Home > shamanism, Spirituality > Multiplicity and the Spirit-Worker

Multiplicity and the Spirit-Worker

Yes yes, it’s me. It’s been a very long time since my last update–many things have sprung up in my life, not all of which have been easy. Most prominent at the moment has been matters of health, which have been laying me low and causing me some concern. But enough of that for now, onto the main topic at hand, which I don’t think has really been addressed enough in these circles…

Multiples and shamanism/spirit-work. For those of you who aren’t precisely shabby on what a multiple is, a reasonably good resource can be found here. Even those of you who think you have a reasonable idea on what one is, may not really grasp the whole thing entirely, and therein lies the trouble.

I find it quite interesting that there are so many folk within the shamanist/spirit-working crowd who address multiplicity with such a hairy eyeball. For those who are in frequent contact with spirits and Divinities, up to and including more intimate activities such as ritual horsing, you’d think such a phenomenon wouldn’t be so troubling. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

At the most mundane level multiples are treated as if they have a psychological disorder. That these are mere “personalities”, or characters out of control, or sockpuppets, or any number of the like. They are easily dismissed, their humanity discounted, discredited. That isn’t to say that there aren’t those out there who’s imaginations get the better of them–certainly I’ve encountered my fair share–but those rotten apples very frequently spoil it for everyone else who seeks just the same understanding as anyone else who is “singlet” (that is, doesn’t share their body or brain with anyone else).

Then you have the psychic or spiritual level (the two overlap enough), where one will claim that the person was simply sloppy enough to go traveling about out of body and, obviously not practicing proper psychic hygiene, brought home some hangers-on. Same with those who, having a natural talent for such things as horsing and not realizing it, or practicing sloppy psychic habits such as grounding, shielding and proper screening, end up with a ‘revolving door policy’ in their own heads. Again, although I’ve witnessed such things myself, I’ve also witnessed others where this is simply not the case. Sometimes these things happen completely willingly, in that spirits and entities who have an established long-term relationship with the “host” are invited to stay. Sometimes people are just born that way, and that is the way things are.

Just as a deity or spirit wouldn’t want to be treated as a thoughtform when being addressed or interacted with (and especially when asked a favor!), the same is said of those who have more than one mind/spirit within them. The attitude of, “I don’t know if you are real but I’m going to treat you as if you are” can be very dehumanizing. If it doesn’t get one very far in the spirit-working world, it won’t get one very far in any sort of interaction with a multiple, either. There are many people out there who are very dysfunctional, yes. The enthusiastic roleplayers with their sockpuppets, the attention-seekers, the sloppy psychic hygiene people. But usually with enough practice, they become easy to pick out. Tarring every multi-souled body with the same brush doesn’t help. For those who are spiritworkers of any stripe, that should be an important thing to keep in mind when dealing with a multiple-system.

The plural mind is something that is inherently sacred. There are many shamanic cultures in which the shaman or spirit-worker shares her or his mind, either temporarily or permanently, with other people. They develop a symbiotic relationship with which spiritwork and shamanizing, let alone day-to-day activities, can be optimized to the greatest potential, if all parties involved work together to a healthy end. Even people with different spiritual orientations can live peacefully together in one body, just as they could live peacefully together in one apartment. It’s all a matter of respect and mutual cooperation. All too often the “multiplicity” tag has been too often lumped in with dysfunction, when this simply isn’t the case.

I know, because–and although some may know this, but many probably won’t (I don’t hide it, but I don’t advertise everywhere either)–I happen to be a member of a multiple-system. One of a triad of independent, autonomous people sharing a single body. Some of you may seem shocked by this information, though I cannot write about some of the aspects of my spiritwork (which, I keep telling myself, I’ve been meaning to do!) without pointing this fact out. And we are thankful in that we do know, and are friends with, spiritworkers and other groovy folk who understand the many different levels an mediums a soul can embody. In fact, I would say there needs to be more people out there like them, because even still, multiplicity isn’t all that well understood, and all too often stereotyped. As a result, many people are keeping quiet, and not seeking help when they may need it.

