Jump to content


- - - - -

The Price of Admission, the Cost of Avoidance


  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

Guest_monsnoleedra_*
  • Guests

Posted 12 April 2014 - 12:00 PM

I find that I return many times to past lessons and events as I comptemplate the course of my life and question things.  Though perhaps i'd share one journey and maybe you'd care to join me as I walk down memory lane.

 

 

The Price of Admission, the Cost of Avoidance

 

Occasionally I make mention of the fact that one is chosen to be a Shamanic practitioner and failure to accept the selection is painful and costly.  In many ways seemingly a constant repetition of accepts the pathway or be painfully guided or directed until you do so.  Frequently more painful than any other Pagan type pathway one may encounter, for we do not choose it as it chooses us.

 

One great difficulty in walking this type pathway is the fact the lines tend to blur greatly.  The idea of a cost of admission very apparent upon those who walk the pathway, yet the cost of avoidance or refusal many times masked beneath or within the cost of admission.  Other times the lines of separation are very clear and easily recognized though equally painful at times.

 

My cost of admission simply put my very life.  A needle in the arm, an allergic reaction and death, simple and to the point I suppose in retrospect.  Yet I truly do not know if that was the only cost of admission or simply the first payment upon my account.  An account that has weighed heavily upon my shoulders at times, nearly crushing me beneath its weight and payment demands.

 

As I stated my initial payment my death at an early age.  Yet my parents say it was but the first of many things.  Was it payment pending when my parents decided to take my with them on some night only to have it prevented at the last minute by my grandmother who absolutely refused to allow me out of the house?  Perhaps, for the wreck they were in found my car seat compacted beneath the passenger seat of the car, which I surely could not have survived.  Perhaps it was the kind elderly Colored Man that stopped my mother and myself from entering the bank which prevented us from being caught in the hail of bullets as they came rushing out.   Perhaps it was even one of my dogs who sat upon my chest so I could not move as I watched the burglar climb in through my bedroom window before launching himself out my window.

 

But those are all things and costs over which I had no control or true influence to change the outcome.  I was simply at the fate of whatever or whoever was pulling the strings and moving my spirit and life into some desired outcome.  Yes, very much influenced and manipulated by them, even guided one might say or claim.  However, to those who were watching it was clearly the price of admission they were seeing unravel before me and the payments along the way as I traveled it.

 

Yet even as the Cost of Admission was high so to was the Cost of Avoidance.  I can still feel the teeth of that dog as it ripped into the back of my leg at the kneecap.  No one knew why it attacked or choose me on that day but it did.  No one knew why I would be on a swing and fall beneath it and have the skin ripped from my waist to my shoulders as it swung over my prone body before they could stop it.  Even as the adults debated, “Did I jump or was I pushed?”  Yet it didn’t matter in the end for it was done and I had to experience the humiliation of wearing my father’s shirts and the jeers of my peer’s at school.  Even the tears of my teacher when my mother removed my shirt to show her the inflamed flesh and tears and cuts upon my back as mom explained why I was wearing such over sized shirts and grimaced in pain when I had to sit back in my chair.

 

Thus was my youth marked.  Accident Prone, an Accident waiting for a place to happen, so many names or descriptions for what was happening to try and explain what was going on.  A sort of forgone conclusion that it was bound to happen and I would pay for it with my body most times, my spirit sometimes and even my mind and sense of self-worth all the time.  Attempts at friendships that were fleeting as I felt alone or seemed to pay some price for having them.  A loner or recluse in so many ways with nothing but my mind and nature to carry me forward into strange places.

 

While my peer’s ran and played I haunted lonesome woods.  Why they read comic books and I read about ancient civilizations and strange occurrences and beliefs.  Oh, I had close friends that tried to get me to do things and we did some though many times we got in more trouble than we avoided.  I still recall the butt whipping I got when we found that black snake and garter snake on the ice and brought it back to my friends house.  The anger and fury of his mother as she awoke in the middle of the night with the snake upon her belly after it had gotten out of the terrium we placed it in.  I can’t forget my mother walking me home as the storm ranged about and above us only to get just about to our house when the lightning struck the transformer above our heads and across the street.  A fear that sent me running blindly away from that spot where it struck as I felt the burn from it and smelt the air.

 

Though I realized at an early age one does not speak of things they see or hear.  Well not speak of them until someone brings it up and helps you understand.  Understand who and what the faces and voices are you hear call you from the edge of the woods or the shadows as the day gives way to the darkness.  To understand the caress of tree or vine and the slow voice that fills your head when they do.  To put on the face that hides your face from the world about you less you loose your mind or are deemed crazy.  Well crazy to everyone but certain member’s of your own family that tells you of things or advice.  Even people who are not of your family but feel as if they are family from their closeness to you.

 

But the Price of Admission and Cost of Avoidance never ends.  All that changes are the ways they are applied and the potential outcomes increase in severity for failure. 

 

Who can say what it was that made me turn and look back that night?  Sixteen, perhaps seventeen at the time, drunk and walking home on the railroad tracks.  Yet still what force was it that made me finally turn and see that approaching train?  To evaluate in a heartbeat that I was in a ravine, to steep to climb, too far to run and the train to close to really do anything.  Yet I heard the whistle and was blinded by its light but still heard a voice say go.  The clock was ticking and all I could do was grab the collar of my friend and move my body in a way I never had before to toss him half way up the ravine and flip myself out of the way.  Yet even as I moved I could feel the rush of air and the sucking pull beneath the engine.  Act or die, no other option involved or provided.  I grow so tired of those tests even as I grow older in my body and spirit.   Fear is the mind killer and domain of the mindless animal.

 

At times one looses themselves in the testing and payment of the process.  Lines blur and boundaries change with each new direction one is directed down on some road they walk.  Do a thing without proper respect and the forces or peoples smack you hard.  Feel a tree without though and it bites back.  Cross a spot of land or pass through and gateway without proper observances and you pay with body and soul.

 

My nephew though I was a nut case and probably joking that night upon the mountain as the moon shown full and bright.  He listened as I spoke of what I felt in the darkness and shadows as thing's unseen moved about us.  As we became pawns in the game being played out upon the mountain while some general positioned its troops.  Yes, he though I was crazy, right up to the moment that scream ripped the night air and neither of us could identify it.  How he wanted to turn and run but my mind screamed to run is to die so I simply walked him out of there.  Walked as we heard them move in the shadow and follow us down the meadow until we passed the pond as one crashed into it.  But how does one speak of things that pass in the night and hide in the shadows to remain unseen?

 

One might wish that it would only be natural things that charge them but it is never so.  The tombstone that I held in my hand and journeyed upon cost me dearly yet my guides tell me to have not done it would have cost an even greater amount.  The sudden sensation that filled me and compelled me to stop and simply wander into the woods was one I answered but had I not would I have been in the accident that passed without occurrence?  The rooms I have entered and feel so alone is a cost of admission I have paid far to often yet the person who I stand waiting for profits from it.  Yet if I hesitate or delay and miss the appointment then the headaches, body aches and illness makes me pay dearly for not listening.

 

It is clear to me that the lines blur and the cost varies greatly.  I have paid the price of admission in more ways than I care to reflect upon and crossed the boundary of death or neared it to many times.  Even when death is not the admission price it seems high to me at times and I wonder why though many times to wonder is to challenge and that raises the cost of avoidance.  When I listen and follow, whether it be to act as the talking stick or hollow bone or simply to turn left vice right my pathway seems smooth and right.  Yet ignore and I do so at my own peril and cost.  Lesson’s which might have passed easily have become painful and costly as I experience them later after avoiding them earlier.  Painful to me in both the physical application and spiritual weighted sense of cost applied to my life.

