Classical and modern shamanism.

A Study in Shamanism

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Shaman (pronounced SHAH-maan) is a word from the language of the Tungus people of Siberia. A Shaman is a man or woman who enters an altered state of consciousness at will. The Shaman does this to contact and utilize an ordinarily hidden reality to acquire knowledge, power and to help others. The Shaman usually has at least one or more spirits in his or her personal service.

The trance or “ecstatic” state of consciousness the Shaman enters can be termed as the Shamanistic State of Consciousness (SSC).The Shaman does not enter this state for play, but only for serious purposes. The Shaman must also know the basic methods of accomplishing the work in the SSC before entering such a state. For example, if the Shaman wishes to recover a patient’s guardian animal, he must know the techniques for reaching the Lowerworld, entering it, finding the spirit animal and bringing it back safely. Subsequently, he must know what instructions to give the patient in the Ordinary State of Consciousness (OSC).

The Shaman is an accomplished see-er who works in the dark, or at least with the eyes covered, in order to see clearly. For this reason, the Shaman usually engages in such practises at night. Some kind of Shamanistic seeing can be done with the eyes open, but that kind of perception is usually less profound. In darkness, the distractions of ordinary reality are less, making it possible for the Shaman to concentrate on aspects of non-ordinary reality essential for the Shaman’s work. The SSC must also be entered with the assistance of drumming, singing, dancing and the use of rattles.

Shamanistic Enlightenment is the literal ability to lighten the darkness and see what others cannot perceive.

The First Journey

This is a simple exploration down through the tunnel into the Lowerworld. The only mission is to travel the tunnel and perhaps see what lies beyond. Make sure you thoroughly understand the instructions before beginning the journey.

To carry out the exercise, you will need a second person to act as a drummer, or a cassette recording of Shamanistic drumming.

Wait until you are calm and relaxed before undertaking any Shamanistic journey. Avoid alcohol or any psychedelic substances for at least four hours before the exercise. Eat only lightly, or not at all during the preceding four hours.

Choose a dark and quite room. Loosen or remove your clothing and lie comfortably on the floor without a pillow. Take a few deep breaths and relax your arms and legs. Lie there and contemplate your forth coming mission. Then close your eyes, placing a hand or forearm over them to keep out any light.

Now visualize an opening into the earth that you remember from sometime in your life. It can be one you remember from childhood, or one you saw yesterday. Any kind of entry into the ground will do. It may be a hole made by a burrowed animal, a hollow tree stump, a spring or even a swamp. It can even be man-made. The right opening is one that feels comfortable to you, and one which you can visualize. Spend a couple of minutes seeing the hole, without going into it. Note it’s details clearly.

Now either start the cassette recording, or instruct your companion to begin drumming. The drumming should be a strong, monotonous, unvarying, rapid beat. There should be no contrast in the intensity of the drum beats, or the intervals between them. A drumming tempo of about 205 to 220 beats per minute is usually effective for this kind of journey. Allow yourself ten minutes for the journey. At the end of that time, the drummer should indicate that your time is up by striking four sharp beats to signal that it is time for your return. The drummer should then beat the drum very rapidly for about half a minute to accompany you on the return journey, concluding with four more sharp beats to signal the end of the journey.

When the drumming begins, enter your opening into the earth. Go down through the opening and enter the tunnel. At first the tunnel might be dark and dim. It might go underground at a slight angle, or it might descend steeply. Sometimes the tunnel appears ribbed, and often it bends. Occasionally one passes through the tunnel so fast that it is not even seen. In following the tunnel, you may run right up against a natural wall of stone, or some other obstacle. If this happens, just go around it, or through a crack in it. If this fails, simply come back and try again.

At the end of the tunnel, you will emerge out of doors. Examine the landscape in detail. Travel through it and remember it’s features. Explore until you are signaled to come back, and then return through the tunnel the same way you went down.


