Shamanic Earth Healing
By Ana Larramendi
In the former Soviet Union during the Second World War, the Nazis invaded a town near the border of Belarus and gathered all the Jews from the area into the town’s synagogue. Then they ignited the building, burning to death hundreds of innocent men, women and children. The ground was laid barren, and during the crisis of the war the land’s story was forgotten. Many years later in the 1950s, the Russian government began building nuclear power plants, and a power plant with four reactors was built in this town.
In April of 1986 technicians at a nuclear power plant in Sweden began to receive disturbing signals on their monitors of abnormally high levels of radiation. The technicians feared a leak in their own plant, but when no leak was found, they determined that the radiation was coming from a cloud drifting in from elsewhere. This nuclear cloud spread over much of Europe, settling heavily over Germany, Italy and Poland. Two days after the accident, the Russians admitted the disaster to the world. One of their nuclear reactors had had an explosive meltdown.
Lost to the memory of the Russians, that reactor had been built atop the long forgotten synagogue, in a town we know as Chernobyl.(1)
Every place on the earth carries the energetic imprint of what has happened in that location. The earth holds the stories of everything that has ever happened in its soils, in the waters and in the air. There are stories of love, violence, dreams and hopes. Stories of the ancestors who lived there or passed through. Stories of murder and stories of ceremonial sites with great power used hundreds or perhaps thousands of years ago. Although we have long forgotten these stories, the earth still holds them.
If we look at the story of Chernobyl from a shamanic perspective, we can’t help but be aware of the incredible human trauma that took place there and continued to be held by the earth in an imprint of fire, fear, rage and hatred. An imprint in the land will recreate cycles or patterns in the area that replicate aspects of the original trauma. This is similar to how trauma affects humans. A spiritually wounded person repeats patterns throughout their life that recreate the original trauma until healing of the trauma has taken place. For example, a woman who was physically abused as a child may in her adult life repeatedly choose partners who abuse her. In Chernobyl the imprint created an imbalance of the element of fire. Without any healing or intervention for the land, building a nuclear reactor on top of this place literally added fire to fire.
I first heard the story of Chernobyl in 2003 from one of my teachers, Myron Eshowsky, when he was facilitating a one-day class called, “Healing of Place”. This was the first time I had heard an example of how the earth holds trauma and it was a revelatory moment for me.
A few weeks after that class my Spirit Guides came to me in a journey, saying, “Your life’s journey and passion has been your profound love of the Mother. You understand her in intimate ways. This is your Medicine. She needs you to teach others how to heal the traumas in the landscape and come into right relation with the Earth.”
So my journey began. In researching the topic of land healing, I started to realize that most shamanic teachings primarily focused on healing people and strengthening people’s spiritual practices. Healing of land was mostly an anecdote or a small tidbit of old knowledge shared but not deeply explored. I asked my guides to show me how I would get this information …and they started me on a wild goose chase, even across continents, to all sorts of teachers from different traditions who had pieces of knowledge.
For example, Marko Pogacnik taught me about working with elementals, building our relationship with elementals, and landscape healing with elementals. The Peruvian shamans I worked with had an extremely sophisticated system of working with power places on the land, and creating energetic filaments (called cekes), like a spider web, to work with the landscape. Tom Brown Jr. from the Tracker School showed me a whole new way to see the landscape and how to heal a stream physically and spiritually.
Throughout all of this, my guides were the weavers of my journey, showing me how everything is linked, when to use what, and filling in the gaps where no information could be found by “ordinary reality” means.
This journey has helped me create a body of knowledge about the Earth, how it holds trauma and what we can do as shamanic practitioners to bring a place back into harmony. In the following pages I hope to describe the landscape of healing for the earth as my teachers and guides have shown me.
