Each lesson will come to you at the beginning of each month. I suggest reading over the entire lesson and then going back into each section individually to really allow the information to take hold before you journey.
Each lesson is split into four segments. At the end of the lesson, you will then prepare to take a spirit journey into the Sacred Grove. Don’t worry...we will do this together first. So you’ll be ready when the time comes. Let’s return to the four segments of each lesson for now.
1- Moon Lesson The moon is the time keeper of our work and way of being 'womyn' in this journey of self. If you have embarked on the Year of the Yogi, much of the moon information will be a refresher. However, in the Year of the Healer, we will look more at how the moon cycles relate to your mood/energy levels.
2 - Archetype/Goddess Acceptance Each of the 13 moons is paired with an archetype and/or goddess story for inspiration. When you go into the grove (we will talk about this later) in shamanic journey, you will go with a question to support healing/nurturing/connecting with this Archetype within you.
This work goes deep into the psyche and affords you the space to deal with things that require healing. Journaling and simply musing on the questions throughout your day to day are essential to this piece. I will not be "checking in" on this work as it is personal. But you are always invited to share aspects of this piece that you believe might be beneficial or inspirational or helpful for others on this path. At times things come up that may require counseling. This is something that I highly recommend as any work you can do on behalf of your highest self in your healing journey will only serve to make you a stronger healer, priestess, energy worker, full spirited woman, etc.
3- Sacred Stone and Tree Study This segment offers up information and lore of a new stone and tree each month to help anchor you as you journey. It’s always to your benefit to research before you decide to work with a new ingredient or enter into a new relationship...the same is true for our relationship to these sacred stones and trees. So give yourself ample time to read and fully digest the information compiled for you.
4 - Medicine Bundle Each month, with support of the Sacred Tree and the gifts from the Goddesses, you will journey with your power animal (your Guide) and ask to be shown an object as it relates to you in each of the 13 archetypes. Some of you might have connected with a Guide or Guides in your own work outside of this Journey or in the Year of the Yogi. But, we will journey together for a guide specific to the work ahead.
It’s important that you give yourself time to really muse over the lesson prior to going into journey so that you are truly ready for this power object to come to you. These objects are extremely important as they serve as deep reminders of the work you will have done over the course of 13 months. They also represent archetypal aspects of yourself that you have either accepted, healed, or honored. The idea is that each time you open your bundle and see these power objects or totems you will receive a deep reminder of who you are, how you came to be, and why you’re here.
Tools for Healing
The Four Directions and the Medicine Wheel
The Four Directions and the Medicine Wheel are critical components of this Journey. They will form a foundation for the work you do over the next 13 months. And if nurtured, they will hopefully set the stage for your way of being in and relating to the natural world beyond these 13 months. For some, this information may serve as a nice reminder of things you may already be applying to your life. For others, this may be a whole new way of looking at the world.
Honoring the Four Directions and making good use of the Medicine Wheel can bring us back into harmony with our natural rhythms and patterns — aligning us with the seasons, the phases of the moon, and inherently, our bleeding cycle even if we no longer bleed. As a woman on a journey of reclamation and healing, these tools will ground you in your body, your work, and the world around you. Ultimately, these two tools can help us unravel the mystery of our highs and lows.
Many indigenous cultures, from the First Nations peoples to the Buddhist monks of Tibet, have a sacred wheel in their lore and most wheels have similar elements. The four directions on the wheel — East, South, West, and North — are often associated with an animal, a plant or tree, a period in time, or a phase of life, and many other energies that carry the essence of that direction. These directions also correspond to the four natural elements of Fire, Earth, Water and Air, which can vary in order or placement around the Wheel depending on the tradition.
My training has been primarily linked to my own heritage, so my offering in this area is based on the Lakota and the Celtic peoples. So I’ll discuss the Lakota Medicine Wheel and the Celtic Wheel of Life here. Please remember, this is your journey...so if neither of these resonates, take the information with a grain of sugar and aim to draw on some basic elements that will work for you during this 13 month journey.
In the Celtic Wheel of Life each of the directions also corresponds to a festival, these were the sacred gatherings of community to honor the spirits of the land, and to ask the goddess for good crops and either a mild winter or enough sun and rain in the summer to see the crops come to ripen. It was a simpler time and yet still of relevance to us today. If we connect with the seasons, and honor how they make our bodies feel, we in turn honor the flow of the great spiral of life.
