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Changes in Currency:
Interview with Shanon Lyn Harwood

By Adeline J. Wells

Shanon Lyn Harwood is an author, teacher, and shaman based in Alberta, Canada.

After first delving into the world of shamanism as a teenager, her journey through its lessons and practices eventually led Harwood and her husband to found their own school, the Kimmapii School of Shamanism.

Harwood’s teachings are accessible to the world through her new book Currency, in which society explores the potential that lies beyond our current values of money, power, and position.

Inspired by ancient shamanic principles, Currency lays the plan for a new social order where a shift in individual values could shift the world for the better.

Currency by Shanon Lyn Harwood

Could you tell me a bit about your background prior to the writing of this book?

I have been teaching and practicing shamanism for over 35 years now. That practice has had a profound effect on my life personally, and therefore a rather powerful influence on the creation of this book. Although shamanism is never mentioned in the novel, the energy in the background does reflect many shamanic principles.

My husband and I have our own shamanic school in Alberta. We were initially trained by Joe and Josephine Crowshoe, spiritual elders of the Piikani Nation in Alberta. We trained under their tutorship for 15 years.

Eventually we took our training further and began to work with the Q’ero in Peru. In 2005 we began taking our students to Peru annually to study and practice the shamanism that was originally handed down from the Incas.

Your novel Currency was derived from the wisdom you’ve garnered from studying shamanism. What inspired you to write this story?

Currency is the story of Deidre who, along with everyone in her community, receives a mysterious social media message. It is eventually realized that members of the surrounding communities are also getting similar pieces of information, all of which encapsulate something called “The Book.”

The Book begins to reveal an exciting way to completely restructure society; a way that doesn't require a revolution. It's a gentle, peaceful way to initiate and accept change; a way of reordering the world so that everyone has their basic needs met and everyone is equal.

It proposes to eliminate money, power and position, which is a task that not everyone in the book agrees with.

Shamanic principles served as the inspiration for this book; one of which is, “we need to actively create what's possible in the world rather than passively accept what's probable. Currency is one way to create what’s possible.

What was the process of writing the book like for you?

Currency is my second book. My first book, It Depends Who’s Looking - The Archetype Project was nonfiction, which made it an entirely different, a much easier, and a downright fun experience.

Currency was definitely more challenging. My goal was to tell the story in a way that would really touch people emotionally so that they might look at themselves, as well as the bigger picture of our society and contemplate this plan. It could create a reality that is so much less conflicted, arduous, and challenging than what we are facing today.

Shanon Lyn Harwood

What would you like for your readers to take away from reading Currency?

I would really like people to consider how this could work if implemented in our real world. If we, as a society, want to take a leap and put something like Currency in place, it will really only require that each of us make one important, fundamental shift in our lives: a shift in what we value.

If we are able to do that, the plan in Currency would show us an alternative way to make life work well, because it's based around simultaneously eliminating the three big evils in the world: money, power and position. That would be my wish. I would love for people to see how this could be possible.

Considering the state of the world today, do you believe that changes of this magnitude could realistically be implemented?

Given the right circumstances, if people were to change what they value in the world; then yes. This is why I called the book Currency. It speaks to the truth that our relationship with that tangible thing we call money has unfortunately woven its way into every aspect of our lives.

As the story unfolds, it asks the reader to ponder what life would be like if we were to exchange money for something far more valuable — our personal time on this planet. If we were to do that, we would place a much greater value on how we spend our time.

In essence, money changes into time in the novel. By the time the novel closes, the title itself suggests that there's something even more important than either money or time, and that something needs to become our default currency in this world.

Do you have any other future books or projects on the horizon?

As I mentioned, my first book It Depends Who’s Looking - The Archetype Project was a nonfiction project. We are working in that realm right now. We are recreating It Depends Who’s Looking and working to start training practitioners, so that they can begin to work with archetypal energy out into the world.

Up until now, primarily we have been working with The Archetypes in our one-on-one practices. We'd like to step back from that now by training practitioners so that they may take over that role instead.

You have your own school, the Kimmapii School of Shamanism. What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions about shamans and shamanism today?

There's an unfortunate misunderstanding where a lot of people think shamanism is a religion, which it is not. There's also the perception that shamanism is a form of escapism in the world, that we put our head in the clouds and we're not realistic.

Rather, shamanism is about holding both the light and the dark, the good and the bad in perfect balance. Our goal is to keep all aspects of life as balanced as we possibly can. I don't think that we're unrealistic. I think we're rather pragmatic people.

What do you think are some of the most important things for the world to understand about it?

One important aspect of shamanism is that we understand that everyone creates their own reality, moment to moment. Therefore, we need to take responsibility for that creation.

Another important principle is that we do not see time as linear; we understand time is circular. Shamans also perceive that everything is perfect just as it is, therefore, we need to not judge it.

Also, we believe that there is no hierarchy; no one is above, no one is below, no one is ahead, no one is behind. Everyone is absolutely, perfectly equal. Everyone, every culture, every religion, every race or ethnicity, all of us —equal.

This is one of the concepts embedded in Currency. In the book there is an elimination of the power structure that we see in the world today. In the book, everyone has equal power and equal responsibility to take that power and do in the world what needs to be done.

For more information on Currency, please visit www.CurrencyTheBook.com.

For updates on Harwood’s additional work, please visit www.itdependsonwhoslooking.com and www.kimmapii.com.

Hollywood, CA

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