I was sent a newsletter yesterday by an old teacher of mine, as usual the letter contained links to training offered for the coming year. One of the trainings I was interested to note was a shamanic practitioner and healing diploma which was obtainable within just a two week residential setting. This led me on a trail looking up shamanic practitioner training within the UK, there are a whole range of courses ranging from 5 days to 2 years. I think it would be great if we all lived a little more shamanically, feeling our way through the universe. But I do wonder about the authenticity of some of these courses, others I straight away can feel, purely from their description, that they are full of integrity, the real deal.
I am always hesitant to call what I do, and what I teach shamanic because although in essence it is, I do not teach many of the shamanic techniques that you would learn on a practitioner training course. I guess the work I do is perhaps more animistic than shamanic. It is about opening up to the nature spirits, to the intelligence in nature. Letting nature guide you and provide answers to the questions burning most deeply in your heart. But of course receiving wisdom from Gaia is really just accessing the god/ess within, as we are all part of the whole, microcosms of the macrocosm. I feel it is really important not to rush this kind of work. Yes, of course you can get a taste in a day or a weekend, but for it to become part of you, to be second nature, for you to hear the whole of creation communicating constantly, that takes time. We all have the ability within us, that is how we were born, but our culture has weaned it out of us. And so it is about relearning that which is most intrinsic to our natures but which we ignore and cover with doubt. It is about learning to listen to and trust instinct.
I think one of the starting points has to be work on oneself, so that you know yourself fully and deeply. This cannot be achieved overnight, and in my experience is a very long process. You need to constantly check your motivations for this kind of work. And if you intend to work with plant or other nature spirits in a healing setting with a 3rd party it is even more important to ensure that you yourself have become a still pond.
It became apparent to me early in 2006, whilst training with Eliot Cowan, that the plant spirits wanted me to share this work with other people. In one journey we were doing in class the plant spirits asked me to drum for other people, to introduce people to the beauty, magic and mystery of the plant realm. They told me that would be my medicine. That I was to encourage people to access the world of plant spirits and become more whole and more balanced through making it a part of their daily lives.
It is a wonderful and rewarding path in many ways. I have yet to teach people how to diagnose, how to pass on spirit medicine to a 3rd party, but that is being revealed to me, slowly, there can be no rush. Instead right now what I share is the multitude of ways of working with plant spirits in ones daily life, many ways of opening to them and their wisdom and how that can enrich your life. I was always told to make no plans beyond 2012, but I have a series of residential workshops gestating inside ready to emmerge next year. In the mean time if you are interested in learning the art of the invisibles, how to communicate and work with their wisdom then join me on one of this years workshops ( http://www.gatewaystoeden.com/Workshops(479239).htm) and see where it takes you…