SHAMANISM AND SCIENCE Editors
ROLAND URBAN ANDREAS J. HIRSCH
T he Foundation For Sha m a nic Studies
CONTENT FOREWORD 4 SUSAN MOKELKE On this Book 5 ROLAND URBAN, ANDREAS J. HIRSCH Introduction
ON THE BASIC QUESTIONS 8 MICHAEL HARNER Spirits and Science 12 ROLAND URBAN Shamanism and Science
FROM THE SCIENCES 22 WILLIAM S. LYON Science and Spirits: Two Means for Changing Reality 28 ANETT C. OELSCHLÄGEL Animated Nature. Spirits and Environment among the Tyva people in Southern Siberia 34 GÜNTHER WIRSCHING On Mathematics for Quantum Physics and Shamanic Experience 40 JUTTA LESKOVAR Archaeology and Shamanism – Thoughts about Two Worlds Intersecting 44 KAI GOERLICH How Modern Futurology and Ancient Oracles See (into) the Future
FROM PRACTICE AND ART 50 THOMAS SCHMITT A Holistic Approach to Human Beings – The Medical-Shamanic Outpatient Clinic of Vienna 56 THE ARTIST ANATOL DONKAN IN CONVERSATION WITH ROLAND URBAN We Need to Feed Them – On Effigies, Art and the Nanai people 62 ART PROJECT BY ANATOL DONKAN Effigies in the Tradition of the Nanai 66 ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC – ANDREAS J. HIRSCH What is this Thing About the Magic Pearl? The Story of a Healing 70 ART PROJECT BY ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC Florian Featherlight and the Quest for the Magic Pearl 74 ANDREAS J. HIRSCH Transforming Hatred – A Challenge for Society, Science and Shamanism
APPENDIX 79 On Core-Shamanism and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies
ON THIS BOOK For millennia the shaman has been recognized as “one who knows”. For the shaman, work with the spirits and another reality was not a matter of faith, but of knowledge, a kind of “science of spirits”. Through countless curing “experiments” leading to success in healing the sick, as well as in divining answers to questions of vital importance to the tribe, the shaman came to know with certainty of the spirits’ existence and nature. Thanks to Michael Harner – who pioneered the experiential investigation of shamanism with The Way of the Shaman in 1980 – the contemporary world is awakening to the power and effectiveness of shamanic methods. A new generation of contemporary shamanic healers has arisen. Once again the drums are sounding as these practitioners offer healing and divinatory services in local communities. Serious researchers have taken note. They have begun to investigate shamanism, applying the rigor of the scientific method to examine what happens to humans in a shamanic state of consciousness. A multi-disciplinary approach is needed. This book is an important step in that direction – following the work of shamans of ages past and based not on faith, but as revealed by research and experimentation.
SUSAN MOKELKE President The Foundation for Shamanic Studies, USA
INTRODUCTION Shamanism has – for a long time – been understood as a phenomenon of traditional cultures only. But shamanic world view and practice have arrived well in the middle of “modern” societies. This is expressed by rising numbers of shamanic practicioners as well as an increase of scientific research and publications on the topic. The Foundation for Shamanic Studies has been taking a key role in shaping this process for several decades. As a professor of anthropology and part of the scientific community, Michael Harner has carved out a system, which is grounded on scientific as well as shamanic principles, which is rooted in scientific paradigms and attempts or demands the integration of spiritual aspects and scientific research and teaching. Core-shamanism follows the proven shamanic knowledge that nature – including humans – consists of matter and spirit, and that therefore true insight becomes possible exclusively by considering both ordinary and nonordinary reality. Such a realization does not only imply the attempt to build bridges between shamanism and science, but also points to the complimentary function of both areas. The broad range of contributions in this publication mirrors the diversity of concepts of reality that come into play when shamanism and science are understood as complimentary. Viewing them together indicates the potential that can result from this link. May this book serve as encouragement and inspiration to think beyond the boundaries of the conventional.
ROLAND URBAN ANDREAS J. HIRSCH Wartberg ob der Aist / Vienna, April 2016
ANATOL DONKAN Shamanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s costume
ON THE BASIC QUESTIONS MICHAEL HARNER ROLAND URBAN
MICHAEL HARNER Founder of The Foundation for Shamanic Studies
Born in 1929 in Washington, D.C., US. Anthropologist and shamanologist. Ph.D. in anthropology in 1963 from the University of California, Berkeley. Teaching at UC Berkeley, Columbia University, Yale University. Five decades of research on shamanism in indigenous cultures. Developed Core-Shamanism. 1979 Founder and long-time President of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Books: “The Jívaro: People of the Sacred Waterfalls”, 1972, “The Way of the Shaman”, 1980, “Cave and Cosmos”, 2013.
ON THE BASIC QUESTIONS
SPIRITS AND SCIENCE The quite common human view that spirits, such as human souls, are real is unacceptable to today’s science, as it has been for several centuries. Although one spirit, God, may be occasionally mentioned (as by Einstein), multiple “spirits” or “souls” are anathema and unacceptable in the scientific paradigm. In other words, Western science is founded upon a belief – the belief that spirits cannot exist. This attitude has its historical origins in the attacks by the Church on such pioneering scientists as Galileo and Copernicus during the Renaissance and Reformation. In reaction, during the Age of “Enlightenment”, Western science and medicine decreed that souls and spirits did not exist and were therefore not relevant to scientific study and medical practice. While this position is quite understandable historically, its perpetuation today limits the parameters of science by decreeing a priori that certain phenomena cannot exist. I am not alone in this view. As my colleague Paul Uccusic pointed out to me, the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant once said about spirits: “There cannot be found any reason a priori [...] to deny their existence.” 1 Even today science has yet to disprove the theory of the existence of spirits. And disproof of a theory, or falsification, is a cornerstone of scientific method, as noted by Karl Popper.2 As long as the theory of the existence of spirits is not falsified, it cannot logically be ignored by science. In other words, the position of science that spirits do not exist has quite unscientifically been a matter of faith, ironically resembling religious dogma. A notable exeption in the scientific community was the great natural scientist Alfred Russel Wallace, the simultaneous originator with Charles Darwin of the theory of natural selection. In the years subsequent to Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, Wallace made a painstaking investigation of the reality of spirits that culminated in his 1874 book, Miracles and Modern Spiritualism.3
Kant, Vorlesungen über Psychologie, 132. See also M. Harner, “Science, Spirits, and Core Shamanism.”
Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 63, 68–69.
3 While his book first appeared in 1874, it was followed by other editions, the last one being published in 1896.
Despite Wallace’s careful research, his book received a generally hostile reception. In 1896, responding to his critics in a later edition, he stated: “That theory is the most scientific which best explains the whole series of phenomena; and I therefore claim that the spirit-hypothesis is the most scientific, since even those who oppose it most strenously often admit that it does explain all the facts, which cannot be said for any other hypothesis.”4 Unlike the Westerners who were hostile to Wallace’s book, indigenous shamans had long since reached conclusions similar to this. Conducting countless healing experiments with their patients, often in live-and-death situations, their results consistently supported his conclusions, or, better said, his supported theirs. This they did over many millennia in thousands of different cultures and independently on five different continents. Not surprisingly, the fundamentals of indigenous shamanic practice are remarkably consistent throughout the world and provide the basis for core shamanism. As Wallace indicated, such phenomena can best be explained according to the scientific principle of parsimony, and that parsimonious explanation is simply that the spirits are real. This is not to suggest that one should avoid seeking nonspiritual explanations of shamanic phenomena. Among the most famous of the “impossible” phenomena are, of course, the accounts of near-death experiences (NDEs). Apparently for science they remain inexplicable. A specialist in NDEs summed up the situation this way: “What thirty years of scholarly inquiry has not yet revealed is why NDEs occur.”5 Similarly, when I asked Charles Tart – an outstanding pioneer in rigorous scientific approaches to the field of parapsychology – what mechanism makes mental telepathy work, he said: “I don’t have the slightest idea, and I don’t think anybody else does either.” 6 He later added, “Scientific attempts to explain NDEs and the phenomena of parapsychology have ‘hit a brick wall’, partly because the reality of spirits has been denied a priori.”7
4 Wallace, Miracles and Modern Spiritualism (1896), xvi. 5
Bush, “Distressing Western Near-Death-Experiences,” 81.
6 Tart, “Dialogue with Michael Harner“ transcript, 4. 7 Ibid.
ON THE BASIC QUESTIONS
ANATOL DONKAN Bear in Cosmos
So the brick wall may be giving way, and Charles Tart is now considering the possibility of spirits having an effect in his experiments. He said, “I’m certainly open to the fact that there is a spirit world of some sort and, so sometimes, maybe many times, I have some ‘co-experimenters’ and I don’t know what they have in mind for that experiment.” 8 Of course, Alfred Russel Wallace proposed that the reality of spirits provides an explanation for a variety of otherwise inexplicable phenomena that others have relegated to the acausal categories of “coincidence” or “synchronicity.” 9 Wallace’s proposal is not surprising, since the principle of the reality of spirits has been tested and supported cross-culturally by shamans for thousands of years. Once one understands that spirits exist, much that appears impossible to outsiders is really quite understandable and even may be subject to replication.
8 Ibid., 5. 9 For example, Grof, When the Impossible Happens. Stanislav Grof devotes his innovative book to accounts of various “impossible” phenomena he has witnessed and views as synchronicities. From Harner, Michael (2013): Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books. Copyright © 2013 by the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Inc. Reprinted by permission of publisher. For detailed bibliographical references see original publication.
ROLAND URBAN Director of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe
Born in 1973 in Linz, Austria. Studies of Psychology, Social and Health Sciences in Vienna and Dublin. Health, Clinical and Emergency Psychologist, trainer and author. Director of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe. International workshops and lectures, publications in various journals and books on shamanism and psychology, respectively. Focus issues: “Shamanism and the Sciences”, “Traces of European Shamanism”, and so called “Incurable Diseases”.
ON THE BASIC QUESTIONS
SHAMANISM AND SCIENCE Shamanism and science appear to be diametral disciplines and incompatible only at first glance. If you look at them from a different perspective, however, they are like two sides of the same coin. ON NATURAL PHENOMENA Both involve natural phenomena 1. Both want to perceive, describe, explore and understand them exactly in order to use the resulting knowledge to cope with our life contexts.2 Both are ways of knowledge. Concrete experience is at the core of both shamanism and science. In academic science 3, the pathway to knowledge leads through observation, inquiry and experiment, in shamanism through contact with spirits. In methodological terms, the latter is just as systematic, transparent and comprehensible, only the repeatability is non-existent or possible just to a limited extent. Academic sciences generate factual knowledge that attempts to explain the constitution of material reality and the connections and relationships of its elements among each other. Shamanism offers a complementary perspective – on one hand, involving tradition, myths and stories, which guarantees a cultural and ethical embedding of knowledge. On the other hand, information that can only be determined with the help of spirits – the central instances in shamanism – expands and stimulates the traditional scientific view significantly. The knowledge and application potential of both is substantial.
Here, “nature” is understood as the totality of experienced things and phenomena – in ordinary and non-ordinary reality – that exist independently and outside of human consciousness. “Thus, nature is a collective term for everything that exists and develops on the basis of own inherent forces and has not been altered by human activity.” (Wiesen, Brigitte (2016): Natur. Online Wörterbuch Philosophie. http://www.philosophie-woerterbuch.de/online-woerterbuch/?tx_gbwbphilosophie_ main%5Bentry%5D=585&tx_gbwbphilosophie_main%5Baction%5D=show&tx_gbwbphilosophie_ main%5Bcontroller%5D=Lexicon&cHash=e0c3003571948cf3f0cbe8991be9c195; 04.04.2016; transl. AMH)
See the cognitive goals of science: understanding – description – explanation – prognosis – construction (Brühl, Rolf (2015): Wie Wissenschaft Wissen schafft: Wissenschaftstheorie für Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften. Konstanz, München: UVK. p. 22f.)
3 Here, “academic science” essentially refers to the scientific communities that are based on a “Western” philosophy of science, are organized and institutionalized in a specific manner and thus constitute a kind of self-referential system that has a tendency towards an exclusive character. For a critical analysis of academic life and the production of knowledge, see Audehm, Katrin et al. (eds.) (2015): Der Preis der Wissenschaft. ZfK – Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. 01/2015. Bielefeld: transcript.
