The Stone Heart Turtle People Series
Book One: The Place of the Springs
by Scarlet Kinney
In “The Place of the Springs,” the first book in my three-part mythic memoir, “The Stone Heart Turtle People,” I share with you what my life was like as my shamanic calling pursued me through time and space. Using shamanic storytelling methods, I weave fact together with mythic, shamanic, and imaginal memories to create a tapestry of words and images describing the people and events that have shaped me on the long meandering adventure that eventually resulted in a shamanic initiation trial and calling. In the end, I recognize that “There was always an undercurrent at work beneath the facts of my stories; a distant song in a language I had never heard, but nevertheless understood; a sense of ancient energies somehow keeping pace with the events I wrote about. There came a time when that undercurrent rose to the surface of my consciousness in all its strange power, as though from the depths of the stormy blue-gray North Atlantic; as though from the very place in those mysterious deeps where Stone Woman and Turtle together dream worlds from Potential for Becoming into Being. In that moment of consciousness I was made to remember that I am the Keeper of the many tales of The Stone Heart Turtle People.”
EXCERPT FROM THE AUTHOR’S NOTE
1. Myths and Lies
This book of tales is the first in a series of books describing the long, meandering journey that eventually led to my becoming a feminist bear shaman. Because of their thorny nature, I think I’d best begin by clarifying some important things for you, so that before you enter the story proper, you’ll understand why the book is written as it is, and the validity of the many perspectives on reality that inform it. First, contrary to popular belief and common language usage, in which the words “myth” and “lie” are often used interchangeably, myths are not lies. Myths are stories that arise from levels of consciousness inaccessible to most people. The perceptions and realities of such levels of consciousness are very different from the realities of the physical world as perceived by our very limited ego – or ordinary, everyday – consciousness. Yet myths describe very accurately and truthfully what is occurring and being observed at nonordinary – or alternate – levels of consciousness associated with both myth-making and engaging in shamanic journey practices. Lying, on the other hand, according to The American Heritage Dictionary, is: 1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; falsehood. 2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression (728). It’s my opinion, based on my many years of feminist shamanic practice, teaching, and counseling, that ego consciousness is very much more capable of duplicity than is mythic or shamanic consciousness. Mythic reality actually exists, but on a different level of awareness than that which we have been conditioned to perceive as “real.” I believe that our misunderstandings about the nature of myth are in part the result of our cultural and educational conditioning, from which it is very difficult to free oneself. We have all been conditioned to believe that only the perceptions of our everyday, ordinary ego consciousness are to be valued and trusted, and that the perceptions of mythic consciousness, which may express themselves as feminine intuition, as myths, as fantasy or imagination, and even as particularly numinous dreams or shamanic visions, are not to be valued and trusted. From a feminist shamanic perspective, ego consciousness is a function of the Masculine principle. While a high functioning ego consciousness can be wonderfully efficient, and absolutely necessary for successfully accomplishing practical, everyday tasks in physical reality, ego consciousness has become grotesquely inflated by patriarchy, which has elevated it to a position of authority over Feminine, mythic consciousness. This inflation of Masculine ego consciousness, with its concurrent denigration of Feminine, or mythic consciousness, has become a terrible burden for both to bear. In this paradigm, ego-consciousness is been forced to try and deal with all kinds of issues it is grossly ill-equipped to handle, given that it is totally lacking in Wisdom, a function of the Feminine principle. What needs to be understood here is that there are major consequences we all must bear when ego-consciousness perceptions are valued and trusted, while mythic-consciousness perceptions are thought of as lies. The chief of these consequences is that as a culture, we fail to understand that ego consciousness is, by its very nature, incapable of engaging in the kind of multi-leveled perceptions of unseen, but nevertheless equally valid realities or truths favored by mythic consciousness. Because of current social and cultural biases and beliefs about the superiority of ego consciousness, ego consciousness has become incapable of or has been rendered unwilling to consult feminine Wisdom when engaged in attempting to arrive at sound decisions regarding the personal and cultural issues we face today. We are therefore deprived over and over again of the ability to see the whole truth of any matter or issue with which we are faced, and we are deprived of Wisdom’s perspective and guidance when we are required to understand and act upon such matters or issues.
* * * * *
The contents of myth, mythic memory, imagination, fantasy, numinous dreams and shamanic storytelling are all the result of the perceptual functions of the Feminine principle. For those of us who have broken free enough of our conditioning to be able to see into mythic or shamanic realities, and to trust the veracity of what we discover there, the role of ego consciousness doesn’t come into play while we are observing events in those realities. In fact, in order to successfully enter those realities, we must first confound or stun ego consciousness into silence, thus bypassing its chatter and opinions. It is only then that we become able to enter the realms of mythic and shamanic realities. Upon our return from such adventures, however, a fully developed and highly functioning ego-consciousness becomes a necessity, if we are to accurately record or describe those adventures to others. This is where ego consciousness shines…when it engages in its proper function, which is to help us figure out how to do things in physical reality, such as my organizing and writing this book, much of the content of which is largely derived from the realms of mythic and shamanic realties. The multi-layered perceptions of reality afforded by both mythic and shamanic consciousness enable us to see the energetic patterns and archetypal forms that make up the hidden structures and psycho-spiritual realities influencing and supporting our experiences in physical reality. Thus, mythic and shamanic consciousness are inextricably connected, for shamanic training and practice prepares one to visit and observe hidden structures and psycho-spiritual events in both mythic and shamanic realities, and to directly interact with the energetic patterns and archetypal forms which are found there. And perhaps more importantly, it teaches us how to share the stories of such adventures with others in ways that enable them to directly, if vicariously, experience the adventures themselves.