Primal Shamanism

This is a guest post by CrystalLynn of “Of Eve and Iktomi” http://eveandiktomi.blogspot.com/
What does Spirituality mean to me?  It means running and running, naked through the dark forest behind our pasture.  It’s the sinister sex in my husband’s eyes right before the chase begins.  It’s holding my children close and stroking their hair when they need the protective, nurturing energy that only their mother can provide.  It’s lying down like a sacrifice on the Goddess Rock when I need to ground myself.  It’s saying the funeral rite for an animal that decided to leave this world too soon.  It’s a family reunion every Samhain.  It’s a dream- or a Journey- where I can glean information and insight into my, or my friends’, problems.  It’s scratching, biting, growling- the sweet ecstasy of sex and the bloody exhilaration of the fight.  It’s invoking the Warrior.
 
In other words, it’s Primal.
I am what you might call a Primal Shaman.  I do very few organized rituals.  I do rituals and quests in my dreams or visions.  But the raw spirituality that I tap into goes much, much deeper than my human intellect can penetrate.  Which is not to say that I’m not an intellectual person.  I very much am.  I overthink things.  I know the logical fallacies, am fascinated by math and science and literature and art, and also theology, spiritual discourse, and mythology.  I give a nod to Athena every once in a while- but in my heart, my core, my soul, I am Primal.  My body is the heartbeat of the tribal drum.  My spirit is the lilting tear of the tribal flute.  In order to Journey, I need to hear the footfalls of animals, the echo and mirror of my animal self.  The One who instinctively knows that death is coming.  The One who fights to protect my family.  The One who can intuitively tell when there’s a problem.  The One who understands the pulse of the Earth and the ripples of the Water.  The One who calls Fire and Wind to fight for change.
 
I live on a small farm, close to nature.  Death is a page turn away from life, here.  We are not sheltered.  We see animals suffer and die, and it pulls on our gut in sorrow.  We see nature fight to stay alive, and it makes us want to fight for life even more wholeheartedly.  We wield the knife when it is our turn to end a life in order to put food on the table.  Holding the animal down, swiftly ending the life in a shower of blood, hearing the last breath, it is Life, and it feels right and natural.  And at the same time my heart is full of sorrow at the need to take a life.  It is full of respect for the one who sacrificed his life so that I can live.  Modupe*.  Thank you.  We, the Hunters, honor your spirit.  Sometimes I need to end a life when the life becomes too full of suffering.  In that case, death feels like a sweet release, the last breath is full of relief at last.  Sometimes I need to end the suffering of a young life, and my anger brims over at the unfairness of life.  But even the anger is natural and right.  This is my funeral rite for those who died before their time:
May your body find relief and union with the Earth, which birthed you.
May your spirit find fulfillment on its journey.
May you find rest and peace wherever you now dwell.
And, if it is your destiny, please return to this Earth in a stronger body.
 
In the same way, we witness a lot of births here.  As a Mother, I never fail to find the event miraculous.  Suddenly, Life appears where before there was only bloody tissue.  Being a Mother is a very Primal thing as well.  We are Warriors and Nurturers all at once.  We follow instinct and intuition.  Adrenaline and anxiety are part of our every day life.  Our babies drink from our body and are strengthened.  We experience a soul-connection with our children.  Our children come from our own body, and we are forever joined.  Just as with our mates, we are forever joined in a soul-bond.
To be Primal is to be intimately connected, not just with our children and mate, but with the Elements- the Earth which gives us food; there is nothing more Primal than walking barefoot in the garden and plucking a ripe tomato from the vine.   The Water which nourishes and cools us, like the breath of life after a hard day of work under the hot sun.  The Fire of passion which ignites the spark of life.  The Wind and Air which carries the changing seasons, heralding the start of a new cycle.

In my belief system, we have only one Soul, but multiple Spirits.  ”Worship” to me is not about prostrating ourselves before some distant power- it is about connecting with the different Spirits that live in us, and the Spirits outside which help to teach us.  I have the Spirit of the Warrior in me.  I have the Spirit of the Mountain Lion.  I have the spirit of the Rabbit.  I have the spirit of the Spider.  Animal spirits are archetypes- a way to describe a certain energy and personality.  I’ve known animals that had human Spirits, too!  Maybe your pet has the Spirit of a human child- animals raised in a human household often do.  And humans, like me, who live close to Nature often have very Primal Spirits.  My husband has the Spirit of the Tiger, and also the Warrior.  My daughter has the Spirit of the Dragon, and another which is cat-like.  My son has the Spirit of Coyote.  (Yes, I have a 3 year old with a Trickster Spirit.  My protective instinct has been tested over and over again!)
The hoofbeats of the running horses shake the ground.  The wind blows through their manes, making them toss their heads.  The hills grow thorns, wild and free, and the ocean waves crash upon the rocks.  Everything that has Power is Primal.  Everything that defies control is Free.  Ours is the Spirit of the Rebel, the Spirit of the Hunter, the Spirit of all those who would run as fast as the Wind, who would growl with the heat of Passion.  Our gods are nameless, named, and the ones who name.  We are as Old as the Earth and even older.  We can close our eyes and feel our roots go to the core of the earth, and feel our Soul soar past the sky to the deep Void of the Universe.  We dance, we kill, we give birth, we sing with raw emotions that tug at something inside you.  Some part of you that is afraid of the predator, some part of you that longs to dance with us, and truly feel Alive.

