in=spiring

Book Review – Sacred Art A Hollow Bone For Spirit: Where Art Meets Shamanism by Imelda Almqvist

March, 2019

Book Review
Sacred art A Hollow Bone For Spirit
Where Meets Shamanism
by Imelda Almqvist

As a sacred art student of Imelda’s I was eager to get my hands on this book. Her teachings have had a profound impact upon my journeys within journeys unfolding and unfurling as the art is created.

This is a truly inspiring book taking you on a journey of the history of art from rock paintings through to “mo-dern” day art. A journey which shows how art, region, science, alchemy and cosmology were all once interwoven and how unfortunately they became split in our need to break things apart. Your thoughts, ideas, perceptions of art are stretched – everything is art when you look around and within. And then another journey is embarked upon a journey of self-discovery as you are invited to drop down into a new place, to hollow yourself out, deeply immerse yourself in a place that has no room for ego. For me at the Introduction to Sacred art Workshop the most important and powerful part was starting by burning my limiting beliefs and this book does the same. The first activity is burning your own limiting beliefs, all thoughts of I am not an artist, I can’t draw, paint, create, will fade away as you drop into a new place as you become a hollow bone and you begin to make your own Sacred art; with opportunities to meet other beings, gods, goddesses along the way, work with them and let them speak through your art.

Imelda begins to weave all that we have split apart back together and encourages us to do the same and encourages and inspires you to see how they are all interlinked, all part of the one web of life. Imelda’s passion and thirst for the subject shines through, her excitement at continuing to learn herself, inviting you the reader to delve into the work of other authors and artists; new books to learn from and art videos to watch. The same can be said for your own work during her Sacred art Retreats; journeys become deeper and a richer experience, the art created afterwards continues the journey, more is revealed within the words, the colours, the fabrics, all are part of the journey. The art is interwoven with all that happened within the journey and more, weaving back together the threads of all that has been broken. Her teachings will take you to another level coming away feeling that something magical and profound has happened to you and your life will never be the same again.

As you weave your way through the book and activities I feel sure that you will begin to look at art and the world around you in a whole new way. You may well find some of your beliefs of not only yourself but the landscape around you challenged and this in turn encourages an exploration and work with your own shadow.

No artistic skills or shamanic experience required. This book does exactly what it says; it teaches you how art and shamanism meet and how you can create with them. Best of all it’ll widen your perception of art and allow you to let your ego move aside and make your very own Sacred art.

Sacred art isn’t something to be just read about, it is something to do, something powerful and profound. I urge you to fully immerse yourself in this book, to become a hollow bone unleashing your inner artist from shy stumbling steps to liberation.

Sacred art – A Hollow Bone for Spirit: Where art Meets Shamanism on Amazon

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About the Author:

Lyn Hill has over 20 years’ of experience of working as a Holistic Practitioner with survivors from Bosnia, with life changing injuries and profound trauma, adults affected by substance use and mental health issues, people experiencing chronic and enduring pain. 

In 2012 Lyn’s path took her to exploring the sacred feminine and Shamanic Healing, which led to learning with the Sacred Trust, Centre for Shamanic s, and the School of Shamanic Womancraft.  A life changing journey began in March 2018 during an Introduction to Sacred with Imelda Almqvist.  Stirring the inner child and bringing creativity back to the surface.  Taking her Shamanic work in a new direction sees Lyn starting a 2 year Norse Shamanic Practitioner training this year.

Lyn offers guidance and healing, taking clients on a journey of encouragement and awakening drawing together Shamanic Healing, Sacred , Reiki, Crystals, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Well Woman (Womb) Yoga and Restorative Yoga. Lyn offers one to one work and Circle Work. Her passion is bringing women back home to themselves reconnecting with their inner wisdom and knowing, particularly around the menopause, from the time leading into the peri-menopause all the way through and out the other side.

Lyn’s dream is to one day have a book published of her nature inspired poetry

sacredawakenings.co.uk

Imelda Almqvist About Painting

September, 2017

Imelda Almqvist About Painting

People often ask me about painting. I teach courses in making art internationally and do a fair amount of public speaking, as well, so I am often asked questions about my own process and my relationship to my own paintings.

Over the years, as paintings have gone off to exhibitions and galleries and I have hosted many Open Studio Days, I have written my artist’s statement on many occasions, as artists are supposed to do. I observe constant shifts in my own consciousness bringing fresh insights. I doubt this journey will ever end! (it will probably continue beyond my departure from the earthly realm!) This means that I am always engaged in re-writing and trying to find even better words for processes that happen in the place beyond words! Today those earlier artists statements are interesting artifacts because they track and map my personal creative journey over a period of three decades.

(Sadness, monoprint 1997)

The Encounter with White Canvas

For me every painting starts with an encounter with a blank canvas or white sheet of paper.. There is a seed concept: an idea, a colour, a shape, a piece of music, a sudden insight, often a possible marriage of two unlikely things.

Once I start the process of painting I am in dialogue with the spirit of the painting I am working on. That which seeks coming into form and embodiment through art actually guides the process. 

In shamanism we call this hollowing out or being a hollow bone for Spirit, for luminous beings from other realms. Beings more evolved than myself come forward offer a higher perspective on events on Earth and a glimpses of other worlds behind the Veil.

( UNDERTAKING Oil Painting 1994)

About Selling Paintings

Do I sell paintings? Yes. Will I sell any painting to absolutely anyone who expresses interest in it? No!

In our culture we often rate artists (and authors!) by their sales The selling of work means that other people put value on what we do. To be “successful” we need to regularly sell paintings or sell many copies of a book. My younger self, fresh out of art school, “bought into this”. School instils a very particular idea of what it means to be a professional (and commercially successful) artist!

Over the years my own helping spirits have taught me many powerful lessons and my perception has shifted completely.

Once someone got in touch about buying a painting. The spirits said  no, it is a piece of your soul they are trying to buy, don’t do it!  

Another time I promised someone a painting of a very powerful goddess. This painting went missing for two years and only reappeared recently. She was not willing to go and she was angry that I had not consulted her before making the promise. Rightly so! Lesson learned!! OUCH!

However, most of the time when people get in touch about buying a painting, the spirit of the painting is thrilled and very excited. Everything flows very smoothly and all arrangements fall into place easily. Then I say my goodbyes and the painting starts a new life in a new home. 

(While I was at art school the teachers warned us against people “choosing a painting to go with the colours of their sofa”. In truth I have not seen too much of this over 30 years of selling art!)

(DADDY IS A BALLOON  1997 Oil.

Painting title inspired by a paper on Therapy)

Paintings as Trusted Allies and Teachers

In November 2016 I gave a presentation at “Threshold“, the annual conference of The Gatekeeper Trust. There was a beautiful audience of about 100 people. I had a made a power point presentation in which many of my own paintings (inspired by spiritual work done all over the world) appeared.

After that talk (and the reactions I received from many people) I could put into words something I have always known, on some level: the spirits embodied by my own paintings are my trusted allies and teachers. They go wherever I go. They will often go on missions too, performing healing work for a person, family or location or appearing in someone’s dream to provide important guidance on a big decision or career move.

In that moment I realised that for me painting is about a life led by and dedicated to Spirit. It is about an intimate relationship with powerful beings that come forward  to help those on Earth – but they can only do so if we invite them and welcome their help.

It was not just me giving a presentation: it was me and my whole team, all of us doing this! It was not nervous, only overjoyed. You can watch this presentation on Youtube:

“Gods of Portals, Life Transitions and Liminal Spaces”

I feel I need to write this article (as adapted from the About Painting page on my website) as it might be a powerful message for other artists: moving beyond this paradigm of measuring success by sales and paintings sold! It has given me an immense sense of peace and soul purpose, working this way. And this is the way of working I teach my own sacred art students on different continents!

(GUARDIAN ANGEL   1997  Oil painting)

FAQ – A few more answers to questions I am asked very often

 

What materials do you use?

