Spiritual Development

Page 61

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Seeking Your Path
By CinnamonMoon

I wanted to do this article because so often people begin seeking a path to spiritual understanding
and are so confused about which path they want to follow. These individuals don't know where
to start looking or what to study first. I'm hoping this will provide some footing for those
wearing these shoes to do just that.

When we step into our spiritual quest what's the first thing we start to do? We look for a path to
follow…so many traditions, so many theories, so many religions, so many things…which way
do we go? Which path do we follow? If you consider you are already on the path you're meant to
walk and anywhere you go is the 'right' way the fear of making a mistake or error in judgment
will vanish. Okay, so you're on your path, now what? What's it called? Where does it fit into all
the others?

Well the path you walk will become your teacher in a variety of ways if you open to your Self.
That means you need to listen to the things that catch your ear; look into the things that catch
your eye; explore your interests; go with what feels right; touch the things that touch you. When
you do that then you're letting the path teach you. It may sound too simple, but the truth is that's
how we begin to explore the world around us and it doesn't change just because we're exploring
spirituality. Spirituality and life go hand in hand and so the path is always there, wherever we go.
So let's start with the premise that you are already on it.

As you walk through the spiritual teachings of cultures and traditions it's done in stages. Looking
at the pieces of what you explore as they begin to make sense to you, a bit here, a bite there, and
you gather those to yourself. Exploring and digesting the morsels of insights and information, of
history and foundations. Where's the path you're supposed to be walking on taking you? Which
direction is it leading to? There are so many paths, should you change to a different one? Little
by little we come to see that they all start to reveal the same cornerstones and basic foundations
and it only seems more confusing. If they all hold the same basic truths, then which 'one' is the
'right' one? I'd like to suggest you explore the idea that the path you are walking right now might
be an eclectic path, that you just may be on the path that's right for you already and in that
perhaps the way ahead may be clearer.

It's certainly possible you may find a tradition that resonates for you, and when that happens it's
easier to say you have a path you follow. However, if that's not the case then there's nothing
wrong with exploring a variety of traditions and there's nothing wrong with not embracing just
one of them…in creating your own tradition. Family traditions have existed throughout time,
beliefs, abilities, guidance systems, Spirit Helpers that move through the generations and
teachings that are basically passed on orally are a part of that. Through tradition established in
the family, and abilities passed genetically the family develops their own ways of doing things.
So it may be that your eclectic path is reawakening a lost tradition within your family, or that
you're to create an eclectic path that is best suited to you. Traditionally or not, eclecticism can be
a tradition too, the path you are walking is YOUR path and it is all about YOU and YOUR
connection to Spirit. That said, it's time to relax and look at your spirituality in a less confused
state and open your mind to the fact that there are many, many ways to experience it. Whatever
'way' you go about it, the main point is establishing that one on one relationship with Spirit and
with your Self because that's the connective tissue. From there everything else will unfold as it
should and in its own time.

Let's look then at how we can open to Spirit. Is it any more sacred to hear the voice of Creator
speak to you in a church, mosque or temple than it is to hear it on the Wind or through the
elemental forces of Nature? Is it any more sacred to hear the Truth spoken to you in a masculine
voice than that of the feminine and Mother Earth or Virgin Mary or some other Goddess?
Wherever you are, however you hear the Voice and the Word of Creation speak to you, wherever
you are if you look or listen you will find it accordingly. Every faith, every religion, every
tradition has the stories and teachings of these things happening to the multitudes and
solitudes…are you any different than them to receive sacred words? Be that in tradition of some
form or in Nature-based teachings, it is what it is and will be what it will be for the sacred is
Truth and when you seek you will be shown.

It's up to you to accept what you're shown. It's up to you to decide if you will follow the
teachings of others, perhaps take something from them and go on seeking, or let the Path itself
become your Teacher accepting yourself for who you are and your guidance for what it is. There
are many names, many titles, many variations of the terms and semantics, but it's all One. They
are only the colored rays of the rainbow that is comprised of the greater Light of Spirit. It's all
one, many voices speaking of the One and the aspects of the One…of All That Is, of The Powers
That Be….it's all One.

Just as IT is all One, so all Paths are One…they all lead to the center, to the Sky Father and the
Earth Mother and the union that is Creation…to the center and out again. Teachings here at
Spirit Lodge are based in shamanic practices, in the Native American tradition of spirituality,
however we are open to all paths. In the teachings we share here the balance of the masculine
and feminine in nature, the elemental forces, the energies of life are the ways of perception of
what brings forth creation to support life forces. In the teachings I can share here the masculine
fertilizes the seed within the feminine and from her womb comes Form…in whatever form is
willed by the focus of that Will…plant, animal, mineral, what IS begets what it IS. "It is what it
is.""It will be what it will be." This is the Word that will let you accept you are who you are and
you are connected to the whole…to Spirit just as anything else is. It will hopefully bring you
peace, help you find your Self, find your Path, find Spirit and enter the Oneness. Whatever path
you are walking today is the right path for you because it is your path in life and you are already
on it. I'm going to be expressing things in Native terms because that's my path, others will use
their terms but we're all going to be sharing the same basic concepts.

