Wexler asked me a question about shamanic practices so hopefully it is ok that I share some of these things with the board.
Of the many things I have come to understand and / or experience as I walk my path none has been more influencing than that of the concept of being attacked. Not just the concept of “attack” itself as the word implies but the many forms and manners that one may experience a so called “attack”.
One facet that tends to be a reoccurring notion in the shamanic field in my experience is the notion of attack and the perception or belief of being attacked. A situation or event that occurs upon the physical plain and many time on the realms and plains that one may encounter during journeywork. Yes, even when one explores the inner realities of self and faces their own shadow self and shadow totems.
Yet one must ask themselves, is an attack or being attacked a truth? Many times one finds that the sensation of being attacked is more of a self-influenced idea than an actual attack. They see and believe an attack shall occur then see every situation as a manifestation of that belief. The random bee sting suddenly becomes a directed attack upon them. The random encounter with some creature suddenly viewed as everything other than what it was. Almost becoming a self fulfilling prophesy as what one expects is seen to take shape and form.
The other thing to my perspective is many fail to realize the difference between being tested and being attacked. In older culture's one often found their power animal or totem animal by surviving an attack by said creature. A concept that in today’s go into meditation and call your totem a far cry from how many culture’s actually viewed it. No, in practice one actually experienced an attack that may have occurred upon the physical plain or in journey work. An attack that may serve to test the body and spirit of the one being chosen or called. For instance while I have never been attacked in the physical by wolf I have been attacked in the journey plain and marked by them.
Yet snake has initiated attacks on me in both the physical world and in journey work. Snake medicine showing through Black snakes that coil up and strike, Copper Heads that suddenly appear before me and block my path, corn snakes that just appear as I am tracking a deer, water snakes both on shore and in the water. Over and over have they appeared as I have faced their shadow magic’s, lessening as I come to know them and see their lessons.
In journey I have been struck by rattlesnake, bitten and held by python and or Boa (not sure of the difference actually). Faced what I can only describe as a great Naga, weaving and dancing before its gaze. Sometimes dying in the attack, other times becoming deathly sick for the duration of the dream / journey work. Other times physically becoming ill and manifesting it upon the material plain as the dream / journey test influences me.
Trees were one of my most hurtful teachers and attackers. I can't speak of the number of times I fell from one, ran into one or slide down a slope and ended wrapped up in one. Yet once I started to understand tree and it's lessons on the surface I started to understand its medicine and magic’s. The lessons of bending before the wind vice breaking before it. The idea of having a firm foundation and deep roots less I be plucked up and pulled away easily, especially upon a spiritual pathway. Even the lesson of fighting when one needs to fight but also turning the other way when fighting is not the right way to change the situation or area.
It seems to me that so many seem to think that some form of attack is going to happen or is occurring that they create the situations themselves. So positive that they are being attacked that every shimmer is a servitor, every flicker is an enshrouded enemy, every sound the approach of something out to get them. While there are many things that seek to engage us, test us and perhaps even attack and destroy us we can not think or assume it to be the case each time.
Yes Spirit and the many forms it takes often does test us. We are tested for bravery, were tested for compassion, for anger, for passion on and on the list goes. If we are lucky enough to pass all the tests and the creature doing the testing thinks we are worthy they may choose us and mark us. If not mark then takes us under their wing for some lessons in life and living and teaches us their magic’s and power.
Some testing so painful that one just might ask why? Some testing so destroying of ones self that it seems their can be no reason. Some testing truly serving the purpose to dismember and see if we can survive their teachings. However, sometimes a bee sting is just a bee sting and simply means we stepped on it or caused it to respond from being threatened.
Yet the first of all lessons they teach is that an attack is not always an attack, sometimes its simply a lesson or teaching. What we think of as attacks and being attacked is far more frequently a product of our own imagination and thinking than any formal attack upon us. That Spirit doesn’t have to send a bogey man to attack us for we manage to create that scenario on our own as we assume we are being attacked.
But one must also be aware that a test can be quite painful and appear as an attack though it is not the intent of the creature testing you!