Sky fire, Cloud tent, Ice puddle, Stone storm (Avebury photo: Stephen Thomas)
As I write the British Isles is 'in between' in so many ways. Foremost in a lot of peoples' minds is the weather, OUR weather. Half the country is under snow, the other half has a dusting. Tomorrow (which by the time you read this will probably be today) the dusty side is expecting a blanket of snow and the other bright sunshine. Our Earth is having a bit of a weather dance - the temperature is above freezing over the North Pole and here in Britain we were just getting out of our seats to applaud the growing light and signs of approaching Spring . . . prematurely, as our Earth has something to say with her weather as voice. The way we talk about weather, as Jane mentions below, feeds us into a perception that 'cold, snowy, icy, wet' is 'difficult' and sometimes 'horrible'. Yet we can change our perception and see what an opportunity Earth brings us with her often surprising changes in weather. Whether we will weather the weather is immaterial, it is how we weather the weather and how any weather presents us with a challenge, a coping challenge. If we don't have extremes of weather then we can never appreciate the variety in between. Our weather helps us appreciate and reflect, it gives us variety, it gives our senses a viscerality that is unique . . . and what about extending our perception of our Earth from it's solid mass upon which we live out into the stratosphere? This is also our Earth, who holds us safely with the right amount of oxygen to breath - how does she stop all those gases so necessary for a stable ecosystem from escaping into space? She holds us, changes us, her breath, or capacity for breath, is in the atmosphere from her surface to the stratosphere and her language is weather - perhaps we could open our listening sense a little wider and hear her language for the true wonder it is . . .
On a very human level it is also the case that before the Spring Equinox we tend to get ready for Spring a little early. Many viruses emerge at this time, people suffer physically and is that suffering due to our turning our backs on the deeply moving season of Winter which is not yet done? Our Earth is finely tuned, if we heed her speech and don't rush too fast we can weather her storm and slip into Spring seamlessly, noticing the 'in between' and also being a part of it. As I'm writing the Sun has just spread her warm wings across my fingers . . . I hear her say LOUDER . . . the photo below is the Sun shouting louder . . .
Yellow Sun, Blood Earth and Blue Moon.
Below are missives from Jane Embleton and Freya Davies - this month Freya and I begin our Plant Eco Shamanism course which runs over 4 weekends echoing the seasons. I am truly looking forward to this as Plant language is a little like Weather language - full of inspiration and communication that we can hear from a species that speak in an ancient Earth tongue. We have some spaces available if you'd like to join us in our communications.
Jane and I will be running our Pisces Pilgrimage around the River Usk (in association with the Gatekeeper Trust) on the New Moon in Pisces, Saturday 17th March. As with last year's pilgrimage around the River Severn we have been given information through dreams, earthquakes and the absence of physical maps - it is a language we speak that doesn't fit with our normal speech as it comes from spirit and unfolds like a spirit map, showing us the way to go, letting us listen with our feet and speak with our steps - this also being a subtitle to a weekend of pilgrimage in the Quantocks in May, it's full title being Our Listening Landscape.
I have just jump started an Eco Shamanism training at Millers Farm . . . our engines have engaged and accelerators are being gently pressed . . . the current Ragmans Eco Shamanism clan is reaching it's final destination and about to apply it's handbrake . . . and the next Ragmans Eco Shamanism clan/vehicle is having it's oil changed in readiness for it's April start. Anyone wishing to climb aboard, there are still a few spaces available. Eco Shamanism Course/Training update - Yesterday, February 28th, the early bird deadline for joining the Eco Shamanism Course/Training expired. Those of you who are on the mailing list are still eligible for the early bird rate - email me this code ES2018 to take advantage of the offer.There are only a couple of spaces available so if you're thinking about it now is the time to book!
On my word map I'm excited to say that I am collaborating with poet Jay Ramsay in May on a two day workshop entitled Echoing Green - Poetry and Eco Shamanism. And just as exciting is that this event is happening in Avebury where the land has sacred and ancient human language in the form of stone circles, avenues, barrows and mounds. We will be concentrating on how poems come from 'source' or 'essence' so will be reading out of the 'book of nature' to shape our poetic language. Stephen Thomas of Gatekeeper fame is admirably at the helm and helping us steer our ship into an Avebury port with all the practicalities . . .
For now though, in plain English, I look forward to encountering all humans that come into my weather range in the next few months.
Plants and People
Freya will be co leading our Plant Eco Shamanism workshops and course in 2018,
specifically in the vein of Plant Perception and Resonance.
Croci and Snowdrops feeling the cold
There are so many colds and viruses around at the moment. When a virus visits it is often a sign that we are going forwards too fast, as Mandy mentioned above. All the plants have come to a standstill in this weather. I walked past some Dog's Mercury yesterday, it's head was bowed and it looked very forlorn. The Daffodils and Snowdrops in the garden aren't faring much better either. The Spring push has been stopped!
However, our Plant Eco Shamanism Course is round the corner just after the Spring Equinox and at a gorgeous site in the Forest of Dean . . . Millers Farm. A lower field down by Forge Brook which runs through the farm becomes carpeted with Wild Daffodils at this time of year and I am looking forward to wading through them, lying amongst them and enjoying their bright presence.
Plants have much to offer anyone with a cold too - Elder syrups, Yarrow and Thyme teas, and plenty of Ginger, Lemon, Garlic and Shiitake mushrooms. Stop and stay warm until the sunshine brings the Daffodils out! Hope to see some of you at Millers Farm for the workshops . . .
Millers Farm Wild Daffodils trumpeting the arrival of Spring.
Plant Eco Shamanism Course Update
There are still some spaces - so we're continuing our offer with the discount code PES2018 which will give you 10% off the full price - to take advantage of this offer you need to book via the website and send me an email with the code in it.
