We were so intrigued by the concepts shared in our first interview that we brought back Andrew Camargo, founding teacher at The School of Modern Soul Science. In a series of interviews conducted on November 7 and November 15, 2018, we dug much deeper into the shamanic archetype and its' relevance to contemporary culture. We are very honored to offer a transcription of that interview and some exclusive video content.
Hi, this is Aimee Shaw from The Urban Shaman and I have Andrew Camargo, the founding teacher from the School Modern Soul Science here with me today. We’ve had Andrew on before, but today we want to talk specifically about the shamanic archetype and get into the different facets of that, while we work towards a modern definition of shamanism. So welcome Andrew. It’s good to have you here. For our subscribers who may not have prior exposure to your work with the shamanic archetype, can you spend a few minutes talking about the shamanic archetype and what inspired you to develop the workbook?
Andrew: When I was trying to figure out what was going on with me and I discovered this general concept of shamanism, I really identified with it, and I saw that was what I was going through [was shamanic initiation]. So I started to research this concept of shamanism. I discovered that it’s a presence in virtually every culture and I found there was some figure in the culture that was basically doing the same role, and so I thought this was a universal presence. But I didn’t quite understand where that role could be found in my own culture. If every culture has a shaman, then where are the shamans in Western culture? I couldn’t find it all in one place, all in one figure. I found it kind of fragmented- there was some aspects of it here, aspects of it there. It seemed to me the bloody limbs of the original shaman had been dismembered and scattered all over Western culture. So I went on a conscious quest to try to reassemble and re-member this coherent archetypal figure. By archetypal I mean something that is so innate in humanity, so innate in the human soul, that it spontaneously emerges everywhere and at all times, regardless of circumstances, and not only regardless of circumstances, but in response to certain circumstances. Whenever there’s a need in a culture for a certain sort of healing it spontaneously emerges. It is universal in humanity. So this quest I went on was to try to retrieve this archetypal nature from my own culture. I spent about 12 years experimenting and researching and adventuring- throwing myself head-long into various subcultures, doing lots of experiments with myself as the subject. There were various aspects of my experimentation which included experimenting with entheogens. I built a drum for myself. I was reading Michael Harner and I was doing Core Shamanic practices like drumming. I had a blindfold on and I was drumming in attempt to go in trance, because I thought that’s what a shaman does. I was also doing things in my culture like going to raves, going to festivals, getting involved in the psychedelic underground culture. I was studying Carl Jung, which for me is the best example of a modern, Western shaman prior to the 21st century. Gosh- that’s not entirely true- there’s lots of examples. But he was a really good example for me because I was coming from a background in psychology, so I really resonated with him and his work.
But after about 15 years of this conscious work of trying to do this kind of soul retrieval on the concept of shamanism in our culture, I gathered together a certain amount of knowledge and a certain amount of experience, and I was ripe to generate this workbook. So I sat down, because I have a background in Jungian psychology, and I have a mind that is good at categorizing things, so I sat down to flush out the shamanic archetype. I said, ‘ok. There are certain things I keep seeing in every shamanic figure, regardless of what culture I’m looking at.' They're guides, that’s one thing. They often journey into the Underworld to do soul retrieval. So soul retrieval is a part of it. I was also seeing there were shamanic artists as well. They go into these visionary states and they get vision and then they paint the vision. But there are also musicians. They’re responsible for the sacred music of the culture, the tribe, and they channel this music. And so I sat down to try to flush out the archetype. I started with 12 facets, and I kept working on it, passing over it, and the 12 became 15, became 20, and eventually I ended up at 25 facets and when I got to 25 facets it just clicked. I couldn’t think of anything else. I thought this pretty much covers it [the shamanic archetype]. So then I went through each facet and I started giving my own sense of a definition for each one. I was making this workbook for people in my culture to reclaim this sense of being a shamanic individual. We don’t really have an established shamanic tradition within Western culture, so my goal was to help people in my culture self-identify as shamanic individuals. So for each of the 25 facets I came up with a list of prompted questions: Have you ever experienced this? Have you ever experienced that? And when the person is, “yes, yes yes!”, that is a sign that particular facet of the shamanic archetype is alive in them, is awake in them, is coming alive in them and they are manifesting it. And so the way archetypes are, they are universal and yet they manifest in unique ways in each individual. So I wanted to create a tool that simultaneously captures the universality of the shamanic archetype and how each individual can manifest it in an utterly unique way. So I created the workbook to do that- to unify modern, Western people in the sense of, “well yes, I am deeply touched by the archetype”, and yet at the same time carve out exactly how they are touched by it in a very unique way. So by working through all 25 of these facets they can get what I call a 'personal constellation' for how these 25 facets are combining in a unique way in them, based on their personal experiences, based on their karma, and their destiny. So it all comes together to form their unique personal constellation of this universal archetype.
