Veterans-PTSD-Operation Warrior Soul
A note from Quynn Elizabeth, shamanic practitioner and a veteran’s daughter-
“We have each experienced trauma in our own lives. Each family has had its share of trauma. Each clan, tribe, village or nation have been the victim of traumatic violence, and at some point in the past we too have inflicted violence. In our common language, this has become WAR. Every tribe, every person, has shamanic and Earth honoring ancestors, and all have warred against other tribes. This is to be human, it seems. In addition, every tribe has experienced horrific terrors as their culture was wiped out, altered or absorbed into an invading group of Others. This is human history.
I am the daughter of a combat veteran in the Vietnam war. You too probably have your family warrior story. How he or she came home different, or didn’t come home. War affects all. It quietly and quickly, like a spirit in the night, seeps into those who participate. And then those warriors bring it home. To spouses, to children. Like a virus, it spreads through the community and leaves the strongest diminished, and those who love, afraid.
Warrior Spirit- Soul Loss Soul Wounds
I am a shamanic practitioner by vocation. I was called to shamanize at the age of 27. My father died when I was in my 30s. I was able to come to peace with my father while he was still alive. This is a great gift. I owe this directly to my personal shamanic practice, and to receiving the help of a kind healing man who let me talk to him when i was in much pain. Using the tools of my shamanic work, I was able to come to terms within myself, about those things i did not get, or got too much of, from my parents as archetypes. Most importantly, I was able to work directly with my father in his last two years so that we could be honest about our pain, and talk as father and daughter. Due to this “coming home” before he died, I was able to write a book after my father died, which I named “Accepting the Ashes- A Daughter’s Look at PTSD”. That name comes from me having the box of ashes, that used to be his body, after he died. It was up to me to decide what to do with them. Writing that little book helped heal me, and my experience with the shamanic world, that the world is alive, and we are a part of it, helped me be able to heal my past, help my father, and my book is now helping other veterans around the country.”
One must recognize a “soul wound” in order to heal it.
Quynn’s father — a two tour veteran of the Vietnam war — struggled with Post Traumatic Stress, heart sadness and alcoholism all his adult life. However, he was not diagnosed with PTSD until 1992. Quynn wrote “Accepting the Ashes: A Daughter’s Look at Post Traumatic Stress” to share her personal story so that other loved ones and soon-to-be veterans, who are fighting right now, might not have to wait 30 years to heal their painful feelings often caused by experiencing war-related stress.
“Accepting the Ashes” is Quynn Elizabeth’s attempt to increase communication among veteran families so that long-term healing can occur.
“Accepting the Ashes is both an easy read (short, to the point) and a difficult read, because of its truth and directness. The advice is straightforward and obviously comes from the heart. I appreciate what you wrote, and applaud your work.”
Col Charles W. Hoge, M.D., (Ret) Past Director of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and co-author of “Battle Mind”
Accepting the Ashes is being used by VA Hospitals, National Guard Family Readiness Programs, and was a part of the The National Chaplain Center in its Veterans Community Outreach Initiative.
“I commend the author for preparing this very helpful little resource for the spouses and families of our veterans. The descriptions of the struggles of combat veterans with the symptoms of PTSD are very accurate.”
A. Keith Ethridge, M.Div, Director, National Chaplain Center.
Soul Restoration for American Veterans-Operation Warrior Soul
O W S has been created to offer veterans with PTSD (also known as Post Traumatic Soul Distress) opportunities to use shamanic practices to help them soothe their emotional, mental, and psychological wounds caused by their experiences in war. The word ‘Soul’ is used here to describe the essence of a person. It can be damaged and wounded like any physical part of a person. Using the shamanic journey to call on inner allies, healers and teachers have helped Warriors mend their soul wounds for thousands of years across the globe. War changes people, causes soul loss, and can negatively affect families and tribes. Period. When we acknowledge these cultural wounds being silently burdened by our nations veterans, we can begin to help them tend those yet left unhealed. Shamanism is not offered as a “heal all”. Time tested shamanic practices are offered as tools for veterans to use to heal the festering sadness, fear and anger that is left within them after returning home.
Due to her experiences with her father’s PTSD, her family healing, and her shamanic practice, Quynn has come to feel that there are two forms of Soul Loss/Wounds. Multi-Generational Soul Wounds and PTSD from Trauma experienced in one’s life. Both are uniquely damaging to the human essence, and shamanic practices can assist sensitive people in healing/soothing/tending each individually or mixed with each other. Quynn Elizabeth, has joined with Steve Gibson, veteran of OIF and shamanic practitioner, to bring the personal healing power of the shamanic arts to members of the US Military negatively affected by PTSD. Our Warriors need assistance that is wholistic, personal and honoring of their sacred role in community. The shamanic arts can help veterans understand how to reclaim their place in society and Come Home.
The audio track below is Quynn drumming for being brave in the face of challenge. When you have a few minutes, put yourself in a comfortable position, listen with headphones, and ask for help. Allow the drumbeats to help you relax.
We all need guidance. I attended a conference hosted by a powerful woman named Deborah Grassman of www.opuspeace.org . During her 30 year career with the VA, she helped warriors die, and if they are ready, she helps guide them to healing their past traumas. As I sat for hours listening to stories of pain, and healing rituals, and good deaths, I took notes for my later self. Upon looking at them today, I see messages that can be helpful to all of us who deeply desire to move beyond the traumas that happened in our lives, and those that we inherited. She shared how the healing of one heart can guide a whole world.
Notes from “Hero Within- Peace at Last” with Deborah Grassman.
“Sometimes a tear is the story. Stories of pain don’t always have to be in words.”
“At the end of life, Time collapses into the ever-present Now.”
“At the end of life, many feel the unfulfilled longing for the life not lived.”
“Healing = Forgiveness”
“Bitterness is a poison for the soul that greatly complicates peaceful dying.”
“It is never too late to heal”
It is time to blend the worlds. People in all tribes around the planet have always decided to go to War with an Other. What past tribes had, which we have forgotten, is the sacred return of the Warrior after War, so that these Warriors, who are also Men (and now Women), can peaceably come home to the village, and become a citizen, and feel like a human being, again. There have always been practices, rituals and ceremonies performed and practiced by healers, loved ones and sages in a tribe to help the returning Warrior come to terms with what he saw, who’s lives he took, his perceived failings in the face of danger, and how to safely feel again. This is the final stage of service for any soldier/service member/Warrior. Our Warriors are Citizens and Human Beings. We need to remember the ancient shamanic practices of soul retrieval, extraction and ceremony so that we can help bring our Warriors home. It is good for all in all Tribes. This is the vocation of our generation…to remember.”