Nov 162015

I have just posted a new video (made a year ago) when I started some explorations into showing the Beauchene representation of the skull.  A Beauchene skull is also known as an Exploded Skull and it is one in which all the bones have been separated from each other.  This is an amazing feat to accomplish using real bones and pins and screws and wires; much easier when using model bones.



I’ve been fascinated with beauchene skulls since I found out about them in 2007 or so.  After making these meditation videos for several years I began to envision a meditation that would show the skull coming apart. At about the same time I was reading Eliade Mircea’s “Shamanism” and was impressed by how in some shamanic traditions the initiate dies and is taken apart, all bones separated, and then put back together again. I found this a powerful image and wanted to recreate some that through videos.

This is an initial meditation towards that goal.


Jul 212014

9780670893744This beautiful book (the cover art is really beautiful) was handed to me by a friend and, though my wife already had a copy, we decided to keep it so I could read it and tag it all I wanted. Someone had already gone ahead and written in the book in pen (someone called Marion Woodman) so I didn’t feel as bad about adding my notes.

This book is made up of diary excerpts from a period in Woodman’s life when she was diagnosed and treated for cancer; the entries are from November 1993 to April 1995. It is now 2014, 20 years later, and Woodman is still alive.


Her dedication to life, to studying life and being fully present really comes across and is very inspirational. At one point she goes through all her photo albums and her family photo albums and burns all but a select few of the pictures in order to simplify her life to the point where there is no clutter to interfere with her ability to perceive life in all its subtleties and also her ability to exactly connect intention/visualizations to physicality.

I strongly recommend this book and I’ll now add some excerpts.

Bone is also about the stark truth of growing older. (…) What does it mean to be an elder in this culture? What are my new responsibilities? What has to be let go to make room for the transformations of energy that are ready to pour through the body-soul? I don’t want to be here if I can’t carry my own weight. As life asks new things of me, I feel I must pause, go inward, and ask, “What is my weight now? What are my new values? Who am I and not-I at this stage? Do I have the courage to live with this evolving me?”

Death present in cancer was death asking to be accepted into my life.

Ross and I went grocery shopping today. As we drove past St. Jo’s I tried to understand I was going in there tomorrow to be operated on for cancer. Dear God, it is amazing how we go about the ordinary tasks in the face of the mystery.

Mysticism must rest on crystal clear honesty, can only come after things have been stripped down to their naked reality. – Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life

This walk with Death makes me realize yet deeper that ther is no freedom without discipline–physically, emotionally, spiritually.

The anorexic takes the rage in and kills herself; the adolescent boys take it out and kill the power-crazy drunken patriarchs who are their fathers or surrogate fathers.

Repressed energy returns to haunt us in symbol and symptom.

What we [Marion and her husband Ross] are experiencing is what a Japanese martial arts master once explained to me. What you watch for in your opponent is a suki–a moment when his mind goes out of his body. If you are present, your conscious mind in your body will know instantly if his conscious mind leaves his body. He is finished once that happens. We aren’t sparring, just holding presence. We are accepting the gifts of science that can spare my life immediately; we are also focusing on spiritual and alternative medicines for the future. We’re relaxing into the blend of science and soul.

Simplifying becomes my total focus. I’m noting how anxious I become when I fail to simplify or cannot simplify because of what starts happening around me–phone, TV, letters, ad infinitum. I believe that failure to simplify could lead me back into cancer because I would lose touch with my life vibration–my tone that sustains my life force.
Anxiety is stripped away by concentrated listening and perceiving. Concentrated vision operating in all the senses is what I mean by simplifying. The more I listen to my soul, the more clearly I hear the truth of other people, of animals, birds, the universe.
I must stay in touch with whatever keeps me focused on the still point–the place of exact harmony in body and psyche. Simplify life to that point where the dance can happen–the dance between consciousness and the unconscious. So long as I constantly allow other things to interfere, I will never find the moments in each day to reach those listening points of harmony–those seeing points of perception.

Jun 112014

Walking a Sacred Path – Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool
by Dr. Lauren Artress

I walked into the Friends of the Library booksale in Gainesville, Florida, a glorious event which just happened to coincide with my month-long sabbatical in Gainesville.
My wife and daughter quickly appropriated shopping carts and began filling them up with books and magazines.  I took one walk around and, right at the beginning of the walk, came across the only book I was to buy: Walking a Sacred Path:

Walking a sacred path

I am extremely curious and constantly find myself wanting to learn a million different trades, yet, at the same time, I have learned to become aware of the channel or thread in my life, of the river I’m flowing along and how its currents give me a sense of the turns ahead.  Shortly before this I had turned for the first time.  I had visited a Sufi family and, in their beautifully simple and sacred livingroom, had learned to turn or whirl for the first time.


