by Rev. Dhyana Kluth
Twenty-three years ago today I lost a beloved friend when we were ambushed by bullets in a drive-by shooting the media portrayed as a "botched robbery" in beautiful Balboa Park, San Diego, California. My friend, John, and I had spent almost the whole day together, attending two plays at The Old Globe Theater where we were apprentices, playing chess and drinking cafe lattes in between shows. Had we been aware of anything other than our reconciliation we would have noticed the pickup truck which drove by three times before targeting us as we walked back across the bridge to our parked cars after the last show and closing party.
I spent the following Christmas in Creede, Colorado with John's family and learned to laugh again even as I wrestled with why I had survived the shooting and what for. I knew then that I had to shed the old escape routes which I had become accustomed to before I even became a teenager thirteen years before. I somehow knew deep in my bones that I couldn't keep numbing my pain, that I was being called to minister and that that required letting go of some old habits. Thinking back, as I recall, it was after I'd gone to church with his family and we were out having dinner or drinks that I was feeling the wisdom of my soul urging me to stay sober to think these thoughts thorough, and to really be in my body and feel the emotions and pain in order to let them go; that this embodiment was the way to release myself from suffering.
It's become a lifelong practice. I never expected to get to nirvana this way however I've learned not only to survive but to thrive and blossom and to help others and my children do the same. For most -if not all- people this life is full of potholes and pitfalls and roadblocks that call upon us to rise above despair and to carry on. The landscape of the past doesn't change but when we do we become aware and mindful to walk around the gaping crevasses and not to walk off a treacherous cliff. We can embrace our nature and enjoy the wild adventure that is our life and allow it to lead us to greener pastures.
My serendipitous life led me to follow a particular thread when I happened upon of a crate of books at the church book sale around the corner from my Jersey City apartment 16 years ago. Reading Shaman, Healer, Sage by Dr. Alberto Villodo resonated so deeply and I paid attention when I discovered the author was giving a presentation at the Open Center in New York City that week. I met another practicing shaman there, a beautiful social worker who is dedicated to helping the homeless in NYC among other noble pursuits. She introduced me to the NY Shamanic Circle that was to become my spiritual home and where I would find more of my shamanic teachers over the next decade and a half. She encouraged me to come with her to the weekend workshop with Alberto Villoldo the next day. So I went and then I scheduled a private session with him. I was on the shamanic path as fate would have it. I'd suffered greatly and found my way toward a deeply healing and transformational path that grounded me and changed he direction of my life and the vibratory resonance of my entire being.
One thing stands out in all the years of my training as a shaman and that is the essence that we are being called to open our hearts and help each other bring balance to the world with the ancient practices that bring balance to our fast-paced modern lives.
The first person who encouraged me to embrace the shamanic path 15 years ago, Dr. Villoldo, was taught by indigenous Inca elders in Peru who believed it was time to bring this wisdom to the western world. He introduced me to the four-year intensive psychology/spiritual Helix Training Program I completed ten years ago with a ministerial degree and a broad array of training in mainstream and alternative eastern and western healing practices. The skilled founding faculty of that great seminary for healing and transformation put together a thorough offering to create a personal experience of radical wholeness through psychological understanding, mindfulness and spiritual practice. I am grateful to all of them, especially Julie Winter who I continued to study with years later, for giving me this solid foundation - the roots of my holistic healing practice and way of being.
After over 14 years as a spiritual midwife and visionary sound healer, my next teacher Susana Tapia Leon shared the sacred knowledge she practices in her Sound Movement Resonance Apprenticeship where I was first introduced to the concepts of rebirth and heart/womb awakening, the hidden depths of perception, awareness and consciousness of the hypothalamus mind and the innocence of our spirit, and breathing sound up from the earth through our roots and yoni. This apprenticeship culminated in the powerful and beautiful Birthing of Sound gathering. These offerings still resonate within me and have become the energetic signature of my vocation, and I have found more information and training in this work via the Womb Awakening I was introduced to while apprenticing with my next teacher.
Four years ago my beloved teacher, medicine woman and co-founder of the NY Shamanic Circle Irma Star Spirit Woman, offered her first Shamanic Healing Apprenticeship. Irma honors the ways of her Mayan and Taino lineage on this path and continually shares all the wisdom of her studies with medicine elders from all around the world. When I completed her 11-month Mayan and Toltec Medicine Way Apprenticeship, I was initiated and given the medicine name, Woman Who Runs With Song. The spirits kept urging her to pass along the healing wisdom to others and she continues to inspire me to do the same.
I live and breathe this way of being in the world and in relating with others. It has been a long process, and a loving practice, to keep opening my heart and allow my energy to flow. I practice opening my heart and remaining present with the overwhelming emotions of love and anger in my children, my husband, with my friends and my community and within my self.
We give and receive. As we breathe.
It is my vocation with the way of Womb Awakening, what feels like a culmination of all I've studied and feel deeply in my body as Truth. I am continually learning to embody the multicultural feminine shamanic practices being shared with the utmost integrity and mindfulness by The Fountain of Life via their online courses, womb circles, apprenticeships and teacher trainings. Dr. Azra Bertrand and Seren Bertrand have rebirthed and rooted in the earth the teachings of cultures and lineages of the world along with research and science to support and deepen our embodiment and comprehension of historic indigenous medicine ways.
We are being called to share this ancient wisdom. I have heard the call. I was receiving and listening to the messages even before 1994 - but that year, May 1 was a wake up call. After witnessing the sudden death of my beloved friend in a random drive-by shooting I knew I had survived for some greater purpose that I was being asked to dedicate myself to. To help others navigate the psychic and emotional depths I have returned from - and continue to evolve from, with the maps and tools I have acquired along this challenging personal terrain.
As I put these methods into practice, I began to feel domino effect of this energy work. What I attracted and what I was magnetized towards shifted, fears lifted and I was blessed with pivotal changes in my life. After all of the harrowing adventures I'd been through in my early young life and what I used to say was "the bomb that broke the camel's back" I was carried on the love and prayers of friends and family and people I didn't even know. I knew there was potent magic in the invisible realm. My curiosity and resilience carried me through the flames to a loving husband and lively bright children who teach me every day what more I still need to heal and finesse in my life. My journey has brought me a co-creative Womb Awakening partner to facilitate workshops and moon circles with. We are all thriving in a community of such loving mindful wealth. Divine Mother, thank you for my life. I am grateful and humbled by the grace of divine spirit.
The profound effect of my friend's sudden death is still felt and being integrated on an ongoing basis -by everyone who knew and loved him, as all life experiences are remembered and stored in the body and in our feminine consciousness. My beloved friend spoke of the symbiotic relationship between man and woman in his master's thesis just before he was shot and killed. I always felt there to be a closure for him in this epiphany of understanding in how we all relate as living beings. The more deeply I study, the more I come back to this theory of relational healing and how we are all connected. Our lives are all intertwined in a symbiotic relationship with all life at the subatomic energetic core, the primordial fabric of all life. I am mindful to treat others as I would myself, and am learning to love myself as deeply as I love my children.
We can learn from every encounter how to relate with each other, how to be a kinder and more loving human. You are all my teachers - every one of you whom I have crossed paths with. I bow deeply to all my teachers. I share the healing I have experienced and the practices I have studied, to introduce and initiate others into the world beyond time where balance and health are restored in the original blueprint of creation.
This is a time when we are awakening and being reminded to embrace and celebrate the fertility, fire, and abundance of our interwoven lives - especially when learning to live with loss and recover from trauma. We are all being called to Share the Medicine this planet direly needs - not just to survive the generations of oppression and annihilation we've inherited but - to thrive, blossom and bloom.
Beltane and Spring blessings to you all.
With love and devotion,
Carol, Aine and Dhyana are Womb Priestesses and Fountain of Life teachers and mentors who love the path of motherhood, dancing, shamanism, creative living and sisterhood.
I'm grateful to intelligent people. That doesn't mean educated. That doesn't mean intellectual. I mean really intelligent. What black old people used to call 'mother wit' means intelligence that you had in your mother's womb. That's what you rely on. You know what's right to do.