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Dez
02 Oct 2013, 13:02
Can anyone throw some my way, please?

I have a FB friend who is open-minded LDS and looking for some, any tradition. She's getting frustrated because most of what she finds is very New Age, and gathers from a lot of sources without really explaining what they're doing. Are there Shamanism resources on the reconstructionist side of things?

monsno_leedra
02 Oct 2013, 14:16
Sadly there are not a lot of "Traditional" resources available for Shamanic practices. Let's face it I can tell you to take a drug, sensory deprivation, etc to induce journey work but beyond that it ends as to how each of us will view and interact with the Dimensions and entities we encounter there. How we will work with our allies and what each ally will represent to us as to what kingdom or people they hail from. Then one has to try and find local words that represent the same notions. Consider that for some European practices it's Hedge Rider or Hedge Riding and the notion of crossing the hedge into journey work and spirit work. For many Native American practices you'd look for some sort of Medicine classification or a specific name such as Shirt Wearer, Piper Welder, Keeper of the Sacred Relic, etc.

You also have to look into traditional notions of Totemism, animism, animistic, potentially contraries and their recognition and usage. One also in my opinion has to understand how First Nation and Aboriginal practices it's a total package in how the Shaman works in order and purpose of the people. Something that really is not found in the neo-shamanic practices in most instances as they have no tribe, nation, etc that depends upon them to read nature for revelations or support to the divine messages.

Another thing is traditionally shamanism is passed person to person not via a group or group setting. It's also traditional in that Shamanic practices are not typically seen as spiritual but a way of life within the spiritual traditions of the people for whom they worked. So for instance an Aboriginal person would follow the gods / goddess and Spirits of their people in order to gain insight from their allies about what is affecting / effecting them. A person of Native American ancestry would follow the divine beings of their people same as a Northern shamanic practitioner would follow the same Nordic or Teutonic gods / goddess of their people. Much like Witchcraft, shamanism is a practice and skill set that is utilized within the framework of ones religious / spiritual practices. So yes, one can have a Christian Shaman or equivalent name or title.

Let me look around and i'll try to give you some books or links to consider. Have to go take care of our dogs in the kennel at the moment so will be a couple of hours.

Auseklis
02 Oct 2013, 15:18
I have found some interesting information on Shamanic practices in the most unlikely places such as small personal blogs and on Usenet etc, particularly when it comes to those who are living, for long periods of time, in a community who live the Shamanic way. The bloggers and Usenet users often know which books and resources are good and from experience they know who are the fluffy and $$$ driven authors from those who want to share the knowledge. Be aware that there is a 'trend' to holiday in remote villages and take as much ayahuasca as humanly possible then come back and claim you reached some form of enlightenment and have become and expert on everything from N-Dimethyltryptamine to Doreen Virtue's past lives.

monsno_leedra
03 Oct 2013, 02:08
Just wanted to say I haven't forgotten this just most of the links I had are now down so am searching. I am wondering though if your looking for more academic based information or more daily life type information? Here's a few things though.

Wu and Shaman
Author(s): Gilles Boileau
Source: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 65,
No. 2 (2002), pp. 350-378
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African Studies
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4145619

http://radiantdark.wordpress.com/female-shamanism-in-japan/

http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cpjr/folkbeliefs/index.html

http://omahatribe.unl.edu/etexts/oma.0017/images/oma.0017.215.jpg

http://en.folklore.ee/

http://www.folklore.ee/Folklore/vol10/teuton.htm (http://www.folklore.ee/Folklore/vol10/teuton.htm)

http://www.folklore.ee/~aado/tent.htm

http://projetscours.fsa.ulaval.ca/gie-64375/chaman/europe-nord_f.htm

http://www.tribalartmagazine.com/en/commander/magazines.html

Rae'ya
03 Oct 2013, 03:52
Pretty much with MonSno on this one.

It depends largely on whether you want core shamanism (which has a gazillion resources but which I have issues with), traditional/aboriginal shamanism (which as MonSno pointed out, is entirely dependent on cultural context and can't really be taught from a book or webpage), neo-shamanism (of which there are several respectful paths which can be weeded out of the core shamanism lot) or simply wanting to add some shamanist techniques (which is actually much harder than it sounds).

Shamanism is a set of skills and techniques, but there are respectful and non respectful ways to do it. It's easy to end up appropriating practices, taking them out of context and applying them in non-respectful ways. There is also the issue of what it takes to be a 'shaman' versus a 'shamanist' and the appropriation of terms.

I recommend starting with the academic side and moving from there. Academia is... a bit biased when it comes to shamanism, because for the most part is is anthropologists who are observing communities with traditional shamanic practices from the outside. Often the observers don't have any spiritual foundation themselves, and so don't truly understand some of the practices and may have attitudes that are not conducive to an accurate passing on of information. On the other hand, modern core shamanists have stripped the techniques of all cultural context, watered them down, sanitised them and created something that is more Innerworlds work than Otherworlds or spirit work. And then you have the 'neo-shamans' who are constructing modern shamanic practices but who may fall on either side of the 'appropriation' fence, or who claim the title of shaman when they don't technically qualify for it, or who claim that their brand of shamanism is an ancient tradition when patently it is not. Neo-shamanism is tricky... I've seen many who are respectful and ethical in their practice, and many who aren't... many who are unfairly elitist and cliquey and then many who are far too blase and superficial about it. The problem is that you can't really tell the difference until you have been exposed to the whole spectrum of traditional through to core shamanism, and that really only comes from reading copious resources, talking to practitioners and being exposed to the shamanic community at large.

So... resources...

Academia:

Mircea Eliade's "Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy" is perhaps the seminal work on shamanism. Very academic, so fair warning.

Piers Vitebsky has several books... I have one called "Shamanism" which is a good general overview, but he has several others, some of which are difficult to find. The other one that I have heard good things about but haven't actually read is called "The Shaman".

Roger Walsh's "The World of Shamanism: New Views of an Ancient Tradition" is a lot more accessible in terms of ease of reading, and looks at the psychology of shamanism. It's a bit more general and not quite so keyed into specific tribal traditions, but it's very good.

Core Shamanism:

Micheal Harner is, of course, the founding father of Core Shamanism, though many, many others have jumped on board. Tom Cowan and Christopher Penczac fall into this category, as does DJ Conway (though most of her books claim to be of a particular cultural context, which is debatable... personally I feel that she writes about core shamanism dressed up with specific cultural references). Diana Paxson is an interesting mix... if you read her works such as 'Tranceportation' then it's very core (although very good as a book on trancework)... but if you read her oracular seidhr works or her articles for Hrafnar then it's not so much.

I don't personally like the way that most core shamanist authors claim 'shaman' or 'shamanism' and yet are not actually working in external Otherworlds or with external spirits and entities, but that's a personal thing. It's an opinion that is shared by a large chunk of the neo-shamanic community, though. Core shamanism itself is valid as an Innerworlds practice, and serves very well to allow most folk to incorporate shamanic techniques without actually traipsing around bothering spirits in their own homes... it would just be nice if it was a bit more honest about that.

Plastic Shamanism:

You don't want to do this but I include it as a warning. Pretty much anyone who does weekend workshops that promise to make you a shaman, and a great many of the published authors who claim to practice Native American shamanism fit in here. I wont name names.

Neo-Shamanists (of varying qualities):

Lupa writes about her own brand of neo-shamanism: therioshamanism. Mostly at her Therioshamanism blog (http://therioshamanism.com/), but also in amongst her totemism and skinworking books ("Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone", "DIY Totemism", "Skin Spirits" and "New Paths to Animal Totems"). I do very much like her approach to animal spirits and guides, which is inherently shamanic, and her careful handling of appropriation issues. She doesn't do much work in the Otherworlds, but works closely with animal spirits in this world. She also fluctuates between using female pronouns and gender neutral pronouns to refer to herself, so don't get confused.

Ravenari has a website (http://www.wildspeak.com/)and practice which has changed over the years. She used to claim to practice a traditional Russion form of shamanism taught to her by her family, but that's debatable. Her Wildspeak context is much more consistent and accessible. She isn't as active online as she used to be, and closed down her forum, but has some useful articles up on the website.

James Endredy has a book called "Ecoshamanism", which is his own neo-shamanic brand. Again, not much work in the Otherworlds but extensive work with the spirits here, particularly land spirits and the like. He comes from an interesting perspective, and has some insightful practices and attitudes.

Nan Moss and David Corbin have written a book called "Weather Shamanism", and I believe have a website. It's shamanism at it's loosest... they do work extensively with weather spirits, but other than that are fairly core in their approach to shamanic techniques. I didn't particularly like the book and I have some personal disagreements with some of their attitudes, but others may find it useful.

Raven Kaldera's Northern Tradition Shamanism series attempts to reconstruct a possible pre-Indo European circumpolar shamanic practices. It's spirit taught, and quite different to Seidhr or anything else practiced by more traditional Heathens and reconstructionists. There are five books so far... " Jotunbok ", "Pathwalkers Guide to the Nine Worlds", "Wyrdwalkers", "Wightridden" and "Northern Tradition Herbal". Also his website (http://www.northernshamanism.org).

Kaldera also has a book called "Neolithic Shamanism", written with Galina Krasskova, that has some very good tecniques and exercises for working with landspirits and the like in this world.

Katie Gerrard ("Seidr, The Gate Is Open") and Jenny Blain ("Nine Worlds of Seidr-Magic") write about seidhr, which is not shamanism per se, but is the Norse oracular and trance practices that come rather close. Some people consider it to be the Heathen equivelant of shamanism, or as close as you can get. I personally count it as a related practice, but not as shamanism itself. Hrafnar (http://www.hrafnar.org/)also practice oracular seidhr, and have links on their website.

