Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 26th. 2013 ...
So You Think You've Found a Teacher...
Casting The Wiccan Circle
Learning To Live Your Own Life
Raising Personal Magickal Energy for Spellwork
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
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Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
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Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
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Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
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Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
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Soul Need Retrieval and Interview with Sherrie Mountain Hawk Woman
Article ID: 10673
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Cate Cavanagh
Posted: April 16th. 2006
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I often write of giving one's spirit power away because we often choose not to champion ourselves and leave self definition in the hands of others but soul retrieval is another thing altogether.
Before discussing what soul retrieval is, I think we need to better understand circumstances in which we lose part or all of our souls. Firstly, to lose one's soul altogether is what Shamans call The Walking Death. This is where the soul leaves or is caused to leave the body but not far enough to bring about death. The physical body is "working" but is vacant of purpose, vitality and practical routine. This usually happens via a spell or other unethical work, a suicide attempt or horrible trauma that causes the soul to be so truly weary of life it attempts to depart. This is an extreme case. But most of us who need soul retrieval suffer what I call a fracturing of the soul; a knowingness that one is not whole. .
In my particular case my soul was fractured into pieces because I had experienced the trauma of multiple deaths in a brief period of time, most recently the death of my mother. I was unable to adjust to loss because the deaths closely followed each other. Unknown to me, each death compounded upon death was too much for my soul to carry so, it fractured off. Other causes of this condition are childhood abuses, rape, war time horrors and other victimization through violent crime. In all of these situations, the life experience becomes so overwhelming the soul wishes to literally depart in an attempt to "go home" to the spiritual plane from which we all spring.
The whole soul does not get lost, but rather the parts wait for all of its components to aggregate in order to cross over. Whereas there are instances in which the soul breaks up and attaches itself to actual people the most common form of soul loss is where the desire to go home causes soul fracturing.
This can happen to the most enlightened of us for although I too am an eclectic Witch and Shaman, trauma takes us all by surprise. I recently underwent soul retrieval and until one investigates this as part of healing the undercurrents a growing sense of incompletion, one cannot begin to appreciate how much of our feeling sad and lost can be attributed to the loss of the soul. While my background enabled me to know I was not whole anymore, the cause of this emptiness continued to elude me. Then Sherrie Atkins Mountain Hawk Woman helped me. An experienced Shamanka and soul retriever, Sherrie Atkins not only reintegrates the souls of the living, she travels to spirit realm and to the shadowy death dimensions locating souls of the deceased that are unable to cross over to death . Causes for this can be unexpected and sudden death by violence, death of children whose souls cannot yet realize they have died and souls that, fearing what is on the other side, are unable to cross over.
It is in this realm that she found my soul fractured in three parts, waiting for the "rest of me" to reintegrate in order to cross over. In my case, this fracturing was caused by the ongoing deaths of loved ones. After working with Sherrie Atkins, I understood why I felt incomplete and when my soul was reintegrated into one within me I felt different: I felt whole.
Sherrie Atkins Mountain Hawk woman is a shamanic practitioner whose soul retrievals and rescues are widely known. She is the author of innumerable enlightening and educational articles on all things spiritual and an inspiration to all that know her. She is among the most skilled Shamans today. She has chosen the Shamanka path while maintaining her rich, Wicca background.
Here is a rare interview with Mountain Hawk Woman in which she answers numerous questions on Wicca, her path, soul retrieval and so much more!
Cate: When did you first know you were on a mystical path?
MHW: When I was a small child talking to those who had passed on and when I held conversations with birds and animals. Hawks followed me from place to place on my Grandpa's farm and I understood them! Then, when I was ten, we had a pack of wolves come to live in Jefferson County because of a terrible drought in the Rockies. The leader, a large black wolf, would sit down in my path and talk to me in my mind, telling me stories of being a wolf, and of what I was to do when I grew older. He is now my guide in the Underworld. My grandfather understood what I was going through, and advised me not to talk about it to others outside of him and a few other family members who were also psychic! I was too young to understand his fears then, but now I know he was afraid I would be declared crazy and locked up!
Cate: I know you are Wiccan within you and am wondering what of the Shamanic path called to you?
MHW: Because it is an Earth based spiritual path, Wicca is still an influence in my life, and I have a lot of friends on that path. Shamanism called to me more as it is older and more in tune with the Earth and the forces that move in the Universe, and fits in better with my missions here.
This time around, as far as magic goes, Earth is the element I came to master. In China they would call me a Master of Dragons as they believe dragons control the Earth tides and nerve channels, and certainly I work with dragons in many forms. In England, those channels are called ley lines. I worked as an Earth Guardian in Los Angeles for many years, diving into the earth to ease the stresses which cause earthquakes by releasing the force in smaller ones.
