Workshops generally fall into two groups: Stones & Crystal Workshops and Shamanic Workshops. Most of the workshops are designed for two days. Basic workshops generally are Friday and Saturday with no evening sessions. Typically, the advanced and deepening workshops start on Friday evening (7:00 to 9:00 P.M.), continue on Saturday (9:00 AM to 6:00 PM with an evening session as optional), and finish on Sunday (9:00 AM to 3:00 PM). The immersion/transformative shamanic practices workshop is recommended for three days, with a noon start time on Friday.
Individual Shamanic Workshops
Spider Medicine Program
In many cultures, the spider is given credit for its ability to weave intricate webs that are a miracle of organic engineering. If you have the spider as an animal spirit guide, you may have an affinity with acts of creation and the ability to create delicate, intricate things or ideas that are also strong.
Tarantulas are part of a group of spiders known as the hairy mygalomorphs. Most live in the ground, though some do live in trees. Their eyes are very sensitive, but they hunt mostly at night by touch. They are very sensitive to vibrations and movement around them. They can live 10-20 years, and usually when a tarantula appears as a messenger or totem, it will be important in our life for a long period of time.
The water spider also teaches us how-to live-in environments that otherwise would suffocate or drown us. It teaches us that we can survive successfully and creatively in environments that may seem alien and can show us how to move between worlds and dimensions.
When the daddy longlegs appears, we can expect a surprise. New understanding, creativity, and ideas are flowing now, especially in relationships. Now is the time for deeper exploration of them. Doing so brings greater harmony and goals will be reached.
Bird Medicine Program
The blue jay has long been thought of as a bully and a robber. Although it can have those tendencies, it has other qualities that make it stand out positively. For those with a blue jay totem, it can reflect lessons in using your own power properly. It can also reflect lessons in not allowing yourself to be placed in a position in which it is misused against you.
The cardinal's loud and clear whistle reminds us to listen closely-—to pay attention to what is blowing on the winds-—which in this case is listening to the inner voice (feminine) more closely for our own health and well-being. It almost always reflects a need to assert the feminine aspects of creativity and intuition more strongly.
Smartest of all birds. It has the ability to outwit most birds, animals, and humans. They have a great mysticism and mythology about them.
The magpie is a cousin to the crow. It is a large bird with a glistening black head. Magpies are curious and somewhat impudent, and they have a reputation for stealing anything they can carry off. This reflects their skill at using whatever they can find. The magpie as a totem can help you to use whatever metaphysical or occult knowledge that you do have--no matter how incomplete it may be.
Sometimes the woodpecker will show up just to stimulate new rhythms. Rhythm is a powerful means of affecting the physical energies. Sometimes it is easy to get so wrapped up in our daily mental and spiritual activities that we neglect the physical. This can be when the woodpecker shows up. It may also reflect a need to drum some new changes and rhythms into your life.
Bear Medicine Program
To the Eskimos, the polar bear is “nanook” and is believed to have great supernatural powers. To the Inuit, polar bears embody the living spirit of the North. Hence, the polar bear is a shaman, acting as a liaison with the spirit world, keeping the wisdom of the ages. It is a teacher to the native people, showing them how to hunt, navigate, and survive in the Arctic.
In the kingdom of spirit animals, the bear is emblematic of grounding forces and strength. This animal has been worshiped throughout time as a powerful totem, inspiring those who need it the courage to stand up against adversity. As a spirit animal in touch with the earth and the cycles of nature, it is a powerful guide to support physical and emotional healing.
Since the bear is often associated with shamans in many traditions, this spirit animal can symbolize healing abilities and stepping into the role of the healer. If the bear shows up in your life, it may also be time to take care of your own needs for healing, whether it’s at the physical, emotional or spiritual level.
The black bear teaches how to go within to find the resources necessary for survival. It can teach you to draw upon all of your inner stores of energy and essence even those which have never been tapped or accessed. Meditating and working with bear will help you to go within your soul's den—your inner sanctum—to find your answers.
Animal Medicine Wheel
Indigenous cultures refer to medicine as the essence of the person, place or thing. In our terms it is the essence of being a spiritual, physical, mental and emotional being. Wolf medicine is about the essence of wolf spirit. Wolves are very ritualistic—in as many ways as humans. They live by carefully defined rules. There are specific territories that are sacred. Their social behavior is based upon a hierarchical structure. Each has its place and function within it.
