It's been awhile since my last post. I've started a few, but they've just not come together. And I'm going through one of those spells where everything seems. . . harder - more difficult and demanding than it really should. Never-the-less. . . I've been taking part in some discussions about initiation in a few different places and it's been bringing up some old questions.
Initiation comes in many ways, but it comes down to a few essentials - necessary elements. 1) The person has to be capable of doing the work. This means having the talent to heal. 2) The spirits have to have noticed the person - and then begun trying to get their attention. This could be anything from an illness or loss to a life threatening accident or being struck by lightning. 3) The person has to be prepared. This preparation consists of whatever it takes to sensitize the initiate to the energies and presence of the spirits. It generally requires painful loss and ego destroying experiences that leave the person reeling and open.
As I write this, I can feel the blind spots I still have around this whole process. I know there is still a part of me that wants to somehow justify NOT being a shaman; that would like all this crazy stuff to go away and allow me to lead a "normal" life. I also know it's not going to happen. It was only after years of looking back at my childhood that I realized just how deeply I have been impacted and transformed by the death of my family - and other experiences that I'm still not comfortable addressing in such an open forum. And yet, it's still hard for me to look at it - to put all the pieces together - and then see the complete image that the pieces make: The image of myself as a shaman. Parts of me that learned to disassociate at an early age, which allow me to enter into the healing trances in which I do my work, also want to keep me from accepting the truth of this at any deeper level. It's an on-going struggle.
Another element in my own process of becoming a shaman was the actual realization - the looking into the puzzle/mirror and seeing that image reflected back at me through the limited work I was already doing. The retroactive tour of my early life - most of it still clouded - that made me accept this transformation/awakening came even later. First there was the recognition that what I was doing was shamanism. Then there was the gradual realization that I was a shaman - followed by the understanding that this process had been going on my whole life. (Apparently I'm a slow learner.)
There is a lot of discussion around the crisis of awakening to the shamanic consciousness - the realization that you are going to be doing the bidding of those "psychological allegories" we call "spirits." In my own case, it was a series of crisis which I survived, one after another, until I belatedly woke up and realized what was happening. After all, I have spent most of my childhood and a good bit of my early adulthood in a fog. I still feel that it is only gradually lifting - that I am beginning to see the world in all it's profound beauty and intricacy only now. I suspect this process is going to continue for quite some time.
I still have questions about the role I am accepting. I know that it feels to my deeper self that I am answering the call of the spirits and that I am here in service to the community of souls that includes humanity, the earth and much more. I also have my doubts. There are times when I hear about the shamans who can actually shapeshift - or levitate - or in some other way really transcend the apparent rigidity of this physical existence - and I wonder if what I am doing is "real." But Grandfather has long taught me that there are different kinds of "real" - just as there are different kinds of shamans. The work that I do with my clients fulfills some deep hunger in my soul. When I watch someone awakening deeper layers of herself; breaking out of the box of ego and fear and habit - I KNOW that I am doing what I need to, and that there is something that thanks me. That this is all part of something greater than anything I can imagine, and that I am - to some extent - placing myself into alignment with that greater presence. I don't know that I can ask more than that.