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Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of
Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting
"If you combined the lyricism of Annie Dillard, the vision of
Aldo Leopold, and the gentle but tough-minded optimism of Frank
McCourt, you might come close to Amy Lou Jenkins.Tom Bissell
author of The Father of All Things
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S. Kelley Harrell
Author of "Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to
the Divinity of Trauma," in the fantastical memoir, Kelley Harrell tells her
story of overcoming trauma and beginning shamanic initiation. Her work appears
in the June 2010 release "Engaging the Spirit World: Shamanism, Totemism, and
Other Animistic Practices" edited by Lupa, "The Spirit of a Woman: Intimate
Stories to Empower and Inspire" edited by Terry Laszlo-Gopadze, "Nature’s Gifts”
edited by Smoky Trudeau, and "The Journey of Healing: Wisdom from the Survivors
of Sexual Abuse: A Literary Anthology" edited by Marjorie Ryerson. She's
published short stories and poetry in various journals, including the Chiron
Review. Kelley also writes a column, Intentional Insights: Q&A From Within,
which is syndicated with Elle astrologer, Bridgett Walther, and The Oracle (at
Global Goddess), featuring essays and reader inquiries on modern shamanism and
Kelley lives in North Carolina with a wonderful partner and their energetic
twins endearingly called "The Twinkies." Her open dialogue with souls is
recorded at Intentional Insights, and her shamanic practice is Soul Intent
Arts. She is a proud founder of the nonprofit organization,
The Saferoom Project, that provides peer
support for adult survivors of child sexual assault, and their partners, friends
About Gift of the Dreamtime
Using shamanic practices rooted in Native American, Celtic, and
Aboriginal culture, Kelley Harrell's Gift of the Dreamtime takes us on a
spiritual journey--hers, but maybe yours, too--to investigate the psychological
trauma and emotional roadblocks that she traces back to her childhood and to
In a remarkable book that explores her own past as an incest survivor, her bouts
with depression, and crippling inability to pursue her dreams, the author uses
shamanic practices rooted in Native American, Celtic, and Aboriginal culture.
She combines her personal journey with instructions for similar meditations to
help the injured child in all of us look at the hurt, understand it in a
spiritual context, and forgive both ourselves and others.
Gift of the Dreamtime
She’s come again.
Rather, Simon’s taken me to Her again.
“I stay sick all the time, lately,” I told him. “Can you take me to someone who
can help me heal any remaining issues connected to these urinary tract
infections, so that I can finally let go of them?”
And so here She is: ugly, old, short, and bent over. A crone as I live and
breathe, complete with stringy white hair and bluish complexion. She’s not at
all the woman that I met originally, not the angel that I thought She was, and
certainly not the Goddess whom I sought to heal me.
The first time I met Her was when I’d asked Simon a desperate question,
something about my relationship and pulling it out of the
He’d taken me to a courtyard at a high level of my upper world, a garden with
sculptures, flowers, vines connecting ground to stone such that everything
seemed alive, moving. She was pretty then, if you can say things like that about
Goddesses. Stern, fixed stare, at least eight feet tall, perfectly fair skin,
dark blue and crimson robes...I revered Her with more respect than anything in
my life, and She probably commanded it more than anything else ever had.
Although I was eternally grateful for the knowledge She’d imparted to me that
day, I wasted no time returning to waking. She left me reeling with awe.
I’d never met a Goddess before.
The second time I met with Her, I had summoned Her out of anger.
My life had spun out of control, and I demanded no less than Her energy to tame
it. I called to Her, not even knowing who She was, yet fully knowing that
summoning Deities in this manner wasn’t very smart. But She came, angry and
foreboding. She even gave me what I sought, and I left humbled, understanding
that I was to call on Her any time I needed Her intervention. I didn’t know to
what I owed that great favor given my impudent behavior. But Her wrath left me
so rattled that I vowed never to call on Her again and to never act in such
haste, regardless of the state of my life.
I never intended to see Her again, but Simon has brought me here. Before, She
looked nothing like the stooped hag that She is now, but I know She is the
Goddess from the other journeys. They are one and the same.
Simon says She’s a new guide, but I’m not in the market for a new one. I like
Simon quite well, and I tell him this. I tell him, “Thank you, but no thanks.”
“She has things you have need of learning, things that are not mine to teach
you. I will remain with you always, but you must walk with Her for now.”
He says she’s a Goddess, and that She is me, pre-Celtic but spanning many
cultures, many eras. She is powerful and god-like, of that I have no doubt. I’ve
felt Her incredibly stunning energy, both alluring and terrifying. I feel it
now, and it’s very foreign to me. It’s not me. It’s nothing I want to be part
of. I have enough conflicting feelings without inviting more.
“I don’t understand what you mean, that She is me,” but he doesn’t clarify, just
steps back until there are only clouds where he stood.
Now I’m alone with Her, and I have no idea what to do. She doesn’t move to do
anything. I’m not even sure She’s paying attention to me as She seems to be in a
daze with Her hands held up, palms facing out. She looks past Her hands into
I stand back, taking in this new form. Her aura is bright blue and is the only
light emanating from Her black robes and blue-ash skin. I
don’t feel that She is good or bad, which is quite disconcerting because
everyone I’ve met in the Dreamtime up until this point has
been fairly clear cut in their intentions. I can’t easily dismiss Her, yet I
can’t accept Her. I impede myself, and I don’t know why. All I
know is that in Her presence, I panic, and I know that’s a reflection on me more
than on Her.
She turns away, and when She faces me again, She’s a beautiful woman. Even Her
energy is different now, gentler and I don’t know why how I see Her affects my
feelings about her. Don’t care to, really. And I’ve grown tired of observing. I
just want answers.
“What do I need to do differently to heal this part of my life?”
“Love you,” She says. She smiles when She says it, which is really strange,
considering She was a menacing hag a minute ago. I want to mock Her sincerity
but can’t. Either way, She tells me nothing I don’t already know and have been
joyfully calling back into my life for months now.
“What else?” I ask.
“Nothing. I am healing you. There is nothing for you to do.”
Passive healing. That’s a new concept. I don’t know what She’s doing, but even
as She speaks, I feel better, healthier. She moves in front of me and dips Her
hands into my body, tugging, shifting, moving things around, then turns me as a
seamstress would turn her model, smoothing out a good fit at each stop. I’m safe
in Her care, and under Her touch, my body calms.
I don’t know who She is or what She wants. And even though She frightens me, my
life is better when She’s here. I always leave Her presence well. So I’ll accept
Her gift. I’ll let this happen. I can let someone else do the healing for me for
©2004 S. Kelley Harrell, Spilled Candy Books