You don't need to go to the Amazonian rain forest, beat a drum, rattle a tortoise shell, or take hallucinogenic herbs to be a shaman. Nor must you go to Tibet to learn the secrets of Tantra. You don't require a studio full of lithe blond 20-something models to practice Yoga either.
You were a shaman when you were six months old. Your throat was the rattle, your belly the drum, your joyful gurgling the incantation that invoked your animal familiars, a dog, a cat, a robin.
The sounds you heard in your body were tantric bija mantras, full of Mother Earth power, as you taught yourself the art of creation through the Word: "Yah!" "Hum!" "Phwat!" "Oooom!" "Bham!"
As a fetus tumbling through the womb, you achieved every healing posture, embodying all the constellations of the zodiac. And in your crib, rolling, stretching, curling, bouncing, you performed a complete sequence of Yoga asanas. Your wrists and fingers ceaselessly played secret mudras of Buddhic blessing.
The soft spot in the crown of your head drank in distant starlight. Each breath imbibed the spaciousness of galaxies. At the center of your ancient brain was a holy sepulcher, where you hid a medicine bundle called the pituitary gland. In a deep well nearby was a visionary crystal, your pineal gland, sending streams of sapphire wisdom through your forehead.
The glowing tendrils of your nerves did not stop at the edge of your body, because your body had no edges. They rooted in loam through the soles of your feet, tangling with the mycellium network. The vegus nerve entwining your backbone was a Tree of Life at the center of your Edenic flesh, its branches sparkling upward to your cortex, each twig and leaf a flame, returning your light to the stars. That fire did not burn: it created the world around you, through seeing...
And thus your nervous system was a Burning Bush, revealing the only commandment, "Love!" You required no tablets of stone, for this commandment inscribed itself in the marrow of each bone, writing the healing mantras of the Rig Veda in your ribosomes. All scriptures sprang from fruitful vines tangled in the trellis of your body.
One especially delicious fruit hung on that spinal tree: your heart - ripe and succulent as a pomegranate, containing thousands of celestial seed worlds, homes of devas, dakhinis, angel hosts and planetary gods, who waited to serve your most innocent desire.
And even now, is this pulsing orb of ruby nectar not cradled tenderly in the wings of the serpent Goddess, who gently winds and waltzes through you as inhalation and exhalation?
It was only in the mind of duality, which you acquired years later from lost and hungry priests, that there was ever a distinction between Eve and the Serpent. In your unfallen nature of original wonder, Eve and the Serpent have always been the same Mother, conversing with Herself in the garden you are.
Why not return to that innocence now by merely taking - nay, receiving - a single breath of Grace? The full moon of your beauty awaits you. Why not walk with her again through terrible holy flowers of creation, in the cool of the evening, and perpetual dawn?
Painting by Heather Watts