Shamanic Journey Drumming

Submitted by Howard G. Charing

The Shamanic Journey is a technique, which facilitates a visionary experience into expanded awareness. This activates our imagination and creativity, and allows us to bypass linear, familar and rational thinking. In this state of expanded awareness we can find new insights, perspectives, and ways to resolve problems.

What is Shamanism?

Shamanism is the oldest way in which humanity has sought connection with Creation. The origins of shamanism go back at least 40,000 – 50,000 years to Stone age times. All of us have evolved from shamanic cultures; it is our roots wherever we live.

A shaman knows that all things are alive and ‘walks with one foot in the everyday world and one foot in the spirit world’. Contemporary shamanism is the application of these ancient timeless ways to life here and now.

Shamanism is not a belief system. It is a path to knowledge, which is gained through experience of life, through rituals, ceremonies, prayers and meditation, trials and tests. Knowledge is something that works, that stands up to the test of time that is known from the inside.

Cosmology of the shaman

Shamans divide non-ordinary reality into three other regions, the upper, lower and the middle worlds. Each has its own characteristics and whilst each individual traveller experiences initially their own version, once one becomes a proficient journeyer, it is amazing just how connected we all are at these levels.

The Lower world is the place of instinctual knowing where our animal-like powers reside and where we can find practical earthly help and guidance.

The Upper world is the word of spirit teachers, cosmic beings, great wise elders, ancestors who appear usually in human form. Their help and guidance is often perceived to be more general and philosophical.

The Middle world is both the everyday physical world that we live in, the world of ordinary reality, the tonal, and also a parallel non-ordinary version of our world.

It is a CD specifically made for shamanic journeying, and to do this, the drums have to be as monotonous as possible and maintain a consistent beat between 205 to 210 beats per minute. At this specific beat, the brain is stimulated to synthesise natural beta-endorphins, which facilitate a person to move into what is known as the ‘second attention’, an altered state of awareness, or shamanic state of consciousness. This state of awareness facilitates the shamanic journey.

A Shamanic Journey to the Lower world.

To begin, find a place that you feel comfortable and will not be disturbed for about 30 minutes. When you are ready, lie down comfortably, and darken the room, or at least cover your eyes. It is easier to journey in non-ordinary reality in the dark. Remove tight clothing, take off your shoes and allow your breathing to move to a gentle rhythm. Relax for a few minutes, focusing on being centred, and grounded.

When you are ready visualise or imagine, a place, which reminds you of the Earth, a place which you know of. This place should be a real place; perhaps somewhere you have visited, or seen in a film or photograph, and it can be anywhere, a hill, mountain, grasslands, forest, by the ocean. At this place allow yourself to perceive an entrance or opening into the Lower world. This entrance can be a hollow tree, an animal burrow, a cave entrance, a man-made opening e.g.; a trapdoor, it can any entrance into the ground or water. You will find that the right entrance will feel comfortable to you, take a minute or so to study it in detail.

Now when you are ready, enter into the opening. The beginning of the tunnel may appear dark, it may angle down in a slight incline, or it may incline steeply. The tunnel may appear to be ribbed, and often it bends, sometimes it may become spiral-like, but it will always lead downwards.

Continue down the tunnel until you come out of doors into a landscape. If you come into a cavern, you will need to move outside and into the landscape, there will be an exit for example a door or an opening, which will enable you to do this; it should be easy to get sight of it.

Now in the landscape, just look around. It may be daytime, night-time, forest, woodland, or near water. Extend your senses, listen, can you hear anything, the sound of birdsong, the sound that the wind makes as it blows through the tree tops, perhaps the sound of running, flowing water. Feel the ground underneath your feet, feel the ground pushing up against the soles of your feet. Sense the wind, the breeze, sense the movement of air around you. What does it feel like? Have an awareness of being there.

If you want to explore the landscape, remember where the entrance is, keep track of where you go. Just as in any ordinary-reality journey, it helps if you keep a note of landmarks so you can retrace your steps to return.

• Track 1. Solo Drumming (with call back) 20 minutes with Leo
• Track 2. Solo Drumming (with call back) 20 minutes with Howard
• Track 3. Double Drumming (with Call back) 40 minutes with Leo & Howard

Cover notes

The CD comes with detailed notes describing the cosmology of the shaman, and instructions for a journey.

Technical information

The drumming was recorded live directly onto digital tape at Sync City recording studio in London. The drumming was played in the ‘live-sound’ studio and no sound modification process was used.

Both drums were single headed frame drums. For the double drumming track, both drums were held facing each other in a position to optimise the natural reverberation.

