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Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
Yes 20%  20%  [ 32 ]
No 80%  80%  [ 128 ]
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 Post subject: Our power.
 Post Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:20 am 
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is not the word shaman a tebeten word?
I call myslef a hollow bone. A healer that is just is here and the true power comes from spirits. Just as the things I see but do not see of this earth place.


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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:02 pm 
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I agree, One Eagle. I have also found that in order to be a good hollow bone for Spirit to use me to the best extent, I have needed instruction in healing and discipline to become a more perfect vessel. I have received that instruction through my totems, through my human teachers, and through working with my community.

Crowtalker


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 Post Posted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:31 am 
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This is really a very tough question---and I think it can depend on the situation. First and foremost----I love the answer of Dreamingshaman, and I think his comments really stand out as something we should not forget. I tried to bring up some similar points in my comments on 'shaman--real or plastic' lastnight. (That does not mean that learning from an indigenous shaman is the only way).

Shamanism is very ancient, let's face it---the cultures ruled by the institution of religion, especially those of the West, have pretty much destroyed the traditional path for their own cultures, and are still trying to do it for many indigenous ones. But it is the indigenous people who still have the deeper connection to this spiritual universe as part of their traditions. (I'm talking culturally, of course there are exceptions on the individual level).

We have to respect them, support their ways, give them the credit, learn from them, do not exploit them, do not forget them. (For example, if you want to see how bad life is on the rez----take a look at the website of the Lakota elder who is trying to declare independence from the US). Discrimination, and destruction of culture and traditions is happening all over the world----and they may not always have the answer-----but they have the wisdom of the elders, they have plenty to teach. And there are those who are incredibly powerful.

During time I spent in the philippines, I saw a culture that had the traditions taken away from them. Ghosts, spirits, little people, and monsters are still a part of their culture, but the spiritual context of all this is gone, replaced by the catholic church, and where needed, Spanish or Latin charms and magic has replaced the traditions of the long dead elders. My wife's family is a case in point. There are many things my wife's grandfather and grandmother could do. In fact he protected and scared away the Japanese during World war II from the Cavite village he was mayor of through his powers. My wife's family have little knoweldge, but they have tricks they know----my wife can make rain, she can stop it, I've seen her do it many many times. She can't explain how, but she does it. And the spirits call to her, but she didn't understand it until I began making sense out of our lives. She is also sensitive to ghosts, and this frightens her. Her father says that his grandfather passed his powers down to him, but he does not know how to use them. He did the same to his children, the way his father did, but they don't know how to either.

My wife has an older brother who had a mental breakdown. In fact, the Philippines is filled with mental illness. I have witnessed seances to try to cure these people, I've witnessed all kinds of scams of people with magic words in latin and who claim they can cure or see the future. (fortunately an authentic Philippine shaman cured my daughter---which I related elsewhere in a different post). Mental illness may not always be the spirits calling to be initiated to a shaman. But in the case of my brother-in-law, in the case of other people whose stories I have heard, I sincerely believe that they have a gift, but the Philippine culture no longer recognizes it, no longer knows how to develop the gift to cure these people (initiate them), so they in turn can heal and help others. Instead they aggravate the situation by treating them as sick, or possessed. My wife's cousain has epilepsy, but it was brought on by her speaking in the voice and language of her mother's grandparents----in Visayan, which she doesn't speak. They have treated her with medicine, exorcisms, and so forth. The grandparents were told in Visayan to leave her alone. In the pre-spanish Philippines---I'm sure she would have been a powerful shamaness. If the elders were still around, perhaps it would be different. But instead she continues to suffer.

Most of the healers in Manila go through the motions, without the power, and noone to learn it from. One time I watched a blind hilot turn a small boys broken arm into a compound fracture, before I could stop her. My wife heard she gave a good massage and could heal (she wanted her sore back healed). Instead we took this family to the hospital and paid for their son's arm, as they had no money.

So yes----the wisdom of the elders is important. The traditions of the traditional ways have a meaning. (In fact, I would compare the Philippines to the Dark Ages of Europe. The institution of the church is about as old there, as it was in Europe at that time). The spirits we meet----aren't they old and ancient? Wouldn't you honor them by honoring the culture and traditions they came from, or their elders? Couldn't we learn a lot from the teachers of these cultures? (Granted----if there are no such elders because we've already wiped them out-----well, I'm sure they want you to honor someone...)

This makes it a difficult problem for the so-called civilized cultures----which I will call institutionalized cultures----like the West, where we have already destroyed our traditional ways. Do we have to find an indigenous shaman? I think that can be far more useful, powerful, etc. But what about a white person which has studied under an indigenous shaman----if he is sincerely ready to teach, would he not be just as good as an indigenous shaman? I am sure the spirits will favor him, just as good as another race. And what about his student? and the next student of that student? If these people have a calling, and they are sincere----then they must be as good as an indigenous shaman.

