Some posts about Shamanism from a practitioner's perspective. These are some screen dumps

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Some posts about Shamanism from a practitioner's perspective. These are some screen dumps I made of two posts I made on the Mysteria BBS (Tujunga, CA) regarding some files they had online. I hope this stimulates further discussion and thought regarding the "new Shamanism" which has unfortunately been turned into just another New Age fad by hucksters who may or may not have been trained in The Ways and in any event are profaning and abusing them. Read...and think. Michelle Chihacou Klein-Hass (White-Puma) I did a little poking around in the text files about Shamanism and Shamanic consciousness. I must say, I agree with all that was there. My teacher, Misha Sacred Wolf (which is a forshortening of a much more complex name) is quite disgusted with the "Shamanism for sale" going on nowadays in the "new age" movement. With the popularity of the Lynn Andrews books (which have all the credibility of the later Carlos Casteneda books, which is slim and none) and the much more authoritative "Way Of The Shaman", it is almost as hip to say "I am a White who has been trained by Native Americans in their Ways, and I can train you for X-amount of dollars and X-amount of lessons," as it is to say "I channel such-and-such being from (pick one) 1.)Outer Space, 2.)from ancient Rome/Babylon/America/Atlantis or 3.) Dolphins." The shaman in the Native American tradition is an awesome figure. The primary shaman, the one that is looked up to in the tribe and trains others in certain parts of his (shamans were usually male) work, is BORN to it. A child, usually the most sickly one, is named at birth as the successor to the current shaman. He is trained for all his childhood, and THEN is tested. In the Chiricahua Apache tradition that Misha Sacred Wolf comes from, originally the shaman would have to literally jump off a cliff. Literally. This "jumping off" was later interpreted as an INNER, rather than a physical trial, often induced by the ingestion of Peyotl or Jimson Weed. In these old days, the test results were simple, binary, yes or no. If the shaman survives, he is the shaman. If he dies, then it's time to train another one. With the use of peyotl, the results are not so clear-cut. Insanity, personality disassociation, and even possession by the more malevolent discarnate entities (known singularly and plurally as Gan'n) were distinct possibilities even for the ones who truly "had it". There were other shamans and shaman-trained people of Power in the tribe. Healers, Midwives, Dancers, even the current Inday (Chief) were given some initiation. But there could be only one true (in all senses of the word) Shaman of the Tribal band. A shaman would sometimes be paid for his teachings, and would be compensated for his work at festivals. But the teachings could never be truly bought. I will discuss more next post. Enju! (kind of the equivalent of 'so mote it be') Michelle Chihacou Klein-Hass **** My only quarrel with the book "The Way Of The Shaman" is the fact that the author, whose name escapes me at this time, has reduced the shamanic experience to a few basic elements which he claims as universals. One of them is the healing method of the Jivaro, which entails "sucking" diseases, in the form of spiritual intrusions, out of the "patient"'s body. Not all shamanic traditions have that sort of healing method. In fact, the healers and shamans of the southwestern tribes resemble, more or less, Chinese herbalists or Indian (that is, India-n)Ayurvedic doctors, relying quite a bit on a very advanced knowledge of helpful herbs. True, you would also have times when the disease (usually something mental or psychosomatic) would be judged the work of outside influences or of an inner imbalance within the spirit itself. The famous "mountain spirit" dance of the White Mountain Apaches (incorrectly known as the Gan'n or demon dance) was really an exercise in psychology, where the struggle between the disturbance (in the form of a Gan'n, or evil discarnate spirit) and the shaman and his assistants (in the form of the Mountain Spirits, with their brightly colored crowns, symbolic of the di-yin or divine energy that they have within and brightly colored loincloths) would be made real for the patient. The "mountain spirits" would also show up at the girls' puberty ceremonies, where they would be present to protect the girl, who would become, symbolically, White Painted Woman (sometimes rendered White Shell Woman) the embodyment of the Female God-principle, in the ceremony. As the representation of White Painted Woman, she would be very vulnerable to attack by discarnate entities, so the dancers would dance to purify the perimeter of the area where the ceremony would take place. But getting back to the healing Ways, most ailments would be treated herbally before any other measures were taken. In regards to Shamanism and Wicca being inter-related, I would have to differ with the positions taken by the writers of those articles. Wicca holds much in common with the ancient Ways, and seems to suggest a common ancestry in Paleolithic times. The magickal state of consciousness is very similar to the shamanic state of consciousness, and requires as much force of will. As the Witch uses the force of their Will to focus their inner energy towards a certain goal, the shaman uses the force of their will to see beyond the limitations of the physical world. To sum up though, the world of today, where instead of hunting for one's dinner one simply goes to the Supermarket and buys their dinner pre-packaged and sometimes ready to eat with a minimum of preparation, and where one has far more insidious enemies than White- eyes and the Gan'n, the traditional Ways need some revision, some rethinking. As it was, for Misha to be accepted as what she is by the remnant of her band of Chiricahua Teneh, it required much adjustment. She is only 1/4 Chiricahua and less than half Native American, and she has the green eyes and light hair of her European ancestry. And she is female, where traditionally among the Chiricahua a woman's place was in the rearing of children and the preparing of food, clothing and other necessities for living in harmony with the Earth, and not that of the most important figure of any tribal band, exponentially more powerful than even the Inday. The Ways hold awesome truths about ourselves, the Earth we inhabit, and even our multiverse. But they cannot remain static, clinging to days long past on one hand, and cannot be bastardised into just another "new age" cafeteria of philosophy either. As a very aware friend of mine put it, "this Gem needs a new setting." This is the challenge the modern-day Shamanist faces, and I think this challenge also faces Wicca, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, and whatever system of beliefs I didn't mention. We cannot turn back the clock and go back to hunting buffalo and gathering acorns. However, we can take this path forward into the future. "I bring the whirlwind, that you may know each other--WE SHALL RETURN!" With those impassioned, powerful words of Wovoka, the Sioux leader of the "Ghost Dance" movement of the 1880s, I think I've just about summed it all up. ENJU! Michelle Chihacou Klein-Hass (White-Puma) Again, I hope this stimulates some thought. If you wish to study Shamanism, be very careful with whom you study with. Be very suspicious of those who charge exorbitant fees, especially with healings. The book "The Way Of The Shaman" by Michael Harner is a good introduction to some very basic information. The Sun Bear material also holds insights, but also has a cultish feel, like the "Bear Tribe" is the only authentic custodian of Shamanic knowledge. Avoid the Lynn Andrews books like the plague, and tread with care around Carlos Castenada's works, especially the later stuff. He IS telling the truth about some things, so I do not suggest rejecting his work completely out of hand. I cannot recommend any books in regard to my own tradition, because there are really none, and I do not intend to write one either, out of deference to the Grandfathers and to Usen'. But there ARE authentic teachers out there. You can know them by just hanging around them. Fees are the easiest dead giveaway, but attitude is important, too. Trust your's usually right. Hi-dicho...this is finished. ENJU! Michelle Chihacou Klein-Hass (White-Puma)


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