The Mythos of Consciousness
“The question to ask of Myth is not ‘Is it real?’ but rather ‘Does it work?'” ~Joseph Campbell
Myth is the reality of the Soul, just as History is the reality of the day-to-day linear world. Mythos is the topography, or cosmology, of the Soul. The terrain of our Soul is determined by our dreams and aspirations, trials and triumphs being played out upon the fields of consciousness.
We humans have three primary mythologies by which we live.
The Family of Origin Paradigm is that we are who we are and act as we act because of our cultural orientation, the imprinting received from our families and the psychological responses we have acquired in reaction to the love, encouragement, tragedies and traumas of our life. These factors, being woven into the fabric of our inherent genetic make-up, create the expression of who we, as individuals, are in our own unique life, emotions, beliefs and worldviews. This mythic perspective is the agreement we accept when we enter therapy or engage in self-awareness programs. We seek to alter our behavior through making changes in our emotional response systems by coming to an understanding of why we act and feel the way we do.
The Biochemical Paradigm states that our actions and behaviors, our states of consciousness, are predetermined by the degree of proper chemical balances within our brain, endocrine system and organs. Our behaviors and emotional states and thoughts can be affected through the introduction of the necessary chemicals into the organism, chemicals which will promote balance mentally, physically and emotionally. Within this mythology we find modern drug therapy, utilizing antidepressants, mood elevators, antibiotics, painkillers and antacids. Also under the umbrella of the Biochemical Paradigm are the intake of vitamins, hormone replacements, and the whole panoply of supplements we ingest to create a more healthy state of being. This arena includes nutritional therapy, herbal remedies and health-conscious eating.
The Spiritual Paradigm suggests that we, as spiritual beings, are Spirit in manifest form and that the experiences of our lives are a synchronistic expression of congruent spiritual intent. In this spiritual mythology we are considered to be a part of a greater whole that is seeking the maintenance of harmony and balance through our ever-expanding awareness of choice.
Biochemical alterations of psycho-physiological states of consciousness do not stand separate from the spiritual, however, nor can purely psychological states be divorced from a healthy spiritual attunement. In this vein, self-administered psychotropics, such as caffeine, nicotine, hallucinogens or opiates are attempts to recreate an experience of integration with a greater whole, the abuse of these being a spiritual quest gone awry. And we know that the development of an integrated emotional and mental outlook will promote a healthy spiritual outlook in life as well as a healthier immune system.
The basis of Shamanism arises from a deep ecology of Spirit providing a unique synthesis of these three paradigms, partaking of each, the psychological, biochemical and spiritual, in a measured and appropriate balance responsive to the requirement of the individual’s or situation’s need. The Shamanic paradigm is free of the dogma and doctrine that is observed in the stand-alone position held by the institutionalized viewpoint that comes from over-investment in a particular worldview. Shamanism’s approach acknowledges that the integrity of the whole being is a multidimensional dance that is an ever changing dynamic emanating from the spiritual through the psycho-physiological experience.
The Shamanic approach perceives the spiritual functions that underlie, as a basis, all resultant mental, emotional and physical states of being. In order to most fully comprehend the meaning of the term ‘spiritual’ requires that we investigate its significance in Shamanic mythology. In order for this to be accomplished an investigation into the supportive phenomena and principles of Shamanic reality are called for.
Life Force, in its concentrated and highly charged state, is what we refer to Shamanically as Power. The operative principles of Power specify that when there are two fields of Life Force the one that has the lesser intensity of charge will flow towards the field with a greater dynamic charge, or intensity. A secondary feature of Power is that it flows along the path of Attention. When Attention is aligned with Intent, Power flows along the path of Attention and makes manifest that Intent. Thirdly, a field of Life Force resonates with the frequencies that it intercepts. The greater the intensity/charge the field carries, the more pronounced is the resonate response. The application of these underlying principles is the basis of effective manifestation, or prayer.
Spirit requires an embodied presence of Power to be anchored and present here in the World. As an example, YOU qualify. You are embodied and are endowed with Life Force, allowing for Spirit to be present in expression. But what is meant by ‘Spirit’? Spirit, in Shamanic usage, is frequency. Frequency is that which moves, vibrates. I am referring here to light. Light is a frequency, sometimes a waveform and sometimes a particle, depending on the intent of the participant. When we refer to the Spirit of a particular star, or plant, or feature of the landscape, we are acknowledging its unique frequency pattern, a pattern that carries information about that entity.
