Category Archives: Shamanism In the West

Solitary Shamanism * A New Path In the West?

One day we find ourselves spontaneously entering states which can only be understood in terms of the dramatic journeys and transformations unique to shamanism.

Going Where the Path May Lead
The path of the shaman is a calling, one with its own forms, its own practices. And it is not always what it seems. Indigenous cultures have a long tradition of shamanism, with its unique and dramatic forms.

But shamanism in the West may not look like traditional shamanism. It may arrive in someone’s life, as it did mine, quite apart from a group, a community, or a course of any kind. Western shamanism may take place entirely in the Mind – the Higher Mind – and under the tutelage of one’s Higher Self and spirit guides as well as the surprising, loving presence of animal allies.

Yet it is the traditional shamans themselves who tell us – “it is all Symbol, it is all Mind.”

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Shamanism * Plant Medicine In Meditation

From within the Garden of the Higher Mind, we can choose and use any plant medicine that we need, for ourselves, or sent to another in a healing Journey.

In The Secret Teaching of Plants , Stephen Buhner reminds us that plant teachings are the foundation of modern discoveries in both medicine and plant foods.  Gathering of such knowledge directly from the wildness of the world is known as biognosis—meaning “knowledge from life.”

Buhner asserts that this is an aspect of our humanness inherent in our physical bodies and is therefore something that each of us has the capacity to develop.

It seems likely that, in the beginning at least, almost all original discoveries of plant medicine came from communication of the world’s shamans with the plant life here on Earth. This communication is part of the training of the Shaman in all indigenous cultures, and in the transition to new western shamanism, we need to remind ourselves of this natural school of learning and healing.

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Animal Allies and Helping Spirits In Western Shamanism

Shamans in traditional cultures do not work alone; they receive help from entities living and dead who populate the many realms and dimensions of creation.  But how well do we, as western students and practitioners of shamanism, adapt to such seemingly alien customs?

I have come to believe that the advent of beautiful, uplifting animal presences – Eagle, Buffalo and Bear – is  one of the first signs that Shamanism is entering ones’ life. I have come to believe that these living animal figures are Archetypes, and they are as real and energy-filled as any of the other archetypes we talk about – not only in Jungia n but also literary and psychological contexts.

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An Extraordinary Psychic Reading * Mind In the Waters

This connection between my human mind on land with a great Mind in the Waters, has stayed with my all my life, a gift to my client, and to myself, a blessing forever.

As a professional psychic for many years, I often found myself in the midst of an extraordinary reading.  One of these has stayed with me more than most, especially as I have contemplated the beautiful bond so many have with their pets, and how animal allies are known to be mysterious partners in the work of a shaman.

But this was so different.  The lady had come to see me from Vancouver, a word-of-mouth referral, as I never advertised.  I had never seen her before and knew nothing at all about her.  As always, I began by asking her to say nothing till the reading ended, partly because once I began, the images and interpretation came in one continuuous flow. I didn’t ask questions and actually, had no control at all over the direction of any reading. It had been the way I first began, seemingly guided, and it was always the way I proceeded.

So, as usual, I took both her hands, and waited for the first pictures to form, knowing they would come, and when they did, I would follow where they led, wherever that might take us. I was quite used to readings going in remarkable directions – and the more odd or dramatic the directions were, the more accurate they tended to be.

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Active Imagination * How Meditation For Self-Knowledge Led To Shamanism, and Psychic Readings

My mother and I never practiced meditation in the Hindu or Buddhist sense. We spent about an hour every day in light trance, engaging in what we came to see was a guided spiritual and psychological program which, paradoxically, appeared to have no real beginning or ending.

It seemed that the material that could arise was infinite; it ranged from womb and childhood experiences to past-life dramas driving those in this life, reconnections with trauma in this or other lives bringing tears of transformation, and explanations about the deaths and rebirths of planet Earth.

Symbol is the language of the Psyche – we speak it all the time in our lives but seldom connect to its power in a conscious way. In active imagination, we move “ritual” – with its energy-shifting power – to an internal site, to Mind, both at the conscious and unconscious levels.

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