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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. January's Theme: "Path"
Volume 4 Issue 2 ISSN# 1708-3265
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by Tira Brandon-Evans

This world is not my home,
I'm just a'passing through,
My treasures are laid out,
Somewhere beyond the blue,
The angels beckon me,
From heaven's open door,
And I don't feel at home,
In this world anymore.

(Verse From An Old Gospel Hymn)

"I don't feel at home here. I feel like I am from another planet. I feel like I don't fit in here. I think I need to move to the country so I can find myself."

I have heard these complaints many times over the years and I identify with the feelings behind them perfectly. I spent my childhood and early adulthood feeling like a stranger in a strange land. I felt alienated - literally 'like an alien', like I did not belong in this world at all.

For years I moved around from place to place, always hoping to find the town or country where I would fit in. But I never have found that place. Everywhere I've wandered, everywhere I've roamed, I have remained a stranger in a strange land.

As I grew older I began to understand a large part of this feeling of alienation was what I have come to call divine discontent. I am always and forever seeking the Shining Realms in this material world. The places I love best here are the places most like Shining Country. Forests, meadows, streams, lakes, mountains, the great pouring sea all draw me to them because they are most like the Inworlds.

When I first began to journey as an adult I thought the whole point of the journey was to escape from this world. I was unhappy because I had to be in this world, work in this world, and put up with all the stress and unpleasantness that sometimes it entails.

I have since discovered ALL shamans feel this world is not their home. I have lived in many places, including Ireland, and I can assure you I never, ever feel completely at home anywhere in the material realm. This is because - as the old song tells us - this realm is not our home, we really are just passing through.

We were never, ever meant to be happy and content in this world. Those of us who feel this longing and divine discontent never find our true home until we pass into the West.

C.S. Lewis taught that we humans are amphibious beings. We live part of our eternal lives in this material realm and another part in the non-material realms, which I call the Shining Lands or the Shining Country. Some call these lands the Faery Realm or Paradise, all the names mean the same place, it is that place we always long for when we are here in the material realm.

We are like Selkies. The Selkies are the magical, shapeshifting Seal-folk of Celtic legend. Have you heard the ancient tale of the seal wife? There are several versions but basically the story goes this way. The beautiful Selkie women take off their skins and assume their human form so they may play on the shore. A fisherman sees them and steals one of the skins. Without her seal skin the Selkie woman cannot return to the sea. She is trapped in her human form. She begs the fisherman for her seal skin but he will not give it back. She marries him and they have children but every day she longs to return to the sea. One day she finds her seal skin, hidden away in a chest - or her children discover it and return it to her. She puts it on and returns, in her seal form, to the sea. The Seal-woman is very happy to be back in the sea with her own kind, but when she hears her children calling her from the shore she longs also to be with them.

This is how I feel. I am the seal women. I can never be completely happy here in this world. When I am 'in the sea' I long to return to the shore. When I am 'on the shore' I long to return to the sea.

That is the life of the shaman. Sometimes it is bitter and sometimes it is beautiful. All shamans are called to the distant shore always. Those of us who dedicate ourselves to the great work endure the call and realize the divine longing is the price we pay. Few of us would be willing to forego the longing if it meant giving up our ability to journey into Shining Realms.

Just remember this. This world is not our home, we are just passing through.

Living in this world and journeying into Otherworlds is all the same thing. Every step I take in this or Otherworlds carries me farther along my path. Every step I take in this or Otherworlds helps me to complete the great work of the shaman.

This is the great work of the shaman: to make and mend, to help and heal, to dwell in the perfect shining moment in the heart of the mystic rose and be love in action.

All our journeys in this and Otherworlds are taken to help us in the great work.

Being a shaman is not about what you do - the drumming, rituals, and so on are incidental. Being a shaman is all about who you are.

The magic is within us, in our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits.

Wherever I am here and now, this instant, is in the heart of the mystic rose.

We begin here now always.

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always-
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one."

- "Little Gidding", T.S.Eliot

And all our steps in this and Otherworlds lead us into that place where the 'fire and the rose are one.'

Nothing else matters.

It does not matter where we are because wherever we are now is the heart of the mystic rose and in this place we are always and eternally love in action.

Tira Brandon-Evans is the Founder and Moderator of the Society of Celtic Shamans, an editor of "Earthsongs: Journal of the Society of Celtic Shamans", and is, herself, a Faery Shaman.

Her books, "The Green and Burning Tree: A Faery Shaman's Handbook",
"Portals of the Seasons: A Celtic Wheel of the Year",
"Through the Unremembered Gate: Journeys of Initiation",
"The Labyrinthine Way: Walking Ancient Paths in a Modern World",
and "Healing Waters", are all published by Elder Grove Press. She is presently writing a book about the Ogham. You may contact Tira by email.

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