Link to this Article: http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/article/154
This article was written by Amber Wolfe on May 29, 2002
posted under Shamanism
One of the most beautiful, synchronous aspects of the current shamanic reemergence is that it coincides with the great expansion in human consciousness and potential. The shamans of old may have had to rely on harsh experiences of physical and psychic trauma to access and tune into other worlds beyond form. We, however, have now reached a place in human development that allows us to delve into the deepest wisdom and purest form of energy.
The methods used by shamans of old may now be adapted for our lives today. Instead of a rare few individuals undergoing the rigors of ancient shamanic methods, we can be many, gently stretching and experiencing our new-found potentials. We can all attune to the center of our Self, lovingly reconnecting with Spirit, with Nature, and with the intricate interweavings of life.
We find harmony with all the energies of Nature and Spirit by opening ourselves to experience fully all that is around us. The shamanic view portrays all aspects of life as wheels within wheels, spinning and turning constantly. When we follow a shamanic path, we reach into this seemingly chaotic universe of spinning wheels. With our personal faith and willingness, we connect with each wheel individually. Each experience of our life, each aspect of Nature, and each journey of Spirit we may see as a wheel.
The larger wheels of the Animal, Plant, Mineral, and Human Worlds contain smaller wheels of specific lessons and connections to power. The great wheels of the elements: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth, we find spinning in and out of all the worlds. Spirit we find throughout all, sup-porting our quest on the shamanic path. Like the shaman, we connect with the All of the universe by first connecting with each aspect individually. This is called riding the wheel of life. As we do this, we find different parts of each wheel, and different vibrations of energy that help us stay in balance.
We ride at the center of the wheel of life when we follow the shamanic path. At the center of the wheel, we find that the source of all the wheels we ride, the source of the energies we encounter, and the source of the journey we are on, is our highest Self. Journeys of upper, lower, and middle worlds are journeys of Self. When we know that, we are able to transform the very wheel of life that we ride.
Like the shamans of old, we may make the quest of attunement with all worlds and harmony with Spirit. Beyond that, when we ride the wheels of our life in balance, we help balance everything else. Everything. But first we begin with one aspect of Self, one element, one part of Nature, one world—-one wheel at a time. And so we go, from wheel to wheel, all spinning within the great wheel of life. This continues until we have dealt (conceivably) with them all. Then, we start again. For the shaman, like the Fool in the Tarot deck, is always at the beginning of his path. To forget that is to lose the balanced flow of energies which keeps the follower of the shamanic path centered in his own power.
Fortunately, each journey, each turn of the wheel, gives us wisdom and experience to facilitate the next. Now, more than ever before in human evolution, we have the resources and abilities to support our journey on the shamanic path. Each journey and each experience we encounter is deeper and swifter than before. As we spiral into the shamanic center of Self, we find that the energies often bring radical changes and personal transformations in our lives. This is why we take the time to connect individually with each aspect of our journey on the shamanic path. This we do well, and in balance. This is also why we learn to call on all the resources around us, and within us, for strength and support along the way. We learn to use our own blends of power and gifts to map our shamanic path and to make each step of our Earth walk true and sure.
How we decide to adapt shamanic methods and follow a shamanic path is our personal choice. From the shamans of old, we may now take the great wisdom of staying centered in our own power. We take the isolation of the shaman and translate it into inner solitude. The traumas and woundings of the shaman we find already in our own life experiences. We reach into our own hearts and find the compassion of the wounded healer. For who among us has lived untouched by pain or pleasure? The shaman’s experiences of being devoured and reemerging from the brink of death we may find in the deep personal transformation of our own Being. To choose to follow a shamanic path is to call for healing and transformation from the deepest center of our Self. From this center we are most connected to the purest energies of all, the worlds of Self, Nature, and Spirit.
From the shamans of old, we learn to develop our shamanic self, egocentric in the most positive sense and centered in personal power. We walk our own paths. We may choose to live an isolated life, defining ourselves as shamans in the old way, with all that path entails. Or we may decide to live closer to the center of our own community and to the world community. This way we are following the tradition of the medicine person who always dwells within the community as an active participant.
In this time of blending philosophies, we may follow a shamanic path and still function as a medicine person. In blending these together, we may find that the deep self-healing experiences of the shamanic path can provide the necessary strength for the medicine person. The medicine person is often depleted by the task of serving at the center of the community, which has its own chaotic energies. On the other hand, the strict shamanic follower who may have become too isolated along the path may find the energies of a community to have positive contributions to his/her own self-healing. Shamanic paths, like all personal paths, can run parallel or across the paths of others while remaining deeply personal and individual. We may use symbols and philosophies from many different sources, blending them to "make our own medicine" on the shamanic path.
We may call ourselves by any name, or follow any tradition, and still be on a shamanic path—so long as we are walking connected and in balance with the energies of Nature.
We may be Wiccan, Buddhist, Taoist, Christian, or Hindu and enter into shamanism. Nature is everywhere, and the energies are shared by all. We have the capacities to be Aquarian shamans, reflecting the blending of the Aquarian age. This we do by creating our own journey and combining our many experiences and philosophies together into a workable whole.
With our increased potentials and awareness, we have a greater wealth of resources available. The resources we call on now come from a wider range of shared wisdom and expanded consciousness, which the shaman of old could only have glimpsed in during individual journeys of time and space.
Perhaps these old shamans did more than merely glimpse the future in which we find ourselves now. Perhaps they did see the great blending of wisdom and philosophies that mark the new Aquarian age. Perhaps they saw the consciousness of Humankind expanding at a rate beyond our capacities to measure it. Perhaps they felt the neurons firing in each individual brain, creating new pathways in the Mind of us all. Perhaps they felt the great wave of Spiritual oneness, unity, and Nature awareness sweep over us, stirring long-forgotten memories deep within us.
Perhaps, then, these shamans of old knew that all they had endured had been worthwhile. For they had glimpsed a new age of humanity arriving on the planet. They had seen the many, not the few, who came ready and equipped to explore the other worlds that the shamans had endured so much to reach. Perhaps these old shamans laughed to see us struggle with their ancient wisdom, like babies first crawling from the crib. Perhaps they felt some fleeting sadness as we examined their tools of power as scientists, as anthropologists, and finally as students.
Perhaps when they glimpsed us taking our first uncertain steps on the shamanic path, these old shamans called together all of their helping spirits and returned to their places of isolation. There, they called together the energies of Nature and Spirit, and let them flow through—across time and space—to direct us on our journey as a people and as a planet.
Please note that the use of Llewellyn Encyclopedia articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions