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"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Giving Gratitude for the Hard Stuff

We are not actually entitled to anything, not the water we drink or the air we breathe. Everything is a gift. For the gifts to flow we must give thanks. Gratitude is not only something that we needed to feel; it must take form. Gratitude must be part of the labor, love and wisdom of your day. It is not enough to say, "thank you"; gratitude must be made concrete through action and intent. How then do we show true gratitude for the gifts that come to us through the door of pain, betrayal, heartbreak, and less than perfect parents. This week host and shaman, Christina Pratt, explores how we give sincere thanks for the hard stuff in life. Gratitude as spiritual bypass sounds suspiciously like "everything is as it should be" and "they did the best they could" and it is still a bypass. How do we give thanks for those people, experiences, and events that show us what we do not want to see within ourselves?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is an issue of the soul, not the mind. To define PTSD as a psychiatric disorder is to miss the simplicity of what it is and how we can alleviate the suffering now for those who are trapped in a post-traumatic stress response to everyday. When we understand the soul loss involved in PTSD and include shamanic healing in the modalities prescribed, we can bring healing to those who have been damaged by their experience in terrifying ordeals, situations in which their life was threatened, or sustained situations that involve the constant threat of physical harm. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she explores what PTSD is, why it isn’t just getting triggered by unresolved issues of the past, and why we as a culture must begin to encourage suffers of PTSD to step beyond the boundaries of psychiatry to heal for themselves and for the next generations.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Sturgeon's Law of Spiritual Practice

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

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A friend asked me recently if the whole new age arena was just a lot of escapism for wounded people and ultimately another trap. It's become a recurring theme. A lot of what I'm hearing lately from people is frustration, fatigue, and even disgust with all things "spiritual." Many are feeling disillusioned and even betrayed. Some of them have actually been betrayed by spiritual practitioners, so that's quite understandable.

What I said to my friend, though, is that I feel I have learned and grown a lot through my experiences and study in things that fall under the very large umbrella of "new age." I have had some excellent teachers, but Sturgeon's Law applies.

Sturgeon's revelation, commonly referred to as Sturgeon's law, is an adage commonly cited as "ninety percent of everything is crap." It is derived from quotations by Theodore Sturgeon, an American science fiction author and critic: while Sturgeon coined another adage that he termed "Sturgeon's law", it is his "revelation" that is usually referred to by that term.

The phrase was derived from Sturgeon's observation that while science fiction was often derided for its low quality by critics, it could be noted that the majority of examples of works in other fields could equally be seen to be of low quality and that science fiction was thus no different in that regard from other art forms.

Given my own fairly extensive experience in what I shall broadly call new agedom, I feel very comfortable calling roughly ninety percent of it crap. Much of that crap, I ignore. I know my assessment is subjective and that one man's trash is another man's treasure. In other cases, where I think it's destructive, or even dangerous, I am not able to ignore it in good conscience. In particular, I have criticized The Secret and related law of attraction material. I have also included new age teachers such as James Arthur Ray and Teal Bosworth Scott Swan in discussions of religious abuse.

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Creating a Crucible of Transformation

Humans have an amazing capacity for change if they choose to access it. Even transformation, which is change we cannot go back from, is accessible when we risk engaging our hearts in the process of changes and allow inspiration to take over our minds. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, this week as she explores the elements required to create a crucible of transformation in our hearts and why our vulnerability as our great super power. Straight up, humans hate change... and they really hate transformation. But shamanism, with its robust relationship with the Trickster, offers us skills to be clever in the face of fear, to risk the Unknown when faced with the certainty of repeating patterns, and to be vulnerable so that we can engage the wisdom of our courageous hearts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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The Cardinal's Demotion

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

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It's official. Cardinal Burke is being demoted from a high court justice to a figurehead role. As discussed here, Burke himself had confirmed the rumored change. It is assumed that this is due to open criticism of the pope's more tolerant stance on social issues... and for being a firebrand.

Burke, who made waves in 2004 for saying that voting for a pro-choice candidate is “a serious sin,” has been an unusually outspoken detractor of Pope Francis since he ascended to the papacy in 2013. When the pontiff declared last year that the Catholic church was too “obsessed” with culture war issues such as abortion, for instance, Burke responded by saying that the church “can never talk enough” about the “massacre of the unborn.” And while Francis answered a question about gay priests by saying “who am I to judge?” last July, Burke told LifeSiteNews in October that homosexual acts are “always and everywhere wrong, evil.”

But on Saturday, the Vatican announced that Burke, who was elevated to Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, has been removed from his influential position as head of the Apostolic Signatura — the Vatican’s highest court — and reassigned to a largely ceremonial role as the Patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta.

“The position of Patron of the the Order of Malta is usually given to a retired cardinal, or as a second task to an active cardinal,” Michael Sean Winters, a prominent Catholic journalist, wrote in the National Catholic Reporter. “It has almost no responsibilities. The demotion is unprecedented, and completely warranted: Cardinal Burke’s influence at the Vatican has been crushingly backward looking, and that influence has resulted in some unhappy appointments.”

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The Heart of Fear

Everything has a heart, even fear. In our chronic, cultural avoidance of fear we miss the heart of the matter and in that miss the way through the fear and into a new way of living. Instead we delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped only to find ourselves cycling through our litany of fear-based stories, day after day, relationship after relationship. "With the intelligence that comes through us in shamanic journeying," explains host and shaman, Christina Pratt, "We can get past the anxiety and panic and touch the heart of the matter. Once at the heart of things all manner of interesting
possibilities unfold." Join us this week as we explore the elemental nature of fear and path rarely taken through the heart of it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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The Evolution of the Catholic Church

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

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There's a lot about Pope Francis I like. I like that he's shifting the emphasis of the Church toward love, charity, and compassion and away from hate and judgment. I like that he's so outspoken on the issue of economic inequality. I like that he's at least flexible enough on GLBT issues that he apparently supported civil unions in Argentina. I like that he's driving Catholic hardliners crazy by giving tacit approval to a more gay, and divorce tolerant, direction. I don't like that he opposed same sex marriage in Argentina and equated gay adoptions with child abuse, only to make really lackluster efforts on the real child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

All in all, kind of a mixed bag, but when all's said and done, there's something about his face that makes me feel warm inside. There's an openness and a joy that emanates from Pope Francis that just makes me like him even when I'm disappointed in the lack of substantive progress. I get why the media loves him. He's loveable. I think, however, he's getting credit for radical changes in the Church that just aren't happening.

All day I've been watching stories pour in about how exciting it is that Pope Francis believes in evolution and the big bang. Such breathless headlines ignore the fact that there is nothing radical, revolutionary, or even new in his position. It's squarely in line with Church doctrine.

Said Pope Francis: 

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared.

Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

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Grace in Transition

Grace in transition does not come easily to modern people who live in the climate controlled illusion that they have mastered nature, wilderness, and the Unknown. In transition we are neither here nor there and as a result we are either losing or gaining energy. This is why in the transitional seasons of spring and fall we often experience erratic emotions, "spring colds", and fall depressions. How we attend to these transitions determines the quality of energy we bring to our engagement with life. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she explores working with the seasons to draw the unique richness from each stage of the cycle of a year on earth. Each season is its own spirit. Akin to the spirits of the land, seasonal spirits have profound influence on us, regardless of our ignorance to their presence. To engage with the season spirits openly and honestly is to engage in simple elegance, rich blessings, and the refinement of presence.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Hoodoo Rootwork with Khi Armand

Hoodoo, a wellness modality and system of folk magic draws from many sources. It "is not New Orleans Voodoo, Haitian Vodou, nor Santeria, Palo, or any other religio-magical practices borne from the African diaspora," explains our guest Khi Armand. "...hoodoo is unique partly because of its lack of religious structure. It is not a religion... It is a powerful tool for creating change, no matter your creed or nationality." Join us this week as host and shaman, Christina Pratt, explores the roots and history of hoodoo, its contemporary manifestation, and current practices with Conjure in the City's, Khi Armand, from Brooklyn, NY.

This week's guest:
Khi Armand

Khi is a gifted and trained spiritual counselor and ritualist. He experienced psychic and supernatural phenomena from an early age, which led him on a journey to study the world's spiritual traditions and the energetic relationships between humans, plants, and other animal species. He holds a degree in Ritual Anthropology and studied animism and ritual at the graduate level.

A modern alchemist, Khi combines intuitive communication with the lifeforce in herbs, roots, stones, and bones with a thorough knowledge of their applicability in a variety of world magical practices (including hoodoo rootwork and Latin American curanderismo) toward helping his international clientele manifest both short- and long-term goals and intentions. Khi's alliances with helping spirits and his ability to channel and enlist Ancestral Helping Spirits lends his work tremendous efficacy and authenticity, drawing upon our most ancient wellness modalities as they regain worldwide recognition for their beauty, efficacy, and necessity.

Khi teaches workshops and presents at conferences across the United States. He performs time-honored and innovative rites that lead people into greater joy, purpose, and prosperity. Khi is a member of the Association of Independent Readers & Rootworkers (AIRR), a gathering of professional practitioners of African American folk magic who provide psychic reading and spiritual root doctoring services to the public.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Homophobic Cardinal Ousted By Pope Francis

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.




It has been confirmed, by Cardinal Raymond Burke, that Pope Francis intends to demote him from the Vatican's high court.

American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a darling of conservative Catholics who is virulently anti-gay, has confirmed to BuzzFeed what rumors from Rome have said for weeks. He will be demoted by Pope Francis from the head of the Roman Catholic Church's version of the Supreme Court to a figurehead role as the Patron of the Knights of Malta, a chivalrous order known for its work among the sick.

Maybe he can do that job without spewing hate at ninety miles an hour. Let's hope none of those sick people are gay. He recommends shunning them.

Burke recently told an interviewer that legally-married gay and lesbian family members should be shunned from family celebrations during the upcoming holidays, asking “what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?”

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Creating Sacred Life: Shamanic Practice 6

The sacred is inherent in all things. Relationship with the sacred nourishes our deeper self, rekindles our passion for our soul's purpose, and opens the way for love to enter our lives. Yet we have largely lost the art of being in relationship with the sacred. In everyday life we starve our deeper self of the energies that nourish it, indulge our stories of isolation and separation and justify depression or aggression as appropriate responses to life and its teachings. The sacred, immune to our folly, is patient and present, waiting for us to remember how to tend our relationship with it. Join us this week as host and shaman, Christina Pratt, shares the basics of shamanic practice that retrain our intention, perception, and imagination to engage with the sacred as a natural course of our everyday lives.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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The Ghosts of Clear Mountain

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

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An old college friend of mine tagged me into a comment thread on Facebook the other day. Had I ever encountered any of these supposed ghosts when we were at Montclair State?

Montclair State is said to be one of the most haunted colleges in America.

For years there have been reports of doors and windows slamming, lights flickering on and off, constant cold, and even a ghost who hovers over the beds of the tenants.

It is believed that Montclair is built on top of Indian burial grounds and alumni say it’s a very scary school. So scary, that many refuse to go in the woods after sundown. There have been many reports of figures believed to be Native Americans spotted in the forests.

According to Classes and Careers, the worst stories come from the Clove Road Apartments. Tenants have reported electrical appliances turning on and off on their own, lights on the second floor flashing on and off by themselves, disembodied knocks on bedroom and bathroom doors, “unearthly” noises emanating from the woods behind the apartments.

I remember hearing about weird happenings at Clove Road. I never got terribly invested in it. I only visited apartments there once or twice. When you're me, everywhere is haunted, and the vast majority is really unthreatening.

What struck me, though, about this story is that it to some degree affirms something I've long suspected -- that Montclair State might well be on an Indian burial ground. I had no idea at the time that this had been rumored. I only knew that the years I spent there were miserable. I had health problems and battled depression the entire time. My grades suffered. I simply hated it there.

Former Insider: TEAL is "Deluded and Dangerous"

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.




First, a note on TEAL's moniker: I can't keep up. Teal Bosworth Scott Swan has simply changed her name too many times for me to keep updating and adapting. She now seems to be identifying as Teal Swan, but when she first married Sarbdeep Singh Swan, she announced that her professional name would be TEAL, in all caps. For a while she signed all her obnoxious self-quoting info-graphics that way. At some point, she changed that to Teal Swan, but I am past caring. Because I have no idea how many times her last name will change, I am sticking with her suggestion of a stand-alone first name. However, I refuse to do the all-caps thing all the time. It's annoying to keep cap-locking as I type a body of text, so what I have adopted instead is the use of her first name and in all one case. In titles and at the beginnings of sentences, that is all caps, and in other text, all lowercase. This also solves the problem of having her name constantly SHOUTED, as that is what all caps means in internet-speak. So, for the most part, she is now identified in most of my text as teal.

After I posted my first blog on then Teal Scott, which focused largely on her mistreatment of her ex-boyfriend Fallon, I learned of another member of her inner circle who was similarly targeted, scapegoated, and vilified. The name Cameron Clark came up repeatedly in comments. The Shadow House episode in which teal had subjected her to a range of verbal assaults had gone down the memory hole, but it was the stuff of legend. As she had done with Fallon, teal instigated a shaming and shunning among her followers that was gruesome. Anyone who defended Cameron also got scorched, in some cases directly by teal.

Some time later Cameron reached out to me and we discussed some of her teal related concerns privately. When she felt ready to break her public silence, she also made some comments on my blog, to the great relief of many people who had been very concerned for her well-being. I am thrilled that Cameron now feels ready to tell her whole story publicly. In the player above, she is interviewed at length by Jessica Schab.

It's a long conversation, over five hours, but for anyone who wants to know what life in teal's orbit is really about, it's worth taking the time to weed through it. For reasons that should be obvious, I do not agree with Jessica's framing. I don't think teal is emblematic of the new age, of non-traditional spirituality, or of any kind of religion. I think she falls firmly into the category of religious abusers.

That she abuses her authority was apparent to me when I read in her blog posts that she had erroneously diagnosed her own boyfriend as a psychopath, blurring the lines between lover and client, between uncredentialed healer and therapist, between reality and something else entirely.

Study Finds Consciousness Survives Clinical Death

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.



Results from the AWARE Study were released yesterday and the evidence of continuing consciousness is compelling.

The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely.

It is a controversial subject which has, until recently, been treated with widespread scepticism.

But scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria.

And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted.

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Enliven Your Spirit: Shamanic Practice 5

Sacrifice enlivens our spirit. It opens the way for miracles or the impossible or that which we truly desire to come into our lives. To enliven the spirit in our shamanic practice we must learn to step out of our comfort zones where we feel the simple exhilaration of surfing the surface wave and step into the deep soul satisfying discomfort of becoming people who will make a significant spiritual contribution to life on earth. Author, therapist, and internationally recognized teacher, Sandra Ingerman, joins host, Christina Pratt, this week to explore how we move our shamanic practices from serving our own visions to surrendering intimately to spirit and serving our part in the larger vision. Join us this week and discover who we need to become to engage in the transformations through love that are the needed medicines for our time.

This week's guest:
Sandra Ingerman

Sandra Ingerman, MA, is a licensed therapist and the author of numerous books including How to Heal Toxic Thoughts, Soul Retrieval, and Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins. She is also the author of several lecture programs produced by Sounds True. Sandra lives in New Mexico and can be found online at www.sandraingerman.com.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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