Origins and Purpose, Passage and Place

By Sharon Van Raalte

Getting Here from There

Long before the awareness of shamanism made its impact on my life, I had an experience that startled me but, at the same time, seemed perfectly normal. It happened just outside the Arctic community of Cape Dorset on Baffin Island, where we had come to shoot a documentary film. It was April, which means, in the north, days of brilliant sunlight while tenacious snow and ice still render the land navigable by foot or skidoo. Walking with some friends, I paused to glance up to a ridge behind me and saw a group of 5 or 6 Inuit, dressed in caribou skin clothing, moving silently along the crest of the ridge. I laughingly described to one friend what I “thought” I had seen. “Maybe you’re a witch,” he replied. “Maybe”, I answered. Suddenly, the possibility of being able to see into other realms entered my consciousness and found a warm, but timid, welcome.

In the intervening years I have sought to clarify my worldview, to understand how the shamanic way of being which now guides my life, has found fertile soil in a questioning, testing, and often reluctant, mind.

Where do we come from? Why are we here? These perennial questions have been repeated for as long as mankind has been capable of reflection. Where are we going and what is our place in the forward journey? Such ponderings become even more urgent now as we witness the great earth changes that are occurring.

With a shamanic impulse now guiding my life, I know that when we come together in circles, united by the practice of shamanism, we share a connection with an ancient spiritual wisdom, one we could say is calling us home, inviting us to remember.

The sentence that begins with the words, 'In the beginning...' can be completed in so many ways. Creation myths, using such words, abound as far back as recorded time can take us.

When I was four years old I still knew I was a star-child. One early winter evening, muffled up in snowsuit, hat and mittens, I was waiting outside on the lawn in front of our house for my father to come home from work. The light of the street lamps and the passing cars was honey gold. (The light pollution we know today didn’t exist in the war years of the mid 40s.) I lay back on the snow and looked up to the starry sky above me and drifted into my first experience of unity consciousness.
I can still feel the soothing warmth of that starlight, even though it was winter. There was snow everywhere around me and I lay on it as though on a bed of feathers and felt myself floating up so close that I was sure I could touch those glittering points of light that were my source. I still tingle with the joy that radiated down and through me. Any space between us ceased to exist. Love poems to the beloved coursed through my young body. My launching pad to the stars was the tiny front yard of a duplex on a busy city street.
When I came back to myself, I was so filled with an overwhelming sense of love that I began to greet everyone passing by on the street, and was in turn warmly greeted back.
The people hurrying by on their way home that evening had no idea that my smile and my greeting were a benediction, a message. I can remember every detail. Now, more than sixty years later, I am just beginning to understand the implications of that early experience.

I also remember as an older child playing the game that name is Sharon Anne Van Raalte, I live at 436 Sammon Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, North America, Earth, Solar System, Galaxy, Universe... until the brain could no longer sustain or comprehend. I know I am not alone to have to have thrilled to that brainteaser!

What are the factors in the process of our evolution that have caused us to forget the importance of that childish recitation, that demonstration of something so primal, but imperfectly remembered - the desire to understand our place in the universe?

I returned to the perennial questions: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? Where does consciousness begin? These questions are all too familiar, but sometimes familiarity obscures depth. I wanted to find a way to plummet that depth and to dream deep. I imagined myself as some kind of mystic mariner in a sci-fi adventure journeying into the unknown in my tall ship, my submarine, my space pod.

I decided to try to put together a workshop, hoping that the discipline of fashioning form and process would lead me to greater understanding.

Because the subject is so vast I needed to find a point of departure, a compass. Fully aware of how little I know and overwhelmed by how much I need to discover, I decided to give myself a challenge. I would look for inspiration and direction only in the writings I have kept close to me over the years and in books and works that would come to me serendipitously. My reasoning was, that if we are all linked in some fundamental way to the larger whole, then the microcosm of my life must be a fractal reflection of the macrocosm. This would be a test. I started thumbing through my books, letting myself be guided.

