Winter '01 Issue 20
Life On A Limb-The Interview with Tre Arrow
The Challenge of Peace In Time of War
My Father's Clouds: Commercialism in a Can
In Search of a Prime Directive
The Best Security: Make Sure Your Neighbors Are Happy
Physicians' Perspective: Tolerance with Wisdom, Not Anger with Revenge
Dreams of Kindness, Love & Grace
Which Way to Bloomingdale's
Dream Weaving-ReDreaming the Dream of Your Life
Leaving Home: People of Peace Stand Together
Dream Weaving - Re-Dreaming the Dream of Your Life
"Shamanism is an ancient spiritual system used for physical and emotional healing, guidance, and connection with the primal powers of the universe."
I was nearly to the top of the mountain. The trail was steep and I was worried that I would slip on the loose dirt, sending me sliding down two hundred feet of mountainside. Still, I was determined. The early morning sun was already hot enough to make me wish for a shady place. I looked carefully at the trail, planned where to place my feet and what my hands would grab for support. I then rushed up the last fifteen feet to the top. As I came up over the rise I was surprised to find that I had not quite reached the top. There was one more obstacle I had to climb. Straight ahead, planted boldly just below the mountain’s top was a porcelain toilet. To reach my goal I had to stand on this toilet.
There are many different kinds of dreaming. Had I been a skilled dreamer back in 1974, I would have recognized that I was in a dream. Had I been a skilled lucid dreamer, the kind of dream where you “wake up” inside the dream and know that you are still dreaming, I would have taken control of the dream to fly off and have great fun. Had I been skilled in the shamanic healing technique of Dream-weaving in 1974, I would have been in this dream place to gather knowledge or change some aspect of my life.
As it was, I walked over to the toilet; climbed it and looked out over the most beautiful valley I have ever seen. A wide river with beautiful sunrise colors reflecting off the water was illuminating the deep rock walls in shades of orange and violet. The cliff walls and the tops of the canyons were richly green with ancient trees, moss, ferns and the textures of hundreds of other plants. I woke breathless in my apartment. I had never seen such a beautiful place. I wrote this dream in my dream journal as I looked out over the last cold weeks of Wyoming winter. It was definitely time to move to a different place.
Three months later, around June 21, I found myself on the road, having already driven 24 hours. Exhausted, I pulled into a scenic lookout to rest. It was early morning at sunrise. Getting out of my car, I walked over to see the view. Had I been shamanically trained in 1974 I would have known that I was now looking into a guiding dream, the kind of dream that tries to guide you toward your personal destiny. As it was, I found myself breathless again as the chills cascaded down my spineI was looking at the Columbia River Gorge and I was looking at the landscape from my dream in Wyoming. I knew that somehow in my March dream I had vividly seen this place at this time. I had dreamed my true home.
I have learned to follow my guiding dreams and now participate in the rebirth of shamanic knowledge. More people are awakening to shamanism and, while not yet mainstream, people are beginning to recognize its power and possibilities.
Shamanism is an ancient spiritual system used for physical and emotional healing, guidance, and connection with the primal powers of the universe. The word “shaman” is a Siberian word to describe a type of medicine person who journeys through the mind into the realms of Spirit to obtain this healing, guidance and help from spirit guides. The shaman travels the realms that most people only experience through dreams, mythologies, and near-death traumas. The shaman journeys to these realms with a specific purpose, to return with healing, lost soul parts, information or other guidance.
In Western culture most think of shamans as Native Americans or other indigenous people. Shamanism is thought to be some kind of primitive religion pre-sided over by “witch doctors”. To many it looks like “high weirdness” and, from the Western materialist, scientific worldview, it is high weirdness. But it works, and has worked for over 60,000 years.
David Lang is an urban shaman living in Eugene, Oregon. The concepts in this article are those of the author based on his research and experiences in shamanic consciousness and do not represent any particular shamanic culture. Part 2 of this article will appear in the Spring issue of Alternatives Magazine.
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