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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in shaman

Note: I'll be back to the Hero's Journey next time, but this topic came up on the Facebook "Magickal Community and Education" group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MagickalCommunityEducation/). Rather than simply posting my thoughts there, I thought they'd make a decent blog post. I look forward to everyone's thoughts.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker
    Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker says #
    And thank you! I appreciate this-- and I'll modify accordingly.
  • Piper
    Piper says #
    Thank you, This is nicely done and avoids most of the baggage that surrounds this issue, I do have 1 thing to add, your statement
At the Root: The Shaman's Journey Trance

Throughout time, shamanic practitioners are known for their ability to enter an altered state of consciousness, called a “journey trance”, and visit other worlds. These initiated, trained and chosen spiritual leaders practice as mediators between community members, the spirit realms and the natural world. Understanding the mechanisms for how energy moves, how illness operates, and how healing is bestowed are all the domain of the shamanic practitioner. 

A lot falls under the umbrella of the shaman. Many get caught up in web of all the different directions one can go in the study of shamanism. It is important to come back to the foundation from time to time and realize that in the root of the practice springs forth much of what shamanism has to offer.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Book and a Cat

Continuing my story of my personal journey on my heathen path, I continued to learn various magical basics, not exclusively heathen. During the early 1990s, I studied the book The Way of the Shaman, and met a lynx. 

 A quote from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts:

      “I worked through the exercises in a little paperback book called the Way of the Shaman.  From it I learned to read auras.  At first I had difficulty with the concept of aura reading, but then I figured out what it really was.  Learning aura reading is training one’s intuition to give information in visual form.  The color spectrum is capable of carrying more shades of meaning in a single data point than is a gut feeling.  It’s like trading Morse code for a videophone.  After that it was only a matter of practice, and in a few weeks I went on to the next exercise in the book.”

I had already connected to a spirit animal, cats of various species, but after reading that book, I went on a trip to Montana and connected powerfully with a lynx. The excuse for the trip was wildlife photography. I connected profoundly with an animal spirit that united the Native totem spirits, the Eastern martial arts animals, and the heathen bersarkrgangr animals, although I would not know about the martial of bersarkrgangr for another few years yet.

I photographed the lynx jumping over a log. The photo accompanying this post is one of the pictures of that very lynx, which I took on 35mm slide film. 

 A quote from my memoir: 

     “The lynx got tired and sat in the shade a while, panting, its cream and red-brown fur a liability in the summer sun.  It was not much bigger than my own cat at home, and I had to remind myself that it was not in fact a domestic cat and I should not pet it, despite the temptation.   As I stood watching the lynx, it looked back at me with spring green eyes.  I did not let myself physically move to touch it, but my feelings went out to it, to her, I realized, perfect hunter, emblem of every cat spirit I had ever known, from the lion roar of shenai practice to the little house cat spirit in the field on my first day at college.  She united the big cats and the small, the tiger of martial arts with the sweet kitten who comforted me when my father died.  I forged a connection with Lynx, not just this lynx but the archetypal Lynx.  She united within me all the cat spirits I had seen and heard, every catlike instinct I possessed, and something more, something hidden deep within.”

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Meet the Minoans: Zagreus

A few weeks ago I wrote about Dionysos, one of the major gods within the Minoan pantheon. Today I’m going to explore the character of Zagreus. He is sometimes considered an aspect of Dionysos and sometimes viewed as a separate deity. The tapestry of Minoan spirituality is a complicated thing, and it’s often difficult to tease out the individual threads, but I’ll give it a go and see what we can discover about this interesting, and ancient, deity.

In his seminal work Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, Karl Kerenyi identified Zagreus with the ecstatic Dionysiac festivals in which wild animals were torn limb from limb by crazed worshipers. Kerenyi connected Zagreus’ name with the Greek term for a trapper – a hunter who catches live animals rather than killing them. But the etymology of the name can also be traced back to a root meaning torn or dismembered, another thread connecting this intriguing god with those Dionysiac rites. Just to be clear: Zagreus is not the same as the Hellenic god Zeus, even though their names look somewhat alike. In their effort to create an ancient ancestry for their deities, the Greeks made Zeus the son of the Minoan goddess Rhea and said he was born on Crete, but he is a later deity and not the same as Zagreus.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Loblolly by the-specious@flickrI'm always reminding clients and students to use their totems, not just visit them in trance and arrange them just-so on altars. I don't know if it's a Western habit or a general human one, but it seems a constant reminder is needed that we have resources, we have help. Isn't that the crux of animism? We're not alone. We don't have to do everything alone.
 