Along the Path of Life (in Native terms the Good Red Road of Life)…we have the physical
aspects. They form from life experiences and from them into wisdom that is born of the
knowledge we gain from those experiences. Whatever you're exposed to based on free will and
the choices you make, you chose what experiences you will involve yourself with or not. And in
this you choose what you will learn from by studying or observing or experiencing and then later
apply that to a different experience. Sometimes we need to say 'I'll watch for a bit if you don't
mind and try my hand at that later,' or we say 'I'd like to look into things a bit more,' sometimes
we jump in with both feet impulsively because it feels right or feels like a cause. How many
times in life have you experienced such choices for yourself and made them based on one of
those methods or some other option? You've chosen the direction of your path with every step
you've taken, with every relationship you've entered in and out of…is it any wonder that you
shouldn't continue to exercise your free will and choose the spiritual perspective that fits you too?

The spiritual path (in Native terms the Blue Road of Spirit) is where the spirit worlds enter into
life, pass through it and where life passes through them. Again in the center…where Creator is
present…we have the merging or intersection where we come to the Oneness that goes inward
and outward to explore the cornerstones and make the journeys. (Please see the Medicine Wheel
Library and article there on The Medicine Wheel Made Easy for the Native perspective outlined
if this interests you.) The point I'm making here is that the path you take through life in the
physical sense needs to be in harmony with the spiritual path you follow too…we can't go in two
directions at once and unless it feels right to YOU then you will always feel torn. I'm wanting to
encourage you to study what resonates with YOU, draws YOUR interest, and registers with
YOU making 'sense' and making you feel your 'senses' inside and out. When this happens the
Inner Spirit (Self) is stirring with recognition and you KNOW if it's 'right' or 'wrong' for YOU.
It's that simple, and there should be no shame, no guilt, no fear of following your own path rather
than the path of another or which another would try to dictate to you.

You have free will and should learn to use it consciously, you've been doing it all your life
anyway, why not raise that awareness, find the permission within yourself to just BE yourself
and walk YOUR path as you feel appropriate? You're a good person, you're doing your best to
grow on that path already, you're seeking to BE-come all that you are…you can't do that without
being true to yourself….your Self.

What happens when we let the Path become our Teacher? Well when I did that I came to find
things went a lot smoother, physical Teachers crossed my path, people crossed my path, they
walked with me for a time and I learned many things, many challenged me and others blessed me
with their teachings and sometimes I explored alone. In looking back I wouldn't have had it any
other way…it's been filled with beauty, bittersweet moments, awe and inspiration and so many
challenges to overcome. It's been hard work but a labor of love, and it continues to this day to be
unconditionally walked with conviction. It's awesome. How's your path been? What has Spirit
shown you and where have you been led to? Did you delve or run away? Did you peek through a
door or step through it? What are YOU searching for and why are you looking where you're
exploring today? Is it to satisfy your Self? If so congratulations! Is it to satisfy your interests? If
so congratulations! Is it to grow and understand YOUR questions as you find the answers? If so
congratulations! That sounds to me as if you're learning to give yourself permission to walk and
embrace the path you're on and are starting to see it for what it is.

The path you walk may or may not have a name, that doesn't matter. The path is you, the path is
Spirit, the path is One with all others. Walk it with honor and in union with Spirit and you won't
go wrong. The Teachers you need to connect with will appear when you need them. In the
meantime you're free to explore every nook and cranny until one shows up to walk with you and
guide you where you need to go next. Until then enjoy it and stop feeling like you have to live up
to someone's expectations. Life is, in a nutshell, between you and Spirit, there are no secrets
hidden there and at the end of your path that's where you'll stand, face to face with Spirit in the
Truth of the life you have lived. It is what it is and it will be what it will be. Awesome isn't it
when you find out the path is YOU?

Let’s look at that path, shall we? As I said, the path we walk in life is our teacher, and it contains
many lessons along the way. Some lessons are clear and show themselves in the Light of
understanding (enlightenment). Others are murky and hold us in a swamp of confusion. Still
others are of Shadow where they entrap us in negative or harsh lessons that are very painful and
difficult to sort. Some lessons are very Dark and draw us into pits we have to claw our way out
of while others are Light and joyously experienced. Since each of us is destined to walk a path
through life you can see that the path will be our classroom and the teachers and lessons will vary.

Our path leads us in and out of relationships where many different lessons will be found. We
journey along passing in and out of situations and circumstances that we learn from. This leads
us through the environments life contains where we experience the Now of the moment (the
present). As we pass through these moments we gain hindsight to see lessons we may have
missed and are repeating (sometimes for the umpteenth time) as well as gaining insights that
show us how far we’ve come when we can look back into the past. If we watch where we’re
going the path will also provide glimpses of what’s up ahead while we keep our footing and eye
on where we’re going so we can learn in the present. In the glimpses of what’s ahead we get an
idea of what we’re moving into…at least enough to prepare for it. We’ll get the fullness of that
picture when we arrive but we have the insight that will lead us to see when we’ve progressed
and come to face the next set of challenges and the growth they will bring us. This is the insight
that allows us to become patient, tolerant and persevering.