I opened myself to the process of spiraling from idea to idea. In a conscious act of faith I entrusted myself to what I could reach out and touch, refining the process by limiting myself to what reached back and touched me. And what I needed to know came forward, as though it had been waiting to surface.

The ideas of Swiss cultural historian, Jean Gebser came to my attention. In his book The Ever-Present Origin he outlines five major stages of social and individual development. Referred to as “an analysis of the phylogenetic development of human consciousness or an archaeology of consciousness”, these stages are: Archaic, Magical, Mythical, Mental and Integral.

This reference prompted me to look at the nature, history and evolution of the universe and our place in it through the lens of several archetypes - The Wild Child, The Hunter-Gatherer and The Dreamer (artist/poet). Leaving aside the Mythical, with its rich and well documented exuberance, and the Mental, the archetype in which our culture is presently engaged, these correspond roughly to the Archaic (Wild Child), the Magical (Hunter-Gatherer) and the Integral (Dreamer) stages of development of human consciousness. These three archetypes became a major theme in the workshop.

From The Universe Story by Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme came the concept of the cosmogenic principle, which states that the evolution of the universe is governed by three basic themes that are the fundamental and ever present intention of all existence. They are Differentiation, Autopoiesis and Communion.

Some synonyms describing these themes help to clarify their meaning.
Differentiation=diversity, complexity, variation, disparity.
Autopoiesis=subjectivity, self-manifestation, sentience, inner principle of being, presence, identity.
Communion=interrelatedness, interdependence, kinship, complementarity, interconnectivity, reciprocity.

A way of summing up the cosmogenic principle could be:
There is no repetition in the developing universe.
Each thing emerges with an inner capacity for self-manifestation and self-organization.
To be is to be related, for relationship is the essence of existence.

Even distilled down to three sentences this insight was thrilling to me and has become the matrix for my views on existence.

Those of us who are drawn to shamanism and its role in contemporary times may find ourselves in that space between notions of spirit and science whether we realize it or not. The formula, E=mc2 is virtually universally known. Many of us are fascinated by current scientific enquiry into the origins of the universe - quantum mechanics, chaos theory, string theory, M theory. The liturgy of this new science is tantalizing - fractals, strange attractors, the pure beauty of the Mandelbrot set demonstrating the elegance of design that describes the never-ending flowering of the universe. In many cases the sense of these patterns and forms can only be expressed through mathematical equations, which are then translated into our ken by symbol and archetype.

These amazing advances in science reveal the pure wonder of creation, and mirror in many instances a world-view shared by indigenous peoples all over the globe and set down throughout the ages in myth and metaphor.

Berry and Swimme point to the origins of modern science at the time of the Renaissance and to the development of mathematics as an attempt to understand and express the mysteries of the universe. This time of intent observation and analysis fostered a desire to look back to the mythic world of classical times and back further to neolithic and even to paleolithic times, when a sense of the workings of the universe was a continuous experience. It is only today that we have insight into the chain of transformation that began as galaxies and led to the birth of elements-solarsystem-planets-earth-seas-continents-atmosphere-oxygen-plant life-animal life-human life. It is through human intelligence that the universe has become conscious of its own story.

Imagine the effect these ideas had on the part of me that still reflects that awestruck little girl reciting her name and place. My name is…

Such reflections help us understand the key role of the scientist in our times. Berry suggests that the great work of Einstein was supported, not only by his towering intellect, but also by his ability to imagine shamanically. The great scientific minds that have come after him are clearly inspired, as well, by this blending of great intellectual skill and shamanic insight in their quest to unwrap the secrets of the universe.

When we engage in contemporary shamanic work we are in a unique position. We can draw from both science and spirit - two aspects of the same mystery - to inform our forward journey in this ever-changing world. And, since we have the experience of shamanic consciousness and know the realms of non-ordinary reality, we have already covered part of the journey. There is an open door, a portal of transit already in operation, a star-gate dialed.

