Working Your Shamanic Process

/Working Your Shamanic Process

Is Shamanism Real: And What About Dreaming?

Thanks to the sponsorship of the amazing Rubin Museum I discovered the fascinating documentary film Edge of Dreaming. In this film Amy Hardie documents, very intimately, a year in which she transforms from a "rational" scientific documentary film maker, into a dreaming, shamanic-journeying film maker. In the course of that transition, she experiences a convincing dream-based prediction of her own death and the healing that was needed to make that death an ego-death, rather than a physical one. I was initially drawn to the film because Amy declares early on that she is a person who doesn't dream. My Beloved is also one who rarely remembers his dreams, and I often wonder about the meaning of that. One night, Amy dreams that a loved pet horse has died. She awakens from this unusual dream to discover that her horse has, indeed, died, and in precisely the way portrayed in the dream. Some few months later, Amy dreams that she is to die in her 48th year, which is about to commence. Amy's life begins to focus on what this possibility might mean to her, to ponder what this dream might mean, until she becomes ill in her 48th year with a lung illness that threatens her life. Amy then embarks on an exploration both intimate and scientific, within her own life and in interviews with various scientific experts in dreaming and neurology, eventually deciding that there might be some kind of "knowing" in her dreams. It is then that Amy consults with a shaman, Claudia Goncalves, who helps her to journey to the source of the problem. In this journey to non-ordinary reality Amy encounters helping spirits who show her how her life is connected to [...]

Setting Out

I’ll confess right up front that I’ve struggled to get to this spot, my first blog post. And I’m not even talking about my usual struggle with semi-colons versus commas, Arial versus Verdana or even my titanic passes through the thesaurus looking for the word that perfectly describes the nuances of my idea. I mean that I’ve struggled for years to give life to this web site, this simple bare-bones statement of who I am and what is my work in the world. And I’ve struggled for weeks with the text of this first blog entry: what new is there to say about the struggle of beginning? Modern life and technology has made it possible for us to regularly engage in the act of setting out. The kinds of settings-out our ancestors engaged in were epic and huge, requiring tremendous acts of courage, expenditures of time and resources, and even the consumption of human lives. Migrations and explorations are the stuff of our history: entire continents, people and cultures “discovered” halfway around the world; the flight into space; the journey of our species to become one human race through all of our wars and peaces, disasters and triumphs. I can’t help but contrast these epic efforts with the ease with which we modern humans can simply open an electronic space and create something entirely new where nothing existed before. And yet, despite this ease, I have still experienced a great reluctance in this stepping out, this setting out. When I’m stuck in a process, I sometimes like to ponder the cultural understanding of that process, and so I often begin my process of getting unstuck with the dictionary. And this time, I find that Webster’s [...]