Shaman Blog

How to change your world to your liking using ancient techniques in a modern setting

20 November, 2019 Philosophy

Shamanism in a nutshell

A short-ish explanation of what shamanism is all about.

The most fundamental idea in shamanism- to explain it to someone with a background in Western-style thinking, it would sound very differently to explain to someone indigenous because those things that go without saying vary so much around the world- is that consciousness is more fundamental than time and space.

We are not living in a physical world, and then consciousness erupts fully armed from someone's forehead (to quote a Western legend). We are blobs of consciousness, dreaming of a physical world, together.

Yeah. Groovy, isn't it?

I remember very well the first time I grasped this I spent hours staring at my feet running up the hill towards my university yelling to myself in my mind (I hope it was in my mind) "It looks so real! It looks so real! It looks so real!"

Now the kicker is that, once you've gotten over your initial reaction (provided it came as a surprise), it doesn't change that much. The dream is still there. You interact with your dream as your dream character the same way as you used to interact with your perceived real world as a perceived real character. Your dream still works the same way- it is still good to pay your dream bills and interact with your dream government departments at the dream appropriate times to avoid dream trouble.

You can still describe your dream world using dream mathematics to make certain dream predictions and use dream tools to build other dream tools to do certain things you couldn't to before, which results in having stuff in your dream like electric cars and the Internet.

If you want to dream-fly, it's still a really good idea try to lift off while standing on a level surface rather than after having jumped off a dangerously high area, in case you need more than one attempt. Because it is still possible to take a dream exit by using very familiar mechanisms for transforming your body into something the dream rules say will now blend into the environment.

But why on earth does everything just stay the same? Wouldn't you think that when you figure out you're really consciousness, that the curtains would fall and you'd get a prize and that'd be that? Well, not exactly.

You see, we as consciousness, we took upon ourselves on purpose to focus in such a way as though we were having a, well, realistic physical experience. It was all very intricate and very well thought out and lovingly set up. And being here does involve a certain amount of choice that happened before we arrived- the stuff we can't really change right now- but it also involves a huge amount of stuff that we absolutely can change. But not matter which, it's still us doing it- the slow-to-change stuff is simply set up that way in order to keep the experience together. And it just happens to be more important, to us, to keep the experience together, than to be able to fly instantly on a whim, changing the rules of gravity (I haven't seen it done without tools, personally, but I'm pretty sure it can be done).

There is a mechanism that was invented in order to have this experience world where we could experience this mixture between structure and freedom. It's called thought.

Because thought really is less fundamental than consciousness. Consciousness is just there. I think "clear-headed" is the usual mundane term for describing it, it happens when you relax your thinking process and let yourself just experience your surroundings. Thoughts clear up, and consciousness is left. It's really adorable and playful, but also very smart and wise. Lots of people call it God- or Christ consciousness, or spirit. I like to just call it consciousness. Fewer thoughts involved in the description that would need sorting out.

Thoughts are a limiting mechanism on consciousness. They are not really built in to who we are, but they are build into the style of dream we are having, the reality we are focusing on experiencing, they are a self-imposed limitation we can experience in order to know what it's like to be something, and not something else, because that's kind of hard as a blob of consciousness. Individuality can get a little blurry when you're a blob among blobs.

There are big thoughts and little thoughts (I just made that up, but I hope it will get a point across). Big thoughts are the kind that we did before we emerged from our mother's wombs- that we will have a body, that's a thought. That it will be of a certain tribe here on a certain planet where there are certain rules of physics that operate, that's a big thought. A certain era, certain predispositions, maybe even some way-points and important events and important friends. That's all predetermined. Not by other people. By us! And if you really really wanted to, you can even change the big thoughts- it just so happens the easiest way to do that is to go right back to the drawing board and set up a different life. And the simplest way to do that is usually not to practice flying on the way down from the Eiffel tower, but to live it out, and then try something different. You have all eternity, what are 80 years give or take?

This is where the small thoughts come in. Once you're more or less settled that you're okay with being in a certain body at a certain time and having had certain key experiences, then you're free to roam, so to speak. By chosing your everyday thoughts, you can completely direct your life, within the more rough limits that your big thoughts set for you.

Now what you need to know to do that is that our reality, our dream, is so designed that when you've done your thought-choosing and the reality starts accommodating itself to those thoughts, you get the experience, and that experience feels real. That's why there are so many arguments. Everyone thinks that obviously their point of view is correct, they just experienced the living daylight out of their truth. And they literally did. It was real- for them. Just as your experience is real to do. This is helpful to keep in mind when dealing with other thinking beings.

