Shamanism!!??

Shamanism?

How to define shamanism???
I am sure that there are a gazzzzudle of wise, learned professors out there that know absolutely EVERYTHING about that!!!
Only they themselves never had a vision or better said, went into full theta  trance – other than maybe aided by some drugs……..
Well No drugs for me!

All I need is my drum….
A shaman is a person that can go into trance at will, spontaneously and —

– OK, sometimes also goes into trance spontaneously when not called for…… been there, or …..????
What the person then “sees” perceives he, she uses for the good of the community.

Some “see” and talk to Spirits in human, animal or any form in between. There are no rules. Trance has no rules other than that it is universal and found in all cultures.
Usually shamans are not the ones to make rules anyway. They have a bone-crushing vision, that may inspire them to create a NEW ritual , something that revitalizes the community. These rituals may or may not become permanent fixtures after that.
A medicine Bundle may be created after such a vision.

And eventually the community may end up electing a bundle priest, that takes care of the rituals and tabooooos related to that bundle / commemorating the vision…. Now thous guys are the ones we have to looook towards when searching for the roots of dogma, taboo enforcement and rigid moral and behavior codes!! Because out of these THEY receive their power (with a small p!!! ) and their prestige….
OK they also embody the Traditions; good and bad……
The culture’s shamans however are meanwhile busssssssy with the next Powerful vision and the one after that…..
We have no time and room for rigidity; we are treading new ground, keeping the culture vibrant and alive, not a relict, fit for a museum. There you have the exact cutting edge between visionary shamanism and tutelary = learnabel/ apprentice based priesthood.

Shamans the world over were the first artist, drawing their visions onto rocks, trees, into the back of Mother Earth to bring them into tangible reality.
And that is what we still do.
In art, in dance, in chants, in rituals, given to us by Spirit.
And sometimes we write about just how that feels like on an international web site like this one to share with  😉

—> the community!!! = You all!

…….Iffff we are not sitting in endless Pow Wow board meetings -that is…..  😦

 

 

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Shamanic Journey

Dear reader:

Before you tackle this sad story, please read first my post: Ice Age anyone.

Otherwise this here narrative will not make sense.

And a little warning:

This is a tough read….

Luckily you were not there…

But I “was”……

I decided to go on a trance journey to find out about Rhinos.

What we thought of them.

How our Ancestors regarded them, what Medicine they associated with them.

Shamanic Journey

I am in the journey cave. The fire is out. Only Nishia is there,grooming her feathers. One of the feathers, a medium sized flight feather comes loose and flutters in my direction. (Not a good sign. 😦 )

I pick it up, and the minute I touch it, the ground beneath me opens and I sink down.

I followed the sound of the drum deeeeeeep into the sandy ground beneath my feet.

Down and further down.

It smelled of time and – Earth. I am a little sad, that Nishia is not coming with me. But this is not a journey for a client where I need to find a cure for something….

Even Fretty had decided, that this journey into the distant past should only be undertaken by me.

I see light ahead of me, yellowish milky beige light; I move towards it. I find myself to be in a landscape of wide grasslands, tall grass, not the kind people have on their lawns, but hip high pale greenish yellow grass that waves in the wind like waves.

There is movement in that grass. Gray movement. 2 shapes, one humooooongouse and another one, small and light afoot. I recognized a Mother Rhino and her small calf. She is grazing, the little one still too small to graze, still nursing, is nuzzling its mother’s belly. What a peaceful beautiful sight!

I hunker down, covering myself in the tall grass, watching the 2 majestic animals.

Then, there is more movement! Calls and screams too! The mother Rhino lifts her head, ears flicking, tail raised she turns into the direction of the sound.

Humans.

Humans are coming.

They are running!

Fast through the tall grass. Not the slightest attempt to hide their approach they yell and wave long spears! The Mother Rhino snorts and turns, as if to face these nuisances. A spear flies in her direction, falls short, gets stuck just next to her calf.

Danger.

Danger she does not need. Snorting she turns and starts moving off, in my direction!

The screams and taunts of the hunters increase, She starts running, the calf by her side.

I have to get out of the way! She is whirrrrling up dust and bits of dirt and grasses and the ever present flies…..

