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Thread: Recommended Shamanism Resources Thread

  1. #11
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended Shamanism Resources Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jembru View Post
    So I guess my question would be, what are your recommendations for a good over-view of the spirit worlds, and journeying?
    I haven't read any of the books you've listed, so I can't say what they're like. Honestly, I actually read very few non-academic shamanism books that aren't about a specific form of shamanism or cultural context, because they are mostly variations of core shamanist teachings and I get frustrated with the misinformation about Otherworlds work.

    Trance-portation by Diana Paxson would be a good general overview of Innerworlds work. My only caution is that she starts talking about Otherworlds journeying, but then halfway through switches to talking about internal planes and internal guides and things. Just be aware of the difference, because the Otherworlds is NOT a place of safe, benevolent entities who will disappear if you will them away with your mind. But in general it's well laid out, starts with some good foundational exercises and provides you with a good core practice to launch from. It's one of the better overviews I've read.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jembru View Post
    Well, I finally placed my order for 'Neolithic Shamanism'. I'm hoping it's not too heavy in the Norse aspect, and has plenty that I can adapt to fit my own practices (from what I've read here and in Heka's thread, I suspect it will be easily adaptable for Celtic shamanism). I discovered that when you buy a book on Amazon, it lets you read the kindle version while you're waiting. I don't like reading from a screen as a general rule, but at least I can start getting a feel for the book before it's even in my hands. That's pretty cool!
    Neolithic Shamanism is actually not at all Norse based once you get past the introduction chapter. Some of the crafting things in the later chapters are Northern Trad-ish, but for the most part this one is actually about local spirits and land spirits and would fit more into a 'bioregional shamanism' than a 'Northern Tradition shamanism' category. Both Galina and Raven are Northern Trad, so they write from that perspective, but the information in this book is actually pretty secular and will be really easy to adapt... partly because the only deities mentioned are Sunna and Mani (from memory... my copy is in storage right now) and partly because many of the non-landvaettr entities they discuss are common to both Germanic and Celtic folklore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jembru View Post
    I've been wondering if I should look into animism anyway. What I'm describing seems a bit different from animism, but I definitely see some similarities. I'll see how I go with this book for now, and then maybe give Emma Restall's book a try next. Even if it's not for me, it doesn't hurt to inform yourself.
    Animism is connected to shamanism but they are not inextricably linked, if that makes sense. You can be a shamanist without being an animist, and you can definitely be an animist without being a shamanist... but there are still some practitioners and sources that get things mixed up a bit. If you are interested in Thisworld type shamanism, then looking into animism is a really good place to start, as is bioregional based practices. But I suppose it depends on what you're hoping to achieve.

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    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended Shamanism Resources Thread

    I'd also look into Animatism as well as Animism as it holds aspects of animism but is also separate from it. While it is greatly diluted and corrupted in modern usage Totemism is a compliment to Animism. When your looking at spirit world upon the physical world and interaction Totemism under the older definitions does help clear up a number of vague issues and references. Well to me anyway others may disagree.
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    Re: Recommended Shamanism Resources Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post

    Trance-portation by Diana Paxson would be a good general overview of Innerworlds work. My only caution is that she starts talking about Otherworlds journeying, but then halfway through switches to talking about internal planes and internal guides and things. Just be aware of the difference, because the Otherworlds is NOT a place of safe, benevolent entities who will disappear if you will them away with your mind. But in general it's well laid out, starts with some good foundational exercises and provides you with a good core practice to launch from. It's one of the better overviews I've read.
    Thanks for the reply! Your information is always gratefully received. Although my introduction to the Otherworlds came from fiction, it is painted in the Onion Girl as a dangerous place, inhabited by spirits that will recognise the bright spirit of a good-hearted person, and actively seek them out with the intention of doing them harm, it's a world where the living can actually die if they don't know what they're doing. Good beings exist there too, although most are neither good nor bad, but as capable of being either at any given time, as we humans are. Even the gods can be dangerous there.

