Author Topic: Sage L Maurer - Gaia School of Healing  (Read 5472 times)


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Sage L Maurer - Gaia School of Healing
« on: December 11, 2014, 06:03:46 pm »
Join us for a 5 Month Course in the Foundations of Shamanic Practice & Sacred Circle,
Journeying with the Spirits of Nature.
Classes are held in Westminster, VT, running from June 12th, 2014 until December, 2014. Class meets Thursday evening every other week (with some exceptions), from 5:30pm - 8:30pm, for a total of 11 classes.

The course will center around building the foundations for shamanic practice through learning techniques of shifting consciousness and journeying. This course is intended to be a healing journey for each person, towards a deeper connection to the earth, self, and the realms of the spirits. Classes will include ritual, prayer, drumming, work with sacred plants, dance/movement, journeying, meditation, and creating sacred circles.

Classes will be held outside or in our yurt at Sage's home in woods of Westminster, VT. Please take a look at the course syllabus for a closer understanding of what this journey offers.

 Classes focus on:

History of Traditional Shamanism & Shamanic Practice
Plants of Shamanic Practice
Spirit Guides & Teachers
Drumming Circle & Council Fire
Gateways into the Spirit Realms
The Medicine Wheel
Journeys with the Directions & Elements
Chanting & Song
Guided Meditation & Self-Guided Journeying
Ecstatic Movement & Dance
Tools of Shamanic Practice
Ritual Healing, Cleansing, and Blessing
Developing relationships with Ancestors & Spirits
Animal, Plant, Stone, Tree, and Elemental Spirits
Spiritual Ecology & Earth Spirituality
Rituals with nature

        This course is intended to build the foundation for shamanic practice and work in the spirit realms. The focus will be on developing relationships with the spirits of the physical realm (spirits of nature), and is intended to help support those on a path of deeping their relationship to the earth. This course can be taken alongside the plant medicine apprenticeship in order to support a deeper connection to the spirits of the earth. This course is not intended to create shamans, it is intended to teach shamanic practice to those living in modern day society in order to help build stronger relationships between the realm of the spirits, the earth, and human communities.

         The cost for the 5 month course starting June 12th, 2014 is $450 - $550 (sliding scale) for 11 three hour classes. Payment plans are available at a sliding scale of $25 per class (after initial $200 class deposit). A $200 deposit (non-refundable) is required to register for the course and is subtracted from the total cost. Full payment is due by the first class meeting unless a payment plan has been arranged in advance. Once the course has begun, those with payment plans must pay the full tuition by the end of the course whether or not the course is completed, unless the student withdraws by July 1st (then half the course tuition is due).

This course is open to anyone interested, regardless of their gender, belief system, or past experience. We have had both advanced students and beginners as students, and both men and women. Though the course does often stress the energy of the Mother present in the earth, both yin and yang energies present in all things is honored. Women tend to be the majority in our courses but green men are welcome and greatly appreciated in our circle.

I uploaded a copy of the Roots of Shamanism syllabus here, includes their book list, lots of core shamanism.

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1230
Re: Sage L Maurer - Gaia School of Healing
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2019, 12:06:10 am »
I uploaded a copy of the Roots of Shamanism syllabus here, includes their book list, lots of core shamanism.

That page is gone, and so is the uploaded syllabus & book list, which I would have liked to see.

The homepage itself ("Copyright Sage L. Maurer") is still very active:

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1230
Re: Sage L Maurer - Gaia School of Healing
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2019, 12:17:59 am »
There is a connection between the present thread and this one: [Moonlight Turtle Lodge]

Offline gaia172

  • Posts: 1
Re: Sage L Maurer - Gaia School of Healing
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2021, 04:54:17 pm »
Hi Everyone, this is Sage Maurer here! I understand how important a forum like this is. It looks like the forum was looking for folks in this category to address any of their appropriation here, so I'll share what I can. I know cultural appropriation has been a part of white American herbalism and new age spirituality for such a long time. I hope to be a part of the change, and have been creating handouts, resources, and workshops on cultural appropriation and social justice for the last few years. I have removed books from my booklists, and talked about issues of appropriation in Eliot Cowan’s teachings and others. I teach herbalism from the perspective of science as well working the the plants as conscious beings... along with a blend of earth based spirituality, ethnobotany, and growing/harvesting medicinal plants. I know all of these things are filled with a long history and continued appropriation and colonization/white supremacy.

