A Leap of Consciousness
By Andrew Steed
For those of us who are called to shamanism we must be prepared to pick up the proverbial mop and bucket, the duster and vacuum cleaner as we join ranks as spiritual janitors brightening up the worlds. And if we are to sweep the worlds clean and serve as ‘Lightworkers’ it is essential to cleanse our own house first!
I have danced these ways for many years and as Ralph Waldo Emerson eloquently scribed “Do the thing and you will have the power”. In teaching and more importantly living a shamanic pathway I step deeply into the shadows to take the light there, I face my fears and I embrace the authentic hero who wades through the faeces transforming it into fertilizer.
Are you called to learn the song of the Oran Mor, to embrace the role of a Sacred Outcast, to weave with Amrun and the Dragons, to pick up the treasures of the Tuatha de Danann and stand in Battle Truth as we learn to live more fully in Sovereignty with the land?
Discovering the subtle shades within our own crayon/pencil/paint box and having the courage to splash, smear, etch, swirl and dance the fullness of our colours onto the canvas of life is a gift awaiting us all. I believe that each of us has a treasure chest that is overflowing in the spiritual that will be made manifest when we get out of our heads and into our hearts. We hold the key to unlocking our gifts so that they flow over the mental bridge into the physical world. And however vivid and stunning the strokes on the page are, there is more. The masterpiece is unfinished for we are eternal. Those who have worked with me before will have heard me say; “Do not put me or any teacher up on a pedestal, we will only fall off”. I am constantly sharpening my own pencils and discovering new hues to mix upon my own palette and dab onto the page. Whilst I am here on planet earth/planet water I am still a student with the opportunity to expand my adventure beyond the horizon. And for those who fear that their pencil tips have broken, that the choice of colours has slipped into the bland and the bleak, look again, with a willing heart and the tenacity to do the work, to be the work, magic and mystery awaits us all.
The quest to find our unique self, to express our gifts, to speak our truth and to live passionately and authentically is one that sings in my heart and dances in my soul. I am grateful for listening and following this guidance for it has led me to discover the wild ways, a pilgrim’s path and the sacred outcast within me.
In 1996 I went self-employed as a storyteller and by 1999 I was working full time as a shamanic practitioner where I hold space for others to become witnesses rather than tourists along life’s trail. As the years have gone by the work has become deeper, richer and unexpected wonders are magically revealed as I continue to stir the cauldron. A humbling, miraculous encounter sparkled in and around me recently as I led a pilgrimage in Ireland.
I had first held space for pilgrims to wander on Quest Day in the Valley of the Two Lakes, Glendalough, in 2003. Eleven years on and the magic of Quest Day reached a stunning new crescendo.
A day when religion would seep into the vestiges of time and spirituality, faith and the recognition of the light that shines in our hearts would ring in a rich harvest.
It had begun auspiciously beside the earthen labyrinth carved on the grassy field close to the visitors’ centre that is but a stones throw from the monastic site with its pristine round tower.
I shared the story of the 12 Wild Swans and the courage of Rose, which is a tale well worth the telling. As the words flowed onto the wind a Robin hopped into the circle. As she/he flew over my head, around my head, into the circle again and again and yet again, listening, singing, connecting and sharing we all felt the medicine flow around and within us.
It was not a fleeting visit; Robin stayed with us and hopped ever the closer gracing each of the pilgrims with its presence. Robin brings gifts of wisdom, change, growth and renewal. There is a strong connection to those who have crossed into spirit; I was acutely aware of how our clans were with us as we spent this day letting our hearts guide the way, a solitary journey in silence, a day of experiencing ourselves as the elements. With transformational shifts this red-breasted winged one is counterpart to the wren. Where the wren takes us through the dark half of the year, robin is the guide for the light half.
This songbird offers a voice both in the night and the day singing practically all year round. This feathered guide encourages us to sing our own unique song and light the flame of happiness for the rebirth of spirit as we let go and make sacred along the trail.