I hear the loud stomping of her massive feet and am engulfed in a cloud of dust. The grunting snorts of the Mother Rhino roars closer, I can smell her, the wave of heat and dust and flying pebbles and bits of grass race by me, make me step back. Then just as the huge gray mass had passed I hear a thunderous crash and an otherworldly grunting roar woven out of pain, anger and frustration.

I am still vaguely aware that I am still holding Nishia’s feather in my hand….

As the dust settled I recognized what had happened:

A trap!

.

The hunters had dug out a deep pit and just barely covered it with thin branches and grasses. Now the giant gray mass was caught in it, stomping grunting trying to wiggle itself upright in the tight confined space. -tried to escape. Tried, but did not succeed. The animal woefully tried to rear up, front feet scratching to reach the rim of the pit, finding purchase but not enough to escape the trap. The sound was awful. The stench too. In her fear and stress she lost her water and dung. Farting and grunting mixed with the higher pitched screams of her calf. I had forgotten the little one. But the hunters had not. They allowed the calf to approach the pit, that held its mother and then, as it whimpering lowered its head, nose touching up-stretched nose the spear struck. Blood squirted everywhere. The calf whirled around, wanting to flee, the spear in its throat gurgling whines, gushing red blood. The screams were awful, the Mothers frantic grunts and the babies pitiful wails as it suffocated falling forward, impaling itself deeper into the the spear, its shaft now broken of. Another one stuck in the spine, the little one faltered, legs gave way, flailing in the air in last spasm of nerves.. …. the mother roared, fought the pit with all her might – to no avail, the little one now still, but soon the hunters arrived, struck it once more, the proceeded to break open its steaming body, flint knifes in fist cutting into hot flesh, disregarding the trapped mother feet away from the blood bath of butchery.

I felt my own heart screeeeeeeeeeeaming in horror and pain! But there was no sound – of mine, just the brawly laughter of the hunters as they worked on their kill and the roars from the tormented mother in the pit.

The vision changed and it was night. A small fire nearby. A youngster sitting by it whittling a spear tip in the dim light.

Grunting snorts from behind me. The pit. The mother! What were they doing? Letting her die there? Coming to kill her in the morning?

Again and again she reared up, as much as she could, pawing the rim of the pit.The youngster got up, checked, but returned to the fire, as if all was in order. Next day – or the one after. The light rose in the sky, the heat and the flies – arrived and – as the sun sank again so they disappeared. The Rhino in the pit stomped and snorted and grunted. Then grew silent for hours, just to start yet another senseless attack at the rim of its death trap. Day and day and day and day….. the sloooowly the strength of the animal waned, her attempts at escape grew weaker and weaker….. day after day after day. The rim of the pit was wearing down, but so was she, her left hind lake now broken and useless, she could not rear up anymore… day after day after day. Then – after 12 days it was over.

Her Spirit did, what her body could not:

Rise out of the death trap and flee the scene of the carnage.

The smell told it all. The youngster left to get his Elders. They dug open a sort of slope into the pit and widened it somewhat and proceeded to heave her onto her side and carefully cut her lifeless body, from the center down and out, taking meat out of the pit to be cut into slabs and hung over a long fire pit to dry in the smoke of wet grass. The bones were piled to the side and shortly thereafter transported of to camp. More and more people arrived, baskets on thumb-lines were filled with meat and carried of, others brought twigs and wet as well as dry grasses for the fire. The scene was abuzz with flies…

then the men emerged from the pit with a tremendous burden: The hide of the Rhino mother. In one continuous piece!unblemished by any lance or spear. That was, why they had not killed her, ended her suffering.

They wanted the hie whole.

For what? It was soooo huuuuge, it took 4 men to carry it ?

The scene shifted again.

.

Cooooooooold!

Soooo cooooold!

Bowing wind whipped a nasty freezing rain-sleet mix into my face.

Up ahead near the furt across the river I saw a bump in the landscape and stumbled towards it.

A hut. Sturdy branches, saplings, woven together to erect a low dome, over which – the cured hide of the mother Rhino was stretched. And it was not the only one. It took 2 of these huge hides to cover the hut.

Voices inside.

The people.

