Belief in the spirit world is common. Half of the population of the world meet regularly to learn about spirit worlds. They make up over 10,000 mutually exclusive religions. Each one believes their version is correct and everyone else is wrong.
The churches, ashrams and synagogues all have their version of myth. How is this a more valid interpretation of reality than the Shaman’s view of the Shamanic Journey experience? Could the spirit realms of these realms be a more accurate representation of reality? The idea of other realities prompts some interesting questions. Are these worlds authentic representations of everyday reality or imaginary? What qualifies as the genuine reality?
Our dreams also take place in non-ordinary reality. When we experience them, they are just as real as waking reality. If they are just imaginary creations of the psyche, how does this differ from reality? We know we experience everything with the mind, and not the senses of the body. Which leads to the conclusion that everything we experience is an elaborate fiction of the mind. Does that mean everything we think is real, or everything is not real, or that there are degrees of reality within our perception? That’s a discussion for another time.
Let’s assume that what we call reality is a real thing. The first thing we need to do is determine how to define it, and what are the boundaries of ordinary and no-ordinary reality?
Thankfully, there are people who have already set up the rules. Who gets to decide on what is acceptable and what is not? Those in control of the societal unit get to make up the rules, they tell us and set penalties if we disobey. If you visit other cultures, you’ll see a whole different set of boundaries about reality. The less modernized the culture, the greater the differences.
Are All Spirit Worlds Genuine?
Robert Anton Wilson would probably say yes and no. It all depends upon your frame of reference.
“We think this is reality, but in philosophy, that’s called naïve realism: What I perceive is reality. Philosophers have refuted naïve realism every century for the last 2,500 years, starting with Buddha and Plato, and yet most people still act based on 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, has demonstrated clearly that what you find out with instruments is true relative only to the instrument you’re using. It also depends on where that instrument is in space and time.” ― Robert Anton Wilson
So, we are back to our original question. Are the spirit worlds of the Shaman another way of experiencing reality?
Yes, Shamanism is another way of explaining the experience we call reality. What are the standards that you use to understand reality? Are your criteria scientific and measurable, or do they involve the parameters of some religious beliefs? How do you distinguish between ordinary reality and non-ordinary reality?
Many people have the opinion that non-ordinary reality is just a fiction created by the imagination. So, it isn’t genuine. 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 genuine. Dreams are proof we experience non-ordinary reality, so are dreams any different from the experience of the Shamanic Journey? No, they are the same.
If we consider the possibility of non-ordinary reality, we open the door to the possibility of many realities. Everything we experience happens within the mind. So yes. Our experience IS reality because we are shaping it. The answer is also no, because there isn’t one reality but an infinite number.
The landscape of the shamanic journey is just as genuine and authentic a representation of existence as our walking state. People have used this process it for eons, making it a universal practice among many indigenous people. So, is the spirit world of the Shaman real? We would say yes.
The experience of the shamanic journey continues to be a shared reality. It is a universal method rendering a similar expression of awareness. No matter what you call the journey, the experience is the same, no matter the culture. It is a collective reality.
“Shamanism is a kind of universal spiritual practice with indigenous cultures around the world, and one important element of it is taking care of spirits.” — Daniel Pinchbeck
Do you think a collective experience is enough for us to conclude it is an authentic function of creation? Is there some way to measure this partition of consciousness?
Is The Spirit World of the Shaman Real?
Wow, you may not have expected this, but Science tells us this partition of awareness is a valid measurable state of consciousness. In this state, the brainwaves are in the theta-wavelength 4 to 7Hz, and this signature differs from our default states of waking, sleeping, and dreaming. It’s a “spiritual technology” which opens a doorway to a separate consciousness state. Michael Harner (1) is an anthropologist and author. He calls this state “The Shamanic State of Consciousness” (SSC).
“Shamanism is a great mental and emotional adventure, one in which the patient as well as the shaman-healer are involved.” — Michael Harner
SSC is similar to another non-ordinary state known as transcendental consciousness. SSC has many uses. This process can be used for healing the mind, body, and spirit. 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. It leads to the next logical question.
Is the Mythology of Religion Genuine?
Are the mythologies of religion another true representation of ordinary reality? The faithful followers of all religions believe their superstitions are genuine and most believers would hesitate to call their beloved faith is a form of mythology.
“One man’s myth is another man’s religion.” — Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell’s (2) observation prompts a question. How does the mythology of religion become an accepted standard for group or culture? Well, the answer to this question is, when it achieves sufficient social acceptance of the group. Every religion has its unique brand of mythology and superstition. Every religion starts out as a cult. When a cult reaches acceptance within a given group, boom, it becomes a religion. There isn’t one singular universal worldview, everyone within a given religion has slightly different beliefs than others in the same group. Religions that can control the bandwidth and direction of these beliefs that can grow. Religions evolve, mutate, and shape the culture to make customers. There are two significant groups of religious mythology, Western and Eastern.
Abrahamic religions (3) are the home of the Semitic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Nothing new here. These belief systems are the rebranding of Egyptian, Persian, Assyrian and Babylonian mystery religions. The focus of these systems differs significantly from those of indigenous Shamanic traditions. They are systems for generating cash-flow.
The Shamanic practices focus on healing, mind, body and spirit, in contrast, the focus of Western religion is on selling the afterlife. That’s a huge difference. Western religion is absent any processes for consciousness exploration. Only in death can we finally test the afterlife promises of these mythologies.
If we look at the Eastern Traditions, (4) we see how 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. We see the Anthropomorphic forms (5) used extensively to symbolize and describe these techniques in these systems.
We see several Eastern traditions act as storehouses of spiritual technologies. Eons of research have gone into processes to alter, expand, and reach higher states of consciousness. 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 fantasy. So, is the make-believe of religious mythology factual? Is it as valid as any illusion of reality? Or is it another of the infinite possibilities?
If Western religion’s fictional stories are factual, then Harry Potter’s stories are equally valid. No, sorry, fiction is just fiction. Fiction can indeed contain some facts and truth. 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.
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. It is physiological changes which can be measured and replicated. So, there is experiential and scientific validations of those who use processes for reaching non-ordinary reality.
Fact is, SSC is a universal process found in many indigenous cultures, and these traditions existed long before organized religion. It is a concrete doorway that leads to another state of consciousness just as real as dreaming.
Western religion’s mythology is built on stories borrowed from other sources. There may even be some nuggets of wisdom when understood as metaphors. However, there is no verified factual basis for the mythology of Western religion. It is the rebranding of the ancient mystery religions.
Some Eastern traditions contain the process, like those of the Shamanic Journey. Some also have methods for expanding awareness and opening the doors of consciousness, and mythologies do not. The spirit worlds of the Shaman are perhaps as genuine and factual, if not more so than the myths created to describe those who journey.
The best way to decide if the Shamanic Journey is real or not is to take the trip yourself. There are many publications which contain simple step-by-step methods using a CD drum track. Once you experience the quest for yourself, it will open up a whole new realm. You decide if it’s just your imagination or if the landscape of your psyche is real.
(1) Michael Harner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Harner
(2) Joseph Campbell: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell
(3) Abrahamic Religions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions
(4) Eastern Traditions and Religions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_religions
(5) Anthropomorphic forms: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropomorphism