Indigenous Spirituality

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Drumming Circle

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Reiki

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The Sweat Lodge

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Sound Meditation

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Healthy/Ayurvedic Cooking

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Indigenous Spirituality

An Introduction to Indigenous Spirituality with Don Beacham

 One of our exclusive offerings is for participants to experience an authentic purification ceremony called Metutsiani in the Cree language, commonly  known as the Sweat  Lodge Ceremony.  This cleansing sacred ceremony is facilitated by Don Beacham who is a  long time practitioner of Cree spiritual teachings. In the past thirty  years, Don has conducted Sweat Lodge Ceremonies in Canada as well as in  Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the UK. 

The  Sweat Lodge ceremony is a full-day event  that facilitates participants  to reconnect with themselves, their higher-self, and the ancestors.   The Sweat Lodge is a place of spiritual refuge with potential physical  and mental healing.

As  awareness and knowledge of indigenous traditions and culture increases,  so does our honour and respect for these ways.  We are happy and  honoured to share these teachings with our brothers and sisters from all  cultural backgrounds.

This  respectful introduction to indigenous spirituality requires humility  and openness. Bring a positive mind and approach this process in a  humble and respectful manner.

You  will be surprised at the multifaceted benefits of the drumming circles,  the sweat lodge ceremony, and the holistic indigenous worldview  conveyed through this introduction.

 “Aboriginal Teachings are about a way of Life” 

Drumming Circle

A Medicine Wheel Drumming Circle Ceremony

 All  our gatherings begin and end with a medicine wheel drumming  circle ceremony facilitated by our resident practitioner of Cree  spirituality, Don Beacham (Wapun Muskwa).

What is a drum circle?

Drumming  has been used as a form of recreational and supportive music-making  worldwide. Music therapists use various forms of group drumming to reach  therapeutic goals of nurturing social connections, and getting in tune  with oneself and each other by sharing rhythm.

Despite some  overlaps, a typical drum circle is very different in its form and  content from a drumming ceremony of the First Nations culture. The  drumming ceremony among the First Nations uses Indigenous cultural drums  and rattles, primarily focusing on the spiritual rather than the  musical aspects.

What is a medicine wheel drumming circle?

The  medicine wheel drumming circle is a type of prayer ceremony in many  Native American cultures. This ceremony is likened to a sweat lodge, but  without the sweat. It recognizes the four cardinal directions as  spiritual powers with specific energies and honours them in each of its  four rounds.

The medicine wheel drumming circle ceremony is  facilitated by a spiritual practitioner who leads the participants,  allowing the energy of each direction in the rounds to come into the  circle to facilitate prayers and healing.

The leader facilitates a  spiritual journey through the simple and steady beats of the drum. S/he  then uses them as a lifeline to find the way back to the world of  ordinary consciousness.

The Salal Drumming Circle

Don  Beacham self-identifies as Cree and his drumming ceremony is guided by  the Nehiyawak teachings related to the medicine wheel. Don’s  interpretation of the Medicine Wheel includes the way we see ourselves  and our relationship with life-cycles, seasons, and our connection to  our ancestors.

In Cree teachings, the four directions in the  Medicine Wheel also represent the four planes of existence - spiritual,  mental, emotional, and physical – which need to be balanced to function  as human beings.

There is no beginning or end within a circle,  emphasizing a sense of equality and balance. Don’s drumming circles are  thus open to everyone without any barriers. His drumming circles are  powerful, inclusive and nurturing.

Don uses orally-transmitted  ancient sacred songs and drum/rattle beats to instill a sense of peace  and connection with the self, the circle, and beyond.

The medicine wheel drumming circle connects you with the gifts of the four directions to cherish and ground yourself.

Learn from the teachings of the drum, the circle that is the drum. 

 “Aboriginal Teachings are about a way of Life” 

Reiki

An Introduction to Reiki - the Twan Lineage with Anneli Twan

 

The  introduction to Reiki workshop is for those who are coping with stress,  illness, turmoil, or just interested in learning a tool of healing.  Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of healing and  self-improvement that anyone can use - for themselves, family, friends  and others.

