Meditations & Visualizations

Personalized Totem Mandala

I created this mandala for a shamanic practitioner friend, Kara, who writes the Conduit of Joy blog site. The overall composition of the animal guardians and guides, their projection upon constellations and their general spatial locations were given to me during a recent journey. Each animal revealed itself as I "looked around" within the journey space. Returning with this basic map, I proceeded to create a unique mandala attuned to Kara.

The animal spirits include a panther, an owl, a raven, a lemur, an Egyptian scarab beetle and a lunar moth. Kara, as Durga, rides a lion of power and mastery.

By journeying to each animal spirit and/or by meditating on the locations (quadrant or compass direction) where the animal spirits reside in the mandala, Kara will be able to uncover deeper information of timely, personal significance. One thing that strikes me immediately is how many of the animals have "big eyes" - embodying / symbolizing night vision or acuity of vision?? I think this is certainly a clear message about her shamanic skills! The position of the Milky Way as the horizon line which inter-connects the Owl and the Jaguar is also significant in that this positions the "Dark Road" of the Mayan ancestors on the left near the Owl.

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Empowerment of Prajnaparamita
Great Mother of Wisdom

Consecrate the meditation space with incense or smudge, bells (tingshas) and this mandala offering prayer:

"I offer without any sense of loss
The objects that give rise to my attachment, hatred and confusion,
My friends, enemies and strangers, our bodies and enjoyments;
Please accept these and bless me to be released directly from the poisons of the mind and the body."

The associated offering mantra is:

Visualization #1: Medicine Buddha Pure Land Offering
Imagine the space before you as follows:
"The ground sprinkled with perfume and spread with flowers,
The Great Mountain, four lands, sun and moon,
Seen as a Buddha Land and offered thus,
May all beings enjoy such pure lands."

In the middle of this Pure Land there is an island surrounded by flowering lotus. From this island arises a lotus throne upon which sits the Buddha in quiet contemplation.

Visualization #2: Emanation of Great Mother Prajnaparamita
From the pure heart of the Buddha, the Great Mother Prajnaparamita emerges and floats above. In her right hand she holds a Vajra thunderbolt. In her left hand she holds the book of dharma (truth). A calm, blissful energy pervades space.

Visualization #3: Prajnaparamita's Infinite Presence
Now see that Prajnaparamita multiplies a thousand thousand thousand fold to fill every atom of space with her presence. Visualize an infinite number of her emanations in every direction, dimension and time.

Visualization #4: 3-Fold Empowerment Blessing of Prajnaparamita
At this point visualize white light emanating from the forehead of the Great Mother and striking your forehead (third eye chakra). This purifies all physical and karmic obstructions that you have created.

Repeat her mantra:

Now visualize a red syllable AH at the throat chakra of the Great Mother. It emits red light that strikes your throat chakra and purifies all negative obstructions created with your speech. Imagine that you have received the speech empowerment of Prajnaparamita.

Repeat her mantra:

From the blue seed syllable HUNG at the heart chakra of the Great Mother there ensues blue light that strikes your own heart chakra and purifies all obstructive forces created by your mind. Think that you have received the mind empowerment of Prajnaparamita.

Repeat her mantra:

Visualization #5: Prajnaparamita as Wisdom Heart Flame
Finally, visualize the Great Mother descending into your heart chakra and residing there in wisdom flame. Now your body, speech, and mind as inseparable from the body, speech and mind of Prajnaparamita.

Repeat her full mantra:


You may wish to end by dedicating this meditation to the greater benefit of all beings:

"Enthused by wisdom and compassion,
today in the Buddha's presence
I generate the Mind of Full Awakening
for the benefit of all sentient beings.

As long as space endures,
as long as sentient beings remain,
until then, may I too remain
and dispel the miseries of the world."

(Part of the Bodhisattva Vow)

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Grandmother Earth - Machu Picchu

The connection to the domain of the ancestor spirits is strong in the misty Andean high mountain peaks and valleys. The mountains each have a tutelary deity, male or female, who reside within them. Prayers are recited calling each peak's Apu (spirit self) by it's special name. Through prayer and ceremony, the great mountain spirits are acknowledged and given thanks. By remembering these beings, the balance of the world creation can be maintained. The nurturing energies of Pachamama (Earth Mother) can be drawn into one's self, one's lineage.

In his book "Island of the Sun: Mastering the Inca Medicine Wheel", Alberto Villoldo recounts his trance/dream experience of the great Grandmother Apu of Machu Picchu. In this meeting, she taught him how to project his consciousness to merge with that of the condor, to fly high into the sky on the winds of this sacred bird.

Some years ago I was studying reiki with a teacher and on her wall there was a photograph of the peak of Huayna Picchu. I liked this view and mentioned that fact to her. She smiled and told me that this was a special photograph as it reveals the spirit of the mountain. With that, she turned the photo 90 degrees to show me the face of Grandmother.

As far as I can tell, this is an un-retouched image. However, it happens to be shot from a unique angle and position that is not typically reached by other photographers. Anyway, at that time, I took a digital snapshot of it for future use in my art (see example below).

See more of this Inka Light Body Medicine Wheel series at under View By Subject/Shamanic Visions.

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Shaman's Dream Newsletter

As a new activity this year, I will be writing and sending out a newsletter every New Moon with my spiritual and shamanic musings, meditations, visualizations and so forth. My goal is to be informative and to share understandings - not to try to convince you of my truths, not because I know something that you do not. Rather, I will be sharing with you so that you too may remember / construct your own stories, your own visions and dreams. Your own truths to live by. Like a Zen teacher, I can only point in a general direction and hope, by this action, to assist you in remembering to open your own inner eye of wisdom and heart of compassion. As each person changes, the world is transformed from illusion to a Pure Land. May each of us be guided and blessed.

Note: the pdfs are each saved as one long page (no screen page breaks). When loaded into your pdf viewer, zoom in to normal text size, then scroll as needed.

Updates to this newsletter are no longer being sent out. Special thanks to The Healing Center and Hearts of Light Institute for their past support.

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Terence McKenna on The Mystery of Nature

Just what is the Archaic Revolution? What is the role of the shaman in the struggle to save the world? Listen up here! (Note: this mp3 clip came from The Psychedelic Salon podcast #159. It is a Creative Commons mix by Waking Sleep using Nine Inch Nail's Ghost album release.)

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Basic Breath Meditation Practices

Chakra Man and Woman

The following entries outline several meditations and visualizations useful for centering oneself, for clearing and balancing one's chakras, and for sharing healing energy with the world-at-large. Enjoy.

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The Centering Breath

This breathing meditation is a good starting point for anyone wishing to slow their thoughts and still their mind. To find a quiet peace. It is one of the basic forms of 'Calm Abiding' meditation practice.

Sit comfortably in a straight-backed chair or cross-legged lotus-style. Back held straight, head held chin up, facing forward. Eyes closed. Hands typically rest one on top of the other on your lap. Ensure your space is quiet and free of interruptions.

Begin by consciously relaxing your joints and muscles from head to toe (or from foot to head, depending on your preference.) Be sure to relax your jaw! Keeping your mouth slightly open as you breath will help.

Now focus on your breath. More specifically, focus on the sensations of breathing in and breathing out. (Common instructions are to feel the cool air coming in through your nostrils, then feel the warm air going out through your nostrils.) Keep your focus on this in and out - remaining aware of the physicality of your breathing.

Be sure to breathe deep, slowly, avoiding shallow rapid breaths. Feel the air coming into your belly first, belly expanding, then the air filling the chest. Breath out in an opposite manner: air leaving chest first, then slowly expelled from you belly. This will result in deep, full-lung breathing.

If your mind strays, begins to chase a thought about the day's activities or some annoying person or a song or whatever, simply catch yourself and let the thought go. Bring your attention back to your breath in and out. Do not chastise or judge yourself for losing focus on the moment's breath. That only creates a new cascade of thoughts and emotions. Realize that every human mind, even a well-trained one, can sometimes scurry away without warning. That's Maya at work.

Continue this 'Calm Abiding' breathing meditation for 5 to 10 minutes or longer as you feel drawn to practice.

For many, it seems there is a "Catch 22" when it comes to clearing one's mind - with such an endless rush of thoughts, emotions, reactions and so forth it's seemingly impossible to figure out how to shut everything "off."

One method that works for many is to quietly tell themselves as they breathe: "...breathing in... ...breathing out... ...breathing in... ...breathing out...", following their breath. By engaging your language centers with this simple task, it helps to quiet other mental flow.

The practicing of 'Calm Abiding' breath before ceremony, ritual journeying or visualization meditation practices will be of significant benefit to your session. (Try counting 50 of these breaths to slow down your brainwaves and place you into a light trance state.)

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'Hum Sa' Light Breathing

This cleansing and invigorating practice is based upon the 'Calm Abiding' breath. Begin by first settling into your breath and clearing your mind.

Now as you breathe in, visualize pure white light coming into you from high above through your Crown chakra. Breath this light though-out your body. Exhale slowly but fully, releasing toxins and negative energy.

As you breathe in, quietly recite the mantra seed syllable 'Hum'. As you breath out, 'Sa'. ...Hummmm... ...Saaaaa... Repeat as you breathe.

Variations on this technique include visualization of breathing in specific frequencies or colors of light, depending upon your specific meditation deity/guide practice.

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Chakra Balancing Meditation

This meditation visualization practice is used to clear and re-balance one's chakras and energy body.

The basic visualization is to breathe light in simultaneously from above (the heavens) and below (the earth) - through your crown and feet - meeting at the specific chakra you are currently clearing. Begin with the Root chakra and work your way up to the Crown chakra, one by one. As you breathe, visualize the flow passing along your central energy channels, meeting at the specific chakra and intermixing in a clockwise spiral rotation. As you exhale, let the mixed light fill your body while the chakra continues to spin.

Use your intuitive vision to sense when the chakra is no longer cloudy, but begins to radiate a pure color. When cleared, move on to the next higher chakra. (It could take several breaths or even a few minutes per chakra to achieve clarity.)

Most people vision the chakras using the standard Hindu/Tibetan/Inka "ROY G. BIV" scheme (Base=red, Sacral=orange, Solar Plexus=yellow, Heart=green, Throat=blue, Third Eye=Indigo, Crown=violet, or alternatively, white). Feel free to use whatever colors are natural to your existing practice.

Many folks have asked about the proper way to visualize rotation of the chakra energies. In Inka Light Body work, clockwise rotation is for energizing and counter-clockwise is for clearing. However, in this meditation, I recommend keeping it simple and sticking with clockwise (energizing) rotation. Note, this rotation is envisioned from the perspective of facing the chakra head-on from in front of yourself - as if someone was working externally on your chakras. (This creates a counter-intuitive counter-clockwise rotation as "seen" from within your body. But recall, this is but a mirror inversion image of the actual movement.)

In my own practice, the energy from the heavens is envisioned to be red. The energy from Mother Earth is envisioned to be blue. They mix into a iridescent white light within the chakra, acting to energize and clean the chakra's own vibratory color.

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Energy Body / DNA Healing Meditation

This meditation is similar to the Chakra Balancing meditation, except for the visualization which occurs on the out breath.

When breathing out, envision the iridescent mixed light as flowing from the Chakra into the nearby Chi channels, then into the surrounding cells, and thence into the nucleus and the DNA itself. At the end of the out-breath, all of your DNA are glowing, vibrating and fully activated.

If you don't have time for the full chakra tree sequence, a shorter version of this meditation visualization is to simply focus upon drawing the channels of light into your heart chakra and thence out into your cellular body and DNA.

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Sending Healing Light

This visualization is used to send healing light to specific people, organizations, geographic areas and so forth which may be in need of en-lightening (illumination) and compassion.

Begin by breathing in the light (from above and below, as in the Chakra Breathing) into your heart center. Allow this to merge and rotate clockwise. On the out breath, project this spinning disk of light out from your heart chakra and towards the "target". The light disk can be rotated en-route horizontally (like a spinning galaxy edge-on) so that it's spiraling arms embrace and sweep around the destination.

Repeat this breath-by-breath for as long as you feel is appropriate. Always hold the intention of "gifting" Divine light and healing energy.

Destinations can be changed between breaths. Sometimes, working from the local area and "spreading out" larger/farther with succeeding breaths seems to a natural path to undertake.

Remember that there is no time or space for inter-dimensional energy work. So your out breath should be able to "reach" any destination (on Earth or in the heavens) with ease.

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Feeding the Ancestors

This is a more advanced practice based upon the previous Sending Healing Light visualization. In this case, imagine the destination of the out-breath light transmission to be your ancestors, your protectors and your divine guides. Feel gratitude towards, and feel immediate connection with, these special beings. Rejoice and embrace them with your light offerings!

In my own practice, I envision these beings to be arrayed across the sky in a floating Shambala Bliss World, out there "above" the horizon beyond the clouds.

Note once again that inter-dimensionally speaking, energy work has no limitations in space or time. Thus the ancestors of your ancient Siberian(?) shamanic past-life are immediately available to you, as are your "future" self emanations.

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Bodhichitta Heart Meditation

This is a core visualization within Buddhist Bodhichitta practice, especially for those devoted to the Bodhisattva path, which combines deep compassion and insight so as to free all beings from suffering and dispel the delusion of ego-Maya, thereby helping to bring about a true Bliss World. (It is sometimes referred to as the "Giving and Taking" practice. It is an advanced meditation which should be undertaken only by those who feel the urgent need to serve the world as a Bodhisattva. You must be certain that you can fully dispel and transmute negative energies accessed in this meditation!

Recall the Hum-Sa meditation described previously. A similar in-and-out breath sequence is used, but this time, focus on breathing directly into the heart chakra (not through your crown). The Hum-Sa mantra seed sounds can be utilized with each breath. However, in this meditation, the energies envisioned are different: on the in-breath, bring into your heart chakra all of the pain, suffering, delusion (etc.) that you can withstand. At the still moment of breath (between in and out) realize that this energy has been transmuted back into primordial light, stripped of "good" or "bad" qualities, rather simply full of pure potential. Now, on the out-breath, this potential becomes the clear golden light of compassion and Divine love, radiating outward back to the original "target" source of negative energy. Repeat in/out sequence a few times for each "target" source.

Traditionally, this meditation begins with visualizing those close to you (such as your lover, your family), then moves outward to your friends and circle of acquaintances. This circle continues to expand to embrace your enemies and those you do not like or care not to know about. Finally, the"target" source includes all sentient beings.

Over time, this meditation builds true compassion within your self based upon the "easy-to-access" love of family, eventually to grow into a more complete compassion for all living things.

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