Trees have always been very important in my life. As a young child, I was involved in the management of a local woodland. I still visit this place and now with shamanism have worked with clients and my own personal ceremony within this ancient bluebell woodland. Our relationship built over time is deep and we know each other well.
Living in Scotland I love the magic and wildness of our lochs glens and mountains. I have found though I really need to be close to trees for my own wellbeing both physically and spiritually. Trees touch me deeply and soothe me. Some of the trees close to me I have been visiting for many years as you would a friend.
My work has a strong emphasis on the spiritual being grounded in everyday activities. A part of my spiritual practice is planting trees and more recently I am learning to grow trees from seed, so our garden is holding an emerging forest! I recall I planted over 100 trees over three days in our village. On my return home I was so happy and if I had died at that moment I felt like my life would be complete.
As a daily practice and as part of my Celtic ancestry I have learnt the symbolism of trees and I use my imagination in a circle of trees in my inner world. Indigenous cultures would see imagination and spirit as the same thing it is a powerful practice and one that is manifesting out into the world.
Over the next weeks, I will be planting two sacred circles of trees that will have a dedication to peace. One will be a place people can visit to be at peace and as a circle to go for contemplation. It is interesting to see my inner world manifesting in the physical world and this inspires my sacred activism.
There, is something very exciting happening from our children going out on strike demanding action on climate change to the growing interest in spiritual practice. My action with trees is an example of my shamanism expressing itself as sacred activism. I would be very interested to hear how you practically express your spirituality.
I have just created a new workshop to offer “CEREMONY FOR EVERDAY AND FOR EVERYONE” This will be held over the weekend of July 12th/14th. Its aim is to lead students to build confidence and understanding so that they are able to work with a ceremony as a personal daily practice and hopefully if they wish to offer to their communities too.
A daily ceremony has been a strong part of my daily practice for many years and is ever evolving. It holds me and gives space to allow inspiration and creativity to flow through and provides conditions of healing in my work as a practitioner with clients. I am really excited to offer this to others so they too may find benefit.
I am just writing up and reviewing my workshop ” Energetic Recycling” which will be held on March 16th/17th 2019. I am looking at the opening and the place of the Altar.
I have worked with Altars for many years and have come to have a deep respect for their place in a workshop or ceremony. I always extend an open invitation for people to contribute objects to the altar as they love to grow and it helps people prepare for our work together before we meet, thus all our stories are woven into the event.
Alters bring a focus and power to the work and can be as simple as a tea light or created for a single event and purpose such as a workshop and even worked with over many years as in my daily alter that I sit with at the beginning and end of my day.
To sit before a alter I find is quite different to not and lets us know that what we are about to engage with asks for a different level of attention and focus to that which we may use in our everyday tasks and will bring power to our sacred work. As with my workshops, I do not repeat the Altar but create a new one for this specific time and group.
What goes on a alter is unique for the purpose we are working with. In my home, I have an altar to my ancestors both of blood, place, and tradition. I have a simple one for the spirit of the house, garden and land that surrounds me and I have one that has grown over the last 10 years or so, which has the elements and other gifts from nature as well as candles, stones, and crystals for specific aspects of my work.
I also have created alters out on the land, working with the spirits of place and with the stories of the land and with the natural objects as well as energetic connections. This has helped me greatly to become to see the earth as one alter and deepen into a sacred relationship with this visible face of spirit as many cultures speak of the natural world.
So maybe this is something you may consider in your practice to create altars, play and have fun with this and see what grows and if it supports you too. It can be a fun creative practice and as shamanism holds the animistic view your alter too will have spirit and can help guide you as to what is needed, or simply as the question “what is needed for my alter” and open for it be shown to you.
I was recently asked to attend an event celebrating and raising awarness for a much loved Biodynamic Garden close to where I live. In preparation for this event I was asked to do some work with the land.
I arrived with my drum and through this connected with the heart of the garden which is very strong. I was guided to offer a simple blessing to the land which I gladly did.(Blessings are very powerful and I will write more about this simple practice and effects soon) When this was done I saw a job that needed attention, the grass needed cutting and a lawnmower was ready waiting, this again I gladly did.
I enjoyed this balance of working in the non-physical reality and then the physical reality also. In my work with shamanism I work a lot in the non-physical reality and am looking more and more for practical ways to work in the physical finding ways to support all life.
Currently I am at the very begining stages of a project in Natural Beekeeping, not as a resource for honey but providing spaces for bees to inhabit so they are able to live naturaly and do what bees do. This will involve learning more, providing ways to educate about bees and their lives including a play is one idea, then inviting the bees to a land up above Dunkeld. So working in both physical and non physical realites brings a balance.
In Shamanic healing work with people this goes on too, the healing is worked in non physical reality then they are asked to bring this out into their own lives with practical tasks, bringing through their healing into everyday life where the changes can occur.
I am offering a “Introduction to Shamanic Ways” weekend on the 23rd/24th November 2018 where we will be finding answers to the question “how can this ancient practice of shamanism benifit my life now?” Full details on the workshop page www.oakenleaf.co.uk for booking please contact me.
I am just back from a amazing adventure on the Isle of Rhum here on the west coast of Scotland. There are many stories I will tell over time about the silence and power of the land or the wildlife I encounterd but those are for another day.
I camped at the edge of a sea lock sleeping with the bellowing roars of rutting Red Deer stags. Often my first view on waking was of Eider ducks or Mergansers as I greeted the day which started with a fire for warmth food and focus. Being on such powerful land and having no schedule and for that matter phone signal really helped me to become present.
On my third day a westerly storm was coming and torrential rain forcast as this force of nature built momentum the winds growing and rain arriving I watched my mind, “what if this happens, what if that happens, what if the tent blows away…?” it raced away on and on.
I then dropped down into my heart and my bodies story, I found I was really happy and content, and I mean really happy and content and I felt very connected. I chose to stay with this, and with confidence let my mind know all precautions have been made and all is well.
I enjoyed the storm in the night being on the land in all its wildness and woke to the peace of the next day and yes all was well. As I left Rhum I again saw a Golden Eagle soaring above and made a promise to bring this awareness and wisdom into my everyday life.
How can I make space each day, so I do not get caught up in a drama of my mind’s making and drop into my heart to a deeper and truer way of life?
On the 24th/25th November I am offering a “Introduction to Shamanic Ways” workshop, where we will explore the question of how can this ancient practice of shamanism help me in my everyday life? Shamanism as a practice takes us deeper within ourselves unlocking deeper truths for our lives and practical support . For more details and booking see workshop page on www.oakenleaf.co.uk or please contact me.
Welcome to Oakenleaf, the offering of our work here is a vision for all life and in this we include humanity, it is one of nature; to unlock our own unique nature and find the resouces to express this and to come home to ourselves as nature.
I do not underestimate the challenge presented in this as we live in a world that does not always support or value natures expression. Yet many of the challenges are as a result of this falling away from nature and we have created a society that lives in a unatural way with many stresses and strains as a result.
In my own journey this ongoing deepening of nature is one that has both enhanced and given me life. The practice of Shamanism offers a life affirming process that respects and upholds all life and offers oppurtunties to live in a more natural and harmonoius way thus enhancing our own wellbeing on all levels.
Oakenleaf is a expression of my own nature and a offering in service to life that goes on giving and teaching me so much. Shamanism has led me back to what I already knew but for many reasons was unable to trust and express, but now am able to do so.
If this work speaks to you and you feel the way I work can help you, do get involved, there will be regular blogs here, workshops, sacred activism events, as well as individual sessions.