Shamanic journey during Dalva’s teaching circle:

As I had previously mentioned I was participating in a teaching circle about Finnish shamanic traditions that practitioner Dalva Lemminmäki gave in Toronto. She spoke about Finnish traditions, Tree worship, a Finish creation myth involving the egg, about working and journeyingand many other things. We also did a 1 hour long shamanic journey. here is what happened on my journey:

Dalva had previously explained, that in her tradition one drums for at least an hour, often 2 to 3 and that she at times drums up to 5 hours when journeying after sun down until sunrise next morning.

I agreed with her, that too is Siberian practice, but here in the very popular “shamanic workshops” they do a number of short 10 minute trips – which is why many people in the end have trouble journeying and rarely go into full (theta brainwave) trance…..

In the circle several people were drumming, using frame drums and djembes, others had rattles, others also chanted or sang… I was a bit like a prolonged community drum circle, but pleasant. I prepared my fur, so I could lay down on Ee’ren Eder ( my Reindeer Spirit and Clan Guide, represented in physical reality through my Reindeer fur, used for journeying only.) – To put the fur into the tight chair would not work and it was comfortable to use the armrest of the chair to keep the drum level….To drown out some groaning and squealing that was going on, I settled into a steady 180/ minute beat.

.I “see” Lira (my Screech Owl Guardian) flying ahead of me ~~ 2 meters above the ground, leading the way through a scraggggly Forest with lots of rocks, gray granite with veins of white quartz, huge boulders, deep barren ravines, boggy at times, Aspen and Spruce, underbrush with Blueberry bushes… It is a gray evening on a cold rainy day.

We come up to a steep rock wall. Lira lands on a small Spruce Tree that is almost leaning against the steep incline. I have to step across a wide crack in the rocky ground to get there and – – – find myself standing on the granite rock cheek of a GIANT!!!Forest Spirit Person, that has been here forever. I am standing on his left cheek, in front of his massive granite nose, to my right looking up into his GIANT eye and furrowed brow high above it. Looking down, to my left I see the Giant opening his cavernous mouth with large ivory colored teeth and then and there I am being sucked towards that, I see his tong like a giant Beaver tail… I am sucked into this maw and slide down a long tubular “riffely tunnel, that must be his gullet. Like coming down a water slide I am splashed into a large reddish brown glistening cave. There are – like stalagmites and stalactites – but all made from living flesh and bone. Nevertheless, there are rock drawings and carvings in red and black everywhere on these formations. In the middle the cavernous stomach is a large fire. Beyond that, further down there is a dark black tunnel..

A little back from the fire there sits an old man, skinny, with white hair,

– – playing a kantele!

I recognize Väinämöinen!

Oh!! now even in the trance journey I know, where I am!

The belly of the Forest Giant!:)

There also is, on the other side from Väinämöinen a large Bear sleeping further in the back and a large Moose is sitting in the center on a rock. He is crying. In his lap he is holding one of his broken of antlers, while a strange stubble on his head is rapidly growing into a sizable Wapiti Elk antler. Then the other large majestic Moose antler falls of and the Moose wails in futile desperation. “ They will not know me!!!!” he wails, while a small bird settles on the now quickly growing Elk horn and starts chirping loudly.



I try to help the inconsolable Moose, try moulding the second, just growing rack into a more Moose like looking antler, flattening it out a bit, …. But I need more stuffff and grab dripping spittle and juice from the belly stalagmites and some flesh from the ground nearby. Like as if it was puddy I manage to form it all into a Moose antler. – But for the other side it was already too late – that one was fully hardened into a sizable Wapiti antler. Now however Väinämöinen on the other side of the fire starts to sing and to my and the Moose’s high horrrror the newly formed Moose antler changes into another Elk/ Wapiti horn and then , oh shock, the whole Moose changes into a Wapiti Elk in front of my eyes.

Wapiti Elk

Lira appears and gives me more “cave spittle juice” and I rub the animal with it and it starts to flimmer and shimmer as a Moose again… – until Väinämöinen again starts to sing…. When he stops the animal is half Elk, half Moose and a mess.