As a shamanic practitioner I have become acutely aware of how the earth holds imprints and the tremendous need to return balance to the land. If a place holds trauma, that imprint directly impacts those who live, work or interact with that place. The Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq had been used for torture by Saddam Hussein for many years. Embedded in those walls is the energy of enormous violence and brutality. This imprint carried such a potent momentum that when U.S. troops took over the prison, history repeated itself. To heal ourselves, to find peace and to create wholeness we must also heal the earth, these imprints and our relationship to the land.
Here are some examples of how imprints manifest and show up as patterns in the landscape.
There is an imprint when:
- A specific place on a highway or at an intersection repeatedly has one fatal accident after another.
- A building or home has an unusual, chronic history of fire or lightning strike.
- A neighborhood in a city collapses under a repetitive cycle of crime and violence.
- A region has been at war or under siege for decades or centuries and no peace seems to come.
- A house has been used for ritual abuse or violent acts and anyone subsequently living in or passing through the house feels emotionally ill or angry.
Human activity on the land leaves not only a physical imprint but an energetic imprint as well. Stewardship (both physical and energetic) done in harmony with the land maintains the sacred balance of place and can actually raise the vitality and carrying capacity of the land. When we engage in shamanic land healing we are in a co-creative process of working with the natural world and the Divine to balance the earth’s energetic matrix and heal the imprints left from human trauma.
Here are some examples of land or places that need healing:
- Land that appears unhealthy or has been damaged by development, human interference and neglect. For example, dumps, quarries, logging, poor land management.
- Land that has an elemental imbalance (i.e. too much fire, water, air or earth energy). For example, a place that has a history of frequent fires or water damage.
- Locations where violence or accidents repeatedly take place.
- Places or homes that feel cursed, haunted, have heavy energy or bad karma.
- Sacred sites, power places, vortexes or ley lines that have been dormant or disrupted by human activity.
So how does one approach the complex issue of healing the spirit of place? Land healing combines physical intervention as well as spiritual intervention in the realm of the Middle World. We live in a culture that has become unaware or careless about our correct use of power. In shamanic traditions true power is about balance and surrender to Spirit. In most Western cultures power is perceived as “power over” people or things. We have stepped out of living with the earth in a state of balance, shared power and reciprocity, or as the Q’ero of Peru call it, ayni.(2) This abuse of power has created a tremendous amount of “spiritual pollution” in the Middle World in the form of ghosts, curses, and imprints in the land.
In order to do earth healing we need to map and understand the cosmology of the Middle World – the spiritual level of the terrestrial plane. First we must understand the earth herself. The earth is constantly moving toward balance and harmony. From a tiny ant to a giant earthquake, everything that happens is a part of the weave of life moving toward balance, following a specific blueprint of creation. For example, a tsunami is the result of a shifting and rebalancing of displaced water created from displaced earth (an underwater earthquake) which was itself created by the tension being released between converging land masses. In a sense this is the earth healing herself, corrections are part of the balancing. We cannot fathom the complexity of the earth system, for there are checks and balances actively working all the time. These need to be honored, even if their purpose is beyond our understanding or the damage created seems so catastrophic.
As modern society has become more separated from the earth, humans have taken a self-centered reaction to nature’s balancing, almost as though it was a personal affront. Too many ants, a destructive tornado, abundant wildfires! We must move out of this self-focused perspective, step back and look at the big picture. A shaman knows these are messages and sees these events as signs offered by the Mother to be divined on because something is out of balance. There is a call being sent out to restore and heal some aspect of the land.
As I began mapping the cosmology of the Middle World, my guides showed me that there are two main categories of energies to be worked with – spirits and fields in the landscape. Spirits are energies that have an individuality and personality. They are more likely to have a voice of sorts and communicate telepathically in some form. The undine (a water elemental) of a bubbling spring may communicate a request to remove an obstructing stone. The spirit of an office building will have a distinct personality related to the history of that building. In comparison, fields seem to be devoid of a voice or personality, yet they emanate a unique quality which can be strongly felt and experienced. A mountain peak may have a quality of power and exhilaration. A vortex may have a quality of intensity or disorientation.
