Shamanism: An Ancient Recipe for Modern Living

Shamanism - an ancient recipe for modern living

Jean felt lost. While she was a student there was always the next class to attend or assignment to be done. Her life was  structured by her timetable and tasks to complete. Now that she had graduated life had changed. There was no structure determining her next moves. She was anxious and felt insecure; that she had been set adrift with nowhere and everywhere to go, with no rudder to steer her.

She didn’t know it then, but her life was about to change. As she scrolled through her Facebook feed, she saw posts that ignited her curiosity. The posts were about Shamanism and practices.

Jean Today

You wouldn’t recognise the same Jean today. She has a presence that tells you she knows herself well and will fearlessly pursues the things that she is passionate about. Jean hasn’t just achieved goals that she has set herself, she is tuned in to her environment, compassionate and aware of others and is true to her values. She is confident, self-assured, and above all, happy.

Shamanism

Contemporary shamanism draws from the ancient practices of indigenous cultures across the world. Shamanism is not a religion, but a spiritual way of life that embraces all the practicality of daily living. Jung travelled the world observing indigenous cultures. He observed great similarities shared by cultures that had never had contact with each other. Subsequently, modern psychology has created modalities for treating patients based on his observations. Contemporary Shamanism goes further in that it gives you the tools to live consciously aware; to know yourself well and create a lifestyle that reflects your true nature.

It is a common theme in many people’s lives that they lose confidence, feel unworthy, lost and unsure like Jean. Many also find themselves repeating the same pattern repeatedly; often becoming worse with each cycle. Jean attended several private sessions that in turn dealt with the causes of her lack of confidence and direction. Conditioning from childhood experiences (wounding), ancestral patterns, soul’s journey and past lives all contribute to how we are in the world. With the help of a shamanic practitioner, these were discovered and brought to the light and transformed. In this way, Jean was relieved of the burdens of conditioning and past experiences and could step forward and express her true self.

Self-Empowering

This may sound rather daunting as it sounds radically life-changing; and it can be! However, Shamanic practice is a self-empowering process where you are completely in charge and learn as you grow and change. Shamanism is a many faceted concept and you will be attracted to the things that will resonate with you most. To give you a better idea, this is Jean’s experience.

Jean’s Journey

# Visioning workshop

Jean needed to find some direction so she decided to attend a shamanic workshop with the intention of creating a vision of her future. She was immersed in a safe and sacred space with others with similar intentions. As the workshop progressed, she became fascinated by how the ritual, symbols in many forms, and the Sacred Circle of Whole Consciousness spoke to her, her truth and helped her to vision what is possible in her life.

# Personal Sessions

After the workshop, Jean was aware that she was feeling quite anxious about some aspects of her vision and that she couldn’t bring them to reality. She decided to have some personal sessions. Each session was focussed on a vision that she wanted to achieve; confidence, assertiveness. During each session, she felt healed; that ‘blocks’ had been transformed into the light aspects that she desired, and were now part of her.

# Everyday Living

A core principal of Shamanism is to be consciously aware – in the present moment. As she learnt more about Shamanism, Jean learnt tools for everyday living. She learnt to stop regularly during the day to be mindful, to notice the small things that are usually missed and recognise them as signs of synchronicity. She remembered the ‘rules’ that are congruent with the Shamanic Way – The 8 Ways, channelled by Heather Price – to keep her on track.

In this way, Jean became who she is today – her authentic self. She is confident, happy, fulfilled and positive.

What about you?

Are you living life the way you want to? Do you feel that you are comfortable being yourself in all situations, or do you put on a mask and act as though you must be someone else in the theatre of life? Are you confident and happy? Are your relationships loving and caring?

Life is too short to not be confident and happy in the way you live it. Although changing the way it is now can be daunting, the outcome of change – transforming it – is beautiful as it brings the gifts of confidence, joy and peace and you become the best that you can be.

The added bonus of Shamanic practice is that it not only supports you with vital tools for living. It provides you with ‘culture’; a depth and richness to life that otherwise may not be there, as rituals, symbolism and conscious awareness bring colour and deep meaning to daily life.

If you would like to know more, please explore my website and any questions, please contact me.

Making Presents with Presence

What is your take on giving presents? Are you tired of feeling you have to meet the expectations of others when you choose presents?

Commercial gift

How can you make a present count?

What do you do if a person has everything? How do you choose presents that carry a message of your appreciation, gratitude and best wishes and intentions to the one it is meant for?

Present giving can be a minefield for stress especially at Christmas Season where the spirit of the time is about giving. To say the least, commercialism has a lot to answer for, for taking the spirit out of present giving.

Understandably, financial resources, the number of gifts to be found and the desires of the recipients become the focus and dull the joy of the giving spirit. Social and family culture is also a consideration during this time – ‘How it is done in our family’ – as families come together to celebrate.

Another way of approaching gift giving is to give a gift from your heart; to express all you feel and wish for this person in a present created by you.

Creating Presents from Your Heart

Q. What if I’m not creative? I don’t have a creative bone in my body!

A. Read my previous blog. It will help you understand the nature of creativity.

Q. How can I create a present come from my heart?

A. Creating from the heart begins with getting in touch with, and then listing everything that brings a heart connection between you and the other person. Remember all the things that the other person holds dear and is excited by. This will give you clues as to what kind of present you will create.

When you’ve decided what to create, gather the materials you require together. As you do this, you will consider the colours, shapes and textures that resonate with the person you have in mind.

You may have found a ‘recipe’ on the internet, in a magazine, or from your imagination. As you make the gift keep the person in mind, remembering all the positive things that you, and they, want in their lives. This will put your difference, uniqueness, energy into the gift. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Imperfections, like differences in relationships, are loved for their intention.

Q. What if I can’t make things? I’m all fingers and thumbs.

A. If you insist that you truly don’t want to dip into the full Monty of creating, then you can create by following the steps above, and purchasing, for example, a collection of things that reflect different aspects of the person. These will have the energy of your positive thoughts and will connect with the passions, colours and textures of the person.

Presentation.

Wrap your gift with the same intention, choosing colour and texture and style that reflects the spirit of the person or the nature of your relationship.

An Example:

I decided to create a present for a woman I had met a couple of times before. I wanted to show my respect for her. In making the present, I remembered the meaning of her name, her ethnicity, her love of nature and spirit in all things. I wrapped it in black tissue paper with a red ribbon – indigenous colours. When I gave it to her, she noticed the wrapping and then she took to heart the materials, the colours, the symbol – all that was important to her. We recognised the love and respect and connected in a way that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.


Wishing you a meaning filled Festive Season,

Blessings,

Betsy

Are you connected to your culture? What does that mean?


View of Gunbalanya from the top of Injalak
Coming home from my adventure in Gunbalanya in the Northern Territory, I didn’t experience the usual let down one often experiences after travelling and experiencing new things. For days afterwards my body had a ‘buzzing’ quality about it. Every night I dreamt about just being there, immersed in the richness of that place.

Identifying with Culture

I have often wondered what it would be like to belong to a definitive culture. Like many people who identify as being from ‘Western’ culture, I had little idea about what that means. The language I speak doesn’t feel unique or special as English is far from being unique, the clothes I wear are generic and it’s only when I’m singing nursery rhymes to my grandchildren that I am reminded that they, well some of them, hark from my ancestors.

I need to explain here that my childhood experience was that of living in England, Australia in the 50’s and 60’s, in New Guinea, and in boarding school in country Australia. I was blessed by the fact that my parents arranged our lives in a way that we met and played with indigenous children which was unusual at that time. People like to mix with those of their own culture where they feel they belong and are unchallenged in their ways and beliefs. So I am blessed with not having these barriers and at the same time wonder about my culture!

It seems to me that I mustn’t be alone in feeling disenfranchised from my ancestors and their culture as people migrate to other lands and adjust to the ways of their new home.

Connecting with ancestors


The Downs, Guildford, Surrey, England.
As my life progresses, I become more aware of how important it is to know who I am and where I come from. So it is that I recently returned to England to walk on the ‘Downs’ of Guildford where I was born, and soak up the energy of the circles at Avebury; conscious of my desire to connect with my ancestors. I returned with a greater sense of feeling my feet upon the ground and a knowing of who I am.

Immersed in a ‘definitive’ culture.

Sitting on the age old rocks at Number 2 Waterfall near Gunbalanya in the Northern Territory, the ancient spirit of the place seeped into my very being. The water in the waterhole lay still, only now and again rippled by the breeze. The trees protected us as we sat with our lunch in the open cave of rocks. Christine and Priscilla and Sylvia were stripping pandanus and I urged them to tell us some stories.


Christine at Number 2 Waterfall

With some hesitance at first, Christine began to tell us the story of the three-legged dog and her mate who made this place. One story led to another … Number one waterfall was made by her mate who dug so deep he released a water spout which shot him up into the air, trapping him into the rocks above …. and another….

When one reads these indigenous stories published in picture books, they are children’s stories; simplistic, colourful, explaining creation or giving a lesson. …. But as I sat there entranced, feeling the spirit of everything around us, I sensed a much deeper connection in the stories.

