Famous Shamans I have known and loved.

What needs do mythology and religion serve in today's world and in ancient times? Here we discuss the relationship between mythology, religion and science from mythological, religious and philosophical viewpoints.

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Stone_Giant
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Famous Shamans I have known and loved.

Post by Stone_Giant » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:02 pm

Hey Campbellians.
After a long absence from JCF, I've now got my cyber-mojo back and I'm ready to do some virtual crowd surfing again. What I would like to kick off with is a discussion about Shamanism in the media age. Specifically, those artists and speakers in the public eye who have caught the public imagination, changed opinion, started positive movements or have re-birthed the old truths in a new form.

My inspiration for this first post is a great bio of Jimi Hendrix found here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwMP3puxsi0

Jimi's playing, and more obscurely his beliefs, testify to his potent Shamanistic status IMHO. His synthesis of musical forms and playing style, taking the incidental sounds of guitar playing such as feedback, distortion, sustain, etc and bringing them to the forefront of generic guitar playing's available emotional palette was the most powerful spell in his Shaman's toolkit. For myself, as a restless, fellow, would- be-Heroic-traveller, his sounds, songs, expressive tonality and outreaching musical language were revelatory . Bringing moments of aesthetic arrest and mind rushing excitement in equal measure; it gave me a vaulting release from mundanity and oppressive existential angst; and it continues to sustain and inspire me, even until the present day.

Jimi had a hugely dysfunctional childhood, which must surely have fuelled his Shamanic soul-searching path. Going beyond ordinary mental experience in this way truly earned him his spurs, and gave him the rightful powers to lead those who would listen on their own cathartic journey.

He was fascinated by new age ideas and science fiction, and he wove extra-terrestial motifs throughout his life and songs. This "rescue from without" yearning is mentioned by Campbell, and I think this tendency is also what is behind the ingestion of mind altering chemicals in the belief that they will bring a symptomless release from the more burdensome aspects of the the human psyche. Like many before and after him, Jimi found out the hard way that this is not so , and that the ferryman must eventually be paid.

Jimi was highly representative of many of the so-called baby-boomer generation, his dissatifaction with the the old religions, his search for life guidance and help in new concepts and technologies, and in new ways of trancendance (aka 'getting high') bear testament to this. Like no generation before, so many of us had the freedom to try such things. It was too much freedom my children, too rich a bounty, and sadly we can't always handle such things.

So even by his act of dying Jimi was still teaching us, albeit unwittingly. It was if he was saying, "II've tried these things for you, this new music and crazy journeys through the mind. I've done my bit, now do yours; but I warn you - take heed of the vanishing point, go beyond that, and all must cease."

I was there Jimi, I met you in the Next World..... and no, I wasn't late. x Stone_Giant
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Post by ALOberhoulser » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:40 pm

Greetings, Stone_Giant - it has been many moons!

I'm a HUGE fan of Jimi's - this is on my couch...
Image

I had an import cassette tape in my teen years of his that had Go Go Shoes (rare, audio only) on it - the song started on side one & was continued on side two...It was dragged through the mud, but played on, and on, and on!!

I've often thought of Jimi in the light of a shaman, but never met anyone who thought of him to be of a mystical mind. I always thought that when he died - he just stepping out of this world - and off into the light... 8)

It's great to hear from you again!

AL

P.S. I LOVE the newest release People, Hell & Angels - It was my birthday present :wink:
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Post by ALOberhoulser » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:04 pm

I'll be quick to the library to get 2 books I found available by Steven Roby :!:


Watching the Feedback documentary now! :D
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Post by ALOberhoulser » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:16 am

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Post by ALOberhoulser » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:24 am

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Post by Stone_Giant » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:25 pm

Hi Al, how's it going my old fellow Forumaniac? ;-) That's a cool "Axis Bold As Love" throw on your couch. (BTW - Axis =World Axis? hmmmm)

Those books look interesting, I hope they look past the flash showmanship and give us an insight into the man himself.

...and speaking of books, now for another personal Shaman of mine, and possibly of many other people also; though they may never have examined what their love of him might have taught them about their own lives. I refer of course to J.R.R Tolkein.

