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Merlin's Wisdom - Finding the Stars in your truth

Welcome to Merlins Wisdom, a series of training workshops and initiations exploring the path revealed by the myths of Merlin. Through this work Merlin seeks to transform the individual and their connection to the ancestral Celtic lands. This is a set of teachings involving one's relation to the self, and the land (the greater self). It uses our relationship to the land and it's traditional myths and spiritual powers to transform the individual.

Although working with Celtic myths and processes, these courses are open to anybody, not just those with Celtic heritage - but anybody who can benifit from transformational change through deepening their relationships with ancestral wisdom.

A major part of the process is the use of the Celtic Sweathouse, which is similar to but different from the Native American Sweat, and is a genuine tradition in the Celtic lands - notably Ireland.

Merlin

Most people know Merlin from his portrayal in films like "Excalibur" where he is shown as the wise sage-magician - but this is only one of his many personas.

Merlin as teacher incorporates all these and many more - he is an archetypal being who has many expressions: madman, magical child, prophet, warrior prince, sage.

In "Merlins Wisdom" he undergoes his initiatory journey from worldly prince to madman of the woods, finally transforming into the wise elder. His madness is a very important part of his mystery, it is the "crazy wisdom" of the shaman - he flees from the organised and limiting mindset of society to the forest, he is unable to return until he has integrated the new perspective his madness has given him.

When he does he returns as a "wise man" with his experience under his control, the madness that allowed him access to wisdom but rendered him uncontrollable has been mastered.

The Courses

The Merlin's Wisdom program is run in various locations around the Celtic world, it is envisaged that each of the seven stages will take place in one of the Celtic nations. We endevour to hold each course in a location that is a vital and dynamic sacred space.

Each course is facilitated be members of the original Clan of the Mysteries who have been through the first initiations already and who are currently working on developing the mystery path of Merlin.

Merlin I
Cae Mabon, Llanberis, Wales - Date to be arranged for 2009

This residential course utilizes the Celtic Sweat House (Teach an Allas) as an otherworldly gateway leading to a new sense ofunderstanding and perception, which can compliment other ways of working or stand alone.

In the middle of an Oak Forest by the banks of a rushing river the participants meet together, working with Shamanic journey, meditation, ritual and song to prepare for a Celtic Sweat.

While the teachings of Merlin and the Sweat ceremony are powerful and challenging, the entire course is taught in a gentle and respectful way so that no prior Sweat lodge experience is necessary. Participants will work from early Saturday morning with the sweat in the evening, potentially running into the early hours with as much time spent on the land as possible - rain or shine!

Sweathouse Tradition

Ireland has preserved a native Celtic tradition of the sweathouse. Sadly, this has been rather unknown and unstudied by archeology. Remarkably, it was practised within living memory.

The Celtic version of the sweathouse, or "Teach Allas" is a stone beehive hut made of dry stone walling with a small entrance and a smokehole in the top. The hut was covered in turf sods and the smokehole could be covered.

To use them either of two methods could be employed. Firstly a turf fire was built inside the hut and then scraped out leaving the stones of the hut to heat it, rushes and herbs could be spread on the hot floor to give off vapour. Secondly the more familiar firepit could be used, heating rocks to be brought in very much like the Native American system. Sweathouses were both mixed and single sex.

Attending Merlins Wisdom I

Some while ago now I decided that I wanted to combine some skills and gifts that had been given to me and make the learning/experience I had gained available to others. This was the seed from which the first merlin workshop grey. In those first days Merlin, I now realise, was very present, gently guiding but obscured by a mist that I could not perceive. Now Merlin is far more apparent, often short tempered, frequently confusing and never to be taken for granted. There are aspects of him that seem familiar from story, myth and legend and other aspects that are far too solid and often harsh to be anything other than what I can only describe as "real".

In those early days the concept of "Merlin's Wisdom" was that it would simply be a way to combine techniques of running a sweat house in a gentle, respectful and yet powerful way - taught to me by a wonderful giant of a man called Ivan McBeth - with the foundation teachings in Shamanic Wisdom taught by John and Caitlin Matthews. Merlin had other ideas. The core of the first group that came together are still engaged in this path of discovery. Working through what we believe may be seven different teachings, each in a different Celtic landscape and leading who knows where.
Each member of that first group have gone through changes, sometimes subtle often dramatic, both in this every day world in which we live and also in spirit. Sometimes those changes have been hard and painful, but I think we would all agree (including those that for now have decided not to journey further on this quest of exploration) have been deeply rewarding and worthwhile.

We believe that, for as long as the work is meaningful and productive and supported by Merlin, we will continue and that the groups that from time to time come together will weave a web of mystery and magic. Welcome then to Merlin's enclosure, the start of a journey of discovery and re-birth. I cannot say what lies ahead, for each it will be different and yet each will in some way play a part in each others quest. May you follow the pathways that emerge around you and find the way to the stars of your truth.

The first gateway taught in North Wales introduces a technique, used by our ancestors, by which we may find cleansing and healing, and obtain understanding, knowledge and wisdom. It is a journey of preparation for both the immediate in our lives and the more distant. This may be further work with the group that sets out together or the way towards an individual path. The sweat house and preparation undertaken to enter the sweat often serve as an other worldly gateway which will lead to a re-birth or transformation from a previous state of being. As well as giving participants the opportunity to enter the sweat to work on issues currently important to them time will be taken to instruct those present on both the practical techniques involved in constructing the sweat and foundations needed so that they in time may move towards building their own sweat and integrate this into their own ways of working.

It is important to note that there may well be differences between the way in which the sweat ceremony for Merlin's Wisdom is conducted when compared to those of other traditions. Further as for many participants this may be their first experience of a sweat the preparation and sweat itself will be conducted in a gentle and respectful manner to ensure that all present are able to experience the power and protection that the sweat offers.

