My Defense of White-American Shamanism.


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

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9 thoughts on “My Defense of White-American Shamanism.

  1. Sara Annon,

    Thank YOU for being so succinct and providing some examples of where we need to fix things, together. If the whole point of being Shaman is to heal (all wounds), then it is also a “healing act” to help with fixing the problems (I call ills) in our societies. All of our varied cultures would benefit immensely, if those of us with the power, the wisdom, the knowledge, and COMPASSION would call up our spirit-helpers to aid us in that endeavor.

    There again,

    That is a tall order to fulfill. >;=))====

    * * *

    Katie & Jove,

    My apologies for taking so long to “approve” your waiting comments! WordPress (dot) com has things set up a little differently from my own blog. But I gotcha tuned in, now. >;=))====

    Katie,

    I have heard much about Graham Hancock and some of his writings. Very interesting from what I hear. Maybe someday, I will be able to sit down with one or more of his books. I remember hearing about him from some of Art Bell’s guests when he (Art) was still MC’ing the evening “Coast-to-Coast AM Show”. “Ahhh, so many years have passed, like water flowing under the bridge.”

    This would also very much explain why there are so few, in number, who eventually ascend and transcend this reality as a whole. This would also have me being very watchful of some of the latest “ascension movements” out there, who almost ALWAYS have quite a steep price-tag. I never was much for “spirituality for sale” as a business plan! Yet, that is what seems to be trying to become today’s “culture”, in place of the real thing called “Self-Realization” and “Divine Experiencing”. If I had listened to my “messengers” long ago, I probably would not have gone through the turmoil during the years following that I did. There again, Life is all about learning through experiencing it.

    Thank you all for your “two cents, dollars, gold-pieces”, or whatever trips your fancy!

    >;=))====

    – Rev. Dragon’s Eye
    Founder, Temple of The Ancient Dragons.

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    • My first experience with Salvia Divinorum was completely about the plant spirit, not me. It comes from a very distinct micro-environment in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and is used within an ancient and established cultural context thre. Being hydroponically grown in urban settings and used by people who were themselves culturally adrift left the plant spirit itself utterly ungrounded. It took three days (yeah I know most people have the fifteen minute version) to find a place where both plant and I were ok. It occurred to me then that the frenzy to make it illegal may have as much to do with the plant’s need to be grown, handled, and taken in a grounded and conscientious manner as any human motivation. I continue to be quite cautious about how, where,and with whom I will take entheogens and I like to know the circumstances in which they were grown and harvested. I sometimes think that a ‘church of herbal medicine’ would help the healing plants as much as inform the humans.

      Like

  2. What’s funny about this is that we are ever touting the policies of freedom to choose our own paths. We aren’t living in world that tells us what we can be or how we are supposed to behave, or are we? And its been my experience that there are people everywhere who are traditionalists to the point of slamming the pursuit of self-discovery because of the use of language they don’t like. Although a special irony lies within mythic speculation that the gods who taught the skills and techniques to the central American peoples were described as white beings or beings of white light. Graham Hancock wrote about this. These are the ones who said that they would return one day, right before they left. And then when white men came to the native lands in the 15th century, we can begin to understand why it was so easy for them to have been mistaken for the gods.

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    • Oh my!

      Copyright the use of Sage??? That is just typical of the numb-mindedness of the political-correctness run amok. Sage (Salvia spp.) grows all over the world. As a matter of fact, I believe most species from the genus: Salvia are non-native to the North American continent.

      As is also the case, some of the earliest recorded uses of Sage, not only in culinary uses, but also ceremonial and various other aromatic uses, can date to early Egypt, certain other African peoples, areas of the Mediterranean, and even some parts of North and Central Europe (well before it was known as Europe).

      Clary, or White Sage was not introduced to the North American continent until many years later as it is also a non-native species. Clary Sage is considered by some, including myself, to be one of the most sacred and highly-valued of the ceremonially-used Sages. I am trying to find some to grow for my own practices as I really enjoy its clean and potent scent. It is considered to be a bit to harsh for use in spices by some.

