Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


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Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland

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Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


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Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


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Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland

Slí An Chroí

Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland

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Latest News Of International Events In Ireland


"Rising Of The Heart" Is A Unique Gathering in 2016....






(This article was published in Network Magazine in late 2015)


Rising Of The Heart, 1916-2016

John Cantwell


An International Inclusive Spiritual Gathering In Celebration Of Compassionate Freedom
Rising From The Shamanic Tradition Of Ireland

"They say that a good love is one that sits you down, gives you a drink of water, and pats you on the top of your head. But I say that a good love is one that casts you into the wind, sets you ablaze, makes you burn through the skies and ignite the night like a phoenix; the kind that cuts you loose like a wildfire and you can’t stop running simply because you keep on burning everything that you touch! I say that’s a good love; one that burns and flies, and you run with it." C. JoyBell C.

"The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally...", from Poblacht Na hÉireann, 1916

Easter 2016 is without doubt one of the most poignant and challenging commemorations facing modern Ireland. A range of strong opinions voiced in the media have already been heard expressing varied and often opposing views of what is appropriate for our anticipated public ceremonies. In political circles, we are seeing the expected tussle for ownership of this critical episode in our history. On a personal, private level some people are clear, some are conflicted. In shamanic circles, where the engagement with history and principles of freedom and sovereignty is not blind to socio-political realities, but where the engagement is ultimately on a deeper arrow, one on the level of Heart, Soul and Spirit. The international gathering that is Rising Of The Heart 2016 is a profound response to the tectonic movement of Spirit that underpins the quest for self determination, personal and communal. It will be a coming together of shamanic practitioners and Spiritual activists from all over the world, drawn by the magnetism of understanding, honouring and vision of the innate hunger in the human Spirit to be free and all that that asks of compassionate, inclusive, courageous human beings.

In other articles in other journals there will be a growing volume that will extol the morality and immorality of violent rebellion, that will dissect the righteousness and non-righteousness of the rebel leaders and that will review the one hundred years of political and social emergence from the peak intensity of Easter 1916. The writer AE, George Russell saw the Rising as “the confluence of dreams/That clashed together in our night” and while in his great reflective poem Easter 1916 W.B. Yeats wrote “Wherever green is worn/ Are changed, changed utterly:/ A terrible beauty is born”, the international gathering in April 2016 will draw richly on the dreams and beauty embedded in the consciousness of life as a free and wild adventure. It is no coincidence that the years preceding and following the rebellion were vibrantly creative times with an abundance of prose, poetry, theatre, songs, visual art and music composed. Many of these artefacts reached out to the characters and tales of our native mythologies for meaning and understanding of what they observed contemporaneously. Likewise Rising Of The Heart 2016 will call for fierce and elegant creativity across multiple expressions, reverent and alive to the archetypal teaching of Irish mythology. It is a gathering honouring a significant past as a foundation for enriching our present and envisioning and manifesting a superior future.

April 2009 was the first international shamanic gathering co-hosted by Slí An Chroí and it took place in Dunderry Park. Afterwards, co-directors and husband and wife John Cantwell and Karen Ward pledged to facilitate more vibrant and celebratory international events every three years. Of course, 2012 was a lighthouse year, a time when time itself called for reflection and awakening. In April of that year over forty shamans from both hemispheres migrated again to Dunderry Park. Together they journeyed, instigated ceremonies and rituals from many traditions, visited sacred sites of Brú Na Boinne, danced, sang and played to become a shamanic collective deeply bonded with the lineage of Ireland so that they could co-create an enormous corr boilg or “crane bag”. This mála naofa or sacred bundle was assembled in the heritage of the first healing bundle of the Irish tradition. The prayers and intentions infusing the magnificent treasures of the mála naofa came from the calling to venture far and deep in order to see and manifest the greatest healing for Mother Earth and all her children for the new era of time that was born in 2012. That supremely beautiful bundle of healing energy was interred in the earth of Dunderry Park to vibrate eternally in the land of this island. Deliberately, the next international gathering overlooked 2015 in light of the unique and significant energies of 2016 in Ireland.

"We felt very honoured to be part of such an extraordinary journey with Mother Earth, and all those soul brothers and sisters who took part with us. Your skill in bringing unity, yet encouraging individual uniqueness from each participant in the journey with a huge heart just emphasises your blessed talents. This was a very memorable journey to be held high for all time, honoured as a serious event but carried out with such joy and fun. I am sure Mother Earth would have really enjoyed and felt our hearts full of joy, as her children intentionally make a difference to her energy and physical body...for future generations to live in harmony." Words of Nigel and Debra, shamans from Australia who participated powerfully in the international gathering of 2012.

Our Ancestors are calling as they are always calling us to listen to the consciousness of lives lived in the mortal realm and illuminated now in the eternal. There is much for us to learn and there is much for us to heal, as providers and recipients. Inescapably, there is blood in our landscape from many eras of conflict and there is the imprint of that in the landscape of our psyche. And there is much for us to harvest, there is the strong call for our reality to be built intentionally by our potential, our vision, our dreaming and our sense of peace. With the humble and noble skill of the shaman to manifest a life of destiny, (a life chosen by you) rather than one of fate (a life chosen for you), Rising Of The Heart 2016 summons compassionate Spiritual practitioners into a non-hierarchical gathering and invites bold medicine of the heart. Irish mythology and remembered history is populated with characters and tales that are driven by hunger for freedom and new frontiers from Aenghus, to Diarmuid and Gráinne, to Brendan the Navigator, to Granuaile, to Brian Boru and many, many more. Inspired by these indigenous backdrops, shamans are seekers in this world and The Otherworld, of truth and of new ways of being. Always before them, there is the horizon of conscious and ethical revolution and renewal. May you be called to this unique, epic and colourful adventure next year that will fearlessly tread those deep tectonic plates that shift human freedom and sovereignty in deepest harmony with Mother Earth and our Ancestors.

Rising Of The Heart 2016 takes place in The Irish Centre for Shamanic Studies, Dunderry Park, Co, Meath from April 12th to 17th, 2016. For more information, see /, Tel: 01-670 4905.









City Of Dublin Winter Solstice Celebration 2015
Sunday, December 21st, 2015
5pm – 7pm
The National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks, Benburb St., Dublin 7
Smithfield Square, Dublin 7.

A Free Event - All Are Welcome

(Free car parking 5pm-9pm at The National Museum of Ireland)

The Climax Of The Winter Solstice - Raising The Ceremonial Fire To The City With Wild Cheering & Drumming

Slí An Chroí and Complex Productions are delighted to once again produce the 5th annual Dublin Winter Solstice Celebration, now bigger and better than ever. In partnership with The National Museum of Ireland and Dublin City Council, this grassroots community event is a unique gathering for the ancient Celtic celebration of the darkest day of the year, in the heart of Ireland’s capital.

Since the inaugural event in the snow of December 2010, this colourful gathering of local community together with national and international visitors has established itself as a stand out indigenous celebration. It is a free, family friendly event, bringing together traditional storytelling, poetry and céilí, as well as craft making, hospitality, culture and heritage awareness, a processional parade and a very special fire ceremony. This magical experience honours the Irish ancestral legacy of powerfully marking major seasonal celebrations. Young and old are central to this inclusive gathering of people of all ethnicities and cultures. The Celebration invites everyone to take part through costuming, drumming, parading, flag carrying and being a participant in the Winter Solstice Fire Ceremony, the traditional climax on Smithfield Square.

This year, the Dublin Winter Solstice Celebration is generously supported by The National Museum of Ireland, Dublin City Council and IPB Insurance which will raise the scale of every aspect of the festival, making the 2014 event a truly vibrant presence in Dublin city on the longest night of the year.

Gathering Begins: 5pm, The National Museum, Decorative Arts And History, Collins Barracks in The Riding School Hall.
Lighting Of The Winter Solstice Ceremonial Fire: 6.00pm, Clarke Square, Collins Barracks.
Parade Assembles: 6.15pm, Clarke Square, Collins Barracks
Parade Route: Ellis Quay and Arran Quay to Smithfield Square
Fire Ceremony: 6.45pm-7pm, Smithfield Square

For More Information & Images:


Join Karen and Dolores Whelan for the inaugural and historic

Slí Bríde - "Brigid's Way" Pilgrimage

July 7th-16th, 2013



Join Karen and Ona Sachs (US) for the first Irish offering of

"Awakening The Sacred Feminine"

July 19th - 21st, 3013.

Click here to learn more. Click here for the Booking Form


March Friday. 22nd (8pm)- Sunday, March 24th (4pm). Venue: Dunderry Park (ICSS), Co.Meath, Cost: €270

Dunderry Park, Irish Centre For Shamanic Studies.


“Only in a circle created by men for men, can a vital door be opened into the manhood of each man. There he finds initiation. There he finds himself.”


Take your place in this unique community of men, de-stress, unpack and come alive. Arrive with nothing to prove, leave in the fire of your truth.......

Mengathering is dedicated to men spending valuable time in a restorative and productive community. For contemporary males to gather in unconditional support of one and another outside of the usual agendas of work, sport, recreation or politics is a serious loss in the health culture of men and boys. Mengathering is a warm and welcoming vessel for wisdom sharing, resource finding and vision making in the art of manhood. Grounded in the philosophy that there is no one template for masculinity or manhood, Mengathering is dedicated to assisting you understand the codes of manhood you have cultivated thus far, to heal those that are unproductive and to honour those that are healthy. This approach understands that each man already possesses what he feels he is lacking for superior living and Mengathering provides the intelligent stepping stones for you to retrieve your greatness from within yourself. Fathers are welcome to bring their sons, uncles their nephews, etc.

Rituals For Cleansing & Bonding
Releasing Stress
Individual, Pair and Group Pursuits
Time In Nature
Formation Of A Council Of Male Wisdom
Techniques To Stimulate A Man’s Core Vitality
What Our Ancestors Have To Say
Sourcing Transformation With Earth, Fire, Air & Water
New Codes: Archetypal Energies For Men Today & In Time To Come
Strategies For Integrating New Awareness
Celebration – Affirmation – Relaxation – Humour - Play

At Mengathering, we meet in a place beyond our names, our ethnicity, our incomes, our professions, our properties, our marital/family status, our sexuality, our politics. We meet at the level of our hearts.


To express your interest, to learn more and receive an application form, contact John at: & 01-670 4905



(NB. Early planning has begun for the 2015 International Gathering In Ireland.

Please read below the 2012 details )


April 2012 International Gathering In Ireland:


Irish Centre For Shamanic Studies, Dunderry Park, Co. Meath, Ireland, April 24th-29th


"2012: Shamans Of The World: Building A Mála Naofa/Mesa For The Earth"


Ár chairde, dear friends,

Since 2009, we have been waiting to offer you this news and personal invitation. For in that year, we co-hosted our first international gathering of shamanic practitioners in Ireland and during it, a dream was set for 2012, a year and a time that called strongly for a unique meitheal (co-operative gathering) of shamans. In the last two and a half years, groundwork has been ongoing to “open the cauldron” for 2012: Shamans Of The World – Building A Mesa For The Earth, an international gathering of chosen shamanic keepers of wisdom, alchemy and vision. We are deeply pleased to post formal news of this unique event and that we may have the honour of welcoming you to Ireland for this homecoming to precious celebration and work by medicine men and women, from the four directions of the globe.


Since the founding of Slí An Chroí, we have brought our native Irish Celtic tradition to share in the UK, USA, Mexico, Peru, Australia, Netherlands, India, Bolivia, Venezuela, Austria, Finland, France, Spain, Greece, Turkey and Italy. To many of these lands, we return annually. Since our founding too, we have received many shamanic practitioners from abroad to the land of Ireland, indeed some immersed themselves in training with us. In our homeland and in lands beyond the Emerald Isle, we have consistently cultivated arteries of symbiotic growth between shamanic lineages. We sit with elders, learning their prophecies and teachings. 2012: Shamans Of The World – Building A Mesa For The Earth is a natural peak development in the cycle of Slí An Chroí and it is positioned as a peak experience for the invited participants in this auspicious year of 2012.


2012: Shamans Of The World – Building A Mesa For The Earth invites us all to adventure together beyond (ordinary, linear) Time to discover states of being that inspire true shamanic knowing. From that place, our invitation beckons us towards visioning, manifesting and celebrating new life and order for Mother Earth, in harmony with her dream as it pulses through the land of Ireland. Mannanan MacLir the Sea God was visited by a crane bird, but learned that the bird was once a beautiful woman Aoife, who was transformed into a crane by the jealousy of a rival Iuchra who desired Aoife’s love, Ilbreac. He made a home for the crane for 200 years and upon her death used her skin to create an corr builg, the bag of the crane. In it he placed stones, shells and many treasures. When the tide became high his sacred bundle brings healing to the land and all who live upon her. Therein is the mythic source of the first mesa or what contemporary shamans call in Ireland, their mála naofa, (sacred bundle). You who live over the seas from Ireland, we invite to cross them and take part in an international creation of a corr builg for Mother Earth, her children and the time upon us. Cranes are exceptional birds, the oldest known species of bird and they can fly to almost 10,000 metres in altitude.


