Episode 50

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Published on:

8th Jul 2022

The Importance of Community in Shamanism with Mary Katherine Spain

John welcomes shamanic teacher, Mary Katherine Spain, co-host of Shamanitty: Your Shamanic Community, to talk about the importance of spiritual community. Specifically, in shamanism, one "sits in circle" to drum, journey, and share,

They talk about sacred witnessing, holding space, and mirroring as healing practices. Our shaman ancestors worked within a tribe or community. telling stories, unburdening, and sharing were very important to the psycho-spiritual and physical health of the tribe.

Mary Katherine Spain can be found at Nine Pillars Healing, and MaryKatherinSpain.com.

Transcript

Announcer 0:28

Hello and welcome to speaking spirit where we talk about all things spiritual. Your host, John Moore is a shamanic practitioner and spiritual teacher. And now here's John.

John Moore 0:46

Hey, everybody, we have a very, very special episode today. And I'm recording this in video as well as audio.

So you can also you'll also be able to check this out on YouTube once it gets up there. And today I have a very, very special guest, a dear friend of mine and also a partner in an endeavor, which we're going to talk about, which is pretty exciting.

And we're going to talk all about community, spiritual community and shamanism, and so stay tuned. But without further ado, my guest today is my friend Mary, Katherine Spain. She is I don't know, I'll let you describe yourself a little bit but you are a shamanic teacher and practitioner like myself and probably a bazillion other other things. How would you describe yourself Mary Katherine?

Mary Katherine Spain 1:44

Oh, wow. Um, I think from an archetypal point of view, I would say I'm a create tricks because I like to create things, whether it's classes or ceremony or shaman D. Just a lot of cool collaborations going on in my life right now. I, as you know, John, my background is in shamanic technique and skills. I also have a Reiki background. And in my healing sessions, I tend to sort of mix the two. I, I call it enlightened energy work, because I honestly never know if it's a shamanic thing coming through or if it's Reiki or if they're just dancing together. I also get a lot of intuitive hits during a healing session. And so I think somebody described that to me as your Oh, you're an intuitive healer. And I was like, Oh, well, I've never heard of that before. But okay. And so yeah, I do that. I also am a writer. I've

written a memoir and a novel, they're not published, but I have written them. And I'm working on a sort of a guidebook that explains and interprets the nine pillars of the divine feminine, which is the name of my business, nine pillars healing. And the nine pillars are,

o say the new moon in October:

Up to chapter five on that, and then I also run a small farm with my husband Michael here in house name.

John Moore 4:24

g non spiritual and you know,:

Mary Katherine Spain 5:16

We're gonna have a whole other podcast on that process, right?

John Moore 5:20

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And we've known each other at least a few years. I think we must have met in a class somewhere. If I if that is correct.

Mary Katherine Spain 5:33

I wouldn't you know, I think it may have been at a solstice gathering at the Maine Audubon. Do you remember that?

John Moore 5:41

Yes. I absolutely do remember that. Yeah. It was a winter solstice. at Audubon, because I had done a but I think we met before that, didn't we at in one of Dorries classes or something? I don't know. Maybe, maybe I don't, maybe but yeah, I was definitely at that winter solstice. gathering at the autobahn. It was it was a fun fun, we did a dispatch show. And there was a big fire in the back I took some some cool photos of the fire that was like Dragon shapes coming out of the fire. And it was that was

Mary Katherine Spain 6:22

I was I've never done anything like that at the main autobahn. And I was very excited that they were posting something like that, you know? Yeah. So very cool. Yeah,

John Moore 6:33

it's a cool place. So main, if you if you're not familiar, because we have people listen all over the world here. means in the northeast of the US, it's very rural and forested. We have a couple of small cities and lots of towns in the Maine Audubon is just in this really beautiful area in Falmouth, Maine and their facility there is super pretty nice place to go for a hike and or I guess people snowshoe there and I don't know if they cross country ski and stuff, too. But we Yeah, there was a solstice event with another shamanic teacher. I don't know how many years ago that was. Now there's a few

Mary Katherine Spain 7:20

that you know, speaking of what we have in Maine here i i would like to offer. I feel so deeply grateful that there's such an active and vital shamanic community here in Maine. Do you do you find that it's it's sort of the like, you know, primo top notch as far as shamanic community scale?

John Moore 7:43

Yeah, it's so it's so strange, given that we are such a small state with such a small population. And you know, finding not just the amount of shamanism going on here and the number of shamanic practitioners here in Maine is huge. But also some really amazing teachers here. So great teachers, great community. There's lots of events going on here. I've tons and tons of shamanic friends from Maine, and I'm glad you brought up the word community because that's what we're going to that's kind of what we're going to talk about today. But yeah, when I when I started out in shamanism, you know, I got this, I got a message from spirit, it was very clear it was it was actually verbal that said, you need to, you need to study shamanism. And I had no idea I didn't know really what shamanism was, or anything. And my first thought was, I live in Maine. How's that going to happen? I don't live in Peru. I don't live in Mongolia. How am I going to learn shamanism here in Maine, and lo and behold, this is a great place to learn shamanism. There's so much going on here. And I know people from so I have I have students all over the world. And I have clients all over the world, as I know you do as well. And even in some places in I find even especially in big cities. You know, I've I've students in New York and Las Vegas and California and clients all over and they're like, I don't know anyone else. I don't know a single soul who practices shamanism, other than me. Right. And that feels really weird to me, given were given the bounty of community that we have here in our tiny little state.

