Confronting White Dude Shamanism

I managed to get the first book in my series on the Rune Field out just as this global resurgence of fascism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism began to hit the news. I now find myself addressing three different groups all with highly charged emotional approaches to the Runes. The first two groups define each other. One group, predominately young economically disenfranchised disaffected frustrated and often violent youth, use the Runes as symbols to justify dehumanizing non-Aryans. The other side wants to ban the Runes in order to maintain the status quo rather than address the social inequality and frustration driving the young men’s terroristic behavior.

The third group drawn to the Runes speaks up at the point of suppression, announcing that the runes must be pried from their cold dead hands. These folks are driven by their own inescapable experiences, and while they may refer to the written records, their intent is to find confirmation of their individual personal visionary experiences. But who should be a shaman is a thorny issue, because while our shared human physiology allows everyone to learn how to experience visionary states, that alone does not necessarily make a person a shaman.

The visionary capacity alone is no guarantee of sanity or compassion. A key aspect of the behavior Westerners define as dark trait personality disorders-malignant narcissism, sociopathy and psychopathy- are the same traits shamanic cultures describe as black magic. Dark Trait individuals engage in parasitic lifestyles with a persistent disregard for the right of others and the rules of society and an insatiable drive for conflict.

I had long wondered where the sociopathic tendencies of my lineage originated. Participating in the National Geographic’s DNA testing project last spring showed that my particular mtDNA mutation occurred right about the time that the Bronze Age agricultural civilizations of the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia were displaced by the peoples of the Iron Age. Some four thousand years ago, those first afflicted by the White Man’s Disease suddenly erupted into a raging storm of fire and blood that quickly spread across Eurasia. They left a swath of killing fields behind them.

Now there is evidence that agriculture, warfare and bubonic plague were associated. DNA testing shows that the Warlords carried the bubonic plague with them. Their disease was a direct result of their urban agricultural civilization that grew and stored enormous amounts of grain. That surplus of food allowed not only an abnormally dense human population to grow, but also an abnormally dense population of rodents. Those rodents carried bubonic plague and eventually the pathogen began infecting people as well.

The influence of microorganisms on our immune system, our brain function and our behavior is still poorly understood, but appears to be profound. The compulsion to reduce land, plants, animals and people to objects that can be bought, sold and discarded is an acute symptom of the White Man’s Disease. That need to elevate yourself by putting someone else down and the compulsion to take satisfaction in another’s suffering is utterly impervious to thoughtful discourse.

My father argued that the need to dominate, devour and demonize other people and the world that sustains us is a severe and deadly dysfunction of the human psyche. He even went so far as to claim that Western Civilization is the White Man’s Disease. was intrigued to learn that there is evidence of alien DNA among my matri-lineal ancestors found in skeletal remains of that first wave of warlords that tore across Eurasia.

My mother was adamant that something alien within her forced her to feed on other beings’ misery.

She insisted that her extremes of behavior were driven by a frantic need to feel something, to feel anything at all. Her dark factor personality disorder included anhedonia, a neurological disorder whose name literally means the inability to perceive pleasure. In practice, it was not just pleasure that she did not feel. All of her senses were dulled.

Since the symptoms of the White Man’s Disease have been accompanied by a single-celled pathogen, I have to consider the possibility that my mother may not have been speaking metaphorically. Studies are now indicating that there are visible physical differences in the way brains of sociopathic and empathetic individuals function. Perhaps my ancestors, including my mother, were and are incapable of empathy because their ability to perceive, recognize and respond to any kind of sensory input at all was severely blunted by disease.

I suspect that one reason there are so few people that share my mtDNA is because women with narcissistic personality disorders just do not make nurturing mothers. In my own experience, daughters are considered rivals while sons are bound to their narcissistic mothers in emotional incest and become willing tools of their mother’s fears and ambitions.

The children of those sons do not carry their mtDNA, but the sociopathic behavior of their fathers leaves its mark on their mothers. As one abused women put it, ‘My husband hits me so I turn around and hit my son. I know that it is wrong, but I do not know how to stop it.’ And in turn, her son learns very young that hitting one’s wife is permissible even if it is his mother that is the original cause of his rage.

And now, White Dude Shamanism and White Supremacism have become synonymous. Projecting internal inter-generational trauma onto a nebulous conspiracies of all-powerful others is a febrile symptom of a much deeper dis-ease. You can call the disease malignant ego-phrenia or rampant narcissistic personality disorders or dark-factor personality traits.

