What comes to mind when someone mentions the word TROLL?

I LOVE Norse Mythology and Scandinavian Folklore. As a teacher of Norse Shamanism I personally see beautiful images by John Bauer. I also think of Swedish tales and Christmas decorations (we put small gnomes and trolls around our house at Christmas time). In Old Norse sagas trolls live in isolated places (like rocks, mountains, caves or remote forests) and they are only rarely helpful to human beings. They can tricky and even downright dangerous!

My children would immediately think of a recent movie cycle about The Hobbit, with a large cast of dwarfs,  trolls and many other characters.

Sitting on a London Bus this morning I noticed that today’s headlines are all about Cyber Trolls. As a shamanic teacher of children and young people I realised that something was being brought to my attention here. After my eldest son received a death threat in the dinner queue in school last week I wrote a blog post called THE BULLY: https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/the-bully/ and I followed this up by writing another post earlier this week about spiritual tool kits for children: https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/the-shaman-mothers-spiritual-survival-kits-for-kids/

Those posts got a lot of reactions for which I am very grateful: other people doing shamanic work with children have come forward and shared wonderful ideas with me. Yesterday a friend called Robert Rand  (a wonderful composer and musician, check out his work!)  was telling me about Aikido and I quote him:  “Aikido’s goals are a non-violent end to a confrontation.” I will be looking for an aikido expert to teach a session to my kids group!

Last night I appeared live on an American TV Show (interview with Sharon Ballantine on Conscious Evolution Media) and we got talking about the subject Bullying.

It seems that no matter what form bullying takes (physical bulling in school or cyber bullying on the internet through social networking sites) the KEY lies in the concept RESPONSE-ABILITY: the ability to not meet the bully ‘on their own level’ and punch them in the face (or internet equivalent!) because then the situation will escalate. The challenge we find ourselves presented with is to demonstrate that we can keep our cool and CHOOSE OUR RESPONSE. When The School Bully told my son: “I am going to kill you and your family” he said “OK” because a response was required to satisfy the bully, then he walked away from the situation. Fortunately he is a level-headed 13 year old.

Taking a step back from the specifics of bullying situations (I have three children and all parents come across this issue. Not only that: sometimes we may be asked to face up to the fact that our own child is doing the bullying! So… let’s do a bit of ‘shadow work’ here and own that darkness inside ourselves, we all carry the ‘archetype of the Bully’ within us somewhere!) it seems to me that the ultimate lesson here is about WHOSE  TAKE ON REALITY DO WE ACCEPT?

Bullies try hard to impose their point of view and wipe out your own, by criticising, ridiculing and attacking you they try to hurt you (maybe physically, certainly emotionally and spiritually speaking) but ‘tough as it sounds’: we can choose our response. We can choose NOT TO focus on FEELING HURT.  Instead we can CHOOSE TO feel compassion for human beings who are so sad, lonely or wounded that they are out there ‘trolling to get their thrills’.

We live in a MULTI-VERSE, a multi-dimensional universe. We are all dreamers. We all co-create our reality in partnership with the Divine forces of Creation. Whatever we focus on increases. If we think negative thoughts and focus on negative energy, we create more of the same. (This is not the same as saying I do not feel anger or despair when I hear my child is being bullied – but it means I know I need to make a quick “spiritual U-turn” as it were and reframe my own perception as soon as I humanly can).

So one of my challenges for the weeks to come is putting together a session on Cyber Bulling for my shamanic group for children & teens THE TIME TRAVELLERS and finding a London-based Aikido expert willing to visit for a night.


Another issue I am planning to run a session on is BODY IMAGE AND SELF ESTEEM as that is related to all this: being forced into an unnatural perception of ourselves and losing touch with the wondrous gift that is a human body and life here on Earth. More about that another time.

And to get back to the ancient trolls of Scandinavian lore: in old Swedish tales about  ‘TOMTAR OCH TROLL’ (gnomes and trolls) often human beings learn to co-exist peacefully and respectfully with trolls, elves and other such  ‘other world beings’, most often by ‘offering them something to keep them happy’ and keeping a safe distance most of the time. This is is not a bad strategy for cyber bullying either! And one great thing about the cyber world is that is offers buttons like ‘unfriend’ or ‘delete their posts from my feed’. Quite unlike ‘life in everyday reality’ we can choose not to pay attention to their comments and antics. Now that is all about response-ability!

Imelda Almqvist