Phillip J. Watt, Contributor
The role of the Shaman in the original peoples is to resolve issues of the tribe that other members were unable to rectify themselves. They heal, they influence, they transform, otherwise known as the art of magic.
Traditional and contemporary shamans do this by consciously venturing into the non-physical realm – a practice called ‘journeying’ – to dance with the spirits of their ancestors and their land to find answers to their current affairs, and assist the energetic rivers to flow in more desired directions.
However, as the Western world became so-called ‘civilised’ over the course of several millennia, they tore the role of shamans and other energetic workers out of their societal infrastructure. Tribal peoples were labelled as primitive and undeveloped. Magicians hid in the shadows. Witches were burned. Organised religion stepped up to dictate their version of the divine to the masses, eventually leading to the secularisation of large portions of society, including their managerial structures.
Entire cultures progressively lost their connection to themselves, each other and nature, as well as their personal exploration of esoterica. The war on metaphysics advanced. A philosophical disease called materialism took a toxic grip after industrialisation, consumerism and the technological explosion saturated people’s minds and hearts with predominately mundane and destructive conceptions of reality.
Communities were now highly fragmented and the majority of people were sucked into urbanised enslavement.
But then the internet was created. An unprecedented moment occurred in humanity’s (known) history where information was being shared instantaneously to all areas of our planet, resulting with a significant amplification of cross-cultural ideas and behaviours.
A human culture, not an ethnic or regional one, was being birthed (or simply remembered).
Amongst all this dualistic madness and magic, spiritual traditions and sacred practices were being increasingly revitalised in the shadows of our collective dialogue. The re-enchantment of our world has been long underway and is now coming to the forefront of discussion in alternative and occult circles, as well as slowly leaking into mainstream mindsets. The practice of magic and the exploration of altered states of consciousness is becoming unsurprisingly common as individuals feeling spiritually pillaged have learned to research and apply their own version of energetic expression and manipulation, regardless if facilitated by meditation, ritual, psychotropics and/or other personal methodologies.
Nevertheless, the shamanic role has only slightly recovered. Or put another way to circumnavigate appropriation arguments, the process of working with spirits, information and energy for the benefit of the entire community is rare, compared to that process actioned for the benefit of the individual implementing it.
Granted, shamans work with individuals, just like contemporary energy healers do. That specific role is widespread. Yet when members of the tribe asked for specific help in health or other matters it was always considered in the context of whole; the more healthy and happy each individual is, the more the tribe is too.
As much as this concept still remains resilient in a world characterised by greed and competition, it’s not given the respect or the celebration it should, especially in complementary health disciplines. Put simply, people who help others should be ‘consciously’ doing it for not just for their client and the development of their own knowledge and skills, but for the human tribe too.
Regardless, the role of serving the tribe has now evolved. Enter neoshamanism. This is necessary given that the clan is no longer made up of a few hundred or a few thousand individuals, as it did for most of our history, it’s now a highly integrated human community made up of over 7 billion people.
There’s no one shaman that can fulfill that role.
Therefore, a collective shaman is being necessarily nurtured. It’s always been there, functioning as a result of the archetypal expression and informational evolution of the collective, but this is a potent time to recognise and honour it because we’re at the fork of choice between control and freedom.
What we will collectively choose is yet to be determined.
In any case, every single one of us inputs our own energy, our own processing of information, into the greater grid. Regardless if it’s conscious or subconscious, we’re all asking the collective shaman for help as a member of the human tribe, and we’re all contributing to the energy that the collective shaman provides.
However, there are many advanced healers and energy workers who play a more prominent role in the collective shaman. Many are conscious of it, many aren’t. Inspiringly, there are also many other naturally-wise people who are yet to rebirth their wings and fly in the greater heights of consciousness expansion, but they’re well on their way and are therefore already highly contributing to the collective shaman role, albeit unconsciously.
So for all of you who a raging fire in a world of mostly embers, process your experience – your connection to spirits, symbols, patterns, information and energy – as it relates to you, as well as how it relates to your human family. Ensure you don’t neglect one or the other either, as both are equally important in our dualistically-connected construct.
In addition, feeding humanity’s collective unconscious with healthy and evolutionary vibrations is but one layer of the interconnectedness that exemplifies our reality, so remember the biological, planetary, galactic, cosmological and interdimensional aspects too.
Ultimately, the plethora of energy work being practiced in our current era is undoubtedly positive for humanity, regardless if it’s somewhat misguided or misunderstood at times (for the highly cynical, yes there are charlatans in every discipline, including the metaphysical arts). Yet as previously alluded to, the re-spiritualisation of our species is a grand thing, a necessary thing, particularly because it will be a primary driver for finally bringing some sanity, justice and healing to our sick social system.
Moreover, the more conscious we are of both our separateness and connectedness, as well as how their paradoxical dynamics play and dance with each other, the greater role we have in contributing to the collective shaman and its task of helping our human tribe to prosper.
You should remember it, in all that you think, feel and do.
Note: The following interview is of myself on the brilliant RuneSoup Podcast, where Gordon White and I talk about this and other relevant topics.