started out her first lecture of that weekend with the observation that it is the best of times and the worst of times when it comes to the range of spiritual thought and traditions available to us. She made the point that all of these wisdom traditions come as complete bodies of knowledge and provide essential safeguards we really need as we open spiritually. And many of those safeguards are not expressed in the marketplace of spiritual ideas.


Around the Web, Around the World

"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

The power of shamanic healing from the inside out

We can use shamanic healing skills to address the suffering of humanity. Whether caused through human action, like war or drug use, or natural events, like earthquakes or tsunamis, shamanic healing practices can effectively address the complex energetic relationships that lead to much of the suffering that persists in spite of technology and modern medicine. "As we address the healing needed outside of ourselves, we are shown the need for healing within," explains host and shaman, Christina Pratt. "As we address and transform the need for healing within the need for the outer world to reflect back our suffering is relieved." Shamanism is unique in its ability as a healing form to translate effectively between the worlds of outer healing and inner healing. The shamanic healing forms work to bring relief to the outer world, like healing the pain and danger held in earth that was a battlefield. They also work to bring relief to the inner world, like healing the pain and anxiety held in the body of the child that was the battlefield of divorcing parents. "As above so below; as below so above; as within so without; as without so within." Following this hermetic principle shamanism helps us to create health and wholeness within so that the without no longer needs to reflect our broken, lost souls and peace and interconnection below so that we can respond to disaster with the grace of above.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 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.

Ripping Open the Heart

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

We're in a new stage of heart chakra opening that is causing many people confusion and discomfort. The collective grief over the tragedy that is still unfolding in Japan (and New Zealand and Burma, etc.) has been catalytic but it's more of the same overall process that I addressed here. What is happening right now is, if possible, even more sudden and dramatic. The experience for a lot of us has been physically uncomfortable: racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pains, and pressure between the shoulder blades. It started for me a couple of weeks ago. I have also spoken to a number of clients who are experiencing varying degrees of the same thing. The message I got around this was that the heart chakra was being "ripped open." I have since stumbled on a number of similar observations so I've collected a few different perspectives on this process.

The first is from Lauren Gorgo:

The devastating & recalibrating events that took place in Japan and shook the globe last week, in a very literal sense, were the result of the same energies that precipitated a major heart & plexus opening throughout all of humanity. The energies behind this event caused a massive expansion in the (high) heart, as well as the solar plexus, and this expansion process is creating the new template of love that is now anchoring on the planet. This new love is a combination of empowered love (high heart) & spiritual wisdom (solar plexus)…what the unseens refer to as the activation of the "body brain".

On a physical level, this opening can be felt in the center of the chest, thru the back of the heart and in the pit of the stomach. Symptoms can vary based on our personal collection of energetic/genetic miasms, but generally our solar plexus (third chakra) is linked to our stomach, abdomen, upper GI tract, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, spleen and adrenal glands…and the heart center (fourth chakra) is linked to our heart, lungs, blood vessels, shoulders, ribs, breasts, diaphragm, and upper esophagus, and so all of these areas are subject to cellular detoxification during this time.

Some of the more prominent symptoms may be manifesting as tightening/pain in the chest, shortness of breath, anxiety, extreme and unrelenting heartburn/indigestion, acid reflux, nausea, heart-flutters, palpitations, arrhythmia, soreness/sensitivity in detox organs and along the spine. (**NOTE: for the lucky ones experiencing that drop-to-the-floor heartburn, drinking a little baking soda in water is the only thing I have found to put out the fire…temporarily) Also, as these energy centers open more fully, it can also cause great discomfort in the middle of the back where many are unfolding their "etheric wings" (opening the energy center behind the heart)….I am hearing that those affiliated with the first wave of the ascension timeline are affected/afflicted by these energies the most right now.

Mar 28, 2011

Horoscope for March 28 - April 3

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Aries (March 21st - April 20th)
With so many planets transiting your sign, it's no wonder why you are feeling both excited and stressed this week, Aries. The new moon will be highlighting your 1st house of self at the end of the week, but before it gets there, it keeps you busy in other areas. One of these is the area of friends, groups, and organizations. There may be some stress surrounding relationship as a result of your other interests and activities. If someone is wanting to monopolize your time or keep you from socializing with others, they are liable to see some of that Aries imperious attitude. It's not that you are adverse to commitment, it's just that you can't do any relationship that won't allow you to be an individual with many interests. Pioneer energy is strong for you and being free to explore and meet new people is vital to your very essence. Right before the new moon, you will need to retreat and consider what makes you happy and what you feel you can't live without. Next week, and the rest of the month, you can begin the process of eliminating the negative and attracting more of the positive. Hold off on major changes until retrograde Mercury in your sign goes direct on April 23rd.

Taurus (April 21st - May 20th)
Some of the communication or information gathering you were busy with last week continues at the beginning of this week, Taurus. The new moon on Sunday occurs in the 12th house of your subconscious. It is a house that also has to do with hospitals, prisons, drug or alcohol addictions, dreams, meditation, altered states, spirituality, and the connection to the collective. The new moon is amplified by other planets joining it and is challenged by the restrictive nature of Saturn in the sign of socially-correct Libra in your 6th house of work, service, and health. On the mundane level, Bulls may be having work or health issues arise. Some of you may simply become more aware of what is going on internally and how you are physically affected by your thoughts and emotions. The new moon may bring something to culmination and now you must decide what to do next. Saturn in Libra emphasizes the importance of doing what is right in a way that is good for both parties.

Astrological Trends for March 28 - April 3

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

A progressive, can-do attitude prevails on Monday, March 28th, as the moon in the inventive fixed air sign of Aquarius forms a supportive sextile to the sun, which is loosely conjunct Jupiter, the planet of growth, in the cardinal fire sign of pioneering Aries. The moon is also semi-sextile to Pluto, the planet of intensity, in the cardinal earth sign of capable Capricorn, helping to ground things and make them stick. Despite the fact that the expansive nature of Jupiter in Aries is still being held in check by the opposition it makes to Saturn, the planet of restriction, in Libra, Jupiter and the sun are so well-supported today that the energy swings in favor of growth, new beginnings, and advancing personal projects. Now that the sun in Aries has moved away from the shocking and erratic energy of Uranus in Aries, the square between the sun in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn feels less extreme than it did last week, and you have also had time to integrate it into your own energy field. The changes you decide to make may be no less destructive of the older, established order, but they will be less unsettling. At lunchtime, the Aquarius moon makes a supportive sextile to Uranus in Aries and also a semi-sextile to the cluster of Neptune in Aquarius conjunct Venus and Chiron in Pisces. This is a strong humanitarian influence that encourages seeing the unity of all while honoring individuality. As Mars, the planet of physical action, moves into the later degrees of romantic Pisces, it melds its energy with Uranus, the planet of sudden impulse, which is in the early degrees of impetuous Aries. Mars conjunct Uranus is like high-octane rocket fuel when it comes to physical drive and performance and it is also a very potent sexual aspect. Flirtation and sudden attractions coincide with the warmer weather, which is bringing people outdoors to play. If you are wanting to meet someone new, head out for a walk in the park. Everyone is more inclined to act on impulse now, especially in matters of the heart.

