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Thread: Neolithic Shamanism

  1. #1
    Loud Mouth Heka's Avatar
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    Neolithic Shamanism

    Book, by Raven Kaldera and Galina Krasskova. Has anyone read this? Or used it in their own spiritual development? I just got it as an ebook, and after reading the first chapter have decided I like it. I've even started some of the exercises in and see it as a good guide for me at the moment.

    So anyone else used it/read it/studied it? Or read any of their other books?
    ThorSon's milkshake brings all the PF girls to the yard - Volcaniclastic

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    Seen the desert and the birds
    You cut your hair short
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    Since the day you were born
    Revolting with anger
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    That everything was shit.

    - J. Wylder

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    Sr. Member MoonRaven's Avatar
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    Re: Neolithic Shamanism

    *Lols so hard she nearly falls of the sofa*

    Sorry, it's just that I got my dirty little mitts on that one just the other week . Now there's synchronicity for you. I've only skimmed so this is very much a preliminary judgement that may go in either direction as I read it more thoroughly.

    All in all find it not so bad, I realise a lot of recons are going to go all militant over it because it does not conform to lore, but since Kaldera and Krasskova is mostly speaking of their own tradition I can't really see why it the lack of scholarly veracity would matter. Also they make it clear that this is not to be taken as historically correct or adhering to lore but is based on what these two have learned from the Gods and the Spirits.


    That said, in certain places they present things that are the worst kind of nonsense, I've found some glaring errors in the historical and etymological 'truths', their translation of the meaning of the name Sleipner made my teeth hurt. Also the whole the-north-in-the-Viking-era-and-revious-was-covered-by-snow-and-ice-and-everyone-was-close-to-freezing-to-death-constantly quickly gets tiresome and displays a complete lack of knowledge about the wildly varying climate in Northern Europe, then as well as now, not to mention ignoring the fact that Bronze Age, Iron Age and Viking era was as warm in general climate as we are now. More or less.

    Okay, rant over.

    On the other hand, a lot of the things they do, that is as in the exercises and practices I do something similar in many cases. Like the part with connecting to plant spirits, in particular of those plants we eat. It has always puzzled me that there aren't more people doing this. And the whole feeding the vaettirs. I never figured out how people thinks it is okay to take energy from a place and not give something back. And the whole thing with incorporating crystals into your working/practise.


    So, my judgement. Take the contents with a whole ton of salt, if your experiences deviate from what they describe then go with your own thoughts and ideas. On the other hand, if you want something different than the usual recon song-and-dance when it comes to Nothern Tradition, it looks like not a bad book. But as stated above, don't rely too much on the historical, etymological, ect. facts.


    But then, I've only skimmed so far. I may have to get back to you later.

  3. #3
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Neolithic Shamanism

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRaven View Post
    That said, in certain places they present things that are the worst kind of nonsense, I've found some glaring errors in the historical and etymological 'truths', their translation of the meaning of the name Sleipner made my teeth hurt. Also the whole the-north-in-the-Viking-era-and-revious-was-covered-by-snow-and-ice-and-everyone-was-close-to-freezing-to-death-constantly quickly gets tiresome and displays a complete lack of knowledge about the wildly varying climate in Northern Europe, then as well as now, not to mention ignoring the fact that Bronze Age, Iron Age and Viking era was as warm in general climate as we are now. More or less.
    Actually, a really fabulous little book to read, that sort of illustrates the "problem" of climate and the impact of climate on culture, is called The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850 by Brian Fagan...it discusses quite a bit in the beginning the role of climate in Norse history.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Neolithic Shamanism

    Quote Originally Posted by Heka View Post
    Book, by Raven Kaldera and Galina Krasskova. Has anyone read this? Or used it in their own spiritual development? I just got it as an ebook, and after reading the first chapter have decided I like it. I've even started some of the exercises in and see it as a good guide for me at the moment.

    So anyone else used it/read it/studied it? Or read any of their other books?
    I've read all their books and personally I'm a fan. Having said that, they're just like any other authors... they aren't perfect and you can't take everything they say as gospel.

    Raven is a spirit worker and shaman, while Krasskova identifies primarily as a Heathen priest and secondarily as a shaman. I have an issue with Krasskova's use of 'Heathen' because of my own definitions of what Heathen is; and with her claiming the term shaman rather than shamanist (which is a modern shamanism thing... most people don't care about the distinction). I'm generally less impressed with her work than with Raven's work, but I have read most of her books. They collaborate well, despite having different core practices. I think that Raven's work pulls me more because of my own shamanist training and interests; Krasskova has a much more devotional focus and I have some personal disagreements with her lack of transparency.

