I recently received these two message from DALL and MR.
I watched the Nativity story this Christmas and it really opened
my eyes to persecution and how it is something that we have live with
forever. I saw how persecution is part of life. I am not a
Religious person and I have noticed how I react strongly about anything that has to do with Religion. Watching the nativity story felt really healing.
I wanted to know about Jesus. I have heard that he is the greatest
Shaman: The shaman of all shamans. In the Muslim religion they say
Jesus is the son of Mary and Joseph and that he is a prophet. I find
that I am always wondering what is the true story about Jesus.
Could you write a blog entry about Jesus and his connection with Shamanism?
I would love to know the true story of Jesus as a Shaman.
Another theme that has come up for me is around death and
unresolved. It seems that when we face death, our unresolved is the
most important thing there is... I remember when I was dying in the
hospital in 1982, I was so aware of what I had yet to heal and learn.
Can you talk about the importance of dealing with our unresolved?
Have you ever heard of Gnostic Christianity? The Gnostics were people who believed in mysticism and like our sacred circle tradition, they also believed in many different perspectives, beliefs and practices. In order to be a true Christian the Gnostics believed that you had to have the experience of what they called “gnosis;” which referred to sacred knowledge. These mystical teachings would bring someone to become a Christ (a messenger) or what many traditions call Shaman.
Supposedly in 1945 they found Gnostic gospels in a cave in Egypt. These findings changed everything. It gave a complete new perspective on early Christianity. It showed that similar to indigenous traditional practices early Christian initiates were called to journey towards “gnosis” and only a few selected were chosen. According to Freke and Gandy who wrote the Jesus Mysteries, the literalists who eventually became the Roman Catholic Church were the Christians who distorted true Christianity and created a Religion for “people in a hurry.” Literalist Christians viewed the Gnostic Christians as pagans and heretics whereas the Gnostic Christians viewed the Literalist Christians as people who created a Religion for the masses. There is no doubt that the Gnostics were aligned with paganism. In fact Gnostic scriptures were found in Egypt side by side with pagan books discussing pagan practices and rites. Clement of Alexandria who was a Gnostic philosopher was heavy into pagan philosophy and “regarded it as a divine gift that lead men to Christ.” Philosophers such as Clement of Alexandria and Origen received their education from pagan sages.
These days lots of people mistrust and judge the Catholic Church, and don’t know what to believe. Most First Nation traditional elders that I have had the opportunity to learn and spend time with, have also been educated as Christians. It’s not like they had any choice. When the priests and missionaries first arrived in America they were committed to convert the first people to Christianity. They were certainly no open to different perspectives, practices and beliefs. The elders will tell you that our First Nation ancestors weren’t resistant to Christianity because many of the stories they were told about Jesus were not different than their own stories about their own Medicine People.
I recommend the book The Jesus Mysteries by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy. I found through this book incredible similarities between the Gnostic Christian Church and my own shamanic path and journey. For example, Freke and Gandy mention how Clement spoke of the apostle Mark preaching three different gospels for three different levels of initiation. His gospel in the New Testament was for “beginners.” The Secret Gospel was for those being “perfected.” Finally, oral tradition revealed the “gnosis.” Many traditionalists today still abide by this approach. I remember getting upset at one of my teachers because of the rubbish she had given in an interview to an anthropologist and journalist who sought to write about traditional ways. I couldn’t understand why I was being taught one thing through oral tradition and yet, she was saying something completely different when approached by the media, scientists or authors on the topic. At the time these types of inconsistencies triggered mistrust and anger in me until I stopped bothering about “the words of others” and focused on the empirical teachings and what Gnostic Christians called “gnosis.”
In traditional circles the word “knowing or knowledge” implies “journeying in self-discovery.” The Gnostic Christians and hence, Jesus understood “gnosis” as implying “knowledge” or “the journey one individual takes into the depths of one’s self.” This process touched the notion of mysteries; which brought initiates to look for example, at reincarnation, duality, communication with Goddess or cosmology as well as communication with Spirit. The Gnostics believed in reincarnation. They understood that the soul was immortal and caged somehow in the body so that it could learn, grow, and experience truth or what they understood as “gnosis” or “sacred knowledge.” A Gnostic sage named Bailides explained, that “in order to reach gnosis it took the effort of many lives.” In the book of John we are told that the purpose of incarnation is to reach a point of gnosis where it is no longer necessary to take flesh. Plato said: “the soul was suffering the punishment of sin until the penalty was paid,” whereas Origen who understood the deities as more compassionate entities spoke of “the world as strengthening the soul by victories and weakening it by the defeats of previous lives.” Obviously the notion of unresolved was an important part of pagan and early Christian beliefs.
Jesus himself spoke of “dying for the sins of man;” which in itself explains an important facet of the Shaman’s role. With this simple comment Jesus confirms his Gnostic or pagan roots, and shows that they are not unlike my own traditional, shamanic practices. We often define the Shaman according to his or her non-ordinary abilities; but in fact Shaman is a state of “gnosis”. It’s a deep sense of knowing that gives access to oneness and all of what it may imply. It may sound vague but it’s a process that moves from knowing with the mind, to knowing with the heart and body; to finally knowing with the soul. If anything the nativity story speaks of how a Shaman is chosen even before birth and is destined to move through different steps; which inevitably lead to gnosis. I strongly suggest to all those who are interested to read the sacred text with a different perspective.