There are people out there reading your words and they’re going to be critical, because they’re going to pick up on key words like when you talked about self-identifying, and they think that every white, New Ager now is self-identifying as a shaman, and that is a legitimate argument. It is a concern. So I’m wondering, because we do live in a very self-deterministic culture- it’s different from indigenous cultures where we have a tribe around us that confirms one is a shaman. We don’t have that system. We don’t have that lineage. We don’t even really have that role yet in our culture. So when people pick up on that word of 'self-identify', how does that really fit in to your vision of a modern definition of shamanism?
I’m really passionate about that myself too, and as you know from the School, I’ve been wailing against the dangers of self-identifying as a shaman. I’m very particular with my language. There’s a difference between being a shaman, at least the way I define it, and being a shamanic individual. Because it’s not the shaman archetype- it’s the shamanic archetype. It’s an adjective, not a noun. Because the shamanic archetype is universal, it constellates very broadly in a wide range of human beings. I estimate at least 1 in 10- at least 1 in 10 people constellate some aspects of the shamanic archetype powerfully. And maybe 1 in 100 are called to be shamans. But 1 in 10- that’s huge! It’s very useful for people to self-identify the ways in which they are being called to cultivate their shamanic individuality. Maybe they are visionary artists- that doesn’t make them a shaman. Maybe they are a psychotherapist- that doesn’t make them a shaman. So the workbook is actually helping modern, Western people be more nuanced and precise in the way they approach this. The workbook doesn’t lead to fantasies, creating delusions of grandeur. You don’t come away from this saying, “oh the workbook says I’m a shaman.” No- what the workbook does is it’s a mirror that shows you precisely the kind of shamanic individual you genuinely are, have been, are, and are becoming. So it’s very faithful in the way it shows you the intimate matters pertaining to your soul and your soul and spirit development. But being precise like this discourages people from the blanket statement and self-identifying that you’re a shaman. Where do we get the name “shaman” from? It’s actually one culture that uses that term, but that term has now become the archetypal term. The word “shaman” today basically means an archetype. So how are we going to define that archetype? I choose to define the word shaman as somebody who is dually initiated. Otherwise they’re like a shamanic apprentice or something like that. But it takes a long time and a lot of hard, hard work to get to the point that you can be a shaman, as opposed to a shamanic individual. Many people can be shamanic individuals, and because of the widespread crisis we’re all facing today many people are being called to cultivate their shamanic individuality. So this tool, this workbook, gives them more precision to do that without over-identifying with being a shaman.
What is the distinction? You’re saying there is one, but where is the line between a shamanic individual and an actual shaman?
Well, this is a bit arbitrary and based on my own personal preference, but I would say the line starts to solidify around the point when you start offering your services to other people and you become a tender of other souls. Because the initiation of a shamanic individual is self-healing. There’s a wound and you have to go through this harrowing experience to heal yourself. Once you’ve endure that and gone through that and you’re successful, and not everybody is successful, if you’re successful then you have a certain special kind of knowledge, a shamanic knowledge, and what comes with that is a shamanic capacity to be of service. When you enter into a place of service, then you become that- a shaman. But I go even further and I create a higher bar. For me a shaman is an elder. A shaman is someone who’s been in shamanic service for like 10 years. To use the analogy of the European trade system, there’s the apprentice, and then there’s the journeyman, and then there’s the master of the trade. So I personally equate the word shaman with the master of the trade, and we need a middle term for the journeyman. I don’t consider myself a shaman. I teach about archetypal shamanism and other related subjects, but I still see myself as a journeyman in this. A shaman to me is somebody who has a high level, who’s really done the majority of their self-healing work, which I am still in the midst of, and somebody who has a number of qualities, such as clairvoyance, is very capable of doing healing work, and is a master of their trade. Then you get into this, ‘well, they’re just master shamans.’ So okay, you have shaman apprentices, shamans, and master shamans. We’re really just making up this terminology ourselves because there is no standard and the word comes from one tradition that we’ve imported and now we’re using it to refer to the archetypal phenomena. But the decisive point, I think, happens when you enter into service for others and you actually have a proven track record helping them. It’s one thing to hang up your shingle and open up your healing practice and not help people, or do more damage than good. So I like this idea- I heard once that you never call yourself a shaman, it’s always the tribe that calls you the shaman. Because it’s a recognition of good works, good fruits. If they’ve successfully done the soul retrieval work, their dreams can be trusted, their clairvoyance is trustworthy, they’re wise- I’ve many times listened to their guidance and it’s been right on the money, they’re the shaman. So it’s based on good fruits, I think.
Your answer makes me think of the nitty gritty of shamanic practice, because what I’m thinking as you’re talking is that there’s a lot of people in the New Age movement that might be Reiki Masters or they have various modalities that they practice and then all of a sudden this shamanic Renaissance is happening and everybody’s talking about shamanism in the broader spiritual community, and so then they start thinking, ‘well, I’m a shaman.’ And to me, in my understanding, there’s a very distinct role and a distinct sort of way of operating that shamans have that’s different, and the archetype itself, as you lay it out in the 25 facets, it is very broad. A lot of people can identify with it and fit in it. So I’m wondering, do you see there’s a distinct role or pattern of technical skills or specific services that a shaman offers that maybe is different than a psychotherapist or a Reiki Master?
Well, yeah, I do actually. This is where we get into the ineffable soul of the shaman. To answer that question I think, who else would you turn to, but the shaman? So when you’re dealing with an issue of demonic possession, who else would you go to, but the shaman? When you’re dealing with soul fragmentation and trauma, who else would you go to, but the shaman? So I think something really intrinsic to the soul of the shaman is the Wounded Healer. And what usually comes with that is one who is able to go into the Underworld, one who is able to work with the forces of the Underworld. Because you can have a Reiki healer who works with high energies, and they do alignments, and they talk to angels, are they shamans? I would say they’re working with a certain facet of the shamanic archetype, which I identify as Energy Worker. Shamanic individuals are energy workers, certainly, but would you go to a Reiki Master when you’re dealing with somebody who’s been severely traumatized and sexually abused and now they’re dealing with deep, demonic intrusions in their soul that are making them want to kill themselves? No! You find the shaman, wherever you can find one, who can go into a trance and go into that realm where the darkness is and do work in that realm. And how do they get those abilities? By being wounded themselves, by being traumatized themselves. And so there’s a Wounded Healer, which means the capacity to do psychopomp work in the Underworld. And that is something that is really intrinsic to being a shaman.
I want to read you a definition. Actually, it’s two definitions and they’re very similar. The definitions are given by an individual who is prominent in the shamanic community, and I won’t name the person, but I just want to share the definition and get your response or reaction to it. What do you think of that definition?
