31 October 2007

Oct 30 2007 / Bi-Spiritual

October 30, 2007

Dear Drummers,

We often hear that at this time of year the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, and that is why we speak of the spirit world and do ceremonies for the spirits at this time. This phrase is said so often that it borders on neo-pagan dogma. We hear it, we read it, we repeat it, but what does it really mean?

I’d like to offer this to you: the difference between spirituality and magic is where you locate the action. If you locate the action outside you, then this time of year becomes magical, because some inexplicable veil that science cannot detect and that keeps spirits at bay the rest of the year becomes thin for some ancient reason; the ancients probably knew why, but we don’t really. And so at this time of year the spirits may penetrate through the veil, slipping through to prowl your neighborhood asking for food, and if you don’t disguise yourself in a mask and costume to look like them they may eat you. This is a magical viewpoint.

If we locate the action inside us, then we arrive at this: during most of the year I am able to distract my attention away from the mysterious natural forces of death and dissolution, but when the whole world around me appears to die, the inner veil between me and my comforting distractions is weakened and find myself unable to distract myself from these powers that I know will one day consume me and everyone I know, and all things that will ever be. With my distractions removed, these powers seem very close indeed at this time of year. This is the spiritual viewpoint.

I have two people inside me – the 21st century Carl Jungist who adopts the inner, mythic, poetic, spiritual viewpoint because it is reasonable, yet arty. But I also have the shamanist in me who says that the world inside the human is certainly not the entirety of reality, that there is a world outside us – alive, conscious in some way that my small human consciousness cannot comprehend, powerful, beautiful, dangerous, deadly and therefore deserving of my reverence, attention, and ceremony is the way I give that.

This is why I call myself bi-spiritual. I swing both ways; between the psychological and shamanic, between the goddess and the god, between the reverent and irreverent, on and on, I blend these worlds.

For me “earth-centered” or shamanic spirituality has but one core purpose – to forge a sense of connection with this world – the visible and the invisible (to me) parts of this world, here and now. By virtue of being born into, or currently living in American culture, we are trained daily, down into our very bones, how to disconnect from this world, how to deny this world its life and breath and beauty. The wild man artist William Blake said that the main job of the prophet is to interfere. If, through our gathering together, we can interfere in the daily operations of a culture of disconnection, we are doing good work. If we can interfere with those voices implanted inside us that coax us to disconnect in myriad ways, we are doing good work.

Well, one way or another, this time of year interferes with our ordinary frame of mind. The spirits of death and dissolution come calling, singing their haunting song that reminds us that the earth waits to receive us back into itself, that the worms are gazing lovingly at our sweet bodies.

I look forward to gathering with you this Friday to do some good old fashioned interfering, some connection-forging, some boom-bada-boom-bada-ta-ka-ta-ka bi-spiritual swinging!


1 comment:

  1. Hi Jaime, I always enjoy your drum letters. I appreciate that you are able to language for me often exactly what I am experiencing in my own life on soul level. I rarely have a rebuttal to what I read, so I may not be much help here! LOL

    I do want to add tho, b/c we havent talked about it, that I do like the way the group has evolved esp. since Blessing last year, that you often take a bit more of a back seat and open space for more interaction from the participating community. I am just grateful to you for providing an opportunity for this work in the community. Blessings! fanona