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Depth Psych
Pioneered by William James, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Gustav Jung, Depth Psychology is the study of how we dialogue with the Unconscious via symbols, dreams, myth, art, nature. By paying attention to the messages that show up from beyond our conscious egos, we can be guided to greater understanding, transformation, and integration with the world around us, inner and outer. Join the conversation in community at www.DepthPsychologyAlliance.com
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Cave Paintings Dating to 6000 Years Ago Depict Otherworldly Beings and a Permeable, Layered Cosmological Map

Scattered across the Cumberland Plateau, a portion of the Appalachian Mountains, are drawings created by pre-historic people depicting possible shamanic journeys into other realms. One 14th century cave painting found in Tennessee, for example, illustrates a standing bird with arms and hands grasping ceremonial weapons with blades and axes coming from its face.


 

Other beings are depicted with less aggressive postures. “The art sites, predominantly found in caves, feature otherworldly characters, supernatural serpents and dogs that accompanied dead humans on the path of souls,” the archaeologists tell us. The images of the ‘lower world’ are also principally painted in black, a color associated with death. Many of these images may correspond to Tibetan depictions of the afterlife, called bardo. Death is not seen as a final destination by this culture, but an important opportunity for spiritual development.

 

 

The lower world was depicted by darkness and peril and was associated with death, transformation and renewal. The inclusion of creatures such as... (click title for more)


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"The Consciousness Revolution" by Graham Hancock

"The Consciousness Revolution" by Graham Hancock | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

Consciousness is one of the great mysteries of science – perhaps the greatest mystery. We all know we have it, when we think, when we dream, when we savour tastes and aromas, when we hear a great symphony, when we fall in love, and it is surely the most intimate, the most sapient, the most personal part of ourselves.

 

Yet no one can really claim to have understood and explained it completely. There’s no doubt it’s associated with the brain in some way but the nature of that association is far from clear. In particular how do these three pounds of material stuff inside our skulls allow us to have experiences?

 ... True, if you damage certain areas of the brain certain areas of consciousness are compromised, but this does not prove that those areas of the brain generate the relevant areas of consciousness. If you were to damage certain areas of your TV set the picture would deteriorate or vanish but the TV signal would remain intact. (Click title for more) 

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What a Shaman Sees In a Mental Hospital

What a Shaman Sees In a Mental Hospital | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

The Shamanic View of Mental Illness In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé.  Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.

 

What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.”  The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. 


“Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé.  These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm... (Click title for more)

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The Ecology of Magic - An Interview with David Abram

The Ecology of Magic - An Interview with David Abram | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

Performing magic is not simply about entertaining, David points out in this interview. "The task of the magician is to startle our senses and free us from outmoded ways of thinking." The magician also plays an important ecological function, he says, by mediating between the human world and the "more-than-human" world that we inhabit.

Abram: I had learned my craft from American magicians and from books and had thought of magic as a craft that originates as a form of entertainment. But it turned out that it was the oldest craft there is. Sleight-of-hand itself has its origins in the work of the shaman or sorcerer in altering perception and the organization of the senses.

London: Do medicine people ever practice sleight-of-hand magic?

Abram: Well, we've all heard of psychic surgeons, these folks who use a certain style of what we could call magic. In the Philippines, for example, they extract illness from a person's body by passing their hand over it and making a kind of invisible incision. Then they reach into the body and draw out some... (Click title for more)

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The History of Shamanism: A Brief Overview of Shamanism, Part 1

The History of Shamanism: A Brief Overview of Shamanism, Part 1 | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

In this paper, I will explore the history of shamanism along with the origins of the word shaman. I will identify varying definitions of what it means to be a shaman and explain some of the different roles that a shaman may carry out. I will identify how some shamans have lost their roles through the development of political/social stratification. I will also examine how it is that one becomes a shaman and have a small dialogue with regard to schizophrenia. To begin, we will delve into some of the history of shamanism along with a derivation of the word ‘shaman.’

 

History of Shamanism

Shamanism has been part of history for quite some time, but that does not necessarily mean that there is agreement within the academic community as to when shamanism began. According to Walsh (1996), “Paleolithic art from Europe dated to over 17,000 [years] ago and from South Africa dated to 25,000 years ago appear to show shamanic practices” (p. 96). However, the earliest known archaeological record of a shaman excavation was from a burial site in... (Click title for more) 

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Roles of a Shaman: A Brief Overview of Shamanism, Part 3

Roles of a Shaman: A Brief Overview of Shamanism, Part 3 | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

The various roles in which a shaman undertakes are closely related to the cultures that one is likely to find shamanism (Walsh, 1989). This is because a shaman plays many roles for their culture. The cultures in which we are likely to find shamans are “simple nomadic hunting and gathering societies” (p. 8).


