Shamanism, Ritual, & Medicine


Shamanism, Ritual, & Medicine

discussion and links for shamanism, medicine, & ritual

Members: 110
Latest Activity: Nov 12

Discussion Forum

6 Ways Drumming Heals Body, Mind and Soul

Started by Bonnie Bright Mar 22. 0 Replies

From slowing the decline in fatal brain disease, to generating a sense of oneness with one another and the universe, drumming's physical and spiritual health benefits may be as old as time itself.…Continue

Tags: shamanism, percussion, drumming

Jung & Amazonian Shamanism in Synthesis: Intensive Retreat

Started by Bonnie Bright Jan 7. 0 Replies

Thought some of you in this group would like to know about this retreat in March in Peru with C. Michael (Mikkal) Smith. His book, Jung and Shamanism in Dialogue, has been a go-to book for me for…Continue

Tags: Peru, shamanism, retreat

Controversial or (R)evolutionary for Consciousness? —How Tripping On Mushrooms Changes The Brain

Started by Bonnie Bright. Last reply by Adele Gruber Nov 30, 2014. 2 Replies

This is a fascinating—and fairly compelling (I think)—article on how psilocybin mushrooms stimulate and connect parts of the brain that don't normally talk to each other, decreasing brain "chatter"…Continue

Tags: cave art, brain connections, neuroscience, psilocybin, consciousness

Comment Wall

Comment by Bonnie Bright on May 2, 2010 at 5:48pm
Most of us are familiar with the following quote from Jung: “Man feels isolated in the cosmos. He is no longer involved in nature and has lost his emotional participation in natural events, which hitherto had symbolic meaning for him. Thunder is no longer the voice of a god, nor is lightning his avenging missile. No river contains a spirit, no tree makes a mans's life, no snake is the embodiment of wisdom and no mountain still harbours a great demon. Neither do things speak to him nor can he speak to things, like stones, springs, plants and animals." (MHS, p. 95) or (CW vol 18 p255 para 585).

