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If you are just joining me in these posts you can catch up on the chapter-by-chapter book review of Awakening to the spirit world through these posts:

Okay. I know. It’s been awhile but if you have followed along with me at The Journey, you know I’ve been a busy little bee, with some events and other things happening.

As promised I’m back to complete my thoughts (review) on Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation.

You may be expecting three more blog excerpts but I’m going to blend these last three chapters together into one. You see, much like the chapters on Death (previous entries) there is a similar  message in these last three chapters. It makes sense then to bring them together and close with some last thoughts here.

Community. Transformation. The Return of the Shaman

We return to the last three chapters of Awakening to Shamanism, like many inward journeys, the seeker lead back out through chapters on Community, Transforming Communities, and a final Chapter called The Return of the Shaman.

An Altay shaman beating a gong. Music was one ...

Image via Wikipedia

Clearly there is a connection between our self, our work, and the communities we live in. Naturally there is an exchange… As I believe, when we as people shift our consciousness there is a 100th Monkey Effect (I recognize that this is a considered “discredited” idea scientifically, but in Magickal work, I don’t. So I will use it). Enough magick and energy are infused in an area, it’s going to be changed. Magick is affecting consciousness, energy / vibration, matter composed of energy, etc, etc, etc.

“Shamanism”, or more closely put for me “Magick” is most effective when it is integrated into our core perceptions. Meaning, if it’s not considered in your day-to-day moments, I don’t know that you will find it always works. By “works” I mean that you actually experience it as a living thing, more than just imagined things from candles and such.

Community doesn’t always mean forming a circle and banging drums, chanting, preaching, or selling your wares. Community, I think, should probably mean that your (in this instance) “Shamanic Practice” could be best used in your own personal life, in the relationships that you have most immediately around you. Family, friends, etc. I’m not saying that one can’t form a drum circle or dreaming group, but as I remember I often saw a confusion between the two. A “Do as I say, not as I do” person or group who rattled and banged their spiritual tools, then went home and it was over.

Magick isn’t Church, it happens with every breath, it applies to the most mundane. Natural. Living. Now. In this circle.

In Chapter 13 we discuss a little bit more than that, looking for the Shaman in modern society. Who is he or she? The Minister? The Physician? Politicians? How about Visionaries like Joseph Campbell?  I think that the important question is, who are our modern functionaries through the process of living and are they qualified to help us through our passages? Moreover, what are they helping to facilitate? Is it a functional change or simply the advancement of a metaphor-to-be-taken-literally?

Okay. Maybe that’s my question. I’ve never fully been a part of the mainstream choices: Church. Sports. Pop. Patriotism. I’ve found I fit into the more sub-culture and fringe… which happened to become more mainstream. It seems like the integration of these so-called “New Age” things becomes almost overwhelming (but pleasant) when you can speak and not feel like you’ll be stoned.

Joseph Campbell

Image via Wikipedia

Anyway, my point, and I think that of the authors, is the question of who are our visionaries and how do we interact with our community; and in our interaction the learning of who and what are community spirit actually is.

Recognizing and honoring our interconnected nature comes from participating in life, and with those we surround ourselves with both physically and spiritually. This is the place of healing, and transformation in our self and our community when we bring it into our conscious, recognized life. We are not alone in our search for belonging or our quest for a place, in taking our journey into the realm of the day-to-day, we cut a door for connection to happen to some of our core hopes, fears, passions, and beliefs, creating connections with those forces that allow and understand our desire.

Sandra Ingerman writes:

“When I first started performing healing work with individuals in Santa Fe, I always knew if I was going to be working with an Anglo or a Native American by how many cars  I heard turning into my driveway. Whenever Native American’s came to  see me they brought their children, spouses, loved ones, and even their dogs. It was always a bit challenging forme to have a dog licking my face or a child jumping on my stomach while I was journeying for my client. But there was something special and sacred about this experience.

(then)

“…I have found over my years of practice that by having a client bring one or more support people to the session, the effect of the healing is long-lasting, for the client then has someone who was present during the healing ritual who they can continue to talk to about the experience.

