Spiritual awakening is tied closely with the idea of shamanism. What is a shaman? Essentially, some sort of spiritual teacher or spirit guide who is able to help people experience a spiritual awakening, align closer with their soul purpose, unlock their spiritual power, or explore the "otherworld" through the use of psychedelic plants, channeling, or powerful forms of ceremony.
Shamanism is an ancient class of individuals dating back to prehistoric times. Over the centuries, shamans have taken a variety of forms. Whether they are the "witch-doctor", the "druid", the "elder", or any other variety of explanation, the shaman purpose has been the same: the spiritual development and guidance of the tribe, typically with the assistance of some form of spiritual guidance with which the shaman communicates regularly. In today's world, we see a large exodus of individuals traveling to places like the Amazon rainforest in order to experience psychedelic plants like Ayahuasca under the supervision and care of shamans. These traditions date back thousands of years and stretch backwards towards the ancient days of our species.
Spiritual awakening is tied with shamanism because both rely upon the recognition of a person's own spiritual gifts and abilities.
Spiritual growth is the realm of the shaman. This individual is able to facilitate healing, ritual, ceremony, and general advice relating a person's spiritual journey and awakening here in this world. In the same way that the smith might forge metal and into a more specific creation, the shaman is able to commune with the spiritual realm in order to alchemize a person's soul power into something more profound and aware for that specific individual.
Spiritual awakening can often be facilitated in some instances by a shaman through use of specific ritual. These ceremonies are designed in a specific method so as to help the individual experience a more profound and real connection with their spiritual body. These ceremonies are often associated with psychedelic plants but there is no requirement for that to necessarily be the case. In fact, some of the most powerful rituals are meant to be completed sober, without the use of any substance.
I recently did an interview with Ariana Ruiz about her recent experience in a "Shamanic Death Ritual". Ari is an initiated and trained Toltec shaman who has a wealth of experience and knowledge in the ancient ceremonies of this tradition. On this show, we chat about how rituals such as a death ritual can be used to aid in a person's spiritual awakening and overall spiritual growth.
Here is the interview:
I'm sharing here because I feel that the concept of a "Shamanic Death Ritual" might sound real scary to folks… However, these experiences are actually quite healing, transformative, and becoming more readily available in today's world.
Ari shared her powerful experience with a Shamanic Death Ritual. If you are looking to explore the possibility of having a similar experience, Ari recommends working with Daniel Stone at the Center of the Conscious Dream. Click here for more info.
Generally, the ritual lasts several days. On one of the first days, a person enters into a sweat lodge for a number of hours with a specific intention of wanting to release something or experience a healing. The lodge represents the womb of the divine mother. Throughout the hours of being in the sweat lodge, the heat is increased progressively. Each progression of heat is meant to take the participant into a higher level of awareness regarding their own subconscious. Each increased level of heat represents a new level of healing and release.
Over the next two days following this experience, the ritual participants have the experience of digging their own grave, being buried, and emerging to a new birth into the world.
Don't worry… Your head remains above the ground 😉
The person goes with a witness to an area in the surrounding land where they begin to dig their own grave. Over the process of hours of digging this grave, the person is encouraged to meditate on what they would like to release and how they would like to be reborn.
After the grave has been dug, the individual lies in the grave (head above ground). The witness then begins to shovel dirt onto the individual to simulate the burial experience. As the dirt is placed on the individual, the participant relives the life they have had… They are encouraged to speak to the dirt that is thrown on them to represent a conversation with the divine mother.
According to Ari, this was a powerful method of release and therapy as she released trauma and recollected her life as if this was her final day.
Once the simulated burial is complete, the individual is able to think on the nature of the life they now want to experience. Once that intention is set, the person is able to rise from their grave (with the help of the witness) and experience rebirth into the world.
Shamanic healing and experience is a profound method for a person to experience spiritual awakening. Although these sorts of "direct experience" can oftentimes lead to a person having a profound and very "real" experience of the divine, they are by no means the only method for having these experiences. In fact, some of my more incredibly and unexplainable spiritual experiences have been completely sober. It is not uncommon for a person to have trouble fitting together the pieces of a psychedelic experience whereas the sober experience can be a bit easier to actually apply, implement, and piece together into one's own life.
That being said, I have certainly had some life changing experiences on psychedelic plants. Indeed, many of the most important days of my life were brought about by the use of psychedelic substances. When I first realized I was gay, it was through the use of psychedelic mushrooms. These experiences have shaped and molded me into the person that I am today and their power and influence cannot be discounted. However, the importance of the sober experience with the divine also cannot be emphasized enough. In my opinion, a person should open their minds to the experience of all that life has to offer and rely on their own intuition and experience to navigate through the wide spectrum of spiritual awakening and development. However, a guide such as a shaman can certainly help.
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