The other day I was looking for some innovative session ideas for my shamanic group for teenagers. I asked my youngest son Brendan (13) for some suggestions. He said: “A session on the Spirit of Chocolate!” And he was not just trying to put chocolate on the menu, he truly is intrigued by sacred substances and how our culture has stripped them of their ceremonial use and made them ‘everyday items’ (also think of e.g. tobacco or alcohol). When I mentioned his idea to friends many wonderful links and esoteric information about a ‘Chocolate Goddess’ rolled in! We learned about the way tribal peoples use chocolate in ceremonies. As we were on a roll, I asked Brendan for another session idea. He instantly replied: “A session on the Spirit of Honey because it is a special substance in our world but an even more special substance, a luminous elixir, in other worlds!” I have invited a friend who is training in bee shamanism to be our guest teacher. Our curriculum for the Summer Term is shaping up nicely!
(Animal Healing Energy Raising.)
My three sons (aged 17, 15 and 13) are (what I like to call) Natural Born Shamans. In our house “where we lived before we were born” and “where we go after death” passes for normal dinnertime conversation. We also talk daily about the importance of spiritual hygiene, the principle of fair energy exchange, power theft and always listening to our intuition. It is my observation that shamanism, one of the oldest spiritual practices in the world, can provide a powerful toolkit – even save young lives – in today’s world of great turmoil and paradigm shift.
Let me introduce myself! My name is Imelda Almqvist. I teach shamanism and sacred art internationally. I am a painter, film maker and full-time weird mother. In 2012 my spirit allies urged me to start a shamanic program for children and teenagers. It sounded quite frightening and was the last thing I wanted to do at the time! However, I have learned to listen closely to Spirit so I did start this group and my own children called it The Time Travellers.
(Time Travellers Sacred Clown.)
My program provides safe sacred space for young people to create a spiritual toolkit and community. Here they can share things that their mainstream London schools do not exactly encourage. Over the past five years we have done sessions on a very wide spectrum of subjects: a spiritual toolkit for resolving bullying, animal healing , dream theater, a seminar exploring violence in films and the media, shadow work, creative writing, shamanic perspectives on death and dying with a field trip to the local cemetery, plant spirit medicine…. and so forth. I also have a community of wonderful guest teachers sharing skills I do not have myself.
(Time Travellers Plant Spirit Communication.)
The next thing my spirit allies demanded was that I write a book about this work. I didn’t think that any publisher would touch this subject (using shamanism with young people) with a barge pole – as I knew people who had tried writing about this and got reams of rejections. I said to my spirit allies: if you are urging me to write this book, I trust that you will help me find the right outlet for this book as well!! Miraculously the first publisher I tried (John Hunt Publishing) offered me a contract within one week of me submitting the manuscript. Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in August 2016.
I based chapters of the book on questions people from all over the world had been asking me for years. There was an ever growing volume of emails passing through my inbox from parents, teachers, grandparents, psychotherapists etc. I made sure that I answered all those questions in the book, meaning that people can find all the information in one place and use it as a reference book. I also included 32 session plans. People who do homeschooling for instance have reported that they find those lesson plans very useful. Colleagues are using the material for starting their own shamanic programs for children.
By summer 2016 the river of emails had become an avalanche. I was asked to be a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit hosted by The Shift Network. World-renowned shamanic teacher Sandra Ingerman interviewed me as part of her online course in shamanic journeying there (http://shamanicjourneyingcourse.com/). I was invited to appear on radio shows and to speak at conferences. All those requests had one theme in common: “Please speak about your shamanic program for young people – it’s such important work at this time of turmoil and paradigm shift! And please speak about the importance of our culture rediscovering initiation and rites of passage too!” So I did.
(Time Travellers The Spirit of Music.)
I took some of the work on-line and started teaching on-line seminars for teenage girls aged 15 – 18 years. I called this program Daring Dreamers.
What started as a group of local children dancing around a fire in my garden (and that still happens!) became a book and now shows every sign of becoming a ‘global movement’ as an increasing number of people are using the material and discovering its life-enhancing (even life-changing) potential. I also run a Facebook Group called NATURAL BORN SHAMANS where anyone can share experiences or post questions. I invite you to find us and join!
Right now my group is working on a film for spiritual publisher Sounds True’s Year of Ceremony. I am one of the presenters and have been asked (once again) to focus on young people and future generations (as our children are literally everyone’s future because they are the Earth Keepers of the future). My own ceremony is called Drawing Down The Divine Child but my Time Travellers group has performed their own Full Moon Ceremony to reach out to children of the past and present who lead incredibly tough lives. Their film is titled: Our Human Family.
Maybe I should finish by saying that I also teach sacred art programs, in both Europe and the USA – I do not only work with young people! I will write more about other passions and projects here another time.
(Time Travellers Message in a Bottle.)
To cycle back to the point where this article started: my son Brendan wrote his own book about shamanism when he was just 8 years old. The title is THE LOVE HALL: Brendan’s travel guide to the best places in the spirit world. Signed copies cost £5 and they can be ordered directly from us through my website. It took the world of shamanism by storm and people said that Brendan makes shamanism both fun and easy.
You will find some useful links below this article!
Imelda Almqvist, London UK
Some useful links:
Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages)
NATURAL BORN SHAMANS – The Facebook Group
THE TIME TRAVELLERS (about a spiritual toolkit for handling bullying)
THE FOREST MAGIC OF A NATURAL BORN SHAMAN
In this short film Brendan (aged 12) is in a forest in Sweden and demonstrates how he works magic with materials he finds all around him because magic is our birthright and together with our helping spirits we can work miracles!
Interview with Ruby
In this uplifting video shamanic teacher Imelda Almqvist interviews Ruby (15) and invites her to share her spiritual views and practices as well as a message for other teenagers who may be exploring their spirituality and looking for safe places to start or a community of kindred spirits.
PSCYHOPATHS AND PSYCHOPOMPS
In this video some teens and “tweens” share their perspectives on Death, teaching all of us some ;powerful lessons along the way!
We live in a youth and beauty obsessed culture. Collectively we are in denial about Death. This is one area where young people can lead the way and be our teachers by facing Death (and all the issues and decisions that surround it) head-on (and creatively, playfully!)
Marielle Smith inteviews Imelda Almqvist on Going Shamanic (Canada)