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This is what Shamanism Can Teach Us about Ourselves and Our Future

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Shamanism is a topic that is still more prevalent in anthropologic studies than in mainstream discussions of culture and society. For the western psyche, shamanism is a thing of the past, some type of sorcery used in relatively ‘primitive’ societies and cultures. The lack of understanding inherent in this cultural bias or stereotype prevents us from appreciating what shamanism is all about and more interestingly, how it is relevant to today’s society and to our future more than ever before.

Shamanic wisdom has been partly transmitted down through the eons and fragments of it still survives in certain cultures that preserve and honor their ancient heritage. Interestingly, there are also individuals coming outside this cultural lineage who have learned and are practicing shamanism in 21st century society. These are the modern day shamans who are contributing to what Terence McKenna called the archaic revival.

I decided to find out more about what shamanism can tell us today about ourselves and about our future. I talked to Franco Santoro, holistic counselor at the Findhorn Foundation Community in Scotland and author of the book series Astroshamanism. I asked Franco a few questions in my quest to dig deeper about the role of the shaman and shamanism in our present day world. What I learned was astonishing and revealing.  I am quoting Franco’s own words ad verbatim below whenever I use the quote marks and his initials F.S.

The Role of the 21st Century Shaman is Open to Everyone:

F.S: “The role of a contemporary shaman, as I see it, is to be a living testimony of the experiential awareness of the unity of all aspects of life. This implies contributing to the release of separation, and promoting our human sense of purpose through the acknowledgment of the wider reality in which we exist. This reality also includes death and whatever lies beyond our ordinary perception, which and can ultimately provide the authentic understanding of who we truly are…

…In some way it is easy to play the shaman in nature or feel great power by emulating the ritual practices of native shamanic cultures. What is difficult is to keep this attitude in ordinary social life and the contemporary settings, and these are the places that need it most.

The world needs shamans able to function on the roads, among the electronic equipment and engines, in the squares and markets of our contemporary society.

Being a shaman, as I see it, is not about being a “shaman”. It is being whoever and whatever can serve for the purpose of healing, no matter how contradictory or incompatible it seems to be for narrow minded folks. Each identity is provisional, taken for the purpose of connecting with other identities, healing fragmentation and separation.

A shaman can shift from a “shaman” to a business man, an artist, a devoted Catholic, Hindu, or Muslim, a doctor, an architect, a gardener, you name it. Yet once a shaman becomes only a “shaman” you can be sure there is no shaman anymore.”

Direct Experience is key to Recovering our Original Unity:

Memories by Asage

The primacy of experience lies at the heart of shamanism. This means that direct experience should come prior to dogma, culturally transmitted beliefs, preconceptions and institutionalized knowledge. It is mostly the direct experience of ourselves as multidimensional beings connected to an original unity or source. Our path is to use, Stan Grof’s term ‘Holotropic’, that is, moving towards the whole – towards unity.

F.S: “I believe what most people on a quest seek today are not mere formalities, doctrines or creeds, but paths of direct experience. They search for a first-hand knowledge of their true self, their life purpose and ultimately a direct encounter and communion with God. This implies recovering our original unity, becoming whole and at one with God, which is ultimately, as I see it, the authentic essence of what shamanism pursues….”

We Need to Bust the Myth of Separation

Transcendence_by_asage

Transcendence by Asage

The shaman sees the malaise and dysfunction of the modern world as arising from the disconnection from ourselves and the spiritual dimension and the disenchantment with our world. We have reinforced a perceived sense of separateness between ourselves, others, nature and between things in this world. This schism or sense of separation inherent in our psyche, is according to the shaman, the source of physical or mental imbalance that manifests both on an individual or collective level. The shamanic healing practice, for instance, addresses this energetic and psychic imbalance.

F.S: “…One of the basic experiential assumptions of shamanism is that I am not a separated physical being: I am an energy field or I am part of the whole. Actually, from a more genuine shamanic perspective, the entire notion of I, seen as separate from you and them, does not make any sense at all.

Contemporary human beings have confined themselves almost exclusively to the identification with the physical body and the idea of being a fragmented unit. Shamanic experience is one way in which it is possible to perceive others, the world and ourselves in their original united forms again.

I believe we have become estranged from something of which we were once aware, establishing a mythology of separation where unity and ecstasy are the most rooted taboos. As we consider ourselves individuals severed from other people and the environment, we tend to invest much energy to exploit our fellows and the Earth.”

 

It’s Time to Shift our Consciousness: Entering the Shamanic Trance State and Leaving the Mass Trance of Consensual Reality

Gateway_to_the_Emerald_Kingdom_by_asage

Gateway to the Emerald Kingdom by asage

The most important aspect of shamanic practice is the most misconceived as it is based on fear and lack of familiarity. This is the trance or shamanic states of consciousness which shamans use to journey between dimensions or ‘walk between worlds’ and get information from higher dimensional entities or from the wisdom of the inner self.  What we refer to as non-ordinary states of consciousness are ordinary, or let’s say, familiar territory for the shaman. Surprisingly, it is also worth noting that research in neuroscience is starting to understand these states of mind under its own lens.

F.S “A typical feature of shamans is their familiarity with states of consciousness that allow visions and explorations of other dimensions. Their primary function is to navigate from one reality to another in order to operate as bridges and create healing connections. There are many dimensions and worlds, which in our separate reality are totally unknown.

Trance and shamanic states of consciousness are part of the genetic structure of mankind. Each one of us, in the past, present or future, has an inner biological need for ecstatic experience. The problem is that such experiences, in the majority of contemporary human cultures they do not find space in the official educational or scientific context and tend to be socially unacceptable. As a consequence, this unmet need often ends up being expressed through harmful addictions.

Shamanic states of consciousness represent the major taboo for the ordinary perception of the world as they cause its deceptive structure to vanish and expose to the secrets of our origin, that is where we truly come from and how and why we got to be here. In recent societies, perceptions beyond the physical body have been generally ignored or disregarded. The forms we see with our physical eyes, identified with names and specific shapes, have been extracted from their original unity and transformed into fragmented pieces. They are seen as definite configurations and separated from each other by areas termed as nothing or void.

Most mankind seems to live in a symbolic reality where only what is conventionally accepted is acknowledged as real, whereas everything else disappears from sight and dwells in a dimension surrounded by fear and mystery.

In the contemporary world what counts is the goal. To reconnect with the Earth and the Sky what matters is the present, not the destination. Trance or shamanic states of consciousness have to do with the present and with getting out of the most dangerous trance: our conditioning and daily conventions.

The fact is that on the Earth we are always in some kind of trance and the actual work consists of learning to balance such states and being aware that you cannot go into a new trance without moving out of the one you are already in. When there is unbalance we live in a state of hallucination where we perceive pain, anger and all kinds of grievances. When there is balance we choose consciously to open only to the trance states that bring love, ecstasy, peace and blessings to ourselves and others.

Opening up to shamanic states of consciousness means to truly say yes to life and be fully responsible. It means to accept becoming a conscious part of the universe, choosing to trust a divine purpose, identifying with the maximum expressions of our being and moving further to project this potential on all that surrounds us.

Despite the strong oppositions and conditioning of the consensus reality, shamanic states of consciousness are regularly experienced by all human beings. What is missed is solely the willingness to acknowledge them or consider them significant.”

 

Looking Ahead: The Shamanic Revolution and the Archaic Revival

EVOLUTION_by_asage

Evolution by Asage

F.S: “As we have separated from the Earth, we have also disconnected with the dimension of the Sky. Through a blind adherence to religious and social conditionings, we have denied a direct access to God, resigning ourselves to the power of religious teachings or hierarchical structures to operate as mediators between us and the Divine.

Through shamanism each one can obtain visions and spiritual experiences without any mediation. Yet, shamanism, as I see it, is not about mounting opposition to political and religious authorities; this is what has been happened throughout history and it has resulted only in even more grievances and separation.

According to shamanism, I believe the true revolution consists of taking the courage to face the spiritual or inner world, for it is from this world that all that seems to be outside emanates. This does not mean that life should be limited to shamanic journeys or states of consciousness. These experiences are important, yet we also need to take physical actions.

The best physical actions are those which allow the ecstatic experience of unity and love derived from shamanic states of consciousness to be grounded on earth. This can happen by promoting healing relationships with ourselves and the environment, by creating works of arts and doing whatever can make this world a better place.”

Featured artwork credits: Limbic Resonance by Asage

©2015 The Mind Unleashed, Inc, all rights reserved. For permission to re-print this article contact [email protected] , or the respective author.

Consciousness

Neuroscientist Claims That Consciousness Itself Is Its Own Energy Field

Justin MacLachlan

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A neuroscientist has suggested in a new theory that our consciousness is derived from a field of electromagnetic waves given off by neurons.

The study published last month in the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness is entirely based off a theory absent of tangible evidence. However, the author of the research Johnjoe McFadden said that his hypothesis could offer a way forward for robots that think and feel emotions.

McFadden believes that neuron waves of electrical activity get sent out and as they propagate across the brain, they help compose our entire conscious experience.

Johnjoe McFadden, is a molecular geneticist and director of quantum biology at the University of Surrey. McFadden points to flaws in other models of consciousness as the reason that we don’t have sentient artificial intelligence or robots capable of achieving consciousness.

McFadden’s hypothesis swerves away from most traditional neuroscientists, who generally see consciousness as a narrative that our brain constructs out of our senses, perceptions, and actions. Instead, McFadden returns to a more empirical version of dualism — the idea that consciousness stems from something other than our brain matter.

McFadden’s theory adapts the idea of “dualism,” which is the belief that consciousness is a supernatural force. Dualism has long been rejected by scientists and ruled pseudo-science, but McFadden has attempted to apply a scientific explanation for the idea, which hasn’t been done before.

Neuroscience news reports that the theory is based on scientific fact:

“The theory is based on scientific fact: when neurons in the brain and nervous system fire, they not only send the familiar electrical signal down the wire-like nerve fibres, but they also send a pulse of electromagnetic energy into the surrounding tissue. Such energy is usually disregarded, yet it carries the same information as nerve firings, but as an immaterial wave of energy, rather than a flow of atoms in and out of the nerves.”