Spirits and fields are layered upon one another, interwoven like a holographic image. The spirit of a mountain may communicate a message to you, yet simultaneously you experience the quality of its field which may be wisdom and power. All landscapes, both urban and wild, are comprised of this matrix of spirits and fields. These energies play a defining role in the balance or imbalance of a particular place, and understanding them is crucial to determining an intervention of healing. A series of more detailed descriptions follows.
Spirits and Energies:
An important part of shamanic land healing is recognizing the Spirit of Place. Shamans see nature as having inherent intelligence and this belief carries over to places that are both natural and man-made. Every place has a spirit which can be communicated with. This is a naturally occurring energy that oversees the life force of a building, office, pond, farm, house, city and many other things. Guided by the overriding principal of balance and harmony, the spirit of place might be seen as a guardian angel whose charge is a location.
Another common theme in land healing is working with Suffering Beings, also referred to as ghosts or discarnate humans. These spirits have become trapped in the middle world when their death has been compromised in such a way that they do not move to the light. Confused, angry or lost, they lose their way and remain in the middle world; drawn to visit and stay in the places where he/she once lived (haunting) or attaching in some way to a living person (possession). Often unfinished business, such as an attachment to loved ones, unhealed grudges, or an improper funeral, keeps the spirit earthbound. Shamans from many traditions had ceremonies to take care of the dead. These ceremonies were done to heal and send the ancestors on to their proper resting place. The Tamang shamans of Nepal believed that the presence of the untended dead brought strife and problems to the living of the village. (3)
Sometimes the simplest form of healing a place is traditional psychopomp work, where the shaman conducts the soul of the deceased to the light. The atmosphere of a place can be substantially improved by moving the suffering being on.
However, at times what may “feel” like a haunted space is actually an energetic imprint left by human trauma. Energies, in this context, are a presence that was not ever human and can often be confused with ghosts or spirits. These are curses that may present as misfortune, a menacing apparition, or simply make a place feel “bad”. For example, I was contacted a few years ago by a young couple with children who had in the previous year purchased an 1890’s home in a small, rural community. From the time of their move, their relationship had begun to deteriorate and their finances became increasingly unstable. The wife contacted me, convinced that the house was haunted. I arrived and spent some time slowly walking through the home, tracking and asking for guidance from my helping spirits and the spirit of the house.
On the physical level I saw dents in the walls, burn marks in the basement timbers and I felt an energy full of chaos and fear. What my guides told me was that there had been a lot of domestic violence with the family who had previously lived in the house. As their finances became worse, the violence had escalated. Eventually they had been forced out by foreclosure. I saw how this trauma was now energetically bleeding into the lives of this new family. I asked the couple if the house had been a foreclosure—They confirmed it was. The house was not haunted by a spirit, but rather the energy of trauma left by the previous owners. To heal the space, I engaged the family in a prayerful dialogue of going from room to room and drawing down off the walls the heavy energy of the past. In its place we gave light and gratitude to the house. After the clearing, the relationship and financial troubles of this family dramatically improved…I was also told the house finally, “felt happy”.
In more extreme cases a severe trauma imprint can be created collectively by a group consciousness such as a satanic cult, or by a repetitive destructive behavior (a torture chamber in a prison). A space can be imprinted by negative thought forms brought on by obsessive preoccupation with a particular thought or belief system. These thought forms begin to take on a life of their own, perpetuating the trauma to those living or working in the place. Energies are generally created by humans, but they are not human.
The wee people:
Vitality in the landscape is strongly supported by the presence of the Elemental beings and the Devas. Elemental beings are the nature spirits whose purpose is to carry out the blueprint of growth and development of life. They are the form builders of trees, plants, stones and elements. Their spirits enliven the natural world. (4) Deva is a Sanskrit word meaning body of light.(5) A deva is an intelligent energy that works in conjunction with the elemental beings in an overseeing capacity. Where an elemental may have responsibility over the growth of an acorn, the deva of the oak carries the blueprint of what oaks do. They are not tied to an element like the elemental beings are but play an organizational role in the development of living things. (6 &7)
We often forget the presence of these beings when we disrupt the landscape. Development, construction, mining and logging often creates a massive displacement of our elemental friends, leaving the landscape barren, with a low level of life force which is slow to recover. Some of this displacement is done by well-intentioned urban communities trying to improve city or county parks. But while permission may be granted through town-hall forums and neighborhood meetings, the spirits most impacted by the pending “improvements” are rarely consulted. I remember Marko Pogacnik railing about this injustice during a lecture in class. “We treat them like slaves!” he said, “We cut them down and move them without ever asking permission!”
