Wednesday, December 5, 2012

FAQs: What does shamanism/Animism, Primal Religion mean to you?

Native American Based Shamanism What it Means, to you I thought it would be interesting to talk about what shamanism/Animism, Primal Religion means to you? This can also apply to your respected beliefs/Religion. For me, shamanism represents getting in touch with the healing energies of the earth and the sacred energies of the animal totems that we all are given at our births. I too enjoy meditating and going into a trance, feeling the love and peace of the world around me, being guided by my animal friends down paths of deeper learning and coming away more spiritually aware and alive, connected to Mother Earth, than before. I am reminded that every moment of every day is a gift and should be treated as such. While I get so very energized talking about and explaining my thoughts and beliefs (although this is another story, I have a difficult time calling them "beliefs" as I find these TRUTHS), actually typing them out could prove difficult. This is who I am, and the lessons I have taught my children. I honor and respect everything, as I exchange energy with everything. I communicate with the Spirits, oftentimes with the help of my own Totem/Spirit Guide. My Grandfather has taught me, during my dream states, some of what I need. This is a Grandfather who died many years before my birth, but he still knows me and comes to me when I'm just not understanding and find myself struggling. I have altered energy to heal myself, and have helped others. I am grateful for all the lessons I learn each day. I pay attention to what may cross my path, as Spirits regularly communicate with us. We just have learned to brush off a great deal of the lessons. When an eagle comes into my path one day, he is telling me something vastly different than the squirrel who is talking to me from the tree outside. While at times I get busy with life and forget to pay attention, the Spirits find a way to make me pay attention. And when I do, life is great - even at the worst of times - because I have finally "gotten" it. I guess Shamanism is who I am......and by walking the path I show myself and the Spirits that I am worthy. I have come to my "beliefs" based on years of experience, study, and practice. Your path needs to be who you are, not merely what you grew up with or what you find easiest. The Spirits can teach us so clearly, if only we take the time to pay attention. So what does  shamanism/Animism, Primal Religion mean to you?





Before I answer, I first wanted to ask why you wrote “shamanism/Animism. Primal Religion” (like all three are the same, which they are not) instead of “Shamanism, Animism, and Primal Religion” (as three separate things, like they are)? I find the logic in lumping them together baffling, and no different then had you asked: “I thought it would be interesting to talk about what Mormonism/Catholicism, SDA Religion means to you?” Can you see my confusion here? I’m not sure why three separate paths are being treated as one and the same path. Perhaps I am miss reading the question? I will point out that I have Autism and get confused about these easily, if someone says something in a slang term rather than a proper dictionary term, and it’s possible that that is the case here. I am curious though, because this is not the first time I have seen these 3 unique paths lumped together as though they were one path, so perhaps there is a recent trend in blending the three as one which I am not aware of? Could you please explain why you referred to them together as one? Thank you.

Now on to answering your question.

Shamanism to me is a Siberian/Scandinavian/Welsh magic based religion dealing with elemental chaos energies, specifically performing elaborate rituals to call upon the assistance of the nature spirits aka “The Little People”, “The Wee Folk”, “The Faeries”. This is the tradition I was raised in, a tradition passed down in my family for centuries, a tradition we can trace via written documents to the 1400’s and via (non confirmed) oral stories beyond that.

We are Gypsies, Scottish Travellers specifically, come to America from Scotland, our ancestors came to Scotland from Scandinavia, and their ancestors started out in Siberia/Mongolia. Shamans (clan priests/ess) are noted for wearing distinctive heavily embroidered silk robes similar to the Japanese kimono, over which they wear heavy furs. Much of the rituals involve solitary meditative states, chanting, divination with stones/bones, burning of incense/herbs, and communicating with “the people of the mists” (no there are no drums, that’s Native American Mysticism not Shamanism) (and no, there is no talking to plant and animal spirits, again, that’s Native American Mysticism not Shamanism). The Shamans practice is heavily embedded with witchcraft and sorcery, spell casting, curses, exorcisms, and overall a great big bunch of what most of today’s “lightworking new age shaman-wanna-bes” refer to as “evil black magic”. Shamanism is far from the fluffy bunny practice most people seem to think it is and in the old days involved some of the bloodiest rituals in history including sacrificing virgins then tossing their entrails about to divine messages from the spirits via how and where the blood spattered and where the organs and intestines landed. (Most ancient paths contain a myth about this ritual, but Shamans are one of the few who actually did practice it.)

Vikings often took Siberian/Mongolian Shamans with them on their ships. (Note that this is how the misconception that Vikings wear horns on their hats, came about. Vikings did not wear horned helmets at all, however, the Siberian Shamans they took on their sea voyages with them, did in fact wear acorn shaped helmets with deer antlers on top. Likewise the Vikings did not wear fur, but the Shamans they took with them, did. Vikings actually dressed no different than any other Medieval society of the time.) It is through the Vikings that the Siberian and Mongolian nomads reached Scotland, where they settled down and became known as the Picts. The Roman Catholic Celts invaded Scotland with is witch-phobia and drove all the “evil black magic witches” (the descendants of the Siberian Shaman, who were now being called “The Scots”) out of the country. They fled Scotland to Germany, then to Egypt, then back to Europe, where due to their having picked up Egyptian clothing styles, they were now referred to as “The Gypsies”, though we ourselves, refer to ourselves as The Travellers.

Shamanism as we practice it has evolved, gone are the animal and virgin sacrifices, but not gone are the spell castings, poppets, curses, hexes, and all those other great big scary things that make “white witches” and everyone else flee our path when one of our caravan groups comes rolling into to town. I joined this group because the title says Shamanism, though I realize it does say Native American Shamanism, which is an oxymoron, because there is no such thing as Shamanism in Native American practices. Perhaps the group owner should consider changing the title to Native American Mysticism instead? It seems this group is aimed more at Native American Mysticism then Shamanism.

I can further tell you that I fall under Native American Mysticism as well, see my grandmother was a MicMac/Kickapoo. She was a rainwoman or “weather witch” as she liked to call it. Both of my grannies came from deeply religious magic based cultures, and I grew up seeing both practices side by side, and while I admit there are many similarities, especially when it comes to connecting with nature, there are huge differences with Shamanism being a much darker, angry, controlling, vengeful, omen predicting, spell casting path, that contrasts sharply from Native American Mysticism's far more peaceful laid back live and let live path, thus how I can say with much conviction that Native American Mysticism not Shamanism.

Animism to me is where Native American Mysticism falls under. It is a communal connection with the spirits of the animals and plants around you. Animism is a totem or spirit animal based system that put a lot of emphasis of ecology and the natural world around us. It is a path which puts high reverence on nature and communicating with spirit animals (not Faeries, Frost Giants, Gnomes, Trolls, Tricksters, Phookas, Vampiric Demons, and Chaotic Elementals as Shamanism does - far too many people read that Shamanism involves communicating with nature spirits, then assume that this means plants and animals the same way Native American Mysticism does. So few fail to do their research and find out just exactly what it is that Chinese, Mongolians, Siberians, and Norse/Scandinavians mean when they say “nature spirits”. There’s a big, big, BIG difference between Shamanism considering demons and faeries nature spirits and Native American Mysticism considering plants and animals nature spirits!)

Primal Religion to me means any religious practice (including both Native American Mysticism and Shamanism) that stays true to it’s ancestral/tribal roots. It is different from organized religion, which has set dogmas, and rules and regulation dictating every move of everyone from the leader to the members. Primal Religion unleashes a burning fiery passion from deep within your soul, allowing you to be freed of the restricting and binding chains of religious pomposity, allowing you to become truly deeply at one with everything from the sun and moon to the birds and fish to the flowers and trees to the rocks and wind, thus making you fulling, totally, and unequivocally connected to the spirit/god which created you.  This is why I became Voodoo (not Vodou/Haitian Vodou, which is a completely different religion) because of it’s deeply primal nature of connecting not only with the natural world around you, but also to the spirits of your ancestors as well.

But becoming Voodoo does not mean I am no longer Shamanic, it simply means I now walk two paths instead of one, well three paths when you consider too that I also incorporate my grandmother’s Native American Mysticism as well. And knowing how easy it is to blend them together, I thus understand how many folks came to think of Native American Mysticism and Shamanism as being one single path, as they do in fact complement each other quite well.

So, anyways, you can agree or disagree, but you asked what it was they mean to me personally, and this is what these things me to me in my own life.



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Ever wonder what it was like to live with Autism?  
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I have Autism. For more of my life I rarely spoke and was considered "too crazy" to ever live a normal life. I communicated via writing instead of vocally. I did not attend school. Psychologists said I would never drive a car, never get a job, never go to college, never function as a meaningful member of society, never be able to take care of myself or live on my own. They said there was no hope for me, I would need full-time care my whole life. 
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My progression was long and slow and very hard. Things other people found easy to do (getting dressed, brushing teeth/hair, walking across the street, etc,) I found extremely confusing and hard to learn. I was prone to wandering off and getting lost (I still am). Driver's ed takes most people a few weeks to learn - it took me 5 years. 
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I determined to prove the doctors wrong, but it was far harder to do, than most people would imagine. I got my first job working at Macy's at age 30 (a very difficult job as I had to deal one on one with customers and I still at that point was not talking in a manner that could be understood by others). I got my GED at age 34. I got my driver's license at age 35. I started college at age 36. By age 37 I had become a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Student and I was finally able to speak to others in full spoken verbal conversation for the first time in my life. 
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Now you can find out what it's like Being an Adult with Autism
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Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+KeenMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!
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~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow

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FYI: I welcome all email! That includes arrogant, bigoted, rude, ignorant, snide hate mail many uber religious folks enjoy sending my way.  However, be forewarned that by choosing to send me a letter, email, blog comment, FaceBook comments, or any other message from any other means, which falls into any category, you thereby relinquish all ownership rights and responsibilities concerning your letter(s) and comments(s). I will post any and all letters, both positive and negative, that I feel require or deserve a response. If you don't want the world knowing your troubles, knowing you are a hater, or knowing you are a bigoted jackass, please refrain from sending me mail, because if you get really bitchy, I'll go right ahead and use your real name too. Thank you and have a nice day.
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Oh, btw, while you are sending me your question, can I offer a bit of guidance here? LESS Wiccan related questions PLEASE! I am not Wiccan, know nothing of Wicca, and just because a bunch of local Mormons run around saying I am a Witch, and building those nasty slanderous websites full of false accusations about me, don't make me one! *sheesh* I am so sick of "but they said..." yeah, I KNOW what they said, that doesn't make it true. Sending me Wiccan/Witchcraft related questions is only going to piss me off.
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You can be Wiccan all you want, I don't care. But coming to me and asking me for advice on Wicca and Witchcraft is the equivalent of going to a cake chef and asking him for advice on brick laying! You wouldn't go to chef to get masonry advice so what the heck are you going to a Christian to get Wiccan advice? Come on people, be reasonable!
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You got Bible questions, thems I can answer. You got Hoodoo questions, yep, I can answer those too. But Wicca? Paganism? Witchcraft? Remember Voodoo is NOT Vodou. Voodoo and Vodou are two separate and different religions. Voodoo is a Christian religion not a Pagan one, we use a Bible, and God, and Jesus, and Saints, and Spirit Guides (lwa). just because I'm Voodoo don't mean I know shit about Wicca or Paganism  Now I understand you have questions and finding folks like myself who are willing to attempt to answer everything that comes my way are few and far between, but please attempt to use your brain and consider whether or not I am even able to offer advice or even know the answer to your questions before you send them to me? Okay? Good. Thank you.
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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day!                             
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                                                                   ~ EelKat
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