"Positive Living with Your Inner Shaman" - October 2010

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In this month's E-zine...

* Breath Made Visible - Movement Medicine Videos
* October 31st: HALLOWEEN, SAMHAIN & SAMHAINOPHOBIA
* Scary Dreams Lead to a remarkable Shamanic Healing!
* Sage - Uses Beyond Smudging
* Shamanism in the Modern World
* The "Beauty Way" lifestyle
* SAVE Your Money AND Reduce Your Carbon-Footprint

"Breath Made Visible" - Movement Medicine Videos

VIDEO: Dance is what you see, what you smell, what you hear...

"The Expressive Body in Life, Art & Therapy - Working with Movement, Metaphor & Meaning" Details: UK   Canada     USA
 
"Spirit of Place" Shamanic Dancing - Trance Dance Video

See "The Expressive Body in Life, Art & Therapy - Working with Movement, Metaphor & Meaning" [Details: UK   Canada     USA]
 
The Wave - Ecstatic Dance - Shamanic Dance Video

Ecstasy Dance DVDs: UK (Europe)     Canada     USA & International
 

- Celtic 'Wheel of the Year' Tantric Dance Videos -
Samhain/Halloween   November   Winter Solstice - Yule   Imbolc   Spring Renewal   Spring Equinox   Beltane   Pentecost   Summer Solstice (Litha)   Harvest (Lammas)   Autumn Eqinonox (Mabon)
Sacred Healing Dances   Spring Renewal + Feast of St. Valentine

At our "Shamanic Dance & Movement Medicine Workshop" we show film clips of shamanic dance from around the world, plus videos of leading shamans giving tips on Shamanic Dance and their own experiences of it opening the doors of divine guidance and insight.
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October 31st: SAMHAIN & SAMHAINOPHOBIA
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Samhain [pronounced "Sow-in" - derived from Old Irish meaning "summer's end"] is one of the major Festivals or Sabbats of the Celtic/Pagan/Wiccan year. For an agrarian culture it marked the end of the harvest, the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half" which regarded as the beginning of the Celtic year [every-"thing" is birthed from the unmanifest darkness]. The Gaels believed that the border between this world and the "otherworld" [Tirnanog] became thin on Samhain and it allowed the dead to reach back through the veil that separated them from the living and vice versa. Thus it is a "Festival of the dead" and a great time, in Celtic Shamanism, for connecting to ancestors. Hence the secular event now known as "Halloween" - from a 16th century shortening of "All-Hallows-Even".

As I [Mike M.] write this I am suddenly aware of the significance of a surprising dream I had last night in which my late father appeared. He pointed out that the nettle plant, which I had just picked up to discard, held within it a Birch tree sapling. He stood by while I found a place in our family garden to "plant it in a family group". Coincidentally I will be spending time with family members in the run-up to Halloween, including my 90-year-old Mother who has been quite prone to "stinging" words for those around her, in the aftermath of many painful relationship losses and increasing disability in her senior years. The Birch is linked with Mediumship - often used by shamans to link with the Spirit world. It is also traditionally regarded as the tree of new beginnings and rebirth [like the Samhain festival itself!].

In my dream I was impressed by the beautiful silver bark of the sapling and I later find on the web that "The silver Birch bark, being silver, resembles the silver of the moonlight giving a magical look and with its long slender branches reaching up, it symbolises the feminine aspect of our psyche. Since Birch is known as the Lady of the Woods, it is often used to make Goddess wands. Because it can grow up to 100 feet high, in Shamanism it has been called the "Ladder to the Gods" - echoing the mediumship theme mentioned above. The Druids regarded Birch as one of the three pillars of wisdom, the other two being Oak and Yew." Perhaps the lady readers [shamankas] of this, in particular, might like to make themselves a birch branch Goddess Wand for Samhain?

