There are Astral forces at play in the manifest world that are almost invisible to the eye of the modern person. What hides from us is the role the Lower Astral spirit world has upon human activity, and personal development. Despite the desire of most humans to live a good and comfortable life there exist various forces in our world that thrive on destruction and the abuse or sacrifice innocent life force. In this article we will step out of the sanitized cultural worldview of the Western world and into the shamanic perspective. In the shamanic reality commerce with spirits for the good of the community is their job description and is not envied by normal people. It is only when we are impacted by the spirit world either directly through our own perception, or through actions that are visited upon us with a sinister agenda, that we may give attention to shamanic reality. Coming to terms with the deeper meaning of how the Lower Astral affects is is addressed in this chapter. So, what exactly is a Shaman?

He or she is the go-between of the people in the manifest world and the varieties of spirit people. Modern Western people live in a world where they are insulated from many of the spirit world forces this subject requires us to have experience and knowledge about: the true nature of suffering in the manifest world around us. Our chickens and cattle are slaughtered in factories far from our homes, and our food is wrapped in plastic and stamped with an expiration date. We don’t see the death of the animal ourselves, as native or premodern people were likely to experience on a daily basis. We don’t need to develop our personal strength or warrior skills because we are told our police and military will take care of the aggression of others towards us. As a substitute we get to watch the digital killing of others, from the comfort of our TV and movie houses, living vicariously thrilled through the fictional or foreign destruction, usually far away from our homes. The modern person lives in a bubble of sanitized life, able to pass judgement on the poorer living conditions of native or non-modern people but unaware that these very people possess something vital the modern person has lost.

The Shaman and the non-modern person accepts and understand how the spirit world works. The modern dismisses the spirit world as an archaic superstition of uneducated people, best consigned to the past along with the theory of the flat earth, and creationism. And in that arrogance lies our vulnerability to the Lower Astral destructive energies running amok in our lives. When we don’t acknowledge any important part of reality we will find ourselves out of balance, and unable to construct an authentic sense of the real world. This struggle is tied into the way psychological denial works to keep us sane in a chaotic world. To best open ourselves up to the natural world of lower spirit interactions we usually have to step outside of our modern culture and society. It is hard to find the real information we need in our concrete jungle cities and small towns, or by watching TV programing created by other moderns passing on to us their own social conditioning. We have to physically and emotionally relocate ourselves to places that, although impacted by the modern world, still remain in touch which the spirit world.

One option that many choose is South America, as we find many modern people drawn to the Shamans of that huge continent. In concert with rituals that may involve the ingestion of psychotropics (such as Ayahuasca) moderns find themselves deepening into the spirit world of nature seeking spirit contact to inspire them. Shamanic knowledge usually steps outside of the modern prohibition on psychotropics, and uses it for purposes of awakening the mind and the heart. Other people will travel to Asia, and explore non-Western spiritual paths and transformational practices like yoga and Tibetan Buddhism.

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In this post we are focused not on the middle and higher spirit world of spirit beings that offer us support, but on the Lower Astral: those primal spirit forces that thrive on sacrifice and on physical suffering. For our journey into this reality I’d like you to come with me to the Northern part of Borneo, the Malaysian state of Sabah. This is where I have made my home for the last three years. And here is where the local Shamans, the Bobohizan, have ruled the villages of the Kadazan peoples that lived here for hundreds of years. The Bobohizan shamans are, sadly, dying out as North Borneo people are leaving their traditional homesteads and gravitating to the small cities in Sabah and the Malaysian peninsula. As with all South East Asians, Borneo people want modern conveniences, cell phones, and flat screen TVs. They want modern employment that will get them all these things. The Kampungs (village communities) are increasingly bereft of resources, and the Shamans have no one interested to take their place after they pass away. The traditional Shamanic ways may well die out soon, ending the power of the elder Bobohizan to serve their people. But there are still small pockets of the old world being kept alive.

Outside of the city of Kota Kinabalu, in Malaysian North Borneo, lies the cultural village of Monsopiad. An oasis of the Kadazan past, Monsopiad is striving to keep the Kadazan cultural vision alive. You can come there, and watch traditional dances, but Monsopiad is also an ideal place to encounter the spirit world of the Lower Astral. You will find a spirit stone transported from the nearby Gaya Island, and reportedly consecrated with gallons of animal blood. You will find the Skull House of the warrior Monsopiad, who three hundred years ago took forty-two heads of his village’s enemies as proof of his prowess. The skulls of these victims lie tied together, now raised high against the roof line of the Monsopiad Skull House, to protect them against disrespectful tourists. But there is no need for protection against local people, who inherently respect the power of the spirit world. Hence the Skull House remains unlocked even at night, managed only by an aged Bobohizan and Monosopiad direct descendant. He is also the last Shaman to hold Monsopiad’s ancient sword used in rituals. “If you cut yourself with this sword”, he once said, “your wound will not heal. The sword of Monsopiad is still hungry for blood.” Thankfully, the demon weapon is no longer on display for careless tourists looking to test it.

The story of Monsopiad is of a Kadazan warrior who initially served his community as protector against attacks upon his village of Kuai. Vowing to hunt down and fight off these marauders against the villagers, Monsopiad soon gained the reputation as a master warrior. The taking of this enemies heads, which began as a way to advertise his power, soon became an ungovernable personal compulsion. But over the years Monsopiad’s attitude of service for his community turned into provoking other men just so he could have an excuse to kill and then behead them. The community began to fear their hero. Eventually a group of the community banded together one night, and killed him. Even so, he remained beloved for his warrior power, and the good he had done, and Kuai was renamed Monsopiad village. The tradition of Monsopiad illustrates the power of the spirit world to thrive on the sacrifice of the good, and the use of suffering to feed the lower astral spirit beings.

There are many other teaching stories throughout the world that mirror this shamanic insight, just like the Bobohizan of North Borneo. Blood sacrifices and the worship of stone icons are emblematic of many lower Astral rituals, from Western Europe though the Middle East, the African continent, and of course the Americas. The Shaman spills the blood of animals (or – as with some cultures – humans) to appease the lower Astral beings, and distract them from interfering in the community; left alone these spirits will tend towards inciting the spilling of human blood by proxy. The Shaman has to oppose the influence of the Lower Astral when necessary, but always remains vulnerable to having their good actions subverted by the same Lower Astral energy. Monsopiad slowly became the enemy he fought against – for the good of his community – over the years. I imagine that living with the accumulation of trophy skulls only deepened the grip of the Lower Astral realms in Monsopiad’s village. For in local Kadazan tradition, when you die your spirit goes to the sacred mountain, Mount Kinabalu, but if you are beheaded your spirit remains trapped in your skull.

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As modern day people we are no longer are attuned to the life-and-death activities of our villages, and have little use for native wisdom that we casually dismiss as primitive superstition. As I wrote earlier, our food is delivered to our supermarkets, and our wars are displayed on TV screens, and we don’t get to wash away any blood – either of war or of a sacrificed animal – from off our hands. But someone, somewhere in the world, is either fighting or being sacrificed to maintain our modern life style. The Lower Astral has not left the modern human race; it has simply hidden itself away beneath the veneer of denial. Our Western military are now the warriors Monsopiad used to fight against. Or, in some cases, they have become Monsopiad himself. That which we fight we will become, and perhaps even more so. But these words are not an indictment against modern living but to invite us all to move closer to the realization of the ancient Shaman: to revitalize our connection with the manifest and the spirit worlds. If we open up to the nature of the Lower Astral we can, as do native peoples, work around the more destructive aspects of living out our lives.

The functioning of the Lower Astral is organized around the sacrifice of the good, or the vulnerable, and to spill blood: either emotionally or through acts of violence. Usually the one that is attacked is designated an “enemy”, and acts are assigned to this enemy that lead towards a counter (and violent) response. This is the influence of the Lower Astral: actively create an enemy, and then justify your destructive response (as well as hiding your selfish or narcissistic agenda that is the end result of your attack upon him or her). The energies of the Lower Astral are all around us, in our everyday lives, our challenging relationships, and can be seen in world events. But we moderns have lost our “canaries in the coal mine”. We are losing the Shaman wisdom, worldwide. Without these gatekeepers serving the community by both understanding the Lower Astral as well as helping normal people balance the forces of the spirit world, our world will be subject to much avoidable suffering. The psychotherapist cannot help us come to terms with this reality. The politician cannot help us by writing new laws or demanding additional taxes. Even the guru, or spiritual teacher, may not be able to help us break out of the enchantment of spiritual denial. Only the Shaman has the skill set that we need to awaken us … and there are increasingly few of them to help.

