Every Slí An Chroí Medicine Spiral brings
together men and women of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicity and faiths.
As we gather on the first direction, the North, the group becomes
a “tuatha”, (a “tribe” of people of the heart),
a supportive, warm, sacred community that walks as one around the
Medicine Spiral, while also welcoming the unique experience of each
individual in that journey. In every tuatha acceptance and holding
of others is fostered and strong kinship is always a natural development.
2013-2014 Medicine Spiral.
Weekend 1: “North Direction”, September
Weekend 2: “East Direction”, November 15th-17th, 2013.
Weekend 3: “South Direction”, January 17th-19th, 2014.
Weekend 4: “West Direction”, April 11th-13th, 2014.
If you have no formal experience of Shamanism,
it is recommended that you attend the “Slí An
Day Introduction To Shamanism” before embarking on the Medicine
Spiral Training. However, having no previous experience is not
a barrier to participation.
The Irish Centre For Shamanic Studies at Dunderry Park, near Trim in County
Meath. A beautifully and purposely restored 200 year old Georgian house,
it is close to the ancient sites of Tara, Newgrange and Lough Crew. Surrounded
by many acres of tranquil parkland with lake and cairn, wild and domestic
animals, it is maintained to support
shamanic, transpersonal and holistic training. Accommodation is on
a room-sharing basis. Please view Dunderry Park on www.dunderrypark.org for
directions and transport information.
Total Cost: €1635.00, (including tuition, all meals (vegetarian), refreshments
Booking Fee (which also acts as a Deposit): €195.00 and €360.00 before
or at each of the four weekends.
The Booking Fee is to be paid by August 2nd 2013.
Full instructions are on the Booking Form.
Click here for
the Booking Form for 2013-2014 Slí An
Spiral in Dunderry Park.
To read "Honouring The Spiral",
one of our journal articles, click here.
Key Aspects Of The Slí An Chroí Medicine
Creating and Living In Sacred Space
Techniques for honouring the energies of the four directions of the Universe,
the Earth, the Heavens and Great Spirit yield a profound positive shift in
the sanctity of the spaces in which we live, love and work. We also incorporate
our ability to mechanically ‘open’ our
Light/Electro-Magnetic Field (LEM) or Auric Field to enhance the
creation of Sacred Space.
Work In Nature
Throughout the training, we grow evermore our innate, indigenous, animist nature,
spending considerable time finding comfort, reflection and mystical connection
in our natural surroundings. We foster a Spiritual connection to the trees,
the mountains, the seas, rivers, lakes and animals that inhabit these places.
As our heart centres open naturally in these environments, we give permission
and guidance to ourselves to know deeper and deeper the compassionate relationship
between ourselves as humans and the Earth. In every sense this quest brings
a homecoming and the experience of “being held by Great Mother”.
''Brí Na Taise''
''Brí Na Taise'' is the Irish-Gaelic for “Energy of Compassion”,
the underlying principal in Healing Shamanism. The practitioner is brought
to an understanding that many forms of intent “move” energy and
when the intent is love/compassion, the end result in the Self and in the outerworld
is profoundly life-enhancing. Balance from reciprocity is
another founding principal of Life understood by the shaman.
Living by this code is to constantly be in gratitude, particularly to Mother
Earth in the
knowledge that to send out gratitude fosters the abundance from which we receive.
It is said that the Healing Shaman “chooses Life” at every given
moment and living from ''Brí Na Taise'' and balance from reciprocity allow
for this with simplicity, integrity and meaning.
Deasghnátha-Rites Of Initiation
The bedrock of this Shamanic practitioner training are the “Deasghnátha”,
the ancient “Rites Of Initiation”. These are energetic transmissions
that awaken seeds of consciousness within us and have been passed from healer
to healer for thousands of years. The holding and passing on of these Rites
is deeply sacred and to receive them is to be embraced by the celebration of
Spirit and the vision of potential, intrinsic to the
Irish-Celtic and Incan lineages, both passed on in the Slí An
Chroí Medicine Spiral.
Sli An Chroí honours the Irish-Celtic tradition of the “crane
bag”, the medicine bag carried by the Shaman. Referred to as the “mála
naofa” (“sacred bundle”), practitioners on the Medicine Spiral
throughout the four directions of training assemble this truly awesome, personal
altar of orientation and power. Based on “lia naofa” (“sacred
stones”) and other significant items, the Mála Naofa develops
as a way to dialogue with and map, the journey of your own Heart/Soul/Spirit.
It also becomes a map of the outerworld we live in. The Mála Naofa
is an extraordinary instrument for problem-solving and identifying and enacting
change in ourselves personally and the world we live in. The Cauldron
is the great vessel of transformation in the Irish and Celtic traditions. We
learn to work with the Cauldron side by side
with the Mála
Naofa, particularly working with the elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire
The Cauldron provides us with the means to bring release and growth
our lives in a unique way. Both Mála Naofa and Cauldron together
bring the practitioner to the place of compassionately and wisely,
changing energies, i.e. alchemy.