 

The Price of Admission and the Cost of Avoidance how they have rolled into one over the years and continue to do so even today as they impact upon me.  I have been told no other can ever know the cost of the shamanic type pathway regardless of the pathway they elect to follow.  We are always hearing they choose or have chosen their pathway, our pathway is chosen for us by Spirit or the Gods / Goddesses and we have no choice in it.  Other’s may stop and go or even shift focus with no cost, yet those upon the shamanic pathway never can.  We move and answer the call of the Spirit that selects us or we pay through destruction of our lives when we ignore it.

 

While it might seem as if we have no choice in the mater we really do.  We can choose to answer the call and act in Spirits name and place, as it desires us to do.  Equally, we can resist and accept the pain and cost of doing so and live that way or answer the call and follow Spirit’s purpose for our births.

 


  • 0

#2 RoseRed

RoseRed

    . . . Not a big believer in . . . cowinkydink ;)

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,460 posts

Posted 12 April 2014 - 12:51 PM

Act or die, no other option involved or provided.

 

 

 

No, shit.  Fight or Flight?  LOL  Flight doesn't work - you can get caught.

 

 

Painful to me in both the physical application and spiritual weighted sense of cost applied to my life.

 

 

It would've been nice if coming back from the dead carried the warning of a life of pain.  I would've come back regardless but it would've been nice to know ahead of time.

 

 

 

Shamanic Illness sux.  So does Shamanic Death.  It's just part and parcel of what we are.  Accept it or be torn apart from the inside out.


  • 0
When my wings get tired I grab my broom.

#3 Wexler

Wexler

    Something wrong? Blame retrograde

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,109 posts

Posted 12 April 2014 - 02:29 PM

Monsnoleeda, I enjoyed your article defining green witchcraft. Although it mentioned several similarities to shamanism, what shamanism actually is I have never had a clear grasp on. From the descriptions I've heard it seems to mostly involve speaking to spirits, but it certainly cannot be that narrow; and from your post it seems to be entirely horrible, which I'm sure is a misinterpretation on my part. If you are willing I would enjoy to hear your thoughts on what shamanism actually is.


  • 0

'Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.'

'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.'

 

[avatar source]


#4 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

Guest_monsnoleedra_*
  • Guests

Posted 12 April 2014 - 02:50 PM

Wexler,  I'd be glad to discuss it as I understand and relate to the concept of Shamanic practices.  I will point out that the term Shamanism is starting to draw heat as being cultural appropriation as the term itself is from the Tsungian people of Siberia and represents their way of working with shamanic concepts.  In many ways like the older notion of Totemism that has since faded as a descriptor.

 

One aspect that is very common to shamanic practices is that of Journey work.  Here's something I wrote some time ago that might help on that aspect.  Another is that of Soul Retrieval which i've also included here.  For the other please feel free to ask any questions and i'll do my best to answer them for you as I understand the topic.

 

Shamanic Journeys...

 

Let me preface this with these are my own thoughts and opinions so other's may differ or have experiences that are not reflective of how I view mine.

As one who follows a shamanic inspired type path-walk I find that the concept known as “Journeying” to be a key element of my practice. Yet one can not speak of the concept with out defining just what is a Journey and what does it mean to Journey? Ask a hundred people and you'll probably get nearly as many opinions and definitions of what it means. In that light I shall present what the notion means to me and hopefully encourage other's to share their views.

I suppose the most common application for me is what I call an awaken or walking trance journey. It is perhaps the easiest of places to enter into. I really can not say whether one enters another landscape or simply descends into their own spiritual landscape or perhaps it is simply a combination of the two.  The thing with these is I can induce them or  they are automatic and occur on their own when my mind wanders.

For me these are usually a situation or occurrence where I simply fade out and a series of images play upon the third eye.  I say usually though one can induce them as I pointed out above.  Sometimes they are in vivid color’s,  highly detailed and appear as if I am sitting in a theatre watching a movie. Other times, they are more like a film strip negative that is played again upon the third eye.  Many times they almost appear like images that I see in my mind even as my eyes take in the physical world about me.  Sort of like a film negative that is seen as a ghost image overtop of the visual input from my eyes.

These may last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more.  On a few rare occasions they lasted for hours but that was the exception vice the norm in my experience.   I find these also frequently occur when my mind is allowed to wander or drift.  The danger of these to me is that they can occur any time and any place. I find that for me they often occur when I am driving and the mind drifts or I am a passenger.

A second type of frequent journey is the so called  beat journeys. These are journeys that are achieved through focusing upon a reparative pattern, regardless of it being an audible or visual repetition. The pattern maybe as simple as the rhythmic beating of a drum or even simply watching lights or the lines on the highway.

I have achieved these type journeys by sitting and listening to the sound of a drum. I have had them induced by simply sitting and listening to the sound of running water or blowing wind in the tree's. The critical facet of these I think is a person has to allow himself or herself to sink into the rhythm of what ever it is they are hearing or watching.

For me I find these to be more for inducing a journey upon the internal landscape of self. I find I encounter facets of myself and Spirit when I allow myself to slip into one of these journeys. About the only danger I see is when one encounter's the dark self and are not prepared for the stark contrast they may find..

One may also experience the projection journey. I see these as similar to the above but once the journey starts the shamanic practitioner manipulates the journey. By manipulation I mean the practitioner will step into the well of worlds or tree of life or some other similar passageway.  One facet though to consider in a projection journey is where the projection is focused to.  Remote Viewing is one form of projection viewing where the destination is clearly upon the physical plain.  Astral or Ethereal is a form of projection viewing where the physical becomes of no importance.

 

These are difficult in the notion of framework one is working in.  When drugs are used as the inducement source the area can be anything but normal.  This doesn’t even really take into account if it is internally or externally a place one has projected to.

For me most time I step into the trunk of a great tree. Once inside I may travel up the trunk into the upper reaches (celestial) , I may descend down into the roots and travel into the netherworld (chthonic). I may even simply sit inside the trunk and allow myself to be pulled into the reality of now and experience the world about me as I view it from a detached state.

Perhaps the most difficult facet of this to explain is that it is never really known as to whether the practitioner steps upon an internal landscape or projects upon some external landscape. Yes sometimes we knowingly push our minds and spirit to places we are convinced that are external to ourselves. Something similar to an OBE state or Astral Projection. A point where we may actually feel and see the experience of separating from our physical bodies.

Other times it is more of a sensation of falling into ourselves. Almost as if we stand upon the edge of a great pit and see flame and lights beneath us and we simply have to release our fears and step into the void. Sometimes the fall actually being the journey as we simply try to control and observe the sensation.

As I stated at the beginning these are the ways I view things so they maybe unique to me alone. Or they maybe more universal and experienced similarly by others with minor changes. Yet all always involve some sort of internal projection in order to separate from the physical and step upon the other worlds.

Yet some journeys also involve the experiencing and travel into the physical world to contact and become one with Spirit. Perhaps the most common of those is the one that is known as "A Vision Quest". Yet these are not just weekend type journeys but ones that are prepared for and requires many days of cleansing and balancing. Similar to the notion of the prophets of old going off into the wilderness to be cleansed and remade by spirit. Usually one will have a specific purpose for the quest.

 

I must warn that a vision quest type scenario is highly dangerous and should only be taken with great care and fore though prior to actually doing it.  In most cases a designated companion needs to be present to watch over and safeguard the vision questor.

Another type of external journey is that of what I simply call a world vision journey or quest. Not as complex nor demanding as a full vision quest. These many times occur when we find ourselves in some place in nature and simply relax and allow ourselves to be pulled into the heartbeat of the place. Once relaxed I find I become more aware of what is surrounding me and many times get a sense of a voice or voices in my ears or a pressing sensation of things about me.

 

I think many experience world vision journeys but do not truly connect to what is occurring.  They get impressions and hear part of the story of the place but never fully step into it or relax to receive it.

So what of the collective you reading this? What or how do you experience the notion of Journeying? There are no right or wrong answers, only different means of taking a journey.

 

Soul Retrieval

 

One of the things that one hears of on a shamanic type pathwalk is the notion of "Soul Retrievals". It is a common ideal that seems to have become a mainstay part of the neoshamanic pathwalk of the Healer Shaman. Yet just what is Soul Retrieval?

 

This is one of those ask a hundred people and get a hundred different answers. So in that light of no answer being fully correct and none fully incorrect I shall place my perspective upon the cyber page for discussion.

 

I was told once that what we call Soul Retrieval today is a far cry from what the Native American's meant when they utilized the concept. In the movie "WIND TALKERS" one of the Navajo Codetalkers experiences fear as he goes into combat. Another codetalker basically performs a soul retrieval upon him through the usage of smoke and prayer to call the bravery back into his body and allow him to overcome the fear. Once his soul is recovered and the retrieval completed he is again able to face the world and function.

 

In the above scenario the soul became fractured when the "fear" dominated him and caused his bravery to leave. In this scenario one might say the "Soul Retrieval" was to bring back a component of his makeup and make him whole once again. His fear was put in place and his bravery was called back and balanced his fear. With the return of his bravery was also the return of his manhood and energy.

 

That is one form of Soul Retrieval that is used to make the person whole again. Granted much of this form is based upon a belief and acceptance of one's place within the culture and understanding.

 

Another form is perhaps more clinical in nature, that of facing the fractured element of self. A little bit on the dangerous side of things for the Shamanic practitioner must become one with the person to be healed. At times merging their energy with that of the one to be healed and entering the internal landscape of the psyche.

 

Once merged the shamanic practitioner searches for the missing elements and tries to get them to rejoin the greater soul. Demanding in the sense that a fracture may have occurred due to some traumatic event, due to some extreme injury to the body or even something of a traumatic nature the person has buried and will not face or accept.

Pretty clear that this form is recognized as a Psychologist works. One must speak to the shards as individuals and bring them back into the whole. Yet also work with the whole to make the merger as painfree and complete as possible.

 

The last form of Soul Retrieval is a little harder to comprehend. Like the movie "Harry Potter" one may have fragments of their soul infused into material items. Granted not to the extent as portrayed in the Potter movies but close enough.

 

These are almost memories that attach the person to some item of usually great importance to them. One may find it in rings, weapons, and possessions of nearly any sort actually. Sometimes they are seen more as a cursed item than a soul fragment that continues to hold onto a physical item long after the body has expired and the soul passed on. One might even say this part calls for the shamanic practitioner to be an exorcist to rid the object of the possessing soul fragment.

 

In some groups this was seen as negative and destructive to the greater soul. Many groups utilizing Spirit Keepers to help the fragments release their hold to their physical items and pass them on to other's that might continue to use them and gain from that possession of the item.

 

Usually the hardest to release are those fragments that are bound to items that the person was strongly attached to but was never able to give away or let go of. This is also the category that grieves for a passed soul can cause the creation of. Their grief and pain trapping a fragment in the item they cling to as a sacred token of the person they cared so deeply for.

 

Unlike the Horacrux of the Potter movies, which had to be physically destroyed, the trapped fragments simply have to be released to move on. Sometimes easy to do, other times well lets just say it may take a couple of people to get them to let go.

 

So there you have it, "Soul Retrieval”, as I understand it on a minor scale. Not to say I am only right and others wrong or even to imply such simply how I view the topic of discussion.

 

Look forward to any responses from those that wish to share their position on the subject. 


Edited by monsnoleedra, 12 April 2014 - 02:52 PM.

  • 0

#5 Wexler

Wexler

    Something wrong? Blame retrograde

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,109 posts

Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:06 PM

Thank you again for sharing, your posts are very informative.

 

From everything you have shared thus far, I get the sense that shamanism is a combination of soul retrieval, journeying, and acting as a psychopomp. The spiritual/physical/emotional price for doing all these things is very high, but to ignore the call means suffering a higher price. And once you have been chosen by gods/spirits to walk this path you have no choice but to accept it. Am I on the right track?


  • 0

'Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.'

'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.'

 

[avatar source]


#6 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

Guest_monsnoleedra_*
  • Guests

Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:33 PM

It's sort of hard to explain what being a shamanic practitioner is.

To use a Native American backbone let me try to take it a bit further.

 

In many nations you have shamanic practitioners whose sole purpose is healing.  Some are dedicated to herbs, plants, animals, etc and how their properties or medicine is tapped into for the heath and benefit of the people.  They may be individuals or they may actually be part of a Clan within the nation whose sole function is the training and development of those identified by Spirit.  In this sense "Spirit" is the Great Unknowable or Great Spirit, Gitchie Manitou, etc depending upon how the nation identifies it.

 

There are also shamanic practitioners whose sole function is to ensure the fertility of the land and fecundity of herds and such.  They work with the same plant and animal allies as the healers but for a different purpose.  For instance they might call to their allies to find out where the deer herds have gone to when the hunt is poor.  They might call out to their allies to find out how the people have offended the local land spirits whether they be greater or lessor spirits.  It is not uncommon in many nations that those who heal are also the ones who do the fertility / fecundity stuff.

 

There are shamanic practitioners who follow the warrior path.  They use their connections to the spirit world and other people's of the earth to guide, strengthen, purify before combat, instill courage, confidence, etc.  They are also attackers in that they try to rob or remove those things from any that oppose them. They again maybe part of the healers and such but they may not perform healing actions at all.

 

Then you have those that deal with the dead and handling of those aspects of life.  Spirit Keepers for instance.

 

Where it gets confusing is that in first nation and aboriginal practices the Medicine Person, shaman, Medicine Doctor, Witch Doctor, etc is part of the culture and have all the same religious, ethical, cultural beliefs of thier people.  They may function like an aide to the priest in that the priest reads the signs and will of the gods / goddesses and the shaman reads the sings and will of the in-between places and others peoples of the planet.  This is where you get into the animism notion of all things being alive and aware.  The stone people, the standing ones, the winged ones, the fined ones, the 2 and 4 legs, etc and how they all connect adn the various worlds overlap and connect.  These things the shaman speaks to. 

 

Yet the shamanic person usually undergoes some sort of life altering event that identifies them as being tested by Spirit.  For instance I died in my youth as I pointed out.  Others may experience a shamanic sickness which is a serious illness that takes the person to the brink of death but they don't actually die.  The thing here is that whether they die or suffer the shamanic illness it doesn't mean that they will actually be chosen to be trained and tested as a medicine person.  They may suffer many of the ills of the pathway but never trained or commanded to do so.  Others will be identified by some elder who will typically take them as a student / adept / acloyte or whatever term you wish to use.  Most often it is always one on one and goes on for years as the elder teaches the junior to do the things.  In many places there is no separation as to whether the person will be male or female, in other area's it will only be one or the other.

 

Today shamanism has become as much a punch word as Pagan or paganism.  A collective umbrella term where many things are being forced beneath it and diluted to make them fit.  Consider Hedge Rider is a form of European Shamanic practice that uses the notion of crossing the hedge to refer to crossing the boundaries of reality and coming back.  Yet almost all the trance work, journey work, spirit work is the same but the methods and mannerisms is what is usually different.

 

It is a hard path in that if chosen you will suffer if you try to ignore it.  It's like I've been at places where I had to speak yet resisted and ended up hurting greatly until I relented and acted as the Hollow Bone or Talking Stick to convey what Spirit wanted said.  Which is ironic in that a lot of times you speak but do not recall what was spoken or your recall it but there is no emotional attachment to the message.  Where you get hammered at times is passing the message then trying to find out what the person did with it.  Spirit didn't want you to act upon the content of the message or what the person does with it just pass it to them.  When you start to worry about how or what they did with it your smacked because your not doing as asked for instance.  The other thing is the shamanic practitioner tends to have their feet in two worlds at once.  Its quite common to hear them say even in a room full of people they are alone.  Alone because no one else see's or hears the things that are there with them nor understands the inner struggle that fills them many times.


  • 0

#7 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

Guest_monsnoleedra_*
  • Guests

Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:37 PM

Another aspect of many shamanic practices is that of shapeshifting or shiftshaping.

 

For me I find that there are many definitions of what shapeshifting is.

For me the most popular one is that of acting in the manner of the animal one is shapeshifting to. From a shamanic perspective it was not uncommon to get naked and walk upon all fours like a wolf and snarl or sniff the air. To take the form of a great bird. For instance as I tried to connect to Heron I tried walking like it, standing upon one foot, even walking in water and wading about in the manner it walks. Physically trying to recreate or experience what the animal experiences.

A close second is that of being a pelt wearer or skin wearer. These are used as robes or skins that also allow one to take on the persona of the animal. I usually hear of those as wolf or bear mainly. Though some will also simply call it an ensemble and have bear claws about their neck, fully cleaned skins with head cavity, etc. The Nordic peoples were famous for their "Skin-Walkers" that would wear the furs of bear or wolf and go into battle with nothing but those furs. Of note this is not to be confused with the notion of SkinWalker as pertaining to the Navajo nations and other tribal nations, that is something entirely different.

One may also experience shapeshifting in the Dream State or astral state. When in a journey state I know I have taken on the form of the animal guide I am with to experience the world and it's understanding through shapeshifting into it's form. Dragon is one of my guides and I have felt my arms stretch and lengthen as they changed to legs. Felt wings form upon my back and expand outward and my vision and points of reference change as I took on its shape and attributes. Granted this has all been in either Shamanic Journey or Dream Walking State. Shamanic Journey can be on the astral plain or any of the plains of the world tree, i.e. Lower world, Middle world or Upper world. It also may occur upon the outer landscape of those worlds or the Inner spiritual landscape of the practitioner.

Sometimes one may choose to mentally shapeshift only. In that form one may go into a meditative state and use only the senses that are equated to a given creature. You may close down the sense of smell for instance and use the mouth to taste the air as the snake. Close down mouth and smell and use the ears to hear and focus upon the world. Not full shapeshifting but developing the individual senses.

One other form I have used to some limited success is that of taking the form of an elemental. It to is almost meditative but gaze into flame and become one with the flame. Feel it's heat and form dance along the body surface as it consumes the wood. The subtle currents of air as the heat expand and rise to cause the flame to flicker and dance. Those type things though it is not in sense a true shapeshifting.


Edited by monsnoleedra, 12 April 2014 - 03:38 PM.

  • 0

#8 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

Guest_monsnoleedra_*
  • Guests

Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:39 PM

Another aspect is possession, riding and channeling

 

 Let me preface this with the warning that this is all recall for me and I no longer have the books or articles that could be used as references to what I am about to speak on.

... ...

Back in the 70's and 80's I recall reading, hearing and speaking about the notion of Riders; Drivers and Possessors. At the time in the circles I moved in it was a pretty normal subject of conversation and speculation.  Each being relatively similar in appearance and affect / effect so it was difficult to separate them at times.

So just who or what was / is a Rider; Driver or Possessor? To be blunt they were seen as beings, creatures, entities, etc that were of an energy that resembled the soul energy of a living human.   While I use the term soul energy that in and of itself was also a speculative notion, but best served in another discussion.  In many ways they collectively were also seen as the negative side of projecting ones spirit or soul into the universe.  Didn’t matter with regard to it being O.B.E. (Out Of Body Experience), Astral or Ethereal Projection, Journey travel or even Dream Walking.

The basic idea was based around the concept that when a human projects their spirit out into the universe they leave their body as an empty husk. Yes, it has life and performs all the base life level functions but the actual force that propels and guides it is gone. Their body then simply becomes a shell that is left lying in some location awaiting the return of its spirit.

Now in most normal situations the "Spirit" that was projected remains connected to the body and if something goes wrong the spirit returns and inhabits its shell once again. That was seen as the normal progression of things. Project outward, experience what ever it was you went to experience then return home and merge back into your body.  Many believing that even if you encountered something that shocked or frightened you your spirit body would be hurled or pulled back into your existing body.

Yet just as you were an attached spirit to a living body there were unattached spirit forces that might slip into your body. Many where though to be those Spirits that somehow had become detached from their own living bodies through death, expulsion, fragmentation, etc.  Each believed to be looking for a body to assume and settle into to regain their humanity and life. Like lurkers on the edge of darkness they watch for the threads and try to slip into the protected / unprotected bodies. Once in the original owner being unable to come back until the unattached spirit was removed.

Some believing the longer the invader remained the more difficult time one would have or face in trying to drive it out.  Eventually even usurping not only the assumed body but also the life of the one it had taken or replaced.  Yet those unattached spirit essences were not and are not the only things out there.  The possible threats being entities, daemons, demons, other creature's and creature's from other dimensions all seeking those unfilled bodies.

Some becoming Riders only in that they hide in the background and simply experience human life through their hosts. Occasionally being seen or felt as a separate body or persona that existed outside the original body. Probably or possibly  the for-runners of the other kin / thereon grouping and such. Sometimes they would ride for sort durations only, other times potentially ones entire life.  One critical facet of Riders though is they were usually passive and tried to pass unnoticed for the most part.  The disadvantage was one might only discover they had a rider through dreams or connecting of the minds which resulted in some alien though patterns.

Drivers are something different, especially in they are active not passive in their actions. Those many times attempting to take over the body and use it for their own means to experience humanity. Yet most times the Drivers were / are only present for limited time frames, a few hours perhaps before they loose the ability to drive and slip out of the host. Yet some at the time professed that every night while we slept a new driver would settle in and experience or possibly direct ones actions until sleep once again claimed us and a new driver would settle in. Some though the succubus and incubus were drivers that utilized the sexual fantasies as a means of experiencing humanity.

The last grouping perhaps the most dangerous for they were the possessors. Many times though to be so strong they could force their way in to a suspecting or unsuspecting person and take control of them.  Yet equally dangerous for they were never seen as having been human in any capacity.  Never truly trying to experience humanity just trying to disrupt or gain control. Deriving strength and pleasure from the overpowering of the host's spirit. I recall reading that the unconscious projecting of self was though to be one of the most significant openings that were used to allow the possession to occur.

 

Now some might also include the notion of being ridden by their god / goddess in the same light.  Yet I would dispute that association based upon the notion that one typically invokes / evokes a divine presence into themselves willingly.  The practitioner willingly and knowingly inviting the figure to take over their body or co-inhabit it for some duration of time.  The other difference to my perspective being that the divine presence has no desire to take over control of the body to experience humanity nor take the place of their follower.

