2013 – First Fire of The Ancestors

Residential US Shamanic Gathering

October 24th – 27th 2013

Samish Island Camp

Bow Washington USA

There was a time when we lived in a harmony with creation, The Great Forest and all Her Children. We were an equal part of the wonder of the Divine’s experience of creation. As the tide ebbed and flowed so they were part of the sea, as the sun set and rose they were part of the day, as seasons came, danced and left and they were part of the turning of the Great Wheel of Time.

The turning of The Great Wheel of Seasons was the inevitability of nature; the interplay between dark and light, death and life.

The beginning for the Ancestors was always in the dark;

and so in the chill of the Samish night we gathered and called the Fire Ancestor to be present with us and gather us in the spirit of family. And what a powerful and loving family was gathered there, not just around that fire, but around the wonderful food lovingly prepared by another family who had volunteered to work with us, around the powerful ceremonies and teachings of Rob Murphy, Eve Bruce & Nikiah Seeds, Kate Lynch, Kat Naslas, Christina Pratt, Peter Clark & Sarah Finlay, Stephanie Helberg, Mel Tomlinson, Christiana Harle, Jeff Stockton, Alleson & John Lansel and the tenderness of the Wrap About ceremonies with Stephanie Mills, Nataraj, Jaime Grant, Jordan Farmer, Kate Lynch, Kat Naslas.

From the evening light we journeyed with the Hunter and the Stag to the blood red sunset, carrying the bones of the dead in sacred dance and tears to the Great Fire of Bones.

From Crazy Woman to An Cailleach, from the stars to the earth and back again, with ‘Oby ‘Oss and the divinely crazy Ging Gang Goolie, we were a family gathering in the warmth of the First Fire, in love against the chill of the Dark Moons of Winter.

The Gathering for us marked the beginning of the season of the dark nights and winter snows; the moments breath between the end and the beginning as the Moon of Farewell which flows into the Moon of the Dead. In community we came together for this time of planting, not just seeds but new ideas, new dreams. It was a time of communing, being together, telling stories, and remembering to facilitate the new. A time to cut away the unnecessary, pruning, culling, cleaning –

And with honesty and self commitment we gathered all the ‘rubbish’ and cast it to be burnt in great fires to warm, to symbolise commitment, to draw in the community. 

This was the time of Seed Fall, of the Salmon Rising and the First Fires

The First Fires, the Bone Fires, these were the fires that were lit to burn the carcasses and the chaff of the harvest that could not be contained or used. These fires were lit to call the community together so that together they could share the minimum of requirements to survive the darkness of winter. Only that which would serve that survival, provide a resource for the Spring planting and maintain a tradition for the descendants was taken into the huts of the Ancestors. All else was condemned to the Bone Fire.

These First Fires were signs of commitment and trust, of surrender and hope. These First Fires were the celebration of death from which comes life.

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These First Fires were the beacons that called us the community together.

And we prepared to put old and unnecessary burdens down; to commune with others and our selves; to seek out our wisdom; to return to our inner home; to light the first fire of our commitment to a new beginning.

In this Gathering we marked the passing of the toil and sacrifice of the year gone past; as the salmon begining their journey home and the dead moving through the veil to their destiny

In this Gathering we brought our dead home and laid to rest the bones of our Ancestors.

This truly was a journey of community, a journey of trust in each other to hold our secrets; a journey with our ancestors, towards the spring that brings the descendants. 

We gathered in true and heartfelt celebration of the sacred dance of death and life.

And sang of the time we would be together again at Samish in 2014.

We were blessed with the guidance and wisdom of;


Christina PrattChristina Pratt took us to and with ‘The Three Dark Sisters Who Lead Us to Our Light’; Shadow, The Void, and Darkness lead us to our light.  Our avoidance or fear of any of the three limits our capacity to express our authenticity, heart, and power.  Conversely, conscious working with the Sisters cultivated an internal richness necessary that brought up our light and courage to express that light with truth and humility in the world; we danced and sand with Crazy Woman Spirit.  Christina, shaman, author, & teacher, deftly weaves her shamanic experience, extensive training, and experience with shamans from Ecuador, Nepal, Tibet, and Africa into her contemporary practice.  She is a Pathfinder and Rev. Elder in the Wolven Path Lineage.  She is the director of the Last Mas kCenter for Shamanic Healing in Portland, OR, which offers shamanic healing, life skills classes, and a four-year training in transformational shamanism. She is a founding member of the SSP, Director the Core & US Boards of the SCGMSS, co-editor for the journal, Shamanic Practice, and the creator or the original Foundations of Shamanism and Shamanic Healing course at the U of MN. Her Encyclopedia of Shamanism, is available for purchase at her website, www.lastmaskcenter.org.  Her weekly live Internet radio show Why Shamanism Now? is at www.co-creatornetwork.com

Jeff2Jeff Stockton lead an Evening Ceremony, ‘Her Hammer’: “An Cailleach rises to Her place of prominence at First Fire, striking Her hammer on the ground – bringing the frost, the cold, the ringing silence of stone and ice”. This evening ceremony introduced us to the spirit of the land appears in the form of a woman – sometimes young and beautiful, sometimes old and haggard. She laments the state of the people of the land, and speaks of what is needed for a revival of their fortunes. We delighted in the power and wisdom of ‘Old Woman’, to whom we sang for her loving and lover. Jeff also led the morning Meditations: ‘Aisling’  is Irish Gaelic for dream/vision.  These were a series of morning meditations on the cusp of the land of dreams; a time to look with strong vision to the new day that dawns. Jeff is a Shamanic practitioner in the Celtic tradition and a Pathfinder and Elder of the WPT.  His studies and training in the shamanic realm began in 1996 on the strings of the Celtic harp, and inform and nourish his work in the wider world.  In addition to his work in the Shamanic realm, Jeff weaves song and story on the strings of the harp in performance and recorded works.  He is the Director of the Albertan SCGMSS Chapter.

Rob MurphyRob Murphy, with ‘Dismemberment to Rememberment’, took us on a journey to face our mortality, to dismember and break our chains, helping us to begin the journey to re-member ourselves both physically and spiritually.  Rob is a member of the SCGMSS and is a Pathfinder of the WPT. He is attuned as a master shamanic-reiki practitioner and Level 3 reiki practitioner, has been initiated as a Yatchak into the Quichuan Path of Light tradition by Don Esteban Tamayo in Ecuador and is a shaman in the Green Path Medicine tradition taught by the late Brazilian shaman, Ipupiara and his wife Claicha, of the Peruvian Quechua tradition. Rob was also initiated into the Brazilian shamanic tradition of the Makunaiman and is the founder of the Richmond Shamanic Meetup and Drum Circle. He gives workshops and classes in shamanism for the Richmond, Virginia & NYC areas, and in Canada & Ireland and facilitates trips to learn from indigenous elders in South America. A graduate of Dr Linda Backman’s Past Life Soul Regression and Between Life Soul Regression programs, he uses regression therapy as an integral part of his shamanic healing. He is a graduate of the 16-week Peace Ambassador Training program through the Shift Network.

Eve & NikiahDr. Eve Bruce & Nikiah Seeds offered us  Life Change’, a holding of the essence of all of the roles close to us as the Triple God/Goddess. In our culture we have diluted our rites of passage, our attention to and honoring of the deep meaning and importance of aging. Diving fully into this ongoing process we reached better access to gifts that unfolded as we grew. We were then able to bring these gifts to our communities. In owning our passing age and changing roles, we can better assist others in their passings. In their Life Change.  Eve is a former plastic surgeon and now Programme Director for Lios Dána Dolphin Spirit Gate in SW Ireland. She facilitates trips to learn from indigenous elders in South America & Africa, and to find our “White Medicine” from our Ancestors of Ireland. Her shamanic training stems from many years with indigenous elders from the Andes & Amazon of South America, as well as elders in North and Central America; A pipe carrier & Sundancer in the Ojibway tradition, she is an Initiated Pathfinder of the WPT.  She has studied with the Zulu prophet, artist, & holy man Credo Mutwa for 10 years. Eve was the first non- Quechua woman to be inducted into the Circle of Yachaks of the High Andes. She is author of Shaman, M.D. A Plastic Surgeon’s Remarkable Journey into the World of Shapeshifting and co-author with Robert Levy of Shamanism: The Book of Journeys.

John-Luke EdwardsRev. John-Luke Edwards,  conducted the ‘Calling to the Hearth’ The Ancestral Fire ceremony of gathering, and the ‘The Sacrifice of The Cull’ an evening ceremony of release of the attachments to the dead and change, through the Labyrinth of the darkness and the re-enactment of the Sacred Saga of Gar and The Hunt of the Solar Stag.  Rev. Pathfinder Dr. John-Luke Edwards – is the Presidor of the SCGMSS, a member of the SSP. He is a Dr. of both Transpersonal Psychology and Parapsychology and has studied and apprenticed with many psychology and shamanic teachers. He calls to apprenticeship awakening Pathfinders in BC Canada, USA and remotely in the UK & Europe. He leads the Elders in researching and re-instigating the animist Lineage Tradition of the Wolven Path. John-Luke is a Reverend Pathfinder of the WPT and sits on the Ordination Gyre of the Tradition. He works privately with individual and group lamenters in Shamanic intervention and soul remembering through animistic and ancestral intervening.

Alleson LanselAlleson & John Lansel brought us ‘Re-igniting our Ancestral Light’ and through the use of healing shamanic techniques of the Q’ero nation from Peru, brought our energy bodies into a state of right relationship through ritual and ceremony; reigniting our ancestral light to our lineage in all directions. Alleson is a registered nurse, a Peruvian Shamanic Practitioner, Mesa Carrier (healing bundle), Pampamesayoq (earth steward), & a second degree Usui Reiki Master. As founder & President of her business, SONQO, she provides individual & group shamanic healing & ceremonial services, classes, & workshops. She is a graduate of the Wiracocha InstituteCenter for Spirit & Consciousness founded by Dr. Mary Blankenship & is certified in the state of Washington as a minister, spiritual healer, & earth steward through the International Assembly of Spiritual Healers & Earth Stewards Congregations. She has journeyed extensively throughout Peru & Bolivia & has had the honour & privilege of initiation, rites, & personal training with Don Manuel Quispe & Don Jose Luis Herrera.  For 7 years she has had the honour of studying with the International Contemporary Shaman, Juan Ruiz Naupari.

Christiana harleChristiana Harle during her workshop,‘Spirit Voice: transformation, release, and balance’ focused on how song is used within Fenno-ugric and Tuvan worldview as related to grief, dying, ancestors, life and healing. She opened our hearts and mouths to our helping Spirits and the Spirit of Fire and our Ancestors to explore our own songs and how to bring them into this ordinary reality to be used activelyChristiana has been working with shamanism for 20 years in Finland. She worked with Tuvan shamans for two years, continued her late husband’s research on Tuvan culture and shamanism which resulted in a film: In the Arms of Buddha and the Drum. She is an official shaman, red card holding member of Düngür the first Shaman Centre in Tuva. She has studied and worked with Heimo Lappalainen (decs.), Jonathan Horwitz, Annette Höst & Naomi Lewis. She is one of the original founders of the Shamanic Centre of Finland. She has been teaching shamanic healing, giving workshops on birthing shamanic drums, lecturing on Tuvan shamanism in Finland and abroad for years. She is an initiated Pathfinder of the WPT and an Elder of that same Tradition. She is a keeper of Bees, registered music therapist, soon-to-be breathwork therapist, gatherer of plants, mushrooms, berries and lives on a small farm with Honey Heikki, one of her sons.

