Shaman

“The time has come,” Walrus said.

“Time?” White Rabbit interrupted. “If time had come on time then I wouldn’t be so late! I fear that Time has come and gone.” He consulted his pocket watch and scurried off. “I’m late! I’m late!”

The Walrus harrumphed, and tried again. “The time has come, to blog and … Wait a minute. That wasn’t in the script last time.”

A harried under-assistant to the sub-directors secretary materialised at his elbow… erm … flipper … and flapped a sheaf of closely typewritten pages under his nose. “It’s been edited. She authorised it.” The under-assistant jutted his chin out in the general direction of whoever ‘she’ was.

“In all my years I’ve never heard of such a thing.” Walrus said as he harrumphed mightily and lumbered off … stage left.

(apologies to Lewis Carroll)

*

I have dilly-dallied, and shilly-shallied, and enjoyed my time off but it’s time, as the Walrus (why can’t actors just read their lines as written!) tried to say, to get into 2012’s postings.

I began this series of posts expanding on the one-word descriptions I used for my Self on my ‘About me’ page, back in November with ‘Taking the Scenic Route’. Which described my stance as a bicyclist. Now we venture forth into deeper waters.

When I set about world-building for the ‘Gallery’ Series, way back some time last century, (of which Mortal Instinct is but a single stepping stone across a very large and boisterous creek) I wanted to create a magic/spirit system that not only was deeply spiritual, but also worked. There’s nothing worse than getting buried in a beautifully crafted SF/F story only to find that the magi/spirit has flaws so wide you could drive a truck through.

(Joshua Palmatier, over at Magical Words – one of my favourite sites – has a bit more to say on that side of the subject)

So, as this was my first foray into the heart of the dark forest of ‘published author’ I decided to stay with what I know … with a bit of bling and other embellishments so that it blended seamlessly with the other world-building elements of Mortal Instinct.

What I know is the spirit of the Earth. This land we walk upon, either heavily with hobnailed boots, disregarding all the lessons around us, or as lightly as we can, with conscious intent of the consequences of our actions.

My spirituality is tied to the turnings of the Year, the seasons, Solstices and Equinoxes, where the Earth is the Great Mother, First Mother of us all, “from whom all things proceed and unto whom, all things must return.” – from Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente 

I didn’t come by this knowledge easily or at times willingly. I seem to remember being dragged (metaphorically) kicking and screaming all the way down a surprisingly smooth path – smooth, that is, once I got out of my own way!

There are many Realms of Awareness beyond this physical one we experience with our five senses, and they are all connected. Imagine a bag of marbles, all sorts of marbles. Different colours, sizes, and shapes, chipped, and brand new. Inside the bag all the marbles touch. Each marble is another realm or world. The ones closest to us here in our physical one are similar. They might be the place we connect with when we dream in our sleep, or what we reach into when we know who is on the other end of the phone, before it rings. And no, I’m not talking about caller ID!

Others are further away and we must step carefully between the worlds to visit them. And we must remember the way back to our physical bodies and to the time and place that our physical bodies inhabit. This is not an easy thing to master.

It was only after a solid year of instruction that my teacher let me venture forth on my own and would not/did not attempt to rescue me. I made it back intact, but it was the scariest thing I’ve done in my life. Scarier even than hanging on by a single hand and foot grip to the side of a cliff-face while a flash-flood created waterfall burst over my head. What? Haven’t I told you that story before? Well … perhaps another time.

A shaman is someone who Journey’s between the worlds to bring back information that has usefulness in this world. I have been a student and a teacher of this path, and I’ve fallen off it and skinned my knees and bloodied my nose, (sometimes not metaphorically speaking) only to get up and place my feet firmly on it yet again. (the afore mentioned kicking and screaming often features heavily at about this point) I have travelled beyond all I have known, to the other side of existence, and come to know my Self. It’s been a helluva ride … and I’m only halfway there!

Oh yeah … and guess what? It’s snowing! At last!

*

“I think we have to be careful about what we label as a prerequisite for spirituality. I don’t think you have to know a lot to have a spiritual life, but knowing gives life richness”Olympia Dukakis 

This is for the White Rabbit …

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19 comments on “Shaman

  1. Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams… (WB Yeats)

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  2. clarbojahn says:

    We have several beliefs in common. One we are all connected and two there are many realities. But for me the one true reality is the one where we are Spirit.

