By: Simon Kelly
Signs are everywhere telling us what we should and shouldn’t do.
But often the most important signs we should heed are those not written,
but those that resonate within our innermost being.
I own no lands
Yet all the lands are Mine.
Wherever my footsteps fall
I share that land with those
Who have walked it
I must leave it for those
Who will follow.
That is my Legacy.
It must be my Gift.
Micheal “Katene” Naera runs workshops called ‘The Power Within’.
Sent By: Mary Spry (Portland Vic.)
I have just finished reading ‘Women who Run With the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and all I can say is wow! Clarissa really knows mythology and the archetypes of our unconscious, as learnt from her responsible position as a ‘Traditional Storyteller’, and her understanding of Carl Jung’s work. In my opinion this work is as important and helpful in understanding life as Joseph Campbell’s work. Although this book is directed at women to help them understand their psyche, there are many universal archetypes discussed, and the main one, the ‘Wild Woman’ is the universal energy of Life/Death/Life which affects and effects All Our Relations (everything living), and is very much about contacting the powers of our Mother Earth. I recommend that anyone, especially women read it over and over until they not only know it, but also live it. Clarissa has done a marvellous job here, and I will be discussing bits and pieces of it here and there in future articles as I have done with Joseph Campbell’s work. The only thing that I find disturbing is that many women have a copy of this and have read it, but in my opinion they have not appreciated it, for they, like almost everyone today, keep trying on new ‘Red Shoes’. Those who have read the book should know what I mean by new red shoes.
I liked something I read about the teaching brilliance of television. The television they were talking about is the: “I tell you a vision, and you tell me a vision.” Now that is good TELL-A-VISION! And that is what this magazine is all about. So to begin I will tell you a vision.
When I had come some way through my own transformation / individuation, I became aware that the pain and suffering that I had gone through for most of my life was not uncommon. As I was well on the way to being healed, I had a vision of human beings being healed and therefore healing all other life forms on and in this great Earth Mother that belongs to all of us.
That was when I started seeking as much information as I could about Shamanism, Psychology, and Spirituality, all the things that had helped me to find the joy and rapture in being alive. So here I am just a lowly little owl sitting on all this knowledge trying to give it away so as to help heal the pain of humans and All Our Relations.
And yet, almost every day I am blown away by seeing some of the rubbish that is marketed today to all the people who are looking for: a quick fix to their problems and the world’s problems; all manner of easy ways to find that ‘Knight in Shinning Armour’, the solution to all women’s problems; how to make ‘Magick’ happen in your life to attract love, wealth and more by using things; and everyone wants to know their future as told by a spiritually gifted psychic, medium (wow more channelling from God knows where) or clairvoyant, as seen on TV! When will people learn that cures, solutions to problems, and happiness in life does not come from any thing, not even my magazine or advice. All power comes from within, from your own consciousness, your soul or God self, and it helps if you are aware that everything is a living being, equal to yourself, even if different, and therefore has the same rights to be happy and respected by all other beings. No one and no thing is going to come and save you, you must become a warrior yourself and let go, open up and share. Yes you can have someone who has been through similar experiences and found their bliss to guide you, but the final step and most of the hard work must be done by YOU! There is no amount of money or barter that you can give anyone to do it for you. Everyone can walk on water if they give it enough conscious effort.
There is so much involved in discussing the sacred and personal ceremony that is referred to as 'Vision Quest' that I couldn't hope to make a full discussion here. I am here giving some basic ideas based on information from the above mentioned books. This brief guide is to help those interested to be somewhat prepared and have some understanding of this important ceremony that is most often performed at times of transition in one's life; rites of passage. I strongly suggest you experience it for yourself; I am available to be asked.
It is vitally important to have a clear purpose for doing a Vision Quest, whether it be for healing, over coming fears, finding your spirit guides, or seeking answers to questions of life; basically there is no limit to the reasons for seeking help from the higher powers.
In preparation for a quest it is advised to spend 4 weeks, or at least 4 days on clearing yourself of each of the four directions by concentrating: firstly on your spiritual self, connecting it to your purpose (East); and then your emotions (North); your physical self, by eating and drinking lightly in preparation for fasting and being aware of all bodily movements (West); and finally clearing the mind and being mindful, or conscious, of all thoughts (South). It is also advisable to have the questing site already chosen.
