"You are looking for what is looking."
~ St. Francis of Assisi
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Why Shamanism Now?
Would I go to a shaman for healing? YES! In a heartbeat! Especially if I were having physical pain or a dis-ease that is not responding to Western medicine. I have a friend whose daughter and spiritual guide often travel to Peru to a certain shaman, Don Diego, for healing. Remarkable changes have occurred in their lives. As one participant put it, "My personal experience was intensly profound and life changing. The degree of healing experienced is beyond the scope of explanation possible here. Mother Vine is truly a healer - physical, emotional and spiritual - for me." So, I am holding on to this information for a "just in case" moment. Just in case I find the money to travel there, I (and my husband, also, would love to participate) would go right now for the emotional and spiritual healing. Just in case I should become ill or a family member or close friend needs physical healing, I keep this website close at hand. There are trained Western shamans in our country, also, that are true healers. Michael Harner's shamanism workshops have trained many that are now practicing all over the country, if you so desire to check on some of them. I just happen to know someone personally who goes to Peru for healing, and that is why this particular shaman attracts me.
So, why shamanism? Read on........
From ancient times, shamans have worked with the spirits of nature for healing, survival, and knowledge. By learning from the plants and animals, from the rocks and mountains, from the winds and waters, and from the sun, moon, and stars, shamans helped their peoples live in harmony with the universe. In a world now out of balance, the way of the shaman can teach how again to respect nature, our Earth, and its inhabitants at a deep spiritual level. As our ancestors everywhere once knew, our survival depends on the survival of the other species.
Michael Harner, in the preface to the Third Edition (tenth anniversary edition of The Way of the Shaman), considers some reasons why this renaissance is underway. Harner finds that:
1. The Age of Faith has been replaced by the Age of Science wherein individuals no longer are as willing to accept spiritual dogma and insist instead on firsthand experience as a teacher of important truths. This is an impact of the experimental method.
2. Scientific experimentation involving observations made under the influence of LSD could be understood from a shamanic perspective.
3. Near-death experiences, made more common by medical science, turned out to be personal experiments that challenged existing understandings of reality and the existence of spirits, which were clarified from a shamanic point-of-view.
4. Shamanic methods involving journeying with the drum are safe and effective.
5. Shamanic methods work quickly and fit well into the fast-paced lifestyle of modern life.
6. Holistic health approaches have rediscovered ancient shamanic methods and their effectiveness and now incorporate them into practice.
7. We are rediscovering spiritual ecology, which requires that we again connect with our planet and its other inhabitants in order to maintain our survival.
To this list I would add several observations. Our concern for our damaged environment has largely come from our new “priests”, the physical scientists, who have been warning about global warming, pollution of air and water, declining resources such as petroleum, loss of ozone, and such for decades. However, these priests carry no sacred authority to underwrite their warnings. In fact, they have purposely distanced themselves from the sacred and have taken refuge in the secular and objective aspects of reality. Scientists’ conclusions are only as good as their latest observations, a point easily and frequently exploited by politicians. Scientists command no moral authority. In the United States they have little political power at present. Shamanism, designed as it is around an animistic philosophy, can provide a sacred charter for the ecological imperatives we recognize. Underwriting ecology from this deep, heartfelt perspective provides the moral basis for supporting sound ecological practice and feeds back to validate shamanism.
From: The Reawakening of Shamanism in the West By Bill Brunton