Central Desert - Next Entry Point : April 2019 (2 Year Program)
Introducing Advanced Shamanic Practice Training
It is true to say that, worldwide, the value and place of shamanism in the
history of the healing arts and sciences and in the evolutionary history of
human culture has received the appropriate attention and recognition due to it.
Shamanism stands as the oldest form of transpersonal healing in human culture
and it has inspired the development of human consciousness through the discovery
and use of symbolic forms expressed in art and ritual. Archaeological evidence
for these contributions has been mounting for some decades now. Moreover, it is
clear that shamanism has been a significant precursor to the world’s major
special interest in all of this is the recognition that shamanism in its various
forms around the world and through time has created technologies for exploring
and expressing domains of consciousness which have now been incorporated into
medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy in new and meaningful ways. The World
Health Organization has renewed its efforts, initiated in the 1970’s, to build
bridges between shamanic traditions and western medicine and psychiatry.
Shamanism has been re-visited as a way of being in the world … a fundamental,
practical philosophy and tool for human development … by leading scholar and
practitioners. At the same time, many shamans worldwide have begun to offer
their cultural materials associated with shamanism to those who are willing to
Ikon Institute, we have taught shamanic practice programs for over 20 years, all
the time developing an approach which is distinctively Australian, informed by
the Australian Dreaming Project (ADP). This is an undertaking which has
seen graduates from our advanced program go out into the community and deliver
this new and exciting direction n shamanic practice, often in conjunction with
other modalities such as counselling, psychotherapy, medicine, psychiatry,
kinesiology, body work and so on.
We invite you to become part of our shamanic work. We deliver the training in
the Central Desert, near Alice Springs so that the spirit of this country we are
in speaks to us, lives with and in us as we live in it. We move there in
landscapes which are many-layered, rich and evolving.
To be a shamanic practitioner is to learn to navigate … through the realms of
human consciousness, through the worlds which are part of this domain and
through all of the vicissitudes of human life across the life-cycle, through
birth and all intervening transitions to death, from illness and despair to
health and wellbeing and new horizons, from being trapped in the walled city of
unconscious mass society to the liberation of mind, body, heart and soul.
Course Author and Facilitator
The Advanced Shamanic Practice has been developed and taught by Dr Rafael
Locke who has trained people in shamanic techniques in the US and Australia for
over 20 years.
Dr. Rafael Locke is the National Director of Ikon Institute and the Spirit
of the Earth Medicine Society.
He is an initiated shaman as well as being
trained in anthropology, medicine, psychology and psychoanalysis. He is
also chairperson of the Australian Institute of Shamanic Practitioners.
has published The Gift of Proteus: Shamanism and the Transformation of
Being and Altered States of Consciousness and Psi ( with Edward
The Advanced Shamanic Practice Program
There are two strands to the Advanced Shamanic Practice training:
Master Practitioner Training and Shamanic Initiation
Master Practitioner: Shamanic
We are vitally interested in
persons who are passionate about this work, those who really want to do it, who
wish to take the risk to be other than they have been so far in life and to
reach out to others and the world at large to help make it a better place to
live. The risk is to draw upon those aspects of your being which, to date, have
not been explored or expressed and which, without a doubt, will change your life
and cause you to leave some things, some ways of living, some people behind.
This course is open to persons who have the following background:
- Completed an Ikon Diploma of Shamanic Practice or equivalent or
- Traditional training in shamanism in any culture or
- Other training and experience which can be assessed
It is largely a matter of whether applicants are
interested, passionate and committed to shamanic work
Assessment of applicant’s eligibility is done on a
Modules are held each year: 8-18th April and 1-10th September
The focus of the training is on learning
the mythologies and technologies of shamanic work arising from the
ADP with a
deep involvement with the environment.
The training program has the following modules:
The mythologies, rituals and healing practices of the ADP. Learning new landscapes and travelling
in them. Locating yourself in the world with a new sense of connection with
nature and spirit. The Dreaming Wheel and the Centre of the world. Communicating
with spirits of place and purpose. Tools for divination.
||10 days, Wonga
Park, VIC |
personal medicine and applying it in specific forms of healing practices
one-on-one, group and community in scope. Drawing upon the medicines of the
||10 days, Wonga
Park, VIC |
States and Worlds
further into shamanic technologies. Here we draw upon specific medicines,
especially snake and hawk medicine in dynamic healing techniques which depend
also on entering into and shaping specific states of consciousness. Making and
||10 days, Wonga
Park, VIC |
||This part of
the program focuses on shamanic methods for removing the constraints on
confinement of body, mind, heart and soul … sexuality and personal, creative
expression. The ancient themes of Dionysus and Apollo are re-visited in a
contemporary, ADP form.
||10 days, Wonga
Park, VIC |
The training will involve intensive work in natural settings with occasional
The course will be physically and psychologically demanding as it requires
more than intellectual understanding; rather, it requires the commitment of the
whole of one’s being to the work. This creates significant personal change on
all levels of existence.
Components of modules:
Mythology: throughout the program, there is a thorough introduction to the
foundational mythology which has been generated over the last 20 years of
shamanic work in the Australian wilderness and especially in the Central
Desert. Every step of the work done in ASP is informed by existing or emerging
mythology. By participating, students become part of the evolving process. The
basic relationships in this are as follows:
(Myth <-> Country) <-> Ritual ->
Visionary Practice (divination, ritual, healing)
Within this framework, the guiding principles are those of
Visionary Practice which are the foundations of shamanic work in all cultures.
It involves the cultivation of Visionary Capacity and translating this into
Practice. Our experience is broadened and deepened by learning to open to
other states of being: embodiment, meaning and action.
We traverse the country and learn about the Dreaming Wheel which
serves as the most profound tool in assisting human beings to navigate in life
and for shamans to guide others. We walk, talk and engage the country; it
speaks to us in wind and water, earth and fire, sky and stone, trees and
We learn about the first shamans and their legacy to us, now, in this
world with its own specific demands. In this spirit, we go to Mike Hill and
survey the country for 360 degrees and perform ritual, celebrate myth and
delight in the country which unfolds before us. We see the city of our dreams
at the eastern horizon and gain the sight of the Hawk.
We build Dreaming Wheels to contain and yet energize and fuel our healing
work. It comes to reside within us so that we are oriented to it day and night
in the service of our own unfolding journey and that of others whom we seek to
We discover aspects of our human being as shamanic practitioners which are
cultivated: Our multiplexity or capacity to be many ways in body, mind,
identity and skills other than those ways which dominate our ordinary,
everyday lives. We explore the meaning and practice of positive possession and
we learn that the opposite of healing is sorcery in its many forms which must
be understood and countered.
We travel to the Dreaming Trees to seek their insights and support and
then to the Ancestor Tree to hear the guidance of the Ancestors. We journey to
the hills and river and listen to their deep movement and stories which inform
our way of life and shamanic practice.
Of paramount concern is the matter of liberation: as shamanic
practitioners, we wish to liberate ourselves from limiting ways of being …
perception, feeling, embodiment, sexuality, skills, knowledge, expression …
and to assist others to do the same. Our call is to ancient ways which find a
new home in Australia. The walled city falls and the new being emerges to
struggle into life free of the fetters of the past, a little frightened but
open-eyed and engaging the path to the sun.
Healing flows from the immersion in this place and its mythology. We learn
to guide others into the Dreaming Wheel and to heal them gently (passive
receptively) or energetically (active-dynamically). Moving into their
landscapes, helping to change their worlds from inside to out, from soul to
social being. We call upon snake medicine as well and the power of travel to
other worlds through the spirit canoe and Ungur the great snake, Mother of
The Dreaming Wheel becomes our focus at the end, just as it was in the
beginning, so that we journey around it, across the country, to perform
rituals at each of the cardinal points and centre. We are complete.
The program offers much which creative and expressive:
The course may be commenced at any time. Modules are independent. Study
guides and further work between modules are supplied.
Upon enrolment, each person is supplied with:
- A reading list
- Foundation notes
- A list of things to bring and how to prepare
- A health information form which must be completed and returned.
SOTEMS has been operating in Australia for over 20 years. In that time, it
has developed a strong community which is creating a medicine ways and shamanic
culture across the country. This is not merely in terms of courses and workshops
offered, or in terms of counselling and healing services available; rather, it
is also in terms of there now being a substantial social, cultural and spiritual
basis for shamanic practice. With this comes the opportunity to become an
initiated shaman within the SOTEMS tradition.
Persons who complete the program and who have subsequently conducted
themselves with skill and integrity in delivering shamanic practice may be
invited to be initiated as a first-level shaman in the Spirit of the Earth
Medicine Society (SOTEMS). This may be some considerable time after completion
of the course.
The process is one of personal, traditionally modelled training and
initiation through several stages. What this involves is as follows:
a. Enrolment in the Master Practitioner program
b. Being interviewed for shamanic training and initiation
c. Where a person is accepted for shamanic training and
initiation, they will receive personal training from Dr. Rafael Locke which runs
in parallel to the Masters program. No disclosure of the content of this
individual training is available; it is discrete and focused on the individual’s
needs, strengths and motivation, and personal path.
Cost, Dates and Enrollment
The total cost of the course is $10,000.00
Payment can be made in the following ways:
1. $1000.00 deposit plus 4 x payments of
2. 4 x payments of $2500.00 or
3. $1000.00 deposit plus $500.00/month for 18
4. Pay full fee in advance (5% reduction)
Modules are held each year: 18th-29th April and
For specific information or to
register your interest please contact Dr. Rafael Locke 0417 964 777 or email
or click here for the Advanced Shamanic Practice Enrolment form
Introducing an exciting SOTEMS related workshop series, delivered by
Bone Seed Wisdom
Throughout time and across cultures, people have been employing altered
states of consciousness (ASC) to commune with the spiritual world in order to gain
knowledge, favour and an understanding of awareness.
These altered states have been explored via a wide range of methods,
including dancing, drumming, meditation or through the use of psychoactive
substances. Even today, in a modern world, our drive for attaining altered
states remains strong. Whether it is for escapism, recreation or further
spiritual understanding, our methods for attaining altered states are as varied
as our ancestors.
Unfortunately, in a society where objective, rational and reductionist
thought are predominant, our understanding of how to enter into altered states
and why we choose to, has become limited and constrained. This prevents us
from realising what can be fully gained from the experience.
This series of workshops attempts to address these issues, by examining the
practices and spirituality of traditional cultures that still rely heavily on
attaining altered states of consciousness and comparing them to our own.
Is there anything from their wisdom that we can learn and incorporate, in order
to understand our consciousness in modern times better? By doing so,
perhaps we can gain insights into other ways of dealing with the stresses and
ordeals of a modern world.
Altered States of Consciousness Series Workshop Outline
The Altered States of Consciousness series is broken down into 3 x 4-day workshops,
(Friday to Monday)
followed by a journey over 5 Saturdays to different sites around Melbourne for
the 4th workshop.
It is not necessary to attend all four workshops, however as each workshop in the series expands on ideas, concepts and work
undertaken in the previous workshops, all previous workshop in the series must
be completed in order to attend the following workshop in the series.
Therefore, there is no requirement to commit to subsequent workshops, until the
previous ones have been completed.
All workshop days
will commence at 9:30am and complete around 4:30pm.
Dates for each of the workshops are as follows :
||Altered States : A Shamanic Perspective
||Ceres - Brunswick East
||Fri 6th July - Mon 9th July
||Altered States : Tools for the Journey
||Ceres - Brunswick East
||Fri 24th Aug - Mon 27th Aug
||Ancestors, Totemic Beings & Spirit Guides
||Ceres - Brunswick East
||Fri 28th Sept - Mon 1st Oct
||Nature as Medicine & Medicinal Objects
||Ceres & around Melbourne
||5 Saturdays over Nov/Dec
Booking and registration essential.
