Munay is a Quecha word with several meanings. The most common meaning of munay is "to want". But, just as in Spanish, "to want" can have a special meaning as in Anchata munayki or "Te quiero mucho" or "I love you a lot" [1, 2] . It can also be used as a noun to describe the state of being in love. When combined with the word niy, which means "to say or to tell" as in niyta munay, it means "to mean" or "to say what you want (mean) to say".
Munay means more than to want, to love, and to mean. It conveys a feeling that is intertwined with the word that is almost hard to express in English. It makes me feel, when I hear the word, that there is an urgency in the wanting, the loving, that comes from deep within. To say that it means to want or to love with willpower doesn't motivate the right feeling. It is more of a feeling of to want or to love with ones whole being. When a Q'ero becomes a shaman, a pampamesayuq he or she does so with munay .
Isn't thinking in another language fun! I love it! Sorry, that's not the purpose of this post. I just wanted to wish you munay today. As you practice shamanism or paganism of whatever path Goddess and God have called you, may you do so with munay, with a feeling of love that emanates from your whole being.
Find love and purpose on your path my friend,
 Note that in Spanish the verb querer which literally means "to want" is used romantically to mean "I love you". In fact, in Latin America you are more likely to hear people say Te quiero mucho than Te amo mucho when in English they would say "I love you a lot." in both cases. After all, if one is to say "I want you" in English, the statement would probably convey a sexual connotation that doesn't exist in te quiero.
 A popular teacher of shamanism would have you believe that the "ki" at the end of "munayki" refers to the Japanese work "ki" as in Reiki with its meaning of "life force energy". That is not the case. "ki" is the second-personal singular marker or ending in Quechua. That's all. For example, the question "What is your name?" in Quechua is Ima sutiyki? and my response would be Ñoqa sutiy David. Notice the change from second person singular to first person singular in the verb ending
 Pampa = flat land (think altiplano, the high plain between the West and East ranges of the Andes mountains. Mesa = table or altar. Yuq = possessive suffix, but in Quechua there really isn't a word for "to have". Rather, Quecha speakers use a suffix that really means "with you". So to ask, "Are you married?" or "Do you have a wife?" one would ask, "Warmi-yuq ka-nki-chu?" which literally means "Wife-with be-you?" The shaman who is a pampamesayuq isn't one who own's or has an earth altar, but rather someone who carries an earth altar with him or her. Quecha speakers linguistically recognize that we don't own or "have" anything, the stuff that encumbers us is just with us. Consequently I don't think of my pampamesa as mine, but rather that it is something with which I have been entrusted for safekeeping and appropriate use.
The curanderos (healers or shamans) of Peru and Bolivia travel from place-to-place as they serve their communities. Unlike established churches with buildings, formal, physical altars and stationary priests or ministers, and the expectation that the congregation will come to the church once a week, the curanderos travel to those who need their services. This means that their altars need to be light, portable, and easy to set up and put away. All of the altar pieces are usually bundled up inside of an Aguayo (pronounced uh-Y-oh), a piece of woven fabric about 45 inches square.
These portable altars are called a mesa or table and can be set up anywhere. My teacher, Don Juan Carlos Medrano Jimenez of Bolivia, use to set his mesa up on the ground, a tree stump, a large stone, or even occasionally on someone’s kitchen table.
Curanderos are eclectic and practical, and select altar pieces that resonate with them and that represent the spirits with whom they work. The Northern Costal Peruvian (NCP) mesa is probably the easiest to start with because the set-up is simple and straight forward. The NCP mesa consist of a manta (literally a table cloth or bed covering) laid on any flat surface from the ground to a table top. An assemblage of artes or sacred altar pieces are arranged on top of it. These artes are the tools that the curandero uses to conduct healing, for divination, and to communicate with Spirit. The collection of artes is very personal and is motivated by the curandero’s own spiritual guidance and training.
The NCP mesa is often divided into three vertical, left-to-right sections or campos (fields). Each campo is used for the specific type of healing that is being performed The left third of the manta is called the campo ganadero (cattle field) and it is the side of the manta where the curandero will place artes used to dispatch and release dense energies. The center third of the manta is called the campo medio, (middle field) and it is the section of the manta where the curandero will place artes used to balance and integrate energies. For example, this is the field where I “plant” my chakra balancing stones when I set up my mesa. The right third of the manta is called the campo justiciero, (righteous field) and is where the curandero will place the artes used to raise energy and bring good fortune.
Several times a year I host a workshop where the participants learn to build and use their own mesas. I provide them with an Aguayo and a few artes. We start with a NCP mesa and then move on to constructing and working with the more complex Andean mesa. However, if you want to work with a NCP mesa then grab a piece of notebook paper. Turn it sideways (landscape) and divide it into three columns. Write (1) campo ganadero, (2) campo medio, and (3) campo justiciero as the headings at the top of the appropriate column and then meditate on the artes or ritual objects that you would use to (1) dispatch and release dense energies, (2) balance and integrate energies, and (3) to raise energy and bring good fortune (see table below).
As the artes come to you then write them in the appropriate column. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the altar pieces or artes, they will come to you with time. If you are following a Druidcraft path then at least some of your artes will probably come from the Celtic/Nordic and Wiccan traditions. Remember, your mesa is yours and it represents your energy and your personal cosmology, not mine, and not that of a Peruvian or Bolivian curandero. Make it truly yours.
Have fun with this, and if you do it please email me a photo if you would like to share it with others.
Peace my friends,
Have you ever felt like you were falling love with the whole earth and everything in it? Heidi, my wife, and I went for short walk yesterday in the evening after a day-long rain storm. I could smell the freshly washed air, the scent of the trees in the breeze, and we stopped at a honeysuckle bush and harvested some honey from the styles of a few of the honeysuckle flowers . The sun was setting and the light was perfect, the kind of light that gives photographers orgasms, and I sat down on a log in the forest and cried tears of joy and love.
This morning, while reflecting on the experience, I decided to do a little research on the practice of Forest Breathing or Shinrin-Yoku. The belief of Shinrin-Yoku practitioners is that there is medicine in simply being in a forest. Medical research, most of it conducted in Japan, seems to bear this out. For example:
Pachamama, mother earth, nourishes and protects us just as do our human mothers. Love her back, and get outside and enjoy her presence, make it a daily part of your life.
Peace my friends,
 Here is a link to a web site with fotos so you too can harvest honeysuckle "honey".
 I have placed a 16-page PDF file on the resource page that contains the abstracts and links to many published research reports on the benefits of forest bathing.
I wrote recently about altars and ritual. While deep in a Goddess meditation last night the following words came into my mind and so I thought that I would share them with your. I can't think of anything to add and if I did, it would probably detract from the message. Have a wonderful day.
You are your altar,
Your actions are your offerings,
Your thoughts are your prayers,
Make your life a living altar
I ask for nothing more.
Do you ever think about why we do what we do? I do, all the time. For example, this morning while putting my altar away I asked myself, “Self, why do you do ritual? Does Deity “need” my rituals?” I sort of doubt it. If Deity is so powerful that She/He could create the world and all that is in it then Deity doesn’t “need” my rituals. So why do ritual?
Deity doesn’t “need” our rituals, we do. We need the rituals. We need our religious practices because they help us remember our place in the universe and our relationship with Deity. Rituals help us remember that we are connected to all that is sacred, both in the world, and our connection with Deity.
It seems like it is way too easy to become distracted with work, kids, obligations, bills, car problems, and the cat that wakes me up every morning at 3:30 because he is lonesome. In the process of becoming distracted we forget that we are connected to Deity. Rituals are our reminders. My rituals remind me of the commitments that I have made to Deity. They remind me of the power of the Goddess and the God, and that I can call upon Them at any time (more about that in a second). Rituals and religious practices also remind me that I was created by Deity and so I have a spark of divinity within me and that I'm not in a depraved state as some book religions would have us believe.
Do you have any acquaintances that get in touch with you when, and only when, they have a problem and want your help? I have a couple of acquaintance like that and when I see their names on the screen of my cell phone I instantly think, “What now?” and question whether or not I should even answer the phone. When I do get around to answering the phone or, more often, returning the call when I have time then I have to keep myself from begrudging listening and responding to their request for help.
I wonder if Deity feels that same way when They receive request from strangers, from those that only remember Them in times of need. That’s another reason why I do ritual. I don’t want Deity to be a stranger to me, I want Them in my daily life, and I don’t want Them to view me as an opportunistic stranger.
Those are my reasons for doing ritual. What are yours?
