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Part 1: Clearing the Hoochas - Through the South with Serpent

Updated: Dec 19, 2023



Although we were there to learn Shamanic Energy Medicine, it was more than just “learning” techniques.  We had to heal. Through healing ourselves, we learned to be an open conduit to help others heal themselves.  

As Sandra Ingerman says in her book Walking in the Light, “Shamanism is a path of opening the heart, creating a doorway that leads us to traveling into hidden realms. In the hidden realms, the shaman interacts directly with helping, compassionate spirits to divine information and to ask for healing help on behalf of a client or a community.” 

To do this shamans need to become “hollow,” emptying all the heavy “hoocha” (dense and dark) energy, whether is related to stories, beliefs, or attachments, etc., they carry that can impede the healing process of themselves and another. 

It all starts with the Medicine Wheel which has been used by many cultures since prehistoric times.  At its core, it is a circle with a point in the middle and four spokes radiating out connecting that central point to the outer ring. 

The Medicine Wheel symbolizes wholeness and connectedness to all things and the never-ending cycles…of life, the seasons, the days, etc.

The sections in between the spokes represent the four cardinal directions (South, West, North, and East) and the elements (earth, water, fire, and air). They can also reflect different archetypes, or spirit animals that personify the qualities of each quadrant. 

Different cultures may have different archetypes or slightly different interpretations of what the wheel means to them. In the Medicine Wheel we used, the first direction we traveled to was the South, symbolized by the Serpent.

This portion of the wheel involves letting go of the past stories that are constricting and too “tight” -- the parts that are no longer serving us, not allowing us to live up to our full potential, like a snake shedding its skin. 

The purpose is not to deny any part of our past, just no longer allow it to have any power over us.


“To the Winds of the South,

Great Serpent, 

Wrap your coils of light around us. 

Teach us to shed our past the way you shed your skin, 

All at once. 

Teach us the way of the Earth, the beauty way. 

To touch, everyone we touch with beauty.”

- Marcela Lobos (Awakening Your Inner Shaman)


It started with writing a story of my life flowing like a river, with a seemingly smooth surface, but having its undercurrents and eddies swirling around hidden from view.  Impending boulders popping up unexpectedly causing rapids which in turn brought about excitement, fear, or overwhelm at different points along the way.  

Sometimes the river was raging, free to travel where it wanted to go and sometimes it was constrained on all sides by narrow tall canyon walls of rock that only let it move in one constricted direction.  At times it traveled through the desert and started running dry, then on to find a lush, expansive, and beautiful paradise. 

Sometimes it was so smooth and easy flowing, that it felt like stillness to the soul.  At other times it was so rough, that all one could do was take a breath and hold it until the river allowed a moment to catch another breath of air. 

The Sand Painting 

This story then found its way into a sand painting or mandala/earth art, where I used items from the earth around me to create a mandala to represent 3 main parts of the story of my life. Once it was complete it sat, allowing Pachamama (Mother Earth) to work her magic on it.  Each day I would return to see if anything had changed, if I had any new insights, and if I felt I needed to shift anything in my painting.

Incredible how Pachamama can send messages.  On day 3 a beautiful green beetle showed up upside down and dead in the middle of my painting. It is believed in some cultures that animals will sacrifice themselves to allow the birth or life of something/one else to continue. 

I interpreted it as a sign to re-birth myself -- become a new version of me. So the beetle became the “new” representation of me in my mandala that day.

The Learning - The Medicine

The next day, when I returned to the drawing with the assignment of looking at it from non-attachment (no expectations of the outcome), the beetle was no longer inside the circle.  It had “magically” traveled outside of the circle, outside of the boundaries, the seed pods, I’d used to create the perimeter of my circle. 

I understood this as a sign to let go of the “entire” story. It was time for yet another evolution of me and who I really was because I was NOT THAT STORY in the middle of the circle.

It wasn’t about fixing what happened to me, but what I THOUGHT happened to me -- the stories I’d been living from. 

So everything in my story needed to come out…the river, the rapids, the pieces that represented people and roles, and the boundaries needed to come down. Everything in the space needed to disappear.  All that remained was emptiness...

A void...


And to look at it was so...FREEing.  

I was NOTHING! And as scary as that was for me to comprehend a few short days before this process took place, from the perspective of being no longer attached to the story, the roles, and the responsibilities, I was able to find an openness and expansiveness I had never felt before. 

Now into the West, we go…to the realm of Darkness and Depths with Jaguar - PART 2. More to come…


Where are you on your journey?

If you are brave enough to share, I would love to hear...please leave a comment below.

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