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Re: Altered States

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  • Stevan Davies
    Robert.Schacht ... Oy. I read that very essay, and I don t read Discovery mag, but I did because I was sitting in the dentist chair waiting for the novocain to
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 6, 1998

      > Steve,
      > I'm sitting here looking at an article that appeared in the June 1998
      > Discover, entitled "Ancient Altered States." It opens with some stuff about
      > hallucinating Shoshone shamans. Right there in the second paragraph, it says,
      > "'Killing the sheep' is a metaphor for entering the supernatural through a
      > hallucinogenic state." The rock art supposedly shows the shaman
      > killing/becoming the sheep.

      Oy. I read that very essay, and I don't read Discovery mag, but I did
      because I was sitting in the dentist chair waiting for the novocain
      to set for a root-canal. (Which was not at all painful. Maybe I'm lucky
      but I didn't have any problem with it at all).

      > Immediately I think, "Behold the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of
      > the World." Nah, can't be. Different culture, different hemisphere,
      > different time.

      To say the least.

      > A little later there is a bit about how in Native American cultures of the
      > Far West, death is the most prevalent metaphor for entering the
      > supernatural (e.g. killing sheep?) "At this point, according to Whitley,
      > the shaman has become his spirit guide [e.g., the sheep] and the two are
      > considered interchangeable. Whitley cites the example of Coyote, the shaman
      > character of myth, who begins many of his adventures by dying or being
      (emphasis added.)

      Yeah. That is definitive of a major shamanistic category. The shaman
      in his or her (lots of lady shamans) initial experience dies, is cut
      apart and destroyed, then put back together and rises again
      "immortal" able to assist others and to die-rise at will.

      > Later, Whitley describes some research on REM sleep, and something called
      > "lucid dreaming" : "...lucid dreamers achieve a borderline level of
      > consciousness that allows them to watch their dreams like movies and, its
      > said, even influence the plots and direct their outcomes." I can testify to
      > that, because I've done it myself.

      I did it once somewhat recently. In a version of my house that wasn't
      mine and realized this is a dream and then wondered whose house this
      could be.

      > So do these bits and pieces add up to anything? Probably not. In your book,
      > you decide that the shaman model just doesn't seem appropriate for Jesus.
      > Still, I wonder....

      None of this has a bit to do with the Historical Jesus. But the
      "apostles' creed" Jesus who dies, descends into hell, rises again,
      ascends into heaven, and saves from hell and assists into heaven
      is absolutely a Shamanistic motif-set.

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