Shamanism

Classical and modern shamanism.

How to build an ancestor altar

By Susan Starr | September 17, 2014 | 5 comments

Candle, photo by ZeHawkI stood before my unused sewing table, where I was to build my first ancestor altar. I thought of what I might put there: a photo of my birth parents, certainly, and two metal Peruvian figurines, a man and a woman, to honour my karmic roots to Peru. What else held meaning for my ancestors; what might make them feel at home? For my birth parents, two treasured old compasses that belonged to my father and a favourite hamsa necklace of my mother’s. For the Peruvian folk, an offering of corn meal and tobacco, and palo santo, a Peruvian wood incense. To symbolize the ancestral wisdom I wanted to access, two small plastic skulls; and to honour my shamanic path, pieces of wood from a tree struck by lightning on the property of one of my shaman-sisters (being struck by lightning three times is believed to be a call to that path).

In shamanism you learn fairly quickly about the constant presence and influence of the ancestors, their legacies — both gifts and wounds — and why it behoves you to pay your respects and enlist their help. Yet no matter what path you’re on, a relationship with your ancestors can benefit you. Continue reading


Progressive Trance

By Xi O'Teaz | November 26, 2002 | Leave a comment

Subject: Re: animal powers
Date: Nov 2002
From: “Xi O’Teaz” < xi_o_teaz[AT]yahoo.com >
To: The zee-list

>>so, how do you, my fellow zees, enter trance, how
>>did you come across the methods and how long did it
>>take to work?
> >There are many many ways. It depends on what you want
>to achieve. Trance throuh ecstatic dance is very
>powerful. I usually use electronic music (especially
>in raves, since all the air is charged with energy),
>but sometimes, other kind of percussions can work
>very well (you can try Kodo). So you dance and dance,
>feel the music through your skin, feel your body
>disintegrate and become music, let go all feeling
>of “I want”, “I am”.

I personally find that “progressive trance” is the single best type of music for Energy Work and Trance.

I find “progressive” music best for Energy Work, with the constant progression of energy, intensity, and complexity of the music.

I find “trance” music best for, well, general Trance Work ;-)

I like general electronica/”rave music” to be a combination of classical music (lyrics are de-emphasized–focus is on intensity and subtle musical nuances) and shamanic/”tribal” music (constant, repetitive beats and a general high energy level, even during the breaks).

My roommate’s fiance’ is doing a school report on the “club culture” for a music class (she’s a music major). We were discussing the different “popular” types of music, and how different electronica is compared to genres such as country, rock, rap, pop, r+b, blues, etc… most notably in the use of lyrical poetry…

Having words in a song can be distracting, unless they are simple and repetitive–personally, I like the human voice to be tweaked and looped with just a few repetitive lines. Too much vocal complexity and my mind begins to Attach itself to the words in a rather Grounding sorta way :-(

>”- what? behind the rabbit?
>- No ! It IS the rabbit”

LOL

The correct answer is often just under our noses–if only we could see with different lenses. Such a great analogy!

We are always in some sort of Trance state. All states of Consciousness are merely lenses with which to see the world. A Trance would be anything other than a “baseline” state of Consciousness–only I have yet to find a “baseline”, so *all* states are “altered” states (ASC = altered state of consciousness), IMHO.

So saying that you “can’t enter a trance state” is a bit silly, eh?

Become Aware of your State of Consciousness–chart it’s various fluctuations, and you will soon see that you are constantly fluctuating through various Trance States (focusing on Work, TV, etc…). E.g., those who think they are “immune to hypnosis” go thru the hypnogogic state (essentially identical to a hypnotic state) *every night of their lives*. Etc.

“What ASC would you like to Experience today? and more importantly, Will it Match your Outfit?”

