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INTRODUCTION TO SEIDR & NORSE SHAMANISM – Northern European Wisdom Traditions   

5 Day Residential  Course
March 5-March 9, 2019 

Pendle Hill, Wallingford, Pennsylvania  

A 5 -day intensive Introduction to Seidr and Norse Shamanic Traditions

Do you hear your ancestors calling you?  Or feel a longing in the blood to connect with that lineage?

This workshop covers Seidr and the larger field of spiritual and mystical traditions of Norse Shamanism  – the  ancestral pathways and spiritual wisdom teachings of Northern Europe.

The material is presented in traditional ways, closely following ancient texts – The Eddas –  and old Scandinavian traditions and folklore.

This workshop is a prerequisite to the 2-year Norse Shamanism practitioner training to begin in Sweden in 2019 and in the United States in March 2020.
Here is additional information about the introductory workshop.

In this course, we will explore:

  • Yggdrasil and the inhabitants of the Nine Worlds

  • The Norse sagas and myths

  • The Web of Wyrd – Urd’s web

  • Creating your own set of runes

  • Trolldom – a brief look at spells and traditional magical workings

  • Shapeshifting and berserking – the anatomy of soul viewed through the Old Norse lens

  • Galder – the magical power of song and speech

  • Blot – ceremonial offerings; the roles of priests and priestesses

  • The Wisdom or Knowledge competitions in the Eddas

  • The Norse Gods and Goddesses

  • The role of humans in the Norse cosmology

  • Teachings of Tyr and Odin – the concept of the Spiritual Warrior

  • Divination and prophecy

  • A High Seat ceremony using a traditional Scandinavian version as conducted in local communities

Contact Susan Rossi – msrossi@comcast.net – for additional information. Registration information and materials are here.

This course will be repeated in the U.S. from November 5-9, 2019.  (Non-residential; location TBD)

Watch Imelda’s art video about the Healing Mountain of Lyfjaberg and the Nine Maidens who live there:


Imelda Almqvist is a shamanic painter, teacher, practitioner and author who divides her time between London, UK and Södermanland, Sweden. Her paintings can be found in collections all over the world.

She is the author of NATURAL BORN SHAMANS, A Spiritual Toolkit for Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages).

Her second book, SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit: Where Shamanism Meets Art will be published by Moon Books in early December of 2018. See it here

Imelda is passionate about teaching Norse Shamanism and Seidr. Her school in Sweden is called TRUE NORTH and is situated in pristine forest land by the Baltic Sea. The 2-year Norse Shamanism practitioner program will begin in Sweden in 2019 and in the U.S in March 2020.

Imelda was a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit with The Shift Network in  2016 and 2017. She is also a presenter on Year of Ceremony in 2018 with Sounds True in Colorado.


imelda rune drum


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6-Day U.S. Intensive with Imelda Almqvist
March 12 – March 17, 2019
Cherry Hill, New Jersey area

Based on her groundbreaking book:Natural Born Shamans – A Spiritual Toolkit for Life 


In this time of increasing isolation, polarity, cynicism and environmental catastrophe in our world, how can we prepare our children to be thriving, life-affirming citizens of their communities and of Earth herself?  How can we help them remain compassionate and creatively themselves in the face of bullying, peer pressure and fear of gun violence, among the many other daily challenges that young people now face?

Natural Born Shamans – The Course is for parents, grandparents, educators, healers, and practitioners who want to support children in making their lives and communities sustainable, compassionate and meaningful.

Join us for this intensive training in which Imelda will present her tried and tested techniques for working with children and teenagers including:

  • working shamanically with children on an individual basis and how that differs from working with adults

  • what group and community work with young people provide that one-on-one sessions do not

  • working with children who have died, how these “spirit children” impact families and ancestral fields, and creatively working to bring the  healing needed

  • participants are encouraged to bring their experiences, questions, and challenges in working with children for insight and guidance.

This workshop is open to shamanic practitioners.  It is non-residential, and meals and lodging are not included.  The cost is $675.00. For a course syllabus and registration information, please contact Susan Rossi at msrossi@comcast.net or go here.
Natural Born Shamans – A Spiritual Toolkit for Life is required reading for this course and is available from Amazon here or by ordering at your local bookstore.

   You are welcome to join Imelda’s Facebook communities dedicated to working shamanically with young people at Global Grid of Spiritual Practitioners for Young People and Natural Born Shamans.


“No one who has helped create a funeral for a deceased family pet doubts that children have inherent spirituality…small incidents of profound wonder and startling insights…Imelda Almqvist’s shamanic work with children dives straight into the heart of that place of wonder, and supports the rich experiential connections that children already have with nature’s spiritual heartbeat. This is work that can help each young being learn to trust him or herself and to better step into the world at large, with imagination, creativity and self-worth intact.”

– Reno Shesso, author


“To re-introduce our children, teens and young adults to how to live a healthy way of life on all levels is a desire for many parents and also our responsibility as a community…We need to re-introduce our children to spiritual principles that will help to empower them and lead them into living a fulfilled life that contributes to the whole. Imelda Almqvist is so passionate about providing tools for parents and teachers who are seeking ways to heal many of the issues that our children face today”

 – Sandra Ingerman – Foreword,Natural Born Shamans

A Natural Born Shaman sharing his work: 

SHAMANISM GLOBAL SUMMIT 2016 A 12 Year Old Shaman presents THE DREAM CHASM for The Shift Network
imelda rune drum

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swan mother


One Day  Introduction Class
Haddonfield NJ

Monday 5 February 2018

In Norse Shamanism we work within a cosmology (consisting of nine worlds) that does not resemble core shamanism. There is a very unique and sophisticated way of working with the multiple aspects of Soul, completely different from core shamanism. This is profoundly thought-provoking material for practitioners of shamanic healing (and related modalities). It casts light on issues such as personal power and power loss, luck, physical health and the parts of our soul we employ or harness when we do magical work. We also look at the ancient art of shape shifting and the concept of the Fylgja and protective spirits for individuals and clan. Those are seen as aspect of our own soul that come forward to assist us – not as power animals separate from us.

This material is taught very rarely. This one day class provides an introduction to this work.

5 Day Residential  Course

Wallingford PA (just outside Philadelphia)
5 – 9 March 2019

This course covers both Sejd/Seidr, (Icelandic and Old Norse spelling!) and the larger field of spiritual and mystical traditions. We teach the material in traditional ways, closely following both the Eddas and old Scandinavian customs.  This course is a pre-requisite to a 4-module Norse shamanism practitioner training to be offered in the U.S., dates to be announced.
Registration will open in January 2018. Contact Susan Rossi – msrossi@comcast.net – to receive registration materials when available.

Frau Holle

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“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!
The Training

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.

Module 1

(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.

Module 2
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!

Module 3
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.

Module 4
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.
Susan Rossi
105 Woodland Ave.
Haddonfield NJ 08033

To pay the nonreundable deposit for the first session via Paypal, please send $309 via email msrossi@comcast.net 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
United Kingdom

(H) + 44 207 6357125
(M) + 44 781 5803558



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Hand and face 2





OCTOBER 3, 2015

10:00 AM – 6:00 PM


Join a circle of women gathering to weave and mend the web of creation. 

 We’ll work with a visionary process to bring the Spider Woman, Weaver of the Net of Life, into form.   

She will be our guide to creation and repair of the patterns and paths we are calling into our lives.  

 No painting experience necessary,
I promise! 

You will leave with a painting you created, deeper insight into the rhythm of your creative cycle and a deeper connection to your inner vision.

 Painting supplies and light refreshments are included.   So are camaraderie, generosity, ceremony and laughter! 

 Please contact me at flyingtotheheart@gmail.com

or  856-216-1859 with questions or to register.  


Early bird savings -$140 with registration by September 15th
$175 with registration after September 15th.  

 $70 holds your place – non-refundable deposit payable at registration, the balance by September  29, 2015. 

  Shirt spider







Spider Woman creates through her thought, through her vision, through the powers of clarity and consciousness, through the powers of a universe that sings inside her. She creates stars by spinning a web…She creates the stars to shine upon her people in the darkest night. She arranges the constellations to show her people there is meaning in creation. A single star in the sky may appear a small thing, but be significant in relation to another, through the patterns they make and in the feelings the expanse of a starry night evokes.”

 ~Ellen Lorenzi – Prince, Dark Goddess Tarot

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Soul Retrieval 5-Day Intensive
October 8 – October 12, 2014

Pendle Hill Retreat Center
Wallingford Pennsylvania

Singing the Soul Home

Singing the Soul Home

Over the course of our lives, parts of our soul or life essence can leave us in order to remain safe in the face of trauma, shame or other “soul” injuries. As a result, we can experience illness, or feel blocked or less than we are fully capable of being.

Join us for this intensive training to explore the practice of Soul Retrieval and the shaman’s role in singing the soul back home – journeying to find and restore soul parts to clients experiencing soul loss and wishing to feel whole again.

In this pivotal time on our planet, this beautiful practice allows clients to  experience the love, joy and wholeness that is their birthright.

 This training meets the Soul Retrieval requirement for Sandra Ingerman’s 2-year Teach Training Program beginning in April 2015

Taught by Susan Rossi and Cindy O’Connor

pref profile crop

 cindy prof image

For additional information and registration:

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Here’s a blog I wrote for The Red Thread Nation.  Thought you might enjoy it.  Check out at The Red Thread Nation at http://www.redthreadnation.com and join The Intentional Creativity Movement.

~ Susan

When I was a child, I knew what I knew – I could literally count the information I held as mine.

Lineage Pollinator

I knew 15 jokes, and I would tell them, counting to myself, so I wouldn’t forget them. I knew the name of every book I had read. My parents had names and siblings and parents of their own, and I learned our system of family relationship, repeating the names of all my living relatives in my prayers at night, holding them in the pattern. My world was solid, finite, which for a kid growing up in the city, was a good thing. It felt known and safe – if I could name its constituent parts, there would be no surprises, no upsets, no changes. Everything was in its right place, like a filing cabinet where I could put information away until I needed it, then go right to it.  “Mystery” was what my grandmother read in her Agatha Christie books. And mysteries always had solutions. All you had to do was follow  the proper clues to the information you needed and voila – you had the answer!  All the pieces in life fit perfectly, and I didn’t have to live with the tension of uncertainty.

Mystery began speaking to me when I was older, when my life was breaking into pieces. My certainty about how the universe works was in shreds. I was involved in a custody battle over my daughter and in danger of losing my home. Waking up in fear’s cold sweat, heart pounding, happened every night.

Except for one night.  I woke up hearing a voice saying, “We have never yet let you live in your car. Why do you think that will happen now?” This voice, this perspective, was not mine. Oh no, it definitely came from somewhere else. But it wasn’t scary. In fact, I felt  comforted – I had never had a thought like this before! But I knew I wasn’t crazy because of how my body felt – safe, protected. My perspective on was happening in my life radically shifted. And even stranger – what was actually happening in my life also radically shifted. One day, when I was walking to work to save transit money, I found a $20 bill on the sidewalk. No one was in sight! That weekend, I found a pack of transit tokens in an old purse I had put away. REALLY? I began to feel like I was cared for, watched over. And I got that this care and love was being purposefully communicated to me in a way I could understand.  It wasn’t abstract – I could feel its presence.

Present to Mystery
Present to Mystery

I have had other experiences of Mystery speaking to me over the years. And the communications come in forms other than voices. Once, it was a wave of Love like nothing I have ever felt before or since moving through me, assuring me that, no matter what happened, everything would be all right. I realized later that this wave was letting me know that one of my beloveds, given 3 months to live, was cured. But I also knew that even if the cure did not happen, that was also perfect, because this Love was always present with us. Another time, Mystery showed itself when I opened my eyes during a ceremony and saw the lines of light that connected all the life forms in the room, like a true web of life.

These communications are precious gifts. They are glimpses into layers beyond our “form” world. It is as if the flat chessboard on which we are pieces opens up to the 3-dimensional chess played in Star Trek. We become aware of the infinite levels of existence and how intricate the interrelationships are.  There are so many more pieces in play on the 3-D board. On the Mystery Tour, I have a sense of invisible realms working with us, holding us.

                                                “…certainty is the booby prize.” – Caroline Casey

I understand Mystery as the field of all potential possibilities – in other words, Creator.  And when I invite Mystery in, I begin to see the invisible connection between me and everything else that I cannot see when I am looking at the flat chessboard.  I can see patterns of connection to different possibilities, outcomes I had not considered.