Immrama / Journeying
The ancient Irish Gaelic word “Immrama” literally means “wonder
voyage” and refers to techniques of going beyond the ordinary and venturing
into mystical states of awareness. Often depicted in Celtic art as a sea voyage
to “The Otherworld”, to go on an Immrama is to safely and naturally
discover and enter new consciousness. In these realms we have the opportunity
to harvest previously unknown power and wisdom and integrate these in our daily
lives. The principal method of Immrama in the Medicine Spiral is through the
transporting, rhythmic sounds of the drum and the rattle.
Manifestations of power gifted to us by Spirit, we first encounter Power Animals
in the mystical state of an Immrama. We learn “to walk in the world” in
relationship with our Power Animals knowing them as a strong, protective
resources, particularly in times of challenge.
Our Spirit Guides, often described
as “beings of Light" who bring wisdom and teaching, connect
to us from the angelic realms. Once again, we come into
relationship with these sacred energies, being in their presence
and their dialogue to be guided and assisted to live daily from our “higher
Tracking & Seeing
When we are ''Tracking'', we are sourcing information from heightened perceptual
states. In daily life, we spontaneously use a limited percentage of the perceptual
states given to us. In shamanic training, we become aware of previously unknown
channels of perception and we become adept at using them to discover what
is truly going on beneath the surface in a given environment. Parallel with
Tracking, our ability to See develops at the same time. Once again, this
does not refer to Seeing in the ordinary sense, but in the non-ordinary
sense. To “See” the way the Shaman does is to be able to witness
and read energy, what sometimes is called “seeing the Spiritual in the
material”. This ability is innate in all of us and safe to develop.
Understanding energy is an important part of Slí an Chroí shamanic
training. Beneath the Physical and Psycho-Emotional dimensions of our being,
is the the Energetic-Spiritual. When we heal, i.e. positively shift energies,
on the Energetic-Spiritual realm, we are healing from the deepest level of
our being and the rewards filtrate upwards to the Psycho-Emotional and Physical
layers. Understanding the human light/electro-magnetic energy field (LEM) provides
us with an awareness so that we can discover and monitor what is operant within
us on this deepest level. There is awareness fostered on the portals to the
LEM, referred to as the chakra system and known in the Celtic tradition as “the
Seeds Of Life
When deeply attuned to our highest self and listening attentively to our Spiritual
allies, we “plant the seeds of our becoming”, i.e. we consciously
choose what new life we wish to grow within ourselves. We identify the practices
needed to cultivate our Seeds and the positive emotional rewards of those
practices ensure our motivation is unwavering.
Gaining Holistic Perspective
The Medicine Spiral training fosters improvement in our lives by knowing ourselves
as Body-Mind-Spirit organisms and bringing greater health practices on all
The training brings clarity to how we are at
once functioning on these three levels in every moment of life. We explore
practices that nurture ourselves holistically, from physical exercise, sleeping
habits, stress release, relaxation, optimum nutrition, positive thinking,
emotional freedom and Spiritual practice. The Medicine Spiral training allows
us to understand and breakthrough any life-diminishing patterns we may have,
by enabling us to understand how the roots of these behaviours are embedded
in the Energetic-Spiritual level, while the symptoms may be more known on
the Physical and/or Psycho-Emotional levels. Above all, the training gives
us the means to “weed” these
roots and to address and breakthrough patterns of stress, depression/sadness,
negative thoughts-emotions, fear, anxiety, addictions, limiting beliefs,
conditioning and disempowerment.
Connecting to Ancestors
We cannot have the life we have today if it were not for the lives lived by
those who have gone before us. Shamanic awareness asks that we honour the
lives and deaths of our ancestors with compassion and beyond judgement, so
that we acknowledge “the shoulders we stand on today”. Opening
ourselves to a reverence of our Ancestors is achievable irrespective of the
of our relationships to our mothers, fathers and greater family. It is also
possible if we are adopted or fostered. In all cases, honouring our Ancestors
brings healing and belonging not simply to us today, but also to
the Spirits of those who lived so that we may live.
Death & Dying
The Irish-Celtic tradition like all Shamanic traditions worldwide holds the
exploration of Death and Dying as vital to our breaking through into a life
lived beyond fear. Conquering our fear of Death and coming to a true understanding
of this phenomenon brings us the ability to navigate changes, from subtle
to major throughout our lives. It is understood that we do not truly understand
Life until we understand Death and that fear of Death is an expression of
fear of Life and of living fully to our greatest potential.
Shedding Skin/Breaking Through Old Wounds
The Medicine Spiral invites our courage to self-heal and provides techniques
and rituals that give us the means to do so. The term “shedding skin” refers
to our ability, like the snake, to let go what no longer serves us,
such as the painful baggage of past traumas or current ailments.
An ancient Shamanic understanding holds that it is through our wounds
that Spirit enters us, i.e. when we bravely face the pain of our
wounds and take the healing journey to breakthrough that pain, Spiritual
energy is the reward for us on the other side.
Knowing the Self as “Wounded Healer”/ “Wounded
The Healing Shaman learns on the eternal spiral journey of life that his/her
prowess as a healer (of Self and others) is founded upon their consistent commitment
to tend to their own wounds are they arise. Hence, we never arrive at
a “fully healed” state and consider we no longer need
to self-heal. We are “works-in-progress” constantly finding
a greater and greater wholeness and we live from the positive rewards
of this state. However, we make a commitment to “walk the way
of the Warrior of the Heart”. A “Warrior” because
of the honesty and courage it takes to self-heal and one who is “of
the Heart”, because of the love and compassion we cultivate
as we heal. The Warrior of the Heart is a person who have moved beyond
the states of “victim” or “survivor” and
is one who has no enemies in this life nor the next.
Assisted Personal Healing
The primary offering of The Medicine Spiral is the
retieval of greater and greater wholeness. The Irish-Gaelic word
for healing is "leigheas", a word also used to express "retrieval".
In our first language, to heal is to retreive and often The Medicine
Spiral is poetically referred to as the spiral of remembering
and belonging. An outsanding opportunity for deep personal healing
while participating in The Medicine Spiral is offered by current
students of The Healers Spiral who are training in the Energy Medicine
and Shamanic Counselling practices of Imbas, Extractions, Soul Retrieval,
Death Rites and Psychopomp Healing, (click here to
learn more about these core healing shamanic techniques). The Healers
Spiral students often work with students on The Medicine Spiral for
their case study practice requirements. Students on The Healers Spiral
are thoroughly supervised by John and Karen in a live setting so
that their facilitation of these techniques is safe, adept and professional.
A participant on the Medicine Spiral is invited to volunteer to receive
healing from these Energy Medicine and Shamanic Counselling techniques
from a student on the concurrent Healers Spiral at no cost.
Many people live by a sense that their lives are organised by larger, outside
forces. This we refer to as “fate”, in which we feel we are living
a life chosen for us. Shamanic training brings the practitioner to the place
of potential, in which he/she is offered to leap from “fate” into “Destiny”,
i.e. a life chosen by us. It requires deep soulwork to step from one
contract with life to a superior one. The reward is to live a daily life,
matter what occurs, we know it to be part of a greater scheme for
living. One that is beckoning us forward to live from our fullest
potential, more and more.
Knowing The Ecstatic
Shamanism has long been understood as a technique or “a way into” Ecstasy.
The healing journey brings us closer to our true nature and the exhilaration
of living from that place of personal truth certainly brings happiness, but
it is also leads to the path of Ecstasy. To know the Ecstatic is a yearning
in all human beings. It is a state in which we have full experience of the
joy of life, yet for many it is a fearful place in which to venture because
of repressive conditioning. Shamanic training nurtures us free from such conditioning
and brings us to a place of safe expression from our innate wild
nature. Whether through the music of trance dance or in the quietness
of a nature place, to know the Ecstatic as a “default” human
experience is a cherished principal in all shamanic traditions around
Alignment To The Turning Of The Year
When our lives are attuned to the natural seasonal cycle of Mother Earth, our
personal journey through a year becomes more balanced and co-ordinated to
the living systems of energy in Nature. Our personal Energy Field (LEM) is
entwined with the Energy Field of the Earth, (sometimes referred to the Universal
Energy Field, UEF) and when both are in alignment, personal growth and change
is mirrored by the cycles of light and
darkness, new growth and decay, shifts in climate and weather throughout
the natural year. Hence, the significant times of Solstices, Equinoxes
and days heralding new seasons are acknowledged and celebrated.
Archetypes / Mythology
In each of the four directions of training, there lies the powerful presence
of Archetypes. Sometimes called a God/Goddess of the Universe,
they are essentially a naturally occurring “organising influence” in
the world. Awakening our awareness to these energies allows us to understand
and work with the forces of North, East, South and West. They prompt reflection
and ask us to heal ourselves in different ways, while at the same time offering
themselves to us as sources of strength and inspiration. Archetypes can take
the form of animal or human form, such as An Breadán Feasa (“Salmon
of Wisdom”) and the Goddess Brigid. Sometimes they may be a mysterious
blend of both, Cernunnos, (God/Goddess of Plants and Animals). The rich inheritance
of Irish Mythology holds an extraordinary tapestry of stories helping us
to understand our personal mystical experiences on the Shamanic
path and often offering an eloquent introduction to an Archetype. Myth is understood
to be the language of the soul and these stories, most of which cannot be dated,
offer us trackways and supervision as we take our personal, Spiritual journeys.