In the spring of 2008 a friend called me who owned a house that bordered a 90-acre county preserve in our city. She often walked the trails of this park and had returned from a month long overseas trip to discover a new “makeover” financed by the parks department. A large swath of forest in a drainage area of the park had been clear-cut of all trees and shrubs, and earth movers had carved out big ditches and culverts where the forest had been. The purpose of this drastic move was well-intentioned: Create a series of scenic ponds to capture surface water run-off coming from the city streets. This was to prevent the nutrient rich run-off water from reaching the larger city lakes and exacerbating an already problematic algae bloom.
My friend took me to the site. It was painful to look at: A huge area of barren, raw ground, cracked and parched with no plant life or topsoil. I stood staring incredulously, feeling the ache in my heart at this horrific sight. I closed my eyes and asked for guidance…after a few minutes my focus was distracted by a noisy disturbance. I opened my eyes to see amidst the trees that bordered the scarred land, many hundreds of crows all cawing with a frenzy. It was a wild sight. I had never seen so many crows at once–anywhere! I was gawking at the crows when my guides gave me a head bump and said, “Look again!” I blinked, and on second sight I saw what they wanted me to see; in the trees among the crows were thousands of displaced elementals, forlornly looking at their ravaged, lost homes. My eyes welled up with tears and I turned to my friend and told her to shift her gaze so she could see what I was seeing. She too began to cry. We both began to whisper to our elemental friends, “We are so sorry for your suffering…” Then I said, “I promise I will return and help you find new homes…”
As soon as I finished saying that, the crows lifted off the trees like a giant cloud of locusts and flew out of sight.
They had delivered their message.
Fortunately, I had an earth healing class meeting in a couple weeks and I chose to use the park as one of our projects. When we arrived a few weeks later, in the throes of lush spring growth, it was fascinating to notice how this area remained barren looking when everything else was so life-filled.
Our group chose a location approximately in the center of the disturbed area and opened sacred space. We invited the displaced elementals and spirits of the land to guide and support our work. After creating a field of light, by toning and raising the vibration of the area, each person independently walked off in a direction that called them. We were each called to help in different ways. I was called to work with the elemental beings of water, so that these new ponds which had been created would be vibrant with life. Others moved to the edge of the woods and called the displaced elementals to venture forth and seed the barren ground with new plant life. Others helped cross over and honor the elementals who decided it was time to dissolve back into the earth and make room for some other new energy. After we felt a completion of our tasks, we gathered again and sang joyful songs to the land.
Since then the land has rebounded, but I have a dream that one day urban projects like this will incorporate land shamans who play a role in the design and communication with the elementals of a place prior to any disruption. This would enable us to co-create with our elemental friends city projects that truly support life…
Fields in the landscape:
When a trauma takes place on the land, it leaves a residual vibration that can be felt even by those who don’t believe they are sensitive to energies. If you have ever been to a historic battlefield you understand this concept. Imprints are an embedded energy or energy field on the landscape created by a strong patterning of an event or activity. Imprints can be positive if they affirm and revitalize life force. Labyrinths, gardens, landscapes and even buildings that are created in a sustainable manner and with the guidance of nature spirits will create a life-affirming imprint on the land. Imprints will also manifest in a more negative form in places where repeated violence (a home where domestic abuse has taken place) or a violent event (a massacre) has occurred. The imprint can manifest as an overabundance of one particular element (fire in Chernobyl), as a site of frequent car accidents, or as the deadening of a natural landscape from pollution and land desecration. Dr. Masaru Emoto’s work photographing water crystals subjected to different thoughts and music is a compelling example of how energy (both toxic and positive) can imprint the element of water. (8)
One of the most dramatic experiences I encountered in land healing began as an innocent inquiry by an apartment owner who could not get any tenants in his 8-unit building to rent or stay. I was asked to check out the situation and see if I could help in some way.
