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Greenwood - The Shaman

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Greenwood - The Shaman


Since noone came up with a favourite card, and the Shaman has been calling me for the last few days, I decided to start with the Shaman.
I think it is a good card to begin the Study Group, he is calling us all to join him and learn together

Picture of the card online:

http://greenwood-tarot.com/tarot2/display-gt-cards.html

I really love his face, he looks so profound and calm. He does not have the appearance of a typical old wise man (imo) but you just have to look at his expression to know that he really is. He expresses both energy and calm, he is in balance.
I thought the Shaman would correspond with the Hierophant, but he actually corresponds with the Magician in the classical tarot deck. In this card he also has tools of the Magician, corresponding with the four elements:
Air: a rattle (the piece of skull he holds in his hand)
Earth: a stone knife
Fire: a smoking bundle
Water: a cup made of antler – I am not sure but I think he holds this in the same hand as the rattle (don’t know where else it could be).
Interesting that in this case a knife is connected with the earth suit.

The Shaman like the Magician has all the tools and qualities he needs for his craft and his magic (the Shaman was capable of both) but other than the Magician, the Shaman has the added meaning of working more for the benefit of others or the general good – whereas I often think of the Magician as working for himself.
The creators connect the Shaman with the tens and with the ten of wands, which in the Greenwood stands for Responsibility.
The Shaman has a lot of power and must use it in a responsible way.

The Shaman is dressed in a bearskin on which we see the images of two figures, the book tells us they are animal spirits as they are found in the cave of Arièges, I think they stand for the connection with the ancestors. The Shaman has his basis in the wisdom of his ancestors on which he can build further. The figure on the right is also known as the “dancing sorcerer”:

http://altreligion.about.com/library...defsshaman.htm

photo of the painting in the cave in Trois Frères:

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article...1/Trois-Freres

The Shaman knows and understands the natural world around him – and he uses his wisdom both for practical purposes (determining times for sowing and harvesting and hunting, use of medicinal plants etc.) as for for magic and spiritual journeys, all from his connection with the “wild side”.
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I love this card. The background is so simply that it just draws your eye right to the Shaman, himself. The skin cloak he is wearing is almost cocoon-like and he is both with nature, a part of nature, and protected from nature. He looks straight at us with calm and wise eyes, but not that ascetic glare of a hermit who had studied too long, alone at his books. This Shaman has lived, seen both life and death and walked many paths. Like you said, he has all the tools that he needs, and the figures flanking him provide him with guidance and power. The expression on his lips almost looks like a smile being forced back. I see laughter in his eyes. He knows we are checking him out, but he is wiser than all and perhaps is laughing at our ignorance! It makes one wonder what other secrets he holds behind his cloak, as well as in his own mind and soul. Even his very hands seem to have an almost hairy animal like appearance and gives one the feeling of a secret and sacred relationship with the animal kingdom.
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Yes that's right HearthCricket - his eyes and lips are smiling !
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Somehow the shaman looks younger than I expect - I see that sparkle in his eyes, too, and that Mona Lisa smile. This dude's got some secrets going on, for sure. Perhaps he's naked beneath the fur - and that reminds me of another pic in (I think) the same cave... lessee if I can find it.

It's the 6th painting from the bottom on this page: http://www.jimhopper.com/paleo.html and unfortunately it's reversed.

You can make out the naked, bird-headed shaman to the right of the dying buffalo (and above the bird on the pole), complete with erection from the trance he's in.

That page is brilliant! So many great photos!
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larger picture of the figure on the right, the sorcerer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Sorcerer.jpg

About this painting...in "Prayer: A History" By Philip Zaleski, Carol Zaleski, there is a discussion of Breuil's interpretation of the "Sorcerer" more as a "God" ..... ..."Many cave paintings are "hunting magic" depict beasts..symbolically slaughtered.. to ensure the success in flesh-and-blood.. This notion of prehistoric magic..being about the origin and meaning of prayer.. The Magical Hunt was the key that opened up the Paleolithic mind; and the hunt was presided over by a "God" whom the cave dwellers supplicated with prayer... "

An opening to the magic/sacredness of nature and the harmony of functional/purposeful-focus of living within that

Shaman, in trace, enters the other world and seek totem/animal spirit guides .. or may communicate with the spirits of the animals that had been (or will be) killed.. to create balance

http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/clottes/
show a small image more similar to the left hand figure

the 6th painting is usually seen as the dead man, gorged by the horns of the animal (Sravana's take is more..interesting.. 8^)
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The Shaman


The Shaman

From my first impressions of the card, I see a weathered face, but keen, alert and actually younger feeling then the weathered face lets on. I see wisdom in the eyes, a “knowing” and one that has seen many things, in this world and the next. The blue background adds to the tranquility that I feel that the Shaman has surrounding him at that particular ‘moment’ or snapshot.

I like the way the bearskin is wrapped around the Shaman. Almost as if the two worlds of man/animal can engulf, surround and at times co-exist.

From John Matthew’s book on the Celtic Shaman’s Pack, This is what Matthews says about the Shaman:

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Matthews
Like his fellows in North America, Australia and Siberia, the Celtic Shaman lives much of the time between the worlds. He (or she, for the word shaman can apply to either sex) learns to travel from the everyday world into other dimensions. He does this in a number of ways; by chanting, singing or drumming hypnotically until he attains a state of trance in which he is able to travel out of his body and into the realms of the spirit. Once there, he is able to find the answers to many different kinds of question, ranging from the personal to the universal. He may journey into other realms in search of powerful images to bring back for an individual client, for himself or for his particular circle of family and friends (or, as it would have been called in a more distant time, his clan). Above all, he seeks to learn all he can about the natural world and about his own place, as a member of one species, in the ongoing story of this planet. (Matthew, J. (1995) The Celtic Shaman’s Pack-Exploring the Inner Worlds. Pgs. 4,5)
Matthews goes on to state that Shamans see all of life as holy and find within the elemental components of the world all the aspects of deity that they require. I liked this quote from Matthews too,
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Matthews
…There is nothing miraculous about shamanism. It is based on observations of the heart in a world that is both miraculous and holy, on an understanding of natural rhythms and impulses, which are as much a part of everyday living as sleeping, eating, and excreting. Mostly these things have been forgotten and it is the work of the shaman to remind himself first and then the others of the natural world and its importance to everyone. (Matthews, J. (1995) pg. 5-6).
I think the thing that stands out so far from what I am learning is that the shaman (as I can see depicted in the card) sees all of life. The shaman has a grip on the pulse of things so to speak. The little changes in the weather, the observation of animal behavior, just the observations of the Wheel of the Year and its changes as it goes onward over the years. The shaman observes, seeks, learns, and reminds others that we should stop, look, listen and seek and remember that the natural world is important and that we all rely on each other. What we do, affects not just us, but ripples out to the natural world and the universe. We all affect each other.
I like this card. I feel it is telling me that I need to “stop, look, listen, seek and learn.” While I might never be called to a shamanistic calling, I see it in my oldest daughter. She has stated many things that had me stop and look and listen and appreciate. I have found that the last two years have shown me a deeper appreciation for the Wheel of the Year and the changing of the Seasons. I have learned to appreciate more and I felt with this gift of this deck, The Greenwood will teach me even more.

In the Greenwood Book, itself, it states that the Shaman “looks from the card with eyes that are both clear and open and yet there is something ancient and profound within his steady gaze.” (Ryan, M., Potter, C. (1996) p. 78) I feel this is true, it is the eyes that keep drawing me in when I look at this card. Also according to this book, this card “…is a gateway card, offering illumination of the labyrinth of the inner universe and the Otherworld of the Universal mind. The Shaman’s unique, though, is the ability to enter and commune with all levels of sentient life on the Earth.” (Ryan, Potter. (1995) p. 79).

The Shaman will bring insight and understanding of your true place in the world.

That’s an exciting thought and one that I would gladly take the time to seek and pursue. While I have a general idea, I would like to pursue and to learn and to seek even deeper.

I look forward to reading other people’s responses and thoughts on this card.

Lewen

References:

Matthews, J. (1995) The Celtic Shaman's Pack-Exploring The Inner Worlds. Element Publishing, Shaftesbury, Dorset. U.K.

Ryan, M., Potter, C. (1996) The Greenwood Tarot. Thorsen's Publishing. San Francisco, CA.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenMusic
larger picture of the figure on the right, the sorcerer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Sorcerer.jpg

About this painting...in "Prayer: A History" By Philip Zaleski, Carol Zaleski, there is a discussion of Breuil's interpretation of the "Sorcerer" more as a "God" ..... ..."Many cave paintings are "hunting magic" depict beasts..symbolically slaughtered.. to ensure the success in flesh-and-blood.. This notion of prehistoric magic..being about the origin and meaning of prayer.. The Magical Hunt was the key that opened up the Paleolithic mind; and the hunt was presided over by a "God" whom the cave dwellers supplicated with prayer... "

An opening to the magic/sacredness of nature and the harmony of functional/purposeful-focus of living within that

Shaman, in trace, enters the other world and seek totem/animal spirit guides .. or may communicate with the spirits of the animals that had been (or will be) killed.. to create balance

http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/clottes/
show a small image more similar to the left hand figure

the 6th painting is usually seen as the dead man, gorged by the horns of the animal (Sravana's take is more..interesting.. 8^)
I got that take from an analysis of the painting in "the myth of the goddess" by anne baring. Given where the painting is (evidently in a "well-like" place), and the symbolism of the bird on the stick, and that the buffalo has been mortally wounded, they see the shaman as in a trance (note the bird head). I'm off to work now, maybe if there's more interest in that I'll type up the excerpt of the book later.
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May I concentrate on the aspects of >Bear< that this card presents:
Bear is and has always ben, since the earliest human culture one of the most important Guardians and guides for a shaman. Bear gives strength, wisdom , reflection, introspection and - since Bear digs up roots, the power to heal with roots and herbs and plants. This is universal, Ainu, siberia, Northern Europe, North America, evidence of this worldview is still prevalent and practiced widely ( I too do healing work on my clients on a bear fur)
The ancient She-Bear was in the Neolithic one of the principal deities, protectress of women, childbirth and children as well as wisdom giver. She emerges in spring from her den, her cave = the caves we are discussing here - she comes out of the Dreamtime = winter and brings new wisdom personified by her little cups.
I presume we are looking here at a shaman from the Neolithic times. = WAY before the time of the Celts >hence the cave paintings on his robe.
Inside these caves you find his place of work: The Altar to the She-Bear, still visible in the
decorated with red ochre, the paint of LIFE.
(.....just like the Bear skull that rests on the fur across from me on the Healing Altar...)
The shaman wears a necklace of Bear Claws = the digging power = healing power of Bear
And he wears a large fur. We could assume it is Bear, but bear leather with fur is VERY stiff and thick at least 5-7 mm and does really not like to bend and mold the way this robe does.
Did the creators of the deck know that?
Would the shaman kill a bear?
Would his people???
Bears were sacred and only killed in great famines or for ritual purposes...??
Then what about the color??? that is not the color of Bear fur from any bear, not even a cinnamon one....

Or is it this color, because it is dyed with red ochre?
To be made sacred?
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Hi Mi-Shell,
the companion book says he is "wrapped in a bearskin that is adorned with curious paleolithic paintings..."
I did not see any explanation in the book why bearskin, but I got my companion book of the Druid Animal Oracle out, and it says that 70,000 years ago man already revered the bear. They also found a model of a bear which was probably used in ceremonies draped with a bearskin.
Warriors wore bearskins to identify with bear power.
Seeing the importance of the skin and their worshipping of bear - I don't think they would normally hunt for bear for food if there was other food available. But they wanted to have access to the power of bear.
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Chesca said the bear was "the traditional shamanic animal"

the bear totem
http://www.ancientkeris.com/bear-totem-a-3.html

Of all the animals sacred to the Druids and Celts, and indeed many other European and North American races, the bear seems to have been among the very first of animals to be honored and revered. The bear is therefore truly one of the primal totems, if not the primal one. Joseph Campbell goes so far as to suggest that the Bear Cult was older than shamanism by many centuries
http://druidry.org/obod/theorder/archive/pcg-dao.html

..Norse Warrior sect, the berserkers, who worshipped the bear as their totem, and in its honour, wore a coat made of its skin and fur next to their own skin to induce a battle frenzy and blood lust that raised their subconscious state, ...., to that of their Higher Consciousness and sometimes called the state of 'Holy Guardian Angel' (H.G.A.), was also a form of shamanism.
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