The Celtic peoples had celebrations for each of these seasons and even the cross quarters in between, this served to support their community spirit, gave each person a sense of belonging and honoured the spirits of the land they lived on. If you look at this image you will see the four fixed points and the quarters in between them. The fixed points form a cross and these are the solstices and equinoxes. They are fixed because they happen at the same time each year.
The four quarter points are known as cross festivals fall at the seasonal peaks and are a little different each year. The celebrate the power of nature. Should you be moved to mark these celebrations, I’ve listed them here:
Winter Solstice/Yule marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year and is anywhere from the 20th to the 23rd of December.
The quarter celebration of Imbolc comes next and can be celebrated anywhere from the end of January to the end of February depending on the weather.
The Spring Equinox/Ostara then falls between the 20th and 23rd of March.
The next cross quarter is Beltain and this can be celebrated anywhere from the end of April to the beginning of May.
Summer Solstice/Litha falls next and is between the 20th and 23rd of June.
The cross quarter next is Lammas/Lunassad also known as the Harvest. It can be celebrated from the end of July to the beginning of August.
Autumn Equinox/Mabon falls next between the 20th and the 23rd of September.
The next cross quarter celebration is Samhain which can be celebrated from the end of October to the beginning of November.
Some chose to mark these celebrations by simply lighting a candle while others might be moved to create a feast or decorate an altar to honor the season. How you honor the wheel of life, if you choose to, is as open as your imagination.
Many native tribes of North America honored the four directions before and after gatherings to acknowledge their connection to the spirit of all living things. Today, we use the term ‘animist’ to describe one who believes that all things —the Sky, the Wingeds, the Four-leggeds, the Crawlies, the Earth, the Rain, etc— have spirit. It might seem simplistic at first, but when you view the world through this lens you see all things with more compassion. But to “call in the directions” is to pause and speak to the spirit that keeps watch over that area in the world and on your medicine wheel.
I adapted this summary from the book, Lakota Life by Ron Zeilinger. Please note that the specific colors of the directions as well as the lesser spirit animals associated with the wheel vary even among the Lakota. It seems as though medicine people have found it was more important to have a humbling practice of gratitude than squabble over hard lines. So, again...take this with sugar.
Many moons ago, the White Buffalo Calf Woman came to Earth and gave the Lakota people the four winds or directions. When the Lakota people pray or do anything sacred, they see the world as having four directions. From these four directions come the four winds. Each direction has a special meaning and color associated with it. The cross symbolizes all directions.
East (Yellow) - Wioheumpata - The direction from which the sun comes. Light dawns in the morning and spreads over the earth. This is the beginning of a new day. It is also the beginning of understanding because light helps us see things the way they really are. On a deeper level, East stands for the wisdom helping people live good lives. Traditionally and historically people would rise in the morning to pray facing the dawn, asking God for wisdom and understanding. Wabun, the Great Eagle, resides over the East.
South (Red) - Itokaga - Because the southern sky is when the sun is at its highest, this direction stands for warmth and growing. The sun's rays are powerful in drawing life from the earth. It is said the life of all things comes from the south. Also, warm and pleasant winds come from the south. When people pass into the spirit world, they travel the Milky Way's path back to the south - returning from where they came. Shawnodese, the Great Coyote, resides over the South.
West (Black) - Wiyokpiyata - To the west, the sun sets, and the day ends. For this reason, west signifies the end of life. As Black Elk says, "... toward the setting sun of his life." The great Thunderbird lives in the west and sends thunder and rain from its direction. For this reason, the west is also the source of water: rain, lakes, streams and rivers. Nothing can live without water, so the west is vital. Mudjekeeswis, the Great Grizzly Bear, resides over the West.
North (White) - Waziyata - North brings the cold, harsh winds of the winter season. These winds are cleansing. They cause the leaves to fall and the earth to rest under a blanket of snow. If someone has the ability to face these winds like the buffalo with its head into the storm, they have learned patience and endurance. Generally, this direction stands for hardships and discomfort to people. Therefore, north represents the trials people must ensure and the cleansing they must undergo. Waboose, the Great White Buffalo, resides over the North.
