This past week, I took part in a brilliant workshop with Mountain Shamanism, a practice exercised by connecting with the spirit through shamanic studies, expressive arts therapy, energy healing and yoga. The centre and a detailed overview of their teachings can be found online at www.mountainshamanism.com.
Based in Squamish, British Columbia, the teachings are undertaken with the Stawamus Chief in the background and the waters of Howe Sound lying ahead, an unrivalled setting for reinvigorating learning. I came to absorb the lessons of the shamanic way in this beautiful scenery lovingly delivered by Christine Selda, the artist behind this unique brand of ancient Shamanism.
One of the main tools for understanding the ancient shaman knowledge is the Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel teaches the ancient ways of the Q-ero Medicine People of Peru. Shamans have been passing along this practice for centuries and it is just as relevant now as it was then. The Wheel is a practice which re-connects participants with nature and leads them on personal healing journeys.
The Healer’s journey through the Medicine Wheel commences in the south direction, the first of four directions the participant endures to complete the process. The south direction is the archetype of the serpent, and, in relation to the reptile, it is about shedding the past in order to be reborn. The process follows with the jaguar, the hummingbird and, finally, the eagle.
Like the snake, we shed the old beliefs, patterns and behaviors of our past that no longer serve us. The journey is one of illumination from dark to light and so, with all our journeys, we must release and shed so we might transform. Through the lesson, we are supported and grounded in the shamanic journey with the practices of yoga, asana, pranayama, kriyas, chanting and mantra, artfully facilitated by teacher Kristin Campbell.
Our lesson leader Christine offered a “take what you need and leave the rest” mentality and so, I absorbed what I could from this creative process and began to weave it into my own experience. The shamanic journey is one of many routes and blueprints meant to enhance and guide our lives from the unconscious to the conscious. My interest in this workshop was the connection to earth or Pachamama and how we might heal here in this beautiful setting surrounded by the mountains and the sea that are deeply ingrained in this practice.
I hope you explore the practice online and, possibly, consider taking part in this wonderful journey yourself. Reward your spirit with healing, like you would your body with a massage. I promise you the result will yield a more content you. So, like the serpent, let’s shed to release and to find the freedom in a newer, brighter, lighter you!