Tag Archives: consensus reality

Chuck’s Place: The Shamanic Journey of Now

Beyond the crust of the known world lies the journey…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

A shamanic journey is one that ventures beyond the crust of the known world into the heart of darkness where hidden influences upon ordinary life are revealed. The journey is initiated through a breakdown of the dominant normal perceptions and expectations of the world that then opens the door to the fuller reality underlying the prevailing worldview.

At this moment the world finds itself in the midst of the breakdown phase of a collective shamanic journey. The shaman responsible for catalyzing this phase of the journey is the president of the United States, Donald Trump. Wikipedia defines a shaman as “someone who is regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.” Donald Trump’s ritualistic trancelike tweets and the influences he exposes the world to qualify him as a shaman.

I would argue that Donald Trump has opened the porthole to “other worldly spirits” by systematically breaking down the agreed upon decorum that has for a long time ruled the central office of world power, the United State’s presidency. In prior administrations a high values decorum of behavior set a leadership standard agreed upon by a majority of the world’s nations and populations that generated a strong border wall to fend off possession by malevolent spirits.  That wall has been completely shattered with the “shithole” adjective President Trump has applied to some other nations.

Rather than debate the ethics of Donald Trump’s behavior I focus on the disintegrating influence his actions accelerate upon our long held consensus reality. In shamanic terms, the rigid fixation of our collective agreed-upon world reality is currently in free fall. On an individual level basic security is severely threatened and has given  rise to a host of acute psychiatric disturbances.

Though many might point to the removal or defeat of Donald Trump as an antidote to the current madness, and this may be a necessary or helpful action, I think he is a representative or a pawn of a much greater process of transformation.

The world prior to Donald Trump’s presidency was unsustainable. Human population with its ever expanding needs can no longer be accommodated within the confines of balance upon this planet. Donald Trump did not cause climate change, though he certainly has made every effort to undue efforts to address the crisis it has generated. The reality that our consensus world needs reconfiguring transcends who the current leaders of the world are. This reconfiguring involves all of nature, which is, quite independently of human action, molding a new world.

The dependence upon a world leader to mesmerically fixate human consciousness upon an agreed upon reality is an outdated technology. Carlos Castaneda was the last shaman leader of a shamanic line that extended back 16 generations. His teacher, the nagual don Juan Matus made it abundantly clear to him that infinity had determined that Carlos was the end of the line, that there would be no new nagual, or shamanic leader, to direct the future for his shamanic line.

With that, Carlos and his shamanic party altered the course of future direction of the line by birthing a virtual internet of shamanism. All the secrets were revealed, all the shamanic technology to journey beyond the confines of ordinary reality was made available to everyone, regardless of age, race, sex, creed or color. All that is required to initiate the journey is the intent to evolve. And that journey is an individual experiential journey, available to all who live in this world.

That intent to evolve is the intent for total freedom unfettered by the materialistic preoccupation of our current old world consensus reality. The technology of this shamanic perspective frees its energy from being offended by world tyrants and instead deploys it in the exploration of the much broader world of energy and the possibilities there that facilitate a new balance within each individual and here upon the earth as a whole.

Donald Trump’s behavior leads us to the same shamanic reality: we all must assume responsibility for our own journeys, the era of paternalistic security is over. We have all been launched on a collective shamanic journey and must decide individually what spirits, benevolent or malevolent, will influence our present lives. Though malevolent spirits have a definite role in the breakdown phase of change, they are not the foundation of a sustainable new balance.

For that we need both our intent to evolve and the support of benevolent spirits.

May they bless us all,


Chuck’s Place: Limiting Limiting Beliefs

Beliefs originate in the mind. The mind is the outermost wrapping of the spiritual plane in human beings. In Hindu science the spiritual plane has many increasingly subtle dimensions or sheaths.

We all agree that the sun rises every morning, but what else are we missing…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Using the Hindu analogy, we can compare the familiar mind that we call the ego to a rocket booster of a spaceship, which propels the spaceship, but as it rises higher in the atmosphere sheds itself of the outer layers or sheaths surrounding its core. Hence, when we depart from this world at death, on our definitive journey into infinity, we will shed the outer wrapping, the ego mind we operated with in this world, and open to the more subtle, spiritual dimensions at our core. At this point we will become fully energetic beings, no longer sporting the outer casings of the human form. This is the energetic body from which Jeanne communicates her wisdom to Jan in daily Soulbytes.

The ego and higher levels of spiritual agency represent the Yang or  thought dimension of human existence. The body and all material manifestations in the world represent the Yin or material dimension of human existence.

Ideas, thoughts, beliefs, or intents are all non-substantial possibilities issuing from the spiritual dimension that require physical substance to become what we might call real, substantial, or manifested. Thus, spirit Yang lacking union with material Yin is simply a hot air possibility lacking substance.

