(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:57 AM)
The practice of shamanism is not easily defined. The best I can do to get you started is to define a few parameters.
shaman is one who goes into an altered state of consciousness at will.
While in this altered state, he or she makes a conscious choice to
journey to another reality, a reality which is outside of time and
space. This other reality is composed of three layers: the lower world,
the middle world and the upper world and is inhabited by helping
spirits. The shaman is able to establish relationships with these
spirits and to bring back information and healing for the community or
Most importantly, shamanic work makes a
practical difference in this world we live in. The work brings about a
change. The journeys are undertaken with a specific purpose in mind.
basic principle of shamanism is the belief that everything has a spirit
and is alive. The tree has a spirit, the rock has a spirit, my drum has
a spirit, and yes, even this computer has a spirit. If everything has a
spirit and is alive, we humans then find ourselves in a position of
equality rather than dominance. If you follow this logic, you begin to
realize that shamanism is a radical act. Shamans don’t follow the laws
of man; they follow the laws of spirits. They don’t dominate the earth
and its creatures; they strive to live in harmony and balance.
Shamanism has enjoyed a resurgence of interest in the last twenty years. Sandra Ingerman’s book Soul Retrieval, Mending the Fragmented Self and
The Foundation for Shamanic Studies (directed by Michael Harner) have
contributed to the heightened interest. Many indigenous shamans have
come forward in recent years to help train others and share their
knowledge. Their prophecies have urged them forward; the time is now.
Another answer to "WHAT IS SHAMANISM" comes from The Foundation for Shamanic Studies:
tens of thousands of years, our ancient ancestors all over the world
discovered how to maximize human abilities of mind and spirit for
healing and problem-solving. The remarkable system of methods they
developed is today known as "shamanism," a term that comes from a
Siberian tribal word for its practitioners: "shaman" (pronounced
SHAH-mahn). Shamans are a type of medicine man or woman especially
distinguished by the use of journeys to hidden worlds otherwise mainly
known through myth, dream, and near-death experiences. Most commonly
they do this by entering an altered state of consciousness using
monotonous percussion sound.
What we know today about shamanism
comes from the last living bearers of this ancient human knowledge, the
shamans of dying tribal cultures scattered in remote parts of the
world. Few of them are left today, due to the destruction of their
peoples and cultures, and to deliberate attempts to eradicate the
shamans and their knowledge, even though shamanism is not a religion,
but a methodology.
Now, at the last moment, open-minded Westerners
are beginning to discover for themselves that the shamanic methods can
yield astonishing results in problem-solving and healing, for
themselves and for others. As a result of their use of the methods,
they are acquiring a new awareness of their spiritual unity with all
beings, with the Planet, and with the Universe. They are also
discovering that there is a dimension of reality beyond that ordinarily
word "shaman" comes from a Siberian term that includes both genders,
but the term "shamanka" is sometimes used by Pagans to denote a female
shaman. Shamans are found in indigenous cultures the world over and
shamanistic techniques are in widespread use among Pagans. In
traditional societies, one becomes a shaman through some form of vision
quest or near-death experience, during which the individual is
"astrally" torn to pieces and then reassembled. From then on they act
as healer and spiritual advisor to the community. Commonly they travel
up the World Tree to the spirit realms to gain information or to
retrieve lost souls. They also utilize ecstatic dancing, drumming, and
natural drugs to alter their state of consciousness.They almost always
have totem animals and spirit guides to help. The Russian artist
Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was fascinated by shamans in his country
and explored the theme extensively in his work with "The Blue Rider." A
shaman, in the anthropological sense of the word, is not something a
person becomes by reading a book. Pagans utilize many of these
techniques; very few Pagans are shamans in the anthropological sense.
is a set of tools and techniques used to interact with the spirit world
and the world around us. It has no specific pantheon of gods and is
attached to no particular culture. It is a way of looking at the world
and at yourself. There are no hard set rules, no hierarchy to try and
work through. Shamanism is the oldest known form of spiritual practice.
It is a time-tested practice, what works is kept, what doesn’t is left
behind. When our ancient ancestors prayed that the spirit of the Deer
would come to them allowing them a good hunt, they were using shamanic
techniques although I am sure that was not the word they used to
of us are taught to think of time as a linear thing. Minutes, seconds,
hours.... These are just words humans have given to a concept that we
choose to call time. For shamans this is a very restricted view of
time. We all know the sayings, "Time flies" and "the minutes just
crawled by." Time flows forward and backward, swiftly and slowly. It is
a relative concept. You can ask your guide
to teach you how to slow time or speed up time. Slowing time is
especially useful before journeying. You can experience hours in the spirit world
in what seems like minutes in the physical world. Your guide can also
teach you how to travel to the future or retrieve things or change
events from the past. This is a good way to get closure with events
that have haunted you, even if the change is in the spiritual world
instead of the physical.
shamans recognize the powers of the four directions, North, East, South
and West. Depending on the type of shamanism they often also recognize
two more, Sky and Earth. They are called by different names depending
on your practice, for example, Mother Earth and Father Sky or Earth
Mother and Sky Father. A seventh is also used by certain people. The
seventh direction is inside of yourself.
Songs and Chants:
type of shamanism has many traditional songs and chants. There are also
personal ones that you are born with or are given by your spirit guides
to help raise power or gain protection. Songs and chants allow you to
clear you mind and get a different mind set. They are often used for
important events or when you feel you need aid (like right before that
big test that you are still nervous about even though you studied).
can meditate to learn your songs or ask your guide to teach you if it
is time for you to learn or you can drum till one comes to you. Once
you learn a song practice it until you will not forget it. The songs
can be long or short, but are most often set to a strong beat. One of
mine is actually set to the cadence of my walk. DonÕt worry if you feel
that you are just making it up, your guides will lead you to the right
words. Shamanism can often feel like make believe, but it is not.
often dance to help them get closer to the spirit world, to help raise
energy and to open and clear the way for them to access their power.
Dancing helps make a visualization become reality. Dancing can help
tell the story of a journey. Practice dancing and moving rhythmically
to a strong beat for at least five minutes at a time to build up your
stamina. Half jogging in place is a good way to start. Try dancing one
of your journeys. Show what you do with your motions. Don't worry about
what you look like, just let yourself move, even if it is as simple as
walking and gesturing.
Talismans, like amulets
or pouches containing symbolic items, crystals and/or herbs, can help
protect you on your journeys and in real life. For example I have a
small leather pouch filled with certain sayings, crystals, and symbols.