In general terms, science refers to the continuous attempt to create knowledge in a targeted, methodical, systematic and controllable manner. The resulting knowledge is consequently developed further in order to understand and operate with the natural surroundings that define us4. Academic sciences focus on physical, manifest realities of nature, on the sensually perceptible; they constitute the sciences of ordinary reality. Shamanism concerns the spiritual, immaterial aspects of our existence, constitutes the science of nonordinary reality. Both systems have been tested over time and in terms of their effectiveness, academic sciences for several centuries, shamanism for several thousands of years. With the natural phenomena they study the same “object of research”; they follow similar goals and generate complementary knowledge.5 Shamanic cultures combine ordinary and non-ordinary aspects to find optimal solutions. For contemporary shamanic practitioners, a synthesis of academic science and shamanism is not only desirable but the most reasonable option. With Core Shamanism, Michael and Sandra Harner, Paul Uccusic and others carved out a coherent, terminologically as well as conceptually consistant and application-oriented system that rests on the foundation of science, consequently applies a shamanic world view – as well as associated theoretical and practical principles – and equips it with an ethic in accordance with Western philosophy.6 The high affinity of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies for university structures is reflected, among other things, in its research strategy. Main motives include7: respecting traditions and knowledge of the research subjects; “radical participation” (the researchers are active parts of the investigated reality)8; comparative studies and research – to discover regularities in theory and practice; experimental application and verification of hypotheses and techniques; transfer of findings, models and practices in experience-based workshops – with the goal of participants applying the acquired knowledge as well as the corresponding skills, but also to gain new insights and integrate them in research and teaching. Consequent development and adaptation to the actual living circumstances is thereby not only
4 cf. Freitag, Wolfgang (2015): Wirklichkeit, Wissen, Wissenschaft: Ein Plädoyer für den kritischen Realismus. In: Eickhoff, Franziska C. (eds.): Wissen: Epistemologische Überlegungen aus verschiedenen Disziplinen. Freiburg i. Br., Berlin, Wien: Rombach. pp. 9–25. 5 On closer inspection, very few results of science are inconsistent with the shamanic perspective. 6 cf. Harner, Michael (1990): The Way of the Shaman. 3rd ed. New York: Harper One; Harner, Michael: Cave & Cosmos (2013): Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books. 7
cf. Harner, Michael (1999): Science, Spirits and Core-Shamanism. Shamanism. Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 5–8.
8 cf. the concept of “going native” (e.g. Tedlock, Barbara (1991): From Participant Observation to the Observation of Participation: the Emergence of Narrative Ethnography. Journal of Anthropological Research. Vol. 47, No. 1, pp. 69–95).
ON THE BASIC QUESTIONS
guaranteed, but inherent in the system. “To say it in another way, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies is a laboratory of shamanism pioneering a science of spirits, […].”9 Due to these constituents, Core Shamanism is ideally suited for assuming bridging functions between shamanism and academic science. BRIDGES INSTEAD OF RIFTS What separates shamanism and academic science are their world views. Humility and liberalism of scientific thought are required.10 As a transcultural, transconfessional and transideological system, shamanism knows no reservations and proves to be highly compatible with various models of society and epistemology. Academic sciences are characterized by intellectual, practical and technological excellence, but they tend to be deeply rooted in an exclusively materialist world view that negates the existence of spirits.11 As a result, one can find differences in sources of perception and insight as well as in explanatory models. Academic sciences are based on the usual five senses and classical empirical approaches; shamanic research happens in altered states of consciousness, through the immediate experience and consultation of spiritual beings. If one chooses an integrative attitude over an absolute one, according to which experiences in an ordinary state of consciousness are not superior to those in altered states of consciousness but are of equal quality, it will unearth potential rather than create an evident problem.12 Findings of other disciplines, such as quantum physics, also indicate that perception and insight are not limited to five senses. Work on quantum
9 Harner, Michael (1999), p. 5; italics by author. 10 After all, the following applies: „Science is a narrative among many and does not have epistemological priority over other knowledge cultures.” (Freitag, Wolfgang (2015:11); transl. AMH; cf. also Dürr, Hans-Peter (2014): Geist, Kosmos und Physik: Gedanken über die Einheit des Lebens. 8. Aufl. Amerang: Crotona. p. 22ff.). 11 This has little to do with the structural level of the scientific process that concerns theories and models as well as associated publications and is thereby subject to consequent change, but rather with the social level the scientific community belongs to (cf. Balzer, Wolfgang (2009): Die Wissenschaft und ihre Methoden: Grundsätze einer Wissenschaftstheorie. Ein Lehrbuch. 2., v. überarb. Aufl. München: Karl Alber. p. 11ff.). 12 That e.g. altered states of consciousness – and their active use – are completely healthy conditions and part of natural life not only proves the practice of shamanism, but is also recognized in consciousness research, psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy. There is not one normative state that dominates everything else; rather we can assume a continuum of consciousness with various qualities, depending on framework, needs and intention. See e.g. Scharfetter, Christian (1991): Allgemeine Psychopathologie: Eine Einführung. 3., überarb. Aufl. Stuttgart, New York: Thieme; Vaitl, Dieter et al. (2005): Psychobiology of Altered States of Consciousness. Psychological Bulletin. Vol. 131, No. 1, pp. 98–127).
entanglement has shown that two quanta can be located at a considerable distance from one another in spatial terms and still be “connected”: If one of them changes its spin, its direction, the other one does as well, in real time. Ultimately, experiments in so-called teleportation could prove that the transmission of information without using conventional sensory channels is possible.13 In other words: Material media are not needed for the transmission of pure information at the quantum level. These results should not be taken one to one. But they raise the question of how the transmission of information – and thus perception and insight – really functions. They stimulate innovative, courageous and, above all, interdisciplinary research projects. And they motivate to not only look for one truth, but to examine and understand the manifold facets of natural phenomena in amazement. Spirits represent one of these facets. It has been verified transculturally and over time that spirits are real; furthermore, it has not been proven coherently and scientifically sound that they do not exist.14 For serious research on shamanism, however, this context turns out to be irrelevant. The scientific attitude is crucial. The humanities and social sciences have at least partly begun to understand the human being as a subject, as an active, creative part of the research process. His or her realities – and those of his or her group, respectively – are observed, recorded and described to generate hypotheses instead of merely proving them.15 Apart from its precise instruments, the major strength of the natural sciences lies in the concrete description of physical nature.16 Natural science does not need to concern itself with the question whether spirits are real anyway, it only needs to investigate their existence, effectivity and use. Science is at its best when it concentrates on outlining and understanding different concepts and realities, instead of confirming ideologically justified presuppositions. In other words: Diversity comes before intellectual monoculture.
13 see e.g. Zeilinger, Anton (2000): Quantum teleportation: The science fiction dream of “beaming” objects from place to place is now a reality – at least for particles of light. Scientific American. April 2000. pp. 32–41. 14 see Harner, Michael (2013): Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books. p. 197f. 15 see the approach of the Grounded Theory, e.g. Mey, Günter, Mruck, Katja (eds.) (2011): Grounded Theory Reader. 2., akt. u. erw. Aufl. Wiesbaden: VS. 16 For the relationship between natural science and the humanities, see e.g. Rickert, Heinrich (2013): Kulturwissenschaft und Naturwissenschaft. Berlin: Celtis.