Now, the main issue we may have with our dreaming that isn't straight forward is that we've been thinking and experiencing for a long time without really knowing what we were doing, which built up a lot of momentum- a lot of little thoughts that sort of became like big thoughts in that it's not really obvious how to change them. Now keep in mind that even big thoughts can be changed, and even without living out your life and starting again if it's important enough, so most certainly these accumulated little thoughts can be changed. But because our experience seems so real, it's not so obvious how, because of the momentum and the reality of the experience.

This type of sticky changable thought is commonly known as a belief. It's still just a thought, nothing sacred about it, can be changed- but doing that might have a lot of implications because in our cultural evolution over space time we invented a lot of intricate little networks of beliefs and ideas that depend on each other that all have momentum, so it's really helpful to figure out what those are. We can still use them- especially when interacting with those who aren't aware that this is a dream, it might be the only way- but we don't have to totally believe them.

That's it right there, the last sentence- the essence of shamanism. We play the game, but we know it's a game with a certain part of ourselves, even while we fully experience and embrace the realism of the experience even knowing that others take it seriously.

This idea contains all the traditional traits associated with shamanism- the trickster, because we know it's a game and we can adapt our behavior to other people's beliefs and being mindful of the beliefs we're using ourselves- the shapeshifter, because we can be flexible with the beliefs we are using, and move in and out of them- the healer, because we can help others chose better beliefs, even if they don't know that's what we did- the adventurer, because we can pick a quest and savor it- and the wise person, because, let's face it, if you know about the fundamental nature of reality, you tend to give really good advice. Until you don't, sometimes, but then you do get better at dealing with that as well. And the visitor of other worlds, because even if the big thoughts remain in place, you can use a change of belief to experience tastes of other worlds even while primarily still focused here, which can be useful and exciting for all sorts of purposes.

Specifically, the playing of the game takes the form of focusing and releasing.

Focusing, because that is the same as choosing a thought, either by looking at something already in the world or something you make up in your imagination (which is really just part of you that stayed a flexible blob of consciousness). So to play the game differently, you observe less, and you imagine more- take your attention off the already-existing world (except to the extent required to handle things) and imagine the heck out of yourself, and repeat the good parts until that's how you experience yourself. It works best when by the time observational reality catches up with your imagining, you may have forgotten you wanted the change in the first place, because the imagination becomes more important. If this sounds like daydreaming to you, it is. It's just that the idea that consciousness comes first and physicality second allows us to discard the idea that daydreaming is not useful. As far as I can tell, it's the most useful activity available to humans bar none.

Releasing, because you have already focused on many things without consciously intending to, and many of those will not be particularly enjoyable, so they tend to crystallize- if you just keep thinking the thought exactly like you did for a long time, you tend not to feel it as much. This is commonly referred to as the comfort zone. The advantage is that the haphazard thought is so close that you don't really notice it. The disadvantage is that it's still active, still shaping your reality. Commonly, you would blame people or circumstances in this situation, but shamanically, you can place blame on a thought- network of thoughts, way of thinking- that you may be unaware of. This is good because it lets everyone else off the hook, and it's also good because it allows you to do something about it, and you can also let yourself off the hook because you weren't aware what you were doing when you set up your thoughts in the way you did. If you're fine with your general direction, you don't necessarily need to do a lot of releasing, but once you start focusing, you may notice certain turbulence-like experiences. Just accepting it as natural and riding it out and not being too worried by it (and not letting it persuade you to return your focus back to the familiar but keep it on whatever new idea caused the turbulence in the first place) will be enough, lots of times. If it's not, you can give the turbulence a little special attention. Focusing on it will amplify it a little bit, but it will also help to recognize it's not all that real by turning it into a caricature. This is commonly known as courage, going forward in spite of fear. It will help you ride it out faster. Finally, you can assume the thought that caused the turbulence, and change it into something nice- its polar opposite will probably be really nice if you can figure it out, but anything you think you would like will do.

That's it. The rest is tools and techniques and ideas and theory and adventures you can have with all of this, but it's all just a spin on these ideas, various kinds of it.

I hope very much that this information clears some things up for you.

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9 August, 2019 Experiences

Santa Muerte's Viral Marketing

Santa Muerte's Viral Marketing
In traditional Western magical tradition, it is very, very common to make some kind of deal with an external entity, who will then grant you some kind of power, but usually command a very steep price.
For example, traditional folk magic from Germany has it that you can marry a nymph. First you need to find a nymph, and call out to her, and then you woo her, and when she feels ready you take her down to the forest with actual witnesses and have a wedding ritual, and then you wear the ring, and you don't marry anyone else, and you most certainly don't commit adultery by starting anything informal with a human woman. If you do all these things, of course the nymph will help you with all that is in her power, as any loving life partner would, which in her case means to adjust coincidences so that you achive great success and fortune. Of course, the stories go, eventually the sacred vows are usually broken and great tragedy comes about. Look out for rich old (apparent) bachelors to find people who stuck to the deal.
5 August, 2019 Experiences

