My near death experience with the angels, years of speaking with the earth and spirits through sound as a young child, and my early childhood bonding and training with my Russian - Siberian grandparents made relating with the earth and spirits in an indigenous, shamanic way a natural part of my life from birth. Although I thought of it as a family game as a child, shamanism had always been a very normal, accepted way of life for me, which allowed me to feel at home with all forms of shamanic lifestyle that I encountered later in my adult life. I was also formally and informally spirit trained in Siberian Shamanic Sound Healing since my late twenties by a Siberian Shamaness I met in New York, and by my ancestral spirits in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, and Lake Baikal.
Siberian shamanic sound is a wonderful form of healing that has felt completely familiar to me since my very first training session, during which I time realized that this form has been with me for many lifetimes. It was an instant vehicle for dropping solidly into my body and becoming more fully present, which was taught in an ancient and completely familiar way that I knew inside and out from the very beginning of my training. I felt like I had been using Siberian shamanic sound healing methods since the beginning of time, and I began getting visions of other lifetimes in which I was a medicine woman and shamanic sound healer in Russia and Siberia, which was a tremendously grounding experience to have during my daily treatments with clients.
While living in Eugene, Oregon, I became very involved with a wonderful shamanic community of practitioners that met regularly at a friend’s house. I was delighted to have many human companions on this shamanic path, as I had not been previously joined by very many people in my earthly and spiritual connections other than my family. I have had very few human teachers in the shamanic realm other than my grandmother, great aunt, and eventually Sorengeral, the Siberian Shamaness I met in NY later in life. Nature and the spirits have always been my strongest teachers. I had waited many years for a Siberian teacher to come to our shamanic circle, but up until my last months in Eugene, we had never located one. After being a part of this shamanic group in Oregon for nine years, I was strongly spirit led to move back to the east coast, right before 9-11.
I was scheduled to leave Eugene right before a Siberian shamaness, (who we had finally located), was to arrive as a guest teacher in my shamanic circle. Before I left for the east coast, spirit kept telling me not to worry, that I would find her in another location and be able to study with her closely for as long as I wanted. I though I most likely would have to travel to Siberia, and that perhaps I would get to meet her many years later. I arrived in my new home in Woodstock, NY with a heavy heart, although I was glad to be on the east coast once again.
The second day I was in Woodstock, I was drawn to a local community gathering where they were honoring one of their beloved elders in the area. Upon my arrival, I met a woman who said that someone was hosting a Siberian Shamaness locally in their home and teaching center, and that she may well be offering trainings in the area. I was elated, and immediately began to hunt for the woman who was hosting the shamaness. Much to my delight and amazement, it turned out that the Siberian shamanic teacher who I had just missed studying with in Eugene had her home base in the Woodstock area. I was reminded once again to trust fully in my spirit guidance, which had assured me that I would meet this teacher easily in due time.
Two days later, I met Sorengeral, who stayed in my home for a few weeks, during which time our formal training began each day from early every morning til the wee hours of the next day. Sara had endless energy and knowledge to share with me, and we formed a strong bond that felt much like we had grown up as sisters. I was delighted to be steeped in Siberian Shamanism, which was so very familiar to me, as I had grown up in training in many ways since childhood. I had already been playing some of the childhood games that they teach in shamanic training to their young people in my early years. I felt completely at home in the world of shamanism in a way I never had before, realizing that I didn’t have to become anything, because this was already who I had always been since early childhood.
At Sorengeral’s prompting, I began stepping into my life as a shamanic sound healing practitioner on a new level, and continued my journey on a wonderful, heart opening path of shamanic life studies, which has led me to developing the Pravada Shamanic Sound Healing System and apprenticeship training program. Pravada symbolizes the Russian work for Truth, which is Pravda, with an extra “a” added to it, which in Judaism, makes a word sacred and spirit filled on a higher level. I also didn’t really want to connect my healing system with the popular communist paper of the fifties, called "Pravda.”
I am still somewhat amazed sometimes at how Sorengeral, (Sara), came into my life, and feel honored to hold her in my heart as family. She is the tallest woman I have ever met, and had the appearance of a timeless androgynous warrior, which was a wonderful and powerful vision to behold. I have many special memories of spending time with her, and of her workshop teachings, especially one in particular that took place at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, in which we actually saw the colors of the northern lights arrive in the sky during one of our ceremonies.
Sara and I had many discussions about the Siberian, Buryat, and Russian people, and had dreamed of traveling to Russia and Siberia together to heal some of the wounds between the two cultures, as they had similar histories to those of our Native American tribes in this country. I am reminded constantly that life is one long amazing line of synchronicities when we are led by the spirits, and are willing to follow what we hear, ... whether our minds agree with each direction or not. Everything we need shows up with great ease and an orchestrated beauty that we could not begin to imagine or match no matter how hard we try.
Sorengeral eventually transitioned from being my teacher into a dearly adopted sister, and we discovered that we had many past lives together in which we were very close on a soul level. She has since passed on to the spirit world, and is one of my most beloved guides and ancestors who will be with me forever. She walks with me on a regular basis, and often shows up in my healing sessions to help me step into the next level of life and healing. I look forward very much to meeting her again in physical form, as she is quite a wonderful character.
I have always been very grateful for the spirit promptings that I received about returning to the east coast, as I had already moved back to New York right before the time of 9-11. It has been my heart city since early childhood, and I would have migrated there in a minute as soon as I learned about it’s tremendous wounding. I had already met Sara and connected with a wonderful Native community in the Woodstock area the year before 9-11, where I was playing flutes for our monthly potluck gatherings and healing circles. I was tremendously honored to be involved in the native healing circles and local benefit concerts that we organized in response to the needs of our local communities and those in NY City after 9-11.
It was also through our local native community that I got to meet the first group who hosted the 13 Indigenous elder grandmothers in New York. I was invited to meet them in a small family group before the weekend workshop took place, which was a wonderful way to get to know them on an individual basis. I was honored to play shamanic sound healing music for them before and during the weekend gathering, which was a life changing experience on many levels. The grandmothers will always live on in my heart and spirit, as they are some of the most loving, humble women I have ever met. Life brings such precious and unexpected gifts when we are not looking.