As I mentioned in my last post, I am in the process of reading Mike Clelland’s fascinating book The Messengers: Owls, Synchronicity and the UFO Abductee. I have still not quite completed the book but I am finding it to be a very interesting read. Mr. Clelland is obviously an intensely thoughtful man who has spend a lot of time considering and researching the subject of his book and the experiences that he describes will leave even the skepdebunkers hard pressed to produce any reasonable explanation of events.
Despite his obviously careful research and contact with First Nation elders, Mr. Clellaand does persist in making one statement throughout the book that puzzles me. He claims, repeatedly, that the elders of a First Nation tribe choose who becomes a shaman.
This is simply not the case. While the elders and medicine people of the tribe may recognize the ‘symptoms’ in a member who may become a shaman, it is the spirits who actually choose the new shaman and test him or her. Only people who pass this extreme test, usually an illness, near death experience, mental breakdown or other assessment that pushes the candidate to the edge of their physical and/or mental endurance, may go on to become shaman. It is only after the spirits have accepted the new shaman that he or she can go on to train with the existing medicine person.
It is well demonstrated that the role of shaman (or medicine person, if you prefer) is not sought after amongst the tribes and, often, the person who has this communication with the spirits has to be dragged into the new role almost literally kicking and screaming. The role of shaman – outlier to a tribe, a person who lives in a liminal state through out his or her life, one who is respected but also feared by the group – is not a role that any human could assign. An elder or even an existing medicine person can no more make an individual what Frank Fools Crow, the famous Lakota medicine man, called an “eagle bone whistle” (a clear channel for communication with the spirit world) than I can construct a computer (and, believe me, that is not going to happen anytime soon).
Having said that, I do agree with Mr. Clelland that, given our utterly materialistic culture, there is really no socially accepted way for one to become any sort of a spirit worker these days and, at the same time, there is a crying need for such people. I believe, with Mr. Clelland, that some of the experiencers that he describes may be called out by the spirits and that their experiences may be the test which takes them into the spirit world. Far be it from me to oppose this idea and the good that may have come from some of these abductions events in the form of energy healers, counselors, body workers and others who moved into the healing arts because of these life occurrences. My own journey into the esoteric has certainly had its parallels to the shamanic initiation though I make no claim to being a shaman.
The fact remains though that many of the experiencers of abduction events do not fare so well. I suppose that one could make the argument that these are people who failed the ‘shaman’ test but, if that is the case then why are these people still having events? Why have the spirits not moved on to other, more viable candidates? And why do they continue to terrorize and traumatize people for not apparent good reason?
While I am prepared to admit that there may be a percentage of abductees who are undergoing a sort of shamanic initiation and that those initiations may be recognized by the fruits of the experience, I still maintain that many abduction experiences are being carried out by beings that do not have the best interests of the experiencers or humanity in mind. Those abductors may be humans of one group or the other or they may be etheric predators as outlined in my previous work but either way, I think we have to be very careful about ascribing any kind of positive ‘spin’ to the abduction phenomenon.