It is the geese calling as they fly above me in the sky that gives me hope today. I want to be out there to catch any opportunity of being beneath their flight path. I want to soak up that feeling. The thing about geese is that they know how to make community and they take it in turns to lead the flock. They evoke the essence of the vision I was given for the practice when I received the goose rider symbol ten years ago now. Geese work together and make sure everyone is ok. They migrate.
I am weary. I am going through one of those heavy flashes of disillusionment that periodically drops on me as a Shamanic Teacher. I can't seem to feel myself doing this work for very much longer. I am looking for signs that I should continue. I feel elated and fulfilled when I see the Practitioners who go through the training really step into knowing themselves and their vision for their life's work. I know it is a joy and a privilege to hold this role. But it is also quite a feat to be inside the membrane of the soul of a group and listen to spirit to help educate the process of shamanic emergence for multiple people. It is also quite a process to be an Innovator and diligently follow spirit guidance. No one told me how to do this although I have had so much training, experience and practice in these fields of creativity, education, counselling and spiritual practice which also inform what I do. When I am in there I have to completely go with spirit, my own creativity and listen dedicatedly to the pulse and the knowing that is each person in the group. It is a task to keep centred and follow right action. It's a precision job you know. It requires concentration and utter commitment. Every workshop is a birthing of multiple layers of shamanic soul and power. We mine for alchemical gold in the dark. You can't follow a prescription with true effective shamanic training. It is all about being present and being with that inner knowing that is the meaning of the shaman. It is 3 years to be with people on this path. I come out of these trainings as chiselled and reconstituted as the participants. It is a work that strips and hollows.
I have just come out of another amazingly transformative workshop experience with the third year practitioner group. (I love them so much they are awesome.) I have just made the decision to cancel the Foundation Year in Fife and to concentrate on writing about teaching shamanism and also to write manuals on installing models of wholeness and inclusion. I will also be concentrating on getting the Practitioners who are graduated and who are going through the current trainings more exposure and opportunities. The geese are calling me to focus on formations. I am like a dolphin now. I can swim in those oceans of unconscious material and listen to and direct the flow and then I can come up for air and communicate through art and writing. We have multiple roles. Suddenly I see myself climbing out onto a new shore. I need to write about it more and not be in the world of human transformative processes so much for a while.
I read Big Magic recently. I really liked Liz Gilbert's idea of the muse or the genie as being something that we catch and that if we don't catch it someone else will (the genie being the driver and the idea). The genie will just move on if you don't make a home for it. It's no big deal. Nothing gets lost it just goes somewhere else. But I wonder - what if no one else will catch it? Did I just catch a particularly persistent, wild and sculpting genie? Or have I just caught this genie because nobody else could - like they had the wrong gloves or something? Could it be that there is only so long that we each have to run with a genie until it hits us like some horcrux and tells us that its time to let go? Is that what is happening to me now? Do I need to pass the baton? Or does the genie actually die when the work is done? Will these current trainings be my last ones? I am listening to the signs. Maybe what I am good at really is helping everyone to catch the right genie at the right time. I feel such a relief when I think about everyone catching genies and sharing this role. I do need to be out there more with the ones who are doing it and helping the vision land.
I wonder about fatigue and its place in the creative process. Commitment and conscious detachment are two of the qualities I really value. I constantly dance with characters like doubt, illusion, anxiety and anger when I work with helping students to nurture their shamanic path. The favourite habits of these characters are hiding, shunning, pretending and thinking about leaving. The favourite habit of my space holding character is insecurity. You never know you see. You have to be true and committed to the job and the individuals and their process and yet you have to be ready for the splitting at any time. It demands a deeper foundation of trust in allowing whatever needs to happen to happen in the land of the Shamanic Teacher. Does that feel comfortable to you? I know that it is what my soul is asking for to be able to touch that foundation and this helps me greatly. But there is a fatigue which naturally happens in holding this role. It is like the transition part of the labour in childbirth. You suddenly feel a thousand miles away from the idea that this was a good idea anymore. You want to sleep and lie down. Yet in actuality you are nearly there. Fatigue is important and it needs honouring. It needs honouring in teachers of transformative processes. I mean you wouldn't go to the moon and back on multiple missions would you? You would need to rest and do something different.
The process of transformation is gruelling and I don't think we give ourselves enough credit as humans about how much effort it does take to be with ourselves and others as we transform. Being a Teacher of Shamanism in these times and in a culture which is only just beginning to make a place for it requires a certain type of self-care. Just as I teach self-care and the different stages of initiation cycles to student Practitioners as I have learnt them, now the teacher in me is learning what I need to pass over to new creative transformational teachers.
As you know, those who have followed these newsletter posts over the years, I am a great believer in sharing the human journey of working with these points of change and growth. Someone somewhere might resonate and be going through this stage too in their own way. How to listen to the fatigue and value it; how to value ones own work and findings and how to manage disillusionment with honesty. All of these things show us it is time to move on. It is time to move into a new phase. Shamanic teachers are feeling this everywhere I am sure. I can be committed to what is and to complete it with authenticity and passion and meanwhile open the doors to the new. The teacher in me is moving into the role of allowing the formations to flow and people to meet.
Somewhere in the future, after the successful manifestation of funds for writing books, directing art projects and setting up conferences and collaborations there is a happy older lady called Carol who feels like she is a part of the formations and she remembered that crucial moment when she listened to the fatigue in the creative process.
I hope you have a great Samhain time tuning into what is breaking down and what is opening up as the new. It's a powerful time!
The next introductory course Earth and Silence is this weekend at Kilgour House Falkland. It is from Friday 3 November at 7 pm until Sunday 5 November at 2 pm. The cost includes meals, 3 months of mentored course work and an individual healing session by Skype. It is a really thorough and deep introduction to the practice and I really recommend it. I am not planning any more intros in Fife until later next year.
Teacher Training in Creative Shamanism for Trained Practitioners commences next June. There are only 6 places for this training and I am only selecting people who have experience of working as a Shamanic Practitioner and have experience of holding small groups or teaching.
With lots of brilliant wishes for November.
May you find your self with loving and inspiring community.
Book a place on this weekend's Introductory workshop: Earth and Silence - Aligning with the Shamanic Nature