Archive for the ‘Shamanic’ Category

Pueblo Dawn Call to announce the Feast

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

All people awake, open your eyes, arise,
Become children of light, vigorous, active, sprightly.

Hasten clouds from the four world quarters;
Come snow in plenty, that water may be abundant when summer comes;
Come ice, cover the fields, that the planting may yield abundance,
Let all heart be glad!

The knowing ones will assemble in four days;
They will encircle the village dancing and singing songs…
That moisture may come in abundance.


Monday, August 19th, 2013

While traveling in the Southwestern United States a few years ago, I pulled into an Indian Arts and Crafts Fair on the side of the road in Sedona, Arizona. Several different tribes of people were represented by potters, jewelers, sculptors and painters. The people of the high mesas have always traded goods at gatherings like this and they tend
to be social gatherings with drumming, music and food. Concepts about the cosmos and healing herbs are also shared if one knows where to look and how to ask.

It was on this occasion, that paintings and prints in one booth of a New Mexico artist captured my attention and I began speaking with the artist. Throughout my travels I have been exposed to many ceremonies, celebrations and festivals in many countries. A painting of dancers around a fire, in regalia with which I was unfamiliar interested me. The colors of the garments and styles of the headdresses set against a background of deep ochre brown space particularly drew me in to the painting, as a hypnotic feeling of involvement overcame me. It was of a powerful magical dance.

This is the Peyote Ritual. Peyote ‘buttons’ grow low around the heart of the Mescal Agave plant and are harvested to facilitate altered states of consciousness in rituals and ceremonies. Books by Carlos Castaneda sharing experiences using this mind altering plant, have been popular reading since the 1960’s, so I had a vague familiarity with the concept. But to listen to a tribal member share his perception and be able to see the as images depicted in the painting, brought a vital reality to me.

The story this Indian man told me was about the Chiricahua Clan of the Mescalero Apache tribe in New Mexico. The term ‘coming out’ dances refers to the traditional seasonal Equinox and Solstice celebrations and the procreation myths surrounding the beginning of the World and of the People. These dances can go on for several days and nights and are a test of endurance both mental and physical. Only specific members of this clan who pass through initiation rites with peyote are selected to be dancers. They are called Spirit Dancers and travel to another dimension to gain knowledge by communicating with Beings there; then return to share with the Apache People.

The dancers’ torsos are often covered in pigments, either terra vert (green) or ochre (yellow) clays with white or green stripes. The loin cloths or garments are typically yellow, and red sashes are worn on arms, at waists and sometimes as headbands over black or dark hoods. Black hoods covering the faces with holes cut for eyes are typical. The masks are extended by scarves covering the neck and throat. This gives a Kachina Spirit quality to the dancers, perhaps so that they blend in more as they travel through
the inner dimensions. This color scheme is specific to this ritual.

The headdresses and lightening sticks are made of wood and traditionally painted white with black symbols for the Elements in them. As I understand, the headdress acts like a lightening rod or antenna to connect with the Inner World Beings on that particular dimensional plane. The peyote opens a pathway of communication and travel. Just as ayahuasca* is used to open a particular pathway to a specific world of reality, so have many other substances known to man for thousands of years. Most of these have healing and educational properties which can be used productively to enhance humankind’s existence on earth. The Spirit Dancers of the Chiricahua play a major role in maintaining balance in the Apache universe.

This seems a very sophisticated use of physics—subtle energy frequencies are available to humans if we know how to tap into them… like Tesla and Scalar energy concepts.

*see Spirit Mind Connection and Ways to Get There article listed in the Shamanic Category archives.

This is an excerpt from The Prism Diary Spring 2009

Exploring the Depths of Kahuna Shaman Reality Perception

Friday, February 17th, 2012

By Bill Russell

Shamanism has been called “the technology of miracle-making”. Long, long ago, shamans, in indigenous cultures around the world, learned to play the game of life by different rules. They learned that what we call reality is flexible, fluid and can be influenced by the mind to manifest experiences that, from our western point of view, are impossible. Among these experiences are the ability to walk in fire without injury, controlling the weather, and instant healing. How these men and women have been able to accomplish their feats has been a mystery, and even treated with disbelief, by scientists…until relatively recently.

First and foremost, in all cultures where they have existed, the job of the shamans is to heal. They exist to create beneficial changes for their community and the world at large. They are bringers of health, harmony, peace, love and joy to persons, places things and circumstance. To accomplish their work, they utilize the forces of nature that become accessible through altered states of awareness. In essence, they are distinguished from other healers by the way they use their minds. They believe, for example, that experience is a product of expectation and belief, that all is alive and aware, that all is connected at deep levels of awareness, and that the power of the mind is unlimited.

A fundamental aspect of the power of, for example, the Kahuna shaman of Hawaii is a clear understanding of the relationship between the universe and (what we in the west call) the subconscious mind. Their perceptions of this aspect of mentality are vastly broader and deeper than our modern scientific concepts about it. Their shamanic powers derive from the belief that the unfolding and manifestation of our entire life experience relates to energy/thought patterns held in these deeper levels of mind. To influence reality experience, they learn how to enter these levels and manipulate these imbedded patterns. Through this manipulation, they believe that any aspect of reality – even what we call the laws of nature – can be altered.

In the Kahuna inner cosmology, the ordinary, daily reality, as we perceive it, is simply the tip of giant iceberg. Beneath this level, in deeper waters, are other equally valid, and clearly delineated, platforms of perceptions of experience that involve all of us. From these depths, unconscious processes create our experience of daily reality. Shamans of all traditions long ago developed many means to enter and influence these levels that reflect back as beneficial changes in our level of daily experience. Examples of just a few of the tools that are used to alter the contents of these deeper levels are dreams, prayer, life force energy work, and ritual.

Even a brief exposure to the awareness, entry and involvement in these various levels of inner awareness can be a life-changing experience. Many participants come away from such an experience with a new realization of their great personal power, confidence and fresh hope that positive changes in their lives are possible and a new understanding of humanity’s relationship with the universe.

The Spirit Mind Connection and Ways to get There

Monday, December 19th, 2011

November 23rd, 2009 Metempyrion

This article is offered in response to queries received by Metempyrion

There has been a gathering worldwide interest in the Amazonian shamanic practices regarding the brew called Ayahuasca. A variety of herbal components are prepared and blended together including tree Datura, acacia, a liana referred to as the vine of death, other leaves, and bark found in the forest, which have a mind-expanding affect when prepared together and ingested. Imbibing this substance is currently being touted on the internet without initiation or psychological preparation, which is hardly the way ayahuasca is introduced to members of the indigenous tribes who partake of it in their culture. This is much different than the traditional cultural practice included in a ritual format.

A communal experience of sharing for the well-being of the group in any ceremony or ritual including, imbibing or ingesting a substance which enhances or changes perception, is an ancient and universal concept. As a group endeavor, drumming, trance dancing, and participating in Sweat Lodge Ceremonies is widely practiced. Many of these occasions involve partaking of some drink or substance for the purpose of enhancing the spiritual experience. The Christian practice of Eucharist, partaking of the consecrated wine and wafer (representing the blood and body of Christ), is a gesture based on this most ancient ritual and can be a most uplifting experience for the indoctrinated believers.

Authors, psychologists, philosophers, and anthropologists who are advocates for exploring the unrecognized uses of herbal and mineral derivatives, may have ventured beyond the 3 dimensional reality into the spirit-mind connection. Perhaps the time has come for contemporary medicine to recognize the principle that underlying all material form is another reality which is fundamental and essential for life to exist. The opportunity for individual spiritual growth is acknowledged.

“There is an invisible world (or plane) supporting the visible one.” Joseph Campbell, mythologist.