Power Animals

Shaman’s have long believed that their powers were of animals, plants, the Sun etc… the basic energies of the universe. Long before Charles Darwin, people in Shamanistic cultures were convinced that human and animal were related. In myth, animals were depicted in human physical form, but were distinguished by certain characteristics that are familiar to the species. In North and South American Indian Mythology, animal characters are not referred to as ‘a coyote’, ‘a raven’ or ‘a bear’. Instead these animals are referred to as Coyote, Raven or Bear. In other words, these individual characters represent the entire species.

Every Shaman has at least one Guardian Spirit or Power animal. It is through this animal, that the Shaman connects with the power of the entire species of that animal. The power animal can also appear to the Shaman in human form. Appearing in human form, is often indicative of the animal’s power. Another indication of this, is when, the animal is seen moving through an element that is not their own, such as snakes flying through the air, or birds swimming. When a Power Animal is in a Shaman’s possession, it acts as an alter ego for the Shaman, giving the Shaman the power of transformation. Specially the power to transform from human to animal, and back again.

It is important to remember that there are no mythical animals in the SSC. For example, a Dragon is just as real as any other animal.

It is possible for a person to have a power animal, and not be aware of it. Thus many people, specially children have at some point had the protection of a guardian spirit, and have lost it. The following areexercises which will help you get in touch with one or more of your unknown power animals.

Calling the Beasts

There are different names for this exercise in different cultures. It is a way for a person to get in touch with their animal aspects through dance. Keep in mind that a Guardian spirit can appear in animal or human form.

Undertake this exercise in a quite, half darkened room, which is free from furniture that can hamper your movements. It is helpful if you have the use of one or two rattles, but these are not necessary.

There are two parts to this exercise. (1)The starting dance, and (2)Dancing your animal. In both dances, you loudly shake a rattle in each hand, and dance in time to the rattle. In all dancing, you keep your eyes half closed. This allows you to cut down on the light, and at the same time enables you to know where you are in the room.

The Starting Dance:

Standing still and erect, face east and shake one rattle very rapidly four times. This is the signal that you are starting, ending or making an important transition in serious shamanistic work. Think of the rising Sun and the power it brings to all living things.

Still standing in place, start shaking on rattle at a steady pace of about 150 beast per second. Do this for about half a minute in each cardinal direction, while thinking of the element or power animals of that direction. For example, you can think of an Eagle in the East, a Lion in the South, a Serpent or Dolphin in the West, and a Bull in the North. Move clockwise.

Return to the East, and shake the rattle above your head at the same rate for about half a minute. Think of the Sun, Moon, Stars, and the entire universe above. Now, shake the rattle towards the ground, and think of the Earth, our home and the gifts she gives to us.

Still facing East, begin shaking both rattles at the same rate, and dancing along with the beat, as if you were jogging in place. In this starting dance, you are giving proof of your sincerity to the power animals, wherever they may be, by making a sacrifice to them, of your own energy in the form of dance. Dancing is a form of praying and evoking the sympathy of the guardian spirit.

Stop dancing, and stand still. Shake one rattle four times to signal that you are about to make an important transition.

Dancing Your Animal:

Start shaking your rattles loudly, but in a slow tempo of about 60 beats per minute. Start dancing around the room in time to the rattle. Move slowly and in a free form. Try to pick up the feeling of some kind of mammal, bird, fish, reptile or a combination of these. Once you feel the sense of something, concentrate on it and slowly move your body in accordance with the creature. Be open to the experience and emotions of the creature. Don’t hesitate to make noises or cries of it. By keeping your eyes half closed, you might be able to see the non-ordinary environment in which the animal is living. You may even be able to see the animal. Do this for about 5 minutes.

Without pausing, shift to a higher state of rattle-shaking and movement. Do this for about 4 minutes.

Another shift to a still faster pace of rattle and body movement. Do this for about 4 minutes.

Stop dancing, and mentally welcome the animal into your body. To do this, shake the rattle four times, and draw it and the animal towards your solar plexus.

Face the East, and shake the rattle four times, while standing still. This is the signal that your work has ended.

Once you have successfully gained your power animal, you make it content enough to stay with you. This is done through exercising your animal through dancing, and singing songs of the animal. Guardian animals usually only stay with a person for a few years, and then depart. So, in the course of a life-long shamanistic practise, a person will have a number of animals.

Hunting a Power Song

Every Shaman has at least one power song, which is used to “wake-up” the guardian and other helpers to assist in healing and other shamanistic work.

To get a power song, plan to spend a day alone in a wild, natural area. Choose a location which is free of people, and unaltered by people.

You must fast for the entire day before your excursion through Mother Nature. Stroll quietly, and sometimes sit. Just wander wherever your feet take you. As you walk around, discover what animal you feel like. It may or may not be an animal you have danced before. Take on it’s feelings, and enjoy it’s identity during the day. On your first excursion, you may only encounter a melody. Subsequent trips will unveil the words for your melody.

Power songs can also be found anywhere quite by accident. It is possible to encounter one on a Shamanistic journey through the Lowerworld, and even in dreaming. Power songs do not have to have elaborate verses, although they can. Many power songs are quite simple, made up few words, which are repeated over and over, and simple ideas. Use your power songs to trigger a mild state of trance in any Shamanistic work you undertake.

Making the Journey to Recover a Power Animal

In order to restore a Power Animal to a person, it is not necessary that the person be lacking one at the time. A person can have up to two Guardian Spirits at a time. A third Power Animal, however, cannot enter the body with two already present. It will simply drift away to be made available at a later time.

Power Animals usually come and go unexpectedly from a person, especially after a few years. If a person shows power loss, through depression or illness, such work should be immediately undertaken, in addition to whatever medical treatment is being applied. In any case, the regular practise of this exercise is an important way to assure a person of possessing power. It is better to have your own drummer for this exercise.

The Journey:

Keep aside an evening that you intend to do the work in. Eat a light lunch that day, but do not have any dinner. Abstain from drugs and alcohol all day.

Use a quite, dark room, and remove all furniture, or at least, clear a wide area for movement. Light a candle on the floor, where it will not throw too much light.

Go through the steps of the Starting Dance, and Dancing Your Animal. If you have a drummer, have him beat the drum in time to your rattle. If you are using a cassette, shake your rattle in time to the drum. Do this only when you are actually dancing.

Shake your rattle four times in each of the six directions – East, South, West, North, Heaven and Earth). This is done to draw the attention of the spirits of the particular realms.

Next, walk very slowly around your ‘patient’ four times. Shake the rattle in a slow, but strong and steady tempo. Return to stand besides the patient.

Begin to whistle or hum your power song, and shake your rattle in accompany with it. Do this until you are aware of a slight alteration of consciousness.

Now begin to sing the words to your song, still shaking the rattle along with the beat. Do this until your consciousness alters more. Keep on doing this until you have a strong urge to collapse and lie down on the floor.

Once you are on the floor, push your body against the patient, shoulder-to-shoulder, hip-to-hip, and foot-to-foot.

Without delay, cover your eyes with your hand, and begin to shake your rattle just above your chest. The drummer begins beating in time to it.

Shake your rattle at a very fast rate, until you see the entrance to the Lowerworld.

When you go into the entrance, stop shaking your rattle, but your drummer must keep on accompanying you on your journey.

Once you are in the Lowerworld, avoid any non-mammals you might encounter. Specially spiders or swarming insects, or any serpents or fish whose teeth are visible. If you cannot pass by these things, you must return immediately, and try again another time.

Search the landscape of the Lowerworld with your eyes closed, for the power animal you seek. The secret of discovering a power animal, is that it will show itself at least four times in different aspects, or different angles. Do not strain yourself you find the animal. If it is going to show itself to you it will.

After seeing the animal four times, clasp it to your chest immediately with one hand. The animal will come willingly. Holding the animal, pick up your rattle and shake it sharply four times. This signals the drummer to stop drumming for a moment.

Now shake your rattle very rapidly, while the drummer keeps up the tempo set by you.

When you return, set the rattle aside, while still holding the animal to your chest. Rise to your knees, and face the patient. The drummer should stop drumming, as soon as you rise to your knees.

Place your cupped hands on the patients solar plexus, and blow through you hands with all your might to send the spirit into your patient.

Then, with your left hand, raise your patient to a sitting position, and, place your cupped hands on the top rear of the patient’s head. Once again, forcefully blow, to send any residue of the power into the head.

