Paul Sivert on Neoshamanism…
This article is to dispel the myth that the practices of Shamanism of 2000 AD are the same as the tribal practices of anciet history. They are not. In fact, Shamanism as a spiritual healing and enlightenment tool was almost forgotten by modern society until rediscovered by archeologists first and psychologists second in the 1940s. Consequently, the practices have evolved in the context of the society’s current socio-religious influences.
Mircea Eliade, a historian of religion, was perhaps the first to write about neoshamanism and the essential ecstatic experience that is known and practiced in many cultures. Neoshamans call it the shamanic journey experience. This phenomenon of encountering spirits is an essential component to the practice of spiritual ceremonies to facilitate spiritual healing/enlightenment. Though practiced for centuries, many of the traditional rituals have been lost because no record was maintained in a format that the ritual could be passed from generation to generation with precision. Has the tradition has been lost? Absolutely not! They have been stored to some degree in the spiritual records of our soul – as Carl Jung would have described as the collective unconscious. Thus, the neoshaman of today is remembering the intention of these ancient rituals in the ceremonies he or she practices today.
During the past 60 years there has been a resurgence of interest and application of shamanic practices, more suitably called neoshamanism. According, to Chas S Clifton in his article “Shamanism and Neoshamanism”, the interest in neoshamanism is one of prime spiritual events of late twentieth century. He states that it was unexpected. I believe it was predictable, especially in the United States culture.
Though neoshamanism is not a religion, its major theme or action is to provide spiritual healing and enlightenment. I see and feel this healing process through the application of healing ceremonies, which utilize the shamanic journey. The importance of shamanic journey cannot be over emphasized as it forms a multidimensional, multisensoral bridge between the three dimensional world we live in and the worlds of plants/animals/minerals and souls/gods/goddesses. Interestingly, this experience process can be identified in many of the existing world religions. It appears to me that many world religious practices have been the storekeepers of the shamanic traditions through the ages. The speaking of tongues and other spiritual trance states have a connection to the shamanic journey.
The ecstatic experience, I believe, is a spiritual gateway that provides the practitioner of the shamanic journey and neoshamanism a wonderful opportunity to experience a richly rewarding connection between themselves, the planet, and God.