This post is going to be some kind of introduction.
I follow Shamanism. I should be clear in that the brand of Shamanism I follow is mine alone. I didn't read it in a book, though I borrow elements from academic texts on the subject. I don't follow 'core shamanism', which is what Michael Harner ("The Way of the Shaman") teaches about. I follow what I like to call grassroots shamanism. Learning from the animals, from the land itself, what works and what doesn't work. I realize my type of Shamanism is not anybody's else type. It requires constant work to make sense of it, even to me. (This is not me being big-headed, I'm saying I don't belong to a tradition or Tribal society, and, like an Eclectic, I am building my own path as I go.)
In terms of Witchcraft, I err to the side of old-school. I am not opposed to blood magic, bone magic or direct communication with the dead. (Whether that be animals or humans, but I mostly work with animal spirits.) I don't have a law, or specific deities, or specific holidays I conform to. I generally celebrate the changing of the seasons when the season decides that is. For instance, Samhain honestly felt like mid-October to me last year based on when it felt right. (I ended up celebrating late and kicked myself later.) I am in favor of natural witchcraft, meaning the use of herbs, oils, and natural objects in ritual. I utilize tarot and other forms of divination. I love a nice smelling candle as much as the next person. I collect bones.
This is where my morality gets interesting: I am a Shamanist and Animist, yes, but a vegetarian. I make absolutely sure my animal parts come from road kill sources, or at the very least the animal was not killed for the sum of its parts. Eating animals when I know they have been killed in an excruciating manner (see: factory farms) would be the equivalent to me of defiling your Deity(s)'s holiest place or temple. I can't square the circle moralistically of participating in the killing of beings I work with on a daily basis. (That doesn't mean I care if anyone else in the world eats meat. Just explaining how I roll. Please, party on.) In the future I would ideally like to collect road kill myself, in order to ensure the proper death rites are handled for the animal and the parts do not go to waste.
In terms of theology I'm what you might call a Hard Polytheist; ie, all Gods are not the same. Apollo is not Artemis is not Anubis. I'm of the opinion if I put two Gods that are from vastly different cultures in the same room chances are they aren't going to make nice and get along in many cases. Sometimes, they do. Sometimes it's not a good thing. When I work with Deity they usually err to the "darker" side of the pantheons. I have a working relationship (you pass each other in the hallway and give a nod of affirmation) with Bast & Anubis, who are my only true constants, and a very close "binding" relationship with Sedna, who is specifically an Inuit Goddess of the sea. Her story is really quite tragic. I'll be posting more on her in the future, I'm sure.
ENOUGH OF THE STUFFY BUSINESS.
Goals for this blog:
1) I'm beginning work with herbalism, so every 2nd topic week I will be covering an herb. Most likely, poisons, because I am learning to respect and understand their power in a healing context.
2) ACTUALLY GO OUT IN NATURE MORE. I live in a Development and the city during a lot of the year (school) so ironically this is not an easy thing for me to accomplish. I would kill to live right behind natural forest.
3) WRITE. SHIT. DOWN. I am notorious for crafting a ritual that works so well it's unreal, then POOF. It's completely forgotten the next day. I could smack myself each time.
4) MAKE PAGAN FRIENDS. That means you! There is nobody around my immediate area practicing Paganism, and specifically Shamanism. Feel free to comment/make friends. I don't bite, really! :)
5) FOLLOW THROUGH AND DO EVERY POST. I am also a notorious project-dropper. Let us see.