shamanism

Some Musings on Spirit Release

I have now been doing spirit release as well as psychopomp work for quite a while.

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I can tell you when I received “official” training it (I think my first course was in 2005?) through physical teachers, but I have interacted with spirits and beings, as well as have had strange dreams “working” with spirits since I was a child… before I really was conscious of what I was fully doing, and before I realized that my “imaginary” friends as a child were perhaps not-so-imaginary.

I also teach psychopomp and spirit work to people. I do so to people who are ready to work with my approach– which is essentially non-adversarial and non-fear based. Basically, I work in concert with the spirit realms. I do not consider myself to have dominion over them, and I do not consider them to be psychologically based. This approach is quite different than a lot of people currently who do “spiritual work” and teach “shamanic” work.

Due to my background, I don’t have anything really against most spirits and beings. They can, in fact, be easier to get along with than living humans. I don’t mean to suggest the perception that discernment is not necessary, or that they are all “love and light”, but in general a fair amount of my life I have been much more comfortable interacting with spirits and beings than with a fair amount of living humans.

I talk about it quite a bit, but the mainstream “shamanic” theory is now that spirits are psychological, that they are disassociated aspects of the personality, or shadow, or whatever the trendy pop-psychology terms are at the moment. This is really unfortunate, for quite a few reasons. I could go on a large rant about this (and I have previously) but basically the spiritual has been distilled down to a sort of mental exercise, visualizations, techniques to learn, and has joined forces with the self-help movement.

I used to have a fair amount of anger about this, but I have let it go with the realization that people find the correct understandings in their own time. There is a reason why all of these mainstream “be your own shaman” and “you are special because you are a (shaman, starseed, empath, indigo, insert trendy word here)” type movements are so popular, and as they become increasingly divorced from actual spiritual work… and become more and more mental /visual exercises, and more and more focused on techniques… they continue to lose their essence. When something loses its essence it loses its power, basically. But most people are afraid of power, and most “spiritual practitioners” would likely run screaming in the other direction if an actual spirit showed up,so this isn’t a big deal for a lot of people, because it really isn’t what they are looking for out of “shamanism”.

I do think that most people, if they are really and truly looking for the “truth” or a teacher or practitioner who does more than the psychological or self-help type shamanic approach, they will find it when they are ready to.

But I digress…

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The difficulty in doing spirit release work 99 percent of the time the living human.

I realize that sounds strange, but living humans are strange. Their approach to the spiritual realms is strange.

This is shown in our pop culture, where anything that might even resemble a spirit has to be “feared and cleared”– basically forced out of the house or area that they are noticed in. The funny thing about this is that the spirit may not be doing any harm. It may just be there. You may simply be somewhere they have been for hundreds of years. There are so many spirits in this world and most people simply don’t notice them.

I will say that this pattern is different for when a spirit is attached to someone. This is rightfully a matter of some concern– although we are a sort of grouping of energies from different sources, different roots… really the only person, the only consciousness in our body is intended to be, well… us.

The interesting thing about doing spirit release is that the difficult is rarely the spirit. Even if the spirit or being is angry, bent on destruction, full-on demonic (you catch my drift) generally they are more reasonable than the living human client. The spirit or being often needs to be negotiated with, they need to be reminded of certain things, and things might be somewhat difficult (or simple, or quite difficult) in that process for the spiritual worker.

But the real hang-ups have to do with the living client. This doesn’t happen all the time, of course, but sometimes people get really hooked into the drama of having something spiritual happen to them. They create loops of fear– and will often feel as if devastating forces are destroying their lives, and they will list chaos after fear after drama about their story and journey due to this.

I have also worked with many living humans who have created stories of spirits and energies, or who inwardly have so much emotion– fear, anger, anxiety, grief– that their thoughts and emotions are actually creating spiritual activity (commonly known as “pk”) or a conscious being (such as a “poltergeist”). Until this living client deals with their emotions, learns how to take responsibility for them and process them appropriately, no amount of clearing or psychopomp work will be of assistance.

There are also living humans who have created “spirits”, “demons” and so forth out of their own psyches. They have had trauma occur (over-simplifying here) and it was too overwhelming to consider that it came from a parent, or mentor, or teacher, and so this mental fracturing has created a “demon” (or ET, spirit, etc) that is invading them because the consideration that someone in human form has done something atrocious to them is too much to bear.

This is not 100 percent of scenarios, however, so careful differentiation must be made about what is actually happening in every scenario, with appropriate referrals all in the interest in the client receiving the help that they need to get well, whatever that might be.

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Living humans are complex, with resistance and trauma and many subconscious and nonconscious forces guiding them to come to the decisions and realizations that they do in their lives. Although spirits can be complex, they do not tend to have the resistance that living humans do. They do not have as much need for story, typically. And they often do not have as much need for drama or chaos. They also tend to negotiate more readily than living humans do.

I fully recognize here that I am someone who has been interacting with spirits their whole life, and that to someone who has not, having an experience with even one spirit, attached or not, might create a lot of fear and outright panic. I am actually really compassionate towards that fact. I am compassionate towards people who have the luxury of believing that all of this stuff is psychological. I am increasingly compassionate towards even the pop-psychology new-age shamanism movement (this is still a work-in-progress at times)

When you are doing actual spiritual work, you have to determine which clients are self-creating and disassociating aspects of themselves, and which are experiencing something that has attached from the outside in. This is not terribly difficult, however, if you know how to look for it, as they manifest differently. Some aspects of disassociation/self-creation can really be helped by spiritual work, by the way, it just depends on the individual situation.

The most difficult thing is to determine what clients, and by that I mean living humans, are willing to heal from this type of experience if they do have a spirit or being attached to them. Some living humans will get so hooked into their story, so hooked into the spirit or being, that they do not want to let them go. I realize that this sounds odd, but it is often the living human that stops whatever is attached from them from releasing.

Also, having a spirit attachment can create difficulty. Real physical, emotional, and spiritual difficulty. In some cases it can create a lot of difficulty. But the spirit is never responsible for 100 percent of the difficulty. There is always personal trauma, energetic imbalances, and other issues that are underlying most (not all) spirit attachments. Even if it is only 1 percent something going on with the client, the spirit not only needs to be released but that 1 percent needs to be worked on as well.

Unlike is believed in the current “shamanic” movement, I do not believe that it is the fault of the client for the attachment (even if they were doing some weird magic that backfired, or were voluntarily possessed… I still have compassion because it is not like they wanted things to turn out that way). I do not think it was weakness, or they caused something so it happened. Sometimes it is just being in a bad place at a bad time. Sometimes it is about the person being sensitive and attracting more spirits to them naturally and not having the skills to handle it. Sometimes it is because of energetic openings, but even then, we cannot do something about our past energetic openings in our field. It is our choice to work to work with anything underlying so it doesn’t happen again, though.

Some clients do not want to hear this. They want to believe that all of their problems were because of the spirit attachment. Hearing that they may have “homework” to do, or that they need to focus on healing patterns of trauma (especially in complex attachment situations) or that all of their difficulties in life were not as a result of this experience is something that some do not wish to reconcile.

Until someone is willing to work with underlying patterns, especially in complex cases of spirit attachment, the experience is likely to simply repeat itself.

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There is also a lot of fear with experiences like this. If I could tell you the amount of clients who have written to me telling me that they have some sort of dangerous situation going on and I need to protect myself because of x, y, and z… (well, I guess I just did). I do not wish to be cavalier about this subject at all– good protection and good spiritual working relationships that can protect you are really essential in this work… but most of this fear is really self-perpetuating. By that I mean that if you are in a situation that is “spiritual” you may define it as the worst, darkest, most dangerous thing ever… not realizing that it may not be as negative or difficult as you are making it out to be.

Often some of this fear comes from the spirit itself. It may be afraid of moving on. That is fairly common, in fact. But emotions create. They color and create our world along with our thoughts. And what typically happens is that it is just a former human that it is a bit upset or scared that is attached to them, and it is a relatively simple fix… as long as the client is willing to release them.

Sometimes there is something difficult going on. Another difficulty of the shamanic psychotherapeutic movement is that those type of practitioners often do not have relationships with any outer spirits or guardians to protect them. If you believe everything is psychological, you do not cultivate spiritual relationships, especially ones that have any power, or can protect you. So sometimes people will relate how their last practitioner got attacked or sick or something like that in a really fearful way, and often it is because the practitioner simply didn’t know what they were doing, or didn’t have the appropriate amount of experience (spirit release is a specialized field of sorts). In spiritual work if you are operating on your own “juice” and you come up against something that isn’t just a mental something or other, it can make you not feel well, and the spirit will know it. Some of the time in these situations the practitioner knew they were over their head and freaked out, rather than something attacking them… but in many cases it has to do with them not knowing how to cultivate relationships with spirits who can protect them against anything that isn’t psychologically-based.

I have had some people contact me I have said I will not work with because I know I cannot be of service to them. This is often someone who has a “spirit” that they have been to twenty or more practitioners to get released and nothing has happened. I am the first person to call out crappy practitioners, but if you have gone to twenty spiritual workers, chances are that one of them is going to have an idea of how to help you.

This person feels the need for this situation in their lives.. usually a complex psychological reason. And until they are willing to let this spirit go, it will remain. Interestingly enough, the spirit or being may be more than ready to go (it may, in fact, be begging to be let go) and the living person will hesitate.

I will also say that for spiritual work to be effective you really need to be in a place of enough clarity and wherewithal to have change occur in your life. And some people are not ready for change. Changing any sort of dynamics of our existence is a big deal, no matter how mentally/physically/emotionally healthy we may be, and nobody outer can force us to change if we are not ready to do so, even if that outer person has a lot of power, ability, etc. 

But one of the biggest ramifications of merging psychology and spiritual work is that there is no longer a clear differentiation between them. While many people could use spiritual work, and are receiving psychotherapeutic-style work instead, there are also many people who need psychological help, and are not receiving it. Until someone is mentally healthy enough, and balanced enough, to accept changes in their lives, spiritual work does not have as large of an impact as it could, and can lead to someone spending a lot of money (and time) seeking out shamans when a counselor down the street might have helped them to get to the point where they felt ready for significant, life-changing spiritual work.

