Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tree & Plant Shamans

{Author's Note:  This Originally was half of an Article on Tree and Plant Totems.  Since I am not re-posting the Totems I thought I would put the section on the concept here.  This did include three possibly controversial Totems, Marijuana, Tobacco and Peyote.  I included them because of their meaning among certain cultures. I included a disclaimer that I did not condone the use or abuse of these substances and I included them because of major cultural and spiritual impact.}

Tree and Plant Shamans have a different approach than the conventional Animal Shaman.  One is the use of plant matter.  A Tree or Plant Shaman or Druid will use a preponderance of plant matter for Foci and Fetishes.  They are known to use Stones and Metals too, however they never use animal products such as furs or bones.  The use of plant materials includes the practice of herbalism both magickal and medicinal.  Examples of foci used are like wooden staves, wands or woodwork amulet and the like.

Another difference is Sacred Ground instead of Medicine Lodges.  These areas are consecrated by the individual Shaman.  The Materials to do so are the same in cost as materials fro a Medicine Lodge.  The Sacred Ground can be a Sacred Grove, Field, Garden, or Orchard.  The Sacred Ground must always be in the favored environment of the Totem and include example of the Totem plant or tree.  A Tree or Plant Druid though has another option in Sacred Ground in a circle of standing stones or any other typical Druid Sacred ground.  The Druidic Sacred Ground does not need to be of the same environment as the Totem.

Another difference in approach is how Spirits present themselves to the Tree or Plant Shaman or Druid.  The Spirits rarely take human form.  They look like the elements, plant or animals.  For example a Mountain Spirit would look like a Mound of rock and earth with a semi-humanoid form or a Forest Spirits would look like a Human looking tree or a Field Spirits would look like a plow horse.  Although accumulatively these differences are mostly subtle, they need to be realized.

Another difference between Tree or Plant Shamans or Druids and standard Shamans is that all plant shamans can summon Manitous, otherwise known as Spirit of Wood.  They gain this ability at the expense of one class of Nature spirits, usually either spirits of MAN or of the LAND.  This difference allows the Tree or Plant Shaman or Druid to summon Spirits that are connected to the greenery of nature.  Even a Cactus can summon a Manitou since even the desert has vast vegetation (tumble weeds, brush, cacti and etc.).  Shamans of Cultivated Plants, although no longer as strongly connected to the Land, can still summon Manitous.  This shows that though these Plants have a stronger connection to Man, they are still inexorably connected to the circle of all vegetation.


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