As mentioned in an earlier blog, one doesn’t have to enroll in a class or travel to a far-off land to learn about shamanism. It is not so much a matter of technique but viewing and living life from the place of shared sisterhood and brotherhood.
Imagination is very much a feature of shamanism. Even people who say they have no imagination or an inability to visualize objects, actually engage in imagining without realizing it. This occurs each time we have an internal perception of a sound, sight, smell, taste, touch, or movement that produces a mental likeness of the original stimulus. For example, when we think of a familiar place, a scrumptious meal, or a favorite melody, we are mentally calling up something that currently is not available to our senses. Imagination ignites passion as we think of what can be. It stimulates creativity and innovation, as it sets energy into motion and creates the future—and certainly provides a stepping stone into shamanism.
However, at this time in history we seem to be increasingly disconnected from our imagination as we are bombarded by many technological distractions—television binge watching, cell phone obsession, and internet addiction, etc. We are then diverted from our inner life, our inner self, and from Mother Earth. Connecting with nature is the true antidote to this disconnection, and it does not take that much time.
Use of imagination dates back to our early history, when human life was dependent on nature and attuning to her forces and rhythms. Experiencing and remembering the ways of the animal, subtleties of the earth, the whereabouts of food supplies, and many other aspects of the natural environment occupied the attention of our forebears. Learning about nature’s medicinal offerings, our ancestors devised methods for healing wounds and illnesses.
Over millennia the psyche became imprinted with all these motifs. These imprints are where psychology enters the picture as scientific principles of the brain. No longer needing to survive in the wild, we can consult with our inner wisdom as a guide to resolve present-day dilemmas that are often fraught with emotional residue. We can wisely choose to turn off the television or the computer and sit under a tree—listening to the wind, feeling the rain, and consulting with Mother Earth regarding a troubling emotion or circumstance. To our surprise, the song of a dove may be heard (signaling the need to make peace with someone); our imagination may “feel” a wolf sitting nearby as a safeguard; or perhaps the growl of a tiger will provide fierce protection. In these ways, we are connecting to our emotional/psychological selves and benefiting from the gifts of Mother Earth and shamanic wisdom.
All of this is related to the shamanic concept of collective sharing, which is akin to the holistic concept that the whole of life is connected. The subjective experience of moving into a dimension of consciousness outside the personal self—of the soul traveling along a web of interconnectedness to parallel realities—is within the bounds of the feasible, according to transpersonal psychologists, Jungian theoreticians, and generations of mystics.
When we are able to activate healing in ourselves, we also contribute to the healing and sharing of others. This includes resolving emotional dilemmas that repair and strengthen vital instincts—in doing so, these instincts are retrieved and archetypal themes are reactivated. Needless to say, the more individuals who pursue and participate in this kind of healing, the more people on this planet will not only be healed but also have their consciousness elevated. No matter what type of healer we go to or healing experience we encounter, in one way or another such principles are applied. As you think about healing events in your life to what degree (if any) were any of these sources contributory to the healing event? As always any and all comments are welcome!