People may not like your asserting. They may try and keep you in the category they have always kept you. You can choose to remain so, or you can stretch your muscles and show your capabilities. Those with cougar medicine fall easily under attack, especially by those who have grown comfortable with the status quo and do not wish to truly see you grow. Remember that there will always be some who will not wish to see you come into your own power or will ever acknowledge that you have. If cougar has shown up, there is a choice to be made, and it should be made quickly and strongly. A cougar leaps at its opportunities.
The bison is a large animal and can weight up to a ton and a half. It has a massive head, humped shoulders, and an almost exaggerated appearance because of its shaggy fur. Humps are often symbolic of stored forces—reservoirs that can be tapped. In the case of the bison, it reflects the abundance that is available if we know how to tap it. The fact that the hump occurs at the shoulder level, implies that we must incorporate our own efforts. Shoulders are symbolic of the ability to embrace and hold life. Upon shoulders are carried either our burdens or our rewards. Th humped area on the shoulders implies the need for our own efforts.
(More information coming)
Horned Medicine Wheel
The symbol of Moose represents self-esteem developed by masculine energy and the willingness to face the primal feminine energy that earns self awareness. Both are powerful energies within us. Moose is a prideful creature but not the pride of ego, rather the balanced pride of being able to recognize your good traits and accomplishments and being joyful of those qualities about yourself while having pride in your masculinity and sharing your wisdom with others. This is not just a message for males; we all have both masculine and feminine qualities in us.
The deer represents innocence and a return to the wilderness. Antlers are symbols of the connection to higher forms of attunement. Deer antlers can be a signal to pay attention to your inner thoughts and perceptions as they are probably more accurate than you think.
If an elk has come into your life, it can mean that you are about to hit stride.. Elk may also have shown up to teach you that you are about to hit your stride. Have you been overdoing it? Have others around you? Have you given up or thought about giving up too soon? Are you pursuing things enough? Are you trying for the quick and easy when the long and steady will be most effective for you right now? An elk takes four to five years to reach maturity. If you have started new projects or tasks recently, you may need to give them four or five years to see them reach the peak of success.
The reindeer is a family-oriented totem, skillful in communication and social activities. This totem is a born-leader and welcomes any opportunity to guide others in his herd into new directions. Reindeer has an innocent demeanor and is helpful to friends and family members. Receptive to the needs of others this totem teaches how to adapt to community concerns. "All for one, and One for all" could easily be the motto for this totem. If a reindeer makes its appearance in your life the lesson may very well be that it is time for you to step up and take an active role in caring for the herd. If you have become isolated it may be asking you to take on a leadership role in getting everyone to work as a team. Or, if you currently have a domineering role, you may need to look and see if you are overshadowing others with your ideals, in that case, step back a bit. Guidance is a key role for this totem. Be a kind and helpful teacher, not a bossy one. Look around you, your help is needed.
The workshop is a shamanic intensive retreat; held in a circle of sacred space where all participants share the experience of their healing journey. The class is structured around using sacred space and various exercises, prayers and journeys to explore your relationship to dragon medicine. As you connect your internal dragons will transform. They might be dragons who already assist and teach you and in that case you will deepen your relationship with them. Or they might be dragons who protect you from your inner traumas at the expense of holding parts of you hostage. Either way the dragons can reveal a path to deeper levels of your heart.
(More information coming)
Keenest eyes of all raptors. They are impressive and stir the imagination. Their hunting ability, their eyesight, and their powerful flights and other behaviors are dynamic symbols. The red tailed hawk is a messenger. Its red tail is symbolic of the kundalini, the seat of the life force. In the human, this is the base chakra. It can reflect that you will be working with the life-force or that you will work with the hawk after the kundalini is activated or that childhood visions are becoming empowered and fulfilled.
The Owl has an ancient aura of mystery. It is a symbol of the feminine, the moon, and the night. It has been believed to have great healing powers, ties to fertility and seduction, and is the bird of magic and darkness, of prophecy and wisdom.
Magic, shape shifting, and creation are its keynotes. Its cycle of power is Winter solstice. It is the bird of birth and death, and it is a bird of mysticism and magic. The raven represents a duality as folklore around the world depicts in terms of both light and darkness. It was considered by some to be "unclean" due to its being a scavenger. Odin, the Norse god, used them as spiritual messengers. In some areas, it was believed that the Raven foretold death, and others believed that wicked priests became Ravens.
