Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Aquarian Shaman - Shamanism for a New Age
People often ask, “What makes the work you do at the Venus Rising Institute for Shamanic Healing Arts shamanic? Isn’t a shaman an indigenous medicine man or woman? Doesn’t shamanism involve the use of mind altering psychoactive plant medicines? Isn’t it necessary to journey to a remote rain forest or village in the mountains of South America?” People wonder how the work we do – which involves breathwork, music, art creation and deep process work – could be called shamanic?
In traditional shamanism the Shaman is sometimes referred to as the Wounded Healer - one who has survived a number of trials and initiations, sometimes even near death experiences, and has returned to share the teachings, healing and wisdom gained from those experiences with their people or village. Someone who has learned to shape shift his or her reality by moving from one form to another. One who is intimately connected to the elements, the cycles of change, the spirit world, the earth, and knows that we are all multidimensional beings and that we exist simultaneously on many planes and levels of existence.
The shamanic healer is compelled to heal his/ her self and to help others to heal as well, be it on a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual plane. They know that all healing has its origins in the spiritual realms and that without divine intervention true healing does not occur.
The Shaman uses chants, prayers, musical instruments such as drums and rattles, dancing, singing, smudging and other types of ritual to create a ceremonial setting and an altered state. In these highly charged states of non ordinary consciousness healing takes place that is definitely beyond the brain, or ordinary consciousness as we know it.
Sometimes a shaman is called a “spirit lawyer.” They may find themselves bargaining and working with the spirit guides of another in order for parts of a soul to be returned. At other times the shaman may need to perform an extraction and assist an individual in releasing some form of negativity trapped in their energy field.
All this is associated with traditional shamanism. All this we do in our healing and training programs at the Venus Rising Institute for Shamanic Healing Arts.
During the late 60’s and early 70’s I experimented regularly with hallucinogenic substances. I often had incredible other worldly journeys rich with profound realizations and new spiritual awareness. These experiences made me want to be a better person. They contributed to my already open mind, deepening my sense of connection to humanity and my awareness of the oneness of all things. At the same time, these “trips” did nothing to alleviate my growing drug and alcohol dependency, nor did they improve my significant relationships or create any kind of stability in my chaotic life. I was aware of old belief systems and negative behaviors more than ever but felt powerless to make lasting changes.
These hallucinogenic journeys that I and many of my generation pursued were inherently shamanic. While they were powerful and certainly increased my awareness of the true nature of reality, they basically remained in the transpersonal realm and were difficult to integrate back into everyday living.
In the 80’s and early 90’s I studied Holotrophic and Integrative Breathwork and discovered that it is possible to create an altered state – to take a “trip” - without the use of a mind-altering substance. I learned that healing can take place during non-ordinary states of consciousness. At the same time, I studied with a Cherokee teacher and with Wolf Clan Grandmother Twylah Nitsch and learned some of the rituals and tools of the traditional shaman.
When I found breathwork and simultaneously learned soul return and other shamanic techniques I discovered the solution to the hallucinogenic dilemma that I and so many of my generation experienced. I learned that it is possible to experience deep altered states through the breath and other rituals that did not take me so far out of my own psyche that the experience became irrelevant upon my return to this plane. I learned how to travel between the worlds soberly and safely. And I began to heal many of my old wounds – emotional, psychological and psychic – and I released long-held addictions. I discovered that this healing can continue in the days and weeks after the journey if it is psychologically grounded back into normal life through an integrative process.
I have spent the last 10 years blending breathwork process work with powerful shamanic rituals and techniques that evoke higher states of consciousness, where true healing can occur. The result of this work is the Venus Rising Institute for Shamanic Healing Arts and the Shamanic Breathwork ™ Process. Our emphasis is on assisting others on a psychic journey supported by ritual, music, dancing and art. Our facilitators are trained in the shamanic techniques of soul retrieval and extraction and utilize them to assist the journeyer in their process. These are some of the tools of the traditional Shaman – and they are our tools as well. Included in our process is the sharing of the journey with others in the Shamanic Breathwork ™ Process Group, which assists in the integration of the journey into everyday life.
Our facilitators have journeyed themselves many times and have confronted their own wounds and addictions – dying to their old selves and awakening anew. They – like traditional shamans - have learned to shape shift their own reality. They too are intimately connected to the elements, the spirit world and the earth, and they understand the cycles of change. Through the training they’ve received at Venus Rising they are prepared to bring their understanding of the healing process back to those they work with.
We at Venus Rising are not doing traditional therapy nor traditional shamanism … although what we are doing is highly therapeutic and truly shamanic in the very best sense of the word. We are bringing shamanism into the new age, adapting it to the needs of our present time and offering it to the world as an extremely effective form of emotional, psychological and psychic healing. We are the Aquarian Shamans, and through our work we offer those who come to our workshops and intensives the opportunity to “Awaken the Shaman Within.” This is truly Shamanism for a New Age.
copyright Linda Star Wolf, 2006
Venus Rising Institute for Shamanic Healing Arts
PO Box 486, Sylva, NC 28779
828-631-2305 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~ www.shamanicbreathwork.org
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Star Wolf's Welcome
My journey in life has been a spiral path of wholeness that continues to move through cycles of change taking me through many symbolic death and rebirth experiences, which I refer to as “shamanic portals of transformation.” I have learned more than I ever thought possible through a process I will share with you in my future writings, called the Shamanic Breathwork™ process, and the five initiations process called S.H.I.P. Once I have made sense of the lessons on my path and discovered the bigger picture, I am ready to pass on and share both my stumblings and my leaps along the way. In my own spiritual quest, I have always appreciated most those who shared their struggles and victories in an authentic way. That will be my humble attempt within the context of this blog.
I believe that we are all indigenous to this earth. I respect all my relations, whether they be human, animal, plant, mineral, visible or invisible ones. We are all related by the great web of life and sent here from the great beyond. Everything we say and do touches all parts of this magnificent web of creation. If I treat myself or anyone else unfairly, we are all affected in some way. Fortunately, the converse is true, as well. I am not perfect. If I am honest and have humility, I can admit that I will make mistakes as I seek to further evolve my conscious awareness. I can also make living amends by striving to change my negative thoughts and behaviors, and live from a more open-hearted connection to others and to myself. I have learned over time that all the changes I seek in the outer world must begin by looking within myself first. I have also learned that it is imperative that I have the courage to be honest with myself and to look at the “shadow” side of my personality. When I have had the courage to truly know myself better, the light and the dark, I have found the inner strength to change my life and shape-shift myself into the light of my true soul’s image.
From time to time I will share different programs and events that are being offered through my non profit organization (Venus Rising Institute for Shamanic Healing Arts) in my blog, as well as photos, videos and teachings, etc. But the main purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet to share the inner musings of my shamanic spirit and journey, and to hear yours as well. I look forward to connecting with all of you who intuitively know that you, too, are a valuable part of the shamanic process of conscious co-creation and evolution on the planet at this time. We each have a role to play and a soul purpose in the drama unfolding in our world today. Together we can create a better place for all beings on earth to live and leave a powerful legacy for those who are yet to come.
I believe we will all be remembered by future generations for the choices we make during this time of huge evolutionary change. In the words of the wonderful poem, “Summer Day,” by Mary Oliver, “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
In Love, In Service, In Gratitude,
Feb 2nd 2009