What is Reiki?

Reiki  helps activate the body’s natural healing abilities by means of subtle  touch. Reiki sessions are known to induce peace and relaxation, which  invites increased vitality into all aspects of our being. The  recognition of these benefits has led to hospitals - such as the Johns  Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Centre - to introduce Reiki  in their treatment and palliative care programs.

Reiki was  founded in Japan and has been practiced as a ‘hands-on’ technique that  promotes healing. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which loosely means "Great/ Universal Spirit or Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy".  Mikao Usui Sensei started teaching Reiki  in 1922. Based on the concept that an unseen "life force energy" flows  through us all, if one's Ki is disrupted, blocked or low, then we are  more likely to get sick or feel stress.          

Reiki is not a  religion. It has no dogma. Reiki is not dependent on belief systems at  all, and works whether you believe in it or not.  A Reiki treatment  feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around  you. Reiki treats all aspects of a person including body, emotions, mind  and spirit, creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation  and feelings of peace, security and well-being.

Anneli Twan (Reiki Master since 1984)

Anneli  has been practicing Reiki and giving treatments since age ten, when she  received Reiki level one from Hawayo Takata in 1979. Mrs. Takata, who  originally brought Reiki to North America in the 1970’s, learnt Reiki  from Churijo Hayashi (a retired Naval Medical Officer). Hayashi Sensei  was taught by the founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui Sensei, who also  entrusted him to expand and teach Reiki.

 Mrs. Hawayo Takata made  twenty two Reiki Masters in North America during her life-time, which  included Anneli's mother, Wanja Twan. Wanja made Anneli a Reiki Master  in 1984 in order to assist her with the very popular Reiki classes she  was teaching.   Consequently, at the age of sixteen, Anneli taught her  first Reiki class in 1984 in Denmark. Since then, Anneli has travelled  to Australia, England, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Denmark,  Romania, the USA and Canada, teaching and speaking at Reiki gatherings. 

 “A Handful of Health” - Hawayo Takata 

The Sweat Lodge

The Sweat Lodge: A Sacred Ceremony

  

The  Sweat Lodge forms part of the ceremonial life of many First Nations  people in North America.  Even within one territory, there are many  differences in the way the ceremony is conducted. Sweats vary from  purification and cleansing sweats to healing sweats.  Other types of  sweats can include clan sweats, sweats for vision quests, sweats for sun  dancers, and sweats for when you seek your spirit name.

The  Sweat Lodge has been called “The most powerful place (space) in the  world”.  When you enter the dome-shaped lodge, you are symbolically  entering the sacred womb of Mother Earth.  The frame of the Sweat Lodge  is made of a specific number of Willow or Vine Maple saplings - the ribs  of Mother Earth. 

 Inside the Sweat Lodge, the participants sit  in a circle around a central pit where heated lava- rocks are  placed. When you enter the Sweat Lodge you are seeking the help of the  Creator, your ancestors and the spirits. Helping spirits are called into  the Sweat Lodge by means of ancient songs, sacred drums and rattles.   At the end of the ceremony the spirits are thanked and sent home. When  you come out of the Sweat Lodge your spirit feels new and alive.  People  feel lighter and cleansed, and some feel the healing energies and an  awareness of all of creation and its beauty. 

The Lodge Man
       The Lodge-(wo)man is a person who has trained for many years to  earn the right to run a Sweat Lodge ceremony.  They have received the  teachings and have gone through ceremonies and fasting to develop the  gift that is given to them.  The Lodge man/woman knows the protocol and  history of their lodge and are able to explain it clearly when asked. 

Don  Beacham has been running Sweat Lodge ceremonies for over thirty years.   He belongs to the Norway House First Nation in Northern Manitoba.  He  has followed Native Spirituality since 1984, walking the Red Road (no  drinking or drug use).  His Cree name Wapun Muskwa (White Bear)  was given to him in a Shaking Tent ceremony.  He is a pipe-carrier and a  Sweat Lodge Man. Don enjoys sharing the teachings of his elders, and  stories of his years of experience with people who are on their healing  journeys.  For many years he worked in the prisons in BC, assisting  indigenous inmates with their spirituality and guiding them towards  healing and reintegration into society.  He has counseled people from  all walks of life, on issues of alcohol and drug addiction,  relationships, depression, suicide and trauma.  Combining his knowledge  of western and indigenous teachings, Don has also facilitated many  support groups and circles on family violence, family of origin issues,  and marital issues.

