Art and Shamanism
An introduction to using animistic/shamanic techniques to enhance, inform and create artistic expression.
Art has been used as a human form of expression for millennia, with some of the oldest examples dating back as far as 700,000 years ago and to the rock caves of Bhimbetka and Daraki-Chattan in India.
Shamanism and animism (the belief that everything has spirit or soul) are spiritual practices that have also been used for millennia.
Artists, shamans and shamanic practitioners share many of the same techniques and that often, possibly unknowingly, artists enter the same realms of the shaman to bring inspiration from other versions of our reality into this one.
In this short, weekend course shamanic techniques will be demonstrated and you'll be shown how they can be used to access other aspects of our realities and bring back inspiration, information and even healing that may inform our artistic expressions and our lives in general.
This will be a journey of discovery.
This will be a place where seekers and dreamers will be welcome. You will become cartographers forging maps to places that will enable you to rediscover yourself through artistic expression.
During the weekend we will be using the shamanic journey, guided by the drum, to access an altered state and travel to parts of ‘non-ordinary reality’ - other parts of realities where we might go on adventures, meet spirits, teachers and guides and bring back information that might guide and facilitate our artistic expression.
We will use several techniques, including mediation and gentle movement, as well as classic Shamanic journeying practices.
After these adventures, you will be invited to express your visions using a number of artist methods and via your chosen medium. You will be working with a number of different media and techniques both 2D and 3D.
Experience of artistic methods, the ability to draw in a conventional way or any artistic experience is useful but absolutely not required.
Experience of Shamanic journeying is also welcome but, again, is not required.
This will be a safe, nurturing and completely non-judgemental space.
The techniques presented are aimed to free a ‘stuck’ artist as much as they are aimed to inform and free the expression of a complete beginner.
We will not be appraising, judging and interpreting your artistic expressions in any way - that’s for you to do in your own time.
As an animist Séan has a strong belief that your art will have a spirit of its own so, rather than judging or critiquing the imagery he will be holding space for you to create a relationship or even a dialogue with your own and each other’s channelled creations.
All art materials will be provided but you will have an opportunity to gather materials to use from nature for the 3D or sculptural session during the course if you wish. You may, of course, bring your own materials if you prefer too. Please bring a notepad/journal to make notes about your journey and visions and observations if you want a record of them.
The intention is to share techniques and practices which allow us to dip into the well of consciousness and non-ordinary reality to bring back inspiration, information and messages that will allow us to creatively express ourselves improving, and possibly healing, our lives in the process.
Do I have to be a ‘Shaman’ to be able to journey?
No - you just need to open. Very few people would ever call themselves a shaman anyway. Shamanism has become a term most people have some grasp of, however, so it’s a useful descriptive term.
For sure, with journeywork, an open heart and the ability not to judge yourself on the result of your labours can be really useful. As with most things, the more you do, the greater the skills you develop but a ‘beginners mind’ is a useful tool.
What does a Shamanic journey entail?
You can think of a journey as meditation if you like but one on in which you take a journey into inner spaces or realms. You will be safely guided into this space. The drum is the only medicine used in this practice - the drum is known by some as the ‘shaman’s horse’; it is the perfect vehicle to utilise when making such journeys.
Most people find the journeys relaxing and dreamlike, as the drumbeat brings your brainwaves down to a ‘theta’ state which is best described as the dreamlike space between consciousness and subconsciousness. Some people report it feels like the liminal hypnagogic state we experience between wakefulness and sleep.
You will be invited to get under a blanket and cover your eyes (both optional) during the journeys which may take place for a minimum of 10-15 minutes and a maximum of 25-30 minutes.
You will also have a chance to experience what I call the ‘waking well’ - an opportunity to express yourself artistically whilst in an altered state of consciousness.
Do I need any artistic experience?
No, not at all. The whole point of this course is to allow you to open up and express yourself in a non-judgmental way. Self-care and compassion are encouraged and we are creating a space where you will hopefully rediscover a map to own yourself expression if you have felt a little lost and a map to new destinations if you don’t or have never felt lost. The Shamanic journey can be a very effective conduit helping us all enter a sense of flow.
Is this course suitable if I have lots of artistic experience?
Absolutely! If you are already working as an artist you may want to join this course to give yourself a new perspective on things. Alternatively, if you’re feeling uninspired or stuck in a bit of a rut these techniques to be very good at temporarily shutting down the logical mind, allowing you to tap into the subconscious one in order to free up the creative flow.
What media will we be working in?
We will be working with mixed media - paint, charcoals, collage and 3D media. All forms of artistic expression are invited and positively encouraged!
Will I leave with artworks?
Yes, you are welcome to take away and keep your artwork. What you will also be taking away, however, are techniques you will be able to use in your future practices and which you may want to use in your future work. (Please bring a journal or notebook to write in if you want to make useful notes.)
Will I leave an ‘artist’?
You are already an artist! We all are. You will certainly leave with a different perspective and some useful artistic tools in your bag though. What you do with them afterwards is up to you. The sky’s the limit!
Will I be able to continue Shamanic journey work?
Absolutely! If you’re new to journey work there will be instruction on how to continue the practice should you wish to.
Will I be healed by the course?
It’s very likely that this course or the practices here will assist with healing but it’s not my intention to ‘heal’ or ‘fix’ anyone during this course; it’s my intention to hold space and share techniques that might allow people to bring back information from the journey that will enrich your life through artistic expression.
What are the rules?
In terms of artistic expression? There are none! This is a non-judgmental, nurturing space. Love and encouragement and freedom of expression are the only rules. To honour the work, though, please do not bring or take recreational drugs /medicines or alcohol during the course.
Of course, if you are taking any prescribed medications please continue to take them as instructed by your GP.
About your facilitators
Seán Ryan studied at art college for six years ending my studies at the Royal College of Art in London.
Since then he has worked in the art and design world for both small and international companies for the past 25 years. His spiritual journey has been a lifetime of investigation. He has undertaken training in Shamanic practices and Celtic Sweat lodge and makes drums as well as other shamanic tools.
Seán currently works as an artist, a shamanic practitioner and reads Tarot and Oracle cards.
Adam Telford is a Shamanic practitioner, Men's facilitator and guide.
All events take place at Grōwan, a dedicated space just outside Hereford.
You are welcome to arrive anytime after lunch on Friday and leave after lunch on Sunday.
All meals will be provided as well as tea and fruit but you are welcome to bring additional supplies if you want.
We have showers, compost toilets and plenty of space outside and undercover.
Unless purchasing an Abundant ticket you will be expected to bring your own tent but please let us know if this is an issue.
We never want peoples financial situations to prevent opportunities for growth.
Please feel in to where you are, what you are able to invest and select the appropriate ticket. We are only able to offer a limited number of Concessions tickets but if these are sold out please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to see if an energy exchange or payment plan would be possible.
If you are feeling abundant and able to invest more in yourself you will be helping us provide more low-income tickets and as a thank you we will happily arrange for you to stay in a bell tent provided by Grōwan.