The photo is of an ancient spiral carved into a 10′ high boulder at one end of the Anima Center property, concealed from casual observation by a thick cloak of wild grape vines. It symbolizes the simultaneous journeying outwards into the world and our destinies, and inwards and homewards to our authentic selves, heart and source. Thousands of years old, it marks a place sacred to the ancient Mogollon who so long cared for it, a people served by the vision and skills of certain called and driven Adepts such as we now call shamans. Shamanism is a powerful perceptual and practical tool, available not only to the adepts of primitive cultures but to us as well, with our mission or re-creating our lives and co-creating our reality.
Forget the stereotypes, a shaman is simply one who senses the unseen, inner, spiritual and energetic, and commits to utilizing any insights and lessons to stimulate changes in the visible realm… in the physical and sometimes ailing body, the culture, the environment, and the course of events. These shamanic understandings and techniques can aid not only the dedicated shaman, but also the everyday woman or man seeking a more wholly sensed, engaged, committed and satisfied life.
Regardless of their recognition or stature in their society, shamans cast large shadows. They are the select, individuals who find life so beautiful that it’s almost excruciating, and pain so significant that they have to act to heal and mend the rips. Their intent, and their intensity, can either make them stand out in crowd or help them remain invisible. No matter what their “day jobs,“ their real work is ecstatic, going again and again to the edge where magic happens, and acting as in intermediary between the different ways and ”worlds,” between the spirits and the people. They are agents in one way or another of awakeness, reintegration, healing and transformation.
What most of these shamans from around the world share in common is a world view on which all practices are based, and upon which all results depend. These include the “knowing” that all things are both interconnected and interrelated. That the unseen and the immeasurable can effect physical and visual reality, and that those unseen energies and patterns can in turn be influenced by the efforts of the practitioner. It is these rudimentary understandings that motivates the shaman’s dedication, their contribution to the harmony and balance of the body, mind, spirit, community and land. They may do this through healings, counsel, public speaking, teaching, performance, or assistance with deaths and teen’s rites of passage.
Regardless of their life’s traumas or shifts they’ve gone through, the shaman’s first charge is always to heal (make whole) the fractured selves, and only then can they credibly heal (make whole) other people and the larger community. This does not mean simply the alleviation of natural ailments, but a healing of the soul that can turn any persistent diseases or difficulties it can’t eliminate into spiritual boons and practical learning experiences.
Needless to say, after the reintegration of one’s lost parts, or after any successful healing, the shaman can still help the person or situation return to a state of balance. Nor is the subject’s own involvement over. We still need to commit to a partnership with power, acting on what we see, manifesting our visions, correct our misalignments and imbalances, employ our expanded awareness for the good, using our fears as fuel for positive movement and change, and living our dreams.
While not everyone is meant to be a full-on shaman, shamanic practice can vitalize and deepen anybody willing to authentically do the work. Even for those with other callings, it can serve as an energetic vehicle, assisting passage through the portal of the feeling heart, taking us into deeper connection with the miraculous, inspiring us to take response-ability as conscious co-creators of multi-dimensional reality and our wonderful shared world.
Earth-Path shamanism is a heart-stirring journey into Anima and the reintegrative experience of planetary consciousness. It is the actual moment to moment utilization of any messages and tools revealed during that exploration… and the maximization of our physical and more-than-physical senses, including instinct, intuition, empathy, energetic discernment, clairvoyance and precognition. It is identifying and then being true to our unique, individual, most meaningful purpose… as well as the giving of the whole self in the most powerful, beautiful and effective ways possible, for the benefit of the greater whole.
The hopeful result of shamanic study and practice is: An understanding of the fundamentals of pan-cultural cosmology and earth-informed practice. Conscious interaction with the spirit realm. Heightened skills to effect the world. Furthered ability to heal and bring to balance both individuals and the society of which we are a part. New means for improving relationships with coworkers, allies, friends and spouses. More intuitive presence in personal business, that can lead to better decision-making and a deeper measure of mission success.
Earth-Path shamanism offers a means for re-creating primal/primary ritual, ceremony, practice, tradition and tribe true to our usually mixed blood ancestry and these contemporary times. Enlisted to reconnect rather than disembark or transcend, such shamanism may be even more important now than in our tribal and prehistoric past. At its most vital best, it can lead to the recognition and affirmation of our latent, pre-existing shamanic abilities, propensities and potentials. And to the development of personal criteria for its honorable application… in these times of personal and global transformation, unequaled struggle and unparalleled reward.
We awaken to the shaman now, under virtually the same stars as the ancestors, penetrating the same darkness with the same insistent light.
To register for the Anima Shaman Path Intensive held in N.M. the July 4th weekend, click on: shamans-path-intensive-reg.doc
For information on the Shaman Path Correspondence course, please go to: www.animacenter.org