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Shamanic Journeys Through Daghestan


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

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:

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.


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.

Altar 2016

I have been using some tried and tested  techniques from shamanism (the most ancient spiritual practice known to humankind) to support my eldest son through his GSCE exam period (general exams for all 16 year olds in the UK). Yesterday the thought occurred: what about writing a blog about this topic. I can’t be the only parent in search of a “spiritual toolkit for exam periods”. As the author of the upcoming book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life (using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages), maybe I am the right person to write this?!

So what have I been doing with my son?! Here are some very basic things anyone can do:

Powering up!

When we start a new day of life or before we do any spiritual work we power up, meaning that we greet our allies and helping spirits and align ourselves with beings more powerful than ourselves in the other worlds. My son knows how to do this for himself (for him this means calling in his power animals: e.g. his Clan of Monkey Spirits). Before he leaves the house I always stop him in his tracks for a moment: focus, call in your allies, wipe all other concerns from your mind for the next few hours…

However, my son has also asked me to do some work on his behalf. At 8.45 am on school days you will find me standing by my altar: drumming, rattling singing. (Not only for him, also for family members, clients, students and colleagues who have asked for spiritual support).  Next I make the procedure a little more specific: e.g. my son had a Poetry exam recently, so I call in the full “society of dead poets” and ask them to watch over his shoulder and guide his hands. For an exam in mathematics I call on the great mathematicians of all time. For Newtonian type of physics they study in secondary school I call in Isaac Newton and others.

And so it goes…. I always get the feeling that these great spirits love being of help. The essence of those great minds lives on outside time (one of shamanism’s great teachings) and you may call on them –  in my experience there is always an instant response. – And isn’t that cool, seeing your son walk up the Hill in his school uniform accompanied by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and a veritable society of long-dead poets? I love the teachings and potential of shamanism!!

A few more pointers:

“Revision Parties” & Extra attention on your son or daughter’s emotional life

For most parents unconditional support is a given at any time in a child’s life. However, as they grow older (and taller than us, very independent and opinionated!) there can be a tendency to get busier with our own personal and professional lives and miss those little hints that something isn’t quite right. That lovely boy who used to drop in three times a week – why hasn’t he been here for nearly two months now? Have they fallen out? Has something happen in their friendship group?? My own son’s first serious girlfriend broke up with him (after 17 months together!) just before the exams started. He was feeling rough and in the end we hosted a “Revision Party” with unlimited supplies of chocolate and crisps. It was really a getting-over-the-girlfriend party but we couldn’t call it that! A posse of teenagers came, dressed up in animal costumes (that I keep around the house for workshops), played four-handed piano and actually studied some physics. My son was his normal self after that. Equilibrium had returned, phew!

This is obviously a very tricky area: some teens want to talk and others feel the last person they’d ever speak to is the weird creature commonly known as a parent. The trick is to be available but not in their face. They will talk to you when it suits them  – not when it suits you. In our house this means me settling down again for a long midnight conversation when I was just heating a mug of milk for bed at 10.30 pm. Losing sleep (daily, large amounts of it!)  is definitely the lesser evil when compared to losing touch with the emotional life of a teenager…

This brings me to the following points:


A Spiritual Toolkit for navigating Tempests created by Teenagers

I have discovered that the general principles of shamanism (and shamanic healing) work perfectly well for the dilemmas that this age group runs into. With my son I am reinforcing the following core principles@

  •  Fair Energy Exchange – in all of your relationships/friendships observe how energy is flowing. Does it freely flow both ways? Do you support your friend and does he or she support you back? When it becomes one-sided, something tilts out of balance. A heaviness sets in. Time to renegotiate?!  Example: my son has been going to parties but he is very anti-alcohol at the moment (“I can’t afford to lose brain cells when I want to get into a good university long-term!”) This meant that at parties his friends get drunk but he gets involved in cleaning up vomit and seeing them home safely etc. He does not find this role totally enjoyable. In the end I have said to him: when a friendship starts to feel like “social work” you may just want to reflect on the energy balance. He took that on board.
  • Reflection on what we can control and can’t control Change the things I can and accept the things I cannot change (the Serenity Prayer is very useful here, I will paste the first part below) – My son has a heavy dose of teenage idealism, meaning that he doesn’t always see clearly where the line goes between “what we can control”, “what it not worth even trying to control” and “where we can actually make positive changes by shifting our own perception”. Lucky for me he has always been a talkative child. He processes things by talking them through. This means I am on an intensive course in understanding the world of teenagers (because I work in a professional capacity with them as well, meaning I see a wider range of expressions, boys/girls, all ages…)

God/Higher Power grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

  • Inner Work with Noticeable Results Around Us – When we cannot engage with something “externally” (meaning: in the world around us) we can always work on things internally. We can put focus on things, we can hand issues over to spirit allies for safe keeping or resolving, we can ask our power animals to go talk to the other person’s power animal and ease the way between us and so forth. There are always more options that we commonly realize when we get frustrated. (Teenagers often feel frustrated: they have the bodies of adults but not yet the freedom of choice and lifestyle that adults have).
  • You remain responsible for your own choices and actions, no matter what another person does!- My son has been on quite a journey with this one. He is a little hot-tempered and has an over-developed sense of fairness. So he gets upset when people break promises or mess around with the feelings of others in any way. On a few occasions I have had to invite him to express his anger (safely, without directing it at anyone) but then think long and hard: what kind of person do I choose to be? Do I choose to meet this person on their level of functioning or do I set my own code of ethics for how I behave and respond? On reflection my son will agree that he needs to actively choose his own actions. Meaning that he is acting, not re-acting to others the whole time.
  • When we set strong intentions, energetically speaking we set events in motion. E.g. my son felt he needed to to talk to someone in private who was blanking him in school. I helped him formulate a strong intention for what he actually wanted most of all: meet up privately, after school, and discuss whatever is going on. My son didn’t believe for one minute that this would produce a result. He said: “OK Mum, we try this and maybe by the end of the school year something will happen” (this was in March). The next day he came home from school and reported that this person had approached him and asked to meet up after school.  My son was suddenly very much impressed by “the stuff shamanic teacher mother is peddling”!
  • Calling on the ancestors: I often light a candle for our ancestors and speak to them. We even have an area in our house we call The Ancestor Gallery, where all photographs and names are up on the wall and there is cupboard for heirlooms and mementos. In this period I especially call on those ancestors who share the same talents and interests as my son. After all they were passed down the bloodline, they didn’t come out of nowhere! I thank them for watching over him and nudging him in the right direction during exams. And I have no doubt that they do this. They are only too happy to be asked!

Last but not least:

Teenagers are fully fledged sexual beings…

I could go on and on – but I won’t! However, one final thing I want to say is this: by the time young people are 16 years old, they are fully fledged sexual beings. The statistics tells us that young people are sexually active at an earlier age than we ourselves (perhaps) were. However you privately feel about this, it is a fact of modern life. With my own son I recently made some comment that my child-bearing days are in the past and that any babies arriving in our family might just be courtesy of son #1, one day. Grandma (my own mother, who happened to be visiting) was aghast and accused me of “promoting teenage pregnancy in my house” – am I mad or what?!

However, my son looked quite pleased to be acknowledged as capable of fathering a child but he said: “Not for years and years Mum! I still remember vividly what it was like when my baby brother (son #3) was born and I want to enjoy my years of freedom before I embark on any of that!” So he and I were in total agreement and he gave me a lovely smile. I knew that we had understood each other. Only grandma (aged 77 1/2) nearly had a heart attack. A different generation and my mother has always been “elderly” in her approach to life. I doubt that this is going to change as she sails through her 8th decade on the planet!

If you like the sound of using shamanism in parenting and you do want more, I invite you to check out my book….. The date of publication is 26 August 2016 but the book can be pre-ordered on Amazon. I have been told that most likely you will receive your copy on July if you do. And it has been listed as “a hot release in shamanism” with the potential to reach best-seller status…. How did that happen?!

Imelda Almqvist

Imelda Almqvist is a teacher of shamanism and sacred art based London UK. She teaches internationally. Her paintings can be found in art collections all over the world.

Imelda’s courses take place in the fertile place where art meets shamanism. The focus is on engaging in innovative ways with Mystery School material. Her 2 year sacred art practitioner training will run in Philadelphia in 2017/2018.

Imelda pioneered a shamanic program for young people called The Time Travellers. It offers safe group space for children and teenagers to develop a viable spiritual toolkit.