I feel that it helps keep my connection with my spirit guides strong
and I rarely go far from home without it. It is the trust in the energy
that gives the protection not the talisman itself. The talisman is only
a physical symbol of the energy. You can have talismans that exist only
in the spirit world and the power and protection will be the same as
long as your belief is the same. Gifts that you receive on your
journeys are powerful talismans, even if you cannot see them with open
eyes. Talismans serve as one of many reminders that the spirit world is
out there and available for help if we remember to ask.
have a very close connection to the earth and therefore to rocks and
crystals. Shamans use crystals to amplify energy and to help heal.
Since crystals are used as tools they are often prepared and then kept
until needed, not worn or displayed publicly. The clearer and more even
the crystal the better it can exchange energy. Remember to cleanse
crystals, especially bought crystals, before you work with them. There
are many ways to cleanse crystals, rinsing in ocean water, burying in
salt, placing in running water, running through incense or sage smoke,
or freezing. For example, I run crystals through running water to
energize them, let them air dry, in the sun if possible, and then run
them through incense smoke while tuning them to myself. Cleanse
crystals whenever you feel they need it.
Although I feel that
just handling a cleansed crystal tunes it to you, you may wish to tune
them to you by greeting the crystal, and then projecting your name into
it three times. You should also ask it if it has any special
properties. If you wish to use it for anything specific now is the time
to set that idea into the crystal and ask its permission.
draw energy to a certain place, like your work area, studio, or ritual
space, you can set up six (or four if you prefer) clear quartz crystals
four in a circle around the area, one in each of the four directions,
and two in the center, one pointing up for the sky and one pointing
down for the earth. Try to stay out of this area if you are feeling
negative or sick since the crystals will magnify you feelings.
Please see Gemstones and Crystals for more information on different types of crystals and gemstones.
is a personal quest for knowledge and inner power, but it is a quest
that has traditionally taken place within the confines of a tribe or
family group. The same holds true for those who follow a shamanic path
today, but our groups might be different. We could work to guide and
aid our family or a group of friends or a pagan circle. These groups
are just as valid and appropriate a place for a modern person walking a
shamanic path as a tribe was to an ancient one. A shaman's place is
within a community, not apart from it.
Shamans have held an
important place in many different cultures throughout the world since
our beginnings. They have been mediators, ceremonialists, healers,
diviners, many different kinds of artists and much more. They learn and
work with power for both themselves and the good of those around them.
They understand the connection and need for balance amongst all things,
that all aspects of the world that we share with the rest of creation
is alive, humans, animals, plants, rocks, and even the wind.
people generally came to a shamanic path by being chosen and trained by
an experienced shaman, or by inheriting the role from a parent. Often
people choose or are led to follow a shamanic path after a near death
experience, but that doesn’t mean that you have to go out and try to
kill yourself if you want to learn shamanism. In today's world many
people come to the shamanic path becasue they feel drawn to it or
curious about it. Anyone can incorporate shamanic practices into their
lives. You only need to believe that you can.
in shamanism does not make you a Shaman. If you are just starting this
path it is much more appropriate to say you are following a shamanic
path or a student of shamanism. Shaman is one among many titles that
can be used for a person who has followed and studied this path for
many years. Another common title is Medicine Woman or Man.
common misconception is that shamanism is synonymous with Native
American spirituality. Native Americans were one of many groups that
used shamanic practices in their spirituality. Many other cultures did
and still do, from South America all the way to Siberia in fact. Some
of the better known shamanic paths include Native American shamanism,
Celtic shamanism, and Siberian shamanism. The following pages are
purposefully very general, except for a few that were written by
someone with a Native American background as an example of that path.
Almost all forms of shamanism hold to the main ideas and concepts that
follow, although the particulars and dieties will vary from group to
group and even from tribe to tribe.
usertype:1 tt= 0
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(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:57 AM)
The Path of the Feather: A shamanic journey, medicine wheels and spirit animals
The Path of the Feather is about becoming a shaman through your own life as a vision quest.
Path of the Feather as a teaching, is about becoming a contemporary
shaman by seeing and hearing the voices of the living earth. It is
about finding out who you are by making medicine wheels and listening
to the voices of the spirit animals and ancient ones. It is about you
living your ordinary life as your vision quest, as your shamanic
journey. It is about you becoming one who sees and one who heals the
earth with intent
This shamanic journey is your personal story
of transformation, empowerment, and healing. The Path of the Feather is
about your journey right now, embodying the sacred in the simplest
ways. Here, the shaman's journey is not presented as something that is
unusual or foreign, it is about seeing the earth as sacred, and living
your life as sacred, from where you are now. It is about seeing
yourself as a shaman, about seeing who you are on earth and what you
are about to do. It is about personal transformation, about opening
your eyes and awakening.
What is a shaman and how does the
concept apply to art and healing ?The shaman in tribal cultures is the
person who sees into the sacred world and shares the visions with the
people. The shaman brings their sacred visions out as art, music,
dance, and storytelling. By this ritual art process, the shaman heals
themselves, others, and the earth. By having visions of healing and
doing sacred ritual the shaman makes the visions come true. This is
ancient magic, ancient healing. The shaman manifests reality in the
outer world, from the visionary world. That is the someway the world
was created from God's vision. We are all her vision on earth, we are.
Path of the Feather is about you going inward to your source of power.
It does not need a teacher, or a trip to India, it only needs you where
you are now, and the earth around you. The Path of the Feather has
three simple steps. The first step is the making of the shaman, which
involves surrender to the earth. It involves your reframing your whole
life as sacred and healing. The second step is seeing the earth as
sacred, which involves hearing the ancient spirits sing, and seeing out
of the eyes of the spirit animals in order to understand the earth's
story. The third step is the healing, the making of the living medicine
wheel, which involves doing rituals to heal yourself , others, and the
earth. In the moments that you do this, you will be found, and know who
you are, because the living earth gives you the gifts of who you are
and what you are to do. This will lead you to the place on the earth
where you will know that you are perfectly loved. It will bring out
your inner artist and healer. It will let you be yourself. For all we
are is her most beautiful aspect, her artist and healer, her visionary
In our work with healing artists, we have found that
they can work better if they see themselves as doing sacred or shamanic
work. This is because the first artist and the first healer were one,
the shaman, so the concept itself is deeply rooted in history.
call this site The Path of the Feather because out of all the traces of
the animals, feathers are the easiest to find. It takes a special
moment, a sacred space, to see the beauty of the feather, and if you
have paused long enough to notice, and stopped long enough to pick it
up, you can be assured you are already on this path. If you have never
stopped long enough to pick up a feather it is now time for you to
begin. Birds leave their feathers as their traces all around us. You
won't find other traces from animals around you as easily. Unless you
are lucky enough to live in a wild place, bears or lions don't leave
traces near your home except in your visions. But right in front of you
in the parking lot of the market is a feather taking you on this
journey. It will take you to the sacred sites, it will sing to you of
the legends, it will make you alive. It will take you to the sacred
places near you, and give you gifts to tell you who you are and what
you are to do. Each time you pick up a feather it is a reminder that
you are on the right path and that your life is sacred again.
the Path of the Feather, we pray for world peace. In this dark time,
making medicine wheels for peace and forgiveness is our work. Making
art, writing, dancing and making music for world peace is our work.