Sandra Ingerman has several books, particularly "Soul Retrieval", that are very good but are a bit like Paxson's "Tranceportation". There is some inconsistencies which make it easy to mistake as core shamanism, though I suspect that's not wholly accurate and may be an attempt to make the techniques more accessible.

Most of my other links I lost when my laptop was stolen, and most of the forums that were active years ago have been closed down (which was a shame). But that's a good start lol.

Riothamus12
03 Oct 2013, 15:35
Well there's general shamanism and then there's the specific forms. There are some characteristics that can be applied shamanism in general, but there are different traditional and modern forms that have some noticeable differences.

monsno_leedra
03 Oct 2013, 15:42
Well there's general shamanism and then there's the specific forms. There are some characteristics that can be applied shamanism in general, but there are different traditional and modern forms that have some noticeable differences.

Please expound upon this. Especially considering Shamanism or Shaman is a Tsungian word and concept and everything else is an attempt to pigeon hole observations and force fit them into a pattern. A pattern that is typically no longer used in anthropology today as it does not paint a true picture. A lot of the usage of the Shamanic pattern is outside of the actual academic fields and especially prevalent in paganism and it's typical lack of credentials.

CR.Archer
03 Oct 2013, 22:37
Everyone else has already said what I know on the subject, but beginning apprentices should NOT ever use any psychoactive anything from what one mentor I talked to told me. You have to first learn to do it with your mind and that's it. I can do it listening to music most all the time where I feel like I "visit" the spirit world, and then get the answers I need for this world. Sometimes for me sometimes it's an answer for someone else, but I've also had experiences where I got a malevolent spirit attach to me and I had to pull myself away it took several weeks of meditation before I found my center again.
I've been practicing for awhile, but mostly on my own with no steady mentor to apprentice under like a young Shaman is suppose to. I still can find myself getting lost when meditating too deeply, so that’s one piece of advice I would strongly suggest is to any person is get a good center with yourself before fully diving into it.

monsno_leedra
03 Oct 2013, 23:29
Everyone else has already said what I know on the subject, but beginning apprentices should NOT ever use any psychoactive anything from what one mentor I talked to told me. You have to first learn to do it with your mind and that's it. I can do it listening to music most all the time where I feel like I "visit" the spirit world, and then get the answers I need for this world. Sometimes for me sometimes it's an answer for someone else, but I've also had experiences where I got a malevolent spirit attach to me and I had to pull myself away it took several weeks of meditation before I found my center again.
I've been practicing for awhile, but mostly on my own with no steady mentor to apprentice under like a young Shaman is suppose to. I still can find myself getting lost when meditating too deeply, so that’s one piece of advice I would strongly suggest is to any person is get a good center with yourself before fully diving into it.

Bolded mine.

I'm not sure I would agree with that position. Can't recall where I read it now but many first nation and aboriginal societies sent their youths out to discover themselves as rites of passage, often around the age of 12. I've read some suggestions that many of those "Journeys" or "Quests" might actually have been mental journeys via the aide of some psychoactive substance vice an actual physical journey. If not the complete journey then significant parts of it considering the various purification and sacred practices that accompanied them.

Potentially using it as another means of identifying one who had been chosen, marked or selected by "Spirit" to begin the initiation process of becoming a Medicine type person. Especially so in those situations where a physical death was not the only means used to identify one who was marked, chosen or selected by Spirit. Especially considering that to me marked, selected or identified did not ensure you would be trained as a Shamanic practitioner regardless of what name is used to identify them within the respective societies. Nor did it indicate specifically to what level one would be trained if they were selected as most societies had various levels of Shamanic type practices or even entire clans within the nation / tribe who performed those type duties.

I would say though that in most instances the Shaman or whatever entered into journey to find an answer for another and seldom for themselves. To gain an insight to say what allies the tribe, nation or people themselves had angered or upset and had to be appeased to gain their good graces once again. To call upon the spirits of game so that the hunt would be successful, the land fertile and fecundity of the land and herds would be beneficial to the success of their people. But seldom for their own personal benefit.

Dez
04 Oct 2013, 13:33
Thanks so much folks! I'll pass this along :)

TBH, this is exactly why, while I find the idea of Shamanism fascinating, it's been more then a little daunting to look into myself. I think this will be very helpful for my friend. Thank you again!

Chris
14 Jan 2014, 11:09
can I offer
Neil Price...The Viking Way: Religion and War in the Later Iron Age of Scandinavia
Neil Price...(ed) the archaeology of shamanism

shebani
15 Jan 2014, 12:33
Everyone else has already said what I know on the subject, but beginning apprentices should NOT ever use any psychoactive anything from what one mentor I talked to told me. You have to first learn to do it with your mind and that's it. I can do it listening to music most all the time where I feel like I "visit" the spirit world, and then get the answers I need for this world. .

This is very interesting, I do this and have done this for a very long time, you are the first I've ever heard directly say they do this with music. I would love to hear any more you have to say on the matter.

Rae'ya
15 Jan 2014, 19:05
This is very interesting, I do this and have done this for a very long time, you are the first I've ever heard directly say they do this with music. I would love to hear any more you have to say on the matter.

It's actually incredibly common to enter an altered state of consciousness via listening to music. Drumming is just one variation of this, and is incredibly traditional to many cultures who practice some form of shamanism. Trance music is also quite good for this, and I'd be willing to bet that almost every single person who has ever gone clubbing or to a rave has 'tranced out' or entered an altered state of consciousness while there.

Heka
17 Jan 2014, 20:39
I'd be willing to bet that almost every single person who has ever gone clubbing or to a rave has 'tranced out' or entered an altered state of consciousness while there.

So all I gotta do is get wasted, and go to a club to get into an altered state? SWEET :P

Chris
18 Jan 2014, 04:05
So all I gotta do is get wasted, and go to a club to get into an altered state? SWEET :P


thats like saying to be a witch all i need is a velvet dress and a wand - instant witch...for sale in all good stores near you...

monsno_leedra
18 Jan 2014, 05:49
thats like saying to be a witch all i need is a velvet dress and a wand - instant witch...for sale in all good stores near you...

What's bad is that is how I see shamanic practices passed all the time or to make one a shamanic practitioner. Sort of like having a totem, power animal or guide, you will have one and all you got to do to find it is take this guided meditation.

- - - Updated - - -

Ironic I suppose when I look back at books and such purchased from the 1970's through mid 1990's and those topics are seldom to be found in them yet today they are a must have it seems.

Chris
18 Jan 2014, 06:08
and truth be told most of the published works have more in common with a fantasy novel rather than good practises...as for ""courses"" perhaps one can become more spiritual through them...but shamanic...no, unless its there deep down

it's taken me the best part of 30 years to get to where I am now...the hard way..finding out for myself

I don't meditate and apart from a great liking for owls I don't have a totem animal

monsno_leedra
18 Jan 2014, 06:42
and truth be told most of the published works have more in common with a fantasy novel rather than good practises...as for ""courses"" perhaps one can become more spiritual through them...but shamanic...no, unless its there deep down

it's taken me the best part of 30 years to get to where I am now...the hard way..finding out for myself

I don't meditate and apart from a great liking for owls I don't have a totem animal

I'd agree about most of the books as well. Especially in the sense that many, if not most, of the ones today seem to be derived from an assumed or implied Native American perspective of what is or is not "Shamanism" or "Medicine". It's like you hear about the Medicine Wheel in most of those same books yet they all are based off of Sun Bear's Medicine Wheel material which actually matches no specific nation or tribe. Then all totems, power animals, etc seem to be based upon Ted Andrews ANIMAL SPEAK as to what a creature means or tries to tell us.

I admit it's sort of interesting when I read about a "totem" then you realize it's actually a herald or blaze for some family crest and losses all the meaning it had as a crest. It's like when you see the author go into specifics about the creature standing on all fours, jumping upon the hind legs only, etc and know they lifted that part from heraldry.

I've had elder's who've aided me along the way but seeing as much of my walk is individual it's been a lot of trial and error. Sometimes elder's watching and waiting until I really screw things up before they step in so I can understand the depths of some things. Definitely not a hold your hand and lead you along type of thing. Many of mine have been more of the sink or swim type teachers except when it came to things that could kill you right off. More of the here eat this and see what happens though the males in my family do not often deal with healing plants and such as that was mostly taught to the women. Not that the males couldn't it was just the women had a closer connection to them as allies where we tended to be closer to the spirits and animals.

I'll be 55 this year and its been a long trail to get here that's covered many years. Where I differ I suppose is that I see shamanism as a practice that exists within my spiritual / religious beliefs not a spiritual belief itself.

Chris
18 Jan 2014, 07:30
you born in 1959 too then - excellent vintage

I agree you can be pointed but no one is there to take you by the hand...you go into the spirit world on your own and cope or run away...or even both if outclassed

personally I stand and fight

I don't have a spirit animal...no Fylgia for instance- just me....

But...and a big but
I do assume the spirit bear if responding to an attack on the spirit level...that took years to be able to do and lots of frustration along the way

until one time of trying something seemed to give way and there it was roaring and clawing and biting and such power...and it felt good to be so free

monsno_leedra
18 Jan 2014, 08:03
I've had guides and allies but a totem in the Native American sense is something I seldom speak on or claim. A couple of my elder's swear my totem is Wolf because i've been killed by them and dismembered and reformed a number of times by them. Then one spirit journey where I was introduced before a fire and accepted into the Wolf Clan initially in shadow form along with many other animal spirits before the Wolves took solid form and I was transformed into a wolf along with them.

