Source: ME TOO – The Phenomenon

Track!

The last fortnight has seen the mushrooming of a phenomenon I will call ME TOO on social media. Someone created a Facebook post and asked women to post “me too” if they had been sexually harassed or assaulted at any time during their lives. This triggered a tidal wave of “Me too!” posts, often giving graphic descriptions.

I have been trying sort out my personal take on this wave phenomenon. I appreciate that awareness of issues often needs to mushroom to reach a (so called) tipping point, where real change can occur – as opposed to everything re-setting to exactly the way it was before a particular volcano erupted. From that point of view it is beautiful to watch the collective courage of many women (who do not even all know each other personally) in action.

However, for me that is only one part of what is happening here .No “me too” message has appeared on my own page. If any abuse occurred, I no longer wish to let it define me and who I am today. As goes for everyone alive today: I became the person I am today because of a complex mix of experiences (some “good” and some “bad”, as viewed in our polarised world). Even the negative experiences brought me gifts – or forced me to develop my own innate gifts.

Someone (author Patricia Cori) ran a post in response saying women need to consider privacy and confidentiality issues before posting this where an awful lot of people can see it. Do we really want this information in the public eye and out there in the public domain?! I agree that this is an overlooked point here – but world history shows that extreme action sometimes brings lasting change. So I trust that women all over the world gave this thought before posting. Sometimes vulnerability paired with courage can be a great agent for change.

My personal perception is that we are “all in this together” – meaning that, sadly, only very few women will escape harassment or abuse during their (average of) 84 years on the planet.  Abuse is systemic in our family systems. Whatever our ancestors do not heal is passed on future generations because it seeks healing. And awareness of any issue (a “thank you for coming to attention and inviting me to decide on a response or course of action”) is the first step. Abuse, sexism, racism, patriarchy etc. – all those things (and many others) are wired very deeply into our culture and family systems. Humanity is still in its relative infancy – we are only just learning different ways of being in the world. Life is supposed to lived and savoured, not suffered.

Another issue I have will all this is that I am the sister of brothers – and the mother of sons. I have no (biological) sisters or daughters. Perhaps that has been a great privilege because living so close up to men and boys (in various stages of becoming) for all of my life, I am simply not able to make sweeping statements that all men are “in the wrong here”.

I am deeply moved by the process of my own eldest son (aged 17) navigating issues in his social circle with deep thought and integrity – always seeking to restore harmony.

I have done a lot of shamanic healing work with men and I know only too well that men and boys too get harassed and raped. That “soft or pretty boys” do not always have an easy time of things. That “cooler boys” learn to put on an act in the outside world, (to stay safe and keep their street cred) etc. That co called ‘nerds’ find other ways again of being safe and accepted. That some young men grow up on the streets where “killing someone” is seen as a rite of passage and proof of reaching manhood.

Some men certainly harass women and others go as far as assaulting them, or making their lives impossible in the workplace. I do not deny this. Then there are the men who abuse their wives and children but present a different face outside the home so no one knows what is really going down. There definitely is a HUGE hidden dimension to this phenomenon!

BUT I have personally worked with men who thought they were having safe sex with a partner they trusted and the woman (often with a biological clock ticking ominously) decided to try for a baby. These men end up in highly challenging scenarios: parenting and financially supporting children they did not truly want (or actively decide to have). Not a great start for a father-child relationship. Some men had really wanted to father the child properly but the woman moved to another area, took another partner and denied the birth father access. I have worked with men who were buckling under the pressure of producing a baby (by partner and prospective grandparents) yet having a deep inner knowing that this was not the right path for them.

In shamanic healing sessions many men I personally worked with have cried bitter heartfelt tears and pummelled a pillow with rage – because of all these scenarios they were lured into, or situations that crept up on them over time until they couldn’t see an honourable way out (meaning that the way out takes the form of depression or a nervous breakdown).

To my mind this is just one way women “sexually abuse men”: by not being honest about the parameters and possible consequences of the encounter. And let’s face it, in Western culture birth control is freely available, meaning not all of these outcomes are “accidents”.

I have one brother who is an amazing, dedicated step father to one boy. He does many things for that boy that his biological father will not stretch to (including financially supporting him and sitting with him every night to help with homework tasks). He is a major healing influence in that boy’s life. That boy will do well in life because my brother took on the challenge of being a live-in step parent involved in his day-to-day care.

