Monday, April 12, 2010

The Age of Huna

QUESTION: How old is Huna?

ANSWER: As old as humanity. Huna is not unique to Hawaii, although the combination of ideas as a coherent philosophy may be. Here is a quote related to the fifth principle from "Memorabilia of Socrates," by Xenophon, written in the 4th century B.C.:
(Critobulus has asked Socrates how to make a friend) "It is reported," replied Socrates, "that there are some words so powerful that they who know them make themselves loved by pronouncing them." "And where can one learn these words?" added Critobulus. "Have you not read in Homer," answered Socrates, "what the Syrens said to enchant Ulysses? The beginning of it is thus--'Oh stay! Oh pride of Greece, Ulysses, stay!' -- "I begin to understand," said Critobulus, "and seeing this charm, which is so powerful to enchant and captivate the mind, is nothing but praise, you mean that we ought to praise a man in such a manner that he may not distrust we laugh at him, otherwise, instead of gaining his affection, we shall incur his hate."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Shamanic Initiation

QUESTION: Today I had a session from an American Indian shaman (Mandan tribe). I told him about my Huna work. He asked me if I'd had an initiation ceremony, and I told him I hadn't. He explained to me that having no initiation means having no "license" from the spiritual world to act as a shaman. He said I should try to get one, otherwise I would never use my full potential. What is your opinion on that and how about Huna tradition? Is there any initiation ceremony available? My Huna teacher never mentioned it.

ANSWER: Shamans in different cultures have different rules about becoming a shaman. Among the Buryats of Mongolia, for instance, the most common way is to apprentice to a practicing shaman. They have no formal initiation, but you are considered ready to practice as full-fledged shaman when you have a particular type of spiritual experience. Other shamans in Siberia are inspired by spirit, or simply choose the path on their own. In Hawaiian tradition, it is common to be an apprentice until you can demonstrate the required skills, after which there may be a sort of "graduation" ceremony, but no formal initiation. Other Hawaiian shamans are inspired directly by spirit without a human teacher. If you follow a particular tradition, then you need to follow that tradition's rules. If you intend to become a Mandan shaman, it sounds like you need an initiation ceremony. If you intend to be a "neo-shaman" without a particular tradition, then you make up your own rules. In the end, though, what really matters is whether you can think like a shaman thinks and do what a shaman does.