Sweat's are extremely sacred and powerful. To use a current advertising campaign "Sweats Reach the Parts That Other Techniques Do not Reach". We work slowly and carefully. We work with great respect but also with the importance of having fun.

In the run up to participation in the Merlin Sweat, it is important to ask your guides, spirits and helpers advice on the following issues.

1.How can I use this work and the sweat in my work and life?
2.Is there a new guide, animal or helper that can help me prepare for the sweat?
3.Are there any special tools, aids or songs that I need for the sweat?
4.What does Merlin mean to me?
5.Why do I feel drawn/why have I been drawn to this particular work?


It is very important for this work that you have a strong and close relationship with your guides, spirits and helpers. If you have been out of the habit of journeying, contacting or being with your guides regularly you should start to re-establish your connections as quickly as possible. If any of this sounds strange to you don't worry. You have found this work for a reason. Training in any of the above disciplines can be given or covered in the course, please feel free to contact us for any details.

Now for some general stuff:

Health: You should be sensible about your state of health. Sweats are fairly hot and take place in a confined and dark space. The day of preparation (Saturday) is likely to be a fairly long day and so a certain amount of stamina and fitness is required (but nothing too crazy). If you are not used to spending a lot of time outdoors remember that you will be living on the land (using natural facilities) for the entire course. This is all part of the preparation for the sweat and it is good if a lot of this may come as a new experience. Please do not attend if you are pregnant. This is not only for health reasons of you and your child but as your child cannot at this stage independently agree to enter the sweat. There will be no restriction on women that may be in menstruation as there are in other traditions. If anyone has questions regarding their health tplease use the feedback form.

The Sweat House: The house will be constructed by the time that people arrive. The space inside the house will be very limited and participants will be in close proximity with each other. Participants may fell more comfortable in the house without clothing although there is no difficulty if people prefer to have some covering. If this is the case then loose coverings are appropriate such as a sarong or light shawl. Again, any questions in advance can be addressed to me by phone or email.
What you need to bring: A notebook and pen; a rattle - if you have one or a drum; walking shoes or boots; some object sacred to you that you can place on a sacred space during the work - don't worry the object can be taken away by you at the end of the work; a towel to sit on in the sweat; a towel for drying after the sweat; warm and waterproof clothes; a sleeping bag or bed roll/quilt etc. North Wales at this time of year can often be cold and wet. It is better to bring an extra jumper/socks/towel etc that end up being uncomfortable.

Things to Bring

Sleeping Bag or blanket Soap,

Toothpaste etc. Towels (one for washing and one for sitting on in the sweat - if you want)

Good waterproof walking boots or shoes Dry and Warm clothes (better to have spares than risk being cold and wet)

Any special foods - herbal teas etc. and any medicines that you need to take Something sacred to you to place on the shrine

A note book and pen Any musical instruments or drums (not essential Just if you feel like it)

Facilities at Cae Mabon are of good camping standard, there are hot showers and bathroom sinks etc in a seperate building.

Toilets are in a seperate building and are composting type. Houses have basic bedding i.e. mattresses.

Health & Safety
You should be sensible about your state of health. Sweats are fairly hot and take place in a confined and dark space. The day of preparation (Saturday) is likely to be a fairly long day and so a certain amount of stamina and fitness is required (but nothing too crazy). If you are not used to spending a lot of time outdoors remember that you will be living on the land (using natural facilities) for the entire course. Please do not attend if you are pregnant. This is not only for health reasons of you and your child but as your child cannot at this stage independently agree to enter the sweat. Also, you must let us know if you are on medication or if you have a medical condition. There are some medical conditions that might be a problem, these include heart and respiratory issues and things such as high blood pressure. If in any doubt please consult your GP. Also if you are claustrophobic please remember that a sweathouse is a small confined space. There will be no restriction on women that may be in menstruation as there are in other traditions. Inside the sweat you will be close to very hot rocks, obviously you will have to be careful not to touch them and to stay out of the way when the lodge leader is bringing in new rocks! Two of the facilitators have Occupational First Aid qualifications (Julian and Wil) and one will always be on site during a sweat. Wil is also a trained counsellor should anyone need help processing any issues that arise. Facilitators also have Shamanic training and anyone feeling strange or ungrounded after a sweat is encouraged to talk to the facilitators as we don't want anyone leaving the site before they are ready to go back to the ordinary world. This is all part of the preparation for the sweat and it is good if a lot of this may come as a new experience. If anyone has questions regarding their health please email us. 
After the Sweat

 

After the Sweat

We have experienced people on hand to help. Most of the facilitators will have shamanic training and will be experienced practitioners in various healing and esoteric practices. It is our wish that everyone leave prepared for returning to the outside world. To that end it is imperative that you speak up if anything is bothering you.

Merlin's work is not easy and often brings up issues and one of the things he encourages you to do is to take responsability for your own stuff. Spiritually, all we are allowed to do is ask if you are ok, if we intuit that you are not we will ask - but we will not interfere without permission! So it is your responsibility to tell us!

After the closing ritual everyone is free to depart. If anything from the weekend comes up for you over the following days or weeks, please feel free to talk to us or to the other clan members. Everyone that does the course is encouraged to stay in touch so they can avail of the advice of those who have already been through this gateway.


At the end of the sweat - if you do not feel it is time for you to leave, please tell the sweat leader this.
Shout if necessary, and if you still wish to stay in then do that!

After the sweat and during the time until you leave you might be feeling strange - please feel free to talk to us about this. We do not want anyone leaving feeling ‘ungrounded' or as if they have ‘left themselves behind' - which could be a symptom of soul loss.