This episode explores shamanism in modern times. My talk with Ya’acov Darling Khan reveals, that shamans are not just ancient healers from the past.

Ya’acov Darling Khan is acknowledged as a practicing shaman by indigenous elders from the Arctic to the Amazon. His message is: Shamanism, and a shift from society’s focus on acquisition to reciprocity, is a key to restoring our universal connection and solving our interpersonal and world issues. Ya’acov sees shamanism as a path to reawaken a sense of the magic, potential and splendour of creation.

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Transcript of this Episode

REINHARD
Today we’re focusing on a theme that’s widely misunderstood and yet at the same time it sparks a growing interest. And that is shamanism. To bring light into this ancient art of healing and connecting with invisible worlds, I’m looking forward to a talk with my guest today because he’s acknowledged as a practicing shaman by many Indigenous elders and communities, from the Arctic to the Amazon. Traveling the world he worked with many groups and he spoke to audiences such as the Esalen Organization and the Embodiment Convention and his message is: Shamanism, and the shift from society’s focus on acquisition to reciprocity, is the key to restoring our universal connection and solving our interpersonal and world issues in this process. Together with his wife Susannah he founded the School of Movement Medicine. Welcome Ya’acov Darling Khan!

YA’ACOV
Thank you so much. What a pleasure to be here. I loved your introduction: the one thing that connects us all, rhythm. Beautiful, right in.

REINHARD
Thank you. It really does, right? So actually I would love to start with a little episode that has happened in your life that I’m aware of. You have been on a golf course and you have been struck by a lightning. My question is: Was this a part of your awakening and has it changed your life? And if so, how?

YA’ACOV
Yeah absolutely. I was in my early 20s and simply having a game of golf with a friend and a storm came over. We had one of those golf umbrellas which has a metal tip. Like a fool I didn’t even think about it and we were stood on the hill. I was holding the umbrella, he was underneath it with me. We were in physical touch and the next thing I knew is that he’d been thrown off me and I felt like a tent peg had been bashed into the ground. I wasn’t hurt in any way. I did wonder for a while if I was dead or alive, I didn’t know. I was certainly shocked but what it gave me immediately was like “Oh I’m here, I’m alive, I’m awake, I’m present.” And I’ve been half asleep, I’ve been dismissing and pushing away all kinds of experiences from my childhood into my adolescence that as an adolescent they weren’t really cool. So I tried to fit in like most adolescents. But that lightning strike it really put me on my path. I recognized I could be dead, so it brought death very close which in my experience always focuses the mind. When death is close it helps us to filter down into, or to shine the light down into what actually matters. So I started to study and I started to pick up the kinds of experiences I’d had as a child and to explore what were they about and how could they be useful. Around that time I discovered that there was such a thing called Shamanism, and Shamanism was the first theme or broad subject matter that helped me to make sense of my own experience. I was like, “Oh not only do people all around the world have these kind of experiences but they’ve been having them forever. They’re not even particularly strange or special, they’re just part of our human existence”.

REINHARD
It sounds like it was a real wake-up call, it’s amazing. When I was in a Zen monastery in Korea one master told me, “You need to die to your life before you die.” So it’s very strange, in the vicinity of death many people wake up. That’s true.

YA’ACOV
Very true! It made me very interested in death as well. I actually started working as a volunteer in a hospice and I felt very close to people who were dying. Not at all afraid just deeply privileged to be close and again it was that focus of attention. When you haven’t got long left there’s a focus that comes in. So death really helped me like a camera lens just to bring myself out of that blurred “Oh one day i’ll get down to living” into “it’s now, it’s now”.

REINHARD
Before we dive into this really really vast subject of shamanism… You found, together with your wife, the Movement Medicine and what you say about it, is that it is a creative embodiment meditation practice for our times. You also say it’s rooted in ancient wisdom and modern understanding of how change happens. So explain us ancient wisdom and modern understanding. What you exactly mean by that?

