Posted in elemental kingdom, Energy healing, Shamanism, spiritual skills and techniques, transformation

Shamanic Trance Intensive

As a shamanic practitioner, I wish to understand trance and look to history for inspiration.  I look towards those ancestors who lived before agriculture, the hunter gatherers.  A time when shamanism was synonymous with everyday life.  For thousands and thousands of years, humans have appreciated that there’s another state, another experience available within the human sphere, beyond our physical expression, and it happens during trance. 

Trance is a part of our lives even today, but we rationalise it as something ‘other’.  To our forebears  it was as real as what we call ‘normal’ everyday life.  They saw how powerful this state of consciousness is, they understood the possibilities and embraced it.

I’m especially interested in learning how to intensify the trance state in today’s world without the aid of hallucinogens.  I’ve realised there are numerous ways we can go deep into trance, especially when we layer the methods. 

Breathing is a hugely fundamental tool, as is repetitive percussive sound at about four beats per second.  These are my usual techniques when I’m doing shamanic work.  Another layer is sensory deprivation, wearing gear that renders us unable to see or hear.  Of course, if we are free-floating in a large tank of salt water in the dark, that’s going to do it, but that’s too impractical for the most part, so I’ll give that a miss since my bath isn’t big enough.

The shamanic trance intensive retreat kicks off with a vision quest, a powerful way to induce trance in itself.  One of the ways it does this is to induce a state of fear.  The idea is spending anything from a night to five days and nights alone, without human contact, with little or no food and only water to drink, with no comforts and staying awake the whole time, in a state of meditation and contemplation.  Staying with ourselves.  And that’s the scariest bit, having nothing to distract us from ourselves.  We live in a world where there’s so much to fill us up so that we’re not having to be with ourselves, TV, radio, music, books, phone, computer, social life, activities, food, alcohol.  We keep ourselves engaged to avoid having too much emptiness when who-knows-what can emerge from within us.  Vision quest is all about being with ourselves good and proper.  And that’s something that can take us into trance.  Some crazy things happened to me on my first vision quest, things like hearing the rain make melodious music and feeling a lot of presences with me. 

Sweatlodge is all about breathing and heat and fire.  Sweatlodge is ceremonial.  Ritual and ceremony are also trance-inducing through the power of repetition, focus and  building the intensity of the energy.  Sweatlodge is a purifying experience but also brings us into a deeper state of consciousness.  Like vision quest, sweatlodge induces increased levels of fear because it can be difficult to breathe and manage the heat and one can feel trapped in a small space.  The heat can be challenging and along with possible dehydration, it’s easy to find oneself becoming dizzy and light-headed.  Trance-invoking percussive sound and chanting are also used during sweatlodge.

Trance dancing and drumming in a repetitive rhythm around a fire is a powerful experience, especially at night.  Group shamanic trance dances always induce deep and profound trance states and are ideal for undergoing shamanic journeys. 

Finally, I’m learning currently about postures and what they contribute towards shamanic trance experience.  It was back in 2018 at a London workshop that I first found myself working with movement during meditations, activations and journeys.  I’ve found correlations from a number of sources that endorse either body movements or postures during meditation or journeying to create a potent focus and energetic alignment for a particular purpose.  This work can create powerful and intensive trance states and I intend to write a more detailed post on the subject in the future.

The intention of trance is to achieve as deep a state of consciousness as possible, in order to open oneself up to the non-physical world.  In doing so, it’s possible to really boost one’s capacity to experience otherworld reality and beings.  An even stronger connection with ones’ spirit guides is reached.  That’s why the trance intensive retreat spends several days creating deep trance states, so that participants can intensify their connection with elemental and nature beings such as tree and plant spirits, landscape guardians and the energies of earth, air, fire and water.  These beings don’t exist at a physical level and therefore we can’t communicate with them that way.  They exist at the emotional energy level and by inducing a non-physical energy stance, we are able to experience and communicate with these and other beings.  Nature beings and elementals are teachers and have gifts to give.  Where plants are concerned, this is paramount for healing.  Where elementals are concerned this is a way to achieve healing, balance and harmony for humanity and planet Earth.       

Posted in artistic, divine magic, Personal Story, transformation

Let Magic Emerge: Ffion Arrives

Magic comes into our lives in so many ways, every day, and sometimes it comes in BIG! When my shamanic drum came into my life, that was big. I connected with the energy even before my drum arrived. And yes, like all shamanic drums, mine is alive, has consciousness, and when we work together I feel and connect with that power. When I painted an immensely personal image on my drum, our connection amplified. I feel like my drum is an extension of my soul, and every time I drum to support healing for someone, we are creating potency together.

When spiritual practitioners work with energy and magic, we find ourselves attracting all kinds of tools to support our work, in the form of objects that others would consider ‘dead’, and yet, we sense and feel they are very much alive.

For me, it’s crystals, stones, my shamanic rattle, my crystal singing bowl, items I have self-crafted like my shamanic bag and smudge feather fan. My favourite Oracle cards, runes and Celtic Ogham. All bringing their magical presence to enrich my spiritual practice and healing. All creating transformation in co-creation with me.

