Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison
greensh

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Complexities and Singularity of Belief

My blog "To Be the Plastic Shaman or a Fluffy Pagan" finally hit the nonfluffypagans community. Their messages are moderator reviewed, and it took few days to get the post approved.

There are a few comments so far. One, by urthlvr, lists some other websites that touch on the topic of the plastic shaman:

http://www.legendarysurfers.com/naw/blog/2004/10/plastic-shamans.html

This is a GOOD article that clearly connects the challenges of commercialism and cultural "borrowing".

and then finally Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_shaman

Check out the talk page on this Wikipedia entry. The range of dialog shows the complexity of the topic.


My original blog sought to understand the commonalities of dynamics in the definition, and use, of the words 'plastic shaman' and 'fluffy bunny'. One of these words belongs to the shamanic world and the other belongs to the neopagan world. I am interested in both, as I do walk in both worlds. I was also interested in the dynamics of these because I believe they speak to the challenges we humans have in dealing with the Spiritual.

In my mind, the commonality between the plastic bunny and the fluffy bunny is that of cultural borrowing, maintaining the integrity of tradition, the lack of integrity by interlopers, commercialism, and 'mystery school' guardianship. These combine in a many-headed dynamic. It is to this 'dynamic' that my thoughts will continue.

I have two thoughts I would like to put out today.

The first is that the neopagan 'fluffy bunny' discussion is a toddler compared to the age and scope of the 'plastic shaman' discussion. The more I learn, the more I am aware of the complexities of the plastic shaman controversy. I cannot shy away from it. I have already met this force. I am sure I will meet it again. As a believer in experience and knowledge equaling wisdom, I am called to increase my wisdom on the topic. While the fluffy bunny discussion introduced the underlying dynamics, the plastic shaman controversy is vast in showing this dynamic.

The second thought is one that I had is affirmed by the excellent book, "The Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian" by Joseph Epes Brown. I will speak more of this book in other blogs. For now, I will only say that Joseph's text affirms that the life of the Native American (NA) is a living combination of the sacred and the profane, of the divine and the secular. In the NA life there is no separation between these two. According to Joseph, 'religion' is not a concept embraced by the NA because to do so would be to create a dualism between the divine and secular. I now have a better understanding for why the NA community, or at least segments of it, react as they do. To borrow or use any part of their culture is to also borrow or use their sacred life.

This singularity of divine/secular is starting to be echoed in the neopagan world. This is not a bad thing. It is a thing that challenges all to be guardians, and to this task, learn the wisdom inherent in the calling.
Tags: divine, fluffy pagan, plastic shaman, secular, singularity
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