What a difference a Day makes


When I was invited to a day with Richard, the Shamanic shepherd, I really didn't know what to expect and so I went with a completely open mind. It was a beautiful morning although a little blustery, but thankfully the overnight rain had stopped and the sky had cleared.

I arrived after an uneventful journey up some of Norfolk's tiniest lanes to find Richard, his wife and pack of sheep dogs all very enthusiastic to get on with the day.

And what a day, we started with a short walk along what was formerly a railway track and is now Marriots Way. This was as much to settle us city dwellers as to allow the dogs to let off some steam.

I felt myself start to unwind and let go of all the worldly stuff. We then went for a short ride in the pick up truck to visit the first of the sheep herd of the day. One of the fields clearly used to have an ancient settlement upon it; myself and a colleague were very aware of the feeling of serenity and bliss exuding from this picturesque meadow. We then went to meet the sheep in an adjoining field. This meadow was very different, and after all the rain very wet, so after some first aid to some of the sheep, the dogs with very little assistance from us, moved them to the other meadow. This was my first experience with sheep up close and all around and I was surprised at how friendly they were, and also supportive of the sheep who was being attended. It was clear that certain sheep stayed close, whilst the business of dealing with overgrown hoofs and other problems were lovingly and efficiently dealt with. The sheep certainly seemed calm and once in Richards firm grip relaxed so he could administer to them.

From this spot we drove a short while to what seemed a derelict farm and buildings, where there were some more of the herd grazing; this space was totally different; whereas the energy at the first spot had seemed calm and peaceful, this space, the land seemed to be agitated and the sheep certainly were jumpier and restless. Once again Richard selected the sheep which needed his attention and then we were on the move again. This time we drove to a spot which felt very settled. Here we broke for lunch and I hadn't realised how hungry I was. Whilst we ate a leisurely lunch the dogs amused themselves digging for moles and playing together. Then we were on the move again, we walked to one of Richards favourite spots through some woodland, startling a Roe deer, discovering lots of fungi and connecting with the energy amongst the trees. Here the energy seemed to swirl and if I stood still I could feel the motion. Next stop more sheep, this time to check on a previously sick one and move the ewes, past ta field with rams. It was wonderful to watch the dogs in action, see the very broad rams stood patiently in a pen whilst the ewes moved past. In the next field the sheep seemed very pleased to see us and we had no need to stop here, and yet the sheep followed us! One of the dogs held the sheep back whilst we went through the gate and then we were homeward bound after what I can only say was a very pleasurable day.

It certainly was a different kind of workshop, nothing was expected of me and I really felt privileged to spend time with animals that provide us with so much. I felt the energy of nature, the connection with no need to talk, I felt the communion with the wonderful earth and all her creatures, as not only did I spend the day with over 600 sheep, 5 very enthusiastic dogs, I saw a kestrel, swallows, 3 buzzards playing on the thermals, a little owl, baby frogs, squirrels and of course the roe deer. Plus a variety of Fungi that previously I only experienced in books. A truly amazing experience to balance out the chatter of everyday life and regain the connection with the earth.

N.B. I noticed the next day when I was driving to my appointments that I was really aware of the energy of the different locations and I felt this was due to the previous days experiences. I also had the opportunity to go back about a week or so later, taking Bess with me. She loves to roll in 'deposits' left by other animals, so I prepared myself for a very smelly homeward trip! Interestingly she didn't roll in the Sheeps dung, she went for the fox, chicken and deer, and spent the walk way in front of the sheep dogs when we went for a walk. I asked myself why this was and the logical/practical reason is she used to scout areas to make sure they were safe for the herd, and the spiritual reason (as our pets often are great mirrors for owners) is that I'm often way out front ahead of the herd in my work and life!




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