“Know Thy Selves”

~~~3 Coyotes Dancing~~~


Animal Powers

By Xi O'Teaz | November 22, 2002 | Leave a comment

Subject: Re: animal powers
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2002 14:52:34 -0800 (PST)
From: “Xi O’Teaz” < xi_o_teaz[AT]yahoo.com >
To: The zee-list

As someone who works with Animals frequently, I thought I’d share some Experiences (finally):

<< my dreams have featured a variety of animals lately, and i’m looking for ways to explore this.. >>

Oh, Elephants Yeah!!! (sorry)

<< how do people work with animal powers? >>

I would agree with all that the other Zees have already written.

In addition, here are some techniques that I also utilize:

Adopt the belief that all Wild Animals are Avatars of their respective Atavism. Watch a National Geographic Special (or Animal Planet, or Discovery, or…) on the Animal Power you wish to Learn about. The animals in the zoo have little, if any, of their Power left, so you need to see them Wild, and NG is as close as your TV, video store, or internet. Unless, of course, you can travel to the Animals’ natural habitat and observe them yourself, but this isn’t a valid option for many of us, for many Animals.

Ask people what they think of when they think of a certain animal. This is a great technique for gathering folkLore on anything, Animals included. What is this Animal known for? How is this Animal represented in Myth and Art, and more importantly, *why*??? This could include anything from cartoons to Native oral myths. E.g., Bear = hibernation, digging into beehives for honey, protection of young, walking on 2 legs, etc. Now ask yourself, “What do these things represent on an Esoteric level?”, or “How can this Teach me more about _______?”

Look at the Animals of an area/ecosystem as a Pantheon. What would they each be “in charge of”? Obviously, looked at in this way, you could Work with them in any way you would any other godform, including invocation and evocation (although I always felt silly doing a full “ceremonial magick” type rite for them).

You could also do cross-Associations, i.e., assigning all the Animals to symbol-sets you already have Programmed. This could include Tarot, Runes, I Ching, Elements, Sephiroth, etc…

Another thing to Observe is what quality sets this Animal apart from most others. Is it that ability to fly, or its ability to borrow? You get the idea. Another important question is “What specifically, if anything, does this Animal have that is (relatively) Unique to the Animal Kingdom? Whether it be the echolocation of Bat, the singing of Whale, or the survivAbility of Coyote, many Animals have a fairly unique quality–this seems to be tied into their Power.

Read all the Native myths you can find. I can’t stress this enough.

And finally, don’t think yourself “better” than our fellow members of the Animal Kingdom–there is much subConscious Programming that must be unDone here, if you live in the West.

<< evocation/invocation techniques? >>

If you’d like–see above.

<< have newagey ‘shamanic’ techniques been useful? >>

Yes, especially Shamanic Drumming and Journeying to the UnderWorld.

<< i really dislike the tone of that kind of writing, but perhaps i should dig through it for techniques.. >>

I dislike the tone in the *vast majority* of Occult books, but you gotta pry open a lot of Oysters if you ever want to find any Pearls.

Hell, I’m going through Tyson’s New Millenium Magic again for some info on Number and Geometry Theory, but I’ve gotta wade thru all the bullshit about how if you step outside a magic circle, you’ll likely die, blah blah blah.

Damn, that shit stinks!

Speaking more regarding Shamanism and Animal Powers, I like Harner, and various other (mostly native) authors. But you can still Learn from people like Kenneth Meadows, even though he shows his ceremonial magic roots by overcomplicating things way further than I care to go. Good ideas, but not my style. And I think he focuses too much on “the Loving Light”, but I could be thinking of someone else.

Use what works,
Discard the rest.

Journey Well…

“Know Thy Selves”

~~~3 Coyotes Dancing~~~

.?!


Trance

By Xi O'Teaz | November 10, 2002 | Leave a comment

Subject: newbie Trance stuff
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 03:43:04 -0800 (PST)
From: “Xi O’Teaz” < xi_o_teaz[at]yahoo.com >
To: The zee-list

(Sorry ’bout that. Still a little Tranced out…)

< ahem >

I was Dancing this evening, and I had some things occur to me that I wanted to tell to newbies before I forgot… so here goes:

Oftentimes people new to Magick will incorrectly think that they “can’t Let Go”, meaning they feel they cannot achieve a Trance state (to do Magick). To paraphrase my earlier comment,

All States
are
Trance States.