Mary Katherine Spain 9:45

Yeah, right. And I also think that it's probably, you know, not the first thing that you offer to someone when you meet them or you know, you don't like advertise on a t shirt I practice shamanism, it's, it's, it's coming around to, I think be more readily acceptable and, and more importantly, maybe more understood on a vast level of of people. It used to be, you know, 20 years ago, something that you would never I used to work at a medical office, you would never mention, at, you know, the office, oh, on the weekends, I go drum and, you know, journey and my power animal like people would be like, what? And I think that's changing for you.

John Moore:

Yeah, I mean, for sure. It's interesting, the people who the people who contact me for shamanic services, shall I say, come from such a wide background, it's surprising. You know, some have to be careful, I don't give away personal details of of clients or anything. But the fact that people people reach out to me for all kinds of things like I'm doing a ceremony, I'm not performing a wedding, I can't perform weddings, but some I'm performing a ceremony for a wedding later this year. And you know, as part of the whole wedding weekend thing, they wanted somebody to come up and do ceremony and blessing and that sort of thing. And this is like somebody who's an ad exec from the, you know, not even from this state, they happen to be getting married here. And, you know, people, people from all walks of life now are are learning. It's not just as weirdos in the woods with our drums and that sort of thing. And yeah, it is becoming well, it is becoming better known and more widely accepted. It can be a little hard for people to get their brains around because shamanism isn't a religion, right? So people want to because it's spiritual, and it is very involved. It is my, my spiritual practice is shamanism. You know, yes, there's stuff blended from my ancestral cultures in there. But, you know, it's not, it's not like I go to church, and there's an organized thing. And so that can be a little hard for people who grew up in a western world to get their brands around a little bit where our spiritual life tends to be very separate. You know, I grew up going, you know, going to church on Sundays, right with my grandmother, and then with my mom, and that was it. Right? That was your, that was your spirit, troll. thing that you did two hours and

Mary Katherine Spain:

hours of spirit every week. Right? Right, an

John Moore:

hour to two of spirit every week. And then you, you know, went home and and ate a roast beef or something. Right. That was that was kind of that was kind of, oh my god, yes, that was kind of it. And I know tons of people who that's their, you know, that's still how they are. But that's normal for you know, kind of, I don't want to say I grew up in a normal world, I don't want to say like, my way is the way but in my experience, that is a very normal experience in this culture that, that, you know, that's kind of it. So if for something, you know, for people who don't know, when you get into shamanism, it starts living through you more than you're doing something,

Mary Katherine Spain:

right? Yes, absolutely. It's definitely more visceral. And there's, like, I am fond of saying, the church is the land, like when I walk my land. That mantra always comes up the church is the land, the church is the land, the church is the land. And it makes so much sense to me. It's, you know, for 1000s and 1000s, and 1000s of years before Jesus showed up, they were worshipping outside, and it wasn't just Sunday at 11 o'clock. It was for several occasions and of course, seasonal things would happen, the stars, all kinds of interactions with the natural world in a dynamic way that created what you know, the spiritual juice of their lives. So I'm that resonates with me, I feel. You know, I too, was raised in a Baptist and both Baptist and the Presbyterian household in North Carolina in the 70s So yeah, we we went to church every week, if not twice a week, sometimes it was Wednesday night, you know, fellowship. Although I don't go to church now. I'm actually sad so grateful that as a child, I got the foundation that being spiritual was important. Like, that was something that, that we would not be sacrificing. You know, like, my dad would have to be really, really, really sick not to go to church. We were there every week. And so it imprinted on me that, you know, paying attention to devotion and sacredness and song and ways to pray and ways to do fellowship. It did imprint me hugely. So I'm grateful for it.

John Moore:

Yeah, I am as well. And though I don't you know, I don't go to church. I don't identify as Christian, I certainly appreciate my, my, my Sunday school background, my grandmother was a Sunday school teacher, my mother is a Sunday school teacher, where she lives now in the south. And my grandmother was a Sunday school teacher, she had a great deal of influence on my thinking about spirituality. And I've told this told the story before, you know, my grandmother, one of the most influential things anybody had ever said to me in my life about spirit. And my grandmother is very, very religious person. Somebody asked her about heaven and hell, and she said, You know, when I'm when I'm angry with somebody, when I'm feeling hateful feelings when I'm, you know, just, just not, you know, treating somebody, another person, like, they're a human being and whatever. That's, I'm in hell that like, That's hell for me. That's, you know, right, right here right now. But when I'm kind and when I'm loving, and when I'm, you know, being beneficent towards other people, that's when I'm in heaven right here right now. And so, you know, wasn't thinking about the Oh, I'm gonna get my reward when I'm dead kind of thing. It was very much about how we create heaven and hell for ourselves right here in this lifetime.

Mary Katherine Spain:

So beautiful. Oh my god, I love that I've gotten a tear. Am I actually?

