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”
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~~~
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.
“Know Thy Selves”
~~~3 Coyotes Dancing~~~
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,
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~~~
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dean Edwards)
Subject: Shamanism-General Overview-Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Summary: This FAQ contains a general overview on shamanism. It should be read by anyone interested in understanding the what is meant by shamanism and what differentiates shamanism form other forms of ecstatic experience.
Date: Sat, 25 Jun 1994 02:17:23 GMT
Archive-name: shamanism/overview Last-modified: 19 April 1994 Version: 1.1.2
NOTE: The following general overview of shamanism is not intended to be the last word or the definitive work on this subject. Rather it is, as its title implies, intended to provide the participant or reader with a set of guidelines that will familiarize them with the general use of the terms shamanism, shaman and shamanic in the trends, study and practice of historic, traditional and contemporary shamanic experience. The word ‘shaman comes to English from the Tungus language via Russian. Among the Tungus of Siberia it is both a noun and a verb. While the Tungus have no word for shamanism, it has come into usage by anthropologists, historians of religion and others in contemporary society to designate the experience and the practices of the shaman. Its usage has grown to include similar experiences and practices in cultures outside of the original Siberian cultures from which the term shaman originated. Thus shamanism is not the name of a religion or group of religions. Particular attention should be paid to the use of qualifying words such as “may” or “usually”. They indicate examples or tendencies and are not, in any way, intended to represent rigid standards Please send comments to deane[at]netcom[dot]com (Dean Edwards).
Shamanism-General Overview-Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (c November, 1993 by Dean Edwards) This FAQ shall be posted monthly and is maintained by Dean Edwards (email@example.com). It is intended for the private non-commercial use of Usenet users. It may not be sold or resold without the permission of the author.
Table of Contents:
1. Terms used in this FAQ
2. What is shamanism?
3. What is Shamanic Ecstasy?
4. Becoming a shaman
5. The role of trauma in the development of a shaman
6. The relationship between shamanic traditions and culture
7. The role of Shamanic Ecstasy
8. The origin of the term “shamanism”
9. Roles of the shaman
10. Reasons for this FAQ
1. Why were the terms used in this FAQ selected and do they have special meanings.
There is an extensive literature about shamanism that has been compiled since the late Eighteenth Century. Like any field of study and religious practice, shamanism has developed a specialized vocabulary. Please note that some of the words used in the material that follows are drawn from scholars who have a solid background in shamanic studies and may have meanings that are specific and less general than is often the case in popular usage. Consulting a good dictionary should clear up any points of confusion.
2. What is Shamanism?
Shamanism is classified by anthropologists as an archaic magico-religious phenomenon in which the shaman is the great master of ecstasy. Shamanism itself, was defined by the late Mircea Eliade as a technique of ecstasy. A shaman may exhibit a particular magical speciality (such as control over fire, wind or magical flight). When a specialization is present the most common is as a healer. The distinguishing characteristic of shamanism is its focus on an ecstatic trance state in which the soul of the shaman is believed to leave the body and ascend to the sky (heavens) or descend into the earth (underworld). The shaman makes use of spirit helpers, with whom he or she communicates, all the while retaining control over his or her own consciousness. (Examples of possession occur, but are the exception, rather than the rule.) It is also important to note that while most shamans in traditional societies are men, either women or men may and have become shamans.
3. What is Shamanic Ecstasy and how does it compare with other forms of ecstasy?
From the Greek ‘ekstasis’, ecstasy literally means to be placed outside, or to be placed.This is a state of exaltation in which a person stands outside of or transcends his or herself. Ecstasy may range from the seizure of the body by a spirit or the seizure of a person by the divine, from the magical transformation or flight of consciousness to psychiatric remedies of distress.
Three types of Ecstasy are specified in the literature on the subject:
a. Shamanic Ecstasy
b. Prophetic Ecstasy
c. Mystical Ecstasy
Shamanic ecstasy is provoked by the ascension of the soul of the shaman into the heavens or its descent into the underworld. These states of ecstatic exaltation are usually achieved after great and strenuous training and initiation, often under distressing circumstances. The resulting contact by the shaman with the higher or lower regions and their inhabitants, and also with nature spirits enables him or her to accomplish such tasks as accompanying the soul of a deceased into its proper place in the next world, affect the well-being of the sick and to convey the story of their inner travels upon their return to the mundane awareness.
The utterances of the shaman are in contrast with those of prophetic and mystical ecstasy. The prophet literally speaks for God, while the mystic reports an overwhelming divine presence. In mysticism, the direct knowledge or experience of the divine ultimate reality, is perceptible in two ways, emotional and intuitive. While these three varieties of ecstatic experience are useful for the purposes of analysis and discussion, it is not unusual for more than one form of ecstasy to be present in an individual’s experience.
However, it can be argued that, generally speaking, there are three perceptive levels of ecstasy.
a) The physiological response, in which the mind becomes absorbed in and focused on a dominant idea, the attention is withdrawn and the nervous system itself is in part cut off from physical sensory input. The body exhibits reflex inertia, involuntary nervous responses, frenzy.
b) Emotional perception of ecstasy refers to overwhelming feelings of awe, anxiety, joy, sadness, fear, astonishment, passion, etc.
c) Intuitive perception communicates a direct experience and understanding of the transpersonal experience of expanded states of awareness or consciousness.