Now admittedly, the self-narrative is more prevalent in some States than in others (especially Utah ;-), which leads me to my first Observation/Exercise:

First, take an activity that you lose your Selves in, more than anything else. This could be listening to Music, reading fiction, Drumming, counting the Breath, Dancing, etc. The best way to tell if you lose your Selves is to notice when you are finished with your activity, if Time has distorted, you seem disoriented in your immediate environment, or you were “somewhere else”. For me, Music is an easy Trigger to Magickal Trance States–especially if I’m Dancing.

Now that you’ve thought of an activity that you enjoy enough to lose your Selves in, before you begin the activity next time, ask a Self to *unobtrusively* Notice/record the shift in Consciousness. The problem with *you* trying to Notice is that as soon as you Notice, you snap back. So either re member the shift immediately after you perform it next time, or (as I have done) ask some part of you to let you become more Aware of the Shift in ASCs. I have what I call an Observer Self that performs the above function. Sometimes I like to think it’s my “raw Awareness”, but that’s just an amusing thought I have sometimes. Anyway…

The point is that once you perform it enough with Awareness (it’s really quite similar to going to sleep), you can Train your Selves to more readily “let go”, and they will be better Trained to do so. I.e., the advantages will carry over to all areas of Trance work, be it Meditation, Sex Magick, or whatever.

Another Exercise/Observation is to take this activity and incorporate your Magick *into it*. Do a Divination while performing your activity (or at least immediately after, if you forget). Or do Magick, or do whatever. For me, that means that I Focus on a Sigil or Entity that I wish to Unite with (e.g., send energy, Invoke, Evoke, etc.) whilst “completely gone” on the Dance floor.

In addition, you can take this (pre)Programmed activity and Intensify it, thereby pushing your Selves to better control the Trance, so that you may extend the duration, “sink deeper”, etc. To give a simple mechanical example with my Dancing, I wear a thermal shirt under my other one, to help raise my body temperature–I somewhat seriously call this my “portable sweat lodge” ;-) Obviously, I also have learned to Control the Dancing Trance in other ways as well, that can’t really be explained, but can be reCognized by those who Practice, Experiment, and Notice.

Notice what Trance states you go to and come from, throughout your day.

Awareness is the first step to both Change and Control–States of Consciousness and otherwise.

Well, there’s 3 Exercises (many, many more if you look beneath the surface), and hopefully this will stimulate you all to better