Pray and make medicine wheels to heal those who are in pain, to forgive
and bring world peace.
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:58 AM)
The Path of the Feather has three simple steps The first step is the making of the medicine wheel.
step is making a medicine wheel and making your life sacred. It is
using your own body and placing it inside the medicine wheel and using
the medicine wheel as an atlas for your primary orientation in sacred
space. The medicine wheel is an atlas to orient you in sacred space and
time, just like an atlas orients you to travel on roads on a trip in
physical space. This step is grounding yourself in a sacred world view
with intent. Your making the medicine wheel is done on purpose to bring
The second step is hearing the earth’s voices
involves you hearing the ancient spirits sing, and your seeing out of
the eyes of the spirit animals in order to understand the earth’s
story. This step is finding your own animals and ancient spirits. They
will tell you your story. They are the voices of the vision quest.
The third step is finding a feather to tell you that you are on the path. The
whole process is the making of you as a shaman, the reframing of your
life as a vision quest. This is The Path of the Feather. You are
already on it. The medicine wheel will help you remember and know that
all you have done has already been on this path.
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:59 AM)
of the most basic beliefs of shamanism is the belief in the web of
power that runs through all things. Shamans believe that everything is
alive and is connected in a mutually supportive way to everything else
in the world. It is this web of power that brings sense to the world.
The web has an unlimited amount of potential and power to send to the
physical world. Understanding this web of power, this spirit world, is
necessary to understanding and learning shamanism.
in the physical world have "spirit." It is the spirit that is the
source of power. Shamans communicate with the spirit of both living and
(what most would consider) non-living things. Through this
communication they gain an understanding of the world around them and
the more you learn the more power you have to draw from.
general rule, shamans believe that unlike natural objects, plants and
animals, each human has his or her own unique spirit body. (I believe
all things do, but that's my twist on it.) This spirit body can be see
surrounding people like brightly colored flames or heat waves. The
spirit body normally extends around people anywhere from eighteen
inches to about three feet and responds to how people feel and what
they are thinking. Brighter colors have higher vibrations and darker,
duller ones have lower vibrations. Some believe that the size of a
spirit body equates to how much power a person has. Basically it is
aura by another name.
Since shamans deal so closely with the
spirit world it is easy to become "lost" between the real and the
spirit worlds. People who are always daydreaming or are said to have
their heads in the clouds are such unattached people. Shamanic presence
is the ability to live with a foot in the real world and a foot in the
spirit world and not forget who and where you are. This is done by
grounded and 'present,' or mentally aware of your physical presence.
Shamans must know where they are at all times. This is one of the
reasons shamans seem powerful to others, they always know where they
are. People very familiar with Shamanic techniques and very aware of
their presence can do a quick inner journey while walking down the street.
way shamans stay organized and focused as to where they are is through
use of certain images. One is the Tree of Life. Its roots are in the
Lower World, also known as the underworld or world of the dead, where
shamans go to talk with ancestors, to find lost information, or to find
information about diseases and other things to do with the physical
body. Travel to the land of the dead should not be attempted without a guide.
The trunk of the tree is known as the Middle World. Often the trunk is
seen as square, one side for each of the four directions and their
corresponding season. It is the magickal version of our reality and
shamans visit it to solve everyday problems. The branches of the tree
are in the Upper World. It is a place of the future, creativity and
flight. No one world is viewed as better or more important than any
other and most shamans from around the world have used similar guides.
such image is the medicine wheel, also known as a mandala. It is a
circle that is divided into four sections (or sometimes subdivided down
to eight) that symbolize the four directions. The circle of the wheel
symbolizes the Middle World, the sky above it, the Upper World, and the
earth below it the Lower World. the center of the circle is the center
of the universe and the entire circle, including the Upper and Lower
worlds are spiraling to the center. Every person has a place on this
wheel which symbolizes where they are in relationship to their spirit
center at the center of the circle. The better you know your center the
more power you will have.
Here is a simple exercise to help you find out where you are on the medicine wheel.
yourself and relax. Close your eyes. Create a medicine wheel in your
mind. Divide it into the four quarters with two lines intersecting in
the middle. Decide which line stands for which direction. Make a dot in
the center and then color the quadrants however you wish. Let a spirit
animal come to symbolize each quadrant. Don't think about it, they'll
come if you should be doing this. If not stop and try again at another
time. Ask your spirit animal
to show you where you are in the wheel. Remember the quadrant, the
color, the spirit animal for that section, and how close you are to the
center. Feel free to ask your spirit guide what this means for you at
this time. Thank the spirits for their help and come back to where you
are (in other words, feel your body and what you are sitting on etc...)
Then open your eyes. Write and/or draw what you saw. You should do this
every so often to see where you are in relation to your center.
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:00 AM)
Learning about Shamanism
you start to practice shamanism in your life you will start to see
obstacles being removed from your path and things starting to work for
you. You will notice that you will become more comfortable with
yourself and with the world around you. You will feel more connected
and will find potentials within yourself that you never before realized
were there. This will only happen if you let it and if you politely
work with the spirit world and give it a chance to work for you.
is on these pages is by no means everything there is to know, or even a
good percentage of it. As you study you might decide that you want to
go further than simply using some basic shamanic practices in your
life. If so then you will want to find a teacher. This teacher will not
necessarily be a human being in the physical plane. You might find that
you are more comfortable with and will learn more of what you want to
from a plant, animal or other spirit in the spirit world. Or you might
be more comfortable with a human teacher. Neither choice is better or
worse. It is all a matter of personal preference. Remember that formal
training will take time and dedication.
When choosing a teacher remember to be selective. You will find some great advice on the subject of at another link here: Finding A Teacher.
