I realise that despite having mentioned it a couple of times, I’ve never said much on this blog about the sort of visions that I get periodically. The two most overwhelming ones (August 1990 and May 1995) were sudden, dramatic and life-changing, but they are not very typical. Much more typical is something less dramatic and conclusive, which often recur. They are more like a type of daydream, distinguished from such simply by the sense of being ‘gripped’, with a strong sense of being ‘present’ in them (as opposed to a more abstract musing and free-association, which I also do quite a lot of). As I’ve said before, I have not as yet set much store by these visions. I find them helpful for reflection in terms of my own spiritual journey but I don’t see them as having any particular bearing outside of my own soul.
Anyhow, some examples.
Throughout the 1990’s I had a recurring vision of being in the presence of Christ but wholly unable to look at him; I was simply grovelling on the floor and only able to look at his feet. As time went on it became much clearer to me that it wasn’t Jesus preventing me from looking up, it was myself. (I sometimes wonder if these began before or after I watched Bad Lieutenant which has a very similar scene in it.)
One from the late 1990’s: being on the seabed and chained down like an anchor, there is an earthquake and I become a bubble starting a journey to the surface.
One from a guided meditation at Westcott (this one hasn’t repeated in the same sort of way as the others, but I have been able to remember it clearly. I think this experience is one of the main reasons why I haven’t cultivated this aspect of my personality!!): I was with Jesus in a kitchen where there was a table; in the table was a drawer; we were encouraged to open the drawer and take out what was in it and give it to Jesus. I took out a kitchen knife and stabbed Jesus repeatedly with it.
One from my retreat last November: standing before a small waterfall which was in the middle of a church aisle; I was on one side, Jesus was on the other, and for the first time I could look at his face, although I couldn’t see it clearly. The sense was of having got much closer to him but of there still being this screen between us.
As you can see, not something which I ever thought would have much interest for other people, but it’s a facet of my life which I’m pretty sure is going to become more prominent as time goes on.
Very interesting sequence of posts about shamanism beginning here.
some features of shamanism.
Calling: The shaman feels a calling, and may wait many years for that calling to mature.
Initiation: The shaman is initiated, very often by terrifying means whereby their fear of death is faced. The community presides over this initiation, although the actual experience is often very solitary.
Communal role: The shaman serves the community’s psychological, social and medical needs.
Authentic authority: Unlike the priest, the shaman derives their authority not from an institution but from a direct experience with the divine. Furthermore, they can loose their power or gift, and do not have a guaranteed status.
Connection with the cosmos: The shaman relates very deeply to community, animals and the world.
Peripheral yet central: The shaman often exists somewhat detached at the edges of a community, and is called upon in times of crisis.
Playful yet mournful: Many shamanic practitioners have displayed a keen sense of humour, not taking themselves too seriously, and can fulfil a subversive “jester” role. At the same time they are “wounded healers” and experience empathy with the suffering of all people and things.
Non-ordinary: The shaman specialises in liminal states, skirting ordinary life. Techniques such as psychotropic plants, sleep deprivation, fasting and rhythm are employed to gain access to these states.
Mythmakers: Shamans are masters of myth and symbol. They are rooted in both their particular traditions as well as a collective un/consciousness.
I think this is me, although, in particular, that penultimate point is the one I’m now being called to explore. I tend not to allow that part of my personality a free rein. As well as what I wrote about in my fire post, I think one reason why my dialogue with atheists has flared up again (more on that soon) is because God is bringing something to birth in me via that struggle.
found this at Dennis’ place. The idea is to highlight the elements of your own upbringing that apply in bold.
(text below copied from Step into Social Class 2.0: A Social Class Awareness Experience. Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka, Indiana State University, © 2008)
Bold the true statements.
1. Father went to college.
2. Father finished college.
3. Mother went to college.
4. Mother finished college.
5. Have any relative who is or was an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children’s books by a parent.
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs.
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs.
16. Went to a private high school.
17. Went to summer camp.
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
25. You had your own room as a child.
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.
Which gives me 11 out of 34. Dennis had 27.