One of the key components of shamanism that makes it viable is the engaging of totems in holding space, not just acknowledging them every now and then, but actually allowing them to help us create, hold, and be the space. Any time, any place.
 
Case in point: After a long hiatus from working out due to chronic health conditions, I've recently begun running again. It's been a long time since I've run, actually. Over the last two years I've done all sorts of other workouts sporadically, though managing acute asthma took a toll on sticking with consistent activity. In that timeframe my body has been telling me to run, and I've avoided doing so, partly out of sheer fatigue, but also out of fear, trepidation that I'd trigger the awful episodes I've worked so hard to control.
 
Last week I threw caution to the wind and decided it was time, not just to engage in duration exercise, but to do what my body has been telling me it wants to do: run. I've started with short duration and gone a little longer each day, climate-controlled, nice and tidy. The other day it was cool outside, so I ran outdoors. Once I got past the initial aches and moans of an asphalt half mile, I found my rhythm, then minor annoyances abated. However, other chatter began. My lungs began to burn and that familiar choking sensation crept through my airways, wrapped my throat, and I began coughing. I started stressing.
 
I slowed my pace but stayed moving, soothing the worried voice in my head. As I did, I noticed birds singing, a soft breeze blowing in the treetops, dogs barking, rasping cicada tymbals. I smelled pine, freshly mown grass.  Surrounded by Nature, I decided to take my own medicine. I realized my inherent soul connection to the elements around me, and thanked them for supporting me on my run. I invited them to tell me what they need from me, and was told to engage them again, and again. I really felt like I wasn't running through the elements, but with them, actively.
 
These weren't new spirit visitors or Nature friends. I've worked with many of them before in fleeting engagements. I honor them each time I create sacred space in my home because they are the Nature Spirits of my land, its Elders. However, bringing them into my daily routine was a vastly more validating experience, interactive not just in my senses, but my cells.
 
And yes, my breathing eased. I finished the run with no problem.
 
No, they weren't my personal totems. I don't have likenesses of loblollies or cicadas on my altar. The thing is, they don't have to be. Even in off-the-hook shamanist and totemist circles, there still pervades the idea that we're locked into certain totems, forever and always, that we can't just honor drive-by connections, or ones that suit specific circumstances. Such limitation is what inhibits deep animistic connections. It's just too easy to move through the space around us and not notice all the support that's there. Yet it's equally easy to pause for a second and consider the spiritual surroundings, the waiting support.
 
I say it over and over, but the hardest part of mindfulness and forging an authentic spiritual path is to remember to pause.  When we remember the pause, we recall to choose how we move forward.

SoulIntentArts.com

I haven't run outdoors since, but I will. I have, however, driven through my neighborhood every day, seeing it, hearing it, experiencing it with different appreciation, a fuller sense of being.
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Lupa_136_raw.jpgOh, all manner of things! Rocks and bones and potted plants and tubes of paint and antlers and bits of wood and other natural ephemera, just to name a few. But what’s it doing here on PaganSquare?

Historically I’ve reserved most of my how-to writing for my books [http://www.thegreenwolf.com/books.html], and my blogging and articles have generally centered more on spiritual issues and concepts, personal experiences, and the like. But I do get a lot of people writing to me asking how to do such-and-such practice, or work with this or that spiritual entity. So I’d like to make this more of a center for that sort of writing, and I am open to suggestions.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Eddie Black
    Eddie Black says #
    Surfing around I happen to stumble upon this page and I saw your name. I used to read you regularly way back in the LiveJournal da
  • Lupa
    Lupa says #
    Hey! I remember you! Good talking to you again I still have LJ though I barely use it; I'm on FB and Tumblr mostly, and I blog h
  • Tabitha Cole
    Tabitha Cole says #
    Lupa, I am very much enjoying your articles, they harmonize very much with my own spirit
  • Lupa
    Lupa says #
    I'm very glad to hear that! If you think of anything you'd like me to write about, please let me know
  • Carolina Gonzalez
    Carolina Gonzalez says #
    Welcome Lupa! Can't wait to read your posts here!

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