One of the most frequent questions I get asked is 'What is Shamanism'?
I have developed various answers. The 30 second quick answer for the politely-interested. The 2 minute answer for the curious at a social event. The long teaching answer I reserve for courses. And the I'm-desperately-seeking-spiritual-connection-and-growth-but-I'm-not-quite-sure-what-or-how-to-go-about-it-nor-what-to-ask answer for the person just like me 20 years ago!
So here is my attempt to put some info together for you so you can watch in your own time, at your own pace. I include my own experience in coming to this wonderful and deep way of working and life path. This is to show how really anyone can access this way of connecting to helping spirits for themselves. If I can, anyone can!
Let me know what you think below in the comments. I'd love to hear your views.
And if you'd like to give it a go:
1/26/2021 0 Comments
I'm shocked and slightly embarrassed by my lack of knowledge.
Walking regularly, hiking, gardening, spending time in nature, I thought I knew most of the British common tree species. Yet I have been shocked to discover how little I know! There are trees that I've walked past for years and not noticed that I didn't know what they were. And the history and folklore have been beautifully revealed as I've delved deeper.
So I thought I'd share my experience of one app I've come to rely on for my explorations and discoveries. It has helped me find out more about familiar trees, as well as find trees at nearly every time of year. This has become more urgent and more meaningful as I've explored working with the Ogham alphabet.
If you've ever used oracle cards, runes or tarot you may still be surprised to learn about Ogham sticks and the Ogham alphabet. The Ogham alphabet is 20 letters, based on tree types, developed by our Celtic ancestors, and it is used for divinatory as well as protective or supportive purposes.
I've worked with core shamanism for over 20 years, but working with the Ogham alphabet has been a wonderful way to deepen my deep connection with trees on the British Isles. In fact, this connection with trees in a shamanic way is so inspiring I now share these teachings with those I teach, with regular Ogham workshops. By making full use of the shamanic journey we can gain a deeper, heartfelt and personal connection to the spirit of each tree.
However, as I said, not all trees are equally easy to identify! Especially at different times of the year such as winter. And you might find this app helpful.
The 'British Trees' App
This is the first page of the app - the choice of identifying trees by feature, or a simple A to Z.
If you open up the whole guide it lists trees in alphabetical order, with photos of the entire tree.
If you wish to explore trees by feature as I did with the alder I pictured top, it is great for narrowing down options.
It gives you the options you can explore
So, for example, discovering an unknown (to me) tree in December, I could look at the bud (shown in top photo) and the fruit (a little pine cone shaped appendage) as well as the catkin which comes under the flower category.
I also had the bark as a guide, and the location of the tree, which as you can see below, was next to water.
When you select fruit type as a way of identifying the tree you can choose from these options, with helpful drawings as shown here:
With the leaf or needle type option you can select
One bit of it I loved, and never expected, is being able to choose a colour of the different aspects from a list.
It seems to be forgiving, a best guess is good enough too. It also helped me focus more on the tree in questions.
In winter I discovered the unknown tree I was investigating had purple catkins. Without this focus I would have just assumed they are brown. I've since discovered this is not just a colour for alder, but birch has purple or burgundy buds. I'm grateful for this deeper awareness.
Once the British Trees App had analysed my observations it gave two possibilities.
The gallery below shows how clearly the photos pointed to alder, not aspen. And the write up of each species tells us about its natural history, key features and its historical and current uses.
Alder is a pioneer species, the 3rd tree in the Celtic Ogham alphabet. I was amazed to learn that it not only loves to have its roots in water, but the wood from this tree is stronger in water than in the air. This makes it ideal for building boats, such as Viking longboats, bridge supports in rivers and clogs. In fact, it is such a strong wood that the whole of Venice is built on it. What gifts each tree species offers us on a practical level.
On a spiritual level we can spend time meditating on how this pioneer species fixes nitrogen into the soil. It turns boggy landscapes into dry ones, firms river banks and other species can grow drawing off the nitrogen fixed by this tree.
