Why I Am a Philosopher, Not a Shaman

The world of “Core Shamanism” (which takes its cornerstone beliefs from similarities between all cultures which practice rituals of spirit communication) is a modern construct that I studied for a time and then departed from. I left it behind for many reasons, but generally because I am an impatient student; I prefer to discover for myself rather than being told what is true.

One particular leader in modern shamanic thought turned me off by professing in each podcast that the practices of shamanism (“journeying” to speak to spirits) were our human birthright. Meanwhile, she also maintained that only an elite few who met certain conditions could actually be called shamans, despite the practices being available to all. And of course this individual was one of those elite few. I found this attitude to be almost deliberately misleading, calling upon everyone to financially support her work (framing it as a spiritual duty) because so many people want to be one of those elite few, and she promised to show the way — but she also eviscerated anyone who dared to think they were so special without her approval, or any of her students who wanted to think for themselves.

Another problem with modern shamanic thought is the rampant cultural appropriation. I am not one to take on the beliefs of others anyway (and not because I am so noble, but probably because of my own egoic and pompous faults). So I decided to find my own path which does not reference any specific ritual or teaching from another culture. I worked out my own personal and self-specific cosmology from the ground up, and in doing so I found a new way to approach spirit communication that appeals to my personal logic and perspective.

What I have discovered is that I believe all conscious beings are spirits; that the two words are interchangeable. Spirit with a physical limit (such as us humans, which have bodies and do not transcend space), might as well be described as “spirits wearing hats”. Non-physical manifestations of conscious beings are likewise spirits, but not spatially limited (although, I believe, it is logical to assume they are still limited by time — or else they would not be singular Selves, but all-knowing gods with infinite consciousness).

So all conscious beings are spirits. What then, is the importance and role of spirit communication? It is reasonable to think that a spirit who has transcended physical limitations has gained more knowledge and wisdom than humans (which are spirits whom you could speak to in the most ordinary way!). However, as I said, I am an impatient student and did not wish to wade through hundreds of different conversations with different “wise spirits” to come to some conclusion.

My solution came when I was thinking about the concept of collective consciousness, and how I would define it. I believe that if one could hear the voices of infinite spirits (physical beings and non-physical beings), one could abstract from this the commonalities between all or most perspectives, which would be the most “true” wisdom (as true as anything can be, anyway). For a moment I struggled to comprehend how I could experience the noise of infinite spirit voices. And then I realized I have been doing it in a certain way all along. I prefer to think through abstraction, and when you abstract from an infinite chorus you are not listening to all the noise, but awaiting the sudden swells like the peaks of waves, which come suddenly out of nowhere, as my precious truths.

And so for me, I am not practicing shamanic journeying. I require no ritual tools and no rigorous, monk-like meditation. I simply have faith that I can “tune in” to the consciousnesses of all beings as a whole, like listening to all the radio channels at once — but then, only hearing those loudest spikes of truth. With my faith in the reality of imagination, this is neither difficult nor fantastical. For me, abstracting from the collective consciousness of all spirits is a better source of the image we wish to see of God.


Music: A Soul Walk Through Tuva

Take a moment to enjoy a shamanic soul journey.

I created this meditation soundscape with the amazing synthesizer, the MicroKORG, and added in some effects through the sound editor Audacity. I feel it represents a soul journey through Tuva, as I have included my own attempts at Tuvan throat singing (modified electronically) and a Tuvan drum beat as well.

Please enjoy and tell me what you think!


The Infinite Paths to Spirit

There is no single path to spirit and our wildest dreams, but an infinite multitude of trails. It should be obvious, but sometimes we forget that there are no rules for connecting, accessing, and communicating with the non-physical world.

This is why I have felt distanced lately from labels like “shaman”. It has become clear to me that I do not agree with the shamanic worldview as it is generally understood. I cannot, myself, ascribe to any perspective that lays out the non-physical world as if it can be mapped at all. To draw a map is to impose limits and boundaries, while often reducing space to 2 dimensions and condensing data or details to the point where it all
becomes a metaphor, or even just a symbol. The spirit world, meanwhile, has no boundaries. No limits. There’s no containing it, and no laws need apply there. I believe contradiction abides peacefully in the spirit world, untroubled by the human mind which cannot comprehend it. I tend to think that the spirit world cannot be usefully mapped at all.

I’m not even saying that the shamanic description of the spirit world is wrong. For instance, it is said that there are three layers to the spiritual dimension: the Upper, Middle, and Lower worlds. I don’t have a quarrel with the concept; I don’t quibble about the somewhat vague meanings of the three categories. And I understand the compulsion to use physical terms that people are accustomed to, as if spatial directions
are relevant outside of spacetime. But this map is far, far, removed from the entirety of what the spirit world is. It’s just a napkin scribble that might help you get where you want to go — or where a teacher wants you to go. And it’s important to realize this. Who are we to think we know the landscape of infinity??