The Turkey Vulture received its common name from the resemblance of the adult's bald red head and its dark plumage to that of the male Wild Turkey, while the name "vulture" is derived from the Latin word vulturus, meaning "tearer," and is a reference to its feeding habits. The word buzzard is used by North Americans to refer to this bird, yet in the Old World this word refers to members of the genus Buteo. The generic term Cathartes means "purifier" and is the atinized form from the Greek kathartes. The species name, aura, is Latinized from the Native Mexican word for the bird, auroura. The Turkey Vulture was first formally described by Linnaeus as Vultur aura in his Systema Naturae in 1758, and characterised as V. fuscogriseus, remigibus nigris, rostro albo ("brown-gray vulture, with black wings and a white beak").
(More information coming)
The bat is one of the most misunderstood mammals. Modern depictions in movies have given it a sinister reputation; nonetheless, it plays an important role in Nature and as a symbol in the totem traditions. Although more modern lore places the bat in cohorts with the devil, with its dragon like wings, in more ancient times it was a revered and powerful figure.
Hummingbirds tend to fill us with wonder and joy. Whether in flight or building their nests, their precision fascinates us. They are extremely independent. It teaches the medicine of flowers and how to use the flower essences such as Bach’s flower remedies for healing. The hummingbird can fly backward forward and sideways. It has been associated with fire and relationships, the past and the future. Backward is extremely unique and reminds us that we have many choices in any moment including to create joy from the dark past.
The Four Sacred Plants
Keezhik (Cedar) represents the Southern direction and the soul. The leaves are cleaned from the stems and separated into small pieces, which are used in many ways. When burned, Keezhik acts as a purifier, cleansing the area in which it is burned and emitting a pleasant scent. True cedar is burnt while praying to the Great Mystery in meditation, and to bless a house before moving in. Cedar was offered to the fire to smudge the lodge and people. It is also used to waft the smoke to ward away sickness. In traditional medicine, a compound decoction of twigs was made into an herbal steam for rheumatism. It works both as a purifier and to attract GOOD energy in your direction. Elders say put some in your shoes and only goodness will come your way. Many traditional women keep some cedar in their left pocket. When you breathe in the smell of cedar you decide that you're going to have courage and stamina and that you're going to survive. You think of what the herb means, why it was given to us ... It's not magic.
Tobacco (Semah) Semah, or tobacco, is one of the four sacred plants. It represents the Eastern Direction and the mind. The Anishinaabe use a form of tobacco known as kinikinik, or a red willow mix. Because it opens the door to the creator, When tobacco is used to make smoke, it is one of the most sacred of plants for Native people. Some elders say that tobacco is used to connect the worlds since the plant’s roots go deep into the earth, and its smoke rises high into the sky. This plant is highly respected and highly honoured. Giving tobacco is a beautiful way of our people. Ceremonies using tobacco invoke a relationship with the energies of the universe, and ultimately the Creator, and the bond made between earthly and spiritual realms is not to be broken. There are four traditional Tobacco uses: Prayer, Offering, Purification, and Respect. None of them will harm you.
Sukodawabuk, also known as sage, is used in much the same ways as Keezhik (cedar). it is burned as a purifier, but when compared to the "piney" scent of cedar, sage has a spice air. Shkodawabuk represents the Western direction. Sage is used by the original peoples to make their prayers, to signal the creator of one's need for help. There are many varieties of Sage and all are effective in smudging. Smudging is a way of using the smoke from burning herbs to cleanse the body, an object, or a given area of negative influences. Many Native Americans used varieties of sage for medicinal purposes as well as religious ceremonies. The burning of Sage in smudging ceremonies is to drive out evil spirits, negative thoughts and feelings, and to keep negative entities away. The root was used by the Ojibwa in three ways: as an anti- convulsive, on wounds to stop bleeding, and as a stimulant. The Potawatomi burned the plant to smudge and also used it as poultice on long-standing sores.
Weengush, or Sweet grass is used to cleanse the mind, body and spirit. It is considered sacred because it is symbolic of purification. It represents the Northern direction and the body. The elders tell us that scent of these natural herbs is pleasing to the creator and will incline him to hear the ceremony with favor. The smoke is considered distasteful to all evil beings and thwarts their powers. This plant plays an important part in ceremonies of spiritual significance. When Weengush is used in ceremony, each person is to fan the sweet grass smoke, first to their heart, second to their mind, third around their body and lastly, return the smoke to their heart. The prayer said during this process is: "Great Mystery, please cleanse me of my negativity and fill me with the positive energies of love, so that, as I am healed so may I work for the healing of our Earth Mother."
