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Shamanic Quest

Contemporary Shamanism for the 21st Century

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Returning to Nature

Posted on 24 July, 2017 at 11:36 Comments comments (0)
Waken Tanker is the Native American name for the Great Spirit in Manifestation. In Shamanic understanding, everything in creation has a spark of the Great Spirit within it, their forms vary widely, as do their earthly experiences and awareness of time. 

Everything in creation, as it contains a fragment of the Great Spirit within it, has its own awareness of life and its own experiences of life. It is this Spirit fragment that is contained within all things, that links all things together, and through which we as Humans can connect with them. We therefore come to understand that all things are our Relatives, as we too have that spark of the Devine within us. 

Shamanic wisdom speaks of the principle causation of dis-ease as separation. This can mean separation of oneself from ones own Spirit, from family, loved ones, society etc. It can also be a separation from the Great Spirit, Waken Tanka.

To address this separation, it is vital that we re-establish our relationship with all of our relatives. Being in Nature is the ideal way of doing this. Just the very act of walking in Nature with and open heart and mind, seeing the beauty all around you and really appreciating it and giving thanks to it opens us up to the possibilities of coming in to relationship with the Natural world. 

If you walk in Nature in this way, you may start to hear the quiet voices of your relatives, who are desperate to have a relationship with Human Beings once more. There are many shamanic techniques that can facilitate your communication skills with your nature relatives and thus give you a deeper connection and understanding of both them and yourself.

In a very simple way I was given a beautiful teaching from my relatives. As I was walking in our local Nature Reserve one morning last month, I became acutely aware of the heat of the Sun. As it warmed the plants I could smell the different, volatile oils being released from them, such as Nettle, Borage, Heal-thy-Self etc. I was reminded of Bach Flower remedies and the process the flowers are put through in order to bring their healing powers forth (the plant is placed in water and left to sit in the intense rays of the sun) and of aromatherapy. I was grateful to the Sun and the plants for this beautiful healing experience as I walked through their beautiful aroma.

Then I noticed the apple blossom in the trees, and the birds flitting from branch to tree. I was reminded how, in NLP practice, there is a self help technique to raise the mood of a person feeling quite depressed. This entails the person looking up and moving the eyes from side to side (most people who are feeling depressed look down at the floor for the majority of the time they are walking). Again I thanked my relatives for this healing gift and message and revelled in the raising of my spirits.

Being in Nature and reconnecting with your relatives is essential for your Shamanic Practice and development, but it may also be essential to the Earth Herself during this time of destructive practices being inflicted upon Her and all of our relatives.

Shamanic Quest holds regular workshops and courses at The Clophill Centre, Bedfordshire. A full list of dates can be found on our website at www.shamanicquest.co.uk or on our Facebook page here


Melanie Tomsett is a Shamanic practitioner and owner of Shamanic Quest based in Hertfordshire in the UK. Shamanic Quest offer a range of opportunities for you to explore and learn shamanic practices. These include Introductory Workshops, Foundation Course, Practitioner Course, Drum Circle, Sweat Lodge, Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, Student Clinics and Consultations. Full details can be found at www.shamanicquest.co.uk

Crystals in Shamanic Practice

Posted on 27 June, 2017 at 16:08 Comments comments (0)
Crystals are an important part of Shamanic Practice. However, often times Shamanic Practitioners do not choose their crystal helper by looking in a book and deciding which one(s) to ask for help (although this can be useful in some circumstances) but they will use their connectivity and intuition to discern which crystal wants to help them at any given time or for a particular need to be fulfilled.

Crystals are very useful helpers in our own personal work, on the physical, mental, emotional and Spirit aspects of our selves and also for us to help others with.

We can choose a Chrystal helper every morning to receive its positive attributes for the day ahead. We can do this by very simply using our left hand, allowing it to scan over our collection of Crystals and allowing the energy of the Chrystal to choose us by sensing the different sensations that are felt as our hand passes over them. 

The sensations that may be felt can be heat, coolness, tingling etc. When you feel a crystal that seems to be drawing your hand towards it, take up that crystal in you left hand and ask it if it is your helper for the day. If it is, it will indicate to you in some way that it is your helper. If you do not get a positive affirmation from the crystal, set it to one side and repeat the process.

This process is also useful when you are choosing to purchase crystals or if you are choosing a crystal to help you work on behalf of another person.

If you have a small medicine pouch, you may choose to keep the Crystal in it during your travels, so that you can stay connected with it throughout the day. This can be a safer way to keep your crystal with you above keeping it in your pocket etc.

