Tom Cowan singing electric
I was reading Tom Cowan’s latest blog I Sing the Life Electric and got to …
Most people agree I think that the “charm” of living like they did in colonial days quickly wears off. Reading by an oil lamp, a beautiful dark and starlit sky, a peaceful stillness in the neighborhood, going to bed earlier like you should—all the romantic nostalgia for by-gone days seems to last about 24 hours. And then it too is by-gone, and we want our normal rhythms of life back again—rhythms that depend on the flow of electric current.
I cannot disagree more! I don’t want to be without electricity, I’d lose my internet connections to all my friends, but otherwise I don’t want the “normal” rhythms of 21st century disconnected human society. I love the beautiful dark sky and go out most evenings to walk under it, love the cloud, the moon, the stars, the crisp cold, the heavy heat. I often go to bed early, to read, to sleep, to dream, to journey, to practice dying. I live in peaceful stillness at the back of beyond, Kefn Gwlad, hidden away on the banks of the river Wye, on the edge of the Black Mountains. Most of my large band of friends either live similarly or are working on doing so.
And then there’s the bland misconception of electricity. Electrical current flows through us all, all the time; it’s not dependent on power stations (!) and it’s far more than Tom makes out in his article. The electro-magnetic spectrum of energies is a form of the Wyrd, the threads that make up all life. And … Franklin got going with his kite in 1750 when he published his paper but electricity had been known about and recorded in Ancient Egyptian texts dating from 2750 BC. Then, later, there was the Baghdad Battery which archaeologists found in 1936 and which resembles a galvanic cell; it dates from near 1500-2000 years ago. It is a mistake that closes off most of the mind to think that such concepts come from what we call modern civilisation.
So … electricity isn’t new, nor is it a recent (or American) discovery.
But what particularly concerned me was that a shaman, and his students, had so little commitment to the path that they would get bored with living with the natural world and by her rhythms, in the quiet of nature and without human noise and disruption. To be bored with living in tune with nature is a very disconnected way of living.
Is Tom’s shamanism of the weekend variety?
Additionally, Tom talks about Colonial Days, just 400-ish years ago. The shamans’ way goes back as far as human beings have been on Planet Earth, some 2.5 million years or thereabouts with current knowing. That’s one helluva lot longer than colonial America,. What about all the wisdom of that time before?
But it’s the boredom that is most concerning. From my own practice, and that of my students, it suggests that shamanism is an add-on, a recreation. Not the Way. Not the Path.