In these kinds of cultures, people do not generally rely on agriculture and have very little political organization or social class. As such, the shaman is left to play many roles: “medicine man, healer, ritualist, keeper of cultural myths, medium, and master of spirits” (p. 8). Krippner (2000) stated similar roles that shamans play: “Shamans were probably humanity’s original specialists, combining the roles of healers, storytellers, weather forecasters, performing artists, ritualists, and magicians” (p. 98).


Krippner (2002) added “shamans appear to have been humankind’s first psychotherapists [and] first physicians” (p. 970). References to shamans as physicians can be seen more than once in the literature. Shortly, we will liken a shaman to a ‘general practitioner... (click title for more)

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Reconnecting with Wholeness with Depth Psychology -- DepthList Blog

Reconnecting with Wholeness with Depth Psychology -- DepthList Blog | Depth Psych | Scoop.it
The depth psychological view focuses on mystery and the creativity and potentiality that resides in the unknown. The mysteries of the unconscious manifest when they are ready. According to James Hillman, contemporary archetypal psychologist, each of us is pulled toward a telos, a whole and complete finished product, each unique, like an acorn that turns into a massive oak tree. This is also the call of the Self to which Jung refers.

Jungian thought identifies “health” as wholeness, and “pathology” or lack of health as lack of wholeness. Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 1964) asserted that current western cultures have lost a sense of the sacred, and in so doing have become dislocated and disoriented, losing meaning and vitality by losing contact with what he calls the regulating center of the soul. This condition of being out of balance is often...(Click title to continue)
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Jung, Individuation, and Shamanism

Jung, Individuation, and Shamanism | Depth Psych | Scoop.it
According to historian and philosopher Mircea Eliade, shamanism has been around for millennia, practically as long as humans have existed. In recent decades, the archetype of shamanism has experienced a rebirth. With growing consciousness, more and more individuals are recognizing spontaneously and consistently what our indigenous ancestors knew: that there is a divine intelligence at work in the universe, a life force of love andlight, of which, by nature and birthright, we are an integral part. 
Anne Baring (2007), psychologist and author, notes that C.G. Jung himself commented on the capacity of humans to respond to this greater force, saying:
The archetypal image of the wise man, the saviour or redeemer, lies buried and dormant in man's unconscious since the dawn of culture; it is awakened whenever the times are out of joint and a human society is committed to a serious error...These primordial images are … called into being by the waywardness of the general outlook. When conscious life is characterised by one-sidedness and by a false attitude, they are activated…"instinctively" … in the dreams of individuals and the visions of artists and seers... (Click title for more)
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Shamanism, Alchemy and Yoga: Traditional Technologies of Tranformation

Shamanism, Alchemy and Yoga: Traditional Technologies of Tranformation | Depth Psych | Scoop.it
From the most ancient times, human beings have practiced disciplines of psychospiritual transformation with devoted energy and intention. Modern systems of psychotherapy are the inheritors of three great traditions of transformation, in which the human is seen as engaged in purposive processes of exploration and integration in many realms of consciousness. In this essay I describe some of the common methods used, as well as the major metaphors for transformation.1

One possible definition of shamanism is that it is the disciplined approach to what has been variously called "non-ordinary reality", "the sacred", "the mystery", "the supernatural", "the inner world(s)", or "the otherworld".


Psychologically speaking, one could say these expressions refer to realms of consciousness that lie outside the boundaries of our usual and ordinary perception. The depth psychologies derived from psychoanalysis refer to such normally inaccessible realms as "the unconscious", or "the collective unconscious". This would, however, be too limiting a definition for shamanism, if "unconscious" is taken to refer to something within the individual, i.e. intrapsychic. Shamanic practice involves the exploration not only of unknown aspects of our own psyche, but also the unknown aspects of the world around us, - the external as well as internal mysteries.


There are three traditional systems of consciousness... (Click title for more)

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Carol Sherriff's curator insight, August 8, 2014 5:04 AM

You don't usually get pscyhologists (or coaches and facilitators) admitting they draw on shamanism and alchemy, so this is refreshing reading.

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The Shamanic Perspective: Where Jungian Thought and Archetypal Shamanism Converge

The Shamanic Perspective: Where Jungian Thought and Archetypal Shamanism Converge | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

Studies in anthropology led Jung to adopt into psychology a concept prevalent in shamanic societies: that of soul loss. Typically recognized as a state of general malaise, soul loss provides another common thread between both Jungian psychology and shamanism.

