Tag Archives | Shamanism

The Great Porcupine

Picture: Pearson Scott Foresman (PD)

In the spring of 2006, I was living in Madison, WI and going through a painful divorce. I decided the best remedy was for me to spend large stretches of time alone communing with nature. My work schedule at the time allowed me four days off after working three overnight shifts. So after work, I would drive five hours North to the Nicolet National Forest. The forest is a marvel of modern conservation. Reduced to clear cut stump fields by the turn of the century, it was restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s. Today it is a lush, healthy second growth forest teeming with wildlife – even wolves and black bears.

After one of my many long drives to Nicolet, I parked my car in the gravel Parking lot of my favorite lakeside campground and backpacked down a cross country ski trail which at this time of year was completely deserted by humans.… Read the rest

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Was Santa Claus A Stoned Magic Mushroom Shaman?

This theory may seem far-fetched but explains all; he is garbed in red and white to match the toadstool mushroom.  Mother Nature Network reveals:

According to one theory, the story of Santa and his flying reindeer can be traced to an unlikely source: hallucinogenic or “magic” mushrooms. “Santa is a modern counterpart of a shaman, who consumed mind-altering plants and fungi to commune with the spirit world,” said John Rush, an anthropologist and instructor at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif.

According to the theory, the legend of Santa derives from shamans in the Siberian and Arctic regions who dropped into locals’ teepeelike homes with a bag full of hallucinatory mushrooms as presents in late December, Rush said.

“As the story goes, up until a few hundred years ago these practicing shamans or priests connected to the older traditions would collect Amanita muscaria (the Holy Mushroom), dry them, and then give them as gifts on the winter solstice,” Rush told LiveScience.

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Interview With ‘Psychopomp’ Author Amanda Sledz

In her series Psychopomp, author Amanda Sledz takes a literary approach to writing about urban shamanism, magical thinking, tarot, telepathy and other themes usually reserved for the fantasy genre. The series follows four characters: Meena, a woman who has experienced a break with reality; her parents, Frank and Esther; and Lola, a teenager who is becoming a shaman whether she wants to or not.

The first book in the series, Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate, explores mental illness, empathy, our differing experiences of place, immigration and cultural identity, and the way our experience of family shapes our identity — without resorting to the cliches of genre fiction or descending into boring academic prose.

An excerpt from the first installment is here. I recently caught-up with her to talk about Psychopomp, self-publishing and more. Via Technoccult:

Klint Finley: I understand you wrote a first draft of the first book in college — can you walk us through how the book evolved?

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Hallucinogenic Plants And The Expansion Of Consciousness

How did the Mayan shamans gain their much-vaunted knowledge about astrological cycles, precession of the Equinoxes, and the intriguing series of calendars culminating in the infamous Long Count Calendar that will expire on December 21, 2012? John Major Jenkins, Graham Hancock and Alberto Villoldo talk about the shamans' use of hallucinogenic plants to access the realm of the supernatural in this clip from 2012: Science or Superstition: Subscribe to Disinformation's YouTube channel.
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Poetic Re-Evolution: Reality Sandwich Interviews Jodorowsky and Montadon

Sophie Pinchetti interviews filmmaker and artist Alejandro Jodorowsky and his wife and artist Pascale Montandon for Reality Sandwich (originally from the magazine, THE THIRD EYE):

Created by four hands, a third artist is born. The artistic communion, first drawn by Jodorowsky and then infused with colour by Montandon, levitates between fantasy, tragedy, humor and spirituality — all of which recall the essence of mysticism and symbolic theatrics in Jodorowsky’s films.
Sophie Pinchetti:  Your collaborative work seems to converge around spirituality. Where does your interest come from? 

Alejandro Jodorowsky: Spirituality is abstract. True art leads you to the discovery of your spirit. It’s not the quest, it’s the application, the practice of spirituality.

Pascale Montandon: In the same way I was simply going to say that it is a way of being in the world, a way of living. And obviously when you do an artistic work, the material of work is oneself.

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Peruvian Shamans Predict Obama Victory

Obama wins the most important of endorsements. This same association of shamans correctly prophesied his 2008 victory, it should be noted. Via Canada.com:

A group of Peruvian shamans are predicting the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama — and are trying to help it along.

The 12 medicine men and women in traditional Andean dress gathered Monday at the top of Lima’s San Cristobal hill, where they burned incense and rubbed a poster of Obama with flowers and the plant common rue, which is supposed to bring luck. Meanwhile, a poster of challenger Mitt Romney was assaulted with maracas and a sword as the shamans sang, whistled and danced in a circle for journalists, who came and went as the ceremony continued.

The group has staged similar rituals for the press ahead of major sports events and Peruvian elections.

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Shamanism Returning to South Korea

Via Reuters:

Photo credit Vassil

While Buddhism and various forms of Christianity remain the most widely practiced forms of religion in Korea, Reuters reports that the ancient practice of shamanism is on the rise:

In leaping from poverty to rapid modernization, the county’s dictatorship in the 1970s tried to eliminate shamanism, claiming that shamans deluded the world, while some Christian missionaries demonized them and their followers.

But today, visiting a mudang – shaman priest or priestess – is so common that politicians consult them seeking answers to questions such as whether they should relocate their ancestors’ remains to ensure good luck in the next election. Shaman characters have also featured in popular television shows.

“Public perception towards shamanism has improved a lot, with popular TV dramas contributing to shifting these views,” said Park Heung-ju, an authority on mudang at the Kut Research Institute in Seoul.”You can find repose by meeting with mudang.”

Continue reading at Reuters.… Read the rest

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Batman and Shamanism

BatmanSascha Idakaar gives us an unusual perspective on Batman over at Modern Mythology:

The mask is an idea, a symbol, we could look at from a million angles. It is, even at first glance, our double, a close relative of the mirror — but it is something other than the mirror. The mirror shows us our double. A mask creates a second double atop us. It transforms rather than reveals.

At the same time, a lot of psych pop lit has been written about Batman. But I’d like to use Batman as the pop culture model of the role of the mask.

Who is Batman, really?

Is is a story about how an emotionally disturbed, very rich young adult deals with psychological trauma that he cannot let go of. Some ideas, some emotions, are things that we hold onto, and they are done with us the moment we are done with them.

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