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There are two types of membership:

  • Social Membership and
  • Apprenticeship in Medicine Ways

Both require a long-standing relationship with SOTEMS activities, the community and with Medicine Ways.


People who have been involved in the activities of the Society over a long period often ask to become a member but without undertaking an apprenticeship in medicine ways.

One such way is to become a social member.


Training as a healer (Medicine Ways) in a system of mentorship. The period of training is not fixed but varies according to the pace of development and needs of the apprentice.  It includes social as well as formal gatherings such as the Summer School, clan get togethers and training days arranged by different State coordinators.

Becoming an apprentice is a matter of being accepted for initiation. There are three levels of initiation in the Medicine ways path, which require very high levels of commitment, and a desire to contribute to the processes of healing at all levels of Australian life, and also to the world at large.

Apprenticeship in Medicine Ways

The Spirit of the Earth Medicine Lodge represents the continuation of a line of traditional ways handed on, but with the clear instruction to find a vision for our place and our lives. This commits us to a creative path, which demands that we actively envision our direction, actively seek the guidance of Spirit, and actively call upon the ancestors for inspiration.

In this context, the ‘rules’ for participation in the Lodge need to be spelled out. They are extremely simple. 


  1. Your first and greatest obligation is to Spirit who reveals your path and sustains you.

  2. Your second obligation is to the fellowship of the Lodge ... the brothers and sisters who make up the Lodge. What is required here is that, in the spirit of healing, which this Lodge is committed to,  we reach out to each other despite distance and differences. We seek to transcend the limitations of our judgement and perceptions to touch the hearts and spirits of  our fellow travellers.  This also means speaking directly to anyone in the Lodge with whom you may have a conflict or difference which needs clearing. Speak directly to that person; do not talk to others or create gossip which is not in the spirit of the Medicine Lodge. Also, you are expected to attend as much of the Lodge ceremony and activities as possible. 

  3. The last of the obligations, and least in many ways, is to the teachings and the teacher.  This means being respectful of the Lodge  Medicine Chief and the rules by which the Lodge is conducted. This honours the ancestors who have passed this knowledge to us for our benefit.

Each of us has a path which leads into our lives and futures.  It is essential that you acknowledge this and know it in your heart. The Lodge is not a doctrinaire body; rather, it is a platform for our life working with Spirit. You must find your way. Guidance is available. That is the role of the Medicine Chief and all apprentices with respect to each other. Mutual support along the road is the stuff of life and the Lodge. Senior apprentices shoulder a load in this area also ... fostering the development of support processes and the realization of visions, both personal and Lodge.

After the first stage of initiation, the Ceremony of Awakening, you are expected to undertake two further steps of commitment to the Lodge:

  1. A vision quest: This can be one which is organized in September in Central Australia of the year as a group undertaking [although each takes the journey alone in this context], or one which is personally supervised by the Medicine Chief or someone designated by the Chief. The quest must be completed strictly according to the rules; if not, then it must be repeated.

  2. The Lodge tattoo must be placed on the body. Choices for placement are upper right arm, front or back of right shoulder. Size is a matter of choice as is colouring. Remember, the Lodge is not about doctrine; it is about choice. You can choose freely to participate. For example, you may choose not to have the tattoo, and that will meet with respect, but it is a choice not to be an apprentice.  No judgement obtains.  Your pathway is your pathway. This Lodge requires a tattoo for apprenticeship as a mark of respect for teachings and your commitment.

 Later, if you wish to continue you apprenticeship and become a Medicine Person [shaman], then there will be more initiation. This will unfold and your needs and direction will become clear to you.  Remember, this has little to do with clock time, but has more to do with primal time.  Teaching within the Medicine Lodge follows this primal time, although there will be a ceremonial calendar established.  This means that we move according to the movement of Spirit. 


To receive an information package about joining SOTEMS please contact the co-ordinator in your State:

Western Australia : Paul (0414-224-269)

South Australia : Emma (0419-819-089)

Victoria : Guy (0407-495-076)

New South Wales : Andrew (Orion) (0414-707-876)

Northern New South Wales : Lawrence (0404 899 335)

For any other queries please contact :info@sotems.com.au


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Please visit the Contact Us page for queries in your state or for any other queries, please contact :info@sotems.com.au

Copyright © 2004 Spirit Of The Earth Medicine Society (SOTEMS)       Last modified: 17-Apr-2018