Almost a year ago, Christine Wilson lost her beloved husband John, a descendant of two tribes through his Maori mother and Scottish father. This is the letter she wrote to him in the next world as she reflected on her connection to John (Mahiti). 


Dear John,

As our mortal days roll by, suddenly the first anniversary of your passing is almost upon us. I continue to love you deeply!

Life here, of course, has certainly changed but not with the morbid, negative repercussions I secretly feared. You are missed constantly by many, yet somehow you are so with us. We are “buffaloing on,” to use the phrase of my friends Judie and Paul. It refers to the buffalo in Yellowstone in the winter, when the weather conditions can be extreme.  The buffalo just keep their heads down and move, slowly, onward.

The mystery of life has become more mysterious, yet the space between our mortal world and yours has shrunk. You are so much closer now.

As for me, personally, your presence is always within me….a part of me…and has changed me on many levels. I feel the most amazing oneness with you, impacting everything I do.

But you are also you and I am me, still with our individual personalities and characteristics, yet together we have created another entity—mysterious, powerful and wonderful.

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The Reluctant Shaman

Rachel E. MannI could write about my two trips to the former Soviet Union, the first during the time it was being speculated by the old Sovietologists that Andropov had died because he was no longer showing up in Politburo photo shoots, and the second the summer of the coup when a drunk Yeltsin danced on a tank in front of the White House in Moscow.  These are among a number of outer trips in my life.  But for me, the outer journeys are just juicy manifestations of a bigger and far more important inner journey that led me to becoming a reluctant shaman.


Just declaring in a public forum that I am a shaman takes the breath out of me. To say that my life is a trip may actually be an understatement.  I mean, I think it’s a truly crazy trip when you realize you suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia and simultaneously you suddenly find yourself meeting spirits who come to help you, or you are wandering in the Underworld where you meet and retrieve lost parts of yourself, and you encounter the traumas of your ancestors and even the world as a whole. In the process, I have met some interesting and amazing men and women, in this more ordinary realm of life, some of them whom I call the “new shamans” of the West.

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