Monday, June 4, 2012

Shamanism - Beauty and Gratitude.


I was recently asked: “How long have I been on the path and what do I love about it?” 

Looking back at my personal story I can sincerely say that “I’ve always been on a Shamanic path” despite the fact it didn’t from birth carry the label.  Unlike Christianity Shamanism isn’t about biblical teachings and moral indoctrination; it’s about a sacred journey; which brings us to grow into ourselves with the instinctual knowing of what is right and wrong. "Right and Wrong" in Shamanism isn't only about morality -- it's also about sensibility.  I can't tell you how many times I was able to stay "on path" just because I listened and trusted what "I felt" whether it be by intuition; by instinct; or in the moment - by sensing.  In time, I learnt the discipline of "hyper-sensing" -- and understood that the all knowing (definition of Shaman) is not so much about intellect as it is about being present to "all of me" and what it can offer ...  What we often refer to as "our inner community" through Sacred Circle teachings.  


I’m the first one to admit you can have a Shamanic experience while simultaneously being Christian or any other Religion.  Shamanism is not a Religion.  There are no rules, commandments or doctrines in Shamanism and yet, people who walk a Shamanic path do share a common ground in experience. 

·      We all connect to the Earth (animals, trees, insects etc…) and the Stars (what lies beyond our Planet).
·      We all believe in Spirit and in most cases we can communicate with guides and the dead through dreams, visions or trance disciplines.
·      We all seemed called towards ritual, ceremony and the concept of “magic.”
·      We all love storytelling and extract a lot of learning and healing from stories.
·      We idealistic work towards community living and devote to circular thinking.
·      We call ourselves Guardians or Keepers of the Earth.
·      We give a lot of power to memories and ancestry.
·      And finally, we experience life as phenomena.

On paper, the details of my life sound no different then any other person who was baptized Catholic; went to an all girl private school (convent) for 12 years; and dedicated 20 years to being a good Christian.   Yet, it’s the experiences behind the scene that make every life story unique and shows us the difference between being a practicing Catholic and an initiate of a Shamanic path.  

Behind the convent where I went to school, there was an old cemetery.  Nuns of the congregation were buried there.  Some of the graves were as old as the early 1800’s.  I often spent time in the cemetery talking to some of these young women. On a few occasions I was punished because I roamed the sacred site rather than playing in the yard with my peers.  The sisters often discredited my experience and explained it as immaturity or fantasy.  Through judgment and persecution I learnt to move through doubt and influence; and grow into trust and faith.  Other caregivers were simply afraid that I would disrespect the grounds; treating me as an ordinary child.  It took a long time for me to realize and notice that my experience was different than most.  I learnt to be more present to my human environment and to find my  place in the World (my purpose).  And yet despite the obstacles, two of my teachers not only believed in the stories I told; but also committed to guiding me through the experience.  They seemed to believe it was important to encourage me and keep me walking “my path.” 

In Shamanic circles they say: “We are guided and protected on our path. There’s no way to get lost…” For me this has definitely been true.  No matter how the path presents itself or no matter the form it takes, at some point or another you are asked to “choose to walk the path.”  Whether you are born in Shamanism or uncover it along the way – it makes no difference.  It becomes real only when you choose it for yourself.  I think this is where it gets most challenging and where good teachers become incredibly valuable.

When my children were in elementary school they shared many of the same kind of experiences I went through as a child. They also showed sign of the similar struggles. I found myself often listening to the teachers, guides and ancestors who guided me through life and shared the same lessons with CT and KT.   Soon they found their own guides or mentors and I watched them walk the path in their own unique way. 

What is beautiful about Shamanism is how it respects each initiate as unique and chosen.  We may share common ground but it takes unique forms or flavours.  For example, we may all go through ancestral stories but they don’t get triggered the same way; they don’t bring up the same learning and healing; or they don’t impact us in the same manner.  Both my children were 3 years old when they started remembering past life memories.  I’ve seen many children touch ancestral stories for the first time around the age of 3 years old; but not too many get to remember or get to continue to remember through life.  Most move through it as if it’s a nightmare to wake up from…

I’ve often wondered if “I was also 3 years old when it opened up for me.” 

