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)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shape Shifting Steps

Being present can be a problem. A mind tends to drift to the future or the past instead of right where it is. It creates distractions to draw attention away from what are perceived as aspects of reality that are too harsh to navigate. So it can resort to generating pain as the ultimate distraction, and before too long the mind becomes a drive-by-shooting operation in its relationship to the body--creating harm for it's own protection's sake. For some, distraction can turn to addiction and then everything is engulfed in ocean and mist. When addiction turns to depression then comes the mind alteration with synthetics. I'm not knocking the need for chemical balancing acts, but there is something underlying it all that needs revisiting and correcting. Shapeshifting is the Shaman's way of communicating with the missing spirit that has long been ignored or drowned out by the distractions. I believe it can help with staying present.

Here is a good series of steps by Evan Aleister Rainer that to me would seem to help effect better shapeshifting.

1. Become aware of what has just happened, namely a shift of consciousness into the edges of a chamber or parallel world just adjacent to the one that we habitually all crawl about in.
2. Drop all pretensions of being a conscious, important, capable, multi-skilled, superbly adapted being and realize that you stand on the edge of an action of being and creative power such as you have no concept of and which certainly has no concept of or concern of you.
3.With your new-found humility, which is the only possible survival-kit for the beginning Shaman, try to focus your attention on what is around you, both within and without. That means, what remains of your physically oriented senses and what you are perceiving with your inner senses at the same time.
4. Try to locate yourself in this space and do not, repeat, do not, try to LEAVE THE SPACE, under any circumstances, especially if someone is asking you to politely respond to some incredibly important question such as `Would you like more honey in that tea, dear'? Get the message? Good, because if you don't you will have crash-landed on your take-off. Not a joke.
5.Keep a sense of humour about all this, even though there is nothing to laugh at.
6.If you keep attention directed on to the inner and outer incidents, without responding to them in any normal or usual way, you will have started to grasp the difference between a Shaman and a mortal. And, even better, you will merge back into your normal consciousness with a gentle sliding sort of motion that you will only notice after you have completed it.
7.Remember that the basis of all genuine spirituality is the experience you are having, and endeavor to defend the experience from the primate; your own and others.

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