Moving houses last year caused the rearranging of hundreds of books and the rediscovery of forgotten treasures. One that jumped out begging to be read was from author, naturalist, and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams, LEAP, an unexpected pilgrimage through the landscape of a painting — The Garden of Earthly Delights triptych by Hieronymus Bosch that resides in the Prado Museum in Madrid.
“Religion brings us into community with a shared set of beliefs, symbols, and songs. We can choose to be internally engaged or not. The religion goes forward whether we are present or not. The rules are written. Those in authority tell us what to do. It is, for the most part, comfortable and supportive. We are known. We belong to a congregation and we are taught to worship a creed ‘the result and fruit of many minds…Purified from all the oddities, shortcomings, and flaws of individual experience.’ There are answers to be found. It is a peace we can borrow. We learn compliance, cooperation, and sacrifice. We can bask in the warmth of feeling part of an organism that knows its place in the world.
Spirituality is solitary. Its companion is conflict, a gnawing at the soul that cannot be ignored. We are engaged. There are no rules. There are no maps. We live with the discomfort and ambiguity of our own authority. At times, it is lonely, often informed by pain. On other occasions, it is the body submerged in a phosphorescent tide, every movement sparking a trail of illumination. Afterwards, we sit on the shore in moonlight. No candles are necessary. Spirituality exists when we are present, buoyed up by the waters of attention. We learn the courage of faith. It is a peace that is earned. We can take solace in the heat of doubt knowing this is the pulse of poetry.”
While reading the above passage from LEAP on religion and spirituality I realized that Shamanism, as a practice, offers a way to deepen our connection with Life’s visible and invisible worlds and assists us in navigating the spiritual path. Utilizing the principles of quantum physics it gives access to non-ordinary states of consciousness and their healing potential.
I have been drawn to shamanism most of my life and this has been a reoccurring theme in the work of Great Mystery. Our very first event was with Carlos Castaneda presenting his tools of Tensegrity and continued with workshops by Michael Harner, Sandra Ingerman, Alberto Villoldo, Llyn Roberts, John Perkins, Anna Hunt, Mario Mayorga, indigenous teachers from different traditions, as well as an amazing group of thought leaders from various disciplines (see the Great Mystery Faculty ).
The current online course by Gwilda Wiyaka, Empowering Your Life Through the Art of Shamanic Ceremony is clear and definitely empowering. Although this Sunday is the last live session, the classes are available as recordings that include study materials for those who want to learn about shamanism or go deeper in their practice. I, for one, enjoy integrating the art of shamanism into my daily life.
With love and optimism,