Traditionally a quester presents their pipe, stem first to the shaman, then puts it on the ground with the stem to themselves, and then asks the shaman to conduct a Vision Quest for them. The shaman may say: “Hee-ay, Hay-ee-ee” 4times, and then say:“Grandfather and Father, Wakan-Tanka, you are the source and end of everything. Everything belongs to you. It is you who have created all things. We send a voice to you. (Quester’s name) wishes to offer the pipe to you. We ask that you give (Him/Her) help in a few days when (he/she) will offer (His/Her) mind and body to you. (He/She) will place (His/Her) feet on Grandmother and Mother Earth in a sacred manner. I (Shaman) ask all the Powers to bless this pipe that is being offered, so that Wakan-Tanka will bless (Quester).” The shaman then offers the pipe to the six directions and lights it before passing it to the Quester. The pipe is then smoked till finished, and the shaman asks: “When do you want to do this quest.”
The unpacked pipe is layed down in front of the shaman, who asks: “How long (1 to 4 days or more) do you (Quester) wish to cry for a vision.” The shaman then purifies (Smudges) the pipe and everything before entering the Inipi, Purification, or Sweat Lodge
All other participants enter after the Shaman and the Quester, who sit in the East and South respectively. The shaman then says: “O’ Grandfather, Wakan-Tanka, you are the source and end of everything. Everything belongs to you, your pipe, this sacred place we have made, the centre is your dwelling place.” As he/she rotates the pipe and then touches it to Mother Earth.
The shaman and the quester then make tobacco ties, after which the shaman will pack the pipe to the 6 directions and the quester tapes it closed until after the quest is completed. The pipe is then held by the quester, who now sits in the West of the lodge with the pipe stem facing the East. The shaman will then conduct his/her own pipe ceremony. Each participant then mentions their relationship to the quester, or the reason for them participating.
The Shaman begins with the opening prayer something like: “O’ Great Spirit, Grandfather and Father, Wakan-Tanka, you are the source and end of everything. Everything belongs to you. It is you who have created all things. We send a voice to you. (Quester) wishes to offer the pipe to you. We ask that you give (Him/Her) help in a few days when (He/She) will offer (His/Her) mind and body to you. (He/She) will place (His/Her) feet on Grandmother and Mother Earth in a sacred manner. I (Shaman) ask all the Powers to bless this pipe that is being offered, so that Wakan-Tanka will bless (Quester).”
All participants then sing: “Grandfather, I am sending a voice to the heavens of the universe. Grandfather, I am sending a voice that my people may live.”
Then everyone embraces the quester’s pipe before it is layed on the altar with the stem facing the East (spirit).
When the water is brought in, the quester can drink all or some of the water, but they must not spill a single drop.
All other participants now pray for the quester and tell a story about one of their experiences in doing a Vision Quest.
Third and fourth rounds
The shaman prays, asking the powers to help (Quester) as he/she ‘Cries for a Vision’.
The first task is to locate or feel the centre point where the strongest power and connection to your heart ‘feels right’. Then as you collect the direction stones feel for the stones that call to you for the particular directions, connect with the stones. As you create your circle call in the powers of the directions and of each stone person. When completed, stand back and see if it ‘feels right’, it can always be adjusted now but preferably not during the quest. The quest circle should have a pole in the centre, tobacco in the hole, with the prayer ties attached. On the perimeter there should be the 4 direction poles with robes tied. The quester can have a bed, of leaves, with their head touching the centre pole and their feet facing the east.
Enter the circle from the east and symbolically, with intent if not with smoke also, purify yourself; beginning with your head, so as to think pure thoughts, then your eyes, to see the truth, your ears, to hear the truth, your throat, to speak the truth with clarity, and finally purify your heart, so as to give and receive love freely and unconditionally.
As you keep the intention and purpose of the quest clearly in your mind pray to your creator, asking for blessing. Call in your guides and give thanks to them as you centre yourself with seven breaths drawing in energy from each direction and the centre.
The quester can pray by holding their pipe up to Wakan-Tanka at the centre, and then do the same at the east returning to the centre after each prayer to the directions, in the natural order of nature (East, North, West, South, for the Southern Hemisphere). Praying something like: “O’ Great Spirit, be merciful to me that my people may live.”
Walk only according to the cross of the directions. Be attentive. Note all thoughts and beings that come into vision, especially the winged ones. Be aware and pure of heart. The quester may sleep, but should pray mostly in the middle of the night and be up before sunrise, to pray to it.
1. EXAMINE LIFE by re-experiencing every part of your life like an observer, and determine the turning points, the happy moments and the painful ones. Ask yourself, “What is your essence (truth) and your theme (freedom)?” Look at life’s consequences and try to project into your future, based on knowledge of your past and present. Take responsibility for your actions, but don’t get bogged down in guilt or fears.
2. EXAMINE RELATIONSHIPS, looking at your self-beliefs (belief systems), especially the core beliefs, and see how you may like to restructure them. Ask yourself: “Do you identify yourself with your body, mind, or possessions?”; remember that you are spirit. “What is your joy? Where is your power?”
3. EXAMINE PAST RELATIONSHIPS with forgiveness to yourself and others.
4. EXAMINE CURRENT RELATIONSHIPS listing each person and their quality, good point and bad; and any actions to be taken to strengthen the relationship or dissolve it.
5. EXAMINE RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARENTS, listing the beliefs you have adopted from them and how you feel about them.
6. FACE FEARS. RELEASE AND SURRENDER ATTACHMENTS. A fear named is a fear tamed. Visualise a worst case and in the comfort of detachment find a solution or acceptance of any fear, anger, addictions, possessions, children, parents or beliefs by cutting the connecting energy cord, through creative visualisation.
7. TAPPING INTO SPIRIT AND POWER WITHIN by shape-shifting – expanding consciousness into other forms; sensing energy, light and sound; drumming; finding a spirit name, a spirit song – to sing the world into existence, a spirit animal, a spirit guide, or a spirit dance – allowing emotions to flow freer; or making a prayer stick, being specific with your intent.
8. GIVING THANKS for every event in your life, for it has a hidden gift. Give thanks to your body, part by part. And give thanks to nature and your Creator.
Calling for a vision actively by beseeching – calling sincerely from the heart. “O’ Great Spirit, be merciful to me, that my people may live.” Call on spirit guides, ancestors, angels, or allies. Be open and accept, with a still mind, to receive, breathe, and observe all things, all actions, and all dreams.
The quester goes strait into the lodge with the shaman who lights the quester’s pipe and smokes it to the 6 directions before passing it to the quester and back until it is all smoked. While the shaman then holds the pipe he/she says: “Words are very sacred, even more sacred now. Tell us the truth of everything that happened, and don’t leave out a single ant’s movement.”
After the story is told and discussed by the shaman as to the messages that where symbolically given during the quest, he/she hands the pipe back to the quester who embraces it before passing it outside to be placed on the altar, stem to the west (manifestation).
The shaman will pray something like: “I thank you Wakan-Tanka for the vision that you have given, which is for the good of All Our Relations.” At the end of three more rounds of prayers, the whole gathering of friends, relatives and well-wishers join in a feast.
INTERGRATION and REFLECTION are just as important as the purpose for questing, or any visions that you may have received. Give time, persistence and patience to understand all the messages given in each vision or experience. It can take many years.
Your act of power (An act that you manifest in the world from your deepest passion. When you perform an act of power, you are manifesting your true destiny in life. You are living your dream.) is the key to your destiny. Like a sacred flute player enticing your truth of spirit out into the light of day, own your power, because you are made of power. An act of power comes from a place of passion within your deepest being. It is an expression of your totality, of who you are in the world. To find your act of power is to live your dreams. What would you do if you could do anything? Discover what that is, and then do it. To find your power is to find your destiny.
The flute player uses sacred sound to coax your spirit into physical manifestation. The lotus blossom symbolises the birth into you spiritual nature, you true destiny. When destiny is found, it exemplifies your illumination.
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Uncertainty-supremacy assails the world.
God’s secret and sacred Will in the world of the unknowable prevails.
The New Millennium is humanity’s unhorizoned God-surrender-victory.
And Divinity’s most glorious earth-blossom-discovery.
All that we are.
All that we can be.