Intelligent calm and logical order are in place on Tuesday, March 29th, as the moon in the fixed air sign of Aquarius forms a supportive, cerebral trine to Saturn in the relationship-minded cardinal air sign of Libra. You can get your Spock on as rational thinking and scientific reasoning help you untie any logistical knots in your life. People will be more open to listening and less swayed by emotions, making it an ideal day to present ideas or argue a position. The Aquarius moon is also happily exchanging energy with Jupiter in Aries, which acts like a Mary Poppins or SpongeBob SquarePants kind of energy. Do you remember the scene in "Mary Poppins" where she is decorating her room? As she unpacks her carpet bag, she pulls one improbable thing after another out of the bag. SpongeBob and Patrick have a similar scene where they imagine all kinds of impossible things while they are sitting in a large empty box. Look into your own cardboard box or carpet bag to see what improbable or impossible things you can manifest.

Mar 25, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 19

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

I made a mental note yesterday to pay close attention to Tom Kelly's demeanor when questioning male witnesses. After his nasty, condescending, questioning of Beverley Bunn and Melinda Martin, I got a whiff of sexism. That question was answered when I had the opportunity to watch him question Scott Barratt. What a difference in tone. Of course I'm also finding it a little disturbing how prone both Li and Kelly are to developing obvious man crushes on every alpha male who testifies.

Tom Kelly got off on the wrong foot this morning by trying to get off on the right foot with the Scott Barratt. He tried to make a little joke about having seen him on TV. Sheila Polk immediately objected. Judge Darrow lost his seemingly endless patience and told him to just ask a question. Kelly whined about how he was just being friendly. Barratt one-upped him by making a joke about how he hoped it wasn't when he was in the shower. Then he scrunched up his twinkly, Steve Martin-like eyes and grinned.

Kelly simply rephrased his television story as a question... sort of.

Kelly: You had mentioned yesterday that when you were a boy you were a cowboy?

Barratt: Yes.

Kelly: And the TV this morning identified you as a cowboy. Did you know that?

Barratt: Um. You're trying to trick me into thinkin' I was watchin' TV. No. I didn't do that, no.

Kelly: So my point is despite all those other accomplishments that you've, uh, described yesterday, the media has identified the cowboy as the most important attribute. Are you aware of that?

Mar 24, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 18

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

More JRI Pictionary

Today we saw a kinder, gentler Tom Kelly. He clearly knows his courtroom demeanor yesterday was unbecoming and unappealing. Good. I was starting to fear that it was a deliberate tactic and that we'd be seeing a lot more of it. But, no. He lost control and he knows it.

He still seems intent on quizzing Martin on the corporate structure. Today he showed many pretty pictures of JRI's lavish offices. But he admitted that yesterday he was asking leading questions and that today he will ask only for her understanding of that corporate structure. From there he proceeded to do exactly the same thing; name people and ask what they did. The only difference is that he didn't supply their titles even if she doesn't know them. He's even drawn a new chart.

It's seems the purpose of this exercise is to prove that James Ray has nothing to do with the day to day operations of JRI and that if anything goes wrong it's someone else's fault. Secondarily, his point is that Melinda Martin is a nothing, a nobody, a never was. She's "on the bottom of the totem pole," as Kelly said earlier this morning to Judge Darrow when he heard arguments over the admission of evidence.

She'd only been there for six months. She doesn't know who did what job. When Martin prepared the first aid kit it was based on a list that came from Megan Fredrickson. She can't even help Mr. Kelly make a decent chart!

Mar 23, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 17

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Just a few more thoughts on Laurie Gennari:

I realize that it may sound to some people like I'm being overly preferential to her because she's a good witness for the prosecution. I've never made it a secret that I'm biased in this case and that it would take a lot to convince me that James Ray was not responsible for this tragedy. I would make a lousy juror. I've been following this event since it occurred and he rapidly made a very negative impression on me. But that's not why I find Gennari so credible.

The truth is I'm relatin' to Laurie Gennari way too much. And a lot of the hairs split by Li in yesterday's cross are meaningless to me because I've been where she is and where she was.

  • Over-committed and hyper-achieving? For much of my life. 
  • Looking at people through rose colored glasses? Check. 
  • Insisting, including to myself, that I was fine when I wasn't? Yup. 
  • Forced cheerfulness especially when I was really at my worst? Hells yeah. 
  • Handing over way too much power to people who seemed to know more than I did? Learned the hard way on that one. 
  • Rescripting things that people have done and said to make them look better in my own mind? Oh yes.

I've never had the misfortune to be in anything as horrific as that sweat lodge and its aftermath. But the dynamics Gennari is now realizing she was involved in and the painful disillusionment that goes with that? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Mar 22, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 16

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Ray and Kelly Listen to Gennari's Cross

Today was operation impeach Laurie Gennari. This began with Luis Li splitting hairs between her post event police interview and her current trial testimony. She was less critical of the vision quest in her police interview, saying she enjoyed the experience and, one could infer from comments, did not get dizzy. By the end she said she could have gone on, even without food. She had distracted herself whenever she started to feel hungry by journaling. Last Friday she claimed to have been hungry, dizzy, and headachey. She'd said, "My body was just not happy with no food." Slight disconnect but really more in attitude and emphasis than fact. In both cases, she said she was hungry. In the police interview she emphasized her ability to distract herself from it.

It quickly became clear, under Li's cross, that Gennari's overall take on the events of that week and in James Ray has darkened considerably. She had thought that Ray was kind of a character who could be a bit too much. Now, she's contemplating the possibility that he was sometimes "abusive," a "bully," and a "tyrant." Gennari explains that disconnect thusly:

I don't recall. This has been quite the journey of, of figuring out a lot of things in my head the last year and a half.

Mar 21, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 15

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

When I was a kid, my family and I had an extended visit with my aunt and uncle in Idaho. It was my introduction to "dry heat." I marveled at how long I could play outside in temperatures twenty degrees higher than I was used to. How was it that I could play croquet in the backyard for hours in temperatures over a hundred degrees when the high eighties made me wilt back home? My family's explanation: You feel the heat more when it's humid. Not explained to my child mind's satisfaction was why. But I did note that my aunt kept a bottle of lotion near her at all times and could go on at some length about the relative merits of various moisturizers.

This memory came back to me when I was researching the question of heat exhaustion in James Arthur Ray's sweat lodge. Short answer to Ray's defense team: No, you don't have to be dehydrated to suffer heat related illnesses, up to and including heatstroke. Anything that interferes with the body's natural cooling system can cause heat related illness. That includes temperatures too high for any bodily process to combat and high humidity. When an environment is humid perspiration cannot evaporate off the skin properly, which is how perspiration cools the body down. Jeanne Armstrong was wearing a Nike Dri-Fit, moisture-wicking sports shirt. It may have saved her life. It almost certainly made her experience more comfortable.

James Ray poured way too much water on the rocks. Someone called Rubies explained in a recent comment on the Salty Droid:

I have been in screaming hot lodges before (Lakota teacher) but the difference was there was always a cool down in between rounds and only 4 rounds. We have had over 100 rocks in a smaller lodge and the only water put on the rocks was from an eagle fan dipped in water and dripped onto the rocks not gallons and gallons that Ray dumped on the rocks. The man knows nothing of a ceremony. It was not a ceremony it was a sweat event.

It's Only a Supermoon

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

This past Saturday many people witnessed what's called a supermoon. The moon looks bigger because it's closer to the planet. Here's a technical explanation from NASA.

"The last full Moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993," says Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. "I'd say it's worth a look."

Full Moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon's orbit. It is an ellipse with one side (perigee) about 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other (apogee): diagram. Nearby perigee moons are about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the Moon's orbit.

"The full Moon of March 19th occurs less than one hour away from perigee--a near-perfect coincidence1 that happens only 18 years or so," adds Chester.

I didn't get outside to see the event, myself. I had a very full weekend. And therein lies a tale.

Horoscope for March 21-27

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Aries (March 21st - April 20th)
Spring is your season, Aries, and the planets are encouraging new beginnings in your life. The three key areas for a fresh start are self-improvement and personal image, intimate relationships, and career. There are a few dangers as you shoot the rapids on the fast-moving river that your life has become. One is that you may ignore the value of solid relationships, claiming boredom, when you seek excitement and new situations. The other is that you mistake the excitement you feel at the start of a new friendship as love. Some Rams could blow their top at work and walk out the door abruptly. Others could receive sudden fame and attention as a result of their work that threatens to overwhelm them because they are unprepared. Quick thinking and smooth talking keeps you on track. Remember to say please and thank you - the magic words!

Taurus (April 21st - May 20th)
Of all the signs, Taurus, I think you are the one most connected to our beautiful planet. You are so attuned to nature and the incredible world of all the senses. What many people don't realize is how amazingly psychic you are. People think Taurus is just plodding, earthy, and practical - in other words, thick as a brick. Not! You are already master of the five senses - why would you be exempt from mastery of the sixth? In fact, your repertoire of psychic skills rivals or exceeds any of the sensitive water signs. The earth is shifting rapidly, people are unpredictable and agitated, and as a result, you are on sensory and psychic overload this week. Use gratitude and your supportive relationships to help you stay grounded and free of emotional or physical pain or distress. Bring peace and healing energy to your workplace and send it out to the world in meditation and prayer. If you are guided to travel to where people need help, set the intention and trust you will be protected in your travels. Your sign is ruled by Venus, which makes you a benevolent and blessed bearer of heart energy.

Astrological Trends for March 21-27

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

"Oh, what a beautiful morning!" is what you are singing on Monday, March 21st, as the moon in Libra trines Neptune in Aquarius. The flowing energy between these two sensitive planets in refined, intellectual air signs will enhance your imagination and communication skills, and is an extra bonus for anyone who works with words or appearances. Venus in intellectual Aquarius is snuggling up closer to dreamy Neptune, increasing romantic thoughts the closer the two planets get to each other. You could be having some lofty and idealistic visions of what love is all about now. This planetary pairing in the humanitarian and future-oriented sign of Aquarius also helps people open their hearts to their world family. Compassion and altruism combine with innovative thinking, bridging the gap quickly between world problems and their solutions. The spring season may burst and blossom suddenly as the sun in Aries joins Uranus in Aries. Extremes in weather are possible this week, most likely above-normal temperatures for many areas and increased thunderstorm activity. Aries brings feisty head-butting, in-your-face fire energy to the shocking and disruptive, yet genius, characteristics of Uranus. The Aries sun signals a new cycle of growth. When the moon in Libra forms a quincunx to the sun and Uranus in Aries at lunchtime, spring fever may strike and a lunch in the great outdoors or leaving work early for the day is irresistible. Because planetary vibrations eventually distill into our bodies, I recommend you burn off this restless and volatile combination through increased physical activity. If there are children in your life, make sure they get enough outdoor play time to work out the restlessness they are feeling now. Jupiter, the planet of expansion, in the cardinal fire sign of Aries will be opposing Saturn, the planet of contraction, in the cardinal air sign of Libra all this week. This reminds me of our basic governmental system of checks and balances, which we were taught in early grade school, and also of the controlled burning the Forest Service conducts. Scenarios of give-and-take, losing to gain, stepping back or sideways to advance, and compromising and cooperating to achieve your objectives are all possible. The means to the end are not always easy, but progress is possible. Later this afternoon, the moon enters the deep fixed water sign of Scorpio, enhancing your sensual and intuitive side. The Scorpio moon trine to Chiron in Pisces tonight can turn lovemaking into a healing encounter.

On Tuesday, March 22nd, a quincunx between the moon in the fixed water sign of Scorpio and Jupiter in the cardinal fire sign of Aries can be the extra energy needed to help Jupiter expand beyond the restrictions of Saturn in Libra. Scorpio is tenacious and does not tire when it knows what it wants. The moon gets an extra boost through a semi-sextile to Saturn. Persist and you will prevail this morning. This energy of endurance continues throughout your day, enabling you to take on difficult tasks and see them through to completion while the moon magnifies the warrior nature of Aries. Hum a few bars of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" if you feel your energy flagging! Later this evening, the moon in Scorpio activates Mercury in Aries through a quincunx and Mercury, in turn, triggers Mars in Pisces energy via a supportive semi-sextile. Your mind and imagination are stirred to express passion or intense emotions. Some may actively use this energy to write inspired speeches or proclaim undying love. A passive use of this configuration would be enjoying an emotional book or dramatic film.

Mar 18, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 14

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

James Arthur Ray With His New Dream Team

I've been contemplating the embarrassing spectacle that was Luis Li's cross examination of Lou Caci on his work-out routine. Li was attempting to build rapport with a witness -- which is a solid tactic -- and to do so he needed to appear as if he was dropping his guard a bit. The thing is, I think he did drop his guard. He gave us all a little peak into his  psyche and the view wasn't pretty. He was at turns nakedly manipulative and disturbingly needy. There's a certain train-wreck quality to watching someone with no discernible people skills trying to be chummy.

Li has revealed himself to be a rather emotionally stunted individual. I'm sure he's a very smart guy, and that he knows the law well, but he does not get people. He has a high IQ and a low EQ. I think he's, in a sense, being very sincere when he questions the validity of the "cult indoctrination" theory. That's because because he's miles away from any understanding of how someone with the charm and charisma he so sorely lacks can exert subtler forms of influence. So Li spends his days battling a straw man idea of cult indoctrination that comes right out of a 1970s TV movie.

Li also reveals his psyche when Judge Darrow is hearing various motions. His arguments show, at turns, sharp legal acumen and the mental state of a five year old. I caught the tail end of a motion hearing yesterday and could only marvel at his petulance. He's not happy that the prosecution keeps picking up on things that the defense brings up during cross. If the defense wants to make analogies between a witness's athletic history and the risks during Spiritual Warrior, that doesn't mean the prosecution should be able to redirect on those same analogies. I'm sure there are some legal fine points to that that have merit. I'm not a lawyer. But whenever Li makes these kinds of arguments he starts to whine like a spoiled kid. Like... It's just so unfair that the other children get to play with his toys just because he's taking all of theirs.

At any rate, I don't think either the defense or Judge Darrow took Li's temper tantrum that seriously. Because you'd better believe Sheila Polk took that ball and ran with it after Li's endless, unbearable, homoerotic paean to former quarterback Lou Caci's athleticism.

Mar 17, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 13

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Lou Caci

Well, I'm cranky. In Session is preempted today and tomorrow by something appropriately entitled "World's Dumbest..." and some sports. I hate when sporting events preempt things. I've never been much of a sports fan... except for football. I grew up in a Ohio where the world pretty much revolves around football. I was in the band. That makes me a geek and the kind of person James Arthur Ray has open contempt for... but more on that at another time.

I'm particularly annoyed because I was looking forward to seeing Lou Caci's testimony from yesterday. I missed all but the very end because of an event at my daughter's school. It was Book Fair night. Reading is fundamental -- and fun for families! But I missed most of Lou Caci's live testimony. What I heard was heartrending.

The Salty Droid did some good live blogging of that testimony on Twitter, here. So, I've been able to piece some of this together. For starters, I've learned that Lou Caci didn't want his testimony to be on camera. Ultimately, freedom of the press won out over a traumatized man's desire for privacy. I'm ambivalent a little about that but, somewhat selfishly, glad to have access to his testimony.

Lou Caci looks like a haunted man and his voice trembles with emotion as he recalls certain things; like hearing Liz Neuman's breathing. He knows what dying sounds like. He watched his own father die of cancer. Liz Neuman sounded like his father did at the end. And Lou Caci is filled with regret. What if he'd said something? Could her death have been prevented? This is the kind of regret I was referring to yesterday. It's more loaded than survivor guilt. Survivor guilt leaves people wondering at fate and what made them more deserving than someone else of living through tragedy. This is the guilt of someone who doesn't really understand why he was so powerless to take an action that could have, maybe, prevented tragedy. It's the kind of guilt that reduced Beverley Bunn to tears when Tom Kelly twisted the knife in an unhealed wound. It's the regret of someone who gave his decision making power away to James Arthur Ray and now wonders why he had no personal power left to save a life.

Mar 16, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 12

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Beverley Bunn Waits During Sidebar

I'm still contemplating why Tom Kelly's cross examination of Beverley Bunn really didn't sit well with me. It occurred to me late last night that, aside from his badgering and reducing a grieving woman to tears, what was really gnawing at me was that he dragged her personal issues into the court room and onto national television. I hadn't expected to have my hunch about what James Ray found so intriguing in her share, that he wanted to work with her one on one, so clearly affirmed. I hadn't expected to ever hear what she said. It's none of my business. That information is something she shared at a self-improvement seminar that she paid ten grand for and I doubt highly that she ever expected it to be blasted to the media. And I don't really see the reason for it.

How did it serve James Ray's defense to trot out her most personal reasons for having been at Spiritual Warrior? What was the probative value? If I were Kelly, I'd be a little concerned about how it makes Ray come off that the very common issues of codependency and difficulty setting boundaries required his personal attention. I kind of doubt that Kelly has that level of awareness and, sadly, I'm not expecting it of the jury either. But, to me, it says that she exposed herself as someone who could be manipulated. More than that, I think she's a formidable woman whose vulnerability to that kind of manipulation wasn't terribly apparent until she spelled it out. To a power thief, which I'm convinced Ray is, a very powerful person who is leaking power like that is very enticing. And he did what a power thief does. He started tearing her down in the name of building her up. I wish I had a nickle for every time I've seen that.

But what really alarms me, is that Kelly also exploited her personal vulnerability. In retrospect I see no reason for that line of questioning other than to psychologically terrorize a witness whose testimony and personal credibility was damaging to his client. He even started out this line of questioning by affirming that she's "a private person" and then proceeded to trot out her personal vulnerabilities and relationship issues in public. That's really low.

Mar 15, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 11

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Beverley Bunn

As Tom Kelly's cross examination of Beverley Bunn continued today, he asked her, in her professional capacity as an orthodontist and Grand Canyon hiker, about heatstroke. (Later, on redirect, she explains that she's not really an expert on heat related illnesses and that it wasn't part of her training.)

He made the point that Ray had endorsed them from the beginning to "hydrate, hydrate, hydrate." Well, except for the vision quest. He'll concede point.

But James Ray definitely told them all about hydration on day one.

Kelly: You're in the desert, correct?

Bunn: We're in the hall.

Kelly: Remember, here's the question is, remember him saying, "I'm going to share some information with you. You're in the desert. You're going to be doing a lot of energy work. I think it takes about a gram of salt to hold three grams of water. Or it may be vice versa." [emphasis added]

So James Ray is very knowledgeable about hydration. And they were all issued with a backpack, water bottle, and salt.


Around the Web, Around the World

"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Healing into Peace with Martha Lucier

"As I rekindle the indigenous spirit within myself I connect to my sacred roots listening to the voices of the ancestors while honoring my connection to the web of life," explains shamanic teacher Martha Lucier. "As global citizens we are all one tribe indigenous to the earth. Let us find ourselves together in one circle of deep peace dancing barefoot upon Earth Mother." Martha joins host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as we explore the relationship between peace and healing and the way in which Martha's nature-based adventures help participants to discover the spiritual connections between our planet and ourselves. Martha is co-founder of Northern Edge Algonquin Retreat Centre along with her husband Todd Lucier in Ontario, Canada. Their mission is the promote peace on the planet through providing experiences in nature that help us rediscover ourselves, empower one another, and heal the earth. Martha is our next guest the Society of Shamanic Practitioners sponsored interview series. In this series we explore how contemporary shamans are meeting the challenge of their world where the relations of things are profoundly out of balance. It is the ancient role of the shaman in all cultures to tend the balance of things. How are these shamans meeting this extraordinary need today?

This week's guest:
Martha Lucier

Martha is co-founder of Northern Edge Algonquin Retreat Centre along with her husband Todd Lucier. Their mission is the promote peace on the planet through providing experiences in nature that help us rediscover ourselves, empower one another and heal the earth. Martha's work as a teacher and healer is infused with her deep love of mother earth and desire to empower others to discover the gifts they came to the world to manifest.

Martha conducts regular Basic Shamanism Retreats and offers a 2 year training in Advanced Shamanism each year at the Edge. Vision Questing in Algonquin Park is where Martha feels most alive! Martha is a practitioner of core shamanism based on the work of Michael Harner and a graduate of FSS Three Year Program. She has also completed Sandra Ingerman's shamanic teacher training and is a member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners.

Highlights of Martha's shamanism training experience include workshop facilitation and orchestrating the closing ceremony for a gathering of over 200 participants at Findhorn, Scotland in 2002, leading an opening ritual and workshops for Peace in Education Conference in Budapest, Hungary in 2004 and facilitating an ancestor ceremony near Russell Glacier, Greenland at Ice Wisdom, 2009.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 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.

Mar 14, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 10

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

James Arthur Ray "Just Standing There" in Court

Monday is not an actual trial day. It is a good day, however, to recap and catch up on testimony that wasn't aired last week... or was preempted on the live feed by the unfolding horror in Japan. Today In Session ran the rest of Beverley Bunn's direct questioning by prosecutor Bill Hughes and the very beginning of her cross examination by Tom Kelly.