Great lengths were taken to ensure that no Driver, Rider or Possessor could enter the body or gain access to it while the practitioner projected. Various charms, wards, glyphs and even another practitioner(s) to stand watch over and observe the body were seen as viable methods of protection. I even have a vague recall of passwords being used to ensure the correct "Spirit" had returned and bodily harm being inflicted or threatened if they could not recall the safe word.  You can imagine what bodily harm may have entailed.

Today you do not really hear those terms anymore. Yet I wonder if practitioners have really discovered just what does wait in the shadows? Perhaps in the 70's and 80's we were a bit more selective and exclusive, or even fearful but felt that our safety and practice justified it.


  • 0

#9 RoseRed

RoseRed

    . . . Not a big believer in . . . cowinkydink ;)

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,460 posts

Posted 12 April 2014 - 04:53 PM

I will point out that the term Shamanism is starting to draw heat as being cultural appropriation as the term itself is from the Tsungian people of Siberia and represents their way of working with shamanic concepts.

 

 

I can claim that title without cultural appropriation.  I'm adopted and had my DNA panel done and part of my blood lines are from that region. 

 

Now I'll go back and read all those long posts. 


  • 0
When my wings get tired I grab my broom.

#10 RoseRed

RoseRed

    . . . Not a big believer in . . . cowinkydink ;)

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,460 posts

Posted 12 April 2014 - 05:07 PM

Once merged the shamanic practitioner searches for the missing elements and tries to get them to rejoin the greater soul. Demanding in the sense that a fracture may have occurred due to some traumatic event, due to some extreme injury to the body or even something of a traumatic nature the person has buried and will not face or accept.

Pretty clear that this form is recognized as a Psychologist works. One must speak to the shards as individuals and bring them back into the whole. Yet also work with the whole to make the merger as painfree and complete as possible.

 

Heh, that's the nice way to do it.  Not to mention the long way.  Sometimes, I think there's more pain doing it that way than when you gather the fragments and just fuse them back together.  It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple weeks for the soul to fit 'right' again depending on how fractured it was.

 

I tried it your way - it didn't work for me.  Perhaps it was the person I was working with (you remember the 3 dolls).  Trying to work one shard at a time and incorporate it back only served to make this person even more off balance.  After a few weeks of that I was just like 'fuck it - let's do this.'  Two weeks later when she same out of her tailspin she was better.

 

That's the one thing about soul retrievals.  Usually, tailspins happen while the person 'gets used to' having their soul complete again.


  • 0
When my wings get tired I grab my broom.

#11 RoseRed

RoseRed

    . . . Not a big believer in . . . cowinkydink ;)

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,460 posts

Posted 12 April 2014 - 05:11 PM

Thank you again for sharing, your posts are very informative.

 

From everything you have shared thus far, I get the sense that shamanism is a combination of soul retrieval, journeying, and acting as a psychopomp. The spiritual/physical/emotional price for doing all these things is very high, but to ignore the call means suffering a higher price. And once you have been chosen by gods/spirits to walk this path you have no choice but to accept it. Am I on the right track?

 

Here's a couple links that are pretty intense reading.

 

Shamanic Sickness http://www.northerns...n-sickness.html

 

Shamanic FAQ/General Info  http://www.northerns...nformation.html


  • 0
When my wings get tired I grab my broom.

#12 Roanna

Roanna

    She of the spiders and degus...

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 713 posts

Posted 16 April 2014 - 09:45 AM

Extremely interesting thread. I am not particularly knowledgeable about Shamanism and my own path has very little cross over so I enjoyed reading about magical culture so different to my own. I'm interested - I've always heard healing to be an intrinsic part of the Shamanic path. Could you elaborate a bit on how healing is incorporated into what you do and if it's as fundamental to Shamanism as is often believed?


  • 0
Do what you believe to be the right thing and trust yourself.

Witchpathforward My website incorporating "Ask a Witch a Question," my blog and websites of witchy interest.

#13 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

Guest_monsnoleedra_*
  • Guests

Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:18 AM

Extremely interesting thread. I am not particularly knowledgeable about Shamanism and my own path has very little cross over so I enjoyed reading about magical culture so different to my own. I'm interested - I've always heard healing to be an intrinsic part of the Shamanic path. Could you elaborate a bit on how healing is incorporated into what you do and if it's as fundamental to Shamanism as is often believed?

 

From my perspective its a bit difficult to answer this as it heavily depends upon how society defines "healing" as compared to how the practitioner defines "healing"

 

Am I a healer?  If you ask my niece she'll tell you yes for she suffers seizures from a TBI.  No one was able to guide her through them and get deep enough to touch her.  I happened to be home one day when she had one and I pulled her out of it and reduced most of the seizures.  Some would say its a fluke but since that first time i've laid hands upon her a number of times and reached her deep spirit and pull her through or make it so they are not so violent on her body. But to me that is not being a healer as there is no medical practice to it.

 

For many who walk a Shamanic pathway they are very much aligned to the healing arts.  They use herbs, potions, brews etc for traditional folk healing's.

 

Here's something I wrote that might be of interest.  It's long I forewarn but comes from a point where I tried to answer things..  It's written more towards Native American concepts but the theory crosses national and ethical boundaries I think. 

 

Medicine People

 

Of the many words in the English language perhaps none is more claimed today by another people than that of Medicine ________.  Originally used as a description to tell of the Spiritual and Social practice of the Native Americans, it remains almost exclusively used to discuss those practices today.   Granted this term is occasionally used in reference to other aboriginal peoples but has been claimed specifically by those of Native American heritage.  In essence coming to own it and all it entails.  Well own it as best they can as the world at large attempts to usurper the meaning and change it.

 

Yet even in usage it still suffers from the assumption of what it means and represents to the people that were observed.  Meanings, truths and assumption usually far different to those people being observed than by the one doing the observing.  Yet the very term bespeaks of a deeper spiritual and philosophical way of looking at life and the interaction that occurred with ones surroundings.  Whether used to denote a Medicine Person (man or woman), Medicine Bag, Medicine Pouch, Medicine Lodge or ones personal Medicine it touched upon multiple facets of Native American aboriginal life.

 

To the various nations of the America’s the Medicine person was a position of extreme spiritual influence.  Many times seen in a light just below that of tribal chieftain.  Yet to the outsider many times seen, as the healer yet never fully understood in the capacity that healing took place or understood by the people he/she served.  Often seen in a medicinal light by outsiders who never learnt of the deeper role fulfilled in their social structure.  A position even today hidden behind a wall of secrecy and tribal taboo’s from outsiders and even other nations.

 

A position buried in pomp and ritual.  A position seldom held by a person of youth but by an elder or ancient one.  A position where one had to earn both respect from and acceptance by those they served.  A position where usually decades were seen as the bare requirement just to step into the doorway of assumption of the role.  A position filled with great honor and prestige but seldom claimed as such before outsiders.  Seldom identifying as a Medicine Person as it was seen as what they were and their task in the social order.  Yet other times and places a person nearly ostracized except in time of need and relegated to live on the fringes of the social order if not outright detached but part of it.

 

While the positions such as Chief, being the leader of the people, War Chiefs, being the war time leaders and councils being the advisors to the leaders the Medicine Person was usually an enigma to the system.  Many times held in high regard with direct access to the leader(s) yet also on the fringe of the social order.  Looked to for guidance on the health of the nation and understanding of the interaction between the living world and the spirit world.  Seen as advisors to the tribe on the proper ways and manners of creating sacred things and explaining Spirits plans and purposes for a person.  They might tell or explain what fetish or totem Spirit had bestowed or awarded to a person while they advised another on how to make a personal Medicine bag to be a hunter.

