Our lives are so intertwined with our arts, and we live in a culturally rich time. Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, the veil has opened and people who have meant a lot to us, culturally, and spiritually, have slipped through, but they did not go unnoticed.
On Monday of this week, we learned that David Bowie passed away at the age of 69. He had just released a new album, Black Star, Friday, and many of the songs on it, seemed to suggest that he knew his time was coming. Today, we learned that Alan Rickman has passed away, also at the age of 69. (Since we tend to see celebrity deaths in groups of three, today several people pointed back to Natalie Cole who passed away on December 31, in order to complete this trifecta.)
Monday morning, when we found out about David Bowie, a young friend of mine posted on Facebook, “I thought he was immortal,” and I knew exactly what they meant: David Bowie’s music has permeated my life from 1972 on-wards, directly at first through his own music, and then indirectly, as his artistic genius began to be woven into the creative lives of countless other artists over the past several decades. I thought it would always be this way, all my life.
Part of my Shamanic practice — a large part of it — involves music and singing and dancing. I am immersed in music on a daily basis. Certainly this involves drumming to achieve altered states, and singing songs to the Great Spirit and Mother Earth and Father Sky and to the Waters all around me. But it also involves listening to music while I am out driving around. And it used to involve listening to music while sitting around with my friends. We’d put the record on the phonograph, or the tape in the tape player, and rock out. All of these are altered states. They are Shamanic experiences. And Bowie’s music, and the music he inspired, is in there.
(If I could, I’d post just the refrain from Bowie’s song, Moonage Daydream here, the instrumental part…it is similar to, but not the same as, my Spirit’s Song. The one that comes to me when I feel joyful. The one I sing to myself when I want to feel joyful.)
And then there’s Alan Rickman and his awesome VOICE. … One of the books that had a tremendous impact on me and my Shamanic Path, was Dune by Frank Herbert, which I read between 1975-77. I was particularly impressed by the women in the Bene Gesserit, who knew of personal power, for example, the ability to move just one toe. And, how they directed reality with the power of their Voice. This is the power of story-telling. Speakers do this, parents do this, teachers do this. And in my world, one of the greatest Voices of our time, is that of Alan Rickman. (I love this clip from from the movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where Severus Snape strides into the classroom and directs the students to “Turn to page three-hundred-ninety-four”.)
Incidentally, Alan Rickman’s last project, is the voice of the Blue Caterpillar in the upcoming movie, Alice Through the Looking Glass. Now there’s another Shamanic Story for you!
Sometimes, you won’t know what has influenced your life, or your spiritual path, until the influence is gone. None of us are immortal, but their influences will live on. I am thankful to live in a time with readily accessible recordings of these great artists, at my fingertips.
Meanwhile, Wands Up, “Let’s Dance!” and Share Peace with Our Earth.
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Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere. You just need to explore the magic of your land. What is it saying to you? What are the seasons, where you live? What do they mean to you? How are they celebrated?
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