My Introduction to the Sacred Connection

My Introduction to the Sacred Connection

Linda Star Wolf speaks:

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be Tarzan, not Jane. Jane was okay, but Tarzan was who I really identified with the most. He could talk to the animals and they talked back to him and they understood each other. There was a bond between them, and the animal and human worlds were able to forge their friendship and loyalty with one another based on a deep level of respect and trust.

In addition to riding on the backs of elephants, having a cool chimpanzee as his best friend, and being able to roll around with his lions, Tarzan was able to be barefoot. He could also run around partially naked, swinging through the jungle on his network of twisted vines while yelling his head off at the top of his lungs, and no one thought he was too weird or told him to put his shoes back on or to stop yelling.

I tried to re-create Tarzan’s idyllic life for myself down in the backyard garden on my grandparents’ farm, with a little help from my grandparents, I might add, who spoiled me rotten and thought my peculiarities were mighty fine. My grandmother knew that I was a “special child.”

Today these gifted kids are called Indigo or Crystal children, but she just called me what I preferred to be called, which was Tarzana, Star Girl, or Wild Cat. She also indulged my fantasy world, which in a strange way helped to ground and connect me to the natural world, which I now refer to as the shamanic world around me.

Being "Normal"

To be fair, my parents were very young and struggling to pull their lives together after my dad’s return from being on the front lines of the Korean War, and they just wanted me to be “normal.” Obviously in their eyes—and remember this was the 1950s—my preference to be Tarzan instead of Jane was a bit weird and they would prefer that I be a lady and conform more to the standards of what a lady looked like in the world at that time. Try as I might to please them, at least in that department, I am pretty sure I fell short.

One year during our annual trip to visit Santa in his little house that sat outside our small-town courthouse, my mother was dismayed when, instead of a dolly and toy dishes, she overheard me asking for a pet lion, an elephant, and a chimpanzee, and if at all possible to please throw a pony into the mix as well, plus a bow and arrow (“the real kind,” not the ones I was making out of willow branches). Oh, and a Tarzan outfit wouldn’t hurt.

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Although this all might sound like the innocent childhood fantasy of a prefeminist little girl—and of course we were getting ready to enter the 1960s—I now believe it was more than that. I was highly intuitive, and my dreams often came true, and I could sometimes see and hear things that others didn’t appear to notice.

I was definitely born as an empath, which at that time was deemed to mean one who is too sensitive. In this, my parents felt that I needed to be protected because I would have meltdowns about the cruelty I witnessed in the world, even on the occasions when I knew it was make-believe, as in a TV show or movie.

Thankfully, my grandmother Mammy Jones understood me, and I think, looking back on that time, perhaps it was because we were a lot alike and she was having trouble herself being in a world and a climate that was full of injustice. We were in the South, and racial tensions were beginning to heat up, and my grandmother often told me, but even more importantly showed me, how important it was to be kind and compassionate to others, be they two-legged or four-legged creatures of all stripes and colors.

First Encounter with an Elephant

Once when I was about eight years old she even arranged for me to ride on the back of a very large but gentle elephant that had come to our town as a feature act in a traveling circus. This is one of the highlights I hold in my childhood memories.

That day, she told me she had a surprise for me and took me to the local Sureway grocery store, where, for the price of one dollar, a large elephant was pulling a little wagon full of people around the lot. During a break, I walked right up to the gentle giant and started feeding him some of the greens she had bought for me to give him. He was so beautiful and regal! My heart leapt for joy as I stroked his long trunk, and he playfully tossed my hair while flapping his huge ears. We stared deeply into each other’s eyes. He seemed so wise yet also somehow very playful.

I wrapped my arms around his trunk and we just stood like that for the longest time. I was in heaven. Then the owner, who seemed a kindly man, asked me if I was brave enough to ride on the elephant’s back, and I jumped for joy. He said if we would come back at closing time, he would let me have that privilege, and he could see that the elephant and I had become friends so it should be quite all right.

I could hardly wait until the store closed and everyone else was gone. When we returned, the elephant’s owner simply asked the elephant to kneel in a soft manner, and when he did, the man hoisted me up onto the elephant’s back—actually it was closer to the back of his head. The man asked if I was ready, and I nodded my head, since I could barely speak with excitement. Once I was on the elephant, his owner walked us around that parking lot. I will never know how long the walk lasted in real time, but to my child self it created a memory filled with love, awe, and deep respect for the elephant. These are feelings that have lasted a lifetime.

Of course at that time I didn’t have the consciousness and understanding to know that the elephant had been taken from his home, nor could I fathom the circumstances of how he had come to be in captivity in this situation. Today I would be an advocate for allowing the elephant to remain in its natural home and habitat and most likely taking some sort of action to correct the wrong.

I share this experience because it touched me so deeply then, and it touches me even more deeply now, as I realize the pain and suffering my elephant friend must have felt being separated from his home and herd—and yet he was kind and gentle to me and even playful. I like to imagine that at least for a few moments he could feel my love for and honoring of him. I would want him to know he was an emissary who allowed me to ride upon his magnificent back and impacted my psyche in a positive way, deepening my respect for all animals everywhere.

Becoming More "Adult"

As I matured, I did my part to help shake up consciousness in the late 1960s and 1970s. When they came to a close, along with my teenage and college years as a hippie activist, I settled into trying to become more “adult.” I got married and started a family and became a sober social worker and therapist. All of that was a very important part of my life’s journey, especially giving birth to my son and learning how to be grounded in my life.

When I was in my mid-thirties, however, I started to feel a familiar stirring in my soul that would not let up . . . a reminder that what was started in the ’60s and had seemed to go underground in the late ’70s was reemerging in my psyche. This was an inner knowing that something was wrong, really wrong, in the world. Again I was feeling like a stranger in a strange land. On the surface my life looked good, and in a way it was, but deep down inside I had a growing feeling that all was not well upon our planet.

During this time I began a serious personal healing journey. I went to many retreats and practiced many healing modalities, but the main healing method that rocked my world was something called breathwork. This is a healing modality that utilizes the power of the breath to access deeply buried emotional material to clear it and release it. After doing a lot of personal work on myself through breathwork, I became a certified breathwork facilitator. As I continued to offer breathwork sessions to my clients and started to lead workshops in it, I felt myself outgrowing my marriage of twenty years and a different calling rising up inside me.

The Spiritual Path

This was a difficult time of death and rebirth, but it propelled me forward on my spiritual path. It would lead me to a connection with indigenous shamans and Native American teachers and medicine people, as well as other teachers, two of whom were fundamental to my growth: Jacquelyn Small, an amazing breathwork transpersonal teacher and founder of the Eupsychia Institute in Austin, Texas, and Grandmother Twylah Nitsch of the Seneca Wolf Clan. These two more than anyone else—apart from my grandmother Mammy Jones—had a profound effect on my heart and soul and helped guide me fully on my path of shamanic consciousness.

I became a master breathwork practitioner with Jacquelyn and worked with her for several years. She gave me a strong psychospiritual foundation that I will always be grateful for. We still enjoy a strong bond today.

Honoring The Sacred Connection

It was at this point that Grandmother Twylah called me to her in the dreamtime and gave me my name Star Wolf. Upon meeting her in person, she adopted me as her spiritual daughter and “charged me” to carry the Wolf Clan teachings forward in my life and sacred work. She was a shining light in the world and guided me fully onto the shamanic path.

The guidance of these two women allowed me to see that there was a natural marriage between shamanism and breathwork just waiting to happen. I am honored that I was able to give birth twenty-one years ago to the practice now known worldwide as Shamanic Breathwork. I committed fully to both the psychospiritual path of breathwork and the shamanic path of the Wolf Clan teachings.

This path is not one you can quit without great repercussions, because to do so means you have to go back to sleep and thus would not be able to recognize the beauty and the suffering in the world, the light and the dark around us at all times. Going back to sleep once one awakens may lead to even greater soul loss, and one must then find a way to numb one’s feelings as they give up their true self. My greatest happiness and peace has come from being on the shamanic path, even though it is not an easy path. It is my inner calling, and I cannot and will not turn away from it.

What this means to me is that I have consciously created and dedicated my life and my work to honoring my sacred connection to both the earth and the heavens for more than thirty years, which in turn means that I honor and respect all of the Creator’s creations. This includes humans, animals, the green nations (the plants and trees), the mineral kingdom, the sacred waters, and the lands across our planet. I also feel a deep honoring of the sun, moon, and great star nations, including our galaxy and the entire cosmos, which encompasses the world of Spirit. I bow in gratitude to the Great Mystery and marvel at how we came to be here on Earth.

©2018 by Carley Mattimore and Linda Star Wolf.
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission of the publisher
Bear and Company, an imprint of:

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Sacred Messengers of Shamanic Africa: Teachings from Zep Tepi, the Land of First Time
by Carley Mattimore MS LCPC and Linda Star Wolf Ph.D.

Sacred Messengers of Shamanic Africa: Teachings from Zep Tepi, the Land of First Time by Carley Mattimore MS LCPC and Linda Star Wolf Ph.D.Exploring how to awaken to the energies and messengers of ancient Africa that reside along the 31st meridian, the spine of Mother Earth, Carley Mattimore and Linda Star Wolf take you on a journey to connect with our original roots in Africa, hidden deep within our DNA. They share shamanic journeys and teachings to connect with the strengths of Africa’s spirit animals. They explore the power of shamanic sacred sites and offer teachings on the African Tree of Life and the energetic hologram of the 31st meridian. Sharing wisdom from Mhondoro Mandaza Kandemwa, Grandmother Twylah Nitsch, and other wisdom keepers, the authors explain how, as we connect with the messengers along the 31st meridian, we begin to remember our sacred contract to protect the natural world. Offering a guide to reconnect with the ancient African wisdom of love and higher consciousness buried in our cellular memory, the authors show how we can help reopen the heart of humanity and heal the world around us.

Click here for more info and/or to order this paperback book and/or download the Kindle edition.

About the Authors

Carley Mattimore, MS, LCPC

Carley Mattimore, MS, LCPC, is a shamanic psychotherapist with 30 years’ experience as well as a therapeutic energy worker. She has traveled to Timbavati, South Africa, and Zimbabwe several times. She teaches shamanic workshops at the Aahara Spiritual Community in Springfield, Illinois. Find out more about Carley at

spiritualLinda Star Wolf, Ph.D., is the founding director and president of Venus Rising Association for Transformation. The creator of the Shamanic Breathwork Process, she is the author of 10 books and resides at Isis Cove Community near Asheville, North Carolina. Visit her website at

Watch an interview with Linda Star Wolf

Books by Linda Star Wolf Ph.D.

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