If you're interested in shamanism going under 'scientific trial' then you might be interested in my article published in this month's Sacred Hoop magazine. This is about my journey into the academic world, conducting randomized, double-blind research into whether shamanic journeys can 'predict' what homeopathic remedies are able to cure. The results were fascinating.
Why not have a look. If you're already a subscriber then this month's edition is the first digital edition - and includes a fabulous, long article by Michael Harner, the man who 'brought' core shamanism as taught in most workshops to the UK.
To subscribe to this rather wonderful shamanic magazine click here
(page opens in new window).
I will be putting a pdf of my article online in a few weeks, so watch this space.
P.S. I'm doing a talk in Newcastle on 20 July about Homeopathy and Shamanism, check out my events page
for more details!
I'm currently writing an article about homeopathy and shamanism for publication. This is my first venture into authorship, and is a little daunting!
For those not in the know it may be good to mention that my spirits suggested I retrain as a homeopath some years ago. This was not an easy move as I was in the army at the time - rather a different path in life! However, after a few stumbles I took their advice and I have loved using this natural form of medicine with patients, and allowing my shamanic counselling training, shamanic healing and general shamanic experience to be part of the homeopathic consultation for shamanically inclined patients.
However, my spirits have been 'on at me' to get writing....
So, after a little stalling, and lots of help from my spirit teachers, I am writing an article about my research project at University. This is where I put shamanism to the test in a scientific trial, to investigate whether shamanic journeys are a useful method in finding out what a homeopathic remedy can cure. Homeopathic remedies work at a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical level so there's lots of fuel for these journeys.
And what was the outcome of my research?
Ah, well, that's for the article to tell you all about. I'll keep you posted about its publication, or upload it on to this site in due course. Fingers crossed!
Of course, if you cannot wait and you want to know more, just comment below.
The above film, partly in German, is all about 'Council'. This is a practice of communicating and being in relationship with others in a space which allows us to speak and listen from the heart. I would like to share this with you.
'What has this got to do with shamanism?' I hear you cry!
Well, Pippa Bondy, who speaks at the end of this film has a background in shamanism, and she taught me and many other shamanic and non-shamanically inclined people the magic and wonder of Council. By allowing ourselves to be heard, and to hear others, we step back to a slower time.... a time where people were less busy and spent more time just being with each other. We learn to relate to each other in a meaningful way; to really, really hear and appreciate the needs of others and our own. And somehow, sitting in the circle of people meeting in Council, when one person's struggle and questions are put forth others provide answers - answers that do not prevail in a more 'head' or ideas based discussion.
A powerful example from my experience: one time in Council, facilitated by Pippa, I sat with the topic of 'War and Peace in Iraq' during the time that the UK had military forces in Iraq. There was a soldier and a CND peace protester, both with many years in their respective professions, sitting together amongst us. These two individuals had never had the chance to speak 'face to face', much less 'heart to heart', with someone 'from the other side'. A degree of tension had been arising between these individuals prior to this particular topic. When the topic was set and the magic of Council was allowed to unfold, and those in the circle shared their stories a new understanding arose. We spoke without preparation, focusing completely on listening to the one speaking, the one holding the 'talking piece. We stayed in the present, our awareness non-judgemental as the one talking simply spoke of what was in their hearts at that moment. It may have been a snatched memory, a song, a story, a conviction. In a short while, there became a palpable 'shift' in the energy in the circle in the room as a profound healing took place, both within the circle and somehow beyond - as all circles are a reflection of all the circles in the Universe. Communication of the heart, honest and genuine relationship, took place.
To bring this back to shamanism (though, of course, Council is not separate), when we communicate with our Spirit Helpers, our Power Animals or Teachers, they talk to our hearts, our bodies as well as our minds. If we communicate our heart's desires by taking the time to ensure that our journey mission is heart-felt, it is my impression that our Spirit Helpers meet with us in our hearts, taking us beyond our 'head' ideas. The heart and mind can work together as a great partnership, and we can sit in council with our head, heart and Spirit helpers to gain greater insight, clarity and information on any aspect of our lives that we need help with. We can journey to 'ask for help to improve my relationship with my sister', for example. But if we could sit with our sister and speak to her in Council, letting her speak about her view of our relationship whilst we listen from the heart, and taking in turns to share our feelings, memories, thoughts, without preparing or judging.... it seems to me that we invite our Spirits and the whole of the Universe to be with us in a timeless uniting of hearts, where the world pauses and a true and healing shift takes place.
Something for you to try..... now!
Why not spend a moment 'in Council' with your own heart now? What is your heart calling for now? What does it need to say to you? Perhaps light a candle, hold a beloved object as a talking piece, and give your heart the chance to say what it needs to say, unedited by your head. Allow your 'head' to sit back and not judge what comes up. A memory may pop up, a recollection of a dream, a 'knowing' or 'gnowing' that has gone unacknowledged. Allow it to speak whilst another part of you sits and acts as a witness to what comes up. You may be surprised! You may find great clarity. You may even find great healing. Give it a try!
Oh yes, and check out Pippa's website www.ancienthealingways.co.uk.
I'm off on a journey to London tomorrow, to assist on a fantastic workshop teaching beginners (and not such beginners) how to meet their spirit helpers. A key component of how we meet our spirit helpers to ask for help, healing and advice, is through the shamanic journey.
I'm helping Jonathan Horwitz, and Zara Waldeback, of the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies, teach their introductory course in shamanism 'The Shaman's Journey'. I have been working with Jonathan for over 12 years now, and consistently return to his teachings for a 'top up' in how to shamanise. His work is very grounded, and comes with wisdom, power and warmth of heart, and I have found him to be my personal favourite teacher in core shamanism and - as they say - I've had a few! Zara is a more recent co-teacher in his work and she brings warmth, humour, grounded pragmatism and, very often, song to the courses.
So why do I do this? It's not as if I get paid!!
When we do shamanic work for others, when we let our spirit helpers work through us and step out of the way to let them get on with it uninterrupted, they can bring great healing into the world. When we do this in an authentic way, doing our best to place our egos (whether in 'better than' or 'less than' mode) out of the way, we also receive the gift of healing. So it is with community, and so it is with service. When I act in service and put my petty mental wranglings to one side, when I allow a sense of space and connection to develop between me and others, then the world is a better place. However, I have always noticed how much better I feel from this too. What a gift! And from this arises the phrase 'the joy of service'. By giving, we open our hearts to receive, we receive much more than we ever hope for. It's a true exchange of energy. But the key is to be in the moment.... not to do this with ambition or desire, but to let go and just 'be' with other people.
So this is why I go to London to help Jonathan. But I also get a whole weekend of shamanism - and I'm not the one running the course this time and being responsible - I can relax, enjoy and help others to find the same peace, help and power that I have found through my connection to my spirit helpers. And I get to bang my drum!