And all that we will ever be,
Is right here.
Our Gods have left and ascended
Our power animals and lower world spirits have become outlawed,
As demonic, vile and illegal.
And so we close our mind’s eye to
‘All that is’.
And we indulge in New, the first,
The fast, the bright, neon, the loud,
Hide, don’t make eye contact with
The other, the selfhood.
Ignore the crying child within.
You may, in time, learn to realise it’s
Not here for you.
You are part of it.
These are an order of words that came to me upon waking after a night spent in the rain forest. I possibly call it ‘the reality of our reality’. They also mark my time of transformation, wanting to be a better being, righting my wrongs, to benefit the whole of creation.
Hello Sitting Owl
Thank you for your letter and good wishes. I am glad you got to meet my family and friends at the mass of hope for me.
It was like the trickster caught me off guard when I made it back from the Tassie wilderness. When I was out bush I hoped (probably to god) for strength each day and I hoped that the authorities would be kind and understanding. It was like these requests were answered but I didn’t think to ask so that the media would be kind. I didn’t even think about television and newspaper popularity, so I didn’t expect help about it. In hindsight they are just concerned about the money spent on the search, that’s okay.
At about day 20 my mind was very wound up and stressed. It was so intense and full of thoughts at about 4.30 p.m., under my hoochie (tent). It felt like my brain was about to explode this day. [Yes, I know this feeling. Ed.] I knew I was about to go through a mental breakdown. I was not over worried or scared though, because I knew it was going to happen and that it was a positive thing that would eventually happen to me. I used your knowledge/teachings to help me survive, because you mentioned Carl Yung went through a mental crack up. Without that understanding of your knowledge, life out there would not have been as good.
I got really wound up and yelled, “For f_ck sake God break my f___ing mind up.” And it began, I began to hyperventilate and I began to sort of go ha-hum, ha-hum in a controlled and yet uncontrolled manner. I literally felt my brain move and feel at peace. It actually felt good. The ha-hum, ha-hum and the hyperventilation happened for about one minute. At the completion of this strange experience I felt basic peace, when I chose, and whatever it was chose to finish at the same time. My thinking became rational again. About a half-hour later I moved my shelter into a better position and not long after that, about 10 minutes, after collecting my tree bark mattress, it snowed. I was eating the snow like snow cones like they were a gift, and then I slept like a baby.
The entire walk was like a Hero’s Adventure managed by the trickster energy in conjunction with Creator. [Ben, the Trickster and the Creator are one and the same. Ed.] It allowed me to know that it is OK to accept help, and that to try to do all things independently is not the best way to go. It must be so that spirit listens to what we hope. My best mate looked after me, and with your help I knew how to accept the help. [This man obviously had an experience with God, as I have never before heard him referred to so reverently as ‘My Best Mate’. Ed.]
A Hero Adventure planned by my ego and desire was transformed into a good thing. [With a fair amount of pain and suffering I suspect. Ed.] I now know that life is important. I am now very interested to know if everything is controlled by the hand of God or if our consciousness is the boss; to know if everything is managed by chaos or choice. [Both, because God is consciousness and consciousness is God, and both must be respected to the max. Actually, the universe is managed by both choice, which is consciousness or as you put it, inertial energy, and by cycles. Some cycles are known to us and others are unknown, some repeating within a split second, and others on cosmic scale like the cycle of a star’s life from birth to death. Ed.]
In Tasmania I let the layout of the bush lead me thorough. Decisions I made were life saving, but I don’t know if anything outside myself told me what to do. There could be 100 million angels managing our lives. [Angels, spirit guides, animal totems etc. are all parts of the mind, namely intuition that can only be expressed in these symbolic ways. All memories, both known and unknown are stored in the unconscious or subconscious. The trick is to be consciously aware of all of them so that we have more control of our entire life, but this is one mean feat, and I have only been scratching the surface of my own subconscious. Ed.] I sort of now know ego steps to the side, but I know too that ego can come back on call. [As it must when it is needed; the only question is on what energy centres is the ego conscious directed and influenced by? Ed.].
Thanks Sitting Owl.
This is the beauty of living in the bush, you never get bored, because you have to do so much to survive. Today's kids are committing suicide mainly because of information burnout. They have so much they can do, but they get bored with it very quickly, and depression sets in. If they lived in the bush without the TVs, Video Games, and computers, they would soon find things inside themselves to enrich their lives beyond the toys of our modern society. And they would even enjoy the company of the rest of their family, whom in modern society, they probably don’t even know. My fondest memories are playing cards or games with my family, back before we got our first TV, which then kept everyone from talking or playing together. That is why this world is getting so bad. The family unit has been torn apart by technology, not brought together. People will find living together far more enjoyable in the Golden Age, because they will do everything together, such as gardening, going fishing, or berry picking, great joys of life.
I had a feminist lady tell me once that she did not wish to live the way the Indians lived, where women were under the thumb of a man. I had to laugh. If my mother had been there she would have found out what real feminism is all about. To most people the way the Indians lived comes from old movies, which are the products of Hollywood imagination. The reality is very different.
The first white men who saw the way things get done in an Indian village were totally shocked by the fact that nothing happens without women’s approval. They described the Indian form of government as a “Petty-coat parliament”, because the men would get together, and at the same time the women would get together, and both would pass judgement on any of the issues of the day. The men and the women would then get together and see if they agreed. If they did not agree, then it would be put off for a time until one side or the other saw things differently. To the white man, he saw it as nothing getting done in a hurry. To the Indian, it was simply a matter of equality.
Women were never under the thumb of an Indian man. Once a woman made her mind up who she wished to marry, she would then at anytime have the right to leave him if she wished. If he was mean to her, or did not hunt good enough to feed her family, or if she simply liked someone else better, she could leave. She also had the right to become a warrior if she wished. I think that would have been the way my mother would have gone, had she been raised in the old days! So you can understand that women having so many rights in marriage, the men did not treat their wives badly, or they would just leave.
My Grandfather had many wives which, to the white men is also not right. But the circumstances were always for the benefit of the women involved. My Grandfather’s first wife had a friend that no one else wanted to marry, so my Grandmother asked him to marry her friend, so that she would not be alone. My Grandfather did so out of respect for his wife, not because he wanted another wife. Another young woman of the tribe was very beautiful, so beautiful that all the young warriors were ready to fight over her. The council got together and gave her to my Grandfather as his wife. This may seem crazy to you, but my Grandfather never slept with this woman, knowing he was only keeping her for the council. Soon the young men started marrying other women, and forgot about the beautiful young maiden. One warrior was so in love with her that he would not marry any other women. When he was the last man left, my Grandfather asked the young girl about the warrior that wouldn’t go away, and she told him that she loved him too. The next day my Grandfather gave her to this warrior to be his wife. This happened many times in Indian villages to keep the young warriors from killing each other over a beautiful woman. To me it is very civilised, not the work of savages.
For young warriors in love, there were several options in picking and getting the woman he loved. He could offer all the riches he had such as blankets, horses, or make a beautiful knife for the father. But it was always the mother who would check with the daughter to see who she preferred, then the mother would inform the father who the daughter wanted to marry, and he would show favour to this man. If the father did not think you were worthy of his daughter, but you knew she really loved you, you still had one option left. You could try to steal the girl from under the father’s nose in the middle of the night from his lodge. This was a very dangerous thing to try because if the father caught you, he would certainly kill you dead on the spot. But the way the Indian father thinks is different than most. If this young man was willing to put his life on the line to marry his daughter, then he would surly die trying to protect her later on, wouldn’t he! Warriors who managed to steal their wives in this manner, were treated with the greatest respect among the tribe.
One thing that today’s women would like about the Indian way of life is the way women were treated when they were menstruating. Once a woman’s period began she was moved to a special lodge. The other women of the tribe would then feed her children and do her normal chores, such as gathering wood and cooking for her family. At the same time they would also feed, bathe, and rub the woman down to ease her pain. This was the way of life for Cherokee women. If the white man had joined the Cherokee way of life, I don’t think there would have been the need for a women’s movement or feminists around. An old Cherokee joke says it all; “A white man asked the Cherokee woman why she walks three paces behind her husband?” She Replied, “How else can I show him where to go!”
