A Trip to the Movie House

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.



Series: My awakening (part 1)

In the summer of 1990, I was twenty years old. I had decided to take a break from college and join the U.S. Army. During one of our final dress green inspections by my company commander, I blacked out just as he stood in front of me. My drill instructor was angry, and told me it was because I had “locked my knees”. But a week later I was in a military hospital with an infection in my head. The whole left side of my face was swollen and for three days I was in and out of consciousness.

I remember waking up now and then and seeing different faces as doctors would come look and try to figure out what exactly had happened. They would talk, but their voices were very muffled and I couldn’t talk very well at all. I still have no memory of even being released from the hospital. The next thing I can remember is that I was now at my Advanced Individual Training and apparently in good working condition.

In January of 1991, I had completed all of my training and was assigned to an Engineering battalion. I was promptly deployed to the Gulf War a few days later. My platoon was selected to move forward into Kuwait city to help with restoration missions. I was an Electrical Engineer and my tasks were getting power back on at two hospitals.

Tma1he first memory I have of something strange happened when I was walking through a dark corridor at the first hospital. I was assessing the situation and looking for the power center, where I would hopefully find backup generators.

I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Tension was high, because this was still a combat zone. After a careful search, I found there were no enemies. However, I wasn’t alone. The walls began to ripple like they were underwater and I saw jellyfish darting about. Most were small, like the size of a softball and even a golf ball. Some were bigger, around my size, and they appeared to be walking on their tendrils.

I just stood there. I know my heart must have been pounding, but I couldn’t feel it. The jellyfish moved about as if I wasn’t even there. Either they didn’t notice me or didn’t know (or care perhaps) that I was seeing them. When I thought about retreating, I then  realized I was paralyzed. I couldn’t feel my feet or move my legs. I don’t even know how I was standing but it didn’t feel like I could fall down.

This seemed to go on for several minutes, and then suddenly there was a very loud snap and all of the jellyfish just instantly vanished. The walls were no longer distorting and I could definitely feel my heart pounding now.

I continued to stand there for a few more minutes. No military training gave me any reference on what to do in this situation. Eventually, I calmed down and continued on my mission. Nothing else strange happened after that, but I played the experience over and over in my head, and was pretty spaced out while I worked.

Luckily for me there were no accidents involving electricity that day, either.

The Technoshaman

Just like the shamans of ancient tribal traditions, modern urban shamans may harness various physical objects as foci in their spiritual practice. These objects are called by different names.

  • fetish is an object inhabited by or used to channel spirits
  • talisman is an object blessed by spirit or imbued with certain properties that can bring benefit to the practitioner
  • totem is an object the shaman identifies with and is often a symbol of their tribe or clan

Ancient tribal shamans used objects common in their lives: animal parts such as bone, feathers, fur or teeth and carved stone or wood. A commonly recognizable example of such an object is the the Native American dream catcher. The urban shaman will find their own objects relative to their environment.

Some will still lean toward natural objects, finding their connection to spirit firmly based in nature. But some will fully embrace technology and create or adopt objects based on the digital lifestyle from which they emerged. A common example of this would be using their cellular phone as a fetish. Considering that it is their communication portal with the physical world, it stands to reason that it would be a practical focus for their spirit work.

Continue reading The Technoshaman