Questions of Faith, Part V

Today, Jim turns our attentions back to the Earth-honoring traditions... but remember that the door is still open for discussion of previous posts as well.

Shaman at work

What faith do you espouse?
Er...many of them? I've worn the title Shama-Wicca-Paga-Druid, though
most of my recent instruction has been in Curanderismo, or Peruvian
Shamanism. I am continually examining aspects of Earth-honoring
traditions and blending them into my own spiritual practice.

Who was the founder of your faith? When did he/she live?
Like so many of the Earth-honoring traditions, there isn't a single
founder, at least not in recorded history. Most of them are quite
ancient, tracing back centuries or even millennia. From the Celts to
the Mayan Civilization, it's been around.

What are the sacred texts of your faith?
Most of the traditions I have studied and incorporated into my spiritual
practice do not have sacred texts like the Bible or Koran. They were
primarily oral traditions, handed down from one generation to the next.
As Zeus talked about in his discussion of Druidism, many traditions had
written materials and relics destroyed as Christianity became its spread. Many of my teachers to date have
maintained those traditions and ways, though there are many reference
books and printed resources now available for those interested.

What is the central teaching of your faith?
Most of my practice revolves around the concept that all things are
alive and connected to one another. Respecting that connection is
paramount, and being cognizant of it, the goal. There are energies that
flow in paths through the Earth, that bind human beings within the
natural realms, and that move between different worlds and realities.
Some of these energies can be harnessed or focused for direct purpose,
though "power" is not the focus; it's about healing. There is a
logical order to this, described well by a Native American healer.
First, we heal ourselves. Then our families. Then our community. Then
the world. Unless we are complete and focused ourselves, we're not of
much use to others.

How does your faith define sin? What are the major sins, and how is one

Sin isn't exactly the right terminology here. Things are usually right
or wrong, but the concept of sin would be an imposed construct here.
The closest I can come would be "harming others." As Zeus described,
one of my tenets is "And it harm none, do what ye will." Shamans are
focused on the highest good, both for an individual and for Pachamama
(Mother Earth). We do deal with jucha (pronounced hoo-cha), or dense
energy. This is typically picked up thanks to negativity, either our
own or from those around us. This can be ceremonially or ritually
cleansed. Sometimes we can cleanse ourselves; sometimes we need the
help of others.

Roughly how many adherents does your faith have?
Answer 1) Lots. Yes, that's the technical term. This is just too
difficult to calculate, as there are so many people who could be
solitary practitioners. The number is growing, I do know that.

Answer 2) One. Me. Part of what works best for me is that I can determine my
own practice. I am combining aspects of several like-minded traditions.
Some have prescribed ceremonies or rituals. Some are much less
structured. So in a way, my practice is entirely unique, though I
believe it's directly connected to many other traditions.

What does your faith teach about the afterlife? Is there heaven, and how do you get there?
All of my traditions agree that there is something beyond death, and
that there is a spiritual realm one can access. It's based on the idea
that we are all composed of energy, and that energy never dies. We
simply transmute, transform, or otherwise cross over. Those barriers
are not absolute, and to me, allows for the existence of ESP, ghosts,
demons, etc...all phenomena in which I believe. Many of my traditions
also believe in reincarnation.

What are the practices of your faith? (Daily, weekly, etc.)
It's much more based on "as needed," though the Shamans I work with
"link up" spiritually every Wednesday night. There are regular
gatherings and observances of new/full moons, solstices/equinoxes, and
various holidays. Personally, I try to meditate or commune at least

How is your faith organized? Are there priests and bishops and
archbishops, etc...?

There isn't a clearly defined hierarchy, to be sure. There are some who
are considered leaders, though their power or influence is not absolute.
They're the first people to admit they will make mistakes and are
imperfect. We believe that we are all teachers, and all students. Even
someone with no "training" or experience can impart great wisdom.

Are there regular services available to you locally? If so, where?
A group of us gather regularly. For more information, email me and I'll
hook you up with the leader of our local allyu (Circle/Family).

How did you come to be a believer?
I'm a recovering Lutheran. Christianity never seemed to resonate within
me. It also dismissed or ignored many things I have either witnessed or
believe in (ESP, ghosts, etc). The more I studied Earth-honoring
traditions, the more it seemed to fit. When a close friend of mine
began her path, I followed along not far behind.

What do you wish others knew about your faith?
It's not about casting spells, making sacrifices, or obtaining power.
It's not about sorcery, Merlin, or turning lead into gold. It's about
being a good person, honoring all life around us, and working toward a
more peaceful and harmonious existence.


As usual, comments can be posted here or on his blog. If your question is of a more personal nature, feel free to Email me at the address on my profile and I'll forward them on to him.


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