The Shamanic Worlds: Claim Your Birthright

Many decades ago anthropologist Michael Harner developed and presented to the Western world the cosmology of Core Shamanism. As a result of his study and experience with shamanic cultures around the world, he determined that all have some things in common. One of those commonalities he described is the division of our experience of existence into Ordinary Reality (OR) and Nonordinary Reality (NOR). Ordinary Reality is this reality in which we find ourselves living; I call it the "consensus reality." In this reality, we don't perceive that trees sing, rocks move of their own volition, etc. Nonordinary Reality is the spiritual realm, which in the shamanic realm is the source of the reality we experience. In other words, Ordinary Reality is a reflection of Nonordinary Reality. And in Nonordinary Reality, trees sing beautifully, rocks move about freely, and we converse with spiritual beings to gain knowledge, help, healing and perspective. It is in Nonordinary Reality that the shamanic practitioner does the bulk of his or her work. Another organizing principle Dr. Harner presented is that Nonordinary Reality contains (at least) three Worlds: the Upper World, the Lower World and, of course, the Middle World. And there are various "levels" or locations within each of those Worlds. The Lower World is a very dense and expansive version of our own reality, with landscapes and animals like those in our reality. These caves, rivers, oceans, meadows and these Bears, Owls, Eagles and all other Power Animals, are very much more intensely SO than in our reality; it is as if we are perceiving the essence of these things and forces in the Lower World. The Upper World has, in my experience, opposite qualities from the Lower World; [...]