YA’ACOV
Right, great questions Reinhard. Ancient wisdom… Our ancestors knew all about the cycles of life. The original shamans were the original systems thinkers, they were the original ecologists. They understood our place as humans in the the bigger web of life. They had a direct sense of that through their visions, through their understanding, through their place in their community. The place of the shaman in community was all about initiation, marking moments of change individually, but also in the community like when the season changes, when the moon changes, when the hunt is coming. For all of these very day-to-day important activities they created spaces which were storytelling, which were dance, which were theater, which were healing, which were collective, which were individual, where we remembered our individual connection to the bigger picture of life.

So those ceremonies place the individual back in the context of “we”, of “us”, of life as a whole and our place in it, and our role in it. And in the modern world we’ve become very individualized, very focused on the self and I don’t think that’s a bad thing as a process of evolution. Not at all.

I think a lot of those ancient communities they were full of taboos and full of “shoulds“ and “shouldn’ts”, and the idea of personal freedom that you could choose your own partner or choose your own work, or choose your own place to live, that just didn’t exist. There were quite rigid structures. So the individual kind of broke out of that and then we kind of swung over to that side of the pendulum. And I think our modern challenge is how to be self connected to us, to we, to this, and so to be what one of our teachers called “The tribal individual”.

And in terms of modern understanding of how change happens, we’ve learned a lot recently about the nervous system and the effect of different things on our nervous system: the effect of the past on our present experience, the effect of how we are taught to concentrate or learn which puts us on high alert, which makes it much more difficult for us to learn anything. If we’re on very very high alert or we feel threatened, or we’re worried about getting it wrong, and I know you know that because I was blessed to come to one of your workshops one time and I loved that spaciousness… Like “if you’re finding it hard lie down on the floor a while, rest. Then come back start again at the basic.” And that sense of “we have to be able or willing to make mistakes in order to learn” which is so different than the kind of education I grew up in…. So we’re learning about acceptance and safety as well as intention and dedication and commitment, and how the brain works when we feel under threatened. Even as much as our capacity to hear closes down, the muscles in our ears contract when we feel under threat. So these understandings have helped us to create modern forms that answer that ancient need for community, for ritual, for belonging, for initiation.

REINHARD
I think you really laid out very well the two parts, the ancient and the modern. Now my question is here, because people might not know how does that look, how to imagine Movement Medicine. And there’s a lot of great guys now talking about movement. Ido Portal, for example: “Move or die.” So, how do I imagine, if I come to a Movement Medicine workshop, course, training… what I’m going to do?

YA’ACOV
Well, the first thing we’re doing is we are helping each individual to shift the focus of their attention from thinking about moving and thinking about “how do I look, am I doing the right moves, am I getting it right, should I be doing this more.” The self-consciousness that is so much a part of our experience. And I really recognize this because I was never a dancer. When I went to my first dance workshop I was horrified. I felt completely like a fish out of water and I hated to dance. But I discovered it wasn’t dance that I hated. It was the feeling of self-consciousness, of feeling wrong, feeling not at home in my being.

So the first step: shift the attention for instance into feeling rhythm in your feet. We put music on, we’ll have repetitive rhythm. How does the rhythm feel in your feet if you walk, if you simply walk in the beat? And then add the awareness of breath to that. And then you shift the attention into your knees and you let your knees be moved as if that rhythm was specific for your knees. How do your knees respond if you let them play?

So we’re teaching people to in a way get back into that child-like fascination and exploration of their own physicality. And we’re constantly helping them to keep on bringing the attention back to the experience of the body moving. What it feels like.

REINHARD
Which means sensing. And sensing is always now. In other words you’re bringing the people into the here and now. So, what music are you using? Is it live music? Is it recorded music? And what kind of recorded music is it?

YA’ACOV
Well we use a vast range of music. Music for us is medicine. Music… the rhythm, the melody, like what you can do with eight notes, it’s just extraordinary. Like how creative the human spirit can be and what a landscape that music can create. We tend to work with rhythmic music without words or at least without words that can be understood. Maybe some language that’s not spoken in the area where we’re working. But mostly really working with rhythmic music and repetitive rhythmic music. In a way we are helping people to concentrate on that repetition. Like the rhythm is constant, it’s something that you can give your weight to, you can learn to trust, it’s going to be there, the next beat is going to be there, you kind of know where it is.

