Bringing the shamanic dimension into your daily life - Bringing the shamanic dimension into your daily life - Awakening The Shamanic Force Within

Shamanism Made Easy: Awaken and Develop the Shamanic Force Within - Christa Mackinnon 2018

Bringing the shamanic dimension into your daily life
Bringing the shamanic dimension into your daily life
Awakening The Shamanic Force Within

Shamanism will enchant you, especially once you begin to appreciate the many means, approaches, tools and pathways it offers. This chapter lays the foundations that will enable you to begin to bring a shamanic dimension into your daily life. After introducing you to a few essential skills, you will learn how to create an altar and work with sacred space, how to call spirit and work with it, how to develop your own daily ritual and how to create and utilize power objects.

As you continue reading this book and your shamanic practice intensifies and deepens, you will be able to develop these skills and tools and use them whenever required, no matter which path you choose. We now have the freedom to choose the pathways that work for us. For some people, medicine dancing, drumming and vibrational sound work become the major pathways, whilst others are more inclined to learn from, and in, nature, and love vision quests, nature spirit communication and nature camps. Some take to shamanic journeying like ducks to water, whilst lucid dreaming, storytelling or medicine plant teachings offer the right pathways for others. Many seekers use combinations of these means, though some are more inclined to follow one traditional teaching path. Whatever feels right to you, if you explore it and follow it, your shamanic path will unfold.

Basic skills and tools

No matter what you attempt with shamanic means, you need to be able to tune into — and work with — the underlying energetic realities. Often you need to be tuned into both realities at once: the material one and the underlying energetic one. Developing an understanding of various tools and skills and practising using them will enhance your knowledge about the underlying forces that shape your life and help you to influence them. It will keep you tuned into the levels that really matter: soul and spirit. As Jung said, ’Only if we know the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interests upon futilities and upon all kinds of goals which are not of real importance.’1

The importance and power of your intent

For the shaman, everything begins with an intent, held with focus and clarity. Intent is a kind of vision, a goal, an outcome you want to achieve. It has to be formulated clearly and held attentively. It is more than a statement in the form of a sentence, such as ’I am going to journey to the upper world’ or ’I am creating this ceremony for healing.’ As your intent directs the energies of what you are attempting to do, as well as manifests the energies of the outcome, it needs to be absorbed into your being and into your task. Therefore you need to hold it in your heart and mind and focus on it.

The real power of your intent lies in the fact that it bridges the ordinary and non-ordinary realities. It influences the energetic worlds and therefore also this reality. In other words, your intent is, at its most powerful, the overlap point of the goal you have in mind and its manifestation.

For example, when you create a ceremony to let something go and call something in, your intent might be formulated along the lines of: ’I am creating this ceremony to let go of my fear and to call in courage.’ This intent will first infuse much of what you include in the ceremony, from how you set it up to the offering you create, from the ritual you use to the spirits you call in. Then, as you hold the intent — letting go of your fear and bringing courage into your life — with focus throughout the ceremony, it directs the energies during the ceremony, and the more impeccably you stay with this, the more likely it is that your intent will manifest.

Receptivity and deep listening: hearing the voice of spirit

All spiritual practice requires us to be receptive, to be silent and listen deeply with all our senses. To be receptive is a passive skill, a quality of the feminine which, in a world orientated towards the masculine principle of ’doing and expressing’, is greatly undervalued. No matter if you are on a shamanic journey, connecting to nature, asking for help from spirit, conducting a ceremony or just wanting to know what you are feeling or intuiting or what spirit is telling you, you have to be receptive. This means being still enough to hear, see and feel what is happening on deeper levels of reality.

As long as our mind is chattering away or we are busy ’doing’, it’s difficult to hear the voice of our soul or experience a sudden intuitive knowing or become aware of messages. So, if you don’t already meditate, I would advise you to attempt it as a practice. Besides being beneficial for your mental and physical wellbeing, just sitting and being still every day will help you to develop the skill to tune into the level of soul and receive its messages. It is essential to understand that you cannot hear the voice of spirit if you do not listen.

Altering your state and working with spirit

All shamanic work takes place in altered states and with spirit. This means that most of the time you will use some means to go into a (light) trance state, to still yourself, to focus and absorb yourself completely in the task, shutting out the clutter of the world around you and the chatter of your mind. Some practices, such as trance dancing, lead you quickly and naturally into an altered state. Others are directly designed to help you alter your state or perception. For instance, when you begin to journey (see Chapter 6), it is best to download the drumming recording that I have provided for you (see It works because the beat of the drum is adjusted to the theta wavelength of the brain. For other practices, such as ceremonial work, medicine wheel journeys or work in nature, follow the instructions given in this book, which will tune you into deeper levels.

All shamanic work also requires the presence of spirit, which is called in at the beginning of shamanic endeavours, as I will show you below. With focus, it will tune you into deeper levels, open sacred space and bring in the energies required.

Developing trust when working with energies

As you begin shamanic practices you will have to develop a sense for energies and trust in whatever you experience, feel or sense and how it translates into images, words or intuitive knowing. For instance, when you begin to access the spirit worlds, you will experience whatever happens on an energetic level as images, emotions, sudden insights or thoughts, but sometimes also just as a kind of knowing or as energy forms such as swirling or geometrical patterns, colours or strong forces. Keep in mind that you are working with energies and that the way they present themselves to you is right for you.

There is a big debate as to whether the spirit worlds are ’real’, in the sense that they exist as energetic worlds parallel to our manifest world, or are ’just in our imagination’, or are part of a level of consciousness that has been created by humankind, such as the collective unconscious. In practical terms, it really doesn’t matter which of those cosmologies you subscribe to, because as long as you work with clear intent, focus and the help of spirit, you can trust that whatever shows itself or happens to you is right.

Vibrational tools in shamanism

Vibrations are very important in shamanism and therefore drums, rattles and sound are used to create various levels of vibration for various purposes, such as to seal sacred space, to call in spirit forces, or for healing, journeying, trance dancing, ceremony and more.

I will come back to tools and how to use them in later chapters, but when you get deeper into shamanic practice it is a good idea to acquire either a rattle or a drum. Most people start with a rattle, because they are cheaper to buy and easier to use. Find one that really speaks to you and charge it with power.