Giveaway – WIN the Druid Plant Oracle!

Giveaway – WIN the Druid Plant Oracle!

 The BEAUTIFUL Druid Plant Oracle is in a Prize draw! 

We’ve just released an interview with PhilipCarr-Gomm, [read it here] – and to celebrate we are giving one pack away to one lucky person!

 TO ENTER TO WIN:
SHARE, COMMENT or Like the pinned post on our facebook page!

Remember to LIKE the page – we run lots of giveaways and share excerpts from our books.

 Prize draw ends 10th May 2018
 Only open to UK Postal Addresses

UPDATE 10/05/2018: This Prize draw has now ended. A winner has been randomly selected.

 

The Druid Plant Oracle

Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm

Discover the herbs, flowers and fungi considered sacred in the Druid tradition, with this beautifully illustrated oracle. The virtues and qualities of each plant, and the ancient folklore and mythology associated with them, offer wisdom, inspiration and guidance, in this enlightening pack.

The perfect companion volume to the bestselling Druid Animal Oracle, this is a must-have title for all those interested in Celtic and Pagan subjects and the world of nature.

Price: £21.99

ISBN: 978-1-85906-419-1

Philip Carr-Gomm was trained by the Chief Druid Ross Nichols. He is Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and the author of many titles, including The Druid Way and Druid Mysteries.

Interview with Philip Carr-Gomm on the Druid Plant Oracle

Interview with Philip Carr-Gomm on the Druid Plant Oracle

We interviewed leading Druid Philip Carr-Gomm to find out more about The Druid Plant Oracle, which he co-wrote with his wife Stephanie Carr-Gomm. 

Philip talks about symbols, such as the cauldron, archaeobotany, mistletoe and how to use the cards for guidance.

Discover the herbs, owers and fungi considered sacred in the Druid tradition, with this beautifully illustrated oracle. The virtues and qualities of each plant, and the ancient folklore and mythology associated with them, offer wisdom, inspiration and guidance, in this enlightening pack.

Watch here!

Take a good and close up look at the Plant cards, see some card spread ideas, excerpts from the book, all timed to apprear on screen while Philip is talking.

Download to listen on the go.

Subscribe so you never miss an episode!

We publish a new podcast every 2 weeks on interesting Mind, Body, Soul and Health topics

Want more from Philip Carr-Gomm? Check out this interview on the Druid Plant Oracle ->

Read the interview

Steve:            Hello, and welcome. My name is Steve Nobel and today I’m speaking with Philip Carr-Gomm on The Druid Plant Oracle. Now, Philip wanted to be a writer from a young age, but it really came about when he met a publisher at a dinner party in London. He was then in his late 30s and he was invited to write a book on druidry which went on to be a bestseller. Nowadays Philip is a psychologist, psychotherapist and writer on druidry. He’s the author of many books and oracle decks including The Druid Animal Oracle and The Druid Plant Oracle, both of which he co-authored with his wife Stephanie. If you want to find out more about druidry, his website is philipcarr-gomm.com, and there’ll be a link with this podcast. Welcome to you, Philip.

Philip C-G :   Hello. Hi there.

Steve:            My earliest introduction to druidry was actually through the amazing Asterix graphic comics. I really loved. I read them all, I think. I really like them as a kid for many reasons, but one of the reasons now I realise was that they showed this druidry and ancient way of living in a very positive light in numerous way, but a lot of Earth-based spiritual paths have not always been promoted this way. Has this been challenging for you as a druid?

Philip C-G :   Well, it’s funny you should mention Asterix, because many people that’s their first introduction, particularly on the continent actually in France and Germany and so on. It’s true that Julius Caesar and some of the classical authors gave druidry a bad press, and of course, later Christian writers. The thing about Asterix is that if you remember there’s this wonderful image of the cauldron that bubbles away and that gives the druid, what was his name, Getafix, I think, get his fix of the juice from the cauldron, which gives him incredible strength. Although, of course, it’s just a cartoon, there’s a grain of truth in there, which is, well, a number of things.

One is that the cauldron is a hugely powerful symbol for us as druids. It’s the primal symbol that in Christianity became the holy grail, but is the symbol of the divine feminine, of the womb of the goddess, of nourishment, of spiritual nourishment, and of inspiration. The drink that comes out of the cauldron in druidry is awen in Welsh or immas in Irish, which is the elixir of inspiration, of divine inspiration, which is what druids seek. Because druidry is at its heart a way of seeking inspiration. We work with this idea tremendously. Of course, there’s a link there with plants because there are all sorts of suggestions about what plants might have been in that cauldron to produce that magical elixir.

