You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. It is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.   –   Thich Nhat Hanh

Attunement to Mother Earth’s wisdom

Earth-honoring spirituality is an engagement with the wisdom of the earth and the cosmos, both seen and unseen.

Every culture around the world has its own methods, rituals, and customs for bringing the energies of all living creation into the community through the vehicle of the healer and the wisdom of the elders. What all earth-honoring spiritual paths have in common is the exchange of life-giving energies between nature and human beings.

Ways of working with the land, the natural cycles of light and dark, the elements, the animal kingdom, plants, the ancestors, and star nations are as old as time.

We are all a part of nature. The healing potential of a mindful reciprocal relationship with nature lies in the concept of homeostasis.

If people reflect and research long enough into their own past they can go back to their people using stones and land and revering water. And using rituals for everything.   

–   Sicangu Lakota activist Cheryl Angel

As described elsewhere on this site, such as in my blog and in a tribute to my elders, my journey on the earth-honoring spiritual path has been profound. After decades of solitary work with my own spiritual guides, a few years of working with the Andean cosmology and healing arts as taught to me by Q’ero elder don Mariano Quispe Flores, and making two trips to Standing Rock to support environmental justice and sovereign Native American rights, I was dramatically led back to the Celtic and pre-Celtic path of my own ancestors.

In all of the above experiences, learning from indigenous elders and sitting in sacred ceremony with them over several years was an honor that brought with it great responsibility that now informs both my own path and my work. The primary task of this responsibility is to explain exactly what shamanism is and isn’t in the paragraph to the right.

No matter what spiritual path and culture speaks deepest to me personally, the healing arts I practice clinically have been learned and honed over decades of experience.

(Note: My work is highly inter-cultural. I have been what don Mariano calls a chakaruna or “bridge person” since childhood. In other words, we don’t have to practice the same spiritual path for you to benefit from the work I do. I hope that it inspires you to deepen your own ways.)

Isn’t this called shamanism?

A few decades ago, the words “shaman” and “shamanism” came into vogue. The words and the field of “shamanism” have become a big part of the Western healing and cultural lexicon and stand for an important leap in our understanding of healing and of consciousness. The idea of “shamanism” is on the rise because it has deep significance for where we are as human beings seeking wholeness. It also soothes a wound in modern culture for so many spiritual people who have lost their connections to Earth society and their own ancestral ways.

In spite of these facts, I choose not to support the practice of shamanism or the industry it has spawned. Most of the practices marketed to nature- and connection-hungry people today have been whitewashed. They are stripped of the precious source cultural references and appropriated from indigenous cultures around the world, including the Evenk and Buryat people of Siberia who had the word “shaman” stolen from them in the first place.

Shamanism as a discipline was created by anthropology academics who went on to lead us into the ages old nasty habit of commodifying spirituality. Big time. The shamanism movement is now a multi-billion dollar industry. (Don’t believe me? Check out this article on the crystal industry alone!)

I don’t choose to contribute to genocide and stolen culture by associating with the “shamanism” movement. I hope you won’t either. I don’t sell spiritual teachings. I charge for consulting, lecturing, and for spiritual wellness sessions. 

For true spiritual empowerment to flourish for all human beings, we all must dive deeper into our own pasts, heal the traumas and colonialism that have killed millions and destroyed the freedom of large segments of Earth society. And we must all own the validity of our personal gnostic experiences. Resisting the seduction of the mystical “other” and the colonial urge to profit from someone else’s spirituality is the first step. Until we do this and all people find their own spiritual ways, the unity we’re all striving for will remain just outside of our reach.

Learn more about the colonization of indigenous healing traditions in this excellent blog post. If the author’s words don’t move you, perhaps this documentary made in 1996 entitled White Shamans and Plastic Medicine Men will. If you’re still confused about the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural sharing and inspiration, I can suggest A Basic Guide to Open and Closed Religions and Cultures.

I am so grateful to you for coming and leading such a wonderful program…it seemed like the group really connected with you and the content. I was really proud to offer the Cove community your particular program this week, especially since last week so many US cities recognized Indigenous Peoples Day. I agree, the Western world really needs earth-honoring wisdom.
Will Fiorello, Seton Cove

You have a way of making the Andean teachings really interesting and very accessible. Your description of your teacher’s tradition and the world that he comes from was a powerful reminder that deep connection to the natural world is something that all our ancient ancestors shared. That need to deeply connect to nature still seems very relevant today.

Jeanne Cook, Austin, TX
You are a bright star in the skies bringing light to South America with your skills, experience and big heart. I see in you one of your roles in this incarnation as Connector and Weaver of Light.
Penelope Eicher, Heart Walk Foundation
Your presentation was a big hit. You are doing great things with White Horse Medicine. The impact of this program will be far reaching.
D.C., Mount Vernon, AR
Thank you so much for the support. I almost cried…a happy cry. I truly thank you for helping me with this problem!

Y. W., Austin, TX
Your voice and your presence is so powerful. Your kindness and understanding helped me survive this horrific experience and will give me the strength to make change going forward.
E. G. , Austin, TX
You inspire me not only from what you have done to heal yourself, but you are very supportive of my health and well-being. Allison, you make a difference in many people’s lives.
M.S., Houston, TX