Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Celtic moon pagan project: Shamanism

In my last blog post I mentioned that Celtic Moon circle members have been asked to undertake a personal project and I have chosen Shamanism.

Why Shamanism?

I don't want to be a shaman, someone who heals others by retriving their lost souls from the otherworld (one definition) but I want to know about shamanic practices which have always fascinated me yet at the same time scared me too. I have never used drugs to induce spiritual visions or wish to but I can not help be curious about it.

So what am I hoping to achieve during this project?
Discovering what being a shaman means, in history and in modern day society.
Shamans in different cultures- Africa, Sami, Native America and other First Nation countries.
Celtic Shamanism- Druidry?
Riding the Shaman's horse - power of drumming.
Power animals
Shamanism in art

What shamanism means to me.
As a teenager I had an interest in Native American culture. At school I learnt about different tribes and their beliefs. This was a catalyst for me to look at Native American art and I fell in love with the animal carvings of the Coast Salish tribes.
Anyone who knew me at school knew I loved whales and dolphins and so the stylised killer whales of Salish art captured my imagination.

A project at secondary school where I made a totem pole.

After this time I began looking at paganism and witchcraft but the draw of the spiritual path of the Native Americans did not leave me.

Little coincidences started happening. When I met my boyfriend he was dressed as a 'Native American Indian'. I had a psychic reading in which I was told I had a spirit guide of a maiden Native American (doesn't everyone?) I liked listening to music inspired by the chants and drums of the tribes. However it was not until I birthed my own shamanic drum when I decided that I would look deeper into shamanism.
I started to attended open drum circles and on hearing the beats of the drums could go on journeys far better than any meditation I have tried (which frankly I am rubbish at as my mind is way too busy.)

When my priestess Breaca set us the pagan project to do from now until November I immediately knew what I wanted to study. Having studied the Bardic grade of Druidry and feeling that the next step of the course, the Ovate grade sound much more like what I wanted to learn to begin with; tree lore, sharp shifting, earth mysteries, etc, I concluded that Druidry is a Celtic Shamanism and my next step should be to look at Shamanism on a much wider scale.

My patron Goddess Elen to me is much more shamanistic in nature than most Goddess I have come across. The reindeer herders of the Sami people also have shamans and although Elen is not mentioned in their culture there are many aspects of their beliefs that ring true with how I feel about Elen.

There is something about shamanism, how it has been portrayed in film, books and games which does make me reluctant on how far I should go with my studying. Most of the practices I am interested in are very difficult to do as someone who house shares with other and already find my collection of antlers 'a bit weird'. How are they going to react when I tell them I am going to fast for three days, lick a mushroom and go on a vision quest?

This journey can't be all consuming as much as I would love it too be as I have commitments in the mundane that must be kept in order for me to survive and to keep a healthy relationship with friends, family and my partner.
So my studying will involve reading, taking part in drumming circles, performing ritual and other forms of exploration which won't see me jumping on a plane to find a mentor halfway across the world and call myself Orca Moon.... Mores the pity.

My beloved drum.

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