I will be writing about this more soon, along with some other thoughts, but just wanted to get a quick vent out:
I am well tired of naysayers against nonindigenous shamanisms telling white people (or anyone nonindigenous, for that matter) that we should automatically look to our ancestors’ traditions for our shamanisms.
It doesn’t always work that way.
I am not European. Yes, my ancestors however many generations back (depending on the side of the family) were. But I am culturally American (with a bunch of subcultural nuances), and I live in the Pacific Northwest U.S. What good would it do me, when I am trying to connect to the land I live on and the people I am surrounded by, to try to connect with lands an ocean away, and people I’ve never met? Never mind the spirits poking at me, which are even more an influence.
I would rather continue to stumble along an unbeaten track, learning through falling on my face, and developing something that is genuinely mine, than appropriate practices from people whom I am only connected to through DNA strands. And as far as traditions go, it’s Catholics (and other Christians) a far way back anyway.
This is not to say that I disapprove of European and other pagan reconstructionist movements, or see them as less appropriate for the American here and now. Quite the contrary; I’ve been really damned impressed at modern pagan reconstructionism, syncreticism, and the like. For me, though, that’s not a good fit for what it is I need to be doing. So, no. “Go to your own ancestors” is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the neoshamanism conundrum.
(Also, on a totally different note, I am wayyyyyy behind on answering comments on this blog. Now that the semester is winding to a close, I hope to fix that. Thanks for your patience!)