“SAP RISING!” at Pendle Hill, outside Philadelphia, PA
With Imelda Almqvist assisted by Susan Rossi
31 January – 4 February, 2017
19 – 23 September 2017
6 – 10 February 2018
11 – 15 September 2018
The Sacred Art Practitioner Training is a four-module training taking us to the magical and mysterious place where art meets shamanism.
This course does not assume or require previous training in art or a high level of artistic skill and competence. It does require a sincere willingness to engage with worlds seen and unseen using the creative process.
Our work together does not require an exclusive focus on painting and drawing either. On the London courses we have had musicians, sculptors, songwriters, poets, dancers and so forth. We encourage a very wide spectrum of creative expression. Just to give an example: during the course we will carve our own runes, make ourselves a bear suit, dance, create a dream incubation chamber and create unique backdrops and sacred tools for powerful personalized ceremonies.
This course does not assume or require previous training in shamanism either but some experience of energy work or working in close partnership with spirit allies is extremely helpful. What we do ask for is an open heart and open mind as well as a willingness to form a personal relationship with helping spirits and Divine beings from all realms.
Shamanism is not a religion, but a way of being in a balanced and harmonious relationship with all sentient beings, our ancestors and descendants as well the spirits of place and processes and ‘deep dreaming’ held in the land. Our work will encompass both ‘The Great Above’, ‘The Great Below’ and ‘The Great Within’ as well as “every day reality” and so embrace all worlds and realms.
This is a course open to both men and women where we will actively work with the balancing between masculine and feminine our world needs to badly. This means that we will focus on connecting with the sacred expressions of the Feminine and Masculine, both within ourselves and in the world outside us. We observe that great stress, tension and many power struggles currently occur between distorted (or wounded) manifestations of those same cosmic forces. The time has come to balance them and assist the Earth in her paradigm shift!
This unique course offers a series of four sacred art intensives with a strong ceremonial aspect where we pass through a cycle of Symbolic Death, Dream Incubation, Rebirth and Joyful Creation from a place of complete alignment with our soul path and personal talents.
One of Imelda’s London graduates summed the process up like this:
“Thank you for creating this safe and sacred container, for us to birth and manifest our sacred dreams so we can leave this training, ready ourselves to create powerful containers for others to birth their sacred dreams and creative projects”.
At graduation you will receive a signed certificate stating that you have completed the Sacred Art Practitioner Training with Imelda Almqvist. It is my experience here in the UK that when people are looking to commission someone who works in the field of sacred art, they like the reassurance of knowing someone has done rigorous training, is committed to a personal Code of Ethics and has a good working relationship with colleagues and others in the same field.
You will also be invited to stay involved in Imelda’s larger global “network of sacred artists”.
This is a growing network created by Imelda’s current students where people can show their work and collaborate to always deepen and extend their practice Their vision is to exchange experiences, skills and opportunities and also to help each other out with challenges that arise. Imelda makes a point of supporting all her students and making herself available to them during and long after their training with her. (We are just creating a Facebook group for this purpose as well).
Imelda created this course in London (in 2012) after receiving a lot of emails from people asking her to teach them how to paint and work the way she works herself. She was also asked to pass on the esoteric knowledge that informs her own paintings. And so the Sacred Art Practitioner training was born, (abbreviated to the SAP).During the different components the themes of “sap rising” and “green blood” cropped up frequently, so SAP it is and the “SAP” now comes to the USA!
In this training Imelda and Susan will introduce a lot of powerful material and create very strong cauldrons of transformation – but ultimately the spirits, gods and goddesses are our great teachers on this training.
In every module we do powerful and deeply personalized ceremonial work where the participants themselves receive guidance from Spirit and the whole group works together hosting ceremonies where people take turns in being the focus of the work of the whole group. In her work in London Imelda has observed how this is an incredible vessel for personal transformation and for unlocking creative forces “beyond the human imagination”.
There will be on-line seminars preparing people for this course and between modules to deepen the experience of the work done as a group, so the group stays connected between modules and there is always fresh material and inspiration to work with. We will also set homework projects and powerful learning will continue to occur outside the classroom.
