Why Shamanism? By Barbara Snow
When my spiritual path turned to shamanism in 1999, I had no prior exposure to any form of indigenous spirituality. I struggled. What is a WASP from Texas doing studying Peruvian curanderismo? I only knew that the practices provided comfort, direction and a sense of returning to myself. In the years since, a huge flowering has taken place among sophisticated, mostly white, affluent people who show up at cross-cultural gatherings around the country and undertake spiritual pilgrimages to the Andes and other sacred sites throughout the Americas. Why? What lack are native traditions filling?
I believe it is the relationship to Nature. My experience is that (healthy) indigenous cultures recognize energy as the foundation for all life and work within an awareness of how our human energy fields interact with the energies of nature around us. There is a growing body of research that corroborates the importance of connection with Nature on humans: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.[i] It is a different state of consciousness. Furthermore, once you consider all of Nature alive, you develop a relationship with the world from within, not as an “other.” Life becomes more sensual and less heady. Once we “lose our minds and come to our senses[ii]” we discover just how much information we hold within us. We learn to trust intuitions and insights that can guide us through our daily lives. This is no form of woo woo. Science has learned that the same chemicals that transmit the neurons of thought through our brains reside in every cell of our bodies. Whole-body wisdom. Our bodies are not our enemies. As our vehicles for incarnation, our bodies are one of our most powerful tools, the focal point for the work of our souls. Those whose connection to the reality we inhabit—beyond the cars, climate controlled spaces, and virtual realities that influence us so powerfully—help us remember who we are—all of who we are. That’s why shamanism.
[i] See The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorderby Richard Louv. May 10, 2011
[ii] Thank you, Oscar Miro-Quesada