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Sorry about the Hiatus [Nov. 6th, 2008|02:27 pm]
Shamans of the Modern Age

[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |ecstaticecstatic]

Wow, seems like we have some new members to the community over the past couple of months. Welcome! Hope you enjoy the community. I am sorry that I haven't been updating or posting much on here lately, but life and love have wonderfully been getting in the way. I hope you find the site interesting and (this goes for the older members as well) share any thoughts, ideas, experiences that you have in regards to shamanism and neo_shamanism with the rest of us.

Rest assured, the community isn't forgotten about... quite to the contrary actually. A couple of weeks ago, while at a wonderful state park/natural zoo, I shared some wonderful moments with what I consider my spirit animal, the Cougar.

I have always had an incredible connection to animals of all kinds, but what happend over those two days that I spent there with the woman I love was beyond coincidence, it was connecting with a wild animal on the most basic level and sharing wonderful moments and energy together.

At this park, they have a very large, natural enclosures that house many of the native flora and fauna of the area I live in (Midwest Illinois). In one of these exhibits, they have two beautiful Cougars in a huge natural area.

Phyllis and I looked at their exhibit from an overlook and weren't able to spot either of them. But as we were getting ready to leave and walk around the rest of the path. We saw them both come out of their Den look around spot us and went back inside. We thought that was it, a wonderful little glimpse at the majestic and secretive cats.

But as we continued along the path that went around the Cougars enclosure, we heard several women who were on the path ahead of us yell out "Oh wow, that cougar is following you!"

And sure enough, one of the cougars had come out and followed Phyllis and myself and wherever we went the cougar followed, even though there were other people all around. I had many moments of eye contact and connection and was genuinly thrilled about the experience. And pretty much chalked it up to a wonderful, unique moment.

I was wrong. The next day (we stayed at the cabin that they had at the park overnight), we walked along the same path towards the cougar enclosure and sure enough, both cougars were there and watched and followed us wherever we went and genuinely seemed happy and friendly towards us and I had several more moments of connection with them. One in particular spent a lot of time just watching and spending time around us and even though other people passed by, they paid them no attention. It was eerie to a degree, but so wonderfully awesome. Needless to say I was pretty much walking on air for a long time afterwards.

I don't know whether it was just the positive, happy energy that Phyllis and I were putting out, or whether there was some unseen spiritual "brotherhood" between the cougars and myself, all I do know that it was a very special wonderful experience and moment I had with one of my favorite creatures, and the animal I am proud to call my spirit totem.

Cougar pics under the cut
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Concern versus Worry [Sep. 21st, 2008|09:08 pm]
Shamans of the Modern Age

[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]

I was talking about this subject a little while ago with my girlfriend. We were talking a bit about not trying to worry about things that we can't control and to not worry needlessly about things.

My own personal philosophy is that worrying is anxiety caused by a potential "What If?", while a concern is anxiety caused by a tangible "What Is".

Concern is a valuble emotion and one that allows us to spot and deal with any potential problems before they occur or worsen. It is anxiety that someone becomes aware of and must deal with.

Worrying can be a paralyzing, wasteful, and negative emotion that creates unnecessary anxiety and stress for people in their lives. It is anxiety that someone obsesses about and doesn't know how to deal with.

One example of this would be a person getting ready to go on a camping trip. If he worries, he will spend hours going through all the "What ifs" that are on their mind. What if it's raining? What if there are bears there? What if there is a thunderstorm? and so on. They spend so much time and energy on worrying about everything that COULD happen or COULD go wrong that they no longer look forward to the event and can't enjoy it fully.

A wise person would go through many of the same thoughts, but instead of worrying about them. They simply pack an umbrella, take the necessary precautions if there might be bears in the area, and make alternate plans in case the weather turns bad. If something is a potential problem, then you examine what you can do about it. If there is something you can do about it then do so. If not, then try to make an alternate plan and not worry about it.

Of course all this is easier said than done. But objectively addressing problems and concerns and not panicking or getting stressed out over them is a very important skill to learn and hone throughout our lives. Worry, fear, and anxiety are all feelings that can make problems and obstacles seem much worse. Concern, objectivity, and remaining calm are all feelings that can help ease or even solve problems we have in life.

So my motto of "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, expect the unexpected" reflects this philosophy to a degree. One should always try to keep positive and optimistic about things in your life. But one should also make sure that you are prepared just in case something goes wrong. And one should always try to keep things flexible and fluid enough so that if there is a surprise you can deal with it in a calm and constructive way.

I think the way a person deals with problems and adversity is one of the most important things that they can develop in their life, and this is especially true for healers, teachers, and spiritual leaders. A shaman or medicine man in almost every society is basically just a problem solver for their community. So the way they deal with these problems is as important, maybe even more so, than the results.

x-posted to my own journal
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Black Stag? [Sep. 4th, 2008|07:20 am]
Shamans of the Modern Age

We are on a deer run so we see herds of deer every day. Recently, though, my husband and I have noticed an all black deeer. I have never seen this before. I can see little nubs starting to come in, so it looks like we have an all black stag coming through our area. He is going to be beautiful full grown. I want to get pictures as he grows. but this one is skittish. Thank goodness. I want to keep him that way to keep him away from the hunters. I wish I had the money to invest in a long distance lense camera with a night lense, etc. to really capture some pictures.

Anyone know anything about black stags in general? I do not know too much about them - in fact I had not heard about them. I had only heard about the white stag when I lived in England so this really surprised me.
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A little musing I wrote while trying to help a friend [Aug. 8th, 2008|12:04 am]
Shamans of the Modern Age

[Current Mood |thoughtfulwise]

The negative feelings of our past are like bricks. If you hold on to them, their weight grows and grows on your back until finally it crushes you. If you just discard them, then they lie scattered all over and can potentially trip you up or even hurt someone walking with you in the journey of life. But if you can take those bricks of painful memories, emotions, and failures of the past and make a foundation out of them, you make yourself a platform on which you can build a future.
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INTRODUCTION!!!!!!!!!!!! Have any good sources for information on shamanism? [Jul. 15th, 2008|10:45 pm]
Shamans of the Modern Age

I said a bunch of crap in 2-3 other groups of very simmilar interestes (shamanism and stuff), and being that I did it their and likely many might be a member of those groups so I dont to spam everywhere with redundent stuff. 

I joined because because (obviously) have a interest with shamanism and spiritality in general. And I guess I would consider what I follow be called neo-shamanism because it has a lot of modern encompasing all cultures stuff in it, and I wont claim to be a traditional adherent of shamanism of a particular culture. 

I am wondering if anyone has any good sources of information on shamanism, I currently have a book by leo rutherford (the way of shamanism) it got a number of spirital exercises in it such as journeying to a powerspot and retreiving your own power-animal (and a lot of people be using animals for avatars and names all around, whichhhhhhh I am not going to touch on that too much : P, but just be a coinidence someone might be interested in that kind of stuff). Anyway it be good book though I am allways looking for other sources of information too (wouldnt want to base all my knowlege of a religon from one guy), plus it would be good to get some online sources because then I dont have to by another book : D
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The Cycle of Oppression. [Jul. 7th, 2008|10:38 pm]
Shamans of the Modern Age

[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]

As I study human history and the various religions that accompanied the various ruling empires throughout the ages, I alway notice a rather disturbing trend and a sad testament to the human psyche. Throughout the ages, one thing has almost always been true...

When an oppressed people gain any measure of power, invariably they become oppressors themselves.

Like a abused child that becomes the abuser once they have children, most major religions that were once oppressed began to oppress others once they were in power. Throughout history there are countless examples of this. Several of the most recent examples of this has been among the Christian and Muslim communities.

Jewish people and Christians were routinely persecuted and oppressed by the Roman empire. They posed a threat to their established churchs and power heirarchy. But as their religion became more and more widespread and altered and changed their message to attract the largest number of people, eventually they gained enough power and influence to avoid outright persecution and gained power over the Roman empire with the conversion of Ceasar Constantine.

And then the oppressed became the oppressors. Any other religion was eventually outlawed, the new Holy mother church routinely commited genocide on any competing religion and tried to either convert or destroy all non-believers. The original message of love your enemies, turn the other cheek, and treat others as you wish to be treated was thrown out the window in order to keep and expand the churches power.

