Psalm 23 re-written for Shamanic Practice

While studying the practice of what is known as Hoodoo and the spiritualist churches in south Louisiana, it becomes obvious that most of these spiritual practices and practitioners are teaching the same lessons, regardless, of the specific belief systems and churches from which they come.  It’s just like asking 10 teachers to teach a particular lesson.  You are bound to get 10 slightly different teaching processes.  Since we all learn and process information differently, this really does kind of explain so many different spiritual practices or churches.  It’s all in the interpretation of the teaching.  You may not understand one guy teaching the lesson, but another mentor may be successful in reaching you, and you understand the same lesson perfectly, but I digress.

As a practitioner and one who loves to research these types or questions, I was interested to see what the Psalm would look like if Shamanic principles that I learned, were applied to a very well-known and practiced Bible verse.  I was especially interested in this because most southern Louisiana spiritual and christian churches rely on Bible teachings.  I was not interested in the specific words, but rather the underlying teachings of the verse.

I know this may be controversial to use a Bible verse, but I wanted to visually see, and understand, what these psalms looked like and the messages conveyed, if we replace the word “Lord”, with the word “Spirits” or “Spirit Guides”, and then tweak the remainder of the psalm with more Shamanic intention and associated words.  I mean no disrespect to Bible verses in any way.  If anything, I wanted to see if psalm 23 was consistent with Shamanic teachings.

Below is the modified version of psalm 23, and as I expected, the sentiment of the psalm itself was very consistent with the Shamanic principles that I learned from, and hence, now teach:

My spirit guides are my shepherds, I lack nothing.

    They guide me to lie down in green pastures,
and lead me beside quiet waters,
    They refresh my soul.
They guide me along the right paths
    for societies sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear nothing,
for my spirit guides are with me;
their rod and staff and divine energy 
they comfort me.

They prepare a table before me
in the presence of my fears.
They anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely their goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of my spirit helpers

My interest wasn’t to create a discussion forum for folks to argue/debate with the exercise itself, and be accused of blasphemy for even thinking of this.  I know that some will think it, no matter what I say.  Shamanism is the oldest set of spiritual beliefs known to man, and as such, many organized religions have borrowed from Shamanism in a major way.  Let’s look at it like me borrowing something back from the Bible and organized religions.  The exercise was simply for me to try to connect the dots between modern day spiritual bible based teachings and Shamanic spiritual practices.  In our Shamanic practice we find that most spiritual teachings are in sync, if we just think a little outside the norms and do an honest comparison.  This exercise was no different than others.  I think we succeeded, and I think I will use the modified version of the psalm in our practice.

Mark Glynn, CSP

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