Shaman in the City
First things first. Don’t call them a ‘Shaman’.
In the spiritual wave currently sweeping the globe all the way from the Amazon to Bali, Ibiza or the hipster streets of East London, ‘shamanism’ has become almost as controversial as Trump’s twitter.
“It is a limiting terminology assigned for cultural bewilderment in the days of spiritual commercialism” one shaman tells me. A little bit bewildered I suggested the term “Medicine people”? That one seems to fly.
Ok, no more spirit terminology faux pas’. Now we’ve got the lingo down, we take a look at London’s leading Sham…. I mean, medicine people and where to find them.
What is a shaman anyway? Let’s find out!
Anthar Kharana- The Colombian Pipe Carrier
Colombian sound healer and music composer, Anthar Kharana, grew up in the Andes before moving to London to study at the British Academy of Sound 15 years ago. As a guardian of the Sacred Fire and carrier of traditional medicines of The Americas, he bridges the gap between city folk and his Latin America Elders by carrying a wisdom and authenticity that is both rare and inspiring through sacred teachings.
Medicine of Choice:
Tobacco (the Sacred Pipe) & Sound
First timers interested in becoming a shaman, stressed-out city dwellers seeking reconnection, budding healers and musicians looking to connect the two.
How does it work?
Tobacco has long been a sacred plant medicine for the indigenous people of America, from North to South. In traditional ceremony, the practice is to breathe the tobacco into the mouth and hold it without inhaling. Then to blow it up to the sky to send prayers and blessings to be carried on through the wind to Great Spirit.
When the colonisers of the 15th and 16th century witnessed this ceremony, they misunderstood the value that the plant had to the native people, which is how smoking has found its way into Western culture. So we’ve been smoking it wrong this whole time…
Where to Find Him:
Anthar spends 6 months every year in Europe but still holds regular ceremonies and private sound sessions in London, found at places like the Belgravia Light Centre. He can often be found running retreats, music and gatherings worldwide, or at Ansu, his school of Sound and Healing Arts set in Scotland.
Once a year, he takes a group to his native lands of Colombia for two weeks on a quest, journeying the sacred sites, using plant medicines, making instruments and understanding how to work with the traditional Shamanic Medicine Wheel.
Words of Wisdom:
“Every action we take in life is like planting a seed. When you are going to start a new project, business or relationship, think about it like a seed. Is the timing right? Is the soil prepared? What does it need for it to grow? Seeds spend a long time under the Earth before they sprout, so just like in nature, be patient and remember that things of value take time to grow.”
Lani Rocillo – The Dream-Weaver
Lani Rocillo is a Sound healer and Medicine Woman born in the Philippines and now based in Walthamstow. Lani works with a combination of sound and plant medicines, guiding people to use sound and their voice to express deep-rooted feelings (ie. scream it all out to your heart’s content while being bathed out by gongs)
Medicines of Choice:
Himalayan Bowls, Crystal Singing Bowls, Shamanic Drums, Gongs, and from the Plant family; Cacao, Guayusa and Mugwort.
Wait, did you say Mugwort? Isn’t that from Harry Potter? Correct!
Mugwort is an ancient herbal shrub that grows wild across temperate regions of North America and Europe. Lani hand-picks hers in the mountains of Bulgaria and uses it to thin the veil, bring about a lucid dreaming state and balance the pranic flow in the chakra system.
Much like Mugwort in the way it entices lucid dreaming, Guayusa hails from the Amazon. It’s high in caffeine but has its own balancing intelligence meaning that it calms and energises you at the same time. In Ecuador, they drink it instead of coffee, for the same caffeine kick but without the stress on the adrenals – er where’s my cup?
Where to find her:
As well as regular ceremonies at places like 42 Acres, Lani runs Wisdom Roundhouses for women and a monthly Moon Lodge (Woman’s Circle) focused on womb healing and releasing blockages and traumas through plant medicines and sound.
Interested in plant medicines like Ayahuasca, Iboga or Peyote but don’t feel ready? These gentle ceremonies show how cosmic you can go with a much gentler, easier to integrate, approach. If you regularly experience vivid dreams and want to know more, this is also a good first step into exploring the wonderful world of lucid dreaming.
Most remarkable thing that has happened?
“I had a woman come to her first sound bath who is quite adventurous in terms of experimenting with psychedelics. After the sound bath, she shared she was catapulted into the cosmic realms, which was something she had never experienced before without actually taking external substances.”