What to Expect When You See a Medium

A guide on what to expect when you see book a psychic reading

What to Expect When You See a Medium

No two mediums or psychic medium readings are alike. They are as unique as snowflakes! The following gives a general idea of what you can expect, but keep in mind that each medium has his or her own style of working and what you hear and how it’s presented depends on:

The person in spirit (and what they have to say) and
The personality and particular gifts of the medium (more on that in a minute)

Most mediums begin by telling their clients how they conduct their sessions. Then, they will connect with your loved ones in spirit.

The most important thing to remember is that the job of the medium is to provide a voice to those in spirit.

Here are some of the types of things you may hear in a reading:

Characteristics – This can be things about your loved one such as:

Hair color
Body type
Personality (in my opinion, this one is the most important)
Evidence – Evidence are things that prove the continuity of life after death. These can be things about your loved one such as:

Their name, or the names of others in the family
How your loved one passed away, or health challenges they faced
A favorite hobby or pastime they had
A favorite food
The number of children or grandchildren they had
Message – Now the good stuff! The most important part of any mediumship reading is passing on messages from the person in spirit to their family and friends who are still living. Messages can be anything at all!

How soon after a loved one passes away should you get a reading?

Psychic medium readings can be done at any time. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable. I’ve had some clients that have scheduled their reading just days after their loved one passed away and find it a very healing experience. Others feel more comfortable working through their grief for a few months first. You should always follow your heart when deciding when to see a medium.

What is the Medium Experiencing During the Reading?

Most after death communications (i.e. mediumship) is what we refer to as mental mediumship. In other words, when your loved one in heaven is communicating with the medium, it is taking place via mental telepathy. So, what does this mean, and why should you care? Good questions.

Let’s pretend you see a medium to connect with your Grandpa Joe who died.

When the medium hears Grandpa Joe speaking to her, she is hearing him in her mind. While some mediums may hear the actual voice that Grandpa Joe had while he was here on the earth, most of the time, the medium hears spirit in her own voice… think of it as mental telepathy.

When the medium says she sees Grandpa Joe, she is not seeing him sitting next to her, she is seeing him (and any images he shows her) in her mind’s eye.

If Grandpa Joe passed of a heart attack, and the medium says she feels this, she may feel a twinge in her chest, or she may just have a strong sense (a knowing) that this is how he passed.

How is Spirit Communication Possible?

Everything that is made of energy vibrates at a certain frequency. When our physical body dies, our soul continues to live on and vibrates at a much higher rate than when we were in physical form. During spirit communication, spirit is able to slow down their vibration a bit, while the medium raises her vibration. In this way, the medium is able to link with the energy of the person in spirit and connect.

3 Facts About Psychic Medium Readings

1. Grandpa Joe is Still Grandpa Joe

Did you know that when we’re in spirit, our personality doesn’t change?

So, if your Grandpa Joe was funny while he was here on the earth plane, he’ll have that same sense of humor when he communicates with the medium.

If your loved one was very quiet or serious, that personality will also shine through.

If Grandpa Joe didn’t know how to manage his money, and you wouldn’t have asked him tax advice while he was living…guess what? He still won’t be able to answer your questions about taxes.

2. Your Loved One May Not Come Through

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your loved one in heaven will come through during your session. Typically they will, but there is never a guarantee.

Tip: If you are planning to have a reading, think about your loved one before your appointment. A few days prior, imagine telling your loved one that you want them to be at the appointment, too. Find other tips on how to get a good reading here.

3. All Mediums are Different

Even though psychic mediums do the same kind of work, they each bring their own style and flare to their readings. Some are very serious, others are very down to earth, and others bring a lot of humor to their readings. It really depends on the personality of the medium.

Some readers give lots of details that may include first names and dates, and others can almost step into the personality of your loved ones in heaven.

Reputable mediums and good psychic readers take their job very seriously. They will not say or do anything to frighten you, such as give you bad news – so relax and don’t be afraid!

Also, relaxing will help the energy flow better, which means a better session overall.

The Benefits of Meditation

the benefits of meditation

Science and spiritualism are often thought of as mutually exclusive. However, when it comes to the likes of meditation, they may well go hand in hand. After all, whether you believe in the soul and spiritual enlightenment or not, there is no denying that meditation can help individuals to relax and unlock a whole other level of their consciousness. In fact, with so much that science cannot explain and so many spiritual and emotional benefits being offered by meditation, it is unlikely that individuals on either side of the science/spiritual divide are going to disagree about the benefits of meditation or why it works so well.

More and more studies are looking into the effects of meditation on the body and mind and are coming to the same conclusions that spiritualist advocates of meditation came to centuries ago: it’s effects are far from a placebo and not only can meditation help individuals to relax and clear their minds, it can also enable people to live longer.

The importance of beating stress

Meditation may help us to feel better and more relaxed in the short-term, being either a great way of unlocking our higher selves or a means of opening oneself up to spiritual experiences (depending on your viewpoint), but it can also help to improve physical health in the long run.
Many people who practice meditation find it offers an effective way to reduce their stress levels. This is crucial since prolonged activation of the stress response system and overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones is known to contribute to a range of health problems, including depression, anxiety, heart disease, digestive difficulties, weight gain and memory impairment. As well as reducing the quality of your life, this means that excessive levels of stress could affect your wellbeing and even shorten your life, which is a sobering thought.

Evidence that meditation really does reduce stress

While many people have long felt that meditation offers an effective way to curb stress, it is only relatively recently that medical science has been able to back this idea up. A good example of the work being done in this field is a study that was conducted by a team from The Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The experts published a systematic review and meta-analysis of previous studies that looked at the link between meditation and stress reduction.

They found 47 trials with a total of 3,515 participants that indicated meditation programmes reduced anxiety, depression and pain. In their concluding comments, the researchers stated: “Clinicians should be aware that meditation programmes can result in small to moderate reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress. Thus, clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation programme could have in addressing psychological stress.”

Another study, this one conducted by scientists from the University of California and Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, revealed that 12 minutes of daily yoga meditation over a period of eight weeks reduced stress-induced ageing. The research looked at the effects of meditation on cognitive functioning and stress-induced cellular aging in family dementia caregivers with mild depressive symptoms.

When compared with a control group, the participants who meditated showed lower levels of depressive symptoms and greater improvements in mental health and cognitive functioning. They also exhibited reductions in stress-induced cellular aging.

The effect of meditation on heart disease

Many people who meditate report that the activity helps them to feel happier and more content. This obviously has its own benefits, and new evidence suggests it could also reduce the risk of heart disease, which remains a major killer in Western societies. A study led by Dr Karina Davidson and published in the European Heart Journal revealed that people who are usually happy and content are less likely to develop heart disease.

