Shamans intrigue me. Even as a child, if a book’s description mentioned a shaman or shamanism, that was enough to get me to read it. The words used to describe the practice of shamanism include mystical and magical and wisdom and invocation. All words to which I gravitate. As I grew older – and my studies and research into shamanism more developed – I studied the philosophies of different cultures that venerate shamans and, whenever I could, found current-age shamans with whom to study and practice. I engaged the shamanic principles and learned the art of traveling between the seen and unseen worlds – a fundamental in the art of shamanism. I explored the experience of communicating in unseen worlds and transforming my consciousness through it. And still, I wonder: Is Shamanism a mystical, mysterious allegory or a technique for accessing the Creative process of the Divine?
Metaphor is an art form.
The art of metaphor, evoking insight and understanding through the use of symbolism, is what drew me to study and practice Jungian psychology – delving beneath and beyond the literal definition of something to discover a greater understanding of the world(s) within and around us. Shamanic use of metaphor pre-dates Jung and his concepts by many, many centuries yet works from the same principles of exploration into the unseen worlds to bring insight, wisdom, and healing into the world in which we live. (In some circles, Jung is called a modern-day shaman.) And metaphor is, as well, an integral component of the creative process.
When I write – and a particular creative placement of words evokes a deepening within – is this not the principle of shamanic transformation in action? When I weave – letting the flow of colored fabric between my fingers induce a trance like state that opens my mind to receive insight and guidance from the Teacher Within – is this not the same induced state a shaman enters to speak with the spirits of another plane? When we move creatively – with a grace that stills the thinking mind and makes the body move with an athletic precision that defies logic (and sometimes gravity) – is this not the shaman’s dance to call upon Great Spirit to enter his or her body? When a piece of art transports us – through its creation or observation – into an emotional experience that opens us to more love and light within, is this not the purpose of a shamanic experience?
In the creative process, the habit of creativity opens a current of inspiration to flow. (see When Creativity Becomes Habit Magic Happens) A link between Divine and mundane forms that sparks a magic within. This fuels the innovation, the invention, the transformation of one form into a new one.
I love experiencing life through the values of a shaman – to heal and transform and respect all forms of Life in kinship. To look into the world I see and feel the unseen worlds that permeate it. To listen to my dreams for messages from Great Spirit and invoke trance states that take me into “dream worlds” where mystical experiences transform me and my understanding – this is the passion that fuels my life. And I wonder: Is it possible to live each day, moment to moment, with such a attentive focus on the creative process that we emerge as the shamans of our new age?
What do you think?
Thank you. I love you.