Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shamanic Happenings

Wisp, Karen Cleveland

Wisp is a forest that requests a reconsideration of the human relationship to nature and… threads the supernatural through the everyday.
Karen Cleveland

Last night I went to see my friend, Karen’s, exhibition for her MFA. It astounded me. She had created a forest that she then invited you to enter. You could hear the wind, as well as tree frogs. Within a stump you discovered a gently throbbing light. You bumped onto branches and webs of lace. You stood before a tree, the bark bursting into a dozen pieces, even as it defined an internal space of emptiness. It was stitched together with threads of gold and red and buffalo gut.

But what moved me most was the painting of Leaf Gather.
Here was the benevolent cousin to a beast I had met just the previous night.
I had pulled him out of Evie as we did “energetic bodywork.”
He was a seven foot tall roaring, red-eyed, fanged embodiment of her disease: a tangle of grief and fear and rage, as well as chemicals and cancer.
I hadn’t expected to pull him out. But there he was.
I was stunned to then see his sweet cousin in Karen’s painting.
But, there he was.
Leaf Gather, Karen Cleveland
No one told me when I started my Taoist practice that it was actually shamanic.
They only spoke of energy.
Well, surprise. Energy can take on consciousness and form.
Think of humans. Think of devas. Think of the internal beasts that haunt us.

For awhile, back in the 70’s after I had my first shift in consciousness, I could see what I called angels. There was a “devotion angel” floating near the ceiling of the cathedral I attended. There was a “birth angel” cradling my sister-in-law as she gave birth to Evie’s brother.

At the time, I had no conceptual framework for such perceptions and thus adopted what I read in the Findhorn Garden:

By the springtime of our second year at Findhorn, the Landscape Angel told us that our garden was becoming more unitied and whole, and that as this took place, an angelic being, a sort of guardian angel for our area, was forming.
I believe that any unit, whether it be a farm or a community, a couple or a nation, has an overlighting presence that in some way embodies the various levels of energy used within that unit.
The Angel of Findhorn is a composite being, “born” from the substance of our thoughts and ideals, the radiations of the land, and the energies of the higher selves of not only humans working on the land but of all the animals and plants there…
Dorothy Maclean, The Findhorn Garden

This compositeness is shown so well in Karen’s image.
And just as angels can be born, so can beasts.
These dark cousins can arise from the energy of our thoughts and fears of disease, the drugs used to combat and kill, and the energy of cells that run amok.

Now, a strict non-dual stance might argue, “All that is vacuous and empty. See that!”
But, practically and usually, what we first notice is the physical.
And if we’re lucky, we can see a bit more subtly into the level of energy.
So lets start there.

And guess what? It all works out.
After I pulled the beast from Eve, it was really obvious that he/it then filled my body.
I stood and took a bow, asking of my Teacher, Wong Loh Sin See, “Please Teacher help this to leave my body.”
Spontaneously, I started whirling qigong style, roaring with the beast’s roar. And after a minute or so I noticed that the beast had broken into packets, leaves, of energy.
That’s when the words of Scott Kiloby came to mind.
And the rest was just like this:

What’s happening in the body? …
Let the pure raw emotion just fill your body, just fill the space of awareness.
Let it just absolutely overwhelm you, the feeling itself without any label on it so it’s not fear overwhelming you.
It’s the pure energy, the vibration filling up the air, filling up the space of the body. And there’s no desire for it to go away. We’re not even witnessing it…without any label… the emotion has nowhere to go but to simply dissipate or change itself into awareness.
Kilobit, Painful Emotions ~ minutes 3:45 – 7:30 (scroll down page)

Curiously, and of course, this sounds to me simply the reverse of the process of creation that Dorothy Maclean explained.


Anonymous said...


Pat Bralley said...

thank you.