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The Work of the Shamanic Psychopomp
Whenever there is a catastrophe of great magnitude, those of us who have been blessed with the gift of empathy feel it in our bones. For many years, I’ve gotten dizzy and felt as if 220 million volts of energy were running through my body 3 days before every major earthquake. When this began to happen, I didn’t understand it. Eventually, I went to my Native teachers and asked them if they could tell me what was happening, because the energy was getting ‘stuck’ in my body and I was becoming ill.
My elders told me that I had made a contract to open the chakras (energy centers) in the soles of my feet when I turned forty. I apparently had made an agreement to allow Mother Earth to run her energy through my body for her healing ~ somewhat like the release valve on an old radiator. I was amazed, since I had no conscious memory of such an agreement. However, the idea made sense and resonated somewhere deep within.
My teachers also told me I needed to learn how to let the energy flow without stopping, or I would harm myself, because the energy is too strong for a human body to hold. Eventually, I found that dance and shaking movements (see Bradford Keeney’s “Shaking Medicine”) literally ‘moved’ this energy through me, so Mother Earth and I could both release it at the same time. Since then, I’ve visualized myself as a teapot with the steam whistling into the atmosphere. Just like the steam, which ‘feeds’ the air around us with moisture as it dissipates, the energy that flows through me at these times feeds Father Sky and All Our Relations in some way greater than what I can understand.
Three days before the Haiti earthquake, I was in the most intense ceremony of my life. Grandfather Mushum came to my home to adopt me and pass on the Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota through a spiritual/physical/mental/emotional transmission. Sitting in the Sweat Lodge, suffering because a rib of the Lodge was poking me in the back, I began to feel dizzy. We were so packed into the Lodge, I couldn’t move an inch. Energy started flowing through my body, and all I could do was sit there. At the time, I didn’t associate the energy that was flowing through with a potential earthquake, rather, with Grandfather’s transmission. And while I’m certain some of the energy was from Grandfather and the Spirit Beings, I now understand that much of it also was a precursor to the Haitian earthquake that happened the following Tuesday.
Another one of the gifts that has come with these energetic releases is that I am able to connect with the souls of the people who have passed in these disasters. After the Indonesian tsunami a few years ago, I spent the next month or more assisting souls who either didn’t know they had died, or were resisting moving on, to find their way to the Light. Most of this happened in the dreamtime. I also worked with the grief-stricken families who were left.
Since I had not been trained as a psychopomp, I basically had to find my own way through the maze. I’m sure there are many others like me, so I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve learned.
First, the energy comes through, then the disaster is reported. Usually by that time, I’m in overwhelming grief without any understanding of what is happening in the outside world. Once I receive information about a world catastrophe, everything begins to make sense. Then, originally in dreams, and now in conscious ceremony, I find myself astral traveling to the location of the disaster. There, I connect with one or more discarnate spirits, who have left their body but are wandering lost, often looking for their families. Many times, I can ‘see’ the family, and bring the lost soul to them. Once they are together, I do a ceremony to allow them all to say their goodbyes, to forgive any past wrongs on either side, and to tell them that they will not ‘lose’ their loved one, that this soul will become a guardian for them on the other side. I ask the soul of the deceased to give their loved ones a way to know when they are present and assisting from the other side. Often, it’s something like a lamp that suddenly flickers, a feather that drops from nowhere, etc.
Once the family has agreed to release the departed one, and once the deceased soul has accepted their death, I close the circle with the family, then journey up a ramp of light (often a rainbow) to the portal into the upper worlds. I call the person’s ancestors, who come to welcome the individual’s soul. Once the lost soul sees his/her ancestors, there is always a sense of happiness and peace. When the departed soul has made a connection with the ancestors and Great Mystery, my job is done, and I release them into the care of the Beyond.
Initially, this all happened in the dreamtime, and I found I was getting little real sleep for nights and sometimes weeks on end. So once I understood the basic procedures and protocols, I decided to bring it all into the conscious state and work on it through daytime journeys. This seems to make it much easier on me.
As a shamanic practitioner, I’m very grateful for the gifts we’ve all been given. They aren’t given to us for ourselves, however, but for The People. Some psychopomps will help the animal nations, some the plant nations and stone people, some the two-legged humans. The best thing we can do, of course, is to assist all who are alive to live in balance and beauty. And yet, there will be tragedies, and there are those of us who will always be called to assist in many and various ways.
If your way is that of the psychopomp, I hope what I’ve said today will be of benefit to you.
About the author:
Rev. Robin Tekwelus Youngblood, Okanagon/Tsalagi, minister of Church of the Earth, has studied with Indigenous elders of her own tribes, along with African, Siberian and Aboriginal leaders. Robin believes that the only way to create harmony and avoid disaster in these times is to learn to attune ourselves to our Earth Mother\'s natural rhythms through ritual, ceremony, chant and dance.