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Why I Changed My Name
stagnation to soul inspiration
5 years ago I partook in a group whose purpose was to refine our shamanic connections with the natural world and the rhythms of life. It was a sweet group and mostly a repeat of wisdoms already in my practice. I was a casual participant. So when we set up for a shamanic drum journey to meet a spirit ally I was rather nonchalant. Maybe it was this unassuming, unseekery state that allowed for one of the most gentle and powerful encounters I have had in the shamanic world.
My visions led me through an old cave to meet a giant Mother Spider named Shira. I asked her why she had shown herself. She relayed that it was time to receive my new name. I was skeptical, a necessary lens when walking in other dimensions of reality. I have been trained to understand how to navigate the many energies competing for human attention. It’s still a slightly wobbly life skill.
For many years prior I had encountered others who had received spirit names, always feeling like an outsider, assuming that these moment were only delegated to a certain few. I paid attention to the curiosity and know that any time I have a “curiosity” it is my intuition trying to alert me of something I am about to receive along my path.
I was not only given the name, but I was given the meaning. Shira is Hebrew and means song keeper or songstress, poetess of the song of Life. I laughed. I cried because I knew that what had been hovering in the background of my doubts was growing wide enough to swallow them- like a Mother Spider who then spins new patterns from her prey. Spiders write codes, they are the She who tends the center of the spiral/web of Life. You know- like Charlotte.
I was not about to tell anyone about this. I needed more proof. Fast forward to Ireland and another drum journey led by an Irish shaman who made an 8ft cow hide drum that guided us into trance. Another series of visions brought me back to the name thing and I was gifted the second half -Stardrift. “You are Shira Stardrift”. What the heck?! “The drift is from the memory of your one of your galactic roles as a connector and messenger to multiple star tribes. You would drift around and collect stories, send messages, keep the song of life weaving amongst the stars.” Like an apprentice or something? hmmm. ok.
Ok, I know I have maybe lost you, but stay with me here…
Well, I still needed proof. Then, the last day of my trip in Ireland in 2018 on the summer solstice, as I sat upon the knee of a gorgeous Bard who appeared out of nowhere feeding me a Salmon he had caught in the river Boyne that we cooked over old stones heated by old Hawthorn branches and he served from a wheel of old Oak while he played the story of my life on his harp without ever meeting me before this day and then kissed me and my knees buckled- then, in the forefront of a bright light sky barely turning dusk wafting sounds of bagpipes from atop the sacred hill of Uisneach we were perched upon-then!- a huge shooting star with a long trailing drift flew right over my head. No other stars in site yet- just this one. Yep. I didn’t need sleep for two days I was so high on star light.
“Ok granddaughter, do you need any more signs?! Eat your Salmon. You’re welcome”.
So, I gave in. It wasn’t until my stint in rehab in 2020 did I dare claim this name. I stood in front of my inmates as I told my life story that ended with this metamorphic revelation. It was safe in there to test the “crazy” waters. They applauded wildly.
So I Shira Stardrifted for awhile. I was given more visions and moments to integrate until the name Jamie Renee Lashbrook faded into the background. I still answer to Jamie or Jamie-Shira as much of my community calls me when they slip. My family won’t convert. I don’t need them to, nor have I asked them to. It is my self loving work to untangle the identity crisis that family can bring about regardless of what they call me.
To round this out and before we get to WHY and what it has brought about, I bring you Shira Starfire.
There were a few moments along my journey where practitioners of all sorts would ask “Drift? Do you want to Drift when you have spent your life seeking ‘stability’?” I stuck with Drift for a bit as I knew there was a reason, I was learning something. Then, after my initiations this last winter, it was clear that the Drift was fading and my initiation was to claim the full incarnation into Starfire. It aligns with my lineage. A lineage with old deep ancestral roots in the star nations and a once upon a time on Gaia.
Fire- the alliance with the First Flame that can never die. My drifting now takes the shape of missionary. My roots go where I go, I am stable as I flow with this light. I am integrating all of this slowly. Dare I speak too soon.
~Names carry a particular vibrational code that sets the tone of our life. Some say we name ourselves through our parents. I would agree. In many shamanic and pagan cultures you don’t even introduce yourself without including the litany of your ancestor’s names, including animals and other beings as in the Native American traditions, hailing a slight mumble from the people repeating “oh yeah yeah, old Josephine Patience, I remember her.”
And you would have known the meaning behind, and origin, of each name.
Jamie Renee Lashbrook. I love my birth name, it’s gorgeous and strong. This is not a rejection of any part of me. It is giving myself permission, Jamie permission, to let go of outgrown vibrations keeping her stuck with two left feet in the dance of life.
Jamie- Scottish name meaning supplanter. One who perseveres and leads the way OR takes over by force. Essentially how do I walk with fire- there is the medicine. The unraveling of karma for dharma.
Renee- my mother’s name. There is a very karmic tangle with my mother around illness, power, sovereignty, self limitation, fear and punishment. Renee means rebirth- so there is the medicine.
Lashbrook- The Old Gaelic people who tended the “lowlands” along the boggy green babbling brooks. The faery people- the medicine.
Shira Starfire~ Song Keeper of the First Flame of all souls, memory keeper of the Star born. The rebirth. This is not an arrival. It is clearing another bend along the spiral. A memory retrieval. There will be karmas and medicines to glean.
Lineage was/is important, it strengthened(s) our bones. We knew that carrying a name meant we also carried a medicine and others could hear that medicine within the name. Then we became diasporic people and our names, or the awareness of our names, were diluted as was the medicine. We lost our connection to lineage as we lost our connection to our place in the great order of things and how we weave into that chaotic beauty.
Yet names and stories are a mixed bag. Allegiance to a fixed point, the hard nosed honor system that has risen out of the loss of our innate belonging, as is the case within our society and the majority of our recent European ancestral war traditions, has created more degradation of Self than it has strengthened our roots. It is inflexible, limiting.
In Native traditions and our old European traditions, allegiance to lineage covered a vast landscape of possibility. In many Native cultures, if not all, there were rites of passage ceremonies that required the young person go out into the wild, be stripped of her (it was mostly young men who needed these ceremonies, now it is all of us) identity with mother, father and tribe, and receive a new name along with a vision. Or, when they returned, the elders or the shaman would give them a new name. The Sufi do this. The yogis in the Hindu traditions do this.
There was a need to separate the karma of family from the dharma of the soul. There was a need to break co-dependance with the small circle of humans and inherit interdependence with a larger family group, a greater lineage. In turn, this person, with a new name, carried a vibration of this expanded memory of belonging. They could return to the tribe with an understanding of interdependence at their center in a way that enlivened all others because this person knew how to communicate inter-dimensionally which created safety through right relationship with Universal life.
When we know our rightful place in the order of things and how to listen, we can ally with a greater network of support when there are times of need and threats of survival to the human, and therefore all, species.
Humans are a collection of memories. Each of us is a walking catalogue of every incarnation, point of evolution from devolution, every song sung through time. We have been surreptitiously fed a slow drip of manipulations that have influenced our ideas about life by limiting our memories. When there is one history told, one story of pain and trauma told, of a one way, then we are amputated from a greater story and history of Life. Our options are severely limited. This creates all sorts of problems as you can see.
Through this we have been seduced into seeking, even seething for, a fixed state for safety sake, an arrival point that does not exist so we loop into suffering because we believe we are failing. You best go to this school for this job and get married to this person and strive for this fixed position in life to keep you safe. This is who you are, you better figure out who you are by the age of 14 in a world whose options have created the decline of every species on our planet, but this is your allegiance to the way things have always been- don’t you dare break tradition or you won’t be accepted anymore, who will you be then?!
Shall I go on?
To allow Life to guide, rather than follow rules handed down and enforced by a system that systemically dissects the soul from its people and the Earth, terrifies most of us as we have been trained out of living in reciprocity. It has been ingrained into us that humans are life and everything else is a thing to fight against for our lives. This suspends our egos in a belief that we are the guides and stewards all of the answers. Yikes. Yet this is true. But only when we expand ourselves to include the many helping hands making every moment of our lives so. We are then guided and therefore the guides.
You do NOTHING alone.
You are a malleable shapeshifting wonder always in response to your environment and your environment always in response to you. You are in a dance with Life for Love’s sake- or you are supposed to be. When you have no awareness of this you cannot access it for your own healing, evolution and soul expression.
I have been sitting with the word balance. I use it a lot. I realized how I was still stuck in this limiting paradigm around my own striving for balance. My drive for some perfectly set state that I will arrive at, finally, and be better or safer and more secure and then life will just be like that all of the time and I will be “happy” and then I will do that thing and I will have love- I have finally arrived! Nope. It does NOT work that way.
Balance is becoming a fulcrum that knows how to hold the dual nature of life. That a wobble is necessary for evolution. I am in constant motion. Where this has been manipulated, and why so many refuse to feel how wide life can be and stand in the middle of it with this understanding, is within black and white ideas of it’s either pain or pleasure- and pain is bad. So if you have pain, feel anything uncomfortable you move to fight it rather than feel it and therefore partner with its motive. We have been desensitized from our feelings which creates fear of our feelings which creates pain and disease which creates grandiose ideas of unattainable pleasure.
I would love to ask a caterpillar when they are a mushy DNA soup before they sprout wings how they feel about it all. Do they know they will become a butterfly? Do you believe in Butterflies? Why then don’t you believe in our ability to grow wings and fly?
All of this was keeping me in healing loops I have out grown and fighting against life rather than partnering with it. Boiled down, and I have said it before, it is a Love problem. It is the inability to fully let Love in and allow the natural, shifting, changing rhythms of Life to ally my life. Because then -Who Am I?
I know what my life looks like when shaped by pain. There is a guarantee there. I have only flickers of an idea, a beyond comprehensible idea, of what life looks like when I am shaped by Love. And yet, this is that incomprehensible moment. That’s the riddle. That’s the whole point. And yet!- where I also stand in this moment the Gods have turned me to putty, so…
Our perceptions must shift. When we fight against the natural grain of change we create stagnancy which creates inflammation and inhospitable environments within our individual and collective eco systems for Life to thrive. So we have all of the many diseases we see today.
Again, you are an integral shapeshifting, miraculous part of Life’s natural wonder. When you can break free from the linearity of identity thrust upon you, you become a a vessel through which the hands of Life can pour its unimaginable expressions.
But how? You make a choice, you say a prayer, you let go, you find support.
I wonder if we are supposed to know with an absolute who we are. Or, we can only know what and who we are by way of what we are a part of. What do you want to be a part of? Name yourself from that place.
I zoom out and see the space from which I named myself, and where I have been named by something greater. My fixed flame has sparks that fly to corners needing light. That my inheritance is stardust that has drifted through time collecting itself into form, dispersing itself again into fractals to reach more locations in the unknown landscape of wonder, to recollect and reclaim a shape that shines the one constant, the only guarantee- that no matter what it is named Love is at the center- with a few caveats ;).
What fights with us is so great. If only we would let ourselves be dominated as things do by some immense storm, we would become strong too, and not need names.
Rainer Maria Rilke
A beautiful cover by the talented Andy Fischer-Price to inspire how to walk with all of your many expressions.
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