Bonfires were part of the festivities of Samhain. People and their livestock would walk between two bonfires in a cleansing ritual. Gaelic custom was to wear costumes and masks at Samhain - to act as or connect with the spirits - and sometimes the dead were impersonated by men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white, and turnips were hollowed-out and carved with faces to make lanterns to ward off harmful spirits. This originally Pagan festival was Christianised in Western Europe into "All Saints' Day" and "All Souls' Day".
More about the Festival of Samhain here: Samhain

Samhainophobia is an intense and persistent fear of Halloween [really!]. The negative emotional-mental arousal power of ghostly images, sounds and thoughts can be considerable, not to mention the expectation of all those scary unsolicited calls from "Trick-or-Treat" kids! MORE ABOUT SAMHAIN PHOBIA: Samhainophobia
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Scary Dreams Lead to a Remarkable Shamanic Healing!
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A fascinating channel 4 documentary film called 'Dangerous Dreams' was released in the USA under the U.S. title "The Edge of Dreaming". A summary by Amy Hardie is available as a YouTube video clip: Synopsis
Amy Hardie's real-life story is about her deadly dreams. One night, she dreamed that her horse, George, was dying. The next day, she found him dead in the field. Later, she dreamed again - this time, her late ex-husband appeared to tell her she had one year to live! She became obsessed with the idea her next birthday would be her last and despite being a sceptical, hedonistic working mother who struggles with 3 children and a happy marriage, to confront these "inexplicable events", she set about filming herself, her children, her husband and even her visits to a neuro-scientist and a shaman as she explored her developing illness - and terrified response! - to her "dangerous dreams".
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The Death Wish!
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Relevant to his real-life drama is the classical Freudian theory, of the "death drive" ("Todestrieb") - an inner impulse towards death or self-destruction. Leonard Orr, the pioneer of "Rebirthing", describes one of the potential benefits of rebirthing as "unravelling the death-urge" i.e. bringing into consciousness what Sigmund Freud referred to as "the death-wish". Making this innate drive conscious and mastering its energy stops it from sabotaging our dreams and our potential for a fulfilling life. More about Rebirthing can be found in "Exhale" [Details: UK  USA] the classic book on breathwork.
In the end Amy didn't die. In the shamanic journey facilitated by the Brazilian shamanka [lady shaman], just 3 weeks before her "final year of life" was up, she encountered first a huge snake [symbol of healing and transformation (skin-shedding)] which consumed her. Then a female form [her own spirit?] which she tried to strangle [her own self-sabotaging death-wish?] then she became aware of her unresolved, held-in grief from death of her mother some years earlier. [She actually dedicates this documentary to her mother, Anne] After the shamanic journey she felt that her neural circuits had been rewired [the American neuroscientist she visited earlier had told her that this would be necessary if she was to ever recover from the sentence of death which she deeply knew to be real].
She was healed - of the held-in grief about her mother's death - and reborn from her former life of workaholic insecurity [? driven by an inner split of self-blaming held-in grief]. After the "shamanic journey" treatment her Doctors reversed their previous grave prognosis and discharged her from further treatment. She retained some permanent lung damage from the mystery "fibrosing lung" illness but it was no longer progressive and she felt "reborn"! A discussion of the shamanic healing [death/rebirth] issue raised is available on the "Wall" of the UK Shamanism Today Facebook Group.