Beverley Bunn appears to me to be traumatized. She struggles to maintain an icy control as she recounts events that still reduce her to trembling voice and tears. What I keep ruminating on as I watch her is that this was the woman who James Ray wanted to work with one on one. Something that she disclosed to the group the evening the seminar began was serious enough to demand the leader's personal attention. My hunch is that what Ray saw was a beautiful, intelligent, powerful woman with an Achilles heel; a gaping vulnerability that he could exploit. He proceeded to insult her, to hurl profanity at her, and to keep her on the kind of emotional roller-coaster any survivor of a cult or abusive marriage can relate to.

In the testimony aired today, Bunn continued to break down the course of events during the sweat lodge. In round six, all hell broke loose. Or, to use Beverley Bunn's words, everything "kinda went pretty crazy." Everyone was yelling. Someone was screaming "She's passed out. She's passed out." People started calling out each other's names. In other words, there was panic and mayhem. At the end of the round a woman was dragged, unconscious to the door and past Ray who completely ignored it. Even after she was dragged out, there was still panic and people yelling for one another. That got a reaction from Ray:

Horoscope for March 14-20

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Aries (March 21st - April 20th)
Many of the things you have kept secret or chosen to deliberately suppress could come out this week, Aries. The entry of the planet Uranus in your sign heralds some major, shocking change. You begin to vocalize what you feel strongly about now. Initially, your relationships support you, but when they really understand how radically-sweeping your idea of change can be, partners, friends, and family members may play Devil's advocate and cause you to slow down and consider long-term effects of radical actions, like quitting a job, leaving home, or joining an organization or cause. The full moon helps you define your purpose and recognize your basic needs. "To thine own self be true," is your light on the path of service.

Taurus (April 21st - May 20th)
World events and fear surrounding the uncertainty of the future could make you delve into spirituality and metaphysics, Taurus. The effects of meditation, positive affirmations, or intention setting may be so immediate and surprisingly beneficial that you could introduce a motivational program at work or share some concepts with friends. When co-workers see that money flows where attention goes and work becomes more productive and harmonious, or friends report amazing manifestations, you know you are on to something good. The full moon may motivate you to create your own motivational or spiritual method or system to help people achieve their goals and live a worry-free life.

Astrological Trends for March 14-20

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Your feelings, thoughts, and actions are all amplified on the morning of Monday, March 14th, as the moon in Cancer busily exchanges energy with multiple planets. Cancer is an emotional cardinal water sign, so you will be feeling these planetary aspects strongly. The moon trine to Mars, the planet of action, in sensitive Pisces will get you moving in the pursuit of your dreams. The moon quincunx Venus in intellectual Aquarius will make you appreciate innovative ideas and unique perspectives. The moon square to Mercury conjunct Jupiter in hotheaded Aries will make you challenge selfish or arrogant behavior until the square fades at lunchtime. Finally, the moon square to Saturn in relationship-minded Libra will challenge any lack of equality or fairness you encounter until later this evening. All the lunar aspects are played out by bedtime and you will most likely look back on today as being one of those days that felt like a week rolled into a day. Enjoy the lull of an unaspected, peaceful Cancer moon by doing something that makes you feel warm, fuzzy, and comfortable or enjoy some time with your family. You need some decompression time to unwind and prepare for another emotional day tomorrow.

Heightened emotional sensitivity continues on Tuesday, March 15th, when the moon in Cancer makes a favorable trine to the sun in Pisces. The moon is quincunx inspirational Neptune in future-oriented Aquarius. This morning would be an excellent time to brainstorm solutions to problems that affect feelings of security or the basic needs of home and family life while the aspects provide positive support. At lunchtime, the trine between the moon and sun fades to be replaced by a trine between the moon in Cancer and Uranus in Aries. For some people, this may be the first awareness of something feeling distinctly different. Although Uranus entered Aries last week, this poke from the moon could be the emotional equivalent of sticking one's finger in an electrical socket. Surprise! Some area of your life is beginning to feel very different or radically disturbed. Check your own natal chart to see what house Uranus in Aries is transiting and you won't be caught off-guard. Later this afternoon, the moon leaves the cardinal water sign of Cancer and enters the fixed fire sign of Leo, where it continues to aspect Neptune, Chiron, and Uranus. The overall emotional tone is still strong and ardent, but Cancer is a cardinal sign that gives orders and Leo is a fixed sign that is more inclined to do something. Anything decided upon earlier in the day can be acted upon more easily during the second half of the day. With Venus contra-parallel the moon along with Mercury contra-parallel both Mars and Mercury this evening, you have the perfect climate to initiate a heart-to-heart talk with someone you love. The longer-term square between Mercury conjunct Jupiter in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, which shadowed communication, has fallen apart, taking mental tension and a sense of restriction away, as well. The day ends on a contented note as the warmhearted Leo moon favorably aspects dreamy Neptune and healing Chiron. No matter what may be happening in the world or your life that seems disturbing, you are filled with gratitude for the good in your life.

Mar 13, 2011

Radiation and Quake Warnings for the West Coast

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

I felt moved to glance at George Ure's blog this morning even though he rarely posts on the weekends. I'm glad I did. There are some observations on this unbelievably horrible situation with Japan and some of the ramifications. According to Clif High this incident is starting to fulfill some of the linguistics from earlier runs. Remember the "ill winds?"

This is important because in the meta set involved, the expected “Israeli mistake” which we had anticipated would be the ‘smoking/bombed out remains of Bushir’ where Iranian nuclear development continues (a plan which has apparently changed) the data suggested that shortly after the radiation/ill winds began to reach the West Coast USA that a major West Coast/US earthquake would follow within a few days/weeks.

We are now concerned that in the event there is such a release, for one (or more of the damaged plants) that we will then move into language which suggests 18-days – or so – of release related to the ‘radioactive volcanoes’ which seems to be in fill mode right now.

So this leave people, particularly west coasties, with two contingencies to prepare for: Arrival of potential radiation from Japan, and the possibility (small but non-zero) that an earthquake of even more devastating size could arrive semi-concurrently (roughly in the same temporal window) and we’re now also watching the release language for the March 25th period since tyhe timing is a little too close to be ignored.

Mar 11, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 9

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Beverley Bunn

When prosecutor Bill Hughes interviewed Beverley Bunn today, he touched on the issue that has been bothering me regarding the waivers. That is to say, he asked her when she had paid for the event and when she received the packet containing the waivers. Indeed, she had paid months before obtaining the information packet; half up front at another event and the second half about a month later. My point: If she had looked at that waiver and had a sudden concern for her health, that money would have been forfeit. Asked if she knew when she registered what the events were going to be she said, "No." The brochure had pictures of people hiking and the details were left deliberately vague, "'Cause they told you that they didn't want to disclose any of it because they didn't want ruin any of it for you." She did not know at the time she paid that there would be a sweat lodge. She only learned that there would be a sweat lodge a few hours before the sweat lodge.

It occurs to me that telling participants that they didn't want to disclose too much about the activities beforehand could have had the effect of discouraging them from looking too closely at the waiver and ruining those surprises for themselves.

She signed the waiver when she arrived. She was late and she was rushed through the signing process and told get into the dining hall so as not to miss dinner.

