Shamanism and Native Spirituality

Shamanism

You must learn to see. There is seeing the visible. Most people see only the physical world around them. But there is also seeing the invisible. There is emotion, spirit and mind. The whole circle of the Human Being is both these things ~ the visible and the invisible. Most people refuse to look at the whole Circle and see what is really there.

From: One is the Sun

If you come to me as a victim I will not support you.
But I will have the courage to walk with you through the pain that you are suffering.
I will put you in the fire. I will undress you, and I will sit you on the earth.
I will bathe you with herbs, I will purge you, and you will vomit the rage and the darkness inside you.
I will bang your body with good herbs, and I will put you to lay in the grass, face up to the sky.
Then I will blow your crown to clean the old memories that make you repeat the same behavior.
I will blow your forehead to scare away the thoughts that cloud your vision.
I will blow your throat to release the knot that won’t let you talk.
I will blow your heart to scare fear, so that it goes far away where it cannot find you.
I will blow your solar plexus to extinguish the fire of the hell you carry inside, and you will know peace.
I will blow with fire your belly to burn the attachments, and the love that was not.
I will blow away the lovers that left you, the children that never came.
I will blow your heart to make you warm, to rekindle your desire to feel, create and start again.
I will blow with force your vagina or your penis, to clean the sexual door to your soul.
I will blow away the garbage that you collected trying to love what did not want to be loved.
I will use the broom, and the sponge, and the rag, and safely clean all the bitterness inside you.
I will blow your hands to destroy the ties that prevent you from creating.
I will blow your feet to dust and erase the footprints memories, so you can never return to that bad place.
I will turn your body, so your face will kiss the earth.
I will blow your spine from the root to the neck to increase your strength and help you walk upright.
And I will let you rest.

After this you will cry, and after crying you will sleep.
And you will dream beautiful and meaningful dreams.
And when you wake up I will be waiting for you.
I will smile at you, and you will smile back.
I will offer you food that you will eat with pleasure, tasting life, and I will thank you.
Because what I am offering today, was offered to me before when darkness lived within me.
And after I was healed, I felt the darkness leaving, and I cried.

Then we will walk together, and I will show you my garden, and my plants, and I will take you to the fire again.
And we will talk together in a single voice with the blessing of the earth.
And we will shout to the forest the desires of your heart.
And the fire will listen and whisper the echo, and we will create hope together.
And the mountains will listen and whisper the echo, and we will create hope together.
And the wind will listen and whisper the echo, and we will create hope together.
And then we will bow before the fire, and we will call upon all the visible and invisible guardians.
And you will say thank you to all of them.
And you will say thank you to yourself.
And you will say thank you to yourself.
And you will say thank you to yourself.

~Yogesh Kumar

Igluik, an Eskimo shaman describes his shamanic enlightenment:

“I endeavored to become a shaman by the help of others; but in this I did not succeed. I visited many famous shamans, and gave them great gifts… I sought solitude, and here I soon became very melancholy. I would sometimes fall to weeping, and feel unhappy without knowing why.

Then, for no reason, all would suddenly be changed, and I felt a great inexplicable joy, a joy so powerful that I could not restrain it, but had to break into song, a mighty song, with only room for the one word: joy. Joy! And I had to use the full strength of my voice. And then in the midst of such a fit of mysterious and overwhelming delight I became a shaman, not knowing myself how it came about. But I was a shaman.

I could see and hear in a totally different way. I had gained my quamanEq, my enlightenment, the shaman-light of brain and body, and this in such a manner that it was not only I who could see through the darkness of life but the same sight also shone out from me, imperceptible to human beings, but visible to all the spirits of earth and sky and sea, and these now came to me and became my helping spirits.”

~From The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner

Some day, if you are lucky,
you’ll return from a thunderous journey
trailing snake scales, wing fragments
and the musk of Earth and moon.

Eyes will examine you for signs
of damage, or change
and you, too, will wonder
if your skin shows traces

of fur, or leaves,
if thrushes have built a nest
of your hair, if Andromeda
burns from your eyes.

Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit
their own fleeting lives, who barely taste
their own possibility, who barely dream.

If your hands are empty, treasureless,
if your toes have not grown claws,
if your obedient voice has not
become a wild cry, a howl,

you will reassure them. We warned you,
they might declare, there is nothing else,
no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,
just this frantic waiting to die.

And yet, they tremble, mute,
afraid you’ve returned without sweet
elixir for unspeakable thirst, without
a fluent dance or holy language.

~ Geneen Marie Haugen

The Shamanic journey starts when we begin to live what we have grasped of the Great Plan.

Where do we start? Physically from where we are, however tempting it may be to wait until “the conditions are right,” until we move to another place, until we get a new job, until we find more understanding, more congenial people, until… until…

The Grandfathers say, “Start now,” Now is all we have, all we shall ever have. Start now.”

