Rob Thorne, Urban Shaman – how you can help him get to the Amazon


(Photo by Paul Moss)

I’ve known Rob Thorne for years now – since the early 90s. He has heaps of integrity, wisdom and does lots of great work in the community. He’s a top bloke and at the moment he’s a top bloke who needs a bit of help to achieve his dream of travelling to the Amazon to learn from local Shaman and bring that knowledge home. He’s been invited to go there and learn from some ancient Shamanic ceremonies. I interviewed Rob about his plans and hopes and just who he is and what he’s up to….

Tell us about who you are and what you do….
I am a musician and an anthropologist and a 3rd Degree Reiki practitioner.  I am a direct descendent of Mokena Hou the Peacemaker, of Ngati Tumutumu from Te Aroha. I grew up in transient small town rural NZ, from East Coast Wairoa, to far north Hokianga, the son of educators. I have lived in the Manawatu since the end of the 1980s when I came here to attend Massey University straight out of school. I see my journey through life as one of identity and connection, for me it is all abiut connecting the dots, understanding and knowledge.
(HL – Rob makes and plays beautiful Nga Taonga Puoro out of natural materials like wood, bone, shell.)
(Photo by Kirsty Porter)
Why do you want to go to the Amazon? What are you hoping to learn there? 
The Amazon is a long time dream of mine. Ever since my early teens Ive wanted to go there. Something very deep has always spoken to me about this place. The vast ancient vitality of it all.
I am going to specifically partake in a set of particular ceremonial rituals. These rites have been performed by these people for thousands of years. I believe there is a strong chance that such rites were once performed by everybody, that they were part of what established our humanity, our consciousness, but over time these have been mislaid, misplaced by humans. The ceremonies are about connecting with a consciousness that has always been, the consciousness that we came out of. This connection then gives an understanding of the larger and smaller picture, how and where we fit into it all.
(HL – I will just add in here on Rob’s behalf, that he has been invited to be part of these ceremonies. He isn’t tourist-ing!)
Do you consider yourself a ‘Shaman’? (Or maybe a ‘Shaman-in-training’?) I read a definition of Shamanism the other day: ‘Shamanism is the universal religion of wild earth’ – what do you think about that definition? 
Shamanism is a belief that all things have life, from the earth and the rocks that live upon her, to the trees and the sky above them. With a recognition that all things live, and are sentient, one then operates in a universe where all things are connected and related, literally. Where the trees and the animals are our brothers and sisters, and the earth is our mother, from which we were born.
I only see myself as a shaman in that I seek to work with this truth, and in the process help others to develop their connections with it also. As a healer, my role is to bring greater connection, for myself, for others, for all. This is what brings healing.
How do you sustain your life as an artist (not just financially, but emotionally, spiritually…?) What keeps you going? Any words of advice for young artists on how to sustain a creative life? 
I do what I do because I have to, because I cant hide from it. I do it because I more than love it. It is what sustains me, not the other way around. The art, the music, the act of doing, is what brings connection and healing.
Do it because you love it. Not for others, not for money, or fame. If we do it for these things, at some point our intention, motivation becomes derailed by other peoples’ perceptions and desires and we lose touch with who we are and why we are.
Do it for yourself. Do it, and do it, and keep doing it. Develop it, work it, but keep doing it. Heal yourself. Let go of judgement. Let go of what you might believe other people think is important and do it because you know it is. That is when people will connect.
(Photo by Radinka Maru.)
Rob’s Pozible Campaign is HERE and it has just nine days to go, so if you can help in this way – please do it soon! He is really close to his goal, but just needs that last push to get him over the goalposts. (Remember with these campaigns – the artists don’t get any pledged money if the goal is not reached.) This amount just pays for Rob’s air-fares but not his expenses, so any money over the goal will help him with travelling expenses.
If you’d like to help with a donation, but you don’t have Paypal or don’t want to use Pozible, get in touch with me and I will get you in touch with Rob for an internet banking donation or similar.
If you are cash-strapped but would like to help, you could spread the word via social media or emails to any friends you think might be interested in helping, with a link to Rob’s Pozible Campaign.
Some Rob-related links:
(Photo by Jo Berry Loughlin)
Thank you so much! I know Rob will be reading this, so if you have any questions for him or want to wish him well, please do so in the comments.
Fingers crossed for you, Rob! Kia kaha, e hoa. 

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