Limitations are the necessary boundaries that birth a spirit into substantial reality. Thus, if I have an image in my mind it exists only as a spirit entity, a potential lacking substance. If I then draw and color the idea on paper, my spirit and physical selves have united to create a definite impression. Yang and Yin are conjoined in the process of creative manifestation.

For a Yang impulse to become real it must accept the limiting containment of physical reality. Without limits we don’t exist in a substantial, time and space, way. An idea lacking written or verbal expression is just a roaming, floating thought, a seed seeking earth to germinate in and become real.

Limiting beliefs are the basic building blocks of our world. If we did not collectively agree to believe similar things we could not manifest such a cohesive reality, i.e., the world as we know it. From a shamanic perspective all worlds are consensus realities. Consensus, meaning shared beliefs, is the intent that congeals matter into a specific world.

By exercising the shamanic technology of intent we can shift the world we live in, literally, into a new consensus reality or, put differently, into a whole new world. However, that new world also requires a new set of limiting beliefs to achieve the consistency necessary to become a substantial reality.

If I pick up my metal spoon and it suddenly bends in half my belief in the solidity of the world may be greatly assaulted, sending me into quite a spin. Fortunately, the very powerful belief that the world is rational might quickly reassert itself, providing probable explanations for the bent spoon that can then shore up the shaky assault to my sanity!

Of course, as much as we enjoy the calmness of a predictable world, well-constructed by limiting beliefs, the downside of limitation is limitation. Many more options of experience and manifestation may be available to us that might much more fully allow us to experience both our spiritual and material potential; things that we simply can’t access, as the guardians of our sanity that maintain the consistency of the world as we have known it vigorously encourage us not to stray beyond the boundaries of our limiting beliefs.

It really is a profound consideration to stray beyond the boundaries of rationality, which is currently (though greatly challenged by world events this past year) the major building block of human stability. In general, mental health has been predicated upon the security of a predictable world constructed by agreed upon limiting beliefs. Nonetheless, often at the spirit’s insistence to open to possibilities beyond the known, or as a matter of material necessity, we are compelled to take new spiritual/physical adventures beyond the known dimensions into the deeper interior of our fuller selves.

In fact, one thing is clear about the present state of reality in the world: the limiting beliefs that have defined the world at the highest levels are currently crumbling in full public view. Rather than calming and solidifying the basic tenets of our consensus reality, our leaders function like tricksters shifting gears with pure abandon.

The deeper reason for this dissolution is that our world is in the midst of major transformation. Fear not the transitory extreme new worlds we are confronted with daily; they are untenable as they do not support the deepest needs of our world as it undergoes its very deep and necessary transformation.

We are being pushed into a world that opens us up to our greater energetic potential, a world which greatly expands the limiting beliefs that have so long defined what we believe and experience as reality. This new world of greater entrée into our energetic potential  frees us from the limiting beliefs of fixation on materialism as the source for fulfillment. The technology of that limiting belief has clearly exhausted the planet and, despite its current escalation, has little future.

The  new technology of a metaphysical world, a world of energy beyond strict rationality, utilizes psychic powers, intent, inter-dimensional exploration and the experience of love as its guiding limiting beliefs. This is a far more stable and exciting consensus reality in the making. That is the New Frontier we are privileged to participate in beyond the boredom, frustration, depression, and hardship of this tumultuous time of transition.

The limits of that New Frontier are the kind of limiting beliefs I can sign up for!!!

To our greater energetic potential,


Chuck’s Place: Fallen Angels Or Magical Beings?

The other morning, as I prepared for work, my mind was preoccupied with Jung’s “Late Thoughts,” a chapter in his autobiography that spoke of his final commentary on a world he was soon to leave. Jung lamented that the world lacked a living religious mythology that had kept pace with, and could serve as a guide to the modern world. His major concern was the question of evil for the modern world, which is still cast as the fallen angel, separate and distinct from God. How is mankind to reconcile the wholeness of its nature if God is only light, and darkness a fallen angel who failed to remain in the goodness of the light. That fallen angel resides in all mankind in the dark side of its nature?

Eventually the grackle turned over and sat up, still quite dazed... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Eventually the grackle turned over and sat up, still quite dazed…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

At the exact moment of this thought, I was stunned by a loud THUD at the glass door to our deck. I ran to the door to find a large black grackle lying on its back, its wings flailing frantically, its heart beating wildly. It was clearly in shock and my heart sank at the sight of its helplessness and its dubious prognosis.

I knew better than to open the door and attempt to assist. The fatal outcome of the wounded animals I had rescued in my childhood came to mind. Better to give this bird the sanctuary of its own inner resources than to shock it further with outside intervention, however well-meaning.

