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Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
Yes 20%  20%  [ 32 ]
No 80%  80%  [ 128 ]
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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:28 pm 
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North wrote:
I can only speak from that perspective.


nuff said. peace. as an irishman, cursing is an art form. i don't say that in jest. words have the power that you give them. i give those words no power.

North wrote:
And as a woman, I happen to find the Pu**y word offensive.


hmm...see, i just don't believe in language being the source of offense. sorry. i know that the root of the term is misogynistic, but it has lost that meaning, at least where i am from. you should practice not being offended, especially where none was intended. political correctness kills conversation. you have invited in those negative spirits, i have not sent them.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:54 pm 
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In the past we have seen, all over the world, cases of "my culture and beliefs are better than yours" and "the way I was brought up to believe things is the only way". The problem with this is that it inevitably leads to arguments and tribal wars. What we are told by others (propaganda, belief, tribal/cultural obligations, dogma and opinion) is not the same as what we experience and each one of us has both the right and the obligation to find out for ourselves what is our own truth.

The Haundenosaunee realised this back in the 1600s and got their tribes together to work with the similarities not the differences. Yet today, even with this example, we still see the Ojibwe at odds with their neighbours over points of belief and cultural protocol.

I'm not really familiar with the women's movement in the Ojibwe (ogichidaa kwe) but as far as working with the Spirits, every person on the planet has the heritage and right to discover and live a shamanistic life if that is what they know is the truth in their heart. The Ojibwe way is not necessarily the only way.

Perhaps what we need to see is the responsibility demonstrated by teachers and elders whether they are 1st nation or not? Personally, although I have learned a great deal from indigenous elders and shamans, it is both an intellectually insubstantial racist insult and an back-handed form of bigotry to believe that only the native medicine person (honourable savage) has any valid form of wisdom.

We all have something to learn from one another IMHO.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:48 am 
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And I already thought there can be no more debate around this subject... But here it continues. Obviously people have so diffrent opinios even about, what the word "shaman" holds on itself, that the meaning of it do not find consensus.

It is true, that american indiginious spirituality has already been sold and abused. It is also true, that rootless westerners do need that information.
Yes, where we have our own traditions, we should learn to respect it. After all, nature based spirituality is usually born from local spirits of certain region. Even spiritis can hear pleas made in different location, it does not feel the same. Rituals taken out from their "place" do not feel correct or proper ones. Those do NOT suit best the community around, if you compare asking direct orders from local spirits for ritual. If your heart resides well with our own land, you'll feel the difference. Try it. There is similarities and sometimes the loaned may suit well depending on situation and people who are present. Only rule I have learned is that there are no stone drawn rules on spiritual realms.

Because people still think, that shaman's main role is to serve community around, it would be of atmost importance to transmit legends, myths to next generatios. So, they know who they are, where they come from, who are their ancestors, what is the history of the community in general. All the questions to build up strong identity.

Some may say, that if a healer doesn't iclude this on their repertoire, person is not really a shaman. Other conditions may be included. Myth tellers nowadays can only be found on ingenious cultures. So, there is valid point in saying only "real" shamans are among tribes.

However westerner call themselfs shamans only because, thay have gone few workshops without any cultural educations. So what, could not care less. People do have responsibilty over themselves. If they want to believe any charming person, have his swetlodge and die because of it, it is their choice after all. Maybe the survived learn to reason a bit better, trust tehir own feelings and instincts. A person do not need protocols, fancy shows, traditions to really know himself or use his intuition. Observing is enough for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:29 am 
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Jusma wrote:
So, there is valid point in saying only "real" shamans are among tribes.

However westerner call themselfs shamans only because, thay have gone few workshops without any cultural educations.


i have always gone under the assumption that "shaman" is an honorific. if a group of people wants to call me shaman, that would be wonderful, but until then, i believe using the term "shamanic practitioner" is a nice medium, though i don't even do that. when people ask, i only say i am interested in "shamanism" and have had a "shamanic calling".

as a "rootless westerner," a term i find very appropriate, if a bit depressing, i want to create new roots, not borrow one from culture i have no relation with. but saying i should explore my irish heritage is equally daft, as there are at least five generations of separation between me and that land, and location, to me, is more important than lineage. i am also an urbanite. (those that say that shamanism cannot be performed in cities have too limited a definition.)

so what i am left with is a calling, no traditions, a fractured lineage, a hodge-podge western mythology, but a strong connection to the spirit world. some say i should give up the term "shaman," but i see materialism eating away at my culture, i watch the planet die, i see atheism and religious fundamentalism. they turn myths into movies with no values for a profit. they medicate their demons instead of learning about them and defeating them with bravery. there is no tribe, there is only the individual and some bullshit idea of a nation.

shamanism worked for many indigenous cultures for thousands of years. it was a creative, democratic religious practice...and it was enormously successful. i want it back in my life. i don't borrow first nations or native american practices, but that doesn't mean i can't learn from them.

at some point, after all is gone, people have to start anew. sure, i feel that a new shamanism (and i am not referring to "new shamanism" specifically) would have many centuries of growing pains, but what else are we to do? give up??