So how does the modern person work with the Lower Astral, in this declining age of the Shaman? What can we do to protect ourselves, and our clients and communities? We must awaken to the realities of how the Lower Astral influence us: emotionally, mentally, and physically. The Lower Astral turbocharges our hidden agendas of anger, fear, and selfish agendas in our relationships, and in our self identity. It strives to create an “enemy”, a person that is different, or dangerous to me – and then justifies destroying that enemy (or driving it out), to serve narcissistic ends. It desires to spill virtual blood (as in emotional pain) or actual blood (as in acts of physical violence). As long as our conscious awareness can be manipulated in this way we will witness the sacrifice of the innocent, the suffering of the innocent, and the dark gaining of selfish power behind the scenes. Working with the Lower Astral may involve actively opposing their incursions, as did the heroic Monsopiad in his early days. But at some point we must go beyond all opposition, and learn to dissolve or mitigate the lower astral influences upon our lives. Denial of any problem must be replaced with resolve to deal with the problem. Again, the story of Monsopiad points the way towards the dangers of how we, inevitably, may become that which we have opposed. The final step may not be to imagine a manifest world free of all destructive aspects of the lower astral, or to unrealistically purge or remove all evil from the world, but one where we learn to clear and integrate these Lower Astral energies.

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If we can evolve the lower astral into higher forms of spiritual energy, we can all grow together, human being and spirit being. Modern people are not going to embrace blood sacrifices in order to appease the Lower Astral beings, that much is certain. But suffering caused by the Lower Astral can be reduced by raising our own consciousness, and the consciousness of our clients and our community, so that spiritual wisdom comes to rule our lives, not our primal vulnerabilities. Once we are aware of the way the Lower Astral affects us, and others, we can move towards important changes in our relationships. The Lower Astral’s strength is in how it hides itself from view. Take away the camouflage of denial, and our lack of knowledge, and everything can be changed. Ask a Shaman, while you still can. Or, even better, become the modern Shaman yourself. Here’s how you start:

1. Build a relationship with the spirit world, using meditation or rituals to reach out from the manifest world to the non-material voices of the Astral. Yes, you will need to over-ride the modern person’s assumption that all non-self inner voices are a symptom of schizophrenia, but that is only a belief system ploy to keep you away. The voices around you exist, if only you learn to listen. And you can and should be able to turn them off when needed.

2. Energetically relate with the spirit world via a go-between psychic’s method. This is why psychics use the Tarot deck, or cast runes, or take psychotropics like Ayahuasca: they are variations on methods that break the hold of the manifest brain on the Astral realities around us. While I am personally against psychotropics (the negatives match the positives in number, when using spiritual drugs) I do recommend every working healer to learn a bridging method. It helps focus the inner mind towards the Astral speakers, and makes their “words” and intention clearer to us.

3. Align your spirit communication around the middle and higher astral (“White” magic) rather than follow the seductive lure of the Lower Astral (“Black” magic) that promises personal power over others. Learn the differences between these two approaches, so you won’t fall into the Monsopiad trap, and self-destruct.

4. Cultivate a long-term relationship with one or more spirit people (spirit guide, or guardian “angels”) via communication with them, including question-and-answer dialogues. Like a good friendship, or a new romantic person in your life, it takes time to get to know someone.

5. Track the outcome of your spirit guide’s counsel over time. Do they truly support the higher spiritual aspects of living in the manifest world? Or, do they want to use your “channel” with them for other ends, like promotion, or attention?

6. Become aware of the impact of the Lower Astral in the world around you. Watch for it in national and international politics, in the operation of multinational corporations and banking cartels, and in military actions. Learn to see who is the designated “enemy” du jour, and keep your heart open towards the innocent victims. Don’t parrot the party line; think for yourself outside of boxes created for you by others.

7. Learn an energy healing skill that illuminates Lower Astral interactions, and which also can reduce or eliminate Lower Astral attachment to the energy body of your clients. There are healers and shamans who can pass this on to you, either using traditional spirit “extraction” methods, or by learning how to change the vibrational nature of the lower aspect via Etheric body and Astral body healing methods. Ridding the energy body of Lower Astral accumulation helps the client find themselves, and will help develop their spiritual and personal consciousness. The alternative is to allow the Lower Astral energies unimpeded access to a rich source of energetic food: the primal human nervous system and the endocrine system. This keeps the ancient game going, with human beings as the loser.

8. Know that you – as a modern Shaman – can make a difference in the life of your client, and the health of your community. Know your value, and become the warrior of the Light you know yourself to be.

2016 by Dean Ramsden. All rights reserved.

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Dean Ramsden practices and teaches Relational Energy Therapy, which combines chakra and chakra cord energy healing with astral (emotional body) work.