I agree you go on your own and have to face what you find. It's like I died in my early youth and some of my elders would talk about approaching the veil and coming back and I had a sense of what they meant. Yet none of us could really explain the how or why of it only give advise on how we faced it. Yet each of us faced it differently so there was no great commonality about it but a commonality in that all of us faced it in some manner that resulted in our physical deaths. Then most of us also experienced a shamanic spiritual death that occurred in journey work where our bodies where destroyed and rebuilt but that aspect was easier to speak on.

As to the fright or flight for me that has gotten me into trouble on both ends of that spectrum. Things I should have fled from kicked my butt and things I should have fought kicked it through deception. Yet you truly sound psychotic if you tell people about it or even go into any details.

It does intrigue me though how descriptors have changed over the years. It's like Astral Projection when I first was taught included Astral, Etheral and plain physical world projection wrapped about the notions of Out Of Body Experiences (O.B.E.) that could be physically outside the body but also projection to the internal landscape. Then figured in Near Death Experiences (N.D.E.'s) as another form of projection. We knew the astral was both without and within and that it was a construct that sort of wrapped about us and us within its framework. Yet times have changed I suppose.

Rae'ya
18 Jan 2014, 17:38
So all I gotta do is get wasted, and go to a club to get into an altered state? SWEET :P

If only it was that simple. lol. :p

Reaching an altered state of consciousness is easy. Going anywhere with it is the hard part.

On a serious note, I'm not personally a fan of alcohol or entheogens for journey purposes... they're some of the quickest ways to an altered state, but controlling them and actually entering the Otherworlds is an entirely different kettle of fish. And people who use those then often have a hard time reaching altered states through other means... so it's a crutch that becomes an inhibiting practice rather than a useful one. Music and rhythm, including dance, is similar... thousands of people reach a trance state every day via music and dance... but riding that into the Otherworlds is a step that very few can manage. Innerworlds is easy. Otherworlds, not so much.

That's why core-shamanism is usually talking about Innerworlds work (a term coined by an old friend of mine from the Blue Mountains, which I just love and so shall use forevermore)... all that 'listen to this drumming track and do this guided meditation and enter the Underworld to meet your shadow totem' is not Otherworld journeywork. If you can learn it in a weekend workshop or from reading one book and sitting down to one drumming session, it's not Otherworld journeywork. Hitting the Otherworlds is hard, and takes years of practice to get there. I remember when I first started journeywork (faring forth in NT terms) I thought that the non-core shamanists were elitist and snobby... until I realised that what was coming so easy was Innerworlds work, and that travelling from there into external Otherworlds was a very different thing... until I actually made it into the Otherworlds and felt the difference for myself.

There are thousands of 'shamanists' and 'shamanic practitioners' who never make it out of the Innerworlds. Which is okay. Because Innerworlds work is very profound and is actually what most people are looking for. That's where you do all the personal growth and improvement stuff. That's where most 'soul fragments' are lost. The external Otherworlds are not about us... they're about the entities that live THERE. The unfortunate thing is that it's all called 'Otherworlds' by modern neo-pagan and core-shamanic communities. Which causes a great deal of confusion.

Juniper
18 Jan 2014, 18:28
A video I always like to share when I hear people are interested in learning about Shamanism is this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsR8H0ZLncE

Chris
19 Jan 2014, 01:10
If only it was that simple. lol. :p

Reaching an altered state of consciousness is easy. Going anywhere with it is the hard part.

On a serious note, I'm not personally a fan of alcohol or entheogens for journey purposes... they're some of the quickest ways to an altered state, but controlling them and actually entering the Otherworlds is an entirely different kettle of fish. And people who use those then often have a hard time reaching altered states through other means... so it's a crutch that becomes an inhibiting practice rather than a useful one. Music and rhythm, including dance, is similar... thousands of people reach a trance state every day via music and dance... but riding that into the Otherworlds is a step that very few can manage. Innerworlds is easy. Otherworlds, not so much.

That's why core-shamanism is usually talking about Innerworlds work (a term coined by an old friend of mine from the Blue Mountains, which I just love and so shall use forevermore)... all that 'listen to this drumming track and do this guided meditation and enter the Underworld to meet your shadow totem' is not Otherworld journeywork. If you can learn it in a weekend workshop or from reading one book and sitting down to one drumming session, it's not Otherworld journeywork. Hitting the Otherworlds is hard, and takes years of practice to get there. I remember when I first started journeywork (faring forth in NT terms) I thought that the non-core shamanists were elitist and snobby... until I realised that what was coming so easy was Innerworlds work, and that travelling from there into external Otherworlds was a very different thing... until I actually made it into the Otherworlds and felt the difference for myself.

There are thousands of 'shamanists' and 'shamanic practitioners' who never make it out of the Innerworlds. Which is okay. Because Innerworlds work is very profound and is actually what most people are looking for. That's where you do all the personal growth and improvement stuff. That's where most 'soul fragments' are lost. The external Otherworlds are not about us... they're about the entities that live THERE. The unfortunate thing is that it's all called 'Otherworlds' by modern neo-pagan and core-shamanic communities. Which causes a great deal of confusion.

what a stunning post and I thank you for it...it;s a very hard thing to describe, its images and emotion, colours, spirits, tranquility and horror,

but you say it beautifully


for anyone interested..I have never taken drugs, do not and never have smoked, do not drink apart from an occqsional Jaegermeister and a drop of mead now and again, am vegetarian...and find bright lights and pounding music apt to bring on a migraine...and no spirit animal guide apart from a liking for owls

so no hallucinogens or inducing agents involved...I find it is far better to sit by a flowing stream amongst trees and drift

as Rae'ya says above it's not an inner journey (spiritual growth is good though) but an out of body type experience interacting with spirits, human...non human...gods..and the cosmos itself..

Ouranos Ouroboros
26 Jan 2014, 02:23
I have found some interesting information on Shamanic practices in the most unlikely places such as small personal blogs and on Usenet etc, particularly when it comes to those who are living, for long periods of time, in a community who live the Shamanic way. The bloggers and Usenet users often know which books and resources are good and from experience they know who are the fluffy and $$$ driven authors from those who want to share the knowledge. Be aware that there is a 'trend' to holiday in remote villages and take as much ayahuasca as humanly possible then come back and claim you reached some form of enlightenment and have become and expert on everything from N-Dimethyltryptamine to Doreen Virtue's past lives.


As far as resources, you've already got most of those I'd offer (and some other great stuff I'm now dying to check out). Thanks to all of you who shared resources (or will share them). I can only think of one other written resource that's actually about shamanism - the reader Shamanism, compiled by Shirley Nicholson. It presents a number of articles from different writers and is, as with any written resource, a great place to start or touch base - but not quite where you'll end up.


I would also recommend works that don't seem, at first, to be about shamanism. Works like Whorf's Language, Thought, and Reality or Gorgias' argument [Nothing exists…], H.D.'s poetry or excerpts of Finnegan's Wake, Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell or fairy tales umpteenth-times removed from the original source but still valuable.



Pretty much with MonSno on this one.


It depends largely on whether you want core shamanism (which has a gazillion resources but which I have issues with), traditional/aboriginal shamanism (which as MonSno pointed out, is entirely dependent on cultural context and can't really be taught from a book or webpage), neo-shamanism (of which there are several respectful paths which can be weeded out of the core shamanism lot) or simply wanting to add some shamanist techniques (which is actually much harder than it sounds).


Shamanism is a set of skills and techniques, but there are respectful and non respectful ways to do it. It's easy to end up appropriating practices, taking them out of context and applying them in non-respectful ways. There is also the issue of what it takes to be a 'shaman' versus a 'shamanist' and the appropriation of terms.


I recommend starting with the academic side and moving from there. Academia is... a bit biased when it comes to shamanism, because for the most part is is anthropologists who are observing communities with traditional shamanic practices from the outside. Often the observers don't have any spiritual foundation themselves, and so don't truly understand some of the practices and may have attitudes that are not conducive to an accurate passing on of information. On the other hand, modern core shamanists have stripped the techniques of all cultural context, watered them down, sanitised them and created something that is more Innerworlds work than Otherworlds or spirit work. And then you have the 'neo-shamans' who are constructing modern shamanic practices but who may fall on either side of the 'appropriation' fence, or who claim the title of shaman when they don't technically qualify for it, or who claim that their brand of shamanism is an ancient tradition when patently it is not. Neo-shamanism is tricky... I've seen many who are respectful and ethical in their practice, and many who aren't... many who are unfairly elitist and cliquey and then many who are far too blase and superficial about it. The problem is that you can't really tell the difference until you have been exposed to the whole spectrum of traditional through to core shamanism, and that really only comes from reading copious resources, talking to practitioners and being exposed to the shamanic community at large.


So... resources...


Academia:


Mircea Eliade's "Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy" is perhaps the seminal work on shamanism. Very academic, so fair warning.


Piers Vitebsky has several books... I have one called "Shamanism" which is a good general overview, but he has several others, some of which are difficult to find. The other one that I have heard good things about but haven't actually read is called "The Shaman".


Roger Walsh's "The World of Shamanism: New Views of an Ancient Tradition" is a lot more accessible in terms of ease of reading, and looks at the psychology of shamanism. It's a bit more general and not quite so keyed into specific tribal traditions, but it's very good.


