I Am A Wa-beeno : Part One
©Copyright 2007, Turtle Heart
“Let us kill all the Indians, then we can use their drums and songs and feathers and then we will be The Indians. Or, wait, we can all be Shamans, so we don’t even need the Indians anymore.” (…anonymous)
At the beginning let me say that this word shaman is nothing. It is a manufactured word that comes from the dead world. Maybe we can call it a marketing word. It describes nothing. The common confusion over what is what in the world uses this word to describe something very few people know anything about at all. It is not a specific word, it is a general word. It means way to many things to far to many people to mean anything at all.
The old Indians had very few formal rules. Even so, a person was expected to speak clearly and use words in a very specific and accurate way. It is called being impeccable. The Sacred Life is an impeccable life. This word shaman is sloppy. It is a pretend word. Bad language clouds the air and leads to tension, and the need for corrections. When people behave well from the beginning, then there is no need for corrections.
Correction ceremonies. These days when we have the opportunity to bring the ceremonies to the people, we have to make corrections first. Most people do not understand that a ceremonial person is an intense specialist. It is important to try and do things clearly and do them right. Many of my ceremonies in the modern world become a series of corrections. Ceremonies that introduce the right way to talk about these ceremonies and these old Indians. Most people will not think about where the ceremonies they may find their way into are really all about…the back story as we say. For most of us, the initial ceremonies we do with people are “corrections”. These are ceremonies trying to get everybody on the first page. ceremonies that introduce the language and the breathing. Most of the time we do not get past doing correction ceremonies with people. Most people don’t know this. This includes many famous writers who have written about the fantastic ceremonies.
Those ceremonial leaders who follow the laws of the old clans know what they are doing. It will take, as it is now, 3 or 4 more generations of correction ceremonies because of all the bad information that is out there. Quite often I have believed the principle audience for this book is in the future. When this word was introduced, casually and almost by accident by one Michael Harner into popular culture, it added the need for even more correction ceremonies. This word is not and has never been an American Indian Word. Probably he had no bad intention, this man. Sadly, it appears he gave it no thought whatsoever. This situation is a good example of the dangers that exist on this path or Indian people and everybody else. Really strong bullshit can in fact be toxic.
Grandfather will say to you what he means and he means only what he says. There is no innuendo or hidden meaning. When it is clearly stated, the words mean only what they say. They do not mean anything extra or less. Perception is everything and clarity and being impeccable with your words is the key to perception.
Pretending to be something is not a new dimension in western culture.
For example, here on Pantelleria, the island at one time was incredibly rich in obsidian. Even today much of the island is composed of an ore blend of obsidian and basaltic stone...not so flashy as the pure obsidian. Answer...pretend. The only local man who is an artist here imports obsidian from Mexico and sells it as Obsidian of Pantelleria....because it is on Pantelleria I guess, he feels he is not saying anything incorrect and is quick to remind you that this good Mexican obsidian is very much like the obsidian found in the past on Pantelleria...etc. The dumb ass people who buy this obsidian from Mexico from Pantelleria have, like all of us the power to be informed about the nature and composition of this earth. I actually stayed awake through the geology classes at Eastmoor High School. By knowing nothing they allow the man of Pantelleria to pretend. It feels like being uninformed is a key ingredient in this whole process.
Movies: After I saw “Apocalypse Now” (1979); a movie about the adventures of one Special Forces Army Captain (Martin Sheen); for over a year I met way to many many men who told me they were “captains in the special forces”...(for example).
Recent studies in “false confessions” to crimes has revealed some intensely interesting ideas about the suggestibility of people. There is a whole personality configuration that lends itself to acting out perceived vs real information.
The cultures which actually contain Shamanism produced the urge by some within the culture to “help” the people. The strong and focused ability to try and help other people is the purpose of this line of work.... to help other people. That is, in the culture of Shamans, they try to help people. In general this word applies to a narrow group of indo-european people only. It is their word.
By the way, in my opinion the best source of understanding what this word actually means (something far more beautiful than the bullshit rodeo it now lives in) is a book called “Soma; Divine Mushroom of Immortality” by one R Gordon Wasson.
Here is an amazon link to that book. While discussing shamanism is not at all what the book is about, the author takes you deep into the histories of the Siberian peoples to whom this concept belongs.
Automationism (see Yeats, 1969);the industrial schedule of commerce which really rules the rhythm of modern western people’s lives.....this is a formidable force under which Shamanic consciousness is an almost impossible opposite.Modern people, even in small villages, have long ago left behind the rhythms of nature and now rely on the business clock for almost all human activity. Shamanic consciousness is impossible inside this matrix.
Part Two next week...