Pick up the rattle, and shake it rapidly and sharply in a circle four times around the whole length of the patient’s body. This is done to make a unity of the power with the body.

Quietly tell your partner of the identity of the animal you brought back. If the animal is one you do not know, describe it’s appearance. Describe all the details of the journey.

Assist the patient to dance the animal that you have just retrieved. As you shake the rattle, gradually increase the tempo in accordance with the patient’s movements. The drummer should follow the Shaman’s lead. After a while, shake the rattle four times to end the drumming and the dance.

Gently assist your patient to a sitting position on the floor, with a reminder to dance the animal regularly to encourage it to stay.

Power Practices

Consulting a Power Animal:

The Power Animal can be consulted in order to obtain advise on problems. This is commonly called “divination”. To do this, simply journey to the Lowerworld to see your animal. Your Power Animal is usually quite close by, and you won’t have to journey far, before you see it. Quite often, it is at the end of the tunnel.

When you see your power animal, silently greet it, and pose your question. Most often, the power animal will provide the answer by moving it’s body in an unusual way. However, sometimes, it may lead you on a journey. The experiences on the journey will be relevant to your answer.

The first few times you do this, it is best to keep your answers simple, so that they may be answered in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ form. When you become more experienced in understanding the animal’s language, the questions can be more complicated.

You should keep some form of dairy in which to record your shamanistic experiences. These you should record as soon as you finish a journey, so that the memory is still clear.

You need not wait until you have a problem before you undertake a journey to see your animal guardian. It is beneficial to visit without posting questions. You will find positive things happening in your life around such visits.

Keeping Power:

When a Power Animal is restored, one usually begins to feel better immediately, and then begins to feel a power flowing through the body, gradually over the next few days. When this happens to you, it is important no to become complacent. Your Guardian Spirit has entered your body, not only to help you, but also to help itself, by experiencing the material form. Therefore, you should dance your animal at least once a week, even just for a few minutes, using the aid of rattles. This helps keep the power with you.

Even if you dance or exercise your animal regularly, you can still expect it to grow restless, and to start travelling long distances. This usually happens while you are asleep. Even if your guardian Spirit is not with you, the power remains. However, if you start waking up in the middle of the night feeling dispirited and depressed, it is a sign that your Guardian Spirit has left you. If this should happen, you should immediately seek a companion to make the journey to restore power.

Since one’s Guardian Spirit can be off wandering while you are asleep, it is common practise not to wake up a sleeping Shaman, suddenly. In many cultures, this is considered dangerous.

Big Dreams:

Dreams from a Shamanistic point of view are of two types. ‘Ordinary’ and ‘non-ordinary’ or ‘Big Dreams’. Big dreams are ones that occur several times, or nes that are so vivid, that they almost seem real. Big Dreams are considered to be communications from your Guardian. These are not symbolic, but are literal.

Should you have a Big Dream that has negative connotations- e.g. an automobile accident. You should immediately enact the dream once you are awake. The dream is not symbolic, but your enacting of it is. Just go through the motions of the incident in a simple way, and get it over with.

The Bone Game

This games is known by Western North American Indians, as the ‘Stick Game’, the ‘hand game’ or the Bone Game. Shamanistic power and seeing are utilized in this game. It may be played by only two individuals, but most commonly, there are two opposing teams of at least sic members each. In the game, the teams take turns attempting to ‘see’ the location of a bone or bones hidden by the opposing team.

A person designated as the ‘see-er’ or ‘pointer’ tries to locate the marked bone within the hands of the opposing team, while the opposing team tries to prevent the person from seeing the hidden bone.

Before beginning the game, the teams should select a first ‘see-er’ and back-up ‘see-ers’ should the first not be successful. Next ‘hiders’ and back-up ‘hiders’ should be selected. It is a good idea also to appoint a referee to ensure all of the rules are adhered to and to keep tract of the scoring process.

Before the game begins, team members may decide to sing their power songs to help awaken their guardians, however, once the actual game begins, no talking or singing is not allowed between team members. Non-verbal communication must be used to indicate when someone is volunteering to be a new see-er or hider.

