June and July Workshops
with Carol Proudfoot-Edgar


Dear Friends,

I have been listening for what Spirit is calling me to teach this year in  my shamanic workshops. In my journeys I am frequently taken to the Canadian  Great Bear Rainforest where I spent ten days this past September with my ElderBear  Clan sisters. I was listening to River, walking with Bear, soaring with Eagle,  and spawning with Salmon. There was no laptop, no email, no radio, no television,  and no phone. In the great teeming silence, I seemed to hear the plants growing,  trees stretching and clouds breathing.

Periodically I reflected on the fact there are few places so undisturbed by  the human footprint and where Home is possible for the many species with whom  we share this planet. It seemed Bear was saying: "We have had to separate  ourselves from the humans for our own survival. We can share Earth together  more intimately when the humans rediscover their own wilderness natures and  know we are meant to evolve together." I left the Great Bear Rainforest  deeply restored and with a commitment to focus more   on conservation as a spiritual necessity for without tending these kin, our  human families shall also wither---we need one another.

The Animals

Three weeks after returning home, Dan Jordinelli and I led a workshop at a Los Angeles Animal Shelter. In Circle did we also rediscover the kindred spirit  that binds us to our animal companions. It was truly a blessing to help heal  the wounds of these animals - wounds incurred mainly through neglect and betrayal  but also by the effect of a broken economy. Many of the animals in this particular  shelter came from people whose homes had been foreclosed and their animals  were not able to move into their new dwellings.

In my dreaming now, I see the wild and the domestic animals wandering together... sometimes seeking to connect with the humans; other times  simply sharing the same search for Home somewhere... and they are part  of the current global restlessness acknowledging that we are seriously out  of balance and must restructure our priorities and our very selves.

Contemporary Shamanism

In previous newsletters, I have addressed what contemporary shamanism might  offer in this Present Age of economic and environmental crisis. There are many  ways we can bring shamanic healing into our communities and beyond these borders.  Perhaps our most pressing priority is to do those spiritual practices that  enable us to tend the fires of Hope and Inspiration. As long as the Fires of  Hope and Inspiration are burning, the creative Spirit has channels for moving  visions into the world. From such visions do we create new structures that  enable the many communities of Earth to prosper. The shaman's way does not  predicate that any one person must be visionary or create new structures -  and actually there is a marvelous unpredictability in shamanic communities  as to 'from just where shall the needed vision come.' But as long as there  is prayer, dance, song, and trance, vision will come.

Tending other Beings

And during this challenging time, how in our shamanic community shall we give  Voice on behalf of the Animals and other Beings - which means giving Voice  on behalf of their habitats, migration routes, and water-ways (river, ocean,  and lakes). I raise this issue because during these last two to three years,  I have felt especially pestered by Spirit to call those interested together  in Circle on behalf of the Animals.   Obviously this does not preclude my work  with humans nor does it shrink the importance of shamanic healing within our  human community.
The other day I was sharing with a friend this 'calling' from  the animals to do more with and for them. She responded with the concern that  people might feel guilty to be caring about animals when there is so much human  suffering. And I wondered, "Why does it have to be one or the other?"  Can  we not tend our relationships with both? And don't we need to be doing both!?  Is not the health of one profoundly intertwined with the health of the other? 
Thus, as Susan Gilliland and I prepare for the workshops we will be teaching  this year, we are giving some special attention to this issue of tending other  Beings. And as we prepare for these workshops, we will periodically be posting  articles on this subject at my website.

And we invite others to send in related materials or descriptions of personal  experiences on this subject.

Overview of the June and July Workshops

The essential questions that focus the issue of  "Us and Others" are:

  • Who are we within the web of being and becoming?
  • Where are we within this Web?
  • How do I weave with others of the Web?
  • How do I walk the Web with intention and clarity of purpose?

