Where Does It Come From, How Does It Work?

"I do not deny that White Light Shields are protective. I simply maintain that Shamans channel what I call heavy voltage. Ordinary people may not have the power to draw upon sufficient 'voltage' to produce the desired effect."


the Wanderling


In the fall of 1991, in the remote part of an ancient mountain range, high above the tree line, a group of modern day hikers stumbled across the body of a man frozen to death in the snow, fully dressed in clothes of a tribal nature, his body nearly intact and almost perfectly preserved. Incredibly, tests showed the man had been frozen 5000 years years before, sometime between 3350-3140 BC. After a rather intensive investigation over a period of years by a team of scientific experts from a variety of fields, it was concluded that the man appeared to have been a Shaman, presumably dying of exposure when caught out in the open during a mystical retreat on the side of the treacherous mountain.

Several associated facts presented themselves for such speculation. Like many shamans from many cultures the body was tattooed; his weapons, consisting of a roughly-hewn bow made of yew, several unfinished arrows, and an all wood dagger, resembled dummy weapons associated with shamans in other cultures; he carried a medicine bag containing, among other things, a leather thong on which was threaded two pieces of a common birch fungus Piptoporus betulinus which contains polyporic acid C, an effective antibody, especially against stomach microbacteria, which would indicate, if not a specific knowledge of herbs and natural ingredients, at least a general acceptance of their use. A similar fungus, also closely associated with the birch, Amanita muscaria, is not only hallucinogenic but has been used by various shamans cultures as an aid to ecstasy before the dawn of history. It is possible that, if not authentically hallucinogenic, the ones the frozen iceman carried, could at least have been believed to be so; he also carried with him, and unusually so, a copper-headed axe. A very rare object for the time, and because it was metal, for the most part quite valuable in those days, marking him as an individual of high status. Last, an item not discussed at any length in the numerous reports on the frozen man was a net he carried, an object not typically found in hunting as much as used to trap spirits and seen in various forms as a dream catcher and such. Taken together, the fact that he carried only what HE needed and not a variety for wider shamanistic use, again underscores his mountain sojourn as having a more "mystical retreat" aspect to it.

And finally, while it is true the frozen man's location was somewhat close to ancient trade routes and trails which ran through passes nearby, he was NOT actually on one. Aerial photographs of the area show that the site he was found is not in easily accessible terrain, thus it is thought unreasonable he simply strayed there from one of the passes. The body was well above known trails, high in the mountains above the 10,400 foot level, and alone it seems, suggesting the possibility that he had traveled there to be closer to the gods.

The problem most people had with the situation was not that the man might have been a Shaman, because a preponderance of the evidence seemed to implicate nothing other than that, but where he was found. Not in the tundra of Siberia or the ancient ice path of the Rocky Mountains in North America, but the Oetzaler Alps between Austria and Italy, a location that eventually became modern day Europe, an area NEVER thought of in the present era for any sort of a background in things Shaman or even of tribal people. Yet there he was, a 5000 year old frozen Shaman right in the heart of Europe.[1]


Shamanism is truly an ancient cross cultural world-wide phenomenon, albeit sometimes lost to those of the modern era in the murky reaches of time, as the above story on the Iceman might attest. For many of us though, there remains a thread, however slight or however tenuous, whether it is linked to Early European Tribes, Native American Tribes, African Tribes, or elsewhere, that ties us to that past. As things have unfolded in my life the viability of that thread has been made clear, not just by me on my own, but by those who have never lost touch with their specific cultures or beliefs. In my adult years my practicing backround in things Shaman is primarily based on Obeah, the Shamanistic beliefs found in some of the countries in and around the Caribbean. However, in earlier years, as a very young boy, I traveled, as will be mentioned below, somewhat intensively with my Uncle in similar "circles" throughout various indigenious cultures of the desert southwest. It is admitted I am unable to speak specifically to or of Shamanistic beliefs of ALL Shaman related cultures. I can however, because of my background of having been apprenticed to a Jamaican man of spells called an Obeahman for many years, speak of where the power of the Shaman he exhibited, and from which I learned, is drawn. From that same experience I can speak as well of the results of what happens when that "power" is used, misused, or implemented, and where I learned, regardless of what culture a Shaman resides, the "power" of the Shaman "comes from."

