I have just been honoured with the presence of a new spirit animal and I have to say I am quite blown away, because in a sense, this animal is new to the Earth, and according to accepted scientific knowledge, shouldn’t even be possible! They came in a shamanic dream, I saw them above me, two strange looking bears, they were off-white with long necks and exuded a ferocious power. I ‘knew’ straightaway that they were the polar bear/grizzly hybrids known as Grolar Bears, or the term I like best, Nanulak, a word combining the Inuit-language words for polar bear and grizzly, nanuk and aklak.


These bears should not exist because in theory it is not possible for the offspring of two separate species to reproduce and the grizzly and polar bears are absolutely distinct species. The offspring of a lion and a tiger for instance cannot reproduce, yet for some reason these bears can! The result is a truly amazing bear, having the long face of the polar but the hump of a grizzly, the giant claws of a grizzly but with a degree of hairy under-paw like the polar. Polar bear hair is hollow, resulting in the illusion of it being being white due to the diffusion of light, however the skin of this ‘white’ bear is actually black! The hair of a grizzly is solid and again, the Nanulak combines both these features on various parts of its body, resulting in a sort of dirty looking bear.  It seems that climate change has caused the normally different ranges of these bears to begin to overlap, as polar bears, normally preferring the ice, travel farther inland as the ice is disappearing. What we are really looking at is a bear that is between worlds and perfectly adapted to survival in a new world that is emerging. I find the spiritual message of the Grolar Bear to be very relevant to shamanism today. The state of consciousness of the planet is resulting in more and more shamans emerging in non-shamanic cultures, this is down to the shamanic spirits and beyond any concepts of race or cultural mis-appropriation.  This makes sense, since most of the problems in the world stem from western culture and change needs to come from within that culture if things are to get better and shamanism has a role to play in this. We are seeing the universal truths of shamanism being expressed by those emerging as shamans in the West through direct initiation by spirits. The polar bear was the first initiatory animal to come to me, the connection I believe is that all living polar bears trace their matriarchal DNA back to a handful of bears in what is now Ireland! At the end of my dream a voice shouted, Come on the bears! and many bear cubs ran towards me. I see these cubs as the new shamans, like the Nanulak, a new being born to cope with a changing environment and changing times. Perhaps seemingly impossible to many, but real nevertheless, they are here, the new shamans are here!



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Shapeshifting is a peculiarly shamanic and little understood phenomena. In my experience it manifests in different ways. It is possible for your consciousness to shape- shift into an animal in dream and journey states with various degrees of intensity. Once I found myself in the jungle with a curandero. He sat on my chest and blew tobacco smoke on me. My consciousness immediately shape-shifted into a mouse. Mouse-me ran into a mouse hole in the earth. In the hole I experienced exactly what it was like to be a mouse. The little hole was vast, like a cathedral to me and the other denizens of the earth like spiders and centipedes were uncomfortably large. Eventually my consciousness couldn’t hold the shift anymore and I came back to my human size, bursting out through the earth to the surface. The size difference aside, I felt there was very little difference between being a man or a mouse.

A more intense form of shapeshifting came when I was receiving initiatory experiences from the polar bear. Being attacked by an animal in a dream is a typical form of shamanic initiation and to this end the polar bear returned. I dreamed of being in a sea between Ireland and the Nordic lands. Whales were with me, teaching me to slow my heart rate and hold my breath to dive deep into this cold northern ocean of spirit. Then, a giant polar bear appeared, grabbed my arm and began to savage me and shake me like a rag. The polar bear then stood up and walked like a man into a clear icy sea. I was then pulled out of my body, the polar bear was standing waist-deep in water, its paws raised in the air. From between its legs a dark haired spirit child swam towards me. That the polar bear should be an initiatory animal for me did seem unusual as it predominantly associated with Inuit shamanism. However, I discovered that polar bears trace their family tree back to Ireland. Genetic evidence shows they are descended from brown bears living in Ireland during the last Ice Age. Scientists extracted mitochondrial DNA from the teeth and bones of seventeen bears found at eight cave sites across Ireland. Ten Irish brown bears from the ice age period between ten thousand and thirty-eight thousand years ago had the maternal DNA that is now seen in every polar bear. So, in this sense, the polar bear is a perfect animal to initiate an Irish shaman.

