Walking through the fetid
subterranean pipe,
the blood blows past me
like some archaic wind,
uninterrupted and unyielding,
eroding everything that
chances to pause too long.
The drummers in the distance
keep me on task.
Two beats and pause,
two beats and pause.
“March on now soldier,
she’s just up ahead.”
I trudge onward like a drone
driven by a singular instinct
to survive,
to learn,
to know.
The cadence quickens,
The blood becomes louder,
I cannot feel my legs,
my eyes are blinded by the dust
of ten-thousand rusted swords.
Two beats and pause,
two beats and pause.
Their demands become louder,
“She’s just ahead,
you cannot stop.”
The tunnel is endless.
I have no memory of when
I began this forced advance.
Where did I come from?
Who am I?
Who is she?
None of that matters.
I cannot stop,
I cannot turn back.
I am the search.
I am the progression
of madness into
until there
is no I

We are spirit entities that are (for lack of a better word) “inhabiting” the physical matter we observe and measure in our universe. We do this by choice in order to gain new knowledge through experiencing “life” in the material form.

Our experiences here and our spirit selves are not separate. For most, the mind is unaware, but we do have evidence of our motivation for being here.  It’s pretty much the mirror of our desire to “escape” our bodies and experience the universe beyond our physical senses. For most of us, we have the feeling that there’s some greater secret out there. Our spirit selves know more than our brain, and usually, the brain is kept in the dark. Why? It’s a distraction from the experience. It’s a challenge for the mind to be aware that it’s not the true self. For most, there isn’t an easy way to come to terms with this.  It will change how we experience everything else.

Our spirit selves are aware of everything we perceive with our brains and we will carry that knowledge with us forever. Our minds, however, are temporary and are primarily only aware of what the physicals senses relate to them. The knowledge of spirit cannot be easily integrated into the mind because it has no physical experiences to confirm the knowledge. The mind is the physical organ used to communicate experience in this world to the spirit, but it has a difficult time with the spirit communicating back to it.

This is the danger of the mind glimpsing the spirit world. It can be a world of illusionary experiences that our mind struggles to deny. The things we see do not come from our eyes. The things we touch are not felt with the skin. We move without the body. We walk. We swim. We fly. But the brain isn’t prepared to experience anything except what comes through our nervous system.

Sensing spirit is a labyrinth that sends us deep in search of understanding. We want…no need to comprehend. This exploration leads us answers that turn out to be dead ends years later. It all comes down to this: we either ride it out, or spiral into madness. We either become accustomed to both worlds, or we become lost between them.




Staring out my window
Watching the clouds
Darkness slithers closer
Searching for me
Hungry for my pain

I see the rain
Against the glass
But it makes no sound
It calls me
Beckons me to join
Its peaceful dance

Opening the door
Stepping outside
Raising my hands
Offering my body
Begging for release

The rain against my face
Is not rain at all
But the numbing poison
Of the great beast above
Its fangs obscured
As it waits

I smile without knowing
The soothing pleasure
The erotic scent
The feeling of happiness
Was all for naught.

To the urban shaman, ceremony is a fancy user interface. It’s sole purpose is to affect others in a manner to positively influence their perception of your practice. Do the spirits require ceremony? No. Is ceremony required to heal others? No. Do I need to perform a ceremony to journey and seek guidance from the spirits? No.

Does ceremony have value? Yes.

The spiritual healing process is broken down into four stages:

  1. A person requests the shaman to help them with their illness.
  2. The shaman consults with their spirit contacts and requests aid on the person’s behalf.
  3. The spirits locate fragments (parts of the person’s spirit that have been lost during their experiences in the physical layer) and offer to replace them.
  4. The person accepts the lost fragments and reabsorbs them into the whole.

If all of these can occur without ceremony, then how does it have value?

People are spirit entities, but this experience in the physical layer (our current reality) often hides this understanding from us. Some of us need a physical representation of the work. They need to have something they can experience in order to make a connection between the work and the result. Ceremony is the tool that provides this.

Ceremony is what prepares the physical mind, which in turn allows the recipient’s spirit to accept the work being done.

This isn’t faith. This isn’t about having to believe. Ceremony is used specifically to prevent the mind from blocking the work. Some people can fully believe in the shamanic healing process but still need the ceremony for their mind to accept it.

Our brains are dependent upon processing input. Most people do not easily “tune in” to their spirit sense, so the brain relies on physical input in order to understand that something has happened. As bound spirits experiencing the physical realm, mental acceptance permits spiritual acceptance.

Some may always need it. Some may not need ceremony after the first experience with spirit. Some minds may be open to the work without need of additional evidence at all.

The shaman is the bridge, the facilitator, the one responsible for initiating the healing process and for ensuring the healing is accepted. By using ceremony, they are able to increase the chances of success.

I like to use the metaphor of a movie house to explain my cosmology. In it, there are:

  • characters/scenery in the movie: what spirits inhabit and are “bound” to in order to gain a specific set of experiences.
  • spirits watching the movie: our true selves which we often choose to forget about while watching the movie. We are bound to the experience until the movie ends. This means that, while it’s possible to take our attention off the movie, we can only observe and communicate with others outside of the movie.
  • Other spirits: these are “unbound”, existing fully in their natural state. Unlike bound spirits, they have the ability to act freely.  Upon death, bound spirits return to being unbound, until such a time that they choose to watch another movie.

Imagine that you and I go to the movies together and sit next to each other. When the movie begins, the lights go down and our reality is what is on the screen. I forget about you sitting there next to me. I identify with the character on the screen. This is a very special movie, though. It’s just one continuous show. In it, everyone in the room identifies with a different character and sees the movie from that perspective. While the character they identify exists, they are bound to it. Once that character dies, they can leave (or stick around and wait for their friends or pick a new character to identify with).

But why bind yourself to a tree or a rock? The experiences are different, but no less valuable. A tree experiences the world in it’s own unique way. Perceiving the surroundings in ways we cannot understand. A rock’s experience is one that can potentially last billions of years. Spirits that choose this experience know this. Time from that perspective is very foreign to us as humans, but it has value.

Sometimes, some of us lose focus on the movie and look around the theater. Those people remember who they are and see the room full of other movie goes. Everyone in the room (it’s a really big movie theater) is a character in the movie, experiencing it, unaware that they are in the theater for the time being.

The movie on the screen is the “middle layer”. It is the illusion we are sharing. The theater room we are all seated in is the “lower layer”, it is where we see the true spirits of all the things in the movie.

If I get up and walk outside the theater, I will see countless people going about the various things they do. This is the “upper layer”. Filled with spirits who are not bound to the characters in the movie.

Even though I walk outside the theater, I’m still bound to my character in the film, and I know I need to go back to it because, after all, I chose to come see it and every moment I’m out here, I’m missing out on the movie back there.

As a shaman, I use my awareness of the worlds and entities outside of the screen to ask for guidance and help on behalf of those focused on the screen. For example: suppose your cellphone fell off your lap while you’re watching the movie (the focused you watching the move, not the character. Yes, I know spirits don’t have cellphones. It’s a metaphor, go with it) . You are really caught up in the story though, so you can’t pull yourself away from it. Instead, your character feels worried sick about something they can’t really put their finger on. The shaman can talk to others in the theater or even go get someone from the outside to come search for it for you and put it back into your lap. These things happen outside your movie persona’s ability to perceive, but it makes them/you feel better.

Thus the shaman works with spirit to fix and recover things for us in the spirit realms while we are too busy to be able to do it ourselves. They do this to help us stay focused on what we want to learn or enjoy.



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