Massive Tsunami Hits Japan

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

I must briefly interrupt my obsessive, 24 hour coverage of the James Arthur Ray trial to announce that Japan has been hit by a tidal wave. A massive 8.9 quake has managed to rock what is probably the most earthquake prepared country in the world. Above is footage of the resulting tidal wave in action, sweeping debris, a boat, and FIRE, into Miyagi Prefecture.

"Just watching this wave hit and cars and buildings and houses being spent away, I think we're going to see a significant number of casualties," Alt said. So far the number of casualties is not known.
. . .

The temblor was the most powerful on record in earthquake-prone Japan, government officials said. In Tokyo, traffic, trains and power shut down and air traffic halted, created an eerie scene on the streets of one of the world's largest cities as people stood outside and wondered what to do.

"This is a city of 13 million people that's paralyzed," said Kyung Lah, CNN Tokyo correspondent. "It's going to be a big long challenge for us tonight in Tokyo."

A reminder: The sun has entered its coronal maximum cycle. The impact to the earth's magnetosphere is severe and earthquakes and volcanic activity appear to be ramping up. Please, please, please, if you are in an earthquake prone area -- I'm talking to you, my beloveds in California -- watch your animals and listen to your instincts.

Mar 10, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 8

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Much has been made of the "cult indoctrination" question. The other day, Luis Li again tried to have all the spiritual content excluded from the trial and strip it down to matters of physical causation. He argued that including Ray's spiritual beliefs and teachings was, in and of itself, prejudicial. Then he really went off on a tangent, saying that there was no foundation for the entire cult brainwashing assertion. Personally, I would tend to think that this is the kind of thing that should go to a jury because it is not a matter of obvious fact, but rather one of interpretation. As evidence that it was ludicrous, he pointed to Laura Tucker who was asked by the defense if she thought she had been brainwashed; a suggestion which she rejected as a "massive distortion." Li's argument? A participant was asked. She answered no. Case closed.

As I said before, Tucker's hostility to the idea is understandable because no one likes to think of themselves as brainwashed. But here's the thing: If you stopped a Hare Krishna or a moonie on the street and asked them if they were part of a cult and had been brainwashed they would say, no. No one thinks they're brainwashed when they're brainwashed. No one thinks their church or organization is in any way cult-like. Once a person starts to suspect that they're being manipulated in that way, that's the point at which they start thinking about leaving. And it's really only when you get out of a thing and have some time and distance that you begin to really process and understand how influenced your thinking may have been and how you may have been manipulated.

I had reason to really consider some of these cult dynamics during my college years as I processed my own break from a religious movement. When I was in high school I became a born-again Christian and was very intensely involved in that for a period of years. When I started college and was forced by my curriculum to really exercise my critical thinking muscles, I went through a process of disillusionment with my fundamentalism. Once that transition was complete, I went through a long period of anger at just how manipulated I had been by a belief system that controlled me through a fear of hell and promises of miracles. I got over that, too, and am long past the bitterness. But I will never be the same. Today, I question everything and am very wary of group-think and anything that smacks of being a cult of personality. But when I was within that paradigm, I didn't question it. I couldn't, because to question it would have meant damnation and that all the wonders I was promised wouldn't occur. It would have meant missing out on a lot of fun, music, and emotionally intense experiences. Leaving all that behind also meant giving up friendships, acceptance, and love within a group context. Independence can be very lonely.

Mar 9, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 7

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Kirby Brown

I just listened for the second time to the Kirby Brown recording and I'm just struck anew by the absurdity of this whole "die with honor" thing. Brown, as discussed, was one of the people who "died" in the Samurai Game. Now, I've played games that involved being "out" and leaving the game. I'm sure I've even played games where "out" meant "dead." I've never played a game wherein I had to lie completely motionless for hours. Usually, being out means you can move off the field of play and hang out. It can even be kind of a relief, as I imagine death itself can be. I'm a believer in life after death, so... I certainly don't believe that death is just the cessation of physical activity because I don't believe we're just a body. I think the body rather quickly becomes inconsequential to the spirit after death. The reason I bring this up, is that a similar paradigm is certainly suggested by Ray and by the Native traditions he purports to be representing in this training. But here, he's made death completely about the body, not the release from it. That seems contradictory to me. Kirby Brown obviously believed in life after death because she shared that one of her departed relatives came to her in her vision quest. But the Samurai Game presents death as being trapped in an immobile, physical body.

I just don't see what on earth lying stationary on the ground, being unable to attend to basic physical needs -- scratching itches, elimination, addressing muscle spasms, eating -- can possibly have to do with honor. What keeps popping into my head is that horrible scene in the movie Sybil -- the first one with Sally Field -- where her mother forces her to drink water and then hold it while she plays the piano. I don't think anyone who ever saw the movie can forget the mother pounding on the keys and screaming, "Hold your water!" as a humiliated child struggles not to wet herself, but eventually does. I don't think there is any argument that Sybil's mother was a sadistic abuser. I really can't see compelling people to hold their water, swallow their own vomit, and remain there motionless while others are having dinner -- because to do otherwise will "kill" their companions -- as anything but abuse and humiliation. He's tied the idea of "honor" to following the rules of a very cruel and capricious "god." What on earth that has to do with his paradigm about us as divine energy beings of unlimited potential I'll never know.

Ray's fixation with death, I'm tending now to think is part of his Castaneda fascination. One of Castaneda's major themes was making death a teacher and ally. I think that's what Ray was trying to say in his meandering speech on why participants shouldn't sleep before a battle -- something no actual military leader would ever order. I don't think anyone ever won a battle because the troops were exhausted. But I digress. Ray is really a sad Castaneda wannabe. Now that guy knew how to run a cult.

Mar 8, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 6

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Judge Warren R. Darrow

Lots more fun with Jennifer Haley today, but first, the legal mumbo-jumbo: There are two pressing evidentiary issues that are still being hammered out, but the prosecution has been making some serious headway on getting excluded evidence admitted. One is the previously discussed recording of Kirby Brown describing her experience of the Samurai Game. The issue for the defense is that they cannot cross-examine a dead woman -- not with the current technology. The prosecution has successfully worked its way around this by positioning this recording as evidence of what James Ray knew and his state of mind rather than "for truth." Darrow's ruling will allow the recording in specifying that it must be played in its completeness, rather than the small excerpt the prosecution had submitted. And it will have to be presented with a "limiting instruction."

The other major success for the prosecution is that Judge Darrow has agreed to allow testimony regarding prior events on the basis that it goes to causation. There is still a lot of wrangling over this as to how much and what of this testimony will be admitted. The history is important for a number of reasons. One is that it makes it much harder for Ray to claim ignorance of the health dangers because there have been incidents at past sweat lodges, including a 911 call and hospitalization. After problems in 2005, Ray dialed the heat in his sweat lodge way back in 2006. Then, in 2007 he started ratcheting up the heat again so that it got hotter every year. It could be argued that he grokked the risk after 2005 because he responded to it by lowering the heat the following year. But he later disregarded his own concerns because he started ratcheting up the heat again. That's not ignorance. That's willfully disregarding a known threat to the health of participants. That distinction could, arguably, be the difference between recklessness (manslaughter) and negligence (criminally negligent homicide).

