Modern shamanism is on the rise. With a focus on using medicinal plants such as different psychedelics including DMT and psilocybin to turn our focus inwards, shamans help in healing. They not only help individuals with things like mental illness and addiction, but are doing work to heal society as well.
A Historical Prophesy
There is a 2000 year old Amazon prophesy about the eagle and the condor.
The eagle is one of North America’s largest predatory birds. It represents masculine energy. It represents power, the mind, and accomplishment.
On the other hand, the condor is South Americas largest bird. It represents feminine energy. And it also represents compassion, love, and softness.
It said that starting in the year 1490 would begin a new age of the eagle. At the end of the 500 year cycle of the eagle, the condor and everything it represented would be nearly destroyed. Then, beginning in 1990 a change would begin to happen. The eagle and the condor would learn to fly in the same sky, and in that balance, a new consciousness and way of life would develop.
How It Relates Today
Does any of this sound familiar?
As a masculine dominant world for the past 500 or so years we have been so focused on achievement. Questions of what we can accomplish led the way to the quest for power. We focused on the mind and our thoughts and gave them power. And we did it all while ignoring the feminine.
We ignored our hearts and fell off our spiritual path. We lost compassion and empathy.
And all of this led to disastrous consequences. The world is bursting at the seams. Externally, our political and systems are in states of chaos. We are destroying the environment. Internally, we are hurting. Mental illness seems to be at an all time high. Between PTSD, depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, and an abundance of other issues we have lost connection. We have been taught to look for instant fixes and “there is a pill for that”. In turn, we have turned to drugs and developed addictions and overdose epidemics.
Enter modern shamanism.
First, What Does It Mean To Be a Shaman
There are many definitions of the word shaman floating around. Some of them are very specific to different regions and periods of time in history. But broadly speaking, a shaman is a healer and a guide.
Typically, a shaman has the ability to access other dimensions and realms including the spiritual realm to act as a spirit guide. Usually they access these planes of existence through different techniques including fasting, isolation, meditation, drumming, and plant based medicines including psychedelics.
Through knowledge of these dimensions, the spirit guide has the ability to guide people through them on a journey. While navigating these realms and interacting with spirit and energy sources, healing is able to occur through the very personal experience.
These techniques are usually passed down from indigenous cultures and there is a great deal of training involved on the path to shamanism. Understanding how to work with the plants in order to create the plant medicines is an important part of the education.
History of Shamanism
No one knows the exact origin of shamanic practices, but there are suggestions that date it back to at least 50,000 years ago in the Himalayan mountains. There is even evidence of ancient cave art depicting shamanism that is over 20,000 years old. And throughout history, shamanic practice has been found in different indigenous cultures across 6 different continents.
A lot of information was lost over time due to various reasons, and because of this a lot of specific information is hard to come by. As indigenous cultures integrated with modernized culture a shift began to happen. Mainstream religions did a lot to discredit and convert shamanism to their religions. Also, a lot of families and people lost interest in the ancient art form as they were drawn to the experience of modern living. This was a factor in stopping ancient knowledge from being passed down from generation to generation.
As a Bridge Between the Animal and Plant Kingdoms
One of the universally recognized traits of a shaman is the belief that everything is infused with spirit and that it is all connected. Because of this, they usually have the ability to communicate with the plant and animal kingdoms.
This ability to communicate and understand other living things enables them to act in harmony with every part of life. The relationships with the animals could be of a protecting or nurturing role. On the other hand, the relationship with the plants and the Earth will enable them to know which ones to use as healers in certain situations. They are also usually well versed in the medicinal properties of the fungi kingdom too.
Dependent upon the culture and specific tribe, there are different paths to become a modern shaman.
In certain cultures, anyone can become a shaman. After a successful apprenticeship under an elder experienced spirit guide where you have gained the abilities and knowledge that is important to that group, you can practice shamanism. For instance, in Ecuador, the proper agencies have to certify you in order to legally be a shaman.
In other cultures, you have to be born into it. That can usually be either through hereditary blood lines, or through some extra abilities or talents that you have as a child.
And in other societies, one can become a spirit guide after going through some type of right of passage. There are a lot of varieties to the rights of passage and some can be extreme. In extreme cases they can include torture, dismemberment, and even organ removal. This is symbolical because if the shaman can learn to get through these difficult ordeals and heal himself, then that shows that he is able to help others as well.
Rise of Modern Shamanism
With the masculine dominant world crumbling, people are searching for something in their confusion. And because we have lost connection to our hearts and spirit there seem to be more questions then answers.
Depression and suicide is at an all time high. We have lost our sense of community. And drug overdoses are running rampant.
And because of the pain, people are looking for new solutions to find the path again. Well, the new solutions just may be the oldest solutions.
By using psychedelic medicinal plants and spiritual practice, shamans are helping people re-establish their connection to their heart and soul. And maybe even a higher power. Psychedelics like Ibogaine and Ayahuasca are helping people with opiate addiction. And psilocybin is showing promise for mental health issues like PTSD and depression.
Although many of these treatments are not yet legal in the United States yet (except for certain religious shamans), people are seeking out their help in other countries like Peru and Ecuador.
No one knows how the story ends. Hopefully the prophesy is correct and we are beginning the age of healing the divide between the masculine and feminine. As a community, it seems like we need it now more than ever. And maybe, just maybe, the modern shaman will help find the path to healing and a better connected world.