Shamanism is a term that has been used since the 1950s to describe an engagement by healers or medicine people with the spirit world. In truth, this is a very limited understanding of the varied, rich, ancient and complex practices across cultures and time that can include work with plant medicines, village and community leadership, spiritual mentoring, priestly ceremonial oversight, and healing of both individuals and groups, among other "medicine".
In this class, students will be challenged to learn the history and background of shamanism across cultures, from indigenous to western. They will understand the difference between indigenous perspectives about their own healing and ceremonial traditions versus western shamanism as a new spiritual and therapeutic movement. They will learn how it fits into the transpersonal movement in the West.
In addition they will engage with levels of consciousness that must commonly be mastered by a novice "shaman" or medicine person seeking to master engagement with the spirit world and its potential for healing and transformation. This course will not teach students the art and craft of shamanism--such study can take years of intensive effort and self-discipline--but it will expose them to the beauty and power of the path.