 “Aboriginal Teachings are about a way of Life” 

Sound Meditation

An Introduction to Primordial Sound Meditation

Historically  made throughout Asia - especially in Nepal, India, Japan, China and  Korea – singing bowls have been used for meditation, music, relaxation,  and general well-being. In recent years, along with gracing altars and  meditation rooms, singing bowls are now being used in relaxation  therapies.

At the Salal Sound Meditation Sessions, you are  welcome to test the spiritual and physical benefits of an antique  Tibetan Singing Bowl.

What is a Singing Bowl?

In  various ancient Asian traditions, singing bowls have been used as a  signal to begin and end periods of silent meditation, during chanting to  mark the passage of time, or in traditional rites and ancestor worship.  Along with Naad Yoga - which uses mantras to harness sound,  breath, and rhythm to command our brain, body, emotions, and actions –  singing bowls have been incorporated in sound healing techniques in  modern times.

Antique singing bowls produce harmonic overtones  creating an effect that is unique to the instrument. The subtle yet  complex multiple harmonic frequencies are caused by variations in the  shape and the metal composition of the hand-made singing bowls. The  fundamental frequency and the multiple audible (and inaudible) harmonic  overtones of the signing bowl is said to resonate with Naad - the essence of all sound.

Evidence of Physical Benefits

Scientists  from the National Institutes of Health and the department of Psychiatry  at UCLA conducted studies on sound healing techniques to find  significant reduction in depressive symptoms and increase in mental  health scores among participants.

The department of Medical  Oncology at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York encourages  sound therapy alongside conventional medicine, observing that relaxed  patients have lower stress hormones, stronger immune systems, and better  tools to cope with the psychological and physical effects of their  disease and treatment.

The Salal Sound Meditation Sessions

Many  spiritual traditions employ audible sound to connect to the inherent  mysticism of their practices. In all of these traditions, ‘the sound’ is  also a reminder of the infinite depths of silence.

  • Let the singing bowl guide you through audible sound toward the elusive inaudible sound.
  • Listen to the vibrational harmony of the Infinite.
  • Lose yourself in audible sound to connect with the mystical anhad naad – the ultimate Sound without external vibration.
  • Connect with the primordial Sound that transcends space and time, a void that has no beginning or end.
  • This sound meditation journey is untranslatable into words. It has to be experienced.

 “Listen to the silence” 

Healthy Cooking

An Introduction to Healthy and Ayurvedic Cooking

Periodically,  we offer cooking classes inspired by our common ancient human heritage  of treating food as medicine. The Ayurvedic cooking classes aim to  promote a healthy, balanced, and eco-friendly approach to nourish our  mind-body system. Developed in India more than three thousand years ago,  Ayurveda is regarded as the world’s oldest holistic healing system. The  focus of Ayurveda is on promoting good health and wellness through a  delicate balance of the mind, body, and spirit. The Ayurvedic system  believes that all living things are made up of five basic elements –  fire, earth, air, water and ionized-space (plasma)  – which combine in  the human body and is characterized by three doshas (bases) -Vata, Kapha, and Pitta. Your health and well-being is related to the balance of the doshas.  Basic principles of Ayurveda helps in understand ones mind-body type,  and allow you to make optimal choices about diet, exercise, supplements,  and other aspects of your lifestyle. 

Ayurvedic  cooking is nutritious, balanced, and tasteful. In each meal, it  contains all six tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and  astringent) which ensures that all major food groups and nutrients are  included. Making you feel satiated, and curbing the urge to snack and  overeat.

Classes or workshops can be organized upon request.


Balance Your bowl, by adjusting the six tastes in Ayurveda; Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Astringent, and Bitter.