What’s amazing, and I’m sure you know this, is how quickly people discover their creativity.

Like how ready we are to let go of the idea that I can’t.

REINHARD
We are creative beings. If you just take away the conception of what you’re not and what you are already, the creativity is there already and opens up. So it’s not something you have to achieve. You are a creative being.

YA’ACOV
Yes. And in a way we’re always inviting people. We’re saying, “Look, you are being creative. Just most of the time you’re being unconsciously creative. Let’s try be consciously creative, let’s put that creativity to a good purpose which is discovering who you are, discovering what matters to you, and embodying that so that you can explore the physical language, like extend your physical vocabulary, which in turn extends your emotional vocabulary.” Which in turn also opens the mind to be able to receive different stories or meanings from our experience of life so far. So things arise.

People come into a setting which is about learning. They bring with them their history of learning. They bring with them there all their relationship with teachers and all their relationship with comparison. So there’s a lot going on in the individual just when you say, “okay let’s awaken the dancer and let’s shift the attention from knees, elbows, hands, fingers, back of the heart.” Like, let the head move with the body, give it breath. As soon as you start to allow the body to move in the way that it naturally wants to, rather than be held in the shapes that we’ve learned to hold, everything starts to loosen. The heart loosens, the mind loosens, the body, the joints loosen and then you get this much deeper flow of life. “Sensing”, you just said. That capacity to sense and the amount of life that’s moving through us can increase.

REINHARD
I imagine that with that you take them also out of what they think they know. Like the educational conditioning into the unknown or, till this point not discovered realms. And I think that this connects it of course with shamanism because that’s all about journeying out in a world that for most people doesn’t exist, like the dreaming and all of that. So as we are turning over to that realm gradually, which basically is a smooth transition… You sent me two tracks and one of the tracks is called “Shaman’s Song”. Shall we listen a little bit? Then you can tell us what it is, okay? So let’s go.

Shaman’s Song by Ya’acov Darling Khan sounds.

As we explore shamanism the effects could clearly be felt. 

But what are the instruments that we did here? And, where has it been recorded? And, what’s the ceremony behind it?

YA’ACOV
Powerful to hear. Really strong to have that sense of… the intention behind that music which is really to bring together a marriage or a connection between the spirit – dreaming self, our imaginal self – and the physicality of being here on this Earth in a body, with a heart, a human being that feels. And there are many phases in that music. What we’re hearing is a traditional Shaman’s drum that was given to me by an old Sami Shaman who called Bikko Matthis Penta, who lived up in the very North of the Arctic Circle and he carried that drum for 30 years. And the last time I saw him before he died he gave it to me. It has a whole story because the drum for the Sami people is really the heart and soul of their culture and until relatively recently the penalty for playing or owning or making a drum, could be death. So that’s an example of how we’ve attacked our own European Shamanic traditions.

REINHARD
How would they put a penalty of death for making a drum? You need to explain that?

YA’ACOV
The powers that be in the church basically made it illegal on the pain of death to own or play or make a drum. Because they knew that the drum was really the very core of the Sami culture’s capacity to connect with the land, with their mythology, with their ancestry, with their ways and that was in the way of the new religion on the block.

REINHARD
But that’s not right now… right now they could build, right?

