Welcome to Shamanics in Portugal´s Journal. Our intention is to remind you our readers, friends and connections we are all part of a much larger, ever evolving community. Seeking to widen our audience, the Journal is available on YouTube so that you can listen to it as well as view some of the scenery where our events are held.

January´s weather has reflected the changes underway across the Earth. This has also been felt by many different types of physical ailments. Each one reflecting the issues being faced at that moment, usually related to expectations. This phase continues until March with its eclipses.

The purpose is to help us all clear away to allow space for the new beginnings. We offer here some insights into our views and experiences into the co-creation we are all part of this year – the year for Your Purpose. Once we recognise each of us alone is responsible for what we choose to create in our life, then the Universe can provide its assistance.

January has been the moment to review where each of us is in our life while looking at what we need to release – including ideas, plans, decisions, identities etc.. Clearing away our old stories to create a successful year ahead in whatever areas are important to each of us.

February is about allowing our hearts to open and make choices on the basis of what each of us desires rather than what we believe is expected of us. So allowing each of us to enjoy the freedom to make the choices to create our dream rather than keeping them trapped by the perceived need to please others.

For many this is an ingrained habit, living life in a routine way. Which is why creating the dream is more than just dreaming! It is about taking action to make the changes to live it. Heart not head based.

The year of the Fire Monkey

The new moon on 8th February is the official start of the fire monkey year. Though there will be significant differences from the yin or feminine energy of the previous year, some trends such as the world's mega-restructuring and roller-coaster energies - will continue.

Differences between the two years will range from the subtle to the dramatic. The last fire monkey year was in 1956. Fire monkeys are the most active of all types of monkeys and they tend to take a leadership role. The fiery energy they carry needs to be channelled into productive directions, though – it is very strong! One trait of fire monkeys is competitiveness and sometimes impulsiveness - and these energies, if not managed, can lead to problems.

To understand more about the transformational power of Fire, we have prepared for download a workbook All About Fire. (Click link to claim your Valued Subscriber's Gift!)
On a personal level, success in this monkey year requires each of us to be grounded and in our heart so we are open to new ideas and directions. Individual actions are the key to your progress - appropriate actions you take with divine timing, common sense, and intuitive knowing.

This is not the year to give your power away to others, especially institutions and societal structures that are in the process of major overhaul.

In short this is the year for applying your divine changemaker tools and conscious awareness. It is a year to apply all that you have learned and mastered over lifetimes.
You will want to reach deep into your spiritual toolbox to access and perfect skills you began developing long ago.
These skills will be needed in this monkey year. Only in this way will we be able seek our biggest, brightest dream and then bring it into the physical.

To help in the creation and understanding of the new, discover more about your purpose and the unseen world of insight, why not take action by booking one of our events? Last September´s Vision Quests helped provide clarity for all, so why not your turn in March?

The first event of 2016 will be 'Discovering the Inner Realms...an Introduction to Shamanism' on 19/20th February. This will introduce you to the shamanic experience of ritual, creating sacred space, journeying, meeting your guides, power animals and much more on our experiential journey together. It will provide you with powerful, effective tools to let you tap into the unseen world for insight and healing which requires no external authority, intermediary, or even beliefs.

A copy of our 'All About Air' workbook will be provided to all who book.

There will be a half day 'Introduction to Shamanic Journeying', on the morning of 17th March followed in the afternoon by the first Vision Quest – 17/20th March. The final ceremony on the Sunday will recognise that 20th March is the equinox.

The next 'Vision Quest' is from 13/19th June during Wilderness and Questing, with the final Vision Quest for 2016 from 22nd to 25th September.

A copy of our 'All About Fire' workbook will be provided to all who book.

The full list of events in 2016 is available by visiting: http://shamanicsinportugal.com/category/forthcoming-events/

Thought for February
Movement into Stillness - a journey into Inner space.

There are many ways to attain inner silence, one of these is to complete an active meditation with music/sound to bring you to that place of stillness.

In many cultures the drum has been used for aeons, normally in circle around a fire. The drum would lead the people into movement and the rhythm would take them to a different space, some call this Trance dance.

Sufi whirling (or Sufi spinning) is a form of Sama or physically active meditation which originated in the 13th Century in Turkey, and which is still practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. They whirl around to music and find the point of silence within the spinning.

Osho (1931 - 1990) from India, a mystic, guru and spiritual teacher bought Dynamic Active Meditation to the West. Music for the dancer to dissolve into the dance. With eyes closed, you are told to dance as if possessed, let your unconscious take over completely. Do not control your movements or be a witness to what is happening. Just be totally in the dance  One of these meditations is called Nataraj - the active part of the meditation is for 40 minutes, then laying down in silence for 20 minutes and then bought back from that silence with music for another five minutes. Making in total a 65 minute meditation.
 
5 Rhythms is also a very popular way to work with this process. This, again is a movement meditation practice devised by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s. It draws from indigenous and world traditions using tenets of shamanistic, ecstatic, mystical and eastern philosophy. It also draws from Gestalt Therapy, the human potential movement and transpersonal psychology.

Fundamental to the practice is the idea that everything is energy, and moves in waves, patterns and rhythms. Roth describes the practice as a soul journey, and says that by moving the body, releasing the heart, and freeing the mind, one can connect to the essence of the soul, the source of inspiration in which an individual has unlimited possibility and potential.

With all of these different offerings the main purpose is to take yourself from a point of movement into stillness. You become one with the music/sounds/beat. You do not follow the music, you become lost in it and become part of it. Once this starts to happen you can literally feel yourself unwind and become freer from the tensions that you have taken on from past pain and fear, from anger, resentment, grief, remorse etc. and also anxiety and worry, fear etc. of the future.

The same is true for the chattering mind, for as you blend with the sounds your being can - if you allow it to - lose all time and awareness of the mind chatter we live with. We can lose all thoughts about the past and the future and become very much in the now. Thoughts stop and space starts to open up and become available to us.
 
Whilst in this state we are working at a deep cellular level. Which is why Trance dance can have such a transformational effect.

During our lives we experience all sorts of feelings, both the highs and the lows. If these are not fully expressed in the present moment, especially those with lower frequency or vibration, they can move into deep cellular memory and be held there. Once stuck, they can lead to dis-ease. What Eckhart Toll calls the Pain Body.
 
Let us be honest, when we are happy we normally express it with freedom and joy, for all to see. However, when we have what we deem a negative experience, this we tend to hold within us.

More so, we tend to hide them and certainly not express them. For we have a fear that if we show such feelings they may show a nasty or weak side of our nature. Or, it may be too embarrassing to release out loud and feel heard.
Also, as children we may not have been encouraged and supported enough to be able to express such emotions. Rather actively being discouraged by our parents, teachers, peer group to not show our feelings. So our pain body holds on to them until such a moment as this.

Often we are totally unaware of the experiences we have held onto. Such emotions not expressed can keep us from moving into a more powerful way of being in our present moment. The more the body 'collects' and 'stores' these emotions, the more tension is built up in the cellular memory of our bodies. For our cells record all our experiences, for how else could we remember when and how to react to any threat?

Wherever there is physical vulnerability in our body, these pent up emotions or not fully expressed feelings, can become more and more condensed within the cells. As they become solid, dense they create disharmony and so a physical symptom, or dis-ease.

Active, dynamic meditation with intent can hook into the cellular memory of these stored emotions and release them. So leading us into the stillness that we may not have been able to access before, bringing freedom and liberation from the experiences and thus moving us into the present moment. The Now.

This is not the same as dancing to your favourite piece of music or going to a dance or party. This is a conscious way of healing the parts of your being which are trapped within you. It is a way of removing old habits and reactive behaviours that are no longer needed, and may also be harmful.

May this bring you freedom from that aspect of you that no longer serves you.

We adopt this approach within our ceremonial workshops here at Shamanics in Portugal. 
                
The Function of the Heart

Inspired and taken from 'The Mind World' volume four of Hazrat Inayat Khan's lectures. (1882-1927)
Hazrat Khan was the founder of the 'Sufi Order' in the West (London) and teacher of Universal Sufism.

The heart, in Sufi terms, is called the mirror.
Whatever is reflected in the heart does not only remain a reflection, rather it becomes a creative power productive of the phenomenon of a similar nature.

So, for example, a heart that is holding in itself a rose will find roses everywhere. Roses will be attracted to the heart and roses will be produced from it and for it. As this reflection deepens and becomes stronger it becomes creative of the phenomenon of roses and the symbolic qualities we associate with roses.

Equally, the heart that holds and reflects wounds will find wounds everywhere. It will attract wounds and will create wounds, for this is the phenomenon of reflection. What is often referred to as the mirror effect.

There are examples to be found in the world of people who by retaining a thought have created on the physical plane its manifestation, its phenomenon.

The reason is - that the phenomenon is not only an image as produced in the mirror rather that reflection in the heart is the most powerful aspect.

It is life itself - and it is creative.

If the heart is calm enough to receive reflections fully and clearly, one can choose for oneself with reflection to repel and which to retain.                              

Portuguese Power Animal February -- Owl

The Portuguese power animal for February is Owl!You can acquire the full copy of the Earth Spirit Journal, free of charge, and read about 'Owl' here: http://shamanicsinportugal.com/newsletter/shamanics-newsletter/

Author's Bio: 

Besides creating and running http://creatingharmonyinyourlife.com/ Gregory Reece-Smith, the author of this article, is also one of the three main guides with Shamanics in Portugal alongside Steve and Suze Plenty-Light Elliott. You can visit the team's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ShamanicsinPortugal, and their website at http://shamanicsinportugal.com/

Gregory is an experienced transformation facilitator, both within organisations and with individuals. As well as coaching, he conducts workshops at various locations around the world allowing participants to gain experience of how to effect a shift and bring greater clarity in their lives. Gregory´s first book 'The Seven Secrets to Living in Harmony – A Guide to Freeing YOU to Create YOUR Life', was published by Divine Time Books and is currently available via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/b00reowcry