Shamanistic Healing Essay

2124 words - 8 pages

Shamanistic Healing

Shamanistic healing, one of the oldest spiritual healing powers, has recently become a topic of interest in modern medicine.

What is Shamanism?

Shamanism is a mix of magic, folklore, medicine and spirituality that evolved in tribal and gathering communities thousands of years ago. Shamanic faith presumes that everyone and everything has a spirit which is a part of a greater whole, and that spirits affect all events, including illness and disease. In the tradition of Shamanism it is believed that certain people named shamans exhibit particular magical specialties at birth; the most common specialization is that of a healer. A Shaman is believed to have the ability to communicate with the ethereal world through trance states. Traditional shamans developed techniques for lucid dreaming and what is today called out-of body experience. Entering trances through ritual drumming, chanting or hallucinogenic plants they journey to another reality; while retaining control over their own consciousness. The Shamans are believed to communicate with “spirit helpers” to heal and divine the future. There are a number of relatively common practices and experiences in traditional shamanism, which are being investigated by modern researches.

What is ecstatic trance?

Believers of Shamanism submit themselves to the practices of spiritual leaders in hope of a cure for their illness; the rituals of the shaman supposedly manifest themselves into spiritual oneness. There are many terms used to describe development of therapeutic trances and spiritual interventions of the shamanic healers. Shamanic ecstasy, or spiritual oneness, relies on a connection between ones emotions and physical anatomy. Physiological response, emotional perception, and intuitive perception are three documented levels of ecstasy. First the physiological response is when the mind becomes absorbed in and focused on a dominant idea and the nervous system is cut off from physical sensory input. The body exhibits reflex inertia, involuntary nervous responses, and frenzy. Emotional perception, another form of ecstasy, refers to overwhelming feelings of awe, anxiety, joy, sadness, fear, astonishment, passion, or any combination of intense emotion. Finally, intuitive perception occurs when there is an understanding of the transpersonal experience and expanded states of awareness or consciousness are possible. While the physiological response is always present, the emotional response and intuitive perception may not be within reach for all those who venture into ecstatic trance. Opposed to general hypnosis, practicing shamanic techniques uses self-hypnotic states to fine-tune senses and observe the inner-workings of ones mind semi-consciously. Research findings suggest that the contents of shamanic trance are not solely influenced by psychopathology, biochemical effects, or cultural influences; there is...

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