Perhaps the most significant benefit of practicing modern shamanism in our journey toward individual actualization is the realization of what we have lost. In the grand scheme of the collective human time experience, most of our focus and energy has been intertwined with nature in ways that are presently foreign to us. Nature shaped our perspectives, experience, and methods of survival and progress in a universe of dangerous abundance. We understood it to be part of us, and us a part of it, leading to the development and performance of rituals that honor this relationship of wholeness. We embraced the relational universe in the earliest forms of human spiritual technology. Agriculture and accumulation in combination with slow technological growth and information spread violence and dominion as the most effective means of organizing society, thrusting the human time experience into systems far removed from nature. The state leveraging of violence has yet to stop, but the exponential progress of technology has brought us to a moment of awareness.
We inhabit an immediate present of abundance and lack the systems of meaning and value necessary for individual and collective redirection. Meanwhile, the crisis of extinction continues its aggressive expansion. Modern shamanism and the small and high rituals associated with the practice is a journey toward reintegration with nature. It’s a process of developing a sensitivity to the relational universe lost to us in moments long past. By practicing modern shamanism, individuals unlock possibilities and observations within their time experience that might seem fantastical to the uninitiated. This revival of high alignment with the single truth and the relational universe brings visionary observations and awareness of synchronicity and premonition within our everyday lives.
Our spiritual reintegration with nature isn’t an attempt to repaint past human time experiences as better, easier, or more fulfilling than the present. Quite the opposite. There has never been a better time to be alive than the immediate present. Collective humanity’s access to resources and the agency to use them is greater than ever. That doesn’t negate that our arrival to this moment occurred through spiritual philosophies rooted in hierarchical domination. The spiritual institutions supporting these ideas are just as guilty of violence as the states. We have organized ourselves through systems that ensure birth lottery determines the vast majority of individuals’ access and agency.
Integrating nature into our spiritual practice is a path to reshaping ourselves and our systems. Consider the geometry of this suggestion. Hierarchy is a triangle. A single shape organizes us by class and caste. Nature is a multidimensional information web, with each observer in every form playing its role in the larger whole of being within the moment. The earliest human societies created systems modeled after nature to guide themselves, with each individual acting as nodes in a larger network. All held value and purpose. Individual actualization is not a return to worshiping nature in the historical sense. There will be no animal or human sacrifices. Instead, we embrace nature as a part of us in a very literal sense. We are both within and of it, making the crisis of extinction as much an internal struggle as it is a set of external problems to solve. When the individual recognizes themselves as the totality of experience within a given moment, they inhabit a deep alignment with the single truth. We return to the principles that laid the foundation for our present success: cooperation. We are now equipped with knowledge and technologies far beyond our ancestors' wildest imaginations.
Synchronicity is a naturally occurring phenomenon within the human experience.49 It’s defined as when an individual experiences a relationship between unrelated events; the alignment of happenings in the mind and the outside world.50 In other words, a harmonizing of the internal and external infinities. Synchronicity is an often temporary but intense feeling of interconnectivity with the external; you observe patterns where before there were none. It is as if an extra dimension of perception has opened, gazing upon the single truth. We recognize synchronicity within the moment as spiritual in nature, a rare harmonious time experience to be pondered.
Through the lens of the individual time experience, synchronicity reminds us that we can never be anywhere else but now. When experiencing synchronicity, you know it immediately, if not by name, then by awareness of the shift. It is a different experience of being than those available within the standard time experience. It reminds the observer that they are not separate from the totality of experience but are a part of a much larger happening. Sometimes it can occur in small and amusing ways, other times in more powerful expressions. Observe the signs and explore the directions they provide.
But what is a sign? How might an individual examine this concept through the lens of their personal time experience? There is no specific answer, as signs are merely just interpersonal interpretations of circumstances. We assign meaning where unaware observation would provide none, simply because we can. I can share several examples that have helped guide my journey to provide some context. When I first met my partner over a decade ago, we lived about an hour and a half drive from each other. We would talk occasionally between visits and often while I was walking my dog. Eventually I noticed a peculiar trend. The nights we were on the phone were the nights I would observe shooting stars. It kept happening, and over time I assigned the event meaning, a quick note from the universe to maintain course. The day before the birth of our child, my partner and I were walking and talking with the future newborn still in the womb. The three of us were enjoying the excitement of the moment when we stumbled upon a double rainbow. It was as if the universe was smiling alongside us, and we took it as such.
My most frequent and recurring bouts of synchronicity surround the spider. The catalyst moment was during a conversation with my partner when I was discussing a spider sighting unlike any I had previously witnessed. The giant spider was resting on the tiles directly above our kitchen sink. It captured my attention for some time, but after turning my gaze to find a container to transport it outside of the house, it disappeared. Halfway through the conversation, I came to realize that what I was describing couldn’t possibly be true. The timeline of happenings didn’t add up, and yet it felt so real. It was as if the memory awakened within me was as real as any other past I can recall. For about two years after the initial memory manifestation, I found my attention drawn to the spider’s entry into my time experience in moments of choice and opportunity. It occurred throughout different environments and circumstances, and the timing always stood out as surreal within the context of the moment. It was as though it was there to call my attention to being the observer, to remind me of who I was and what I was working for.
