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SHAMANISM AND TIME

The Greek Sophist, Antiphon claimed time was not a reality but a concept. Philosopher, Parmenides maintained time was an illusion. Time is accepted as a dimension during which present, past, and future events may occur. Later philosophers Leibniz and Kant held time to be neither an event nor a thing, and that it is unto itself and is immeasurable. Further, they believed time could not be traveled. For some, time has a subjective element; that is, one feels it as a sensation or an experience. However, in today’s world, science has demonstrated time travel is possible on the molecular level by teleporting an atom. This is quantum entanglement.

Whatever the viewpoints, it is agreed we can’t have time in a void. There would be nothing to relate it to. It would not exist. To understand time, it must connect to something. Time is a form of perception and for the shaman, that’s all it is—a perception of three divisions, present, past, and future. It is not ticking like a clock time nor is it the day-week-month time. It simply is, and the shaman moves in and out of these depending upon the world and need to which he wishes to migrate.

During the altered state of consciousness (trance), the shaman is oblivious of all time. He, frequently with his animal helper, is concentrating on finding the answer to a health issue for a patient. Depending upon the need, the shaman may travel to the Upper World or the Lower World. If, during his altered state, he senses the answer lies within the Middle World (the world in which he normally lives) he will seek help from the spirits dwelling there.

This movement into the other realms is non-ordinary reality, or a parallel universe. And in it time, all time, flows seamlessly. It is never linear. It is simultaneous. This gives the impression that a shaman is here and there at the same time. And he is.

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