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)

Friday, July 15, 2011

David Wolfe: A Reminder to Honor Healing Foods and Sacred Plants

I saw the popular raw food nutritionist, author, and herbalist, David Avocado Wolfe, speak at a private event this Spring. Wolfe is the dynamic speaker from the informative documentary film “Food Matters”, and he calls himself an advocate for raw vegetarian nutrient-rich “superfood” and superherb diets. His belief is that modern practices have removed humanity from its connection to natural and “sacred” foods and plants and he made some comments about the value of restoring shamanic wisdom, which caught my ear.

Wolfe believes that people are naturally omnivorous in that they have the option to get nutrition from all possible types of diets. His personal preference was to eat uncooked vegetarian raw food varieties, “I create choice in foods for people to eat, and I like to give them vegetarian choices. That is personally my choice and it’s a Yogic bias.”

Some of the reasons for Wolfe’s meatless raw food fondness are: his belief that most foods that are heated lose their nutritional value and digestive enzymes; the higher up the food chain we eat, the more likelihood of increased toxicity; and that nutrient-rich plant-based superfoods are naturally healing for the body, efficient to produce, and take less from the earth.

According to Wolfe, “the goal is to eat as many plants as possible, to drink the best water possible, so that we can eat as little as possible…High nutrient dense superfoods mean that we don’t need high volumes of food.”

It is important to Wolfe to learn about the top herbal remedies used by ancient traditions: “Herbs are allies to the human race-- the great Daoist sages knew this and brought their favorite herbs; the great Yogis brought their herbs; the South American shamans brought their herbs; the North American shamans had their herbs.”

Wolfe had learned through his time spent with shamans about the relationship between certain plants and the body parts that they resemble. “If you are with eye problems, then they may suggest taking a plant that is shaped like the eye and has color.”

It was through shamanic processes that modern society had experienced breakthroughs in technology (including the computer age), Wolfe reasoned, and he felt these processes deserved greater credit. “The lesson is that we need to go back to our original shamanic values that these things came out of. We need to get ourselves sorted out, set the right intentions, be in a sacred setting, be supported by people with a shamanic lineage who are trained. We don’t want to mess around with this stuff,” he said.

Wolfe considered shamanic tools to be double-edged swords if not approached with reverence and caution, noting medicines like tobacco which he says can support advances in consciousness while also being among the most maligned substances on the planet.

“Tobacco in its natural form dilates the capillaries, allows someone to go deep, and is 27 percent mineral,” Wolfe reported, “the longest lived peoples in the world are tobacco smokers.”

But he went on to point out that typical chemically-laced cigarette tobacco introduces 4,000 toxic chemicals into the system. “Tobacco has nothing to do with lung cancer. It’s the chemicals breathed through plastic that are responsible.”

Wolfe pointed to the misuse and abuse of tobacco and cacao beans as examples of what happens when sacredness is undermined by improper production and consumption: “The human addicts, the plant doesn’t cause the addiction. Chemical stuff is designed to addict… The organic substance is sprayed with nicotine.”

For more information about David Avocado Wolfe, visit his websites: http://www.davidwolfe.com/ and http://www.thebestdayever.com/ . A second article about the event can be read here.

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