Gorillas have excellent memories and a keen sense of observation. They are found in groups and are quite social. If a person tries to harm anyone in their group the gorilla remembers that person and will have a tendency to charge that person every time he or she approaches. This indicates their undying loyalty to family and loved ones. Respect is very important to the gorilla.
Medicine Wheel Initiation
Emergence from the Wheel
(More information coming)
The Four Chambered Heart
The four chambered heart consists of being fully centered (in our heart) and actively maintaining a strong, clear, open, and full heart. The strong heart means that we have true courage that is based on our internal authority of whom we are. We are able to show up and be present without preconceived notions, while having the Ability to Take Action and Enforce Boundaries. The clear heart means that we have removed our personal biases and blinders and developed a clarity about self so that we can see clearly whom we are by having respect for self and for others without confusing external temptations that can lead down the destructive path of envy or entitlement. With a clear heart, we are able to assess, analyze and contain, while saying what is so when it is so, without blame or judgment. The open heart is a heart that can love itself, having been nurtured by self, family, nature, and life. It does not measure against a bucket emptied by draining one’s source of life by not accepting the innate sense of being loved regardless of circumstances. With a open heart, we have the Ability to Connect and Feel, while paying attention to what has heart and meaning. The full heart means that we can embrace all of life with a sense of wisdom and generosity. It is an awareness that there are as many stories of what is life as there are people; hence, though we can influence others, we must always be open to them and their evolving story. With a full heart, we have the Ability to Initiate, Support and Create Order while being open to outcome.
Questing for a Vision
Vision questing was originally known as crying or lamenting for a vision. It involved going into seclusion on a mountain or sacred site without food or water or clothes. Stripped to the nakedness of oneself, the individual sat in total humility waiting for a vision of how the world is different because the individual exists. Questing for a Vision workshop is about learning to listen to who we are more fully as a person.
Living in the Center
Creating the Conscious Nest
Grounding the Spiritual Body
Emergence of the Soul
Stones & Crystals
Shamanic Practices Workshops
Shamanic practices workshops focus on the ancient spiritual traditions. These traditions rely on a world view that the spirit world is as real as the physical world. Furthermore, these traditions involve communicating with the spirit world.
This workshop introduces the people to shamanic practices and how these practices relate to the use of rocks and crystals. The people will experience different types of journeys through the use of drums, rattles, and story-telling. Rocks and crystals will be an integral part of these experiences as will be community building through the sharing of experiences. Typically, we will do eight to ten journeys in the workshop. Teaching about the stones will be interspersed throughout the weekend. Generally, it involves only Saturday and Sunday and does not include any evening work.
This workshop is designed to deepen the shamanic relationship with rocks and crystals. A large altar/vortex of energy will be created in the center of the working space. The purpose of this altar is to expand the energy field and therefore the sensitivity and receptivity to healing energies. Typically, the people will journey ten to twelve times over the course of the workshop. It is quite common for all participants to experience some form of major insight and/or healing. Generally, this workshop includes a session on Friday or Saturday evening.
The Immersion/transformative workshop typically is a residential retreat. It is preferred that it be held in a rural setting with heavy forests surrounding the site. It is helpful if the site has cooking accommodations and sleeping facilities. Camping is an acceptable alternative. However, the site requires a large building or structure such as a Yurt that can comfortably house the workshop. Generally, this means that all participates will not be overly burdened with weather changed and that there is adequate space for all participants to create a sacred space for themselves to journey.
The people tend to be experienced shamanic practitioners. The focus of the workshop is total immersion into the spiritual world for three days. A large altar/vortex is created with large rocks and crystals. This creates a massive energetic field. Within this field, the people are able to find the safety necessary for the soul or inner parts of the self to come to the surface to heal and be healed. Typically, this workshop starts at noon on Friday and runs late into the night. Saturday begin between 9:00 and 10:00 AM with informal teaching around the fire from 7:00 AM until start-up at 9:00 or 10:00 AM.
Variations of all workshops can be developed depending on your needs. Please contact me to discuss any unique requirements that you may have. The only workshop that has less flexibility in terms of space and design is the Immersion Workshop. To create the designed experience, a rustic sight in nature is needed.