“If you are unprogrammed in the cultural causa-sui project, then you have to invent your own: you don’t vibrate to anyone else’s tune. You see that the fabrications of those around you are a lie, a denial of truth. A creative person becomes then, in art, literature, and religion the mediator of natural terror and the indicator of a new way to triumph over it. He reveals the darkness and the dread of the human condition and fabricates a new symbolic transcendence over it. This has been the function of the creative deviant from shamans through Shakespeare.” –Ernest Becker
We’ve all experienced that feeling of emptiness at our core: that something important is missing. Even in our synthetic, dog-eat-dog society, we can feel our souls aching, pushing up like flowers through the asphalt of our lives. We catch fleeting glimpses of it in poetry, in the embrace of a lover, in the howl of a distant coyote, or during a magnanimous sunset. Most of us muffle that cry, pressing the thousand-and-one inane snooze-buttons of our lives. But some of us are beginning to hear the call again.
For us, all is not lost. We are beginning to listen again. We are finding that there is still time to reunite ourselves with mystery. And nobody is reuniting things with the Great Mystery more so than modern day shamans, specifically, post-modern shamans with the ability to transform disaster into regeneration. Here then are six ways you may be a Disaster Shaman.
1.) You heal disaster situations through shamanic cosmology and ecopsychology
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” –Walter Bagehot
In the disaster situation that is our modern culture, you are a force to be reckoned with. The world is your tribe. You demand respect. “Chiefs,” “Head hunters,” even “fools” have no choice but to respect you. For you bridge the gap between victim and world, between lost citizen and the natural world, between the innocent and the numinous. Your reach is beyond the typical person’s reach precisely because you are a force of nature first and a person second.
Your way of healing is by immersing yourself in disaster situations and doing your best to heal (directly or indirectly) as a beacon of hope for the victims involved. You are a shoulder to lean on, a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.
You empower the disempowered and lift the downtrodden through shamanic reengineering. Your philanthropy is not money, necessarily, but sacred energy. You realize as Henry David Thoreau did: “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” But you do not preach. You teach by eco-conscious example, using ecopsychology as a direct method to reintroduce the afflicted to the healing properties of the greater cosmos, using a post-modern shamanic cosmology as a medium for safe passage into higher realms of thinking about the human soul.