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Do you consider yourself a shaman?


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#21 Digital Phoenix

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 11:39 PM

Perhaps the term you guys are looking for is Taoism:meditate: or Confucianism:meditate:?
Oh and BTW my fiance just got that movie(Way of the Peaceful Warrior). I liked it but I couldn't get past nick nolte playing Socrates. I kept thinking of his infamous mug shot.
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Edited by Digital Phoenix, 13 March 2010 - 11:48 PM.
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#22 hyphaenation

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 11:50 PM

For those of us old enough to remeber there was a TV commercial played throughout the 70's for Charmin paper towel. I guess their "Don't squeeze the Charmin" moto was stuck in my mind and one time on psychedelics I came up with the phrase:

Don't squeeze he shaman !

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I thought for years I was pretty smart for coming up with this catchy saying. Just before making this post I searched for dont squeeze the shaman and I see there's already a T-shirt ... :lol:

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Edited by hyphaenation, 13 March 2010 - 11:55 PM.


#23 TVCasualty

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 12:26 AM

I liked it but I couldn't get past nick nolte playing Socrates. I kept thinking of his infamous mug shot.
Posted Image


Chances are, the Elder that will teach us the most about the Great Mystery will look more like Nick Nolte on a bad night than Deepak Chopra or Eckhart Tolle-booth.

:meditate:
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#24 Temporalysis

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 03:47 AM

Huh. Didn't know there was a movie. I don't watch TV anymore. I didn't even finish the book because it was making me a little uncomfortable..

I guess I shouldn't judge what I don't know about.. I'm sorry about my earlier post. Maybe you all really are shamans to some degree. But I'm still wondering if anyone here could possibly compare to that guy..

All I know is its been months since that all happened and its somehow still making me evolve to this day. I've even tried to escape certain aspects of my new awareness (not trying to sound elitist just don't know what else to call it) by experimenting with certain herbs/drugs. But even with cannabis I always wind up having a bad trip somehow.. ever since I met that guy.

Back when I was a little more ignorant than I am now I used to think that he was just some sort of genius or lunatic (or both).. like he somehow planned everything out. I don't know. English is such a limited language I can't express what I want to by typing :gah:
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#25 ryanzreality

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 05:27 AM

I said no. I just hate titles and labels. I am just learning till the ride is over.

#26 koldj

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 10:40 AM

Temporalisys: I don't know who you've met and I don't know if you know if you met anyone or...

What I mean is; here's a few pictures of shamans:
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#27 Temporalysis

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 02:17 PM

Yeah.. he'd resemble one of them if you dressed him up like that.... duh. He wasn't that worn-out looking though.. like he had spent his life staying in shape. I thought maybe he was a mix of several different races. He was dressed in the average white person joe shmoe stuff. He was older.. maybe in his 50s?

After that day I went back to where I found him before (a street corner in suburbanland) and he was nowhere to be found.

Anyway.. I think I'm done trying to share it.. idk what I was looking to get out of it. I guess my cognitive reasoning center is still out of whack.. like I never made it out of adolescence.

#28 greenkurma

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 04:31 PM

this is my interpretation of shamanism..


In the western world a psychiatrist is a shaman.

In every social group there could exist an acting shaman.. the person who has voyaged into the realm consiousnes understanding and awareness and acts as an elder/healer/dreamer to their peers. Simply supplying the drugs does not make a shamen either.

What is the role of the Shaman? That is what I'd like to see discussed.

#29 koldj

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 06:15 PM

Yeah.. he'd resemble one of them if you dressed him up like that.... duh. He wasn't that worn-out looking though.. like he had spent his life staying in shape. I thought maybe he was a mix of several different races. He was dressed in the average white person joe shmoe stuff. He was older.. maybe in his 50s?

After that day I went back to where I found him before (a street corner in suburbanland) and he was nowhere to be found.

Anyway.. I think I'm done trying to share it.. idk what I was looking to get out of it. I guess my cognitive reasoning center is still out of whack.. like I never made it out of adolescence.

No offence meant but your story sounds like you've met a ghost or an angel. You've made it sound so mystical and lofty.

greenkurma has a point here; if we want to consider ourselves a shaman or not, we should be able to identify one.
A shaman is not some sort of a sorcerer to me, he won't do magic tricks to impress you, to disappear leaving you with a load of strange feelings and mind upside down. A shaman ain't a guru or a mystical creature, he's not even a preacher really - rather a teacher.

