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Thread: Good Shamanism Resources?

  1. #31
    Sr. Member Ouranos Ouroboros's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    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.
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  2. #32
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    Furthermore, I am an egalitarian practitioner; I don't believe in imposing hierarchies upon persons or places.
    That's nice. Neither do I.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    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).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    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.

  3. #33
    Sr. Member Ektor's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    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.

  4. #34
    Sr. Member Ouranos Ouroboros's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Sorry, but I'm shortening some quotes for space. I've indicated where content is left out.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    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?


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    '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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    […] 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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    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?


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    […] 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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    […] 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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    […] 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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    […] 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?


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    […] 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?


    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    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.
    OO

    Book of Spirals is my author site.
    The Sentient Hillside is my blog.
    Spiral Tree is an ezine for pagans I co-founded.

  5. #35
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouranos Ouroboros View Post
    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.

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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    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.
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    Sr. Member Ouranos Ouroboros's Avatar
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    Re: Good Shamanism Resources?

    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.
    OO

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