I began my sojourn into shamanic practice almost by accident while searching for something else. In 1998, medicated, deeply depressed and extremely unhappy with the stress and isolation of a software engineering career and a sterile life that felt not of my choosing, I enrolled in night massage school to become a licensed massage therapist in Alabama the following Spring. When my massage school asked me to be their administrator, teaching assistant, and to run their computer systems, I leapt without hesitation leaving my 19-year career in software in order to step more in line with what I felt was my spiritual core, the "real me", the intuitive and connected me I'd left behind years before.
In 2005, after much continuing study in massage, Reiki and Jin Shin Do acupressure, I began doing Awakenings, an energy-based healing method that I was learning from a group of practitioners. One of the women in that wonderful group described herself as an "urban shaman" and though I didn't know what that was, when she offered a beginning shamanism course later that year I took it without hesitation. In my very first journey I had an immediate, deep and unmistakable experience meeting and being chosen by my primary healing ally. That weekend workshop in Georgia with a loving group of close friends re-lit the soul fire which now burns fiercely and brightly at my center each day. I now know that I have finally found what it was I'd been looking for all along in all of my spiritual questing. Being honored by my healing and teaching allies with their trust and knowledge is today my greatest joy.
Not long thereafter I made contact with Crow and Bekki, literally by googling for "water" and "dragon" in a desperate attempt to find something to help make sense out of what I was experiencing in my journeys. From devouring their web site and looking at the course description, knew immediately that I wanted to take their Two-Week Intensive Shamanic Healing training. Today, after having absorbed the prerequisite workshops and having passed through the intensive, I know without doubt that Crow and Bekki's teachings, their care and dedication to this work have permanently changed the course of my life. After emerging from a truly intense two weeks with Bekki and Crow and with Scott, my amazing fellow student and perfect companion for that journey, I have come closer to being completely and deeply myself.
Today, my shamanic work strongly complements my existing bodywork skills. Extractions, and shamanic energy work comprise much of what I enjoy and excel in. My beloved healing allies have shown me that I have a flair for certain types of divination, and have gifted me with easy communication with plant spirits as well. My aggregate shamanic gifts make me a catalyst for others; I facilitate change so that they more easily find and connect to their deep spiritual roots, power and innate strengths. I use the gifts I have, knowing they were given me for a reason. Each shamanic journey reveals new information and outlines and clarifies my path more and more. My young shamanic practice is still unfolding and taking joyful shape, and I look forward to that to continue for as long as I have breath.
Jeffrey Rich, LMT 656