What is a Shaman?

So this is seemingly a simple question, and there are opinions and thoughts that many of you reading this have likely read from many disparate sources.

shamanic-1276759_1920As you can no doubt read in some of my other blogs, I call myself a spiritual worker. This is because I both get tired of being identified with the psychotherapeutic “shamanism” movement, as well as can see the side of varying spiritual groups and indigenous groups who are uproariously pissed about white people taking yet something else from them.

As a side note, reading over past blogs is interesting. I used to be much more upset about this matter. This was due to my own unhealed “stuff”, meaning that I had a lot of anger and fear over the fact that I didn’t have much of a choice other than to be a spiritual worker. The irony that so many people really, really want the label of “shaman” and at certain points in my life I would have done anything to not be on the path that I am on certainly doesn’t escape me. I do find that most people who are called in various spiritual fashions go through this– the anger, the fear, and the utter disbelief about what is happening to them. It is the “grass is always greener” syndrome I suppose.

But I will say in general that the new-age “shaman” is concerned with self-healing, with self-help, and with connecting to nature and to the earth. These are not necessarily bad things, although some of the sort of “fluffy” aspects (such as the illogical “no ego” thing, which doesn’t make any sense. Ego death is a stage. And not a very pretty one), or the “do no harm” sort of mentality (which shows me that the person doesn’t actually do anything beyond self-help/psychological shamanism because spiritual work is messy), or the “everything is inside of you” sort of mentality to be a bit tiring. I have had people email me suggesting that I work with spirits as aspects of self. These people are always the types that simply haven’t run into anything outside of themselves, and haven’t done spiritual work for anyone else other than themselves.

But mainly, I wish that there was a bit of differentiation these days between what I do for a living and what most people popularly know “shamanism” or being a “shaman” (or in my preferred lingo, spiritual worker) to be.

Shamanism is based in animism. Not all animists are shamans, though. Animism in simplicity means that everything around you is alive, everything has spirit, and everything basically can be chatted with in some way.

Animism is wonderful– it can help you to feel more connected, more a part of the world. It can help you to realize that we all need to be caretakers of the earth. It is an important job that every single human should be doing. Our destruction of the earth is due to our feeling separate from it. When we realize the earth is vitally alive, when we accept its nurturing, we feel more alive. We feel more whole.

But shamans work with this animistic universe in a specific way. It is not about them communing with nature, or with natural forces, or with various beings and energies. My favorite term for being a shaman is “spirit lawyer”, because that is essentially what the work is about. It is about having not only the capacity to commune with nature, or learning to come into contact with beings, but being able to do so with such depth that you can be a “lawyer” to the varying forces, beings, energies, and so forth that may be in discord with one another.

As a shaman, you “spirit lawyer” between humans and other energies, between beings and other energies, and so forth. You counsel, create agreements and contracts, and break previous contracts that were causing harm or difficulty. You also smooth out relationships between energies of all sorts and help them to get along, or at least grudgingly accept one another.

Being a spiritual worker is a trade profession. I realize that that doesn’t sound terribly sexy. It is true, however. Being a spiritual worker is not a self-help path. It means that you have had a specific calling by the spirits, that you have done extensive training with physical and spirit teachers, and you now are of service to your community. It is a job, basically.

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Being a spiritual worker is a calling. I do realize that this verges on the sort of mystical new-ageings that people love after watching The Matrix too many times and who really, really want to believe that they are “the one”, but there are certain people that are intended to be spiritual workers for their community. Since a young age they have known this. There isn’t a question here, and this isn’t a sort of philosophical musing.

The shaman is part-wild, in touch with nature and spirits in a way that others are not, and have communicated with these forces regularly since being quite young.

There is a certain energy that is palpable, and incredibly noticeable for people who are called to this work, who are capable of doing this work. Those called to be shamans will be inundated with spirits, overwhelmed by spirits until they learn how to properly work with them.

The difference here is that people who are called typically are called in a sort of kicking and screaming fashion. This is not always the case, of course… although it is the case with pretty much every actual Shaman I have worked with or met. The idea that you do not have a choice in the matter, the strange experiences, the sickness, and the intensive training and initiations that a called Shaman has to endure are not pretty. They are difficult. They are life-changing. They are not something that can be relegated to a weekend or whenever the person decides to go in for training.

This type of calling typically manifests in late adolescence, when it is supposed to be a time in modern culture that people are supposed to be really quite selfish (this is in order for the adolescent to hopefully move through this and move into adulthood, but that initiation doesn’t happen as often as it should either). It is typical that for this trade, to become a Shaman, that the person being called will have to be singularly focused on training with physical and non-physical teachers for a number of years. These are years of painful growth which teach the Shaman the tools and allow the Shaman to cultivate spiritual relationships and hold the amount of power that is required to become competent at this type of work for the community.

Being a Shaman/Spiritual Worker is about spiritual relationships. It takes an immense amount of time to cultivate spiritual relationships. If you are not a spiritual worker, chances are that most, if not all, of your spiritual relationships are self-created. They are psychological, or disassociated aspects of you. Spiritual relationships with true “helping spirits” are external to you. They have power. They can function on their own. They have ideas, thoughts, and understandings that are way beyond what you can think up. And when we talk about the “power” aspect it is true– they are palpable presences, palpable by you, and palpable by those who have the capacity to see or sense them.

Cultivating these relationships takes time. A spirit or energy that has a lot of power is not going to say “here, sure, have my power. I would love to work with you”. If this happens, it is typically self-created. Beings, spirits, and energies of all sorts who have a lot of wisdom and power will require you to prove your worth to them, or at the very least will initiate you. Being calibrated to a specific energy, especially if it is much different than human frequency, can be an interesting process. A process that takes time. Otherwise you may not be able to appropriately communicate, or will be “blasted out” by the energy. But my point here is that much like any relationship in your life, spiritual relationships take time. They take trust to build.

Modern shamanism is about the techniques, about the “shaman” doing something, about neatly separated techniques and visualizations. What really happens when someone is called and has been properly trained as a Shaman is that the spirits do the work. They either do the work through possession of the Shaman (a word that is misunderstood), or do work externally.

Much of my work is talking my clients through the mental and emotional aspects of whatever they are going through, as well as relating whatever is going on. My spirits do the work. This is safer, more effective, and quite frankly a lot easier on me than me doing a bunch of techniques.

If you develop spirit relationships, they watch out for you. They do work for you (and through you). And they caution you about people and situations you should watch out for. Once you get to this level, there are little other protections that you need (unless you are being initiated or need to learn something). It is often the case that protecting spirits, depending on their fierceness, will do work separate from you (such as blocking, shielding, or even in some cases attacking or sending energy back to someone) and will later tell you about what happened.

This is obviously quite different than the modern construct of “shamanism”. Power needs to be built over time. It takes a lot of effort and training to know how to wield correctly. It takes a huge amount of time to grow. This is why the training for being a shaman is so long. This is also why the shaman needs physical as well as spiritual teachers and guides to do so. This is also why the shaman cannot do anything else with their lives– basically every other effort in their lives will not go well until they answer the call to do spiritual work. It take a long time to have enough direct experience to be good at shamanic work and to know how to do it effectively. Most shamans, no matter how experienced, will acknowledge how much they have yet to learn.

Shamanism is also about interfacing with other realities, other worlds and planes. Again, this is not for exploring for the sake of exploring or for self-help purposes. It is to help navigate these various realities for clients (be they living human, spirit, or other). The shaman has the capacity for seeing, for traveling, and has enough experience to know where they are so they can assist others in these varying realities.

Shamanism is ultimately about balance. It is not all “light”, or about transmuting everything to the brightest shade of puritanical white that can be found. It is about being of service– to black, white, and everything in between.

Spirits are complex, spiritual work is complex…and I know when someone is doing actual spiritual work when they understand this. I know from my interactions with spirits and beings that the biggest and brightest angel may also be fierce and violent, and a chthonic demonic presence may be brilliantly straight-forward and willing to hammer out a contract.

We as living humans are complex, and the spirit world has that same complexity. Working only in the “light” doesn’t work. If there is anything I have learned from my spirits, from my ancestors, is that the force of destruction or “dark” can be used to destroy sickness (for example). One for one ratios and puritanical Judeo-Christian fear-based constructs about only working “in the light” do not work if you are doing actual spiritual work.

Another aside, but even if you are doing psychological self-help style shamanism, working only in the “light” or trying to transmute everything into light has an ending point. The deep, dark, primal shadow aspects of us do not want to be light. They want to be as they were intended– primal, sexual, wild, violent. If we cannot contend with this, or work with this, or think everything in us needs to be “love and light” we are missing out on some vital work that can be done.

Shamanism is complex, it is wild, dark, light, grey, peaceful, violent, interesting… it is a path of service. There are people called to it– people whose jobs are intended to be to interface with varying spiritual realities, to work with relations and contracts between living humans and varying spirits and beings, to see into and beyond and within. We need people who are truly called to be mediators, balancers, and spiritual workers for their communities.

I will say, as an end note, that I do not have difficulty with self-help style shamanism. I think that people should connect to the earth, cultivate a relationship with it. I am all for people healing in whatever way they are capable of doing so. I will also say that many “shamanic practitioners” or people who learn techniques through me and others are being of service. You can be of service spiritually without being a called shaman. There are many painters, teachers, woodworkers, artists, creators, innovators, dancers, philosophers, writers, architects, plumbers (you get my point) that are being of their highest spiritual good in their profession. You can be called spiritually and not be a shaman.

I just wish that it was called something else, I wish that people who claim to be shamans or following a shamanic path would pick up a book by Holger Kalweit and put down the new age psychology-based books that assure everyone that they can “be their own shaman”… or at least meet someone that has been called and is functioning as a shaman for a while so they can see that pretty much no shaman is going to be a sort of “vegan love and light, egoless, etc” sort of person (most shamans I have met are actually quite blunt, practical, and incisive about their words and actions, and enjoy junk food just like the rest of us) but that isn’t my battle, and I don’t have a lot of emotion about it anymore.