See-ers often work with their eyes closed. Sometimes a see-er may even turn his back on the opposing team, in order to see more clearly. Experience is the best teacher to find out which way you see best.

Team members must also decide on how they can help the seeing process. For example, all the members might touch bodies, leading to the see-er, to create a cone of power. The team that is hiding, must disrupt the seeing process, by singing, shouting, dancing or whatever else they wish to do to disrupt the see-er.

When both teams are ready to play, they line up facing each other, about four feet apart. A line should be indicated between the teams. If indoors, this can be a cord, or lighted candles. It is against the rules for any part of a team member’s body, to cross the line. If this occurs, a counter is awarded to the opposing team.

Any object can be used as counters – from feathers to sticks. Each team has three or four counters, and this is placed inside the line in front of the team. The object of the game is to win all the counters. A team has to win not only the opposing teams counters, but also it’s own.

Two bones or sticks are used. These must be as much alike each other as possible. Chicken wish-bones are good for this. Wrap a black thread or string around one bone. This is the bone that the see-er must pick out.

When the game begins, the hider must turn his back on the opposing team and shuffle the bones around in his hands. When he is done, he should turn back to face the opposing team, and stick out both of his hands in front of him. His team then starts a disruptive process to prevent the other team from seeing clearly. When the hider is ready, the referee should begin beating a drum.

The seeing team remains quite, and concentrates on providing a shield of tranquility around the see-er, and sends him power to help his seeing. The see-er must pick out the marked bone in the hiders hand. This is done by the see-er pointing to one of the hiders hands.

If the see-er is correct, the team wins one of the opposing teams counters. If the see-er is wrong, his team looses a turn, but does not surrender a counter to the opposing team. In other words, counters can only be won by successful seeing, not unsuccessful seeing.

* Compiled by the Silver Circle
Blessed Be

Touch the Earth

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We are all searching for something we know as home, something that we feel is home. Home is not necessarily a particular physical place. Rather it is a place of connection in the heart that is full of belonging. Home is something that changes as we change. It is a place where we are at peace with things, where we are safe and open to whatever needs to happen. Sometimes we stumble across home without meaning to. Home is a feeling of warmth, it is a moment of truth that transcends all time.

As we live our life , we learn about home and we learn about ourselves. Home is a story. Home is a way. Home is a Medicine Song carried into the night by the Moon and further along by her lover, the Sun as they come together in harmony and balance. Home is all that feels familiar and comfortable, it inspires us to always and forever be more. It is the silent dream of a child, wishing, hoping, creating…… unlimited by the fears and emptiness of those who turn away from the earth’s energy.

No matter what, home is the ground upon which we walk, which has always been there for us and always offers herself to us tenderly. The land and the people are one. The spirit never dies.

The way of the Shaman is the way of life, it is the way of humility, of giving, of loving and of thankfulness.

As you walk your journey do not forget to touch Elohino, Mother Earth. As you walk let your footsteps fall lightly upon the ground. Come down upon your knees press your hands gently upon her body, feel her heart beating. Do not forget what she feels like. Listen closely to her humming, her smells and sounds. Listen to her ancient song that needs no words. She will never ask you to come to her, that is not her way. She asks for nothing and offers everything.

Whether you have found home or you are looking, it is good to be thankful. Thankful for what it is that has power for you. What holds beauty for you. What gives you peace and joy. The Sacred Fire glows eternally in our hearts and for this, we have much to be thankful.

These are my words of life, these are my words of truth. I speak the words, and this is my breath of life, take it in and offer it forth.

Ogedoda Galun’ lahi
Osada Nuwati
Wah doh

O Great One
Who dwells in the sky
illuminating all that is,
Giving good medicine of life
and the Great Creation,
our Mother Earth
Knowing that all things are as they should be,
We give thanks for the
beauty of all things
O Great One
We Give Thanks

Western Shamanism

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From: deane[at]netcom[dot]com (Dean Edwards)
Subject: Greek Shamanism & Journeys of Soul
To: (Alexandria)
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 1994 10:39:30 -0700 (PDT)


In ancient Greece there existed a group of spiritual practicioners whom scholars have called ‘iatromanteis’ (medicine men). This is coined from the term ‘aitros’ (healer). Examples include Pythagoras of Samos, Empedocles of Acragos, Abaris, Aristeas of Proconnesus, Bakis, Epimenides of Crete, and Hermotimos of Clazomenae.

