The Way of Shamanic Composting
A Brief Introduction to the Scorpio Mysteries, with Franco Santoro
Sunday, 20 November 2005, from 2 to 5.30 pm
Cluny Hill College, Sycamore Room
This is a synopsis with excerpts from the first part of a talk given by Franco during the workshop The Way of Shamanic Composting, the third event of a series called A Brief Introduction to the Scorpio Mysteries held at Cluny Hill College, in the Sycamore Room on 20 November 2005.
“Let’s recapitulate what has happened in the past hours since last night, when the sunlight totally disappeared from sight. Let’s acknowledge out itinerary through the dark hours, whatever we did and wherever we went in our emotions and dreams…”
There were 8 participants at the beginning, then, after tuning in, a ninth participant arrived.
“This event is indeed about the transition between Sector 8 and Sector 9, Scorpio and Sagittarius, since it is taking place at the borderline between these two signs. This transition can be compared to the moment in which after a deep dark night I begin to spot on the horizon some timid glimpses of light. It is still dark, yet in this obscurity distant sparks herald a future development of light. It is like having spent long time in a tunnel and then beginning to perceive the emergence of a small dot of light, possibly indicating the exit from the tunnel. In the bardo state this is the time when I approach the end of the journey. It is a critical point for at that stage I will begin to shift from one reality to another. This is a process that happens with extreme regularity, like when we fall asleep and then wake up, or when we experience a deep crisis followed later by its resolution. The latter case is more congruent with this time of transition for, unlike dreams, it is held in the ordinary awareness. When I am moving into a time of deep crisis, happiness and the good things of life appear unreachable. All is dark, and there’s no way to get out of it. The same process also happens when I am in the light, with darkness then becoming something unconceivable. During the time of transition it is essential to keep the awareness of what is happening. In this way the passage into the other state is the result of the lessons I have learned in the previous, and not the consequence of my oblivion.
Sagittarius indicate the emergence of a hidden spark of light, which heralds the approaching of an inversion in the cycle. Dark is still dense. As a matter of fact, Sagittarius is the darkest time of the year, the climax of obscurity. Yet, since this implies a crescendo, much of the awareness is focused on the target that lies ahead, into the light. The lesson of Sagittarius is to preserve the arcane teachings of the darkness once the emergence into light has taken place.
When I lie in the underground chamber of obscurity, I gain a tremendous awareness. I am capable of selecting my priorities in life, since life might be rather short. In those moments I make promises. “If only I could live a little longer, then I would do this and this..” Yet, once I am granted that longer life, I risk to forget and I can again be taken over by unconsciousness. This awareness on a larger scale relate with the memories of what happened before we were born. It is rather difficult to retrieve such memories for they are alien to the consensus reality where I belong. Major clues about those memories are nevertheless present in moment of deep crisis and darkness I experience in my current life. The function of Sagittarius is to bring awareness in those areas. With Sagittarius there is a birth. The child, who was hidden in the womb, emerges and becomes visible. Sagittarius has to do with exposing the unseen and hidden. Hence, it is also related with defecation and all release functions. St. Augustine’s statement “We are born between feces and urine”, though offensive to ordinary romantic parenthood, can hardly be challenged.
During this workshop I will experientially illustrate the three stages of the Basic Ritual of the Sacred Cone, with particular emphasis to the second stage, or stage of release and composting. The process starts with a seed representing the intent of the farmer to grow a specific plant. The seed is much different from the final plant. Yet the farmer is confident for he knows that there is a connection.
The intent relates with whatever I wish. I work shamanically with the intent when I take full responsibility for it, which implies consciously starting a process. The farmer may fantasize about having apple trees in his orchard, yet his fantasies become an Intent once he takes the decision to manifest these trees by planting the apple seed. This is the first stage.
The second phase is fertilisation through a process called composting. This involves degrading organic substances through exposure to aerobic agents in order to provide fertilising energy for the plant. Traditional composting operations involve piling various layers of waste in a container, dampening them, allowing air to circulate between the layers and providing nitrogen in the form of manure to generate heat. This process accelerates decomposition and transforms this matter into a nutrient fertiliser called compost, which after about a lunar cycle is applied to plants.
