Saturday, October 5, 2019

Spiritual authority in Shamanism

A few days ago I had a conversation with a monk about my ability to talk to stones.  The conversation ranged widely--is it a spirit in the stone, or the stone itself?  Do all stones talk, or just some of them?  What is the difference between a stone and a rock, and does one talk more or rather than the other? 

I did not do very well with my words.  I felt like a small child trying to share something that cannot be explained, but only known.  And who really takes a child's knowing very seriously? The monk was very kindly and supportive, but still, I felt inarticulate of spiritual authority.

What is spiritual authority in Shamanism?  This authority does not come from an outside power, nor is it bestowed due to a set of beliefs or customs.  Spiritual authority in shamanism grows from one's own actions and experiences in the physical world.  The power that is generated comes through a connection that is at the same time both ordinary and spiritual.  It is not possible to obtain this authority through reading, or watching, or thinking, but only through doing.

Here are some ways of encouraging the connection that opens into spiritual authority.

Experience sets itself in whatever the landscape allows.

Arrange to be in landscapes where deep experience is possible.  This does not mean you must hike through a desert or scale mountains, but rather, be willing to sit in the rain, walk without a flashlight,
climb a tree, crawl beneath a hedge. 

Have a love of setting out on journeys.

Learn from the strongest beings what it means to  journey into the unknown.  This begonia top broke from its tuberous root during a strong wind, and yet stays alive by growing roots from its stem.  

Discover the terrain of an inner journey by visiting an Oracle, or journey into change just by taking a walk across rough ground that requires being awake to where your feet go.

Be rooted in nature's orderliness.

We all move within and without.  Keep track of your cycles of gain and cease, and how these fit in the widening circles of  the tides, the seasons, the cycles of moon rise and sunset. 

Honour your goodness of fit within nature's orderliness with a song, a gesture, a moment of beauty.

Understand there are no coincidences,
only omens.

Once you feel the connection, what appears ordinary becomes spiritual, and you realize that everything is always speaking, even through its apparent silence.   

This feeling is spiritual authority.