ON THE BASIC QUESTIONS
CONNECTIONS Thus, there is not much in the way of researching shamanism scientifically. Essentially, two premises have to be met: Firstly, human beings must be understood as bio-psycho-socio-spiritual beings, the reality of spirits must be accepted at least as a potentiality. Secondly, there must be a will for critical studies, without ideological dogmas.17 The innermost characteristic of science should be applied, namely exploring the supposedly unknown and trying to attribute meaningfulness also to those aspects that do not appear to conform to the currently valid paradigm at a first glance. Therefore, a phenomenological research position is recommended, according to which different phenomena are understood and described as realities of natural living environments, are respected in their existence, and judgements are avoided.18 In order to generate data on effects and efficiency in a scientifically accurate manner, systematic, controllable and repeatable designs must be created.19 Innovative research projects as well as publications should be a logical consequence.20 The aim of such an approach does not consist in artificially equalizing heteromorphic knowledge systems, or mixing them. On the contrary, each system is coherent in itself and develops a specific power that makes it special, valuable and unique. It also should not be about deriving simple comparisons to legitimate shamanism quasi-scientifically. This would be reductional, too narrowly considered and simply does not work. In fact, the identification of analogies appears to be far more promising. Analogies represent corresponding models of nature, enable translation work, exchange and, ideally, interdisciplinary research or practice cooperations.
17 On the general question whether science follows a rational approach, see Musgrave, Alan (2011): Weltliche Predigten: Essays über Wissenschaft und Philosophie. Tübingen: Mohr Siebec. 18 On phenomenology, see Luft, Sebastian, Overgaard, Søren (Hrsg.) (2012): The Routledge Companion to Phenomenology. London, New York: Routledge. 19 From an empirical perspective, there is nothing to argue against the methodological and systematic use of the technique of shamanic journeying, which has been described in detail and therefore appears repeatable (see Harner, Michael (2013), Appendices A & B, p. 219ff.). 20 A classic of shamanic effectiveness research: Harner, Sandra, Tryon, Warren W. (1996): Psychological and Immunological Responses to Shamanic Journeying with Drumming. Shaman: an international journal for shamanistic research. Vol. 4, Nos. 1 & 2, pp. 89–97. Newer, promising investigations were made among others by Vuckovic, Nancy H. et al. (2007): Feasibility and short-term outcomes of a shamanic treatment for temporomandibular joint disorders. Alternative Therapies. Vol. 13, No. 6., pp. 18–29; or Hove, Michael et al. (2015): Brain Network Reconfiguration and Perceptual Decoupling During an Absorptive State of Consciousness. Cerebral Cortex, 2015, pp. 1–9.
The integration of scientific and shamanic perspectives leads to a dramatically expanded view, has an added value. In concrete terms: If you wanted to describe an animal, from a biological perspective you would record its external appearance, habitat, social behavior, reproduction, evolution etc. From a shamanic perspective, you would contact the animalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spirit to experience its entitative and ecological characteristics. If you want to understand human life, social and health sciences offer significant material on earthly existence, whereas shamanism goes beyond by providing information that precedes birth and transcends physical death. While academic science focuses on material aspects, shamanism is especially concerned with the spiritual. If both are brought together, knowledge can become wisdom, and technical feasibility can be linked with ecologically sustainable actions. The example of indigenous cultures shows that shamanism has significantly contributed to the survival of numerous communities in the long term and under various conditions. It would just be very unwise not to use this resource.
ON THE BASIC QUESTIONS
ANATOL DONKAN Rider of the Skies
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC Illustration for the childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book Florian Featherlight and the Quest for the Magic Pearl
GEISTER UND NATURWISSENSCHAFT
FROM THE SCIENCES WILLIAM S. LYON ANETT C. OELSCHLÄGEL GÜNTHER WIRSCHING JUTTA LESKOVAR KAI GOERLICH
WILLIAM S. LYON Anthropologist
Born in 1941 in San Francisco, US. 1970 Ph.D. in anthropology from University of Kansas. Over 35 years of study of North American Indian shamans and participation in sacred ceremonies with an emphasis on Lakota Sioux and Navajo. Publications: Black Elk: The Sacred Ways of a Lakota, 1990. Encyclopedia of Native American Healing, 1998. Encyclopedia of Native American Shamanism, 1998. Spirit Talkers: North American Indian Medicine Powers, 2012.
FROM THE SCIENCES
WILLIAM S. LYON
SCIENCE AND SPIRITS. TWO MEANS FOR CHANGING REALITY With the recent scientific confirmation from quantum mechanics that matter and consciousness are interrelated in some manner,1 it marks the end of our materialistic view of the universe. It has long been known that core elements of quantum mechanics are neither a wave nor a particle. They simply display both properties. Consequently, physicists usually speak in terms of “states”, where quantum theory describes the physical state of a particle using an abstract state function. This simply means there is absolutely nothing solid at the core of matter. A quantum does not behave like objects in our space-time reality. For instance, since 1927 we have known that it is impossible to take two different measurements simultaneously on a quantum particle, known as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. A stranger characteristic of quantum mechanics is that when two quantum systems interact, they must be viewed as a single system, known as “entanglement”. This entanglement holds even if the interaction took place in the past and the two systems are now a great distance apart. Furthermore, information going between the two systems is instantaneous, that is, faster than the speed of light. From my perspective and others, this recently discovered consciousnessmatter interrelationship stands as the most profound discovery in the entire history of science. We now stand on the threshold of profound shifts in how we understand our reality. For instance, the possibility of the survival of individual consciousness after death does not violate quantum physics, giving credence to the existence of spirits and the soul. Even more profound is the understanding that all that exists manifests from consciousness, indicating the existence of a Creator. My focus has been on better understanding the nature of shamanism and the manifestation of American Indian medicine powers in terms of this new discovery. We now understand that our material reality is not actually solid in the sense it consists of swirling packets of energy that are continually
1 Aspect, Alan (1999): Bell’s Inequality test: more ideal than ever. Nature. Vol. 398, pp. 189-190.
emerging from the quantum level. What causes an event to manifest is governed not by cause and effect, but rather by probabilities. Change the probability of an event happening and you can change the resulting reality. Add to this the human ability of shamans to reach an altered state of consciousness, referred to as the Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC), and you have the necessary ingredients for changing reality. It is important to note that because shamanism is based on the use of human consciousness, it cannot be scientifically proven until someone invents a consciousness meter. I doubt that will ever happen since consciousness appears to be the basic stuff of reality. That means you cannot prove the reality of shamanism by direct scientific inquiry, and are therefore left with only two assumptions. You can assume shamanism is real, or you can assume it is not real. The same holds for the shaman’s helping spirits – either they are real or not real. There are, however, other approaches to confirming the reality of shamanism. One of the best examples has been the phenomenal success Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies has had in training individuals in “core shamanic” techniques. As part of advanced training, students learn the technique of binding, which is historically well known among American Indian shamans. Here I will briefly describe the Lakota Indian technique of binding associated with their yuwipi ceremony. First the shaman’s fingers are tied together behind his back. Then a rope is wrapped around his entire body and knotted shut. Finally, he is covered in a quilt, which is also bound with a rope. The shaman, looking like a mummy, is then placed face down on a bed of sage and all lights in the room are extinguished. At the many yuwipi ceremonies I attended, the shaman began singing when the binding began, and continued until his spirits approached, always soon after the light had been extinguished. The spirits would then release the shaman, throwing the blanket into the lap of the ceremonial participant who had prayed the most intensely. The blanket usually ended up in the lap of the shaman. It is interesting to note, that because the shaman’s helping spirits are compassionate, the tighter you bind the shaman, the more quickly they will release him. Harner’s students have realized the same results with their helping spirits releasing them from their bindings. Given this feat can be repeated on call, it is a bona fide indirect indicator of the existence of spirits.
