Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Shaman and the Spirit World




Shamanism is a way to connect with all of nature and beyond.

A Shaman is a person who is able to access the Spirit World for purposes of healing and divination, a ceremonial and spiritual leader among indigenous cultures worldwide, often referred to as a Medicine Man or Woman in Native American culture.

Shamans have dreams or visions that carry certain messages. Some shamans have spirit guides who direct the shaman in their journeys in the Spirit World. The spirit guides are always present within the shaman -- others may also encounter the spirit guide when the shaman is within a trance, which is energized by the spirit guide.

A shaman has the ability to cleanse negative energy that disrupts a soul. When within the Spirit World, a shaman may also retrieve lost portions of a human soul and return the lost parts to the human soul.

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According to the Navajo people of the American southwest, sometimes it becomes necessary to create a doorway between the two halves of the world -- the people of time (human beings on Earth) and the timeless people (spirits in another realm).

For the Navajo, this doorway is created by sand paintings -- the art of pouring colored sands or pigments onto a surface in order to create a "sand painted" design.

A traditional Navajo hogan is a circular, one-room dwelling. For a healing ceremony, to cure a physical or emotional illness, a small group will gather in a hogan, where a shaman (Medicine Man) will create an elaborate symbolic design by pouring the colored sands loosely upon the ground of the hogan. The symmetry (order) of the sand painting symbolizes the harmony that the ill patient desires to reestablish in their life.

There are up to 1,000 different traditional sand painting designs within the Navajo culture, with more than 30 different designs associated with a particular ceremony. These sand paintings are considered to be living spiritual beings, to be treated with great respect.

When the healing ceremony begins, the patient is directed to sit on the sand painting whereupon the shaman sings a long prayer. The sand painting is intended to act as a portal to attract the spirits, allowing the spirits to come and go into the patient as needed.

This healing ceremony traditionally continues from dusk to dawn for two consecutive nights. At the end of the ceremony, when the sand painting has served its purpose by absorbing the illness, the sand painting is destroyed.

* * *

The Plains Indians, Lakota and Oglala Sioux, perform a ceremonial ritual when faced with the loss of a loved one. They traditionally create a medicine bundle that includes an item of the deceased person's clothing or some other special item they valued in life.

The soul of the deceased is then "invited" to reside in the medicine bundle. Thus, the grieving person is able to ritually care for the deceased by nourishing them their love. They will also sleep with the medicine bundle and ritually bathe them.

The bereaved cares for the medicine bundle for exactly one year. The following day, the medicine bundle will be opened, thereby releasing the soul of the loved one, and the grieving period will then cease. In this manner, the grief of the loss of the loved one will promptly end because the tribal shaman felt it would be detrimental to the entire community if the grieving continued too long.

* * *

In Peru, the Shipibo Indians believe that illness is a breakdown of the body's energy system. The Shipido shaman embarks on a visionary journey into the Dreamtime to receive healing symbols from the spirits to restore harmony within an ill person.

When the shaman returns from the spiritual journey, they paint the symbols encountered in the journey onto the body of the ill patient, using a strong dye. These symbolic designs contain energetic patterns, embodying a spiritual power, that impose a strong intention within the subconscious body and soul of the patient, thereby enhancing the sufferer's own inner ability to become well again.

* * *

The Kuna Indians of Panama create wooden medicine dolls used in rituals for ill patients. The medicine dolls are carved from a sacred tree and blessed by a shaman. The spirit of the tree, within the medicine doll, journeys into the spirit realm to locate and retrieve a lost soul part required for healing the patient.

To the Kuna people, the medicine dolls are alive and are to be honored with respect. The medicine dolls may also help to heal the Earth and send messages through a shaman about how to deal with various aspects affecting their lives.

In return for the medicine doll's assistance in their lives, the Kuna people consider the medicine dolls to be extended members of the family. The medicine dolls are ceremonially fed and bathed with the smoke of burning cacao beans.

* * *

The shaman is a mediator for their community and culture. They enter the Spirit World on behalf of the community, including encountering the spirits of the deceased. By doing so, the shaman eases unrest and settles issues. In return, the shaman delivers gifts to the spirits.

Be silent and listen to the messages of your soul -- whatever happens to your body, your eternal soul will remain whole.
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Quote for the Day -- “We hardly ever realize that we can cut anything out of our lives, anytime, in the blink of an eye.” Carlos Castaneda
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Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where the human body is a container for an eternal soul.
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dante's Inferno



Dante Alighieri (1265 - 1321) was an Italian poet. His epic poem, the Divine Comedy, is considered to be one of the world's greatest poems.

When Alighieri died in 1321, parts of his manuscript of the Divine Comedy were missing. For several months, his sons, Jacopo and Pietro, searched the house and all of their father's papers for the missing parts but could not find them.

One night, Jacopo had a dream wherein his father appeared dressed in white and bathed in a heavenly light. Jacopo asked his father if he had completed the poem. His father indicated he had indeed completed the work and showed Jacopo a secret place within his chamber where he had hidden it.

Jacopo went to the place his father had told him the manuscript was kept -- a small blind affixed to the wall. Lifting the blind, Jacopo found a small compartment. Inside were some papers, covered with mold. Carefully removing the dust and mold, the Divine Comedy was now complete.

Sometimes, ghosts can be very helpful.

The Divine Comedy begins in a dark forest, which leads into the Inferno (hell), followed by heaven and purgatory.

Dante's Inferno has nine circles.

1) Limbo -- for those who were not baptized or do not believe in Christianity -- clear skies, green fields, pleasant villas.

2) Lust -- for those inclined to exercise excessive lust, leading to commit sexual sins such as adultery -- punishment includes being blown around by strong winds with great force.

3) Gluttony -- for those who indulged in excessive abuse of food and other substances -- punishment involves being tossed into foul-smelling slush while being beaten by storms and icy rain -- a nasty, 3-headed creature named Cerberus guards this realm.

4) Avarice -- for those who waste and hoard -- excessive spenders and misers -- punishment is eternal pushing of large bags of wealth -- this realm is guarded by Plutus, the Greek god of wealth.

5) Anger & Moodiness -- for those filled with wrath and find no joy in anything -- a stinking swamp in a thick fog where the wrathful float and fight with each other, while the joyless lay beneath the surface.

6) Heresy -- for those who have committed the most malicious sins -- the beginning of lower hell, called the City of Dis, where the air is hot and dry -- punishment involves being captive in a large white marble mausoleum or within hot iron tombs.

7) Violence -- this realm has three rings associated with three types of violence -- the outer ring is for those who have committed violence against people or property, where they are immersed in a river of blood -- the middle ring is for those you have committed violence (or suicide) against themselves, where they will be entangled in thorny bushes which are being eaten by shrews -- the inner ring is for those who have committed violence against God or nature (blasphemers, usurers, sodomites) where they are eternally confined to a hot desert where fiery rain pours from the sky.

8) Fraud -- for those who have committed treachery or fraud -- panderers, flatterers, false prophets, corrupt politicians, thieves, hypocrites, creators of discord, evil counselors -- this realm is guarded by Greyon, a creature that personifies fraud, with an honest face and the body of a serpent with a tail containing a poisonous sting.

9) Treachery -- for the biggest sinners of all -- the traitors -- unbearably cold with four concentric zones, where each zone is for different kinds of traitors -- traitors to kindred -- traitors to hosts or guests -- traitors to country -- traitors to benefactors.

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” Dante Alighieri

Yes, indeed -- Dante Alighieri was a fun guy -- his vision of the nature of humanity and sin probably qualified for him for spending eternity in one of his nine circles of hell -- or perhaps he was just having a bad hair day when he wrote it.

To light a candle is to cast a shadow.
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Quote for the Day -- "If you're going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill
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Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where hell is a state of mind.
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Saturday, February 4, 2017

12 Archetypes of Self



An archetype is an original pattern of which all things of the same "type" are representations (copies).

Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961), the famous Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology, utilized the concept of archetype in his theory of the human spirit. He believed that universal archetypes, an inherited mode of thought, evolved (resided) within the collective unconscious of the human race.

“What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits." Carl G. Jung

Although there are many differing archetypes, Jung specified 12 primary types that characterize basic human impulses. The 12 types can be divided into three categories of four types.

Ego Types:
  • Innocent
  • Orphan
  • Hero
  • Caregiver

Soul Types:
  • Explorer
  • Rebel
  • Lover
  • Creator

Self Types:
  • Jester
  • Sage
  • Magician
  • Ruler

The archetypes within each of the three categories have a common driving force. In addition, most people have several archetypes underlying their personal human motivations. However, one archetype tends to generally dominate the personality.

Innocent -- a childlike approach to the world, mostly optimistic, everything will work out just fine, unrealistic goals, naive innocence, romantic dreamer
  • Goal -- seek happiness, trust others, be safe
  • Fear -- abandonment, being punished
  • Strategy -- do the right thing, problems solved by denial or seek rescue
  • Gift -- trust, optimism, loyalty

Orphan -- self-reliant loner, independent, cynical, mistrustful of authority, solid citizen, superficial relationships
  • Goal -- safety, connection to others, to belong
  • Fear -- exploitation, being left out
  • Strategy -- hopeful of rescue, reluctant compliance
  • Gift -- realist, empathetic

Hero -- warrior, achievement of goals, team player, crusader, arrogant, need to fight battles, violence to resolve problems
  • Goal -- be courageous, masterful
  • Fear -- vulnerability, cowardice
  • Strategy -- be strong & gallant & competent
  • Gift -- forcefulness, guile, loyal to code of conduct

Caregiver -- emotional support of others, sense of community, offering guidance, self-sacrifice, guilt tripping, possible martyrdom, could become exploited
  • Goal -- help others
  • Fear -- ingratitude, selfishness
  • Strategy -- taking care of others
  • Gift -- compassion, generosity

Explorer -- seeking freedom through journeying, being true to one's soul, quest for betterment, discover the world & higher truths, escape boredom, could lead to aimless wandering
  • Goal -- fulfillment in life
  • Fear -- conformity, trapped, inner angst, lack of commitment
  • Strategy -- seeking new things, exploring, running away from problems
  • Gift -- ambition, autonomy

Rebel -- malcontent, need for dramatic change, destroy what is not working, break rules, seek revenge, radical freedom, misfit, iconoclastic
  • Goal -- radical change, growth
  • Fear -- stagnation, conformity, being powerless
  • Strategy -- disruption, antagonist, outlaw
  • Gift -- revolutionary

Lover -- desire to please others at risk of own identity, enthusiastic, seeking relationship with people & work & surroundings, passionate engagement with life
  • Goal -- relationship, intimacy
  • Fear -- being unwanted, unloved
  • Strategy -- become more emotionally & physically attractive
  • Gift -- passion, commitment, gratitude

Creator -- Creativity, authentic expressions of the self, living in a dream world, manifestation, give form to visions
  • Goal -- creation of something new, realize a vision
  • Fear -- mediocre execution, failure
  • Strategy -- self-expression, create something of enduring value
  • Gift -- imagination, flashes of inspiration

Jester -- live in the moment having a great time, levity, goofiness, lighten up the world, amusement of others with antics, irreverence, life is a game, pleasure of the journey
  • Goal -- enjoyment, fun & games
  • Fear -- boring others, irresponsibility
  • Strategy -- playful, be funny, aliveness, play tricks on others
  • Gift -- make jokes, liberation

Sage -- contemplative, seeking knowledge, thinker, philosopher, uses wisdom to help others as a mentor or teacher
  • Goal -- discover the truth
  • Fear -- ignorance, deception
  • Strategy -- analyze the world & beyond, value knowledge
  • Gift -- self-reflection, intelligence, skepticism, wisdom

Magician -- shaman, healer, make things happen, inventor, perceive the connections of life & cosmos
  • Goal -- transformation, make dreams come true,
  • Fear -- unintended negative consequences
  • Strategy -- align with the universe & beyond, synchronistic experiences
  • Gift -- finding solutions

Ruler -- organizer of groups & processes, ensure domain is in proper working order, protection of others, exercise power & authority over everything, leadership
  • Goal -- to control, seeking prosperity & harmony
  • Fear -- chaos, loss of control, inability to delegate
  • Strategy -- be responsible, find solutions
  • Gift -- competence, responsibility

There are also many minor archetypes -- such as Accountant, Actor, Addict, Adonis, Alchemist, Amateur, Ambassador, Analyst, Anchorite, Angel, Apprentice, Arbitrator, Architect, Artist, Athlete, Author, Avenger, etc., etc.

We all fall into at least one of the 12 major types, perhaps several of them concurrently, and possibly numerous minor archetypes as well.

Of the major archetypes, I seem to be a multi-layered -- Creator, Sage, Explorer, with a bit of Rebel thrown in. Nevertheless, I am content with my existence.

Without pain and suffering, there is no joy -- change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Life is good -- it's just not easy.

Tomorrow is another day.
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Quote for the Day -- “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” Carl G. Jung
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Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where dreaming is a form of planning.
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