“It is funny to me how advanced shamanic work includes ritual-crafting while advanced pagan work entails communing with spirit guides.”
This week’s blog post is by Tasara, a teacher, writer, Shamanic Practitioner and Pagan living in the Seattle area. I came across her work by following comments she made on a message board about core shamanism and neo-paganism. Sometimes it feels like these communities mix as well as oil and water. In Tasara’s comments, and in her writings, I found someone whose heart could encompass the best aspirations and the greatest challenges of both communities with generosity and wisdom. I look forward to sitting in circle with her someday, I hope you enjoy her post.
There is hunger for ceremony in our communities. The free, open-hearted, accessible and powerful movement of healing energy in a safe and sacred way. This sort of thing is so close to us as human creatures, it must be written in our DNA. We are creative creatures. We love symbology and we love doing things together.
As a Pagan and a Shamanic Practitioner, my knowledge from these two disciplines has allowed me to develop my ritual-crafting skills in a way that I think makes them more effective in the way that we want them to be effective. Actually, to me, being a Pagan and being a Shamanic Practitioner are two halves to a greater whole.
By using shamanism, I have gained treasures from developing deep relationships with my spirit friends. I have learned to trust them and to offer my highest wishes to them in ceremony, rather than to send out my prayers all on my own. This has always been an area of risk with pagan ritualists. We are strongly schooled in the power of intention; to learn to develop a clear mind like a honed tool so that at the moment of manifestation, we are positively sure that our work is clean. A tinge of anger or jealousy or desire can misdirect an intention, causing grief instead of healing. Hence the highly regarded notion of “Know Thyself” in the magical practices: the more deeply we know ourselves, the more we understand the energies and emotions within us – the better we are a controlling them in ritual practices. This is also why the disclaimer “For the highest good and according to the free will of all.” is traditionally used as an addendum to most magical spells.
Bring in our deep shamanic relationships with our spirit friends, and danger is not an issue anymore. Not only is it wonderful to work ‘with’ spirit in sending intentions but also in asking for guidance in the crafting of the original intention. This new practice has brought me gentle teachings about the reasons I am called to that particular work and caused me to explore my own motivations in ways I would have not thought of before. It has also opened up the work to the special love of the compassionate spirits, which becomes entwined in the weaving that I do.
In long experience in the Craft, we learn the power of the elements by working with them directly in ceremony. We also learn to create a tight container, power-filled and cleanly directed when the cone of energy is sent out. Neo-shamanic ceremonies tend to be more laid back about sacred space, allowing for chit-chat in the corner and loose symbology rather than specifics. When everyone in the room is aware that their frame of mind affects the work we are doing, we can work together to raise more energy. Also, being familiar with the laws of energy and the different ways to use physical items in moving and transforming energy, we can more closely align our symbology with our intentions.
Without needing to give long classes, we can model and practice ceremony in a healthy way so people learn from what we are doing. We can use these skills to draw in a sense of play and joviality in our gatherings. To invite sweetness and open-heartedness as well as inclusiveness of the gifts of our community. I offer public ceremonies for anyone of any background and try to do it in a loving, safe yet still powerful manner that includes the passions of all participants and allows the great compassionate spirits to embrace us as we dance with them.
When we do this, people start to feel whole again, alive, like they belong somewhere. Friendships are forged and before we know it, it is true. We do belong somewhere. Here with our friends, honoring Mother Earth.
For an article by Tasara in how to put on a Public Ritual see: http://tasara.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/how-to-put-on-a-public-ritual
For some pictures of our Public Ceremonies, check out the Photo Gallery link here: