Shamanic Initiation, Descent, and Learning through Direct Experience of the Sacred

A common and compelling component of both shamanism and Jungian or depth psychology is that each seeks to treat soul loss by retrieving and reintegrating vital essence that is missing. This must occur through direct experience; therefore, the underworld journey to retrieve the soul is one of necessity and initiation.

Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung believed symptoms of soul loss, such as disorientation, lack of focus, or feelings of powerlessness, exist because a portion of psychic energy that is normally available to the ego has vanished into the unconscious; becoming lost to the underworld. However, Jung realized when there is a depletion of libido, that life energy is not irrevocably gone; it continues to exist in the unconscious, awaiting the opportunity to resurface. The energy, equally powerful in the underworld as in our conscious life, continues to be busy as it manifests in images and symbols, the language of soul (Ryan, 2002).

The solution, Jung insisted, is for us to descend into the unconscious to engage with the missing libido through symbolic thought. This is what the shaman does when he or she journeys to other realms to...


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Comment by Steve Staniek on March 25, 2020 at 9:25am

Beautifully stated. It fits with most of my understanding.  

I recall that there seems to be a brief moment, just before we feel compelled to bail out of a life situation that seems to have the potential to break us, that our divine self flashes in to show us that we can defer, but not avoid this experience.

Somehow, we know that part of our journey home lies through those dark unfinished patches. But we are courageous seasoned souls, and we've picked up many powerful skills and abilities on our long journeys through the cosmos. We have mastered ourselves, our journey and our fate. We command the geometry of space time, we have touched the edge of the multiverse, we have drunk the emptiness of the void, and we have merged with the ugliness and beauty of the All That Is. We have become the way, we know the alchemy of transforming dark hucha into fuel for our final journey home. Start the coffee....

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