The recording engineer was Wan Hewitt, himself a professional drummer. He has been dubbed the ‘drummers darling’ due to the great live sound he gets.

More info on the CD:
Drumming for the Shamanic Journey – With Leo Rutherford & Howard G. Charing

Howard G. Charing is a partner in Eagle’s Wing Centre for Contemporary Shamanism. His initiation into the world of Shamanism was sudden, which was caused by a serious accident, which resulted in severe injuries and a near-death experience. After many months of physical pain and disability, he had a transformational experience, which started him on a path to healing. If you like to know more about his work, Howard conducts “Plant Spirit Medicine” journeys to the Amazon Rainforest.

Shamans Initiation

By Viola Woolcott

Shamanic initiations happen during dreams, vision quests and trances. Spirits choose who is to be a shaman by making themselves know to him. He must be able to experience a number of cultural imageries. Some of the images they may see are when they travel to the spirit world, where they interact with their spiritual guide and where he is often dismembered and then reassembled bone by bone.

The shaman can be initiated through a ‘calling’. Often through a very serious illness or near death experience (NDE) where he may see visions of spirits or meet the ghosts of his ancestors. He attains the secret of life and the power to heal by knowing death and returning from it. The Greeks believed that one way of becoming initiated was to be struck by lightening and survive because of the possession of magical powers. The shaman is one who through consequences of his own crisis achieves certain higher powers.

Being a type of intermediary between the earthly world and the spiritual world, the shaman takes a spirit flight in a trance state using a form of astral projection, which symbolically heals the rift between man and the sacred. Once he is in the spirit world, he communicates with spirits requesting assistance regarding healing and other matters.

Shamanic abilities can also be passed down through the bloodline.

It has been known that the shaman-in-training must also undergo a terrifying initiation in which he faces and resolves his fears.

The majority of shamans in most cultures are men. When women are chosen to be shamans, they are very often exceptionally powerful. Some tribes have an ambiguous gender-identity and they dress like women as well as staying celibate.

After the initiation and until he reaches a level of mastery, the shaman is trained by a more experienced shaman.

To become a shaman, one does not have to belong to a native tribe. Through schools, intense workshops or psychological or spiritual teachers shamanic training can be obtained.

Recommended:
Eagle’s Wing – Leo Rutherford & Howard Charing

See also related link:
Dare 2b Aware

Xhosa Tribe Of South Africa Bantu Ancestry

By Ina Woolcott

The Xhosa tribe are peoples of Bantu ancestry who live in south-east South Africa. In the last 2 centuries they have spread throughout the southern and central-southern parts of the country. Presently around 8 million Xhosa people exist. The peoples are divided into several sub-groups – the main subgroups being the Bhaca, Bomvana, Mfengu, Mpondo, Mpondomise, Xesibe, and Thimbu – with related but distinct heritages. They have their own language, with Xhosa being South Africa’s most common home language, after Zulu, to which Xhosa is closely related. One characteristic of the Xhosa language are the renowned click sounds (15 of them), originally borrowed from now extinct Khoisan languages of the region.

The name “Xhosa” is meant to have originated from a tribal leader called uXhosa, although there is also a theory that the word xhosa may be a deviation from Khoi-khoi or San meaning ‘fierce’ or ‘angry’ – the AmaXhosa are known as the fierce people. Their language is known as isiXhosa.

In 1994 the apartheid system – a system of ethnic separation in South Africa from 1948 – of bantustans, the Xhosas were denied South African citizenship, and tried confine them to the nominally self-governing “homelands” of Transkei and Ciskei, now both a part of the Eastern Cape Province where most Xhosa remain.

Lore, Religion, Rites and Arts and Crafts

The traditional Xhosa belief includes diviners/seers, also known as sangoma. These people serve as herbalists, prophets, and healers for the community. Women in the main fulfil this role, after taking a 5 year apprenticeship.

The Xhosas have a strong oral tradition. One tradition holds that the first chief and acknowledged “father” of Xhosa society was Tshawe. Here it is generally accepted that he was the patriarch of loose confederation of clans that eventually became the Xhosa, though this cant be dated accurately. Then, the Xhosa were more a group of related clans than a united nation. They were loyal to Tshawe, but were sovereign chiefdoms, governing their own daily affairs. These clans gradually expanded to meet their needs. Soon Xhosa speakers stretched west to the Groot-Vis river, North into modern day KwaZulu/Natal, and inland to the Drakensberg mountains. These clans were loyal to a local monarch, with no single chief ruling the entire nation. Some well known chiefs of this period included Vusani of the Thembu clan, Gambushe of the Bomvana clan, and Faku of the Mpondo clan. Another story claims that the leader from whose name the Xhosa people take their name was the first ever human on Earth.