It can also be helpful to have items of jewellery made from crystals as they are both decorative and functional. I like to wear Turquoise for protection during my shamanic work.





In my Shamanic Practice I have two Black Tourmaline Wands that help me to re-ground after Shamanic Journeying.







I also have a large piece of Selenite that helps me generally with my Shamanic endeavours.

Clear Quartz points are an invaluable helper for the Shamanic Practitioner and they help in many ceremony’s. 

However, any Crystal can be the most amazing helper if you just open yourself up to its knowledge and wisdom and allow it to teach you how it is going to be of service to you. This can be achieved by holding the Crystal in your left hand and completing a Shamanic Journey with the intention of connecting with the Crystal to discover how it is going to help you, or by studying the Crystal very closely and if you find a little hole in the Crystal, this can be a gateway in to it so that you may start your Shamanic Journey from that point to discover its attributes. 

There are many more ways in which to utilise the power of crystals.

Shamanic Quest holds regular workshops and courses at The Clophill Centre, Bedfordshire. A full list of dates can be found on our website at www.shamanicquest.co.uk or on our Facebook page here


Melanie Tomsett is a Shamanic practitioner and owner of Shamanic Quest based in Hertfordshire in the UK. Shamanic Quest offer a range of opportunities for you to explore and learn shamanic practices. These include Introductory Workshops, Foundation Course, Practitioner Course, Drum Circle, Sweat Lodge, Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, Student Clinics and Consultations. Full details can be found at www.shamanicquest.co.uk

What is a Shamanic Drum Circle?

Posted on 16 June, 2017 at 3:48 Comments comments (0)
Indigenous cultures have been observing community drumming for thousands of years. Now people all over the world are taking up drumming in astonishing numbers. At a grass roots level, small communal drum circles are springing up. While some drum circles are content to jam and make a lot of rhythmic noise, others choose to explore Shamanic drumming.

Shamanic drumming is a time-honored method of healing and helping others. A drumming circle is a place for shamanic practitioners to get together for learning, healing, and the revelation of spiritual guidance. It is usually a assisted circle, but the leader is enabling a shamanic ceremony rather than a musical event.


Shamanic drum circles provide the chance for like minded people to come together for the attainment of a shared goal. There is much power in drumming alone, but that power magnifies on many levels in a group of drummers. The drums draw individual energies together, unifying them into a strengthened force. Synchronized drumming is the most effective, so individuals should alternate the responsibility of setting the tempo and leading the group.
Shamanic drumming has the purpose of inducing a range of ecstatic trance states in order to connect with the spiritual dimension and often uses a recurring rhythm that begins slowly and then gradually builds in intensity to a tempo of three to seven beats per second.
 
Bridging the Spirit World
Sound is considered to be one of the most efficient ways of establishing connections with the spirit realm, as it travels through space, filters through visual and physical barriers, and carries information from a hidden world. Shamanics connects with the spirits of nature who possess their own sound world, and it is possible for humans to communicate with them through the sound of a drum.

Acoustic Communication
A shamanic ritual can sometimes begin with heating the drum head over a fire to bring it up to the desired pitch. Shamans may also strike specific parts of the drum or drumstick/s to summon particular spirits. All elements of drum music such as timbre, rhythm, volume and tempo play a vital role in a shamanic drum ritual but different rhythms transmit various meanings and assist with contacting different spirits in different realms.


Rhythm Healing
It is understood that the universe is made of vibrational energy; that it is a single, flowing, rhythmic being. According to quantum physics, everything in the universe, from the smallest subatomic particle to the largest star, has an inherent vibrational pattern. The whole universe is created through vibration and whilst there are other ways to connect with this energy, it can be influenced through the vibrations of shamanic drumming. The shamanic drum can be used as a tool for changing the vibrational state of the shaman and/or the patient or a particular situation in the community. To put it simply, shamanic drumming is an ancient form of rhythm healing.

Shamanic Quest holds regular Drum Circles at The Clophill Centre, Bedfordshire. A full list of dates can be found on our website at www.shamanicquest.co.uk or on our Facebook page here

About the Author

Melanie Tomsett is a Shamanic practitioner and owner of Shamanic Quest based in Hertfordshire in the UK. Shamanic Quest offer a range of opportunities for you to explore and learn shamanic practices. These include Introductory Workshops, Foundation Course, Practitioner Course, Drum Circle, Sweat Lodge, Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, Student Clinics and Consultations. Full details can be found at www.shamanicquest.co.uk



Shamanics and Creativity

Posted on 16 June, 2017 at 3:20 Comments comments (0)
Creativity in the general sense of the word is very much about artistic endeavours, crafts, cooking, writing, painting, drawing acting etc. Indeed, these activities generally bring forth a beauty from the internal world of the creator and offer their beauty to be shared with others.
 