On a completely personal level (and this does not reflect on anyone else, just on me) I decided a long time ago that my life was not going to be defined by abuse. Any abuse that did occur was really a “something desperately seeking healing”. So my personal response to such things (whenever and wherever they rear their ugly head) is to respond from a place of sacred wholeness and wellness – and do the healing work that the issue requires. That may include doing ancestral work, doing shadow work, working closely with the earth, reaching out to people and places suffering in ways I have personal experience of. Most of the time my response needs to be (and is) a mix of all of these things.

I hold a strong personal vision of all of us accessing healthy expressions of the sacred masculine and sacred feminine in our lives. I actively bring this into all the courses I teach and all the groups I work with.

I believe that staying in wounded consciousness (and an over-attachment to painful experiences – which for some people can become an identity and way of life) will just attract more of the same. I observe that our wounds can teach us about creating healthy reality – about actively choosing not to perpetuate the dysfunctional imprints so common in our social and family systems.

For all of these reasons you will not see ME TOO appear on my Facebook page.

Thank you for listening to different perspective!

There is no pressure to agree or approve of it. Be true to yourself!!

Imelda Almqvist, Sweden, 19 October 2017

Source: BOOK REVIEW for Shamanic Journeys Through the Caucasus by Michael Berman

Product Details

Shamanic Journeys Through Daghestan

BOOK REVIEW

My first experience of this author was reading his book Shamanic Journeys Through the Caucasus and you will find a very positive review here:

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/book-review-for-shamanic-journeys-through-the-caucasus-by-michael-berman/

I really enjoyed that book because if offered interesting material about an area I could barely pinpoint on the map. That is to say I can locate the Caucasus area on a map but I certainly could not have named individual countries before reading these two books by Michael Berman! (Shame on me, I know!)

Having said that, this book, offers a lot of repetition. A lot of the same material and quotes appear all over again. I just checked which one came first but both books were published in the year 2009.

The author also uses the same lengthy Mircea Eliade quotes again and do not get me wrong, I am a great admirer of Eliade’s work – I often quote him myself to students!!

The actual content of this book boils down to a few stories you will not find anywhere else. It is probably worth reading for that reason alone, definitely so if you have ancestors from this area or if you are a scholar studying this area.

However, assuming that both books will (largely) attract the same audience, I cannot see the purpose of so much repetition. If ever there will be a reprint I would hope that both books are merged and edited sharply so this book becomes a chapter in the more comprehensive Caucasus book.

Michael Berman (sadly no longer with us) did ground breaking work. He brings us stories (and investigates evidence of shamanism) in a part of the world only few of us are likely to visit. For that alone he deserves a lot of credit and his books selling long after his death. I just wish that he’d had a talented editor working with him so the material would have condensed into something less “laboursome” (is that a word?!) for other to read.

I just checked and yes, the word exists!

BUT  you will find some brilliant insights in this book and information I have never stumbled across elsewhere.

A book I am happy to give a good home on my shelf! You can find it on amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Shamanic-Journeys-Through-Daghestan-Michael/184694225X/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497549969&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Shamanic+journeys+in+Daghestan

Imelda Almqvist

 

About the author

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.  She is a presenter on Year of Ceremony for Sounds True.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

Source: BOOK REVIEW for A MODERN CELT and CELTIC WITCH CRAFT by Mabh Savage

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Reading the books of author Mabh Savage feels like visiting an old friend and having a  relaxed conversation at her kitchen table!

The thing that struck me most, as I first held Celtic Witchcraft in my hand, was the short bio on the back informing me she “was raised by two Wiccan parents who have a passion for Celtic history, both mythological and actual”. Wow! Having been raised in a Roman Catholic family (and then spending several decades “debriefing myself”), my mind started spinning, trying to imagine what it would be like to have Wiccan parents like Mabh!

In her book A Modern Celt Mabh’s parents speak for themselves. There is a whole chapter where she visits and interviews them. She gives a verbatim account of the conversation. She does the same thing with friends who have an interesting background, gift or message.

In Celtic Withcraft she describes how Celtic legend and mythology can bring magic into your life (and you do not need to be Celtic to do this!)

Once I finished both books I was left feeling that I have met her, her parents, her rescue Crow (called Crowley) and her friends. Her books are gentle, intimate, very much based in everyday occurrences. It is about magic but she also debunks magic a little, saying that for instance good planning is a form of magic (and I had not thought of it that way!)