John Moore:

Yeah, and, and my grandmother is about to turn 106. So she's clearly doing something, right. She I will say here's the secret. Never. I don't know if this is a secret but never touched a drop of alcohol or smoked in her life and eats oatmeal every single day for 106 years. So I swear they should have the Quaker Oats. People should sponsor my grandmother. 106 Yeah. Should be 106 next month.

Mary Katherine Spain:

Good for her. Longevity right there.

John Moore:

Yeah, yeah, I hope I'm just you know, fingers crossed. I got those genes. Been around for a while. But one of the things that I noted that, you know, just coming back to community that was always really important for my grandmother and my mother, who are big churchgoers was, you go to the service, you know, whatever. And you do your Bible study and all of those things. But it was it was a social outlet, or it is a social outlet for them. And it is it is a community and I know so my mom lives. You know, my mom lives in South Carolina. I live in Maine, it's quite a quite a long distance. And, you know, she's obviously older, she's in good health and whatever. But my stepdads had some issues my grandmother lives with her has had certainly she's 106 and has had issues. And I would be much more concerned and worried about her if she didn't have the community of her church around her. Yes. And so these are people who will, you know, in an instant, drop, whatever, and come to help if, if help is needed. And there are people who will, you know, if my mom's doing something will look in on my grandmother, or, you know, all of these kinds of things. And when my mom lived up here in Maine, you know, that was a huge, huge community. And I always liked that part. When I went to when I did go to church, I wasn't as as like sleeping in on Sundays. I wasn't always that great about it. When I especially when I got old when I was a kid, there was no choice but when I got older, I like to sleep in. But I liked the fact that there was that component like you went and you did the service and there was always you know, what did they call it fellowship there was oh, His fellowship afterwards where people gathered and and just talked and I don't know, you know, I don't know how people do shamanic gatherings in other places. But around here there is always that component. There's always the we're going to eat lunch together, we're going to hit the snack table to get a snack tables are big in shamanism, by the way. I always have always have snacks and Spirit loves chocolate. That was tell people,

Mary Katherine Spain:

right? Yes, yes. I was just thinking, John, while you were talking about community. My good friend Paul, who lives right around the corner here in Leamington. He and myself and Amy, who all studied with Dory Cody, our main one of our main teachers here in Maine. Paul Allen and I and Amy decided that we would create a monthly group that would meet so we wouldn't have to keep going to, to, you know, pay different teachers to sit in circle like it was, yeah, the idea of like, we're going to create a learning space but also the fellowship space. We're going to base it on shamanism, meaning the prerequisite was that you had to to know how to journey and you had to be able to physically get to Leamington because we met at Paul's house. He lives on a beautiful piece of property. I don't know if you've ever been there, John, it is gorgeous. But one side of the property is the ossipee river. And it meets up with the SOCO. And so we called the group confluence, because these two rivers converged with each other in a confluence and I'm getting chills just talking about it because it was a very powerful spot to hold, you know, sacred space and time together. So we would meet on Sundays at 12. And we would end around 230 Or three, we'd have an opening fire, we would have counsel and check in, we do a journey or maybe two, we talk about the journeys, and then we would eat it was a potluck. Everybody brought something to eat. And oh my goodness, it was amazing how how big it grew like that was in November of 2012. And although I don't go every single month anymore, that group is still going strong.

John Moore:

Wow. That's That's amazing. Yeah,

Mary Katherine Spain:

that is moving. Yeah,

John Moore:

very cool. Very cool. Yeah.

Mary Katherine Spain:

Yeah. And so eating after you do a bunch of shamanic work. I feel like it not only grounds you, when we commune with each other, when there's food involved. We are like nourishing our bodies, but also doing something that everybody needs to do. Like, we it's relatable like I brought this how did you make that? Oh, this is so tasty. Oh, you know, like, it's a it's the glue sometimes. Yeah, food as well. Right? Food is love.

John Moore:

Well, I also I think about how many how many spiritual traditions involve the involved food involve eating, right eating or drinking or both. From communion, to you know, traditional feasting to where they call them blots and Scandinavian religion to you know, all kinds of things that involve feasts right feasts are a big deal have always been a big deal pre Christian Christian. There's the breaking of fasts in Islam, there's the UN I forget what that is called. And Judaism certainly there's the Passover Seder, there's all you know, all kinds of sacred traditions have the sharing of food or some sort of consuming something eating something as part of spiritual practice and they do think that it is one way to embody spirit that the food that you're sharing in obviously in communion gets transubstantiated right into the actual body of Christ and blood of Christ. But it's imbued if when you're sharing a meal after some doing something sacred, it's imbued with that energy as you describe it, you're nourishing your body and you're nourishing your your, your spirit as well. Yeah, absolutely. I want to go back to the idea of Oh, go ahead. I'm sorry.

Mary Katherine Spain:

I was just saying I and I love to cook. So it's always fun to show up with something that I know is like one of my, you know, favorite recipes or something that now came out of the garden. In fact, John, you would appreciate this. We're starting a YouTube channel for the farm. And the videos are me making recipes from items out of the farm share box. So like, yeah, we'll get the farm share box. And then they're like, Oh, what am I going to do with collard greens? So now they there comes the box comes with a QR code that takes you to our YouTube channel, and I'm cooking action. So it's, it's a live recipe, if you will.