FROM THE SCIENCES
We also understand that human efforts to change reality via shamanism are always limited. This limit equals the total power of combined human consciousness in a shamanic ritual that can be utilized to make an alternative observation on how reality is manifesting. This alternate observation is most often delivered in the form of prayers and sacred songs when all the ceremonial participants are of one intention and heart. It is important to note that humans have the ability to think with both their head and heart. That is to say, there is a mind mode of operation and a heart mode of operation. Furthermore, there is much more conscious intention in the heart mode. Because we are dealing with the amount of consciousness in an observation, the prayers and songs delivered during ceremony must be heart felt. Also, they must be constant because the ceremony is in the process of generating an alternative observation that becomes successful only when the intended change occurs. That is to say, repetition is paramount to success. In difficult cases the shaman will usually call on his or her helping spirits to help facilitate the needed change in reality. This is usually the case for healing ceremonies that involve the complex human body. The shaman may also call for additional singers to aid in this process. Fortunately, the request to spirits can be given in general terms. One need not name the specific disease or anatomical part that needs healing, only that a healing is needed. Regardless of a shamanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s power and those of his spirit helpers, reality changes are always limited to a local area and usually small in size. When you realize that our entire reality is based in consciousness, the greater the change, the more consciousness input it requires. For that reason, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find shamans moving a mountain to a new location. In fact, there is a built in limit. If a shaman would ever gain the personal power to move a mountain, the shamanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s consciousness would be expanded to the point that he would realize he put the mountain there in the first place, so why move it. Nevertheless, we do have accounts of shamans performing spectacular feats. For instance, among the Cahuilla Indians of California there is an account of a group of shamans stopping a tsunami as it neared Palm Springs 2. This is reminiscent of Moses, who had shamanic powers, parting the Red Sea. If you want, however, to stop global warming by this means, you will need billions of simultaneous prayers going on for a long time.
2 Patencio, Chief Francisco (1943): Stories and Legends of the Palm Indians. Los Angeles: Times-Mirror.
Our most familiar form of change comes from science, which will be significantly transformed by this consciousness-matter discovery. A quantum computer is already in development that will foil hackers. Research is also being conducted on the possibility of teleporting objects. Others are investigating telepathy as a quantum function of the brain. This discovery will usher in scientific inventions beyond our dreams. Of course, the methods of science in making discoveries seem to differ from the methods of shamanism, but that is not altogether the case. Many of the great scientific discoveries have come about through an intuitive realization, one of those “aha” experiences or while in a visionary state of consciousness. In the same manner, shamans enter an SSC to also make new discoveries. The question then becomes, “Can shamans assist scientists in making discoveries?” I believe they can. More realistic is a cooperative effort, especially in regards to healing humans. For instance, shamans are of the understanding that for every human illness there is a plant or combination thereof that will effect a healing. These are the herbalist shamans. Then there are also those shamans who heal via their helping spirits. Therefore, an ideal medical facility would have medical doctors treating patients they know how to cure, while shamans would tend to the healing of patients the physicians are not able to diagnose.
FROM THE SCIENCES
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC Florian Featherlight
ANETT C. OELSCHLÄGEL Ethnologist Since 1995 research on the Tyva in Southern Siberia. 2011 Ph. D. in ethnology from the University of Leipzig. 2005–2013 Max-PlanckInstitute for Ethnological Research in Halle (Saale). Publications: Der Taigageist. Berichte und Geschichten von Menschen und Geistern aus Tuwa. Zeitgenössische Sagen und andere Folkloretexte, 2013. Plural World Interpretations. The case of the South-Siberian Tyvans, 2016.
FROM THE SCIENCES
ANETT C. OELSCHLÄGEL
ANIMATED NATURE. SPIRITS AND ENVIRONMENT AMONG THE TYVA PEOPLE IN SOUTHERN SIBERIA When we utilise the objects which are in our possession then we are certain that these are things which we control. These objects are usually designated for our use. We use them as we please. However, what if this way of seeing things does not apply? If the pot we use for cooking belongs more to a socalled spirit master than it does to us? If we cannot simply use, lend or throw it away without first taking into account the existence and the role of this spirit master? If that is the case, then we are thinking and acting in accordance with a model of interpretation of the world which I call the “model of interaction”1. Among the Tyva people 2 in south Siberia, I have found a model of interaction based on the religious way of thinking in Animism and Shamanism. Everything which exists in the human environment has a soul and is possessed by spirits, so-called spirit masters. People must take the existence of these spirit masters into account. They, the spirits, set the rules on the handling of their belongings, they control the observance of these rules and punish when the rules are broken. Alongside the spirit masters, the world is inhabited by vicious spirits, who can interfere in people’s lives in prankish or malicious ways. Last but not least, people are also exposed to energies and powers which greatly influence their lives. Shamans are the intermediaries between the spirit world and the world of the people. They explain the nature of the spirits and their rules to the people. A stroke of fate can be traced back to a breaking of the rules in relation to the interaction with the spirit world or attack from vicious spirits. The innermost
1 The model of interaction is spread worldwide and exists in many variations. There are secular (worldly) models of interaction as well as numerous religious models of interaction. Furthermore, it should be clear to us that the different models of interaction only exist today in combination and exchange with another global model of world interpretation: the “model of dominance”, which has found its most famous form of expression in the western modern. The model of dominance also has many forms and controls our lives just as the model of interaction can. 2 The Tyva of south Siberia are part of the Turkic ethnic group and are settled in large parts of Tuva, an autonomous republic of the Russian federation as well as other regions.
