The warmer weather has brought back the evening chorus, the insistent shrill calls of all local amphibians. Their voices call out to each other and to us as well, reminding us of the sacred trust between human and creature.
Through the centuries many people have explored ways of opening lines of communication between us and animals. Shamanism is a contemporary spiritual practice that opens that doorway and is respectful, playful and creative.
The term "shaman" comes from a Siberian tribal word and it indicates a person who is able, in an altered state to leave her or his body and travel to other realms. Shamanism is fundamentally a way of viewing Nature as alive and interconnected with us.
In ancient cultures around the world the shamans were the healers, priests and artists. The shamans, either women or men worked ritual with the forces of Nature, with the assistance of their spirit Guides, Helpers and Power-animals.
As mediators between the community and the Great Sacred Mysteries they were responsible for the survival of the group. This was no small thing…. It was a great thing and an integral part of everyday life. As society became "civilized" and increasingly distant from any close relationship with Mother Earth shamanic practices faded away.
Our contemporary form of western shamanism would not be possible without the work of Michael Harner. Beginning in the 1950's Dr Harner, an anthropologist, researched and developed the study of core shamanism, published the book "Way of the Shaman" and went on to establish the Center for Shamanic Studies. The shamanic journey was developed into a safe, easy and accessible form of altered consciousness facilitated by the rhythmic percussion of the sacred drum which allows a form of trance, a reverie, a crossing over into non-ordinary reality. There is seeing in the dark with the eyes of the heart and a willingness to be surprised as the experience unfolds.
The shamanic journey experience is on opportunity to use our amazing human ability to balance logical rational thinking with wild playful creative imagination. Sometimes the solution to a problem comes from being illogical, irrational….. thinking outside the box of our ordinary responses.
Frog speaks to me of abundance, renewal and the importance of clean water. How clear is my understanding? How well is my inner fluid flowing?