Shamanic Illness as Initiation

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Diary of Drawings

This is a drawing I made in the mid 1980′s.

During the two and half years that Saturn transited my Eighth House of love and death, I went a little mad you might say.

It wasn’t insanity or anything, it was because of psychic attack.

I had been in a deep relationship with a man who was separated from his wife. If there is such a thing as a Soul Mate, we were it. We openly talked about ourselves that way. I had a vision of him shortly before we met. During my daily meditation practice, I saw him falling out of the sun towards me. When we met, it was an instant attraction. Numerologist Tania Gabrielle would probably look at my 44-8 birth numbers and call it Fate.

But the estranged  wife wasn’t having any of it.  When she found out he was seeing me, she decided wanted him back and went on the warpath with me.

There was a point at which she got really aggressive and started to play games. I was a pretty otherworldly and therefore naive in the way that otherworldly, ungrounded people are. I had nothing against her anyway — this guy and I were Soul Mates. What was I supposed to do?

When the fallout started, I was kicked out of the apartment by my room mate. I moved into a house closer to where my boyfriend lived and spent most of my time at his place. She started coming around. Next thing I knew, I fell into such a deep depression that my personality actually changed. I even looked weird to myself surrounded in this horrible dark vortex.

I always drew pictures and started doing that for hours at a time instead of studying — I was in University then. I mostly drew images of this guy and me in boats and in towers. I began a series of myself with antlers on my head. The drawing at the top is one of the survivors.

Its me looking into a mirror and seeing  antlers on my head.  Before that, my boyfriend had told me I looked like a deer. Maybe it was auto-suggestion, but I do have a Capricorn Moon and associate this self image with that.

Dreamtime

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At one point I became very ill and had to go to the hospital with anemia. I was a vegetarian, but also very depleted in other ways.

I became obsessive compulsive, especially with the drawings. I just didn’t stop. Drawing is a wonderful thing, but I felt like I had a motor in my head — maybe I had become autistic or something. It was just weird.

I had been a regular meditator since I was seventeen, and with this boyfriend, had gotten into Tibetan Buddhism and had been initiated into a few saints whose names I can’t remember any more. One was a purification saint. I have always been a great visualizer, and had built up images of these saints in my mind that were very powerful. I was really good at meditation.

So imagine how it felt when I couldn’t do it any more. All I saw was a swirling black energy that made me sea sick. I even went back to Massachusetts to visit my family and it was still just as bad. I was always nauseous and a light- headed, and very confused.

My dreams were  violent. I was always being chopped up into pieces. My body parts were scattered all over the place. I had a series of these  dreams and I drew pictures of those and burned them because I was afraid I might be murdered or something.

Then one night, I dreamed my body parts were scattered over the snow and it was very bloody. Some Inuits came up the slope and wrapped all my body parts in a seal skin. Then they put me inside a sweat house — I can still remember lying on a bench near a wonderful steamy rock pile. I stayed there for a long time.

When I was healed, I dreamed all the time that I swam under the sea with the seals. I was a kind of mermaid.  I drew the seal under the boat that my boyfriend and I were on all the time in my drawings. I let the seal guide me through my emotional turmoil and show me what I needed to know.

Psychic Attack

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Our relationship suffered because my boyfriend  just wouldn’t deal with what was going on. He was too weak, and they had a six year old daughter that he felt guilty about.

I began to isolate. I was not a fighter. I still hate to fight, but have learned since that sometimes I have to stand up for myself. But I do hate conflict.

One day I was in my room and took a break from drawing. I wanted to meditate. I remember so clearly sitting in front of my altar and seeing the black vortex spinning all around me. I also saw all these spirits, very flat with triangular heads — a bit dog-like and cartoonish. There were hundreds of then all over the room. I felt sick as one of them stood behind and was tying something around my neck. Seeing them, I said to myself, “I am going to push them away with my light.”

I focused really hard on the light inside of me and sent it out until it was all around me. I continued to expand, obliterating all those little dog things, intending to fill the entire room.  Suddenly there was a kind of explosion, and it was as if the sun had come into the room!  Golden light was streaming everywhere and in the midst of the light were these eyes, black rimmed and compassionate, and face like Christ, though I am not if it was He or some older God. The golden light kept pulsating all around me, erasing all of the spirits, filling the room and healing me.

Deer Lady

It was after that I began to draw the deer lady pictures.

My relationship bit the dust. She was a lawyer and he didn’t stand a chance. Exhausted  ( and I haven’t even told you the half of it) I bowed out and concentrated on school.

This was the 80′s. Lots of books and courses were being given on the West Coast especially. I was also living near some of the most powerful Indian Tribes in North America. Powerful for magic that is. Gradually I learned about Shamanism and was told by one of the Salish Elders here that I had had a Shamanic sickness. All the dismemberment dreams were about taking me apart so I would be put back together in a certain way. The Seal medicine was help me to flow in the sea of the emotions — I also say the unconscious.  The Inuits are at the North Pole where me spirit came into the earth’s atmosphere before birth. They  still have a very strong Shamanic culture.

I see the Capricorn Moon at work as well. The fish-goat who climbs to the top of the mountain and dives deep into the ocean, is very much like the selkie seal lady and the deer lady I became. The Indian gave me a name: Whiteswan, a spirit  bird who transits sea and sky. I also believe that the psychic attack forced me  to strengthen my power, strengthen my light, because that was all it took to make the attack stop and fill me with a vision of golden light and the presence of God.

Two years later I was drafted into the healing profession and have been doing that ever since. Though the seal medicine healed me, it is the deer that I feel is the most like me and images of people with horns and antlers cast a kind of spell over me. I suppose I am more sure-footed that way.

Chesca Potter

Chesca Potter

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