NOTE: When the Lakota pray with the Sacred Pipe, they add three other directions: Sky, Earth and the Sacred Place Within. Wakan tanka - the Great Spirit - dwells high above like an eagle in the sky; this direction's color is blue. Earth is our Mother from whom we receive our nourishment. The color of this direction is green for all growing things. The Sacred Place Within, it is that which comes within the souls of wo(man) when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its Powers.
How this Relates to your Journey Work
As you work your way around the wheel of life (13 moons) within this journey you’ll have the opportunity to give rise to your archetypal voice, to retrieve sacred medicine objects and to not only find, but to follow the dusty overgrown path of their destiny. These objects comprise your medicine bundle. And as you build your medicine bundle, you’ll be able to place your power objects into each direction creating a living medicine wheel of your design. This functions like a working alter that shifts, moves, changes and grows as you do, depending on where you are in your life.
As you move through your 13 months (around the wheel), you will enter the sacred grove 13 times and journey with the 13 sacred trees, learning about them as you do. Your medicine bundle will become a powerful and sacred object that increases by every turn of the wheel and with each object that you put into it. Your bundle becomes a deep support created by you and only for you. By opening your medicine bundle you have direct access to a map of your soul.
A Little Advice
I mentioned this word, animism, in your Tools write up. It describes a way of looking at and relating to the natural world through a lens of spirit. To an animist, everything has a spirit, the rain, the sun, the rocks, animals...everything. So when we begin to see through the eyes of our Feminine Divine everything has importance.
By this I mean, everything...your bleeding cycle (even if you no longer bleed, the emotional cycle remains), the position of the moon, the condition of your bank account, your sex life...everything. So although you may find yourself with a full free hour to finally sit and do your journey work, you may find that journeying just isn’t happening. You might be exhausted. You might be overwhelmed with thinking. You might be distracted. And so on. It’s life. These have an impact and falls within the realm of normal.
So when journeying or attempting to journey, remember sometimes the spirits are close and sometimes they are not, sometimes we are full of creative juice and energy and our journeys are powerful and deep and at other times they are not. This all a part of being a woman and in relationship to both ourselves and our spirit guides on a spirit led journey.
You must recognize that self care is of utmost importance here. If you’re falling asleep while journeying this is the wisdom of your body telling you to rest. If you’re stomach interrupts your journey with grumbling, listen. Do you need nourishment? Do you need to release?
Spirit work is messy, inspired, sporadic, powerful, conflicting, contradictory, hard, frustrating, and beauty filled!
Keep showing up for yourself. Read the lessons. Light a candle. Hold the thoughts of this work in your mind and soul as you go about your day. And know that when the time is right, you will feel a call into journey when you can enter the grove or work with your guide to find your sacred object. Know that you might do all of this in a few days one month and then not at all the next. You will get behind and then catch up. You will love one archetype and feel nothing for another. You will have a powerful journey that knocks your socks off and then nothing close to that for months and it is ALL within the realm of normal.
Understanding your Symbolic Language One of the things that often comes up as we begin to journey with our guides and the trees is “a language gap”. Often Guides show us answers to our questions with symbols or within different settings with people or animals. This can be hard to understand at first, but as we slowly get acquainted with the symbolic language they are using we come to realize that it is actually our own!
To clarify, our guides use symbols that already have meaning for us, things that are lodged deep within our subconscious. This is where the depth of our work comes from, our own inner wisdom, which is why the shamanic journey is so unique and sacred to each one of us.
Consecration for your Objects The word “consecrate” is an interesting one indeed. To consecrate something is to make it sacred. Often times when we consecrate something, we make an offering of sacred smoke or oils or sometimes milk and honey or wax are poured upon the item. Other times all that is required to make something sacred is our own breath, as we sit in mindful contemplation and allow the force of our breath song to bless and consecrate something precious to us. In the past, I have been called to bury something for a full moon cycle or to place it in water under the full or new moon. Consecration of your objects is a ritual only you can design for yourself. And how you choose to consecrate your objects may be different for each one.
As each of us gather sacred objects for medicine bundles, I recommend taking a moment with each one to clear any old energies attached to it. I love a good purifying smoke from sage or sweetgrass, but rinsing under running water could do the trick. Then to make it sacred, or to consecrate it, use something like a drop of honey or your breath or whatever feels right to you. There is no wrong way to make something sacred and bind it to you...so long as you do it with pure intent.