Over a period of a decade, Dr Davidson and her colleagues followed 1,739 healthy adults who were taking part in the Nova Scotia Health Survey. Through both self-reporting and clinical assessment, the team measured symptoms of hostility, depression and anxiety and the degree of expression of positive emotions, known as ‘positive affect’. The team discovered that higher levels of positive affect were associated with lower risks of heart disease.

Discussing the mechanisms by which positive emotions may help to protect heart health, the scientists suggested that the influence these emotions have on sleeping patterns, heart rates and smoking cessation may be relevant.

Dr Davidson noted that more research was needed on the topic before firm conclusions could be drawn. However, offering advice she remarked: “Spending [a] few minutes each day truly relaxed and enjoying yourself is certainly good for your mental health, and may improve your physical health as well.”
Meditation offers a reliable and accessible form of relaxation that people can engage in on a daily basis.

The role of meditation

It is becoming increasingly clear that, regardless of people’s views on spirituality, meditation can have a beneficial impact on their health and wellbeing. By enabling individuals to relax, this activity can help to reduce stress levels and this in turn offers a host of advantages, ranging from cutting the risk of heart disease to boosting cognitive function.

The good news is, there are many different ways to meditate. Whether you want to sit cross-legged in an almost catatonic state of bliss or indulge in more active mind-clearing pastimes, such as surfing or running, you can rest assured that you’re doing your mind and body a big favour.

Meditation may be especially important now. Let’s face it, life these days can be stressful. From financial pressures to long working hours, many people have to deal with a high level of anxiety. If you are feeling the strain, you might benefit from setting aside some time to focus purely on relaxation. There is lots of information on meditation techniques available over the web and you also have the option of attending meditation classes and groups here at Heart Centre.

A Guide to Smudging with White Sage

White sage smudging is an ancient practice used for healing, ceremonial, and energy clearing work. It’s also a common tool that many spiritual practitioners and seekers use today to energetically clear and even protect spaces.
So what is is? How does it work? And how can you tap into the benefits of white sage in your life?
Keep reading to learn all this and more, in this guide to the benefits and uses of white sage.

White Sage Smudging

What Is White Sage?

White sage, (salvia apiana) is an evergreen shrub that grows across the United States, and is most prevalent in high altitude desert ecosystems.
American Indian’s are well known to have used the healing properties of sage to drive out negative energy and evil spirits. They also use it in ceremonies for blessings and prosperity. For generations, white sage has been used for purifying, cleansing, and protection and many consider the plant to be sacred.
According to tradition, all plants and animals have a spirit. The spirit of white sage is devoted to clearing, protection, and blessings. Tapping into the power of white sage will amplify any healing or clearing that you do on yourself or others.
How to Use White Sage…

The easiest and most popular way to tune into the benefits of white sage is by burning the dried leaves. This ritual is known as sage smudging – and it’s practiced by burning a bundle of dried sage and then directing the smoke onto the areas that you want to clear or protect.
As the bundle is burning and the smoke spirals, wafts, and begins to fill a space, it is cleansing. As you’re burning white sage it’s important to express gratitude for the help of the plants spirit as well as to express your intention for why you’re burning sage in the first place.
In this very simply way, the energy of white sage, brings cleansing, protection, and blessings into the space it’s burned in.
The smoke attaches to negative energies, and as the smoke then begins to dissipate it transforms those negative energies into universal energy. And so, your intention for cleansing, clearing and protection is fulfilled.
What Can You Use White Sage For?

White sage can be used in any number of situations including to cleanse yourself, others, objects, a room, building, crystal, or even a piece of land.

Smudging with white sage is simple… But there are a few things to keep in mind when performing the ritual.

Smudging -Exactly How to Use White Sage

To begin tapping into the powerful cleansing properties of white sage, you first have to obtain it. We sell different types and blends here in the shop.

When you go to buy your white sage, you’ll have the option to purchase either a bundle of white sage, sometimes called a wand or stick, or a bag of loose leaf sage. Either option is fine.
I find the bundles to work well for cleansing larger areas, while loose leaf white sage can be more precise. Oftentimes when I buy a bundle and then pull out a single leaf of sage to light alone. This effectively transforms a white sage bundle into a single leaf. You can also fill a fire proof bowl with loose leaf sage, and light multiple leafs at once to use loose leaf white sage to cleanse larger spaces.
General Tips For Smudging With White Sage

1. Set A Clear Intention.

Your intention is immensely powerful when it comes to cleansing with white sage. Make your intention clear.
In addition to asking the sage to clear and protect your energy and space, invite in your guides and angels to help release negative energy into the light as well.
For example, as you smudge, set your intention by saying something like:
I now ask that my guides and angels, along with the energy of this sage assist me in releasing all negativity, density, and energies that no longer serve, into the light of the Divine. I ask this for the highest and greatest good, according to Divine Will. And so it is.

2. Treat Sage Like Incense

Light your sage at the very tips of the leaves, and once ignited, quickly (but carefully) blow out the flames to allow the leaves to smolder.
It’s the wafting of the smoke, not the flames that allows the cleansing energy of sage to be released into your energy and space.
3. Use Smooth Movements When Smudging

While you’re smudging, use smooth movements when wafting the smoke around your home, body, or objects. This is for safety as much as spiritual purposes.
In addition, turn off fans, and close windows and doors to minimize wind, and drafty breezes. Remember, you’re playing with fire here, so use respect, common sense, and be safe!
Once your sage is smoldering, I recommend holding it over a fire-safe bowl, plate, or shell so you don’t drop ashes on yourself, in your home, or out in nature! You can then waft the smoke using a feather, your hand, or by actually moving the sage upwards and then down in a smooth motion.
4. Let The Smoldering Sage Burn Out On It’s Own.

When it comes to sage smudging there is a general rule that once the sage is lit, you don’t want to put it out. Rather, the spirit within the sage knows how much negativity needs to be cleared and will burn accordingly. I mostly honor this rule. However, for it to really work, start small!
If you light many sage leaves at once, or completely torch your sage bundle with a lighter, it will burn hotter, faster and create more smoke than if you carefully light the tip of the bundle, or pull out and set fire to a single white sage leaf.
I recommend lighting a small amount of sage, and if it burns out before you’re finished, there’s no harm in lighting more.
Once you have wafted the smoke in the areas you need, expressed gratitude and stated your intention, you can set the smoldering bundle in a fireproof bowl or sea-shell and allow it to burn out naturally as you move on with your practice.
White Sage Smudging – Step-By-Step Guide for Smudging a Room or Home

