Ya’Acov Darling Khan, the author of the best-selling Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart – the Real-Life Initiation of an Everyday Shaman (Hay House 2017), and the upcoming Shaman – Invoking Power, Presence and Purpose at the Core of Who YOU Are (Hay House March 31, 2020), is known for his blend of strength, humility and humour.
He is acknowledged as a practicing shaman by the people who work with him world-wide and by many indigenous elder shamans and communities from the Arctic to the Amazon.
Travelling the world to work with groups delivering Movement Medicine, Ya’Acov has spoken to audiences across the globe at some on the most pre-eminent platforms driving the transformation of world culture and sustainability (California’s Esalen organisation, The Embodiment Conference), as part of line-ups which include our most influential voices of spirituality today including Marianne Williamson and Ken Wilber.
Ya’Acov’s message? Shamanism, and a shift from society’s focus on acquisition to reciprocity, is the key to restoring our universal connection and solving our interpersonal and world issues in the process.
As early as age 7, Ya’Acov, the son of an entrepreneur raised near Liverpool, felt drawn to the down-to-earth connection with the spirit world that shamanism invites.
With age, the calling to explore this world intensified. After struggling for years to come to terms with a perception of life that only traditional Shamanism could explain, it was being struck by lightning on a golf course that proved to be the awakening which was to change the course of his life forever.
So began Ya’Acov’s three decades of study and practise with spiritual teachers and Elder Shamans from the Sami (European tradition), and Achuar and Sápara peoples of the Amazon.
“Along the way I had to carve out a sense of normality and accept that this being’s soul, speaks the language of dance, ritual and prayer. I have come to recognise the fact that reawakening a sense of the magic, potential and splendour of creation in as many people as possible, is the blessing I am lucky enough to call my job!” says Ya’Acov.
His work is inspiring, contemporary and practical, and Ya’Acov’s audience includes people from all walks of life. In a time in which western society has become disconnected from ancestral and natural wisdom, much of his work is about education and removing the unhelpful mystique of the term ‘Shaman,’ meaning traditional healer.
His 33-year marriage and partnership with ‘Movement Medicine Woman’ and wife, Susannah, with whom he is Co-Director of The School of Movement medicine and Co-Author of Hay House published Movement Medicine, forms the loving foundation and union for a life dedicated to the transformation of our world.
“As a species, we are in a crisis. Our work? To reach as many people as possible and support them to know who they really are, find their purpose and live meaningful lives.”
Ya’Acov’s latest book, Shaman – Invoking Power, Presence and Purpose at the Core of Who YOU Are is out in March 2020
I ask how Ya’Acov came to be a shaman (Plus 1.20)
3.10 mins) Ya’Acov tells story of intuitively creating a meditation aged seven
5.08 mins) Y tells story of being struck by lightning which changed his life and set him to looking for shamanic teachers
7.28 mins) I ask why shamanism an not another tradition
9.50 mins) Y discovers Der tribe and first teacher Harvey Swiftdeer
11.40 mins) on becoming an apprentice
13.18 mins) On becoming an activist
15.40 mins) on getting arrested and getting a therapist
17.27 mins) ‘I’ll hold this pipe until I remember how to pray
18.50 mins) about cultural misappropriation in shamanism
23.07 mins) I ask (among stuff) what relevance shamanism has In the 21st century
24.44 mins) “Being a shaman is called the blessed curse” On the difficulties of being a shaman
27.05 mins) “The most dangerous thing we can do with our power is not to own it”
28.15 mins) “you can’t be a shaman if your heart hasn’t been broken a few times”
28.30 mins) “the disease of our culture is separation”
35.20 mins) Y talks about Coronavirus
38.40 mins) Shamen live on the edge between the known and the unknown
42.50 mins) shamanism isn’t plant medicine. That’s just one aspect of it
44.05 mins) “No-one is perfect. Thanks, goodness, for that!”
44.20 mins) His own practice of Movement Medicine
45.19 mins) I ask what practices shamanism offers and what they can do for us
50.50 Mins) Y talks about the importance of imagination
53.45 mins) “We have to be able to imagine a new way of being”
56.06 mins) I ask about some of the more extreme practices Y describes in his book such as digging your own grave and burying yourself in it overnight
1hr 10 secs) “Don’t make a promise to death that you’re not going to keep”
1hr.03.40 mins) The black box ritual heals our personal biography. This frees up life energy so that we can be more creative and purposeful
1hr.09.50 mins) Y talks in depth about shamanic healing work
1hr14.20 mins) Healing sometimes means facing death in a better, more conscious way
1hr 20.40 mins) Y talks about the effect of shamanic drumming and some neuroscience around it
1.21.54 mins) Is there a concept of enlightenment in shamanism?
1hr 24. 19 mins) What advice would you give to your younger self?
1hr 25.45mins) Y gives details about his books, school etc