Now each of us is given a Guide (if not many more) to walk with us as we follow that path—
someone to keep us company and help us stay on it…someone who has walked that path before.
This Guide is going to be a Spirit Helper, and we may find along the way there are other Spirit
Helpers and naturally physical people populating the path we take. What name will you give this
Spirit Helper? Are they a Guide, an Angel, an Archangel, an Ascended Master, a deity, a Totem
Animal, a Power Animal, an Ancestor perhaps, or some other title? Does it matter? Not really,
the name/s you use to identify them will be in keeping with the tradition or perspective you are
learning from, but they are all basically the same with a wide variety of guises they appear in.

You do have Guides, we all do…we need them and if we are consciously looking to connect
with them they will step forward. If not, well then they’re basically going to be working with a
blind mule. That’s up to us, and bless them they don’t desert us, they just keep walking with us
doing the best they can. You hear of people who walk a path of service to Spirit. Our Guides are
doing the same thing from the Otherside. We’re on this path from the moment we step into the
world until the moment we leave it and that Guide that first appears is going to guard the way for
you if you choose to allow that connection to become a strong one. If we recognize the Guide
and honor that Spirit Helper we make better progress, sometimes we make their tasks very
difficult by denying them and the connection takes longer to unfold or never does as the case
may be. The path through life is thus filled with all the life experiences and all the help we need.
Let’s talk about that Guide for a moment. Whether the emerging form it presents itself in is a
Spirit Guide, a totemic Guide, or some form of Guardian Spirit or Angel, we do have that
assistance in mapping our way through life. And one Guide will introduce us to another when the
time is right. You’ll find that as you progress you have a growing number of Spirit Helpers
walking with you because you are able to see them actively present and interact with them. If
you never open further then you’ll have a chief Guardian Spirit watching over you that would be
dominant, and they may have to call for reinforcements at times that you’d never know about.
I’ve seen many people in life that have convinced me they have a whole troop of Helpers and no
clue they’re there. *Soft smile*

Spiritual awareness is Key to setting the foundations of the perspectives we walk with and
learning to make that connection to our Guide is so important. It’s our Guide that will show us
how to make the connection to Spirit and the Earth Mother when we actively open to doing so.
Now sometimes we go about that naturally and sometimes we need help and explore the task
with a physical teacher or several different teachers until we find a foundation with techniques
that will work for us…the techniques that open the doors to understanding. To those new to
spirituality this may seem like a daunting task but I assure you it is well worth the effort and will
expedite all that follows. The secret is that you have to ‘want’ it, have rise up to spiritual
awareness and in that raise your conscious awareness to focus in that direction. You will come to
see that wherever you are focused that guidance will be there and all you have to do is be willing
to open yourself to it.

When we have our foundations we learn to tap into that guidance by establishing a close
relationship. One Guide often leads us to others and there comes a point where you will discover
you have plenty of help and loads of company along the way from both the spiritual side and
those who share that path with you in the physical sense. Joining like-minded groups, be that an
organization of some sort, seminars and workshops, or places like Spirit Lodge, groups provide
the arena to share experiences, ask questions, find answers or direction and learn more. Physical
teachers, information we gather from books and research pertaining to spiritual perspectives, our
own interests being explored, these are all things that contribute to our mapping that path for
ourselves. Once mapped we have a basic sense of where we’re going because the path itself
begins to reveal itself…we come to recognize what is right for us and the way we want to pass
through life.

I can use myself as an example here and maybe you will see how I came to find my path such as
it is. I began in the Lutheran Church for traditional upbringing and religious concepts. It was
lacking ‘something’ I couldn’t name at the time, I hadn’t made that spiritual connection. I was in
a tradition that others (family) had chosen for me, doing what they expected of me, but it didn’t
speak to me clearly either so I began to explore further. I looked into other Christian faiths and
world religions. All of them were falling short. I couldn’t find the spiritual connection until I
came to the Old Religion…Witchcraft. There I began to make some connections, it was in the
nature-based teachings that things resonated but Witchcraft, for me, wasn’t enough either. I was
exposed to the Bohemian Gypsy tradition through family and that contributed but again, left me
lacking. Eventually, after many years of exploration I came to the Native American teachings
and that’s where I knew I’d come home. For me it all resonated and it explained me to me, I
finally understood what I was experiencing in my own abilities and understandings that had
come through life experiences. I found my place and the path has continued to be a beautiful one
ever since.