I also think that people doing self-help style shamanism, such as “shamanic practitioners” have a purpose. Not everyone needs a shaman. Some people need someone to listen to them, to do lighter spiritual work, energy work, life coaching or psychotherapeutic-oriented work. Working on mental constructs and emotions is always a wonderful path for pretty much everyone. Generally people find what they are looking for, and I have realized that when people want to find something different, or of depth, they will find it if and when they are ready for it.

The Revamped Spiritual Cleansing and Protection Course

Introducing a New Format– The Eight Week Cleansing and Protection Course

This course is an email based course with weekly lessons sent to you, with access to a closed Facebook group to ask questions of me (and fellow students), and discuss your experiences. If you do not have Facebook, alternate arrangements can be made (a few questions can be asked of me directly; I do highly suggest joining the Facebook group to gain the most out of the course, however)

This course is “on demand” meaning that you can sign up and start the course when you like. You can do so here if you are ready to

Since this is a question I receive frequently… yes, you can do the “Spiritual Bathing” section without a bathtub.

This work is essential for anyone who wishes to truly know how to take care of themselves and maintain proper energetic hygiene. 

The Purpose of this Course:

Many people come to me with no idea how to properly take care of themselves energetically. They may know very basic information about spiritual usage of salt, or may have some odd ideas about sage (not actually a great cleansing herb… and it is odd that it has gotten so popular, it is actually more of a consecration herb… and there are much, much better herbs out there for cleansing), but generally people do not know how to properly clear, cleanse, and protect themselves spiritually. 

Other people have learned how to shield themselves, or erect mental energies in an attempt to protect themselves. This is what is commonly taught to empaths, sensitives, shamans, and psychics. And guess what, it doesn’t work. Or it does work, but only for a short period of time before it wears you down (because you are utilizing your own energy, even if you think that you are not in 99 percent of cases). Shielding is meant for short term or emergency situations, and nobody should be “closing down” or “closing off” their aura or energy field. When you do this, the “good” as well as the “bad” get stuck. And you get tired. And you cannot connect to spirit the way you likely could before. And there are magical and spiritual (as in not mental/thoughtform, although you will learn some of those too in this class) ways to protect yourself that are incredibly powerful and most of all effective.

So who is this course for and what does this all mean? We are in a sea of spiritual stimuli. Plenty of us are more sensitive than others (more “psychic” or “awake”) and it is rare that any of us have the proper skills or tools to know how to clear this energy from us before it affects us physically, energetically, or emotionally. Many people are in a constant state of spiritual overwhelm without knowing it. And plenty of people have put up energetic walls or shields, disassociated in part or in full, or in some cases, are consistently dealing with spirits, energies, and other beings invading their space and their homes.

Other people interested in this course may be so because they may be practitioners– bodyworkers, spiritual workers, acupuncturists, energy workers of some sort. Others may simply come into contact with a lot of people and want to know how to properly clear themselves of all of the energy they come into contact with on a daily basis– teachers, waiters, retail workers, and so forth. And many people have done “core” or other “shamanic” work for a long time and never learned really how to do this sort of work.

It is possible to maintain energetic hygiene, to clear this sort of energy, and to know how to properly cleanse yourself and your home on a regular basis. It is possible to do so in a direct, simple fashion that will have big effects on your life. It is possible to protect yourself (if necessary) in a way that doesn’t take from your own energetic reserves.

My purpose with my classes is clear… to get you the direct experience you need so that you feel comfortable and confident doing this work in the world… either for yourself or others.

This work is based in spiritual herbalism. The basis of it is in Rootwork (Hoodoo), but also merges Folk Magic, and other magical and spiritual practices. Herbs and minerals are wonderful because they have their own spirit, their own spiritual properties… and they don’t require you to use your own energy so you will not personally get depleted.

What is Included in the Course:

  • A weekly email sent with lessons and practical material (syllabus below)

  • Access to an exclusive Facebook community to ask questions of your fellow students (as well as me)

Spiritual Cleansing and Protection Syllabus

  • Week One: Spiritual Bathing Basics
    Week Two: Spiritual Bathing Basics & Intermediate
    Week Three: Spiritual Bathing Intermediate
    Week Four: House Clearing and Cleansing Basics
    Week Five: House Clearing and Cleansing Basics continued
    Week Six: House Clearing Intermediate
    Week Seven: Basic Protection Practices
    Week Eight: Intermediate Protection Practices

Weeks One, Two, and Three: Learn how to properly craft a spiritual bath, what herbs and minerals (many right out of your kitchen cabinet!) help to clear energies. Learn the difference between herbs– which ones clear emotions, or clear stress, or will help you get mentally unstuck. Learn spiritual baths to clear spiritual attachments (spirits and cases of possession), jinxes, curses, crossed conditions. Know how to prescribe a spiritual bath for yourself and others based on symptoms, experiences, and properties of the herbs.

Weeks Four, Five, and Six: Learn methods to properly clear and cleanse your home. Create washes for your floors (or carpets) and walls, and learn about the spiritual properties of herbs that will release imprints, stress/emotions, remove spirits/banish, clear evil, or just allow for you energetically to get a new start. Learn about some of the common already created products (such as Florida water, Hoyt’s cologne, and others) that are on the market.

Weeks Seven and Eight: Once a proper clearing/cleansing has been done, many practitioners and sensitives wish to protect their homes and themselves. Our homes as well as our physical bodies should be our sanctuary– and there are methods to protect ourselves and our homes so that we have control over them… and random energies cannot come in our space. Learn how to properly work with talismans and to clear and create a talisman out of a ring or necklace that you already have in your possession, how to create a mojo bag for personal protection (a small bag with herbs and other objects in it that you can carry with you), and how to create a servitor to guard your home (an energy programmed from your own thoughts).

This course is offered “on demand”, meaning that you sign up for the course and will receive your week one email right after signup (and then subsequent weeks on a weekly basis for the next seven weeks)

Sign up and Pay for the Course here

You are welcome to contact me with any questions about the course. This course is considered “foundational”, meaning that it is knowledge that everyone on their spiritual path should have, and that anyone is welcome to take.

Spiritual Advice Column: Our Relationship with Spirits

Dear Mary-

I love your website it is very informative and not BS like other websites that I have been on. My question would be, and I do not know if you have addressed this before so forgive me, but what was/is the relationship of Shamans and Spirits? The reason I ask is because what I get from most practitioner’s relationships with spirit is romance, jobs, money, court cases, etc. Why do Shamans work with Spirits and vice versa? This applies to all types of spirits.

Thanks Mary and keep up the good work.

Nicky

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Hi Nicky-

Thank you for submitting this question. It is an important one, and one that is often overlooked for various reasons.

There are a few sub-questions here that I will bring up– such as why do spirits work with us? and what is working with actual spirits like? along with your excellent question of what is the relationship of Spiritual Workers (I use that word instead of Shaman for a lot of reasons people are pretty tired of me talking about by now) to Spirits?

 

So first things first. Most people do not work with spirits, or more accurately, they likely do not know what or who they are working with… or they have not achieved any depth in their spiritual relationships. 

What does this mean? It means that a lot of people self-create spirits and energies to work with. They are a part of themselves. I harp on this a bit because if you are working with something that you self-created it can only have so much power. Meaning it can only have up to and including how much power you personally have. If you are working with an actual spirit, you are working with not only your own power but theirs as well. This is a really important distinction.

So if we self-create spirits they can be our indentured servants, or slaves. They are typically one-dimensional, without much personality, show up whenever you want them to, and will do whatever you want. They also tend to agree with whatever you say, or will only say things to you that come from either your conscious awareness or from one of the more surface layers of your subconscious.

I will say that working with parts of yourself, specifically integrating them, is really important work. But it is different than working with actual spirits.

Also, a lot of people have no idea what or who they are working with. They may be working with a spirit but the spirit is not showing their true form either because you are not ready for them to (a very common reason), you have been taught that spirits are intended to be these indentured servants and are supposed to act in particular ways (hello upper and lower world cosmology) and so your own mind and belief systems (basically your issues) are stopping them from completely coming through. Or coming through in their true form.

Another reason is that a spirit (for example a former human) may say that they are your guide, or an Archangel, or whatever, so they can attach to you. It happens more than people might think. People aren’t really taught discernment and practicality when it comes to the spirit world, so they will accept anything that comes their way at face value. If someone were to come up to you in a bar and tell you that they were a multi-millionaire film producer who wants you to be in a starring role in their next movie, you would likely have the common sense to realize they were full of it. But if a similar thing happens in the spiritual realms, people don’t question it. Odd, isn’t it?

The other question here is one of depth. Most people do not have the skills, or more likely, the patience to develop significant spiritual relationships. It takes time. I have worked with spirits for years who have put me through trials, or wouldn’t even tell me their name for a period of time. They were checking to see if I was worthy of working with them. This happens, especially if you are working with more powerful energies/spirits/beings.

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So back to your question…

Why do Spiritual Workers work with Spirits? In simplicity, if you are an actual spiritual worker (and don’t just play one on tv or in weekend workshops) it is dangerous to work by yourself. You need to have working relationships with Spirits, basically.

Spiritual workers do work with spirits because spirits can more easily travel and understand the spiritual realms than humans in their meat suits can. They can be intermediaries, bringing through messages from other spirits and energies that may not be able to talk directly to you for whatever reason. Also, a spirit or energy that I am working with that is attached to someone may not want to talk to me, but they often are willing to talk to one of my spirits that I work with.

We also need to talk about power here. A Spiritual Worker is as powerful as their network of spirits. If you have developed deep, significant working relationships to your spirits, they will not only do work for you, but they will bring their power and protection to the session.

