Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland

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Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland

What is

Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland

Slí An Chroí

Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland

Shamanic Rites

Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland

One to One

Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland

Slí An Chroí

Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland

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Slí An Chroí Medicine Spiral


Watch this Medicine Spiral video from John and Karen


To take the Medicine Spiral Journey is to walk onto an ancient track of reflection, discovery and empowerment. In apprenticeship, Shamans throughout the ages boldly stood in front of a great mirror that reflected the truth about themselves and the world. The mirror pointed to wounds unhealed and asked the Shaman to heal him/herself. The training bought the seeker the means to self-heal, leading to a stronger sense of self and safety. The reflection in the mirror could no longer be what it was and at this point the training brought the practitioner to a place of destiny, a place in which the emerging Shaman could dream and manifest a life chosen by them, not for them by outside forces. Choosing to live from their destiny, the Healing Shaman walked a wild and free path aligned to the energies of Spirit, simultaneously becoming a harmonising and balancing force among these energies as they unfolded into what we call the world.


Nothing has changed and this epic and natural path of self realisation is present and available to all of us today. This never ending path of insight and power that takes us deep within and without at the same time, is depicted exquisitely by our Ancestors through the spirals they carved into rock. In Ireland, the mandala of life has long been portrayed by the spiral, single, double and triskel.


Spirals at Newgrange Cairn and Milky Way Galaxy


The “medicine” in the spiral refers to all the gifts in the training that facilitate and empower our emergence into a grounded, self-actualised, connected being of power who has taken the journey of the healer. The “spiral” itself is orientated by the compass of directions, North, East, South and West. We enter these four directions, starting with the North, to embark on trainings that bring us clockwise on a first revolution of the spiral. Travelling the four directions provides a map for us to understand the Self and the world, as well as bringing us into awareness of living energy. We come to understand that life continues to “spiral” after the training and having taken the Medicine Spiral, we are equipped to map and navigate our journey onwards.


Our sense and care of ourselves, of “how the world works” are no longer weak or obscure. Our decisions and choices are informed by the security of awareness of who we truly are, not from any form of conditioning or limiting beliefs. We come to live by the maxim that our truth be honoured and that love, dignity, respect and empowerment are our birthright. Living from this place, it becomes inevitable that we also become “a caretaker of the Earth”. We learn from experience the vital symbiotic relationship between all that is living, including ourselves and Mother Earth. We “care for the earth” in literal and Spiritual ways, knowing this extraordinary planet as an awesome manifestation of creation, gifted to us so that life as we know it, may live harmoniously to its greatest potential.


A Tuatha in circle in Dunderry Park


Every Slí An Chroí Medicine Spiral brings together men and women of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicity and faiths. As we gather on the first direction, the North, the group becomes a “tuatha”, (a “tribe” of people of the heart), a supportive, warm, sacred community that walks as one around the Medicine Spiral, while also welcoming the unique experience of each individual in that journey. In every tuatha acceptance and holding of others is fostered and strong kinship is always a natural development.


2019-2020 Medicine Spiral.

Weekend 1: “North Direction”, September 20th-22nd, 2019.
Weekend 2: “East Direction”, November 22nd-24th, 2019.
Weekend 3: “South Direction”, February 7th-9th, 2020.
Weekend 4: “West Direction”, April 3rd-5th, 2020.


If you have no formal experience of Shamanism, it is recommended that you attend the “Slí An Chroí One Day Introduction To Shamanism” (click here) before embarking on the Medicine Spiral Training. However, having no previous experience is not a barrier to participation.


The Irish Centre For Shamanic Studies at Dunderry Park, near Trim in County Meath. A beautifully and purposely restored 200 year old Georgian house, it is close to the ancient sites of Tara, Newgrange and Lough Crew. Surrounded by many acres of tranquil parkland with lake and cairn, wild and domestic animals, it is maintained to support shamanic, transpersonal and holistic training. Accommodation is on a room-sharing basis. Please view Dunderry Park on for directions and transport information.


Costs, etc:
Total Cost: €1635.00, (including tuition, materials, all meals (vegetarian), refreshments and accommodation)
Booking Fee (also acts as Confirmation of Place ): €195.00 and €360.00 before or at each of the four weekends.
The Booking Fee is to be paid by August 30th, 2019.
Full instructions are on the Booking Form and we have a range of payment plans available to ensure that this powerful training is a comfortable investment in and for, your life. Please contact us directly about the payment plans and you can read protocols here.


It is only natural that a person compares one shamanic training against another and we support the provision of such important education across the board. However, if you would like to learn more of the unique aspects and benefits of training with John and Karen, please contact us directly. We are happy to outline aims, objectives, schemes of work and lesson planning, teaching combination methodology, learning pedagogy, strict teacher-student ratio, individual supervision and mentorship standards. In essence, we are at your service to share the educational prowess underpinning thorough, professional delivery of a syllabus of shamanic training unique in Ireland. Your learning and developmental experience is our priority.


Click here for the Booking Form for 2019-2020 Slí An Chroí Medicine Spiral in Dunderry Park.


To read "Honouring The Spiral", one of our journal articles, click here.

Key Aspects Of The Slí An Chroí Medicine Spiral


Creating and Living In Sacred Space
Techniques for honouring the energies of the four directions of the Universe, the Earth, the Heavens and Great Spirit yield a profound positive shift in the sanctity of the spaces in which we live, love and work. We also incorporate our ability to mechanically ‘open’ our Light/Electro-Magnetic Field (LEM) or Auric Field to enhance the creation of Sacred Space.


Work In Nature
Throughout the training, we grow evermore our innate, indigenous, animist nature, spending considerable time finding comfort, reflection and mystical connection in our natural surroundings. We foster a Spiritual connection to the trees, the mountains, the seas, rivers, lakes and animals that inhabit these places. As our heart centres open naturally in these environments, we give permission and guidance to ourselves to know deeper and deeper the compassionate relationship between ourselves as humans and the Earth. In every sense this quest brings a homecoming and the experience of “being held by Great Mother”.


''Brí Na Taise''
''Brí Na Taise'' is the Irish-Gaelic for “Energy of Compassion”, the underlying principal in Healing Shamanism. The practitioner is brought to an understanding that many forms of intent “move” energy and when the intent is love/compassion, the end result in the Self and in the outerworld is profoundly life-enhancing. Balance from reciprocity is another founding principal of Life understood by the shaman. Living by this code is to constantly be in gratitude, particularly to Mother Earth in the knowledge that to send out gratitude fosters the abundance from which we receive. It is said that the Healing Shaman “chooses Life” at every given moment and living from ''Brí Na Taise'' and balance from reciprocity allow for this with simplicity, integrity and meaning.


Deasghnátha-Rites Of Initiation
The bedrock of this Shamanic practitioner training are the “Deasghnátha”, the ancient “Rites Of Initiation”. These are energetic transmissions that awaken seeds of consciousness within us and have been passed from healer to healer for thousands of years. The holding and passing on of these Rites is deeply sacred and to receive them is to be embraced by the celebration of humanity, Spirit and the vision of potential, intrinsic to the Irish-Celtic and Incan lineages, both passed on in the Slí An Chroí Medicine Spiral.


Mála Naofa/Cauldron
Sli An Chroí honours the Irish-Celtic tradition of the “crane bag”, the medicine bag carried by the Shaman. Referred to as the “mála naofa” (“sacred bundle”), practitioners on the Medicine Spiral throughout the four directions of training assemble this truly awesome, personal altar of orientation and power. Based on “lia naofa” (“sacred stones”) and other significant items, the Mála Naofa develops as a way to dialogue with and map, the journey of your own Heart/Soul/Spirit. It also becomes a map of the outerworld we live in. The Mála Naofa is an extraordinary instrument for problem-solving and identifying and enacting positive change in ourselves personally and the world we live in. The Cauldron is the great vessel of transformation in the Irish and Celtic traditions. We learn to work with the Cauldron side by side with the Mála Naofa, particularly working with the elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire The Cauldron provides us with the means to bring release and growth into our lives in a unique way. Both Mála Naofa and Cauldron together bring the practitioner to the place of compassionately and wisely, changing energies, i.e. alchemy.


Immrama / Journeying
The ancient Irish Gaelic word “Immrama” literally means “wonder voyage” and refers to techniques of going beyond the ordinary and venturing into mystical states of awareness. Often depicted in Celtic art as a sea voyage to “The Otherworld”, to go on an Immrama is to safely and naturally discover and enter new consciousness. In these realms we have the opportunity to harvest previously unknown power and wisdom and integrate these in our daily lives. The principal method of Immrama in the Medicine Spiral is through the transporting, rhythmic sounds of the drum and the rattle.