In ‘Western culture’ stories are fiction and fiction means that they aren’t true. We reassure ourselves that this is a fantasy world that we can only enter in dreams and even then, they aren’t true.


Storys shared at No 2 Waterfall.

Christine sharing stories.

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Sitting here in this very place that holds the spirit of all that has happened over thousands of years, I could see the conviction of belief in the tellers’ eyes. They, and also myself as I listened, were connected deeply to the stories and, I believe, to the deeper meanings not revealed to the uninitiated outsiders. Many of these same stories that are published as children’s tales to entertain have more detailed versions that contain deeper meanings and truths relating the culture and memories of the people and the ancestors who own them.
Later we visited Number 1 Waterfall where the three legged dog’s mate dug a hole so deep that a waterspout erupted and shot him up and trapped him in the rocks above – can you see him in this picture? His head is in the corner where the angles meet.

Dog trapped in the corner of the rocks.

We are all one.

Indigenous stories are a large part of their culture especially because these were not ‘literate’ societies but ‘orality’ societies where information is memorised with the help of stories and paintings. I heard more stories when we climbed Injalak; a rocky outcrop viewed in its magnificence from Injalak Arts Centre in Gunbalanya. A beautiful place where women’s ceremonies are held, Injalak has at least 15 rock art galleries and is the place where long ago people went during the big wet to live out of the way of the flooding rains.


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Gabriella was our special guide. As we sat below the image of the Creation Mother with her dilly bags, Gabriella told us how Creation Mother came in from the North bringing her dilly bags each of which contained all of the information that described each of the groups of people; their names, their skin names, their moiety to name a few. What struck me was that she shared with us that these were for all groups, white people included.


Gabriella telling the story of Creation Mother

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The Creation Mother is for all people. For me this was the moment when my culture merged with the indigenous culture of this land. We are all indeed one. The creator created all of us. It was absolutely confirming and beautiful to hear this from Gabriella as she told the story.

The shift in Universal energy that people are talking about describes how we are moving from being separate to coming together as one. This story, belonging to indigenous culture includes me; it changes me from being an outsider to being included, recognising the whole of world peoples as one.

The impact of the experience

The impact of being immersed in another culture as deeply as one can be, even if for a few days and when they are an outsider, was profound. For a small wink in time, I was embraced into this ancient culture. I felt and breathed the spirit of the place; the rocks, the water, the plants, the wind, the people. I connected with the ancestors of these people and the land; with my breath, my presence and through story.

 Where to now?

Back on home ground I am aware of how I will bring my experience together so that it enriches my personal culture on a daily basis. I feel that my ability to sense the environment around me; to be able to ‘read’ the energy, be conscious of it has become part of the way I am. I have learnt more about being at peace, taking time to absorband listen, and to connect with my ancestors too. … and as I’ve been writing a peewee bird, symbolic of my ancestors and those of this land has been walking beside me on the grass!

I said to our indigenous guide and companion, Christine, when I bade my farewells, “Our ancestors have met. We will always be connected after this beautiful experience.” and I believe this to be the truth.

Finding your personal culture is empowering as it is the outcome of really coming to know yourself. You may discover that some of the things you hold onto are fear-based beliefs that have been instilled by your family’s culture. When you know that what you truly believe serves you and your personal goodness and wellbeing you will find that you have come home to your personal chosen culture.

Here are some steps to begin the process.

  1. Learn to breathe. (Go to https://lifehealingjourneys.com.au for this information)

  2. Practice sitting and being – feeling and awareness of each element in your surroundings.

  3. Examine the things in your life that you take for granted. Decide whether they are true or have been imposed as the truth for someone else’s benefit. You can change your beliefs.

  4. Be aware of your values and check to see if your actions reflect them.

In Conclusion

Culture is what we choose to connect with and what resonates with ourselves personally. Some of us come from strong cultures that may overbear and dictate what they do in life and I wonder if this is all really culture? Culture is such a big word. For me, returning to my ancestral place in England and then experiencing connection to the land through the generosity of the indigenous people in Arnhem Land, I have a greater sense of my culture through my deep seated beliefs around Oneness, connection and the Spirit in all things. This effects the way I am, and in turn, the way I am with others with the intention being for the good of all – or One.

As always, if you think I can help you find your way, then please connect with me through phone, Facebook and website.


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Injalak rock gallery

Lightening man

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Some References:

  1. Injalak Arts Centre http://injalak.com/
  2. Lynne Kelly, “The Memory Code”  Allen & Unwin: 2016
  3. Louise Hambly, “Containers of Power: women with clever hands.” Utber&Patullo Pub: 2010.