ISC History ISC as a Healing Circle ISC Vision ISC Contacts & Credits


















ISC ~ Our History

The 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.

The 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 page.

Our 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.

So 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.

Most 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.

Like 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.

There 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.