A climate emergency has been announced in the UK and politicians talk of the “great steps being taken to address this emergency”. If we accept that we are in a emergency what action can we each take to respond to this call and what role does something like shamanism offer to this? A memory comes to me as a young child while at my first school witnessing new born mice being drowned in a glass jar. I became so upset distraught and hysterical, it was really my first direct witnessing of the cruelty of humans, the rational for their death was we have to many. It would be easy to see my response as a over reaction from a overly sensitive child which of course is how the school saw it and I became a problem child with issues. However if we go deeper I was aware of a knowing that all life is sacred and as such is to be respected. My reaction came from this truth in me being crushed. It seems clear that humans still see nature as something to be managed as our own natures are sought to be managed by the hypnosis of media and societies conditioning. If we are going to address this climate emergency as a whole, how can we learn to live with nature as a part of nature? How can we become open to think for or like the earth and open up to expressing our own unique nature? Every action we take has a impact the ripples will flow out across the collective. The deeper I go into our inter connectedness through my own spiritual practices the more I feel this to be a reality given to us by time honoured wisdom – so what we do does make a difference! It is a relatively new occurrence for humans to not turn to the spirits for guidance, working with shamanic ways brings new possibilities and invites an emergence of our own nature as well as a return to this respect of all life and honouring of the sacred. If as a society we each lived this what kind of world would we live in? One where our unique nature is encouraged as a expression of the sacred. These things may well not be resolved in our life time however I believe we have the wisdom available to achieve this, so what is needed is a willingness to try. I do see I am making progress in this and working with shamanism opens me to a more natural way of life one that holds respect and honours the sacred connections of us all. It will push on areas that hold us back from expressing who we are and strengthen the areas where we do. To live this in daily life in our current society I find is a challenge but wherever I go in my daily reactions this is the place I drop back into when I give the space to it in my daily practices my own encounter with shamanism supports and helps me reclaim this. In preparing for my upcoming tree course I have read a number of articles where science is understanding trees are alive in ways they did not know before. This is a move back to a animistic world view and if we are to address our climate emergency then animism surely has a part to play where we see the earth as a living organism that we are a part of and not as a resource for humans to take from. Along with my ongoing sacred activism events I am currently developing some workshops giving opportunities to deepen into this. I was told once there is very little each of us can do so we had better do something. With the discoveries I am making with shamanism and my connection with our earth what else am I to do! There are amazing things happening in the world currently as we are pushed to move in a new direction and we each have a part to play.
Walking with the land is a rich and powerful part of my daily practice; to walk as a part of the natural world brings many health benefits. I work with the local cycles of nature as a indicator of where we are within this cycle. Here in Perthshire the hawthorn is not in flower as yet, which is when I acknowledge the full arrival of Beltane. However the creative power and fertility is really moving and the land is changing daily- It is a real joy to feel and witness this. We may well feel this creativity and fertility flowing through us at this time as well as we are part of this natural cycle. So may the fertile and creative blessing’s of Beltane be yours.
Here is a update on upcoming workshops. In July I am offering a day event, “creating and working with altars” as well as a Friday evening and weekend workshop “ceremony for everyday and everyone”. I aim for this to bring a strong support for our daily spiritual practice .
These workshops are open to anyone that feels they may be helpful to them so no shamanic experience needed. I again am offering the “remembering our shamanic way” in June, a weekend introductory to shamanism workshop.
In September I am very excited to offer “listening to the trees”, a nine month journey of partnership and friendship with the trees. This is a series of 9 day workshop to grow deep relationships with the trees for healing, guidance and wisdom. Full details of all workshops are up now on my website, if you feel these would support your spiritual and shamanic life, do get in touch.