We use ancient methods, but we are different from those ancient people who practiced them. Our sense of animism is, at first, intellectual, a kind of learned behavior. Our DNA memory has witnessed a move away from the embrace of nature, but includes a developing consciousness that is predicated on reason and reflection. In some ways we are on the outside looking in. But the same DNA memory that carries the gifts of all we have learned up to this point of evolution also cradles the knowledge of those earlier states of pure symbiosis with the natural world. A return to a shamanic consciousness is becoming the renewed birthright of our time, inspired and informed by both science and spirit.

We are all aware of the importance of symbols throughout history. Symbols are the visual reference to the mystery, used to describe the magic of astronomy and astrology. Mathematical symbols help scientists decode the mysteries of the universe. The flowering forms of sacred geometry have been known through the ages. If we look at representations of mythology and cosmology around the world, we find that the use of symbols or geometric forms to express ideas and concepts is abundant and pervasive, a kind of shorthand, dense with meaning. The recent proliferation of crop circles in many places on the globe seems to be bringing our attention back to these ancient mysteries.

Journey for a Symbol

In preparing the workshop, Genesis, which I have now offered several times, it occurred to me that a good way to begin to contain and explore these emerging ideas, would be through an initial journey: to find a pattern, design or symbol that could be a portal through which to journey, but would also have a specific, imbedded personal meaning and teaching for each person. Workshop participants were to agree to follow up to learn about its meaning for them personally. If they received a complicated or complex symbol they would ask to be shown its simplest form. If the symbol were simple, they were to ask to be shown some of its more complex variations. Once they had taken note of the various forms of their symbol, I asked that each one draw on a card in thick black pen the symbol in its simplest form and to keep it visible throughout the weekend, taking the time to give it their attention, be open to its teaching.

Not surprisingly, the symbols were often geometric or spiraling in nature and the symbols in each group were almost completely either one type or the other. Some people remarked on the sense of group mind.

I have my symbol hanging on my office wall, always in full view. (Maggie)

The symbol as a portal to enter non-ordinary reality:
I was aware at the start of the journey that my drawing over my fireplace is that symbol (a dark sun circling a light sun).
In the journey I saw a more complex form of the symbol as a spiraling DNA matrix; one set of energy spiraling one way and the other the reverse. It was too complicated to draw, and even the sketch below does not quite capture it. (Linda)

The symbol was in constant flowing motion. The whole image seemed to be unfurling towards me, like a flower, moving all around me and passing on, rather than me moving through it to reach the other side. At times the lines of motion changed into orbs, but the configuration and flow were the same. (Sharon)

In our shamanic work, we are accustomed to using drums and rattles to call the attention of the spirits. These are a stylized representation of a far earlier connection to the sounds of nature that filled the ears of early man - the wind, the sound of rain hitting various surfaces, the rustle of leaves, the sound of hoof beats - connections to the very vibrations of existence. Before we devised instruments, our instrument was our body, music our voice, rhythm the clapping of hands - we danced and we sang. We existed in our senses in perpetual dialogue with the living world around us.

Another response to the call for clarity from the fractal world of my bookcase came from David Abrams' The Spell of the Sensuous. It reminds us that as we touch the world, a leaf, a rock, the water in a pool, we are in turn touched back. As we gaze upon the color of a flower or the filigree pattern on the wings of a dragonfly, the flower and the dragonfly are also gazing back at us. There are no boundaries and we are engaged in a mutual dance of shared perception that could not exist without both partners.

Most of the experiences I have had involving a sense of being in compete interaction with nature have been in the Arctic. Maybe only in these isolated and relatively untouched places can we still witness and participate in the interdependence and continuity of all life.

One such experience occurred years after my first “sighting” of spirits on the ridge in Cape Dorset. It was during another film shoot. This time we were filming in the summer, camped on the land some distance from Cape Dorset, where a vein of marble provided the site for a documentary about the carving of life-size figures from marble, depicting the story of the Inuit myth of Sedna.

By now, I was in the middle of the Three Year program at the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and had even brought my drum north with me. This particular year the sea ice had not receded, even though it was July, and we had been forced to take repeated trips by helicopter to the site, to ferry our supplies, the carvers, their families, and the film crew. We were cut off from the outside until the ice broke.

One evening, sitting near our camp, on the marble slope that dipped into the sea, I quietly drummed and journeyed to my teacher. He had been a well-known hunter in the region and I had recently discovered that his former camp was across the bay from where we were located. In the journey I am swimming under the waters of this bay. A seal approaches and we swim together, swirling in spiral formations. I feel an ancient connection, a sense of complicity. The next day, when we found that a seal had been caught by our fishnets, I was filled with gratitude and an almost sobering sense of a covenant.

Not long after, we became aware of something moving in the distance through the ice-filled waters. It was the first boat to make its way to our camp, now that the ice was beginning to break up. I hurried down to the shore to greet a woman who was first off the boat and learned that she was the granddaughter of my spirit teacher to whom I had been drumming the previous night. It was as though land and spirit were communicating as one. I felt that my teacher was manifesting through her.

In October we returned to finalize the shoot. We finished just as the weather started to close in, so we hurried to break camp. I was in the last boat to leave as a storm began to develop. We were overloaded and the boat was hanging dangerously low in the water. There was a sense of urgency to get out as quickly as we could. Rain, wind and waves made the going rough. Large chunks of ice floated by, shape-shifting into ghostly human forms in the mist and the waning light, looming like ethereal water spirits. About halfway back to the community we abruptly turned toward shore. I looked and saw that two boats had pulled up, but there seemed to be no one there. Then, as I looked, the rock seemed to move, revealing three men who had been so continuous with their environment that I hadn’t seen them until they began to come toward our boat. It was as though the rock had given them form and life, as though they had grown out of the rock.

Here was a living, breathing expression of the Wild Child!

The Wild Child

The Wild Child corresponds to the Gebser’s Archaic stage in the development of human consciousness.

The Wild Child is pre-personal and exists without ego, is continuous with the environment. When we call up this archetype, we become that which we were at the moment of our birth, still in touch with the place from which we have come, still remembering. As long as we are able to join through our bodies with the body of the earth, in a place before or beyond words or language, we can experience the Wild Child. Remember that our DNA is encoded with the total blueprint of life right back to the beginning of time.

Journey to the Wild Child

Another journey in the workshop was to meet our Wild Child, living somewhere in the texture of the double helix–keeping alive the memory of the senses/the sensual–the rain, the wind, the sun, the feasting on berries–the natural life on the borderlands between cosmic awareness and self-awareness.

What could we learn about this original state of being that could be brought forward into our awareness? How could we build an open dynamic between the awakened Wild Child and the person existing in the ever-present moment? What could the Wild Child tell us about the vibration of color, the song of the elements, the teachings of the seasons? (I had asked everyone at the beginning of the workshop to quickly write down without thinking, the color, the element and the season with which they most resonated at that moment.)

Of the two examples below, the first is an account of the journey during a workshop and the second is a recounting of how the Wild Child archetype came to help during a woman’s subsequent work with a client. Other journeys were alive with the various aspects of the chosen color.

I journeyed to the lower world and asked my power animal to bring me to my wild child. We walked in the tall grass. Someone was walking toward us. I assumed it was my wild child. The man was carrying a tray with something on it. I could not make out what was on the tray. I asked him if he was my wild child. He said, ‘No, your wild child is within you. Eat this and you will experience what you already are’. I ate what was on the tray. I suddenly felt myself becoming a luminous being; I became the long grass, swaying in the breeze, soaking up the rays of the sun. I felt warm and lazy. Then I was the breeze playing in the leaves. I blew over the water and became the water flowing down the river, enjoying the freedom of flowing, and sparkling in the sun. I was a stone at the bottom of the river, covered with soil and feeling very grounded as the water flowed over me. I was the mist over the rapids. I rose higher and higher in the atmosphere. I soared like Eagle; I became Eagle swooping down and playing in the wind. I swooped down and merged with Lion and, as Lion, I played in the field. I was back in my body and Lion and I laid down in the field staring up at the sky until night fell. We laid there in complete darkness, just content in being. I was not cold, I was not warm, I felt this complete sense of contentment. I felt deeply connected with everything and everyone. I was an integral part of nature. (Francine)

