S2:E10 - I Thought My Book Deal Was A Scam


Hey, welcome to Shaman Talk. My name's Rhonda and I'm your host. And this week I am going to share some information with you about my new book, the Cauldron and the Drum, a journey into celtic shamanism. I have a copy in my hand right now, which is so exciting, and you guys will have your copies in your hand really soon. In the States, it's just a few days away, UK slightly longer, a week later. And the rest of the world, I'm not really sure when you guys get your copies. It's all done through distributors and through the publisher. But as far as I'm aware, January is the month that you will have this book in your hand. So I want to share some stories about it. I thought it was a scam.


When I was first contacted by the publisher, I thought that it was too good to be true, and it turns out it wasn't, which is unusual. Over on Instagram, lots of people asked me questions, so I'm going to share some information and then I'm going to read from one of my favorite chapters as well and just share some of that with you. So I hope you stick around for some of these stories and some of this information, and I hope you enjoy hearing how this book was birthed into the world. And maybe it might make you interested to order it or preorder it if it resonates with you, if you're on the fence about it. So let's start with the question. Have I ever contemplated writing a book? Yes, I had thought about writing a book.


I'd thought that would be a really cool thing to do. I imagined that I might do that sometime. Maybe when I was in my 50s or sixty s. I thought that my ADHD would absolutely stop me from being able to write a book. I do really struggle with certain things, and one of them is big long term projects like writing a book. I do need quite a lot of support when I take on those types of tasks. It's very difficult for me. I also need a very looming deadline to get things done, and that can be quite stressful for those who work with me, honestly. So, no, I had thought I would write a book, but I was nowhere near actually putting that into practice or even thinking about what I would write about or what people would be interested in.


And then one day, I got an email. Got an email from a random bloke that was inviting me to join an online retreat type event called the gathering of the shamans. Now, I've been invited to things like that. Before, and it's usually not in my best interests. They usually either want me to pay them for the privilege of being a part of their event, which I absolutely never do. And there are others who. It's just not aligned with my values. It doesn't really sing to my soul. It's not something that I really enjoy doing. And usually with these types of events, you have to agree to a lot of promotion. And I don't like to overly promote things to my Instagram page or to my email list because it's not really my way.


So I like to save up my selling chips with you guys for things that really are meaningful and that I really believe in. So I'd never agreed to do any of these types of events before. And when I read that, I was a bit dubious. But in the email, it said that Sandra Ingerman and Alberto Villaldo were already signed up to teach. And I thought, okay, well, I'll have a conversation. I'll see what it's about. So it turns out that the president of the events company had found me on TikTok. I do have a TikTok, a very large TikTok account, which is relatively dormant at the moment simply because of the types of things that TikTok want me to share that I just don't really have the time or inclination to do anymore.


But I do have a TikTok account, and I've got a couple hundred thousand followers over there. And he was really keen to have me come teach, so he wanted to pay me and was willing to be very flexible with my timing in the UK. And it seemed like a really well thought out, well established, well thought of event. So I said, yes. I said, yes, I'll teach. And I taught a class on the three cauldrons. Now, unbeknownst to me, the president of this company, whose name is Randy Davila, also was the president of two publishing houses, one of which is my publishing house called Hierophant Publishing. And I didn't realize that this interaction was a precursor to being invited to write a book for that publishing company. So when I got that email, I thought, this is too good to be true.


People just don't get invited to write books by a publishing house. I have a few friends who are publishers, or a few friends who've tried to publish spiritual books, and I see how they've struggled and how hard it is. And I thought, there must be a catch. There has to be something weird. So I went along with that, thinking that the other shoe would drop. I think that was an american saying that might have gotten a little bit wrong, but waiting for the catch to present itself. And they sent me the contract, and I had an author contract lawyer look over that contract for me in great detail. And the contract was, in their words, one of the better that they've seen and very generous. So I was like, okay, I think I'm going to sign a publishing contract to write this book.