That night a profoundly beautiful gift was given; the spirit Tiger took full possession of me. It was in a way similar to that time in Ireland all those years before. I awoke in the early hours and the Tiger entered me from the left hand side and again I felt thick viscous spirit energy. I was taken completely control of, the part that was ‘me’ in my body was very, very small, one percent, ninety-nine percent was Tiger. I was full of delicious spirit ecstasy, a sort of ‘wild’ kundalini, my spine was alight my whole body electrified. My hands became claws and I was growling. Although my physical body was still human, my spiritual body had shapeshifted into a Tiger. After this the Tiger energy remained with me and I received a profound healing on both the emotional and physical level. Emotional and health issues that had been troubling me vanished and I walked with the strength of the Tiger within me into a new life and way of being in the world.

The next night I awoke to see a tree in my third eye. It was a ‘dark tree’ glowing with dark light. The tree came towards me and I felt it enter into me. This time I internally shapeshifted into a tree, a different energy to the Tiger, softer and more sexual. I just lay there with the tree energy inside me. All through this I received a message, it was non-verbal, it didn’t even form words in my head. It was of the importance of always doing the right thing. I think perhaps that the druids may have specialised in communing with tree spirits in this way.


The Buryat shamans call states like these, ongon orood, which means ‘embodying the shamanic spirits’ and may induce it at will. There was a time, when Michèle had a sore back, so I gave her a massage. During this I felt spirit energy enter into me, I heard a voice say, THIS, is a jaguar walk, and suddenly there was the jaguar, leaping through my third eye. I knew felt the jaguar come into me and I concentrated on letting the spirit do the healing. The jaguar is of course associated with ayahuasca and it was the great purgative power of the plant that came through because Michèle then began to feel sick and spent the rest of the night on the toilets! This is the difference between shamanic healing and other spiritual healing modalities like Reiki for example. A Reiki practitioner channels chi, universal energy, Reiki in fact means, ‘high chi’. With shamanic healing, the shaman embodies the shamanic spirits and they do the healing. As Michèle’s case shows, the shamanic healing goes very deep, the bad back was only symptomatic of something else entirely, needing to be released. Western medicine often tastes nice initially, but may only masks the symptoms, shamanic medicine may be bitter and unpleasant initially but can dig down to the root cause of the sickness and expel it.

I’m quite sure that truly powerful shaman can take shapeshifting much further than what I have experienced. The Buryat shaman Sarangerel said,

‘Sometimes when you merge with animal spirits you will transform yourself into those animals-I have seen my teacher turn into a wolf and I myself have left wolf tracks in the snow!’ 

I feel that these shapeshifting experiences were a direct result of healing my cumha, I no longer had a sense of separation, the barriers between myself, the spirits, nature and ultimately the One Soul had been broken down. I felt a certain fluidity in my spirit, that I was no longer strictly confined to regarding myself as only a human being.

One night, I saw a standing stone in a field. My Sami drum appeared and entered into it. The drum began to play, it was beating both within the stone and upon it. I felt myself merge with the stone and the drum. I was, at the one time, inside and outside the stone. I was the stone, the drummer and the drum. I was the vibration, the sound and the listener. I was the observer and the observed. I was, in essence, everything.

(from A Shamanic Kundalini Awakening by Brendan Ring)

Kundalini and the Body of Light

The first line of my book, A Shamanic Kundalini Awakening, reads, I used to think it all began, the night I dreamed of the goddess Isis.  It seemed strange to me at the time, that my kundalini awakening should be heralded by an Egyptian goddess, but now I understand Isis as the Egyptian version of Shakti. That the Egyptians understood kundalini is obvious from the snake pushing out of the pharoah’s forehead. It is also quite likely that the ankh, like the tantric sri yantra, represents the sushumna, that with the ankh, we are looking up inside the spinal column.

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Recently, the wisdom of ancient Egypt made its presence felt again in my life and once more, a significant spiritual event was to follow.

The sequence began, when shortly after his death, I dreamed about David Bowie. I talk about this in an earlier blog. He sang me chants and mantras from his new album, entitled, Merkaba. Merkaba is a word that can be traced back to ancient Egypt.  Mer meaning light, ka meaning spirit and ba meaning the human body.

Shortly after this I dreamed of watching a nuclear explosion, out of the mushroom cloud stepped a huge being of light, it held out its hands, palms up, in a gesture that seemed to say, don’t look so surprised, you did ask for this.  In meditation I was subsequently to feel two explosions occur deep inside me, I could hear them internally and they caused my body to jump.

For some time I had also been experiencing certain specific phenomena spoken of in the Upanishads, that occur as we approach a more expansive state.

In deep meditation aspirants may see forms like snow or smoke…they may see within them more and more light: fireflies, lightening, sun or moon. These are signs that they are well on their way to Brahman.  (Shvetashvatara Upanishad)

I have received most of these visions, the full moon (the fully opened box of the bindu chakra) would appear in my third eye and I would see an internal sun rising within me.  I would say however, that the phenomena of smoke, was particularly shocking. 

The smoke began to come in sleep and meditation, I would see it rising suddenly up, all around me, silvery and beautiful and so ‘real’ I would be knocked out of meditation by it or woken with a start. Then, I began to see fire, it might be burning deep within me or I would see it externally. Once, as I meditated I could see it was burning on my  bedside table next to me. Another time I saw it in a small vessel I have on my altar to burn incense. Inside the vessel was a small perfect flame, the vessel was placed in my heart from where the silvery smoke began to pour forth. Smoke may come from fire when there are impurities to be burnt away and I knew that this was the burning away of my own impurities. This divine smoke and fire is so beautiful, so magical, I’m sure this experience I find myself within, that many others have undergone before me, is the source of the use of sacred smoke and fire in so many spiritual traditions worldwide. The snow was also very beautiful, it would burst from my third eye and fall all around me.


These visual phenomena were accompanied by the spiritual soundtrack of the divine sounds also noted by the yogis of old.

The Yogi should always listen to the the sound (nada) in the interior of his right ear. This sound, when constantly practiced, will drown every sound (dhvani from outside …. By persisting … the sound will be heard subtler and subtler. At first, it will be like what is produced by the ocean (jaladhi), the  cloud (jimuta), the kettle-drum (bheri), and the water-fall (nirjhara) . … A little later it will be like the sound produced by a tabor (mardala, or small drum), a big bell (ghanta), and a military drum (kahala); and finally like the sound of the tinkling bell (kinkin), the bamboo-flute (vamsa), the harp (vina) and the bee (bhramara). (Nadabindu Upanishad)

The Upanishads show a number of variations concerning the divine sounds, some place them in a set order some include more, others omit some of them.  The nada is certainly heard in the right ear, this is the sound of Shakti in the sushumna, the spanda pulsation of the universe. It is like a divine tinnitus, very beautiful and in no way disturbing. Concentration on this sound causes the mind to dissolve within it.  One of the Upanishads speaks of the tinkling of tiny ornaments, I can confirm this, it’s like the air is filled with crystals hitting gently against each other. I have also heard water rushing through me, heard the striking of a bell, the beat of a drum and the strings of a harp-like instrument.

Other phenomena around this time included, seeing the face of an Indian goddess with a triangle of golden light descending over it and dreaming of an Inuit shaman, an angakok. He stood with arms raised over a ritual altar. In Shamanism, Mircea Eliade tells us that the angakok  aquires for the student, the quamanec, a mysterious internal light in the brain that illuminates the shaman, it allows him to see, nothing is now hidden from him. This is curiously relevant to what was to come.