Two thoughts. The first thought is I didn’t hear anything about soul retrieval work, which is pretty integral to what the shaman does, whether it’s soul retrieval work for a culture or for an individual. The other things is, that strikes me as a traditional definition of shamanism of the past. That’s not what I would consider a definition of modern shamanism, because what I’m hearing there is the shaman’s job is to be a medium, and let Spirits incorporate and work. So my question is, where is the shaman’s own Ego in all of this? Where’s the shaman’s own individuality? And in my experience it’s necessary to have your own individuality when you’re working in the Spirit world. There is a time to let a Spirit incorporate to do the work that you yourself cannot do. I would call that letting your Guide work through you. And they can in fact do healing things that I can’t do. I’ve experienced that. But you have to train to get to the point when you can do that. But on the other hand, I’m my own navigator in the invisible realms. I’m the one who decides who I can trust, who I can’t, and how to negotiate with what Spirit, whether I should buy this Spirit or not. If I go to one place, it’s my own fault. If I go to a bad place it’s because I thought a stupid thought, I went there. I need to be guided every step of the way. We all need to be guided. But our individuality has an integral role to play, and if we don’t do that, if we surrender our individuality, I don’t believe that is safe to do that today. Because there are far too many spiritual powers and spiritual forces that are, for lack of a better word, tricksters that take lots of advantage of open vessels and shamans who surrender their individuality and allow themselves to become possessed by these “healing” Spirits, but these "healing Spirits" are diabolical tricksters having a field day with us. They’re using “shamans” to harvest energy and make sexual advances, and do kundalini magic, and get impressionable people to worship them. In the 21st century we’re in a time of spiritual warfare and it’s not safe to allow yourself to be possessed in that way, unless you are working very closely with your trusted Guides and even then the shaman's individuality has agency, has free-will, and decides when to let the Guide work through them and when not to. And it takes a long time to develop that kind of good relationship with your Guides. And it takes a long time to have discernment about what Guides you're actually working with. Many, many people think they’re working with higher Guides, or ancestral shamans, but they’re just shape-shifting tricksters who are pretending to be something. People don’t realize how much deception is part of the Spirit world. People think the material world is the world of illusion. The Spirit world is the real world. Therefore, if it’s happening in the Spirit world it’s true. But that’s not true at all! There’s so much deception in the Spirit world. And these Spirits, they’re smarter than us, they have more magickal powers than us, and they have a field day with us in our naivete. So it’s dangerous. That definition is not a tenable standard for a modern shaman. It’s going to lead to big problems with tricksters taking over the shamanic scene.
Gosh, you touched on so many things- my mind’s just turning like crazy thinking about all of these things. The first thing I want to talk about, based on what you just said, you talked about your mind- if your mind goes a certain way. I know a lot of the Jungians have a different sort of idea. Jungianism and shamanism really does coalesce well, but I found personally that a lot of Jungians still view it as projection, they call it “active imagination.” They don’t really fully acknowledge that it is a reality of the spiritual realm and not just a projection of one’s own psyche. So what do you think about that, and how would someone discern between what is just a projection from the psyche, versus what is a real experience in the spiritual realm?