Power Animals
Manifestations of power gifted to us by Spirit, we first encounter Power Animals in the mystical state of an Immrama. We learn “to walk in the world” in relationship with our Power Animals knowing them as a strong, protective resources, particularly in times of challenge.


Spirit Guides
Our Spirit Guides, often described as “beings of Light" who bring wisdom and teaching, connect to us from the angelic realms. Once again, we come into relationship with these sacred energies, being in their presence and their dialogue to be guided and assisted to live daily from our “higher Self”.


Tracking & Seeing
When we are ''Tracking'', we are sourcing information from heightened perceptual states. In daily life, we spontaneously use a limited percentage of the perceptual states given to us. In shamanic training, we become aware of previously unknown channels of perception and we become adept at using them to discover what is truly going on beneath the surface in a given environment. Parallel with Tracking, our ability to See develops at the same time. Once again, this does not refer to Seeing in the ordinary sense, but in the non-ordinary sense. To “See” the way the Shaman does is to be able to witness and read energy, what sometimes is called “seeing the Spiritual in the material”. This ability is innate in all of us and safe to develop.


LEM Awareness
Understanding energy is an important part of Slí an Chroí shamanic training. Beneath the Physical and Psycho-Emotional dimensions of our being, is the the Energetic-Spiritual. When we heal, i.e. positively shift energies, on the Energetic-Spiritual realm, we are healing from the deepest level of our being and the rewards filtrate upwards to the Psycho-Emotional and Physical layers. Understanding the human light/electro-magnetic energy field (LEM) provides us with an awareness so that we can discover and monitor what is operant within us on this deepest level. There is awareness fostered on the portals to the LEM, referred to as the chakra system and known in the Celtic tradition as “the seven door/doorways”.


Seeds Of Life
When deeply attuned to our highest self and listening attentively to our Spiritual allies, we “plant the seeds of our becoming”, i.e. we consciously choose what new life we wish to grow within ourselves. We identify the practices needed to cultivate our Seeds and the positive emotional rewards of those practices ensure our motivation is unwavering.


Gaining Holistic Perspective
The Medicine Spiral training fosters improvement in our lives by knowing ourselves as Body-Mind-Spirit organisms and bringing greater health practices on all three dimensions. The training brings clarity to how we are at once functioning on these three levels in every moment of life. We explore practices that nurture ourselves holistically, from physical exercise, sleeping habits, stress release, relaxation, optimum nutrition, positive thinking, emotional freedom and Spiritual practice. The Medicine Spiral training allows us to understand and breakthrough any life-diminishing patterns we may have, by enabling us to understand how the roots of these behaviours are embedded in the Energetic-Spiritual level, while the symptoms may be more known on the Physical and/or Psycho-Emotional levels. Above all, the training gives us the means to “weed” these roots and to address and breakthrough patterns of stress, depression/sadness, negative thoughts-emotions, fear, anxiety, addictions, limiting beliefs, conditioning and disempowerment.


Connecting to Ancestors
We cannot have the life we have today if it were not for the lives lived by those who have gone before us. Shamanic awareness asks that we honour the lives and deaths of our ancestors with compassion and beyond judgement, so that we acknowledge “the shoulders we stand on today”. Opening ourselves to a reverence of our Ancestors is achievable irrespective of the quality of our relationships to our mothers, fathers and greater family. It is also possible if we are adopted or fostered. In all cases, honouring our Ancestors brings healing and belonging not simply to us today, but also to the Spirits of those who lived so that we may live.


Death & Dying
The Irish-Celtic tradition like all Shamanic traditions worldwide holds the exploration of Death and Dying as vital to our breaking through into a life lived beyond fear. Conquering our fear of Death and coming to a true understanding of this phenomenon brings us the ability to navigate changes, from subtle to major throughout our lives. It is understood that we do not truly understand Life until we understand Death and that fear of Death is an expression of fear of Life and of living fully to our greatest potential.


Shedding Skin/Breaking Through Old Wounds
The Medicine Spiral invites our courage to self-heal and provides techniques and rituals that give us the means to do so. The term “shedding skin” refers to our ability, like the snake, to let go what no longer serves us, such as the painful baggage of past traumas or current ailments. An ancient Shamanic understanding holds that it is through our wounds that Spirit enters us, i.e. when we bravely face the pain of our wounds and take the healing journey to breakthrough that pain, Spiritual energy is the reward for us on the other side.


Knowing the Self as “Wounded Healer”/ “Wounded Warrior”
The Healing Shaman learns on the eternal spiral journey of life that his/her prowess as a healer (of Self and others) is founded upon their consistent commitment to tend to their own wounds are they arise. Hence, we never arrive at a “fully healed” state and consider we no longer need to self-heal. We are “works-in-progress” constantly finding a greater and greater wholeness and we live from the positive rewards of this state. However, we make a commitment to “walk the way of the Warrior of the Heart”. A “Warrior” because of the honesty and courage it takes to self-heal and one who is “of the Heart”, because of the love and compassion we cultivate as we heal. The Warrior of the Heart is a person who have moved beyond the states of “victim” or “survivor” and is one who has no enemies in this life nor the next.


Assisted Personal Healing

The primary offering of The Medicine Spiral is the retieval of greater and greater wholeness. The Irish-Gaelic word for healing is "leigheas", a word also used to express "retrieval". In our first language, to heal is to retreive and often The Medicine Spiral is poetically referred to as the spiral of remembering and belonging. An outsanding opportunity for deep personal healing while participating in The Medicine Spiral is offered by current students of The Healers Spiral who are training in the Energy Medicine and Shamanic Counselling practices of Imbas, Extractions, Soul Retrieval, Death Rites and Psychopomp Healing, (click here to learn more about these core healing shamanic techniques). The Healers Spiral students often work with students on The Medicine Spiral for their case study practice requirements. Students on The Healers Spiral are thoroughly supervised by John and Karen in a live setting so that their facilitation of these techniques is safe, adept and professional. A participant on the Medicine Spiral is invited to volunteer to receive healing from these Energy Medicine and Shamanic Counselling techniques from a student on the concurrent Healers Spiral at no cost.


Destiny Retrieval
Many people live by a sense that their lives are organised by larger, outside forces. This we refer to as “fate”, in which we feel we are living a life chosen for us. Shamanic training brings the practitioner to the place of potential, in which he/she is offered to leap from “fate” into “Destiny”, i.e. a life chosen by us. It requires deep soulwork to step from one contract with life to a superior one. The reward is to live a daily life, in which no matter what occurs, we know it to be part of a greater scheme for living. One that is beckoning us forward to live from our fullest potential, more and more.


Knowing The Ecstatic
Shamanism has long been understood as a technique or “a way into” Ecstasy. The healing journey brings us closer to our true nature and the exhilaration of living from that place of personal truth certainly brings happiness, but it is also leads to the path of Ecstasy. To know the Ecstatic is a yearning in all human beings. It is a state in which we have full experience of the joy of life, yet for many it is a fearful place in which to venture because of repressive conditioning. Shamanic training nurtures us free from such conditioning and brings us to a place of safe expression from our innate wild nature. Whether through the music of trance dance or in the quietness of a nature place, to know the Ecstatic as a “default” human experience is a cherished principal in all shamanic traditions around the world.


Alignment To The Turning Of The Year
When our lives are attuned to the natural seasonal cycle of Mother Earth, our personal journey through a year becomes more balanced and co-ordinated to the living systems of energy in Nature. Our personal Energy Field (LEM) is entwined with the Energy Field of the Earth, (sometimes referred to the Universal Energy Field, UEF) and when both are in alignment, personal growth and change is mirrored by the cycles of light and darkness, new growth and decay, shifts in climate and weather throughout the natural year. Hence, the significant times of Solstices, Equinoxes and days heralding new seasons are acknowledged and celebrated.


Archetypes / Mythology
In each of the four directions of training, there lies the powerful presence of Archetypes. Sometimes called a God/Goddess of the Universe, they are essentially a naturally occurring “organising influence” in the world. Awakening our awareness to these energies allows us to understand and work with the forces of North, East, South and West. They prompt reflection and ask us to heal ourselves in different ways, while at the same time offering themselves to us as sources of strength and inspiration. Archetypes can take the form of animal or human form, such as An Breadán Feasa (“Salmon of Wisdom”) and the Goddess Brigid. Sometimes they may be a mysterious blend of both, Cernunnos, (God/Goddess of Plants and Animals). The rich inheritance of Irish Mythology holds an extraordinary tapestry of stories helping us to understand our personal mystical experiences on the Shamanic path and often offering an eloquent introduction to an Archetype. Myth is understood to be the language of the soul and these stories, most of which cannot be dated, offer us trackways and supervision as we take our personal, Spiritual journeys.