Grant GuindonGrant Guindon, took the role of Gar the Great Hunter during “The Sacrifice of The Cull” a sacred ritualistic re-enactmentb ceremony of preparation for the culling of our internal beasts and the sacrifice of our ancestors. Grant is a resident of British Columbia and is a Pathfinder of the Wolven Path Lineage Tradition. Grant moves through this world learning to embody the wisdom of his ancestors with an intense focus on plant spirit medicine and the knowledge of the plant kingdom. Since early childhood he has had an affinity with the trees, knowing full well the importance they will have in the days to come. He is a member and Core Director of the SCGMSS and of the SCGMSS (US) Chapter

Peter Clark & Sarah FinlayPeter Clark & Sarah Finlay, brought us an “Introduction to Star Seed Evolution” and invited us to take the first steps in embracing our star being heritage, dissolving a layer of obstacles contributing to evolutionary stasis, and initiate the ignition of the fire lying dormant in our DNA. Sarah is an active shamanic counsellor, educator, and healer who comes to shamanism with a strong artistic background in both the visual and literary arts. Peter, a lifelong scientist and educator, has always held a fascination with the cosmos and the nature of reality. He is a dedicated shamanic healer and educator with many areas of interest and specialty. Both Sarah and Peter are graduates of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing.

Kate Lynch 1Kate Lynch lead us in ‘The Cauldron Journey’; a ceremony which released attachments that prevent us from connecting to the Great Forest or from being able to see our place within the Great Forest.  Kate lives in Seattle WA. She is a member of the SCGMSS and an Initiated Pathfinder of the Wolven Path Lineage Tradition. She is also taking the Eldership Journey towards Elder Induction. She has a deep kinship and connection to the mundane and spiritual forces of trees and ferns.

             Wrap-About Team

Stephanie Mills, Sharon Erickson, Jaime Grant, Kate Lynch, Kat Naslas, Jordan Farmer brough us with great tenderness the ancient mountain ceremony of the returning warrior –  ‘Wrap About Ceremony’; A ritual of cleansing and healing for the Wayward Traveller and the Weary Warrior that welcomes them back to the safety of home.

Mel TomlinsonMel Tomlinson, brought a 14th century traditional festival called ‘souling’ from her home county of Staffordshire, England. This ceremony or occasion is better known as Halloween and nowadays it’s associated with trick or treating.  She led us to  ‘go a souling’, singing songs to one another, we were led by ‘Oby Oss’, as we processed in disguise presenting gifts of soul cakes, apples and ale. We sang for the dead and rang the ‘soul bell’ as we participated in this old festival of the dead. This was truly an honouring of the dead. Mel is a Pathfinder of the Wolven Path Lineage Tradition. She served a 5 year apprenticeship with Rev. Dr. John-Luke Edwards and is an Ordained Titled Elder in that Tradition. Mel is a practicing pagan in the northern tradition. She is the Secretary of the SCGMSS and a member of the SSP. She has interests in the practices of peoples circumventing the Arctic Circle & their relationships to their animals and spirits of place. She is an artist, a ritual toolmaker, and a mother and lives in West Vancouver, BC.

Kat naslas 1Kat Naslas, lead a Trance Dance, ‘Dancing in the Dark’ in which we were invited to journey  into a place of all possibilities, a place of memories, dreams, and visions, a place of creation: the darkness. We connected, as our Ancestors have done, through history to our higher selves, to our spirit helpers, to our power animals, and to those Ancestors for healing, inspiration, and celebration that we are alive. Kat is a graduate of the FSS 3-year program in Advanced Shamanic Studies, a Journey to the Heart certified Trance-Dance facilitator, a Sundoor Master Firewalk Instructor, and an Initiated Pathfinder and Inducted Elder of the Wolven Path Tradition. She brings her shamanic knowledge to her Empowerment workshops. Her passion lies in creating partnership with Compassionate Spirit helpers to facilitate and hold safe, sacred space for people to experience their incredible human potential  

Stephanie Helberg

Stephanie Helberg offered, Weaving Your Tapestry amongst the Ancestors’. As master weavers of the tapestry of our lives, we interlaced our happiness, our sorrows, our pain and our joys into our creation. The individual thread of our heart’s truth made our tapestry unique and we created a new stronger tapestry for our life and the lives of our Descendants. Stephanie is a certified hypnotherapist, shamanic practitioner, crystal healer, Reiki master and has studied shamanic practices and herbal medicine in the Amazon. She has trained in past life regression, soul and power animal retrieval, life’s purpose discovery, and dream interpretation.