Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Dance with My Ancestors

tracks-225x300I had the distinct pleasure and good fortune of being in circle with John Lockley. John is a Xhosa Sangoma (medicine person) from South Africa. Our time together focused on connecting with our ancestors, and deriving healing from working with our dreams. Several mini- and not so mini-epiphanies (and epiphanies about epiphanies) occurred for me during the weekend.

The truth of the miracle of my life   I have a new sense of my ancestral lines—it expresses as a psycho-spiritual image of 2 lines of flowing behind and to the sides of me. On my walk today, the full force of the miracle of my life touched me, as I thought about: all of the pairs of people who came together to procreate to ultimately create me. 5,000-10,000 pairs of humans meeting and forming a long or short union to ultimately result in Laura Jill Rapport Shainsky. And the millions of obstacles to survival and pro-creation all of those people had to overcome and manifest. And all of the qualities that contributed to their overcoming all of the risks of being on earth to procreate. When I really ponder the enormity of the miracles, it brings me to my knees in such gratitude for my life, my ancestors. And Thank you John Lockley, and my beloved Africa!


Tiger Dream and My Destiny with Jan Engels-Smith When I was 10 or so, I had a dream I have always remembered. The only dream I remember from my childhood that had such a deep impact. I glimpsed the meaning of this dream this weekend. In the dream, I found myself in a cage with a Tiger. There was deep sense of fear and wanting to escape, but also a deep allure. I was able to climb up out of the cave and commune with the Tiger from where I felt safe, though my heart was still beating. The spirits showed me this weekend that I was connecting with my teacher/mentor’s ancestors-power animals, revealing the connection we have in our lineage, and would revive and continue to live together in this lifetime.


Mitakuye Oyasin  As a result of this weekend’s work, I have noticed my dreams have fully included members of the LightSong (my shamanic) community. I am being shown that we can travel back different distances in our lineages to find where our lineages meet and become one. The dreams I have begun to have are sending lifeforce energies back to greet those points of unions, to carry forward blessed work together in this lifetime, in our community work together.

Life turns through a flash of gratitude and light from the sky   Another point John made, which is something the LightSong community is very intimate with,  was that the emotion and position of gratitude is very important for this work. I  remember the day my life turned around for the first time. I was struggling to recover from a very traumatic experience in Los Angeles (mentioned below), and working for the YMCA as a mountain camp facilitator. We were doing ceremony together in the Mammoth Mountains with the parents of the Family Camp trip we were conducting. One of the prompts in the ceremony was something like “who is God to you?” or “what is God to you?”. In a rush, I realized that “MY GOD SAVED MY LIFE, TO DO WORK I HAVE NOT YET DONE ON THE PLANET”. My God had saved me from my very traumatic near-death experience. I went down on my knees in gratitude of this realization, and just as this occurred, lightening struck, flashing dramatically across the landscape. It was biblical, like God say YES! YES! YOU GOT IT! And in circle with John, the whole piece about gratitude being an initiating emotional doorway deepened in my understanding greatly.

Bumping into God   John talked about how people come to becoming shamans or medicine people, and how he and others go through a “calling sickness” where the body, mind and spirit may degrade before becoming receptive for the intensive spiritual path can commence. I was reflecting on how I came to my own healing path. I was shown, while in his presence, that my healing path was initiated when I made a big impact with Mt Hood–a very important and present god in our physical, geographic and spiritual environment.

I was skiing in 1991 on the mountain, caught an edge while going very fast, and hit a mogul (big bump on the slope) with my head and shoulder. Bumping into this god began a 10-year road of recovery that opened a doorway to the spiritual-physical aspects of life. More importantly, this impact initiated my deep seeking, which eventually led me shamanism and Jan Engels-Smith, my teacher, mentor, friend (who brought John to us and why we were all sitting in circle together this weekend).

The luxury of having epiphanies   The questions “how am I expressing elements of my ancestral lineage?”, and “how is what I am doing in life sending healing back through to them?” echoed in my consciousness the whole weekend. In fact, these will be key questions that I will be continually be addressing now, probably for the rest of my life. While we were in circle with John, we sang, danced, and then laid down on the grass outside, heart to heart with the mother, Earth. I felt a doorway opening to my lineage, even from the very beginning of our time together. And all of a sudden in a flash, I was very moved by an epiphany and a healing of my lineages sent back from this epiphany. It came in a sentence from the spirits: “My ancestors never had the luxury of having epiphanies about rape”. And my doing so was a healing back through both lines. I bless them with my doing this, sharing and honoring their suffering by healing my own.