The Bottom Layer (or lower world)

This is an overview of my explorations into the layers of our world that are perceived by the spirit sense.

Journeys always begin in the central layer. This is what we can detect with our physical senses, the “real world”.

The bottom layer is very closely related to the central layer. When the physical senses dull and our perception of the central layer fade this is where we typically first find ourselves. It is the “inside” of the central layer. It is the energy of the world we live in that we cannot detect with our physical senses. Rocks, water, trees, animals, the air itself: these things take on an altered version of themselves.

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Shadow of Childhood

There is a special place
hidden within my memories.
It is a shadow of childhood.
Where Halloween
Was costumes and candy,
Christmas was magical,
And Love
Was a pure and unblemished vision.

I ride through the misty streets
Of the small town in which I grew up
On my old Schwinn bicycle:
The one with the purple banana seat
And the big curved handlebars
Tipped with plastic tassels.

Everything is still, gray, dull.
For a moment the air is stale,
Like an old library book
Having been shelved for years,
Musty pages filled with words
That may never be read again.

Then, like a timid dawn,
People fade into life.
The old yellow painted lines
Glow on the road beneath me.
I hear the sounds of cars
And barking dogs.

And here it is,
right where I left it.
My favorite Hot Wheels car
Tucked away inside the old tire swing
Hanging in the back yard.
This is the fastest car in town.
Every kid wanted it.
And it’s still mine.

I walk over to the old dog house
Where Sooie waits for me.
My mom said that’s what you call a pig.
I shrugged. Sooie didn’t know that.
As I kneel, he licks my face,
Unaware that he’s been dead for twenty years
And this is the first time
I’ve thought about him in almost as long.

Looking up, I see her.
Maria, my grade-school girlfriend.
I loved her ever since that day
I accidentally looked up her skirt
When she was climbing on the monkey bars.
I’m glad she’s here like this
A beautiful young girl,
Happy, carefree.
No longer the heroin addict
Living on a street corner
In some nameless city.

A cold wind distracts me,
Leaving me alone a moment later.
The dog house is long empty.
The tire swing is just a rotting rope.
The road is silent.
My rusty bike is buried in the weeds.

There is a special place
Hidden within my memories.
It is the shadow of childhood.
It is the haunting ghost
Of innocence.

One foot here, one foot there: A message to those who are confused by it all

An urban shaman living in western civilization faces a unique set of challenges. First,cloudspirits unlike shamans who work in tribal cultures with a long standing tradition and a deep, respectful connection to their community and their society at large, the western urban shaman is more often than not seen as either someone with a mental disorder or a charlatan out to make money by exploiting the faith of others. This last point I find exceedingly ironic, since the accepted religious leaders of the west (mostly of the Christian faith) represent the lion’s share of those exploiting the trust of others for personal profit and pleasure. From televangelists selling empty promises in exchange for opulent materialism to priests sexually abusing children, there is no shortage of exploitation going on.

Medical doctors, therapists and even armchair psychiatrists are all poised to “diagnose” the urban shaman’s spiritual experiences as one mental illness or another. If I say I interact with the spirit realms and form close relationships with spirit guides, they will tell me that is schizophrenia. Then many of those same people go to a church the next Sunday, pray to God and claim a close relationship with Jesus. They believe in angels guiding them and protecting them, and trust that God is there to smile upon their holy actions and punish those who are undeserving.

I cannot speak to the religious experiences of another. I cannot invalidate their claims because I do not “know their god”. Yet this is the struggle of a modern urban shaman in western society. To them, our spiritual experience is a mental illness. It is something we should be medicated for and endure therapy for in order to be cured. I see people on social media call upon their friends to pray for them if they become sick, or have an accident, or just need support. Very few, if any, of those people would turn to a shaman. Our spirituality is not part of the culture.

Continue reading One foot here, one foot there: A message to those who are confused by it all

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.

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Memories of Avalon

The frogs speak to me in a secret language.
They are whispering laments
of unfulfilled destinies.
Sad tales of fallen Knights filled with regret,
unwilling to sleep.
Blood lies deep beneath our feet,
a silent testament to long forgotten pain.
I hear the anguish of mothers,
their sons’ bodies pierced and trampled.
Come home my elder children.
Our hearts cry out even now.
Midnight mists
pour across ancient battlefields,
the last breaths of a thousand chests.
The still, fetid air their only lasting artifact.
Sing to me now your solemn march.
Voices forever quenched, longing to be heard.
Rest. Rest now and take your peace.
The darkness will embrace you.
This is your home.
The frogs speak to me in a secret language.
I pause for a moment
and I listen.
They speak of torment
and I listen.
They recall suffering
and I remember.