Hetepu (Peace) Family
It’s been a long time. Hope all is well with you all.
I wanted to share with you a discussion that I had with someone recently. They had read in one of my books how I mentioned that back in the day, due to slavery African American shamans were preachers, priest or priestess, teachers, counselors, healers, psychics, herbalists, diviners, etc. because they all preformed some type of healing for their respective communities. However, not every preacher, priest or priestess, teacher, counselor, healer, psychic, herbalist, diviner, etc. is a shaman. How is that possible? What’s the difference between the two and why do I follow a shamanic path?
Well, without going through a long dissertation, besides the obvious like attire, ritualistic approaches for seeking spiritual assistance etc. like chanting, drumming, dancing, etc. The key difference is based upon how one sees the Divine. Shamans typically don’t follow any type of dogma, whereas most adhering to an organized religion or haven’t adopted shamanic principles into their life, usually do.
This approach is very significant and we see how it plays out when it comes acquiring spiritual assistance. For instance, when an adherent seeks spiritual assistance in help with some issue they are facing. The adherent from the organized religion is instructed to seek the Will of God through prayer, meditation, divination, etc., because they have been taught (or believe) that they are a humble and sinned servant that needs to be saved. From this approach, it would appear that God is doing the individual a favor, which explains the reason why so many feel they have to beg and plea to be saved, and if they breach a moral code of conduct, they must beg for forgiveness. This is not the case in most shamanistic traditions.
In shamanism when the shaman needs divine or supernatural assistance, they simply seek the solution to their problem through prayer, meditation or divination, etc. because they see themselves as a co – creator with the Divine. It is not solely left up to the Divine if they will live or not, but responsibility is also shared by all of those involved. For instance, if one wants to overcome an illness, then the patient has to also take responsibility for his or health and do what is necessary physically and spiritually to acquire good health. This is because from a co – creator’s perspective, the Divine is literally the Source and will support you in whatever you choose to do. This is the reason most shamans don’t concern themselves with spiritual enlightenment or seeking to expand their consciousness, because it is like acquiring knowledge without experience. Instead, shamans focus upon practical objectives because in resolving these issues they not only achieve tangible goals but in the process may also acquire the wisdom when dealing with similar issues. In this case, spiritual enlightenment is seen as fascinating side effect that if it occurs great, but if not there’s no problem because it wasn’t the intention in the first place. This is because shamanism focuses upon practicality, which is based upon Maa - that is, Objective Truth not what belief is popular at the time.
So in essence, most belonging to an organized religious structure (or still harboring this mindset) focus on the future (and the hereafter). Everything they approach is from this same dogmatic perspective whereas they feel if they don’t do this they will be punished. If they don’t eat right, they will be punished. If they act and treat their neighbors right, then they will be punished. If they don’t belong to this particular group or affiliates, then they will be punished. Everything is based upon the fear if they don’t do a particular thing, then they will “reap what they sow” because it is based upon catastrophe.
Shamans on the other hand, focus on the here and now in order to make a better future. Since shamanism is pre-religion, it doesn’t force people to live their lives out of fear of sin, karma, etc. When something doesn’t work or doesn’t produce the desired results, it is not looked upon as being the will of God or some divine act. If God doesn’t punish animals for their animalistic behavior, why would God punish human beings for their animal behavior? This was seem contradictory, which in shamanism the Divine is not. So when something doesn’t work or doesn’t produce the desired results. It is simply seen as being botched like too much of one ingredient was added to a cake mix. Basically, it is due to things not being in balance.
Shamanism basically assists an individual in saving themselves, instead of depending upon someone or something outside of themselves to save them, because most have been Called like preachers who have been Called to the pulpit. The main difference being that most shamans consisted of them overcoming an deadly illness, destructive and negative behavior that is destroying their family and/or community, etc.. In their mysterious rebirth, they learn what to do and what not to do not because it offends the Divine presence within them. In other words, it separates them from their divinity, thus inhibiting them from creating miracles in their life. This is why elderly black men and women in southern churches use to abstain from certain behaviors, practices, obscenities, perversions and substances. It was this shamanic practice that was brought from Africa that assured that the one being Called would not adjust their concept of God in order to accept, ignore or overlook their wickedness. This age old African tradition has rapidly become extinct in most Black Churches, which is why there is a lack of spiritual development today in the Black community.
I personally chose and continue to follow this path because it establishes a rapport between you and the Divine. When something is right, you instantly see the results. When you have done something wrong, you get that feedback as well and learn to make adjustments. No one needs to tell you what you is right or wrong. If you have your right mind, we all have commonsense. We all know what is right or wrong because the Divine is within all of us, so no matter how much we try to sugarcoat it you know. This is why it is not even necessary to persuade people of what is the truth or not the truth, because Truth is Divine and the Divine’s spark dwells within us all. So, it is not a matter of not knowing the Truth or Maa, it is about choosing not to believe it and in that case. God doesn’t have to punish you. You are simply punishing yourself.
Now, shamanism is not about making up your own rules as you go, but a lot of people due to Western thinking are use to rules and feel that if they don’t have any rules. They don’t have any guidelines to maneuver around. For those people, I say that according to the Maa Aankh, when we physically die our soul will stand before Osar in accompany with our ancestors, where we will give account for everything that we did while among the living. If our soul is boggled down by confusion and guilt, then we will become a confused, misguided and tormented ghost or aapepu. This means that if you can’t imagine standing before you beloved ancestors and proudly telling them everything that you did in secret with no shame. Then, you might want to give that thing, substance, behavior, etc. up.
And, this is the difference between a shaman and a preacher.
Hope that helps.