Core Shamanism:


Micheal Harner is, of course, the founding father of Core Shamanism, though many, many others have jumped on board. Tom Cowan and Christopher Penczac fall into this category, as does DJ Conway (though most of her books claim to be of a particular cultural context, which is debatable... personally I feel that she writes about core shamanism dressed up with specific cultural references). Diana Paxson is an interesting mix... if you read her works such as 'Tranceportation' then it's very core (although very good as a book on trancework)... but if you read her oracular seidhr works or her articles for Hrafnar then it's not so much.


I don't personally like the way that most core shamanist authors claim 'shaman' or 'shamanism' and yet are not actually working in external Otherworlds or with external spirits and entities, but that's a personal thing. It's an opinion that is shared by a large chunk of the neo-shamanic community, though. Core shamanism itself is valid as an Innerworlds practice, and serves very well to allow most folk to incorporate shamanic techniques without actually traipsing around bothering spirits in their own homes... it would just be nice if it was a bit more honest about that.


Plastic Shamanism:


You don't want to do this but I include it as a warning. Pretty much anyone who does weekend workshops that promise to make you a shaman, and a great many of the published authors who claim to practice Native American shamanism fit in here. I wont name names.


Neo-Shamanists (of varying qualities):


Lupa writes about her own brand of neo-shamanism: therioshamanism. Mostly at her Therioshamanism blog (http://therioshamanism.com/), but also in amongst her totemism and skinworking books ("Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone", "DIY Totemism", "Skin Spirits" and "New Paths to Animal Totems"). I do very much like her approach to animal spirits and guides, which is inherently shamanic, and her careful handling of appropriation issues. She doesn't do much work in the Otherworlds, but works closely with animal spirits in this world. She also fluctuates between using female pronouns and gender neutral pronouns to refer to herself, so don't get confused.


Ravenari has a website (http://www.wildspeak.com/)and practice which has changed over the years. She used to claim to practice a traditional Russion form of shamanism taught to her by her family, but that's debatable. Her Wildspeak context is much more consistent and accessible. She isn't as active online as she used to be, and closed down her forum, but has some useful articles up on the website.


James Endredy has a book called "Ecoshamanism", which is his own neo-shamanic brand. Again, not much work in the Otherworlds but extensive work with the spirits here, particularly land spirits and the like. He comes from an interesting perspective, and has some insightful practices and attitudes.


Nan Moss and David Corbin have written a book called "Weather Shamanism", and I believe have a website. It's shamanism at it's loosest... they do work extensively with weather spirits, but other than that are fairly core in their approach to shamanic techniques. I didn't particularly like the book and I have some personal disagreements with some of their attitudes, but others may find it useful.


Raven Kaldera's Northern Tradition Shamanism series attempts to reconstruct a possible pre-Indo European circumpolar shamanic practices. It's spirit taught, and quite different to Seidhr or anything else practiced by more traditional Heathens and reconstructionists. There are five books so far... " Jotunbok ", "Pathwalkers Guide to the Nine Worlds", "Wyrdwalkers", "Wightridden" and "Northern Tradition Herbal". Also his website (http://www.northernshamanism.org/).


Kaldera also has a book called "Neolithic Shamanism", written with Galina Krasskova, that has some very good tecniques and exercises for working with landspirits and the like in this world.


Katie Gerrard ("Seidr, The Gate Is Open") and Jenny Blain ("Nine Worlds of Seidr-Magic") write about seidhr, which is not shamanism per se, but is the Norse oracular and trance practices that come rather close. Some people consider it to be the Heathen equivelant of shamanism, or as close as you can get. I personally count it as a related practice, but not as shamanism itself. Hrafnar (http://www.hrafnar.org/)also practice oracular seidhr, and have links on their website.


Sandra Ingerman has several books, particularly "Soul Retrieval", that are very good but are a bit like Paxson's "Tranceportation". There is some inconsistencies which make it easy to mistake as core shamanism, though I suspect that's not wholly accurate and may be an attempt to make the techniques more accessible.


Most of my other links I lost when my laptop was stolen, and most of the forums that were active years ago have been closed down (which was a shame). But that's a good start lol.


As with the others, thanks for the links. A fantastic list!


I can only speak for myself and what I believe I've perceived in a few others, but I feel symbols are the engine of otherworld contact. I communicate with my guides there in raw symbology, and I had no idea what I was experiencing until I understood it in those terms. Every symbol-set I learn is another way to see; for me, shamanism is closely related to the arts and began with stories (whether they were told in prose, musical notes, perceived movement, whatever). I would consider myself a voracious and generally unapologetic appropriator (although I never share practices that are identified to me as secret). At the same time, I'm interested in knowing what you feel constitutes disrespectful appropriation. There may be aspects of the subject I hadn't considered.



Everyone else has already said what I know on the subject, but beginning apprentices should NOT ever use any psychoactive anything from what one mentor I talked to told me. You have to first learn to do it with your mind and that's it. I can do it listening to music most all the time where I feel like I "visit" the spirit woraayahuascald, and then get the answers I need for this world. Sometimes for me sometimes it's an answer for someone else, but I've also had experiences where I got a malevolent spirit attach to me and I had to pull myself away it took several weeks of meditation before I found my center again.
I've been practicing for awhile, but mostly on my own with no steady mentor to apprentice under like a young Shaman is suppose to. I still can find myself getting lost when meditating too deeply, so that’s one piece of advice I would strongly suggest is to any person is get a good center with yourself before fully diving into it.


You certainly offer a valid perspective regarding drug use, and it's one I know is shared by several people for whom I've got a lot of respect. At the same time, I feel that certain natural drugs can be useful to the process of establishing and controlling (to the extent that one can control) altered states of consciousness. In particular, I've known people who felt that psilocybin, peyote, ayahuasca, and, in one case, opium were helpful to their practices of otherworld communication, temporal magic, and bilocation (as well as a few other skills). Drug use does seem to have been part of a great many ancient shamanic practices, and it can be a valid part of practice today - so long as the drug is a learning tool and not a toy or a master.



Thanks so much folks! I'll pass this along http://www.paganforum.com/webkit-fake-url://0FAD92CA-E418-42D6-BB78-5456266B490D/smile.png


TBH, this is exactly why, while I find the idea of Shamanism fascinating, it's been more then a little daunting to look into myself. I think this will be very helpful for my friend. Thank you again!


While certain shamanic practices are not to be trifled with, I also fail to see what's so terribly daunting about beginning to work with shamanism. I think a lot of the practices have been romanticized to the point that an otherworld journey seems like something only a well-trained elite astral projector level 26 should attempt when, in fact, most people (I feel) enter the otherworld in their dreams every night. Our minds and spirits call us to begin the journey and provide the means of passage; it's a perfectly natural act. Sorry if I seem irascible about that one, but I went through a period when I was younger when I really needed to be journeying but was intimidated by the type of person who thinks a publishing contract and a grand-sounding title are proof of astral prowess.



Can anyone throw some my way, please?


I have a FB friend who is open-minded LDS and looking for some, any tradition. She's getting frustrated because most of what she finds is very New Age, and gathers from a lot of sources without really explaining what they're doing. Are there Shamanism resources on the reconstructionist side of things?


On the one hand, I think New Age movements were a necessary part of the breakdown of linear society into the budding of a truly syncretic culture. On the other hand, blech! These texts are so often watered-down versions of a few tidbits of ancient culture intended to a) sell, sell, sell and (a very distant) b) maybe teach somebody that ancient stuff is cool or somethin'.

[CONTINUED IN NEXT POST]

Ouranos Ouroboros
26 Jan 2014, 04:18
Sorry - it said the last response was too long to fit in one post.



can I offer

Neil Price...The Viking Way: Religion and War in the Later Iron Age of Scandinavia
Neil Price...(ed) the archaeology of shamanism


Thanks. Especially the latter one. I spent so long not understanding the importance of geocosmology, denying my animistic tendencies and assuming the landscape was just boring old atoms and stuff (probably until I read some of Keith Basso's articles about the Western Apache, come to think of it - so you might want to add that to the resources list).



This is very interesting, I do this and have done this for a very long time, you are the first I've ever heard directly say they do this with music. I would love to hear any more you have to say on the matter.


Music is a wonderful way to connect to those in the otherworld. I've created an area of my astral temple that's chiefly for the sharing of music. It's been very well received by some of those who "live" nearby, and it's even inspired me with a couple of ideas for compositions. I highly recommend it.


I also generally find, in terms of meditative music, that you want something nearly or entirely devoid of melody, something that provides a sonic landscape rather than a tonal story. To that end, I recommend (only a handful of possibilities) David Darling, Constance Demby, Deuter, Phillip Glass, Kitaro, Ottmar Liebert, R. Carlos Nakai, Nightnoise, Patrick O'Hearn, Shadowfax, Steve Roach, and Eric Wollo.



It's actually incredibly common to enter an altered state of consciousness via listening to music. Drumming is just one variation of this, and is incredibly traditional to many cultures who practice some form of shamanism. Trance music is also quite good for this, and I'd be willing to bet that almost every single person who has ever gone clubbing or to a rave has 'tranced out' or entered an altered state of consciousness while there.


Gotta say, despite the list above, that the best shaman's drum, for me, is the sound of cicadas and/or crickets.


Finally… Rae'ya (I'm having some sort of multiquote error, so you didn't get quoted):


I really respect what you have to say - here and generally. You're one of the users whose opinions I hold in high regard, but I've got to disagree about your perspective on Inner- versus Otherworlds.


I think what you've described is, by far, the most common paradigm. At the same time, I think it's important to recognize that, by our very natures, we stand on the threshold. And, rare though it might be, some start in the (well, an) outerworld. And quite a few, like me, start on the threshold (often due to sheet stubbornness and lack of propriety) and must navigate back and forth or deal with events that occur in both "locations" simultaneously. I would suggest that the experience of the otherworld is not so hierarchical as to be experienced in the same manner or order from one person to another.


