February 19th, 2007

Cat Chair

The Shaman and the Medium

The phenomenon of shamanism is growing in the non-indigenous world. In response, people are comparing it to other similar, but different, spiritual functions. I've written before about the shaman and the witch. Today I will present my opinion about the shaman and the medium.

A blog entry I came across read:
I've read about what quite a few authors think the Shamanic experience is supposed to be. The thing that most of these authors seem to agree upon is that there are two kinds of journeys. Each of them also use about the same two words: Shamanic and Mediumistic. They say that the difference between these two is that in the Shamanic Experience the individual maintains control, while in the Mediumistic Experience the individual gives up control for something/somebody else. Do any of you find this to be true?

When I first read all these authors saying so, I didn't agree with it, but then I thought about it. To me, the journeys are just like the real world. On these journeys, I can't control what other spirits/people do nor can I control the environment around me; however, I can control myself.
I responded with the following, allowing for the disclaimer that this is from my personal experience

If mediumistic is defined as "giving up control for something/somebody", than I believe that the typical shamanic journey is not mediumistic. Indeed, the purpose of the typical journey is to receive information/insight first-hand. The typical journey is not transcribed by an outside person during the journey. Hence, the person has to remember details from the journey after the journey is over. In the super-strict definition of mediumistic experience there is no remembrance of what is said or seen.

It is typical for a shamanic journey to have shifting spirits/people and environments. Different beings are experienced and the landscape shifts. This is not a case of losing control. This does not make it mediumistic. An analogy would be driving to work and seeing something unexpected. There is road construction, an accident, or maybe a new store has opened. In the extreme the driver must make a detour. What if a person comes across a license check stop? They pause, do their business, and then move on. These are different and unexpected, but do they remove "control" from the driving experience, thus shifting it into a mediumistic mode? I don’t think so.

I answer this way from the perspective of both going on traditional shamanic journeys and doing some mediumistic work. The two are typically separate. The mediumistic quality of my psychic readings has me echoing words from another source without my interpretation or evaluation. I, myself, have never "lost control" or been taken over during these times. I have merely offered myself as a conduit for the expression by other beings/spirits. I do know people who go the whole route of giving themselves over during a mediumistic session. Personally I find this unnecessary and perhaps even dangerous.

In closing, my opinion is that the typical shamanic journey is not mediumistic in quality. It is vibrant and changing. It is also my opinion that many mediumistic experiences (i.e. mine) do not have to go to the full definition of the spirit controlled medium. It would be a shame to not remember and embrace your journeys, for they are spiritual gifts.

What have other people experienced? Has there been something different from what I've described?
Sinfest - The Truth

The Secrets of Life - Version 259321.2

My friend iskender had some really good comments about the nature of life. His remarks prompted me to reflect on some the secrets of life that I've cobbled together during my 41 years on this planet...

1) Life is a game.
2) You can make up your own rules.
3) Other people make up their own rules.
4) There are very few fixed rules.
5) Definitions are tools, often fluid and imprecise.
6) The common rules are there by agreement between people.
7) Do not assume agreement.
8) Connection is by choice.
9) Work for agreement.
10) Life is not fair. To pretend it is only causes grief and aggravation.
11) There are more or less equal amounts of pain and pleasure. One is often disguised as the other.
12) People are human.
13) You are human.
14) You are alone in all totality; translation: you are connected to all.
15) Your world revolves around you.
16) The goal is to find yourself.
17) Other people are life's mirrors.
18) Your creations change everything.
19) The search never truly ends.
20) Laughter and smiling are good.
22) #21 the BIG secret.
23) Everything that has a beginning also has an end.
23a) Relax

The shorthand version is:

1) Life is a game.
2) Relax.