“Being a Christian shaman involves a radically different way of participating in everyday life. It means that you will sacrifice rarely questioned cultural habits and understandings in favor of honoring innumerable unspoken mysteries.” ~ Brad Keeney, Shamanic Christianity
My guess is that ‘Shamanic‘ and ‘Christian‘ aren’t two words most people would expect to find paired together.
But if you’re aware of the roots and byways of both, it makes perfectly good sense.
With the insight from Brad Keeney shared above, you can substitute your own spiritual tradition for ‘Christian’, if you honor another spiritual tradition, or even that sort of devoted commitment in a way that you don’t identify as religious or even spiritual at all.
And you can substitute ‘indigenous soul’ or ‘mystic’ for ‘shaman’ . Various cultures, languages, and traditions had, and have, various words for those with that gift-set and vocation, even as they share some common ways of seeing, being, and practicing.
That out of the way, I really appreciate Keeney’s focus on the Christian tradition and its ‘indigenous soul’ root-wisdom, which is one of my own long, deep interests and traveled pathways.
What he writes, though, is true for any of us who has chosen to honor and truly live into — to practice into, or (genuinely endeavor to) ‘walk the talk’ — of our spiritual, shamanic, mystic-nature, or indigenous-wisdom, and thus be graced by gifts of and from “the innumerable unspoken mysteries.”
But one reward of that path comes from the Elves of Merry Play. Read on …
Keeney goes on to write this:
“Christian shamans dream sacred visions and feel the ecstatic currents of spirit flowing through their bodies. They get there like the mystics of old — through loving God and praying without end.”
“Mystics and shamans are the same in their devotion to God and in their encounters with the sacred gifts of the Holy Spirit. Christian shamans go further and encourage themselves to reenter the everyday with a transformed posture …”
“The Christian shaman enters the everyday with the spirit of radical experimentalism. No challenge or difficulty is big enough to not be teased inside and out. In the shamanic world, everything is turned around, reversed, deliberately misperceived, tinkered with, and thrown to the elves of merry play.”
And that spirals right back around to the “Holy Divine as Merry Trickster” that I mentioned in an early-2016 Blesstival Series post, Well-Fed Roots and Sacred Ground, featuring an excerpt from Keeney’s Shamanic Christianity book.
Follow the link if you’ve not already seen it (or can benefit a fresh Blessing-Bath).
May we all be visited by the “Elves of Merry Play” and the Holy Divine as Merry Trickster (because it’s good to have a few well-etched laugh lines along with those initiation-earned silver hairs gained along the path of radical experimentation into innumerable unspoken Mysteries!).
Featured Image Credit: An encircled equidistant cross set above Brigid’s Knots, found at Killaghtee in County Donegal, Ireland. Image from Irish Megaliths
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January 26, 2016 at 7:33 pm
Christian and Shaman, not the typical peanut butter and jelly combo. But true Christianity has little to do with modern interpretations. Christ clearly was a shaman, mystic, insert whichever title you choose, etc
Thanks for sharing this Jamie,
Wishing you trickster blessings,
January 27, 2016 at 5:38 pm
True enough, Linda, and that’s exactly why I enjoy sharing blog articles like this one. Trickster blessings to you as well! xoxo Love, Jamie
January 27, 2016 at 10:32 am
Great post, Jamie. The Trickster is one of my favorite archetypes. Re Christian mysticism, have you read “Cloud of the Unknowing”? It’s worth checking out. Cheers.
January 27, 2016 at 5:37 pm
Hey there, Jeff. Thank you. I rather like the Trickster myself. 🙂 I have visited with Cloud of Unknowing, and revisit it every now and then. Things like that have that ‘evergreen’ quality … spiral back around to revisit them and you see them with new eyes. Have you done a blog article on that one? Cheers to you as well.
January 28, 2016 at 12:02 am
I have not. It was years ago that I read it. May read it again, but I have so many unread books, it’s hard to go back to something. I just need a windfall of cash so I can stop working and just read and blog 😉
January 28, 2016 at 7:14 pm
Well, as Jean Luc Picard would say, make it so. Where are those cool ruby slippers when they’re needed? 🙂 And yes, so many books to read … thankfully.