Then there was the book. Whilst browsing the net I came across a new title, The Silver Eye. This is a translation of the texts in the Pyramid of Unis in Saquarrah, by the highly respected archeologist and linguist, Susan Brind Morrow.

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As soon as I saw the book, I knew I had to read it, that there was something important in it for me. So, without really checking what it was about or looking at reviews or finding out about the author, I downloaded it straight away and started reading. I was astonished by what I found, as it turns out that these texts (which are the oldest known writing we have and which in turn came from an even older oral tradition) are are all about kundalini and the creation of the Light Body. The kundalini serpent is literally slithering all over the walls of this pyramid, the word tantra can also be found there, spelt ta’ntra. I’m not suggesting that tantra necessarily came to India from Egypt but rather that sound is divine and divine vibration will manifest as the word closest to its vibration, throughout time and culture.

Prefixing certain important sections of the texts we find two hieroglyphs, a cobra and a walking stick. This means, say the words.  Sometimes, say the words, four times. Well, I was so amazed by what I was reading that I did read certain key passages, over and over. Here are some examples of undeniable references to kundalini and the Body of Light.

The liquid of the spine is an edifice held high.

The spinal cord serpent bites.

The snake encircles you in your tree, the serpent rises through the tree of the body

Unis becomes the primary serpentine life force.

Rise, rise. Your serpentine light body burns in your skull.

Pulling up essences. Essence of earth essence of wind. Revered fierce glowing spinal cord.

From the palace of the great ones in the Milky Way..See him in his form of the vehicle of the spinal cord..he knows his rising cobra is the boat that carries him.

He has broken the knots of the spine, he receives the essence of the stars.

Say the words, the light body rises, it is a serpent the head is that of a snake rising from earth.

Release him oh serpent the rising serpent releases and becomes the light body.

After reading the book I awoke in the night and went into a very deep meditation but after a while I became quite exhausted and turned on my side to go back to sleep. Immediately the nada began, spanning right across my head from ear to ear. It became louder and louder, the vibration more and more intense. It actually felt like there was a metal bar going through my head, that was was being pulled from each end by an incredible force. I could hear the pressure increasing as if the ‘bar’ was stretching, the sound became high pitched and metallic and I knew that something had to give, that something was going to happen. Then, it snapped, the sound ‘broke’ and I was instantly filled with light in my brain and entire body. I was nothing but light and vibration, it was as if every photon in my DNA had switched on to full power. I have no recollection of coming out of this samadhi of light, time ceased to exist.

Considering my dream of Isis and then of the merkaba, that merkaba is an Egyptian word and that after reading the texts in the Pyramid of Unis, this spiritual event occurred, I have no doubt that this was the Body of Light that I experienced. The presence of the dream shaman also leads me to conclude that the quamanec of the Inuit and the merkaba of the Egyptians are the same thing.

The Egyptians were obsessed with the stars. As Unis and his kundalini, his serpentine light body, ascend, he becomes one with the stars.  In meditation, seeing the Milky Way turning inside me, I wonder that if, as they say, we are made of stars, do our particles not contain light and are we, through our spiritual practices, not reversing the process of the dying super nova and like Unis, becoming the stars again.





Ancient Shaman Ancestors

The area in which I live, in the south-west of France, is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful cave art in the world. The caves of Pech Merle have been the scene of a number of my shamanic visions. I have seen a shaman woman making handprints of ochre all over the cave walls and deep inside the cave system I have received teachings about the Body of Light, from children sitting on spotted animal skins.

Once, in shamanic consciousness, I was shown a book, as the pages turned in front of me I saw different scenes from the caves, until I saw the drawing that is now considered to be a shaman. A spirit-hand passed right through my body and pointed emphatically at this picture. It depicts a person with a number of lines extending from the body and a strange shape above the head.


