We’re all familiar with the physical senses, or our body senses. We know sight comes from our eyes, hearing comes from our ears, scent comes from our nose and so on. We even generally understand what each organ is sensing: the eyes sense visible light, the ears sense sound waves, etc.
The spirit sense doesn’t originate with an organ in the body. It is the interactions of our life force with the energies of the universe. It is non-local, meaning the perceptions do not even have to be near our own physical body.
The spirit sense is our personal window into all the layers of the universe. Why do I think we have this? Because we are part of that system. We are not separate from it and are not excluded from it’s nature.
The shaman has become aware of this sense. We have the ability to temporarily tune out our physical senses and allow our brain to receive the perceptions from the spirit sense. I often use an IT analogy to explain this idea. Computer networks communicate by two methods: wired and wireless. The wired networks use Ethernet cables to send data between devices. Think of these cables as our physical nervous system that connects our body to our brain. All sensory data from our “input devices” travels across the wired network of nerves directly into our brain.
The spirit sense is a WiFi access point to another network. It relays information to our brain, to the same centers that process the inputs that come from our wired senses. So we “see” and “hear” and “feel” things, but they are very foreign to us. In fact, they are so foreign that our brain tries to associate what we experience with what we know. So within the surreal world of the spirit realms, we sometimes see familiar things. We may encounter a spirit being and see it as a wolf or a bear. Or it may be some fantastic creature or even something that may seem like alien tech. Our ancestors saw what they know. They knew foxes and deer and jackals, etc.
We know these things too, but now we know much more as well.