This is an ongoing US and global project to help enthusiasts, scholars, practitioners, and curious parties learn more about shamanic living in a contemporary culture. The space here is devoted to sharing info, experiences and opinions about all forms of shamanic expression covering shamanism's multiple permutations. Among subjects explored are traditions, techniques, insights, definitions, events, artists, authors, and creativity. You are invited to draw from your own experiences and contribute.

What is a SHAMAN?

MAYAN: "a technichian of the Holy, a lover of the Sacred." CELTIC: "Empower the people...by changing the way we think." MEXICAN APACHE: "Someone who has simply learned to give freely of themselves..." AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL: "...a teacher or healer, a wisdom keeper of knowledge... (who) takes people to a door and encourages them to enter." W. AFRICAN DIAGRA: "views every event in life within a spiritual context." HAWAIIAN: "...human bridges to the spiritual world and its laws and the material world and its trials..." QUECHUA INDIAN: "embodies all experience." AMAZON: "...willing to engage the forces of the Universe...in a beneficial end for self, people, and for life in general."

-- from Travelers, Magicians and Shamans (Danny Paradise)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Enter Sandman

I’ve been having a difficult time lately integrating my shamanic self and ordinary reality self. Sometimes it feels like I am not really walking in either world. I am stuck in between dreams. After reading so much about Mendel’s dreaming body and recognizing that the dreamstate is what defines our vision as a shaman, I feel like I am missing out on a huge part of my shamanic identity and my connection to non-ordinary reality. I often feel like there is work being done in another realm, but I still don’t feel attached to my dreams, and often have a hard time remembering them. I do keep a dream journal, however if I don’t write in it immediately after waking, I quickly disconnect from the dreamstate.

I’ve recently journeyed and meditated on how I can be honoring Spirit more and connecting more with my shamanic self. The answer I received was that I should be doing more with ceremony. When we honor Spirit, we also engage Spirit to work with us, and through us, as an ally. I needed to seek out shamanic tools; items that I would need to make sacred, and have a contract with in the spirit world.

In my journeys, I get a lot of images of water, goblets, and drinking. I definitely relate to the element of water more than any other element. Drinking water is often symbolic of consuming some sort of energy/power or in engaging some sort of transformation. I meditated on how I can engage myself more in the dreamstate. I wanted to be lucid while I am dreaming and be able to remember my dreams in my conscious mind, which usually has great recall ability. The images of water, goblets, and drinking once again came through in a journey. I also got that I should be incorporating all of the elements. While I was looking for a goblet to make my sacred vessel to the dream world, I found a bunch of small wine glass charms, all with suitable representations of the 4 elements.

By leaving the goblet on my altar, and also honoring it during ceremony where I thank all of my allies and tools, it becomes sacred. At bed time, I fill the goblet with water, hold my hands over the goblet and ask the water to be my ally in remembering my dreams and being lucid in the dreamstate. I drink half of the water and leave the other half for the morning when I wake up, as a symbol of drinking the energy from my dreams.

I’ve only recently begun to do this and have not always remembered to perform the ceremony every night. From the few times I have, I should note that there were lucid moments in a few dreams and I was able to recall parts of other dreams too. I think it will take more time and actual commitment to connecting to the Spirit realm before there is more clarity for me. This will be another step in becoming more integrated in both worlds.


She.Who.Remembers said...

Thank you for your post Rainbow Warrior. I feel this way too. I have also started experimenting with ritual. It felt as though in this way I could bring the spiritual element and essence of that which I am working with symbolically into my physical world. Although, it has only been a week, I have felt more connected.

I re-created my alter and also chose physical elements that would embody that which I am trying to achieve spiritually. I have a bottle of honey on my alter and consume some each morning in prayer of bringing sweetness into my life. I also have some other elements I am working with for cleansing and transformation. In addition, I place offerings on my alter to those spirits which are working with me.

I truly feel that bringing in ritual helps me ground and makes room for physical expression. It also has assisted me in applying focus and intention. I would be really curious to see how your rituals evolve!

Allowing the light said...

I am not usually much attached to "things"; I have moved so many times in my adult life, from one side of the world to the next that I have left behind most of my "things" each time, giving them away and realizing that there was almost nothing that I really "needed" or to which I was really “attached”. So I have kind of surprised myself realizing that for more than a year now, ever since I started meditating on a daily basis, I have progressively arranged on the small table in front of the cushion where I meditate and also on the floor on the side of my cushion, different very small things that were given to me in specific occasions and are symbols of my healing journey. I also keep there the few stones I often use in my healing sessions and hold in my hands when I meditate. More recently, I have been putting here the gifts and messages I have been receiving from people in exchange of healings. So small things keep coming… I must say that this kind of surprised myself at first but the truth is that if you would ask me which part of my small studio feels more home (and, generally speaking, I really feel at home here), this is that small part of the room where I have those small little things with absolute no "material" value and which would probably look like nothing in the eyes of anybody else. I suppose that's the child in me keeping her little treasures in a small box...

Speaking of childhood, I had a beautiful ritual experience a few days ago when working for the second time with a 5-year old girl. She was very eager to light the candle but she did not think she would like the smell of the smudge that I generally use to clear the space in the room and create the healing circle. So her mother proposed to use a Tibetan singing bowl she had. We used it to clean the space and open the healing space (the girl and I did the movement of the opening with our hands and arms) and it was amazing! I was so glad that we could create a different ritual and I know that it was important for the mother also to bring her contribution into it.

This to say that I strongly believe in rituals but I am also so glad that we are in an apprenticeship in which we are to imagine our own and can be open to what the people who come to us may also want to create.