Whether we open to our Guardian Spirit off the top or not, another source of guidance we need
to consider is our Inner Spirit. Each of us can connect to the spirit within us and it is that Inner
Spirit that knows what needs to be accomplished in our life. It knows because it is the reason we,
as humans, took form…to allow that spirit to be contained within the body so it can have the
advantage of the physical experiences that allow it to accomplish its work. Recognizing this we
can step into the role of Witness and in that we can see what it needs to do and join with it
consciously to assist. Often it is in connecting to our Inner Spirit that we connect to our Guardian
Spirits. Either way, it works.

Each path walked in life is going to have its lessons along the way…choices, opportunities,
challenges, obstacles, and yes, blockages. It’s also going to have its low points and foggy areas
where we have to contend with a climate and environment that brings much confusion…more
lessons in finding our way through these things. It’s going to pass through chaotic times too
where one day it’s bright and sunny and the next we’re facing a terrible storm. It’s going to have
the high points allowing us a panoramic view of life’s landscape and the ability to see the bigger
picture and where we’re heading through it. We know at those times that there are details we
can’t uncover until we get into things more, make more progress and arrive at different points
along the way but we have the scope of things to see where we’re heading in general. Through
all that, our path and journey are designed to serve the needs we hold. Some people refer to those
needs and that scope as a contract…a contract that our soul/Inner Spirit has made with the
Creator before incarnating into human form. Irregardless of the terminology, this path holds not
only the needs of our physical self, but our Inner Spirit as well. Our Inner Spirit knows what it
needs to accomplish, it’s entered the physical body with a mission of its own and trusting it to
guide us along with our other Spirit Helpers makes that journey a whole lot easier.

Recognizing the path we are walking takes time for many and for others it’s clear from early
childhood, either way that comes about is right for YOU. Even those at early childhood
awareness have little more than a basic idea of what it’s about. As we grow the path and
understanding of it grow too, so whichever the case may be, once we do see it and we’ve gained
some in-sight into that, the path becomes a tangible part of our life in the physical sense. This
path in itself begins to join with the other teachers we walk with…the people we meet along the
way and exchange life experiences with. There will be lots of forks in the road (choices as to
which way to go next) where we’ll need to consult that guidance in determining which direction
is in our best interest. Perhaps finding what those options hold instead of guessing so we have
better clarity and know which path we’re to follow again. Those consultations with Guides and
Teachers or our companions are very informative and we learn how to enter those sessions
through meditation and/or prayer…and then becoming still to listen for the answers. There will
be lots of side trails we can opt to explore and some may lead us into deep studies, dead ends, or
quagmires. Some side paths will lead to great adventures and understandings but they all lead us
right back to the path we’re supposed to be walking. Mini vacation or long journey those side
trips are the lessons we can opt to experience and again we should consult our Self and whatever
guidance we walk with in making the best decisions. We don’t always remember to do that but it
sure does help.

In the physical sense initiating spiritual studies is one of the first steps in uncovering our path
and why we are walking it. This is what gives meaning to our life and brings about that
connection to the whole through the strands in the Web of Life. It’s what helps us recognize
there are many paths to choose from and in that to find our tolerance levels for the paths others
choose to walk. We begin to see how the Web of Life has a spiral effect where, just as our own
galaxy spirals, it has threads or roadways to the center (Spirit) and back out again (into life). We
travel in and out on those spirals following our strand as we explore it just as we breathe in and
out of our bodies. In and out of the spiritual and mundane focus…but it’s still a strand, still a part
of the whole, still a way to explore our life through that connection. In this we come to the
recognition of who walks similar paths to our own. This recognition allows us to see who is
walking up ahead of us and thus who we can follow behind, perhaps meet up with and learn
from. We come to recognize who walks beside us where we can find company of like-minded
individuals and share our sorting together, or who is following behind us that may need some of
the knowledge we’ve gained along the way…those we can share with and assist as they get their
own footing. This is what Spirit Lodge offers to anyone who enters here, a community of
individuals on all levels of development willing to share what they’ve learned and grow with
you. In this example alone I hope you can see there’s no need to compare yourself to other
members or individuals in life, but to accept where you’re at and proceed from there
comfortably. We’ve either been in your shoes or will be stepping into them at some point.

It’s important to recognize that your guidance has a clear perspective on where you’re to go. It’s
there for a reason, one that serves your higher good and the higher good of those you share your
life with. Letting others alter that guidance and the messages you receive telling you that it’s
‘wrong’ to believe this or that is going to hinder your development and the path you’re taking.
We need to learn to recognize that some people like to shove you off the path just for fun or for
self-gratification. It’s important to learn how to recognize if you are starting to veer off course
and sidetrack your journey. When you do start to head in a wrong direction or get confused
you’ll sense hesitation, or discomfort. Stop then and sort yourself before going on. Jumping
ahead blindly will surely lead to a lesson, but one that would not necessarily need to be taken if
you held awareness of where you were going and why. If we do not follow our guidance then we
learn to follow it through experience and those who weave illusions of distraction will be
waiting. So trusting your Guides to lead you is a good thing, so is listening to the advice of your
Inner Spirit. We don’t always do that but we should. *Soft smile* How many times have you
heard yourself say “I knew better!” when something went wrong? How many times did you feel
you should or shouldn’t do something, second guessing yourself do the opposite, and regret it?
Learn to trust in yourself to know what’s best for you.

