Yvonne Ryves is a practicing shamanic healer, shamanic drum maker, holistic therapist and trainer. Yvonne lives in West Cork, Ireland, where she runs workshops and courses on a variety of aspects of energy healing and shamanic work including Reiki, Chios, Munay-Ki, Shamanic Journeying, Pendulum Dowsing and self-development.
When I set out to interview Moon Books author Yvonne Ryves, I’ll admit I didn’t know a great deal about her. The trouble with the modern book world is that authors who are not enthusiastic self-promoters can be harder to spot and find out about. This, however, is one of the reasons for doing interviews, as it’s an easy way to draw out the more reclusive writers and bring new authors like Yvonne to wider attention.
Nimue: I know that you live in Ireland, and write about shamanism. So, I’m curious, how much Irish influence is there in what you do, or do you draw from other traditions?
Yvonne: I live in Ireland but am actually English and only moved here about 15 years ago. My great grandparents on my father’s side were Irish but on my Mother’s side there is, I believe, Eastern European heritage so I’m a bit of a mongrel really.
I am sure there is an influence on my work from living here in terms of the easy going West Cork attitude towards all forms of complementary or ‘alternative’ work and beliefs. It is easy here to be authentic. I also have access to the most amazing energy in terms of stone circles, standing stones, holy wells and just the land itself.
In terms of the Celtic heritage it has no discernible influence on my work as almost all of my teaching has come from my guides who themselves come from a range of traditions and cultures. They have never tried to lead me in any particular direction which means that I have ended up with the most wonderful mix of influences.
The first time it really hit home to me was when a quilt maker made a beautiful healing blanket for me from a design that had been given to her in a dream. In the centre of a medicine wheel was a shaman and around them were animal allies. I recognised these allies as my own, ones I work with and know well but it was only seeing them together that made me realise that some were Andean, some Native American and some Celtic.
I think it is this mix that makes my work so exciting and gives me so much freedom as I don’t feel I have to conform to any specific set of traditions, cultures or beliefs but rather connect what I draw from in a way that works here and now.
I also believe it was necessary for me to have this freedom to walk my own path so that I could write Web of Life which helps others to do just that for themselves.
Nimue: So I’m thinking that for you, the spiritual journey is more about being a resident of the globe? When did you first realise you had this calling?
Yvonne Ryves: Nice way of putting it Nimue. I hadn’t thought of it like that but you’re right. For me it doesn’t matter where I am or where I happen to be working, what I do is adaptable and is then at times more about meeting the spirits of where I am, with the help of my allies of course.
I was a bit slow to catch on to the fact I was being called at all although looking back there was always something there, I just never recognised it.
I suppose my actual awakening though started close to 20 years ago when I read an article about Reiki and something clicked. I didn’t do anything about it then but dragged my heels, turning my back on it until about 10 years ago I eventually got myself to a Reiki course. My first Reiki attunement was like having my hand plugged into an electric socket and suddenly there was all this there that I hadn’t had or been aware of before. Then during my Reiki Master apprenticeship I started to get visualisations which I knew were past life flashbacks. It was in one of these that I met someone whom I now know to be one of my ancestral guides. He was teaching me how to work with plants in the woods and this really was the start of m shamanic work and the path I now walk. I always think about Reiki being the key that opened the door to everything else for me.
Nimue: I’ve no first-hand experience of Reiki, and its relative newness makes some people twitchy… you’re working between old traditions and new ones, does that bring any challenges or do you find there’s a coherence?
Yvonne: Total coherence Nimue. For me there is no separation it is all energy work. Also Reiki is not new although for many in the west it can seem that way. It has its roots in ancient Japanese healing practice and according to some it even stretches back to Tibet. I know of some people who would argue that Reiki is in fact a shamanic practice. For me it doesn’t matter all that matters for me is how I can work with it and how it can help my clients. One aspect of shamanic work is to be able to choose the tools you work with and Reiki is a tool that I can use when I am working shamanically, for example it is very useful if I have carried out an extraction as I can use Reiki to cleanse and fill the space left behind so that I am not leaving a vacuum. I may also find that while I am giving a client Reiki I may journey for them to obtain advice and guidance as to what they need.
I always explain to clients how I work but if someone just wants Reiki or doesn’t want me to use Reiki then that is fine. It’s about working out what a client wants and then respecting their wishes as I work no matter what I am doing.
Nimue: Ah, another ‘new’ thing with very old roots then, that makes sense. What aspects of your practical healing and shamanic work have found their way into your writing, so far?
Yvonne: Pretty much all of my writing so far has been based on my work and the practice that I use myself. A lot of the exercises in Web of Life are ones that I use and teach others no matter what I am doing, grounding, protecting and creating sacred space for example. However I don’t really include any healing or specifically shamanic techniques as I wanted Web of Life to be accessible to everyone no matter what their background, beliefs, experience or culture they have or are from. If I didn’t do what I do though I don’t believe I could have written the book and I do include my own experience in it, including where I have used shamanic journeying to find answers when stuck with my writing.
Nimue: If someone who reads your work wants to progress, how would they go forwards?
Yvonne: I think that depends on how they want to progress and what they are drawn to. As I said my writing so far has been free from any connection to a specific set of beliefs and culture, it is also not linked to any specific form of therapy or way of working. If however they are drawn to shamanism or want to depend their connection with energy then there are numerous courses and workshops available depending on where they live.
If someone is living in Ireland and can travel to Cork I offer workshops on shamanic journeying, shamanic drumming and will be introducing shamanic healing courses in the not too distant future. I also teach Reiki and Chios Energy Healing both of which are great for helping to deepen connections to Spirit and open doors for people.
I am also in the process of developing online training as I am aware of how difficult and expensive it can be to travel to attend courses and workshops. I already teach Chios Energy Healing as distance learning and will in time be adding to that a modular package of self-development work, shamanic lifestyle and shamanic training.
Nimue: Where can people find you online?
Plus my Shaman Corner blog for Moon Books
I have one book out and it’s published as part of the Shaman Pathways series and is Web of Life: Guidance for your life journey: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shaman-Pathways-Life-Guidance-journey/dp/1780999607/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371561359&sr=8-1&keywords=Yvonne+ryves
Druid, author, bard and dreamer. Nimue Brown is OBOD trained, a founding member of Bards of The Lost Forest, Druid Network member and previous a volunteer for The Pagan Federation. To find out about Nimue’s books or to purchase them online click on the images below…