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Classic vs Core Shamanism
Ethics of Spellcasting
Ethics of the Native Sacred Point of View
Following Others Discussion
Galactic Gateways
Harvesting the Fruits of Aging Discussion
Ley Lines & Vortexes
Mazes, Labyrinths & Spiral Discussion
Mother Earth
Praying Peace Discussion
Seeing through Soft Eyes
Soul Retrieval Discussion
Soul vs Spirit Discussion
Spirit Names & Their Medicine

Ley Lines and Vortexes
Part 1 © Cinnamon Moon

Spirit of Place and Sacred Energy...what are they? What has compelled me for over three decades is an insatiable appetite to study a wide variety of religion, philosophy, mythology, and folklore. I have always been fascinated by the fact that at the core of all these subjects lays a fundamental link to the greater whole of life--a basic spirituality within nature and humanity. I have walked a path that led me through institutions of higher learning, wound its way through libraries and bookstores, turned down backroads of private instruction, and introduced me to some wonderfully unique individuals. Extensive travel has afforded me the opportunity to explore variety within the context of American cultures. These personal pursuits and practices have presented an invaluable side of life, and allowed me to gather knowledge form the deep shadows of time. Often this knowledge came in bits and pieces with a good many cobwebs that needed dusting.
I have taught others privately and believe there is a need in society to have this information available.

We have to admit that life is hectic. Demands of family, career, and social obligations leave little time to devote to outside interests or spiritual quests. Such activity is haphazard and rarely fits into a daily routine. Schedules do not always allow for attending workshops, or meetings and services that offer to fulfill those needs. There simply are no spiritual band aids. There are, however, paths less cumbersome than others. In my teachings on working with the elemental forces, I was able to present a practice that can be implemented whenever and wherever an individual might happen to be. This body of work (for it will be presented as a series of chapters) compliments those teachings with an even greater arena in which to explore. It present the opportunity to tap into forces that, of old have been called the Veins of the Dragon. These are the pathways, portals to Otherworlds, roadways of dimension--the sacred paths and vortexes that are storehouses of wealth in that they contain energies we can all share.

Over the centuries an interest in these pathways has been held by diverse groups such as: sages, shamans, historians, mythologists, religious leaders, mathematicians, scientists, and even the simply curious. They have been examined by experts in a wide variety of fields with nearly as many theories put forth. Today they retain their mystery and continue to intrigue. There is a need for a simple approach. We need a working knowledge of how they can be used, where they can be found, as well as what can be expected from and experienced through them. This body of work is designed to prove an easy to follow method of application. It is one path of enlightenment that offers a great deal in return for the efforts put forth to explore it. This path may be taken at your leisure and to any desired depth since it accommodates beginning and advanced levels of study. It is easily understood and simple in its philosophy. In my heart I know it will allow you to walk a path of true enlightenment in the brightest of blessings.

Earth's Power Provocative information rarely presents itself with a silent tongue and our inner voice ever rises to express an opinion. The logical mind debates whether we are to accept or deny the truth of a matter. In some instances the inner spirit will raise its voice to stir the intellect giving passion to the senses. In the case of the latter a seemingly magical transformation takes place. Everything around us becomes vibrantly alive, our perception becomes a revelation, a deeper meaning emerges and we simply know the answers. It is as if they had emerged from some silent shadow only slightly beyond our comprehension.

Excitement courses through our veins and suddenly it takes on a will of its own. We are driven forward to explore. We feel alive as it arouses us and seduces our minds to open, to accept new possibilities, new concepts, to progress. We are then capable of a marvelous spiritual evolutionary growth and it entices us onward.

Throughout the ages, mystics, sages and shamans have recognized and used this knowledge, a practice that continues today. Their eyes are capable of seeing beyond the mundane, beyond the third dimension, to experience what many long for--enlightenment. These individuals know the Spirit of Place and Sacred Energies that serve All Our Relations. It is my intent to present such provocative information and allow you to experience the onset of this enlightened knowledge. How this is accomplished is a fascinating experience. There are pathways to follow, locations of power, and roadways to walk. What are they? How do you find them? They surround you. They permeate the universe and all aspects of your physical and spiritual realities. Throughout history they have been given many names, many of them familiar to us today, names such as: Straight Tracks, Spirit Paths, Dragon Veins, or Ch'i. The names used are simply attempts to describe a mystery--the land markings, sacred locations, and energies that web the world.

Many have sought them, some have found them, and some are able to see them visibly appear. In the end, what they are describing are simply lines and concentrations of energy that can be tapped. In today's New Age vernacular they are commonly called Ley Lines. They appear in a variety of forms creating intricate patterns and intersecting in locations that frequently report evidence of strange phenomena. such events have given birth to myths, legends, and oral traditions throughout the world.

Many have heard of the Leys that run between Stonehenge, Avebury, Salisbury, and other megalithic sites in Britain. These are famous sites that are well known; but, they are not the only ones. Many such locations exist right here in the United States and throughout the world. Ley Lines cover the world in a rich vibrant tapestry, a tapestry woven through the centuries and as ancient as Earth itself. The mystery is just beginning to unravel. We know, for instance, that many animals, birds, and even nomadic tribes follow them during their migrations. We know that cultural aspects are intimately connected to the natural currents that flow. In many cases specific locations experience tides of increased activity responding to seasonal, celestial, and even hourly changes. Other locations consistently remain active displaying either positive or negative effects. In all cases, each location provides its own experience.

The Ley Lines and sacred sites have been the focus of pilgrimages from all walks of faith and for a wide variety of reasons. Every country upon this planet has its own Ley Lines, Spirit Paths, and sacred locations that hold stronger concentrations of energy--whirlpools or vortexes of power. Shrines, temples, cathedrals, standing stones, even simple altars form the markings. Locals often use groupings of trees, runes, land sculpture, effigies, or even simple white stones to identify the sites. The Ley Lines are interconnected with the environment and just as often they are marked by the land itself in natural formations or unusual manifestations. Each juxtaposition is unique in some specific manner.

Those who work with them are committed on a wide variety of levels attuning to their nature physically as well as spiritually. Leys frequently traverse the land along waterways that run underground. Since water is a conductor of energy, it aids in the flow of these energies. We have all been touched by them but most people are simply unaware of it. Those who become involved with these energy flows and systems do so by consciously serving not only personal needs, but the greater world community as well.

Not everyone finds they have been called to the isolation and responsibility of a shamanic path. We are, however, all summoned at one time or another to quest spiritually and seek our answers. Responding to that call is up to each individual to answer and such quests lead along diverse pathways during the course of one's life--each with its own unique purpose to discover. These energies are not the property or domain of any one individual, religion, science, or nation. They are of the Earth and belong to the world in all its aspects. They are of the universe itself, of Spirit, of Great Mystery. They must be honored, respected, and tended.

Sadly this has not always been the case; through ignorance, war, natural catastrophe, or the blindness of progressing developmental growth many locations have known desecration and destruction. It has fallen to us all to preserve those that remain. There is a large body of evidence from prehistory that shows both religion and science have held an interest in the Sacred Energy of Earth. This interest helped in the development of a field of study known as Geomancy.

Geomancy encompasses the geological, astrological, anthropological, and spiritual aspects of the Leys. Through the work of geomancers there is a wealth of information and mapped locations that are readily available to today's students. There is also a natural result that comes from linking sacred sites around the world. Through the linkage we are able to see that the energy from one site is attracted to that of another. There is indeed a web of invisible energies that span our entire planet and beyond. The Web of Life that has been taught for uncounted generations of indigenous people here in America is now proven.

The Earth is a magnetic entity in itself with its known poles and magnetic forces. Filled with ores, crystals, and minerals as well as its naturally conducting elemental forces of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth, it provides its own transmitters. Through the spiritual teachings of the world, as well as the body of evidence in myth, lore, and legend, these forces have become known to us. These truths have been known to the mystics and shamanic leaders of history. They are actively taught today in shamanic circles, by Native American Medicine Men and Women, and through the New Age Movement that is rapidly growing.

It is from these sources, as well as first-hand experience, that I have drawn my information. Any scientific proof or explanation beyond this must fall into other hands than mine. I am concerned only with shamanic practices, lines of energy, and vortexes themselves. This same concern is focused around the practical utilization of them for purposes of spiritual growth and development. I find that the study and experience lead to desirable changes in life, the rediscovery of ancient knowledge, great wisdoms, healings, and much more.

From antiquity America has been strongly influenced by Native American cultural and shamanic traditions. A study of the energy lines in the United States must then come primarily through the eyes of these Native American teachings, or through the eyes of the shaman. Through their own first-hand knowledge of these energies, and coupled with their uses, it is soon discovered that what they are is not nearly as important as how they can be tapped. Because of this fact you are able to virtually experience them for yourself today.

The spiritual leaders of many tribal nations have located numerous sites. Utilizing the vortexes where this natural Sacred Energy enhances spiritual work and healing ceremonies they have created a way that others may follow. Marvelous mounds, land sculptures, effigies, roadways, and many sacred dwellings serve as monuments. These are often awe-inspiring feats of ingenuous labor that allow others the ability to tap the knowledge of these indigenous peoples and utilize the gifts of their heritage. They also allow us to understand that in the taking there is also a giving back. Throughout this series you will discover 1) where these locations may be found, 2) what it is like to feel this energy for yourself, 3) how to experience altered states of consciousness communicating with the Spirit of Place, and 4) the freedom to work at a level conducive to your own personal needs.

An individual who is not spiritually inclined might walk an energy line, or enter a vortex site and feel only the experience of nature's beauty. Still, consciously or unconsciously, each of us is affected to some degree. The fact would more likely be that these individuals were simply approaching the situation with a closed mind. It is true that everyone will react differently at these locations, but on some level we are all touched. It has frequently been reported that many experience phenomena having had no intention of seeking such encounters. These reports lend themselves to further proof of the spirituality of such locations, and the power of the Sacred Energy itself. it is up to you to choose to acknowledge these forces and to work to increase your abilities.

On a spiritual level this energy permeates all dimensions of the universe and allows those dimensions to be accessed. There are realms with ancient doorways and there will always be those who are inclined to pass through as well as those who do so quite by accident. Sacred sites and energy lines provide those entrances.

In his series of books on shamanic apprenticeship, Carlos Castaneda wrote of pathways and methods of achieving altered states of consciousness. In an intensely analytical approach, he expresses many of the Amerindian shamanic views. What stood out for me was his continuous focus on locations, luminous lines, and dimensions of Otherworlds; of the Spirit of Place, and allies or co-walkers. I am certain that his experiences are consistent with those that occur at sacred sites, along the Spirit Paths, and in walking the lines of Sacred Energy.

The dimensions weave in and out of one another and the Ley Lines evidence this in the physical world. It does not matter how they are comprised as much as how we as individuals are affected by their existence and our use of them. It remains that they can be viewed through altered states of consciousness; and in heightened states of spiritual awareness we are able to utilize them. The shamanic approach presents a very direct pathway to this end. It allows room for experience without infringing on the religious beliefs you may or may not hold.

Visitors to such sites tend to be drawn to the better known and more accessible locations. It is not unusual to arrive and find others in various stages of meditation or ceremony, or that scientific studies are taking place. Invariably this becomes more pronounced at the solstices and equinoxes for the obvious reasons of the energies being heightened at such times. If you pan to travel to a sacred site keep this in mind, however, it should not give you pause to rethink your plans. Go when you feel you should go. Your spiritual nature is directing you and you should certainly answer its call. If, when you arrive, the site is occupied simply respect that fact and go about your business in as unobtrusive a manner as possible. The sites are not restrictive and it does not matter that others are present.

If you find the situation is not conducive to your purpose you can wait it out or you may wish to find another location nearby. The vortex energy often covers a wide ranging area of up to a mile or more and a sacred site is generally at its center. Frequently there will be several sites within less than ten or twenty miles of each other. Many minor locations exist that should not be discounted. Often individuals stumble across a site that appears to activate upon their arrival. Such places might be within the boundaries of vast reservoirs of natural energies. So whether you find yourself in the company of others or all alone, learn to honor the site and work with it.

Sedona, Arizona is a good example of just such a reservoir of concentrated power and will be discussed in depth later. Other locations might be found in great forested regions, isolated groves, mountain lakes, natural springs, or simple places. Such locations have been known to regularly present themselves to those who are actively seeking spiritual attunement, healing, or enlightenment. It is always advisable to visit a tourist information station in the state you wish to explore. These offices are frequently able to provide vortex maps of areas within their respective state, though it is at times necessary to request them under the title of Native American sacred sites if they do not know what a vortex is. I have found that the Southwestern states tend to be better informed in these areas.

With this in mind, my focus here will be on the history, locations, and what can be expected when these sites are visited. Many are curious about what the experiences are like and what can be done to enhance those events. I have studied many techniques and found that some work better than others. The experience is generally dependent upon your own nature and the ability of skill that is brought to the moment at hand. Anyone seeking growth can achieve their goal.

I believe very strongly that the consciousness of humanity is being called to awaken...the universe calls with a loud voice as we bridge the millennial gap, and what awaits is but a breath away. It is awakening in us the need for a conscious approach in living harmoniously within our social, natural, and global environments. Sacred Energy lines and the vortexes that accompany them contain the energies that form a union that has great power and potential. Nothing happens without reason, and globally we are becoming increasingly aware of this fact. You need to guide yourself, and the energy lines are one path among many others that will aid you in accomplishing your goals be they individual, cultural, environmental, or spiritual.

There is an old Native American prophecy that speaks of a time when there will be an awakening of the people of the world. It speaks of an awareness that will come over the people when Mother Earth is in need of healing. The prophecy tells that the mysteries will be made known to people of all races. The time is now. No longer can humanity be simply the passive bystander it has been. In the process of healing Mother Earth, humanity will also be healed of its ills. The races of the Red, Yellow, Black and White Peoples of the world are the spokes of the Wheel of Life, of the Medicine Wheel, of the Sacred Hoop...they are humanity.

The locations of energy lines and vortexes throughout the United States are such that you should be able to visit any number of them. Even in the most restrictive case, a single location would be within reason to visit at least once. When a site has been visited physically it can be re-visited spiritually again and again. Before visiting there are certain issues that must be raised. A history of the site is necessary to understand what you can expect from the location. Knowledge of how to achieve an altered state of consciousness is required and crucial to your success. The outcome of any experience in a specific location must be carefully planned out and sought. In the pages that follow, these and other issues will be covered to aid you in a manner that is conducive to the most positive experience possible. The effort required is not that demanding and will be well worth whatever time it takes to experience such a transformative event in your life. It is something that falls short when the experience is not first-hand. I recommend that an attempt be made to gift yourself with a well-prepared visit to a vortex site or walk along a Sacred Energy line.

You deserve to know the wonder of it, to grow beyond your dreams, and to touch the face of enlightenment. It is the energy lines that lead to just such places. It is in these places, the vortexes, that the energies of Earth are gathered and can be used or experienced. It is the Ley Lines that conduct those energies from one site to the next, and it is up to you to come to know them in the best possible ways. I invite you to walk with me and share what I have learned as a Medicine Woman about the Spirit of Place and Sacred Energy. Let me introduce you to some very powerful methods of spiritual work leading to evolution and enlightenment. My ways need not be your own, but they certainly lend themselves to any path you might choose to walk complimenting the teachings you hold and seek. Come, take my arm and we will explore them together.