Learning how to tap into meditative states where these in-sights are found is part of the
foundational skills you will need no matter what tradition you choose to follow or if you choose
to create your own in an eclectic style. Learning how to enter into the dimensions of the
elemental forces will help you seek guidance as you come to recognize the aspect of yourself that
is experiencing your current lessons. It will help you understand the different energies, what they
feel like, what they ‘do’ and in that recognize what we call energy signatures. Some lessons are
of Air or the higher mind where philosophy, conception, expanded and abstract thoughts lead us
forward. Some lessons are of Fire, the physical experience, trial and error, shattering of illusions,
finding faith, etc. Other lessons will take us into the element of Water where our relationship to
our Self requires the deeper inner journeys of emotion and emoting…so that we can understand
our relationship to others and the greater whole by understanding our Self. And still other lessons
will take us into Earth where we have gained the sustenance we have to share with others, where
our heart brings forth the compassion of our own experiences allowing us to share healing with
those who are passing through the same things we have…turning knowledge, through
experience, into wisdom and giving us the eyes to see who is ready to embrace it and who needs
to have their own experiences before they can.

Spirit doesn’t always hand out easy assignments and sometimes we’re asked to walk through
Fire. These lessons are a bit different than the conceptual ones of Air. Fire is experience that
leads to our trusting ourselves and finding our faith in ourselves and Spirit. Each lesson we
receive passes through the four elements as they are the stages of understanding and contain
well-defined energy signatures. As we enter each aspect of that lesson we will receive or work
with a Guide from that element whether we’re aware of it or not. Now this is where it becomes
important to understand the aspects of each element and what they bring into play. In doing this
we get a ‘feel’ for it, learn to recognize what that energy is like, how we react to it, we learn its
signature. Then, when it comes into play we can work with it instead of having to let it, or the
Teacher that has stepped forward spiritually, drag us along by the ear kicking and screaming
through it. Each element has a signature and that signature, when understood, is a very valuable
part of your foundational understanding. There are a myriad of lessons we can gain from the
elements and what they have to teach us and our Main Library here holds several articles on
these topics if you are interested in learning more. You will find more articles in the Medicine
Wheel Library if you are interested in the Native approach.

Whether our path leads us into a single tradition, multiple traditions, or no traditions, all paths
will hold these same foundations and will in some form or another present them. If the path
we’re taking is not resonating with us then a fork in the road will appear (sometimes seemingly
out of nowhere) and we’ll have a choice to take one way or the other to explore something new
and see if that fits. Our free will comes into play at such times and it’s up to us what direction we
go in. Now, if we’re confused as to which way we want to go as this opportunity presents itself,
it’s important to remember to *ASK* for help or directions…to ask our Self, our Guardian
Spirit, Spirit, or someone in our physical environment that has experience along these lines. To
enter into the Silence where we have created our Sacred Space (see library articles on this for
more information) and do meet with our Guides and receive instruction, information, and
enlightenment is one source of direction. If we’re working with someone who is teaching us
things then we can ask them about what we’re facing so we know our options a little better. We
can tap the elemental forces for the overview of choice too, and we can Dance the Wheel as a
few examples to work with. These basic foundations are the core that supports the structure of
the path we are walking and will serve to keep us out of harm’s way, out of quagmires, and away
from difficulties as much as possible. Again, these Guides can all help us and they basically hold
the atlas to the piece of the map we’ve managed to copy for ourselves. Or we can just jump
forward and give it a shot taking whatever comes our way in stride. Whatever choice you opt to
make it’s YOUR choice and YOU are responsible for it, no one else.

Sometimes we share the path we’re walking with a new friend who will go a great distance with
us (be that physical or spiritual), sometimes that friend will part ways with us needing to take a
different course after only a short time. We need to understand these things happen. It’s like the
days in high school where you share some classes with friends and then the group changes the
next term and there’s a new set of relationships you’re exposed to. There’s a bit of regret when
that happens if you were close to those who have gone into another classroom but if the
friendship is meant to be it will continue outside that setting, and if not, if you’re meant to go
different ways you will drift apart. We simply can’t walk two paths at once and neither can they.
Tolerance comes from understanding this; and anticipation can grow in fertile ground if we open
to these new relationships and begin to explore them. They’re there for a reason, and we need to
use our ability to discern which of those will work best for us pressing on…trusting the process
as we keep walking our path.

Sometimes those friends who are parting ways have a hard time letting go and there’s a pull to
go their way (or just the opposite and we pull them to stay with us). If we were to allow someone
to distract us in this way our lesson would teach us that we shouldn’t have done that. Hopefully
the next time we’re faced with such a distraction we’d become aware of it because we took that
side road that led nowhere. That same side road would have taken our friend somewhere
though…somewhere they needed to go because it held something they needed. We end up taking
an unwanted vacation at those times because there’s nothing there but sightseeing for
us…sightseeing that distracts us from where we need to go ourselves. That vacation may or may
not have been ill-timed since we may have missed something important on our own path and
have to rush to get back to it again. If we don’t recognize the need to part ways you can bet we’ll
be repeating the lesson again and again until we learn to recognize the trap for what it is…the
inability to disengage—and we all go through that.

Letting others hinder guidance or insights we’re given hinders our journey. It slows us down
while we learn to decipher for ourselves where we really need to go. We should never hinder
another’s journey but we often do out of emotional attachment. Sometimes it pushes us off
course when that happens, so learning where good advice can be found is part of walking that
path. Now in the physical sense our awareness is dense when it comes to these things so we have
to train our logical mind to accept spiritual concepts and foundations before we can break
through to the spiritual experiences themselves. We need to do our own homework and willing
awareness helps, but we don’t always have that and learn just as often by physical experiences of
trial and error. Sometimes that’s what we need too…it helps us reconnect to that awareness. The
awareness is always there within us, but we lose focus being human and in the existing density of
the mundane reality. What’s real and tangible seems more valid than the intangible realms, yet
they are part of the layers of dimension creating the whole. Think of the layers of atmosphere
that create different densities of Air itself. Conditions change in each layer, each serving a
purpose and aspect of Air as it exists in the environment.

Please remember that your guidance is no less valid than that of another person’s. Do not dismiss
your own or theirs. They may not always match up but then that’s because you are taking
different paths and what’s right for one may not be right for the other. While we have this
guidance, and the opportunity to seek more through the elemental forces, the path itself needs to
become our teacher too. And as that path is our teacher, the path others walk is also their teacher.
If someone is feeling lost and asks you to help them find answers all they are asking is if you can
assist them in making sense of what they’re encountering in their experiences. After offering
your insights it’s important to step out of their way so they can continue on if they are heading in
another direction, or if they are heading the same way you’re going it’s just fine to offer to
accompany them for a while.

Spirit Teachers appear at different intervals along the way as we are ready to experience their
lessons. Having achieved basic foundations in Native teachings for example, one might
encounter a Totem Animal stepping forward. It is said that Wolf is the Great Teacher, and this is
very true. For someone just encountering Wolf Medicine, just for example here, one of their first
lessons would be in how they are to teach or share their own knowledge…often with the pack
involved. If that person were to ignore the lesson thinking just because Wolf showed up they
were already ‘there’ (wherever ‘there’ is) they would be attacked in the spiritual sense by an
Alpha Wolf, or they would encounter another more experienced teacher who walked with Wolf
Medicine that would challenge them in the physical sense. If someone were to meet with
Panther, as another example, one of the first lessons would be in recognizing Old Memory…their
gifts and abilities they came into the world with that would explain why they were ‘different’
from others at an early age and help them make sense of how to apply those skills. Panther
would make them feel like they needed to stalk information about those abilities or anyone else
they sensed had such traits. Perhaps their cheeks would literally tingle with anticipation at certain
interests or when meeting certain people. Twitching being a warning, they might feel that cheek
twitch too. In this way that stalking or sensation would lead them toward a route that would hold
the lessons and/or teachers they needed. Just because a creature-teacher appears does not mean
they are a Totem however; and they may simply be a messenger or have come to guide you to a
Totem so it’s important to ask who they are, what they have come for, and what their role is.

Learn to communicate and interact to gain your understanding. Our Spirit Helpers are our
greatest source of information when it comes to the specific lessons and insights we need. When
one appears do not assume you automatically know everything about them because you read up
on them. You’ll start to grasp, but there are years ahead of you in coming to fully understand
them better. The tip of the iceberg happens when they show up, and this assumption that you’ve
got it all down at first is a common trap many fall into. Knowing who your Totems are is one
thing, understanding them and working with them is another, and when they appear you’re
taking the first steps in that learning process. Assuming you know more is going to get you in
trouble and you’ll learn through their contrary Medicine first then. That’s a rough start.

As I just mentioned, an animal showing up is not always a Totem either, it is sometimes simply a
Messenger showing the way to the new Totem or next teacher. Whatever totemic teachers you
walk with, their guidance is going to initiate you into experiences with their lessons so you can
hone the abilities you hold along those lines. If you do not pay attention to the experience and
see the correlation to the teacher, if you’ve lost sight of that teacher through distraction or
dismissiveness, then the experience will be in the School of Hard Knocks, often containing a bite
or sting or lashing of some sort. Such lessons are designed to shake us up and wake us up so we
can regain our point of focus and correct our mistakes. They’re usually going to contain the
energy signature of Fire as illusions shatter and go up in smoke then and reality blares at us as if
it were a blowtorch in the face.

Watch for those who will honor the path *you* walk and do all they can to steady you so you
can continue on it. Anyone can turn on charm, and many Shadow Teachers are charismatic
individuals…people like cult leaders fall into that category and the nightmare stories of those led
astray are profound. What is the character of the person? Why are you following them? Are they
setting down rules you must follow or allowing you to choose your own ethical approach based
on what they share? Are they insisting on an isolated environment and holding you at their feet
with restrictions that control your own choices and free will? Run if that’s the case! If on the
other hand the individual does not object to you speaking to others and exploring paths other
than their own, if they share without condition other than seeing you put forth your own efforts
to explore and practice things, you’re on the right track.

Defining character is not hard. If the person is one who holds self-respect they will respect you
and be upfront to begin with. They will prepare you thoroughly or openly for the session they are
leading you into telling you what it’s about and why it is important for you to have that lesson;
not simply say ‘trust me’. If the person has integrity then that integrity will bring forth an ethical
approach, one of explanations and direction for whatever their intentions are. If this person walks
with true compassion they will make it a gentle journey or as gentle as they can and they will
stay with you from start to finish in processing and assimilating what is resulting from that
experience…staying with you to complete the lesson rather than leave you hanging or wondering
what it was in the first place. If they walk with honor they will demonstrate their honor and keep
their word when they give it. A spiritually seasoned individual, one who has achieved true
humility will walk in life humbly, they will take praise others might give and offer it up to Spirit,
they will shun the fawning that may come their way and redirect it back to the individual to help
them into greater self-empowerment and put the spotlight on Spirit for their eyes to follow. They
will match you step for step, effort for effort but they will not do the work for you…you can’t
learn that way, not about spirituality, it takes active participation.

Even the smallest deceptions seed harmful results and people get hurt…good people, innocent
people, those who simply don’t know better. There are those we call Shadow Teachers and they
teach tainted Shadow Lessons…lessons that unveil what ‘not’ to do in the end but not until
you’re at the end. You can avoid them by being aware of the hands you place yourself in or at
whose feet you choose to sit. A good teacher will walk with you, discover your needs and fill
them, not make you sit while they talk at you. They will match you step for step, and complete
the lesson as you journey through it. They will stop if you stop and start again when you’re
ready…waiting for you to say when that might be. They will nudge if you need nudging, but
they will not force you to do anything you’re not ready to do…and they will explain the lesson as
you go so you are aware and prepared to receive it. A good teacher will talk with you first, find
out what your needs are and adjust the lesson to fit them. They will perhaps offer homework so
in that you can learn to explore your own methods of solving a problem, or follow a pattern they
give you so you understand it and achieve a method or tool to serve you in the future. A good
teacher will equip you to walk strong on your own, and a Shadow Teacher is going to enable you
to stay dependent upon them. Learning the difference between the two is important.

We can learn to be discerning in different ways, sometimes by the experiences we have, and just
as often by observing the way others carry themselves and the things they do. We can see
mistakes others make that way, and we can see the traps that some will lay for the unsuspecting
victim that comes their way. Honoring what we observe we can avoid those interactions and you
can keep walking your path until a more suitable teacher appears. Remember, when the student
is ready the teacher appears, this is a phrase you will hear again and again. It’s true, and when the
student pushes with impatience they will most likely meet with a Shadow Teacher because they
are willing to accept anyone who comes along. In observing the consistency of action in others
we learn a lot, and when consistency appears so does the truth. Truth sheds light on the path
before us and it shows us the way to walk it for ourselves on steady feet. Avoid the Shadows
where you can, do not fear them, if you find yourself standing within the Shadows know that you
are in an in-between place…in-between Light and Darkness…a place of choice and it is up to
you if you want to stay in Shadow or step from it. If someone whispers for you to stay just ask
yourself ‘what for?’ and choose your option. Those who help will draw you into the Light, they
will point the way to Spirit, to your own guidance, and give you skills to work with both.

Now all Shadow work is not bad stuff. There are benefits in knowing how to step in and out of
Shadows, to use those Shadows to stalk or hunt your answers by waiting in them until something
comes out into the Light for you to observe. They can be a safe place to wait and watch. Many of
our members here watched from such Shadows before joining—we call them Lurkers
affectionately—and they stepped out of those shadows when they felt it was safe to do so.
Perhaps you were one such person and there’s nothing wrong with that. The Shadows, in this
sense, can be a place to walk too…if you want to journey for a time unseen or undisturbed or
avoid being preyed upon they are a very safe place to be. These are usually times of uncertainty
or assimilation that we find them of benefit to us…a place to stand or move undisturbed while
we sort things and fit them into place or wait for the next indicator to tell us it’s time to step back
into the Light again. In this sense, the Shadows, or any Spirit Helpers that may appear as
mentors, are neither good or bad…they are neutral, comprised of the energy found in the Light
and in the Darkness.