More simply put, if you are not connected to spirits and you are doing work only through yourself (with self-created spirits or you just don’t have the skill or depth yet to work with actual spirits or have working relationships with them) and try to do moderate to difficult spiritual work you will get sick, you will be attacked, and you will walk around tired most of the time. This is because a single human isn’t that filled with power, no matter who they are. They are only so protected. So what happens is that if you do not have a “network” of spirits working with you, you burn out, and are more open to be harmed.

The above is incredibly common, by the way. I have heard about so many “shamans” getting sick, being tired, or being attacked all the time, and it just doesn’t have to happen. Not saying some work will not be tiring some days (like all work is) but if you develop proper spiritual relationships (as well as know what you are doing. Sigh…) it just doesn’t really happen.

So in my work my spirits do most of my work. I am there to direct them (sometimes, most of the time they can do better work and in different ways than I can), but mainly my job these days is to talk to the client and take them through the mental-emotional aspect of things so that they can consciously accept the work that I, and my spirits, are doing.

Spirits are also my teachers, guides, and elders. I have deep respect for them. Most spirits that I have developed working relationships with have more power than I could possibly ever have… but also they have much more wisdom than I do. They are my teachers, my guides, and my elders. This is only because I trust them and know who they are, though. I don’t go to spiritual workshops any more because the spirits I work with have a lot more wisdom and guidance than any human source could. This happens to most actual Spiritual Workers over time– they are taught directly by spirits and it is much deeper, much more wisdom and power than any book or workshop or whatever. But again, this is only if they are not self-created and quoting law of attraction type stuff (which most self-created spirits tend to do, it seems).

So now let us explore the other half of this… We have talked about how spirits can bring us power, they can protect us, they can work for us. They are important teachers, elders, and guides. This is only if we are in a working relationship with them, however. Just like you wouldn’t ask a random person at a bar to loan you a thousand dollars (well, most of us wouldn’t) you wouldn’t ask a random spirit to do work for you.

If we do not have a working relationship to spirits, to power external from ourselves, we burn out. We are intended to be in a network, to have power other than our own support us, guide us, and so forth. We either burn out or we are doing just life coach style psychological shamanism with no real power. And without power, we can only do so much work. Again, it just doesn’t happen. But I have seen this happen so much with people– they are doing spiritual work and are constantly talking about being attacked, sick all the time, or their work simply doesn’t do much (or all three). While there is a psychological component to the whole “shaman sickness” thing in some of these cases, it is mostly because the “shaman” hasn’t developed either their own power or external/network of power.

Those people that you refer to that are just asking for money or want things from spirits without giving anything back are not in a real relationship with spirits, by the way. It just isn’t how it works. Especially if you haven’t developed a relationship. Nothing drives me up the wall than random people calling on some archangel or saint or some random goetic something or other without developing a relationship with them. Because best case scenario it won’t do much. Worst case scenario they can really piss something off.

It is not like you can’t petition a spirit for money, or help in a relationship, but again, it takes time and effort to build a strong relationship with a spirit where they are willing to do something like this for you. And then, you typically don’t need the type of help that most people self-creating spirits and asking random spirits for things are looking for. If you do find a spirit willing to bring you money, or whatever, without knowing them, I suggest deeply questioning why they are doing so. If some random dude at the bar wouldn’t give you money, why would a “spirit guide”.

There is trust that is necessary, there is time and patience that is required to build relationships (especially a working relationship). Like all relationships, working with spirits requires respect, time, patience, and depth.

So why do Spirits work with us?

In a real working relationship, spirits work with us for a variety of reasons. It might be their job, quite frankly. Certain spirits enjoy working with humanity, and to do so lets them help aid humanity.

Some spirits may enjoy bestowing their wisdom on people, and acting like elders.

As mentioned before, some spirits are specifically meant to be ambassadors to the spirit world, to be a link between the physically dense world and other realms. It is their job, basically

But in a lot of spirit relationships, spiritual workers learn how to give proper offerings. This is a whole blog in and of itself, but many spirits do not work for nothing. They want specific offerings from the spiritual worker as payment. This is the most common reason spirits (as in actual spirits) work with humans.

Other spirits who are more powerful may want to claim a spiritual worker. Although this sounds odd, basically what happens in a spiritual relationship (well, some of them) is that you have a hierarchy of spirits. Some spirits wish to be the most important spirit in your life, and will only form a bond or work with you if you agree to terms like this (and/or other terms that work for the spirit).

As mentioned, some spirits test Spiritual Workers over the course of months, or years (or decades… Sigh) to develop a deepening relationship with the Spiritual Worker. Each test that you pass that shows your worth allows for you to work with the Spirit on a deeper level, and to access and be able to be in a “network” with more of their power.

It is worth mentioning that some spirits just like to screw with humans, to cause them harm, or to essentially make fun of “shamans” who don’t know what they are doing by attaching to them and draining their energy, or finding some sort of inlet inward to form a contract or agreement with the “shaman” without them being conscious of it to not only drain energy but also disrupt their life, attach to their clients, and so forth. This happens a fair amount, especially because there is a lack of discernment and practicality in learning how to be a “shaman” and it is treated like something that anyone can do for fun on the weekends these days.

And finally, some spirits work to elevate themselves. There is a hierarchy to the spiritual realms, and some spirits work with accomplished spiritual workers because the work itself (doing spiritual work) as well as aligning to a spiritual worker allows for them to become more elevated, or basically, go up a few spots (or a lot of spots) in the hierarchy of the spirit world.

I hope that answers your questions, Nicky, and again, great question!

Mary

If you would like to submit a question for my spiritual advice column, you can contact me here. Please note, I do not answer all questions, and am not an allopathic physician (meaning go to your doctor if you are concerned about something, and take my opinions/thoughts with the proverbial grain of salt).

Spiritual Advice Column: Protection

Hi Mary-

chainlink-690503_640So a former teacher of mine (who I won’t name) used to tell me that nobody needed protection really during spiritual work. Or that all we needed was a power animal. She even said at one point that people who feel like they need protection, or people who run across “dark things” have something psychologically wrong with them. Like if you meet a dark spirit it is all your fault, especially if you run across them a lot. She also used to basically make fun of people who felt like they needed protection too, like she was somehow better than them because she didn’t need protection and those people who did feel like they needed so much protection were wrong and didn’t know what they were talking about.

I have grown a lot since her (she was my first teacher) but I still don’t know how I should feel about this. Can you give me your thoughts on the subject?

– Sylvie

Hi Sylvie-

Thank you for writing in! So my thoughts on the subject of protection are somewhat two sided.

  1. I think that some people over-protect themselves; or more clearly, they have learned protections like shielding that are from their own thought forms that are either not effective or are in fact detrimental to them (more on this later).
  2.  I think that a lot of people are really naive about protection. They have no idea about what is around them because they aren’t particularly sensitive, and they haven’t actually learned how to protect themselves in any real way. So they try the “dartboard” approach– where they read about surface level things like sage or salt or creating a shield out of their thoughts (basically trying anything and everything to see what sticks)– and mostly don’t know the first thing about real protection, as in protection methods that would actually help them if they actually needed protection.

So as far as your teacher, thank you for not naming her, and I do my best to not go after individuals, because most people are caring, they just may be ignorant or stuck in their ways. A lot of teachers, especially “core” shamanic ones, tend to learn things a specific way, or have a specific ideology or cosmology, and they get stuck. They never grow past it. And a lot of “shamanism” these days is just self-help psychotherapeutic techniques. So in the therapeutic model, of course if someone has fear it goes back to early childhood, of course if someone wants to protect themselves it is psychological wounding of some sort. If someone says something like this it is just telling you that they are not interfacing with the spiritual world much, quite frankly. They are squarely in the self-help arena of psychotherapeutic shamanism.

I realize the above is a bit rough, but it is true. Plus the psychological self-help core shamanic type stuff still annoys me a bit. I should probably get over that, because I have full knowledge that most people want the psychological self-help type shamanism because it makes them feel better about themselves, and can be done on weekends, etc. with no repercussions to their daily lives, and it is rough to go beyond a certain point on the spiritual path, and most people simply realize this. But back to your question…

Protection is a vital part of any spiritual worker’s eduction. It is important to know how to protect yourself, and protect yourself well. It is important to know how to protect your family, your house, your business, your pets, and so forth.

This sort of education is missing from most modern day spiritual worker’s tool kit. Tools such as really knowing how to cleanse (step one), and then really learning how to protect, ward, reverse, and so forth should be in any moderate to advanced spiritual worker’s toolkit.

This is because if you are on the surface level of things, where you are play-acting basically, you really don’t need protection. You may need some clearing, but not really protection. You aren’t interfacing with much. You are basically interfacing with disassociated aspects of yourself and of your own power.

It is when you go beyond the point of recognizing that there is more than you out there (no, you are not the center of the Universe and everything was not creating from you or your wounds, believe it or not) that you really need protection practices. It is when you start to accumulate power and relationships with things outside of yourself that you need protection. 

So for your teacher, and many others like her out there (of which there are hoards) she likely does not believe that anyone needs protection because she has never met anything outside of herself, and is still of the belief that her thoughts and emotions create the Universe. I always think that this view is incredibly narcissistic, but that is just me.

Some people in the surface category really do have emotional wounds, by the way. They protect themselves with anything and everything they can find because they are deeply afraid of the spiritual realms. They end up harming themselves by shielding. Most people shield by thoughts– basically they create a visual image of a shield (or a bubble, or whatever) and place it in or around them. This uses energy. The energy of the person creating it. So the person becomes really depleted of energy, because they are not only using their energy for their daily functions but often to create elaborate shielding mechanisms.

Also, when you create a shield it doesn’t allow energy in, either. That “bad energy” you are cutting yourself off of? It is also cutting you off from “good” energy as well. Ideally we will have flow through our bodies and through our energy fields so that any type of energy… in fact the whole universe… flows through us. This can be a hard state to get to, however. Most people have so much baggage and trauma and beliefs in the way (that go way deeper than early childhood by the way) that getting clear flow through their bodies is hard, plus they do not know the tools to do so.

