shamanism Archive

  • Self-promoted as the “Great Beast 666" from the Bible's Book of Revelations. Slandered by the British press as the “Wickedest Man in the World.” Yet, theatrical occultist Aleister Crowley pioneered a radical re-imagining of self determination through managing paranormal spiritual entities, shaking up early 20th Century polite society. He founded the libertine religion of Thelema, and through sex rituals and extreme drug abuse emphasized the not-necessarily-wicked ritual practice of Magick. 

    Aleister Crowley’s Secret Society of Magick and Excess

    Self-promoted as the “Great Beast 666" from the Bible's Book of Revelations. Slandered by the British press as the “Wickedest Man in the World.” Yet, theatrical occultist Aleister Crowley pioneered a radical re-imagining of self determination through managing paranormal spiritual entities, shaking up early 20th Century polite society. He founded the libertine religion of Thelema, and through sex rituals and extreme drug abuse emphasized the not-necessarily-wicked ritual practice of Magick. 

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  • Psychonaut ethnobotanist Terence McKenna captures the journey along a ghostly trail into the Colombian Amazon Forest, the descent of the Rio Putumayo, and his stumbling upon the "starborn magic mushroom," activated by psilocybin. Watch Peter Bergmann's experimental documentary.

    The Devil’s Paradise of Terence McKenna’s ‘True Hallucinations’

    Psychonaut ethnobotanist Terence McKenna captures the journey along a ghostly trail into the Colombian Amazon Forest, the descent of the Rio Putumayo, and his stumbling upon the "starborn magic mushroom," activated by psilocybin. Watch Peter Bergmann's experimental documentary.

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  • Traditional Mayan healers, bone-setters, herbal curanderos, and spiritual guides or shamans, provide good physical and mental health options for poor indigenous Guatemalans.

    Traditional Healing Among the Highland Maya

    Traditional Mayan healers, bone-setters, herbal curanderos, and spiritual guides or shamans, provide good physical and mental health options for poor indigenous Guatemalans.

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  • Ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, one of the most important plant explorers of the 20th century, served as a key inspiration in a recent film called "Embrace of the Serpent." In December 1941, Schultes entered the Amazon to study how indigenous peoples used plants for medicinal, ritual, and practical purposes. After nearly a decade of fieldwork, he made significant discoveries about the sacred hallucinogen ayahuasca. In total, Schultes would collect more than 24,000 species of plants including some 300 species new to Western science.

    “Embrace of the Serpent” Film: Journey of Healing and Ethnobotany

    Ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, one of the most important plant explorers of the 20th century, served as a key inspiration in a recent film called "Embrace of the Serpent." In December 1941, Schultes entered the Amazon to study how indigenous peoples used plants for medicinal, ritual, and practical purposes. After nearly a decade of fieldwork, he made significant discoveries about the sacred hallucinogen ayahuasca. In total, Schultes would collect more than 24,000 species of plants including some 300 species new to Western science.

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  • The Kogi People of Colombia, through two separate documentaries, delivered a message of a sustainable interconnection with nature and community as a way to avert climate and ecological destruction.

    Kogi People’s Lesson From the Heart of the Mountain

    The Kogi People of Colombia, through two separate documentaries, delivered a message of a sustainable interconnection with nature and community as a way to avert climate and ecological destruction.

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  • The Kumeyaay of southern and Baja California have a rich history of coexistence on the border of California and Mexico in the mountainous region of San Diego County. Here we republish Florence Shipek's treatise on the preservation of their sacred mountain called Kuuchamaa, also known as Cuchuma, as well as several videos on their culture, history and stories.

    Kuuchamaa: The Exalted High Place of the Kumeyaay

    The Kumeyaay of southern and Baja California have a rich history of coexistence on the border of California and Mexico in the mountainous region of San Diego County. Here we republish Florence Shipek's treatise on the preservation of their sacred mountain called Kuuchamaa, also known as Cuchuma, as well as several videos on their culture, history and stories.

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  • This is the first post in a series where I present the case for Geo-Fauvism, a growing movement of wild earth inspiration in art, literature, music and design. Taking off from the early 20th Century French art "Fauvists" or "Wild Beasts," these cross-disciplinary creations respond to and react against the collapse of global environmental systems, the destruction of indigenous earth-based societies, and a narrowing of cultural opportunities in the mainstream corporatized media. Geo-Fauvists create to reconnect with the wild and heal humanity's rift with the landscape, building a new community based on integration with the ecosystem.

    Geo-Fauvism: Waking to the Wild Earth Through Visual Art

    This is the first post in a series where I present the case for Geo-Fauvism, a growing movement of wild earth inspiration in art, literature, music and design. Taking off from the early 20th Century French art "Fauvists" or "Wild Beasts," these cross-disciplinary creations respond to and react against the collapse of global environmental systems, the destruction of indigenous earth-based societies, and a narrowing of cultural opportunities in the mainstream corporatized media. Geo-Fauvists create to reconnect with the wild and heal humanity's rift with the landscape, building a new community based on integration with the ecosystem.

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  • Using sacred tools and treatment by touch, connection and cures through spirits in flight and ritual extraction of sickness, the traditional healers of central Australia explain their extraordinary skills and how they deal with contemporary issues and Western medicine.

    Spirit Talk: Stories of Traditional Healers of Central Australia

    Using sacred tools and treatment by touch, connection and cures through spirits in flight and ritual extraction of sickness, the traditional healers of central Australia explain their extraordinary skills and how they deal with contemporary issues and Western medicine.

