Category Archives: Psyche and Symbol

Shamanism * Walking the Solitary Path

In Shamanism Part 1 * Journey to the West I talked about the coming of shamanism – in altered “core” forms – to the West, suggesting it was here to stay, and that even in these altered forms, shamanism works.

In Shamanism Part 2 * Psyche, Symbol and Transformation, I discussed why shamanism works as a dynamic, transformative catalyst of healing and growth. I suggested that there is an essential shamanism which resonates with the structure and dynamics of the human psyche long ago revealed in all cultures, in myth, legend, and story-telling. I went on to summarize briefly the essential elements of shamanism which play out in psyche, symbol and journey.

Here, in part 3 of the Shamanism series, I suggest that one may train as a shaman not only outside of ritual but outside of group, within a personal, private framework of meditation and metaphysical studies guided by the Higher Self. Once we understand that transformation occurs within Higher Mind through symbols, we can see why shamanism can “work” for a solitary path.

Indeed, while most shamans serve a community, they are also noted for living apart, often in somewhat inaccessible locations. They continue their work in the various realms even when, perhaps especially when, they are alone.

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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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Silk Road DreamWork * Keys To Interpreting Your Dreams

This is a followup to my first two posts on dreams:  Dreams and DreamWork * Silk Road Journeys and Silk Road Journeys * Insight, Guidance, and Healing in Your Dreams

Here, I offer some practical tips on DreamWork and the interpretation of dreams. The main keys here are commitment, flexibility in approach, and being relaxed about recalling dreams.The idea of interpreting one’s own dreams can be a little intimidating.

To start with, lots of people feel they don’t have dreams, or at least simply never remember them.

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Shamanism * Journey To the West

Just as key elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Zen have come in successive waves to renew a weary, post-modern West, so Shamanism has touched a chord in the Western soul. At the grass-roots cultural level in the West, it is impossible to ignore the rising tide of interest and apparent value gained in shamanic explorations.

Across the Internet, our new Silk Road, blogs and websites featuring Shamanism have sprung up like flowers after desert rain. Here, I consider that a core, or pure Shamanism, underlies ancient forms found in the East, and suggest that this great tradition has begun at last its journey to the West.

What do we mean by Shamanism? This is a question which often divides western practitioners of Shamanism from each other, and sets them at odds with traditional or indigenous shamanic cultures. In my view, taken from the words of indigenous shamans, there is a core Shamanism which is rooted in Mind and its ability to manipulate reality through manipulating Symbol.

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