We can learn to have strength, boldness and firm foundations in our spiritual lives, even with watery changing surrounds and emotions. This is all good knowledge, but the best step is to take a shamanic journey to meet the spirit of alder. With our main helping spirits at our sides we could ask it how to become spiritually stronger, or what we need to strengthen our spiritual commitment or foundation.
This personal practice of shamanically relating to the spirit of the tree is what makes the connection shift from a mental experience to a felt, all sensation experience. A true knowing of what this tree means for us, individually and uniquely. To have this connection with just one species is remarkable and can change an everyday walk to a deep, meaningful, heart-expanding experience.
To travel to meet the spirits of the 20 trees in the Ogham alphabet, and to work with them profoundly, clearly and with dedication and commitment is life changing. From time to time I have shared this work in my monthly Shamanic Practice Gatherings, and a full programme in this work is coming very soon.
All in all, I rate this app:
So here's what you can do to connect to the spirit of the trees near you.
In the meantime, you can
1/25/2021 4 Comments
20 years ago I had never experienced a shamanic journey. I hadn't met my power animal or spirit helper, and had certainly not found a reliable way to get spirit guidance, insight and connection. Maybe this is you now? Maybe you're curious but don't really know what it is, or why bother.
Read on, for my top 5 reasons to do a shamanic journey and meet or connect to your spirit helper (and how to go about it)
#1. Adventure and travel - despite lockdown!
I wouldn't normally put this one first. In fact, I may not have included it at all in a pre-Covid list. But during lockdown a sense of wanderlust is something many of us have as an unmet yearning in increasing doses.
In a shamanic 'journey' we have the chance to go on a 'soul-flight' to another landscape. Planes may be grounded, flights not Covid-safe, but we can set off to the 'Lower' or 'Upper World' of the shamanic cosmos to meet our spirit helper. Have you travelled this way yet?
Your spirit helper will often be in the form of an animal. This helping spirit is called a 'power animal', although any form is possible: human, mythological, tree spirit, angel. You can find this loving, wise and all-knowing being by listening to a shamanic drumming track, having a clear intention and starting from a place you know in nature using your mind's eye or imagination and all of your senses.
Never underestimate your imagination. It is the portal between the ordinary and non-ordinary realm, and as you gain more experience you will come to know this as the language of the spirits without a strand of doubt. And the drum shifts your brain from its normal 'alpha' state into a 'theta' state. This means that you can communicate better with spirit, facilitating better connection between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It also allows us to connect with our subconscious as well as the collective consciousness, sometimes called the great or one universal mind, or collective consciousness. This is the realm of spirit, which we can perceive from this altered state of consciousness.
If you are guided well in your early journeys by a more experienced human helper, this is a totally safe way of working as you can snap out of theta state straight away into alpha by turning off the drumming track.
#2. Love, Connection & Belonging
At first glance this may also seem an unusual reason. On reflection it is often the main reason we are seeking to connect with spirit, and an incredible experience if you've not yet had it!
Your spirit helper is the wisest, most loving being that you have ever met. This being knows you 'inside out' and chances are they've been waiting years for you to get in touch with them. Whether it's a tiny bird or a huge mammal, an ancestor or spirit of a rock, this 'person' knows every part of you and loves you anyway. Unconditionally.
This being also knows what's best for you and how to go about telling you what it is you need to hear. I find I usually get told what I need to hear which is not always the same as what I want to hear but is much more helpful. We only get told what we can handle. I have never been given anything to do or be that was beyond my ability.... and we can always say no as we always have free will.
When I miscarried my first child, my spirit helper was the one who gave me the love, understanding and insight to move beyond my grief. My friends and family had done their best. Sometimes they did this well, sometimes clumsily. Still, I couldn't find a way to understand and integrate the experience of losing this hoped for child. My spirit teachers took me on a journey to meet the spirit of this unborn baby, and start to understand her path as one that did not require her to be born in this life. I had a full and felt experience of meeting this child spirit using all of my senses, with my heart fully present. I came back from that shamanic journey helped, healed and forever changed, having experienced the deepest love imaginable.
