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Observations placeholder

Brian Keenan – Four Quarters of Light - Becoming a shaman 2



Type of Spiritual Experience


I have some difficulty with a small part of this when she sas "symbolism was so different from my spiritual practice of the Hebrew mystical path".  The symbolism isn't different, but maybe she means something different to what I mean.

The book mentionned Shamanic Visions, by Joan Halifax is now called Shamanic Voices and I have some of the observations on the site.

A description of the experience

Brian Keenan – Four Quarters of Light

Debra explained her own early encounters with the other world.

'l remember how stunned I felt when I came back to this world. I didn't have a lot to latch on to because the symbolism was so different from my spiritual practice of the Hebrew mystical path that I didn't know where to go or what to think. I felt a little crazy, but I knew what I wanted. I knew it was all real and I wasn't crazy.

'l didn't know what it all meant until I found a book that had been given to me ten years earlier by a friend, which I had never read. It was called Shamanic Visions, by Joan Halifax. The wonder of the book was that it was a compilation of first-hand accounts by shamans from all over the world instead of scholarly, anthropological accounts. Each shaman described in his own words the experience he'd had of being initiated into shamanism. Several accounts, the northern and Arctic ones, were almost exactly like mine, so when I read them I knew what had happened to me. It explained a lot to me and helped me move on. For several months, every time I closed my eyes to meditate, the animal was there, no matter how hard I tried to have a "regular" meditation.

My animal always led me back to my grandfather teacher who kept teaching me and telling me that I needed to shamanize. I couldn't imagine how I could do that, being a white middle-class woman, but he assured me I could and if I accepted the gifts they would take care of the rest. So I thought, "Okay, I'll do it," and to my amazement people started coming to me for healing work almost immediately.

'A series of events occurred that led me to the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, which then led me to teaching as well. To me, the most telling was that I live in a very conservative town and I had received hate calls from fundamental Christians about my mystical path, but to this very day I have never received one about my shamanizing. After ten years I finally was curious enough to ask my spirit teacher why, and he said because I was doing healing work, they have protected me all these years by throwing a cloak of invisibility over me so that I can do my work unseen. It actually makes sense to me. It explains why I've been able to do this work without any problems, and even why it's been so easy. I've had very few obstacles put in my way. In fact, it all seems to happen easily, as long as I remain committed to the work, stay impeccable, maintain my ethics and don't take it personally.

In other words, it isn't really me in this, so I have to be very careful about not bringing my ego into it. When I slip and the ego gets involved the work starts to become difficult. It is a path, and one can inadvertently start to wander. I always know when I'm being impeccable because all this shamanic work goes well for me.  When I start to wander, it doesn't. It's really not so hard to stay on it when the path is so clear. It has not been that difficult a journey, and in the beginning, when I felt crazy, it was the most difficult. Now I don't worry at all about shamanizing. If it is correct, the veil protects me.'

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Symbol system

Activities and commonsteps



Squash the big I am