Shapeshifter-Renaissance Man Series #2: Vince Chafin

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Shapeshifter is dynamic, transformative and ever-changing. It is the archetype of our time and emphasizes unity consciousness. It contains the Shadow, Mother, Father, God/dess, King, Queen, Mermaid and Faery :: it contains all possibilities of archetypal resonances and the ability to switch between them on a dime.

If ever there was an archetype associated with magic, Shapeshifter would top the list.

I feel honored to know some of the most magical people on the planet and that I get to introduce to you one of my dearest friends who happens to be just such a being … Vince Chafin.

12768138_952288884856561_6207150915245857747_oVince came into my life exactly when I needed him: I was doing the final and fourth year of Gaia Festival West Coast in 2010 and needed a ritualist. When I asked around as to who I should hire, Vince’s name came up more than once. He got the “job” and of course rocked everyone’s world at Gaia Fest, even though he was going through a rough time in his life.

In the past year we’ve been able to spend more time together. I’ve seen even more facets of his marvelous personality, along with the depths of his understanding of human suffering and his love for helping others from all walks of life.


Shapeshifters often function as shadow figures in myth, film and literature.

In Lord of the Rings, Sauron is a skilled shapeshifter who functions as a sneaky, dark shadow who beguiles the hearts of all manner of beings, particularly kings, and enslaves them into the desires connected to his magic Rings of Power.

“My precious ….”

Humankind’s addictions to money, treasure, ownership and ultimately to POWER is often blamed on the shadow: “The Devil made me do it.”*

An addiction is a hunger that can’t be sated; it’s a bottomless pit that can’t stop consuming until it eats us alive from the inside out. The seed of our addictions and pain are found in the wounds that we repress, deny and ignore.

Shining light on these wounds, through awareness, forgiveness, compassion and by releasing shame is a way through the darkness.

Vince is a Renaissance man who brings together the worlds of music, healing, ritual and shamanism helping all of us to befriend the Shadow within.

In Vince’s view, our wounds are not weaknesses, but are entry points to our light, our consciousness and our awakening.

Through his deep and diverse work and artistry, Vince facilitates a homecoming for the Soul.

*In some cases, the devil does make us do it, but we always are blessed with FREE WILL to choose a higher path.

1. Who were your favorite characters from stories, myths, films, etc when you were growing up? and Why did you love them?

VinceHatterI didn’t start actively reading until later in life so for me, my early influences were from music, film and cartoons! When I was very young, I had a kids record player and I would listen to the Chipmunks and the soundtrack to the Jungle Book for hours on end. I especially loved the elephant march! Then came cartoons, I loved the Road Runner, Bugs Bunny and especially, Fog Horn Leghorn. Though they were for “kids”, the themes and jokes were pretty advanced and I really loved them. They made me laugh and there was not a lot of laughter around my home.

As I aged, I moved on to Elvis, imitating him in the privacy of my bedroom. “Little Sister don’t you…” I had his moves and the voice down pretty well. As I couldn’t be the “King”, I needed another hero. Then one day my folks took me to the drive in and I saw “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.” As I reflect on this so many years later, Clint’s character had a deep impact on me. Now this was a man I wanted to be; rugged, independent with a no bullshit attitude. I suppose in some way I’m still aiming for this ideal.

2. Vince, you’re a musician that plays a wide range of instruments from bass to Native American flutes and mandolin. You’re a healer (of humans and non-humans, like horses). Ritual and ceremony center holder and a leader for the Mankind Project (did I miss anything?). Such a unique and intriguing blend of passions.

Well, I feel have been blessed in so many ways and have had the benefit of living in and exploring many chapters of my life so far. I believe we are ALL multidimensional, multi-talented beings. Not unlike a kaleidoscope, I believe my life, and yours, is like a beautiful mandala. So many beautiful colors, shapes, experiences and talents coming together in Divine Unison.