Steve:            Now, I’ve read somewhere that you wrote, “As the wilderness is eradicated, so some wilderness disappears in us also.” Now, most of us live in urban settings, and some of us have never even ventured in the wilderness. Is this a problem?

Philip C-G :   I think it’s a huge problem. We’re going through a period in the story of the Earth and humanity which is absolutely critical, this period of mass species extinction, with this five runaway trains really, one being the population, the other being pollution, the other being habitat degradation and species extinction, and that’s four. There’s a fifth one, but that’s enough of them for the moment. I can’t remember that for the moment. They’re all seriously out of control, and what we need to do is we need to address them, as many, many people are. It’s important to focus on the positive. One of the ways to get back in touch with our deep selves, with our souls, with our purpose in life and to be of more value to others in the world is to get in touch with the world outside, with wilderness, which is why druidry is a spirituality that is celebrated outdoors as much as possible. We don’t have buildings, churches or temples. Our temple is the Earth and our sacred places are stone circles and clearings in the woods and spots besides rivers and seas, and so on.

Steve:                        Wonderful. You mentioned inspiration, and I think a lot of young people are looking for inspiration perhaps in music or celebrities, you know David Bowie in my day. They’re not really looking internally or certainly not so much in the wilderness for it, do you find?

Philip C-G :   Exactly. The desire for inspiration and transcendence, for mystical experience is absolutely hard-wired into us, I believe, which is why when young people who are brought up in what’s called the consensus reality, sort the box of consensus reality and they start to break out as they grow up, that’s why they turn to drug taking and drinking and so on, in an attempt to get out of the box and expand their awareness and to have new experiences and consciousness. I think there’s a real duty amongst spiritual leaders and spiritual groups and any of us involved in this movement, really, to say to young people, hey, look, we understand why you’re doing this, but there’s a safer way to do it. There’s a more long lasting, effective way to do it, which is to follow these ways, these magical ways which can produce altered states of consciousness and a deeper sense of being alive in the world.

Steve:            It’s an interesting point, because you mentioned the drug taking and the psychedelic culture, which has been really a party party thing, but that also was part of the ancient way of connecting with the spirit worlds, wasn’t it? There were magic mushrooms and various other things that were taken.

Philip C-G :   Exactly. At the moment there’s this big fascination for ayahuasca to such a degree that demand now exceeds supply, apparently, and so the usual story is happening where the plant is being cut with or substituted with other things which are not good for you. There’s this story that I think there isn’t evidence for this, but some people in the 60s developed a story or a narrative that went that the druids were the sacred guardians of the mushrooms in the British Isles, and that’s why we are mycophobic in Britain, not mycophilic as on the continent. What that means is mycophilic is people who love mushrooms and who go out mushrooming, so if you’re in France, people will happily go out with baskets, pick mushrooms, and every local pharmacy will have charts explaining which ones are toxic and which ones aren’t, but people don’t do that in Britain.Somebody developed a theory, well, the reason why it’s taboo in Britain is because the druids were in charge of the mushrooms, because we have two psychedelic mushrooms that grow naturally in Britain, amanita muscaria, and the other one that’s fly agaric.

Steve:            Fly agaric.

Philip C-G :   Yes. Liberty caps. Fly agaric and liberty caps. There’s a very good book called Shroom by doctor Andy Letcher who dismisses this theory, but it’s a theory nonetheless. It points to exactly what you say which is the spiritual relationship that people have developed between humans and plants.

Steve:            Now the healing tradition of plant medicine seem to have a lot of it gone underground as allopathic medicine came to the fore and wanted to elbow out the way these healers and kill them off and all that. Has it been challenging rediscovering some of this lost world of druid herb lore?

Philip C-G :   Well, the thing with The Druid Plant Oracle, it’s been such a fascinating project because it’s really like such a lot in druidry. It seems to be lost but it’s just beneath the surface. A very common reaction somebody might have if you talk to them about druidry or if you say, “I’m getting interested in druidry. I’m following … ” They’ll say, “Well, there’s no evidence. There’s nothing around. It died out thousands of years ago and it’s just all fantasy.” That person just doesn’t know enough. They haven’t read enough. They haven’t studied enough, because actually there’s loads of material just waiting to be discovered really and rearticulated. That applies to the animal traditions and it applies to plant lore as well.

Although it’s true that allopathic medicine and modern approaches have pushed a lot of this stuff underground, luckily the holistic movement and the alternative health movement have been pushing back, as it were, and rediscovering stuff. You find if you look at plant lore, you find you can go right back to herbals that were produced at the same time as the ancient druids. The science of archaeobotany, which is a wonderful science really, which is extraordinary, and sometimes it’s called paleoarchaeobotany. It’s basically finding, digging up soil and discovering remains of plants from thousands of years ago. To a layperson that seems extraordinary that you could find any remains at all, but the fact is you can.

