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Thoughts on shamanism [Oct. 18th, 2009|10:07 am]
Last week, something awfully strange happened to me. Well... okay, a lot of strange things happened, and what really marks the changes in my life is that I only consider one of those things to be "strange".

I was taking a class in shamanic extraction healing. The idea is, people's spirits can have intrusions, troublesome gunk inside them. It's living spirit-stuff, and my school doesn't consider it bad or evil, more like something that is healthy where it belongs and unhealthy inside of a person's spirit self/body.

It was a major step for me, because shamanic journey can be viewed as a sort of meditation - freeing the unconscious mind to drift and find imagery that can be applied. Other spirit work I've done (communing with nature spirits) is as much awareness and meditation as anything else. This was the first class I've taken where there's an intention to do something more than relay information.

I could journey for someone, without really having faith that I was entering the spirit world. I mean - all I'm doing is handing out ideas and images, right? I could scatter a pack of tarot cards, pick up three at random, and spin a story and hand that off as divination, and warn the listener that they have to find their own meaning.

But this is not something to be done so casually. If there's *anything* to shamanic practices, you shouldn't try searching a person's spirit self for intrusions, or, with spiritual assistance, reaching into a person's spirit-self to remove them, unless you believe in what you're doing, and are doing it carefully and with intention.

The weekend was such that I'm now a believer.

Why am I saying this? Well, I guess it's a kind of "coming out" post. I believe in the spirit world; I believe it's possible to have an effect on it. This could become a very big part of my life, as big as whether I sleep with men, women, or both. I don't want to hide it by default - by just not mentioning it, and letting people make the default assumption.

I've often wondered about coming out about things. I want to make this part clear: I've *never* been a "stop flaunting your X!" when people reveal their X-ness. But I wasn't entirely sure of the point of making it really public, instead of just not-secret.

(People might point out that this is a privilege issue - people who fall into privileged categories aren't confronted with the same set of decisions about letting people make assumptions. And, they'd be correct, IMHO.)

For me, well... the biggest part of it is, if there's someone out there who'd hear that I was a shamanic practitioner, and feel betrayed that I didn't reveal that I was "one of them!" well, I don't want them to feel that betrayal.

Plus, I guess it'd be nice to be able to say "I'm thinking of taking a 2 week class in shamanic healing in the spring" rather than "I'm thinking of popping off for two weeks to take a class I'm interested in."

I'd like to be able to say that, last Sunday, during a healing session, something bad happened and I was really freaked out, rather than alluding to "something freaky" having happened.

I'd like to make one thing clear, though. It's okay by me if you don't believe in shamanism, or the spirit world, or whatever. I'm just trying to give you important information about me, so we can understand each other better.

[User Picture]From: ftemery
2009-10-18 08:20 pm (UTC)
My wife, who is distant healer and Reiki teacher, sometimes says "what people think of me is none of my business". A shocking statement to someone who hears it for the first time and has been a people pleaser all their life. Still, it's something to think about. As trans, we're quite familiar with wondering when or if to be open about that history.

As the parent of a gay child, I consider that telling or not is a faction of your own personal safety. There's a balance between *in your face* and *don't give a crap*. One that only the person him or her self can decide and probably then won't get it right all the time.
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[User Picture]From: claire
2009-10-18 11:44 pm (UTC)
I was kind of sad when I realised you'd said "extraction" and not "extinction" because I was already planning a petition to have you bring back the dinosaurs.
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[User Picture]From: laurarey
2009-10-19 12:52 am (UTC)
I'm absolutely fascinated with what you're doing.
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From: kightp
2009-10-19 01:59 pm (UTC)
This touches on my feelings about the nature of belief, which can be summarized as "I don't have to believe what you believe (and vice versa); belief is an intensely personal process, and thus not really subject to argument."

Like laurarey, though, I'm fascinated, and look forward to hearing whatever you feel like sharing about it in the fullness of time.
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[User Picture]From: laura_alive
2009-10-31 02:21 am (UTC)
To echo the others, it sounds fascinating and I can't wait to hear more when you're ready to share!
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