This is a topic I will probably expound on later. I realize I may potentially get a skeptical, even negative response to this post. In the end, it is really no skin off my back. Especially given the struggles I’m experiencing at present, the opinion of others matters little to me right now given the bigger scope of things in my life. But this is part of how I live, and partly affects my life as a polytheist and spiritworker.

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  1. Kyou
    April 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Oh, yeah. Cause it’d be perfectly normal and acceptable in some circles if I possessed and enslaved people occasionally, just as long as I’m not looking for a home to settle, and cooking, writing papers and taking the trash out.
    This essay needed to be written, thanks.

    -one of those too-full-of-themselves ghosts

  2. April 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Very interesting. While I know a bit about DID, I am not as familiar with the other concepts of multiplicity, as talked about in that link. Is this similar to concepts in therianthropy, and possibly also like people who are intersexed? I’m making those connections because both of those also deal with multiple sides within one body (animal as well as human, or male as well as female, etc.). Do you feel that it is a spectrum, from those who might feel somewhat distinct personas within themselves but not necessarily identify as multiple, to those who are absolutely autonomous entities occupying one body – or is the former situation not really the same thing?

    I am interested in the interplay between this multiplicity and spiritwork. If I understand you, you’re saying it’s *not* a situation of there being one core or original, human personality, and perhaps some others that are more like spirits that permanently possess that body simultaneously? Though I could see that happening. Is it then multiple human souls with only one body between them, all interacting with the spirit world both individually and collectively? I’ll be very interested to learn more about how this plays out in the Work itself.

    I met a woman who has a serious DID diagnosis a couple of times, and when I saw her transition between personalities, it felt much more like being present at a spirit possession – not just the external cues, but I could feel the same powerful energy shift just being near it. I’ve always wondered about that, and what was really going on there. I think there’s a lot we don’t understand about all of this, the interplay of spirit, soul, physical body…

  3. mythicanine
    April 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Dver,

    You brought up some good questions to consider–especially to those who may not be familiar with the phenomenon. To a certain point I can only answer based on my own personal experience. With your permission, I’d like to quote some of your questions so I can reply in a more detailed post on the matter.

    As it applies to my own experience, in my case, there is no one dominant or “core” person. I, for example, am merely one of three. All three of us are active to varying degrees. Some people may inevitably judge who they feel is the more “dominant” based on their interactions, but–as with people, some are more social than others, and not everyone keeps the same type of company. If I’m making any sense.

    I hope to elaborate on this soon! And I owe you an email, we’ve been sorely out of touch lately!

  4. April 25, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Absolutely, you can quote my questions, I would love to see a further post discussing this in detail.

    Ok, then my follow up question about “core persona” is this – am I therefore always speaking to the same one of you when talking to “the person I think of as Solo”, or might I be talking with a different individual, each using the single public persona for ease of functioning? And, do all three share the same memories, awareness, etc. about what each has done?

  5. mythicanine
    April 25, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Dver,

    Very cool, these will go in my next update, which will be a follow-up to this one.

    To answer your latest questions here then, I am the only person you are speaking to, in that we do not use a single public persona. The only time this is not the case is for bio-family and work-related things, reasons of which are obvious. We have our own interests, opinions, and varying relationships and associations with other people. For some of our friends who are spirit and/or energyworkers, they’ve noticed when one of us takes front, the entire energetic system of the body seems to blink offline momentarily, then when it comes back up into a different pattern or signature. Or, to put it another way–there is an astral body/hame with the attendant layers and sections, connected to a physical body by a cord. In this body, there just happens to be three such bodies with their onion-like layers, and three cords, each hooking to a single physical body instead of three.

    As for memories and awareness, we don’t always share the same. I say “don’t always” because one member of my triad is actually my twin brother, in that we were born as two separate beings in one body, naturally. The third one is a walk-in, but one we have deep spiritual as well as personal ties with. Sometimes we may experience the same, ah, “event”, but how we process the event psychologically as well as emotionally will vary from person-to-person, even though we technically share the same brain.

    I hope this helps, and I’ll do my best to expound on this during my next big update! You’re also welcome to fire off an email at me if you wish to discuss this further privately. There is really no inappropriate question one can ask with regards to this, or that’s my take on it. I wouldn’t be offended. We’ve been sorely out of touch as of late anyway, and you are missed.

  1. May 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm
  2. May 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm

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