About The Caverns
Classes at Shamans Cave have a new name, The Caverns. The name may be new, but the classes are the same ones developed over many years here. This version of the classes began November 5th, 2005. Prior to this the Cavelings classes ran for three years and prior to that, the old cappers classes lasted 18 months. We wanted to offer a course of study that covered the entire Maker tradition and have done so with over sixty courses of at least seven classes each, almost five hundred exercises, workshops and special topic classes. The Caverns offers an entire course of study and practice, a tradition complete and the opportunity to change yourself and hopefully the world around you for the better. Join us for a class or if you have questions use our contact form to contact the admins. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Mission & Vision
Our mission is simple, help those facing the trials of being 'different' in a world that prizes uniformity and conformity. Helping people grow and discover how to heal both themselves and others, to create a new way of being in the world, one which conveys the beauty of their difference and compassion of their actions.
Now, who is this Niteshad character and why is he saying all those bizarre things? Niteshad is Gary Mills, a 68 year old oddity in the southeastern United States. The ShamansCave.com website was written entirely by him from the variety of his experience both in learning and practice in a specific tradition passed down through his family known as the makers.
He wears suspenders and has been described variously from looking like a truck driver, to Wilford Brimley, to Jed Clampett on steroids. Fortunately, online students don't have to look at him, only listen. He holds a college degree, but not too closely and a variety of other certifications, kudos and real-world pieces of paper which have utterly nothing to do with shamanism or the practice of it. What he does have at this point is 62 years of experience in shamanic practice. He has translated a primarily oral and hidden tradition into modern terms and brought that back into the world through teaching, workshops and the ShamansCave.com website.
He is not a new age shaman, and rarely what people expect a shaman to be like, which perhaps says more about the perception of shamans than shamans themselves. His methods are quiet, subtle and yet effective. Over 25 years of teaching on the internet alone have allowed him to help hundreds of people spread across a number of continents. His interest is in helping those that find their life experience and reality at odds with each other and to help them come to grips with their own talents and use them as skillfully as possible to change their own lives and the world around them.
Thanks for your interest and inquiry, hope to hear from you soon.
Meet The Shamans Cave Faculty
The Shamans Cave faculty represents years of combined teaching experience in the Maker tradition. Each faculty member brings their own unique experiences to the tradition and can answer questions related to the practices and philosphy of the Makers. Click above to read faculty bios and get to know the people behind the teaching.
New class sessions are usually announced in the Student Forum, via email for those on our mailing list, and on Facebook on the Shamans Cave FB page. New and ongoing students may sign up for classes at Classes and pay via PayPal. New students will receive a username and password so they may access the Student Forum and their class listed in the Class Forum (ex. Recapitulation 1). Within the Class Forum, you'll find the IRC link to the class. On the day/time of the class, the student will go to class by clicking the IRC link. Classes are in a conversational format for 90 minutes with an exercise given weekly toward the end of the class time. Students will practice the exercise throughout the week and report back their experiences in the Class Forum under their class name and in class the following week. Edited transcript logs of the class and exercise will become available usually a few days after the class for student's indefinite access and reference via the Student Library.
A Brief Introduction to the Shamans Cave Classes
No series of classes, seminars, workshops or practices can make you into a shaman. The process is a deeply personal one and not always predictable in terms of sequential experience. Yet, without guidance, some light at the end of the path to aim for, it is equally impossible to make order or sense out of the chaos of experience. It is to help those struggling to understand that chaos that the classes are offered through this site and taught by a very dedicated faculty of those who have advanced far along on their journey. The classes here are taught from the point of view of one tradition and offer a singular vision of method and intent for progressing in an oddly practical way towards the goal of understanding. If you should choose to walk along the path of these classes and experiences we will walk beside you until the road forks and you must walk your own way into a world of knowledge.
The classes are taught in five tiers. We describe this as a spiral of learning, one that turns first inward on a journey of self discovery. Discovering who and what you are on deeply human levels can be daunting to some, exciting to others, but the process is one of understanding our own place in the world as human beings and the knowledge that affords us to hold a true perspective about ourselves. The first tier of classes can benefit anyone who wants to know, or who feels driven to know more about themselves in the world and the differing perspectives you can inhabit as part of the human dynamic. This part of the spiral of learning can be difficult, frustrating and even painful at times. You have to look at ourselves naked against a backdrop of human energy, without the benefit of ego or mind.
The second tier of classes moves on down the spiral into a place where we must take what we have learned and begin applying it in the world. Knowledge without the ability to apply it as skill is the heart of frustration. This part of the journey begins to move you outward on many levels to act on the world, to test your knowledge and begin developing in concrete ways the methods and practices as individuals that will serve you. This level of the classes involves more outward approaches to the world, more direct work in it as well as a continuation of using the inward reflection of our own energy to start affecting the world and working with the various elements of energy within it. Each step in the process helps to free the vision and perspective necessary to prepare the way for standing firmly in the world, rooted in the knowledge of more than what is in front of your eyes.
The third tier of the spiral begins a process of combining both the inward and outward projections of yourselves into a cohesive whole, capable of acting on the world and moving beyond it at the same time. It is an intense but exciting period along the spiral where you must accommodate and reconcile a new way of being without hiding from the world, or attempting to over power it. This movement leads directly to each person’s strengths, to their intent for themselves in the world and how that will manifest itself in reality. The spiral moves on and gradually tightens until you are pushed out the other side into a world that is the same, yet completely different and we enter the fourth tier of the classes.
Classes on this level have been left loosely defined, it would do no good to attempt fitting people back into boxes they have worked so hard to get out of in the first levels. For those called to a healing path, classes have been outlined, yet we realize that not everyone will work particularly as healers. While learning is still ongoing, practice becomes vitally important to establish an outward movement of your own energy, which connects with and anchors you in the world. The healing classes themselves present a complete method and offer a way to work on people and the world itself applying the knowledge and skills developed along the way down that spiral.
The fifth tier of classes is different than any of the others, they are for those called to practice in the tradition and teach others, helping them along on their own path through the darkness of self doubt and confusion. These things are about teaching, about community and about the establishment of your own practices in the world. It is conducted more as a seminar rather than a strict class, but we hope it will be of use to you as you establish yourself in the world and in the tradition.
There are a number of classes offered on each level, but they are only classes, words on a screen or paper. Classes cover a huge variety of topics from the death walker, to the dream seer, the stalker to the healer, dreamers and masters of intent. But, the efficacy of any teaching is in the experience of those taught and their progress towards their own intents and goals. Not everyone can or will want to follow through all the classes, but where ever they land it is hoped they have felt changed for the better and perhaps the sun shines a little more brightly on a world less confusing than in the past.
Classes are held online, live, via a IRC chat client.
Prior to a class session, check the posts in the Student Forum for the class you've signed up for. The teacher will have a post title something like "how to get to class" or "Welcome" -- and you can click the link to join the class from there.
The default chat client is Kiwi IRC, which goes through our own shamanscave proxy. (Check the General Discussion for Students section of the forum for more information about chat tutorials, etc.)
In the IRC chat client, please use your first name rather than a made-up 'nick'. This will help the faculty keep track of who is actually attending class.
If you are a student, you can click these links to go to the page in the forums to find tutorials:
Classes in Tiers 1-3 are 7 or 8 weeks long, meeting once a week on a designated day/time. Most of the classes in Tiers 1-3 are set up to contain 6 or 7 weeks of course content, and the last class is for wrap-up and questions about the class and/or other questions you may have.
Yes. Each week, a new exercise will be presented to the student. If there is time toward the end of class, the teacher may guide the students to try the exercise for the week and to answer any initial questions. The intent of the weekly exercise is to have the student practice it as often as they can and to report back their experiences at the following class and/or in the class forum. There is no pass/fail, per se, with these exercises, but we do encourage the student to put in a good effort and to consider the exercise as a *practice* where one learns what works and what doesn't work for themselves. The exercises are posted on their own in the Student Library for easy access.
First, know you can always access the class transcript log and the exercise posted in your class under the Student Library. You can also write your question in the Class Forum under your class name. Answers in the Forum could come from the CV, the teacher, and other students and faculty of Shamans Cave. If it is of an urgent or private nature, you could directly message the teacher or CV via the Forum.
In a sense, yes. The text of the irc chat session is saved and is commonly called "the raw log." The raw log is then edited, formatted, and pared down by the CV to remove extraneous side conversations/comments. Also, student names are edited to just their first initial to maintain privacy.
Students of Shamans Cave receive the following benefits:
- Indefinite access to the Caverns Student Library - where all the current/previously-taken class logs and exercises are posted
- Indefinite access to the Class Forum - where the discussion about your classes are posted
- Indefinite access to the Student and Public Forums - where discussions of other shamanic-related discussions occur
- Continued access to the Public Chat
- Email messaging access to faculty and other students
- Invitation to occasional online Q&A discussions
- Opportunity to participate in online/Virtual "field trips" to various locations for shamanic seeing and discussion
- Current students may also receive an invitation to in-person workshops as they become available
- A sense of community with other shamanic-minded folks!
