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With the upcoming event The Shamanic Lands fast approaching and as the organiser of that it seems appropriate to take some time out to establish what we mean by The Shamanic Lands and where we believe they are or indeed what they are.

Shamanism has seen another explosion of interest in recent years as a new wave of energy sweeps through the collective psyche. Michael Harner’s seminal book ‘The Way Of The Shaman” broke new ground when it was first released and brought together many re-occurring ideas that he had seen in different forms of Shamanism the world over. This gave rise to the first wave of neo-shamanism or post-indigenous shamanism that swept through the West and inspired many a person to go out and seek the ancient knowledge of indigenous cultures from as far flung a destination as Mongolia right down to South America, and taking in animistic based cultures such as the First Nations people of North America and the Original people of Australia.
The seeking of ancient knowledge over these last 20-30 years has brought about the sharing of much wisdom and practices from these peoples and has enriched our own experience of the sacred in the West.

This has been a beautiful experience for all concerned and indeed has affected the collective consciousness in many ways. However as a young seeker on the path it has also given rise to an idea within myself namely ‘Why is it that so many people feel compelled to travel to exotic far off lands in search of a mystical and profound experience when we have the same energy and magic in our own environment?”
Maybe I have answered my own question right there. It is seemingly in human nature to want to explore the unknown and to travel and flood the senses with the new and exciting. As a seasoned traveller myself, and a person who spent 15 years living abroad in the Middle East, India and the Mediterranean, I can certainly attest to the appeal of those experiences.

And yet much as I loved all of that I always felt that there was something missing, that lack of the familiar– be it the language barrier, the foreign religions and their ways, or just simply the lack of a recognisable season change. More importantly though I now realise that I missed the connection to my own roots, to my own ancestry, to the land of my ancestors and to the inhabitants of those lands – the plants, the trees and animals.

In this new blog series I intend to share with you my recent journey of the last year, after myself and my wife moved back to the UK to Wales or Cymru and how this has helped shape and clarify a new energy that we feel is at work not just within ourselves but many people we meet.

To begin with though and to give some wider context to this journey I would like to focus on something incredible that I have perceived happening since we returned to these ancient and ancestral homelands.

It is my belief that we are now experiencing a new wave of shamanism reaching out and landing on these shores. These ancient shores that encircle the magical lands of Eiru, Kernow, Alba, Breton and of course Albion. The so-called Celtic lands.

But where is the new wave of shamanism coming from and why is it coming now? These are the important questions we need to ask ourselves. The last 10 years but perhaps even more significantly the last 2-3 years has seen an explosion in interest in the psycho-active plants of central and south America. Ayahuasca has literally thrust itself into the psyche of the western mind, and as such has had a very powerful effect on those that have experienced its complicated depths and witnessed its incredible capacity to heal and re-ignite our own innate senses of love and creativity.

It is recognised by many Curenderos, Vegatilismos and medicine men of the Americas as being a plant that opens people up to the possibilities of other members of the plant and fungi world. It is in many ways a gateway teacher that for those that hear the calling to go deeper into that world and explore the magic and infinite qualities of nature itself. Through eliciting a deeper understanding of plants, trees, mushrooms and the very essence of what binds all of these beings together we can find right outside of our own front doors an almost hidden and often ignored world in our gardens, parks, meadows, hedges, mountains and valleys.

As this wave of plant medicine has broken over these shores and indeed those of other western cultures as well, it has brought with it many friends such as Grandfather Peyote,– the Deer Medicine of the Huichole people, the oldest known psychedelic tribe on the planet and Huachuma or San Pedro another sacred cactus medicine. We have also been introduced in more recent times to the magic of Cacao as used extensively and ceremonially by the ancient Mayans and also to the wondrous sacred root of the Bwiti people of Gabon, namely Iboga.

All of these plants have helped to not only heal many people but seemingly have also triggered in many of us myself included - a deep and yearning desire to learn about the sacred plants of our own lands. We often hear at our own events and ceremonies people talking about the use of our own sacred teacher plant, the psilocybin mushroom and why there is no obvious cultural usage of this fungi in the same way that we see in other plant based shamanic cultures of the world. It is a question I have asked myself many times and in many ways has fuelled this journey of discovery that I now found myself on.

