The Shaman in Our Musical Universe

GreenSource Knowledge Paper #6. Based on the Event Circle Interviews on by Willi Paul

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The shaman, or medicine man, or healer, or Buddha, is an ancient title and. community role, a hero and teacher common to many world people and their myths. Are there shamans with guitars today? Some artists feel that this role is possible, that the rock show is more than a performance. Some feel that they are evoking and/or invoking something through their work and live gigs.

See a larger picture: the reservoir: rock music and mythology

Discussion Points:

  • One who seeks after spiritual knowledge
  • Uses psychedelic drugs?
  • A protector of a divine mystery for the sake of a community
  • Shamans experience the trance state
  • Healings are almost always instantaneous. Shaman’s treat time differently than we do
  • It’s evolution, baby!
  • Shaman’s are the most humble, heart centered people
  • They channel the secretive spirits
  • As a shaman, I am a shrewd and intelligent manipulator of ideas n techniques
  • We are attempting to invoke something from part of our minds and then again on tape
  • I’m doing something on behalf of the audience, but I’m not just sure what it is; something is activated
  • I would rather that the audience feel like they are contributing to the show and not being taken over

Source Material: Selected Event Circle Interviews

If a Shaman is one who seeks after spiritual knowledge, then I could be counted as one. That said, I never apply the title of Shaman to myself. Many people interested in psychedelic substances will validate their experiments by pointing to tribal shaman leaders who also used psychedelic drugs. I think this comparison is often misguided, though, for the tribal shaman was probably the only member of the entire tribe privileged to commune with the divine in this way.

Indeed, I’d be willing to venture that the societal structure of tribes based around psychoactive plants resulted as a need to keep the power of the plants from abuse by the common folk. A shaman who carefully prepares to enter the unknown can then take the mysterious knowledge of the plant drug and pass it on in a useful form to the rest of the tribe. In today’s culture, though, we assert that everyone can be a shaman. I agree that everyone can (and should) explore their own spirituality, but I would consider a shaman to be a protector of a divine mystery for the sake of a community.

Interview Two with Jacob Haqq-Misra

By working on consciously using different parts of our brains that allow us to be psychic and powerful, and by working on accepting other dimensions and the invisible to be as real as the world we can perceive through our five senses.

The most basic aspect of how we are Shamans is the experience of the trance state.
All creation occurs in a trance state. In trance, your old attitudes can’t disrupt creation and evolution. It’s only when you release from that trance state that you fall back into your old mind state. It’s always a temptation to go back to the familiar. True change- transformation- is incorporating new knowledge into your psyche and holding it there long enough for it to become a permanent part of your thinking.

Remember, Shamanic healings are almost always instantaneous. They treat time differently than we do. The old program must be replaced. That is what Shamans do. That is what instantaneous healing is. Replacing the old program with something new. And you can repeat this process indefinitely. That is evolution.

Interview with Divina Klein and Douglas Mackar of La Forza

It is more of a feeling. Most Shaman’s I have experienced are the most humble, heart centered people I have met. It is not a role that is accompanied with theatrics and ego.

Interview with Chris Deckker

By programming computers and by performing music I am, in a sense, a shaman, able to communicate with the secretive spirits of good and evil that wiser folk choose to leave alone. It is thrilling to have such power, to wield a well-placed object-oriented overloaded polymorphism—well, thrilling when it works. More often programming efforts fail. It is only by repeatedly trying again and again that programs slowly become usable.

With musical performance it is somewhat different. Failures still occur, but they become part of the product. With live music whatever one does is. It’s too late to make it any more perfect. But it is still the same channeling of the secretive spirits.

Interview with Drupal Cheth Rowe

i wish i was a shaman
i perform pseudo-shamanistic artistic feats sometimes
but in truth i am a shrewd and intelligent manipulator of ideas n techniques
unless i have completely fooled myself
sometimes i get confused where its all coming from
i would hate to have delusions of grandeur
yes and no about the new world
my worlds are alternate worlds
neither newer or older
much like ours but stranger and more improbably probable
i’m trying to represent these other places/other things
i dont really know
its just what i have been “told” to do

Interview with Steve Kilbey

No. From my reading, there seems to be an historic connection between drumming and shamanism, but I don’t think of myself in this way. Not on a stage. A shaman is usually someone who has gone through a wrenching life experience that evokes a spirit, and comes back to to the community to heal and counsel. This hasn’t happened to me. I’m a mixing console shaman! We are attempting to invoke something of course, but we’re not animists, we don’t give it a name. We don’t (leave) offerings out. But we’re certainly attempting to invoke something from part of our minds and then again on tape. Then we know we have the mix correct. We’re done our “bogus shaman thing.”

“Lucid Dreams, Sonic Cocoon: Interview with Steve Tibbetts and Marc Anderson”.

Jim Morrison thought of himself as one. He wrote a song called “Shaman’s Blues.” Ya, (all musicians) are. The guy in the pub, Prince. All performers are likely invoking something. It’s not just “us and them,” you know? I’m doing something on behalf of the audience, but I’m not just sure what it is. Something is activated. It’s not just a freak show. But to be a focal point for a crowd is a big responsibility (and scary). And I don’t really know what to do with it afterwards.

“Balloon Man, Queen Elvis, and the Bath Tub Boys.”Interview with Robyn Hitchcock.

Yes, I’ve thought about this. I think that many people embrace this idea, but I don’t like something that causes the audience to lose a sense of their personal identity. I like it when people get as excited as they possibly can, but I would rather that the audience feel like they are contributing to the show and not being taken over. I resist this shaman or high priest role. I’d rather be a leader to self-discovery than a controller of minds.

”Harvard’s Own Talking Head: Jerry Harrison” . Interview by Willi Paul.


About [ open myth source ]

The [open myth source] project gathers conversations, symbols, songs, visual art and stories. Building a house for Myth in the Sustainability Age.
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