It’s also a fact we have an electromagnetic field surrounding our brain is well-known and is detected by brain-scanning techniques such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) but has previously been dismissed as irrelevant to brain function and supernatural. Instead, McFadden contends that the brain’s information-rich electromagnetic field is, in fact, itself the seat of consciousness, driving the ‘free will’ of an individual.

“How brain matter becomes aware and manages to think is a mystery that has been pondered by philosophers, theologians, mystics and ordinary people for millennia,” McFadden said in a press release published by Medical Xpress. “I believe this mystery has now been solved, and that consciousness is the experience of nerves plugging into the brain’s self-generated electromagnetic field to drive what we call ‘free will’ and our voluntary actions.”

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Consciousness

Ann Arbor becomes latest city to decriminalize “magic” mushrooms and other natural psychedelics

Elias Marat

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(TMU) – The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has effectively decriminalized psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms along with other natural psychedelics in the latest sign that public opinion across the U.S. is continuing to turn against prohibitionist policies.

On Monday, the Ann Arbor City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that would make it the city’s lowest-ranked law enforcement priority to the investigate or arrest anyone planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, using or possessing entheogenic plants or plant compounds.

The resolution applies to all psychedelics derived from plants and fungi, including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine, mescaline, peyote and other substances with hallucinogenic properties deemed illegal under state and federal law.

The council also requires the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office to halt the prosecution of those involved in the use of entheogenic plants and plant compounds.

Ann Arbor now joins a growing list of cities including Denver, Colorado, and the California cities of Santa Cruz and Oakland that have decriminalized all entheogenic plants. Other cities including Chicago and Austin are considering similar measures. A ballot measure that would legalize the use of psilocybin in therapeutic settings will also be voted on in the state of Oregon this November.

The move to de-prioritize law enforcement around psychedelics was spearheaded by the efforts of local grassroots advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor, or DNA2.

At the beginning of the year, councilmembers were skeptical about any move to decriminalize psychedelics. Since then, they’ve found themselves convinced by evidence of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of psychedelics, including for mental health treatment and treating addiction, reports MLive.

Councilmember Zachary Ackerman cited the opening of a $17 million psychedelic and consciousness research center by Johns Hopkins Medicine as proof of “the tremendous potential of these future medicines.” The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is currently conducting clinical trials to find out whether the drug is suitable as a prescription drug for the U.S. market.

Councilmember Jack Eaton described the council’s unanimous backing for the decriminalization resolution as carrying on the city’s legacy of backing the local decriminalization of marijuana during the 1970s, when the plant was still illegal under state and federal law.

The resolution doesn’t allow for the commission of crimes or any significant violation of state or federal law, and any use of entheogenic substances that pose a threat to public health and safety could require intervention by law enforcement bodies.

In the resolution, entheogenic plants are defined as the full spectrum of plants and fungi that contain indole amines, tryptamines and phenethylamines “that can benefit psychological and physical wellness, support and enhance religious and spiritual practices, and can reestablish human’s inalienable and direct relationship to nature.”

The resolution also states that psychedelic substances can be used to address substance abuse problems, addiction, recidivism, trauma, post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, grief, cluster headaches and other debilitating conditions.

“The use of entheogenic plants, which can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth, have been shown by scientific and clinical studies and traditional practices to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in addressing these conditions,” it states.

Psilocybin mushrooms are currently considered a Schedule 1 narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

However, psilocybin – the main chemical component of the mushrooms – was designated as a “breakthrough therapy” by the FDA in 2019 due to the positive results of psilocybin in treating depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health problems.

Studies have also shown how a microdose of psilocybin—far from the level needed for a full-blown trip—actually increases the creativity and empathy of participants.

Other researchers have also found that psilocybin has provided effective help to patients struggling to quit other addictive substances such as cigarettes.

The newfound recognition of psilocybin therapy as a valid treatment has eroded old stereotypes of psilocybin as some intoxicating and hallucination-inducing party drug that drives its users insane – a reputation that largely grew out of the hippie counterculture of the 1960s when they were widely known as “psychedelic” or “magic” mushrooms.

The resolution further notes that entheogenic plants have been the basis of spiritual practices by human cultures for thousands of years, yet those who seek them for the sake of improving their health and wellbeing must risk arrest and prosecution to obtain them.

“Decriminalization of naturally occurring medicines is necessary for progress,” councilmember Jeff Hayner said in a press release from DNA2 last week, reports Detroit Metro Times. “We can no longer turn a blind eye towards the wisdom of indigenous peoples, and the bounty the earth provides. I have been moved by the testimonies of those who have found profound relief from the use of entheogenic plants.”

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Activism

The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix

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esoteric meaning neo interrogation matrix

More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.

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One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.

Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.

What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?

Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.

What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?

Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.

The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening

With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.

You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.

Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies

Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.

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The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.

The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.

This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.

Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.

Imaginary Rights

Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”

To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.

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This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.

In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.

We Must Start With the Imagination

There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.

Wake Up Neo — You Are the One

Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.

Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”

This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.

By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.

If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?

Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com

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