Friday, October 30, 2009

New Houston Shamanism Examiner column: "Shamanism: It's not about you!"

 I have jut published another column on Houston Shamanism Examiner. This one was inspired by a post on, touting shamanism as a daily practice for everyday life. Some people will write anything for money.

No matter what the popularizers say, shamanism is not a path of personal growth. It is a path of service---to the spirit world and to this world.

Sure, you will grow spiritually, but....well, please just read the column and let me know what you think.

or if that link is too long for your browser, try this one:


White Cranes

P.S. No, it is still not about you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Animist-Shamanist Terms for Animal Spirits, Totems, Power Animals, Animal Guides

English has few spiritual terms, compared to other languages. It is hard enough to describe completely nonverbal experiences in words in such a way that others can get a sense of what you are describing.

It is impossible if you literally do not have the words for it.

So spiritual terms are precious, and we need to use the same definitions so that they do not lose their usefulness, as many formerly useful words and phrases in English already have.

Taking the time to learn and understand the few spiritual terms that we do have for the fields that you are interested in seems pretty basic to me. So it bothers me that people seldom seem to bother to do that.

In shamanic studies, the constant misuse of the word totem is particularly annoying. And the misunderstanding of the meaning of the term power animal is not far behind.

As I read or listen to (or try to participate in) conversations about shamanism, I often find that people are using the same terms to mean different things. That results in confusion for all concerned.

If people notice the problem, they can agree on terms to use, but generally they do not even seem to notice.  The result can be either arguments or superficial conversations that go nowhere.

That is not totally their fault, since there are plenty of books on the market that misuse the terms and confuse readers as to what they actually mean. That's bad, because it is difficult enough to discuss spiritual experiences in English anyway.

I have just posted a new Houston Shamanism Examiner column on totems, power animals, spirit animals, and animal guides.

I won't recap the whole article here, but please stop by and read it. (It is pretty short.) And then, if you will, please leave a comment.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Learning to Experience Land Spirits

Learning to experience the land spirits wherever you happen to be is sort of basic to shamanism. I wrote a Houston Shamanism Examiner column in August explaining why it is important.

This week someone asked me to explain more about how to learn to experience land spirits, so I have. You will find it at

In case you have problems with that one, here is a shorter link:

I hope you will stop by, read it, and leave a comment. Or just stop by and say Hi.