As a prerequisite for this course we ask all participants to commit to attending two on-line seminars to prepare for our work together.
One month before every module runs we will send out a list of materials to bring. None of those will be very costly and many items can be found in nature (like wood or pebbles for making your own set of runes). We will also invite you to bring art materials of choice to all components.
“THE LADY OF THE LABYRINTH” & LEAVING HOME, LEAVING THE KNOWN
(Please note! Some of this material will be covered in on-line seminars before the training starts)
We introduce the medieval concept of a human life as a pilgrimage. We work with the glyph of a labyrinth representing our ‘umbilical cord to Source/Spirit’ laid out in spiral form for us to walk. We start unraveling personal myths and weaving healing stories. We meet ‘The Woman Who Repairs Stories’. We start engaging with the concept of ‘The Leavings of the Wolf’ (and the teachings of the Norse God Tyr): i.e. gaining an understanding of personal sacrifice in return for knowledge and spiritual strength. We start mapping where we have given power away and we start moving from the concept of the ‘scapegoat’ to making a ‘shape coat’: a personal medicine cloak of personal symbols that reflects our learning journey through life and our soul’s mission. We make sacred art in honor of something greater than ourselves and beings other than ourselves.
Nest we introduce the twin themes of Initiation and Dismemberment. We make our own “death masks” (technically “life casts”). We also engage with the theme of the ‘self-portraits’, why and how they have been made in the history of art. And of course we make our own!
We reflect on some of Mircea Eliade’s work (especially on the Sacred and the Profane) to understand what makes sacred space and sacred objects so different from everyday space and objects. We also dip very briefly into some theory from the field of Art Psychotherapy. What power can images and works of art carry? What functions can they play in a dialogue between Self and Self, Self and Spirit, Self and Others?
It is worth bearing in mind that the word “metaphor” derived from Classical Greek means “to carry across.” And Jung’s Red Book addresses this process very powerfully – what can our psyches tell us in image and ritual that our linear, rational minds cannot communicate to us?! What functions can a work of art play as a vessel or container in service to a larger process of healing and personal growth?
We are introduced to the Nine Worlds of Seidr and Norse Shamanism: the Norse Gods & Goddesses (as well as the Norns), the prophecies of the Volva, Ragnarok, chants and songs (galder), and the craft of the rune magician. We will carve and/or create or own set of runes. We are introduced to the ancient art of divination work and we will perform a traditional Scandinavian High Seat Ceremony. We will (start to) explore what unique form of making sacred art calls us to this training and to this particular path.
THE TREE OF LIFE & DREAM INCUBATION
The central glyphs for this module are the Tree of Life and the Dream Incubation Chamber. We will look at the concept of The World Tree (or great cosmic tree) and Sacred Trees all over the world. We will go out on the land and spend time with trees. We will communicate with the spirits of all animals that inhabit the tree, or seek shelter in the shadow or roots of the tree (animals in ordinary reality as well as mythological animals).
We will connect to plants and herbs. We will connect to one plant in particular in a very personal but unusual way and make art inspired by this relationship. We will ask local trees to gift us a staff or stick.
We will create art inspired by our shadow and our mirror image (as well as other non-human sacred twins). We will work with The Storyteller’s Tree and continue the work of unraveling personal myths.
Our ceremonial work for the first part of this module is a God and Goddess Party, where we will all merge with a god or goddess and create ourselves a costume worthy of that Divine Being so that the Gods can get together and ‘sit in Council with Mother Earth’ for one night, receiving healing and guidance for our planet.
We will work with the Rainbow Serpent and her “sacred twin,” The Carpet Snake who carved the Dreaming Tracks in the bush according to Australian Aboriginal Peoples. We will explore the role of the Great Cosmic Serpent: the entwined snakes of human DNA and the caduceus of Hermes/Mercury, messenger of the gods.