Expressing our artistic creativity is a pleasure for us to engage in, it can be calming, meditative and  rewarding but sometimes frustrating and irritating as well!
 
In terms of shamanic understanding, creativity is taken a few steps further.

Artist: Unknown

Shamanism teaches us that we have the spark of the Devine within us, a spark of the Great Spirit, the Great Creator. Indeed, if we look at each other and all of Nature, we can observe the face of the Great Spirit in manifestation.

Everything in this world contains a spark of the Great Spirit, therefore everything is our Relative and should be treated accordingly.
 
Having a spark of the great Spirit within each of us means that we have the ability to Create also. Not just artistically through those mediums mentioned above, but every moment of our life experience.
 
So, what are we creating? Relationships, professions, homes, families, personality, viewpoints, opinions - everything. But how many of these creations are truly our own and how many are influenced by the conditioning we have received from others and the desire to please, fit in, do the right thing?

 
Are we living life being true to our authentic self and creating a life that truly reflects these things for us in a similar way to how an artist creates an image on a canvas. Is this life we are living being painted by us or others? Is it the image/images we desire to be on our life canvas, or has someone else taken control of our paintbrush?
 
Shamanic knowledge and techniques help us to connect with our innermost self, to regain personal empowerment, to regain control of our life path, to be our own Creator of our life journey. Shamanic Journey work is an excellent way of connecting with your deepest and most wise self to obtain the information and knowledge you seek to help you on your path, as is leaning the wisdom of the Medicine Wheel and coming into relationship with the Natural world around us from a shamanic perspective.
 

Looking at the beautiful images of creation within this piece, it is clear that we can also create a beautiful life experience for ourselves, if we have the right equipment, tools and inspiration. What will you create today?

About the Author

Melanie Tomsett is a Shamanic practitioner and owner of Shamanic Quest based in Hertfordshire in the UK. Shamanic Quest offer a range of opportunities for you to explore and learn shamanic practices. These include Introductory Workshops, Foundation Course, Practitioner Course, Drum Circle, Sweat Lodge, Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, Student Clinics and Consultations. Full details can be found atwww.shamanicquest.co.uk

A Shamanic Celebration of Summer Solstice

Posted on 7 June, 2017 at 9:52 Comments comments (0)
The word “solstice” comes from the latin words sol (sun) and sistere (stand still) because on June 21, the sun appears to stand still before it reverses direction and begins its decent back into the southern sky. The Summer Solstice is the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest day of the year. The sun is at its peak, the highest point in the sky. The rays of the sun are the clearest and warmest for this longest day, and shortest night.


Celebrations of the Summer Solstice vary across the globe and from culture to culture. In some cultures, it is also known as “Midsummer’s Night” and celebrations begin with twilight. In others the Summer Solstice starts with sunrise and continue well into the night of the 21 June. Countries such as Alaska, Iceland and the Nordics are blessed with continuous sunshine after enduring long months of darkness and here the festivities may continue for several days!

In Shamanic practice the Summer Solstice is one of the most sacred days of the year. At this time the Sun and Earth align in such a way as to support all growing things to come into their completeness. This is the time of year when we gather together and celebrate all that we have accomplished and all that been bestowed upon us. This is a time to laugh and share with our friends. This is a time of passion and energy, openness and joy.


Avebury Circle by @SamCannonArt www.samcannonart.co.uk

Shamanic Summer Solstice celebrations honour the energy of the day and focus on the themes of fulfilment, enlightenment, abundance, sharing, and the joy of living on this beautiful Earth and are full of Shamanic journeying, story telling, dancing & singing, together with sharing food with welcome friends.

Summer Solstice allows us to absorb beneficent power and strength from the Earth and Sun into our minds, bodies, hearts and souls - just as are the plants, animals and other beings drawing power and strength during this time. Celebrating with a Shamanic circle we can intentionally send back to the universe an abundance of spirit, love and of nourishment; just some of the energy and blessings that we are always receiving. This is a time to share what we are grateful for in our lives appreciating that the experience of abundance and gratitude is universal.

If you don’t usually celebrate the summer solstice, why not give it a try this year? We have a Summer Solstice Celebration at The Clophill Centre, Shefford Road, Clophill, Beds. MK45 4BT on June 21 starting at 7.30 p.m. For more details or bookings see our Facebook page here, or contact Melanie at  [email protected]

About the Author

Melanie Tomsett is a Shamanic practitioner and owner of Shamanic Quest based in Hertfordshire in the UK. Shamanic Quest offer a range of opportunities for you to explore and learn shamanic practices. These include Introductory Workshops, Foundation Course, Practitioner Course, Drum Circle, Sweat Lodge, Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, Student Clinics and Consultations. Full details can be found at  www.shamanicquest.co.uk

Directions to The Clophill Centre can be found here

6 Air Purifying Houseplants

Posted on 26 May, 2017 at 4:34 Comments comments (0)
Plants and humans have lived in partnership since the beginning of human experience, not only in terms of food and medicine but as a fundamental part of our spiritual experience and developing consciousness.

Shamanic cultures worldwide see everything around them as alive, aware, and related. From a shamanic perspective nature is a complex web of support in which each part effectively cares for another; the nature of nature is co-operation. Nature has not accidentally created the plants around us to be as they are. They all serve a purpose.

Every single day in modern culture we are exposed to indoor air pollutants which have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to our health.  In fact, modern furnishings, synthetic building materials, and even your flooring or carpet may carry more toxic chemicals than expected including formaldehyde. These chemicals can make up to 90 percent of indoor air pollution, so your home or work space can contain stagnant pollutants which can build up to greater amounts than we humans should be breathing in.






In extreme cases this can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, eye, ear, and often nose irritation.

Increasing air flow and working with the natural healing properties of particular houseplants in your indoor space can dramatically reduce and even neutralise the air pollutants you are exposed to, improving your home or working space.

So how do houseplants and Shamanics work together to heal our indoor environment?

In Shamanics when we use a plant for healing, we know we are calling upon a spirit being – an ‘other’ intelligence that knows exactly what is needed to aid the healing process of our environment.

Whilst there are several houseplants which can absorb harmful toxins from the air, it can be useful to undertake a Shamanic Journey with the spirit of the plant to understand its deeper meanings for us and come in to a relationship with it this can support us in choosing plants that can be beneficial for our environment.

So, how do houseplants clean the air?

Plants absorb some of the particulates from the air at the same time that they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis. Microorganisms are also present in the soil in which the plant is potted and these also contribute greatly to the cleaning effectiveness of each plant.







So what can you do?

Almost all of the plants I’ve listed below are really easy to care for and really happy to be left for long lengths of time without care, whilst still doing naturally the process that is beneficial to you. Undertaking a Shamanic journey with the spirits of the plants can support us in choosing plants that can be beneficial for our environment.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum “Vittantum”)


I have these everywhere in my home, and they all produce flowers on a regular basis which turn into ‘spiderettes’ or baby spider plants, and provide me with even more. I regular donate these to friends!
 
Now even if you tend to neglect houseplants this resilient plant just keeps going, coming back from almost dead with a tiny amount of sporadic water.

It loves indirect sunlight and bright locations and rewards you with lots of rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant combats benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries.

Plant care: Water your spider plants once a week but if you forget don’t worry, it will always survive.

Non-toxic: For children or animals who like to play with swinging things, this plant is safe.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene
 

Dracaena (Dracana spp.)

Bright and radiant, the Dracaena will go to work purifying the air in your home or work space as soon as it is brought into the room. There are more than 40 different kinds of Dracaena plants. A common foliage plant with long, wide leaves that are often variegated with lines of white, cream, or red.







Plant care: Keep the soil damp but not soggy, as too much water is a kiss of death for this plant. Perfect if you need to abandon them for a while.

Toxic to animals: Your cat or dog may vomit, salivate more, or have dilated pupils if they eat dracaenas.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene
 

Weeping Fig (Ficus bejamina)

A ficus in your sitting room can help filter out pollutants that normally accompany flooring and furniture such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.

Looks its best when grown in bright, indirect light and doesn’t do well in light fluctuations or dramatic changes in temperature.

In southeast Asia this is an outdoor tree but indoors it ends up being between two and 10 feet tall. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
 

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)

Peace lily plants are relatively small compared to many of the plants on this list, but they still pack some major air-cleaning abilities.


Plant care: Easy to grow, needing modest sunlight and plenty of water to keep it happy. Too little light and it won’t flower.

Toxic to animals and humans: Despite its calming name, this beautiful plant is toxic to cats, dogs, and children. Can cause burning, swelling, and skin irritation in adults.

Pollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
 

Mother-in-Laws Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)


This plant is almost impossible to kill and one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products.