To cure tinnitus, take nose off grindstone

Since I'm offering shamanic services now a friend of mine decided to jump on the bandwagon and book a consulting session with me. As with any good career move he started out by procrastinating and then formulating a concept document on Google Docs, which made me smile (don't tell him- oh wait, he's going to be reading this). The gist of the matter was that he felt incapable of letting go- which he took to mean that he felt unable to reduce the amount of gigs he was doing in his current occupation, in order to really get to business with his potential new occupation, which pays much better, but is unproven to work. He wanted to, like, really, really go for it. Like, really bad. Like, he wanted to let go so really very bad that he got pretty darned uptight about letting go. It all felt really confusing and when I felt that way just by reading his words- and they really felt like they had been hammered onto the computer screen by lifting keys on a keyboard made of marble bricks- I was like, okay he's in trouble. Not trouble trouble, but surely some kind of block towards where he wanted to go. But I couldn't quite tell what it was all about- did he he feel so much tension because this new thing isn't right for him? Or because he is resisting the old thing too much to get rid of it?

29 July, 2019 Philosophy

The Four Levels Of Reality

So one of the most wonderful concepts I came across in Huna Shamanism is the idea that there are four levels of reality.

I'm always harping how no matter where I turn for more spiritual knowledge, I check out Huna and I find a better, more complete version that works together with everything else I know as a well tuned system. It's really that good.

So one area where Huna really shines is the level of philosophy. A lot of traditions poo-poo intellectualizing, and end up with a bunch of thoroughly confused intellects among their students. Not Huna- Huna integrates intelligence instead, and comes up with just about the single most fantastically organizing idea so you can deal with just about any spiritual tradition you come across. And it's so simple I can explain it in a blog post. Ready? Great!

20 July, 2019 Experiences

To Heal a Back Pain, Heal A Town

To Heal a Back Pain, Heal A Town

A while ago, it seems like along time ago now, I was practicing shamanism strictly privately, for fear that I might be branded a loon. I eventually gradually came to realize that the people who felt threatened by spiritual ideas were already put off by me, even if I held back on the label, and to the people I already clicked with, the label just made things easier to talk about. But accepting the label takes confidence, and that confidence took a while to build. This is the story of one of the steps.

So we were a friendly group hanging out in the kitchen, drinking beer, cooking spaghetti with tomato sauce and giving back rubs. Now in our society you usually only touch someone when it's a special occasion, but someone had decided to change that rule and everyone eventually went along with it. Back rubs are so nice! So one of my friends decided it was her turn and I reached out but it felt really uneasy. I didn't want to be rude so started kind of testing the energy with my fingertips and I could feel my subconscious jerk my hands back in revulsion and gasp. Whoa, what was that! Now my subconscious really enjoys her company, but touching her lower back- that's not fun, and tonight's about fun, so there.

Now she had been having all sorts of trouble with various kinds of conflict and was doing impressively well for herself in spite of it all. She was doing some work in politics and had- at least, that's what I thought- decided that the materialistic worldview was the one where she was least likely to have people question her sanity. I didn't push the issue, she knew I think of the world in terms of energy, and I always suspected her to be a closeted witch. So she heard me gasp, and she blurted out- whoa, what was that? What did you see?

Now as a shaman, if someone asks for your help, you can tell, skeptic or not. So I promised to look into it and we went on with our evening. We checked ourselves into a bar later and my friend kept looking at me like what I had sensed in her back was really important to her. So I decided to shifted to shaman mode then and there, scooted up a chair, and checked here out. In shaman mode my subconscious was suddenly perfectly fine with prodding her. It makes sense- if we're having a party, why deal with things that aren't fun? But if we're in healing mode, oh now that same energy is really great stuff to work with, and it was important to my friend, so there. So I reached in, like I'd done many times before on myself and sometimes on family- with the question in my mind, what's going on? What's troubling you? How can I help? What's the cause of this? I found that if you can't change something, if you dig up the root, then you can.

I told her I got a very fundamental conflict that's about the town she and her parents grew up in. I hadn't questioned it at the time, as far as I was concerned, everybody wants to escape their home town and go to the city. But I did know that with her, this went a bit deeper. She'd left for the city as soon as she could, when she was still a teenager.

I got a sense that something really bad had happened. I got a feeling of a rifted community, of mistrust, of people not looking out for each even though they really wanted to. I got that they felt ashamed about how things were but felt powerless to change it.

Then I got a cobble stone road and people being carted off in a horse and buggy some time in the forties. I got a sense of denunciation. Now Germany, the forties, denunciation and carting people off didn't sound good, but I got a sense that this was an example of the place's problems, but it wasn't the root. So I kept digging.

Then I got a situation of two brothers. Fighting. Kain and Abel. Familiy conflict. Nastiness. Brutishness. But also haplessness, bumbling, unnecessary. And again and again, not taking care well.

So we were both stunned. I'd done a lot of symbolic healing on myself, and you expect to get symbols of problems, but this was different. This was very clear, and very real. So we drank up, got the bill, and headed to my kitchen where I fire up the computer and I look up Arnstedt, Thüringen, Germany on Wikipedia. Sure enough, turns that Günther von Kefernburg went to war with his brother Heinrich over succession around 1160 and it dragged on for years. Well, that was that- I'd known all along that spirtual power was real- but now I knew, and so did my friend.

So now I'd found the root. Two brothers had let their sibling rivalry escalate into a senseless war that split their community apart, and it made such an impression on the people there that they never were able to stop recreating patterns of conflict between people they actually really love, and the place just never really recovered. I remembered that bible passage that the sins of the fathers are visited upon sons up unto the seventh generation, and I'd just seen it all play out.

Luckily, with my shaman training, I knew that I could do something about that. If you don't like it, you make a change! So I sat down and I talked to the brothers to figure out what was going on.

Turns out Heinrich never really wanted to be king, he just let his feelings of rivalry get out of hand. The instant he realized that, he immediately dropped his claim and made peace with his brother. I could sense a feeling of, for lack of a better word, whoooooooosh pour over what I had seen, the town, and my friend. I could tell that her alienation was gone, and she told me later that her back pain never came back. I saw her later and she was looking really sharp. I checked in with the Kevernburgs and Arnstadt, and they felt changed.

Now the wikipedia article didn't change. Experience might or might not have noticeably changed for others in town, although I suspect it did for some. But boy did things change for my friend, and for me as well. Now I suspect that if enough of this kind of shifting happened for lots and lots of people, history would find itself a way to be rewritten entirely, but for now that's not important. The improvement happened for her.

My own confidence also increased enormously as a result. Now you could just decide to have the confidence, and that's what I was doing before in doing a lot of symbol healing on myself without expecting to get a lot of external validation. But when validation does come, boy is that nice! But you do have to remind yourself after to do without it again in those circumstances where it isn't necessary for the healing.

Now, did I really travel through time and conduct telepathic diplomacy between two warring medieval aristocrats? Yes! Because my friend feels good now. The rest is details.

18 July, 2019 Experiences

Psychokinetic Foosball

Psychokinetic Foosball

One of my long term hobbies- I think even longer than practicing shamanism- is, hold your horses, everyone- playing foosball.

Of course, playing Foosball is a lot more fun when you win. The winning itself is very enjoyable, but it also raises your social status, and there is the added benefit that there is a social consensus that when you just won a game of foosball, you are allowed to pull otherwise cringeworthy stunts- like performing a moonwalk- while bystanders and losers alike have to pretend like what you are doing is completely normal. There is no joy quite like assimilating and then subverting the tribal customs.

Now I'm a reasonably strong player just by virtue of doing it a lot. For the most part, the people who beat me are competitive players, but occasionally, I'll meet my match. Normally I play simply by intending to win, and letting my subconscious mind take care of all of the playing. This results in fluid maneuvers but also unconventional and downright infuriatingly lucky shots.

Last week I faced off with a friend of mine who is much less experienced than me, but has built in himself a tremendous mastery of the energy around him by working in sales. I dived in expecting to toy with him a bit and then go for a quick win, but suddenly I could feel him taking control of the ball and even the table. That took me by surprise and I couldn't respond in educating my ku about dealing with this new challenge before he had beaten me down ten to zero and general gloating ensued.

Now today, I faced him off again and I concentrated rather hard trying to figure out something I could teach my ku in order to counter his unconsciously applied magic. A couple goals behind again, I found myself staring at the ball rather intently, and I observed that he couldn't get it into the goal. So I did nothing different- I just concentrated really, really hard on the ball, noticed details about it, and then added my conscious intent to charge the ball with as much energy as possible, and won handily.

Energy really does flow where attention goes, and when you're competing for something, having a lot of that energy coming from you is a really, really good idea!

I didn't nudge the ball, I didn't twitch his wrist, I didn't do anything specific- I just concentrated on the ball until I could feel a charge.

This goes to show how every good coach is teaching energy manipulation, but as shamans we have a working theory of why it works. Keep your eye on the ball, they say! The wisdom of that is much deeper than knowing where the ball is. You don't keep your eye on the ball to know where it is, you keep your eye on the ball to charge it with energy and cause circumstances to arrange so that you are the one who is, literally, in charge of it. If you have the most energy on the ball, your intentions will influence it, and everyone else, the most, and you will win! It helps, of course, to teach your ku valuable techniques to work with, but don't overdo that one. Ku will figure out how to win.

Maybe next time I'll add a little energy breathing, and I most certainly will concentrate more fully on my opponent while I perform my victory dance.