function of the shaman is to discover the reason for the stroke of fate and initiate measures to remedy and avoid it in the future. NON-HUMAN INTERACTION PARTNERS According to the model of interaction of the Tyva, the world is a network of human and non-human subjects which constantly interact with each other both consciously and non-consciously. This happens also in each everyday action. For many Tyvans, non-human interaction partners or non-human subjects, are (1) all visible components of the environment, including human possessions, and (2) all invisible components such as spirits, which can only be perceived by particularly gifted people. Spirit masters are those spirits which are most strongly included in people’s thinking and actions. They also command the most visible attention in religious actions. The Tyvans call them “ee” singular or “eeler” in plural. That means “to be master over something”. Prominent parts of the landscape, larger bodies of water, springs, holy trees, passes, valleys and mountains all have powerful spirit masters. The spirit masters are given a special ritual place in the form of an ovaa which is used as a place of communication and interaction. With or without an ovaa, the ritual sites stand out from their surroundings. Marking the ritual sites, colourful offertory ribbons flap in the wind on trees and shrubs as visible offerings to the spirit master of the place. If a passerby places a stone on the ovaa or ties an offertory tape to a tree or if people congregate to perform a ritual, depends on the situation. In any event, the passerby is required to spend some time there to greet the spirit master and give it a token of reverence. Usually the visits to ritual sites are associated with a little prayer, a blessing or an invocation and a plea for help. Many Tyvans perform regular rituals in harmony with the wheel of the year. In addition, there are also spontaneous rituals, for instance, when the Tyvans see themselves confronted with a problem which is difficult or impossible to resolve on their own. Examples of such problems are illnesses, misfortunes and disasters, which are brought before powerful spirit masters. This is done in the hope that the spirit masters will intervene positively. Healing springs (aržaan) and sacred trees (ydyktyg yjaš) are especially popular places for the performance of such rituals.
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The healing springs are visited at designated times of the year. The Tyvans use the power of the spring for the recuperation of the sick through direct bodily contact with the water. Before the people utilise the water of the healing spring, they attempt to make contact with the spirit master. In serious cases, the shaman is asked to take over this task of making contact with and speaking to the spirit master. In the course of this dialog, the reasons for the illness are asked as well as the behavioural changes which would be necessary to facilitate healing. Often, incense offerings are carried out with juniper, meat and dairy products. A 54 year old shaman from Kyzyl told this story. “A woman (...) came to me once and asked me to help her: ‘Look, they want to amputate my leg, but the doctor is in Moscow at a conference. I have pain in my leg all the time’ she told me. I considered if I should ask at a shaman tree or a rich tree for power for her. Then it occurred to me to petition the Master of a spring for power for her. I carried out the ritual of ‘blessing the spring’. I built a hearth and stacked wood on it. I placed juniper, clarified butter, milk, tea cream, dry curds, cheese, grain and coarse flour on top of the wood. I sat the woman next to the fire at the spring. During the ritual I sang blessings and asked the Master of the water for help. After a year I met the woman again on the street. I saw that she was very happy. Five or six years have gone by and she still feels good. See here, that’s how the Master of a body of water heals.” Spirit masters do not just live in prominent parts of the landscape. They are also present in everything you can find in the living area of humans, for instance the tent and domestic tools. Even the fire has its own spirit master. Immaterial cultural goods also belong to the domain of these spirits. This includes all forms of talent. Story tellers, singers, painters, stonemasons and craftsmen, shamans and healers, successful hunters and fishermen, the representatives of the many different occupations are dependent upon the grace of the spirit masters. The Tyvans believe that one is not born with a talent or skill, but rather that it is a present from the spirits. It is the spirit masters who decide who receives talents and skills and should put them to use. A person who wishes to acquire a particular talent can try to convince the spirit masters of this talent to transfer it to him. He should, however, prove that he has a sense of responsibility. He should also avoid angering the spirit masters through false behaviour and egoistic ambition.
The spirit masters should be understood as helpful beings that protect but also punish the people. They are a control body that co-determines the behaviour and actions of the people. CONCLUSION The world of the Tyvan people is crammed full of conscious living. When one follows the animistic-shamanistic model of interaction, this world is not dominated by people nor is it unconditionally at their disposal. The world of the Tyva comprises an abundance of both human and non-human subjects. Everything has an influence on human living just as the humans have an influence on their environment. The daily interactions of the pastoral nomads with their environment happen between subjects which bring their own will into play. Mutual consideration and compromises are required. We west Europeans, who no longer consider models of interaction, could learn a lot from the Tyvan model of interaction. That includes respecting and taking care of the things which we handle day in day out. It means, to give consideration to the interests of our natural environment in our actions and behaviour. It also means not to regard our artificial environment as just a collection of lifeless objects which are designated to be used only by us. But rather to appreciate what serves us in everyday life. We should foster respect and attentiveness towards animals, especially those who serve as food for us. Not least, the Tyva people teach us to treat our fellow human beings with care so that we ourselves can lead a happy and fulfilled life.
FROM THE SCIENCES
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC Florian Featherlight
GÜNTHER WIRSCHING Mathematician
Born in 1960 in Würzburg, Germany. Studies in mathematics, physics, and philosophy in Munich, Bonn and Eichstätt. 1990 Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Eichstätt. Author of scientific articles on algebra, number theory, differential equations. Since 2002 extraordinary professor of mathematics at the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. Scientific interests: speech processing, mathematical psychology, models for semantic uncertainty and coping. Shamanic practice since 2012.
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ON MATHEMATICS FOR QUANTUM PHYSICS AND SHAMANIC EXPERIENCE Shamanic healing methods presumably go back several tens of thousands of years. Compared to this, mathematics is a rather young science. Early sources of mathematics date from the third millenium BC. In contrast, quantum physics arose less than one hundred years ago. Up to the nineteenth century, the relation between mathematics and reality was coined by a form of naive realism. Mathematical structures were most commonly seen as “idealizations” of reality, classical Euclidean space being a prominent example. With the emergence
mathematical objects became more abstract, and there is still no completely satisfactory interpretation.1 In general, the quality of a mathematical model can be measured by two criteria: 1. Power of explanation: Which aspects of reality are represented by the
model and what is their importance?
2. Power of prediction: Are there important features of certain developments,
which are correctly predicted by the model?
In this article I describe two mathematical ideas which have been applied in quantum mechanics and which may have a relation to shamanic experience. The first idea, dualism, is manifest in the principle of complementarity of quantum mechanics. The second idea, projection, is connected to the irreversibility of quantum mechanical measuring. DUALITY IN MATHEMATICS I consider the objects of investigation in mathematics as formal objects. On this formal level, it is often possible to observe dualities in the sense that formally
mathematical properties. In many cases, the result is only a limited amount of new knowledge – but in some cases, consideration of duality gives rise to new insights.
