SOTEMS Shamanic Winter School

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Winter
A Shamanic Perspective for a Contemporary Australian Society

Wonga Park, Victoria, 28 June – 8 July 2020

Winter is traditionally an auspicious time to draw into one’s self and turn our focus more towards an inner world. This Winter School offers an exciting opportunity to explore what it means to view our lives in a contemporary modern society through a uniquely Australian shamanic context.

To register your interest for the SOTEMS Winter School, please download and complete the SOTEMS Winter School Brochure and Registration Details form.

Background

Shamanism within Australia has too often been appreciated and propagated as something which comes from somewhere else. Most often, when exploring shamanic practises in contemporary society, the emphasis is still upon shamanism which is distinctively North or South American, South East or Eastern Asian, occasionally European or African, but fundamentally not of here, not of Australia.

In recent times there has been a recognition of the extraordinarily long history and sophistication of Aboriginal shamanism, spiritual beliefs and practices. Aboriginal people have been on this land for an estimated 40,000 to 100,000 years, whose shamanism is of primary significance to the life of this country, particularly for the Aboriginal people, whose cultures have been largely destroyed, and the remnants of which have become more precious and tied to their own survival and growth.

If we wish to pursue an Australian shamanic perspective as contemporary modern Australians, then we are bound to acknowledge and respect Aboriginal culture. However, their ways, lore and traditions are sacred and not available for plunder nor appropriation.

As immigrants or descendants of immigrants, we are tainted by a strong history of colonialism on this land and a ubiquitous materialistic approach which treats this land as merely a collection of resources, available for our own personal gain.

We are engaged in a life, on a very unique continent, that contains its own unique biodiversity of flora and fauna. This consequently, influence our perspectives, both within this world, and spiritually in a very particular manner. As such, it is here, on and in this land, that we will find where our individual and communal paths extend and what they harbour.

If we choose to view our lives on this land on a shamanic level, we owe it to ourselves and those beings of this land, to discover new visions of living, healing and building of culture within modern Australia. A way of viewing this land, not merely as a collection of resources, but a recognition of our intertwined connection to this land on all levels : physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. We accept the responsibility to uncover our own path of realisation on how this land can provide a deeper wisdom for navigating the terrain of life’s vicissitudes … its hopes and promises, despairing moments and failures and sources of strengths and weaknesses.

We will seek to explore through this winter school, the relevance of how this land continues to speak to us, despite being modern Australians living in a contemporary world consumed by materialism and reductionism. It is an opportunity to realign our personal and spiritual connection to the land. We will explore the language that arises from this land and discover new maps and pathways that draw us into a fuller range of human experience. In turn, this provides navigation and meaning to our lives in relation to the richness of wisdom and spiritual healing that is ever present on this continent.

Winter School Course Outline

The program will cover 2 major areas of significant aspects required for a better understanding of traditional shamanic practices:

  1. The mastery of ecstasy – The term ecstasy comes from the ancient Greek word ‘ekstatis’ which means to stand outside of oneself. From a shamanic point of view, this means the ability to perceive oneself or our engagement to other things outside of an ordinary or taken-for-granted reality Ie Altering ones state of consciousness in order to retrieve specific information beyond that which can be accessed through ordinary means. The main areas covered in this section are as follows :
    • Overview of traditional shamanism across cultures and the principles of animism.
    • Understanding the relevance of engaging in altered states of consciousness in order to commune with the spirits of our experiential worlds.
    • Comparisons between a shamanic and psychological perspectives of Self in order to perceive how one can alter the notion of self, in order to navigate and retrieve information beyond which the rational mind can conceive.
    • The Emotional Landscape – Understanding our emotional and psychological domain, and how it affects our perception of the spiritual realms and defines the landscapes through which we travel.
  2. The mastery of spirits – A shamanic initiation requires one to incorporate the mythos (mythological stories) of the communities for which they serve. These stories not only underpin the social fabric of the relevant community (relating to creation, law, illness & death, fortune, healing etc.) but also serve as the working and living domain of a shamanic perspective. The spirits that inhabit these domains must be engaged with (obeyed, negotiated with, tamed, overcome, appeased etc.) as dictated by the relevant cultural mythos in order to gain favour from those spirits. The main areas covered in this section are as follows :
    • Perceiving our psychological and emotional domain through a shamanic lens and how it affects our inner worlds and defines our perception of the landscapes through which we travel. .
    • Foundations of mythological stories and spirits, superstitions and beliefs and how they are used to construct and define the significant points of the journey through our inner landscapes.
    • A map and compass for navigating the domain relevant for a contemporary Australian society.
    • Understanding how to engage with this land and the beings that present themselves on a spiritual level.
    • Building a personal and culturally relevant dreaming mythos relevant for living within a contemporary Australian culture.

Duration, Location and Pricing

Booking and registration essential.

The Autumn School will be held from 12pm on Sunday 28nd June 2020 through to Wednesday 8th July 2020. The program is residential and meals will be provided. It will be held in Wonga Park, just outside of Melbourne, near the Yarra River.

Cost per participant is $1350, inclusive of meals and accommodation. A discount of 15% is offered for those that before 1 April 2020.

To register your interest for the SOTEMS Winter School, please download and complete the SOTEMS Winter School Brochure and Registration Details form.

For further information, please contact Guy on email at guy@sotems.com.au .

Course Facilitator

Guy is a Ceremonial Leader and initiated shaman in the Spirit of the Earth Medicine Society.

Guy is also a traditionally trained and initiated sangoma. A sangoma is a traditional healer of Southern Africa, effectively a shaman of the Zulu and related Nguni cultures.

Born and raised in South Africa, he is one of only a handful of westerners that have undergone the long and intense ordeal of thwasa (the formal traditional training and initiation process) in order to become initiated into the traditions of the Southern African traditional healers.

Since moving to Australia, Guy is passionate about contributing to the development of a shamanic perspective for contemporary Australians that is harmoniously informed by both our unique, and often disjointed, ancestral stories and the land upon which we live.

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