 

One of the best examples I can think of that pertains to a Medicine Woman is that shown in the Disney movie BROTHER BEAR.  The chosen elder over seeing both the spiritual health of the clan and interacts with the spirit world in and on its behalf.  Keeper of the Sacred Pouch, Medicine Pouch, Medicine Bag and the sacred fetishes and spirit helpers and other holy items that are stored within it.

 

Yet there in lies the issue with regards to Medicine People, for anthropology wise they are classified as Shaman or Shamanic in nature.  However, these same traits by observers outside of the anthropological arena termed them Medicine People.  Even more so it appears that a sense of medicinal health became attached to them.  Perhaps derived from the contents of various medicine bags and pouches and observations of such coupled to speculation.  However, failing to realize the difference between the physical properties of a thing, the spiritual properties of a thing and the medical properties of a thing.

 

For instance take the berry known as Snake Berries.  From a medicinal facet the plant and its fruit have no connection to serpents in any way, shape or form.  Still, it’s name bears the connection of its spirit power and the connection to the landscape.  Perhaps gaining its name from the probability of discovering the serpents in the foliage where they are found.  Serpents that gathered because of the small birds and mammals that are drawn to the plant for their fruit and become easy pickings for the lying in wait serpents.  So while the plant has no medicinal value as a plant ally it is a powerful spirit to call upon when certain issues are paramount.

 

It is in that capacity as an ally to the Medicine Person that the healer trait takes shape and form.  Each Medicine person calling upon many such allies to aid them in protecting and guiding the health of the people.  Some allies of such importance that they are carried always in the individual medicine bags, tribal medicine pouches or Sacred Bundles that protect the health of the entire people.

 

Besides plant allies the Medicine person may carry items from all the peoples of the planet.  Items that represent the stone people, the winged ones, the green people, relics passed down, etc.  All things of power such as totems or fetishes that are sacred to the people, things like Buffalo bones or skins that were sacred to the plains peoples.

 

Yet to the observer many of the subtle or hidden things unnoticed giving the impression the Medicine Person called upon magical beings or fantasy worlds.  What perhaps maybe the most damaging though is the charlatan perspective that many non-natives looked at it as.

 

It is perhaps that very sense of falsehood or charlatan that gave rise to the Snake Oil salesman being known as Medicine Men also.  Those men and women who traveled the world pushing their home made medical concoctions that they pushed as being able to cure any ill that one had.  Those people who seemed only to exploit the masses and take advantage of the uneducated and gullible.

 

Today the very notion of what a Medicine Person is once again rises to the forefront.  On one hand there is the traditional Spiritual healer and practitioner that is known as the Medicine ________.  However, a new definition is arising of a medicinal healer who uses plants and herbs not as the Spirit allies but for their actual medicinal influences.  These herbalist that do not connect with the plants as spirit helpers and guides for the most part.  Not to say all but for many its not about the Spirit ally its about medicinal not medicine in a spiritual sense.

 

In the old sense of the phrase Medicine _______ it was about connecting to the spirit and energy of a thing.  To call upon its knowledge and power that was known as its medicine.  To use not only its physical abilities and characteristics but also the implied powers that went with it.  Those abilities and powers that only became known as one worked with and came to understand the interaction of the land, the spirits and the influences between and upon the greater whole.

 

The Medicine Person of old worked to cure the whole of the person.  To speak to the Medicine of the tribe, to call upon the medicine of spirit helpers and Medicine allies to cure the body, the spirit, and the essence of the people and person.  To sweep away the fear and doubts that lingered upon the spirit body as feather and smoke from their tobacco allies purified them for example.  To bundle the powers of the hunters medicine to bring it together with that of his desired prey to ensure a good hunt and inscribe it upon their medicine bag.

 

The health of a person, tribe or nation was seen as more than just the physical heath of the body.  The Medicine Person concerned with the spiritual, the physical, the social and ethical of the individual and the group all at once.  Curing using all things that were available to them regardless of its source not just the medicinal properties of a thing.

 

In many ways one might suggest that the Medicinal Medicine Person seeking to cure the body.  The Medicine Person seeking to cure the whole of the person affected.  The medicinal Medicine Person using the plants and herbs to cure, the Medicine Person is using all their allies to cure.  The medicinal Medicine Person using just the medicinal facets of a cure, the Medicine Person using both the medicinal value but also the Medicine value of a thing or things to cause the cure.

 

But perhaps that is the true issue here.  Is it Medicine or is it medicinal that separates the two?  Both are Medicine People in their purpose it is just the Medicine that is called upon that differs.


  • 0

#14 RoseRed

RoseRed

    . . . Not a big believer in . . . cowinkydink ;)

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,460 posts

Posted 16 April 2014 - 01:30 PM

I just skimmed the above thing on Medicine People.  Interesting read but it has very little to do with my own practice, I think.

 

I'm interested - I've always heard healing to be an intrinsic part of the Shamanic path. Could you elaborate a bit on how healing is incorporated into what you do and if it's as fundamental to Shamanism as is often believed?

 

 

 

I think it is but it's healing on a different level.  Yes, you can work to heal the body with herbs and potions and whatnot.  You don't need to be a shaman to be an herbalist.  This works on a physical level for the most part.  But there are a lot of herbalists that also work in a shamanic way.  It's not really cut and dry.  Each person has their own 'thing'. 

 

I don't call myself a Shaman, even though under today's definitions I probably could.  1)  I don't a tribe.  2)  I'm not well trained in medical or herbal healing - I'm more of a medic than a healer, if that makes any sense.  3)  Even though I do have the blood lines - I know very little about that specific culture.

 

I do a lot of shamanic work in my own personal practice.  A lot of healing in Shamanism has to do with healing the soul and spiritual work.  I've done soul retrievals.  I've healed breaks in souls and spirits - or I should say I helped to heal them.  A break is where the piece hasn't completely shattered apart yet and is still hanging by a thread.

 

Let's take the flu and look at it from a Shamanic perspective.  (And I could be completely wrong - if I am - let me know.)

 

The flu is a virus within the host.  On an energetic level the flu has it's own signature which is separate from the person who is ill.  Saging the sick room and home, even though the sage itself if antimicrobial, it's the spirit of the sage that fights and overcomes the spirit of the illness.  You can go in on an energetic level and kill off or remove the invader if you can work in the microscopic and find it.  You also go in and do the energetic work of shoring up and healing the weak spots in the energetic body where the invader came in.

 

There are some techniques where either the shaman will take the illness up on him/herself or move it into an object.  I don't do that but I have heard of it.  That's deeper into healing than my natural talents go.  I'm not a healer - I'm battlefield medic.  And sometimes, those battles are for and of the soul - not the body.  Even though the body is where the symptoms appear.


  • 0
When my wings get tired I grab my broom.

#15 travsha

travsha

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 428 posts

Posted 16 April 2014 - 04:08 PM

Monsnoleedra - I'm just curious, would you call what you practice "core" shamanism?  Or do you see your practice as similar to that?  Or is your practice influenced by a specific "shamanic" culture?  (I know people work themselves up about the word, but it is actually an English word in the dictionary, and is a little different then the Siberian word which is closer to "sawen" or something like that.....  As much as people worry about it, most people know what the word "shaman" means more then any other word you could use)

 

One thing I will add, which I think you also explained well - shamanic cultures are often completely different then each other.  Some do shamanic type journeys all the time, and some rarely do.  Some make poppits or fetishes and others dont.  Some always use drums and some never do.  Some use entheogens as central to their practice, and some never touch them.  Lots and lots of variety.  Even within one region, there can be tons of differences - I am learning much of my practice in the Amazon, and two healers there who live next door can have totally different practices then each other.  So much variety!


  • 0

#16 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

Guest_monsnoleedra_*
  • Guests

Posted 16 April 2014 - 04:54 PM

I just skimmed the above thing on Medicine People.  Interesting read but it has very little to do with my own practice, I think.

 

 

 

I think it is but it's healing on a different level.  Yes, you can work to heal the body with herbs and potions and whatnot.  You don't need to be a shaman to be an herbalist.  This works on a physical level for the most part.  But there are a lot of herbalists that also work in a shamanic way.  It's not really cut and dry.  Each person has their own 'thing'. 

 

I don't call myself a Shaman, even though under today's definitions I probably could.  1)  I don't a tribe.  2)  I'm not well trained in medical or herbal healing - I'm more of a medic than a healer, if that makes any sense.  3)  Even though I do have the blood lines - I know very little about that specific culture.

 

I do a lot of shamanic work in my own personal practice.  A lot of healing in Shamanism has to do with healing the soul and spiritual work.  I've done soul retrievals.  I've healed breaks in souls and spirits - or I should say I helped to heal them.  A break is where the piece hasn't completely shattered apart yet and is still hanging by a thread.

 

Let's take the flu and look at it from a Shamanic perspective.  (And I could be completely wrong - if I am - let me know.)

 

The flu is a virus within the host.  On an energetic level the flu has it's own signature which is separate from the person who is ill.  Saging the sick room and home, even though the sage itself if antimicrobial, it's the spirit of the sage that fights and overcomes the spirit of the illness.  You can go in on an energetic level and kill off or remove the invader if you can work in the microscopic and find it.  You also go in and do the energetic work of shoring up and healing the weak spots in the energetic body where the invader came in.

 

There are some techniques where either the shaman will take the illness up on him/herself or move it into an object.  I don't do that but I have heard of it.  That's deeper into healing than my natural talents go.  I'm not a healer - I'm battlefield medic.  And sometimes, those battles are for and of the soul - not the body.  Even though the body is where the symptoms appear.

 

 

Mostly that was written in trying to answer the question of Healer and how the notion is used.  As you pointed out one can be a herbalist but that didn't make them a healer in the sense of a Medicine Person.  The herbalist uses the medicinal aspects of a plant.  The Medicine Person uses the medicinal aspects but also the psychological and spiritual aspects and connections of the plant as an ally.  The Medicine Person would also use their own connections and relationship within the social structure of mind over matter so to speak.  If the Medicine Person said it and one has faith in the Medicine Person then it increases the internal belief of the patient that what is being done will help them.  Psychological in nature I know but its the whole total package workings.

 

But it also went back to how is the word "Healer" seen within the larger context of cultural, social and even ethical.  IN practice many try to equate this generic definition of what a healer is and its become sort of all shamanic practitioners there for must be healers.  Yet that current definition seems hinged to the Neo-Shamanic practice in usage and understanding.  Perhaps even to the umbrella definition of what the word "Shaman" has come to be known as in the sense of a spiritual / religious pathway vice a way of living.  Especially so in the all is love and light and tries to make good aspect. 

 

Your example of the flu and moving it matches a lot of practices I encountered around the world.  You change the conditions to defeat it by moving it somewhere else where many times.  Though I admit I am not that much into healing using the main characteristics the word implies to the mind today. 

 

Let me know if this makes sense as my back is killing me today and the pain pills are tweaking with what I am thinking and think I am writing and what is actually on the page.  Going back and re-reading this I noticed I dropped words out and had to put them back in.  A true bear when your mind see's it there and knows it is there but your fingers simply forgot to write it there.


Edited by monsnoleedra, 16 April 2014 - 04:54 PM.

  • 0

#17 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

Guest_monsnoleedra_*
  • Guests

Posted 16 April 2014 - 05:27 PM

Monsnoleedra - I'm just curious, would you call what you practice "core" shamanism?  Or do you see your practice as similar to that?  Or is your practice influenced by a specific "shamanic" culture?  (I know people work themselves up about the word, but it is actually an English word in the dictionary, and is a little different then the Siberian word which is closer to "sawen" or something like that.....  As much as people worry about it, most people know what the word "shaman" means more then any other word you could use)

 

One thing I will add, which I think you also explained well - shamanic cultures are often completely different then each other.  Some do shamanic type journeys all the time, and some rarely do.  Some make poppits or fetishes and others dont.  Some always use drums and some never do.  Some use entheogens as central to their practice, and some never touch them.  Lots and lots of variety.  Even within one region, there can be tons of differences - I am learning much of my practice in the Amazon, and two healers there who live next door can have totally different practices then each other.  So much variety!

 

This one is hard to explain in that I truly do not buy into the core shamanism aspect as I think it removes the cultural influence from things and in doing so makes it a shadow or echo of what it should be.  Using an analogy of observance of sea / ocean water it identifies the H2O element at the expense of how the Indian Ocean is different from the Atlantic from the Pacific but only wants you to think of the ocean in the sense of its all water.  So you have the water but lost all the things that made each body of water what it is.

 

In truth I'd have to say my practice, world view and inter-relatedness of things is based upon my interactions with specific groupings and those cultural presences.  It's like it's not to visible I don't think but I spent 6.5 years living in northern Japan and lots of Japanese cultural influences became part of my life and continue as part of it today.  Many words, beliefs, customs, etc became melded into the lives I lived there.  SO I have certain sensations and feelings about Tori Gates for instance and Shintoism.  Been told since I was knee high to a grass hopper that we have native blood in our heritage.  Can't prove it but my heritage is with Scottish influences and how those same groupings merged in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia in the late 1600's and continued to ripple down to today.  Sort of like how various Spanish words and meanings became conflated with American English and are used in the Spanish sense though they are Americanized.

 

Other things are infused into me from a source I can only equate to as "Spirit".  It's like I had things in my youth given to me in the form of things, kept them about me.  Came to know them as fetishes.  Always haunted me then one day I asked "Spirit" to guide me and enlighten me about it and I started seeing Zuni Fetishes and hearing about them, and had a blind driving urge to find out about them.  Discovered what the Zuni use as a fetish and how it matched what I termed as both a fetish and a spirit / power animal.  Yet it also matched this drive to call things by their proper name as much as possible.  Sort of Nordic & Hedge Witchary in that all things have multiple names and to know its true name is to have power over it. 

 

I typically do not recognize or use the term Shaman for myself but say I follow a shamanic like pathway.  Especially in the sense that I do not have a connection to any first nation or aboriginal peoples that I work with.  But I also get told I may not have a place in the people today but the people have a place in me.  Sort of like the Rainbow Warrior's notion that was presented by Black Elk.  So when I reference those things I try to use proper names such as Dakota, Lakota, Uglala vice Sioux though that is not actual indian term.

 

I used to known a man of Tsaglai (Cherokee) heritage who would tell me his elders said I was of the blood. I'd tell him I have no ancestral blood I can prove and get told basically the blood doesn't need to be told it already knows.  Still I shy away from that identification as well, especially since I have cousins that want to be recognized for it so they can exploit it for benefit.  Have to much respect for it to try and claim it for benefit and never lived the negative of it.  I feel the same about claiming the title of Shaman or being recognized as such.  People tell me I am and refer to me as such but I don't claim it myself.

 

Sad I suppose but it should be easy for me to answer this one but I am finding it difficult to put into words that make sense but also keep the truth of things with respect and honor.  I see the words in my head and know thier vibration and energy but they are not crossing into the physical as I would wish.  May have to try this again later.

 

Hopefully this makes sense and answers your question, if not please let me know.

