by Brad / Gratitude / happiness / laughing

Siberian Shamanism in SLO County

by Bob Banner

Ladamira is a Siberian Shamana. She visited SLO County for more than a week, some weeks back. Every day she was leading workshops for men, women, retreats, and presentations in healing, chakras, sexuality, relationships, and leading daily morning rituals that include dance, jogging, laughing and gratitude. It is this laughter portion that got me interested in learning more about her and her lineage.

Being one of two laughter yoga teachers in the county and certifying about 15 people to be leaders, I was curious when I learned that when she was in SLO back in May, people who had taken some of her classes would take it upon themselves to laugh for five minutes each day. A couple of women told me that that simple exercise had “changed their lives.”

I certainly understand since laughter changed my life as well and I wanted to learn more about how a Siberian shaman would be using it. I did understand on some level but still wanted to experience what she was all about. After two men’s workshops with Ladamir, experiencing a ceremony at Sky House above Los Osos (where one could see all the seven sister mountains from the front of their most spacious house) as well as a day long workshop held at OCC in Paso I now have some semblance of what her work is about. This all too brief article may be skimpy but it’s designed to simply give you an overview especially since another Siberian Shamana, ‪Illyria Kanti‬, friends of Ladamira, is coming to SLO County the week of October 8 through the 14th… in the hopes that people will get the opportunity to experience this lineage.

[For information about Illyria Kanti‬’s visit and workshops here in SLO:
http://www.facebook.com/events/262115503891375/
http://www.hopedance.org/events/icalrepeat.detail/2012/10/10/151

Ladamira spoke in her Ukrainian language and had one of two beautiful assistants translate for us. What a language! What music!

According to Ladamira, the sexes are in trouble, as if we didn’t know that already since the male and female roles have become quite skewed in the past couple decades, to say the least. Of course we have both male and female elements in us, thankfully Carl Jung had the courage to say basically the same a century ago, to at least plant that precious seed in the Western psyche. But the traditional roles of the man being the provider and protector and “leader” and simultaneously the woman being the “inspirer” and the “student” and source for the divine energy (and who needs to be conscious of her sexual energy for more than just procreation) is the new message from this ancient lineage. And using sexuality is not only about pleasure but about the opening of the various chakras, activating these powerful energy centers as consciousness changers, Ladamira explained.

Some of us kidded how this type of traditional teaching might be accepted here in the US and joked sporadically throughout the workshops but overall there was some deep silences and an eagerness to learn more. If the current notion of relationships is not happening in some couples, then we might as well give it a try.

What was most interesting and quite exciting for me is that the intellectual part of any of her presentations, whether it was about social, family, or individual karma, healing our great great grandfathers from their ignorance to learning the importance of how ego can get in the way of saying that one is now a teacher and no longer needs to be a student… but more important than that was the inclusion of dance, massage, energetic upright massaging, laughing and intense dancing. This reminded me so much of the fourth way community I lived in decades ago where education included scholarly work, emotional work as well as physical and sexual understanding, all blended together. However, one major factor that was not included in the fourth way curriculum was laughing. It was either a very ancient technique that got repressed along the way or were simply not yet understood for its healing properties.

And the energetic aspect of what Ladamira was about had an almost prominent position, and perhaps it was because we who have been reared in the United States, and typically this US culture has still, after all these decades of post-hippiedom, much emotional and energetic repression.

She often chided about how people in the US work so much and would share stories from her students about how couples she had been working with never had time to make love, they were simply too wiped out. This was also mentioned in the film “Yogawoman” where one of the yoga teachers who also was a healing professional commented about that fact. Sooner or later, healers will get fed up with doing periodic (hourly or on weekend workshops) to heal people only for that person to go back into the world (of work, marriage, etc.) where the unhealing atmosphere would simply take over any healing that did take place. But that’s another story.

There was energy in how we were taught (in the workshops) their system of massage using the four elements of fire, water, air and earth. There was also incredible energy in throwing negative patterns into the fire (imaginary or not). There is energy in imagining one’s father to be healed by shamanic practitioners and his father and his father and eventually in imagining us being trained and educated to be alive and strong and independent and free and powerful and not necessarily becoming a political leader per se who will change the world but men who become powerful in their own lives and become the protector and provider and leader and be healed and truthful and purposeful and can generate monies and success and who don’t lie around playing computer games or watching silly movies and eating crappy food. You get the picture.

The laughter was incorporated into the various sessions and I finally got a chance to be part of the morning ritual which consists of 10% run/jog/skip/dance along the beach (20 minutes), then a shaking of all the joints with either yourself or with a partner (about 5 min) and then a hearty strong laughing (with no props) for 5 entire minutes! Then a prayer of gratitude, appreciating both the student and the teacher roles inside of us and and a profound appreciation of Knowledge that goes beyond mere intellectual and rational understanding, or believing. And then praying for one’s community and then to end with a two-minute dance and chant.

The laughter part of the morning ritual is awesome. It has nothing to do with conditional jokey laughter but it’s simply laughing and listening to others laughing and allowing the natural contagiousness to penetrate us, to humble us to accept happiness and joy.

Those are my words but I’m sure Ladamira would agree, since the major motif is to become not only stronger and healthier humans while developing and activating all the chakras but overall to be genuine, purposeful and happy.

So check it out with the new Siberian shaman ‪Illyria Kanti‬ or get on Dawn Fuerberg’s list ( dawn@vivastudyabroad.com) for the next time Ladamira will make her appearance on the central coast.

Also, word has it that shamans via Burning Man might be traveling through our special County, so keep an eye out for the new happenings.

Bob Banner publishes HopeDance Online, screens films, deejays, workshop facilitator. He can be reached at bob.banner@gmail.com or 762.4848

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