That's all for what it's worth. I'm generally about 60% bs, but I'm told the rest is sometimes interesting. If you thought I was being snarky at any point, just imagine Bob Ross reading that section; that should fix the problem.

Rae'ya
26 Jan 2014, 18:42
I would consider myself a voracious and generally unapologetic appropriator (although I never share practices that are identified to me as secret). At the same time, I'm interested in knowing what you feel constitutes disrespectful appropriation. There may be aspects of the subject I hadn't considered.

Appropriation is incredibly common in neo-paganism, and whether it's respectful or not is largely dependent on the perspective of the observer and whether or not the culture being appropriated from still exists or not. For example, most people don't care if you appropriate from a long-dead culture such as the ancient Hellenics or Norse. But appropriate from certain indigenous cultures and that's a different story.

Personally, I think that anything that takes a practice out of it's original cultural context and mixes and matches it with something else but still calls it a traditional practice, is disrespectful appropriation. For example... drumming. Drumming is exceedingly common in both indigenous and contemporary shamanic cultures (as well as in non-shamanic cultures). So if I pick up a drum (as I do) and use it to reach an altered state of consciousness (as I do), that is not inherently appropriative. But if I paint some Saami symbols on it and call myself a naoide, then that's disrespectful cultural appropriation, because I'm quite patently NOT a Saami naoide. If I paint Saami symbols on it and call my drum a Saami drum, that's disrespectful cultural appropriation. If I say that I practice Saami shamanism, that is disrespectful cultural appropriation. However, if I use some Saami symbols in my own design, understand what they actually mean, study the Saami naoide and their practices, use that as inspiration for my own practice, and never claim the term Saami or naoide, then that's appropriative but not necessarily disrespectfully so.


While certain shamanic practices are not to be trifled with, I also fail to see what's so terribly daunting about beginning to work with shamanism. I think a lot of the practices have been romanticized to the point that an otherworld journey seems like something only a well-trained elite astral projector level 26 should attempt when, in fact, most people (I feel) enter the otherworld in their dreams every night. Our minds and spirits call us to begin the journey and provide the means of passage; it's a perfectly natural act. Sorry if I seem irascible about that one, but I went through a period when I was younger when I really needed to be journeying but was intimidated by the type of person who thinks a publishing contract and a grand-sounding title are proof of astral prowess.

Ten years ago, I would have agreed with this paragraph. However, years of study and practice has taught me that you've got it a bit backwards. All the anthropological and academic study on shamanic cultures show us that journeying into the external Otherworlds was NOT readily accessible NOR perfectly natural. Michael Harner is the one who 'romanticized' shamanic practices into core-shamanism and made it accessible to everyone who could read a book and listen to a drumming track.

The Dreamworlds is not the same as the external Otherworlds. Nor is the Astral Plane. Nor is the 'Non-ordinary Reality' or core-shamanism. Nor are the Innerworlds. Normally, I'm very, very careful to qualify everything I say with 'in my experience', or 'I think', or some such disclaimer. But in this particular case I have enough confidence in the tonne of academic work and anthropological study that supports my statement. Actual shamans... real shamans who practice within their cultural traditions and serve on behalf of their community and their spirits... work within external Otherworlds, or spirit realms. In most of these cultures, the shaman is the ONLY person who can access the spirit worlds, or is the only person who can facilitate another to access them.

The confusion lays in the use of the term 'Otherworlds'. On one hand, the term is a relatively recent term and does not come from the traditional and indigenous cultures from which we have learned shamanic techniques. In that sense it's not innacurate to say that anyone can access the Otherworlds... as 'Otherworlds' could just mean any world or plane of existence other than this one.

BUT... just because you could legitimately call the Dreamworlds, Astral Plane or Innerworlds an 'other-world' does not mean that it is the same as the external spirit realms that the shamans of traditional and indigneous cultures are accessing. And unfortunately that is exactly what core-shamanism has encouraged in neo-pagans. These worlds are all getting lumped into the one term, and we end up with confusion and innacuracies where people think that the Dreamworlds or the Astral Plane is the same as the external Otherworlds (where non-human spirits live). Which then leads to the misconception that anyone can access the external Otherworlds and traipse around collecting non-human spirit helpers in order to retrieve their lost soul parts.

It's absolutely true that anyone can access the Innerworlds and traipse around collecting non-human spirit helpers etc etc... and that anyone can visit the Dreamworlds when they sleep. But the external Otherworlds? That's a different story.


On the one hand, I think New Age movements were a necessary part of the breakdown of linear society into the budding of a truly syncretic culture.

That's assuming that we want a syncretic culture. Personally, I think that's a horrific idea and I can think of nothing worse.

- - - Updated - - -


Finally… Rae'ya (I'm having some sort of multiquote error, so you didn't get quoted):

I really respect what you have to say - here and generally. You're one of the users whose opinions I hold in high regard, but I've got to disagree about your perspective on Inner- versus Otherworlds.

I think what you've described is, by far, the most common paradigm. At the same time, I think it's important to recognize that, by our very natures, we stand on the threshold. And, rare though it might be, some start in the (well, an) outerworld. And quite a few, like me, start on the threshold (often due to sheet stubbornness and lack of propriety) and must navigate back and forth or deal with events that occur in both "locations" simultaneously. I would suggest that the experience of the otherworld is not so hierarchical as to be experienced in the same manner or order from one person to another.

I think I've addressed this for the most part in my previous replies, but I'll reiterate that for most traditional shamans and neo-shamanists who practice within a cultural context, the external Otherworlds are a fixed point of existence outside of our own. They are not an inner landscape, or a shared subconscious landscape. They are a collection of worlds outside of our own, which are inhabited by spirits and entities that don't physically exist here.

The vast majority of people who practice neo-shamanic techniques for personal growth are not accessing the external Otherworlds. A great many of them don't even believe that the external Otherworlds exist. And that's okay. Because there's actually very little personal growth that can happen in the external Otherworlds, aside from being able to visit deities and teachers within their own homes. The Innerworlds, on the other hand, are quite easy to access and very useful for personal growth. As I have said several times before, the confusion is that most people call the Innerworlds the 'Otherworlds'... and I think that it is important to delineate the two. I've seen other neo-shamanists refer to the Innerworlds as 'the personal Disney-ride' or similar. I prefer my friend's term, because I feel it's more descriptive and more respectful of the work that can, and should, be done there.

monsno_leedra
26 Jan 2014, 19:06
.. Ten years ago, I would have agreed with this paragraph. However, years of study and practice has taught me that you've got it a bit backwards. All the anthropological and academic study on shamanic cultures show us that journeying into the external Otherworlds was NOT readily accessible NOR perfectly natural. Michael Harner is the one who 'romanticized' shamanic practices into core-shamanism and made it accessible to everyone who could read a book and listen to a drumming track. ..

Very much agree with all you've said in this particular response and in general with what I normally see you post in regards to shamanic practices. Tried to "Rep" you but don't know if it will post as it would not let me fill in anything.

MaskedOne
26 Jan 2014, 19:11
Very much agree with all you've said in this particular response and in general with what I normally see you post in regards to shamanic practices. Tried to "Rep" you but don't know if it will post as it would not let me fill in anything.

It's not registering on her profile. Is a specific error message popping up?

monsno_leedra
26 Jan 2014, 19:56
It's not registering on her profile. Is a specific error message popping up?

Now it comes up with a shaded box that says I have to give rep to another before I can rep her again. Yet when the box opened I had no options at all nor an error code. I even waited a bit to see if I might have a lag in my response time after clicking the rep star. Yet when I drag the cursor across the rep star on your post the box automatically comes up with all the options available. Not sure what is going on with it though I can't rule out that its on my end.

Juniper
26 Jan 2014, 21:18
Now it comes up with a shaded box that says I have to give rep to another before I can rep her again. Yet when the box opened I had no options at all nor an error code. I even waited a bit to see if I might have a lag in my response time after clicking the rep star. Yet when I drag the cursor across the rep star on your post the box automatically comes up with all the options available. Not sure what is going on with it though I can't rule out that its on my end.

You cannot rep Rae'ya again until you rep at least one more person. (Has to be two people before you can rep the same person again, regardless of how long or short ago it was.) It's a software thing and I don't particularly agree with the fact that there is no "time limit" to that rule. I'll do some digging to see if this is moddable. But until then, this'll have to do.

Back to your regularly scheduled program. :)

Ouranos Ouroboros
03 Feb 2014, 21:00
Appropriation is incredibly common in neo-paganism, and whether it's respectful or not is largely dependent on the perspective of the observer and whether or not the culture being appropriated from still exists or not. For example, most people don't care if you appropriate from a long-dead culture such as the ancient Hellenics or Norse. But appropriate from certain indigenous cultures and that's a different story.


Personally, I think that anything that takes a practice out of it's original cultural context and mixes and matches it with something else but still calls it a traditional practice, is disrespectful appropriation. For example... drumming. Drumming is exceedingly common in both indigenous and contemporary shamanic cultures (as well as in non-shamanic cultures). So if I pick up a drum (as I do) and use it to reach an altered state of consciousness (as I do), that is not inherently appropriative. But if I paint some Saami symbols on it and call myself a naoide, then that's disrespectful cultural appropriation, because I'm quite patently NOT a Saami naoide. If I paint Saami symbols on it and call my drum a Saami drum, that's disrespectful cultural appropriation. If I say that I practice Saami shamanism, that is disrespectful cultural appropriation. However, if I use some Saami symbols in my own design, understand what they actually mean, study the Saami naoide and their practices, use that as inspiration for my own practice, and never claim the term Saami or naoide, then that's appropriative but not necessarily disrespectfully so.