Ley Lines and Vortexes
Part Two © Cinnamon Moon

The power that flows through the universe, that lights the heavens and permeates all of life, reaches through the dimensions of time as well. From the infinite vastness of space it interconnects with all that exists. This perpetual force charges our atmosphere with its great energies, satiating the very air we breathe, penetrating the land, and permeating deep into the core of Mother Earth. It comprises the basic elemental forces of nature, coursing throughout the land in an intricate web, a network of energy reaching out from the shadows of time.

It does not matter if they are simple stones or vast cathedrals, the lines of energy have inspired the placement of structures to mark the key points of intersection. In the building of temples, shrines, and churches we often find that there is a pattern of the Sacred Energy lines that exists within the structure itself. The scale is literally a miniature of the outer forms even within the designs of cities, states, or simple stone circles. In Europe, Asia, Egypt, America, and the world over, there are found what is commonly called sacred landscapes. These are areas where the land itself forms aerial designs of temples, animals, and humanity. This can be taken down to a specific location or enlarged to encompass the entire planet. Geomancers have found that there are direct correlations between locations around the world. Some are seen as containing chakra systems and within them would be found numerous lines of energy that converge on the chakral points. These sites activate by the contact they have with seasons, tides, celestial phases, and human functions within their respective ranges.

An interesting view of Sacred Energy can be found in the art of Feng Shui. This is a form of geomancy developed by the Chinese thousands of years ago. The name literally means "wind and water". It is a form of science in which the geomancer first looks for the form of the dragon in the landscape and then for where it meets with the tiger to cross its path. Using a special compass, complex calculations are made to find an ideal location. There are five main forces of energy and five elements that must blend harmoniously in this science. Ch'i is the life force, and it is key to success when locating a perfect site in which to build homes, businesses, hospitals, schools or temples.

In order for Ch'i energy to be ideal it must harmonize at the compass points within a circle that contains each of the five elements. The combined forces of Yin and Yang energy create the balance within Ch'i. When this does not happen, Ch'i becomes Sha, an unmoving force which translated means "noxious breath". Here the air becomes stagnant bringing ill health and bad luck. Ch'i energy rushes fiercely in mountainous areas, while on flat land it becomes Sha where it is sluggish or even immobile. Straight lines and sharp curves serve to direct Sha to a site, to destroy Ch'i, or make it attack. It should always be deflected either naturally or by some physical means of construction or landscaping, so it will slow to a harmonious pace. The effect that is sought is that of a gentle wind flowing with a meandering stream. It needs to circulate and lines or angles hamper and prevent this.

The principle cosmic forces of the White Tiger (Yin energy) and the Blue Dragon (Yang energy) should flow harmoniously. The passive forces of Yin, when strong, attract the volatile aggressive forces of Yang and will draw down lightning from the sky in locations where they are most intense. This is also a common theme found at vortex sites here in America and spoken of in Amerindian lore. According to Chinese geomancers the White Tiger can be found lounging in the planes, foothills, and flatlands, while the Blue Dragon inhabits the rough mountains, high peaks, and sharp ridges. The locations the Chinese name for the Blue Dragon directly correlates to the fact that Earth energy does follow ridge lines and is often most dramatic on high peaks and plateaus. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that mystics have long sought the solitude of mountain tops. To the Chinese, the Blue Dragon tells them where Ch'i is collected or released. The Dragon Veins are lines of attraction.

Throughout the world dragons have been the symbols of magical energies, of keepers of mysterious secrets. The dragon has the ability to function on the ground as well as in the sky and thus of two worlds. The Veins of the Dragon show where the serpent lies, where its mysteries lie, where can be found gems, minerals, and treasures of wealth. To disturb its lair is to disturb the Earth and wreak its rage. This may come from myth, but it has a truth to it. Physically we have disrupted with mining and extractions, with bombs and explosive work. Spiritually, then, we have disrupted the Ley energy. That is why many of the dragons of the world slumber in sacred sites that are forbidden to be disturbed lest their fiery breath be awakened. Still, in their slumber and at these sacred sites they are willing to share their wisdoms with the spiritual paths of those who know how to communicate with them. It is the goal of the geomancer to locate the dragons, and to speak of the Veins of the Dragon is to speak of Feng Shui.

The element of Water in Feng Shui is an important one. it carries energy to and from an area and therefore its flow or stagnancy will have an effect of Yin and Yang upon the location. Often the energy lines follow underground waterways and divination must be done to discover where they flow steadily or pool and gather. Water can create caverns, sinkholes, and underground rivers and lakes, giving the presence of Yin on the surface land. This fact is also known to the Native Americans of the Southwest, though they speak of it a little differently. Yin and Yang, Sha and Ch'i, and Lung Mei (Dragon Viens) are the five forces of Feng Shui. These forces are interdependent upon one and other in creating locations of harmony and positive energy forces that are eagerly sought for future health and prosperity.

Worldwide, geomancy is the art of divination. Geomancers seek to locate the Spirit within the Earth. This art encompasses the geography of the land, the history of a site, as well as Otherworld dimensions of sacred locations. It can take into account the weather, vegetation, elements of topography, geophysical nature, underground waterways, and electromagnetic fields. its focus is the positive and negative energies that belong to the historical aspects of a site. The mythological, religious, cultural, and legendary lore that surround such places are the intricate pieces to the puzzle. All these aspects have left imprints upon the land that speak to the geomancer and in this respect introduce the face of what the shaman calls the Spirit of Place distinct to each location.

In Europe sacred sites and Ley Lines have been a subject of focus for centuries. They are connected to Druidism, Witchcraft, Sorcery, and magic, as well as standard religious beliefs that existed prior to Christianity. References are made to these issues as well as in connection to Faerie lore that is inseparable from them in the Celtic countries. Legends and folktales refer to phenomena associated with lines and sites.

During the 1920's in Britain, Alfred Watkins experienced an incidence in which he had an altered state of consciousness. At that time he visualized lines of energy that crisscrossed the land and Otherworld dimensions. The lines, he discovered, ran in a true alignment with ancient sites in the likes of Stonehenge, Glastonbury (Arthur's Avalon), and Salisbury among many others. What Watkins had discovered was by no means new to the world. It was simply a mystical experience for someone who prior to this had not perceived in such a way. It simply happened to him.

Watkins was deeply impressed by what he had witnessed, but he was a man of high repute. How, he wondered, could he tell others of his experience without becoming a laughing stock of the community? He decided to go public with his findings by writing a book entitled: The Old Straight Track. Here he proposed in theory through the book, keeping the initial incident and the facts surrounding it closeted for private conversations only. His writing presented the fact that by laying a ruler across a survey map it served to connect one site to another. He further espoused that these sites were then linked by these lines in a network of energies that the scientific world should investigate in greater depth. In this way he avoided the issue of experiencing an altered state of consciousness. The lines revealed these "straight tracks", burial mounds, Spirit Paths, shrines, and pagan sites. He suggested they indicated lines of measurable energy in this more 'rational' approach.

This body of work created quite a stir. Archaeologists and anthropologists took a sometimes scoffing new interest in what Watkins had to say. They focused on his mention that clues existed in ancient namings: references to pagan gods, animals, and historical events. These areas opened new locations to explore. Geomancy was reborn and the social culture had a new and exciting interest to follow. A resurgence of pagan lore was to arise with these studies since the two were so closely related. Social views grew as he coined the phrase "Ley Lines". From this auspicious beginning the Ley Hunter Magazine later developed gaining favor in both Europe and America.

Today there is much information available on European sites, the mysteries that prevail around them, and theories of numerous writers. In America we have a banquet of our own. Here, too, there are mysteries, lost lore, legends, and phenomena. Religious practices of a wide variety of Native American Peoples have steeped the land with a wealth of sacred spirituality. They blend deeply, as did other world cultures, with the Spirit Paths, Ley Lines, and sacred sites of the lands they call home. New Age spirituality has noticed what America has kept in hiding and this wisdom cannot be separated from the Amerindian culture that did and continues to hold it as sacred. Stepping out from the shadows of time come these great wisdoms and the honor of holding them in the light. It is as if ancient figures were demanding to be noticed...perhaps messengers of what the world is lacking today.

It is true that the names given to specific locations are often clues to a sacred site or area. Native American shamans used names and legends as indicators of doorways to the realms of Spirit. Often the name identifies the spirit energy that resides there, be it law, cosmic, healing, burial, or spiritual. In some instances the Indian names have been taken over by new names of the white settlers that moved into an area. In this case a little research is called for to discover what a place used to be called. Rites performed and events that have taken place show through as residual imprints from thoughts and actions over the years. These imprints contained in specific locations are invested within the land itself. The Spirit of Place becomes an entity or presence than can be felt; quite often it is one to be reckoned with in one way or another. Frequently they taken on an existence independent from the land, yet, hold a tie to it as a favored local or retreat or noted birthplace. The locations of temples, shrines, and sacred sites create an elemental signature upon the land. Humanity, in its attempts to settle into areas, begins altering the landscape, building structures, cultivating fields and forests, diverting the waterways, building roads, and otherwise cutting into the landscape. Even utilizations of mountains, caves, hot springs, rivers, and hilltops can dramatically alter the nature of an area in its ecological,, climatic, and visual aspects. This is seen in the changing face of the land and the shaman is well aware of the ensuing changes in the Spirit of that Land as well.

In the successive retelling of lore attributed to the Spirit of Place, a gradual growth in power occurs allowing it to take form in the spiritual dimension as well as in the physical world...it has become a part of the universe. That which has taken place is felt by the land, it virtually remembers, and in states of altered consciousness those sensitive enough to it may in reality witness these historical moments. Reports of such events frequently follow the lore that surrounds Ley locations. I have had some unusual experiences myself and will be discussing them later where they apply.

You may be asking yourself: where can such a sacred site be found? Your curiosity may be aroused and later I will be discussing known locations in the United States with references to others in comparison. For now, if you are interested in discovering some on your own, it will be found that maps provide wonderful clues in this location process. Begin at a noted point to determine the size of the area you wish to investigate. Begin drawing lines from one location to another. Frequently you will discover that a pentagram or five-pointed star begins to take shape within your boundary lines. Along the lines between these locations you may find there are several sacred sites that begin to reveal themselves. This technique will allow you to locate lesser sites in your local area. Our degrees of longitude and latitude are known to correlate with the heavens and we mark them as a minute of time for each degree. In this we find that the land temples and sacred sites have a direct relationship to the universe itself. These markings are often found to depict land temples and the forms of spirituality, humanity, and animal natures that they take on in their geographic formations. It can be seen quite easily in the pyramids of Egypt, the sacred sites of Europe, and even here in the Native American sites.

This process is explained by mathematicians in numbers and great complex matrixes or formulas. The truth is that it is simply a part of nature. I need not go into the mathematics of it here. If you are interested in an extremely well explained mathematical view I suggest reading: Sedona: Sacred Earth by Nicholas R. Mann for an in depth explanation. My purpose here is to stay to the point, and the circle begins the process. It is found by looking at a survey map of the area you wish to work in and finding outstanding points within the landscape. Once this is done on a North, South, East, and West axis, the points of longitude and latitude will draw your circle for you. Generally there will be five to six points that will stand out as the areas on which you need to focus. Lines drawn between them will then form your pentagram and you will have your Ley Lines. It is a simple process, and one you can complicate if you choose. I prefer to get down to business and take you to your destination--the Sacred Energy Lines. Let me show you how to find them and how to proceed working with them. One last note, if you take this process to a known site it will most definitely show you other locations in that vicinity.

From deep within the shadows of time have come great mysteries and secrets that unfold at sacred sites. The experience can be life-changing, spiritually enlightening, and physically healing. It can satisfy curious minds and add lore to historical facts. There is much to be gleaned by everyone. The next step in the process is to look at the shamanic tradition in respect to the philosophy and workings that interconnect the Leys to our physical and spiritual lives. We will be stepping in and out of these shadows in that endeavor, emerging into the present to begin individual experiences. This will aid in instilling new (and old) conceptions of reality that will feed the provocative conclusions that are inevitably to be drawn by you and your own experiences. You may sleep in the shade, but you will dream in the shadow of what is...seek then the shadows of time.

Ley Lines and Vortexes
Part Three © Cinnamon Moon

The shamanic view of the world is an enlightened one in which all is seen as a blended whole of Spirit or the Creator. There are veiled borderlines, but all dimensions are able to be known if one has the knowledge and wisdom to cross them. The shaman does not separate the physical from the spiritual but walks a path that is between the two, centered and blending both religion and lifestyle. Shamanism is a way of life. A sacred space between the dimensions takes place as a center point of focus wherever the shaman may happen to be.

Surrounded by the four elemental forces the shaman stands at the center. Above is the world of Spirit and the Star People. Below is the world of the Ancestors. The Middle World is that of material and physical reality...the shaman stands at the center. In ritual and ceremony the Medicine Wheel is seen as the Sacred Hoop, a spiritual arena where the elements and Otherworlds join to slip the boundaries of time and space, to unite as one. Think about this if you are fortunate enough to see a Sacred Hoop Dance. Ever attuned to the energies of the universe, mediating between the worlds to heal, to foresee, to know great mysteries, the shaman stands at the center.

Shamanic centering is a path that is not easily walked for it places great demands upon the individual, and it is really necessary to understand the ways of the shaman so knowledge of the Native American philosophy can be grasped. Tribes turn to the shaman as a spiritual leader, as a healer, as a problem solver. The shaman is a very necessary asset to their daily lives. To the Medicine means magic--not the magic of the stage magician, but the honest spiritual wisdom of one who knows the mysteries of life. The shaman knows how to mediate between the will of Spirit and the people; knows when the tribe is favored by good hunting and where to look; knows to warn of bad weather or catastrophic forces that would call for precautions; knows the secrets of plants that will heal wounds and cure illnesses; knows the lore and prophecy; knows the spiritual guidance that is required in daily life. This is the Medicine. This is the magic.

When this country was being settled by those immigrating from Europe shamanism became closely tied to the witchcraft they knew in their homeland. The settlers, in an effort to translate the practices of these indigenous peoples, frequently referred to them as witch-doctors. It was common knowledge that the Witches of Europe were linked to the ancient sacred sites, that they were practitioners of an ancient religion dedicating themselves to worship the duality of God/dess in nature, the duality of the whole.

Witches were known for acknowledging the elemental forces in nature and worked with their respective energies. They were known as village wise women whom the people turned to in healing and resolving personal problems. Both the witch and the shaman were said to traverse the bridges of Otherworlds. They celebrated the seasonal changes of equinox and solstice in stone circles. it was a logical assumption for the newcomers at that time to link the two.

In Europe the term "witch" was rooted in the word "Wicca", meaning "wise". In America the terms "shaman" holds the connotation "to know". In the past witches were traditionally women, except for the Scottish warlock, and shamans were men. Today they are all a mixture of both. In each case they are focused upon the universal forces in nature and life. It is these forces, or utilization of the Powers That Be, which they wield in serving the needs of the people.

Other associations existed between the shaman and practitioners of occult magical arts. Sages and wise men were frequently known as sorcerers whose focus was mainly the practice of magic for its own sake. Today in places like South America and Mexico the shaman is considered a sorcerer, but unlike those of European heritage, the shamanic practice is indeed a holy one in service to the people.

