Today, we focus on Alysa Braceau (aka Dreamshield), the Dutch author of an autobiographical book about shamanism, The Sorcerer’s Dream (which we also review). You can learn more about her book in her guest blog post:
IFP: Tell us about your book. What’s it about?
AB: The Sorcerer’s Dream is about my initiation into the sorcerer’s world and mastering conscious dreaming. It is a spiritual adventure which takes the reader into the magic realms of the unknown and one can learn and practice the Art of Dreaming (the skill of conscious dreaming) him/herself.
In short, the topics of my book:
Mastering conscious dreaming, dreaming practices, building your dream body, travelling to the unknown, dreaming and the meaning of sexual energy, the healing of the inner child, and facing and releasing (your) emotional, physical and spiritual blocks.
IFP: How did you get into writing?
AB: That was about ten years ago. It actually started when a friend of mine (she was a journalist) suggested that I write my personal account – after I told her about my own experiences with a spiritually-oriented workshop – and send it in to a magazine. So, I did and it turned out well and that was my start as a journalist for various magazines about (my own experiences with) spiritually-oriented workshops and courses.
IFP: What other works have you written?
AB: The Sorcerer’s Dream is my first book.
IFP: How do you write a book? What do you do first (research, outline, etc.)?
AB: My book is non-fiction and I didn’t work with an outline or anything before I started, so the writing process was quite organic. During the years that Running Deer, my dreaming teacher, taught me about mastering the Art of Dreaming, I carefully recorded my personal experiences, which has finally led to this book.
IFP: How did you become interested in the subject of shamanism?
AB: When I was looking for spiritually-oriented workshops to follow and to write about, I came across a book about (modern) shamanism from Olga Kharitidi (Entering the Circle) and I felt a connection immediately with this topic.
Olga Kharitidi came to my hometown in Amsterdam, where I followed the workshop, among others about soul-retrieving. But in fact, since reading the book, I was really excited about shamanism and I read various books after that.
IFP: Shamanism has many threads, traditions and definitions. How would you define it?
AB: I think it’s difficult to make a definition because it is so comprehensive, but for me, this resonates: Getting in contact with the spirits of the beginning; to connect to the source; and to be in full harmony with creation, dreams and reality.
IFP: Whom do you see as the most important figures in modern shamanism?
AB: I think many spiritual teachers of modern and ancient ‘schools’ have their influence at the point they bring in their knowledge and findings about healing (of yourself) and the connection between each other and the earth.
IFP: How is such an old belief system as shamanism relevant for today’s world?
AB: I think because it is a non-dogmatic spirituality. Today, the ceremonies and rituals still have the same meaning as hundreds of years ago and are about the strength of connection: connection with spiritual power, the earth and each other. From the ’60s, western people are very attracted to that because it is a free-living spirituality, if you compare it to the religion(s) that western people were used to. ‘They’ feel naturally attracted to being connected with Mother Earth, the universe and all aspects of nature. The cycles of nature, like the seasons and the rising and setting of the sun and moon, prove the eternal circle of life and death and the infinity of creation.
This is obviously not the time of the enlightened individual, but the time of the collective spiritual consciousness, to awaken the whole planet. Shamanic rituals and ceremonies give strength to that.
IFP: What are some common misconceptions about shamanism?
AB: Often, you hear that people think of shamanism as a religion and a second misconception is that it has to do with witch-healing, voodoo, etcetera. Western people in the old times used to banish the rituals and ceremonies because they found it threatening, secretive and barbarian at some point, just because they didn’t know about it.
IFP: Are there any nonfiction books that you would recommend about shamanism?
AB: I think there are many interesting books about shamanism and I think that is when writers/seers/shamans tell about their own visions and/or experiences with initiations, rituals and/or ceremonies, and that makes them unique and valuable if the knowledge and insights resonate with yours.
I don’t know all of the nonfiction books and authors, but I find the books interesting of Castaneda and apprentices: Olga Kharitidi, Elizabeth Jenkins, Robert Moss, Sandra Ingermann, Lynn Andrews, and Alberto Villoldo. I would recommend a movie like The Whale Rider (from the description) about a young Maori Girl who fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.
IFP: Are there any fiction books (or films) that you would recommend about shamanism?
AB: Sorry, I thought a lot about this question, but I can’t recall reading any fiction books (lately) about shamanism, but if you have any tips, please let me know 🙂
IFP: What other subjects do you like in fiction? Non-fiction?
AB: Last year, I mainly read nonfiction, to mention a few topics: about spiritual development, healing, channelling, rituals, and ceremonies of indigenous cultures.
IFP: What do you see in store for the shamanism movement in the future?
AB: Actually, it is what I describe in the answer earlier about the power of connection by doing (healing) rituals and ceremonies.
Shamans can help us to make us more aware of the connection and bring us into contact with that knowledge (again).
IFP: What works do you have planned in the future?
AB: To write a book about the art of stalking.
IFP: What is your dream project?
AB: To make people more aware of the meaning of conscious dreaming. That the purposes of humans are to master conscious dreaming. One becomes the dreamer and the dream and to be a living dreamweaver. The art of mastering conscious dreaming is a way to find out that we are all connected and to discover that we are creating our own reality. That means, for example, in everyday reality that we can become more aware that we are not only responsible for ourselves but for the collective, the environment and the preservation of the earth.
Author’s Note: We invite you to join us on the virtual tour for The Sorcerer’s Dream by Alysa Braceau (Dreamshield). The full schedule can be seen at http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/05/03/sorcerers-dream. You can learn much more about Dreamshield and her work on her website – www.dreamshield.nl. The book can be ordered on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/1609101561/?tag=innsfreepres-20. SPECIAL OFFER – Every time you post a comment on any tour post – you will be entered into a drawing for a $35 Amazon gift card – so, share your thoughts with us.
Bio: (Alysa Braceau) studied social work and is a freelance journalist who writes for newspapers and magazines. She has a Healing Practice and gives workshops about the Art of Mastering Conscious Dreaming and Dream Healing.