Ten years ago, I would have agreed with this paragraph. However, years of study and practice has taught me that you've got it a bit backwards. All the anthropological and academic study on shamanic cultures show us that journeying into the external Otherworlds was NOT readily accessible NOR perfectly natural. Michael Harner is the one who 'romanticized' shamanic practices into core-shamanism and made it accessible to everyone who could read a book and listen to a drumming track.


The Dreamworlds is not the same as the external Otherworlds. Nor is the Astral Plane. Nor is the 'Non-ordinary Reality' or core-shamanism. Nor are the Innerworlds. Normally, I'm very, very careful to qualify everything I say with 'in my experience', or 'I think', or some such disclaimer. But in this particular case I have enough confidence in the tonne of academic work and anthropological study that supports my statement. Actual shamans... real shamans who practice within their cultural traditions and serve on behalf of their community and their spirits... work within external Otherworlds, or spirit realms. In most of these cultures, the shaman is the ONLY person who can access the spirit worlds, or is the only person who can facilitate another to access them.


The confusion lays in the use of the term 'Otherworlds'. On one hand, the term is a relatively recent term and does not come from the traditional and indigenous cultures from which we have learned shamanic techniques. In that sense it's not innacurate to say that anyone can access the Otherworlds... as 'Otherworlds' could just mean any world or plane of existence other than this one.


BUT... just because you could legitimately call the Dreamworlds, Astral Plane or Innerworlds an 'other-world' does not mean that it is the same as the external spirit realms that the shamans of traditional and indigenous cultures are accessing. And unfortunately that is exactly what core-shamanism has encouraged in neo-pagans. These worlds are all getting lumped into the one term, and we end up with confusion and where people think that the Dreamworlds or the Astral Plane is the same as the external Otherworlds (where non-human spirits live). Which then leads to the misconception that anyone can access the external Otherworlds and traipse around collecting non-human spirit helpers in order to retrieve their lost soul parts.


It's absolutely true that anyone can access the Innerworlds and traipse around collecting non-human spirit helpers etc etc... and that anyone can visit the Dreamworlds when they sleep. But the external Otherworlds? That's a different story.






That's assuming that we want a syncretic culture. Personally, I think that's a horrific idea and I can think of nothing worse.


- - - Updated - - -






I think I've addressed this for the most part in my previous replies, but I'll reiterate that for most traditional shamans and neo-shamanists who practice within a cultural context, the external Otherworlds are a fixed point of existence outside of our own. They are not an inner landscape, or a shared subconscious landscape. They are a collection of worlds outside of our own, which are inhabited by spirits and entities that don't physically exist here.


The vast majority of people who practice neo-shamanic techniques for personal growth are not accessing the external Otherworlds. A great many of them don't even believe that the external Otherworlds exist. And that's okay. Because there's actually very little personal growth that can happen in the external Otherworlds, aside from being able to visit deities and teachers within their own homes. The Innerworlds, on the other hand, are quite easy to access and very useful for personal growth. As I have said several times before, the confusion is that most people call the Innerworlds the 'Otherworlds'... and I think that it is important to delineate the two. I've seen other neo-shamanists refer to the Innerworlds as 'the personal Disney-ride' or similar. I prefer my friend's term, because I feel it's more descriptive and more respectful of the work that can, and should, be done there.


I can agree about appropriation. I try to be careful to say that, while I might be using Celtic-style shamanic practices or a Greek-inspired template for ritual (or whatever), I am not a full member of those indigenous cultures. At the same time, I don't mind if someone simply says, "I'm an Egyptian shaman" or "I'm a Norse witch"; since we're all neo-pagan at this point in space-time, I don't assume that terminology today means what it once did - or that personal terminology overlaps. The only problem I have is when someone misuses secret information as the point of contact between secret practices and the public (once it's out, it's out, in my opinion) or when they fraudulently claim to be part of an organization or cultural group when they aren't.


I cannot agree with your statement, "All the anthropological and academic study on shamanic cultures show us that journeying into the external Otherworlds was NOT readily accessible NOR perfectly natural." First, the word "all" means that I have only to locate one academic article to nullify your contention. Without specific sources (and, in this case, in exhaustive totality), I'd have to interpret this an an argument ad verecundiam. Second, how can you prove what "readily" or "perfectly" mean apart from a subjective statement? Third, even if you could prove to me that it wasn't common to engage in shamanic practices in the past, that would constitute a fallacious ad populum argument. Why should I not engage in shamanic practices because fewer people than I thought did so in the past?


I stick by my contention that, whether or not they can become adept at journeying, most people shouldn't be too intimidated to start on a shamanic path. And it isn't as if simply starting on such a path will hurt them (except for a very few cases of mental illness or brain trauma). But I won't try to speak for all practitioners or students of the practice. This is just my personal experience regarding myself, other practitioners I know, and my seekers.


Actually, I think the "all" statement demonstrates why I generally disagree with your conclusions. Your statements seem to be influenced by linear-thinking New-Age-type models of shamanism. I am an experiential and moral relativist, and I think this forms a very different foundation for my spiritual practice.


For instance, I would like to live in a culture of syncretism - I think this model has a number of advantages over linear-thinking models, and there are a number of credible academic studies that provide evidence that most, if not all, original pagan cultures were syncretic in nature.


In addition, I don't believe that there's a need to establish a standard vocabulary of shamanism. It doesn't really take that long to learn how a new seeker delineates spiritual experiences, and it often teaches me something. Besides, I could bias their experiences in favor of my own simply by the way I frame a new practice; it's better to have a few templates in mind for helping others codify experience and let them perceive what they perceive - in my opinion, at least.


Furthermore, I am an egalitarian practitioner; I don't believe in imposing hierarchies upon persons or places. Someone who just began could (and often does) teach me something an experienced traveler doesn't know. And I'm not impressed with lists of titles or a plea to years of experience; there's nothing wrong with someone mentioning these things as points of reference, but I'm immediately dubious when they're the first things someone mentions to me - especially if it's the sole basis for their claim to knowledge or expertise. I'm not saying that's happening here - everyone on this thread (indeed, most of the site) seems knowledgeable to me; but this does happen way too often in many, many settings, if you ask me. Finally, I don't believe someone's more advanced because they've been to a different place in the otherworld than someone else. And, as I've said, I've known people who start in all sorts of places. I think people just have a tendency to arbitrarily assign hierarchies because that's what our culture tells us to do. Our experiences might be different, but I'm dubious that anyone's experience is inherently better or more valid than another's.


Personally, I've never understood the idea of maps or blueprints of the otherworld as anything more than foci. I believe people sometimes see otherworld locations as only of one type or another, as if their borders could be physically delineated as they are in the mundane world, because it would be overwhelming for the mind to understand their interconnectedness. But space-time in the otherworld is, to my mind, only a sometimes-helpful symbol (usually helpful as a locational device because it keeps us from experiencing too much input at once).


With a perspective like mine, we cannot, of course, come to a definitive agreement about anything outside ourselves. I wouldn't even hazard an attempt to prove that I exist, so I certainly can't prove that tenuous things like academicians, books on shamanism, or quasi-moribund felines exist. But I can appreciate the conversation and attempt to encourage what I perceive as an attempt by another being to reply. And, within that framework, I'm greatly enjoying the discussion.

Rae'ya
04 Feb 2014, 00:30
I cannot agree with your statement, "All the anthropological and academic study on shamanic cultures show us that journeying into the external Otherworlds was NOT readily accessible NOR perfectly natural." First, the word "all" means that I have only to locate one academic article to nullify your contention. Without specific sources (and, in this case, in exhaustive totality), I'd have to interpret this an an argument ad verecundiam.

Perhaps I should have said 'all the respected anthropological and academic study', seeing as that would have been more accurate. I'm sure you can find one academic article that doesn't fit the bill, but it's likely to be by someone like Harner, who is not a respected source when it comes to anthropological shamanic study. You are, of course, welcome to try though. I'd be interested to see if you come up with anything worth reading.

If you come up with a source, we can discuss it further. Until then, I stand by my statement.


Second, how can you prove what "readily" or "perfectly" mean apart from a subjective statement?

'Perfectly natural' was YOUR terminology, not mine. You are the one who stated that journeying is a 'perfectly natural act', so I'm not really sure what you are arguing here. Given it was your statement, the onus is on you to prove what it does and does not mean.

On the other hand, 'readily available' isn't really a subjective statement when you consider it's meaning. So again, I'm not exactly sure what your point is here, apart from an effort to argue semantics, which detracts from the discussion at hand.


Third, even if you could prove to me that it wasn't common to engage in shamanic practices in the past, that would constitute a fallacious ad populum argument. Why should I not engage in shamanic practices because fewer people than I thought did so in the past?

I didn't say that you shouldn't engage in shamanic practices. I didn't even allude to that. My entire point was to rebut YOUR statement about journeying and shamanic practice being 'perfectly natural' and something that everyone does in their sleep.

In fact, I believe I said that using shamanic practices for Innerworlds work is a very valid and useful thing for people to do. And quite aside from that, I engage in shamanic practices myself, so it would be hypocritical of me to say that other people can't, wouldn't it?

