Shamanism is a path of knowledge, not of faith, and that knowledge cannot come from me or anyone else in this reality. To acquire that knowledge, including the knowledge of the reality of the spirits, it is necessary to step through the shaman's doorway and acquire empirical evidence.
- Michael Harner, Ph.D.
I have been asked about what religion I confess to, what political stance of life. What do I believe in?
I do not confess to any religion, but I am not an atheist. I appreciate the core of spirituality found in most religions. And you will not put me down in any political colour, yet I am using my right to vote and to follow politics. As a shaman you are first and foremost a human being, fallible and faulty, just like everybody else who is incarnated here on Earth.
For many years I have been walking the path of the Shaman, without consciously being aware of it. Shamanism is not a religion, nor is it a belief system. Shamanism means merely to make conscious that which is unconscious and reveal that which is hidden. That which is "hidden" is not a secret. A "secret" is merely something that is not consciously known to the beholder. Service To Self is dealing in secrets. Service To Others do not. And I am not dealing in secrets.
Shamanism is all about empirical knowledge. There is no, or very little, theory in Shamanism. If there is theory, you are very soon to try out that theory in practice.
Often you are left with a "trial and error" perspective on life, before you feel you have the Truth. And even when it "clicks" and you may feel you have the Truth, soon you will realise there is more room to expand that Truth and make it more nuanced.
As a matter of fact all souls are living the "Shamanic experience", as per definition of the word, whether aware of it or not, since a lot of our business in life is to make that which is not consciously known to us, known, all according to the soul lessons we are here to study and learn. We gather information every day to make sense of our existence and to expand our knowledge. And all lives are lived in a state of "trial and error".
Yes, I had (and still have) a shaman teacher. He too does not believe in anything else than what you can perceive with your senses. But he knows trickery and the traps of illusion. And in his teachings I have learnt to observe and be aware of trickery and illusions, how they manifest and how to ascertain their sources. No religion. No politics. No "nonsense" (and, besides, what is "nonsense"? In all nonsense there is a lesson to be learnt or/and taught!). Just empirical study of what is. The trick is to know what it is you are perceiving and how to render it.
And to render you need to know yourself, your darkness as well your light, in order to know how to interpret.
And to know the workings of the ego.
And that knowledge takes a lot of deep work to achieve.
I have no idea what the names of the beings, the entitites and spirits I encounter in my Shamanic work are, since to me names does not matter. What matters is the nature of these entities and spirits, and the situation at hand and what it is telling me to do or how to act, or perhaps sometimes get into collaboration with said beings/spirits in order to help me further my understanding or simply in order to help another soul.
But nobody is leading me, because I am free. That is the natural state of a soul.
I do not correct people who tell me they have visited cultures where they "believe in Shamanism", and then goes on to tell me about their experiences, because it is also true that often Shamanism is mixed with religion and belief systems.
People often seem to need religion or a belief system to rationalise their knowledge. And I do not need that.
Some people think this is weird, that existence after all is a subjective place, where you are bound to render and interpret what you see and sense in a subjective way. And that is very true. True knowledge is ever changing. It changes when the beholder expands his knowledge, and when you are expanding your knowledge, you get to see Truth in yet another angle which earlier seemed "hidden" to you. Maybe even it seemed to you to be a "secret".
There are indeed a certain amount of set laws to make this universe alive, and we are all able to consciously interact with this live universe whether actively aware of those laws or not.
In Shamanism you become aware, conscious, of these universal laws through empirical studies. It is entirely up to you as a shaman how you then choose to use your free will in order to use and expand this knowledge, and within which areas to develop your skills and knowledge.
It may, in these limited words, sound like a rather rational and matter-of-factly stance, and it may be. Still this stance is entirely built upon love and gratitude for the lessons you learn and the lessons you are able to teach others. Even in teaching there are lessons to be learnt for the teacher, because everything is lessons - that is all there is, for everybody, with no exceptions.
In the Shamanic oath I've taken, I have been reminded that I am first and foremost a human being, with necessary flaws and imperfections. Without them my earthly existence would make no sense.
As a soul you are given an earthly body, perfectly suited for your lessons. And as a soul you are here for the human experience, for your soul lessons, and to interact with other souls and all living. There is nothing more sacred than life, and these lessons.
In the "marriage" between the soul and the body, breathing is what makes this marriage "consummated".
Breathing is Spirit. Breathing is Life.
And the knowledge you are able to acquire in this class room called Life expands your being in the ways necessary, as you as a soul are part of a greater context, a context which will also expand accordingly, and in harmony with your learning. Just as you as an earthbound human being is part of a context, you as a soul exist on many levels, whether you be aware of it or not. You are limitless and eternal, but given the bodily experience you are to constantly remind yourself of the importance of your soul lessons. The body has a time limit, you as a soul has not.
Often the ego would make you think that "you" and your body is all there is, that this is the one and only "context" you need, or need to know about, and that there is nothing more to it. And there are entities who would love to keep you in that state of looking on your existence, which is an illusion, because it means they are able to control you according to their own agendas. All beings, spirits, entitities too have their lessons to learn.
Sharing this here is sharing myself, and perhaps it will touch something in someone reading it.
You may have similar life experiences or you may not. And you might even feel inclined to share it with me, and perhaps that piece of information will help me and others to expand our knowledge and our beings yet a bit further...!
Everything is lessons and learning is fun, but everybody does not learn in the same way, because everybody has different lessons to learn. And the way we process information and collect knowledge also look different.
Yet we are One, all of the same Overall Source.
As a matter of fact we all ARE the voice and spirit of that very Source.
"Shamans to the Rescue" by Paul Levy is a very recommended reading as an introduction to understanding the shamanic process in us all, and to understand the mindset of us individuals who at some point chose to consciously and actively walk the shamanic path to become shamans as our life calling, and how we go about our work. You can find the text in my blog, published with the permission of the author.