Well the Jungians are on a nice, wide spectrum. Some of them, they wanted to find a way to be authentic shamans and make a living doing it, so they became Jungian analysts, but deep-down they’re shamans, and others are like Freudian psychoanalysts, maybe even agnostic. They see it in a way that everything is a projection and they fall into what we call the Shadow of Jungian psychology, which is solipsism. The thing is, this is where we need to bring in esotericism and occult science into modern shamanism. Because it’s not just like there is the material world and there is the Spirit world. It’s not that black and white. There’s all these grays in between. There’s what you would call in esotericism, the astral realm, or the soul realm. And the astral realm is simultaneously in your imagination and out there in the Spirit world, and it’s where we have to go. It’s where we go in our dreams. It’s where we go in the initial stages of shamanic journeying. And it’s kind of the meeting ground between matter and Spirit. That’s the realm that the Jungians are working in, almost exclusively. They’re working in the astral realm. The astral realm can be accessed through the imagination. When we bring in some wisdom from the Western esoteric tradition we can get more precise about the kind of shamanic work Jungians are actually doing. They’re working in the astral realm through the imagination. And the astral realm is tricky, because it’s a reflected realm, so it’s reflecting the Spirit world to our Ego consciousness. It’s also reflecting our own subconscious back to us. Imagine a circular mirror, and the circular mirror is reflecting it’s surroundings wherever it goes. So that’s the nature of the astral realm. We experience it always as a reflection. So we can get really tripped-up in that if we don’t understand the reflective nature of the astral realm. We can end up projecting a lot onto other people, or the opposite, we can end up calling something a possession- let’s say we go into our imagination and we see a terrible beast, that’s an ugly beast that charges at us and tries to eat us, and we think, “oh my God- there’s a Spirit that’s trying to eat me!” But we don’t realize that’s actually a part of our own soul that’s attacking our Ego, but it’s reflected outside of us, so we think it’s outside of us when really it’s our innermost being. That’s one of the ways we need more discernment about this. Jungian school of thought has a lot of potential for discernment, but sometimes they go too far in the direction of thinking everything is psyche, but on the other side, with Core Shamanism they think that as soon as they’re in a trance, as soon as they’re out of their body, they're in the Spirit world. That’s not refined enough. So this is where I’m trying to bring in the teaching of the occult science, to bring more discernment to the process.
Yeah. I don’t know what it’s like in this consciousness to be a shaman in indigenous culture, but I think it’s very different than how it would be for us. The level of discernment and then navigating the psychological realm of it is trickier for us than it might be in cultures that are much more simplistic and pure or innocent.
I totally agree, and in my experience with shamans in the Amazon they are so clairvoyant that they can actually see thoughts. They can actually see a projection happening. So of course they’re like, “that’s a projection. I saw it come from your head and land on me.” I think being so close to nature really gives an opportunity to cultivate shamanic clairvoyance at a very high level. We don’t have that same opportunity being in urban settings.
We’re very distracted.
Yeah. And also attacked upon. Because all of these forces are actually projecting onto us all the time, so our soul goes through the modern experience and we’re getting these intrusive projections all the time, from people and from media. That doesn’t give enough breathing room to cultivate the kind of clairvoyance that we might otherwise be able to cultivate if we were living in the middle of the Amazon or in isolation somewhere. The higher bodies have more breathing room and can cultivate clairvoyant faculties without being so damaged and attacked all the time.
Yeah. That makes perfect sense to me, and it actually segued perfectly into my other question based on what you were talking about a little while ago. You used a lot of language about being attacked, being in spiritual warfare. That was part of this definition I read, which was interesting because I’ve never actually heard that before that shamans fight Spirits. But you and I have had discussions about that- if that’s appropriate for this time as well, or if that is an appropriate method to assist someone who has some kind of attachment. But we’re also, in the larger spiritual community, we’re inundated with people who are less adamant to talk about or admit that we do live in a duality, that there are benevolent and malevolent Spirits. And they don’t want to acknowledge that we might be in spiritual warfare, that this is a real thing. And maybe some people don’t experience that, but for the people who do, is it that they’re less evolved in their consciousness? I’m just wondering how this ties into Initiated Into Darkness (a shamanic facet) and the Spiritual Warrior facet of the shamanic archetype.
