Berry, Shamanism, and the Paladins, continued

We have been meditating on shamans and shamanhood, inspired by Thomas Berry’s challenging observation that what the world needs today is “fewer priests and fewer professors and more shamans.”  Clearly, he is proposing that organized religion and organized education/academia  are failing us at this time. 

Church congregation during Mass. Image by David Mark from Pixabay

They are too much embedded with the powerful forces of our culture that are failing us and we must return to the deeper elements of religion (the word I use for that is “spirituality”) and of education (the word I use for that is learning that includes teaching wisdom and values which derive, as Einstein tells us, not from the rational brain but from the intuitive or mystical brain).

I have been saying something similar to Berry by choosing to study spirituality rather than systematic theology or canon law in religion. This pursuit has brought me to the Cosmic Christ, Original Blessing, the Divine Feminine, Deep Ecumenism, Science and Cosmology and of course the sacredness of the Earth and therefore Ecology. 

Mechthild von Magdeburg. Template:Biblioteca Nacional de Francia, ms. 875 by Robinet Testard. Wikimedia Commons

And to the wonderful mystic-prophets such as Hildegard of Bingen, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Julian of Norwich, Nicolas of Cusa, Thomas Merton (who was awakened by Meister Eckhart thanks to Japanese zen scholar D J Suzuki), Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, Dorothee Soelle, and others who embody such wisdom.

It has also brought me to shamans and shamanism such as Navajo painter David Paladin, who called himself an ”artist-shaman.” I was honored this past week to receive a letter from his wife, Lynda Paladin. 

Hello Matt,

The Daily Meditations about shamanism is so very exciting to me, opening up new avenues of spiritual wonder and awe!  I feel deeply honored that you chose to link Paladin with Hildegard as shamans.  How interesting it is that you noticed the archetypal sacred deer in both their works!

“Temple of the Dawn People,” by David Paladin. On Reprinted by permission.

I’m glad that the viewers of this DM can see the book, Painting the Dream that contains the painting you describe.  I think your followers would be pleased to know that you wrote the introduction.  In it, you called David a “light-bearer and a truth-bringer, an original thinker and a spiritual warrior.”  I believe that it also describes you and Hildegard, and many more, often quiet shamans working behind the scenes.

I learned …that there are broadly, two types of shamans:  tribal shamans who care for the tribal community and world shamans who explore together what actions to take about specific problems around the world, accessing wisdom and guidance from their combined resources.  It is obvious to me that you’re a world shaman, considering the depth and range of your work.

“Seven Houses of the Sun,” by David Paladin. On Reprinted by permission.

Another source of wonder for me is exploring ways to create Ceremony Wisdom Circles where sharing personally meaningful wisdom stories and symbols creates a brief sense of community that didn’t exist before.

Thank you, Matt, for exploring shamanism, for opening another avenue of empowerment for your followers to explore on their paths of spiritual growth, including myself!

May Beauty surround you,

Lynda Paladin

*Resources re. David Paladin include his book, Painting the Dream;; (Instagram)

See Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest; Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth; Original Blessing; The Coming of the Cosmic Christ.

Banner Image: “Song Giver” by David Paladin on

Do you find yourself responding to the call to shamanhood in some way?  How does that manifest itself to you?  Do you find it in others you encounter whether living or already ancestors?  

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Upcoming Events

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Matthew Fox offers the webinar, “Meeting the Mystics: The Wisdom of Julian of Norwich and the Tao of Thomas Aquinas and the Future of Earth and Humanity” for the East West Bookshop. May 15, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. PDT (GMT/UTC-7). Register HERE.

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4 thoughts on “Berry, Shamanism, and the Paladins, continued”

  1. Avatar

    We have recently started a weekly prayer circle at the Congregation of the Great Spirit in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Great Spirit is the first urban Roman Catholic Congregation in the U.S. In this spiritual gathering place, which is not just attended by Catholics, we celebrate/ pray with drumming, singing, flutes, guitars, shakers, dancing, smudging and an over-all disinhibited closeness that is not found in most traditional gatherings. The spiritual ways of the Lakota-Sioux ( Cosmic Oneness – We are all related) as preserved by Blessed Nicholas Black Elk are followed. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, an Algonquin- Mohawk, the first Native American Saint is honored. The Cosmic Oneness of group soul consciousness is strongly awakened with primordial practices like these as Matt makes clear to us. Because of Matt’s talents we gain greater awareness that we are all ONE with everyone and everything. The awareness of our shared Cosmic Oneness makes us aware of the deadly sin of selfishness.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Gary, I wish your church was closer–I would love to attend a church like you describe. Thank God that there are churches like yours. Oh, and by the way, I believe Matthew has responded to your comment as well…

  2. Avatar

    Thank you for sharing this. I would love to know more about it. Do you have a web page? It sounds quite parallel to our “cosmic Masses” and very needed. I like the term “cosmic oneness” and am reminded of Julian of Norwich’s name for mysticism, “oneing,” our oneing with the divine, with ourselves, with nature, with one another as we build community. Beautiful that Black Elk and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha are on board. Be sure to invite David Paladin into the circle as well. also touching to me (but not surprising altogether) that it is happening in my home state of Wisconsin where, since I was very young, I was blessed with Native American dreams. All our relations.

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