Plant care: it does need to be watered occasionally, but generally prefers drier conditions and low light.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene
 

Aloe Vera (Aloe vera or A. barbadensis)

People have been using aloe vera for more than 6,000 years when it was known as "the plant of immortality" in early Egypt. This easy-to-grow, sun-loving succulent helps clear formaldehyde, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more

The plant's leaves contain a clear liquid full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and other compounds that have wound-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe vera is typically used topically for sunburns, burns, abrasions and other skin conditions.

Pollutant removed: formaldehyde and benzene
 
 

About the Author

Melanie Tomsett is a Shamanic practioner and owner of Shamanic Quest based in Hertfordshire in the UK. Shamanic Quest offer a range of opportunities for you to explore and learn shamanic practices. These include Introductory Workshops, Foundation Course, Practitioner Course, Drum Circle, Sweat Lodge, Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, Student Clinics and Consultations. Full details can be found at www.shamanicquest.co.uk

Sources & References















 



Shamanic Practice And Feathers

Posted on 15 May, 2017 at 3:48 Comments comments (0)
Shamanic practice places great importance on shamanic tools and a shaman’s sacred implements may be of many different kinds. They many include plants, special stones, animal parts, drums, musical instruments, masks, costumes and feathers.
 
Feathers may be used as tools to ease us in to an awakening of the whole self, used in prayer, or utilised for protection and healing. Feathering can also be used in energy healing’s, such as cleansing the auric field by sweeping a bird's wing or a single feather within the Auric Field - the space of energy surrounding a person. Feathering also introduces the element of air into the healing space and is one way of connecting to and working with the element of “air".
 
When considered as a component of a birds wing, feathers are a symbol of flight as well as freedom, symbolising the spiritual journey or quest and inter-dimensional travel. Feathers are one of the shamanic tools that facilitate the ability to be able to look at things from a higher perspective and to know that the power to move beyond boundaries and limitations is available to the seeker.
 
Indigenous people from many different cultures found around the world often link birds and feathers with stories, mystical meaning and in some cases magic. In native cultures, wearing feathers on the head in various ways such as a single feather or an elaborate headdress, may be associated with a sacred connection to the Creator or God.
 
What could it mean when a feather crosses your path?
 
Receiving a feather sign can be a meaningful moment.
 
Feathers have unearthly qualities and may come to you as sacred gifts and signs from the Spirit realm, sent to support you and often instilling feelings of contentment and joy, raising you to a higher state of awareness. When a feather arrives for you, Spirit is reminding you of your spiritual origins and deep connection to your home beyond earthly realms.
 
A feather sign may be a mindful message to show you that your higher consciousness is connected and co-creating with the universal mind of Spirit.  As with many helpers and signs, feathers usually arrive when you are in deep thought about something, or looking for answers to something that may be bothering you. 
 
The following is a pleasant and effective method of connecting with the feather to receive the message it is here to convey to you. 
 
Bring back to your mind what it was you were thinking about when your feather appeared to you. Then hold the feather in to your left hand while you sit in a place of quiet receptivity. Take your time with this opening of your awareness, allowing the experience to come through gently and intuitively. The message my come in the form or thoughts, intuitions, visions etc. and will help to give you insight in to object of your thoughts or dilemma.

 
The meanings can at times be profound, and at other times quite simple. The best advice when sign appear to you, is to not put any pressure on yourself to understand it immediately. Allow yourself to absorb the moment and sit with the feelings/sensations and knowledge for a while. Feel the elation and joyful state of connection you may experience.
 
What Different Feathers May Mean
 
When considering the meaning of a feather, we may be drawn to read about the bird family that the feather is from and/or colour of the feather . However the most relevant answer can often sit within yourself, so do practice the journey technique outlined above.
 
I highly recommend getting in to the habit of noting down your experiences and keeping a journal of signs and synchronicity’s. By doing this, you may obtain a deeper and more valuable insight as time goes by.
 
In the future, consider paying closer attention to your surroundings and you may become more aware of the way that Spirit interweaves throughout your life through signs such as this - indicating that you are in connection with Spirit.

About the Author

Melanie Tomsett is a Shamanic practioner and owner of Shamanic Quest based in Hertfordshire in the UK. Shamanic Quest offer a range of opportunities for you to explore and learn shamanic practices. These include Introductory Workshops, Foundation Course, Practitioner Course, Drum Circle, Sweat Lodge, Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, Student Clinics and Consultations. Full details can be found at www.shamanicquest.co.uk

4 Spring Herbs You Can Forage Now

Posted on 26 April, 2017 at 4:26 Comments comments (0)

Spring is now firmly upon us and foraging as the first spring foliage bursts from the earth is something that, for centuries, humans have counted on. Spring’s new growth is nutrient rich and bountiful nourishment after winter.

While fresh food is of course available all year round through supermarkets and independent food retailers, many of us still like to walk in the steps of our hunter gatherer ancestors.

Foraging is becoming much more popular, but there are a few things you should always remember:




  • Never harvest a plant that you are not 100% sure what it is. Many plants have poisonous look-alikes. Go on plant walks with an experienced forager a few times before going on your own. Cross check your plant in at least two reputable reference books. There are also many short courses and useful books available on foraging.
  • Never harvest on someone’s property without checking with them first.
  • Never forage where there is any chance that pesticides or other chemicals may have been used. Roads and well used public footpaths are best avoided!
  • Never gather endangered plants

If we undertake a Shamanic Journey with the spirit of the plant to understand its deeper meanings for us and come in to a relationship with it this can support us in choosing plants that can be beneficial for us. Often, the plants that grow very close to where we live are the ones that are most we most need - that predominant one taking over our garden is most likely there to help us now, its just been waiting for us to notice it!!


DANDELION  (Taraxacum officinale)

Everyone knows dandelions! We have them in abundance here! Dandelion’s nutrition includes iron, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin A. One of the first plants of spring, with yellow flowers vital for supporting the emerging bee population, the leaves can be gathered and added to salads.



The younger smaller leaves are sweeter as the older and larger they get, they more bitter they become. That said many herbalists prefer the bitter leaves to be used as a spring tonic, so the choice is up to you. The flowers can be used to make dandelion wine and also be added to salads though I prefer to leave mine to the bees! If flowers are chosen to use then make sure to plan on working fast as they begin to close shortly after they are picked.

Other uses for dandelion include dandelion jelly, marmalade, soup, cookies, and the leaves can be added to other greens to makepesto.
.

BORAGE (Borago officinalis)


Borage is a fairly common domestic which emerges in early spring and flowering June to October.  It has a good reputation for its beneficial affect on the mind, being used to dispel melancholy and induce euphoria and is soothing, diuretic herb that supports damaged or irritated tissues.
 
Externally it is used as a poultice for inflammatory swellings. The leaves are harvested in late spring and again in early summer as the plant comes into flower. They can be used fresh or dried but should not be stored for more than one year because they soon lose their medicinal properties.
 
The hairy leaves can be used raw or cooked and used as a pot-herb or be added to salads and are rich in potassium and calcium. Drying Borage leaves is not recommended as they lose their flavour and colour if dried.  I make a refreshing tea from the leaves and include some fresh flowers.
 
Cautionary Note: the plant contains small amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause liver damage and liver cancer. These alkaloids are present in too small a quantity to be harmful unless you make borage a major part of your diet, though people with liver problems would be wise to avoid using the leaves or flowers of this plant.


NETTLE (Urtica dioica)

Of all the spring forages, my favorite is nettle. Nettle is great for a spring detox!

We have lots of nettle growing here and I generally harvest when it is less than 18” and only take the unblemished leaves. You should wear gloves if you aren’t used to working with nettle—we all know nettles sting and the rash can vary from person to person, from mild irritation to a vivid red rash.


Nettle is a very nutritious plant: high in calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, protein, selenium, thiamine, vitamins A and C and zinc. It is a powerful herb and can be used in many dishes or dried for teas. I personally love nettle soups  and there are many different recipes. I also make nettle barley broth, pasta, quiches, and pesto.

A tip for pesto though is that the Nettle leaves should be blanched prior to adding them to a pesto and then blended as this removes the sting.


ELDERFLOWER (Sambucus nigra or S. canadensis)


Elderflower can sometimes be difficult to identify at certain times of the year but not so in Spring! However there are still several large white fluffy flowers that appear about the same time; so take an experienced forager to help you identify it the first time. Once you get a whiff, though, you’ll probably never forget it.

Each year we enjoy elderflower fritters, made by dipping the flowers in pancake batter and deep frying it. We use the stems as handles, but they must not be eaten. I also make elderflower cordials, which can be used as a simple cordial, or an equal amount of sparkling water added. The syrup freezes super well to allow you to enjoy this throughout the year.

I make a simple syrup (1/2 water and 1/2 sugar) and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the juice of one lemon. Then add the elderflower heads, stem up (the flowers should be submersed, but not the stems) and let them sit for 3 – 4 hours, off the heat. Strain and drink, or save it for later.


I hope I have armed you with some ideas for your own spring forage. Imagine a lovely green spring salad with yellow dandelion petals and sparkling elderflower drink as you watch those beautiful early spring sunsets settle into summer.

