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, August 6, 2008

The Mask and Energy Healing

I went to a European museum earlier this year and caught a "masks" exhibit that fascinated me. I took this picture of a procession mask. Masks from this exhibit were used in festivals and processions as a way to chase away bad spirits, to disguise identity, but also to take on the strength of the beast/figure represented. Recall our shapeshifting exercise months ago. It's interesting that the mask is both a tool of psychic combat and a transmutation device. It's as if you can live out a hero's journey in the waking world and in real time with their use.

One of the panels at the exhibit showed a teenager's prosthetic mask and described her shapeshifting processes as she took on the role of a fantasy figure engaged in what is known as Live Action Role Playing (LARP). In LARP, "masked participants get together and perform a story. It's a chance to experiment with roles and identities that do not fit into ordinary life. " Here's what she had to say about it, "It is awesome to act out in a way I could never do in reality. I love letting out my masculine side, taking the initiative, and testing the limits. I love being in charge."

There is something to be said about the energy created through this process. As the Hands of Light book suggests, we suffer from various blocks in different parts of the body that can lead to disease if untreated. The author specifically differentiates between forms of energy that are associated with different parts of the body. Western medicine can help with repairing anatomical damage but the energetic and soul level healing is hardly addressed by our doctors and surgeons. Could the mask have been used in the past as an energy healing instrument; to channel in energy to different parts of the body, to take on human energy field blockages and balance the chakras? I believe so.

The young woman quoted above seems like she craves assertive, masculine energy and "being in charge." Through LARP, not only is she engaging in a fun activity, she may be undergoing a form of energetic body treatment. It might be a good experiment to examine her pendulum patterns before and after LARPing.

Teenagers are our most vulnerable population. They exist in the unenviable position of being unsure about their identities while traveling through and transitioning between new and old realms of human being every day (while unsure about both). It's no wonder that teens are likely to experience a high level of satisfaction from the mask's healing powers--the mask can serve as armor against upheaval. It can be their spirit guides' embodiment in the waking world.

I would submit that unless these alternative "spirit" identities are explored and given space in their right time in a healthy way and through these types of energy charging exercises, chakras can cease functioning and close.

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