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Shamanism

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Over tens of thousands of years, our ancestors all over the world discovered how to maximize human abilities of mind and spirit for healing and problem-solving. The remarkable system of methods they developed is today known as "shamanism," a term that comes from a Siberian tribal word for its practitioners: "shaman" (pronounced SHAH-mahn). Shamans are a type of medicine man or woman especially distinguished by the use of journeys to hidden worlds otherwise mainly known through myth, dream, and near-death experiences. Most commonly they do this by entering an altered state of consciousness using monotonous drumming sounds or various plant substances such as mushrooms or sacred cacti.

If you want further details and wish to explore this fascinating area, please email me.

Shamanism Sites

"Shamanism and similar areas of research have gained in significance because they postulate new ideas about mind and spirit. They speak of things like vastly expanding the realm of consciousness ... the belief, the knowledge, and even the experience that our physical world of the senses is a mere illusion, a world of shadows, and that the three-dimensional tool we call our body serves only as a container or dwelling place for Something infinitely greater and more comprehensive than that body and which constitutes the matrix of the real life."
Holger Kalweit, Dreamtime and Inner Space

Diverse

Technological Shamanism

Software

  • Download an old but very interesting interpretation of the I-Ching based on the Wilhelm-Baynes translation. I downloaded this from Compuserve some years ago and have not been able to find a comparable program - runs in MS.DOS mode from within windows. Sorry MAC users!
  • The Hammerhead drum generation system is a freeware that generates the kind of drumming that will allow you to enter an altered state To download Hammerhead, click here

Further Resources

Carlos Castaneda

Carlos Castaneda stands alongside Timothy Leary as one of the great avatars - and one of the great enigmas - of the psychedelic age. In 1968, Castaneda published The Teachings of Don Juan, describing his apprenticeship in the deserts of Mexico to an Indian shaman, and his induction through mind-altering substances into "the Yaqui way of knowledge".

Like Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf and Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception, The Teachings of Don Juan and its sequels became essential reading for a legion of seekers after truth - guidebooks into a fantastic and exotic world beyond the dull grind of materialism.

Since 1968, the works of Carlos Castaneda have sold more than eight million copies in 17 languages, unhindered by the debate about whether don Juan really existed.

Castaneda Sites

Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna (1946-2000) has been studying the ontological foundations of Shamanism and the Ethnopharmacology of spiritual transformation for the past quarter century. An innovative theoretician and spellbinding orator, Terence has emerged as a powerful voice for the psychedelic movement and the emergent societal tendency he calls The Archaic Revival. Poetically dispensing enlightened social criticism and new theories of the fractal dynamics of time, Terence deobfuscates many aspects of the visionary lexicon, and then some. As Artist Alex Grey suggests, "In the twilight of human history, McKenna's prescription for salvation is just so crazy it might work."

Terence McKenna joined the ancestors at 2:15 a.m. Pacific time, April 3, 2000. He went on his way in peace surrounded by loved ones. "Iíll try to be around and about. But if Iím not, then you know that Iím behind your eyelids, and Iíll meet you there." Kona, September 1999

McKenna Sites

Timothy Leary

"A Twentieth Century Galileo of Consciousness" or "The Most Dangerous Man in America"?! What can one say about Timothy Leary?

Timothy Leary was hired by Harvard based on his pioneering work on personality and society reflected in his doctoral thesis, Social Dimensions of Personality, completed in 1950 and in the classics The Interpersonal Diagnostic of the Personality published in 1955 and The Multilevel Assessment of Personality. The Annual Review of Psychology praised The Interpersonal Diagnostic of the Personality which also became a standard in its field as "the most important book on psychotherapy of the year". In 1959 Frank Barron while visiting Leary on vacation in Florence, Italy told Leary of his "mind blowing" mystical after taking the sacred mushrooms while in Mexico. Barron told Leary that these mushrooms could be the answer to their quest for something that could lead to real psychological transformation. Leary later wrote to him and "warned him against the possibility of losing his scientific credibility if he babbled this way among his colleagues." In the summer of 1960 while in Mexico, Leary took the sacred mushrooms for the first time. Leary describes his experience: 

I laughed again at my own everyday pomposity, the narrow arrogance of scholars, the impudence of the rational, the smug naivete of words in contrast to the raw rich ever-changing panoramas that flooded my brain....I gave way to delight, as mystics have for centuries when they peeked through the curtains and discovered that this world--so manifestly real-- was actually a tiny stage set constructed by the mind. There was a sea of possibilities out there (in there?), other realities, an infinite array of programs for other futures.

--from Flashbacks pp. 31-32 (1990, Jeremy Tarcher Inc.) by Timothy Leary

On returning to Harvard the enthused Leary having no direct access to the sacred mushrooms ordered psilocybin from the Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland and began a series of experiments known as the Psilocybin Project. Aldous Huxley who happened to be spending a semester at nearby MIT met frequently with Leary who had earlier sent Huxley a letter describing his experience in Mexico. Huxley recently diagnosed with throat cancer (besides himself only his wife Laura and good friend Humphry Osmond knew at this time) was working on what was to be his last novel, Island. Aldous had long considered that the political, economic, artistic, and intellectual elites should first be exposed to the psychedelics. According to Huxley "that's how everything of culture and beauty and philosophic freedom has been passed on." He advised Leary to be cautious in his experiments because there were those who would be strongly opposed to his research. Once after dinner with Leary, Osmond responding to Huxley's comment that Leary would do good things for the psychedelics asked Aldous if he didn't think that Leary was a bit square? Huxley replied, "You may be right. Isn't that after all what we want?" Having misjudged Leary as a stereotypical professor and elitist, Huxley later wrote to Osmond, "I am very fond of Tim, but why, oh why, does he have to be such an ass?". Beat poet Allen Ginsburg (1926 - 1997) served as the catalyst which would point Leary in a direction away from psychedelic elitism towards psychedelic egalitarianism. Osmond, in Boston attending a symposium of psychiatrists where Allen Ginsburg having just returned from a South American ayahuasca quest was one of the speakers, suggested to Ginsburg that he contact Leary and try psilocybin. Referring to his encounter with Ginsburg, Leary reports in his autobiography, Flashbacks, "It was at this moment that we rejected Huxley's elitist perspective and adopted the American open-to-the-public approach." The rest is history.

If you want further details and wish to explore, please email me.