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:31 pm 
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Exploring our own heritage, however fragmented, is a personal thing. If you don't feel compelled to do this or required by the spirits who work with you then that's nobody elses business. Personally it has been enlightening, supportive and informative. Spirit have shown me glimpses of things which, although they can't be proven, make sense.

A thought which occurs is that if we are going to use the issue of danger and loss of life as a litmus test for true shamanic responsibility then we also need to look at some cultural practices which, even though presided over by wise, well trained elders, are dangerous and sometimes result in Death. Malidoma Some talks about his initiation in one of his books. Some of the young men died but all the families understood the risk as did the young men. People have died on Vision quests, through fasting, from sweat lodge and various other 'spiritual' pursuits.

Here is an article about a young man who died on a vision quest

http://www.caica.org/NEWS%20DEATH%20Paul%20Choy%201.htm

From this organisation:

http://www.ritesofpassagevisionquest.org/

Quote:
Rite of Passage, a for-profit company, pays the tribe $7,000 a month, said tribal chairman Anita Collins. Because the land belongs to the Paiutes, the state has no licensing authority, although is does investigate reports of neglect or abuse. Collins said a full-time inspector keeps an eye on the camp. In the past, she said, the tribal council has demanded that employees with criminal background be fired.


The indigenous people here condone this, profit from it and oversee its activities yet still deaths happen.

The argument of this thread ultimately ends up as a damned if you do, damned if you don't. How does anyone know if the indigenous shaman they are learning from is the real thing? How does anyone know if the western practitioner is the real thing? We all have to make our own decisions - one good reason we were ALL given free will!


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:46 am 
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Sonoffox described much of my own feelings too.

By reaching too far it is ease to forget yourself, which many spiritual practises does to people. Rather observing around, what is true keeps feet on ground. By blindly following any shaman of any skincolor may result badly, as Forest Chlid put it.

If thought about topic, I would just say that learning is essential, no matter whom or how, which is personal. Overall I wish people nomore try in vain search for knowledge, when they lack wisdom and understanding. That is the way to abuse traditions.

There is infinite amount on knowledge, information in the world. Does it really do people happy to run after that endlessly? Does it make them wise?

Drum beats the sound of heart, not mind, which many seem to ingnore. Our culture is mind oriented, based on reason and logic, when in spiritual realms much cannot be reasoned. Lessons that life presents are usually about humility, ability to laugh yourself, patiance... and so on. I think the qualities, which really matters.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:19 pm 
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I'll be frank and to the point

Anyone who says yes is not a shaman.

A lot of shamans learn back to front. They have soul loss and spirit sickness and are made to feel like they have to learn traditions to appear as a shaman to others.

The learning process is reversed.

Others learn all the right steps and have no spiritual power of their own.

Which is more valuable?

Enough said.

For Korean shamans, if they are charismatic as they say from the outset it can be difficult for them to learn all the steps as they will have trouble going along with the spirit of their teacher and will listen to their own guides instead. It can be hard for someone learning back to front to even outwardly appear 'shaman-like' or whatever the such.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:33 pm 
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Troll_ov_Grimness wrote:
A lot of shamans learn back to front. They have soul loss and spirit sickness and are made to feel like they have to learn traditions to appear as a shaman to others.

The learning process is reversed.

Others learn all the right steps and have no spiritual power of their own.

Which is more valuable?

Enough said.



i love you ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:15 pm 
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Regarding the risks that any spiritual facilitator takes when performing ceremony, I was looking into if being a "plastic shaman" would increase the risks that the facilitator and/or the participants face; especially if it's "pay to pray" (One opinion out there is that any pay to pray scheme can add to the risk)

I found this article Death and the Plastic Shamans published in rabble right when the James Ray Sweatlodge court case hit the fan. Here's the link: http://rabble.ca/news/2011/07/death-and-plastic-shamans

In the article, a Robert Horton states, "A plastic shaman is defined by Horton as someone who performs First Nations spiritual "services for profit, as well as personal opportunism and ego taking advantage of others due to inadequacy, a lack of moral compass, or the vain wish to be reborn within an objectifying obsession and fascination...This is to appropriate, to exploit, to steal, to acquire, to minimize, and to capture a sacred culture."