These were reputed to be masters of separating the Soul from the body. The ancient Greeks had a number of ways of referring to such individuals, including,
‘Throbates’ (spirit/air traveler)
‘Kathartes’ (purifier)
‘Cresmologos’ (author of oracles)
‘Thalmatourgos’ (worker of miracles)

The iatromanteis made their journeys into space and other dimensions via a trance technique which they called ‘apnous’. This term is usually translated as Catalepsy. Upon the return of the Soul to the body, the medicine man would relate the tale of the flight of Soul and convey any important information or instructions. A number of inquiries have been made about western shamanic experience and tradition. The above information, which is available in The Encyclopedia of Religion, New York, Macmillan; v. 1, p. 436, (Article) Ascension by Ioan Petru Culianu.

The western tradition is focused on the experience of sacred mysteries of direct experience with the principle of order in the universe, usually called ‘logos’. A separate shamanic tradition was present in the germanic, celtic, slavic, and finnic countries. However, in the lands around the Mediterranean Sea it seems to have become a part of a larger tradition of gnosis from an early date. In Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Hellenic and Latin spiritual traditions shamanic experience or shamanic ecstasis was one of may tools for initiates of many traditions. The Orphic Pythagorean, Platonic and Gnostic traditions seem to follow this model. Shamans from these lands were part of something that was not centrally focused or defined by shamanic experience. They sought the same experience as those whose unitive visions brought them into contact with divine spirit.

In late Antiquity, among those we know today as Gnostics and NeoPlatonists, descriptions of voyages of Soul into other realms often provided essential details for their respective emerging cosmologies and systems for spiritual liberation.

Dean Edwards

Shaman Priest

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To: soc.religion.shamanism
From: tyagi[at]houseofkaos.abyss[dot]com (nagasiva, tyagi)
Subject: shamanism
Kali Yuga 49941018

Traditions are powerful indicators of ability, but they are not the only tools of detection. After all, traditions came from individuals.

…My dictionary says that ‘priest’ derives from ‘presbyter’ and that this was originally a name for ‘old one’. I suspect that in the formal stages of the language, wisdom and age were equated and the name got used as an identifier of important cultural information. So at least at one point in time someone who studied Christianity could well be a priest. In other words they may have been *called* ‘priest’due to their study of the discipline and their appearance (aged).

I want to make it clear than when I use the term ‘shaman’ I will be applying only my own mythical meaning which I have fabricated within my experience and I do not necessarily associate this with any sort of Tungus people or Indian people or African people. I mean by it a kind of ‘technician’ which I shall attempt to describe in my feeble way.

‘Being able to do some things which other shamans can do’ may qualify, within a community, as deserving of the title (whatever the language and role, which I’m presuming will vary somewhat), but it is somewhat imprecise to say what you do above since ‘to shaman’ could include any degree of skill. Is an apprentice carpenter truly a carpenter? Surely she can do some of the job, but not all of it. And yet when she learns from the master crafter she is ‘carpenting’.

So in one sense (limited) you are right. Yet in perhaps a more meaningful sense you have understated the case, since you have not yet truly defined, here, anything positive.

Much of it would depend on the tradition one follows.

I think you focus overmuch on socialized shamanism. I’m convinced that there is another kind who quite possibly works for hir community yet does so alone and is not part of a ‘lineage’. I’d like to hear what you think of this concept. It can’t be new.

I wonder if this focus upon community isn’t a leftover from an earlier age when group-integrity was the key to personal and species survival. I agree that it is valuable and advantageous, I’m just not so sure that it is necessary. It reminds me of the requirement that saints and mystics be within religious *traditions*. I’m not so sure that

1) there is a big difference between these saints and mystics and what you are calling ‘shamans’

2) shamans aren’t found outside of any particular tradition.