Most of us experience times in our lives when we want more love, need forgiveness or a sense of purpose, but just can't find it. Often my clients report the first thing they experience on meeting their spirit helper is a sense of deep love, of feeling like coming home. It's a beautiful sensation. We only get one life in this body, why not choose to experience this right away?
#3. Help for ANY situation. And just a drum beat away.
When we go on a shamanic journey it is important, or even critical, to have a clear intention or focus on what we are doing. I encourage all my clients to frame a journey with a mission that states where they are going, who they want to meet and what help they need in their life.
The help they seek can be varied. For example, we may go to the lower world to meet our power animal to ask for: 'Help to find a great job'; 'Help to find my ideal partner'; 'Help to find a nurturing home for me and my family'; or 'Help to improve my relationship with Aunt Bess'.
You'll notice that all the help is about the person asking for help. We're not asking to change other people, just help for us to get closer to what we yearn for. A good shamanic practitioner can help clients experience journeys more deeply by exploring the deep, whispering yearnings of the heart to come up with a clear and powerful intention. This turns interesting journeys into powerful, life-changing experiences.
By asking our spirit helpers for their help we are really asking that the tectonic plates of the spiritual universe be shifted in our favour. Miracles and magic are entirely possible.
Sometimes the help we are shown makes no sense in the moment. In one session a client went on a journey to ask for 'help to make healthy food choices' after years of battling with food. She had a pleasant experience, listening to the drum and going to the Lower World via her familiar tunnel and coming out into her usual meadow landscape with her power animal. They danced awhile, and sunbathed. She felt his warm fur and loving presence. The sunset and her spirit animal told her it was done.
When she returned from the journey she was glowing and relaxed. She'd had a lovely time, but it didn't give her any answers or insights into her food situation. I explained that 'help' journeys often need no analysis or understanding, but to just keep her connection with her spirit helpers through her daily practice, reconnecting with her whole body felt experience of the journey.
A couple of days later I received a delighted answerphone message. "It's amazing! This might not sound much, but on the way home I stopped off to get some food. Usually I'd have gone straight over to the dessert aisle, and picked up a treat with some excuse or other about how I deserved it. I felt myself being pulled towards the fish counter, ordered some salmon and went round to the veg coming out with some broccoli and kale. It was like I was being moved without me thinking about it. I cooked it at home and it was delicious, and I had no cravings for chocolate or crisps or biscuits afterwards. It's been like this since the journey. It doesn't sound much but it's truly incredible!"
I have countless other examples. Being shown things that make no sense until a few weeks later which turn out to be premonitions that guide us to our next steps. Healings that take place within a journey so that the pain is instantly relieved. Relationships that start to improve almost miraculously after the journey. True, 'asking-for-help' journeys aren't always mammoth in their results, but they always take us a step closer to freedom, joy and connection.
#4. Insight. Spirit guidance and perspective at your fingertips
How would it be to take each step in life, knowing you're going in the right direction?
So often I have asked for advice or guidance from my spirit helpers. Along with clients, common themes emerge such as "How can I find my ideal partner?"; "What is my next step in finding my perfect career"; "How can I be a better parent to my daughter?"; or "What should I focus on this full moon?"
By asking our spirit helpers we get much deeper answers than we can imagine. In fact, in my experience, in a journey we get much deeper answers even than in meditation or visualisation.
One recent example was when I led a visualisation on my Facebook Heart and Spirit circle, for free, last lockdown. I asked people, once in a deep state of relaxation, to focus on the 'treasures of lockdown' to see what gems we could find within all the darkness of this time which was difficult for many. I also did this visualisation for myself, and came up with lots of wonderful insights such as peace, calmness, a connection to nature and more. It was beautiful and insightful and as many people shared their findings in my group I could see the power of taking this time to be still and reflect. However, there was much more to come.
I lay down to do a journey with a friend. We had chosen to ask our spirit helpers to "Please show me the gifts of my lockdown and how to weave them into this next phase" (a slightly more complex journey than I'd recommend for beginners as it has 2 questions in one, but a good one if you have a very clear connection to your spirit helpers and lots of experience to know what is 'normal' for you on your journey or not).
I had the experience of feeling my heart fill, my heart being fed and nurtured. This was powerful and beautiful, and entirely relatable to my experience of lockdown if I viewed it from the perspective they showed me. But I was worried about school restarting and some stresses with the situation we'd been experiencing at the school. My spirits showed me how being in the car for 20 minutes each day with the new situation of just one child was a complete joy, not the anxious experience I was expecting. I was shown how to be present and experience stillness in the drive home on my own, an experience only possible in lockdown as in normal times I would have two children in the car.
My spirits and I did a ceremony of burning the energy of unwanted school gate conversations. This showed me how to have the discussions and meetings even with people I found stressful while knowing how to burn the lingering energy.
Until this journey I hadn't even been aware that I was concerned about the return to school, or that the meetings with anxious Covid-wary parents was something that worried me. They showed me how to stay in my 'power' and not leak it to others, or allow them to take it from me. I had a true and felt experience of letting go of contagious anxiety, and finding a practice in the car to both improve my relationship with one child and to find my inner peace. There were several more teachings in this journey too.
So much more information, insight and power is available to us than we realise. We just need to make a little time for a shamanic journey. And this only takes 20 minutes or so.
#5. Your individual path: life purpose or moment to moment.
Knowing we have all the answers and all the love we need, forever and unconditionally, has to be the main reason to invite spirit connection through the shamanic journey.
The shamanic journey is an ancient, time tried and tested method. It doesn't come from a single culture, does not 'steal' a way of working inappropriately. What I love is how individual and unique our experiences are.
One person meets a mouse, another a hawk, another a narwhal. One person meets an ancestor or a religious being or an angel. Another meets the spirit of the land, or a rock, or a tree. We get exactly what we need.
One person is taken into the jungle, another the sea, another the mountains. One flies into the sky another ascends into realms of light and crystal. One person is told to eat less meat, another to eat more meat.
One person is told to meditate daily, another to dance to a drum, another to apply her makeup as if she were applying it to the most beautiful and loved being in the world. One is told to visit a church service, one is told to walk in nature each day.
We get the answers we need, at the very time we need them. Whether we originate from the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Europe, Africa, anywhere.... we meet our own ancestor spirits. Sometimes we are guided to follow practices that turn out to be traditional shamanic ways of working that we knew nothing about. Sometimes we are guided to follow routines that seem very much of our own time and culture.
We get what we need. Every time.
We are loved. Every time.
We know we belong. And we are home.
What more could we want from our lives?
Final thoughts and your next steps
If you are intrigued by the shamanic journey I have some ideas for you to get started.
It's time to really get to experience the joy of connecting to spirit in this ancient, grounded way.
"What on earth is an Omen walk?" I pondered.
I've been doing shamanic work for over 2 decades, and yet had never heard of Omen walks.
I've been dabbling in Oracle cards and Tarot for even longer - but seeking omens on a walk, rather than in cards, had also never occurred to me.
"So, you mean, going out in nature and asking for an insight into one event is a 'thing'?"
And it's a very specific thing indeed.
Different to medicine walks which seek deep and winding answers to help answer our life questions, where nature acts as a mirror in coaching, or the spirits work with us through our interconnectedness in the web of life if we look at it from a shamanic/animistic perspective..
It's different, and it seems its roots are in the 12 Days of Christmas.
And I'm wondering about extending this beyond the 12 Days - if you'd like to find out how YOU can get involved in this, read on!
It starts with a walk...
This rather unprepossessing leaf, is my Omen for January.
On 26 December, Boxing Day in the UK, I left my house for a walk. At a certain point in the walk I set about crossing a 'threshold' to start on my walk with the intention to be shown an omen for January.
I wasn't alone.
I knew there were many others, most based in the UK, setting off with the same intention on the same day of the year. What's more, I was with my husband and dog.
Our walk was fairly uneventful, but I recorded the main points to refer back to.
It was unusually stormy weather...
Magpies scuttling up, suddenly....
A chat about his work and mine...
Cora barking at a pheasant...
His work didn't seen fun...
It felt really good to talk....
As I crossed the threshold, it seemed little had happened. But I noted these points. And in the name of experimenting, I opted for one more.
I decided to apply the principles of my shamanic way of working in nature, and cross another threshold, with the same intention, but to open my heart and allow nature to lead me.
Within seconds, I could not shake off the 'pull' of a cluster of birch trees around the corner. I walked towards them and was stopped suddenly.
Black and squidgy mud, squelch after squelch. And in the high storm and darkening afternoon a tiny, bright green, perfectly fresh leaf shone against the black sludge of the path. I stopped to look, and my heart's craving for the birch ceased.
This was another omen for January. I knew it. I knew it in my heart, in the same way I know when I search on a medicine walk, or seek a power place in nature. Beyond any intellectual doubt my heart and soul were sure, as if the whole resonance of nature, me and the Universe aligned in that moment.
Stealing a photo to remind me (above) I turned and crossed the threshold.
And yet there was more!
And then there are the the dreams...
That night (in fact, the night before as this seems to most naturally fit the date of the 26th to me, I had three main dreams. Dreams can be part of the omen, if we set the intention before we sleep.
Phone unusually by my bed, ready to record my whispers without having to turn on the light or speak loud and wake the household here are the 3 gists of my nocturnal travels:
The third, slightly different, but involving me being in charge, and getting support from someone (the secretary).
Give it a title
The trick to pulling it all together is to give it a title.
So mine, at least the (rather cumbersome) working title is: "It all turns out way better than expected: A storm, muddle and confusion, I do it on my own and in the end I get more help than I ever expected."
"It all turns out way better than expected: A storm, muddle and confusion, I do it on my own and in the end I get more help and it's better than I ever expected."
Work in Progress...
So, January is still work in progress - but I can see some of it falling into place.
The jury is out. Like Tarot and Oracle card reading, runes, Ogham sticks and other divinatory tools it's feeling into the experience for the answers that helps. Sensing, trusting intuition, or being aware of spirit guidance along the way.
So where does it all come from?
I have had a few sources for this work. One is Caitlin Matthews, who wrote a blog on this part of her work. I believe her partner, John, has also written on this Celtic animistic practice too, but his book is out of print and rather expensive! Another is Mandy Pullen, who has been doing this work for a few years.
Although I've been doing shamanic work with many, many teachers for over 20 years, I never stop wanting to learn more! I often as my helping spirits directly, and sometimes I get inspired by what's around. Mandy offered a short online course this Christmas. I felt keen to join a group to experience this more deeply (and the accountability was helpful on wet, windy, darkening days!).
Its roots are basically medieval. In the medieval liturgical calendar, Christmas Day stood out as a supreme holy day. After this day the 12 days of Christmas were counted as 'time between time' before the starting of the next calendar. These days were known as 'intercalary days' in Brittany and Wales, and fell between the two years ending on the 6th of January - or Twelfth Night. These days were used for finding omens, or auguries, for the forthcoming year.
Caitlin has more background here, in her blog on the topic.
It is rather wonderful to think of our ancestors doing this animistic practice. Trusting in the spirits of nature to show omens to help guide and warn them of future events. Insights, open to anyone, regardless of background, mystical training (to some degree at least!), or education.
So how can you get involved?
So, you may have missed Christmas for a year or so but here are some options you could play with.
Tell me how you get on...
And I'd love to hear how you get on! Do let me know in the comments if you give it a go, or if this inspires you in any way. And feel free to share any photos you collect along the route.
And you can find me, and wonderful like-minded people, over in my Facebook Group - where you're very welcome to post pictures and comments too!
Yesterday I sent out an email which was confusing. I made a critical typo error. Oops. I don't know which way is up!
£27 per month for my new Heart and Spirit Membership Circle - amazing offers, group coaching and more. But £27 per month, not the £21 I emailed. D'Oh.
The offer is below - all written out correctly. And I hope it makes more sense! [Scroll down!].
But, meanwhile, there's a lesson here if I pause, step back, and look.
I generally believe in taking quick action.
Sometimes not acting on what we're considering, waiting til it's perfect holds us back.
So I take quick and (sometimes messy!) action.
Sometimes this means:
So here's my question:
And, finally, here are the offers, corrected.
Offer 1 - FREE
15 minutes of free inner stillness for you over in my FREE private Heart and Spirit Facebook group. At 9am GMT live or via recording - tune into connecting with your heart, body, nature and spirit with coaching questions to create more freedom, joy and purpose in your life. Hop over to join for 7 days of freedom from yesterday's intro to Sunday.
Offer 2 - for £1 for 27 days, then £21 per month! Available until 8 December - with LIVE COACHING on FRIDAY 4 DECEMBER!!
For those who would like MORE - join my NEW membership group for £1 which gives you 21 days access to the recordings of the meditations, links to live recordings, 3 group coaching sessions (first is this Friday 3pm GMT / 9am CST - timings vary to allow for different time zones and routines, recordings always provided). Then just £27 per month for ALL the advent sessions, BONUS materials, RESOURCES and much more to come!
Link to MORE via my Heart and Spirit Circle Membership for just £1 for 21 days. You'll get:
Then just £27 monthly for all of this content, and community!
I ask the Moon, "What needs to grow?"
"Your heart", she whispers.
I fly up to her, cold, on a moonbeam
And come back, warmed through.
"Kindle the fire of your heart" she says
"The heart is your service, and it serves you,
Inspire your heart and it will become a hearth for others."
"Dance. Play. Firegaze.
Rest. Eat Well. Stargaze."
Ask yourself with every task "Does this grow my heart?"
"Connection with others, with me, will always grow your heart".
He looked across the desk at me intently, brown eyes sparkling, in a playful challenge.
"What makes your heart sing?"
He leaned a little closer, elbow on the desk, his jaw resting on his palm, relaxed. Anticipating.
"What makes your spirit soar?"
There was a pause.
A sense of space opened up between us.
Like the space that hangs silent over a lake.
Full of enormous potential. A space waiting to be filled. A life waiting to be fulfilled.
I sat, dumbstruck.
I gratefully realised out loud,
"No one has ever asked me this before."
- - -
It was my final interview at the Army Officer Regular Commissions Board in Wiltshire.
This was the final hurdle in a series of challenges to see if I had 'what it takes' to be offered a commission as an army officer.
Over the previous couple of days I'd:
As he looked at me, his eyes meeting mine, the moment froze.
Somehow everything I knew and had experienced passed through my mind in that instant.
Just Being there was an extreme strange twist of fate. I'd never even thought of being in the army until a month before. A background of economics and politics at Uni, environmental economics, accidentally falling into PR, then marketing. All so-so and winding up in an immune crash as my soul tried to point me away from this non-calling.
The army seemed oddly fun from my small dabble with it. It was the people. Everyone I met there in the recruiting challenge was incredible. An inspiration to my uninspired, bored corporate mind.
At 26 years old I was astonished as I realised this potential employer was the first to care about my dreams, my aspirations, my who-I-am. In fact, he asked the only question that mattered.
And one I had never asked myself.
In that moment I realised that what I sought in life wasn't success.
(Well, not on its own).
There was something else, something currently intangible, shining ahead of me, leading me on like the strongest guiding star.
Its voice was in my heart.
In my spirit.
It was something BIG.
I couldn't yet speak the language, but I knew it could teach me what I yearned for.
Adventure. Excitement. Joy.
I can barely remember what I answered. Something about travel, probably, and wanting to work with people. I don't think it really matters.
What does matter is what I learned in that moment, and have treasured ever since:
that THAT question is EVERYTHING.
So here's what I'd love YOU to do.
