Category Archives: Gods and Goddesses

Shamanism * Psyche, Symbol and Transformation

In Shamanism * Journey to the West, I suggested that Shamanism had come to the West in the same way that successive waves of Eastern philosophies and practices had come. Just as yoga and meditation, Buddhism and Taoism were embraced by a spiritually bankrupt West, so Shamanism has resonated in the Western soul. I observed that Shamanism seems not only here to stay, but is here because – even in its stripped-down “westernized” forms – Shamanism works.

I wondered if we in the West have been mistaken in our concerns about emulating the dramatic indigenous forms of traditional Shamanism. It seems clear that the spiritual and psychological power of Shamanism lies in the metaphysical realities – alchemical processes of the Mind – which it has embodied and transmitted through the ages. Though we have so much to learn from traditional Shamanism, is it possible this is a two-way street? Has Shamanism come to the West on its own Journey, to explore its origins, find new forms, and express itself anew?

Here, I look at the elements of Shamanism that I believe have been somewhat obscured in both Indigenous Shamanism and the new “Core” Shamanism in the West. It seems to me that, beyond all these cultural forms of shamanism, there exists what an essential Shamanism in which the psyche, through symbol, can access energy and matter to create transformation and healing.

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Animal Allies and Helping Spirits * When Shamanism Enters Your Life

In Shamanism found around the world in indigenous communities, a psychic connection with particular animal spirits called allies is considered essential.  These are sources of power and creative energy which protect, sustain and guide the Shaman in his or her own life, as well as assist the Shaman in working with others.

The indigenous Shaman also makes use of spirits who may be dead family members, other shamans in this world or in other dimensions, and even higher-level shamans who visit this world only occasionally over millennia, to elevate the vibrations of the world in a kind of Christ-like mission. Shamans, in other words, do not work alone; they receive help from entities living and dead who populate the many realms and dimensions of creation.

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Libya Dreaming * Far Memory and the Sands of Space and Time

Sigh…In modern times Libya makes  news headlines for its wars and struggles to find a place in the world.  It was not always so…

Sometimes I find myself Libya Dreaming, following a trail of old maps, histories, and feelings, till I arrive, at last, in the golden sands of Far Memory…

There is – there was – a Libya I know better than the city I have lived in for 45 years.

Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Libya)

A pillar of ancient history, it was a jewel in the crown of the Roman Empire from 146 BC to 640 AD. It was prized even earlier by the Greeks, who founded Cyrene – the Athens of Africa – in Cyrenaica in Eastern Libya from which modern eastern Libya and Libyans still take their name.

The site of Cyrene was chosen – most wisely – on the advice of the Oracle of Delphi and the city would become one of the largest in the Mediterranean. The area is now a World Heritage site and is rich in mythology and history.

There is a strong possibility that the invading Greeks built their temple to Apollo for protection from Libyan Amazons and over artefacts of an earlier, more advanced culture.

In the beginning, though, it was the home of the Berbers. The earliest name given them – Libu – appears to be the origin of the word Libya, the name for most of the African continent in classical Egyptian, Greek and Roman times.

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Gods, Goddesses, and Archetypes * Dramas, DNA, and Human Personality

Astrology, as both art and science, has always drawn deeply upon Archetypes, and these mysterious Forms are immortalized in the earliest of the world’s literature and theatrical performances, made most famous, perhaps, in the work of Shakespeare. For although it is true that they convey deep psychological truths in modern terms, it is also true that Archetypes are entrancing openings to higher realms of energy which enfold, shape, and somehow nurture us.

Carl G. Jung, the great psychiatrist, comparative mythology specialist and, ultimately, western shaman, used astrology because he understood that its focus on archetypes provided insight to the Psyche, commenting:

“Astrology is assured of recognition from psychology, without further
restrictions, because astrology represents the summation of all the
psychological knowledge of antiquity.”

Gods and Goddesses * Living Templates
The ancient Greeks, and Plato especially, knew long before Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell that the Archetypes were much more than symbolic components of moralizing stories. Whether as the Forms or Gods and Goddesses (he used both terms), Plato understood the Archetypes to be cosmic building blocks which literally organized all of the world we see, including human lives.

Precise definitions as to how Gods and Goddesses operated as Archetypes were not really spelled out, but on a general cultural level Greeks and Romans – and many civilizations before them – believed that Archetypes, called Gods and Goddesses because they ruled or at least altered and shaped the destiny of human beings, could be seen at work in the lives of individuals and nations in epics large or small. These came complete with a recognizable story line and with the possibilities of plot and character development all along the way.

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