This concept isn’t that far-fetched. Over 3 billion people meet once a week to learn about spirit worlds and supernatural beings.
So, is the spirit world of the Shaman real or imagination? If it is just imagination, how does that differ from reality? After all, everything we experience is the mind.
The idea of spirit worlds prompts some interesting questions. Are these worlds real or imaginary? What qualifies as “real”? Is there a distinction between ordinary and non-ordinary states of reality? What are the boundaries of reality? Our dreams also take place in “non-ordinary reality.” Are they just imagination, or isn’t this experience a part of our reality?
Is The Spirit World of the Shaman Real?
Robert Anton Wilson would probably say yes, and no.
“We think this is reality. But in philosophy, that’s called naïve realism: “What I perceive is reality.” And philosophers have refuted naïve realism every century for the last 2,500 years, starting with Buddha and Plato, and yet most people still act on the basis of naïve realism.
Now the argument is, Well, maybe my perceptions are inaccurate, but somewhere there is accuracy, scientists have it with their instruments. That’s how we can find out what’s really real. But relativity, quantum mechanics, have demonstrated clearly that what you find out with instruments is true relative only to the instrument you’re using, and where that instrument is located in space-time.” ― Robert Anton Wilson
So, we are back to our original question. Are the spirit worlds of the shaman real?
The answer depends on how you determine reality. Some people distinguish normal reality from non-ordinary reality. They say non-ordinary reality is just imagination. It isn’t real.
Then ask those same people what they think about dreams. When most people dream, they don’t know they are dreaming. So, when they dream, it seems real. Dreams are proof that we experience non-ordinary reality. Are dreams any different from the experience of the Shamanic Journey?
Some say the magical athletes of the spirit world are the Shaman. They travel to the spirit worlds of the upper, middle, and lower earth. Their mission is to help us to find answers and healing.
If we consider non-ordinary reality, then there are many realities. Everything we experience happens within the mind. So yes. Our experience IS reality because we are shaping it. And no, because there isn’t one reality but an infinite number. In that sense, the landscapes of the Shaman are real. They have practiced it for eons, making it a common experience among many indigenous people.
It continues to be a collective perception for those who practice it today. The experience of the Shamanic Journey is universal. No matter what you call the journey, the experience is the same, no matter the culture. It is a collective reality. So, to the question, are the spirit worlds of the shaman real? We would say yes.
Science Validates Shamanic Consciousness
Wow, I didn’t expect this. This journey is a separate state of consciousness. The shamanic journey is the key process of Shamanism. This “spiritual technology” opens a doorway to a unique consciousness state. Michael Harner (1) is an anthropologist and author. He calls this state “The Shamanic State of Consciousness” (SSC). In this state, the brainwaves are in the theta-wavelength 4 to 7Hz.
SCC is like another non-ordinary state known as transcendental consciousness. SCC can heal the mind, body, and spirit. It is one of the primary “spiritual technologies” of humankind, transcending all cultures. It’s another one of our default states of awareness, just like waking, sleeping, and dreaming.
Bottom line. The Shamanic Journey is repeatable and scientifically verifiable. So, is the spirit world of the Shaman real in scientific terms? The answer is yes. This leads to the next logical question.
Is the Mythology of Religion Real?
Are the mythologies of religion also real? The faithful followers of all religions believe that their mythology is real. Most would hesitate to call their beloved religion a form of mythology.
“One man’s myth is another man’s religion.” ― Joseph Campbell
To answer this question, we first need to ask if religion’s mythology is a universal or collective perception? Well, the answer to this question is, unfortunately, no. Every religion has its unique mythology. There isn’t one singular universal mythology. Religions tend to evolve, mutating, and being shaped by culture. There are two major groups of religious mythology, Western and Eastern.
Western mythology is the Abrahamic religions (2). These are the Semitic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These belief systems are the rebranding of Egyptian, Persian, Assyrian, and Babylonian mystery religions.
The focus of these mythologies differs from the indigenous traditions behind Shamanism. Shamanic practice’s focus is healing, mind, body, and spirit. The focus of Western religion is on doctrine and the afterlife. Their doctrines contain stories about those who walked spirit worlds. They contain no processes to replicate this journey. Only the “god-like” or avatar can travel to these dimensions for the most part. Only in death can we finally test the promises of these mythologies.
If we look at the Eastern Traditions, (3) we see that they focus on exploring and developing consciousness. Eastern religions include Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Animistic Indigenous Traditions. Here we find mythologies “built around” the development processes, but these traditions keep the knowledge of processes intact. In these systems, we see the Anthropomorphic forms (4) used extensively to symbolize and describe these techniques.
The bottom line here. Religion and mythology aren’t a collective illusion, but a selective cultural and often a private one. Historical validity is equivalent to fiction, albeit spiritual fiction. So, is the make-believe of religious mythology real? Is it as valid as any illusion of reality? Or is it another of the infinite possibilities?
So, if Western religion’s fictional stories are real, then Harry Potter’s stories are also true. No, sorry, fiction is just fiction. Fiction can hold some truths. One must learn to distinguish between anecdotal stores and processes to expand awareness and open the doors of consciousness. You’ll need to look in the right places. Even Harry Potter has some gems of wisdom.
Are All Spirit Worlds Real?
Is the spirit world of the Shaman real? If you take the Shamanic journey, or what some call a guided meditation, you will experience this dimension for yourself. This is experiential proof. Scientific proof is available by measuring human physiological changes during the journey.
So, there is experiential and scientific validation for non-ordinary reality. It is a measurable state of consciousness and a universally repeatable process. It is as concrete as the other default state of non-ordinary reality we call dreaming.
The answer to our follow up question about Western religion’s mythology is that these superstitions are just stories. There might be some nuggets of wisdom if taken as metaphors for something like the Shamanic Journey. However, there are no proofs for mythology as being factual.
Some Eastern traditions contain the process, like those of the Shamanic Journey. Some also contain methods for expanding awareness and opening the doors of consciousness. And some mythologies do not. The spirit worlds of the Shaman are perhaps as real, if not more so, than the mythologies created to describe those who journey.
Thank you for reading this article. We hope it provides some food for thought. You can find more mind-opening topics on our blog.
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(1) Michael Harner, Wikipedia
(2) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(3) Eastern Traditions, Wikipedia
(4) Anthropomorphic forms, Wikipedia
(5) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia