Posts Tagged ‘Shamanism’

The presence of Satan

July 5, 2012

[making the sign of the cross just in case Satan is for real]

I’ve always been a little confused about this God/Satan thing as two forces opposing each other in an eternal battle for our souls. It started when I was a very little person and went to Catholic catechism classes. It seems that God is perfect and created these angels . . . but God gave the angels free will and choice. Satan (aka “Lucifer”) staged a coup which failed miserably and he ended up in being banished forever to hell and [gulp] the earth. Because Lucifer was an angel, he is immortal. So, this guy’s soul or essence or being or whatever is still lurking about in plain sight.

Among believers, it is agreed that God created everything. “Everything” would have to include those things we find “good” as well as those things we define as “bad.” In fact, God admits he created evil in Isaiah 45:6-7: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am Jehovah, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, that doeth all these things.

The Hebrew word “satan” means adversary/enemy or someone who obstructs or opposes. Because I know there is absolutely nothing outside of the eternal presence of God/Universe/Spirit/Jehovah, I prefer to deal with Satan as a metaphor rather than as an adversary to struggle against. We don’t need to go looking for evil because it resides right here right now in us. Like the angels, God gave us freedom of choice. Because we are all a part of God, we, too, have the power to create both peace and evil. Metaphorically speaking, we are both God and Satan . . . with the freedom to choose which energy we want to use. Think about that.

But that is not why I brought you here today with this rather flamboyant title. Yes, I wanted to get your attention to let you know where I have been these past few months. I’ve still been writing and blogging, but my efforts have been focused on Meaning Making, Loyola University’s student blog. You will find me in “Shamanic Revelations.” You can also find me here and here. I wrote the About section, too. I am still working on getting Loyola to offer subscriptions.
Until then, as a new posting appears in Meaning Making, I plan to make our work there part of my work here.

It is ALL good.

©2012 by Barbara L. Kass

A new presence question

November 28, 2010

How will I bring my presence to life today?

I’ve been asking myself this question every day for two years.

Most days, I completely forget to even BE present, much less be my presence. In the evenings, I flip open my laptop and see those words staring back at me.

I ask myself: How did I bring my presence to life today?

Generally, the answer is something along the lines of “badly,” “sorta,” and “what presence?”

I’ve experimented with methods to remind myself to be more present, to be my presence. Some of them actually worked. Now, when I am with another person, I am reminded to be as completely present with that person as possible. When I am alone, I can be perfectly present with the task at hand.

So I can be more PRESENT in my life, but still do not feel I am bringing my true PRESENCE to life. Who am I underneath these 50-odd years of human history and conditioning? Who is this presence who came to learn the lessons of this lifetime?

I took my question to a shamanic workshop given by Robin Rice . In one day I travelled through “Five Layers and Levels Of Shamanic Dreaming.” I never knew sitting down and closing my eyes could be so much work.

I took my question into journeys. Interrogating my normal process for dealing with this question made me dizzy. I asked Mother Earth if I had her blessing to work on this question (there might have been an earthquake she was laughing so hard). When I visited the Star People high in the universe to get a broader perspective of my question, I clearly saw my lack of focus and heard the message that focus is my task. I visited my ancestors who told me I had chosen this life to deal with my presence and everything I need is within me – that I already am my true presence and I just have to get out of my own way.

This might sound useful, but it only brought up more questions: How am I in my own way? Is there any part that is not in my way? How can I get out of my own way?

I travelled to the mythic realms and learned to lay down my sword at the feet of a dragon in hot pursuit of my mortal life. Believe it or not, that clear metaphor escaped me.

More journeys resulted in fingers pointing directly back at me. Near the end of the workshop, I feel I am still no closer to the answer of my question of how to bring my presence to life.

Our group formed partnerships where we each had to find another person with the same question. My partner was this amazing young woman whose open honesty and revealing vulnerability was a safe haven for my own perplexed being. Her question was: How could she joyfully embrace who she is now?

We had the same question. Her question is my answer. Her question is my “how.”

As my ancestors instructed me, I already am my true presence. It is who I am now. I just need to quit struggling with myself (lay down my sword) in being my true presence. How can I do that and get out of my own way? By joyfully embracing and nurturing my presence each day.

To joyfully embrace my presence means to know that I am eternal, trust my wisdom, and accept that I am okay no matter what is going on around me. To nurture my presence is to engage in life in a way that feeds my soul, my spirit, whatever name I might give to the living presence inside this body.

Viktor Frankl is a teacher of mine. In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, he found a way to embrace and nurture himself while enduring the atrocities of Auschwitz and other Nazi prison camps. His survival depended upon it. One of the lessons that I learned is that I need to embrace and nurture my presence in each moment regardless of my circumstances or the circumstances of others.

I get it.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

the presence of wind

September 4, 2010

I had the good fortune to be on a Shamanic journey the weekend after Magic died where I connected with the spirits of nature: fire, wind, water, earth, bugs, and plants. Connection with nature is available all the time and requires only that I focus my attention to use my senses to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste.

Fire is probably the only spirit that one might not want to taste in its burning naked essence, but we taste and ingest fire anytime we have eaten a plant or an animal cooked over an open flame. I doubt that I would ever lick an insect or eat dirt, and I remind myself to admire poison ivy from afar and only taste water that I know well.

The wind is an entirely different matter. Wind is air molecules who have caught the energy of the sun and use it to travel the earth. It is with us all the time. Can you taste the wind? Of course we can. We can measure its strength with our bodies, watch its effects with our eyes, smell its fragrance through our nostrils, and hear its journey as it passes through tree branches and lifts the eaves of our homes. Most of us don’t stick our tongues out to taste it as it passes by, but you might try it sometime.

Because it is always available, I have begun to pay attention to wind while walking. The west wind visited me the other day, bringing with it the promise of autumn. I felt its breath of coolness against my skin even though the temperature of the air was well over 90 degrees. As I inhaled, the air tasted and smelled faintly of dusty leaves and earthy soil. It was easy to see and hear the trees ruffling in the breeze, but that was not all I could hear. Beneath the quiet trembling of tree limbs, the wind offered me a whisper of advice: look to be happy.

I’ve been pondering this advice. It is not so much that the wind advised me to be happy. It clearly said “look” to be happy. If I expect happiness, I will seek it – I will look to find it around me. I can expect that if I desire happiness, I will find and experience happiness within myself. Even if there are some present circumstances in my life that I am not totally happy with, I can look within my being and find much to be happy and joyful about. Being happy is a proactive way of life.

When I quiet the monkey chatter in my head and connect to these ever-present spirits of nature, I realize my more complete oneness. The wind is always inside me filling my lungs, providing my cells with precious molecules of oxygen. My contribution is the carbon dioxide I exhale which the wind then carries to all the plants of the earth. They, in turn, sustain me with their nutrients when I ingest them. The wind even captures the molecules of water on my skin when I sweat and lifts them high into the atmosphere where they become clouds of rainwater. Those molecules carry an essence of me to share with the world.

The next time it rains, I am going to imagine I am being showered with happiness.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass