Tag: Shamanism

Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone, by Lupa

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Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone, by LupaFang and Fur, Blood and Bone, by LupaFang and Fur, Blood and Bone: A Primal Guide to Animal Magic, by Lupa
Immanion Press, 1905713010, 224 pp. (incl. appendices, bibliography and index), 2006

Cultural appropriation is rampant in totemic work, as Lupa acknowledges, but notes that “[i]n any field of study there will always be those who are neophobic and believe that anyone who deviates from specific patterns is not only disrespecting but also diluting the effectiveness and “truth” of said field”. She writes “totemism is something that is essentially universal,” arguing that she has practiced totemism for years with no formal background or tradition, and, as she says, “can still boast a decent success rate.” As Lupa comes from a contemporary Pagan background, this book tends to focus on a contemporary Pagan approach to the subject.

There are a number of sections that won’t appeal to everyone, for example, the sections on sacrifice and working with animal parts didn’t agree well with me, a vegetarian. Though some of the material may be controversial, Lupa strives to present it in a palatable fashion, and certainly those interested will likely find benefit from their inclusion, especially as these subjects are often skirted in contemporary Paganism. Clearly, Fang and Fur Blood and Bone does not intend to be merely yet another book on animal magick. Continue reading


The differences between traditional and Pagan totemism

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Totem, photo by Kenny FrancisAnimal totemism is a hot topic among magical folk, in particular Pagans and shamans. This, of course, has spawned a growing number of books about totems which vary in quality from excellent to appalling, as books are wont to do. Many of them attempt to be an improvement on Ted Andrews’ works, which spawned the “totem dictionary with some extra stuff” trend. In addition, there are numerous websites about totems, again of varying quality. It’s laughably easy to find the information you seek. Continue reading


Vodou Shaman, by Ross Heaven

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Vodou Shaman: The Haitian Way of Healing and Power, by Ross Heaven
Destiny Books, 270 pp. (+ appendix, notes & index),2003

The author is one of a small, but growing, number of cross-cultural initiates who are willing to take the time, effort and expense to explore the little-understood “primitive” system of religious/magickal thinking known as Vodou (aka Voodoo, Vodoun, Vodun, etc.). Too many people have gotten their knowledge of this religion from Hollywood “B” movies, novels, and tabloid newspapers. It has been all too easy to dismiss it based on such sources. Continue reading


Progressive Trance

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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

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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

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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~~~

.?!


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