Recently I was invited by Visiting Lecturer and Visual and Performing Artist, Silvia Battista, to teach a short workshop on the Core Shamanic journey at Royal Holloway College, London University. The students were very young people doing a degree in theatre. Part of their module included exploring shamanism both theoretically and practically.
The workshop was held in the stunning setting of the old Boiler House which is now a theatre space. There were about 20 students and most were tired at the end of a long term; some pretty sceptical and most only there because they had to be.
I began the teaching by rattling the circle of all the students (with the exception of one young woman who only observed the workshop without taking part, for religious reasons). Having brought the circle together I made a journey, spoken aloud, to find and bring back a spirit helper for everyone present. To my surprise and pleasure this turned out to be Mickey Mouse who told me that he could help the group by reminding them how to have fun.
Years ago I might have found it hard to accept a cartoon character as a spirit helper, but of course spirit is everything that is, which includes animations! I was struck even during the journey by how amazingly spirit works, because there wasn't a person in the room who didn't know Mickey Mouse and my task, which had seemed a bit uphill at the start of the workshop, suddenly was much easier.
The students did a first Middle World journey to meet Mickey and ask how he could help them personally to have fun. A few people struggled with altering consciousness which was unsurprising as it was cold and there were workmen restoring the bulding directly outside the door. However most students did journey and many met Mickey Mouse and asked the question about how to have fun with some wonderful results.
After drumming, dancing and rattling to warm up and move the energy of the room and everyone in it, the students did a second journey to find a personal spirit helper. This time, everyone managed to journey and even the sceptical were astonished and even moved by their experiences. At the end of two hours the whole atmosphere had changed and there was laughter and enjoyment.
Part of the students' course work on shamanism included producing 'responses' to the experience of journeying. One response was to make a short video and HERE on UTube you will find some of these. ‘Fun’ is a theme in many of the videos. I was impressed by most and moved by some and enjoyed them all, particularly the dragon animation and the one about Hitler! I am always amazed by what spirit can do in such a short time.
Finally, I'd like to reflect on how much things have changed just in a few years. It's wonderful that there are forward thinking people, like Silvia, in academics today, people who are prepared to step forward and attmept new ways of thinking and feeling. Who would have thought that a highly respectable academic institution would be encouraging its students to alter consciousness and experience the numinous as part of general course work. Perhaps the Age of Aquarius really is upon us!
I hope you enjoy these short videos as much as I did.