Shamans are Spiritual Scientists

Shamans are Spiritual Scientists

I was once driving back from a tea date with a semi-skeptical friend; I’d just told him I could talk to spirits, and he’d gone awfully quiet. I wondered if he thought I was bonkers, so I asked him what was going on in his head. Ironically, I was also talking to his guides, who were telling me he was having trouble accepting what I was saying, and that a conversation about it would be useful. “Well,” he said carefully, “I find it interesting, but it’s hard to believe. I’m an empiricist, you know” he said, by way of apologetic explanation. My friend was getting his Ph.D. is sociology, and was deep into conducting his research. He was surprised and looked at me sideways when I smiled and said, “Me too.”

“Really?” he said.” Really,” I said.

“What is empiricism, after all?” I asked him rhetorically, trying to draw him out.

“Well,” he replied, “it’s not based on belief, it’s based on validating things we can experience through the senses.”

“And what is it that you do in your research as a social scientist?”

“Well,” he said, “I gather data in a thorough way from my own observations.”


How the Celestron 200 sees the night sky.

“Dude,” I told him, “that’s exactly what I do. Anything I tell you about the world of spirit comes from things I’ve experienced and observed myself, using my own senses to conduct research into other realms. There’s no belief involved. It just so happens that my senses are much more finely-tuned than most; I’m like a Hubble telescope instead of one of those Celestron 200’s you have in the backyard. Just because the Celestron can only see pinpricks of light doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole lot else out there–it’s just limited by its magnification level. Which would you rather trust to show you what the universe really looks like?”


How the Hubble Telescope sees the night sky.

That definitely made him think. Shamanic practitioners are very much spiritual scientists, not theologians.  What we do and see *is* based on an expanded ability to perceive more of the universe than most people, just like the Hubble Telescope. No belief involved. Unlike priests, we don’t generally sit around debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin; we’ll actually hone the lens of our Hubble sight on the matter to find out, if it might be useful for our people. Above all, shamanic practitioners are practical; we’re interested in results, not philosophy, and those results are grounded, frankly, in what folks nowadays might call empirical research. Certainly, shamanic practitioners are the original researchers, who’ve been honing and defining “techniques of ecstasy” through experimentation for hundreds of thousands of years. I definitely wouldn’t believe some of the things I know now, if I hadn’t experienced them myself, so I’m sympathetic to skeptical others who feel the same. But as mentioned before, it’s not a matter of belief, it’s a matter of how much of a finely-tuned, human data-collection instrument you want to use. Hubble or Celestron 200?


Hubble can show you there’s some pretty crazy stuff out there! Would you have trouble believing this existed somewhere out in space if I just told you about it?

So, these are reports of my research into other realms. I certainly don’t have all the answers, I just tell it as I see (and hear) it and have corroborated with others (as much as possible), and you can take that for what you will. I am constantly learning and expanding my understanding of the Universe and the way the world of spirit works, and everytime I learn something new, it shifts my view in profound ways. These writings are a snapshot of my understanding at this current moment in time…so stay tuned for more updates from the field.

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