I quietly walked away, grappling with my own sadness and yet hopeful that this fallen angel might resume its journey. A half hour later, I returned to discover that the grackle’s wings were completely still, its heartbeat barely discernible. The prognosis appeared fatal, though I still held out hope.

Before I left the house, I checked one more time and was excited to discover that the bird had turned over and was sitting calmly in its place. The next question was: Will it actually be able to fly, or does it have a broken wing? An hour later, Jan was able to report that the grackle had successfully regained its poise, spread its wings, and lifted off the deck into a nearby tree.

I am left with the synchronicity of Jung’s lament that religious mythology has not progressed beyond earth and humankind needing redemption and the crash of the black grackle into the glass. Perhaps this bird’s process was the answer to a new mythology, more guiding and pertinent to our modern sensibility and dire predicament.

The first picture that popped into my mind was the image on the cover of Carlos Castaneda’s first book, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, a black crow perched in the desert. My bird was a grackle, often associated with the crow but not actually of its family. Nonetheless, the association leads me to the mythology of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico.

Those shamans see human beings as magical beings. What an awesome description; human beings are inherently magical! This is a far cry from beings fallen from God, offspring of Satan and earth. This is a description that transcends good and evil, and morality itself. This designation is intrinsically, and wholeheartedly, simply magical!

Preparing to take off... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Preparing to take off…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Indeed, the Shamans of Ancient Mexico see the world we live in as a consensus reality, a fixation of our vast potential, an interruption in our magical flight. We are like the bird that crashed into the glass; we are all lying helpless on the deck of this world, our magical nature ground to a halt.

Like the grackle that smacked into the glass those shamans see the central grounding position of our human fixation as the collision of our magical nature with self-reflection. Self-reflection is the overriding obsession currently mirrored in our attachment to the “likes” of social media. Our species is obsessed with its goodness, badness, value, possessions, and self-preservation, which color our ability to go beyond the self and see the true needs in the world around us.

This obsession with me and mine is the modus operandi behind greed, wars, and the destruction of the planet. Nonetheless, the shamans suspend judgment and instead totally appreciate the utter magic of our ability to create this world, regardless of its instability. Like modern physicists, they understand the world of everyday reality as but one of many possible interpretations of energy. At the same time, they cannot help but marvel at how magical a species we really are, powerful enough to create the consensus reality we all live in every day of our lives. Yet those shamans know that, like my bird who had to find its way back to its wings, human beings have all they need within themselves to restore their connection to their magic.

The world is now like my flailing grackle, charged to recalibrate itself beyond its encounter with self-reflection. That bird needed no outside help, no Godly redeemer to restore it to balance. We have everything we need too. We are, after all, magical.

The world wobbles out of control because it must find its way back to the magic, beyond its destructive hold on self-importance over the greater needs of life. That particular fixation has run its full course and is no longer sustainable. A new world that explores its interdependent wholeness is in formation. And that grackle did rebalance and lift off to a new adventure, and so will we.

Off on a new adventure... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Off on a new adventure…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I distinctly recall Carlos Castaneda, at a tensegrity workshop, turning his back to us as he performed a deep shoulder roll, including his full shoulder blade, telling us to “free your wings.” Yes, in the eyes of those shamans we are magical beings whose wings have been clipped, but needn’t be if we are prepared to do a deep recapitulation and set ourselves free.

I know that Carlos would say that we have two interpretations to choose from: We are the offspring of God’s fallen angels who need redemption from our inability to transcend our evil nature or we are magical beings fully capable of recapitulating and launching into a new adventure.

From one magical being to another,

A Day in a Life: The Bardos & The Reality We Create

The consensus reality we all uphold... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
The consensus reality we all uphold…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

“The earth will never be destroyed,” said Chuck to me last night. “It’s a consensus reality.” What he meant was that there are millions of people upholding the idea of earth and everything in it as real. Each person now alive would have to drop their projections, lose their belief systems, free their minds, and release their attachments for the earth to suddenly fade from sight. It would be like taking a mass psychedelic trip or a giant thick fog rolling in, hiding from view all that we consider reality.

Does that idea send shockwaves of fear through you, the idea of having nothing to hold onto, nothing familiar in your life? Personally, I find the idea utterly freeing, the notion of all of this disappearing and there being nothing but the ethers: defined as a formless, infinitely elastic medium, also known as the space above the atmosphere of earth, the heavens composed of the moon, the stars and planets. Imagine the energy we’ve all projected into creating this reality, that we’ve spent our lives upholding, finally released, to be used for something far greater.