However when choosing someone to help you learn shamanism, there are
some other things to keep in mind. Look for someone who has a good
sense of humor and is able to laugh at themselves and help you laugh at
yourself, rather than someone who is serious all the time. A good
teacher should have respect for the world around them, for themselves
and you. They should be more willing to include people than to exclude
them. They should not claim to be perfect and should not expect you to
be. They should be able to make mistakes and learn form them and to
show emotions. They should have a strong shamanic presence and should
practice what they teach.
live with a foot in two worlds, the physical one that we all know and
the visionary or "spirit" world, the world of the imagination.
Shamanism teaches how to bridge the gap between the real and the
imaginary. The main tool of the shaman to this end is visualization, or
simply put, their imagination.
Put the idea that imagination
is useless make-believe play out of your head right now if you want to
learn anymore about shamanism. It is not pointless mental activity and
it is most definitely not just for children. It is the link to the
spirit world. If you want to use Shamanic techniques in your life, get
used to the idea of using your imagination.
access the spirit world easily, but learn to block this ability as they
get older. This is not a bad thing. Children need to learn the
difference between the real world and the imaginary, but some people
learn to shut it off too well and will need to relearn what they
automatically knew how to use when they were a child. But don't worry,
it's just like riding a bike, you'll remember very quickly.
visualization uses all of your senses, sight, touch, hearing, smell,
taste, and even the 'sixth' sense if you wish to use it. The more
senses you bring into your visualizations the more powerful they will
become and the easier your travels will be.
Here are some
visualization exercises to try. They are in order from simple to more
difficult. It will probably be most helpful if you work them in the
order given. Remember after you complete an exercise feel your body and
your heart beat and where you are sitting before opening your eyes. It
can be jarring to be relaxed from practicing an exercise and then
suddenly being back in the physical world without a moment to adjust.
Balance is all important to a shaman. Since all life is interconnected through the web of power, all actions will have many reactions. You must consider these reactions before you act. The Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law are just as valid in shamanism as they are in Wicca.
just as the triple goddess of Wicca has the crone aspect to deal with
death and change, shamanism also deals with these aspects of life.
Shamans understand that for anything to be created something must be
destroyed, that without dark there could be no light. Good and evil are
just flip sides of the coin. There is such a thing as appropriate
destruction, for instance, bad habits, beliefs that you wish to change,
unhealthy relationships, etc... Destruction has tremendous power and
shamans understand this and use it to benefit themselves and those
Creation is just as important, but without
destruction there can be no creation and vice versa. Shamans must learn
to balance these two forces in their lives. Power is found in balance
because if you keep you life balanced and consider balance in what you
do then you are in tune with the web of power.
This means creating and destroying, giving and receiving. The more you
give the more you shall receive, but remember that to stay in balance
you must accept the gifts you receive, just giving is not enough.
Accept your gifts gratefully and remember that everything in life is a
Shamans are very aware of the big picture. If your goals
are in harmony with the big picture (the spirit world's version of it,
not necessarily what you think it ought to be) then if you work towards
your goals you will reach them. Not necessarily when you think they
should or in the way you expected but they will come to be. The key to
it all is neutrality. Strong emotions can cloud or even block
information coming to you from the spirit world, the same holds true
for blind opinions. You have to be willing to look at both sides of an
issue because sometimes the answers will be on the side opposite your
Shamans learn to detach from situations, often
through the use of humor. It's very hard to stay emotional and attached
to an issue when you are laughing at the situation or at yourself.
Humor can be found in everything, especially if it involves humans, you
just need to learn to see it. If you are too emotional about something
your road will probably lead to failure. Your emotions will blind you.
The same goes if you pay too much attention to something. A watched pot
never boils, you know. The spirit world needs to be free to work and to
give as it chooses. You will need to learn to surrender to succeed and
to understand that the spirit world works in its own way and time.
to listen to yourself, your guides, and allies and to look at the big
picture and consider balance in what you do. Be willing to change and
to view it as an interesting learning experience, rather than hiding or
running from it. Do not let your emotions cloud what you do. Most of
all remember to be patient and accepting of the spirit world.
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:01 AM)
Rituals & Ceremonies
and ceremonies are performed for many reasons, birth, death, coming of
age, marriage, full moons, new moons, equinoxes, solstices, as
preparation for a journey, before healings, and to celebrate important
events. Rituals serve as a focus for what you wish to accomplish and as
a reminder of our connection to the web of power.
and ceremonies tend to use rattles as well as drums. Drums are used to
help the shaman journey to and from the world of the spirits. Rattles
tend to bring the spirits to a place. Rattles are also used for
directing energy much in the same way wiccans use wands. Rattles are
traditionally made from dried gourds filled with small stones and
attached to a stick. However anything that rattles nicely can by used
in a pinch although one made from natural objects always tend to have
the nicest feel. Do whatever feels right for you.
following are links to information about some rituals and ceremonies.
They are by no means word for word accounts of how to do them. Instead
they were written to serve as a guide for people to learn from and
develop their own rituals out of. It is your life. It is your path.
Live it for yourself.
are all searching for something we know as home, something that we feel
is home. Home is not necessarily a particular physical place. Rather it
is a place of connection in the heart that is full of belonging. Home
is something that changes as we change. It is a place where we are at
peace with things, where we are safe and open to whatever needs to
happen. Sometimes we stumble across home without meaning to. Home is a
feeling of warmth, it is a moment of truth that transends all time.
we live our life , we learn about home and we learn about ourselves.
Home is a story. Home is a way. Home is a Medicine Song carried into
the night by the Moon and further along by her lover, the Sun as they
come together in harmony and balance. Home is all that feels familiar
and comfortable, it inspires us to always and forever be more. It is
the silent dream of a child, wishing, hoping, creating...... unlimited
by the fears and emptiness of those who turn away from the earth's
No matter what, home is the ground upon which we walk,
which has always been there for us and always offers herself to us
tenderly. The land and the people are one. The spirit never dies.
The way of the Shaman is the way of life, it is the way of humility, of giving, of loving and of thankfulness.
you walk your journey do not forget to touch Elohino, Mother Earth. As
you walk let your footsteps fall lightly upon the ground. Come down
upon your knees press your hands gently upon her body, feel her heart
beating. Do not forget what she feels like. Listen closely to her
humming, her smells and sounds. Listen to her ancient song that needs
no words. She will never ask you to come to her, that is not her way.
She asks for nothing and offers everything.