Luckily for me, at the age of 16 years old following a trauma, I became aware of an ancestral memory.  It was the kind of phenomenon that got me exploring, questioning and searching…   My parents couldn’t explain it and neither could most of the people in my life at the time.  Yet, my deceased grand-father who appeared in my life periodically guided the way…  With his help and ten years of incredible experiences I found the teachers to help me understand. 

My daughter spoke at one of our workshop this year.  She’s now 21 years old and a mature adult.  It’s quite wonderful to listen to her speak about her shamanic experience and see where she’s heading with it.  We may share many of the same experiences; but they aren’t structured the same way or don’t provide the same teachings. Unlike me, KT and CT were born into Shamanism; living communally; and having their shamanic experiences acknowledged and encouraged from childhood on…  

KT’s journey wasn’t hidden behind a Christian education or even “unexplained and misunderstood.”  I often refer to my journey as being similar to Hanzel and Gretel’s story – following crumbs all the way back home.  KT and CT in comparison had a map and followed clear signs on the side of the road.  No matter how – we (them and I) both shared a Shamanic journey.  And as destiny shows – our journey speaks volumes about our individuality; our purpose; and our relations…

The word “Shaman” means “all knowing.”  I can honestly say: “Most of my life was spent searching for the truth, beauty and medicine (power) hidden behind sacred knowledge.”  In my case, Christianity helped me understand that sacred knowledge has been important to people for millenniums.

As a traditional Dreamer, I learnt that where you are born and when you are born dictates in part your journey.  I was born in Montreal, Quebec in the 1960’s – so much about the era and the region has an impact on me and my story.  There’s definitely so much more to say on this topic alone…  All of it is beautiful:  The teachings, the knowledge, the growth, the challenges, the phenomenon, the learning and the healing, the wisdom etc….  From where I stand there’s nothing more beautiful then witnessing fullness and feeling it too.

8 comments:

Lili said...

ThankYou Lisa, I really enjoy sharing your story.
I think the single biggest thing that Shamanism has helped me with is learning to see through my programs and has encouraged me to discover who I am and why I am here, through doing this I can live life with more fullness and abundance.
Love
Leanne

Lisa F. Tardiff said...

Thank you for your feedback Leanne.
I think you hit it on the nail when you wrote: "it has encouraged me to discover who I am and in doing this I can fully live life."
TRUE! For me too.....

LISA

Rose said...

I like the idea of there being no way to get lost.... I enjoy learning and exploring and I love hearing about the experiences of others. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

Love reading your blog,Lisa.Today I wrote an e-mail to an old friend in Britain and expressed how grateful I am to come here across the world to find my path,to find Shamanism,which changed my life..so much more fullness and abundance( same as Leanne)in my life,growth,healing,learning about myself and the world around me.
Thanks Lisa for all your teachings!
I love the Image on this blog,connected deeply to it!!hAD A VISION right away,to have it as a tatoo.What is the story of the image?

Love Daniela

Lisa F. Tardiff said...

Daniela,

There's no story really attached to the image. I just liked it.
It's a shield.
It's great you connected to it. I did too when I first saw it.

LISA

Anonymous said...

I too had the exact reaction to the image...
Beautiful.
Serena

Gypsymoon said...

Lisa, sharing your story helped me find a bit of that connection I was looking for. Thank you so much for that, sometimes this path is a lonely one and the 'crumbs' don't fulfill the hunger. I see how it does grow and has its ebbs and flows. I am abundantly grateful to be called to this path and see how I too have walked it since the beginning this time. I have more faith and trust that all is well for me, even in my cocoon. Ty again.

Brandy

Lisa F. Tardiff said...

Brandy,

Thank you for asking the questions and inspiring the blog.....
I'm always open to feedback and more ideas because I do draw a blank sometimes.

Again, thank you.
LISA