Previously, I discussed the shamanic world view. An aspect of that world view requires further explanation. This is the shamanic relationship to the Columna Cerului.
Often called the Tree of Life, or The Tree of Knowledge found in Judaism and Christianity or it may be the central axis of the cosmos or the Columna Cerului. Whatever it is called, it is the center of that which is and as such, it holds an importance in many ancient cultures. The idea, however existed in most cultures since humankind became acculturated. Probably the earliest known record of the concept comes to us from the Ancient Egyptians story of Osiris.
In contemporary times, actually a carryover from Medieval Europe it is seen as the symbol used for the medical profession, the Asclepius Staff.
In shamanism, it is the shaman’s staff that represents the Columna Cerului and it is used to connects the three realms of the world: The Upper World, the Middle World, and third, The Lower World.
For the shaman, the Upper World is the world of the unseen in which there is potential waiting to manifest. The Middle World is the spirit aspect of the material world and is most like ordinary reality. The Lower World houses the spirits of animals, spirit guides, and of course, the human spirit after it leaves the physical body.
Because the staff is a representation of the Columna Cerului, it is a power tool, is held in great respect, and is treated with care. For the shaman, this concept poses a definite paradox. For the shaman, the center of the world is everywhere. In his altered state of consciousness, the shaman physically remains firmly planted in the ordinary world, but spiritually travels in non-ordinary reality. While in this trance state, the Columna Cerului becomes the spot upon which the shaman stands or sits and thus, becomes the center of the universe.
Norman W Wilson, PhD