Shamanism and the “Ultimate Powers of the Universe”

We have alluded to the connection between shamanism and the suffering of our times, asking if the suffering we are undergoing is for us, as with David Paladin, an initiation into a deeper and fuller mode of seeing the world.  One where the human ego does not come first, but creation itself.  This is what creation spirituality is all about.

“What else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?” Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail: a turning point in the civil rights movement. Photographer unknown.

This is what pre-modern consciousness celebrated around the world—not just indigenous peoples and shamans but also pre-modern peoples and mystics.  I have come to realize why I have been so drawn to the medieval mystics such as Hildegard, Francis, Aquinas, Eckhart and Julian of Norwich: They begin with the cosmos, not with the human.  “I think therefore I am” is utterly foreign to them.

In his classic work, Dream of the Earth, Thomas Berry speaks to today’s renewed interest in shamanism this way.

In moments of confusion such as the present, we are not left simply to our own rational contrivances.  We are supported by the ultimate powers of the universe as they make themselves present to us through the spontaneities within our own beings.  We need only become sensitized to these spontaneities, not with a naive simplicity, but with critical appreciation.  This intimacy with our genetic endowment, and through this endowment with the larger cosmic process, is not primarily the role of the philosopher, priest, prophet or professor.  It is the role of the shamanic personality, a type that is emerging once again in our society.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, p. 358.

Banner Image: “Vision Quest Rock” by Loutron Glouton is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

For a transcript of today’s video teaching, click HERE.

Queries for Contemplation

Are you becoming more and more sensitized to the “ultimate powers of the universe” making themselves present to you through the spontaneities within your own being?  What follows from that?  Do you sense that “the shamanic personality is emerging once again in our society”?

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5 thoughts on “Shamanism and the “Ultimate Powers of the Universe””

  1. Avatar

    Every single human has the potential for the alchemical marriage of the sun and the moon of the souls inner heaven. This coherence between the heart and the mind is an absolutely necessary union for harmony and balance and absolutely everyone can access the realization of what has been the known territory of mystics and shamans. The way is open and it is our responsibility to access what has been given.

  2. Avatar

    Science tells us that the universe is expanding. A cosmic perspective should tell us that we need to be expanding too and realizing our internal genetic endowment to move in that direction.

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