1 See Penrose, Roger (1994): Shadows of the Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 237.
An example for the latter is plane projective geometry.2 A projective plane can be constructed from an affine plane by adjoining a “line at infinity” which intersects any other line in exactly one “point at infinity”. At a first glance, these “points at infinity” appear detached from reality. But in the language of set theory, their construction is unspectacular. Now the interesting fact is that the dual structure, obtained from a projective plane by interchanging the set of points and the set of lines, is again a projective plane. Moreover, in many cases the two projective planes are “isomorphic” in the sense that there is a one-one correspondence between points and lines with the property that the two lines corresponding to two points intersect in the point which corresponds to the line connecting the two points. The mathematical interest in this kind of duality rests on Desargues’ theorem: Two triangles are in perspective axially if and only if they are in perspective centrally. In the following I will show that analogies to this duality are found in both quantum physics and shamanic experience. COMPLEMENTARITY IN QUANTUM MECHANICS At a conference in Copenhagen in 1927, Niels Bohr formulated the principle of complementarity in quantum mechanics. In this setting, the particle-wave duality is resolved by explaining that the type of measurement used determines whether a quantum mechanical system appears as wave or particle. In a classical experiment, when coherent light is transmitted through a double-slit, then the diffraction pattern shows wave characteristics. On the other hand, if which-way information is also extracted from the experiment, then the diffraction pattern shows particle characteristics. This particle-wave duality is analoguos to the point-line duality in projective geometry. If you wish to measure both particle coordinates and momentum (or wave length) at the same time, then you have to take into account Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. The product of the two measurement imprecisions cannot fall below the order of Planck’s constant.3 SHAMANIC EXPERIENCE: DUALITY AND COMPLEMENTARITY The starting point of any shamanic experience is the shamanic state of consciousness, abbreviated SSC, which is to be distinguished from the ordinary state of consciousness, abbreviated OSC.4 In the SSC shamanic journeying is possible, you can pose questions to teachers or power animals,5 2 For questions on projective geometry, cf. Artin, Emil (1957): Geometric Algebra. New York: Interscience. 3 Heisenberg, Werner (1927): Z. Phys 43, pp. 172-198. 4 Harner, Michael (1990): The Way of the Shaman. 3rd ed. New York: Harper One. 5 cf. Harner, loc.cit. pp. 73ff.
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and you can take certain decisions. It appears appropriate to view the SSC as complementary to the OSC in the sense that certain information is perceivable in the SSC which is imperceptible in the OSC. There is also something like an uncertainty principle: the main part of attentiveness can be either in the OSC, or in the SSC, but not in both simultaneously. Taking the natural analogy to projective geometry, the OSC focusses attention on “points”, whereas the SSC focusses attention on “lines”. PROJECTION AND ENTANGLEMENT In the mathematical model, the state of a quantum mechanical system is described by a wave function, which is a solution of Schrödinger’s equation.6 In this setting, the state space can be viewed as an infinite-dimensional vector space and, for each given time, the wave function marks a point on the “sphere” in this vector space. The solutions of Schrödinger’s equation are determined by initial conditions. Moreover, a wave function is reversible in time – as far as no measurement occurs. Now the idea is that any measurement corresponds to projecting the wave function onto a subspace of the state space.7 In general, such a projection is not reversible, which corresponds to the irreversibility of quantum mechanical measuring processes. In addition, a projection introduces new initial conditions for further developments.8 A further quantum physical idea is quantum entanglement, which means in certain situations that groups of quantum particles must be treated as a whole. After mathematical elaboration this view leads to correct predictions in the spectral analysis of atoms and molecules.9 THE REALISATION PROBLEM OF QUANTUM MECHANICS Irreversibility of quantum mechanical measurements raises a difficult problem.10 When, precisely, is a quantum mechanical system subject to a projection? Whenever “somebody” sets out to “measure” something? It appears that a collapse or “realisation” of a quantum system could be related to intentions, actions, or consciousness. Anyway, a realisation via projection poses new initial conditions for Schrödinger’s equation. Therefore it has a strong effect on future development of the projected quantum mechanical system.
6 Schrödinger, Erwin (1926): Phys. Rev. 28 (6). pp. 1049-1070. 7 This is to be understood in the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. 8 Here considerations of quantum decoherence seem to be more appropriate than the Copenhagen interpretation. 9 cf. van der Waerden, Bertel L. (1974): Group Theory and Quantum Mechanics. Chap. V and VI. Heidelberg: Springer. 10 cf. Penrose, loc.cit., Chap. 6.
SHAMANIC MERGING AND FOCUSING There are some structural patterns in shamanic healing rituals which occur consistently. I select three of them: 1. The shamanic practitioner focuses her or his consciousness on some
question or on some situation which she or he perceives to be problematic.
2. The shamanic practitioner merges with one of her or his allies, and
perceives her or his interactions with the environment in a way that the
ally would do. This could correspond to quantum entanglement.
However, it is not clear what sort of particles are entangled here, and
how this is related to the shamanic practitionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s consciousness.
3. The shamanic practitioner puts something in order, which possibly
initiates a healing process. This parallels realisation of a quantum
system, which also influences the future development of the system.
SUMMARY In this text I have tried to connect two mathematical ideas, which play an important role in quantum physics, to shamanic experience. This is primarily aimed at the power of explanation, where some success can be attested. Concerning predictive power, investigation of shamanic experience shows some specific difficulties. Observations in the SSC are essentially subjective, and attempts for recording objective or inter-subjective observation apparently are bound to give limited results. A peculiar difficulty arises from the fact that, according to experience, observations made in the SSC can integrate information which is not observable in the OSC. For instance, if an investigator makes a prediction, it is impossible to exclude an unknown interaction between the prediction and the events which actually happen. It could occur that a prediction comes true, just because it has been made â&#x20AC;&#x201C; or it turns out to be false, just because it has been made. These factors aggravate scientific investigations, but they don't completely eliminate the possibility of scientific approaches.
FROM THE SCIENCES
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC Florian Featherlight
JUTTA LESKOVAR Archaeologist
Born in 1972 in Linz, Austria. Ph.D. in Heritage Studies from the Bangor University, Wales. Work as pre-historian for the Upper Austrian State Museum since 2001. Member of the Faculty of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe. Analyses the intersections between archaeology and spirituality through various scientific projects. Publications: KĂ¤mpfen um die Kelten. ArchĂ¤ologische Argumente in der neuheidnischen Literatur und der Keltenbegriff in der Fachliteratur, 2012.