 

Soul loss is a fragmentary sequence in which parts of the whole wander away, flee, or get split off, lost, or disoriented resulting in a loss of vitality or life force (Ingerman, 1991). In a shamanic worldview, the dislocated parts are carried away to the underworld; in psychology, they are said to recede into the unconscious.

 

With the critical absence of vital parts of our soul, we are left feeling weak, empty, depressed, deflated, or anxious, and commonly trend toward mental or physical illness. Jung cited the loss of connection between our ego and the Self as the fundamental cause of soul loss... (Click title for more)

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Eva Rider's curator insight, May 6, 2014 3:27 PM

Anyone on a Spiritual journey is too well familiar with the experience of soul loss. It is also what has been called "the dark night of the soul".

It is often only "Grace" that transforms this state and redeposits us back into the topside world again. When we return, (if we return) we are are not the same. Transformed, because we have been through a death and re-birth either metaphorically or physically. We become the Initiated and are required to pass on the knowledge and wisdom we have gained in the underworld journeys.

Some of the Images for the transformed state in western myth that we recognize are the butterfly and the phoenix and the redeemed god.

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Depth Insights » Trickster and a Comedian Walk into a Bar: The Sacred Art of Transformation by Keith Morrison

Depth Insights » Trickster and a Comedian Walk into a Bar: The Sacred Art of Transformation by Keith Morrison | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

This article explores the significance of comedy as a transformative art form. Many treatises have been written on the significance of painting, literature, or film as mediums for sacred creativity but I found that research that focused upon similar aspects at work of the comedian turned up short. By distilling the essential elements of the trickster as an archetypal figure the following article illustrates how the cultural icon of the comedian resonates with and is shaped by this archetype.

 

Though the trickster is most often depicted as a mythological god or hero, the comedian, along with iconic figures like the alchemist or shaman, are actual facts of human history that are strongly bound by archetypal material which initiates transformation in a mercurial manner similar to the trickster. I put forth that through the art of comedy, the stand-up comedian taps into the ... (click title for more)

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How One Becomes a Shaman: A Brief Overview of Shamanism, Part 2

How One Becomes a Shaman: A Brief Overview of Shamanism, Part 2 | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

How One Becomes a Shaman

Given the seemingly differing opinions on the history of shamanism and the definition of a shaman, there seems to be substantially more agreement on the process by which one must undergo to become a shaman. According to Merchant (2006):

 

The ‘call of the spirits’ to the shamanic vocation is experienced as a serious and disturbing psychological phenomenon early in life (often at adolescence) and this initiatory illness is interpreted as a (mostly unsolicited) calling, which is not only experienced as a destiny/fate but is articulated in these cultures as an election by the spirits. A strenuous and difficult initiation follows, involving altered states of consciousness, dismemberment imagery and death/rebirth phenomena. (p. 133-4)

 

The candidate is not fully recognized by their cultural group as a shaman until they are able to demonstrate their abilities of mastery over the spirits and communicate with them to acquire information for the purposes of healing (Merchant, 2006). Metzner (1998), like Merchant (2006), referred to a process where the shaman-to-be has visions in which they see themselves being dismembered...(Click title for more)

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On Magic, Shamanism, and Listening: The Collective Unconscious of C.G. Jung

On Magic, Shamanism, and Listening: The Collective Unconscious of C.G. Jung | Depth Psych | Scoop.it

“If we open our eyes, if we open our minds, if we open our hearts, will find that this world is a magical place. It is magical not because it tricks us or changes unexpectedly into something else, but because it can be so vividly and brilliantly.”--Chogyam Trungpa


When I was a child, I longed for magic: actively, forcefully, wistfully. I spent thousands of hours reading books about witches and wizards and fairies and everyday objects endowed with supernatural powers, I read about kids who time-traveled or fell into other dimensions or discovered secret portals to other lives. I always wanted to be one of those characters from the story, happening on magic that would transport me from my problems, my boredom, my malaise (French translation: being poorly-at-ease) with life. As I grew older, I stopped believing...

 

Our ancestors had far more contact with magic. They lived life closer to nature, a force larger than life. They saw themselves as an intrinsic part of a pattern that happened around them and to them and in them and through them, an ongoing dialogue with equals. Rather than placing themselves above the objects we see as inanimate, everything they saw and experienced in the physical world was a endowed with the life force... (Click title to read full post)

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