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  • Historically a roadless fishing port with little development nor electricity, Puerto Lempira has transformed into a boom-town, host to drug traffickers, nearby military bases, and oil and gas development. In an effort to overcome this adversity, we participated in a blessing for the people and their land and culture in transition, directed by a local Miskitu sukya, or healer, and members of the community.

    Blessing for La Moskitia, A Culture and Land in Transition

    Historically a roadless fishing port with little development nor electricity, Puerto Lempira has transformed into a boom-town, host to drug traffickers, nearby military bases, and oil and gas development. In an effort to overcome this adversity, we participated in a blessing for the people and their land and culture in transition, directed by a local Miskitu sukya, or healer, and members of the community.

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  • Every day, more and more tourists arrive in Iquitos, Peru, seeking spiritual enlightenment or a psychedelic experience first made popular by William Burroughs and the Beatniks in the 1960s. Unfortunately, some well-paid "shamans" lack the experience or understanding of the powerful and sacred botanical brews used for thousands of years for healing and divination. And the gringos-on-holiday often get over their heads in the wilds of the Amazon.

    Ayahuasca: Fake Shamans and The Divine Vine of Immortality

    Every day, more and more tourists arrive in Iquitos, Peru, seeking spiritual enlightenment or a psychedelic experience first made popular by William Burroughs and the Beatniks in the 1960s. Unfortunately, some well-paid "shamans" lack the experience or understanding of the powerful and sacred botanical brews used for thousands of years for healing and divination. And the gringos-on-holiday often get over their heads in the wilds of the Amazon.

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  • Matthew Pallamary, Dorchester native and author of several fiction and non-fiction books on the South American indigenous perspective, examines healing from the collective shadow exemplified by the Boston Marathon bombings and managing the spirit of the "wolves within."

    Matthew Pallamary: Wolf’s Healing Advice for the Boston Bombings

    Matthew Pallamary, Dorchester native and author of several fiction and non-fiction books on the South American indigenous perspective, examines healing from the collective shadow exemplified by the Boston Marathon bombings and managing the spirit of the "wolves within."

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  • The California Condor Recovery Program has defied the odds to rescue from oblivion the last of the prehistorics and icon of Native Californian cosmology. Threats such as lead ammunition, microtrash, and sprawling land development threaten these impressive gains of an endangered species. The film "The Condor's Shadow" documents this struggle.

    California Condor: Overcoming Extinction, A Symbol of Renewal

    The California Condor Recovery Program has defied the odds to rescue from oblivion the last of the prehistorics and icon of Native Californian cosmology. Threats such as lead ammunition, microtrash, and sprawling land development threaten these impressive gains of an endangered species. The film "The Condor's Shadow" documents this struggle.

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  • Matthew Pallamary's acclaimed novel "Land Without Evil," recently performed as an aerial acrobatic stage show, narrates the true story of a young shaman of the Guaraní people of South America facing European conquest and conversion to Catholicism in the 1700s.

    Matt Pallamary: Guaraní Shaman’s Quest for “Land Without Evil”

    Matthew Pallamary's acclaimed novel "Land Without Evil," recently performed as an aerial acrobatic stage show, narrates the true story of a young shaman of the Guaraní people of South America facing European conquest and conversion to Catholicism in the 1700s.

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  • In Siberia, shamans combine a distinctive imagery of reindeer and of bird-flight. Their costumes sometimes include imitation reindeer antlers, occasionally tipped with wings or feathers, placed on the headdress. Like the participants in the Eveny (Evenki) midsummer ritual, shamans may ride to the sky on a bird or a reindeer.

    Riding the Sky with Reindeer Shamans of Siberia

    In Siberia, shamans combine a distinctive imagery of reindeer and of bird-flight. Their costumes sometimes include imitation reindeer antlers, occasionally tipped with wings or feathers, placed on the headdress. Like the participants in the Eveny (Evenki) midsummer ritual, shamans may ride to the sky on a bird or a reindeer.

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  • The documentary "Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth" presents an alternative worldview to industrial capitalism consuming the earth, following six young Maya into their daily and ceremonial life, revealing their determination to resist the destruction of their culture and environment.

    Stories of a Maya Rebirth: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth

    The documentary "Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth" presents an alternative worldview to industrial capitalism consuming the earth, following six young Maya into their daily and ceremonial life, revealing their determination to resist the destruction of their culture and environment.

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  • Terence McKenna: We have no tradition of shamanism. We have no tradition of journeying into these mental worlds. We are terrified of madness. We fear it because the Western mind is a house of cards, and the people who built that house of cards know that, and they are terrified of madness.

    Terence McKenna: On Shamanic Schizophrenia and Cultural Healing

    Terence McKenna: We have no tradition of shamanism. We have no tradition of journeying into these mental worlds. We are terrified of madness. We fear it because the Western mind is a house of cards, and the people who built that house of cards know that, and they are terrified of madness.

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  • "Other Worlds," a documentary by French filmmaker Jan Kounen, is an informative journey into the cosmology of ayahuasca shamanism practiced in the Peruvian Amazon.

    Other Worlds Documentary: The Cosmology of Ayahuasca

    "Other Worlds," a documentary by French filmmaker Jan Kounen, is an informative journey into the cosmology of ayahuasca shamanism practiced in the Peruvian Amazon.

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