As an international teacher of shamanism (and sacred art) I have many students who embark on long and complex (at times frustrating) quests to seek their ancestors, their roots, their bloodline. Mabh is extremely fortunate that she grew up knowing her roots, hearing the legends about the Tuatha de Danaan and  the Celtic gods, goddesses and heroes from birth.It gives her writing an ease and confidence that is enviable.

If you are looking for a gentle but grounded introduction to the Celtic Tradition, these two books make a good start. If you then want more facts or more details she recommends other authors and texts so you can continue exploring.

The two books together make a lovely introduction and reading them both in one week, as I did, works very well! I invite you to check out her work and author page!

Imelda Almqvist

 

About the author

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.  She is a presenter on Year of Ceremony for Sounds True.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: THE GODS AND GODDESSES OF THE FUTURE

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Last night I had a vivid dream. It stayed with me all day: I had been invited to spend the day with a group of teenagers. They were unknown to me (meaning that they were not friends of my own three teenagers). Their intention was to show me The Ways of the Future.

They put me in a classroom (it actually had a whiteboard!) Then they started telling me how working with ancient gods and goddesses is no longer good enough. We need to actively create the gods and goddesses of the future. If we do not do this, we will continue to create a future shaped and delineated by the past.

As I have a very great love for (and intimate relationship with) many ancient gods and goddesses I felt some resistance rising. I felt I had to speak in support of  of those ancient deities. The teenagers laughed and gently pressed me down on my chair again.

It is simple! They said. The future will not resemble the past. We young people live in a time of unheard of opportunities and dangers. We need gods and goddesses that patrol the internet. Gods and Goddesses invigilating social media. Facebook needs a Face Goddess and Twitter needs a Bird Goddess. We also need a True Face God and gods in charge of the drugs that teenagers use at parties… As our concept  of reality expands (reality has never been what we think it is anway!) ever more gods and goddesses can enter and fill our consciousness. We conceive them just as they conceive us!

I am feeling dizzy. Here I thought I was progressive in the way I teach and work. The teenagers proceeded to draw faces on the white board. The face of gods and goddesses. They proceeded to name them and invoke them, welcome them.

They said: gods and goddesses are shape-shifters and Reality is the greatest shape-shifter of them all!

Imelda Almqvist

 

About the author:

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books on 26th August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

http://shamanismsummit.com/

Source: Book Review for Shamanic Journeys Through the Caucasus by Michael Berman

It is a rare treat to have a book in your hands that offers tales and folklore from countries that, in truth, I barely knew existed. We have all heard of  the War in Chechnya (sadly) and I adore Armenian medieval music, to the point of dreaming of going there! Other than that I could not have named or found the following countries on world map: Ingushetia, Daghestan or North Ossetia. Could you?! Hint: they are situated between The Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in an otherworldly liminal zone that forms a natural border between Europe and Asia.

This book tells ancient tales and describes folklore and customs from this area. The author is actively looking for evidence of shamanic practices – and he finds many indication that indigenous forms of shamanism were indeed practiced here. As a shamanic teacher I always love hearing about the cosmology and spiritual practices of tribal peoples. These countries sit on the mountainous “spine” that divides Europe from Asia and because of their strategic position they have seen more than their fair share of upheaval and ideological persecution. This means that ancient tribal practices go strong in inaccessible regions but also that there are many overlays of other religions and influences (from Zen Buddhism and Sufi Mysticism to Communism trying to impose atheism).

I love the wealth of detail Berman shares in this book. This is information I would simply not have had access to had he not written the book. The book is based on his own travels and a lot of research. I also like the way he frames the stories by actually understanding shamanism “from the inside out” so to speak. (I looked at his author page and he himself trained in core shamanism). This is relatively rare: I have read many books about tribal peoples, cave art and folklore where the author ultimately did not understand the “otherworld dimension” of the material they were presenting. That can make for frustrating reading, to see fundamental concepts misrepresented or ignored.

This book is a gem! The only negative, in my opinion is that Berman tends to repeat chunks of information he has already presented. Some chunks or passages appear three times in the book. The explanations of shamanic cosmology are lengthy too and pretty exhaustive (he quotes Mircea Eliade extensively). Then again, as a shamanic teacher I am very familiar with this material – but most readers will not be. They may well welcome those elaborate explanations!

If you are shamanic practitioner, story teller, explorer, mythology lover or keen collector of folklore and wonderful tales – this is the book for you!

This author has written many other books on related subjects. I have just started “Shamanic Journeys Through Daghestan”. Keep an eye out for my next book review!

Imelda Almqvist

About the author:
Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books on 26th August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

http://shamanismsummit.com/