There were ceremonial magicians that developed out of the Christian faith in Europe. These practitioners summoned entities such as angels or demons and attempted to command their powers. They generally worked in secrecy for fear of persecution.. Often the priests of the Church were magicians, druids, or witches in secret and kept their beliefs and practices closeted. The settlers who came to America were well aware of these practices in their homelands and saw the shaman as having a kinship to such beliefs. As in any case, positive or negative practices can and do occur, but it is in the majority that these practitioners have served the greater good of their people. Be they village wise woman, tribal shaman, mystic, or priest, there are good individuals and those who are sadly misled by their own blindness.

Negative workings will ever bring negative effects upon the practitioner. Eventually they will discover that they have taken the wrong path. Negative practices can be seen in Satanic cults that are the focus of much attention today. These cults have grown out of anarchy within the boundaries of the Christian faith. Satanism has developed and uses the transverse effects of perverted Christian rituals as a selfish means of attaining power. They have nothing to do with the wisdom of the shaman. Magic is simply a term like any other. It exists in the minds of those who do not comprehend the forces of Spirit.

To the common person shamanic acts are a mystery, a fearsome power that is avoided by scoffing to keep it distant. To the shaman it is simply a body of knowledge intimately linked to the forces of nature that they have learned to use, bending them to serve the greater needs of everyone.

The Native American peoples understand the services of their shaman. The isolation that is often so necessary is not condemned but instead is highly respected. To them the shaman is a holy person who walks in the light of Spirit. the services of magic or Medicine are seen as aspects of daily life. The shaman simply holds secret knowledge and great wisdoms that have been well-earned...a reality that belongs to them...knowing the unknown. At will, the shaman is able to alter states of consciousness, to walk between and into Otherworlds. They use their knowledge and religious or spiritual understanding in guiding their people.

To the shaman the universe is connected in all aspects. Visible in nature, its energy patterns are able to be used in bending the nature of these elements into service. It is ever an issue that these actions are to be done only of the strictest necessity since to alter the course of an event is to alter the pattern of life and must be carefully considered. The shaman is a spiritual guide, a healer, a religious leader, a psychologist, and a very wise individual.

In Europe it was often said that witches met at crossroads, and I suspect that these were similar to the sacred sites of the shaman, places where the Sacred Energy lines crossed. The Gypsies would return over and over to encampments to gather and dance and these sites would likely have been in Ley Centers. The Druids frequently used these natural centers as well and found that they generally provided a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape and its markings. It was quite common for beacon fires to be lit on surrounding hills giving the assurance that they were well guarded. The same applies to the Native American practices of sending smoke signals either for ritual purposes, as check points, or for communications between the tribes.

As a child I was raised under the guidance of a Bohemian Gypsy, I have studied the Old Religion or teachings of Witchcraft, as well as the Native American practices of shamanism. The teachings I am familiar with are those of the Plains Indians (the Cheyenne, Crow, and Sioux) as well as the Cherokee and Delaware. In all my personal studies I have found that spirituality, religion, and lifestyle are consciously one. A concept of separation does not exist despite the varieties of belief systems. They all have the same basic truths and fundamentals. It was present in the church-state of medieval Britain, in the paganism of the Celtic countries, in the practices of Feng Shui in China, and in the reign of sacred kings in Egypt. Shamanic practitioners in Africa, Canada, Australia, Peru, Hawaii, and the continental United States, Alaska, India, Asia, and countless other places the world over did and continue to practice these beliefs. The civilized world moves into progress almost oblivious to their spirituality save for the ritual attendance of weekly worship sessions. The government has taken prayer out of the schools. To the shaman, it is a moment by moment, day by day practice that cannot be regulated by another individual or governing body.

The concept of being centered is not exclusive to shamanism. Europe and Greece exhibited it in their navel stones and altars; churches, temples, and shrines have their naval sanctuaries. All forms of worship contain a theoretical center. It is used as a focal point and often a door to other dimensions. The circle of the Medicine Wheel is thus the magical entrance. It is where the past, present, and future combine. Conventional time as we know it is outside, beyond the circle. It is here that the spiritual self and physical self are able to link to the moment at hand through a state of trance.

Shamanic arts include the ability to project the mind or the spirit body. This projection of one or the other can be into Otherworlds, over vast distances (commonly called far/remote viewing or clairvoyance) to observe events, to meet with ancestors, spiritual entities, and in some cases to meet with other shaman. These Medicine Men and Women are marked by their ability to control their altered states, coming and going at will. This is a skill that comes from much practice. Though tribal members and people the world over may generally have such experiences, they do so at best only a few times and in most cases only once or twice in their lives. The shaman, on the other hand, experiences them on a regular basis.

There are entire tribes known to have various levels of shamanic skills throughout their societies, but this is more rare than common. Individuals are frequently born to their calling; some event in childhood or early years generally sets them apart from others. These individuals may have abilities at an early age or a serious illness that seems to be an onset to latent talents. Many can see spirits, some have dimensional glimpses, some simply know things, and others have been found to combine many of these and other traits. There are definite signs that would draw attention to them as being of the shamanic world. The call to shamanism comes from Spirit and is so strong that it cannot be ignored. A choice is always given,, and ultimately it is up to the individual to accept or deny the path. There are many who would like to be a shaman, but there are few who are truly called.

Becoming a shaman is not a simple event. Training can begin at an early age and is always a process that continues for many years. When this training is complete the shaman emerges as a walker between the worlds with allies or co-walkers that serve as guides throughout life. Just as often, the shaman is self-taught gleaning lessons from personal experiences as well as by trial and error. Much of the training comes from their travels into the Otherworlds of Spirit where they meet with teachers and guides. Their abilities to communicate with Spirit become honed and they are then able to have an endless supply of knowledge and answers. This skill is not taken lightly, but founded upon great reverence for the work to be done and the gifts that are received.

One thing that all shamans have in common is the intense initiatory process. It is very often dangerous and life threatening, for the shaman must experience death and survive to know the worlds that are to be walked. It can be a symbolic death in that it may be onset by trance states, but the experience will come.. The initiation may be given by other shaman or it can be given by Spirit. In either case it is a powerful and life transforming event inevitably brought about by the will of Spirit. The prospective shaman can rest assured that a test will present itself. In some cases the initiatory process will be a multiple one. Through surviving these trials the shaman is granted gifts and gains the skills necessary to rise to the occasion of assuming the role throughout the remainder of that individual's life.

Native Americans continue to follow their beliefs of the land and its Spirit of Place with a mystical reverence and as a way of life. Their religion is experiencing new growth among today's tribal members and even those outside the Indian culture. Tribal Elders are speaking and sharing their wisdoms and memories of the Old Ways. We owe them a debt of gratitude for refusing to let go of their heritage and maintaining a willingness to share with others. If only more nations the world over would show such caring and respect, our pathways to peace and healing would be greatly expedited.

Native Americans come from all walks of life, but they have maintained their culture within this diversification. They have an innate spiritual strength that rises to the occasion and rejoins them in a new cycle, on in which they are again able to walk in pride and lead in wisdom. No longer restricted to the confines of the reservations, they have emerged into the world at large and they have a message if we will but listen. They are the nations and tribes of peoples who have shown by example how we can gather together in respect and dwell among one and other in peace. I have learned much from their ways and will be ever thankful for that wisdom...We Are All One.

Throughout history the shaman often became the priest and eventually a chieftain or king. As kings and chiefs they were considered divine and bonded to the land in a form of matrimony--much as a priest is wed to the Church, the land being viewed as a living spiritual entity...the bride, Mother Earth. In Celtic countries the land was seen as the Goddess and the King and land were one. In the making of a king, the people viewed the tie as absolute. If the king was good the land would prosper, if he became ill the land withered...this was a direct reflection of their own prosperity and they held a close eye on the matter. In the case of an ill-met king, his fate would be to be sacrificed for the greater good of all.

The Goddess of the land, Mother Earth, could be seen. Hills and mountains formed her breasts, caves became her womb, jagged rocks showed her face, and the vegetation became her gown. The land was alive and the making of a king or queen was a high ritual process. A sacred stone was often carved with footprints where the chieftain, king, or queen stood symbolically upon them as a sign of the bond with the Earth. Today in Westminster Abbey there is a secret compartment within the throne. Hidden in this chamber is the Stone of Scone said to have been seized during war from the Celtic enemies of Britain. It could just as well be that Kensington Palace could have stood for "King Stone Palace"; there is often just such a twist to names.

It is interesting to look at the root of the word "ruler". It can be defined as a method of measure, to serve in law, or as a straight line. This same straight line can be seen in the Spirit Paths and Ley Lines, in ceremonial processions, in pilgrimages, and ritual walking such as was common worldwide. It ties to the rulership of the land. All are links to Sacred Energy lines and shamanic traditions. Tales of shamanic kings, queens and chieftains date back well over six thousand years. Often these rulers were seen as having divine healing abilities and to simply kiss the hand of such an individual was to be granted such a blessing.

Native Americans see that spirituality is a combination of energies permeating one and other within the realm of the universe and Otherworlds. This permeation extends to all living things, plants, animals, mountains, oceans, all that encompasses life. To them we are all related and every aspect of life is held as sacred. The Spirit of the Wind is the Breath of Life that blows from East to West. The Sacred Pipe raises its smoke making what is normally unseen to be seen. It symbolizes this combination of Spirit energy and dimension. The shaman sees with soft eyes into the Spirit World and sees with hard eyes into the physical realm. What is unseen does not mean non-existent. Their world is composed of these vibratory energies. The shaman has learned to soften the sight, to let go of the constraints of the physical world and become transparent, removing personal barriers to stand at the center.

A shamanic world is one that is constantly in motion with the energies or powers of Medicine...the magic of the shaman. Such wisdom is ever seeking to attune to the energy, to become familiar with Spirit. Power is viewed as a gift--and a wise shaman guards and nurtures it well. The shaman must know each element of nature intimately and be able to direct those forces, remaining centered in this balance and harmony for it is critical to all functionary processes. Control of the self under any circumstances is sought. The shaman sees the self as the root system of the shamanic tree, with its roots embedded within the Earth. From that center, moving back and forth within the worlds of dimension, the shaman will work to gain knowledge and lead the people. With a deep reverence for nature, an abiding love of the Earth, and a common bond with Spirit, the Medicine Man or Woman gains a deep strength that becomes the power of the shaman. The shaman sees this symbolized in the sacred six-sided crystal which represents the elements: Air, Fire, Water, Earth, Above/Spirit, Below/Ancestors, and the Middle or centered self.

As a holy person the shaman is the solitary focus of the tribe in ritual, ceremony, council and healing. Walking a path of enlightenment and oneness with the universe, knowing the secrets of Spirit, vision questing, knowing sacred dreams, cleansing the mind, body and spirit, reading and understanding signs, willing the onset of altered states of consciousness to walk between the worlds, the shaman is the holder of many great mysteries.

In order for you to work with the Sacred Energies of the vortexes and Ley Lines it is this same centering that must be sought. You do not need to lead the life of the shaman to utilize such skills; however, to understand what such a life represents helps to gain the focus of just what such centering entails. It allows you to gain the focus necessary to pursue the attainment of oneness. Like the shaman, to enter a vortex is to stand at the center of the Sacred Energy present there. It should be done with great reverence and respect, not as a whim. Take nothing from the site and leave nothing behind you to show your passing...save the gifts of Spirit, your token offerings, and that which you wish to yield up yourself. Only then will you truly be able to say that you, too, stand at the center of your world.

The center is a place of no time; there is no past, no future, only the Now which encompasses all things. There you will be able to see beyond and back and understand how it pertains to the Now of your own reality. There you will find answers, become inspired, find healing, and known the oneness of Spirit. You will be touched in ways that are beyond words and be able to touch the true face of enlightenment. You will know the meaning of the Tree of Life. You will find clarity to see as you have never seen before. You will not forget and you will have changed your life for the better.

Perhaps you will dream sacred dreams, or be granted a vision, or some other incident will occur when you are there or shortly after you leave. Whatever happens, you will know it and there will be no question in your mind. Understanding will be yours. Walk then, along the Sacred Energy lines into the vortex. Stand at the center to know your Spirit of Place and the oneness with our own inner spirit. Remember the shaman stands at the center and you can too.

Ley Lines And Vortexs
Part Four © Cinnamon Moon

Within the shamanic landscape there are found the Ley Lines, vortexes and sacred sites that contain the Sacred Energies. There are two separate varieties of Ley Lines: the Leys of energy that web the world and the Spirit Paths that are physically formed. Here the out-of-body flight of the shaman and the death roads of the deceased spirits both utilize the Leys and Spirit Paths in a dual purpose. Through the straight Spirit Paths a deeper lineage of spirituality arises to link itself with the conduct of humanity as we struggle to rule the physical world. A look at the Spirit Paths of the world provides a perspective on the differences between these two types of lines.

Bolivia, Chile, Germany, Peru, Britain, the Celtic countries and the Americas all join in conjunction with other nations worldwide to host these marvelous Spirit Paths and for the most part to forget them. The Spirit Paths of Europe have always been maintained by the peasantry. The task being passed from one generation to the next eventually became a duty with a purpose long forgotten. In the United States the indigenous people did not forget. They were forced away and onto reservations where many of their spiritual and religious practices were forbidden by the Government's enactment of laws to regulate their actions. Because of this these practices fell to disuse; but, through the wisdom of their Elders and their strong oral traditions, the lore was not completely lost.

Strangely enough, the Government's attempts to set aside vast areas as State and National Parks as well as Wetland Reserves have served a dual purpose in also preserving some of the sacred sites. Many others exist in areas considered too remote or inhospitable to progress and remain intact. Progress, on the other hand, has destroyed just as many. The efforts of these people to preserve their sacred grounds have been bittersweet.

In my travels to visit many of these sites in America I found a paradox. Many sites remain but are inaccessible. Some are on military instillations that are closed to the public. Others are in National or State Parks. I found that most National Parks allow for only a remotely moderate experience and generally do not permit private use of the sites for ceremonial purposes. State Parks, on the other hand, tend to work with tribal leaders and the public permitting actual private and group rituals and ceremonies to be enacted at these sacred locations. The Native American reservations and grounds they preside over generally contain active sites and should not be intruded upon. Any visit to such a site must always be done within the guidelines of the cultural and spiritual leaders of the respective tribes. To do anything else would be no different from walking into a church, temple, or synagogue and taking liberties.

Spirit Paths are different from Leys of the Earth energies in that they often run together, are constructed, and serve a functional purpose. In North America they are ceremonial roadways where their energies become amplified through ritual sweeping and ceremonial walking or pilgrimages. These are lines with a specific start and finish and exist on a visual and physical level. They are often suggestive of where tribal boundaries might lie. In Australia the Aborigines stop at the end of their Line of Song (Spirit Paths) and another tribe resumes the ritual walking through their territory as the roadway continues.

In America the Indian culture varied from this as pilgrimages up from South America and down from Canada along these Spirit Paths led the people to sacred sites where great gatherings and ceremonies took place. They were much like arrows pointing the way, but they were more than just that. Prior to the time of ceremony these roads would be ritually swept as a sacred cleansing to rid them of negative spiritual energies. Then the procession followed and the lore was re-experienced through that pilgrimage. There was a deep spiritual purpose to all that they did in that process.

