Projection vs. perception

When we adopt the path of the jaguar, we become the luminous warrior and our whole experience changes. The world becomes a safe place again. We walk in beauty and realize that the universe is a mirror reflecting back to us.

When we adopt the path of the jaguar, we become the luminous warrior and our whole experience changes. The world becomes a safe place again. We walk in beauty and realize that the universe is a mirror reflecting back to us.

by John English — 

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a four-part series on the directions of the medicine wheel in Incan shamanism.

The student of Incan shamanism begins with the serpent path in the south, where she or he sheds their past and programming like the serpent sheds her skin. The west direction is the path of the jaguar, who teaches the student how to move through their own darkness and death. In the north direction, the archetype is the hummingbird, who teaches how to drink directly from the nectar of knowledge in life. The north is also the direction of the ancestors of the Incan lineage. The student finishes in the east direction, where he or she begins to fly wing to wing with the Great Spirit assisted by the eagle and the condor.

How much of our perception is actually projection? In other words, when we look at someone else, how often do we see ourselves? For the majority of the population, the greater part of their perception is projection. What this means is that most people do not know their own shadow — their own dark side — so they project it onto other people. An example of this could be, “Angry people really make me mad.”

One greatly admired aspect of shamanism is that the student must become intimately familiar with their own shadow. The student is taught to embrace their own negative side so it can teach them. This leads to owning one’s dark side and the transcendence that takes place when we choose differently. Once a person knows their own shadow, they are less likely to let someone else’s projection become their perception. In Incan shamanism, this process begins in earnest during the work of the west, the second direction of the Medicine Wheel.

Perhaps you are thinking, “This is great, but how is this going to help me in my life?” When our story no longer clings to us because we have shed our past and programming and we come to know our own shadow, then we can move into our power. But, it is hard to maintain any stability in our power or live an empowered life when we are still learning by projecting what is ours onto other people.

Projection is one way to learn in this life and is associated with growth through karma. However, it can be a slow, painful process for ourselves and others. By owning our own shadow and becoming conscious of projecting it onto others, we can move quickly through our own darkness into the transformation that lies beyond it.

We can shift to learning by drinking directly from the knowledge of life, which is associated with the north direction and the hummingbird. Drinking directly from the knowledge of life is a much easier path of learning than projection. It keeps us from repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. Projection is why history repeats itself over and over again.

When we adopt the path of the jaguar, we become the luminous warrior and our whole experience changes. The world becomes a safe place again. We walk in beauty and realize that the universe is a mirror reflecting back to us. When we are conscious, we have the power to determine what we want that reflection to be.

 

John English is a shamanic healer and author of The Shift: An Awakening. He conducts private sessions and workshops about destiny and the dreamtime, shamanic healing, and journeying and the medicine wheel. He can be contacted through Dreamtime Publications, Inc. at www.dreamtimeonline.com or 480-473-8957.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 5, October/November 2005.

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