I come from a long line of Cherokee medicine women, although "medicine women" is more of an Anglo term for us. We are called Plant Women. My mother's father's mother was one, and she passed her Power to me when she was dying. I was only five, so she charged my grandfather to teach me as much as he could. Great-Grannie saw in me the ability to use these Earth forces that her own daughters and granddaughters lacked. Instead of medicine woman, I prefer the term Woman of Power, as it covers a lot of bases!
Cate: One of the most fascinating things about you is your work with dragons and gryphons, to name just a few. What your first experience like “meeting" one for the first time?
MHW: Oh boy! Shock! I was out on the astral plane dealing with a Shadow attempt to invade us, when a beautiful silver dragon showed up and jumped in on my side! Then, she followed me home, and announced she was here to help me with my protection work!
I did not expect to meet one here on this planet! I thought they had all left with the other fae at the time of the Great Separation! That occurred many thousands of years ago when the elven folks and the fairy hordes decided to withdraw into their own dimensions as humans were getting to be too pushy! Many of the fae can not deal with hot iron in any form! When the Iron Age began here, they withdrew to their own realms. Some stayed for love of mortal kind, and some folks have elven blood in them if you go back far enough! I get it from the Scots side of my heritage and probably from the Welsh and Irish too. Even the Cherokee had their version of the "Little People"!
Since my first experience, I moved to New Mexico and discovered the famous Taos hum was being caused by sleeping dragons who were in the old volcanoes there, and in most of the Northern New Mexico mountains. They are waking up! They hum to get our attention and then sing to us once they have it. I have other friends who work with them too.
As to the Gryphons, while busy with patrol one night, a flock of them showed up and attached themselves to me! That was one of those astral fights that left me feeling like I'd been beaten severely with a pikestaff the next day! One of the flock is a healer and worked on me until I was better. They decided I was a lot of fun to hang out with, due to my habit of getting into major fights on the astral plane, so they settled in here, and have been a great help to me.
Now, as you well know, they are looking for other humans with whom to bond! And, I also found out there is a dearth of female gryphons in Arizona, and my flock has a lot of bachelors who want mates! So, they are spreading out and attaching themselves to humans with whom they feel they can work.
Cate: You are a soul retriever. Can you explain to readers what that is and the guides you work with?
MHW: The soul acts like a circuit breaker for the mind. When bad things happen, and the mind is in danger of being completely overwhelmed, the soul cuts out for a few seconds. When it turns back on, a fragmen, which contains a lot of the pain that was overwhelming the mind, is missing. Shamans make journeys to recover the missing fragments for folks. I know two kinds of soul retrieval: soul pulling which involves my sending my two helpers down the person's time track to the point where they lost the soul fragment and pulling it back to here and now; and making actual journeys into the various realms for the missing major fragments. Then, I open the heart and crown chakras and blow the missing fragments back in.
My guide in the underworld is my Black Wolf teacher whom I mentioned earlier. Wades-in-the-Water, an old Blackfoot medicine man (who was a dear friend's grandfather when he was in the body) and White Buffalo Calf Woman (she who brought the pipe and their sacred ceremonies to the Lakota) go with me as does my redtail hawk brother, and sometimes my black jaguar ally.
In addition to the underworld, I may go to the Middle Realms for soul fragments. Those correspond to actual physical places here on Earth, but exist on another plane from the place they were lost. I have found souls tied to beds and being still beaten in rooms that look like where the actual beating occurred. I have also rescued souls from hospital operating rooms or even from space ships during alien abductions.
The last place to look is Cloud Country! That is where there is a fire that burns with no heat and no fuel. A Sacred Dance goes on around it! Thunderbird has a great nest there and sometimes hides lost souls in it for protection, especially if they belong to children. I love to watch him dance on his giant drum which makes the thunder roll, and shake rain and lightning from his wings! Children like to play with the Air Elements, and play hide and seek in the clouds. It takes some fast talking to get them to return with me!
Cate: What is the Legion of Michael?
MHW: This is a group of warrior souls to help with the protection of Grandmother Earth while she makes her ascension! We are also called Lightworkers, although not all Lightworkers belong to the Legion! This is a twenty thousand year mission! It took time to get enough people on the upward path, to haul the rewards level of the others up so they could come along for the trip! Bless her big heart, Gaia wants us all to climb with her!
Cate: For our animal lovers can you offer comfort for those animal people that have crossed over?
MHW: Right now, I am writing a book on Animal Reincarnation! While animal souls work somewhat differently than ours, they do have them! I have cats that have chosen to reincarnate into my life repeatedly because their lives were so much shorter than mine, and they wished to continue helping me do my work here! Angelica, my black fluffy beauty, was also Maelin, Shadow, and Megaera in past lives! People, who knew her then, recognize her spirit now! I have stories from many folks about their own experiences with animal reincarnation. And, then there was the Apache gentleman whose late wife returned as a butterfly to keep him from being lonely until he could join her in the Light! Creator is not wasteful and love is never lost! Those you love here, you will rejoin in the Light when your Earth Walk is done, and that includes your animal, bird, or slithery companions too!