    There was another novel actually. A sci-fi called 'Stark'. I think this is where I got my concept of the 'between worlds'. In that novel too, people can die in the between world, a kind of darker dreamworld (it's a pretty horrific book actually now I come to remember it, saved only by the inclusion of a city inhabited by cats!). So it's somehow in my conscious and subconscious that the Otherworlds aren't a playground. In fact, I have stopped attempting to revisit dreams, out of concern that it's not my inner-worlds I'm visiting. Those two journeys I had were just too real and felt too different from my usual inner work, so I'm keeping away until I have a better understanding of where I was going.

    Neolithic Shamanism is actually not at all Norse based once you get past the introduction chapter. Some of the crafting things in the later chapters are Northern Trad-ish, but for the most part this one is actually about local spirits and land spirits and would fit more into a 'bioregional shamanism' than a 'Northern Tradition shamanism' category. Both Galina and Raven are Northern Trad, so they write from that perspective, but the information in this book is actually pretty secular and will be really easy to adapt... partly because the only deities mentioned are Sunna and Mani (from memory... my copy is in storage right now) and partly because many of the non-landvaettr entities they discuss are common to both Germanic and Celtic folklore.
    I'm really glad I didn't let the title sway me. I've had the book a few days now and it just feels so perfect for me. From what I've read so far, it seems pretty similar to Druidism in many aspects. With the exception of some of the species they mention not existing in the British Isles, it's close enough to my own practices that I barely notice that they're coming from a Norse angle, and what doesn't fit can be easily tailored I think. Even the activities.. I mean, I did the 'praying for a seed' thing every year from the Spring Equinox, until Samhain, when I was in a Wiccan coven, and I daresay this wasn't unique to my version of Wicca.

    What interests me most, is the way they've split the sections into the 9 Worlds. You see.. my inner work from a few years ago, took place in inner temples, this included the Temple of the Earth, Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon (at which point I discontinued this training). I don't know where the concept came from, as it was when I was training under the Fellowship of Isis, but it sounds like it could have been from Kabbalah, the next temple being the Temple of the Stars. (I was going to add some images from my BoS here, but while the pages are all lovingly decorated, my handwriting is embarrassing, so I just edited them out ^^).

    The temple work was something that stood out to me as I was re-reading my BoS recently, and I felt that I'd like to continue with it, but didn't know where to go with it. I think then, I might like to match my inner work to my outer work, and visit a corresponding temple for each of these 9 Worlds. I'm sure this isn't where my teacher had been heading with this, but as my path has changed quite a lot since then, it seems like an appropriate way to pick up on my temple work again.

    Animism is connected to shamanism but they are not inextricably linked, if that makes sense. You can be a shamanist without being an animist, and you can definitely be an animist without being a shamanist... but there are still some practitioners and sources that get things mixed up a bit. If you are interested in Thisworld type shamanism, then looking into animism is a really good place to start, as is bioregional based practices. But I suppose it depends on what you're hoping to achieve.
    It's something I'd definitely like to look into a bit more. I'm not sure it describes me exactly, but I need to better inform myself before I can be sure. It's not something I'd say I feel strongly drawn to, so much as hearing animists describe their path, it sounds oddly similar to my own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by monsno_leedra View Post
    I'd also look into Animatism as well as Animism as it holds aspects of animism but is also separate from it. While it is greatly diluted and corrupted in modern usage Totemism is a compliment to Animism. When your looking at spirit world upon the physical world and interaction Totemism under the older definitions does help clear up a number of vague issues and references. Well to me anyway others may disagree.
    I can see how this could also fit with my worldview. I've so much to do and research in the meantime, so it could be a little while before I'm asking more questions on animism and related subjects, but it's definitely on my list of things to look into.
    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'?

  4. #14
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended Shamanism Resources Thread

    Just an aside but parts of what your saying Jembru remind me of the Arthurian and Welsh tales.

    Consider the Green Knight and his connection to the land cycle. Perhaps the actual story of Arthur and the puling of Excalibur and how it's assumed to be a church yard of some sort but some of the early writings also suggest a overhanging arch of tree's and such which might suggest more of a Druidic or Avalonian influence. The idea of such a weapon being given to hold dominion over the land and all its inhabitants by a supernatural entity falls into the spiritual, physical and dimensional plains of reality. Even the notion of the King and the Land are one falls into some aspects of Animism where the king, ruler, etc is supposed to have so much earthly power that no normal person can walk in their footprints less they be destroyed by the lingering power. An aspect that gets tied into the notion of the King, Ruler, Emperor, etc not being allowed to touch the land among their people.

    Like I said though just an aside though that occurred to me.
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    Re: Recommended Shamanism Resources Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by monsno_leedra View Post
    Just an aside but parts of what your saying Jembru remind me of the Arthurian and Welsh tales.

    Consider the Green Knight and his connection to the land cycle. Perhaps the actual story of Arthur and the puling of Excalibur and how it's assumed to be a church yard of some sort but some of the early writings also suggest a overhanging arch of tree's and such which might suggest more of a Druidic or Avalonian influence. The idea of such a weapon being given to hold dominion over the land and all its inhabitants by a supernatural entity falls into the spiritual, physical and dimensional plains of reality. Even the notion of the King and the Land are one falls into some aspects of Animism where the king, ruler, etc is supposed to have so much earthly power that no normal person can walk in their footprints less they be destroyed by the lingering power. An aspect that gets tied into the notion of the King, Ruler, Emperor, etc not being allowed to touch the land among their people.

    Like I said though just an aside though that occurred to me.
    I wondered why no one had replied to me! I hadn't sent my reply. I remember now that before pressing 'send' I thought my wording sounded potentially offensive so I wanted to come back with a clear head so I can explain what I actually mean without sounding like I'm attacking a large portion of Paganism. It certainly isn't my intention to come off that way, so lets try this again then.

    You're probably right. I should look into mythology, or at least, there's surely a lot of inspiring material to be found in mythology. For some reason though, I'm actually not very inspired by mythology. I know, I know.. I'm a pagan and I should be into history, myths and legends. I'm just not though. I've only recently started to learn about the history of the people who have inhabited the British Isles, and only out of a sense of duty (although I admit that I'm getting more interested, the more I learn). I wonder sometimes if it's a British thing. I think because in some parts of the world, like the US, people arrived from elsewhere, and there is a good mixture. So people have an interest in valuing their heritage. It's like, knowing your blood type if you're Japanese (I still don't know mine and it amazes my Japanese friends that that's even possible). Here, some people do care about their heritage of course, but as a general rule, we're less bothered. We're all just British.

    This feeling is most likely what turns me off from exploring the more mainstream pagan faiths, which are so dripped in mythology and inspire their followers with art, poetry and tales from a distant time. Indeed, I turned away from Kemeticism because the humanisation of the Gods killed the magic for me. Sure, I use Celtic names (where known) for those local beings I acknowledge, but if I were to start reading poems about how Brigantia tricked a snake into having sex with a boar and that became a pixie... I'd soon start looking for a new name. The fact that I see the gods and spirits as faceless and emotionless until they meet a human believer, is probably related to this feeling. I don't want my gods to be human, that just doesn't work for me. My ancestors needed them to be, because that was the best way they were able to understand something too far outside of their comprehension. Modern pagans may of course, as a matter of preference, assign these same characteristics to their gods, but I think on some level, we've evolved as a race more than we are consciously aware, and we're able to interact with a spiritual being without needing to draw a face on it, or write it into some kind of soap opera. Please don't take that line as 'we're better than that', it's not what I mean. It's more like... having the potential to use both your left hand or right hand, while maybe once we could only use our right. It makes little difference which you choose, but you have a choice where it once didn't exist.

    Yet at the same time, I can take inspiration from fiction. Go figure.

    I think I've successfully reworded my points, but just in case, I'll reiterate; I have absolutely no intention of causing offence with my strange opinions. I'm just trying to explain how my spiritual world-view operates.
    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'?

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    Re: Recommended Shamanism Resources Thread

    I'll say I don't think being pagan means you should be into history, mythology or myths and legends. I do agree for many of us those same fields do tend to offer us hints or clues as to how people saw the divine and even how they tried to understand it. In that capacity I think many of us look to the myths and such not so much for inspiration and filling but to try and connect to the mystical influence it had upon both the material aspect of the time but also the psychic of the people. I think many of the older stories and such also tied many things people though and felt and sort of hide it in plain site.

    I recall I had to read Shakespeare for some college classes and at times the implied or assumed idea's touched me more than his actual works. The complexity of some stories relying so heavily upon presumed public perspective and knowledge of things. So they are hinted at, sometimes even out and out mocked yet today it's harder to see it as we do not have the culture, social and ethical influences coloring our world view. Consider if I start talking about The Globe theater most historical based people will know right away I am speaking of England, London, the Theater in the Round and that it was located outside of the city limits. Some may even known that the woman's role's would have been performed by young boys or very effeminate teens or men as women were not allowed to act in theater for many years.

    So there is the sense of illusion, the sense of knowing yet not knowing, the magical construct of implying things yet never stating it as factual for the crowd already knew that aspect and relied heavily upon their own opinions, prejudices, economic status, etc.

    For myself I think that is the part in history, mythology, myths and legends, that many pagan's touch upon and seek out. It's the mystery and implied knowledge that is hinted at that in some ways I think we believe we should already know. So it's not really human traits and reasoning we attribute or equate to or upon the divine as much as that mystery and unknown that is revealed in the story but never told directly to us because its implied or assumed we already have it in some capacity.

    Sorry this probably makes no sense so please dismiss it if you desire.
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    Re: Recommended Shamanism Resources Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by monsno_leedra View Post
    I'll say I don't think being pagan means you should be into history, mythology or myths and legends. I do agree for many of us those same fields do tend to offer us hints or clues as to how people saw the divine and even how they tried to understand it. In that capacity I think many of us look to the myths and such not so much for inspiration and filling but to try and connect to the mystical influence it had upon both the material aspect of the time but also the psychic of the people. I think many of the older stories and such also tied many things people though and felt and sort of hide it in plain site.

    I recall I had to read Shakespeare for some college classes and at times the implied or assumed idea's touched me more than his actual works. The complexity of some stories relying so heavily upon presumed public perspective and knowledge of things. So they are hinted at, sometimes even out and out mocked yet today it's harder to see it as we do not have the culture, social and ethical influences coloring our world view. Consider if I start talking about The Globe theater most historical based people will know right away I am speaking of England, London, the Theater in the Round and that it was located outside of the city limits. Some may even known that the woman's role's would have been performed by young boys or very effeminate teens or men as women were not allowed to act in theater for many years.

    So there is the sense of illusion, the sense of knowing yet not knowing, the magical construct of implying things yet never stating it as factual for the crowd already knew that aspect and relied heavily upon their own opinions, prejudices, economic status, etc.

    For myself I think that is the part in history, mythology, myths and legends, that many pagan's touch upon and seek out. It's the mystery and implied knowledge that is hinted at that in some ways I think we believe we should already know. So it's not really human traits and reasoning we attribute or equate to or upon the divine as much as that mystery and unknown that is revealed in the story but never told directly to us because its implied or assumed we already have it in some capacity.

    Sorry this probably makes no sense so please dismiss it if you desire.
    Actually, I do understand where you're coming from, because this is kind of what happens when I'm inspired by fiction. It wasn't too long ago that I posted here about a children's story I read about a woodpecker that sold sounds to the animals of a birch wood. The story was actually quietly nodding at the idea that kids should learn to sit still and be quiet when told, although it never said this directly. It was a hidden message, an embedded suggestion if you will. Yet my adult mind didn't take the story this way. I was really moved. I mean deeply affected, by its unintended message. I daresay it was the first of several little pushes that eventually led me to start meditating every day after getting out of bed. So the idea that a person can receive an unspoken message from a story, on some deep spiritual level, really makes sense to me. And yet there is still this blank in my mind when it comes to the stories left by those societies that came before us. Perhaps for some reason, I'm just not ready. I mean, if I can be affected by a hidden message that the author of a story didn't even intend to put there, I can imagine those old myths could just blow my mind!
    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'?

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