The Beauty and Healing of the Shamanic Experience

According to Awakening to the Spirit World by Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman, “Shamanism is the first spiritual practice of humankind and dates back tens of thousands of years. The fact that this spiritual practice of working in relationship and in partnership with the helping spirits is being widely used today speaks to the potency of the work.”

Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner who reaches altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world.

Hold on a sec…yes, you’re on the right blog, I’m still Princess Rosebud, still Enchanted Seashells haha, just doing a little ENCHANTED exploration with the spirit world in addition to gluing seashells to any available surface. With a nature. land, and animal connection, how could it be anything but good, right?

Let me clarify…I’m not a shaman. Did you think I was? Nope, but I met an amazing woman who is a shamanic practitioner,and I’d like to share her story and my experience with you.

I met Carmen in January. I had undergone an emotional and total body 10.0 earthquake, a tsunami of pain that ruled my life so unbearably for a couple of months until I was so devastated that I was literally unable to function (I’ll tell you all about it when I can.)

A very good friend suggested that I seek out the support of a shaman for healing from these deep heart wounds.

Always a skeptic, I was so far out of my mind and spirit and soul that I would have reached up to the sky to pull down a star if that could have helped me work my way out of depths of despair.

Serendipity, divine guidance, luck, coincidence…who knows what it was, but I found Carmen located in my own little town and booked an appointment.

I had no preconceived ideas about what to expect. I didn’t even Google “shamanism”–I don’t remember how I drove to her office.

I walked through the door with shoulders hunched, tears streaming down my face. There was a candle burning and the scent of sage. I don’t remember filling out her information form…why are you here, and later I saw that I had written, “to save my life”.

Between bouts of sobbing, I told her what had happened to my world; it felt like a death but no one had died. I felt like there was something strangely wrong with me; not a medical issue, although I had absolutely suffered some health issues due to this seismic shift-but more internal, cellular, organic. I felt like there was a toxic or malignant entity inhabiting my body, causing me an incredible amount of despondency- I was tormented.

What is a shamanic journey?

In shamanic practice it is believed that part of the soul is free to leave the body. There are various times the soul might leave the body, during dreaming or to protect the soul from trauma. When a shaman is initiated onto the shamanic path, they usually learn how to send their soul forth intentionally, on the soul flight which is commonly called a journey or the shamanic journey. In early shamanic societies, many shamans were initiated because of having a near death experience. Death being an experience when all of your soul leaves the body, the near death experience is thought to teach an individual to travel with the soul.

The shamanic journey occurs by shifting awareness or consciousness in order to allow part of your soul to leave the body. The drum or rattle is frequently used. The slow repetitive rhythm shifts the individuals “rhythm” so that he or she can journey. Just the way a soothing song can help an someone achieve a calmer state. The rhythm of the drum puts you in the right state to journey. The drum beat used is very close to the frequency that is measured from the earth, and has proved effective for the majority of people. [From]

I’ve learned that everyone’s journey is different. Mine involved an out of body and trance-like dreamy experience —  meeting my spirit guides and my spirit animal (a wolf, of course), and a feeling of release of toxins and pain–and a sort of rebirth. I felt as if I was physically still in the room and simultaneously travelled away from my physical body. When Carmen brought me back from the journey and I regained my awareness of the present moment, I felt completely changed from the person who had walked in two hours before. Lighter, less burdened, less desolate, less weighted down by a thousand ton boulder crushing my heart.

Are you asking yourself if I exaggerated or if it was as intense as I’ve shared? Yup, it was, and even more so.

And all I know for sure is that I felt better walking out than I had walking in, and for the most part, that’s stayed with me, along with a renewed sense of purpose, and maybe even healed a bit.

From that moment, I’ve done a lot of reading about Shamanism and I’m fascinated by everything I’ve learned.

I asked Carmen a few questions and below that is a lot of info about her background and training . Even if you don’t live in our area, she does distance work, and I highly recommend her.