Whether you have
found home or you are looking, it is good to be thankful. Thankful for
what it is that has power for you. What holds beauty for you. What
gives you peace and joy. The Sacred Fire glows eternally in our hearts
and for this, we have much to be thankful.
These are my words
of life, these are my words of truth. I speak the words, and this is my
breath of life, take it in and offer it forth.
Ogedoda Galun' lahi
O Great One
Who dwells in the sky
illuminating all that is,
Giving good medicine of life
and the Great Creation,
our Mother Earth
Knowing that all things are as they should be,
We give thanks for the
beauty of all things
O Great One
We Give Thanks
you noticed that certain places just "feel" better than others and that
others make you "feel" uncomfortable? This is because the energy in
certain areas has a more harmonious, or positive, reaction with people
and the energy in other places can have a negative reaction with
people. These effects come from the rocks and earth of the area.
can effect the energy levels of the area around them (this is easily
noticed during spellwork or rituals). If people feel enough negativity
in one place the area itself starts to feel bad and the same holds true
if people feel enough positive emotion in one area, it will slowly
become positively charged. Churches and places of worship are good
examples of this. I had the opportunity to visit a concentration camp
in what used to be East Germany a few years ago. I could feel the
negative energy of the place even as we were driving up to it and that
was without even trying. Cleansing an area with sage can often clear
negativity, especially if the negativity centers in a room in your
home. It isn't quite that easy to cleanse a place such as a large
metropolitan area, for example.
Certain areas can have
tremendous energy to them. You can often tell when you have found one
by a tingling feeling in your hands, feet or face. A few famous
examples are Stonehenge and the pyramids, but there are many more
places, both large and small, that hold tremendous power. There are
many small areas of energy all around, even in your own home. Certain
places can be beneficial to all, some just to certain people. Animals
and plants are very aware of these power places and will either flock
to them or avoid them depending on the types of energies there. These
places can magnify your emotions, so be aware of how you are feeling
before you visit one. They are also known to balance, energize and
heal. However, there are also many places that have the opposite
effects, so be careful. What is a good place for one person may not be
so for another.
To find a place of power relax, close your eyes, ask your guide
to help you and feel for one. Try to sense it either as a sensation on
one side of your body or as a glow that you see as you look around with
your eyes closed. Open your eyes and move towards the area you sensed
the energy from. Repeat this until you find one, i.e. the sensation or
glow is all around you. Ask your guide if this is a good place for you
or if you should keep searching. If you should keep searching repeat
the original steps, but look for a different spot than the one you
already found. If it is the right spot for you ask the Earth to let you
use the spot and thank her when you are done. Always greet her when you
visit it. It is best to do this exercise outside in natural
surroundings. If you can do it blindfolded and just feel your way to
the spot that would be best. If you do try it blindfolded, have someone
you trust with you to keep you from breaking something or falling off a
Try journeying form the spot you have found and from
where you normally work from and feel the difference. You can also try
journeying form different areas in you home. Some may have better
energy for you than others.
Even if you cannot physically go
to your power place, once you have found it you can still benefit from
its energies by visiting there in the spirit world or by visualizing
it in your mind. Make it a practice to do this until you become
comfortable with it. Then when you need a boost your place of power
will be a thought away.
You can also create your own place of
power that can be used for rituals and journeys. Sites such as these
are sometimes called Medicine Wheels. Pick a place that is outdoors if
possible, basically flat, and feels right. It can even be at a place of
power you have searched for if you can find one that will work. Outline
a circle of about eight or nine feet in diameter, or whatever size
feels best to you (you might want a larger area if it will be for
groups) with natural objects such as stones and pine cones. If you use
objects that came from plants, use found objects. Refrain from pulling
apart a pine tree just to line a ritual circle. It goes against the
entire idea. Smudge the area with sage and mark the center with a
firepit or a large stone, or something else that feels right to you.
Call upon Earth and Sky as you do this. Place markers such as rocks at
the four directions, calling each one as you do. You may also wish to
(two in the center one pointing up, one down, and one at each
direction) to amplify the energies. You may also want to place markers
at northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest as well. Add whatever
other markers or objects you feel necessary.
significant aspect of shamanism is journeying. This could either be
questing within or using the Tree of Life as a guide. Journeying is
done by imagining
or visioning. You will enter what is often called an "altered state of
consciousness" or an "ecstatic state." Basically it is a deep
meditative trance in which you journey, most often with the help of a spirit guide,
within yourself or using the Tree of Life as a map. Journeying allows
you to communicate with your spirit self and with the web of power. It
is often taught that when you are astral traveling and you meet
something that scares you, you should send it away, often to "the
light," or leave yourself. Things aren't quite that easy in shamanism.
Often you will be shown or put through very disturbing experiences. In
fact this is often used in initiations or ceremonies in the spirit
world to destroy the old and bring in the new.
shamans use drumming to help them into and out of a trance state. You
do not have to use drumming, and rhythmic sound will work, for example
ocean waves. You may use tapes, but it is best if there is some control
over the rhythm to adjust it as the need arises, so it is preferable
have "live" music. You may either drum yourself or have someone drum
for you (which gives you the added benefit of having someone to watch
your body as you travel). You can journey without the sound, but it
really does help you get into the mood and go into a trance easier. It
also helps call you back from your journey. I would suggest that you do
not try to travel without it until you are very comfortable with the
process. Besides how hard is it to find something to tap on? You do not
have to have a fancy drum, an empty tissue box will do in a pinch.
length of a journey depends on the person and on what they are trying
to do. Try and make sure that there will be no interruptions. If you
find outside thoughts intruding just accept them and move on. The same
holds true if you try to judge what you see. Just accept that your mind
is trying to judge then move on.
When you travel remember to
be respectful, calm and patient. You won't get very far if you aren't,
in fact you will probably get some rather amusing lessons on it.
Normally the answers you get will be simple and direct, they can also
come in puzzle or dreamlike form. If so there is often more to it than
there seems. Do not try to think it to death just let it rest and you
will understand when it is time. Accept what you are shown or given
(gifts from the spirit world should be treasured) even if what you see
makes no sense to you at the time. Trust that it will eventually when
the time is right. You should have no expectations or preconceived
notions of what you will find in the spirit world, if you do it can
skew what you find there.
If you try to journey and nothing
happens don't panic and, no, you probably did nothing wrong. Don't
stress about it. You might not be ready or it might not be the right
time. Just wait and try again later. Timing matters and remember that
practice makes perfect.