As for the psychiatrists - they put you on medication, they can supervise you, they listen to how you're doing with your mental health but rarely any of them acts as a guide. It's more often a psychologists job to do that - to be a spiritual guide to you. The role of the psychiatrist is pretty shallow in the means of spirituality; psychiatry governed by the scientific principles deriving from the XVIII century works as a tool of denial against the spirit. The beginning of the age of "enlightenment" was the beginning of the dark ages for the soul and we're still living mainly under this influence.
But the primary role of the shaman is obviously spiritual guidance. So if we try to search in our society among the accepted, legal and popular we find out that a priest may be playing the role of a shaman today.
Yet quite far as the priests live and guide by the principles of stiff and solid religion. Maybe not all but that's the case of religion.

There are a few things that differ a shaman from a church priest, psychologist or a psychiatrist;
- the shaman does have contact with a spiritual realm and is said to be influencing that realm and by that bringing change to physical world
- the shaman enters the spiritual realm either through the use of drugs or techniques of inducing altered states of consciousness
- shaman may be both healer and counselor or mediator between people or/and the spiritual realm
(- the shaman knows his call when it comes to him)

This is what I would call the shaman-axis.

There are few other factors more or less common to the shamans. They may use paraphernalia (drums, pipes, instruments, you name it), they may be possessing some qualities of both sexes, be eunuch, are often "chosen" by surviving a lightning strike, NDE, undergoing a mental illness and such. In fact I've read quite a lot upon a link between shamanism and schizophrenia and it turns out that shamans would be considered schizophrenics by todays psychiatrists, while they serve an important and healthy role in their societies. That raises a lot of thoughts on what's wrong with our world and who's paying the price for it.

Either way they're considered special by the society they're living in. It shows through them. Nevertheless shaman lives very close to the people, they confess to him, they may choose not to. He is the one that is most responsible for the stability and integrity of a village or a tribe. A shaman's concern is people's serenity. He is the one that will travel deeper than anyone else and push himself beyond limits to save others from suffering. He's merely caring for people just like a parent does. But this paragraph is mine and only mine opinion.

But here's the problem. I think that some people are trying to avoid this term because the image of an old-school shaman doesn't fit to the picture that you have outside of your window. It's impossible to avoid the cultural influences anywhere. Along with that one would have to reject any other role in the society that one may have - like job or school. But that's unacceptable today unless you can afford it ($$). We're living in a totally different days and in a totally different world, so the question is; is shamanism still alive, living within us as a primal form of spirituality that awakens in some of us or is it dead today and there's no such thing?
I believe that it is alive even though the shaman's look has changed.

Edited by koldj, 14 March 2010 - 06:23 PM.


#30 TVCasualty

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 10:17 AM

I self-diagnose as somewhat mentally ill (as any who've read of my experiences is aware), I've been struck by lightning, and I was hospitalized with a serious illness that nearly killed me when I was 18 months old (which I remember). But I don't really feel all that "chosen," unless it's for bad luck.

One definition I read called a shaman an "expert in the techniques of ecstasy." And it was in the context of the full meaning of the word "ecstasy," which in it's traditional sense ain't just about feeling real good. I like that definition, but with any words that attempt to address the ineffable, they will fall short of the reality.

And in my not-so-humble-opinion, psychiatrists are not at all shamanic in their professional capacity although that's not to say a psychiatrist can't be one. Once I attended a sweat lodge on a Rez in Arizona that was initiated by a medicine man to pray that a participant's daughter not fall under the treatment of psychiatrists for a problem she was having while away at school (other docs wanted her to see a psychiatrist but her father didn't want her to take psych meds among other things; long story). So, I've seen a shaman actively working to help others avoid psychiatrists, lol.

#31 plantman21

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 11:40 AM

I went with no, I don't think it's up to me to decide if I'm a shamen, it's up to others. But it would be nice to be that important in someone elses eyes.

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#32 greenkurma

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 04:42 PM

No offence meant but your story sounds like you've met a ghost or an angel. You've made it sound so mystical and lofty.

greenkurma has a point here; if we want to consider ourselves a shaman or not, we should be able to identify one.
A shaman is not some sort of a sorcerer to me, he won't do magic tricks to impress you, to disappear leaving you with a load of strange feelings and mind upside down. A shaman ain't a guru or a mystical creature, he's not even a preacher really - rather a teacher.

As for the psychiatrists - they put you on medication, they can supervise you, they listen to how you're doing with your mental health but rarely any of them acts as a guide. It's more often a psychologists job to do that - to be a spiritual guide to you. The role of the psychiatrist is pretty shallow in the means of spirituality; psychiatry governed by the scientific principles deriving from the XVIII century works as a tool of denial against the spirit. The beginning of the age of "enlightenment" was the beginning of the dark ages for the soul and we're still living mainly under this influence.
But the primary role of the shaman is obviously spiritual guidance. So if we try to search in our society among the accepted, legal and popular we find out that a priest may be playing the role of a shaman today.
Yet quite far as the priests live and guide by the principles of stiff and solid religion. Maybe not all but that's the case of religion.

There are a few things that differ a shaman from a church priest, psychologist or a psychiatrist;
- the shaman does have contact with a spiritual realm and is said to be influencing that realm and by that bringing change to physical world
- the shaman enters the spiritual realm either through the use of drugs or techniques of inducing altered states of consciousness
- shaman may be both healer and counselor or mediator between people or/and the spiritual realm
(- the shaman knows his call when it comes to him)

This is what I would call the shaman-axis.

There are few other factors more or less common to the shamans. They may use paraphernalia (drums, pipes, instruments, you name it), they may be possessing some qualities of both sexes, be eunuch, are often "chosen" by surviving a lightning strike, NDE, undergoing a mental illness and such. In fact I've read quite a lot upon a link between shamanism and schizophrenia and it turns out that shamans would be considered schizophrenics by todays psychiatrists, while they serve an important and healthy role in their societies. That raises a lot of thoughts on what's wrong with our world and who's paying the price for it.

Either way they're considered special by the society they're living in. It shows through them. Nevertheless shaman lives very close to the people, they confess to him, they may choose not to. He is the one that is most responsible for the stability and integrity of a village or a tribe. A shaman's concern is people's serenity. He is the one that will travel deeper than anyone else and push himself beyond limits to save others from suffering. He's merely caring for people just like a parent does. But this paragraph is mine and only mine opinion.

But here's the problem. I think that some people are trying to avoid this term because the image of an old-school shaman doesn't fit to the picture that you have outside of your window. It's impossible to avoid the cultural influences anywhere. Along with that one would have to reject any other role in the society that one may have - like job or school. But that's unacceptable today unless you can afford it ($$). We're living in a totally different days and in a totally different world, so the question is; is shamanism still alive, living within us as a primal form of spirituality that awakens in some of us or is it dead today and there's no such thing?
I believe that it is alive even though the shaman's look has changed.


I think people tend to avoid calling them selves shamen not because of the image of a shaman is so alien to recognise in our culture.. but out of respect for something that we really know little of.
We can read and discuss tales of the shamen, but where is the tribal community, you and your neighbors rareley dance around the bon fire together to the beat of the drum..
we are from different worlds, the tribal essence is missing from western culture at least in my world. Maybe there are others who feel they are part of a tribe, other than online.

TV, I dont think psiciatrists/thereputic counsolers are a complete replacment for shamanic guidance, but it seems that is how the westen world makes sense of understaning perception and the mind.

I think psyce meds are dangerous and they are handed out like candy, probably because the pharma companies pay the docs big bonuses and send them on vacations for selling their product. A close friend of mine was perscribed depression meds that were later recalled for terrible side effect, it caused all kinds of metabosim problems and kidney damange.

The unfortunate people at the bottom of the social ladder will climb even slower to the top as long as they are poisoned by the psyches

#33 toadshroom

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 04:53 PM

Yes, in the sense that I am a guide

#34 koldj

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 05:40 PM

I think people tend to avoid calling them selves shamen not because of the image of a shaman is so alien to recognise in our culture.. but out of respect for something that we really know little of.
We can read and discuss tales of the shamen, but where is the tribal community, you and your neighbors rareley dance around the bon fire together to the beat of the drum..
we are from different worlds, the tribal essence is missing from western culture at least in my world. Maybe there are others who feel they are part of a tribe, other than online.

Well, you may be right, but I intend to ;).

#35 TVCasualty

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 05:46 PM

TV, I dont think psiciatrists/thereputic counsolers are a complete replacment for shamanic guidance, but it seems that is how the westen world makes sense of understaning perception and the mind.


Theoretically that's true. In practice, the job they perform has so far been more concerned with normalizing your behaviors and attitudes so you fit in better as a productive member of society. The drugs psychiatrists prescribe aren't intended to help anyone understand anything, they're to help us think 'properly' (that is, within the tunnel of consensus-reality). In some cases psych meds are a very good idea, and they certainly allow many people to have a higher quality of life than they'd have without them, but in many many other cases they merely help us not think so much so it's easier to get back to work.

Also, in typically-Western contexts of studying the mind (psychology, neurology, psychiatry) the focus has been on the processes, mechanics, and biochemistry and not on intangibles such as 'meaning' or attainment of states of consciousness such as transcendence or the sublime. In Western therapy sessions, rare is the counselor who will accept the notion that your depression is a perfectly normal and reasonable response to a dysfunctional and suicidally-myopic society.

To me, "shamanic" therapy would acknowledge that within your intense psychedelic voyages you may have been given a powerful Vision that could help fix society. For $100 an hour it will be implied or you're going to be told directly that being depressed is something that's wrong with you.

I guess that means shrinks want to medicate individuals but shamans want to medicate entire cultures. That makes the pf tek a tool of the modern shaman, then.

#36 Mrs.Hippie3

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 05:56 PM

Nope, I am a witch. :evil:

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Edited by Mrs.Hippie3, 20 March 2010 - 06:11 PM.

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#37 Teonanacatl38

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 06:01 PM

Nope, I am a witch. :evil:



And a sexy one at that :eusa_shif

#38 riseabovethought

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 07:20 PM

Ok, I'll say it. The big elephant in the room is that we are striving toward (what I define as) modern shamanism. Many of us. Thats right, I said it.

With all due respect to the real shamen, I think some people around here are representing pretty damn good with what we've got.

Curenado saves people with cancer for God's sake... but no one wants to label anyone. And no one wants to be labeled. I understand that.

I appreciate the thought- provoking aspect of this thread. I think while we wouldn't disrespect those that came before us, we are striving toward an intimate and profound relationship with mother earth through a relationship with sacred plants, just as the shamen did. We can know our earth mother well, just as the shamen did. This knowledge was once held only by shamen.

I think some folks around here are representing some of the closest things to shamen that we have in this day and age (at least in my small world) and I, for one, am grateful that this kind of knowledge is being disseminated still with honor among good men. I think some might agree, this was part of Hip's legacy.

Broaden the question into -Would you consider yourself interested in the study of Shamanism?' -and I think you'd find something is happening here in that direction, but no one's gonna brag about it.

Edited by riseabovethought, 20 March 2010 - 07:45 PM.


#39 Temporalysis

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 04:45 PM

Well.. it was pretty damn mystical, come to think of it.

But it wasn't mystical like seeing a psychiatrist or dropping acid, I'm sorry to say. It was more like a grand realization.

The skeptics are always innumerable.. which is why I've mostly kept the experience to myself.

#40 koldj

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 07:11 PM

Found an interesting article!

http://www.spiritual...s-shamanic.html

"Whatever specific symbolic form the shamanic journey takes, the common denominator is always the destruction of the old sense of identity and an experience of ecstatic connection with nature, with the cosmic order, and with the creative energy of the universe. In this process of death and rebirth, shamans experience their own divinity and attain profound insights into the nature of reality. They typically gain an understanding of the origin of many disorders and learn how to diagnose and heal them."

—Stanislav and Christina Grof (1990)

Shamanism is a well recognised and documented part of all human cultures throughout time. The Grofs (1990) suggest that "...shamanism engages levels of the human psyche that are primordial, timeless and universal". A shaman is a special kind of medicine man/woman, witch doctor or healer who has the ability to move in and out of nonordinary states of consciousness at will. With the help of benevolent spirits they experience insights and visions which enable them to heal illnesses and dispel or combat negative entities. They can obtain information about the past, present or future by extrasensory means. A shaman also has the ability to induce nonordinary states of consciousness in others and guide them to experience beneficial revelations. Sometimes the shaman takes on another's sickness since they are more adept at dealing with it themselves.