About the Author

Melanie Tomsett is a Shamanic practitioner and owner of Shamanic Quest based in Hertfordshire in the UK. Shamanic Quest offer a range of opportunities for you to explore and learn shamanic practices. These include Introductory Workshops, Foundation Course, Practitioner Course, Drum Circle, Sweat Lodge, Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, Student Clinics and Consultations. Full details can be found at www.shamanicquest.co.uk

Smudging - 8 Herbs in Shamanic Practice

Posted on 19 April, 2017 at 6:36 Comments comments (0)
Shamanic smudging is a tradition which has been used for generations to create peace and harmony. There are many different smudging ceremonies, and different shamanic practices use a variety of herbs for smudging. Shamanic smudging is the burning of herbs or incense for cleansing, creation of sacred space, purification, dismissal of negative energies and protection of both physical and spiritual bodies.


You can use herbs that are tied into a bundle, commonly called Smudge Sticks, braided herbs and botanicals, such as sweetgrass or loose herbs which can be burned on charcoal or in a fire pit. Shamanic smudging releases the energy as well as the fragrance of the herbs enabling them to heal, cleanse and purify.


Different shamanic traditions use different herbs for smudging. Some of the most popular herbs include desert sage, white broadleaf sage, juniper, pinon, sweetgrass, lavender and juniper.


Shamanic smudging can be used daily for practical purposes: to restore physical, mental and emotional balance and to shield against negative energies, and herbs can be used singly or together. One good combination we’ve found which covers all four elements of air, fire, water and earth is pine resin and sage (either desert sage or white broadleaf sage). This combination is appropriate for general use, cleansing, ceremony and ritual.
 
Desert sage

Primarily an air element herb though can also be used as for four-element general purposes.

Has a sharp, light and refreshing scent. One of the most sacred herbs in Shamanic practice.

Used to purify the mind, body and spirit before prayer, meditation, ritual or ceremony.

Also used to purify sacred items such as pipes, magical tools, tarot decks and eagle feathers. Can be used for area, house and personal cleansings.

Some people carry a small amount of Sage in a pocket ensure personal and spiritual safety.


Pinon Resin
Primarily a fire element herb, though can also be used as for four-element general purposes.

Has a pleasant fragrance and is cleansing and warming. Traditionally used for its spiritual and healing properties.

Produces a thick stream of smoke, and is excellent for refreshing the senses and reviving a tired soul.



Myrrh Resin 

Produces a lot of smoke when burned with a very earthy, piney scent. Gathered from an almost leafless Middle Eastern shrub called the Commiphora Molmol.

It was used by the ancient Egyptians in rituals of Healing and Passing. It is one of the ingredients used
by the Egyptians to embalm bodies.

Useful for spirituality, meditation, happiness, release, transformation, strength, confidence and stability.


Frankincense Resin  

Primarily a fire element though can also be used as for four-element general purposes. This is the resin of an African tree and produces a rich, dense smoke when burned.

Used extensively in meditation and healing. Frankincense's spiritual scent was believed to confer divine blessing.




White Broadleaf Sage

Primarily air element though can also be used as for four-element general purposes.

This is a broad leaf sage with strong aromatic properties (strongest of the different types of sage).

Considered the king of all sages. Excellent for meditation, divination, smudging, cleansing and purification.

         

Sweetgrass
 
Sweetgrass Hierochloe odorata gets its name from its sweet-aromic fragrance. Burned as an incense, sweetgrass is valued for its vanilla-like scent.

Clippings of sweetgrass is commonly braided and and then dried prior to burning and its light fragrance does not last long. Excellent for cleansing sacred space.

Traditionally, sweetgrass is believed to attract good spirits and positive energies. It is used as a smudging tool to purify peoples auras, cleanse objects, and clear ceremonial areas or healing spaces.


Juniper

Juniper has a sharp, piney scent and is excellent to stimulate and revive when tired in body, mind or Spirit.

Traditionally used for ritual purification of temples. Its smoke is believed to aid clairvoyance.

Also useful for purification and to stimulate contact with other worlds.



Rose Flowers and Petals

Primarily water element. Produces a heavy, warm, aromatic scent with just a hint of sharpness and scent lasts a long time after burning.

Excellent for meditation, divination and increasing psychic abilities.

Traditionally associated with attracting love, conferring peace and enhancing beauty.
 
 
About the Author

Melanie Tomsett is a Shamanic practioner and owner of Shamanic Quest based in Hertfordshire in the UK. Shamanic Quest offer a range of opportunities for you to explore and learn shamanic practices.

