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"Changing Coats for Changing the Rules"

by Ross LewAllen

Shamans Coat I had a need
Maybe a desire
Maybe a want,
Certainly a Call
To make a Shaman's Coat.

This call came about because I am involved in the Foundation for Shamanic Studies' Three Year Program. Upon completion of this course of study. I will give myself a Doctor's Degree in Shamanism.

One way to create a Shaman's Coat is to "journey on it". This is an ancient Shamanic process which enables a person to travel on the repetitive beat of a drum into other realities. This other reality, commonly referred to as Non Ordinary Reality is a place from which you may gather information, knowledge, ancient wisdom and healing.

The place from which I journeyed is in the high desert outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. That is where I live in a mud (Adobe) hogan. (A hogan is an eight-sided structure used for centuries by the Navajo people. My hogan sits on a small hill on a plain. It is surrounded by four sacred mountains: Eagle Bear Mountain to the North, Triangle Mountain to the West, Turtle Mountain to the South, and Spotted Mountain to the East. This center, this land between, is a place of circular horizons make of vast mountain ranges. Over these ranges rise blazing sunrises leaping from pale milky white predawn skies.

Here all the children gather. The rattlesnake, lizard, rabbit, grouse, mouse, and coyote all let you know that you are on their land. Hawks soar. swoop down and return to the virgin land and more in the mountains. I make salves, oils, tinctures, and teas in my hogan. I live aline here and do my shamanic work. I work warmed by fires burning in the fireplaces.

The night that I did my journey which was actually three separate ones, a good friend, Liana, came to guide and drum for me. I set my intentions and Liana started to drum. Listening to the beat of the drum. I quickly sank into the journey to build the Shaman's Coat. My guides appeared to me and began to tell me of its design. color, material, texture, buttons. lining and symbols. Then I spoke the journey. With pen and paper in the firelight, Liana recorded the following:

The Old Drum sings with power,
Double headed,
Made in Cochiti Pueblo,
Its voice is Loud.
I climbed aboard its steady beat,
My intentions as strong and clear
As the drumming song.
"I would make a Shaman's Coat,
What must I know?"
Top the Lower World, I journey,
To a Magical Tree, I journey.
With this tree I merge,
I spiral down and down
Into its deep roots,
Down and Down
Into the Dark.

My guide finds me,
Comes to lead the way
Out of the swirling Dark.
Into a Clear and Bright world
we fly, Guide and I.

My guides and teachers are many
Plants, Rocks, Birds, Animals,
ancestors Spirits, Songs and Dances.

And there in the clearing
We meet another dancing.
He circles, dancing.
He circles again,
Waiting and Watching.
"Hello, brother, How are you?"
I ask, "I need some help."
Dancing still, he nods consent.
"A Shaman's Coat, I need to make."
The dancing stops and he beckons.
Sitting down, he breathes into me.
My breathing slows and deepens,
Energy shifts in my body and I feel the drum in every part.
My breathing slows and deepens.
Energy shifts in my body and I feel the drum in every part.
My liquid body feels the drum
Rhythm connecting with the Earth,
Connecting with her heartbeat
With the heart of the Mother.

I sink deep into the trust
And feel with a rush an opening.
A space ready to receive
And in that space there enters
The wisdom of the Clear One.

The first things I see are:

Blue waves roaring down
The back of the coat,
They flow from each shoulder.
Fur covers the back
and front of the coat.
Fur covers the sleeves.
It is gray brown fur like a wind wolf.
The coat has no collar,
Its hem is irregular and untamed.

A black leather panel
Rides on the coat's Back.
Covered with small brass hooks,
Hooks for holding magic
and for making sounds.

Many small objects hang there:
Spice twigs, shells, amulets,
Silver discs, shiny and doomed,
And Runes Algiz, Sol, and Tyr,
All dancing metal shapes.
Algiz for protection,
Sol for Sun Power,
and Tyr for Rightness.
They all make jangling music.

Red lines the coat
Red holds the power
The red lining is the soul of the coat
And it is covered with many symbols.
The symbols come to me
and find their way inside.

There is an Eye of Kanaloa.
It is appliqued in many colors,
Its power to my back.
Raising from it is a line of Algiz.
The Algiz runes run like a ladder
Or tree up to the neckline.

And shooting out from the center
Like arrows over the shoulders
Fly two Tyr runes.
Over the breast is a Runic Cosmology,
Symbols of power,
Ancestors and Universe.
There is also a feather,
Made of fabric stitched in detail.
It's color is brown.

Many red pockets wait inside.
These are to hold
Large and small magic.
There is a pocket for Herbs,
Bay Leaves, Spice Bush, Pinon,
Sage, Cedar, whatever com4es
for Healing and Cleansing.

One pocket keeps a Paoa,
Talking Stick for Council Circles.
Paoa, Hawaiian for
"Talking from the Tree",
Says "Hold me now and speak from your heart.
All will listen with their heart ears.
Pass me on sunwise
til all words will be healing."

Large objects hold many things,
Fire-making Tools,
HaiLona Stones for casting,
Rattles, Omen Finders,
Scared Water, Ritual knife,
and Giveaways.

There are buttons on the coat.
Rustic, carved from antler,
They close the coat
with crude animal shape.
A leather sash belts the coat,
Soft deer hide without buckle.
From it hangs a pouch
Made from same soft hide
And lines in purest white.

A soft loose shirt of green
with side orange stripe
And pants of fur lined in red.
Ankles full of hooks and amulets
add their music to the dance.
And on my feet moccasins
softly stepping to feel the earth.
Moccasins are covered in fur.

I also see a Talking Stuck
Make for the Shaman's Coat.
Paoa power in this stick.
Paoa length is marked.

It has the Algiz Tree
Climbing its length.
It has the same colors
Blue, Ted, and Green.
They stripe the stick.
Voicing their strength
in repetition.

Along the side a wave pows.
It is a river that runs to the sea
Power explodes
where river and ocean meet.

This is the song that I received:

Dancing Around
Dancing Around
Dancing Around
Dancing Around
Dancing Around

Ho! Guide
Ho! Guide

Warm Feet, Warm Feet
Walking my path
Warm Feet, Warm Feet
Whistle, Whistle

Dancing Around
Dancing Around
Dancing Around
Dancing Around
Dancing Around

Ho! Guide
Ho! Guide

Warm Feet, Warm Feet
Walking my path
Warm Feet, Warm Feet
Whistle, Whistle

Ho! Guide
Warm Feet
Ho! Guide
Warm Feet

The above is presented with permission of the author Ross LewAllen.

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