I divide my time between London where I run my School of Sacred Art & Shamanism and Sweden, where I am starting a school in Norse Shamanism called True North. I teach internationally. My two year shamanic practitioner program (SAP Rising!) is running in the USA (at Pendle Hill, near Philadelphia) in 2017 - 2018. My first book: Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life was published by Moon Books in August 2016 and the concept is growing into a global network of kindred spirits. I was a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit in July 2016, hosted by The Shift Network. I am a presenter for Year of Ceremony with Sounds True in Colorado in 2017. I have recorded radio shows for Shamanic Life with John Carosella, for The Well of Light with Michael Stone, for Going Shamanic with Jen Engracio in Calgary. I was a speaker at The Gatekeeper Trust Conference in 2016 (Threshold). I run a shamanic program for teenagers called The Time Travellers and an on-line shamanic program for teenage girls called Daring Dreamers. Life is magical and miraculous!
Imelda Almqvist, January 2017
One of the key words in shamanism is balance: shamanic practitioners restore balance on the energy level, as well as receiving guidance and healing on behalf of their communities. Healing is often about things seeking balance. I find it helpful to think in terms of issues seeking balancing because it allows me stay clear of the "black and white thinking" that dominated my childhood where everything (and everyone!) was endlessly judged as being "good or bad". The tension between opposites opens a creative space where we do our learning. There is a gift in every disappointment. There are always dimensions to any situation we do not see. There are always more options and possibilities open to us than our waking mind can conceive of. That is why connecting with the higher perspective of our spirit allies is so life-changing!
The Art of Healing
People who are called to do healing work with others (or indeed teach the healing arts to others), need to commit to walking their own path of healing. The human healing journey continues until the day we die and even beyond death. Death is our greatest teacher and healer as we are birthed back into the world of Spirit and remember who we truly are Outside Time and Space.. Shamanism acknowledges the archetype (cosmic blueprint) of the wounded healer. It is through healing our own pain that we learn to be of service to others.
However, the moment we believe we have no more healing to do - we are in trouble! The work is never done! The moment we feel we have so much healing to do that we feel "victimized" by people and events - we are in trouble as well. Whatever we focus on grow and attracts more of the same. Living with the attitude of a victim ("being done too") is a frequency that invites others to interact with us according to those dynamics.
Ultimately healing is about empowerment: about walking in our power and taking responsibility for the way we ourselves create our reality through perception and attraction.
< CHIRON 80 x 100 cm £425
The Centaur who gave us the archetype of The Wounded Healer
In Greek mythology, the centaur Chiron was a "Wounded Healer", after being poisoned with an incurable wound by one of Hercules's arrows. C. G Jung gave us the concept of The Wounded Healer based on the ancient Greek Myth. Literally he said that "a good half of every treatment that probes at all deeply consists in the doctor's examining himself... it is his own hurt that gives a measure of his power to heal. This, and nothing else, is the meaning of the Greek myth of the wounded physician."
When has anyone healed enough to work with others?
This is the burning question I encounter when people apply for my 2 year shamanic practitioner training! There is no straightforward answer to this. Only we ourselves know: are we doing our shadow work? Are we making amends for the ways in which we have (deliberately or inadvertently) hurt or harmed others? Have we learned to identify the issues that trigger us and found ways of managing that? Have we learned to make a distinction between ego and spirit? Do others give us good feedback about our work? Do we track our results?
While I was training as an Art (Psycho)Therapist, my teachers used to say: "You can only take your clients as far as you have been yourself". This is very true indeed. As a healer or teacher, you cannot lead clients, students or participants in a ceremony into territory that is unfamiliar to you.
For that reason I will give a brief description of my own life's journey. I will only describe those events that have significance for my work as a shamanic practitioner and teacher.
As a young child I dreamed of training as a doctor, but I also wanted to paint and make music. In the end I followed a deep inner knowing that medical school was not for me and went to Art School instead. Those four years in Amsterdam were magnificent, worlds opened up and every day was filled with the pure joy.
Even today I feel as excited as a child on Christmas day just before I walk into my studio and greet the spirits there before I start painting.
My paintings can be found all over the world in art collections, on book covers and in private homes.
I have always known that I had psychic gifts, an ability to see things that remained invisible to others around me. By this I mean: reading people's thoughts and energy field, seeing and hearing spirits, an awareness that at night I did work in other dimensions, in particular with suffering souls that remained earthbound. At that time I did not know that the name for this kind of work is 'psycho pomp work' and that I was displaying "the makings of a shaman" (and in our Western culture we call ourselves a shamanic practitioner).
I spent most of my twenties walking my own personal journey of healing and discovering my soul's path in life. I trained as an art (psycho) therapist, then realised I had no wish to to work in a field where therapeutic work was not placed within a spiritual framework. I spent time abroad working in a field hospital in Bangladesh and teaching children and young people in the slums of Lima, Peru.
My thirties were dedicated to starting a family and giving birth to three children over a period of four years.
The psychic abilities and vague desire to heal remained, but I firmly kept the lid on these urges as I had almost no free time and no uninterrupted sleep either. Whenever vivid dreams or foreknowing and foreseeing occurred I thought: No thanks! I can't deal with this!
Today my children aren't babies any longer (they were born in 2000, 2001 and 2004). Years ago a dear friend of mine fell extremely ill. While she was in hospital for life-saving surgery, the spirit of her dead daughter came and insisted I pass a message to her. She also asked me to paint a picture of her and give this to my friend so she could reclaim her place in the family.
I did this and saw the beauty of what happened there: a healing gift from the spirit had occurred. This was followed by some other key events. In hindsight I see that the spirit world was sending me 'wake up calls' but I was in no rush to respond. A woman came to an exhibition of my work and asked if I was a shaman.
This seemed like an extraordinary idea to me. Until that moment I thought you needed to live in the rain forest in the Amazon in Brasil (or remote Siberia) to train as a shaman. She said: no, there are courses in the UK you can do! I think you are a powerful shaman - just have a closer look at your own paintings!! I was touched (and puzzled) by her comments but took no action.
One night a few weeks later I could not sleep. My spirit allies came into the room and insisted on having a serious life-changing conversation with me. They kept me up all night! They told me that the time had come to do shamanic training and ordered me to research training options on-line the next morning. Intuition would lead me to the right teacher.
Exactly the right teachers appeared at the right time and I am grateful beyond measure to them all. The teacher I feel most indebted to and inspired by is Sandra Ingerman, with whom I have had the privilege of training and working closely. (She wrote the beautiful Foreword for my book!)
This has been a path of immense beauty - and a path of great challenges as well. Doing shamanic training and shamanic work turns you inside out and it turns your life upside down. Walking this path has certainly not increased the amount of sleep I get, nor has it brought me much 'free time!! What it has brought me is an awareness that life is an immensely precious gift and that miracles can occur in this line of work. There is nothing in the world I'd rather do than the things I feel so passionate about: being a shamanic parent, painter, teacher and author!
"Mum, these days there is only one child in our house - YOU!!" - out of the mouths of babes (teens!)
So then what is health, as defined by shamanism?
Unlike the more ‘modern’ notions of health, in shamanic societies health is not the absence of feeling, nor the absence of pain, Health is seeking out all of the experiences of Creation, turning them over and exploring their multiple meanings. Health is expanding beyond one’s individual state of consciousness to experience the ripples and the waves, the gifts and blessings of the Universe
- from 'Imagery in Healing' by Jeanne Achterberg
It is all about being in service to Life, to a greater cosmic process than our own personal lifetime!
You need to jump off the cliff to be able to discover that you have wings!
- Imelda Almqvist