Monthly Columns

As Above So Below (How the Stars Became Our Hearts)

 

The Roots of the Earth: Acknowledging Our Divine Heritage

The moons of the previous month no doubt have you reeling in some way. Moons have always been the way the universe speaks directly to us. Even humans with no spiritual background whatsoever feel like a full moon does something to them. The reason for this is, it’s absolutely true. Spirit or no spirit, the moon exerts its gravitational force on every atom in your body, which of course subsequently effect brain chemistry. Though this can be explained scientifically, it doesn’t mean the universe isn’t awake, and communicating to you consciously.

This is to say, regardless of you spiritual background, the universe is talking to you.

As a person who calls themselves a Shaman, many people have opinions about what that means. Many people who call themselves Shamans may be lacking physical blood heritage, and thusly, have their calling themselves a Shaman, to be not only inaccurate, but disrespectful. The universe has called me to leave this message.

Our heritage as humans has been mucked up by many forces. Colonialism has served to white wash most of the globe, leading many indigenous cultures to feel oppressed, and rightly so. I’ve seen continuous attacks on people’s spiritual practices, calling them appropriation, and as a Shaman with no bloodline, I am among those frequently attacked and abused by those of Native heritage.

There are those who appropriate other cultures. There are those who call themselves Shamans just because they had a few psychedelic experiences, but this is not true for everyone who engages in activities that look this way on the facade. The universe is calling for an awakening of all people of the Earth, asking us to reconnect to our roots, and that looks like appropriation.

The spread of western ideology doesn’t just poison indigenous cultures, it poisons us all. Society acts like an evil step parent blocking all the messages from our real parents as it holds us in captivity. We don’t have Shamanic heritage because it was taken from us! As an African American, I can’t even know if I have Shamanism in my blood or not. Before the Abrahamic religions conquered most of life, Europeans had Shamanism as well. In fact, the word Shaman itself was originally used to describe the peculiar medicine men of the Siberian Arctic, not Native Americans.

I present to you that humans are survival first animals. That is to say, the very first Shamans had no lineage. No ancestry. They were the first humans who saw that there was more to life than hunting and foraging. They were the first humans to talk to the animals and the trees. They were the first humans who talked to the moon.

That being said, the awakening is causing more of us to just manifest as Shamans, whether that is blood inside of us waiting for activation, or simply our birthright as children of The Goddess.

Of course, I can’t speak for others, but I know in my heart, the spirits called me to be a Shaman as a child, before I knew anything about psychedelics. Due to my indoctrination into western society, I believed that these plant sacraments were drugs, and that they were evil, and as such, I avoided them.

I was lucky enough then, that when psychedelics were first presented to me, they were presented as sacraments. My first experience was spiritual on purpose. I wasn’t using this substance to get high and just stumbled upon it’s Spiritual properties. So the very first time, before I even knew, I was already a Shaman. My path with psychedelics has served to show me what that really means.

I always wanted an indigenous teacher and master, but one was never available. Instead, it was a white man. One who like myself had been indoctrinated and imprisoned by western society. A white man with no guidance because of the whitewashing of humanity. A man with no heritage, was set free by the spirit of these medicines, and dedicated the rest of his life to spreading this knowledge. He never called himself a Shaman, but I do, and I see him as the best master a westerner could possibly hope to find in a world where our spirituality is federally outlawed. I remember him, and I will teach my children these ways, and that will be heritage. My master talked to the moon in a world where that was still weird. If we have any hope of reviving the Earth, we have to let the tree of Shamanism grow new roots, or it will die forever. Those on my path wish to be closer to the indigenous, but we’re rejected, and shunned for appropriation, when we definitely don’t represent the society we are the product of. Shamanism is the religion of the Earth. Even if a Shaman isn’t your father, the Earth is your mother, which means you have shamanic heritage.

My master was a victim of this society. We have been so cut off from what it means to be human, and just shoved into cages and forced to power the capitalist machine. Our lives are raped of meaning, and we’re held back from fulfilling our destinies, leaving many of us in an eternal unquenchable pain. Many turn to substance abuse to fill this void, and some even talk prey to addiction. My master was one of these people. He struggled with addiction his whole life, and still spread the light about plant medicines despite his own demons. He saved my life, and helped me find my purpose as a Shaman. I know how important these plants are to humanity, and I now dedicate my life to these plants, and because of him, I didn’t have to learn about it through the guise of “drugs” which is what the government wants. By calling those who seek to return to their roots appropriators, you’re in fact aiding colonialism in marginalizing indigenous cultures, and further suppressing our connection to the spirits and our ancestors. 

As an end statement on appropriation itself. I must stress, Halloween itself IS appropriation. Samhain is an Celtic Pagan Sabbat, but everyone celebrates it. Everyone dresses up like a witch, but I don’t see Karens going to bat for us, and that’s because we feel honored that people are still keeping our history alive. If people really cared to fight appropriation they’d boycott Monsanto and stop eating corn for bullying native farmers into ditching their ancestor’s crop to sell patented GMO products or face losing their farms. Or you’d stop using western pharmaceuticals, which overtly use the ancestral wisdom of plant medicines to make obscene profits. Don’t punish those who are oppressed, but making us choose to embody a culture we reject. As we move into the future, Shamanism will grow to have a place in Western civilization, and we will be seen as the ancestors. We will be the roots. We will break the cultural veil, for we are all born of one blood. We are all one people. And the earth seeks to bring us together.

Race and culture issues are at the forefront of the issues on society today, the only way to fix these issues is to focus on what brings us together instead fighting over our differences. Connect to the roots of the Earth, the ancestry we all share.

In loving memory

Kenneth Donahue

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About the Author:

Alexiel Raynes is a shaman, philosopher, and musician from Louisville, Ky. He has studied religion and science for over 20 years. His spiritual path focuses on self realization, the liberation of the constraints of the mind on consciousness. He also studies plant medicines and their use in indigenous cultures world wide. He is fascinated with exploring the world beyond the veil of mainstream western science, and postulates at what lies beyond general consensus reality. He, together with his wife Hallie Walker are the owners of Saol Bandia, a holistic herbal apothecary based in their hometown. They are also very active in raising pagan awareness in their community, and helping give witches the courage to stand up to a world that has forgotten our ways.

 

You can visit their store at Saolbandia.com

For contact visit Facebook.com/AlexielRaynes2020

Or email [email protected]

Alexiel Raynes is a shaman, philosopher, and musician from Louisville, Ky. He has studied religion and science for over 20 years. His spiritual path focuses on self realization, the liberation of the constraints of the mind on consciousness. He also studies plant medicines and their use in indigenous cultures world wide. He is fascinated with exploring the world beyond the veil of mainstream western science, and postulates at what lies beyond general consensus reality. He, together with his business partner Hallie Walker are the owners of Saol Bandia, a holistic herbal apothecary based in their hometown. They are also very active in raising pagan awareness in their community, and helping give witches the courage to stand up to a world that has forgotten our ways. You can visit their store at Saolbandia.com For contact visit Facebook.com/AlexielRaynes2020 Or email [email protected]