"Traditional European witchcraft descends from shamanism, which is evident when we compare the abilities attributed to witches during the medieval witch trials with the powers of shamans. Witches healed the sick. They performed divination and augury. They conversed with spirits and kept familiar spirits as their servants, usually in the form of small animals such as cats. Witches were able to bewitch beasts, cause storms, and affect the growth of crops. Spirits instructed them in the technical details of their profession. Most significantly, it was believed that they had the power of flight. All these abilities are shamanic.

[…]

It is impossible to know how extensive the practice of witchcraft was in Europe prior to and during the Renaissance, when the persecution of witches by the Catholic and Protestant churches reached its height. The records of the witch interrogations and the literary works of witch finders, demonologists, and priests of the Inquisition certainly exaggerated their number outrageously, but when this exaggeration is discarded, it must be concluded that traditional shamanic skills passed from generation to generation as a cultural heritage of rural European communities formed the basis for the genuine practice of witchcraft.”

- Donald Tyson
Soul Flight: Astral Projection & the Magical Universe
http://amzn.to/1bID82f

Image Credit: Kindra Nikole

"When the first chakra is disconnected from the feminine Earth, we can feel orphaned and motherless. The masculine principle predominates, and we look for security from material things. Individuality prevails over relationship, and selfish drives triumph over family, social and global responsibility. The more separated we become from the Earth, the more hostile we become to the feminine. We disown our passion, our creativity, and our sexuality. Eventually the Earth itself becomes a baneful place. I remember being told by a medicine woman in the Amazon, “Do you know why they are really cutting down the rain forest? Because it is wet and dark and tangled and feminine.”“

― Alberto Villoldo
Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of the Americas
http://amzn.to/1qImyU7

Image Credit: aditya777 @ DeviantArt

Himiko: legendary Shaman-Queen in Japan

She is supposed to have ruled in the Yayoi Period — when Japan was still in the Iron Age and was centuries from writing. As such, there are scanty and very after-the-date Japanese records of Himiko. The first written account of Himiko is actually to be found within the pages of the sanguozhi, an authoritative collection of historical Chinese texts known in English as the Records of the Three Kingdoms. She apparently sent an envoy in 238 CE to Han China, with tribute of cloth and slaves. She was named “Ruler of Wa Friendly to Wei” and given an imperial mandate to rule. The Chinese respected Himiko for two things: reuniting the Yamatai-koku kingdom after seventy years of disorder, and being able to control demons. Yeah, demons. Check out the original article here on her to find out more! 

We have entered the time of the return of the Shaman.~~

As the world around us continues to evolve with a huge increase in technological advances, the world within us is pulling us towards our true essence – Spirit and the realm of Nature. This paradox in seemingly opposite directions is actually an act of stability and harmony. But only if we listen and follow that inner pull. The Shaman within each of us desires to awaken and ignite our connection to nature, arousing our awareness of Spirit and illuminating our pathway of purpose.

The illusion of economical stress, violence and upheaval that penetrates the psyche of humankind right now is actually the perfect platform for the Shaman to emerge. When the cloak of media and excess materialism begins to fall away, what is left is what matters – community, family, relationships, the beauty of nature, and a deep connection with Spirit. Our inner Shaman develops and thrives within the natural world of rhythm, harmony, wellness and wholeness; this is the essence of who we truly are. This essence is thirsting to take front and centre stage in our lives so that we may experience the beauty, wisdom and peace that we came here to be.

The fundamental nature of the role of a Shaman in both ancient and contemporary societies is to create and sustain equilibrium and wholeness for Mother Earth and her inhabitants. This role is becoming increasingly necessary causing people to awaken and remember their purpose. Our awareness of our inner Shaman is intensifying and we are being called to embrace our path. The Shaman or Shamanic Practitioner takes on many different roles to achieve wholeness. For some it may be the role of healer, activist, teacher, intuitive advisor or even bringing sweet shamanic medicine into seemingly mundane roles. The common denominator is a developing and deepening a connection to nature and increased intuitive awareness.

Nature is the teacher of harmony and wholeness. When we are aligned with inner rhythm and the natural world our Shamanic instincts awaken and we embark upon the journey of traveling the inner worlds of consciousness. If we follow our instincts, we are lead to the right circumstances to further develop our gifts and talents so that our unwavering, constant connection to Spirit becomes a natural, harmonious way of life. When challenge arises, our response comes from wisdom rather than fear. We hold onto our power and utilize that force as a beacon of light and love that inspires others as it permeates and fuels every aspect of our life. We are aligned with our own rhythm and listen to the heartbeat of nature to guide us as the rhythm shifts.

May we celebrate the return of the Shaman. Let us step sacredly upon our Earth Mother and listen to her song. Dance to the rhythm of the wind, let your passion ignite by the light of fire, drink from the waters of joy and be nourished by the abundance that is all around you.

~Melinda Rodrigues

Pathways of Wisdom

“The shamanic faith is that humanity is not without allies. There are forces friendly to our struggle to birth ourselves as an intelligent species. But they are quiet and shy; they are to be sought, not in the arrival of alien star fleets in the skies of earth, but nearby, in wilderness solitude, in the ambiance of waterfalls, and yes, in the grasslands and pastures now too rarely beneath our feet.”

- Terence McKenna
Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution
http://amzn.to/13LBbgJ

Image Credit: stroggtank @ DeviantArt

Amazonian serpent entities include the Yakumama, mother of the water, Sachamama, mother of the jungle, and Huairamama, mother of the sky. These entities are illustrated in the painting by the artist and shaman Pablo Amaringo (in Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman, 1999, North Atlantic Books).

I was so fed up with the sex-object-witches, teenage shiny slick things in hats and stripper outfits that are EVERYWHERE… I was looking for “classical” witches, women rich in experience and also in age, women who are not sex objects or shiny eye candy. And I found this.

WOMEN OF POWER’ is a series of 29 portraits and interviews of modern-day Polish witches, healers, enchantresses, visionaries and spiritual leaders.   

Poland is more than 90% Catholic. Christianity, introduced now many centuries ago, erased almost all traces of paganism, witchcraft and shamanic traditions. For some, especially women, this has left a yearning for something more. Katarzyna Majak, feeling a personal void and the need for other knowledge set out on a search for women identifying themselves with the spirituality of their ancestors, be it Mother Goddess, pagan beliefs, and other old sources of wisdom. Her fascinating journey from woman to woman (the youngest in her early 30s, the oldest in her late 80s) led her all over her native land as she sought female wisdom and the plurality of spiritual paths hidden within Poland’s mono-religious society.

Clockwise: Maria, the Pipe Carrier for Poland and honorary member of a Native American community (they didn’t say which, unfortunately :/), Elwing, a modern Druid, and a Whisperer - a kind of Russian-Orthodox Witch. (It’s complicated.)

"The shaman moves between realities, a magical athlete of states of consciousness engaged in mythic feats. The shaman is a middle man between ordinary reality and nonordinary reality, as Castaneda has dramatically described. The shaman is also a “power-broker” in the sense of manipulating spiritual power to help people, to put them into a healthy equilibrium.”

- Michael Harner
The Way of the Shaman
http://amzn.to/14uFDBI

Image Credit: Annelie Solis