The Between Workshops

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Shamanism, the practice of seeking guidance and support from compassionate helping spirits, has informed humanity for more than 40,000 years. Traditionally, shamans were responsible for the health and well-being of their communities.  It was acknowledged that shamans had special abilities to communicate with the spirit realm. However, all people were credited with the ability to establish relationships with spirits, and many people recognized their power animals and their helping spirits. We are moving into a time when more and more people are interested in reclaiming their power and in being in relationship with the unseen realms. This series will not make you a shaman, but it will offer training and initiations in some of the basic and advanced shamanic practices. 

The shaman’s place is often described as “betwixt and between.” A shaman is said to “walk between the worlds,” and to “see in the dark.” And what is seen and known in these places? Shamanism is a path of direct revelation of the divine. You need not be a shaman to experience the insight, guidance and transcendence of shamanism. These workshops focus on essential practices, including the shamanic journey, mediumship, psychopomping (assisting souls in crossing over), curse and thought-form unraveling, and compassionate depossession. 

Between Workshop Descriptions

Between Worlds: The Shamanic Journey
No previous experience required. 
Shamanism is a path of direct revelation, and the shamanic journey is the “first step” on the path. This is an introduction to non-ordinary reality and is intended for people new to the shamanic journey. We also welcome those with experience, who wish to reconnect to their helping spirits, and to experience the power of a circle of people joined with common intention. This is an experiential, initiatory workshop. It will include:
•    An overview of the history and perspective of shamanism;
•    Traditional and unique ways of creating sacred space;
•    Exploration of traditional shamanic cosmologies (the Upper, Middle, and Lower Worlds, etc.);
•    Guidance in how to engage in shamanic journeys, and opportunities to engage in specific journeys;
•    Introduction of important spirit allies, including the True Self, Power Animals, and other compassionate guiding spirits;
•    Information about how to communicate safely and respectfully in the spirit realm;
•    Recommended Reading List.

Between Voices: The Medium Speaks
This workshop focuses on the practice of conscious Mediumship, with the intention of giving voice to compassionate spirits. No experience necessary. Sensitivity to the unseen is a normal human attribute that may be strengthened and honed with practice. This workshop offers a safe, supportive environment for remembering and developing our skills and talents; and an opportunity for working with others in community. This work is in the lineage of the ground-breaking compassionate teachings of Betsy Bergstrom. This is an experiential, initiatory workshop. It will include:
•    An overview of special abilities humans use to evaluate and negotiate our environments;
•    A brief history of the role of Medium and Oracle;
•    Differentiating between conscious (intentional) and unconscious Mediumship;
•    Practice recognizing our inclination to attune (bodily, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually) to resonances in our environment (including to each other);
•    Opportunities to attune to compassionate spirits, and to give voice to them, for the purpose of bringing forth insight, wisdom, and healing;
•    Practice in consciousness to consciousness communication;
•    Developing a protocol, including the intentional setting of sacred space, for being grounded and aware while practicing intentional Mediumship and in daily life;
•    Practice in Physical Mediumship: acting as a clear channel for healing energies;
•    Recommended Reading List.

Between Lives: Exploring Death & Dying
Prerequisites: Participants must have experience with shamanic journeying.
Death and dying are experiences common to every human being ever born. Our contemporary culture tends to fear and look away from this natural transition. This workshop is an opportunity to explore death and dying with curiosity and with a shamanic perspective in a supportive, sacred environment. This is an experiential, initiatory workshop. It will include:
•    Exploration of cosmologies of death and dying: Where do we go when we die?
•    Examination of what constitutes a “good” death (and conversely, a “bad” death);
•    Shamanic journeys to gain insight into how to prepare for a good death and how to help others prepare;
•    Exploration of death and dying as transitional experiences;
•    Introduction of the some of the compassionate spirit allies who assist with transitions;
•    Opportunity to explore one of the important traditional roles of the shaman: that of “Psychopomp” or “conductor of souls.” 
•    Recommended Reading List.

Between Intentions: Curse & Thoughtform Unraveling
Prerequisites: Participants should have extensive experience with shamanic journeying. Please bring a rattle to this workshop. The unseen realm is a place of infinite beauty and compassion. It is also often the source of the issues and challenges that confront us in our lives. People in contemporary culture may scoff at the idea of “curses” playing out in our lives. But what might we learn if we suspend skepticism for a few hours, and examine the energetic dynamics and impact of negative intentions and emotions? In this workshop, we will explore how our lives change when we turn our attention toward freeing ourselves of old patterns, and toward investing our energies in new dreams. This work is in the lineage of the ground-breaking compassionate teachings of Betsy Bergstrom. This is an experiential, initiatory workshop. It will include:
•    Establishing relationships with powerful spirit allies for guidance and protection while working in the Middle World;
•    Examination of various kinds of curses and thoughtforms through history and across cultures (intentional, unintentional, professional, personal, ancestral, geographical, etc.)
•    Techniques for discovering and deconstructing curses and thoughtforms;
•    Clearing past life and ancestral patterns and curses;
•    How to work safely with negative intentions, curses, and thoughtforms ;
•    Divesting old dreams of their energy in order to reinvest in new dreams;
•    Self-care and client care after clearing work;
•    Recommended Reading List.

Between Angels: Introduction to Compassionate Depossession
co-taught by Cindy O’Connor and Susan Rossi
This workshop is an opportunity to safely explore the common – if extraordinary – illness of spirit possession. While this illness may manifest as portrayed in the drama of popular culture, it is much more often experienced as subtle influence; and most often goes unrecognized or misdiagnosed. Compassionate Depossession is the gentle, unconditionally loving practice of helping incarnate and discarnate beings to freedom. It is an essential skill for the serious shamanic practitioner, as well as for many professional counselors and psychotherapists. This work is in the lineage of the ground-breaking compassionate teachings of Betsy Bergstrom. Pre-requisites: Applicants for this class must have taken the preceding four workshops, or comparable training. They must also have a regular spiritual practice, and reliable connections with their helping spirits. Please bring a rattle. Note that this is a three day workshop. This is an experiential, initiatory workshop. It will include:
•    Exploration of the history, causes, dynamics, and symptoms of possession;
•    Brief overview of various techniques for alleviating the suffering caused by possession;
•    In depth exploration of the practice of compassionate depossession, including step-by-step protocol; demonstrations; and practice;
•    Establishing personal relationships with the powerful spirit allies of this work;
•    Recommendations for working safely in the Middle World;
•    Aftercare for self and client;
•    Prevention of possession and overshadowing;
•    Recommended Reading List.

 
 

Cindy O’Connor has worked as a Reiki Master since 2002, and as a Shamanic Practitioner since 2003. She is a founding member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners and a graduate of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies 3-Year Program. She sponsored and assisted Betsy Bergstrom’s east coast teaching for four years, and is a graduate of Betsy’s first Compassionate Depossession Teacher Training Program. She has experience in hospice and cancer care. Founder and leader of the Open Heart Circle, she is also a long-time member of the Mercer County Circle. Cindy teaches a wide range of shamanic practices under the umbrella of the “Between” workshops. For more information, please visit cindyoconnor.net.

Susan Rossi  worked with clients in her shamanic practice for 15 years. She is a graduate of Sandra Ingerman's 2-year Teacher Training and of Betsy Bergstrom's Compassionate Depossession Teacher Training. She has been privileged to study with teachers from The Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and has worked with indigenous teachers, mystics and healers for 20 years. Susan teaches classes in shamanic practice and painting and led the Merchantville Drumming Circle for 10 years.  She is also a trained hypnotherapist, Reiki Master and reflexologist, and completed two years of the Sisterhood of the Silver Branch goddess studies. For more information, please visit www.flyingtotheheart.com.