School of Shamanic Studies

Dean:

Overview

Shamanism has been called the oldest spiritual path, with its roots ranging as far back as 20,000 years. While not a specific religion, shamanic elements have been noted in nearly all ancient religions. The original shaman was an expert in specific magickal techniques, particularly hunting magikc, healing, divination, ritual magick, and psychopomp work: guiding the dead to the next world.

Modern shamans retain these magickal specialties, although often in ways far removed from their predecessors among the early peoples on this world. Shamans today still lead ritual for the community, perform healing, and guide the souls of the departed. Hunting magick is still a component among traditional indigenous peoples, though among more modern communities the focus is less on providing food and more on personal connections with animals. A major focus of modern shamanic work is self-healing and personal growth, in order to be of better service to the community and the world at large.

Mission

The Ardantane School of Shamanic Studies has three main goals:

  1. To provide excellence in shamanic training.
  2. To foster and support shamanic research, including studies and development of ancient and new methods as well as outreach and sharing between traditional and modern shamans.
  3. To offer an ongoing community for the support of students and new teachers.

The School of Shamanic Studies does not offer instruction in any specific cultural shamanic path. However, the backgrounds of our instructors color their teaching and provide a unique addition to core shamanic methods. Our faculty’s training ranges from indigenous shamanism from around the world to psychology, wilderness survival skills, Western and alternative medicine, various Pagan paths, and New Age technologies.

Certificate track students participate in their own email group and may be invited to participate in future classes as teaching assistants or co-teachers.

We offer five levels of shamanic certificates (descriptions below):

  1. Shamanic Divination
  2. Shamanic Practitioner
  3. Shamanic Healer
  4. Death and Dying Specialist
  5. Master of Shamanic Studies

There is also one supplemental certificate, Earthcrafting, that may be completed at any level in the sequence:

Students will be assessed in several skill areas based on their level in the shamanic program prior to awarding that certificate level.

  • Personal growth over the course of the program.
  • Development of relationships with spirit guides/deities and the natural world.
  • Development of self-knowledge and a regular spiritual practice.
  • Ability to effectively and safely enter and return from shamanic states of consciousness.
  • Ability to craft appropriate and effective ceremony
  • Ability to use shamanic journeying and other techniques for divination, diagnosis, self-knowledge/shadow work, and any additional service to self and community.
  • Demonstrated adherence to an ethical guideline in alignment with that of Ardantane.

These assessments will be performed by the Dean, any additional teachers this student has been in classes with, and by the student. The self-assessment by the student should also address the major events/lessons of this program and how they affected him or her. In addition to these general guidelines, specific assessments will be required for each certificate (see below).

Certificate Program:

Required for all certificates

  • Ethics (offered annually by the School of Pagan Spirituality) is required for all Ardantane certificates

Shamanic Divination Specialist

Weekend Intensives

  • The Path of the Shaman
  • Spirit Vision OR Divination 101 (School of Magic and Witchcraft)

Electives (choose one)

  • Spirits of Nature weekend
  • Any additional divination class

Short Courses

  • The Shadow Side

Shamanic Practitioner

Shamanic Divination Certificate plus:

Weekend Intensives

  • Plants, Bones, Spirits, and Stones
  • The Magickal Shaman or Ritual 101 or Magic 101 or Magic 102 (School of Magic and Witchcraft)

Electives (choose one)

  • Spirits of Nature weekend
  • Vision Questing long weekend
  • Short course from the School of Shamanic Studies
  • Short course from the School of Magic and Witchcraft or the School of Healing Arts

Short Courses

  • Leading the Journey
  • Shamanic Healer

Shamanic Practitioner Certificate plus:

Weekend Intensives

  • Dreaming and Energy Work or Energy Healing or Healing in Hand (School of Healing Arts)
  • Soul Remedy: Soul Retrieval and Extraction

Short Courses

  • The Healing Practice
  • Anatomy and Physiology

20 hours Clinical Practice

Death and Dying Specialist

Shamanic Healer certification plus:

Weekend Intensives

  • Death, Dying, and the Eternal Spirit
  • Moving through Grief
  • Deathwalking

Electives (choose one)

  • Any 200 or 300 level course from the School of Healing Arts
  • Ritual 120: Rites of Passage (School of Magick and Witchcraft)