Her book “Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life”, (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) will be published by Moon Books this summer.  Imelda is currently recording a series of radio segments by the same title for Shamanic Life Radio with John Carosella.

She will appear on the Shamanism Global Summit hosted by The Shift Network in July this summer and The Shift Network will also host Sandra Ingerman interviewing Imelda about her work with young people. (Those links have not yet gone live).

Imelda has three sons. She loves travelling, learning foreign languages, playing the cello and making short films. The most extreme thing she has ever done is assisting with eye surgery in a field hospital in Bangladesh! One of the most life-changing things she has ever done is teaching art and design  to slum children and teenagers in Lima, Peru.









GATE OF BLESSINGS 2015 Winter Solstice

Here is a ceremony I really enjoyed performing at the Winter Solstice this year (2015):

Use two lanterns to create a Gate of Blessings outside, facing and framing the direction of the Rising (and Returning) Sun.

Also use two other candles (or tealights) to create a Gate of Blessings in a window or doorway, leading into your house.

On the Eve of the Winter Solstice, light those lanterns/candles.

(In my case the Waxing Moon,pregnant with possibilities, sailed through this Gate before the Sun did!)

As a Priest(ess) of the Returning Sun, be up at the first hint of the night sky changing hue. (For me his was 5 pm, while the actual sunrise was at 8.05 am).

Put fresh candles or tea lights in all lanterns.

Serve mead and chocolate to the ancestors (I asked that the Mead of Poetry may inspire our every word and thought in 2016, in our whole family)

Also burn incense for the ancestors. Say prayers, invoke their support, guidance and blessings for the year to come.

Prepare an expression of the Divine Child. (Here I mean the universal Divine Child, not necessarily Baby Jesus unless you feel a strong connection to the biblical Christmas story). My Divine Child was represented by a small baby doll and it arrived riding a Stag.  For me this represents unity consciousness and a a healing of all polarized consciousness).

As Father Sun rises above the horizon, take the Divine Child outside and greet the Returning Sun. Thank for light, warmth and selfless giving.

Do a meditation where you see the two Gates of Blessings (outside and inside) as lenses creating a force field and focus (not unlike a magnifying glass).

Focus the blessings of Divine Light and Light Returning to Our World both inward (on the realm of Home and Hearth) and outward  (see our world reborn in Divine Birthright Perfection, see this light radiating out wherever it is needed and welcome, see Light sinking into Mother Earth).

Say any prayers for the year to come. Speak words from the Temple, the Holy of Holies that is your own heart.

It is done!

Imelda Almqvist, December 2015


RETURNING SUN 2015 Winter Solstice


The Swedish word ‘Farmor’ means ‘Father’s Mother’. Our children call my husband’s mum in Sweden “Farmor”. Had she been my mum, she would have been “Mormor” (literally Mother’s Mother). So when speaking Swedish one hears immediately if one is speaking about family members on father’s or mother’s side of the family. This goes for aunts and uncles as well (Faster – father’s sister , Moster – mother’s sister, Farbror – father’s brother, Morbror – mother’s brother, and so forth).

However, I am Dutch and our three children call their Dutch grandmother ‘Oma’. This is what all Dutch children call their grandma.

Both Oma and Farmor are trying to “move with the times”. Oma recently got an i-pad from “Morbror” (only joking, from my brother!) and she has now got heavily into (what I think of as) “Show And Tell”! While talking to her we usually only see her hair (she has little idea how to position it). When she first got it she couldn’t find the button for the camera at all and so we did ‘Voyeurism’ instead: Oma saw London and we saw nothing.

My brother living close to her in the Netherlands then gave her some training in using camera function and now she does manage to move into view but is waving the i-pad around the house to show us things: the front garden, a bouquet of flowers someone gave her. At my end everything starts spinning and I feel dizzy in the extreme (I don’t normally feel ‘carsick’ when skyping…) A sickening red blur turns out to be a vase full of red roses. A swirly baby blue blur turns out to be the sky over my mother’s front garden. And so forth!

The one trick we have not been able to teach Oma is texting. She just isn’t willing to spend the time getting to know her mobile phone and mostly she forgets that she owns one.

However, Farmor, our Swedish grandma, is not (yet) in proud possession of an i-pad (at the time of writing), but she discovered how to send SMS messages years ago.

There is one small problem: her text messages do not always go to the person she intends the message for.

Last weekend she attempted to send a Happy Birthday SMS to a friend. The message reached my husband’s eldest brother in Stockholm instead. He said to his wife: “Today is my big day? Is it?! What could that mean?” so “Farbror (Uncle, father’s brother) then called Farmor to ask.

Farmor decided to give it another go. She created a new text message and pressed ‘SEND’. Next thing she knew her neighbour across the corridor knocked on her door and asked: “What makes you think it is my birthday today, dear?!”

Oops! At that point Farmor picked up the phone and called the friend instead to wish her a happy birthday. The old-fashioned method worked fine!

And in truth I often wonder what will become of me in MY old age. (I am going to be 48 on Friday!) I still play CD’s – and would not know how to rig up my ipod to play a wider selection of music – the way most of my friends and colleagues seem to do. I only got a smart phone half a year ago – until then I had a “brick” and no desire at all for 24/7 connectivity.

I think that Farmor and Oma are heroic in the way they have embraced new-fangled technology! With confusing results on occasion… but at least that spices things up a bit!

I can’t begin to imagine what technology I may need to grapple with the day I am 75 (Oma) or 82 (Farmor)…. if I am lucky enough to live that long!

And as I have sons, not daughters, I will be a Farmor, not a Mormor…. if I am lucky enough to have grandchildren one day… and if those grandchildren happen to be Swedish-speaking.

And those grandchildren will laugh at hearing we used skype in the Dark Ages… they will most likely be tele-porting themselves and communicating through telepathy!

Seeing how popular shamanism is these days, that is my best guess!

Imelda Almqvist

Imelda Almqvist is a shamanic practitioner, teacher and painter based in London, UK




Imelda as a young teenager

Of course I could be clever with words and title this blog “CURE THE CURSE’ but today I want to get across a message about the way we all curse ourselves and often we don’t even know it.  Basically this article is a plea for greater awareness and a commitment to a higher level of spiritual hygiene. I would also like to ‘dispel the myth that all things negative originate with other people’. I am a great advocate of doing shadow work and owning our ‘shadow material’!

Last week I wrote a blog titled “DIAGNOSIS OR CURSE?!”   It continues to get a large number of views every day, so clearly it struck some kind of chord. So let’s take things one step further today: if we accept that our ill chosen words can harm others, and that words chosen intentionally to cause harm can curse others, let’s ask the following question: do/can we harm ourselves by the thoughts we send ourselves?

If you know how to meditate or if you know how to do a shamanic journey, ask Spirit the following question:

“Please show me how and when I have cursed myself – and how to unravel these curses!” Ideally do this before you read any further!

Speaking from my own experience I know that from a very young age we engage in self-talk. Our monkey mind thrives in the jungle of “unfocused and unchecked repetitive thinking”. Unless we study Zen Buddhism or train as yoga masters  a human lifespan can easily pass without us ever reflecting on the nature of this ‘non stop dialogue (combat) with ourselves’.

To give an example from my own life: when I was a teenager I really believed I was so ugly that it hurt other people to look at me. (I have since done a lot of work on myself, and I mean inner work, not employed a cosmetic surgeon!) What I know for a fact is that I spent years sending myself negative thoughts along the lines of: ‘why would anyone want to be friends with me? No one will ever fall in love with me? – I better look people straight in the eye so they do not see my crooked nose in profile’. You may laugh but those thoughts truly circled in my head for years. Even as a 14 year old I was aware of those thoughts draining and undermining me, so I started ‘changing the tune’, deliberately. Instead I started telling myself: ‘Thankfully I am no great beauty, but at least the people who love me, love me for myself, not for my looks!” There were some compensations in the form of me being very academically and artistically gifted – so that allowed me to gain a foothold ‘on another mountain slope’. Meaning that I could preserve and build self esteem in those areas of my life. And maybe that is what ‘saved me’ – I don’t know!

The question I am really posing is this: what if I had not ‘changed the tune’ at age 13-14 or thereabouts and I had kept on sending myself daily messages to the effect of : ‘No one will ever want to be my friend’ and ‘No will ever fall in love with me and father the children I want so badly’ (at age 14 that was already a major concern. Children were at the top of my wish list even then!) Could this have shaped my life?

