Sunday, May 29, 2011

Singing To The Sky - Reprise

I have a penchant for witchcraft and shamanism. I know that mankind's spiritual impulse arose in shamanism first in the long sweep of human evolution. I believe, since it lasted such a long time, most of the time that humans have been on the planet by far, that this sort of spirit walk is probably best suited for the human spirit.

There is a caveat to that. Shamanism is not egalitarian. Only a few people really practice, often one to a band, with an apprentice, or perhaps a couple of shamans, though two can lead to severe and dangerous conflict. The rest of a hunting and gathering band do a variety of things and often the band considers each specialty task life saving and affirming and so sacred, blessed by the shaman and a blessing to the band.

Sometimes there are sacred societies, both men's and women's, and so more of the band does participate in some involved sense, but the full meal deal usually is the province of one or two people, the tribal shamans and the rest know this. This tendency for only a few fully engaged individuals suited to the practice continues to the present day in the shamanic spiritual walk. The priesthood is the modern version of hunter-gatherer shamans but priests rarely shape shift or fly to heaven or wage spiritual warfare or chase away evil spirits, all regular duties of a shaman.

Witches have covens. There is good reason and a heritage in this need for privacy. Witches and shamans can be misunderstood and that misunderstanding is deadly at times, the way things have been and in some sense still are.

Nevertheless, the great mainstream religions - the Judaeo/Christian/Islamic tradition of the Near East, the Hindu and its variety of offshoots including Buddhism in Central Asia and China, modern Taoism and Shinto in the Far East, have been around at maximum for five thousand years. Man's shamanic spirit walk is at least 40,000 years old, probably older, and threads of shamanism are still present in Bon in Tibet, and Taoism and Shinto in China and Japan. In the Americas the mainstream was shamanic, though the high civilizations, Cahokia, the Olmec/Maya/Aztec, and the Inca all evolved priesthoods. This is beyond question. Shamanism is the forerunner. Shamanism is the spirit walk prior to history and the artifice of civilization, hence is the spirit walk of the natural man. We call shamanic teachings superstition but this may be dangerous in that in doing so one assaults the heart and soul of the natural man.

I suspect that had I survived childhood and was born 20,000 years ago, I would have been a shaman. Hmmm. I probably have been one. Many times.

*This essay underwent some modification and expansion tonight, including adding the picture of a fantasy shaman from one of the computer games*

Singing To The Sky

If the sky asked me
I would reply with a song
Of how the moon, clouds
Need a dwelling place.
I would sing in keys that change,
Modulate blue moods
To gray and silver,
And back again to sky blue.
I would howl and bray
At the moon's track line
And bare my chest to the sun.
Then I would dance, dance.

January 10, 2009 7:58 PM
First posted June 2, 2009.


  1. The magic is in me
    With glowing fingers
    seen only in our minds eye,
    the sigul
    the badge
    the link
    from my magic to you

  2. Christopher I have always felt that there had to be magic in the world. I dont know if I would have been a shamen, perhaps I would. I do know that I would definantly been a druid, but maby that was just a more moddern shamen. I like the feel of your last two posts.

  3. Inspired by the picture above:

    The Spell Of Protection

    I have spun the staff
    faster than dream and stronger
    than the hope of spring
    and bloom in this place,
    this one spot, holding my ring,
    defying you all.
    I see you all fade
    from my memory like smoke,
    leaving me standing
    untouched by lost love,
    by the entreaties you left
    fading on the air.

  4. Thanks for the music, Ghost. Your head, I take it is the empty can, although it sort of works the other way as the illusion (empty can) clanks and rattles in my head space. I sort of like that a little better, actually. If the illusion is an empty can it is laden with attitude. If my head is like an empty can then the illusion is heavy like a stone or light as a feather or some other thing entirely...

  5. i think you would have been one, too; and have been...
    lovely poems.lovely.

  6. *smooch*
    Thank you, Harlequin. I rather like the idea of a harlequin thinking me a shaman or maybe just a mage to put into the harlequin's realm.


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