The key figure in this tradition is the imbongi, or praise singer. Iimbongi (plural) traditionally live near the chief’s “great place” (the cultural and political focus of his activity). They accompany the chief on important occasions. The imbongi, Zolani Mkiva preceded Nelson Mandela at his Presidential inauguration in 1994. Iimbongis’ poetry, called isibongo, commends the work and adventures of chiefs and ancestors.

The supreme being is known as uThixo or uQamata. Ancestors act as intermediaries and have a role in the lives of the living, they are honoured in rituals. Dreams are very important in divination and when contacting ancestors. Traditional rites include rituals, initiations, and feasts. Today, modern rituals generally concern matters of illness and psychological wellbeing.

One traditional ritual that still regularly takes place is the manhood ritual, a secret rite initiating boys into adulthood. The initiates (abakwetha), live in isolation sometimes several weeks, frequently in the mountains. White clay is put on their bodies and they observe numerous taboos. The pinnacle is ritual circumcision.

This has sparked controversy in this modern day and age. Over 300 circumcision and initiation related deaths occurred since 1994. There has been a spread of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV due to circumcising initiates with the same blade

Girls too get initiated into womanhood and are secluded, but for less time and they aren’t circumcised

Amongst other rites, there is also the seclusion of mums for 10 days after giving birth, aswell as the burial of the afterbirth and umbilical cord near the village. This mirrors in the traditional greeting ‘Inkaba yakho iphi?’ translating directly to ‘where is your navel?’ The answer tells someone where you live, your clan affiliation, your social status, and it also holds a wealth of cultural information. Most importantly, it determines where you belong”

In the 1820’s, Christian missionaries set up outposts among the Xhosa. The first Bible translation was done in the mid-1850s, though the Xhosa did not convert in great numbers until the 1900s, especially within the African Initiated Churches. There are some denominations that blend Christianity with the more traditional beliefs.

The traditional diet foods include goat meat, beef, mutton, sorghum, maize and umphokoqo (dry maize porridge), umngqusho (made from dried, stamped cord and dried beans), amasi (milk that is frequently sour ), beans, pumpkins and vegetables.

Traditional crafts include pottery, weaving and beadwork. Traditional music features drums, mouth harps, stringed-instruments, rattles, flutes, whistles and especially group singing accompanied by hand clapping. For various ritual occasions there are songs – a well known Xhosa song is a wedding song called Qongqongthwane, performed by Miriam Makeba as Click Song #1. There are several other modern groups who sing, record and perform in Xhosa. The Xhosa were introduced by missionaries to Western choral singing. Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, part of the National anthem of South Africa, is a Xhosa hymn written by Enoch Sontonga in 1897.

In the 19th Century the first newspapers, books and plays in Xhosa came into being. Xhosa poetry is becoming ever more acclaimed. Some films have also been made in the Xhosa language

Famous Xhosa people

Nelson Mandela – the former President of South Africa is a Xhosa-speaking member of the Thembu people. Charlize Theron – the South African film-star is a competent Xhosa-speaker. Helen Zille – the Mayor of Cape Town and leader of the opposition in Parliament is a competent Xhosa-speaker. Other famous Xhosa speakers include – Amampondo, Stephen Biko, Fats Bookulane, Brenda Fassie, Ken Gampu, Chris Hani, General Bantu Holomisa, Archibald Campbell Jordan, John Kani, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Miriam Makeba, Govan Mbeki, Thabo Mbeki, S.E.K. Mqhayi, Victoria Mxenge, Bongani Ndodana, Bulelani Ngcuka, Makhaya Ntini, Winston Ntshona, Percy Qoboza, Walter Sisulu, Robert Sobukwe, Enoch Sontonga, Oliver Tambo, Zwelithini Tunyiswa, Desmond Tutu, Ashley Buti , St John Page Yako, Dr. George Clark.

For information of the tribes use fo Silene Capensis, the Dream Root used for lucid dreaming click here: Silene Capensis

What Is Shamanism Interview With Abraxas Jan Irvin Andrew Rutajit

Posted By Ina Woolcott

The definition of shamanism is a broad one. it’s a knowledge of medicinal plants, everything from medicinal to spiritual purposes. Shamans also are able to communicate with the ‘spirit’ world.

So…what is Shamanism? This video tackles that tricky question and attempts to shed light on such a clichéd and misrepresented word.

Special Guests: Jan Irvin & Andrew Rutajit, authors of ‘Astrotheology & Shamanism in Christianity and Other Religions’.