And where there is a will there is a way----if the spirits want to reach out, they will find someone to do it through. That person may not need to learn, or may not even be able to learn, from a traditional teacher. But does that mean he is not powerful? We are coming into an age where in some ways quantum physics is coming closer to spiritual truths than the institution of religion. Perhaps it is time that the old European spirits, and ancestors are abe to reconnect with us. That the stranglehold of the church has loosened enough that Woden and all the others can do their work, to once again teach those who have the spiritual connection with them. In the West, we have to rebuild the spiritual culture we lost. We cannot always be dependent on the indigenous cultures---for there too we will inevitably steal their traditions, continuing the cycle that dreamingshaman speaks of. After all, we too had our own mythical First Shaman.

So it is a catch-22 in many ways----for many of us, we must reconnect to our own, traditions. Create or own teachers---and if it is real, it will be part of that same spirituality that unites all shamans, that primal pure spirituality of man's birthright. Others of us, who have followed the indigenous paths, or who are being taught by the indigenous spirits---this in some way may be the toughest, you may always be an outsider, discriminated as a non-indian for example. Treated as a wanna-be. But it is your duty, and the duty to your spirit guides and animals, to honor and support the cultures you have the spiritual connection to. Especially where that cutlure suffers far worse atrocities than you do. And in such cases----you would truly gain to study under an indigenous shaman. (I would think that in North America there would be more white people who find it easier to connect to the spirits of this land, making this latter case more common).

There is no easy answer. But I hope I did not ramble on too much.

Mountain Wolf


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 Post Posted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:22 am 
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Oh no, Mountain Wolf, you did not ramble on too much! You are a wonderful storyteller!

My teacher has said many times, and so have others who are initiates, that without the teachings we have received, many would have been institutionalized in menal hospitals, or jailed or dead due to the use of drugs and alcohol to try to make some sense of what was happening to them. I often wonder how many people in our western society that are considered crazy, and treated as such, are really hypersensitive people who do not understand that what they are feeling is real...

Thank you for your words, Mountain Wolf.

Aho

Crowtalker


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 Post Posted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:13 am 
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Thank you Crowtalker. I appreciate that.

Interestingly enough, last weekend I found a book that provides another answer to this question---again on both sides. It is called 'Where the Spirits Ride the Wind, Trance journey's and other ecstatic experiences,' by Felicitas D. Goodman. I have only read a couple of chapters so far, but this is what I have read about:

She took on a new career late in life of anthropology. One of her early interests in this new career was the trance state of glossolalia (talking in tongues) as practiced by a christian sect whose name I forget. She had a background as a linguist and so it caught her attention that there was a common language pattern (I beleieve it was a consonant stress), which, as she researched, she found to be common all over the US and even down in Mexico, and elsewhere. This started her interest in the ecstatic experience.

She began teaching in the 1960's, and when she brought up this subject, a number of her students asked if she could induce this trance-state of the ecstatic experience. She thought this would be an interesting experiment and so a number of students and her began experimenting. She used a fast steady beat on a rattle, but they had no cultural or spiritual context, and had little knowledge of the ways and means of the shaman. Nonetheless she had some interesting results and the students were able to go into some form of ecstatic experience---not strong, but enough to indicate an altered state of perception.

But she also noticed that the people who spoke in tongues had a specific posture that they would fall into. She noticed that in a painting from the prehistoric cave of Lascaux, and in various indigenous carvings, and pictures of shamans or mystics in trance there was a specific posture involved. So they began experimenting with the different postures and the results were, as she described, incredible. For example, she described one experiment as, "In the one where the bear spirit hugged the shaman who held his head back, his hands placed above the navel, and his knees slightly bent, the bodies of the subjects or their heads would split open as if to receive something, a substance, a flow of energy, which was then administered to them."

Anyway, I only read a few chapters last weekend, but it appears to go on with the same material, discussing various postures and the resultant ecstatic experiences. Chapters incude, 'The pit of death and the psychopomp,' 'changing shape,' and the 'female powers of healing.'

I got to thinking----on the one hand, she was tapping into the ecstatic experience, atleast in the beginning, without a whole lot of knowledge, but some keen observations. In that sense she did not need an indigenous teacher. Someone with the cultural and spiritual context could, as we all know, get results jut on their own.

On the other hand, how many of us have paid attention to specific postures? It has been many years since I read Harner, but I don't recall if he spoke about specific postures, other than lying in the dark, in a comfortable position.