The bardos, negative emotional states, beliefs that we project within the consensus reality of this world, are always right next to us, ready to snag us and pull us back, away from such ideas as the one I postulate above. The bardos make up not only our consensus reality, the world we inhabit, but the world within as well, the world of thoughts and ideas that keep us caught in the repetition of our behaviors, habits, beliefs, stuck in the core issues that keep us from evolving, such as rejection, abandonment, entitlement, victimhood. The bardos are where worry, fear, indolence, strife, and negativity reside, popping up to defeat us in endless battles with the projections of this world. We turn to them more often than we turn to our spirits, which seek to be freed of all that is in this world so that we can enjoy “All That Is” in the ethers of infinity.

Our projections keep us bound to the bardos. I create my reality by that which I project. My needs, fears, and worries create my reality. If the consensus reality says that my symptoms indicate a certain condition, then I get sick. If I project my fears into the world, those fears come to haunt me. If I am certain that something bad will happen, then it will happen. In the bardos of my projections, in the thoughts I create, the ideas I uphold and the fears I hold onto, my world is created. If I am aware that I am doing this, however, I can change how I attach to the consensus reality. I can decide that no, I am not sick, I am not afraid, and only good things will happen to me. Suddenly, my reality shifts.

Detail of the Indolence card, the 8 of Cups from the Thoth Tarot Deck...
Detail of the Indolence card, the 8 of Cups from the Thoth Tarot Deck…

I also know that if I project my needs, fears and worries outwardly onto others then other people in my life will not advance either, even if I hold onto them with my deepest love. My sense of owning or entitlement to another human being only holds them back. We must let all beings go. Others will not move out of my sphere if I hold onto them with negative thinking either, with jealousies, hatred, or even with perceived brilliance, with adoration or worship. I must own and learn from all my projections if I am to free myself too to move on.

We have the power within us to change our reality, but do I really want to see the world obliterated? I don’t believe, as Chuck suggested last night, that it will ever happen at this worldly level, but it is what we are all charged with doing at an individual level. We must accept also that the world we have created is here for us to fully engage and learn from. We must fully live in this world—do our time so to speak—if we are to be at a point of detaching from it for the last time.

To fully live means that as we grow up and seek to make a mark in the world, we must encounter all that we project, all the challenges that belong to us in this lifetime. It’s so easy to fall back into the slumber of the bardos, but the true work of individuation is to journey through life becoming increasingly awake and aware of how things really work, and that takes work.

As we do our deep inner work, as we attempt to free ourselves of our personal projections and issues—in a process such as recapitulation, for example—we do free ourselves of this consensus reality in a step-by-step process of eliminating from our psyches all that once held us bound to the bardos. In the bardo states of this world we churn away overdoing, over indulging, over eating, over drinking, over stimulated to the point where our energy reserves are depleted and our spirits sunk to the depths, far from contact. In this depleted energy state we no longer contribute any energy either to the advancement of this world. As our own energy flags, we become nothing more than entities draining the energy that others contribute to a changing world.

Do I really want my world to disappear? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Do I really want my world to disappear?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

If we are to be part of a changing world we must constantly contribute new energy to that change by changing ourselves. It is not healthy to stay in the bardos, dulling our energy and the energy of the world. If we are challenged to do anything during our lives, it is to keep the flame of change burning by adding to its potential by challenging ourselves to constantly shift into states of higher awareness.

Just as the bardos are there always ready to grab us, to sabotage our progress, so too are our spirits right there too, ready to connect with us. Our true work of individuation is the work of gaining knowledge of our spirits, of learning to trust them as we allow ourselves to drop our projections and have experiences of the ethers, of our energetic selves, even while we are living in this consensus reality. It is the work of the human being who is aware of reincarnation to live up to the challenges of each lifetime and gain the momentum to move beyond continuous cycles of reincarnation.

In pulling our heads up out of the bardos long enough to grasp the possibility of the disappearance of this consensus reality as we know it, we offer ourselves new energy and new momentum. Without fear that we are missing out or losing something, as we grow into later adulthood we must learn how to let go of our attachments to all that is in this world, knowing full well that each of us, even those closest to us and whom we love the most, are on the same journey.

Each individual is challenged to move out of the bardos and advance to a higher level of consciousness. In so doing, at our death we do not leave this world a more depleted place but a brighter place, our evolving energy feeding the fires of change. I feel this kind of vibrant energy every time I communicate with Jeanne. Her evolving beyond this consensus reality has left a brightness in my own life, and I have learned more from my connection with her than had I not dared myself to trust her and take up the challenges she gave to me during my recapitulation.

We are all as separate and individual as each drop of rainwater on this leaf... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We are all as separate and individual as each drop of rainwater on this leaf…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

And I am aware now too that my true purpose extends far beyond this life and this reality. And so I am not afraid to imagine the world disappearing and all that is in this reality releasing—as it will upon my own dying—because I know that all of us are part of something greater, just as Jeanne and her soul group are.

Just trying to add to the energy flame of changing consciousness,