(later)

In today’s world, a powerful and pervasive cause of illness  can be found in intense and prolonged feelings of isolation. Many people don’t know who they are, where they belong, or what unique gifts and strengths they have to share in their community. These feelings of alienation are unique to Western people. [I call this generalization but that’s me ~Scott] They simply do not exist in tribal societies in which every individual belongs in perpetuity to the tribal whole. “

Sandra and Hank then guide us through some scenario’s like “Healing Challenges Within Families“, including an exercise for seeking identity in healing, and our perceptions of those who are sick. They talk about the environment and sharing an ecological responsibility and move into our role as (becoming) a visionary within your community. Sandra and Hank write about forming a circle and the collective dream of a tribe and a people, that takes us into the next chapters, The Transformational Community and the Return of the Shaman.

I don’t want to gloss over these things but it’s hard not to write a novela here because we begin to discuss topics like Indigenous Prophecy and the Cycle of Ages.

I think that if you were to dedicate yourself to the suggestions and ideas in this book as a map for understanding our self, and discovering what our natural place / calling is in the world, you would be happy. The first chapters open us to the calling, the inner chapters give us the framework to create the experience of the Modern Shaman, and the last chapters bring us to our potential roles in the community and the World, which feels to be on the edge of something vastly transformative.

Joseph Campbell in the Masks of Eternity concludes with the necessity of the changing myths, of what they will become, of how they will transform our society in ways that we cannot imagine. Sandra and Hank talk about the return of primordial spirituality. Indigenous Prophecy. The Sioux and the Hindu cultures speak of the cycles of ages and the four-legged bull (buffalo) which is now standing on it’s last leg. The Maya spoke of 2012, taken up by recent “New Age” folks, Earth Birthers, and others. The climate has changed…

I don’t necessarily believe in prophecy as in I think it will occur, because I (personally) think that we collectively help to create them through our insistence in the outcome. Maybe the thought that births the result of the prophecy to fulfillment is necessary to create the change. I’d just hope that people would like something aside from a disaster to be transformed… yet that seems to be the nature of all prophecy. Death and rebirth. It doesn’t have to mean, mythologically speaking, that is / should be a literal event.

Whatever our coming times are to be, global warming, or White Buffalo Woman come again singing, I feel that we are in an age of change and it is important to have an understanding of our place within the natural world. Who are we and how are we connected becomes, how am I a part of this moment I am in and what can I do to help heal, balance, speed up, change.

I think it should be interesting. I’ve always thought that maybe it was a shift in consciousness. That maybe one person doing, becomes some people doing until the shift of energy is as natural as a hundredth monkey learning to wash a yam in the river because the many have embraced the idea into the social consciousness. The passage of ideas, the deepening of the spiritual awareness, which is our natural, normal, and healthy awareness of the world and all things in it, through a period of transition, transformation, and rebirth. If it were a song it would start with a sound of pain or bliss: This is wrong, I must change. That is beautiful, I must be there. Following our bliss is centering in who we are and from that place then discovering how what we are does something good, it is more than nature, it is innately human, it is our moment of becoming.

What if we find that we are all in a collective moment of becoming? What if it is our collective bliss or calling. What if prophecy is but poetry, dancing around the truth of our evolution… or death and rebirth?

I acknowledge that this is my part of the experience, my lens of practice, my metaphysical interaction with life and the world. Maybe it’s my message to me, connected to you, to life, an AUM moment of realization. Being alive. Shamanism like many things (I think) can be applicable because it also can be practical, and practical spiritual connections to the world are important. Metaphor’s and prophecy should connect us to the meaning of the now, expand our awareness, deepen our connections to life. Though some parts of Magickal practice do take us into other states of consciousness it is important to recognize (IMO) this truth that it should apply to our living, our love, our passages, and I think that in essence that is what Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation is teaching.

I thank Sandra Ingerman, Hank Wesselman, Carol Proudfoot-Edgar, Tom Cowan, Jose Stevens, Alberto Villodo, Fools Crow, Black Elk, Merlin, and all the other seekers, Shamans, Witches, and Spiritual doer’s past, present, and future for taking the time to live the life of their calling. We all are human, imperfectly-perfect natural beings seeing into the great unknown and traveling paths to seek and bring back that which can help us all collectively.

Find your path to direct revelation. Reach into your inner being. Spend time in your bliss, your calling, your authentic, magickal self and bring back the gifts that you have. They are needed more than you know.

In love.

– – –
Be well,

Scott K Smith
http://lifencompass.com

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