The Medicine Spiral at Dunderry Park



Karen Ward & John Cantwell.

The Medicine Spiral starts in September & takes place over 4 weekends until April/May. If you are interested attending the one day 'Introduction to Shamanism' workshops are a great way to see if this path is for you. They are both featured on our Slí an Chroí website (


When we step into shamanic practice, our hearts take us on an epic path of discovery, power & beauty. It is the soul’s ‘journey home’, connecting us to the sacredness and magic of Life. We touch the earth and rise gifted with healing, to become true caretakers of ourselves & the earth. We see our purpose & come to know the ecstatic joy that rolls like thunder deep in the centre of our being and all creation. For this is the pathway of the heart, Slí “An Chroí- a way into true holistic, balanced living in today’s world. It combines ancient & contemporary shamanic practice with informed guidance on all aspects of healthy living, e.g. nutrition, exercise, stress management, work-home balance. Slí An Chroí is a way for the profound wisdom & understanding that are the gifts of shamanic training to feed all elements of your life.


Shamanism is the name given to the practice of connecting to the essence of life through knowing spirit energy in Nature. For over 50, 000 years shamanism has been the bedrock of all healing & spiritual traditions & calls us to awaken our indigenous nature. It is not a faith, but a constantly evolving wisdom tradition in which we learn purely from our own, individual and collective, personal experience. Nor is it a religion & it is dogma-free, indeed it supports any existing spiritual practice one may already hold. The shamanic practitioner follows practices that nourish the sacred in the self & comes to see, know and work with the sacredness of all things. So many of us yearn for connection to our own soulfulness in a free and natural way, shamanism is an ancient, simple way allowing this connection with beauty, power & magic.

The healing shamanic practitioner is one who learns to travel to the world of spirit that is beyond time to retrieve healing, vision & teaching. Traditionally accompanied by drum or rattle, the practitioner uses strong intent & energy to “journey”into territories beyond ordinary reality. The reward is wider & deeper understanding of this world, making the practitioner a truth seeker who knows & expresses the ecstasy of sacred living. We become powerful figures of integrity who bring light, compassion & magic into our own lives, those of our loved ones, our community & to the earth itself.

The Medicine Spiral is the name given to the structured learning path when we step into shamanic awareness & techniques. Traditionally associated with the four points of the compass, north, south, east & west, every individual’s experience is unique. As we travel the Spiral we shed skin like the snake, i.e. we learn to let go of what holds us back from progressing with our lives. We learn the technique of 'journeying', an elemental shamanic practice. We connect to 'power animals' & 'spirit guides' who offer us sacred support as we walk forward. The Spiral asks us to connect strongly with nature & to work with her forces. We explore shamanic archetypes; organising principles that allow the practitioner keep balance and vision. Above all the Medicine Spiral provides us with the independence to live shamanically & holistically & to continue doing so for the rest of our lives. The Medicine Spiral provides our life-journey with a map that supports us no matter what the territory. The 'medicine' in the Medicine Spiral refers to the magic we experience from the techniques and wisdom we grow on our spiral around. That magic is true medicine, bringing healing into our lives and our souls to their glorious beauty.


Principles of Core Shamanic Practice
Working in Nature
Growing your ‘Mála (i.e. medicine/crane bag)
Journeying with drum and rattle, Healing and Protection Rituals
Fire Ceremonies, Rites and Ceremonies
Trance Dance, Shaman’s dance of ecstasy
Healthier Living through better nutrition, stress management, work habits, exercise
Tracking, i.e. heightening our awareness and perception
Sacred Drama Connecting with Archetypes


John and Karen are husband and wife & both are Dubliners. They are trained teachers & for several years have pioneered learning in many subjects. Karen is a Holistic Therapist. She founded the Rhiannon Clinic where she sees clients on an individual basis. She also lectures in the corporate area on matters such as, stress management, nutrition and mind-body-spirit wellbeing. For 5 years she was the holistic therapist presenter on RTE’s 'Health Squad' & is co-author of the book of the same name. Her 2nd book is 'Change a Little to Change a Lot' & her 3rd is 'Growing Old Gracefully - How to be an Exciting Elder.' John trained originally as a Physical Education teacher, but went on to forge a long career in professional theatre, TV, film and radio as an actor, director & producer. In the last 10 years he has dedicated himself to coaching & established the renowned Film Actors Studio in 1999. He has always promoted the educational & healing power of the dramatic arts & has established acting schools for young people & supported drama projects for those of less advantage.

In recent years Karen & John immersed themselves in healing shamanic training. As a result they have trained with leading teachers & have travelled extensively for fieldwork with indigenous peoples, giving them a strong shamanic practice. From their native Pre-Celtic & Celtic traditions to that of the Indian of North, Central & in particular South America, they have breadth and depth in the Energy Medicine they offer as healers and teachers in Ireland. They offer individual shamanic healing from the Rhiannon Clinic & they facilitate learning groups and gatherings for ceremony and ritual. John and Karen bring warmth, focus, sincerity & humour to their approach and firmly hold to the principle that we all have awesome capacity for self healing.



Slí An Chroí Medicine Spiral Booking, Schedule & Fee

The Medicine Spiral takes place over 4 weekends:
1st Weekend, (North); Sept Fri (5.30pm) Sept Sun (4pm).
2nd Weekend, (East); Nov Fri (5.30pm) Nov Sun (4pm).
3rd Weekend, (South); Jan/Feb Fri (5.30pm) Jan/Feb (4pm).
4th Weekend, (West); Apr/May Fri (5.30pm) Apr/May (4pm).

Cost: including tuition, food and accommodation.
Booking Fee (which acts as a Deposit) 195.00, then at each weekend 360.00
The Booking Fee is paid by July 31st 2011. Then 360 is paid at each of the four weekends. (Total Cost = 1635)

If you would like to book or learn more about Slí An Chroí Shamanic Training and/or the individual shamanic healing work of John & Karen;
please telephone the Rhiannon Clinic, (01) 670 4905
or e mail:

'Slí An Chroí' (pronounced, 'Schlee-on-Kree, is Irish Gaelic for 'Pathway Of The Heart', Karen and John’s model of Shamanic-Holistic Life & Training.


For a booking form please e-mail Karen at the Contact Me Page.