One love, Erica.
A Note on Protection
Protection and Boundary Making
This page may well be one of the most important ones in the Year of the Healer, so please take your time reading through it. If you have any questions at all I am here to answer them — no question is too (insert your descriptor here) and it may be through your questions that I add to this page.
Working with shamanic guides is an amazing experience and yet it is always helpful to have a clear understanding of the boundaries required for our own safety.
So let’s begin What I teach in regards to our shamanic work is not overly complex, nor is it dangerous. However it is important for each woman working in the shamanic realm to have a clear understanding of what it means when we enter into the shamanic journey and what can become dangerous if we loose sight.
In our first session together, I share the art of the spirit journey. I also give clear instructions for a sacred and holy path that you will follow as you enter into the journey. This path takes you into the forest and to a river. Once you cross the river, letting go of your worries, you prepare for the journey into the grove. Within the sacred grove you are safe and held, within your journey once you cross the river you are safe and held.
However, it is important for you to understand that once you are in the shamanic journey everything you ask and pray for potentially opens you up for answers and potentially unwanted spirit connections. Being in the coziness of the shamanic realm of lower earth does not automatically mean that things will always be safe.
Our guides do not have within them the understanding of the human concept of "right and wrong". They are animal guides. They will always be on our side and they will always take us where we ask them to go. They may offer us warning, but we need to know how to ask specific questions in order to receive that warning.
It is important that for our work together you follow the same pathways and stick to working for your own healing by following the shamanic journey questions I have set out for you. Of course I always encourage each of you to journey on your own to establish a relationship with your guides and to continue your healing journeys, just as long as you are only ever journeying on behalf of yourself and not for others.
To that end, I am sharing some examples of journey’s gone awry from one of my own Teachers as a firm reminder to follow the guidelines and set boundaries.
A few examples from my own teacher: "A few years ago one of my students was feeling very connected to an issue in her area about a woman that had been murdered, her heart and soul cried out for this woman, and so she took a simple prayer for the woman into one of her shamanic journeys, asking for peace for the soul of the murdered woman.
One might think that this is a wonderful thing to do, and to be honest it is. Asking for peace and sending love to someone who suffered a tragic death is a kind and heartfelt thing to do.
However, because this was done in the shamanic journey, the soul of the murdered woman reached out to the student. She was kind and wonderful and over time the student went back to visit her a few more times.
By the time it was mentioned to me however the student had gone into the shamanic journey many times, and over that time the woman who had been murdered and looked gruesome at first had begun to look better, and this is because she was actually taking energy unknowingly from the student.
The student feeling that she was helping the spirit/woman kept going back, and fortunately shared it with me before going in even more times and possibly getting into a more complicated mess as the spirit of the woman attached herself to her.
The trouble here is that unless you are a trained in the shamanic arts, not only would you not recognize that this is a vampiric spirit that has not crossed over, but it may be too late, as these spirits can attach themselves to us and cause many problems. They often seem and feel safe at the beginning.
In the end all was well with the student and she discontinued visiting the spirit of the dear woman, instead focusing her prayers and love over and onto the woman's living family, sending them her well wishes and thoughts." - Nikiah
Another example: One of my students was in her journey when she heard a name whispered to her, she noted it but moved on. Then again in another journey it happened again, and finally the whisper got stronger and she finally saw that it was an ancestor of hers contacting her. Right away she came out of the journey and came to me about it.
I asked her some pointed questions, and journeyed with her permission to seek out if this ancestor was indeed safe and already crossed over or if was an ancestor not yet crossed over that was seeking help. What I discovered was that indeed it was an ancestor looking to be crossed over and I was able with my guides to do that for her.
It is important to know that not all ancestors are safe to work with, so if you are contacted by one, again please gently come out of your journey and let them know that you will have someone check in on them and get in touch with me.
There is no need to feel frightened or worry that they will harm you, because YOU always have control of your journeys, and can say this to them: “I am not able at this time to work with you but I will have someone else check in, I need to leave the journey now, good bye." Come out of the journey and all should be well.
