Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world


I have written books with a witchdoctor heroine and become quite obsessed with the existence or otherwise of ‘unkown forces’. I don’t use the word ‘supernatural’ because I am not sure what ‘natural’ means. It makes sense for me to have this interest, because I am a Christian and Christians believe in ‘something out there’. God is the name used.

But being brought up in a faith can be very restrictive, even to the extent of being imprisoned by words. Cast aside those restrictions and you come to ask questions like “What do we really mean by GOD? And “Can the concept be described differently?”  Then you open the door to all the other attempts to examine the universe and it’s purpose. You can go all the way fron Science to Shamanism. Shamans, Mystics and Prophets have a track record of discovering information that is hidden from the rest of us. They do so, it is said, by entering an abnormal state of consciousness achieved through meditation (‘The Cloud of Unknowing’)  or drumming or drugs or yoga or some other way of disassociating oneself from the normal state. Possible explanations? Maybe they are just very clever men who know more than we do anyway, and their descriptions of an ‘altered state’ are just an elaborate con-trick. Maybe the’altered state’ is genuine, and once inside it, normally unseen things can be perceived.  Maybe ‘spirits’ and such-like can be pereceived and spoken to. But maybe such beings – though real to the Shaman, etc. –  are only a fabrication of the human mind. The other explanation is that they are in some sense real and inhabit a world unknown to us. Christianity postulates heaven and hell, and shamanism postulates worlds above us and below us to which the Shaman has access. Workers in particle physics have considered the possibility of alternative universes. The basic concept is found in almost every culture.

One common idea is that the practitioner must work very hard to escape the ‘normal’ mind-set of his or her culture. And that thought leads to a realisation of how powerfully we are restrained by language. The word ‘God’ still evokes for many the traditional image of an old man with a beard, and if you hold to it, then somebody who sees God as a force or a principle can be stigmatised as ‘not a Christian’. It’s all a highly complex subject and has no answer, but a hopeless exploration can still be fascinating. Join me from time to time. The book pictured below gives interesting stuff about shamanismSHAMANISM

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