For the most part and for those most truly involved, in the end Shamanism is a calling. How does one know if they have a "calling?" It is not so much YOU that determines such a thing, but the "selection out" that occurs from or by another Shaman that senses an innate ability that is somehow radiated or felt. You yourself may not even know per se' although your whole life you may have had "this feeling." It just needs to be focused and that is what another Shaman can do. That is what happened in my case and to countless others like me throughout the centuries.[2]

ANIMAL TOTEMS: Your Selection or Their Selection?

My Father's brother, my Uncle, spent nearly sixty of his eighty-four years in the desert southwest, having moved to the Taos, Santa Fe, New Mexico area sometime in his twentys. I was quite young when my mother died and when my Father remarried my new mother, or Stepmother as the case may be, brought my Uncle in to "oversee" me. My Uncle had been married at one time as well, but, although he maintained a loosly related association with his wife, he was for all practical purposes, divorced. The woman he was separated from was a Native American of the Little Shell Plains Ojibwe and a fourth level Midewiwin, a secret Ojibwe Medicine Society. She was a very powerful curandera that I had met only in passing, and initally, for the most part, she never payed much attention to me one way or the other, although I sensed something very extraordinary or "different" about her. She reminded me of a lightning or thunderstorm raging in the distant mountains. You only felt safe because you weren't there, although you knew if you were, the storm had the power to wash you away or destroy you by the might of it all.

One day, when I was around ten years old or so, I went for a hike deep into the desert unescorted. When my Uncle discovered I was gone he went looking for me. During my walk I happened across the carcass of a dead rabbit and was fascinated by it for some reason. When my Uncle found me after cresting a small hill he saw me squatted down with the carcass. Joining me quite comfortably in a circle with the rabbit were three what were, because of this incident, to eventually become my Totem Animal --- VULTURES. From what he was able to discern from his initial vantage point I was neither afraid of them nor were they remotely afraid of me. As well, and he swore this to be true --- although I have absolutely no recollection of it and construe it as a possible total misinterpretation of facts --- that the vultures and I were sharing meat from the carcass between us.

When my Uncle told his estranged wife about the incident she suddenly was very interested in me. You see, for some reason, in today's neo-Shaman environment there has been a stress placed on finding one's "power animal." The contemporary neo-Shaman workshops blind people to the fact that real animals are also spirit and power, and every bit as important, or even more so, than than a spirit guide that appears in some vision. The medicine woman knew that.

Where there is carrion lying on the ground, meat-eating birds circle and descend. Life and Death, seemingly two, become one. The living attack the dead, to their own profit. The dead lose nothing by it. They gain as well, by being disposed of. Or they seem to, IF you must think in terms of gain and loss.

--Adapted from "Zen and the Birds of Appetite"

During those years my Uncle spent a lot of time traveling in and about some very isolated sections of the desert and interacting with the indigenous populations thereof because of various, as he called them, "art" related ties he had with them. During many of those travels I went along. It was on one of those trips, at the suggestion of his wife, as a very young boy, I was introduced to things Shaman:

We were on one of our excursions deep into a remote part of the southern New Mexico desert to visit a very strange man my Uncle was somehow associated with. After arrival the two sat together in the shade outside the man's shack and talked for a good part of the day while I either played with the dogs or sat in the cab of the truck fiddling with the radio.

Just as we were leaving the man came up to me and handed me a huge long black with white feather, the biggest, longest feather I had ever seen.

It was nearly as wide as the span of my hand and it's length was as long as I, a ten year old boy, was tall. Tied to the quill shaft, which was much, much bigger around than any piece of schoolroom chalk, was a small, double strand of leather string with ten colored beads attached, one for each of my years he said.

He told me the feather once belonged to a very magnificent bird that was very important to his culture and the desert's well being, but now it belonged to me.

Soon my Uncle and I were on the long dusty road back, and, as kids are wont to do on occasion, I was leaning out the window, flowing the feather in the wind as we sped along. Suddenly the feather was whipped out of my hand and I watched it as it blew high into the sky, caught first in the turbulance from the truck, then by the desert breeze itself, only to disappear from sight altogether. True, it was only a feather, but for some reason it's loss affected me in a deep, sad sort of way.

