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Inspired by the Pachamama Days of Peru, let us imagine a world. The shamans of the high Andes dedicate the first 12 days of August to honor Pachamama and dream the year ahead into being with the Despacho Ceremony.

Dona Berna praying at Umantay, holy mountain in the Andes

Dona Berna praying at Umantay, holy mountain in the Andes

During these Pachamama days I invite you to write in the comments below what you imagine so we may dream our world into being with a collective prayer for ceremony. Your prayers will be offered at a Full Moon Fire Ceremony on August 10th.

I imagine a world where love is the prevailing force on our planet.

I imagine a world where every child knows they are worthy and loved.

I imagine a world with clear waters and clean air.

I imagine a world where the abundance of our planet feeds every belly and soul.

The times we are living in are callling for our visions to be bigger than ever before. I bow in gratitude for addiing your voice to a collective vision. May generations to come look back and say thank you for what we are creating today.

We open our ceremony with a song to our Beloved Mother.
This song was birthed in June 2013 by Tracey St. John
during the Empowerment Camp at Feathered Pipe Ranch.

Click on the image to listen.

Tibetan Singing Bowl

Mother Earth Prayer Song

We offer our collective hearts to Spirit.
We let go of the attachment
of how our visions and dreams 
will manifest in the Kaypacha. 
We cultivate trust in the divine order. 
We surrender to the great mystery 
so we are no longer guided by the voices of fear, 
the limiting belief systems and old paradigms
that have laid false imprints in our minds. 

We deepen our connection to Nature and open the channels to Spirit 
as we fearlessly step into the guidance that is so willingly offered to us.

AHO!

 

 

 

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We started by sweeping the floor.

Our last day at Empowerment Camp was a day of ceremony. A morning Sweat Lodge followed by an afternoon Despacho. The Despacho ceremony comes to us from the shamans of the high Andes in Peru. A feast for Pachamama to bring our nature into right relationship with all of Nature. Julie Daley (one of my co-facilitators at the Empowerment Camp at Feathered Pipe) and I began preparing the space for ceremony…clearing the clutter, sweeping the floor. I laid down an altar cloth of recycled saris. A woven cloth from the Andes was placed on top to hold our Despacho.

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We pulled from the pantry offerings…chocolate chips, rice, quinoa, almonds, raisins, oats and shredded coconut. We have all heard of the awakening of the Divine Feminine at this spiritual threshold on which we now stand. The Dalai Lama has said, “The world will be saved by the Western woman.”

It is because we know this work.

How many women have prepared a Thanksgiving or holiday feast? You know what to do.

You clean the house. You pull your finest china and linens from the closet. Your favorite recipes are saved for these special times. Family and friends gather in celebration. Spirits are lifted. Hearts are nourished.

Women know this work. The work of ceremony. We nourish. We celebrate. We create sacred space full of love.

Ceremony uplifts our hearts. Ceremony carries our prayers and visions to Spirit. In ceremony we begin to see ourselves and each other through the eyes of love. Ceremony is what will carry us over the threshold.

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Our week to Awaken the Inner Teacher began with an altar. Sacred objects from home and heart were placed on top. Each day our altar blossomed in beauty with flowers, sticks and stones of the Earth. And it was there, on the altar, the intention of our Despacho laid bare.

Our ceremony reflected many different traditions. Saris from India. The Despacho from Peru. Tibetan prayer flags waiting for blessings to be blown in.

The borders erected based on gender, color, race, sexual preference, even the borders that exist between spiritual traditions are misguided and misdirected. Creations of our mind that reflect the collective wound of separation. An illusion. We are not separate. Whatever tradition we walk, whatever the color of our skin or ethnic background, we all originate from the same fire. It is a time of inclusivity. A time for healing from the illusion.

The heart of our Despacho was held in a conch shell. A shell received in ceremony swimming with wild dolphins. It sat in my mesa for a year but was now on the altar. It was not a perfectly polished conch shell that one finds in a gift shop but instead broken and worn, ancient and primordial. Washed through eons of time by the oceans of Mama Cocha holding the depths of wisdom from deep in the watery belly of Pachamama. Perfect in her imperfections.

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Surrounding the shell were 15 pine cones from the altar, initially placed like a Christmas tree to hold the intention of Light. Throughout history pine cones have served as a symbolic representation of Human Enlightenment, the Third Eye and the Pineal Gland. Our pineal gland, shaped like and named after the pine cone, is at the geometric center of our brain and is intimately linked to our body’s perception of light. Its mathematical architecture is sacred geometry in its most divine expression. This was the sacred container to which all other elements were placed.

