NORMAN W. WILSON, PhD
In my article, “What’s the Difference between a
Shaman and a Doctor?” (December 17, 2018) I said I would come back and discuss
a point made by Dylan Smeaton in his article by the same title. (July 2016). He states, “… there still is an
element of care a shaman understands that a doctor still does not yet: the role
that consciousness plays in the physical, mental, and spiritual health and
well-being [of the human being].” I feel Mr. Smeaton should have developed each
of these esoteric and yet inherent human qualities and then address their
connection to healing-the shaman’s way. I also believe a fifth and sixth quality
should be included: emotions and soul.
It may not be possible to be specific when it comes
to definition of consciousness, physical, mental, emotional, soulness, and
spiritual health. Hopefully, there can be a general agreement on working
I begin with consciousness.
For quite some time, it was generally thought consciousness was located in the
mind and of course, the mind located in the brain. However, today science is
considering other possibilities. Maybe— just maybe—consciousness is outside of
the human mind. Could it be cosmic? This certainly opens a can of worms. For
now, let us say consciousness is awareness by the mind of itself and of the
world. For the shaman, consciousness is a special altered state in which
localized awareness is diminished. All there is is an unending cosmic
awareness—of all things seen and unseen.
Mateo Sol has provided a unique definition of mind. He wrote, “. . . the mind is the
ultimate software because it can only know what you teach it.
Does this not negate original thought? Creative thought? Isn’t there such a
process called innate learning?
element in light of modern medicine may appear to require little in the way of
shamanic healing. From one perspective that might appear to be true especially
with all the electronics and drugs currently in use; however, the shaman brings
to the table something that many medical professionals do not. Even though
shaman of old did not understand all the physics behind what he or she did,
they provided a shift in vibrational energy for healing the physical body. They
did this with drums, rattles, flutes, voice, and dance. Today’s shaman adds
recorded sounds such as solfeggio and drumming in their healing practices.
Chiropractic’s now use vibration to help with muscular issues.
element may need a bit of clarification. For me, it refers only to the physical
functions of the brain and the malfunctions occurring there caused by aging,
disease, and drug abuse. Often we say a person has mental issues when in truth
they are emotional issues. And this brings me to the next element. Shaman equate this with soul loss and that brings into
play another set of shamanic procedures such as journeying.
Emotion really means one’s feelings.
Feelings can be damaged by bullying, physical trauma, death of loved one, unkind
comments, jealousy. Drugs and counseling are the general healing techniques
used. Tranquilizers or amphetamine-based psychostimulants are
the drugs of choice. The shaman offers herbal teas and what we now call
essential oils. As in the mental element, the shaman may journey to regain his
or her client’s soul or a part of the soul. Emotions when in the negative are
also responsible for issues in the physical element and as such are never taken
The spiritual element from my perspective should not be confused or
associated with any of the world’s religions. I am not implying those who are
religious and practice their religious beliefs are not spiritual. All humans
are spiritual whether or not they follow a particular set of religious beliefs.
I am very aware that spirituality is in vogue today especially among the
millennials. Spirituality, at least for me, encompasses compassion, empathy,
and love. It includes respect for all living things. It is the recognition that
we are one world, one race—the human race. Most likely beneath all of this is
an innate desire to understand one’s inner life. This means being centered on
the very deepest values and their values. It contains the idea of an inner path
enabling a person to discover and live the essence of her or his being. For the
shaman, one’s inner life is expressed in one’s outer life. Healing, therefore,
begins with the inner life. This brings me to the sixth element, the soul.
The human soul, long a fascination for humankind, is embroiled in a debate about the question of the soul’s survival after the body dies. If one accepts the premise that the soul is energy and I do, then modern physics gives us the answer: Energy cannot be destroyed only transformed. (The Second Law of Thermodynamics) Michael Roads in Wake Up World tells us the body dies and the soul continues forever. In the shaman’s world, the soul or part of the soul may be stolen, lost, or kept back by a loved one. Further, that soul or its part can be retrieved and returned to its human body. I have written about this in my book titled Shamanism What It’s All About.
[Date of publication was not provided]
Wake Up World. 02/18/2015. https://wakepworld.com/2015/