Barbara Meiklejohn-Free: The Highland Seer
Author and shamanic practitioner Barbara Meiklejohn-Free has a variety of hats, including flautist, singer and seer. She was recently in the limelight with her magical partner Flavia Kate Peters, on the TV show Celebrity Haunted Hotel. Barbara took some time out to answer a few questions about her projects past, present and future.
Mabh Savage: You describe yourself as a Highland Seer. Can you tell us a bit about what this means?
Barbara Meiklejohn-Free: It’s part of a long lineage line, dating back to 15th century, that’s been handed down to me by the previous Highland Seer, Swein Macdonald. He spotted my gifts and abilities and trained me for the age of 12.
MS: What inspired the collaborative works, divination of the Ancients and the very recent Witches’ Wisdom Oracle Cards?
BMF: We spotted a gap in the market, as well as being inspired by the ancient path of the old ways; that is our mission to re-introduce and re-awaken this way of being, to the modern world.
MS: What’s different about working with others on a project like divination of the Ancients to writing a book on your own? Which do you prefer and why?
BMF: I love working with Flavia. We both have the same passions for this work. Her channelled writing paints my spirit visions and so we are a winning team who complement each other perfectly.
MS: What drew you to working with Flavia Kate Peters?
BMF: Spirit brought us together as part of our life purpose. Flavia was already well established in this area when met in Glastonbury 5 years ago, and have had great fun working together as a team ever since. We share the same dreams and goals as well as finishing off each other’s sentences! We both complete each other in the work we came here to do, and we often joke how we are Heaven and Earth – as we cover just about everything together from faeries to angels, to earth based traditions, fire-walking and ancient initiation ceremonies. Not only that, we both sing and perform at events across the world as part of the popular Pagan goddess band ‘Daughters of Gaia’.
MS: Your 2013 book, The Shaman Within, has rave reviews and some glowing endorsements from the likes of Dr Jude Currivan and Emma Restall Orr. What moved you to put your own experiences on to paper, to help others find their own shamanic path?
BMF: I have gained so much personal experience and felt led to write from the heart in order to help others, through what I had learnt myself. It’s a very down to earth, easy to read book that assists others in walking the shamanic path for themselves. I wanted to take away the seeming complications of shamanism and present it in an easy for all to discover, way.
MS: Your previous book was The Heart of All Knowing- Awakening Your Inner Seer. For those not in the know, what’s the difference between a Seer and a Shaman, and how do you employ both skills in your life?
BMF: A Seer has the ability to see past, present and future and has natural clairvoyant abilities. A shaman walks an earth based traditional path and draws assistance for healing others, from the spirit world. They have the ability to shapeshift into many diverse roles to help and assist for various modalities such as soul loss, past lives, healing, connecting with the ancestors and the spirit world. It’s natural for me to weave whatever is needed at the time. It’s a knowing.
MS: As mentioned earlier, you receive so many fantastic endorsements from people very visible within the Pagan community at large, such as Prof. Ronald Hutton and Anaiya Sophia. Why do you think your work appeals to such a wide range of people, from differing paths?
BMF: We cover many different paths, and have personal experience too. Neither of us are ‘book learnt’, we write and teach from first-hand experience. We are both down to earth people who have empathy and understanding for others. We are out there, every weekend meeting and reaching out. So, our reputation goes before us, and with it respect. We both feel so blessed.
MS: In The Shaman Within you describe Shamanism as ‘the way of being in harmony with all living things’. Do you think therefore that this book is relevant to anyone, regardless of whether they are on a Shamanic or Pagan path?
BMF: Absolutely yes! Both Shamanism and Paganism go hand in hand with regards to following the seasons, the wheel of the year and honouring nature. We are in the middle of writing a book called Shamanic Witchcraft!
MS: Do you feel you have achieved this harmony yourself, or is there a way to go on your path?
BMF: Yes, definitely living in harmony, which comes with age and wisdom. Anyone who says that they are fully evolved has the furthest to go. There is always something to learn. Everything changes. All we can do is be the best we can be. Do what you will and harm none.
MS: You’re often in the public eye; do you ever have negative experiences with the general public either due to ignorance or discrimination?
BMF: Because we are very positive and focused in our work and beliefs what we give out is then projected back. What you give out definitely comes back to you, and we are very blessed to be respected and honoured in the work we do. Occasionally we might get some negativity but only from those who are scared of our personal power and have no self-worth or respect for themselves.
MS: How was it appearing on Celebrity Haunted Hotel? Did you feel under pressure to portray the image of the witch in a positive light?
BMF: There was no pressure to do so, it is just a natural way for us to be. The production team, and presenters, were very respectful as well as fascinated in what we do. They made the decision to ask professional wise women, rather that actors playing at being witches, which came across in an integral and very powerful way. We hoped to inspire others to follow their true path and to show the world that it’s OK to be a witch!
MS: Shamanism or shamanic workings seem to be increasing in popularity recently. Do you think this shows the natural urge to regain inner balance or is something else driving this?
BMF: The world needs the shamans, witches and wise men and women to bring it back to balance and I feel that many people recognise this now. Not only this, but people aren’t so fearful of standing up for their beliefs and are embracing their inner calling.
MS: Tell us a bit about the workshops you run.
BMF: My workshops are all based on self-empowerment. My work is to stamp out fear and embrace one’s soul and purpose whether it’s through shamanism, witchcraft, Mediumship, past lives etc.
MS: Should we be expecting more books in the near future?
BMF: The Shamanic Medicine Oracle Deck and the Faery Godmother Oracle Deck are with the publishers as we speak, and are being launched in 2017. Books to come, between the two of us, include Walking with the Ancestors, Shamanic Witchcraft, Past Lives, The Dark Goddess and The Hidden Truth.
MS: Between your teaching, workshops, writing and other projects, where do you find time for yourself?
BMF: There isn’t much time out to be had, but then our work is our passion, our life, so it doesn’t feel too much like work! Taking time out involves going into nature, visiting sacred sites, travelling to distant lands and exploring different cultures.
MS: And what’s next on the horizon for you?
BMF: We have just started our own publishing house – Solarus Publishing. Although we are very blessed to have contracts with various well known publishers, we do want free licence. So, our publishing house is a rather bespoke one, focusing on truths that some daren’t put into print!
Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, journalist and mother of one small boy and two small cats. Find out more at https://soundsoftime.wordpress.com.