And had deadlines in it, which is obviously good for me, had very clear deadlines. So I signed it, and then I was like, oh, shit, now I have to actually write a book. Now, what is absolutely wonderful and that I really do try and talk about a lot in the spirit of humility and openness, is that I was assigned a developmental editor. Her name was Hillary. So knowing that I have never written a book before and don't know how to write a book, I was very open and honest about that. They assigned me this lady who does know how to write books and who not only ghost writes books for other people, but is also an amazing editor. So I would write a chapter or two. I would send them to Hillary.


Hillary would give me feedback and ask me to change things and add things and move things around. I would do that. And then if I didn't quite get the memo, which I often didn't, she would do it for me and send it back and show me what she had done. I was taken step by step through this process of writing a book. And because of that, next time I write a book, the process will be so much easier and way clearer on what is needed to write a good book. And then when the manuscript was finished and it went to Randy to finalize, he also did a very thorough edit of the book and changed it again quite significantly. We agreed that together. So this book was very much a co creation of lots of people.


And I suspect that lots of books in the industry are like that. But what is amazing is that the universe sent me these people who know how to bring out my voice. They weren't trying to make me teach things I don't teach. They weren't trying to make me say things I don't think. And whenever they did write something that.


I didn't agree with or wanted to.


Change, they did it without question. It was just such a smooth, loving, connected, pleasurable experience that I just never imagined would possibly come my way. And here we are more than a year later. So I signed that contract in November 2022, and it's now January 2024, and here we are. I've got it in my hand. I'm going to make that noise again. There's my book. So I'm going to answer some other questions and hopefully you'll find those interesting as well. The first question I was asked was what was your most significant challenge while you were writing this book? And I think that ADHD was my biggest challenge, actually sitting down and writing and the universe really did have my back.


I mean, never mind the story I've just told about being gifted this amazing team of people who were so supportive and really just wonderful the universe would ever at the time and just came together. So my daughter Miran was very young at the time and she would often wake up in the middle of the night, one, two in the morning, be awake for a few hours and then go back to sleep. So if I'd only had the daytime hours where I already had routines and I already had things to do, I'm not sure I would have managed, but because Mirren would wake up in the middle of the night, I would write then. So the universe just gifted me these two or 3 hours every day or every night, and that is when I would write, that's when I would write my book.


So I really did need a completely different way to write this book and I don't think I would have managed if Mirin hadn't been waking up at night. Maybe I would have, but I don't know how I would. My. This aversion I have without a very looming deadline is extremely know. And I had no idea how long it would take to write a book. Now. That doesn't help with the ADHD. That just puts me anyway into a bit of a freeze space where I'm like, I don't know how long this is going to take. This is a huge undertaking and my body tends to freeze up a bit. And honestly if I'm really open about it, I was quite naive and I thought I could knock out a book fairly quickly. I laugh now. Looking back took months.


I thought I could do it in a few weeks. So I think my most significant challenge was definitely getting myself to write, but because the universe was really looking after me, that happened. That just happened. I was just gifted this time. That was really nice. The next question was, is there anything you would change about the book that you wrote? I don't think I would change much. Really happy with that, really pleased with how it came out. I think what I noticed when I read it now is that I could say more on a few topics. Definitely as I grow and learn I definitely could have expanded on some of themes, and I think I would probably add more interesting facts and information. I was trying to be mindful not to make it a dry book or too academic.


I'm not an academic teacher, as I try and say quite often. So I tried not to do that. But I probably could have put more facts and information and I think. But what I do know is that just leaves all the more for book two, which is definitely happening. Part of the process of being a writer, I realize as I become a writer, is that as you develop, grow as a person and the ideas that you have and the understandings that you have, then so do your writings. And I guess these people who write five books, seven books, ten books, 15 books, even as much as 30 books, some people just write books so much, I don't know how they do it.


But each book, if you read, for example, Sandra Ingerman's books from start, from the ones that she wrote at the beginning to the ones that she writes now, you can see the development of her ideas, and you can see even occasionally that there are things that she used to think that she doesn't think now. So I'm excited for the next book. There's not much I would change in this book because it is the book that I was asked to write by my guides. I am excited for the next book because I can really see what will come forward then, and I'm very excited about it. Just like to take a wee breather here, actually, and ask you a quick favor.