    Having said that, read her Rune book (and Raven's rune stuff in his Northern Tradition series). They are the only two published people I have ever seen who work with the runespirits as distinct spirits rather than just symbols. It was very validating to see that at a point where I was second guessing myself. And of course we all support the things that validate our own UPG lol.

    I also like this particular book because of it's focus on spirits outside of deities. It has deity work interwoven into it, but it's primarily about the vaettir... landvaettir, natural vaettir, animal spirits, greenwights, the vaettir that come to us to inhabit our objects... there are so few books that focus on this as a primary goal. Most talk about them in a single chapter or as an addendum to primary deity work. We have books about non-deity spirits... books like 'Ecoshamanism' (James Endredy... focuses on the larger landwights), Weather Shamanism (Nan Moss and David Corbin... focuses on weather spirits) and various totemism books (which focus on animal spirits... authors like Lupa, Yasmin Galenorn and dare I say Ted Andrews and Scott Alexander King)... but books that focus almost entirely on working with the smaller, intimate, myriad spirits that inhabit our world? There aren't many of those. And those few tend to rely on historical and mythological records rather than an actual working relationship with the spirits (for example 'Elves, Wights and Trolls' by Kveldulf Gundarsson). I think Neolithic Shamanism fills a gap that desperately needed filling.

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRaven View Post
    That said, in certain places they present things that are the worst kind of nonsense, I've found some glaring errors in the historical and etymological 'truths', their translation of the meaning of the name Sleipner made my teeth hurt. Also the whole the-north-in-the-Viking-era-and-revious-was-covered-by-snow-and-ice-and-everyone-was-close-to-freezing-to-death-constantly quickly gets tiresome and displays a complete lack of knowledge about the wildly varying climate in Northern Europe, then as well as now, not to mention ignoring the fact that Bronze Age, Iron Age and Viking era was as warm in general climate as we are now. More or less.
    Agreed, but I just wanted to put in some context for this particular book.

    The Neolithic Shamanism book is about the ancient pre-Viking ages, not the Bronze, Iron or Viking eras (hence the title). Raven is also heavily influenced by studies in Saami shamanism. Thus in this particular book, and others, they are not talking about the temperate North, but about the far North and circumpolar areas... of the older circumpolar Ice Age and Neolithic age people... the first people in that area, who lived in a very different world to the Viking Age people. This is stated in the introduction, but only for people who have some background knowledge. It's implied, not explicit, which encourages assumptions.

    Of course, that's all spirit-taught UPG, but that's what they're talking about here. Raven is usually very clear about that in his books. I feel Krasskova is less inclined to own up to it and is generally the one who talks less specifically in order to allow some form of (unwarranted) historical validation to creep in. Similar to her claiming the term 'Heathen'. I don't personally agree with that.

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    Copper Member Ula's Avatar
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    Re: Neolithic Shamanism

    I have many books by these two but not his one. You have to keep in mind they are not mainstream and in some circles not well like. They almost always have exercises in their books that work for me. They are also both very dedicated to the gods they serve. I say read any book you want and take what you will from it. Ebooks are cheap enough I try to get and read whatever I find interesting if the reviews are good. Since you like the first chapter try it.

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    Re: Neolithic Shamanism

    I've never even heard of it, but I'm seriously curious after reading the comments. It sounds like a book worth looking into. I have a book, that is considered fluff by some, but that has such good messages and exercises that I read it anyway, and actually work though it every other year, when I want to revamp my spirituality again. It inspired me so much, that all the ways in which my current ritual style deviates from what I used to do as a wiccan, came from this book!

    I've mentioned her before, but a former covener of mine is viciously protective of all things fluffy or flaky within paganism. She has some good arguments for why this is too, including how often the scientific community holds down groundbreaking new thinking, because the theory doesn't match the main school of thought and far from being the pioneers of human discovery the scientific community claims to be, it's largely a bunch of old toffs clinging tooth and nail to dogma. She's of the opinion that everything is worth considering and testing out before it is outright rejected. She also says that human beings have been making up history for as long as they've been able to recite and record it. She believes it is important and healthy to do the work yourself and find out what really appears to have gone on (although she points out that we place a lot of weight on evidence in the absence of concrete proof, which always leaves room for error). However, armed with our own conclusions about what is 'true', we should treat the poor history presented in books as we would treat any mythology. Mythology can make a society strong, it can inspire them, it can enchant the imagination. She also believes that one can change their perceptions of the past and used to do a lot of healing work by regressing people to bad times in their life and attempting to change their memory of it through visualisation, to make it easier for people to unlearn patterns of behaviour triggered by those events. So she basically has a concept that divides 'past' into real past and perceived past, and claims that while one happened and one did not, neither exist in the present.

