Introductory Courses

These holiday courses are intended to be events of “complete immersion” just as an apprentice to a Shaman would have experienced – living & breathing the learning day after day. We are therefore intending to limit the intrusion of modern technology during your stay at Gary; the world will have to wait outside for what will seem afterwards to have been only a few short days.

Program Outline

Events Common to each day:


Breakfast will be available from 8.30 to 9.30 am on a “serve yourself” basis in the dining area of Butterfly Cottage Gite. You will be able, at all time during your stay, to make yourself a coffee or tea in the kitchen, so if you are an early riser by nature, you can make yourself a drink and sit outside on one or other of the terraces & enjoy the views.
Lunch will be served each day at 12.30

Afternoon Session

The afternoon Session will finish about 4.30 pm leaving everyone some private time to write up their personal experiences of the day, relax and change for aperitifs and dinner.

Aperitifs & Nibbles

Aperitifs and nibbles will be served each evening from 6.00 pm in the lounge of Butterfly Cottage.

Candlelit Dinner

Candlelit dinner will be served each evening at 6.30pm in the Cave Dining Room decorated with prehistoric paintings brought to life by the flickering candle light. Music will weave in the magic & conversation will flow with the wine. Dinner will comprise four courses cooked by our in-house cook Susanne Fox, who has kindly suggested the type of menu which will be available (see the Food Ethos page). Appropriate wine will be served with dinner except after 9.00 pm on Saturday evening as it is not appropriate to take alcohol for 24 hours before taking the Algiz Vow.

After Dinner

Coffee/herbal teas will be served following dinner in our farmhouse first floor lounge and will include entertainment stories and music suited to the course to round off the evening. Please see individual day schedule for the likely topics.

Arrival Day: Friday (Freyja’s Day)

You will be collected from Carcassonne Airport and driven to the hamlet of Gary where you will have time to settle down in your room & change for an aperitif before dinner to meet your fellow course members. We will start the event with our world renowned local “champagne” Blanquette de Limoux which according to local legend pre-dated champagne.

After Dinner

After dinner there will be a story telling session which will start the journey – Shamanism – evidence from our prehistoric past! Where and when did it all start?

Saturday (The Three Norn’s Day)

10.00 am

We will start with a talk on Shamanism and the use of the Runes, covering their importance to the person treading, or intending to tread, the Shamanic Path. Understanding the power and potency of the Runes is fundamental to their function and possible uses, their role in your life in the future. You will have the opportunity to choose a Rune set from several which will be available including a suitable pouch n which to keep them.

2.00 pm

Following lunch we will take a walk together in our valley through our ancient broad leaf forest and discuss the importance of the tree in the Shamanic tradition. Our forests are huge – stretching literally from our door to the Mediterranean in the East, over the Pyrenees south to into northern Spain and West to the North Sea & Portugal. The woods are full of magic; they still abound with fantastic wildlife, including wolves, bears, wild goats, wild boar, lynx and other wild cat species and wonderful birds which we have had the privilege to see over the years we have lived here. Plant life starts in the spring with wild violets and primroses in profusion and autumn crocus in September/October close the season. You will have the opportunity to feel the forest and the solitude; you can be truly alone like our ancient ancestors. You will have the opportunity to choose a tree & do a meditation with the tree itself, talking to a tree is amazingly powerful.


Dinner tonight will be followed by a second saga story telling session taking the history of Shamanism through to the beginning of the Viking era, the arrival of Odin the Shaman on the scene and the gift of the Runes.

Sunday (Sun’s Day)

We will start the day with a discussion and explanation of the Algiz Vow which you will take this evening, how it is woven into Northern Shamanism and the importance attached to it. We will also have a discussion on the role of Shamanics in the modern world, how it is possible to use them to change your life and your future, their deeper meanings, symbolism and energies.
During the afternoon we will help you design your own Signature Rune, discuss the importance of Bind Runes and begin with you, to consecrate your Runes so that they will work for you and with you.
Alcohol free this evening during dinner and then we will take a walk into the valley and each individual will talk to the trees, the local spirits and guides and, when you are ready, take your Algiz Vow which is the true beginning of Runic shamanism. It will then be important to immediately write down in your note book everything that you feel and experience at that moment in time. This will be followed by the chance to discuss the event either privately with me or Bill or in a group session. We will then share a nightcap or a last tisane and retire.

Monday (Moon’s Day)

10.00 am

A de-briefing event where any outstanding questions or issues can be addressed. It will be possible to walk in the valley, continue Activation of your Runes or any other similar activity which feels best for you. After Lunch, transport will be available to take you back to the airport and normal life can resume but we assure you, it will never be quite the same again!!

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