Religion 11 March 2008 Encountering astroshamanism In the first of two pieces on astroshamanism -- a type of shamanism related to astrology -- Franco S Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up I often like to see this world as a place where we come to find out who we are. We continue to come until we are willing to accept and release what we assume to be and who we truly are. To be alive, without knowing who I am, is a bit like being dead, since living involves being aware of whom is indeed living. Ignorance and denial about who I am does not change the nature of my true identity, but it does split the mind into two parts – one that knows the truth and the other that does not know or denies it. And it is this split that astroshamanism, along with many other paths, is drawn to address and cure. Astroshamanism identifies a form of spiritual healing based on the integration of shamanism with sacred astrology, ancient mystery teachings and more traditional religious paths. Astroshamanism is merely a term that allows me to classify this work, yet what counts is its content. Central in this work is the ongoing release of conditioned ideas regarding who we believe ourselves to be. This release gives access to an area of unknowing, where we can unveil a direct experience of our nature. Most shamans and seekers concur that this process involves letting go of our perception of the separated self. This separation appears to be the ultimate cause of human sufferance, so we support the reawakening of our original united self, which many religious cultures describe as God. For many people the term “God” has lost interest and in some cases it even produces strong resistance. In certain situations it is awkward to mention “God,” since this can easily give wrong impressions and cause prejudices. This is probably because some concepts of God trigger fear, guilt, and judgment. “God” is merely a term, which can take other names and forms, and even no name or form at all. What counts here is the direct experience of God, and of our true nature devoid of any assumption. I believe that what most people on a spiritual quest seek today are not mere formalities, doctrines or creeds, but paths of direct experience. They search for a first-hand knowledge of their true self, or a direct encounter and communion with God. This is what shamanic work can offer and it is also the authentic essence of what most spiritual traditions pursue. › Service station lover Franco Santoro is a shamanic facilitator and a member of the "Findhorn Foundation". He is the author of Astroshamanism: A Journey Into the Inner Universe and Astroshamanism: The Voyage Through the Zodiac. He lives in Findhorn and runs astroshamanism workshops in Scotland and other parts of the world. Subscribe For daily analysis & more political coverage from Westminster and beyond subscribe for just £1 per month!