Stepping Over The Edge: An Invitation

Its done, the story that had to find its way out into the world has been shared. The word “closure” comes to mind, but only because its so wrong. Telling this story is the last part of the drum beat – the vibration that follows the collision of beater to leather. This story is the moment when sound travels out into the Universe.
I had to do this. Those of us involved in shamanism receive so much from the Sprits and the worlds Shamanism, its easy to get caught up in the wild ride and forget the bigger picture. We can also easily fall into that peculiarly modern habit of believing that the stories of our shamanic experiences belong to us because they happened to us. These stories belong to the Earth.

Over the last twenty + years, roughly the span this series covers, Shamanism has become the spiritual foundation of my life. I see clients, offer healing, journey on important questions, continue to practice and learn. My family and I have a new home on an acre of land in the country. We’re learning to grow our own food, talking to the spirits of the land as we do. I think this may have been part of what Michael Harner hoped for when he developed Core Shamanism: to provide us all with a foundation, the means for an authentic beginning that would hold us in good stead in all aspects of our lives. What we do with this is up to each one of us.
So whats the next drum beat? I know for me its something outside the bounds of what I’ve been given so far. For the last few years I’ve been getting messages, intuitions, that I need to let go of what I’ve learned so something new will emerge. Time to leave school and find my way out into the wilderness. Writing this story has been part of making room for that new thing to come in. With each post something sprouts, I hear wild calls far off, just past the next hill. The story continues.
And what of you and me? Some of you reading this have reflected on your own shamanic experiences. Will you add to this rhythm? Thomas Berry, philosopher and ecologist, thought the one thing that distinguished us as a specie was our capacity for story. This is perhaps why the Earth has made us, to tell its stories in all their incredible variety. If human beings are the Earth’s story tellers, the worlds Shaman are the ones who set those stories to ecstatic music. We journey to the heart of Creation, opening gateways to the transcendent stories that are dying to be told. These stories do not belong to us, they belong to the Earth.
As exciting as the big stories are there’s a lot of hard work to be done before the truly world-changing stories can be fully unleashed in our culture. We must chip away at the hard-pack crusty surface of our daily lives, liberating the Shaman within through the fissures we’re able to open. We do that collectively, by sharing our individual stories. Each painful, seemingly inconsequential bit, each “way too personal” thing we’re willing to risk, widens the cracks in that hard-packed soil. That feeling of risk, the deep sense of vulnerability is really just a reminder that this story does not belong to you alone, it belongs to the Earth. Thats really the vulnerability of the Earth you’re feeling.
Remember the beat, each percussion is a calling out to the world, a remembering, an awakening. Don’t resist it. Let the rhythm find your heart and bones, let it inspire you to risk and share. Someone out there needs to hear what you have to say. Someone else will be nourished by what you share. Someone else is dying for shamanism to be born in them.
If you like you can start here. Send me your story and I’ll post it. How has shamanism manifested in your life? How has it healed and challenged you? Have you suffered for carrying its company? Have you run from it? What do you have to add to this rhythm? What story do you need to share with the world? These stories belong to the Earth. The world is dying to hear what you have to say.

– back to introduction
– previous chapter: Ancestors

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