What is a Shaman?

shamanic-healingIs a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world. A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of Helping Spirits and Guides who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual and practices divination and healing.

The term “shaman” is presently often used as an umbrella term referring to a variety of spiritual practices (medicine woman or man, sangoma,  or traditional healer are some common names).  The word “shaman” originates from the Evenk language (Tungusic) of North Asia and was introduced to the west after Russian forces conquered the shamanistic Khanate of Kazan in 1552.

Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters  supernatural realms or dimensions  to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment.  The shaman understands that there is an invisible world of consciousness and energy that envelops and informs us, and that organizes all physical reality, even how we will live and heal and die.

I practice a synthesis of traditional (ritual and ceremonial), core shamanism and holistic energy techniques.  For I believe the old ways of doing things no longer serves us.  In our fast pasted society, people are too busy, or weary about digging deeper or find it difficult to separate their religious beliefs with Spiritual work or resist searching to the core of their discomfort.  The methods I employ allow for a gentle way to uncover the core patterns and limiting belief systems that keep us stuck in the old paradigm.  Giving one the tools to break free of limiting beliefs, behaviors and erase imprints of disease from the luminous energy field (LEF), to create health, joy and inner peace. I liken it to peeling an onion, one layer at a time.

What is Core Shamanism?

“After having personally practiced shamanism, shamanic healing, and shamanic journeying for more than half a century, I can say that there is nothing I have encountered in reports of the spiritual experiences of saints, prophets, psychedelic drug experimenters, near death survivors, avatars and other mystics that is not commonly experienced when following classic journey methods using a drum.”

—Michael Harner

drums 2Core shamanism is practiced by modern shamanic healers the world over.  It consists of the universal, near-universal and common features of shamanism, together with journeys to other worlds a distinguishing feature of shamanism.   A shaman enters a state of consciousness through classic shamanic non-drug techniques such as sonic driving, listening to a rhythmic percussion.  This could be a drum or rattle.  They journey to the invisible world of spirits and connect with their and the clients spirit allies for healing work.  These Helping Spirits are available to help everyone, and it is the role of the shaman to reconnect clients with their Helping Spirits, thereby restoring the relationship between the two and restoring their personal power.  Imagine for a moment, the effort one places in building a relationship with a new romantic partner or friend. In these relationships we place a lot of energy building this into something solid.  This same effort needs to be applied when working with your Helping Spirits.  And so, once a relationship has been re-established I provide the client with tools to continue building on this new partnership.

Holistic practices involved encouraging people to learn shamanic work – one need not become an initiated shaman to learn how to “journey” for yourself.  The old ways of relying solely on a shaman to connect with your Helping Spirits is one of the old ways that do not work.  It is imperative that we all learn how to re-connect back to source!

images (1)In my workshops, spiritual coaching, vision quests, sweat lodges and treatments I share ancient strategies for working with this invisible matrix of the Universe and to meet your Helping Spirits and Guides and experience this magical invisible world yourself.   In order that you live a life as a Spiritual Adult and ‘dream your world into being

Protecting Your Space

“Energy flows where attention goes – MAKIA”

Smudge kit

Spring  has finally arrived in the Southern hemisphere and hope the cold spell we have experienced the past couple of days will pass soon.

I’ve been wracking my brain on how to formulate this blog post around the concept of providing some shamanic tools for clearing and protecting one’s home. There are a various ways of doing this, but for the purpose of Spring, I will share a simple but effect method.  Of course one is strongly encouraged to engage in the services of an initiated shaman for more complex clearing.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that we are energy, our possessions contain energy and so to our home.  If you are not clearing your home environment often, you pretty much leaving yourself open to any and all types of energy to enter – a welcome mat, so to speak.  So, claiming back your power is vital.

How do you do this?

Make it a habit to clear your environment as often as you feel it appropriate.  For instance, after a dinner or luncheon party, clear your space. Especially as the weather warms up, and the urge to entertain beckons. Remember, that  the people you invite into your home have, quite frankly and are likely to have left some of their energy (negative and positive) in your home. All unconsciously, of course or not.  Or if you move into a new house or apartment.  In this case, a clearing would include the clearing the property and asking your helping spirits, guides and the spirits of the land for protection and blessings.  It’s important and I would encourage you to seek the services of an initiated shaman to do a through job.  For instance I clear my home, once a week, however my healing room and yoga studio I do daily.

Why bother?

Clearing your home has the added benefit of opening up your space for your gifts.  If you have planted your seeds (goals and dreams) as I wrote in my previous blog, Spring – Sowing your seeds http://tinyurl.com/phxf8j4 ,  this next process helps open the way for any blockages that may effect the free flow of energy to you within your home environment.

Another good idea is to clear your own Auric field (human energy field) – especially if your work environment involves meeting different people each day or you may spend time in shopping malls, restaurants or over crowed places.    A simple way to do this, have a bath with a handful of course salt added to the bath water.  Either use course sea salt or Epson salts.  These are inexpensive and ready available in supermarkets, or health shops.  To make them more appealing, add some dried lavender or your favorite herb to the mix.

How to clear the energy within your home

smug sticks

What you will need:

  • Sage smug stick (or Impepo – African sage)
  • A smugging feather (a single feather will also work)
  • Shell
  • Matches or lighter
  • A bowl with river sand
  • Your intention – in this case to clear your home of all negative and or by-gone energy

Method

  • Open all the windows and doors
  • Light the Sage smug stick, and allow it burn for a few moments and blow the flame out, so that you have a gentle smoke
  • Move through each room of your home, focusing on the corners of each room, brushing away with the feather.  Use the motion as if you are sweeping away the energy out of the room
  • Open all cupboards, and wardrobes and continue to use your smug stick to clear the energy
  • Once you have completed this process in all the rooms of your home, put the smug stick out by placing it into the bowl of river sand to kill the smoldering.  And also, so you can re-use the smug stick for the next time.

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After completing your house clearing, it’s a good idea to bless your home with the following method I found to be very effective.

Blessing Your Home

Use 9 Bay Leaves in half a glass of Salt, to bless your house and dispel any negative energy.

Bay leaves are used in Spell work for protection, exorcism, psychic vision, good dreams and repels negative energy.

Salt absorbs negative energies and bad feelings, it is probably the best known protector in magic.

Putting these two together and it is like a super spell that will get rid of any stale or negative energies that are surrounding you or your home. This spell has been done for thousands of years, in the Spring. When people did a ‘Spring Clean’ they would put the cup of salt and the 9 Bay leaves around the home, to clear out any stale or negative energies – Source WICA Teachings

Notice, once this process has been completed how light you feel and the energy within your home is different.  Enjoy.

Bay leaves in a bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Om Hotep! Peace and light

Ahoh!

Mitakuye Oyasin – We are one!

Vision Quest Diary

Day One
I am pretty excited to be holding my first solo Vision Quest, it’s been six months in preparing and scouting for the appropriate venue. Yesterday I hiked to a nearby farm to enquire if we could hike up the mountain (aka Kopje). Ironically the farm rents out horse stables and provide horse riding lessons.

Symbolically this is awesome, “EH” in runic magic is the communicator and considered the Shamans drum beat which sends out sounds allowing one to journey into other dimensions or worlds. EH is the saddle, which one can ride, helping one over obstacles, giving one courage and strength. The drum is also a very powerful communicator. The Native American Indians originally believed to be a big wild dog or sacred dog.

And so, all participating on the Vision Quest arrived and working in community, we covered our sweat lodge frame with blankets and prepared the fire pit with Grandfather Rocks. After a light breakfast we set out for our nature walk.

The first thing I noticed on my nature walk was a Rabbit, as it bounced away into the forest. There I observed my fear bouncing away. I found that amusing and in a way confirmation of where I am at this moment on my Red Road of life. At first I had no intention of climbing up the Kopje, as I felt I had done so the day before while scouting for an appropriate nature walk. But something propelled me up to the top. It was interesting in that, there has been a veldt fire recently, and the ground cover was a carpet of black burnt grass. Amongst all this, were rocks and in between aloe plants that had been in the thick of the intense heat, yet still alive.

I felt as I walked up the Kopje how ironic the scene before me reflected life. Fire representing destruction and re-birth, the aloe plants representing humanity. We live our lives with so many challenges and difficulties and given a chance Spirit will guide us out, we need to ask for their intervention and hang in there for the help to arrive. Or we could remain fixated in our old ways, refuse to change and take the consequences by being burnt ? Or we could accept full responsibly of our own actions, allow the symbolic healing (with fire). Trusting that a new birthing will happen, just like the aloe flowers I noticed on the Kopje, who survive under the most extreme temperatures.

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I continued to the top of the Kopje, silently be amused with myself. In my past lives I had spent an awful long time up on the mountain ” contemplating my navel” and here I was back again. A full circle has been completed in my opinion.

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On my way down the Kopje I noticed a beautiful orange and black butterfly hopping from one rock to another. I attempted to capture it on camera, but alas, she was too shy. Being aware that there was no need to do so. At the foot of the Kopje I came across an ant hill – once again the symbolism on my nature walk was very profound for me.

As the sunset, we all made our way back to base camp. As the last vintages of the winter light disappeared, we settled into the Sweat Lodge for our first sweat. Grandmother Moon graced us with her presence that evening, shining her light on us as we rested for the night.

Ahoh!

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Crying for a Dream

“The Lakota Sioux word for Vision Quest is Hembleciya (ham-blay-che-ya). The word Hembleciya translates to “Crying for a Dream.” This refers to the “Quester” both physically and internally crying for a Vision or Sacred Dream. Sometimes this ceremony is called “going up on the hill,” because people would often go to a nearby mountain or butte to complete their Vision Quest.

Typically the quest is completed deep in nature, far away from civilization. At times it can be done closer to where people live, but located in a pit dug deep into the ground. The person on the Vision Quest either chooses or is told the location for their Quest. They are also instructed in all preparations and on how many days and nights the quest will last by a Medicine Person/Shaman (aka Holy Person). This Medicine Person will guide the Quester in all aspects of the ceremony and provide spiritual support and  guidance.mesa-arch-canyonlands_65569_990x742

A vision quest is a rite of passage in some Native American cultures. The ceremony of the Vision Quest is one of the most universal and ancient means to find spiritual guidance and purpose. A Vision Quest can provide deep understanding of one’s life purpose.

