In Memory of Jill Kuykendall

Marti Simon, Trauma Healing Shaman, Praying to the Ancestors, Maui 1999

As I write these words, Maui is still burning. I have been fortunate enough to have visited Maui in the fall and winter of 1999-2000. In the year 2000 the world was supposed to come to an end. I remember thinking, if that would happen, I was already in Paradise. At midnight we were watching the fireworks from the Hana coastline, far enough that we could enjoy the peace and quiet of the warm Hawaiian night. I was thinking, in Australia it is already 2001, they are a day ahead of us and the world was still very much in one piece. Nothing happened. We slipped into the New Year and life went on.

I have many fond memories of Maui and the Hawaiian culture. I had been listening to the whale songs and they were visiting me in my dreams. We hiked to the top of Haleakala where we were shown a sacred vision of who we really are. We were looking into a mirror made of a rainbow, reflecting back to us our true nature as Light Beings. If I wasn’t with a friend, I could have easily dismissed the vision and forgotten about it by the time we came down from the volcano. Instead we were in awe and kept this experience forever etched into our hearts, never to be forgotten.

My heart is aching for the island, the people and their culture. So much beauty, history and life has been destroyed. I’d like to think that the power of the island and their ancient tradition, all the way back to Atlantis and Lemuria will regrow and rebuild itself, rising like a phoenix from the ashes.It was the year 1999 when I visited the United States for the first time and how lucky am I to have been guided to go to Maui, Hawaii to reconnect with the incredible healing energies and the spirits of the land.Even though I have not been back to Hawaii since that time, a part of me has always been connected to the islands, especially Maui. It wouldn’t take long before I would return to the US from Australia in the spring of 2001, when I started volunteering at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, New York in the beautiful Hudson Valley. I worked there for two seasons as staff and that is where I met two of my most influential teachers, Hank Wesselman and his wife Jill Kuykendall. I’ve helped facilitate their shamanic workshops and ceremonies. At that time Hank and Jill already lived in Hawaii, on the Big Island. We stayed in contact throughout the years and as I learned more about soul retrieval, one of the main healing modalities of shamanic practice, I felt the one person I would turn to for learning and soul retrieval healing was Jill, who had an innate ability to bring back soul parts with the help of her spirit guides in a way that deeply resonated with me.Since our meeting at Omega, Hank Wesselman passed away, and two days ago I received the news about Jill’s passing.  It has been only a few months ago, that Jill had decided despite of her illness to create a comprehensive online series about The Power of Soul Retrieval as a shamanic healing practice. It was then that I reconnected with her after a personal soul retrieval experience in the early 2000’s and it felt like I had come full circle. The news of her passing and the devastating fires on Maui came like a strange synchronicity, reminding me of my own long road from arriving in Maui in 1999 from Europe, returning to America in the year 2001 and starting my what seems like a very rocky spiritual journey, having gone through my own soul retrieval and a devastating inner fire.I’d like to dedicate the first article on my new website to the memory of Jill Kuykendall, Hank Wesselman and Hale Makua, their Hawaiian mentor and friend, in the spirit of aloha, so that its true meaning would reveal itself to us in the coming months and years, as we rebuild ourselves by retrieving the life force energies that have been lost or were given up a long time ago.

“Soul retrieval is a form of spirit medicine, which supports the restoration and care of a person’s life essence, their soul.”

– Jill Kuykendall

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