Topics discussed are

* The origins, evolution & ideology of Shamanism (and how it has been misunderstood in our New Age era). * Healing * The reality that Judaism and Christianity, like most religions, were fertility, solar cults who utilized entheogens in a widespread manner. It just wasn’t the priest who partook of the ‘funny herbs’. * Clues in the Bible, Gnostic texts and the Judeo/Christian tradition that point to the positive usage of entheogens and hallucinogens. * How the war on drugs (which is also the war on the Goddess) began hundreds of years before Christ with a changing Jewish Priesthood, fanned out into the Christian worldview centuries later, and continues today with the same nefarious intentions. * The spiritual and scientific effects of using certain entheogens such as mushroom, natural LSD and cannabis. * Evidence of entheogens also in Hinduism and Buddhism. * Redeeming John Allegro and his controversial discoveries of The Dead Sea Scrolls * ….. And much more!

Gnostics have always been accused of being ‘out there’. But ‘out there’ often means an inward journey into the wellspring of gnosis.
Related links:
www.gnosticmedia.com
www.thegodabovegod.com

What Is A Shamanic Journey

By Viola Woolcott

The Shaman is said to be walking with one foot in the every day world and with the other in the spirit world. Different cultures may express their views on the two realities in differently, but the basic idea is the same.

Shamans are explorers of doorways from ordinary reality into non-ordinary (NOR) reality through portals leading him from the physical to the spirit world. They are moving between those two worlds. In order to bring about a balance between the physical and spiritual worlds the shaman uses mystical powers to journey to other worlds or realities and communicates with spirits.

The Shamanic Journey is a way of finding answers, information, healing, wisdom and knowledge as well as guidance or help with one’s personal life. During the Journey he meets with spirits who may be regarded as ancestors, elders, gods, goddesses, deceased shamans, spirit guides, power animals and angels. These beings are seen as beings with great wisdom, power and the ones who are willing to help with guiding the living.

A shamanic world is made up of three parts, the lower world, the upper world and the middle world. The shamans see these three worlds as a climbing tree to the next world. The tree represents power and courage and is used in the initiation ceremony. None of these worlds are above the other. They are equally important.

Each shaman begins there journey with a theme, if they are looking for guidance on a specific issue, their theme would be whatever the issue is. They form a phrase or a sentence they repeat it over and over again. This phrase or sentence helps to transcend them into the spirit world. Shamans also finds a place of tranquillity in his mind, there can be no other noise around them, and they must achieve a totally calm state of mind with no outside distractions.

Shamans do rely on their instincts as well as their powers. They have no limitations, they ascend into each world and they stop in each world and get the wisdom and the power they need from each world before going to the next. Once they have achieved the last world, they are ready to descend back into the present, into reality. From each world they have received word from the spirits and the knowledge to help who have come to them in their hour of need.

What Are Spirits Part 1

Submitted by Bob Makransky

Most people rely upon the dictates of their society to know what to do – what they’ve been taught by their parents, teachers, pastors, bosses, advertisers, and the media. Magicians, by contrast, rely upon the counsel of spirits, at least until they’ve got their own intuition and intent operating.

In truth, I don’t know what spirits are; and this is said after twenty years of intimate acquaintance with them. The problem is that we humans tend to impose features of the known upon the unknown. We want to make the unknown familiar and comfortable to deal with. Therefore, we naturally tend to regard spirits in terms that are already familiar to us.

We can’t be wholly objective about them. What I will describe here is my own view of what spirits are, based upon my own interactions with them.

Materialistic science says that spirits don’t exist; but this doesn’t mean that spirits don’t exist. My materialist friends, who reject the existence of spirits, do usually credit my integrity. They don’t question my belief that spirits are communicating with me, but they think that I’m mistaken in my interpretation that the spirits are outside of me rather than parts of my own psyche. However, I do make a distinction between my own thought forms such as inner child, lower self, anima and animus on the one hand; and spirits on the other.

I really don’t know what spirits are, or whether they are inside or outside of us. I do know that every religion and culture in the world except materialistic science is based upon spirit communication.

Christians, for example, often forget that their religion is spiritualistic. Jesus is a spirit; the Virgin Mary is a spirit; and of course the Holy Spirit, needless to say, is a spirit.

When Christians say: “Jesus talks to me and guides me, ” that’s what magicians call channeling. Christians and magicians use different spirits, but the technical basis – communication between spirits and people – is the same in all religions.

Have you ever noticed how rituals in many different religions have basically the same accoutrements? They all tend to take place in darkened rooms with candles and incense smoke, with monotonous chanting or litanies repeated over and over. The reason for this is because spirits themselves like such things: darkness, smoke, repetitive incantations.