Right now, take a moment to breathe...
and then just ask yourself the gorgeous, life-changing questions
"What makes my heart sing?" and
"What makes my spirit soar?"
Just cradling these questions in your mind and heart starts to awaken a slumbering heart and spirit.
And your heart, and spirit and spirits (more on them another time!), hold the keys to what you were put on earth to do.
You may not know the answers yet, but they will start to form in you. Like some magical cloud drifting across your subconscious until your consciousness can start to see it clearly. Signs from the Universe, Spirit, God, Spirits (whatever words work for you) will appear if you start to play.
And this is the first key - just play with these thoughts.
Repeat the question to yourself. As you're in the shower, driving to work, washing up, sorting out the children's clothes, sitting in a lecture, walking the dog, flicking through channels.
Mentally doodle the answers. Grab a journal and start writing a stream of consciousness. Talk it over with a good friend and treat them to the same questions.
You don't need clarity. That will come (and I have many ways to share how).
Stir the inner longings of your heart.
Wake it gently, and trust it to remember its dreams.
I'm noticing lots of articles, some saying 'Yay, great! Let's DO stuff. You know the sort - 'Learn Tibetan' / 'become a master player of musical wheelie bins' / 'teach your dog to type'...
And then the latest flip side articles - 'We don't have to do anything', 'It's okay to fall apart', 'Cocooning is the way forward'. And the more opinionated "People shouldn't be offering us courses and activities at this time".
I guess I'm just thinking it's okay to do both, either or neither.
Some days I wake up WANTING to DO stuff. I've discovered lost food at the bottom of my freezer; I've worked out allotment parsnips AND pears go well in curried soup (recipe on request); I've offered free shamanic sessions to people I love working with.... and designed the Covid-19 Change Cycle (work in progress I hasten to add!)
Some days I wake up CONFUSED; fed up after a bad night's sleep (suggesting some inner anxiety I haven't yet got to the bottom of); feeling OVERWHELMED at the prospect of taming teenagers; and thinking it must be immoral to offer my work to people for money as my moral compass veers around this new social construct I haven't been taught the rules for.
I guess I'm just looping around. Not Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's wonderful 5 stages of grief - the shock/denial, anger, bargaining, sadness/depression and acceptance that we can flip around and between over and over after grief or loss (loss of routine and uncertainty sure can count here).
But the Covid-19 grief cycle... where the 19 refers to the number of emotions I can experience in one day... or even one hour.
So it's okay that sometimes I want to leap up and do a Joe Wicks video.
And that sometimes I want to hide under my duvet and come out around about October when we find our new normal.
That sometimes the birds, trees, sun and bees inspire me to heightened levels of appreciation and joy....
And that sometimes the budding new hawthorn and singing birds leaves me feeling untouched, isolated and lonely.
I guess I'm just trying to keep my emotional rollercoaster on the rails, and I'll get around to slowing down the carriage, and even redesigning the track to smoother and slower curves when it feels easier to do so.
So, must get back to my soup. I've said I can mix pears and parsnips, but we haven't yet tasted it....
I fear it may rank in the Peapod Wine category for those Gen X amongst us....😂
A new chapter and a big change An exciting new time is beginning - a blank page filling with ideas and options. But to be gutsily creative I have decided to take a sabbatical from homeopathy. I have given a lot of thought this move. It has been a tough decision. My patients mean a lot to me and are a huge part of my life. Yet the time has come and I have new ways of working to offer the world.
Why the change?
After 20 years of homeopathic learning, working and teaching I am taking time to refresh my approach. I became a homeopath after experiencing its phenomenal healing capacity and my spiritual practice showed me that this was the way for me to work. I have loved my time so far! I have met amazing people. I have seen over and over the incredible power homeopathy has to help with physical and emotional symptoms. But now I need to experience a new way of working that fits with my other passions, my family and my life. A year may seem a long time, but it will fly by. And I have suggestions below to find a new homeopath or work with me in new ways until I return back to homeopathy. These are being both a 'Martha Beck Wayfinder Life Coach' and a shamanic practitioner.