Ayahuasca itself I feel though is also on its own voyage of discovery. It has now decided to leave its own homeland deep in the Amazonian jungle and reach out to us in the West – but why? Is it simply exploring this amazing world we call Earth and which is our home in the same way that we humans do? Taking itself to new and far off lands in an attempt to evolve itself through having its own new and unique experiences. Quite possibly. However, it seems to me that this plant has arrived with a much greater mission in mind as well.

Along with many of the other entheogenic teacher plants like Peyote & Iboga its very existence is threatened on this planet by the actions of humans but more particularly those of the Western capitalist culture that have adopted a position of arrogance and greed in its consumerist outlook. The progressive felling of trees in the Amazon for rubber and other commodities or the mining in the Wirikuta or the over exploitation and smuggling out of Gabon of Iboga for sale on the black market or for sale to pharma companies have now meant that all of these plants, these beings are facing the very real possibility of extinction. These plants represent the material form of much higher forms of consciousness that we in the West are now only begging to comprehend but that indigenous peoples have known about for millennia.

So, these old and wise multidimensional beings are reaching out to the very people that are threatening their existence and offering us peace and a chance for a new way of doing things. This is the nature of plants, to give of themselves freely to humans despite the incredible atrocities we have committed against them and the lands on which they grow.
Corporate greed has reached a new level in the West and is now bringing this world to the edge of catastrophe and disaster. A situation that desperately needs to be averted, if we as a species are to prevail.

Through opening us up to the wider potential of plants and nature in general, Ayahuasca seemingly intends to reconnect us in the West back to our hearts, and the deeper consciousness that resides in us all. A reconnection - which if made forcefully and powerfully enough, has the potential I believe, to change us from this course we are currently on. A path of greed and destruction that we have been on since the rise of organised dogma and religion through the disguise of the Christian Church.

In his book ‘The Real Middle Earth – Magic & Mystery in the Dark Ages’ Brian Bates, shamanic researcher and author of the excellent ‘Way of the Wyrd’ points out just how deep the Churches fear of plants goes;
“In ancient Europe the church authorities preached and legislated against the practice of using plants in a magical way for it seemed to draw on an Otherwordly power that was outside the churches jurisdiction; “Let no one enchant herbs!” said St Eligius, in AD 640. His plea fell on death ears. For the practice of magical medicine seemed to thrive. But certainly the Christian concern about the enchantment of healing plants being somehow a threat to their missionary activity was well founded. For in pre-Christian times a person’s health was considered to be, literally, a blessing.

We can see now in this statement from St Eligius the deep-rooted fear that the church had of the natural world, and how it had the potential to undermine their own agenda. As the strength of the church grew in Europe so the power of plants diminished in the minds of the masses to the point that we now found ourselves at, where Governments the world over consistently pass new laws that seek to further abuse nature and its resources, and in doing so seek to gain ever increasing wealth and power.

It is due to the rise of the modern Christian Church and the cultures that invaded these lands of Britain and Ireland that through their chosen messengers such as the Romans & the Normans that we were set on a path that decreed that those people who understood and worked with the deeper healing and magical qualities of all plants were heretics or worse,– Witches! People that needed to be rooted out and burned at the stake as a lesson to all who questioned Gods will as translated to us through the medium of the all knowing, all powerful Christian dogma. Thankfully that energy seems to be abating somewhat in the world and we can now see the beginnings of the healing process that needs to happen around this. 
But it has left deep and lasting scars. One of them is our almost complete disconnect from nature and the plants. It is this disconnect that has helped fuel the Western Capitalist Consumer model or the Death Economy as John Perkins calls it.

Fast-forwarding 1500 years and to bring this 1st part of my journey to a close it is at this place I now find myself. At the beginning of a new journey. Seeking the ancient knowledge of these lands and of its plants I began looking into our own ancient cultures to see what I could find that in any way resembled those of other indigenous cultures where plants and herb lore are very much at the centre of their lives rather than sidelined and relegated to a position of ‘alternative’ medicine. 