I told the lady, Hilal, right from the beginning that I get dizzy fast (takes less than 2 spins with my daughter or son to feel like the world is all wrong) yet I handed over my person to this age-old practice.  That night I was invited to turn and I did so twice for 30 minutes each time.  I could feel my body grow cold and sweaty/clammy; I turned until I stopped turning and the world began turning around me; I turned together with others and I lost myself in the practice and came out changed.
Sufi’s work hard in their spiritual practice.  It is hard work.  Physically and mentally.

The similarities between the Sufi practice of turning and the Christian-mysticisms practice of walking the labyrinth are evident.  Both practices involve a surrender to the present moment, to a loss of attaining a goal because the practice itself is so hard that only staying in the very instant will get you through; both involve circling or spiraling, a loss of linear external orientation and an entering into an internal compass; both are physical practices for spiritual goals.

This book felt small, concise, sharp (for the most part… sometimes felt a little convince-y) and written from a passionate and knowledgeable perspective.  I definitely recommend it.  Dr. Lauren Artress found herself drawn to the labyrinth in her personal life path and then worked to understand it in the context of Christian spiritual practice and did extensive work to divulge/reanimate it.
I strongly agree with the author’s emphasis on spirituality being a personal experience and a personal endeavour and what we need is tools for assisting the individual’s connection to spirit, to their spiritual path, rather than an an external entity dictating our spiritual path.  The labyrinth is one tool for connection to spirit.

“To walk a sacred path, each of us must find our own touchstone that puts us in contact with the invisible thread.  This touchstone can be nature (as it was for me early on), sharing with our friends, playing with our children, painting on our day off, or walking in the country.  It may be the Sunday-morning liturgy and Eucharist.  Walking a sacred path means that we know the importance of returning to the touchstone that moves us.  The labyrinth can serve as a touchstone.”

“It is a container for the creative imagination to align with our heart’s desire, it is a place where we can profoundly, yet playfully, experience our soul’s longing and intention.”

“The experience is different for everyone because each of us brings different raw material to the labyrinth.”

“We need to be shaken out of our complacency and begin to use our short time here creatively so we don’t look back in regret.  …  To be pilgrims walking on a path to the next century, we need to participate in the dance between silence and image, ear and eye, inner and outer.  We need to change our seeking into discovery, our drifting into pilgrimage.”

Enjoy this book

Jun 032014

Finished reading Hyemeyohsts Storm’s Seven Arrows a couple of days ago, right before bed, and spent the night dreaming of medicine names, rivers, eagles… I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. Or maybe, more accurately, I was expecting something different. I think I was expecting a sweet, nature-loving account of how Native American life was organized; a look at their cosmology, their way of life, their traditions and connection to life, nature and god. I think that the first few chapters still allowed me to keep that view of the book as Hyemeyohsts goes into different stories/tales that are important medicine stories in their tradition. I think that somewhere around here my view of the book changed:

“Before, when the camps had come together, the Sun Dancers had stood in a line within the Medicine lodge. The drum had been its heartbeat, and the singers’ voices had been strong. The People had stood there in the Renewal of the Brotherhood and watched the sunrise. The Power had been strong and because of this the People had been strong. But this time, the sunrise that came the next morning at Sand Creek was not the same. The morning exploded with the frightening crash of thunder irons, as hundreds of Pony Soldiers charged into the camp at a full gallop.

Hawk was awakened by screams and by the roar of horses’ hooves and exploding weapons. He grabbed his bow and quiver and ran outside. He saw hi mother clutch at her stomach and roll over in a sudden pool of blood. She spilled her cooking pot as she fell, and the steam rose from it into the air.”
arrow 2

As I reflect on the book I notice that one striking feature that so touched me is the absence of a reason for the book.  To clarify: it doesn’t feel like the author was trying to tell me something or convince me of something, of his agenda.  He writes a story, an account of lives lived and of the way of viewing the world according to the Medicine of the Peace Shields and, just as in real life, there are deep losses and high beautiful moments.

To me, a very moving book.


May 292014

“Thank you very much,” said Jumping Mouse.
“But you Know, it was very Frightening Running under you with only One Eye.  I was Constantly in Fear of your Great Earth-Shaking Hooves.”
“Your Fear was for Nothing,” said Buffalo.
“For my way of Walking is the Sun Dance Way, and I Always Know where my Hooves will Fall.  I now must Return to the Prairie, my Brother.  You can Always Find me there.”
- Hyemeyohsts Storm

Haya Trees1Chief Tsunka Wakan Sapa (Phillip Scott) holding Haya up to the the tall redwoods

Just a few days ago I got to attend a beautiful blessing ceremony for a baby girl, Haya, who turned 1.  The ceremony took place amongst tall redwoods and was led by Phillip Scott, a Chief in the Lakota tradition.

Blessings Haya!

