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Spider Rock, Canyon De Chelly, Arizona, September 2018 (Photo courtesy Susan C)

Aloha

After several decades of traipsing through life and intermittent consuming jobs, my torrid on-again-off-again love affair with words and storytelling is on again. This time, for keeps.

Lost For Words offers spirited blogs about the advanced realms of health, healing, spirit and nature – the good, the bad, the hilarious, to the downright mysterious. And feel free to cast your eye over my longer true stories and homemade short flicks.

I’m also a scribe/editor for hire, here to serve creative souls in need of assistance with their next masterpiece. If this sounds like you, please connect via my Contact page.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the following story that explains, fairly briefly, why I have such an interest in the ancient world of indigenous shamanic healing.

Linda Summer

My Shamanic Odyssey

What triggered my ‘on-again’ love affair with words?

A journey to Peru in 2013 to experience Machu Picchu and explore the mysterious world of shamanic healing. I initially intended to travel to Arizona but couldn’t find what I was looking for. That was destined to happen in 2018, but I didn’t know that then.

In 2013, I was enjoying a twelve month sabbatical from my job in the public sector. I needed to rest, write, travel and heal. Little did I know that Peru, would herald the beginning of the end of life as I knew it. But that’s a story for another day.

Andean Master Shaman at Salala – gateway to the remote, sacred Huaringas lagoons, northern Peru

Embracing The Unknown

Life began to unravel for all the right reasons upon my return from Peru to Adelaide, South Australia when an Inka shaman called Raghida crossed my path. She saw my ‘spirit feathers’ and asked who or what was stopping me from doing ‘my work.’ Then she held an impromptu weekend workshop and proceeded to floor me with her point-blank vision about my past, present and future. Confirming in detail what I already knew about my present circumstances but didn’t want to hear. And more. Woah!

After thirty years of dabbling in spiritual realms full of woo-woo wannabes, Inka shaman Raghida stood in a highly-attuned realm of her own.

This profound experience turbo-boosted my resilience and helped me move through the ensuing loss, sadness, pain, uncertainty, anger, fear and frustration with grace, focus, strength and dignity.

The universe must have known I needed extra strong backup, so it also introduced me to former US attorney turned mainstream spiritual healer and teacher, Deborah King via her book Be Your Own Shaman.

Now here was a woman who walked her talk.

Deborah is a highly accomplished author who has mastered the art of making every word count. Another of her books worthy of mentioning is The Truth Heals – What You Hide Can Hurt You. A must-read for anyone. Healing journey or no healing journey.

Be Your Own Shaman inspired me to enrol in Deborah’s online Life Force Energy Healing (LFEH) course. This also connected me to a study group of compassionate, understanding souls from all walks of life which I really needed amidst my unfolding healing journey – and the beginning of the end of my long-term relationship.

My healing studies were so nourishing and strengthening that I went on to complete four LFEH levels and also gained my Initiate in Training certificate. This provided a credible foundation from which to build my own holistic haven when the time was right. But I had a whole lot of healing to do, so I focused on that instead.

Rising From The Ashes

Being new to the holistic healing world, I was surprised at how many practitioners resided in my hometown of Adelaide. I also noticed a boom in ‘weekend certificate healing courses,’ some of which claimed to be all an aspiring practitioner needed to start a business.

Fortunately, my discernment radar was in fine form, allowing my intuition to guide me to three experienced healing practitioners, sound therapist Patricia Blythman, holistic practitioner Carolyn Pedlar and wellbeing mentor Erika Klement, all of whom utilised shamanic practices together with other honed skills and gifts.

When you feel ready to deal with and release your personal ‘shite,’ (we all have it, especially 50+ men and women), I highly recommend you connect with these wonderful women – or holistic practitioners of their ilk. My wonderful GP respected my choices and encouraged me to write about my healing journey because people in the 50+ age group carried the heaviest loads of unresolved ‘baggage’ and would be terrified of travelling down this path. She said prefer prescription drugs to try to block things out and end up living depressed lives in their later years.


Remember Who You Are

Faced with redesigning my pulverised life, I learned to embrace the unknown. Trust that all would unfold as intended. View life as a blank canvas waiting to be filled with new experiences and dreams come true. Accept all the ‘hard stuff’ since my late teens as mini-movies that now serve as a Pandora’s box of wisdom, strength and hindsight.

