WHO AM I?poncho3-2

I think of myself as a Scout and a Tracker of Energy.  As a scout I travel to the edge of experience, bringing back to the world what I have learned, and been given through Spirit.

As a tracker of energy, working in the Medicine for over 45 years, I recognize patterns in individuals and in society. I bring forth ancient universal wisdom through writing, healing, and teaching in order to address those patterns and to facilitate our mystical reunion with Source and with Nature, in all directions, in equal balance, allied with the elements and acknowledging the Divine within all.

Although the healing work I do has been taught to me directly by Spirit, primarily within the context of the healing sessions, I have also learned by working in community with good people of Medicine on the Earth plane. Though there are many, I would especially like to acknowledge:

MY MOTHER, the first healing woman in my life. Her healing hands soothed and provided an example of healing flowing from love. I also honor my maternal ancestor: my mother’s mother’s mother was the healing woman of her village.

MY DAUGHTER, for mirroring; teaching me how to love unconditionally, and giving me a beautiful grandson.

ALBERT HAZEN SMITH for recognizing my abilities, awakening my love of literature and fostering my growth as a writer.

SPIRIT EAGLE, Diné (Navaho) Medicine Man, Shiprock, N.M. for teaching me to “put my heart on the altar” for my medicine name and naming ceremony, for teaching me the medicine of the drum, and for the healing circles we co-sponsored.

BRANT SECUNDA, Dance of the Deer Foundation. Brant is a Huichol Shaman, who taught me the nature of shamanism and helped me connect with the Elemental Clan. The Dance of the Deer and Brant’s singing remain with me.

I apprenticed with SUN BEAR of the Bear Tribe. I honor him for sharing Medicine Wheel teachings with people who have good hearts and strong desire to care for the Earth, yet are not necessarily Native American in this lifetime.

CHRISTOPHER TIMS, Spiritual head of The Order of the Blue Star, for teaching me to Soul Travel and do Light & Sound attunements.

TOM BROWN JR., Pine Barrens, NJ, for Tracking, Nature and Wilderness Survival skills in the Shamanic Way, and craft skills.

BUDDHA MAITREYA, for designing my Pyramid, Metatron Mat, Vajra, and Etheric Weavers – all excellent healing tools

UNIVERSAL LIFE CHURCH for ordination. I have been an interfaith minister since 1994.

VIPASSANA for the best, hardest meditation retreats.

INTEGRAL YOGA INSTITUTE in New York for 13 years of Hatha Yoga.

I wish to acknowledge my medicine sisters for their support, and my many students and clients through the years. Blessings to you all.

I especially wish to honor and acknowledge Shadow of the Thunder Beings, my former four-legged, for the tireless devotion and unconditional love he gave to me while he was alive, for the work he did and still does from the other side as my healing partner, and for reminding me of the “forever” perspective.



As a girl I lived in Brooklyn, New York. In summers, my mother, brother and I, along with first cousins went either to Grandma’s bungalow, a farm in upstate New York, or a family resort in the Catskill Mountains. Our fathers would come on the weekends after work. Yet even in Brooklyn, nature prevailed. My cat Black Chief waltzed into my home through a second story window, and Tyke my parakeet, came to me from the empty lot across the street. I rode my bike by lush Italian gardens, pregnant with heavy, ripe tomatoes and grapevines. Trees sprouted in the cracks between the sidewalks. At the bungalow, I learned to be respectful of growing things. The path to the country store was bordered by poison ivy. The older cousins brought sweet, golden corn from the nearby fields, and the palpable friendship of our backyard crab apple tree received our ministrations. We conquered our fear of heights, courageously climbing her and swinging from her branches on hot summer days. We nurtured this tree with our secrets, our laughter, and our deposits in the nearby outhouse. Nature is mutually reciprocal! In the Catskills, I recapitulated some ancient recognition of what it was like to be a native scout, fell in love with the stones and streams and enjoyed carefree time with my human and animal family. The summers were so long then…do you remember how visceral your childhood interaction with the Earth was?


Every stage of life brought a new aspect of nature into my life. After literally saving nickels and dimes for twenty years, my mother got her dream house in the country. In the 1960’s I could still walk barefoot to bay beaches on Long Island’s north shore. The world of salt-water and horseshoe crabs opened for me. There were fourteen undeveloped acres around our house, and though I was immersed in the requirements of intense schoolwork, chores and social awakenings, I had my secret hideout in the woods among the mountain laurels and oak trees.

