My family of origin is fairly traditional. I grew up in the South in the United States, and in my schools and social circles, no one taught or discussed anything about shamanism, energy healing, the power of the mind, the invisible connection we all have to each other, to all of life, and to an unseen world. I was drawn to this path by something deeper than I can even understand, and I am grateful for the insights I have gained and the humble offerings I hope to make in the world. It is something I rarely talk about with my family of origin, however, because they do not believe in the same things, though they are incredibly good-hearted and loving.
I muse sometimes, though, at the way the other world finds its way into mainstream consciousness. For example, in shamanic understanding, there is a spiritual upperworld and an underworld that exists concurrent with our every day reality. Additionally, there is a middleworld to which we can travel, with both seen and unseen beings. At a family dinner this past week, I asked my ten-year old nephew what he was reading. He replied that he was reading this book about a man who runs a hot dog stand. In front of the hot dog stand is a place where the sidewalk opens, and young kids are transported to a lower world below full of magic and adventures. In the book they go and they have to find a certain color ring to come back, I believe. My mother then commented that it was similar to a book she was reading, Outlander, where the female protagonist walks between a couple of rocks and is magically transported back in time two hundred years to the Scottish countryside.
So, though in this case they are classified as fiction, the ideas stay with us, no matter what beliefs most of society holds to. Young adult novels are full of magic and adventure – full of journeys to the upperworld and the underworld. Adult novels are the same. Movies are the same. And we love it! We love reading and watching these stories – all because something deep within us registers with the rightness, the plausibility, the magic that we typically deny.
I smile on my way, with my limited understanding, with hope that the worlds the shamans visit retain the power to right our earthly mistakes if need be, to guide us to fix the planetary imbalances we are causing. We do not walk alone.