Before you light your sage, and begin the process of smudging a room or your entire home, it’s best to start with setting your intention to cleanse the space and release any and all negativity into the light.
Although we need to have a door or window open in each room we smudge to let the smoke and negative energies escape, try to not have it too drafty as you don’t want to risk glowing embers or lit sage being blown around your rooms.
Okay, now you’re ready to light your sage!
Carefully light your white sage at the tips of the leaves, making sure you have a fireproof bowl or plate ready to catch any ash as it burns.
Again, sage smudging is the most powerful, not when the sage is burning with a flame, but simply smoldering and smoking. If your sage is burning and you can see the flame, just blow it out and you’re ready to begin smudging.
When smudging your house, you’ll want to start from the back of the house and move to the front. If you have multiple levels, start from the bottom of the house and move to the top.
When you select the room you’re going to start smudging in… Begin in one corner of the room, and move methodically around the room or rooms.
As you smudge, make sure to waft the smoke up toward the ceiling and down to the floor, starting from the bottom and moving to the top. Try to get behind furniture and in all other nooks and crannies in the space.
You can use your hand, a feather, or a small paper fan to waft the smoke, or simply push the smoke where you want it to go by carefully moving the entire smudge stick (and your fireproof bowl to catch ashes) in that direction.
When you reach a window or door, waft the smoke into all four corners, beginning at the bottom left and moving in a clockwise direction.
Open cabinets and closets and waft inside, holding in your mind the intention to release density, stuck energy and negativity into the light.
The last room you smudge should be the one with the front door.
When you’re finished, move outside and waft around the four corners of the door.
And finally, close with a prayer of gratitude.
Steps for Cleansing Your Energy With Sage

The steps for using white sage for cleansing your own energy, are very similar to the above process described to energetically cleanse your home.
Begin with a prayer and by setting your intention to cleanse your mind, body, and spirit of density, stuck or stagnant energy, and negativity in any form.
Carefully light the tips of your white sage, so they start to smolder and smoke.
Begin at your feet, allowing the smoke to waft around you, and work your way up along your body, towards the top of your head.
As you move the sage around you, hold the intention for cleansing negativity, and gently waft the smoke in an upward direction.
Do your best to waft the smoke behind you as well as in front of you and along your sides.
If someone else is helping to smudge your energy, have them stand in place while wafting, while you turn in a few slow clockwise circles. They should also move the bundle from bottom to top.
When finished, close with a prayer of gratitude.

Steps for Smudging Objects

White sage smudging is also wonderful for clearing crystals, jewelry, books, tools you use in your healing practices, objects used by someone who was recently sick, as well as any object you simply wish to clear.
The process is simple.
Begin with a prayer and set your intention.
If the object you will be cleansing is small enough, hold it in your hand, if not, set it on the ground or a small table.
Light your sage, and begin by wafting smoke underneath the object so that the smoke covers it from below.
Swirl the smoke around the object several times; continue until your intuition tells you to stop or until the sage stops smoking (which is usually a great indication you’re finished).
White sage is a powerful tool to use to regularly cleanse crystals that you use for healing and protection, oracle cards, and really any objects that make take on energy from others, or you feel have some dense or stagnant energy attached to them.
When you’re finished, close with a prayer of gratitude.

The great thing about smudging is that anyone can do it, the benefits are practically immediate, and the positive effects can be clearly felt by those who are energetically or psychically sensitive.
Smudging your home and energy is a great thing to do on a regular basis, especially if you live in the city, do healing work with others, interact with lots of people, meditate, have encountered a negative person, or if you do consider yourself to be walking a spiritual path, or you want to connect more deeply with your angels or guides.
In working with the angels, and deepening your spiritual connection, clear energy is key. While not the only tool available by any means, white sage smudging is a valuable tool for keeping clear, staying positive, and remaining free from negative or foreign energies.

If you are walking a spiritual path as a light-worker, meditator, energy healer, intuitive, channel, yogi, spiritual seeker, etc… It is highly likely that you are going to encounter negativity in one form or another. And really, even if you’re not on a spiritual path, you probably already come into contact with negativity on a regular basis, because we all do!

If you do just ignore negative energy which is accumulating around you, it can build up and cause all sorts of challenges and disruptions in your physical body, emotions, and in the energetic climate of your home, office or surroundings. This is true even for people who are really positive and who hold in their heart have the best of intentions.
Therefore, this is why regular energetic cleansing is so important for everyone, and especially those on a spiritual path, as we tend to be more sensitive.

Call Upon Help From Your Angels or Guides too

Always remember that in addition to just lighting the sage on fire and letting it smoke, your intention is powerful.
Call in your angels, guides or other supports you have and place the intention for negativity in all forms to be released into the light, for the highest and greatest good of all, and then light some sage.

P.S. White sage is wonderful, but it’s not the only option when it comes to smudging and energetically clearing your home! Cedar, wild sage, palo santo, juniper, sandalwood, and others are wonderful choices to cleanse, purify and raise the vibration of your home, objects, or even yourself!



Reflexology applies pressure to a range of particular points on your hands and feet that correspond with all the organs, glands, tissues and muscles in your body. This helps improve circulation of blood, oxygen and ‘qi’ around the body, relieving stress and healing pain in other parts of the body.

What is reflexology?

We are all familiar with the classic ‘knee-jerk’ response – the doctor taps the patient below the knee, and his lower leg bounces up into the air – if you do something to one part of the body you can cause a reaction in another part.

Reflexology applies this response to the whole body. By applying pressure to points on your feet and hands, you can treat and heal problems elsewhere in the body.

Reflexology is based on similar principles to acupuncture and some types of massage – that our bodies are mapped by channels of energy, or “qi” (pronounced “chee’); we feel pain, or generally unwell, when the flow of that energy is blocked in some way. By putting pressure on one part of these channels, the reflexologist sends an impulse or message all the way along it, which unblocks it and encourages the energy to flow freely again.

This in turn brings us back into good health and a sense of balance and well-being, and stimulates our body’s own healing responses.

What is reflexology good for?

Many people go to see a reflexologist as they might go for a massage: to help with their general health, and to make them feel relaxed and calm. But because it is such a comprehensive treatment, reflexology can help you in many other ways, with anything from a trapped nerve to depression.

Reflexology is recommended by doctors for a variety of conditions, including:

back pain and muscle strain
sports injuries
anxiety and depression
sleep and eating disorders
poor circulation
irritable bowel syndrome
pre-menstrual tension
symptoms of the menopause
breathing difficulties such as asthma
Before you go

It doesn’t really matter what you wear when you go for reflexology, as they will focus mainly on your feet, and then possibly hands. Out of courtesy and kindness of course, it is a good idea to make sure that your feet are clean and fragrant!


You should always let your therapist know:

of any medical conditions you have, and treatment or medication you are receiving
if you are, or think you might be, pregnant
if you have recently had an operation or surgery
if you have had any injuries that might affect your treatment – such as a recently healed broken ankle
as this may affect the type of treatment you can have.

What to expect from reflexology

On the first visit, the reflexologist will chat with you about your general health and lifestyle.

Reflexology is not a foot massage. The reflexologist may massage your feet a little to relax you before they start, but the technique itself is about applying firm pressure to specific points on the foot.

The technique can feel a bit odd at first; it can also be a bit overwhelming. Imagine a pain you have had for years in your shoulder melting away in seconds as someone puts pressure on the ball of your foot! Tension can be released, and pain dissolved, very quickly.

A treatment session usually lasts for about an hour. You will probably get a lot out of a single session but you may want to have several more.


You are likely to feel very relaxed after a session; you may feel like having a snooze or a long bath, and luxuriating in the feeling a bit longer. On the other hand, depending on your treatment, you may feel really energised. Some people even feel tearful afterwards, just from the release of tension.

Your reaction is not always predictable but the likelihood is that you’ll feel much better when you come out than you did when you went in. As with other treatments, it’s a good idea to arrange a session when there aren’t too many demands on you afterwards. You may not do a good impression of caring about this year’s sales targets if you are rocking backwards and forwards on your office chair, singing gently to yourself.

It’s better to have a session when you have time off, or at the end of the day, if you can.

The Benefits of Indian Head Massage

indian head massage
Indian head massage is a relaxing holistic treatment that uses acupressure massage on the head, face, neck and shoulders. It aims to rebalance your body’s energies.

What is Indian head massage?

Indian head massage is an ancient therapeutic treatment that has been practiced in India for thousands of years, and is incredibly relaxing. Part of the Hindu health care practice of Ayurveda, Indian head massage focuses on your head, neck and shoulders. It is a deep massage, which uses a variety of pressure and techniques that tap into your seven “‘chakras” or paths of energy and encourage healing and balance in your whole body.

Indian head massage has become a popular component of combined treatments or rituals, including massage and facials.

What is Indian head massage good for?

This form of massage focuses on the three higher “chakras” – mind, body and spirit and as such hits your energy epicentre.

It doesn’t seem sufficient to say that a good, long Indian head massage (involving proper neck and shoulder and back massage as well) will relax you. It’s more than this. It should actually make you feel detached and serene, and leave you sighing and wordless.

Even if you don’t experience this level of relaxation, this massage treatment offers all kinds of other benefits. It will relieve aches, pains and tension in your neck, back and shoulders, improve the texture of your hair and encourage it to grow. An Indian head massage stimulates the flow of blood, lymph and oxygen in your upper body which will clear your sinuses, relieve stress and help you sleep better. And because it can help cure headaches (even migraine!), eye strain and anxiety, an Indian head massage can even help you to concentrate better at work.

What’s more, the use of fragrant oils can stimulate as well as relax you, clearing your head, and soothing you even further.

All in all, an Indian head massage will leave you feeling happier and more relaxed all round.

Before you go

You should wear loose-fitting clothing, so that you don’t feel restricted or uncomfortable. It’s a good idea not to have too many layers. For an Indian head massage, the masseur is liable to want to massage your neck and shoulders, even your upper back, so a polo neck is a bad idea, as is complicated or tight-fitting underwear.

Indian head massage is kind to hair; it is not kind to hair-dos. Remove any hair bands, clips or slides before you go in, and book that hair appointment for the day after

Bear in mind as well that as you may have oils rubbed into your scalp – you might want to take a cap, “Alice” or other hair band with you to make yourself look respectable on your way home, or back at work.


As with any treatment it is important to tell your therapist in advance if you:

are, or think you might be, pregnant
have any medical conditions or are receiving any treatment or medication
have recently had an injury or operation
are allergic to anything, particularly skin allergies
have any broken skin or sores on your scalp
as this may affect the kind of oil and treatment you receive.

Be aware that after your massage your hair might smell strongly of the essential oils used during the massage. If you’re going out for a meal afterwards, you might want to give your hair a good wash beforehand. Chances are it will still smell good, but less overpowering.

What to expect from an Indian head massage

A complete Indian head massage will probably take between 30 and 45 minutes. Your therapist will probably chat with you beforehand to get an idea of your lifestyle, any particular aches, pains or ailments you have. She may ask you if you are having any medical treatments or taking medicines, as this might affect which oils she uses, and what type of pressure and technique.

In an Indian head massage, you might have oils rubbed into your scalp. You may be asked whether you have dry, greasy, normal hair so that the therapist can use an oil which will most improve your hair’s shine and texture. It’s worth mentioning, too, if you have dandruff, or thinning hair, as some oils are can help improve these conditions.

Be prepared for the fact that some of the massage will be quite firm – it can be quite an odd sensation to have your skull massaged, for example – but stick with it. You will feel really relaxed and serene afterwards. The results are worth it.


After an Indian head massage you are likely to feel great: relaxed, serene, ache-free, clear-headed, ready to tackle that important report for work, run the children ragged round the park, or fall asleep immediately, depending on the kind of oils used probably!

The Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

hot stones
Hot stone massage is a deep massage that uses soothing oils, warm basalt and sometimes cold marble stones to relax your muscles.
What is hot stone massage good for?
Hot stone treatments alternate warmth and cold — a technique which has proven beneficial to soothe an aching body. There’s a method behind the madness of leaping from a toasty sauna into an icy pool, and hot stone massage uses the same principle.
Hot stone massage combines relaxing warmth and refreshing coolness to encourage the body to detox and heal. This also increases lymph flow and helps to flush out waste.
Heat relaxes your body in a short space of time, so your therapist can focus on a deep working of the tissues using both hot stones and hand strokes.
Hot stones also increase your sense of relaxation and calm. They are coated in fragrant oil which is smoothed gently onto your body, and each stone in turn is worked by your therapist’s hands.
Hot stone massage can:
boost your circulation
release stored tension
recharge your energy levels
relax you
Hot stone massage is said to have health benefits for people with:
muscular pain
poor circulation
rheumatic and arthritic conditions
back pain
As with all spa therapies, never underestimate the feel-good factor. Hot stone massage will help you feel nurtured, pampered and special.
What to expect from hot stone massage
Hot stone massage begins with placing warm, oiled stones on multiple acupressure points around your body, perhaps even tiny ones between your toes. You may drift off into a dreamy state and lose track of where the hot stones are arranged.
Hot stone massage employs a variety of strokes and techniques using the stones and hands, working over kinks in your muscles. You are unlikely to feel the intensity, since your muscles will be relaxed by the heat of the stones. Your therapist may alternate between hot basalt stones and much colder, marble stones. As your body sinks further into a state of relaxation, you may even stop noticing the extreme changes in temperature.
Hot stone massage should trigger a deeply relaxed, blissed-out and meditative state. Some people have reported closing their eyes and seeing bright colours. Enjoy the afterglow — float slowly back to the real world and re-hydrate your body by sipping plenty of water.
Different kinds of hot stone massage
LaStone is a branded form of hot stone massage and one you are likely to encounter in UK spas.
Hot stones are sometimes described as “advanced” versions of regular treatments in a spa’s promotional material, and feature in more traditional massage treatments, such as Lomi Lomi.
Alternative names for hot stone massage include river rock massage, lava stone massage, or warm stone massage. LavaShells massage was developed in 2009 and offers the same effects by using recycled Tiger Clam Shells that self-heat.
Hot Stone tips!
Hot stone massage is a treat, so indulge as much as you can. Arrive early so you have time enough to relax and absorb your surroundings. It’s not a good idea to eat a heavy meal or drink alcohol in the hours beforehand.
Your hot stones treatment is likely to last about an hour; plenty of time for melting away all your knots, aches and worries.
Always tell your therapist about any medical conditions you have. They will take your medical history into account when choosing the right stones and techniques for your body. For similar reasons, tell your therapist if you are, or think you might be, pregnant.
Don’t be afraid to tell your therapist if the stones are too warm for you. You’ll relax much more quickly and start enjoying that delicious feeling of total well-being if you’re comfortable.
We recommend you should book hot stone treatments on a day when you won’t have to rush out somewhere afterwards. You’ll feel so relaxed and soothed after your treatment, jumping in the car and tackling the rush hour traffic might seem sacrilegious.

Beginners Guide to Essential Oils

essential oils
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are organic compounds derived from plant sources such as roots, bark, flowers and seeds. They are complex chemical compounds and not technically oils at all! They are extracted using a variety of methods to capture the scented particles, leaving many of the other chemical constituents of the plant behind.
Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy based on holistic principles, using the application of essential oils to improve mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Oils can be applied in a variety of ways apart from massage.
How does aromatherapy work?
Skin absorption
Most of the chemical constituents of essential oils have a molecular weight of less than 1000m (m = weight of molecule). Theoretically, any substance with a molecular weight below 1000m should be absorbed by the skin (Ref. Food Cos. Tox. 1989 v 27:479). There is controversy over the issue of skin absorption. Some parts of an essential oil can be absorbed into the skin, but there is no evidence to prove that it is then absorbed into the underlying tissues via the capillary and lymphatic vessels at the dosages used in ordinary aromatherapy mixes.
There is evidence that essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled. The many blood vessels in the lungs absorb the oils and circulate them throughout the body. Our sense of smell connects directly with the limbic system of the brain, which processes memories, associations and emotions.
We ingest oils in many foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals where the essential oils are widely used as flavourings, for example in peppermint toothpaste and chewing gums, flavoured drinks and mouthwashes. It is unwise to drink essential oils unless prescribed by a medical herbalist.
Choosing essential oils
When choosing essential oils you will need to take into account the effect you would like them to have on you and your environment, any related safety issues, your budget – some oils are harder to extract than others and may be available only from limited regions, so prices differ greatly – and, of course, the fragrance.
If you find a particular scent unpleasant, your dislike of it may reduce its potential benefits to you. We have described the fragrance as well as the properties of each oil as best we can to assist you in selecting oils that are unfamiliar to you.
Some oils are not recommended for people of certain ages or suffering from certain conditions. Refer to the safety information in aromatherapy books and the Which oils can be dangerous? section below. Contraindications are also given for each oil in the shopping area.
Use your intuition
Don’t forget, if all else fails, to use your intuition. This is one of the most valuable tools in making the best choice. If you are drawn to an oil, but your brain is saying you should choose another, then why not trust your intuition? It may have a wonderful surprise in store for you!
How do I know if an oil is pure?
Not all essential oils are pure. Some are adulterated with or ‘extended’ by inferior oils and synthetics, or composed of several different oils to achieve a specific smell. These are known as ‘natur identical’. Always buy oils from a reputable supplier. Cheap oils are often synthetic or adulterated with cheaper or lower quality oils.
How do I use essential oils?
In the bath
Using essential oils in the bath is an extremely effective way of influencing mood, although rather wasteful as much of the essential oil sticks to the sides of the bath. Add essential oils to a spoon or two of oil or soap solution and add it to the bathwater just before you get in – otherwise the oils will evaporate before you have a chance to enjoy them or benefit from absorption via the lungs and nose.
Dosage: up to 10 drops in 10ml (2 teaspoons) oil or soap solution, or directly to the water.
Take care when using oils in the bath as some can sting. Lemon, orange, grapefruit, aniseed, camphor, clove, eucalyptus, ginger, juniper, black pepper, peppermint, sage, savory, spearmint, and thyme should be used in very small dosages – no more than 2 drops to a bath.
Alternatively, you can apply a massage blend to the body, then sit in a warm bath for a while.
A footbath is useful when someone is immobile or too fragile for other methods. This is an extremely effective stress-relief and pick-me-up at the end of a hard day and in hot weather.
Dosage: use 4 drops in a bowl or footspa of warm water and soak feet for about 20 minutes.
Body massage
Dosage: up to 6 drops in 10-15ml (2-3 teaspoons) of carrier oil or lotion.
Facial massage
Facial skin requires special care as it tends to be delicate, show more signs of stress and toxic overload, and is generally more exposed to the wind, sun and atmospheric pollutants. For facial massage, select an appropriate carrier oil and use a lower dosage of essential oil than that for body massage. As the face is a small area, 5ml of total mix are usually sufficient.
Dosage: 1-3%, or 1-3 drops, in 5ml (1 teaspoon) of carrier oil (use an even higher dilution for very sensitive skin).
Localised massage
Can be applied to small areas, for example stiff joints, sprains and cramps (e.g., stomach and period pains). As the area to be covered usually requires fast action the dilution used is often lower than that for body or facial massage, but always make sure that you are using a safe dosage.
Dosage: 5%, or 10 drops, in 5ml (1 teaspoon) carrier oil. Ensure that you do not exceed the maximum safe dosage – refer to Dosages for adults and children and Which oils can be dangerous?.
Water compresses
Certain situations require fast action, so low dilutions are used. Conditions like sprains, cuts, bruises, sunburn, insect bites, rashes, large areas of skin infection and inflammation respond well to this method.
Dosage: up to 12 drops in 100ml water, hot or cold depending upon the situation. Agitate the water and quickly soak a piece of sterile gauze in it, wring it out and apply to the affected area. The treatment can be augmented by the application of ice packs or heat pads as appropriate.
Neat application
Cuts, insect bites, spots, cold sores, verrucae, warts and athlete’s foot can be treated with neat tea-tree and/or lavender oil. Apply with a cotton bud. If the area is cracked and dry cover with a barrier cream after 10 minutes. Note: tea-tree may cause irritation and dryness, so treat with respect.
Essential oils can be diffused into the air through dry heat, steam or mist or by fan-assisted evaporation. This is an effective way of changing mood, purifying the atmosphere or getting essential oils into the respiratory and olfactory systems. The commonly available types of fragrancer are as follows:
Standard fragrancers: oils are added to a small bowl of water, which is heated by a nightlight. Cheap, but not safe, as there is an exposed flame.
Electrical fragrancers: oils are dropped onto a metal plate heated by an electrical element. This is safer, but the heat can damage the oils.
Light bulb rings: oils are dropped into a channel in a small ring that fits over a table lamp bulb, which heats the oils.
Radiator fragrancers: small essential oil containers that clip onto metal radiators, which heat the oils. Take care because essential oils can spoil paintwork.
Electrical diffusers: a fan blows across the essential oils container, causing evaporation. Safe, no heat damage to oils or fire risk, but expensive.
Inhalations: Use for colds, flu, sinusitis and asthma, or in any situation that requires fast relief from congestion and respiratory or emotional problems. Use 3-5 drops of an appropriate oil in a cupful of hot (not boiling) water and inhale.
LavenderAlternatively, fill a bowl with hot water, add appropriate essential oils and then sit bent over the bowl with a towel over your head forming a tent to keep the vapours in. This can be dangerous and should not be used for unsupervised children. The bowl method also makes some people feel claustrophobic, and should not be used on asthmatics except with great care. People with thin, sensitive skin or skin that has a tendency to thread veins should not use this method. Note: keep your eyes closed to prevent irritation.
Sprays: Fill a plant spray bottle with water. To each 300ml add 8-10 drops of essential oil. Shake bottle vigorously before each use, as oils do not dissolve in water. Use as a room freshener or an insecticide using appropriate oils. Avoid getting spray in eyes as this may cause irritation. Do not spray on painted surfaces as oils may stain paintwork.
Dosages for adults and children
Please always refer to the dosage table and safety chart when selecting, and using essential oils for adults.
Facial massage/skincare 1-3 5ml (1 tsp.)
General massage 5-10 15ml (3 tsp.)
Localised areas max. 20 10ml (2 tsp.)
Baths/footbaths max. 10 bowl or bat