Each item on the altar had something to say. Why had it appeared? A prayer of thanks was blown into each offering and then it spoke. The message revealed.

Despacho Karen-8103

Sacred Union.

It is time for the divine marriage of the Feminine and Masculine, each holding within, all polarities. The conch shell expressing our deepest Feminine Nature. The Pine Cones expressing the Divine Masculine, the Enlightenment of Light. The number 15 adds up to 6. The number of union, harmony, marriage.

Both the Feminine and Masculine appeared in an unexpected way. The shell as light, the pine cone as dark. We cannot take our ideas of Feminine and Masculine and impose them on this union for this union is not what we expect it to look like. We are traveling through new frontiers guided by the divine order of the Natural world and the ethereal whispers of Spirit.

ChAOs.

Appearing like ancient hieroglyphics scribbled on a stick.

ChAoS.

Be comfortable in chaos for it is the divine order of the Universe. The seed of creation. How is it chaos and order sit side by side? When we elevate our awareness, our understanding rises to see the paradox in all of Nature.  To see the paradox in spiritual law. The spiritual laws we are governed by cannot be understood by our minds. Another level of understanding is needed to learn and respect our spiritual laws.

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Who among us has not had a trust violated? Somewhere inside us that feels disconnected? A source of love we thought would always be there only to end in a broken heart, a painful betrayal? When we drop deeper than the wounds and heartaches, deep into the belly of Pachamama there is a source that is infinite. A love that is never betrayed. A well of promise that is ours to drink from…again and again and again. The mistrust we feel is ours. It does not come from our Mother Earth for her love is unconditional, her connection unwavering.

CREATION.

Sitting like a halo in the north of our despacho lay violet petals of iris. The gold light of the masculine and the silver light of the feminine alchemize to violet at the moment of conception, whether it be the conception of a child or the conception of a vision. Violet is the light of creation, the very source of that is breath. How important it is to remember our breath in our daily practice for it is with our breath we create our life.

Our inhale infuses our Self with life force. Our exhale combines with sound to create a vibration, a frequency we vibrate into the world. That frequency may be dull or sleepy, bright or clear. Our signal is creation. Through our signal we impact the world. What are we sending out? What are we giving voice to?

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We begin to raise our vibration elevating what we are creating in our lives through sound. When we make a sound we are clearing dense energies, creating movement where energy may be stuck. Our sound rings clear as a bell. Imagine what you can create from that source? Breath and sound are building blocks in the process of creation.

DREAM BIG.

Evolution is happening very quickly now. We have no choice but to move forward. Can you stand and stop a tsunami? As much as our fears and doubts want to resist there is an urgency that propels each and every one of us to step into our power. Holding a vision for humanity that is bigger than ever before will drive us forward and lift us from our demons.

We Are All Children.

A baby pine cone from the altar placed in the sacred container of the Feminine reminds us we  are always children. We come to prayer as sons and daughters. Children of the Earth. Children of the Stars. We bring the innocence of our heart to ceremony. To look at the world through the eyes of a child enlightens us, restoring wonder and delight in the natural world.

The Inner Teacher.

The message of the Despacho came from the altar. From the wisdom that called each one to place these elements there. This could not come through one voice. The relationship of guru to student is falling away. When we place a guru above us we establish a hierarchy in relationship believing the guru has more spiritual authority than we do. We give away our spiritual power. We lose sight of our spiritual wisdom.

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It is time to honor, discover and awaken the Inner Teacher. The wisdom that each one of us walks with. When that wisdom is woven within a collaborative tapestry it grows richer and deeper.

As wisdom comes through you it is a gift to be shared as we step into our deep knowing, our spiritual authority. This is what we are here to walk, to teach, to share. In our families, our communities, the circles in which we live.

The sacred womb of the Feminine can hold all of Creation. The depths from which the Feminine can hold Creation is met by the protection and trust that she is held and surrounded by in the Masculine. As this relationship is brought to balance, into ayni, each one of us can do the work we are here to do.

The work of Munay.

The work of Love.

Photos by Anne Jablonski
Board of Directors Feathered Pipe Foundation

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Our ideas about a daily practice can often be an obstacle to practice. We may think that a daily practice must look like our yoga class. Or we must be able to assume a certain posture in order to meditate. We think conditions must be perfect before we start. We need a special space or certain equipment or the right clothes. Expanding beyond our ideas can liberate the impediments to practice.

If nothing else, practice is about change and adaptability. I practice yoga but rarely use a mat. My cushion has been with me for years but I am often meditating without it. What my practice looked like 10 years ago or 5 years ago is vastly different than what it is today. A sense of fluidity and flow is necessary in establishing a practice.

My daily practice has always included some form of work with my body. If I strip my physical practice to its heart what lies within is the practice of meditation. The physical form may vary but the awareness that I bring to that form cultivates practice.

We do not meditate to become good meditators. We meditate so we can show up in our life with the qualities we cultivate in practice. When we cultivate the mind of meditation, this presence and attention naturally spills over from our mat into our life. The parameters of our practice blur. Our practice is no longer strictly defined by the time we spend sitting on a cushion. One of the most important qualities we establish in a daily practice is that of showing up. This is no small feat.

I recently took part in a workshop at the Shambala Center in NYC; Running With the Mind of Meditation.

A group of like-minded souls gathered on a Sunday afternoon. For this brief moment in time we became a small sangha weaving our way through the chaotic streets of Manhattan, running with the mind of meditation. Running has been a practice of mine for 25 years. Most of my running is done alone. Running in community fed my heart, not just as some cardio workout, but through the spark of devotion in every heart I ran with that day.

It was that spark of dedication from each heart that showed up that fed my soul. Each one of us took time out of a Sunday afternoon and made the effort to meet in the heart of the city to run and meditate. We showed up. And that touched my heart.

And that is what a daily practice asks of us. To show up.

To show up when we don’t want to. To show up when we are tired. To show up when we are pissed off. To show up when showing up is the last thing we want to do.

But is this not the same thing that life asks of us? That we must ask of ourselves?

What inspires a daily practice?

Show up and find out.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit
www.karenchrappa.com

If you would like to delve deeper into the art of practice show up for the Empowerment Camp at Feathered Pipe in Montana next summer where Michael Lennox and I are soulfully collaborating to Awaken the Inner Teacher.

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As anyone who does healing work knows…you step on to this path because it is you yourself that needs healing. For me I didn’t just step on to a healing path, I hit the ground running.

I started smoking at 11 years old. Fifteen years later as I entered school for Physical Therapy my habit was up to two packs a day. Although I made many attempts to stop it was stepping into a healing profession that helped me finally call it quits. How could I help others heal their body if I could not help myself? So I started running. A few years later I finished the NYC marathon in 3 1/2 hours. I awoke to the healing wisdom of the body.

My personal healing has intimately intertwined with my work in the world. I shifted beyond the borders of traditional Physical Therapy as my work became strongly influenced by my personal evolution in Thai massage, yoga, meditation, breathwork, shamanism. My work had traversed far from my roots leaving me with an identity crisis of sorts. Most people came to see me through the western medical system. There was some understanding of what to expect when going to see a physical therapist. What I often heard was this is not what I thought physical therapy was going to be like at all. I struggled to define my work through the confines of physical therapy that gave me a license I could rely on to bring me income. A simple equation of risk versus security.

A pivotal question posed by a mentor pushed me further into the unknown. How do you intend to bring your wisdom into the world? Spirit nudged even stronger. I began offering ceremonies online breaking free from the spiritual closet where most of my work remained hidden. The ceremonies caught the attention of Melissa McNair, co-director of Feathered Pipe. The message left on my voicemail one day was nothing short of a divine calling. Would I be interested in weaving ritual and ceremony during the Empowerment Camp at Feathered Pipe? Spirit opened a public portal to step into the role of a medicine woman. All I had to do was walk through.

A sacred assemblage of souls gathered in June. In the deep beauty of Montana our most courageous hearts stretched wide weaving the dark of the New Moon with the light of the Summer Solstice. Held in the incubating elements of Pachamama; water, earth, fire, air, it became very clear we were in a deep process of birthing. As we breathed the holy breath, journeyed to the womb in a consecrated cave, we prayed, we laughed, we screamed, we cried, we sang, we danced, we healed, we birthed.

Through the magic of Feathered Pipe we emerged anew.

Photographer Alison Postighone

Photographer Alison Postighone

A personal pachakuti, or cycle of time, had come to an end. An initiation that began some 25 years earlier. The completion of one cycle meant the start of another. A medicine woman birthed into the world. A birth of the soul pouring forth from the heart. A heart that has lived long enough to have itself torn apart. A heart whose essence holds the power to endure.

