Monday, July 11, 2011

Shamanism

I have been reading several books on shamanism including Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy by Mircea Eliade,  Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life by Thomas Cowan  and this  book by Michael Harner, The Way of the Shaman.

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I have been so engrossed with this new idea that I have to remind myself that I need to go slowly, to learn & to put in the time. But this ADD pagan has a hard time slowing down & so that is probably another good reason this path has beckoned. Life is a journey.
 In a nut shell, and this is really a tiny nutshell, shamanism is a way of walking between the worlds of ordinary reality & non-ordinary reality. A true shaman ultimately journeys to help others  by soul-part retrieval or the curing of illnesses. The shaman  is aided in the journey by drumming and rattles. Since I do not own either, I use  drumming on my ipod that is specific for shaman journey. You can chose either 15 or 30 minute journeys & either single or double drumming. You need to be in the dark or near dark & night time is best & easiest. I use eye shades, too-the kind you get on the airplane from overnight flights.
In the past a shaman was trained by other shamans, she might have gone on a lengthy quest in the dessert or woods to find her power animal. She may have fasted, taken plants or teas & other aides to journeying but in more modern times those options are no longer available or safe. 
I found that reading was enough to get me started & I have now signed up for a weekend course sponsored by  The Foundation for Shamanic Studies. It is a prerequisite for any further studies. I have only met one shaman & when I met her had know idea what a shaman was or did and I didn't have the sense to even ask questions. All I could think of was a medicine man dancing around a campfire, chanting and drumming. I had no idea that a middle aged woman from Virginia could train to become one.
My journeys have been successful and amazing. I did indeed find my power animal although it took several "trips" to meet him. I also discovered that a technique I have been using for years to think up new ideas & artwork was really a form of journeying. I always thought of it as my "really thinking." I stretch out with a sketchbook & "zone out." (I actually first discovered this when I had rotator cuff surgery. I would take a pain pill & then stretch out, etc. Drugs. You gotta love them. I now do this with out the pills & it works the same just may not be quite as fun. )I let my mind wander here & there & sketch or write down thoughts, ideas & pictures. The key is really letting go. When your mind wants to hop back to household chores, or garden weeding and so on, you have to stop & go back to free thought & not worry about the mundane.
I would love to know if others are on this path. Or if you have had similar experiences. Oh, one other book, that I really am enjoying is Singing the Soul Back Home by Cailin Matthews. She breaks her book into "practices" to help you pace yourself. The information regarding shamanic journeys is essentially the same but just presented a little differently according to the author's style. Eliade's book is more of a textbook & history of Shamanism  than a "how to" book.


love, luna ;>D


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tarot 101 Circle from TBW

/begin shameless promotion

In case anyone is interested...

Beginning on April 1st, the Tarot 101 Circle will be working through the 22 lessons in "Tarot 101: Mastering the Art of Reading the Cards" by Kim Huggens.  We plan on taking it one week at a time, but participants may move at whatever speed is comfortable for them.  Anyone interested in learning to read the cards and experienced readers of all levels are welcome to participate and share their knowledge!

To join, become a member the Tarot 101 Circle on the Circle of Balanced Witches. Participants will need to have a journal to do the homework in and acquire a copy of the book before the class begins (or soon after).  They will also need a Tarot deck by Week 3.

/end shameless promotion

Friday, March 18, 2011

Look Mom, No Hands!

Photos8.com
If you are a control freak like me, you may feel like you have to keep a tight rein on how everything happens around you.  You need to know what is going on at all times.  Each and every moment is closely scrutinized to make sure something productive is happening.  Slowly, you give yourself over to the routine and stop really living.  This is how I have spent most of my life.

When I was a Christian, the idea of “giving it all to God” and letting Him run my life really troubled me.  Why the heck would the creator of the Universe give a flap what I was worried about or needed help with?  How would I get everything done that I wanted to in life if someone else was in control?  Needless to say, God and I decided to see other people and I eventually found myself on an Earth-based path.

Through my reading and studying of late, I came upon the most peculiar idea.  What if I didn’t have to be in the driver’s seat all the time?  What if I could work with the Divine / Universe to fulfill my life’s mission?  Maybe the Christians weren’t so totally wrong about that after all.

My own version of co-creating with the Universe has several parts to it. 

First, I write in my journal each morning.  “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron presents the idea of Morning Pages to help de-clutter the mind and get in the habit of doing something for yourself each day.  For me, the journal generally consists of my activities from the previous day, what I need to work on during that day, and updates on how my projects are going.  Quite often, I find myself setting goals, venting pent up anger, and showing gentleness to myself in these pages.  They are not meant to be shared with anyone, but allow you to get all the garbage floating around in your head onto the page.

I have also gotten into the habit of thanking the Universe for providing me the things that I need when I first notice that I need them.  I learned this technique from a book that I am reviewing for Weiser Books called “I’m Spiritual, Dammit” by Jenniffer Weigel.  This may seem a little strange, but acknowledging my needs and that asking for Divine assistance has led to a plethora of synchronicities of late.  I suggest starting with something small, like finding something you have misplaced or finding a parking spot, and see how it works out.

The last part is beginning to treat yourself with the love and respect that you deserve.  We are sometimes harder on ourselves than we are on other people, pushing ourselves to meet the unattainable standards that we have set.  When we don’t meet those goals, we start abusing ourselves or shut down in defeat.  This isn’t how it is supposed to be!  We need to be gentle with ourselves when we fail, learn, and then move on without judgment.  When we succeed, we should be our biggest cheerleader.  I have found that denying myself the love that I have for me and cutting myself off from the things I need and wants does no good for me.  When you start doing this, it cuts you off from the Universal flow of giving and receiving.

Now, this doesn’t mean that we can sit back and expect everything to happen for us without effort.  I can’t wave my magic wand and the house clean up itself, but I may find something that I have been searching for while I am cleaning or could get a notice on my door from a cleaning service with reasonable rates.  It is about working smart to get the things you need and want accomplished as opposed to avoiding work completely.

I haven’t completely given up my tight grip on the wheel yet, but I have allowed the Universe to navigate more.  When you start looking, you will notice the doors to what you desire will start opening up before you.  Have the courage to follow them to where they might lead and begin co-creating your life.

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