Shamanic composting has a multi-dimensional perspective which includes the emotional, mental and spiritual realms. Here composting implies decomposing emotions and thoughts until they become a fertiliser for the Intent. Unlike the organic compost, which is visible and can be perceived by our physical senses, the emotional compost is mainly unseen. The farmer that intends to grow an apple tree will employ an apple seed. This seed is physical and visible, hence also the compost will be visible. If my intent is to express my artistic talent as an actor, this does not refer to a physical seed and also the compost will not be physical. However, just as I can feel my Intent of becoming an actor, I will also feel the compost. Here the second stage involves allowing all the feelings I experience to be directed towards the Intent. This means that no matter what I feel, I will continue to pursue my Intent of becoming an actor. For example, if as part of my Intent I have decided to attend theatre classes, I will do it, even if I feel depressed, angry, sad, tired or whatever. The third stage is about integration of the forces involved. My role is about contributing seed and compost, and allowing them to come together. The third stage is the result of the interaction between seed and compost.
Is it possible to work with more than one Intent?
You can work with as many as you want, as long as you are aware of them. An Intent that I invite to use in this context is one you have become aware in moment of crisis. When I experience moments of deep crisis, this is an indication that there is a strong Intent at work. Yet it may also be that I am so focused on the crisis that I miss this Intent. If this is the case the crisis will be rather painful for I will identify with the compost instead of using it. Nevertheless the compost will inevitably be directed towards my Intent. My personality or HAC identity may be totally out of touch with this Intent, yet through the crisis I may tap into it. Here we honour the Intent which emerges in moment of darkness, the one that faces the test of death. Often intents are the result of imitation or advertising, of what the HAC consider to be the intent. A deep crisis or composting time confronts me with my multi-dimensional Intent.
In the first stage you do not have a seed for it does not exist in HAC. The seed is available in another configuration, in your inner world, in another reality, in the realm of your imagination. This means that you are the one who has to manifest here in 3D. The first step of this process is focusing on the Intent and totally involving your senses. It entails allowing your physical body to have an experience of that Intent, simply using your imagination. The stage of Intent is also an investment in confidence and trust. The farmer trusts that from the seed a plant will develop. This trust is based on experience, for this transformation from the seed to a plant has happened many times, yet the first time the farmer plants a seed more trust is needed. At that stage, since he has never planted a seed he can only rely on what he has been taught by his teacher during the farmer training. Similarly the shaman will rely on a teacher, who here I call the Guide. This Guide can also be described as my future self, the one abiding in the future. If I look back at when I was 18, I acknowledge that I have realised many intents. What I have accomplished now is the result of the efforts I invested in the past. Hence, I look back in gratitude to my past self. At the same time, in this moment, there is a future self who is looking at me with gratitude regarding my current intents. This self has already realised what I aim at now.
The first stage then involves connecting with what I perceive as my Intent and also connecting with a force with a larger perspective that can bless and align my Intent. I will use a specific drumming rhythm aimed at supporting this process. In the end I will invite you to identify your Intent with a part of your body so that the seed can be grounded.
Is it possible to change the Intent?
Technically it is possible to change it up until I reach the moment of fertilisation at the end of the composting process. Hence the test regarding my Intent is during the composting process. If my intent is not genuine it will not survive the composting process. Thus, it is in the moment of decomposition that I can verify if my Intent is genuine. Here I use the classic quote of AFS Bogus: “only the Intent that in the face of death does not sneak away, is a veracious one”. On one side there is what I want according to my limited HAC perception, while on the other there is what I aim at in my soul’s journey. The two can at times be miles apart.
The process of shamanic composting implies embracing both the Intent and the Function, my limited HAC identity and the Guide. In this way I will draw the multi-dimensional aerobic agents. Also the connection with the Guide allows me to understand and accept the composting process. If I look back at my life I realise that certain past experiences, which appeared horrible and undesirable when they occurred, have been major gifts. Also certain aspects of my life, as it is now, would have appeared horrible to me many years ago. The intents I have now are quite different from those of the past. Connecting with the Guide creates a gap between layers and allow the aerobic agents to flow and, together with the emotional water, will generate decomposition.
The connection with the Guide allows me to preserve awareness in the composting process. This process can be so intense that I may lose sight of my original Intent. This does not necessarily mean that my intent is not genuine. It means that it has to be aligned with the Function, with the multi-dimensional. If it fails to do so, then shamanic composting will not succeed at least at a conscious level. When I move into shamanic composting I become the compost, or I can’t see much difference between the compost and me, as I can see it if I am a farmer. This implies that also my intents will be composted. Hence I will experience them as part of the waste material. This is the moment in which to connect with the Function…”
The above topic will be touched in these forthcoming workshops: Manifesting Honourable Intentions and Foundation Training in Astroshamanism Week Two (see calendar below).