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Shamanic Consciousness

 and the altered state of the Shamanic Reality

Much has been written regarding the shamanic states of consciousness.  In essence, it is analogous to a semi-trance or trance like state in which the shaman is able to leave the ties of the purely physical world and enter the boundary conditions of our world, the Middle Kingdom and the previously described Three Worlds.

The attaining of these levels of consciousness is achieved in a number of ways.  The safest, and most accessible, is journeying to the sound of rhythmic, monotonous music with no highlights or variations.  The mind is lulled into a relaxed state with the target of arriving in and maintaining a state to Theta consciousness.

The use of Plant Masters like acacia in Australia, Ayahuasca, Pyeote and SanPedro in the Americas, certain fungi in Northern Europe and many more are less desired.  Their experience is stronger for most, almost always unpleasant at some level and is often highly confronting.

Shamanic lore tells us that certain plants are the teachers of men and animals, and that the spirit of those plants may, when invited and properly respected, grant insights far outside of what is considered possible.  Ayahuasceros find that they simply have to ask the plant what to do for a patient, and the plant will tell them.  Anecdotal evidence demonstrated repeatedly the accuracy and efficacy of the treatments prescribed, some of which are completely novel to the shaman himself.  Remember that it comes from the plant spirit, not the shaman.

Ayahuasca - the Spirit Vine of the Amazon and Central Americas, is said to give you what you need, but not necessarily what you want.  Often, those using ayahuasca experience their actions via the OM-1 of those they have effected, but positively and negatively, with no moderation.  It is one thing to live with a crime, it is another thing to experience the totality of that crime from the perspective of those effected.

Hallucinogens, even LSD, have been used to induce shamanic levels of consciousness, but recreational and intent-less journeys are to be avoided.  A guide (supervising shaman) is often needed to aid the participant navigate their journey, with a focus of intent, a calming of the mind and a counselling of the person a great part of the process before, during and after the experience. 

The vision within the shamanic state can be literal, like walking in the real world, one of feelings and perceptions, of vague knowing and ideas, of sights, sounds and smells with no physical analogue available to describe them.  Sometimes one might undergo a full session without feeling that anything happened at all, but in almost every case, there is still a profound change in the individual who felt nothing.

One may experience a world of colour, sights, sounds, sensations and spirits.  Of blackness so complete that it has texture, terror so real that you feel you will die, of death and life and the entire spectra of existence from start to end.  The first time you see the world through a snake's eyes can be enlightening or terrifying, seeing loved ones doing their thing in another country, and then confirming such events later, can stretch minds a little further than comfortable.

For those who wish to explore, especially on their own, please use the rhythmic music method as it is the one form which recovery is fastest and the dangers are minimised.  This is a great time to talk about the Call, the only reason a person should explore shamanic practices at more than a 'client' level.




Craig Berry - 1996 - 2010, All rights reserved - reproduction without written permission prohibited.