The three weekend workshops in the Santa Cruz Mountains focus these issues  in different ways. Each workshop has its own integrity and fullness. However,  the two workshops in July were intentionally chosen to be consecutive weekends.  In the past, some participants have traveled considerable distance for a weekend  workshop. It might be that some people will want to take both workshops since  together they focus on giving Voice to the animals and on discovering certain  medicine powers of the animals.
The first workshop occurs from Friday through Sunday while the second takes place Thursday through Sunday. Those registering  for both can continue with lodging at the retreat center between the workshops  and use this time to do individual explorations of the land within the area.  By participating in two or three workshops, individuals will deepen their relationship  with the beings and spirits of the land in which we will be working---such  deepening can always lead to Visions from the Spirits of Place and an increase  in wisdom.

Workshop Descriptions

June 26 - 28: Shamanism and the Medicine Wheel Way

The Plains Medicine Wheel is the finest cosmology I know for growing myself as human web weaver. Many spiritual traditions offer excellent paradigms for understanding the sanctity of all life forms within the rhythm of Earth herself.

The Plains Wheel is the one living deepest within me and the one from which  I launch myself in my shamanic walking and practice. One beauty of this Wheel  is that although it offers a structured cosmology (based on the relationship  between Earth and Sky), none of Earth's mysteries or wisdom is excluded. Inclusion  simply becomes a matter of "how does this event or activity weave itself  in the web?"

This is highly experiential and involves working with an actual Medicine  Wheel situated within the great Redwoods of the retreat center. Through a mixture  of journeys, ceremonies, discussion, and wakeful-walking within wilderness,  we will learn how to integrate this Wheel in our lives.
This may seem a monumental  task for a weekend workshop yet when participants live the Wheel more than  48 hours, it can be amazing how clear does this cosmology become and how useful  it is for locating and evolving ourselves with nature and as nature. It is  analogous to learning how to Journey---once one knows how to journey, the rest  becomes collaboration between one's self and helping or tutelary Spirits. Internalized  perception of Earth's processes as a living medicine wheel becomes the launching  pad for weaving connections and knowing where to track for medicine and power.  It is this medicine wheel cosmology that gave rise to the saying "Everything  is alive - Everything is connected."

To assist our continued learning beyond this weekend, we will be making Medicine  Wheel Pouches and learning how to use them both for healing and for divination  purposes. Between now and the time for our gathering, Medicine Wheel articles  will be posted at my website that will be useful for coming prepared to take  full advantage of this time together.

July 17 - 19: Giving Voice to the Animals - Healing Our Souls

In the last two to three years, like many others, I have heard this wailing and keening that is the Animals calling to us - asking us to Speak for them and to partner with them once again before the hour grows too late. An inescapable role of the shamanic practitioner is to heed this Call. Unless heeded, not only will our ordinary world be forsaken, our spirit guides whom we call "Power Animals" will withdraw.
It is erroneous to assume that the nonordinary Animal allies are independent of their ordinary brothers and sisters. Just as our Ancestral Spirits at one time wore the human cloth of flesh, so too did our Animal Spirits. What might appear as a "never seen or known before" Animal Ally is simply using some of the magic possible when not restrained by the vessel of flesh. As the Chuckee Shaman laments:
  "Oh Bear you used to come around our fires
  now we see you only in our dreams
  some day maybe not then too."

Although we have separated ourselves from our kin of wilderness, sky, and  water, our language still indicates our evolution with them whether that be  in the name of starry constellations (the largest and most visible being Ursa  Major and Minor - Big and Little Bear), or the names for our sport teams (Dolphins,  Panthers, Orioles, Buffalos) or the more human qualities of 'bearing up,' being  sick as a Dog, having an Eagle's eye, or the heart of a Lion.

Our souls feel fractured because Home in our collective unconscious is a Place  that is shared and inhabited by many remarkable and beautiful other beings.  Without them around, Home is greatly shrunken and our souls suffer the withering.  And the animals themselves are losing their sense of Home for surely did we  evolve together. They have been our grand sacred partners in this experiment  called Life-on-Earth. We are blessed that in some cultures, they continue to  lead and support with their essential animal powers. The Call is for our shamanic  community to join hands and voices with those who still speak and walk with  the Animals.

During this weekend, we will learn just what Animals wish to speak through  each of us. We shall learn their dances, sounds and songs, and through our  beings, give body to them. We shall shift shapes as we move through the forest  in these mountains. We shall learn what each of us can do to build a sustainable  partnership with these wild beings that will make more possible the continuance  of their lives on this planet. We do this with humility and not with a grandiose  savior complex....rather with a complex of knowing that what we do has  impact---in our lifetimes and for the future. What we learn together can then  be shared with others in our home circles, families, and communities.

And in these days, we can take joy in honoring and celebrating the Animals  -- bringing us closer together...step by step till we have achieved the  respectful distance necessary for mutuality in our partnership.

July 23 - 26 Buffalo and BearMedicine for our Present Age

Throughout the history of North American indigenous peoples, Bear and Buffalo have legendary powers and medicine. The medicines of these two Animals are reflected in healing practices, dances, stories, ceremonies, songs and almost every aspect of life. And in modern times, they are embedded even in our economics as noted by the labels of a Bear or Bull market on the Stock Exchange.
Unlike the stock exchange, however, Buffalo is also the teacher of sharing  and giving-away while Bear teaches the way of the Parenting (of providing home  and protection for the growing ones). In the cycle of growth, Bear medicine  involves discovering and developing one's own personal medicine and taking  whatever 'time apart' is needed for this. In other words, finding one's Cave  within which solitude and visioning can occur and within this Cave, birth of  the future begins. Yet Bear powers are not limited to self-actualization for  perhaps more than any other animal, Bear has taught us medicine that is still  practiced including what herbs to use for particular wounds.
BearDream societies  are known throughout the Northern Hemisphere and for many peoples, communal  actions e.g. relocating the tribe or questing for food were not taken unless  foretold to a member of the BearDreamer Clan. The list of such powers and medicines  attributed to Bear are numerous---becoming an apprentice to this SpiritBeing  involves learning which of these medicine powers Bear wishes to teach the seeker.  Since Bear is considered the Guardian of the Animals (and appoints them their  powers and duties), Bear not only teaches but also might send the shamanic  apprentice to some other animal for some desired medicine.

Finding one's path and growing one's medicine powers is the purview of this  Spirit Being---anyone practicing shamanism needs to have some basic knowledge,  some acquaintance with Bear---if for no other reason than Bear's place in the  cosmology of shamanic peoples. And also because Bear may just be waiting for  the seeker to approach.......

In the cycle of a life - any life whether that is a human being, a project,  a village or city, a day or a year---Bear represents and teaches about maturation.  In the human life cycle this might represent the thirties through the fifties.  Buffalo represents the Eldering time...the coming to completion and the  wisdom accrued. That is why Buffalo ceremonies are often called the "GiveAway  Times" because they entail sharing of that with which one has been blessed...and  sharing ALL with which one has been blessed.

Thus did the native peoples in this country respect the actual body of Buffalo.  Most of us have probably heard how different parts of a dead Buffalo was used  and for what purposes. From this animal was derived all the clothing, sheltering  (except for tree poles), food, and hunting tools that the peoples needed.

In addition to respectful use of Buffalo's body, the people sought to understand  the spiritual meaning of Buffalo or what lessons Spirit wished them to learn  from this Great Being. Understanding the relationship between form and substance  or form and function led to acute observation of the animals. And Buffalo was  perceived as THE animal that was able to 'stand alone' in the bitter Winter  winds and cold; and meaning was assigned to that great massive head (mind)  - reminding the peoples to walk with mind-full-ness.
The enduring story of  White Buffalo Woman carries essential knowledge of Spirit upon whom we are  all dependent and to whom all are answerable. And the story details the necessary  rituals and ceremonies to conduct when life is out of balance and harmony needs  restoring. It is both a description for a 'wellness -health' program and for  crisis intervention.

