Spiritual Integration

Martin J. Munroe, Ph.D.Is your life integrated or compartmentalized?

Before I began my spiritual practice in earnest my life was very compartmentalized. I had little pigeon holes for all the various aspects of my life. My friendships were kept in one place (some times several places; theater friends, sports friends, etc.) My work was kept separate from my exercise routine, etc. It was a real effort keeping all these areas of my life separate from one another.

Cowrie Shells

Are you really managing your life?

Somehow this felt like the way my life should be managed. By keeping various activities and people separate I felt that I was able focus my attention on each area without muddying the waters. One of the problems with this form of “management” is that I felt that there was no flow in my life. I was constantly changing direction; closing down one area, opening up another. Exhausting!


As my spiritual practice deepened I began to notice that synchronicities began to appear. For example a friend of mine from the gym knew my drum teacher. (Let me explain that I now longer believe in coincidences in the Western sense. Things truly do happen for a reason.) I began to examine and understand these synchronicities. Working with cowrie shells and the Dagara five element system has helped to identify obstacles to develop strategies to eliminate those obstacles. Flow and integration. Everything truly is connected.

Oh, and it turns out that my gym buddy wanted to begin a spiritual exploration and he is now a client of mine

So if you’re feeling that your life is a series of pigeon holes and you need to feel dynamic flow, a cowrie shell divination could be just the thing.

Contact me for a session at cowrieshellreadings.com or at 773-294-5703

What is the Cowrie Shell Reading Process?

Djembe Tree

Djembe Tree Of Wisdom

Anytime you are in a period of transition and are seeking accurate and helpful information, a cowrie shell reading is a powerful consultation process.

Using a special cloth mat featuring ancient imagery that represents certain segments of one’s life, Martin incorporates 133 cowrie shells and a variety of other items that come from the Dagara tribe in West Africa, the origins of this unique energy consultation process.

The reading itself, which lasts approximately 45 minutes to an hour, can be done three ways:

  1. In person
  2. Through Skype
  3. Over the telephone

When done in person, Martin will ask you to physically spread the shells and other items around on the divination cloth, imprinting your energy onto the items. When receiving a reading over Skype or the telephone, Martin has you repeat your name three times as he spreads the items himself, following a special protocol that ensures his energy is not imprinted on the shells.

Although you are unable to see the shells and divination cloth when receiving your reading over the telephone, Martin takes a picture of your shell layout and emails it to you so you have a visual representation of what the ancestors are telling you. He also records on audio the process so you can refer back to it as often as you wish, until you are ready for a new reading.

Contact Martin to schedule your cowrie shell reading: in person, through Skype, or over the telephone! Each delivery method is as powerful and as effective as the next.

When Do I Need a Cowrie Shell Reading?

Where It All Began

Diviners Bag Holds The Shells

The ancient practice of cowrie shell readings stems from the traditions of the West African Dagara tribe. The unique 5 Element system used in the readings allows you to learn about your life from the perspective of the ancestors. A reading with cowrie shells is like a doorway to an unseen world where the ancestors’ perspectives are revealed, giving you new directions in life.

The ancestors can see what each of us brings to the world and what impact we have on the world, even when we cannot sense these dimensions ourselves.

So, when do you need a reading? Anytime you need clarity on something, want to make a change in your life, or if you need to get a new perspective on any facet of your life.

Please contact Martin for more information.

A Cowrie Shell Reading From Martin. J. Munroe, Ph.D.

Cowrie Shells

Cowrie Shells

What exactly is a cowrie shell reading?

It’s a powerful and transforming modality that is based on the 5 element system from West Africa. Each of the 133 stones, shells, and other items involved in the reading has a special meaning for itself and in relation to each other.

This personalized look into your current energy levels helps give you direction in your life, whether it’s in your career, your relationships, or more.

This ancient form of opening your life up to the ancestors can help you receive accurate information to transform your own life.

Please contact Martin for more information.

