Shamanism, myth and metaphor – and Wolverine

From this piece on the popular funny book character as shamanic figure:

Myths, rituals and religion bind us together and can be seen metaphorically as the bones of our society. Our personal belief and value system can be seen as our soul’s set of bones. As we grow up we take on the beliefs and values of the people around us. There comes a point for some of us where we start to doubt the absolute truth of the claims of our culture. We question and question and lose all belief. We are left dismembered and torn apart.

Our symbolic bones are brittle and fragile to begin with because we see them as being literally and absolutely true. For example, when the claim that the moon is a goddess is understood literally, it is smashed to pieces when we land on the moon. Stories and symbols address psychological needs and these change over time. In order to stay relevant and useful the stories and symbols we hold dear must also change. The literal and absolute perspective can not accommodate change and so is weak and fragile.

A man with unbreakable bones has a belief system that is fluid and adaptive to his life. He chooses from the stories and symbols around him and defines himself through them. He dances to the beat of his own drum. He is protected from the manipulation of others by his conscious recognition of the power of symbol and story. The transition from a literal to metaphorical perspective requires the complete dissolution of everything that we previously held to be true. When the process is completed the core of our being is left free from doubt and insecurity.

Well said, bub.
(And don’t get me started on the shamanic arc of Hugh Jackman’s career… let’s just say, go see a double bill of The Prestige and The Fountain and see how that does ya.)

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3 Responses to Shamanism, myth and metaphor – and Wolverine

  1. Mark says:

    The Shamanistic traditions would ever be weighed with due process culturally, legally, and academically ? Shamanistic traditions are suspect as foreign oddities to begin with, but the added fact that they make regular use of psychedelic drugs makes them especially anathema. But then, shamans do not use the word “drug” nor are they encapsulated in a lifestyle of Western stigmas. They do not use “drugs” at all in our sense. In fact, the closet rendering in English to what they are using is “entheogen” which roughly translated means “creating the god within” and they have been doing it for thousands of years without destroying society, without Western values, and with some remarkably positive social results. Irony would have it that eventually Western society would reconsider its positions on ancient traditions beyond which we have thought ourselves to have ” evolved.” Furthermore, that irony is carried into the realm of drugs precisely because these lesser ” backward ” societies have appeared to have found positive uses for psychedelics which our “advanced” society has not and which must serve as a bitter reminder of our failure to do what we do best: profit from nature. The purpose of this report, is to high light changing American trends in the realm of psychedelics. Shamanistic redemption as a form of entheogenic intervention ,also take a look at ayahuasca glimpse 2012 from Goithyja, a great piece of practical knowledge in this subject, helping people to partake with entheogenic substances in a more spiritual way…!

  2. Teinture et Finissage casablanca…

    […]Shamanism, myth and metaphor – and Wolverine « Cat Vincent's Oddities and Mutterings[…]…

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