As I have said an auspicious opening. We were on the cusp of Lughnasadh and the dark moon was approaching connecting Leo with Jupiter and with Mars. A culmination celebrated once every 12 years. Where Lugh connects in the fullness of Kingship and with the Great Queen, the harbinger of death, the Morrighan, a time of increased creativity, a time to open to the fullness of Sovereignty.
We had been working closely with Lugh and Brighid, with Boann, St. Kevin, the Morrighan, Biera and Boann’s 3 sons the harpers of sorrow, joy and peace. We had explored Lugh and Brighid’s dance that creates the rainbow. We were exploring one of the key ingredients to embracing a Celtic pathway the role of Sovereignty and the importance of balancing the feminine and masculine within ourselves so that we can bring these energies to all of our relationships in the world.
Pilgrims chose various trails that wind through this picturesque valley to sit, wander, reflect and remember.
Stepping into the wild woods,
connecting to the flowing waters,
being still by one of the two lakes that whisper their story to one who will listen,
and expanding all of the bodies in the silence of the moment.
Even when the throngs of Dubliners spill into the valley alongside a swarm of tourists marching along the well-trodden trails, splashing in the waters and adding incessant chatter whilst snapping selfies, one can find solitude. So many nooks and crannies down below and the higher one climbs amongst the ferns and heather the less likely it is to see people. Here one finds the company of feral goats, deer, eagles, crows, bees, butterflies a variety of birds and the great song of the land.
Quest day always offers gifts and this one did not disappoint. Much learning gleaned during the day was topped off with icing that would crown any cake. I had made my way toward the gathering place at the labyrinth. There were many people basking in the sun and I chose a shaded spot tucked out of the way which was close to where we had begun our day. When the first pilgrim came in I sang a song of the balance of masculine and feminine and rattled around their 3 cauldrons before resting the rattle on their heart. They then sat in silence as we waited for the next pilgrim to arrive. As I rattled and sang in the next pilgrim I felt someone watching me. I continued singing and out of the corner of my eye I saw a young boy no older than 10 sitting on his bike watching me intently. He continued to observe as the next pilgrim stood before me receiving the song of integration and balance. I then lost sight of him until he turned up on foot and walked right up to me. “Hey Mister” he cried in a thick Irish accent. “My dad wants to know if you are offering blessings?”
I pondered his question for a moment and then smiled. Indeed that was exactly what was happening. I was in the flow as a hollow bone, spirit was shining blessings on us and it was tangible in the air. “Yes” I replied,” “I am”.
“In that case may I have a blessing?”
His question was laced with sincerity and before I could agree I needed parental consent.
“If your dad agrees you may. Tell him to give me a thumbs up if he says yes.” I responded gently.
He tore off towards his dad and I held my hand up to an incoming pilgrim as I looked to see his fathers’ reply. A thumb went into the air and I returned to rattling in the new arrival.
The young boy then eagerly stepped forward and I sang and rattled around this youngster acknowledging the king and queen, the sun and moon, the god and goddess inherent within him. As I did so his father strode toward me carrying a little girl in his arms. As I placed the rattle on his sons’ heart he put the girl before me and I asked if I would be willing to give her a blessing too. As I obliged it was as if a gateway had been opened for mothers, fathers, daughters and sons of Ireland to step forward and ask for blessings, a line of people waiting for their turn. Just when I thought it had stopped it would start up again. Then another pilgrim would arrive to receive a blessing and in silence they would witness more Irish people coming for theirs.
I could feel tears of joy flowing in my heart, I rarely use the word awesome and this was an awe filled day made more so by the next person who came forward. A well built youth who was around eighteen/nineteen with a shaven head and tattoos blazoning from his muscular arms. He looked me in the eye and rasped, “May I have a blessing?”
Later a Scotsman in our party said to me “that youth was as hard as nails.”
He looked tough and as the rattle was placed on his heart I was aware that it was sitting beside a dangling crucifix hanging from his neck.