Would an indigenous teacher think to teach you about postures or positions---probably not, these postures and positions may come naturally to him/her. But by working with an indigenous teacher, in time maybe those same postures or positions would come natural to you too. Maybe it doesn't even matter what position you are in----but my point is, working with an indigenous teacher, or someone who has worked with an indigenous teacher, there maybe such things that one would pick up on, that otherwise you may not know.

I myself have never considered my posture, and have had some very strong journeys, while other times I have not experienced as strong of a shamanistic state of consciousness (largely because I am aware I can be interrupted by kids, or I am concerned about time constraints, etc). However now that I have started reading this, I am anxious to experiment with these postures.

Now on the other hand, if there is something to this, since I now have knowledge of it, it's one more reason why I don't need an indigenous teacher.

In the end, there is still no easy answer. Except that all we really need is to go into the forest and be ripped apart by wild animals... (just kidding, sort of...)

Mountain Valley Wolf


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 Post Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:05 am 
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Another point Dr. Felicitis brought up----ritual is the language of spirits. It is through ritual that we communicate with them, and they with us. (An example I can think of before you discount this and say, 'Well my spirit friends don't need elaborate ceremony for me to communicate with them'---the spirit journey itself is a form of ritual).

We can go to the spirits and ask about ritual---that is one of the ways, Dr. Felicitas learns about ceremony. In this way, we don't need indigenous teachers, if we have patient spirit guides. And since the West really has to relearn all the traditons that we have spent almost the last 2000 years destroying---this is one way to get them back.

On the other hand, it is the indigenous teachers that still have the traditions, rituals, and the knowledge. So once again, one should not be so eager to disregard what they have to offer. Even when they don't want to share it, or you have no way of obtaining such a teacher for yourself.

Even if you have to learn it all on your own, with nothing more than your own spirit guides, I am sure the spirit world will be all the happier for you, if you were to support these indigenous teachers in some way---support the charities that promote traditional indigenous paths, for example...

Mountain Valley Wolf


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 Post Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:31 pm 
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We should be fortunate indeed to train with those who have an unbroken line of tradtion and ritual that connects them too spirit, but I do not hold that it is the only way. To be a good 'hollow bone" and a tool for spirits use is to lend your self to spirits crafting. That call comes from spirit, often as a longing of the heart. Every line of "shaman" from all cultures started with one indavidual called by spirit to answer to the needs of the people. Who beter to train you to answer to the needs of your people than the loving spirits who call you to them? Trust that spirit will guide you to a teacher or teach you themselves what you need to serve. Spirit can and will give you the rituals and ceremonies that will bring you closer in your communion with them, so that your work with them will be of true benefit.


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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:26 am 
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OK----one more comment on this subject. From all my comments it should be clear that I think that one does NOT need an indigenous teacher, but that if one is fortunate enough to learn from an indegenous teacher, or someone who learned from an indigenous teacher, then that is truly invaluable. And that even if we do not have an indigenous teacher, that the indigenous teachings should be respected and honoured.

Certainly the spirits, when they want to make connection with us, will try to find a way. For example, shamanism was not something I turned to on a whim, or because it was a fad. I have long referred to my life, from grade school on, as one long vision quest. (Granted the 1980's saw my focus more on greed, like any other baby boomer, I never considered myself a yuppy, but that's who the real yuppy's were---the baby boomers embracing the establishment with the same 'I want it now, and I want it my way! spontaneous gusto of the 60's and 70's). But my experiences, my ways of thinking, my travels, my interests, my spirituality----all lead to shamanism----and nothing fit until I found this ancient path.

And yes, there always was a first shaman, and since the culture of the West destroyed almost all our shamanistic roots, most of us in the West are probably the first shamans, of a new future.

But one big handicap we have from the first shamans of early man is our conscious minds. If you read Jung, you will see how modern man's psyche is driven by the conscious mind. Jung showed how early man's psyche was driven more by the unconscious. Early man was deeply in tune with instinct, his reasoning and perception was deeply moved and controlled by archetypical symbols, and his reasoning and logic was more animal-like (as a Jungian would say)-----in other words, early man was more immersed in the natural world than we are. This means that he had a deeper connection to the animistic universe of spirit.

Now we can immerse ourselves in nature, and come closer to that world. Even within cities we can focus on that aspect of the universe and seek to come closer.

But we still can't reach the point of continuous consciousness of our earliest ancestors. For example, we are handicapped by our education-----I am specifically referring to our having learned to read. From a very early age we have been trained, conditioned and programmed to think in the linear thought process of the written word. Therefore in our minds, a + b = c, and we always move from point a to point b, then c, d, and so on. A further implication of this linear thinking, is that, what we label as the male side our brains, has a stronger control of our thought process than, what we refer to as, our female side (this does not mean that women are more masculine than women of ages past, or that men are more manly----it means that the side of our mind that uses logic, for example, is exercised more than the side of the brain that uses intuition, for example). Therefore when we try to make sense of a prehistoric set of petroglyphs, we try to find a linear set of logic, a starting and ending point, certainly our prehistoric ancestors were not limited by this set logic, as they read the same petroglyphs.

