Initiation in shamanism usually means the passage into a normal mundane state of life into a higher state of mind when one is more connected with his/her own spirit and is able to live between this world and the world that can be seen through an altered state of consciousness, experiencing “death“through self-sacrifice. This also means achieving greater knowledge, it does not require anyexchanges, only full sincere devotion of the individual. A search of the true spiritual sense, freeing the mind of the condition of being a human being limited in their ability to act towards what seems elusive, untouchable and unknown, opening the door to another reality and very much alive, completelydestroying the meaning of the earthly world being the only possible reality.
We can see this kind of self-sacrífice in Odin, one of the most famous shamans, and all the symbolismcontained in his history, being a metaphor to release the mind to the world of spirits, in Yggdrasil, the world tree, the symbol of life, houses everything that has life and has conscious. Odin wounded himselfwith his spear Gungnir to precipitate delirium which comes in many ways, one of which is near deathfrom blood loss, hanging in the great Ash tree upside down in complete fasting and sensorialabstinence, the most ancient manner to induce trance by shamans, through a series of brutal acts against the body to reach the state of near death and hallucinate. By doing this, Odin was able to leave his body, and earn the knowledge of the sacret language, the Runes. Many shamans used such ways to enter in trance in the most primordial times of humanity, in search for aid and answers from the spirits, visiting the spiritual world for knowledge and such knowledge was shared amoung the communities and thus learning from the shaman and from the spirits, people would understand better the world around them and life itself. This also facilitated communication between mortals with the deities and natural forces of our world and the spirits of each living creature. The story of Odinseeking knowledge of the Runes helps us understand how shamans acted when seeking knowledgebeyond what could be seen in the normal world we know, not only by the way the trance was inducedbut also the symbolism of riding into a spiritual journey to another world, just as the shamans rides his/her horse that might be the drum of a animal/spirit/deity in the other world, so did Odin rode in his journey, the meaning of Yggdrasil is the very channel that connects us to the world of the spirits, being Ygg one of the names of Odin and Drasil means Horse, so it is literally the horse of Ygg, the passage that might take us beyond the thin veil that separates this world from the world of spirits.
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