Kali Yuga 49941019

I think that the divide between scholasticism and practitioners should be mentioned when discussing ‘vocabulary’. In many ways the *study of shamanism* is a academic pursuit (valuable but still academic). Unless you are willing to posit a sort of eclectic, global shamanism which subsumes the various specific instances and manifests within and through Academia (:>) then the terms are exterior to the individual traditions or particular within certain exemplars.

‘Shamanic perspective’ is a fallacy. I’m sure that there are countless perspectives which function for shamans quite well (hey, I could be wrong). Knowledge is only beneficial for politicians and engineers. My hit on this is that *some* shamans do function as bridges and this is called by many names. Example: RJ Stewart “mediator”. These ‘higher and lower states’ are mythological referents to specific experiences of the subjective universe, which is as much a reflection as it is the origin of what modern materialists call ‘the real world’.

…While it is true that the shaman exists at the ‘edge of reality’ this need not only be the fringes of an urban or village population (i.e. geographic). The shaman just as accurately lives on the edges of a society’s *consciousness*, existing below or within that society and ‘tweaking’ it like psychotechnicians tuning up their host body; a veritable pineal gland regulating the social endocrine system.

Kali Yuga 49941024

…I sense beings I call ‘elementals’ who inhabit the elemental planes (E/A/F/W else Chinese 5 if I’m really good :>). These, as I know them, are the Salamanders of the Fire Realm, the Sylphs of the Air, the Brownies of the Earth and the Undines of the Water (sometimes I call them Sprites for some reason). I perceive them as conscious beings of purelyelemental energy.

Dragons are nature-wisdom-beings who dwell in a realm once-removed from my ordinary consciousness (I call this ‘the Faerie’ and have enjoyed learning to move betwixt the ordinary and Faere realms, wherein my kinfolk, the elves and dragons (and others?) reside).

What I call ‘the astral plane’ is often a mix of emotional and imaginary components, yet I was referring to what are called ‘Psychic Attacks’ such as are portrayed in Dion Fortune’s Psychic Self-Defense and Crowley’s Moonchild. I’m not always one for ‘seeing energy’ and tend to sense it intuitively (not somatically, sonically or, as is apparently popular, visually). For me it is more of a reflection than a direct perception.

I also don’t have much experience with what is called ‘OOBE’ or ‘Out Of Body Experience’, what is typically associated with ‘astral travel’, though I do see my sorcerous and shamanic journeys (otherworldly expeditions into the Faerie, the latter successfully bringing to ground the contents of the experience for the benefit of myself and my kin) as similar in many ways.

During these journeys I sometimes come upon Gates, or portals between major sectors of the Faerie. Occasionally there will be Guardians at these locales, those whose job it is to provide a challenge so as to screen out those who are not yet ready for what lies beyond. One such Guardian whom I engaged wrestling/mating turned out to be a dragon.

If you want me to distinguish between ‘metaphor’ and ‘literal’ I’m unsure exactly where to draw the line. Likely if you were to have observed any of what I describe above you’d characterize these as ‘inner experiences’ and perhaps ‘imaginary’, though they seemed very concrete and ‘real’ to me at the time. :> I don’t consider radical objectivism to be superior to radical subjectivism, nor to I direct my scientific worship toward the material world.


Web of Power & The Spirit World

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One of the most basic beliefs of shamanism is the belief in the web of power that runs through all things. Shamans believe that everything is alive and is connected in a mutually supportive way to everything else in the world. It is this web of power that brings sense to the world. The web has an unlimited amount of potential and power to send to the physical world. Understanding this web of power, this spirit world, is necessary to understanding and learning shamanism.

All objects in the physical world have “spirit.” It is the spirit that is the source of power. Shamans communicate with the spirit of both living and (what most would consider) non-living things. Through this communication they gain an understanding of the world around them and the more you learn the more power you have to draw from.

As a general rule, shamans believe that unlike natural objects, plants and animals, each human has his or her own unique spirit body. (I believe all things do, but that’s my twist on it.) This spirit body can be see surrounding people like brightly colored flames or heat waves. The spirit body normally extends around people anywhere from eighteen inches to about three feet and responds to how people feel and what they are thinking. Brighter colors have higher vibrations and darker, duller ones have lower vibrations. Some believe that the size of a spirit body equates to how much power a person has. Basically it is aura by another name.

