My name is Alison Dhuanna (legal name McCabe). ‘Dhuanna’ means ‘She who Serves the Goddess’ from Sumeria and beyond. The most famous Priestess of the tradition I belong to was called Enhedhuanna, who was a Poet, Priestess and Astrologer like myself. I am honoured to walk in her footsteps in this most blessed of times.
I started teaching the Goddess Asteroids to women’s circles in 2012 and my understanding comes mostly from the experience of the women in these circles, hundreds of chart readings for men and women and connections with other systems such as Human Design, the Gene Keys and Quantum Physics. I teach as I learn which is experientially through the Right hemisphere of the brain primarily. Ceremony and creativity are also important parts of these processes.
My experience of the Goddess of the British Isles has deepened in recent years, whilst leading tours to sacred sites in Anglesey and the Orkney Islands, and I am honoured to walk the same path as The Druids when these islands were part of a great Lemurian Civilisation. I have also been studying the Pachakuti Mesa tradition with don Oscar Miro Quesada a Peruvian Shaman Elder called ‘The Path of the Universal Shaman’. This weaving together of cultures into a unified whole was prophesied by the Mayan Astrologers in this Aeon known as the ‘Galactic Time’.
In addition, I do Goddess Asteroid Astrology Readings by Skype and CD for people all over the world, I am part of the Deepsong Sacred Sound Gong Collective, led by Kath Reade, in Hebden Bridge,West Yorkshire and I host a wide range of Astro-Shamanism events, retreats and courses around the UK and beyond.
Mother Earth wishes for us to dance and sing at her special times and to honour the cycle of the sun, moon and planets as we did when we lived in harmony with her in many different cultures. Now at the opening of this next Golden Age, praise that many teachers are here in many forms. May the Love of the Goddess soften and strengthen your heart always.
My journey into Astro-Shamanism
I was born at home in Bramley, Johannesburg (South Africa) in 1970. My Dad buried my after-birth in the garden and our black Labrador Bess dug it up, and after eating it claimed me as her own, guarding me relentlessly as I lay under the apple trees in the garden. So began my journey into shamanism and the strong bond I have had with dogs and other animals all my life. My Dad is a Christian, but all through childhood animals would come to him for healing. Birds, wild animals, and his deep love of nature, were a nurturing influence in my childhood.
I grew up in the Apartheid years in South Africa, and my experience was polarised with the bliss of running wild in nature, climbing trees and swimming in the river talking to frogs, contrasted with the political reality of violence, racism and brutality. The girls’ school I attended failed to tame me into anything remotely resembling the pliable wife I was ‘meant’ to be, and I rebelled, taking refuge in alcohol and tobacco from my early teens.
I left school aged 17 and got on a plane to the UK, where I stayed with my grandparents. I couldn’t wait to get away, to find a world where I felt I could live in freedom with others. However, uprooting myself so dramatically led to a breakdown. I was diagnosed with manic depression which was later changed to post traumatic stress disorder, and spent around 7 years recovering. I did not know it at the time but this was an ‘initiatory’ illness (my being called to Shamanism).
In my late twenties, I was offered a job as the project manager of a new ‘user-led recovery service’, a crisis house run by a charity called CHANGE which was funded by the NHS (National Health Service). It was a ground-breaking project, globally called Anam Cara Crisis House, and it was so successful I got to travel to many countries to talk about our approach. I was part of a wonderful team of people and we saw the house as a ‘spiritual’ project. In these years we learned Reiki, flower essences and the power of simply being with people and having empathy, whilst having an undentable optimism that our clients could get to a better place in themselves. ‘Anam Cara’ means ‘Soul Friend’ and our core belief was that befriending your own soul was the key to wellness and happiness. We were very creative and it was a wonderful 7 years that I managed the project.
My interest in Astrology flourished during this time. I was also initiated as a Priestess into the Western Mystery traditions, with this centering around North Wales and Glastonbury. In this time, I learned much about ritual, calling cosmic and elemental energies. I meditated on the Qabalah for many years as part of my training, which has proved to be a wonderful foundation for understanding many aspects of how the universe works at an energetic level. I was also initiated into Reiki and SKHM Master level and became a qualified Flower Essence Practitioner.
When I left there, I had no idea what to do but I didn’t want to manage any more. On the magical side, I worked with a Priest, just the two of us alone over a number of years, which was very powerful work, connecting with the Tuatha De Danaan and the Holy Grail mysteries. He was a gay man who had been ordained in the Liberal Catholic Church, so it was very liberating and healing for me to work with him and gradually overcome my fears about mainstream religion.
Finding myself in the void once more, I followed the path of synchronicity. I found myself facilitating a Carnival exchange project between Birmingham and Johannesburg, which were sister cities. In this process I learnt much about African shamanistic traditions of dance, music and masks, which had been transformed through slavery in countries such as Trinidad, and then been brought to the West as the Caribbean carnivals we know and love. Visiting South Africa again opened me up to the shamanic traditions of the San people, and a personal encounter with a white lion that left me without any doubt that I was on the right path. I also formed a wonderful relationship with the spirit medicine of Baobab trees, which I needed very much to heal the deep trauma I still carried. I was discovering my priestess ‘Dhuanna’ self.
During this period, I married someone who I had been a political activist with in my early days in Britain. We shared a political value system but spiritually we were a complete mismatch. There was a lot of love there though and a few years into the marriage, after trying for children and having IVF, we decided to adopt. Our son was 5 years old when he came to us and certainly for myself I did not expect it to be so difficult, being an optimistic believer that love could heal all. One year in, the marriage broke down and I realised that I had constructed a false life and identity as a heterosexual person.
This cracking open experience of adopting showed me much about myself over the years, my sexuality being just one facet. Living with a severely traumatised child 24/7 brought up every unresolved trauma in me; anger which I lived in sickening fear would rage out of me, as violence and a grief beyond words that I could not reach my son. He lived with me until he was 11 years old and now lives in a therapeutic home. We have a close relationship and I feel that without him in my life I would never have transformed, died and been reborn from what felt like complete defeat. It made me stronger as a woman, made the Goddess Asteroids and my Buddhist spiritual practices a necessity. I remember during my darkest days being so depressed, that for months on end I would drop him off at school then sleep all day on the sofa, thinking about how I could end my life.
One day I picked up the book ‘The Goddess Asteroids’ by Demeter George and flicked it open. On the page I read about how the four main Goddess Asteroids were part of the breaking down and rebirth of the ego. It totally made sense. In that moment I knew I needed to be defeated, so my personality could go no further and my spirit could grow. A spark of light lit in my heart. I promised myself that I would not return to work (I was working as the creative therapist in a hospice), and that I would be an Astrologer, doing the work I was born to do.
Now some ten years later, I have gradually worked my way to the launch of the Northern School of Astro-Shamanism. Over these years I have facilitated and taught the Goddess Asteroids to many women, but learned even more from their experience. I have also done hundreds of chart readings, feeling what the Goddess Asteroids are all about. For the last 12 years since I moved to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, UK (known as a hard-core, hippy town), I have been part of a small Wolf Clan of women meeting four times a year. We practice the Four Shields shamanic practice, and over the years deepened our connection with the nature spirits of the moors and rivers where we live, and provided support to each other to become who we wanted to be. I completed a Open University Open BA Hons degree in this time with modules such as Creative Writing and Greek and Roman mythology.
In recent years, I have been splitting my time between being in Hebden Bridge and living on a yacht in the Menai Straits, a stretch of water separating mainland Wales and Anglesey in the UK. This is a very tidal sea, with birds always bringing magical experiences and I feel very lucky to be living so close to nature in this way. Exploring the many Neolithic sites in the area on a regular basis through the seasons, has reawakened in me a deep connection back to the shamanic practices of our ancestors. Shamanism has become second nature now, no longer something I do but something I am.
In 2016 the South American shamanic tradition called strongly and enrolled for an online course The Path of the Universal Shaman taught by don Oscar Miri Quesada. It was a fantastic course and showed how the internet can be used as a ‘web of light’ tool which I am determined to master. The ‘sacred reciprocity’ and offerings of Apachetas and Despachos I have integrated into my astro-shamanism teachings and I look forward to continuing my journey of learning about the Andean traditions. The importance of the Mayan Calendar for our times and its ‘Galactic’ language of light, the Gene Keys and Human Design have all woven themselves into my consciousness and Im wondering how I’m going to fit in all the learning in one life time. We live in incredibly exciting times.
I hope I can be a guide, a sign post and friend on your journey, whether you are just dipping your toe in for the first time, or a well-seasoned practitioner. I give thanks to the animals who have come to be part of this journey and the co-facilitators of the courses we offer, who all bring their own wonderful energy and experience.