A shaman is anyone who has, through innate being or learned processes, become aware of the two aspects of our attention that each of us possess and who has utilized those aspects to connect directly to the Source of Being.

Shamans contend that most human beings in our times have become enslaved by our day-to-day attention, denying the reality of their alternate attention, the kind we use in dreaming.

Shamans connect to spirit in their waking and dreaming attentions, which allows them unusual balance and perspective. The findings of shamans thus, appropriately, astound those who know only their waking attention.

For instance, shamans are capable of communicating with persons whose bodies have passed from life, confirming our nature as eternal beings. Shamans may also communicate clearly with animals, plants, rocks, angels or even stars.

Shamans also contend that we human beings have tapped a very minuscule portion of our potential. By enhancing our dreaming possibilities and connecting them to our fantasies, it means that we can connect directly to spirit through our heart. And so we find that love has many fulfilling aspects.

Spirit, being the here and now of universal becoming that we embody, aware or not, and heart, being the total compassionate connection between self and other, when humbly combined become the connecting link between a shaman and our universal Source of Being. A shaman, then, is a conduit of spirit’s love.

Shamans experience in full awareness the joys and wonders of not only this world, indeed also joys and wonders of worlds beyond description. From this position, a shaman may choose to be a healer or a prophetic seer, becoming a boon to humanity, or may choose to withdraw into other realms.

Shamans have been the healers and visionaries from the dawn of humanity and can be identified historically by their actions. Take the stories of Joseph, son of Jacob in Egypt. He was a dreamer and dream interpreter for the pharaoh. Then there is Balaam (Numbers 24:17), a traveling prophet who delivered the star prophecy, “A star shall rise from Jacob, a scepter to rule the world,” predicting the Messiah. Archangel Gabriel talks with Daniel and delivers the Quran to Mohammed. Many such encounters are documented in religious scriptures.

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Yet Shamanism has no documents or doctrines; only our natural connection to spirit is necessary to perform what appears as miraculous to our everyday attention.

Turning off our everyday attention with its constant jabber becomes essential for shamanic work. Perhaps the most common way for people, from indigenous societies to modern humans to do this is with the use of drumming.

Steady, rhythmic drumming or rattling with a beat of two to three beats per second for even just a minute or two quiets the mind quite quickly with only a little practice for most people. With a calm everyday mind, the shaman then calls up their intention to journey using dreaming attention. From here the journey can be to lower worlds for healing energy, to upper worlds for inspiration and visions or to parallel places in this world. The possibilities are beyond imagining from the daily waking attention.

Shamanism is a natural, refined spirituality that is as varied as its practitioners’ visions and insights. The intent of Shamanism is to be a benefit to humanity, to be an active part in the evolution of a wise and compassionate humanity.

Art and science have been rooted in what can be called a Shamanic realism without fully realizing that potential. Shamanic societies have almost survived outside onslaughts; perhaps this time humanity will allow it. It's time to.

Will Bradley is a lifelong mid-valley native and resident, retired, a veteran, and an Oregon State University graduate living in Albany. He can be reached through Facebook at Shamanic Sciences/Energy Dancing.

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