The next morning my Uncle and I got up and went out to the truck to do a few errands. Laying alone in middle of the pick-up bed near the back of the cab in a very fine smooth layer of dust was a long black with white feather, with a small, double strand leather string with ten colored beads tied to it's quill. Left in the dust also, were what appeared to be several very large, clear footprints of a huge bird along with scratches and talon marks on the tailgate as though, if even for a short time, a giant avian had roosted or landed there. (see)

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What is trying to made apparent in the above is that I did not select the feather. It was given to me after I had been selected out. The feather was a very rare and important symbol, a giant feather as long as I was tall, of which I immediately lost. However, and this is the point I wish to make clear, I saw the feather fly high into the sky to be gone I thought, forever to the desert winds, only to somehow, mystically, reappear overnight placed carefully in the back of the pickup truck where it would be sure to be found by either myself or my Uncle the next morning. If you follow the links regarding my Uncle and the Obeah you will see later both the original feather and a present day heir to that feather, my Totem Animal, played very important roles in my experiences of things Shaman. [3]

A couple of quick comments regarding the giant feather, estimated to have been nearly as large as a wing feather from the twenty-five foot wingspan Teratorn type bird Argentavis Magnificens, with a feather length of 1.5 meters (60 inches...that is, FIVE FEET) and a width of 20 centimeters (8 inches). When the feather was first given to me, even though it was of a huge size, I, as a young ten-year old boy with a vivid imagination, did not fully grasp the ramifications of it all. For me at the time, it did not seem impossible that a bird could not be of any size, so a feather as long as I was tall did not seem at all that improbable. It was only into high school and beyond that it came to me that I had been in the presence of something truly remarkable. I never saw the bird the feather came from, nor have I ever seen a second or other feathers of such large size, but for a bird to have required such an enormous feather in the first place, it would have to had been truly a giant creature. For the Shaman to have imparted something so rare, meaningful, and valuable to me, a mere ten year old boy with then no history or background, speaks volumes. To learn the fate of the feather, that is, what happened to it, please visit Meditation Along Meteor Crater Rim. See also the home of the ancient ones of the desert southwest, Pendejo Cave, and tales of the sacred Native American site The Sun Dagger.

For those who would question the validity of the existance of a feather of such size in the first place, as stated in the closing sentence of the Legend of the Giant Bird:

The loss of the Buffalo would have a devastating effect on the migratory habits of birds of such size. Not everybody makes the connection, but it is pretty simple stuff, without the herds, migration became very difficult and many of the young birds as well as some of the adults died on their way south. We are talking twenty-five foot wingspan Teratorn type birds, animals so huge they couldn't hunt in woodlands or heavy foilage. They needed large open area suchs as the Great Plains or the Argentine Pampas to navigate and hunt.[4]

In any case, by the time I was old enough for high school my Father had divorced and remarried and my Uncle had long ago gone back to the Taos, Santa Fe, New Mexico desert he loved. It was during those high school years I met a person that had studied under a venerated Maharshi in India, and he, like his teacher before him, was Enlightened. It was he who introduced me to things Zen. Years later I was to travel to and live in Jamaica where through a series of events I met a Shaman man of spells called an Obeah. It was under the auspices of the relationship between the Obeah and myself, after he looked deeply into my eyes and saw that the Shadow of Death had brushed across my soul, that I truly learned of Shamanistic "power," what that power could do and where that power "came from."

The Wanderling's Journey
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THE SHAMAN'S POWER: From Whence Does It Come?

"An Ally is a power a man can bring into his life to help him, advise him, and give him the strength necessary to perform acts, whether big or small, right or wrong. This ally is necessary to enhance a man's life, guide his acts, and further his knowledge. In fact, an ally is the indispensable aid to knowing."

Carlos Castaneda, "THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN: A Yaqui Way to Knowledge."

"I do not deny that White Light Shields are protective. I simply maintain that Shamans channel what I call heavy voltage. Ordinary people may NOT have the power to draw upon sufficient "voltage" to produce the desired effect."

Gloria Feman Orenstein, "Toward an Ecofeminist Ethic of Shamanism and the Sacred."

Again, continuing to refer to White Light Shields Orenstein writes, only this time in The Woman Shaman and Shamanism:

"Moreover, it is to trivialize the spirit world, to demean and negate its authenticity, to think that if you concentrate on manifesting a White Light Shield, that what you get will be beneficent. This is so naive as to be sheer folly. You must have enough power to call upon enough White Light to protect you."

Gloria Feman Orenstein, "The Woman Shaman and Shamanism."


Carlos Castaneda apprenticed under a Yaqui Indian Shaman named Don Juan Matus that Castandeda refers to interchangeably as a sorcerer and man of knowledge. In lineage his teacher's teacher was a Shaman-sorcerer known as a Diablero, an occult spell-master with evil powers said to have the ability to shape shift. There is some controversy if Don Juan Matus was a real person or a composite of several different people, but one or several, most agree Castaneda's observations regarding Shamans and Shamanism still remain valid. In his works Castaneda writes that a sorcerer's power, that is, a Shaman's power, is "unimaginable." He goes on to say in a copyrighted interview in Time Magazine (March 5, 1973):

"The full use of power can only be acquired with the help of an 'ally,' a spirit entity which attaches itself to the student as a guide. The ally challenges the apprentice when he learns to 'see,' as Castaneda did in the earlier books. The apprentice may duck this battle. For if he wrestles with the ally - like Jacob with the Angel - and loses, he will, in Don Juan's slightly enigmatic terms, 'be snuffed out.' But if he wins, his reward is 'true power the final acquisition of sorcery membership, when all interpretation ceases.'"

However, Castaneda had written previously in his first book THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN: A Yaqui Way Of Knowledge (1968):

The idea that a man of knowledge has an ally is the most important of the seven component themes, for it is the only one that is indispensable to explaining what a man of knowledge is. In my classificatory scheme a man of knowledge has an ally, whereas the average man does not, and having an ally is what makes him different from ordinary men.

An ally is A POWER capable of transporting a man beyond the boundaries of himself; that is to say, an ally is a power which allows one to transcend the realm of ordinary reality. Consequently, TO HAVE AN ALLY IMPLIES HAVING POWER; and the fact that a man of knowledge has an ally is by itself proof that the operational goal of the teaching is being fulfilled.

In reality, the "full use of power can only be acquired with the help of an 'ally'", that Castaneda speaks of, like the use of medicinal plants, drugs, or herbs (Aushadhis) --- which he used intially, but denied the necessary use of later --- is a second level of use between the Shaman and the actual power source, the same source the "ally" would draw upon for power. The key here is, in relation to the 1973 interview, and what most people miss when they start discussing an "ally" is "a spirit entity which attaches itself to the student." A STUDENT, not a full fledged Sorcerer or Shaman. While what Castaneda is trying to impart from his first book rings true "... a man of knowledge has an ally, whereas the average man does not, and having an ally is what makes him different from ordinary men," the "having an ally" should really read "having power." People think that an ally is an entity of some sort, when in reality it is an euphemism --- a euphemism for the POWER of THE POWER OF THE SHAMAN. Castaneda actually says so when he presents in his first book that "An ally is a power" and "...to have an ally IMPLIES having power." However, and this is the clinker, either you have it or you don't, it is NOT implied or garnered from another. The true Power of the Shaman is not divisible, the power and the Shaman are ONE. It is not held and shared with or by an ally then metered out in some fashion.

However, ally or no, Sorcerers and Shamans using powers to call up answers, predict the future, facilitate or induce spells, or garner assist or knowledge from planes other than the conventional were thought to have a spiritual servant, a "familiar spirit," in obeisance from other realms. The word "familiar" is from the Latin familiaris, meaning a "household servant," and was intended to express the idea that Sorcerers and Shamans had spirits as their servants, ready to obey their commands. Having a "familiar" as a servant is a far cry from a ally as outlined above. Just the same, the punchline is Sorcerers and Shamans "were thought to have familiars." That doesn't mean they HAVE one, only thought to have one. Basically what you have here is a word-based description shaped around the phenomenon. It is a verbal explanation by the layperson to make sense of how any unexplained form of the Power of the Shaman manifests itself. (see)

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In the essay Star Wars, Castaneda, and the Force, discussing the Shaman and any potential allies they may or may not have, meet, or battle, the author writes:

"Tests and trials are commonplace in the quest for knowledge: a pre-requisite in fact. One such trial occurs when the aspirant sorcerer (shaman) has accumulated enough personal power to meet the entity referred to as the ally. This encounter cannot be avoided - it is a mandatory, transitional event. Allies are essentially shapeless and featureless forms - all differing and quite terrifying. The aspirant must confront the ally, grab onto and overcome it."

Star Wars, Castaneda, and the Force

Any of you that are familiar with the massive trials and tribulations faced by the Buddha as he reached toward Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree battling the three Daughters of Mara and a host of other demons will recognize the same elements in the statement above. Once defeated, as done so by the Buddha, they no longer are, although the power remains, albeit as it were, inherited.

Jose Maria Poveda in his rather extensive book on shamanism, citing another, offers in his very first chapter something similar to the following:

"Don't allow yourself to be directed by an identity that calls itself your guide. Why? Because invoking infinity is much larger, much more satisfying, more valid for the experience of the soul than being directed by an external entity."

"Because invoking INFINITY is much larger, much more satisfying, more valid for the experience of the soul than being directed by an external entity." By 1998 and Castaneda's last book allies are beginning to take a back seat and he goes on to write in The Active Side of Infinty speaking of INFINITY and the importance of INFINITY:

Infinity is everything that surrounds us: the spirit, the dark sea of awareness. It is something that exists out there and rules our lives.

My steps and yours are guided by infinity. The circumstances that seem to be ruled by chance are in essence ruled by the active side of infinity: intent. What put you and me together was the intent of infinity. It is impossible to determine what this intent of infinity is, yet it is there, as palpable as you and I are.

Of course the infinity of which Castaneda speaks is synonymous with the "emptiness" refered to in ancient texts as Sunyata, and it is not just "out there" as Castaneda implies. Sunyata is the WHOLE, encompassing, encompassed and THE encompassing.

The majority of the people reading this will probably be familiar with the meaning of the word limousine. A limousine is usually considered something like a large luxurious automobile usually driven by a chauffeur. The word limousine is a french word and there is really no english equivalent. That is, if you call it anything else, a town car or whatever, it is either a limousine or it isn't. In the same sense, for those of us who speak english there is no single, specific word that encompasses the full the meaning of the power of the Shaman. There is a Japanese word, like many words that have come to us through other cultures such as patio, tomato, karma, carburetor, and kayak, which have no other real specific english equivalent, that has become assimulated into our language. The word of which I speak is Joriki. Joriki roughly translates into: the power or strength which arises when the mind has been unified and brought to one-pointedness. This is more than the ability to concentrate in the usual sense of the word. It is a dynamic power which, once mobilized, enables us even in the most sudden and unexpected situations to act instantly, without pausing to collect our wits, and in a manner wholly appropriate to the circumstances. One who has developed Joriki is no longer a slave to his passions, neither is he at the mercy of his environment. Always in command of both himself and the circumstances of his life, he is able to move with perfect freedom and equanimity. The cultivation of certain supranormal powers is also made possible by Joriki, as is the state in which the mind becomes like clear, still water.

There is another word, Siddhis, from the truly ancient, ancient language Sanskrit that hasn't fallen into the everyday lexicon that carries with it a similar meaning. There are differences, however. If you have ever focused the sun to a pinpoint on your skin using a magnifying glass and felt how quickly and powerful the burning sensation is, that is more like Joriki. Siddhi is more like the power of ocean waves. You may be able to stand against a mild wave or two, but even giant mountains are eventually turned to nothing but sand or even less by their power. In the end the Power of the Shaman is akin to a longer reach or extension of the Shaman, focused through his own abilities or level of expertise. That level of expertise can vary from being very minuscule and tiny to beyond scope --- with the results depending on the abilities, will, and intent of the individual. Jeffery Ellis, a Buddhist-Shaman of some reknown and co-founder of The Toltec Mystery School in Boulder, Colorado, writes in his book DreamingAwake:

"Power is one of the first barriers the warrior (Shaman) must pass in becoming a Man of Knowledge. Power is intoxicating. Magic and Siddhi create a drunkenness that is very tricky to sidestep. What you wish for comes true, like Aladdin and the Genie."


There is an axiom that goes:

This being present, that arises; without this, that does not occur.

Which is elaborated on from very ancient texts:

Acts do not perish, even after hundreds and thousands of years. On meeting the right combination of conditions and time, they bear fruit.

Vasubandhu the great Indian Abhidharma master wrote:

Material and mental elements uniterruptedly succeed one another in a series, a procession that has action as originating cause

He continues to write, and this is the punchline:

The successive moments of this procession are different; therefore there is an evolution or transformation of the series.

