You know, I have a few thoughts of my own on this subject of “white culture” and how it is, that it is so easily dismissed as “non-existent” by so many.
I was astonished and shocked when I listened to an interview with the “president” of an “anti-discrimination”-type group (left nameless for a reason) on one of my local radio channels years ago. He stated that, “white Americans have no culture and no spirituality”. I was so shocked to hear this kind of a statement, made so boldly and so unabashedly-public, as if it was to be taken as the truth and nothing else, because it came from the “president” of this politically-active group!
I wanted so badly to call up and speak my mind to this individual that I was literally seething at just the very thought of dismissing everything about “white-America”, with the most broadest stroke of a brush, and yet have no qualms about stating it in answer to a previous caller’s question. Unfortunately, we are all still paying the price, again and again, for this continuing travesty, lack of insight, and lack of respect for one another – all on the basis of skin tone and with whom we associate. It is a very easily ridden bandwagon, due to how little is required of its adherents.
Another bang that had me reeling, was when I was talking with whom I thought was a dear friend – when he stated that the “white-man’s religion” (understood to be “Christianity”) was what was responsible for destroying so much in this world. I turned to him and told him that this “white-man’s religion” he was keen on mentioning, was not originally belonging to or created by the white man. It was forced upon him (his ancient European ancestors) by foreign conquerors who were about spreading their empire. (Think: The Roman conquests, the Vatican-initiated “wars” such as the Inquisition, for starters.) The early European cultures were mostly agrarian and/or hunter-gatherers. They knew of the importance of taking good care of the land and being thankful for all they had. When we look at the Sabbats in their more historically-accurate contexts, we see them more as celebrations of the times of year, and their connection to the cycles in our lives. These were people whose very survival depended on the continued productivity of the land, and being thankful for those times of bounty and plenty. My favorite would have to be Samhain, because it is about paying our respects to our ancestors, and remembering the lessons we hopefully have learned in the past years. It is a time of reflection and introspection. It is a time to pass away from the old and out-dated ideals that served not, but to begin considering the new possibilities for the up-coming year.
Now please do not misunderstand me when I mentioned “Christianity” as one of those religions being held to blame for the messes we are constantly reaping the whirlwinds thereof. The blame lies squarely upon those who USED it as a convenient excuse, and those of the followers who followed without question or second thought. Politics and control started with many of the earlier “established churches” where the few in power dictated to the masses. This was by their design. However, this and the other “Abrahamic religions” were more of the “new kids on the block”, so to speak. It was also in these particular times that warfare and conquests went hand-in-hand with the dictates of those who controlled the establishmentarian religions.
Now, the other “bang” on the head that really had me upset of late, was when I was with a group a few years ago. They had a guest speaker in for that day, where he was from one of the local tribes. I thought he was a very insightful man and shared some very interesting things about his people’s beliefs. I believe he was considered a “medicine man”, of whom I hold high regards for. What had me questioning his “credibility” as a medicine man, was when he responded, rather disdainfully, to a question that was posed to him about being a Shaman. His response was, “Shaman is a WHITE MAN’s term”. Okay. So what? Was this to say that there was no such thing as a white shaman, or that white folks were incapable of practicing the spiritual art all the same? I’m sorry but, to my understanding, the term “shaman” supposedly came from the Siberian Tuvan peoples’ term “saman” for their medicinal healers. I have had a strong interest in some of the Tuvan’s practices and beliefs for some time because some of them still practice some portion of their “old ways”. At least what of their practices managed to survive the Communist purges during the Soviet Era.
I guess I have a very harsh view of those who say they are so “spiritual”, yet they so easily resort to the common, politically-correct retorts against whom I consider my people. They so easily discount and dismiss any possibility that “my people” once had a belief system very similar to theirs. I have much trouble finding very much about the “ancient ways” that has not been polluted with much of the modernistic ideals of the new age thinking. It is really sad that so little of the original teachings of those ancient ways survives intact, and in its not-so-adulterated form. There again, it is up to us to rediscover those ways by communing with the spirits of Nature, as our ancient ancestors once did, and learn from what would be the best teacher that exists. Anyone could do so if he/she was serious about intent and willing to put aside all of the artificiality that the modern “culture” has tried to ingrain in all of us.
As to the “credibility” factor and how many pieces of paper one has to his/her name, how much money one has to spend on expensive and rather questionable “classes”, and whether the “establishment” or one of its partner agencies endorses or supports that one has “been through the right schooling” or through the approved (accredited) education system for his/her training – I will always be questioning this position. Some things in life can simply not be taught in schools, classes, apprenticeships. They must be learned by actual experience. Life is an opportunity to gain that necessary experience, and the opportunities to gain wisdom FROM that experience. So, I definitely hear the gripes about expensive classes and so forth when it comes to venerating the “graduate practitioners”. I would rather be taught by one who has actually lived these lessons, and lives by the basis of the wisdom he/she has learned from life’s experiences.
Most of all, Nature and its attendant spirits can be the best teachers when no other means are available. Mankind has had to start somewhere. This is how many of us “solos” have ended up practicing solo, after being burned repeatedly by many of these so-called “spiritual groups”. I have looked into a shamanism group for a while. I have also exchanged emails with a couple of members who were “certified shaman teachers” who are maybe within about 350 miles of me. (No one else seems to be any closer.) All I see is how much money the want for me to attend any of their “workshops”. I’m sorry, but I am not made of money. I am rather poor and physically disabled to the point that I am unhireable by most accounts. So there you go!
Maybe I am being a little nit-picky, but I have some concerns and reservations about the term “neo-shamanism”. It seems there are a lot of “neo-isms” these days. It makes me wonder if there really is any effort to try and rediscover the lost arts of the old ways. There again, maybe I’m just being a fool here! After seeing a lot of this “neo-paganism” in action, I have to wonder, “Are there any genuine pagans left?” Most of these neo-pagans could not even name five wild plants that grow natively here, and tell me what they can be used for, and how they are functional in their natural environment. (A young gentleman on WitchVox did a very good job of an article examining this problem too! – My hat’s off to him for daring to ripple some waves with the unspoken truth!)
So I hope this reply gets some consideration on the merits of calling things as I have seen them. I intend no insult, nor any hurt feelings to be take as personal or otherwise. Sometimes it takes for one to stand up and risk being hated, for simply speaking about what he sees as compared to what he hears. A truly righteous one would have no problems calling into question his/her held beliefs, and what he/she holds as “true” when there is the possibility that maybe we, together, have missed a detail or two. Life is about reexamining ourselves, over and over, to make sure we are truly confident in our held beliefs and that our beliefs are genuine, not contrived and then “taught” by someone else. This is what the biggest headache of mine about the modern “church” has been; “Believe because it is written”. Whenever I asked the “tough” question(s), I was scolded and demeaned as a “disobedient child” – even by my Sunday school teachers – in front of everyone else. So much for that love that was supposed to be the center ideal in all of their teachings! However, I can not hold the blame on the church, without first holding upon those who continue the teachings of a doctrine that demands strict obedience and “believe by faith” as their core lesson.
I DO believe in the proverb, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” This proverb has been around long before the first of the “revealed religions” made their appearance. It is still true today, and how many of those who bear bitter-fruit one can run into. Remember Aesop’s Fables? Each and every one of those stories had a moral, a lesson. Now, try to find any of those fables on sale in your local bookstore. Seems they have been relegated to the “forbidden books” category. I wonder why?!? Maybe, if we could reexamine these ancient tales, we may find that such wisdom was with us all along, we just have forgotten most of it. There again, shamanism holds these wisdoms as vital and necessary for a good, balanced life also. Nearly every culture that still practices shamanic medicine and such, know these wisdoms in one expression or another. It does not matter what skin-color, nationality, ethnicity, or whatever divisions-of-people one may consider. These ancient nuggets of wisdom were at least once well-known and widely practiced in everyday life.
Maybe it would be a good time for all of us, who claim to be so spiritual, take a good look at ourselves and compare how we live our lives today, with how our ancestors lived life then. The modern conveniences aside, I think we just may find that we are really missing the mark when it comes to spiritual understanding, and an appreciation for the time and opportunities we have now – to learn and to gain bountiful wisdom from those lessons. If we are to be within one of those “times of enlightenment” and “ascending of consciousness”, I am still waiting to see obvious examples of folks trying to approach that aspect of “ascended consciousness” without all of the money-grubbing, and nose-rubbing with Egos. Show me a true “ascended master” and I will be most curious as to how his/her example can help me achieve that higher level of understanding without it coming to “how much money are you willing to spend?”, because I know that THIS is NOT what the ancestral white folks were about! This being long before the “enlightened churches” made their presence known.
– Rev. Dragon’s Eye