Of Shamans and Priests

There are priests and then there are shamans.

Shamans predate priests, arising in simpler times with smaller groups. They are of their people even though they are often removed to the fringe, with the right hand reaching out to their tribe and the left hand to their source of power. These are the powers they report to, and to themselves more of all. Their practises are individualistic, direct rituals aimed at results.

Priesthoods came up as civilizations outgrew the tight bonds of tribal life. In theory they report to the same as the shamans, but realistically they report only to themselves and their superiors within the organization, and their goal is to maintain the priesthood’s power at all costs. Ceremonial removed practises.

This is nothing new, it dates back at least as far as the priests of Thebes manipulating pharoahs to their own ends to maintain the priesthood’s power. It’s the nature of a priesthood to cajole and conceal, though individual members may indeed be sincere.

Any organization purporting to be shamanic to its recruits while actually expecting priests to obey without question is doomed to failure, and any organization is pretty much guaranteed to be a priesthood. And the genuine shaman caught within such is bound to bring it to its knees at the first instance of corruption, for if he has experienced the actual source of power he can never put the priesthood’s interests beyond those he touches with his left hand. To do otherwise is unthinkable, even obscene.

Those with actual lightning in the hands are best to stick to the fringes of the forest, dressed in skins, keeping the left hand to the source and the right hand to their tribal power base. Let the pretenders build their temples in the city, and if you must walk the city, keep the forest within you and never cross the threshold of the temples.