What is the shaman’s death and dying to the old self you may ask?

It is when we confront our own pain, fears, attitudes, negative thoughts, doubts, shadow side and darkness. It is all about facing the darkness to emerge into the light. When we do this they no longer have power over us. We become fearless and master of own destiny. It is when we die to the old ways of thinking and doing. It’s when we let go of our outworn ideals, beliefs, patterns, responses and behaviours in favour of a new way of seeing and doing things. We have shed our old skin and consciously deconstructed our old consciousness. We are irrevocably changed for the better, no longer the person we once were, and we can never go back. Indeed, why would we want to?

This is where we find lessons in the pain. We gain power by our ability to come out the other side of trials and tribulations. We grow and learn and become better through this process.

The old adage “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” applies here.

It is the phoenix rising from the ashes.

It is a metamorphosis.

It is dismemberment and reconstruction.

For me, after my hands were chopped off, I found the shaman path. I had a literal dismemberment and reconstruction in the physical which in turn, because I was willing, allowed me to take a good look at myself, face my fears, own my darkness and emerge light filled. The shaman’s death doesn’t always have to be painful, but sometimes it is and through that pain and suffering and complete shattering of everything we once knew, we have the opportunity to reconstruct ourselves, to find out how strong we are and to start again.

When I see people I haven’t seen in a while now, sometimes they look straight through me, like they don’t know me, and inside I’m screaming “Hey, it’s me, Simonne, don’t you recognise me?” The answer to that is “NO” because I am not the person they once knew. She is long gone and my energy has changed so much that energetically they can’t recognise me at all.

You can think of it like version 2.0. A new and improved self. Like you have been upgraded. With every death we move up to a higher level. Like for instance the iPhone 6. (Is that what number they are up to? I still have a non-internet nokia, but you get the idea).



My latest death came after my horse practically ate me for lunch last week. It was a death to the false ego. A death to thinking I was shit hot when it came to riding. A death to the hubris I was feeling. Well she certainly showed me! Sometimes the shaman’s death means eating humble pie and taking off the rose coloured glasses and opening up to the truth of your own abilities. Now I’ve been brought back down to earth I can start fresh. Yay!


I am currently undertaking an apprenticeship at The Medicine Woman Centre for Shamanic Studies, which involves working with specific teacher plant essences for each lunar cycle. For the cycle beginning with the Virgo New Moon at the end of August I worked with 107 Tree Nettle, whose Rite of Passage is the shaman’s death and rebirth.



I’d been out in the media doing interviews promoting Recalibrate (Now Double-edged Sword) and my pledgeme campaign and was ruffling a few feathers with what I was saying. If I was to keep silent I would be going against myself, my soul and my purpose, so I consciously watched my old abused small self die as I let go of my pain and responses to other people’s reactions and abuse to me speaking my truth. Not my drama, not my problem. Shedding the skins that kept me small for fear of upsetting the applecart and through that process emerging courageous, stronger and steadfast in my power.

Another huge death I went through during the Tree Nettle cycle was lowering the pledgeme target and letting go of the fantasy book I was clinging to for dear life. I felt so much fear about having to make that decision. I was feeling like a failure. Like I was letting myself and my supporters down if I made these changes. Worrying about reactions to decisions I hadn’t even made yet….and then, I let it all go. I reminded myself what people think of me is none of my business and I took comfort in knowing it must be done and I must die to the old self that was furiously hanging on to the old ideal, the old plan. So I did and a new plan was birthed. Making the decision to consciously shed the old meant that the new could come into being…and it did. We got funded! Woohoo


Go forth and conquer your fears!

I wish you one thousand deaths!


The information contained here about 107 Tree Nettle and the shaman’s death is sourced from my notes of the Medicine Woman Retreats at Tauhara led by Franchelle Ofsoske-Wyber, 2008, 2011 and 2012, as well as from my Medicine Woman Centre for Shamanic Studies, Certificate in Shamanic Studies journal and the First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand website.