Children have delicate skin and eyes and are, on the whole, very sensitive to smells. For these reasons, great care is needed when selecting and blending oils. Ask yourself if it is necessary to apply the oils to the body, or whether fragrancing is more appropriate. Take care when using low dilutions in fragrancers as the vapour may sting a child’s eyes and delicate mucous membranes. Do not leave children unsupervised when using fragrancers with nightlights.
6 months-2 years 1 drop in 10ml (2 teaspoons) almond oil Use only good quality oils with high odour intensity (e.g., rose otto, neroli, terpene-free lavender and Roman chamomile). Two drops of lavender on a handkerchief tied to a child’s cot can help if the child has difficulty sleeping. If the child has a cold, eucalyptus or tea-tree can be used in the same way to ease congestion.
2-5 years 1-3 drops in 10ml (2 teaspoons) carrier oil. See above for safe oils to use.
5-12 years Use half adult dose and increase range of oils used
12+ Use adult dose
Which oils can be dangerous?
Below is a list of some of the traditionally accepted contraindicated oils for specific conditions. There is little scientific research to support most of these contraindications.
Pregnancy Basil, cinnamon, clary sage, cypress, fennel, jasmine, juniper, marjoram, myrrh, origanum, pennyroyal, peppermint, rose, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme
Breastfeeding Mint, parsley, sage and jasmine (research has shown that jasmine inhibits milk production in lactating mothers)
High blood pressure Cypress, eucalyptus, ginger, rose, rosemary, sage and thyme
Low blood pressure Clary sage, garlic, lavender, lemon, marjoram and ylang-ylang
Epilepsy Fennel, hyssop, rosemary, sage and wormwood
Care when using machinery or driving Clary sage and vertivert
Care if drinking alcohol Clary sage
Hazardous oils
These oils are never to be used in any form in therapy:
Almond (bitter), Boldo Leaf, Calamus, Camphor (brown), Camphor (yellow), Horseradish, Jaborandi leaf, Mugwort, Mustard, Rue, Sassafras, Sassafras (Brazil), Savin, Southernwood, Tansy, Thuja (cedarleaf), Thuja, Plicata, Wintergreen, Wormseed, Wormwood.
Not to be used on the skin, although can be used in high dilution in fragrancers
Cassia, Clove buds, Clover leaf, Clove stem, Cinnamon bark, Costus, Elecampane, Fennel (bitter), Origanum, Origanum (Thymus capitatus), Pine (dwarf), Savory (summer), Savory (winter).
Compiled and written by Lyn Gardenchild DipIFA IEB Aromatherapist and IEB registered tutor

Beginners Guide to Tarot Cards

Tarot cards – What are they?
Tarot cards are pictorial representations of events and energies that we are likely to encounter in life, such as determination, patience, new beginnings, leaving things behind, joy, togetherness, heartache, reflection, decision-making and many more. Tarot decks normally contain 78 cards, 22 of which are referred to as the Major Arcana and depict the major changes on our path through life.
The remaining 56 cards, known as the Minor Arcana, expand on these themes. Like a pack of playing cards, the Minor Arcana are made up of four suits – wands, representing the spirit/fire, cups the emotions/water, swords the mind/air and pentacles the physical world/earth – numbered 1 to 10, Page, Knight, Queen, King. Some decks use different names for these suits, and others substitute Prince and Princess for Page and Knight, but most of the qualities represented by the cards are similar.
The tarot can be used as a divining tool by reading cards that are selected unseen from a deck, and interpreting the interaction of the cards and their positions in a spread (specific layout), with reference to issues of importance in your life.
A brief history of tarot cards
The exact origins of tarot cards are unknown. Playing cards were in use in China in the eleventh century, and there is also evidence to link its origins to India and to Buddhism, although one of the most likely theories is that it originated in Egypt, where it is thought the priesthood used the cards.
From these uncertain origins, the tarot survived (at times hidden, ironically, within church walls and at other times being used merely as a gaming tool) relatively unchanged until the 19th century, when several new decks were produced. Because of the small scale of production, these were probably limited in their circulation to those with an active interest in the occult.
The first commercial deck – the Rider Waite deck – on which many modern decks are based, was produced in 1910 by A. E. Waite. The tarot has continued to grow in popularity, and modern printing methods ensure that it is becoming available to anyone who wishes to explore its uses. This is not to say that everyone understands the tarot – only study and personal growth can help to reveal its many mysteries.
Tarot Card Spread – 4 cards
Can the tarot tell me my future?
The tarot can be used to map out trends in your future. It cannot give you definitive answers, but it can tell you what is likely to happen if you follow your current course of action. For example, it may show that if you keep shutting yourself off from your partner, you are likely to continue being unhappy.
Some tarot readers do have clairvoyant abilities and they may see you with three children in the future, but the final choice is yours. There is nothing to stop you using contraception after your second child, or using none after your third. The future is in your hands and no one else’s.
If a tarot reader tells a 25-year-old woman that she will marry when she is 35, she may not let any man near her for the next decade. However, she could meet the man of her dreams the week after the reading and may live with him for 10 years before deciding to get married. You must decide if you really wish to know your future. Do you really want precise details even if the tarot reader is clear enough to see them? What good will it do to know how many children you are going to have, and what if the reader’s prediction is wrong?
It may prove much more useful to examine the current issues in your life. How are you approaching your work, your family and your social life? How can you make things better for yourself? What is going on subconsciously? The tarot can help you to understand yourself better, throwing light on things that were previously far from obvious. At times you may find yourself thinking, ‘Ah, now I understand why I was feeling like that!’ and wondering why you didn’t see it before.
How do I find the answers to my questions?
It is perfectly acceptable to ask a specific question before a reading. Sit quietly for a moment while connecting to a higher purpose, then ask, for example, ‘Should I take the job that I have been offered?’ The tarot cards can clarify the subject, allowing you to make a decision based on an understanding of the related issues, but it does not contain a Yes or No card. If all you want is a yes or a no, then it may be better to scrunch up two pieces of paper in a hat and pick an answer – but would you act on that advice, without being able to see any reasoning behind it?
The tarot is about making informed choices and not about definite answers. It’s about using the insight you gain from the cards to make up your own mind. The intention you hold when reading your cards is important. It can be tempting to quickly scan a spread, look up a couple of brief definitions and then move on because it doesn’t look like the response you expected. If you always approach the tarot in this way, the answers to your questions will be shallow ones. If you spend some time trying to understand what each card is telling you, then put them away and reflect on them throughout the day, the answers you receive may be a little deeper or more revealing. Over time, your attitude to your cards shapes your relationship with them, and if you give them respect for what they can teach you, the answers to your questions will prove much more meaningful.
How do I choose a deck?
There are many tarot decks available. The Rider Waite deck is widely used, as many people feel that the energy of each card is portrayed very clearly. The Tarot of the Old Path is popular amongst those who are drawn to white witchcraft and nature-based religions, and the Cosmic Tarot is useful for those who prefer a deck with fewer symbols.
The tarot card decks that we stock in the Heart Centre Shop are ones we feel have been created with good intention and with a thorough knowledge of the tarot. Over time, we can all develop sensitivity to the energies symbolised by the tarot, but it helps to choose a good deck, whose creator was clear enough in himself or herself to illustrate the cards energies accurately. What may seem the clearest deck to others may not appeal to you, so when selecting a deck use your intuition and choose one with which you feel an affinity.
We stock other kinds of cards that do not conform to the system of the tarot and we have called these divination decks. These have various numbers of cards and may not represent energies in the same way as the tarot decks, although they contain many cards with similar attributes. They are like tarot cards in that they are graphical representations of energies that are best understood by feeling rather than thinking.

Choosing a spread
There are many tarot spreads in use, and most tarot books include at least a few examples. There is no need to use a wide range of spreads. Pick a few that you feel comfortable with and develop your understanding of which situations they are best used for.
When doing a reading use your intuition to decide which spread is best – you don’t necessarily need to know why. There is no reason why you should not design your own spread. You may make up a ‘find a new job spread’. One card may represent your relationship with your current job, another for the kind of work you would be good at, and a third for what you need to change about yourself to help you get the job you want. A fourth card could represent the outcome of the situation if you changed yourself in such a way, and a fifth could be a keynote (overall flavour) for the spread. Write down the position and meaning of each card in the spread before you begin so that you are absolutely clear about how it will look and work.
How do I start reading the tarot cards?
There is no quick way of becoming a good tarot reader, just as there is no way to become a good car mechanic or counsellor overnight. The easiest way to learn is to buy a deck of cards and study the pictures, read the occasional book, do some practice readings on a trusted friend and bear the cards in mind as you go about your daily business.
Everyday situations may call to mind certain cards, and making these associations will help you to get a feel for the tarot. For example, your boss may be a successful businessman, unstoppable once he has set a goal. You may observe that he sometimes misses other opportunities because he is so focussed on his initial project, and he may forget to share a joke with his staff. This may suddenly remind you of the Knight of swords, giving you a deeper understanding of that card which will be useful in future readings.
You may have an inherent understanding of some cards, whereas it may take you years to gain a deeper knowledge of others. Reading the tarot cards can be compared to learning a new language. You begin by studying individual cards, as you would learn individual words. You then become aware of how the cards in a spread interact, which can be compared with learning to put words together to form sentences. As you practise speaking a new language you become familiar with its nuances and notice how different inflections can change the mood of a sentence. For example you can ask someone to, “please switch on the kettle”, in a soft or neutral tone, or you can bark it, putting heavy emphasis on the “please” and making it sound as if you have been asking for hours, and this is the last time you are going to ask before you get really angry with them. There are so many ways that you can ask or tell people things.
Tarot cards, like words, can have very different meanings dependent on where they appear in a sentence or spread. When you have been learning a new language for a while you start to think in that language. When you are learning how to read the tarot, there comes a point at which you no longer have to believe in it because it becomes natural. You know that it works because you have experienced it numerous times. When you read for someone else you become a storyteller, looking for the best place to start the story and the best way to relate it to the other person. If you cannot see what is going on in a certain part of the spread, the cards may be describing a relatively inaccessible part of their personality. You may want to ask questions about that area to help them express what has been hidden or unclear.
Many study the tarot purely for personal use, laying out a spread only when they wish to understand a situation in their lives. The tarot can help to clarify what is happening, making their options clearer and giving them the confidence to move on. Books can help you on your quest to read the tarot but the main learning comes from within. How does a card feel? Trust your intuition. For example, you may be doing a reading for someone and a card may seem very fiery, like there is something inside them bursting to get out. You can also apply your experiences of the energy of the cards in your own life – for example, the next time you get the Knight of swords in a spread you may think back to the example of the determined boss and ask yourself, ‘Am I focussed enough?’ or ‘Am I too focussed?’
Are tarot cards safe?
Some people are concerned that the tarot may be evil – that it may somehow be a means for doing harm or for channelling bad spirits. A reader only uses the tarot as a tool. You can drive a car dangerously, or use it to bring families together or to visit places to which you’d otherwise have no access – so it is with the tarot.
You do need to take some care if you are looking for a tarot reader. Before having your cards read, ask yourself if you’d feel comfortable lending them money, or telling them a secret. If you don’t feel you would trust them in some everyday matter, neither should you trust them to read your cards. When you allow someone to read your tarot, you are essentially laying a piece of your life on the table to be examined, and giving them the power to tell you what they see. The danger lies in what they might say and how this can affect you.
If a reader is bitter and angry the tarot may be a vehicle for these qualities, and you could end up feeling the same way. Careless readers may tell you things in an inappropriate manner – saying, for example, that they see no future for your current relationship. You may have been married for 10 years and this thoughtless comment could leave you feeling lost, confused and with little hope for the future. Responsible readers will explore what they see in the cards in a more feeling way, commenting that there seems to be a lack of communication between you and your partner, or saying, ‘I sense you are not showing your partner all of your personality. Why is this?’
A reader cannot decide that there is no future for your relationship with someone because that is up to you. Stating that it has no future almost denies you the right to see the situation clearly and make your own decision – you may think that the cards have told you that your marriage is over, so you must get divorced. Just one irresponsible comment can cause chaos in someone’s life, and in that way, the tarot can be dangerous.
Connolly Tarot Cards – Knight of Swords
The tarot can help us to know ourselves better and to understand why things happen to us. Acting as an open book of philosophy and psychology, it helps us to see the deeper purpose in our lives and to understand human nature. If you start to believe that the tarot works – really start to be convinced of it, or on some level really know it – what does that mean? It may be worth considering this question more deeply.
How is it that these cards fall in the right places? Does it mean that you believe in a God? Does it mean that all material is in some way intelligent in that it knows where to go? Or is a deeper part of you influencing the way you shuffle and select the cards and, if so, how does it know where all the cards are to put them in the right order? Accepting that the tarot works can cause a big life change for some, calling many established beliefs into question – but what a wonderful subject to consider! It brings to mind the Fool card, which symbolises stepping off a cliff into the unknown – but the Fool just knows that he’ll land safely.