Independent Study

Master of Shamanic Studies

Shamanic Healer Certification

Mentor distance journeying group for 6 months

Assist with Path of the Shaman weekend

Attend Ardantane Teaching Intensive

Successfully design and lead a half-day or full-day course for the School of Shamanic Studies

Elective Intensives (choose one)

  • Pagan Leadership
  • Elder’s Weekend
  • Group Dynamics
  • To Be A Priestess; To Be A Priest

Earthcrafting – launched in 2007 (new courses will be added soon)

Weekend Intensives

  • The Path of the Shaman
  • Spirits of Nature weekend
  • Vision Questing (long weekend)

Electives (choose one)

  • Any of the Plant Medicine classes (School of Healing Arts )

Short Courses

  • The Wild Shaman
  • Surviving in the Wild

Independent Study

Course Descriptions

Path of the Shaman (Shamanism 101)

This weekend intensive provides students with a firm foundation in the basics of shamanic practice. Following the creation of sacred space, we discuss shamanism as a living, evolving path, introducing participants to the common elements shared by early, indigenous, and modern shamanic traditions. The roles and responsibilities of “shaman” will be investigated throughout the weekend. You can expect to:

  • Experiment with trance induction and protection methods
  • Travel the paths of the Otherworlds
  • Establish conscious working relationships with spirit allies and power objects
  • Connect deeply with the natural world and the spirits of place
  • Gain insight into the Shadow side
  • Learn to effectively use dreaming and creativity in your practice
  • Craft powerful ceremony
  • Get a taste of basic healing methods

This is the basic shamanism workshop and no experience is required to attend this course. This course is also the pre-requisite for advanced workshops.

Plants, Bones, Spirits, and Stones (Shamanic Healing 101)

This class guides students beyond personal shamanic practice into an experiential overview of shamanic healing. Participants can expect to gain a firm grounding in the basics and an introduction to advanced work. Join us to experiment with:

  • Special methods of protection and grounding
  • Techniques for diagnosis and divination
  • Applications of energy work
  • Plant and animal medicine
  • The healing power of stones and elements
  • Ceremonies for transformation
  • Incantation and spell work
  • Introduction to soul retrieval
  • Ethics of healing

Shamanism 101 or a grounding in trance work is recommended for this class.

Death, Dying, and the Eternal Spirit (Death and Dying 101)

Join us for an in-depth exploration of the death and dying process, intended for anyone that is exploring their own mortality, facing the death of a loved one, working as a caretaker or clergy, or anyone that feels called to work with the departed. This is an intense weekend of discussion, visioning, and experiential exercises. Expect to gain deep insight into yourself and the death process and come away with greater understanding, abilities, and hope. Join us to:

  • Explore your own beliefs and fears
  • Learn about death trajectories
  • Hone your communication skills
  • Understand the ins and outs of working with medical teams and families
  • Act as an effective caregiver
  • Establish and strengthen spirit connections
  • Create a conscious death

The Wild Shaman (Earthcrafting 101)

Have you ever dreamed of living a life full of passion and awe inspired by Creation herself? Have you wished that you might wander in the wilds with complete confidence and peace? Did you ever wish you could read the stories told by animal tracks, craft a flint knife, or start a survival fire using only what you could find in the wilderness?

Come and have fun awakening your primitive inner spirit by acquiring the knowledge to live in balance again. Join us to learn:

  • Lostproofing and heightening your awareness in Nature
  • How to make a primitive fire
  • Identification and use of medicinal and edible plants
  • Flint knapping
  • Cordage making
  • And more

Spirits of Nature (Shamanism 102)

A deep and abiding relationship with the spirits of Nature is one of the foundations of shamanic practice. In this course, students will learn to establish strong connections with the spirits of every place. You will be guided to remember the language of Nature and develop that relationship to gain insight, healing, and strength for the benefit of all.

The Shadow Side (Shamanic Healing 102)

The shadow side is that place within each of us where we hide our fears, patterns, limitations, and anything that we do not want other people to see. When denied and repressed, shadow aspects can gain control of our lives, dreams, and spiritual work. However, this is also where our hidden strengths and talents lie. Through working with the Shadow, we become more complete beings, with significantly more personal power to work with. With this increased energy comes an increased capacity for clarity, understanding, healing, and protection. This workshop will combine hands-on exercises with lecture and meditation to allow participants a deeper understanding of how the Shadow impacts our lives and how they can effectively handle this.