For additional information please see the following pages: Journey Within
Using The Map
Relaxation and Grounding
This goes back
to the idea of creation and destruction. Something must be destroyed
for something to be created. We all have inner demons to face and
facing them is rarely a pretty sight or a fun experience, but it is
something that must be done if we wish to change and grow. Most people
are uncomfortable with change because it delves into the unknown, but
you need to learn to be comfortable with it if you wish to use shamanic
Do not be afraid of what you will face when you travel. Your guide
will be there to support and protect you. They will take care of you
body and protect you from things not involved with your journey. If you
are actually truly uncomfortable and frightened by something you are
supposed to face then you are probably not ready to face it. Learn
patience and come back to it another time. However do not just ignore
it and hope it will go away.
Another bit of advice. Be careful
when you travel. Try to have someone to watch your body if at all
possible, especially when you are just starting to learn how to travel.
Always ask a spirit guide
to guard in the physical realm and in the spirit realm while you
travel. They are glad to do this, just remember to thank them. Remember
that while you are journeying you body might as well be asleep. This
means no journeying while bungee jumping or performing surgery or
anything else that requires alertness or might entail danger.
Also if you haven't already read the advice we have posted at Astral Projection please do.
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Traditions and Tribes
spiritual tradition are diverse in tribe, language, and location, but
have many shamanic techniques in common. Most believe that one distant
creative force charged a pantheon of lesser being to regulate creation.
The tribal medicine men function as intermediaries between the people
and these spirits, as well as the ancestors. They are respected as
priests and ministers. Rituals use music, drumming, and dance.
Westerners see the influences of African spiritual traditions in the
religions of Voodoo, Santeria, Condomble’ and Ifa.
Asian spiritual traditions have a strong shamanic foundation, with its
influence found in the nature based spiritual practices of China,
Tibet, Japan, and Korea. Technically, according to the etymology of the
word, shamanism most appropriately refers to the practices of those
spirit workers in Central Asia and Siberia.
not directly linked to modern traditions of witchcraft, the modern
seeker’s search for spirituality that led to the exploration of Native
American traditions has also led the seeker to explore the traditions
of the Australian Aboriginals. As diverse as the tribes of the Americas
and Africa, the Australian aboriginals share many shamanistic elements.
Best known among them is the belief in the Dreamtime and the reverence
of animal spirits.
the true oral traditions of the Druids may have been lost, the
mysteries of the Celts have been preserved through the myths and poetry
of Celtic traditions. Even though many have been Christianized from
their original pagan foundation, you can clearly see the roots of a
culture well versed in the spirit world when you read the tales of
Ireland regarding the Tuatha de Danaan, the Welsh Mabinogi myth cycle,
the classic transformation of Taliesin the Bard, and the prophecies of
Merlin. The pagan Celts were a culture that saw the spirit worlds side
by side with the material world, and one step could easily take you
through the gates of the human world into the realm of the spirits and
gods. Proponents of the old faiths claim that Celtic Shamanism has
survived under the veil of Christianity in folk customs honoring the
faery folk, second sight, spiritual healing, and the Underworld
tradition. Looking to the surviving folklore of the British Isles, one
is inclined to agree.
Central and South American
ancient empires of the Incans, Mayans, Aztecs, and Toltecs had rich
shamanic cultures that survive today in Central and South America with
modern practitioners. Although each of these cultures is very
different, they all share striking similarities. Mystical healers and
those who speak with the spirits are part of life in these lands. Their
magnificent buildings and potentially bloody rituals do not seem like
shamanism to the casual observer, yet like the Egyptians and Greeks,
their civilization and religion grew out of the guiding mysteries of
shamanic technique. Use of sacred calendars, herbal lore, sacred sites,
animal helpers, and spirit work can be found in these surviving
traditions despite the encroachment of new religions and technology. In
fact, like many African traditions, some have absorbed Christian
principles as a way of survival.
its sophisticated culture and architecture, ancient Egyptian
civilization is another culture that doesn’t spring to mind as being
shamanic, yet shamans have one eye focused on the next world, the
ancestors and the afterlife. Egyptian magick was focused on the
mysteries of death and the afterlife as well as for magick for daily
life. One of the most prominent myths of this land is the death and
resurrection of the god Osiris. Shamanic initiation journeys all over
the world are much like the story of Osiris. In the spirit world, the
shaman is confronted with death, horribly mutilated or torn into
pieces. The power of magick, sometimes embodied as a goddess,
resurrects the shaman, yet leaves him changed somehow, adding or
subtracting some element. This rebirth grants the shaman new powers.
Osiris was resurrected by his sister-wife, the goddess Isis, yet was
missing his phallus, thereby becoming the lord of the dead. He could no
longer create life, but gained a new kingdom. Perhaps Osiris was a
shamanic god, and the Egyptian dynasties evolved from a more shamanic
tribal culture. The story of Isis and Osiris became the basis of
Egyptian mystery schools.
Finnish people also have a full shamanic tradition that is fairly
unknown in the modern world. Historically, the Finns were well known
for being a nation of formidable wizards, holding great power and the
ability to change the winds and weather with their songs. They are a
nomadic people, coming out of Asia, who eventually settled in their
current homeland. Linguistically and magically they have more in common
with the ancient tradition of Siberia, Mongolia, and Korea than their
European counterparts. Some believe that the Finns may have predated
the Celts in the British Isles, influencing Celtic myth and magick.
Their shamanic practices continued when the Finns settled in North
America, and they were sometimes considered witches in the New World.
The word tietaja, referring to a shaman or wizard, is used in Finnish
translations of the bible to refer to the wise men or magi. Their
magick works primarily through the magicians relationship with the
spirits of nature and the gods, through trance, drumming, words of
power, song, and purification rituals of the sauna. Many of the
traditional myths, folklore and magical charms were eventually recorded
in the Kalevala, a collection of epic folk poems from the oral
traditions of Finland and Karelia, first compiled in 1835. It is known
as the Finnish National Epic.
magical lore and philosophy of Hawaii is called Huna, meaning “hidden
knowledge.” Practitioners of Huna are called kahunas, acting as
priests, ministers, and sorcerers to their people. Though this
tradition was almost wiped out due to the Christianization of the
Hawaiian islands, it has been preserved and its lore translated for the
modern world. Huna contains a quite detailed form of spiritual
psychology and healing. Kahunas have parallels in other Pacific
islands, such as the tahuna of Tahiti and the tohunga of New Zealand.
