Edited: Plastic Shamans and Mages/Sages

Ok, so I suck at English.

Now, I’m no shaman – not even close. But I did read about this to some extent, and coming from a mixed bloodline myself – I find myself smoking my pipe more than usual for some reason.

But… I do think many who claim that title aren’t shamans – that title is given by the community and elders of that community – not one claimed for oneself.

Hell, even if my own tiny town did claim me and I enacted that role for their benefit – sure, that’s one thing (that’s a fly’s chance in Hel’s domain..) but mostly I see that there is no community of their own, no years of gaining practical wisdom… Nothing? They go to classes or workshops and poof? They’re instant shamans? I do tilt my head at this – such a title is one earned I think, not bought. But shit, what do I know? I’m just a smithy that got a ‘C’ in college English for fuck’s sake – and I’m sure it shows too.

Now, before you jump to conclusions – I am not claiming to be anything but an asshole out in the boonies that works with spirits, one deity, and my Ancestors. That’s pretty much it – besides all the extras that come with that alone. But, no special spiffy titles, no claims to fame, no bells or whistles. I’m just an asshole out in the boonies doing what I do.

On one point – I think the idea of building new tribal-like societies is awesome, our little ‘pack,’ or communities in which we can foster and grow our own identity with one another – such as the various Asatru ‘tribes,’ that are growing on the Front Range, and the Celtic ‘Tribes,’ that are being fostered a little to the south. I think the idea is wonderful – especially the ones taking this in an American context- you know, keeping it local. Honoring where they came from while understanding they are in fact.. Americans.

I don’t know how the Native Americans feel about this – but look at it this way: At least they’re trying to remember and honor their own Ancestral roots rather than invent a story of some such and dance in a buckskin chanting while claiming this or that was because of <insert spirit or God name here>.

No, no ‘gospel of Arta,’ sorry. Well – unless it involved Blackberry liquor. Now… There might be something… I insert my wink here.

One little tribe I met was actually doing this group-learning for the Gaelic language with folks back in Ireland, and speaking to one another within their group in that learned Gaelic. I think that’s pretty damned cool, if not a damned good start. Hey, at least they’re giving it a damned good go if nothing else. These folks are building a firm, solid community however small, but still – kudos!

I have met some now, that sell, market, or otherwise make their religion as a product. I’m still not entirely sure how to feel about this – part of me says ‘Hey, that’s the time’s baby,’ the other is ‘Uh, this is our faith, our ‘sacred’ ….’ So, I dunno yet.

I took my own store out of that – now it’s just a crafts store, and I will be adding cell phone holders, book covers, and other odds and ends that if you want to make them religious – it’s your private prerogative. Until I flesh this out entirely, anyway… I dunno yet myself.

But there are some who thrive on followings, and… I twitch. They don’t seem too concerned with helping anyone but themselves, and maintaining that level of following. Again – I twitch.

But even my own self being a spirit worker in BFE, my role is one of service, and humility – despite my abrasive assenine tendencies. I do get irked by ‘leaders,’ or ‘wise ones,’ who have a brand name, and a cult following – I dunno, maybe it’s because I was physically hung by Evangelical Christians twice that makes me twitch when I see followings and store inventory… Could be I suppose.

Sages and Mages –

Now, I can’t shake too many sticks here since I’m trying to be a Hermit my damned self. But, why would I approach a Sage or Mage (depends on who you ask) for my own human concerns to a person that is so detached from humanity? If I have real world problems, I’d like someone who’s living here too, as well as in the other worlds to understand – maybe I’m too literal, that could be. Someone who has dealt with this or that, or is dealing with this or that – from health to love, evil spirits to money trouble is someone who I think can understand why I’m asking in the first place.

Someone who is detached and focused on a ‘higher pursuit,’ might be so detached that a practical answer might not be something they offer. Granted, their pursuits aren’t bad or anything, just.. Not practical in my opinion.

I’m not saying a 30 year old isn’t capable of being a ‘wise man/woman,’ I am skeptical of it’s probability. I’m 30, and I feel more and more of a moron the more I learn – it’s very humbling, and definitely keeps my ass in check.

I do wonder about all this though – I truly do.

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5 thoughts on “Edited: Plastic Shamans and Mages/Sages

  1. I have met some now, that sell, market, or otherwise make their religion as a product. I’m still not entirely sure how to feel about this

    This is such a tricky subject. I think it’s a continuum and everyone has their own ideas about how far on that continuum is too far. If I write a book about my spiritual practice and I sell it, is that commodifying my spirituality? What if I take some of the bones that I work with on a very serious spirit-work level, and I sell them to someone who may or may not take them as seriously? What if I make jewelry out of them, inspired by my spirits, but don’t discuss the spiritual implications openly in the shop itself? These are all things I struggle with to some degree (though, less with writing than with crafting).

    On the one hand, ideally I’d like the recipients of my work to approach it with the same spiritual emphasis as I do – but to restrict selling it only to those who “qualify” would be difficult. (And what if someone casually purchases an object, but ends up being led by that object into a deeper understanding?) At the opposite end of the spectrum, however, there are those who brand their shops with their religion to the point where they seem to be selling shamanism, or devotion, which I don’t like. It’s hard to get a good balance.

    • This is what I’m struggling with myself, if you have time in the future I’d love to chat with you about it if you’re willing. I’m trying to be open minded, but keep my sacred, well – sacred.

      I have the same concerns about my smithing – which is so intertwined in my spirit work that separating them would be impossible. I’m tossing and turning over this, and with no Pagans around to talk to, I’m left sitting by myself grumbling.

      • I’d be happy to discuss this with you anytime you like. Just shoot me an email at dver at winterscapes dot com.

  2. But, why would I approach a Sage or Mage (depends on who you ask) for my own human concerns to a person that is so detached from humanity?

    That’s another tricky area. The shaman (or what-have-you) who serves a human community needs to be connected enough to humanity to understand their problems, but connected enough to the realm of the spiritual to have a greater-than-ordinary access to its insights and wisdom and power. They probably can’t be a “regular Joe” but neither can they be totally out there.

    Which is one of the many reasons I’m glad I’m *not* a shaman, and don’t serve a human community – in fact, my mandate is to go pretty damn far out there (while keeping a foot firmly in the material world, but not necessarily in the human world, if you see the difference). The only time I directly serve people is in my work as an oracle, and then I still don’t have to relate personally, because the information comes through me, not from me – I just have to be an open conduit.

    • It is tricky, as well as a prickly issue. This is something that I myself, who serves the people around me in this town and the one next to it, has wrangled with. On the one hand, yes Mages and Sages have intense volumes of knowledge from the source – but the one’s I’ve talked to neither worked, struggled, had issues with love; they sought this… ‘Sinless,’ existence. Where they are flawless and without reproach. I just… Don’t see how they could help someone like my neighbor who’s going through legal trouble for an auto accident, or that person on the opposite side of town with love trouble, or my own sister having a child who’s sick. Maybe I’m missing something – it could very well be.

      I do serve people, when they ask, otherwise I just mind my own business.I am required to keep my footing here (and yes I do know what you mean about the material world but not necessarily the human one, I’m damn near there myself), with another firmly planted in the Other-worlds. Sometimes I too have to really go distances far, far off the beaten trail. But a balance is required, and I may not be anything of a wise-woman, but I am trying to learn, grow, and branch out so I CAN help people, if I’m able to at all.

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