topic posted Sun, October 4, 2009 - 5:22 PM by  Jivatma
anyone experience the feeling of losing your arm or leg or something? Occasionally I'll feel as though something is pulling me apart, or slicing through me. I read that dismemberment is part of initiation into shamanism. Thoughts, similar experiences?
posted by:
  • Re: Dismemberment

    Sun, October 4, 2009 - 6:57 PM
    there is usually a wound inflicted, a new name given, etc. These rituals are usually considered a rite of passage. I've also heard of people considering traumatic events in their past as a sort of dismemberment or rite of passage, metaphorically speaking.
    • Re: Dismemberment

      Mon, October 5, 2009 - 7:57 PM
      what you say about a wound being inflicted, you mean in the physical world? to symbolize the spiritual dismemberment? or are you speaking of a wound inflicted in the emotional/spiritual world as a reason for a ritual?

      I've read that in passed cultures new names would be given when a person had changed for some reason or another. It's strange how the majority keep our names our whole lives in contemporary culture.
      • Re: Dismemberment

        Mon, October 5, 2009 - 8:46 PM
        a wound is inflicted for real, in ceremony in order to associate with the spiritual father.
        each generation goes through the ritual and it gives a unique bond of manhood.
        it is different in different cultures but not present in modern contemporary culture and as a result there is a separation of the generations.
        • Re: Dismemberment

          Tue, October 6, 2009 - 4:41 PM
          I like that, how they'd get a new name, I've heard that in one culture they would give people new names at various times in peoples lives, if they deserved it, or needed it to further themselves along their path. If a wife lost a husband and never could get over it, they would name her differently because the instance became her life to such a degree that it became her. So she would be named accordingly. This doesn't happen anymore in modern culture. Consciously/ceremonially anyway.

          I guess names are given in the subconscious now, from my perspective anyway. Like when I walk in a room around where I live it's usually, oh here's THAT guy, like i'm not an exciting person, kinda withdrawn from their reality; A reaction which would be my fault, because it's my choice to hang out with people who are unlike me. But these are people I grew up with, and so I would've thought they'd change when I did, now i know they don't. O well, lesson learned.
          • Re: Dismemberment

            Tue, October 6, 2009 - 9:24 PM
            this could be why you feel this separation.
            your family and friends could be considered an extension of your body sometimes.
            when you feel estranged from that person or many people, it feels like part of your body is no longer part of you any more.

            is this a feeling of loneliness that we must feel at some point in our life?

            well I should ask what was on my mind.
            is there any specifics to your feeling. like, is it a specific arm?
            and if so, then what is this part of your body representative of.
            for example if it were a guys penis,. then it's pretty obvious he would be feeling disconnected from his sexual activity. or perhaps feeling powerless in his male energy.
            • Re: Dismemberment

              Wed, October 7, 2009 - 12:50 AM
              This thing about pain'
              Pain is seperation from "Source"

              The act of pain quickens the spirit' hence' spirit recognises the seperation and moves closer'

              Love and Light

              Nobu +
            • Re: Dismemberment

              Wed, October 7, 2009 - 7:13 PM
              Very interesting. I bet realizing that my friends aren't who I assumed they were caused this. I just don't know where to go from here because I lost that part of me through my misplaced faith in them. Now everywhere I go I am less an arm, so to speak. And people take notice of something like that.

              I don't know if maybe I never had the appendage to begin with, and always hoped that someone would give it to me. And some think they can, and want to, but to give someone that, would be to give up there own. Too bad there's no extra arms, like there are extra kidneys ; )

              I need to find someone who's missing a leg, so I can lone mine to them, and they lone me their arm!
              • Re: Dismemberment

                Wed, October 7, 2009 - 9:49 PM
                yeah i think most of us are in that constant search to find that one person to share with.
                that one who we feel may 'complete us'.

                i do find it intriguing that you consider your friends this way.
                I never had this kind of closeness with anybody.
                wouldn't it be really cool if we could trade experiences?

                I think that... if you lost your appendix, you may not feel this way.
                but to lose an arm, is a big deal.
                the reason is, we don't use our appendix but our arm is a very big part of our lives. we have a need for it.
                so whatever you felt your friends were there to provide, they are not able to provide in the way you expected.
                so I think that perhaps what you need to fill that gap that you may be feeling, is to find some new friends who can satisfy that need.
  • Re: Dismemberment

    Mon, October 5, 2009 - 10:38 PM
    I had a very intense experience this year at Burningman where I felt I was enlightened all week long. A feeling that I only get a glimpse of in meditation and medicine work, but can never maintain. However, at the beginning of the week at Burningman, my Swiss army knife unexpectedly shut on my finger and sliced it down to the bone and I had to have it sewn up. After that when I did ritual I was able to maintain it for several weeks, even after I had left Burningman. Perhaps that was my dismembering right of passage. My blood sacrifice to the playa. I have huge scar on my finger as a reminder and it still hurts, very much.
    • Re: Dismemberment

      Tue, October 6, 2009 - 3:23 AM
      Takeshi nailed it. It was a rite of passage into manhood. And also in general, when the boy returned to the tribe, they never spoke his former name again. I guess they were serious.

      Dr. J, that is awesome you had that experience. These sort of things happen all the time even when we are not paying attention. "shedding an old identity that no longer serves us; taking up residence in a new, more fulfilling one". the point is whether in a dream, or even in the past (memory), many of what were considered traumatic events can show us a path to truth or a truth.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Dismemberment

    Sun, November 15, 2009 - 10:17 AM
    This conversation reminds me of a poem by Sylvia Plath called "Cut," where she talked about accidentally cutting off the tip of her thumb.

    The McKennas talked about shamanic dismemberment in *The Invisible Landscape* (I quote this passage during a discussion of the ancient Egyptian cult of Osiris in my new book; The point of this symbolic dismemberment during shamanic initiation is to come back together as a new and better-integrated person. I think losing a limb is different though because it doesn't come back. I accidentally shot superglue into my eye last year and was scared for a while that I was going to lose sight in one eye. Another time I was working in a deli in upstate New York and cut my thumb so deep with a boxcutter that I had to go to the hospital (and unfortunately it was during a blizzard so 911 wouldn't send an ambulance, and the nearest hospital was like 40 miles away). I feel experiences like that really powerfully demonstrate how the body gives us a sense of safety that's an illusion -- it's so fragile, the boundary can be pierced so easily, and then the body is powerless to hold onto life. I imagine that's probably part of the point in shamanism too, where piercing the boundary between this world and the spirit world is one of the main goals...

    • Re: Dismemberment

      Wed, November 18, 2009 - 6:42 AM
      I, at times, am in drawn-out amazement at how subtlely we are held together. Emotionally, physically. We barely exist (in Time). We were barely born, and we barely die in physical form. With this, I make the statement, "I affirm life".

Recent topics in "Shamanism"

Topic Author Replies Last Post
Cybergod Tom Zatar 0 July 13, 2016
Iktomi and Coyote Cara 1 February 22, 2016
Pain Killers, RCS Vendors Lexi 0 February 21, 2016
Modern Shamanism Colin 30 January 30, 2016