Originally, and still today in traditional religions, the purpose of religious ritual was to make contact with the spirit world. Participants enter a light trance state to make them more accessible to spirit messages. Religious rituals originally were magical acts. In the Roman Catholic mass, for example, bread and wine are magically transformed into the body and blood of Jesus.

Recent converts to any religion often experience a high, a state of grace, which usually doesn’t last very long. These epiphanies are gifts of spirits who have the capacity to temporarily lower people’s sense of self-importance and self-pity, which in turn opens their hearts.

This often happens when people are at the end of their rope with nowhere to turn. It’s often at such times of complete desperation that they open to the Spirit and allow grace to descend upon them. This state of grace is channeled through spirit intermediaries such as Jesus, Krishna, or Buddha. This grace is usually temporary because the people still have inner work to do in order to embody the state of grace permanently in their everyday lives.

Spirits can temporarily bestow grace to people who are open to it – usually because they’ve exhausted their own resources. But it’s not the spirits’ job to carry emotional cripples on their backs forever.

Spirits can reveal a temporary glimpse of open-heartedness to animate people to seek such spiritual goals on their own. Having been given a model of what to strive for, it becomes the responsibility of the individual to continue the work begun by the spirits.

Everyone is receiving messages from spirits, both angelic and demonic ones, all the time. However in our society “hearing voices in my head which tell me what to do” means that you’re crazy. Therefore nobody takes a close look at where his or her thoughts are really coming from.

Even people who aren’t consciously aware of receiving messages from spirits nonetheless know that they experience hunches, inspirations, or dream messages that guide them in making decisions. Spirits are the source of these communications.

Moreover, lots of people are possessed by spirits – both angelic and demonic ones, but in our society mostly the latter – whether they know it or not. Spirit possession is not a bad thing when the spirits involved are benevolent, like Jesus, Krishna, or Buddha.

This possession occurs when people invite a spirit to take possession of them. When Christians “make the decision for Jesus” or “invite Jesus to come live inside” them, or Buddhists “take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha”, they are inviting spirits to take possession of their souls. Possession by a good spirit fortifies people’s faith and dedication to the spiritual path. It gives people backbone, something to rely upon in times of doubt.

However in our society demon possession is much more common than is possession by a benevolent spirit. It’s easiest to see that someone is demon-possessed when they get old, since by that time the demons have eaten up most of the people’s souls and left uptight, angry or depressed, self-pitying, burned-out hulks in their stead.

Life is a bitch, no question about it.

However it tends to mellow out people who are not demon-possessed. Demon-possessed people, on the other hand, tend to get worse and worse the older they get. When people are still young, there’s usually enough of the original person left there so that you can’t see the demons as readily. As the people get older, however, the demons eat up more and more of their souls and their joy.

If, as people age, they get lighter and more joyous, then they’re not demon-possessed. On the other hand if they get more uptight, nastier, depressed, or more self-pitying as they age, then they probably are demon-possessed. This is why it’s so hard to deal with those old people – you’re not dealing with the person anymore, just with a demon.

People call demons in to possess them when they feel especially vulnerable and in need of drastic protection. For example, a baby may call in demons at birth to protect against abusive parents. Demons can be called in at any stage in life, usually unconsciously, to alleviate pain or sorrow by providing a protective shell of hardheartedness or self-pity. Luckily, it’s not that hard to cast out demons. The hard part for demon-possessed people is wanting to cast them out in the first place. We’ll discuss this subject in depth in a later article.

When we channel spirits we usually receive the information as thoughts or feelings. This is because thoughts and feelings are all we know. We don’t know how to process information in any other fashion. Therefore, we interpret the communications we receive from spirits in terms of thoughts or feelings.

However, that is not how the spirits themselves view this communication. Spirits see it as a mingling or bending of light fibers – an interaction within the aura, or shell of luminosity, which surrounds every being. In other words, spirits’ cognition is very different from humans’ normal, socially-conditioned mode of cognition. For example, spirits see time in terms of potentialities rather than concrete events.

Moreover it is undoubtedly anthropomorphic to believe that spirits have sex (male or female) and personalities (jolly, somber, laid-back, strict, etc.). However, that is how they appear to most people.

My own spirit guides are rather indulgent and soft, probably because I am indulgent and soft and get riled unless I am indulged and treated softly. On the other hand Mescalito, the spirit of the psychedelic peyote cactus, is cold, hard, and detached. I find him terrifying, in fact, although I still go to him on occasion. Mescalito doesn’t indulge anybody.

In other words, spirits have different personalities, just as people do. They are not amorphous energies or something of the sort. Possibly it is a feature of human cognition that we humans apprehend spirits as having sex and personality, rather than that sex and personality are properties innate to the spirits themselves.

This is similar to Carlos Castaneda’s conundrum about psychic apprehension, what he termed seeing, being so visual, when it had nothing to do with vision whatsoever – whether his eyes were open or closed. But to him it seemed visual. His teacher Don Juan’s explanation of this was that we humans come to magic as adults, with our perceptual biases already formed.

Therefore when we learn a new form of cognition we tend to try to fit it into a familiar mold. Similarly, we tend to experience spirits’ communications as thoughts or feelings, since these are our usual forms of communication. We relate to spirits’ personalities because we are accustomed to relating to others through their personalities.

In actuality spirits are not as individuated / separated as we humans fancy ourselves to be. For example, my efforts to get Mayan priests to explain exactly who’s who in the Mayan pantheon have always failed because it’s not that simple – the various deities overlap or join together: they’re not separate entities per se.

On several occasions during ceremonies I have felt the presence of the Mayan earth divinity Tzul Taka, Mountain-Valley, as a male being. The priests have told me that this is my interpretation because I am a male, that Tzul Taka is neither male nor female, nor is even a single entity but is a union of entities, or a link between the Heart of the Earth and Heart of the Heaven. In other words, to the Mayans the divinities are ineffable, or at least can’t be pinned down or defined by mental constructs.

The easiest spirits to communicate with are your own spirit guides – what some people term “angels”. More detailed information on what spirit guides are and how you can contact them is given in the Channeling Spirit Guides article which can be downloaded for free from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MagicalAlmanac/files.

(excerpted from Magical Almanac free monthly ezine: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MagicalAlmanac)

Click here to read: What are Spirits? Part 2

What Is A Shaman

By Viola Woolcott

The title “Shaman” belongs to many cultures and has been for eons. It originated from the Tungas (extinct Ural-Altaic) language of Siberia where the term Shaman eventually came to be applied to all medicine men and women of indigenous cultures. It refers to a group of traditional beliefs and earth based practises, which have existed throughout the world since prehistoric times.

Shamans denote indigenous healers, divination, visionaries (one who sees‘), spiritual leaders, prophets, therapists and herbalists in tribal societies. They are people who set about to put things right.

Some religious scholars and even some anthropologists describe a Shaman as a “middle man” of the natural as well as the spiritual world we live in. Being able to travel to both the upper and the lower worlds, they travel these worlds when they are in a trance like state. Once they have crossed the bridge into the spirit world, they would interact with the spirits to find guidance. These traditions are said to date back to prehistoric times.

Shamans have also been believed to control the weather, interpret dreams and read astral projections. They have knowledge of other realms of being. They are masters of altered states of consciousness. The cosmology of those regions is the basis of the shamanic perspective and power.

Power is just power – an ability is just an ability. It is what we do with these that makes them good or evil.

What Are Spirits Part 2

Submitted by Bob Makransky

If you are serious about becoming a magician, then this is where you should start. It’s actually quite easy to learn to channel (easiest during lunar planetary hours). The chief function of spirit guides is to act like cornermen in a boxing match.

When you’re completely exhausted and life has really knocked you for a loop, they’re there to say: “You can do it! You’re doing great! Just get back in there and go another round!”

How spirit guides teach depends on the person they are teaching. Sometimes they hand out information for free, particularly when they spot an opportunity that must be grasped at once. Because they see things with such clarity, guides can give detailed explanations of everything you might want to know about your life and relationships.

Generally spirit guides are there to encourage people to figure things out and take responsibility for themselves. In my own case my guides use a lot of trickery, encouraging me to make an ass of myself, since this seems to be the only way I really learn anything (lose expectations).

Different spirits communicate in different ways. For example, my own spirit guides talk to me via automatic writing, in words in my head. It’s just like having a conversation with another person, except that it’s written rather than spoken. I can only hear my spirit guides talking to me directly when they’re yelling at me for having screwed up somehow.

My wife, who is much more psychic than I am, is able to hear them talking to her directly when she channels them. Another friend of mine, who is even more psychic than my wife, is able to hear them conversing amongst themselves.

I am a priest of the nine Mayan gods. When they have a message for me, they normally communicate with me in words in my mind, as my spirit guides do. But sometimes not; sometimes I just “know” what I’m to do; other times I just feel their mood (especially when they’re happy).

However, when the message is for someone else – for me to give to another person, or for me about another person – then they usually show it to me indirectly, by means of omens.

Omens are odd, unusual occurrences that have a symbolic meaning. My benefactress, the person who gave me the Mayan priesthood, has dreams in which the nine Mayan gods appear. She has told me that they appear to her as longhaired hippies. The only time one of the Mayan gods ever came to me in a dream he was wearing a three-piece suit.

However, Mescalito, the spirit of the peyote cactus, interacts with me on a much deeper level than my spirit guides or the Mayan gods do. I just know what Mescalito is communicating to me, even though there’s nothing verbal about it. Somehow or other it comes from what I take to be a very, very deep level.

The one time the Virgin Mary appeared to me I only felt her presence. I didn’t get a visual, nor did she speak. I had been looking for land to buy in a remote Mayan village, and as I walked around the village I was getting a lot of suspicion and bad vibes from the locals.

My spirit guides suggested that I go to the marketplace and buy a candle, and light it in the village church before the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. I was to ask her to make a place for myself amongst these people.

When I did so I suddenly felt myself transported into the presence of a young woman – perhaps 20 years old at the most. This being was totally loving and compassionate, and she filled me with a sense of complete acceptance, nurturance, and joy.

Ever since that day I’ve prayed to her every morning to help me open my heart, even though I’m nominally Jewish. I was taught to reject Jesus, that that would be the ultimate betrayal of my roots, but nothing was ever said about the Virgin Mary.

On various occasions religious statues in churches and temples have come to life momentarily before my eyes. Indeed, that is precisely what religious images are designed to do. If you are interested in communicating with spirits, praying to statues or images representative of the spirits of your religion can be a fruitful place to begin.

There are also nature spirits, such as mountain spirits, cave spirits, water spirits, tree spirits, and so forth. These spirits can be the most helpful of all to budding magicians. Where spirit guides guide, nature spirits can actually transform us. This is the crux of the spiritual path, the difference between momentary inspiration and real, permanent change.

It has been said – for example by Buddhists and by Castaneda’s teacher Don Juan – that real transformation, true spiritual growth, is impossible without the help of a living, enlightened guru. This is true, but it’s not true.

Near-death experiences can do this for us in sudden fashion; and nature spirits can also do it for us in a slower, more relaxed manner. Nature spirits can actually get in there and work on us on our deepest, light fiber level, gently dissolving our lower selves and liberating our true feelings.

Nature spirits, particularly cave and mountain spirits, often have powerful personalities. They should be approached with the greatest respect. Although every cave and mountain has a spirit, not all of these spirits are useful to humans. Sometimes such nature spirits are indifferent. At other times they are inimical to humans.

For example, the San Pedro volcano on Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan has happy, loving vibes. The town of San Pedro just beneath it is a light, happy place. But the next volcano over, Atitlan, is cold and hard and forbidding. The town of Santiago, which lies beneath it, is kind of an uptight place – famous for its black magicians and sorcery, and the scene of several massacres during and after the recent guerrilla war.

In order to make use of water spirits, it is first necessary to find them. This is not that hard to do. In an arid or semi-arid area, any water hole or spring will house a water spirit. Ponds, lakes, and oceans in their entirety can be considered to house one large spirit.

Along rivers and streams you frequently find water spirits residing at spots where there are deep pools, waterfalls, rapids, or at bends in the river where there is a change in the vegetation or rock formations.

Water spirits also reside at spots that are particularly lovely, different, attention-getting in some way or other. You find them by feel. Water spirits are used for washing off our self-importance: bad moods, self-pity, and negative vibes that other people lay on us.

Rock spirits are found in a similar way: by the feel of the way they look. The vortices around Sedona, AZ are a good example. Rock spirits can stabilize you and give you strength. This is good for athletes training for a contest or soldiers going to battle. Rock spirits also give fortitude – good for women who are weak in pregnancy. They also buttress your discipline, staying power, tenacity, and self-confidence. It’s good to go to rock spirits when you need to be bolstered somehow; whereas water spirits are most useful when there’s something you need to wash off.

You should feel an attraction to the place where a nature spirit resides. If you don’t feel an attraction for the place, don’t use it, no matter how extraordinary it may look. It’s not that going to the wrong spirit will hurt you, although there are evil spirits out there. It’s just that if you don’t have an affinity with the spirit – feel a definite attraction or good feeling about the place – then it wouldn’t be able to help you much. A doctor may be an excellent practitioner, but if he doesn’t have an affinity with the patient then there’s not much he can do for him. The same is true of spirits.

The physical appearance of the spot where a nature spirit abides is a useful check, but it shouldn’t be allowed to be the only criteria. Just because a place looks gloomy or frightens us a little doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it. Powerful spirits are always a bit frightening. They command respect, and will righteously punish disrespect. They can actually knock us around if we approach them in a casual or offhand way.

