Article: Chickadee Teachings

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My father-in-law, Bill, built a beautiful birdhouse that he put up in our fairy garden last year. This year, chickadees decided to raise their brood in there after scouting it out rigorously over the winter months. I wondered why they chose our garden and what meaning that might have for me at this point in my life. It turns out that chickadees are the truth-bringers; their medicine is to point out hidden truths that need to be spoken for the benefit of all.

I discovered that these tiny birds are capable of big energy and are persistent in their guardianship of the truths in life. When I started to prepare my garden in April, their chicks had already hatched; they were protective and watched me intently as I worked. I spoke to them to let them know I meant them no harm and that they could raise their babies in my garden without fear. They settled after that but they hedged their bets by making sure one parent was going out for food while the other stayed with the chicks. They stayed true to their instincts.

Two months of diligent feeding by the parents every five minutes or so led to the growth of five very healthy baby chickadees. I was stunned by the devotion and selflessness of the parenting I witnessed. I was working on a new writing project in my backyard when I felt someone looking at me. I looked up and my father-in-law and his wife were grinning at me. They rarely come into Calgary but they had a doctor’s appointment so they swung by on the off chance that I’d be home. I made tea and brought it out into the garden. I was thinking how great it was that they could come and enjoy the garden Bill had helped us create when I saw a little head peaking out of the birdhouse. This young chickadee was surveying the outside world for the first time, planning her next move. All of the sudden, her parent called to her from a tree branch and she flew on fresh wings to meet her.

After that, she could not get enough; she was flying all over the garden and calling out in joy. Her brothers and sisters followed her and they were all darting around like the youngsters they are with so much energy and life. We marveled at them all exploring the world with such glee. It was a cacophony of chickadee calls unlike the ones I’ve been used to hearing the last few months made by the two parents. It sounded like a chickadee family reunion in my back garden! Everything had come full circle.

Weeks ago, I had secretly prayed to Spirit to allow me to witness the babies’ first flight and I was so thrilled that my wish was granted. This reaffirmed that everything in life–all successes and even all failures–is co-created with Spirit for my learning.   I am in the process of birthing a lot of dreams and projects at the moment and it seemed like Spirit was saying to me: “See. You never gave up. You were patient like the chickadees. You tried new things. You kept on going through the challenges and now all your dreams are coming true. You can release them into the world joyfully.”

Radio: The Art of Stalking the Dream

Today we dive into what it means to ‘stalk’ the dream.

What kinds of ‘stalking’ strategies can we use to achieve our dreams?

How do we keep moving forward when in overwhelm or feeling the emotions of pressure from others?

This show has so much juicy information and knowledge all in one hour. You’ll want to get a pen and paper to take notes – and we’ll post more information on our website for you in the coming weeks @

Gael Carter has immersed herself in shamanism for more than 25 years. She has studied under teachers of the sacred spiritual pathways of the Mayan, Toltec, Yaqui, and Q’ero peoples. She stands with Hyemeyohsts Storm, on the belief that earth based knowledge belongs in the hands of the people. In service of this belief, Gael has co-authored the book, Shamanic Ceremonies for a Changing World, a resource and guide for walking a path of Spirit. Gael is also the director and co-founder of the Institute of Shamanic Medicine (ISM) ( which trains Shamanic Coaches in the practical use of contemporary shamanic knowledge, tools, and ceremony.



Radio: The Art of Dreaming

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Today on Going Shamanic, your host Jennifer Engracio interviews Marilyn Keffer on the show.
You will hear what it means to really dream – in both the sleeping world and the waking world. You will gain tools and tips on how dreaming informs us in so many unconscious ways, and when we listen with intent, life unfolds beautifully.

Marilyn Keffer holds an Honours BA degree in psychology and has studied and trained extensively in Shamanism with teachers of the sacred spiritual pathways of the Mayan, Toltec, Yaqui, and Q’ero peoples of North, Central, and South America.  Marilyn is co-founder of the Institute of Shamanic Medicine and co-author of the book “Shamanic Ceremonies for a Changing World.”  She is a shamanic coach and a shamanic practitioner and teaches across Canada and at home in British Columbia.

To listen to the full archived show at your convenience go to:

Radio: Traditional Hawaiian Medicine

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Join “Going Shamanic”  host, Jennifer Engracio and Aunty Fran as they talk about indigenous medicine and how it can marry well with modern medicine.

Francine Dudoit-Tagupa, also known as “Aunty Fran” to her patients and co-workers, began her career with Waikiki Health in 1998. She comes from a lineage of Native Hawaiian healers who taught her skills that are valued both in the Native Hawaiian and general community. Her areas of specialty are Native Hawaiian Healing, Hawaiian Cultural Education, Advocacy for Kupuna, Chronic Pain Management, and Individual and Family Counseling. Healing modalities include Ho’oponopono, Lomilomi and La’au Lapa’au.  Aunty Fran has more than 35 years of experience as a Registered Nurse and Native Hawaiian Practitioner.

To find out more about Aunty Fran and her work, visit

To hear the full archived interview at your convenience go to:

New Book: Women’s Power Stories

The long-awaited book “Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life” edited by Jennifer Engracio and Carell Mehl is COMING THIS SUMMER (2015)! To put your name on the wait list for a book, email:

Power Stories Book Cover
“You are invited to come on a journey as thirteen ancient goddesses remind you of the power and beauty of the feminine aspects within you. Whatever your gender may be, the twenty-six stories in this book will touch the very heart of the strong feminine presence within you and awaken parts of you that may have been asleep. What power story lies deep within you wanting to be told? Contained within this volume, you will find inspiration, resources, knowledge, and suggestions that will support you in tapping into your own victories.”


“This book definitely took me to another space inside myself, into the womb, where I was able to connect the energy of the goddess and the energy of the Earth Count together to find a space that wanted to heal.  It made me feel that part of the goddess and Earth energy! It helped me to connect to the story inside myself as I read through the pages–bubbling up and coming present.”

-Lori’ Nelson


I found that each story was deeply moving–to the point where I had to pause and put the manuscript down after each one in order to digest the experience. For me, reading each story was a little like being shown a movie filled with vivid, personal images.   Each author writes in her own voice, but what each one has in common is openness and candor. It would even be fair to say they are intimate. I had the feeling of being trusted–the kind of feeling one gets when someone tells you a highly personal secret. “

-Greg Leach


“This book took me on a journey and helped me touch the feminine aspect of my soul–the part of me that I was afraid to engage with. It helped me connect with the strength of my goddess within. I realized the power in vulnerability and it sometimes moved me to tears. Through those tears, I released the hidden wounds that were still there from the past.”

-Michelle Darago

The Hawaiian Art of Forgiveness

On “Going Shamanic” radio show, Jen Engracio interviewed Uncle Harry Uhane Jim on the Hawaiian art of forgiveness called “Ho’oponopono.”  Uncle Harry  joined us to talk about why clearing the past is important to our health and well-being in the present, and shared with us how it’s done.  Don’t miss this show!  It’s filled with wisdom you can take into your daily life.

Harry Uhane Jim is a Kahuna, healer, and teacher. He is the author of the book, “WISE SECRETS OF ALOHA.” He was born and raised on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.  He has been doing healing work for many years and has been trained in the traditional apprentice style by the best known native Kahuna’s of the last seven decades. Shot 2015-03-02 at 12.19.05 PM

The Gift of Aloha

After spending a month on the Hawaiian Islands, I’ve come home renewed with a greater appreciation for aloha and the elders there who continue to share their lineage teachings with me so graciously.

From “The Book of Aloha: A Collection of Hawaiian Proverbs and Inspirational Wisdom” by Mutual Publishing of Honolulu:


The official flower of the island of O’ahu.

“Visitors to Hawaii will inevitably encounter the term aloha at some point during their stay. They will most likely hear someone say ‘aloha’ when they arrive. They will soon realize that aloha is not just a word but a concept that is multi-dimensional, that it encompasses random acts of kindness, that it means giving love or affection to both close ones and strangers, and that it represents an attitude, a way of thinking, a spirit of living, a philosophy. Aloha is an integral part of the Hawaiian culture and can be considered its gift or legacy to the world. Giving aloha, acting with aloha, and caring with aloha sets examples for all to follow. Aloha can be said to be the soul of Hawai’i, the thread that ties together the Hawaiian cultural and social values that make these islands so unique. Long after returning home one remembers not just the scenery but the feeling of aloha which lingers like a fragrant scent. Live aloha, let aloha into your life, be aloha.”

Here’s a strategy that has worked well for me that I’d like to offer:  Start by giving aloha to yourself. In tough or stressful moments, take deep breaths into your belly and allow the aloha to flow from your High Self to your Low Self like a river. Keep going until you feel filled and refreshed.

I’d love to hear how aloha appears in your life and how you tap into this energy.  If you care to share, please do so in the comment box.

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