It was a hot July day and I drove to the north side of town to meet with the owner of the building. His girlfriend had persuaded him to contact me and they both greeted me at the door. It was a 1950’s building, situated on a hill. This man had spent a lot of time and money fixing up all the apartments. Even after all the improvements, no one would rent them. He and his girlfriend lived in one of the units. They gave me a tour and I looked in each unit. What I experienced was a fascinating paradox. In appearance the apartments were bright, clean and freshly painted, but when I walked in, it felt like I was walking through pea soup—the sensation was dense and choking. Some units were worse than others. After the tour the woman quietly pulled me to the side and whispered to me, “This place is filled with ghosts…hundreds of them…they won’t let me sleep at night…they keep asking for help. I’m sick from insomnia.”
I could sense her desperation and urgency. For her it was a spiritual/health crisis, for him it was an economic one. I was going to do a diagnostic journey in one of the apartments, when my guides stopped me and said, “It is in the land.”
Given that information, I decided to find a place outdoors to do my journey instead.
Behind the building was a parking area and behind that was a vacant grassy lot. Beyond the vacant lot was a trailer park. The neighborhood was pleasant looking, but I knew it had cycles of crime problems.
I was drawn to do my journey in the grass of the vacant lot. I sat in the shade of a bush and began a rattle journey. As images began to form I saw myself sitting in the exact same place watching the sun beginning to rise from the horizon. I was in a field and it was a sweltering hot day…as the vision crystallized I began to see dead bodies of native people—men, women and children, massacred, covered with blood, laying everywhere. Hundreds of people, and not a single living soul. I asked my guides to explain what I was seeing. I was told, “This happened 800 years ago. A warring tribe came from the east in the middle of the night. They killed everyone and moved on. The mound people stopped returning here after this happened.”
I knew they were referring to the native people who lived in this region and built effigy mounds between 800-1200AD. The culture had suddenly disappeared, and the mounds stopped being made around that time.
I felt overwhelmed and asked how I was supposed to help. My guides said: “They need help, they want to move on but don’t want to leave their land, it is not just where this building is.”
I decided I needed to explore the neighborhood to get a sense of the parameters of the situation. I started to walk down the street and stopped in my tracks. In my spiritual seeing, the overlaid images of dead bodies went on for blocks. It was a far larger area than I first thought. So I got in my car and started driving slowly down the streets of the neighborhood tracking the scene. I realized the imprint of this massacre probably covered 10-12 blocks. This was too big for me to address alone. I drove home and called the property owner. I said I wanted to gather a group of people to do the work. Once I got the group together we would pick a date for the healing ceremony.
It took two weeks to get a healing circle together. On the evening of our ceremony, I had gathered 14 shamanic practitioners to meet at the building. I chose to do our ceremony in the vacant lot behind the building, since the land there seemed to carry the strongest imprint. We created sacred space, then proceeded with a talking circle to share the story of the place. The group did a tracking/diagnostic journey, and we set a healing circle on the land to help the suffering beings. Four people anchored the healing circle and continually drummed while the remainder of us split off into 4 groups and walked the neighborhood, each group attending to a quadrant of the area, calling in the lost wandering souls of the land to come with us for healing. About an hour later all the groups arrived back at the healing circle…in tow were hundreds of souls.