John Moore:

That's brilliant. I love that. I'll have to check that out. Because I don't think I've ever cooked collard greens. So you have a collard green recipe, I will definitely check that out. And I'll say that you make a mean Putin Eska. We had Puttanesca at Mary Catherine's not that long ago. And I was she gave me a jar to bring home, which was delightful. And I got to share with my children who were like, This is awesome. You you have to you have to figure out how to make this so. So thank you for the Puttanesca

Mary Katherine Spain:

I am happy to share that recipe. It's really easy.

John Moore:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, my kids were like, This is so good. So it was it was great that I got to share that with them as well.

Mary Katherine Spain:

That your girls like the little spice factor in that one.

John Moore:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, they do. Like it's interesting. I I always like spicy food. I can't eat it as spicy as I used to now that I'm getting older, but the girls like super spicy stuff. So yeah, they do like the spice factor in there. So anything like Puttanesca or Fra Diavolo sauce or you know, whatever is

Mary Katherine Spain:

Yeah, I can't go on but yeah,

John Moore:

yeah, we started them when they were when they were first able to eat solid food we started them on on Indian food quite early. So they got used to having lots of different spices and stuff. And of course we always had their their have Filipina so they lots of Filipino food as well. So well that's good stuff. But I want to go back to something you mentioned just the idea of sitting in circle, right. And some people might, you know, obviously you can get the idea of people sitting around in a circle. But when we just when we say that in you know referring to like a shamanic gathering when we sit in circle and well I'll just add that doesn't always have to be physical you can sit in circle virtually and at a distance from people and but anyway, I want I wanted to ask you to talk a little bit about what it means to sit in circle. Not just sitting physically in a circle but what what do you do like what do you what's an I know but this is for my you know, obviously I've sat in a few circles but for people who might not know.

Mary Katherine Spain:

Right? A couple of things come to mind actually. First of all, I think when you create sacred space we all have our you know particular protocols and rituals to create sacred space for me that would be burning some sweet grass and sage or maybe some sage and cedar I was told once by an elder over in New Hampshire, Native American elder that to balance the masculine and feminine principles inside you want to burn sage and cedar together and I did not know that the cedar is for the feminine and the sage is more masculine. So now after that conversation with grandmother Sasa I try to burn sage and cedar together. Anyway, I then you know call and the directions and that sets the space for

you know, the deep dive the speaking from the heart. And that was the other point I wanted to bring up. I just took a training with Amis Valley institute that focused on the art of counsel, which, you know, people have been sitting around in circles for a long, long, long time.

And again, Native American tradition counsel, is speaking from the heart Listening with the ears of the heart being brief, and then being spontaneous. So those are the four cornerstones of counsel the way that I just learned it from the Animus Valley Institute. So I kind of have started to incorporate that with at least check in. Because sometimes, you know, if you have a big group of folks sitting around for sacred space, and maybe you're going to do a ceremony, maybe you're going to journey together, you do want to do a little bit of check in because, you know, it's rough sledding out there, people have a lot on their mind. And you have to clear that out in order to show up more soulful Hills show up more able, and I want to say vulnerable to take your rightful seat at the spirit table, like, the guides want the full you. And so if you come in with a bunch of frustrations and complaints, and maybe you're tired, you just have to do that check ended to get things off your chest, and off your mind. And then something sort of settles right after check in, you move into a different speed, a different mode of communication. And, and relating to each other. More importantly, right. Yeah, what do you think?

John Moore:

Yeah, so I, I think a lot about ceremony, I'm, I'm a bit of a ceremonial list. And then one of the things I love to do is, is designed ceremony and, and rituals as part of ceremony are really important. And as you allude to, there are a number of rituals that are performed in the ceremony, I guess we could call the overarching structure of a shamanic circle as a ceremony. And there are rituals in there. So the first is setting out sacred space. So that is both saying, this area that we're sitting in is now an area where we're doing sacred work, the time that we've entered, we've now begun to do sacred work. So this really, for me, sets the psycho spiritual tone that we are about to do something sacred. It's why there are, you know, you know, in almost any spiritual system, where there is devotional work or anything like that, there is a separate space where that's done, there's a church, but even within the church, there's an altar, and there's, you know, a Deus and you know, all of these things. And so there's so there's that there's the setting, setting up of sacred space as a way to sort of set intention, okay, now, we've stopped, we've left the ordinary world, and now we're entering into the spiritual world. And we're using the metaphors of time and space to work with our psychology there. And he made a really good point about check in. So if people don't know what, what, what happens in a lot of circles, is we'll just go around the circle, sometimes someone will pass a talking stick or something. And people will just take turns saying, usually what's going on with them. And particularly, if you're a group that meets regularly, you, you know, you're checking in with each other, this is what's going on with me, or if it's a group that's never met before, for sometimes you'll introduce yourself, I'm, you know, my name is John, I'm from here, blah, blah, blah. And I think you hit on something really important here. It's, it's another way to kind of unburden on unload on sort of like, Okay, now we're going to do something sacred, but I've got all this junk going on. I need to get it out there so that I can set it aside for a moment and I'm reminded of so I trained and I trained in martial arts for decades, I taught I taught for a couple of decades. And you know, we would always bow in when you come into study Japanese martial arts, you bow when you come into you take off your shoes, super important, right? You don't wear your street shoes in the sit in the training area. That's not just for cleanliness. It's symbolic of, I'm leaving the outside world over here with my shoes. I'm not tracking in the energy of the world into this space, which is sacred. And now I'm bowing and I'm beginning and entering into sacred space, so their sacred space that's marked by physical location. It's marked by a specific time period and it's marked by behave You're and there is a setting aside of stuff.

Mary Katherine Spain:

That's really that's, I love that I love Japanese culture anyway. And I love the idea that your shoes are going to track in energy. I've never actually thought about that. That's really interesting. I also wanted to say while you were talking about checking, it also gives people that are listening and opportunity to witness I feel like with our modern culture, and you know, the cult of me and all of the, you know, dizzying selfies and all of this business about sort of, I don't know, the superficial visuals that we are inundated with, people have lost the art of deep listening and and witnessing, like, just sitting and listening to someone's story or where they're at. builds your compassion muscle, right and to not sit there and think about Oh, what am I going to say when it comes to me like just truly drink in another person's reality and what they're sharing, hopefully from their heart, right? Like the check in is not only about unburdening, like, all what's going on with me and my life, but things that are deeply Trump linked to people, right? They can, they can share that in that sacred space. Now that we've set the sacred space, things can be said that you you can't just say in passing in other, you know, venues. So the deeply deep deep listening and, and witnessing, I feel like creates a certain energy in the group, and allows other people as they listen to dive even deeper to reveal even more, you know,

John Moore:

yeah, I feel like we could do an entire podcast episode on witnessing and probably we should, at some point, because it's, it's, it's an incredibly important topic. And the effect of witnessing on both the person being witnessed, and the person doing the witnessing is you you almost can't describe how powerful and effective this is, it seems really strange, but just being fully present with somebody. And as you alluded to, it's not that easy in today's world, because we don't do that we're in and, you know, most of us are inundated with social media, like these, just the sound bites, and we're listening to respond and the world is so fast, we don't just sit around and listen to each other stories anymore, or that often, most of us anyway, and the world that we live in. And you know, just speaking from the heart and speaking one's truth to people who are just accepting without judgment, and sitting and holding sacred space, and one of the things that I learned from our the teacher we have in common Dory, Cody is in circle, we don't rescue other people. So I might be having an incredibly emotional share, right, something might have come up even not just in the in the check in, but even you know, as we're doing ceremony or something, I might completely break down crying in the you know, and just be a mess. And our instinct, as good caring human beings is to rush in and rescue that person, oh, you're gonna be okay, and pat them on the back and all that sort of thing. And while that's good intentioned, that's also disempowering. It's also taking away this person's saying, you know, oh, you know, clearly it's not okay for you to be emoting this way. And I need to fix that for you. I'm going to come here, and I'm going to rescue you, when most people don't need that. But when you hold sacred space for them to rescue themselves, essentially, it's so empowering. And it goes the act of witnessing goes way, way beyond that. It's just it's just this beautiful, powerful thing. And so I'm very I definitely want to talk talk to you more about that. I think we could probably do more than an hour. We'll probably do a class on witnessing alone.

Mary Katherine Spain:

Yes, and I will add to that the training I just referenced with animus Valley Institute. It was part learning about Council and also The the art of mirroring which is basically based on witnessing, you know, hearing someone's story. And in mirroring you tell their story back to them from the most passionate place from, from if you can add in some archetypal energies are or images stick language, you know poetry like you tell it back to them. And it is so powerful John, it's so powerful because first of all the other person that has told the story, hearing their story, as spoken to someone who has deeply listened to them. It's it's a very healing technique. It's unbelievable. And, and the story doesn't have to be anything, you know, extraordinary. It's the fact that someone listened to your story so deeply, and is now going to tell it back to you with little nuggets and metaphors that maybe you didn't see as the teller. Right? Oh, it's so powerful.

John Moore:

Yeah. Oh, wow. Um, now I, you know, I've got goosebumps from from hearing that I could, I can totally see that. And what, you know, one of the things that I think gets communicated there is this sense of you are important, your story is important, your you are worthy of me taking in your story in a deep way. And we don't always communicate that. And that is, you know, for anybody who comes from a therapeutic background, there's research that something like 85 to 90% of the value of talk therapy comes actually from the relationship with the therapist, the techniques, you know, doesn't techniques schmeck makes I don't know, right? It's, it's not the, you know, the yeah, that's, that's important. But having somebody who deeply listens without judgment. And I love the idea of mirroring, I definitely want to learn more about that. That just sounds like such a beautiful, wonderful practice. And, and the phrase holding Council, I just, I love, I love every bit of that.

Mary Katherine Spain:

Yes, yes. In fact, I can't, I can't wait to go on my next level to Mira training. Because ideally, I would like to be a guide, like, be someone who brings people here to Avalon and sets them out in in nature to have an encounter with Mother Earth. And then come back to circle, tell the story of that encounter, and then be the guide be the mirror to tell it back to them. I've sat in several circles like that with a couple of my mentors. It's just it's a game changer. It's so powerful. So deep.