Likewise, prehistoric man's world was filled with archetypical imagery and subjective experience. This is very different from our world that is filled with defined objects and objective understanding/knowledge. The fact that the unconscious had more control over early man, meant that their connection to the spirit world was much stronger. In fact, where Dr Felicitas said that ritual is the language of the spirit world (as I mentioned in a previous posting), I would add that the nouns of this language are the archetypes.

Even indigenous people, claim how the magic and medicine of the ancients was much stronger, and we too have the same traditions, the Biblical Eden, the Chinese sages of the Golden Age, the Golden Age of the Greeks, etc. In fact, Jung went so far as to say that early man, actually lived in his unconscious, as opposed to our living in the conscious.

The sequence and events of dreams seem so odd to us, because dreams consist of the messages from our unconscious in the language of the unconscious, yet this language is so alien to our modern thought process, that it often takes a lot of reflection and the examination of context to figure out the hidden meanings of these dreams. In other words, we struggle just to understand the unconscious. This also means that we are so alientated from it, that it seems very surrealistic and Kafkian to us.

Even the knowledge we have learned through our education has hindered our subjective experience of the universe---we know how babies are born, what makes the wind blow, what a rock is composed of, and are very objective about it (Thank the gods that quantum physics is starting to take us back down the path towards the mystical subjective universe!)

The difference between indigenous man and non-indigenous---is that the indigenous shaman is following the teachings, rituals, and ways that has been passed down from our early ancestors who were living in the unconscious, who had this powerful connection, and had the thought process that was so aligned with nature and the spirit world.

I am sure the spirit world understands this. And as it works with modern people, is perhaps a bit patient with us, perhaps more direct, and even more linear in its communication. Perhaps those of us who are the first shamans of the future, coming from a context of linear thinking, and as products of a world ruled by objective empiricism, our spirit connections, and shamanistic endeavors are more fitting in the world of today and tomorrow. So yes, we can certainly achieve success without an indigenous teacher.

But this is no reason to ignore the traditional paths, the teachings of indigenous shamans. If you can find one, what a precious, precious treasure, and for everyone else----well there is certainly plenty of literature about them, and even by them, to add to whatever you learn from the spirit world.


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 Post Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:09 pm 
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Hi, I wanted to comment on this subject.I know for myself that I'll will be learning new things everyday I'm alive in this wonderful body and after my spirit leaves! I've learned from the animals, tree's, rocks, plants, people, spirits, etc. So I know it's not essential to learn from Shamans in other countrys. But I bet you would learn alot of things you did not experiance were you spend most of your time on your path. There's thousands of way's to help someway heal themselfs or ways that a person can open themselfs up to be able to find there personal (spiritual) truths. It's more than learning from someone else. It's being able to separate our minds and free our spirits were there is infinate knowlegde.We are all connected ( brothers and sisters) to the great spirit. We are Great spirits! Blessings to all ! :wink:


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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:25 pm 
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How right you are Jim.

Well said.

Elizabeth :D


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 Post subject: Re: Is Learning from indigenous shamans essential?
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:00 pm 
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eagle1 wrote:
I read on this board that many believe that regular folks can't be shamans unless they are born to a 3rd world country and study with indigenous shamans.

What do you think?

Please vote and explain why.

eagle1


-Anyone may become a shaman. To me, a shaman is a mystic, a holyman
who is more than just someone who talks or preaches or helps the poor. A
shaman is someone who has found their natural way to connect with the spiritual side of life. I am Raven's Sacred Voice, AKA Abdullah. I am a Sufi
which is a muslim mystic, and I am also a Native American MedicineMan.
I simply found shamanism by looking every where inside and outside my
own culture and by asking God for help, especially spirit-help. I had no
teacher. I have a natural gift.


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 Post Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:07 am 
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Welcome Abdullah.


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 Post subject: Taybah
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am 
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.........


Last edited by stitcherman on Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: I voted "no"
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:50 pm 
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because I believe that there were and are many "1st shamans", ignorant people who discover the gate to the realm of spirit and make contact.

However, it is beneficial to learn from others.


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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:06 pm 
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Ultimately the shamanic path is about your relationship with Source. And Source is perfectly capable of working with you without a "middle man." Obviously by working with an indigenous shaman (or any other kind of shaman for that matter), you are exposed to new experiences because of the interaction. So it may not be essential, but it definitely is fun.


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