His was also a tough upbringing. Though his trails were probably not as much of a financial nature as Jimi's were, he still had to cope with severe blows to his Spiritual wellbeing. Losing his father at 2 years and then his mother in his early teens is something no one would welcome. Brought up by a rather strict priest who opposed Tolkien's choice of life partner, he then suffered physically and mentally in the Great War, losing most of his early companions in that same sorry episode of our history.

It is little wonder to me then, that all these early trials should have found outlet in the lifelong forging of a towering imaginary world. His study of languages and their history gave him the building blocks with which to translate his early struggles into a coherent alternative mythological history. A sustained act of cartharsis on his part, which he felt necesary to persevere with until his very last years.

The messages of LOTR are many. By reading them we can see that Tokien was an ecologist before the word was coined. At a spiritual level, he points out the perils of a mechanical, science worshipping mindset, raising the need for a spiritual approach to our fellow beings, whatever race they may be ( Orcs excluded, though read deeper and you will find it is not them, as such, who should bear our opprobrium, but the will to evil which drives them.)

There are those who view fantasy litertature as trivial, there are others that celebrate it in an overly sensational and escapist manner. To both I say this, sober study of the best exampes in the field (Tolkien being a case in point), reveals a rich and rewarding path to self-knowledge.

There is much discussion elewhere on the LOTR films. personally I enjoyed them for what they were - somebody else's visual representation of the books. Tolkien is on record as saying that he did not favour a visual portrayal of his works, that it would rob them of their real power, which is the unfolding of the tales by means of each person's own imagination, allowing each reader a uniquely enriching mental visualisation and making the experience more powerful and relevant to each individual's own life. The point I am making here is that the books are the real deal, a film adaptation can only ever be surface gloss, with the underlying riches merely hinted at.

Since coming across The Hobbit in my late teens I have been an avid reader of Tolkien. In the introduction to that book was a small reference to a sequel - The Lord Of the Rings. My nascent mythological mindset had already fastened onto to the Ring motif as holding an uncanny power. As I was later to find, the ring is a powerful psychical symbol, ocurring in diverse mythologies. My love of fantasy and mythology goes back a long way, and the hint of sequel with the thought that there was a "Master" of the Rings who probably wanted Bilbo's "stolen" one back really fired me up.

That was the real start of my Journey With Tolkien. Over the years my discovery of the power of Mythology and my further delving into Tolkien's works have gone hand in hand, the one feeding off the other.

What a joy to discover the Greek, Norse, Celtic and (I believe) Hebrew mythology lightly buried within the LOTR and associated canon. Shaman? Ron Tolkien was conducting a whole orchestra of Shamanic voices from the past, and adding his own 20th century interpretation at the same time.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings, who are your Shamans? Next stop I will give my take on the Ladies, or one of them at least. ;-) x Stone_Giant

x Stone_Giant
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Post by ALOberhoulser » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:53 am

I can't say that Tolkien "I knew"

I'd welcome exploration of this aspect of Jimi's work - Rainbow Bridge (film)

I was 6 months old when it happened... 8)
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Post by zoe » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:07 pm

Hendrix is great but Morrison was the shaman back in the day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfZd9sbygE0
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Post by Stone_Giant » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:40 pm

Zoe - Thanks for the comment. Jim..ahh yes he knew all about Shamanism all right. He was very much into Native American shamanistic practice, though I think his love of poetry and the visual arts shows he was inspired, like most of us, by a diverse range of personalities as well

Jim's pleasure seeking and dionysian approach to life was a reaction to years of post-war austerity and the repression of the spirit. Then suddenly "youth" was in the ascendant, "Time to aim your arrows at the Sun"....... Throughout history we have advanced our societies, and civilisation in general, by controlling our animal urges. But sometimes we 'think' too much and choke back the animal too severely, denying him the acts of release which evolution fashioned him for. Who better then, than Jim Morrison, to lead us in a modern day Bachanalia?

The Doors took their name from William Blake, (another visionary who believed in indulging the senses as a way to enlightenment)

Abstinence sows sand all over
The ruddy limbs & flaming hair
But Desire Gratified
Plants fruits & beauty there.

