Manda started life as a veterinary surgeon and later became a novelist, columnist and TV scripwriter. She grew up in wildlife rehab centre and all her early connections were to the hawks, owls and falcons that filled the days. Her first spiritual teachers were Buddhist: she learned meditation with the (then) Friends of the Western Buddhist Order and later at Samye Ling, the Tibetan Buddhist centre at Eskdalemuir in the Scottish borders. While still at vet school, she was part of a druidic group that met in Edinburgh, but the search for a spiritual tradition with authentic roots took her to the shamanic training that grew in the UK in the 80s, first with Leo Rutherford and then the other early shamanic practitioners who came to teach in the UK in the early years from North and South America, from Europe and from the remaining indigenous shamanic cultures.
Her personal practice grew through the 80s and 90s, mixing meditation training with various forms of therapy and alternative healing. It guided the progress of her life from veterinary medicine to crime writing and then, at the cusp of the millennium, to writing the four Boudica: Dreaming books. These grew out of her own shamanic dreaming practice and were an expression of it. The six years of writing were amongst the most intense of her life: she got rid of the television and the sound systems and sat with the fire each evening, as a foundation for the next day’s writing. The core premise for the first book was that every act of dreaming expressed in the book had to be something she had either done or seen done. (This had to be relaxed once for the second book but remained a founding principle of the entire series). The aim of the books at the time was to create a vision of the world as it was – or could have been – during the last years of our shamanic past. The druidic (aka dreaming) culture of the iron age was our shamanic past and while it was comprehensively destroyed by the Romans and the Christian destruction that followed, we have not lost sight of it as a landmark in our evolution. More importantly, the gods and guides of this land (Britain) remain as strong as they were then if we but learn how to connect with them – so the aim was to show who we were, in order that we might see who we could be if we made that connection.
Teaching shamanic dreaming courses grew out of the book tour that followed Dreaming the Eagle in which Manda toured the UK saying ‘this is who we were, this is who we could be’ and enough people wanted to know how, that it made sense to begin to teach.
The first course was held in the spring of 2004. Since then, hundreds of students have attended foundation courses and a core group has gone on to progress round the wheel. The aim, always, is to bring together a coherent group of dreamers who share the ability to hold a clear intent, to connect with the web of the world and the heart-mind of the universe and to support each other in dreaming the days awake.
“Intent. Integrity. Integration. These three are the pillars on which a shamanic spiritual life stands. We hone our intent, we check our integrity, we integrate our authentic selves into a life which reflects our clarity in every waking and sleeping moment.”
If you have any questions, do get in touch