For me, my interest in shamanism has always been about the fact that shamans can interact with energies, spirits, ancestors and realms that the "average" person not only can't see, but probably can't begin to imagine. No wonder Jung was interested in shamanism, and in later years was often called a "shaman" himself, though I doubt he would like the title.
I have a full shelf of books on shamanism and was wondering if others would share their absolute must-haves? Mine are, of course, the classic by Eliade, as well as "Jung & Shamanism in Dialogue" by C. Michael Smith, "Of Water and Spirit" by Malidoma Some, and "Shamanism and the Psychology of C.G. Jung" by Robert E. Ryan.
Comment by Dorene Mahoney on May 4, 2010 at 2:04pm
I, too, have always been interested in Shamanism. I haven't had formal training, per se, but I have decades of training in energy work (primarily "seeing" from the 6th chakra and speaking about what I see, and manipulating energy with my hands, or 5th chakra to produce a sense of relief and healing. My understanding is that "healers" of this sort can use their own positive intentions and clairvoyant/clairsentient skills to bring about healing in themselves and others. Many a healer, however, will be destroyed when faced with thoroughly destructive, or evil, energy. I recall riding in a car with my husband in the early 90's. It was nighttime, and we had a long drive ahead of us. For hours, staring out the passenger-side window, I pondered how I might learn how to confront and transform or transmute evil energy without becoming the effect of it. In other words, I didn't want to draw evil towards me, just so that I could study it. I continue to gain experience with more and more complex and subtle energetic issues that trouble people, though I have not yet been confronted with supernatural evil. At various times, I've thought to pursue shamanic training, but then I experience an overwhelming sense of, "What the hell are you doing? You're a white chick!" At least for now, I guess I'm not being called for more serious healing challenges.
Comment by jenuineindigo1 on May 6, 2010 at 11:03pm
I am sure we are all shamans, priests, priestesses, guides, angels, ascended masters, goddesses, gods, spaceship captains, shape-shifters, power animals, teachers, students, starseed... and all the other options, only under the socialized common collective amnesia, we agree to forget. Let us not allow books, words, institutions, doctrines, culture, socialization & cults to strip us of all we are, as multidimensional, knowing, vast, timeless expressions of LOVE! Our TRIBE of STAR Nations is awakening now, and we come in all colors, as this race of HUMANKIND! We are here!
Comment by jenuineindigo1 on May 6, 2010 at 11:40pm
Thank you Bonnie & Friends! Favorite books on or relating to our Shamanic roots, for me, include any & everything by Sandra Ingerman, Nancy Redstar, Kay Cordell Whitaker, Malidoma & Sobonfu Some, Michael Harner, Brooke Medicine Eagle, Angeles Arrien, Hank Wessleman, Olga Kharitidi, Don Miguel Ruiz, Martin Prechtel, Peter T. Furst, Alberto Villoldo, Holger Kalweit, Dolores Cannon, Mary Sparrowdancer, as well as "Sangoma" by James Hall, "Shaman: The Wounded Healer" by Joan Halifax, "The Thirteen Clan Mothers" by Jamie Sams, "Norval Morrisseau, Shaman Artist," "JOURNEY TO THE FIFTH WORLD" by Michele Ama Wehali, "Twin From Another Tribe" by Michael Ortiz Hill & Mandaza Augustine Kandemwa, "Sastun" by Rosita Arvigo, "The Dancing Healers" by Carl A. Hammerschlag, and "The Woman in the Shaman's Body" by Barbara Tedlock. To me, books by Bruce Goldberg, Brian Weiss, Ian Stevenson, Dick Sutphen, and the pioneers in the field of Hypnotherapy, especially Dolores Cannon, are also amazing references for the shaman we reveal, while opening memory! It is truly limitless! Thank you! Jen Klarfeld, Trailblazing Transformation, Santa Fe, NM.
Comment by Ginger Swanson on May 22, 2010 at 3:55pm
Hello folks,
It is wonderful to see the exchange of information on shamanism. We are all soulbeings on our journey to wholeness, individually and collectively. This past weekend, I was gifted with the opportunity to work with a woman trained by one of the 13 Grandmothers and experienced the opening of the floodgates of compassion for all beings. This is yet another experience of the deepest of humbling for this warrior woman. As we seek wisdom, may humility be always with us.

I am interested in open and closing rituals, and invite everyone to share rituals that have profoundly touched you. My humble thanks, Ginger Swanson
Comment by Bonnie Bright on May 23, 2010 at 10:31pm
I wrote a paper awhile ago on the convergence of Jungian thought and shamanism. I am certainly not the first nor last to do this, but it has always fascinated me. Certainly, I have drawn a lot of my inspiration and knowledge from works by John R. Haule which you can find by googling online.

In particular, I'm fascinated by the way in which they traverse worlds, or better yet, keep a foot in both. From my writings/musings:

Both for Jung, in his world of the unconscious psyche, and for the shaman in non-ordinary reality, there is a cosmos equal to the physical world with its own landscape, made of images with energy and will of their own (Ryan, 2002). Our dialogue with and relationship to these living images is the source of soul. Here, Jung claims, in the depths of the soul’s interior, our mental functioning connects to the pleroma, the deepest roots of our being, the origin or source. This is the realm the shaman also penetrates in his quests for healing and understanding. It is at the level of the pleroma where the shaman is endowed with the powers to cure and revitalize, and which is also the transpersonal space of what Jung called the subtle body in which the “symbol can operate to transform both body and mind” (p. 41).
Mazatec shaman, Maria Sabina asserts:
There is a world beyond ours, a world that is far away, nearby and invisible. And there it is where God lies, where the dead live, the spirits and the saints, a world where everything has already happened and everything is known. That world talks. It has a language of its own. I report what it says. (Halifax, in Sandner & Wong, 1997, p. 11)

