With all eyes on the United States of America, as its president carves a whole new path for himself and the country, author and shaman Barbara Meiklejohn-Free pulls on the energies of one of its spiritual heartlands to ask the question, ‘What really matters to us and to what lengths are we, as people, prepared to go to achieve our desires?’
Bighorn is a stunning area of mountain range and forest that straddles two adjacent counties in Wyoming and Montana. In Montana, the greed of the white man brought the native Sioux tribes of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and the Arapaho together to fight at the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. Despite the death of General Custer and the defeat of the US army during this engagement, by 1880 all the Sioux had been forced into reservations and General Custer was portrayed as the all-American hero.
The motivation was greed – for the gold of the Black Hills. Ask yourself now: have you grown up believing that material success is all that matters? Were you taught that the good life means a fancy car and a big house, regardless of the cost to others and the environment?
Near the top of Medicine Mountain in Bighorn National Forest is the Bighorn Medicine Wheel. For centuries, this ancient stone circle with 28 radial rows of rocks extending from a central cairn, has been used by the Crow tribe for fasting and vision questing, and as a place for the offering of healing prayers; for people and for Mother Earth. The medicine wheel teaches harmony and the sacred connection of all living beings. Consider it as a shamanic map of your life. Covering your evolution through infancy, adolescence, adulthood and elderhood, a medicine wheel also reflects the four seasons and the four directions.
Walking the wheel imbues you with personal power and responsibility. Are you attuned to your spirit and the earth? Or do you demonstrate little respect for the circle of life? Now is the time to spend some time thinking about your principles for living in right relationship to the earth.
Sitting Bull, the Hunkpapa Lakota holy man, greets you. He was a great spiritual leader, who had many visions, including one of the downfalls of Custer. Before his people’s victory at Little Bighorn, he performed the Sun Dance, cutting the flesh from his own arms more than 100 times in sacrifice.
Go into nature and mark out a circle (whatever size feels right), using sticks, stones, leaves or crystals.
Now, mark a cross through the centre, dividing the circle into the four directions.
North represents Winter and being grounded.
East represents spring and creativity.
South represents summer and love and relationships.
West represents autumn and emotions and psychic abilities.
Stand in each quarter in turn, with arms outstretched, and look up as you say words such as these:
“I call upon the guardians and gatekeepers of the North. Keep me protected and show me what I need to freeze from my life, in order to walk my true path. Show me the way.”
Now, ask for whatever it is you require from the other directions in turn.
Be aware of your feelings: which direction offers comfort; which does so less? Go within yourself and allow the answers to surface. Take your time.
When you have finished, turn to face each direction and give thanks to Great Spirit, before stepping out.
Barbara Meiklejohn-Free is a healer, author, teacher and storyteller – all of which she employs in weaving the ancient craft of the Shaman. Drawing on her extensive work with the Native American traditions, as well as those of many other indigenous cultures including her own Pagan heritage, she is a recognized expert in assisting people to explore the Calling, in vision questing, in performing initiations and in hosting ceremonies across the globe. Barbara has been communing with Spirit since the age of 12 and her work today is synonymous with integrity, authenticity and vision. Her no‐nonsense, hands‐on approach has helped thousands to reclaim their natural gifts through her many talks, readings, performances, seminars and residential workshops.
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