John Moore:

Yeah. Yeah. I love the metaphor, the metaphoric work as well. We, there's, I don't know why I keep coming to this. But there are, there are a number of therapeutic models, one is called AC T. And I can't remember what that stands for. I know a is acceptance, and something something. But basically, it takes the it takes the standpoint that humans actually learned through metaphor, right? We learned that through metaphor and simile like this is like this, like one of the universals. There, there aren't a whole lot. There are archetypes and things that are universal, but there aren't a whole lot of sort of, you know, completely universal metaphors. But all human beings, in every culture and every language, have a structure where something big is something important, right? So bigness and importance go hand in hand, in every culture in every language. And part of that comes from us, being fed by adults as babies and saying like, this is the source of our nourishment. And these are people who are bigger than me. So things that are big, are important. And it's it's almost so obvious that that it's easy to overlook that. But that's actually how we begin to learn everything is that this is like this. So there are all of these Association Yeah, associated associated memory associated, that sort of thing. So when you can walk into somebody's worlds, with metaphors, even if they're not their own metaphors, even if you're adding metaphoric and archetypal is, which is why archetypal work is so powerful because it is archetypal because ever it's stuff that everybody has. And I actually think the role of shaman actually think the role of shaman is archetypal that there is a shaman archetype, because it seems the role of shaman crops up throughout time and through you know across the word is not the same word in every culture shaman, you know different cultures have different words for that role. But that role is so important and it crops up and it crops up under the same circumstances, that I actually think it is archetypal. I think it is a very human endeavor shamanism. One of the reasons I love it so much is that it is so universal. It appears to be something that that crops up in pretty much every culture at some point. Even if they aren't still practicing. They did at some point.

Mary Katherine Spain:

Yep, that this whole thing reminds me John of a message I received the other night in one of our journey circles with shaman D. that and I can I can share this because it was my journey. The Celtic or Welsh poet, Taliesin came to me in the journey. And he said, All shamans are storytellers. And I was like, it was like, of course, like to really share wisdom. If you want to infuse someone with wisdom, if you want to wise point, I call it wise pointing. You tell them a story. Because first of all that draws them in. And I feel like anecdotes have just powerful ways to allow people to connect on that level that you're talking about that association metaphor, you know, all of those things are universal. And so I love thinking about every shaman as a storyteller. Yeah, I agree with that. I'm totally down with that. Yeah.

John Moore:

I'm done with that as well. Yeah, there are and I mean, I love stories anyway, but particularly the ones that make me laugh. Like if there's even even if the topic is like really serious. And I don't want to I can't share the sexual story because it's not mine. But the last time I saw our, our teacher Dory in person, I mean, we've we've talked to her over video, but the last time I was in her space, she told me a story about being with her mother when her mother died. And it had such a funny ending. That I bet that I belly laugh, even though it was a very serious moment. Oh, you know, what was happening at the time and whatever. There was just this poignant. There was just this poignant moment in the story that made us there were a few of us there that we all just started belly laughing. It was, it was it was just a hilarious moment. And I actually the the line that she told me that came from her mother, and I won't I won't repeat it, because again, it's her story. I'm like, that should be the title of your memoir, actually. So I don't I don't know what it I don't know what the title of her I know. She's writing her memoir, which I'm I'm anxiously waiting for. But

Mary Katherine Spain:

yeah, next week, so I'm very excited about that. I'll ask

John Moore:

her ask her how the memoirs memoirs memoir. Wow, that's my my mouth is not speaking French. Sometimes my mouth can speak French but not today. memoir. Yeah. So speaking of community, we've mentioned humanity a few a couple of times. And, you know, I want to not just be this complete pitch fest here. But I do want to talk about it. Because I'm so proud of what we've done and what we're doing and the community that's growing up that I do want to talk I do want to talk about it. And if anybody's if anybody's interested in this, you know, if you practice shamanism at all, definitely, I'll put a link in the in the show notes for you to follow through. But it's it's Shaman. community.com, pretty straight, pretty straightforward. But let's talk about this. Let's talk about the idea and also where the idea came from. And you really, you really like push, push things forward and sort of started this idea. And then I was like, Well, I've got some, I've got some nerd skills. I can put some technology together and stuff but let's talk about what what it is and where it started and why we're, why we're really proud of it.

Mary Katherine Spain:

I'm so proud of it. And it's funny, I was just going to offer another class Joe took one of my classes in March. This year on Zoom, it was called click my heels. I just needed community. I was craving community and I had a few things I wanted to try and teach. So, um, you know, I just opened this class and then when, when the class was over, I was like, Oh, well, you know, where's my Thursday night peeps, you know, how can I recreate this? So I had the idea of maybe doing a bi monthly class, ongoing bi monthly class, but I, I really wanted a co host I didn't want to do do it on my own. I wanted to collaborator I think as we move more and more into this Age of Aquarius, Aquarius rules, groups of rules, what is best for all is the best and not you know, this, these solo ventures are sort of going by the wayside. So I wanted someone to collaborate with and I put the call out in my newsletter. And John got back to me, he got back to me, John, and I was like, yes. And so we were sort of off and running on this project of creating not just a class twice a month, but rather an online community of shamanic practitioners and students of shamanism people that were just getting turned on to it to create, you know, the Zoom temple, the place the platform, the spot where you can land to read an interesting article, tune in for the journey circle. I have the shamanic Coffee Klatch on Saturday morning, where we have a bit of counsel just like get things off your chest, and let's talk about things that we can't talk about with people that don't understand shamanism. And I love the presentations that we've been doing. I love the interaction that I have seen. I feel like there's a lot of potential there to that. That's really exciting. You want something that is near and dear to your heart to always grow, you want it to expand, you want that broader arc, you know, the long view, and I feel like our platform and our community definitely has that potential.

