posted on Aug, 15 2010 @ 08:43 AM
Shamanism is a catch-all term, describing a huge variety of practices in different times and places. All that the various shamanisms have in common is
(1) no full time clergy, (2) personal or mystical experience is taken as authoritative, and (3) there is a respect for the spiritual stature of
Not drug use, not sexual promiscuity, not mental illness. All those things can be found in some shamanic cultures, just as all those things can be
found in some non-shamanic cultures.
Schizophrenia ia also a big place. Shamans are not generally schizophrenic. Notice point (1). Nobody makes their living being a shaman. So, there's a
limit to how chronically sick a shaman can be.
The only real connection of the word schizophrenia with shamanism, so far as I know, is that in some shamanic cultures, acute
schizophrenia, especially in adolescence, is an initiation experience.
Acute schizophrenia is a debilitating condition, while it lasts. People spontaneously recover, provided somebody cares for them during the weeks or
months that they are unable to care for themselves. Shamans provide that service in shamanic cultures that use acute schizophrenia as a marker of
those who are called. (And like jury duty, there are no volunteers in these systems.)
The shaman, then, is not mentally ill. The shaman in these cultures is somebody who was sick, was cared for, and will probably encounter somebody else
who is sick, and help them through it. Like everybody else who recovers from acute schizophrenia, shamans who are former sufferers are now fine.
When drug use is promoted by the shaman, the purpose varies. One obvious use is for other people, who are not shamans, to have visionary experience,
in order to confirm what the shaman says. In other words, the shaman may not be who is using the drugs.
As to content of visionary experience, ordinary dreams, acute schizophrenic hallucinations, hypnagogic hallucinations, drug induced hallucinations...
all show the same imagery.
I suppose it is easier to drop a tab than learn how to remember dreams. It may also be convenient to get some control over time and place, and so
possibly use that to shape a social, rather than an individual personal, experience.
But there is nothing availble with drugs that isn't available without drugs. It is laughing out loud funny that a video, which is supposedly all
about going back to spiritual roots, promotes the signature message of industrialized medicine. Don't exert yourself; there's a pill for that.