Considered a madman in his English village, Adam Dilwyn Vaughan-a sin eater-was shunned by the same community who flocked to him for healing. This true tale records Ross Heaven's fascinating journey as the sin eater's apprentice, who is introduced to the lost art of sin eating and other Celtic shamanic traditions. This spiritual memoir records the author's wondrous and moving experiences with the powerful energies of the natural world. He witnesses Adam removing negative energies from a patient, meets fairy folk, reads omens in nature, discovers his soul purpose through dreaming, goes on a vision quest in a sacred cave, and participates in a sin eating ritual. Interlacing these remarkable events are Welsh legends and enlightening discussions that shed light on these mysterious practices and invite you to see the world through the eyes of a shaman. Also included is a sin eater's workbook of the same shamanic exercises and techniques practiced by Adam.
Ross Heaven's interest in plants, healing and spirituality started early in life when his family moved from the city where he was born to a strange and timeless village on the borders of Wales. There he met and was informally apprenticed to a sin eater - a spiritual herbalist and "devourer of human sin" whose job was to restore balance to the soul. Ross spent 10 years with this healer learning the folklore and wisdom of the plants and immersing himself in the spiritual practices of an almost extinct tradition of Celtic shamanism, a story told in his book The Sin Eater's Last Confessions.
His interest piqued, Ross took his degree at a university now recognised as a World Centre for Excellence in transpersonal psychology. His decision to study there was based on a whim, a synchronicity, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life, enabling him to combine psychology, anthropology, philosophy and religious studies to create what he has come to regard as a "DIY course in shamanism".
He threw himself more deeply into the study of spirituality and the healing traditions, training in imagework, herbalism, massage, yoga, tai chi, the Eastern philosophies and becoming a senior in five martial arts before heading for the jungles of Peru in search of new answers and new direction.
Drinking ayahuasca and San Pedro there helped him "find himself" and in fact the direction was simple: to return to the plants and become a healer. He has now helped hundreds of people to heal and trained hundreds of others in traditional soul-healing methods through his workshops and books such as Plant Spirit Shamanism: Traditional Techniques for Healing the Soul, Plant Spirit Wisdom and The Hummingbird's Journey to God, the first to be written about healing with San Pedro, the "cactus of vision".
Ross conducts ceremonies throughout Europe and facilitates group journeys to the Amazon and Andes for people who wish to experience ayahuasca and San Pedro themselves on his Magical Earth and Cactus of Vision programmes. Increasingly, he is fascinated by the healing potential of San Pedro and has witnessed many "miracles" in those who have drunk it, including recoveries from trauma, abuse, addiction and conditions such as diabetes, paralysis and cancer. Some of these healings are recorded in his book and in articles and interviews such as this: http://www.realitysandwich.com/flight_hummingbird.
Ross divides his time between Europe and Peru where his retreat Centres offer healing and training to others: The Hummingbird in Spain (http://www.thehummingbird.org/) and El Colibri, a beautiful new medicine Centre close to Iquitos, Peru (www.ayahuascaretreats.org).
His website is www.thefourgates.org or you can email him for more information on courses, trips and events at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* 'Heaven and the Hummingbird': An interview with Ross about the healing power of San Pedro. http://www.realitysandwich.com/flight_hummingbird.
* 'San Pedro the Miracle Healer': An interview by Ross with an Andean San Pedro healer. http://www.erowid.org/cgi-bin/search/htsearch.php?method=and&restrict=&format=long&config=htdig&exclude=&words=ross+heaven
* 'Plant Medicines and Shamanic Healing': An article on the healing rituals of ayahuasca. http://www.erowid.org/cgi-bin/search/htsearch.php?method=and&restrict=&format=long&config=htdig&exclude=&words=ross+heaven