Life is first the step you take, and then the ground you tread upon.

Spiritual Battle in Dark Shamanism

Dark Shamanism

You hear much about the shamans spirit journeys, but their contact with the spirits was by no means limited to their journey rituals. The spirits would overcome them as well. A spontaneous trance is often heralded by a howling sound, sometimes leading to seizures, but often leading to wild outburst or rampaging violent outbursts.

So they welcomed possessions? They didn’t always welcome it, no. In fact, this was why the shaman was thought to do battle with evil spirits.

I bet shamans were witch hunted when those times came about. In later times they were yes, but before that they were seen as part of the natural balance. Priests were seen as serving “god” and shamans in these freshly christianized regions were seen as serving Satan.

Didn’t some shamans have more control? They grew in control. The older wiser shamans had more control.

I thought a shaman with more control was a theurgist? A theurgist tends to stick to rites and liturgical training, even practising self-flagellation and things of that nature when their wilder urges surfaced. But yes, those wild bouts were seen as spiritual battle for the shaman. If the shaman won the conflict, they often returned to normal with greater wisdom and insight, even often a new skill to benefit the tribe. If not, then they would drive off the aggressive spirit and often developed insights into how to ward off future contact with it.

Are these spirits archons? They are not. In some lore they would be lesser devic entities.

What if they lost? Ah, sometimes they did just “lose” and would go wild and isolate themselves, or even begin restricted predation on the tribe, raiding for food and other resources.

A fragment of a dead person could cause obsessions. Could and did. The shaman was not only dealing with nature spirits, they were also in contact with spirits of the dead who if things turned out poorly would often transform, losing much of their original human temperament. But even without these twisted spirits of the dead, which gave rise to our legends of the undead, just the burden of having helped so many of the tribe cross over to the other side often would begin to compromise the shaman leading them to see themselves more as one of the dead than one of the living. Prototypical necromancers in this case.

The energy clings to them? Yes, and when even just the energy clings, that begins to serve as a “spore” or attractant for the twisted dead or “undead.”

So yes, shamans could and did come to need the guidance and healing of other shamans. This is why they formed “medicine societies.”

Kind of reminds me a mad hatters where working with the mercury would slowly drive them insane. A more modern parallel perhaps.

Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.

Travis Saunders
Dragon Intuitive

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