So, What Exactly Makes it ‘Shamanic’?

Revealing the Magic of the Astrologer-Client Relationship

~ By Beau Taylor February, 2019

If you want to get Shamanic Astrology paradigm founder Daniel Giamario revved up, ask him this question in a Q & A: “So, what exactly makes this form of astrology shamanic?” And then watch and listen to what happens next!

I had the pleasure of doing so – listening to the answer, not asking the question – in a recent Shamanic Astrology Mystery School (SAMS) members’ cross-quarter call, hosted by the Air Quadrant at the end of January. While I’ve heard Daniel address this question numerous times over the nearly thirty years I’ve been listening to him talk about the paradigm, I’ve never heard the exact same answer twice.

This time, I’m sure I ingested aspects I’ve never quite heard him say before. It occurred to me to write these down – at least, my interpretation of them – while the thoughts are still fresh. I’m wondering, if I haven’t heard these things before, have others? 

Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

You can find a fair amount of discourse in Daniel’s latest book, The Origins of the Shamanic Astrology Paradigm (2017), on the historical backdrop of comparative astrology as well as how this unique type of astrology evolved. There is additional information in The Shamanic Astrology Handbook, a collaboration between Daniel and SAMS co-founder Cayelin Castell. What I am interested in focusing on here is what transpires when a Shamanic Astrologer gets together with another willing individual (client) to skillfully consult the mysteries of the natal chart and the ongoing movements of the heavenly bodies.

My hope is to highlight an ongoing conversation, one that will no doubt evolve and continue as long as the paradigm does. Because it reveals what is at the core: Great Mystery, emerging moment by moment, in a three-way (at least!) conversation that can provocatively be described as divination.

A Wikipedia brief definition: Divination can be seen as a systematic method that organizes what appears to be disjointed, random facets of existence such that they provide insight into a problem at hand. 

And we must also add to the mix, at the start of this conversation, the foundational inspiration that Shamanic Astrology is based upon: the ancient Hermetic dictum from the Emerald Tablet “As Above, So Below, As Within, So Without.”

“It is divination that makes astrology work”
Daniel ask rhetorically “What makes this type of astrology shamanic?” His answer, this time, jumped right into the thick of it.

It is the union of the client and the astrologer, and the astrologer and the sky, all having a soul-to-soul, direct connection. The transmission is heart-to-heart between human beings, but it is divination that makes astrology work.

The word divination has the potential to become a sticky term, as one participant pointed out. But Daniel was nonplussed.

The same cycle is not experienced identically by any two individuals. What takes place, soul to soul in that moment of the chart reading between the astrologer, the client, and Great Mystery…this is what causes astrology to work. It is a living dynamic in that precise moment.

He went on to say that Shamanic Astrology implies that an individual has established, through his or her training and practice, some degree of relationship with the planets and the sky. This paradigm does not mean that a person has studied and memorized astrological details.

It works because the astrologer has the relationship and can trust what takes place between self and the client at a particular moment, as well as what transpires between the sky and the land at that moment. When all those channels are open, it’s magic!

According to Daniel, what makes Shamanic Astrology shamanic is its connection to the living energies of the planets themselves, to the starry patterns of the particular season, to the particular shape of the land the reading is occurring on, perhaps that specific rock one can see over there on the horizon, or the jarring squawk of a raven at the exact moment something is spoken – all these factors go into the magic that happens when the divination of the astrological moment unfolds.

Daniel is emphatic about Shamanic Astrology being the opposite of any predictive type of astrology or divination. When embodied in the way taught at SAMS, Shamanic Astrology is the most powerful divination system, according to Daniel, because it contains all the coordinates of the birth moment of an individual. At the first breath of a new life is born a unique set of potentials and possibilities. In order for there to be a soul-to-soul divination, there must be a complete mandala wherein everything is connected. This is also true for a chart reading: the unique moment of the consultation is powerful and multifaceted, containing all the mysteries within it.

“You never know what will happen in a session…”

There are no static components in it (as we find in traditional astrology). Shamanic Astrology is a living, breathing mandala made up of the union of astrologer, client, and the planetary essences present, as well as anything else that shows up at that moment. A beginning astrologer wants to be accurate and ‘right’; but the magic occurs when the astrologer is able to be present for the moment so the true divination can occur. You never know what will happen in a session. Sometimes we have no idea what something means. In a relational openness, remarkable things can happen. In a chart consultation, we create a space for magic to occur. We initiate people into the mysteries.

“The thing people most desire…is to be ‘gotten’”
There are many beautiful gifts in a Shamanic Astrology chart reading.

The thing people most desire,” says Daniel, after more than 20,000 readings over his lifetime to date, “is to be ‘gotten’. They want to be deeply and accurately mirrored. They want to have their authentic identity affirmed, to know that they aren’t ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’. When mirrored accurately at a soul level, a new base of self-love can emerge, helping them to address how they became estranged from their true nature.

The subject matter in the cross-quarter conversation moved from here to the relentless individuals who predictably show up at talks or gatherings, intent on expounding upon the importance of Sun sign qualities and characteristics. That’s a tangent I have no interest in following in this article (we’ve heard it all before!).

I would like to conclude with a quote from the Origins book:

Shamanic Astrology honors and includes the widest possible spectrum of authentic diversity. And since astrology is also the study of seasons and cycles, consequently, it remains organically ever-changing. The archetypes (the gods and goddesses) are continuously, over the ages and epochs, dancing in new, creative ways.” When we practice Shamanic Astrology, we agree to be aware of and willing to work with three realms (at least, I say!) simultaneously:

  1. The knowledge, awareness, and appreciation of the old ways of the previous ages that continue to have essence and value;
  2. The knowledge, awareness, and appreciation of new, imaginative, and innovative ways that have essence and value; and
  3. The knowledge, awareness, and appreciation for the eternal verities of essence and value that transcend any specific time period, age, or epoch.

This describes the mission of the Shamanic Astrologer.

Thoughts? Comments? Let’s keep the conversation going…

Also suggested Reference:
The Moment of Astrology: Origins in Divination, 2005, Geoffrey Cornelius.

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