Ase*.

*Modupe (Moe-due-pway) is the Yoruban word for “Thank you”.  Ase (Ah-shay) is the Yoruban word for “So mote it be.”  It is an acknowledgement of the spiritual energy that is at play.  I use the Yoruban language because it is a very spiritual, primal language that speaks to me.
These folks are pretty fucking primal too:

This and That–A Game Plan

The “Blessed Be Thy Feet” series of blogs will be winding up soon, except for updates soon from the Mormons (hopefully) and the Muslims (definitely).  This means that I am currently interviewing folks on the following subjects for upcoming blogs: death and dying, raw foods (yes, that can include sushi), figging, hair rituals, menstrual blood magic, blood bonds, animal sacrifice, legal mind altering substances (mainly looking for recipes here–send yours in!), hunting, fur fetishes, and just some general interviews about stuff.  If you’re interested in being interviewed, have suggestions or comments, or would like to put your name in for the dress drawing (see the Feb. 4th entry for rules), please email me at chirp_sparrow@yahoo.com.  Please remember that because of the world we live in, interviewees can remain anonymous in this blog if they choose.  Don’t let your name being published deter you from sharing your thoughts about things.  Also, don’t forget to vote on what you’d like to see next.  The poll is located on the right hand side, next to this blog.
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If you all haven’t figured it out already, this blog is now a part of the Pagan Blog Project.  Check them out.  It’s a neat idea, and there’s a lot of great blogs listed.
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Pleasing your deities should be the focus of all you do.  May your lips always be firmly suctioned around the Lord’s cock and your tongue lap luxuriously at the velvet folds of the Lady’s cunt, and may their strong thighs always be your earmuffs and pillars to grab in the orgasm of life!

The Scourge–Part 2

     In my last blog about scourging, I discussed the tradition of Lupercalia, where runners flogged women to impart fertility (sort of like a drive-by—but on foot!).  Another Roman tradition related to fertility scourging and purification is the legend of the rape of the Sabine women.
The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna

When Rome was first founded, there were more men than women, as is often the case in new colonies and settlements.  To bring in potential mates, the Romans invited the Sabines to a festival, and then they raped the women and held them hostage.  The Sabine men, of course, took offense, attacked Rome and recaptured their ravished womenfolk.  There was a catch. The women were now infertile.
     The Sabine women appealed to Juno, who told them that if they made love to a sacred billy goat or a ram (we’re not sure because the leaves were rustling) that they would regain their fertility.  They found this remedy unappealing.  An oracle was consulted, and the dilemma was solved.  Instead of sleeping with the goat, they would kill the goat and make a scourge out of it.  By submitting to the goat scourge and by extension Juno, the women were being purified from the scourge of infertility.
Juno
     The whip served a duel purpose here: fertility and purification.  It’s been recently explained to me that in some traditions the handle of the scourge represents the feminine while the falls of the scourge represent the masculine.  Some scholars have linked the story of the Sabine women to Lupercalia, but others dispute that claim. Spring fertility/purification festivals using scourges and scourge-like implements still continue today all over the world, particularly in Eastern Europe and South Korea.  Evidently it’s not just a Roman notion.
     The scourge has also been used in many cultures as a tool for initiation.  Pain can be the ordeal that many folks are looking for when seeking a “real” initiation (ie fraternity paddlings) because it does prove something, if not to the outside world then at least to the initiate.  The rhythm of the blows and the brain chemicals released when the body is in pain can also lead to deep meditative states that are necessary to a good initiation experience.  Many of the Greek mystery cults realized this and utilized the scourge in this way.
This is Nemisis but pretend that it’s Telete
The goddess Telete, Dionysus’ daughter and the goddess in charge of initiations, was often portrayed holding a whip or a scourge.
     The scourge also makes an appearance in the myth of Inanna, in her descent into the Underworld.  This myth is seen by many to represent initiation at its best and is used as the basis for many Wiccan and Pagan initiation rites today.
There are many versions of the Descent myth and they give different reasons for her descent, but in all of them, Inanna must give up seven symbols of power as she proceeds through the seven gates of the underworld.  Eventually she arrives in the underworld naked and seemingly powerless.  In the ancient myths she dies at the hands of her sister Ereskigal and is hung on a hook (sounds a lot like suspension).  In Wiccan interpretations that some suspect to be Gardner’s embroidery on the fabric of older myths, she is scourged by Death as a punishment, perhaps, for refusing his advances.
Death and his scourge

 

The Inanna descent, regardless of which version you go by, represents for many people facing their inner demons and fears–which is one of the aims of initiation.  The myth also symbolizes not only death and rebirth but purification of soul and spirit by being broken down and built back up.  This is another aim of initiation and is a continuing cycle within life.