The Second Sight Story

It began with the understanding that Westerners need a different kind of healing. Jez Hughes explains the origins of Second Sight and our drive towards reconnecting with our animistic heritage

Second Sight Healing was established in 2005 through shamanic healings that I began offering after my initial training. This, in a way, was when my real apprenticeship to the spirits began through discovering what was needed and what worked in the modern world. I soon realised that Westerners need a slightly different medicine to indigenous people raised from birth in an animistic culture. There were so many mind blockages, trauma backlogs (personal and ancestral) and a general lack of faith in the invisible realms that needed to be gone through first, before healing could happen. This was even when people wanted to believe. When a culture has been separated from its animistic heritage for many generations, the unconscious rejection of the power of the spiritual world to affect this reality runs deep. How to restore ancient practices in societies that have lost their traditions has become an overriding and ongoing mission of Second Sight. The name itself draws on Celtic lineage, second sight, being the gift seers of those traditions were given by the spirits. It is that sight that is most needed now. 

Our teaching programme provisionally began in the woods in 2009 before finding its form in 2010 with the first Four Seeds course. This was after I had spent a long period wondering the land with offerings and asking what it was the spirits there required from modern day shamanic practitioners. How could we be part of healing our relationship with nature? It was also in response to being asked by several people who had been training in shamanism and had been around my work for some years to teach them some healing practices. My initial thought was I am not going to teach you anything before you undergo some initiations. The need for people to be initiated into a proper relationship with the land and their ancestors before learning any practices is central to our work at Second Sight. The following year (2011) saw the adding of the practitioner elements and the current training programmes have evolved organically from that initial vision and responding to these requests, to their current form. This process is ongoing as more and more guidance and information is received. In that way, the trainings stay dynamic whilst retaining that initial intention of healing the relationship between the human and their environment.

Image by Kauyumarie

Having lost our traditional lineages and practices in the West, it is my belief that the land still holds the knowledge and wisdom of the ceremonies and offerings that will help us to get back on track again, if we have the right ears to listen. This is married to the experience that comes from having performed healings on thousands of people from all walks of life, to understand on an experiential level what is out of balance from a spiritual perspective in the modern world. Combining these elements means the re-dreaming of practices that have the timeless quality that immersion in nature brings, alongside practical benefits for modern society and the humans it has created. 


In 2013, through a series of synchronicities (see the indigenous collaboration section) we hosted our first ceremony in the woods with a senior Marakame from the Wixarika tradition. During the ceremony, the Marakame spent the whole night talking with and listening to the local spirts of the land, as is their tradition. As the ceremony was drawing to a close he gave his ‘morning news’ from the spirit world and announced that the ‘spirits are happy with your work here, they are well fed.’ This then began an ongoing relationship between Second Sight and the Wixarika nation. The learning that has occurred from an unbroken tradition, which hasn’t been destroyed or transformed by the modern incursions of capitalism or communism, or influenced by the major religions such as Christianity or Buddhism, has shaped our work in a profound way. And continues to do so. This is something I am eternally grateful for. The Wixarika have become family.


In order to learn to become ‘shamans’- healers, diviners and ceremonialists that utilise trance states to access and commune with the invisible worlds of spirit for the benefit of their community- we must first have experience that comes from being immersed in an animistic culture. This way of being, of constant recognition and engagement with the invisible forces that animate nature, with the sacred, is what has been lost in our modern day, technocratic worlds. And the reconstructing of these traditions is probably going to take several generations. But that process has to begin somewhere, all we can do I believe is to begin to plant seeds for future generations. The seeds that have the most life, the most spirit in them, will germinate and grow for benefit of these future generations. This feeding of the sacred for the continuation of life, is the foundation Second Sight is based upon. 


At the heart of all of this is community. Which involves repairing the bonds that have been lost within human families and communities brought up in an era of rampant individualism. The healing of broken bonds between ancestors and their descendants. And, crucially, the reparation of relationship between human culture and nature. This is not easy work, much has been done to cause these chasms and it can’t be treated with the same mentality that caused the problems in the first place. That means, in my opinion, letting go of the idea of shamanism as some kind of self development path or something that will bring glamour and fame to individuals. Self development and spiritual growth may happen as a side effect of this path, but the focus needs to be on service to the whole. And the healing of the above conditions that have been created. 


Which is why training and guiding is needed. I am guided through the relationship with the spirits and my ancestors that has been built up over 35 years, alongside the close friendship with a culture who have retained their animistic and shamanistic ways intact. In this way I initiated Second Sight to offer a container for others who seek this shamanic path in the modern world. However, Second Sight has also evolved, and continues to do so, through the thousands of people who have come through our healings and trainings and then become part of the community. Hopefully, through this interaction, a thing of beauty is being created whilst, at the same time, constantly being renewed. 


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