I had a meeting with a client well known to me last night where we did a soul remembering journey and I just wanted to let you know how much it would seem your workshop has changed and improved my work. The client and I work well together, but last night the confirmations of my journey manifested in real time at the end of the journey - it was so amazing it brought tears to my eyes. I found the journey went very deep and as I was entering part 2 of the journey, I realized the depth needed so called upon Wild Child to take me to where I was being guided - especially because it was in a time of no words. We went to a planet that had caught my attention... and it would seem it was a "beginning" time. It was amazing to journey to this place with such ease and detail. (Maggie)

The Hunter-Gatherer

The elements and the topography within which they lived took on special meaning for the first peoples. As reflection led them to perceive themselves as other, they identified their place in their reality based on the surrounding landscape. They became the people of the River, the Mountain, the Plains. Spirits of wind, sun, earth and fire were to be respected and honored. Not entirely separated from their animal past, they maintained a communion with the animals and identified themselves with totems for strength and protection. They became the hunter-gatherers.

The Hunter-Gatherer archetype relates most closely to the Magical stage set out by Gebser.

As Hunter/Gatherers we are always in the middle of our process, working at activities that are never completed. The need to continuously seek out nourishment provides a unique perspective – imbued with endless movement, choice, and change. The work of survival is ongoing, never finished, its process integrated into all phases of life. Gratitude is an ever-present state, grounded in living ritual. In a paradigm based on process everything is living. Therefore nothing is static, and nothing can be taken for granted.

Here again, my direct experience of this was in the Canadian Arctic, where I have witnessed over and again hunters, by all standards modern, articulate, well traveled beyond their northern realms, who, when out “on the land” become the embodiment of their hunter-gatherer ancestors. The caribou is caught and skinned where it fell, the meat wrapped neatly in the skin and the remains either hidden out of sight or left in the open for the ravens so that the land will retain no visible reminder of the event. The seal is harvested from the net, brought to shore and given a drink of fresh water from a tin cup as the hunters look on. The skinning and the division of meat take place in silence and the fresh liver is passed around for all to share.

As Hunter-Gatherers we have the awareness of an animal moving perpetually through the centre of its universe, alert and in harmony at the same time, scanning.

Out “on the land”, being carried by skidoo over an endless, snowy landscape, even I have found myself, as though another aspect of my nature was evoked, scanning the horizon back and forth and back and forth until this process revealed something that wasn’t there a moment before, a black speck on the distant horizon – a seal lifting its head miles away.

This is the way of perceiving that goes beyond the logic of the mind or the hints from intuition. It goes back to a holistic perception, the scan, the immediate grasp, the direct knowing. We need to bring our attention to inner and outer process – a kind of scanning from a subtle higher level of the whole, that place of creativity where everything is joined, much like the hunter out on the land. To do this we need to move beyond many of the assumptions held by our current society.

Each of us carries in the fabric of our DNA the precious perception of the earth seen through the eyes of the Hunter-Gatherer.

Journey to the Hunter-Gatherer

Here was another journey for the Genesis workshop: to meet the Hunter-Gatherer, to learn the gifts and skills from this consciousness. Specific skills like silence, stillness and waiting might be shared. Seeing the world through Hunter-Gatherer eyes might bring insight to our place in time and space. Is my Hunter-Gatherer the same or opposite gender? What are the teachings of the Hunter-Gatherer?

