Connecting with Spirit, Celebrating with Men - Some thoughts from Jay Thomas

The core principle of shamanism is connecting with Spirit.  There are many ways of doing this.  For me, sharing ritual and activities in a relaxed, safe space with other men is always an enchanting idea. Last year, I participated in the 8th Annual Gay Shaman’s Retreat at Easton Mountain led by Tony Allicino. It was a remarkable experience that opened my heart when I was in dire need of renewal and a break from my routines.  That nurturing experience was a celebration of male energy working together to connect with Spirit, supported by the land, the staff, great food, and the beautiful new friends I made.  So moved by such wonder—certain that others can find the renewal, nurturing, and empowerment that contemporary shamanism has to offer—I asked Tony if he’d be open to teaming up with me to offer our combined skills in an introductory format.  That’s how this year’s April 1-3 retreat - Introduction to Shamanism: Drum, Journey, Explore! - came about.

In my practice, I work with clients to help them connect to their own energies as expressed through the elements of fire, water, earth and air.  These alchemical symbols can tell us how we are living our spiritual journey as we look respectively at initiative, emotion, grounding, and insights.

I call my shamanic service "Zen Carnival."  I really like the juxtaposition of the words *zen* and *carnival* because it explains our ironic life journey to stay balanced, of finding one's center amid chaos, of being present and attuned to the soul self, even when the activities of life are distracting or confusing or overwhelming.  In January of this year, I was honored to be recognized as a Certified Medium with the National Spiritual Alliance where I provide intuitive counseling that blends tarot and energy readings with messages from Spirit.

I welcome the spring renewal as mother earth awakens from winter slumber, and I look forward to connecting with new friends and kindred spirits at Easton Mountain.