Archeologists have speculated that the lines are arrows or spears, and that this is some kind of ritual or symbolic death. They have further suggested that the shape above the head is a stylized bird, representing shamanic soul flight. To me however, a different interpretation reveals itself. The spears or arrows do in fact correspond closely to the main chakra points. There is one at the base of the spine, at the sacrum, the point where kundalini is most strongly felt initially. Then there is one going directly into the belly button, again a very important kundalini centre. There are three more spears going up the spine corresponding with the other major chakra points, except for those in the head. This brings us to the stylized bird figure. My sense is that rather than a bird, what is being shown here is a diagram of the spiritual nervous system in the brain. The three most important chakras in the head are Ajna(third eye), associated with the forehead, Sahasrara(crown, above the fontanel) and the lesser known Bindu chakra. All these chakras are connected. In kundalini yoga there is a meditation called Kirtan Kriya, during this, the yogi visualises drawing energy down through the crown chakra and out of the third eye in an L shape. If we follow the top of the ‘bird’ down, then turn left, we have this connection.


If we turn right we have the connection between crown and Bindu chakra. This interpretation is backed up by the line connecting the ‘bird’ to a point on the back of the shaman’s head. This is the exact location of Bindu chakra, where Hare Krishnas have their ponytail.  So to me, what we have here, is a detailed representation of the human spiritual nervous system, and at 25,000 years old, perhaps the earliest illustration of advanced yogic knowledge in the world!

This however is quite recent, compared to what has been found only a few miles from my house in the Cave of Bruniquel.  Here, archeologists have discovered what appear to be ritual enclosures made from stalagmites. What is astonishing is that this site is 175,000 years old and was likely constructed by Neanderthals!


Even earlier than the Neanderthals was their ancestor, homo erectus, also connected to this region as Tautavel Man.



In one of the most spectacular shamanic visionary experiences I have undergone, I made a direct connection with this most ancient ancestor, which I relate in my book, A Shamanic Kundalini Awakening.

Suddenly I became aware of a figure standing against the glass double doors that lead onto the patio. I felt a sense of recognition, and shouted, ‘look, they’re back!’ This brought me into a shamanic state of consciousness, a state of total awareness in which I was fully immersed within the vision and I was filled with wonder and excitement. The being at the window was about five feet tall and of a squat muscular build with no neck. It had its back turned to us revealing a body covered entirely in short grey- blue hair. Although I was behind it, I could simultaneously see its face, which was hairless with a sloping brow. It was like a small wild-man, a miniature Sasquatch and I ‘knew’ absolutely this was one of the Almas. Then I saw three other figures, also about five feet tall but these were wearing shaman costumes. No part of their bodies was visible, the costumes covered their faces down to their feet. The costumes had ribbons in the colours of the rainbow on them, like those used by Siberian shamans. They each held drums, and as they drummed they spun around, the ribbons swirling around them. Three Siberian, Almas shamans, drumming and whirling like dervishes on my terrace! 

The height and build of these shaman Almas corresponds to the traditional descriptions of them being between five and six and a half feet tall, not gargantuan like Sasquatch. It has been suggested by the great cryptozoologist Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans, that the Almas may be a surviving population of homo erectus.   Some reconstructions of Tautavel Man do match very closely the appearance of my Almas. I think the Almas came to me, as they have such a close connection to this region where I live, they too are of this place and are still here, at least in spirit form.  For me they are my shaman ancestors. The message I receive from them is, we are a part of you, that you have forgotten, and need to remember.

We certainly interacted with Neanderthals and it’s possible that homo sapiens and Neanderthal also interacted with homo erectus and other hominid species.  The archeology, combined with my own visions and experiences convinces me that, although shamanism may be our earliest form of spiritual expression, it was not confined to our species and may in fact be a legacy from those relatives and ancestors quite different from and very much more ancient than us.