Everything you’re about to read is an accident. While she was supposed to be an author and columnist, being a neoshaman, Druid, or any of that woowoo stuff wasn’t part of the deal. The plan was for Kelley to be a journalist for National Geographic and travel the world writing about its secret sacred sites and rituals of native peoples. When the time came to make that leap, something odd happened. Stories of the landscape began to speak of the mystery everywhere, and Kelley stayed put to listen. Penning those stories, she found herself scribing Nature’s past and recording tales of souls consciously steering through the wreckage of multiplanar corollaries, something quite different from indigenous beat reporting.
It ended up that Kelley Harrell became an author and neoshamanic mover and shaker in North Carolina. She is author of “Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma,” and her open dialogue with souls is recorded in her regular column, “Intentional Insights: Q&A From Within.” Her poetry, essays and fiction have been published in many journals and anthologies. Walking the path of the modern Druid, she’s a Global Goddess Priestess, and her shamanic practice is Soul Intent Arts. She’s also a proud founder of the nonprofit organization The Saferoom Project. Kelley lives in North Carolina with a wonderful lover and a couple of energetic Twinkies.
Things ended up a far cry from the way they were supposed to go, but sometimes life just is.
What are you working on right now?
I’m hoping to find a publisher for my novel manuscript. It’s funny. I’ve established a prolific writing career penning personal experiences of the wyrd, that for a lot of people are unbelievable and push bounds of imagination. Now that I want to actually make things up and write them down, I’m struggling to prove cred as a creative writer. Go figure.
I am completing final rounds of druidic study, which are proving to root me in a community role as a spiritual caretaker of the land. Having chosen the obligation to do soul healing on various locales in need, I am opening my work to public ceremonies, in hopes of fostering a heart connection to the land in others.
3 Trends that excite you?
I’m very excited by the growing awareness of Nature and food, particularly with regard to consumption. One way I am cultivating interest in the soulful aspects of food consumerism is through teaching a class on the Animism of Food. So many people have environmental and food allergies, that I would like to offer an experiential perspective on the spirituality of food, and how to form a relationship with it that feeds the soul, chakra system, and etheric field, which when nourished, physical conditions abate.
The spiritualization of digital communication fascinates me. So many groups come together that would likely be unable to due to location or timing, managing to create cohesive communities that shift energetic reality. I know of many groups who only have an online presence, yet set a ritual intention at a specific date and time, then all focus on that intention at the set appointment. Yet many people can’t or don’t achieve that within their own families or household. Imagine if we all made a date to spend five minutes focusing on compassion or gratitude instead of tuning into American Idol.
This age of PDA-Anything Anywhere/Cell Phone Collective Consciousness is powerful. Humanity has no doubt contributed some amazing leaps in technology to the ways in which we connect and communicate, and I stand in awe of this particular one. It makes me wonder what being on the grid really means, and how Nature fits into that dynamic. In animism, all things have souls, which means the souls of PDAs must be extremely elevated consciousnesses to do all the things they can, and for the potential they represent.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I invite them in and talk with them. In my shamanic work, I travel out of my body to visit destinations in the spirit realm. I meet characters there, books, themselves, projects, future liaisons, plots, landscapes, scenes. I imagine going to the place that feels most comfortable and ask the presence of my idea to meet me there. I ask what it needs from me, and I state what I need from it. We meet somewhere in the middle and allow our life force to merge. Meeting concepts and constructs this way enables me to feel them. Once something becomes perceivable at a feeling level for me, it becomes intuition. When it becomes intuitive, it’s as good as done.
What is one mistake that you’ve made that our readers can learn from it?
Don’t be passive or vague. If you are unwilling to state your needs, which entails that you clearly understand what your needs are, they can’t be met. I have gone into too many projects in an artfully clouded haze thinking “the rest will evolve as it’s needed!” only to find myself hitting walls part-way through. Even within gloriously raw inspiration, you’ve got to set some parameters.
Understand what you need from a project as vividly as you understand what the project needs to come into being. It’s not possible for such planning to detract from the creative force. Rather, it only enhances it. Feel secure about what you’re doing and the art will flow more easily.
What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Don’t follow the rules. Honor them and hold in your consciousness why they are there, then let them go. Do what feels right for you. I find that my best missed opportunities in publishing have been because I was trying to do the right thing, which was not my nature. Sometimes you align with the guidelines you’re given, and sometimes you don’t. Rules are the constructs that make everyone the same, when we are anything but. You may get chastised. You may risk losing precisely what you are hoping to accomplish. But when you have clarity on your truth, it will manifest in a solid outcome.
What is a shaman?
That is probably the thing I as most asked. To be true to the perspective, there is no one answer. Shamans are spiritual ambassadors who travel into soul realms for some purpose of gaining information or healing, which is then brought back to be shared with who needs it. Beyond that, there is no prescription for what a shaman is, what a shaman does, or how s/he does it.
As a woman born and raised in the west, for most of my life I have been very out of touch with world indigenous cultural spiritual approaches. Most people in western culture are, hence the term “neoshaman.” As modern celestial travelers, we are not the soul seekers who originated this practice or this perspective. For me it is right to make this distinction in my work and personal path. I cannot be what I am not; I am what comes next.
Are you religious?
In a Universal observation of many facets of many religions, certainly. With regard to any dogma or philosophy, not at all. I do not claim a specific religion for my own path. It does not suit me to do so, nor is it entirely complete to say that I am merely spiritually attuned. While I do experience multiple levels of being all the time, I find it necessary to bring some discipline to my perspective. I identify as an animist, one who recognizes a soul in all things, that All Things are interconnected, and in such, all of life is equal. If there’s a church for me, it’s under a gorgeous old tree in the middle of a vast green nowhere.