News update from the Eco Shamanism camp
Getting the Green Light from the Land and Plants
This month we have contributions from all three of us. Mandy will be telling of our spiritual traffic lights at the eclipse crossroads in the land of our dreams, Freya welcomes in a White Queen and Jane knits the old and new land together at Millers Farm.
Before you read on, Jane and Mandy will be working with the new land at Millers Farm in the Forest of Dean this Saturday 2nd February in their Landscape, Lan(d)guage & Rivers Imbolc workshop whilst a week later Freya and Mandy will be introducing Plant Eco Shamanism on Saturday 9th February, again at Millers Farm. Mandy will be running an Introduction to Eco Shamanism at the Isbourne Centre in Cheltenham on Sunday 10th February. The new Eco Mapping weekend is now a day workshop on Saturday 16th March at Millers Farm. There are currently spaces on all four workshops if you want to come along. One of these might be your Green Light!
Mandy, Jane and Freya.
Traffic Signals - Time for Green News from Mandy
One of the key elements in Eco Shamanism is listening to our dreams which we consider to come from the void, that vast realm of potential to which we all have access. When dreams arrive at pertinent timings they help us shift gear into the next aspect of our, and our Earth's, life. We have recently passed through an eclipse window when the Sun was eclipsed by the Moon in early January and then the Moon was eclipsed from the Sun by our Earth two weeks later. We often ask for a dream at these crossroads to help us see how our work will develop. Our dreams at, and around, the last eclipse have featured spinning wheels used as pulleys to haul cauldrons uphill by children in bare feet, new trees growing out of old Yew stumps at sunrise and mint green caravans in the middle of dark green forests in Scotland. That might seem a little random to some but to us they are signposts and connect to events around us forming synchronicities that are beautifully apt.
An Elder tree growing out of an old fence post
Let me expand. We are almost at Imbolc, the time that is recognised in the Celtic Wheel as the beginning of Spring. There are fresh green shoots, particularly those of the Snowdrop and Crocus, pushing determinedly through often sodden, frozen and snowy ground pointing to the sky and giving us a green light that winter is in it's latter stages and spring is around the corner. This is an obvious synchronicity that is arriving from the land and plants around us. Next, the quiet stillness and sojourn of winter is when the evergreens are at their finest holding the darkest of greens as an antidote to the bare branches of the deciduous trees, helping us hold onto the dream of spring and summer that will return, ready for the children to start turning the wheel again (Jane's dream).
I am reading the book 'Feral' by George Monbiot which is about 'Rewilding' - I spoke of the rewilding project at Knepp Estate in the last newsletter. My dream was about the mint green caravan that was in the middle of a dark green forest in Scotland that was being rewilded and I had just read the chapter on rewilding the large estates in Scotland which are often beset by conifer plantations. In this chapter there was a description of how important old stumps are, as they rot, in terms of providing nutrients to new plants. Rewilding on these estates allow new green growth to come through from old green growth and our Plant Eco Shamanism work (Freya was in the mint green caravan wearing a mint green wool coat) is emerging as new growth in the areas of Plant Perception & Resonance. Freya's dream was of new trees growing out of old Yew tree stumps at sunrise, surrounded by plants similar to Herb Robert - our last Eco Shamanism meeting which we reported on last year was about the three meanings of Yew, You and Ewe. And I had been to Kingley Vale, the ancient Yew forest in Sussex, the day before my trip to Knepp.
New growth on decaying trees - elders supporting the young
As we step into our elder years we feel that it is important to be the holding and supporting elders for the younger generation, the old dark greens that are helping the younger generation at the time of a new dawn. This is particularly relevant to the great swathe of school strikes that are gaining momentum across the world as a response to the lack of action by the elders in society to do anything about climate change the effects of which, the scientists tell us, is nearing the point of no return. The speed at which the Extinction Rebellion movement is growing is astonishing. The Web of Life walk that I led on the day of the Solar eclipse back in January had nearly 50 people attend.
Extinction Rebellion is focussed on climate change and how species are rapidly becoming extinct. This is our red light. In the last newsletter I spoke of the word 'instinction' and how it gives us a word for the revival of species (maybe from the void of creation) and/or return to our land (via rewilding and other forms of land care). Our saviours, and those whose future will be most affected by this process, are the young and they are mobilising. They are our amber light, getting us out of our complacency. They are hauling the cauldron up the hill. The green light is the process of action, growing new perceptions about how we treat our Earth which is essentially how we treat ourselves. We come from our Earth and will return to it, we are our environment just as we are part of someone elses environment and this extends out to all beings. It is all about the new coming from the old, at the time of dawn, at the start of Spring, and it's time for us to get ready for the green light and the rise of 'instinction'.
What will your green light be?
PS - anyone missing the last newsletter and would like to read it for reference please email me and I will forward it on to you.
Shamanic Sundays - 3rd February - Millers Farm
This Sunday 3rd February is the first Shamanic Sunday of the year at Millers Farm in the Forest of Dean. All are welcome including beginners. Please note price increase to £10. 10.30am - 1pm at Millers Farm nr Blakeney GL15 4AP
There will be the usual tea, coffee, biscuits and fruit and this is included in the cost. A selection of beeswax spirit candles will be available for sale . . . please bring a mat, blanket, eye cover and pen and paper. Directions to Millers Farm can be sent out on request. Email me if you'd like more information. A NOTE RE PARKING - please park efficiently in the parking area at Millers Farm and block others in if necessary. If there is no room please use the verge outside the farm gates but not further up the road. If there is still no room please park up on the Green.
2019 events update
in date order
What's happening this year - anything in blue and underlined is a weblink.
Any questions or enquiries please get in touch.
Walking along the path the trees edge back a little, and the wayside is covered in drifts of white. Small flowers hanging like skirts, petals folded over each other keeping their cache of golden treasure dry; chattering amongst themselves celebrating the wind in the woods and the bright sky, the call of the birds overhead.
The air filled with a sweet scent, enticement and honeyed gifts for bees in the coolest months. Then I saw her sitting beside a tree, a long white tunic with green stitches in the folds of the cloth and a crown of brilliant yellow on her head. She turned towards me, her body long and lean, she is strong, at her feet a sword of the darkest green, the hilt carved with 3 hearts. A sword to carve her way out of the ice covered ground. No trembling, timidity or quietness here. She is defiant in her bravery, and proud of her place at the front. Exalting in the joy she brings in response to the calls through the dark months, the call for the light. A warrior of light, a harbinger of spring.
The mighty snowdrop, much loved and looked for as a sign of the returning light, the spring ahead. A symbol of Bride and Imbolc, the first stirrings of life appearing on the ground, accompanied by catkins dancing in the trees above, maybe the sound of newborn lambs. A change is happening, the wheel turns.
Who will you meet on your walks in the weeks ahead?
There are still places available on the one day Plant Perception and Resonance workshop at Millers Farm in the Forest of Dean on Saturday 9th February. This workshop, and the year course starting in September 2019, offer different ways to meet with plants and to learn from their wisdom and gifts. I hope you can come and join us!
Bright blessings from Freya
Stitching the old and the new land together News from Jane about our series of workshops starting this Saturday at Millers Farm
New land at Millers Farm being welcomed this time last year with song, poetry and fire - Imbolc 2018
Mandy and I started working at Millers Farm in 2012 and now it feels like an old friend when I go and visit or work there. It is very exciting to be working there again this year especially with the new land on the high ground. The dream Mandy mentioned earlier in the newsletter occurred when I was there recently and I am excited to discover how the dream will tie into the work that we do there over the next year. Dreams are a way for us to tune into a landscape even when we are not expecting it.
I had such a time when I went to visit a friend in France earlier this year for Epiphany. For the first three nights I had disturbing dreams of being drowned, nearly drowning, or someone with me drowning. The landscape felt very quiet and eerie so much so that I longed for the sound of a chainsaw or barking dogs. I felt a melancholy setting in and it did not feel as if it was mine.
Over the first few days we walked the land, especially around a lake nearby and visited the local town, again it was quiet and felt as if we had missed the news and the world had ended. At Epiphany there was a party in the house, a big old farmhouse that had been abandoned and since restored. We lit a ring of fire and jumped over it making wishes and creating sacred spaces by using the old stone sink and bread oven as altars, giving them flame and water and earth and air. For the feast there was a special epiphany cake made by the Mayor with little porcelain figures and these determined who would be king and queen for the night. The house felt really happy as songs were sung and people danced and talked. I was seated next to the Mayor and asked him about the lake and a fountain beside it which he could tell me little about but he did tell me the lake had only been dug to form a reservoir in the last 10 years. That was why I kept dreaming of drowning and it hit me that the land was still traumatised from being turned into a reservoir. After that the drowning dreams stopped and we got a sense of the start of some healing work with this land which we began before we left.
The new land at Millers Farm may need something too although until we work on Saturday we probably won't know. Mandy and I were at Millers last weekend training some Eco Shamans and Mandy went for a short walk down to the new land. She became disorientated as she crossed the stream and walked up to a gateway, feeling like she was lost which hadn't happened there before. What we didn't know is that this week Sue, who is guardian of the land, is seeing an agent to sort out the boundary at that very point. So the land is already speaking to us . . . you are welcome to come and listen with us . . . Jane.
If you have any questions feel free to message, ring or email me. If you know someone who might be interested in any of the above please forward this newsletter to them.