A hand grabs my wrist and I’m pulled. I follow. Who is this? Earth Masculine–yes; Hunter Gatherer–yes. This time he’s more instinctual, less civilized in his interactions with me… very primal. He makes us squat down and points at the ground. All I feel is the sensuousness of being close to him… I look at him, but he indicates with a jerk of his head that I’m to scan about the tundra landscape and use this state of heightened awareness. I do. I feel my mind (mental thinking) overrides this instinctual connection. I must work to rebuild it to use in daily life; it will expand my intuitive process; the instinctual battery for psychic awareness. (Linda)

Some of the teachings: … no boundaries, all life one continuous thread…talk less, accept the obvious…everything is connected, create a strong web of support (like a trampoline); take what you need, careful to leave the web intact; trust the web to provide what you need; abundance is available…enjoy the moment…take time…listen with all your heart. (groups)

The story of our evolving consciousness led inevitably to the development of language.
At first the sounds of language reflected back the description of what was being communicated. Even in our common language of today we can hear the “crackling fire”, the “whispering wind”, the “gurgling water”.

Language among oral peoples was used to converse not only with one another but to maintain communication with the animate and inanimate world around them, invoking the eternal relationship with the surrounding embrace of earth and sky. They spoke to the world, not of the world. At its best, language becomes poetry.

The cosmogenic principle is still very much in evidence. Greater complexity flows into new examples of self-manifestation, all seeking new forms of reciprocity.

While the next two stages in Gebser’s outline of the development of human consciousness, the Mythical and the Mental, have been noted for the sake of continuity, they did not seem to require an archetypal examination in the context of what I had set out to understand. At another time, an investigation of the archetypes of Mythmaker and Thinker would most certainly be warranted. They are mentioned here to demonstrate that these stages and the realities they have conjured, both beneficial and destructive, simply describe the inevitable flow of diversity, subjectivity and interrelatedness, a chapter in the cosmogenic process that has had to exhaust its potential before a new cycle of cosmogenesis could flow from it.

With this new cycle has come the Dreamer.

The Dreamer

This is the Integral stage in Gebser’s list, which he calls the time of the ever-present origin.

He characterizes it as a new order of time erupting into consciousness. The creative space-time of the physicists and the timeless time of the mystics are together creating a flow that is pushing aside the dualities and polarities that defined the period of Mental (Rational) consciousness. Integral thought is comprehensive, its consciousness planetary, its way of being holistic.

This is the time of the Dreamer, the poet, the artist in all of us, a time that scans the horizons of the imagination.

“…that which we call imagination is from the first an attribute of the senses themselves; imagination is not a separate mental faculty, but a way the senses themselves have of throwing themselves beyond what is immediately given in order to make tentative contact with the other side of things that we do not sense directly, with the hidden or invisible aspects of the sensible.”

During the time of the oral cultures the languages of such peoples as the Navajo and the Hopi demonstrate an understanding that human desire and imagination can exert an influence on a world that is ever-emerging, ever-manifesting, in a perpetual mingling of time and space. This suggests a linking back to the intuitive time of the Wild Child. Here was the original Dreamer, the one before words. Now we have words and not only the dream of what was and is, but the bourgeoning dream of what will be. This is truly the playground of the artist and the poet.

Journey to the Dreamer

With these thoughts in mind, I asked the groups to journey to meet their Dreamer (poet, artist, creative one) and ask such questions as: What are the qualities of the Dreamer’s imagination and creativity that I can awaken in my life? Show me a quiet place where, as Dreamer, I can return whenever I wish to dream my life and with it the world.

As I watch I see something coming toward me. I see the air morphing around an energy form; like a mirror reflection around a body. It’s as if space is folding / morphing as the energy form comes towards me. WOW! Awesome! I feel like a child watching something so magically amazing. I sparkle / glisten with Spirit’s flowing love. I touch with my hand the embrace of this pseudopodal elemental. Tears flow. This is so beautiful. This is solar feminine. It reflects all. How am I to use you? I’m shown to lean forward forehead to forehead. ‘It’s not what I mean. When do I use you?’ ‘Every moment.’ (Linda)

There are no limits to what the Dreamer can teach us, especially as we move into this time of new consciousness.

