News from Mandy, Jane and Freya featuring Land lines, An Eco Shamanism meeting and Harvest.
Ancient fern spreading a tattoo shadow across my face; a Maori tattoo drawn when at art college.
Slipping very gently into October with this mild weather I have been aware of lines, everywhere, and how they are rarely straight in nature. Lines in the landscape are particularly apparent when we see aerial shots of rivers, the way they snake through the landscape following their own journey, not ours. Lines in plants range from the same river like patterns in the veins of leaves and the trunks of trees. And we import these lines onto our bodies with tattoos as ancient expression, an activity which has become highly popular in the past decade or so. When I was at Hereford College of Art back in the early nougties my exploration led me inexorably to lines and rituals. I became fascinated with Maori face tattoos and attempted to draw them and this later translated into drawing with weld on metal sculptures (of bull's heads - this year sporting a crown of thorns in the form of briar rose). It was through this exploration of creativity and art that shamanism arrived, unforeseen, in my life. During my shamanic training these lines became more colourful and, needless to say, more shamanic. And recently, sitting in Jane's garden in Somerset with Jane and Freya, holding council with the plants Hazel, Sweetcorn/Maize and Fern the lowering Sun caught the Fern I had chosen and sent a tattoo across my body and face, returning me back to those college days which have informed my life so vibrantly.
Clockwise from top: Bull's head sculpture with weld tattoo, Venus labyrinth, spiral of dead tree, equinoctial spiral sand labyrinth, Transmission ink painting detail (moving from art to shamanism). Lines as an element continuing in Mandy's life . . .
Of river lines and pilgrimage
Below is a great photo called The Rivers of Wales reproduced here with kind permission of it's maker Dafydd Elfryn Williams. It shows the intricate lines of all the rivers of Wales and gives a feeling of a 'breathing' lung, as if the rivers feed the land of Wales with water.
Jane and I recently led a pilgrimage from the Newport estuary up the River Usk in South Wales with the aim of breathing some of the energies of the sea, the Bristol Channel, into and up the river. We were rewarded on the way home with a spectacular rainbow which had it's beginning in the Usk Valley and it's end in the Severn River, a duplication of events earlier in the year when we were driving across the new Severn Bridge on our way to investigate another pilgrimage on the Usk River and driving through a double rainbow as we crossed the bridge. We consider these occurrences true omens and recognition from the land (including the rivers) of our humble attempts to help them. Our next pilgrimage is scheduled for Easter Monday next year.
A short interlude to remind you all of this months events
click on the titles to go to the webpage
This Saturday 6th there is an Eco Shamanism day workshopat Millers Farm in the Forest of Dean. This is an introduction to Eco Shamanism and you don't need any 'shamanic' skills or techniques to come along. The following day is Shamanic Sundays - 7th October - again entirely open to beginners. On Saturday 13th there's a Learn the Shaman's Journey day at the Isbourne Centre in Cheltenham. Lastly, later in the month is the Dreaming with Venus 24 hour event held at Jane's home in Somerset from 8pm Friday 26th to 8pm Saturday 27th. We will be walking the Venus labyrinth, with our dreams in mind . . . do join us!
PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO SHAMANIC SUNDAY IN NOVEMBER - next one after this Sunday 7th October will be 2nd December
An Eco Shamanism Confluence
Jane reports from Somerset on our recent Eco Shamanism meeting
Mandy, Freya and I met for out third Eco Shamanism meeting in my home in Somerset on Friday. We have been exploring the nature of meeting and a form is starting to emerge, a map with which to work that reflects the work that we do - we were inviting in the more than human world. I would like to share the process as it was quite amazing, especially now we are starting to trust that it will work.
First we dreamed to tease out an agenda for the following day, over breakfast we shared these and then went outside to introduce Freya (who had not visited before) to the land and to gather. Finally we settled and invited all who have an interest from the more than human world.
Our dreams divided the meeting into three folds, one for each dream.
The first fold involved the words Yew, Ewe and You, three words that we synchronously came upon when Jane said Freya should meet the Yew tree, Freya thought Jane meant the Ewe sheep and Mandy heard the word You. Three letters, three words, three women. This led to conversations about the ancient origins of the Yew in my village and all that it shares, and how it is looking so healthy especially in the middle where the light does not get in. Then to the Ewe and all that she can teach us about nourishment and foraging and how sheep can be much more healthy in the wild hills than when enclosed within boundaries, though if we keep our boundaries healthy, as vibrant hedgerows, she can self medicate. A metaphor for life really. Then came You, we each spoke of how we are and what we have to offer, how much capacity do we have for further work? We then opened a book on a random page and line number, it opened on “only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realise that we cannot eat money“ a prophetic quote from Sioux chief Sitting Bull one hundred years ago. How amazing is that and it reminded us sharply about what our work is all about.
The next dream involved transmitting pylons, Mac notebooks and rivers and this fed into a discussion about work on the website and how to get this work out into the world especially to those with influence, who are not thinking in this way YET, without us being judgmental and pious which will not help in the long run. It was a rich conversation which may lead to an article co written by all three of us. Our random lines from the book were about rivers and bridges and fertile ground.
Our third dream, my dream, was of a large cow pat on my sage green living room carpet that appeared when I was collecting some sacred tools from the cupboard. We talked of holy cows (the sacred and the profane / the welding lines on the Bull's head), the miracle of the fermentation process in the cow gut and were reminded of the Biodynamic system of using cow horns and dung to make preparations that have helped transform whole areas of wasteland in Australia back into being healthy ecosystems. Our random line from the book told us about Magic - "magic that is not about the tricks of the illusionist but the principle of attraction, as in the drawing down of cosmic forces, using the theurgic arts to interact with the gods by using subtle receiving instruments”. Oh my gods and goddesses we looked up the word theurgy and it is exactly what we do in Ecoshamanism.
It was as if we had many at our meeting and as we gave them voice it felt like a confluence of three rivers meeting at a certain point in time and space, different sources but all travelling in the same direction towards the ocean.
Harvest round up
Freya is busy exploring another part of Wales as we write so our plant writing comes from Mandy this time . . . and is brief, more photos than writing!
Harvest in my garden is in full swing. The pears, shallots, rosehips and raspberries have been prolific whilst the apples, squashes and runner beans have been a little reluctant. That is the nature of differing years, sometimes crops exceed themselves whilst others struggle. Yet the fruits of my garden are definitely more round than linear . . .
Harvest: Pear Party, Singular Squash and Onion Rave
Some news regarding our next Plant Eco Shamanism Coursebeginning in 2019. We have decided to start later in the year at the time of seed and harvest in September so if you are interested in joining Freya and I on a four weekend delve into the world of Plant Perception and Resonance please take note. The start date is the weekend of 14th & 15th September 2019 followed by the second weekend on 9th & 10th November. The two following weekend dates are yet to be formalised but are likely to be in March and June 2020. If you'd like to find out more there is a Plant Eco Shamanism day workshop on 9th February 2019.
Lastly a quick note regarding the Eco Shamanism Training/Course beginning in April 2019. The deadline for the early bird fee is coming up - Thursday 15th November - if you are interested you will need to send in an application form beforehand.
Next newsletter probably late November . . . enjoy the autumnal turning of the colours.
Mandy, Jane and Freya
Events, workshops, tasters, courses etc
in date order
What's happening this year and next - anything in blue and underlined is a weblink.
Any questions or enquiries please get in touch.