And a fallacious ad populum argument? Really? If I could prove it to you, it wouldn't be fallacious, it would be proven. And I wouldn't be relying on popular belief to back my argument, would I? The reality is that no one can prove anything about cultures that are no longer extant. That's where anthropology comes in. And that's why anthropological and academic sources must be cross-checked against each other, peer reviewed, or otherwise filtered to weed out those that can be relied upon and those that can't. It's not a quantitative science, so I can't 'prove' anything. But nor can you. So if you want to argue that I am making a "fallacious ad populum argument" (which in itself is not the correct syntax for the term), then you should jump on board and admit that you are doing the same thing.


I stick by my contention that, whether or not they can become adept at journeying, most people shouldn't be too intimidated to start on a shamanic path. And it isn't as if simply starting on such a path will hurt them (except for a very few cases of mental illness or brain trauma). But I won't try to speak for all practitioners or students of the practice. This is just my personal experience regarding myself, other practitioners I know, and my seekers.

Again, I didn't say that people shouldn't start a shamanic path, nor that it would hurt them if they did.

If you wish to discuss my statements, could you please chose statements that I actually made? Otherwise this isn't a relevant discussion, but a personal back and forth that is uninteresting and derailing to the thread.


Actually, I think the "all" statement demonstrates why I generally disagree with your conclusions. Your statements seem to be influenced by linear-thinking New-Age-type models of shamanism. I am an experiential and moral relativist, and I think this forms a very different foundation for my spiritual practice.

Could you explain to me what this 'linear-thinking New-Age-type models of shamanism' are. I am honestly very confused by this statement. I can discuss with you the exact differences between core-shamanism and non-core shamanism if you like (it would be relevant to the thread), because I think you may be a little confused as to which is which. Generally when people talk about 'New-Age-type' shamanism they are talking about core-shamanism, which is not what I practice. I don't even really like it, because it's terribly appropriative and syncretic. So I'm a little confused about how my statements are influenced by New-Age-type models of shamanism when I am clearly not a core-shamanist.


For instance, I would like to live in a culture of syncretism - I think this model has a number of advantages over linear-thinking models, and there are a number of credible academic studies that provide evidence that most, if not all, original pagan cultures were syncretic in nature.

Really? Do you have a source for that? I would love to read whatever credible academic study you have for that statement.

It's true that there are a few ancient cultures who patently practiced syncretism... the Hellenic and Roman cultures are good examples. Any large scale culture that existed outside of a small community required some ability to recognise, absorb, adjust and evolve it's practices to include neighbouring or conquered practices. But what of all the cultures that existed in small communities, tribal societies and isolated areas, which evolved separately and distinct from each other and were destroyed when overtaking by the large-scale cultures? For something to be 'syncretic in nature', syncretism must be a core part of it's operation and practices. Otherwise it just practices an occaisional absorption of ideas, rather than syncretism. Is it possible that you are practicing a little argumentum ad populum of your own here?


Furthermore, I am an egalitarian practitioner; I don't believe in imposing hierarchies upon persons or places.

That's nice. Neither do I.


And I'm not impressed with lists of titles or a plea to years of experience; there's nothing wrong with someone mentioning these things as points of reference, but I'm immediately dubious when they're the first things someone mentions to me - especially if it's the sole basis for their claim to knowledge or expertise. I'm not saying that's happening here - everyone on this thread (indeed, most of the site) seems knowledgeable to me; but this does happen way too often in many, many settings, if you ask me. Finally, I don't believe someone's more advanced because they've been to a different place in the otherworld than someone else. And, as I've said, I've known people who start in all sorts of places. I think people just have a tendency to arbitrarily assign hierarchies because that's what our culture tells us to do. Our experiences might be different, but I'm dubious that anyone's experience is inherently better or more valid than another's.

This is why I no longer run in neo-shamanic circles. Because they tend to be elitist and hierarchal and very much as you describe here.

However, you also have to be careful about assuming that someone who is sharing their knowledge and experience is being hierarchal, or that someone who is more experienced that you is automatically going to have a superiority complex. Because most of us actually aren't. It seems like you're pretty hung up on this point of enforced arbitrary hierarchies, which hasn't been happening here. I understand having a sensitivity to this, but sometimes being sensitive to it makes you defensive about it, which carries with it it's own faults. I say this because to be perfectly honest, you sound a little defensive on this point, especially when I add in the fact that the entire first half of your post is arguing statements that I actually didn't make. That may not have been your intention, and if it wasn't, then you may want to consider this in your next rebuttal so that it's tone is more accurate to your intent.

There is nothing less important or less profound about Innerworlds work, as I beleive I explicitly stated in an earlier post. New practitioners often have an assumption that they must travel to the external Otherworlds in order for it to be a profound experience, which is simply not true.


Personally, I've never understood the idea of maps or blueprints of the otherworld as anything more than foci. I believe people sometimes see otherworld locations as only of one type or another, as if their borders could be physically delineated as they are in the mundane world, because it would be overwhelming for the mind to understand their interconnectedness. But space-time in the otherworld is, to my mind, only a sometimes-helpful symbol (usually helpful as a locational device because it keeps us from experiencing too much input at once).

I operate in a Northern cultural context, and to me, the Nine Worlds are a definitive landscape of worlds with thier own landmarks, nuances and denizens. Most ancient Otherworld systems are the same... look at any cultural system that utilises an idea of a world other than this one and you will find that there are landmarks and locations that are consistent in the mythology. You can't travel to Asgardhr as it exists in the external Otherworlds and see a desert and sand dunes. And if that's what you find in Asgardhr, you are probably not actually in the Nine Worlds.

This is one of the points where core-shamanism diverges from traditional or classical shamanism. Because Harner introduced the idea that the Otherworlds exist as a numinous, changing and reactive plane that reflect internal or collective symbols and ideas. But that's not what the external Otherworlds are within the traditional cultures that practiced shamanism. This is exactly why I distinguish between the Innerworlds and the external Otherworlds... one is not better than the other, they are just different.

You can't change or control things in the external Otherworlds because they are independant of you and your experiences. There are nuances of experience... just as there are in this world. The way that I see and interact with a rainforest may be slightly different to the way that you do. And the fact that we are not physically standing in the external Otherworlds means that the things we experience there must be filtered through our personal interfaces before we can organise and communicate those experiences. There are set landscapes as mapped out for us by those who have gone before, but we can't measure exact distances and boundaries and the colour of the dirt in any quantitative way, because we are not experiencing it with phsyical bodies and senses. There is definitely room for subjective experience of the external Otherworlds, but if you tell me that Asgardhr is a vast empty desert of blue sand then I'm likely to assume you've been working in an Innerworlds shadow of Asgardhr rather than the external home of the Aesir.

And you know what... that's okay. Because what you do in your own subconscious is your business and does not impact me or my practice. If it's fulfilling to you then it's a worthwhile and profound experience. But lets be honest here... that doesn't mean that we are talking about the same place when we have a discussion about Asgardhr. But nor does it mean that my experience of Asgardhr is better than yours... it's just different.

(And for the record, I've never been to Asgardhr, aside from the Hall of the Nornir, which I've come to understand is rooted in Asgardhr but not really there... this is a hypothetical example only, because Asgardhr is the one place that most non-Northern path people are likely to have some concept of, which gives us a common point to work with).


With a perspective like mine, we cannot, of course, come to a definitive agreement about anything outside ourselves. I wouldn't even hazard an attempt to prove that I exist, so I certainly can't prove that tenuous things like academicians, books on shamanism, or quasi-moribund felines exist. But I can appreciate the conversation and attempt to encourage what I perceive as an attempt by another being to reply. And, within that framework, I'm greatly enjoying the discussion.

Unfortunately we have some fundamental philospophical and worldview differences, which means that any meaningful exchange has to go through some theoretical rebuttal and reply first, which is generally pretty boring to other people, and sometimes upsets them.

The difficulty for me is trying to figure out whether you are talking primarily about what I call the Innerworlds when you say 'Otherworlds'. Because if you are then everything makes sense and it's clear that we actually aren't disagreeing about anything here and are just caught up in a terminology mishap. The sister to that is whether or not you operate under a core-shamanist paradigm, which again would make sense, especially given your position as a syncretist. The problem is that I don't like making assumptions about people and generally actively avoid doing so, and your replies so far are a little confusing. On one hand you are talking very much like a core-shamanist, but on the other you are alluding to an assumption that I am (which I'm not). Clarification on those points would remove some of the early barriers to effective discussion here.

Unlike many neo-shamanists, I actually don't think that core-shamanism is a bad thing. I don't like it as a practice for myself, but I undrestand and respect other people practicing it. It's just not a paradigm that suits me. But that doesn't make it invalid or somehow less profound. And it doesn't mean that I am going to respect a core-shamanist any less than I do a non-core one. There are a great many non-core shamanists that I don't have any respect for... I was IN that community for a number of years, and I left it for a reason.

Ektor
01 Mar 2014, 22:51
I'd recommend either Psilocybe mushrooms or Wachuma cactus. But those are not legal everywhere, they are where I live, thankfully. But you can't go wrong with those natural psychedelics taken in union with chanting and rhythmic drumming. Be on a safe place, close your eyes, drum and sing and let your deities show you the way through the spirit world.

Ouranos Ouroboros
14 Mar 2014, 19:33
Sorry, but I'm shortening some quotes for space. I've indicated where content is left out.



Perhaps I should have said 'all the respected anthropological and academic study', seeing as that would have been more accurate. […]


You're arguing ad verecundiam. Respected by whom and for what reason/s?



'Perfectly natural' was YOUR terminology, not mine. You are the one who stated that journeying is a 'perfectly natural act', so I'm not really sure what you are arguing here. Given it was your statement, the onus is on you to prove what it does and does not mean.


