Accessing my inner shaman

June 28, 2014


Something interesting is afoot this weekend.  I’m attending a beginning workshop in Shamanism.

“What?” you might ask. “Does she think she’s Native American?”

Nope. It turns out that many cultures have shamanistic features. And, there’s a “name” in shamanism–Michael Harner–he’s brought shamanism forward in our Western culture.  Here’s what the Foundation for Shamanic Studies website says:

Core shamanism consists of the universal, near-universal, and common features of shamanism, together with journeys to other worlds, a distinguishing feature of shamanism. As originated, researched, and developed by Michael Harner, the principles of core shamanism are not bound to any specific cultural group or perspective. Since the West overwhelmingly lost its shamanic knowledge centuries ago due to religious oppression, the Foundation’s programs in core shamanism are particularly intended for Westerners to reacquire access to their rightful spiritual heritage through quality workshops and training courses.

Here in the US, we sometimes mistake “religion” for “spirituality.” The sad fact is that many religions fail us mightily because they’re more focused on fundraising than on providing real spiritual food. More interested in rules than in helping us live better lives.

The shaman is in touch with nature, in touch with healing and in touch with the Divine Source–all things that interest me.  When I heard about shaman and anthropologist Michael Harner, I wanted to learn more.

Who is he?  HERE is some info about Michael Harner. 

I hope to travel to invisible worlds this weekend.

It might surprise you to learn that I’m not a stranger to shamans and shamanic journeying.

If you don’t know what that is, neither did I at first.  Shamanic journey takes us beyond reality to invisible worlds. If we’re lucky, we gain access to information that will help us make changes in our lives. It’s spiritual food rooted in long-ago traditions.

I took my first shamanic drumming journey in Utah almost 10 years ago. A Native American shaman guided me and she was excellent. Her drumming was hypnotic and I did journey–which is basically “tripping” without drugs.  It was powerful. A few years later when I tried again, nothing happened, maybe because I wasn’t feeling well.  And at the Afterlife Conference, shamans taught us a few beautiful rituals and helped us journey.  In that large group, I was disappointed that I didn’t journey very well. There were too many distractions, including chatter by an audio guy who was seated a few rows behind me. But I’ve always wanted to repeat the kind of experience I had the first time.

So, when I found a weekend intensive–the basic workshop–just half an hour away, I signed up.  I’m not sure if I’ll continue shamanic studies–I might. Or I might not.

Right now, I’m packing my shaman bag with the items we were told to bring. A rock.  A bandana. A blanket. Warm socks. A rattle or drum if you have one (I don’t, so I’ll borrow). As you read this, I might well be deep into a drumming journey. Hope so.

I’ll report my experiences in a future post.

Aho!  (which is used in prayers and means thank-you or amen in Lakota)

25 comments on “Accessing my inner shaman
  1. PatU says:

    This is interesting, Carol and I’ll be watching, for sure.

    I was into these alternative practices many years ago, in the search for a health cure. I can say that I had some profound experiences.

    I suppose I have come full circle, because in the past year I’ve returned to Catholicism. I was pretty young when I abandoned the church, so right now, it seems just as mystical as all of the others.

  2. Very cool. I can’t wait to hear more (saw some of your pix on FB so I know it went well). Wasn’t Carlos Castanadas a shaman? I used to love his books back in the day.

    • I haven’t done it yet–you saw a ceremony we did at the Afterlife Conference. Carlos used substance and I think he was something a bit different. I loved his books, too. Not that I knew what it all was about so young!

  3. I hope you have a good experience. I’m looking forward to reading about your journey.
    Hmmmm. I recenty returned to my Catholic roots too.

  4. Hope you have a great journey. Looking forward to following it, for sure.

  5. kim tackett says:

    I have the drums…really, I do! Excited to read about it and the future unfolds.

  6. Okay Carol….I have no words, as you know this is a direction that I don’t abide in. But I am always here to support you and hear about your journey so I am checking in!

  7. Sounds interesting and like a lot of fun, Carol!

  8. Sounds fascinating, Carol. I’m not sure I’m as adventurous as you are, but I do believe that we all have different kinds of spiritual experiences that appeal to us based on our personality and life experience.

  9. Diane says:

    Carol, you lead the most interesting life! Always searching. Always learning. You are an amazing friend/exemplar/hero! I’ll be waiting to hear . . .

  10. Karen says:

    Interesting stuff, Carol! We’ll look forward to your report.

  11. Lisa Froman says:

    I’ve been told that Shamanism is really the oldest religion. I attended an hour-long session in Colorado a few years ago. I knew nothing about Shamans, but was fascinated after the experience. It still resonates with me….will look forward to reading your experience.

  12. Was this in Ben Lomond? Curious of where this was…

  13. I’m sorry I won’t have time to respond individually…John, it was in Soquel up at the summit. One more day. Ladies, this is quite interesting and I will have observations at some point soon. I’m halfway through. Thank you for your comments today!

  14. You know I can’t WAIT to hear all about it! I was wondering when you were going, it was inevitable. I hope the universe gives you everything she has and it the weekend of your life! Now hurry up so you can tell us all about it!

  15. Lana says:

    What a wonderful experience you’re having right now. So cool – I’m a little jealous! Can’t wait to hear about it.

  16. Suzy says:

    Oh how exciting. I would love to do a course like this too so I will look forward to your post on your experience. And you are so right so many mistake religion for spirituality.

  17. Looking forward to hearing about it.

    This sentence wraps up the beauty of this post for me: “I hope to travel to invisible worlds this weekend.” – I hope you do, too!

  18. Kimba says:

    Can’t wait to hear about your weekend journey!

  19. joan says:

    wow!! I look forward to hearing all about it!!

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