Friday, March 12, 2010

Does chemical dependency sidetrack shamans?

Dangerous Risk Adrenaline Suicide by Fear of F...Image by via Flickr

Frequently, I caution against interacting with mood and perception altering plants and chemicals to open oneself to shamanic experience, because I have seen this practice lead, all to often, to deeper disconnections and limitations instead of spiritual re-connecting and expanding. Because many safer ways of shifting consciousness can do the trick, I recommend and teach a variety of those instead.

In the West, intoxication was separated from the sacred long ago. Sacred and secular arts have been separated for centuries, too.

Yesterday someone asked me whether some of the most expressive and creative artists of our day and age who have lived hard but died young, from chemical dependency (or abuse) or related accidents or ailments could be sidetracked modern shamans.

The original shamans were performing artists acting out sacramental psycho-drama amid purposeful adrenaline rushes, embodying and joining inner dreaming and outer transformation (towards better), along with and on behalf of their communities.

Some or many of today's most famous (much lamented) alcohol and drug related casualties could be sidetracked contemporary shamans, drawn back towards ecstasy bestowing teacher-chemicals, yet misstepping and becoming lost in the illusive, illusory gap between the holy and the worldly or misunderstanding the lessons.

Or, maybe they aren't sidetracked — just journeying over weirder edges or newer horizons on our behalf.

Shamanizing is always intentional, as opposed to accidental or habitual. But this universe is full of levels of soul and psyche and dimensions of space and time where meaning and purpose might be hiding, disguised as unfortunate or tragic mistakes.

If someone is healed by the touching the art, I credit Spirit moving.

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