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Charlene transitioned into Spirit on November 17, 2014.  This website is in memory of her.

Autumn

Each change of the seasons brings with it a special kind of aliveness and offers each of us opportunities for learning and healing. As I reflect back upon Autumn I can see so much more clearly what the messages were that lay at my feet. A Native American elder once said to me, "Charlene always remember that you will find the extraordinary in what appears to be the ordinary, you need only slow down and observe."

Autumn for me was one of those seasons with all its magnificent colors that I felt so alive and connected to the creative process. You can imagine that In my intoxication with this time of the year that I was startled to find in the back drop of the autumn colors a peacock, such an unusual bird to see, after all this is not a normal every day occurrence such as the flight of an eagle, the caw of a crow, or the chirp of a robin.

I have spent fifteen years studying with many tribes of the Native American Peoples. I have been conditioned in a good way to pay attention to nature and all aspects of it to offer messages and teachings that would help me to understand life and assist me on my path.

Throughout my travels in Australia and my time with the Aboriginal people I was struck with the similarity in the sacred teaches of both cultures, especially with regard to death. Change is synonymous with death, for change is the death of what was gone before and the birth of what is to become. In moving though change we must confront our "truths" and address our fears, those aspects of our lives that we perceive as dark and shadowy.

Because the birth death process is filled with mystery and superstition the teachings of the past speak of the shamans who traveled with animals, calling upon their power to assist them as they journeyed into the underworld or the mystery, to bring back teachings and healing for the peoples of the tribe.

Many tribes all over the world honor the animal kingdom, and specific animals are chosen as the gatekeepers of each of the four directions on the medicine wheel or sacred circle. Each tribe choosing those animals found in their own environment and place in the global community.

These animal totems or spirit helpers are waiting to guide man through a "right of passage," a change, and assist him into higher levels of spiritual understanding. It is said that the animal(s) choose the person, not the other way around. They show up in our lives so as to teach us, assist us in making heartfelt choices, and help us to move through transitions.

The Native American medicine wheel is a metaphor of life. The wheel or sacred circle is a representation of life, mans journey through it, and his connection with all aspects of it. The sacred circle is used to assist us though change and the rites of passage of life. When challenges or lessons befall us we enter the sacred circle either literally or figuratively in a meditative state searching for answers and guidance.

As man travels around the circle he makes a passage through the four directions, east, south, west and north. Each direction represents some aspect of the creative process starting from birth moving through puberty, womanhood and manhood, vision questing, parenting, eldership and death. The colors and representations of the directions may vary from tribe to tribe but the birth/death cycle does not.

In many Native American teachings the direction of East on the medicine wheel represents birth, new beginnings, creativity, inspiration and illumination. It is the place of the Visionary. It is the season of spring, the color yellow, the element air, and the animal totem the eagle.

South is the direction of growth and faith. The place of learning and the Teacher. It is the season of summer, the color red, the element fire, and the totem coyote.

West is the place of release. It is a time of transformation and death.. The place of the Healer. The color is black, the season is autumn, the element water, and the totem dolphin.

The North is the place of the Warrior and where one goes for introspection, renewal and re-birth. The season is winter, the color white, the element earth, and the animal totem buffalo.

We each travel through life at our own pace, making our own choices, and determining in our own way how to exert our own energies in the choreography of our earth life. We are then, each the product of our own determining, creating our own circumstances as we go.

The Native Americans believe the purpose of life is to expand and magnify the "Real Self" or "Authentic Self." When these evolutionary needs are ignored or suppressed then the need to change, now suppressed or ignored, increasingly compresses and intensifies like the friction in a fault line, until change can no longer be ignored or avoided. The resistance can lead to cataclysmic change, which produces intense forms of individual or collective trauma.

Perhaps in reaction to this trauma, earth and atmospheric changes, environmental decay, the fast track communication highway and threat of world peace many are turning to non-traditional teachings derived from distillations of shamanic wisdom from cultures and traditions world wide to find solutions and answers to these and other problems.

I believe that today we are all being initiated into a higher awakening process which requires us to make quantum leaps in growth and faith in response to an invisible evolutionary movement. It is a process generated by the spirit rather than the intellect to release hidden potential and creativity, extend consciousness awareness and enable the individual to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in his/her life. Bringing body, mind, soul, and spirit into dynamic and harmonious unity.

How do we know when we are determining with Spirit? We know when we follow what our heart wants us to do because the true heart is the voice of Spirit. If we are stuck or unclear as to a direction or a choice we need only pay attention to nature as a messenger.

Autumn reminded me that it is a time of release and like the leaves on the trees, a letting go. The peacock in many traditions is symbolic of death, resurrection and birth. Perhaps the peacock in the midst of the autumn season stands as a central figure in the center of my consciousness demonstrating that although the death/rebirth experience can be painful the end result is a fullness and a colorful realistic expression of the Creator and the creative process.

It is to soon to tell what Winter will offer, but for now I will use this time for a vision quest, a time of self improvement and renewal.

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