What is shamanism?
The shamanism I will teach you is a way of connecting - to yourself, to others, the earth, your spirit and animal guides, and to whatever you define as source energy (your higher guidance, God/ess, consciousness, universal energy, etc).
Part of the problem with explaining shamanism is that it does not fit neatly into language, and everyone has a unique experience.
"Shamanism is the practice of reconnecting, healing or bringing balance to all beings who live within the cosmic web of life."
- Caitlin Mathews
Often when people start practicing shamanism they feel that they are just imagining it all. The line between shamanism and imagination is blurred, as you practice more you will experience validation from your everyday life that helps you to trust the process.
"The commonplace statement 'oh, it's only imagination' is a gross denial of not only the whole realm of the magical but any understanding of how the universe really works. This is where the shaman works; in the realm of cause, in the imagination, the thought or dream realm where all is conceived and of which this familiar third dimension of gross material reality is but a reflection." - Leo Rutherford
Shamanism involves stilling your mind to allow your consciousness to connect on a spiritual level. This is important because we function on several levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The practice of shamanism allows you to connect and work with your spiritual self. Our spiritual self is where our inspiration originates from, which is the source of all our thoughts, imaginings and dreams.
The benefits of shamanism can include...
A sense of happiness, deep relaxation and bliss.
Heightened awareness of your intuition and the synchronicity of life.
Contentment at feeling more in tune with the seasons and earth.
Acceptance of yourself, who you have been and who you are.
Flashes of insight and wisdom; perhaps gained from spirit guides.
Clarity about your soul path, what you really love doing in life.
Do you feel?
Disconnected, separated from life around you?
Lacking in direction, confused, stuck?
Exhausted, as if life is like walking through heavy treacle?
Sad from past hurts that seem to cling to you?
Energetically empty, you have so much to give and everyone keeps taking.
As if a core part of you is missing?
Lacking in inspiration or enthusiasm?
If so, then shamanism can help you wake up to the energy and beauty of life and live fully, in body, mind, soul and spirit.
Or perhaps you are quite happy with in yourself, and on your spiritual path, but would like to walk awhile alongside others. The evening group is not about teaching shamanism, but working together with others.
So what actually happens in a shamanism session?
First of all, I am teaching you to work shamanicaly. I am not offering to heal you; but to guide you to find your own healing and understanding. Shamanic group work sessions, which are held regularly in a barn in Plashett wood, Rose Hill, near Lewes, East Sussex, follow the same general structure as outlined below.
Blessing, calling in of guides and spirits
I will formally start each session with a blessing, and call to animal guides and spirits of time and place to join us. My experience is they will be attracted by our chanting anyway - so it only seems polite to invite them! I notice a change in energy at this point, and the more regular the group, the more intense the change. I will also chant for three of my spirit guides to support me in leading the group.
I lead the group to connect with the earth chakra. This will be focused on breathing and visualisation.
We will work in pairs to "see beyond the physical". This is a powerful exercise, though may seem a little strange at first. It's a chance to connect on a spirit level with someone in the group.
As the group is spending longer on drumming and chanting, we will gaze when it feels right, and at times replace this with another exercise, for example tree connection or fire gazing.
Led meditation - pathworking
I will lead the group to a specific place in the shadow lands that I am familiar with, and leave you a while to explore. In time (as your skill improves) you may well meet spirit guides and power animals here, or connect with your inner child, or different aspects of yourself. I will guide you back to physical reality with words and my rattle.
Chanting & drumming
I will lead the group in a chant. We chant as individuals in one group. As with everything, if you feel more comfortable listening rather than chanting that is fine.
Once the chant has caught I drum along with the chant, allowing you to drift in and out of the chant, or to chant your own song if that feels right.
As the chant weaves its magic it captures your mind and allows your consciousness to experience the world differently. You may journey (as in the led meditation), feel deep peace, or a physical connection to the chant. This is a unique experience with no expectations. I will bring an end to the sessions (and call anyone back who is journeying) with my rattle.
As welcome as the guides and spirits are, it is important to bid them farewell - and have a closing and grounding moment at the end of our shamanic exploration. A wise shaman stands with both feet on the ground.