Yesterday the strangest thing happened. Of course, it was on social media, which is where all the strangest things happen. I was actually accused of not “believing in God”. I found that to be ridiculous, because I have never not believed in God. I don’t care what one chooses to call it, I am a strong believer because I have felt its presence and, at times, its power. I could not be a shaman if I did not believe in something like that. I would also not have come back to life after being dead so many times this lifetime without having something at least remotely resembling a belief in God. For someone to say something like that to me, of all people, I found to be, at worst, completely disrespectful and, at best, completely ignorant.
What I did not, however, clarify (because I really did not want to get into it with this person on social media) is that what I do NOT believe in is RELIGION. And, for me, there is a vast difference between the two. For me, God is in EVERYTHING and everything is an expression of God. It matters not whether we are talking about other human beings, animals, trees, rivers, mountains, oceans, rocks or crystals. They are ALL a part of Creation. They are all an expression of God. And, by the way, science has fairly recently been making discoveries of things that we shamans have always known throughout time, that trees communicate with one another and that crystals and rocks have a life of their own and can be useful in healing modalities. After all, if crystals were “dead,” as was stated by this person, then quartz would be absolutely useless in the function of a wrist watch or in the hard drive of a computer.
Religion, on the other hand, is a man-made construct designed to control the masses and keep everything under its thumb. It has, throughout all of history, been at the core of every war and inhumane atrocity that has ever been committed. Religion has always tried to rule the state, no matter what country or continent it has resided within. This is why it is so important to have a separation of church and state. This prevents, for the most part, religious zealots from committing genocides.
Now, this is not to say that I am all judgemental about any person who is religious. But what it means is that I am not about to buy into those beliefs just to make others comfortable. I have my own beliefs, as do they, as to you, and we are all allowed to have them. I am also not one who will blindly follow anything or anyone. So I ask questions. Religion does not like questions, because it threatens its dogmatic systems. But I ask the questions anyway. This is why I left the church for which I was originally going to become a minister. I guess that is a news flash for those who did not know that about me. Yes, there are a multitude of facets to this dude.
This was back in the mid ’80’s when the entire organization was all up in arms about whether or not they should be ordaining gay and lesbian ministers, and whether or not they should continue to employ known gay and lesbian ministers. The whole situation was incredibly self-righteous and, according to the Rights and Freedoms Act, was being conducted in a completely illegal manner. As an Intended Candidate, I sat in on a board meeting and witnessed the decision to fire a minister (who, by the way, was straight) who stood up for LGBTQ+ rights. At that point my stomach turned and I became so incredibly disgusted with the church that I left and never returned. I saw this as completely void of the tenant to “love thy neighbour” and would not be a part of such a hypocritical system.
It was at that time that I began to branch out, privately, and re-embrace my Shamanic roots. I began to practice privately and then, over time, introduce some of the Shamanic practices into my counselling practice that was already established. Eventually I was encouraged to bite the bullet and come out of the Shamanic “closet,” so-to-speak. It was a frightening prospect, considering that my family farm was almost burned to the ground in my teens because some “religitards” decided it would be cool to do that when they found out that I practiced something other than right wing Christianity. To come from that and then discover the very same hate-based biases and beliefs that were in the church at that time was frightening, maddening, and so incredibly disappointing to me. I never lost faith in God. I completely lost faith in Religion.
And now, over 30 years and a lucrative Deerhorn Shamanic Services practice later, to have someone accuse me of not believing in God, I at first found it funny, and realized that this person really does not know me at all. Then, admittedly, I felt enraged because I have walked my path and have ALWAYS felt connected to God, and I have walked through hell fire and back and kept that connection, which this person is obviously too blind to see. And then I felt sorry for this person. I do not know the circumstances behind why this person was being so ridiculous towards me. But I felt compassion. And so, once again, I turned to GOD. I have no need to strike out. I have no need to humiliate. I have faith that, if this person is truly open to God, then God’s light will, eventually, shine on this person’s heart. And, hopefully, this person will heal.
And while that process is percolating, I will simply go about my business and enjoy my connection.