Before I had children I loved using oil paint on canvas (though, also, made mono prints and mixed media artwork on paper). However, oil paint is quite toxic because metallic resins are used to create the different hues (Cadmium Orange and Yellow, Zinc White etc.) and so is turpentine. For that reason I switched to acrylic paints months before even trying to for a baby as I did not want my unborn children to be exposed to these resins and fumes.

In recent years I have developed a particular fondness for making short art films because this allows me to blend paintings, digital photographs, myths poems and stories as well as music and moving images all at the same time to arrive at one seamless creation. 

ART VIDEO: SEVEN DESERT MAIDENS

This process has also brought a revival of working in black and white to create print-like stark images. I am greatly enjoying the multi-media experience that new technology makes possible!

Do you undertake a shamanic journey before you make a painting?

No, the process of painting IS the journey! Only better because I get to stay “in the zone” for a whole working day! (Say 8 hours rather than 30 minutes!) A journey can easily be the starting point of a painting. For instance in 2014 I did one journey where I was told that I “am an Apprentice of the Waning Moon” and that led to a painting by that title. 

(Apprentice of the Waning Moon)

How do you work with dreams?

For me keeping a dream journal is a daily practice. My husband risks his life if he talks to me in the mornings before I have written up my dream notes! I do oneiric work (shamanic dreamwork) with all my students as well.  Many of my paintings were inspired by dreams.

(The Mother of Dreams 2013)

I hope that this article will inspire you to get out some art materials!

Imelda Almqvist, 23 August 2017, London UK

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About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon on 26th August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally. 

For her courses in Norse Shamanism (in both Europe and soon coming to the USA as well) please visit the following webpages

FORNSED IN SWEDEN

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=211324

2 YEAR PRACTITIONER OF NORSE SHAMANISM PROGRAM

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=224450

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

YEAR OF CEREMONY

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86

FREE “HARNESS YOUR CREATIVE POWER SUMMIT” WITH GUNHILD LORENZEN

http://www.gunhildlorenzen.com/imelda-almqvist-speaking-at-harness-your-creative-power-online-summit

 

 

MagickalArts

July, 2017

In-Spired Magick

 

 

 

 

When we are mentally inspired our thoughts come rushing in like a gust of wind; often moving so quickly that we have to pause for a moment and breathe into the excitement of downpour or we miss some of the fine points. Our breath quickens and our heart races at the potential of what has been intellectualized and refined by mental process.

When we are emotionally inspired our feelings flow throughout our being often in a rhythm of ebb and flow similar to that of the ocean’s tides. We breathe into the momentum and allow ourselves to either languish in the beauty of these emotions being gently carried along or anxiously push the unsettling feelings quickly through flooding our sense of reason or logic.

When we are physically inspired, we run and dance; exercise and eat heartily enjoying every bite and physical action. We savor the manifest form we have been gifted and marvel at its capabilities and the complexity of its creation. We breathe deeply to renew and sustain our life and fill our lungs to capacity so we may exert more effort where needed or quiet the rapid breaths of over-exertion.

And, when we are Spiritually inspired we feel at one with the world around us. If this awareness is expanded even further, we breathe into our subtle bodies, each in turn connecting us and resonating with a deeper aspect of our being and the subtle planes. We offer the sigh of release and surrender to the offering up our service and devotion and breathe fully and intentionally into the Universe as co-creator and creation itself.

In all of these states of inspiration the key word is – Breath. We breathe automatically in our mundane lives. Requiring this exchange of air to survive. It is a seamless and transparent action that supports and moves in synchronicity with all of our physiological functions. Applying the same force and flow of breath as we move through ritual and magickal working in an intention-filled way provides the vehicle that carries the energetic sparks that serve to quicken and enliven towards manifest goal.

In-spiring magick is not simply the cerebral activity of having high regard for specific types of magickal practice. It is not simply how you feel and what the intent is for the work. It is not the actions and steps that are taken in the physical gesture of working magick and ritual. It is all of these things that are first primed and called into action when you take that initial inward breath before the exhale of your intention. This breath calls us to attention that something out of the ordinary is being undertaken and that all parts of my physiological and etheric make-up are required to engage and flow in accord with one another.

