When Alison Normore first left the province to pursue a master’s degree she was, like a lot of other Newfoundlanders, glad to get away.
The same thoughts swept through her mind that have swept through the heads of countless others on their flight from the isolated coop — thoughts there are no jobs here; that there’s no fun here; better yet, that there’s not much here at all.
But after a few years away, years that saw her earn a PhD in Family Relations and Human Development and broaden her understanding of spirituality through extensive study with shamans of various cultural backgrounds, Normore began to experience the dreams of returning home.
Eventually, Normore says, the dreams and visions became so pronounced there was no way she could continue to live away from Newfoundland.
Now, having not only returned home, but chosen Gros Morne as the site of her own spiritual teachings, where she teaches under a school she calls the Institute of Ancestral Wisdom, Normore has put her return story to paper.
Her book “Return to Pangea: A Shamanic Voyage back to Newfoundland” has been available on Amazon for about a month. It chronicles the beginning of her journey which would lead her back to Newfoundland, how the dreams of her ancestor’s land began permeating her sleep, and later, the synchronicities she noticed in her life and the visions she would experience on Shamanic vision quest ceremonies.
Normore says getting the story onto paper was initially a struggle.
“I was writing it for a couple of years, and I would just say to myself, ‘what are people are going to think?’” she said.
Yet, if there’s one thing Normore would like to do with her work, it would be to demystify shamanism and spirituality, and in a word, take the ignorance out of it.
“It’s very ordinary,” said Normore. “The problem is we (shamanic teachers) just don’t talk about it a lot.”
She explains that people often conflate shamanic wisdom and spiritual practices with religion, and though the two are similar, shamanism has roots that go back much farther than any modern religion.
“It’s the cosmology and spirituality of the Indigenous people,” she said.
At shamanism’s core is, essentially, the understanding that all things are conscious, that consciousness is not merely something exclusive to the human race, but something available to everything on Earth.
Through different techniques (some, like the Eastern chakra system will perhaps sound familiar to most Westerners), shamans teach how you can tap into the consciousness of all things. Normore says learning to do so is part of the shamanic lineage, learning that “the world is oriented along spiritual lines.”
The feedback on the book has largely been positive, says Normore.
“People have told me that it has reaffirmed things they always thought,” she said.
The fact that it has done so seems to make the initial struggle of writing the book more than worth it for the author.
Now, Normore is turning her attention to expanding her shamanic teaching in the province.
Normore had a date on Dec. 21 in Stephenville, where she blessed the community on the winter solstice. That and her New Year’s community blessing in Gros Morne marked the last community blessings on the island before she heads to Ontario for a brief stint of blessings there. She’ll perform a community blessing in Corner Brook on April 15.