‘Little Bird ‘ by
Artist Sharon Bosmoore

I also immersed myself in screenwriting studies, drafted a feature-length screenplay called Woo Woo World – a spiritual comedy, of sorts. I wrote, produced and directed short (experimental) film Good Medicine which attempted to convey a message about shamanic healing and soul retrieval.

My film featured a medicine woman called Kachina, inspired by a captivating portrait of ‘Little Bird,’ by spiritual artist Sharon Bosmoore. Little Bird initially arrived via email with a pertinent message: ‘Remember who you are.’

Sharon said she was ‘impressed by spirit‘ to create this painting and for reasons unknown, sent it to me. I connected with Little Bird instantly and felt a deep sense of comfort, healing and strength from just looking at her. I also interpreted her to be an Inka medicine woman and bought the original painting from Sharon soon after.

Little Bird became the signature image for Good Medicine.

Where Crows Fly…

2015, I temporarily relocated to Sydney, New South Wales, unsure of where to settle. Sydney was ok for a holiday but I didn’t want to live there again.

Embracing my newfound freedom, vastly improved health and energy levels, I also noticed the appearance of crows. Daily. Often in the most unlikely places. Then, feathers appeared. Constantly. I now have enough feathers for at least two headdresses.

Well aware that my healing journey would be an ongoing work in progress, I breathed a sigh of relief when I found Peruvian trained shamanic practitioner Beata Alfoldi. She helped me recalibrate my emotional strength following my relationship breakdown and associated shite that went with it.

One of the things I love and respect most about shamanic healing is that it encompasses healing on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – which enables you to recover and embrace life again. Illness on any level need not be a life sentence. Healing, in my experience, is essentially about taking responsibility for your health, life choices and wellbeing, not becoming addicted to therapy, therapists, doctors and drugs.

Tip: You always know you are with an attuned shamanic practitioner when the drum beats of its own accord.

And an unexpected re-connection with an old friend living about an hour north of Sydney on the Central Coast, provided a welcome distraction, new adventures and eventually, a new home. Thank you Jack. Mwah!

Surrendering to the universe and trusting the unknown began to feel like a whole lot of fun!

‘Lone Crow’ appeared out of nowhere when I arrived at the Painted Desert, Arizona and made his way to the car where I shared my water with him.

What Is Shamanic Healing?

2016, an online shamanic study course with US based Peruvian curandero (healer) and transpersonal psychologist don Oscar Miro-Quesada caught my eye. Initially dubious, I also knew that my chances of learning about the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition and ancient Peruvian healing arts in Australia, were nil.

“When we surrender the need to figure it all out and cultivate the ability to let it all in, our earth walk becomes a sacred dance of healing service on the planet. More than the world needs saving, it needs loving.”

Don Oscar Miro-Quesada

Thankfully, a string of serendipitous events also assured me that don Oscar’s teachings would be a wise investment. For example, I naively wondered how relevant his ‘Hummingbird Medicine’ teachings would be in Australia given that Hummingbirds don’t live here. That same afternoon, I spotted multiple images of hummingbirds on a stack of boxes at a store entrance.

Later that evening I caught a glimpse of a David Attenborough documentary. There he was marvelling at the magical world of hummingbirds. If that wasn’t enough, the following day I passed a clothing shop with an unmissable blouse on display, covered in colourful hummingbirds.

And after my first live session with don Oscar via the internet, feeling deeply nourished and grateful that I answered the Hummingbird’s call, I sat on a rock overlooking a shimmering waterway. Seconds later, a crow flew past so close that I could almost touch him. This was just the beginning of many more serendipitous events that continue to unfold to this day.

(If this resonates, I highly recommend you begin with don Oscar’s engaging book Lessons in Courage.)

Don Oscar’s insightful, often profound teachings and private study group inspired me to share a significant personal story about a tidal wave of devastating events in my late 20’s that came close to killing me. If a shamanic practitioner had crossed my path at that desperate time and helped me move through my crazy ‘rite of passage,’ life would have taken on a distinctly different tone.