The American Indians and Australian Aborigines see themselves as the keepers and servants of the land. Unlike others who seek to possess it, these people believe they belong to the land and take great care in maintaining their territories.

Chief Seattle said: "This we know. The Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth.
All things are connected like the blood of one family.
Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the children of the Earth.
Man did not weave the Web of Life, he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the Web, he does to himself."

Walking Buffalo of the Stoney said: "Hills are always more beautiful than stone buildings...when people live far from the scenes of the Great Spirit's making, it is easy for them to forget His laws."

Young Chief of the Cayuse said: "The Great Spirit, in placing men on Earth, desired them to take good care of the ground and to do each other no harm."

A song of the Pawnee-Osage-Omaha states: "Remember, remember the sacredness of things, running streams and dwellings, the young within the nest, a heart for sacred fire, the holy flame of fire."

Finally an Ojibwa prayer reads: "Teach us love, compassion, and honor that we may heal the Earth and heal each other." I often wonder why these words of wisdom are not shared more.

These sacred paths can be as much as forty miles long and thirty feet wide, with side roads branching off that are narrower. The most famous are the Chaco Roads of Chaco Canyon in the Southwestern section of the United States. Over four hundred miles have been mapped out and they are best seen from the air. These roadways run to Pueblos, or Great Houses, that are used as ceremonial sites. The straight tracks often linked sacred sites and places of meeting. in some cases they are quite deep from much ritual use.

Spirit Paths also hold the duality of being the paths of departed spirits. In Holland they are called the Death Roads and pass from all directions straight into cemeteries. In Britain they are called Ghost Roads or Corpse Roads. It has been a long standing tradition to carry the dead in an uninterrupted straight line along the Death Roads only. The Ghost Paths of Germany are said to be regularly haunted, as are others the world over, and such lore may stem from an overlapping of dimensional boundaries. They are the dead man's road along which the corpse is driven--a place where the spirits of the dead congregate. It is obvious the people went to great lengths to contain these spirits within the burial chambers. In all cases, and despite the conformities of the land, the road continue in a straight manner running through or over any obstacles. In towns they will pass right through houses and the doors must remain open at all times. Because of this they often built the house over the road. In Europe these straight tracks were specifically for the use of the spirits themselves.

Britain and Malaysia are known for their stone rows. These are multiple rows of stones with a burial mound at one end and a monolith or large stones placed at angles on the other. This is presumably to prevent the spirits from continuing any further. In some cases the burial chambers are further along the rows. Celtic Faerie Paths are invisible lines that run in a direct link between cairns or historical earthworks and sacred sites. It is considered very bad luck to build upon or along them for it invites the wrath of the Faeries. Incas, Native Americans, and Romans all considered such roads sacred and placed shrines along them.

In Britain, as in other countries, the Spirit Path became a ceremonial King's Road or Royal Road. Through this process it was considered a road of respect due to the coronation of figures that would take the throne. The shamanic priest-kings would have seen to it that these roads were protected even if the people had lost their meaning during the course of the Christian rise in Europe. The phrase "remember to walk the straight and narrow" may have had its source in the Spirit Paths of the world. It may certainly have a deeper connotation than is generally suspected. Today it means to follow a good path. To the Native Americans it means to follow the "Good Red Road"--a straight path that focuses on the present, the Now of each moment. In this way the energies of the individual would align with the magnetic poles and bring about the process of centering and attunement to the natural binding forces within the Web of Life.

Shamanic markings in the vicinity of these roads reflect the respect that is to be paid to the location as well as the shaman who maintains it. They are also symbolic of shamanic flight, or out-of-body journeys. In out-of-body experiences the spirit leaves the physical body in a straight flight, going from point A to point B, and returning the same way. Thus, the straight Spirit Paths would be used as a guide road or aerial runway. They form a large part of the shamanic landscape along with the immense effigies that can easily be seen from an aerial view.

The sorcerers and shamans of Mexico are said to take the form of Crow when shapeshifting. This may be the source for the term "as the crow flies". Perhaps it helps to understand that the shaman, in meetings with spirits, comes to have a greater understanding for these pathways. After all, even Christianity has its "stairway to heaven" and "Jacob's ladder"...pathways in which the soul may climb to Spirit. so it is that these Spirit Paths are avenues or ceremonial highways.

In the shamanic landscape effigies abound. They form enormous birds and animals as well as winged humans. Effigies are found throughout the world, and are quite prevalent throughout the United States running from shore to shore. These are often suspected to be territorial markers to warn against intrusion due to intense rivalry between the shamans of various tribes. It is also said that they very likely could be signs to notify a visiting shaman during the course of shamanic flight. Others have suggested that they are labyrinths to be ritually walked. Personally I think there are variations of all these things that apply.

Within these landscapes geometric mound formations, linear mounds, and effigies are common. Some are burial mounds of multiple layers while others appear to have held a variety of diverse purposes. Dare we to marvel at the rare wonder of our lands? Dare we to acknowledge that there is a Spirit of Place, a sanctity to the world in which we live? Is there a presence, an energy force? I do not see how this can be denied except through ignorance. Once you experience it there is no way of saying these things are not so.

Over the years I have experienced several methods of working with the forces of the universe. There are many traditions just as there are many paths in life, and I have found for teaching purposes that most people grasp these concepts when they are presented in the simplest form available. I believe that a presentation on the basis of the elements and nature is what we all know and recognize best. I also feel that it can be found through the teachings of the Medicine Path as well as in the mysteries of the shamanic landscape.

The shaman has always looked to the land for a wealth of information. In using these Spirit Paths and the Sacred Energies much has been learned. The Spirit Paths of Europe vary from those in America only slightly as both are pathways of Spirit in one form or another. The American pathways are avenues that are walked ritually and often part of shamanic journeys. The shrines, markings, and symbols serve as triggers that recall legends and lore that help the shaman and other participants to remain focused on the purpose of the ceremony. In this process the individual goes into a meditative state linking to the subconscious mind where these triggers speak silent volumes and bring about a reliving of the lore (so-to-speak).

It is a functional process of cleansing, healing, and religious worship that culminates at a destination of gathering where great ceremonies can take place. They are the pathways of the initiates who undergo them as an ordeal in their process of "be coming". This pilgrimage brings about a change or transformation in the countenance of the individual as well as inner enlightenment and spiritual growth. It is a practice that has fallen to the wayside today for the most part, but one that you can still utilize. To walk a Spirit Path and focus on with this knowledge you too can experience the ways of the shaman. You can know altered states of consciousness and enlightenment and a oneness with Spirit that will allow for your own growth and spiritual development. You can experience the mystery for yourself.

The celestial harp is the soul song of the universe. There, in the vastness of space it plays its chords and reverberates through the expanse in a timeless symphony. It is the energy of the universe that takes up its voice in a cosmic chorus. The shaman is listening, are you? The shaman listens to the song, symphonies, and choruses of all dimensions and locations. Listening is the key to hearing the Voice of the Land. You must learn, as the shaman says: "to listen with a sharp ear". You must learn the mystery of the art that includes opening the mind as well as the ears. sometimes to open your mind you must close your eyes for a moment so that your ears can focus. Do this if you must, but learn the art.

Listening brings awareness and can be profound as you discover that it opens the doors of enlightenment. In order to be successful you must still your thoughts and become present in the moment. This is also key to the arts of meditation and drumming. Control of thought must be taken or the mind will wander. A wandering mind is detrimental to success and must be trained...it must be called back to the moment, to the Now. It often seems as if your logical mind wants to fight your efforts to still your thoughts. It is as if the mind were saying: "if I am not busy, I am not doing my job". To the mind this is rational thought. It is accustomed to being active from sunrise to sunset and this is a break in the pattern. Repetition and practice will perfect this skill and it will aid you in fashioning your control.

Listening is a transformative experience. Within you there is a deep stillness. It is there that you will learn to hear your heartbeat, to hear your pulse, to control your breathing, and attune your entire being. Once you go inward to the stillness it becomes much easier to focus on the outward sounds letting them come to you one at a time and then unite in their song. Listening will allow you to hear the Voice of the Land clearly. When you begin to hear, the voice of Spirit is able to come through both internally and externally. It will allow you to receive the silence and within that stillness the mystery. it will allow you to let the wisdom and knowledge of Spirit flow through you for the energy of Spirit is information. Once this happens you will be open to a vast new world. It transforms your awareness and you begin to notice the Voice of the Land recognizing what it is saying to you. It will speak in ways you never imagined. It is attunement, it is oneness, and the mundane becomes profound.

Within the land itself there is a fundamental resonance. Your senses are able to take in these vibrations and instinctively cue you to changes. If you try, you can begin what could be termed selective listening. In this your process is to decipher individual animals, birds, insects, and other sounds. Some environments are strong while others are vague. They all have a song to sing. Plants, animals, and humans possess an ecological harmony. Sounds change according to the time of day, the season, or climatic shifts.

As an example, an abrupt cessation indicates intrusion: all the animals become still and listen to what is approaching. A flurry of birds or scurry of animals will serve to indicate danger; but once this has passed the symphony always resumes. It is a signature easier to decipher in rural areas than those of urbanization but it can be found in both places. Like the acoustics of a recording studio, or an amphitheater, rural locations allow you to synthesize the song and identify specific areas through the various harmonies they possess. In attuning to a site, these sounds are an intrigal part. Through the ears the shaman learns to listen to the song or melody, through the vocalization joins in the chorus, and through the rattle, flute, or drum blends in the rhythm.

Each location has its tone. If you have ever entered a church or temple while it is empty you have likely experienced its’ still voice. To hear hymns resonate and fill that silence is to hear its voice. In nature, just as in the church or temple, there is a silence and a voice. Nature is Spirit's cathedral. Look to the land for this experience. It has a strong effect on meditative states. Learning to quietly listen aligns the harmony of the land with your spirit and you will come to know the oneness. It must fill you and touch your soul. In order for this to happen you must become the silence...you must empty yourself and listen so that you can become filled--a process that is indeed very magical.

In natural Ley temples the architecture and sounds play an important role. They stimulate the senses and open you to receive their energy. Each dimension has its octave vibrating to the energies that exist there. This is why the Voice of the Land and its songs are so intricate to spiritual ceremonies and emphasis is strongly placed on the resonance of vowels as the shaman sings. The manner in which multiple Sacred Energy lines merge with the rock formations has an effect upon the sound of that particular site. The sounds invoke the energy, they urge it to rise up and its voice becomes intensely clear.

Earth songs vibrate within the soul--you will know when yours has been touched--it stills the heart, and frequently takes your breath away. Listen then to the song of the trees, animals, elements, and nature. Learn to love the details and become as familiar with them as you are with yourself. Be aware that at the bordertimes of dusk and dawn that voice is silent for a few moments--it is as if all of nature were enveloped in a prayer.

Sacred sites have been known to possess phenomenal sounds. A good example of this is Ringing Rocks State Park in Pennsylvania along the Delaware River. There a river of boulders winds its way and by tapping individual stones with a hammer various melodies can be played to ring in the air. At Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg, Texas, there are granite mountains that are reputed for creating sounds on their own. Conflicting lore surrounds this location as tales claim it is a sacred place for initiation while others speak of it being haunted or possessed by a bad spirit. I felt it was very sacred and peaceful when I was there. It is important that you know these locations exist and by focusing on the sounds of nature, what you hear will draw a clear picture of the vicinity and the spirits that reside there. The strong Voice of the Land can be heard in many places and one of the most hypnotic is through the elements.

The element of Air is filled with the songs of birds, insects, animals and the winds themselves. Everything the wind touches is given voice. You can hear a great difference between the whisper of a stand of pines, the soft gentle conversation of a mixed woodland, or the much louder voice of a larger forest that contains a very strong presence. Breezes whisper at the tops of aspens, underbrush rushes, trees roar, and the deep tones of the higher altitudes all stand apart. Smelling the scents of the season allows your senses to become activated.

A storm will announce itself on the wind if you are wise and pay attention. Often winds will precede a storm by several hours or even days, sending lingering gusts that build in crescendo and rattle your windows to get your attention. Personally I have always loved the voice of a good thunderstorm--just as it gets the attention of the land and touches deep to the roots of the great oaks to awaken them, it strikes a base chord in me and I connect. I could listen to the sound for hours and often do, becoming lose in its rhythm.

Think of the element of Fire, or better yet build one in a safe spot, for through both audio and visual effects it is both strong and entrancing. Listen to the sharp crackle of logs as they catch and burn, the muffled tones of the charred wood when it falls, and the soft pop of the sparks as they rise into the air. Smell the scent of the wood letting it activate your senses. The silent whisper of a candle flame is very different from the raging roar of an uncontrolled forest fire, or the explosive eruption of a volcano, learn the differences. The shaman knows the power of Fire, and frequently uses it to bring on states of altered consciousness or trance. You can do the same thing by simply gazing into the flames and letting them take you into a state of this heightened awareness.

The element of Water allows you to hear many sounds. The hiss of a geyser, the rush of a waterfall, the babbling of a brook, the sound of rapids, the soft trickle of a small stream, the slow melody of a meandering river, the gentle lapping of a lake or pond, or the raging roar of ocean waves are all very different. There is an intensity in rainstorms that ranges from the hissing of a gentle mist to pounding crescendo of a gale. Each sound will speak to you in its own way. Simply by walking along a shoreline or relaxing near one you will find that this element will allow you to enter into altered states in a dreamy fashion. it is very easy to become lost in the element of Water. Learn, too, to smell the dampness of this element and allow it to awaken your other senses as well.

Through the element of Earth you can hear the whistling of caves, the ringing of rocks, the echoes that reverberate through canyons, the sounds of rage in an earthquake, or the threat of the muffled aftershock as it rumbles across the land. You can feel the vibrations of herds of animals as they run and hear them change direction or draw closer. You can feel the rhythm of thunder as it reaches deep into the Earth and calls all of nature to attention. Let yourself smell the soil. Be it damp, dry, musty, sweet or spicy it will awaken your senses.

Sounds can provide a pleasant or an uneasy experience and will speak quite clearly if you attune to them with your senses. These are the voices you need to know. They are the Voice of the Land, and will serve to heighten your intuition and harmony with it. They all speak of their power and presence. They can help to take you places, for when the elements combine with the Voice of the Land a great deal of insight is granted you and you are able to perceive great wisdom.

Along with the Voice of the Land the musical scale of resonance in vowels affects your body. You can chant them softly or loudly and actually feel the resonance as it passes through you. Try it now if you like. Try sounding them quickly and then again slowly. Play with them and see how they make you feel. Become used to working with them. You can be aided in achieving altered states of consciousness through their use. Each note has a healing property corresponding to the various Power Centers of your body. These also relate to colors and the Chakra system, a subject that will be dealt with a little later. For now, practice making these vowel sounds and holding them as if they were a mantra chant.

You will find that they resonate at various sites or energy centers as well and will often lend themselves to the Voice of the Land. It is something that you can work with to find what best harmonizes and blends with your purposes. It is worth noting that Tibetan monks have long known this mystery and are famous for their chanting. As you grow in your listening skills you may want to practice the art of drumming. Music is another key to the universe. Far from being a source of simple entertainment, the drum is an effective tool when actively meditating and bringing on states of trance. The shaman knows that the drum's rhythm should match the heartbeat; that the space between the beats must be listened to, for it is the place where Spirit will speak.

With the drum you will learn to listen and attune to Otherworlds and dimensions. Let it teach you. Respect its power. Experience it for yourself. The pause between the beats connects all of life, it is where you become one with the universe--it tells of the Spirit of Place, and frees your inner spirit allowing it to take flight. Learn to listen with your entire being as each beat ties the spirit world to the physical realm. The drum can become a tool for teaching, telling, and guiding your efforts when you listen to the beat and let it hold you to the moment.

The same applies to rattles and flutes. All are the favored instruments of the shaman because they can be easily combined with the natural sounds of the environment. This attunement allows you to speak with the land, an astounding experience if you have never known this mystery. It is a simple practice and one that you can master very rapidly.

Ley Lines and Vortexes
Part Five © Cinnamon Moon

Phenomenal activities are reported to take place at sacred sites throughout the world. That they are basically consistent in their accounts is a good indicator of what can be found at specific

locations. Such incidents can and often do take place and it is a good idea to be prepared for them as opposed to finding yourself in a state of shock when something happens. Rather than simply reading about someone's experience in paranormal events, many find that a vortex site will allow them to experience their own. These sites are known to activate psychic forces within the individual; often acting as triggers for paranormal activities to take place.

Most of these locations are surrounded in myths and legends that speak of strange events that have and do occur. Sacred Energy lines can be many miles wide and their intersections fall into vicinities rather than an exact spot. In these cases it is frequently found that one or more vortexes will present themselves, and two or more energy lines will cross. Generally the sacred site is centrally located; however, this does not restrict phenomenal events from occurring elsewhere within the range or along the Ley itself.

Phantom scenes, lights, apparitions of various kinds, and sounds are often reported as events in these localities. The powers of these locations are innately tied to the Earth's natural energies, and those of the life force of the universe. Some are influenced by cosmic forces while others have been affected by the actions of people that have performed ceremonies and rituals at those locations. The sites where the two mingle, the cosmic and temporal, are potentially the strongest for they have found a union that is profound.

Natural sites can be found at mountains and volcanoes, along fault lines, the beginnings and forkings of rivers and streams, mineral springs, caves with crystal and mineral deposits, canyon areas, and forest groves. In canyon or hilly areas the energy tends to circle the rim as opposed to running straight through it. The land itself seems to draw it along its pathway. When lightning strikes the Earth there is a fusion of electrical currents between the universe, the atmosphere, and the land. It is an electric harmony of raw energy. This fusion makes the Leys active and they are thus seasonally enhanced in many places.

From the air we can depict the land formations of birds, serpents, horses, humans, and various other forms. These are forms within the natural context of the geographic setting as well as those made by human hands. The forms speak to the heavens of what exists here on Earth. They are cosmic temples where strong energies converge. The Leys draw the curving lines of the figures together, then overlay them to form pentagrams and hexagrams of the greater energies that are more linear. It is these stronger lines that connect the lesser ones to form the network often called the Web of Life.

The electromagnetic field of all living creatures, sometimes called the aura, astral body, or energy field, radiates outward ever expanding into the environment. Likewise, the environment touches us. On a greater scale, the Earth sends out its energy and receives energy from the atmosphere. The energy from our atmosphere sends and receives to and from the energy of the universe. The spiral of cycles continues to expand and contract. Therefore, the universe in all its wonder is in what we can call a constant communication with its heavenly body and with all its minute parts. We are a part of that...miniscule perhaps, but still a part of that. (It helps to remember this if you start to discover that you can accomplish things from the sacred sites and working with them...remember, the power is borrowed.) Thus, we are all interconnected and able to link up with this ever undulating Sacred Energy.

Breaking it down mathematically or geologically or any other way you wish, the fundamental laws will remain the same in all their expressions. For the individual or group desiring to work with the Leys it is much easier to accept them for what they are--currents of pulsing energy that engulf the world and are accessible to us--"as above, so below". Often the land itself conforms to its legends. Experience with power centers and Leys will prove this fact. Try contacting the historian of your local area, or one you plan to visit, to gather the legends of that location. Such individuals generally have a wealth of knowledge regarding legendary facts or can put you in touch with those who do. In the United States the majority of the heritage belongs to multiple tribes and nations of the Native Americans. Visiting reservations and speaking with the tribal elders can often prove to be a great source of the history of an area and other regions that their ancestors once inhabited. Please remember to bring some token of your appreciation for their sharing their time with you.

Even in a natural temple you will find that the structural architecture of the land plays an important role. The way the light paints itself, the musical song within its voice, the scents and flavors all create vibrant textures that combine to form dramatic effects that stimulate the senses. If their energies are low we cannot expect much. If they vibrate high we are quite often blessed. It is as simple as that. When you open the way for yourself to receive the energy rich experiences follow. Listen to the Voice of the Land and know its signature. If you are looking to reconnect with your spirituality or to find it for the first time, these locations will provide the opportunity. Such experiences are called the Dreamtime by the Aborigines to express just such spiritual representations and incidences.

Both Germany and China have studied the Ley system and building homes or cities is done according to the flow of the energy that exists in respective areas. in the United States the Indians have understood this for centuries, but as a whole, we are only now becoming aware of this on a social or public level. There is an area around Portland, Oregon that is known for an exceptional concentration of medical professionals and high rates of illness as well as suicides. Native Americans refer to it as the Valley of Sickness. In the Sedona, Arizona area just the opposite is true and it is perhaps the most highly concentrated location of Leys and vortexes throughout the country. It may just be one of the most immense locations in the world and we are very fortunate to be able to have such a location here. The study of the Bermuda and Great Lakes Triangles have mystified us for years and most of us have heard the legends that abound upon those regions.

Shamans have for many centuries used the Leys as bridges connecting the physical realm of existence to that of the spiritual. These enlightened individuals have traversed them, finding that they are able to transcend the boundaries of dimension and time. In specific locations they discovered portals, doorways that allow them to pass through into the infinite depths of Spirit, a source of wisdom and knowledge that varies from location to location. They have returned with knowledge that allows them to use these sacred sites for enlightenment, healing, and spiritual growth. They discovered that the spirits of the dead followed these pathways into the dimensional realms that exist beyond the mundane.

History, folklore, myths, and legends have developed around many of these incidents having been passed down through the ages. Most of humanity has been exposed to such lore in one form or another, but our minds seem to be closed to the idea of it holding any real validity. Gradually we are beginning to open them. A long list of phenomena is reported to occur at these locations. One can experience single episodes or multiple events that fall into paranormal categories. Such occurrences include: telepathy, out-of-body experiences, clairvoyance, clairaudience, apparitions, lights, sounds, and a multitude of variations.

A large body of lore exists surrounding the Earth Lights, but exactly what they are is uncertain. These lights appear repeatedly at sites as weightless in volume or heavy in mass, appearing alone or in groups. Some lights appear to have a sentience about them, an intelligent curiosity and in many cases are associated with known energy fields. They have been associated with fault lines, but even scientific study is only able to speculate since there are no concrete answers. The lore calls them by many names that varies according to the local customs of the area. These lights are frequently said to be the spiritual bodies of shaman, sorcerers, or the "Little People".

In the Himalayas the lights appear frequently and are attributed to the "Little Men" who are to be avoided. The Wintu Indians of California called them "Spirit Eaters". The Celts call them "Faerie Lights" and "Corpse Candles" to warn of the danger of death to those wo draw too near. They are also called "Will-O-the-Wisps" in both Europe and America. Many mountain peaks are known to have lights that inhabit them and it is there that healings are said to be strongly influenced. One such mountaintop display can be found at Mount Shasta in California where both lights and apparitions have been reported.

While the majority of shaman believe that these lights are visible energies of spirits, some attribute them to being entities that appear when a favorable healing session will occur. They can show themselves in a variety of hues, sizes, and shapes. They often act as if they are curious about the presence of people in their respective locations. They are said to be both threatening and playful--as if an intruder was knocking at their door, or company had arrived. It is said some shaman gain powers form these lights because of the energy fields that come with them. The energy fields permit their materialization and are able to bring certain individuals into altered states of awareness.

One of my experiences with such lights occurred on an occasion when my friend and I were driving along a deserted back road in rural Wisconsin. It was late at night as we witnessed a small luminous cloud that appeared to be about ten or twelve feet above the ground in a field alongside the roadway. The cloud moved, seemingly of its own volition, and kept pace with my car for about half to three quarters of a mile or so. As we neared an intersection it crossed to the other side of the road slowing before a stand of pines. It began to hover there so we pulled over to better observe it and get a closer look.

There was no sound emanating from it and we could see that it was similar to the density of deep fog. Rays of light glowed in a neon white and it appeared that they were dancing both inside and out; much like the Northern Lights have been known to do. I would guess that the dimensions were about twenty feet long by about four feet high, give or take a little, and I'm going to say that it was probably another three or four feet thick. Inside it was as if electrical charges were flickering along with the dancing rays of light. The rays themselves reached out in multiple directions and were anywhere from two to four or five feet in length, but this fluctuated.

We watched it for over half an hour. There seemed to be a sentience about it, as if it knew we were curious and it was allowing us to satisfy that curiosity and admire its strange beauty. It was in an area of high ground so we knew it was not swamp gas, but just what it was still remains a mystery. This incident did not occur at a vortex, but there was a river within a mile or so and there may easily have been an energy line that was running through the area. In any event, the cloud of light that we witnessed certainly seems to fit the pattern of Earth Lights so frequently reported at sacred sites along Leys elsewhere. It is an experience that remains as vivid to my mind today as the night it happened.

At stone circles it is quite common to find at least one stone that appears to read magnetically. Reports have been made expressing individuals experiencing visions and other psychological effects as well as altered states of consciousness at these locations.

Dreams can occur during and after such encounters and instruments experience magnetic anomalies as well. What is interesting is that each site has a slightly different effect on those who visit and we can only assume the generalities associated with specific locations You may enjoy experimenting or perhaps you have a specific purpose in mind. This is entirely up to you. In either case, changes in perception do occur within your heightened consciousness and doors will begin to open to you. You will find you are able to perceive in ways in which you are not ordinarily accustomed.

Once at a location, having listened to the Voice of the Land and attuned to it, an understanding of sentience often takes place. You will frequently feel that the Spirit of Place has recognized your presence and is aware of your purpose. It is a good idea to acknowledge this and present your intentions telepathically if not orally. This also allows you to focus your energies in the proper direction.

States of ecstasy often occur at these locations and they tend to mirror certain truths back upon the visitor. In this way you may become mentally and spiritually healed, enlightened, or inspired. The state of oneness and the feeling of touching the face of the Spirit or at least the Spirit of Place is often present. Such an incident reflects the harmony of the location and is generally perceived as an awe inspiring experience that lasts a lifetime. It is usually something that is so beautiful that it stills the heart and takes the breath away. In 1973 I was living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The house had once been a Pony Express station and the place had a history. When I stood in the back yard I could see Pike's Peak quite clearly. The Garden of the Gods (a well-known vortex) was only a short distance away.

One overcast day I took my daughter for a drive through the Garden of the Gods and up the mountain along Rampart Range Road. As we arrived at the top we broke through the clouds into forested mountain sides bathed in sunshine with birds singing and a profound sense of awe came over us both. The clouds below us allowed the tips of the pines to stand as islands in a sea of white and the view was breathtaking.

We watched as Eagle soared and vanished into the clouds below us signaling the presence of Spirit. The air stilled and sunlight caught the clouds making them shimmer in a golden glow. An Otherworldly presence could be felt radiating from their stark whiteness. We stayed for quite a while and simply soaked in the energies that were very uplifting and gave thanks for the moments we had been given. It was a subtle experience but there was a blessing that was deeply felt by us both.

Later, when we returned home we found a picture of what we had seen on the front page of the newspaper along with a small article. Apparently a journalist had a similar experience and tried to capture it on film. The picture was in black and white and simply did not do the moment justice. Both my daughter and I knew we had experienced a oneness with Spirit that day. It was a sensation of utter peace and tranquility that could simply not be accurately captured in print or pictures. It had to be experienced.

During the time we lived in Colorado Springs both my daughter and I were exposed to separate incidences that were quite out of the ordinary. I had been driving along a road on my way to pick her up from school. I was just about to crest a hill when a semi-truck came over the top--head on in my lane. My heart skipped several beats and I thought I was going to die instantly on the spot. In fact, I remember saying so aloud. The truck passed right through my car and vanished. Well, I do not mind telling you that I had to pull over to the side of the road and gather myself. I knew what I had seen, I had been alert, it was daylight when this happened, and I was not under any stress or medications. I realized then that I had partaken in a phantom moment, a piece of land memory perhaps, or a dimensional exposure, or something very similar. It was an experience that remains poignant with me today. This is my experience; it is similar to many tales of haunted highways and their phantom spirits in that area.

My daughter's experience was what I would call an encounter with land memory or a time warp. It occurred while she was playing with two companions in the canyon area behind our home. Development was eating away at the small canyon but a good portion of it still remained and a little plain stretched between our house and the apartment complex a few hundred yards away. It was on this plain that she had found a bush beside a large boulder sprouting an interesting pile of sand.

She and her two little friends decided to dig for gold. They had been working at their project for a while when one of them glanced up and said: "Look!" Then pointed, as they all experienced what to them was a frightening apparition. About twenty feet away the saw two Indians, one was standing and one was kneeling. The standing Indian was a Chief dressed in buckskins and a full Eagle-feather headdress. He stood silently and just observed them. The one kneeling was a brave who drew on his bow and shot an arrow towards them. It landed in the sand where they were digging. They looked at the arrow and back towards the Indians who had vanished.

Frightened, her friends rant to tell their mother while she ran home to tell me. Their stories were identical. I assured her that she had just witnessed something from long ago, an event out of history perhaps, and told her it was like watching a movie from out of time. When you are six those terms are often required. She began to calm down when she realized that no harm had actually come to them. She tried to comprehend what had happened. The tale was fascinating to me and she got to tell it repeatedly.

She has never forgotten the incident and today wishes she had taken the arrow as a souvenir. I wish she had too. At the time it simply did not occur to either of us. What is interesting is that all three of them saw the same thing. I know this area is near the heart of a strong vortex and experiences such as these are found to occur quite frequently at such locations. Strong emotional experiences are reported at these locales quite often. People who are feeling a sense of being lost, hopelessness, or depression will find that a Ley center will bring about a sudden change in their lives through healing energies that are present. It is as if a light comes on for them. They are able to see their way through their troubles and they seem to simply melt away or dissolve. It is as if the hand of the Spirit of Place had laid a blessing on them, they are able to go on living a normal and fully functional life. This is an emotional and spiritual healing, and again, one that is not easily forgotten.

Such moments allow the individual to be touched by the universe and Powers That Be in a unique way. These are frequently followed by a change of attitude and perception of life that remains with the person throughout the rest of their life. They see things differently, much as one who has had a near-death-experience might be changed. The experiences my daughter and I had fit the patterns of phenomena reported by others and it does not, as you can see, require that the individual be intent on a shamanic purpose. The events just happen.

An experience that many people seek is one of enlightenment, where they are granted insight and knowledge to apply in ways that serve humanity or themselves personally. This illuminating experience produces an understanding that appears to simply wash over them. What is learned is generally learned the first time around because of the experience being so profound. Should you have such an adventure you will find that you are then able to comprehend concepts, answers, and great mysteries of life. At times the comprehension received will make you laugh at how simple the facts are and wonder why you had been blinded to them for so long.

Whether simple or complex, this knowledge is a truth that cannot be denied, has been experienced, and can be easily proven when applied to life situations. You will be able to see old misconceptions clearly, and use the information in a variety of ways. It leaves you with a sense of excitement and eagerness to progress into the future. This state can be quite seductive creating a desire that beckons to be repeated again and again--always with the promise of more enlightened answers and fulfillment. It is in this state that you will be able to hone your intuitive and instinctual faculties.

The sacred sites of the Aboriginal Dreamtime are locations where the Spirit of Place emerges as an entity and can be seen in the formations of the land itself. In the books of Carlos Castaneda many locations were discussed in both Mexico and the Southwestern United States. His shamanic experiences are very detailed and are higly analytical for those interested in that type of approach. Today we know that we can use instruments to measure these energies. Stones are known to send out pulsations and even electrical shocks. There are legends and an abundance of lore about curses aimed at those who would desecrate a site, or otherwise abuse the forces there.

One prime example is found in Hawaii where the government is building a road through sacred ground. The project has been plagued by failure for years. There have been deaths, the structure has collapsed, machinery has failed, and there have been countless other anomalies of interference. These occurrences have taken place repeatedly and gone way beyond what could be considered normal. Other lore tells of spontaneous storms that summon themselves to chase away individuals, or strike them down with fierce winds and lightning. These storms appear to have a will of their own and drive off the intruder who would perform a sacrilege. It is science that names these incidents as anomalies, the shaman calls them holy, and visitors call them phenomenal.

At such locations it is found that the abilities of the Sacred Energies can and do physically and emotionally heal people. The experience of the oneness with the universe, the gift of enlightenment and of inspiration, and answers to the deepest questions are often revealed. Because of these transformations there have been many structures built upon such locations with the intention of preserving or amplifying the forces. Some, such as Stonehenge, mark the celestial changes. Others have been built as shrines, or temples where ceremonies and oracles preside over the people. There are also great cathedrals of the world that have been built upon cosmic matrixes or mathematical equations of celestial proportions. They are designed to follow patterns that allow the highest intensity of reception and resonation for those receiving the teachings presented there. Their altars and bell towers are placed on the holiest location or place of power to provide the greatest benefit to those who gather.

Science may be exploring the Leys today, but ultimately all this is just background for what actually takes place. There is no need for becoming lost in the 'why' of things. It is enough to know that such sites can be visited and will produce results for those who are actively seeking greater knowledge and spiritual experiences. Experience is the key. You must go and experience personally the transformations that can and do take place. These are places of wonder and awe inspiring beauty, simple locations of pristine settings, isolated and yet teaming with life. They present a banquet for the eclectic soul.

The provocativeness of this subject requires that you experience it personally. It is the only real proof that can be known. Its allure is seductive I assure you.

Ley Lines and Vortexes
Part Six © Cinnamon Moon

In understanding tools and symbols we come to an important issue and intricate aspects of shamanic work. They are either fashioned by hand, received as gifts, found, or in some instances purchased. In fashioning a tool by hand the shaman infuses it with a specific purpose and to some extent empowers it with their energy. Certain tools are host to spirits that lend them their power for specific tasks. When a tool is fashioned by hand it becomes more or less an extension of the self.

Energies are seen as being intrinsically reflected in items. When something is needed the shaman will often find that an item will come in the form of a gift from someone or seemingly of its own accord. If a necessity arises for a specific item the shaman might go out to a specific location that holds a deep personal connection to find what is needed. Again, in instances such as this the item appears to present itself of its own volition and the shaman will recognize it immediately.

When a tool is purchased it is usually at a price that is so favorable that it is impossible to pass up the opportunity. Through ritual and use each tool becomes empowered by absorbing the energies that are involved. They are sacred because they are used only for specific purposes. The item itself does not hold power but conducts it through a process of channeling. It attracts those energies that complement its purpose and can be used to transmit them as well. This eliminates the outward distractions and allows the shaman to focus strictly on intent.

Tools serve the dual purpose of being functional items as well as triggers. In the method of ritual certain stages require specific tools. The shaman sets out what is needed beforehand and thus may proceed with the process undisturbed by the necessity to search for things. As these tools are handled over time, their purpose takes on great symbology. The ritual use serves to trigger that symbology through such acts and the shaman is free to perform with focused intent to achieve the desired result.

Since the shaman is always in a heightened state of consciousness, they are attuned in mind, body, and spirit to be ever present in the moment. These individuals know that there is a message to be read in a broad range of places and they must be open at all times to receive them. For these reasons symbols play an important role in shamanic lifestyles. They are used for ritual and ceremonial purposes, in healings, as triggers for the inner spirit , in communication with the Otherworlds and their entities, and in daily life for the needs of the people the shaman serves.

Symbols speak of the Spirit World, of other dimensions, and those things related to the process of entering into states of trance. They are often found at sacred sites in the forms of petroglyphs (rock carvings) or pictographs (rock painting) or as geoglyphs (effigies). Some of the best known symbols are those of animals that are seen as relations of specific clans, tribes, individuals, and as shamanic allies or messengers from Spirit. In the case of the tribal or social relationship, the animal is a kindred spirit, a protector, and becomes a totem animal. It is always considered taboo to slay or eat the meat of such an animal except under ritualistic conditions. If it is done at any other time it will bring about the death of one or more members of the group in a relatively short period of time. In the instance of it being a personal totem animal the individual would never take its life for the link is to the self.

In ritual procedure the animal represent specific spiritual aspects of the ceremonial process, the elements of nature, and guidance. Under these conditions and shamanic practices, the animal can bring about a transformation of the shaman's spirit. The shaman is then able to take on the form of the animal in a projection of the spirit body. In all instances the animal represents the union or oneness of the physical and spiritual worlds. Knowledge can be gained through the transformative process as the shaman uses the skin of the animal in question to symbolically take on its characteristics or essence. This skin becomes a sacred tool and is kept specifically for this purpose.

Personal animal allies that work with the shaman generally do so in Otherworld settings or by coming into the presence of the shaman in the physical realm. The shaman dwells in both worlds on a continual basis and is therefore able to work back and forth simultaneously between them with relative ease. Animal allies of the shaman frequently accompany them in this process. When the animal appears in the physical realm it is seen as a sign of what the spirit of that animal represents. It is a sort of call to the shaman to heed its presence, or a message that relates to a specific purpose. It is never seen to be an accident that their paths cross. When such a meeting takes place it is the spiritual attributes of the animal that are taken into account by the shaman who perceives through the soft eyes of the inner spirit.

Individuals who undertake a vision quest often do so with the intention of their personal totem animal being revealed. It does not talk long for the person to discover that they are in harmony or attuned to the feelings, emotions, thought processes, and wisdom of that same creature. The animal then shows itself in various ways when guidance or insight is being sought or specific conditions or dangers present themselves. The animal can appear in the wild, or through other mediums such as dreams, coming up in pictures, conversations, and even on television. Whenever a personal Power Animal appears it is to be heeded immediately.

Experiencing a large group of the same animal, or a migration, under unusual circumstances or in the process of a dream is to receive a very potent message. When they appear repeatedly for a time, often under a variety of circumstances, a message is being repeated or driven home until it is grasped and its importance is greatly magnified. Those animals that appear at a sacred site or while walking a Sacred Energy line have a highly spiritual message for the individual. If this happens to you I suggest an immediate journal entry if possible, if not, certainly when you have finished your session. A good interpretory guide book is always helpful to keep on hand until you learn more about their symbolism and its pertinence to your life.

The more you work with them the more you will come to recognize that there is indeed a spiritual relationship between these animals and yourself. You will recognize them as the messengers they are and see the correlations they have to life's situations. Animals have much to teach you if you will take the time to understand their messages. Those who appear in the environment are protectors, if they reveal themselves in dreams they are Guides. Through the Dream Lodge and visions there are creature-teachers that bring messages, reveal to you some unrecognized strength, or enlighten you in some fashion.

An animal that appears on a vision quest is usually one that will be with you throughout life. Often the quest becomes a prophecy to be fulfilled. In this case, it is continued until it is completed. Visions can be granted in the smoke of the sacred fire, or through the four quarters of the Medicine Wheel. Each quarter acts as a separate doorway to reveal its own vision or powers as well as the entities that inhabit that realm. Often an animal will present itself as your Guide through this experience. Shamanic philosophy teaches that each of the four elements has a symbolic animal to represent them known as the Spirit Keeper of that realm.

The best way to encompass all four of these symbols is through the Medicine Wheel where each element is represented. Understanding the Medicine Wheel itself is important as they are frequently found at vortex sites and are an invaluable tool. The Medicine Wheel is a circle that is equally divided into four sections; one for each of the four basic elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. These sections are all parts of the whole, but must be examined independently initially.

In the East is found the section that represents Air.
Its symbolic animal is the Eagle that brings sacred messages from Spirit. It is the place of birth or beginnings. The Eagle teaches you about thought, focus, seeding, communication, perception, and awareness. It teaches philosophy, creativity, divination, illumination, and stimulation. This is the element where your ideas and seeds are germinated and enlightenment comes through the creative process of attunement. When the mind is aware and alert you are better able to perceive the messages of Spirit. The shaman strives to constantly remain aware of everything in the environment at all times. The slightest change will sound a warning alerting the senses to what others would easily overlook. The Eagle is also a symbol of out-of-body states and teaches through its flight to widen vision or focus it.

Since Eagle flies higher than any other bird it is closest to Spirit. Dwelling in the Air and on land, it has the ability to enter different realms and guide you. Its vision is sharp and it will help you see, to focus and perceive with your inner eye. In the East the gifts received through ritual are sacred keys and symbols that become the maps to what you are seeking, be it illumination, answers to questions, or learning to control the senses. It is in this section of the Medicine Wheel that the shaman divines answers from Spirit, nature, or the self.

The element of Air will allow you to develop your psychic abilities on a deeply spiritual level. It is the first place to go if you desire to center yourself for it is the place of beginnings where you will find inspiration. It is where you will learn much about your true self to begin with and it prepares you for the other quarters. The Eagle of the East is the crystal ball of the shaman and acts as spiritual eyes.

The Mouse of the South and Fire represents the trust and innocence of youth through reflection of the self. It helps to show the innocence in life, to trust in life and gain the faith needed to continue. It teaches that through passion and intent the will can become focused to achieve goals. Mouse is ever being sought by other creatures as a source of food (the danger youth must learn to recognize). Its size makes it vulnerable if it does not remain alert at all times. Instead of constantly living in fear, Mouse learns to trust its senses to alert it to any present danger and to trust in life that it will survive. It comes to know the art of elusiveness and the ability to seek shelter when it is necessary. It relies on is senses to give it the strength it needs to go on as well as a form of protection.

Mouse teaches that preoccupation must be avoided and reveals the vulnerability that condition presents. It looks beyond; jumping higher if necessary to see the answers it seeks...or looking beyond its nose. It teaches the concentration of the soft world of Spirit and change so that you can see what is taking place as you go through life. This is the element of knowing the self through scrutiny, for when you walk through life with the strength of your senses well-honed you are walking in the protection of Spirit.

It is the element of Fire that also protects since it illuminates the darkness, brings warmth to the home, and purifies all that it engulfs. The gifts of this element are those of sacred objects that come to you, sacred messages, healings, and shamanic Medicine. It is the garden you sow and the will you develop in your efforts to move forward. Here you find your passion and drive, and are initiated into all aspects of life. Mouse is the heart of the shaman that burns with passion and speaks to the mind of what can be.

Representing the West and the element of Water is Bear; a symbolic essence of introspection. It will teach you that looking deep within yourself you will find the answers and truths you seek. It represents adulthood and the mature thought processes gained through the experiences in life. Bear teaches psychic communication, the sensations of intuition, love, healing, balance, the sacred dream, and the pathway to shamanic journeys. It can be playful and lift your spirit or deep and filled with mysteries to be revealed.

This is the element of Water and it is the draw of the ocean that can aid you in drawing deep within yourself to the place of introspection and soul searching. The shaman sees the hibernation of Bear as the darkness within where answers from Spirit are found through the process of turning into the self to seek them. This is the element of the harvest, not only of the season and the land, but of the energies of the universe. It is here through shamanic journeys that images enter your Dream Lodge to reveal the deeper mysteries. This is the quarter where you work with love, healing, emotion, and inner vision. Bear is the hand of the shaman where all efforts come to fruition and the harvest that materializes can be gathered.

In the North resides the element of Earth and Buffalo that represents wisdom, old age, and death. It is here that you come to have learned the art of patience. You understand that all things take time to manifest and you have learned that you must wait for those manifestations. It is Buffalo that teaches you practicality, sacred knowledge, symbols of magic, rituals and ceremonies, and the proper way of prayer. it is here that you learn there are rewards for your efforts. After you have done what must be done there is gain and prosperity awaiting you in the physical, material, or spiritual sense.

This element teaches patience and reveals the secrets of life, death, and rebirth. It is the Keeper and Giver of all treasures. It is the great teacher for it is the place of sacred working, cycles, inner wisdoms, and strong Medicine. It gives you the strength of sustenance and nurturance, for Buffalo is food, clothing, and shelter, giving of itself so that you may survive. It is where you come to know that honor and respect must be given to all of life; where you can feel the heartbeat of Mother Earth. Buffalo is the staff of the shaman that has been cut from the centering tree; it supports the body and protects with wisdom.

Contemplate these elements in their respective quarters when entering a Medicine Wheel or vortex site. It is always a good idea to carry a small compass with you so you will know which direction is which when you arrive. Focus on what the Spirit Keeper of each element has to teach you. This will assist you in understanding the nature of the elements as you attune to the sacred location. Once you are centered within it, the Medicine Wheel becomes the universe and things become very clear.

