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Issue 1                                                Honoring the Ancestors                                            October 2006

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IN THIS ISSUE

What's New at CEH
Workshop Reviews:
     Circle of the Ancestors
      Shamanism for the
          Creative Artist
Book Review:
     Riding Windhorses
Your Feedback
Bekki's Art: Custom Rattle
Activists' Corner
Wishlist
Turtle the Kitten
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Submission Guidelines
    What's New at CEH

Greetings, and thanks for your patience!
It's  been a rollercoaster for us this year, and we had hoped to put this newsletter together much sooner than October. Due to personal and public obligations and technical problems with the service we had originally intended to use, we had to put the newsletter project on the back burner. While we may in future revisit that service, it seemed important to get the newsletter out to all of you who expressed so much interest in the project. Our format is not as user-friendly as the commercial ones, but we hope you will find useful information that is worth the extra effort.

If you have not yet subcribed you can do so below. If you haven't recieved an email from Bekki about the newsletter then you haven't subscribed.

Blessings,
Bekki and Crow

Bekki's Art: Custom Rattle, August 2006
This rattle was created for a woman who had  seen and
used Bekki's bear rattle at Gathering of the Tribes last
year.  

She wanted a rattle with a similar feel.


  The reverse side has a stylized black bear flanked by red bear
paw prints.
This rattle honors the Native tradition of the woman's ancestors and the medicine society she belongs to. The handle is done in peyote stitch over deerskin.


Riding Windhorses by Sarangerel Odigan: A Book Review
Bekki Shining Bearheart

It seems appropriate, because our friend Sarangerel has passed to be with her ancestors, to review her first book for this issue dedicated to the ancestors. We miss her greatly. The special contribution she has made to the living tradition of shamanism, here and abroad, can not be overstated.

Riding Windhorses was in its final stages of preparation for publication when we first met Sarangerel. We were priviledged to read two versions of the final drafts, and were impressed with the quality of her knowledge and writing. Riding Windhorses has become a standard reference for us and one we recommend to our students. We also have sponsored her workshops and encouraged our students to learn from her.

Subtitled A Journey into the Heart of Mongolian Shamanism, this book truly is that. Sarangerel included in it a vast amount of information on the culture of Mongolia and of  Buryatia, the homeland of the Mongols in Siberia. Sarangerel is of Buryat ancestry through her mother, who was half Buryat and half Hungarian. As a child she was acquainted with the Mongolian community in the town of her birth, Detroit, and she spoke Mongolian, Russian and other languages fluently. Prior to 1994 she studied shamanism in this country, and from 1994 she traveled to Buryatia and Mongolia to study with shamans there.

The book is well contructed, beginning with the shamanic Cosmology of the Mongols; proceeding to The Natural World, which includes spirits of the ancestors, trees, mountains, animals, sky spirits and other spirits of nature; The Spirit World, including descriptions of the nature and construction of souls, the spirit body, the dead, and customs and taboos; The Shaman, describing the nature of the shaman and his/her work; Healing and Protection; Fortune-Telling and Dreams; Mongolian Shamanism Today; and finally, Applications for Shamanism in the 21st Century. All sections include shamanic rituals approriate to the topic, with information on items needed to do each ritual. A glossary with meanings and pronunciation of Mongolian words; footnotes; a bibliography; and an index to end with make this more than a good read. It is a textbook for Mongolian shamanic practice. We highly recommend it!

Bekki and Crow stock this title and others that they recommend for sale to students and other interested seekers. To order go HERE.


Activists' Corner

The Wilderness Society
The Wilderness Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving American wilderness. Our mission is to ensure that future generations will enjoy the clean air and water, wildlife, beauty, and opportunity for recreation and renewal provided by pristine forests, rivers, deserts, and mountains. As a subscriber to WildAlert, you join more than 300,000 Wilderness Society members and supporters in our efforts to protect and restore America's wild places.
Wishlist

The generosity of everyone who honored Crow's 70th Birthday (15 September 2006) last month with a gift to the "Replace The Leaky Tank Fund," moves us to offer THANKS instead of wishes. Many Thanks, Indeed!  The gifting was so generous that we have been able to replace the dreadfully rusty, punctured 28 year old tank (think St. Anthony with bolts instead of arrows), and the aging upright freezer in the kitchen as well.  As I write, the new tank has just arrived and Bekki's brother Bryan has  begun installing it.
.
The freezer, ancient when we got it in 1989, died of blown door gaskets immediately before the  Grand Birthday Weekend. It has helped us feed  many friends, guests, visitors and retreat and workshop attendees over the years; it had to be replaced.  And, more, this has provided us with the rare opportunity to buy a new energy saving appliance instead of an old used energy-sucking one.   Again, many, many thanks for your considerate and incredibly helpful gifts.

Big Hugs from Us,
Crow (and Bekki!)
a

Shamanism for the Creative Artist: A Review

Mairyann Wrentmore

This workshop is a cross between Jack and his magic beanstalk and psychotherapy.  You find out more about your creative self than you thought possible and you get to plant those magic beans and watch them grow.

When I saw the information on the Creativity Workshop the thought of enhancing my creativity was too alluring to pass up—not that I felt blocked--but I am always striving for more!

I am a visual artist, I do lots of shows and get wonderful feedback but feel that I am continually ‘emerging’—I wanted to get past this stage.

I contacted the Church of Earth Healing and was directed to start with the introductory course on learning to journey.  Taking the workshop gave me an understanding of the journeying process.

The Creativity workshop met and exceeded my expectations.  I learned a great deal about my own creativity and how it works for me and also how to contact a muse and what to expect.   The analysis is geared to help you individually in as micro or as macro a way as you desire. 

Immediately I had some concrete direction to take my artwork and solve some of the problems I was experiencing.  And as I tried some of the suggestions this led to other leaps in my creative process that I was not expecting and that I don’t think I would have tried if I had not gone through the workshop.  I am becoming more focused and fine-tuning my niche (mixed media mythological stories).

In the workshop a supernatural seed is planted and with a little nurturing it keeps growing and growing much like Jack’s bean stalk.  There is something magical about dream sharing that one can only get from being with Bekki and Crow and others in the Creativity workshop.  The bounty of ‘gold and treasures’ is waiting to be found; all you have to do attend the workshop.

Mairyann Wrentmore's art can be seen on her web site: Art and the Goddess . She is a member of the CEH drumming circle.


Your Feedback

We plan to publish your emails about the content of this newsletter here, so please let us know what you think!


This is Turtle, the kitten Bekki and Brigh rescued in August. We found her on the side of the road with a broken right leg and a dislocated left hip. She has had surgery and is fully recovered, thanks to several benefactors who helped us with vet bills, Care and Will Calhoun of Albany OH and Carina Kroenberg of Rochester NY.
She is now ready for a new home. Please contact us if you are interested in adoption.




     
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ii
Circle of the Ancestors: A Workshop Review
Bekki Shining Bearheart

In 1993-94 I began working with my shamanic allies in order to know my ancestors. The full story is included in Fundamentals of Shamanism: A Collection of Articles for Students. From that work I began to develop this workshop. We have taught it since that time and it is one of our most popular classes. We have found it so valuable that it is a prerequisite for our Two Week Intensive Healing Training.

There are many stories we could tell about our students’ experience of this workshop.Two testimonials are given on our web site page for the  Circle of the Ancestors workshop. There is no doubt that this workshop brings the benefit of personal healing of family issues and the gift of ancestral allies and teachers. In addition, students discover information about the ancestors themselves: the way they lived; the shamanic (and other) practices they followed; and arcane details about ancestral lands, migratory routes, animals and plants they co-existed with, and the like. This is knowledge they had no awareness of prior to the workshop. The ancestors themselves teach us and give us knowledge we could not access otherwise.  We have guided many students through the process of understanding information they were given by the ancestors, and have taught them how to research signposts in their journeys to find solid validation of knowledge. Crow and I have had the pleasure of discovering (sometimes years after a journey) information that validated our own journeywork, either serendipitously, or because a journey with the ancestors sparked an arduous hunt through scholarly archives, looking for information about a possible red herring.

For me it is thrilling to witness these moments of discovery—an animal or plant ally unfamiliar to the student, which inhabits a geographic area his/her ancestors inhabited;  an ancestor found in a part of the world the student did not know, and did not believe, his ancestors had lived in; an ancestor in an ethnic population the student wasn’t expecting, which proved to be accurate. These experiences advance the beginner into an entirely new realm, peopled with beings who can help the student resolve family issues, come to grips with family relationships which are painful or disturbing, and find a spirituality that is ancient and deeply resonant.  Crow and I continue to revisit the Circle of the Ancestors, to dip into the ever-widening pool of ancestral connections. This is not a one-time experience. I work with eight ancestral spirits, and he with three. Our connection with each is ongoing. Some are quite powerful and constant, others are distant or intermittent. Each has their important place in our lives and our shamanic work. If you have not experienced the Circle of the Ancestors yet, perhaps now the time, or you may feel a need to re-visit this work, and expand your circle of ancestors.

For information on upcoming workshops including Circle of the Ancestors, see our Schedule.

Church of Earth Healing Newsletter Guidelines for Authors

Our newsletter is a monthly publication which  includes articles, book reviews, workshop profiles and reviews, news of current and upcoming events and stuff that is really hot that we feel you need to know about. We focus on alternative healing and other work of the church and ourselves, though we cast our net widely.

We love to write and have lots of good material to share.  We also value your outlook, talents, and opinions so we welcome contributions.  These may include specific material we request from you, our readers. We welcome all kinds of material, preferably on our monthly topic.

We work in Microsoft Word; that is the most convenient electronic form to receive material in.  If you need to use another form please ask first. Format is quite open.  Please place the title, author (in exactly the form you want your name to appear - including degrees, professional designations, etc.) and a very brief bio at the beginning of your offering. Please keep it fairly short and snappy, since we have limited space. We will read everything we receive before publishing it.  We would prefer not to have to edit for intelligibility or length.

                          All Contents Copyright Church of Earth Healing 2006