When Light/Spirit interacts with a field of Life Force it transmits its frequency pattern to that field. As we each are resonating at the unique frequency of our own Spirit, the impaction of another frequency into our field alters our consciousness, if even only briefly. Should we place our Attention upon that presence come into our field of consciousness, we establish a connection with that Spirit. Its Power, or Life Force, then flows into us in an interactive manner. We have established relationship with the Spirit of that entity, integrating its frequency into our own.
Some interactions of Spirits within our field of consciousness produce desirable advances, while others may be disagreeable. Using the metaphor of color, when we mix blue and red together a pleasant purple is the result. If, however, we mix together red and green, a muddy brown results. Whereas we may cherish the beautiful introduction of purple into our consciousness, it is safe to say that none of us would wish to spread a muddy brown into our field of awareness. There is no placement of judgment upon red or green, only the recognition that they don’t mix well together.
The specific spiritual imprint of a culture, carried forth in genetic resonance through the generations, creates a field of awareness that is recognizable and distinct to that culture and its members. Utilizing the color metaphor still, if one particular culture is resonating in the blue range, the introduction of a spiritual resonance attuned to the red spectrum will have a beneficial effect. For another culture, resonating in the metaphoric field of green, the introduction of that same spectral red would be disastrous. So it is that for one culture the spiritual resonance of another culture’s icons may be highly beneficial, or it may disable the affected culture like a virus. Examples of this are evident. The introduction of the Owl Spirit in a European society’s mythos, for example, brings with it an endowment of knowledge. Try bringing that same Owl Spirit into many Native American cultures and the result is illness and death. To understand this enables one to release the judgments that it is the Owl itself that is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or, conversely, that the negatively affected tribal peoples are somehow just superstitious and fearful while the positively affected peoples are enlightened. Neither is true. Another example can be seen in different peoples’ reaction to alcohol. For the ancient Greeks wine was a Spirit worshipped, whereas for the Irish the Alcohol Spirit (hmmmŠ) is highly deleterious.
It is important to understand that Spirit is pure, simply a frequency. There is no such thing as an evil Spirit. All Spirit simply IS. Soul, however, can be corrupted, as Soul is comprised of a resonate-capable field of Life Force and this field may become dissonant and disruptive to the consciousness of the body/mind/emotions with the introduction of a life-negative impact, such as experienced in trauma and violation.
Bringing this exploration into the arena of individual experience, we can now begin to look at the dynamics of spiritual reality as it applies to our state of being and consciousness. Specifically, how our relationships with the Spirits are accountable for our state of being and how the mythos of our consciousness, the topography of our Soul, drives our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Consider that the Soul is our Life Force field contained within the physical form of the body. In its neutral non-affected state it resonates simply at the frequency pattern of our own individual Spirit. The imprint of another’s Spirit, such as a parent, spouse or antagonist, alters that resonance. We now experience ourselves in reference to that other person. The alteration may be pleasant and supportive or fraught with agitation and anxiety. When we find that we are in a state of exaltation when connected with a person, it is a consequence of spiritual interaction and the resultant mutual transfer of vital force between the two parties that accounts for the altered state we are experiencing. And, when we experience agitation in the presence and interaction with another, it is again due to this transfer of vital force, though the frequency of the soul force of that person is detrimental to our equilibrium. It is in the understanding of the nature of Spirit that we can bring to resolution the disruption that is experienced in relationship with another.
There are non-corporeal forces, emanations, really, of Light/Spirit that are transcendent of our human frequency pattern. One we may call Forgiveness, another Compassion, amongst the many such frequencies available. By placing our Attention upon a particular emanation we are able then to incorporate its frequency into our own Soul. When we place our Attention upon the emanation of Forgiveness, for example, we incorporate forgiveness into our own resonate field. As we then forgive ourselves the guilt or shame we may hold in reference to another person, or the archetype which that person represents in our consciousness, the dissonance is re-tuned, like a guitar string which has become over-taut brought back into pitch. Compassion, likewise, retunes the frequency, which is being broadcast by another, as it enters our field so that we are able to experience the pure frequency of that person’s Spirit.
Stars and planets each have their own frequency pattern, or Spirit. When we hold our Attention upon that celestial body we receive its imprint into our Soul. Star groupings, that is, constellations, produce a symphonic response within us. Experiential references of humanity’s relationship with these night sky Beings have been compiled into the various systems of astrology. Shamanic Astrology undertakes the experiential investigations of how these relationships with our starry relatives activate the specific archetypal expressions within the Soul, both individually and collectively. As the stars and planets wheel about our sky performing incredibly complex interactive dances between themselves the resultant symphonic harmonics created are also expressed from within the deepest sources of our Soul as recognizable impulses, processes and structures of consciousness. Just as our cultures determine to a large degree the lay of the land of our inner worlds and so set the field of resonance for each person of that culture and how any spiritual influence will interact for good or ill, the seasons of our birth, astrologically referred to as the ‘signs’, act as an innate resonance of field which modifies the particular manner of how we respond to the integration of the frequency of the celestial beings we call stars and planets. Literally, the topography of our Soul is inscribed and molded by these celestial forces and events.
