Thursday, July 25, 2013

Working Under the Influence of Spirit: A Review of Drinking the 4 Winds

Working Under the Influence of Spirit

A Review by Dorothy L. Abrams of Drinking the Four Winds: A Shamanic Love Story by Ross Heaven

Published by Moon Books July 2013

I read through this volume carefully because apart from love and madness which I know enough about, I am inexperienced in the use of hallucinogens. In fact I am generally biased against their use by white people in shamanic practices. Consequently I took my time weighing the book and its story, wondering how strongly to recommend Drinking the Four Winds. In the end, I decided to give it my whole hearted support as a shamanic practitioner, spiritual counselor and book reviewer. Ross Heaven gives us an honest, painful and joyful telling of his life experiences since he walked out of pharmaceutical sales and into the world of spirit. For that reason alone, this book is well worth reading.

In addition, for those not familiar with ayahuasca, San Pedro and salvia, the author offers us an intimate disclosure of their work with him. He is embraced and cared for by these plant spirits. His heart is run through the wringer, but that is how these journeys go. Following his story is an education in human interaction with plant allies. His book is a memoire of courage. That is equally true about his interaction with co-workers and lovers.

Fortunately, Ross Heaven is a good story teller. That may be one of the gifts from the plants, and it may also be in his bag of talents. He carried me along from adventure to misadventure in ways I could appreciate, having been there too working with people who are their own worst enemies, and sometimes less a friend to me than I thought. I found his writing on love addiction particularly clear. It explained behaviors I had not been able to quite define in my own circle. I was truly surprised at some of the outcomes, even sucked into the story. I found myself muttering "Are you kidding me?" more than once.

In the end, I did not change my mind about working shamanically in western society without ingesting plant spirits. I rely on my drums and rattles to carry me through the portals of consciousness. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from someone so experienced about his journeys with the plants. When he says he drinks the 4 Winds, he means it. I could read between the lines. I did decide to go back to my plant allies and ask some more questions. I have not completed my plant spirit work, but then neither has Ross Heaven. I know he agrees from what he wrote. A continued education as a shamanic worker is a realistic life under the influence of the spirits.

One thing though, I was left wondering about in this saga: what happens next?

Waiting for book 2, Ross.
If you are ready to buy, the book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble and of course through Moon Books.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lyrica Muse, The Cover!


Today's Cover Reveal for Michelle Cornwell-Jordan

The cover was created by the amazing Joy Stroube

Dreamscape Covers

Lyrical Muse Anthology

Publisher: Michelle Cornwell-Jordan (3CM Media)


Lyrical Muse is a collection of stories that reflects life's rhythms through everyday people. Each story is an example of the best and the worst of the Human soul. Every life lived has its own melody, and within these pages, the reader is taken on a journey to the blackest depths of a daughter's murderous soul to the prickly minefield of a jealous woman's heart and so much more.

So enter of your own free will and allow our whimsical Muse to lead you on an odyssey which just might help redefine your own reality.
Sounds good doesn't it? I'll post more about the contributors later in the week when the cat can be pried from the computer monitor.  Blessings, on this book!  Dorothy


Monday, July 15, 2013

Calling the Shining Ones: Inanna

Inanna protect your people;
Inanna defend your land.
Inanna restore your altars
In the cities of the sand.

Inanna raise up your women.
Inanna return their souls.
Inanna end domination
And the pain of man's control.

Inanna free us from violence;
Stop persecution, bombs and war.
Inanna remove the armies;
Make Persia yours now as before.

 I wrote this poem 16 June 2006. It is even more appropriate now.

File:Kudurru Melishipak Louvre Sb23 Ishtar-star.jpg
Eight pointed Star of Inanna/Ishtar
located in Le Louvre, excavated by Jacques de Morgan
photo from Wikimedia, by Marie-Lan Nguyen (2005)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Apple Pie and the 4th of July

photo from Wikicommons, Pascual de Ruval
Back in the day when I was working as a community activist in poverty and women's issues, I learned the urban take on that line in the Pledge of Allegiance was "...with liberty and justice for y'all." People who were poor, black, Hispanic or female felt left out of liberty and justice because they couldn't afford it. They couldn't afford safe housing. They couldn't afford nutritious food. They were fast losing the ability to pay for heat with rising oil prices. When they needed legal advice, they couldn't afford lawyers. They couldn't afford medical care. Lots of them worked, but at low paying jobs without bennies. I have said many times since then, the hardest working people in this country are the poor. People at the top of the heap don't know that, but it is true.

