It’s a fault in the system, not someone trying to break in – but to say that alarm would wake the dead is an understatement.
My prana fled back down my sushumna and lay at the base of my spine in a shrivelled ball for quite some time.
Here’s a good question: “What is the difference between a priest and a shaman?”
Robert Heinlein apparently never did see the difference.
The profession of shaman has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted to other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from on High to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the shaman is on the moral level of any other con man. But it is a lovely work if you can stomach it. [Lazarus Long, Time enough for Love]
But there is one – quite a big one, too.
The priest often says s/he has had a calling to the cloth. I’m sure this is true and I’d never intimate that I thought s/he was covering up an avaricious and indolent disposition (a la Heinlein) by opting for this profession. On the contrary, it is a tough row to hoe from what I can gather.
The priest is called by the community, or conscious level of God, to serve it.
Not so the shaman, who is called by the unconscious, cthonic god-level.
The priest has the support of church and populace, not to mention his elders.
The shaman undergoes the initiatory process all alone – that’s the point.
The priest mediates between humanity and the upperlevels of spirit.
The shaman does not mediate but forms personal attachments to parts of the underworld, from where she draws her knowledge.
In general, the priests of today have little esoteric knowledge-they tend to the exoteric only.
The shaman is all about esoteria.
The number of ministers who have experienced a real, to-the-bone shamanic initiation is small, but not zero, and makes me think they’ve missed their true vocation.
But the avocation of priest may be the only avenue open to some of us in the civilised world, when what we potentially are is this other thing, a shaman.
PS It’s entirely possible, of course, that I’m making absolutely no sense at all.
If this is so, please forgive – I may be coming down with something.