Shamanism And Peru
Peruvian Shamanism, in myth and context, which are the details that often hook our attention, is of course different from any other shamanism "style" in the world. But so is every other culture's separate "style" in myth and context. The important part of every culture's energetic practices, are not the details then, the beliefs, the rituals, the superstitions, but the awareness of the realities behind the myths and context that is important. And it is in the becoming aware of the one ultimate reality each culture is pointing to with their myths, as the interpretation of that reality is colored through living within their context, that shamanism gets really interesting.
Interesting because despite hugely varying myths, and obvious contextual differences, when you are working with human energy and the possibilities for expanded awareness, that energy work is always identical. A shaman from Peru for instance, is always able to recognize a shaman from Siberia instantly. Or someone who was born a shaman in the United States. The ability to expand our awareness then, wears no race, or skin color, but is available to all people.
First, what are myths? Myths are visual examples told in words, that point to a reality behind the example. The existence "in reality" of the characters that exist within the myths that people share, is something that those who do not realize what myths are, always argue about. Are angels real? Do demons exist? In Peru people ask "is the fox god something that can influence our lives?" and, "Is he real?" And in every other culture, the same questions are asked. The only answer that makes sense cross culturally, would be one that points to ultimate reality alone.
What is ultimate reality in this case? Energy. It's the fact that the myths we tell, influence the way we see energy. If our myths say angels, then angels it is. If our myths say fox god, then fox god it is. The sheer power of our beliefs to conjure up the very way we relate to even rocks is nothing short of miraculous.
Even the miracle of the awareness we use to assemble the details of our "everyday life" is nothing short of astounding. Ask someone what a dog barking sounds like using seven different languages, and you will get seven different sounding characterizations. How is that possible? Through myth, culture, and context. The immersion of humans into a particular belief system even colors the way we interpret the very sounds around us.
So then, are angels real? Of course they are. So is the ancient fox god of Peru real? Of course it is. Why? Because each form believed in, has to be made up of . . .energy! And energy, regardless of the form our beliefs force it to appear in, is always real. So do angels and fox gods exist separate from humans and their highly interpretive belief systems? Ah, that is the question of questions, and one that only you can answer for yourself.
In Peru, one of the oldest means of divination is the "throwing of the bones." Seeking answers from the physical world through what would appear to be random events such as bones, or shells, or any other means, is inherent in every shamanistic practice. It's the ritual.
But what is really happening here? Would the bones still tell a story, without the interpretation of the storyteller? Of course not. At least, certainly not the story that any particular story teller tells, because it is one based on their unique connection with The All That Is, and their particular background.
I have listened to stories being told in Peruvian Shaman's sweat lodges where this indelible stamp of the context they lived within so perfectly reflected the myths that were being told, and so many times, that the need in the world from a Peruvian perspective for the Eagle and the Condor becoming as one is by now, proverbial.
In Peru, the Eagle and The Condor are the symbols used in the myth told in words, that points to the ultimate reality behind the myth, that of a need in the world for The Steel Shaman, or a blending of the indigenous world of intuition and connection to our Mother Earth, with the world of airplanes and steel.
These stories of blending into Oneness, are the Universal telling, in local terms, of the need for a planet-wide realization that we are all truly one race. Only through living out this realization will we protect, care for, and nurture, the only mother we have, without whose existence not one of us could even be alive.
In each world we use different means to fly on the wings of perception, with no one method of interpretation being more or less miraculous than the other, because they all are. Especially since regardless of where we believe our destination is, we are all eventually flying to the same place anyway! And even more importantly, we all live upon the face of the same precious planet as well, regardless of the myths, races, or locations of any one of us. We are all one, because we only live on One: one planet. Of that we are all in agreement.
What is context? It's the land, the lives, and the people that surround any particular culture. In Peru, the high Andes, and the beauty and grace of the condor as symbols, certainly have influenced their myths. And along the Amazon that runs through their world like a lifeline to ancient cultures that still exist there, that great sacred river is no less an influence. Ayahuasca, frog poison, and indigenous psychotropic mushrooms from the jungles of the Amazonian basin, have as well influenced the myths that are told and the rituals that are preformed there. These details are what form the unique Peruvian context.
Yet it must be remembered, that despite the details of any one culture, the energy work that is being done through shamanism, has to always be the same in process, because it is the same human energy envelope that each shaman is working with across the globe, regardless of location, myth, context, or culture. This is why it's so fascinating to watch a shaman from an unfamiliar culture go through their rituals. If you can see auras, you realize that the changes in the energy of the shaman, and in the energy of the person they are working with, go through along a particular path, say one from not being well, to wellness, look exactly the same regardless of country, race, or location. The same!
This homogenous energetic reality that exists across the whole planet, our mother, is cause for relief. That auras and human energy envelopes, their colors, shapes, and reactions to outside events, are amazingly consistent, and wholly stable as well, is cause for great celebration. Because if we are all energetically born from the same mold, then what matters most in each of our lives, is us and what it is possible for a human to expand their awareness to, rather than the means we choose to do that expansion with. We are, in this manner, all one. And oneness, is, all there is.
Each culture also has a context within which even the expectations of what visions are had during ceremony, determine what visions are had. In Peru, since the Amazon is the watery lifeblood of the jungle that runs through a large part of the country, those visions engendered through the use of Ayahuasca, contain myth and story about the Jaguar. How could they not? With such a powerful animal prowling around the campfires of the practitioners of shamanism there, it simply cannot be ignored as an influence. In the lower elevations around the Amazon basin the jaguar is the myth, as much as the Condor is the prevalent myth in the high Andes around Macchu Picchu.
Again, regarding Peruvian myth, the question often asked is if the connection between animal and human is "real." Or, does shape shifting into a jaguar "really" take place. Any attempt to answer such questions is as irrelevant as seeking to "prove" something in the realm of the ethereal to resistant and fixed minds existing primarily within the material world where what is believed possible to exist isn't as much a function of The Universe, but more of function of the limiting belief systems we have. Such "proving" inherently can't be done, and besides, who would want to waste their energy doing that anyway when it's all, real. That is to say, all energy based. And that's the point: that the reality we see and experience has more to do with what we say it does, than any pre-ordained "reality" ever influences the very things we say about it.
In A Course In Shamanism, the practical realization of this Universal nature of energy as it relates to the homogenous human energy envelope, is both explored in practice and refined in context. There is no one race, nor one culture, that perfectly defines that energy envelope.
What each culture defines instead, are only the details that their energy of belief allows into their consciousness. Ask a Peruvian shaman about life, and what it means, and they will tell you a different story, than if you ask a shaman from Japan. I know, I've asked! But ask a Peruvian Shaman about energy, and the possibilities for the expansion of personal power, and even though the details of manifestation that are expected to occur may differ from culture to culture, the process for that solidification from thought into reality, is always the same. This is why the importance of focusing on the process and not the result, is gone over time and time again in A Course In Shamanism. Because the process is the path, one that will get you into non-ordinary reality, and more importantly, back out again!
And we want to do that. Because only when we are adept at traveling between the worlds freely, will we gain our ultimate freedom: that of an awareness so increased, that a whole, complete, and utterly overwhelming realization of ultimate reality is gained, and no culture, belief system, or series of rituals, can ever own that, only point to it.
And in that realization and focusing upon the path and not the product, what we gain as practitioners in A Course In Shamanism, is an adeptness at manifestation that goes far beyond belief. Any of our beliefs! And we want to do that, too. Because when we manifest our goodness in our lives, regardless of the form our good comes in, we are making the whole world a better place for all of us to live within. When one human expands the possibilities for themselves, then the possibilities for the whole human race are simultaneously expanded. What power we have.
In the book, The Crystal Jaguar, (no release date yet, I'm still working on it!) which delineates one man's mystical journey to Peru, in all its sychronistic and magical details, there is an undeniable taste of the destiny that we all share. Though the details and circumstances are different for each of our destinies, there is a homogenous similarity in the way we are suddenly pulled when we finally hear a calling from our path with heart. Immediately, as soon as we hear that call, the word "destiny" falls from out mouths like a diamond long sequestered away under our very tongues.
My destiny was to come to such realizations out of a calling to go to Peru, where I was asked to become the White Jaguar, and seek with all my work to blend the two worlds, that of the intuitive indigenous one, with the world of the Steel Shaman, or in other words, to live out and facilitate the blending of the Condor with the Eagle. Why I in particular was called, and what my further purpose will be, I cannot say, any more than I can explain the hugely synchronistic path that I took to get to Peru in the first place. With such a destiny, all I can now do is surrender to it, after long fighting it.
One note about Macchu Picchu and the pull that people often say draws them there. For me, standing on a remote mountaintop in the Andes high above Macchu Picchu, in a place where no one else had traveled, because I was drawn up an animal path that could not be seen from the road, what struck me was how it isn't the place we are drawn to that has the power to change our lives, but the myths that we tell afterwards that so cause our transformations. The good news is that those myths? They can be told from anywhere, and we don't have to go to any more sacred a spot than our own hearts as they beat above our own two feet, regardless of where we are standing, in order to be exactly where we desire to be. And, at any time at all. Even, right now.