Long ago in a tribe, ten or thirty thousand or x number of years ago depending which location on the planet, a young man, Mo, wanted to become a shaman. His focus was on the respect people gave the elder Shaman. His young apprentice, Joe, who was Mo’s age. When Mo saw that people had started to give Joe similar respect he then really wanted to be a shaman. Mo was an excellent runner and hunter and had been honored for his extraordinary abilities even in his late teen age years. He enjoyed the honor and a gift or two that came with it but he also wanted the kind of respect and the reverence the Shaman received and the gifts. Can we assume Mo was greedy?

He never received a visions as Joe had. The elder Shaman took Joe under his wings after Joe’s first crack up and the vision that came through. Mo befriended Joe and learned a few things about the Shaman’s ways but the learning was on superficial level for he couldn’t go into the trance to receive inner knowledge. In their 40s the elder Shaman got very sick and was dying. Mo decided that it was time to eliminate Joe and took him on a hunting expedition because he pretended that Joe’s help was needed for the next hunt and caused Joe’s death in a so called accident.

Soon after the elder Shaman also died and Mo became the Shaman. Subtle psychological changes began to occur in the way the tribe was being managed and the role of shaman was also changing due to Mo manipulating people and the governing process. He trained young hunters in his ways and little by little he became more authoritarian and made rules and punish people who didn’t follow his rules.

As it was the tradition every six months his tribe and a neighboring tribe 15 km or 10 miles away met and traded goods. One year Mo and his warriors raided the neighboring tribe and simply took the goods instead of trading. Eventually he began to rule that tribe as well as his own tribe. He and a handful of the warriors took second wifes from that tribe.

After Mo died one of the higher ranking hunters became the ruler. At first he tried to be the shaman as well but eventually he let someone Joe had began to train many years before to do the shaman’s work. He was content with being the patriarch and the boss of the tribe and to continue nurturing the roots and branches of patriarchy. He eventually took over another nearby tribe before he died. His position as the tribe’s boss and ruler was passed on to his son who further nurtured patriarchy.

This form of hierarchy was established through greed and the desire to have power over others. Simple analyse show that violence and anger had something to do with development of hierarchy and patriarchy as well, i.e. Mo killing Joe or raiding neighboring tribe. Lust for having another woman may have been a factor in the rise of patriarchy and hierarchy as well. Greed, anger, lust are all part of human experience. These are human traits and if they’re left unchecked then we’ll have social problems such as patriarchy, hierarchy and matriarchy.

This story and the previous story, The Shaman on a House Call, are part of a series on spiritual sensitivity within Social Ecology.