With extraordinary joyfulness and verve, Native American shaman Charles Lawrence tells the inspiring and fascinating tale of how as a young man, he left psychology, religion, and the white man’s domesticated world in the dust when he became initiated on his journey by mythologist Joseph Campbell, and a paranormal world opened its doors. “If you have a destiny, you better go gracefully, or you’ll get dragged by your heels,” Campbell told him. Indeed, to this day, now in his late 80s, Charles follows the call to ceremonies and Elder Councils all over the world, sharing his sacred shamanic energy and wisdom in blessing and benefit for all. Part Blackfoot by origin, Charles was baptized by traditional Hopi Elders, adopted by elders of Lakota and Coast Salish (Musqueam band), and acknowledged and accepted by Native American tribes and Indigenous Peoples near and far. Here, Charles transmits his love of life, his fearlessness around death, and his easy familiarity with the multidimensionality of existence, the limitlessness in every moment. “Is there joy in this moment in time?” he asks. “If not, why not?”
In regard to our collective future, Charles tells us that solutions await us beyond our normal consciousness; in relation to our personal yearning, he describes the transformative power of being seen, being witnessed for who we are at the deepest level, to free our souls and break out of the box. He urges us to sing, to dance, and to “cry our own cry.” (“Nobody has your cry, your experience. You’ve got to cry your own cry.”) Charles also shares his liberating approach to death (“Dying is simple, just pull out the clutch and go into neutral!”), about how he acquired “death medicine,” a wonderful ability to help people make the transition, and his own death medicine practice. One cannot help but be thoroughly inspired and reinvigorated listening to Charles—as Roger wrote him afterwards, “You left a legacy of joy in all of us. I will sing and laugh more and open the door wider to Mystery because of it. And try to practice my last 10 breaths.” Recorded June 1, 2023.
“What is it that’s just waiting at any moment to burst out of us in joy?“
Topics & Time Stamps – Part 1
- Introducing psychologist and Native American shaman Charles Lawrence (01:04)
- How Charles left Western psychology & religion behind in the dust, beginning with his meeting mythologist Joseph Campbell and the opening of several paranormal doors (02:33)
- Living your destiny: follow the guidance, the intuition, whatever shows up (06:42)
- Native American wisdom has much medicine for us today; the knowing that everything is sacred (08:02)
- The Native American attunement to nature, sense of interconnection, and knowing that elders are to be revered contrasts sadly with our present culture (10:11)
- Charles’ call to meet Wallace Black Elk and his wife, Grace Spotted Eagle (12:17)
- Indigenous people’s special lens on reality and the death medicine tradition of the Ojibwe (14:23)
- Charles’ first Vision Quest in the Rockies while still a newbie (16:51)
- The Ghost Dance, the legend of the Broken Hoop, and inquiring into what would happen if we started gathering together again: weaving the basket of connection (19:10)
- How John came to travel with Wallace Black Elk, a man of connection and love with all beings (24:18)
- It still is the age of miracles! They don’t just happen in the Bible (27:14)
- How elders witness people, see people, and wake people up (28:06)
- Death medicine (helping people die): dying is simple, just push in the clutch and go into neutral (30:08)
- There is a difference between someone who is seeking something and someone who is sent (34:32)
- How Charles learned to talk to groups of hundreds of people with no microphone and fulfill the legacy, the prophecy, the path of destiny (36:20)
- Having a mission & being guided by something greater than you is an antidote to today’s cultural vacuum (37:10)
- What happened with John when Wallace Black Elk passed away (37:56)
Resources & References – Part 1
- Joseph Campbell, professor, mythologist, author, The Hero with a Thousand Faces*
- Jean Houston, scholar, prolific author, visionary thinker, one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement
- Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land*
- Swami Muktananda, founder of Siddha Yoga
- Jean Erdman, modern dance dancer and choreographer, avant-garde theater director (Joseph Cambell’s wife), co-founder of The Open Eye Theater
- Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By*
- Joseph Epes Brown, The Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian*
- Margaret Mead, Continuities in Cultural Evolution*, Culture and Commitment*
- Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Life is a Pilgrimage*
- Wallace Black Elk, Native American shamanic teacher, Black Elk: The Sacred Ways of a Lakota
- Grace Spotted Eagle: Thunder’s Grace: Walking the Road of Visions with my Lakota Grandmother* by Mary Elizabeth Thunder
- Bates Wilson, beloved superintendent of Arches National Park & Natural Bridges, the “Father of Canyonlands National Park”
- Malidoma Somé, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman*
- Stanislav Grof, Books of the Dead: Manuals for Living and Dying*
- George Soros, investor hedge fund manager, author, philanthropist
* As an Amazon Associate, Deep Transformation earns from qualifying purchases.
The Personal Reality of Charles H. Lawrence
With a flash or two of lightning, a personal reality is shattered! Synchronously, the doors of perception open wide enough for a “guardian at the gate”—Joseph Campbell—to introduce Charles H. Lawrence to having a destiny that MUST be followed, or be dragged to: From rejected to chosen, from the very limited (Western) perspective of life to the astonishing expansive spectrum of Indigenous Intelligence and intimate personal—far outside the box/cage relationship with all Existence. From prescribed, programmed, “follow-the-leader Western societies’ rules to discovering the command to “find one’s own way through the darkest part of the forest” (The Hero’s Journey). The endless, constantly evolving, transforming experience of being but a small yet significant part of a greater story, and assisting the unfolding of New Myths that are waiting to happen.
Discovering that one had been predicted to show up—at least a hundred years previously (Coast Salish/ Musqueam). Learning the difference between being a “seeker” and “one who was sent.” Being a deliverer of long-cried-for assistance in far off reaches of the Earth (South Africa). Seen by a Peruvian Shaman as the one to assist in creating a Healing Center deep in the Amazon jungle. Being acknowledged as a visionary (Alta messiah) by the Quero of the Altiplano of South America. Recipient of a glimmering (NW Indigenous term) that created, decades ago, a Ceremonial Community that continues to evolve and transform into “Circles/ Communities” that serve the “Cries” of today. This, and much more!
Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell
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