What Everybody Ought to Know About Shamanism

What Everybody Ought to Know About Shamanism

Shamanism is all about relationships. In this post, we’re going to explore what a shaman is, what role shamanism has played in different cultures around the world, and lastly, how a shamanic perspective can be integrated into your life. 

So, what is a shaman?

Tracked back to the late 17th century through Russian etymology, the term shaman most likely originated in North Asia, where the Manchu-Tungus language described a personified version of the verb ‘to know’ (sa); the shaman is ‘one who knows’. Now, you may be thinking…the one who knows what? Perhaps we can think of it as the one who knows what we may not know.

What sorts of folks are there in your life that you look to for something you do not ‘know’? Perhaps a mechanic, or a doctor…you could think of anyone that you go to with trust. You trust that they know something that you do not. Now, when thinking of someone like this, there are aspects of training and experiential wisdom that are essential to trust building. This experiential wisdom, across pretty much every culture, looks like deep service in healing work for their communities. 

Shamans are found in many different traditions, spanning across each continent, often sitting at the intersection of healing, arts, medicine and ritual. Within many traditions, we see correlations between shamanism and community health; bridging art into medicine and healing into ritual can make a big impact on a culture. 

So, back to relationships. Bridging these oftentimes segmented and compartmentalized portions of society is the work the shaman does. Why? Because it’s important to understand (and tend) the relationships between and amongst all things. 

The Here & Now 

Alright, so maybe now you can feel more of a sense of what a shaman may be, and what role they’ve served their communities. Other than being vital contributors to the health of their community ecosystems, shamans are super connectors. They bridge realms, through and amongst dimensions, between and across species, and within many timelines. This is a way of being in relationship. 

Is there an animal spirit that you feel a strong connection to? How could you strengthen this relationship? Perhaps it’s drawing the animal, or doing a dance to embody the feeling that this animal evokes in you. 

At the end of the day, we are at a point in human history where it’s important for us to trust ourselves. We can begin to start sourcing internally what we’ve traditionally outsourced because we hadn’t invited our innate gifts to come fully online. 

The time has arrived to empower our inner knowing, so that we can walk through life in the right relationship with the part of us that ‘knows’. In essence, there is an aspect of us that is shamanic, and that has shamanic abilities. It’s time to invite ourselves into trusting what comes through, feeling empowered by our inner knowing, staying surrendered to the fact that oftentimes the more we know, the more we know that we don’t know…

Humility is key, let’s keep expanding, friends!

How Serpent Mythology Guides Your Behavior

How Serpent Mythology Guides Your Behavior

Snakes are misunderstood. They are often villainized and characterized as threatening, scary, even evil. Sure, some of them are poisonous; it’s wise to keep a wide berth if you find yourself moseying about with a venomous snake. However, can we take a moment to suspend our survival instincts and take a humbling look at the symbolism of snakes? 

Why is it that the snake has earned such a prominent role in mythology, symbolism and sacred scripture? 

Growth isn’t always comfortable, folks. Despite (or perhaps because) of any resistance, let’s take a look at one of those frightening symbols that so many shy away from (perhaps, by design). 

East Meets West 

First, let’s acknowledge the Eastern perspective of snakes, as represented in the ancient Hindu texts. The Sanskrit word ‘Kundalini’ translates to a ‘coiled snake’ of divine feminine energy that is believed to be located at the base of the spine, within each human body. Within the Vedas, there are different practices and modalities described to ‘awaken’ this energy and encourage the flow of energy to move up the spine. 

Now let’s look at Western serpent symbology, within the context of the Garden of Eden. Remember this terrestrial paradise depicted in the Genesis story? Well, for anyone who needs a biblical refresh, there was a beautiful garden filled with all of the bountiful gifts on the Earthly plane. Adam and Eve explored the garden, and were met by a serpent who encouraged them to eat the fruit that God had explicitly forbidden them to eat. Verbally seduced into eating the fruit off the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve were banished from the garden at the cost of their hunger for God-like awareness of good and evil. 