The dream of 2012: Shamans Of The World – Building A Mesa For The Earth is ancient and epic, to draw shamans from the corners and hemispheres of our planet to the land of Ireland to set a new healing altar, a new mesa for our planet. There will be an abundance of support for us in the physical realm, sacred sites such as Tara, Celtic and Pre-Celtic Ancestral rituals and native Irish arts. All will hold us so that we may cross the bridges into the metaphysical, “The Otherworld”, going beyond ordinary time and space to source the treasures of new visions and new orders that will infuse our mesa-making. Surrounding our adventure naturally, will be the presence of An Sí, the luminous ones, the wild Faerie Folk energy of this island, charming our perception for magical new ways of being. Our work and our world includes them, their world and their work includes us.


We are pleased that you may consider bringing the energies of your heart and hands to the making and placing of the Mesa For The Earth in the land of Ireland. You will be coming too, to a diverse, stimulating community of international shamanic practitioners. And Ireland is a place of poetry, stories, music, dance and craic (a unique Irish-Gaelic word for ‘wild fun’), so we will set that place to lift you into celebration, escape and friendship. Let us be a vital force together to draw the 2012 prophecies to a working place of fearless compassion and to be the ones who enter the cauldron to distil the new prophecies.


Le Spiorad, bigi linn, (”In Spirit, come be with us”),

John and Karen


Irish Practitioners, to view and download the e-poster, click here


UK, Continental European, Practitioners, to view and download the e-poster, click here


US & Other Worldwide Practitioners, to view and download the e-poster, click here


FOR BOOKING FORM, click here



Article written by John Cantwell

“It is important that we come back. We must, in 2012”. We all heard it, before it was spoken. Looking back now at the gathering of international shamanic practitioners in Ireland in 2009, we see ever more clearly the personal, collective and global significance of that extraordinary event. A unique cauldron of soulful community, celebration, purpose and vision came together for six days in April of that year. As co-hosts, we witnessed and continue to do so, the lasting openings created in the lives of the participants and the new friendships woven in the tuatha (tribe). And yet, while that is worth thanksgiving it was not the primary reason that shamans from the four corners of Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Scandanavia, USA, Canada and Africa migrated to the heart of Brú Na Boinne.
Our shared world needs to be witnessed, held, healed and manifested. Our collective destiny as a species asks for our most compassionate and wisest vision in tuneful harmony with the natural living systems about us. This is the dedication of the shaman and that is what we came together to do. Working in and out of linear Time, calibrated by the energies of Brú Na Boinne’s sacred sites, firewalking, composing numerous burla ghuí (prayer bundles), sharing creation and Ancestral stories from around the globe, drumming and dancing into ecstatic states prepared our ground for the harmonising and manifestation rituals, drawn from all our cultures. The strength in the diversity of this tuatha of shamans was eye opening, intriguing and often, colourfully entertaining. And there were truly tender moments. One, the time Diane, an American woman of First Nation descent chose to give her blanket to Helen, an Irish shaman. For Diane to pass on her handwoven tribal, Ancestral blanket carried by her for most of the years of her life, was to witness the deepest honouring from one caretaker of the Earth to another.


Back then in 2009, the economic, political, social and environmental storms currently gripping us were evident on the horizon. There is every possibility these upheavals in our physical world will continue as part of the very real birth pangs of change that is the nexus of the 2012 prophecies. Shamans are engaged in the physical world like anybody else, yet their skill is navigation of the metaphysical and archetypal worlds that underpin the physical one. Intervening audaciously and compassionately on these deeper realms can effect enormous, beneficial change in the material “surface” world. For the shaman him/herself, this work is profoundly grounding and sense-making, great attributes particularly when storms are about us.


2012: Shamans Of The World-Building A Mála Naofa (Mesa) For The Earth is the event of the year for Irish and International shamanic practitioners. Once again many from the 2009 gathering will return to sit among others hearing the call and migrate to this unique and significant meitheal (co-operative gathering). The land of Ireland, her mythologies, arts and Ancestral heritage of sourcing Spirit through Nature will be stepping stones for the collective dreaming and building of the great Irish-Celtic altar of healing prowess, the Mála Naofa, (Crane Bag/Mesa). On the final day, it will be ceremonially buried deep in the Earth of Brú Na Boinne, pulsing an eternal collective, loving prayer. A great adventure awaits those who will form the tuatha for 2012. It will be a peak experience in this world and The Otherworld.












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