And that’s true of Ffion. Remember Ffion? I introduced you to her last week here. I might have been a little bit naughty and given you the impression she’s a person. She’s a unique and magical energy, a one of a kind, hand made, artisan spirit art doll. These beautiful dolls are infused with personality, magical abilities and power as their maker brings them to life.

I didn’t intend to purchase when I first looked at these amazing Eufaeria dolls made by Sara McGoodwin Armstrong of Hiraeth Gallery, Llandovery. I heard about Sara from my niece in Texas, so it was a surprise to discover she lives less than an hour’s drive from me in South West Wales.

After I had finished admiring Sara’s work on her website, I got on with my life, but Sara’s gorgeous creations kept coming to the fore of my awareness and one character, in particular, was clearly calling to me. Sara explains that people don’t choose her magical dolls, they choose the person. They choose who gets to co-create with them and who they wish to live with. And Ffion was calling me.

I clicked on the ‘buy’ button, justifying it as my birthday present to myself. And in the next few hours, remarkable things started to happen. Miracles, I would say. Some issues in my life suddenly started to resolve, issues I had given up hope of, such as my beloved cat that went missing when I moved home. For two months he was lost. And he reappeared within hours of my connecting with Ffion, who, incidentally, has a close affinity with cats.

And it’s been ten weeks since I arrived in my new home at a new location where I don’t know a soul. I had hoped to connect with some of my neighbours but they kept their doors shut when I knocked and ignored invitations to call on me for coffee and a chat. I can only assume it’s Covid fears.

For the first four weeks, I felt the need to be with myself and immersed myself in the freedom and independence of being in my own place for the first time, enjoying my own company. But then, I became ill for three weeks. Unable to drive, I was stuck in the house all that time, and except for two brief forays to the local shop, I didn’t see a soul. It wasn’t so nice then to be without support or company, no kindly smile, no friendly chat. And I wondered about the relative closeness of my neighbours and yet, it was as though a chasm existed between us.

But within hours of Ffion connecting, a woman from up the road started a conversation with me on my front step and we had a lot in common. She told me about a group of women she does Earth healing with, and invited me on a day out to ‘meet the girls’. Just when I was giving up on finding my tribe, here they are. Thank you again, Ffion, I see your hand in this too.

Coincidence? I don’t think so. No such thing when you believe in magic. I could sense Ffion’s energy, even before she arrived. And now she is here. I can hardly wait to see what magic we will create together, because if anyone knows how to invite magic in, I do.

Posted in artistic, dragons, Personal Story, Shamanism

Birth of a New Drum

Today, I am celebrating my shamanic drum.  I love to paint, it stills my mind and creates an oasis of peace and tranquility and I’ve just finished painting my recently acquired shamanic drum.  My drum was birthed by drum-maker Crow Ferguson of Driftwood Hollow Drums on 24th November 2020 and it came into my possession about 2 weeks after that.  It’s a beautiful big egg shaped drum, as you can see. I didn’t pick it for the shape but for the gorgeous resonant sound. That said, being egg-shaped makes it extra special to me, it’s symbolic of new beginnings, which I am certainly facing right now, and breaking free. Perfect.

Before my drum arrived, before I even knew what it looked or sounded like, I received inspiration that it was going to contain dragon power and there would be a dragon on the front.  

I already had a dragon sketched out for the drum but when it arrived and I placed that sketch on the drum, something wasn’t right, it seemed my intuition had let me down.  I really trust my intuition these days, so I was perplexed that it seemed to have let me down, but I followed my guidance and it led me to sketch out a number of features on the drum, each of which I simply felt into and followed my intuitive guidance.  Slowly, bit by bit, a design emerged and it turned out this drum depicted my soul in the form of an ancient Egyptian winged figure.  When she appeared, it was a real surprise to me.  She has a white cone of light emerging from her head which represents my channel.  Every symbol and feature painted on this drum has a deep significance for me, especially about the power and the support present for me in my spiritual practices. I had got quite far into the design when I received guidance that a black dragon was to be placed on the lower part of the drum and it turned out to be the very same sketch I had made before the drum arrived.  I realise now, the figure had to go in first and then the dragon could appear too. Ah, my initial intuition had been right, after all.  

It has been a joy to paint this drum. Quite often, the designs and symbols have come to me in my sleep, this project has been a big part of my dreams lately.  Dragons are fun to paint because you can really go to town with them, this one makes a powerful contrast with the softness and simplicity of the figure representing my soul.  I like how the dragon’s wing and fiery breath enclose her in a protective way, and I didn’t even plan that. 

I have felt the power and magical energy of this drum grow as the painting emerged.  As a whole, the painted image is bringing its magical energy into being every time the drum is played. Soon, there will be a naming ceremony to wake the drum and bring it to life.  A shaman’s drum is a living consciousness, it is alive in every sense.  The drum’s name and powerful personality is emerging.