Safety & Discernment
Please allow me to approach the
subject of safety from a couple of angles.
Shamanism holds at its core the
discipline of observation.
The shaman observes violence and danger within harmony,
deceit, feint and trust all active in a complex
interplay that is any ecosystem on the planet (even in
To assume that things are different in
the non-physical is to go against every observation of
life on this planet. There are positive and
negative (relative terms of course) elements in all life
systems, physical, energetic and spiritual.
Once embarked upon tuition in Shamanic
Practices, an apprentice is usually guided by a master,
providing safety and backup just as a driving instructor
works with their student. Once competent, they no
longer require the protection of another. Until
that level of competence is achieved though, the
guardianship is needed and is vital.
Safety takes many forms, but much is
experiential, hence a master-apprentice arrangement the
most common form of shamanic training. Learning how to
shield oneself yet remain effective is an experientially
skill set. I urge anyone who is embarking on a
voyage of Shamanic Learning to seek a master, and remain
open to that master not being necessarily in the form
you might expect!
|Personal story - I had
years of severe and debilitating pain in my lower back following
physical injury. Whilst essentially
negative in my experience of that pain, I
also defined and developed many, many
techniques to help relieve the pain of others
[within my Myotherapy practice] in the
seeking of a solution for myself. My
pain was a good teacher (I'd have preferred
reading a book though!).
As a footnote of sorts,
whilst facilitating a person with their own
healing of a back problem, mine was also
healed. All teachers leave when they
are no longer required.
Not all is Love and Mung Beans!
A number of spiritual philosophies
tell us that, beyond the physical, all is good"; that
all information may be relied upon and that deceit does
not happen there. This is not how any other life
system works and is therefore highly unlikely to be so
in realms so intrinsically tied to and formative of our physical plane.
In the Shamanic realms there exist predators and prey,
deception and beauty, lies and truths. The gift
that is a part of the Calling of a Shaman is the Gift of
Put in a far more
'Australian' way, the Gift of Discernment is a 'bull-shit
Without trying to scare anyone, just
look in your garden, the sparrows get out of the crow's
way, just as the crow is shy of the hawk. The
sparrow also eats seeds and grubs - good if your a cat,
bad if your a grub! Cat chases bird - but in North Queensland, I've seen
with my own eyes Wedge Tail Eagles carry
away cats too!
The examples within any biosphere or
ecosystem are all there for the observation. As
the non-physical is intrinsically tied to the physical
mirror that is our physical universe,
there is no reason to believe it to be modelled on any
If I were to travel through an
Amazonian rain forest, I would most definitely and
totally want a guide who knows what to eat, what to
avoid, how to stay safe and how to live. Please
regard the non-physical as another type of jungle and
treat it with similar caution.
Trust is earned, respect is given,
deceit is avoided,.. in the physical and the
meta-physical worlds. I've never heard an
accomplished Shaman say that in the metaphysical, all is
good and wonderful; most would laugh at the naivety of
the concept! The Shaman tells us to look around
and see what possible reason we'd have to even think
such a thing.
All work in the
metaphysical requires of its voyagers discernment and
caution. All information, all understandings, all
experiences need to be run through your personal
discernment filters to
stand on their own before being trusted. It may take
months before you can trust information from a specific
source, just as it does concerning another human.
Aside from discernment, caution is also
very much required. The first rule,.. do not go
beyond your calling! The second rule is, "DO NOT
go beyond your calling!"
into uncharted waters can sometimes turn out well, but
more often than not is disastrous, as are many unwise
physical or metaphysical journeys. If you feel that you
have slipped into deeper waters than you are comfortable
in, come back now! If you feel you might have
picked up something 'out there', seek another
practitioner to back you up and deal with any problems,
sooner rather than later.
If you feel a solid Calling into shadow
or dark work, seek a master you trust to guide you and
show you the way into these realms. Later in this
site, I will detail the techniques of shadow and dark
work, but these are NOT meant to be guides or
instruction manuals. I can not convey the
personal understandings or experiences needed to perform these techniques safely and
many voyagers have been broken through intentional or
unintentional journeying into these realms (think LSD
psychosis for an example).
Shamanic journeying using entheogens (drugs to induce
theta level brain activity) is common in some areas, but
far more common and preferable is the use of specific,
monotonous rhythms. When an uninitiated person
takes a drug and finds themselves in strange waters, a
psychic fracture can occur. In shamanic terms,
parts of the soul and mind can be lost, separated from
the whole. If this part is a 'vital' part, the
mind is fractured and will not operate as it once did.
In some cases, a soul retrieval is
performed for those fractured by inadvertent journeying
during recreational drug use but the success of this is
dependant also on the integrity of the brain's
structures as well as its associated mind. If the
physical brain is 'burned out' by drugs, no soul
recovery is likely to be successful in any meaningful
In summary, not all is
happy and peaceful in the metaphysical, just as it is
not here in the physical. Caution, judiciousness
and training should be exercised and undertaken at all
times to remain safe and effective in any shamanic
practices, as in life.