Shamanism is a dimension of human experience that can be found in every culture in any age. It can be observed in a variety of forms, ranging from a fundamental spontaneous experience, derivative culturally shared practices, or as veiled motifs of spiritual, medical, artistic, scientific, and psychotherapeutic interventions.

Paradoxically, as shamanism becomes more culturally shared, it may become less authentic—less culturally challenging—and degenerative. Provoked by an experience of everyday life as a sort of “half-truth,” shamanism is a method that focuses on the erroneous belief in a separation of human life from nature. Shamanism focuses specifically on remaining alert to the creatural dimensions of human life that can be overridden by cultural, socio-psychological dimensions of everyday life.

Shamanism is an expression of an enduring wild state to remain alert to the changing conditions of existence and integrate into the natural world that continues to design and express human life across the long run.

Monday, October 23, 2017

21st Shamanism...the Authentic "Old, Enduring Way"

Singe Medicine Man

When you gaze up every night and see the progression of the moon and gem-like brilliance of stars; when you live not with, but within, flora and fauna and old stone outcroppings, at rare moments, nothing is more real, more lucid, more explicit, than such as this rare view.  And whether you look up or down, surrounding you, you not only might experience an intelligence in flora and fauna that is not only unexpected but equal.  A “seasonal change” is a remarkable shift in coloration.  Light variations and temperature do this, and yet, variations and color changes are intelligent.  They can be “measured” mathematically at advanced levels that are still beyond us.  And what can seem astonishing--this sense of the non-human, be it flora or simply stone or soil or water or air--is that these events are not simply surrounding us to cosmic depths, but they are us, that they are in our identity.Deep authentic shamanism is made of this.  But when the experience that comes to be termed shamanism becomes more visible, it seems to translates into spirits that look somehow like people, personality.  This is because we turn it into something that we think we need.  

Deep shamanism challenges us and is the the public, derivative game that typically references the authentic heart of shamanism, the reason that it emerges, even in modern life where there are no spirits that meander around parallel us.  In this authentic shamanism there are no ghosts or spirits that meander around with us and speak with wisdom and offer us special powers.  This is not shamanism.  Such trends that are global in their reach are false, jokes.  Why such dominance in our lives?  This is the mistake that we make over and over again in spirituality and religion.  Right now in modern life, such facile, off-based interpretations appear in the writings of McKennna, as if these events “speak” to us, as if they are people-like, and are endlessly trying to tell us something very important, trying to “set us right,” if you will.

We accurately sense that, for all our intelligence, we are still trying to see in the dark, still primal, which is likely correct.  We sense that when we give some attention to the world that seems to surround us, that we are missing something not just important, but essential, critical.  We sense that our science and our poetry is incomplete.  And that the science and poetry to which we aspire is endlessly ahead.  Now we see a universe of galaxies comprising a universe and speculate multi-verses, but we realize we will never step back far enough to see life, reality, as it is.

We are Homo sapiens, not the "wise one" that we imagine ourselves to be, but rather the “Earth taster," more akin to tres and plants.  Our task is to access, to listen,to reman alert to more than we can imagine ourselves to be, to be more than we can ever imagine.  Shamanism is direct contact with Earth, with stone, wind, light, plants, fauna, smallness and largeness.  We aspire to stay connected more than to answer.  We try to see in the dark and open to the degree that we can.  That which is “right,” “righteous,” is a win-lose game that is small and displaces our attention.  Are we like a tsunami or volcano or beaver that alters the ecosystem on either/or a grand or local level, or is our real work, as Thomas Berry implores us, to integrate with the large ecosystem of the Earth.  We are wont to “believe” that our task is the latter, but is it?  Our task is to listen, to flow, to continue to taste, to directly contact the experience that we reference as “Earth” and to express it in as much harmony as we can.