Carmen Tracey:  Paradise Reiki, specializing in Reiki, Shamanic Therapies, and Spirit Guidance. 800 Grand Ave – Suite AG1 Carlsbad, CA 92008 Phone:414-367-4325  or 760-576-5133  Facebook:

Questions with Carmen:

What is your favorite specialty area?

Curse unraveling. With enough intention behind our words, a curse can be as simple as wishing someone ill, but sometimes people are really skilled in creating curses with components, with plants or animal parts for instance, and those are really intense to unravel.

Where did you learn this ?

I learned this specialty skill from Betsy Bergstrom

Anything else?

I love doing animal communications and spirit guidance. I enjoy working with animals in that space; they have very rich emotional, mental, and spiritual lives and because we are so focused on everyone speaking the same language we miss out on a lot of information.

I enjoy being the bridge between human and animal communication.

My first animal client was rabbit that was acting out, super horny lol, and I told his owner to get stuffed animal — but what he really needed a mate, and when she introduced him to a female rabbit, it all worked out,  he was a great dad and great mate. This experience reinforced my passion to work with animals.

Can you give us an example of a worst curse scenario?

I helped a woman where back in her ancestry an ancestor was at war with a local witch and who placed a spell on the family. The spell had components. The release of the spell originated with that one person but helped the entire family. I was able to release a supernatural being that was bound in the spell in order to heal the family. This will carry forward into the future.

When did you first realize that you had these special gifts and skills?

It was in high school. I always had psychic abilities, have always seen spirits, which got me into a lot of trouble because in the beginning, I had no filter and told everyone what I saw and heard. I “knew” that my 5th grade teachers were having an affair. Their two classrooms were separated by a room divider and their individual desks were next to each other but on either side of the divider. One day I saw them together at their desks along with an image of the two of them in her kitchen drinking coffee. I said to them, “Hope you had a fun time together.” They looked at me,  like what are you talking about? The male teacher later confronted me in the hall and threatened that I’d be in big trouble is I told anyone.



Carmen Tracey is the Owner, Teacher, and primary Energy Therapist at Paradise Reiki. She is a Reiki Master Teacher and A Core Shamanic Practitioner. Carmen believes in honoring our ancestors and native teachings as well as using intention based practices for healing in the moment. She also believes it is vital to honor the future ones by re-weaving the tapestry with new healing stories. Her commitment to her client begins before we enter her healing space and continues long after we leave. She offers her support and compassion for us on our healing path and will share her knowledge and skills as a healer in all of her work.. As a healer her number one goal is to help us be in touch with our true self, honoring our own ability to heal and grow physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Carmen believes in creating an environment for learning and provides ample opportunities for growth for her students. She networks extensively in the area in order to provide clients with Holistic options when building their health care team.

Background and Training

1998 – Present – Continued study and exploration of Shamanism with teachings from a Lakota Sioux elder with sacred ceremony, to advanced energetic theories with Kathleen Rude and Betsy Bergstrom. Her personal spiritual path follows the path of the elders deeply rooted in spiritual ecology and intention setting practices. She was blessed with a family who valued philosophy in spirituality and religion and thus explored many faiths around the globe, hence her natural fit with Core Shamanism. She has deep personal relationships with many guides and allies in the world of spirit. She has a deep connection to animals and considers communication with nature as fundamental to our spiritual growth as a species. She considers spirituality as fundamental to our health.

Reiki Master Teacher Fall 2010 – She completed a yearlong Reiki Master Teacher program through The Art of Healing School of Energy Medicine in Elm Groove WI with 100+ hours of clinical and hands on teaching of Reiki.

Chakras 2009 – She completed a Chakra and Advanced Chakra healing program through the Art of Healing School of Energy Medicine.

Japanese Reiki 2010 – As part of her continued studies at the Art of Healing School of Energy Medicine she completed a Japanese Reiki and Advanced Japanese Reiki program. These teachings explored the newly released and translated information from Usui Sensi’s teachings. Carmen has integrated these teachings into her Usui Reiki program, merging east with west. Inherent in the original teachings of Reiki are an integrated connection to the natural world, indeed the first part of the kami of the word Reiki contains the word Shaman. Reiki has been a natural extension of Carmen’s healing gifts.

Usui Reiki

We are energetic beings with energy fields surrounding our bodies and around every organ. These fields resonate at a specific frequency when we are healthy and at a different frequency when we are not. Reiki taps into this energy through a gentle hands-on method that creates deep relaxation and reconnects the body to the Life Force Energy known as Ki or Chi. Using just her hands, the Reiki practitioner introduces a pulsing energy field to positively influence the energy fields in and around the body. Reiki energy can bring the energy fields back into their healthy ranges.

Reiki works with energy on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. A Reiki session will help your body relax and feel full of vitality and can lead to increased mental clarity and it can boost energy levels. Reiki is a very nurturing therapy.

Paradise Reiki believes that the whole self needs to be nurtured for healing to be successful. She believes in working with other healing therapies for a holistic approach.

Shamanic Healing

Carmen has advanced training in Shamanic studies and practices. Among these are cord cutting, complex energetic unraveling such as curses and/or thought forms, soul retrieval and guided shamanic journeys to the realms of spirit. Carmen would be honored to help guide you on journeys that help you create relationships with your true self and your guides and allies. Adding these relationships to your own spiritual practices will offer opportunities for growth and healing.

There are many indications that a Shamanic Therapy may be right for you:

* Addiction

* Depression

* Anxiety

* Feeling Stuck

* Feeling drained by events or people

* Feeling not yourself

* The Desire to be on a different path in life

Chakra Healing

There are 7 major chakra centers from the western energy philosophy that correspond to physical positions along the spine. Each chakra represents a wheel or spinning disk of energy often visualized as a flower with petals open. These energy centers correspond to the organ systems of the body. The human energy fields expand beyond the body. Chakra healing works with the chakra centers and the energy fields to cleanse and balance.

There are many wonderful energy theories, such as the Jewish system with the Qabalah and the Nada Yoga practice of chanting the Sanskrit seed syllables for chakra healing. Carmen works with many theories to find a fit that is right for you.

Energy Mapping

Carmen works with a system called Energy Mapping to draw your energy systems, the locations and spin of your Chakras as well as your energy pathways. These are unique to you. There is not a one size fits all system to understanding your own energy centers and pathways. Your needs are also going to be unique to you. Together you and Carmen can map out a path to healing that fits your unique needs.

Blessed Magic Manifesting

From Desire Mapping to Vision Boards, Carmen will offer her insights into manifesting the life you wish to be leading in thoughtful as well as practical ways.

Animal Healing and Communication

All of the techniques that Carmen uses for her human clients she uses for her animal clients. Communicating with her animal clients through shamanic journeys can offer great insight into their needs and their inner lives. She uses her knowledge of animal chakra and energy systems and Reiki to offer healing. She can see your animal friends at her healing space in Carlsbad or travel to your place.

End of Life Transitions and Nurturing

Carmen will travel to your loved one for end of life transition sessions. She can offer nurturing support to you, your family and your loved one during this beautiful transition. Carmen has a gift for spirit communication and can offer her ability to communicate with your loved one, helping you to understand their needs. She can also help your loved one communicate with their guides and allies and their loved ones who are there in spirit to guide your loved one.

Spirit Communication

Carmen uses her Shamanic Practices to work with spirit to communicate to her client’s true self and guides and allies. She can help you learn to communicate in non verbal ways with your friends and loved ones.

Distance Services Offered:

All Shamanic Healing
Animal Communication and Healing
Spirit Guide Communication
Blessed Magic Manifesting
Reiki Distance Healing
All Workshops and Apprenticeships

Call or text: 414-367-4325 or 760-576-5133


Featured image by





Oh baby, just you shut your mouth

I am so sick of WordPress and its messed up problems. I’ve written this 3 times and it still won’t format correctly, so please excuse the obvious issues and blame WP, not me.


