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This residential, advanced practitioner training was held once or twice yearly from 1992-2010 at Dragon Waters. We have kept the page up because it gives prospective advanced students insight into our past work and the level of training we traditionally have given our advanced students.

In 2013, Crow and Bekki re-invented their relationship, dissolving their marriage of 34 years, and electing to remain partners in their shamanic work, as co-ministers of the Church, and occasionally teach together. The Intensive training in its two week format has been discontinued.

Currently, both Bekki and Crow teach shamanic apprenticeships in their respective locations, Crow at Dragon Waters and Bekki in Ithaca NY. Both Bekki and Crow are happy to discuss the particulars of their trainings with interested students.

In either case, these trainings involve prerequisites and an interview.

If you are interested in this level of training, please contact Crow  at crow@church-of-earth-healing or (740)664-5050, or Bekki at bekki@church-of-earth-healing.org or (740)707-1121

Some information is available at Crow's other web site: http://crowswimsaway.org/

"...you are both very supportive instructors. Your eagerness to share your life experiences and your acquired knowledge only enhances the experiential learning process. And you accept the life experience and acquired knowledge of your students with the same eagerness."
--student at '95 Intensive

The two-week shamanic intensive at Dragon Waters offers a uniquely intense and comprehensive exposure to advanced shamanic training, which, although brief, shares many of the qualities of ancient traditional shamanic apprenticeships.

The training is deeply rooted in Mother Earth. It begins with a day on the land in intimate contact with the spirit of the place and intuitive discovery of your own place of power. Dragon Waters is a small, mostly wild, country place on sixteen acres in southeastern (Appalachian) Ohio with rolling ridges, open woods, tangled green-brier, tiny streams, a fierce guardian spirit and even a shaman's spring.  The grounding energy of Mother Earth is constant throughout the two weeks, with some teaching and much healing work taking place outside and at the students' power spots.

This is true even in inclement weather, for Father Sky and the weather spirits have much to teach us.  The Intensive is usually offered in Spring, Summer or Autumn, which are usually mild but can be quite challenging. It has been taught it in winter as well.

Also special in this training is intense continuity of contact with the instructors and the work.  The training is residential; even local students are required to be here continuously throughout the fortnight.  One day off allows a visit to Ash Cave or another significant site nearby for shamanic work.  'Residence' may be in the small house, saturated with shamanic art and spirit (not to mention four-leggeds) or rough camping on the land (there are four-leggeds outside too).

In the house, each student has a space of her/his own to set up an altar and healing place. Inside, and out on the land, there are moments of privacy.  Overnight isolation in places of power is encouraged, but the teaching is intentionally done through concentrated, continuous contact.

Tribal shamanic life approaches each moment as part of a continuity and of life's shamanic lessons.  So it is at a Dragon Waters Teaching Intensive.  As the space is full of learning, so is the time:  Each awakening and retiring; each meal, snack and cup of tea; each drumming and smudging; each sharing; each healing object envisioned, constructed and experienced; each healing technique learned and practiced; and each journeying takes us more deeply into shamanic reality and further along the shamanic path.

There is a primitive quality to life at Dragon Waters.  The intense work is complimented by the fact that this is not a comfortable conference center or lush resort motel. The lifestyle might be described as "survival with style" and everyone's survival depends on everyone's involvement. Everyone "chops wood and carries water" -- literally! Drinking water is carried by hand from a nearby spring.  House heat, cooking and hot water are wood fired. Much of the wood is gathered on the hillsides, dragged down to the house, and cut by hand.  Students and instructors share these daily activities.

A major element of survival with style (and living with gusto: being power-full in the shamanic way) is eating.  Meals are cooked and shared communally.  There is plenty of healthy, organic, gourmet food.  Both instructors are expert, knowledgeable cooks who appreciate dietary diversity, are familiar with many ethnic cuisines,  and are commited to healthful nutrition, freshness and taste. This adds savor and focus to the meals and fun (and even some additional training) to cooking together.  Students who love food seem to be attracted to the training, sometimes without even knowing about that aspect of the work!

There is plenty of animal energy at Dragon Waters. We are situated across the road from thousands of acres of Ohio State Forest.  Deer, opossum, raccoon, fox, wood rat, chipmunks, voles, moles, mice, rabbits, woodchucks, water snakes, frogs, toads, turtles, lizards, salamanders, foxes, bats, turkeys, hawks, vultures, crows, owls, great blue and other herons, various woodpeckers, many kinds of smaller birds, kingfishers, various wild ducks and geese all live here.  The insect population is relatively quiet at the usual times for the Intensive training but they put in a good show at other times of year.  In addition there are resident cats and dogs.

"One of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the training was the constant journeying required.  Besides being confronted with such a huge spectrum of journey "topics" (some of which pushed just the insecurities I needed pushed), I found myself becoming incredibly comfortable and familiar with shamanic reality, so that now if I don't journey enough, I begin to actually miss being there. It became natural."
--student at '99 Intensive

But what is the training like?

