It is fast approaching the end of Summer here in Scotland. There's a profound ripping feeling in the air. It feels like the earth is turning. I am holding the Wheel Foundation course sessions and check-ins by Skype. I am staggered once again by the feed back. Sometimes I dream of wiring all of these findings I make year by year into some kind of computer programme that can map and record the felt senses and trends of a people. It is like reading the interface between season and human. It is like listening to connection and influence. It is like seeing into the heart of how one nature directly affects another. It is like being in the field of love and belonging. It is such a gift of a place I have in my role here: a soul finger on the pulse of connectivity. Is this the impulse behind wanting to share the news of the world I wonder?
The Secret is in the Garden - Cathy Bache - A sacred friendship
I came back to Fife from Findhorn in 2006 with the clear guidance to go and work with the nature spirits and come down to earth. I landed at Monimail Tower and back in the lands of my closest friend in Fife, Cathy Bache. When I had moved north 2 years earlier Cathy had asked me what I thought about the idea of her leaving her full time job in Fife Council and setting up an outdoor facility working with pre-school aged children. Cathy had taught drama and then later had moved into leading nursery education. She had been involved in the forest and exclusively outdoor education of young children when living in Norway for 4 years when her three children (at this stage teenagers) were little. My reply was 'You can do anything if it is right'. She told me later that it was my belief in her that she could do anything which was so special to her about our friendship.
Why wouldn't you believe in Cathy? Why wouldn't you believe in anyone with such a passion and a clear vision? When I returned to these Fife lands I had lost my identity a bit and was going through one of those dismemberments I habitually have. The vision in the Secret Garden's prototype was resonant to the one I held inside and would later step out of in 2009 to set up my own vision of the little red drum School of Creative Shamanism. It was therefore easy for me to find myself a temporary home inside the ethos of the Secret Garden at this time. The vision had been personally delivered to Cathy by the Muse in her retreat time in the tower at Monimail in 2004. Cathy had spent two years setting up the prototype as a child-minding service from her home and in the woods of Letham, the very same woods where the Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery would later take root. The soul of Cathy's ideology struck deep chords with my own. I am a shaman-nature practitioner and artist who works with presence and the cycles as a facilitator of creative expression as well as being an ex-teacher who has worked with Primary and pre school aged children in main-stream, home education, Steiner and Montessori settings. The shared experience of the two of us facilitated even more flow and understanding. The sacred job we had to do together here was to bring through the prototype for the Secret Garden curriculum. This curriculum is now known fondly as the spirals and the name we were given for it is 'Nature as Teacher'.
I have been thinking a lot about teaching shamanism recently. To be honest it is a subject constantly on my mind. I am possibly obsessed with thinking about it. It is definitely my passion. My daughter and I were sitting at the dinner table today. She is sixteen. She, like my son who is almost eighteen, never ceases to amaze me with her wisdom and her understanding. I am reminded in saying this that when they were both born it was so apparent to me that they were the teachers. I knew instinctively that it was only by listening to the clear signal they brought from source and doing my best to help them stay connected with this that I would be able to honour the privilege of being their mother. I knew that they would help me to find my way home. And they have.
It's a frosty January day. Part of me wants to go out running in the sparkle and the other part of me has these thoughts and wonderings I want to communicate. The sun and sparkle beams through the windows.
It's coming to the end of the birch moon cycle. I journey and reflect back on the amazing insights and deeper sense of belonging here on the earth which the first moon cycle of Winter has brought through. I have spent the last month holding the energy with 2 new courses: one the Creative Shamanism Moon and Cycles group who have diligently been journeying close with birch too, and secondly with the Wheel group - who are initiating with the Spirit of Winter and the element of Earth right now. There is something so radiatingly connective and wonderful about travelling with the spirits of a season and an element and then with a tree and a moon cycle with people. Life opens up in a way that is more connective and true. More magic happens. The relationship with the world and how its spirit operates moves through the people more. Connectivity happens. You begin to see even more clearly that when we put out our intentions and name ourselves as co-creators in the web of absolutely everything then things line up to show us how it works.
On the eve of the Winter Solstice as we go into the darkest and longest night, here is a meditation and inner theatre journey idea for you to use to bring love and integration into your hearts and into the heart of the world.
I have been really thinking about harshness and non-inclusion as some of the themes which 2016 especially has brought through. I have been noticing how close to the surface the place of transformation has been for clients and students I have been working with over the last couple of months. I have also been aware of the wall of hopelessness that has been presenting.
Listening to my spirits and journeying and watching the signs around me to see what is coming forward, I have been receiving messages for a journey to the underworld at this winter solstice time.
At the moment it feels like I am tracking darkness much like a sniffer dog on the trail of a murderer bearing the blood of a thousand victims. I am on it. I have direct line to the seeds of this drama of cruelty, neglect, denial and madness felt raging in the ether as we slip into the Winter Solstice tunnel. I have wind of the scents of the myriad trails left by the Shadow Monster in the World at Large. The human heart can feel it. We dance with the wider myth and take our place in it.
There's a trail set for this Winter Solstice and I wonder if you are following it too?
David Greig has a lovely programme on the Radio on Thursday at 11.30 am. The programme is produced by Karen Gregor. We had an adventure last May on the Falkland Estate recording a Soul Retrieval session together to further David's quest to cure Writer's block and investigate shamanic healing.
Here is the link:
The clocks go back and the sun takes its place residing in the lowlands behind Dragon Hill. My home officially descends into Winter. This will be our space now until Imbolc when the first rays dance into our living room again.
Darkness. Mystery. Death. When I get here I love it. The Cailleach takes the Muse to the Cave to sleep and dream with her dragon nature. Our souls are called to surrender and remember.
We had an interesting experience at the training this weekend when the field next door to our school happened to simultaneously host a sweat lodge for 2 nights with a lovely shaman from Mexico.
What we didn't know at the time was that the address used on the invite was the same address as the little red drum school!
It is Summer Solstice. I am feeling the longness of the day and the gift of the light.
Solstice times can bring profound material to the surface for illumination. Anything that is hidden away in the depths of not wanting to show itself can start to reveal itself in the patterns of our life. We can feel ourselves in some strange scripts around these times. Violence and illness can escalate. The darkest and the lightest times bring the suppressed and difficult material up like the blood brings boils to the surface of the skin. Sometimes it can be hard to like ourselves or others as that which begins to surface can murky the waters.
February 5 - 7th 2016
I have had a profound time with the Creative Shamanism II Training group this weekend with the Moon and Cycles module.
It was the moon who started me off on my Shamanic intentional path of observing the ways of healing 15 years ago. It was the Moon who set me up in my first Moon group workshops 9 years ago. I have written a year long training and book about working with the cycles of the moon and have worked devotedly with the moon in my personal healing projects. I love the sun too and the earth, and all the stars and planets, but there is something about the amazing connection I feel with this loyal satellite and traveller that opens my soul up profoundly to how everything works and weaves. I feel this understanding more than in any other relationship in my world. Every time I revisit her ways through workshops and trainings, deeper connections are made.
This weekend was the graduation ceremony for the second group of trained Practitioners.
We were blessed with the presence of Storm Desmond. We worked with the wind sprits and the stars on Saturday night at a powerful ceremony where we worked to part the clouds to reveal the stars. It was a powerful moment for the new practitioners to feel and see the effects of their focus and skill in partnering with the elements and bringing the stars out to full view for the duration of our focused drumming. It certainly goes down in my book as one of the most special shamanic moments I have shared.
As Francesca said "last year was the gate that would not open - this year was the bottle which would not fill!'
Here she is laughing before she found another bottle and another way. Thank you to Francesca for her amazing support holding the space for this year's Rites of Passage workshop.
The power and transformation of the retreat this year blew me away. The spirits of the land were on for huge projects. The members of the circle presented themselves willing for change and the themes and tasks had almost uncannily downloaded from spirit ready for the movement which would occur.
In particular I found the Leaving Home Constellations moving, undoing and profound. I want to personally thank Vivienne C for the part she played in this.
The new website is here!
Last weekend was the Foundation Training Sun and Vision weekend. We worked with the concept of power and looked at what power is from a shamanic point of view. One of the jobs of a Shamanic Practitioner is to understand the ways in which power can be misused or given away. It was a great weekend. Here we are in a particularly chilled out zone..
This weekend is the completing stretch for the Practitioners who are graduating in December. It is the Professional Practice module. I love this walkway. We really focus on setting a path of happiness and fun for Shamanic Practice. Setting an intention is so important with this work. This is one of the reasons why I have students keep a soul purpose journal from the onset - so that their path can be vision and heart led. I am so looking forward to hearing what fun and games these guys will be bringing into their lives and communities! We have a weekend of initiation preparation too - so we will be doing a lot of dismemberment in readiness.