Well, nobody who’s been Initiated Into Darkness would agree that it’s not a duality. If darkness very forcibly forced itself into your soul and did things against your will to you, then your trajectory becomes that of a duality. But I’m always trying to honor the spirit of the School, which is to try to unify opposites wherever possible. I have my own Initiated Into Darkness backstory, and that has informed a lot of my dualistic thinking. Also, I’m on the forefront of a lot of things, and that also informs my dualistic thinking, because the person who’s on the vanguard gets the arrows shot at them. But the people who are non-dualists, the people who say it’s an illusion, they’re solipsists. They think that because the duality is not alive in their soul that it doesn’t exist. That’s like saying, ‘I don’t see the person in front of me, so the person doesn’t exist.’ No- there’s another person outside of your scope of awareness that does exist, whether you see them or not. These forces do exist. They’re working. And some of us can see what they’re doing. But the good point that the non-dualists bring is about fascination or fixation. That’s an important point and it’s been part of my own healing process as well, because when we come from an Initiated Into Darkness background, there tends to be a fixation, and the more we talk about it, the more we’re co-creating it. And that’s not to say if we stop talking about it, it’s going to disappear. They'd like very much if we all believed that. But the word is magickal and the thought is magickal. If we think about it and speak about it, we’re calling it into our own life more powerfully. So we have to be careful in the way in which we do it, and careful not to be gratuitous about it. There has to be a very good reason why we speak about these things. And if we have a mission or a healing service of being a spiritual warrior and helping to defend people against darkness, then it’s important that we know how to defend ourselves from gratuitous darkness pornography. I know people who are really gifted spiritual warriors who stare into the abyss too long and they darken themselves, and they end up calling things to themselves that don’t necessarily need to be called to themselves. And so in the dialog about the spiritual battle that’s going on in our age, I think it’s important to protect ourselves by not being gratuitous about our knowledge about it. One of the best ways to defend ourselves is to ignore it. Now, it’s not to ignore so that it goes away. It’s to ignore it so we can effectively build a field of protection around us, so that when we do have to go into spiritual battle, we do have to go into Underworld realms, we’ll be built up and strong, because we haven’t been staring into the abyss for so long that we weakened ourselves.
Non-duality runs the risk of naivete and solipsism and yet the silver lining of it is that it actually is an important technique for powerfully protecting yourself because the darkness is so insidious that even when we start thinking about it it starts to spread in our soul. So it’s very hard to face what’s happening and not be contaminated by it and to not start to spread it, because when we start to think about it, and even more so when we start to talk about it, we start to carry it in us and then we start to spread it to other people, and then it spreads fear, and fear can get into them and grow in them, and then they spread it. It’s like a disease or a virus that spreads. So we need to do a kind of internal alchemy even just to think about it safely, and all the more so to talk about it in a way that’s helpful to people. If we’re talking about it and we don’t have a positive solution, we’re not helping anybody. And if it’s just for the sake of being aware, we’re not helping anybody. We’re saying, “look at the problem and get really scared”, and then when they look at the problem they get really scared, and then they become even more vulnerable to dark forces. So there’s a real art, and I’m really trying to figure this out, because I do feel like it’s integral responsibility to be a kind of spiritual warrior and to be aware myself of the truth of what’s actually happening in the objective sense. There is an objective conflict going on between good and evil, and this isn’t just a projection of my own thing out in the world. It’s actually happening out there and if I cease to exist it would still be happening. But I’ve gone through this whole process talking about it in the wrong way and spreading fear. So the non-dualists have a point, but at the end of the day they’re not going to be good spiritual warriors, because they don’t acknowledge what’s actually there. [They need] to acknowledge what’s there and then firm themselves in their own defenses and in the solutions, and the light. So it’s very much an alchemical thing. We gotta look at it, take it in, and then transmute it, and send the transmuted results back out there.
Sort of like contain it.
Yeah, exactly. Because it uses us to spread. The news is like that. There’s so much sorcery in the news, that even the headlines- it’s Wetiko. It’s how it travels and spreads through the media. So if we even read a headline the Wetiko starts to come into us and starts to grow. And if we let it grow, and then we speak to our spouse about it, it keeps growing, or if we do a blog post because we were inspired by something we read in the newspaper, it keeps growing. So it has to very much be contained, and it’s hard to contain. It’s completely insidious. So we have this kind of warrior awareness of what’s going on, because it’s a constant battle, but in some ways the most effective way to be in the battle is to not think about it. It’s not to pretend it’s not there. We have to be aware that it’s there, and yet then not think about it. So it’s really tricky.
