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 Post subject: Urban Shamanism
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 10:24 am
Posts: 3
Location: Austin, TX
Any thoughts on this? Will add more soon...let me get my ideas together...


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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:56 pm
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Location: West Coast Canada
Um....It's a natural progression? :)


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 Post Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:22 pm
Posts: 46
Location: Western USA
IN shamanism we find that all objects have a 'spirit.' For shamans that work in the city the local Middle World spirits will be the spirits of man-made objects: buildings, cars, machines, and similar things. In addition the local Middle World spirits of critters will be associated with animals found in the city, dogs, cats, rats, mice, spiders, roaches, snakes and many others depending on the location of the city (you might be surprised how many 'wild' creatures have moved into hiding places in cities). In addition there are all of the local spirits of place, spirits associated with rivers, springs, lakes, streams, hills, valleys and even mountains where the city is built. In the urban environment of course the portals to the Upper and Lower Worlds may different as well...a storm drain or an openning to a utility tunnel work fine as doorways for a Lower world journey for example.

Worth noting perhaps that many contemporary American shamanists tend to focus more on working in the Lower and Upper Worlds where the local spirits and the urban/rural setting of the practicioner in ordinary reality make for less of a difference. Dennis


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 Post subject: urban shamanism
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 8:51 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:12 am
Posts: 62
Location: Canada
Good morning everyone,

I live downtown in a large urban setting where I do most of my shamanic work - whether with people or with the world around me. The world around me is mostly man-made. As I read and listen to people talk about their work, I note a great tendency to disparage the urban setting....people talking about the need to "get out into nature" "away from the city" to contact nature. They speak of the ugliness and the "plastic" quality of cities. I always find this somewhat unsettling.

Cities are IMH just spirit piled up by mankind to serve his purposes. Cities have a very high intensity when it comes to spirit. All kinds of natural materials have been transported to the cities to build them. They haven't lost their spirit - it's still there just in new ways and new mixes - a little like a new recipe for your favorite food.. Much like we thank our food for giving its spirit so that we might live, these materials should be thanked for giving their spirits for our modern convenience - not ignored or sometimes even blatantly dumped on for their ugliness or whatever.

As I move through the city on a daily basis, I make a point of honoring and thanking the stones, the wood, the metals, the plastics for serving us. It seems to me that when I do this, they react with some shock - so accustomed are they to being dumped on and ignored. I think that as we do our shamanic work for the planet, we need to make a special effort to be kind to our roads, towns and cities. To me, it's just part of what it means to do shamanic work at this time in history - and very importantly, to do work toward healing the earth.

I haven't noticed anyone disparaging cities etc on this site other than the discussion around "plastic" shamans - rather as if plastic, whose spirit serves us, was not a gift from the earth....minor very very minor point.

I'm enjoying reading these exchanges. My thanks to eveyrone who has taken time to join in.
Chris


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:26 am
Posts: 181
Location: Bavaria, Germany
I am living in a city with a history of more then 2000 years and even before that this place was being used by celts as trading point, so the real age is surely some 500 years older then that. If you would have the chance of visiting some of the old cities you can meet some old spirits.

Within the ancient core of this place (it is Augsburg) you can feel the spirit of the ancients very strongly. Everytime I walk there I have images of remote times when this place was still small. I can see many wars which were being fought here and many deads. Everytime you want to build something in the city you are finding some archaeologic things ...

I think Urban Shamanism is a kind of shamanism which belongs to such places, although I would not call this "urban shamanism". I learned dowsing and geomantic knowledge from an really old traditional line, going back some centuries and including even shamanistic techniques. But I never had the idea of naming it urban shamanism because it can be applied not only in a city but on nature as well.

Walking the streets of the old core of my city I can sense the ancient roots - not mine (which are in Slovenia in the high mountains of the karavanks) but of the natives of this place.

If you ever have the chance of visiting europe you must visit at least one of these ancient cities so that you can sense a quite interesting urban-spirituality. In our cities the seven planets of old astrology are dominant and in Augsburg it is Saturn.