Cate: Of all the masters you have studied with is there one in particular that had the greatest influence on you? Why?
MHW: My beloved Grandfather, Charles Silas Lucas! He was a father and teacher to me in so many ways. My own dad died when I was very small, and Grandpa took his place in my life, plus, Grandpa taught me about the ways of my Cherokee ancestors.
I would have to say, Grandfather Wallace Black Elk was a close second in my life! He saved me from a life of despair and booze after the murder of my dear foster son!
Cate: You teach a lot about walk-ins. Can you explain a little about walk-ins for our readers and share your personal experience as a walk-in?
MHW: I've already written a book. Walk-ins happen when, for one reason or another, one soul decides to leave this world and a second soul steps into the empty body! There can be many reasons for the switch, and it is never done without agreement between all the parties involved.
In my case, I needed to complete an unfinished cycle with my grandpa. In a past life, he was our tribe's medicine man and I was his apprentice. Upon his death, I was to carry his healing pipe and take over. Unfortunately, I died of a fever six months before he did. Our tribe was left with no healer and his pipe was buried with him.
I hung around grandpa, waiting for a new male body for a year, but none of the women were making viable ones! The mother of this one had a nervous breakdown and tried to throw this body-child out of a second story window. She thought a huge star was going to fall on us and thought she was saving "me". The original soul decided to split and I jumped in!
Walk-ins do not have an easy time of it! The body retains the memories of the previous occupant, and sometimes does not want to stay alive after that one's departure! You end up with some interesting karma too! I had to deal with my memories, the previous inhabitants’ memories, and the twisted karma which belonged to both of us!
Derek O'Neil, the Irish healer, says walk-ins are also avatars of aspects of Divinity! Well, if so, then my goddess to reflect here is Sekhmet, the Great Lion-Headed Mother of Egypt, and the leader of the forces which protected Egypt for thousands of years. Just watch me walk down the street and stray cats come out of everywhere to follow me home!
Cate: How long have you been a magickal worker and what was the most difficult work or rescue you did?
MHW: I've worked what most folks call magic since I was little! Much of magic is just learning how to work with the natural forces of the universe to achieve the results you desire! The worst experience was dealing with a Ravensmocker, a type of Cherokee witchy necromancer, who had stolen the soul of one of my over-soul's other workers! The guy came to me feeling as if he was dying, and when I checked, he was! The Ravensmocker had taken the form of a beautiful woman and seduced him in New Orleans. She stole most of his soul. I had to fight her for his soul, and those of others she'd stolen. As I got back each soul, she got older and older until finally she turned to dust! She was over two hundred years old and had been stealing life force from others to prolong her own life! Because this man and I share the same over-soul, it was very hard to fight her! She could pull on my energy through his soul. I finally won, but it took me a week to recover!
Cate: I know your work involves astral projection to go to places in spirit realm and other dimensions. Could you discuss the dangers of such work and how you insure your safe return?
MHW: The astral plane can be a lot of fun to play on, but it is full of dangers! There are inter-dimensional travelers, not all of whom are nice folks; demons and other Shadow types. There are black magic users looking for souls to steal and monsters like nothing you will ever find on Earth. There are traps set to catch the unwary. There are also different levels to it. The Battle Plane is where the struggle between the good and evil goes on continuously. This sometimes swings down close to the human plane, and is not an area where humans can survive for long!
I have a staff of Rowanwood (Mountain Ash) which I use as an anchor to pull myself back when I make out of the body journeys for folks. It also contains my Sword of Light from Michael, so I take it with me on the Astral Plane too. Before I set out, I ask that the forces of Light be with me on my journeys!
You are not playing games when you make these journeys! Dungeons and Dragons won't help you when you are stuck in Hades with too many soul fragments for you to carry, and a demon is bearing down on you! (Call for Hecate! I did!)
Cate: And finally, what do you suggest a novice do to begin to hone their gifts?
MHW: You can learn some things from books, but your best and safest bet is to find a good teacher and work with them! There are teachers you can work with in person, over the phone or on the net. You will save yourself a lot of time and danger if you find a teacher instead of trying to do it all on your own! The underworld journeys I make are dangerous! A couple of times, I almost did not make it back because I bit off more than anyone in their right mind would have tried to do! Good thing I'm not in my right mind, and that I have friends in high places! LOL! You need a guide to work with you on the first journeys to make sure you get back from them!
I have problems with teachers who charge great amounts of money for their teachings! As a teacher, you do deserve return for the time and effort you put into teaching, and many times, you have paid for your own teachers, yet medicine work should not be about money, but about helping others! I operate by donation as my “relatives” asked me not to "charge". I let the person I am working with set their donation. For a poor person$10.00 is a lot of money, while for a wealthier one it is not!
May you all walk the path of balance and beauty in your lives! But, if you find you are out of balance, contact me!
Copyright: March 2006
Location: Livingston Manor, New York
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