Howard’s April 2014 Shamanism Newsletter



Tel: (40) 721 131960

April 2014 Newsletter


Welcome to the third newsletter, and thanks for your feedback. I’ve been updating the blog section on the website regularly. Previous monthly newsletters will be added to the blog.

1. Plant Spirit Shamanism Amazon Retreat 2014

I will be facilitating a Retreat at the Amaru Spirit Centre in Peru. This is either a two or three week programme. The dates are November 1st to the 15th, with an extension week 16th to the 22nd.

During the two week Retreat (10 days in the lodge) there will be five Ayahuasca ceremonies on offer. There is also the option of an extension week allowing participants to move deeper in their plant diet. On the extension week there are an additional four ceremonies.  Click on link for More Information about this innovative Amazon Retreat programme;

There are also reviews on Tripadvisor;

The programme is based on the best-selling book ‘Plant Spirit Shamanism’ published by Destiny Books USA. For more information about the book; click on the link

2. Forthcoming Workshops

The Shaman’s Journey to Freedom
Life is not a problem to be solved, nor a question to be answered. Life is a mystery to be experienced.
Alan Watts
The beauty and power of a workshop is participation in the experiential and ultimately the personal revelation. We read books on personal growth and spiritual wisdom, and perhaps in our culture we have to read such books to fulfill our heartfelt longing for authentic wisdom and a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves. And yet, true knowledge and personal power can never come from the pages of a book or someone else’s account of their journey. It can only come from our own experience, from discovering who we are, and how we are going to live. This workshop offers you that opportunity.

The process of initiation is a life-changing experience enabling us to be born anew to a world that we create for ourselves through conscious awareness and a new sense of confidence and power.

This residential workshop is in two parts; and will decidedly challenge you. It is the adventure of the Soul Warrior. During this course there will be a firewalk, and the Embrace of the Earth (all night) Ceremony. These are acts of power that offer true transformation, liberation and inner freedom.

Click for more information about this workshop.

3. Forthcoming Workshops

The Shaman as Artist and Creator

Creativity is the quintessence of the human experience. Many of us have received an education that has been expressly designed to make us conform to the notion of being a consumer and an obedient citizen. This indoctrination is disempowering to our spirit; with the result that we can become impoverished losing contact with the beautiful magical child that resides within all of us. Creativity is not something we need to learn, it is within each and every one of us, it is a power that needs to be unleashed. For me, it is one of the most gratifying experiences to witness people discovering and expressing their innate creative magic.

This residential workshop is held in a beautiful valley near Zarneşti and is limited to 24 participants. So if you want to attend make sure to book early.  This innovative, empowering workshop was very well received last year.

Click for information about this workshop.

4. From Howard’s Hammock


Words are loaded with meaning, light is often a synonym for ‘good’ and dark is a synonym for ‘bad’. We all have elements of the dark and light within ourselves, it is interplay of energy, most exemplified by the ancient symbol of the Yin and Yang. This concept describes that totality is a dynamic flow, formed of opposite and seemingly contradictory forces, however these forces are actually complementary and interdependent to each other. This symbol illustrates that everything contains its opposite and that none can exist without the other. The woodcut ‘Circle Limit IV‘ (aka Angels and Devils) by M.C Escher graphically represents this concept.

Pablo Amaringo in his painting titled Puñusca Muscuna (Quechua language meaning ‘Profound Revelation’) from the book ‘The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo’, relates;

“Ayahuasca has revealed to me that you need both light and darkness to be illuminated. In order to appreciate the spiritual nature of humanity and the prevalent cosmic forces, you must understand that the negative side is there to show you the positive side.”

The co-existence of the ‘dark’, ‘light’, and the ‘shadow’ within us is not the problem per se, but our choice to which of these polarities we embrace and express. This is a classical theme, of which for example, the saga of Darth Vader continues to be the popular, and existentialist parable of our times (for me certainly). His redemption when he makes the ultimate choice and rejects the ‘darkside’ in favour of love is my über favourite scene from the Star Wars movies.

We all have to face and deal with unsavoury negative situations in our everyday lives. There are people who open our wounds, put us down with cutting comments that are very upsetting. In many new-age and shamanic circles, people advocate personal energetic protection strategies, probably the most well known is the shield of white radiant light or placing yourself in a protective ‘plastic’ bubble and visualise negative energy bouncing off these protective barriers. I think that such strategies can benefit many people, and I also add that communication between people is more than just words alone. We receive energy (negative or positive) with our solar plexus, so that is why when dealing with a negative person, it feels that we have been punched in our stomach. So placing your attention on your solar plexus, even covering up your solar plexus with your arms is a good defence against this kind of attack.

However from a personal philosophical perspective, the fly-in-the-ointment so to speak on psychic protection is that ultimately it is a counterproductive practice. In effect it is a ‘pushing away’ or a rejection of reality. It is a shelter to avoid the acceptance of the facts of how things actually are. We live in an imperfect and an unpredictable world and subject to all the vicissitudes that life can throw at us. Nature, despite the attitude and attempts of governments and large corporations is not under our control, nor do we have the ability to protect ourselves from the natural movements and shifts of the Earth. Maybe we can mitigate the impact of natural disasters to some extent but we do not have the capabilities to absolutely safeguard human existence. We need no reminding of the immeasurable and endless amount of human suffering and destruction caused by war. We, as individuals and as a collective are eminently vulnerable, and that we need to accept. Anybody who has been in a serious accident knows very well how frail the human body is.

Although I have referred to a big picture perspective, adverse conditions, setbacks, and upheavals happen in our personal lives. We can neither shape nor construct our personal world to conform to the notion of how things should be. If we followed the way of the Soul Warrior, we would stay present in our difficulty; we would not try to shelter from or avoid experiences that we regard as negative or emotionally challenging, and allow ourselves to experience the pain and sorrow so that we can transcend and release these feelings and move to a state of inner peace and a path to an awakening of compassion.

We develop our spiritual and emotional qualities when we are open to being present in the face of negative circumstances and people rather than avoiding them. This is the challenge faced by the Soul Warrior on his or her path to personal power and transcending the limitations of the defended ego.

Quoting Jung on the concept of the shadow;

“Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious”.

I know it’s a silly idea and will never ever take off and fly, but maybe for the fun of it we should turn the notion around, and consider calling those striving to reach an enlightened state of consciousness Dark or Shadow workers?

5. Ayahuasca Icaros, Ceremonial Chants and Music CD
| Shamans of Peru

The beautiful, plaintive music of Peruvian shamans was recorded at ceremonies in the Andean mountains and the Amazon rainforest. The chants and icaros have an organic relationship to the medicine plants, and are primarily intended as devotional music for a ceremony. It is equally possible to listen to the hypnotically beautiful sounds in their own right and simply enjoy them for their otherworldly beauty. The album and individual tracks are available for download.

For more information visit the website

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