Call of the Shaman

by Veronica Cummer, author of Masks of the Muse & Sorgitzak

Every now and again, controversy swirls around the use of the word “shaman.”  To be honest, the word comes from saman, the name for a certain type of practitioner in Siberia, but over the years its meaning has been expanded to cover practitioners all over the world who use similar techniques.  These techniques encompass traveling in the spirit to other worlds through trance, the use of spirit helpers, healing the sick and bringing back those near death (or helping them to the other side), communicating with the dead and the ancestors, leading rituals, divination, and retelling the community’s songs and stories.

There are clues and remnants of many of these practices in the Witchcraft and Cunning Folk Arts of Europe and England that indicate that “shamans” functioned there, as well, and were called by many names.  A few of these names include hexen, bruja, volva, benendanti, taltos, calusari, plus others still probably waiting to be discovered and reclaimed.  The powers of the shaman were so essential to the proper and prosperous functioning of the community that they existed pretty much everywhere.  You simply couldn’t do without them.

Despite this, shamans in much of the Western World went underground over the years and much of their practices and wisdom were lost.  But, perhaps, not forever.  Today, dedicated practitioners are going back and looking for that knowledge, whether through reconstruction techniques or mystical communication with the old Gods and spirits or both.  Reconstructionists pour over old books–in the original texts and language if possible–seeking out tidbits of information that can be put back together to make a functional whole.  While, mystics prefer direct communication with the old Gods and the use of spirit travel to find what’s been lost.  Both of these approaches have their strengths and their weaknesses.

Perhaps, a more useful and unified approach would be the approach of the shaman–having one foot here in this world, looking at the tales that historical records and archeology tell (bearing in mind that both history and archeology do not always have all the facts and, also, must rely on interpretation) and having one foot in the Otherworld via questioning and learning from Gods and spirits.  In the second case, also keeping in mind the sometimes tricksy nature of spirits, in particular, of the Fey, and that They may well have their own agendas and subjective viewpoint.  The other issue is that knowledge  coming from Divine contact may be hidden within poetry and myth and must be looked at in the same way.  In neither case, should the information be treated as cold, hard fact.

Yet, perhaps, somewhere in the middle lies the truth of those who once lived and worked magick for the good of the community.  We have inherited a few of their objects and pieces of their written records and speculation can be built off of that.  Yet, that only tells one side of the story, the physical record.  The spiritual record resides in our shared archetypal memory, in the sleeping knowledge of the bloodlines, and in contact with those Gods and spirits who worked closely with the shamans of old Europe and England.

If we can find that middle ground, put as many of the pieces back together as we can manage, and then bring it to life in the now…then we can say that shamanism has returned to modern Western society.  And, probably, not a moment too late, because shamans are needed as much–if not more–than they were in the distant past.  They are needed to find and keep the balance between this world and the Otherworld, between the living and the dead, between the land and the people and the people and the forces of the Divine.  They are needed to fix what’s broken and heal what’s been harmed.  They are needed to tell our stories again.

copyright © 2010, Veronica Cummer, all rights reserved

Herne (Cernunnos) the Forest Lord

The ancient Forest Lord has appeared and made himself known by many names to nearly every culture throughout time. He is Cernunnos, a Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld. He is Herne the Hunter, and he is here at the Eye, represented by a new statue.

Forest Lord Statue HerneClick Here for more Images

Cernunos Herne Statue

This incredible new depiction of Herne, Cernununnos, the Horned God, is reproduced in cold cast bronze resin.  He is crowned with Antlers and holds a staff of wood spiraling at the tip. The snake, representing wisdom, the underworld, and reincarnation is at his feet.  The leaves and moss are hand-tinted.  He is the untamed Horned God of the Animals and the leaf-covered Green Man, Guardian of the Green World. The statue stands 10.5″ tall. Click here for more views of the statue

Cernnunos is mentioned by Shakespeare, as Herne the Hunter, the guardian of Windsor Forest, the Royal Wood. In this aspect it is said that he appears as Guardian of the Realm during times of National emergency and crisis. In modern times he is often called the God of the Witches and embodies uncorrupted masculine energy. His is a masculine energy that is fully-developed and in balance with the natural world.

Lore & Myth

As both Hunter and Hunted, The Forest Lord represents the great mystery of life feeding life. The Forest and fields are filled with his Mystery. He is the God of the underworld and astral planes, born at the winter solstice. He appears in spring as the young Son, child of the Goddess, embodiment of the budding, growing, greening world.

In summer He bursts forth as the Green Man, vibrant, pulsing with life, and becomes the consort of the Green Lady Goddess. It is in autumn, the dying time, that perhaps we see the Horned God at his most mature. As Master of the Sacrificial Hunt, as both Hunted and Hunter, His is the full life that is given in service of new life. He is the sacrificed god, who journeys to the Underworld, but then returns to the Earth from which he was born. The seeds of light released from his decaying body will quicken Her womb with a new Sun once again, thus continuing the cycle of death, rebirth and reincarnation.

The most famous depiction of the Horned Diety or Shaman is on the side of the Gundestrup Cauldron discovered in Denmark, on May 28, 1891. In theories of Celtic origin, the figure is often identified as Cernunnos and occasionally as Mercury. But images of the Horned one go farther back. Our prehistoric ancestors knew him as a shape-shifting, shamanic god of the Hunt. Paleolithic cave paintings found in France that depict a stag standing upright or a man dressed in stag costume seem to indicate that Cernunnos’ origins date to those times.

This statue of the Forest Lord brings the best of all those depictions together in a statue of incredible detail, and maybe a little bit of Oberon, Lord of Faerie, as well.

Get Forest Lord Statue

Other Depictions of the Forest Lord

  • Romans sometimes portrayed him with three cranes flying above his head.
  • He was known to the Druids as Hu Gadarn.
  • Pan, the lusty Satyr god of the Greeks, is another aspect of the Horned God.

As Herne, He became a modern star in “Robin of Sherwood” on British television in the early eighties, as the shamanic mentor of Robin the Hooded Man, and this seems to be how everybody remembers him. In the series he is portrayed as an Anglo-Saxon hunting god, based on the myth and lore of the Forest Lord, Cernunnos, etc.

The Legend of Herne

There is an old tale goes that Herne the Hunter,
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv’d, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.

“The Merry Wives of Windsor”
Act 4 Scene 4
William Shakespeare

Sacred Smudge Spray

Sacred Smudge Spray

Have you ever wanted to smudge your car, your office, or other non-smoking environments? How about your hotel room when you are traveling?  Let’s face it–we can’t always light a smudge wand on fire. Smoke is simply not allowed or wanted in some locations, and for some people, such as those with asthma or allergies, smoke is unhealthy.

Sacred Smudge Spray - Sage, Cedar and Palo Santo Essential OilSacred smudge spray is the smokeless, pure alternative to burning sage. Whether you need to change the energy or just lighten the air, just one spritz and the wonderful aroma of this spray creates a clean and blessed atmosphere. This quick and easy smudge spray uses only a traditional plant blend of sage, cedar and palo santo true essential oils for energy cleansing and ritual use.

These three traditional plants are carefully blended in this refreshing and fragrant smudge spray to disperse the same natural plant energy used throughout the ages in cleansing ceremonies. In fact, shamans and other traditional healers speak with respect of the spirit of each healing plant. These plant spirits provided our teacher-ancestors with the powerful medicine of smudging and have traditionally been our energetic allies. When we create our smudge spray, we do bless it with Reiki Energy, to make sure all the energies are clear, but we do not change the spray smudge with any other energies or add anything from other belief systems which could dilute, divert or in any way interfere with the pure spirit of the smudge.

Sage + Cedar + Palo Santo = Pure Plant Power

Our sacred smudge spray uses only true essential oils of these three traditional smudge plants in a spray bottle of ‘liquid smudge’ for you to use anywhere or anytime smoke is inconvenient. Here are the traditional properties of the essential oils blended in our sacred smudge spray mist:

  • Palo Santo is considered sacred by many native peoples of South America. It is said to purify and clear objects, places, and people.  Only tree branches that have fallen naturally to the ground are used for the distillation of this oil.  No trees are cut to produce the Palo Santo Essential Oil in this smudge spray.
  • Sage  is used worldwide in traditional energy-cleansing ceremonies–the sage essence attaches to negative energy and folds it back in itself to transform the negative energy into positive energy. Some say sage summons courage, wards off jealousy, increases mental acuity, and attracts prosperity. Our spray uses Organic Sage Essential Oil.
  • Cedar is often used in the sweat lodge (and in the Scandinavian equivalent–the Sauna). The scent of cedar attracts good spirits and eliminates negative energies. Native Americans put boughs of the white cedar on tepee poles, believing that it would ward off lightning.

Locally Crafted to be Naturally Pure

We respect the purity of native traditions. Nothing is added from crystals or holy water from various cultures, etc. This is absolutely the purest smudge spray we could create. It may be in a brown bottle, but our smokeless smudge spray is totally green.  In fact, it is:

  • Vegan
  • Uses only the highest-quality ingredients (no artificial fragrance oils)
  • Cruelty Free (never tested on animals)
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Made in Minnesota

Benefits of Sacred Spray Smudge

Are you sensitive or empathic and work with people? Some people leave lingering energy which may disrupt your concentration or leave you on edge. Use our smokeless smudge spray in these situations to reset the energy and put it on a more positive note.  In fact, liquid smudge is AMAZING for practitioners, consultants and therapists of all professions, as smudging helps keep your consultation rooms feeling light and welcoming, plus it helps to prevent heavy or distracting energies from building up.

Wondering exactly when to use smudge spray?  Many have found Sacred Smudge Spray can help with relaxation, rest, work, concentration, healing, meditation.  Smudging purifies and blesses the energy of a house, workspace, objects as well as mindful actions and activities. You can spray liquid smudge at home, at work, in the car, while traveling, in the bedroom before sleep, to prepare for important activities, to purify the air after difficult events, or to help transform your mental or emotional state.

Tips for use:

  • Use our sacred, smokeless smudge in a doorway to invite positive energy and strip off negativity.
  • Spray around the perimeter of any area you want to protect, and throughout any area you want to purify and bless.
  • When outside, stand with your back to the wind and spray three times to carry your prayer/intention/spell.
  • Use just before meditation or yoga for clarity and focus. (Or before study or a creative endeavor).
  • Spray after any particularly charged ritual or interaction to “clear the air”
  • Lightly spray on your bed before sleep for positive dreams.
  • Spray around your AURA (energy body) for personal cleansing.
  • Use any time you want to spiritually purify a space.

CAUTION: Do not spray in eyes. For external use only.

Traditional Native cultures offer simple and natural solutions for mind-body-spirit well-being, and smudging is one of the most common and powerful practices. In fact, spiritual healers from all cultures have always burned herbs or incense to purify people and places. Smudging with sage, palo santo, or cedar is done before all ceremonies, important meetings, and during illness. Now, with smokeless smudge spray, you are no longer limited as to where you can bless and be blessed. Pick up a bottle or two today.

Do you have any of your own tips or experiences with Smokeless Smudge Spray? Please comment!