When I began my shamanic apprenticeship in 1997 I remember one of my greatest desires and challenges was the longing I felt to understand what was happening behind the scenes of the shaman’s inner world. How did they create such immaculate and transformational spaces for healing, miracles, and synchronicities to occur? What did their internal dialogue with Spirit look and feel like? How did they channel refined energy through their body to heal, or pull negative energy out of the body and transform it into medicine? How have the masters found a way to transcended form and technique? How are they able to pick up and hand you a random object, even if it is a meaningless pebble from a street corner, and have it change your life or heal your ills by simply holding it? The clarity that emerged over time was far simpler than I could ever have imagined. It was something that has been known all along and simply forgotten.
There is a timeless maxim in the shamanic worldview that states, “The first shaman had no teacher.” In other words, every tribal lineage, spiritual practice, or religious expression spawned and evolved from an individual’s direct encounter with an uncompromising Truth. And from that direct encounter, infinite forms of connection to the Transcendent were discovered and expressed. Ritual, ceremony, medicine songs, healing techniques, rites of passage, meditative practices, etc., all emerged from this direct encounter. All of them were simply attempts to express the mystery of God/Goddess.
This direct connection is something we all possessed in our youth. Yet the innocence of childhood and the limitless imagination we once embodied has a tendency to fade as we settle into the world of form as adults. In other words, the more we deviate from the mystery and try to fit the formless into the world of form and routines, the more we forget the essence and purity of the Divine mystery. It leaves the soul feeling lost. As a result, reclaiming this connection to Divinity is more about a process of “unlearning” and “unweaving” than it is about learning some new spiritual technique or devoted spiritual practice. Simply put, rediscovering our wide-eyed curiosity, passion, and innocence is about remembering that we all hold this truth within ourselves. It has been there all along but started to become covered up by a lifetime of obligation and attempts to fit our limitless selves into the chaotic ordering of an imbalanced material world – and so begins the great unlearning.