    She's knocked me down to size on a few occasions when I've been laughing at the likes of Amber K or Silver Ravenwolf, so I'm hesitant to rule out anything offhand anymore.
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

  7. #7
    Loud Mouth Heka's Avatar
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    Re: Neolithic Shamanism

    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ula View Post
    I have many books by these two but not his one. You have to keep in mind they are not mainstream and in some circles not well like. They almost always have exercises in their books that work for me. They are also both very dedicated to the gods they serve. I say read any book you want and take what you will from it. Ebooks are cheap enough I try to get and read whatever I find interesting if the reviews are good. Since you like the first chapter try it.
    Them not being mainstream kinda draws me more. I like finding things not everyone is finding, and not having all those existing preconceptions and opinions overshadowing it. And the excesses are something I've been looking for. Something to guide me to more daily practise. This seems to fill the gap so far. And I don't feel like I have to rush through it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    I've read all their books and personally I'm a fan. Having said that, they're just like any other authors... they aren't perfect and you can't take everything they say as gospel.

    Raven is a spirit worker and shaman, while Krasskova identifies primarily as a Heathen priest and secondarily as a shaman. I have an issue with Krasskova's use of 'Heathen' because of my own definitions of what Heathen is; and with her claiming the term shaman rather than shamanist (which is a modern shamanism thing... most people don't care about the distinction). I'm generally less impressed with her work than with Raven's work, but I have read most of her books. They collaborate well, despite having different core practices. I think that Raven's work pulls me more because of my own shamanist training and interests; Krasskova has a much more devotional focus and I have some personal disagreements with her lack of transparency.

    Having said that, read her Rune book (and Raven's rune stuff in his Northern Tradition series). They are the only two published people I have ever seen who work with the runespirits as distinct spirits rather than just symbols. It was very validating to see that at a point where I was second guessing myself. And of course we all support the things that validate our own UPG lol.

    I also like this particular book because of it's focus on spirits outside of deities. It has deity work interwoven into it, but it's primarily about the vaettir... landvaettir, natural vaettir, animal spirits, greenwights, the vaettir that come to us to inhabit our objects... there are so few books that focus on this as a primary goal. Most talk about them in a single chapter or as an addendum to primary deity work. We have books about non-deity spirits... books like 'Ecoshamanism' (James Endredy... focuses on the larger landwights), Weather Shamanism (Nan Moss and David Corbin... focuses on weather spirits) and various totemism books (which focus on animal spirits... authors like Lupa, Yasmin Galenorn and dare I say Ted Andrews and Scott Alexander King)... but books that focus almost entirely on working with the smaller, intimate, myriad spirits that inhabit our world? There aren't many of those. And those few tend to rely on historical and mythological records rather than an actual working relationship with the spirits (for example 'Elves, Wights and Trolls' by Kveldulf Gundarsson). I think Neolithic Shamanism fills a gap that desperately needed filling.
    I wondered if you'd heard of them! One of the names rang a bell when I found it and I think you mentioned it.

    I really like the emphasis on the spirits too. At this stage, those big famous gods don't feel right to me. Bit the spirits are something that I feel more connected to, better able to understand, and even crave. So in that sense, it should be good!

    I do plan to search out more of their books (esp. Ravens, now that you mention it) and even buy them as a hard copy. Ebooks just aren't the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRaven View Post
    *Lols so hard she nearly falls of the sofa*

    Sorry, it's just that I got my dirty little mitts on that one just the other week . Now there's synchronicity for you. I've only skimmed so this is very much a preliminary judgement that may go in either direction as I read it more thoroughly.
    Oh god I was so worried you were about to laugh this book into the ground.... Don't scare me like that! I still care too much what people think! Haha

    All in all find it not so bad, I realise a lot of recons are going to go all militant over it because it does not conform to lore, but since Kaldera and Krasskova is mostly speaking of their own tradition I can't really see why it the lack of scholarly veracity would matter. Also they make it clear that this is not to be taken as historically correct or adhering to lore but is based on what these two have learned from the Gods and the Spirits.


    That said, in certain places they present things that are the worst kind of nonsense, I've found some glaring errors in the historical and etymological 'truths', their translation of the meaning of the name Sleipner made my teeth hurt. Also the whole the-north-in-the-Viking-era-and-revious-was-covered-by-snow-and-ice-and-everyone-was-close-to-freezing-to-death-constantly quickly gets tiresome and displays a complete lack of knowledge about the wildly varying climate in Northern Europe, then as well as now, not to mention ignoring the fact that Bronze Age, Iron Age and Viking era was as warm in general climate as we are now. More or less.

    Okay, rant over.
    Ill take this all into consideration. Thanks.


    On the other hand, a lot of the things they do, that is as in the exercises and practices I do something similar in many cases. Like the part with connecting to plant spirits, in particular of those plants we eat. It has always puzzled me that there aren't more people doing this. And the whole feeding the vaettirs. I never figured out how people thinks it is okay to take energy from a place and not give something back. And the whole thing with incorporating crystals into your working/practise.


    So, my judgement. Take the contents with a whole ton of salt, if your experiences deviate from what they describe then go with your own thoughts and ideas. On the other hand, if you want something different than the usual recon song-and-dance when it comes to Nothern Tradition, it looks like not a bad book. But as stated above, don't rely too much on the historical, etymological, ect. facts.


    But then, I've only skimmed so far. I may have to get back to you later.
    As I said before the exercises are what I'm enjoying the most. Their experiences and justifications are interesting.

    Thanks again guys.
    ThorSon's milkshake brings all the PF girls to the yard - Volcaniclastic

    RIP

    I have never been across the way
    Seen the desert and the birds
    You cut your hair short
    Like a shush to an insult
    The world had been yelling
    Since the day you were born
    Revolting with anger
    While it smiled like it was cute
    That everything was shit.

    - J. Wylder

  8. #8
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Neolithic Shamanism

    Quote Originally Posted by Heka View Post
    I wondered if you'd heard of them! One of the names rang a bell when I found it and I think you mentioned it.
    I'm actually a contributing artist in Raven's 'The Northern Shamanic Herbal'. Only one illustration... I wish I'd done more but the other two herbs I wanted to do were already taken. But yeah. lol

  9. #9
    Loud Mouth Heka's Avatar
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    Re: Neolithic Shamanism

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    I'm actually a contributing artist in Raven's 'The Northern Shamanic Herbal'. Only one illustration... I wish I'd done more but the other two herbs I wanted to do were already taken. But yeah. lol
    That is epically cool! How did you manage to do that? Does that mean you've met him? Signed copies? :P
    ThorSon's milkshake brings all the PF girls to the yard - Volcaniclastic

    RIP

    I have never been across the way
    Seen the desert and the birds
    You cut your hair short
    Like a shush to an insult
    The world had been yelling
    Since the day you were born
    Revolting with anger
    While it smiled like it was cute
    That everything was shit.

    - J. Wylder

  10. #10
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    Re: Neolithic Shamanism

    I read it. I posted a review of it on my blog if you want my more in-depth opinion.

    My major problems with it:

    1) The authors frequently talk down to people who are not shamans or spiritworkers. As in this quote about dealing with well spirits:

    “If you tried it [Well divination] without first contacting or propitiating the Well Spirit and it worked, it was probably because the spirit decided that it liked you. Instead of hoping blindly, introduce yourself and be a real spirit-worker, not merely a superstitious peasant.” (p. 199)
    What I find interesting about this quote is that those same "superstitious peasants" are the ones that kept Pagan traditions alive today when the upper classes converted. This just smacks of biting the hand that feeds you.

    The quote I found most troubling was this one:

    Aren’t you ripping off these ancient peoples and their cultures?

    Because these are our ancestors, we would say that we have a fairly solid right to do what we’re doing, if you use the argument that one’s ancestral traditions are an inheritance. Frankly, though, we’d do this even if they weren’t our ancestors. Political correctness aside, we do this because that’s what the Gods who own us and the spirits who work with us say that we have to do. If we had been grabbed up by, say, Native American Gods and spirits, we’d be doing that even though neither of us have a drop of that blood, and we’d just have to find a way to pay back the lineage that was not ours by birth, and deal with the opprobrium that would be heaped upon us. (p. 11)
    And here is my response:

    "I find this cavalier dismissal of cultural appropriation to be quite disturbing, especially the way “political correctness” in invoked (in my experienced, folks tend to cry “Political correctness!” when they want an excuse to be assholes) and claiming “but my ancestors said I had to do it!” does not absolve you from craptastic behaviour” nor mean that you are not participating in a culture of oppression against minority cultures. Seriously, my dad has First Nations ancestry though his grandmother, and that does NOT give him the right to take from those people."

    I would say it is ONLY a good resource if you're interested in spirit work WITHIN THE AUTHORS' TRADITION, but there are definitely better books out there.

    BTW, in case you're wondering about my bias, I'm publishing a devotional through Kaldera's press (Asphodel) and, let's say I have some....issues....with recent things Krasskova has said on the interwebs. However, I tried to keep my personal feelings out of it and write as balanced a review as I could.

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