For many the idea of shamanism brings visions of Latin America, where seekers join plant ceremonies and sweat lodges, or of the mystics of Asia where spiritual traditions are very much alive. But as no knowledge is ever really lost, the memory of our own European shamanic or druid roots is slowly but surely coming back to us. The Anymistics event in Ireland last May was a great opportunity to remember the shaman in all of us, and share teachings between us. An animystic sees the absolute truth present in all plants, inanimate objects and natural phenomena. Seeing spirit in everything. This 2 day waking shamanic journey with some of the most inspiring plant healers, druids and shamans from Europe changed my view on myself and the world and carried it’s great energy into my life since.
Philip & Eimer open sacred space
Philip Carr leader of the Order of the Bard, Ovates and Druids had the honour to open the weekend, together with Eimear Burke, druid and co-founder of the Kilkenny College of Druidry. Collectively we called in the ancestors, the land, the trees and all our spirit guides and allies to assist us. Philip spoke of the druid lineage, and the growing curiosity around this. “The ancient Druids, who were the guardians of a magical and religious tradition that existed before the coming of Christianity, and whose influence can be traced from the western shores of Ireland to the west of France – and perhaps beyond.”
The beauty of druidry is that unlike paganism, druidry is not so loaded and resonates with people that feel connected to nature. It brings back the much needed rites of passage, need for ceremony, service and teaching that we are lacking in our modern day culture. Druidry is universal and inclusive. And even though the druid lineage has not been continuous, really, most lineages in different religions are broken in some way. And as spiritual traditions come from spirit, outside the world of time, it doesn’t matter. Another view that is different in druidry is that of acquiring wisdom rather then enlightenment. In spiritual traditions often we speak about ‘enlightenment’ which seems to imply that ‘at some moment it will happen’. This almost traps you into a promise of a sudden future change. Druidry however doesn’t really speak of enlightenment, but instead involves wisdom seeking, wisdom as an integrative process of maturing.
Ger Lyons on active communication with the field of consciousness
After opening the space we were joined by Ger Lyons who shared the gifts from his own paternal Druidic blood line. He spoke passionately and purposefully about the nature of life, consciousness, healing, and oneness. He urged us to let the pounding and pulse of nature come up and to surrender to that. To have no expectations what that is like, as it leads us not to believe but to experience. We are not connected to nature, indeed we are nature, we are one piece of nature communicating with another piece. There is no such thing as an inanimate object. There is no such thing as the external. There is no ‘outside myself’. There is only one of us. We exist as that pulse in our veins, we are fire. The same fire that created everything.
We received a powerful and transformative healing transmission. Prayer, invocation, incantation it’s all the same thing, all of it is communicating with the field of existence, of creation.All you have to do is ask, this is the key. That which creates everything, can destroy everything in an instant, what is instrumental is intention. And I can attest that receiving this key in the way that we did, has helped me a lot.Since this experience, ‘asking’ has become more powerful in my life. In every moment you can ask, in every moment, you can choose. I also took away that for healing to take place, transformation is needed and transformation is a process of destruction. And just like a derelict building we need to deconstruct it lovingly, safe and piece by piece. It was a good reminder that self-healing needs to come with love and kindness for oneself.
Patrick explains dragons
Talk of dragons and angels is a whole other arena, the arena of fairytales I thought, but I was wrong. Dragons, as Patrick explained, are actually one part of all the complex energies which we as electromagnetic beings experience. Dr. Patrick MacManaway is a third generation healer and psychic with an international practice working with landscape from domestic and commercial to agricultural sites. He shared with us how dragons are the metaphor for the energy nodes on the meridian lines of the land. Similar to the scientifically proven meridians and energy nodes in your own body, which have been used for healing with acupuncture for thousands of years. Like a net, a river delta across the whole world, there are great deltas and tiny deltas.
In a normal state meridians are like the carrier wave that carries intention, much like a phone line that carries a phone call. In a state of health dragons are carrier waves. If chi flows freely, just like us the land is mentally, physically, emotionally at peace. ‘Where the dragons breathe there is light’. But meridian lines can be in an unhealthy state when cut, and its life force is taken by of mining or roads, or by mental events with strong human emotions like massacres. To restore a meridian line, take the pulse and project intention by inserting qualities of vibration into specific points in the landscape, such as thoughts, smudging or the sound of bells or singing.Another approach is ‘acupuncture’ of the land, which creates abundance and resilience. Any healing field that works on anything, works on everything. What works on a person works on an animal, works on a landscape and its meridian lines. What is shared in common is intention. What is different is the scale, with a person you can bring equal psychic pressure, but with a landscape it is not the same.
Working with fertility of the land can be done with stone circles and pyramids which amplify the power points in the land. Blessing and energising seed on a power point or ‘dragons node’ can increase the fertility of seeds, such as when corn charged on pyramids for 24 hrs led to 80% germination, and corn not charged had only 30% germination and poor cross pollination – almost a 300% yield increase! Patrick spoke of many examples of increased seed fertility, rejuvenation of dry river beds, and improving the health of drinking water for cattle through various techniques. After this inspiring talk, we joined Patrick outside to experience the meridians ourselves through dowsing, finding the underground presence of water and the aura of each other and the trees.
Emma introduces us to the power of Mugwort
Preparing for the fascinating topic of lucid dreaming, Emma introduced mugwort. Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris) is a plant of real magic and power, as it helps with both physical and spiritual alignment. The first plant healers and white witches worked with mugwort. Mugwort is of the family of artemisia and its natural habitat is along railroads, edges of woods, herbal gardens and waste places.
Mugwort is at the ‘periphery of psychoactive plants’, and Mugwort flower essence is a fantastic support for lucid dreaming, becoming consciously aware and awake in your dreams so you can explore your subconscious mind. However if you truly approach all plants with reverence, in ceremony, they are all psychoactive. I resonate with the idea that you can journey with any plant and get to know its energetic properties, not just with teacher plants like ayahuasca or san pedro.
Caz Coronel expands our minds with lucid dreaming
With this introduction entered Caz Coronel who shared her knowledge on lucid dreaming. Caz is the founder of Conscious Explorers and the Loop Busting Therapy technique. She has been having lucid dreams and Out of Body Experiences since she was a child. Something I was not aware of before is that in fact the Buddhists practice lucid dreaming, it is part of their tradition. It helps explore the subconscious mind, and it helps to prepare for the dying process. Caz took us through the many facets of lucid dreaming, such as the state of sleep paralysis, energetic duplicates of existing worlds and astral planes. Did you know for example there are counterparts in astral worlds, your house, your school, etc? Apparently, there are entire astral cities that are extremely vivid.
Caz gave some great advice for those that are lucid dreaming. A simple way to start lucid dreaming can be counting backwards to keep your consciousness engaged while falling asleep. Random number, e.g. 158 lucid dreaming, 157 lucid dreaming. It can also be done with meditation; moving energy up and down the body with increased speed. Then it is also helpful to distinguish between dream and reality. You can program a reality check in your subconscious mind for this. For example a coin changing shape, or a check every time you step through a doorway. Fear can prevent you from entering a lucid dream state, or snap you out of it. Gratitude as a very powerful tool to address this fear, and so is sending love to any representation in the dream gives you fear.
Many questions around consciousness are still hard to address, such as the hard problem of consciousness, the question of time, past and future. Where are they in reality? And why is our human experience solid, if all is energy? Indeed we need time and space, otherwise we couldn’t have experiences. You are the dream, the dream is you, and the lucid dream is rendering in the now. And like a sailor navigating the sea, there is a consciousness behind the dream. We went to bed that evening after receiving our drops of mugwort essence from Emma, hoping for lucid dreams and dream revelations.
Tree spirits and soul sovereignty
After a wonderful dream share on Sunday we continued with Danu Forest speaking about earth based mystical spirituality. Trees, as she explained, are living embodied spirits, not as movable or mutable as animals or humans, but spirits nonetheless. Trees are spirits made manifest just as we are. We went outside to connect to the trees on the land. This experience was followed by a beautiful sound journey.
Karen Ward asked us, what would yo do to allow your soul to express itself fully? Love of self is a key part to soul sovereignty, how do we reclaim that sovereignty? The heart and soul are linked, the balance is where the heart is, right there between earth and sky. At time of trauma, loss or challenge, a piece of the puzzle of your soul goes missing. We lose our sense of safety, our innocence. With the land there can be soul loss too, which is exactly what Patrick Macmanamay spoke about. And not only do we need to reclaim our soul sovereignty because of trauma, we have also givem our power away to the priest, the politician, the bank manager, and so on. Reclaiming soul sovereignty is our way to bliss. “We have to wake up to the fact that we can access all of the consciousness that is available to us.”
We closed the weekend with a beautiful dance on the grassy fields, where Martin Duffy, steward of Dunderry Park gave us some final words. Some of us stayed one more day for the wonderful mugwort workshop. On Monday we eventually left feeling ignited with the knowledge that for everyone the shaman lives within, and we can keep remembering how to tap into that power. And needless to say, a mind full of dreams in weeks to follow!
I want to conclude by mentioning that Animystics is an annual event hosted by Davyd and Emma of Archetype events, who also organise Plant Consciousness annually in London, an event I wrote about last year. The next Plant Consciousness is up soon on 1 & 2 October in Regents Park London, with author and activist John Perkins and many more inspiring speakers, so don’t miss it!