Each of the people had followed my lead and this young man did exactly the same. As I pulled the rattle from his heart I placed my hands together and bowed to him maintaining eye contact as I did so, he mirrored me and beaming from ear to ear called out “Thanks.”
When the last pilgrim made her way in I thought it was over, she was the only one to have missed this amazing stream of inquisitive seekers. As she took a seat I saw two women in their mid twenties ambling toward me, one I recognized as having already asked for a blessing. Her friend approached and with no words spoken I rattled around her cauldrons, the cauldron of knowing, her head, the cauldron of calling, her heart and the cauldron of warming her pelvis and belly, I placed the rattle on her heart and we bowed. She sauntered off with a spring in her step and I sat down with tears running down my cheeks and looked into the glistening eyes of the gathered pilgrims.
It was a few days before any of us spoke of what transpired that day. After Quest Day I have all of us ingest and digest the medicine by not talking on our day, this way we allow the medicine to settle and not puke it up on the land. When we spoke of this extraordinary gathering it had moved us all. In a land often bogged down in religious tradition people had come to stand in the power of light. There was no talk of religion, of names, of where we were from. It was spontaneous and it left us all with a great sense of hope. One of the resounding truths was the power in the blessing of the children. It had started with a child recognizing the light of spirit shining from the hollow bone where the masculine and feminine were dancing as one. The courage to ask for a blessing paved the way for this beautiful thread that has been woven into a memorable story, a story that I will stir with gratitude throughout this lifetime and I know my fellow pilgrims will to. It brought up the importance of being a hollow bone, shining in the truth of authenticity, for this is when magic happens!
Things are shifting; they need to for us humans to evolve. I feel the time is now to take a leap of consciousness, to step into the roots of being a Lightworker and to shine luminously. To do so calls me to look deeply into my eyes, the seat of my soul and into my heart centre and make a decision to take full responsibility for this journey that I am gifted to live. We have been waking up for a while now and it is time to stand on our feet in battle truth and weave healthy new patterns that will enhance beauty in the worlds. For those who are called to plug into the grid, to weave with the Dragons, to stir in the teachings of a Celtic pathway with me then I would love for you to consider coming to play, pray, drum, dance, sing, journey and remember the indigenous medicine of the Gallic and Brythonic tradition at the Edge. I look forward to working with people of integrity and I am excited to meet up with those who choose to take this leap together. Séa.
We are wandering stories, a collection of tales gathered through grime, sweat, love, anger, joy, fear, acceptance, betrayal, beauty and a host of other threads that are woven into the unique tapestries of our life stories.
In the winter of 2013/2014 I had a wonderful new book flow through me. I have called it ‘Powering Up Our Life Stories’. It is a comprehensive workbook to help all students of life discover their inner Bard and weave with stories like the Seanachaís of old. The focus of the tales being reclaimed in this journey book is the reader. A wealth of riches will be found through answering journal questions and working with shamanic journeys at the end of each chapter. So many people have stuffed, blocked, denied and/or forgotten pieces of their story to the point that they become stuck within their story. Here is a way to cleanse, renew and work with the indigenous practice of reclaiming. Indigenous people knew the importance of shifting perspective and discovering the inner hero within. Reclaiming my own story is a practice that has stood me in good stead for finding freedom within my soul, which supports my journey in being a hollow bone.
I am excited to be offering a 2-Year study in Celtic shamanic practice beginning at the Edge in October 2015. I am inviting all prospective students to delve within the folds of their own stories and read ‘Powering Up Our Life Stories’ as a prerequisite to the course.
“Andrew Steed is a brilliant storyteller who inspires us to reclaim and reweave our own stories. He teaches us how to harness power and invoke the courage to look at and shine light on the shadow of our past in order to rewrite a new life story that illuminates our unlimited present and future potential.” ~ Sandra Ingerman, MA, author of ‘Soul Retrieval’ and ‘Walking in Light’