Concerning Ceremony

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.

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How We Become Fragmented

Every interaction between two things causes some change. Think about this. When water moves across a stone, part of that stone is pulled from it and carried away. It is a trivial amount at any given moment, but the years will alter the shape of the stone.

Some interactions cause change that takes away from us and some interactions can restore us. This post is focusing on becoming aware of how we are being chipped away, eroded by things we choose to do as well as events beyond our individual control.

Relationships: specifically bad relationships. Some people naturally take from others. I don’t mean like thieves taking your new shoes, but they take energy. Examine the people in your life, and observe how they relate to you. If they typically come to you and tell you about all the crap that’s going on, all the drama, all the things they don’t like, then they are taking from you: emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Society at large: television, radio, Internet, advertisements, consumerism, greed, politics, crime, war. Obviously we cannot easily separate ourselves from these things. Certainly some of these same things are beneficial. After all, the products of our society are allowing me to share these ideas with you right now. Water is essential for life, but too much of it will kill you. Fire is a great tool, but used carelessly it can cause harm.

Our environment: high-fructose corn syrup, chemicals in our food, Monsanto, poisons on our crops, GMOs, added sugars, caffeine, toxic water, air pollution, noise, pollution, signal pollution. We have made the very environment we live in into an unhealthy space. Some of these things we can choose to avoid, others are not so easy to escape.

Traumas: Being in an serious accident, being emotionally and physically abused, falling ill to disease, witnessing something horrific. These are sudden events that can not only cripple us emotionally and physically, but they can do significant damage to our spirit.

All of these things wear at us. Like the rock in the riverbed, the majority of what we experience is slight and we don’t even notice it. But it changes us. As people get older, they often become “jaded” and feel pessimistic about new experiences. They weren’t always that way. The rock used to have unique features but becomes smooth. In like manner, our spirit, our soul erodes over time as well.

Shamans help restore the eroded soul. Some may specialize with only helping repair the damage from trauma, but I think most are “general” healers. We help people find the self they once knew. We help them regain their passion. We help them feel refreshed and young at heart again. These are things that contribute to our overall well being, including our ability to resist and recover from other ailments