The Four Gateways of Shamanism

Theree are four major gateways (or pathways) in shamanism that illuminate one’s life-walk whether or not shamanism is your primary path in this lifetime. These are the energetic pathways of your sacred dream and what your spirit self (or dreamer) and Spirit are guiding you to do. Earth based cultures speak of it as your “vision”. Sometimes your vision is shown to you early in life and sometimes you miss the vision signposts or you see it but have no idea of what to do with it.

Some questions you may ask are, “What is my medicine walk?” “What journey is my spirit self asking me to walk?” “How is it different than what I am doing today?” “How can I wake up that place of sacred guidance within me and keep the communication pathways between myself and Spirit open?” “What can my own personal medicine wheel tell me about how to walk out my vision?”

You begin to truly know the depth of your sacred dream when you are unsure whether you are dreaming the dream or the dream is dreaming you!

What is Shamanism?

The practice of shamanism has been around as long as humans have walked the earth! It is without a doubt, the oldest expression of human spirituality. Shamanic practice nourishes our natural and profound hunger for inter-connection with the living, breathing world.

Human beings long to connect with the earth, the stars, the plants, the animals, other human beings, and the spirit energy we feel all around us. Awakening these connections and using them to find our inner balance and expand our knowledge are at the core of any practices of shamanism.

We can learn from the animals how to go after the things we want in life – food and shelter, companionship, play, complete relaxation, acute awareness and sensitivity… and so much more. We can learn from the stars how to dream, how to awaken the memories of our lineage, of imagination, and of artistic creativity and how to contemplate the great mysteries such as, “Why am I here?’

Although the term ‘shamanism’ originated with the Tungus peoples of Siberia the origins of the practice of shamanism are worldwide and diverse. And in these times when so many people live in cities, sometimes far removed from natural landscapes and wildlife, shamanism is a vital way to re-establish our connections with the natural world, with the transcendent, and with the sacred.

At the Institute of Shamanic Medicine you can experience shamanism from the roots of its practice in the Americas. We teach about dreaming and stalking and the magical intricacies of the medicine wheel. We journey into Nagual realms and Inner Worlds. We offer initiations, ceremonies and rituals. And we work with feathers and fans, crystals, drums, and the sweat lodge for healing, growth, empowerment, and expansion.

Hello and welcome to our new website!

 We hope to offer you some interesting glimpses into Shamanism through this site, including Shamanic quotes, a Shamanic Awareness Quiz, cards from the Mayan Oracle, ceremonies you can do at home or in nature, newsletters, a free ebook, and information on all our programs.

To begin our Shamanic Medicine Blog, we thought we’d share a little more information with you about the Sorcerer from the Mayan Oracle.

 What does it take to be a Sorcerer?

The Sorcerer

For thousands of years Tarot cards have helped people to find ways to deepen our sense of who we are, why we are here, what we can aspire to, and how we will achieve our goals in this world. They address the big questions in life.

The mythological figures and symbols of the Tarot carry enduring truths about human nature.  They are archetypes that speak directly to our spirits and our subconscious minds.  They can help you to unlock feelings, ideas, and inner knowing. They re-connect you to universal experiences of growth and spiritual expansiveness.

The Xultun Tarot (the Mayan Oracle) by Peter Balin is an interesting tarot deck, because the archetypes arise from the temples and tablets of the Mayan and Toltec ruins of ancient America.  Like all tarot decks, these symbols act as guides for the Journey of the Self through a map of consciousness.

How can a Fool, a Sorcerer, or a Jaguar Priest be of use to us in these days and times?  Lets look at The Sorcerer for an answer.

A Sorcerer is one who is connected to the Source (Great Spirit, God, the Universe), and one who creates and initiates things.  In other tarot decks, he is called the Magician.  While it may be hard to imagine a Mayan Sorcerer walking down one of today’s city streets, this archetype can always walk within us.  Here are eight ways we can learn from the Sorcerer.

  • The Sorcerer is one who does not passively accept fate, nor does he actively oppose it.  When we live through our inner Sorcerer, we realize we don’t need to just accept where the waves of crisis toss us.  Just because something happened to us doesn’t mean we’re stuck with the outcome. And ranting about it won’t help either. Instead, we can release the drama and get on with the Journey, directing it back towards our intent.
  • The Sorcerer is creative. This can teach us to think creatively and initiate actions to move our dreams and goals forward in the pace and timing that is most effective. It means we can be creative and make things happen even when its difficult. In fact, difficulties can be a springboard to imaginative solutions.
  • The Sorcerer is focused on where he is going in life.  First think about where you want to go in your life and what you desire to create.  It might be that you want to start a business, become a writer, develop a new technology, or teach.  Whatever your goal may be, keep it as the center of your focus, and take steps towards its creation, even if you have to support yourself by other means for a time while you bring it into being. Unwavering focus is the key.
  • The Sorcerer is grounded and present in the moment.  This means that you must not indulge your fears or allow your thoughts to replay messages and stories that dis-empower you. Train yourself to be present in the moment rather than lost in thoughts and worries.
  • The Sorcerer is always ready to act.  Take time for self-care – eating and sleeping well, and exercising.  Accept yourself as you are and strengthen your weaknesses. Break down the actualizing of your goal into do-able steps and move through them.  And make sure you find ways to make the doing of these things pleasurable. Sorcerers may be active and focusd but they are also committed to pleasure!
  • The Sorcerer is always watching for moments of Power.  Powerfully intend the completion of your goal. Commit to it.  And believe in yourself. And always be looking for opportunities and openings to advance this goal – the moments of power when you can put some or all of the pieces of your dream into place.
  • The Sorcerer leans towards the Light and is Responsible for his actions.  Remember that as you achieve your goals and create your dreams you must act inside your values and principles.
  • The Sorcerer is always aware of his inner folly and inner impeccability. Remember also that you will make mistakes and have some failures in the process but these are not the end of the dream.  Rather they are the turning points in your journey, where you learn, change, and grow.

So you can Be the Sorcerer in your own life!  Times of change, challenge, and movement such as we are now living in, are ideal times for catching new windows of opportunity and self-growth.