If you take, for instance, there’s a wonderful place called Llyn y Fan Fach which is a lake in Wales. Up on the top of that in this very windswept location there’s a cairn, bronze age cairn that was excavated a few years back by archaeologists and they discovered the cremated remains of a young woman. Alongside those cremated remains were traces of meadow sweet, enabling scientists to say when this woman’s remains were buried there, offerings were made of meadow sweet, and that’s, is it 4,000 years ago, 5,000 years ago. You think how can they possibly tell? They can and they do it by putting what they find under a microscope and detecting the cell structure that remains of whatever remains are there.

We’re familiar with the stories of is it from Tutankhamen’s tomb of grains of wheat or whatever being found and people being able to regrow them from thousands of years back, and that’s because they were sealed in a tomb, in a dry, hot place. Even in a windswept, wet place like the British Isles, archaeobotany can tell us what was growing at the time of the ancient druids and what they were cultivating and so on. That’s how Stephanie and I worked on The Druid Plant Oracle. We first of all turned to archaeobotany and said, okay, what was around at the time of the ancient druids, so we had a picture of that. Then we looked at the cotemporary herbals and said, okay, what were they talking about then.

Steve:            Now, I was raised a Christian as most people in this country, but what I love about druidry is it’s a path of direct experience and revelation unlike here’s the book and here’s what you have to believe type of thing. As you were writing this oracle deck, did you find that the plants themselves were inspiring you with what to say and what to do?

Philip C-G :   Here’s the extraordinary thing. It’s perhaps easy to believe that you can go inside in a meditation and become aware of the human being who tells you stuff, and whether it’s your imagination or you’re actually contacting somebody who’s died in the past or a being on another plane is a matter of belief and so on. One can imagine that. You can sort of imagine it with an animal getting, contacting an animal and perhaps that also bringing you information and so on. A plant, to the sceptic that would seem extraordinary that a plant could give you insight or information or healing in some way just in this inner world. An exercise I like to do in workshops is I just ask people, I just take them on a little journey up to Llyn y Fan Fach, this lake in Wales just for five minutes imagining they’re drifting on a cloud and travelling there and so on.

I get them to sit by the lake gazing at the lake and so on, and then I say, “Just imagine now that you can sense behind you a plant growing. Don’t turn around. Just feel it behind you. Just feel the colour. Get a sense for the colour that’s coming towards you. Get a sense for whether the energy is sharp or soft. What’s the kind of feeling there?” And so on. Then I get them in their imaginations to turn round, keep their eyes closed, feel the plant more, and then open their inner eyes and look at the plant, touch it, and then get a message. Get why am I seeing you. What is extraordinary is virtually everybody gets information, is astonished by how real the experience is and how the message or healing or energy or quality that is conveyed to them, how much it’s of help to them.

That’s really the basis of this. There’s this idea that what the plant oracle isn’t, it’s not a herbal that’s going to teach you how to make herbal concoctions and drinks and so on. There are plenty of those books, very valuable and helpful books. What it’s doing instead is it’s working with plants in a different way. It’s saying, look, these are the sacred plants of the druid tradition. These are the ideas that are traditionally associated with it. Here are some of the stories associated with this particular plant, and here’s what it might mean in your life if you draw this card in the oracle. Plants have been used as oracles, I mean the yarrow, for instance, was used as an oracle in the highlands of Scotland for centuries, as it was used strangely enough in China with the I Ching as well.

Steve:            I took the liberty of pulling a card from the deck before we spoke and I picked mistletoe, and you got a beautiful image here of mistletoe growing on an oak at the time of the winter solstice. Now the card has an upright meaning and a reverse meaning. Could you just talk us a little bit through this?

Philip C-G :   Yes. Sure. It’s interesting you chose the mistletoe, because of course that’s the plant most famously associated with the druids. The reason we associate it with the winter solstice is because the winter solstice is the time of the greatest darkness. It’s the time of the longest night. Then the whole year turns on that fulcrum, as it were, round to the light again. What we do in a druid ceremony is we put out all the lights, we extinguish candles or whatever light there is, and then we just bathe, as it were, in the darkness for a while, that sort of nurturing, nourishing power of the darkness. Then we light one candle, and then everybody in the circle lights a candle from that. You have a wonderful magical moment of everybody standing there with these little flames.

