Home > paganism, shamanism, Spirituality, Writing > An Assortment of Topics…

An Assortment of Topics…

This will be rather stream-of-consciousness. Well, my blogging has been getting that way lately. No, I don’t plan on fixing that. I have to seize my thoughts as they come, otherwise I’ll never get around to really expressing them or writing them down.

More thoughts from my last post, re shamanism. I really am beginning to hairy eyeball people who are calling themselves such. Add extra points for online classes, presentations at conventions, and other such things. Spirituality has really become commercialized within various pagan social circles–what would take an entire lifetime to learn through tradition, family lineage and etc, and with a great many hardships (such as difficult initiations and including racial/ethnic prejudice), is now being sanitized, summed up, and sold to the audiences. Really, it’s one of the reasons why attending pagan conventions is something I have absolutely no interest in, but really that is one big example of a series of turnoffs I have for such venues (I’m sorry, but public spiritual exhibitionism simply isn’t my thing). That is probably another rant for another time, though.

To be blunt: if you call yourself a shaman, you are appropriating. Full stop, end of story. You are no more a shaman than I am a Jewish rabbi, and about as qualified. Check out Origin of the Word ‘Shaman’ for more information. Yes, I used to use ‘shaman’ as a sort of catch-all term, though gradually I’ve developed my misgivings about doing so, and now I don’t plan on using such at all. Please note that from now on, if I use the word ‘shaman’ or ‘shamanism’ on this blog, it will be a specific reference (again, see the links I’ve provided).

Right, now that that’s out of the way.

I’ve finally shaken the dust off of my old site Cynanthropy and made an update. For those of you just tuning in, I have very strong association (spiritual, psychological, or mythical) to canids (wolves, dogs, jackals, coyotes, and etc.). So, I ended up creating an entire site devoted to the topic. I’ll be writing posts on the use of animal parts more specific to cynanthropy and my own personal experiences, as well as essays, rants, links, and whatever else I can come up with. Granted, my blogging will still be highly sporadic, but I promised myself I would try to step up my writing more.

That said, my online presence is still very touch-and-go. If you post a comment here and it does not show up immediately, don’t assume that I have censored you or deleted your comment. Nine times out of ten I’m just not online to approve it, or haven’t gotten around to checking my mail, or otherwise preoccupied with things that don’t involve the internet. This happens frequently, in fact.

Well, on that note, I’m off. I have things I need to do, now that I’ve shaken these thoughts out of my head for the moment.

  1. Elizabeth
    November 11, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    *sigh* The people I know who use the word “shaman” — some of whom are pretty well-known authors — appear intensely sincere about it. There’s no cynical attempt to get readers/customers/adherents by their using the term; they honestly believe that the word describes what they are, and in some cases, that their spirits have named them as such…so arguments about cultural appropriation tend to fall on deaf ears, since what they feel they have been told by their gods trumps what they’re told by others, for better or for worse.

    Honestly, I’m torn — as someone who’s “god-touched,” I can understand their POV (though admittedly, I cannot vouch for the truth of anybody’s experiences but my own), but at the same time, the cultural appropriation aspect DOES make me cringe. I feel strongly that there is no way to convince anybody that someone’s gods told them to use a term that is often freely taken by people who’re just using it to win followers and deprive them of their money, so it’s better not to use terms from outside your culture. But at the same time, I don’t want to alienate the same people who have, more often than not, done me enormous favors in the past, and who I count as friends.

    Is it even my business to complain, given that I’m primarily of Asian heritage and am, in some people’s eyes, appropriating Northern European ancestral traditions and gods? It bothers me, but I would rather not reject people who have shown me care and consideration and friendship, even though I disagree strongly with some of them on this point. I don’t know how to approach this issue, frankly.

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