It was night time now and the air was thick with the presence of suffering beings. We all drummed and the intensity of the emotion grew, then we began a grief ceremony. One by one different practitioners began to embody the native souls who had died in this place. They wailed and sobbed, screamed and cried. As the suffering was expressed and witnessed, the souls began to be released and moved to the light. Practitioners lifted the suffering beings from their embodied peers and helped cross the spirits over. As more moved on, it was as though a giant portal had opened up to the light and hundreds of beings were passing. A whole veil of pain and suffering was lifting from the land. I looked around and saw in the surrounding apartments the backlit silhouettes of dozens of residents from the neighborhood watching us. Even some curious teens came and joined our circle. We gave them rattles to help hold the space, and showed them the motions of doing psychopomp telling them we were there to lift the sadness and make their homes happy. When their curiosity was sated, they moved on.
Then suddenly, instinctively, the activity wound down and we all stopped. A deep stillness and calm came over the place. The native spirits were gone, the suffering was over and the land was at peace.
We finished by debriefing with a talking circle, then closing the directions. The apartment owner had prepared for us a lovely spread of fruit, cheese and cider in the apartment…which now had a light, airy feel to it.
Months after the event, the landlord told me that not only were they finally able to get tenants, but that crime in the neighborhood had gone down as well.
Healing the spirit of place involves balancing imprints by actively working with the spirits and energy fields of the Middle World in a co-creative way to rebalance what is out of balance, to bring back energy and life force which has been lost, and to return to its rightful place heavy misplaced energies which have created havoc on the terrestrial level.
I have found that most places that require land healing usually need a combination of interventions for healing to take place. It is important to track the energy and get an overall picture of what has occurred. Traditionally shamans track to the source and origin of a trauma. To be successful with land healing one must unhook the energy from where it began, upstream at the source, not downstream where the problem has grown exponentially into a huge quagmire. By healing at the source, you begin to unlock and clear all the patterns that flow downstream and create the opening for a long-term transformation. If you do not tap into the origin of the issue you may not have as successful a healing, and the problem could recur because the source of the imprint is still intact.
For example, if a house has a history of domestic abuse which has manifested in most of its inhabitants, you want to track to the first incident that created the pattern. If the original problem is that the foundation of the house was built on a murder site, this is the energy you work with. When I work with healing a place I find that by tracking to the original trauma and working with that, the imprint is released. I believe in minimizing effort and maximizing effect. It would create a lot of extra work to go through each of the subsequent families that resided there to heal the pattern of abuse.
There are a number of different spiritual and shamanic traditions that have created healing tools specifically addressing different types of problems. The following are some of the interventions I have worked with in the healing of place.
Quarantines: I have found that it is vital to create boundaries when performing any shamanic healing ceremony of a place. First, is the aspect of permission. As a shamanic practitioner I only work on the places that I have explicit permission to work on. If a home is built on an old battlefield site, even if the trauma on the land extends beyond the owner’s property line, only that owner has asked me to help with their home-not their neighbor. What my guides have shown me is to create a multi-dimensional quarantine field that essentially encapsulates the property, including above and below the ground. This field protects the space from outside intrusive energies as I do my work. I essentially call in Archangels and high vibration spirits to set the quarantine and program it to only let in energies related to the healing that needs to occur. I have learned the purpose of this protocol the hard way: Once when I was asked to do a space clearing, the ceremony I created to cross over the dead attracted souls from far beyond the space I was working on. Soon the room was filled with hundreds of suffering beings anxious to move to the light…as well as some rather disruptive spirits. It created an atmosphere that bordered on chaos, and it took quite a while to get the situation under control! I now always set a quarantine as part of creating sacred space for ceremonies.
Psychopomp: The conducting of souls into the light. If a location is haunted, a clearing in the form of psychopomp is needed. Generally, I experience these places as having dark, heavy, sad, angry or depressing energy. This is an atmosphere which strongly impacts those living in or near the location. The field which is affected can be a house, a building or an area on the land like a battlefield. These are places where discarnate entities (human) are confused and trapped in the Middle World. Their spirits need to be sent to the light for healing.