John Moore:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, it's been amazing. We only launched it. We're only two months old, really. And, you know, we were sort of thinking, Okay, well, you know, I was thinking when I saw this email for America, I was like, oh, yeah, I mean, I definitely want to do something. And I'm missing community as well with the pandemic. You know, a lot of the events that I would have gone to normally were canceled, and a lot of us were feeling kind of isolated. And so I thought, well, instead of just a, you know, a bi weekly or BI monthly or whatever, gathering, let's create a circle, let's create a sacred container for people who practice shamanism, whether they've been doing it for 30 years or 30 days. You know, as long as they have some shamanic training, we're not teaching. We're not teaching intro to shamanism, there. But you know, there are there's everything. We have all kinds of events from social stuff like the coffee klatch, we do regular journey circles. So we get together and journey together, which is incredibly powerful. When you journey with other people, even if you're not in the same room, you get you get carried on their wave of conscious energy. And the only way I can Well, I'll tell us, we'll, we'll tell a little story about that in a second. But, um, but we you know, and there's also interaction so you can meet people and a lot of people who are really active, there are, you know, people who are my student or your student who have joined the community and joined because I don't know anybody other than you, who does shamanism that I can even talk to about having these experiences that I'm having, where they, you know, okay, you know, I'm I journey and then this happened, or I, you know, doing this, and I'm seeing these nature spirits or you know, whatever. You can't really, you know, as we've, as we talked about, you can't really go to go to work, and sit around the watercooler and say, Well, I was journeying the other day and I ran into this troll in my backyard and you know, you're gonna you're gonna get a visit from HR or something. And so it's it's a space for that and we do we do prac together, which, to me is really beautiful. Like I love the I love the journey circles, I love to be together with other people either journeying or leading, leading a journey. And if you have ever, if you've ever journeyed on your own, but have not journeyed with other people, it's hard to describe how much more powerful it can be when there are other people journeying with the same intention that the same time that you are, it doesn't have to be the same time because you can get the same effect by watching a recording of a circle, as long as the intention of connecting to the circle is there. It's very powerful. And I want to tell there was kind of a funny, little bit of a funny story that happened one in one of our journey circles, and I was I was hosting this I was hosting a circle, so I wasn't journeying generally, I don't journey when I'm hosting because I'm making sure that the you know, the music is playing and making sure that the recording is going and, and just keeping keeping an eye on things in ordinary reality. So I don't I don't journey, which is it's nice that Mary Katherine leads journey circles, and I lead journeys, because because I want to journey with people too. So I can, I can, you know, go to Mary Katherine's journey circles and journey with others and on her behalf. And so we, we, you know, I started the music, we started a journey. And as soon as that happened, like I started getting a vision come that came through my head, and I couldn't really make sense out of it. And so I always have a pad of paper near me and pencils and stuff. And I just grabbed my pad of paper. And I drew really quickly what I was what I was seeing, and they didn't have much of an explanation for it. And then, so then the journey, the you know, the journey music ended, and people came back and took some notes and whatever. And Mary Katherine started describing part of her journey and a poor part of her journey. And, and you can, you can, you can say but it was literally the thing that I just drew

Mary Katherine Spain:

was nice. And that journey was so powerful. First of all, we were journeying to Prometheus to find our Prometheus and get up. So John gave this awesome little mini lecture on the mythology of Prometheus. And then we entered the journey time we did our journeys, while John held space. And I, I guess I was due I went on all kinds of tours and how to dismemberment and my dismemberment, power animal is a great white shark. And so I was in at the bottom of the sea sort of getting torn apart. And there was this incredible wind that came from the West in the water. And I was like, How is wind and water and it's created this little dirt devil thing. That was a funnel, and it had in the middle of it, fire. And spirit was like, This is what you are, you are the feminine holder of the you know, the vessel, the watery feminine aspect, but you hold the fire of passion. This is you. And when John, as I was talking about this journey, as as we were checking in after John holds up his like sketchpad and he's like, this is what I drew, it looked exactly like the thing that I saw. It was, it was so wild, I couldn't believe it. I could not believe it.

