The past is normally assembled in bits and pieces, avoiding those things that cause us pain, seeking to recreate the things that bring us pleasure. Remembering reframes the past and justifies our present. It is conscious, and subject to embellishment. In reality, individuals are at the mercy of the past. The traumas of the past still prey on our fear of the present. The joyous events feed the desires of the present, limiting our future as we seek to recreate the substance of the desires. This holds true for the family, tribe, nation, culture, and the species.
There comes a time when one must encounter the past. For those who are dreamed, this occurs at the moment of their death. For the dreamer, the person of power, this moment takes place alone, before a fire, when he calls upon the specters of his personal past to stand before him like witnesses before the court.
The person is a bundle of loose ends. The past keeps us bound to an image of ourselves. We must place ourselves in the fire that will consume the past, but it will not burn us. Instead our personal history will be erased.
The individual must gain control over their destiny, separating themselves from the larger groups of people. The person of power confronts the past. He hears testimony from the specters. They are dismissed, and he is acquitted. The person of power has no past, no history that can claim him. They cast their shadow aside. The past is shed like a snake sheds its skin.
Knowledge can only be had when one can exercise power over destiny, and our destiny is a daily victim of our past. Spirit cannot grow when the dead flesh of the past clings to it. We must bring no history to our study of shamanism.
The South holds fear of the past. The shaman is called to remove links to the chains of the perceived traumas and pleasures in the echoes of what has been. Only then can the shaman be as a child, and have the healing laughter of spirit of the child. The ego fears removal of the past, and fear is the result.
The lesson of the South is to achieve freedom from the fear of the past. The past represents the attachments to ideas, lifestyles, habits, opinions, traditions, and motivations that are given to us by society. The fear originates for what would happen if the attachments are not obeyed. What if we are not like our fathers and mothers? What if we do not conform? The harsh lesson in the South is that the past holds the shaman from being in the present. The past was perfect in it’s own moment, and the expressions of the past may have been genuine in their own place, but they are only malignant intruders in the present moment. Both the pleasure and the pain of the past hold us prisoner. The bars of our cell keep us from feeling the spiritual unity of the present moment. The bars are formed from the fear of pain and the fear of loosing pleasure.
Grudges and addictions are put aside on the path of the South. The purity of the moment appears as the burdens are shed. The muddy puddle reveals its inherent clarity as the mud is removed and put in its proper place. Grudges and additions – fear and longing – are not destroyed. Instead they are recognized and put aside. They are brought forward from their hiding places and purged in the light of self-acceptance. The purging is similar to turning on a light in a dark room. The darkness vanishes. The only substance that the past has is what we give it. Once the power of grudges and addictions are removed, the clarity of mind is achieved.
Past is seen (serpent).
You shed your personal self, shed the self that is an outcast from the Garden and condemned to travel naked, hungry, and unloved by Nature. When you free the spirits of the past, they find peace and no longer feed on our present. The memories of the past are severed that hold you back from reaching your potential.
You gain an energy body.
I shed my past like a snake’s skin. I enter a state of consciousness – a ream of awareness within which the most significant events and people in my past are manifest before me. They are then dismissed, and I am free from their grasp.
Dance of the Four Winds : Secrets of the Inca Medicine Wheel by Alberto Villoldo, Erik Jendresen (previously printed as The Four Winds : A Shaman's Odyssey into the Amazon)
Island of the Sun : Mastering the Inca Medicine Wheel by Alberto Villoldo, Erik Jendresen