Medicine Wheel Training
Medicine Wheel Training
October 13-15, 2023
January 26-28, 2024
March 24-26, 2024
June 23-25, 2024
This program will help you to transform your practice, gather tools to facilitate your connection to nature and spirit, your relationship to self, transmute your fears and limitations into love and help you learn how to truly be with yourself and deepen the heart of your work. Ultimately medicine people are space holders, we cannot hold space for others unless we have walked through the fire of personal transformation ourselves. This is what makes this course unique. By engaging in the work of the Medicine Wheel, you will learn to source from your direct experience and timeless teachings.
The Medicine Wheel is a shamanic map used cross culturally in many different ways with as many different interpretations.
Join us for Medicine Wheel Immersion at Camp Fircom 2023/24
On Gambier Island, surrounded by the Salish Sea, we will gather for this 4-part initiation. Lead by SYI Founder, Dr. Christine Selda and School Director, Rochelle Quarry, come and strengthen your connection to Self, Spirit and to the Earth. Build a mesa, a portable altar, receive rites from the lineage of Mountain Shamanism, become part of a community of earth keepers. Learn to access the healer, warrior, leader, and visionary archetypes within you.
includes travel to and from the Island, food, accommodation and course tuition.
Book an appointment to answer any questions you may have. Registration opens February 15th!
Mountain Shamanism is an intimate relationship with the land founded upon direct experience. When we are able to listen to and commune with the wise energies and spirits of the mountains and the nustas, we can live in a way that is nature-informed. This loving exchange is strengthened when we journey to the mountains and the waters and make ceke lines with our feet, through offerings, and when we invoke the natural forces in healing and ceremony.
Your connection to the land will grow stronger as you build your heart mesa. The sacred stones that you acquire carry teachings from the waters and mountains and have just as much chosen you, as you have them. Once activated, your kuyas begin to inform you of your power and the guidance that is available to you.
“This wheel helped me to see my medicine body, and recognize and develop a vision of myself as a healer" - K. Wells
The Medicine Wheel is a shamanic map used cross culturally in many different ways with as many different interpretations. It involves a series of initiation processes for the children of the earth to walk to know themselves and connect with the natural and spiritual worlds. The Medicine Wheel guides participants on their personal healing journey and re-connects them with nature. As a participant in this transformative energy work you will learn alongside the natural world and invite a dialogue with Her, receive ancient rites of passage and develop a mesa: a personal power bundle and a medicine bag of healing stones. Through our apprenticeship, we will explore cross-cultural medicine practices including ceremonial fires, journeying, energy healing and shamanic breathing. These are all processes that medicine people have passed on orally since the beginning of time.
We honour the teachings of the mesa as they were passed forward from the medicine people of the Andean mountains. The topography of our course is founded upon Mountain Shamanism and an Expressive Arts framework created by Christine Selda.
Shamanic Yoga is the living evolving practice of yoga placed within shamanic sacred space. This invites and invokes transformation and deepens the heart of our spiritual practice.
Nature and landscape are woven into the dialogue, invoking the students and the natural world to co- create their relationship to one another and thus to power and unity. Breathing techniques, asana, mantra, song and energy work are all used along with journeys and visualizations to invite a conversation with the unknown throughout classes. Shamanic Yoga is concerned with connection, fluidity and proper framework as guiding principles of the work. The vision of Shamanic Yoga is to take the power of both yoga and shamanic practices together to create a strong venue for transformation.
To participate fully in one’s life is the promise of Shamanic Yoga.
Doña Alejandrina Escalante
‘The question is, what legacy of service are you crafting for your people? What will you give to your ayllus, your communities? Will it include a new paradigm of love, joy, and healed states? Let this become your new tradition. Let living in service, bringing gifts of love, become your way. Transmit this to your children, and all the doors on your path will open.’
Statement of Teaching Philosophy
Christine Selda, Ph.D., R.C.C., E-RYT Gold
I use an intermodal approach through the arts to teach. I believe the best way to learn is experiential. I work as a client-centered therapist and support worker. I believe in experiential education as the basis of integrated knowledge that can give all students practical tools. The intermodal curriculum foundations are focused on addressing a multiplicity of learning styles through the different methods and techniques used in the experiences. I will metaphorically throw seeds in each different modality of teaching, the same seeds so that each student has a few different deliveries that may be the one that can flourish in their particular soil. For example, I may start with some nature-based meditation experience, a brain mapping exercise, clay, free- writing, poetry, and a play and group discussion. There may be a lecture on a particular topic that each experience will enhance the depth of study of this concept. I allow the understanding to come after the experience. This way, the experience can serve as phenomenological research for the student to further deepen their knowledge of who they are and the subject or concept.
