Sunday, March 7, 2010

Malidoma Patrice Some

Currently reading parts of a book by Malidoma P. Some called THE HEALING WISDOM OF AFRICA. I am admittedly fairly ignorant of the belief systems and spiritual perspectives of most of Africa, and really enjoying learning more about the approach to shamanism by the indigenous peoples of Africa... especially the Dagara people to which Malidoma Some belongs.

I am delighted to see the similarities and intrigued by the differences of approach to healing ways. Been really inspired by some of the what Malidoma has said so far in the book. Here is one quote that struck me as wonderful...

Indigenous people see the physical world as a reflection of a more complex, subtler, and more lasting yet invisible entity called energy. It is as if we are the shadows of a vibrant and endlessly resourceful intelligence dynamically involved in a process of continuous self-creation. Nothing happens here that did not begin in that unseen world. If something in the physical world is experiencing instability, it is because its energetic correspondent has been experiencing instability. The indigenous understanding is that the material and physical problems that a person encounters are important only because they are an energetic message sent to the this visible world. Therefore, people go to that unseen energetic place to try to repair whatever damage or disturbances are being done there, knowing that if things are healed there, things will be healed here. Ritual is the principal tool used to approach that unseen world in a way that will rearrange the structure of the physical world and bring about material transformation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Here is some more excellent material from the book SOULCRAFT by Bill Plotkin. Much food for thought...

There are many varieties of addicition, but, sooner or later, we each have to address what is the paramount addiction in the Western world: our psychological dependence on the worldview and lifestyle of Western civilization itself. This is the point brilliantly made by eco-psychologist Chellis Glendinning in her book My Name Is Chellis, and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization. The Western worldview says, in essence, that technological progress is the highest value and that we were born to consume, to endlessly use and discard natural resources, other species, technological gadgets, toys, and, often, other people, especially if they are poor or from the Third World. The most highly prized freedom is the right to shop. It's a world of commodities, not entities, and economic expansion is the primary measure of progress. Competition, taking, and hoarding are higher values than cooperation, sharing, and gifting. Profits are valued over people, money over meaning, Firest-World entitilement over global peace and justice, "us" or "them." This addiction is the most dangerous one inf the world, not only because of its impact on most of humanity but because it is rapidly undermining the natural systems that sustain the earth's biosphere.

All other addictions in the West can be seen as components of this larger one. If we are born to continue, then it is a dog-eat-dog world, there is no deeper meaning, no human soul, and creation is just a huge, dumb joke. That's a conclusion you wouldn't want to live with every day; better to distract and deaden yourself with addictions.

By the time we reach our first adulthood, our ways of thinking about ourselves and the world have been molded and constrained by the predominant values of Western culture. This limits us in ways difficult to see at first; we are like fish in the sea, unconscious of the cultural waters within which we have come of age.

All children and adolescents fashion personalities that fit within their native culture. In the West, that means a society largely materialistic, synthetic, technological, anthropocentric, ethnocentric, and egocentric. Fitting in with such a culture is difficult to accomplish without losing contact with our souls and with nature, the web of life. Western lifestyles that revolve around a constant barrage of anemic distractions may be, in part, ways of self-numbing so as to minimize the pain of that loss. Many people have succumbed to daily routines of soul-starving entertainment, superficial fashion, and mind-numbing jobs.

This way of life becomes an addiction. The more we live this way, the more alienated we become from something deeper and more meaningful, and the more we need this way of life to keep us from experiencing that alienation.

How do you address an addiction this pervasive? Begin with the soulcraft practices found in these pages. Relinquishing attachment to the adolescent identity is a primary means of overcoming our dependence on the cultural worldview within which that identity was formed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity...and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. - William Blake