So what is the current state of the world and how can shamanism relate to it?
We are on a wild ride perhaps, with many twists and turns. On the one hand, we see our human created structures: financial, religious, political, health care, business, shaking and at times crumbling at their cores. And we see the apparent big time stirrings of Gaia in many places across the planet – perhaps in response to the increasing energy of the time, perhaps in response to what we have been doing. All of this might lead one to feel that we are on a big downward spiral with an unhappy ending. But from a different perspective, there appears to be a great awakening, a great empowerment happening underneath the apparent dismal news of each day. As the ever evolving shamanism of yesterday and today unfold, the guidance and assistance gained from knowing the aspects of ourselves that we meet in the world beyond the five senses is increasingly valuable in navigating these challenging times. The deeper one develops one’s connection to the other dimensional energies of the non-ordinary reality, the more one can see the transformation that is being born in the midst of the crumbling of the old paradigm.
This I feel is a part of the convergence that is occurring among the various mystical religious and spiritual practices, and the cutting edge quantum physics research in grasping the complex interconnectedness of the Universe. Physicists are able to measure the non-local linkages of quantum particles separated by vast distances. The standard laws of physics as we understand them in ordinary reality cannot explain how information could flow from one particle to the other instantaneously, no matter what distance separates them. The shaman can tell you that the spirits in non-ordinary reality say that they operate outside of linear time and space. Perhaps it is through non-ordinary reality that the quantum particles are able to communicate. Most importantly, the ancient shamanic tools available to us today allow us to directly research these ideas ourselves, discovering unifying truths and cutting edge universal perspectives. In the shamanic journey experience, everything we meet is alive and able to communicate in some way. We can have interactive conversations with sub-atomic quantum particles, rocks, lava, ants, whales, a storm system, the entire ocean, the moon, a particular star, an angel, or just about anything or anyone. In this way, the shamanic journeyer can carry out direct experiential research into the nature of reality – and some of it can be verified with Google afterwards!
Just as the quantum physicists can measure non-local effects and the apparent communication between linked particles over vast distances, new research into the state of the brain and how it connects to the state of our minds is on the cutting edge of another frontier. The frontier of metaconsciousness. One piece of this research can and may help modern day shamanic practitioners more fully inhabit the vast depths of consciousness available to us all. That which is our waking state, we are finding to be but a tip of the ice berg. The measurable alpha brain wave state – just below the beta state of awake awareness – is the characteristic signature of the shamanic trance state. With biofeedback and other forms of self awareness and practice, the shamanic journeyer can move deeper yet into theta and perhaps even delta brain wave states. As humans become more at ease and aware at being awake while exploring alpha, theta and delta states, this integrative experience may contribute in some way to the ongoing process of becoming more fully human. This may be the essence that is perhaps at the pre-historical foundation and the current day frontier of what may be the most meaningful aspects of our lives.
These brain wave states are all described as frequencies. Vibrations. There is a vibration or frequency present in all matter, whether considered animate or inanimate. When the vibration of different people, objects, entities, energies, or substances entrain and synchronize, there is the distinct possibility for deep communication, for deep connection. At the root of shamanic practice is the use of the drum or rattle to create a vibration that leads to the grounded and expanded trance state. Grounded because we are fully in and aware of our bodies, expanded because we are perceiving in non-ordinary reality. We entrain and synchronize with all that is around us and beyond, with the physical and non-physical.
We truly live in a mystical, magical time. A time of both great potential transformation and great potential disaster. And perhaps, from the shamanic perspective, both are just different sides of the same coin.