Shamanism and the Great Turning

The weather has turned cold and wet, the landscape a rich tapestry of spring green. How cold? The furnace has been on!

The garden is in and the beds are filled with young plants. Jennie has worked hard to get everything planted and we are excited to see the first shoots of spring! As I write our neighbors are putting an air conditioner into their second floor window, surely a hopeful gesture!

I’ve been trying to find a moment to write. Spring is always a busy time and the last couple of months have been a whirlwind of tasks, graduations, and family events. In a world that too often seems “mad” these activities have taken on the cloak of sanity. What better than to celebrate, morn, and deeply share the turns of our lives with those we love and who love us?

I often think folks want shamanism to be about some form of “woo-woo” rather than be down to Earth. After more than four decades of practice I keep coming back to the classic definition of shamanism: the shaman is one who works with the spirits on behalf of the community. It is an elegantly simple definition, although one commanding great depth and nuance.

In this definition of shamanism there is room for gardening, delivering desperately needed medical and school supplies to beleaguered communities, and joining with others to be with the dying and to celebrate the lives of those we love. I was always taught that shamanism is inherently political in that it insists we act in support of family, community, and Mother Earth. In this time when so many embrace and urge greed and hatred, shamanism seems downright radical.

In many shamanic communities Jesus is understood to be a great and wise teacher, someone who walked with the Creator. His words remind us to seek peace, care for the ill and injured, and feed the hungry. He insists we care for all children, those in harm’s way, and those who we might judge as other. He also insists that failure to do so places our souls at risk.

I find myself wondering about those who say they follow his vision and preach hatred, greed, and indifference. I fear they have been seduced by the Dark Powers and will bring many others into the Darkness with them. The seers have long-held that the powers of Darkness will grow in the Americas until we all awaken to the truth of our collective histories, make amends for the immense suffering that has been caused, and open our hearts to both the beauty and the pain our glorious world.

Prophesy offers us hope in difficult times and a roadmap to living joyful lives. Yet the task of fulfilling the promise of prophesy falls to us. Surely it is time to turn to the Creator, and remembering Jesus” admonitions, become the healing presences he knew we could be.


10 thoughts on “Shamanism and the Great Turning

  1. Beautiful post, Michael. As a civilization we could probably never pay back for all the evil inflicted on those who are ‘other’ but giving them equal right and access to all that a civilization has to offer would be a healing start.

    1. Hi Pat! We have been on a road trip, visiting kids and their kids, and saying goodbye to beloved elders. I know you would have loved the stops to visit wildlife and photograph spring, and the sense of connection to a wide community of caring people. Since I wrote this post much evil has been done by our government. I guess we are hell bent on creating many more generations of suffering.

      1. Good to hear from you – I was thinking of you as I drifted to sleep last night. I suspect that the images of children being isolated from parents digs at a few old, mostly healed wounds. These evil decisions affect us on so many levels.

      2. Pat, I imagine we will find out in about twenty years how much evil was done. I am hopeful that the outrage that has arisen will continue to grow into a tidal wave of change. Of course, I also know that in our short attention span world, justice can be very illusive.

  2. Hi Michael! It is hard to live in these times and see the depth of the sadness that surrounds us. I try so hard to keep myself surrounded in lighter energy, to ignore the ‘news,’ and to keep my own side of the street clean. But it is hard. I know that it is important, and when I read your words I can relate to them and not feel alone in this journey. So thank you! Thank you for all the good you share, all the good you do. It’s important!
    Many blessings ❤

    1. Lorrie, Thank you! Yes, in dark times we so need a community! Even if it is on-line. Reading your words, my heart sings!
      We have been traveling and addressing the everyday needs of family life: kids, elders, life and death. This has taken me away from the computer so I have been sluggish to respond. It has also reminded me that if we were all noticing how it is to be human, much of the suffering we cause would go away.

  3. “the shaman is one who works with the spirits on behalf of the community. It is an elegantly simple definition, although one commanding great depth and nuance.” This is the best description I have ever read. I will be quoting it, and you. Thanks as always for another wonderful thoughtful post, Michael!

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