The Rules for Creating Safe Boundaries
~ Set your intention/question before the journey and speak the question to yourself, and your guide 2-3 times so all spirits and subconscious knows your intention. The goal here is to be super clear. If you are unsure about the question I have set in the lessons or are working on crafting your own question, pop me an email before journeying. We can chat about what it means for you and how to craft it so it feels clear and you feel ready to ask it. When our question/intention is clear, succinct, and precise it is then placed in the hands of our guide who will then take us into our journey.
~ Your guide is there to guide you. We may not see our guide at all times, especially when working with the sacred trees, but we must go into the grove with them so that they are there.
~ You are in control of your own journeys at all times! This is an important thing remember. If you get sucked into another realm or a new guide you do not know appears or something that does not seem to fit with your intention pops up, turn away immediately and leave the journey, you are in control...always!
~ Do not feed the fears! If you are feeling fearful you will scare the poop out of yourself. There is no need to feel fearful. Even "ghosts" (which are essentially just humans who need crossing over) are misplaced energy and will leave you alone if you tell them to, and even more so if you ask your guide to keep watch. They also do not generally come unless we "call" in some way. If we have a healthy respect for the spirit world and focus on our own healing, with our known and safe guides there should not be a problem.
~ Ask your Guide for Protection. Your guide can protect you if you feel unsafe, both within the shamanic journey and energetically when you are not. We just need to ask them. In a clear voice, ask your guide specifically what you would like protection for and if you do not feel too strange, it is always nice to say it out loud, even if you whisper it. If you are not in the shamanic journey your guide can not read your mind, so speaking out loud and calling on your guide for protection and support is important.
~ Only journey for yourself and never for others. During Year of the Healer, you are journeying for your own healing. Please remember this and aim to stay in this mindset. Should you decide it's in your calling to journey on behalf of someone else, this can be learned after you've mastered working shamanically for yourself. This is taught in the last year of our moon journeys, the Year of the Warrior.
~ Call me, email me, facebook me, I am around most of the time if you feel unsure about something. It may be nothing at all to worry about or it may be something, but I am here as your shamanic guide as you dive deep into your own self healing and to keep you safe within the shamanic realms. I can help you to unravel your journeys, and although I will never tell you what your journey means, I may be able to help you to understand them by asking you specific questions and sharing my own experiences, this is what my shamanic teacher did for me and what I am happy to do for you.
These boundaries and disciplines keeps us safe and allow us to access to realms we would not normally be able to access.
In case you missed the Live Journey Prep…
What is Shamanism?
These two recordings are clean and clear versions of the work we did during our Live Journey Prep call. If you were unable to attend:
Begin with the Sacred Spot Meditation to identify the space from which all of your future journey lessons will launch in the Year of the Healer. At the end of the Sacred Spot meditation, I conclude by having you sit within your spot. You may remain here as long as you need. When you are ready to come out simply open eyes. This meditation is just a touch over 6 minutes long.
Next listen to the Spirit Animal Journey as this will take you from your Sacred Spot into the Lower Realm to connect with your Spirit Animal Guide. If you are so moved, please find a small crystal that feels right for this moment, and hold it in your left hand during the journey. This journey is 8 minutes long.
You may find that you need to take the Spirit Animal Journey more than once to connect with your Guide. This is not uncommon. Remember your Guide may not necessarily be one of the “heavy hitters” like Bear, Eagle, Wolf, or Buck…it might be Mouse, Warthog, Butterfly, or Pig…please be patient and try to avoid “steering” the selection of your Guide. Rather let your Guide come to you. This will insure that it’s a connection with strong intent and purpose toward supporting your healing.
Below I’ve included two tracks:
You are welcomed and encouraged to find shamanic drumming that speaks to you. Or you may use these for your journey work.
As you read your monthly lessons, you will asked to ‘go into your sacred space, connect with your Guide and retrieve certain information necessary for your healing or general understanding of yourself as a powerful entity of your own standing’. Over time you will come to recognize when you need a 5 min journey vs a 10 min journey to get the answers you seek for your healing. The point is you will be using either these tracks or some other track quite often. Be patient and remain open…the journey will unfold.
This is a 5 minute shamanic drumming with call back of me on my 14” Elk skin drum, Turtle beneath Stuck Cedar.
This is one of my favorites by Carol Weaver. She is drumming on Laughing Wolf, a powerful large 27” qilaut wind drum. It’s ethereal and yet settling at the same time. It’s 10 minutes with call back.