Sunday, April 18, 2010

The State of my Life as a Shaman

22 December 2009 @ 10:50 am

Well, I think the best place to start is I'm not sure what to call myself anymore. I used to want to be a teacher with students, the older I get, the more I understand N.'s perspective that she's more than willing to teach a new trick as a peer, but doesn't want the responsibility of having students. When I was a younger woman, I was much more arrogant and assured of my place at the table as a shaman. I had a teacher! I have a chronic nebulous illness! I did sweats! I went through ordeals! I help(ed) my tribe! Isn't that enough?

I'm not sure. I'm not as well educated about shamanism as I would like to be. I'm working on that, I'm starting at the beginning (reading The Idiots Guide to Shamanism). I am going to try to get to a powwow or two over the summer. I would like to do more sweats, but removing the (ahem) piercing I have in my naughty bit area is not the easiest thing to do and goddamn I went through an ordeal to get it. I can sweat at the Russian-Turkish baths, though it's a different experience.

I've never been great at walking between worlds, I tend to be a bit too grounded in this one. Medicine woman (and I'm going to do my best to learn more about that too) seems like a better fit. I tend to have pins in my mouth, flour on my nose, other people's bodily fluids on my apron. Kitchen witch seems . . .too . . .I don't know. Like all I do is cook for people. And it's more than that, what I do. My service (to my tribe, to my gods) is not just kitchen related. I've been meditating on the words hearth woman in the last year and while it's made up, it doesn't have the cultural misappropriation baggage I've started to have with claiming myself as a shaman/medicine woman and it encompasses more of what I do.

What do I do? Well, I know how to conduct myself at a funeral and dress appropriately. I know how to do a feast for Samhain (GoG's biggest event of the year) in the dark (literally) alone. I know how to make a casserole for a grieving family in 30 minutes flat. I know how to manage an entire funeral repast. I know how to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner. I craft. I make poppets and teas for people. I listen. When someone tells me to keep something a secret, I write it on my bones and it will never leave my lips. I can throw a really awesome party. I can make a house into a hearth. I try to be a good guest. I do hospital visits. I hold babies. I take care of children. I give reiki. I hold people's hair. I wipe tears and blow noses. I clean up vomit. I do minor wound fixing. I can run a ritual in several formats. I give workshops. I try to do the little things that make people's lives nicer that are often forgotten. I do effective spells. I do spirit walking. I'm not afraid to go through hardship and hard shit. I can give a good tarot card reading. I can help with spiritual related illness as a complimenting service to western medicine.

I'm becoming more comfortable with who I am, in this next stage of life. As a maiden, I wanted to prove to people that I could roll with the big dogs! That I had shit to say! That I could do whatever is the hardest part of whatever ritual! I was going to be able to commune with the gods on tap like other people! I was going to do everything! None of this white light fluffy bunny bullshit! No, man! I'm serious! I'm a super serious pagan! Don't fuck with me!

I *hated* that I was service oriented and didn't have a lot of cool stunts (as we say in my house). I *hated* that Reclaiming made a lot of sense to me. It made me feel like I belonged in the kitchen with the not serious housewives.

Now? Well, Reclaiming works for me. Not all of it of course (nothing really works for me wholesale) and I'm not into the wonky anthropology (though I understand why it happened, so much of women's magical herstory was just . . .lost. Which is sad and depressing). And I feel very so what about it. When there's magical dick waving, I roll my eyes. I don't need to prove myself anymore.

I've really grown into my service, and that's how I see myself now as someone who is service oriented in just about all aspects of my life - my spiritual life, my professional life, and yes, the obv, my kinked life. And there's kind of a grace there about it that I'm trying to fully blossom into.

I don't have to prove myself to myself or anyone else anymore with my spiritual practice which is a grace unto itself.


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