Perseverance Pays Off November 1, 2013
After an 8 month saga with Canada Post of emails and phone calls in order to receive our money back for the 64 books that were lost under their care, we have prevailed!
I was bumped around from department to department for months. I wrote letters, talked to countless people, sent in a million ticket requests, and was absolutely persistent and unwavering in my intent. In my last email after yet another glitch in their system, I finally told them that I would only deal with one person henceforth and that I was not going to go away until this whole thing was resolved.
And although this was not what I wanted to spend so much of my energy and time on in the last year, I can see that it afforded me the opportunity to engage in a really valuable life lesson: never give up. I sensed that Canada Post was simply hoping I’d go away if they shuttled me around and avoided dealing with me. I learned that when something is important, it is worth hanging in there for and with. And most of all, I learned that I could be assertive and firm while still being respectful of the human beings I was interacting with. Life continues to be the best education and I am so grateful to Spirit for the opportunity to be in a human body to grow and learn.
-written by Jen Engracio
TREE HUGGING? GO FOR IT! October 25, 2013
Many ceremonies in “The Magic Circle” are done outdoors. Often the child is directed to work with a tree, rock, leaf, feather or other natural object. They will be instructed to draw or write what they learned from nature, from the birds and animals they observed. Why all this emphasis on the natural world? In shamanism, we use the wisdom and energy of the earth for understanding and healing. Naturalist Stephen Moss states that in nature, children experience themselves. They learn about their inner selves.
Sadly, in today’s society kids spend a lot of time indoors. More children than ever have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, asthma, allergies, stomach ulcers or irritable bowel. It’s hard to believe that kids have so many stress-related illnesses. Richard Louv, journalist and author of “The Last Child in the Woods”, calls this lack of outdoor time, “nature deficit disorder”. On his website, childrenandnature.org, Louv lists several scientific studies showing time spent in the world of nature can alleviate many of these problems.
In one of the kid’s quotes from “The Magic Circle”, a boy who did the Sensing Tree Energy Ceremony said “Jen! The tree really talked to me! I asked if it knew my friend Mateo and it said it did! It also told me that all the green trees (this tree had green bark) communicate with each other!” That is magical!
According to a recent study at the University of Essex, only five minutes of “green exercise” can bring about rapid improvements to mental well-being and self-esteem, especially for young people. In a study published by The American Medical Association: “Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors”.
Walking in the woods one day, I met two mothers with their toddlers. Moms were chatting by the side of the trail while their children touched and hugged the trees. One little guy was humming to the tree. Those moms were wise to give their children the time to connect with nature. I love hugging trees – yes, actually putting my arms around a tree, resting my cheek against the bark to feel its roughness or smoothness, listening to its sounds. Those tree hugging babies knew the joy of hugging a tree.
If you and your family aren’t accustomed to spending time outside, how and where do you start? Imagine going out where the kids can wade in shallow water, lie on the ground and gaze up at the sky, clouds, moon, and stars. The David Suzuki Foundation has given families a challenge to go out in nature together. The Collins family takes their young children on nature adventures. Mom (Jill) writes “Nature is the greatest classroom you and your child will ever experience.” To discover how this family makes these adventures fun for the kids, google David Suzuki Fall Challenge, click on blog and scroll down to Cedar, B.C. Lots of other suggestions for making the outdoors fun can be found on the Internet.
What have you experienced and learned from being in nature? Put in a comment. We’d love to hear from you!
-by Grandmother Ann Dickie
Spirit Moves in Funny Ways October 18, 2013
Last spring, we sent 3 boxes of books to Amazon.com in the USA. It turns out that Canada Post lost 2 of the boxes so only one made it to the Amazon Distribution Center. We always wondered what happened to those 64 books. We imagined that perhaps they ended up at an office building and with joy we pictured people in business suits doing the ceremonies on their lunch hours or weekends.
Well, we never thought we’d get a partial answer to where they ended up until last week. I went onto Amazon.com to check on our inventory and it turns out that used books were being sold but not by us!
“How did that happen?” I wondered. So I rang Amazon up and asked them about it. A man on the other end informed me that our inventory was intact and that used copies could be sold online by book vendors.
“Yeah, I get that,” I said. “And that would make sense if we’d put enough copies into the world for that to happen. But we haven’t yet.”
“Well ma’am, I don’t know what to tell you,” he says in an exasperated tone. “Your inventory is intact and folks are selling used copies of your book. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
A-ha! Then I remembered the missing books. Tales of espionage went through my mind entailing our books being stolen at the border to be sold in some underground book selling operation. And that might have been the case. There is no way to know for sure.
What struck us as particularly amusing is that our goal had been for the books to be found and sold on Amazon.com and that is exactly what Spirit delivered albeit not in exactly the way we had intended. Needless to say, we continue to learn and laugh as we go through the process of promoting and selling the book. Spirit definitely has a plan for the book and it is clear that we are not in control of that process! And that is probably a good thing.
E-book is Now Out! October 11, 2013
NOW IN E-BOOK FORM!
A few of you have asked about resources for shamanic/spiritual ceremonies for kids. Last year, my co-authors and I published a book of ceremonies for kids that is now available in e-book form by donation and in hardcopy form for $24 plus shipping.
Here is a description of the book:
This book contains 23 shamanic ceremonies that any child or adult can do to heal and celebrate the childlike nature within them. It is full of information about what shamanism is and how it can be used in everyday life to bring clarity, ease, and joy to living. It contains two stories that follow the main character, Pete, and his horse, Breeze, on his Vision Quests.
Here is our website with info on how to order the e-book and book as well as other fun free stuff like colouring pages and divining cards online:
Amazon.com: News April 9, 2013
We apologize to all the Canadians trying to order on Amazon.com who have not been able to get their orders fulfilled.
It turns out that Amazon.com does not ship to Canada. We have no more books left this print run, however, we will make some available on Amazon.ca when we do our second print run- hopefully by summer time!
If you know of anyone in the US that might like the book, please direct them to Amazon.com.
Thanks for your patience,
Ann’s Toastmaster’s Speech April 8, 2013
“The Magic Circle”
“’This is the worst day of my life!’ Pete slammed the door and ran across the field behind his house. He hadn’t finished his homework yesterday, so today his Mom had made him do it all before going outside to play, and she took away his video games for the rest of the week!
She had been so crabby since Dad died. Why did Dad have to go and die anyway?”
After a long four year gestation period, Katherine Inksetter, Jennifer Engracio and I have given birth to a dream. It’s a book! “The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within.” Jennifer, Katherine and I have studied shamanism for several years and practice ceremony regularly. We know how life enhancing this practice can be. We wanted to write a book of ceremonies for children that would help them discover their wonderful, unique selves.
Children turn so naturally to ceremony. When our Granddaughter was little one of our goldfish died. She wanted us to bury it in the garden. She instructed her family to collect things from nature – a leaf, flower, rock, or feather, to put in the grave with the fish. While we talked about Fishy, she asked her Dad to beat the drum. Children know about ceremony.
A ceremony is a specific activity or set of activities done in a specific way with a specific goal. We wondered if a book of instructions would appeal to kids. I can imagine what our now teenage granddaughter would say: Boring.
Do you remember when you were young reading adventure stories that included activities for you to do? We dreamed in a story about a little boy named Pete. Pete has adventures on a Medicine wheel, where he meets a horse named Breeze. Breeze and Pete quickly become close friends, continuing their journeys around the medicine wheel together.
When he is older, Pete goes on a Vision Quest where he meets more animals, including a curly haired dog, a teeny little mouse, a grumpy eagle and a golden bellied, fire burping dragon. Each animal shares their wisdom with Pete to help him on his quest. These stories are woven through the ceremonies in the book. Each ceremony is a quest of discovery.
The ceremonies in “The Magic Circle” have all been tested by a child or an adult. I tested Rain, Rain Come out and Play. This was a good choice as I am in my 2nd childhood. In Rain, rain come out to play, the child looks up to feel rain on their face, wades and splashes in puddles. I still love splashing in puddles. Don’t you? Try it. Let your little boy or girl come out to play. Each person’s experience of a ceremony is different, and the results can be unexpected. So when you do a ceremony, be prepared to step into the unknown!
Kid’s quotes are scattered throughout the book. A nine year old girl says: “Our bodies are the hotels for our spirits while we are here on earth.” A little boy was reminded that his great grandfather would have been 100 years old. He replied, “Do you think we could sing him happy birthday with our souls?”
Children know they are spiritual beings.
After doing one of the ceremonies in the book, a little girl remarked, “I learned that the world is a beautiful place. While we drummed, the birds were dancing to the music over the water.” A seven year old boy did the “Sensing Tree Energy” ceremony. He said, “The tree really talked to me! I asked it if it knew my friend and it said it did! It also told me that all the green trees communicate with each other!” Children know they are connected to the Earth and to all things in creation.
In many cultures, ceremony and spirituality are a natural part of people’s lives. In our logical, scientific “prove it to me” society, the spiritual nature of children is too often neglected. Kat, Jen and I have a vision for our book “The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within’. We have a vision of children reading the stories, being intrigued and trying out the ceremonies.
The Magic Circle is available in select stores, at Amazon.com, and through our website: www.ceremoniesforchildren.com.
Jennifer, Katherine and I have a vision. A vision of children reading “The Magic Circle” and discovering their mysterious, magical, spiritual selves.