Observations placeholder

Brian Keenan – Four Quarters of Light - Becoming a shaman 1



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Brian Keenan – Four Quarters of Light

'Shortly after my son was born my life started to not go so well. Not from anything external - Dennis was grand, my life looked good. What was wrong was all internal; I just had a profound sense that something was wrong in my life. I started to be sick all the time, I was becoming chronically tired and depressed, not my normal self. I became worried because I knew it was not a disease of the body but a disease of the heart, and I didn't know what to do about it. Then I saw some Japanese drummers and I walked away knowing that if I made a drum I would be healed.

I didn't know how or why, I just knew it. It took me two years to make a drum, something I can do now in one evening.

'As soon as the drum was completed I started having waking visions and unusual dreams even though I still didn't know what to do with the drum. This went on for months. Finally, I waited for when Dennis went on a hunting trip and I had a whole week to myself. I shut myself away, lit candles and spent the time meditating and asking for guidance. About two days into this, I sat down to meditate, closed my eyes and saw an animal staring me in the face. I opened my eyes and it was gone. I closed my eyes and it was back again. No matter what I did, whenever I closed my eyes there was the animal looking at me.

I knew immediately that this was not like any meditating I had ever done before. The animal turned and made motions for me to follow it. After this happened several times, I decided to follow. This was my first shaman's journey, before I even knew what that was. It was completely beyond anything I had ever experienced, and I had been meditating for twenty years at the time.

'l followed the animal for three days and two nights. 'We spent the night out in the cold huddled against the wind until finally we climbed a high mesa, and at the top was an old man seated at a campfire. I cannot say everything that went on there, but he did leave me with four gifts and he said they were not given to me for my own glory but to be used to help others. He said if I used the gifts to help others I would be healed, but if I didn't, I would get worse and worse and maybe even die. At the time I thought,

"'Well, that's not much of a choice!" I was completely confused by it all. I even wondered a bit if I was going crazy, though I thought I knew in my heart that I wasn't.

'l had a rough couple of months after that trying to figure out what happened to me and what it was all about. It was so unlike my usual thinking and knowledge and so foreign to the imagery and concepts that I had to go outside myself, to other sources, to help me. But because I chose to go for it, everything fell into place. Everything went smoothly when I let go and let it all happen without trying to stop it or block it. I just said,

"Okay, I feel a little bit crazy but I'm going for it," and it all worked. I did get better. Every time I shamanize I feel well and good, and when I stop shamanizing I start to feel bad again and my life doesn't go as well, even until this day. People think I am helping them, but I am really helping myself. It's a win-win situation!

When we work with powers of the universe it should always be a win-win situation.'

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Listening to beating sounds