A good friend of mine, a magician, was once climbing a spirit mountain with his baby daughter in his arms. Evidently the mountain spirit felt that his mood was disrespectful, since near the top there was a sudden clap of thunder out of a blue sky.

My friend understood at once that he had blown it. He lost his footing and tumbled down. Since he was trying to protect the baby he couldn’t protect himself, and he broke his collarbone in three places. Since then he hasn’t been able to windsurf; and formerly he was the windsurfing champion of Central America.

The point isn’t that we must be in dour, super-serious moods to visit power places and nature spirits. Rather, we must approach them with respect. That’s all.

When you have found a likely nature spirit, i.e. when you feel that you’re in the right place, approach the spirit by making an obeisance. Approach it as you would a wise old person whom you are asking to help you. You can take it a little present, such as flowers or some object meaningful to you.

Try to feel the personality of that spirit, sense its energy. Is it an active, dominating male presence or a receptive, soothing female presence? Does it seem to be young and vigorous or old and placid?

Some of the feeling is usually reflected in the physical appearance of the place. The spirit will tell you what to do there. Whatever it is that you feel you should do, go for it.

Pay close attention to all your thoughts and feelings when you are in the presence of a spirit. In the beginning it’s difficult to tell which are our thoughts and feelings, and which are the spirit talking to us.

After a bit of practice it’s not hard to tell which is which. If you are in a relaxed, open state of mind in the presence of a nature spirit, then probably any thoughts or feelings you have are communications from the spirit. You would probably have regarded them as your own thoughts and feelings unless this fact was to be pointed out to you at the moment.

However, it doesn’t really matter if you can consciously channel the spirit talking to you or not. This is actually a sidetrack, since the real healing work that nature spirits do has nothing to do with thoughts or feelings. They deal with us on a much deeper level than thoughts or feelings.

So if you go to a nature spirit in good faith, with an open heart, the spirit’s power will heal you with every visit.

(excerpted from Magical Almanac free monthly ezine: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MagicalAlmanac)

Click here to read: What are Spirits? Part 1

Also click here to go to Dare 2B aware – because you are entitled to my opinion

 

Upper World Realm Of Gods Teachers And Guides

By Viola Woolcott

The upper world is an ethereal, bright place. The light tends to be translucent and pastel coloured. It is the world of the gods, of cosmic beings, spirit guides and elders who normally appear in human as well as angelic form. It is not as earthy and practical as the lower world, as their help and guidance is more general and more philosophical. The upper world is a spiritual realm which within itself contains the stars. The world where the blueprints of life can be seen.

In travelling to the upper world, we travel upwards. In order to get there you travel through a membrane which can appear like a cotton wool cloud. The realms are all linked and if you travel infinitely up the upper world, it eventually loops around to the Lower World.

The upper worlds are where you find your teachers and your guides. Where teachings about healing and identity are found with the help of guides as well as the lessons of mutual responsibilities.

The upper world is the realm, where the shaman negotiates with the gods. This world is mainly entered in the most dire cases, for example a deathly illness.

The three worlds are connected and are equal. One would not exist without the other.

Trance Dance

By Viola Woolcott

We find evidence of dance from the beginning of recorded history. From the ancient Shamans to the modern day Shamans, Trance Dance has been a unique combination of healing sounds, vigorous and purposeful percussive rhythms as well as transformational breathing skills. Our ancestors in this ancient time, viewed nature as well as its elements as an expression of God. A Trance state promotes spiritual awakening, physical stamina, emotional well being as well as mental clarity. The dance is an act of worshipping and healing supported by unique musical soundtracks specifically for this type of healing.

To stimulate inner visions and to reveal hidden messages as well as answers to the many life’s questions a blindfold or bandana is used. The blindfold symbolizes solitude. It shuts down the major source of distractions to the brain, so maximum concentration can be achieved.

The origin of the dance was copying nature through movement as well as sounds. It was the first and highest way to connect with spirit. Trance Dance is the doorway to the soul. It takes you on an inner journey. You enter the inner aspects of the self and explore the body, mind and spirit connection which is not limited to your normal perceptions of time and space. There are no expectations, once awakened, the inner self knows the steps, as spirit takes over, so anyone can do it. The journey is not in your head or mind, it is a journey into your heart.

For thousands of years, a vital part of shamanic and eastern dance cultures have been ritual trance journeys. Shamans danced to enter the consciousness or become the spirit of the sun, the moon and various animal and plant life. They believed that the spirits within nature could empower them with compassion, courage and reveal insights into the future. Indigenous people have used this practise worldwide. Spirits are invited to give the visions or the healing to the people in need, to return home the lost “Soul Parts”, to bring about spiritual wholeness.