More about shamanic journeying here: Shamanic Journeying. If you want to train in shamanic healing yourself, there are courses coming up: Shamanic Healing UK Courses
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Sage - Uses Beyond Smudging!
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Spice up your food and your memory with sage! If your grandmother spiked your tea with sage and told you to drink up, she probably knew this secret that was first discovered some 400 years ago by herbalists. They wrote in 1597 that sage quickens the nerves and memory. Now university researchers have confirmed it scientifically: Healthy, young adults who took sage oil extract in capsule form in the medically-controlled study experienced a marked improvement in their memory capabilities and performed significantly better on a word recall test than those who took a placebo. MORE INFO: Anbanet.com
White sage (Salvia apiana) is traditionally used by many Native American tribes as a sacred smudging herb, but different cultures around the world use other plants, woods or tree resins as sacred smudging materials. It may be that the quality of sacredness is to some extent endowed by us onto plants, rather than purely an innate plant quality.
White sage does not grow easily in Britain and is expensive to buy, so some of us use Purple [garden] Sage instead. Although a different plant family, it has a wonderfully strong aroma when used as a smudge stick and seems to work just as well and over time we can become conditioned to "click into" the sacred state quickly in response to it, just as happens with White Sage. See also "Medicine Grove: Shamanic Herbal" [Details: UK  USA]...a guide to using herbs for ceremonies, rituals, and healing, based on Native American traditions with chapters on gathering and growing wild herbs, using herbs in Shamanic ceremonies or as plant allies in the wilderness, and birth, death, and dreaming herbs.
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Shamanism in the Modern World
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Shamanism has been a human activity since the beginning of time It reflects our deepest needs....

a) the desire to explore, experience and comprehend the mysteries of life and the universe
b) the need to "belong" in the world - to be an important, though small, part of "The Great Scheme of Things"
c) to live fully, taking our place in, and making our contribution to, "The Web of Life"
d) to live "magically" - finding power and specialness ["sacredness"] in ourself and the world around us
e) to prepare for death - and the new life which follows that.

Shamanic Healing is the world's oldest craft and science of healing. Origins can be traced back at least 30,000 years. Shamanism is a "worldview" and lifestyle which integrates "heaven and earth" i.e. spirituality and nature. Shamanic principles and technologies have always been adapted and elaborated to fit the needs and understandings of the age and culture in which they are practised.

Contemporary [21st Century] Shamanism is an implementation of shamanism which is rooted in the old indigenous traditions but also incorporates the important contributions of 20th century shamans such as Carl G. Jung, Gabrielle Roth, Joel de Deus ("John of God"), Thich Nhat Hanh and Eckhart Tolle. It is a sacred shamanic "mindset", holistic lifestyle and collection of healing practices appropriate to our mentally-overstimulated, information-age culture.

There is a greater emphasis on "grounding, clearing, centering and connecting" than the indigenous shamanic traditions, whose "edge of survival" lifestyle, close to nature, ensured that they did not get so "up in their heads" or "scattered attention" or socially isolated, as so often happens in our society.

Use of psychoactive substances is discouraged in 21st century shamanism - for the reasons, check out the topic posting on the new "UK Shamanism Today - Contemporary Shamanism" group on Facebook:
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The "Beauty Way" Lifestyle
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The PERCEPTION of Beauty is nutrition for the Soul;
The CREATION of Beauty is exercise for the Soul;
The LIVING of Beauty is fulfillment for the Soul;
The SOURCE of Beauty is the Beloved of the Soul.
[Firebird]

The Beauty Way: Beauty Path
The Bird Tribes: www.birdtribes.net
The Rainbow Warrior prophecies: Article [great graphics!!]
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SAVE Your Money AND Reduce Your Carbon-Footprint!
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With average petrol prices reaching almost 1.20 a litre, it seems the only way to avoid a serious cash flow crisis in the lead up to Christmas is to use less fuel in the first place. The UK has the twelfth highest unleaded fuel prices and the second highest diesel prices in Europe* meaning UK drivers need all the help they can get when it comes to saving money on the go! The good news is that you will also be helping to save the environment!
MORE PETROL-SAVING TIPS BUT note that Accelerating slowly to your cruise speed can prolong the time the engine is operating in a very inefficient mode.
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~ Sunflower Health ~
Stress Management - Meditation Training - Healing
- WEBSITES -
Stress Management : www.stress-counselling.co.uk
Shamanism: www.shamanism.sunflower-health.com
Path of Healing : www.lovehealth.org
Spiritual Healing: www.brothermichael.org.uk
Holistic Health, Well-being: www.sunflower-health.com
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