Then we hand out mistletoe. The mistletoe, those little white berries symbolise that same thing, that point of light in the darkness. It symbolises the awen that we talked about earlier of inspiration, these three drops of elixir that comes out of the cauldron, that the cauldron of darkness, if you like, of the womb. Drawing it symbolises inspiration and it’s great to draw that card if one’s going through any kind of difficulty or just any confusion of lack of clarity, or sense of darkness. It’s also used in druidry as a symbol of fertility. When you squidge a mistletoe berry and it’s rather like male sperm, so it’s been associated in that way with the idea of fertility.

It’s also auspicious to draw it when you’re trying to stimulate your own creativity, your own fertility and creativity. It’s also used to symbolise healing as well. Of course, mistletoe technically is poisonous, it’s toxic. You can’t just munch mistletoe berries to get better, but it was called All Heal, and in fact in anthroposophical medicine mistletoe is used as a medicine for cancer, and with some very interesting research around that. I think it’s a strong, good card to draw. Then this idea of the reversed meanings that you talked about. There’s generally a tradition in using cards is you can just use them for them to mean one set of meanings, but because truth is paradoxical and life is paradoxical, and there’s often a shadow side to things, or there’s a way in which something can be good for you in one moment and bad for you in the next at a different time in your life and so on, so it’s important to take that into account as well.

Of course, if you look at the opposites of all these things, and fertility is sterility, inspiration is actually the lack of guidance and so on. It’s drawing one’s attention in the reversed meaning to perhaps one is going through a period of sterility, and then you need to just sit with that and just allow that and so on.

woSteve:            Wonderful. Great. I know there’s a number of ways you can use this deck. For example, you can use it as a magical tool for creating the future. You can use it for meditation, but can I ask you just about how do we use it for guidance?

Philip C-G :   Well, what we don’t ask you to do is to use it to tell the future, because probably too long a discussion for us to have about that, but there’s a real problem with oracles as fortune telling. You have this business of the self-fulfilling prophecy, of suggestibility and so on. The way oracles can be tremendously helpful is in giving guidance. It’s as if our life and the flow of events is like the surface of a river that we’re looking at. There’s this flow of events, and what an oracle is helping you to do is just to go a little deeper and to connect or become aware of some of the currents that are flowing beneath the surface. What an oracle can do is it can say, ah, have you considered that? Look at this particular inference, and this seems to be the direction you’re going in.

This is where the fortune telling side comes in but in a gentle way. If you carry on like this, this is the direction you might be going in. Time to take stock, and that’s why you quoted earlier this thing about magically creating your future. You see, that’s where it gives you the choice. It says, look, your life is going this way, you can encourage this direction or you can take a different direction. You’re actually engaging in the process of literally creating your future.

Steve:            Wonderful. Now, the oracle comes with a beautiful book. Lovely, gorgeous, colourful cards, and I must say illustrated by Will Worthington. We should mention him. There is also something where you can actually do all the different spreads, aren’t there? Something that you can lay them on.

Philip C-G :   Yes. There are two spread sheets.

Steve:            Philip, thank you so much for speaking with me and all the best for your work.

Philip C-G :   It’s a pleasure. Thank you so much, Steve.

The Druid Plant Oracle

Philip & Sephanie Carr-Gomm

Discover the herbs, flowers and fungi considered sacred in the Druid tradition, with this beautifully illustrated oracle. The virtues and qualities of each plant, and the ancient folklore and mythology associated with them, offer wisdom, inspiration and guidance, in this enlightening pack.

The perfect companion volume to the bestselling Druid Animal Oracle, this is a must-have title for all those interested in Celtic and Pagan subjects and the world of nature.

 

 

 

Price: £21.99

ISBN: 978-1-85906-419-1

Philip Carr-Gomm was trained by the Chief Druid Ross Nichols. He is Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and the author of many titles, including The Druid Way and Druid Mysteries.

Shamanism Today by Caitlin Matthews

Shamanism Today by Caitlin Matthews

If you are losing your way in today’s materialistic world and searching for meaning and purpose in your life, this book is essential reading. 

Shamanic teacher Caitlín Matthews reveals how following the way of the shaman can help you make sense of your daily life, discover much about your innate abilities, and help you feel more alive and at peace with the world.

“He who desires the Soul, who plays with the Soul, who makes love with the Soul, who attains ecstasy in the Soul, becomes his own master and wanders at will through the worlds. But they who know otherwise are dependent. They dwell in perishable worlds and cannot wander at will.”

