|20. Teacher of Possibilities
Five years ago, the search for community led me to set up a shamanistic performance school, The University of Possibilities. This presently contains ten apprentices who have signed up to train for a certain amount of time. I use these apprentices in my performance work as The Chero Company.
The student and I are simply two poles of a channel. The knowledge itself uses this channel, created by the ritual of apprenticeship, to evolve the human mind/spirit further.
It has been hard to do this ritual of apprenticeship in the modern western society. I and other teachers have found this to be so. In this culture, there is an illusion that the individual is the center of reality. The individual has to develop to his full potential by learning skills and gathering tools. The individual does this by using relatively short bursts of time/energy. He uses his potential to gain, to try to gain, his wishes and desires for both himself and others.
This limiting individualism and short attention span would be bad enough. But this magical art is experiential and feminine, to be absorbed through the body.
There is also an undermining influence on the apprenticeship from the outer social order. That is one of the differences between doing this magical work in our western culture and doing it in a primitive tribal culture. In the tribal culture, everyone saw the magical work as the most important factor in their very survival. In our modern western culture, magical work is seen by society as a strange form of subversion.
This ritual came from a world in which there was no time frame, no time limit. There was nothing more important to do. The students entered the ritual when they were between 13 and 16 years old roughly. They were picked either by the shaman or by the gods. The shaman was the master of the students, but not the master of the ritual. The knowledge was the ritual master. The shaman guided his students into the state of controlled folly where the knowledge could be manifested through their bodies so that it could evolve the human mind/spirit.
The heart of the apprenticeship is the Cave of Lila. During the apprenticeship, the Cave of Lila will be created by the relationship between the teacher and the student as two poles of energy. Both poles are equally important in the creation of the Cave of Lila; but each has a unique role to play. At a special time in a special place, they go together into hiding. What is created in this secret place is a port through which other realities flow into this one. The Cave of Lila is a reality travel machine.
In apprenticeship, the evolutionary process is heightened by linking the personal realities of the student and the teacher with the mythic over-reality, and by the teacher linking the students together to create a community. The cultural frame is a mass agreement of how things are and work. The community is a different agreement, different in some fundamental and elementary aspects. But the community is still sitting within the cultural frame. The more passionately focused the student lives within this mythic community, the more reality shaping effects the mythic community will have on the cultural frame.
This communal myth reality, this group living poem, this hidden magical work is what is behind all my public work.
People sometimes ask, "Where is your work heading? What do you want to do next?" It is not my work. It is not my choice. For me, it is not a question of a next thing. It is a growing, evolving vision. I am carried along in this vision. A performance does not have a beginning or an end. It is just a tiny bit of the vision. The vision is like this essay. It braids around itself, flowing on. I do not know where the vision is taking me. I have not been down this vision before.
One thing's for sure. We humans are not the end of evolution.
Photos (from top to bottom): Unknown, Unknown, Linda Mac