Sunday, April 14, 2019

Shamanism



The other day I received an email that expressed some very definite opinions about shamanism. It stated that if one is not born in a culture that seems to be disappearing, taking its shamanic heritage with it ~ one has no right to talk about shamanism, to write about shamanism or to teach shamanic techniques to others that are interested in those techniques.
Somewhat to my surprise the email highlighted one area with a strong shamanic tradition, implying that this is the only area ‘true’ shamanism still exists.

While everybody has the right to their opinion, I guess what it boils down to is how shamanism is defined. And when different ways in which shamanism is practiced are compared, there are a couple of things that seem to be of equal importance to all of them: the strong bond with, and respect for nature, the travels through ‘different worlds’, and the path that connects those ‘worlds’ with our personal life path.

How these are expressed depends on the area where the shaman lives, the function of the shaman within his or her community, and the culture that is prevalent in this area; in this community.

In some areas, or cultures, there is still a shamanic tradition that is very much alive. In other areas, like in our western societies, the old shamanic traditions have given way to a more ‘scientific’ approach to life.

Yet there is an ever greater yearning to reconnect with shamanism ~ with nature.

The more clear it becomes that our environment is changing, and that those changes are taking effect more rapidly than we would hope they would ~ the more people are paying attention to their ‘carbon foot print’, to the effect they have on their environment and on nature. For some this means that recycling becomes part of life, while others may look more in the direction of shamanism. 

Even though at first the established shamanic traditions will gain interest, eventually this interest will almost certainly result in a new and different expression of shamanism. Due to the area and cultural dependence of shamanic expression, it is most likely that the shamanic expression that will emerge will be a merger of both the rediscovery of our shamanic roots ~ going back to shamanism as it was practiced in our area at one time ~ and the application of the core values of shamanism in a manner that  fits our way of living; our culture as it exists now.


This doesn’t mean that this new expression of shamanism is worth more or worth less than the age old shamanic traditions are; only that shamanic practices evolve into a new day and age...

#thereturnoftheshaman

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Shamanic Path

I consider myself to be on a shamanic path; experiencing a strong bond with nature, and a realization of equality with all of Creation. Not the type of equality that each individual (Human, animal, plant or mineral) is the same, but more that each in their uniqueness has a specific role in the whole and as such are of equal value to nature, the earth and the universe.

In this respect shamanism to me at least, means to live life in a way that has a strong bond with nature. To respect others, but also to respect animals, plants and trees, and even rocks and stones for the unique energies that they have, and the unique parts they fulfill in the whole.

This ‘whole’ then, is the ‘whole’ that I can experience: my more or less immediate environment. Even though I know and sense that the ‘whole’ encompasses the earth and even the universe, it is in my immediate environment that I can touch nature’s wholeness. In my direct environment I can influence nature and be influenced by it.

According to this definition of shamanism, topics that are often linked to shamanism like healing or conversing with the Ancestors can be part of a shamanic experience, but don’t have to be...

And the same is true for drumming, chanting, dancing, and the use of drugs that facilitate entering a different realm of consciousness.
Although I like drumming, chanting and dancing as part of a shamanic experience ~ living in a Western society, in a row house with thin walls puts certain limits on the use of those techniques.

I find that the use of drugs, something that was (and is) an accepted method to travel from one layer of consciousness to another; is something that can easily be replaced by meditative techniques...

With every small adaptation to the way in which shamanism was understood, a distance is created between the shamanism of ancient times, and the shamanic path of today. This means that a ‘new’ shamanism is emerging ~ a shamanism that can be applied in this day and age, in our Western culture. A shamanic path that can be traveled even if you have a job, a family, or if you are living on the fifth floor of an apartment building.

Making changes like this is not new to shamanism. These very changes account for the differences between shamanism that can be found in Africa, Siberia, Mongolia, South and Middle America and the practices of the Native Americans.

The underlying energy that makes the shamanic path so powerful, independent from the area it is practiced in, is the strong bond with nature. The respect for nature and humanity alike.

And this is definitely something that is needed in this day and age.

#thereturnoftheshaman



Sunday, March 31, 2019

My Path

Somewhere between memories and recognition is a path. This path usually has many twists and turns, and every time you think you have figured out where it is leading you, it throws you for a loop by uncovering new landscapes, new people to meet, and new potentials to explore.

We all have our own, very personal, memories. And which part of those we recognize in our day to day lives is different for each of us. We may have memories of the times when we grew up, yet also memories of ancient, long forgotten times when we were walking a similar path perhaps. Living similar values, even when our lives were vastly different than our current experience ~ there may be that memory that says: “I have done this before”.