I rely on the arts in my teaching philosophy to hold the students in their self- reflection and self- inquiry. The art serves as a “third” in the relationship between student and teacher and is often the guiding voice in the learning. This practice promotes self- referencing students and guides the maturing practitioner from judgment to discernment when working on others and themselves. I teach from a heart-centred perspective. Fundamental is my belief in the equality of all that lives. I keep myself focused on my work’s intention and impact, changing course if the alignment is off. All my teaching directs the students towards a greater level of awareness in all aspects of being. I cultivate tools for all my students’ capacity to master the ability to shift at any time perceptually.
To “see” from a different perspective, quickly and gracefully, to conceptualize and embody a perception that is other to their own value system and experience in the world.
My first job as a teacher is to establish as safe a container as possible and to inspire courage and bravery into space. The courage to be wrong, be vulnerable, be powerful, change your mind, fall and get back up, respect each other in those times, and keep the learning environment’s confidentiality. I often teach from depth to steps, meaning with the experiential learning, it can be like a dive into the deep end as opposed to starting in the kids wading zone of the pool. The concept starts as a whole, and then the sum of the parts gets illuminated. This way of seeing promotes sourcing from wholeness in oneself so that the narrative of contraction and fragmentation can be reframed and redirected. Psychopathology becomes a symptom of the soul that is a gift to work within, remembering wholeness as the essence. It is poetic. Couple this concept with arts and the appropriate experiential learning techniques, and the student or client has lived experience in work that is life- affirming and produces resources to integrate a change.
I use nature, voice, embodiment techniques, poetry, creative writing, mixed media, painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, ritual, and play. If it works, it wins is my philosophy! I love the big questions, and I love the details of the art and lived experiences. I genuinely love to learn and teach. I teach to whoever is my student and where we find ourselves at the moment.
My teaching philosophy with the new technology culture that is here remains that of experiential intermodal learning. I find myself in a farther-reaching global community teaching experiential curriculum online. It is exciting in its capacity for breadth and depth and the exchange of information. Through technology, community art is exquisite and can reach so many viewers through different platforms and social media. The grassroots are on the same playing field in this technological way in aspects that were not possible before. I am excited by the online platform for experiential learning.
My goal for students remains to open their perspectives and cultivate tools and resources to serve humanity’s heart and create a just world. My teaching intention is to contribute to a world and society that is inclusive and just for all so all beings can experience the joy that lies beyond suffering.
Sincerely, Christine Selda
Doña Alejandrina Escalante
‘Can you generate light, prosperity, and wellbeing for yourself? This is what drives evolution and transcendence. The will and intent toward evolution is in everyone. It is set free now, and you must live it, for yourself and your people.’
Medicine Wheel has been a tradition in the world over since time immemorial. These sacred hoops are used to facilitate health and healing. Medicine Wheels and their meanings are as diverse as the cultures that use(d) them. They are typically artistic representations for the four directions, Father Sky and Mother Earth and turn in a sunwise or clockwise direction.
Some medicine wheels are constructed out of stones and placed in the landscape. One of the largest of these structures is the Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming. It is believed that because the majority of these structures created in antiquity are located in southern Alberta and British Columbia, this could have been a meeting place for Plains tribes.
Medicine in this context is not what we understand in Western medicine. This type of medicine is the honing of healing power of the four cardinal directions, the sky and the earth, that nature herself has a vital life force we can tap into to bring things back into balance. The Medicine Wheel is the mapping of our cosmology, philosophy and teachings that will help us return our lives to balance and be of service to the world around us.
In this tradition we construct several things that represent these very intentions. Sandpaintings, mesas and other artworks are used to symbolically represent the journey we take back to ourselves. Also, by imbibing our art with our intentions for healing we are able to integrate the work that we do, weaving it into the fabric of our being. This kind of healing, this medicine, means turning the page in your story, rewriting it and dreaming your world into being. It’s finally letting go and saying yes.
The Four Directions of the Mountain Shamanism Medicine Wheel
No, no, there is no going back. Less and less, you are that possibility you were. More and more you have become those lives and deaths that have belonged to you. You have become a sort of grave containing much of that was and is no more in time, beloved then, now, and always. And so, you have come a sort of tree standing over the grave. Now more than ever you can be generous toward each day that comes, young, to disappear forever, and yet remain unagain in the mind. Every day you have less reason not to give yourself away. – Wendell Berry (The Sabbath Poems 1993 I)
Archetypes of Mountain Shamanism
Jaguar and Cougar
The perceptual state of Jaguar/Cougar teaches us even more about her nature. She is fierce and powerful, sexual and instinctual. Jaguar is all emotion, all feeling. He is the great tracker who can sense and feel the universe around him. In the state of jaguar things are more than they seem, they carry meaning beyond what can be observed in the literal.
Siwarkente (Quechua) or San Sen (Squamish Nation) teaches us that we are enough. Each year this tiny bird flies an epic journey, crossing distances that seem impossible, to answer an ancestral call. Hummingbird represents that we too can answer those whispers even if it seems we do not have enough, know enough or believe we are enough. Hummingbird also shares her teaching of sweetness by drinking directly from the nectar of life. In the Squamish tradition he is believed to be the bringer of joy, friendship and a symbol of good luck.