These include Introductory Workshops, Foundation Course, Practitioner Course, Drum Circle, Sweat Lodge, Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, Student Clinics and Consultations. Full details can be found at www.shamanicquest.co.uk












10 Ways To Clear Your Root Chakra

Posted on 5 April, 2017 at 6:07 Comments comments (0)
Maybe you’re going through a hard time or feeling anxious, insecure, or vulnerable. Perhaps you just feel you can’t let your guard down or are finding it hard to relax. Or Sometimes the knocks of life can just throw us out of whack.

Sometimes when we feel out-of-sorts or a little unsettled in this way it can be helpful to clear and balance our root chakra. The root chakra is the first of the seven chakras.  And it can be the key to feeling grounded, safe, and secure in the world.

Clearing and balancing your root chakra can help you relax, feel calmer and more secure, and let go of some of those underlying fears you might be holding onto.  When you feel deeply secure, you can turn your attention to more exciting things such as your relationships, your creativity and art, your dreams for your career, ongoing learning, expanding your spiritual development, dyeing your hair blue, buying yourself a parrot – the possibilities are endless!

One really great thing is that you don’t have to be a trained energy healer to begin working to heal your own chakras.  Of course, it can help to get treatment from a professional energy healer, or come along to one of our courses (we’d love you to do that anyway!).  But there are many easy, down-to-earth, even fun things that you can do yourself to give your chakras a “tune-up.”

Here are 10 easy, effective things that you can do to really help you balance and ground that root-chakra!

What is the Root  Chakra?

The first or ‘root’ chakra is located at the base of the spine.  It’s keyword is “survival.”  It relates to self-preservation, survival instincts, our connection to our bodies and the element of the earth, and our sense of safety, security, and belonging in the world. 

Is Your First Chakra Healthy or Blocked?

If you have a healthy root chakra you will feel a basic sense of security and safety in the world. You are well-grounded and the practical side of your life will usually function fairly smoothly.  You will have a sense of having ‘enough’ of everything you need to meet your needs. You will likely be fairly at ease with your own body and mostly, though not always, your body will be relatively healthy physically.
If your first chakra is out-of-balance or ‘blocked’ then you may feel overly fearful about security and survival.  Perhaps you sometimes experience extreme anxiety, or panic attacks. This might also effect your physical body, and manifest itself in issues with your bones, feet, legs, colon, elimination, or weight.  Or maybe, as sometimes happens, you have become overly practical, plodding through your life and have lost your ability dream or imagine.

The Healthy Chakra

A healthy chakra is open, allowing energy to flow freely both horizontally, in an exchange of energy with the universe, and vertically, connecting it with the other chakras.
It’s very common, at one stage or another in our lives, to have one or more chakras that are somewhat blocked or just out of balance.  And an under-functioning chakra can cause disruptions in a person’s body, mind, spirit, and life.

10 Ways to Clear and Balance Your Root Chakra

If you feel you could perhaps benefit from clearing your first chakra, there are many simple every-day things that you can do.  Here are ten ideas:

  1. belly breathe
  2. walk, especially walk barefoot in nature
  3. let it all go and get up and dance
  4. take your time when eating and thank the universe for the food you are eating; make sure you eat healthy   food, especially root vegetables or healthy “comfort food”
  5. get out in your garden – or if you don’t have a garden of your own, find some space in nature
  6. create healthy order or structure in your life or home; clear that clutter
  7. give yourself a foot massage and use Nutmeg. This essential oil as this can activate a sluggish root chakra, whilst bergamot will help it function better. A foot massage can actually affect all of your chakras as all of our major nerves have their endings in your feet, so pressing and massaging them can dissolve a lot of hidden blocks, helping to relax your chakras and reset your emotional complexion.
  8. wear red; red is associated with the root chakra and can help bring your focus back into balance
  9. daily repeat affirmations such as: “I am safe.”  “I have a right to be here.” “I have a right to be me.” “Life is good.”  “Everything is going to work out just fine.”  “I belong.”  “I have all that I need.” ” I am.”
  10. as well as using nutmeg and bergamot for your feet, surround yourself with earthy smells, such cedar, clove, or patchouli.

Disclaimer

If you have serious concerns about your physical or mental health, you should seek the help of a qualified medical or mental health professional. The ideas in this article are meant to complement your health, rather than replace qualified professional health care.

About the Author

Melanie Tomsett is a Shamanic healer and owner of Shamanic Quest based in Hertfordshire in the UK. Shamanic Quest offer a range of opportunities for you to explore and learn shamanic practices. These include Introductory Workshops, Foundation Course, Practitioner Course, Drum Circle, Sweat Lodge, Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, Student Clinics and Consultations. Please contact me for further information. Full details can be found at www.shamanicquest.co.uk

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