Shamanism and the Shaman


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Shamanism and the Shaman
The shamanic experience and shamanism
The shamanic journey
A shamanic initiation
Related topics

The shaman is an individual who has, what can be called, a profound mystical experience that completely changes their life. The experience amounts to more to having an accident, the Ultimate Accident, where they are thrust into an alternative reality. The original or true shamanic experience, is a mystical experience where the individual has an experience of the Source of Creation independent of any particular spiritual or religious tradition including the traditions, social or otherwise, native to the individual’s immediate world. Often this immediate world is the shamans family, tribe or extended local family. The original and or true shamanic experience was, and still is, probably the mystical experience that is the purest and most free of any beliefs of mind.

The shamanic experience and shamanism (Top)

It  is said the original or true shamanic experience because traditionally, a person became a shaman only after they had some type of unexpected mystical experience. One did not study or apprentice to become a shaman. The original shamanic experience often occurred during an illness, accident or some other mind shifting occurrence. The one who had the experience did nothing to obtain the experience. That is, they were not practicing any rituals, reciting any chants or prayers, not doing nay drumming or anything to induce the experience. It was after the experience the person became a shaman. Prior to the experience, the individual did something else and most probably had no desire, aspiration or even consideration of being a shaman. It was something that happened to them. In essence, the experience they had can be called the Ultimate Accident.

There is a perception by many that shamanism is a practice that can be learned much like any spiritual or religious tradition. Although there are techniques and practices that are used by shamans and can be learned by another, that does not make the practician of such practices a shaman. To believe so is to greatly misunderstand the whole idea of the shaman and the true shamanic experience. It is not something mind can or does choose. It happens. It can be said one is called by the Universe it its own time and one’s life is profoundly and irrevocably changed by the experience. To think otherwise is not to understand what the true shamanic experience really is.

Usually what happened in the tribe was that the individual underwent some life transforming event. They then sought out the tribe’s shaman, a medicine man or woman, a tribal elder or the like to understand what they experienced. It was then an existing shaman or similar person would take the individual into a apprentice relationship. Yet the relationship was not to apprentice the individual but help them to understand, access and use the power the stumbled into. If the older shaman saw or use the relationship as an apprenticeship, he or she was doing a disservice to the individual.

The primary marking point for the original or true shamanic experience is this profound experience allows the shaman to literally and figuratively “see in the dark” in the sense they can see into the unseen Creation, the world that is dark to the human experience.

It is figuratively “dark” because the unseen world is “dark” to the human mind. That is, mind cannot see and/or understand what is in the dark. There is no light available to the human mind to readily see into this world. “No light available” means there is nothing to provide the contrast to discern one object or entity from another. This is what en-lighten-ment is all about. It is to “light up” and see into the unseen world. Spiritual and religious traditions are all about providing some type or kind of light to seen in the dark. That is, they provided a way based on their tradition to provide contrast to the unseen realms. How accurate they are is another question especially when it come to creative endeavors.

It is literally in that after the experience the shaman retains an ability to consciously venture into this unseen world. In this world they do things that can influence or change what occurs in the seen world. Or, they have “gifts,” such as the siddhis and/or psychic abilities, which allow them to access information about the past, present and/or future to influence a individual or a situation. Exactly what “gifts” become available to the shaman are unique to the shaman and the world in which he has the experience. That is, if they live in a native tribe, the expression of their gifts will be more of that related to medicine man/woman or tribal healer. If they live in a modern urban area their will be more in line with the understanding of that time and place, maybe as a medical doctor, psychologist or the like - maybe even a creativity consultant.

Many individuals have profound experience that amount to the Ultimate Accident. In actually the door for such an experience is opening and closing all the time. However, few are profoundly changed by such an experience that they completely change their life because of the experience. It is as thought a doorway within one’s own mind must also be open when the experience happens to walk through the doorway that is provided. The trick is to have both doors open when one has the Ultimate Accident.

