Can humans bend the barriers between space and time to enter the realms of the spirit world? Do we have the ability to control the weather, divination, the interpretation of dreams, astral projection, and traveling to upper and lower worlds?
Shamans have been noted to do much more than that. They have the ability to diagnose and cure human suffering and, in some societies, the ability to cause suffering, like the tantrics in Indiawho are known to curse people and perform black magic in return for money.
All this is believed to be accomplished by traversing the axis mundi and forming a special relationship with, or gaining control over, spirits. What exactly is the Axis Mundi?
The Axis Mundi:
The Axis Mundi or the World Tree has its roots reaching down into the lower domains of ghosts and spirits, and branches stretching up towards god. It is an ubiquitous symbol that crosses human cultures, it expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet.
At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms, communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones and be disseminated to all.
Shamanism refers to a range of traditional beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spirit world. Practitioners of shamanism are known as Shamans, they engage in various processes and techniques to incite a state of trance, such as singing, dancing, taking entheogens, meditating and drumming.
Once this state of consciousness is reached it allows a person to traverse different realms and dimensions. Shamanism has been prevalent since ancient times, although Christianity has been one of the main reasons that Shamanism went on a decline, with the Shamans accused as Devil worshipers and witchdoctors. Most of them were killed, religious practices were outlawed and temples were destroyed.
I have picked up an excerpt from Daniel Pinchbeck’s Breaking Open the Head, which speaks about his Shamanic experiences.
“While researching, I visited shamans in West Africa, Mexico, and the Ecuadorean Amazon – not to mention the fabulous neo-shamanic Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.
In Gabon, a small country on the Equator, I went through a Bwiti initiation, eating Iboga, a psychedelic root bark inducing a trance that lasts for thirty hours. The bark powder temporarily releases the soul from the body, allowing the initiate entry into the African spiritual cosmos, where he is shown the outline of his fate.
Through direct experience, Pinchbeck learned that Shamanism was a real phenomenon, that direct access to the spiritual world is available to anybody who is willing to explore for themselves and escape the prevailing orthodoxies, the “irrational rationality” of the current system. He supports the perspective of Christ in the Gnostic “Gospel of Thomas,” who said: “Open the door for yourself, so you will know what is.”