I was born in what was then Rhodesia, eldest child of two Scotts. My parents left their home country of Scotland with a desire to experience more and be part of creating that something more, than what they grew up with. This sense of exploration and the inspiration to be part of creating “more” has coloured my life. We left when the government changed, returning to Scotland for a couple of years before once again, “going home” to South Africa. I now live in Scotland, the land of my own Ancestors. And I too dream of creating “Something More.”
One of my early memories from that time when we first returned to South Africa, which links with the work I do now, is of how our maid at the time gifted me with a bunch of ordinary grass which had gone to seed… In broken English, she talked to me of the beauty of this grass, and of the Ancestors. Of how there are many Ancestors – in Spirit – who watch over us, and with whom we can communicate. But that the stalks – or the pathways – which lead to them are seperate. And yet all are still the same. Like the grass. That all countries, all people have this common thing – grass. And that all have this in common – the Ancestors. That we can connect with them, but different people follow different paths to the same seeds. Different traditions. All are still beautiful – and unique. The seeds being Ancestors, or Spirit, but also the children still to come. That all people have Ancestors with whom we can connect and communicate, through different languages, traditions or the pathway of the grass stalk – nature and beauty. That many peoples hold awareness of that which exists outside and beyond us, and is within us. And that these seeds, create new stalks – new paths. And how we, as children of these Ancestors, have a responsibility to tend the space where these wild grasses – these pathways – grow. For the children to whom we will one day be Ancestors. I was a child, probably around the age of 6, and hardly understood – but the gist of that conversation has stayed with me. Although I didn’t truly understand what she was saying, at the same time, her words spoke to something deep inside me. And the memory of it has stayed with – prinicipally the energy of it. Looking back now, I wonder if she recognised something in the child I was then, about what might lie before me… And what her own traditions were to allow her to speak to me as she did at that time…
I have always seen Spirit. When I was younger, it was as natural to me as breathing. My parents said I had a wonderful imagination…and left it at that. As I reached puberty, what I was seeing, feeling and experiencing, became more intense, and I realised not everyone saw, felt and experienced as I did. My parents explained to me about how many Scotts had “The Gift”, and tried to teach me ways of being practical with it. Neither of them had it, although there were indications of it in both of their families. As a teenager, I didn’t want it – and would have been happy to “give it back”. Trying to deny it, I found that I became ill. A close friend, with his own abilities, explained to me that I had an ability for seeing, and for healing. And that if I kept trying to shut it off, I would likely keep getting ill. He asked me if I wanted that…
At the time, I wanted to be a Scuba Diving Instructor, mostly barefoot and teaching and sharing the love of, and the beauty I saw all around me. In the oceans.
And so, I started trying to learn more about this, about the practical aspects and how it – my Gift – worked, whilst also following dreams of what I wanted for myself. My focus was – and is – very much about keeping it practical, keeping it real. Because if it was not practical, or real, what was the point and the use of it? I challenged Spirit, saying that I was prepared to do this work – but that it had to be practical and real – and no more seeing dead people or things I couldn’t actually help with… And, so my education with Spirit started….
What follows below then is to give you some of my background, experiences and the studies behind me, which underpin my work. Reading back over it now myself, I smile at remembering that girl – and all those experiences, courses and adventures which have brought me to here, and now…
A timeline of adventure, learning and growth…
“Shaman – one who walks between worlds, uses breath work, dreams, visioning practises, ritual, ceremony, and or experiences in nature, in order to create shifts in consciousness, leading to deeper understanding. For themselves, and all around them.”James Ellwood, one day when I asked him for a definition of what a Shaman actually was.
I have been asked many times what I do. People find their own ways to describe me, and what I do. Some have called me Shaman, and have asked where or with whom I trained shamanically… I haven’t. Some have called me Sangoma – because I grew up in Africa, and worked with some of the Elders within this community from time to time. And they ask which discipline within the Sangoma lineage I follow. I want to say this about it all. I have not trained shamanically, or as a Sangoma. Or in any one strict discipline. Other than within Spiritualist Development Circles, some affiliated with the Spiritual Church in South Africa. Within these spaces, within the connection to my own Soul, and the Energetic Beings of Light I have called Guides along the way – here is what I have come to know:
There are many paths. And there are many traditions. And they have the capacity to lead us into deeper connection. With our own sweet Souls, with our Ancestors, and with Beings of Light beyond the physical. With a sense of “something more” – wether you call this the sweet Divine, or God, or the Great Beauty Beyond… I leave those word choices up to you. There are some cultures alive on this planet who have been blessed to be able to maintain and practise the traditions associated with direct lineage of this connection. Often through great hardships that they have experienced as their culture came into contact with others… Many other cultures have lost this practise of these traditions and ceremonies, especially within some of the European lineages. We have lost the traditional ceremonies, or they have merged with other traditions over the generations. They have evolved, changed, grown beyond what our ancestors may have known or recognised. Sometimes the seeds of these ancient practises are still hidden in what we know and see today. This is simply where we are now. And many are searching, seeking their way back into this experience of connection. Direct Connection. There are many ways of experiencing this connection. Like the grass which lies beneath our feet and all around us, the pathways are there. And many are re-discovering and re-creating the traditions which may make it easier to experience this connection. I have no desire or interest in shouting about whose is the best, most original, purest… I have no interest in converting you to mine, or mine to yours, or really even in naming it. I am content to experience it, and stand with you, alongside you, whilst you experience your it. I truly believe we can each learn from each other, can find common ground, and offer each other the space to simply experience our own. That we can find Beauty and joy in the shared moments, and in the differences.
There is no shortcut. Each pathway requires practise, contemplation, study, practise and grace. There is no shortcut. And grace is the gift which is given to us when we have practised, studied, contemplated enough. We never know when that moment of grace will come. That moment of direct connection and experience. But it will come, and all the hard work, tears, studies, turning away from the path and turning back to it again are worth it. Simply to experience those moments. And, all of that work, gives us the strength and ability to be able to hold it when we do experience it. There is no one lineage, tradition, practise or discipline which can speed this up for any one of us. There is only the path beneath our own feet which calls us forward… And within which we each have the potential to learn, grow, and deepen into connection. May your path be filled with beauty.
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.Walt Disney
It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.J. K. Rowling
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.Dr. Seuss