May 262014

Skull and Flower“Come sit with me, and let us smoke the Pipe of Peace in Understanding.
Let us Touch.
Let us, each to the other, be a Gift as is the Buffalo.
Let us be Meat to Nourish each other, that we all may Grow.
Sit here with me, each of you as you are in your own Perceiving of yourself, as Mouse, Wolf, Coyote, Weasel, Fox, or Prairie Bird.
Let me see through your Eyes.
Let us Teach each other here in this Great Lodge of the People, this Sun Dance, of each of the Ways on this Great Medicine Wheel, our Earth.”
 – Seven Arrows, by Hyemeyohsts Storm

Join me in Book 4 of this 50 book project.  Seven Arrows by Hyemeyosts Storm.
Previous books were:
1 – Walking a Sacred Path – Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool, by Dr. Lauren Artress
2 – Lost In The City Of Flowers – The Histories of Idan Book I, by Maria C. Trujillo
3 – The Wondrous Mushroom – Mycolatry in Mesoamerica, by R. Gordon Wasson

You can read my brief reviews of the books on plimbooks (playing catch up with the reviews of books 1 and 2)

May 262014

Oyanoconic in nanacaoctli, ya noyol in choca
I have drunk the liquor of mushrooms and my hear weeps.
- Poesia Nahuatl


In this age of constant interconnection we are seldom OFF.  We are seldom not-doing.  We are constantly catching up.
There is new information every time we scroll down.  It is either something happening in the world, a new coup, a new discovery, a new bomb, a new intriguing popstar relationship, or it is something new in a friend’s life (even if it is a friend whom we haven’t spoken to in many years, it is there and we must read it).
My connection to books dwindled with the coming of the internet to the point where I’d look at my many bookshelves and wonder “why exactly do I have these books that I love but don’t read”, something was off.

And so I have committed to a simple challenge/project (I like to call my challenges PROJECTS).  A book a week for a year.

A book a week for a year.

Yesterday I finished my third week and my third book: THE WONDROUS MUSHROOM – Mycolatry in Mesoamerica, by R. Gordon Wasson.
wondrous_mushroom2What an amazing book.  Powerfully written (full of conviction), clear, concise, focused and with profound effects.  Simply put Wasson’s work strongly invites you to see the recently lost great civilizations of the Nahua, the Greeks, the Aryans in a completely different light, one strongly, deeply influenced by entheogens (“plant substances that, when ingested, give one a divine experience”).  This book encourages the reader to attempt to see the world through the eyes of a simple people who place at the core of their culture, of their cosmology, of their living the world shown to them by the mushrooms.  Nowadays we call those substances psychadelics or hallucinogenics with the limited understanding that they influence our brains; our scientific endeavours shaping our perception; our yearning for a logical framework limiting the depth of experience.  For those people the mushrooms were, possibly, a door, a passageway, an entrance… not a “figment of our imagination” (or sad excuse for an imagination).

Jun 052012

Annular Solar Eclipse – May 20th 2012 – Credit: Charles Medendorp

On May 20th you and the rest of us 6.8 billion Earthlings were part of an astronomical syzygy, an aligning of three celestial bodies — the Earth, the Moon and the Sun.  Together with this celestial alignment came an eclipse, a moment of living in shadow; the temperature of the air changed, a breeze started to blow, birds began singing their dusk songs and people were brought into quiet introspection.

Carl Gustav Jung

Is it any coincidence that Carl Jung chose this same word — syzygy — to refer to a meeting of archetypal opposites?
We frequently strive for alignment in our personal lives.  To align our deepest joy with our work; to align our mind with our soul; to align thoughts with words, and words with action.  But how do we know when these instances of alignment occurs?  How often do we find ourselves in that very moment of syzygy?
Would you identify an eclipse as the indication of that alignment?  The darkness that you may typically shy away from as being the actual moment you have strived to achieve?

“Our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our greatest treasures.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

As we now approach another celestial alignment — that of Earth, Venus and the Sun — shift the idea what your own syzygy should look like.  Make room for the cool breeze, for the introspection, and for the shadow.

Transit of Venus – June 5th 2012 – Photograph by David Cortner, Galaxy Picture Library/Alamy

A craniosacral session is the perfect space for you to work on your deep inner alignment, your meeting of opposites.  Where you can have a safe space and an attentive guide for your conscious journey towards meeting your dragons.

Apr 232012

Work in the invisible world
at least as hard
as you do in the visible.
– Jelaluddin Rumi


Bear-Woman Dancing by Susan Seddon Boulet

Rational thought imposes a limit on a person’s concept of his relation to the cosmos
– John Nash, Jr. (Nobel prize winning mathematician, author of “A Beautiful Mind“)

I put together a small clip in an exploration of showing the inner voyages that a client may go on during a craniosacral treatment.  Voyages populated by archetypal images, places and sounds.