The less we think we know, the better.

But what I really want to say is that the label “shaman” imposes a distasteful distinction between “regular” folk and “special” people who can commune deeply with spirit. I disagree with this notion completely. While some people may be more confident, or even more skilled, in the ways of connecting with spirit, I maintain that everyone is directly in touch with the spiritual realm, even if they don’t realize it, and most can easily build on this innate ability. It is damaging to the spiritual growth of humanity to think we need to follow any elite group or person in order to get information about the spirit world. In truth, we do not actually need spiritual books or teachers, although learning from others does deliver new insights and perhaps helps push us along our journey. Just as you can see (or otherwise sense) the physical world and learn from it directly, for yourself, we are all given the opportunity to directly sense and learn from the spirit world.

My belief comes directly from how I define spirit. To me, the simplest way to define spirit is: something that exists which is not physically manifest in the world. And I believe that what we call spirit is the same thing we call potential. Potential by definition is non-physical, perhaps even the opposite of physical. Once potential becomes manifest, it is no longer potential, but physical. For me, if spirit can be equated to potential, then we are all hardwired to sense it: even animals dream, which is an exploration of potentiality. Things that aren’t physically happening; things that could happen. As I have said before, our imagination is a direct sense of potential, which is spirit. Imagination allows us to freely explore the landscape of the spirit world.

I have more to say, much more; but I wanted to offer a brief overview of why I will no longer be labeling myself as a shamanic practitioner, or any other label. I am but a human being who explores the spirit world.

Free Shamanic Readings

Spirit has gifted me with a desire to do more shamanic readings, and so I have decided to offer free readings for two individuals a week on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please comment below if you would like a reading and when it’s your turn I’ll ask you to email me your questions or concerns.

What is a shamanic reading? In my readings I utilize shamanic journeys, which are trance-like states in which a practitioner confers with Spirit in order to receive wisdom, answers, and healing. All my readings are wildly different as they are focused on the person I am reading for. A reading may reveal an animal spirit guide, or a deceased relative’s advice. You might get a description of your own Higher Self and his/her message for you, or a glimpse into a past life and wisdom about how it affects your present circumstances. A reading may indicate a need for healing. If Spirit indicates that healing (such as a soul retrieval or other energy work) is necessary, I will ask your permission and complete this healing for free as well.

You do not have to be of any path or faith to write to me. I will try to converse with you on your level and I respect all compassionate faiths.

When you email me privately you can tell me as much or as little as you like, and it will all stay confidential. The one thing I absolutely need is simply a question or issue you’d like me to journey about.

So again, comment on this post to reserve a free reading! Remember, I can only promise two a week so please be patient.

*Edit*: Please be aware that comments on this post are not private — so I will give you my email address when it’s your turn.

Spotted Seal

I’m feeling inspired by Inuit culture these days and learning more about their shamanic beliefs. In support of this I made my tiniest needle felted animal yet — an itty bitty spotted seal. Tiny needle felting is pretty difficult!

Spiritual Practice

I am a shamanic practitioner and I feel called to do more than I’m currently doing, spiritually. Right now, I do readings and healing maybe once a month, for a smallish fee. I have tried doing free readings but after a few years of this the constant demand burnt me out, as well as leaving me occasionally unsatisfied (like when people made requests purely for entertainment purposes, not taking it seriously). I’m not sure what to do next with my path. Does anyone have ideas? I don’t mind practicing for free but I can’t figure out how to do it without opening myself up to be overwhelmed again.

Holiday Treats!

Willow took me to Stonebridge Imports today and since I am not good at spending money on myself she made sure I got every single thing I wanted as my holiday treat! I’ve never spent so much in my life on crystals…not all at once anyway! 😀 I got Australian opal and labradorite earrings, nice flashy pieces of labradorite, amethyst, agate slices with druzy, a tiny but powerful little moldavite, a gorgeous geometric/fractal fluorite, a peridot bracelet, and moonstone.

Holiday Gifts on Etsy

As we enter this season of gift-giving, I thought I’d post some ideas from my Etsy shop, Honoring Wilderness. My shop has unique hand-crafted items that would make special gifts for animal lovers or spiritual folk. I also offer reasonably-priced Spiritual Readings and Healing which is a thoughtful gift for a fellow spiritual seeker in your life. ❤

Inner Space

She shut her eyes to see
a universe within, stunned
at her own second coming
Here, she was the artful creator;
here, she reigned
by her own decrees:
she imagined joy, and thus was joyous
as a newborn god, enthralled
by making herself