It's was little after Midnight when I began typing this, and I'm feeling a bit creeped out by the stories of alien abductions and dark spirit journeys that I'm reading to brush recall everything necessary for this article. The emotions of folk beief, the culture behind them have always been what's drawn be to these stories. I believe that it's important not to seperate yourself from these emotions, much as I may want to this late at night. This is because these stories are very real to the people who experianced them. So one can't understand the stories of a person's encounters with aliens, fairies, or the spirit world without understanding their emotions.
Perhaps what's most striking to me is how our society has turned what people once thought of as spiritual experiances into "parascintific" encounters. The spirits and creatures known as bigfoot became evolutionary missing links, fairies became ghosts, and shaman's journeys turned into Alien Abductions.
Anyone who has read about the "shaman's sickness" and Alien Abduction symptoms will likely see how similar thise stories are. Many people experiance and think about many of the encounters and moments related to shamanism, even if they interpret them differently based on their culture.
The Shaman's Sickness
The shaman's sickness refers to the time when the shaman's first come to the attention of the spirit world. During this time the spirits will possess and sometimes attack the shaman. Under the spirits influence the shaman's behavior begins to change, and sometimes they gain actual symptoms of a sickness. One shaman nearly died from small pox during which he met the spirit of small pox and went on a journey into the other world. Many people who experianced the events of the shaman's sickness were deeply disterbed and upset by their experiances (just as those who suffer alien abductions are) until an older shaman came to them and explained how to deal with the spirits or the person had a near death experiance which allowed them to more fully enter the spirit world. Once either of these events occured the gained the ability to control their experiance in the spirit world a little better, and had deeper, more meaningful journeys.
I would argue that shaman techniques and ideas helped people deal with the hard experiances they were suffering through. After all if a person thinks about abduction experiances as them being reborn as part of a larger spirit/fairy world which gives them special abilities to help humanity, the person will feel better than if they think of these things as a violation by some alien creatures. This is the challenge of changing our belief system, people still suffer through many of the same experiances, but they have no way of dealing with or understanding them.
It's also important to keep in mind that shaman's have only fragmented memories of their experiances with the spirit world, and sometimes don't recall it at all. This is of course similar to alien abducties.
Shaman's Encounters that are similar to Alien Abducties
1 - Memories of flight
Obviously many people are carried into the air by the fairies and or spirits. Bright lights are a common part of this experiance, as the spirit world or heaven is typically filled with bright lights. This is in many way similar to near death experiances as well.
2- Being devoured by animals and or being dismembered.
What does being eaten by a wolf have to do with aliens? Being devoured by animals is one of the reported memories from alien abductions These memories seem strange for anyone abducted by aliens to have. his makes far more sense in the context of shamanism. Being cut open and or apart, makes more sense in terms of an alien abduction but it was common for spirits and fairies to do this in addition to or in place of devouring the shaman. The reason for this was so that the shaman could be reborn as a spiritual being. Essentually someone had to have their regular body die so that they could become something greater, a more spiritual being. There is a story about the greatest Fairy Doctor (shaman / good witch) in Ireland being brought through a village by the fairies in a coffin, only to rise from the "dead" in order to help humanity. Yupik Shaman's were commonly eaten by bears and regergitated as powerful shamans, and some people were tortured and cut on by strange spirits for years before being released, as if no time had passed at all.
3 - A sense of a mission
Aliens, fairies, and spirits frequently instill human's with a mission, and a greater awarness of the environment, which seems odd in the context of aliens, if anyone has any thoughts on this I'd be interested in hearing them? This makes more sense in conjunction with the idea of spiritual beings, anciestral spirits, deities, fairies, etc. Shamans were most often made shamans by the spirits in order to help their fellow humans.
4-A sense of being special and of having psychic abilities.
Gaining a sense of importance, of uniqueness and psychic abilities is of course part and partial of the whole shaman experiance.
5-Believing that they have had intercourse during the night.
Intercourse with strange visitors is a common experiance for alien abducties. While intercourse with spirits was a common part of the shaman's experaince, for often their relationship with the spirit world was partially sexual. One woman from the Amur River region had sex with a tiger spirit and so gave birth to her spirit helpers (two tigers who left her after being born but came back to her when they had grown up and flew her into the spirit world). Another man from Northern Siberia had sex with a strange being who gave birth to his spirit helper. Even Loki had sex with a magical being and so gave birth to a spirit helper, though he gave this helper spirit (an eight legged horse) to Odin.
6-Pregnancies that end without explination or discharge
It was common for shamans to give birth to spiritual beings, and typically pregnancies which involved such beings took less time so it often seemed like they ended early.
7 - Compulsion to become an Vegitarian
Though not all shamans or abducties become vegitarian it is a compusion that many of them share. A Cunning man from Britain was known to eat no meat, as were many other witches and shamans.
8 - Memories of a spiritual place, often some place a person has been (from childhood for example)... Of course, this is where the spirit resides. Many of the spirits that helped shmanas were the spirit owners of specific places.
9 - Fear of talking about aliens / spirits / fairies
The reason it's difficult to learn about shamans is that they believe it to be taboo to talk too much about their own experiances. For some talking about thier shaman's experiance was a method of sucide, for they knew that in doing so they would eventually be killed by the spirits.
10- Feeling of passing through solid objects was how witches left thier homes. When the goddes/fairy queen Perchta, of Alpine tradition, sounded her drums people' would fly out from their beds, going up chimneys or through windows, doors, or walls to join her in battling evil spirits in the sky. These people weren't supposed to speak too much of their experiance so it's difficult to say how much or what they recalled from it. The notion that a shaman sends their soul out of their body and so passes through solid objects is a common one, however.
11- Running off to strange places is a common theme of alien abduction and shamanizing. The spirit would take control of (possess) the shaman and cause them to run off into the wilderness. Many times this was done while the person was asleep or unaware and so they would wake up in the forest, tangled in a tree with no idea how they'd gotten there.
12 - Marks, cuts, etc.
Not always mentioned in shaman beliefs, however, witch hunters would examine witches, for such marks which indicates that this was part of the shaman tradition in Europe.
13 - Anxiety, libile mood, disorientation, and similar mood changes were common parts of the shaman's experiance. As was wild and often reckless behavior wjem they first came to the attention of the spirits.
The one think I haven't found in cases of alien abductions which are common in to early shaman experiances is oversleeping, and constant sleepiness, so if anyone knows of cases of alien adbucties becoming overly tired and sleeping constnatly I'd be be interested in hearing it.
There are records of similar shaman's experiances that are thousands of years old, and in most cases these shaman's, like many people who experiance alien abductions, gained a desire and a power to help humanity. Only tradition and understanding of their culture helped the shaman's to refine and build upon their newfound skills and spiritual awareness.
There are of course many other encounters with fairies which are similar to encounters with aliens, in many cases spirits would simply attack or temperarily kidnap someone for reasons other than to turn them into a shaman. But such encounters are best explored in another article.
So what are your thoughts? Are these signs of an alien abduction, spirits and fairies, or mental hallucinations?