Last weekend I had the most amazing experience on the Shaman's Path workshop at Lendrick Lodge, delivered by the amazing Stephen Mulhearn. Stephen delivered the workshop over the entire weekend with emotion, passion and humour and passed on to 25+ people ancient Shamanic techniques, teachings and knowledge, both from himself, and his teachers Peggy Dylan, Sandra Ingerman and other Shamanic teachers he had learned from over the last 20 years. It all culminated in a Beltane firewalk over hot coals and experiences like arrow-breaking (in the neck!), journeying, power retrievals and other awesomeness. I felt so mindful the whole weekend that I arrived back in Glasgow on Sunday late afternoon feeling so lighter, uplifted and inspired to share these practices with others.
I entered the weekend with an open mind, am always willing to try anything new and keep my mind open to new experiences – I often wonder at those people who don't have that same attitude, but that is a blog post for another day. I know understand Shaminism to have the following few core beliefs -:
- Everything is alive and has a life force (the term for this is animism)
- Our “concrete” or “material” world is only the beginning, and this “conceptual shift” opens up the possibility to connect with the realms of spirit
- Everything and everyone is our teacher
- Compassion and a deep union with nature allows us to see and live from the eyes of our heart, the practice of living in this way brings illumination to all aspects of life
- Each individual has the birth right and responsibility to communicate with the spirit world directly
We are now being called to come together for peace, equality, and a new understanding of unity on a global scale. I fear for the planet if we continue along this ego-centric, self-destructive, ‘me' culture that is invading the planet. It's so important to step outside of ourself, find healing and share these practices, experiences and heartfeltness with our fellow beings on this planet…our time is not infinite and we should cherish every moment.
The whole group was just amazing and I have never felt such an instant, spiritual connection with people on a course or gathering than I had that weekend. I like to think it was because I am more spiritually enlightened nowadays, but I think I was just really lucky that everyone on that course was just so open, authentic, kind, funny, genuine, heartfelt and loving. I also loved the drums and rattles!!
On the Friday I arrived later than I had ideally liked to (Stirling shopping centre is not quite so inspiring!) but I immediately felt drawn to the forest and Loch Venacher when I arrived at Lendrick. I am really looking forward to going back here at the end of May for the penultimate 5-day Mindfulness weekend of the 1-Year course I am on, then I am back in June for the next phase of Soul Retrieval before hosting our own Yoga and Mindfulness retreat in July. It's hard to explain the magic surrounding Lendrick Lodge, perhaps it's because of the ancient Celtic practices but I also think people have brought such tremendous energy to the area that is just resonates. It was very electric over the whole weekend.
On my first journeying experience, I immediately connected with my power animal, a beautiful bay/brown horse with flowing blonde mane (he later told me his name was Tahini – and yes, I know it's a middle eastern condiment!) and I was on board him tearing down Balmedie beach in Aberdeen…I was about 11 or 12 and the experience felt so realistic that I could taste the salt water from the ocean. I guess I've always had a love for horses but had not realised that the power animal had always been a part of me – suddenly everything felt very connected within myself and nature. I awoke from that initial experience with a renewed spirit and energy and could feel his heart beating strongly within me.
It's hard to explain the sensation from the buffalo drums and rattles but I understand from my own experience from hypnotherapy that it can drop you down to a theta brain wave state, more than that though…it enables you to tap into your lost childhood or your real spirit energy, that energy that perhaps we might lose something of over the years as we grow up and have social idealisms placed upon us. I awoke feeling refreshed and alive even though the whole process lasted 10 minutes, it felt like a few hours had passed.
I was instantly hooked but at the same time aware of ‘grasping' for something so vivid. It really is something to experience this altered state of consciousness and extreme visualisation with heightened senses. Now, I won't lie…the last time I felt this kind of sensation or altered state of being was during the 90's rave scene when I was less pure and clean-living than I am today – but this was so much purer, clearer and without any of the nasty side effects or loud, brash music. It was as if I had been back in touch with my soul, my lost spirit and the spirit of earth and nature itself.
The power retrieval was something else, when travelling to the upper realm I came face to face with my own father who had died 15 years ago to that very day (April 29th). Now, it was a big coincidence, but obviously he had been in my thoughts in the run-up to the weekend…however, the connection I felt with him during the Saturday was almost as if he was right there with me. I talked to him, I felt his presence, spirit and joy, I heard him laugh and I even “Benny-Hill” slapped him and kissed him on his balding head! That's me in the snazzy red outfit btw 🙂
I had some things I wanted to say to him that I finally felt that he was present to listen to and when I emerged with my partner Petra (who did an amazing power retrieval job!), I felt filled with emotion and a feeling of completeness. My eyes were filled with tears but I did not feel sad, just relieved, happy and so very calm and centred as if I had been healed. Every since then I have practiced my journeying and visit him often for guidance which is very reassuring.
I was not the only one either, there was a lot of emotion throughout the weekend where I feel so many people were healed and found something that was perhaps lost to them over the years. The energy was amazing and I had never slept so well as I did over those few days. When I got back I have been a little bit ill with flu and a chest infection but I think that perhaps might be part of the healing process.
Next up I am going through the Soul Retrieval course at Lendrick Lodge in June over 7 days…it promises to take things to the next level, a truly immersive experience on the path to becoming a Shamism Practitioner and I am really looking forward to it, not just for my own personal experience but to be able to share these practices with other people.
I have to complete a few cases studies in power retrieval, if anyone is interested then please get in touch as it will help me tremendously and I'd love to share these practices with others. My urge to you is to PLEASE always try new experiences and be open-minded, you never know what you might discover.
You can check out a video below about the surrounding countryside at Lendrick Lodge and what to expect on our Mindfulness and Yoga retreat in July.