My Ancestors

Your Ancestors.

A mother, holding a newborn to her breast…….

.

I am still holding the Owl feather.

I stick it between the rocks that weigh down Mother Rhino’s hide………

Ice Age anyone?

The Tarot of the Origins

will be my deck for this week. I am currently reading 2 books about Ice age art and life ways as well as what ethnologist are finding out about belief systems and spirituality at the dawn of civilization. culture and spirituality. The images of the Tarot of the Origins go very well with this theme and my thoughts about creating some jewelry out of the Mammoth tusk pieces we still have from a dig east of Dawson City in the Yukon.

Daily draw:

card 12 of the suite of emotions:

Animal of Soul

Whouw!

What a card to start my week.

The huuuuuuge head of a woolly Rhino dominates the center, just waaaay back in the upper part of the image a human hunter with shield and spear is visible.

It feels as if the Animal is stomping away from him, whirling up dust and dirt and whatever else is in its way…

What, if the beast decides to turn around and face its puny little opponent?

With this HORN !!!!!!is the hunter alone, or are his pals nearby? Can you / can I imagine going after some foe like this – in an attempt to get dinner?

Because eat them we did! In the middle Paleolithic =“30 000years ago, Rhinos made up about 16% of what our Ancestors ate. Later, in the Magdalenian, the time of the beautiful cave paintings, it was less than 1%.

Would we women have joined the hunt?

Me with 56-certainly not, I would be ancient oooold and probably back at camp, taking care of the kids, that for sure were kept out of nose- width of this Rhino.

Well, there is another card with a Rhino in this deck: Death

Here the sandy brown Rhino has speared a puny little human onto its huuuuuuge horn, lifting him into the blood red sky.

A powerful vision of how a warrior or hunter meets the Ancestor Spirits!

Since Rhinos were more and more rare in the landscape, what would our Ancestors have thought about them?

What shamanistic Powers would they have attributed to them?

What myth?

What stories of the hunt would have been told?

Who saw the last Rhino on the steppes of central Europe?

Were there any over here in North America?

Who will see the very last wild Rhino in modern day Africa?

Could we save it from extinction?

For today?

The stern warning is: Do not engage what you may not be able to escape from.

I hope, that does not pertain to the Tarot of the Origins

http://taroteca.multiply.com/photos/album/287/Origins#

Mother Earth the Turtle

Healing Earth Tarot
7 of Shields
The blue waves of the sea surround a spooked wheel with the Great Turtle and her eggs in its Center.
For me this card encompasses a whole world view:
Mother Earth the Turtle
floating within the blue blanket of Father Sky.

She is seen with her 7 eggs, symbolizing the future of us all, hinting at the next 7 generations following ours, the people, for whom we need to steward and protect our living Mother, so in turn She will continue to nurture and feed all of her living children residing on her broad back.
All the creation myth of the First Nations, in which Mother Earth the Turtle feature prominently float through my mind.

Here is one, often told in our Longhouse:

The Earth on Turtle’s Back
Long time ago, before the Earth was here, all was water. Many creatures lived in the water, swimming about. Far above the clouds, there was, however, a land where lived a powerful chief. His wife was going to have a baby. In that Sky land was a great tree with four large roots, stretching out to each of the four sacred directions, and bearing many kinds of fruits and flowers.

One night the chief’s wife dreamed that the great tree had been uprooted. The chief perceived that this was a dream of great power, and thus must be fulfilled. With great effort, the tree was uprooted, leaving a large hole in the sky. The chief’s wife leaned to look through the hole, but lost her balance and fell.

Grasping at the tree as she fell, she only managed to hold onto a handful of seeds. The water creatures below saw her falling. They realized that she was not a water creature and tried desperately to think of a way to help her.

“I have heard,” said one, “that there is earth far below the waters. Perhaps we should try to get some for her to stand upon.”

One by one the animals tried to dive down far enough to retrieve land, but one by one they failed. Finally, brave little muskrat tried one last time. Deeper and deeper she dove until her little lungs almost burst. Suddenly she found a bit of land. Scooping it up, she frantically swam to the surface. But alas, where to put the land?