 

As an aside note think I'm starting to see why people switch colors on this site to respond. 


Edited by monsnoleedra, 16 April 2014 - 05:28 PM.

  • 0

#18 RoseRed

RoseRed

    . . . Not a big believer in . . . cowinkydink ;)

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,460 posts

Posted 16 April 2014 - 09:32 PM

Yes, it makes sense.  You do some of your best writing when you're in your head instead of body because of the pain.  I've been leaving out words lately as my fingers seems to not be able to keep up with my thoughts.


  • 0
When my wings get tired I grab my broom.

#19 Wexler

Wexler

    Something wrong? Blame retrograde

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,109 posts

Posted 19 April 2014 - 12:57 AM

When I read MonSno's original post, my primary thought was that I was super glad I'm not a shaman because that sounds horribly difficult.

 

It was especially cruel, I thought, that you would pay a price both for Admission and Avoidance. Who wants to be told, "you'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't"?

 

But after a long conversation with a friend today, I think everyone is damned.

 

I have a very American sense that life is about enjoyment. Nobody should have to go through hardships, it's all about being taken care of by God and the Government, and unless tragedy strikes you'll be just fine. It doesn't sit right with me to hear, "every choice you make has a price." That doesn't fit with my self-entitlement to an easy life.

 

But every choice does have a price. My theory is young, but I am beginning to believe that every action requires a sacrifice and exacts its price. Here is an easy analogy: running. If you want to be a runner you have to sacrifice time and willpower to go out for a jog. And then you pay the price of sore muscles or even injury. But even after that, people still benefit from running. People enjoy the struggle of running thirty miles and they take pride in their sore muscles, and at the end they are healthier and stronger and perhaps even spiritually better for the experience.

 

Choosing not to run has a price, too. You sacrifice potential and pay for your decision with poorer health, but in the end you don't have to exert yourself so you come ahead in temporary willpower gains.

 

So it doesn't matter what you do; you pay a price either way. Perhaps the key is to try to look ahead and determine which decision will contribute the most to your life. Then the issue becomes what the goal of your life is, and what can therefore contribute to it.

 

I like Albert Camus' view on this (a page explaining his Absurdist philosophy). In his theory, the first step to finding meaning to life is to decide whether to live or die. People have no control over the circumstance of their birth, but they can certainly bow out of the equation. Before you can find meaning to life, you must first decide to live life. Although I have never been suicidal, I believe it was only after I turned 20 that I made a conscious decision that I wanted to live, be alive, and experience life. I made the shift from viewing my life as something that happened to me, to something that I acknowledged and accepted. I find the act of acceptance to be very powerful - and not just psychologically, but also in a deeper way that transcends magic.

 

Since I made the conscious decision that I accepted life, the next step for me was to figure out what to do with it. After I decided that life was for me, I needed some direction. As young people are wont to do, I took this time to try and plan out what I really wanted from life. I realized that from every option, all I wanted was Experience. I wanted to experience everything, both good and bad. The concept of leading a sheltered life horrifies me. For some reason the concept of hardship and struggle has always appealed to me, since I was a child; I believe that growth comes from challenge. Every time I have fought a hard battle in my life I looked back to see how I grew from it. I always have daydreams where I put myself in horrible situations to engage in a struggle - how weird is that? Yet at the same time, I had the concept that life should be easy, if I wanted it, and that I could find the perfect combination of actions that would lead to fulfillment without sacrifice.

 

I know what the meaning of my life is now, even if it changes in the future. My meaning is experience, and to experience life fully. So for me, the better choice is to go running.

 

This is why I think everybody is damned. Because everybody always has to pay a price, for everything, no matter what they do. Damned may be a strong word; maybe it's better said, "you pay if you do and you pay if you don't."

 

So now I think I understand the price of Admission and cost of Avoidance, maybe in a general way instead of a shamanic way. No matter what, as long as you are alive you will pay. And if you have found your calling in life, the cost of avoidance is the cost of denying yourself and working against your destiny, even if the price to accept it is still terrible.

 

My friend that I spoke to today is a student of philosophy. We spoke at length about the conscious acceptance of life as opposed to the passive flow through life. We likened it to the Red and Blue pills from the Matrix - if you take the red pill, you are taken in to true reality. If you take the blue pill, you return to the illusion. As we spoke, we both agreed - by that point it is too late. Once you realize there is a true[r] reality to accept, it doesn't matter if you take the blue pill, because you will always know there is more even if you turned your back on it. And if your life's goal is experience (which I think is a fine goal for anyone), then the only possible answer is to take the red pill, even if the price is great. But from that great price, perhaps you will grow.

 

Still, even if you stand at the crux of your life, will full knowledge you will take the red pill and move forward, I think facing that choice is a terrible thing.

 

How terrible it seems to me to move from a comforting illusion in to the real world. Thrilling, yes - but terrifying, because you can never go back. And how horrifying it is that you always - always - have the option of taking the blue pill. Even if your soul pulls you back and urges you again and again to re-make your choice, you don't have to. You could deny yourself forever. It seems like too much power for a person to have over their own lives. Wouldn't it be so much easier if we were guided by providence to take the red pill without having to concern ourselves with the magnitude of the decision?

 

But we have to make the decision. Standing at the end of the illusion, ready to pay the price to move beyond it or the greater price of turning back, is an awesome and terrible place to be. How thrilling it is to be there, and how awful it is that you have the power to turn back.


  • 0

'Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.'

'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.'

 

[avatar source]


#20 Michele

Michele

    The Exiled Goddess

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 7,033 posts

Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:01 PM

I find this an interesting concept... I don't have a "calling" to anything, nor do I have any group of people dependent on me to respond to any calling. "A minuet on the lips, forever on the hips" is also a price.... as is taking one second to smile at someone you don't know and their smiling back. I don't think that all of the prices and payments are earth-shattering. Everything one does every second of every day is a price and a consequence. I paid the price of half a second's time to plug in the coffee pot, my consequence is I am now drinking coffee. I think it is important to remember that everything in life is a ripple in the web, an action and a reaction, a price and a consequence. Some larger than others, but all the same basic premise. Everything costs something, but not every price is a bad price to pay. Not every price is hurtful or harmful. But with larger things (for lack of a better term) the actions and the experiences will have more of an impact.

 

For me, the meaning of life is survival of the species. I am of nature and nature-made. No more or less than anything else in the eco-system in which I live. I'm one small piece of a larger puzzle. The personal aspects of survival are specific to humans... the desire for knowledge, for betterment, for enjoyment outside of necessity-to-survive. 

 

And the terror of the realization that we are indeed in charge of not only our own choices, that there is nothing with our best interests at heart can be an extremely lonely place. But I believe there is also a point beyond that - I do believe in gods, but now one is again at the point of choice, payment and circumstances. One has entered the place of darkness and found themselves alone, and everyone must walk through that place alone. Where they go from there will depend on what price they are willing to pay. There are things bigger than humans, but they're not all loving-and-forgiving (unless one chooses Christianity - but in choosing that one chooses to be led) but there  are relationships to be forged if one wants to. It depends on what one wants from a god, finding a god that offers that, and on one's willingness to recipricate. The Christian god will offer one "heaven" in return for one's soul. Is that so much different than "selling one's soul to the devil?" People are paying the price because that god will "save" them and they happen to believe in eternal damnation, not out of any great love for the god. If one realizes one is truly alone, then one has also realized the choices now available should they want to explore them, and to me that is part of breaking out of the Judeo-Christian mind-set. Now one can see gods for what they actually are and what they can actually offer.

 

M


Edited by Michele, 19 April 2014 - 01:15 PM.

  • 3