It's autumn. We're about to embark on the Spirit of Nature, our latest workshop.
It's a Sunday morning in late autumn. The weather is clear and bright. We gather at a new indoors venue in the dip between Newtimber Hill and Devil's Dyke, for the Spirit of Nature session. There are 20 of us.
By popular demand, Robert is running this shamanic journey class, but he has reservations. "The techniques I'm about to show you come from the Lipan Apache tradition, handed down by Grandfather (Stalking Wolf).
"I usually teach this class as part of a longer course that includes practical skills, to make it more grounded," he says. But due to popular demand, he's teaching it for us anyway.
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He describes four different brainwave states:
And we do some exercises to put us into alpha state.
The first is fox walking, a slow stalking walk that makes less vibration on the ground. This is followed by owl vision, a way of seeing that takes in peripheral vision. We put them together. It has a profound effect.
People share their experiences. "I feel calmer", "more centred", "more aware", "more open", "less caught up in thinking", "better balance"... they say.
We return to the floor for a meditation. But before he leads into it, there's a story, Straightening a Curly Hair, in which a demon is defeated because he can't straighten a curly hair. It's about giving the mind something to do so that it doesn't drive you mad.
Robert tells it in a fun way. With voices. We get the message.
Then we relax and close our eyes. Robert's voice takes us deeper. Tense and relax muscles one by one. A column of white light, that comes into the body, feet first, slowly filling us up, to the top of our heads. Our body becomes heavy, as gravity pulls us down. Then lighter, lighter, till we start to float, off the ground, through the roof, into the air, and up and up, so we get a view of the landscape, the road, the venue, what's around.
Then down, down, down, down... And back into the room.
The feedback is surprising. Some say they saw landmarks, and other people out there in the air.
We do it again.
This time, as we come back down, Robert starts the drum, and takes us on a guided journey along a trail, down some steps, through an arch, to our Medicine place. We spend some time here, taking note of what we see, what happens, and who and what we meet. He brings us back.
With the same spirit eyes we go outside. The landscape, the trees, seem more vibrant, more connected. We stay for a while and then are called back to the room.
One by one we feedback on what happened during the journey. "I saw a dark tribesman, who's come to me before", "A fox came to me and licked my hand", "I was told of a place near me that I need to go to", "I experienced peace."
Some deep and profound experiences.
"Can we do that again?" we say.
Watch this space!
Click here to see details of upcoming courses and classes.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.