The Turtle said, “Put it on my back. I will hold up the Land and the Sky Woman.” And so they did. Sky woman landed safely on Turtle’s back and was very thankful. She cast the seeds about.

The Land on the Turtle’s back became ever so beautiful. The tiny piece of Earth on the turtle’s back began to grow.

It grew and grew and grew until it formed an island in the water. The island grew larger and larger, but still the turtle bore the weight of the Earth on his back. A huge island sat in the middle of the water, and today that island is known as North America or  “Turtle Island.


But not only the Native Americans have stories about the Great Turtle, the Chinese do too and so do tribal people in Africa and Australia.
Turtle is universal.
Turtle provides grounding for all our high flying ideas, asking questions of sustainability and consideration for all life on this small and so very fragile planet.
It asks each and every one of us to do their part, not only lip service and – maybe a little recycling…..

Mother Earth the Turtle is a recurring subject in my art.
Again and again She appears,
As bone carving on a Medicine pouch,
As petroglyph drawing on a drum.
As a pendant or pin in the jewelry I make my living with…..
Each and every time I draw Her, carve Her, cut Her shape out of Sterling silver or any other metal, I am speaking her message – and the message of all my Relations.
Inspired by this card, I will today, yet again create a Turtle, draw a Turtle, speak of Turtles……

Will you hear me?

Inspirations and Transformations

Inspirations and Transformations

Watching the Ravens overhead, becoming familiar with the individual Birds, that live on our land, starting to recognize them, does not only lead over into writing blog posts and poems about them, it also calls forth designs – to be realized if Sterling silver, brass, copper and gemstones or drawn onto leather and canvas. It feeds the curiosity of the artist of just how to portray the Spirit of Karakoruk – and how it would be different compared to Bran, the Gaelic Raven….

Put the 2 next to each other to have a conversation!

What would they say?

Would they talk about the Wolf packs that keep them in food?

Wolves and Ravens hunt together, did you know?

Ravens often see an Animal, injured or exhausted and their cawing alerts the Wolves…

 Also many a Raven flew over the Wolf lair, alerting them, fluttering low, then off in the direction the prospective prey is located…..

And the Wolves knew, to follow.

Ravens then will dine on the plentiful leftovers of Wolf kills.

But stealing a Wolf its food – well, THAT is quite a different matter.

Then a Raven just might be added to the Wolf menu……

The local wildlife sanctuary has several Wolves, that due to injuries or attempted domestication can not be released back into the wild. They live out their lives in the spacious wooded enclosures in the back of Aspen Valley, getting fed twice a week with meat from local farms.

Ravens are wherever Wolves are and so too at the sanctuary. The swoop down into the enclosures to snatch a morsel – but watch out, Wolves can jump and then teeth close around wings – and end of story….

Or maybe not……

T. from the sanctuary, saw what happened to the Raven and went back into the enclosure, luring Amarook into the other corner with another nice piece of meat.

But it was too late for the Raven…. but not too late for its feathers.

I got a phone call. And 2 hours later this Raven was on its way to a new life – with me – and with you.

First there is the Spirit Release ceremony, when he got smudged and I sing to his soul, to honor it and let it float up, into the Trees, into the realm of Kakagee, the – we would say E’eren – or Manitou of all the Ravens here….

  Usually it is an emotional farewell, but after the tears have dried, I am ready to take the wings, whole, spread them out to cure and then dry. The claws will receive the same treatment.

The head will go into an Ant pile for about a week or 10 days – securely fastened inside a live Mouse trap, so that Brother Fox and sister Coon will not steal my prize….

All the feathers will be taken, cleaned and preserved. Then the body of poor unlucky Raven will be deposited, where Brother Fox knows to look…..

A few months later I will go to work.

The wing will become a Raven fan, with a Deer antler handle, Wolf fur and a Sterling silver Wolf inserted – or should Peter rather cut out a Raven?

The finished item will be smudged and invocated on the next Full Moon.

In honor of Raven, in honor of Wolf and in honor of the person, who will one day own and use this powerful Medicine Tool.