Chandogya Upanishad

Shamans & Shamanism

Shamanism has existed since the beginning of time. A shaman is a person – man or woman – who can enter alternate states of consciousness at will to travel in spirit between this world and the otherworlds in order to find healing, knowledge, guidance and help for others. A shaman works with power and energy, calling upon the help of many spirits. She works closely with a full repertoire of spiritual helpers, who choose to help her. The shaman’s continually expanding experience sets up pathways of trust and alliance between spiritual helpers, facilitating a trust that links different realities. She is able to mediate between the everyday world and the unseen realms, becoming a bridge of living Spirit.

Shamanism is distinct from other magical and visionary techniques because it is part of the shaman’s soul that makes a spiritual journey, flight or voyage between the worlds. Methods of divination, mediumship or healing may have shamanistic elements, but they are not technically shamanism unless such a spirit journey takes place and the knowledge, healing or help brought back is implemented in our world. Shamanism is used by indigenous peoples the world over. Many retain ancient techniques, and others have adapted ancestral skills for new situations.

World Shamanism

In most people’s minds shamanism is now associated solely with North American nations or Siberian peoples. But it exists in many other places as well. Circumpolar peoples from China to Alaska continue to practise it, despite the overlay of Christianity or Marxism, while Central Asian shamanism from the Middle to the Far East continues underneath the teachings of Islam and Buddhism. Areas of India, Africa and South America retain many shamanic practices as part of their mainstream spirituality.

Some of the following shamanic names, drawn from worldwide cultures, indicate the extent of shamanism around the globe:

bhopa – Hindu – shaman

hatali – Navajo – medicine person

awenydd – Welsh – inspired one

mudang – Korean – female shaman

noaide – Saami (Lapp) – shaman

gongsai/jinpo – Zhuang (Chinese) – male/female shaman

angaqoq – Inuit – shaman

sangoma – Zulu – shamanic healer

dhami – Nepalese – shaman

curandero/a – Central American – male/female shamanic healer

llapo – Tibetan – oracular shaman

The ancestors of Western peoples also used shamanism, but the shaman’s role became fragmented, subsequently devolving upon a multitude of people, including priests, storytellers, healers, judges, diviners. In most cases, the essential shamanic component was lost, although individuals and scattered families have retained intrinsic shamanic practices in their hereditary skills of healing, mediumship and divination; some social pockets have also retained certain skills and still guard certain shamanic doorways in collective folk-customs. A close study of European folk-customs and archaic spiritual practices reveals that shamanism is well rooted in many European countries, although this evidence is frequently overlooked or discounted as a manifestation of atavistic superstition or witchcraft.

Shamanic traditions around the world developed according to the kind of societies in which they were found: nomadic, pastoral, hunting. The movement of animals or the behaviour of the elements were critical factors in existence and different needs affected the kinds of shamanism which developed. Environmental factors and ways of life shaped the spiritualities of early people.

Ake Hultkrantz believes that it is natural ‘to regard shamanism as one of the strongest powers behind the historical formation of religions’. Although it can manifest as a spirituality, it is rarely manifest as a religion in the Western sense. It most often appears today as a healing practice within a religion. In parts of Central and South America, for example, curanderas (shamanic healers) call upon both Catholic saints and indigenous gods, while in Tibetan Buddhism the ancient, pre-Buddhist deities are invoked to enable oracles and healing. In some places shamans provide certain ritual and healing functions for their society which are not met by the predominant spirituality of that people or region. Shamanism is the servant of all traditions.

The Calling

This book doesn’t attempt to be a historical or anthropological survey of shamanism, but it is important that the vocation and work of shamans is properly contextualized here. Shamans are always chosen for their role by the spirits of the universe, for shamanism is not a self-elected vocation: so the one who determines to become a shaman as an ego-enhancing exercise will not succeed. Shamanism may run in the family or one shaman may become a teacher to one or more spiritually elected candidates.

When someone is called to be a shaman, he may attempt to avoid the calling for the very good reason that shamanism is one of the most demanding of vocations, the shaman being available simultaneously to the spirits as well as to future clientele. This avoidance may also spring from a fear of dealing with spirits and the otherworlds they inhabit. The creative basis for shamanism shows itself clearly in such situations for, like the repression of creativity, the avoidance of a shamanic calling usually results in a massive loss of power or soul, frequently leading to life-threatening illness. This ‘shamanic illness’ is generally cured by a full acceptance of the spirit- dictated vocation.

The training of shamans is usually undertaken by both spirits and human teachers who are themselves shamans. The apprentice learns by assisting the qualified shaman and so integrates her own growing shamanic knowledge with practical implementations of techniques and the reactions of clients to specific treatments. The acceptance of trainee shamans by their community is critical, for they cannot practise without people.

Why Do People Consult Shamans?

People need shamans’ help for health, work and relationship problems, as well as for making ritual sense of changes in life-patterns from birth to death. They may also have difficulties that have mysterious origin, perhaps arising from their ancestral inheritance or from a curse. In response to these needs, shamans seek out solutions, cures, rituals and information from the spirits in the otherworlds.

Contemporary manifestations of shamanism reflect the changing needs of society. Many of our present needs are similar to those of ancient and indigenous societies – health, work and relationship problems and making sense of life patterns – but we may also add the needs produced by Western urban life: the need to address the soul-loss which manifests as incompletion, meaninglessness, alienation, addiction, self-mutilation, lack of self- esteem and loss of vision. Modern medicine has found solutions to many physical illnesses, while modern psychology attempts to heal what it sees as mental illnesses, but the subtle illnesses and imbalances are largely ignored or marginalized, nor are their needs addressed by the major religions who do have the apparatus to discern spiritual cause and effect. It is left to shamanism and a host of complementary therapeutic disciplines to address the soul.

Modern shamanism addresses contemporary problems and helps us reforge our primal belonging to the earth by providing rituals and healing practices. The creation of rituals by shamanic means re-empowers those disempowered by religious ceremonies which alienate rather than reconnect. The immediacy of walking between the worlds and of implementing what is discovered there re-authenticates each individual’s spirituality.

Misconceptions About Shamanism

Shamanism is a primal spiritual practice that has somehow survived into our time. This survival has been ensured by the usefulness of shamanic skills. If ancient techniques are lost it is because they are not so useful. People simply do not consult ineffective shamans and they soon have no clients, no income and no status in society. Chandra, a Nepalese dhami (shaman), speaks humbly about this:

‘… a man can learn many things from his failures, but failures can create uncontrollable needs and weaken his soul. For that reason, a dhami must always bring satisfaction and success to the people around him, even small successes, for only then will the souls gain strength to take a next step.’3

This philosophy of small, incremental successes is central to shamanism which, since it deals in spirit, is very much concerned with ‘keeping the spirits up’. While shamanism can produce dramatic and immediate results, the subtle and gradual organic changes that it brings are more enduring and more comfortable when we ourselves have changed. Human nature is a creature of habit and old habits die hard, as we all know.

This leads us to a clarification of certain misconceptions about shamans. One of these concerns the alleged charlatanism of shamanism. All shamans work in the context of their society, wherein their practices are performed publicly. Like any showman, the traditional shaman will accordingly ‘play to the gallery’, utilizing illusions and sleight of hand to enhance the healing or séance. Many people have assumed that the use of such tricks must significantly devalue whatever shamanic work is done or mask a complete inability to heal.

Some early anthropologists who studied shamanic cultures were of the opinion that shamans were epileptic, since they seemed to behave in hysteric and irrational ways, often falling to the ground. This view has been abandoned by most academics, although it was still popular until recently among Soviet researchers to whom any truck with spirits was evidence of fraud or mental derangement.4 In working with spirits, shamans frequently experience intense shaking and physical agitation; since it is difficult, if not impossible, to remain upright once soul-flight has begun, shamans usually sit or lie down suddenly. I cannot find any evidence for the allegation that shamans are hysteric, weak-minded or nervous individuals: on the contrary, living shamans demonstrate a balanced, well-integrated and creative personality that has to be well-grounded in order to perform shamanic healing.

I searched in the darkness, I was silent in the great silence of the dark. That is how I became a angaqoq, through visions and dreams and meetings with flying spirits … The ancient ones dedicated their lives to the work of keeping the world in balance; they dedicated it to great things, immeasurable enormous things.

– Najagneq, Eskimo shaman

Some people have acquired the notion that, because some shamans utilize cross-dressing in their spiritual work, they are homosexual or transvestite. Shamans can be of either sex and of heterosexual or homosexual orientation: sexual orientation does not determine the ability to shamanize. There are distinct shamanic traditions of a woman taking on a male spiritual persona, or a man taking on a female one and dressing accordingly: this is in accordance with the principles of non-duality, not sexuality. A male spirit may work through a female shaman, just as a female spirit may work through a male one.

Traditionally, many shamans are perceived as ‘tricky’ or ‘mischievous’. While it is true that many people are fearful of those who wield or mediate otherworldly powers, it is also true that most shamans have a sense of responsibility towards their clients. The playful or trickster behaviour of the shaman is often an attempt to lighten the serious nature of much of the work, as well as to keep open the ways between the worlds. The entry of the clown, the heyoka, upturns the normal order of things, permitting authority to be mocked and confusing the barriers between what is possible what is not. In the midst of this licensed holiday from the normal is a sacred opening that allows healing and transformative experience to take place.