And today my answer is: yes, certainly! In my shamanic healing sessions with clients we stumble across (and then unravel) many beliefs that have shaped people’s lives and life choices. And those beliefs and messages can lead their own lives just below the horizon, so we are barely aware of them, we are only aware that we are stuck in self-defeating patterns. That every time we fall in love – the person doesn’t fancy us back.  That every time we’d like to make friends, the person concerned hasn’t much time for us. I am just following the pattern of my own teenage angst here. Obviously such internalized deep-seated messages can refer to a very wide spectrum of behaviors/patterns and repeat disappointments.

The good news is that in shamanism there is a practice called ‘curse unraveling’. I will go back to my previous blog for a moment and repeat my own (homegrown) definition of a curse (and I really don’t like the word ‘curse’, I prefer the words ‘energetic imprint’ or ‘longstanding pattern’)

“An energetic imprint set in motion that brings lasting harm or ill fortune to a person, family or place until it is unraveled, dissolved and transmuted for once and for all”

 So once we are aware that there is such a thing as “cursing ourselves” (harming ourselves by repeatedly affirming harmful thoughts or beliefs) we can do two things: we can decide to commit to something I like calling ‘spiritual hygiene’ in sessions with clients. Just as you brush your teeth twice a day, be mindful of your own thoughts a few times a day. If you catch yourself in the act of something “low vibration”, stop in your tracks, call the thought back and rephrase it with a strong intention for transmutation.

Even today I have the occasional ‘uncharitable thought’ about my own body – but the moment I catch myself ‘in flagrante’ as it were, I use my imagination to see that thought transformed into blessings (i.e. I pop the speech balloon with those words in it and beautiful golden stars rain down) and I follow this up by thanking my body for all the ways it serves me and allows me to have amazing experiences in this world.  So what if I am not photo model material – my body is healthy and my looks do not distract me or my clients/students from the work I really need to do – GREAT!!!

So my suggestion today (if you have read this far) is that you start putting some attention on the ways in which you harm yourself by sending yourself negative messages. Then make the decision to rephrase those message as I described.

And the other thing you can do is ask your spirit allies to show you (in meditation, contemplation, in a shamanic journey) where you have cursed yourself. And then ask them to start unraveling those ‘imprints’. And if things get too overwhelming or too complex – do yourself a favor and book an appointment with a good shamanic practitioner.

And if you find it hard to remember to do this – link it to brushing your teeth!

Clean your teeth twice day (three times a day if you can manage it, my dentist recommends!) and clean you own mind and inner landscape while you are at it.

See your dentist twice a year and see your shamanic practitioner when the jungle of your own thoughts becomes too dense or hostile.

Good luck and let me know how you get on!

 Imelda Almqvist

Imelda Almqvist is a shamanic practitioner, teacher and painter based in London, UK


This week a very dear friend and colleague asked me for my take on the concept HUMAN FREE WILL.

If we all have free will – then why do all of us face so many challenges and limitations on all levels?

This is a question I am often asked by clients too. The matter is often on my mind as I try to obtain and anchor a larger perspective, a professional  spirit-led, Divine,  perspective on what is happening to others, to myself, in our world and in people’s inner world. Because all of those ‘worlds’ are related and ultimately  mirror each other. There is ultimately only One World.

So in this blog I will (try to!) formulate my perspective on Free Will and the shadow side of that immense Divine gift – Karma.

Free Will is one of the great spiritual laws that operates in the Universe. But it has a shadow side: the moment the Divine gives us Free Will (and that is a special gift for humans – animals don’t have it and angels don’t receive  it either!) all possible scenarios are open to us and that includes scenarios of a ‘less high vibration’, scenarios of pain and suffering. And the moment we use our free will to co-create from a place of pain or separation from our Divinity (our innate and animating Divine Spark) – we are creating karma, not ‘Heaven on Earth’, because an imbalance occurs. And where there is imbalance, there is an an energetic debt. (This is also why the principle of ‘energy exchange’ is observed so carefully  in shamanism).

Once karma comes into play – it needs balancing, that is the only way to dissolve it. And what our ancestors do not resolve – the next generation, the young ones in any family, end up carrying – because it will continue to float up and beg for healing. But then we make a soul choice to be born into a certain family. That is not a random event.

In my shamanic healing work I observe that some karma can be dissolved through forgiveness work, healing work and making amends (if we do this work with the intention that it stretches back to the very beginning of Creation). However,  some (larger, further reaching) karma (affecting many people at the same time) can only be dissolved through being lived and embodied. We see examples of that all around us.