John Moore:

Right. And that's the that's not to like, this isn't a story for me to brag like I'm doing some psychic thing. That's not it at all. What what happens is that, even though I wasn't journeying, we're still connected, I'm still picking up on that energy that's going on in in the circle, even though we're in different geographic locations, but you're journeying at the same time, I'm caught up in that energy. So that vision is just coming from spirit and it's coming from, you know, the energy that we're all I do like it when you journey in a circle to being sort of like when you did that, if you've ever done this thing, when you were a kid when you were in a pool and you got everybody moving in the same direction and it kind of creates this whirlpool and current in a pool. It's kind of the same thing, but on a spiritual level. It's like everybody's creating this vortex of Journey energy and so you're you're riding this wave that has this perpetual motion and it's one of the beautiful things is one of the reasons why I love journaling. And I love journaling on my own but journaling in a group is easy. Even if it's two people is really, really fantastic. But as you add people 234 people, I think the biggest I've done, I can't remember was I did Soul Retrieval training, and Kripalu and it was a really big group like 80 people or something like that. It's really, really, really powerful. And that is one of the reasons to come together in community, when you're when you practice shamanism to, you know, to experience that to experience the ability to journey as a group and ride that ride that spiritual wave. I didn't have to it was cool. I didn't have to do anything. I was just along for the ride. Just you know, Hang Hang down.

Mary Katherine Spain:

Yeah, that was really, really wild. And, you know, I was sitting here thinking about maybe it was, we're both fond of Prometheus. Maybe it was one of his little trickster moods.

John Moore:

I searched certainly, yeah, I mean, Prometheus, Prometheus is definitely one of the penultimate trickster Gods so yeah, yeah. trick Zeus and still, you know, he's very, if you're not familiar, very much like Loki, and in, you know, always tricking, you know, tricking the other gods. And, you know, doing stuff. So, yeah, yeah, certainly could could be that energy going? Well, we've been chatting for nearly an hour. Oh, my goodness, I feel like we've could well, we could go on forever. Well, you and I know, we could go on forever. And there's, there's all kinds of things to talk about. But I wanted to, I wanted to sort of wrap up and just, you know, so so people can get a chance if they want to, if they want to find out more about what you've got going on. They can check you out on nine nine pillars healing, and it's the number nine, right?

Mary Katherine Spain:

No, it's and I in a spelled out, so nine pillars milling.com. And there's, oh, man, I have another like a writer, website. I I also edit and and I'm a writing coach. So that's married conference. spain.com. And if you end up there, and you want it nine pillars, there's a spot on my bio that says, Are you looking for healing work, click here. And that takes you over to my other websites. So and vice versa, if you're on nine pillars, and you're like, oh, I need writing help. Mary Katherine spain.com will be there as well. So yeah,

John Moore:

so I will. Yeah, I'll link to both in the notes. Or if you're watching this on YouTube, I'll link to it in the description of the YouTube channel. So you can check that out. And if you do, if you do practice shamanism, and really the only really the only bar to entry as you you should already know how to do a shamanic journey if you if you don't, if the community sounds interesting to you, and you don't know how to journey yet, go learn how to journey find a teacher, you know, look up a teacher, you can you could contact Mary Katherine or myself, or find another teacher or find a class in your area. I really am fond of learning learning journeying from a teacher whether that's in a, you know, a class or whatever, it's really hard to learn it properly from a book or something. But find a teacher learn how to journey and then come back and check us out it's Shaman. community.com, again, there'll be links in the show notes. It's really, it's a really cool, amazingly cool community that is growing and just couldn't be happier about everything there is there's so much there from for you know, content wise from you know, classes to record a journey circles to prompts to information about self care to just everything we can think of that people would benefit from, and it is it is growing and developing. Like we're starting to, you know, think about doing some group art projects and, and stuff like that. So, come join us, check us out, give us a join. I think you can join with a two week free trial just by coming to the page and clicking Sign up and check us out for a couple of weeks and come to one of our journey circles and see for yourself how, how amazing it is to journey with a group of like minded people. So yeah, anything else before we, before we end anything you'd like to add or subtract?

Mary Katherine Spain:

Other than just I just want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to chat with you today. And thank you also for all the you know, sacred service you you do in the world, John? I feel like the the other kind of pillars, the torch bearers, you know, those that are holding the light rise up. It's Time get get out of your shell come on out and join the party because the time is now folks.

Announcer:

You have been listening to speaking spirit with your host, John more. For more info or to contact John go to MaineShaman.com That's MAINESHAMAN.com

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About the Podcast

Speaking Spirit
Spirituality, Shamanism, and Personal Success
John Moore is an irreverent spiritual teacher and shamanic practitioner. After decades of working in computer science, John underwent a spiritual, mental, and physical crisis - a dark night of the soul. This crisis turned out to be the archetypal call to shamanic initiation. Along with his occasional guests, John dive into all things spiritual, from shamanism (the art of the shaman) to energy healing, to magic, esotericism, tarot, astrology, new and old age alike. John's ultimate goal is to help people recognize their own connection to divinity.

About your host

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John Moore

John Moore is an irreverent spiritual teacher and shamanic practitioner. Having spent over two decades in the corporate world as a computer scientist, John entered a "dark night of the soul." This manifested as a mental, physical, and spiritual crisis. This crisis, as John would learn later, was an archetypal call to shamanic initiation.

John dove headfirst into the practice of shamanism, looking to his Celtic and Norse ancestral line. He has explored altered states of consciousness, becoming a certified hypnotherapist and meditation instructor.

John considers himself a guide, not a guru - helping people find the path towards their own connection to the divine.