We build our own Dream Incubation Chamber where all participants will spend one night requesting a healing dream of personal significance. We also weave in the night sky (in particular the star constellation Ophiochus or the Serpent Bearer).
We spend time out on the land and drop deeply into ‘the Dreaming of the Land’. We work with the dreams, stories and the sacred guardians of the land all the way down to Mythic Time. We find portals in the land and make art inspired by the “soul-scapes” of the land around us. (Please read Imelda’s personal perspective on location at the very end!)
We will ask the Land to gift us a staff (or wand) that will become one of our tools of office. We may carve it and decorate it. We will definitely bless and inaugurate it. This staff or wand does not need to be larger than suitcase size for those who need to travel far!
“THE GREAT BELOW” – THE DESCENT OF INANNA
“THE GREAT ABOVE” SEVEN BEARS, SEVEN SEERS
In the first half of this module we will look at great journeys of the soul made and mapped by gods and goddesses. We will look at the role of divine messengers, allies and teachers and their role in carrying information between worlds.
We will engage on a very deep level with the Sumerian goddess Inanna making her descent to The Great Below to visit her shadow sister Ereshkigal. On her journey Inanna is asked to disrobe. In order to pass through seven gates she releases a garment, adornment or tool of office. This is the classic “Descent” journey in shamanism.
Though Inanna was a goddess and therefore female – men benefit equally from undertaking this journey and participating in the Ceremony of Descent for other participants. One classic example of a man making this descent is Orpheus and every man will receive personalized guidance from Spirit about the great journey he needs to undertake!
This work is very much part of the greater process of balancing Divine Feminine and Masculine cosmic forces as described earlier on. If all human beings undertook the sacred journey to meet and embrace their Shadow Twin (brother or sister) the world would soon be place of higher vibration and mass (collective) consciousness.
In preparation we do a Dance of Seven Veils exploring what we need to release on our journey in Inanna’s footsteps. We ceremonially enact Inanna’s Descent.
In the second half of this module we will work with The Great Above. We will look at the night sky and explore esoteric material and lore that surrounds the constellation Ursa Major (Big Bear, also known as The Plough or The Big Dipper). We will take a brief look at bear cults in Siberia. We will explore legends from all over the world connected to this constellation. We will also look at bear as a totem for the shamanic peoples of the Northern Hemisphere.
We will then use shamanic ways of exploring the cult of Artemis in Brauron, where the annual Arkteia (also known as Brauronia) ritual was celebrated. We will make ourselves a bear suit and ‘dance the bear’.
In this module we dance with the very forces at the heart of Creation, – “ to conceive all the Divine Children we ourselves need to birth before we die” -. Moving well beyond “healing dysfunctional reality” , we learn how to joyfully co-create healthy realities in partnership with Spirit and the Divine Beings that animate our cosmos.
THE CAULDRON OF REBIRTH & GRADUATION CEREMONY
In this module we will explore Celtic Shamanism and the workings of the Great Cauldron of Rebirth. Cauldrons figure heavily in Celtic art and myth. The cauldron was the most important item a household possessed. As warriors were literally reborn from the Cauldron of Rebirth, the cauldron represented a womb-like watery space,
We started this training with an initiation and symbolic death. This final module is about the rebirth that follows, as rebirth inevitably follows death in nature.
We will “weave all realms together” by making our own “rock art” and drawing down the healing magic and stories of the night sky. All is one – Life is a Hall of Sacred Mirrors!
We will all prepare in profoundly personal ways for entering the Cauldron of Rebirth. Others will be our sacred witnesses in co-creating this ceremony.
A personal perspective from Imelda on location
When Susan invited me to bring this course to Pendle Hill she said that she was aware of “geomancy meets sacred art” courses I have co-taught in Andalucia in Southern Spain (with geomancer Karmit Evenzur) and she said she felt this course needs to run in very close partnership with the Spirits of Place here. I did my own journey work on this and here is what I discovered:
This land has witnessed great power struggles (even atrocities) in past centuries and there is sacred work to be done to bring this into balance. The existing imbalance relates to negative expressions of the “warrior archetype” (imperialism, colonialism, pushing native people off their land and so forth) and that old blueprint or imprint contributes to a larger imbalance between the Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine so visible in our contemporary world, causing great suffering on all levels of human interaction. The spirits are asking that we embrace the sacred task of healing this deep within our own psyche, and deep within our inner soul space where dance with Creation and manifest material reality, to anchor a healthy blueprint for the world at large.
This is a HUGE sacred undertaking – but also a life-changing one, one that can contribute to larger change in paradigm on Earth. Therefore Susan and I know and trust that Spirit will call the right group of people together at Pendle Hill to do this work.
Please note that we have every intention of following the course description but, as this work is spirit-led, some minor last minute changes may occur in response to requests from the Group Spirit or world events!
Pendle Hill, Retreat Center, Wallingford PA near Philadelphia. This beautiful Quaker owned and operated retreat center offers “the best of two worlds”: old world charm, strong spirits of place and historical significance as well as comfort and modern conveniences. It is conveniently located to Philadelphia Airport and Amtrak and regional rail lines in downtown Philadelphia.
The course starts with dinner followed by class on Tuesday evening (allowing people to travel during the day) and closes at lunchtime on Saturday (allowing people to travel home). Lunch on Saturday is on your own; Pendle Hill is happy to host you if you choose to stay on campus.
Lunch on Saturday is optional but Pendle Hill will need to know the numbers in advance
Tuition and Lodging
The course fee structure is as follows (and depends on accommodation choices). Bathrooms are shared – there are several for each wing. There are only a few double or shared rooms available, because most rooms are single. Please indicate your room choice on your registration form. If you wish to have a particular roommate, please mention this as well.
The fees are the same for all four modules, to be paid 10 weeks prior to each session.
Please consider that this course will require commitments in terms of time and energy from each participant (as well as the teachers) in order to receive the full benefit of the work. As the organizers we require full payment for the first session and half payment for the final session to guarantee your place on this course at the time payment for the first module is due.
Single room, board and tuition for each session: $ 1064.00
Shared room, board and tuition for each session: $ 984.00
And if you live nearby or are able to stay with a friend, or want to make your own arrangements to stay off-campus:
Commuter tuition and meals for each session: $$748.00
Half of the cost for the last session will need to be paid at the same time as the fee for the first session. This secures your place on the training and our contract with Pendle Hill. The balance for the first session is due by November 29, 2016.
Please see the application and registration form for additional information regarding costs, payment deadlines
Please print the application and registration form and mail with the $300 non-refundable deposit to Susan Rossi. If you choose to pay in full for the first session, please send a check for the full amount of the session plus ½ of the last session.
Make checks payable to Susan Rossi, LLC.
105 Woodland Ave.
Haddonfield NJ 08033
To pay the nonreundable deposit for the first session via Paypal, please send $309 via email firstname.lastname@example.org and email the application and registration form to the same email address. A 3% handling fee is added to Paypal payments to cover Paypal’s charges.
Our intention is to limit this training to 24 participants. Please note that, as this work is spirit-led, this number may change slightly.
If we have not worked with you before we may arrange a phone call or Skype with you to discuss your application
We reserve the right to drop anyone from the training if their conduct is not in line with the boundaries we set for this course so we stay aligned with the highest possible vision for our group work together!
Both Carl Sagan and Erwin Schrodinger have pointed out that Hinduism is the only one of the great world faiths dedicated to the idea that the cosmos itself undergoes an infinite number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the timescales correspond to those of modern cosmology. There is the deep notion that that the universe is but the dream of a god, who after 1000 Brahma years dissolves himself into dreamless sleep and the universe dissolves with him until the cycle starts all over again… the dream… The great cosmic lotus dream! Meanwhile elsewhere there are an infinite number of other universes, each with its own god dreaming… These ideas are tempered by another idea: maybe men aren’t the dreams of gods, maybe the gods are the dream of men…
Rabbit Hill Studio
21 Jerningham Road
London SE14 5NQ
(H) + 44 207 6357125
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