Organizing the Ineffable

surreal picture of sky, trees, and skyFrom the first few weeks of learning to take a shamanic journey, I knew my journey experiences were destined to become a book. This was not because I had a conscious story or message to bring to the world, but because the journeys were there, in my notebook, calling to me and to the few close friends with whom I shared them.

I struggled for almost eight years to put these journeys into a publishable form, and I learned a few things along the way about organizing the ineffable.

Channeled or spirit-given information needs a context.

Whenever we journey for healing or wisdom, or ask for guidance from compassionate spirits, everything we see, hear, or feel – no matter how clear or puzzling it at first appears – has a context for us. It is directly related to the spoken (or unspoken) intention of our journey. For the reader to begin to appreciate the power of our experience, we have to provide a context for them as well. To the uninitiated reader, a journey often does not stand well alone.

It has to include our story.

As in all writing, the more of ourselves we put into the book, the better it is. I would say this goes double for spirit-given writing. In my experience, the mere glimpse of a particular animal, object, or place in a journey can carry volumes of meaning, and the life experience that allows a reader to pick up on this has to be deeply shared. The challenge in encounters with the Divine is that our underlying story can be quite personal and filled with pain, and it requires choices of what and how much to share.

We must find and hold the larger purpose.

When we are given truths that are meant to be shared, our personal stories make them accessible, but the real power comes from the healing they are meant to bring to those who read them. As the human author, it is our job to recognize the healing message of the book and craft each chapter, paragraph, and word so that it moves that message forward for our reader.

It must be given structure.

The spirits exist outside of time and space, and therefore channeled or spirit-given information is often provided without logical structure, but more as a stream of consciousness, a dreamlike experience, or a flash of insight. To put this information into a useful book form, we have to start where our readers are, show them what to expect, take them step-by-step through the learning or experience¬† in some systematic manner, and finally, show them where they’ve been.

It must be written with a foot in each world.

It is said that a shaman stands with her feet in two worlds. We are facilitators of knowledge and healing power, a doorway or a bridge between realities. In our writing, this often means we are translators of the experiences we feel into words that are understandable, if not always comfortable, to others. It is essential to keep ourselves rooted in ordinary reality because even the most profound wisdom can lose its power, and we can lose our readers, if we have no credibility or rapport with the mundane world.

 

Eight years was a long time to write a book, but the effort was worth it. To be able to touch ordinary people with my story and help them in some way along their healing path is worth its weight in gold.

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