Shamanism and Spirituality

By Konstantin Eriksen

Man is a spiritual creature, always searching for meaning. But for many people in the so-called “western world,” there is a feeling of disenchantment with the world as it is: Wake up, do your job, get a mortgage, buy a house, pay your taxes and eagerly await the weekend. Perhaps you’re one of these people.

Traditional religions don’t fill the gap. People become exasperated. They start drinking alcohol or using drugs. They see no meaning in their routine days of drudgery.



Watching some documentaries about shamanism over the last few months has gotten me thinking. A lot of these so-called “primitive” peoples appear happier than we “westerners” are. They have a sense of community, a sense of belonging and a sense of responsibility to those around them.

Spiritually, they don’t seek to find a “god” outside of themselves. They don’t have rigid religious doctrines that attack all non-believers.

In traditional cultures all over the world, and in places as diverse as Siberia and the Amazon jungle, shamanic mysticism is integrated into the culture. Spirituality is integrated within each individual, and every day is considered a spiritual day. Spirit is everywhere. It is not something they do once every week on a Saturday or Sunday when the kids are out of school.

Their spirituality is experiential and visceral. They live it.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in their use of psychotropic (mind-altering) plants to affect changes in themselves. These “primitives” actually have very sophisticated ways of inducing psychological changes. Using various mushrooms, green leafy plants and plant mixtures that affect the brain, and rituals that include dance and music to affect a trance on the participants, their spiritual practices are designed to help people discover and face their dark sides, their fears and their anxieties.

Researchers who have a lot of experience studying shamanism and participating in the rituals, such asTerence McKenna, have found that this attempt to communicate directly with the spirit and emotions can transform people’s lives. Through these rituals, nature, spirit and life become unified. People become more free to express themselves. Substances are essential parts of a ritual and are not used as recreational drugs or as substitutes for television, as they are in many industrialized countries. Drug addiction is unknown in these ancient and traditional societies.

Read the rest of the article here: Waking Times

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