“Know Thy Selves”

~~~3 Coyotes Dancing~~~

.?!


Smudging: How to Do It, How Not to Do It

By Michelle Chihacou White Puma Klein-Hass | February 20, 2002 | Leave a comment

I came across a very interesting article from “Shaman’s Drum” which was reprinted for Vision Quest Bookstore. I will attempt to convey the gist of it, along with my views, as a student of the Ways of the Teneh, about it. Smudging is a way of using the smoke from burning herbs as a way to cleanse the body, an object, or a given area of negative influences. I myself use smudging to “cleanse” crystals before using them in jewelry projects I may do, and for protecting my home from some recent “bad vibe”-producing events. (landlord troubles!) I imagine that the skillful use of the proper herbs could help in warding and banishing ceremonies as well, if used properly and with reverence. The three most used plant material for smudging are sage of all types, cedar, and sweetgrass.

Sage

There are two major genii and several varieties of each genus of Sage that are used for smudging. Salvia, or the herb sage used for cooking, comes in two major varieties: S. Officinalis, commonly known as Garden Sage, and S. Apiana, commonly known as White Sage. Salvia varieties have long been acknowledged as healing herbs, reflected in the fact that its genus name comes from the Latin root word *salvare*, which is the verb “to heal” or “to save.” Artemisia is the genus commonly considered “Sagebrush”, and is more common in the wilds out here in California. There are two major varieties to the Artemisia genus: A. Californica, or Common Sagebrush, and A. Vulgaris, or Mugwort. There are many other varieties of both Salvia and Artemisia, and all are effective in smudging. Sage is burned in smudging ceremonies to drive out evil spirits, negative thoughts and feelings, and to keep Gan’n (negative entities) away from areas where ceremonials take place. In the Plains Sweatlodge, the floor of the structure is strewn with sage leaves for the participants to rub on their bodies during the sweat. Sage is also used in keeping sacred objects like pipes or Peyote wands safe from negative influence. In the Sioux nation, the Sacred Pipe is kept in a bundle with sage boughs. I would think special crystals could be so protected this way as well.

Cedar

True cedar is of the Thuja and Libocedrus genii. Some Junipers (Juniperus genus) are also called “cedar”, thus complicating things some. Some Juniper varieties ARE cleansing herbs, especially J. Monosperma, or Desert White Cedar. But for smudging, the best is Western Red Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and California Incense Cedar (Libocedrus descurrens). Cedar is burnt while praying to the Great Spirit (Usen’, the Source–also known to Plains nations as Wakan Tanka) in meditation, and also to bless a house before moving in as is the tradition in the Northwest and Western Canada. It works both as a purifier and as a way to attract GOOD energy in your direction. It is usually available in herb stores in chipped form, which must be sprinkled over a charcoal in a brazier. I like a piece of charcoaled mesquite for this purpose, rather than the commercial charcoal cake.

Sweetgrass

Very important to the Sioux and Cherokee nations, its botanical name is Hierochloe Oderata. In these tribes, the sweetgrass is braided like hair braids. It could be burnt by lighting the end of it, or (more economically) by shaving little bits of it onto charcoal in a brazier. Again, use charcoaled Mesquite (I believe it comes packaged for barbecue use under the brand name “Red Arrow”) to burn it, not pressed charcoal tablets. Sweetgrass is burnt after smudging with sage, to welcome in good influences after the bad had been driven out. Sweetgrass is very rare today, and traditional Plains people have been attempting to protect the last of it. Myself, I believe that Cedar, which is not endangered, can safely be used this way. Also Pinon pine needles (used more frequently by the Southwest Teneh, like the Navajo and Apache as well as the Pueblo people and the Zuni) and Copal (used by the Yaqui and in ancient times by the Azteca and the Maya) have similar effect. The three mentioned here are readily available either through gathering yourself or, in the case of copal resin, from any good herb shop.

Using Smudging

Burn clippings of the herb in a brazier…not a shell as some “new age” shamanic circles do…it is an insult to White Painted Woman (The Goddess) to do this, especially with the abalone shell which is especially sacred to Her. If the herb is bundled in a “wand”, you can also light the end of the wand that isn’t woody and use that. I like the latter way. Direct the smoke with your hands or with a Peyote (feather) wand over the person or thing you wish to smudge. If you can see auras, look for discolored places in the aura and direct the healing smoke towards those places on the patient’s body. For cleansing a house, first offer cedar smoke to the four directions outside the house. Then, take a sage bough and go throughout the inside of the house, making sure the smoke penetrates every nook and cranny of the house. It might help also, if you have a power animal, to visualize your animal doing these things, to also dance your animal, and if you have a power song, to sing that too. Then finally, run through the house with a white candle that is well protected, to “light up” the house. Careful not to burn it down when you do it!!!

Final Thoughts

Smudging should be done with care, with reverence, and in an attitude of LOVE. Show your respect and honor to the plants that Usen’ has given us for our healing, and they will return the favor by keeping us well and free from disease and negative energy. Aloe Vera plants, though not to be burnt, are good for the cleansing angle as well. Keep one or more potted Aloe Veras in the house (modern varieties are too tender to plant in anything but full shade outside) in organic (wood or ceramic, never plastic or metal) pots. To honor the plant when you transplant it, sprinkle the roots with corn meal and smudge it with cedar once it is transplanted. The spirit of Aloe Vera is a good protective spirit, and if you burn yourself, can also be used to heal your skin. BE SURE TO ASK THE PLANT’S PERMISSION before cutting part of the leaf off for the healing juice. If you don’t, the protective power of the plant will cease, and you will be left with but an inert houseplant…and perhaps some bad karma to boot. Hi-dicho, it is finished….ENJU!


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