~ Our History
ISC has grown out of the courses run by the Scandinavian
Center for Shamanic Studies for over 20 years. Many people
have worked with Jonathan Horwitz and Annette Høst, often
on a long-term basis. There was already a sense of community here
in many ways, a feeling of family and also a longing for something
more concrete to connect us. During the summer of 2008 the time
seemed right to act, and Jonathan invited people to an open meeting
in London to explore the possibility of a shamanic community and
what it could be. Almost 30 people came together to discuss, brainstorm,
question and hope, and from this the ISC grew.
Further meetings followed, in Nov 2008 and March 2009. We were
given a Spirit Helper and together decided on a name. An Acknowledgement
Ceremony was held to help us centre into the circle and take stock
of what is. It was decided that celebration was an important aspect
of being together, and a Summer Gathering was
held outside London in July 2009, with the hope of making it an
annual event. An email network was set up so we could communicate
with each other even when not physically together, and out of
this grew the website and the forum.
Another open meeting was held in England in Nov 2009 where we
received our Vision and held a community
Seidr. Here the Spirits told us we needed
to host a series of Winter Feasts, to help
connect us through the dark midwinter. You can read more about
these gatherings on the Events pages.
community continues to grow and evolve. There is a sense of purpose
and intention to what we do whilst at the same time feeling that
we can also simply be here, responding as is needed to calls and
ideas as they come. At the moment, there is no structure beyond
the circle. There is no central leadership or committee. Instead
the ISC is run by a series of small workgroups, where people take
responsibility for what they feel passionate about, and get involved
in making those things happen. Each ISC gathering is hosted by
different people, often in small teams, who commit their time
and energy for free. Any member is welcome to host a meeting,
start a workgroup or suggest new ideas. There are many ways to
be part of the ISC, for more information see the Membership
NAME was decided on by the circle at a meeting
in March 2009 and reflects three of our main concerns - that we
are dedicated to connecting internationally, that we are above
all a shamanic circle, and that we want to work together in community.
There are many shamanic circles and communities in the world and
our name does not mean that we think we are the main one. It was
the one that felt most right to us at the time, and it reminds
us of who we are and of who we want to be.
far most events have taken place in the UK, as this is where we
began. However, there have also been Winter Feasts in Sweden,
Germany and Hungary, and we are committed to making the international
aspect of our community strong and alive. One way is through the
online Members’ Forum where we can connect wherever we are,
and we continue to explore different ways of working together.
As a SHAMANIC community, we do not only meet in physical reality,
but also in the Spirit World, and there is much we can do together
if we consider all the realities we inhabit. We exist by connecting
as a Spirit Circle
and working with the power and potential of this.
of our decisions are reached by consulting the Spirits and working
together in circle, council and ceremony. This way the path often
becomes clearer and smoother, with greater depth and teachings.
We have a set of Guiding Principles which are based on Council
Practice and adapted to our needs by asking Spirit.
deep teachings in a drum journey, many of the gifts of the ISC
are not always immediately obvious. They can take time to make
themselves known. One important part of the work is to help us
remember how to be together in community in an empowering connected
way, and how this informs and feeds our shamanic work. This is
not always easy and can be deeply rewarding. For a personal view
on such teachings, see this article,
written on the Shaman
in the UK blog after the very first ISC meeting in 2008.
are many reasons for coming together, and they will not be the
same for everyone. There is much to learn, much work to do. With
the ISC, we create another space to work shamanically, often in
ceremony, together with others, in a way that is beyond workshops
and outside the individual. It is putting shamanism back where
it belongs – in the world.