The last few months have been difficult times for many. Here in Virginia we have slowly been coming out of a complete quarantine but life still doesn't feel like it has gotten back to normal, or that it will very soon. Peru is still completely locked down and international and national flights are not expected to resume before the end of July at the earliest. Consequently we have had to cancel all of our workshops and seminars both in the U.S. and in South America . We are looking at dates for 2021 events and I will post them once travel appears to be both possible and safe.
I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the direction this adventure(website, workshops, seminars and trips) should go and have decided to expand our activities into the following areas:
Rather than writing blogs about those topics I'll start recording more videos for YouTube and will be developing online courses as well.
The quarantine has given me plenty of time to finish by book on eclectic shamanism so expect to see it at Amazon in the near future.
Stick around, the ride has been a bit bumpy but as I frequently say, we are the descendants of survivors, to survive is in our DNA and we will get through this as well.
Peace my friends,
It has been a while since I have blogged. CV19 has put a damper on our planned trips to sites in Perú this Spring and Summer but we can all continue to practice.
We don't become shamanic practitioners by reading a book or two, or by attending a weekend or longer workshop. We really become shamanic practitioners when our tribe accepts us as such. When our tribe recognizes that we have skills and practices that improve their lives. Your tribe can be as small as your immediate family, and that's a good size to start with, or as large as the world. I follow the old dictum, "Think Global . . . Act Local".
I realized how true that dictum is after spending years as a international development consultant working in the developing world. I wanted to change the world . . . and I still do. However it was frustrating to see years of hard work and progress swept away with a regime change, or when the priorities of the sponsoring agency changed. I realized that I had helped change individual lives, even if the system reverted to its old ways. If you remember from statistics courses, that's regression to the mean.
Anyway I hope that you are members of two tribes, the local tribe that you serve and the Tribe of Shamans. If you grew up in a book religion then you probably remember the mythology of the 12 Tribes of Israel. Eleven of the Tribes were given a land inheritance however, the Tribe of Levi was not. Rather, they were disbursed throughout all of the tribes to serve as priests, the Levites. We don't serve a mythical, vengeful, and psychopathic god of the old testament. We serve the members of our tribe by connecting with real helping spirits, by teaching them to do the same, and by facilitating healing.
We are members of the same tribe, the Tribe of Shamans, and are all connected, and we are members of the tribes that we serve.
Good news for me, bad news you. After almost two months of trying to type with just my left hand I was finally able to type with both hands this weekend. This means that my typing speed and accuracy are returning. That also means that I'm probably going to inflict more of my random thoughts on you . . . and here goes.
In my last blog I wrote about psychic protection. I thought today that it would be good to take a more organic view of alternatives. You know that life is stressful and full of anxiety. It's easy to turn to a doc and ask for a pill to help deal with it, or a bottle, or the TV, or . . . But guess what, you don't have to do that. Here is a short list of herbs, and a few other things, that reduce anxiety.
Dr. Dave, ND
Sorry that I have been out of circulation for a bit. Had an accident and just about lost my right index finger. As it was, it was crushed and mangled and I'm right handed so typing has been a bit of a challenge. It is healing, not very flexible yet, but I have learned to type, sort of, without it for now. This little incident caused me to think a lot about psychic protection.
You put on a seat belt when you get in a car for protection, just in case you are involved in an accident, not because you are fearful or expect one, just in case. You probably carry an umbrella when it looks like it might rain . . . again, just in case. We need psychic protection for the same reason . . . just in case.
We live in a world full of negative energy and it affects us because we are energy beings. We live in an environment made up of energy soup, and not all the ingredients in the soup are good, and we didn't add most of them to the soup recipe. Its just like ordering soup in a restaurant. The server delivers the bowl of soup to the table and I eat whatever the cook put in the soup. Its not my recipe but I ingest the soup and it becomes part of me.
Here are two things that I do every day . . . just in case, that you might want to incorporate into your daily routine. First, I always carry a black tourmaline crystal in my pocket. Black tourmaline and black obsidian are crystals that absorb negative energy. Every evening in cleanse the crystals by running cold water over them and once a month, on the new moon, I set the crystals out in moon light to absorb the reflected energy of the sun.
The second thing that I do every morning, and again every evening, is sit in meditation and create a light capsule around me. I sit and form a sphere of glowing, white light above my head, spin the sphere and shrink in down to about the size of a golf ball and then direct in from my crown chakra into my heart through my heart chakra. I then visualize this glowing ball of energy growing bigger ad bigger so that its diameter encompasses all of my energy bodies. This energetic sphere contains all of my positive energy within and reflects away any negative energy that I walk through or that is directed at me.
In the evening I do the same thing except I expand the sphere of glowing white energy outwards until it surrounds my home and family and then I go to sleep having set a protective sphere around all of us.
As with all things in life, the more that you practice something the better you get at it. The more you practice encapsulating yourself within and energetic bubble, a capsule of light the better you will get at it and the stronger your capsule will be.
Stay safe my friends.
I was watching one of my favorite YouTube music videos last night, Earth Warrior, by Omnia (below). Shamans are animists, we know that everything, and I mean everything not just living things, is imbued with spirit. I hope that causes us to love everything more deeply.
While I do enjoy this video and appreciate its message I often wonder if being this kind of a warrior is counter productive. After all, violence leads to violence, hate leads to hate, discrimination leads to discrimination. When we put negative energy into something more negative energy comes out. But what if we put love in, filled the world with love, rather than increasing the low vibrational level that follows negative thoughts and actions?
Here is a letter that Albert Einstein wrote to his daughter. It's not about physics, its about love:
"When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
"I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
"There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.
"When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force. Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others. Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals. For love we live and die. Love is God and God is Love.
"This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
"To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation. If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
"After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
"If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
"Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
"However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
"When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
"I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it's too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! ".
Please reread this paragraph:
"If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer."
Sometime I play "what-if" games with myself, they help me reason through actions before I take them. I have learned by watching others that thinking before acting usually leads to much better consequences than does acting first and then thinking about how to solve the newly created problems. How often do you see people follow the "Ready . . . Fire . . . Aim" paradigm?
Anyway, here are some thought questions from my recent what-if games, and a few of my answers.
Shamanism isn't a violent path, it is a path of love, it is the path of the Heart Warrior. Being a shaman, living as a shaman, doesn't start in our brains. It starts in our hearts, hearts full of love love that motivates us to reduce pain and suffering around us. Being a shaman isn't like putting on a t-shirt for an hour a day that says, "I'm a Shaman". Its about living the path 24/7 every day. It isn't something you do, its something you are.
Remember the dictum, "Think global, act local." It is good advice. Send your love to the world, employ your loving action around you. None of us can change the world alone. I know, I tried to do that for years working on development projects in underdeveloped countries. I failed, I didn't change the world, but I touched a few lives.  None of us can change the world alone, but if we work to bring love to our families, or neighborhoods, our towns and cities then working together we can raise the vibrational level of our little blue ball.
Peace my friends,
 Here is one example. In the early 1970s I ran an adult literacy project among the Quechua speakers in Bolivia. Bolivia is a wonderful country and its constitution recognizes 37 different languages. One night as I was about to start the evening Spanish language adult literacy class one of the students, a man in his early 50s, came into the class with tears running down his cheeks. I was afraid that something horrible had happened. He was clutching a little piece of paper and as he hugged me he said, "I can read it! I can read a receipt!" You know how many words are on a receipt . . . not many. My initial mental response was, "That's nice, good for you, now sit down and let's get started." but then I realized that for him it was a really, really big deal. His life had changed because the scribbles on paper now had meaning. My investment in the two plus years that I spent in Bolivia on that assignment were repaid in that instant. Don't try to change the world, show love and change one life at a time, and start with yours.
Shamans are healers. Many shamanic practitioners, especially those with a background in counseling or psychology, see shamanism as a useful tool to help their clients deal with emotional or psychological problems. Soul retrieval, as a shamanic practice, probably fits into this category.
Other shamanic practitioners seem to focus more on health and wellness issues. For those of you who might be interested in energy work, think qi emission or polarity therapy for a start, might find these two blog post from my wellness site useful.
Please use the contact form and let me know if you would like more blog posts about energy medicine. Herbalism is another tool that traditional shamans use so let me know if you are interested in that area as well . . . my goal is to write blog posts that are useful in your practice, as you grow as an eclectic shaman.
Oh, just so you know, there is an up-to-date index of my wellness blog post on the resource page on the wellness website. The index is an Excel file so you can sort it different ways to find posts that might interest you.
I am often asked how I was introduced to shamanism so I thought that I would share this with you. It is from Chapter 1 of a book on Eclectic Shamanism that I have almost finished. Six weeks in South America slowed me down a bit.
I am sometimes asked what it takes to be a shaman, and can anyone become a shaman. Because I am asked these questions so often, and you might be asking the same questions right now, I thought that I would address both of them. Second question first. Yes, I think that anyone can become a shamanic practitioner an eclectic shaman. I’m a highly educated, left-brained logical guy who spends his days with numbers, statistics, and computer programs. If I can do it then anyone can!
The answer to the second question is a little bit longer and that’s what this book is about. To get started on that path I’m going to share my journey into shamanism with you.
I grew up with a nuclear physicist. My father earned his Ph. D. in physics when nuclear physics was a new and exciting field. I can still remember going to his lab at Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago (security in the late 1950s and early 1960s wasn't what it is today). He was sending alpha particles through cloud chambers surrounded by a strong magnetic field, and then measuring how the particle traces in the cloud chamber changed . . . trying to discover what an alpha particle was.
What you ask, does that have to do with shamanism. Well, I grew up in a family where something was only real if it could be measured and observed. An alpha particle leaving a trace through a cloud in a cloud chamber was real because it could be measured and observed. Spirit, on the other hand, couldn't be seen, measured or observed so it fell into the realm of fantasy and fairy tales, and my father didn't believe in fairy tales and so neither did I.
That changed when I was posted to Bolivia in 1971. My job was to establish literacy centers in the villages in the South Central Andean region of Bolivia from Cochabamba to Tarija to teach Bolivian adults to read Spanish. I was working with Quechua-speaking adults who spoke Spanish as a second language and didn't read Spanish. I had been in Potosí (13,300 feet above sea level) for about nine months when one Saturday, on a whim, I decided to visit the village of Betanzos, about 30 clicks from Potosí. I hitched a ride on the back of a flat-bed truck, got off in the center of the village and walked in to a small cafe for lunch.
Four men, local campesinos (peasant farmers) from their look, walked over, greeted me and asked if they could sit down. After pleasantries they told me that they knew that I was coming. Their village curandero (healer/shaman) told them that I would be there with golden hair (I had blond hair then) and instructed them to go and meet me. He told them that I would teach their village how to read the printed words. At that point all they knew about me was that I was a blond-haired guy who spoke good Spanish and fair Quechua but with an obvious accent; and that I was hungry. By the way, they had walked to Betanzos from their little village, Tecoya, about 6 clicks to the North. My guess is that they left their village for Betanzos before I left Potosí.
That experience was very unsettling to someone who had been taught to only believe in what could be measured and observed. I had only decided that morning to visit Betanzos and hadn't told anyone where I was going (I know, stupid). This really upset my view of the world.
So what does it take to be a shaman or a shamanic practitioner? Well first, you have to think like John Lennon. He wrote, “I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dragons and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?”
That one experience in Betanzos was all it took to change my world view and to help me realize that there is much to the universe than what I can see, explain, measure, or observe. The world is much, much more exciting and filled with a lot more than you or I can see with our 3D eyes. So the first step, if you want to learn shamanism is to open yourself up to the possibility that you can become one, and open yourself up to the possibility that there are other worlds that are real and which you can experience.
The curandero/shaman in that small village outside of Betanzos was don Juan Carlos Medrano Jimenez and he became my teacher that day and taught me until his death in 1996, 25 years later. By the way, I did visit their village and started a literacy center there.
Let me tell you a short story . . . Once, when The Buddha was out walking, he came to the town of Kesaputta of the Kalamas. Now the Kalamas of Kesaputta had a burning question. They had been visited by many preachers. One would come and preach then then "disparage, debunk, revile and vilify the doctrines of others." This preacher would be followed by another who would teach a different doctrine and attack the teachings of the others . . . and the cycle kept repeating itself over and over. I live in a town where there seems to be a church on almost every street corner, and sometimes there are four, one on each corner. M many of my friends feel like the Kalamas of Ksaputta. They don't practice shamanism.
After describing the situation the Kalamas of Kesaputta said to The Buddha, we are perplexed, "which of these good ascetics speak the truth and which speak falsehood?" The Buddha proceeded to give them a couple of tests that are just as valid today as they were at the time of The Buddha. First, The Buddha told them what to avoid:
If we can't use all of the "traditional truth tests" then how do we decide what to do?
The Buddha (above) told the Kalamas of Kesaputta what not to rely on. In essence he told them not to rely on blind faith. Rather, he told them to rely on personal experience; try it out, see if it works. He told them, "But when you know for yourselves, 'These things are wholesome; these things are blameless; these things are praised by the wise; these things, if undertaken and practiced, lead to welfare and happiness,' then you should engage them."
Did you notice what The Buddha didn't say to the Kalamas of Kesaputta? He didn't say, "My way is the only way. My way is the right way. Ignore the others and follow me!" He said to try it out and see if it works. Make an evidenced-based decision, not a faith-based one. I like that. I can live with that. And, that is why I practice eclectic shamanism. If a practice or concept makes sense to me and it works consistently (for me) then I add it to my tool kit. If it doesn't make sense, or doesn't give consistent, expected results then I discard it.
What makes sense to me and what works for me may not be the same for you. I do think that there are some core ideas and practices that seem to be pretty universal. However, I encourage you to practice, try new things out, and find what works best for you. I don't want to you practice my shamanism, I want you to practice yours so explore, have fun, and make it yours.
And that, my friends, is why I practice eclectic shamanism,
We just returned from an exciting six weeks in Bolivia and Peru and two successful workshops. I'll write more about them later but just wanted to let you know that I was back.
Heidi, my partner and I, were talking this morning about religion. Most of us in the West grew up either in a Judaeo/Christian religion or in a community where that was the common cultural undercurrent. Think back just 100 generations. That takes you about 2,000 years into the not-so-distant past. Where did your ancestors live 100 generations ago? Northern Europe, the Middle East, Ancient America, Asia? Most likely they practiced a religion that most people today would call pagan. That means that I have come full circle, I'm a shamanic pagan on a spiritual path that probably has more in common with my deep ancestral roots than do any of the modern religions. You might be on the same path.
That also means that I have the echoes of the pagan past in my genetic memory, in my DNA. If any of the following statements are true about you then you may have that same genetic memory. You may be a shaman and haven't recognized it. So, how many of these statements apply to you?
If any of these statements are true about you then you may be a shaman and don't even know it. Please contact me if you would like to participate in our upcoming, online shamanic practitioner training program.
I asked you to look back 100 generations. Now look forward the same length of time. What kind of spiritual legacy, what kind of genetic memory would you like to leave for your descendants? I suggest one that makes them feel free, divine, and connect to the ALL.
Peace my friends,
I'm Dr. Dave, an eclectic shaman. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice eclectic shamanism.