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About Paul Francis
I am a shamanic practitioner, teacher, writer, and founder of the Three Ravens College of Therapeutic Shamanism.
I was born and grew up in the north of England. At the age of eighteen I went to university where I studied philosophy and anthropology, primarily studying tribal (shamanic) cultures. After graduating, I found there were not many jobs in that field! So, I worked for a few years in a hospital, teaching sign language, and in my spare time studied complementary medicine, various spiritual traditions, and psychotherapy. I set up in private practice as a complementary medical practitioner and psychotherapist in the early 1980s. Apart from a few years heading up a counselling department at a Further Education college, I have been self-employed as a therapist ever since. As well as one-to-one client work, I have also been a teacher, trainer, and supervisor for over thirty years.
I had several intense shamanic experiences in my early life, although at the time I did not know what to call them. At university, I was drawn to studying shamanic cultures, although at the time the word 'shamanism' was still not used that often in academic circles (at the time they were generally still referred to as 'primitive cultures').
I first consciously come across shamanism in my 20s, attending workshops that various teachers were running at the time. Although I found it interesting, I was also training as a psychotherapist at the same time, and I found the lack of ethics and abuse of power that I saw going on in the shamanic workshops to be disturbing. So, I gave up actively pursuing it (although with hindsight it never actually left me). In my 30s, a series of events completely took me apart mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and literally nearly killed me. It was during the slow process of emerging from that crisis that shamanism burst back into my awareness. Over the next few years of healing, shamanism felt like a very private part of my life; an intensely private practice just between me and my guides, and something I discussed with very few people. Although I was a teacher, the idea of teaching shamanism felt out of the question at that time, as shamanism felt like something that I would always only be a beginner at. Again, with hindsight, I certainly would have been nowhere near capable of teaching it, really teaching it, at the time. It was not until my early-forties that my guides started to nag me about teaching it. I resisted for years. My guides persisted, and quite reluctantly I began to weave bits of shamanic work into the other teaching that I was comfortable with. What astonished me was the way some people took to it and thirsted for more of it. Even so, it did take another near-death experience for me to finally give in, and stop being the reluctant teacher. These days I am filled daily with a deep gratitude (and still with some astonishment) that I can devote my life to practicing and teaching shamanism, and that people want to learn alongside me.
Otherwise, I lead a quiet life. A few years ago, my partner and I were fortunate enough to be able to move to North Wales, to live a life more in contact with nature. We are both introverts, and after teaching we need a lot of peace, solitude and nature to recharge. When not teaching, I spend most of my days writing, walking on the beach or in the hills, watching clouds and sunsets, gardening, cooking for my partner, holding her hand, reading, researching on the internet (there is so much I still want to learn and study!), thinking, feeling, occasionally wrestling inner demons (although not so much these days!), doing nothing in particular, talking to my guides, and gazing adoringly at my four beloved cats.
Paul Francis, March 2022
Over at the website www.therapeutic-shamanism.co.uk you will find lots of free information on shamanism to explore, including blog posts, articles, videos, free shamanic drumming MP3s, and much more.
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Books By Paul Francis
Many people feel a growing disenchantment with modern life; that something fundamental is missing or ‘wrong’. Our increased material wealth is making us less happy, not more. Mental health issues are on the rise, and we face an environmental crisis. Somehow, we have lost our way. People long for a deeper sense of connection, a greater purpose, and a more sustainable and natural way of living. Yet people are often unsure as to what they can do to find this. If you are ready, the practice of shamanism holds the answers.
In ‘The Shamanic Journey’, shamanic practitioner, teacher and psychotherapist, Paul Francis, offers a shamanic apprenticeship for our times. By building upon the work of Michael Harner, author of 1980’s classic ‘The Way of the Shaman’, Francis has created a practical, ethical and experiential guide. It is a ground-breaking and stand-out book on shamanism, written for both complete beginners and for anyone already with experience. At once both practical and deeply thought-provoking, this book examines how to make shamanic practice relevant and central to our modern-day lives.
For those new to the subject, the book is a grounded, easy-to-read and yet comprehensive introduction to the ancient knowledge, wisdom and practices of shamanism. In addition, it provides an easy-to-follow guide, with clearly-explained, practical exercises and suggestions about how to get started on the shamanic path.
Far more than just a beginner’s guide though, the book can be eye-opening to any open-minded shamanic practitioner. As a highly practical form of spirituality, our ancestors always adapted shamanism to the times and environment in which they lived. The book explores how, as we turned away from hunter-gathering, and with the rise of agriculture, domestication and ‘civilisation’, we largely lost our connection with shamanism. This profoundly changed us, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, and radically altered the environment around us. Facing the challenges of our times, the book discusses how we can reclaim shamanism and, most importantly, how to make it relevant to the changed times in which we now live, and how doing this may be crucial to our very survival and return to sanity.
In ‘The Shamanic Journey’ Paul Francis draws on his wealth of knowledge and experience in shamanism, anthropology and psychotherapy. Well researched, and yet written in an accessible and conversational style, he combines these three elements into a shamanic practice that is spirit-led, down-to-earth, psychologically-aware, ethical and compassionate. What emerges is a spiritual practice that is both deeply rooted in ancient wisdom, and one that we can use to heal not only ourselves, but society, and the planet.
To help with your journeying, contained within this book is a password that gives you access to free shamanic drumming audios from the author’s own website.
The book is the first in the ‘Therapeutic Shamanism’ series. The series is a thorough, step-by-step guide to shamanic practice, the first of its kind to go into such detail and depth. An apprenticeship for modern times.
Modern-day society is not designed to help us find our Soul. Instead, we have lost our way and lead domesticated and tamed lives, cut off both from our own true nature and from the natural world too. These days, the sad truth is that most people live and die without knowing who they really are, never knowing the magnificent being that Mother Earth intended them to be.
This was not always the case. In recovering the wisdom and knowledge of our hunter-gatherer shamanic ancestors, we can remember what we are meant to be. If we free ourselves from the distorted stories that our culture tells us, we discover that our true nature is something that is altogether more beautiful and profound than we have been led to believe. We remember how to live in right-relationship with ourselves, with each other as humans, and with the more-than-human world too. For our shamanic and animist ancestors knew that healthy humans are not separate or superior to nature, but a part of nature. They knew that the world is alive and conscious, full of intelligent and sentient beings with gifts of healing and wisdom for us. They knew that we belonged, a part of a living and greater whole.
Drawing on both ancient shamanic wisdom and knowledge from modern-day psychotherapy, and with easy-to-follow, practical and effective exercises, this book helps you wake up and free yourself from the illusions that we live under. It guides you step-by-step along the path of finding your authentic Soul – the grounded, embodied and inter-connected being that you were born to be. It helps you come home to your Soul.
[This book is the third in the ‘Therapeutic Shamanism’ series. It is not necessary to have read the other books in the series first. However, this book does assume prior knowledge of the shamanic realms, and the ability to do shamanic journeys for yourself.]
Praise for “The Shamanic Journey” and “Rewilding Yourself”, the first two books in this series: “Intelligent, beautifully written, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and deeply engaging”, “A beautifully crafted book”, “Accessible and practical”, “Warm, grounded and encouraging”, “A welcome, no-nonsense guide…fascinating and highly usable”, “A breath of fresh air”, “Written with humour, honesty and great awareness”, “Clear, ethical and authentic.”, “Deeply knowledgeable”, “An indispensable guide”, “An instant classic”, “The best voice in shamanism today!”.
For many centuries, earth-based spiritual practices have been persecuted and suppressed all over the world. They have been replaced by materialism, the myth of human supremacy, and with ungrounded religions. We have lost our connection with nature, our spiritual connection with the natural world. We have tamed most of the Earth to the extent that little true wilderness is left, and we have destroyed indigenous cultures who lived in harmony with the environment for thousands of years. We have domesticated not only the world around us but ourselves too. In doing so, we have lost our way. We have become uprooted and adrift and are killing the ecosystems to which we belong.
The ancient practice of shamanism cultivates a deep spiritual connection to the Earth. It is not a religion. There is no dogma, and no belief is required. Instead, it offers practical methods that can heal our sense of disconnection, and provides a template for living in a healthy relationship with the Earth. Therapeutic Shamanism is rooted in these ancient practices and shows us how we can take them forward and make them relevant to modern-day life.
Following on from the highly-acclaimed first volume in this series, “Rewilding Yourself”, Volume 2 in the Therapeutic Shamanism Series, is an in-depth and comprehensive guide, uniquely dedicated to shamanic lower-world practices. Eye-opening and full of life-changing insights, it also provides a practical, step-by-step guide to reconnecting to the sacredness of the earth and to rediscovering the deep, wild and connected roots of your own, true soul.
Praise for “The Shamanic Journey”, the first book in this series:“The best book about shamanism that I have ever read”. “Practical, compassionate and wise”. “Clearly and intelligently written from a firm foundation of knowledge and experience”. “Intelligent and 'down to earth”. “A fantastic book!”. “Absorbing and fascinating”. “A very special and important book”. “Un-put-down-able”. “Life-changing”. “A clear map to an ethical, peaceful, grounded way of being”. “Very relevant and necessary for contemporary society”. “Full of profound wisdom and practical guidance”. “An instant classic”. “A beautifully crafted book”. “Thoughtful, accessible and practical”. “Warm, grounded and encouraging”. “Intelligent, beautifully written, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and deeply engaging.”.