Only students (current and former) can access the Caverns Student Library via their login. In the Student Library you will find class logs for every class taken as well as additional logs and materials such as edited logs of public Q&A discussions with Niteshad and additional articles from classes that are no longer offered. If any logs are missing, you can contact us to get it fixed. The login name and password should be the same as your forum name and password.
If you know ahead of time that you will be missing a class, it is helpful to message the teacher and let them know.
The edited transcripts of the class sessions are made available in the Student Library for your reference, usually within a few days after the class occurred. If you need the transcript of the class sooner, you can request the raw log of the class from the CV of that class via the Student Forum by writing them directly.
When classes are taught, they are taught "energetically." That means that the teacher and CV are moving energy to help facilitate with learning the material. The words are important, but they are really just ways to hold your attention while the real learning is done in your energy. So, we encourage students to come to class as much as possible.
While most classes are scheduled at 10pm Eastern USA, Shamans Cave has students and teachers from all over the world and who live in very different time zones. With this in mind, we have a rotating set of classes that are scheduled more toward the convenience of European time zones. (Students in other time zones who work untraditional hours may also find these classes work better for their schedule, as well.) Though the classes are given in English, those who have English as their 2nd (or 3rd) language will find the written class logs helpful for easier translation.
The Shamans Cave Forums allows for directly messaging others, including faculty. In the top right corner of the Shamanscave Forum main page, you can choose the furthest right icon, three horizontal lines, and then choose the envelope icon on the following screen. Click the "Compose New" button to start the message. In the To box, you'll want to use the faculty's USER name. For instance, one of our faculty is named Christian, but he goes by the USER name of Cyfnos. And, Lorrie's USER name is Silenceseeker. You can know your faculty's USER name by seeing what they call themselves in the Class Forum under your enrolled class name. If you are *still* unsure of the faculty's USER name, you can post a message and ask them what their USER name is in the Class Forum section.
The Shamans Cave faculty have many years of teaching experience and understand what it takes to learn, not only contemporary shamanism for self-healing, but the maker method rooted in our tradition. Combined with our seeing and intent, we regularly assess each student's progress. One result of this assessment are the Pre-requisites listed at the end of each class description, within it's Tier.
Tier One classes are intended for self-healing with two (Shamanic Mind and Shamanic Will/Voice) bridging to the next level. The Recapitulation, Spirals, Quicksilver and Dreaming (in that order) are the pre-requisites to continuing in this tier, while Conversations with a Maker and Shamanic Tools stand alone.
Taking a class in Tier Two is based upon the completion of Tier One, the pre-requisites listed for each class and the approval of faculty. We base our approval decisions on the real work accomplished by the student in terms of ability earned and knowledge gained, then applied in the world.
Tier Three (and beyond) are by faculty invitation and agreed upon by the student practitioner.
In addition, we reserve the right (at any time) to recommend a student's course of learning. This includes both advancement in study and discontinuation of learning at shamanscave. There are times when a student does not recognize their own capacity or their internal obstacles and what would best serve them. The faculty of makers are keepers of the tradition, both obliged and responsible for determining whether the student should continue learning, take time off at various points to integrate self-healing or make a decision to follow another path altogether. Our goal is to assist people, not hinder, and as such it is our duty to be honest and forthcoming.
We are sure knowing our policy provides a sense of security and clarifies our position with each of you. Please feel free to contact us privately with any questions or comments.
"CV" stands for Caveling Volunteer. This is usually an advanced student who has taken the class previously and will assist the teacher by wrangling student questions, editing the raw irc chat log into an edited transcript, helping with answering student questions in the student forum, and sometimes providing their own perspective and/or experiences from when they took the class.
Yes. There is usually a 2-3 week break between class sessions. This break time is used by faculty to evaluate what classes should be offered next and then to coordinate the scheduling and teachers for those classes.
Yes. Depending on where you are along the spectrum of the curriculum and what classes become available for the upcoming session, you may choose to take two classes at a time. If you have any specific questions about taking classes, you may contact the faculty or your current teacher for advice.
The Shamans Cave Forums is a great place to ask all kinds of questions you might have about shamanism. The Shamans Cave Forum is set up into different categories:
Student Forums - containing "Student Announcements and Information" posted by faculty and also "General Discussion for Students", a place where students can ask general questions. Only students and faculty can read/reply to this forum.
Public Forums - this is another place where you can ask questions, but anyone can read/reply to this forum, as it is public.
Class Forums (various Levels/Tiers) - this is where student class discussions and related questions take place. There is a topic for each class, and they "unlock" as you take them so you have access to them. Only faculty and students who have taken that particular class are able to read/reply to those classes.