Fire and Ice – 1st British Columbia Residential Shamanic Conference & Gathering

May 2009
Easter Seals Camp – Squamish, BC, Canada

This first BC Canadian Shamanic Conference was held at Easter Seals Camp Squamish which is located 45 kms north of Vancouver in a peaceful setting at the foot of Mount Garibaldi and the mouth of the Squamish River. This 33-acre site features endless grass fields and forested nature trails. The far side of the river is the winter roost for hundreds of Bald Eagles. The Camp owned by BC Lions Club is situated in the heart of the Squamish Nation Territory. The Squamish Nation is comprised of descendants of the Coast Salish Aboriginal peoples.

This conference brought together not just the Canadian Shamanic Community & Family, but those of Clans, Tribes and Families of other countries to come together in Community, in accordance to the Wolven Path Tradition. In this Community we came together to share our wisdom, our experience, our spirit, our blessings, the Fire of Passion and the Ice of Determination.  It was a full and rich conference of morning meditations, workshops and teachings, ceremonies, and a Shaman market.  Before the conference officially opened the community gathered together as is our Tradition to witness the vigil and Initiation Ceremony of seven new Shaman to the Wolven Path Tradition & Lineage, who now take up the mantle of service to the Community that called them.

As part of the Society’s community commitment a proportion of the registration fees went to sponsoring Project Hands to run a free clinic to the Mayan Indians in Guatemala and the adoption of a pair of wolves in Revelstoke Wolf Sanctuary.

Fire & the River with Tira Brandon-Evans, Founder and Moderator of the Society of Celtic Shamans, and editor of Earthsongs: Journal of the Society of Celtic Shamans.

The Hearth & the Beacon with Reverends Shaman Howard Malpas & John-Luke Edwards, Master Fire Guardians igniting the Gathering Fire.

The First Shaman with Christina Pratt, author of the An Encyclopaedia of Shamanism and director of the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing in Portland and New York.

Unfreezing Patterns & Spells, with Betsy Bergstrom, of whom Sandra Ingerman says, “Betsy Bergstrom is a brilliant teacher and healer”.

Alison Skelton’s evening ceremony “Healing the Heart of the Planet”. Alison, an initiated Priestess of Wicca, co-founded the 13th House Mystery School Tradition and created the Oroboros Project.

Dr. Alan Davis; “Embodying the Axis Mundi” – President of the Society of Shamanic Practitioners and is assistant professor, Univ. of Utah School of Medicine & Rehab., and medical director for Quinney Rehab. Inst. Salt Lake City. Alan is a Reverend Shaman of the Wolven Path Tradition and sits on the ‘Ordination’ gyre of that Tradition.

Rachel Andrew Nelson“Bad Thoughts – Bad Medicine” – Silver Lady Hawk, and Rainbow Mother of the Lil`wat Nation – Facilitator, Trainer, Consultant, Former Health Director, Mother, Wife, Healer

Madeline Marchell“Shamanism in a child’s world” – a certified yoga instructor & a teacher/student of children brings yoga and shamanic practice to Morristown Memorial Hospital, New Jersey.

Howard & Elsa Malpas“Fire & Ice-Tempering the Sword” – Elsa is a Director of the Isle of Avalon Foundation and they are both the UK Directors of The Society for Shamanic Practitioners. Both Howard & Elsa are Reverend Shaman of the Wolven Path Tradition and sit on the ‘Ordination’ gyre of that Tradition. They facilitate the Warrior in the Heart Shamanic and work in the UK National Health Service as therapists using Acupuncture, Shiatsu and Guided journeys using the drum to help those with psychiatric problems.

Marsha Scarbrough“Shango Manifestation” – author of Medicine Dance, one woman’s journey into the world of Native American sweat lodges, drumming meditations and dance fasts.

Leslie Currie & Andrew Marsh“Trading Places – Dynamic Change with the Elements” – Leslie is an NLP Master Practitioner and trained in Erickson Hypnosis Techniques, she was Ordained and Initiated in September 2008 into the Wolven Clan as a Reverend Shaman; Andrew is a geologist and is connected to the sacredness of the land and has completed Shamanic & Reiki training.

Angela Prider; “Healing Ancestors – Healing Community: Clearing the Curse of Addiction with Angela Prider” – has strengthened her shamanic gifts over the last 15 years through a combination of practice & extensive training with the Foundation of Shamanic Studies & individual teachers. She has worked as a counsellor treating issues related to substance abuse and trauma and now has a private practice specializing in healing trauma by synthesizing shamanic healing methods and SRT.

Yvonne Owens“The Journey of the Bard – Sacred Narrative”  – is a Marie Curie PhD. Fellow and interdisciplinary scholar at the University College of London and has authored two books on mythology, folklore, sacred narrative and Celtic shamanism: The Journey of the Bard and The Cup of Mari), as well as many essays on art, culture and the sacred for arts, academic and spiritual journals. She is co-author of The Witches Book of Days and The Wheel of the Witches series of chapbooks.

Katherine Naslas“Prayer Arrow Ceremony”  –  has been walking with Spirit through the fires of transformation all her life and is a Sundoor certified Advanced Firewalk Instructor, a certified YA Yoga Instructor, and a certified Trance Dance Facilitator.  She has studied with Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and is completing their 3-year program in Advanced Shamanic Studies; has co-organized and will help lead a Goddess sacred site tour in Greece.   She is a member of the FSS and the SSP and attends conferences both in the US and in the UK.

Nancy “Dancing Light” Sherwood, assisted by Brenda “Spirit Whisper” Marita:  “Dancing With Dragons” – a contemporary grandmother shaman, an intuitive dancer and healer, founder of Traveller’s Joy, a guided pilgrimage and ancestral healing practice, assisted by Brenda “Spirit Whisper” Marita.

Mark Loman“Twin Spirits of Fire & Ice” – a jewel Dr & ‘shaman smith’ (one who fashions sacred objects), crystal skull keeper, journey circle leader, and assistant to Howard and Elsa Malpas. Mark is a Reverend Shaman of the Wolven Path Tradition.

Tasara“Building Community through Circles, Ceremony & sharing in Shamanic Subcultures” – Tasara a shamanic teacher & practitioner, has been through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. She has worked for many years as a community organizer, first with the homeless in the early 90’s, then the pagan & now the shamanic communities. Tasara spearheaded and maintains, a Core Shamanic Community Networking Site for the Pacific Northwest.

Black Wing Apprentices“Secrets & Dreams”  – Mary Jane, Manjit, Andrew, Pramonika and Patricia have been studying with Dr. John-Luke Edwards over the past three years.  The “Three Souls” Shamanic Apprenticeship has led them on their own personal vision quest into learning the ancient and somewhat forgotten ways of our early ancestors and to bring that ancient wisdom and tradition back into the community.  They have become warriors in the Wolven Path tradition and in their own personal healing.

Rev. Shaman Dr. John-Luke Edwards“Initiation & Opening/Closing Ceremonies”  – is the Presidor& Minister of the SCGM, a member of SSP and Clergy of the CSE. John-Luke is a Dr. of Transpersonal Psychology and Paraschology and has studied and apprenticed with many teachers; it was Howard & Elsa Malpas who brought him to his Shamanic Apprenticeship. He runs a three year apprenticeship for awakening Shaman in BC Canada, is researching and re-instigating the Shamanic Tradition of the Wolven Way and works privately with clients.

The Shamanic Gathering was and is a family orientated affair; a family not just of blood, but of belief, concern, seeking, soulfully lost, spiritually hungry, sharing and support. The family tie was of these questions and answers in the community.

And in these Gatherings it was not just the Elders, the Teachers, the Shaman that spoke; these were truly participatory and collaborative sharings. Everyone who came brought some part of themselves or their community or tradition to be part of the Gathering which was a great deal more like energising a great starburst firework, that would be sent high into the sky illuminating the world not just fro those that gathered but for the community. In this way the Gathering was a Healing tool that healed through Inspiration, Consolation and Connection.

Together a community gathered; together they sang, danced and prayed for the lands and peoples of this world. We learned and connected to our spiritual ancestors; we worked together in prayer and ceremony to lessen the shadows over the eastside on Vancouver; we learned to connect to our souls in order to serve our community through more awareness; we faced the conditions of fear that hold us back from our dreams; we listened to the soul of the Earth and all Her children and committed ourselves to be ready to work towards a better world. We hope that the gatherers have taken this healing and community spirit back into, not just their lives, but the lives of the communities around them.

This was a powerful five day Residential event, with workshops, teachings, and ceremonies by teachers from the US, Canada and the UK and guests from as many places.


In this day and age the world is beset with dire predictions and foretelling of imenent destruction and traumatic change and I do not want to be the one who adds to this shadowy darkness. I believe that if think, ‘The end is Nigh!’ then thus it shall be.

For the past few months though I have been troubled with a vision and message from Spirit. Many times I visit the Great River; the river of breath and blood that flows from the Beginning to the End; the river of Ancestors and Descendants.

I go to this river to remember my place in time and destiny; to receive the wisdom of my ancestral and spirit elders and to share my life with my descendants and to bring blessing to the future.

The river is slow and deep as it flows, its banks green and lush (despite the river being of blood) and as it flows it moves to sound akin to a lullabye.
The river has become more violent in its tide, the lullabye a song of battle, the back torn bare to the rock as the river drives itself forward.
There is no gentleness in the visitations, more a sense of frustration and despair. From upstream the great roar of impatience; downstream the weeping of emptiness.
I have also observed myself being remiscent of my parents and grandparents far more than usual, the sudden painting of of my ancestral Elder, faded family photographs suddenly coming to light and deams of long past relatives. I listen and see similar in people around me, almost as if history is forcing itself upon us.
We have become forgetful of our Ancestors, Elders and Traditions, we have exchanged them for success, purpose, need and iresponsibility. The world around seems to become alien to us, whereas we have become alien to it. We isolate ouselves in satisfaction and losse relationship with our family and all our relations; we have made ourselves nescessary and important.
The Ancestors have grown impatient, they will rush upon us and tear down this great dam in the River we have created, so that the Descendants will not starve or thirst.
The world will not end, but we may get broken and washed away by the growing tide of the Ancestors. Leave behind The Secret, or Abundance Dreaming, come to understand our only importance is as part of the whole.
The Ancestors and Elders are asking to be rembered; it is only by them that we are here. The Ancestors and Elders want us to know we are already dead and become Ancestral dust for our Descendants. The Ancestors and Elders ask for respect of their lives that bring us to this moment. The Ancestors and Elders ask for sacrifice, however small.
However and anyway we can accomplish their requests, will quell the flood tide of the river. I ask all of us to be mindful to the Ancestors prayers to us.
As we say our farewells and take our leave of this place and this Gathering, with every footstep from here be mindful that everyone and everything around and that come sinto and out of your life is a reminder to your ancestral destiny as you are to theirs. Honour every Elder of every being, honour all the young, hold space with your own relatives and ancestors, honour and respect the path of all who are in the same journey. In this small way the Ancestors will be remebered and their wisdom with yours will flow to the Descendants.
Blessings of Spirit on all our Paths