Regarding paying for ceremony, the author writes, "Ray's spirituality seems to revolve around wealth attainment. Consider the titles of his books: The Science of Success, Practical Spirituality: How to Use Spiritual Power to Create Tangible Results, Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want and The Seven Laws of True Wealth: Create the Life You Desire and Deserve.

I honestly don't know how spirituality and wealth can be mashed together, as new-agers often mash up different cultures, religions and concepts of spirituality into a mush palpable to the eager but often timid white tongue. But I don't believe it's very spiritual to take advantage of -- to the tune of $10,000 each -- people who are perhaps so spiritually bankrupted from capitalism themselves that they think they can throw more money at the problem.

Money to buy a Vision Quest Experience. Money to buy entrance into a Sweat Lodge Ceremony. Maybe get a "proper Indian name" or dodem which will have to include references to Thunder Horses or High Flying Eagles or other cool, white-people-like animals."


The author does make a good point regarding how wealth seeking might clash with someone else's (or a culture's) spiritual ideals.


Forest Child wrote:

Here is an article about a young man who died on a vision quest

http://www.caica.org/NEWS%20DEATH%20Paul%20Choy%201.htm

From this organisation:

http://www.ritesofpassagevisionquest.org/

Quote:
Rite of Passage, a for-profit company, pays the tribe $7,000 a month, said tribal chairman Anita Collins. Because the land belongs to the Paiutes, the state has no licensing authority, although is does investigate reports of neglect or abuse. Collins said a full-time inspector keeps an eye on the camp. In the past, she said, the tribal council has demanded that employees with criminal background be fired.


The indigenous people here condone this, profit from it and oversee its activities yet still deaths happen.

The argument of this thread ultimately ends up as a damned if you do, damned if you don't. How does anyone know if the indigenous shaman they are learning from is the real thing? How does anyone know if the western practitioner is the real thing? We all have to make our own decisions - one good reason we were ALL given free will!


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:01 am 
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Well, doesn't it always seem to come down to ignorance and gullibility? I agree, there is something missing in many western ways of teaching shamanic practice but what else do we do? What do you suggest?

There are just as many 'authentic' 1st nation Elders/Teachers who can make a mistake and endanger life as there are plastic shamans. In fact I have been having a similar conversation with close friends about the problem with many western holistic practitioners simply tagging on 'Shamanic drumming' or 'Shamanic healing' onto their list of alternative therapies as though it is a tool in the box along with massage and EFT when, for me, it is a whole way of life and a belief.

So what do you suggest North? Should we all be taken under the wing of an Ojibwe Mide or Waabano or a Mohawk Sachem perhaps? Somehow I doubt they would do that. How can we travel that far from our homes regularly? How can we learn in a few years what takes a lifetime for people already born into that culture to understand and would we not automatically be indoctrinated with the specific cultural beliefs of that nation? Who can teach the foundational truths which allow people from other cultures to truly find their own way?

The way things are is not ideal but what alternative is there? I was incredibly fortunate that my mentor found me when she did. Without her staggering breadth of knowledge and experience I would be exactly like one of the plastic shamans you and I are so concerned about. Do I know enough to start teaching others yet? Do you?

Honestly, the last question is offered in open truth, not as a derrogatory remark. I truly don't know who or when and there is a confusion in New Age circles too. So much emphasis is placed on encouraging people to take up the reigns, 'stand in your power' (ugh, a horrid and overused cliche) and generally 'walk your talk' which has the unfortunate effect of propelling many really untutored and inexperienced people towards offering things which they have no clear idea about.

Mind you, I spoke with Annie Spencer, a veteran Shamanic Practitioner here in the UK, a couple of weeks ago and we spoke about the same thing. She said, "what were we to do 30 years ago, there was nobody to teach us properly and so many wanted to learn more"? She added "I am so shy that standing in front of people is hard but we just had to help others who were struggling to find this path". That often sums it up. There is nothing else so we have to do something, however, there seems to be quite a few who really do have very little actual wisdom (that foundational understanding) and only a little bit of half truth, factual knowledge and so their teachings lack understanding or depth. Perhaps they are driven by ego? Who knows.

What do you think is the best way forward?