Traditions and Tribes Part 2
of the most interesting legacies of European shamanism comes from an
area in Northern Italy known as Friuli, where Italian, Etruscan,
Germanic, and Slavic traditions mingled. Although the pagan spiritual
practices of Tuscany honored the ancestors and were somewhat shamanic
in nature, in Friuli there existed a tradition know as the Benandanti,
who practiced an unusual blend of shamanic magick. The Benandanti were
an agricultural fertility cult, pagan in origin and possibly related to
the cults of Diana or the myths of the Wild Hunt. Later, Christian
beliefs were mingled with their own. When the witch trials of the
Burning Times caught up with them, the Benandanti honestly felt they
were good Christians, doing Christ’s and the Lord’s will.
members of the Benandanti, or “good walkers,” were marked at birth by a
caul that was preserved as a magical charm worn around their neck. On
the Ember Days, the days just before the equinoxes and solstices, they
would be called to service. Some say they were called by drums or
summoned by angels. Unlike many magical orders, the Benandanti were
called to gather together only in spirit, going into a deep slumber
like trance and projecting their spirits to a common meeting ground,
the Valley of Josaphat in the center of the world. They would
transform, or shape shift, into animals such as mice, rabbits, cats,
and butterflies. There in the valley, as good soldiers, they would
fight the forces of malignancy, decay, and corruption, all the things
that symbolized a poor harvest or harsh weather.
forces were embodied as “witches and warlocks” by the later Christian
Benandanti. Buying into the Christian propaganda, the witches, or “bad
walkers,” were different from the Benandanti because they caused
illness and harmed children, while the Benandanti protected the
harvest, village, and children from witches. They would fight the “bad
walkers” with stalks of fennel, known for its healing powers. If they
were successful, the year would be good. If defeated, the land would be
plagued with problems. They returned to their bodies by the dawn and
returned to otherwise normal lives.
the witch inquisitors, this all sounded too much like a witch’s sabbat,
though the Benandanti fiercely denied it. The Church did not strongly
persecute the Benandanti. To the modern eye, the rites of the
Benandanti are very shamanic-drums, festival days, traveling in spirit,
acting as sacred warriors of the village, shape changing, and using the
spiritual powers of plants to battle and heal.
some, the traditions of Greece and Rome are the first to come to mind
upon mention of the word paganism or witchcraft. Most people are
familiar with the classical gods of Olympus, and with the emphasis on
culture, society, and philosophy, most people don’t tend to think of
the Greco-Roman influence as particularly shamanic until you revisit
the myths. When you understand that shamanism is not necessarily a
tribal native religion, but a practice of walking between worlds, you
can’t help but see the parallels of the shaman in classic mythology.
Greco-Roman deities have shamanic and magical characteristics,
particularly Hermes, the messenger god. The story of Persephone’s
transformation from the maiden Kore while in the Underworld of Hades is
much like the shamanic initiation of the witch. In fact, some modern
witchcraft traditions reenact the decent of this goddess during
initiation rituals and seasonal celebrations. We now believe the
initiatory rituals of the Eleusinian Mystery Schools are based on the
stories of Demeter, Kore, and Hades. The Mystery Schools of Pythagoras,
Orpheus, Dionysus, Eleusis, and the imported Persian cults of Mithras
could all be considered formalized shamanic rites. The early Greek
mystics were certainly influenced by the more primal religions of the
northern territories of Thrace and Scythia, known as the land of
Native North American
discussing shamanism, most people who are unaware of the Siberian
origins of the word automatically assume that you are talking about the
medicine people of the Native American tribes. Although viewed as a
single culture by many, each tribe has its own mythology, rituals,
songs, and traditions. As there has been a revival of such religious
practices among Native people, some tribes have been willing to open
their doors to seekers, usually white men and women, who want to
participate and practice the medicine ways. Many people in the modern
pagan and New Age movements spend a lifetime searching for their own
practices and experiences, and participate in either Native rituals or
anglicized forms or Native rituals. Then they bring these experiences
to their own traditions of witchcraft. Since European witchcraft has
lost most of its specific shamanic rituals, modern witches draw upon
Native American teachings for inspiration. Many witches participate in
traditional forms of vision quests, sweat lodges, and tribal dancing,
often studying with a Native American teacher.
the Celts, when you look into the myths of the Norse, you will find a
rich, complex system of shamanic thoughts. Their prose, the epics of
the Eddas, encode this wisdom much like the Celtic texts. In some ways,
Norse mythology outlines the most complete and complex shamanic
cosmology of Western Europe, consisting on nine worlds in the three
regions of upper, lower, and middle levels. In each world dwell
spirits, gods, and creatures that find parallels in other cultures
across the globe.
many think of Norse magick as strictly the arena of rune magick and
divination, the Norse have a long history of shamanic practice and
seership, using song, poetry, and shivering and shaking to induce
trance. Norse shamanic practices are sometimes referred to as Seidr.
Seidr is associated with the goddess Freya and her priestesses. The
cults of the rune master god Odin, or Wotan, are also considered
shamanic in nature. Odin used the shamanic techniques of self
sacrifice, piercing his side with a spear, and hanging from the World
Tree to learn the mystery of the runes. Initiates of these mysteries
possibly reenact the sacrifices of Odin to gain inspiration, vision,
and magical power.
Siberian traditions of shamanism are possibly some of the oldest forms
of shamanism surviving today. Outlawed under Soviet rule, Siberian
shamans kept their knowledge and traditions in secret, and are not free
to practice again. The origins of the word shaman come from Siberia,
and many people theorize that the spread of tribal culture and
shamanism to the Americas began with these cultures as groups migrated
to other climates. When studying traditional teachings from these lands
you will find many similarities with all the great traditions, making
one wonder if this was one of the first fonts of magical knowledge.
Siberian shamanism weaves together information found in North and South
America, European, and Far Eastern traditions. Like other traditions,
those of Siberia emphasize that shamanism is a calling, a vocation, and
that one is literally called by the spirits to service.
Slavic traditions of magick and shamanism found in Eastern Europe
influenced the cults of the Benandanti in Northern Italy and continued
independently on their own for quite some time. Many countries in
Eastern Europe were the last to convert fully to Christianity.
Knowledge of a diverse pantheon of spirits and deities has survived
into modern times. Slavic traditions were very dualistic and had a
strong focus on nature spirits and ancestor reverence. Like many
cultures, Slavic tribes had a ritual totem animal. They also believed
in a great World Tree with three divisions. A personal tree was seen as
a sort of spiritual “telephone” to connect with the ancestors and other
worlds. These traditions have a wheel of yearly celebrations somewhat
similar to the modern pagan Wheel of the Year. Their religious orders
at all levels are open to both men and women.