Traditionally the term shaman refers to “seer in the dark.” However, that concept changed over time. The typical current dictionary definition of a shaman is that a shaman is a priest or priestess of shamanism and the shaman is often seen as a magician for people do know or understand from where the shaman’s powers come. Among native tribes, the shaman was the tribal medicine man/woman or a wizard of sorts. Shamanism is originally seen as a primitive, or the primitive, religion of North East Asia and Europe from where the term shaman as “seer in the dark” originated. Many of these tribal religions held that gods, demons, ancestral spirits, and the look work for the good or ill of mankind. The shaman was seen as the sole medium through which these unseen forces/entities could be accessed. In time shamanism referred to any similar religion such as certain Indian tribes of the North and South America and/or the tribes of Africa. .

The concept of shamanism is import to creativity for any creative endeavor takes us into this unseen world. That is what the unknown is. It is only the unseen realms of Creation out of which our physical world and experience manifest. Any creative endeavor takes us into this world whether we realize it or not. In reality, we all are shamans. Or, maybe better said, we all have a shamanistic aspect and we use subconsciously use it whenever we enter a creative endeavor. We each enter the unknown and unseen realms to access what we need to create what we desire. A shaman discovers this world and an ability to enter it accidentally. A mystic develops the ability to enter this world abased on the teaching and perceptions of a particular religious and/or spiritual tradition. A conscious creator develops the ability to enter this world through their creative what they desire and by holding their creativity sacred.

Since the shaman, mystic and conscious creator each have, or had, a different reason and/or intention for entering the unseen realms, often what one of them finds looks totally different and completely separate from what any one of the others would find. Yet, they are not. What is different is only their perspective and there are multiple perspective from which to view the creative/creation process. If we are able to become a detached witness and stand apart from whatever we experience and what we think and believe and look at (1) the entire creative/creation process and (2) across Creation we will come to see two primary things.

One thing we will see is there is a oneness to all of Creation. Everything is ultimately connected to everything else. In this regard we have either created, or agreed to participate in, everything we experience. The second is we will see how mind limits our field of view for the purpose of having the experience of Creation. We will see the shaman, mystic, conscious creator, as does each individual, are all accessing the exactly the same things. We are only viewing them and applying them differently. These two observations open the door to the untold creative power/Creative Power and abilities. However, to claim our birthright and access them and live with them in our life and accept the changes and consequences that go with them is another story. How we do that is our life story and the story we tell.

The shamanic journey (Top)

The shamanic journey is a journey of discovery and exploration into our unique experience of the unseen world. It is a journey where we need to rely on our intuitive guidance and internal compass to guide us in the darkness of the unseen world, the subconscious world and the unknown. This journey can be terrifying to our mind and is best done in a state of creative play. In taking the journey we will have to face all the reason why we lost the ability to be a state of spontaneous and innocent childlike play of discovery and exploration of ourselves and our world. It means we will have to face the pain of the past and why we lost that ability. Yet the journey offers an inner bliss and joy that never runs dry no matter what is happening in our external world.

 A shamanic initiation (Top)

The shamanic initiation is really about creating the circumstances for an individual to have the Ultimate Accident. Shamanism by its very nature is unique to the individual. The Ultimate Accident by its very nature is an accident - it is not something you can really plan for happening. It just happens. But as we can create an accident in a automobile, we can create the circumstances that allow for the Ultimate Accident.

The shamanic initiation is really about the rebirth of our consciousness. It is to become the phoenix and to voluntarily destroy ourselves to reborn from the ashes. Since the shamanic experience it unique, there is no set experience a shaman has, but there are common or “traditional” elements that seem to cut across cultures. Experiencing the types and kinds of experiences some shamans and mystics have allowed the individual’s mind to accept the mystical world as his/her world. That in turn opens the door for the Ultimate Accident. However, it is not the shamanic or mystical experiences we have that opens the door. What opens the door is to return to the most mystical state of being and most creative state of being - that state of the spontaneous and innocent childlike play of discovery and exploration of ourselves and our world. It is to take the shamanic journey.

Related topics (Top)
The creative spirit and the spirit of spirituality/religion
Creativity and spirituality
Creativity and mysticism
Mysticism and the mystic

Synthesize our understanding

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