Part 1 of 2
Everything seen and unseen is made up of vibrating energy and capable of communicating with everything else. This idea is central to the belief system known as animism — a word derived from the Latin word anima, meaning breath or soul.
Another term for animism, which may be more familiar to modern readers, is shamanism. Animistic beliefs are among the oldest human beliefs, most likely dating from the Stone Age. Similar ideas are still found in native cultures around the world. The basic tenet of animism is that everything has consciousness, both living creatures and the inanimate, including animals, trees, rocks, and water.
Animism also embraces the idea that everything continually reincarnates in the physical dimension. According to animism, the spirit world and the material world are different aspects of a greater reality, existing simultaneously, and that everything is alive and sacred.
When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I could hear the grass, trees and even rocks talking to me. The grass mostly expressed ambivalence about being walked on, and the trees said they loved it when the wind blew. Communicating with rocks was more of an energetic connection, as I held large pieces of rose quartz in my hands for hours and slept with a large box of them under my bed to absorb their emanations.
But as I grew older, without realizing it, I lost touch with this sensitivity. It was replaced by the harsh realities inherent in dealing with other humans and mundane activities such as holding down a job to pay the rent. Fortunately, when I began to meditate in my 30s, my sensitivity and spiritual receptivity started to come back. Now that I have more fully embraced the natural state of mediumship, I am grateful to find I have come full circle. Once again, I am able to experience all kinds of non-verbal communication.
A few years ago, while editing a book on shamanism, the various stones in my house — some of which I've held captive for many years — started calling out to me. I began to go through every closet and drawer, but most of all a special shelf, where I had long kept objects of special significance. As I collected the stones and meditated on them, some of them told me they wanted to stay with me and help with my healing work. These I kept and later took to a creek for a re-energizing bath.
Some of the to-be-eliminated stones included the crystals given to me by my father after his death in 1998. Others were from my various trips to the Philippines, and also shells from the South China Sea. These will be especially difficult to part with because of my deep love for the Philippine islands, my spiritual home.
While packing up everything to take to the river and release, I remembered one drawer I had forgotten to check. To my surprise and dismay, I found my father's bolo, a weapon made of three rocks tied together with leather straps. As I held these stones in my hand, an intense wave of sorrow came over me. It was the feeling of the trapped stones, who told me they never wanted to hurt anyone. They will be the first to be thrown into the river, and I will be especially relieved to liberate them.
The book I’d been editing also talked about ancestors, and I was horrified to realize that I had been holding captive some of my ancestors, too. So I took with me the remaining ashes of my parents and Mr. Fluffy (my cat who died), and a clipping of hair from the head of my former spiritual teacher Swami Muktanana. He died in 1982, so it seemed like it was time to liberate that part of him, too.
Watch for Part 2: “At the River: Liberating My Stone People” in next week’s Inner Peace column.
Jessica Bryan is an author, book editor and spiritual medium. She does clairvoyant readings and energy healing. Jessica lives in Ashland and can be reached by email at email@example.com. Read her blogs at www.psychicsurgery.wordpress.com and www.oregoneditor.wordpress.com.