Survival in the Wild (Earthcrafting 102)

Some people list their greatest fear as being lost in the wilderness. Every year there are tragic reports about a person, family or child that is separated from their tie to civilization and it cost them their life. How could that be? Everyone on the planet today has ancestors that were masters of wilderness survival. You and I could not be here if that weren’t true yet we prefer to live in a box called home and have our air heated or cooled so we don’t have to experience the reality of what is outside of our box.

Even experienced wilderness trekkers carry their life support system on their back and are helpless without it. How did we get so cut off from our roots? How many generations did it take to wipe out the ancestral teachings of the past million years?
It’s not a coincidence that the skills of so called primitive peoples are making a comeback in popularity at this time of great imbalance between the material and spiritual worlds.

This class is designed to close the gap between us and our ancestors. I can promise you from first hand experience that there is nothing more liberating and empowering than having the skills and knowledge to live the rest of your life with nothing more than what Mother Nature provides. Even if you lose your job but you know how to feed your family, that’s power. Power that can change the world. To end the dependence on government and corporations alike is the ultimate freedom.

This class is the starting point on your journey for obtaining that kind of freedom. A partial list of what will be covered in this one day class is described below:

  • How not to get lost in the first place—please teach this one to the rest of your family.
  • Sacred order of survival priorities—hint: food and fire are not the top two.
  • Why fight to stay alive, what have you got to live for anyway?
  • The single most important survival tool in your arsenal, without this nothing else matters.
  • Simple life saving shelters—built and found.
  • How to find water and purify it.
  • The ultimate survival knife.
  • The most effective tools, traps and techniques for food procurement.
  • Plant food sources in our area by season of availability.
  • Fire, primitive to modern, what works and what doesn’t.
  • Know when to stay put and when to walk out.
  • Finding north—no compass needed.
  • The ultimate belt pack—don’t leave home without it.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do….Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Leading the Journey (Shamanism 104)

The shamanic journey is the defining characteristic of shamanic practice. To lead the journey for another is a sacred duty that involves much more than more drumming or rattling. In this very hands-on workshop, participants will receive a solid grounding in the rhythms, energies, and more that combine to create a safe and effective space for shamanic journeying. Learn to hold the space, guide journeyers past blocks, and handle the more common situations that may arise.

Bring drums and rattles if you have them. Extras will be available.

The Crafts of the Shaman (Shamanism 106)

Traditionally shamans from around the world have crafted their tools of power, healing, and connection from materials found in Nature. Certainly store-bought items can be beautiful and work quite well, but to work with an object you crafted with your own hands, with the guidance of your spirit allies, brings an added level of connection and reverence to the work.

Possible items that you will be able to craft for yourself include:

  • drum
  • rattle
  • smudge fan
  • stone knife

A materials fee may be required in addition to the registration fee.

Crafting Your Own Drum (Shamanism 107)

Have you ever wanted to make your own drum? Do you have one that you wish you could care for yourself? Then this is the class for you. There is nothing like playing a drum you have personally created or repaired. Join us to learn about the materials involved in crafting a drum and how to use them. We will cover drum skins, roping, shells/bodies, and beaters. The drum is a sacred object and you will also learn to bless and consecrate your drum.

Spirit Vision (Shamanism 201)

Divination is a vital component of shamanic practice. It is used to gain insight and wisdom of past, present, and future on many levels of being in order to benefit the individual and the community. This class introduces specifically shamanic methods of divination that should be included in any practitioner’s tool kit. In addition, we will a variety of more common divination tools and learn to explore these readings in much deeper ways, frequently through the complementary use of the shamanic journey.

Healing the Fractured Spirit (Shamanic Healing 201)

Central to shamanic healing practice is the recognition that the soul can splinter or fragment as a defense against trauma and shock. Expect to explore the nature of the soul and gain hands-on experience in retrieving and reintegrating lost power and soul fragments, both for yourself and others. Special attention will be paid to:

  • Protection methods and ceremonies
  • Working with spirit allies
  • Diagnostic methods
  • Integration
  • Reclaiming and retaining power

Bring a notebook or journal and drums or rattles if you have them.

