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|4 years ago :: Jan 04, 2009 - 2:21PM #101|
“… Personally I have come to a place where I just don’t care who calls themselves what. It has no bearing on the work that I do or who I am in this world...”
Kay404 while I do appreciate and believe that I understand where your come from is with your response in post #77. I am uncertain that my come from with regards to the above statement is clear.
I have arrived at a place in my life and practice where by the judgments and opinions of others have no bearing on me. I have eaten this kinda crap all of my life. Weather it is from my over bearing Christian family, or being the only toe-head in the arbor on the reservation, too just a plain old nut case who thinks he talks to rocks. There is a world of people out there who are ripe and ready to tell you what you are not or what you can’t possibly be. This world is full of opinion. None of which has any bearing on who I am or what I do.
On the flip side I have seen my own judgments and opinions reigned in so as not to foist my crap on to others too much, because somehow “I know”. Trust me I am just as guilty as the next guy on this, and knowing that. I don’t put too much of anything on what people call themselves. If they are what the say they are, that will become apparent and if they aren’t, well that will be clear too.
“Perhaps they affect the ability of someone who needs shamanic help to believe that *any* of us are for real. Perhaps they increase the level of anger, hostility and distrust between NDN people and non-NDN people. Perhaps they cause hundreds of people who are looking for a genuine shamanic path to be led astray – and in some cases to be so embittered, when they see through the plastic shaman, that they turn away from a spiritual path altogether. Perhaps they “borrow” ancient sacred ceremonies from NDN traditions, and, by performing them incorrectly, or out of context, affect the underlying spirit or energy levels of the ceremony, damaging its ability to work correctly even when done in the proper way by authorized NDN people. Perhaps we really are all connected, and such lies and corruptions of a spiritual path really do have an affect on all of us. Perhaps not. But I believe they do.”
To this Kay I really don’t know what to say? I have no control over what others say or do. This is not my fight.
Perhaps if one gets led off the path, then it wasn’t theirs to follow.
Perhaps if someone can’t believe any of us are for real they should be talking to the AMA.
Perhaps having a ceremony backfire is a really good indication that there is more to learn.
Perhaps if a whole tradition/ceremony/spirit/energy is diminished by a few ignorant hobbyists maybe it wasn’t all that powerful or effective to begin with?
Perhaps it is impossible for a truly spiritual path to be corrupted.
Perhaps if we are indeed all connected then there may be a reason and purpose for all the “plastic shamans” in the world.
What do you think that reason or purpose might be?
|4 years ago :: Jan 06, 2009 - 6:10PM #102|
That book WGal kept pushing on the Shamanism board?
Here's a couple of reviews:
"As with "Far Eastern wisdom" reinterpreted and sold by people
educated in the West, shamanism has been the target of intense
cultural appropriation. A worldwide esoteric spiritual tradition has
been diluted into self-help, with guided imagery exercises sold as
"shamanic journeying." As Vitebsky notes, "Many forms of neo-shamanism
use elements from North American native religions which I have
characterizedin this book as not strictly shamanic. In
addition...native organizations have started to criticize some of
these systems for cultural imperialism or intellectual piracy." It
would seem to be a characteristic of the empire psychology so many of
us share but do not see that we feel entitled to uproot practices and
traditions that grew up in very different societies instead of
exploring our own.
A strength of this book is its presentation of shamanism as actually
studied in its indigenous contexts. This frees it of the choking layer
of common mischaracterizations (e.g., shamanism as dark night of the
soul, self-improvement method, or spiritual path for people taking
drumming lessons). I often recommend this book in my graduate holistic
studies classes because here in California everyone and their mother
think of themselves as shamans after attending some workshops and
watching a few videos. The real shaman does not decide to become one
but is selected from a long shamanic lineage by imaginal guides
("spirits") whose manifestations vary across cultures. The selectee
then works as a shaman if he or she survives the initiatory illness
(some do not). Nobody who has lived through the illness would choose
to walk it as a spiritual path. It has nothing to do with
self-improvement, and genuine shamans sometimes report feeling wounded
by it for decades after enduring it. "
Ok, so while this guy is saying something right here, I have to ask...
initiatory illness from imaginal spirits???
The other review worth noting:
"i was assigned this book as a text for a course on shamanism at my
university. the cover is eye-grabbing and colorful. i was excited to
crack this book open.
i was horribly let down.
...first of all, it's completely disorganized. vitebsky jumps all over
the place and can't seem to make a coherent point to save his life.
secondly, the material is seriously flawed. vitebsky shows virtually
no signs of firsthand fieldwork; instead, he relies on outdated
ethnographic accounts and mircea eliade's work, which are both flawed
in and of themselves. several bits of "information" presented along
the way [a reference to the bering land bridge migration, which has
very little basis in actual fact, and a short anecdote about the
"berdache," a term that is frightfully offensive to native peoples,
among others] made my jaw drop at the ... poor scholarship shown in
preparing this text.
the only upside to this book is that it's very colorful and has lots
of nice pictures. it may make for good collage material, but as a
serious text on the subject, it's worthless. "