And by the way….shield-33957_640

I meet “bad” or negative spirits all the time. It doesn’t mean anything other than the fact that I meet a lot of spirits, and think that being willing to be of service to your community as a spiritual worker means that you are willing to listen to and work with a wide variety of spirits. The spiritual realms are a lot like the physical realms in a lot of ways. Even if you are completely “healed” or new-aged up with the appropriate colored lights and memes, you are going to meet a few jerks. No matter how enlightened you are, someone is going to cut you off in traffic.

In fact, the categorization of spirits into neat piles– this one is “bad” and this one is “good”– always indicates to me that someone hasn’t progressed very far on their spiritual path, and has not really interacting with anyone outside of themselves. Think of your friends, your family, your co-workers. Chances are they are a mix of “good” and “bad”, a mix of ethics, ideas, personalities. This same thing happens in the spirit world.

There are so many different types of spirits and beings out there, and they just do not singularly fit into neat categories or “upper world” vs. “lower world” vs. “middle world” categorization. I realize our brains like this sort of stuff, but it simply is untrue.

So if you are meeting a lot of bad, difficult, or negative spirits there are a wide variety of reasons:

  1. You are psychologically having issues and parts of your psyche are attempting to make themselves known through being difficult or harmful
  2. You simply have an awareness level that includes many different types of spirits
  3. You have progressed past a certain point spiritually where you realize that “good” and “bad” spirits are not so neatly divided when they are not self-created and are actually interacting with actual spirits
  4. You are called to psychopomp work, or “dark” work where you are healing or ministering to spirits that are of the not-so “love and light” variety
  5. You are living somewhere that for whatever reason has a bunch of difficult spirits around

By the way, I should mention that the “lighter” and “higher vibration” you get on a spiritual path, the more you notice darkness. The more you notice your own darkness, that of the world, that of the spiritual world. Spiritual Workers who are really light are also really dark. This is because everything has the opportunity to be worked with spiritually, and an actual spiritual worker will interface with a lot of it… and a compassionate spiritual worker will have just as much compassion towards a being that is amoral, or difficult, as one that is angelic (and ironically also may be immoral, but that is a matter for a different day).

So why learn protection?

Because if you are doing spiritual work, or progress on your spiritual path past a certain point, you are like a nightlight. 

This means that you can see the spirit world(s) and the spirit world(s) can see you (in simple terms). This means that if you do not protect yourself and set boundaries you will never get any sleep. This means that if you do not protect yourself good, bad, difficult, happy, curious spirits (and everything in between) will interfere with your work, just drop in, attach to you in order to heal (or for other purposes), or just basically be excited to interact with someone who has a lit nightlight.

If you do not protect yourself after you progress past a certain point you will have active, non-restorative dreams (because you will be doing things all not in the dream realms or will be interfered with in your sleep), and if you are really sensitive you will constantly have health issues, fatigue, and serious overload issues.

Being really sensitive and aware in this world is like watching twenty, or fifty, or three thousand televisions at once. It can be difficult, it can be really difficult. And although a much different topic, parts of you can be in many different timelines or worlds or universes at once, which can get a bit confusing, and quite frankly, dizzying.

So if you do not know how to protect yourself, and protect yourself effectively (beyond destructive shielding and waving around some sage) you will be in a lot of trouble. But this is true only if your nightlight is turned “on” and is fairly bright. 

Otherwise you really can stay with your psychological constructs, as you likely won’t be noticed by much, and don’t really need much, if any, protection.

I very much think that anyone who is beyond the “beginner” stage (and this stage doesn’t mean a short period of time, I meet people who have been on a “shamanic” path for forty years who are still in this stage, as well as people who have been on a spiritual path for a very short time– well, consciously– who are way beyond this stage) should learn protection. Proper protection. Protection that allows for them to have guides, ancestors, and spirits that form a network for them. Protection with herbs, minerals, and other objects so you don’t have to use your own energy. Protection from using Universal energy (and how to properly access it) instead of your own. Protection that is for mild, moderate, and severe situations. You may never need the “severe” protections, but knowledge truly is power, and even knowing information on how to properly protect yourself in all situations can be of assistance to you. This is because when you have certain aspects of embodied knowledge, that gets transmitted outward. When you are interacting with spirits, many will know if you are a beginner, or if you know enough to properly clear, banish, or deflect them.

So yes, Sylvie, a lot of people over-protect or utilize ineffective protection when they don’t need to. A lot of people who are in the beginner stage don’t need to protect… evidently since they are still in a stage of creating everything in the Universe they can just get over their Daddy issues and they will be okay. But for the rest of us, we should learn protection. Not because we will need it all the time (or the severe forms of it all the time) but because we might need it, and it is a foundational tool for anyone on a serious spiritual path to learn.

If you would like to submit a question for my spiritual advice column, you can contact me here. Please note, I do not answer all questions, and am not an allopathic physician (meaning go to your doctor if you are concerned about something, and take my opinions/thoughts with the proverbial grain of salt).

Romanticizing the Shaman

Occasionally someone will email me looking for a shaman. They have tried traditional medicine and are looking for something different, typically. But what they want isn’t a modern day spiritual worker– they want the shamans they have seen in movies or heard about through books. They want someone in face paint, a headdress, and indigenous costuming. Some want an elaborate ceremony focused on just them or their child (or the person they are inquiring about). They have tried doctors and maybe an “alternative” medicine or two and now want to leap to the other end of the spectrum and have a totally magical experience that fits with their odd, romantic illusions about what a shaman should be.

I do understand this sentiment. There is a boiling point with allopathic medicine. When you have been ensconced in it for so long and it simply isn’t helping. When you have gone to doctors and therapists and you, your child, or your loved one is still struggling. There are millions of people out there who are not helped by “Western” medicine… who have believed in it fervently because it was “science” until they, or a loved one, discover that it has very distinct limitations.

Some at this point believe that they just need to find the right specialist, or begin to explore holistic medicine. Others have traveled the allopathic and holistic path and are looking for something else. They are looking for something magical. They are looking for someone from the movies to wave a magic wand at them or their loved one and have everything be okay. 

This, of course, happens with students as well. They want to be “spiritual” or a “shaman” either because they are feeling called to it, or more likely because they either feel like something is missing in their lives or they want to identify with something non-mainstream in order to forge an identity in this world. They want the shaman they have created in their minds, complete with mystical wisdom and easily quotable sayings, a perfect, indigenous, and preferably local person who will “adopt” them and/or teach them.

Complete with this romanticized illusion of the shaman teacher has come the idea that this perfect indigenous specimen will interact, teach, and lovingly adopt said student for no compensation and ideally little work on the part of the student. That this romanticized “shaman” is in fact looking for students just like them to give away their teachings for free (and by that I mean energetic or financial contributions, but mainly I mean financial) and will tell them that they are the “chosen one”. That the random person who is looking for said shaman teacher is entitled to such teachings based on the simple fact that they want them. Also a part of the illusion frequently is the idea that the student will be taught in record time, learning everything about how to be a shaman in a weekend, or a few months.

While some spiritual healers certainly participate in ceremonies, and wear the appropriate clothing for ceremony, the romanticized ideals of what these people are looking for is often not met to their satisfaction.

Most of the spiritual healers (and I utilize that term because pretty much every culture has spiritual healers, and the term shaman is very loaded these days and not quite correct in many more) I have actually met and/or studied with look just like us. Shocking, I know.

Although I do not follow American Indian teachings most of the spiritual workers in the varying tribes I have met wear blue jeans, khakis, and/or clothes from Target. Most of the Mexican healers I have learned from do the same. Spiritual work is intense, and you want to be comfortable while doing it, quite frankly.

Many of the women healers I have worked with may work in skirts both because of comfort but also because of ideas about how they want to present themselves as professionals and in deference to their teachers and spirits.

And although I do not like to generalize, many of the spiritual healers that I have interacted with that I have deep respect for do not fit this romanticized “other” image that we have created for them, even in ceremony.

So my basic point here is that many people have constructed and are looking for an illusory shaman that does not exist. Even the shamans in books that are held to this romantic ideal have been deconstructed or outright disproven (just look up Castanada and how it was proven he was in the library when he was supposedly visiting his “shaman” … which people oddly still debate because they want this illusion to exist… and how he utilized the hallucinogens was not in accordance to how any local spiritual healer would utilize them).

A spiritual healer can do work with the spiritual realms. They can “spirit lawyer”– or interact with the varying spirits, beings, and energies to allow for balance. That is the most simplistic definition I can provide. It doesn’t matter what they wear, what they eat/drink/chew/imbibe… it doesn’t matter if they are from the middle of Kansas or a tribe in the Congo. If someone can do this, and has learned the skills to know what and who they are dealing with, and has learned how to do this in terms of working for others, they are a spiritual healer. 

It is so easy for people to have this really harsh black/white thinking… if a physician cannot help them they need a Shaman in full regalia to whisper words to them and beat drums just like they saw in a movie. If they meet an actual spiritual worker (as in someone who does spiritual work and not just mental/thoughtform/psychotherapy type work) and they perform an excellent healing service and they do not fit in with this romanticization, these illusions that they have are frequently not met and they will not heal as much as they would have if a much worse/lower quality/less able spiritual worker were to put on some clothing that would fit with their illusions.

It is time to wake up from this illusion and realize that spiritual workers are simply people. Yes, sometimes they dress differently for ceremony. Yes, they are likely to act much differently while in ceremony. Yes, they will, if they are called to this work, have a different “vibe” than most people, be an outlier in society, and so forth. But no, they do not need to fit in to your romanticized, gentrified, and often racist, classist, and ignorant illusions to be of service to you. The important thing for anyone, whether they are looking for someone that has the ability to actually help them with spiritual work, or they are looking for someone of a completely different culture/class/race/spiritual path than them is their abilities, not your needs for them to dress or act a specific way to fit your illusions of romanticized “other”.

