Sobonfu Somé speaks about names and initiation…

Sobonfu Somé of the Dagara tribe of Burkina Faso, West Africa talks about names, community, initiation, mentorship, challenges and ritual.

It’s interesting that the life of a Dagara tribesperson is so similar to ours in the West in so many ways, but suffused with so much more meaning and spirit. For example, the Dagara view adolescence not as a nuisance time, a scary time that should be gotten through with as little upheaval as possible.

Instead, adolescence is seen as a time of challenge, in which a young person demonstrates readiness to let some immature part of them die in order to ascend into a greater expression of their life purpose.

Life purpose – we in the West obsess over this. “What’s my purpose? What should I be doing? Why am I here? Is this all there is?” And on and on.

The Dagara take these questions even more seriously, but they don’t condemn themselves to trying to figure it out at mid-life with no support or guidance.

When a woman becomes pregnant, the community gathers for a hearing ritual. The elders of the tribe listen to the incoming baby’s soul, seeking to discover who they are, why they are coming into this community at this time, and what their purpose is. Based on the answers they receive, they strive to prepare the space for this new person.

The child’s name, based on this information, contains clear instructions about their destiny. The elders name the baby in a community ritual three to four weeks following the birth.

Sobonfu says, “Before age five, you own your name. After age five, your name owns you.”

Once the young child reaches the age of understanding, they come under both the sway of the name’s energy and the community’s collaborative efforts to guide the child into their destiny. The name’s energy acts like a magnetic field, a life force that exerts its own influence on the child’s development. Western society doesn’t grant the same power to the name, but you can see the perverse application of the principle in the ironic Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue.”

So many of us in the West hate or are indifferent to our names; yet we don’t think it’s such a big deal, if you asked us. But the power of the name, even to us unbelievers, is evidenced by research that shows we choose careers that sound like our names, and unconsciously prefer people who share our name, and products that share even the first letter of our name.

(See the book Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Goldstein and Martin to discover that someone named Dennis is disproportionately more likely to become a dentist, and George is drawn to geology, and Allan prefers Almond Joy while Nick chooses Nutrageous bars.)

So this works in our culture as well, but unconsciously. In the Dagara world, on the other hand, not only is your name evocative of a noble destiny, but it also acts as a homing signal for the community. It’s everyone’s job to be air traffic controllers for the young, making sure their actions are congruent with their ultimate purpose.

Adolescent initiation, in the Dagara tradition, means throwing the 1000s of pieces of one’s life up in the air, and then, with the guidance of a mentor, putting them back together in a different pattern.

In this, the adolescent initiation prefigures the multitude of life challenges that are waiting for all of us. Each challenge or crisis is a call to shed a skin, some aspect of ourselves that no longer fits, no longer serves.

If we come through a crisis intact, it’s like we’ve wriggled back into the same skin we just outgrew and discarded. That’s a recipe for stuckness, for making the same mistakes again and again, for having to experience the same suffering far more than is strictly necessary for our growth.

The forces that guide the Dagara baby, youth, adolescent and adult are the same forces that drive our own lives. It would be well if we in the West could become as conscious of them as our African sisters and brothers.

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Alberto Villoldo – about 2012

Founder of the Four Winds Inkan shamanic school shares his predictions about the real meaning of 2012: the end of Western Civilization as we know it.

He doesn’t speak literally about great cataclysm, but rather speaks of the ongoing turmoil and devastation that is spiraling into “the great mulching” – in which the earth and the life force that it represents composts all that no longer serves life.

What’s required from us now is not simply healing, not simply correcting the wrongs of the past or the imbalances of the present, but a true illumination, an enlightenment.

We’ve been staying away from the mainstream – and now, says Alberto, we are the mainstream. Spirituality is no longer a luxury, a fringe pursuit, but a necessity as we ride the vortex of the great shifts of 2012.

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Women shaman

Here is a taste of the role of women in shamanism – spiritual leaders, medicine women, priestesses and shamans from Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Posted in African Shamanism, Healing, Sami - Shamanism of Norway | Leave a comment

Kirk Nugent: Answer The Call

This is an AMAZING video. So much wisdom in such a short video. I hope this helps you with your purpose on life.

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James Gilliland Dec 17 2010 Update, Ancient Gods & Jesus

James Gilliland discusses Ancient Gods, Jesus, Elohim, God/Christ consciousness. He then discusses the acceleration of time, the monkey mind and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse Solstice as we shift out of the old belief systems and realities that we created for ourselves into this grand awakening.

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Council In Schools

This site is not all about what shamans do, but also about what a shamanic lifestyle might look like. In school systems that are so large and sometimes alienating to children, this very old system of using a talking stick (or in the video, a crystal or a teddy bear) gives each child the opportunity to speak uninterrupted and without judgment. The rest of the children who do not have the talking stick learns the very important skill of listening and respect. Each child is heard and honored, empathy grows and the children start seeing their peers for who they are and not for the masks they wear. May this way of sharing spread to all schools.

The Ojai Foundation’s ground-breaking work in bringing the practice of council into schools is told from the perspectives of students, teachers, administrators and TOF program personnel.

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On.. Curses, Curse Words and Illness

Keith Michael Robinson discusses the power of words and the importance of paying attention to how we use them.
In John 1:1 the Gospel says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In Hebrew the words Abra Ca Dabra means “I create as I speak”. Abracadabra!

If we knew how much power our words held, how would we be using our language to create health and peace?

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