It’s perhaps not over the top to say that a Shamanic Dismemberment is the single most powerful experience an individual can have, save perhaps for an NDE, in a cycle of mortality.
The one who becomes dismembered is not the true soul, of course, but rather the construct – compounded of culture and upbringing, family and choices – which have made one what one appears to be up to that point.
Now this process is never complete in and of itself, and the it is ongoing throughout one’s life, or beyond. But the first cut, the initial blow, that falls in a very short span of time. When you are Dismembered, your construct is literally torn into pieces, quickly ,ruthlessly and very painfully. Leaving the rest of the life to fit the pieces back together again ; properly, one would hope.
And, as I’m a.very.slow.learner, I’m a small fraction of the way along the re-memberment path at this stage, 15 years later.
And so I often still catch myself running narratives in my head. Monologues which tell me just how fucking stupid this person or that is, or what will happen if I don’t get this mess cleaned up now, or how this wouldn’t have happened if that other person hadn’t done that thing.
Not all of these internal monologues are toxic, but enough of them are that I’m confronted with a partial-demon-self at least on a weekly basis.
And these fragmentary demons are just exactly what we, who have been sundered by a Dismemberment, must try to vanquish, or tame, or integrate into our Selves before we die this time around.
Personally, I’ve had better results integrating them than taming them. There’s a good deal to be learnt from one’s primordial rage when it is slotted into the correct place in the soul. Taming – subduing – the demons has rarely worked for me, as they tend to pop up later on in new and more ferocious guises. So, no domesticating of personal devils for me, thank you. Not yet anyway. They are only really welcome when they can form a life-positive, useful resource within my eternal Self. And namby-pamby anger monsters don’t do that, for me.
And then of course there’s the vanquishing trick.
No religious exorcism or secular psychotherapy has managed to get one of my more problematic parts to fade away into thin air.
But the one weapon I have – we all have – in the arsenal of personal integrity is a misleadingly simple one.
It’s laughter. Full-bellied, loud and heartfelt laughter which rocks your mind as it shakes your organs. I’ve never come across the demon – personal or otherwise – who can stand in the face of that.
Pic: Bleak Swamp by Philip Straub