YA’ACOV
Now, but it was up until about 70 or 80 years ago, it’s relatively recent which is extraordinary. And that drum is made from a Birch tree and from a reindeer skin and when he gave me the drum we had a little initiation ceremony. He had another drum and we played the drums together and he stopped me halfway through playing. I was really playing and he went  “Ya’acov,  stop”. And I was like “wow, what what’s what…” And he said “what’s this drum made of?” I said “birch tree and a reindeer skin.” “What does that mean, a reindeer skin?” “A reindeer died and you made it into the skin for this drum.” “Yes, what does it mean to kill an animal?” And I said “I don’t know, I’m a vegan.” He said “I thought so from the way you’re playing that drum. You clearly have no idea what it means to touch that skin. You have to, if you want to know what this drum is, go and hunt.” And I was like “You didn’t tell me that when you invited me here to do this initiation.” But I did. I found somebody who could take me hunting, who could take me through the whole experience of what it means to take the life of an animal, to gut it, to clean the skin and to make that skin into a drum skin. And it completely changed it. Again it gave me a much deeper sense of my place in the cycle of living and dying. And the other instrument you heard was didgeridoo played by a dear friend of us. That’s a really great caller of attention into rhythm and it gives that root, base, ground, earthy feeling of continuity and breath. That recycling of the breath is such an invocation of keep breathing, keep moving, keep with it, stay with the rhythm. And then we also heard a leaf rattle that comes from a dear friend of mine, a brother from the Amazon called Manari Ushigua. The leaf rattle is what the Shamans in the Amazon use to purify, to cleanse. They say it calls the spirit of the wind to come all the way through you and to cleanse and purify. So this is a a purification song but it’s also an invocation of that part of the listener to dance into that repetitive beat to the point where the mind gives up trying to follow and the body is free, and the heart is open. And once the mind has given up then our experiences does open to… It’s not that we go somewhere else because the Shamanism that we’re teaching is Indigenous which means it’s body-based Shamanism. A lot of people that practice Shamanism they go off to all kinds of places and all kinds of far-out experiences but because there’s nobody at home in the body. Because the day-to-day experience is disembodied it’s very hard to integrate the experience. Indigenous people live in their body, they’re chopping wood, they’re hunting, they’re using their body all the time. So for them to send their spirit to another reality, to a dream world to find a gift and bring it back, that’s very possible. But for us, our practice is to be here in the body, in the heart and to open our awareness to receive, to connect to a bigger picture, to other forms of information whether that’s through the light of the sun or the wide open space of the sky. Or going down into the roots, going down into the ground. So we’re able to see our own experience of life through a different perspective.

REINHARD
We also heard some overtone singing…?

YA’ACOV
Yes. Every shamanic culture I know has a form of spirit song. And the spirit song is taught traditionally either in ceremony or in a diet. That means a very focused period of time where you’re not eating and you’re focused on working with particular quality like you might die at an oak tree in order to really feel this power of an oak tree, and to feel what it is to have that level of ground and slowness and moving with the seasons. Songs are taught also in dreams. So this song is a song that I was taught in dreaming when I was in the Amazon Rainforest apprenticing there. This song is the call of a particular spirit of the Amazon. Actually it’s the spirit of a very real tree. It’s a very tall tree that has right at the top of it these big black seed balls, like enormous. And in the traditional ceremonies in the Amazon the Shaman might call that tree and in spirit form it comes in and it throws this ball of seeds at the sickness and those seeds explode in light. And so it’s a purification song.

REINHARD
So it’s based where you learned in Colombia, right?

YA’ACOV
This was in Ecuador and in Peru.

REINHARD
Okay. I have also been with a Shaman for two years which was in Korea. Kim Sok Chul, the last living Shaman. He died unfortunately now. And they have quite a different music and I want to play this for you because that’s their way of journeying out into the dreaming, and magic things happen because in the dreaming everything is of course interconnected.

Mudang by Korean Shaman Kim Sok Chul sounds.

It’s so amazing that most of the healing music or Shamanic music, or even Tibetan music is not pretty, there is not any aesthetic in it but it’s so powerful. Even the music we played from you, like people first think “oh where can I get something to hold on.” But the whole aim is to get this away.

YA’ACOV
The one word that kept coming listening to that music is disruption. It disrupts the status quo, it disrupts our normal consciousness. It kind of breaks through what we think of as the only reality and just opens something up. Wow, very strong. It’s so interesting, our son has just married a Korean woman so I’m going to ask you for that piece of music.