In these four days together, we shall explore the medicine of these two Great  Beings and the ceremonies done to bring forth their powers through our own  bodies. Individuals may find that either one or both of these Beings is particularly  interested in being known to that person. We will work with Iniskim who came  from a crevice between the worlds to work with us. Iniskim is thousands of  years old, lived in Montana, and is known as the Buffalo Calling Stone or "Calls  Buffalo." After five years of quiet work with some of us, Iniskim now seeks to be held by others and share of her Buffalo Calling Powers.

RetreatCenter - Registration & Costs

These weekends we will be gathering in the Santa Cruz Mountains: still home to Lion, Bear, Deer, Elk, Hawk and Eagle along with many other creatures.    We may not see them in their previous plenty but they are here and their presence felt. We gather in the midst of a Redwood and Oak forest which,  at one point, has a grand view to the distant mountains. There are places of Shadow and others of Sun. The retreat center has a large Medicine Wheel,  a Labyrinth, water collecting ponds, and trails for wandering---for discovering and being discovered by Beings of Place.

Registration & Lodging options

I continue with my commitment to keep shamanic workshop cost as minimal as  possible. A large cost is that associated with retreat centers themselves.  Thus, for the first time I am viewing commuting as a viable option in creating  Circle. Previously I have requested that individuals choose onsite lodging  and, of course, that is still available.

All the lodging is comfortable with a variety of choices and costs. The camping sites are flattened and prepared for tenting. Both the camping and tipi choices require that participants bring their own bedding. Bedding is provided for in the cabins and dorm lodgings.

**Scholarships: Through the generosity of others, we are able to offer some  partial scholarships and information for requesting one can be found with the  registration form

Limited Enrollment: To further the development of Circle and opportunity for  intense individual explorations, workshop enrollment is limited to 16 people.  If you are interested in participating, I encourage you to apply as soon as  possible or to notify Pirkko of your interest.

These total costs include tuition, food, and lodging or day use fee. Meals are included for commuters.

June 26 - 28: Shamanism and the Medicine Wheel Way

Commuting = $300
Camping = $320
Tipi = $340
Dorm = $380
Guest House Loft = $400
Cabin = $410
Guest House Bedroom = $420

July 17 - 19: Giving Voice to the Animals - Healing Our Souls

Commuting = $300
Camping = $320
Tipi = $340
Dorm = $380
Guest House Loft = $400
Cabin = $410
Guest House Bedroom = $420

July 23 - 26 Buffalo and BearMedicine for our Present Age

Commuting = $410
  Camping = $440
  Tipi = $470
  Dorm = $530
  Guest House Loft = $560
  Cabin = $575
  Guest House Bedroom = $590

To register:

1. Print the registration form 
2. Send either the full amount or a nonrefundable deposit of $100 to Pirkko.
  Make the check payable to Shamanic Visions and mail to:
  Pirkko Miller
  P.O. Box 193
  North Webster, Indiana 46555
  Complete payment is due by June 1, 2009.

Scholarships: You can apply for a scholarship by contacting Pirkko for an  application.
If you are someone who can assist others, consider a tax-deductible donation  made to Shamanic Circles. You can send this donation to Pirkko who will then forward it to the Treasurer for Shamanic Circles (www.shamaniccircles.org).  It is through this cycle of giving and receiving that we thrive as a community.

If you have any questions, feel free to email or call Pirkko.
  Phone #: (574) 834-3460

A month before the workshop begins, a letter will be sent regarding preparations  for the weekend. You will receive directions for travel to the retreat center  which is located about 30 miles South of San Jose International Airport.

Refund policy: Should a workshop need to be canceled by the Coordinator, a complete refund will be given. Otherwise notice of cancellation must be received  three weeks prior to the workshop and a refund will be made minus the $100 nonrefundable deposit.

Other workshops and workshop materials will be updated at Carol's website  from time to time: www.shamanicvisions.com
P.S. We invite you to visit our Home Page to see if there are other shamanic activities listed there in which you might be interested.

Or if you wish to join in a Circle, check our Global Circles web page to see if there is one in your area. If not, then please start one because Circles can be powerful places of support for each of us on the shamanic path.



Copyright © 2019 Carol Proudfoot Edgar
Not to be reproduced without permission