We are all shamans -- everyone has that potential -- but the vast majority of us are sleeping shamans. No doubt you have seen dozens of workshops, presentations and demonstrations by a variety of people beating a drum and declaring that they are shamans. The fact is that a beautifully painted drum, a weekend intensive certificate course, or a feather in the hair, does not an awakened shaman make, no matter what they tell you, or how much they charge. A genuine shaman does not worry about looking the part, they know it is all about being. An awakened shaman is a person who is in constant alignment and connects with the spirits of the universe including the ancestor spirits of the elements, and (most importantly!) they may appear very ordinary to the untrained eye.
Because of the variety of spiritual energies, most shamans express their connection differently. For me, because I trained and worked with Native American Indian people in Canada and the United States for many years, my patterns tend to be in that vibration, however, this is just a technique to access the energies. It is like an internet password that works with the spiritual machine. Most importantly, I have used my “Native American” methods worldwide and it works in ancient spirit places in Britain, Egypt, Israel and France. It works because the energy is multi-universal and I am using my techniques to access the wisdom “etheric data bank.” The ancients seeded this wisdom into the etheric realms knowing that only those with the “password” could access their magical library, and this definitely includes the ancient land of Australia.
No doubt you have heard that many traditional Aboriginal people do not want “outsiders” to access sacred sites, or attune to the various song-lines. You will hear that some elders have denounced those who do this, or who do not ask their permission. That may be so, but all I can say is that from my experience I have never been blocked or evicted from a sacred place.
The obvious key is honour and respect, along with motive, of course.
The only reason I wish to attend sacred sites is because I have been energetically invited by the spirits to do this, and they rarely tell me why, until later. I receive dreams, visions, clairvoyant messages, along with confirmation experiences, clues and serendipitous “coincidences” that gently push me to certain places at certain times, and I have learned never to fight this.
I had such messages recently, when I was literally pushed to go to Uluru / Kata Tjuṯa for the winter solstice. This was pretty challenging, for a number of reasons, but I had a series of signs and strong pushes from spirit that made it obvious that I had to go, and so indeed I made my way to this sacred place, in the middle of the icy cold desert.
Each year Grandfather Sun sits still in the sky and gives us signs and opportunities of spiritual or energetic evolution. There are four major points -- two solstices and two equinoxes. The winter solstice is in June in the southern hemisphere and the coldest, darkest time of winter. It is also a time of rebirth, renewal and change because this is the time of renewal moving towards spring and away from the cold winter. Spiritually it is the time to release attachments to loved ones who have passed over giving them thanks and appreciation and valuing the lessons they have gifted you. It is also the time for forgiveness and allowing the past to dissolve so we can empty ourselves and receive new direction and new guidance. As we do this, we allow Grandfather Sun to return into our lives as a path of enlightenment. You may have visited, or at least heard of major sundials such as Stonehenge in southern England, where the sun sends a shard of strong sunlight to a marker stone at the very moment of solstice. There are dozens of these sacred places throughout the British Isles, and into France and Germany. In northern Scotland there are magical caves you can visit and see the sun beam shoot through the entrance to illuminate ancient symbols. Most of the marker stones are carved or painted with a series of sacred spirals that indicate star constellations that have a sacred connection to that particular tribe or group of people. Yet it is much deeper than this, because there are deeper messages and powerful gifts for those with the sensitivity to see/feel them. In all cases, in every corner of the world, the marker stones or the wall illuminated can only be seen properly at the exact moment the sunbeam hits it during the solstice. At other times, even under the strongest artificial lights, the patterns look disjointed or unclear. There is a reason for this, and this reason is the gift, because it teaches us that it is the exact creation or mixture of sunlight or illumination from our “Grandfather” being, seeding or illuminating what appears to be asleep or unavailable. Just as a dry, insignificant seed contains the blueprint and potential to be a magnificent tree that can offer countless fruit and live for hundreds of years, we all carry numerous spirit seeds in our spirit-hearts. By placing ourselves, with reference, humility and openness in these sacred places, and witnessing Grandfather Sun illuminate the sacred paintings/inscriptions, and then absorbing them through sight, feeling and emotion we trigger those dried up, insignificant spirit seeds within us. Most importantly, we also create a spirit line between ourselves and the ancient ones who created this portal of spiritual awaking, in conjunction with their spiritual guidance.
This is the real download; the transformative download that can only occur when we sacrifice comfort, surety and old patterns for the eternal voice of our Creative Spirit Elders.
These experiential journeys are the true essence of shamanism because they are enacted for the self, of course, but often for the greater community. My Elders would say that as one of us steps forward and embraces the spiritual truth of our world, we all grow collectively because the shaman’s essence is offered out to his/her tribe. They are not offered for show, or to impress anyone, in fact few people even know these events are even occurring. People who saw me tramping through the cold desert trails probably thought I was just another tourist taking selfies! But I knew why I was there, at least I thought I knew why I was there.
There are many sacred places at Uluru and Kata Tjuta, in fact the whole place buzzes with spiritual and psychic energy. I had been there before, and naturally went to the caves and secret places, yet it was the cooking area, called a kitchen, where I was led. My tradition is to offer tobacco, but the spirits said no, we want water; and so the water was sprinkled where they directed me. Then at the moment of solstice, in a cave I had seen many times before, a shard of light ricocheted across the dark wintery cavern like a spear of silvery gold. It shone onto a wall I had also seen before, but today, on the solstice, it was shimmering with sacred spiral glyphs painted in gold and red ochre. I gasped for a moment, and sat down slowly, feeling the dizzying energy of the rapid spirit download, and the hum of many spirit voices calling at once. I recognised the image because I had seen it so many times before. It was the familiar illusional-daze-dream world glyph reconstructed on so many walls and marker stones right across the world. Of course they vary in size and detail; and they always reflect the particular culture that created them, but I spotted it immediately.
The illusional-daze-dream glyph is an organic organizational pattern that many of us doodle without realizing it. It is an unconscious pattern that reflects the reality, or dimension, or world, we have infiltrated. To the rishis of Vedanta it is Maya, to the Hopi people it is the web or cape of Spider Woman, to the Celts it is the caldron of Ceridwen, so many names, but always the same pattern, the same formula, because it describes the same knowing. The knowing is one you already know, and have heard countless times when spoken of by the masters, it states simply that this world is not your home, and that you have chosen to get tangled, enmeshed, enfolded in the web of Spider Woman, and like a fly, you are stuck. Every solstice, right across the planet, a shard of true Creator light, shines on these images, reminding us that we can break free from the web; including the world-wide-web, the minute you make that your focus. While we think that there is value in the web, we will put all our energies into making it a comfortable web with constant wifi and all the mod-cons. Of course you already know this, yet we do need constant reminders.
This is why the Universal Elders ensure these magical earth clocks are set to the exact time, and that these reminders, or “alarms” if you like are set to go off like clockwork. Trouble is, we keep hitting the snooze button and falling back asleep!
My journey, and the gifts exchanged were perfect. After the download, we were guided to traverse the sacred rocks and gullies leaving and receiving gifts; remembering those who had shared the life journey for a while, and the many gifts they had shared. As the sun set the shadows stretched long and tall, but we were not alone. The glow melted across the purple sky and dancing pulsating shadows of a dozen spirit-women rippled across the frosty grass, joining us in a corroboree. The dreamtime was dancing and like the Avalonian mists, it shimmered with many open doorways to hundreds of worlds, all within reach.
Every spiritual pathway sprang from ancient shamanic roots and they still bear the shamanic threads, if you look carefully. Yet shamanism is not a formalized system of beliefs or an ideology. True shamanism is solitary and very personal. Traditionally a shaman would leave home and study or serve through apprenticeship. Under their guidance the new shaman would practice ecstatic trance states, which alter their consciousness enabling them to travel to the realms of the invisible worlds. Their ability to gain information and make changes in the invisible realms relies on the working relationships they develop with the spirits. In this sense, shamanism is a relationship-based practice of making changes in invisible realms to impact healing in ordinary reality.
The key points are: Altered states of consciousness * mediating between spirit and the physical world and serving the needs of the greater community.
A shaman is therefore a specific type of healer who uses an alternate state of consciousness to enter the invisible world, which is made up of all unseen aspects of the world that affect us, including the spiritual, emotional, mental, mythical, archetypal, and dream worlds. There are shamans who come from an unbroken shamanic tradition and continue to practice in that tradition, usually in their native culture. There are others who may spring from a shamanic tradition, but serve to bridge between that tradition and the modern Western world, often by adding ceremonies and rituals that were not necessary in their indigenous culture. Many Native American Indian healers fall into this category. However in all cases, every shaman is called by Spirit to serve the needs of their community.
If you would like to study and embrace Native American Indian shamanic traditions, I recommend my book: Sacred Circle, which includes the book Spiral Dance. It has all the elements of the Medicine Wheel, and insights into sacred herbs.
The eBook is available via Amazon.