Their inability to resist the physical temptations meant that Adam and Eve were relegated to eternal damnation in hell. Rough hand, right? Well, if accurately interpreted, we can see this as an invitation to come into a better relationship with our own inner serpent, so we’re not dancing with danger in the biblical sense. If scripture is providing an allegory that can be decoded for our modern application, how do we transform this information to aid us in our spiritual journey?

Bridge to a New Reality 

Now, let’s dive into the middle way, where East meets West, shall we? What does it mean for us to acknowledge the snake that dwells within us? Forget the deceptive serpentine seductress in the Garden of Eden; look inside and try to find that part of you that has innate access to our own divinity. 

What if you were the apple of your own eye, able to feast on the fruits of your own inner garden? This feast requires work, dear friends; we must plant healthy seeds, tend to them properly and lovingly, and practice patience as the cultivation process occurs. 

The snake provides a path to transformation, and let’s face it, transformation isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have to face the scary, we have to taste our own medicine. Snakes possess both the venom and the antivenom; we, too, contain both the ingredients for our own demise and self-sabotage, as well as the ingredients for our own transformation and blossoming. 

The spiritual journey is not always a smooth, well paved road. There are often bumps and detours along the transformational path, and it’s imperative that we cultivate the adaptability, the resilience, and the adept grace to forge on when the going gets tough. When something triggers fear in you, let it serve as a growth indicator; that which we are fearful of can usually provide an opportunity for transformation.

Entering this path of transformation is usually prompted by one’s own intuitive calling. So, if you’ve heard the call and wish to jump into the driver’s seat of your life, join us for our upcoming Spiritual Intuition class, where we’ll apply a lot of this knowledge to amplify our God-like gifts! 

Re-design Your Life to Access Your Greatest Joy

Re-design Your Life to Access Your Greatest Joy

You make choices everyday which impact countless possible outcomes in your life. Sometimes I call these timelines. These timelines represent possible paths your life can take based on your choices. When you sit down and consider how differently your life can unfold based on whether you choose to stay or go, get up or lie down, say ‘Yes!’ or say ‘No,’ you might find yourself completely mind-boggled.

Unlike a computer game or simulation, you can’t save your game, or return back to the beginning and start over again. You’re stuck with the results of your choices, and you have to deal with the outcomes. You may inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings or do something you regret later. You may take a chance that you’ve never taken before and it begins a grand adventure into the unknown. We can never know for sure where life is going to take us, but there are few things we can learn along the way to make the journey a bit easier.

Fortunately we’re working in a universe with certain predictable laws—and I’m not talking about the Laws of Thermodynamics or some other branch of Physics. These “physical” laws typically break down when applied at universal proportions. I’m talking about Universal Law. It’s the set of laws that maintains balance in the universe. 

When you take an action, the Universe will respond based on Universal Law. That means that once you understand how these laws work, you can predict what will happen based on the actions you are taking. 

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: where attention goes, energy flows. This is an example of how it’s most helpful to consider the universe as actually a mental phenomena, and will respond to your thoughts. You should carefully consider your thoughts on a daily basis, and engage in rituals and habits that produce certain thoughts based on the outcomes you want to see.

This is typically the opposite way that people think. Things happen, and then you think thoughts about them. Not the other way around, right?Well, how would your life be different if you chose what thoughts you wanted to think and then watched your life begin to shift to be in alignment with those thoughts? This would be an experience of life that exists as a result of your thoughts. Rather than something happening to you, it happens for you.

As a human being, you have an impact on what will result based on the predictable effects of Universal Law. The discipline of metaphysics has studied Universal Law for ages and ages, and it is your birthright to have access to these hidden teachings that have been kept pure, waiting for you to ask the right question. No doubt you’ve heard before, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Reach out to me if you’re interested in how to re-design your life to be in flow with your true and highest purpose. As you may have guessed with this article, we start with your thoughts and build sustainable structures for your life path from there. 

We need you to be fully self-expressed here on Earth, so waste no time and let me know that you’re ready to begin the journey to Know Thyself today! I’m here to guide and support you on this awakening journey whenever you are ready.

How Do I Be the Change?!

How Do I Be the Change?!

