Winter Solstice News - The Big Wheel keeps on Turning
Greetings from the realm of beautiful deep dark nights!
Here in the northern hemisphere, Winter solstice approaches. The sun is positioned low in the sky. Starkly, the branches of trees outline against the eternity that is the earth's atmosphere and beyond. Dusk feels deeply present now as a part of our day. The night goes on. Darkness wraps us like a blanket and brings to an abrupt focus the candle that shines within. Winter Solstice plants us in darkness just as seeds are planted within the earth. The darkness is our mother now. She brings us to meet our own innate light and goodness again and to birth the new.
'The sun is born again today,' so begins the song I have been singing with my children to the new born sun on the top of hills, beaches, wherever we have been close to at the time, since they were born. This song is thanks to the lovely book Circle Round and the words of Anne Hill's song which was gifted to me on Arin's first Solstice by my Birmingham friend Paula. That book was then taken through a whole community and beyond by word of mouth and recommendation. I love how these resources spark and grow.
'We sing and celebrate the light, the sun's born in the longest night.' It is a profound and intense time this birthing business. Especially when what you are birthing is the spirit which is then later followed by form.
What spirit are you birthing this year?
Recently I have been editing and revising two of the foundation courses I previously ran and turning them into books. I have been revisiting the foundations of the practice I now call Creative Shamanism and my relationship with this incredible orb of connectivity and creative flow. Both of the book courses follow the journey of the wheel of the year. The first (Wheel) follows the seasons. The second (Drum) follows the moon cycles. I have been looking at the way I have presented Shamanism as an innate and simple way of being. In the forward to Wheel, I speak about my beginnings with Shamanism and my journey to find a way of being in a natural flow with life. I do this as a way to connect with all others who are on the beginnings of their journey into shamanism so that they can see I am a humble being who is on a journey too. I also do this as a way to acknowledge that inspiration comes from both within and without. Inspiration is born from an internal call to balance, expression and to healing. It is also the way of the earth and its movements. This is the birth of spirit I am speaking about, that Winter Solstice brings in its bag.
My personal theme of the last year has been acceptance. It has been incredible working with acceptance. Once you accept and let something position itself it is amazing what insights or new information can then reveal. My work has always been with cycles and carousels. I am highly sensitive to changes of state so I have been pushed to learn how to hold models of natural wholeness to assist sturdiness. This has brought the necessity of bringing a shamanic way to the centre again. A Shamanic sensibility births and etches out healing maps.
Healing pathways can be tough. The word initiation is one that is associated with a deep journey of change and a journey into and through an ordeal. These cycles of time, these cycles the earth takes us through, include these initiations. The earth and the archetypes the seasons bring to us, show us what we need to open up to to make it through and to receive the insights and the growth that come with positive movement. I quit holding events at the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice three years ago because my nature became even more sensitised to the extremes of these tips and it required focus to stay present with my own needs. The more still I sit with it all, accepting myself as I am and listening to my needs, the deeper I can go and the more it feels a blessing rather than a curse to be this way, although it has never felt like this as any of you who feel these acute shifts will know, in the throes of the splits from joy and connection.
The Solstice and the Cailleach's realm is a main shamanic spirit for me. As the archetype holding the fullness of the cycle, the Cailleach can hold everything. And yet, even the Cailleach is overthrown. She is usurped by her grand-daughter Bride, the Queen of Spring and newness. Everything has its time. In a way, acceptance for me has been with its deepest medicine when I have had to come face to face with the fact that everything has its day and then is replaced with a new form and it will come back in another way. It hits me like a sledge hammer every time the experience of these deaths and it tips a polarity. But in the end, these simple facts of impermanence will shatter illusion and put each of us in touch with an underpinning reality. I am coming to the stage now of realising I am being called to live more in the underpinning reality than here and I am perhaps just slightly starting to dare to tap on and open the door of what being shaman really means.
I work as a voluntary counsellor in a research centre one day a week. I love my work there. I have the opportunity to work with people who really grapple with these places of intensity. You know, this experience of sitting with the splits in others is one of the most worthwhile and powerful places I could go to. It is giving me more vision and hope than I could have ever imagined.
The big wheel keeps on turning. We are change in motion all of the time. The wildness that is in the world is inherent in us too. I have long been talking about the fact that it is not we who are sick but the systems that are holding us that are sick. I call myself a Shaman Operator by preference, my remit is that I help to instal models of inclusion and flow and bring our human models back into accordance with the models the earth and the seasons naturally give us to help heal the sickness. The earth is calling us to join back in and be a part of this flow. The symptoms of humans, whether it be emotional, mental, physical or spiritual in the way they present, are all signs that we need to listen more deeply, allow systems and ways to be shifted and changed to allow for a holistic, caring and nature based culture to come back to holding the reins.
I ask myself a lot - why do we perform and put on a coverup to how we are actually feeling or what we are actually holding as a preference? Why can't we be real? I think it is because it is not safe to opt out of the show. We just have to look at the invisibility of the homeless on the streets, the relentless and supported pressure on the teenagers to jump through hoops or fail, the news designed to fill us with fear and keep us holding onto protecting ourselves. The world of humans is not designed for it to be safe to fall apart in.