Terrapomp: The conducting of energies back to the earth. I was given the word terrapomp by my guides (terra-meaning earth, and pomp-meaning to conduct ). On one of my journeys, my spiritual guides showed me that some energies originated on earth and need to be returned to the earth. These are ghouls, monsters, curses and other negative thought forms which are made up of heavy energy. In the Peruvian tradition this heavy energy is called hucha. The Q’ero say the Pachamama (Earth) loves hucha. (9) She mulches it and turns it into life. These energies are human created by manipulation of earth energy and life force and need to be neutralized by being returned the earth.
Grief rituals: A location where there has been severe violence or trauma often holds a powerful energy of unexpressed pain, grief and agony. This must be ritually expressed in order to release and free any trapped energy of the living and the dead who are connected to the trauma. This ritual will often precede any psychopomp or terrapomp work. The unquiet dead need the energetic witnessing of their suffering to release their attachment to a place and move on. Grief rituals are a shaman’s act of loving witness to a place where the imprint of a terrible event has taken place.
Transmutation/transfiguration: This involves transforming toxic energies into more life-restoring forms through light and transfiguring into the divine. By embodying the Divine, the energy of a place is changed and healed. Transmutation and transfiguration can bring into balance environmental toxins caused by pollution and negative thought forms. Sandra Ingerman’s powerful work of transmutation through the embodiment of light and the divine is particularly useful in this context. This work can precede elemental balancing, making a place more hospitable for the reintroduction of life affirming nature energies. Transmutation can also follow psychopomp or terrapomp work to replace heavy energy with Light.(10)
Soul retrieval of the spirit of place: While the earth herself remains powerful and strong, there are places on the earth that have lost life force and vitality. Since every place has a spirit, the absence of vitality in these places can be a sign of soul loss of a place. In this context, soul retrieval is about restoring an aspect of vital essence to the spirit of that place.(11)
Elemental balancing: Elemental balancing brings the nature spirits back to a physically damaged place. When a location on the land has been traumatized and appears barren from mining, logging or toxic dumps, the nature spirits have left or have no place to reside. In these cases the land must undergo some preparation and healing before the elemental beings can be coaxed back in. This requires spiritual and physical intervention to revitalize a place for it to become habitable. The spirit of the land may need a soul retrieval or transmutation work. A quarry may need some topsoil before new plants (and their elemental partners) can grow. By bringing the nature spirits of a place back you are restoring the life force of a place into harmony.
Element balancing: When a location has too much or too little of one of the four elements, it may need element balancing. This imbalance may appear as drought, recurring lightning strikes, or uncontrollable water seepage in places where the problem should not be occurring. Imprints of trauma or the blockage of an energy field can often be an underlying cause to an element imbalance in a place.
DETERMINING AN INTERVENTION FOR LAND HEALING:
I always begin with some ordinary reality information gathering prior to journeying for spiritual information. It is extremely important to look for repeating patterns which will reveal an imprint. Questions to ask:
Do I have permission by the owner/primary resident of this place to do this work?
Even if it is extremely obvious that a place needs help, to do this work on a place without proper permission is an abuse of power and will affect the integrity of the work. If the answer is no, the time is not right.
What is the history here?
Ask about the history of the place and people. What stories have been important and memorable about events in this place? What are the traumas? Where is there sadness or grief? What is the problem that brought you here in the first place?
How long has this been going on?
Does anyone know when this pattern or problem began? When was it first noticed? Was there a particular event of importance that happened before all of this started? What was that event? Has it always been there? If it has, is there a way to get older history of this place prior to its current residents? If no historical information exists, such as with a very old imprint, you can do a journey to the source of the trauma.
How are people affected by this place?
Is there a pattern to people’s response to this place such as sickness, fear, anger, depression, aggression or anxiety? Do people get physically ill here? How does it manifest? Is there an area where this response is stronger than other places? Is the response consistent or does it fluctuate by time of day, season or time of the year? Is there an anniversary factor – an event that happened that carries a potency for a particular date?
Is there an overriding presence of an element (air, water, fire, earth) here?
