Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jesus and the Shaman's Way.

I recently received these two message from DALL and MR.

From DALL:
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?

DALL

*******

From MR:

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?

MR

********
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.

6 comments:

Michelle said...

Just ordered paperback copy should be here in a few weeks :) My mom used to tell me her views on religion, She helped me to grow up questioning all religions seeing what made them the way they are.I liked researching Jehovah Witness, Morman,Christian,Catholic,Pagan,Buddism,Kaballah and finally Shamanism. I believe in a higher power Creator but I belive that all religions stem from one source the same source but get different perspectives depending on who is in charge of the message. I loved my religion course in University it was fun to question. Great Post Lisa!

ChristyDeer said...

I wish I could remember the title for you Lisa, but it was a book my mom gave me. Maybe you have read it.

But the author had a spirit guide of hers, who was a native elder (can't remember what tribe, it's been along time). He gave her translations of the book of John. After reading this blog, I'm realizing a few connections here. Thanks so much!

Attending a dysfunctional catholic school, I questioned it since I was 5 years old...it's been a hobby of mine learning about the history of how religion came to be what it is today and find the roots...so far Shamanism is it.

Wheelkeeper said...

Thank you so much for this post Lisa. It gives me more to think about. Of course, it also raises more questions...lol...

I have a book called "The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ" by Levi. It was first written in 1907. It is like the bible, only the stories are from the years that Jesus spent in the middle East - Egypt, Persia, Greece, India... where he learned and taught with great sages.

It apparently was given to Levi from the Akashic Records. I'm not sure what to make of it, but there are some real pearls of wisdom in it.

I will order the book you recommended.

MaryRose

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. I find it very healing. Like Michelle, I believe that everything stems from one source. There are just variations on the interpretation and the way of delivering the messages. I Felt as though there were beautiful messages in the bible and truths, but felt that there were also mans interpretaiton and 'edge' put into it as well. What you have written incourages me to take another look at the messages from Jesus.
Thank you
Serena

Fishrarr said...

Thanks for airing this topic, I think it's an important one. I have had my own journeys with Jesus, a great and interesting wisdom carrier he is. Being open on one's personal spiritual path important to finding, gaining one's own personal truth. Just come from the heart and all is good. Tom.

Cougar-D said...

Thank you Lisa for this blog. It settled
alot of inner conflicts I was having about Jesus. Recently I bought a bible. I want to read
the stories, to know the stories. Deep down I have always thought Jesus and all the stories were not real. Almost like they were fairy tales. I realized how wrong I was. In the not to distant past, I realized I have a physical and mental reaction to anything to do with religion. I just shut down.

Knowing that Jesus was a Shaman is helping me to go deeper into this reaction. I just finished reading a short book about the life
of Jesus. And I could really see how
he was a shaman. All the details were there.
Thank you Lisa for your blog.

Dallal