But regardless of what you call it, we need to find ways to recognize, quarantine, treat and cure the White Man’s Disease, no matter what color of skin the people affected by it have. That dis-ease can only be treated when White Dude Shamanism decides to question irrational beliefs, engage in the material realms constructively and focus on caring for instead of demonizing ‘the other’. Irrational belief systems like Q-Anon are the result of our devaluing, misunderstanding and fragmenting our human consciousness, our sense of who we are and of the culture that defines us.

Women have become very vocal about the persecution of non-Christian women by the patriarchy. But before those women could be persecuted, the men of their lineage had to be and were turned against their own people and their own traditions. The Christian suppression of White Dude Shamanism was violent and intense. One King Harald, a Christian convert, locked his own son and eighty other ‘seidr’ practitioners into their hall and burned them alive.

Although Western scholars do not know much about the morality of the early Iron Age because they did not have a written tradition, from what was written down about the Norse, their sense of honor was fundamentally narcissistic. The need to be the center of attention appears to be the driving force behind the actions of the men.More, the sagas make it clear that women goaded those men into taking what they considered socially appropriate actions even if it killed the man in question. According to the Roman historian Tacitus:

A specially powerful incitement to valor is that the squadrons and divisions are not made up at random by the mustering of chance-comers, but are each composed of men of one family or clan. Close by them, too, are their nearest and dearest, so that they can hear the shrieks of their women-folk and the wailing of their children. These are the witnesses whom each man reverences most highly, whose praise he most desires.

 It is to their mothers and wives that they go to have their wounds treated, and the women are not afraid to count and compare the gashes. They also carry supplies of food to the combatants and encourage them. It stands on record that armies already wavering and on the point of collapse have been rallied by the women, pleading heroically with their men, thrusting forward their bared bosoms, and making them realize the imminent prospect of enslavement — a fate which the Germans fear more desperately for their women than for themselves.’

Norsemen found dying a better option than disappointing the ravening woman behind the scenes. Narcissistic personalities do not differentiate between self and other. As projections of the woman’s fears and ambitions, sons and lovers of narcissistic women have no value in themselves. So as long as the woman herself was alive, a dead son or lover seen as a hero simply added to her reputation and any living man would do to project her issues on to.

Literate Christians whose beliefs sanctioned such slaughter recorded the little we know of White Dude Shamanism. We know that peoples who have their culture systematically destroyed tend to internalize the values of the oppressor. Recent research in the field of epigenetics indicates that that internalization of oppression has a physical basis. The children of those who survive genocide carry the trauma in their genes for generations after the initial violence. In my lineage that trauma manifests as autoimmune diseases and dark factor personality disorders.

Framing the issue as a black and white conflict between rational and irrational points of view has not resulted in any kind of positive change. Dark factor personality disorders see the world in absolutes. Adult psycho/sociopaths are notoriously resistant to changing their behavior. If they are punished, what they learn is to punish others.

The pressing question we are facing becomes how do those who are genuinely called find their right path go about finding a pearl of life sustaining sanity in a morass of epigenetically transmitted trauma-induced insanities like dissociative dark factor personality disorders? Especially when their families have responded to the visionary state with labels of mental illness, or evil; and instead of teaching them have isolated, medicated, disowned, even murdered, their shamans for generations? It is a really difficult situation, especially for those for whom working in the visionary realms is not a choice.

What if the fundamental challenge White Dude Shamanism faces as how to recognize, address and transform the many generations of trauma and dis-ease that have been ingrained into their genes? My childhood experience of indigenous shamans showed them to be astute observers of patterns of behavior and movement through time and space and profoundly pragmatic grounded people.Yet, my own first-person criticism of the psychics, visionaries and shamanic practitioners I have crossed paths with is that all too many of them take great pride in divorcing themselves from even the idea of a spiritual practice, of inner clarity and self-examination.

My mother was profoundly terrified of the visionary state, and my own calling to the shamanic visionary path made her desperate to prove me both wrong and evil with crazy as a bonus. But it was my willingness to perceive her clearly that caused her to panic.She once informed me, out of extreme frustration with my refusal to break, ‘you are like a diamond, the more pressure I put on you the clearer and brighter you become.’ In the visionary state one’s sense of self can be quite fluid but must remain coherent, so I was actually becoming more of a liquid crystal than a stone.

It was a great relief to me when I finally understood that a borderline personality disorder is on the border of a psychotic breakdown. Psychotics are defined as having lost touch with reality. One definition of a spontaneous shamanic initiation is that it is an atypical short-term psychotic break. I find myself considering the possibility that shamanic initiation may well be one way indigenous cultures made sure that adolescents were inoculated against the disease of psychopathic personality disorders.

In a successful imitation, the shaman comes out the other side of their ‘atypical psychotic break’ or overwhelming visionary experience, with the ability to negotiate both the visionary and mundane worlds to the benefit of their communities. So I was fascinated to learn that the one path to constructive changes in psychopathic adolescents inmates is positive feedback. If they learn through mimicking others that changing their behavior constructively gets the results they want, not only their behavior but their physical brain changes.

If we truly want to heal our fractured society, if we truly want to integrate the very damaged and dangerously deluded conspiracy theorists into a life sustaining social matrix, we are going to have to address the root causes of White Dude Shamanism. But, even the magic mushroom philosopher Terence McKenna saw the New Age White Dude Shamanistic movement endangered and fundamentally distorted by an impulse to the irrational. Rejecting any practice of self-awareness is so ingrained in white Neo-shamanic circles that questioning it leaps directly into inflammatory territory.

For those who are drawn to, called by, or curious about shamanic journeys into the visionary realms, a spiritual practice is essential to developing the ability to discern the difference between apophenic self-referential delusions and genuine perception. Love and humor are fundamental forces of healing in shamanism. They allow exactly that fluid inner coherence and constancy which allowed a whole miasma of family dysfunction to disintegrate with my mother when she died..

Perhaps the corona virus is the kick in the pants we humans need. It is a retro virus that hijacks our own epigenetic transcription process to replicate itself and takes refuge in our central nervous system affecting our minds and our moods A vaccine for the corona virus is not going to prevent the next pandemic. It is not going to prevent the circumstances in which such diseases incubate and spread.

To prevent pandemics of physical diseases, we need to recognize and transform the root causes of this global sickness of the human psyche that makes such fertile ground for them to spread. Insisting on framing our society’s problem differently is essential to genuine enduring change. Most Westerners practicing shamanic techniques are novices relying on very shaky and speculative information. Most begin preaching to others long before they have any real sense of the realms they have entered into. As one friend put told me, ‘The longer I do this, the more I realize how little I understand’.

Looking to the roots of White Dude Shamanism does offer some hints of how to proceed. The literal translations of the Old Norse names for their Three Fates is not the Past, the Present and the Future we usually assume. Instead the Eldest Norn is Fate or That Which is, the Youngest Norn is That Which is Becoming, and the ever-Present Middle Sister is Debt, she who knows the toll demanded in order to change What Is to What Could Be.

The global change we so desperately need comes when we ALL seek ways to help ourselves and others become healthy whole human beings in a whole healthy diverse and complex ecosystem. Most shamanic traditions assume that the fulfillment of the initiatory experience is service to the greater community. Cross-culturally shamanic ceremony tends to focus on putting things into a harmonious resilient, right order that sustains life. Then we need to be willing to invest wholeheartedly in what ever is required to change our circumstances and our behavior.

The contents of this post introduces Fate, Debt and Free Will,

Volume 2 of Rune Stances and Creation Stories

2 thoughts on “Confronting White Dude Shamanism

  1. Hi! Your reflexion made me think to a Jack D. Forbes book called “Colombus and other cannibals: The Wetiko Disease of Exploitation, Imperialism, and Terrorism”. I found it quite interesting and relevant to what you write. According to Forbes: ” Wétiko is a Cree term (windigo in Ojibway, wintiko in Powhatan) which refers to a cannibal or, more specifically, to an evil person or spirit who terrorizes other creatures by means of terrible evil acts, including cannibalism. Wétikowatisewin, an abstract noun, refers to “diabolical wickedness or cannibalism. […] Cannibalism, as I define it, is the consuming of another’s life for one’s own private purpose or profit. ” He essentially says that humans are born out of love and that expoitation, aggression and imperialism are forms of a mental / spiritual disease. I can send you the digital version if you’re interested. Blessings and a big hug!

    Liked by 1 person

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