The proponents of ayahuasca, including adventurous anglo males interested in hallucinogenic substances since the 1960’s, have spoken at length about the attributes of using these preparations for a variety of objectives. Much of the interest is among psychologists for purposes of research under laboratory conditions to observe what participants are feeling and thinking during the 4 hours or so of being ‘in thrall’. If the people who are sampling this brew are healers, or involved in some pursuit which would suggest a desire to benefit others or society at large, there might be recognizable and honorable reasons for experimentation.

One way to experience the ‘Oneness’ or connectedness of Life is to ingest some part of the immediate environment in order to partake literally of the abundance expressed. Some lifeforms are more concentrated than others in elements that can enhance the bond between humans and other species. On every continent there are plants, leaves, fungi, and roots which have perception altering affects. Humans have always been curious about the soular connection glimpsed during dream time, or caused by a traumatic event.

Taking any of these products is not required to attain spiritual consciousness. Other ways to reach altered states of awareness include intense breathing and meditation. The Vision Quest, when one fasts and chants to become absorbed into the inner dimensions of existence, has been part of seeing visions and a coming of age ritual in many cultures. Many humans have believed the life of the soul is ethereal and mystical and a part of our nature to be explored.

Always it is important to have a teacher or experienced guide. Any of these practices can be dangerous and should not be taken lightly as recreation. Serious ramifications can occur if the person is unprepared for the experience as it may unfold. The projected goal of any of these rituals is that the participants become more aware of their identity, and their roles in the community and the world in which they live. Every individual is responsible to understand how their own physical condition, limitations, and vulnerabilities might be adversely affected by going through the chosen process. Every person should be aware of any health condition which might be exacerbated, possibly to the point of death, while participating in any strenuous activity.

It is the obligation of the shaman or director of the occasion to provide a ‘safe environment’ in every meaning of the word to ensure a beneficial experience for all participants involved. If or when an individual shows signs of distress or crisis on any level, physical, psychological or spiritual, an experienced healer must be ‘present’ to take action. Authentic shamans are bound by a sacred covenant to protect life and safeguard all who partake of any substance or activity while under their direction.

What follows are two separate accounts of incidents that have taken place during ceremonies:

A woman who had been to Peru and participated in ritual with tribal members in an ayahuasca ceremony, returned to her home in southern California. During the following year she began to feel trepidation about her health and became consumed with the idea of her impending death. She told friends about her fears who advised her to go to a doctor. The doctor could find no evidence of such a potential, but the woman continued to have disturbing thoughts and dreams about her death. She had wanted to return to the forest to repeat the ayahuasca ritual but became afraid she would die there. At the very last minute, she felt compelled to get on the airplane.

For the ceremony, she was drawn to sit between two women, both known as healers. After taking the ayahuasca brew, she began to experience visions similar to her prior experience and then lapsed into a deep comatose state about which she remembers nothing. When she awoke a day later she was lying prone; the shaman and women leaning over her concerned. They said no one had ever reacted like that before but they felt they had literally called her back from the dead.

The questions remain. Was this health crisis programmed from an earlier time, perhaps genetic? What process inside of her was set into motion by her first experience with ayahuasca the year before? Would she have died had she not returned for the healing? Would she have gone through the near death experience at all if she had not participated in the ritual either or both times? What we know is that she did go, not once but twice. She did return home to tell the tale.

Another incident took place recently with not so happy an outcome:

A man who considered himself a leader in the trend of spiritual development in urban populations in the United States, gathered people together for a sweat lodge ceremony. The setting was beautiful Arizona in an area well known for uplifting experiences and a tradition of Native American spiritual activities. Sweat lodge ceremonies are intimate gatherings of small groups in secluded areas. Usually there is a certain amount of reverence in the attitude of the participants, and an open-mindedness to experience the unknown. Pipe tobacco or sage smoke may be used for prayers and purification.

