Awaken the Visionary Shaman
Join Linda Star Wolf for a live, interactive video course, "Awakening the Visionary Shaman: The Shamanic Breathwork Process." Shamanic Breathwork is a transformative process that utilizes the sacred healing power of the breath, evocative chakra-attuned music and energetic release work to create a natural altered state of consciousness. By using the breath in a powerful and transformative way, we can move beyond the ego long enough to reach the core self and engage in a highly intuitive connection to the Higher Self, also known as the inner wisdom keeper. This Evolver Intensive online course starts on July 7th and runs for 5 sessions.
What does it mean to "Awaken the Visionary Shaman," to live from the shamanic psychospiritual perspective, and to embrace the spiral cycles of change? The shamanic psychospiritual path is a path of direct experience to our own lives, the mystical and the mundane. It is not a religious path; however, it can be brought into any spiritual or religious tradition that you may already be involved with. It is the merging of the ancient wisdom teachings inherent in all traditions -- everything that has already been -- with the new, cutting-edge, consciousness paradigm and downloads from the future, the quantum leap of being that is calling to us from our imaginal cells.
I created Shamanic Breathwork several years ago as a synthesis of my personal exploration and direct healing experiences with breathwork, shamanic wisdom, depth psychology and addictions recovery methods. The Shamanic BreathworkTM Process utilizes the breath, sound healing through chakra-attuned music and energetic release work to create an altered state of consciousness. In this process, we encounter and recover lost soul parts, release self-defeating patterns, awaken the Visionary Shaman within and remember who we really are. After 40 years of using many different modalities, I have found Shamanic Breathwork to be the most powerful tool of all to heal the past, activate the imaginal cells, open to future downloads and live life more fully in the present.
Imaginal cells represent what has already happened in "heaven," if you will; they exist as thought forms in the archetypal blueprint of the invisible world, the place where all of creation arises from the cosmic soup. Several spiritual evolutionists today are speaking about the imaginal cells. They believe that even though we are not consciously aware of these imaginal cells, they are present nevertheless.
Science tells us that the caterpillar, like us, has a regular cellular structure as well as a cellular overlay composed of imaginal cells. Gradually, as the caterpillar grows and evolves, the imaginal cells become greater in number and threaten to override the old structure. As they gather momentum by forming cell clusters and exchanging information, they become the dominant growth paradigm of the organism, until pretty soon there is no stopping them, and they gloriously morph into the new creature that is the beautiful butterfly.
Human beings are much like the little caterpillar walking around, munching on leaves, and happy in its sphere of being. Then one day something happens. The caterpillar experiences a restlessness, a dissatisfaction with just eating leaves and being on the ground. It wants to do something entirely different, but it doesn't yet know what exactly that is. It suddenly feels a yearning, a holy longing, for some bigger purpose than what its life has been thus far. It's time for it to take an action, perhaps one it has no understanding of cognitively but feels instinctively.
It's really important to understand how to become ungrounded, uprooted, and to take ourselves apart; the caterpillar inherently knows how to do this. A secretion of its body is designed to dissolve its form, and as it dissolves itself, its little eyeballs fall off, its tail falls off, and it turns into mush. Simultaneously, emerging out of that muck is a new creature that's growing little humps on its shoulders and acquiring colors and new eyes and a new way of being. However, at the time the caterpillar is undergoing this process, it doesn't know what's coming. It's not like it dies and then it becomes the butterfly either -- it's all happening simultaneously. The old form is dying while the new form is being born. Life and death are complementary opposites that travel together.
Just as the caterpillar is designed to morph into the butterfly, so too can we morph into our most highly realized state of being, by activating our own imaginal cells. Imagine that one day the little caterpillar -- when it has finally reached its new form -- gradually breaks open the chrysalis. When it comes out it sits there for a while and rests, drying off its wings for a moment, and then . . . something happens. An incredible urge, it doesn't even know what it is, and it doesn't even have the word "fly" in its vocabulary, but imagine this incredible urge that propels it to take a leap and to fly like crazy, and suddenly . . . it has a much bigger world! Instead of just a little area where it can crawl only a few inches or feet or yards, it can fly hundreds, even thousands of miles, over mountains, over streams, tasting the nectar and pollinating the flowers in all this beauty, offering its gifts back to the world in a much bigger and more profound way than it ever imagined.
This shamanic journey, of being born and then evolving to the next level of consciousness, is ongoing. The natural world is always changing, as are we. We do not just create that chrysalis once. With anything that requires a change in our lives, we have to go through a very similar process to the one demonstrated by the caterpillar. However, if we're resistant and afraid of change, we are going to shut down, contract, close up, and hold on to all the forms that we have, whatever they might be. We're not going to let these old forms dissolve, because we're afraid that if we do, the next one either won't be waiting for us or if it is, we won't like it, or it will be dangerous and we won't feel safe.
Every one of us can think of something that we're afraid to change. We're afraid to sell our house, leave a dysfunctional relationship, quit our job; we're afraid to let go of certain securities; we're afraid to express our opinion -- what will people think? Why were we feeling the need to change anyway? What could propel us into undertaking such major upheavals in our lives?
I believe it is the imaginal cells that call us to change. Some part of us knows how to answer that call, just like the trillions of cells in our bodies that are right now in the process of dying off and renewing themselves. We are multidimensional beings going through cycles of change on a multitude of levels. We are walkers between the worlds and have the ability to be aware of existing in many worlds at once. We are able to transform consciousness, to move to higher and lower levels, to integrate all the worlds together, and to access the future and the past and the present. This constitutes the ability to be a time traveler and a shape-shifter, moving from caterpillar to butterfly, from life to death to rebirth, traveling to higher levels of consciousness.
The Visionary Shaman loves the earth and the imaginal realms and the cosmos as well. Now is the time for us to become visionary shamans, to become more thoughtful and heart-centered in our treatment of the earth and her resources. We must consider how we're using or abusing this Earth -- our sacred home planet. And even if we feel overwhelmed when we do that -- a sense of "But what can I do?" -- that's a good place to start.
So how are we going to change? Are we going to hold on to what we have, hoard our goods and energy, and contract so small that we do not make the conscious evolutionary changes that we are here to make? If we really are "the ones we've been waiting for," we had best get on with changing our outlook, our actions, our selves and our relationship with the planet. If we're the ones we've been waiting for, are we going to take responsibility for the redemption we seek? We need to grow up from being children who have abdicated our personal responsibilities and take back our power. And we can do that. Why? Because we have imaginal cells that are ready and waiting to inform us, to create a paradigm shift of seeing and being in the world.
If we said to the caterpillar, "You see that butterfly? Well, one day you're going to be a butterfly," the caterpillar might respond in disbelief. "Oh no, I could never be that! I'm just a little caterpillar on the ground. I could never become a beautiful butterfly." The answer to that is, "Yes, you will, because one day in the recent past that butterfly was just like you."
That's who we are too. We're just like the little caterpillar. The past, the present, and the future exist in who we already are. Our job is to learn how to remember that.
This article was adapted from Visionary Shamanism: Activating the Imaginal Cells of the Human Energy Field by Linda Star Wolf and Anne Dillon, Bear & Co., Rochester, VT, Copyright © 2011 by Linda Star Wolf and Anne Dillon
Image by Larry Page, courtesy of Creative Commons license.Tweet