The view from within

I am in the process of shifting my practice from what I’ve called “shamanism” to what it really is: an earth-centered, animistic path of wisdom.

What the heck is animism? The spiritual insight that there are many kinds of people in the world, only some of whom are human. 

Animism is the bedrock worldview beneath shamanic consciousness. To consider the natural world as fundamentally alive, worthy of respect, and capable of making a moral claim upon us is to return to a relational framework for living in the world, a shift that is deeply needed in these times. 

But relationship implies communication. How do we communicate with that hill, the departed dead, the weather, or the tree in our backyard? 

One friend who can help us remember how to speak in the language beyond words is the drum. With the aid of the sacred drumbeat, our consciousness can shift, we can see things from within, we can learn to behave.

The drumbeat facilitates in-sight, which is indispensable to communing with our sacred mother, Gaia, the living and animate earth.

Abraham Heschel on insight: “Conventional seeing…is a way of seeing the present in the past tense. Insight is an attempt to think in the present.

Insight is a breakthrough, requiring much intellectual dismantling and dislocation. it begins with..the cultivation of a feeling for the unfamiliar, unparalleled, incredible.

It is in being involved with a phenomenon, being intimately engaged to it, courting it, as it were, that after much perplexity and embarrassment we come upon insight–upon a way of seeing the phenomenon from within.

Insight is accompanied by a sense of surprise. What has been closed is suddenly disclosed. It entails genuine perception, seeing anew.”

This is what we’re after in the journey of in-sight meditation, my friends: thinking in the present, not the past; seeing from within instead of from the outside; cracking into the center of experiences to learn their purpose, meaning, and direction for our lives.


Find something to offer at the start of the circle to represent your desire for awakened insight and/or for a sense of greater kinship with the natural world.


What do you need greater in-sight about? Or what non-human others do you feel drawn toward knowing and understanding more fully? Our request will be for a surprising new perspective or inner view that can lead to new behavior or awakened action.

This is a free weekly online journey circle offered by Gaia Shamanism at 4-5:30 pm PDT every Wednesday in 2020. Email your interest in joining us at All skill levels are welcome.

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