In the most narrow sense of the word, a Shaman is a key member of tribal societieswho has put him/herself though often tortuous rituals in order to commune with the local Gods. He/she has been "out there", and this has bestowed upon them the ability and gravitas required to lead others on this same path. This means they can take people deep into their own subconcious in order to relieve the internal conflicts which are afflicting them. Conflicts which manifest themselves as various physical and mental sicknesses in the waking world of daylight.

My approach in this forum thread, however, is much broader. My Shamans are are anyone who has inspired me, or lifted my spirits when they were dragging sand in the Mariana Trench of despair. And when you think about it, isn't that what I am saying above, anyway?

The mind is a complex thing, with both vertical and horizontal axes. Reptilian,Mammalian and Thinking brains compose the vertical, Creative and Logical, the horizontal. I think Jim, more than Jimi or Tolkien, was more obviously a traditional Shamanic figure, operating best in live performance; immmediate and visceral, targeting the deep reptilian areas of the brian. The other two I feel can be enjoyed at a more contemplative level, through their recordings and written word, though Jimi was certainly exciting live. (Tokien never did make it to the Fillmore East! ;-).

I do still enjoy Jim's lyrics and the Doors' recordings as well though, and dearly wish I could see them perform live today, despite the fact that we both have now crossed the threshold of 60yrs(ouch!). I therefore endorse your statement Zoe, and hereby induct Jim Morrison in this discussion's Shamanic Hall of Fame.

Al - will comment on Rainbow Bridge when I get a few minutes to view and digest.

x Stone_giant
Last edited by Stone_Giant on Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Andreas » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:21 pm

The Wachowski brothers! The Matrix, Cloud Atlas, etc. :)
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Post by Stone_Giant » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:15 pm

Andreas - Not too familiar with the Wachowskis's other work but The Matrix was the saviour of Sci-Fi cinema for me. Neo's "Crossing of the Threshold" scene is up there with young Skywalker's "Atonement with the Father" scene, in the top 10 mythical film moments of all time. I look forward to their latest project "Jupiter Rising".

Rgds, Stone_Giant.
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Post by Roncooper » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:18 am

Here is one of my favorite videos by the Doors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjRQxRREIqk

It points to Shamanism.

Ron
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Post by Cindy B. » Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:58 am

About The Matrix. I watch cable news online, and GE has a new commercial with Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith touting GE software for medical records. Has anyone else seen it? At the end he goes on to offer a kid a choice: Which lollipop--red or blue? It's a clever ad and quite 8).

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by Stone_Giant » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:54 pm

Ron - cool video. I guess all Rock Band frontmen have a touch of the Shaman about them, the difference with Jim is that he knew what his role was. Oliver Stone's film of the Doors explores that facet of him as well.

Anyway what about the Ladies? Are they allowed to be Shamanistic figures as well? There are plenty of inspirational female figures dotted throughout history, but I'm keen to highlight modern examples who have probably come to our notice through books or visual media in the 20th/21st centuries.

I know there are lots of young girls who would cite so-called feminist performers such as Beyonce as being inspirational, but for me she doesn't quite cut it as a shaman, exceptional performer though she is.

I have however, been considering Madonna as one such example. The reason being she has taken men on at their own game, promoting herself sexually without ever being exploited by others, i.e. doing it on her own terms. She exemplifies a strong work ethic and has espoused good causes. On the negative side, many would say this is all to her own aggrandisement....maybe my mental jury is still out on this one,dunno, any comments? ( Late thought - maybe I am focussing on the music biz too much...where are the lady authors/artists who have greatly affect our lives?)

Rgds, Stone_Giant
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Post by ALOberhoulser » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:42 pm

where are the lady authors/artists who have greatly affect our lives?

~S_G
Susan Tedeschi for one - IMO :wink:

And Grace Potter!!

Both of them are "up & running" as artists - but maybe haven't hit the UK scene yet - If not, enjoy! 8)

They both have a great aesthetic, for my musical taste - and both are very up front about being at the point in their careers where "following their bliss" has garnered them a good bit of success.

Regards,
AL
Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.
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