AT A GLANCE
is an occult path claiming contact with supernatural entities for a
variety of religious or, today, even secular purposes. Traditional
shamanism is where the shaman functions as healer, spiritual
leader, and mediator between the spirits and people. Shamanistic psychotherapy,
a novel form of modern fringe psychology, is where shamanistic
techniques are employed allegedly to produce "psychospiritual
integration," explore the unconscious, contact one’s
"higher self," and so on. Shamanistic medicine includes
the application of animistic and various ancient witchcraft
techniques to health care. It may involve either shamanism itself as
a means to health and enlightenment (shaman initiation and following
the shaman’s "life path"), or the varied use of specific
shamanistic techniques in conjunction with a particular health
program (e.g., visualization, altered states of consciousness, dream
work, or the use of "power animals," which are spirits
that appear in the form of animals, birds, or other creatures in
order to instruct the shaman).
Founder. Unknown; the
practice is found in almost all cultures throughout history. In the
United States, the Native American religious tradition is
How does it claim to work?
Modern shamanism claims its methods will bring personal power,
spiritual enlightenment, greater harmony with nature, psychological
insight, and physical healing.
Because of its occult nature, science has little to conclude
concerning shamanistic claims. However, the methods and occult powers
of shamans are studied parapsychologically, as is true for the
spiritual cousins of shamans such as psychic surgeons, mediums,
channelers, and Eastern gurus.
Examples of occult potential.
Spiritism, spirit possession, kundalini arousal, psychic healing, and
various occult practices.
Major problems. Shamanism
leads to spirit possession and other forms of occult bondage. For
example, in shamanistic healing the acquiring of true health demands
both the practitioner and patient to be "energized" by his
or her "power animal," or spirit guide. Possession by one or
more spirits for empowerment, enlightenment, personal health
maintenance, and healing abilities is fundamental.
Shamanistic practices involve pagan methods and beliefs that are
forbidden (Exodus 20:5-4; Deuteronomy 18:9-12).
Temporary insanity, demon possession, and tremendous physical
suffering are some of the effects. Those treated with shamanistic
techniques or methods may become converted to the occult.
Note: It should
be said that using shamanistic techniques and methods in any given
program (e.g., visualization, altered states of consciousness, sensory
manipulation, dream work) is not equivalent to following the
shamanistic path. Shamanistic methods can be used independently in a
variety of ways; they may or may not introduce one to pursuing the
path of the shaman. Shamanism also bears a significant relationship to
modern cultism. In the last generation the revival of new American
cults and religions illustrates a number of shamanistic motifs.