I’ll ramble nonlinearly.  What I say should be kept in the context/spirit/reality of the work I’m doing.  I think it’d be unwise to talk about it in relationship or in comparison to/with other magical systems.  It’s better to talk about the magical dynamics within this magical context…and let the people within the other magical contexts say/think “oh yes, that is like this thing I’ve done” for themselves…like the way Jim and I are talking. 

Shamanism at its core is not a religion…any more than being an artist at its core is not a religion…even if it can be turned into one…even though most, if not all, religions came out of shamanistic practices to fulfill totally different needs/purposes than shamanism.  For example, religion’s function is to create and maintain a certain social/moral/emotional/spiritual order.  Shamanism is the going outside the “normal” order/reality…..which sometimes reinforces the “NORMAL” order, sometimes shakes it, sometimes breaks it.  Religion is traditional…priests are trained in the traditions to perform the duty of enforcing and handing down the traditions.  Shamanism, on the other hand, is experiential, personal (but not individual), and dynamically active.  Priests are selected and trained, and ordained.  Shamans are born, guided, tricked, called.  Shamanism is not a social role/mask, but an aspect of the personality.  So it isn’t something to switch on and off, to be sometimes and not to be other times.  If you are a shaman, you simply are a shaman.  Because shamanism is personal, the “tools” are within the personal body, the tools are different for each and every shaman.  Because of this, it would be a mistake to focus on the tools stored in my body.  It is much more important to focus on how to use the tools…or, more correctly, how to surrender to the tools.

Before I move on, I should address the church status.  The work can be defined as a church only within the current legal definition which brings certain benefits.  But on the levels we are talking, what we are doing is not a church or a religion…which raises a question for Jim…before Whitney came, did the N.A. tribes have a concept of “church”?

I will not know for years how much of the work I do is actually training shamans. It’s clear that much of what we do is doing magic which is nonlinearly focused on effecting humane change in the outer world.  Another main aspect is living/creating/teaching a tribal lifestyle in which the people are melted into a living being in which their personalities are heightened and released within this tribal being.  I think this aspect of what we are is what is most threatening to the “normal” reality.  Tina is seeing this when Kent keeps telling her she as a woman should become a leader in Cal-Act…implying she is not now a “leader” in her style!

This tribal lifestyle/being is what the people who say they felt a pre-recognition of this are really talking about.

The cave is a physical symbol of the ritualistic intent of the people to create a magic bubble in which taboos of the “normal” reality can be performed.  This intent is the real magical circle.  The physical symbol just focuses the intent, densifying the magical reality.  The cave should not be seen as a retreat from the normal reality, but as an extension of that reality in which rituals can be performed and the results {?} can be transferred back into the normal reality.

The ritual lifts the acts out of “soap opera” linear dynamics of the normal world.  This means the shaman who is doing a “sex magic ritual” is not a lover or a threat to take the person away from his/her mate (provided that everything is on the up-and-up)…just like actors doing a love scene in a movie.  This is not to say magical rituals do not effect relationships outside the rituals.  They do.  They strengthen strong ones, and shake weak ones.  And it has very little to do with the “sexual” content of rituals.  Many women have gotten jealous when their men had relationships with me…and pull them out of this.  In truth, what they are jealous of, threatened by, is the level of intimacy and vulnerability that the men experienced in the work with me.  I can’t think of any cases of this in the reverse roles…except when the woman was in the phase of committing herself into this.  In reality, the actual physical play…be it eroplay, tanplay, tansex, or tanpan…is only rarely a point of freakout…and the pre-thinking-worrying about such play is only slightly more an occasion for freaking out within the apprenticeship.  (By the way, I do not “create” or do rituals for some linear result or effect.)  The mundane things like being on time and putting the magic in the center of one’s life, and living within the tribal being are, in reality, much more dangerously charged than any “sex magic” rituals.

But what can happen is morality and the false specialness of “sex” are brought into the magical reality as tools of judgment.  When this happens, the shaman is placed in a very painful, very dangerous position.  In this position, the shaman can not deny the judgment, or take any defensive action because any denial or defense only reinforces the judgment which decays into disrespect.  The only hope is to take the judgment on as a positive.  But this is a last ditch effort and the situation usually completely decays.  This situation is modern.  In tribal times, it was a given that morality should not be brought into the ritual reality, and that “sex” was simply one of the tools of magic.