I am a musician, healer, partner, leader, teacher, mentor, gardener, farmer, fly-fishing guide, lover, story teller, executive, writer, drum maker, photographer, father, alchemist, artist, jewelry maker, community builder, coach, spiritual and emotional sherpa, carpenter, grandfather, fire keeper, ceremony leader, space holder, inspirationalist…Just a few of the labels for different aspects of my expression as a spiritual being having this human experience.

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3. How are you able to best honor and express these different sides of yourself?

By surrendering to the flow of what’s needing to be called forth. What’s wanting to be birthed right now? What is my soul yearning for? How can I be of service? What part of me needs to be online right now? I LOVE variety, truly one of my core human needs, so I suppose I have nurtured all these different aspects of myself.

4. What drives you to focus on one of your talents rather than the others?

What’s needed in the moment? If someone is calling me for support, or I’m on a men’s weekend with The Mankind Project, it’s time for me to be VERY present and focused on “other.” It’s a Buddhist philosophy I read somewhere, “What’s needed in this moment?” Sweeping? Cooking? Cleaning? Horse healing? Deep Bass grooves?

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5. You have a great working knowledge of archetypes and use them as a major part of your process in the MKP. Can you tell us about how the archetypes have helped you grow and heal?

That’s a really great and intimidating question! Well, let me say that I am on a journey of self exploration and understanding and am no expert on anything. Yes, archetypal energies are explored in MKP for sure and I have found them very useful in my own journey. Reading Joseph Campbell; Robert Bly, Sam Keen, Robert A Johnson, Robert Moore, Jung and many others has greatly broadened my male mythopoetic horizons and attempting to see my life as a mythic journey is a practice I am working on.

In some of the coaching and facilitation work I do, I find a grasp of the core archetypes a great roadmap, a kind of compass rose that gives me an idea of where a client may want or need to explore.

For myself, there are situations where I need to bring up and or hold different energies. For example, I can get nervous speaking in front of crowds so as I prepare, and especially right before I go on, I call up the Sovereign. Doing ceremony or creative pursuits, I call on my Magician and as a leader, I often have to bounce between my Lover, Warrior, Magician and King in a flash. Knowing these and the many others that reside between my ears and my body helps me to navigate the terrain of my psyche, which in turn helps me be a better human in service to something greater than myself.

4. What is your main-squeeze passion at the moment?

My passion is to live a life that inspires myself and others to walk in the “Beauty Way”. For me, that’s a life filled with Love; Passion, Delight, Surprise, Peace, Purpose, Compassion and Gratitude. One of the ways I am achieving and sharing this is by developing my gifts as a highly skilled transformative facilitator, coach and inspirationalist.

We all need help and support sometimes and I LOVE helping others through, around, over or under those things that are holding them back in their lives. Witnessing the miracle of personal breakthroughs, the releasing of years of trauma induced suffering, the letting go of long held beliefs that no longer serve fill my soul with such joy and humbleness. In these moments I feel hollow. I feel Spirit playing me as I play a flute.

6. What’s your personal mantra?

What I say looking in the mirror….You are Loved~You are Safe~You are Needed~You have gifts to share~How can you be of service today?

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7. What is your big dream for the future?

That Women will rise above the fear, intimidation and indoctrination and put an end to 2000 years of male domination.

That boys will be deeply loved and nurtured by their Mothers and/or caregivers. That they will be taught healthy ways to express their feelings and the skills necessary to resolve conflict peacefully. That we humans will find a way to love each other, all sentient beings and our Mother Earth more than we love money and power.

8. Talk to me about the Shadow from what you’ve learned through your own experiences.

Shadow; what I hide, repress and deny. Taking a flashlight in to the dark. 

We all want to be loved, but when that is threatened in someway, we will do just about anything to get that love flowing again, including shutting parts of our selves down that “they” don’t like. 

In Robert Bly’s little book on the human shadow, he talks about how we are born perfectly whole human BEings. We come in to this world ready to fully embody ALL that we are and know no limitations on our emotional expressions. Then, in reaction to our family of origin, environmental and societal pressures, over our lifetimes we begin to put away little parts of our selves that don’t quite fit in or if expressed, cause others to react in a way that we don’t like. 

