In this blog post… our first contributor Marc-John Brown shares his knowledge of Shamanism and how it can be used to aid us in today’s modern world. This is the first of a series of posts that explore the mysteries and wisdom of the indigenous tribes of South America and includes a guided shamanic journey
Shamanism is a word of western origin. It’s what helps us in the modern world to categorise and define what is one of the most ancient practices for perpetually reaching and maintaining balance in our Earthly lives as human beings. It has been practised since the beginning of human existence on Earth and can be seen as a complete understanding of the many layers of our natural world – both ethereal and physical.
One of the main principles of Shamanism is that we come to Earth to find a balanced relationship between people, plants and animals. There is no separation between these elements of nature. Everything in existence is seen as having life when seen through the eyes of shamanism. So the Earth and all things upon her (the Earth is seen as female in most shamanic traditions) are seen as “spirits” expressing themselves. And through this expression, each individual spirit brings something very unique to the world – known as its ‘medicine’.
Through using a variety of techniques, shamanism allows us to discover, create, build and hone the above-mentioned relationships in order to achieve unprecedented levels of personal growth and transformation. At the same time, this allows us to be of great service to our communities and the wider world. And so, on that note, it is my absolute pleasure and honour to be able to bring you the opportunity to discover such a relationship of your own – with your power animal.
The concept of a power animal is an integral part of modern shamanic practices. As previously stated, each element of nature – each being, including you – brings its own unique medicine to the world. And at each stage of our lives, whatever particular “medicine” is needed to help us through the challenges that may present themselves is brought forward by different spirits. For the most part, whilst living on Earth, it is power animals (and at times, plants) that bring these medicines forward to us.
Before we embark on our shamanic journey together, I whole-heartedly respect that all of this may seem a little foreign to those who – until now – have been unfamiliar with shamanism as a way of life and/or practice. Therefore, allow me to provide you with a brief example from my own life of just how these “medicines” are brought forward by way of the shamanic journey.
Recently I have been mulling a lot over ways to generate more cash flow, as my translation business has died down a lot in recent times and is no longer sufficient to maintain my family. I have a property which I rent out on a short term basis as serviced accommodation, and have been experiencing some complications with the planning department of my city’s local authorities. On top of this, I have an investor based in Portugal who is also a wine and honey producer and has been sending me some of his products to sell in my city. Without having my primary source of income – usually translation, writing and language work – secured, I have felt a little overwhelmed with the products from Portugal. And this has been especially so due to the situation surrounding the above-mentioned complications with my serviced accommodation unit.
This morning I made a point in getting out of bed at 6am – much earlier than my wife and daughter. I got up with the purpose of doing a shamanic journey in order to seek clarity on the situation and work out the appropriate action to take. I was met by a number of power animals, each presenting themselves one after the other with their own individual lessons to teach; their own ‘medicine’ for me.
The macaw came forward and taught me to use my colourful and well-decorated use of language and self-expression as it is a very big asset to me. It has earned me lots of money previously in life and it has the potential to carry on earning me more money. It also has the potential to allow me to communicate my needs and my position (in terms of the serviced accommodation unit) in a charming and expressive way – earning me friends and thus “winning people over”.
The Salamander presented itself, showing me that I should only ever keep tools in my “tool bag” which actually serve me, and that I should shed all that does not serve me (addressing the issues of overwhelm and choosing what I allow to enter/exit my life). He also taught me that, as the storm of life becomes too heavy, I may be able to find solace in solitude, moving into a deeply quiet and personal space of meditation. Salamander taught me to be solid, to hold on tight and to bear the storm as it comes, as it is the very storm which shapes me as a person.
I was then visited by a plant totem – the thistle. This is the national symbol of my country and it showed me that I hold almighty strength and am able to be beaten to a pulp by life’s challenges, and yet still stand strong. It showed me that I have innate strength in standing strong and speaking my truth – in any climate – in a diplomatic and balanced way. I am able to do this whilst doing no harm to others, and whilst being fully present in myself and delivering my truth with precision and sharpness. The perfect tool for maintaining personal boundaries with people (very important when dealing with my investor and what he sends me from Portugal).
Finally, I was visited by the elephant. This big, strong animal came to teach me to be solid and grounded, and to be crystal clear on what I want in life. Elephant reminded me that I must stay strong on the path I choose, whilst allowing all other shiny and colourful distractions to merely fall away, like water dripping off the elephant’s back; to be grounded, firm, clear and persistent. He taught me to choose only one product from the Portuguese imports and to stick with it until its sale becomes consistent and successful. He also taught me that I am to do this for the sake of my family’s peace and prosperity.
As you can see, when we look closely at each of these animals, they all bear the characteristics of their mentioned lessons in real life. So whether in a meditative state or a fully conscious state of mind, all it takes is a little bit of open-minded observation to recognise what lessons the occasion is bringing forth for us. And it is exactly this that the original peoples of our planet have been utilising since the beginning of time to help them keep balanced and focused as they carry out the duties of their daily lives.
The amazing thing is that only two days after embarking on the above-detailed journey, I began searching freelancer websites and applied for two separate projects. And guess what? I nailed both projects immediately! The most important one for which I didn’t even need to provide samples of previous works – they accepted me based solely upon my proposal letter! The project involves doing exactly as the macaw taught me – expressing myself and writing articles for household name in the US online world.
Now, before we continue and begin to dig deep into your own shamanic journey, let me just clear up a couple of points. I do not expect you to have the same – or anywhere near the same – kind of experience of shamanic journeying as I have demonstrated here. These results are based upon almost 7 years of practice and training in shamanism, having spent time with the tribespeople of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and having been initiated by my Brazilian teacher in 2013. The aim for you is to become acquainted with the process of shamanic journeying – and hey, if you encounter just one power animal, we may call it a success!
So, without further ado, I invite you to make yourself comfortable and tune into the recording below. I wish you a very fruitful journey…
Marc-John Brown is a shamanic initiate, linguist, writer and entrepreneur. He has a deep passion for answering the questions “what does it mean to be human?” and “what does it mean to be a man?”
This passion has led him to spend time with the tribespeople and ancestral doctors of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and South Korea. He was initiated by his Brazilian teacher after 2 years of training and has witnessed his path being guided by Mother Nature ever since.