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Shamanic Wisdom: The Evolution to Twenty-First-Century Shamanism

Shamanic Wisdom: The Evolution to Twenty-First-Century Shamanism Jan Engels-Smith

One of the biggest shifts from traditional to modern shamanism is the movement away from giving away personal power to someone who has a divine connection toward the realization that people are divine and capable of making the spiritual connection on their own. This transition from an outer to an inner authority is essential in the twenty-first century because our culture has been critically handicapped by the willingness to accept external control.

In ancient shamanism, tribal members were taught to believe in the spiritual realms and in the traditions of the rites and practices of the shaman, and they usually accepted the shaman's authority in matters of healing. Our modern culture is quite different. We have been ingrained with a prove-it-to-me mentality that resists easy acceptance of that which is novel or out of the mainstream or collective thought.

Alternative approaches to healing are suspect in a civilization driven by consumerism, self-promotion, and competitive egocentric needs. Newtonian thought considered existence as composed of independent components that could and should be individually addressed and fixed if necessary. Quantum theory and a new view of interdependent systems created a different approach that recognized that the whole exceeded the sum of the individual parts. This provides the basis for twenty-first-century shamanism.