As shamanic training must be, it is highly experiential.  This means students get to do it, a lot!

The instructors love to communicate. With strong academic backgrounds, continuous reading in the field and over two decades of teaching experience each, they have plenty to say and know how to say it.  Lots of books and journals on hand and plenty of reading assignments assure that students get a good grounding in the shamanic literature.

But the main thing is doing. One student recorded over 50 journeys during the two weeks of training, in addition to his notes on the demonstration and practice of each of the major shamanic healing techniques.

Expect to make inspired and empowered shamanic healing tools and paraphernalia. Each student takes away at least one, often several, shamanic tools, which they have made themselves as guided by their allies and overseen by the instructors (both of whom have formal art/craft training and experience and who regularly create shamanic art including medicine bags, rattles, painted drums, etc.).  In addition, Bekki's brother Bryan, a blacksmith and woodcrafter, is available with his forge and wood shop to help with special projects.

Once students master the major healing techniques and their interrelationships, they are given a safe and structured opportunity to practice. Each student works in supervised sessions with at least four real clients, volunteers from the community who genuinely seek shamanic healing.  Each healing session is observed and critiqued by Bekki or Crow. Students receive feedback afterwards, although we do not interfere during the session.

If you have considerable shamanic journeying experience and are interested in an experiential training which will expand your knowledge of and ability to use traditional shamanic healing, this training may interest to you.  You will leave Dragon Waters with a working knowledge of every major shamanic technique which will help you to heal yourself and others.

This training is different from the ordinary. It is intense and highly demanding.  It is very personal and 'hands-on'. It is very successful.  In two weeks, your own healing will be strongly advanced and you will be well on the way to becoming a shamanic practitioner.

"I felt very guided and supported as well as pushed to expand my own self-imposed limits.  I didn't once feel asked or told to do anything that I was incapable of doing, or that would compromise my own sense of boundaries or integrity.  Every time I felt nudged, I would check in with myself, and realize that I was facing another insecurity that needed to be worked with."
--student at '99 Intensive

Each Intensive is limited to four students and often includes only two or three, so each person has maximum attention from the instructors.

To apply, please write to Bekki and Crow with details of your shamanic experience. The trainings usually take place in Spring and Fall. Preparation for this training takes about three months, and several weekend workshops are prerequisites. Thus, we prefer that you apply five or six months before the training of your choice. We can be flexible about these time parameters when special circumstances are involved.

The cost is $2,500, which includes room, food, all materials including craft supplies and handouts.  If you feel you can afford to pay more for what is, essentially, professional career training, you are invited to make that donation.  We are also open to exchange of time and labour in partial payment of training charges and can arrange extended payment plans if this is arranged well in advance.

We accept payment by cash, check and money order.  A non-refundable down payment of $500 is required when you are accepted. Complete payment arrangements must be made at the time of registration for the training.

"The training was exactly what I expected it would be, having known Bekki and Crow for several years, except that it was ten times more intense and ten times more challenging than I expected.  A real learning experience, packed with information and excitement.  This training caused a profound change in my healing abilities."
--student at '95 Intensive

"I continue to regularly use the techniques in a powerful and nourishing way.  I've worked with close to 50 people since the Intensive, all positive, some deeply profound and healing.  The approach to ancestor work you introduced me to in 2000 continues to unfold in new and powerful ways, repairing the chains through time.  I've witnessed dramatic shifts in the soul retrieval work and I'm gradually refining energetic awareness in combination with the massage practice."
--student in '02 Intensive

If You Are Interested in Our Shamanic Intensive Training...

We offer the following thoughts to help you evaluate your readiness.

You must be familiar with the fundamental shamanic techniques of journeying to contact allies, teachers and guides. You need not have studied shamanic journeywork with us, but fundamentals are not included in this training.

Connection with the ancestors is an integral part of shamanic work throughout the world. Because this has proved to be so meaningful for our students, Circle of the Ancestors is a prerequisite.

Opening the Shamanic Voice is a concentrated weekend of shamanic energy work and self-healing seminal to the development of shamanic healing techniques, and is also a prerequisite.

We are not aware of equivalent workshops offered by other shamanic teachers. If you are interested in the Intensive and have not taken the required and recommended workshops, please contact us concerning alternatives.

If you feel drawn to our intensive training, seek counsel with your allies. We can pose questions, but your allies are your personal connection to Spirit and can advise you of strengths, challenges, and things to be aware of before committing to the training. Relevant questions are:

Is this an appropriate training for me?
Is now the time to do it?
What can I do physically, emotionally, and shamanically to prepare?

We find asking such questions of our allies guides us to appropriate action to use our resources more effectively, and get more out of any training we receive. (Bekki spent 6 months doing intense preparatory journey work before learning soul retrieval, for instance.)

If your guides or allies tell you something, honor it! (We learned this the hard way!) If they say "No," they mean it. Likewise, if they advise you to take the training, it will be beneficial to do so. Trust their judgment.

We will also journey to ask if our guidance feels that your participation is appropriate at this time.

It is important to come to the training with an awareness of the commitments it entails.  What kind of responsibilities will it place on you financially, emotionally, time wise and so on? Are you ready for this level of commitment, cost, healing and learning?

Are you willing, if your allies so indicate, to do everything you can to make it happen? Ask your Spirits to help you. If it is right for you, no matter what obstacles there are, miracles will happen.  We know this from personal experience. Trust Spirit.

Each of us needs to set priorities. Is the training important enough to put it at the top of your list? Can you be financially responsible to your commitment, honor the time commitment, and organize your life so outside considerations do not keep you from the training or intrude once you are with us?

Your private life is important. We, as the facilitators of the training, have always made a tremendous effort to work with individual considerations.  We all have families, pets, school, work and/or other responsibilities. (Bekki and Crow too!) If these responsibilities are already overwhelming, it is not a good time to take the training. If you can effectively integrate another commitment into your life, consider the training.

Remember, we set aside a portion of our lives as well. The training requires a great investment of time and energy: we prepared for years to be able to do it, continuously expand our own experience and shamanic education to be better at it, prepare for months prior to each individual training, and give a great deal during the course of it. We expect an equal commitment from you. We limit each training to a few participants to give each person time and attention. No two trainings are alike; each is tailored to the needs, energies and directions of those taking it.

Last-minute cancellations are detrimental to the energy of the training.

Shamanism is a path of healing self and others that requires self-discipline and sacrifice. It is not about ego gratification. We all get lessons from this path, some of them hard ones. There are rewards: inner peace, empowerment, ecstasy, self-knowledge, tools for living that will last your lifetime, and spirit helpers who will teach, guide, and help you grow.

We find that students who have received shamanic healing respond most easily to the training.  We are only human. Perfection is not the aim, in this moment or the future. Listening to the inner voice -- what is right for us, whatever our path to joy and fulfillment -- is our aim.

Consider what we are saying carefully. Consult your allies. Ask for instruction from your guides. Then, if appropriate, write us a two-page letter describing why you are interested in the training, what you hope to get from it, and what kind of response your allies and teachers have given you.

When we receive your letter, we will journey, and shortly thereafter we will contact you to let you know what our allies have advised.

Upon your acceptance into the training, a deposit to ensure your place in the training and as an earnest of your commitment is expected.

We trust that, by setting clear guidelines for you, we can all avoid stress, indecision, worry, and waste of time, and that you will be empowered to take many of your problems to Spirit for solving!

We thank you for your interest in the training, and trust you continue to Journey Well.

Many Blessings on Your Path,

Bekki and Crow

Summary of Basic Requirements

In addition to knowing basic upper and lower world journeying (knowledge available through our Fundamentals of Shamanism or other recognized introductory shamanism workshops), and having taken our Circle of the Ancestors, and Opening the Shamanic Voice, you must have a minimum of 3 to 6 months of regular shamanic journey work experience prior to taking this course.

Keep a journal of your journeys, and journey at least once a week. You are expected to experience and log journeys to the upper and lower worlds; hands-on healing; drumming circle participation (if you have access to a drumming circle); and any work of a shamanic nature you do for another person. At the end of each month send a summary of your journey work to us for review. In this way we can guide you toward areas where we feel you need more work, to round out your experience.

It is not a specific requirement but we find that students who have received shamanic healing respond most easily to the training.

Occasionally, someone contacts us on very short notice. In special cases, usually where the person shows special ability or has a good deal of life experience, we are willing to abbreviate the journeying/review process. We give serious (and humorous) consideration to all your life experiences, especially shamanic ones!

Required Reading List

The material in the following books and articles will be referred to and discussed during the training. You may want to take notes as you read.

The Shaman by Piers Vitebsky: the best and most beautiful summary of this complex subject
Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy by Mircea Eliade... a classic
The Sacred Tree
by Bopp and Bopp
Soul Retrieval by Sandra Ingerman
Spirit Knife, Soul Bone by Crow Swimsaway PhD

Highly Recommended:
Riding Windhorses and Chosen by the Spirits by Sarangerel Odigan (our friend has passed on, but hopefully these two fine books will remain in print)
Shamans, Healers and Medicine Men by Holger Kalwait
The Cosmic Serpent and Shamans Through Time by Jeremy Narby
The Catalpa Bow: A Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan by Dr. Carmen Blacker
Shamans of the 20th Century by R. I. Heinze
Amazon Healer by Marlene Dobkin De Rios

I Send a Voice and other books by Evelyn Eaton

For in-depth research see Shaman, Journal of the International Society for Shamanistic Research , Molnar & Kelemen Oriental Publishers, Szeged, PO Box 1195, H6701, Hungary. It should be available through some university libraries, or can be ordered directly from the publisher.