Then, all of a sudden I hear a loud sound – and almost “wake up” Someone in the room (tonal) started to sing or whatever and the disturbance transformed into a strange egg yolk yellow cube with bright red Chinese writing symbols on all sides. !!??!! (6 inch x 6 inch cube)

(This strange cube appeared several more times – whenever there was a disruptive -to me- sound in the room that “made me come up” from the trance. I just resolved to drum a little louder, so as not to hear it and went back “down”)

I went back to the cave. The Moose/ Elk Wapiti and Väinämöinen I are gone, the Bear is awake and brings me a Pow Wow drum to look at. He tosses it into the fire and now I also see Lira sitting there with several old movie reels and bits of ripped film, that she tosses into the fire.- – –

– – I say:“YES!! I KNOW!!!! I WILL tell her and explain – (like sooo many others )– and just hope she will not take it the wrong way…“ I promised the Bear. Healing comes with understanding – on both sides….

When I look again there is part of Dalva’s skirt in the fire, halfway burnt.-

– Again the scene is split up by a loud noise and the yellow cube with Chinese kanjis…

When I get back there, it feels like “late” But now the fire is out and through a vapory smoke I see a black Wolf with a white triangle on his chest standing at the entrance of the passageway into the gut of the Giant, beckoning me to follow him.

I do, through the gut of the Giant….. On and of there are flashes of the Chinese kanji cube, but I just disregard them…

We get to a place, that is the beginning of the “Fire River” there are several Beings there, but again loud noises make me start to shake and “be tossed up”and hear the 2 3 4 drumming = Oooo Oooo Oooo Oooo…..>

By the time I am back down I am “not very deep” and hear the room in the background.

For a flash I see Sandra D. sitting at the River’s edge reading a book made up out of Oak leaves.

I now “know” where I am and ask the Wolf to show me something that I need to know or bring back . Right away the crying Moose/ Elk appears and Lira with the stupid movie reel lands in my lap – Literally! Nice! Yes, OK, again….. I will not forget to tell…

Lira leads me up to the stomach cave with the rock art. There I see a white envelope hanging among the Medicine symbols. It says “Message” and Lira directs me to take it and open it. I do – but>>> again the strange yellow cube with the red Chinese writing…

Shitt… x#*ZZOOßo**^#ZZ*ßpvochchch!!!!!

I think I loudly say something like that and wish I had not…. 😦

But I am halve “awake” and realize, the drumming has almost stopped – it is just me and the djembe left….

Dalva is winding down the journey …

Someone sings and promptly there is the yellow cube again…

I have to return – never mind the other messages… I feel being dragged own by a soup of heavy molasses and struggle against it… I should journey on, but I am no at home but at Dalva’s circle….

I struggle against the sour smelling molasses until Lira brings a watering can with “Muskoka rain water from the flood” and douses me until the molasses comes of.

I feel Peter and Janet next to me…….




What does it all mean?


In one of the Runes = song/ poems Elias Lönrot used for the Finnish folk epos the Kalevala, is about Antero Vipunen, who is seen as the primodeal Elder shaman, an ancient Forest Spirit on a perpetual journey hidden deep in the Forest, turned to stone, incorporated into the living Earth. He holds a lot of secret wisdom and even the sage Väinämöinen went to him for wisdom and to learn a Rune that would aid him in “singing himself a boat” (creating a Rune = chant -vehicle that allows him to go on a shamanic journey)

I traveled to this Being,

Lira is one of my Miahanits – Medicine Guides….. Read more on :

The Moose/ Elk Wapity: During Dalva’s teaching talk she referred to her special Guardian ans an Elk – and the picture that came across to me (in pre-verbal imagery ) was a Moose. However, most of the circle participants – hearing the word “Elk” envisioned a Wapiti, like we have out in Western Canada.

Wrong critter. The Moose in the cave – and in the Kalevala is upset because he is not seen by Canadians as / for what he reallllly is!

Here for the First nations out West, that are familiar with Elk he stands for sexual prowess and allure while the Moose, Hottha (Ojibwa) or Moosee (Cree) is the sacred balance of gentleness and strength within a human – and other Being

Meaning : these 2 have VERY different Medicines and the Moose in the journey wants to be seen for what he is….

I try to fix him in the journey, but Väinämöinen starts singing = the Kalevala itself talks about Elk and – so I can not fix that….

The strange yellow cube with the bright red Chinese writing is a visual manifestation for the sounds, that I am not used to, during journeying (they are yellow = alarm and red Chinese = to me = unknown and foreign. But they also represent the circle members, the many for whom journeying was unknown and new and foreign. And the Chinese writing yet again emphasizes the communication gap that exists due to language barriers in the circle……

So on one side it is Chinese to me to hear strange sounds during journeying but on the other side I could be the translator… ifffffappropriate of course…..

The Drum , the film reels and the Bear.

Bear is for healing and much healing needs to be done. Healing comes through understanding the other better. Many First Nations People consider 1234 = drumming “White man’s war drum tom tom drumming a’ la’ in the old Westerns, when you hear the war drums and the Natives circle the burning wagon train and… You all know…

So nowadays there is resentment against this and it comes up, when First Nations Elders hear none Natives play that rhythm on a drum. Some are quite vocal about it…..

It happens often and on several occasions I had to defuse the situation with teachings for both sides and so bridge the gap…..

What many first Nations so far are not yet familiar with is, that other shamanic Ancestor ways – like in Europe and South America use this rhythm and it is part of their culture and not just miss appropriated or picked up from an old movie… We in Siberia for example use this drum rhythm as one of the East rhythms – to ward of unknown disease Spirits that usually – as seen by my people – approach from the unknown future = East. For us Bear guards against these. So here Bear is well aware and points out the problem by tossing the old Pow Wow drum into the fire and Lira adds snippets of moovie reels….

When we shamanic practitioners from other cultures play this rhythm in Native American company we should be wise to qualify = explain, where we got this rhythm from and why we play it right now and maybe ask, ifffff it is OK with the “Spirits of Place”

In this case it comes from Dalva’s Finnish tradition and that is wonderful and very spiritual. And yes, there are many drum circle songs with that rhythm and also some First Nations chants from the Southern tribes = rain songs for example…. Not that we need more rain in Ontario right now….

Here we are being made aware of cultural sensitivities – no rain songs when there are floods – or no John Wayne drumming ….

And Yes, my Guides alert me to the problem and tell me to explain to Dalva, because it is her skirt that was burnt in the fire = “something” happened somewhere in the recent past and the smoke is still in the air but the fire is out.

The Wolf leads me to another realm I “know” from studying the Kalevala: The River of Death, where the old shamaness, the mother of the hero Lemminkäinen has to revive her son, who got killed and tossed there. This is a place, where she sang healing Runes that are very powerful…


I still wonder, what she would have sung to me…

I will have to go back to visit her another journey…

As Dalva said in her teaching: In Finland and in Siberia we journey for looooong times – and 1 hour just flew by. When a journey needs to be aborted – or I get “tossed out” by – the proverbial phone ringing, someone touching me, or whatever, I often start to shake quite badly and it takes a while until I am back in OC…..

This time it felt like being stuck in heavy molasses that was dragging me back….

Later in the evening Dalva and me had a long wonderful talk and several other practitioners joined in.


Blessings to all circle participants who read this! 🙂

Kalevala – Runes that speak of olden times and Finnish shamanic ways

Nowadays one may think, that the petroglyphs and pictogram s strewn across the rocks in Finland and Karelia are the only remaining traces of shamanism that is left in this region. But that is far from it. Because there also is the Kalevala!

Since ancient,pre-christian times the descendants of the mythical hero Kalevo have preserved and transmitted their cultural knowledge, their ways of being, of courtship, of hunting of waring, healing and shamanizing in the form of poems called Runes. These Runes were sung on all kinds of occasions and especially the ones containing spells were also used in ritual context.

From 1832 on Elias Lönnrot, a Finnish physician and linguist carefully collected a vast number of these Runes and corresponding folk tales and then assembled them into the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. He revised and expanded this monumental work in1849 to include more Runes from other Rune singers he had previously not visited. This, the revised Kalevala, an adventure tale about the ageless Elder shaman Väinämöinen, the blacksmith Ilmarinen, that forges magical treasures, the maiden Ainu that transform herself into a Pike, a Fish besaged with powers, the adventurous Lemminkäinen, son of a very powerful shamaness, that defies death itself and many others is a good source to uncover the old shamanic heritage of modern day Finland.

As a shamanic practitioner interested in the old Finno-Ugric ways, one may very well criticize Elias Lönnrot for having created this epic according to his own notions, and in accordance with his Lutheran worldview as well as the times he lived in. as you know, in the mid 19hundrets nationalism and finding pride in one’s own national identity as well as the romantic movement certainly influenced him deeply and steered him while assembling the Runes he saw relevant to create a Finnish epic, while letting others fall by the wayside. He however kept clear and concise notes of all his findings and all the Runes he collected. Today I consider this material a treasure trove of information.

As a shamanic practitioner I also am adventurous enough to see beyond Lönnrot’s “limitations” and travel directly into the Kalevala to meet Väinämöinen and listen to the spells he sings as he plays his kantele, created from the magic pike, that ones was his beloved Aino…

I invite all of you to do the same 🙂

read more here:

During my stay in Finland so many years ago, I myself met 2 people, who knew a number of old Rune poems and spells and were willing to share, what they remembered.>> See My Kalevala Summer:…


Lemminkäinen’s mom, the woman shaman, fishes the body of her son out of the Fires of Tuonela –  the land of the dead, and them sings Runes over him that will revive him……

Stay tuned for a few words about the Kalevala Tarot 🙂


My Kalevala Summer

In my early 20ties I was working as an RN at the psychiatric clinic at a large university hospital and was struggling to incorporate the elements of my shamanic / tribal upbringing and World view into my work with patients and clients.

At the time I was a member of a group of Native American medical students, all in different stages of their training, that were facing similar challenges and had therefore come together in a spiritual/ social support group, meeting almost daily, cooking and eating together, studying and cramming for exams together and also coming together in worship, which largely took the form of Peyote meetings in keeping with the Native American Church. There I learned the prayers, songs, chants, ritual and also acquirer a rudimentary grasp of the Lakota and Inde’ languages.

But I also had 2 Finnish friends, who made me aware of the rich shamanistic tradition of their homeland, underlining, that this was so much closer and in keeping with my Siberian traditions.

How right they were!

First and foremost they introduced me to the Kalevala, the Finnish folk myth and its runes = songs/ chants about the heroes of Finnish myth, their exploits, their spells, charms, their magic and their stories. First painstakingly collected and formated into an epic by the Finnish Doctor Elias Lönnrot throughout much of his life (and revised and expanded several times…) the Kalevala preserves the the many previously only orally transmitted runes, magic incantations and spells and wove them into what today is regarded as a Finnish National Treasure.

Most of the characters of the Kalevala have only thinly veiled shamanic roots:

There first and foremost is Väinämöinen who is the elder wise man, tragic loner and a magic musician. Born from Ilmatar, the Mother Spirit of Air, who was pregnant with him for 700 years and birthed him in the sea, he knows all the runes and spells to form and create and bewitch his contemporaries and create magical instruments like the very first kantele, made from the jaw of a large pike, his tangible gift to the people of Finland.Vainamoinen

There is his buddy, Ilmarinen, the heavenly smith, master of iron and Fire who creates magical talismans like the Sampo, but also replicas of the Sun and the Moon.

There we have the whimsical Aino, Ilmarinen’s sister, who refuses to marry Väinämöinen and changes herself into a Pike.

There is the young swashbuckling Lemminkäinen, son of a powerful lady shaman who learned all kinds of charms and rune spells from his mom and still gets in all kinds of trouble ….

Then also there is the magical Sampo, the treasure that the smith Ilmarinen is asked to forge while chanting spells and that will bring happiness, protection and prosperity to its owners.

I was fascinated by the Kalevala and having an 6 week summer holiday coming up, I decided not to go back to New Mexico but to travel to Finland and immerse myself into the landscape, its Spirits and the runes of the Kalevala.

Another friend of the family had a summer cottage near Hämeenlinna and that became my temporary home base. I was soon introduced to Yalava, a lady in her mid sixties, who still knew how to sing a few of the old runes. In itself that is not very surprising, since many parts of the Kalevala as well as other rune circles have been set to music by the Finish composer Jean Sibelius starting in 1890 with the story of the tragic mythic hero Kullervo.. The work of Sibelius soon was recognized as yet another Finish cultural treasure and still is popular to this day.

Yalava however also knew a few different chants from her Sami grandmother, that had much more of a shamanistic feel. I loved listening to her. All she used to accompany herself was a strand of small bells – from the tack of a domesticated Reindeer and, at times, a branch of long dried Oak leaves, that made a rusteling swirrling sound.

Another Rune singer Yalava knew was Olaus and he also had a Runebomme, a traditional Finish drum that needed to be tightened over a fire and was beaten with a piece of Reindeer antler.

Incidentaly it was most often not in the house, but outside or in the sauna, that my new- found friends shared the songs and stories of “the olden times”.I got introduced to the Spirits of the Land, of specific Trees in the area and to the Animals, like the “Guika” the Northern Diver – the Loon, the Moose and the Bear, who was not permitted to be called by his name – less he comes. That was/ is very much in keeping with my own Siberian tradition.

Especially the stories about the Bear and my own connection to Bear via my mother’s side of the family, (Usari) eventually encouraged me to do a 3 night “sit out” deep in the forest.

I wanted to communicate with the Spirit of the Bear, who’s Powers, according to Olaus, were seen as being very similar to the ones my Ada (father)had taught me about Ee’ren Adik, the Bear Spirit of my Ancestors.

Back then I had never encountered a Bear in the wild and was terrrrified – but also filled with anticipation.

For my vision sit I had chosen a small clearing deep in the forest.

In it’s center was a large flat rock, covered with Lichen. It would become my scrying mirror. Onto it I placed the jaw bone of a Pike, the talisman Olaus had given me to take into the forest. Next to it I build a small lean-to out of fallen branches and there I spread my blanket and faced Nature – with cold nights and drizzly rain, myself and my fears, which were mitigated by the comforting hoots of an Owl that roosted nearby, but that I never quite got to see.

I had a powerful vision, being confronted by “Otzo” the Bear and eventually mating with Him and melting into Him. Bear would guide me, feed me and I would facilitate healings, singing his name….. When I returned from my forest quest and related parts of my experiences, Olaus said, that Ukko had send me the Bear and now I must follow it. Only now, looking back today, I know, how true this would turn out to be: Bearpaw Jewellery, our business indeed feeds me/ us, spiritually and by providing us with a good living. And yes, upstairs in my home there is the huuuuge Bear fur, where I put my patients and clients when doing healing work, which always involves Bear chants.

There were many auspicious encounters during that summer: Tending to a dying Swan, that had been caught in fishing net for days before I found it and relating this back to the Swan Maidens of Siberia, but also to the beautiful maiden Aino of the Kalevala…..

There also was a visit with Tellervo, the daughter of the Forest Spirit at the pictograph site of Astuvansalmi, competing with 2 Moose while picking giant Mushrooms at nearby lake Saima.

Tellervo daughter of the Forest Spirit

Then there was the rather rainy week I spend further north neat …….. among the Sami and their Reindeer and many other meaningful encounters, all worthy of their own essay….

When it was time to return home I had a much deeper understanding about myth, magic, the deep rooted similarities of different shamanic cultures, of Bear Medicine and of myself.

Finlands giant Mushrooms