Monday, July 11, 2011


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.


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


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