Please note that due to the COVID pandemic, Bekki’s classes have been moved online and will be taught online as necessary. Some classes will be taught hybrid when safe to do so.
Click on individual workshop titles for a full description of each experience. Advance registration is required; see the Events Schedule for information on when and where each workshop will next be offered, or contact Bekki to find out more.
Experience with shamanic journeying is required for all workshops unless otherwise noted.
Shamanic Rattle Making
This two-day workshop requires shamanic journeying experience.
This workshop teaches participants to make a traditional rawhide or gourd rattle from start (cutting out the rawhide) to finish (painting and decorating). We journey to our allies for guidance on the design, so no two rattles are alike, and most rattles will be very detailed. Similar rattles, bought in a store, are worth $50 – $200. Even people with no artistic experience have produced exceptionally beautiful rattles with a very fine sound.
Participants may bring additional items to decorate their rattles, and Bekki teaches peyote and brick stitch bead work for those who want to use it for decoration.
Bekki, Crow, and the Athens shamanic drumming circle learned to make rawhide rattles from a friend in 1991. Since then, Bekki has made rattles for her own shamanic practice (multiple Ancestor rattles, a Bear rattle, a rattle for her work with Sekhmet, a Yew Tree rattle, a Hummingbird rattle, and several others), plus rattles for friends, relatives and students. She will make custom rattles at the least provocation.
Bekki’s first experience with beading came during a camping trip in New Mexico, at Chaco Canyon, in 1992. She took the beads with her to play with, and ended up addicted. A friend (thank you, Andrea!!!) taught her peyote stitch that summer, and then brick stitch. Since then she has taught herself other techniques.
Below are some examples of rattles and bead work made by Bekki.
Shamanic Tool Making
This two-day workshop teaches participants to make a variety of shamanic tools, from smudge fans to rattles to amuletic jewelry and more. Shamanic journeying experience is required.
Bekki journeys to her allies for guidance on what she is to make, so every item is unique. Even people with no artistic experience have taken this class and produced exceptionally fine tools with which to enhance their shamanic practice. Participants are encouraged to bring materials such as beads, feathers, and so on with which to work, and there is a fine local bead store which we visit when we teach the class in the Athens, OH area. We usually also bring some supplies with us. Bekki teaches peyote stitch and brick stitch beadwork for those who want to use them for decoration. If you have signed up for one of these classes you are encouraged you to contact Bekki for guidance on what to bring, and to discuss potential projects.
Occasionally she also teaches the Spirit House mini-workshop as part of this workshop as well.
Shamanism, Song, and Dance
Shamanism is a healing modality from our distant human past. It was also our earliest form of musical theater, from a time when art and ceremony were one, and the healing power inherent in all art forms was acknowledged. As all shamanic cultures know, the spirits love beauty, especially in song and dance. Often shamans are given songs or dances by the healing spirits they work with to strengthen their connection to the spirits, alert the spirits to their need for help, or assist in healing others.
In this workshop, we journey to our spirit helpers to ask for songs and dances for help in our daily life, healing and balancing ourselves, experiencing spiritual joy and the pleasure of co-creating with Spirit. We journey for information about connecting with the Source of our creativity; using our creative gifts in the honoring of Spirit; issues of burnout/ artist’s block; and generating ideas for creating beautiful tools for ceremony, healing and other uses.
Shamanism for the Creative Artist
“This workshop is a cross between Jack and his magic beanstalk and psychotherapy. You find out more about your creative self than you thought possible and you get to plant those magic beans and watch them grow.
I am a visual artist, I do lots of shows and get wonderful feedback but feel that I am continually ‘emerging’—I wanted to get past this stage.
The Creativity workshop met and exceeded my expectations. I learned a great deal about my own creativity and how it works for me and also how to contact a muse and what to expect. The analysis is geared to help you individually in as micro or as macro a way as you desire.
In the workshop a supernatural seed is planted and with a little nurturing it keeps growing and growing much like Jack’s bean stalk.”— Mairyann Montalva, artist and participant, April, 2006
In this workshop, we journey to connect with the spirits who inspire our creative endeavors.We come to know how and where our inspiration is ignited, and how to intentionally seek those spiritual connections that feed our creativity.
Depending on the needs of participants, we focus on burnout/artist’s block; connecting with the Source of our creativity; utilizing creative gifts to honor Spirit; and generating ideas for creating beautiful tools for our work with ceremony and healing. We work with our “creativity” allies and guides on ways to take our creativity further. We also spend some solitary time devoted to being creative.
Bring a dedicated journal for creative work, and some artistic medium you can utilize during the workshop. Photography, writing, music, dance and any portable artistic medium work well for our creative time.
Bekki Shining Bearheart is an artist, craftsperson, musician and writer, with a BFA in ceramics and certification in art education. Her current creative project is painting and writing interpretive material for her shamanic healing Tarot.
Spirit Houses is taught in a half- to one-day format. It does require experience with shamanic journeying.
There is a practice, widespread among shamanic peoples, of finding or making “houses” within which the spirits may dwell. These may be found and used as they come from nature or they may be elaborately made or decorated by the shaman.
Allies, ancestors and deities are the most usual occupants of spirit houses. The houses may be perceived as permanent dwelling places of the spirits or as meeting places, half-way points between the lands of people and the lands of Spirit where we may both safely go to meet and do our work. It is not unusual for the houses, and the spirits within, to receive elaborate care from the shamans who have them in their care and keeping.
In this workshop we enjoy discussing and examining actual spirit houses. Then we visit various kinds of houses in journey and finally, following the guidance of Spirit, each person makes a spirit house. The final work is a ceremony to invite the spirit into the house.
*This workshop is inspired by the work of Ramon Lopez with Crystal Homes for the Ancestors which he has taught for the Church of Earth Healing in Chicago and Athens.