Shamanic Christianity: The Direct Experience of Mystical Communion

Overview

A guide to reconnecting with Jesus, Mary, and the saints as shamanic teachers of divine mysteries

• Contains meditations, contemplations, parables, and active ritual tasks that help bring forth a shamanic understanding and practice of Christianity

• Shows shamanic experience to be the root of mystical communion

When the missionaries came to North America to “save” the American Indians, they were perplexed to discover that while they talked about Jesus, some of the Indians ...

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Shamanic Christianity: The Direct Experience of Mystical Communion

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Overview

A guide to reconnecting with Jesus, Mary, and the saints as shamanic teachers of divine mysteries

• Contains meditations, contemplations, parables, and active ritual tasks that help bring forth a shamanic understanding and practice of Christianity

• Shows shamanic experience to be the root of mystical communion

When the missionaries came to North America to “save” the American Indians, they were perplexed to discover that while they talked about Jesus, some of the Indians claimed to talk directly with him. Among Christians there is almost complete silence on the subject of the place of shamanism in experiencing the divine, yet shamanic experience is at the root of all mystical communion.

Shamanic Christianity offers a chance to rekindle the shamanic practices of Christianity to those who wish to restore their direct connection to the spirit world. In the tradition of contemplative practice, this reconnection takes the form of devotions. Presented in four forms, these devotions begin with a specific contemplation, followed by a meditative focus, then a parable from the author’s own visionary experiences, and finally an active mystical practice to help ground the meditations and contemplations in a ritual or ceremony that involves active participation. These four forms serve to reintroduce Jesus, Mary, and the historically renowned saints as shamanic teachers of divine mysteries whose spiritual presence is readily available to contemporary lives. The author also presents specific directives for handling everyday challenges in a shamanic-inspired manner, drawing upon creative activities and resources that encourage approaching the world with the imaginative and playful spirit of a child, whose personal freedom and creative expression is always wide open to possibilities.

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Editorial Reviews

Malidoma P. Some
"This shamanic-handbook-for-all-people is an invitation to breathe in a fresh spirit and observe the boundless horizons of spiritual possibilities. Keeney challenges us to respond to the persistent tapping of ancient wisdom, which seeks communion at the altar of each of our hearts."
Krysta Gibson
"If your background is within the Christian Tradition, you will probably be very interested in what this book has to teach and may experience a true healing and fuller acceptance of your own beliefs."
Dianne Fresquez
"To open-minded Christians seeking a more intimate and mystical experience of Jesus (and Christianity), this joyful and playful book brings new ways of thinking about and practicing their religion."
Spirituality & Health
"With a bold dash of imagination, Keeney imagines what a shamanic Christianity would look like."
Lee Prosser
"Timely, and well-written. . . . The reader will find this book fascinating in its implications."
Malidoma P. Somé
“This shamanic-handbook-for-all-people is an invitation to breathe in a fresh spirit and observe the boundless horizons of spiritual possibilities. Keeney challenges us to respond to the persistent tapping of ancient wisdom, which seeks communion at the altar of each of our hearts.”
author of Of Water and the Spirit and Healing Wisd Malidoma P. Somé
“This shamanic-handbook-for-all-people is an invitation to breathe in a fresh spirit and observe the boundless horizons of spiritual possibilities. Keeney challenges us to respond to the persistent tapping of ancient wisdom, which seeks communion at the altar of each of our hearts.”
Oct 2006 Spirituality & Health
"With a bold dash of imagination, Keeney imagines what a shamanic Christianity would look like."
author of Of Water and the Spirit and Healing Wisd Malidoma P. Somé
“This shamanic-handbook-for-all-people is an invitation to breathe in a fresh spirit and observe the boundless horizons of spiritual possibilities. Keeney challenges us to respond to the persistent tapping of ancient wisdom, which seeks communion at the altar of each of our hearts.”
From the Publisher
"Timely, and well-written. . . . The reader will find this book fascinating in its implications."
Library Journal
Keeney, author of Bushman Shaman, Aesthetics of Change, and several other works, presents a book by turns intriguing and infuriating. He begins with the notion that Christian missionaries to America were all too ready to discount Native Americans' claims that they had spoken directly with Jesus and then wonders if Christians have lost their feeling for direct apperception of the Divine. Readers must be careful to understand his "lost parables" as the author's visions, not substantiated by other sources. Included are many directives and exercises for the apt reader. For most collections. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594770869
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 5/28/2006
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,451,411
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Bradford Keeney, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned scholar, therapist, and shaman who has led expeditions throughout the world to study cultural healing practices. He is the author of Bushman Shaman: Awakening the Spirit through Ecstatic Dance, Shaking Medicine: The Healing Power of Ecstatic Movement, and the editor of the Profiles of Healing series.

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Read an Excerpt

from Chapter 9

RECEIVING THE STAFF AND OTHER SHAMANIC INSTRUMENTS

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
     —Psalm 23:4

CONTEMPLATION
When a shaman has a vision and is shown a sacred object, he or she may decide to go find the object in the physical world or make it for themselves. Anything seen in sacred vision may be brought into the physical plane and used as a shamanic tool or instrument. Some say these vision-inspired objects have sacred power. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that these gifts from the world of spirit boost the relationship of the shaman with the spirit world. Seeing or touching the object brings about a memory of the inspired vision which, in turn, recharges the shaman and fills him or her with great emotion and passion. In this way, the objects serve as links or bridges between imagination and realization. It is best not to lust for spiritual objects. You may get what you ask for, and the cost is the responsibility to take care of these gifts and honor their entry into your world. Spiritual gifts are both a resource and a burden. They must be fed with prayers and offerings. Over the years, Christian shamans have been gifted with many different kinds of spiritual instruments that they use in their prayer, healing, and contemplative practices. For example, I have known shamans who received special crosses, beads, altars, pieces of wood, bells, colored designs, and even shepherd’s staffs.

MEDITATIVE FOCUS
Christian shamans are sometimes given a staff in a sacred dream. This dream is often taken to mean that one is being called to shepherd others in a spiritual way. After having such a dream, one is spiritually permitted to go find a staff.

For this meditation, create the image of a staff in your mind. Imagine your eyes slowing tracing its outline from top to bottom. Slowly and surely, allow yourself to visually inspect this staff. Do this over and over. See the staff as a dark color, but as you focus on it, allow the staff to become lighter. Eventually the staff should turn white, like a shining light. Cultivate this image in your meditative practice. See it as a way to prepare yourself to receive a sacred staff. If you receive the staff in a dream, privately refer to yourself as a newly initiated shepherd.

LOST PARABLE
Years ago a young nursing student dreamed of a staff. It was made of wood and was painted white. In the dream, it floated across the room and landed in her hand. The next day she went to an art gallery and noticed a painting of a woman holding a staff. She thought of her dream and began wondering what it meant for her to see a staff. She thought about how a shepherd’s staff can be used to direct sheep and how the curved end can be used to pull a sheep forward. She also imagined how a staff could be used to chastise a disobedient sheep. And finally, she thought of how a shepherd holds a staff to lead her sheep to green pastures, fresh water, and back to the fold in the evening.

That night she fell asleep thinking about the shepherd’s staff she had seen the night before. Was it the staff of another shepherd pulling her in? Was it a gift to help her become a spiritual shepherd? She fell asleep wondering. To her surprise, she had another dream about the staff. It was still white, but this time it was small and fit inside the palm of her hand. The tiny staff was vibrating with a kind of rippling energy. She started to squeeze the staff in her palm, and then she woke up.

For a week, she wondered about the palm-sized staff. She wished the dream had lasted longer. She could not stop thinking about the tiny staff.

She decided to tell her grandmother about these dreams. Her grandmother was an unusual woman who others believed had spiritual gifts. She filled her cupboards and walls with unusual objects and pictures that no one understood. Her grandmother’s house had a special feeling to it, and it felt good to be around her. When her grandmother heard about these dreams, she cried out with excitement. “Yes, granddaughter, that is very important. The Lord is giving you a staff. All you have to do is make it and hold on to it every night. It will bring forth the energy of the Holy Ghost. I know, because I have one of those staffs.” As she spoke, she went to her dresser and pulled out a box. Inside the box was a paperclip that had been bent into the shape of a staff. Grandmother had painted it red. On its top she had attached a tiny ribbon.

“Here’s my staff. Try it out.” The young nursing student reached out for the staff. When she squeezed it, she could remember all the time she had spent with her grandmother. It filled her with much love, and a tingle of energy shot through her body. Grandmother could see that she understood what the staff was for and immediately said, “Now it’s time to make your staff. There is no right way to make it. You must simply do it yourself. Any way is fine, as long as you are the one who makes it.”

The young woman went home and made her own staff, which she now holds every night. She is still holding it, feeling the love for all the shepherds in her life, using its energy to direct others who need help and guidance. She learned that the staff brings her home, and also helps her bring others to their rightful place in the world.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction: The Calling Forth of Christian Shamanism 

PART I: THE LOST TEACHINGS 

Introduction to the Lost Teachings:
     The Mystical Devotions and Practice

1    Jesus As Shaman

2    Mary and the Religion of the Great Mother

3    St. Francis and the Teachings of the Forest 

4    Hildegard and the Fire of Mystical Illumination

5    Talking to Animals and Fairies: The Celtic Saints

6    Miracle of the Holy Light 

7    The New England Shakers and the Indian Spirits 

8    The Prove: The Shamanic Use of the Holy Book

9    Receiving the Staff and Other Shamanic Instruments

10   The Shamanic Power of Loving One’s Enemy

11   Soul-Making Music

12   The Pilgrimage to Silence

13   Rebirthing Out of the Great Mother Sea

14    Unless Ye Become Like Children

PART II: THE LOST DIRECTIVES

Introduction to the Lost Directives:
     Meeting the Challenges of Everyday Life

15   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Worry

16   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Self-Image

17   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Motivation

18   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Fear

19   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Insomnia

20   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Self-Control

21   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Weight Control

22   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Sadness

23   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Boredom

24   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Anger

25   Shamanic Directives for Addressing Family Relationships

The Lost Epistle: On Becoming a Christian Shaman

Appendix: Message for the World Worrier

About the Author

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