Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My People


I took this pic from the street so as to not interrupt. Had no idea I was in it. It's kind of spooky, yes?

Even though human beings, throughout history, from the north pole to the south pole, in every culture I know about, have always practiced shamanism, the ironic truth is that right here in Washington DC U.S.A. at the dawn of the new millennia, those of us who admit to practicing are seen as way outside the mainstream. Or we're called pretentious. Sometimes we are accused of cultural appropriation. Or we're laughed at. You know. I always want to say, "Actually, those of you who think this is so strange - you're the aberration, not me!"

Of course I never say it; it's rude to call anyone an aberration, right? Though it's culturally OK to think of my shamanic practice as "out there." I guess that's not rude, it's just how people in my culture at this moment in history think. Right now, right here, I am the stranger in a strange land. Oh well.

Anyway I'm excited because I'm going to have lunch with another shaman today; a woman who has consciously studied and practiced for as many decades as I have. She's the mom of someone who works at a Capitol Hill shop. He noticed one time that I was carrying rattles in my backpack and casually asked, "Oh. Are you a shaman?" You can imagine the look on my face. Then he said, "My mom's a shaman, too."

She's in town this week so we're going to do a shamanic sit down this afternoon. Very cool!!

22 comments:

Everton Terrace said...

I don't think it's strange in the least. I also don't really know anything about it but am now thinking I might go check it out this afternoon (once again, thank you for the internet). I am going to keep my ears open for the sound of rattles coming from people now and I'll be wondering. That light coming through the leaves is quite lovely.

Steve Reed said...

I think most people have no idea what a Shaman is or how Shamanism works. (I'm fuzzy on it myself.) So just keep in mind that those suspicious or guarded reactions are coming from people who don't know, and are therefore wary. (The real question is why are they wary about something they have no knowledge of? Why aren't they more open to it?)

Reya Mellicker said...

Many are curious, most have judgments. A shaman is someone who tunes in to various levels of "reality" - an intermediary between the upper, lower, and middle worlds. Some shamans are warriors, fighting demons and such, others are healers, calling upon the elements of life to bring relief. Some do both ... that would be my path.

I'll have to google 'shaman.' What I find will probably be embarrassing. Or - maybe not.

willow said...

Fascinating. You must fill us in on your shamanic sit down. Yes, cool how you were obviously meant to meet.

E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reya Mellicker said...

I'll definitely report back!

ellen abbott said...

I think the advent of christianity put the kabosh on shamanism. Other cultures and religious practices had their priestesses, oracles, augers, prophets and shamans but all that became evil and heresy in the christian way and was punished; Jesus, in their view, being the one and only true way. I think the rise of secular governments opened the way for the return of other spiritual practices.

Gemel said...

If only we all returned to the mystical callings of our inner heart..

Lovely photos.

lakeviewer said...

Great encounter, both ways. Do tell about your new friend and how shamanism works. I'm quite fuzzy.

The Bug said...

The whole thing is fascinating to me. What I don't understand about so many conservative Christians (the world I grew up in) is why they always seem so threatened. By everything. I guess they think it's all the devil - but my goodness they don't have to participate! Live & let live.

tut-tut said...

ethereal photo of yourself; part of the proceedings yet an observer. Complicated.

Angela said...

I`d like to know a lot more about shamanism. I read books of people - healers - but were they shamans? My great-aunt was a healer, and somehow I think I sometimes am, too, when I concentrate on people. But am I a shaman? What is threatening about it? I will also look at google!! Yes, please report!

Meri said...

It's always so validating to meet up with someone from your tribe. And don't get me started on conservative Christians and fear. Please!

Reya Mellicker said...

Part of the proceedings yet an observer. Complicated. Ah wow. Beth I'm going to put this under my profile pic here and on FB. PERFECTLY said.

Angela you are SUCH a great shaman. Oh yeah.

Great lunch with my new shaman friend. Post and pics tomorrow....xx

mouse (aka kimy) said...

wow!! look forward to hearing how the stand up for shamanism at ther sit down goes!!

Mary Ellen said...

I wish I could be a quiet observer at your table. I've had some hesitance about shamanism in the past (not in the way that I imagine you practice it, but in some accounts that have seemed inflated or out of touch with ordinary reality and values).

Karen said...

It's good to have people. :) Have a lovely lunch!

steven said...

reya i was writing for my bicycling blog about david byrne - yep the talking heads' david byrne - and i saw the words " those iconic figures in my life who have lived louder than i dare" cross the screen of my inner vision when i thought about david's place in my becoming, and it got me to seeing that there's this layering of the people who are braided into their/our inner lives and then those who shimmer across their/our skin and then also those who skim the film of the edge of their/our existence. i'm sure that we do the same in other people's experiencing of this place. through the course of my life, i know that i'm drawn very closely to and at the same time, frightened away by people who cross into my inner life. the life removed from the entirely human experience. there's something so essential about those people that challenges everything around me that i take for granted because really it's easier to ignore essence isn't it. among those people are the shamans. shamans see the underpinnings of the deep mapping of this place. it's frightening. like staring at the sun, like getting carried out to sea in a rip tide, like seeing a flower - really seeing it - for the first time. ride the carousel reya. spin and see the colours. the lights. the stories. perhaps you'll need to do something with them. perhaps not. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

It's not easy for me to ignore the essence, but yes I think it works well for others.

Just like every human quality, "seeing" the underpinnings is a blessing but also a curse.

Learning to use our gifts is a lifelong endeavor! You are so masterful, Steven. I learn from you every day! Thank you!

Nancy said...

Yes, very cool.

Kerry said...

"My mom's a shaman too"...do you have any idea how much I love this sentence?

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Yes, very cool!