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THE DANGEROUS SIDE OF SHAMANISIM LITE

THE DANGEROUS SIDE OF SHAMANISIM LITEbyMackenzie Blyth

THE DANGEROUS SIDE OF SHAMANISIM LITE


Rob was in a bit of a state when he fixed an appointment to see me. And what was so annoying, was that his suffering was completely avoidable.

It wasn’t his fault though.

He explained that he had read about shamanism, and it interested him. So when he saw an ad for courses in shamanism he signed up and went along.

The instructors were friendly, and well meaning. Their message was that anybody can enjoy the excitement of shamanic flying.

Rob - I’ve changed his name to protect his identity - told me: “Looking back, I should have seen that in fact they were making shamanism a kind of leisure activity.

“There was no talk of responsibility, of healing or helping people. It was all focussed on the individual doing it. It was all a bit of harmless fun.”

Nobody suggested that there could be a dark side to flying. Just latch on to a spirit, and you’ll be all right.

I’ve written before about how a lot of people ignore the dark side, and how in Siberia, where I studied, individuals are often reluctant to accept the calling. They know that shamans will come face to face with malevolent spirits with whom they will have to battle.

There is clearly an enthusiastic market for shamanism lite. But it can be dangerous.

I’ve met enthusiastic, new age individuals who told me that all energy is good energy – or at least, you won’t be victim to black energy if you haven’t done anything wrong.

Well, following his tutors’ instructions, Rob got a drum, a beater and some incense. And he tried it out at home.

At the first attempt, nothing happened. At the second, after a couple of minutes or so, Rob was overcome with dark and doomladen feelings and fears. He couldn’t quite work out what was happening. Nothing was very clear. He could hear nothing, but nevertheless sensed something communicating with him.

He stopped drumming. And the feelings and the spirit disappeared. And he thought that was that. But the next morning, without drumming, without even thinking about the experience, the whole thing repeated itself.

It stayed with him for a few minutes. And left.

It kept coming back. He got more and more worried. He couldn’t stop the repeating episodes.

So he found me, and got in touch.

It wasn’t a difficult problem to rectify. But what was infuriating was that it shouldn’t have happened.

It’s like learning tightrope-walking on a wire strung between two very, very tall buildings.

Of course, people are entitled to treat shamanism as an entertaining leisure activity if they wish.

But best be able to recognise the dangers when you step over to the other side.

Mackenzie Blyth

macadyg@gmail.com

http://macadyg.googlepages.com/


Mackenzie Blyth was offered an apprenticeship by a senior shaman in Tuva, Southern Siberia where he was playing with local musicians in the mid 1990s. He kept returning to study and in 2000 he became an initiated shaman. He is based in London, UK.

About the author:
Mackenzie Blyth was offered an apprenticeship by a senior shaman in Tuva, Southern Siberia where he was playing with local musicians in the mid 1990s. He kept returning to study and in 2000 he became an initiated shaman. He is based in London, UK.

 

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