Wednesday, September 26, 2012



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"In the Tibetan Bon traditon.....the first 4 of the Nine Ways are Shamanic Levels of Ordinary Elemental Magic.......the the next 3 are Tantric Transformation Levels.....and the highest 2 are Dzogchen Direct Experience all nine levels of Bon the connecting deity is Shenlha Okar."


SHAMANIC TRADITIONS...."In the Altaic tradition, Shaman is not our word. That is a word created by the Russians. We call such people Kams. Their rituals are called Kamlanie." (Kharatidi: 63)


"Tibetan histories written by cloistered Buddhist monks portray the ancient pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet called Bon as a nefarious mixture of sorcery, black magic, shamanism, and bloody sacrifices, this appears to be just so much anti-Bonpo propaganda providing a melodramatic effect. The principal aim of these Buddhist historians was to glorify the role of Indian Mahayana Buddhism in Tibetan history."

Primitive Bon was the indiginous shamanism and animism of Tibet and adjacent regions in ancient times. Indeed, according to Bonpo tradition, some of these practices such as invoking the gods (lha gsol-ba) and rites for exorcising evil spirits (sel-ba) were actually taught by Tonpa Shenrab himself when he briefly visited Kongpo in Southeastern Tibet in prehistoric times. Such rites were later incorporated into the classification of the teachings and practices of Bon known as the nine successive ways or vehicles (theg-pa rim dgu). These shamanistic types of practices are now known as "the Causal Ways of Bon" (rgyu'i theg-pa). Teaching and practice found in the Causal Ways are considered to be dualistic in their philosophical view, that is, the gods (lha) representing the forces of light and order called Ye and the demons (bdud) representing the forces of darkness and chaos called Ngam have an independent existence, and the concern of the practitioner is principally with the performing of rituals that invoke the positive energies of the gods and repel the negative influences of the demons and evil spirits (gdon). An examination of the ritual texts in question reveals them to be largely of non-Indian origin.


Shamanism, now recognized to be a world-wide religious and cultural activity of great antiquity, has been extensively described by Russian and other anthropologists, as well as by scholars of the History of Religions such as Mircea Eliade and others. See especially Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Pantheon Books, New York 1964.


Healing With Form, Energy and Light: The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism, Tantra, and Dzogchen*, by Tenzin Wangyal, Mark Dahlby (Editor), Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche - book on Tibetan Shamanism from prominent practitioners of Tibetan shamanism.

From the Shamanic perspective, one relates to the five elements by calling them in the form of a goddess, in which one asks the goddess to assist in healing the psychophysical body. From the Tantric perspective, working with the Elements involves an inner focus on the channels, winds and energy. The Dzogchen perspective emphasizes how the Elements comprise all that exists, and how the dynamic play of light and space creates mass and form. The Five Elements in their subtlest quality are viewed as the five sacred aspects of luminosity and wisdom.


On Tibetan shamanism generally, see Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons of Tibet, Mouton, The Hague 1956, pp. 538-553, as well as Per-Arne Berglie, "Preliminary Remarks on Some Tibetan Spirit Mediums in Nepal," in Kailash 4 (1), Kathmandu 1976, pp. 85-108. For an account of a contemporary Tibetan shaman from Ladakh and practicing in Kathmandu, see Larry G. Peters, "The Tibetan Healing Rituals of Dorje Yudronma: A Fierce Manifestation of the Feminine Cosmic Force," in Shaman's Drum 45, Ashland OR 1997, pp. 36-47.

See Joseph Rock, "Contributions to the Shamanism of the Tibetan-Chinese Borderland", Anthropos LIV (1959), pp. 796-818


"In this study I will specifically examine the modes of production of Huichol art. I have categorized them as sacred ceremonial, sacred subsistence, and commodified art. 1) Sacred ceremonial art is created during ceremony by Maraakame (medicine men). 2) Sacred subsistence art is sold for cash and is created by individual artists who mimic motifs found in sacred ceremonial art. 3) Commodified art is mass-produced in assembly line production and is distributed on the global market."


Shamanism*, by Mircea Eliad - a very detailed scholarly book on shamanism, which takes the perspective of anthropology/sociology/history.

The Woman in the Shaman's Body : Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine, by Barbara Tedlock - The book combines scholarly research into women in shamanic practice, with narration of personal experiences of the author who, in addition to being an anthropologist, is also a shamanic practitioner.

Traveling Between the Worlds: Conversations With Contemporary Shamans, by Hillary S. Webb - Interviews with contemporary Shamans concerning their view of modern shamanic practice.

Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge*, Carlos Castenada - A widely read author on shamanism, Castenada's books focus on culturally oriented shamanic practice - that of the shamans of ancient Mexico. His books focus on various topics, this was the first of his books

Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self Through Shamanic Practice, Sandra Ingerman - one of the first books on soul retrieval, it provides an understanding of soul retrieval and its purposes. She is the author of several books.