On this occasion, preparations were made using materials not commonly accepted for the construction of the lodge. The number of participants became much larger than what would normally be considered desirable. The event proceeded and as the experience unfolded, several individuals began to experience some distress. At some point the situation became critical and one person, then two others lost consciousness. As those in charge of the event began to become aware of the seriousness of the situation, it was clear that they had not anticipated any such occurrences. One woman died before medical attention could be given to her and two other people died shortly after arriving at the nearest medical facility.

The questions remain. Was the leader adequately experienced in this type of shamanic ceremony? Were the participants properly prepared and informed of the risks involved? Had people taken responsibility to know their own medical conditions and side effects of medications they were taking? What were the motives involved for having and participating in such an event? Although the costs of supplies and time of preparation need to be considered, generally gifts for the shamans and healers and food to be shared by the group after the ceremony are all that are offered.

Monetary gain and or peer pressure are not recommended for spiritual development exercises. Motives are a very important part of any decision to participate in any ritual, and will also color any interpretation of an acknowledged affect.

Similar to other healing herbs, ayahuasca is also used by healers to initiate changes on deep subconscious and subcellular levels, so a person can be better, stronger, healthier. When listening to a Curandaro or healer from the indigenous tribes regarding their practice of using these brews for healing, one becomes aware that they are and have been deeply involved with their environment and everything in it for ages. Also, by hearing first-hand accounts, and taking into consideration information from the shamans who are very familiar with the affects of repeated use of ayahuasca over time (spanning generations), it is clear that not only the difference in language would make communication difficult when trying to explain about the purposes of participation and visions experienced.

A conditioned state of mind which is inherited, defining the meaning behind the words, is a part of the belief system relative to the cosmos. Without this code, understanding is limited. When a product or practice is isolated from its source, the affect, or rather the translation of the affect it has on individuals coming from outside the culture of origin will be limited and or misinterpreted. At the very least, some level of distortion is inescapable. The original context is as important as the activity itself. Within a society, from an early age members witnessing the events would have accustomed expectations. This is a first level initiation referred to as exposure.

The experience can not be adequately expressed verbally, and is so far removed from the culture of modern society and most prior experiences the average individual may have had on which to base the process, that preparation is required. Consequently, the ability to communicate depends upon the level of comprehension and responsibility for personal focus. The depth of the experience shifts constantly and with additional opportunities to repeat the process.

Recently there has been reference to another chakra behind or below the classic Brow Chakra. It is being called the Alta Major Chakra and refers to the pineal gland which is acutely stimulated during the ingestion of ayahuasca and other preparations noted to contain: DMT or Dimethyltryptamine, other tryptamines, melatonin, and serotonin which are known to alter awareness. Whether the pineal gland is identified separately or in conjunction with the pituitary gland as the Brow Chakra, the two work together during the process of reflection which is necessary for interpretation and foresight of action after receiving a vision in an altered state.

With regard to participation in any ritual to belong to a group or to grow in personal development, caution should be used. Information about any and all possible outcomes from the process should be forthcoming from people with prior exposure. These people are called guides because that is their role during the experience; to guide others safely through foreign and unfathomable terrain, in this case the mind, which when considered as a gateway to multiple dimensions, can be overwhelming. Some have called ayahuasca “…an opportunity for personal transformation in a time of change.”

Any number of processes could be an extraordinary and transformational revelation for someone. Whatever the challenge, whether it be climbing a mountain or fasting under a tree, the adventure may unfold in unforeseen ways. Choose wisely, be prepared, know yourself, and go with a clear heart. That is the lesson.

The Metempyrion Foundation is not an advocate for any particular laboratory manufactured substance, or lifeform, decoction or brew that might be available through worldwide sources. Nor does Metempyrion recommend the use of such without proper professional advice and supervision. Metempyrion does not advocate or recommend the use of illegal substances.

For another account involving substance induced experiences, see the article Fog’s End in the Metempyrion Foundation Press archives.

The author, Prism, has years of experience with shamans, healers, and out-of-body experiences and visions during meditations.