What are these times?
These are times when even consensus reality is breaking down. Morality and integrity are almost questions of personal choice. We have no shared cosmology and therefore no point of reference, no reverence.

Thinkers like Joseph Campbell and Thomas Berry refer to the loss of myth in our time.
At the same time, psychologist/philosopher, Jean Houston, points out that every kind of society that has ever existed can be seen to-day. Couple that with the knowledge that our DNA contains the memory of all existence, the phrase “as within, so without” takes on deeper meaning.

Houston says the world may be ready for a whole system transition. The signs are there. She suggests that, “there is a lag between the end of an age and the discovery of that end. We are the children of the lag, the people of the time of parenthesis–and there is no juicier time to be alive. For the future is open in a time of parenthesis–the new age is being seeded; the new myths are beginning to appear…”

Journey for a Myth

These ideas suggested another journey for the workshop. I decided to bring the groups back to the symbol they had found during the beginning hours of the workshop. I wondered what a journey through the symbol, as portal, would reveal with the intention of being shown a new myth for our times. The symbol itself might reveal a deeper aspect of its nature and its relation to the emergent myth. How might it manifest? How can each of us participate? What will be the new myth for our times?

The journey for insight into the new myth of our times was quite a surprise. Went again through the portal, which turned into a huge snake... a new power animal. I felt fear and discomfort. The snake bit me all over then ate me! I went through him and we intertwined and continued the journey and came out in the Lower World where he sat coiled up in front of me. He was huge. I felt fear. He said: NO FEAR! You need to let go of fear and embrace me. I am knowledge. I am enlightenment. I am the new myth of our times. I am the kundalini rising. With that, he went up my spine eating all my chakras and spewing out of my head. It was painful and I wanted to scream out. He said: This is purification. It then flowed from the Earth, up my back and out my head, showering back to the Earth. He showed me groups of people sitting in a circle doing this. He told me that knowledge changes as we evolve, it is not static, but changes with us. See my skin? And then he shed it. This is old knowledge, old reality, my old eyes. Today is a new knowledge. (Glenn)

What an opportunity for the process to come full circle even as it spirals forward in the one, two, three dance of cosmogenesis. The Dreamer, the descendant of the Wild Child is yearning to come home, to complete the loop back to the dance of co-creation with all the energies of the universe. The Dreamer carries the knowledge of all that has gone before and stands on precipice of all that is to come. The Dreamers will dream the new myths, will be the mythmakers of our time. And we are all Dreamers. We are here now embracing ideas about time and space that the ancients understood and we welcoming the new thinkers as the new storytellers. Physicists and mathematicians who are probing the universe for answers become poetic as they reach for imagery to describe the mysteries they are unveiling. Those of us returning to a shamanic way of being have the tools to walk between the worlds and to bring back, not only stories of our adventures in other realms, but a renewed understanding of the importance of our way of being on this earth.

Journey to All

Finally, to bring together the archetypes we all embody, I asked each group to journey to meet with their Wild Child, Hunter-Gatherer and Dreamer together and ask to be shown our purpose here, the gift of our individual and unique presence in this unfolding universe.

…be a transcriber to birth desire and intention into existence…explore divers realms and synthesize what you find to bring to others who might wish…live in passion and laughter; there is no other thread like yours…with the precision of the archer, walk into the unknown; give voice to the marginalized…hang onto the web with one hand and, with the other hold on to all of us, making place for us on the web…you are the gift / a work in progress…be the color you are, just be…(groups)

The universe is unfolding, evolutionary, emergent. We can’t know what awaits us. The cosmogenic principles continue to be creative, producing new variations, including the human mind. We are the sum of all that has gone before. Our only path is forward. To the extent that we are one of its most intricate forms, the universe celebrates itself through us. As we change, self-manifest and enter into community, we participate in the unerring wisdom of the cosmogenic principle. We are its living flag bearers, its representatives.

When we come together in groups to explore ideas such as these, we listen, experience, share, touch upon connectedness. Perhaps each coming together is random or a part of a larger order. But, for certain, any coming together is only one of an infinite number of possibilities, a metaphor for existence–flexible, ever evolving, learning, and adjusting. Pushing homeward, mystic mariners all, we are guided unerringly by our own north star.

Although I have only offered this workshop a few times, the response and feedback were most rewarding. Some people applied the concepts and their experiences directly in their shamanic work. Others experienced personal healing through their encounters with the archetypes. Most said that the content of the workshop continued to work on them long after the weekend ended. There was a consensus that two days were not enough time to integrate the material and some suggested either a longer residential program or continuing gatherings to explore the subject. There were useful comments about how the material was organized in relation to the journeys. I look forward to expanding and refining the material and to offering Genesis again in the future.


I loved the workshop. As with all the Shamanic workshops I've done with you there has been much work done and reflection on myself and my own relationship to my inner demons. The wild child was an interesting discovery. The way it blended itself to all that is about me. I particularly like how one of the journeys brought the wild child and the inner child together to heal misunderstandings, conflicts etc from past moments of my life. Although this workshop did not primarily concentrate on healing there was healing done. Certain moments were so intense that my male bravado & facade forced me to remove myself and go walk to collect myself, my decorum and my thoughts.

It was a wonderful workshop. I'll be processing it for quite some time. However, I think that, ideally, it would be better if it was spread out over more than one weekend. I don't know if that would work, since I see how the different threads are interconnected, but it really does seem like it would be better to go into more detail but as a longer and more detailed workshop it might be a bit overwhelming. Anyway, thanks for the experience.

Genesis is the opportunity to approach a threshold; and with Spirit’s guidance to cross over into the next level of work; of unfolding who one is in this physical reality;
For me this threshold experience is a very primal and sub-verbal articulation; it manifests in the physical level of the sensate; it equates to the fetus in the womb; it is a very subtle level, which takes time to manifest in my awareness and conscious understanding.
This was the second time I’ve had a journey that was as if I was in direct connection with Spirit. This time it was seeing the creator through that which physical space manifests around its energetic form. Previously I stepped through the eye of a dragon into an empty void where the darkness pulsed with a glow. Both times I was in awe and emotionally overwhelmed.

Having never heard of archetypes before, learning about them during the Genesis workshop was an eye opening experience. With this new awareness at hand, I feel that these archetypes have quickly and easily become an important part of my healing work. This has enhanced both the understanding of myself and energy in general. Knowing of them and what they represent has also given me a system of places/dimensions that I am guided to go to when doing healing work. At times each archetype seems almost to reflect a representation of the body, mind and spirit. I would relate spirit to the Wild Child, body to be the Hunter/Gatherer and the mind the Dreamer...
By understanding or relating to the different archetypes on an energetic level I find my imagination has been broadened, thus I have become more open to even greater possibilities of energy. Often times now during a healing journey I will find myself in one of their existences, usually Wild Child or Hunter/Gatherer. Each of them brings their own knowledge about my client and I am easily provided with a place to do some energy work in their time frame. Each also has a unique way of communicating messages so it allows me an understanding of what time frame (term used loosely!) I am working and what the clients need help with. In most sessions I find myself in the Wild Child's time- the time before words - when energy was pure and unobstructed - it is here that I find healing begins to take place on a multidimensional multi-lifetime level, and while it is hard at times to decipher the information, the energies flow freely and easily. Wild Child also provides the best place to access historical information and cosmic wisdom. In the end it takes a lot of faith to work without words, just energy, yet doing so promotes my own inner growth and makes it very rewarding.

i Referenced in Life Force by Jean Houston
ii Abram, p58
iii Houston, p5


Abram, David. The Spell of the Sensuous. Random House, Inc.: New York; 1997
Houston, Jean. Life Force, Quest Books; Wheaton, Ill., U.S.A.: 1993
Swimme, Brian and Berry. Thomas The Universe Story. HarperSanFrancisco; 1992