Prerequisite: Shamanic Healing 101

Plant and Animal Medicine (Shamanic Healing 202)

Across the globe, shamans have been renowned for partnering with plants and animals, both in mundane reality and through spirit relationships, to effect healing and growth in themselves and their communities. In this weekend, we will explore those relationships and learn how to apply these time-honored methods in our own lives. Learn to:

  • Identify your plant and animal allies
  • Decipher the knowledge and lessons they offer you
  • Work with plants and animals in ritual, magick, and visioning
  • Create appropriate poultices, teas, and tinctures
  • Make effective smudge and smoking mixtures

Pre-requisite: Shamanic Healing 101

Deathwalking (Death and Dying 301)

The deathwalker fills many roles in service to the individual and the community. Acting as psychopomp is the most specific and least understood of all these roles. During this very intensive weekend, we will explore our own past deaths and learn to walk the Roads of the Dead safely and effectively in order to best serve the departed in our own communities. Strong journeying abilities and relationships with spirit guides are essential for this work. Join us to:

  • Deepen relationships with spirit allies
  • Explore Afterlife beliefs and experiences
  • Learn to recognize the call and the need
  • Protect yourself and others
  • Track the departed
  • Gain first-hand experience of the Lands of the Dead

Bring a notebook or journal and drums or rattles if you have them.

Prerequisite: Shamanic Healing 101, Death and Dying 101, and approval of instructor.

Vision Questing (Earthcrafting 301)

The vision quest is an journey into self-knowledge, connection, and transformation. This is for those who seek insight into life direction, understanding, and healing through a passage of initiation and renewal.

The vision quest or vision fast is a immersive experience into what writer Joseph Campbell called “The Hero’s Journey”; the universal call to descend into a place away from everyday experience, to confront and befriend shadow, and then to return in triumph with a gift to your community and to yourself. It is common to many cultures on many continents.

To place oneself alone in the wilderness and seek a vision is an uncommon experience in modern times, as you remove the distractions and identity of your daily persona. You will descend into your spirit world and its intersection with nature, opening your soul to the powers of transformation that come from the source of All That Is. With the help of Nature as a mirror to your soul, you will be invited to clarify your place in this world.

This course will involve an evening of preparation through teaching and activity on Thursday evening, followed by three days and nights of solitude within the wilderness. To aid the vision, an optional fast will be used during this time as a clarifying tool. You will return to the world of community on Monday and be guided back through activity that will help you to assimilate and integrate your visions into your future being. After your quest, integration support will continue to be available if desired.

No previous backpacking experience is required, though you should be comfortable with basic camping and being outdoors for an extended period. More important is a commitment to yourself to be open to all that this call to change and experience can teach.

From preparation through reintegration, the Ardantane staff will guide you safely while providing you the privacy and freedom to receive your visions through a practice followed by many nature based cultures of the past and present. (Note: this class is based on core principles and is not a vision quest native to any particular culture).

Due to pre-course preparation required in the weeks before the event, registration will close one month prior to the event date. Class size will be limited to 8 participants. Registration requires an application process to be completed and the approval of the Dean of Shamanic Studies. Email the Dean of the School of Shamanic Studies for more information.

Soul Remedy: Shamanic Retrieval and Extraction Healing

The intrusion of displaced energies may cause a wide variety of symptoms affecting body, mind, and spirit. Although quite different, these effects may be similar to those caused by soul fragmentation, requiring training and experience to differentiate the two. To extract and heal, can be a challenge. In this class, you will receive a firm grounding in diagnosis and remedies related to the extraction of intruding energies.

Join us for hands-on experience in:

  • Identifying cause
  • Finding and assessing intrusions
  • Developing a course of action
  • Crafting healing ceremonies
  • Assisting clients in re-establishing balance and strength

Prerequisite: Shamanic Healing 101 or equivalent. Recommended: Shamanism 105.

Betwixt and Between: Seers and Healers

See the listing in the School of Pagan Spirituality Course Descriptions.

The Healing Earth

See the listing in the School of Healing Arts Course Descriptions.

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