Find peace and joy in ritual,
Do you know people who work hard, sometimes very hard, at perfecting their game? They “religiously” practice golf, or basketball, or even their favorite video game. Some of these people even seem to eat and breathe their game. In fact, I have a neighbor who's entire existence is centered around golf; it appears to be his religion. They understand the importance of practice. They probably learned what my high school coach use to tell us half a century ago, “Team, only perfect practice makes perfect”. That’s why several times each semester I remind my students that they won’t learn to solve problems watching me solve them on the whiteboard in the classroom. Thanks to Ebbinhaus’ forgetting function they will have forgotten most of what we did in class by the time they get back to their dorm rooms later in the day. The only way that they will become good problem solvers is to sit in their dorms, use their class notes and textbook as guides, and sit at their desks and practice solving similar problems over and over and over.
You probably have seen members of the book religions who appear to believe that sitting on a pew in their church for 90 minutes once a week will turn them into good Christians. That is about as effective as me thinking that if I sit in my Jeep for an hour a week that eventually I will turn into one. It doesn’t work that way for them, nor for us. If we want to have a truly spiritual life then Druidcraft or Wicca can’t be something that we do eight times year or even once or twice a month. It isn’t enough to read an occasional book on The Craft, wear the “right” jewelry, or have an appropriate bumper sticker on our car. We have to live our religion, to practice our practice.
It has taken me a long time to realize that there can’t be any distinction between the mundane and the spiritual in my life. The Goddess and the God imbue or interpenetrate all that is. To them my life is my life. To them, I don’t have a mundane life and a spiritual life. I just have a life. If we really believe that They are manifest in everything, in all of nature, then everything is sacred and that includes us. Every part of my life is sacred, going grocery shopping, being a professor, playing with my three sons; everything I do is an opportunity to show love for and respect to the Goddess and the God, to the Lady and the Lord of my life. I do it by showing love for and respect to all the They created.
Are you getting the drift? The life that I am describing is one where our religion, be it Druidcraft, Wicca, or the Correllian Nativist Tradition, is our life, it is our religion all day, every day. It becomes our 24/7 practice. Yes, I get up every morning at 5:00, assemble my altar (I live in a small home with my patient wife, three teen-aged boys, and a cat and there isn’t any room for a permanent altar so I have to build it every day, use it, and then take it down and put it away), cast a circle, and begin my day with my Lord and Lady, and then put everything back in its place. However, the time that I spend in ritual every morning isn’t my religious practice; it just gets the day off to a good start on the right foot. My thoughts, words and actions all day long are my religious practice.
Yes, it is a wonderful way to start the day and I highly recommend it. However, I often think that it we would live our lives loving the Goddess and the God with everything that we do then there wouldn’t be much need for spell craft because our lives would weave a spell, we would become a living spell. Want to try it with me?
Peace my friends,
The two great branches of Western Paganism are Druidry and Wicca. A pagan renaissance has begun as more and more people find a deep sense of spirituality nature and the land. The Druid path has traditionally been one of divination and study. Remember that Caesar wrote that some Druids spent as long as twenty years in their education at Druid colleges. Barry Cunliffe, in his book “Druids: A Very Short Introduction” (Oxford University Press, 2010), states that the Druids were “. . . philosophers, teachers, judges, the repository of communal wisdoms [sic] about the natural world and the traditions of the people, and the mediators between humans and the gods”.
The neo-pagan religion of Wicca only traces its roots back to the early 20th Century when Gerald Gardner, in 1939, claimed that he had been initiated into the New Forest coven. Nevertheless, traditional witches, wizards (wise folk) and shamans have probably exists for as long as human have been tribal. Wicca today embraces a variety of practices that include spell craft, circle rituals, and wortcraft (the use of plants and herbs).
The distinctions between the two traditions have slowly been disappearing as Druids incorporate Wiccan practices, and Wiccans borrow from Druids. The Grove of the Forest Druid is an eclectic Druidcraft grove that incorporates both traditional Druid and Wiccan (craft) practices. I hope that you will view of Grove page and if it resonates with you then consider joining with us. I will be holding periodic rituals for the celebrations of the wheel of the year and for new Moon and full Moon esbats on YouTube Live or Zoom. Please email me if you would like to receive a link so that you can participate in a ritual.
This will be a short blog post today because I have to get ready to teach my summer school class, non-profit financial management, that starts tomorrow. It is a marathon course. We do an entire semester's work in five long, eight-hour days (Fri-Sat-Fri-Sat-Fri) but it is also a lot of fun. Anyway, why did you get up this morning?
