Last week, I shared a little story about Sandra Ingerman, our bizarre 2-degrees-away connection, and the resulting openings I’ve had using her Shamanic Meditations CDs. This week, I have another treat to share that is gifted to us from Ms. Ingerman – an extraordinarily special book that somehow articulates why it is shamanism means to much to me, and bazillions of others.
Awakening to the Spirit World is a sizable text co-authored by Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman (author of another one of my favorites, Medicinemaker). The words within unfold so many layers of wisdom and intrigue, it’s hard to condense it down, but I’ll gather a few favorites and perhaps entice you to read more. Firstly, Awakening reminds us why it is shamanism is so precious to so many, and sheds light on how what is literally the oldest spiritual practice known to humankind still not only exists, but is once again flourishing. Speaking for myself, it is in part this long, illustrious and trusted history that at first anchored me into a shamanic awareness. When you gift yourself the opportunity to take part in rituals that are almost as old as the human race, there’s a primal awakening the spirit takes on – a deep-rooted awareness of a timeless connection to both humanness and spirituality. Ingerman and Wesselman ignite this mystique, this glorious intoxication, and then dive into some of the various rituals. They invite us to create such ceremonies in our every day lives, utilizing our instincts as a guide that say how and when and where. The invitation to take the ancient into the present has a timeless appeal – merging old and new in one fell swoop, reminding us of the construct that time is, and taking us back into the essence of who we really are.
Nature is also exposed with love and integrity in Awakening, as the authors do a magnificent job of describing the Mother’s role in our spiritual journey. With words that are both mystifying and tangible, the connection of human to nature to spirit world is artfully defined. Nature is displayed as a mirror for our paths – a direct reflection of our states of being. We begin to learn how even the most mundane, stagnant items hold divination to those who know what to look for. And we’re also shown how to use the elements to receive advice and guidance in our lives.
Ingerman and Wesselman seem to leave no stone uncovered as they discuss the myriad benefits a conscious shamanistic path can offer. The connection between our creative selves is also unraveled, and how this relates to our spiritual ascension, and once again connects us to the Earth. The immense significance of dreams is also demystified, with special attention shown to the visions gifted from the subconscious realms. My favorite part of the book, however, are the chapters on death and dying. Shamanism uses the duality of our primary reality to help us transcend beyond what is seen, and in no way is that more magically apparent then in the cycle of birth and death. Awakening offers a shamanic perspective on what death really is, and of course, is not. They discuss the ancient art of psychopomp – or a shaman’s ability to communicate with the dead, in order to bring back messages to the living. And the chapter “Experiential Work with Death and Dying” is exactly what it sounds like – a chance to *experience* a bit more of the death process, and start *feeling* the opportunity it holds for us to awaken to what is, rather than believe what our fears are desperately trying to communicate.
I loved Awakening to the Spirit World for its practical, logical *and* mystical teachings. Our world is crawling with self-help proclamations – every week, there’s a another new age way to wake up and live better. Yet there’s something so deliciously real about taking on a spiritual practice that is almost as old as people are. Something that outlasts religion, and stays true to the core of spirituality. Shamanism offers a foundation for ascension, with rituals and ceremonies that help one feel connected to the whole, and yet it also absolutely insists on finding one’s own path. Any shaman will tell you – there is no “one” way to awaken. There is only *your* way. Awakening to the Spirit World gifts the reader with a chance to more clearly define their own path into the great unknown. The ancient wisdom within is shared not so that you may take Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman’s word, but so you can apply it to your unique path, and actually experience the profound magic of a shamanic awakening. I highly recommend taking this written word journey, and seeing how it transforms you too.