As you pass through each lesson on your path you have times of rocky roads and times of
smooth ones. The smooth parts allow you to assimilate what difficulties you’ve passed through
too…those things you learned on that part of the pathway, how to avoid hazards like that in the
future if there were any will come to you as well. This way in the future when hazards do appear
you can choose if you want to go around them or maneuver your way through them. The smooth
parts will give you room to sort and unify and move ahead again at an easy pace while you do.
When the sorting is done something along the way will catch your eye, grab your interest and off
you’ll go off exploring again. In this way you’ll find you’re growing some more with what you
discover and in that your spiritual development will evolve into a higher awareness and greater
understanding. If you can see this pattern of passage then it opens your eyes a little wider with
each turn in the road or each fork you face.

I encourage you to enjoy your journey in life, embrace *your* path, and walk in that awareness.
Know you are right where you need to be and this will always be the case. Know that so long as
you follow the path you are on it will lead you wherever you need to go, that it’s not the
destination that matters, life comes to an end in the physical sense and that always leads you
back to Spirit. It’s how you take that journey that matters, and while we all kick and scream at
times, embracing it, seeing it, and loving it makes it a whole lot better. In the end Spirit isn’t
looking for what we didn’t do in life, what matters is what we did do and what that effect had on
others. Don’t worry about the timing of things, the lessons are well placed and waiting for you,
you’ll get to them. The challenges that help you grow stronger and more confident will be placed
and on the other side of them the blessings for your efforts will be waiting. The timing of that is
set, things don’t happen too soon or too late when it comes to our spiritual development, that’s
mapped out for us perfectly. If we can trust this we find patience is a little better, the anticipation
well, that’s pretty consistently there. Spirit and our Spirit Helpers know what we need and when
we need it most and so their timing is impeccable and often laced with an ironic twist in getting
it to us. We have that “well who’d have thought!” moment when it arrives. *Soft smile* Head
scratching is very common then.

All that you’re seeking is on *your* path, not on someone else’s, what you’ll find on their path
are the things *they* need. It’s best when you can walk your own. In or out of a tradition won’t
matter, there’s nothing wrong with creating your own tradition. You know, one of my earliest
Medicine Teachers told me a little secret…if the physical teacher is unavailable to you, if the
knowledge you seek to explore is inaccessible, if there is no tradition to support you, Sprit will.”
She was explaining to me how things happen on their own (seemingly), how the forces of nature
come into play, how events seem to happen, how our Spirit Helpers orchestrate things behind the
scenes to insure that what we cannot do for ourselves (though we must always do as much as we
can) will be tended. Over time I found she was so right.

Let me give you a quick example of what I’m talking about. Let’s say you’ve walked into a
phase of spiritual awareness through a process of trial and error, self-discovery and exploration
outside traditional lines. Now you know you’ve completed a huge lesson, compiled your
thoughts, assimilated it, and honed your own skills or abilities accordingly. It’s time for initiation
into the next level of spiritual evolution for you because of this. Yet there’s no teacher, no
mentor, no physical way you can traditionally initiate. How do you achieve that? You don’t, but
Spirit can and will. You’re walking in the woods one day, a light mist of rain begins to fall, and
you are spiritually and naturally purified with Water. The rain stops and the Wind gently brings
warmth as the Sun comes out and together they dry you off quickly and somehow both move
through you (Air and Fire purification). The aroma of the damp Earth draws your attention to the
land you walk and you feel a pulsing rising up through the soles of your feet. You’re walking
suddenly in a new conscious awareness, it’s vibrant and you can see that each of the elements
have come to greet and escort you into something Otherworldly.

With a raised conscious awareness you know when you arrive at a spot that you should sit and
wait and you follow that curious to see what happens. You’re in the Oneness at this point and a
Spirit Helper appears with a message, directions to follow, or a vision to share with you and you
come into understanding of what waits on the path ahead. Now when this has ended and you’ve
returned from your walk (if you didn’t fully see it then in the first place) you will come to see
that the elemental forces of nature along with your Messenger or Helper have guided you
through an initiation onto a new level of understanding and given you a sense of direction of
what your next phase of growth is. You follow that direction…the path ahead is initiated, a door
has opened, and off you go to explore yet another great unknown. We can just as easily be
exposed to this type of an initiation process as any traditional formal one. What we need in this
sense will be provided one way or another. I’m sharing this now so you can see again that the
path itself will teach you things, it’s not always going to be a person in the physical sense. Those
who have been through this will be able to share experiences with you when you meet them, but
many people who are less seasoned will tend to pick it up in hindsight so it’s good to know.

You’ll find good company along the way in this world and others, and you’ll fulfill the purpose
for which you came into this life in a timely manner. The path itself will grow with you and as it
unfolds you’ll find with each step you take that it weaves itself as you go through the choices
you make. Each choice you make leads you to an experience as a result…good choices to good
experiences, bad choices to tougher ones, and wrong choices to consequences where we learn
our lessons in a hard way. Because of this we do call our lessons to us and we can choose those
we want to experience or those we want to observe by watching others go through their lessons.
Your path will be what you make it, not what someone else dictates, if you listen to the dictates
of others you’ll end up with their lessons and delay the growth you seek learning them instead of
your own. Be observant, be aware, and be well with blessings upon *your* path, may it teach
you well.

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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