Yet the natural world falls apart and displays destructive elements throughout. And here we are going into the deep cut of it. The truth is that Winter Solstice is ruthless. It is dark and it is edgy. But the wholeness of the earth and the natural ways can hold all of this. A wholeness principle is so important. Acknowledging and allowing different states of being is so important. My spirits show me how my job is to remain persistent and join forces with those who open up systems to allow listening, inclusion and guidance for whatever is felt as suffering and disconnection. As a society I am shown how we are in an age of making space for a deeper love and compassion and also for honesty and expertise to come in. There will be a change of political focus. I hold the vision of humble, wise, powerful, listening ones being our leaders again; that the shamanic sensibility and respect for all beings will be an inherent preference for healing and sanity. When it is all in place, we may not even call it shamanic.
A shamanic model brings in a sturdy container of support and inclusion. There are many great teachers and practitioners out there who bring these models through. I have a list on my website of practitioners who have trained in Creative Shamanism and who are wonderful bringers of light, compassion and vision. I am currently working on a project to showcase and shine awareness on some of the brilliant ways in which they are practicing. Sandra Ingerman has a wealth of imaginative and professional teachers on her shamanic teachers website. It is evident that the structure which holds us currently is becoming more fragile. So the need for openness and understanding becomes more real. Student counselling services in Universities have record waiting lists at the moment because the new young people of today are ready to be open and seek understanding but the resources are not yet set up to match the needs. Many of the youth of today are on the case. The elders need to assist them in opening the tracks for the young, for ourselves and for our planet.
As I go for a run through the paths of my neighbourhood, overlooked by the stark, bare branches of these amazing trees I have in this community, I am always brought back to my true sense of self in my body and as part of the earth's body. Nature brings me the answers the world of humans cannot reach. We can't cut off this part of our soul any longer. It's time to bring it back in. There was a reason why the counsel meetings of the elders were held amongst trees. They have a voice too.
Winter Solstice is coming, let's go into it together. Winter solstice is a frankincense for the soul. It helps us to find a deeper light.
Below is a journey for you to make if you like on the Winter Solstice night.
So, Wheel the book is born for the Winter Solstice! The kindle version is on Amazon now. Keep watching the space there for the paperback to be live over the next days. You can take a look inside online to see if it reads in a ways that feels right for you. Wheel is a book to bring you even more into the swing of the seasons and the elements.
Wheel explains Shamanism very clearly and takes you into the practice. A year's course follows, and a way to explore and open up to your true nature. This allows a resonance with the strength and the holding of the underpinning reality. I already know of at least two of the Creative Shamanism Practitioners who took Wheel as a Foundation course with me who are setting up training groups working with the Wheel programme. I will put up details of any courses I know are running from those who have trained with me on my website too. If you purchase the book and would like to work with the material, please feel free to work with the material as study groups and use the check in questions to focus together.
In the next newsletter I will bring news of the release of the book Drum and the moon cycles. I will also present the programme for 2018.
For now - let me draw attention to December's two Special Offers. The first is the special offer of the Circle of Light Quads which completes its special offer date on 22 December. These are half price and I have seen amazing results with the Shamanic Constellation work. You can take the four sessions anytime over the next few months. The second special offer is available until 31 December. This is for £100 off the Story Apprentice weekend which is in June 2018 and its accompanying 5 month training.
I wish you all a special Winter Solstice and a magical Yule time. Here is the journey and ceremony for Winter Solstice this year.
A journey and ceremony for Winter Solstice
In the evening time when the darkness is here, light a candle. Light a candle and turn off the lights. Set up sacred space for calling the 4 directions and the vertical axis. Feel an orb of light set the container. Make the intention for that which is helpful to you to be holding this space for you. Visualise a grove of trees all around you setting the space, grounding you, being guardians for you and bringing in absolutely anything which might be required.
Look to the candle in front of you now. Feel its light and its warmth. Examine it and sense it s qualities. Now close your eyes and go within. Seek out that candle light, that seed within you. Feel the darkness all about you nurturing and feeding this light and seed. Give the seed, the candle light within complete permission to be nurtured, enveloped, fed and listened to.
Now pick up your drum. Drum to the Spirit of Winter Solstice and let the Spirit of Winter solstice resonate with this seed within you too.
You can drum for as long as you like. I recommend about ten minutes.
When you are complete, sit in silence for a few minutes with the candle in front of you with your eyes open or closed. Feel expectant. Feel present and still with the darkest time. Be open to whatever guidance or insight might come in these moments.
Write down your experience.
Thank all of the spirits and yourself.
Release the space and rattle all about you, knowing that that light within has just been given one big and wondrous blessing for the year to come.
The Hymn of the Big Wheel
The big wheel keeps on turning on a simple line day by day The earth spins on its axis, One man struggle while another relaxes
There's a hole in my soul like a cavity Seems like the world is out to gather just by gravity The wheel keeps turning the sky's rearranging Look my son the weather is changing I'd like to feel that you could be free Look up at the blue skies beneath a new tree Sometime again You'll turn green and the sea turns red My son I said the power of axis over my head
We sang about the sun and danced among the trees And we listened to the whisper of the city on the breeze Will you cry in the most in a lead-free zone Down within the shadows where the factories drone On the surface of the wheel they build another town And so the green come tumbling down Yes close your eyes and hold me tight And i'll show you sunset sometime again
As a child's silent prayer my hope hides in disguise While satellites and cameras watch from the skies An acid drop of rain recycled from the sea It washed away my shadow burnt a hole in me And all the king's men cannot put it back again But the ghetto sun will nurture life And mend my soul sometime again
Photo from The Theatre of Dragon Hill Winter Solstice Dream Weaver event 2009. 'Leaving the basket of Blessings overnight with the Collessie Man'. In the morning, on collecting, a swan was found sitting with the basket.