CST 232-B02

Shamanism: 35k years ago
Shaman: “the one who knows”

Western ways of knowing: reason, science, logic

what must happen in order for shaman to “hear the plants singing?”

Trance (alternative states of consciousness: ASC)

  1. communion
  2. light trance, entered & exited at will, controllable, remembered, can communicate while entranced

  3. possession
  4. entered into at will but cannot be exited at will, psychologically dangerous, culture considers shamanism important (shaman as hero), cannot communicate, experiences can be remembered

states of consciousness
3 states of ordinary states of consciousness (OSC):
waking, sleeping, dreamless sleep

continuum: communion — possession — communion

ordinary reality (middle world) is accessed by/intimately connected with ordinary state of consciousness
– overlaps with –
shamanic reality (lower world) is accessed by shamanic states of consciousness

like ordinary reality, shamanic reality has rules (in order to learn rules, you must experience it)

Shamanic Journey into the Lower World
3 purposes

  1. acquisition of power (allies)
  2. gain knowledge
  3. help & heal

Power in West is derivative power (power not intrinsic, but conditioned on externalities – what you have, not who you are – can always be taken away or lost)
Power in shamanic culture is personal power (cannot be taken from its possessor)

power acquired by acquiring allies/partners (guardian spirits; typically take animal form)

Shamanic reality seems similar to ordinary reality; has continuity in its own context

Shaman can be seen as culturally analogous to scientist; performs same type of function

totem pole: visual representation, figures of the tribe’s family allies

techniques for shamanic journey
(all 3 found in all shamanic cultures)
Drugs (naturally-occurring psychoactive botanicals which typically grant visions — non-recreational use)
Visualization: the persistent and skillful use of the imagination in order to alter consciousness

empathetic imagination
artistic creativity

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