Then the Shaman is a bridge, holding tension – this is their sacrifice.
Then the Shaman is the vanguard and guide – this is their vision.
Above all the Shaman is Anam Cara, a lover of souls – this is their passion.
Shamanic experience is about relationship, about union, about compassion.
The Shaman like the mystic, is not called out of the world to be with God, but is more profoundly immersed in that world’s heart, reminding it that it is the heart of God.
Once called the Shaman cannot recant or relinquish the responsibility they are called to; they become an unmovable point of duty.”
It is our context and tradition in which the Ceann-Iuíl; Shaman, are not made but are sent by the Creator, by the Great Spirit, by the Ancestors in answer to a prayer. The world, this earth we live in is beset with trauma and events that bring disharmony, one could even say suffering. At these times and in these places the souls of the populous, be they human, animal or of nature itself, cry out to Spirit, (hence the term Lamenter being the designation of a Ceann-Iuíl’s client) this cry, this prayer, this ripple in the Spirit is responded to by the Divine, by The ancestors in the sending of a Ceann-Iuíl to bring back that stability, through healing, teaching, and/or presence and witness to the place of the lamentation. A Ceann-Iuíl/Shaman can at times be simply no more than a sign; a sign that informs the world that Spirit is present.
The Shaman in today’s society is essentially the same shaman of history; that is a fixed point; a point of intimacy between the Ancestors/Divine and the waiting world. If we consider the Quantum concept of constant change and fluctuation between this and that, the Shaman of whatever tradition is the one between particle and energy, by which both can interact. In this sense the Shaman is merely the catalyst that re-ignites the relationship between the Lamenter and the Ancestors/Divine
A Shaman is that visible, constant and concrete stake that holds down the chaos of society, holding it still so that it can remember its truer destiny; Shaman are the boundaries of spiritual reason.
If Shaman are considered the ‘fixing’ points of a spiritual web that held the world in a state of balance, then to abdicate that calling is to set the world, the community, the clan, the tribe and the family into a chaotic disruption.
Sadly with modern society and modern religion the strength of the ancient Shaman/Spirit Worker became weakened; surely we cannot be the same diminishing energy and be a part of the dissipation of our own tradition and role in society by selecting our work and clients? We are sent by the Creator to fill the gaps left by that erosion, praying and holding ceremonies to bring stabilisation without judgement or prejudice or dogma to all disharmonies in the world. We bring a personal sense of integration to individuals so that they might become part of the energy for relational and spiritual balance for our families, our communities, our countries and our planet.
We have before incarnation chosen this path; we agreed to the contract before birth. Our own personal wounds and weaknesses are not sent to be a barrier to our destiny and chosen duty but rather the fuel by which we engage and know the fight. A Shaman is a Warrior and as such cannot give up the fight because he suffers wounding or has a bad day!
A Warrior Shaman knows weariness but never tiredness; the Shaman knows the constancy of the work like a weaver who first begins a new length of cloth. The cloth seems endless and repetitive and the weaver knows that their fingers have been here before. And yet they hold the vision of not just the finished fabric, but also the possibilities that it will manifest in the right hands. Tiredness is only upon us when we work from and through the ego, which calls for notice and attention, ignorant of the fabric and the potential that could be. In this moment we forget that it is Spirit who works and not us – in truth a Shaman surrenders to that call and then, and only then, this tiredness is not be spoken of for it does not exist.
Our tradition speaks to those that come to seek us out as the Lamenters. They that cry out, they who regret or are grieving of that they have lost or cannot find, crying out aloud as no one has heard their voice. It is to us as Shaman they come, to us that will understand without prejudice or judgement and to see and hear where no one else has.
There is a story about St. Francis, who stood in a barren place (barren might suggest a moment of hopelessness or sadness on what he saw) He comes to an almond tree and he asks the tree, “Sister speak to me of love…” and the almond tree in all that barrenness, blossomed.
I have discovered in my years of work that those that come to me often come hopeless and despairing, having had no succour from any other. I know that with every task that seeks me out it is Spirit that comes to me and calls me to blossom.
Unlike other workers the concept of referral is not an option – we are the last referral and the duty and responsibility ends with us. If we turn away and do not hear the lamentation then what is left for they that cry for visibility and for healing when they are alone?
It is essential to be fixed on the concept of our tradition that says, “All Ceann-Iuíl are sent as an answer to the prayer of the community into which they are born.”
With that in mind we can work backwards and agree that the shamanic practitioner are here in today’s society because maybe the need is greater.
Today’s society especially in the West and spreading like a contagion to the East, has lost its ancestral soul; forgotten the wisdom of the ancients and fallen out of equal relationship with this Earth. As such human society feels alone and alienated, and that the entire world is conspiring against it; the lost always blame others!
The Shaman in today’s society is essentially the same shaman of history; that is a fixed point.
A shaman is that visible, constant and concrete stake that holds down the chaos of society, holding it still so that it can remember its truer destiny; shaman are the boundaries of spiritual reason.
The modern world has mislaid, forgotten its soul on a vast scale, hence our calling is vast.
We never blend in!
We are the great sign that stands apart!
And though we may find safe places in acceptable modalities, we, as our elders were and are, often not acceptable and we have to find the strength not to hide away. If we fear society and pretend to integrate, we are condoning its very pain and we become the prayer and not the answer to that prayer.
The Ceann-Iuíl of the Sagh’ic as part of their very public Initiation, take blood vows committing to the undeterring service that the Ancestors send them to. Every Ceann-Iuíl knows in that vow that their service is ‘to the death’. This is true of many of the ancient animist/shamanic traditions out of which early religions were birthed. Sadly the cult of the individual has negated that sacredness of duty beyond personal needs.
I guess that makes us as Shaman a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year commodity. This commodity is a fountain and not a dump, the place of the Warrior and not the hero. Let us never forget that we are the manifestation of the Great Heart of the Creator Spirit, a heart that is always open.
Opening to this, we are in that Heart and we will not fail.
Reverend Seanair John-Luke Edwards