Rabenliebe

 Ravens in Love

is a poem about Ravens in German language. 😦

It is for Elisabeth, my mother in law

and for my German friends and students 🙂

 

 

 

 

Rabenliebe:

 

 

Die Raben sind im Eierwahn!

wie Düsenjäger sausen sie heran

ja, wie die schwarzen Phantom – Flieger

oder sind’s des Odin’s wilde Krieger?

Jetzt ist für uns die Winterwelt

ein riesengroßes Zirkuszelt:

Die Raben sind Luftakrobaten

vom Fenster sehen wir ihre Taten.

Hoch über’m Eise, statt zusammenzuprallen

im Liebesrausch , verhaken sie ihre Krallen

und dann kopfüber und kopfunter

geht’s den ganzen Creek hinunter.

Wild wird gegluckst, gekrächzt, geflattert

und einen Partner sich ergattert.

Dann runter geht’s , auf’s blanke Eis

dort hüpft und krächzt man laut im Kreis.

Der Rivale wird ganz ungeniert

mit Flügel-Prügel attackiert.

Statt majestätisch davonzugleiten

sind die Damen auch am Streiten!

Man krächzt sich widerwärtig an

verteidigt seinen Rabenmann,

benutzt den Schnabel wie ‘nen Hammer

zack – noch mehr Geschrei und Rabenjammer.

Siegreich das Paar in der Luft sich tummelt

– jetzt wird keine Zeit mehr verbummelt

denn nur einen Zweck erfüllt die Trickerei

– Im März im Nest ein Rabenei!

Und während es noch pfeift und schneit

sind fünf Baby – Krächzes unter Pappa’s Kleid.

Liebevoll bringt dann die Rabenmutter

unseren Müll – und Aas als Rabenfutter.

Werden dann Ende April die Lüfte linder

sind sie voll wilder Rabenkinder……

 

 

 

 

Ravens on my Mind

Healing Earth Tarot: 

9 of Wands:

That sounds about right – for today – considering that in the RWS system often this card would

show a person carrying 9 wands up a steep hill……

My card however is different and yet – fitting: Raven and 9 burning wands.


We have wonderful cold and sunny weather and so we are off into the bush, getting wands out. Loooooong wands!!
Biiiiiig wands, heavy too, publicly they are called logs – for the fire on the card in front of me.
Peter will cut them, with the chain saw and it is my job to load them onto the toboggan (hand drawn sled) and pull them out of the bush -without falling over my snowshoes. Each of them will weigh at least as much as me and I will often have 2 of them on my toboggan…..
Wandering wands wandering into our hearth fire- ultimately – next winter…..
Raven in the center of the card.
Raven overhead!
Caaaaawing at us and all the noise we make, but also swooping down to get a closer look. I caw up, he caws down; we get each other.
Raven,
Kakagee, Cree Guardian of West
Bran, Gaelic guide of the Morrigan
Tupulo Gaukuuk, who flies high along the West Coast of Canada
Kutkinako, who gluckses wisdom to shaman’s ears in Yakutia
Ee’ren Karakoruk= the “Black Caller” in my language – making a rukus = loud noises, while teaching us how to fish and how to make fire…..
The rukus today however is about Sex.
Raven Sex, that is….
…..going on just about now.
Tomorrow we expect high winds, blowing away our nice weather, bringing rain

(–onto my nice fast snowshoe trails, making them sloooow and sluggish, requiring heavy pulling…)


But before the rain comes, Raven and Lady Raven will dance on the wind, lock talons, tumble, gift each other small twigs caaaaw a rukus of love into the storm and then start their nest on on the windswept pines across Kawpakwakog river.


Tomorrow, I will sit next to my hearth fire and think about the stories of Raven.
RAVEN, the Spirit
How RAVENS keep save the city of London….
Of RAVEN stealing the first fire
of RAVEN opening the Clam Shell to let out the first Haida People, Of Raven stealing the sun from a nasty old chief and singing all his nice white feathers black
Of RAVEN, helping to find the Eight’s Star Sister, the one that moved from Siberia to North America and stayed there- according to the stories of my ancestors…….
Of E’eren Karakoruk, who’s black feathers we Khams wear and who dances in the Sun’s Fire with us….


And while pulling my sled
a poem in my mind I met:

 

Raven, fly higher
It’s you, I admire
Go up to the sun
Flash wing and you’r gone!