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Shamanism is a way of aiding people to integrate themselves with their environment and this view of life includes the whole person in a whole environment involving healing and the restoration of balance within those relationships.
In western culture we have quite a different view of life. We view our environment as something we are at war with and must be conquered and subdued. This, I believe, is due to the influence of the Christian doctrines of the 'fall' and 'original sin' and the 'nature of man'. These declarations of what the 'Fall' meant reflect those sentiments and the result is that mankind views himself in the attitude that it, mankind, is an alien, a stranger and out of place in the environment he finds himself in. So he is at war with it and he has no peace within himself as a result.
Shamanism attempts to revise the way we look at our presence in the world. It's ultimate goal is to restore man to the condition where he does not feel afraid or alienated in the world. In the end we need to understand what this brief experience known as life is all about. If we think we are at war with everything because of the doctrine of the 'Fall' we will be conditioned to respond as if we were at war. Basically the way mankind is relating to the earth is the way a thug looks at an old woman's pocketbook as she passes by.
I found this website which describes Shamanic activity in a scholarly way. Google Shamanism.org or copy and paste the link into your browser. http://www.shamanism.org/ It was refreshing to see so erudite and acclaimed an authority speaking on the validity of this approach to understanding the relationships that life is comprised of.
This song is appropriate. Jim at his best.
Photograph is my property Copyright 2011 David H. Roche
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