Concerning Evil

I was asked, “How do you deal with evil spirits?”

Short answer? I don’t.

Good and evil are concepts created within our human existence. Evil describes a person or act that is culturally abhorrent, immoral and malevolent. People can do evil things. But this is a subjective property that only exists within our frame of reference.

Soldiers may travel from one country to another for the purpose of “restoring order and bringing a “better” way of life for the people, which usually involves imposing their way of life on the people.

Back in the soldier’s home country, they are celebrated as heroes. They are doing good things by spreading the ideals of their people. However, in the receiving country many might view the soldiers as invaders, forcing their ideologies upon weaker people who cannot defend against a powerful enemy. They may look upon the soldiers as evil.

So which is it? Good soldiers or evil soldiers? It depends on your point of view.

When I first began working with spirits, there was fear. Fear comes from the unknown. I was afraid that some would do harm to me. Why did I think this? Because that is the way of this world. Every unknown entity could be a predator. It is a primal instinct that our advanced society has done little to eradicate.

But we do know better. I’m reminded by the scene in Empire Strikes Back where Luke sees a cave and gets a feeling that something is not right. Yoda tells him it is a domain of evil. Luke asks him, “What’s in there?” Yoda tells him, “Only what you take with you.

We bring our baggage with us when we journey. If we have fear, we will find things to be afraid of. If we believe we will encounter malevolence and harm, that is what we will find. How we experience the spirit realm is still molded by the physical mind, because it is through this that our interpretations are formed.

In the Stephen Mitchell translation of the Daodejing are some insights that echo this:

There is no greater illusion than fear,
no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself,
no greater misfortune than having an enemy.

Whoever can see through all fear
will always be safe.

This idea had a definite impact upon me back in the mid-nineties when I was struggling with my own fears. I began to question why would spirits want to do me harm? What is their motivation? I understand human motives like greed and jealousy as reasons other people would do me harm, but I knew nothing about what drives the actions of spirits.

Then I asked myself, other than my fear, what evidence do I have that spirits want to harm me? Of course, I had none. While that was comforting to realize, it still didn’t erase my fear. Fear is overcome through experience and knowledge. It took time, and experience working with spirits to fully understand that malevolence is something I bring with me to the spirit world, not something that I encounter while there.

My personal experience with spirits now is that I do not encounter evil. I do not project this upon them and I do not perceive them as evil or malevolent.

Will others encounter evil and malevolent spirits? Absolutely, just like Luke encountered Darth Vader in the cave. What we bring with us is real to us. Belief is a very strong tool, but it can also be a prison. It not only shapes us, but also how we see the worlds around us.

 

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Creating an altar space

The shamanic altar is a place to honor the spirits and show them you welcome their presence. It can be used by you as a focal point for meditation, communion and to add a powerful aesthetic to a room. Altars can be physical or digital. The guidance in this post is about physical altars.

Here is a simple guide to help you build your home altar:

  1. Decide upon the intent. What is the primary purpose of the altar?
    • Is it a place to make offerings?
    • Ask for blessings?
    • Clear your mind?
    • Find peace?
    • Seek insight?
  2. Choose the location. It can literally be anywhere in your house:
    • on a furniture surface
    • on the floor
    • on wall shelves
    • What’s important is that it feels right to you.
  3. Select the basic implements:
    • Start with a base. This can be a cloth cover, a rock slab, or even circuit boards. Something that signifies the boundaries of the space.
    • Altars will typically need to have items for receiving offerings, such as a goblet or bowl. This can be something natural like made of bone or a simple metal or even something very modern like an electronic lock-box.
    • A candle is a useful tool for signifying that you are spending intentional time before it. Or perhaps you prefer an LED light that you can control with an app on your phone.
    • Another implement is a bell, chime, or even a USB speaker that you use to  play whatever sound that signifies purifying the space.
  4. Select the adornments. These are decorations that creates your altar’s “theme”, that beautify the space and enhance it’s sacred feel:
    • Small items of personal significance to you such as crystals or jewelry
    • Carvings relevant to your intent
    • Small found items such as rocks or bottle caps
    • Tools such as a knife or a compass, a remote control

After assembling your altar, dedicate it with your first offering. What you offer is your choice. The most important thing about an offering is that you value what you offer. The altar works best when you also build a habit to interact with it at specific times. This can be daily, weekly, twice a month, etc. Whatever you feel is the appropriate amount, define that from the beginning and stay with it.

Some things I have learned

Spoiler alert: This is my understanding. If it doesn’t feel right to you, let it go. There is no value in debating spiritual matters. I am sharing this for the benefit of those who are seeking to learn different beliefs, in search of their own understanding. The thing to keep in mind is that what we believe is the choice we need to make at the time we make it.

Urban shamanism is not a religion. As shamans, we do not worship gods. We do not pray to deity. We communicate with spirit entities on behalf of others to help them in this world. We request guidance, insight and healing in order to benefit our communities. Here are some of the things I have learned through working with those spirit beings:

  • The universe is not divine.
  • There is no universal “love” or any other emotion.
  • There are no gods or goddesses.
  • The universe does not punish us, nor does it reward us.
  • The spirits shamans work with are kin.
  • We are spirit entities who are experiencing the world, the universe, from the perspective of physical matter and energy.
  • Everything we experience while being “alive” is for the purpose of learning and having fun.
  • Many of the spirits we encounter have experienced countless “lives” here.
  • We choose to be here, in this state. While most of us purposefully forget who we really are while we’re here, this identity we accept is just temporary.
  • Often we meet others here in our physical lives that we also know as our true selves.
  • The spirits are energy beings, just like us but are not directly experiencing the world as we are. Some know us in our true form and stay close during our trip through the middle layer.
  • The spirits want to help us, but typically will not interfere in our experience unless asked.
  • Shamans are able to perceive outside the experience of the physical world, and interact directly with those entities who are not currently inhabiting this layer of being.

 

Some questions about dark energy

Since before recorded history, shamans around the world have visited different layers of the universe. Many call these the upper, middle and lower worlds. Unfortunately, these worlds are not measurable with scientific equipment and cannot be independently verified through repeatable observation. Because of this, science must reject what cannot be tested.

But as our knowledge of the physics of the universe increases, scientists have discovered that, based on what we know, there is not enough matter in galaxies to hold them together. To make computer models work, there must be more gravity, and gravity is caused by the curvature of space due to mass. So there simply must be more mass in the universe than we can currently observe.

drkmtrAnother complexity is explaining why the universe’s expansion is accelerating. Again, scientists theorize there must be a currently undetectable energy in the universe that is causing this. Not just a little energy mind you, a lot.

Current estimates forecast that the universe is actually 68% dark energy, 27% dark matter and only around 5% “normal” matter. That’s quite a bit of mass and pure energy out there that we cannot see or measure.

Some questions:

Could there be other forms of life that consist entirely of dark matter/energy?

We know only about life as it is found on our planet with regular matter. It’s not an outlandish theory to consider that if this accounts for only 5% of the universe, life may exist within the other realms. We could be living side by side with dark energy based entities.

Could the “soul” or our life energy actually be dark energy?

If there are dark energy entities (spirits, angels, guides, etc.), perhaps we are also dark energy beings who are inhabiting this rare form of matter making up 5% of the universe. Scientists cannot quantify the soul. Yet so many of us, across all cultures throughout the entire history of humanity, have felt as if there is “more” to us than just our physical bodies.

Could the shaman’s journey be from an awareness of dark energy and matter?

Suppose we are dark energy beings inhabiting our bodies. Perhaps the shaman is someone who is able to perceive their native existence despite being focused on experiencing the universe of normal matter.

Richard Bach explained this concept in his book Illusions, when he suggested the real world as we observe it is not entirely who we are. It’s like when we go into a movie theater. We sit together in a room with dozens of other people, the lights go down and the movie plays on the screen. For a couple of hours, we forget who we are, and identify with the characters on the screen.

We feel fear, happiness, surprise…a full range of emotions. When the characters are in danger, we feel in danger. When good triumphs, we feel victorious. But occasionally, we may pull our focus away from the movie and remember that we are just sitting in a theater with a bunch of other people. We existed before the movie started and we will continue to exist after it ends.

Perhaps the shaman is simply able to see the theater despite the distraction of the movie.

Your thoughts?

So what do you think about these questions? We know life exists within the 5% of the universe we can see. Is it possible that life could also exist within the energy and matter that makes up 95% of the universe?

Leave a comment and share your ideas.

Series: My awakening (part 2)

After that first surreal vision at the hospital in Kuwait, I didn’t have another similar experience until many years later, well beyond my time in the military. However, I did feel very different. I began to notice that I could “feel” other people’s emotional states a lot stronger than before.  I think most of us have come across someone who is really angry or depressed and picked up on it, but I began to feel myself being in tune with everyone I came close to. I wasn’t reading their specific thoughts, but it was like the primal energy behind those thoughts was radiating from their bodies, and I was able to perceive it.

It felt like a distinct tightness in my chest, even if I wasn’t directly interacting with them. Simple proximity was enough to cause me to be aware. This wasn’t an intentional effort to read people.  It was something I experienced like one would smell a scent from a nearby person who had on too much cologne or perfume. I didn’t always detect something from every single person, either. I speculated that some were just relaxed and didn’t radiate anything, or at least anything I would feel.

barpeopleAt the time, I was a man in my twenties with a very healthy sexual appetite. I could go to a club and easily recognize people who were attracted to me and open to “hooking up”. I felt like a hunter picking from willing “prey”. My mind would be very focused on the purely physical desire. I could move through the rooms of people socializing and find others to satisfy my needs.

I had a lot of one-night stands. Everything was consensual, it was just easier because I could feel how they were responding to me as we talked. I was good at short-term relationships, but my hunger for new people kept me disinterested in monogamy. Even today, twenty-plus years later, that still holds true.

It was a very mixed blessing however, due to my inability to filter. It became increasingly more difficult to be in crowds, and by the mid-nineties, I stopped going to clubs because I found a new way to make contact with people: computer bulletin boards and then the Internet.

In those early digital days, the BBS scene was local. I would dial-in to a computer set up to be a messaging board and could interact with others. Some of the BBS’s were configured to allow multiple users to connect at the same time on different phone numbers. This allowed for real time chat. The users were usually in my city because long-distance phone charges discouraged far away people from using the systems.

So these were smallish digital communities that would regularly host “BBS parties” at someone’s home. There was enough variety to keep me satisfied, and when the shift to the Internet began, an explosion of new people in “chat-rooms” hosted by companies like AOL and Yahoo felt like new hunting grounds.

By the late 90’s I had fully adapted my sensitives into my carnal lifestyle. I still struggled with feeling “sane” and almost daily questioned whether or not I was suffering from delusions and my sexual success was the result of the confidence they created. There were a lot of rough times, too.

And then the visions returned.