How is your relationship with nature? If you grew up in the West, and especially if you grew up in one of the religions that makes use of the Torah/Old Testament, then your relationship with nature may have been tainted by Jewish/Christian mythology. According to this myth the First Man and First Woman were placed in a garden and were told that they could eat anything that they wanted except for the fruit of The Tree of Good and Bad.
I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home and went to Sunday School every Sunday morning (some day I'll tell you what happened when I rebelled). Anyway, I was a free-thinking little brat, something my father didn't manage to beat out of me, so when I was in second grade and the Sunday School teacher told us the myth of The Garden I raised my hand and asked, "What kind of God would put a good tree in a garden and say, 'See that pretty tree, don't eat its fruit.'?" It just didn't make sense to me. My question got me sent to the pastors office. Common occurrence.
You know the rest of the story. First Man and First Woman thought that the fruit looked pretty good (another one of my questions to the same teacher, the very next Sunday, was "Remember the fruit from last Sunday? Did eating the fruit really mean that they made love? He he." Same result, off to the pastor's office I went. Whatever the "fruit" was that they "ate", First Man and First Woman got kicked out of the garden and into the dark and dreary earth. The picture that was painted for me was that of getting kicked out of a luscious, cool, green garden with waterfalls, beautiful birds, and animals (even lions and tigers and bears) that would come and play with you, and out into something that looked like the Northern Arizona badlands (been there quite a few times but if you don't have a mental picture then google images of the Navajo Reservation).
For them, and for anyone else who bought into the myth, the earth became a place of suffering, subsistence farming, toil and labor. A place where you had to be careful because the snake might try and bite your foot. The earth was hot and dry and water was hard to find. The earth became a scary place and one that had to be subdued, controlled, manipulated and used. In addition, a duality formed, First Man and First Woman and all of their descendants came to view themselves not as part of creation but its managers or controllers, fighting against the forces of nature.
I hope that your view of creation is different because to shamans we are not separate and apart from creation but part of it. In fact, we are just one little node on the web of life that connects everything, every person, plant, animal, rock, cloud . . . into one living being; the All. I hope that you noticed on the web of life diagram above that humankind is not at the center, in fact nothing is at the center. There is no center.
Pachamama isn't a scary place, she is a loving mother who cares for us, and wants us to love and respect her back. It is dual relationship, not a duality, but a family relationship. When I greet Pachamama every morning I greet her as a loving son saying "Good morning mom, I hope you slept well and had pleasant dreams." When I greet Intitayta as he rises over the horizon, waking up like he does every morning, I do it like a son to his father, speaking with love, gratitude and respect. We are a family.
You, reading this are my sister or my brother. So is the crow perched outside my window looking in at me as I type, or the doves that woke me up every morning in Peru last month. So is the raccoon that knocked over my garbage can last night. Welcome to the family. Its sometimes a messy family, but one filled with love and support.
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.