True surrender is the Knowing that there are possibilities I cannot see, patterns I don’t understand – and may never understand.  Some things cannot be understood nor explained.  And when I can live with the tension of uncertainty, I know the mystery play is unfolding in ways I cannot begin to imagine.  And then I live in wonder, rather than uncertainty.


In our Color of Woman work, Shiloh speaks of “alchemical consciousness.” For me, alchemical consciousness is the practice of shifting perspective, of knowing that these other layers of consciousness exist and that we can see them and access them, if we shift how we interact with the world of form. Surrendering certainty about how events “should” unfold in the form world is key, in my experience. The need to own information, to count what I know and store it safely because it explains how the world works, gets in the way of dancing with Mystery. It’s only when I surrender information and data, when I inhabit uncertainty, when I have no idea how to move next and am willing to wait, that Mystery – Magic – infuses the form world of my life and opens access to the Unseen.  I don’t even know what the question is, just that I don’t know.  Connections become apparent, new possibilities show up, miracles happen. When I surrender my authority and become the Fool of the Tarot, and then invite partnership with the Great Unknown, I move into place of the Magician.68px-RWS_Tarot_01_Magician

Our Red Thread Nation work with intentional creativity is one way of inviting Mystery to infuse our lives and to bring us its gifts, to open us to the Sacred Dimensions pervading our 3-dimensional world. When we create in sacred space, shifting consciousness to a place of inquiry with the intention to connect to that which is bigger than we are, our work communicates that energy and intention to those who see it.  Our paintings contain and transmit the energy of this dance with Mystery and its gifts to us. The paintings are points, portals, where power and Grace have entered the world of form, where human and Creator have met. To paraphrase Caroline Casey, who reports the Mythic News, as humans, we are myth and image – seeking beings.  To see and understand the depth and multiplicity in patterns is to be able to see in layers of meanings – to understand symbol and metaphor.  The Greek roots of “metaphor” mean “to bear” and “tocarry across.”   The images, symbols and colors present in our paintings are feeding us and everyone who sees them, at the soul level and bringing through the Unseen in ways that we cannot explain.

Bridging Worlds (in progress)
Bridging Worlds (in progress)

” Metaphor is the incarnational garb through which power enters the world.”
– Caroline Casey

I often feel afraid when I stand in front of a blank canvas. I know I am extending the invitation, I know the Dance is about to begin. I certainly don’t know what will happen, what will show up. I do know that at some point the images will become alive and will enter into the Dance with me. Then the fear becomes an ecstatic feeling, a surrender to wherever the Dance wants to go. The ecstatic dance is not always joyful. It can be painful and full of tears, but it is always a Dance of power and grace.  Unlike Agatha Christie’s mysteries, there are often no definite answers, because the Dance goes on as long as I am willing to continue.  I want to see what happens next, how the next act of  the Mystery Play will unfold, where the Mystery Tour will take me.  And no matter how scary or suspenseful,  I know that I am loved and cared for and held tenderly by the Mystery.

Susan Rossi

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner of Shamanic Arts, Wake-Up Artist and Guide to the Way In at Flying to the Heart. She works with people seeking to creatively travel the sacred path into the Heart of What Matters Most.  Her core belief is that each of us holds inside the seeds of creativity, healing and transformation. Each of us holds a sacred story wanting expression. Her passion is helping clients and students discover how to nurture themselves in the garden of possibilities, to align with their unique purpose and calling, and to shine their own brilliance and beauty in the world.  She uses traditional and contemporary shamanic work and the process of intentional creativity with clients to bring transformation, healing stories and symbols into their lives.

This journey is not for the faint of heart.  It requires the willingness to  look deeply at what can seem impossible or frightening to change. It calls up the courage to paint the images of connection and write the healing stories that reshape lives, relationships, families and communities. Setting out on the journey awakens the ability to author the future we want to create. It is Susan’s privilege to be your creative collaborator and guide.

Susan is a passionate long-time explorer of mystery and metaphor and the relationship between mind, body and spirit.  She has a shamanic practice working with clients, students and apprentices, and has studied with Sandra Ingerman, Betsy Bergstrom, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and indigenous healers, teachers and mystics for 20 years. She has explored painting, poetry and musecraft with Visionary Artist Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Poet Caron McCloud and is a certified teacher of the Color of Woman Method.  She is a hypnotherapist, Reiki Master, reflexologist and yoga teacher.

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