The state also plans to argue that the sweat lodge history refutes the defense's argument of poisoning as the putative cause of death. Both the prior sweat lodge structure and the later, larger one, built to Ray's specifications, were used by other groups who used the Angel Valley facility. The prosecution will argue that the only health problems occurred during James Arthur Ray's sweat lodges. So if the blankets were leaching rat poison into the air, they were doing so very selectively.


Around the Web, Around the World

"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

What is Shamanic Healing?

What is a shamanic healing in the 21st Century? Host and shaman, Christina Pratt, explores this question in three parts. First we will explore the healing that comes from work with a shaman and how that integrates into all the other healing options available to you in the 21st Century. Being a contemporary consumer of health care in the USA is a challenge. In many ways working with a shaman can help you to orchestrate the rest of the options from the clarity and personal truth of your own core needs. Next we will explore the healing that comes from developing your own relationship with helping spirits. In other words, how does learning the basic shamanic skill set help you to heal your self and your life, which then reenergizes your overall well being. Finally we will explore the healing that comes from engaging in life from a shamanic perspective and the transformations that might get you to that place. Much of what ails us culturally can be healed by rediscovering our core values and deep loves, finding others who share them, and recommitting our lives to living from what has heart and meaning. This week we explore "what is shamanic healing", what could it be for you, and how to weave that into your very contemporary life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 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.

Mar 7, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 5

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Jennifer Haley

I've checked the CNN live feed at intervals today and as near as I can tell there's been no courtroom broadcast today. So, it's a good time to back up and look at some elements of last week's proceedings.

In Session finally ran more of the opening statements. Prosecutor Sheila Polk laid out the prosecution's case by underscoring the key elements of case as they are to be revealed in upcoming testimony:

  • Participants were being dragged from the tent as early as the fourth round in right front of Ray in obvious distress, displaying nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness
  • Lou Caci will testify to delirium that resulted in his passing out and falling into the heated rocks where he was badly burned even as he was trying to make a run for the exit
  • Ray did not stop the ceremony despite the chaos and did not check on people when concerns were raised
  • Liz Neuman: Polk points out something on Laura Tucker's testimony that definitely needs to be emphasized -- that it was after Ray had responded to Tucker that Liz knew what she was doing that she said she was fine (implication: she may have been intimidated into refusing help)
  • Medical testimony will explain that heat induces confusion and an inability to discern when one is at risk
  • There were only a few basic medical supplies on hand, no emergency medical plan, only one person trained in CPR on scene, no portable portable defibrillator
  • James Ray endorsed those who had left, including the injured Caci to come back and complete the sweat lodge
  • Sidney Spencer will testify that the back area of the tent where she sat near Kirby Brown and James Shore was hotter, was pitch black, and that she remembers little before losing consciousness and being carried to the opening by James Shore
  • Several people called out for help for Kirby Brown; that she was passed out and not breathing and that James Ray's response was, "We're closing the door. We'll deal with it when we're done."
  • The fire tender's wife looked in the tent at the end and saw three people unconscious, lying on the ground, and she initiated the rescue attempt by tearing open the tent and dragging purple and blue mottled people out -- she also called 911
  • James Ray came out of the sweat lodge first and had his own needs attended to but did nothing to assist others; other participants and volunteers took care of those who were unconscious or otherwise in distress

Horoscope for March 7-13

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Aries (March 21st - April 20th)
This is your power and action week, Aries. The moon starts the week in your sign, making everything you initiate now flow along more easily because you are working with lunar support. Expect attention from friends, groups, and personal admirers while the planets are making you stand out as special and desirable. Last week, you had a lot going on internally on the spiritual level. That influence continues, but it is running in the background while you are outwardly appearing gregarious, engaged, and aware. Money, sales, and career, while good overall, can feel like a rollercoaster ride this week. Just as you think a sale will go through or you get a new client or contract, things could change abruptly but then swing back to the positive again. The trick of your week is to find your own inner calm that is never affected by the ups and downs of life or the unpredictability of others.

Taurus (April 21st - May 20th)
Old habits are hard to break, Taurus. Despite the new moon of last week and new beginnings in your life, you can still slip into old patterns of thought and behavior that keep you stuck, especially when it comes to success, money, and your self-worth. You've had plenty of positive reinforcement from friends or a group or organization to help you see that you can be more and do more. Instant manifestation will be a teacher for you this week. You may not get everything you wish for exactly, but you will get a situation or energy that reflects your thoughts and moods exactly. If you think things will go smoothly or to your liking, they will, and if you think you will have difficulties, you will. Once you master the basic tone and flow by adjusting your own emotions, you can move on to more specific material manifestations.

Astrological Trends for March 7-13

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Have you ever watched two young children at play where one child wants the other to do things their way or surrender a toy? The manipulator can be very creative in his attempt to convince the other child to go along with him. Looking at the lunar aspects on Monday, March 7th, brought that image to my mind. The moon in the cardinal fire sign of "me" Aries opposes Saturn in "me and you" Libra until later this afternoon so that you may feel your own emotional needs or desires oppose those of others. It gets a bit more complex, and the manipulation slips in, as the moon forms a semi-sextile to the sun in Pisces, which activates the quincunx between the Pisces sun and Saturn in Libra. Everyone wants things to be their way and they want everyone else to want it their way, too. In fact, they just don't understand why someone might not want it their way! If you stay polite and sweet, you may wheedle your way into changing other people's minds while Mercury in Pisces is being influenced by Uranus, the planet of change, in Pisces. Another influence encouraging sudden decisions and changes of mind is Venus, the planet of affection and pleasure, in independent Aquarius sextile Jupiter, the planet of expansion, in bold Aries, creating energy that says, "I'm game for anything and I'll try anything once, so let's go!" Everything seems more pressing and intense today due to Pluto in Capricorn exchanging energy with several planets. Pluto makes a difficult square to Jupiter in Aries, which creates resistance to new things or objections to rules and established order. Supportive aspects to Pluto are a sextile to Mars in Pisces until this evening and a semi-sextile to Venus in Aquarius. Both of these flowing aspects indicate that no matter what the rules or threatened consequences may be, people are going to follow dreams and impulses anyway. Several romantic energies are present this evening with the moon contra-parallel Neptune, the sun parallel Chiron, and Venus parallel Pluto. Love can be spiritual, romantic, sexually intense, and grounded all at the same time.

Mar 4, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 4

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Jennifer Haley

Yesterday I raised the question of who, if anyone, was actually a paid employee. Dream Team volunteer Jennifer Haley, who just started her testimony at the end of the day yesterday, was asked who was actually getting paid by JRI. Josh and Megan Fredrickson and Melinda Martin were actual, paid employees, according to Haley. Beyond that, she couldn't think of anyone who wasn't a volunteer. I'm glad to see that the prosecution is pursuing this issue because it's very troubling. In part because of what it says about how much they could be fairly depended upon to support participants in these admittedly dangerous activities. That, obviously, is the key issue in this trial. But, in terms of Ray's character, it raises other concerns. This is a man who was teaching about wealth and prosperity and who has claimed to have been very successful. Why does someone running a successful business and living in Hollywood need to have a staff made up almost entirely of volunteers?