Since shamans deal so closely with the spirit world it is easy to become “lost” between the real and the spirit worlds. People who are always daydreaming or are said to have their heads in the clouds are such unattached people. Shamanic presence is the ability to live with a foot in the real world and a foot in the spirit world and not forget who and where you are. This is done by keeping balanced, grounded and ‘present,’ or mentally aware of your physical presence. Shamans must know where they are at all times. This is one of the reasons shamans seem powerful to others, they always know where they are. People very familiar with Shamanic techniques and very aware of their presence can do a quick inner journey while walking down the street.

One way shamans stay organized and focused as to where they are is through use of certain images. One is the Tree of Life. Its roots are in the Lower World, also known as the underworld or world of the dead, where shamans go to talk with ancestors, to find lost information, or to find information about diseases and other things to do with the physical body. Travel to the land of the dead should not be attempted without a guide. The trunk of the tree is known as the Middle World. Often the trunk is seen as square, one side for each of the four directions and their corresponding season. It is the magickal version of our reality and shamans visit it to solve everyday problems. The branches of the tree are in the Upper World. It is a place of the future, creativity and flight. No one world is viewed as better or more important than any other and most shamans from around the world have used similar guides.

Another such image is the medicine wheel, also known as a mandala. It is a circle that is divided into four sections (or sometimes subdivided down to eight) that symbolize the four directions. The circle of the wheel symbolizes the Middle World, the sky above it, the Upper World, and the earth below it the Lower World. the centre of the circle is the centre of the universe and the entire circle, including the Upper and Lower worlds are spiralling to the centre. Every person has a place on this wheel which symbolizes where they are in relationship to their spirit centre at the centre of the circle. The better you know your center the more power you will have.

Here is a simple exercise to help you find out where you are on the medicine wheel.

Centre yourself and relax. Close your eyes. Create a medicine wheel in your mind. Divide it into the four quarters with two lines intersecting in the middle. Decide which line stands for which direction. Make a dot in the centre and then colour the quadrants however you wish. Let a spirit animal come to symbolize each quadrant. Don’t think about it, they’ll come if you should be doing this. If not stop and try again at another time. Ask your spirit animal to show you where you are in the wheel. Remember the quadrant, the colour, the spirit animal for that section, and how close you are to the centre. Feel free to ask your spirit guide what this means for you at this time. Thank the spirits for their help and come back to where you are (in other words, feel your body and what you are sitting on etc…) Then open your eyes. Write and/or draw what you saw. You should do this every so often to see where you are in relation to your centre.

Learning About Shamanism

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As you start to practice shamanism in your life you will start to see obstacles being removed from your path and things starting to work for you. You will notice that you will become more comfortable with yourself and with the world around you. You will feel more connected and will find potentials within yourself that you never before realized were there. This will only happen if you let it and if you politely work with the spirit world and give it a chance to work for you.

What is on these pages is by no means everything there is to know, or even a good percentage of it. As you study you might decide that you want to go further than simply using some basic shamanic practices in your life. If so then you will want to find a teacher. This teacher will not necessarily be a human being in the physical plane. You might find that you are more comfortable with and will learn more of what you want to from a plant, animal or other spirit in the spirit world. Or you might be more comfortable with a human teacher. Neither choice is better or worse. It is all a matter of personal preference. Remember that formal training will take time and dedication.

When choosing a teacher remember to be selective. You will find some great advice on the subject of at another link here: Finding A Teacher. However when choosing someone to help you learn shamanism, there are some other things to keep in mind. Look for someone who has a good sense of humor and is able to laugh at themselves and help you laugh at yourself, rather than someone who is serious all the time. A good teacher should have respect for the world around them, for themselves and you. They should be more willing to include people than to exclude them. They should not claim to be perfect and should not expect you to be. They should be able to make mistakes and learn form them and to show emotions. They should have a strong shamanic presence and should practice what they teach.

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