The Spirit Keeper - Interview


What is Shamanism?


The Spirit Keeper is a small internet business run by Trudy Coyle. Within the website shop you will find quality taxidermy, examples of taxidermy repair and examples of her work as a shamanic artisan.


Cylex 1. What services does The Spirit Keeper offer?

The Spirit Keeper: As The Spirit Keeper I provide a professional taxidermy service, taxidermy repair, restoration and repair of vintage furs. I also preserve animal parts for costumes for theatre, TV and Film, and stage props.  I also offer a selection of traditional Shamanic items such as Smudging Fans, Rattles, Spirit or Medicine pouches, Totems, Amulets etc.

Cylex 2. What is Taxidermy?

The Spirit Keeper: Taxidermy is a general term describing the many methods of reproducing a life-like three-dimensional representation of an animal for permanent display. In some cases, the actual skin (including the fur, feathers or scales) of the specimen is preserved, then mounted over an artificial armature. In other cases, the specimen is reproduced completely with man-made materials. The word 'taxidermy' is derived from two ancient Greek words; taxis, meaning movement; and derma, meaning skin. Therefore, loosely translated, taxidermy means the movement of skin. This is a fairly appropriate definition a taxidermy procedures involve removing the natural skin from the specimen. This skin is then preserved (a complex procedure) then replacing this skin over an artificial body, and adjusting the skin and pose until it appears lifelike.


Cylex 3. On your page we also read about the street dogs in Romania? How come you picked that country?

The Spirit Keeper: After losing my 15½ dog, I set about seeking a dog in need of a home, so registered with all local rescue charities. One suggested looking at their website, and quite by accident I went to the wrong website, however it had dogs needing homes, and I saw a photo of a little dog and it was love at first sight. What I didn't know was she was in Romania, and one of the estimated 50,000 street dogs that are being brutally maimed and culled. Once I realised what these dogs (and cats) were going through, with my Romanian rescue safe with us, I set about raising awareness of the plight of the Romanian Street Dogs by creating a page on my website, listing legitimate charities, showcasing some of the photos I'd been sent to let people see why the dogs need help, and from selling my work I'm able to regularly donate needed items such as bedding, leads, collars, bandages and I've also purchased a large Dog Kennel for one of the privately run shelters.

Cylex 4. What is Shamanism?

The Spirit Keeper: Shamanism is an ancient spiritual belief of the Mongols and Turkic peoples of Asia, Siberia and as far west as parts of Eastern Europe.  In Mongolia and Siberia, for example,  Shamanism is often referred to as Tengerism because it means to honor the spirits. The concept of Shamanism (or Tengerism) is that the earth is a living being, the plants, trees, animals, rocks, water and of course the animals upon the earth, all of which have spirits. Shamanism among the Eskimo peoples exhibit some characteristic features that are not universal in shamanism, such as soul dualism (a dualistic or pluralistic concept of the soul) in certain groups, and specific links between the living, the souls of hunted animals and dead people. Each culture has their own unique rituals and practices, and I personally love to research and learn these ways.

Cylex 5. How does one become a shaman?

The Spirit Keeper: Whilst it's believed a true Shaman is chosen by the spirit world at birth, one can learn from a Shaman and continue the practices of the true Shaman. These days there are a lot of people who claim to be Shamans, but in truth a true Shaman never refer to themselves as such.


Cylex 6. What do you like about what you do?

The Spirit Keeper: I love my work! Receiving a crumpled bloody and broken animal or bird, and being able to return it to its former glory and looking alive gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction. As I also carve natural materials such as bone, antler, teeth, claws, horns, and I find it so relaxing. I love working with these as I can see the signs of the life prior to its physical death such as scars on the skin, rutting marks on antlers for example, I love to encompass these signs into the tools I create as well as making them in the traditional way, with nothing artificial or manmade going into them. Man made elements are empty.


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