In a building look for an excess of an element that doesn’t seem to be related to faulty construction. For example, water seepage, weird drafts, electrical short circuiting, frequent fires (even minor ones, like in a wastepaper basket), lightning strikes, a bulging foundation. In nature, an element imbalance will usually cover a micro or macro region. Droughts, fires and floods will appear where they usually don’t exist. Beware of projecting your personal idea of what a healthy element balance may be for a region, the earth may be doing a natural correction which does not need an intervention.
What is the physical condition and health of the place?
Look around. Does the place appear to be in disarray? Do plants look healthy? Do animals look healthy? Do people look healthy? If not, why and how? Is there obvious damage that has taken place like burn marks from old fires or dents in a wall from objects thrown in a domestic fight? On the land are things growing well or are there telltale barren areas on the ground where chemicals have been dumped? What is the health of the leaves and the trees? Are there any birds or signs of animals?
What is the energy of this place?
Check your gut reaction. For lack of more descriptive words, does it feel icky or yucky? Is there fear, grief or sadness in the atmosphere? Does it feel heavy and suffocating or airy and disorienting? How strong are these sensations? Is there an area where the energy is stronger than others?
Are there any ordinary reality circumstances that could be contributing to the problem?
Sometimes the main source of a problem is a very ordinary one. If people in a large sprawling office building are continually getting sick and feeling cranky, it could be an overload of mold from air ducts that have not been cleaned in thirty years. Don’t become so enchanted by the spiritual aspects of healing that you overlook plain, everyday factors that may be creating similar symptoms.
What are the repeating patterns that have taken place here?
By this time in your line of questioning, you will notice repeating themes. Where there is wounding, there is a pattern of repetition. Explore the nature of these patterns and categorize them. Are they spiritual, physical, emotional, elemental or energetic? Is there a focal point where the pattern or imprint is strongest? The qualities of this imprint should have some similarities to the spirits or fields listed above. Use this to help determine what you are dealing with.
Once you have gathered the ordinary reality information, you are ready to turn to the divine and ask your helping spirits to guide you toward a healing intervention. In doing this, it’s important to be in a state of absolute communion and clarity with your helping spirits. After all, they are the eyes, ears and voices that guide us through these spiritual domains.
The healing of some places can be a job too big for one person alone. Land, buildings and war zones are all huge energy fields that are best addressed by groups of people working together in group ceremonies. Each intervention for the healing of place will have the unique features that address what the particular needs of that place are. The nature of the rituals and ceremony, who is gathered, and the order of the work will largely be guided by Spirit.
Including the owners, occupants or workers in the ceremony is important to the long term success of a healing. By directly involving those individuals who have been affected by a place in the intervention ceremony, the momentum of the healing increases because they have a personal investment in the continued wellness of the place. In addition, their ongoing presence, long after the ceremony is performed, helps anchor the healing which has occurred. Of course, one would only ask those comfortable with participating, but even one or two people will make a difference.
If you are working in a group, make sure you have a strong core of experienced practitioners who can hold the energy of the group. If there are owners, residents or workers participating, take time before the ceremony to teach some basic concepts and create a comfortable level of understanding for those involved. After the ceremony allow processing time for the participants. Most importantly, listen to the guidance of your helping spirits.
I often tell people that I believe the earth is very strong and takes care of herself. This prompted a friend to ask me, “Well, if the earth is so strong and can heal herself, then why do we need land healing?” Perhaps my answer surprised her.
This isn’t simply about saving the earth, this is about saving humanity. The more we damage the land, the air and the waters, the greater a correction she needs to make to bring things back in balance. The more we poison the environments we live in with imprints of violence and destruction, the more we kill and destroy each other from the momentum of those imprints. If we refuse to come back into harmony with the natural world and treat all life with respect, the earth will shed us with a correction to the environment that will make it impossible for our species to survive. The Creator placed us here, not to have dominion over the earth, but to be stewards and caretakers of the earth. If there is any chance of saving our species we must return to our original promise of being caretakers of the land.
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