The shamans role is to build partnerships with helping compassionate, and over time, trusted allies in the spirit world. The spirits have a greater view for our life and see us in our creative power rather than how we may see ourselves in perceived failings. It is from the spirits that the solutions and healing for our problems come, then it is for us to us to do something in the everyday with their guidance. People I have learnt from who grew up with shamanic ways use ceremony and listen to the spirits to maintain harmony and health of individuals as well as the community and this is very much a living and regular part of their cultures way. Shamanism is thought of as the oldest spirituality on our earth and is still very much returning today to our western culture. It is a fairly recent phenomena for people to not believe or consult the spirits for help which maybe why shamanism often feels familiar for people. So what can shamanism offer us today? When I am challenged in my own life I find a question to bring to the spirits for there input and guidance. Having worked with the spirits since 2004 I have a deep trust based on experience in the answers that come and have trusted enough in my own helping spirits guidance to sell a house and move country. This trust in spirit has payed off and has brought a life that I could not of imagined or conceived from my own viewpoint. Learning these ways has brought a resource that has opened up life in so many unexpected ways. In our culture we face many problems and uncertainty in many areas and there seems to be a broken trust in a political system to address these for the good of all life. Maybe what is needed is inspiration for a new vision one that we cannot conceive from our current viewpoint and turning to spirit once more may be a way this inspiration can come through us and out into the world. If it can happen for individuals could it not happen for our society as a whole? In my lifetime I have seen a huge growth in people seeking a new and different way and finding many ways to express this through a variety of spiritual practices. Shamanism is one of these ways and as ever for global change we start with ourselves and our own lives. Working with the question, “how do the spirits see me?” opens us to see ourselves in a new way. You could work with this in a shamanic journey or in meditation or ask this when out in nature and see and feel what comes. When I have done this in my own practice over the years the answer that comes has changed though it is always more than I can see or imagine. Seeing myself with the eyes of spirit has inspired me to step beyond my comfort zone and into a richer life and when challenges come from taking that step the spirits are there to help and guide. The spiritual journey is a amazing one to take a courageous act for sure but as we take those shaky steps the spirits step with us too. I wonder if we will return to a time where this trust and turning to spirit is our cultures way and open to this inspiration once more?
There are two upcoming workshops “remembering our shamanic way” and “ceremony for everyday and everyone” I also am planning a day course “creating and working with alters” and a ongoing course “stories from the trees” details will announced soon, for full details on workshops and booking please see the website http://www.oakenleaf.co.uk/?page_id=42
I was told this story at the beginning of my learning with shamanism
“A western teacher for a time brought indigenous shamans over to the UK from all across the world to teach workshops. Each time he did this he would get many requests for 1:1 session’s with the visiting shaman. No matter where they were from in the world when he told them about this he would always get one of two responses! Either a look of confusion or side-splitting laughter! ”
The concept of one to one in shamanic cultures is unheard off. This is because they would understand the interconnectedness of us all. The health and wellbeing of each person would be seen as the responsibility of each one of us as would a person’s individuals healing.
So if someone was in need of healing, all would turn up to support the shaman in his work it was seen as a community event as this persons need would affect each person in the community as indeed it would impact their relationship with the environment, for a true community is all life, people, trees, water, animals, soil, birds, insects, rocks.
Now just take a moment as I invite you to stop reading and ask yourself what this understanding if it was a part of our way, would mean in our modern society? Can you hold a vision for what this could be and how we would interact each day within our communities?
I have been on an active healing path since 1999 and still am. There are challenges that I need to attend too either that I will need to take to the spirits or get help from a trusted friend. I have come to see that to commit to a healing path is a commitment for life.
However as each burden within me is given attention and transformed within the tapestry of my life a ripple goes out, my life becomes richer and from this grows a deeper connection to all of life and from this, deep respect emerges and from this, a willingness to serve life expands out.
Bees have come to my life over the last years, they come as teachers, not as a honey supply. This story I have shared with you is a way of life for the bee and the more I connect with the way of bees the deeper it takes me into the heart of this story.
Each action I take or word I speak or thought I think it goes out influencing the web of life! Shamanism offers hope for our world, for as the growing experience of a deep connection to all life unfolds, and shamanism offers this possibility the ability to cause harm weakens, as if you bring harm to another (including our earth) you harm yourself, as indeed if bring your love to another you deepen your love to yourself.
Two new dates for workshops have just been finalized, The first in June REMEMBERING OUR SHAMANIC WAY is a weekend Introductory course to shamanic journeying the root of shamanism. The second is a new workshop, CEREMONY FOR EVERYDAY AND EVERYONE held over a Friday night and weekend in July and is an invitation to bring simple ceremony into your daily practice to inspire strengthen and hold you.
Full details are available on the workshop page please contact for booking or with any questions.
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.