Here's the view from my place--two months ago, one month ago and now--here I am living in a retirement community in a Milwaukee suburb. So I am admitting, finally, I've retired--fully not "semi," like I'd been saying for a while. Really, I retired gradually from most freelancing as the needs of the seniors I've been helping have increased, gradually and steadily. But writing about these self-educational experiences must wait because of agreements I made.
In the meanwhile:
The shamanic circle church has shifted into a "faithful remnant" phase, and the known members have spread far and wide along the webs of life, connecting their shamanizing over the Internet and within our imaginations. My closest shamanic companions circle around where they live, shifting for the better what each values in space, time, matter and energy--not aiming to transcend, not reaching beyond the physical, reveling (and revealing) in the material.
After beginning that mission to study original and innovate new shamanic ways--meaning (as broadly as possible) to investigate any methods, techniques and systems that any shamans anywhere use and/or have ever used, from nowadays back through history and prehistory, to shift reality towards better and best, I shifted into skepticism.
Because: As much fun as I was having at workshops and circles, though waxing ecstatic seeing new possibilities for self-help and amazing ways to do mind-changing, heart-openng, gut-boosting rituals and ceremonies without getting bogged in beliefs or dwellng on dogma, quickly my enthusiasm waned into skepticism with reason. I soon came to doubt the efficacy, and even the harmelessness, of most all non-evidence-based practices I was adventuring so blithely.
So, I began doubting the practices that were benefiting me--because I was experimenting in fun, without believing or seriousness, like a child, while many seemed enthralled and co-opted.
Then I began debunking as a mission, questioning: The effectiveness, and even the harmlessness, of most all Complimentary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs); as well as the helpfulness, versus the harmfulness, of traditional and new religions alike, organized or not (including "spiritual paths" and "spiritualities" and similar euphemisms, circumlocutions and alternative verbiages substituted to avoid the word religion); alongside most all advertised faith- and energy- healing methods; and alongside supposedly occult, so-called magical (using any trendy spellings-with-a-k) reality-changing (or subjugation by willpower) schemes; and including popularized or copyrighted shamanisms.
For me, just attending lots of shamanic workshops, while watching and listening closely, did more debunking of supernatural beliefs, psychic powers, and pseudoscience than reading skeptical and science-based writers.
Throughout and since childhood, I've grown more and more fascinated and impressed by the beneficial world transforming possibilities of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (nowadays called STEM). Lately I've been saying "I'm a STEM optimist!"
Still: Undeniably, I find art-play; new storying; wondering and wonder; purposeful wishing, hoping and dreaming; and everyday jesting for fun-restoration; and more, all health-boosting, serenity-inducing and life-shifting towards better and best--for me, these are beneficial and freeing ways to shamanize, without any need for overlying superstitons, underlying esoteric babble or mystifying scary lore.
My understanding lately: Shamanic ways shift for the better naturally by inspiring and encouraging new patterns and possibilitiies and/or by enhancing and expanding placebo effects intentionally, through active imagining and intense pretending--fun acting out as art-play, shifting inner self first, allowing changes to ripple outward through all directions and dimensions of body, earth and universe--conscious to unconscious and back. It's psyching-up: re-creative (nano- to micro- to macro-) choice (by choice, by choice, by choice...to be and live fun here now) all-spiraling-interconnecting, into immediately obvious to long-hidden ways and means, that is, into physical, material beneficial butterfly effects anywhere and everywhere.
This emerging, never final interpretation is centered around and based upon hope (forward-peering grace), faith (past-scanning grace) and ongoing experience (LIFE in each here now crossroads moment of power, wherever two or three or more gather in fun, to rattle, drum, sing and dance all things new, the greatest grace of all). Art and science interconnect, interact and overlap in such improv, yet purposeful, frolics, then some of the best results only appear supernatural.
Disclaimer: I've written this for me--I'm still sorting many notions out.
While I'm commuting between here and Madison, Wisconsin, words, sentences, even paragraphs brain-wave along for the ride. Why not dictate more frequent blog updates as I drive--about real, interesting topics, instead of why don't I blog more? Or, I could add increments to my "longterm project" book drafts.
Updated late June: Oops--I didn't post this before flying to California's Central Valley and back, helping those folks on their annual summer-early fall visit.