The Ordinary Workings of the Spirit Realm

The non-ordinary spirit realm can feel and function in very ordinary ways. What we expect from spirit may let us down and cause disappointment. We would all like to experience extraordinary things and let spirit blow our minds. But this is not, perhaps, the best teaching method spirit has. We have to work for our lessons and healing. We cannot expect spirit to do all the work for us. For one thing, that expectation renders us helpless and powerless, which is not who we are.

Christina Pratt of the Last Mask Center pointed out in one of her startlingly insightful podcasts that as children, our experiences with our imaginary friends felt completely natural and ordinary for us. This is what daily communication with so-called non-ordinary (spirit) reality should feel like. It is everyone’s right and even responsibility to claim their natural connection with spirit, remembering that humans are beings of spirit too.

Daily connection with spirit can, if your expectations are too high, feel as dull as doing the dishes. But this is not a hindrance so much as it is precisely the point of these interactions. We do not need spirit for a feeling of exhilaration and inspiration — that is a benefit we can access, but it is not the purpose of working with spirit. The relationships we develop with spirit can and will feel like speaking with old friends and family — sometimes clearly supportive, sometimes maddening, sometimes very neutral, but always of value.




Shamanism and Quantum Possibilities


Each of us can be said to be living in our own universe of observation and story.  It has also been theorized that all possible permutations of reality exist simultaneously. When a shaman works with spirit to enact change in his or her universe, he or she must understand that the very realm of possibility is being tapped into in order to make that change. The actions taken by the shaman in the spiritual world have very real consequences in the physical world.

Those universes which are yet resting in quantum possibility are indeed the spirit realms.

The quantum realm of possibility is one of infinite potential, to which we have a direct link through our power of imagination. In this way, imagination is a direct sense of the spirit world, like our sense of sight or smell. We tend to be wary of our imagination, as if it is an unreality – and in one way it certainly is. Yet it is also a vehicle to the non-ordinary, or shamanic, reality. Imagination let run wild will transport one to other worlds and we can be assured that they are as “real” as quantum potential, in which everything imaginable exists by necessity.

This physical world that you inhabit is a single manifestation from the limitless possibilities of the spirit world. Spirit, bearing all possibilities simultaneously, is recognized as being neutral. Spirit is neither light nor dark and this view is sometimes confusing or even distressing to seekers to spiritual wisdom. However, it is important to note this fact, as the spirit world requires careful navigation and interpretation. A naïve outlook could lead to taking messages at face-value in far too simplistic or otherwise unhelpful ways.

The spirit realm is infinitely changeless and infinitely changing simultaneously. In dealing with the spirit world, a shaman aims to create ripples and vibrations in the physical world, meanwhile the spirit world remains as it is. A shaman aims to shift possibility’s vibrations towards a manifestation of harmony in the physical world. This demonstrates the responsibility of the spirit-walker to work with healing intent, and for the good of the whole community, if not for the whole world. This requires a selfless ego, which recognizes the neutrality of the spirit realm while having invested interests in one’s community in the physical world.

This interpretation of spirit and science is one that opens doors to investigation and thought. It is not a closed conversation, being a theory based not on imposing rules, but on pure observations. Ancient shamanic cultures have reached conclusions that meld beautifully with current scientific thought, reminding us that all interpretations of reality are but metaphors, and it is how we envision the world that dictates what we can achieve within it.



Ritual and Sacred Space


If the spirit realm is linked to our imagination and exists as the scope of quantum possibilities, what role ought the physical world to play in establishing access into it?

Ritual and creating space in the physical world has always played an important role in shamanic practice. When a shaman creates sacred space and employs ritual, he or she is honing the link between the physical world, which the shaman wishes to influence or otherwise delve into, and the spirit world of possibility (expressed through the imagination as the visionary practice of journeying).  The shaman is a walker between worlds, tightrope tip-toeing through liminal spaces. Thus it important to have focus, intent, and a plan all in place – and certainly it is always advised not to journey without a question at hand, however alluring the idea of blindly wandering the Dreamtime might be. Ritual and sacred space serve to assure the focus, intent, and plan of the journey.

Further, by creating sacred space one is quite literally opening a portal from one world to the next by opening the imagination to sacredness itself, which is a spiritual concept. The act of creating sacred space defines the physical world as having spiritual ties. It is about staking a claim that the space and time in which a shaman works is spiritually opened and fully bridged to the spirit realm.

The rituals employed by a shaman are boundless, unlimited by the physics of the ordinary world. This means that while rituals may be specific, they do not function within the confines of rational logic. Rituals are physical actions that serve spiritual functions. They may be tasks assigned to a shaman from spirit, or otherwise directed by spiritual intuition. Either way, their purpose is much the same as that of creating sacred space. The shaman performs spiritual action in the physical world, tying both realms together and forming the portal through which the shaman journeys.

This explanation of ritual and sacred space makes it clear why these practices are critical, even if they are merely brief and simple activities. It may be that persons who most yearn for spiritual experiences fail to perform them precisely because such people long to break ties with the physical world rather than reinforce them. Yet, rituals serve to make the road for the seeker to travel into the spirit world, rather than to close and lock the door to it.

Sacredness Be

Communing with the spirit of a rat who lives in a tree stump in our mostly closed-in backyard porch, I felt the sacredness of all things. I gave him bread (which he steals anyway, from a bag left on a shelf) and watched him take it, knowing that this little creature, so often misunderstood, was himself a king and a god, clothed in sacredness finer than earthly jewels.

Dreaming the World into Being



We live in a state of fabricated reality. But this itself should not be shocking. We are beings made of stories: before we are born, we are story, and once we are born, everything that came before us is story also. When we die we return to potential and imagination, and our lives will be described in stories only.

All history is but a story. In fact, all that you do not personally experience in the present moment is also pure story.

But what of the present moment? Is it the truth, the only truth? Well, the fact is that reality is explained to us by our senses, which interpret reality rather than letting us face it directly. The only direct experience of anything, I maintain, lies in our sense of potential. We truly sense potential like we see light, except we sense it directly, without a need for a sensory organ like an eye that mitigates our experience.

We call this direct sense of potential imagination. Consider it! When we imagine possibilities, we sense they are indeed possible in some way, under some circumstance. While some people might have a better range of imagination than others, there is no denying that all we imagine is possibleIS possible. Really, anything can happen, because maybe there is really a Deity that can make it happen, or maybe there is really no strict laws of nature, so there’s room for the seemingly impossible. Even physicists have to concede that if the universe is infinite, or if there are infinite alternate universes, then everything we imagine can and DOES happen somewhere within it.

Meanwhile when we see something with our eyes we have to question, as Descartes did, whether our eyes and nerves and brain have interpreted the information correctly. That’s why we can easily be fooled by optical illusions. Also, we don’t know for sure that we are not in fact dreaming the “waking” world.

It is, in fact, possible that we are merely dreaming reality. It is possible that we dream the world into existence. We already know this is true. We come from imagination and dreams and stories. We return to stories when we die.

Of course, nothing is purely “real” or purely “false”. The same goes for absolutes like black and white. Nothing is pure white — surely some pixel, some spot, some dullness, some defect or some other attribute keeps it from being absolute white. It is the same with black! It is the same with all absolutes: truth or falseness, goodness or evil, joy or sadness, absolute zero (temperature) or infinite energy.

These absolutes exist in the same way that both light waves and photons exist at once. What is a wave and what is a particle?? They are physical absolutes. Particles, after all, are truly identical and interchangeable with each other — thus they have no defects or attributes that keep them from being an “absolute particle.”

Everything and nothing are also absolutes. Why does something exist instead of nothing, instead of everything?

I submit that absolutes do exist, however, in a way. I submit that the appearance of “something” is the interplay between everything and nothing existing simultaneously. The interplay of both particles and waves existing simultaneously creates the physical reality. The interplay of both zero-point energy and absolute zero energy existing simultaneously creates the active reality.

What we experience as reality is thus not entirely real (an absolute), but the interplay between realness and falseness. In some way we dream the world into being and in some way the world dreams us into being.  Reality is a fabrication and a story that both we and it create.