Shamanism and Psychology

“Shamans were the first psychologists”- I am not sure where this exact quote came from, and there seems to be a bit of controversy over who first said it (it seems to be Stanley Krippner through rough research)

It is easy to understand how this quote was spread, and how it is believed in contemporary spiritual practice. In the United States particularly, but really anywhere in the Western Hemisphere shamanism was first brought back by anthropologists and psychologists. When these people “brought back” shamanism to the West, it was through the filter of their own understandings and training. The anthropologists saw the shamans as proverbial “other” and documented this other as something to write extensive research papers and books about (some of this work is excellent, by the way, like the books of Holger Kalweit). The difficulty with this is that many did not have the direct experience of being a shaman, they were just a documenter… and when they did have the direct experience of participating in spiritual activities of various sorts it was life-changing for many of them, but they were still lost in the sea of intellectualism and collegiate level discourse. Basically, it was from the outside looking in. 

When psychologists and mental health professionals went to study shamans and spiritual practices they also looked at it through the lens of their own experiences. To them, shamanism was created and filtered through psychotherapeutic principles, and to them the shamans looked like were working with the mind, or the mental realms. Many of these psychologists may not even have had the belief structure or openness (or readiness) to believe that there is anything outside of the Self, or anything beyond the mind and body (the classic Cartesian and allopathic split). Many of these psychologists while they met the criteria of being the “explorer” or “other” archetype in their field were struggling with their own limitations in a culture or situation that was so “other” that they were overwhelmed. Many of them had simply never experienced anything spiritual, so they just thought that it was all mental, or all metaphor, story, thoughtform creation, and guided visualization.

These psychologists then came back to their various countries and began writing, teaching workshops, and combining the tools (as they saw them) of shamanism with psychological methods with some degree of success. 

Much of modern shamanism is the simplified tools of various spiritual healers (many times misunderstood by minds perhaps that were not open enough to be able to process spiritual stimuli), combined with modern psychology, combined with easily digestible new-age self-help material, combined with enough of a shimmer of “other” so that people will think that shamanic work is mysterious and romanticized, but not too much “other” so that the average participant does not feel unsafe.

There is a basic misunderstanding here, one that is difficult at this point to expel from the public consciousness that is involved with modern shamanism.

Shamanism is not self-help. It is not a set of tools or techniques to utilize. It is not psychology.

Yes, it works with the mental realms sometimes, and does have specific and direct psychological effects. The mind-body-spirit is on a continuum, and a spiritual worker will know how to work with the spiritual and ground the work in the mental and physical realms. In fact, it is important that the client, who may or may not have any sort of spiritual abilities, be able to process spiritual work through the mental and physical realms so it effects their outer world and day-to-day reality. Yes, spiritual work works with thoughtforms that are the basis of our reality. But no, it is not psychology.

Let me explain. Shamans traverse the worlds. This is not just a saying. It is not visualization or guided imagery, it is not mentally creating something or destroying something. Shamans work in the spiritual realms. If you have never experienced the difference between something spiritual vs. something mental, chances are that you are not a spiritual worker or shaman. If you do not or cannot tell the difference between something self-created, or something that is a disassociated aspect of Self and a real live spirit or being in front of you, you are likely not a spiritual worker or shaman.

It is somewhat rare that people have real (as in actual) spiritual experiences. Most “shamans” or “shamanic practitioners” are solely in the camp of workshop shamans, meaning that they have taken a few workshops and been involved in the series of techniques handed down to them as self-help and psychological mechanisms. Many of them are not able to see past this point, or even reflect on the fact that the are solely and squarely working in the mental realms. They are not open enough and do not have the ability to see or walk into any spiritual realms. They are solely self-creating a slew of spiritual helpers, angels, demons, and allies out of aspects of themselves or from imagery of what their romanticized version of a “spirit helper” should look and act like. These spiritual helpers are often singularly compassionate, always interested in the practitioner, and will always tell the practitioner exactly what they want to hear. Real spiritual beings or helpers do not act like this… and if you are talking to your “Native American” spirit guide and he is from the 1800’s and he talks exactly like you and says exactly what you want to hear from him, chances are you made him up.

One of my favorite terms for a Shaman is “spirit lawyer”. Because that is essentially what most spiritual workers do on a daily basis. You look at the various energies, beings, and spirits coming together that are creating a situation that is not in balance, or is making your client sick (or whatever reason they are coming to you) and you work with all of them so they get what they want. In some cases, you create a contract or pact that all of the energies agree to, even if they do not all get exactly what they want. This is most of spiritual work, to tell you the truth.

The mental realms do play an important role in this. Many people block themselves from healing, they are creating thoughtforms or stories that continually play out in their lives. Working within the mental realms, with shamanic “tools” vis a vi psychological self-help shamanic practitioner-ing is helpful for these people.

But it is not spiritual work. The spiritual realms are entirely different than mentally creating a journey, or creating thoughtforms. Meeting with actual spirits and beings is much different than working with ones that you create. True shamans are rare, and we have created a climate where pop psychologists and self-help manuals teach you that you can “be your own shaman”, where we are taught that anyone with X amount of dollars can purchase becoming a shamanic practitioner.

It is unfortunate, because true spiritual work is beautiful, and it is powerful. It is unfortunate because I get clients who have gone to psychological self-help type shamans who only have the capabilities to work in the mental realms with them when what they needed was actual spiritual work. If I get a client that is mentally unwell to the point where they cannot receive spiritual work, I will send them to a psychologist first (or in conjunction). Unfortunately most “shamanic practitioners” do not know that they do not know… which leads to a culture of people playing shaman because they have taken classes without the ability to do much, which ordinarily wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that it is costing their clients a lot of money, and a lot of people in this world really need spiritual work and cannot find someone to truly help them.

Without direct experience of the spiritual realms most people will not realize this, however. Unless you are experiencing the call of becoming a spiritual worker and are directly experiencing other realms, dimensions, worlds, and are being visited by energies and beings of various sorts I realize that it is quite easy to believe that the mental realms are the spiritual realms. If the mental realms are all you know, or what you have gotten a degree in, and you see something that looks vaguely like what you have studied, it is easy to think you can just lift the tools off of whatever culture and sell it as “spiritual”, and it is easy to think that all of the spiritual world(s) are self-created out of your imagination, and can be worked with through your imagination.

But they are not. And the more that we participate in spiritual materialism, this idea that anyone can do whatever they want simply because they have enough cash and they really, really want it, the more we are participating in creating illusory thoughtforms and creating realities in the mental realms that are simply not there. Not everyone has the genetic capabilities to be a major (or minor) league baseball player. Not everyone has the ability to be a spiritual worker. Not everyone has the capability to be a pre-school teacher, an artist, or any of the multitude of careers and callings where it takes natural abilities and genetic predisposition and natural talent/calling to become. But we all can find out what we are being called to do, and become that. We are all called to do something in this world spiritually, it just might not be a calling to be a spiritual worker (and if you are not being called, and actually knew what it was like instead of the romanticized version that has been sold to you… you will likely be very thankful).

People being called to spiritual work experience things on a regular basis that they cannot turn off after a workshop, that they cannot play with for their own self-help purposes and then let go when something else more pressing comes up. They have intense dreams such as dismemberment dreams, near-death experiences, and constant initiations by the spiritual realms so they can learn. It can be terrifying to open spiritual doors and truly work with the spiritual realms. It is not the safe, cuddly experience that is being sold. Spiritual work is not a part time job… it is not a series of techniques… and it is not something that anyone can do.

There is a degree of openness, there is a calling. Being called to be a spiritual worker is a strange, powerful thing. It is difficult, it is traumatic, and most spiritual workers do not find “tribes” of people to connect with at new-age seminars. They are isolated by society because they are different, they see differently, and they experience the world differently. And most people, despite their interest in energy work, shamanism, or spiritual topics, and despite the fact that in many countries we are far away from spiritual workers being burned at the stake or hunted (unlike our ancestors if spiritual work runs in our family line which for many if not most it does) we are still castigated, relegated to the outskirts of society.

If you are reading this and are angry at me for posting this, it is fine. One of the strangest things I have found in my journey is that “the grass is always greener” syndrome always applies. People being called to shamanic/spiritual work often go through a period of time of anger, or “why me”, of rejecting and resisting the call to become a spiritual worker… sometimes to the point of becoming quite ill because they are not answering the call. Spiritual workers who are called cannot do anything else with their lives, even if they try. People who are not spiritual workers and are looking for that romanticized “other”, they are looking for the pop psychological versions and tools of shamanism to fill an empty voids in their lives want to become shamans. They think they are shamans. They do not realize that what many of them are experiencing is a pale shadow of what actual spiritual work is, and that they are solely working with this pale shadow, this series of techniques, and solely in the mental realms, when there is so much more out there. 

And just for clarity, I do see the purpose of the new-age pop-psychology shamanic “be your own shaman” crowd. We have a spiritual void in the West that we are desperately trying to fill. I have no issue with people going to shamanic seminars for self-help or using the “tools” in their psychological practices. The difficulty here is that sometimes people need real spiritual work, and a real spiritual worker to do it, and many of these people go from practitioner to practitioner because they know what is going on is spiritual and all they get is self-help mental realm type help (if that) from people who have taken these assorted workshops and learned the self-help techniques and are now calling themselves shamans or spiritual workers.

But the biggest difficulty is that spiritual workers who are being called have nowhere to turn. They go to these workshops and meet these teachers and they are all for aspirational shamans, people who lack the abilities and calling but want some techniques to make their lives better. They are unable to answer the call because they are left with hollow techniques and pop psychology self-help. They are overwhelmed by the strange dreams, the amount of spirits surrounding them, and are uncertain if they should talk about things because what they experience is far beyond what any sort of message board or Facebook group knows about or can help them with.

If you are feeling like you are being called to be a spiritual worker, I can help. I offer email based programs and  phone/skype consultations to help people being called find out what they being called to, how they answer that call, how to find the right spiritual guides, and how to become a powerful spiritual worker. You can contact me with interest. This world desperately needs real spiritual workers, ones that can see and sense and work beyond the mental realms and can transcend the limitations that have been given to us by others. Being a spiritual worker, answering that call, is a powerful thing, it is a rare thing, and is something that is desperately needed in our communities and in our world. Many spiritual workers simply lack the tools and knowledge to do so because they are so overwhelmed and do not know where to turn. If you are being called, you can learn how to work with your spiritual experiences and to come out of a state of overwhelm and into a state of power and be a true beacon in this world.

Spiritual Advice: Processing of Energy, Soul Retrieval, and Proper Aftercare

Mary-

I recently worked on someone who had a soul retrieval done, and she said she had had many lifetimes of horrific deaths and suicides brought back in, which she then had to integrate. This led to months of anger and depression, as her body tried to process it. My question is, do we need to process all of our spiritual experiences through our bodies? It was affecting her spleen and liver systems. She was “digesting” it. It seems like many people have superficial spiritual experiences. They are too happy, like they haven’t been dragged through the muck! Do we usually digest the information or whatever in order to really integrate and experience it? Are there other routes or pathways? Can we just let some things go, or keep them on a less physical level and still have them be real?  I know this question is getting weird…

Katie

Hi Katie-

So the short answer is yes, we need to process things through our physical bodies, our physical container for us to consider it to be real and for it to have an effect on our physical, external lives. We hold all of our experiences in our body– our current lifetime, past lives, ancestry, karma… and even larger patterns like societal patterns, family patterns, and even the whole Universe (I will not go there this blog) that are not technically “of us”.

For the “lower” patterns (stuff that actually has to do with us like our current lifetime, past lives, and our ancestry) anything that has a charge stays in our bodies. This typically is thought of as negative stuff– emotions and experiences that were too overwhelming at the time to process (like a death in a past life)  or various traumas in our own life that were too emotional or too much for us to deal with at the time. This energy then gets consolidated and walled off in our bodies. 

As a side note, we also carry the wisdom of our ancestors, the joy of our past lives, and the beauty of our current life with us.. it just is a vibration around us rather than being walled off.

Dr. John Upledger (innovator of CranioSacral therapy) referred to this phenomena as an energy cyst– a localized area of walled-off, entropic energy. The body walls this energy and experience off in a localized area and then disassociates from it in order to keep the whole organism (our physical-mental-emotional-spiritual) continuum and our external day-to-day lives intact and reasonably functional.

In Shamanic work there is a thought that this energy actually leaves, or goes somewhere. This really isn’t true. We are always whole, all of the time. We just believe or create stories that we are not. What happens is that we actually are holding a trauma in our intestines from that time we got made fun of as a teenager, in our uterus from a previous life dying in childbirth, or in our heart from an ancestor losing a child and having an emotion of grief be too overwhelming. This energy then, as I said, walls off, still believing that the incident is still occurring because it simply doesn’t know any better. 

So we will have parts of ourselves that believe we are still a five year old whose father just left, or parts of ourselves that are still in a cycle of grief from our ancestors. Our minds, and then our physical bodies, wall this energy off so we can go about our lives without having to deal with the energy. In reality, we are whole, but our minds have fractured. And then our body-mind fractures, leading often to physical issues in the localized area of the “energy cyst”.

So in a soul retrieval the story of that energy cyst comes up to the surface to be released and integrated. The difficulty with this is that it then has to process. Meaning that if we have an energy cyst in our liver that is pretty large that contains a lot of anger and depression we are going to have to deal with that, to integrate that.

All that being said, the practitioner should know how to help the client/patient cycle that energy, have a basis in working with trauma so they can recognize when an experience from the past shouldn’t be uncovered (or fully uncovered), and provide appropriate aftercare to deal with the ramifications of such an energy.

It is somewhat rare that spiritual practitioners, who often operate outside of the licensing process, have an understanding and appreciation of emotional health and trauma response (the physiology of trauma, basically) to understand if an experience is too much to uncover, and to help their patient through when they do uncover something deeply traumatic. Trauma is real, and it has real, physiological consequences. If the practitioner is not trained in trauma response, I suggest that they pair up or learn to refer to someone experienced in trauma response. My personal favorite is Somatic Experiencing practitioners, who are typically open-minded as well as have gone through a three year training (or more) just in trauma work and know everything about how trauma shows up and how to process it. Nobody should have to process their trauma alone. It is much harder to do so, and to have the perspective when you are overwhelmed and emotional to do so, especially if it is something as removed from our current lifetime as past lives (but really, in any case).

It is also rare that spiritual practitioners do appropriate aftercare. Although a different subject, I have worked with people who have gone to the jungle and through Ayahuasca ceremonies and come back deeply traumatized because of sheer overwhelm at the amount of material coming up to process at one time. Our body-mind fractures for a reason, and it takes a sound mind to be able to process this stuff. Ideally for something like a soul retrieval, especially if they are working with an energy cyst that contains multiple lifetimes there would be a minimum of three appointments (ideally five). This means that the “shaman” would do the soul retrieval (sometimes this may take more than one session) and would schedule appointments weekly, or bi-weekly, to deal with the processing of energy and residual energy that comes up. This unfortunately does not happen too often, and the client is left with an energy cyst burst open and to deal with the residue and trauma on their own. If the spiritual practitioner does not want to deal with the residue, again I suggest a referral to a Somatic Experiencing practitioner, or an Acupuncturist, another Spiritual practitioner or Energy Worker who can help this energy clear out. 

So if I were to summarize this the answer is yes we need to process things. But the answer is also no, we do not need to have months of processing or deal with the process alone. Although integration and re-orientation can take longer than this period of time, the longest that someone should have to deal with really intense energy and emotion after a Soul Retrieval or any sort of energy cyst/emotional clearing process is three days. What happens after that period of time, or if the practitioner brings something up into consciousness that the patient wasn’t ready for the client/person just becomes re-traumatized and forms another energy cyst out of the current as well as past experiences that were brought up.

This means that they should have a follow-up appointment (or at the very least a check-in) with their spiritual worker or another professional if any emotion or experience is still lingering. And the spiritual practitioner should ethically be aware of when a big process is starting to do follow-up appointments and referrals so their patient does not end up non-functional or even hospitalized (yes, unfortunately, it does happen on occasion if the spiritual practitioner is not versed in working with trauma).

Just for clarity, I will say how I do spiritual work with emotions/trauma and Soul Retrieval work. I will have someone come in or send me an email for distance work (not for Soul Retrieval, although that may be their interest… I do not do “pick and choose” appointments, I ask the energies I work with and do divination to see what type of spiritual work should be done). Based on the first appointment and how intense the experience is (or not, if the person has a sound body-mind or a milder experience or meditates a lot), I will do anything from just checking in a few days later and suggesting aftercare like salt baths and connecting to nature or having sex (yes, I suggest that sometimes) or watching a funny movie (yes, I suggest this a lot actually) to telling the client that there needs to be 1-3 more appointments in short succession (1-2 appointments a week).

If the person reports back (especially for distance work) that they are non-functional, or are really struggling after the work (which occasionally does happen, but not that often since I make it a policy to ask during the appointment the persons subconscious if they want to deal with a specific trauma and/or are ready to) I suggest a Somatic Experiencing practitioner in their local area (or a thoughtful therapist if they cannot find an SE practitioner) to ensure that they are safe. When they get out of the intense amount of struggle phase they can come back and I will help them process the rest of the energy. But it is our responsibility as spiritual workers to ensure that the people we see are safe as well as functional (especially after a few days) after we work with them. There is no reason for someone to be dealing with that much trauma and emotion over such an extended period of time. They are just being re-traumatized at that point.

I hope that helps, Katie. We can all help others as well as ourselves work with trauma, but if we are not qualified, there are a lot of people out there that specialize in it, and there is no reason to deal with it by ourselves. It is a beautiful thing to become more whole, to release emotions and experiences that likely have a huge impact on our lives, and if it is done with clarity, with understanding (of trauma and emotions on a deep level), and with appropriate care, it can have a huge positive effect on anyone willing to plumb those depths to become more realized and whole.

Working with Darkness and Evil

One of the most profound understandings that I have had in the course of my spiritual awakening is that if we do not have direct experience of something, we are rarely able to understand or be open to that experience or understanding. This is true even if we have an intellectual understanding of something… when we have an intellectual understanding of something there is a part of ourselves that can still rationalize it, can keep it as a sort of fiction or illusion…and as something that will not or could not happen to us.

Quite simply, if we have not experienced something, we have difficulty imagining it or believing it to be real, and we are more likely to negate the experiences of others who have had experiences we have not.

This is true across the board, whether it be white people commenting about racism, rich people commenting on the finances of the poor, or people who lack an in-depth spiritual culture commoditizing and appropriating other cultures and not seeing what the problem is in doing so is.

This is especially true when it comes to the subject of darkness and evil. In spiritual and new-age communities there is a rampant ideology that there is no such thing as evil… and that you simply have to think positive, or put white light into darkness to transmute it. While thinking positively certainly helps certain situations (unless you are doing so to ignore anything “not positive” and sticking your head in the proverbial sand) it is unlikely that any of the people with these ideologies have experienced true darkness and/or evil. Because if they had, they would have to acknowledge the darkness within themselves as well as the darkness in the outer world.

I used to get angry about this… about hearing about people saying that you “just don’t have to believe in curses and they will go away” or that if there was a truly evil presence in a household that they “just have to sage or think positively or imagine white light” for it to go away. This talk, ironically, was and is always done with a sort of victim-blaming mentality. That if someone experienced something dark, or evil, that it was somehow their fault. That if they couldn’t get rid of something they weren’t trying hard enough, weren’t positive enough… were somehow not enough. 

After much reflection over the years I have realized that the types of people who think this way really need to think this way. That way they feel like they have control. They feel safe. There are entire spiritual groups, such as the core shamanic group, that cater to this thinking… telling people that the “middle world” (our world, where we go about our daily existences and have our physical bodies) is unsafe, but if they travel to the “upper” or “lower” worlds nothing will harm them ever.

This began to help me feel compassionate towards these people. They just really didn’t know any better. They wanted to remain on the surface of things, in a state of spiritual immaturity, in order to hold onto illusory understandings of safety and control. If you create your spiritual experiences or if you have them on an intellectual level you can have control over them. If you go beyond this, you have to open your mind, your cosmology, and move away from the spiritual immaturity that has been cultivated by you in order to maintain the illusion that you are safe and in control with all of your spiritual experiences.

There are people who I have met who are static in their spiritual growth because they do not wish to move beyond this spiritual immaturity– people who have taken all of the workshops, read all the books, and have been on a path for decades. Acknowledging that we do not have control over the cosmos, and allowing ourselves to open to the understanding that there are different cosmologies, spirits, and energies beyond our own will allow for us to transcend these illusions and deepen our experiences beyond the surface level.

I lately have been understanding the power of direct experience. Some of us have experienced darkness and evil in our lives, have been victimized, brutalized, or simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some of us genetically have a lot of darkness in our lineage. This darkness, the direct experience of darkness being in our lives or encountering evil makes us have the understanding that there is likely darkness and evil in other places and with other people.

As spiritual practitioners, or simply people on a serious spiritual path, we will come across a lot of darkness. This may be our own darkness, or we may be faced with a situation or experience that has us question our own cosmology, our own safety, and brings us into a state of fear.

We may not only be presented with darkness but have the direct experience of evil. This type of energy may be way beyond our understanding level. We may come across situations, energies, beings, or places that emanate this sort of evil that we simply cannot do anything about, nor should we. The realization that there is not only darkness in this world but also evil is often shattering to our belief systems…to the constructs we have created to make us feel safe, to feel in control.

If we have faced that darkness, or evil, if we are on a spiritual path or are a spiritual practitioner we may find ourselves in a position to work with it (or at least some of it). We neglect our own darkness, and we neglect outer darkness. Spirituality has become very new-age “love and light” and has lost its sense of innate balance. Anything dark has become “shadow” and something that needs to be transmuted into light, or cleared. And while we can certainly reconcile our inner trauma, become more whole… we are intended to have darkness within us. There is a beauty in the dark.

By learning about and working with our own darkness we can find the beauty in it. The power. We no longer need to fear it, or fear the larger spiritual community telling us we are “bad” for being dark workers or understanding and appreciating our darkness. We can come to a point of deeply understanding ourselves– dark and light.

The world at large is intended to be in a state of balance. As I progress in my spiritual work I am less concerned with if something is “dark” or “light” but rather if it is in a state of balance. I have learned to be compassionate and non-judgmental of all beings and energies. I do not automatically fear even the darkest, or most “evil” things that I run across and am not antagonistic towards any energy or being that I may encounter. My purpose is to help balance and to put things in their right place. Not to operate from a sense of “oh you are dark and so you should get banished or hurt” but an understanding of that even the darkest beings need compassion and understanding. Especially the darker beings need understanding. And the darkest aspects of myself need love and understanding– not to be “cleared” or “transmuted” or treated like they are a shadow… but to be truly loved and held for their own special beauty and power.

I know that experiencing darkness, or even evil, can be really traumatic. For those of us on the spiritual path it can be an initiation if we let it be. We can understand more about ourselves, more about the world, more about divinity. In experiencing darkness we know that the capability for darkness is present. We can see it, we can sense it, and for some of us, we begin to attract it so we can work with it. We can begin to look at and embrace the darker aspects of ourselves as a source of power. We can move beyond the surface layer constructs and spiritual immaturity and be not only “light workers” or “dark workers” but simply balancers… with the tools and capabilities to look at things with clarity and find out what, and who, in this Universe really needs rebalancing.

Learning how to work with darkness, learning how to work to do “dark work” is beginning to be a lost art. We have become deeply antagonistic and fearful towards anything that is not the brightest shade of white, or anything that is not self-created out of our own cosmologies. I help people who are ready to move on beyond this surface level reality to gather tools and understandings to work with their own darkness, as well as the darkness in the world (if they are called to do so). You can contact me with interest.

New Age Frauds, “Shamans”, Charlatans, and B.S.

Anyone who has met me knows that I have the personality trait of being brutally honest (it is sometimes nicely called being blunt). Generally, I call things like I see them, and the fact that I have had the capability of seeing so much from a very early age and think differently than most other people because of this, as well as have had a significant meditation practice for going on 15 years now means that sometimes I get upset by what I see.

A word before I go on… I am certainly not perfect, and I certainly still have things to work on (it would be boring if I didn’t), and the false notion that once you are “spiritual” or “awake” that you enter this happy blissful place of being okay with everything and everyone in the world is simply that… false… an illusion. Something that is marketed by people who want others to strive for a state that really doesn’t exist, and certainly doesn’t exist in the guru that espouses it. It sells books, it sells workshops, and it makes the guru feel enlightened (I always laugh at the current “gurus” who espouse killing the ego and then sell head shots on their website).

Another word before I go on… what I have discovered, and what I have seen, is that the entire spiritual community lacks any sort of pragmatism, or realness. There is this idea of this perfect state that you get to where you no longer have anger (or any emotions at all) and you just simply flow with the Universe. This is yet another falsehood… it is an illusion engendered so people do not have the messy business of dealing with their very human bodies and their very human senses and emotions… they are “bad”, anger is “bad” and so it is castigated away as something “shadow” that is hypothetically talked about reconciling (kind of like the ego) but nothing is done about it.

This is why I am so real, and truth-telling (from the vantage point of my own experiences, of course). I make no illusion about being special, or perfect, or the “chosen one”… there are other people I have met who are way beyond my experiences, especially in certain realms or traditions. I think a dose of realness, of honesty, is desperately needed in a current climate of people thinking that if they just took more classes, or were more spiritual, or got rid of more of their possessions that they would no longer feel anything and would enter this exalted state where they would never have to think about money, shelter, or anything concerning the human experience.

That all being said, I sometimes have weeks, or days, where I am confronted by the b.s. of the world, specifically the spiritual world:

  • I have weeks where I get fifty or so emails from people who went to “shamanic practitioners” who didn’t know what they were doing and either just didn’t help the person or really, really messed them up… and then refused to take any sort of personal responsibility for it.
  • I have weeks where I am told to read certain books because of how wonderful they are and I can see that the authors (we are talking famous ones here) are simply deluded or that they are so on the surface level of understanding that the book is simply a series of new-age memes and feel good anecdotes so that people will fall in with the illusion that there is such a thing as the “chosen one” (a common theme in new-age literature), thus believing that the teacher, or guru, is special and their consciousness level is out of reach.
  • I have weeks where I am send workshop flyers, or told about specific teachers and it is all marketing. They have no abilities, no talents, no power (except for marketing and P.R. of course) in the spiritual realms and they have successfully marketed a course that has nothing to do with spirituality… based on surface level understandings that could really harm people, because the “teacher” has no idea about the subject matter they are teaching. It is all feel-good new-age fluff.
  • I have weeks where I see that most of “spirituality” is marketed towards upper-middle class white people who are always interested in the next thing they need to “do”.
  • I have weeks where I see or interact with people who have been on a spiritual path for decades be stuck in spiritual immaturity, never proceeding beyond the surface because it would cause for them to look outside of their ego, their pride, and their cosmologies.
  • I have weeks where I see the entitlement of people who feel as if they have a right to anything spiritual that they want, without much (if any) work or effort. Whatever the flavor of the month, or week is in terms of spiritual path they have a right to follow, and when that doesn’t “work” for them in a very short period of time they will move on to the next path… not even thinking that many paths take years, if not decades, to even consider or understand appropriately, or that it isn’t their right to appropriate anything they want spiritually just because they want it, and they want it now.
  • I have weeks where I see the militant sorts who say that you “must” do this (raw vegan or a specific diet, a specific path, typically whatever they are doing) to be awake /enlightened… and all of these people finding other people exactly like themselves to congratulate one another on how “awake” they are.
  • I have weeks where I see entire communities, like occult, new-age, or shamanic communities (or individual gurus) come up with chaos and infighting again and again… of course not realizing that they are creating such chaos to look away from their own trauma, or their own lives, and they are creating persecutors, the persecuted, and all of the players again and again in a trauma loop (the same fight again and again week after week in the community or by the guru).

As I mentioned, I am certainly not perfect, and the anger, frustration, fear, or sadness that comes up about these things is often replaced by an understanding that people are where they are. I know for a fact that people who want to go beyond these surface illusions, the charlatans, the gurus, and the “Shaman” will often be able to find someone to help them out. They might have to wade through years, if not decades of this material to find it. I had to wade through thousands of books and interact with many teachers, healers, gurus, and institutions before I could find a few that could help me.

It is unfortunate that we have to wade through all of this in order to find anything of real value. There is so much illusion out there, and most people have no interest in going beyond it. And that is okay… as is any sort of emotion that we personally have in reaction to it. I realize that it is not my job to force people to awaken. People will awaken, and when they do they will go beyond such constructs.

In a more awakened state it is hard to not see the illusions, the fears and marketing behind them. It is hard not to see the reasoning behind why there is this illusion of “awakening” meaning that you are a certain way, or certain things happen to you. If most of us truly knew that we were enough.. that we do not need to do more or be more… and that these gurus were not awakened themselves… if we were able to see that most of the teachers and books do not know more than we do internally… we would react differently to the world. If we knew that all emotions were okay (yes, even anger), all experiences were okay, and that when we are “spiritual” or “awake” we would still have days of being angry (and yes, happy at the same time), we would stop judging ourselves for having what is a beautiful experience of anger, or involving ourselves in the delusion that an awakened state means feeling nothing, being nothing (certainly not human), and being in this state of oneness oriented bliss all the time.

I realize that I spend a lot of time on this blog deconstructing, meaning that I am largely focused on dispelling illusions and saying what things are “not” so to speak. I realize that this is very necessary, based on feedback that I am getting. But I will begin to speak about what awakening “is” in my next blog, rather than what it is not… as a sort of companion piece. I do fully realize however that before we are able to open our minds, our hearts, and our cosmologies, most of us need to confront what “isn’t” so we can have a new framework to move to.