A couple weeks ago, I was researching global warming…and became terrified and angry that it was way more urgent than I had imagined. I went through a dead feeling that day, looking around me and seeing how so many people are still stuck in the idea that they can disrespect nature without any repercussions.

Contempt arose for those who keep the people in ignorance, and for people like Donald Trump who still don’t believe global warming is even real, let alone a priority. Of course, it wasn’t just global warming I was thinking about. It was a lament for all of the ways we are blind and manipulated.

With the help of wise words and reflection, I came to a deep realization later that day, one which infiltrated my core and renewed me. This epiphany was that IT DOES NOT MATTER what happens, if we are aligned with our true nature and act from that alignment. Alignment itself is the real goal.

I used to be so inspired, and yet so frustrated, with Mohatma Gandhi’s axiom of “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I wasn’t sure how to implement it. Not genuinely. Not in a way that felt right.

But something clicked this time. Synchronistically, I was also reading a book and taking a class that touched on how to contact our deeper nature and release our potential. All of the emotion, knowledge, and support I was receiving collided.

I began feeling my latent qualities and allowing them to organically emerge. The mythologist Joseph Campbell once said “A vitalized person vitalizes.” By living your vision, you energize and inspire others. I noticed the shifts around me as I found more and more alignment within myself.

The change you wish to see represents YOUR greater potential wanting to express itself. If you want to experience a compassionate world, there’s a part of you that is compassionate. It just yearns to be freed through you. And this is a never-ending process, an action recreated in each moment.

You can start to access this potential with a few steps:

RELAX

Get comfortable and get into a meditative state. Breath slowly and deeply, close your eyes, and let yourself melt.

FEEL

Get mindful of your body and the energy behind it. Try to feel the blood pumping through you, and the air moving in your lungs. Then imagine the essence of who you are–just as a feeling, subtle at first.

ENVISION

Keep the feeling in mind and heart. Now, ask your essence to reveal your ideal self. Focus on this as a strong intention. Then ease, and be open to what comes. Stay relaxed. See if you can naturally picture what this ideal self looks and acts like.

ENHANCE

Zero in on the feeling underneath any images or experiences that arise. This is the feeling of your ideal self and greater potential. As you inhale, let the feeling expand through you. Immerse yourself in it!

You can learn to experience this anywhere. Eventually, you can just jump straight to the feeling and not necessarily go through the whole series. It helps at first, though.

Try to focus on this feeling several times throughout the day, in short bursts. Then act on the inspiration that comes from this feeling (of course, be wise about your actions while also not tripping yourself up). You may start to see others becoming interested in your changes and seeking to do new things with their lives! We’re really more interconnected than it seems–a change in one place tends to elicit a change in another.

No politician or corporate leader can take away our power to co-create the society we want. Each of us is a building block. But regardless of what happens out there, the truly important work begins inside.
Good luck on your journeys!

Let us know

What do you feel describes the essence of who you are? What does your ideal society look like?

Energy Adventures: Diving into the Reality Behind the Scenes

Energy Adventures: Diving into the Reality Behind the Scenes

I couldn’t believe that the man lying on the bed before me was describing exactly what I was doing…with his eyes closed. I was gentle enough, but it seemed like he felt everything. This excited me.

Twisting. Turning. Violet light.

Spot on.

It was then that it really clicked for me that this thing called energy is real, and we can sense and direct it. I’d played with energy for several years, yet there had always been some skepticism. Feeling the warm, magnetic sensations emanating from my hands, I’d wondered if it was all just a placebo. But now I was getting direct feedback from someone who could have had no way of knowing what I was visualizing.

THE BREATH OF LIFE

When we talk about energy in the Industrial West, it’s usually tied in with sustainability or physics. We don’t have much of a maintained tradition that explains the invisible stuff that pervades all life (does Star Wars count as tradition?). However, this is accounted for in many other cultures.

In fact, there are systems for learning how to harness this energy. In China, there’s Qi Gong, which literally means “energy mastery.” In India, Pranayama essentially means the same thing (“energy control”). In both cultures, the word for energy is also used for breath, and not surprisingly, Qi Gong and Pranyama emphasize breath work.

There are methodologies for understanding energy in the West, but they’re less known to the public. Since the time of the ancient Mystery Schools in Greece and Egypt, these practices have existed. The Greeks called energy pneuma (which also refers to air or wind – see a connection?), yet a new Greek word (letter, actually) was used instead centuries later.

REINVENTING THE WHEEL

When I was a teenager, I became involved in experimental Internet communities seeking to grasp what life force is and how to use it. These practices were called psionics, giving a nod to the scientific research into “psi” phenomena from the early 20th Century, which investigated psychokinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, and other abilities.

These groups helped me feel less crazy for diving into this kind of stuff. They helped me learn how to sense energy (psi) and direct it in creative ways. Yet, when I came across Qi Gong, I realized that this knowledge had existed for millennia, and that there was already an incredible storehouse of wisdom. Though the psionics groups were figuring things out by trial and error, it seemed to me that they’d have faster and deeper growth by complementing their experience with these ancient methodologies.

UPGRADES

Despite the power of the ancient traditions, there have been some recent enhancements to energy practice. Robert Bruce, author of the books Astral Dynamics and Energy Work, devised a technique called tactile imaging, which was initially used to help the blind begin an energy practice without relying on visualization (which typifies many techniques). He discovered that the tactile imaging technique seemed to help many of his general students, also. Refining the method, he worked out strategies for leveraging one’s imagined sense of touch in manipulating energy inside and outside the body. Some of his practices include pretending you can feel a sponge rapidly move back and forth through a body part, or a brush caressing your skin.

WHY BOTHER?

So why go through all this trouble to learn how to work with energy? Sure, it seems cool, but what good does it do?

First, we are so accustomed to perceiving the world through a rather narrow lens. What is real to most of us is what we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste with our physical senses. Working with energy allows you to expand your scope of perception and become more aware of a larger reality.

Second, energy plays a dynamic role in our health. If our energies are imbalanced, we might suffer physical, emotional, or mental affliction. By maintaining proper energetic hygiene and balance, we can enable our vitality and wellbeing.

SIMPLE STEPS

Are you ready to get going with all this, and experience energy for yourself? Below are some simple ways you can start working with energy.

1. Be Mindful

Mindfulness is the nonjudgmental attention to anything that may arise in the moment. It can be a good idea to begin by noticing any of the body’s sensations. These might include temperature, pressure of the seat, the touch of a draft, your breath, etc. Just be intent on noticing what you might not have observed in daily life. This increased awareness will help you when it comes time to perceive the energy within and around you. Try to practice at least 20 mins a day.

2. Stimulate Your Body

Robert Bruce gives an excellent exercise on simulating the energy body. Basically, hold out your hand and gently yet fairly quickly brush it with the fingertip ends of your other hand. Memorize this sensation very clearly. Now stop the movement, and recreate the experience purely from memory. Absorb yourself in it, with a playful attitude. You will most likely notice that your hand feels a little different – perhaps heavier and “magnetic.” Experiment using other parts of your body. Keep practicing, and you won’t need to physically manipulate anything.

3. Create an Energy Ball

This is the classic energy shape made by many energy workers in training. Meditate a little, stimulate your energy body in both hands, then hold out your hands facing each other, as if you were holding a beach ball between them. As you inhale, imagine you are sucking up warm, glistening particles of light through your pores. As you exhale, imagine energy going into the ball. Feel the shape gather form. You may feel a heat, a static or magnetic feeling, or some other seemingly odd perception. Stay focused. Play with other ways to manipulate energy. Use the best techniques you learn or uncover.

4. Sensing Auras

We have a field that extends outward, representing our energetic natures. Try feeling these fields by asking an open minded friend or family member to participate. Have them sit still, then hold out your palms about 3-4 inches away. Take note of the sensations that arise. Imagine a stream of energy flowing from your hand into the person, with the thoughts behind it being positive and uplifting. Follow the same basic technique presented above. Ask your partner what he or she felt and describe what you felt afterwards, and see what insight might come. This process can help with empathy.

 

This is just the beginning! There are so many adventures in energy work you can embark on.

Please share below whether you work with energy, and how!