Sometimes you never know why some music resonates with you deep inside, why it’s a song you can listen to a million times and it evokes the same feeling every single time, but this one always has since the first time I heard it in 1983.
Loved you so hard, David Bowie.
Your free spirit will be missed forever.
China Girl
I could escape this feeling, with my China Girl
I feel a wreck without my, little China Girl
I hear her heart beating, loud as thunder
Saw they stars crashing
I’m a mess without my, little China Girl
Wake up mornings where’s my, little China Girl
I hear hearts beating, loud as thunder
Saw they stars crashing down
I feel a-tragic like I’m Marlon Brando
When I look at my China Girl
I could pretend that nothing really meant too much
When I look at my China Girl
I stumble into town just like a sacred cow
Visions of swastikas in my head
Plans for everyone
It’s in the whites of my eyes
My little China Girl
You shouldn’t mess with me
I’ll ruin everything you are
I’ll give you television
I’ll give you eyes of blue
I’ll give you men who want to rule the world
And when I get excited
My little China Girl says
Oh baby just you shut your mouth
She says… sh-sh-shhh

Empty Nest Disaster

I need to finish the last bits of my empowering road trip, but first must share sad, sad news.

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did (as always) was to check on the baby hummingbirds.

They have grown so much and by my calculations, would be fledging the nest next week.

I took this picture on Sunday.


When I didn’t see two little heads bobbing up and down and squirming around, I opened the back door and saw this empty nest.


The chimes upon which the nest was built was in disarray and a feeling of dread washed over me.

I knew something bad had happened, but couldn’t find any clues to suggest who or what had attacked the nest.

I had one last hope; that the two babies were in the mulberry tree that shades the deck, and were only trying out their new wings.

But then mom flew by and sat on the nest looking all around.

She was as confused as I was.

Calling out to her babies, I could feel her distress.

Over the course of the morning, she’s flown back no less than a dozen times, looking everywhere for her children, which confirms my worst fear that they were abducted by a raccoon or a crow or even a hawk.

But this story gets worse.

As I climbed on the bench to peer inside the empty nest and to snap a pic, I positioned the nest/chimes with my hand to get a better angle.

When I went back in the house to sit down and email tugboat man the tragic news, I saw tiny little creatures crawling on my hand.


After washing my hands and arms more times than Lady Macbeth and dousing my entire upper body with rubbing alcohol, I took a boiling hot shower and scrubbed myself and my hair three times.

The mere thought of a creature in my hair and I knew my life would be OVER. Thick, long, curly hair is hard enough to deal with, but the thought of mites nesting up there provokes extreme mental anxiety.

I threw away the shirt I was wearing and washed the other clothes twice in bleach and hot water, so much bleach that they’re now completely devoid of color at this point.

Then I freaked out that the mites were going to invade the house and with gloves on, cut down the nest and chimes and put them into a sealed bag to put in the trash or somehow keep the chimes if I can sterilize them to my satisfaction.

After that, I found ant spray (the only chemicals around) and sprayed every possible surface on the deck and the eaves where the chimes/nest had been.

Bird mite infestations from nests is a real thing. There are horror stories on the internet about it.


I wonder how long the feeling that things are crawling on me is going to last?

I’m a clean freak ANYWAY, but this is pushing me over the edge, and hub is out of cell range and not available to calm me down and/or offer his sage advice.

An empty nest is bad enough. To be violently snatched from a warm bed in the middle of the night is every mother’s nightmare.

I don’t know what to say to the hummy mom.

Even now, she’s desperately searching for her babies and there’s no way I can tell her that they’re gone forever.

Her heartache is palpable. I can FEEL her pain.

Hub and I fell in love with the whole process, from watching mom build the nest to laying the jellybean sized eggs to watching them hatch and grow.