I came to see how I had shaped my work to be less than in a western model of medicine that had no space for Spirit. What I was shaping was the voice of the Sacred Feminine, diminished by culture, conditioned through belief systems, science, religion, ancestors and wounds in an attempt to thwart her power. The earliest voice of my feminine was manipulated by a masculine determined to keep dominion over a home ruled by alcohol. The light of my truth could not hold a gaze to the blind eye of booze.

This external power play of masculine domination over a suppressed feminine internalized itself twisting my voice in self-doubt. Is what I see real? What I feel true? My body armored itself against her sovereign flow of feeling. The dark, tangled mess of emotions were deemed worthless, abandoned to deep recesses of heart and soul. Mind, steel sharp control and all that was rational served as the hallmark to success.

The voice of my internal masculine thwarted my power, belittled my feelings and abolished my needs. My worth was measured in doing. What certificate or letter I could place next to my name marked my accomplishments as if my very own existence required some stamp of approval from an authority outside of myself.

The ruling tyranny of a masculine dominated inner world has seen its end, within me and around me. It is the sacred feminine that is resurrecting now. There is no diploma to mark this passage. No letters to place after my name. Spirit is the teacher. Life is the initiation. Suffering is the school.

The external voices of oppression still exist. The ones that believe the notion of a medicine woman means I have completely lost my mind. It is not up to me to change those voices but rather to find the courage within so the voice that diminishes has no power over me. The voice that belittles what it cannot understand is no longer relevant in my life.

It is time for both the masculine and feminine to rise, to dance within in ways never before seen thereby shifting the way we move in the world.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit
www.karenchrappa.com

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Artist Alice Popkorn

Artist Alice Popkorn

The human heart holds the wisdom of the ages. There is no affliction, no suffering, no ailment that the heart does not already know. Our wounded heart believes it must hide in darkness. We fear further rejection, a pain our heart fears it could not bear.

Yet we are also a divine heart, possessed with a wisdom that has already seen and already knows that which is hiding. The divine wisdom of the heart has the capacity to hold everything.

To integrate our personal heart with that of the collective asks us to embrace everything our heart is holding on to. Our task is to generate the capacity for our heart to hold it all.

So even when our heart meets a disappointment we say yes. When our heart meets a betrayal we say yes. When hope is lost and we are blinded by tears our heart resounds in yes.

It is this yes to our personal heart that opens it and stretches it beyond our wounds. We expand in order to merge with the divine heart. The heart of unconditional love.

The heart of unity.

The generous heart.

The compassionate heart.

These qualities land first in our own heart as a pathway beyond the illusion that we are separate.

Separate from our heart.

Separate from our soul.

Separate from the world in which we live.

To suppress or oppose the pain of our heart only serves to intensify what we are feeling. To deny that which is a part of us creates an internal conflict and perpetuates the pain of separation.

Yes nurtures the seeds of our divine heart.

Yes offers a way through.

The work of our heart requires courage. It asks us to take a leap of faith. We must trust in order to stretch our heart open even wider.

Let our hearts open wide to meet the collective call of the Divine. Let our hearts rise into all that is. All that we are.

Hear the yes in your heart.

The time is now.

To say yes.

 

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Never in my life had I experienced the Earth under my feet as I did that day. Descending from 16,000 feet after ceremony in the Andes I began running. Not so much by choice but rather because I had no other choice. The life force of Pachamama, the Earth herself, rose on up coursing its way through my body. The power of a stallion surged through me unleashing my body into an insurpressable stride. In that moment I understood how the four leggesds run across the Earth effortless, wild and free.

They are not distracted by mindless chatter as they charge across her belly. They are not competitively striding to reach their destination. They are in deep communion in the most intimate of connections with the divine life force pulsing beneath them. They are fed by her, sustained by her. They open without restraint to her. Again and again and again. In a dance of glory across her belly.

By the time I reached bottom all I could do was bow to the ground in a cascade of tears. To taste but a drop of her divine nectar is spontaneously humbling. To receive a kiss of her sacred elixir touches grace. The power of Pachamama is undeniable and yet this power source below our feet is often absent from our awareness. Through centuries of conditioning we have come to believe we have dominion over Earth. We walk across her belly with a sense of ownership rather than servitude.

Perhaps the most blatant power play of this in our world rages between the corporate oil infrastructure and her resources. This hold on power is nearly unshakeable. Why on Earth would an oil company willingly give up this position of power? So much invested. So much at stake. So much has been gained. And so much to lose.

It may be easy to point fingers at the imbalance of power in the world around us but can we see the interplay of these forces within ourself? Where have we lost our power? Where do we give it away? What beleifs about power have created the infrastructure of our life? Where has our idea of power brought harm or suffering to another? When have we abused our power? When have we been abused? What do we gain through our power? And what have we got to lose?

The power play in the world around us takes center stage in our own heart. There are no easy answers to what is power but this much I know. Whatever we once thought is no longer true. Answers may not come easy but the questions are necessary to build new bridges to power within our own hearts. For a bridge to the power of our own heart creates bridges to true power in the world around us.

A balance of power is a dance on the Earth rather than dominion over her. A balance of power is a union of our heartbeat with that of the Earth. It is a balance of maintaining relationship with the world around us without losing the sovereignty of our own heart.

courtesy of Feathered Pipe

courtesy of Feathered Pipe

An empowered heart does not rely on the heart of another to meet its needs for love, security or approval but rather integrates the heart of another to uplift and empower. An empowered heart knows its force magnifies in union with other hearts in a force greater than alone. True power sources from a heart that is generous, a heart that cooperates, a heart that at its very essence longs to share.

It takes practice to fortify our heart in this way. To avoid falling prey to the old belief structures deeply embedded in our systems. It takes courage to build a new infrastructure from the true power of our heart. How do we drop our protective armor and expose our most tender heart when everything we have been conditioned to informs us to protect, defend, attack and justify in the face of threat?

This is the vision of Melissa McNair, co-director of the Feathered Pipe Foundation. This is the work of the open hearted warrior. There are ways to access this power. There are tools to keep our tender heart open. To dance in a new way with power that serves rather than suppresses. That uplifts rather than diminishes.

This is the conversation to empower your heart.

This is a call to your most tender heart.

This is the work I invite you to join.

This June at Feathered Pipe.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit
www.karenchrappa.com

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My Dear Friends…

Do you hear the deep yearning of your Soul, the whispers of your heart to live and express truth? There is a truth birthing within each one of us. What our heart yearns for is the space to listen. Modern lifestyles do not always afford us the space to hear and empower our heart. Intention alone is not enough. The heart calls us to take action. And the most profound action we can take on behalf of our heart is retreat. To take time and give space to the calling of our heart. I know the fierce dedication it takes to listen to our heart and remain open no matter what.
Feathered Pipe

Feathered Pipe

When I was graciously invited by my dear friend and Soul Sister Melissa McNair, co-Executive of the Feathered Pipe Foundation, to co-facilitate the Empowerment Camp at the Feathered Pipe Ranch I was ecstatic. Intentionally carving out time from our lives to cultivate and strengthen the open heart is an extraordinary opportunity. We often find our world does not support and actually inhibits this way of life. We miss the context, understanding and skills to maintain such a radical commitment.

The retreat at Feathered Pipe offers these skills and more. The Empowerment Camp is facilitated by Christian de la Huerta whose profound knowledge of Spirit and the transformational power of breath and meditation will enable you to view and experience your life, being, and relation to other in undistorted and empowered form. Along with friend and colleague, Joe Weston, author of “Mastering Respectful Confrontations”, we learn to help build the capacity to be in the midst of confrontation and hold our own in a heartfelt way. With multiple breathwork sessions, embodiment practices, powerful teachings, rich conversations and rituals, this retreat is a life-changing, empowering and freeing experience.

I am honored to offer my medicine gifts to remind us of our relationship with the Earth and our obligation to honor its gifts through various rituals and Earth based medicine practices. I will be offering healing sessions weaving bodywork and prayer. Timed to coincide with the new moon and the Summer Solstice, ceremony and ritual will be woven in to mark your passage and full embodiment, including a journey to the shaman’s cave in the oldest once-inhabited cave system in North America.

We will be weaving our work together, coming from our respective vantage points, all with the shared intent to create the optimal environment for your Empowerment Camp experience.

The setting is exquisite and the timing is perfect. The Ranch is located in a gorgeous and secluded mountain retreat setting outside Helena, MT. The Summer Solstice is upon us that week. The days are long and the sun sets around 9:30 pm. We plan to make the most of tapping into the power of this auspicious time.

I am looking forward to this with all my heart and know it will be a profoundly transformational – and fun – experience in an amazing setting.

I would love to have you join us.

Please feel free to call me at (516) 286-0125 to explore this further. Melissa is also available to help you with your questions and can be reached at (406) 442-8196.

Take a moment to discover the richness of a retreat at Feathered Pipe in the magic of this poetic article by one who makes an annual pilgrimage there.

With love and munay…

Karen
The Magic of Montana...Home to Feathered Pipe

The Magic of Montana...Home to Feathered Pipe

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