REINHARD
I came into it because I was actually in Korea making a documentation for the Goethe Institute and I got absolutely sick to the point where I was about to die, I was in the hospital. And that’s how I met Kim Sok Chul. I had like 40 degrees fever and they put me into this music. This sounds relatively sweet against what they did… They had like eight different…The kkwaenggwari is that harsh sound you hear here, and you have headache…It’s like you’re gonna die. You cannot survive this. And it’s so amazing, it just took two weeks and I was very much back to power. That was kind of my connection. He said, “come back to learn, be with me.” And so I came back and stayed two years with him.

YA’ACOV
It’s often the way that through hurt or something breaking, or something shocking, or through illness, that we find some Shamanic practice.

REINHARD
Do you want to share some of your experiences of how you met your Shaman teacher in Colombia and Ecuador?

YA’ACOV
Yeah! I’ve had several traditions that I’ve been lucky enough to study in. And all the Shamans I work with had one thing in common, they all said the same thing. They said, “look you’re not here to train to be an Amazonian Shaman or a Sami Shaman.” And I had no wish to go in and take somebody else’s culture and their story. But I was lucky enough to learn and they said “your job is to translate whatever you receive here and create something that’s appropriate and contemporary for the place and the people where you are.” And that’s what Movement Medicine is. I met Bikko Matthis Penta, the Sami Shaman through dreams. I was dreaming about him for 12 years and it never occurred to me that he was a real human being. I just used to call him The Old Man of the North and before I was teaching I would always make a little offering and say “oh man of the North anything I should look out for…” and I would get information and then he would come in my dreams, I saw his house, I saw where he lived… and through a whole series of crazy circumstances, which I did write about in one of the books I wrote – I told the whole story of that – I actually then got to meet him. And his house, his face… it was like meeting an old friend. And he knew me. His joke was what took you so long. So that was for me one of those moments where there was something irrefutable. My rational mind could not compute that. It didn’t fit in that rational world, it was beyond that. And the same with my work with Shamans in the Amazon. Again I had a very strong dream about flying over the Amazon Rainforest and an old withered finger coming out from the trees and calling me in. And I ended up going into a Traditional Amazonian Ceremony which at that time I knew nothing about, I’d never heard about it. I had a very strong experience of going back to the beginning of creation, a sense of “we were family”, all of us were family and that we had forgotten that we were family. And the message was “go and remind your people that we’re all family.” But they also said “Don’t come looking for us. We’ll call you when it’s time.” And it took five years from that dream to have another dream which then led me to particular people in Ecuador in the Amazon and in Peru. First of all Peru and then in Ecuador. These days I’m connected more with the elders of the Zapara and the actual people of Ecuador who are extraordinary real elders. They are national treasures, they’re human treasures. One of them is an old man called Sumpa, who is in his 80s and we call him The Flower Shaman. He’s very gentle and sweet but his ceremonies are quite the opposite. They’re just like “boom, crash.” You are destroyed and then put back together in his ceremonies with an extraordinary artistry and mastery. Then there’s another guy called Raphael who is more of a jaguar. He has that appearance of like “oh my god this guy is fierce.” But his ceremonies are incredibly sweet and gentle. So interesting that paradox.

REINHARD
The message in the today’s world that we are all originally a family, this is I think more important than ever because this divide and conquer that goes on at the current times, is day by day getting worse. Just the mask that has split families…All of this corona thing has split, making us believe that “Oh no, I’m right…no no, you’re right.” This division of course makes the systems going and it’s really time to step out of those systems and telling them “no sorry we don’t need that, we remember that we are one people.” And only as one people will make it through that crisis.

YA’ACOV
Exactly. Again I’m going to quote you an elder from the Amazon, a man called Domingo Peas who’s the leader of the actual people. He had a very strong vision and he said, “the only way that our species will find its way through to a better world, to more understanding, is by gathering together the best of all cultures, of all understanding.” So if you were sick and you would go to a hospital and you would have psychotherapists and acupuncturists, and surgeons, and Shamans and hypnotherapists, all working together with all the best healing from all different places, we might…And that’s not just with healing but with politics, with ideas that we have to learn to listen again to one another.

REINHARD
That’s one thing, but I think every one of us first has to understand that you’re responsible for your immune system, that you are your own healer, you have the power to do something about it, instead of sitting and waiting for a vaccine or something else.

YA’ACOV
Well again, a vaccine it’s what the culture knows. Like “there’s an enemy, kill it.” And that’s our medicine rather than “wow, there’s a sickness here.” That’s systemic, that’s to do with how we’re living and how do we heal that sickness inside ourselves. Yes, between us. And between these different schools of thought so that we can then develop what’s natural to us. That’s what Shamanism is and my work is all about invoking in people that understanding of the inner Shaman, that archetype of the inner healer that knows already how to listen to the greater powers of the elements to bring in the waters, to bring in the fire, to bring in the ground, to breathe, to know the tree of life, to sense the power of what’s behind us, to recognize that the choices we make don’t just affect our lives but have impact in the generations that follow. To take care in that way.

Our work is to awaken that archetype in as many people as we can.

REINHARD
And isn’t it also to awaken the people that there is not just the reality they were taught? There is the table, yes of course there’s this table. But what’s about these other realities that are invisible? The dreaming reality and how are we dealing with all of that. When you go and for example smile into your heart. For many people that might be already a weird concept. But it’s very powerful. Mantak Chia uses that all the time with huge success and I think this is the main thing that people right now, and I see this happening, are awakening up to something more than they were taught there is.

YA’ACOV
That’s the bridge of Shamanism, it’s exactly that. The Shaman is a bridge between the physical down-to-earth reality of “Yes, this is a table, yes I’m talking to you through a computer, this is technology, this is this world of physical brilliance and technology and reality” with this imaginal world. By calling it the imaginal world I don’t diminish it, not at all. Our imagination is the key that opens the door to be able to understand and see the miracle that we’re here at all, that life exists, that here we are in this tiny little green planet speeding through an ever-expanding universe. It’s mysterious, it’s a great mystery and that mystery, being open to that, is what keeps us as students of life. Like “I don’t know.”

REINHARD
Curiosity!

YA’ACOV
Most of the Indigenous people that I’ve worked with they say “when you dream something it already has a reality and it’s only a matter of time before that comes into form in the physical world.” So taking note of our dreams, learning to work with… given that we’re going to spend around 30 years of our life asleep, we may as well use the university of our sleep to study and to become conscious of what’s driving us, what’s actually motivating us and what can we bring in, what are the new ideas, the new stories that embrace, that are bigger than polarity,

“I’m right, you’re wrong”, that are much bigger than that? I can contain the whole thing. We need a vision, a dream of the future that inspires us rather than all these horror stories of what might happen. So many people live their lives in fear, especially in times of a pandemic. There’s so much fear pumped into us and it’s very damaging. But we can, we can release that, we can open up.

REINHARD
I think it’s a perfect moment to make us aware because this fear is not just happening now, it was as a seed there otherwise it wouldn’t come out now. But this is a wake-up call to “Hey what’s your way? Why are you afraid of something that’s not already here?” And then of course there’s the real fear like a lion standing in front of you. Then you can run or fight… better not fight.

YA’ACOV
I’m not going to fight any lions in this lifetime. I’m running.

REINHARD
For most people if we talk about dreaming it’s like “oh I dreamt about my aunt yesterday and…” What’s the dream we are talking about? Can you give us your perspective?

YA’ACOV
So there are different kinds of dreaming. There’s the kind of dreaming where we’re just working out our day-to-day activity. It’s like the brain cleaning itself, like a brain shower. That kind of dreaming just working it out, distilling, digesting, getting rid of what we don’t need and bringing in what we do. That’s like a functional dreaming.

But there is a kind of dreaming where we become conscious that we’re dreaming. We become lucid, we’re aware of “I am dreaming. I’m in a dream.” And as soon as we become aware that we’re dreaming then the whole dreamscape responds to us and we can use that dreamscape to look at some challenges we may be facing. If we have traumatic past we can bring that into the dream and bring in all kinds of archetypal figures to help us to work it out. We can literally change our minds and our beings through the power of dreaming.