    It would be nice to talk to you about this sometime. 🙂

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  3. Welcome back, Widdershins!

    I find your description of being a shaman interesting. I’ve read all of Kelley Armstrong’s ‘Women of the Otherworld’ books and her fictional ‘world’ includes shamans… who are men of weak magical powers, and primarily healers although they can astral-project. I find it interesting how commonly understood themes or constructs become ‘re-purposed’ to fit the author’s vision for his/her story.

    The astral projection thing is an interesting idea to an agnostic like me. I kind of cocked an eyebrow at the that when Shirley Maclaine waxed rhapsodic about it years ago. I’m always open to different views, though!

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    • Widdershins says:

      Love to know why it’s interesting because you’re an agnostic?

      I thought Shirley was a bit loopy for a while there too. But then I wondered if I would have the same reaction if she was someone other than Shirley MacLaine. I didn’t, so I delved a bit deeper into what she was saying and I saw that her experiences were a truth for her.

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  4. jannatwrites says:

    Intriguing experience you’ve described as a Shaman. I’m also curious about the cliff face and the waterfall 🙂

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  5. londonmabel says:

    You and Ms Brownlow… have led Interesting Lives. Vair interesting.

    Hope you’re enjoying your taste of what Montreal is like most of the winter! (I don’t mean the snow, which is all winter long, but the wind chill! Oooh! Eep!)

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    • Widdershins says:

      Mrs Brownlow – Oliver Kittehs staff person, or Dickens’ Mrs Brownlow? …

      Nasty stuff that wind-chill. Was out in it last night … Brrrrrrrrr … I think most of the Lower Mainland is in shock!

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  6. londonmabel says:

    In Dickens it’s Mr Brownlow. So Ms is always Oliver’s mom. 😉

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  7. Dear Widdershins,
    I enjoyed reading your Shaman blog post. To me a Shaman gives you insights that help you reap their wisdom and remain true to yourself and God. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with your readers.
    Do something fun to celebrate you!
    Joan Y. Edwards

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  8. S. A. Hunter says:

    Hi Widdershins
    I so enjoyed your post…

    The archetype of Shaman/Teacher/Guide has found its way into my writing…oh…often. (I write YA/Adult fantasy). In my new novel, Elanraigh: The Vow, my heroine’s “Teacher” is a sentient forest—imagine such ancient wisdom. And then, a visiting tribe come to our heroine’s homeland and she is also mentored by their “Maiya”, the tribe’s Dream-Speaker, who happens to be blind.

    I believe it was not uncommon for tribal Shaman to deliberately blind themselves, so they could better “see” into alternate realms.

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    • Widdershins says:

      Hiya Sandra … thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed my post…

      I have heard of the practice of removing one sense to enhance others. Here’s my thoughts, and what I teach, on the subject.

      Any spiritual practice or belief system that requires that we deny our true selves over long periods of time, is suspect. I.e. denial as a means to achieve ‘enlightenment’.

      Sooner or later than denied aspect will find a way to re-emerge, and very often it is very destructive, to the practitioner, and most importantly to those around them.

      The thing is, with the example you cited, is that the person must rely on others to enable them to live in this realm. Which is great if you have a bunch of acolytes to lead you around by the hand, but worse than useless if you wish to function freely.

      I do understand why it happens, it’s not part of the path that I walk or believe in.

      I’m open to continuing the discussion …

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      • S. A. Hunter says:

        It’s extremely interesting…I don’t want to take up too much of your time, however, I was so intrigued by your explanation that “Sooner or later the denied aspect will find a way to re-emerge and very often it is very destructive…” What dark visions that conjures up!

        I must admit, I prefer a spirituality that embraces life and rejoices in it (I don’t mean hedonistic, I mean accepting the dignity of all living creatures and their right to follow their natural path); but denial, even to self-mutilation, to reach enlightenment thing is so prevalent from Francis of Assisi to Ghandi. Is it heresy to feel that this is wrong?

        I’ll enjoy following your blog and at EP’s Author Chat!

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  9. […] Writers Community, if you’d like to scoot over there and have a read. It’s a bit more about the Shaman-y  side of Widdershins, and how I translate that into my […]

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  10. […] the story I promised Janna  in the comments of my ‘Shaman’ […]

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