Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Keep Losing Things - Reprise

Choreographed Version Of A Shamanic Ritual

I love the play of things in a world of magic and love. I am firm in my belief that the spirit world has a power dimension. I believe that the power issue was primary in the oldest forms of the human spiritual walk, that the earliest human groups needed to get the world to cooperate, the prey to come to them, the storms to hold off at critical times, and similar issues, on pain of death. This was no joke. I believe the need for spirit power produced in certain locations a “science of spirit” over generations that in a certain sense could be handed down from master to apprentice.

After literally millions of years of yearning after power and entry into spirit worlds, the practices in place were tribal, forms of shamanism. In China, Tibet, and Southeast Asia these practices were brought forward and institutionalized in aspects of Taoism in China and other local forms elsewhere, such as Bon in Tibet and precursors to Hinduism in India. These traditional forms of shamanism were deeply transformed by the advent of agriculture but in essence were unbroken.

The shamanic roots of Taoism remain in place still today, why Taoist thinking is overtly alchemical in many areas. Alchemy is in its largest context a disciplined approach to mastering spiritual power. The power is transformative, lifting the self into higher realms, the meaning of transforming lead into gold, for example.

Elsewhere on the planet, especially in the near East, India, Egypt the advent of agriculture broke shamanism and replaced it with priesthood religions that match the political power structures of empire. The shamanic traditions had to go somewhat underground, because spirit power could not be allowed to be as dispersed and accessible as tribal cultures permit.

I love the play of things in a world of magic and love. I am shaman at heart. I have taken my own spirit journeys. I believe music, art, poetry can be alchemical in nature, transformative in ways difficult to fathom without intimacy, magic, love. And with coyote, I say, “you better be able to take a joke along the way.”

To ignore the depth of a shamanic spirit practice is to ignore literally 50,000 years and more of accumulated cultural wisdom. Such ignorance may assume the ancients were rubes and boobs, buried under superstitions and fantasies. It is clear the ancients were at least as intelligent as we are all the way along. It is also certain they were highly motivated by their uncertain life to achieve success in marshalling spiritual power. Why would it be surprising that they actually did achieve spirit power along the way?

Here is a poem that seems to assume the spirit world is nearby.

I Keep Losing Things

I see you coming
my way out of the forest,
that place that the moons
of this world visit,
nestling in the trees.
You hold a basket of rose
petals and I know
you are going to
give me a shower of them,
expecting that I
hold the golden key.
I'm sorry, but I lost that
key two lives ago.

Poem Written March 6, 2009 11:58 AM
First posted December 12, 2009
The poem is untouched. The introductory essay has been modified and the photo added, October 28, 2013


  1. i was just wondering about this, the conjunction between the development of certain religious or spiritual ideas with agriculture, weather and other environmental situations that lead to hardship or otherwise. huh.

    has the lever always been the body, hunger, the ability to stave it off, mortality? are we so animal first and fundamentally? and if so (and we are) then why can't we learn that our rejection of body and mortality gets us further from the truth, rather than closer to it?

    reading your post (and you know how important body is to me) i imagine an artist wise enough and daring enough to live naked for a prolonged period of time, well past the fad of things, and determining (really determining) what it is to truly be body in this world, not just in the natural world (i consider marina abramovic and even her work with lady gaga, but certainly most seriously her life's work) but also being immersed naked in the world of humans as well. what barriers might be met? which ones impossible to cross and which ones destroyed?

    we put too much faith in the illusions of the tangible. that's why there has been the distance between us and the shaman world. this and too, the illusion of safety with greater distance to the body in all regards, especially tied to body/hunger/necessity/mortality, gives us the false sense of grandeur, mini-divinities, that we desire as aspects of self. if only we could understand that there is no distance, no distance at all. so little that in fact we are of god. but in our particular aspects so necessarily extinguishable. BUT nevertheless, beyond our singular demise we are all part of the eternal pulse of the largest entity of all - life, or god.

    loving you))))

    1. Oh my goodness! I really really love you. I don't know about walking about naked exactly but as poetry I know what you mean. The rush of the moment tells me I exactly know, but that is probably a little too much certainty for two humans on the planet, even the most intense of lovers and we of course cannot be that.

      I do think that shamans make use of pain as well as pleasure and that the path to mastery and the subsequent life of mastery is a life that enhances danger. One is no shaman when one's goal is comfort. Most of us seek after a comfortable life. The shaman instead holds a relationship to power and that power is much larger than the shaman. Hence the danger.

      The power as I wrote was shifted to the priesthoods of western civilization and to some extent usurped by political processes and people. They do not want to give it back. Hence the persecutions of the pagans and the witches.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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