So I have one last question before we end today, Andrew. When we were talking about the definition of shamanism that I presented to you, you said that one of the issues you had with it is that it didn’t really acknowledge the individual’s Ego and what they bring into the astral realm and how they do their practice, and that’s always been an interesting concept to me because I’ve read about indigenous shamans, some of them going way back in time, that they had big Egos. They would fight and they were prone to jealousies and territorialism, and they engaged in a lot of sorcery. And here we are in this modern spiritual culture with these Eckhart Tolles and people trying to get rid of the Ego, transcend the Ego, the Ego’s bad. So there’s this odd mix and this external pressure, I think from the larger spiritual community about the elimination of the Ego, and it’s an interesting concept for me to hold that. I’m wondering, because I know that you are someone who holds the Ego to be a very valuable aspect of shamanic work, so can you talk a little bit more about that?
One of the gifts of the School is this idea that we as modern Westerners actually have lineage of ancestral shamanic wisdom in the form of alchemy. People wonder what alchemy has to do with shamanism. Well, it’s actually the shamanic impulse that has evolved in Western civilization through centuries. It’s the shamanic impulse. So if we take an alchemical approach to Ego we have a solution to the problem. Because the Ego can become diabolically inflated, especially with shamans working with sorcerous magick. The Spirits get in there and flavor how the Ego develops and the Ego can even become diabolical and become a terrible weapon and do a lot of damage. At the same time if we try to get rid of the Ego we’re either living in complete denial of the fact that our Ego is real and we’re meant to have an Ego, and it’s actually God’s gift to us to have an individuality and we’re supposed to cultivate it. So we live in a kind of denial and a twisted shame about our own individuality, or we surrender too much of our Ego and we can get possessed. So the key, the solution to transmute our Ego, is to spiritualize it so that it can become raised to a higher spiritual quality, so that it’s humble, so that it’s kind and generous and loving. Humble is a big part of it. Most people get into trouble through a lack of humility. The Ego is not inherently humble. The alchemy is very much going against the grain. The transmutational work we have to do is against our natural inclination. It’s like swimming upstream in many ways. It’s the same thing with dealing with our sexual energy- working alchemically with our sexual energy is like going against the grain, going against the flow. It’s natural for it to flow that direction [outward], but you have to bottle it, and that leads to some suffering and to some tension, but suffering and tension is the pressure-cooker that leads to the transmutation. It’s the same thing with the sexual energy as with the Ego- you have to bottle it, contain it, transform it so that it can be an effective vehicle. Because it’s our Ego that is effectively responsible for incarnating our Higher Self. Our Ego is what makes our Higher Self manifested in the actual physical world. To the extent that we can work consciously out of our Higher Self, that has to happen through our Ego. So Ego has to be transformed into a vehicle for this higher level of work that we’re called to do as shamanic individuals. This needs a lot of dismemberments and re-forging, dismemberments and re-forging, getting smacked down, humbling yourself, and then readjusting. So because the Ego is naturally prone to inflation, especially when it’s working in shamanic realms, it’s working with archetypal powers, there’s a natural tendency to inflate and that leads to suffering and smack-downs. So the alchemical process is a dramatic one. There’s lots of big inflations followed by big deflations, which can lead to depression, discouragement, but through this cyclical process our Ego is gradually being equalized, balanced out so that it can still actually hold our Divine I AM spark and be our conscious I AM, and give us the driver seat from which we can do our shamanic work. So that’s the ideal that I hold and that’s in keeping with the Western ancestral shamanic wisdom that we have, buried away in the alchemical traditions. So that’s what I am trying to make more accessible to Western seekers who are wakening and having these legitimate shamanic initiatory awakenings, and they’re looking for guidance.
Alright. Well thank you so much! It was a very enriching talk, and I thank you for that.
Awesome! You’re very welcome, Aimee. Thank you for having me.
Shortly after this interview Andrew reached back out to The Urban Shaman and said that the definition of shamanism we offered just wasn't sitting right with him, and he asked if he could offer his own definition. We were honored to conduct a second interview, during which Andrew laid out a modern definition of shamanism he believes is more appropriate for Western cultures. That interview can be seen below.