If you listen to this podcast and enjoy the content, please will you consider subscribing to the podcast on either Apple, Google or on Spotify subscriptions really help the podcast to grow. And it's the only thanks I need or would like or would ask for producing these episodes that if you find helpful, it would be super lovely if you could go and subscribe to the podcast and thank you massively to everyone who has already gone and done that. All right, so back to the episode. Someone asked, will I learn more about the three cauldrons? Yes, in a nutshell, a massive amount. The book is about the three cauldrons and how the drum plays a significant role in supporting your shamanic path.


Within the context of the three cauldrons, the chapters are laid out with intro, then with some scene setting and some stories from my life, and then a couple of chapters dedicated to each of the cauldrons, with the end bringing all together how to live a life supported by your ancestors and by the ancient knowledge of the cauldrons. So for anyone who doesn't know about cauldrons, I'd just like to read a small part of the book to you. The ancient Celts believed in three inner cauldrons, responsible for storing and cultivating energy within every human being. An 8th century bard wrote of these cauldrons in his famous poem, the Cauldron of Poise, which describes each cauldron's qualities in detail. The Celts believed that when all three of these cauldrons are working harmoniously, a person gains access to their full potential.


When your three cauldrons are in balance, you're at peace with yourself and the world around you, and you're more likely to be in optimum physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. When they're out of balance, you can suffer from things like physical exhaustion, confusion, indecision, anxiety, low self worth and fear. You may also become highly reactive, have emotional outbursts whose root causes you don't understand, and find yourself in patterns of conflict with others. So that's a little snippet there. Of the three cauldrons, in case anyone doesn't know what they are, they're kind of akin to chakras. And I explain some of the similarities between chakras danshans, other inner power centers found in different cultures throughout the world. Yes, you will absolutely learn about the three cauldrons. Next question was, is this suited to people without shamanic experience? And the answer to that is also yes.


I wrote this book to support you, to access these teachings, even if you don't know anything about the topic. And I've tried to strike a balance here by also showing those with more experience how to deepen and widen your celtic spirituality by incorporating ancient british values and understandings into your day to day life. There are also teachings about this safeguiding principles of shamanic practice, because a lot of people with experience turns out that perhaps are missing some of the fundamentals, some of the basics around how to be safe and connected on a shamanic and spiritual path. And I really feel that this book sings the song of my ancestors, hopefully to connect you with the song of yours.


And by the way, if anyone wants to know more about connecting with ancestors, specifically the previous episode of Shaman Talk, I go into that in some detail, especially, or even if you don't want to connect with your own ancestors for any reason, the next question was, what were some cool lessons you learned about yourself while writing this book? I think one of the biggest lessons, I don't know if it was cool. It was quite tough, actually. But I was still quite connected and quite needed external validation. I'm a recovering people pleaser and a recovering savior, and I find it quite hard to write the book without thinking about what people would think of it or how they'd take it, and not in a good way, in a negative way. So I dealt with that by stopping, noticing, accepting, loving, and taking some breaths.


I didn't push it away, didn't hide from that. I was like, oh, this is happening. I need to look at this. And that took me back down to my lower cauldron, actually. So these recovering, these ideas. Sorry. Of people pleasing and being a savior, they're often rooted in the lower cauldron. It's a cause of childhood lack, what one did not get from their main caregivers, and how their lower cauldron was not nurtured in a way that was supportive to self, to confidence, and to an inner balance. So what I did was after I had looked and connected to compassion, and realized that I needed to really work with my lower cauldron again, I took the issue to my therapist to talk it through, because talking can be really useful, especially with a therapist like mine who's got decades of experience and is just fabulous.


And then I saw a breath work practitioner to help me to get deep down into those places that your mind cannot touch. So that's also important. Those unspoken places where childhood conditioning lies in wait for you and pounces when you least expect it. I really had to work on those places and also spent time connecting to the spirits of the land to listen to what the land would bring through. And I set aside, at that point, set aside some of the responsibility about what to bring through in this book. And it really got easier. And as I said earlier, I was given Hillary. I was brought with Hillary. So she was so amazing and so patient.


So I set aside some of the responsibility at that point, listening to the spirits, listening to the guides, knowing that they had very clear ideas about what needed to be in this book. So that was important. That was a cool lesson to say, your fragility in self is causing you to move away from listening to spirit while you're creating this offering. So I had to say, okay, Rhonda, human person, put that aside. Come back to the three cauldrons. Come back to a place of connecting to the divine while you're writing trust, vulnerability, letting go of control. There were some big lessons. And what is really interesting about cauldron work is it's cyclical. So it wasn't the first time I had worked with external validation, it wasn't the first time I had worked with know.


There's an old podcast I did on control and I called it. My name's Rhonda and I'm a recovering control freak. So the brilliant thing about Cauldron's work is that whenever something does come up, it's there for you. It's cyclical. You don't start at the bottom, move to the middle and finish at the top. It's not how it works. I knew that something was coming up for me and the cauldrons could support me. So down ago, lower cauldron, childhood somatic, up to the middle, emotional connection and understanding, loving and opening, and then up to the spirits and embassy and the divine connection. The whole process was quite difficult, but also really opening and really learned that I was actually willing to embrace humility and vulnerability as I accepted the process of writing this book. So really deep lessons for me.


So someone also asked, now, next, I'm getting your book in the new year, which is only in a few days. Are there any tasks to do? And I was like, yes, there's so many tasks. I am a deeply practical teacher. I found it so infuriating in my life that I would read these books. That sounded amazing. Oh, I love this. This message is great, but how do It? How do I put this into practice? So I've got a quick list here of the things you can expect from this book. So, recapitulation, cord cutting, how to invoke connection, feasting, grounding with stone magic meditations, working with archetypes, saning boundary support with your guides, visualizations, how to work with the four divisions of sorrow mentioned in the ancient poem, as well as connecting with joy, omen, walking, ancestor altars. I mean, there's so many.


That's not them all. Those are the ones that I could remember while I was writing them down here. But every chapter has a few practical tasks in it to support you to work effectively with your college and power centers.


And the next question was, is it.


A good introduction to celtic shamanism?


And I would say, yes, I think we've covered this already. But just to clarify, it's a very practical book, and I always tag action to words.


It's what you can do with the information. And the reason is that I read many books and I thought, I love.


This message so much, but I do.


Not know what to do with it.


I had no idea how to actually put the wisdom into practice. So expect that from this book. Wisdom, stories and practical tasks that tie it all together. Now, someone asked me what my favorite chapter was, and that is a hard question.


Really hard question to answer.


But I think if I have to.


Choose, then chapter five would be my favorite chapter. And let me share a reading from that with you.


So chapter five is tending the middle cauldron. I'll never forget the day my marriage almost ended. Rhonda said, my husband, your inability to say I'm sorry is becoming a deal breaker for me. I don't expect you to be perfect, but you need to be able to apologize. Sometimes. I felt myself stiffening in shame and habitual defensiveness, a thick coat of armor appearing in front of my tender and vulnerable heart. Apologize, I thought. If I apologize, that means I'm admitting I made a mistake or that I did something bad. And if I'm a person who makes mistakes, then you won't love me anymore. Over the next few days, I thought deeply about his comment and about the intensity of my reaction.


Waves of anxiety washed over me as I contemplated the terrifying prospect of owning up to being flawed and the equally terrible prospect of losing my relationship with a man I loved. Then one afternoon it hit me. I'm not just afraid that he won't love me anymore if I'm not perfect. I'm afraid that if I'm not absolutely perfect, I can't love me anymore. My whole life I'd made my self love conditional on being perfect or on telling myself I was perfect anyway. I was terrified of even the mildest criticism or reprimand from others because I thought it meant I was fundamentally bad and unworthy. I surrounded my heart with a thick stone wall because I was convinced that anyone I let over my defenses would hurt me.


But my self protective measures meant like I couldn't admit when I had hurt others and now my husband was calling me on it. I did some inner searching, hoping I could find some clever way around learning to apologize.


That's so true. It was really funny.


Maybe I could just never do anything I had to apologize for. As you can probably guess, my inner wisdom always came back with the same message, you're safe. It's time to face this fear. And this message came up when I sat with my drum, when I took walks in nature and in random conversations with friends. It felt like the universe was trying to get this idea through my thick head by any means possible. The first time I said the words I'm sorry, I felt so anxious I thought I might throw up. You'd think I was crossing a raging river canyon on a tightrope, I was truly convinced I was in danger. I felt exposed and vulnerable and gripped by intense fear that I was going to be shamed or attacked. Instead, my husband gave me a hug. Thanks for apologizing, he said.


It's okay.


I felt my heart softening. My inner wisdom had been right, of course. I was ready to grow past my defenses and open myself to the full range of emotions, including the sense of remorse I'd been avoiding. Since then, I've done extensive work with my middle cauldron, learning to extend love and benevolence to myself and others, even when my fragile ego is being threatened. I've learned not to avoid feelings of remorse when I speak sharply or take action I regret, but to allow these feelings to guide me to make appropriate repairs. The ancient Celts believed that when we are born, the middle cauldron is tipped over on its side. Unlike the lower cauldron, which would ideally remain upright and full throughout your entire lifetime, it's normal for the middle cauldron's position to change in response to the ups and downs of life.


Although we might aspire to keep our middle cauldrons upright and full at all times, they can tip over temporarily by things like heartbreak or grief, and it is our job to learn how to patiently and lovingly set them upright as many times as necessary. The middle cauldron can only be filled by experiencing the great joys and deep grief that life can bring. An open heart is a jewel that we must polish throughout our lifetime, not just once, but continuously. Unfortunately, instead of being taught to courageously open our hearts, many of us learn as children to keep our hearts closed and well defended. Look at babies and toddlers mid tantrum there's no doubt that a young child is feeling a wide range of emotions, and they're very capable of acting them out.


But at some point, many of us are encouraged to damp down these feelings, to put on a happy face. Instead of finding and cultivating true joy, we learn to get over it instead of contemplating a full cycle of legitimate grief. All too often, we are lacking in both the inner tools and the outer rituals. We need to process emotions in a safe and productive way. As a result, we go round with our hearts closed, wary of letting in what we do not know how to handle. Bottling up our feelings in this way not only creates problems down the road, but causes us to miss out on opportunities for growth. The middle cauldron calls to us to feel fully, live freely, and love fearlessly.


Exhortations that many of us struggle to follow, especially if we've been taught to repress our emotions, look to others for validation, and stay in our comfort zones. Working effectively with your middle cauldron means facing the truth of your inner landscape, the emotions you're avoiding, the areas in which you're holding back from meeting your true potential, the convenient lies and defenses. If, like many people, you're accustomed to holding other people responsible for your feelings, it also means taking radical responsibility for your own emotional states and realizing that the one person who has the power to bring you lasting peace and happiness is you. So that's an excerpt from chapter five.


Just part of it. And then we go on to talk.


About emotions in the middle cauldron, and we touch on this idea of the four divisions of sorrow, and those are longing, grief, jealousy, and sacrifice. And then we move on to joy. And what's interesting about joy and the middle cauldron is that many people know that they struggle to connect with grief, or they struggle to connect with the more difficult aspects of living a human life. But what I've come to realize is that probably the same amount of people really do struggle to connect with joy. So if you're busy at family gatherings.


Or you pick up your phone when.


You'Re trying to connect with your loved ones, or you are in this perpetual cycle of needing to get things done, you likely struggle to connect with joy. So for me, chapter five is the most relevant to my current place in life, where I am continuously learning how to deeply connect with the four divisions of sorrow, where necessary, and to connect fully with the joyful moments that life gifts to me on a daily basis.


And then just to bookend this podcast.


You see what I did there? Ha. I wanted to share the story of the unboxing of the book that came.


And what was really lovely is that.


In my contract, I was told I would get five copies of the book and then heavily discounted on any further.


Books that I wanted to buy, which apparently is normal.


But when I opened the box, my publisher had actually sent me double. He'd sent me ten free copies, which I thought was just so lovely.


It's all those little things that really make the difference.


So anyway, the box arrives, and I wasn't expecting it for another week, I think.


And Scott took it off the delivery.


Guy outside the door and handed it to me as he was leaving to take our oldest daughter Eve away for the weekend. So he'd be gone for at least.


An hour, probably more like an hour and a half.


And I realized that he'd handed me the box with my books in and.


I thought, oh, my goodness gracious me.


I'm going to have to wait till he gets home.


I just really didn't want him to miss me unboxing the books.


So if anyone knows me, and many of you do, that is a massive, big deal for me. To just not open the box is to delay gratification.


Very difficult.


But what was interesting as well is that I was so nervous to open the box.


Like, if you saw my reel on Instagram, you might be able to tell that I'm nervous.


It felt really weird. This book feels so mine, so much of me, such hard work from so many people as well. It's going to go out into the world and I've got no control over what people are going to think of it, how they're going to absorb the information and the thought that some people will actually really hate this book. It kept popping into my mind, so.


I asked my guides to help me with that.


I asked them to bring forth the energy of all of you guys who are going to love and support the messages I share in this book.


And before I opened it, I just.


Concentrated on sucking up all of the.


Loving vibes that you guys ripple at me every day. It's really amazing and I really feel that.


Really felt that.


And I'm really grateful to everybody for.


All of the support that you give. And I also asked the guides to.


Set up a force field against any.


Vibes that are not for my best good. Any vibes of people who, for whatever.


Reason, don't like the book.


That was a really interesting experience. The whole thing's just been so unexpected.


But I have it. It's in my hand.


And in a few short days, you will have this book in your hand.


If you've ordered it on Amazon and.


You love it when you read it.


Please do leave a review. Those are, again, immensely helpful.


Just these little things, these wee moments that you can take to support this book and this message, if it resonates.


With you, will help others to find.


This work as well. So let's spread the word of the three cauldrons together. And thank you so much to everybody.


Who'S preordered the book. It's been quite a ride. I'll see you all in a few days. I'm going to go live on Instagram.


On the 9 January to celebrate the launch of the book in the US.


And then I will do the same thing when it comes out in the UK.


I'll do some seership readings so that's going to be really fun. So hopefully I'll see you all alive on Instagram that day. And as always, just thank you. Thank you for listening.


Thank you for supporting. I hope that being in service to.


This work has touched your life, just.


As your support touches mine.


So, until next time, may the wisdom of the ancients guide you. The warmth of your hearth comfort you, and the sacred cauldrons within you find harmony and balance.

This is where you master the spiritual secrets of the ancient Celts and create a deeply connected and magical life.

Step into the Centre’s very special Shamanic sanctuary. Inside the Cauldrons Way, you’ll find live gatherings, ceremonies, retreats and guided teachings designed to help you activate your inner cauldrons and amplify your spiritual connection. Plus, you get near-daily support from Rhonda and her team of six trusted practitioners. 

Oh, it gets better! Get full and immediate access to ALL THE PERKS when you start a risk-free* membership today

*30-day ‘no questions asked’ money back guarantee.

This is where you master the spiritual secrets of the ancient Celts and create a deeply connected and magical life.

Step into the Centre’s very special Shamanic sanctuary. Inside the Cauldrons Way, you’ll find live gatherings, ceremonies, retreats and guided teachings designed to help you activate your inner cauldrons and amplify your spiritual connection. Plus, you get near-daily support from Rhonda and her team of six trusted practitioners. 

Oh, it gets better! Get full and immediate access to ALL THE PERKS when you start a risk-free* membership today

*30-day ‘no questions asked’ money back guarantee.

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