Calling Us Home by Chris Lüttichau
I have read Calling Us Home – Find your path, your balance and your inner strength by Chris Lüttichau. I became acquainted with Lüttichau’s work after he was interviewed by Thomas Rowsell (you can watch the interview here: JIVE TALK: Danish shaman Chris Luttichau). I was intrigued and wanted to know more – what Chris said in the interview resonated with me. Thus, I decided to read his book – and I am happy I did! The book is well-written and presents spiritual concepts in an accessible manner. Many of the teachings and perspectives are of a perennial nature; meaning that they appear in spiritual teachings throughout space and time. The author’s spiritual teachers are of Native American blood, and he shares interesting insights from his travels in the Americas.
Shamanism and Animism
The author refers to the anthropologist Michael Harner; according to the latter, the word shaman (pronounced SHAH-maan) comes from the Siberian Tungus Evenki tribe. The term is said to mean ‘the one who knows’ or ‘the one who sees.’ Keeping this in mind, it becomes easier to understand the duties of a Shaman as well as the Shaman’s need for a connection to the divine (so that the Shaman may gain otherworldly knowledge). The author says the following about Animism:
‘The understanding that everything is connected and alive has a name: ‘animism.’ Its root is the Latin animus, meaning ‘soul’ or ‘life.’ Animism is a view held by most, if not all, First Nations people worldwide, and it implies that everything in the Universe, all of creation, has consciousness or a soul essence, and thus is alive.’Chris Lüttichau – Calling Us Home. Page 3.
The Inner Mind and the Outer Mind
A central theme of the book is the distinction between the Inner Mind and the Outer Mind. The Outer Mind is often dominant in most people; it is the mind responsible for the constant stream of thoughts. The author makes it clear that the Outer Mind is not evil or bad, only that there is a danger in letting the Outer Mind take complete control and dominate. To give an example: someone with a totally dominant Outer Mind is perhaps under a constant barrage of worries about potential negative scenarios. Someone with a strong Inner Mind, on the other hand, can live in the moment without being distracted by unproductive thoughts – a strong Inner Mind can facilitate a total focus which can be hard for a mind in turmoil to attain. The teachings of the Inner Mind and Outer Mind reminds me of a Buddhist teaching that we encountered in Evola’s The Doctrine of Awakening (review). It is a beautiful passage worth sharing again:
‘As a perfectly tamed elephant, led by his mahout, will go in any direction; as an expert charioteer, with a chariot ready on good ground at a crossroad and harnessed to a thoroughbred team, can guide the chariot where he wishes; or as a king or a prince with a chest full of clothes, may freely choose the garment that most pleases him for the morning, the afternoon, or the evening – so the ascetic can direct his mind and his being toward one state or another with perfect freedom.’Julius Evola – The Doctrine of Awakening. Page 80.
I, a Prince of the Ages, am in control of my thoughts. I choose good thoughts, just as I choose to clothe myself in the garments that please me the most – as pictured below, the Norse-Gaelic Woollen Sweater.
The author discusses the Energy Centres (Chakras in Vedic tradition). It is common to believe that all thinking happens in the brain, but the body actually has many different places where thinking happens. Gut feeling is a good example of this – you know something is going on based on the signals your gut gives you. Aligning and bringing attention to all of the Chakras is a good idea for optimal health. There are guided Chakra meditations (link) on YouTube; it can be good to follow one such meditation to get further acquainted with the Energy Centres.
In the chapter about the Heart Centre (the green one in the picture above), the author beautifully states the following:
‘In the teachings that were passed on to me, anger is viewed as a resource that can be used to do some good in the world. In order to transform anger into a constructive force, it needs to be lifted from the Power Centre into the Heart Centre. Once you have brought the anger up to the heart, you can use it to make changes in yourself or in the world around you. This is a magical key, and it is the way of the spiritual warrior.’Chris Lüttichau – Calling Us Home. Page 190.
Learning how to use anger in a productive manner is indeed a magical key. I have done it myself throughout the years.
Giving Thanks Daily
Also related to the Heart Centre is the feeling of gratitude. The author notes that giving thanks daily is an integral part of the Shamanic path – traditionally one can begin the day by facing the Sun and giving thanks for the light of the new day. Feeling grateful for what you have is a great way to instantly feel better. Giving thanks in the morning is a good way to start the day; it can also be a good way to end the day – thinking about the luxury of falling asleep in a nice, warm bed will instantly relax you (optimising the chances of a more harmonious sleep).
Vision Quest – Sitting Out
The author notes that Native American shamans would go on Vision Quests – praying and fasting at a secluded place in nature to receive visions. The Norse equivalent, as attested by Icelandic sagas, is called sitting out (udesidning in Danish and utesittning in Swedish). Related to this practice is the story of Odin taking up the Runes:
‘I know that I hung on that windy tree,
Hung there for nights full nine;
With the spear I was wounded, and offered I was
To Odin, myself to myself,
On the tree that none may ever know
What root beneath it runs.
Neither horn they upheld nor handed me bread;– Hávamál
And there below I looked;
I took up the runes, screaming I took them,
And forthwith back I fell.’
These are my favourite two stanzas from the Poetic Edda. Pictured below: a humble druid on top of a cave. Come spring, I will try an utesittning when opportunity presents itself – perhaps when doing a 24-hour fast!
Plato’s Forms and Shamanic Presence
The author refers to Plato’s Theory of Forms, which stipulates that every object in ‘the real world’ is but an approximation of the ‘ideal’ form that exists independent of time and space. On a side-note, I have actually thought about making a video in which I will say that training in the Temple of Iron is a form of piety – as Gym training enables us to get closer to our ideal form. The author says the following about the matter from a Shamanic perspective:
‘Yet in shamanism, these things are not in such a stark opposition to each other as they might appear. One of the ways that a shaman can enter the gateway into the reality of spirit or essence, beyond what the senses can reveal, is by becoming intensely present with the world of physical forms in nature.’Chris Lüttichau – Calling Us Home. Page 49.
On a personal note, I view this as a life-affirming and reasonable attitude.
In addition to many interesting insights and perspectives, the book also contains practical instructions for meditations. As I have noted before, I always appreciate practical instructions in spiritual books. Moreover, the book contains biographical elements, which I appreciate – this gives the book a certain spirit that adds to the reading experience. I stumbled upon one factual error; on page 273, Mircea Eliade (whom we have encountered before: link) is presented as Hungarian. In fact, he was Romanian. Aside from that small detail, it is a great book.
The book is 364 pages and is worth a read. Good stuff!
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