Within this realm of the Soul the further creation of the mythos of consciousness is formulated through our chosen interactions with the Spirits of the natural world about us. When we retreat to ‘our spot’ in the forest, upon the shore or in the desert, wherever that special place is for us each, we find a comfort and peace which is not definable simply by the phenomena of environs and place. There is that ‘special something’ there, and only for us. We have been touched by the Spirit of that place. Literally. Those of us who are Earth Peoples actively engage the Spirits of specific trees, springs, rock spires, animals and places. The mutual relationship established with the Spirits of the Earth brings a resonant benefit to both the Spirits and us. Remember that we, too, are Spirit, and that they, the other Spirits, seek relationship with us as well. We are not apart from nature; rather we are a part of nature. The personal value of these types of relationships with the Spirits is that their frequency interacting with our own provides us with unique capabilities, or gifts. When we have relationship with a particular animal Spirit the resultant frequency harmonization may activate our ability to ‘see’ in the deep and dark recesses of the Soul, thereby enabling us to assist those who are in need of a clear and unbiased view of what the dynamics within their own psyche are. When we make relationship with certain mountains that are weather generators we are able to utilize that relationship to alter weather patterns. The Spirit of an herb may awaken knowledge within us that had been beyond our ken and reckoning prior to the weaving of the plant’s presence within our own.
Not all presences of Spirit need be made manifest within our own body. Power can be stored within ceremonial objects such as drums, rattles, icons and other implements. By providing a body in the form of the ceremonial item and empowering it, by holding constant Attention upon the Intent of Power remaining contained within that item, it is possible then to call a Spirit into that item. This is not as easy as it may sound in reading, for one must continually, 24 hours a day for the duration of the icons active life, hold that Attention! However, when one who is capable of so doing, and does so, the ceremonial item then becomes alive, the residing place, the home, for the Spirit that has agreed to so embody.
We all hold natural and innate relationships with a variety of Spirits. These resonate forces of creation we may refer to as Luck, Abundance, Kindness, Peace, Integrity, Safety, etc. Throughout human history we have recognized these elemental forces, given them names, revered them as deities, housed them in icons, referred to them as saints, angels and spirits. The archetypal nature of a given animal, element, object or aspect of creation becomes the resonating chamber for the specific frequency that is being sung through it by the Force of like nature. Some examples of this would be the Winds; the East Wind carries with it Knowledge, the South Wind brings Opportunity, West Wind receives from us our toxic or discordant emanations while the North Wind sends us Healing. These are but a few of many.
When a person holds themselves in an open-frequency state, such as Appreciation, then the Spirit of any given Wind, in this example, is able to transfer it’s charge and frequency into our field. If a person holds themselves in Arrogance, Opportunity will be unable to integrate within their presence. Should that person hold a mindset of rigid left-brain scientific empiricism as being the only model of investigation, Knowledge is disabled from awakening within them.
In Shamanic diagnosis the practioner looks to see (or sense, or feel or hear) which Spirit has been driven away by the client’s behavior and beliefs. Assisting the client to release the inhibiting frequency pattern allows the beneficial frequency, or Spirit, that had been repulsed, to now inhabit, or integrate, into the field of consciousness of that person. The consequence is a reestablishment and fulfillment of that frequency specific expression in their life.
In this manner the Shamanic paradigm partakes of the spiritual essence of the therapeutic requirement, that of relinquishing the element that is being held in obstruction of wholeness. This operation is done purely at the level of quantum reality rather than within the psychological realm. At the same time, by bringing a needed Spirit into relationship with the person seeking assistance, the requirement of the biochemical model to replace what has been missing is fulfilled. The regenerative function of Shamanic treatment, usually through ceremony, surges through into the manifest realms of emotive feeling, mental thoughts and beliefs and physical renewal.
When one has been struggling for wholeness without apparent success, when one has been doing one thing without sufficient result, it may be time to change one’s approach. The value of any particular Myth is not our investment in it’s being the one-and-only truth, but simplyŠ. Does it work? If it is no longer working, change paradigms. I offer these perspectives from a Shamanic viewpoint as an alternative, an option that has worked on behalf of humanity since the Dawn of our Emergence. From the Mythos of Consciousness our world will emerge. May yours be a joyful world!