Monday, February 25, 2008

Question of the Week - Mini Questions

This week, we have two mini-questions:

1. What does “S/F” mean?

2. What is a shaman?

1. “S/F” is short for Semper Fidelis. Semper Fidelis or Semper Fi is the motto of the United States Marine Corps. It means Always Faithful. Its an esprit-de-corps term, meant to foster camaraderie and unity. Most branches of the U.S. Military have their own motto as well: U.S. Coast Guard – Semper Paratus (Always Ready), U.S. Air Force – Uno Ab Alto (One over All), U.S. Army – This we’ll Defend, and the U.S. Navy – Pass the Cheeseburgers! Just Kidding. The Navy motto is Non sibi sed Patriae (Not self but country).

2. A shaman is an indigenous healer, who uses a combination of herbs and plants, physical and non-physical means to heal.

Shamanism is characterized by Altered States of Consciousness and journeys into Non-Ordinary or Non-Linear Reality. Once we’ve established the basic framework, similarities between cultures and peoples fall away.

Most of what you read or hear about shamanism is probably not accurate. Shamanic practitioners are usually indigenous, have traditions that have been passed down hundreds of years, and many have gone through near-death experiences as children that have given them advanced psychic abilities. In other words, you can't just sign up for a course, take a weekend class, and Presto! you’re a shaman. That’s not quite how it works. These are healing traditions that have been passed down generation after generation, from grandmother to first born, in Native societies. There is no such thing as an International Maya Elder born in Illinois, just like there’s no such thing as Bigfoot. The creature just doesn’t exist.

I consider most of my work to be anthropological research, with some archaeology thrown in for good measure. I may have vivid dreams, and I ask questions, but I don’t consider myself a shaman.

Semper Fidelis,
(Amma Spirit Photo I took in 2006, note her Aura)

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