The way of life for the American Indian can be summed up quite simply with saying, “All things are forgiven”. No matter what the crime, there was always a way for the Indians to forgive. Just as John Smith found out, even though he had killed one of the members of the tribe, if anyone in the tribe was willing to forgive him, then all the tribe had to forgive him. There was always a way of paying for a crime or for forgiveness. If the tribe could not forgive you, then you were usually banished from the tribe for a year or two. Once your banishment ended, you were welcomed back to the tribe like a long lost son.
Go in peace
No culture is more or less important than another, to suggest that there be, is to criticise the Creator.
Mana – Divine right, influence, prestige
It is a quality of the person that demands the highest respect and is the quality that a person knows he/she has from AIO Matua, the Godhead. It is a most important basic belief.
Thank you Lord that I have come to this place in consciousness.
Thank you for the ways that have brought me here – for the highs and the lows; which after all, are part of any journey.
Right now I thank you for where I am, here with friends to walk with, talk with and opportunities to grow and here where I am told I need not strive to be in my neighbour’s shoes and I am allowed to be in my right place at my right time, and know that you are here with me.
Thank you Lord that I have come to this place in consciousness and even now have the opportunity and ability to move upward, forward, led by the spirit within.
Close your eyes and you will see clearly –
Cease to listen and you will hear the truth–
Be silent and your heart will sing –
Seek no contacts and you will find union –
Be still and you will move forward in the tide of spirit –
Be gentle and you will need no strength –
Be patient and you will achieve all things –
Be humble and you will remain entire.
Basically there are two ways of seeing these two different universal energies, and one must remember that both of these energies are equally present in all of Creation.
In the European systems of mythology and thought, as well as the Chinese system with the Yin and Yang, we can see the dual system. This is the system based on the male principle of separation, separation between male and female, good and evil etc., the pairs of opposites. The man is the aggressive, active power, and the woman is the receptive, passive power. For this system to bring enlightenment, we must bring our minds to the middle, to the one uniting principle of ‘God’, which is beyond all pairs of opposites.
However in the Indian, Hindu, system we have the female, Sakti, life-energy principle. She is the active force that gives life and awakening to all forms of physical existence. Sakti is the serpent power that rises up through the Chakra centres, awakening them all the way to the Crown Chakra and thus giving birth to enlightenment.
In ‘The Mythic Image’, Joseph Campbell has said this:
“Her womb is the field of space, her heart the pulse of time, her life the cosmic dream of which each of our own lives is a reflex; and her charm is the attractive power, not of a yonder shore, but of this. In short: in Biblical terms, she is Eve; or rather, Eve extended to be the mother, not only of mankind but of all things, the rocks and trees, beasts, birds and fish, the sun and the moon and stars.”
The female energy is also the great divinity of the Bronze Age, where the Pharaoh is found sitting on his throne, which is the source of his authority. And the throne is the symbol of Isis whose image, with Horus her son on her lap, has been transferred to Christianity as the Virgin Mary with Jesus on her lap.
So female power is the power to give life to all forms, she is what manifestation and life is all about, and therefore all females must realise this. She is the symbol of all power in the natural world. She is the symbol of our Mother Earth. And she is the one that is beyond all pairs of opposites.
In ‘A Joseph Campbell Companion’, Selected and Edited by: Diane K. Osbon, some dialog of the month-long seminar at Esalem Institute, Campbell is quoted as saying that:
“What I think has happened now – with so many women, left without husbands, being thrown into the field of male achievement – is that women have been sold a bill of goods – perhaps not intentionally, but actually. With our strong emphasis on such dramatic and conspicuous male activities as building cities filled with skyscrapers and sending jet propelled rockets to the moon, women have come to believe that only the aims and virtues of the male are to be considered, and that male achievement is the proper aim for everyone, as though that is what counts. No indeed.
“Women used to know how to run the world, but when they move into the secondary energy position of doing the job of the man – who is, in fact, just the agent of the female power – women lose their real power and become resentful…”
“The man’s function is to act.”
“The woman’s function is to be.”
“She’s “It.” She is Mother Earth.”
At this seminar Joseph Campbell also told the following story:
“A little girl has a golden ball. Now gold is the incorruptible metal, the sphere is the perfect sphere, and the circle is her soul. She likes to go out to the edge of the forest, the abyss, and sit beside a little pool, a little spring, the entrance to the underworld, and there she likes to toss her soul around: toss the little ball and catch it, toss the ball and catch it, toss the ball and – bing! – she misses it, and it goes down into the pond.