Animal Symbols:
Ant: group minded, worker, strength, creativity, faith
Armadillo: protection, understanding, safety, selectivity
Alligator: birth, initiation, female nurturance, aggression, survival, adaptability
Bat: guardian, purification,, rebirth, cycles, shamanic journey
Bear: power, adaptability, strength, mobility
Beaver: purpose, creature comforts, hidden paths, heroism, soft focus, presence, awareness, builder, gatherer, warning of danger
Bird: shamanic flight, vision
Buffalo: sacredness, life builder, sustenance, foundation, stability, inner wisdom
Butterfly: transformation, carefree, change, thought, mind
Cat: secrets, independence, mystery, magic
Cougar: leadership, courage, honesty, challenge, pride, conquering inner fears
Coyote: wise trickery, teaching, prankster, insight, playful
Crane: solitude, independence, self-reliance
Crow: shaman, shapeshifting, transformation, change, magic
Deer: love, gentleness, kindness, nurturance
Dog: protection, loyalty, devotion
Dolphin: kindness, play, link to sea, sacred breath, healing, union with the divine
Dragon: power, wisdom, spirit, treasure, secrets
Dragonfly: flight, carefree, beauty, illusion
Eagle: divine spirit, connection to Creator, messenger, vision
Elk: strength, agility, freedom, dignity, honor
Fish: fluid movement, finding the way, deep thought, stamina
Fox: trickster, cunning, provider, intelligence, teacher
Frog: connection with water, song, rain, purification, tears, initiation
Goose: shamanic flight (the shaman's spirit is said to ride on the back of the goose), quest
Grizzly Bear: hunter, nature's pharmacist
Groundhog: shamanic trance, sacred dreams
Hawk: messenger, observation, awareness, sharp thinking
Horse: stamina, mobility, strength, confidence, grace, travel, bearer, liberty, power, vision
Hummingbird: messenger, stopper of time, joy, love, solver of riddles, reproduction, magic, beauty
Lizard: conservation, agility, speed, dreaming, travel, shadow, imagination
Loon: vibrant dreams, strong desires, memories
Moose: headstrong, unstoppable, longevity
Otter: laughter, curiosity, mischievous, playfulness, enjoyment, listening
Owl: wisdom, truth,, patience, mystery, magic, omens
Rabbit: alertness, nurturing, fear, worry, evasiveness, burrowing
Raven: trickster, teacher, hoarder, magic, mystical flight
Salmon: instinct, persistence, determination
Shark: hunter, survival, aggressiveness, alertness
Snake: shrewdness, transformation, creation, psychic energy, immortality
Spider: creativity, patterns of life, symbols, dream world, webs, change, entanglement
Squirrel: enthusiasm, resourcefulness, preparation, action, trust
Swan: grace, balance, innocence, change, dreamtime, altered states, intuition, healing, divination, going with the flow
Turkey: harvest, giving, blessings, virtue, transcendence, sustenance, enlightenment
Turtle: self-sufficient, creative source, Mother Earth, protection, shields, feelings, patience, teaching, development
Weasel: energy, truth, insight, scout, observation, stealth, courage, relentlessness
Whale: wisdom, provider, purification, knowledge, clairaudience, telepathy, history, sound, origins
Wolf: loyalty, success, perseverance, wisdom, freedom, senses, silence, timing, guidance, centering, endurance, strategy

There are other symbols that are used by the shaman and these can be found in the rock art at sacred sites, on costumes, on tools, and in nearly every aspect of shamanic work. These images are used by the shaman in trance work to open doorways to Otherworlds, indicate paths of out-of-body flight, stimulate the senses, and create points of focus. They trigger the subconscious to awaken the inner spirit of the shaman and allow it to function freely. There are shamanic symbols that link the dimensions much like an umbilical cord running between the worlds; they are the pathways upon which the shaman travels. The rock art of carving, painting, or effigies are found at sacred sites where the shaman has placed them for the purpose of bringing on trance. In this case they are visual aids on a shamanic journey and a way of entering into the Otherworlds. Stones are used and have a deep connection to the shaman in some manner. The energy of the item is infused with that of the shaman with a specific intent toward fulfilling a single purpose. A stone would be kept for healing, another for absorbing personal troubles, another for meditation, etc. The shaman often selects six-sided crystals as they represent the four elements, the Above and Below World, and the shaman who holds the stone is the center or Middle World. Through the use of tools and symbols the shaman walks between the worlds and has a very large ring of keys. The following list will give you an idea of what some of them are and help you decipher any you may find as you explore the Ley Lines and vortex sites.

Shamanic Tools:
Arrow: swiftness, movement, direction, and may be depicted as straight for direction, as crooked to wran of difficulties, or broken to symbolize an ending.
Birds and feathers: shamanic flight, rebirth, healing. Generally seen as eagles, crows, and thunderbirds (Phoenix) when pertaining to shamanic work. The bird signifies the union between the land and air for it is a creature of both realms and therefore can move between the worlds. I thas the knowledge of these worlds and the voice to speak of them. It is the freedom of the spirit and its ability to move at will. Human birds are symbolic of the out-of-body experience.
Drum: the heartbeat of the shaman, the beat of the hooves of the shamanic steed (see Horse), the space between the worlds of Spirit.
Eagle feather: symbol of the Great Spirit and shamanic union with it. Eye: symbol of trance state. A free floating eye is found in shamanic art throughout the world. This represents the state of trance where all may be seen through the spiritual eye, the third eye of the pituitary gland, the mind's eye.
Grids and Dots: the lifting of the veil between the Otherworlds.
the shamanic steed, the drum is considered to be its footfalls as the shaman follows it into trance. In other cultures a horse head on the end of a stick or pole is used to ride the circle and bring about a state of trance.
Horse Goddess: symbolic of the land much like the unicorn and virgin. It is a Goddess who may appear as a summons or messenger to the shaman and often in the form of a woman on horseback or as the Buffalo Calf Woman.
Medicine Wheel or Circle: the universe, the self, unseen worlds, and eternity. It is the Sacred Hoop, opened and sealed to focus the work area, open and undone when the work is complete. The symbol of eternity for it has no beginning and no end. The place that is not a place, the time that is not a time, the world that is not a world.
Mirrors: used on costumes to reflect the forms of those present at the ceremonies as the symbolization that the individual is also a part of the event as the seventh element. In this way all are shown to be connected to the energies of the universe.
Rattle: rattles of turtle shells or deer hooves can be shaken or tied to leather bands and worn or tied to staffs. They are ceremonial instruments used to summon the attention of the Spirit World and bring on trance.
Ropes, Thread, String, Ladder, Pole: the pathways upon which the shaman travels to Otherworlds. All are a form of straight lines that can be traversed going and coming or to invite other spirits into the sacred site. In the case of the pole a rope is attached to it and the pole becomes the spiritual center of the worlds with the rope becoming the pathway to it.
Snake: transformation (the snake sheds its skin in the process of growth), initiation, and magic. Trance
Buck: deer, antelope, gazelle, or similar creature depicted in a flying state. Symbolic of the shamanic state of trance and out-of-body flight.
Turtle: depicted on shields or its shell used to fashion rattles, it represents life and protection.

The preceding list is by no means complete in its presentation. The variation of Indian tribes and nations have symbols unique to their respective cultures and not all of them are interwoven with one and other. Those listed are fairly universal and are frequently found at sacred sites throughout the United States. In the symbology of rock art you will find the depictions are a language of the shamanic community or people of the area in which it is found. This means there will be variations, and not all of them will be understood by those who have not journeyed to the Otherworlds of Spirit where the true meanings are revealed.

Ley Lines and Vortexes
Part Seven © Cinnamon Moon

The shamanic classroom is evident at vortex locations. Vortexes are often found to contain Medicine Wheels or stone circles. They frequently have rock art in some form depicted on canyon walls, in caves, or upon the Earth itself. Shamanic tools and items are tucked into crevices or found on the ground in niches. It is very important for you to understand that these tools are for ritual use, should be honored as sacred objects, and left alone. Other items may be found such as crystals, stones, pieces of metal, coins, jewelry, tobacco, etc. these are gifts to the Spirit of Place and likewise should be honored as such. If you come across these things, please, leave the items undisturbed. It is just as important to be able to read the signs there, or at least have an understanding of what they mean and can tell you as a visitor.

To enter the Medicine Wheel is to enter the shamanic classroom, for it is here that the majority of work takes place and the training of the initiate is undergone. The shaman is an interpreter of signs and uses them as a form of guidance and revelation, not to control others. There is not encouragement of dependence in any form; instead, the shaman urges the individual to find their own meaning knowing full well that each person must find their own way. When a sign appears to the shaman it relates to the current practice or work that is taking place, or it pertains to the people being served by that particular shaman as a whole. Such signs can be found in many ways, from vision questing to rune stones, from cards to states of trance, from dreams to any number of other forms. In all cases they are considered gifts of Spirit and they are to be respected and honored.

The coincidence of a matter means to co-exist within an incident beyond the everyday occurrence and is designed by Spirit to catch your eye. It is a message for you to understand be it subtle or profound. It waits for you to pay attention to the information being presented. If you ignore the messages ad many people do, you are missing a great deal in life. For those who come to learn to read the signs it is evident that what means something to one individual can be much different for another despite any universal symbolism that may exist.

For this reason the universal symbol is only a starting place in the learning process. Questing through divination, visions, dreams, sacred sites and life are all enhanced by a greater depth of understanding when you learn to interpret signs. In time you will come to be reading messages from Spirit in greater depth because you will be attuned to nature. This is a skill. It is an art. It is a way of living for the shaman.

There are times when major changes are in the ari and conditions are shifting. At these times the shaman will receive many requests for readings from a wide variety of individuals. It usually occurs in relation to seasonal changes and the shaman can become taxed by the energy exuded in the process. It's then that the individual must draw back for a while to replenish depleted strengths. We all need to recharge ourselves now and then and usually a few days are sufficient to bring about the needed rest. These demands go in cycles and the cycles of the year are used to replenish or store up energies that will be needed from one cycle to the next.

Just as there are cycles in life the seasons have wheels that spin bringing their changes. Each season has its purpose and we have much to experience and undergo during its short life. For those who live in areas where there are four distinct seasons the experience of change is more clearly drawn. They are often able to function with greater accuracy due to changing weather patterns that speak loudly of the turning times. They are attuned to nature more so than those of other regions where the seasons are less defined. Nowhere is this more evident than in the symbol of the Medicine Wheel that marks these turnings. The quarters of the Wheel represent the season of Spring in the East, Summer in the South, Autumn in the West, and Winter in the North. It is at each change that the shaman enters the medicine Wheel and begins the process of recharging these energies.

It may be a matter of semantics to refer to a higher self or higher consciousness. What it all boils down to in the end is the awareness you develop with your inner spirit and your ability to communicate with it. The strictures of academic study in the development of spirituality can become rather dry or mundane when applied to this subject. Spirituality is just that, it deals with Spirit or the Powers That Be. The inner spirit is your connection to the universe and the life force that unites all. Once that is recognized it is all simply semantics when you search to name it as this or that. If is the spirit within that connects to the universe in a communication process of spiritual enlightenment and greater wisdom.

In my studies over the years I have learned one thing above all else--the answers to our labyrinth of questions are usually quite simple. We alone are the complicating factor since we are doomed by our humanity to seek some deep mystery that is complex and difficult to find. In the attempt to label and name every detail we become the cause for the smile on the shaman's face. In truth, the simpler we keep things the clearer they become and the shaman knows this. The higher consciousness, the higher self, the inner voice, or whatever you choose to call it, is your inner spirit. I find that for all the terminology that Spirit is within and that is where all the answers lay. Spirit permeates all of life and that is your link to making the connection.

In the process of divination the shaman uses tools as a focal point and then calls upon the senses to help interpret the signs. Drawing upon the energies of the universe to hone those perceptions all senses are made active. This provides clarity and an enhanced skill level. The symbols that come through become pieces of a map that presents an overall picture of the situation about which the inquiry is being made. Tapping into the same oneness of sp;irit that is used in trance or dream states the shaman simply alters it to fit the current needs.

All images and impressions received are stimulated through the flow of Sacred Energy. To divine for someone the energy deepens the connection process and the aura of the individual is drawn in through their participation in the act itself. Together a channel is formed and it presents a focused receptacle to collect the answers. It is a channel to great wisdom. Such divination is not a simple parlor trick, but a very serious undertaking. Truth is revealed through intuitive processes, key symbols, and a variety of methods that are simply doors through which the revelation may pass.

The senses become acute and combine to create a tool or voice that arises from within as the process of interpretation is one of continuously remaining open to learning more of life; and a willingness to work at improving and honing these skills. Energy is often read or channeled speaking to the practitioner in pictures, symbols, and thoughts. Images take shape and form within the mind. This leaves the shaman to virtually experience those energies first-hand. It can be extremely taxing and emotionally painful or exhausting. The shaman is well prepared for whatever comes to take place, trusting the inner spirit and senses to act as guides. Sometimes this is enough and at times tools such as crystals, bones, stones, cards, and the like are used. At other times an ally is called upon from the spirit world to guide, teach, or interpret.

Auras are the energy fields of the body reflecting mental, physical, and spiritual conditions of people, places, and things. Stones vibrate as do plants, animals, and all living matter. They are best viewed in darkness or against a neutral background and are often seen a dusk or dawn for the beginner. Sometimes the energy field is weak and at other times it is intense. Examples of this energy are depicted in art of all cultures frequently being seen as a nimbus or religious halo. Colors and shapes speak in terms as symbols or rays that reflect certain states of being. A good shaman guides with what is revealed, often reading others to better understand them for personal purposes of knowing how to deal with that person. This same individual might never know; thinking instead that the shaman was simply a very compatible person. The lines of the face are also examined, as is the countenance and body language, taking it all into account. Frequently this is done in a single swift glance as a part of the shaman's second nature.

This comes from much practice. It is rather as if you were to stand back and view a picture objectively. Perhaps it is what draws so many individuals to become people-watchers and try to guess things about them. To the shaman it is more than guess-work, it is a grouping of facts that come together to form a clear picture.

One of the most apparent sources for seeing portents or divining information is the Dream Lodge or shamanic journey. This is an area I feel needs some explanation. Shamanic lifestyles do not separate realities but they do alter them and use those alterations for specific purposes. It would be much like someone choosing to drive to their destination as opposed to walking. Journeys are brought on both intentionally and at random. In either case the shaman travels so deeply into various forms of reality that the state of oneness with the Powers That Be is achieved and a link is made with that consciousness. They arrive a the Source to experience things first-hand as an observer and active participant.

It is a feeling of presence just as real as being in a normal physical state but with heightened intensity far beyond the stage of dreaming as most know it: though dreaming and meditation are often the portals used for entry into the trance state. It is an opening to all sensations and levels of consciousness at once. Seeking information through the inner spirit often involves out-of-body flight. To awaken to such a state you must get out of your own way. There are many researchers today who claim that it is all done within the mind and no actual projection of a spirit force takes place. They claim that leaving the body as such is simply an illusion.

I would argue that fact since I have had the experience. I know that out-of-body travels is just that--out-of-body. It is true that you can project your consciousness at will to view things at great distances, but the two are not the same. The process of mind projection is done in a semiconscious state and is totally a mental process. Going far beyond a clairvoyant experience out-of-body travel is accomplished through a much deeper state of trance. You can actually feel your spirit body separating from your physical body as it expands out into the universe, and you will definitely know the difference.

These experiences can be spontaneous as well as being brought on through the use of ritual, meditation, religious ecstasy, shamanic trance, or in some cases by physical or emotional trauma. In a meditative state distant viewing is more like a leisurely excursion for the most part. The shamanic experience is deeply spiritual--an experience you can have even if you are not a practicing shaman. These states of altered consciousness and travel can be used or abuses--that is where your weight of moral and spiritual integrity comes into play.

Whatever the case, the purpose for taking these actions must be foremost in the mind of the individual who is undertaking them. Spy and you will be spied upon. Seek to grow and you will evolve. These abilities are not only skills, they are gifts. If they are abused it will reflect back on the abuser. It is as simple as that. Shamanic flights are said to be flights of ecstasy...that would be rapture...that would be of Spirit.

The door to the shamanic classroom is, as I have said, within the elements of the Medicine Wheel. We are ingrained with the climate, and it is these forces that we know on a somewhat limited personal basis. Knowing their essence in this way you will be able to have a deeper conception of the energies that come into play here. Just as the essence of a plant contains its most potent powers to be extracted, the essence of the forces of nature and the inner spirit contains the most potent abilities to enlighten you. You must know the essence before you can know the Otherworlds.

Alignment with the forces will take you into realms as their doors begin to open to you. Once the fundamentals are in hand any pathway may be walked. Here in America it is the culture of the land itself that belongs to the Native Americans. We may have industrialized it, modernized it, and developed it to the extent that we can barely recognize it anymore, but inherently it is the Native Americans who have always understood it, and their shamans know it best. Through their eyes you will find correlations and sacred sites are very closely associated to them.

The names of those locations often reflect the legends and myths as well as the indigenous influences of their respective areas. Ceremony and ritual have brought about the Spirit Paths and other structural developments within the shamanic landscape. It is the shaman who discovered the majority of the vortexes, Sacred Energy lines, and place of power here in America. I tis the shaman who found they could be tapped to open the doors of Otherworlds and gain the wisdoms held there. The shamanic path simply asks you to have the courage to know your own inner spirit, to be honest with yourself, to be true to your own spirituality, and to come to know the oneness within nature.

To respect, honor, and hold the land and the and the Spirit of Place that resides within it sacred as well as the Otherworlds and all of life is the way of the shaman. This does not infringe on any religious faith; instead it compliments it. There is room here for everyone. This is no more than should be asked or expected and through the eyes of the shaman you will come to better understand the essence, the process, and learn to keep it simple.

The process of enlightenment can be worked on through the Dream Lodge. During normal sleep the projection of the spirit, or out-of-body experience, is quite a normal event. The conscious mind being temporarily shut down literally does get out of your way and allow the inner spirit to unite with the subconscious and the will. This union sets the spirit free to journey on its own.

Such events may often be reflected in dreams of various forms of flight or sailing. Dreams bring enlightenment, consolation, instructions, and information. They inspire and awaken you to your instincts and senses.

Many dreams are heavily invested with symbolic images. They are the gateways to Otherworlds. You may not always seek them and often they may appear to find you. For the most part, you will be unaware of the travels your spirit makes. If you begin to pay attention to your dreams you will begin to see the signs. One sure sign is when you feel your body tremble or shake awaking you from a sound sleep--or as though you have fallen a thousand feet only to land lying awake in bed. You may have had this experience. It is caused by your spirit returning to your body.

This is also where you may experience initiations. Initiations are frequently frightening since deep fears must be confronted and dealt with and it is where your sense of humor will come in handy. Always they are highly interesting, vivid awakenings, intense awarenesses, quickenings or trials by one of the elemental forces of Air, Fire, Water, or Earth since there are ever tests to be undergone. Unusual dreams should be noted in a journal immediately then contemplated and interpreted.

Not all dreams bring these sacred experiences, but those that do are well beyond the norm. They are more intense as colors, objects, and events become exceptionally vivid. You will find you are an active participant, not merely a viewer. Such dreams are rarely shaken off due to their poignancy and content. They tend to remain with you for a long time, often throughout life. In them you are consciously aware that you are dreaming. It is in this state that the apprentice shaman will seek to find and view the spirit body that is present. It would be like looking at your own body when you are awake, not its reflection in a mirror. Once this is accomplished the apprentice begins to focus on willfully altering the dream.

The Medicine Wheel and certain sacred sites are conducive to this activity and often stimulate the process. When dream alteration is repeatedly achieved and mastered the next step is to continue deeper into the dream received and work with it as an actual altered state of consciousness and functional classroom. Such states are frequently found at the fringes of trance sessions. The shaman slows the process and works on this level. To awaken within this dream-state presents a real experience. The intensity is magnified in colors and dimensional objects. All senses are active. It becomes a malleable form that can be altered and is frequently used by the shaman as a classroom to meet with and teach the student.

Spiritual guides, teachers, and allies of the student do much the same thing. It prepares you to work later with altered states of consciousness within Otherworld dimensions. It is quite possible to meet with others intentionally and this method is a favorite teaching tool in shamanic practices. A progress is made the will is strengthened and you are then able to continue beyond the dream itself into the realms of Spirit. I tis the dream that is the veil over the doorway and you must learn to part it.

Here training under a shaman is quite helpful in avoiding the traps and pitfalls that exist there. Carlos Castaneda suggested in his writings that the student should look at the back of the hands and never directly at any object (softening the gaze). This is a fairly common theme in many of my studies. It keeps you from drifting in and out of this state or losing it altogether. I have found it to be most helpful. Such dreams are of virtual reality and the fine line between the out-of-body experience is frequently apparent. It is the first phase of projection. In most cases out-of-body acts that are consciously sought slip through the curtain or veil rather fleetingly. It is barely noticed, but in the dream state when the spirit body subconsciously projects you can catch glimpses: but you must train the conscious mind to be prepared for it, recognize it, and accept it before you can work with it.

Knowledge has ever been sought through a higher means whether it is through the shamanic pathway or through the use of runes, tarot cards, crystal balls, or in some other fashion. Vortex sites are another means, however, they offer one distinct difference: you do not need to turn to someone else's intuitive interpretation. A vortex places you on a one to one basis with the Spirit of Place, the universe, the Sacred Energy, the Web of Life, and with Spirit. The Web of Life is a term many individuals use loosely; but to a shaman it is sacred, it is the lines of Sacred Energy and their intersections that contain Spirit. The shaman sees this as a vital force that permeates the Earth and all dimensions. It is alive, sentient, and a channel that is ever open to you.

As a student you will soon discover that these lines and sties are indeed highly conducive to these experiences. You will also discover the dreams they stimulate and the Medicine Wheels they contain are indeed the shamanic classrooms of your inner spirit.

Ley Lines and Vortexes
Part Eight © Cinnamon Moon

Spirit Paths have been used by the shaman as a form of initiation for centuries. Through the ritual of walking a process is undergone in which the elements are encountered, energies absorbed, and phenomena are experienced. It is the pilgrimage of the initiate that brings about the conditions of transformation, enlightenment, and growth. This is a quest where, alone with oneself, the initiate must also be alone with their thoughts and their struggle to remain focused. Such pilgrimages tend to end at sacred sites where ritual calls for a vision quest or other ceremony to culminate the event.

The Medicine Path practices teach that the experience is the initiator in combination with Spirit. Subsequent to the onset of the pilgrimage and again upon arrival at the sacred site a ritual cleansing is undergone. This includes fasting, purification, and meditation as well as testing endurance and strengths. Smudging is used to clean the energy field of the individual and the site aiding in the focusing and cleansing of all channels. a smudge stick is usually prepared ahead of time and composed of sage, cedar, sweetgrass or combinations thereof.

In the journey personal truths and fears come forward to be acknowledged. Often such experiences are presented by Spirit whether they are sought after or not. Many have gone through the paces of an initiation ceremony only to discover that nothing happened. This discovery may initially be disappointing; however, a second "natural" initiation in which the true confrontation and experience will show itself, seemingly of its own accord, frequently follows shortly thereafter in a wide range of forms. One way or another the initiation will take place.

Hopi initiates were known to run the distances of the Spirit Paths to the specified sacred site, place a prayer stick at the shrine, and return along the same route. They ran a grueling distance from sunrise to sunset. it is worth mentioning that the experience they had of an altered state of consciousness was well beyond that of today's marathon runners who claim a "runner's high". In Peru, at Nazca, there is a center called Cahuachi where lines were swept and used for religious practices by the shamanic priests. While walking or running the Spirit Paths ceremoniously, the act becomes one in which there is little need to concentrate allowing the mind to be free to attain heightened states of consciousness.

Through the physical act of running or walking these paths the subconscious begins to surface opening a channel for the inner spirit to come forth. The seeking of initiation is done in areas for which the individual has been prepared creating greater doorways to future study and growth abilities. Unsuccessful initiations are those in which the seeker has not yet been qualified to enter into and are a direct message from Spirit that further study and preparation must take place.

During the successful initiation the doors to Otherworlds allow the individual to enter and perceive other dimensions. They appear as glimpses and whisperings that lead to wisdom and enlightenment in an experience involving all the senses. It demands that the personality of the individual be sacrificed in order for transformation and growth to occur. Negative traits are offered up willingly as sacrifices to make room for the changes within the individual. Initiation can come through dreams or visions where fears are faced, challenged, and private demons conquered. The initiate is tested to the core of their being to summon all the courage that exists in order to face those truths.

Whatever happens there is a change that takes place and transforms the individual forever in undeniable ways. To undergo initiatory experiences is to accept altered states and gain control of the self while remaining focused on the intent of your actions. Ultimately that is the greatest power struggle. Through this process of acceptance the initiate learns to walk between the worlds in gradual stages. Awareness grows with the knowledge and the process proves to be an experience where the lessons here are not forgotten. It is a death of the old self and a rebirth of the new.

How far this is taken depends upon the wisdom the individual is seeking, how deeply into the shamanic path they choose to tread, and how much growth is desired. It is a choice that must be willing sought by the initiate and is never coerced. Any teacher, any book sincerely written, any true student of enlightenment will tell you that "right purpose" must come first. What this means is that you must seek for the right reasons. That includes proceeding in an honorable fashion showing respect and walking a path of dignity. Do not expect growth where the soil has not been prepared ahead of time.

Honor your own soil and that of Mother Earth, honor that which grows, which breathes the air, which flows, which contains, and the wisdom that is yours--honor the two-leggeds, winged-ones, finned-ones, and the four-leggeds: honor All Our Relations. When confronted with obstacles it must be remembered that they are but pieces to the puzzle of who you are. The way you solve that puzzle develops your character. There is a lesson to be learned by everything that appears on your path and through that process there is growth. Once the lesson is learned it will build within you the strength of the character to evolve into the person you are be-coming. In this way you learn to embrace that which is feared and love it for the gift that it is. Your strength is waiting for you to retrieve it.

Each individual is unique but too few of us have the courage to face our own strengths and weaknesses. All of life is sacred; that includes each individual and the spirit within them. You are given life so that you may grow and blossom to the best of your ability. You are responsible for your own actions and to answer for them. Understand why you do things and choose to act for the right reasons with integrity. Desire only your own approval and you will earn it. To desire to please others will only bring disappointment and failure. Live up to your own expectations and you will grow.

Look within before seeking initiation into anything in life. You do not step out to Otherworlds but you do step into them. You must first go inward and find the spirit that dwells there. It is through the inner spirit that you step out of yourself. You can only learn to truly open to an experience through the inner spirit that is your link to the universe. You must make a conscious effort to choose to make this link, to discipline yourself, to be one with the energy. You will be amazed at how far you are able to go.

The straight path of the Sacred Energy is a way of dwelling in the oneness that is the natural order of life. It is a arrow road less traveled these days and difficult to walk only when you do not understand it. Do not become so enraptured by virtue that you lose sight of yourself. Do not seek your own power at the expense of others. Walk the center aware of both but separate from them in peace. It was Black Elk, a famous Sioux medicine Man, who said: "Know the Power of Peace". His words are as strong today as they were then.

The roadway of the straight and narrow often has entrapments along its sides. There are avalanches of emotions, quagmires of self-pity, swamps of confusion, and it is all too easy to slip into the ruts that we have carved out for ourselves. It is then you need to focus, center, and seek the oneness to get back on track. If you can recognize this you will find your path. You weave your life and you alone are the dreamer of your dream; thus it is a choice to connect or separate from your own spirituality. You cannot validate your self-worth through another person. It must be determined through your actions and the way in which you treat others.

Some of your growth will come from mistakes that you make--actually most of it. Some lessons are repeated while others make their impressions the first time around. If you become sidetracked it is up to you to make the correction. Just as you bring your mind back to the subject you are focusing on when it wanders, you must do the same for your actions. Learn to laugh at your mistakes--to see the Great Trickster, Coyote, in action as you attend his class. Know who you are and do not allow others to make that definition for you. Things will happen to and for you when the time is right.

Finding your own path allows you to grow. If you are under stress you need to simply find a place to be alone with Mother Earth. Sit down and let it fall away from you and into Her waiting hands. She will know how to use such energies constructively so give them to Her with love. To Her they are gifts. Know your own vision and respect that of others. Keep your focus strong, your vision clear, and your purpose truly impeccable. No more can be asked of you. Pray when you need to talk and meditate when you need to listen for the answers. Transformation takes place both inwardly and outwardly in a gradual process. It may be quite dramatic at times, but the drama in most cases is your own.

Begin the process of transformation by knowing yourself, trusting your instincts and senses, and realizing your inner strengths. This state of spirituality within the self brings the positive energy and peaceful countenance of a spiritual person. You do not see the shaman yelling, running in frantic confusion, or out of control. On the contrary, they are grounded, centered, calm, and strong. At their center both the physical and spiritual worlds are clearly seen simultaneously. They sharp eye is softened to a balanced perception allowing the ability to shift the focus when necessary.

You must live your life fully according to your own path and express yourself without silencing the expression of others, trusting in the will of Spirit. To find an inner state of peace allows you to reflect that to others who will recognize it. Spirit will recognize your efforts and take them to fruition as your willingness effects change. This will present you with new conditions and rewards as the growth continues; it is, after all, a cycle that is reborn to new elevations--the Spiral Dance of Life that honors all life for it is all sacred--including yourself and the testings you must face.

The process of vision questing can take several days to reach completion for the initiate. It is done in isolation to create a time of reflection during which the way your life has been lived to that point is examined. Soul searching often takes place and choices are made. Prayer is followed by meditation, drumming and listening. A state of trance begins and the isolation is one of the triggers. Many things can and do occur. A change in the appearance, size, and shape of your body, an animal form may present itself where an ally or totem spirit is revealed, entities may appear, senses grow acute, and psychological as well as spiritual transformations take place. There is no eating or sleeping and the battle is within. This is a spiritual quest where you learn respect for who you are as you see the actions and paths of others as the learning experiences they must undergo. You come to see that we can never force our ways on anyone.

In the process of seeking drums, flutes, and rattles can be used. Water can be brought to drink. Sacred smoke is brought to be offered, and incense or smudge sticks to purify the energies present. The body will alter its own state without the use of hallucinogens. Sacred dream visions will occur at such times, and often they are filled with highly significant symbolism. You may undergo what is often called a shamanic journey where your inner spirit does project from your physical body to undergo an initiatory process in a dimensional setting.

Later those journeys and symbols may be interpreted by you or with the aid of a shaman if you feel you need help. Such sacred events are so vivid that the details are not easily forgotten, but it is still a good idea to write down as much as you can in a journal. Combined with the heightened awareness this experience creates, the vision often remains intact in your memory for a lifetime. In the case of out-of-body experiences the vision quest generally provides an introduction or contact with totems, Animal Guides, allies, co-walkers, and teachers. It can be subtle or intense, and it is one that will leave you changed forever.

This is the path of the shaman. It is one that can be sought if you are called, and it is one that deserves respect. Your experience may not be this intense, but it could be one of exposure to any or all of these elements. it generally depends upon what you are looking for when you go there; how open you are to the energies; and what the Spirit of Place desires to show to you on behalf of the Creator.

Page Two


Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

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