Sacred Energy Drama
Sometimes referred to as “Soul Drama” or “Spirit Drama”, this is a sacred use of simple dramatic technique that allows us to dialogue with energies, internal and Archetypal, by externalising them through personification. This is not similar to any form of therapeutic drama used in the fields of psychology or psychotherapy. Sacred Energetic Drama is not built on reaching a point of catharsis but on reaching places of recognition, relationship and transformation of energies that inform our personal lives and the world in which we live.


Fire Ceremonies
A consistent ritual throughout the Medicine Spiral training is the Fire Ceremony. This is a powerful, healing ritual working with the element of transformation and purification. The Fire Ceremony brings us to a place of renewal where we let go “old” aspects of ourselves we need to shed, in order to grow in “new” aspects. In this way, we can consciously “dream ourselves into being”. After the Ceremony, the Fire prompts the tuatha to sit together to spontaneously share experiences, stories and humour.


Sacred Masculine – Sacred Feminine
As part of finding balance in our lives, the Slí an Chroí Medicine Spiral brings us into awareness that a combination of Masculine and Feminine energies are at work in all living organisms. Whether our gender is male or female, we are all made from this mixture of the two essential energies of the Universe. Appreciation of the divinity in these energies leads us to reflect on the balance or imbalance of Masculine and Feminine energies within us individually. When we cultivate a balance of the Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine within, we bring our manhood and womanhood to more powerful and authentic expression.


Cleansing & Protection Rituals
Working with pure intent and several traditional rituals for cleansing, we prepare for training in a sacred space with a cleanse. These are designed to help us release Energetically-Spiritually from our LEM, “trom” energies, (“heavy” energies) that accumulate from everyday living. Protection rituals begin from the first Rites of Initiation transmitted in the first direction, the North. Throughout the training we add to this formative system for Protection, other techniques that assist us to live freely in a world of mixed energies without us becoming depleted or dragged into a response of fear.


Self Practice
Throughout the Shamanic training there is continuous coaching and guidance for Self Practice. Indeed the training does not “end” on the last day of each of the four weekends, it is a part of the Medicine Spiral to step into Self Practice in the intervening weeks. Whether one continues training with Slí An Chroí by taking the Healers Spiral, or not, you will have a robust Self practice established to allow you to be continually nourished by the Shamanic path.


At the beginning of every Medicine Spiral we share with the new tuatha, words of advice and encouragement from people who completed this Slí An Chroí training in previous years. Here is a selection:

“Dunderry is an incredibly special place so really allow yourself to be here. You can only have one first Sli an Chroi Medicine Spiral and this is yours .... make a commitment to yourself right now to just do it and bring yourself fully into it ....... heart and soul..........and enjoy it !” - M. Devitt

“Enjoy and listen to the sometimes subtle changes from within, hear your own inner voice whispering and guiding you for that is the voice of great spirit, hear her call and go and commune with nature for she is our greatest teacher... hear her voice her wisdom as it echoes your souls longing!!!!” – L. Davis

“Congratulations you are here, this is the start of an amazing life journey. At this moment you are sitting with your new tribe. You will learn amazing things about yourself on this new journey. Try stay with every emotion that you feel during the next year (not just on your weekends but when you go back to everyday living). You will learn that it is okay to experience all emotions such as happiness, laughter, confusion, pain and tears. As you sit in Dunderry with your tribe you will learn that there is an unwritten respect for this process and that you are in a very safe place. Be kind to yourself during this process, learn to love yourself and be kind to your inner critic. And take this out into the world beyond Dunderry - people will learn from you.” – S.Day

“The best advice I can give of my experience is that you also make this your experience, your creation. The Medicine Spiral is an amazing journey. One of the best aspects for me was meeting so many amazing & like-minded people. So enjoy the company & have fun! PS John Karen are wonderful!” – L. Conroy

“Leave your baggage at the door & bring your true self to the Medicine Spiral” – P.Ward

“Don't resist getting into the work straight away. Don't delay, go for it!” – T. Greenway

“Learn without being taught. Be aware without seeing. Journey without travelling. Feel from the heart without thinking but most of all have fun!” – G. Nichols

“Be patient with yourself in terms of your experience on Journeys etc. Learn to recognise the meaning in the ordinary. Don't compare your experiences to others. Learn to accept that the teaching that comes is the right one for you. Trust yourself and your experiences. Regular Searmanas is very important. Do it often!! Go for it & enjoy!” – E. Burke




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Sli an Chroi - Native Celtic Shamanism in Ireland


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