Shamanic teachings are entrusted to those who love the universe and wish to be in its service, but there is always the chance that some unscrupulous student will use it for herself. Unethical shamans occur, as do corrupt judges and mercenary doctors; self-serving practitioners who offer public service are to be greatly feared, for they have no disinterested compassion to balance their skills. Most societies make distinction between shamans and sorcerers. A shaman co-operates with the spiritual worlds and their inhabitants, beseeching their appropriate help; a sorcerer manipulates the spiritual worlds and seeks to command their inhabitants without their advice. This book is concerned with shamanism, not sorcery.

Shamanic practice goes hand in hand with rituals of purification, as well as prayers for assistance and thankfulness to the spirits; these remind the shaman that he is not solely responsible for bringing about changes. Such rituals keep the shaman in a balanced awareness which sustains ethical practice. The ‘habitual intuition’ by which shamans live and work is developed by drawing upon the web of knowledge amassed by experience and perception; it is maintained by the daily practice of sacred tradition.

How To Start

How, then, can anyone who lives outside a traditional culture receive a shamanic training?

Each culture has its own roots, songs, stories and traditional wisdom in which sacred heritage lies encoded. The effect of the shamanic path is to place our footsteps in those of our ancestors, to reconnect us with the universe, to become purposefully part of it once more. Each person has ancestral guardians and spiritual teachers who stand ready to guide them: it is these who will help you if you decide that this is your path. While this book will not make you a shaman, it will set your footsteps on the shamanic pathway and help you become a walker between the worlds. When we accept the reality of other worlds and have travelled between them, our attitudes to daily life will change. As we become aware primarily of the inter-relatedness of all that we do, think, are, we will no longer be able to disregard the subtle urgings of Spirit and power within us.

Practice 1: Grounding

In ancient times, few people actively sought out a shamanic vocation; their innate caution taught them to keep both feet on the ground, not to spin off dancing with the spirits. Today, shamanism is new and exciting, and many people positively desire to propel themselves into the otherworlds and get ‘high’. Shamans may visit otherworlds to gain information, healing or advice in order to help people, but to do so they need to come home again. Finding out where home is is essential, which is why you should regard this practice as essential information (see also Part 4).

Perform grounding after all shamanic work, returning gently to yourself.

The following things will earth or ground you:

  • Breathing calmly and evenly
  • Bringing to mind mundane purposes
  • Bringing your awareness back to your body, mind and emotions
  • Eating or drinking
  • Gentle humour
  • Being outdoors and becoming aware of your surroundings Recording your experiences
  • Taking time and space to assimilate what has been experienced before rushing into the next activity

Create your own grounding sequence, based on your own needs and reactions. After any shamanic work, ensure that you are ready to perform ordinary tasks, especially driving, in a safe way.

Practice 2: Recording Practices

Essential knowledge and personal shamanic experience can dissipate like evanescent dreams unless it is recorded. After performing the practices in this book, permit yourself assimilation time.

Sit and write down your experiences, however vestigial or wacky they may seem. Enter into the experience with all your faculties: How did it make you feel? What was the most salient feature of the practice?

Do not worry if you cannot understand the experience right away; fragmentary information is often referenced again in subsequent practices. Some experiences make no sense for months or even years, and so your record becomes a very special way of assimilating understanding.

In your notebook record journeys, dreams, drawings, doodles and thoughts. If you are a pictorial person, you might prefer to draw pictures of your experiences, or if you are a verbal person, record them on tape.

Permit yourself to enjoy and learn from your experiences!

Singing the Soul Back Home

Shamanic wisdom for every day

Caitlín Matthews

If you are losing your way in today’s materialistic world and searching for meaning and purpose in your life, this book
is essential reading. Shamanic teacher Caitlín Matthews reveals how following the way of the shaman can help you make sense of your daily life, discover much about your innate abilities, and help you feel more alive and at peace with the world.

Following Caitlín’s structured series of exercises, you will be guided – at your own speed – through the complete shamanic experience. Discover your spirit voice and true destiny and become a ‘walker between the worlds’, as you embark on your own shamanic journey.

This book will help you change your life.

Price: £12.99

ISBN: 978-1-85906-103-9

Caitlín Matthews is a world-renowned author and teacher in the Celtic and ancestral traditions, tarot and divination, and the author of over 70 books, including Singing the Soul Back Home, Celtic Visions and The Complete Arthurian Tarot (with John Matthews). She runs her own shamanic practice in Oxford, UK, where she also hosts masterclasses in the healing arts.

