Shamanic Creativity: Free the Imagination with Rituals, Energy Work, & Spirit Journeying
by Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Published by Destiny Books
Publication date: January 25, 2022
I have been on an Evelyn Rysdyk reading binge in the last few months. In the April 2022 edition of Pagan Pages, I reviewed her book, co-written with Bhola Banstola, The Nepalese Shamanic Path. I was lucky enough to have another of her books on hand to review – Shamanic Creativity: Free the Imagination with Rituals, Energy and Spirit Journeying. Working from her underlying worldview of shamanic practice, Rysdyk shows us how to examine our relationship to the fear and “survival mode” in which many of us may currently find ourselves, given pandemics, national and international political stresses and climate disaster. She helps place that survival mode approach to existence into the context of a cosmos that is in a constant state of change and flux, offering many meditations and exercises to access that evolutionary flow of creative energy moving through the universe of which we are a part. Rysdyk emphasizes that we are all creative beings: “If we stop accepting that only poems, songs, paintings or sculptures are proof of creativity, we can then see that people who shape steel in a fender, wool into a garment, and broken china into a mosaic or who manifest ideas they conceived in their heads and hearts are all conduits and participants in the creative energy’s flow… creativity is a ‘revolutionary act’ in that it is an imaginative way of approaching life and its challenges.”
Rysdyk’s presentation of the importance to each of us and for creating a visionary future is persuasive. Her excitement about our individual potential to view and solve problems from new perspectives is catching. And her enthusiasm and love for creating as a means of self exploration and expression are catching. After reading her chapters on how shamanic creativity supports wholeness and how to work with dissonant feelings that the mind has turned into self-limiting patterns of shame and fear, her explanation of how accessing altered states of consciousness opens our connection to the creative flow hit home for me. Rysdyk offers shamanic journeying as a key method; there is an explanatory chapter that contains basic introductory journeys, like meeting a power animal. But Rysdyk also describes breathing techniques, ancestral connection practices and brainstorming methods, among others. The breathing techniques I tried worked really well and took me into a state of “no mind;” I was surprised that several possibilities I hadn’t previously considered bubbled to the surface during the practices. There are audio links provided for several guided meditations as well.
Rysdyk emphasizes process, not product. She discusses the twin demons of perfectionism and doubt and redirects us toward being in the flow of what we love to do. If we align with that energy, that is creativity, not what results from the process. As she puts it, “creative energy…has been described as a divergent way of thinking that is nonlinear and that can generate multiple solutions to open-ended, unscripted problems. It’s what facilitates the flow of imagination, innovation, and invention, which can continually transform our reality… In other words, what we understand as creativity is actually the flow state of creative energy.” [Emphasis in the original]. So it’s not about making our paintings as “pretty” as they can be and being disappointed when they don’t turn out; creativity is about being in the process of allowing energy to move through us into form. And that form is transforming as it is coming into being. Rysdyk also writes about the tidal ebb and flow of creativity; sometimes we feel the flow and sometimes we are in a “dry spell.” She shares her processes for working with those “dry” times. And she writes eloquently about protecting “creative time” and process from everything that tries to chip away at it.
There is a Resource chapter listing relevant organizations, websites and publications, along with Rysdyk’s description of her favorite supplies and art supply stores. The bibliography will lead you into a deeper investigation if you choose to pursue that. Unlike my usual foray deep into the bibliography listings I want to read next, though, I am continuing to work with the meditations and exercises described in Shamanic Creativity. They are taking me deeper into a connection with an energy that feels enlivening and refreshing and that energy is showing up in a shifting perspective and new ideas. I heartily recommend this book; I think you will find an enthusiasm for “creating” as a result of reading it.
Evelyn C. Rysdyk is shamanic healer, teacher, speaker, and author of several books, including The Norse Shaman, Shamanic Creativity and A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools. She is a featured presenter for Sounds True, The Shift Network and other international and online programs. Evelyn offers advanced shamanic trainings and individual sessions through her organization Spirit Passages. You can find her at http://evelynrysdyk.com/ and http://spiritpassages.com/
About the Author:
Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanic Arts. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. Art, exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.
Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.
Open Channel Astrology www.openchannelastrology.com
Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com