“Contemporary psychotherapy has, in most cases, forgotten that it’s about soul. Not about fixing things. Shamanism is a soul-based therapeutic approach to healing. It honours whatever the person is experiencing, no matter how distressing, traumatic or painful it may be because it plays a very important role in that person’s life. Underneath the experience of fragmentation and breakdown, there is breakthrough to another level – a rite of passage – an initiation.”

don Oscar Miro-Quesada (Sounds True interview)

Learning to Perceive Adversity as a Gift

Most people would be aware that western medicine commonly treats mental illness psychotropic ‘bandaid’ drugs that not only shut down your spirit but significantly increase the risk of suicide, even if suicide was never on your radar. It’s also a lucrative world for both the trillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry and their prescribers whose collective actions are creating a whole new world of permanent, albeit preventable mental disability.

Thankfully, increasing numbers of drug labels now carry this warning, which makes you wonder why an intelligent doctor would still prescribe them. (I’m assuming medical practitioners are intelligent people given the copious studies they undertake to become one.)

My one and only shortlived experience with a psychiatrist in 1990 is worth revisiting, if only briefly. The psychiatrist dismissed my turbulent, grievous, traumatic experiences completely because she didn’t have the education or spiritual capacity to understand them. Instead, she prescribed deadly drugs for my grief which knocked me out and led me perilously close to death by suicide – and I was never suicidal to begin with. If it wasn’t for my (then absent) mother acting on her intuition to intervene, I wouldn’t be here writing this story.

When I recovered and confronted the psychiatrist about the devastating impact of her drugs, she dismissed me all over again. And she was so focused on her prescription pad that she completely missed my diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That was diagnosed by transpersonal psychology friends several years later.

And for the record, Post Traumatic Stress is not a debilitating life sentence. But that’s another story.


That said, I accept my chosen path and embrace the invaluable hindsight that adversity has gifted me along the way. These days I also perceive mental ‘illness’ as mental ‘injury’ from which we can fully recover – with the right help.

The Journey Accelerates

Parallel to my studies with don Oscar, I befriended Medicine Crow, a local native American shaman who, uncannily, lived a few suburbs away. He introduced me to his sacred drum circle teachings, inspired me to beat my own drum and co-facilitated my first vision quest in April 2018 with his counterpart Two-Crows.

After navigating the unknown and learning to trust like never before, between the teachings of Raghida, don Oscar and Medicine Crow, I knew I was in the middle of something quite wonderful. And innately knew the best was yet to come.

‘Tis common knowledge in the indigenous world that when a human steps onto their shamanic path, the animal kingdom draws closer. I can certainly vouch for this. In the past year, eagles have appeared more frequently, often with a crow in pursuit. And what’s with all the Kookaburras?

Birds of a feather flock together. My kooky friends paid a special visit on the eve of my flight to Arizona, USA.

Rise of the Wakadoos

May 2018, I connected with a native American ancestral wisdom teacher and healer called Adam Shield of the Feather. I felt my spirit being called to the Arizona desert and Hopi Lands since the beginning of the year, and my ‘on hold’ draft screenplay also ended in Arizona. Being a stickler for authenticity, I couldn’t possibly finish Woo Woo World without experiencing this sacred land in person.

How uncanny that Adam mentioned he was facilitating a retreat in Sedona, USA in late September. I instinctively knew I had to be there and that connecting with Adam at this time was no coincidence.

Adam’s Autumn Equinox Convergence retreat proved to be one of the most enriching and grounding experiences of my entire life. It connected me to an extraordinary new tribe including Mary Ellen (and her daughter Alex), an online friend from don Oscar’s tribe, who immediately answered the call when I contacted her.

Deeply profound and spiritually nourishing events that unfolded during the retreat also inspired me to change my screenplay title to Rise of the Wakadoos. Now I can finish the damn thing!

And I can’t help but have a quiet giggle about naming myself (in jest) ‘Oh Winging It One’ in 2014 when I produced Good Medicine. Seems fitting that I should meet a brother called Shield of the Feather.

I look forward to sharing future photo-blogs of my spirited Arizona adventures – a road-trip to the Hopi Lands with travel buddy and photographer Susan. Interestingly, the first winged-ones to greet me in the sacred lands were a convocation of eagles, a hummingbird and a lone crow! In that order.

Until next time. Be good.

Original Hopi symbol for Peace, Prosperity, Fortuity. One of over 5000 significant ancient glyphs at
Tutuveni, Hopi Lands, Arizona, September 2018


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