Sacred Energy Drama
Sometimes referred to as “Soul Drama” or “Spirit Drama”,
this is a sacred use of simple dramatic technique that allows us to dialogue
with energies, internal and Archetypal, by externalising them through personification.
This is not similar to any form of therapeutic drama used in the fields of
psychology or psychotherapy. Sacred Energetic Drama is not built on reaching
a point of catharsis but on reaching places of recognition, relationship and
transformation of energies that inform our personal lives and the world in
A consistent ritual throughout the Medicine Spiral training is the Fire Ceremony.
This is a powerful, healing ritual working with the element of transformation
and purification. The Fire Ceremony brings us to a place of renewal where
let go “old” aspects of ourselves we need to shed, in order to
grow in “new” aspects. In this way, we can consciously “dream
ourselves into being”. After the Ceremony, the Fire prompts the
tuatha to sit together to spontaneously share experiences, stories and humour.
Sacred Masculine – Sacred Feminine
As part of finding balance in our lives, the Slí an Chroí Medicine
Spiral brings us into awareness that a combination of Masculine and Feminine
energies are at work in all living organisms. Whether our gender is male or
female, we are all made from this mixture of the two essential energies of
the Universe. Appreciation of the divinity in these energies leads us to reflect
on the balance or imbalance of Masculine and Feminine energies within us individually.
When we cultivate a balance of the Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine within,
we bring our manhood and womanhood to more powerful and authentic expression.
Cleansing & Protection Rituals
Working with pure intent and several traditional rituals for cleansing, we
prepare for training in a sacred space with a cleanse. These are designed
to help us release Energetically-Spiritually from our LEM, “trom” energies,
(“heavy” energies) that accumulate from everyday living. Protection
rituals begin from the first Rites of Initiation transmitted in the first
direction, the North. Throughout the training we add to this formative
system for Protection, other techniques that assist us to live freely in a
world of mixed energies without us becoming depleted or dragged into a response
Throughout the Shamanic training there is continuous coaching and guidance
for Self Practice. Indeed the training does not “end” on the
last day of each of the four weekends, it is a part of the Medicine Spiral
to step into Self Practice in the intervening weeks. Whether one continues
training with Slí An Chroí by taking the Healers Spiral, or
not, you will have a robust Self practice established to allow you to be
continually nourished by the Shamanic path.
At the beginning of every Medicine Spiral we share with the new tuatha, words
of advice and encouragement from people who completed this Slí An
Chroí training in previous years. Here is a selection:
“Dunderry is an incredibly special place so really allow yourself to be
here. You can only have one first Sli an Chroi Medicine Spiral and this is yours
.... make a commitment to yourself right now to just do it and bring yourself
fully into it ....... heart and soul..........and enjoy it !” - M. Devitt
“Enjoy and listen to the sometimes subtle changes from within, hear your
own inner voice whispering and guiding you for that is the voice of great spirit,
hear her call and go and commune with nature for she is our greatest teacher...
hear her voice her wisdom as it echoes your souls longing!!!!” – L.
“Congratulations you are here, this is the
start of an amazing life journey. At this moment you are sitting
with your new tribe. You will learn amazing things about
yourself on this new journey. Try stay with every emotion that you
feel during the next year (not just on your weekends but when you
go back to everyday living). You will learn that it is okay to experience
all emotions such as happiness, laughter, confusion, pain and tears.
As you sit in Dunderry with your tribe you will learn that there
is an unwritten respect for this process and that you are in a very
safe place. Be kind to yourself during this process, learn to love
yourself and be kind to your inner critic. And take this out into
the world beyond Dunderry - people will learn from you.” – S.Day
“The best advice I can give of my experience
is that you also make this your experience, your creation. The Medicine
an amazing journey. One of the best aspects for me was meeting so
many amazing & like-minded people. So enjoy the company & have
fun! PS John Karen are wonderful!” – L. Conroy
“Leave your baggage at the door & bring your true self to the Medicine
Spiral” – P.Ward
“Don't resist getting into the work straight away. Don't delay, go for
it!” – T. Greenway
“Learn without being taught. Be aware without seeing. Journey without travelling.
Feel from the heart without thinking but most of all have fun!” – G.
“Be patient with yourself in terms of your experience on Journeys etc.
Learn to recognise the meaning in the ordinary. Don't compare your experiences
to others. Learn to accept that the teaching that comes is the right one for
you. Trust yourself and your experiences. Regular Searmanas is very important.
Do it often!! Go for it & enjoy!” – E. Burke