Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shamanic heresies, just in case

Let lives overgrow walls! (Photo by ECP, a.k.a. Shamanic-Shift on
I founded a church to be an open haven for spiritual experimentation -- a role original shamans reveled in, I maintain, among many (many!) diverse activities.

Most folks I meet take spiritual and religious concepts, notions and doctrines literally, concretely and personally, and believe (accepting without questioning; holding dear without reasoning; and other like processes).

But doing so defeats the purpose and power of myth -- with or without supernatural extras -- to shift self-conscious psyches beneficially (and, inevitably change the outer lives too, through short- and long-term natural courses of tiny to tremendous events).

Believers, as recent news stories have demonstrated (but this has been happening all-too-frequently for ages), seem to be open only to complete, sealed-up packaged-deal answers to longstanding unanswerable questions and boxed instructions for life's puzzles, challenges and mysteries. The goofier, spookier, and scarier the claims, the quicker these believers grab on and the tighter they hang on.

The consequences run from relatively harmless to unfortunately expensive to absolutely deadly.

Shamans do their bests to avoid believing -- except temporarily, intentionally, to accomplish a definite purpose (then move on). But the human personality might be genetically predisposed towards believing: Perhaps it's a no longer helpful side-effect of the previously survival-promoting checks and balances authorities -- and bowing to them -- mixed into human nature millions of year ago. (OK, after I thought this notion up, I read it had been theorized by experts already.)

I see widespread reacting against science as the enemy of spirituality as one of the most persistent patterns continuing to wreck havoc with education. Maybe this is because I meet few scientifically literate folks anymore.

Every day, I hear what I laughingly -- or not -- describe as: Scientific Literacy trying to talk to Religious Literalism. But always, rapidly, these weird, double-monologues degenerate into what I can only call: Confusion gibbering with Misconception.

I had thought an open "churchless church" of shamanic ways would help foster sacred play among flexible souls who prefer paradox, seek serendipity and take non-ordinary experiences lightly and darkly at once. But the venture is always on the verge of bogging down with serious believers, or being abandoned -- dismissed or condemned -- as a disrespectful (or worse) apostate project, rife with heresies.

The word heresy, traces back to the Greek verb "choose" -- and believers, who usually count themselves chosen by god or gods or spirits, don't like hanging out with folks who insist on staying free to choose.

Two mottos of Companions Circle are "Don't believe, be LIVE!" and "Question...Quest on!" Be freely choosy, too, I say.

For now the church ministry is at the bottom of my to-do list, except for my daily prayers and behind the scenes shamanizing that remain at the top, just because the practices, on behalf of myself and others (done in the spirit of sacred fun), still enhance my life.

There is, as I have remarked often, another sort of believer out there who confounds me: the apparent half-believer who still follows directions from religious leaders or jumps on a familiar religious bandwagon, despite skepticism, who performs religious rites, anyway, while uttering the bizarre phrase "just in case...." Or, are these words a NAME?

WOW...This Justin Case (What, another upstart JC?) must be a powerful deity or other kind of universal force -- indeed -- for I am stunned to hear these (sacred?) syllables spoken so often, during a wondrously wide-ranging assortment of religious activities!


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