Our journey is a resumption of the long way we have come, not a totally new start. Spiritually we start from that moment and that place where we decide to re-commit ourselves to the journey, to re-surrender our wills to the will of the Great Source, to enlist with finality in the Company of Light.

Sooner or later this great moment comes to us, but it must be with finality, total commitment, we must stick with it, or it will be only another half-hearted attempt to take a few hesitant steps on one of the ways leading to the Center, and away from it. We must go forward firmly. or we may find ourselves again in the “dark wood.” Each time this happens it gets harder to resume the journey, and whether we go on foot, or “over wonderful slippery water” in a Shadow Canoe, resumption of the journey is what our spirits crave.

~Evelyn Eaton

Learning to listen means distinguishing real Vision from your own dream voices of fear and memory and desire. Belief in the inevitability of nuclear destruction is a dream of this type, felt by people who can sense that the world they have known is no longer working, but who have not turned far enough to seek a vision beyond war.

Even when you get beyond your fears, sometimes your expectations will get in the way. Somehow you expect your Vision to be spelled in lightning across the sky. But while you watch the sky, you may miss the tiny drama of butterfly upon leaf happening at your feet.

The Vision itself can come in many forms, through a clear visual impression or visitation of spirit, physical contact and communication from an animal, a song or a dream.

Very often in completely unexpected fashion, out of the darkness of a Vision Quest will come an awareness of a Guardian Spirit, a force or energy that provides a clear channel for greater wisdom. Many cultures have believed that such guardians, like saints or angels, protect and guide us even when we are unaware of them. Conscious acknowledgment of a Guardian Spirit offers the possibility of communication and a ready source of strength and counsel.

Awareness of the guardian could come when you see a hawk fly and are uplifted by a sense of strength and freedom, when an oak tree drops its leaves at your feet, when the Northern Lights dance overhead, when you hear words whispered by the wind. Or a guardian might communicate itself as an intellectual concept, a particular energy that is understood to be a source of strength and direction, such as innocence or bravery, or love.

From: A Voice From The Earth

Once you are alone upon the land there is no longer anything to do. But the process of being still may be the greatest challenge of the quest. Praying, chanting, singing and burning incense or kinnickinnic, a mixture of herbs and tobacco, are all ways of focusing into the present, of encouraging yourself to look within.

As you become more open to the spirit world and to your inner self, you may begin to look at yourself without the masks and self-deceptions that help you perform properly in the world. If you don’t define yourself by your work, your relationships or your reflections in other people’s eyes, not by how you dress, how you walk or how you speak, you may be surprised at what you see.

It may be uncomfortable and you may not recognize yourself without your masks, but if you sit still long enough, unmoving through all fear, boredom and cynicism, you might catch a glimpse of your real self coming out of hiding, cautiously, like some wild animal.

The process is simple, but powerful, if you can allow yourself to be alone for a few hours or a few days, to talk, and for once listen to all that you have to say, to cry and not be ashamed, to be cold, alone, hungry and afraid, but not to run away.

The Earth will listen to every word you say. After a while when you wonder why no one is answering, you might realize that you haven’t stopped talking. A hundred spirits of the Earth could be imparting their wisdom except that your own thoughts are so loud and incessant there isn’t silence enough for another sound to come. The reason you don’t hear anything is that you haven’t begun to listen.

From: A Voice From the Earth

The animal kingdom is very important to those who immerse themselves in shamanism and natural magick. Sometimes you may want to communicate with animals or simply see the world through their eyes. A simple technique for merging your mind with animals is as follows:

Center yourself by sitting or lying upon the ground, closing your eyes, and imagine a whirlpool of energy surrounding you, travelling in clockwise motion from your head down to your feet, back up to your head, and back down to your feet. Continue this imagery until you feel grounded and centered, oblivious to daily distractions and cares. Once centered, allow your mind to wander to the animal you wish to merge with. Don’t force the imagery, rather allow it to happen.

Picture the animal clearly in your mind. Watch it, empathize with it, feel yourself merging with it. Imagine what it is like to be the animal. Imagine the sights it sees, the smells it senses, the motivations and ways of thinking it may have. Become those thoughts. Merge with the animal by dissolving the distinctions that make it separate.

Once you have fully merged with the animal, you can communicate with it. Ask it what you want to know. Tell it what you want it to know

Source: The Powers That Be

The effectiveness of a shaman is generally measured by the results he or she is able to achieve. It is believed that unless the shaman is able to call power animals and spiritual aid to help her, she will not be effective. Indeed that individual could not be called a shaman.

The teaching of detachment, and letting go of one’s ego is a central lesson for the shaman. If the individual cannot let go of pride and self interest, he or she are not considered to be a good healer, and may not be able to enlist the spiritual aid considered necessary for effective healing.

There is a concept that the spirits must take pity on the healer and the one being healed. If the shaman cannot evoke compassion from those that would aid her or him, but instead offends with his or her pride – no assistance will be given to that person for the healing work.

Source: Shaman Links

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