The recognition of those memories brings up this one big question: And now what?
Do I want to explore these memories, and if so, do I want to incorporate whatever I find in my day-to-day life as I am living it today? Do I want to reinstate the things I may have learned long ago in precisely the same way as I worked with them the way I remember? Or will I endeavor in bringing all that I have learned forward into this point in time?

There are no wrong answers. 
We all choose our own personal paths; we all design our own path leading to the fulfillment of our potential, as we bring our dreams into reality.

For me, the path between my memories and the recognition of those memories has firm roots in shamanism. And I discovered that as I truly listened to those most ancient memories, I recognized more and more their value to this point in time…
For me, for others, and perhaps even for the world.

So I started to write down what I remembered. And I found that as I sat down, the words flowed easily. Conversations, lessons, and poems ~ all with one common thread: the shamanic memories throughout time that I recognized bit by bit, word by word.

I found it gave my personal path through life more direction. I found that the ancient ways to find guidance, still are very valid today.
I found that my innermost desire was to share this path with the world…

So here it is: “The Return of the Shaman”


Available through www.mysticanneclaire.com


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Attitudes



Often our attitudes play a more important part in our lives than we realize...
It is our attitude that determines how we approach life in general, but also how we enter into any given situation.

Our attitudes may range from ‘a positive attitude’ to ‘having a chip on your shoulder’ or ‘a negative attitude’; and anything in between. Looking at attitudes, there are a few things that are truly interesting to me:
Where did the particular attitude come from, in other words, what previous experience has sparked the attitude?
Is the attitude productive in living my life?
Do I want to change the attitude, and if so, how do I go about doing that?

Attitudes can stem from any variety of sources or experiences. Some attitudes we may have ‘inherited’ from our upbringing, while we have adopted other attitudes because of experiences we have had in life. Knowing where a particular attitude has come from, can help us becoming aware of how the attitude works in our lives.

From this premise, all our attitudes are valid; there are no ‘bad’ attitudes. It is a good idea though to examine whether an attitude is productive in our lives or not.
When we approach life with an attitude that the whole world wants the very best for us, chances are pretty good that we run in to situations that help us on our path. When our attitude is that everybody ‘out there’ is trying to hurt us, we may find ourselves running into people that have a mindset to take advantage of us...

Either way, looking at these perspectives gives us the insight needed to determine if we want to change an attitude, or not.

There is hardly ever a nice sharp line that marks when you want to change an attitude, or when you want to keep it ‘as is’. Working with our attitudes almost always involves sliding scales.
For instance, I have an attitude that people are trustworthy. And most of the time they are. But that doesn’t mean that I leave the doors unlocked, or the windows open, when I go run errands. For me, the balance I have found with this attitude works well in day-to-day life.
On the other hand, I can have a tendency to down-play my abilities, and to not realize the proper value of my property, or even myself. That is an attitude which doesn’t work well for me; one that I am working on changing.

I use affirmations to change an attitude ~ repeating the affirmation whenever it comes to mind during the day (independent from the actual attitude) for a number of weeks. And, certainly where it concerns property, I may ask friends how they gauge its value, as this gives me a ‘reality check’.

Changing an attitude doesn’t usually happen overnight, it takes dedication and persistence.
But the reward is that we can start attracting more positive, productive situations into our lives!


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Borders, boundaries and limitations



Any journey we undertake has the ability to make us more aware of our boundaries, and in a sense of our limitations. This awareness then can help us to re-evaluate where we stand, and how we create and protect our boundaries. Without the limitations.

When our travels take us away from our daily lives, yet within relatively familiar surroundings ~ for instance a trip to a different part of the country you live in ~ this is a process that takes place pretty much inside ourselves. Even though it is instigated by the different, new surroundings we may find ourselves in; the new people we meet.

As our travels take us to an altogether different country, all of a sudden we are confronted with borders. Borders between the country we call our home and that other country. And also borders between our values; the rules that we live by in our daily lives and the rules and regulations of that other country that we are traveling to...
And so the process of becoming aware of our own boundaries is not just an inner journey anymore ~ it now has an outer aspect to it as well. In other words, it is not just about our reactions to the new environment, the new people we meet ~ it is perhaps even more about the circumstances we encounter, and how our values and the values of that other person (or country) can work together. Or can clash.

