Spirit of Place


I would like to just make a small but important point. The use of the word 'totem'. Our animal spirit allies are not the same as totem animals. A totem is a clan association like the Scottish clans. A clan totem animal would be hereditary and part of your ancestral history. A personal animal ally is quite different and the concept of a totem animal and cannot be used interchangeably for both. This lack of distinction when white westerners talk about animal spirits is one which many 1st Nation people find both amusing and offensive at the same time. If we are going to use words from another language it is worth knowing what the word actually means and using it appropriately.
Thank you sooo much, for saying this, Milfoil. It is a real sore spot in this book for me and reading it again and again I have to confess, that i tossed the book in the corner in dismay....
I am realllly asking myself, how Loren can justify using that word, when talking about personal Spirit guides.
Does she not know?
Is she mis-informed?
Then, if that is the case, how valid are her teachings in general?
Sorrrry; "Totem Animals" and chakras in the same sentence get to me quick! :(

My totems are my Clan animals form the clans of my father and his family which was patrilineal and the Gypsy clan of my mother and her mother and the mother of her mother....
My personal Guides and Guardians are different. In the Teaching Tent and "elsewhere" I have written about that.

The chakra sounds . . . . Perhaps it was me and trying to fit too much in but I didn't feel any sense of anything really other than the sound. I tried drumming instead, different tempos, rhythms and volumes but I think a lot more time is needed for me to work out what worked for what.

Well, I did the sounding, which I like - without the association of the chakras....
I like to use real organs and body parts that people have and "tone "into them. then I can do that when I need to find out something or they come for a curing......


Smudging. I do not smudge "routinely" and especially not in the morning.
I am not a morning person - No wonder with a my Miahanits all being nocturnal. But I am wide awake now and will be so for the next 2-3 hours... and it is almost midnight:)
I drum in the morning
Then I try to remember my name and what this life here is all about.
Then I have breakfast.
Then I meditate.
I Smudge my clients and patients, I smudge when I "do Medicine Work" I smudge, when I do public rituals and ceremonies. I smudge on full Moon and do my private ritual. I smudge on the Solstices and Equinoxes.
That is the tradition of my people.
We use sage, cedar, Juniper berries, Mugworth and Birch bark as well as Pine pitch.
It is for denoting sacred time, although I personally consider ALL time all space sacred and make no distinctions.
The smell of the herbs guide me to shift consciousness and so, if I smudge in the morning... I am not going to be "there" but"out with the gang"

In the Longhouse we do Tobacco prayers.
The Tobacco is grown the traditional way in the gardens of the Haudenosaunee.

flying black kat

Copal Resin

Dear AJ

I was fortunate to get my copal in little pieces when I lived in Colorado, 1989 - 1992. I used to keep it in a quart mason jar with a plastic storage lid. I am just about out.

I have no idea how to put it in smaller pieces. When I started to think about it, I thought about how to do it safely. I would try smashing it up like bread cubes to bread crumbs. Try putting the copal in a zip lock storage bag and using a rolling pin to hit it a few times, and then using the rolling pin to actually roll it to desired size.

Since copal is a hard resin you might be able to just roll it off the heat source with a pair of eyebrow twesisers or a dinner knife. It will stop burning as it gets cold. I have no idea how it would react to being put in a glass with ice.

I found this site that sells copal in small pieces to use. They also sell charocal blocks. It would be a way to go. That way you could keep your large copal. It probably is too beautiful to burn.


Be at Peace and Walk in Beauty



nice website, thank you Kathy.
My piece wasn't very big, maybe 1/2 the size of a lipstick. If I do turn it up, I'll be brave and set it afire :)
I'm not going to buy any though because the point of this exercise is to find the sacred where we are. As the copal was when you were in Colorado.

I grow lavender but not enough to last year to year, there is a large farm about 10 miles from here though.
Bergamont, or bee balm grows well here and would be lovely as loose leaf smudge. It is the flavoring used for Earl Grey Tea.
Douglas Fir is natural to the NW, my forest is full of it so fir needles and/or resin

I have a long needle pine next to my back deck, it is stormy today so I have a fresh fall of last years needle pairs (dried as opposed to green) all over the deck. I'm going out now to gather some and make a wand.

I also have a lot of Russian Sage in my flower beds, oh wow is it wonderful... sort of a cross between Sage sage, and lavender...

so I think I've targeted my main smudging source for My Place. But I fully intend to harvest eastern sage and sweet grass when I head to Michigan in September.


Here I have been looking into other aromatic plants for incense:

Fennel Seeds
Norway Spruce

Could be interesting!


There seemed to be a lot of emphasis placed upon unhealthy dependancies, marijuana, tobacco etc which, although deserving some mention, did seem to take over the 'During This Week' paragraph. I have no such habit but getting back to a daily, dawn ritual (which has been overlooked lately) was a necessary reminder.

Another thought struck me as I was re-reading this chapter today. The list of herbs local to me are not all in my back yard. The pine I would have to travel some distance to obtain and this was often part of the 'observance' of our ancestors. Nomadic people would come into contact with different things such as ochre or herbs on their travels and take the with them, returning there the following year to collect more if necessary. I will be on the lookout for plants who wish to work with me on my travels in this general area.


there may be a good reason Cruden is off the grid :) Immaterial to us, I always take what I want from my year books, and leave the rest.

Am I the only one who is idiot enough to keep buying the long plastic and metal flame lighters? I have three of them and all show lots of fuel and I'll be dinged if I can get any fire out of them.

I bought some Amber cone incense from HEM last week, it's lovely.

In one paragraph it says "The way smudge does or does not burn gives indications of the energies present so blowing on smudge herbs to encourage their ignition is not recommend."

It is food for thought, when I attended the Blue Clan Women's Circle in the early 90's I always had a heck of a time keeping the sage wand smoking. That was a really terrible time for us on many different fronts. While I give it consideration, I refuse to buy into that (unless Mi-shell agrees), I am impatient with paths that are full of superstitions to weigh me down.
Tarot is so full of it it's a wonder anyone picks up a deck that is easily swayed.

Yesterday afternoon was the baby chicks first outing. Too cute, too smart!


If the smudge is moist it will not burn.
If it is raining during a planting ceremony or when a body is put into the ground and because of the moisture the smudge is just sputtering listlessly, the drums are all "flat"that is in no way ever any indications of the energies present.
Many Native Nations however frown on the practice of blowing into a smudge, because that infuses it with the energy of the one that does the blowing and iffff that is a communal smudge....!!! :(
But if it is your personal one??!!?? Do what feels right.
I use my smudging fan or feather to "fan" the smudge.


thank you. A medicine woman of the blue clan gifted me with a turkey feather for smudging. The quill end is beaded with yellow, orange, red, and purple beads, a special treasure. I use it for bowl or loose leaf smudging, not wanding.


Week 8 Bird Medicine part 1

re: week 7...where did it go?
I am pleased to have made up my master list of smudge materials associated with 'this place'. Something else I'd never thought through, just like tossing around the word totem.

Birds. I'll be back to talk about this chapter more, but I want to tell a funny story...
I've been looking for feathers to use on a few power sticks and prayer sticks. I have a friend that used to tie fishing flies so I asked if he had a few feathers laying around, I needed about 20. He said come on down, I've got a box full...
Oh Ow, My Eyes... they were all dyed, hideous shades of magenta and green and yellow.
Yes...I could have had all I wanted, but I passed with a thank you :)