This starts at birth, some say prenatal and as I work to unpack and heal my own wounds, I still find myself conforming to survive and get the love I want.

I also love Debbie Fords work on shadow and it helped me to really understand that my gifts, my talents, my intuition and my desire to make a difference in this world has come from my childhood traumas. Those wounds, the emotional scarring is like a road map to my Super Powers and through the work, I have learned to use those powers for good. But it wasn’t always that way.

When I didn’t know better and was trying so hard to just be loved, I would lie, cheat and do what ever I could to get intimacy, which I had crosswired in my psyche to equal love. I was unskillful and didn’t know then what I know now. My “stuff” was coming out sideways and I had no idea what harm I was doing to myself and others. Though I am far from perfect, I am much cleaner and clearer now in all my relationships.

In the book and movie, Where the Wild Things Are, we learn of a little boy who was not allowed to express himself. His anger was squashed by his Mother and so it built up and came out sideways. Eventually, he ran away because there was no safe place for him to express his emotions. I haven’t met a man yet, or a woman for that matter, that was allowed, encouraged and taught how to express their anger. Learning how to express anger is one of the biggest gifts MKP has given me. I do it directly now, straight on and purposefully. We have a process for clearing charges with self or another that when used and facilitated well, allows me to express myself honestly and stay in relationship which for me, is truly a miracle.

I just completed a lengthy training called Shadow Work, based on the work of Cliff Barry, www.shadowwork.com. This is a fabulous training that I highly encourage. In this work we use Archetypes as a road map for transformation and healing. We seek a healed and balanced representation of four basic Archetypes in our lives; Lover, Warrior, Magician and Sovereign. Balanced is ideal, however most of us live on a continuum of them either being inflated or deflated.

Lover: If your Lover is low, you tend to be dry and stoic, almost emotionless. If its inflated, everything is effecting you and you can hardly talk without crying.

Warrior: When your warrior is deflated, you avoid all conflict and your victim is activated. When Warrior is inflated, your savage and defensive.

Magician: A low Magician is dense, rigid and can’t make up their mind. When its high, they tend to be fragmented, confused and on high alert.

Sovereign: An impotent Sovereign is shy, “I can’t, its too hard, I’m too tired, I’m not good enough.’ When the Sovereign is inflated, she says, “My way or the highway!” “Because I said so!” Thrives on power, is shaming and grandiose. Think Trump.

These are the same Archetypes we use in MKP, borrowed from Jung, borrowed from our knowledge of human evolution and I am sure there are used in many other personal growth systems.

9. Tell us about what’s coming up for you.

As I read this question, I’m imagining you meant as what do I have coming up next in my life. However, what I heard was, what feelings are coming up for me? I’ve sat in so many circles and have asked and answered that very question that it’s automatic for me now. In this moment, I am feeling fear; who’s going to be interested in reading this stuff about me? I said too much. I didn’t say enough. I feel Joy; my breath is becoming deeper and slower and I feel awash with Gratitude.

Eagle by Tricia Saroya www.triciasaroya.com

Eagle by Tricia Saroya
www.triciasaroya.com




We celebrated my partner Tricia Saroya’s amazing artwork! Visit www.triciasaroya.com or her Facebook page, Tricia Saroya to connect with her.

I just finished playing on a musical score for a movie about the Chumash Indians for PBS which premiered March 5th and 6th at the Arlington Theater in downtown Santa Barbara.

I’ll continue to travel all over the U.S. for the ManKind Project and, my partner and I are moving the the Pacific Northwest to start or partner with an event and retreat center by the end of the year. Oregon/Washington here we come!

Bless you ALL on your Sacred Journey and I pray you find Peace, know Joy and feel Deeply Loved.

I’m curious to know what you think of Vince’s worldview and how you are going to apply this wisdom in your own life and business. Tell us in the comments below.