This is not the ending I could have predicted.

Poor mom.

She’s extremely distraught; even as I’m typing this, I still hear her calling to them.

Who said animals don’t feel things?

Because of course they do.

A mother’s love has no equal.

I feel like I let down mom down, that she trusted me to help her take care of her precious kids, and I failed miserably.

One of my favorite photos…

Property of

Property of

Sometimes Mother Nature sucks.

June 1 SUCKS.

The Unbearable Death of a Boy-Man

It’s been  a year since my son’s boyhood friend tragically died in Hawaii from a surfing accident.  His body was never recovered. I wanted to take a moment to remember this bright shiny boy and the joy he brought to everyone he met.

From Kirk's Facebook page

From Kirk’s Facebook page

The loss of a child cannot be fathomed.

Who could ever be prepared for their child to die before them?

There must be endless tears and sorrow and sadness and a forever and unrelenting pain.

For me, it’s a pure and simple matter.

If I never heard my son’s voice again or was never able to wrap my arms around him, I don’t know if I could take another breath.

…On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, Kirk Passmore, 32, a passionate big-wave surfing veteran and Hawaii resident, is presumed to have drowned and as of today his body has not been found.

One minute he was alive, surfing an estimated 20-foot wave at Alligator Rock on Oahu’s North Shore, with an audience of other surfers and photographers.

He dropped into the steep face of the wave before falling over the front of his board and into the water.

The top of the wave crashed over him and witnesses say he surfaced for a brief moment before he was crushed by another wave.

It was the last time anyone saw him.

Although extensive searches have been conducted in the area, he’s been missing since the day of the accident and is presumed drowned.

It was all caught on video.

This is the video of his last wave. Somehow he never made it out alive.

His dad wanted the his final ride shared with as many people as possible.

Maybe you heard about this. Maybe you were watching the news on television and you paid scant attention to the story while you were on the computer or eating dinner.

Maybe you read it on the internet and saw the pictures or the video.

You probably thought to yourself or even said out loud, ” Wow, that’s really sad.”

Kirk Passmore.

Why am I writing about him?

Yes, it’s true that he was someone’s child, brother, friend.

But he was also one of my son’s friends.

They went to school together.

He’s the first of my son’s friends to die.

Kirk had the biggest smile and the reddest hair. Everyone called him “Fanta” or “Red”.

He was one of the many boys I’d chauffeur around, packed like sardines in the back seat, all gangly legs and arms, endlessly stuffing their mouths —  bottomless pits of growing boy bodies– with the cookies and smoothies and other snacks cheerfully provided to everyone who came over.

A carful of boys talking about school, skateboarding; laughing, always smiling, always a thank you for the ride as he slammed the car door.

“See ya, Jason.”

A flash of bright red hair lit the way as he ran up the walkway to his house.

But no more.

I bet for most of these boys – and I still call these thirty-somethings BOYS because to me they will always and forever be “the boys” or “the guys” — my son’s friends from Kelly Elementary, Valley Junior High, and Carlsbad High School — this is their first experience with death and subsequent thoughts of their own mortality.

I feel so bad for his family and his friends who are mourning him with candlelight vigils, surf paddle-outs, tributes, and memorials. 

To honor Kirk, they’re handling their pain with grace and beauty.

One of them, artist Bryan Snyder, created a memorial wall in our town. If you’re ever in Carlsbad, check it out.

Bryan Snyder

Bryan Snyder

Our deepest sympathies go out to Kirk’s family. Our hearts are heavy and we are so very, very sorry for their loss.

The Passmore family released the following statement:

Kirk was born February 11, 1981 in Orem, Utah.  He grew up in Carlsbad, California and graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1999 where he was a member of the school’s surf team for four years.  As a youth, he was active in pop warner football, little league baseball, and basketball but his love was in surfing.

