What is Automatic Writing ?

joshua tree.jpg

I learned how to automatic write from a shaman who lived in Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert. 

Originally, my mother and I were driving from Portland, Oregon, to Taos, New Mexico, but fate led us to Turtle Mountain where the shaman, Richard Lee lived.

Let me back-up.

After dreaming of living in Taos, New Mexico, for several years, my mother finally decided to make it a reality. 

I convinced her to let me accompany her. My mother was not an experienced traveler, nor did she really have the money for the trip so setting out alone to move her entire life from Oregon to New Mexico was a bold and risky move for her. 

I decided I would stay in Taos for the first year to ensure she would be provided for. It seemed highly unlikely she would be able to work since she was a retired nurse with no other means for income.

Although my mother was excited to live her dream, I think she was more terrified to take the risk. She was casting herself into an unknown sea. 

She knew no one in Taos, had no income to speak of, hardly any savings, no credit card and no idea of what to do once she arrived.

We packed my mother’s burgundy Astro mini van with all she owned, started driving East with the intent of camping along the way to save money.

My mother’s expectations of life in Taos were based on magical thinking and later discovered past life memories. Immediately after arriving in Taos, my mother realized this move was a mistake. 

The romantic idea of living in New Mexico for my mother had come to a grinding halt. Years of being seduced by the idea of living in the desert with its blazing blue skies, raw nature and Native American history dissolved.

The stark reality left her confused, sobered and deflated. 

I saw this trip as a form of a “shamanic death”, complete with vultures swarming above us everywhere we went. 

We seemed to be shedding layers of ourselves like dead skins along the highway. We needed to quickly discern what the true purpose of this trip was.

After meandering through the Four Corners area, we stayed with a woman who ran a BnB in Chama, New Mexico. 

She was a professional psychic medium in the 80’s who was guided to move to New Mexico ten years prior. She didn’t seem happy nor successful in her business, yet she allowed us to stay at her place for a week.

After Chama, we headed north to camp along the Colorado River during a lightning storm in Moab, Utah.

Next, we crashed in Boulder Colorado with a friend of my mother’s, and later ventured down the California coast getting shipwrecked in San Luis Obispo for a week.

Tired, broke, and distraught, we drove to Palm Desert to see my mother’s best friend, Terry.

Terry suggested my mother seek out Richard Lee, a shaman who lived at the base of Turtle Mountain in Joshua Tree National Park. 

Richard had put my mother “on the hill” a couple of years prior, meaning he intercessed an overnight vision quest for my mother in the desert.

We had nothing to lose. We drove to Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree National Park is in the Mojave Desert, the driest place in North America.

According to Wikipedia, "The name “Joshua Tree” was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. 

The tree’s unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer." 

Like the Mormons, my mother and I were searching for the Promised Land, cuz’ our previous promised land was a mirage. It felt more like the carrot dangled in front of the donkey to keep him walking.

Richard and his wife, Astasia greeted us with warmth and compassion. Richard met his wife in the 60’s when he was a writing major at NYU. 

In Bohemian style, they traveled the world at one point living in some caves in Greece with a bunch of other hippies.

They, like many at the time, were searching for themselves experimenting with radical spiritual practices like Native American shamanism.

Right off, Richard told me he was a writer. I confessed I had longed to write but was terribly insecure about it. He said one should write like one spoke. Really? You can do that? Yep, he said. Just write like you talk.

I’m not sure what my mother told Richard about our situation but he generously performed both a healing for my mother and myself.

After the healings, Richard took us both outside and asked us to each sit against a Joshua Tree. He gave us both paper and pens and told us we would be doing a writing exercise. 

Richard led us in an exercise in automatic writing. 

He told us while facing the direction west, to blend our consciousness with the tree. 

He gave us the question, “ Who am I?” and told us we had five minutes to write whatever came in response to that question. He would keep time and instruct us when to switch directions.

Richard advised us to keep writing don’t judge, stop, or criticize what came through. 

We repeated it three more times for the remaining directions, each which a different question like, Where am I from?, What am I doing? And, Where am I going?

The results were unbelievable. 

Effortlessly, a clear voice answered each question in detail. The feel of the voice conjured a irreverent, goofy, male character a little like Tigger in Winnie the Pooh but who spoke in different pop culture references.

Immediately, I rejected the voice. I believed it was my mind tricking me and I was doing it all wrong.

It won't always be like Moses downloading the Ten Commandments from the Burning Bush. But it doesn’t make it less accurate or valid.

I shared my experience with Richard, including how much of a failure I felt I was. He informed me I received exactly what I needed. I needed to drop my expectations and clearly stop being so serious.

Yep, I needed to lighten up. This trip stressed me out. That’s why the guidance came so flippantly, to get me out of my head, relax and see how easy this could be.

Once I let go of my expectations, it was amazing what came though.

You can use this exercise to communicate with anything like:

  • A body part or health issue you wish to heal.
  • Your inner child or other aspects of yourself.
  • The natural world like animals, your garden, house or land.
  • Someone in your life you wish to understand more clearly.
  • Abstract forms of energy like specific emotions, money, art project or business.

I recommend the intuitive development teacher, Anna Sayce’s article for more about automatic writing. She gives an in depth look at how to approach it successfully.
To read the article, click here.