So that’s a second kind of dream and the third, and perhaps most accessible, is dreaming while we’re awake. So when we’re in ritual or ceremony and we’re dancing or we’re in a rhythmic process that you might lead a group in or an individual in, there’s enough focus, presence, that we open to that dream state which is… it’s like plugging in a wire to a different radio station where there is new and useful information that may be about ourselves, it may be about something to do with our gift to the world, it may be an idea.

You’ll know that in that kind of state between waking and sleeping symphonies have been written. Einstein discovered the theory of relativity in that state. We are open in that state to the world wide web that existed before the internet. The world wide web of universal consciousness that we can plug into as the one that we are to receive instruction, to receive guidance, to receive healing, to receive support.

REINHARD
I have a question. I have a very powerful Australian Shaman who has been working with the Kimberley Shamans. For 25 years he’s been guiding me all the time and we have been in central Australia in the desert, Uluru of course but also way beyond that in Kings Canyon and up to the Kimberleys. They in their way use something that takes them out in a dreaming and that is a Totem. That means that you are kind of learning to distill a part of yourself, very subconscious self, into a power animal and that takes you out in dreaming. Do you have that in the Shamanic traditions you learn too?

YA’ACOV
Yes absolutely. In shamanic language we would call them spirits, you could call them archetypes, you can call them… they’re not the same thing as spirit. It is independent of us. Working with animals that have particular qualities, that support us to go through whatever resistance we might have… we all have our own style of resistance, we all reach our own limitation or the edge of the known, and at that point where we’re at the edge of the known and we’re at the threshold into the unknown, that’s the point where we need our guides, we need something that has traveled. So a Shaman that has traveled there. Or individually you can find connection to a specific animal. Might be a mouse, it might be a lion, it doesn’t matter because each of those animals has a particular quality that is necessary to help you to take that step past the known into the unknown. There’s often fear there, there’s often a lot of internal dialogue and that’s the point of the normal reality starts to shake and we hold on and then there are guides, there are helps, there are support systems then that help us to let go and pass through into that dreaming reality. That’s my favorite in ceremony, in ritual, when I’ve been dancing. Once we can again we’ll do a ceremony called The Long Dance which is 72 hour of dance ceremony. We just stop the music for three or four hours in the night and then straight back up in the morning into the movement, repeating, going through the same meditations. And after three days you have broken through that place so many times that you are in that reality that is a connection through time and space to life itself.

So there’s an expansion of a sense of self that is part of an evolving mystery of life on this earth and life in this universe. That’s a magnificent life-changing experience. What we experience in that landscape, although it’s vast, is so personal to who we are.

REINHARD
And precise.

YA’ACOV
Very precise, yes.

REINHARD
Okay my dear one. The last question. What are you putting out to the universe? What is your biggest wish that you could manifest in the next year?

YA’ACOV
For me personally or for all of us?

REINHARD
Well if you choose to make a difference it’s up to you.

YA’ACOV
Okay! My wish would be that as a species, individually, we find a way of being with the challenges of the modern world that changes our perspective from one of fear and terror about what might happen, to one of the great adventure. We’re on this great adventure. We know we’re gonna die. That’s the only thing we do know. I’m gonna die, you’re gonna die, we’re all gonna die. Everyone manages it, one way or the other. So once you’re gonna know that, there’s not really that much to be afraid of. So then this life becomes a great adventure and I would wish for myself to know this 24 hours a day and for all of us to recognize that we exist in this great mystery and that we are here to create. One of my teachers said to me once, “if you don’t do your dance, then who will?”

REINHARD

Well I think that is a perfect final statement and at this point my dear, I thank you so much for making it possible to come, take the time, get into this very interesting exchange. And I hope all you listeners have been also curious about Shamanism, about also Ya’acov and his work with the Movement Medicine. How can they find you?

YA’ACOV
The best way to find this now is through 21gratitudes.com, and there’s all kinds of free resources there and open events, workshops…From wherever you begin, there’s a way in.

REINHARD
Wonderful! Please check that out and also if you like our discussions leave a comment and maybe you want to tell me what other people you want me to interview. I wish you a great day and keep on groovin’.

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Thanks, Reinhard

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