Shapeshifting: Shamanic Techniques for Global and Personal Transformation, John Perkins - founder of the Dream Change Coalition, Perkins studied shamanism in South America. He is the author of several books, this book discusses shape shifting.

The Way of the Shaman, Michael Harner - written approximately 30 years ago, it gives a general overview of shamanism.

Medicine Woman* - Lynn V. Andrews - books often focus on the female aspects of shamanism. Considered by some to be a partially fictional/fantasy writer.

Kahuna Healing: Holistic Health and Healing Practices of Polynesia*, Serge Kahili King - Practitioner of Polynesian or Huna Shamanism.

Fundamentals of Hawaiian Mysticism*, Charlotte Berney - A book about the Hawaiian Huna practice, Huna is considered by some to be a shamanic practice.

Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit*, Tom Cowan - a practitioner of shamanism, this book discusses Celtic legends and shamanism.

The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, Jeremy Narby - a book about the connection between shamanism and DNA.

Shaman: An Illustrated Guide (Living Wisdom), Piers Vitebsky - hard to find but very good pictures, and an interesting overview of shamanism that looks at different regions around the world. Can sometimes buy used from Amazon. There is also a Time Life Books, version of this book.

Magic of the Ordinary: Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism*, by Gershon Winkler, David Carson, Gabriel Cousens - many books are being published recently which discuss the connection between Shamanic practice and Judaism.

The Book of Shamanic Healing*, Kristin Madden - focuses on healing and shamanism.

The Shamans of Prehistory: Trance and Magic in the Painted Caves*, by Jean Clottes, David Lewis-Williams, Sophie Hawkes (Translator), J. David Lewis-Williams


Eliot Cowan is the author of Plant Spirit Medicine, and a shaman in the Huichol tradition. He is the founder of the Blue Deer Seminary and the Blue Deer Center. As a provider at the Blue Deer Center, Eliot Cowan offers Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner training courses, continuing education for PSM practitioners, healing camps based on traditional Huichol healing, and animal totem courses. Eliot Cowan has been teaching, leading healing retreats, and maintaining private practice for many years. He began to study and practice herbalism in 1969,.....the traditions of the Huichol people of Mexico. He completed his shamanic apprenticeship with the late Don Guadalupe Gonzalez Rios, an eminent Huichol Indian Shaman. In 2002, Don Guadalupe ritually recognized Eliot as a leader of shamanic apprentices in the Huichol tradition.

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Maraakame.......A priest of the Huichol religion, a shaman-called in Spanish a "cantador" or "curandero" and in Huichol a maraakame-is the rock on which the Huichol tradition, culture and spirituality rest and are kept pure. "He helps the mother so the baby will be born well; he baptizes it and initiates it into the mysteries of the gods; he unites man and woman in marriage; he conducts the soul of the dead to its final abode." A maraakame is like a seaman who sails the ocean from shore to shore but always belongs to his homeland.

As priest he sings at the feasts and the rites. He prays that the rains be abundant. He prays that there will be neither sickness nor hunger. He prays that there will be no epidemic or damaging wind. He prays that there will be no trouble in the Community. He prays that justice and righteousness will prevail. He prays that the crops will be good and that life will be healthy and long. He can talk with the gods and perceive things distant and hidden. To him all is clear and transparent. He knows what causes a death and can predict one.

The maraakame is the Huichol doctor. He is the one who is acquainted with medicinal plants, the one who performs magic rites and who exposes witchcraft and sorcery. He is the wisdom of the Community.

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A curandero (or curandera for a female) is a traditional folk healer or shaman in Hispanic-America, prevalent in Latin America, that is dedicated to curing physical and/or spiritual illnesses.

They are often respected members of the community, being highly religious and spiritual. Literally translated as "healer" from Spanish, curanderos often use herbs and other natural remedies to cure illnesses, but their primary method of healing is the supernatural. This is because they believe that the cause of many illnesses is evil spirits, the punishment of God, or a curse.

Curanderos treat ailments like espanto (Spanish for "shock"), empacho (Spanish for "surfeit"), susto ("fright"), mal aire (literally, "bad air"), and mal de ojo ("evil eye") with religious rituals, ceremonial cleansing, and prayers. While curanderos are capable of treating these ailments (and do), in reality they seldom do, for many ailments, such as empacho, can be treated by family members. Often Curanderos employ the use of sung Icaros to contact certain spirits to aid them in their healing work.

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"Tibetan Bonpo in ancient times appeared to cover a number of different types of practitioner, whether shaman, magician, or priest. Here there seems to be a strong parallel of the role of the Bonpo in ancient Tibet with that of the Druid in ancient pre-Christian Europe. Just as the Druidic order was divided into the three functions of the Bards, the Vates, and the Druids, who were singers, soothsayers, and magicians respectively, so the ancient pre- Buddhist kingdom of Tibet was said to be protected by the Drung (sgrung) who were bards and singers of epics, the Deu (lde'u) who were soothsayers and diviners, and the Bonpo (bon-po) who were priests and magicians."(Reynolds)


September 2012

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico


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