“She starts to weep; she has lost her soul. This is depression. This is loss of energy and joy in life. Something has slipped out. It is the counter part of Helen of Troy being stolen in the classic story of the ILIAD: Helen of Troy was stolen, so they want to get her back
“So, the little golden ball has dropped, her soul has been swallowed by the wolf of the underworld. Now, when the energy goes down like that, the power that’s at the bottom of the pool, the inhabitant of the underworld comes up – a dragon, or in this case, a little frog. He says “What is the matter little girl?” And she tells him, “I’ve lost my golden ball.” And he says, “I’ll get it for you.” And she says, “That would be very nice.” And he says, “What will you give me.”
“Now, she has to give up something, there has to be some kind of exchange, so she says. “I’ll give you my golden crown.” He says, “I do not want your golden crown.” “I’ll give you my pretty silk dress.” “I don’t want your pretty silk dress.” “Well”, she demands, “what do you want?” “I want to eat with you at the table, be with you as your playmate, sleep with you in your bed.” So, underestimating the frog, she says, “Okay, I’ll do that.”
“The frog goes down and brings up the ball. Now he is the hero who is on the adventure. She, without so much as a thank you, takes the ball and goes trotting home, and he comes flopping after her, saying, “Wait for me.” He’s very slow.
“She gets home, and that evening, when the little princess and King Daddy and Queen Mother are having dinner, doing very nicely with their meal, this green creature comes flopping up the front steps: plomp, plomp, plomp. The girl goes a bit pale, and her father asks, “So what’s the matter? What’s that?” And she says, “oh just a little frog I met.” And he says, “Did you make any promises?”
“Now there’s the moral principle coming in; you have to correlate all these things. So, when she answers, “Yes,” the king says, “Well, then, open the door and let him in.” So, in comes the frog, and he’s down on the floor, and then he says, “I want to be on the table. I want to eat off your golden plate.” Well, that spoils dinner. The dinner is finished, and she goes up to bed. He comes flopping up the stairs after her and bangs against the door, saying, "I want to come in.” So she opens the door and lets him in. “I want to sleep in your bed with you.” Well, that is more than she can take.
“There are several ways of ending this part of the story, but the one I like best is where she just picks up the frog and throws him against the wall. The frog cracks open, and out steps this beautiful prince, with eyelashes like a camel. It seems he had also been in trouble: he had been cursed by a hag into the condition of a frog. Now that’s the little boy who hasn’t dared to move on into adulthood. She is the little girl who is at the brink of adulthood. Both of them are refusing it, but each now helps the other out of this dilemma, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful experience.
“Then, the story says, the next morning, after they had been married, a coach comes to the front door. It was his coach. He was a prince, after all, whose kingdom had been in desolation since his transformation into a frog. So he and his bride get into the coach, and as they are driving away, they hear a loud sound: Bang! He says to the coachman, “What’s the matter, Henry? What’s happened?” And Henry says, “Well ever since you have been gone, my prince, there have been four bands of iron around my heart. One of them has now broken.” As they ride further, there are three more “Bangs,” and then the heart of the coachman beats properly once again.
“The coachman is symbolic of the land that requires the prince as its generating and governing power. He’d failed his duty and gone into the underworld, but down in the underworld, he found his little bride.
“I like that story particularly, because both of them are in trouble, both are at the bottom of the pond, and each rescues the other in this funny way. Meanwhile, the world up there has been waiting for its prince to return. So that is one example of the hero journey.”
In the case of a woman giving birth, nurturing, bringing up a family, and successfully and happily following her nature with full awareness of her position and power in the world, there is no such hero adventure. However if a woman engages herself in the field of men’s tasks, she will undergo the same basic hero adventure as a man. The imagery will be a little different, but the basic stages of the inner journey, the visionary quest will be the same.
Men’s imagery will often be centred around a radiant jewel, or a gem, whereas women’s imagery might be of her giving birth to a child and holding it in her arms. As Joseph Campbell says: “The child is her spiritual birth, since the imagery of biological commitment is translated even to the spiritual forms.”
So, it is the female energy of the universe that gives life its forms. It is also the female energy that is the nurturing and healing force in the universe. This means, however that it is also the female energy of the universe that can take away, or refuse to give forms. The mythological images that equate to this aspect of the feminine energies in the Hindu system are Kali, or Shakti, who in one form before creation is the Maha-Kali (Mighty Time, the Mother, the Formless One, the Great Power) who was one with Maha- Kala, the Absolute. Or Shyama-Kali, who is the Dispenser of boons and the Dispeller of Fear. But Shmashanna-Kali is the embodiment of the power of destruction. And in Greek mythology, there is Medusa.
Here are some more of Joseph Campbell’s quotes on this subject, also found in ‘A Joseph Campbell Companion’, subtitled: ‘Reflections on the Art of Living’:
“Where agriculture is a main means of support, there are earth and Goddess powers.”
“Where hunting predominates, it’s male initiative that empowers the killing of animals.”
“Male = social order.”
“Female = nature order.”
“The male’s job is to relate to life.”
“The female’s job is to become it.”
“The Goddess gives birth to forms and kills, or takes these forms back.”
“Where male power dominates, you have separation.”
“Where female power dominates, there’s a non-dual, embracing quality.”
The following will become a regular feature for a while, if that’s what you, the reader, wants. It is the questions from a final exam of a correspondence course on shamanism. I have copied one person’s answers and have included my comments, as if I were marking them. Be aware that some of the questions are irrelevant to the true spirit of shamanism.
Question 1. What factors do you think are responsible for attracting people towards shamanism?
The resurgence of interest in shamanism is a reflection of the fact that humankind has increasingly fallen out of harmony with nature.
While contemporary society fragments, shamanism refreshes ancient memories of harmonious human community and offers us hope.
Shamanism and similar mysterious areas of research have gained in significance because they teach new ideas about mind and spirit, healing our wounds and discovering the truth within. They speak of things like vastly expanding the realm of consciousness. They do so at a time when Western thought finds itself in a general crisis and traditional modes of thinking are being questioned.
The traditional place of the natural sciences and our ethical and moral codes of value seem to be no longer adequate. This restrictive apparel is coming apart at the seams, and through the gaps we can perceive aspects of the shaman’s world.
If modern science wishes to avoid an increasing alienation from these new insights and realities it cannot afford to ignore them. We have begun to explore the darkest corners of the human mind, and many ideas belonging to the primitive are coming to be looked upon as progressive and as extremely significant for the future of mankind. If we do not succeed in integrating that which we have suppressed or crowded out for so long, the dark shadow hovering over our mechanistic and materialistic lifestyle will become ever more ominous.
In fact, our culture needs a great deal more than a changed lifestyle. Thought structures and the relationship between consciousness and matter are badly out of balance, so that our world is threatening to squash us to destruction.
Shamanism teaches us to reach below the surface of modern superficialities and reconnect with something old and mysterious within the depths of our soul. Many people are now experiencing an awareness of the spiritual deficit that exists in the world today.
The mythographer Joseph Campbell frequently expressed the need for a mythology for our time. Perhaps shamanism will be the new spirituality for the millennium.
In my opinion you have hit the nail on the head at every step of this discussion, however, the important new discoveries in shamanism and mysticism are not new ideas about mind and spirit but universal ideas that have been suffocated for so long that they seem new. There are plenty of true new ideas, but most of them are more illusions or fanciful twists of old truths.
Joseph Campbell’s expression of a mythology for today was usually added to by saying that society is currently moving too fast to be mythologised, and that the trick is to bring the messages of the old myths into current understanding. When we live with an understanding of the messages, society will slow down enough to evolve the old mythologies into new ones. Shamanism always has been and always will be the true experience of life and therefore there is no need for belief. Belief comes from someone else’s experience, like believing Jesus’s teachings. If you go and have your own experience that Jesus had, you won’t need belief.
Life and Energy Counselling.
Dream and Vision Interpretations.
Shaman Stone and Medicine Card Readings.
Stone-people (Sweat) Lodges.
Chakras and Auras.
Healing the Healer.
Understanding Vibration, Manifestation and Quantum Physics.
All manner of spiritual cleansing, making sacred space, and sacred ceremonies.