Having my daughter brought out the child of wonder in me as I looked at life through her eyes. When I moved back to Brooklyn, I began my healing and blessing work on the land. If New York City didn’t need it, what did? I would walk by sidewalk flower gardens with joy and gratitude. Empty lots were often turned into community vegetable gardens. I imagined what New York looked like before settlers came, did honoring ceremonies at ancient sites like Shorakapuk on the northern-most tip of Manhattan, and I called forth ancient spirits to help me bless the land. Who says cities can’t have green belts? I left the corporate world, cut my salary in half and took a job as a seasonal park ranger on Staten Island. By this time, I had already taken a few courses with Tom Brown Jr., known worldwide as The Tracker. I was practicing my shamanic wilderness skills often. In the 80’s, I experienced nature more expansively in other parts of the world. I travelled to places as disparate as Europe, the Caribbean, Fiji, and Hawaii. I kept returning to Italy, finally living there for a few months. When my rent-controlled, seven-room apartment became over-run with plants, rocks, shells, and local stray dogs and cats, I moved to North Carolina.

It was also Spirit’s way of getting me to “dive deeper,” a theme of my life. Have you ever considered that all you have ever been through – all the uprooting, the painful loves and losses, getting fooled – all of it has made you who you are today? Would you have willingly chosen those experiences? They are meant to illustrate patterns that may need to be illuminated. In that sense, everyone and everything in our lives is a gift. Healing or “Medicine” flows through the events and circumstances of one’s own life. I tell my students that the curriculum of our own lives is the framework for following our life paths. Life will always bring us  challenges, which once mastered, bring wholeness. By applying such soul qualities as cooperation, self-knowledge, faith, understanding, fellowship and patience in each area of our lives, we create soul growth. Life is all about relationship. First, with ourselves, then our intimates, followed by community, the Earth, and on to the Universe(s), of which we are an integral part. Physics and mathematics are truly universal languages.  Every single thing is made up of the same “stuff” – call it ectoplasm, chi or life force energy – we are all connected through the unified field. This field is LOVE. We are all one in love, the most dynamic force in the Universe.FinalMy work with the land in North Carolina really opened me. So did my healing work. After vision questing, opportunities for helping the Mother were placed before me. Since I walked the land every day with my animals, I knew what flora and fauna lived there. When the town board asked for input on what to do with the shared 214 acres of property, I was able to write up a strong proposal to keep the acreage as conservation land because of the many rare and important species that made their home there. Even my dogs and cats got into the act. My dogs brought me to a tiny, bedraggled opossum, which became known as Precious. I carried her around my neck in a fleece pouch and fed her with a dropper. I eventually gave her to a possum rehabilitation specialist. She was successfully re-introduced into the wild. I brought baby mice back from catatonic states, rescued butterflies and baby birds, and journeyed for people who wanted to learn about their totem.

After North Carolina, I moved to New England, where the natural world escalated my training, and it was sometimes quite traumatic. I went from a person who likes to have a nest, to one who moved from place to place, many more times than I would have wished, dragging furniture, plants and books with me. I began my work with Totems on a mountaintop in Westhampton Massachusetts when my medicine dog Thunder and I house-sat for a few weeks for a dear friend of mine. That’s where I met Mentor, the porcupine that taught me of the significance of totems in one’s life. (See my book, Totems for Stewards of the Earth). Each place I went, the natural world had advocacy work for me to do. Thunder and I spent long hours in the woods, meadows and wetlands. I was almost always called upon to educate the sensibilities of some homeowner or tree cutters (even when they called themselves conservationists). When unable to affect the direction of the cutting, I would do ceremony to help the spirits of the trees cross over. I began to have unusual manifestations from the animal and mineral kingdom. I have traveled through three states with a Luna moth on my sweater. Similarly, a yellow swallowtail butterfly stayed on my body for twenty-four hours. A Great Blue heron allowed me to take a plastic ring off its beak. And then there was the porcupine that mentored me in trust and openness. These true stories illustrate how personal and mystical our linkage with totems and the natural world can be. They enumerate the many ways one can walk lightly and caringly upon the earth. Since 2000, I have been a contributing columnist, writing the TOTEMS column for Wisdom Magazine.

Every person who has the desire to relate personally to Nature can do so. I encourage you to be a steward for Mother Earth in all the ways, big and small, that you can imagine being of service. Every act of love for the “critter” nation, the plants, trees and stones causes our Mother to care for us in turn. It’s all about vibration. The more we interact with Nature, the more Nature interacts with us. If you want to help change the paradigm by which humans relate to the natural world, you have to first start with yourself and then offer your help with strong intent. Watch the opportunities arrive in the ways you can be most helpful. If a girl from Brooklyn can have an intimate relationship with the animal, plant, mineral kingdoms, and Mother Earth, then so can you. Our soul’s longing to know ourselves as part of the larger community of life surges within us. I invite you to join me in creating a new paradigm of mutual compassion in linked destiny, for a shared future on Mother Earth.