In most tribal societies the shaman (or woman) is recognised, respected and revered. "The tribe sees them as important guardians of the psychological, spiritual, and ecological equilibrium and as intermediaries between the seen and unseen worlds" (Grof & Grof, 1990) Only in modern Western cultures is the experience discounted and labelled as a psychotic condition.

"Shamanic Crisis" refers to the first of three stages experienced by an emerging shaman. This initiatory transformational crisis is often referred to as "shamanic illness" and can be difficult to distinguish from other forms of illness and 'madness'. But if the initial crisis is successfully transgressed, the emerging shaman attains personal healing and superior social functioning. If they accept their shamanistic calling at this time they remain healthy, but if they ignore it they may suffer accordingly. Many shaman state that they become ill if they refuse to follow their calling or become inactive in their practice over a long period of time. Many tribal cultures also note that a member of the family or clan of a novice shaman will become ill or die if they try to prevent the initiation of the chosen one.

The Grofs (1990) sum up the process as follows:-

The experiences of the shamanic crisis vary in detail from culture to culture but seem to have a basic core with three characteristic phases. The visionary adventure begins with a gruesome journey into the underworld, the realm of the dead. This is followed by an ecstatic experience of an ascent into the celestial regions and the acquisition of supernormal knowledge. The final stage is a return into everyday life.

Sometimes the process is triggered by a physiological crisis (severe illness or injury) but often there are no obvious precipitating factors. "Within hours or days, the future shaman develops a deep alteration of consciousness during which he or she loses contact with everyday reality and may appear to external observers to be dying or going crazy" (Grof & Grof 1990). They may be plagued by mysterious, unaccountable pains or illnesses, develop bizarre eating disorders and experience hallucinations, visions and dramatic dreams. This is an intense and involuntary experience which may last for weeks or years.

Speaking about the symptoms of shamanic sickness, the Grofs (1989) note a pattern of behaviour that rejects and ridicules accepted customs and standards...

Initiates become holy fools who systematically put the world on its head or indulge in unworthy, shameless, and perverse behaviour incompatible with established morality.

The fool exposes the limitations of human criteria, confronts us anew with the undefined nature of our cosmic existence, leads us backstage to make us aware of the artificiality of our cultural values, and then shows us a world without limit, because it is neither categorized nor ordered in accordance with artificial opposites. The sick jester removes these opposites, tears down external and internal barriers, and causes us to tumble head over heals from our tailor-made world of lines and demarcations into a more comprehensive and holistic dimension that has no beginning or end.

During the initial stage the person typically experiences a powerful inner journey into the underworld where they undergo terrible ordeals and are attacked by demonic entities. Frequently "power animals" act as guides, teachers and helpers in the frightening and foreign regions of the underworld. With the help of guardian spirits, the initiate learns about the rules and taboos of inner life and the laws of higher natural order. Facing fear and death are typical experiences. Initiates frequently undergo agonising torture, dismemberment, and finally death and annihilation.

This is followed by the second stage where the person experiences rebirth and resurrection. The self-image is rebuilt, they are connected with the elements of nature and charged a supernatural energy. They then experience an ascent into the Upper Worlds or higher celestial realms. Here they receive secret teachings and healing powers to take back to the ordinary world. Upon returning to normal reality many shamen are said to burst into sacred songs and dances, imbued with a feeling of vigour and euphoria. In the Grof's book, [Spiritual Emergency (1989)] they explain:

In most cases the experience of being resurrected after terrible torments, sickness, and near-death is accompanied a feeling of euphoria, because the suffering has annihilated all former characteristics of the personality. The sickness is a cleansing process that washes away all that is bad, pitiful, and weak. It floods the individual like a raging river and cleanses it of all that is limited and dull. In this way the sickness becomes a gateway to life.

Having nonordinary transpersonal experiences is not enough to qualify one as a shaman... the episode must reach a successful conclusion. The novice must integrate the experience and return to full functioning in everyday life. A 'master shaman' is equally at home in nonordinary and ordinary realms of consciousness, and can function successfully in both.

As mentioned earlier, the shamanic journey is a universal experience, not exclusive to ancient tribal cultures. Many modern people living Western lifestyles have had very similar experiences. This can be triggered by experimentation with psychedelic drugs, holotropic breathwork, shamanic workshops, extreme states of physical/emotional distress, or for no apparent reason whatsoever.






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