At The Crossroads

Cowrie Shell Reading Cloth

Cowrie Shell Reading Cloth

Time For a Cowrie Shell Reading?

Are you at a crossroads in your life? Are you wondering which road you should take? Do you have many options and wonder which is the best one?

These are common questions that people come to me with. Often, the cowrie shell reading can shed significant light on current situations and decisions that we face.

Here’s an example scenario: I recently had a client come to me that had several business opportunities. All of them looked as though they could be very helpful, but she really wanted to make the right decision. For her, the right decision was a business direction that would provide her financial stability, allow her to express her creativity, be in alignment with her life’s purpose, and get the most amount of productivity in the least amount of time. It’s great to make good money, but not if you work so much there is no time for fun! So we took it to the shells and did a reading.

The Process

The first thing we did when she came in was do an elemental construct chart. This is a process by which we analyze the numerical value of a person’s name, and take those numbers and apply them to their corresponding elements in the Dagara’s medicine wheel. Through this process we can determine which elemental energies are strengths, and which may be less supportive. When we find out a person’s strengths and natural tendencies, we can find a path that is most suitable when supported by favorable elemental energy. In addition, we discover the birth element. This is often a powerful indicator of ones most natural way of being.

Elemental Construct/Birth Element

Factoring in one’s birth element—which correlates to the year a person is born—and determining the elemental strengths in their name is very revealing about the most natural tendencies that a person has. Depending on the element, one might possess great organizational skills, be a profound inspiration, be a good peacemaker or negotiator, or perhaps the one who can see beyond the illusion and deep into situations. Others are naturally very good  at creating abundance and bringing people together.

These intrinsic tendencies correlate to the different elements. These elements are the map on which we spread the shells. How the shells and non-shell items corresponds to the elements shows us the energy that a person is carrying at a particular moment in relationship to the question asked.

Ask The Shells

At this point in the reading we had determined her birth element, the elemental construct of her name, and had formulated a question laying out three options for her  direction. You see, when you’re at crossroads, oftentimes there are no landmarks or road signs which say, “This is the best way!”

Holding these three possibilities in mind, she began to spread the shells. It was fascinating to see how the elemental stones lined up with the elemental energies of the medicine wheel to show us her strongest possible aspects. We could see parts of herself that were in deep transformation, parts that were aligned with her life’s purpose. We could see where deep healing was taking place in her life and the condition of her true nature. Each aspect that was revealed brought more and more clarity. I could see her demeanor shift from apprehension to delight.

The Bigger Picture Revealed

In addition to the shell and non-shell items on the divination cloth, there are spirit shells which are very useful tools in receiving yes and no answers. This helps us to fine-tune the question and answer process of a reading.

As we looked at the shells in the positioning of the elemental stones and other non-shell items, it was very apparent that this was a time for her to step into the world in a very visible way. She had gone through profound transformation and healing. She was connected to otherworldly helpers that definitely were in a supportive position. We then saw that she had strong blessings as she was true to herself, and worked in alignment with her true nature.

It’s at this point when the reading will stimulate questions. I began to ask her what felt most naturally when she thought about each of her business options. We discussed the path of healing that she had been on for the last two years. And as the shells indicated that there was tremendous support for her, it was then that she remembered some resources to help fund her business that she had not previously thought of.

It’s so cool how the shells begin to speak, which helps us all see a bigger and brighter picture!

The Result

I won’t bore you with the rest of the reading, but the bottom line is this: she made a decision and within a week landed a huge contract! She is working in a state of tremendous joy and her opportunities are expanding quickly and radically. I give thanks to the ancestors and to those who speak through this ancient portal for giving the information that helped guide her into a new empowered place in her life.

Are You at a Crossroads?

If you’re at a crossroads and need some direction, please contact me for more information. We can do a reading over the phone, Skype or iChat, or even better: meet face-to-face.

A Cowrie Shell Reading Can Help You In Your Home

“Sometimes My House Just Doesn’t Feel Right”

I had a client call the other day because she had a very disturbing sensation in her house: she woke at night at an unusual time and thought she heard voices in the other  room. She called to ask me if I could do a reading on her house to determine what the problem was, and to see if there was a solution.

Of course I was delighted to do so. I went over to her house and set up the cowrie shell reading in her kitchen where she had heard the disturbing commotion. I talked to her a little bit about what had been going on in the house. She told me bout things happening with her relationship to her children and how the animals were acting strangely (she had two very cute dogs).

I also asked if there were any places in the home where she felt uncomfortable—you know, like that funny feeling you’re being watched, or a sudden coolness that overtakes you. As we discussed the condition of the house it became clear that there was some adversarial energy in the house and that indeed a cowrie shell reading would be very helpful to not only check on the energy of the house, but to check on the energy of how she and her family were relating to the house and how the house was relating to them.

Visiting Ancestors Coming In From The Other World

The Night Filled With “Other worldly Friends”

Energetic Relationships

We all have relationships with places and things. Have you ever noticed that when you go to certain stores, shopping malls, movie theaters or other people’s homes you feel differently in different places? This has to do with the energy that is contained in a particular location. It can be influenced by the energy of the land, situations in a home or business, the relationships of those who reside in any of these places, or who work there. These are all factors in the way that the energy relates to you.

Have you noticed that you can meet a perfect stranger at a party or event and it feels like you’ve known them all your life? On the other hand, you can meet someone who totally creeps you out and there’s no external reason why that should be. This has to do with energetic relationships. We all carry a certain vibration. It fluctuates from time to time. Sometimes we are in a high vibration where were happy and energetic, sometimes we’re in the low vibrational energy where we might feel depressed or sad.

It is important to pay attention to these energetic relationships, for it is with this awareness that we can gauge when we might need a reading to determine our relationship to a place, person, or thing and to look at our own energy to see how we might be perpetuating a particular situation.

Asking The Shells/Tapping Into the Unknown

Okay, back to the reading. As I set up divination cloth and poured out the shells onto the cloth for the reading, the house felt very calm. My client was a little bit nervous, for she knew that information would be revealed and had no idea what it might be. This is a very common feeling when people come in for reading. It is tapping into the unknown. And most of the time people— particularly in our culture—want things more defined. We want to know what to expect.

So I set up the cloth, poured out the shells, and I asked her to think very clearly about how she felt when the disturbance occurred in her home. As she closed her eyes and taped into this energy, her hands began to move in a counter clockwise direction and she spread the items out on the cloth and suddenly stopped, lifted her hand, and opened her eyes. Before us was a map of her energy and how that energy was in relationship to her home. It was very interesting.

Energy Was Revealed & Solution Given

This was a very defining moment. As I observed the layout of the shells and the non-shell items, I noticed that there was a strong indication of the ancestors asking for peace to come to the home. Rather than pointing out that there is chaotic turmoil in the home, the ancestors simply indicates that there needed to be peace in the home. They are always solution-oriented, which is something I love about the West African culture.

As we looked at the other items, it was also clear that there was a pathway of disruptive energy in the lower portion of the home. By asking a few questions and tossing the spirit shells—which give specific answers to specific questions—we were able to identify several energetic entry points that were not helpful for those who reside in this particular home, and were given the solution of how to close these energetic points so that peace could be restored. We were also given a ritual to do to help maintain a peaceful state in this house.

After implementing the information given in the reading, smudging with some sage, and calling on the ancestors to protect and support the family, there has been a beautiful sense of peace in the home and a beautiful transformation involving the relationships in the family.

Simple And Helpful

I have received several reports from this particular client since the reading. It is so great to see how simple it is to solve what can be perceived as a significant disruption. I will be posting stories on a regular basis of what has occurred through these cowrie shell readings. And if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment on this blog posting. And if you would like to get your own reading, let me know!