More about Weather and Eco Linguistics news from Jane Embleton
As I write the Beast from the East is fast approaching, trains are being cancelled in preparation and the woman who called in this morning from Wessex Water to test our pressure told me not to go out today unless I absolutely had too. In our recent Spilling out from Words wordshop we looked at the way that the words we use to describe the weather can easily cut us off from our land in just the way I have experienced today. Instead, at dusk, I went for my usual walk as the sun went down and was bathed in the light of the approaching Full Moon, I heard Barn Owls screeching and worked up a warm feeling from within so when I returned home my rather cold house felt warmer than it would have if I had stayed indoors all day. I have been challenging myself to be positive about the weather in all my conversations, cold weather is not a beast, it is all part of the rich weather that we experience in this land.
I am delighted to be assisting Mandy on the latest Eco Shamanic training back at Millers Farm where we have worked together before, being back on that land again is like being greeted by an old friend. The highlight of the weekend was during one of the shamanic journeys. We were lying on the floor and the Earth began to shake, some of us felt several little quakes before the main quake that made the green oak roofing frame of the barn crunch into the building. The earthquakes magnitude was 4.8, one of the strongest earthquakes in the last decade. It felt very significant and for me is the first earthquake I have ever experienced.
Interestingly, our dreaming work has involved spirit mapping in relation to our Pisces Pilgrimage. Mandy has dreamed of a radio called an A48 which is the name of the road south of Usk and the direction we will be taking on our pilgrimage and it is also the major road that runs a mile from Millers Farm where we both felt the quake. In Mandy's dream, when you turned the volume control of the A48 radio down it slowed the programme speed down. The earthquake magnitude was also 4.8 (take out the dot and you get 48). The epicentre of the Earthquake was just North of the A48 too . . . this is what Mandy is going on about at the beginning of the newsletter - the work unfolds when we listen to the land, the next step is to speak with our feet.
Old tunnel in Usk we'll be venturing through on the Pisces Pilgrimage
String of Pilgrims
Round up of events, workshops, courses, happenings
What's happening this year (so far) - anything in blue and underlined is a web page link or you can scroll down for more information. Any questions or enquiries please get in touch.
Shamanic Sundays - 4th March at Millers Farm in the Forest of Dean. All are welcome including beginners - click on the drum photo below to go to the webpage.
10.30am - 1pm at Millers Farm nr Blakeney GL15 4AP
There will be tea, coffee, biscuits and fruit and this is included in the cost of £8. 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.
Plant Perception and Resonance Plant Eco Shamanism
with Freya Davies and Mandy Pullen
Year long course starts Sat 24 & Sun 25 March 2018
4 weekends over the year Cost £600 (£540 with discount code PES2018) Millers Farm, Blakeney, Glos, GL15 4AP
I am joined in this work by Freya Davies who is a sensory herb practitioner with a wealth of experience in this and other related fields. We will explore how we perceive and resonate with plants and vice versa. There will be questions asked, of ourselves and the plants around us, without which we could not survive. Food for thought. The course will delve deeply into building relationships with plants together with practical guidance and techniques on how to prepare herbal and plant products . . . amongst many other things!
Join us then and commune with our plant friends.
To book onto the course click on the photo below which will take you to the web page. Email me with the code to get a discount.
Calendula - edible, medicinal, spiritual
Introduction to Shamanism Workshop Saturday 7th April 2018 10am - 5pm
£45 (includes soup and bread lunch) Millers Farm, Blakeney, Glos, GL15 4AP
click on the photo below to book on the website 4 spaces remaining
Learn the Shaman's Journey
A workshop designed to introduce beginners to the art of shamanic journeying together with ceremony, ritual, the shaman's drum and map and how to retrieve a power animal. Once you are able to journey the world of spirit becomes an open book!
Eco Shamanism Course
with optional Certificate
starts April 19th 2018 at Ragmans Farm, Gloucestershire, GL17 9PA
6 long weekends over 15 months
May Hill, Gloucestershire
"Having one module to go, I cannot imagine these ground breaking weekends are going to be completed; the course I have been on is coming to an end. Ah! Transformative is an understatement. Thought of joining again! But my intention is to manifest some of the treasures and magic eco shamanism has birthed within. Thank you Map for all you have shared." LS
General information - as some of you know this course/training is a little different to most shamanic practitioner courses in that it is intrinsically linked to deep ecology, or the way we perceive our Earth. Apart from learning core shamanic practises such as soul retrieval and energetic medicine techniques participants will be learning how to help use these practises with the 'more than human world'. The new Eco Mapping and Embodying techniques - taking humans out into nature in order to heal their spirits using perception and perspective techniques - will be taught as part of the course. A major element of the training is about bringing our perceptions and life practises into line with our spirit in the Middle World, here where we live in our carnate form. Our visceral senses will be investigated in line with our spirit sense, of the here and now, and we will explore the nature of place and space to become reconnected and re-enabled in our sense of individual and collective power as agents of change.
The elements of earth, air, water and fire will be explored together with our six sense (spirit being our sixth sense). There will also be an introduction to the Celtic Festivals, Lunar Phases and Labyrinth work.
This training is organised to allow people to study for an optional Certificate which is extra in terms of cost. Those who would like to do the course as a means of self, or earthly, exploration do not need to cover the Certificate expenses. You need to know how to journey shamanically to participate in this course - if you can already journey that's fine, if not there is a Learn the Shaman's Journey day taking place on Saturday 7th April at Millers Farm in the Forest of Dean. Alternatively you can spend a day with me learning on a one to one basis.
Details of the April course at Ragmans Farm - please click here
Or if you'd like to know more please email me.
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.