This will be one longass post, the first part in reply to Reticient Lemon, and the second part the story of the first time I applied shamanism to heal someone very close to me who suffered from the trauma of sexual abuse.
I hope that story will help you gain a realistic view of shamanis and in the process teach you a few techniques. But more importantly I hope to show you the worldview and modes of thinking necessary for shamanism.
Thank you all for sharing, this thread resonates with me.
i think i may be in the Dark Night right now, brought on by an antidepressant reaction. i've had the dissociation for a couple of years now, along with many, many other problems. Ongoing insane fear, which at times turns to outright terror. Anxiety/agitation.
Good to hear you find this interesting!
First of I hate chemical anti-depressives! What they do is simply alienating people even more from spirit, which again makes spirit pull out the heavy artillery to get your attention. The civilized solution is giving you more pills.
The result is you getting trapped in a artillery barrage that would have made any soviet general give a rare nod of approval. When and if you can, try to cut back on the pills, but don't rush it if your feeling unsure.
Now cutting back on pills will leave your brain aching for serotonin which certainly won't do you any good. To remedy this you need to increase your intake of foods containing neurochemical precursors, like for instance:
Also there are herbs that will do you good, like:
St John's wort, natural antidepressant and eases anxiety.
Kava-kava, best anti-anxiety there is! Seriously, things like Valium and Xanax are shit in comparison!
Ayahuasca, I have no words for it exept what I just wrote:-p
Now in the herbs case, a rule of thumb since we are approaching this shamanically, is to use fresh or dry herbs, not extracts and semi-indistrual supplements. You should acknowlegde that its not simply compounds in the herbs that does the job, but the spirit of the herbs too, reaching out across the void of culture to lend you a helping hand in a time of need.
When you take the medicines do it with the intention and faith that it will lead to healing, infact I say make it a little ritual! Nothing fancy, just do whatever comes to mind that you feel expresses gratitude for the herbs help. May I suggest bying seeds of the herbs and planting at a nice location, preferably somewhere you think of as a part of yourself if any such location is available?
Sense of self obliterated. Incredible loneliness (prior to this I liked time to myself.) Living outside of "time". Occasionally a bliss state that alternates with extreme paranoia (i had one particular incident where the bliss seemed to emanate from a man who looked quite a bit like Derrick Jensen :o) A feeling like you have seen Truth (with the capital, like the Voice you mentioned.) Being overwhelmed by energy fields, from TV/computers to people to thunderstorms. And a feeling like everything has an equivalent moral weight. i can barely write this because it almost seems pointless? trivial? like nonsense? Like i cannot pin down the meaning of the concepts i want to discuss. There was some terribly interesting stuff too, intuitions, a vision and a connection I made with someone through the work of the spirits.
Now these are all expressions of spirit at work, combating your former self and trying to point the way forward. You are experiencing an increase in sensitivity while living in a culture so desensitized that what for them is normal reality is a hell of sensory overload for you.
The loneliness stems from a lack of a felt community, both with likeminded people and with spirit, and the dawning realization that your dreams and values does not match with those of the people and the culture around you.
A Derrick Jensen look-alike who radiates bliss is simply you, and spirit, associating Derrick Jensen with the promise of a better future, a future where your reality matches consensual reality:-)
Truth is simply Truth, closely related with the feeling that everything carries equivalient moral weight... These things are not trivial or nonsense, as you see there are more of us who understands you. And as you acknowlegde yourself, on the occasions that you connect with spirit some terribly interesting things happen!
Even though you feel alone in the material realm, you are not alone in the world of spirit:-)
Now i definitely feel like my old life and ways are invalid, but the new ways have not opened up yet. So I try to stuff myself backwards, into old routines, in some futile attempt to stabilize, reconnect. It's not working and I know it, but I haven't a clue about how to move forward.
Now here you are pretty much getting to the essence of the problem, and also the essence of what a Long Dark Night of The Soul is all about.
Sorry to say it, but trying to stuff yourself back is nothing else then extending the culture of repression and denial you were born in, by no fault of your own, into the future.
First of, acknowlegde spirit. Yes there are spirits at work behind the scenes, yes you can learn to talk to animals and plants and armchairs and whatnot, if it exists in material reality or as a thought or perception in your head, then its real. This does not mean that you should let yourself become a throwingball for spirits, thats a role new-agers seem happy to accept so let them do that. Don't fall in the new-age trap, thats a spiritual pit of darkness if there ever was one.
A shaman never worships a spirit, he pays it respect and acknowlegdes it's right to exist, like everyone else. Nor does he let himself become posessed, be it by a spirit or a thoughtform, or in any other way let something control him or take away his individuality.
Start trusting your intuition, pay attention to dreams and synchronicities. Start writing, or play a musical instrument, or plant a garden, or buy a drum and hammer on it till' you can't feel your body, but whatever you do, do something! Connect! But remain you.
Once spirit sees that you are willing to change, what may now feel like an attack will turn into loving guidance. You will begin to see it's subtle flows, guiding you backwards into the future.
Rhex, do you currently do shamanic work for people?
I hope I just did
But no, I don't, not because I don't want to but because people don't want to. Norway is a conservative country, with conservative people, and I live in a particularly conservative part of Norway. But I guess thats why spirit put me here:-)
But yes, I am completely willing to do shamanic work for people in need, just contact me!
In the past I have crossed paths with people willing to try, to great satisfaction for them, and just as much satisfaction for me since a get a chance to practice my beliefs.
My first attempt at healing:
Infact, as a primer for you people I will tell you the story of a girl I know who had some deep issues. This was right after I got through my Dark Night. We became intimate, and after a while she got used to strange things happening around me so she was willing to let me help. This is also the story of my first shamanic healing. It was done by telephone! I asked her permission to tell this story and she was OK with it so here we go!
The issues were sexual, stemming from childhood abuse. I knew this pretty much from the day I met her, but she had spent so much time and energy repressing it that she no longer remembered any of it, and any attempt to gently let her get it out was met with more repression and denial.
I gave it time, strengthening our bond by sharing my darkest secrets(which was both hard and healing for me) and just generally giving her love and attention. Then her family moved and she wasn't ready to live 900 kilometers from them, so we broke up. We still kept contact almost daily(still do), and she went from being my lover to my closest friend.
Now about a year after she moved she began getting terrible headaces, to the point of her having to quit her job. Also she had pains in her neck, shoulders, arms and the back of her head, aswell as nightmares. She called me regularly for support, and I gave what help I could. But I knew that these were all symptoms of those things she never could acknowlegde.
Then one night she called me, crying and completely desperate. She hadn't slept well for two weeks at that point due to pain and anxiety, and I knew that this was the right moment. I asked her if she was willing to trust me completely and let me help her by taking her through a ritual. She agreed. Remember this is all by telephone, and everything was done by intuition, didn't follow any set ritual.
I began by asking her to light three candles on the floor and sit comfortably in her bed so she could see them. I told her to arrange the candles in a downward triangle from her viewpoint. This is because my intention at that point was to take her down into her subconscious, the lower world of shamanism, and a downward triangle is a powerfull symbol that makes this easier. I lit three candles of my own in the same fashion for the same reasons and to deepen the connection between us. Then I told her to light a cigarette and blow smoke towards all the corners of her room, telling her that this would chase away negative energy. I did the same in my place. Then I told her to simply get comfy in bed for a few minutes while I prepared myself.
I went to the center of my room and clapped my hands three times, this is what I do to tell myself and spirit that I am about to do something
I bowed and offered tobacco smoke to the four directions/elements, spending a few minutes with each, really feeling the power of them become a part of me. Then I said a little prayer to the universe in general, asking for help for us both, courage for my friend and guidance for me. I declared that my room was now sacred space where nothing harmfull was allowed, and through the candles linking us(and more importantly, my intention), so was hers. I put my phone on speakers so she could hear all this. Now I'v spent a lot of time in trance so I don't need drums or psychedelics to reach that state, just some deep breating and an effort of will. If not I would have smoked a weak joint, swallowed some mushrooms or drummed at this point.
Then we chilled for a few minutes, just taking time to get comfy and connect. I asked her where the specific pains were located, how it felt, how she felt etc. This was to deepen our connection, and shamanically I was trying to really sense how it was to be her at that moment. This is called aspecting, I'm trying to connect so deeply to her present situation that the boundaries between us dissolve and I actually feel myself AS her, kind of like letting her partially possess me in a way. Then when I sensed the connection was made(I started feeling dull pain in the same places as her, and anxiety and deeeep fear) I closed my eyes and simply asked spirit if I could see what was causing these problems. After like 20-30 seconds I saw this black, oozing mass, like oil and dead beatles, attached to my/her neck, sending tendrils down our collectiv back, into our head and out to our shoulders and down our arms. It scared me senseless, remember this was my first time attempting something like this at someone else then myself! Over the phone I could hear her starting to breath rapidly, she sensed what I sensed but without the context I had, which of course made her afraid too.
Aloud I recited the Litany against Fear from Dune, I know it's nerdy and cheesy, but it works, especially if you intend that it works;-) Shamans pick the tools they find compelling!
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Fear gone I started to really observe this thing I was dealing with. Revolting shit, like something from H.P Lovecraft. I noticed a thin black stem connecting it to her/my groin, which confirmed what my intuition had been telling me for several years.
I lessened the connection between us enough to give me space to think and work by making my trance shallower(simply breathing faster). Then I started to bring her into a deeper trance using sounds, gentle words and suggestions, making her visualize first a blue downwards triangle, then feeling her muscles relax, beginning with her toes and working upwards.
When I heard her breathing getting deeper I told her to really feel gravity pulling her downwards into her matress, feel the warmth and comfort and security of her blanket and pillow. Her breathing got even deeper and she started to sound somewhat dozey. I told her to imagine herself falling slowly like a feather downward through a warm, secure darkness. This is kind of like hypnotism you know, the intention on my part was to get her in a state where she would feel secure, unafraid, comfortable and protected as well as to loosen her inhibitions. After maybe twenty-thirty minutes of this her voice sounded childish, innocent and with no fear. All the time I beamed love at her both vocally and spiritually.
Then began the hard part. I told her I knew there was something she had never told me, never told anyone. She denied, I comforted her and spent a few minutes telling her from the bottom of my heart how much I loved her and that there was no need for shame or fear. She started crying, low sobs of desperation that fucking brought me to tears right now thinking about it.
After little while she started speaking in a really childish voice, telling me of a recurring nightmare of a dark, looming shadow bending over her bed at night. This was her subconscious speaking, trying to tell me what her conscious self still denied. I think you see what I mean and what she meant. Shit this is hard to write about.
I spent time comforting her, really throwing gigawatts of love in her direction all the time aswell as having her relax all her muscles again.
Then I asked her if she sometimes sensed something(the entity) clinging to her neck. That was an affirmative, and she got scared again so I once again, using maybe 5-10 minutes, deepend her trance. Now intuition told me she, and I, was ready to face the fucking critter. I could literally feel power pulsing through me, fueled by my love for her and rage at the fucking asshole who did this to her.
"I know what he did to you" I said, putting every bit of love, compassion and power in my being into the sentence, wielding it like a weapon to shatter her defenses. She stopped breathing for what seemed like an eternity... Then it all came flowing out of her in a torrent of grief and desperation that, and I mean this literally, made the candels in my room flicker and almost go out. I imagined myself as a sponge(hows that for poweranimal!), sucking up all this negative energy. After a while the torrent subsided, and I comforted her and told her how much I love her. By this point I started feeling nauseous from all the negative energy I had absorbed.
Then I went into deep trance, once again aspecting her to see what the entity was doing. It was much smaller now, the tendrils had retracted and only reached down to about her/my shoulders, the one from the groin completely gone. It pulsed and quivered, looking to all intents and purposes like a frightened animal. I think that animal found me somewhat lacking in compassion...
Still merged with her and in a deep trance I described to her what I saw until she could feel and see the thing herself. Then I told her to reach back, imagine herself grabbing hold of it and ripping it loose with all her might.While she did this I beamed love at the thing, confusing it. I felt it in my own neck when she grabbed it, I felt it let go and hurridly told her to imagine herselfe giving it to me. The moment she did that I was overcome with nausea, ran in a haze to a window and gasped for air.
I knew instinctivly that I couldn't release the thing near other people, so phone in hand I ran out of my apartment, stumbling and trembling and half crying with the effort of trying not to spray vomit everywhere, to a grove of old trees a couple of hundred meters away from any houses, once there dug a shallow hole in the ground with a stick and PUKED. And puked, and puked, over and over again, seeing black ooze coming like a torrent from my mouth. She seemed to understand the process and comforted me all the time over the phone.
After a few millennia of puking I finally felt cleansed. I filled the hole with soil and asked the trees respectfully in a loud voice and with strong intention to transform this negativity into something good so it could live on in as something positiv. I strongly felt the trees accepting this task, for which I thanked them, she too, over the phone on speaker.
Then I went home and we talked on the phone till we both fell asleep, leading to a huge phonebill:-p
She got rid of her problems that night, and I gained the confidence necessary to devote myself completely to the path of Shamanism.
Thank you for listening.