Bibliography: The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft by Christopher Penczak
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Bibliography: Shamanic Experience
and plants often figure into shamanic journeys. They are there to
impart much knowledge and wisdom if we show a willingness to become
attuned to them. They can serve as guardians and guides because humans
have an affinity with them, though many are ignorant of such a
connection. Like trees, we began life as a seed which contained within
it our individual potential. Like trees, we receive nourishment from
the soil and the sun. Like trees, we grow and blossom in adulthood to
provide shelter and protection for others. And like trees, we, too
withstand the storms and traumas of life.
the physical plane, the primary purpose of trees is to guard and
protect the Earth’s environment. Without them, the atmosphere would
become polluted through an excess of carbon dioxide, ultimately
contaminating the environment. An another level, trees are the imagery
of protective forces, and also symbols of energy-power and of dormant
potential. This imagery surfaces from hidden depths of the subconscious
and unconscious when an altered state of mind brings it to the
attention of the consciousness.
through understanding a tree’s physical characteristics and applying
them in human terms and partly through a journey to seek a further
explanation, the sight of a particular species of tree, or trees on a
shamanic journey can act as a messenger through this imagery.
is a list of the attributes of trees and bushes that figure prominently
in shamanic journeys. It should help the shamanic adventurer to arrive
at a more meaningful understanding of the shamanic experience.
The alder is associated with transition and transformation, indicating
that adversity contains within it the seeds of a new beginning. Alder
imparts serenity and the power to avoid being swept away on emotional
tides. It teaches the need for calmness and the strength that comes
from taking an overview of a situation.
Shamans have associated the apple tree with making decisions and right
choices, and challenging options. The apple is protective and helpful
in those area of activity in which talents and skills are required to
be nurtured and developed through consistent care and persistent
practice. It emphasizes concentration.
The ash provides a key to understanding the holistic nature of the
universe and to realizing how the material and the spiritual are
connected. It also shows how one’s inner thoughts ultimately find
expression in the outer world of physical manifestation. The ash tree
indicates the need for a change of lifestyle to attain a right
relationship with the Earth and to link the outer and inner worlds. Its
special quality is resilience.
The beech tree is linked with the thirst for knowledge that nourishes
the soul, and is guardian of “lost” wisdom and a door of access to it
for those who quest for it with love in their hearts. It guards against
repeating mistakes and helps in the establishment of a firm foundation
for future action.
Fir: The fir tree is
the plant kingdom’s equivalent of the eagle. It is the protector of
distant vision, enabling the likely outcome of present or intended
actions to be foreseen and perspectives to be broadened. It is the tree
of the visionary and of the seer.
The gorse or furze bush is associated with purification and with
replenishment. It is the protector of efforts to gather the skills and
requisites necessary to attain that which is desired.
The hazel’s pliable branches provide shamans with dowsing tools, while
wands and staffs come from its thicker branches. Hazel stresses the
power of divination, the ability to discern Nature’s subtle influences
and the skill that is necessary to direct the will. It teaches the
value of quiet contemplation regarding the direction of creative
energies, and of self-sacrifice in taking care of the needs of others.
Since heather grows close to the ground it is associated with
practicalities. It was considered “lucky” because its soothing
qualities enhanced the pleasantries of dreams and aspirations from
which the future is fashioned by the subconscious. Heather guards the
“dream time” from negativity, thus bringing a good future and good
Holly: Holly enhances the
qualities of vigor and aggressiveness and stresses the need for direct
action but with balanced judgment. It is the guardian of the moment,
indicating the need to accept the reality of the present and to learn
Honeysuckle: The entwining
branches of the honeysuckle and the heady fragrance of its flowers were
associated with sensuousness and eroticism and the gradual revealing of
secrets. In some cultures it was the symbol of the labyrinth and the
quest for secrets of the soul. So honeysuckle is concerned with finding
a way to your own spiritual center and enjoying the thrill of the
experience. It guards against distractions.
Ivy’s energy is that of the wanderer so it is associated with travel
and the exploration of unknown places. It is related to forward vision
and with perceiving what is beyond that immediately to hand. It is a
guardian of regeneration.
Oak: The oak’s
special qualities are strength and durability. It grows slowly but its
development is sure, so it stresses the importance of patience and the
fact that great things develop from small beginnings. It is the
guardian of the power of inner achievement and stresses the need not to
allow the limitations of logic based systems of knowledge to smother
hopes and aspirations.
Poplar: Wood from
the poplar was once made into shields, indicating that the tree not
only resists attacks but strengthens resolve in the face of
difficulties. The poplar is a symbol of hope and an expression of
encouragement in doing what the heart tells you is right. Its leaves
whisper in the wind as if each leaf is conversing. So the poplar
encourages you to whisper your silent thoughts and to express your
feelings with gentleness.
long, straight stalk of the reed was compared with the shaft of an
arrow which the warrior/hunter needed to choose with great care if it
was to be as true as the intentions. So reed teaches the importance of
finding direction and having the intention clearly in mind; it also
suggests inner strength with the need to bend and adjust to changes.
Birch: The silvery-white bark of the silver birch symbolizes purity of
intent and determination of spirit, and provides and indication that
clarity of purpose is essential to the success of any shamanic mission.
The silver birch strengthens and clarifies the image of what is
desired, brings the intention into sharp focus, and guards the image
from diffusion. Silver birch indicates beginnings and an upsurge of
energy usually associated with things that are fresh and new.
The willow’s pliable branches were used for basket weaving and for
stockades and for thatch supports. Thus it stresses the importance of
receptive and nurturing qualities, of drawing things together in proper
balance, and of the need for protection and support. Willow teaches the
need for adaptability, and in a world of changing values, of finding
satisfaction in the process rather than the ultimate goal.
The yew is one of the longest surviving trees, it can live for over a
thousand years, so it is associated with longevity. It emphasizes
continuity in the face of constant change, the need to regard death as
an advisor and every change as but a transition to another beginning.
descriptions are intended only as indications and not interpretations.
They are offered as possible clues to an underlying meaning, and need
to be considered not in objective isolation but in the context of what
is seen and heard in the shamanic experience itself. These clues may
then trigger a response that will enable you more quickly to arrive at
a productive interpretation of your shamanic experience.
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