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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

Nature in my Backyard

Nature is the most practical metaphysicist. Every morning I sit outside, quietly observing. Today I was awe-struck by a multitude of interesting things happening in my backyard, all speaking to the complexity and yet deep practicality of nature.

I feed the squirrels, chipmunks, and blue jays – they all know me and approach me in different ways. My town is a nice, clean and quiet place, but also known for a high rat population (apparently some junkyard was disturbed and dispersed them). Having had several pet rats in my life, I enjoy watching them dig up worms and eat from the feed pile. We leave out simple deer feed that attracts just about every animal around. Today the baby rats were out as they are just getting big enough to romp beyond the nest. Then I saw a squirrel carrying its fairly small baby back to its tree – it’s odd for October, in Canada, to have such a late litter. I’ve noticed evidence of second or even third litters happening here this year.

Other things caught my interest — we had good winds last night and a huge branch has fallen off our maple tree. Doves were walking along the ground with their wings outstretched. There has been a hatch of little midge-like insects – again, a little odd for October.

But nature is clever. She knows.

 

Yanantin: Dancing with Duality

I have always been happy to suspend my beliefs in order to dance with opposite concepts, such as the Everything and the Nothing, the Infinite and the Instance, Self and Other, good and evil, or spirit and physicality. With some investigation it is apparent that seemingly intractable dualities are intricately, deeply connected – perhaps just different expressions of the same thing.

The Q’ero shamans of Peru have a word for this. I was thrilled to discover their concept of “yanantin”, which is the harmony of complementary dualities, because it speaks to me at my core, and I’m sharing these words in case someone else would be just as enthralled.

I think that situating myself in reality means being aware and present within the whole picture: the yanantin that encompasses both what seems “real” to us and what doesn’t. The truth is everything is real. (Remember the physicists who are happy to say that in an infinite universe, everything you imagine and everything possible must actually manifest in physical reality.) Dancing with opposites situates us in the bigger picture of potential and wholeness.

As Hillary S. Webb writes in her excellent book, “Yanantin and Masintin in the Andean World” (a book she was kind enough to send me at a difficult time in my life when I legitimately couldn’t afford it):

“Similar to Chinese Taoism, Andean philosophy views the opposites of existence (such as male/female, dark/light, inner/outer) as interdependent and essential parts of a harmonious whole. Because existence is believed to be dependent upon the tension and balanced interchange between the polarities, there is a very definitely ideological and practical commitment with indigenous Andean life to bringing the seemingly conflicting opposites into harmony with one another without destroying or altering either one.”

At its best, the concept of yanantin expands our awareness and challenges us to go deeper, to think beyond dichotomy and live in the balance between body and spirit. Yanantin can teach us to be in better relationship with things like giving and receiving, ego and selflessness, and so much more.

Imagination’s Wormholes

She shuffle-sways up and down
the train’s aisles, the lurch
a warp in space, a tug
on time. Waiting
for Mongolia, she leans
out a window, her thoughts streaming
loose from her skull, wind-swimming
behind her, each wish armed
before it tears away into air, into freedom, to change
the present, the past, and the future.
Spirit has wormholes too, she thinks,
getting down from the chair,
still imagining Mongolia and train-sway
in her own domestic kitchen.

The Strangest Birthday

I’m not sure what’s been going on with me this past week. First my vision went, and it still hasn’t gotten better. Now I have very intense abdomen pain that we’ve narrowed down to be either my pancreas, gallbladder, or an ulcer. The next step is an MRI and a consultation with a surgeon. I’ve been in the ER for the past two days and today’s my birthday. I can deal with not feeling well, but all I want is a peaceful day without the kind of pain attacks that bring me to tears.

I’ve never been to the hospital in my life before this and am wondering what lesson spirit is trying to teach me…