What is Shamanism

What is shamanism?
Shamanism is perhaps the oldest system with which man has sought connection with creation, yet it has no scriptures or dogma. It doesn’t tell you to worship one god, or to associate only with those who hold the same beliefs. Shamanism is concerned with what goes on beneath the surface of things – why certain situations occur in our lives and why we act as we do. It is concerned with the nature of our creation – why and how we came to be.
Shamanism takes nature as its teacher. It is concerned with the natural flow of life and with showing respect to our fellow creatures and to one another. North American medicine men are similar to African witchdoctors in their belief in the power of the earth. Those who share these beliefs have often been misunderstood and regarded with suspicion and fear. Medieval witches were burnt and, more recently, Native Americans killed and their ancestral homes seized. The Aborigines face discrimination, and the development of the modern world draws Inuit and other native peoples away from their traditional ways.
Shamanism would seem to be hanging on by a thread. Because all is connected, this is also true of humanity and the globe. In the West, there has been a resurgence of interest in nature-based religions, shamanism among them. Shamanism is not complicated. Many people conduct their lives in a shamanistic manner without referring to it in that way. For others, the word shamanism describes this energy perfectly.

How can I use shamanism?
Shamanism is concerned with being a true human; living in a manner that is respectful and true. Many who choose to travel this road develop clairvoyance or healing ability, but as a by-product of shamanism.
Shamanism is something with which you feel a connection. It is not something to which you sign up. It is not about having powers, but it is about the power to be ourselves, to live the way we would like to live and to feel connected to something greater than ourselves.

What is ceremony?
Ceremony is central to shamanism. It is a method of putting your intention into practice, like kneeling and putting your hands together to pray in the Christian tradition. It is about expressing how you would like to live and what you want to be.
There are many traditional ceremonies in use, but you can invent your own as appropriate. You may make up an ‘I want a job I can really enjoy’ ceremony. You could meditate for five minutes, write a wish-list of all the things you want from a new job on a piece of paper and then burn it, symbolically sending your message to the spirit world. Performing this ceremony won’t guarantee you a new job next Monday, but it will signal to the spirit world and to yourself that you are ready for something new. Using ceremony can bring opportunities for change.

Why are some ceremonies always performed in exactly the same way?
Some ceremonies have existed for many generations, and as they are performed again and again they bring with them the power and intention of previous occasions. When performed repeatedly a ceremony itself begins to hold power.
Many of the ancient ceremonies were received by shamans in visions. Their visions often contained precise details of how to perform every aspect of the ceremony, as if God were saying that a ceremony performed exactly as described would inherently carry much power and the ability to bring blessings to the planet and its people.

Will I need any special equipment?
We can provide related items but we cannot sell you shamanism. The products we sell are only tools – the true place of learning is within your self.
Pipes are smoked in a ceremonial manner with intent and awareness that you are praying and not simply having a smoke after dinner. The smoke is blown to the heavens so that it may symbolically carry your prayers to the creator. Tobacco symbolically holds your prayers and is considered sacred. If you wish to carry your prayers with you in ceremony, you could wrap a pinch of tobacco in a square of coloured material, secure it with string and wear it around your neck. After the ceremony, you can throw this ‘prayer tie’ into the fire and, as it burns, your prayers will be carried to the heavens.
Feathers and wings can help you to brush the smoke from smudge sticks over yourself to cleanse your aura of unwanted energies. Smudging is like having a wash on a level that soap and water cannot reach. Feathers can also be used to direct energy in healing and ceremony.
Jewellery can also be used in a ceremonial way. If you feel that you need insight, you could wear a pendant of an owl. If you wear this pendant only when you want to receive insight, it will begin to carry a power of its own, because of your intention that it should do so. This may help draw you to situations in which you can receive insight. You could of course wear an owl pendant purely because you find it attractive as a piece of jewellery.
If you hang a dream catcher above your bed, this sends out the message that you want to ‘catch’ or remember your dreams and to filter out those that are of no use to you.
Objects are only as powerful as your intention. If you wish to make an offering to the spirits you could purchase blue corn, which is traditionally used by some Native Americans. However, it would be equally valid to walk out to a field and leave an apple – or any other item – there as an offering, as long as you do this with firm intent. By showing intent, you give of yourself. What you have done has taken effort and, through giving, you may receive. Making an offering sends a signal that you are open to receiving, and is a symbol of your appreciation of the guidance of the spirits and of God. The spirits will not eat your offering, but in a way they absorb your intention, for, like everything else, your intention is energy. Your offering completes the circle of giving and receiving.
Shamanism is not about becoming a Native American Indian. It is about trying to reach our full potential as we walk on planet earth. Recently people have begun to blend different faiths from around the world. We may meditate like Buddhists, pray like Native Americans and use tarot for personal development, bringing knowledge from many sources to create positive energy and a better planet.
Shamanism is natural and is only as magical as we believe it to be. When we have an affinity with this path it can feel as if we are wondrous tools in life’s great mystery. We sense that life around us is an extension of ourselves, and acts as a giant instruction manual on how to live life. Shamanism is in part a study of our environment, which is a big reflection of who we are. All the information we need is around us. We only need to know how to look for it.