Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Shamanistic Initiation

I dreamt.

I was working as a "lowly" (shefel) Jewish nurse at a hospital. Another "higher" Jewish nurse (higher in terms of social and professional status) was treating a sick baby. I helped her with the procedure she was doing as part of her work, even though it was time for me go home. She was going to help me too.

We were both off work following the procedure. We exited the building and walked each to our separate cars in the parking lot. I was ashamed for those in her group to see my car.

I woke up.

The other night, at work, an older woman walked past me as I was administering medications, and as she walked on by, she said to me "hi, medicine woman". I never saw her face. The way she said it, struck me. It particularly struck given the context in which it was said.

The very same evening I had read about the path of the shaman. One pattern which distinguishes the shamanistic path is the "experience of a major crisis or initiation process whereby a person undergoes a magical transformation from ordinary individual to magically powerful shaman." [Celtic Wisdom, Carl McColman] I think the unrelenting nature of the multiple crises which have marked my lifepath qualify to be called a "shamanistic initiation".

This woman's remark, whether intentional on her part or not, confirms it in my mind. I am now an initiated shaman, a spiritual medicine woman.

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