Why has shamanism, an ancient healing practice, re-emerged in the modern world?
Why are shamanic practices today associated with highly educated people?
What can shamanism do for you and your personal growth?
Shamanism has re-emerged in modern societies because is reflects principles of the brain and consciousness. Rather than a delusion or superstition, shamanism involves a range of practices that are empirically effective in healing body, mind, and spirit.
The universality of shamanism and its persistence across time attest to the ways in which shamanism reflects basic aspects of human nature. Shamanism is found throughout the world because it is derived from basic ways in which the brain functions. Shamanism uses these brain functions to induce altered states of consciousness (ASC). These ASC induce healing conditions and promote integration of the different aspects of the brain and personality.
Shamanism has important applications in healing a range of health maladies. The ability of shamanism to heal derives from many ritual activities that induce relaxation, psychological integration, and enhanced operation of the body’s neurotransmitter systems.
Shamanism has been traditionally viewed as a procedure for addressing the spirit world and spiritual illness. Today, shamanistic practices have modern applications in alternative medicine and in addressing the consequences of violence, trauma, addiction, alienation, and disconnectedness. Shamanism’s healing powers are derived from the ASC, from the ability to manipulate unconscious brain structures and processes, and from the community setting that provides vital human support.
Shamanism is being integrated into many contemporary complementary healing approaches. Shamanism strengthens the individual’s ability to take an active role in their health and well-being. Shamanism enhances the use of all our brain both the conscious and the unconscious. Shamanism provides a vital connection with community and the spiritual dimensions of human health which have been lacking in modern societies.
The ancient shamanic practices have survived and made a dramatic resurgence in the modern world (e.g., see Shamanisms and Survival in Cultural Survival Quarterly Summer 2003). Although shamanic practices have continued to face repressions today, they have shown that they will continue to be an important part of the modern world. This survival of shamanism reflects its basis in human psychobiology as the original neurotheology.