For example, in 2018 I was invited to introduce the Governor of New Jersey and share my perspective and efforts in supporting the statewide minimum wage increase. While I waited in the back room to kick off the event, I decided it would be a good time to review my speech. I pulled out two pages from my jacket pocket, unfolded them, and began to practice. Within seconds I noticed something odd—there was movement in between the two pages. As I peeled back the first page, a spider greeted me, casually crawling from the center of the page to the edge, after which point I set it onto a windowsill. How it found its way there still perplexes me, but the signal brought me to an intimate awareness of the moment. These are all examples of small synchronicities, coincidences that seem to connect dots between our internal and the external infinities. They make us feel like our imagination is coming from our minds and taking shape before our very eyes.
More powerful expressions of synchronicity exist but do not seem to be commonly accessible. In my personal journey of modern shamanism, I once entered a state of synchronicity that lasted about two weeks. A few days earlier, I had performed a high ritual after an eight-year absence that resulted in a paradigm-shifting commune. I was out walking my dog after work one spring evening when suddenly I felt a forceful wave of sensation come over me. It was as if a silent but strong wind had appeared. It was just enough to turn my head toward the trees, birds, and pond to my right. To this day, I find it difficult to illustrate the experience because it was otherworldly. It was as if the world had a rhythm that I was just discovering, similar to the synchronicity I’ve experienced on an LSD trip but lacking the overwhelming intensity. Randomness was removed from my experience of nature, replaced with an effortless flow. I felt it vibrate through my body, providing an understanding of relation I could not have possibly conceived prior to the moment, an alignment with the single truth I did not think possible. Yet there I was. The event was most intense on the first day, where I remained in a hyperaware state until I went to sleep. It decreased significantly upon waking the next day and gradually subsided over two weeks until I felt returned to my standard time experience. I remember sharing that moment with my partner, fully aware that the scope of my perception had expanded significantly. To this day I have yet to reinhabit the altered time experience.
Premonition is our insight into possible futures. Like intuition, it is both feeling and vision, an understanding of a moment we should not possess, but do. Unlike visualization, it extends beyond the application of imagination. Like synchronicity, premonition varies in degrees of intensity. It takes the form of a hunch, dream, vision, or memory calling you to a future you already know. It is as if the individual is drawn toward something with all of their being, a curious phenomenon in a relational universe. Premonitions bring the future into a present influenced by the past, an individual experience of existing in all temporal directions. It is most certainly information, and it enters our awareness within the moment, but is it reliable or trustworthy?
When I find myself inhabiting a state that seems supernatural, I find it best to embrace the moment as is—without preconception or doubt, uninterested in assigning any meaning or history outside of my observations. In the moment of premonition, it is ideal to be in a state of high awareness, to take in what is happening with all of our being so we can understand the insight it brings. Whether the individual embraces the information and applies it to personal philosophy or practice is up to them. It is trustworthy if we believe it so, but maybe not. The moment of premonition is a state of being in high alignment with the single truth, so ultimately it is a question of trusting yourself.
My personal experience with premonitions began late into my journey of modern shamanism. I begin by stating no claim that these results are replicable or even desirable, simply that they are. The premonitions have come not in the form of visions of the future but rather long extended memories of a past that never occurred—an alternative trajectory of events not at all attached to my immediate present, yet distinct in their realness and happenings. At the time of this writing, they began a little over a year ago and would have since come to a conclusion by my editing of the text. Except they never happened. It’s as if I enter a new moment with the memories of previous experiences, like watching a movie for the second time, except this time, the outcomes are different. In these moments, there are two potential choices: stay or alter course. My awareness of these moments recognizes the contradiction immediately. Here I am within my time experience of the immediate, yet I possess detailed visions of how these circumstances play out in alternative directions. It is not possible, and yet it is.
Since I first explored this topic, the premonitions have continued. For some time, I dismissed them, but a significant event triggered a memory that made them very real. Where the memory was a place of deep sadness, the actual event—while eerily similar in its framing—had an alternative outcome. These events may or may not have an alternative meaning, but I find it curious that they occurred during my exploration of alternative relationships with time. That humanity may possess the ability to transcend the linear perception of the time experience beyond philosophy and mathematics seems to support the notion of aligning with the single truth as the greatest expression of divinity one can possess.
Alternatively, there is the possibility that these experiences have been some sort of fantastical imagination—perhaps some sort of looming psychosis hidden away despite a clean bill of health. What is certain is that the personal examples I use to illustrate synchronicity and premonition are real within my personal time experience. That does not mean they will play any role in your personal journey. It’s as if my exploration of the time experience through the lens of the single truth and the relational universe blurs the rigid lines of limitation. Synchronicity and premonition enter a territory of mysticism that is distant from the many practical implications of aligning individual and system with the single truth. In many ways, they raise more questions than answers, and our ability to understand these concepts will remain limited until collective humanity possesses the access and agency necessary to fully express their divinity within the moment.