My experience of being coached and the glowing feedback I have from my clients has astonished me - because the tools are deep, quick and easily learned. You may have heard of Martha Beck - she is famous for being Oprah Winfrey's life coach and is a prolific author. I have loved meeting her in person and working with her and her Master coaches weekly. This way of coaching is both hugely practical and deeply spiritual. 'Wayfinding' refers to helping people to find their way, to connect with what they are really here to do with their lives and to life fully with purpose. Please feel free to call, email or ask me more. I will be sending out more details in due course. I have yet to build my new website, but you can find more about the year long training I am finishing this month here.
Shamanic healing and teaching is something I have done for 20 years. Shamanism is the oldest known way of connecting to 'spirit', the world beyond the physical. In fact we have all evolved from shamanic communities. You can learn to connect to your own spirit guides or 'power animals' in group or personal sessions, or receive one to one healing. I have courses running in June, September and beyond and sessions to suit. Contact me or check out my Wild Bear shamanic website for more information.
What's next with homeopathy?
Some of you have not seen me for a while, so this interruption may go unnoticed. However, many of you will want to find a new homeopath, or maybe try something else like acupuncture, nutrition or herbalism for example. I am not qualified to advise on alternatives to homeopathy. But if you wish to find a new homeopath then the best place to look is the Society of Homeopaths website on the 'Find a Practitioner' page. There are some excellent homeopaths and I hesitate to name those I know as there are many I don't know who are excellent as well as wonderful rising stars coming from colleges every year. I recommend calling at least 2-3 and getting a feel for them. Ask questions, check websites, find out their availability and fees and trust your gut feeling. I am always happy to provide a list of remedies if the homeopath in question wishes, but this is not usually necessary.
Some of you may prefer to try some other form of treatment and wait for me to return. It is of course entirely up to you. I will remain on the Society of Homeopath's register as a non-practising homeopathy, saving my seat for my return next year!
Meanwhile, my homeopathy practice is still running until mid June. At this point I say goodbye to my students at Salisbury Homeopathy College, finish a few consultations with those who want one more before I pause, and then prepare for a year of doing things differently. This includes revising how I practise homeopathy to allow me to continue to work, offering help and healing, for many decades to come.
And last, but by no means least....
It has been a heartfelt joy working with you so far. I sincerely wish you many blessings with your health and happiness journey from now onward whether working with me or others. Keep in touch!
I feel refreshed - which can only be good news for my patients! I love my job - which is running my clinics, seeing my lovely patients, and teaching and tutoring homeopathy students. But every now and again I need to come up for air. So at the beginning of September I took 4 days off to do just that.
Was it worth it? Well, although term is about to start at Salisbury Homeopathy College, and I'm scurrying around researching lectures as well as keeping clinic going strong, I feel I can still easily stay in touch with the benefit. In fact, the photo above connects me with how I feel - even though I didn't go to this lake!
Have you ever tried a retreat yourself?
After a retreat you could feel
Yes, it seemed like an indulgence back in early 2017 when I planned it - arranging time off work, sorting out childcare plans, spending money on me. But everyone has benefited from my action - including my family! I spent days out in nature, getting in touch with the me that gets forgotten and letting my heart refill which is what sustains me when I am offering my work to other people.
But how do you choose a retreat?
Well, it could be anything that makes your heart sing (or your headache stop!).... meditation, yoga, chi gung, a religious setting, a non-religious setting, a health spa, a weekend in a B&B (but no internet and time in nature). It could be near, it could be far.
I like to have a 'teacher' or facilitator I really trust to run my few days away. Last year I went on a homeopathy course in Greece with my favourite homeopathy teacher, Professor George Vithoulkas. This year I chose to spend time contemplating nature and the cycles of life with one of my favourite spiritual teachers, Annette Host.
So if you're contemplating a retreat I urge you to make the time! All of those around you will benefit - and so will you.
Joanna Shipley - I help you find joy and freedom by connection to your heart's desires and spirit guidance so you can live your life on purpose.