While the physiological response is always present, the emotional response may or may not be significant when intuition is the principal means of ecstatic perception. Some have argued that beyond the intuitive state there is a fourth condition in which the holistic perception exceeds mental and emotional limitations and understanding.
The ecstatic experience of the shaman goes beyond a feeling or perception of the sacred, the demonic or of natural spirits. It involves the shaman directly and actively in transcendent realities or lower realms of being. These experiencesa may occur in either the dream state, the awakened state, or both. Dreams, and in particular, lucid dreams, often play a significan role in the life of a shaman or shamanic candidate.
4. How does one become a shaman?
Some have wondered if the experience of shamanic ecstasy or flight makes a person a shaman. Generally speaking, most would say no. A shaman is more than someone with an experience. First, he or she is a trained initiate. Usually years of enculturalization and training under a mentor precede becoming a functioning shaman. Second, a shaman is not just an initiate who has received inner and outer training, but is a master of shamanic journeying and techniques (shamanic ecstasy). This is not a casual acquaintance with such abilities, there is some degree of mastery of them. Finally, a shaman is a link or bridge between this world and the next. This is a sacred trust and a service to the community. Sometimes a community that a shaman serves in is rather small. In other instances it may be an entire nation. A lot of that depends on social and cultural factors.
One becomes a shaman by one of three methods:
a) Hereditary transmission;
b) Spontaneous selection or “call” or “election”;
c) personal choice and quest. (This latter method is less frequent and traditionally such a shaman is considered less powerful than one selected by one of the two preceding methods.)
The shaman is not recognized as legitimate without having undergone two types of training:
a) Ecstatic (dreams, trances, etc.)
b) Traditional (“shamanic techniques, names and functions of spirits,mythology and genealogy of the clan, secret language, etc.)
The two-fold course of instruction, given by the spirits and the old master shamans is equivalent to an initiation.” (Mircea Eliade, The Encyclopedia of Religion, v. 13 , p. 202; Mcmillian, N.Y., 1987.) It is also possible for the entire process to take place in the dream state or in ecstatic experience. Thus, there is more to becoming a shaman than a single experience. It requires training, perseverance and service.
5. What is the role of personal crisis or trauma or crisis in the selection or development of a shaman?
A common experience of the call to shamanism is a psychic or spiritual crisis, which often accompanies a physical or even a medical crisis, and is cured by the shaman him or herself. This is a common occurrence for all three types of shamanic candidates described above. The shaman is often marked by eccentric behavior such as periods of melancholy, solitude, visions, singing in his or her sleep, etc. The inability of the traditional remedies to cure the condition of the shamanic candidate and the eventual self cure by the new shaman is a significant episode in development of the shaman. The underlying significant aspect of this experience, when it is present,is the ability of the shaman to manage and resolve periods of distress.
6. Does the presence of an active shamanic tradition necessarily mean that the society itself should be deemed “shamanic”?
No, not at all. The presence of shamanism in a nation or a community does not mean that shamanism is central to the spiritual or religious life of the community or region. Shamanism often exists alongside and even in cooperation with the religious or healing practices of the community.
7. What is meant by shamanic ecstasy and what role does it actually play in shamanism?
The ecstatic technique of shamanism does not involve itself in the broad range of ecstasy reported in the history of religion. It is specifically focused on the transpersonal movement of the consciousness of the shaman into higher or lower realms of consciousness and existence. Another aspect of shamanism is that compared to other spiritual traditions, it is a path that the individual walks alone. While much of the focus of shamanic studies has been on the shamanic complexes of north and central Asia, shamanism is a universal phenomenon, not confined to any particular region or culture.
8. What is the origin of the word “shaman”?
Shaman comes from the language of the Tungus of North-Central Asia. It came into use in English via Russian.
9. What are the usual roles of a shaman?
In contemporary, historical or traditional shamanic practice the shaman may at times fill the role of priest, magician, metaphysician or healer. Personal experience is the prime determinant of the status of a shaman. Knowledge of other realms of being and consciousness and the cosmology of those regions is the basis of the shamanic perspective and power. With this knowledge, the shaman is able to serve as a bridge between the mundane and the higher and lower states The shaman lives at the edge of reality as most people would recognize it and most commonly at the edge of society itself. Few indeed have the stamina to adventure into these realms and endure the outer hardships and personal crises that have been reported by or observed of many shamans.
10. Why was this FAQ written?
This FAQ was originally written to support a new Usenet newsgroup, ‘soc.religion.shamanism’. The purpose of this newsgroup is to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas, views and information about historic,traditional, tribal and contemporary shamanism. This FAQ is intended to provide a useful general overview of what ‘shamanism’ actually means and what it is in practice. In doing so, it has focused on shamanic ecstasy as being at the heart of shamanic experience and practice. Many other aspects of shamanic experience are encountered in the journey toward that center. Likewise, much is also experienced in the journey out from that core experience.
End of FAQ