I know he has helped me to go deeper into my own Shadow without fear, which allows new life-force energies to emerge into the light.

So many of you have emailed me asking for more myths and stories about men; since most of the past 10 years I’ve written about women and female deities.

I’m proud to highlight mythmakers like Vince (and Drew, featured on my blog last month) who are paving the way into a new era – a dynamic time of transformation in which we can create alternate spaces of self-expression, healing and pure JOY.

Outside of Hollyweird and mainstream media there are so many folks doing AMAZING shiz.

Let’s start talking more about THOSE people. Like NOWZA.

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About Vince Chafin

Vince’s early childhood memories are bathed in music. “My Father was a child of the 50’s and was heavily influenced by Country, Blues, Soul, R&B and early Rock and Roll”, says Vince. This may explain his diverse and far reaching musical styles which range from Willie Nelson to James Brown.

“I started playing guitar at around 12 or 13 years old, standing in the middle of my bedroom, swaying my hips and singing Teddy Bear just like Elvis!”

This logically led Vince to join a country duo at 14 years old which toured So. California’s Old Time Fiddlers Contests, BBQs, Barn Dances, County Fairs and Tractor Beauty Contests.

A few garage bands later and a switch to the Bass found Vince in High School being recruited, hijacked really, into the Jazz Band. Two weeks later at their first competition for the year, Vince won an outstanding soloist award and was hooked. “I was sure they had it wrong. I was lost for most of the gig. I guess the judges took pity on me, or really loved my shirt.”

After High School, Vince was recruited by an equally persistent Doug Davis of Cal State Bakersfield to join his jazz program. “I played in several jazz combos and their big band and eventually was invited to join Doug’s own band, Sanctuary. We were together for almost a decade and had a great time of it. Doug was by far my biggest musical influence and a genuine mentor. We played anywhere and everywhere: from Jazz Festivals in front of thousands to bars with empty chairs – a true musical journey.”

While playing and touring with Sanctuary, Vince maintained a steady performance schedule with local jazz, funk, dance and country bands as well as playing in the City College Jazz Bands directed by Chuck Wood. “I was so very lucky to play with so many great players over the years: Michael Brecker, Freddy Hubbard, Matt Catingoub, Benny Wallace, Allan Vazzutti and many others.”

Back in the 80’s the LA Jazz Workshop was a hotbed for jazz guys and Vince won a spot in their “A and B” bands. “This was a reading gig and man, you really had to be on it!!”

Slowing down to raise a family in the 90’s and moving from his home town, Vince began to rekindle his musical flame in earnest in 2000.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some wonderful local talent. I’ve worked with bands as diverse as: The Stiff Pickle Orchestra, Three Days Later, Area 51, Panzumo, Zach and the Modern View, Mac Talley and Foam Scape.”

“In the last couple of years, I’ve started to work with a lot of singer/songwriters as a player, producer and co-writer, which has brought me a tremendous amount of joy. I’ve worked with folks like Kenny Edwards, Cindy Alter, Kate Bennett, Jeff Bisch, Cinder Jean, Ron Antman, Jill Whitmore, Nicola Gordon, Adam Lieb, Donna DeLory, Niki Harris, Mary YoungBlood, Jan Michael Lookingwolf and Jeff Ball. What a treat it is to create with such wonderful people.”

In 2004, Vince has turned his attention to Native, Anasazi and pre-Columbian Aztec Flutes, co-creating with Spirit to bring Beauty, Love and Peace into the world through his music. “This path has changed my life and truly saved it. It has deepened my connection to Spirit, opened my heart and has allowed the Creator to flow through so beautifully. I feel Blessed and Grateful…”

“Last year, early 2010, my mother told me that her Grandmother was Choctaw and Cherokee, so I’ll be heading to Oklahoma soon to do some research on my heritage. It’s funny that flutes came first and that they were the vehicle to open this door.”

“My Mission is to bring these instruments and the love and healing they create to as many people as I possibly can.”

How to Connect With Vince

http://vincechafin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/vincechafinimages/

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