Shamanism & individuality

There’s something purifying about isolation and corrupting about society and collective opinion. Ancient eskimo tribes initiated their Shaman, their spiritual leaders, with months of forced isolation.

The Shaman were built temporary shelters away from the tribe and lived there with a minimum of food and water. The Shaman experienced ecstatic states and hallucinations – they were thought to die and return from the underworld with a bounty of spiritual enlightenment. This intensity of vision cannot be reached while coddled by the comfort of a tribe.

Human interaction suffers from regression to the mean. Most get lazy and forget their ideals. Too few willingly surround themselves with those who demand excellence from them.

Even when we do accept the challenge, we are met with technical adversity. Wisdom is the most difficult thing to communicate. Unlike other forms of knowledge, wisdom cannot be transmitted directly.

In fact, attempts at documenting and teaching wisdom, in the form of religion, have mostly backfired. Religious institutions deteriorate over time as the gap widens between the present and the formative revelation. Even though all religious texts point to the same thing – the universal yearning for an understanding of what transcends us – they have instead more often been used as justification for division and conflict.

Most of my philosophical rants have a note of cynicism – but I’m surely not a pessimist. I’m optimistic in my belief that everyone has inside of them what they themselves need. The goal of life should be to remain an individual despite the tempest of societal pressures and continuously refresh your outlook by accessing the creative centers within yourself.

A Shamanic Enlightenment | Feathers and Bones