Several months ago, I started studying Celtic Shamanism. When I first came across the practice, I almost overlooked it entirely. Like a lot of people, I didn't really understand what being a shaman meant. I had never truly been exposed to the idea and the image I had in my mind was that of the stereotypical movie portrayal of the Native American Medicine Man. However, the more I researched, the more I realized that Shamanism was far more than I initially expected.
While it is true that many Native American cultures practiced Shamanism, this is true for many cultures across the world as well. The more I read into the practice, the more interested in Celtic Shamanism I became. Eventually, I purchased a book (By Oak, Ash, & Thorn by, D.J. Conway) and began intensively studying on my own.
While many cultures require formal instruction by an experienced shaman, the Celtic practice does not share this requirement. With enough dedication and study, you can learn the practice on your own. While I was attracted to the Celtic teachings for several reasons, the ability to teach myself was a huge draw to me. As someone who practices primary as a solitary, I am put off by any tradition or practice that requires formal instruction from an elder.
As I read and began practicing, I soon realized that none of this felt new to me. A lot of what was suggested in the book and articles I found online, I had already been doing without realizing I was sort of practicing shamanism. My research and study helped me focus more and better develop my skills at journeying and contacting my spirit guides.
With each day, I became more and more in touch with myself and the world around me. It became easier and easier to slip into the altered state if consciousness required for journeying; to the point I found myself slipping into it at random points in time throughout the day if I focused too much on music or nature sounds.
Things were going great!
... and then I hit a block. My home life had become slightly stressful and I began to find myself unable to relax. Zero time to yourself can have that affect on someone. I was unable to quite my mind when I tried to meditate so I eventually stopped trying.
Things have calmed down a bit now and I am VERY tempted to start again. However, in the back of my mind, I know the stress is not gone for long just yet. It will return soon and I am worried about starting again only to have the ability to clear and calm my mind taken from me. I am tempted to wait. I am tempted to put off my study and practice until I know the situation has changed.
While it is tempting to wait, I know I shouldn't. I need to develop the kind of discipline that will allow me to clear my mind an journey even when life gets stressful. I know it will be better for me if I start to study again.
I feel disconnected from the world around me and disconnected from myself. It is time I find that connection again. I need to get out in nature and feel the wind on my face. I need to feel water rushing around my ankles an hear the soft rush of a creek flowing over rocks. I need bird song. I need fresh, wild air.
I need to connect with my soul again...