My traditions come from roots in Ireland and the UK, and have been careful not to use any Native American practices in my classes, including any appropriated rituals, words, songs, or practices- other than burning white sage and sweetgrass... which I now only do with also talking about cultural appropriation, colonization, and our impacts on both the plants and people these plants are sacred to. Sweetgrass is also sacred to different European lineages, so we talk about that now as well.

I have been one to never say the word ‘aho’, or use indigenous language, songs, or practices that I know does not belong to me. I have seen many white folx do this for many years and it bothered me, but I didn’t understand the depth of the appropriation happening often. It took some years of listening to indigenous voices to understand the harm and stealing sacred practices that had been going on in gatherings/herbal conferences, etc.

I stopped using the term shamanism widely because of the issues of appropriation, though my ancestral traditions did also include what is broadly labeled in academia as "shamanic practices". I studied anthropology, ethnobotany, the history of shamanism around the world, as well as traditional "shamanic" plant use by various cultures (including my ancestral lineages in Ireland & UK) at University. I know these many traditions and practices cannot be lumped together, even if they share some traits in their practice.

We do not incorporate specific indigenous traditions into classes, though I do share some ancient traditions that have Celtic roots. I encourage students to create their own rituals, offerings to the earth, spirits, their ancestors, etc.

We do use frame drums in some classes - I use the remo synthetic drums, and have talked with students about using drums that are either non-specific to one culture/tradition, or choosing a drum that is connected to their lineage (ex. I use a traditional Irish frame drum and flute). Frame drumming is important in Europe, Asia, and Africa as well as a ceremonial practice, and I have students from so many different ancestral lineages I want to invite any consciousness shifting tools such as the drum into their practice - especially those sacred to their lineages.

I teach students to find their own roots, and remember a lot of these practices that were shared by all our ancestors/lineages - such as prayer, communicating with nature spirits, making offerings, calling in loving ancestors etc. We create our own rituals, and have been careful not to use any appropriated practices. (White sage, sweetgrass, copal, tobacco etc. we talk about appropriation. Since I was 14 and began studying Celtic pagan traditions and ceremonial plant use, I knew not to use plants like tobacco because of its sacred relationship to Native Americans).

The term 'medicine wheel' I came to understand is very appropriative, though the practices I have been teaching are not - so I stopped using the term 'medicine wheel' and have taught my students for the past few years how the term ‘medicine wheel’ is appropriation. I use the term ‘sacred wheel' or ‘council circle’ or ‘sacred circle’ now, and explain the difference in what I practice and teach. What I teach is based on the wheel of the year in Celtic pagan traditions of Ireland and the UK, which includes honouring the solstices, equinoxes, and the Celtic holy days such as Beltane and Samhain, as well as working with the 4 elements, cycles of life, death, ancestors, and other realms. I have never received training in specific Native American traditions around their medicine wheel, which belong to specific tribes, or used their teachings. I have only ever taught these Celtic wheel teachings.

We work with stone circles similar to the thousands of stone circles in Ireland and the UK, which are set to the solstices and equinoxes, as a ritual site to call in loving ancestors, and connect with spirit allies such as animals and plants. We also work with the wheel as a gathering place, as my ancestors did, and a center for offerings, prayer, and communication with helping spirits. We work with the moon phases, Celtic sacred trees, and sacred plants of these traditions used for consciousness shifting. These are traditions deeply rooted in my ancestry, and something I have been reclaiming for 20+ years. I try to encourage students to reach into their own ancestral lineages, and welcome in guidance from their ancestor’s teachings and traditions. This helps prevent appropriation, or the desire to join in the traditions of another culture in favor of your own rich history/lineage. I have students from lineages all of the world, so there isn’t one way of praying or creating ceremony that we use… we just create sacred space together through the methods used common to all our ancestors (music, prayer, song, incense, offerings, drinking tea etc.), where we can connect with the spirits of the earth together. I encourage students to share what their family or ancestors practiced, and if they like incorporate that back into their lives.

I have incorporated plants from other traditions when I teach that I have studied and worked with for many years, such as a plant like ashwagandha or cacao, because I have students from so many backgrounds and countries... but with many plants there is  appropriation that happens. So we talk about the issues of both cultural appropriation and the impact on the plants themselves, ecosystems, and indigenous communities. I am still learning how to share about plants not of my lineage, while trying to include plants that are a part of all of my student's ancestral lineages. Even if I have studied them for many years and worked with the spirits of these plants for 20+ years, I know appropriation has been a huge part of American herbalism. I have been working to be a part of changing this, on social justice boards, and in my classes, writing, and handouts - but I’m always learning.

Since understanding some years ago that there is appropriation happening in core shamanism (which I never studied or practiced), I removed those books from recommended readings, and am still learning more about the erasure and appropriation involved there. I know many of the folks who teach “core shamanism” are pulling from European roots of practice as well, so it seems like a mix of appropriation and ancestral practice belonging to their European roots. “Core shamanism” teachings were never what I have taught or practiced. I have never taught or used the term/practice of “sole retrieval”, or followed the specific practices of core shamanism. I did once have the books included as options for students to read, but none of what I taught was based on these books - I just couldn't find many other options of books for students to read on the subject of working with the spirit realms. I still teach what I think of as “shamanic” practices (methods of altering consciousness to communicate with earth spirits and ancestors to bring healing/medicine/guidance), but I do not use the term “shamanism” anymore because of the issues around appropriation. And I’ve never called myself a shaman or had anyone refer to me with that term.

I appreciate any dialogue and feel strongly about not contributing to continued harm, erasure, and appropriation. I will keep teaching about the issues of cultural appropriation, why I stopped using the terms “smudging”, “medicine wheel”, and “shamanism” - helping students understand how American herbalism and new age spirituality involved a lot of appropriation, and still does… and how we can be a part of changing this through what we raise awareness around, and the terms we choose not to use anymore.

I know for many people with European roots we struggle with not having our ancestral traditions of “shamanism” recognized as a part of the shamanism practiced all over the world. (I know this term has been applied widely mostly through academia that then became a popular term). Many of us are trying to salvage what we can of our ancestral earth-based spiritual practices. I hope to keep supporting students in finding their ancestral earth-based traditions, without using anything that does not belong to us. I certainly wish I had not used the term 'medicine wheel' in the past, and regret any harm this caused.

Offline RedRightHand

  • Posts: 182
Re: Sage L Maurer - Gaia School of Healing
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2021, 08:22:00 pm »
Celtic and English ancestors did not burn sage and sweetgrass for sacred purposes, nor did they practice "shamanism". That's just a common lie used to sell books, classes, and nuage fake ceremonies to the ignorant. Changing the names of your appropriated practices to something that seems "white" or Euro is just cosmetic - all it means is that you are misrepresenting multiple cultures.

It's clear from what you write here that you are not practicing anything traditionally Celtic. We have members here who come from authentic Celtic traditions, and we are very familiar with the Celtique Shamynne scam of simply dressing up pretendian and Wiccan ways with some tacky knotwork and shamrocks.

We are also very familiar with the Harner/Core Shamanism, "these ways are universal, so anyone can practice them" lie, which prefaces the theft of endangered, sacred plants and ceremonies of very specific cultures.

All your long-winded post did was confirm that you are an appropriator.

You're just a more wordy appropriator than some.

You are an appropriator who is either ignorant about the traditions you claim to represent, or you haven't bothered to find out about what you claim to do, or you know and you are still choosing to misrepresent these things to the people you take money from. Anyone paying you is paying for lies and scams, and if you're as ignorant about herbs as you are about history and spirituality, you are going to seriously harm people. What you are doing is not OK. No matter how many mental gymnastics and convoluted justifications you offer.