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OVERVIEW OF CELTIC SHAMANISM



INTRODUCTION

Let's get something straight right from the begining; Shamanism is NOT safe! It is a very dangerous practice if you do not have a personal teacher to guide you!!! You can't learn Shamanism from a book or a website!! Anyone who tells you that it's safe or that you can learn how to be a Shamanic Practitioner through any other means than a personal teacher does not know what they are talking about, is a fake and is a liar.

So does this mean that DJ Conway, Amber Wolfe and John Matthews lied in their books when they told you it was safe to learn from the books they have written? Is the Pope Catholic? Of course they lied!!! Just how many books or Seminars do you think those authors would sell if they told you Shamanism is a dangerous practice and you should not even attempt it without a personal teacher? Well the answer is very few. It wouldn't be long before we saw those people filing for Bankruptcy and looking for a new profession! The truth is that Shamanism has become a big fad. Authors who write these books are just raking in the money while they cry all the way to the bank and their private lear jet about how they have swindled you out of your hard earned cash!

Mental hospitals, hospices, emergency rooms and nursing homes are filled with people who attempted to practice Shamanism and many forms of Ceremonial Magick without a teacher. Does that mean you or your family can sue these authors? No, the books have all sorts of legal disclaimers in them. If you are stupid enough to practice Shamanism without a teacher, then you are out of luck if something happens to you as a result. Even I have disclimers on my pages and my course materials to protect myself from someone who lies about their medical condition, state of mind, addictions or age.

This of course is going to lead to a whole set of questions in which you attempt to weasel around my advice. To put those emails to rest, I will answer those questions now.

How do I find a teacher? I'm right here. If you want someone in your local area, I can't help you.

How do I know if someone who teaches knows what they are doing?
You won't get by for free. You will either pay in cash currency, your time, or your services, but a "real" teacher is never free. That includes chat rooms, mailing lists, web pages, ezines, etc.

I found a teacher who teaches at a Community College or an Occult/Metaphysical store. How do I know if the teacher knows what he/she is doing and not just another fake?

Another good question. Well if they tell you Shamanism is safe, and the course revolves around taking vision quests, journeys, Faery Shamanism or Dragon magick, or finding your Animal Spirit Guide, hold on to your wallet and run for your life!!! A good teacher will take the time to make sure you set a solid foundation before they lead you on a journey. This can take a long time. In addition, there is no such thing as Faery Shamanism or Dragon Magick! That was made up by DJ Conway.

I'm a teenager and I don't have the money to pay for classes how can I learn?

The money isn't your only problem, you don't have the time for it either. Not unless you're planning on becoming a D or F student? And if you already are, get your books out, hunker down and learn how to become responsible for your time and your actions! You can't even become a "fair to mediocre" Shamanic practitioner unless you learn time management, responsibility and discipline! If you do not think that's fair, too bad. I'm a parent with a 17 year old. I expect his school work, and his chores to take first place in his life, then he can go to his Tae Kwon Do classes and take time for meditations or any other extra cirricular activities. My son learned how to set aside time for meditation which is important to him. And don't cry..."I have ADD, ADD/HD or am LD." So is my son, and so is my husband, they learned time management even though it was difficult for them.

I just don't have the money how can I learn?

You don't unless you actually run across someone who is willing to trade services or time. That usually means you are about to become their maid, housekeeper, nursemaid and cook. Did I mention you'll have to live on an Indian Reservation? That is "if" the tribe will accept you. There may be cases however, where the teacher needs a service or something you have and will barter. And you must be physically fit as well as willing to submit to shamanic rituals which include having your shoulder pierced attached to a pole while sitting in the sun for several days. Good luck.

WHY I WON'T TEACH FOR FREE

I did have message boards and chats for people who could not afford to pay for lessons. I stopped doing this because those people didn't appreciate the time and effort it took for me to help them. They were rude, obstinate, and condescending. When I didn't give someone the answer they wanted to hear, they turned into Godzilla. Others would argue about what they learned from someone else on the net, or they just wanted to be general troublemakers. One particular young man even went to different pagan and celtic forums on the net spreading lies about me. I got tired of people who never studied any form of shamanism, except for reading a DJ Conway book coming to my forum to give me "a piece of their mind" for what I supposedly said to this young man. Fortunately I was contacted by the forum administrator about the problem and what was being said. When I told my side of the story she agreed with the advice I had given, had a slight chat with the youngster, then blocked his access to their forum and chat area.


OVERVIEW OF CELTIC SHAMANISM

The Celts

The main Celtic beliefs centered around ancestor worship, as it has with many different cultures. This is evident in the practice of leaving food, perfume and other offerings in a central room for a particular family member who had passed on. Most of the books only attribute this practice to Hallows eve, which is incorrect. And just as rumors become exaggerated as time goes on, the legends of the ancestors who passed eventually turned into Gods rather than ordinary people. Honoring the ancestors is still a very important practice in Celtic Shamanism as it is with other forms of Shamanism. Ancestor worship is also the basis of the African folk magick practices such as Hoodoo and Voodoo.

If you take the time to study other cultures you will realize that the ancient Egyptians, and the Hindus originally came from Shamanic societies. This is evident in the fact that their Gods are animals, or in the case of the Egyptians half animal half human.

When travelling to the otherworlds a beginning Shaman will often encounter loved ones who have passed on. Sometimes they are there to help you work through a problem you have, help you let go of guilt associated with their passing on, give you a message etc. They do not always appear as the person you knew and loved, but may take the form of an animal or a sylph, if that is what you will respond to. This is often the case if the practitioner had a strained or uncomfortable relationship with that person. This is why it is so important to honor your ancestors, as they are there to help you.

A Shaman is a healer who has the ability to walk between worlds. The Shaman journeys into the "otherworlds" to obtain important information in order to "heal" as well as to do actual healings. The Shaman is able to generate vast amounts of energy or power in order to journey.

In many cultures the Shaman is feared rather than revered because of the ability to walk between worlds, speak to spirits and raise power. In these cultures the shamans often have "power wars" betweeen groups.

Shamanism is a spiritual belief, not a religious practice, and therefore can be practiced by persons of any religious or spiritual faith. A Shaman is a healer and protector of the community. In Shamanic terms the planet Earth and all of her creatures are included in the definition of "community". The Shaman enters an altered state of consciousness in order to travel into other realms (or worlds) of reality to gain knowledge, heal others, or to foresee the future. This is also called a "vision quest" in some cultures. While on her/his spiritual journey the Shaman is aided by spirit guides. Spirit guides can be in the form of an animal, plant, deity, elves, fairies or departed loved ones. Most Shamans have one "personal" spirit guide that is always present during each spiritual journey.

Before a person can begin the practice of a Shaman, one must first learn how to open the spiritual centers of the body, and learn how to control their thoughts through a series of meditation exercises. This is something that takes time. You cannot have instant spirituality. If you do not learn how to do these things first you cannot become a successful shamanic practitioner. Yes you may end up on what you may perceive as a journey which will actually be astral traveling. However, you will not actually be on a journey. If you manage to get that far, then you will not be able to control your environment if something or someone tries to attack you. Don't take the word of a fluff bunny author who is only interested in selling you another book, the practice of shamanism is dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. There are shamanic schools which teach their people how to effectively kill or destroy the minds of other shamans they run into in the otherworlds. Your spirit guide cannot protect you, as he/she is only there to help guide you as well as give advice.

In addition, before a Shaman can heal others she/he must first heal herself/himself by going through a process of spiritual development. Spiritual development includes ridding oneself of negative habits and influences, balancing her/his body and life through meditations, journals, and examining the self.

Unfortunately, from what information we have of the ancient Celts, just as many other western societies, they did not have safe or heathy exercises to raise themselves spiritually. Instead they used hallucinogenic plants, fasting, and what the Native Americans call sweat lodges to aid them on their journeys. This is not a safe practice, not to mention the legal ramifications with the use of drugs. Because of this I have devised my own system of exercises to aid in the development of higher mental abilities that you need in order to travel to the otherworlds. Some people refer to these abilities as opening the third eye, opening the chakras/awakening the kundalini, and becoming one with self and the Godhead. Whatever you want to call the practice, they are basically the same except for the terms or words that are used.

Shamanism does not require you to live a solitary life (i.e. you don't have to become a recluse), nor does it require you to give up the things you like to do in your spare time, provided that the activity is not something that is physically or mentally destructive, such as overindulgence of any sort (alcohol, drugs, food). Watching movies and television or reading books other than spiritual improvement texts will not hurt your spiritual progression! Just be certain that you balance your time and your life. Having a family won't hurt your spiritual progression either. Having a solid family foundation is actually excellent for creating balance.

Most shamanic practitoners live in an urban environment. If your vision of a Shaman is that of someone who lives a solitary, spiritual life such as that of a Buddhist or Hindu Monk you are mistaken. I would venture to say that you have been watching too many episodes of Kung Fu!

The average Shamanic practitoner has a career (outside of shamanism), a family, and other obligations. We are not obligated to "teach" anyone our craft, or to provide mentoring or vast information, as it is necessary to make certain that we do not teach someone who is only interestd in corruption of power.

We are also deserving of pay for healing, teaching, etc. If you were living on tribal land, the Shaman would charge you for his/her services. In addition the apprentice of a tribal shaman must live with his/her teacher as well as work to earn his/her keep. There is no free ride, even on tribal land. Those of us who are urban Shamans ask for payment in the form of money, as we are unable to live on a "bartering system" outside of the currency issued by our government. The saying goes "every worker is worth his due (pay)." If I or any other shaman performs a healing, journey or teaches an apprentice, then we are also workers who are worth our pay. The idea that we should not be paid "because this is the internet" or because the "easterners such as buddhists do not charge" is preposterous! Are you able to connect to the Internet for free? Of course not! Therefore the internet is NOT free, or an information "free for all". The services that are "free" to you are paid for by advertisers, as the owners of the business cannot run their servers, without paying programmers, the telephone company, their electric bills, etc.

Unfortunately, many people confuse mystical and spiritual practices with Religious belief. I have been asked many times if Shamanism is connected with Wicca. No it is not! Wicca is a Religion which incorporates spiritual practices and magick. To be Wiccan one must agree with and follow the "Wiccan Reede", we don't adhere to the Reede or any other Religious belief. Just because one revere' nature and mother earth does not make them Wiccan. The Hindus and Buddhists also have the same beliefs in becoming one with nature, but they aren't Wiccan and never will be. This does not mean you can't be Wiccan and practice Shamanism.