I hope you realize that life isn't designed to be fun and games and its not a life-time pass to an amusement park. Life is designed, and we designed it this way in our soul contracts, to be challenging and sometime difficult and sad, and only occasionally rewarding. In fact, sometimes I think that the rewards are few and far between, but just often enough to keep us going. We designed our lives to be challenging to motivate soul growth and development. If life was easy we wouldn't grow much. Think back to all the things that you have learned or done that were really easy; how much growth occurred because of those events? What about the times when you really had to push yourself and work hard? I bet you grew a lot more from those experiences.
So, if we designed our lives to be challenging, what is there in your life that makes you want to get up every morning and face another day? I want you to think really hard about that question today. What is your passion? Once you discover your passion then see how you can spend more of your life doing just that.
For example, in the 1981 I started and grew a successful CPA firm in Seattle where I specialized in consulting to corporations on accounting information system issues. The practice grew and was profitable but I wasn't happy. It didn't make me want to get up in the morning and face another day of client system problems. Then I discovered teaching and I went back to school, earned a PhD, and have been a professor for about 30 years. I don't make as much money as I would have had I stayed with my growing CPA practice but I'm happy. I get up every day excited because I get to help my college students discover their passions, even if they discover them away from accounting. I'm 66 and I plan on teaching for at least another 6 years because I can't think of anything else I would rather do. Retire? Are you kidding, and miss all the fun? That's my passion story in a nutshell. What's yours?
Find, then live your passion,
I was working on one of the questions in Third Degree comprehensive final exam this morning for the Correllian Nativist Tradition and this got me thinking about the need to practice what we know.
Have you ever seen someone's book collection with shelf after shelf of books that have never been read? The collection might be impressive but it is also useless.
Magical knowledge is not given to us nor do we collect it so that it can gather dust on a shelf in our minds. The key to being a real pagan, Wiccan, a witch or a wizard is not to gain knowledge as an end in itself, but to apply the knowledge to improve life and the world.
Using Magick is just like using any other “muscle”. I practiced martial arts for years until two back surgeries sidelined me and then I started to study qigong and tai chi. It turns out that tai chi is also a martial art that is practiced slowly. The slow practice makes it possible to perfect every small movement in each step in the sequence. So, you might ask, why try to perfect every small motion? Because then when we need to use it for real it is second nature; we have the muscle memory that will instantly call the appropriate motion into action without conscious thought.
We need to practice magick the same way and not just read about it. If we practice it every day and practice well then we internalize the skills and they become part of our subconscious skill repertory. That way when we are faced with a difficult, frightening or dangerous situation our subconscious mind can call up the appropriate response with our conscious mind having to go through the thought process of analysis—decision—action.
We don’t have to analyze by thinking, “I’m faced with an issue. Its this kind of issue, I wonder what I should do.” Followed by decision, “Well, these are possible responses, which one would be best. Give me a minute to think about these and then I choose one.” And then followed by action, “Well, now that I have selected x as the best response, how do I do it.”
One of the most important skills that I have learned is grounding. After years of practice I can ground almost instantly. Then I am able to act or speak from a position of calm strength. My high school track star son told me last night that he practices all out every day so that when he runs a race it will just feel like another practice with a little more adrenaline.
What would happen all of practiced every day? Do you love magick or being pagan? If today isn’t the day when you really make it part of your life, then when is? Let's all be practicing Wiccans or Pagans and not theoretical ones. Let's practice what we know, ritual, spell work, divination. Let's be who we have studied to be, practicing Pagans and not just scholarly ones.
Peace my friends,
I ran across a delightful pagan poet named Lorna Smithers. Here is one of her poems. It expresses many of the reasons to be pagan. Hope you enjoy:
Because there’s no other way.
Because the gods have got me by the heartstrings.
Because I see over the horizon not what’s on it.
Because I see birds who are not birds.
Because I am in hidden spaces.
Because I love mist.
Because no-one tells the whispers of the silent.
Because words can dance like pictures on cave walls.
Because my people are hungry.
Because the wind howls down my neck.
Because I wake at night and there are stars.
Because the mortality ship is sailing.
Because I am the threshold.
Because another world’s stars hem me in.
Because I look above and the worms are singing.
I'm Dr. Dave, an eclectic shaman. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice eclectic shamanism.