Things have changed, but for folks at the bottom of the socio economic barrel, not much. Yet on this American birthday, on this 4th of July, our government is turning back against the anti poverty programs that made such a difference in the 70's, 80's and 90's. Congress has tried dozens of times to stop health care extension to people who work and have no insurance. Congress attacks social security, food stamps, WIC, college loans, and Goddess knows what else. Anything that supports the working poor and middle class, especially labor unions, has become some sort of infringement of the rights of the rest of us, as if "entitlements" attack apple pie.

Huh? How is that possible? Those are my rights I am entitled to: life (to live in a safe neighborhood, to have access to health care that I can afford, to collect my social security, to buy safe food, to go out at night as a woman and not be accused of asking for it), liberty (to speak my mind, to worship the Goddess, to gather with my friends around a cause we support, to read independently produced literature and news, to travel and not answer to anyone), and the pursuit of happiness (to seek what gives me joy, to own property, to start a business or do work that is meaningful, to have free time and waste it, to raise my kids, to  build a family or a community, to be educated). The government is here to ensure these rights for everyone.  In my humble opinion it does. Imperfectly perhaps, but it does.

So why are so many people grousing about loss of liberty? Why do they hate taxes that fund the government entitlements? Why are we so selfish we think this country is lost and our rights are gone because of taxes and government policies supporting our rights? I can still exercise all my rights if  I have money. If I don't have money, and the government programs that help with housing, nutrition, education, business start ups are cut, then my rights are screwed. You would think the ones complaining the loudest would be the poor.  Nope. They complain, and rightly so, but the poor are being drowned out by the selfish. This has to stop. We have to get back together and realize that if we want liberty and justice for all, we have to fund it. There is no liberty or justice when people are ignorant, hungry or scared.

Let me be more positive and upbeat. This country is the land of greatest opportunity and potential, probably in the whole world. In the US we can beat the class system with education and decent employment. However that means corporate America has to keep jobs here. It has to pay taxes like it did in the 60's and 70's. College loans need affordable rates. Universities need to keep their costs down.

We can beat injustice. That means our legal system needs to solve crimes with full investigations, not pick a likely suspect and prove a case against them regardless of the facts.  I've been a court observer too many times to be na├»ve about how DA's get convictions.  Beating injustice means our Civil Rights laws need enforcement so people are truly not judged on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation or national origin. If you want to live in a land of justice, that enforcement is absolutely essential because we have yet to outgrow our prejudices. Beating injustice means women must be able to live with men and be equal partners, that the rape culture that still exists in the media, jokes, government debate, and even at home has to change.  Women are not on earth as men's servants and sex toys. Men are not here on hearth to make women's decisions for them. Beating injustice means we have to curtail our right to swing our arms when we stand close to other people's noses. If we fail to control our arm swinging, then dammit the government better step in and stop the violence.

There is such a thing as white male privilege. There is such a thing as male privilege. There is such a thing as Christian privilege. These privileges are preference and deference so ingrained in the culture that we don't even ask why we get Christmas off and not Hanukah or Yule. We don't ask why when two people come home from work, the wife cooks dinner and the husband sits and watches the news. We don't ask why George Bush gets a pass on starting a war costing thousands and thousands of lives in the Middle East based on lies, but Barack Obama is castigated for the 4 deaths in Benghazi. In fact, we are so deeply accepting of the privilege of males, whites and Christians that the questions offend us.  It is that acceptance that anybody gets a pass because of their skin, genitals or creed that is in the process of changing, and that change is painful. Necessary, but painful. It cuts at what we thought were the foundations of our history. They aren't but we thought they were.

We can finish our creation of the land of opportunity and justice, but to do that we have to look at our culture honestly. We Us-Americans are very lucky people but there are miles to go before we sleep, miles to go before there is really liberty and justice for all. Commit to justice. Commit to being who you are as a partner, neither boss nor servant. Do what you can to untangle the train wreck we have made of our progress toward liberty and freedom, and speak up. It is that nagging voice of conscience that is our heritage, our apple pie that we celebrate.  Happy Birthday America. And may the Gods and politicians give us another 237 years to keep working on this so we can all get a piece of the pie. pie (4028525142).jpg