The successive moments are different, that is they are not the same. If they were the same they would not be different. On a fine grain level the differences are practically imperceptible. On a coarse grain level the differences manifest themselves more readily. Take those differences and place them into their operating field of conditions and the evolution or transformation compounds itself. Conditions? The word conditions is an english word used in context from the Sutras for the Sanskrit word Pratyaya which means (roughly): "the pre-existing conditions that allow primary causes to function." Which basically means if the conditions are absent, then the causes are prevented. Conditions are the milieu, stage set, or playing field where acts or impulses unfold. They can be increased by other conditions, decreased by other conditions, or replaced by other conditions to accelerate or postpone results in the stream of events. Which means that conditions can, but not necessarily DO modify. They arise primarily on a broader scale from causes in the distant past. When conditions do manifest themselves they are for the most part not defined, that is, they are undefined or spent, meaning they cannot create or impact figuratively further downstream responses. However, even though they are spent, they are still extremely powerful in how they impose themselves on the immediate circumstances in which they are operating. To wit:

Any shift in any fashion in the conditions up or down or across the stream relative to the cause will impact the resultant outcome of that cause.

It is IN those areas of conditions that the Shaman operates, where small yet powerful well aimed Shaman directed impluses ever so slightly nudge the conditions which inturn modify the outcome.

Sometimes the flow from the past is so strong that little can be done except to stand fast, but there are also times when the flow CAN be diverted in almost any direction. (source)

And that is true, sometimes the flow IS strong or stronger relative to the Shaman, but that is where the knowledge of the Shaman comes in. Often they must bide their time and wait, other times their abilities and power can overcome the "flow." Remember, from the quote above:

ANY shift (that is ANY shift no matter how large, small, or imperceptable), in any fashion in the conditions up or down or across the stream relative to the cause will impact the resultant outcome of that cause.

It should be noted that on the scientifc side of things, no matter how complex any system may be or appear to be AND, even though it may not be able to be determined or known, they rely upon an underlying order. To that extent very simple or small systems and events can cause very complex behaviors or events. This latter idea is known as Sensitive Dependence On Initial Conditions, a circumstance discovered in the early 1960s by Edward Lorenz the scientist usually credited with the discovery of the Butterfly Effect --- making reference to the fact that small, almost imperceptible happenstances or events, over time, can have huge and momentous consequences.

Shamans and others of the same propensities or ilk develop the abilities needed to use the key that allows them to interact with conditions, thus allowing a change that would otherwise NOT transpire or occur in the normal flow of events if they had not interceded. However, Karma-wise, the resultant outflow from that or any change does not fall on the back of the Shaman IF he is acting in the stead of another person. It is as though the Shaman does not exist and is in effect merely an extension or limb of the person perpetrating the change. The person wanting the change or perpetrating the change catches all the resultant outcomes from that change. See: Good and Evil In Zen Enlightenment and attendant links.

Some people would argue quite stringently that Buddhism and Shamanism are for the most part nowhere related and to draw an anology would be creating a thin line. However, the coincidence of characteristics and striking similarities between Buddhist adepts and ShamansShamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy. For example, the abilities of the Arhat relating to the sixfold knowledge of the worthy ones that includes not only the ability similar to the Cloud Shaman to appear and disappear at will, but also the oft cited case in Buddhism and Zen by the Venerable Pindola Bharadvaja where the venerable Arhat was adomished by the Buddha for flying and performing miraculous acts infront of the faithful.

Somewhat interesting is the fact that the word shaman, used internationally, has its origin in manch-tangu and has reached the ethnologic vocabulary through Russian. The word originated from saman (xaman), derived from the verb scha-, "to know", so shaman means someone who knows, is wise, a sage. Further ethnologic investigations shows that the true origin for the word Shaman can be tracked from the Sanskrit initially, then through Chinese-Buddhist mediation to the manch-tangu, indicating a much deeper but now overlooked connection between early Buddhism and Shamanism generally. In Pali it is schamana, in Sanskrit Sramana translated to something like "buddhist monk, ascetic". The intermediate Chinese term is scha-men. (source)

A few years out of high school and traveling in Mexico with a high school friend of mine we had made our way south through almost the whole county when we decided to turn east toward the Yucatan to see the ancient Maya temple ruin complex of Chichen Itza. In the process of our travels we went to Oxkintok, one of, at least in those days and may even be so today, most unheard of and seldom visited Mayan ruins. Having done so, unbeknownst to either of us we crossed over the then unknown and yet to be discovered asteroid-caused 65 million year old 112 mile diameter outer rim of the Chicxulub crater, given credit now for the total extinction and demise of the dinosaurs.