He started coming to Hawaii when he was 14 and was an experienced and expert surfer.  He was not new to big wave surfing, having surfed most of the well-known big wave locations, including Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, Pipeline and outer reefs on the north shores of Hawaii.  He was a familiar face at Todos Santos off Baja California.  He also surfed Maverick’s in northern California and Puerto Escondido in Mainland Mexico.  He spent 3 years in the southern coast of France.  He moved to the north shore of Hawaii full-time in the spring of 2012.

Kirk was a part owner of Third Stone Surfboards in Waialua, Hawaii and a Manager at Bonzai Sushi in Haleiwa, Hawaii.

He is survived by his mother, Diane Passmore (Orem, Utah), father and step-mother, David and Karey Passmore (Sunset Beach, Hawaii), siblings, Alyson Adams (Highland, Utah); Merrily Roberts (Encinitas, California) and Matthew Passmore (serving an LDS mission in New York, New York).

The family wishes to thank the Coast Guard, the City and County of Honolulu lifeguards and Fire Department who continue the search.

A lost opportunity, a huge regret, a haunting feeling

During one of my healing retail therapy sessions in the shoe aisle at Nordstrom, an older (and by older, I mean WAY older than me, like late sixties) well groomed beautifully dressed lady was sitting nearby trying on a pair of boots. She had a scarf around her neck that you could tell simply by looking that it was woven of the highest quality cashmere. She had a lovely air of grace and elegance. I think it was that regal essence that reminded me of my mom. She owned that quality too, always dressed head to toe with class.  The woman looked so together that I couldn’t keep from sneaking glances at her while I too tried on boots. I’d been looking for a pair of flat riding boots that fit snugly but weren’t too high, which is a tall order. (ha ha). I’ve never been accused of dressing elegantly. Sexy, flamboyant, stylish, wild even–but never Lilly Van der Woodsen Upper East Side elegant. Lilly van der woodsenHere’s an example of me getting dressed… If one pearl necklace is good, a dozen is better! A ring for every finger, well, why not? We have ten of them, isn’t that what they’re for? And aren’t our arms just begging to be filled with every bangle and charm bracelet in the jewelry box?

My mom would shake her head and say, “Princess Rosebud, haven’t you heard the old saying, less is more?” My response to her was, “Haven’t YOU heard of my saying, more is better?”

So I’m sitting there and this lovely woman is sitting there and she turns to me and says softly, matter-of-factly,

“My husband died last week.”

What do you do when a stranger opens up that way? What do you do? I said,

“I am so very sorry for your loss.”

She continued,

“We had been married for fifty years. I don’t know what to do with myself so I shop all day. I can’t bear to be home alone without him.”

If anyone could empathize with that philosophy, it would be me. Not that I’ve lost my life partner, but when my darling thirteen-year-old kitty died, I felt the same way. I left the house early in the morning and stayed away ’til dark, wandering around the shopping centers like a lost soul. I couldn’t bear to open the front door and know that I’d never again see her face at the top of the stairs greeting me. I couldn’t bear to sleep in our bed and never again feel her jump up and scratch at the covers to join me, nestled against my body, so I slept on the sofa until the captain came back. What made it even more difficult to bear was that it happened while he was out to sea, and I was the one who was unanchored, aimlessly drifting. I totes understood the poor lady’s pain.

“He made every day worth living.”

I asked her if she had family in the area to help her with her sadness, and she shook her head. It was on the tip of my tongue to invite her to join me for a cup of coffee when when my cell rang. It was my son. He needed me to run to the post office before it closed and send him a book he had accidentally left behind the previous week.

As I walked away, I touched her gently on the shoulder and told her once again how sorry I was for her loss and I hoped she’d be all right.

I really, really regret not getting her name and telephone number so that we could meet at a coffee shop or simply make sure she’s OK. I have a feeling she might not be. I do have that feeling. I’ve never seen her again.

For the most part, women are a truly and deeply caring and nurturing community. I dropped the ball that day and it haunts me.  It haunts me.