On the other hand, 'readily available' isn't really a subjective statement when you consider it's meaning. So again, I'm not exactly sure what your point is here, apart from an effort to argue semantics, which detracts from the discussion at hand


I'm sorry you refuse to discuss this as a semantic point. From my point of view, semantics is exactly the point - our uses of "perfect" (and related adverbs, etc.) differ in their semantic registers, and this is precisely why you are presenting an apples-and-oranges, out-of-context-type argument as I see it.



[…] In fact, I believe I said that using shamanic practices for Innerworlds work is a very valid and useful thing for people to do. And quite aside from that, I engage in shamanic practices myself, so it would be hypocritical of me to say that other people can't, wouldn't it?


My apologies if I misunderstood.


No, that would only make you hypocritical if you believed that anyone can do things that any individual can do.



And a fallacious ad populum argument? Really? If I could prove it to you, it wouldn't be fallacious, it would be proven. And I wouldn't be relying on popular belief to back my argument, would I? The reality is that no one can prove anything about cultures that are no longer extant.[…] So if you want to argue that I am making a "fallacious ad populum argument" (which in itself is not the correct syntax for the term), then you should jump on board and admit that you are doing the same thing.


First off, yes, it's valid - in English - to use "ad populum" as an adjectival phrase. But if you prefer, I'll amend my statement: You were arguing ad populum. Or, if you prefer, you were engaging in an argumentum ad populum. I would like to note, however, that arguing that I can't recognize a type of fallacy because I do not use the correct grammar (in your view) to discuss it is, in itself, fallacious.


Sorry, but there seems to be a lot of confusion on this one. You seem to be asking me to assume the argument is proven in order for you to prove the argument. Am I mistaken?



[…] If you wish to discuss my statements, could you please chose statements that I actually made? Otherwise this isn't a relevant discussion, but a personal back and forth that is uninteresting and derailing to the thread.


If you find it uninteresting and uselessly personal, please desist. To the best of my knowledge, I am addressing statements that you made in the hope someone will consider my words important enough to answer or - at the least - read. Please check my previous statements - you'll see that you aren't the only person I've quoted. I wanted to answer a number of points. If you believe I'm in error, I would like to know so that I can correct the mistake - but I need to know, specifically, to what statement/s you're alluding.



Could you explain to me what this 'linear-thinking New-Age-type models of shamanism' are. […]


I have attempted to describe them (as linear, New-Age-based, etc.). The name and description are found in the same phrases. I believe, from what I perceive you to have said, that you would find that the systems I'm describing are those generally defined as "core-shamanism"; I believe, however, that they encompass a bit larger range of mentalities and practices than just core shamanism.



Really? Do you have a source for that? I would love to read whatever credible academic study you have for that statement.


It's a statement of opinion that comes from my experience based on study. I'm obviously a relativist, so that's what it would be - to me - even with a source. Would you care to disprove it or do you believe it to be automatically disproven because it isn't proven?


As far as the study upon which my viewpoint is based: My sources are the books used for, and professors who taught, my undergraduate ancient history classes and my undergraduate linguistic anthropology class. I know one of the history books is edited by Lynn Hunt, et al. I don't remember the others, but I will provide you with the citations as soon as we're moved to the new house and all the books are unpacked. As this is over 5,000 books, please be patient. Personally, however, I'll assert that the source is my opinion based on study. Any academic study could be wrong - hence the fallacy ad verecundiam (please re-write to suit your choice of syntax - I'm not a prescriptivist, and I'm happy whenever we can simply understand each other).


Sometimes statements which are non-academic (or which are indie academic) are credible - at least, in my worldview. I feel that an "academic community" is one that business has approved as a broker of cultural capital, not a place where knowledge is valued.



[…] Otherwise it just practices an occaisional absorption of ideas, rather than syncretism. Is it possible that you are practicing a little argumentum ad populum of your own here?"


The "argumentum" part is only necessary in Latin.


Please do not argue ad hominem (or engage in an argumentum ad hominem, if you insist); I find it rude. I think your statements (here and elsewhere) show that you're more intelligent than to just assume I'm a hypocrite based on supposition.



[…] It seems like you're pretty hung up on this point of enforced arbitrary hierarchies, which hasn't been happening here. I understand having a sensitivity to this, but sometimes being sensitive to it makes you defensive about it, which carries with it it's own faults. I say this because to be perfectly honest, you sound a little defensive on this point, especially when I add in the fact that the entire first half of your post is arguing statements that I actually didn't make. That may not have been your intention, and if it wasn't, then you may want to consider this in your next rebuttal so that it's tone is more accurate to your intent.


Please ask me how I feel rather than making conjectures.



[…] You can't travel to Asgardhr as it exists in the external Otherworlds and see a desert and sand dunes. And if that's what you find in Asgardhr, you are probably not actually in the Nine Worlds.


Again, I feel it's unreasonable to assume that physical space-time is valid for discussing otherworld locales. How can you prove to me that I either am - or am not - in Asgard? How do you prove that I've been - or have never been? How do you prove that I'm capable of going? Or incapable thereof? What right do you have to judge my personal, subjective experiences?



[…] You can't change or control things in the external Otherworlds because they are independant of you and your experiences. There are nuances of experience... just as there are in this world. The way that I see and interact with a rainforest may be slightly different to the way that you do. And the fact that we are not physically standing in the external Otherworlds means that the things we experience there must be filtered through our personal interfaces before we can organise and communicate those experiences. There are set landscapes as mapped out for us by those who have gone before, but we can't measure exact distances and boundaries and the colour of the dirt in any quantitative way, because we are not experiencing it with phsyical bodies and senses. There is definitely room for subjective experience of the external Otherworlds, but if you tell me that Asgardhr is a vast empty desert of blue sand then I'm likely to assume you've been working in an Innerworlds shadow of Asgardhr rather than the external home of the Aesir.


[…] If it's fulfilling to you then it's a worthwhile and profound experience. But lets be honest here... that doesn't mean that we are talking about the same place when we have a discussion about Asgardhr. But nor does it mean that my experience of Asgardhr is better than yours... it's just different.


[…]


How can you prove whether or not something exists separately of yourself when your only way of knowing is your senses and their analogues?


I can certainly agree that experiences (and, by extension, people) aren't inherently better or worse than others. I'm confused because that didn't seem to be your point at all, but I certainly agree.


How can you prove you've never been to Asgard? If someone thinks they've seen you there, is the experience invalid because you cannot confirm it?



Unfortunately we have some fundamental philospophical and worldview differences, which means that any meaningful exchange has to go through some theoretical rebuttal and reply first, which is generally pretty boring to other people, and sometimes upsets them.


The difficulty for me is trying to figure out whether you are talking primarily about what I call the Innerworlds when you say 'Otherworlds'. Because if you are then everything makes sense and it's clear that we actually aren't disagreeing about anything here and are just caught up in a terminology mishap. The sister to that is whether or not you operate under a core-shamanist paradigm, which again would make sense, especially given your position as a syncretist. The problem is that I don't like making assumptions about people and generally actively avoid doing so, and your replies so far are a little confusing. On one hand you are talking very much like a core-shamanist, but on the other you are alluding to an assumption that I am (which I'm not). Clarification on those points would remove some of the early barriers to effective discussion here.


[…]


I use "otherworld" to mean what you seem to call both Innerworlds and external Otherworlds. I don't believe the threshold is a point in space-time but is, rather, a part of my consciousness. I don't believe consciousness has to be bound by space-time. I believe space-time terminology can only be used symbolically in reference to the otherworld - those terms are foci, not places.


My practices would, to the best of my understanding, fall both in- and outside of what most people call "core shamanism". Please do not, however, assume that every practice fits nicely into one of two categories. And, once more, ask instead of assuming.


Again, just ask me about my experiences instead of guessing. In addition to helping myself and other readers understand the conversation (in my opinion, at least), it saves so much time. Instead of assuming I was a core-shaman (if you'll allow the terminology) and then making suppositions about what that might mean, you could have just asked, "Are you a core-shaman?" (or with whatever terminology you feel is best).


I do not feel that it's unfortunate that we have different experiences. I embrace it and am trying to understand it. I enjoy a world in which people are very different, and I don't feel I need to make their experience conform with my own. All I ask is that I be allowed to practice as I see fit and freely exchange experiences with others. Honestly, I feel we can both agree about that (based on statements you've made - not supposition).


I appreciate your willingness to share your point of view. I will keep your experiences in mind when I'm working with others in case their experiences are similar.

Rae'ya
17 Mar 2014, 01:30
If you find it uninteresting and uselessly personal, please desist.

Ok.

The majority of this post is irrelevant arguing of semantics and is not worth responding to, so forgive me if I don't bother to do so. I'm interested in discussion and debate, not meaningless circular minutiae or being misquoted out of context. Nor am I particularly interested in spending half a post pointing out contradictions and countermanding statements before attempting to reply.

If you wish to discuss shamanism and share experiences, then please discuss shamanism and share experiences. Until then, I shall desist this particular exchange and counsel you to do the same.

Juniper
17 Mar 2014, 16:52
If you wish to discuss shamanism and share experiences, then please discuss shamanism and share experiences. Until then, I shall desist this particular exchange and counsel you to do the same.

I don't think I need to add anything else to this since it looks like the situation has been handled, for the most part.

Please, nobody make me change my mind.

Ouranos Ouroboros
24 Mar 2014, 15:41
Thank you. I couldn't agree more.

To the original poster:

I think it's valid to draw from academic sources to an extent, but I think personal and spiritual experiences are also quite valid; I also think that immersion in the arts and humanities can be very important. And an open mind is, of course, paramount.