This has been a criticism of mine regarding new age organizations and events for years. If someone is making a profit, people who work for them need to receive compensation. In some cases, I can understand, where profit margins are small to non-existent, and volunteers receive some form of fair compensation other than money. Most volunteers at new age events are able to go to lectures and other activities for free. In some cases, depending on how hard they have to work, and how many of the activities they can participate in that can be fair compensation. But this is often not the case and what I've seen, in that regard, at a number of new age festivals and the like has turned my stomach. There are people running events, making substantial sums, who simply exploit a free labor force that's willing to do it because "it's spiritual." If you're operating in integrity -- or to use James Ray's terms, being "impeccable" -- there has to be a fair rate of exchange. That doesn't necessarily mean money. But if someone at the top is making a lot of money and there are a lot of people busting their humps for free, that is not an equal exchange of energy.

While Ray was bragging about his many homes and $10 million net worth, he had a whole cadre of people working for him for free. How does that fit with all of his wealth and abundance memes? He's not sharing the wealth. He's not feeding the economy by employing people. All of his "harmonic wealth" isn't  trickling down onto too many people.

Mar 3, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 3

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Melissa Phillips

A few additional thoughts on yesterday's courtroom footage: I guess I expected more from Ray's legal team. I'm not saying that their overall strategy is poor, but in the opening argument, Li was working for the prosecution.

The Salty Droid has posted graphics of the screen shots Li presented of Ray's words. The defense's argument is that the prosecution has taken excerpts of Ray's speeches out of context and they hope to put these back into context. I had trouble making these statements out on my TV but Salty's graphics make clear that the statements they used here to exonerate him just raise whole other questions.

First quote:

You will assist participants as they enter and leave the sweatlodge. If you are inside the sweatlodge, you must remain alert and ready to help the entire time. If you are outside the sweatlodge, be present and ready to quickly and immediately do what is necessary to assist anyone coming out of the sweatlodge.

Mar 2, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 2

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Well, if I wanted to write about the Casey Anthony trial, I'd have plenty of fodder. Yes, infanticide makes better television than a killer sweat lodge. That probably goes without saying. Of course it may also be that in day 2 the James Ray trial is bogging down over issues like what is the best and least prejudicial way for the state to mark and display evidence. Pretty dry. I'm just disappointed at how little of yesterday's opening arguments are being shoehorned in during breaks in the Florida trial.

So far, between what I've been able to find in articles and what of the prosecution's opening argument I've been able to see when the Casey Anthony trial has been on breaks, I have grokked that the prosecutors intend to use Ray's own words to hang him. After audio of the 911 calls -- always disturbing -- prosecutor Sheila Polk played long excerpts from Ray's recorded speeches to his "spiritual warriors."

Much of it is repetitive and nonsensical gibberish. But even in these snippets there are some major red flags.

Welcome to spiritual warrior. Time is short. Time is short. If you're not going to die, it is. Some of you went to bed last night. That's okay. Time is short. Tick tok, tick tok, tick tok, tick tok. It's getting shorter. Better clean it up while you can. You don't have a lot of time left. A spiritual warrior. From the time they were born until the time they exited this particular lifetime, they were told and trained and prepared for the ultimate battle. It was their purpose. It's why you're here. So the battle is coming. That's why you're here. You didn't choose it. The choice has already been made. You were born and that's who you are. And between the time of birth to the exit in the final battle, the ultimate battle, you either live an honorable life, you live with impeccability, you devote yourself with 100% of every ounce of energy you have to the perfection of all that you are involved with, or you exit dishonorably. So the question is not whether or not you are going to physically die. You are. The question is how did you live? How did you live?


Around the Web, Around the World

Awakenings with Michele Meiche

Dr. Craig Martin: SPIRITUAL COUNSELOR - part II

12pm PST --- One on One with Michele ----MICHELE MEICHE shares her weekly 2012 & beyond update, answers your questions, and does channeled readings--- 12:45pm PST --- Welcome our Awakened Guest: DR. CRAIG MARTIN ---- Dr. Craig is a spiritual counselor, relationship expert, and author of “Elemental Love Styles: Find Compatibility and Create a Lasting Relationship.” “Elemental Love Styles” offers a spiritual method for people to find and understand their deeper needs through the four natural elements which represent the human personality types: Fire (creative and enthusiastic), Air (communicative and social), Water (emotional and intuitive) and Earth (practical and grounded). Dr. Craig also provides counseling based on astrology and his lifetime of studying worldwide spiritual practices like The Kabbalah, Druidic Mysticism, the Norse Ruins, Native American Shamanism and other ritual ceremonies. In his work he focuses on teaching self-awareness, acceptance and love in a simple way. He helps people realize that introspection doesn’t need to be difficult - but it is needed - to build great relationships in all aspects of your life. Dr. Craig developed his unique method of counseling by combining his experience as a homeopathic doctor with his extensive knowledge of astrology. Dr. Craig says, “Everyone has their own personal dilemma to solve and their own healing process to unfold to create the foundation that’s needed to nurture all relationships.”

3/2/2011 3:00PM ET

Mar 1, 2011

James Arthur Ray Sweat Lodge Trial: Day 1

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

According the New York Times, opening arguments did go forward today in the James Arthur Ray trial. But whatever happened in that regard did so after In Session's trial coverage wrapped for the day. Instead, I watched a lot of the pregame show but an as yet unspecified problem with the jury delayed pretrial hearings and the beginning of the public trial. Here is a brief encapsulation from the Times.

A prosecutor, Sheila Polk, argued that Mr. Ray’s negligence caused the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman in October 2009. She said Mr. Ray conditioned the victims to put aside their inhibitions and trust him as a way of reaching enlightenment.

Luis Li, Mr. Ray’s lawyer, called the deaths accidental and said the victims had voluntarily entered the sweat lodge.

Mr. Li said that the victims were adults and had made their own decisions and that Mr. Ray held no power over them.

High Weirdness in Peru

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

A massive and thus far unexplained crack in the ground has opened up in Puno, Peru. Seismologists have confirmed that it is not the result of an earthquake but the cause has yet to be determined. A house was destroyed by the earth movement and, tragically, a five year old boy remains missing.

‘The exact cause of the crack in the earth still unknown. Peru’s geophysical institute ruled out the occurrence of an earthquake in the region, but what is clear is that the ground opened up and large blocks of earth can be observed scattered throughout the area.’
Over at the USGS website, the confirmation of the absence of earthquake activity in Peru on February 23, the date the mysterious crack appeared in southern Peru.

The James Arthur Ray Trial Begins

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Opening arguments will be presented today, as James Arthur Ray is finally tried for the deaths of three people in a sweat lodge ceremony gone horribly wrong.

He told them it was a good day to die so they could be born again.

"You're not going to die," self-help author and speaker James Arthur Ray told participants in the sweat lodge that day, they later recalled. "You may think you are, but you're not going to die ... You need to surrender to death to survive it."

The sweat lodge ceremony, the culmination of a five-day retreat in Sedona, Arizona, was meant to be a "rebirthing." But by the end of that day, October 8, 2009, two people had died. A third died nine days later, and -- authorities allege -- at least 15 others fell ill.

Ray, 53, is charged with three counts of reckless manslaughter in the deaths and could face up to 10 years in prison on each if convicted. Opening statements are set to begin in his trial Tuesday.

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