A traditional Native American Vision Quest consists of a person spending one to four days and nights secluded in nature. This provides time for deep communion with the fundamental forces and spiritual energies of creation and self-identity. During this time of intense spiritual communication a person can receive profound insight into themselves and the world. This insight, typically in the form of a dream of Vision, relates directly to their purpose and destiny in life.NativeAmericanSymbolMeanings

In many Native American groups the vision quest is a turning point in life taken to find oneself and the intended spiritual and life direction. The Vision Quest is often used as a Rite of Passage, marking the transition between childhood and full acceptance into society as an adult. A person’s first Vision Quest is typically done during their transformative teenage years. When an older child is ready, he or she will go on a personal, spiritual quest alone in the wilderness, often in conjunction with a period of fasting.

The vision quest is the learning and initiation process of the apprentice under the guidance of an elder”

Answering the Call

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Answering the Call is a two year shamanic intensive designed to put you on the path of your destiny and lead by initiated shaman, Ursula van Graan.  Answering the Call is an introduction to shamanism for anyone unfamiliar with these practices, or those who “have the calling”, or on a personal journey of self mastery and in search for connection and union to the Spirit world. The shamanic tools shared in the Answering the Call come out of  world wide ancient shamanic arts.

Learn shamanic tools that empower you to:-

  • Work in deeper union with the Spirit world.  This helps you to “wake up”.
  • Work in direct relationship with your Spirit Helpers.  This helps you get out of the play pen and step into your Souls purpose.
  • Master your False Self and work in union with your Authentic Self in everyday life.  This helps you to grow up to be a Spiritual Adult.
  • Walk in the world on the path of your destiny as an empowered, self aware Spiritual Adult with a Whole and Courageous Heart.

Awaken into the sacred dream the Universe is dreaming of you.

Answering the Call opens each participant to transformation, to change, to pay attention to the true calling of one’s Authentic Self while working with direct relationship with their Spirit Helpers.

Shamans believe that the true calling is the dream the Universe is dreaming of you.

Come learn the contemporary shamanic tools to allow that dream be realized through the actions of your life. Universal Shamanic traditions and cosmology will be drawn from ALL cultures, mainly Afrikan, Native American, European, Hawaiian, Aboriginal, Toltec, Siberian and Kabalistic.   Therefore each cycle will be eclectic and practical for everyday living.

REGISTRATION

For additional information or to apply, fill out the below contact form:

 

 

Rites of Passage

Charles Frizzel“Since time immemorial, people have gone to the wilderness to seek guidance and renewal, to let their old lives and old selves die, to find the conditions where spirit may be rekindled, reborn within them.”
There comes a time when you must leave family, friends and work behind and go off alone, looking within to discover your changes in the circle of life. The Vision Quest is the name of this journey. An ancient ceremony, the Vision Quest enables men, women and youth to engage in a sacred journey, completion of an old life, movement through the threshold of the unknown, and return to the world reborn. People in any life state or transition will find meaning in this powerful process.
What you will learn:
• Why the solitude
• The significance of immersion in nature
• The purpose of Fasting
• The significance of a sweat lodge
• The importance of community
• Importance of intention vis. goals

Suitable for anyone AND a valuable preparation workshop for anyone contemplating the Vision Quest retreat in March 14 – 16 2014.
Date: Saturday 8 February
Time: 14:30 – 17:00
Investment: R70.00

Space is limited, essential to book and secure your space by emailing ursulavg@gmail.com:

Animal Totem & Medicine Wheel

Medicine WheelEach and every person has nine power or totem animals that represent the medicine (gifts, talents or strengths) they carry in their life. These animals emulate each person’s abilities, talents and challenges.

Using Native American Indian animal medicine, we take a journey to meet your animal guides.  These animal totems have been walking with you from the day you entered into this physical world.

In this nine week journey you will become acquainted with each totem animal from the 8 directions and begin the process of building a healthily working relationship with these powerful allies.

What you will learn:

~ the medicine your animal totem carries

~ the power your animal totem carries

~ knowledge of the Medicine Wheel

~ the lessons you have chosen to learn in this  life

~ Journey to meet your power allies

~ appropriate Journey questions

~ how to interpret your symbolic language

~ explore and design the core values you wish to carry with you through life

~ how to build your medicine shield to carry the energies you need to be a Spiritual Adult

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How this will be achieved:

~ we meet for one and half hours a week over 9 weeks

~ open sacred space and invite these animal totems to align and aid in achieving your goals

~ call upon the power or medicine for specific talents

~ clearing rituals for aspects that no longer serve you

~ explore how each medicine is reflected in your daily living

At the end of this process, it is envisioned that you will have built a strong relationship with your animal totems, have a clear understanding of your truths and core values, build a clear vision and goals for your life.  Finally, take ownership of your life as a Spiritual Adult.