      In understanding that some form of racism is going to exist in human cultures (if we are to consider the mere awareness that some are not quite like us in appearance), it will exist regardless what kinds of “public policy” are put into law. The problem is when we see the political power make it a crime to “notice” anything different among us, and then those same laws be used to grant preferences based on “race”! THAT has been my biggest problem with the “legal system” here and in other parts of the world.

      If we are to live together in harmony with one another, we need to do away with the one-sided, preferential “laws” that continue to encourage the race disparities in our world. Each of us has as valid a right and reason for existing. This was all by Divine Will, NOT by legislation. The oppression of anyone, just because they are different in some way, does not make it right! However, this is the kind of atmosphere the early imperial churches, and later – our modern-day governments have forced upon all of us. The “us-versus-them” mentality.

      Thank you for your thoughtful words!

      – Rev. Dragon’s Eye

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      • Racism and ignorance often go hand in hand. I was speechless when I once heard an indigenous elder (who shall remain anonymous) explain to a Mayan calendar keeper that Indians can’t keep time. So your synopsis of the relationship between sage and humans across time and space is greatly appreciated. And thank you for following my blog as well.

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    • A thought for you.

      Ever heard of Salvia divinorum (“Divine” Sage)?

      Seems that stuff is getting harder to find, and because of this – it is getting more expensive for some to procure. Several of the states, last I heard, were trying to outlaw it as another “psychedelic plant”.

      Because its effects are so short-lived, that hardly makes it anything addictive! Most of this “addiction” – is in the mental state of the user, NOT from the chemical(s). This addiction is the problem of those seeking “escapes”, instead of actually seeking genuine resolutions. I check into this by observing how setting my own state of mind, helped keep me from doing some very stupid things whenever I was “liquored up” (drunk, if you will). Not that I can necessarily afford to do all that partying anymore (like my younger days), but I was able to prove to myself that it was not the alcohol that CAUSED anything. It was whether I had established boundaries in my own mind BEFORE imbibing that made the difference.

      To most of those who seem to always get in trouble with the “law” when they are drunk, intoxicated, or whatever have you, “STOP making excuses and passing the blame on to the choice of chemical YOU CHOSE to use.” It is the fault of the state of mind, and conscious choices made beforehand. Why is it that many of the South American peoples have had raw Coca use in their cultures for an uncountable number of centuries, and without all of these problems we have in our own country? – It is because these chemicals and extracts are used for the wrong reasons, and with the wrong mind-set.

      I hope this helps further clarify why Shamanism is so important, even today! The Shaman, Brahmin, Shuman (Hopi for “Rattlesnake, or Rattlesnake-Handler” – a shamanic healer all the same) – is as much a teacher of truth, as well as a healer.

      One of the common reasons why the White-American Shamanism is discounted and vilified, is because of the downfall of this culture, which also has been helped through the pushing of chemical drugs and their misuses. So this is what lead to the stereotyping of “Americans being drug-addicted”. And therefore, the “War on Drugs” initially pushed by former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, in support of his family’s big business – the DRUG INDUSTRY!

      To quote a famous line, from Paul Harvey:
      ” And NOW you know, the rest of the story! ”

      – Rev. Dragon’s Eye

      Like

      • My first experience with Salvia Divinorum was completely about the plant spirit, not me. It comes from a very distinct micro-environment in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and is used within an ancient and established cultural context thre. Being hydroponically grown in urban settings and used by people who were themselves culturally adrift left the plant spirit itself utterly ungrounded. It took three days (yeah I know most people have the fifteen minute version) to find a place where both plant and I were ok. It occurred to me then that the frenzy to make it illegal may have as much to do with the plant’s need to be grown, handled, and taken in a grounded and conscientious manner as any human motivation. I continue to be quite cautious about how, where,and with whom I will take entheogens and I like to know the circumstances in which they were grown and harvested. I sometimes think that a ‘church of herbal medicine’ would help the healing plants as much as inform the humans.
        (sorry for the double post… technology is sometimes a challenge for me…and this is what I was aiming to respond too)

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