A Truly All-American Renaissance Prophet Even without any actual historical references, Lamah contends that the contents of this narrative is a true story in reality. And after all, what is reality?
This poignant book is, in essence, a story that is all about the power and significance of love. It begins at the closing years of the 18th century and has its final installment of inspirational spiritual muse manifested during the early to mid-19th Century. The source of this loving tale is an earthbound disembodied soul of unprecedented spiritual substance, who remained in spirit close to the geographic origins of this prophetic story until the end of the 20th Century. It was then that several conspiring, sometimes tragic circumstances brought together two initiate, spiritually gifted Medicine Men whose lives in this Garden of Eden were necessarily separated by the passage of more than a hundred years. They would dedicate their modest lives to the healing of others' spirits through that immutable power of love, a love that was and should always remain necessarily unconditional, and always boundless.
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SHAMANS of SAN DAMIANO
By J. Lamah Walker
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2010 J. Lamah Walker
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAWAKENING ...
I was sound asleep in my own bed at San Damiano when I was so abruptly awakened on July 17, 2001 at just about five minutes till nine (I had begrudgingly glanced at my digital clock in the headboard just before picking up the phone) by the most unexpected, unwanted, and certainly annoying ringing of the telephone. Being the consummate night owl that I had become at that time in my life, I generally slept rather late, and any calls before 10:00 AM seemed to always effectively disengage me in a most untimely fashion from any of those sometimes intriguing dreams that may have been so totally absorbing to the point of realism. Such an abrupt interruption also seems to wipe the conscious memory essentially clean of any reasonable recollection of those dream's contents, even with the greatest of effort. What a bummer it was! I picked up the receiver in a slightly befuddled and somewhat agitated state of mind and immediately recognized a familiar voice: that of Ellen Raimer. Ellen was phoning just to inform me that she would be momentarily departing Albuquerque for her parents' residence in Wisconsin, in order to help them move from their long-time homestead into some retirement quarters, and therefore wouldn't be able to attend my birthday party that John Howell, my more than faithful housemate of some 12 years, had planned for 1:00 PM that Saturday. Ellen sort of hesitantly inquired, "Why this year?" postulating as to just why I was celebrating that particular birthday since, according to her own good recollection, it wasn't yet time for my sixtieth. You see, I hadn't had any birthday parties for as long as I could remember, and this was a rather unexpected event to be taking place at San Damiano; I have never really wanted to celebrate any of my birthdays except maybe as a very young child. Ellen was correct of course; I explained to her that it was my own sixth-sense contention that John had probably planned this particular gala event so that he could have an appropriately orchestrated stage on which to present me with the very special gift that he had apparently purchased some six months prior. This mystery gift had been staring me in the face every time I entered my walk-in closet, with specific instructions from John that I was to disregard its presence until my birthday. I had also shared with Ellen that my sister, Barbara, who was visiting Albuquerque from Ft. Lauderdale, had made the suggestion that I should simply tell everyone that might bother to inquire that this was going to simply be the "last" birthday that I ever intended to celebrate since it was the very last one of my fifties: fifty-nine. After all, who wants to celebrate their sixtieth and beyond? Just to be alive is often a celebration in and of itself by then.
Except that Ellen Raimer was a most significant part of this entire story from its earliest inception, there was no other prior cognitive reason for this particular awakening incident to have unexpectedly sparked in me the sudden urgency to finally begin writing this tale that had been in various stages of formation for well over 15 years—perhaps for my entire life considering the very nature of the story at hand?
I have always been one of those caring individuals who wants to make things just right for another person, whether it was their personal well being or the manner in which they related to their surroundings; specifically an individual's right to live his or her life in any manner they personally saw fit. My obsession with trying to make things OK for everyone else, and not always personally experiencing the same success, had as expected left me rather depressed at times and with those most desperate feelings of utter hopelessness. I suspect that my more recent bouts with nagging ideations of suicide, my dreaded birthday celebration that was so out of sync with the usual, and the mildly redundant conviction that I had accepted an obligation of eventually telling this strange story that was not yet fully materialized, that all combined to prompt my yearning to finally initiate the writing of this book, which I did almost immediately. I had imagined, after all, that if I were to get the book written, I could probably depart this miserable planet with no unfinished business and therefore a clear conscience. This was never an undertaking that was exactly of my own voluntary creation, nor did I even have any of those feelings of being completely comfortable with relating certain portions of this story that had such questionable facts and often seemed rather implausible to my own limited and so often conservative understanding of the real world. On the other hand, the very spiritual and personal nature of much of this tale is so very basic to the highest potential of mankind that it seemed only right to have finally started the process. I have consistently lived, or at least attempted to live, a rather involved and sometimes overly-complicated life based almost entirely on the principle that while life always reveals the often painful and sometimes unbelievable truth, it happens with the dissemination of unconditional love. I am often in the role of attempting to practice what I preach.
For the most part I have never been much for telling the intimate details my own story, being essentially modest and a bit shy except where it may be absolutely necessary for the perceived benefit of others; in my professional field of psychopathology we call this "modeling." I usually maintain a healthy self-image that I would rather relate to others by way of my actions rather than in any number of words; "Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear your words."
As I am writing this narrative, I am about to finish another grueling literary project, if I can ever bring myself to complete it: the third book of an epic trilogy tragically but all too appropriately entitled, The Orchid Hell Chronicles. That entire heart-wrenching saga is all about my overly poignant trials and harsh tribulations with the malicious prejudice and bigotry unexpectedly encountered within the American Orchid Society, and I am most certainly the tragic central character, dealing with falsification, caricature, deceit, betrayal and the resultant entangled legal quagmire of a Federal lawsuit and other fowl odors of our American legal system. This hellish tale sucked me into its rather frightening and consuming clutches ever so covertly and unexpectedly as it rapidly developed, commencing some ten years prior to the writing of this present tale of Shamans; little did I know at the time just how many other individuals had been so negatively and affectively involved before that terrible experience had finally reached its immoral, illogical, and all too devastating conclusion. What was even more amazing to me is that this other far more inspiring and certainly more positive tale of Shamans continued to reveal itself, and in some strange fashion was able to maintain its own unique integrity, while I was so unfortunately enmeshed in this other terrible exigency, which was and still is essentially responsible for the above and often mentioned suicidal ideation and the accompanying chronic depression that persistently haunts my entire life on a daily basis. Perhaps the timely presence of this present narrative was some sort of a cosmic balance that presented itself just when I needed something far more affirmative in my life to ground me to this often-troubled earth. I have always felt that karma plays a significant part in all of our lives, and for all the hideous pain that I had then recently suffered at the hands of some of the most dastardly characters of the American Orchid Society, mostly for what I considered to be for the benefit of others, I certainly and even desperately needed to become involved in some other more life-giving endeavor. And it would be helpful if that new endeavor didn't involve orchids. Thus, the recording of a far more inspiring story that offers a greater promise for the often sad state of mankind.
In any case, as a clinical psychotherapist my principle orientation was Gestalt, which essentially postulates that there should exist some sort of "wholeness" in each of our sometimes meager and often fragmented existences. In more common words, all the various aspects of our lives are connected to one another in some deliberate and purposeful manner, and the totality of these sometimes unknown points of connection becomes the magnificent wholeness of who we are at any given point in our lives. All too often, and at any given point in our lives, too few of us are ever aware of just how our experiences connect with the rest of our lives. That is why the idea of hindsight is so much more comforting than our anxieties about the future. In that sense, I feel that it would best serve the reader to have some basic knowledge of the early biographical background of this contemporary writer that was most serendipitously the genesis and foundation that eventually lead to the initiation of the first and perhaps only Shaman (Medicine Man) of San Damiano in the 20th Century, the full historical story of which will be disclosed later in this book. With the revealing of some of this earlier biographical information, it should become quite evident that my personal roots and earliest experiences may have brought me to this very point in my life and aptly served as the impregnated seeds that eventually accounted for a goodly portion of what I have become.
It was my rather righteous maternal grandfather who was most probably the actual beginning of my own spiritual fate, even though he died before I was a teenager. And when I use the word "righteous" to describe this man, I mean that in the most positive manner. He had been seriously disabled with a number of severe strokes when I was about four or five years old, and I have always regretted that I wasn't able to sit at his feet and benefit directly from the vast wisdom he had gained through being an intelligent, intuitive, and self-instructed Christian theologian. He was an independent thinker of the highest rank, much in the same intellectual manner as Martin Luther. And as Martin Luther had aptly obtained his own profound insights and understanding of the flaws that were so dastardly perpetuated by the Catholic Church by simply and intensely studying the Latin gospels of that time, and most certainly apart from and without authoritative church interpretation, my grandfather did much the same with the King James version of the Bible. But most importantly, he lived his entire life according to the truth that he had uncovered for himself, and I feel that, of all of his children, my mother experienced the greatest benefit of his insightful spiritual wisdom because of her own instinctual intellect and unique perception of the world.
As a child, it was never my position to question the fact that my mother taught Baptist Sunday school while I was attending the First Methodist Church in Pompano Beach, Florida. This unquestioned conflict of religious loyalties all became evident to me when, at the age of 12, my mother informed me that she had never had me baptized in any particular church because, "I want YOU to choose your own religion." What a profoundly liberal position for an otherwise Christian fundamentalist and Baptist Sunday school teacher! I'm quite sure that I didn't possess a full appreciation or gratitude of just what an empowerment that unusual pronouncement had meant to me at that early time in my life. Since then I have gained the greatest respect for my mother's cognitively motivated actions, now that I more fully understand the debilitating effects of imposing falsely based and narrowly-minded beliefs and mythologies on naturally innocent and impressionable children. "Except that ye become as little children," I for one, strongly contend that the most cardinal of all parental sins is the impressing on a child, so mistakenly, that they were somehow born with that burdensome curse of original sin—unworthy of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," unless of course, they blindly and freely give their innocent souls to the "church" and submit themselves to the "moral authority" of its more often than not so ignorant and materially greedy leadership. My mother saved me from this immoral and unjustified enslavement and honored me with the divine, valuable, and indispensable knowledge that I was somehow sufficient unto myself to choose the direction that I was to take in my life. In my late teens, I wrote a poem that precisely expressed this spiritual emancipation, even though I am certain that I had little or no actual or deeper understanding of its full implication at the time, or even more importantly just how this loving gift of spiritual freedom and emancipation would eventually affect the entirety of my life as well as those around me:
The times have been when needs were great,
But now there's been a change of late.
Before and now my God's been first,
But now I haven't that saintly curse.
My life so far has sought ideal,
But now I've found a fertile field;
Sounds prey egotistical, doesn't it! It is nothing other than a self-proclaimed feeling of personal freedom that I wish everyone could experience to the same degree that I have. It was during my last year of high school that my own spiritual emancipation was beginning to manifest itself, not only in the feelings that I had aptly expressed in several poems including the one above, but most dramatically in a literary project that was required of each senior in order to graduate from Miami Senior High. Impartial English teachers were assigned to grade these papers, and the particular teacher that graded mine insisted that I meet with her so that she could explain to me just why she had given me the very lowest passing grade of C-minus. She apologetically yet very authoritatively insisted that I must have plagiarized the various arguments of my senior paper, since no high school student in her obviously biased opinion could have possibly written the contents of such a profound thesis. She confessed that since she could not actually "prove" her most wrongly conceived assertion of plagiarism, she wasn't going to give me a failing grade, but that she would instead assign the paper the lowest passing grade. My paper, titled, "The Reformation As Viewed from Both the Protestant and Catholic Points of View," was probably as far above her limited and narrow-minded ability to comprehend as it was over my own profound understanding of the negative ramifications of blindly accepting a religion as the basis of all reality, and most sadly of all, the absolute basis of all moral issues and morality.
Excerpted from SHAMANS of SAN DAMIANO by J. Lamah Walker Copyright © 2010 by J. Lamah Walker. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
San Damiano Cross....................xxi
01 Awakening ....................1
02 The Groundwork ....................23
03 Enter The Bear....................37
04 Dream Worlds....................69
05 Shamans Of Old....................73
06 The Apprentice....................93
07 Discoveries ....................105
08 The Arrival Of Spring....................121
09 ?ipa?Puli?Ma Found....................135
10 Sacred Offerings....................157
11 The Messenger....................175
12 Zuni Bound....................193
15 The Pilgrimage....................249
16 Powerful Medicine....................273
17 After The Fact....................293
18 Synopsis Of The Age Of Reality....................305
19 Feast Of Agapé: An Alternative....................313
Dancing With Sunsets....................333