SCANDINAVIAN CENTER FOR SHAMANIC STUDIES
WHO WE ARE -- HOW WE WORK -- OUR PATHS
The Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies was founded in 1986 by Jonathan Horwitz and Annette Høst for teaching and practicing shamanism, humanity’s oldest spiritual healing path of power. Zara Waldebäck joined the team in 2010, and often teaches together with Jonathan. Based in Denmark and south-west Sweden, we have more than 35 years of experience teaching internationally. We also offer community ceremonial work, mentoring, supervision, shamanic grassroots networking, and individual sessions. Our work focuses on shamanic healing, using shamanism in everyday life, finding power and vision in Nature, and research into past and present shamanic traditions.
Our Center is not a physical place but a collective of teachers who follow similar guidelines, principles and ways of working. Annette is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and focuses on Nordic shamanic and magic traditions. Jonathan and Zara live at their small retreat center Åsbacka in Sweden, and focus on healing, community, and connection with Power. Our Center is also a center in the spiritual sense of the word, as the fire is in the center of a council circle. For us the Circle is a sacred space of connection. You can read more about it here.
Our inspiration comes mainly from the Spirit world, our experiences and personal research. We try to learn from all branches of the shamanic world heritage, while taking care not to imitate or appropriate from indigenous cultures. Although some of our roots connect with Michael Harner in the USA and our teaching shares some traits with “core shamanism”, this is only one part of our lineage. Jonathan and Annette recognize Michael Harner as their first significant human teacher of shamanic techniques, but after Jonathan left the FSS in 1993, our way grew and developed into something distinctively different. We do not call what we do “core shamanism” though we respect our relationship to it. The way we work is primarily shaped by our personal experiences with the Spirits and rooted in a deeply animistic and relationship-based worldview. Read more about our perspectives on shamanism and what we feel is important to be aware of
All of us at the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies stay in close continued contact with the Spirits and Nature Spirits and base our teachings on their guidance. The essence of our approach is to listen closely to them instead of looking to human human systems or concepts, and this is what we teach others to do too. In Annette’s case, much of her work also stems from rigorous historical research and personal investigations of the Nordic shamanic and magic tradition.
OUR WAY OF TEACHING
For us, shamanism is a way to bring healing, to maintain power and balance, and to strengthen kinship between humans and all of nature. Our work centers on developing strong, ongoing and reciprocal relationships with the Spirits. We ask for their guidance and let them lead the way. We thank them for what they share and try to live in a way that honours their teachings. We take an active but non-controlling role when working with the Spirits, and use depth, detail and discipline to explore what they offer. This is the way we practice and this is also how we teach others. We are more focused on how shamanism can help us to live well on the Earth rather than “being a shaman”.
Our teaching focuses on shamanism as a living practice and a spiritual path. It is rooted in our everyday lives. It is both very concrete and grounded, and vast and mysterious. It is a way of being that connects us with the sacredness of life. In changing and challenging times, working with the Spirits provides a compass for the soul, reminding us of who we are and helping us to keep our intention strong.
We are not a school with a set program, and we recognize that each student has their own path. For some, shamanism is the path. For others, shamanism can bring them to their path. As teachers, we each have our own unique way of holding a Circle. As practitioners, we have our own areas of interest and special expertise. This diversity helps us to keep learning from each other and expands our understanding. The shaman’s path is not one path. Depending on the person, the situation, and the time, it can shift and change. Our intention is to help people find their own path, with the guidance of the Spirits.
As teachers, we aim at being free of dogma. In our view, the real education is something that takes place between student and Spirits. They are the true teachers. The purpose of our work is to initiate and support this process, and help practitioners better understand the language of the Spirit World. With a clear framework and holding a steady space, powerful processes can unfold with trust, discipline and intention. Though we teach shamanic techniques, the heart of our training centers on developing deeper relationships to the Spirits. Once this is strong, a partnership is built that helps us to meet Life more fully, whatever the challenges or invitations. To learn more, please visit the Library to explore our articles, podcasts, videos and talks.
We have given lectures in universities, colleges, festivals and conferences, and feel it is important to build bridges between shamanic practice, science, scholarly approaches and other spiritual ways. It can bring many new perspectives and attitudes to existing areas of study. You can read more about our talks in Previous Events
A LIVING SHAMANIC TRADITION
Our debt and gratitude is great to the shamans, folk-healers and medicine people who have come before us and kept practicing through changing times, sometimes at great cost. Without them we would not be here.
Many now consider us elders in our field. Our work continues to be renewed and shaped by our Spirit Guides. We are also inspired by the many committed colleagues and enthusiastic participants we meet in Circle and on the Path. Our vision is to continue to share the wisdom of the Spirits to coming generations, keep traditions alive, and remember to live well as Earth community. Now more than ever, we need skillful shamanic practitioners and ceremonial leaders. We need ambassadors for the living Earth. If you feel called to open the door and explore the shamanic path, we welcome you and thank you.
Stay connected with us on SCSS FACEBOOK
OUR DRUM LOGO
The emblem of the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies depicts the essence of our work. It shows the three worlds that the shaman can travel between, framed by the Drum. It was made especially for us many years ago. Read the story of how it came to be
As well as events and circles, Jonathan and Zara also offer one-to-one work such as healing, mentoring and shamanic guidance, working mainly with people who have already been on courses. They hold shamanic guidance and mentoring online, and at certain times open Åsbacka for healing, empowerment or soul retrieval sessions. Please be aware that we only ever work for people who have asked for help and given clear permission. If you want us to help others, we can advice you on how you yourself can receive support and guidance for the situation.
Annette does not offer individual sessions. For the time being, Jonathan and Zara only meet with people online, not in person. If we are not able to help, we will try to recommend other experienced shamanic practitioners.
WHO WE ARE
Annette has studied and practised shamanism since the early 1980’s. She has been teaching in Denmark and Northern Europe for more than three decades, and co-founded the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies with Jonathan Horwitz in 1986. In her work, Annette has especially explored the legacy of earlier Scandinavian shamans, folk healers and wise women. She is considered an authority on Seidr, the old Nordic shamanic tradition. Born 1951, and with a background in textile- and woodcraft and history, Annette lives and practices in a small village community in the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark. She is author of the book Jorden Synger, on the power of Nature in the Nordic tradition.
Read more about Annette's work here.
Jonathan has been working with shamanism since 1972. He has a master’s degree in anthropology and in 1986 he founded the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies together with Annette Høst. He has been teaching internationally ever since. Jonathan is known for his grounded, present and warm teaching style. Many shamanic teachers in Europe have trained with Jonathan. He has travelled extensively, and from 1984 to 1993 worked with Michael Harner as a teacher and field researcher at the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. He is a frequent contributor to Sacred Hoop magazine and has served as European Editor for Journal of Shamanic Practice. He lives and practices with his partner Zara in the woods of southern Sweden at Åsbacka, their home and retreat center.
Read more about Jonathan's work here.
Zara has been working shamanically since 2005, and joined the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies team in 2010. Originally from Sweden, she spent nearly 30 years living in the UK. As well as teaching shamanism, healing and guidance, she is a founding member of the International Shamanic Community, which she helps to facilitate. A lifelong wordsmith and writer, she has a deep interest in the role of story as a spiritual and healing tool. She also works with systemic constellations from a ceremonial and animistic perspective, and does creative coaching to help bring inspiration to Life. These threads weave into one whole with the Spirits always at its heart. She lives and practices with Jonathan at their retreat center Åsbacka, in southern Sweden.
Read more about Zara's work here.