Of course Christianity and the Roman Catholic church are far from alone in this. Muslims were oppressed and persecuted during the Christian Crusades, now hundreds of years later, in the lands where Islam is the controlling religion, they routinely repress and persecute other religions.

And I am sure throughout mans early history, tribes, kingdoms, and religions that were once attacked and oppressed by another, eventually did the same to their former oppressors or to other new religions, people, etc. that might have been considered a threat to their power and control over a region.

The point I am trying to make is that I almost dread what the future holds for the small, oppressed people and religions that fill todays world. Will the oppressed people of today be tomorrows oppressive tyrants? If Wiccans, Heathens, or even Atheists gain power, will they commit the very crimes against humanity that they fell victim to by the major religions of today?

I would like to hope not. I would like to hope that we, the oppressed and persecuted people and religions of today will break the cycle of oppression and forgive our former oppressors if/when we gain power. Oppressing and persecuting others because we or our ancestors were once perscuted and repressed does not make it right. We should strive to rise above those that persecuted us and try to forge a bright future of acceptance and forgiveness no matter how dark the past has been. It is sad that the religions of today have not managed to do that.
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Scientists discover the psychoactive effects of incense [Jun. 2nd, 2008|09:56 pm]
Shamans of the Modern Age

[Current Mood |informed]


"Religious leaders have contended for millennia that burning incense is good for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is good for our brains too. In a new study appearing online in The FASEB Journal, an international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describe how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. This suggests that an entirely new class of depression and anxiety drugs might be right under our noses."

I think this goes a long way in explaining the effects of certain religious ceremonies and other rituals used throught the world. Your sense of smell is the sense most closely wired and connected to the brain. It has already been linked to memory, so I don't think it is a big stretch to see how it can affect other systems such as mood and thought processes.
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Happy Earth Day! [Apr. 22nd, 2008|10:39 am]
Shamans of the Modern Age

[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]

I hope everyone is having a happy, safe, and green Earth Day. I think it is always a good idea to show respect and love for the thing that makes everything else possible, the Earth itself.

Without the Earth and the water, soil, air, and energy that it contains, then everything we hold dear, our interests, countries, friends, family, our very lives would not be possible.

And though we as a species are doing harm and polluting the great mother, this island in space we call Earth, I think that it will be able to recover and bounce back from whatever we do.

But for our OWN sakes, we need to find new ways of doing things, different sources of power, and a more ecologically friendly and efficent way of living otherwise we will find ourselves going the way of the Dodo.
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Small Victories... [Mar. 13th, 2008|08:36 pm]
Shamans of the Modern Age

[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]

We all want to achieve success,
Profound victories within our lives.
And though great victories are nice,
it is the small victories that matter most.
They are the ones that fuel the fires of hope.
And keep us warm when the rain of despair falls.

Sometimes you are in a forest,
and these victories are easy to find.
Other times you are in a desert,
almost no fuel for your hope can be found.
And still, as always.
The rain still falls.

The key is to keep searching, pushing, going.
The smallest branches can burn brightly
and stoke the fires when they run low.
Major victories are the logs on the fire of hope.
But it is the small victories that are the tinder
and the ones that keep the fire glowing.
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18 Ways to Be. [Feb. 10th, 2008|03:28 pm]
Shamans of the Modern Age

[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]

I snagged these words of wisdom from disclaim_her, I modified it slightly, but still very true.

1. Be strong enough to face the world each day.

2. Be weak enough to know you cannot do everything.

3. Be generous to those who need your help.

4. Be frugal with what you need yourself.

5. Be wise enough to know that you do not know everything.

6. Be foolish enough to believe in good fortune.

7. Be willing to share your joys.

8. Be willing to share the sorrows of others.

9. Be a leader when you see a path others have missed.

10. Be a follower in the midst of uncertainty.

11. Be the first to congratulate an opponent who succeeds.

12. Be the last to criticize a colleague who fails.

13. Be sure where your next step will fall, so that you will not stumble.

14. Be sure of your final destination, in case you are going the wrong way.

16. Be loving to those who love you.

17. Be loving to those who do not love you; they may learn to love because of you.

18. Be yourself.
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