Sunday, August 29, 2010

Welcome to the flesh

Puny's been working hard on the new website, but also finds time to hang out with her nonhuman friends, especially the trees. Looks like she's floating on water here--I wish I could take some art classes--but she's just on the little lawn by the deck in the backyard.

For a sneak preview of the website, go to:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Life After Death: Your Thoughts?

There's not a human on earth who doesn't have his or her opinion about what happens after death. Those who say we can't know what happens still have theories about it, believe me. It's too important a question not to consider now and then.

And of course, the truth is that we can't know what will happen after we die. We're only puny humans and we can't see very far.

Recently, I had the good fortune to work with a renowned Quebecois medium. She spoke only French but when she allowed the dead spirits of my parents to flow through her, I could understand her words as if she was speaking English or I was hearing my parents' voices myself. They spoke in characteristic ways, and referred to things that the medium could not possibly know, things that were critically important to me. It shook up my understanding of the afterlife.

Many traditional animist societies included ancestors, those who had recently or long ago died and whose spirits remained local to the community and interested in its welfare. In some cultures, the ancestors were revered or worshipped. In others, the ancestors would intervene to help relatives or harm enemies. Contemporary animists I have met, however, are concerned with our relationship to living nonhumans, and don't think too much about our relationship to gods or the human dead.

Although I am a follower of gods and other greater-than-human beings, I had never considered that the soul, that expression of spirit that is me, could survive death. I imagined that the spirit would dissipate, as the flesh dissipated, and would be scattered among new material forms. In other words, I did not believe in a soul or spiritual personhood that existed beyond a particular material form. Jack, on the other hand, has long believed in reincarnation, and I know other people I respect, my belle-mère not least of these, who believe in the survival and reincarnation of the soul.

What do you think? I sure would like to know because I'm not sure what to think about life after death. Please leave your ideas as a comment here. I appreciate your input.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Speak Up!

Charlie says: Speak up, animist kinfolk. The world ain't heard us, yet!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Terry says . . .

I really like being alone, without any humans nearby. Too many humans crowding around me and I can feel my life force start to trickle away. Hell, ever since I was a little kid, I’ve preferred the company of a teapot to that of my own blood relations. Why is this? you ask. Well, think about it for a moment: would you rather spend your weekend eating fattening food with your in-laws? Or alone with the green people under the sun and stars? Well, ok. You're a people person. But some of us would choose the stars.

I make a kind of living at it, at hanging out with nonhumans. I’m a shaman. My name is Terry DuBois and I carry a weed. No, that was just a swipe at Dragnet, right? I carry a badge? Ok, so I’m not a comedian. I’m a shaman. I'm a wise guy who works between the worlds. A shaman for hire.

Now, let me get one thing straight, and don’t you misunderstand this. I don’t take money for teaching—just if I've got to run an errand for somebody or steal back a soul from the dominators or demons. I get paid same as anyone for the work I do, but I never take money for teaching or healing. Teachings and healings belong to all of us, to the whole community who live on the Land-On-Which-You-Walk. The Jews actually forbid the charging of money for teaching their holy words. It’s to be done for the glory of “G”-d, although everybody understands that a man’s got to eat and many a ten dollar bill has changed hands quietly out of gratitude.

Money is poison. That's what Charlie says. A necessary poison to survive in a dominator world, but a source of evil nevertheless. It eats away at the soul, and tempts us with dreams of power. It drives humans to obsessions and blinds us to the things that truly matter. Money is to be avoided, if at all possible. But a man’s got to eat and so have I, and I need health insurance, too, because in the dominator world, teachings and healings are most certainly not free.

In the kingdom of heaven they have public health care, what some folks call socialized medicine. Jesus wouldn’t have it any other way. All who touch him, he heals. He doesn’t charge them any money. Over and over again, we read in the bible that Jesus was filled with compassion and his response was to freely heal.

Jesus didn’t take any money for his teachings, either. Oh, he’d be glad for a solid meal and a dry roof over his head, but he didn’t take what belonged to Caesar. He stood up on boats and on hillsides, and presided over dinners that spilled out into the streets, and he taught love. I’m also a teacher of love. I want to be like Jesus that way, don’t you? I want to teach love and heal for free.

So, I get pissed off at the self-proclaimed 21st century shamans and spiritual healers and new age whoo-ha’s who take money for teaching and healing. It’s their karma, I know, but it makes me doubt their credentials.

Anyone who talks to nonhumans knows that they consider money and profit to be evil gods, anyway, so I doubt these practitioners are gonna get much help from the nonhumans if they're taking money. And doesn’t that kind of cramp their style as shamans?

Besides, a shaman takes money, it'll eat a hole in his heart and he starts to hemorrhage love.

Another big problem that comes up just about every time a shaman teaches or heals for pay is that they forget they're servants. They take power and power corrupts. You got to be one tough-ass shaman to accept money and not get eaten away by it or have it damage your karma somehow.

That's why I got this bartending job. It's Charlie's bar. He owns the place and orders the beer but I make an honest living here, so I don't have to worry about using the nonhumans or taking what belongs to the gods to earn my bread. It's cleaner that way, and besides, Charlie gives me health insurance and that ain't peanuts in this dominator world.

PS from Puny: The Terry DuBois, Shaman for Hire mystery stories will be unveiled at my new website soon. The concept is copyright under the nonprofit attribution license of the Creative Commons, so, maybe this shaman can make a living from telling stories.