Visit her website at:   www.hallowquest.org.uk

The Celtic Shaman’s Pack (Podcast)

The Celtic Shaman’s Pack (Podcast)

Interview with John Matthews

In this great interview, Steve Nobel and John Matthews talk about how John got interested in the Celtic era and Shamanism. They discuss the Celts, their shamanic traditions and relationship to the world. Lastly John analyses the imagery of 3 cards picked by Steve: The Lady of the Sacred Earth; The Son, and The Lord of the Underworld.
This audio podcast is complemented by images of the cards, excerpts from the book, allowing you a glimpse inside, and to analyse the cards alongside John Matthews.

About the Celtic Shaman’s Pack:
Enter the magical realm of the shaman and develop your latent shamanic skills. The Celtic Shaman’s Pack offers direct access to the inner cosmos of the Celts, enabling you to make contact with the powerful archetypes to be found there.This pack constitutes your ‘shaman’s pouch’ – your very own collection of items imbued with magical or mystical significance, offering a bridge between the world of the everyday and the world of unseen reality that is a part of every shaman’s training.
The cards represent key aspects of the Celtic universe, providing you with a set of shamanic journey co-ordinates. By working with the images on a daily basis, for divination and discovery, you will learn to journey on the visionary path and gain a heightened understanding of yourself, as well as insight into your true life direction.

  • The definitive shamanic deck now re-issued in a brand new updated edition
  • Ideal for beginners and more experienced students alike
  • Shamanism is increasingly popular, as people seek connections between the natural and spirit worlds
  • Bestselling author has been a practising shaman for over twenty years

Download to listen on the go:

iTuneshttps://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/eddison-books-podcast-Soundcloud:https://soundcloud.com/eddisonbooks

OWN THE CELTIC SHAMAN’S PACK
► Illustrated Book and Cards
ISBN: 9781859063934

Use the ISBN number to order from all good Book Shops!

Prefer to read? See the Transcript below!

(more…)

2017 Round Up | Eddison Books

2017 Round Up | Eddison Books

 

Merry Christmas 2017 from Eddison Books

Merry Christmas from everyone here at Eddison Books!

Thank you all for your support and excitement over our books this year. Our team of authors, editors, designers and more have worked tirelessly to print a range of interesting books and decks, for your continued enjoyment and learning!

In 2017…

We released the stunning Druid Oracle decks by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm; the DruidCraft Tarot and the Druid Plant Oracle. These beautiful decks combine the two fundamental spiritualities of Nature – Wicca and Druidry – and reflects the explosion of interest in the Western magical tradition and paganism.

Druid Craft Tarot- Philip and Stephanie Carr-GommDruid Plant Oracle- Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm

To complement the ever popular WildWood Tarot, Mark Ryan and John Matthews have released ‘Wild Magic: The Wildwood Tarot Workbook’; a book written to allow you step further into the magical Wildwood world; get the authors insight on how to read the cards;  plus an intriguing glimpse into what science can tell us about tarot.

Wild Magic: The Wildwood tarot workbook by Mark Ryan and John Matthews

In October we released a gorgeous set of gold gilded cards by Ambika Wauters, titled ‘The Angel Oracle’. The cards are designed to offer clarity of thought, knowledge and insight to help you with everyday problems, as well as the major challenges of life.

Angel Oracle Deck by Ambika WautersAngel Oracle Cards by Ambika Wauters

 

Following the success of the original bestselling Mood Cards box, we have released a new, stand-alone volume “Mood Cards: Understand Deep emotions”. Author Andrea Harrn created this pack to offer an accessible way to help mental health professionals, schools and families identify and explore moods, feelings and emotions.

Mood Cards: Understand Deep emotions by Andrea Harrn

Our range of Personal Development books has increased with some fantastic manuals and guides:

How to BreatheRichard Brennan

The Chakra WorkbookPauline Wills

Thai Massage (Manual Series) – Maria Mercati

The Alexander TechniqueRichard Brennan

 

Eddison Books 2017

 

Buddhist Fabrice Midal wrote an illuminating book, written to take the reader on a true journey of discovery. He reveals how the story of the Buddha reflects our own lives, and offers meditations to guide us in the everyday situations we face.  

Is Meditation only for Buddhists? By Fabrice Midal

 

Stay tuned for 2018

We have some great books in the pipeline, unique and beautiful oracle decks and a PODCAST!

Listen and learn more from your favourite authors such as Philip Carr-Gomm, Mark Ryan and Richard Brennan. Coming soon!

Mark Ryan Quote- Wild Magic Podcast