I have to admit I have a longing to be in more contact with that world.At times I can enter it intentionally, through (my own version of) shamanic journeying, or through holotropic breathwork, or even just meditation or active imagination. Sometimes, I am catapulted into it through spontaneous vision, or drawn in by ancestors and allies. The question for me remains---how can I (or is it possible) to have my roots in that world (all the time) while maintaining a presence in this one? Anyone have thoughts on this?
(By the way, one of my favorite books on the topic of Jung and shamanism is the Ryan book (Robert E. Ryan: Shamanism and the psychology of C.G. Jung: The great circle). I highly recommend it if you're interested.
Comment by Dorene Mahoney on May 28, 2010 at 11:49am
I consider myself pretty traditional, as I'm pushing the age of 60. Even in my youth I never did drugs and, even, worked for the FBI at one point. Talk about SQUARE! However, this month I did something completely out of the ordinary--I participated in two nights of ritual involving Shamans from LA and Canada, and a certain "mother plant" that holds insight into the nature of DNA. The plant interacts differently with every individual, including bringing about purging and hallucinations for many. For my maiden voyage, though, She was very gentle. I found the experience deeply touching, which seems odd, because I didn't sense any sentimentality in the plant's wisdom. It was more like two very different species meeting and engaging with one another on the most basic level of life, even more basic than our humanness or plant-ness, if you get my drift. The sound of the chanting from both the male and female Shamans was haunting and, even though I could not reproduce the sounds today, I still carry with me some hint of the tone or vibration that they came in on. Their voices intertwined and seemed to cut through the air "like a hot knife through butter"! There's definitely something supernatural going on in the chants!!!! I am guessing that the work will continue within me, although it is subtle and outside of my rational awareness. I don't know that I'll have an opportunity to do such a ritual again, but I am really glad that I was able to have this experience.
Comment by Bonnie Bright on May 28, 2010 at 4:36pm
Dorene: thank you for your willingness to share such a deep and touching experience. I feel at once both in awe and deeply grateful for both the wisdom of nature and for the "non-psychoanalytic ways of knowing" that are available to us--many of which have been for thousands of years. Though it is easy to believe that if one needs "help" they should seek out a therapist, I am a true believer in both the trauma and the power to unlock it that resides in the body. Therefore, practices like yoga, breathwork, journeying, and plant medicine encounters are all ways of accessing and healing which work on a level we can't always identify, understand, or articulate.

I can't resist the urge to quote here from one of my favorite authors, David Abram in Spell of the Sensuous, who suggest one who can do magic "cultivates an ability to shift out of his or her common state of consciousness precisely in order to make contact with the other organic forms of sensitivity and awareness with which human existence is entwined. . . .[this] defines a shaman: the ability to readily slip out of the perceptual boundaries that demarcate his or her particular order to make contact with, and learn from , the other powers in the land" (p. 9).

This ties back into the story of the man who was rewarded for serving the gods with the gift of being able to speak 80 languages (I recounted it in the Ecopsych group recently). Abram says, "Magic, then, in its perhaps most primoridial sense, is the experience of existing in a world made up o fmultiple intellegences, the intuition that every form one perceives is an experiencing form...."
I am grateful that we are able to open ourselves in that way as often as we can...
Comment by Dorene Mahoney on May 30, 2010 at 10:31am
Great quotes, Bonnie! Right now, I am reading an amazing book entitled, "Shamans Through Time: 500 Years On the Path to Knowledge." Speaking to your appreciation of non-psychoanalytic ways to "know" and unlock trauma in the body, the book holds a direct quote from a Russian shaman called Igjugarjuk in the 1920's: "True wisdom is only to be found far away from people, out in the great solitude, and it is not found in play but only through suffering. Solitude and suffering open the human mind, and therefore a shaman must seek his wisdom there." In our highly populated and refined (i.e., processed) world, we must be intentional about finding solitude. Sometimes it can be found in shamanic ritual (such as the one I participated in), but often it is through the inner isolation brought on by trauma and suffering. Unfortunately, it's usually pain and discomfort that build character, wisdom and compassion in us.
Comment by Ed Koffenberger on May 30, 2010 at 1:00pm
A Biblical reference: "Suffering brings endurance, endurance brings character, and character brings hope."
The whole thread of thought about the relation of suffering to wisdom is one often by-passed in our "pain has no value" culture.


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