Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Shaman & Shamanism

(The following is taken from a post on our private site....) 


"I think the best gift a Shaman, Sorcerer or God could ever give to us is the space and time to work things out on our own. We can make it and find the divine in us to make it.... A Shaman has a role but his or her role is not to live life for you - where you have chosen to give up. If anything a Shaman should inspire, breath strength in you when you are down but make sure you get back on your feet.... "

I was deeply touched by this and wrote back...
"Your words helped me to understand why I am where I am. You have
breathed life into me so many times when I was down... yet you would
not let me become dependent on you and that has made me stronger and more in touch with my own essence, the divine in me. It is easy to get entranced with the Shaman and want that energy to carry us, but it
will not help us in the end. One of the judgments I've heard about the
Shaman from those who don't know... is that they think we are "guru
worshipers" and don't have minds of our own... they are so wrong. Even
when I tried to give my power away to Lisa, she wouldn't let me...lol.
Thank God!

Thank you Shaman for helping me to find myself. Thank you community
for showing me who I am - light and shadow - and sticking with me through thick and thin. It has been such a healing for me. We are blessed here in GP to have each other, but we work hard at it too. We are blessed to have technology to stay connected and gatherings in Quebec to meet
in person."


It is true that even some of my close friends or family think that I am being overly influenced by our Teacher, Okwaho. I know that in the past, I would put her on a pedestal, being so infatuated with her energy, her power and beauty. Who would not be? 

I used to be an AMMA devotee. Amma is a holy woman from India who embodies the Divine Mother. In India, they have a better understanding and respect for the Holy Ones amongst them than we have here on this continent. Amma is always surrounded by an entourage of Devotees who take care of her physical body and needs, while she goes into in trance and tends to the multitudes of followers. The followers have no fear of being "seduced", "brainwashed", or "overly influenced" by their Guru... they have absolute trust, something we Westerners could learn from.  Amma did not need me, I needed her. She helped me to find my way back to my path, knowing that my journey with her was temporary.

The Shaman does not want "followers", it is hard work to take care of so many!!! Yet the Holy ones all over the world... in India, Africa, Australia, North and South America... continue to serve in spite of the hard work and the persecution which seems to be directed at them so often. In the past, they were put to death...  today they are ignored, ridiculed or judged by those who do not understand, those who don't take the time to ask questions, to open their minds or even to observe those that they judge to see if they are for real .... It always amazes me how humans can pass judgments on things they know nothing about!

So what is the purpose of the Shaman in a community, or on this Earth?

As Keeper of the Shaman, I do have an infatuation with this energy... it calls to me like a bee to honey. The Shaman is an energy or Wind that blows through its carrier, and brings wisdom, divinity and love to all who are in its reach. I have had the Shaman energy blow through me briefly...  and I felt such incredible unconditional love for everyone, and I just seemed to know things. Others felt it too. One woman followed me around after as if infatuated, unable to leave, mistaking me for something that moved through me... The energy did what it needed to do and left. 

But there are some who carry this energy more often and for longer periods of time... these individuals sacrifice everything to the Shaman, in service to Creator and Creation. They give up their personal in order to become a Collective creature. It takes many arduous initiations to get to the point where you can carry this energy for any length of time.

The Shaman can inhabit a stone, a tree, a crystal, a person, an animal.... It comes and goes... it chooses where it goes and when..... we do not control it.

There are so many misconceptions about the Shaman and Shamanism -  judgments made out of fear of the unknown, ignorance, superstition, rumors... etc. Many people are afraid to tell their friends and family that they are on a Shamanic path and follow the teachings of a Shaman, because of the judgments. I find this really sad. Why are East Indian Gurus, Enlightened Masters and Holy ones accepted, yet Shamans are not? People will cross the ocean to get a glimpse of the Pope and bow down in worship, kissing his ring.

Is it a matter of shame, seeing what was done to the Aboriginals, Shamans and all...? Is it too soon and too close to home for those who live on this continent? I find it strange that  that people go to other countries, South America, for example, to find Shamans and Traditional Shamanic teachings... when it is available right in our own back yard. 

It is true that Okwaho, my Teacher, has supported, encouraged and empowered me to find my own way when I just wanted her to give me the answers or tell me what to do.... That would be so much easier, simpler and quicker. But she trusted in me enough to let me go at a time when I was completely lost in ego and thinking I knew what I was doing. She let me make my own choices and follow where that led me.... She always told me to "Tell my own story" when I wanted to just talk about her and her teachings. 

 It took me many years to understand what she meant, because I didn't value my own experiences, my own life, MY dreams and stories... I didn't see the power in ME.. but she did and she continued to nourish it in me with infinite patience when I was being a real  pain in the butt!!! She cared enough to give me the tough love, to show me where I was out of sacredness and not in my Truth and Power. The ego is a tough nut to crack, especially in today's world which is so totally ego-centered. But even ego is accepted as part of the whole on this path, and we explore it to bring it into balance, unlike some practices that throw out the ego altogether. You gotta love a path that says that all of who we are has a place and purpose! We get to dive headlong into life  and explore our imbalances, illusions and indoctrinations, to live the experience of life to the fullest and find our way home through what we live. We honor our journeys and stories because that is all we have, what the Creator gave us.

We need the Shaman today to remind us of sacredness, to show us the way,  to point out the beauty and divinity to us. Because much of this has been lost or destroyed or broken in us. 

We can only see what is in the mirror. I found that with Amma, when I was in judgment, doubt, ego or my mental, I could not see or believe who she was. When I let go of all of that... then I could be fully in the experience and open to what she wasshowing me.

The same goes for the Shaman... we only see what we are open to seeing and believing. It takes humility to have a Teacher, and as they say, the Teacher appears when the Student is ready. And the student is ready when he or she is humbled enough by life, has enough strength to get past the arrogance or insecurity of the ego, or disbelief in the Mysteries of Life... and is willing and able to face the Creator with a rawness of soul and an openness to Truth. Amma showed me my Light, the Shaman showed me both my Light and my Shadow.... and loved and accepted all of me when even I could not!

One thing that makes us so lucky.... and this path so unique...  is that it exists in spite of 500 years of attempts to extinguish it. We are survivors! We are strong! Those of us who have found our way back to these teachings and to the Shaman.... have come through hell and high water to get here, because deep down inside we are seeking TRUTH and COMMUNITY and to understand ourselves and our world in a way that only the Medicine Wheel can show us. 

Many are Dreamers, Healers, Warriors, etc..  who need to explore their what they are living when no one else seems to understand.  

We are lucky to have the Medicine Wheel as a tool for survival in these difficult times and a Shaman to help us to find that which we have forgotten or had taken away from us... our medicine or power!


(As you can see, this is a topic that I am passionate about and will return to again and again I'm sure, there so much to share, teach and learn.)



Michelle said...

MR so many questions pop up lately for me regarding Shamanism and Shaman...i wondered how that energy can be so overwhelming and beautiful at the same time and like you wrote blow strength into you and make you want to do and be better. I feel knowing the Shaman and being taught about the wheel that I am gaining strength every day. I know I am learning somthing if I open myself to the teaching in every day situations. I am greatful that I have this life that I have been given the opportunity to live it to a fullness that I never knew existed.
Great Post.

Wheelkeeper said...

Thanks for writing Michelle.

I find that Shamanism is overwhelming when we resist its power, truth and beauty. We resist because of our ego - fears and insecurities, needs,etc... as well as the fact that our misconceptions, indoctrinated beliefs and western programs are challenged daily on this path. That is a good thing, but we seem to be attached to these even though we know they are not who we really are....

We are blessed to have been brought to this path. We call it "Coming home" and it truly it that!

Rose said...

I can see this and thank you for making me consider it. I would find it only too easy to have my answers supplied for me, but instead she is teaching me to find my own answers.


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