Either way the process of gaining awareness about our boundaries and limitations can take place. We can broaden our horizons in a fun and exciting way as we get to know new perspectives, new ways of doing things that we might not have thought of living in our own familiar area.
Yet when something happens that perhaps even gets you in a position where the border you desire to cross becomes a line in the sand ~ we are likely to feel limited by that experience, rather than feeling the expansion we were expecting...

In a sense, a lot of the borders have become ‘lines in the sand’. Where they used to be the demarkation between ‘here and there’ ~ they are now also the boundaries that we need to protect against unwanted influences, undesired actions ~ and not in the least that which we fear may put us and our environment in danger... So we limit access to that which we call our own. We limit how we behave, as well as how the other person is permitted to behave. And as we put limitations on ourselves and the new people we meet ~ we protect what is our own.

And this too, is a process that takes place on an outer, as well as on an inner level...

Sunday, May 27, 2018

New Things



We all have things we wish we could have in our lives that up to now we haven’t had... Whether it is something on our ‘birthday wish list’, or something that we have been working toward for some time ~ every once in a while it is time for something new.

Often this ‘something new’ brings changes with it.
If we would like to redecorate the house ~ before we can bring in the new furniture, we need to take out the old furniture. And this can bring along an interesting process of decision-making. The easiest possibility is when the old furniture is really on its last legs, broken, or otherwise without any worth whatsoever. In that case it is just a matter of discarding it. Although if we feel it is still worth selling ~ we need to decide how to go about it. Through Ebay? Or a garage sale? Graigslist? Then, applying a value to each piece we are putting up for sale, there is always a chance that we feel this tingle that wants to back out of the whole thing. After all, if it is still worth that amount of money, should we just keep it a while longer? And even if we are happy to sell it, how long are we willing to be involved in getting rid of the old ~ even if it would bring in some money?
But then, when everything is finally cleared out ~ there is the excitement of the new being brought in!

It is easy to see how the process works when talking about furniture.
Yet the process is the same for pretty much anything new we want to bring into our lives. Whether it is something physical, something material ~ or a new perspective, a new attitude.

If we want to perceive life in a new way, it is necessary to let go of the way we have looked upon life up to now. If we want to do different things, we need to organize an opening in our calendars ~ literally create an opening in which we can plan this new activity...
And like with the furniture ~ this takes us through a series of decisions on how to go about it to create the space for the new things to fit into. And it gives us an opportunity to observe how this brings changes into our lives that make our lives better.

Desired changes. New things we have been wishing ~ and sometimes waiting for...
Every once in a while it is a good thing to look at what new things can make our lives better!


Friday, May 25, 2018

Grass Roots



According to the dictionary grass roots refer to the most basic level of an activity or organization. And, looking at the actual roots of grass ~ one can’t get closer to the ground...

The other thing that happens with the roots of grasses is that they have this tendency to multiply underground... So where at first just a few blades of grass peek their heads up; pretty soon more and more will follow!

Of course this is how nature works. Most seeds of that one tree that actually find themselves touching the soil in one way or another, eventually will germinate and grow into yet another tree. It is this very principle that is responsible for the growth of groves of trees...

Yet ‘grass roots’ has gotten this specific meaning of a community or group of people that come together in order to instigate changes that seem natural and spontaneous. As opposed to changes orchestrated by a (political) organization or a government.

The interesting thing is that while a number of years ago people were talking about changes they desired in their lives, their environments and the world in general ~ more often than not no real action was taken in order to affect these desired changes. The prevailing attitude seemed to be one of “live and let live” ~ allowing only for individual and private changes.

In the past couple of years more and more people have come together supporting an idea ~ or perhaps even an ideal ~ and having specific views on how this idea not only can make for a better world, but also how this idea can be implemented in the world...
Often those ideas or ideals are relatively simple, not costing a whole lot of money ~ on the other hand not having the potential to make a lot of money either. Yet they would influence the lives of many in a beneficial way.

And that is where the problem lies...

In a society where success is measured in amounts of money ~ where success therefore is looked upon as ‘financial success’ ~ these grass roots ideas often are not viable. Why spend time, money and effort on something that has a close to zero chance of receiving that big bonus at the end of the year?

The fact that more and more grass roots movements exist and actually make the news in one way or another, suggests that in this day and age change is needed. Not just any change ~ a change that touches the core of our societies; and yes one that touches the core of our selves: a change in values.
A change in exactly those things that we have held near and dear for over a century!

And although we may resist this mightily ~ just like the blade of grass will multiply once it has peeked its head up ~ so too will the grass roots call for these changes to multiply...