Digital painting by Gary Stamper (click for a larger version)
I recently wrote about my first experience with Shamanic Breathwork. Since then, I 've had two more sessions, both ecstatic. In the second, I found myself supporting other friends who were also going through the process with me. In my third experience, a few days ago, I was 'breathed" again by Anyaa, who, among many other talents and gifts, is a Shamanic Breathwork Facilitator.
Ever since Ken Wilber recently asserted that our shadow is the number one block to our transformation, I've been working hard at examining my own shadows, and it appears to a never-ending quest, and I'm going to write about that in a future blog.
Still chasing my shadow, for this latest breathwork I set my intentions to try to visit the darker aspects of my subconscious. However, that is not what I experienced. This time I had what I can only interpret as a vision.
I'm assuming you've read my earlier blog on Shamanic Breathwork and at least have a basic understanding of it's origins with Stan Grof and Holotropic Breathwork, but I'd like to lay some groundwork of the process for you.
To begin, I was blindfolded and "cocooned" on the floor in warm blankets and pillows behind my head and knees. Anyaa then set the tone of the process, based on my intentions and her years of experience, in an almost prayer-like induction. Once the induction was completed, breathing and a musical journey through each of the Chakras began and lasted about 80 minutes. The combination of music and breathing creates a deeply altered state of consciosness in which whatever needs to arise, will.
For what seemed like a long time, nothing happened to me....then, for whatever reason, I began crying softly, not feeling sadness or joy, but just releasing. Under Anyaa's guidance, I was encouraged to "just let it go," and began sobbing and wailing, literally yelling, as I released tensions and pressures from my deepest being.
Eventually, I calmed and my father came into my consciousnessness, and I continued gently crying. Now, my father and I have always had a great relationship, and what I experienced was just pure, deep love for him. At 88, and so far healthy, I am blessed to still have him in my life, and there was just pure gratitude.
Then, the vision portion of my breathwork kicked in.
As the music continued to move me emotionally though the Chakras, I had a vision of standing in what I can only describe as a giant hall, open to the universe above, with streaming white light on both sides of me, travelling and moving toward a point in front of me, leading me to the end of the "hall." Also on both sides, were rows of spiritual beings (Shamans?) welcoming me on my journey through the lights. At the end of the hall, bathed in white light, stood Anyaa, in her Priestess robes, also welcoming me....and as I moved forward, she gently took my hand, and began guiding me to what I believe was a possible future. The digital painting I created at the top of this blog piece is almost exactly what I saw in this process. Anyaa eventually led me out of the breathwork and I just laid there for a while.
Later, while deconstructing my vision, I asked, "how much of what I saw was ego-induced?" Anyaa replied that, if you're truly immersed in the process, you can't manifest through your ego from those deep places: ego doesn't exist there.
Now I'm left with interpreting my vision, and while I won't share all of my interpretation, I can tell you that I believe a path was further opened for me, and that it was both a description of what is already happening in my life and a continuation and affirmation of what is possible for me. I believe it's time for me to start stepping out more as a teacher, sharing my gifts with others, and that the teachings I bring will be of service and value to others. I also believe that this is the right time for this to manifest, because it is manifesting in my life. Right now.
I'm going to continue doing the Shamanic Breathwork, and I'm producing a SeattleIntegral Shamanic Breathwork weekend event here in Seattle in June with Anyaa and her fellow teacher, Jeff Berger, who lives here in the northwest. I'm going to meet Jeff in April, when I travel to North Carolina to do an eight-day intensive on Shamanic Breathwork, as I'm considering becoming a facilitator.
Anyaa McAndrew is a licensed psychotherapist and resides in Western North Carolina. Her work is grounded in Transpersonal and Shamanic psychology as she walks the spiritual path of the Goddess. As an ordained Madonna Ministry Bishop and a Magdalene High Priestess, she has birthed the Mystery School of Life Force Energy, encompassing the Scorpio-Taurus Mysteries. Her Priestess Circles empower women to reclaim the lost soul essence of the priestess within.