A shamanic reflection on Jesus’ message for the New Year.


Abraham is considered the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He was a pious man who had his faith tested on many occasions. Perhaps his largest test was when Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his beloved only son, Isaac. In Genesis 22, obedient Abraham takes Isaac to the place of sacrifice. He prepares the fire and binds his son. Just as he is about to take the life of Isaac, God stops Abraham as his actions have proven the depth of his belief and commitment.

During the dawning of the first century AD, the peoples of the Middle East would have been intimately familiar with this story of Abraham. Into this context, Jesus comes into the world as “God’s only begotten son.” This is a peculiar designation as it is said in Genesis that God created all human beings in His image.

As Jesus grew to adulthood and began his teachings, his behavior was loving toward others. He cared for those in need with healing and fed those without food. He associated with the poor, the sick, those who were lame, the mentally ill and also with those who were considered to have broken prevailing cultural norms. In other words, he was able to see everyone as sacred. These ideas flew in the face of the hierarchical social ideals that were promoted by both Roman culture and the Pharisees.

In both cases, enforcing strict dogma and adhering to the letter of the law was perceived as paramount, as this promoted both social order and obedience to the hierarchy. Supporting the organizational structure was more important than the needs of individuals and superseded acts of compassion, which may have been in conflict with their rigid interpretations of “right and wrong.” It is easy to see why Jesus and his teachings became a source of worry for the existing hierarchy.

When working with his disciples, Jesus charged them to go out and heal others as he had. This was to be done by asking the Divine In All Things–the Holy Spirit–to work through them. In his later teachings, he even suggested that, through the strength of their faith, the disciples could perform even greater miracles than he achieved during his lifetime. Jesus preached that we all could do what he did and more.

Fast forward to the capture, punishment and crucifixion of Jesus. As he suffered along side other prisoners, why didn’t God intervene? Perhaps it was because this sacrifice was meant to be interrupted by human beings! Maybe the entire point of Jesus’ role as the sacrificial “Lamb of God” was to get us to awaken to our own divine nature. If people really understood his message of love, they would have intervened on his behalf on several occasions–during the time he was in front of Pilate, during his journey to Cavalry and finally at the point he was being crucified.

Perhaps Jesus was, in the language of his time, trying to get us to see ourselves as aspects of the Divine who are no more or less important than any other. Through his actions, he suggested that we could choose to be loving, to be more egalitarian and inclusive, and more able to perceive the preciousness of all creatures on our planet.

He asked us to access the divine directly through prayer, fasting and through communication with Nature so that we could see things differently. Maybe the ultimate core of his message was for us to perceive the luminous threads that connect us to everything and everyone in creation. And in so doing to manifest our highest nature to generate healing and harmony around us.

 © 2014 Evelyn C. Rysdyk

Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power, Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, the soon-to-be published A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools and contributor to Spirited Medicine: Shamanism in Contemporary Healthcare; Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is http://www.spiritpassages.com.

(Digital illustration © 2013 Evelyn Rysdyk)


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2 Responses to “A shamanic reflection on Jesus’ message for the New Year.”

  1. Karen Repasky Says:

    I Love You sweet Shamamabear Blessings for the New Year and thank you for all your writing, drumming, facilitation and teaching and sharing.

  2. spiritdrum Says:

    I liked what you wrote. What I have been contemplating is the whole notion that Jesus’ “political murder” was somehow designed and orchestrated by God. What I believe currently is that it was not, but was the reaction and response of a very threatened status quo. Jesus upturned more than just tables. He considered the equality of gender, money-lust, power-over social structures and a whole host of other societal issues of the day, not the least being the occupation by Rome.

    But he was murdered far before his time. What if he had lived to see old age… what wisdom he could have continued to give…

    After his death, it was important for his followers to create some sense of reason and purpose in the events of those three days. So they sanctified the violence.

    When violence is sanctified, then there is something sacred about enduring violence. And so even the perpetrators are acknowledged as doing the will of God. The whole concept of martyrdom relies of our belief that violence is at some level a sacred thing.

    It is a part of our collective unconscious that is in the process of being healed. We are beginning to see beyond the facade to understand just how deeply rooted our culture is in the notion that violence serves the Divine and brings us sanctification.

    I am thinking a renewed understanding of Jesus includes seeing the crucifixion for what it was… fear-based violence enacted upon someone who was teaching a whole new way of living.

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