Ritual in Shamanism and mysticism

{rtf1macansicpg10000cocoartf824cocoasubrtf480 {fonttblf0fswissfcharset77 Helvetica;} {colortbl;red255green255blue255;} margl1440margr1440vieww9000viewh8400viewkind0 pardtx720tx1440tx2160tx2880tx3600tx4320tx5040tx5760tx6480tx7200tx7920tx8640qlqnaturalpardirnatural f0fs24 cf0 sound of meditation bell Hello friends, this weeks ecstatic, or mystical, or shamanic discourse is on the use of ritual in shamanism and mysticism Most importantly we are examining the depth and not the breadth of shamanism

So, we really want to understand whether ritual was a key component of the mature levels of shamanism We could certainly argue that certainly ritual is a key component to the popular understanding of shamanism In fact we could look at almost any tribal community and show that they have and had a lot of ritual behavior And, we could also look at religion and mystics, because we are using them as an analog for understanding shamanism And, we will see that there are a number of religions that have a great deal of ritual: that would be Catholic and Orthodox Christianity; and Vaishnava Hinduism and other Hindu sects; and Pure Land and Tibetan Buddhism, that are the religions that have a great deal of ritual associated with them, and they have a reputation for producing mystics and/or shaman

The question here is, we have been arguing that most of the people who have a reputation for being mystics and shaman are probably not the real deal; whereas we are looking for the real deal, or the people who have some depth to their shamanic expression And, what we find when we investigate the lives of the mystics, and remember we are using the mystics as an analog for understanding shaman, they are not associated with ritual Ritual is not a key component to how they expressed themselves, for instance: Teresa of Avila was a nun in the Catholic Church, and John of the Cross was a priest in the Catholic Church; and the Catholic Church, especially five hundred years ago, was certainly known for its ritual behavior; however, the ritual behavior of the Catholic Church does not feature significantly in the lives of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross And, we could also point to Saint Francis of Assisi and several other of the small community of genuine mystics that the Catholic Church produced We could also look at Orthodox Christianity in the same way

Most of the mystics of these two traditions were known for living in remote regions often time living in a cave meditating by themselves, and really not associated with ritual behavior We could also same the same thing about Hinduism For instance, Shiva is one of those iconic figures in Hindu literature for a mystic, or a yogi is the term they would use Shiva is really known for living in the wilderness, wearing animal skins and living in a cave and not associating with people, and not known for ritual practices We could also look at Siddhartha Gautama in the same way

He is not known for ritual behavior He is more known for wandering barefoot in the wilderness and coming into town to beg for his food, then heading back out Let's look at a Native American example of shamanism And, that would be the Tohono O'odham have an oral tradition of a mystic in their tradition, known as I'itoi He is known to have lived in a cave, by himself, in the Baboquivery Mountains and it is still a pilgrimage site today

There is no evidence on the surface that there was a village nearby, other than there is evidence of a temporary village further down the mountain, where pilgrims camp today, and probably have camped in the hundreds r thousands of years since I'itoi passed So, we can look at I'itoi in the Tohono O'odham Native American community as an example of a genuine mystics, and therefore an example of a mystics who was a shaman Because, primarily he is living by himself in the wilderness And, that would be a key component of a genuine mystic is living by themselves in the wilderness engaging in a contemplative life, and by so doing cultivating religious or spiritual experiences, and they are not generally associated with ritual behavior So, we can reject ritual behavior as an example of mature shamanism or mysticism

But it would be a characteristic of immature or naive shamanism So, I am going to propose another hypothesis for my thesis, and that is ritual behavior is most probably inversely proportional to the depth of mysticism of a particular individual This means the more ritual behavior we observe, the less likely we are going to be observing the life of an genuine mystic or shaman So, thank-you friends for listening in on this week's ecstatic, mystical and shamanic lecture Have a great week

I hope you are all meditating rigorously and cultivating those really wonderful spiritual experiences}