Category Archives: Shamanism

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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On the Sacred Path * Solitary Shamanism and Peony Medicine Healing

I am discovering more a new “essential” Shamanism can be practiced, particularly here in the West through meditation on a solitary path. This practise  includes invoking the unique nature and use of certain plants through visualizing them, and deploying their magical potential, in Symbol, rather than in their actual, physical use.

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 sestern shamanism, we need to remind ourselves of this natural school of learning and healing.

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Healing Tears In Meditation

I suddenly remembered my mother’s trance work at Hillshore in the early Sixties, along the Bay of Quinte…and her guide saying matter-of-factly – “You see, only when the tears actually flow, are there deep changes in the cells themselves…”

The alchemists of old marvelled at the dissolving of salt in water which happens with our tears. Research shows that their appearance – when not for show or petulant “on cue” dramatics – marks a turning point deep within the psyche. Without these tears, many “journeys of healing” may be only imaginative explorations of one’s inner and other worlds, falling short, however, of actual healing. What we are looking for is a deep, permanent transformation within the body’s cells and those of the still-physical, but much less dense body – the personality or psyche.

The meditation process described here, leading to the release of old trauma, seems to be authored by one’s Higher Self and to center on guided, spontaneous, and transformational imagery. It is a unique form of meditation filled with practical, spiritual teaching and above all, deep, personal healing. This is an alchemical, and thus Shamanic, form of meditation.

The state of mind is very close to what Carl Jung called active imagination. This is very similar to the hypnagogic state just as you drift off to sleep and just as you are first vaguely awakening, when you have flashes of images and thoughts which seem almost like waking dreams. These are very receptive states and thus present an opening into the Unconscious and other realms of the Psyche. Here, at any point on the Circle, you are connecting with the Higher Self, the Shaman within who will take you on your journeys Within and teach you the gift of self-transformation.

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Word Deeds * Shamanic Power Of Speech

Many people live, work – and play – in what are actually abusive environments. Increasingly, we find ourselves assaulted, especially in western televisions shows, movies and on social media, by coarse, mocking, harsh, potty-mouth language. The sounds and meanings of this language are harsh and harmful to speakers and listeners alike.  It is hard to escape the impact, and all too easy to succumb to social pressure so that our own speech descends to these levels.

Words have Shamanic power – they are Deeds – where they have gone they leave the Dark, or the Light.  Wherever the Dark appears, its goal is to debase our humanity.

We should remember that the presence of the Dark, what we call Evil, can always be recognized by the way it degrades through use of mockery; there is almost always an unnatural, heavy-handed focus on the sexual and on the coarser of body functions.

The goal of the Dark is to cut us off from the higher levels of our Humanity – Mind and Spirit – and thus block out the Light. Torture does this to the body; coarse, mocking, obscenity-laden speech does this to the personality and spirit, but leaves its negative, harmful imprint on the body as well, because our DNA is a language itself, and “recording” all that it hears…

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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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