Apus & Nustas MOUNTAINS
When we call in the North, we also call in the Apus, the grandmothers and grandfathers that live in the mountains. The sacred masculine teachers and the divine feminine teachers of the mountains, the mountain priestesses, the Nustas, and the mountain shaman, the alto mesioqs. The spirits in the Mountains hold space for our work and whisper the teachings to us. We source from all the mountains in all worlds. We build our mesas with a map relating to 12 mountains in Peru as well as 12 mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The mountains of Peru have had diligent, consistent prayer to them for hundreds of years. They are incredibly powerful, steeped in years of being venerated and loved. The mountains of these lands indeed have also been cared for however, the consistency disrupted by colonization. We have an opportunity to help continue to wake the mountains up and open to their teachings. Stawamus Ausangate
Kuntur (Eagle), Apuchin (Condor) and the winds of the East teach us about our destiny and flying wing to wing with the Great Spirit. These great birds show us how to vision our destinies and see with the eyes of our hearts. Eagle has an incredibly discerning eye. From high in the sky Condor and Eagle have a great view of the whole picture but they can also see all the details, each and every piece that create the whole. This type of view reminds us to hold the vision and trust the process. It also teaches us that we make our lives. We place each seed, flower or tree, and either feed it or weed it out. Eagle asks us to discern with our hearts what we want to grow in the garden of our lives and challenges us to walk how we want to live. These great winged birds show us we vision our destiny and then create a life that takes us there.
Pachamama MOTHER EARTH
Pachamama is Mother Earth. She is Gaia. She is why we do this work, so that we may let go of our personal stories and come back to the collective story, the story of the stars. We ultimately do this work of healing ourselves so that we may heal her and all her creation. We do this work to walk more softly on her belly for she is the mother that never left us. We remember that we are deeply connected to all things, that we are truly all one and what we do to her we do to ourselves and what we do to ourselves, we in turn do to her. In this essence we are all her. Pachamama Quechua
Inti Ti Ti, Mama Kilia and Star Nation GRANDMOTHER MOON
When we call in the skies, we call in the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. The Inca believe they are descendants of the Sun, Inti Ti Ti. We also call in Mama Kilia, the moon, and the star nations. These are our ancestors; we are descendants of the stars. When we call in this direction, we pray to those who have kept our place in the long line of light carriers. We thank them for holding this space for us until we were ready to fill our medicine shoes. The lore around the skies is paramount in all cultures across time for the sky is where we can really connect to the universe, the great expansive cosmos where light was born, where we were born.
Huascar is the lord of the underworld and the keeper of our medicine teachings. We will meet him in journeys. The vision of Huascar is unique to the individual and you will build a relationship over time. The underworld in which he lives is the Ukupacha, this is the place of all potential and where we can visit the collective unconscious. There was a Sapa Inca named Huascar who was particularly tyrannical. He was in power around the time that the Spanish arrived. It is difficult to find accounts of Huascar as a deity per se, however it is likely this Sapa Inca was named after him.
Quetzalcoatl is a feathered serpent. He was a prominent deity across Mesoamerica for hundreds of years. The ehecaicozcatl or wind jewel was a conch shell cut in a cross section worn by priests. Like many of the Hindu deities, because Quetzalcoatl was worshipped by so many different cultures across hundreds of years, he takes many forms and has many stories. He is most often known as the god of the wind, knowledge, Venus and related to merchants of arts and crafts.
Quetzalcoatl is the ruler of the middle world or the Kaypacha. He is the keeper of prophecies. From him and in this world, we learn about right relationship and things in the literal and nonliteral.
We journey to Pachacuti Inca in the upper world or Hanaqpacha. Pachacuti holds the seeds of our becoming and represents the superconscious and collective conscious. Pachacuti was the name given to the 13th Sapa Inca. He was the ruler who grew Cuzco into the Incan Empire by unifying the surrounding tribes into one great domain. He built Sacsayhuaman to fortify Cuzco and it is believed Machu Picchu was built as an estate for him. His name in Quechua means “he who shakes the earth.”
Mountain Shamanism sources from all the mountains in all worlds . These are teachings of antiquity and of direct experience. Start to allow yourself to dialogue with nature.
The Mountains of Peru and of these Lands
We source from the Mountains. They are keepers of knowledge, holders of space, they are our grandmothers and grandfathers. Mountain Shamanism is energy medicine rooted in having a working understanding of nature and developing a deep connection with her. This connection develops through your direct experience. A major objective and teaching of this medicine is ayni or reciprocity, learning to give as much we receive. Through practices of remembrance, it becomes possible to understand the world is as conscious of us as we are of it. In medicine there is an 8th chakra known as the Wiracocha. Here we will be examining all 8 major centres.