Art as Medicine
Long before we cut our paths through time there were mysterious seers called shamans who went before us.
As a young artist I was privileged to apprentice with the Ojibwa shaman artist, Norval Morrisseau. He would later be recognized by the Assembly of First Nations with the unique honour, “Grand Shaman of the Anishinaabe” (The People).
Grand shamans have a profound responsibility. Traditionally, once every seven generations a Grand shaman will incarnate to refresh the ancestral record of humanity’s multi-generational sojourn. For eons these silent watchers have been quietly recording our collective journey in symbols to assist us with staying true to our course.
Seven generations before my mentor’s time, “Grand Shaman Badasan” created intricate scrolls of stitched birch-bark which subsequent generations protected as sacred texts. According to Morrisseau this clandestine process has been underway for 12,000 years.
When Morrisseau passed away in 2007 he left behind an unparalleled legacy in shamanistic art or, more precisely, “medicine art.” His work weaves colour and form into symbols to produce empowering talismanic magic that many testify, “teaches as it heals.”
Morrisseau speaks to each of us when he states, “We are all Shamans. We have only to realize that to be free.” He maintained that the disempowered are themselves great souls who can easily reclaim their soul (power) that they so easily gave away. Developing your shamanistic prowess requires no special effort beyond that of allowing your natural playful tendencies to take over just as they did when you were a child. Morrisseau’s statement, “Just be, and know that all is well” refers specifically to this playful attitude.
The first shamanic teaching and the last are one and the same. There is only the Great Spirit animating all things. Within this Spirit are great souls who live and move and have their being. You are a great soul. You have a great body (or form). Though forms are differentiated in formula they are intimately connected in Spirit. Spiritual fields are holographic initiatives in ceaseless vibrational process. Shamans learn how to play with these fields to naturally alter reality. Imagination precedes manifestation. Miracles that happen “in fantasy” (i.e. infant-asy) will be formed “in reality” if we allow them to evolve.
A momentous shift catalyzed by the Internet is now underway. A tipping point has been reached and we are now the agents of change conjuring up our own futures. Responsibly guiding yourself into enrichment, joy, and fruitfulness is both your birthright and your gift to humanity because, as my mentor loved to say, “We are all one in Spirit.”
To stimulate your inherent shamanistic instincts:
• Imagine how to just be.
• Imagine checking your attitude and attention before acting.
• Imagine dressing, eating, sleeping, speaking, living, and loving intuitionally.
• Imagine doing doodles to meditate and medicate.
• Imagine tuning in to your creative compulsions to get in the zone.
• Imagine that it’s better to be than to do; that it’s better to do than to witness, and better to witness than be blind.
• Imagine that it is better to create music than listen to it; that it is better to write literature than read it, and that it is better to create art than look at it.
• Imagine creating your own reality out of your fantasies.
• Imagine that your fantasies appear in cloud formations and that you make them conform to whatever you envision.
• Imagine playing with coloured lights to create shadows in a dark room.
• Imagine shifting perspectives by sitting on walls and laying on ceilings.
• Imagine practicing vibrational medicine on yourself from a bird’s eye view.
• Imagine creating spontaneously by conjuring vibrational fields.
• Imagine experiencing states of ecstasy from resonant vibrations.
• Imagine utilizing gravity and magnetism to soul travel the solar system.
• Imagine that the Sun (or Sol) is also a star.
• Imagine that you are a star.
• Imagine that you are one star in a constellation of stars.
• Imagine that you are home at the centre of your universe.