On the first night inside the boundary of the impact's dry land portions outer ring onto what would be the crater floor, I had for some reason, become so uneasy and uncomfortable I wasn't able to sleep. We were planning to go to the Maya ruins of Dzibilchaltun, famous now for the Temple of the Seven Dolls and it's importance to the equinox, none of which either my buddy or I knew about at the time, the next day. Thinking I would be up most of the night I unpacked my telescope and set it up primarily to look at the Andromeda galaxy, spending most of my time trying to stay with the spiral's relative movement caused by the Earth's rotation without jiggling the scope so much I couldn't see it. Concentrating all my efforts on doing so, especially after installing a Barlow lens that doubled the scope's power, I completely lost track of time and place. Suddenly a chilling breeze or what was not quite a full wind caused from afar came up out of nowhere snapping me back to reality. Standing up to straighten my back and get the crick out of my neck as well as relax my eyes for a second, just as suddenly right in front of me and just as much out of nowhere as though she had been swept in by the sudden burst of wind, was an old woman. Short in stature with straight, pulled-back, nearly pure white hair and appearing to be of Maya extraction, she carried a gunnysack-like shoulder bag slung across her chest and back and under her arm filled with sticks as though she had been out collecting kindling wood or something. We just stood there looking at each other for what seemed the longest time.

Although what happened next between me, an unworldly just 20 year old boy-man not long out of high school and a little old Maya woman wielding unknown spiritual powers, ended in startling results --- only to repeat themselves again, albeit even harsher in my adult years. See:



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The Case Against "Shamans" In the
North American Indigenous Cultures


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Footnote [1]


[1] NOTE: Research for the opening paragraph regarding the Iceman frozen in the Alps was obtained from a number of sources, but especially so the very fine Shaman-related article by Alby Stone published through At The Edge. Also used as research were various articles from ABOUT.COM. The portion of the paper above with the sub-title THE POWER, with minor editing, has been taken whole or in part from:


For the Wanderling's visit to the where the Iceman is exhibited with all his clothing and equipment at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Italy, as well as his memorial high in the Alps, please see Footnote [3] of THE MAYA SHAMAN AND CHICXULUB

Footnote [2]

To show you how things work, from the very start as a very young boy I was somehow NOT being allowed --- by who or what is not known --- to veer very far away from a given set of criteria that unknowingly began to set the stage for later things to come. In the process, a reservoir of information began to build little-by-little ensuring a repertoire of understanding would innately exist in a background state to quietly draw upon. Long before I ever heard of an Obeahman, a Diablero or a Curandero or any other such entity real or imagined, corporeal or ethereal, embodied or disembodied or such things as the Buddha's Eightfold Noble Path I was running into such things as the Cowboy Code of the West and the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man as found in the Captain Marvel origin stories.


For another take on where, when or how it would be possible that a genuine DNA-based born-and-bred from an egg of a giant bird in the lineage of a Teratorn feather could come to light in our present day world, I offer the following from Adrienne Mayor's 2005 book FOSSIL LEGENDS OF THE FIRST AMERICANS (Princeton University Press) that refers specifically to feather so discussed by me on this page:

"According to Pleistocene bird specialist Tommy Tyrberg, a Teratornis fossil preserved in a dry desert cave could have cartilage and feathers. 'Even a wing of Gymnogyps (californianus) amplus, the large Pleistocene subspecies of the California condor, could be described as having man-sized bones. Remains of this bird have been found in at least six New Mexico caves.' Several very well-preserved Teratornis merriami remains have also been discovered in Dry Cave, Eddy County, and other caves in southern New Mexico, and teratorn skeletons have turned up in southern California, Nevada, Oregon, and Florida. A Native American fossil story that circulated on the Internet in 2002 claimed that a black-and-white feather, nearly sixty inches long with a quill the diameter of a stick of blackboard chalk, was made into an amulet by an old shaman in southern New Mexico. Whether or not that story is true, a feather of that size could be plucked from the remains of a mummified teratorn in a dry cave."