“Mac is an international speaker, (a TED talker too) writer and change maker.
Mentored by indigenous people over many years, he has acquired profound and original insights into questions preoccupying many contemporary leaders.
Mac seeks to inspire the emergence of the leader in each of us.
The leader who will take courageous actions for a better world.”
This was taken from Mac’s website www.macmacartney.com so when Outrider Anthems announced a free talk by the guy himself I jumped at the chance!
First of all I’d like to bring attention to Outrider Anthems, a small but growing organisation in my home town of Reading.
They dedicate themselves to artistic vision, imagination and conjuring magic in everyday spaces, my kind of people!
Please check them out www.outrideranthems.com
Something they are doing now is ‘Festival of the Dark’, a year of festivities surrounding the deliciousness and fertility of the Sacred Dark.
Mac’s talk, Reflections on Darkness, is a part of this festival.
I’m not going to quote him on his talk, I would do a disservice to his almost private talk. So instead I will try to convey what was said and what else I heard from my own spirit. (plus, I have a poor memory and can’t read all my notes)
Opening with the importance of dreaming got my ears pinned instantly.
The unassuming and almost stoic man stood haloed by a beautiful art backdrop of the holy chalice in the chapel of St James Church.
He spoke of three types of dreams, anxiety dreams, the usual ones we have, the dreams our subconscious mind creates as it tries to understand this so called human life.
Then there are prophetic dreams, dreams we all have had, when something comes true. ESP, clairvoyant, psychic, they are either a prediction of the future or the present.
Then there are almost Divine dreams, when God seems to talk to you, a dream that inspires you to change, to take action.
I love this not just because I have always been a dreamer, but also because a huge part of my role as shaman is to dream our world into being, and teach others to do the same.
Sleep is important not only to dream but to also be held in stillness.
We sleep in the dark, a wave of darkness shrouds us every twelve hours or so, and we collectively all sink into a state of unconscious bliss.
In the darkness, we can dream.
The world was created in a void of darkness.
Life came out of the dark primordial waters of our mother earth.
Seeds sit germinating in the dark, wet and tangled earth, waiting to be stirred by the light and warmth of the sun.
We, humans, were all once upon a time, held in the dark, wet wombs of our mother.
A fetus is sitting in the in-between, not really alive as we know it and yet not in the world of spirit it once knew.
They are in a deep state of dreaming.
Dreaming its world into being before it is even born.
Tonight, as you lay in bed, feel the darkness around you, feel the safety and comfort of this night-blanket that enables us to enjoy the dark beauty of sleep, and the opportunity and privileged of dreaming; memories of your womb time.
Mac spoke of his time in Colombia, working with the tribes and shamans there.
Much of Colombia’s villagers have associations with the big drug lords, so life can be tough.
When a woman of the tribe is pregnant, her baby is tested to see if the child will be a shaman, if the test is positive then she is taken away to the dark.
Deep into the mountains she is taken, along a long tunnel at the mouth of a cave (I know this place well.)
They travel deeper into the cave, the light disappearing slowly as darkness prevails.
And there she waits to give birth.
For seven years her and her baby live a beautiful and sacred life in the darkness.
The child is trained and taught and played with.
The only thing he hears is the soft murmurs of his select guardians, all he sees is shadows and darkness.
The only smell is the cool damp rock and tastes, on purpose, only the blandest of foods.
Loved, cherished and adored, they are asked to dream, dream their world into being.
Trees, clouds, food, colour, mountains, the moon and stars, they dream them all.
When they reach the age of seven, they are slowly taken out of the womb like cave of darkness, slowly they emerge into the slightest of light, down the birth canal of the cave tunnel.
Imagine what that child must experience as he sees for the first time a shard of sunlight pouring from the mouth of the cave?
Imagine what thought as he first heard the sound of birds singing and children playing in the fields? Imagine what he felt when he saw a tree for the first time, a forest, his mother’s face, his own hands. The colours of the world, the smell of the earth after the rain, the warm earth beneath his feet…It is said these children never recover, permanently in a state of awe and wonder.
They never get over that first sight of our worlds beauty. It’s done this way because a shaman’s role in their community to remind them of the beauty in our world.
I had tears as I listened to this story. Is this my responsibility too?
Mac gifted us three questions that we could choose to carry with us on our journey through life;
What is it you most deeply and profoundly love?
For me this speaks of not only love but of moral codes of conduct, our integrity, our truth, our journey itself.
What are your deepest and profound gifts?
I think this could also be, what is your dharma?
What is it you love to do, what is it you do that no one else can do the way you do it, what can you share with the world, your community, your family, what is your service to humanity?
What are you deepest and profound responsibilities? This I feel is about your connection with the world, God. My responsibility is to my son, my husband.
But we can also choose to widen our responsibility, I can choose to be responsible to all those I touch with my work.
To remind others of the beauty in our world…
Mac spoke of something about being a leader, about being in right relationship with the world and God, with an alignment with your heart and mind, being in the here and now.
For us in our tradition of the Inca, this is called Ayni.
When we live our truth with integrity being wholly who you are, we become leaders.
Only then can we say, despite what is happening right now in the world, in my life, I choose to do what I love, speak my truth, and live each moment, each day throughout my life knowing I lived well.
Mac left us with an exquisite insight.
It was about eight in the evening, the darkness of spring was shrouding us, and he said these words;
At this moment, there is a wave of bird song, a dawn chorus, hurtling towards us at great speed, as the sun chases the darkness away.