We are all familiar with the adage, “Energy follows awareness” and it is with this thought in mind that if we take a step further, breathing establishes the point of awareness that then attracts the energetic flow which is moved by the rhythm of breath. That awareness begins in taking note of how you are breathing. In meditative and contemplative work, breath is the start of the process of turning within. Taking notice of the rise and fall of the chest. The rhythm and pace of your breathing and bringing it into alignment with the space in which you are sitting and in accord with the flow of energy that surrounds you.

We often overlook the need to breathe as part of our magickal practice. We participate in ritual and are closed off to the most organic of energetic flow because we forget to apply the force of breath at the appropriate moments. Over the years have come to know the value and need for incorporating breath work into my spiritual practice. Learning to control the breath correlates with learning to control energy. One of the more basic exercises to use as a preparation tool for meditative or ritual working is the Four-Fold Breath*. The rhythm you are establishing in breathing this way creates a foundation upon which you can expand as needed for the working at hand.

Practical application begins with being consciously aware of breathing into your actions at all levels. The next time you are interacting with another, give pause and take a moment to breathe before answering the question asked. The next time you are sitting in a public space, give pause and take note of how you are breathing. Are you anxious? Are you feeling calm? And, then breathe into the energy of the space and enliven your own personal space with whatever positive intention of change or maintaining this energy that you wish.

These are some ways to be more attentive to the application of breath in your Spiritual and Magickal workings. To begin your meditation work, take note of your breathing and as you move through the various stages of consciousness breathe into each sending out your intention infused with life’s breath. If you are tasked with the casting and calling of the quarters in creating sacred space breathe into the scribing of the sacred circle. Infuse the energy you are using with the intention-filled breath of movement and upholding. As you stand before the quarters, take a deep breath in expanding and calling to attention all of your subtle bodies and as the words of opening pour forth send the will and force of that breath in request to those unseen to be present.

As you work in this way and become more aware of the impact of breath in all of your endeavors, the physical transparency of life-sustaining breath and the integration of that same enlivened breath for magickal practice will become one in the same. After all, this is the goal we aspire towards and why we walk this Path. The goal to move harmoniously in the unified space of the mundane and the magickal – 24/7- 365 days a year. So, Just breathe!

Breath work is a staple of magickal practice. Control of the breath and knowing when and how to use the levels of energetic dynamic that can be achieved by breath begins with the basics of learning how to breathe correctly. Energy follows awareness and is move along its current of flow by breath.

The Four-Fold Breath Technique

The Four-Fold breath practice is one from Eastern practice that is used to clear the mind, act as a point of focus and move you into the automatic response of relaxed and even space of inhalation and exhalation with pause of hold in between. It also develops awareness and control of the breathing process, which is the foundation of energy work. This technique also provides greater relaxation and deeper breathing, using fuller capacity of the lungs. This is an excellent way to begin a meditative session or use as way to relax into and open to the journaling process.

Begin by sitting in a quiet, comfortable setting.
Focus your attention on the rhythm of your breath. As you begin to feel your body relax focus your attention more fully on your breathing.

Take a full deep breath inhaling for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Hold this breath for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Exhale for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Hold at the completion of exhalation for 1-2-3-4

You may continue to breathe in this manner for several sets of the four. Eventually, your breath will establish its own rhythm and attention to counts will not be necessary.

Tips: Try to maintain an even steady rhythm of in-flow and out-flow. This allows greater ease of holding at the fullest point of expansion and holding again once the breath has been expelled.


Do not be surprised if the first few attempts bring inability to hold at the peak and base of release and intake for the full 4 counts. Depending on the state of relaxation and possibly any additional pre-existing respiratory conditions, you may fond this difficult at first.

Usually, after several times of practice and with each practice any rhythm, flow or relaxation issues decrease and then generally fade. Remember, for some this may be a new type of physicality and awareness of breathing that is normally left on “auto-pilot” as we go through our day.

Blessings on your journey carried on the wings of breath… Robin