Yours,

Apu Kuntur


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:12 am
Posts: 62
Location: Canada
Hi Apu Kuntur,

I live in Montreal - an old city by North American standards - founded in 1642. You are absolutely right about feeling the old spirits of the place. In fact, to my great surprise, the native spirits of the land I live on introduced me to shamanic work and continue to work with me in ways that astonish me. This astonishes me, I guess, because I was never particularly interested in or drawn to native American cultures until I started "seeing" and "hearing" them. It surprised me even more because I wasn't born in Quebec either. Seeing the native spirits was a bit of a shock that took me some time to get over. I work regularly with the land "under" the city and with its sacred sites and the scenes of its battles, its haunted places, etc as they are revealed to me. Nevertheless, as I said, I think it's also important to work with the "surface" of the city.

BTW, I did live in Europe for some years in my 20s - in Hamburg, in Paris and finally in Athens. My last vacation in europe two years ago was with friends in Britany not far from Karnac for three weeks. You are so very right - these wonderful ancient sites have layer after layer after layer of fascinating history and spirituality going on.

Thanks very much for responding and reminding us that cities have considerable depth spiritually.

Chris


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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:13 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 48
Location: Idaho Falls, ID USA
excellent and insightful posts, Chris, Apu Kunter, Dennis. and welcome to this place Chris.

every city that i've lived in or spent time in has had spirits of that city. or even a particular spirit guardian or representative spirit for that city.

spirits are everywhere. i especially loved hearing about the seeings of things that had left their psychic imprint on a place.

frith,
Crowfuzz


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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:12 am
Posts: 62
Location: Canada
Hi all ...and in of course, crowfuzz - love the name,

Just a cautionary word about journeying to meet the guardian spirit of a city or town. When I first started shamanism some years back, I made of couple of "beginner" mistakes that bear repeating. Once I asked to meet the "spirit of the city". Somehow, I found myself being dragged through sewers and vents and pipes of all sorts. I terminated that one rather quickly. I concluded that I had to be much more careful in how I worded my intention. I definitely should have asked for the "guardian spirit." rather than the much vaguer "spirit of the city." I'm not quite sure what I encountered, but it wasn't pleasant.

Another time, I was sitting in a restaurant downtown having a quick dinner on the way to a choir rehearsal. The restaurant was on the second floor of a large building with glass walls. I was watching the people and cars, sidewalks and the streets - the endless swarmng to and fro of downtown - and wondering how it felt to be the downtown. So, I very stupidly :roll: invited that energy into me. I think I actually began to feel the incredible stress on the stones of the sidewalks and streets. My legs heated up - and it felt like every bone from my hips down was being broken. I could walk, but it was very very painful. This continued for a half hour until I arrived at the rehearsal hall in the basment of a church. The instant I entered the hall, the pain stopped. Moral of story: be very very careful what you ask for.

As I said, the intensity of spirit in cities is very high. From these two mistakes (ok - I'm clearly a slow learner!). I learned to frame my journey requests very carefully so that I encounter what I really need to encounter in order to do the work in ways that are healthy for me.

I did eventually figure out how to meet the guardian spirit of the city. It took a while; now I try to devote a whole afternoon every spring to walking through the areas she has identified as sacred and honor her with small inconspicuous rituals as I am not the type to want to draw attention to myself in public spaces. Of course, I do other stuff for her regularly but not a whole afternoon of it.

It's a glorious fall afternoon here - the trees are on the edge of full fall color. It's a treat.

Chris


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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 48
Location: Idaho Falls, ID USA
howdy Chris,
thanks. i love it too. the Goddess Frigga gifted me with it.

the story you've shared here is very spot on. for many people who come to shamanic practice touching and merging with spirits is fairly easy. such as with what happened to you. but not all spirits care for us humans, and many have their own agendas. the ones that you encountered seemed to just be granting your wishes. but just as you say there is a lot of truth to that old adage of "be careful what you wish for."

i do think that there are times when practicing shamanism, especially when we are very novice, that we need to experience things that scare us a bit. and perhaps this never leaves. for certainly it's the hoarier aspects of shamanism that keeps us respectful. or to be completely PC that keeps some of us respectful.
:wink:

did you have a primary animal spirit ally when these occurrences with the first 2 spirits that you speak of happened to you? were you actively engaged and traveling with what the Harner folk term a "PA", or "power animal"?

the thing that i like about Harner's teaching and which i think is important to any shamanic practitioner is that initial seeking of a "PA". in modern shamanism where so very much of it is by the seat of our pants and without tribal affiliations or traditions i feel that having a very close spirit friend committed to aiding and protecting us as we journey is very important. i also think that it is beneficial, grounding, and connecting to have this closest of spirit friends be an animal spirit.

loved your post.
frith and bliss,
Crowfuzz


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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:57 am
Posts: 22
Location: London, England
Interesting! I agree that having a good ally you can trust is important, and like you Chris I've frequently jumped into things in my earlier days and bitten off a bit more than I could chew.

But I like that way of learning, of stretching my limits and expanding my boundaries, where it seems appropriate.
:wink:

It echoes the natural world of small children and animals, after all.... they don't dither and wait for permission, they fall on their butts or get their paws stuck straight into the honey! :D

I'm not sure how this would work elsewhere, but when I've done healing on regions in my own city, I often merge with the troubled spirit, then quickly transfigure into (for example) the love, the Divine light (careful not to go for neutral Divine power, as that could just feed the stuff I'm working against), or the healing powers within it/us both, OR alternately merge with the Goddess or some other even "bigger" power to effect healing where that's a simpler option.

I s'pose it's like those Russian dolls - there's little me merging into the location's spirit, then pulling in a bigger power yet.

It can be demanding, and of course needs strong concentration and intention, but provided I'm careful it can be effective. :)

But I couldn't do any of this without first seeking out allies and I absolutely agree that having a good relationship with at least one spirit friend is essential before anyone new to this specific kind of thing tries it.


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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:20 am
Posts: 36
Location: Arvada, CO, USA
I live in the suburbs of Denver, but I've never felt that I was stuck in the city, somewhat alienated from nature. Perhaps becase the Rocky Mountains are so close (though still atleast a 20 minute drive). I've learned a lot in this posting about something I have never considered---urban shamanism.

But as far as having only urban spirits to relate to, that was never even a question. I remember before my first spirit journey, wondering if I, in this modern age, would even have a spirit animal----that for probably 6-months leading up to that evening of my journey, I kept seeing foxes. I would look out my window late at night, and there would be a fox. I would drive to the store, and I would see a fox. On my way into work one early morning, on the opposite sie of Denver, a fox crossed the road right in front of me before I turned into my office. Even a drive up into the mountains every now and then, and I'd see foxes. Never in my life had I seen so many foxes. Then on my first spirit journey, I met a wolf-----which I then learned was my totem. I had no idea that this was it, but I did wonder if it would be a fox.

After that journey, I went back to my usual pace of seeing a fox every now and then. There are very few wolves in Colorado (though they are being reintroduced----so I think the spirit world sent the next best thing as a sign----something that could serve as a proxy right in my own urban environment.

Mountain Valley Wolf


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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:49 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:21 am
Posts: 12
Location: Northern Sweden
So many good posts. I would just like to add a little something on the city being filled with spirit...

There are thousands of birds living in a large city, both small and big. Sometimes hawks or falcons even.

Horses too, working for the police maybe. Tens of thousands of cats, ferrets or other pets like that.

Bees, wasps... millions!

Spiders in the millions, flies and centerpides to match - if not more. Rodents & snakes, both as pets and pests. Racoons, squirrels and sometimes even rabbits abound.

The roaches and bugs, ofc, are legion.


The city is teeming with life, and spirit, but sadly it is alot of sickness spirit and most of us humans don't fit in the boxes they build for us.

Peace,
BB


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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:51 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:54 pm
Posts: 237
Location: Australia
Greetings BB

What would you class as sickness spirit?
Could you explain what you mean by that term?

Thankyou

Elizabeth


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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:21 am
Posts: 12
Location: Northern Sweden
Sickness spirit = spirit causing sickness.

Peace,
BB


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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:32 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:20 am
Posts: 113
Location: Colorado
I find that urban areas have a great amount of energy....Usually from the people who live there or the people who used to live there (spirits). The energy in the city is very different from being out in nature and I find that each city has an energy of it's own. For me, I tend to get overloaded by being in a city with too many variable energies that reside there because I am sensitive to energy. I guess that's why I live on a mountain side away from all the energy of a bustling city. There is definitely such a thing as an Urban Shaman in my eyes.

Kodiak


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