Last edited by Forest Child on Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:19 pm 
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There are many-many another shamanic traditions in the world.
It`s impossible to become a shaman, if only you want it. Shaman - is one, who chose by spirits. But no one said, that the spirits must be indigenous, not nanai (or another one), for example.
....shamans practices are available for anyone, but it is doesn`t mean, that anyone can be a shaman.....and spirits are the teachers for shaman....


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 Post subject: Re:
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:10 pm 
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aurorazen wrote:
There is only one way to reply to this, silly ones...

What is indegenous???

Do you mean culturally?

Is it definesd with an age, neolithic, paleolithic, "whatever..ithic"

Is it geographical...Mexico, Peru, Arizona...
Colombia...Venezuela...

or is it something of NO AGE...that we hear...
something with no location "like the Moon"
or the "Wind"

Well then, does the Wind and the moon belong to a particular time, place, or age...

Alas there is your answer...my friends...could you now help me with mine...


:D i was going to ask the same thing. how do we define this word? we forget about the indigenous people of ireland, scandinavia, china, egypt..
i think this whole concept creates seperation and a who is better mentality, when there is no better, just different. all indigenous people on every continent have been targeted and destroyed, for their teachings are in opposition to those who seek to repress and enslave and feed on others.

we have those who choose a mundane, physically oriented life, and those who choose to see thru the veil and know everything is just energy and this world is illusion, its just a game. everyone walking their own path, in perfect timeing, we can not judge and say right or wrong.

no one culture owns a copyrght on "shamanism". living in new mexico i see how hatred and anger from the past causes great suffering in the present, and binds those to never rise out of a captivity that is only in their minds.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:13 pm 
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I for one would not be able to voice an opinion. It is not up to me to decide which is the better way. However, maybe it has to do with being "rooted in tradition", which can be explained in two ways.
One is where the tradition dictates how one progresses. This would be the case with people from specific cultures being taught by those who preceded them. It has happened so and so in the past and now must happen in this manner again.
The other way is that people chose the tradition and become "rooted" in it, make it their own. This possibly applies to those who are the product of modern society, where inter cultural and inter racial marriages result in individuals for whom it is not so clear cut to find out which culture they belong to.
I for one am a typical Heinz 57, a mutt with Dutch, Frisian, English and Welsh ancestors, with some French, Cherokee and Polish thrown in along the way. What do I chose? And do I have a choice at all?
As shamanism has an intense connection with the spirits of the land as well as those of other realms, and it is of the utmost importance to be able to travel back to the Here and Now, I think anybody practicing this art should best focus on where they are at the time. Connect with the spirits around them.
I also agree with a post made several years ago. There is a vast chasm between the attitudes of (most) people from modern society and those who are still connected with their ancestors' culture. Today it's all about ego, and the Individual. In the past it was about the Community, and the elders who taught the younger generations.
Where the Community first was born out of sheer necessity as a matter of pure survival, and people nowadays have many means at their hands for making it on their own, it is somehow sad to see that the historical respect given to the elders for their teaching roles now has been reduced to finding them a place in a nursing home as soon as they start "cramping the style" of the younger generations. Teachers have become annoying old demented fools.
I don't think it's actually a case of whether or not it's better to be taught by a "real" shaman. I think it comes down to the basic question of whether we are willing to accept the fact that people older than ourselves are, by the very nature of their age, able to add to our own knowledge simply from having walked this earth longer than we have.
It doesn't take any credit away from what we have already learned ourselves, or from what we already knew when we were born. People can learn a lot by themselves. Almost everything, basically, if we are open to it. Yet we should never avoid adding to that knowledge.
And with that the original question has basically been altered into a statement: despite that which we already know, we should never pass up the opportunity to learn from a "real shaman". It will only enrich our knowledge. My 2 cents worth.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:54 am 
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Well I can definitely say I have seen at least four white shamans who have been totally unable to help me.

I don't mean I saw them once, I mean I've been working on the same thing for years and It continues to get worse every day.

I mention the problem here now and then and you all treat me like I'm some child imagining things. I am attacked by spirits--often kept into the wee ours of the morning by it--distracted at work by it--and after five years it is driving me to suicide. I know how but not when.

And every time I ask you white people for help or guidance I get nothing. I've poured thousands of dollars and my whole waking life into it and gotten nowhere. NOTHING has been able to protect me. Anything that tries is destroyed.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:51 am 
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not reeally if you have enough past life experince to call on.. But to round out experience yes vital.. Andsutdy of different cultures/times is vital to situatie yourself in time.. ( So difficult to find a good one)
If you feel drawn to an indigenous real one why not. Always a blessing.


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