I introduced the term Yewshamanism many years ago to give voice to the ‘shamanic’ elements of the Yew Mysteries. Yewshamanism is a healing and seership practice that draws its form and power from the Yew Mysteries. The Yew Mysteries exist and evolve in time as a living organism whose wholeness encompasses every single yew tree on Earth. (However, it is likely that there are also lineages of yews with specific 'bloodlines' that have been preserved from the earliest times.) The Yewshamanism that was practiced beneath the yew some 12,000 years ago is not identical with that practiced by the ‘Men of Yew’ who ruled the area of modern day Northumberland and southern Scotland in 5th century CE, nor is it the same as that practiced by the Ionan monks who venerated the yew in 7th century CE. Today, the student of the Yew Mysteries must first experience and then absorb these earlier forms before being able to dissolve and transform them into a dynamic practice of healing and seership that can effectively engage with the contemporary problems of soul and society
The mysteries of the yew are ‘discovered’ in stages that can be described as initiatory owing to the fact that they ignite quite dramatic changes in consciousness and in the way we use our senses and experience our bodies. Yewshamanism appears and functions differently depending upon the particular qualities of the Yew Mysteries that a student has been led to incarnate at a given stage. Each stage begins to open a dynamic awareness of the yew as a higher intelligence able to preserve and reflect the memory of the emergence of the Earth from a purely spiritual state. The yew retains not only the memory, but a portion of the creative power of the forces that birthed the Earth out of Spirit. This is perhaps the key to the secret of the yew’s longevity and uncanny healing abilities. Based on my nine years experience under a female yew tree in Scotland I believe that this points to the original experience behind the early Hittite word for yew, Eya which means to ‘to be touched by eternity.’ To be literally 'touched by eternity' through the yew is to be in contact with the spiritual forces (of eternity) that shaped the Earth and all earthly beings. These secrets were known and guarded by the early initiates of the Yew Mysteries long before they were hijacked, humanized and Christianized.
Yew Mysteries Training
I have been able to outline several fundamental stages within the Yew Mysteries that a student of the yew might pass through with sufficient time, practice and dedication.
- Introduction to the Yew Mysteries
- Essence of the Five Trees
- The Shining Ones
- Chambers of the Eternal
- The Dragon Body
These stages are not necessarily encountered in a linear sequence. I have listed five of them here. There are many more. Within each of these stages I have highlighted specific yewshamanic skills in healing and seership that I was called to embody. I have been teaching these skills for over ten years.
Further details of these stages including the specific methods of perceptual orientation, the potential healing applications and how these are related to the yew are only given in the Yew Mysteries trainings.