I am aware of examples of great spiritual teachers who have chosen to embody karma while on earth – and not necessarily their own personal karma (this explains how an enlightened being can still have a terrible illness  or severe eating disorder, for instance).

Our Western culture is very ‘youth focused’ and ‘health focused’. We see illness or disability as something undesirable (even contagious). The thought often occurs to me that we need to shift our perspective. The question is not: “What illness do I have?” but “What is asking for healing through me?” However ill we may be – we ARE NEVER OUR ILLNESS. And the more ill we are, the more likely it is that on some level we are great healers: we are  healing ourselves, our family, the world, we are resolving karma on all levels. So I have often toyed with the idea of writing a blog or article that is an ‘ode or PAEAN (song of praise)‘ to all sick people in our world.

And if one believes that we all live many times over – we all get to take many roles on the stage of life. If we are a king in this life – we may be a beggar or vagabond in our next life. Human consciousness has a great desire to taste and explore all that is… to ‘eat of all fruits in the Garden of Eden’ – to use a more biblical metaphor.

Soul choices made ‘outside space and time’ , ‘before we were even born’  DO limit our path in this life – to help us FOCUS.

For example, I was told once by Spirit that I will not have daughters in this life – but I will have many spiritual daughters (many women students attracted to the “Divine Mother energy” I am told I bring to shamanic teaching). This is not remotely what I wanted to hear at the time – but today I accept that part of me needed to stay open and available to the world. (So I have three beautiful sons, I am so blessed!) A wound is a portal – it lets in the light, it allows energy to move, it allows seeds to be planted and seeds to grow.

A child with Down’s Syndrome will not cast of the Down’s in this lifetime and body – but children with disabilities often have the most beautiful and evolved compassionate souls ( I see this all the time in my shamanic work). Down’s Kids often arrive on earth to teach everyone around them lessons about Unconditional Love. In that sense you could say that they ‘orbit much closer to the Divine’ than we “healthy, more average, ambitious, so called “high-functioning”  individuals’ ever manage to do!)

So Free Will definitely exists – but it has a flip side: Karma – our choices set energy in motion and that energy then shapes Creation. Then we need to dance with those energies to balance things. We have to take responsibility – RESPONSE ABILITY.

We also need to remember that we all have a ‘positive shadow;’ as well as a ‘negative one’ : amazing talents, creativity and healing abilities we are not aware we possess. And sometimes we need  a form of “Positive Shadow Retrieval” as well as the ‘soul retrieval work’ that is so well publicized in shamanism. We need help in re-membering our unique talents and resources so we can make full use of them. It is amazing how cut off people can be from their own talents and gifts, from their ability to shine.

This is not to say I do not STRUGGLE with any of this. Shamanic teachers have the same Soul Struggles as all other humans!

And a child that chooses to come in with a major health condition or disability is going to choose his parents with great care. That is what I observe on the level of soul, and with the parents of children I see in my shamanic practice. We don’t live in a random universe. We live in an intelligent and compassionate universe with a great sense of humour – but that Universe (or Father/Mother God, our Divine Creator Being) entrust us with FREE WILL – the ability to create and shape reality through making choices.

As our consciousness evolves and we bring much greater awareness to our actions, our choices, our thoughts and the way they affect others – we then reach a position where we can start creating a different reality on earth. A reality that perhaps reflects the “Lost Paradise” that all cultures preserve an archetypal memory of and yearn for on the level of World Soul.

We are more powerful than we think and our every thought and dream co-creates reality. But acquiring a human body and life on earth means submitting to the Divine Laws of Free Will and Karma.

This is my take on ‘human free will’ and ‘karma’  today- but my perspective is likely to evolve over time as I continue to evolve!

Imelda Almqvist




Hinduism, Buddhism. action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: in Hinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman.

Compare bhakti (def 1), jnana.

Theosophy. the cosmic principle according to which each person isrewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person’sdeeds in the previous incarnation
  1. a song of praise or triumph.
    “a paean of praise for the great poets”
    • a creative work expressing enthusiastic praise.
      “he’s created a filmic paean to his hero”
      synonyms: song of praise, hymn, psalm, anthem, shout of praise, alleluia; More