As we know the West is generally consumed by a lust for manufactured products. Food that is barely fit to be called that, filled as it is with low quality synthetic products, or hybridized versions of plants that are produced for mass consumption but with their nutritional and healing qualities all but removed. Another example of our complete disregard for the almost forgotten link to our own past and heritage.

For what I have found in these early days of my own exploration is that this knowledge is still there in our culture, almost hidden as it is in pathways and practices often derided by those in the mainstream or those in positions of power.

The ability to go outside one's door and find medicine in our gardens and woods which can heal us is of course a threat to these people, for it would surely undermine many of the principles on which our ‘modern’ society is built, with its evangelical but corrupted Christian foundation. We devolve responsibility outside of our selves, even our own health, which we place almost without question in the hands of doctors and professionals. Many of whom (quite possibly unknowingly) operate at the behest of the corporate pharmaceutical companies who have a vested interest to keep us sick and dependant on them. The last thing their business model needs is a population that has woken up to the fact that many of their illnesses and woes can be cured by themselves either through the use of traditional herbal medicine or indeed using the deeper knowledge and possibilities of self transformation that shamanism brings.

By looking to the ways of the ancestors, the path of the Druids, the Celtic and pre-Celtic shamans and the Wiccans and Pagans we can see the scattered remnants of that almost forgotten knowledge, and yet there still remains the guardians and wisdom keepers of that knowledge and of these lands from whom we can relearn, reignite and re-establish those old ways. Or as the Shuar put it  ‘To dream into being a new world” This is my dream and increasingly I hear it to be the dream of others too. A dream that places the land, the plants, the trees at its core and will allow us to reconnect fully with ourselves and our ancestors and in doing so help fuel the global healing that is needed if we are to survive the coming age, fraught as it is with right wing political agendas and global corruption. We as a race need to go through a deep healing process and as has always been the case, the plants and mushrooms are taking us by the hand and showing us the way.
They have been here long before us and can survive without as, but without them we are finished. Everyday, we breathe tree medicine into our lungs and that medicine sustains us and keeps us alive.

For now I want to leave you with the thought of how reaching out from these ancient and magical isles to our global shamanic brothers and sisters, the medicine men and women of our North, Central & South America can help us reignite a revival of our own lost shamanic heritage. By utilising the practices and knowledge of those cultures while letting go of the foreign cultural imprints that come with them we can perhaps see a way to use that wisdom to reconnect us to that past and find a way to amplify the Druidic, Celtic, Norse & Anglo-Saxon shamanic vestiges we have in order that each of us can become our own shamans, with our own connections to the mysteries of our lands and our direct ancestors and the plants and fungi that inhabit them.

In doing so I see a pathway to a new type of shamanism in these lands. A shamanic form that embraces the ideas of other lands but that can help rebuild our own shamanic culture. One that connects us to our own cosmology, our own ascended masters and guides such as the Tuatha De Dannan or the Shining Ones of Erin and of course to our plants and trees. Perhaps in this we will find a deeper connection within ourselves by finding a new way to relate to the land and the peoples by which we are surrounded, and through this we will find the strength to change the system and society in which we currently live that places so little emphasis on the sacred.

So, I invite you to join me on this journey as we delve ever deeper into the ancient ways to find the knowledge that can be brought forwards into this moment for personal and collective transformation.


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is a 2-day shamanic ceremony held in London in that explores the ideas of this blog and future posts. By reuniting the ancient shamanic ways of these lands with those of our global brothers and sisters we have the potential to embrace this new energy being brought to our shores and transform it into something deeply personal. It can connect us back to ourselves by drawing on the strength and energy of the land around us, the plants and beings that live in the land that our ancestors so clearly felt a deep connection to. This event will draw together shamans and medicine people from all over the UK and the rest of the world to send out a powerful intention that this reconnection can be honoured in order to bring about change in our world at this moment in time and in our own evolution.

 


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    Davyd Farrell

    Davyd is the Co-Founder of Archetype Events, a politics graduate and trainee medical herbalist.


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