Sharon Van Raalte

From designing photographic exhibitions and publications and co-producing/directing two documentary films about Inuit art with the National Film Board of Canada, to coordinating an international exhibition of Inuit sculpture, and developing and implementing federal cultural policy, I am grateful for early career opportunities that were rich and varied. I credit my experiences in the Arctic with helping to awaken the spiritual side of my nature. That, along with the birth of my two daughters, put me in touch with the power and simple grandeur of natural events and natural environments and nourished my quest to understand the trajectory of the human journey and the dimensions of the human spirit.

I am fascinated by the renewal of interest in shamanism that is appearing all over the world. What is meant by shamanism? In my own life I find myself using the terms “shamanism” or “shamanic way of being” to express a state of mind and an experience of wholeness that existed in ancient times before there was any sense of separation from the natural world. Sometimes an understanding of the shamanic impulse, its mystery and medicine, its states of trance and crossovers to other worlds, is revealed to us only as fragments of meaning or echoes of longing. It is the longing that captures me. I see us all as birds in a migratory pattern winging to a distant homeland, knowing something beyond knowing, surging ever homeward.

I have a Master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where Angeles Arrien was an important mentor and teacher. I did advanced training at the Foundation for Shamanic Studies with Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman and was a member of the faculty of the Foundation from 1995 to 2010. I have a private counseling and shamanic practice and offer workshops that explore universal indigenous wisdom and the evolution of consciousness.