Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My interesting life

At this moment in history, in this city, in my society, being a shaman is a daunting. There's no cultural context for what we do, hence it is seen at worst as mental illness  or at best, having a wildly active imagination. In my U.S. east coast capital city society, what we can't intellectually understand is pathologized.

A friend/neighbor and long-time client is currently incarcerated, I mean, hospitalized for a crushing headache that at first was thought to be a stroke. After almost a full week of tests, scans, MRIs, etc., the docs can't find any trace of either a T.I.A. or hemorrhagic stroke. No one knows what is happening on the purely physical level.

As a shaman, I look at this frightening event from a different angle. My friend is in the underworld, she is undergoing a transformation, an initiation. She is in descent. Joseph Campbell understood, also Carl Jung and a bunch of other people famous, infamous or anonymous, including me.

What's happening to her is different but in the same vein as what happened to me when the train hit me so many years ago. She's conscious and coherent, but it's easy to see that most of her is elsewhere. Some intense negotiation is ongoing at a very deep level within her. It hurts like hell; it must be a powerful mediation.

I went to the hospital the other day, gave her some Reiki, made an energetic connection between the two of us so I could continue to work with her on a shamanic level. I've been singing with her in mind, nice silly songs. I've been saying her name, too. By singing and saying her name, I'm letting her know I'm here and can give her a boost up and out of wherever she is, when she's ready. I honestly believe I will be able to help her return from the netherworld. I can't change what's happening and I can't make the pain go away, but I can give her a hand up, energetically, when she returns. May I say I'm not the first nor the last human to do this work.

In the past I kept this kind of stuff to myself, worried that others would judge me. But I'm sixty now. If it seems really weird to the reader here, well, ok. Be assured it still seems weird to me, even though I've been practicing the art for decades.

Also I'm emboldened to share a little bit of my inner life because I'm reading the first of three volumes about the Haida myths, myth tellers and their society, by Robert Bringhurst. In that culture, someone like me would have been boringly normal. Alas, I don't live then or there. I'm here for the time being, in Washington DC in the early 21st century.

Am I kooky? Only in my current setting. Context is everything!

Time to sing for awhile, then get ready for clients. Yes I am a shaman. I just am, that's all. Love it or leave it.



Pam said...

Understand completely. I wish your friend well, and you too Reya, as you journey with her.

Pam said...

Understand completely. I wish your friend well, and you too Reya, as you journey with her.

Reya Mellicker said...

Of course you understand, Pam!

The Pollinatrix said...

Makes sense to me, and more importantly, it rings the bell of truth in me. I find great comfort in this post, actually, and I wish it all WAS more normal, that it was reinforced culturally. Personally, I know it would be a big help to me if I had more people in my everyday life to remind me of this bigger, deeper picture.

Kerry said...

It's pretty cool to be NOT boringly normal.