Over the next several weeks, strong interest in the ceremony developed among both the shamanic and the BC3 communities. I cultivated an email list of people who’d expressed interest, and kept them informed as the date drew closer. It was going to be a unique opportunity for people who’ve never taken a shamanic workshop, and who maybe never will, to experience the power and presence of healing spirits. It could be just the way I imagine things to be in shamanic cultures, where only a few are practicing shamans, but the reality of spirits and their power to heal is understood by everyone. I was excited, and also fully aware that I had no idea how this was going to go!

As the night for the ceremony approached, it was clear that we were in for some Rocky Mountain winter weather. It got cold. There was going to be snow and icy driving conditions. People began to ask me if I was going to cancel. We still had a good-sized group who were committed to coming, so we decided to go forward, letting each person make their own call when the time came. Interestingly, it was the people from the shamanic community, most of whom live outside of Boulder, who decided not to make the drive. There were still a few journeyers in the group, but nearly all of the people in attendance would be non-journeyers. “How is this going to work?” I asked myself again. “I wonder what’s going to happen?” What happened was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had.


In spite of the cold, snow and ice, almost 30 of us came together for the ceremony that night. People brought friends. There were people I’d never met before, and no one in the room, including Julie, knew everyone else. After some introductions, I lit a candle in the center of the room, and called the spirits strongly with my rattles, the same way I do to begin a client session or a workshop. The presence of the spirits when people come together in unity and harmony is strong medicine. From that point on, I knew there was nothing I needed to worry about for anyone in the circle. I introduced the Spirit Canoe practice, and also gave some background about the unique role of ancestor spirits. Next, Julie talked about intentions, and the power of a unified intention held by the circle. She explained how people could ask to connect with a transcended ancestor, and know in their hearts that they had done so. Then, the meditation music began. After 15 minutes, people made a

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