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                                      Shamanic Binding 
                                    By: Gaffer Maccluiunn
           There are many "heaven"s, as I see it...
           One of these,  which I go to  for information, is the  Realm of Spirit
           Animals. I do the usual preparations for a journey, then halfway up (I
           use a  ricketywooden ladder:  my teacher suggested a ladder when I was
           very young,  and I  haven't rebuil  it  yet...It's had  many years  of
           almost constant use, and I think  that it's time to repair this mental
           tool...), and  though  the ladder  continues (both  up, down,  several
           other ways...) I swing through a little hole and come up underneath an
           enormous tree.  The place is filled with animals (of course) and I can
           find  out from  them, generally,  whatever  I need  to know.   There's
           usually something I do in return; I was taught (and  believe, since it
           works for me) that there are essentially five (5) KNOWN ways to relate
           to a spirit.  The first rule, as I believe it, is that no matter what,
           in any dealing  between entity  and entity, the  relationship MUST  be
           made clear for there to be useful communication.  It doesn't matter as
           much WHAT the relatioship is (although I have preferences), so long as
           it is clear.  The five ways I am aware of are:
           1.  Binding by Gift.
           2.  Binding by Love.
           3.  Binding by Trade.
           4.  Binding by Spirit.
           5.  Binding by Weapon.
           Since the  last one is, in MY way of thinking, least desireable, we'll
           start there:  Binding by weapon, for me, is only used when a spirit or
           entity comes to me with something  nasty planned, and only if there is
           no other way.  It is kind of like putting the genie in the bottle (the
           old Arabian  Nights Genies were  very tricky,  and would just  as soon
           devour someone who  lets them free as  grant them wishes...):   first,
           you  must have  superior  force, and  superior  will.   And Plenty  of
           Binding by Spirit is MUCH more preferable:  This is  the link you have
           with your spirit  animals:  A  link from like  to like, regardless  of
           form.   It  usually HAPPENS  to  you, rather  than you  CAUSING it  to
           Binding by Trade is offering something in return for what you wish to
           receive.   Not as wonderful  an experience  as Binding by  Spirit, but
           still worthwhile.   It is  necessary to  find some  entity willing  to
           trade, however,  and for this the Realm  of Animals is where  I use it
           most.  After a while, you can get into a routine, whereupon in becomes
           Binding By Gift:
           Binding by Gift is when the shaman leaves a gift or gives a gift, in
           expectation of needing a favor later.  This can be considered the case
           when a spirit comes to you for help, but  generally I classify that as
           Trade,  since it  is the  same as  trade, just  the other  way around.
           Binding by Gift, you do the thing first:  If I need information that I
           think the Squirrels, for instance, in the Animal Realm can offer, I'll
           leave  out a selection  of nuts underneath  the pine tree  in the fron
           yard, for  I know that there  are squirrels which frequent  it.  Then,
           later,  I'll go  up to  the Animals  and ask  for what  I need.   This
           originally  started  as Binding  by Trade,  where  they'd tell  me the
           information  I needed to know, and then  say, "In Trade, you can leave
           nuts for the Little Brothers."  Now, I do it aforehand, knowing.  This
           is  a much  more  comfortable relationship  than  Trade, as  Trade  is
           generally a one-or-two-time thing,  while Gift is something  much more
           meaningful and long-lasting.
           Binding by Love  is actually  entering into a  friendship (or  deeper)
           with a spirit.  Most of the shamans to whom I speak agree with me that
           the  relationship they have with their Spirit Helpers/Guides is a love
           or lover relationship.  Some explain that they are soul-mated to their
           guides.  This makes sense to me, and  is the last form of relationship
           of which I am aware in this context.  
           Hope this was interesting.  Let me know.
           Tapadh Leibh.

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