In order to keep the workshops small and intimate, the maximum amount of
attendees per workshops will be limited to 12-15 people. So please book in early
to ensure a spot in the workshop if it speaks to you.
The course series workshops will cost $475 per workshop. There will also be an additional
cost of $20 per Sweatlodge Ceremony which
will be payable on the day of the ceremony. $375 will be required as a
deposit and the $100 balance will be made payable on the first day of each workshop.
Deposit must be paid 2 weeks before the workshop start date.
To register please download and complete the
registration form. To stay notified on upcoming further
workshops, or any queries, please email
firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further details.
Guy is a Ceremonial Leader and initiated shaman in the Spirit of the Earth
Guy is also a traditionally trained and initiated sangoma.
A sangoma is a traditional healer of Southern Africa, effectively a shaman
of the Zulu and related Nguni cultures.
Born and raised in South Africa, he is one of only a handful of
westerners that have undergone the long and intense ordeal of thwasa
(the formal traditional training and initiation process) in order to
become initiated into the traditions of the Southern African traditional
Now working from the Dandenong Ranges in Melbourne, Guy offers a very
unique, but powerful and profound modality to deal with the stresses and
ordeals that modern life exerts upon our souls journey through life.
Altered States of Consciousness Series Workshop Details
of the contents of each of the four workshop in the ASC series is as follows :
The first workshop focuses more on theory and a conceptual investigation that
provides a solid foundation of understanding for various models of altered
states of consciousness, traditional methods for inducing altered states
and differences between contemporary and shamanic journeys. The workshop
is broken up into 4 general sections and will be run over 4 consecutive days.
Notions of Ego, Self and Identity
One's identity of self is transformed considerably during altered
states of consciousness, so this provides an opportunity for investigation of
the transformations that might occur in an altered state.
Psychological models are compared to conventional and shamanic notions of the
self. Religion, mythology and spiritual beliefs or lack thereof are also
investigated to determine how they affect ones sense of identity when undergoing
an altered state of consciousness.
Induction Methods for Altered State of Consciousness
Various induction methods (triggers for an altered state of consciousness)
are analysed and entheogens (psychoactive substances that induce spiritual
experiences) across various traditional cultures are investigated. Here,
we will separate fact from fiction, dispel romantic notions and attempt an
objective and honest discussion of how and why hallucinogenics (such as peyote,
mushrooms and ayahuasca, iboga etc.) are traditionally used. We will also
discuss the value, complications and dangers of entheogen use within the
framework of a modern
Navigation into an Altered State of Consciousness and the importance of the
Here we will explore views of the shamanic journey into an altered state of
consciousness and compare it to contemporary practices and attempt to map out
themes that might generally be encountered in an altered state journey. While much
focus is usually on the experience of an altered state, we will also discuss the
importance and difficulty of the return from an ASC, grounding and factors to
consider when attempting to integrate the experience within an ordinary world.
Sweatlodge Ceremony (Optional)
A sweatlodge ceremony will be performed to experience a purification ceremony
that induces an altered state of
consciousness. This will assist to investigate and solidify the notions that have been discussed
over the course of the workshop. If you have not experienced a sweatlodge
ceremony previously, please read the linked page on
sweatlodges at SOTEMS to
ensure you are familiar with what to expect and how to prepare.
Whenever one enters an altered state of consciousness, it is best to have the
landscape mapped out in order to know how to navigate and what to
expect within the journey. This workshop aims to introduce the notions of
what to expect and why. We will investigate what is required to navigate
into these landscapes and return in a manner that promotes vitality and
wholesome outcomes, while understanding what causes ego fragmentation and ongoing
problematic separations from reality.
The Emotional Landscape
This section discusses how and why our emotional content, both conscious and
unconscious affects our inner landscape and thus gets projected within the
altered state of consciousness. We examine emotions such as fear and
anxiety and investigate their impact on a spiritual landscape and how we might
engage, in a more constructive manner, with these aspects when they arise.
Myth and Mythology
also examine the nature of myth and mythology as both a
spiritual belief structure and a tool for navigation of spiritual landscapes. We
will look at common motifs from mythologies across the world, such as creation
stories, the axis mundi, apocalypse stories and death & resurrection (journeys
into the underworld). Is mythology just ancient superstition or does it
provide clues and maps on how to journey, engage and return from journeys into
an altered states of consciousness?
A Map and Compass for the Journey
we will investigate the Spirit of the Earth
Medicine Society Dreaming Wheel as an example of a map and a compass that
can be used to engage with the landscape of an altered state of consciousness.
The Dreaming Wheel can be used as a map to represent physical and spiritual
aspects of both the inner and outer worlds and also provides a compass with
orientate ourselves in spiritual landscapes, especially hostile or overwhelming
Sweatlodge Ceremony (Optional)
Building on our experience and learnings from the first and second module,
another sweatlodge ceremony will be offered to experience a purification ceremony
that induces an altered state of
consciousness. This will further assist in solidifying the notions that
have been discussed over the course of the workshop.
This workshop investigates the nature of those that can inhabit
an altered state or spirit world and how to interact with them. A common
factor across cultures is the adoption of very strict and precise protocols in
engaging with the spirit world, and this workshop aims to address why this is
the case. How do we, as contemporary Australians engage with these
resources, when many of us don't have a strong cultural background which defines
our spiritual behaviour nor provides the necessary guidelines of engagement ?
Ancestors as a Bloodline Spiritual Resource
Across a diverse range of cultures and across time, people have
honoured their ancestors in the belief that they have a continued existence
passed death. Many cultures believe that their ancestors continue to
have a strong influence over the day to day lives of their descendants and
can act as a intermediary to the spirit world, if the proper respect and
protocols are undertaken. This includes offering of prayers, food &
drinks (libation), sacrifice, songs or honouring them through a specific
cultural or ancestral context. We investigate these notions to see
whether this is merely antiquated superstition or whether we can gain
resources for our own lives through the practice of honouring the deceased,
whose bloodline we share. We also ask the questions whether we inherit
more than just our physical makeup from those that came before us ?
Totemic Beings & Spirit Guides
non-diasporic shamanic traditions, the land upon which we reside and
interact with in our daily lives, very strongly determines the nature of the
that we engage with. As we reside on a land which is not necessarily
that of our ancestors, how do we engage with totemic beings of this land as
contemporary Australians ? Is there a way for us to develop a uniquely
Australian spirituality that can speak to modern Australia about our issues
and lives that doesn't encroach on, nor appropriate the aboriginal culture
of this land ?
Building on our experience and learnings from the previous modules,
another sweatlodge ceremony will be offered to experience a purification
ceremony that induces an altered state of consciousness. This sweatlodge
will be specifically themed on honouring and engaging with our ancestors and
some specific totemic beings of this land.
workshop will be very experiential and we will visit various parts of Melbourne
that look very ordinary at first, however using a different lens of perspective,
we will see how we can engage with the spirits of these areas. We will
learn how to use these spaces for solace and further developing resources
for our daily lives. We will also build sacred & personal medicinal
objects that can be used as a powerful source of healing, medicine and anchoring
during altered state journeying.
This workshop will be held over 5 Saturdays. The timing
of this workshop will be based on the collective input of all participants that
have completed the first three workshops and wish to continue with the fourth.
While these workshop will very much be focused
around altered states of consciousness and a certain amount of subject matter
will focus on the use of entheogens in traditional cultures, please note there
will be no illicit use of any psychoactive substances in these workshops
whatsoever. The focus of these workshops is to understand altered states
of consciousness in their entirety. If your aim is to find out about or
promote any illicit activities within an Australian context, then this series of
workshops is probably not for you. Likewise, anyone suspected of being
under the influence or subsiding from effects of illicit substances will be
asked to leave the workshop without reimbursement.