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‘Safe’ Shamanism

Something I’ve been kicking around in my head lately, and was recently reminded of. Kind of rambling, disjointed and off-the-cuff, so bear with me here.

In my experience, the shamanic spiritual worldscapes are much similar to our tangible, physical one. They aren’t safe. You don’t always have control over things. This is a fact of life. No matter how one would like to think otherwise. No matter what world you’re in, there is always someone or something out there bigger, wiser and nastier than you. There are also always going to be places you don’t know how to navigate. Take an average inner city guy out of his apartment and stick him in a yurt in the middle of Mongolia. Chances are, it would at the very least take him some time to figure out his asshole from his shoe-sole.

People approach shamanism and these worlds with their own preconceived notions, their own insecurities, assumptions, attitudes and beliefs. These affect not only how they see the worlds they traverse, but if they access them at all, let alone the entities and beings they interact with. If you lack social skills in the “real world”, chances are, your interactions in other worlds may not go as swimmingly either. There is also certain cultural bounds to consider in this, too. Mileage may vary to a degree–but granted, if you have poor social skills in one country, chances are your behaviors will offend someone else in another country, too.

Just like any other aspect in life, learning is about taking risks. Some people take more risks than others. Some people were subjected to more risks and dangers outside of their control. Some are more sheltered than others. In the end however, dealing with more than the physical world you interact in has its risks, burdens and responsibilities–and isn’t for everybody. But this is my personal opinion on the matter. Not everyone can, or should take, the shamanistic path. But that’s me.

The animistic world of shamanism, and the tangible world of matter should be handled in balance. The verified and the unverified. The subjective and the objective. Too much leaning on any one side, you lose the big picture. You either sit in your own fantasy-world, or you cut yourself off from the bigger picture.

Shamanistic practice, in my experience, is all about balance. And it’s easy to fall flat on your face if you don’t know what you’re doing. I’m by far no expert, merely one that’s taken a few falls in the past myself.

  1. Elizabeth
    March 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I like this — very true. I’ve often been bewildered by the notion that every animal, plant or other entity one meets while journeying is, of course, there to provide you with guidance and enlightenment. My experience has shown otherwise 😛

    There’s an article up by Jenny Blain, who’s both an academic and a practicing tranceworker, which you might find interesting:


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