FROM THE SCIENCES
ARCHAEOLOGY AND SHAMANISM. THOUGHTS ABOUT TWO WORLDS INTERSECTING LIMITS OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL METHODS Archaeology faces methodological problems when trying to determine how long shamanism has existed, because of the long periods of time the discipline covers and the limited sources it has to rely on. The archaeology of prehistory deals with finds in various contexts, such as graves, settlements, and deposits, as well as places that were used for other purposes. In (Central) Europe, prehistory is understood as the period from the beginning of the development of mankind until the birth of Christ, or rather the beginning of the Roman period (15 BC in Austria), which is clearly an enormous period of time. As far as the issue of shamanism is concerned, the time frame since the emergence of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) around 40,000 BC is especially interesting. For the most part of these thousands of years, human life differed profoundly from the life we are used to today: Between around 40,000 BC and 6,000 BC, the appropriative and nomadic lifestyle dominated in the Palaeolithic. Small groups of people were seasonally mobile in huge areas, while making a living through hunting and gathering. Naturally, this form of human existence leaves few traces â&#x20AC;&#x201C; both shortly after this time as well as from an archaeological perspective after several thousands of years. Therefore, even though we are left with fewer sources from the Palaeolithic than from the substantially shorter Neolithic periods starting at around 6,000 BC, the fragmented nature of archaeological sources makes it hard to draw a complete picture of human (everyday) life in prehistoric times. Information on economic systems, society, uses of objects and sites is mainly available only through written sources, if available at all. This especially applies to the reconstruction of religious or spiritual practices. However, there are no prehistoric written sources, with the exception of the latest phases of the Iron Age. These circumstances must be kept in mind, even if archaeological research has tried to connect individual phenomena (findings, objects) with spiritual world views, for example shamanism. The meaning of cave paintings, statuettes, masks, tools and amulets may not be directly accessible to research, but linking it with prehistoric shamanism can yield interesting information,
based on an analogy to recent or historically known shamanic cultures.1 It is every academically and methodologically trained archaeologist’s duty to express this approach as a valid possibility with the necessary caution. THE POTENTIAL OF SHAMANISM AND ARCHAEOLOGY Archaeology cannot help shamanism find an answer to the essential question of its age. However, it could work the other way around – shamanism may be able to help archaeology, though this may involve some difficulties, such as the general acceptance of shamanism. For shamanic practitioners, their activity is a method to obtain information. People who are not acquainted with practical shamanism, understandably enough, doubt the relevance of this information. In contrast to many other regions of the world, the Western world does not have its own shamanic tradition that it could use to unite scientific and shamanic world views. However, examples such as the Tyva in Southern Siberia are living proof that these difficulties can be overcome.2 People who are part of this traditional shamanic culture tend to have fewer problems with considering shamanic practices as helpful tools for problem solving processes while also integrating methods and convictions of the modern scientific (Western) world.3 Humans seem to be perfectly capable of applying supposedly contradictory world views and methods depending on the situation, also parallel to other similar problems.4 This observation might have an inspiring effect when trying to use shamanic methods to find answers to archaeological problems. As has been previously stated, one of the biggest issues of interpreting the archaeological record is the absence of written sources. Not only is this an issue when trying to reconstruct social structures, gender relations, cultural contacts or exchange systems, as well as individual lives, but it also affects the religious/spiritual sector. Not even the use and interpretation of archaeologically investigated sites is always clear from the start. Even if features like enclosures or remains of buildings, and extensive archaeological finds are available, it does not necessarily point to a single interpretation as
Thomas A. Dowson, Martin Porr (2001): Special objects – special creatures: Shamanistic imagery and the Aurignacien art of south-west Germany. In: Neil S. Price (ed.): The Archaeology of Shamanism. London: Routledge. pp. 165–177; Martin Street, Markus Wild (2014): Schamanen vor 11000 Jahren? In: LVR Bonn: Eiszeitjäger. Leben im Paradies. Europa vor 15000 Jahren. Begleitbuch zur Ausstellung. LVR: Bonn. pp. 274–287.
2 Anett C. Oelschlägel (2013): Plurale Weltinterpretationen. Das Beispiel der Tyva Südsibiriens. Fürstenberg/Havel: SEC. 3 See Oelschlägl in this volume. 4 The human ability to unite world views that are fundamentally different from one another, albeit in strictly separated areas of life, can be seen in the existence of natural scientists who are also devout Catholics.
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a place used for dwelling, feasting, working, burial rites or religious practices. Shamanic divination may be able to produce information regarding probable variants of interpretation. Excavation results could be re-evaluated in light of new information, which in some cases could even be validated scientifically. The same procedure could apply to objects whose exact use is unknown. Shamanic work might provide ideas for interpretations which could extend the range of possibilities, even though they cannot be verified by scientific methods. However, archaeology can verify indications that have been discovered through shamanic practices regarding formerly unknown sites. The existence of relevant features and objects can be verified by excavation, if the necessary (financial) resources are available. In conclusion, there are two concrete variants of archaeological questions: those that can be verified by using traditional archaeological methods based on indications that were discovered through shamanic techniques and those that cannot be validated, either because evidence is missing or they do not have the potential to yield relevant information for a reinterpretation from a scientific point of view. The fact that the information obtained through shamanic techniques cannot be immediately verified does not make it less valuable, for a new site or find in the near or distant future could suddenly pave the way for a concrete interpretation. It is very unlikely that the possibility to connect archaeology and shamanism will be seized upon intensively and extensively. Academic structures are subject to obvious and subtle rules that do not include shamanic techniques for finding ways of archaeological interpretation at the moment. Therefore, archaeologists who still opt for this method may be faced with criticism by their scientific community which might, in individual cases, influence opinions about academic integrity, although the demand for a scientific verification of possible interpretations has clearly been formulated. During a particular phase of August KekulĂŠâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life that was characterized by a scientific problem, he allegedly had a dream about a snake biting its own tail. Shortly afterwards, he formulated the circular structure of benzene which withstands scientific verification until today. For this reason, let us counter this understandable scepticism by considering what experimental archaeologists might say: Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth a try!
KAI GOERLICH Futurist
Born in 1961 near Hannover, Germany. Studied biology at Julius-MaximiliansUniversitĂ¤t WĂźrzburg. Work as a trend and future analyst for a global IT company. Member of the Faculty of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe. Uses the synergies between classical science and shamanism for his professional work, creativity and personal development.
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HOW MODERN FUTUROLOGY AND ANCIENT ORACLES SEE (INTO) THE FUTURE Trend research and futurology appear to be closely connected to ancient oracles. Predicting the future is difficult and sometimes even risky, which is why precise and successful predictions always seem to have a magical quality.1 Developing a sense for the future, for instance to predict seasons and natural events, had an enormous evolutionary advantage. We know from neurobiology that our brain is able to recognize patterns and correlations very quickly, albeit not always in the necessary quality. When we think, we often choose abbreviations unconsciously and are quick to give evaluations such as culturally shaped assumptions 2. In Western cultures, for example, we view the past as behind and the future as ahead of us 3,4, while time does not exist in the dreamtime of the Aborigines, just like in the tradition of the Hopi and in Hinduism. The Maya people saw time as cyclical. MODERN FUTUROLOGY Given our limited thinking and systems that are complex and difficult to analyze, how do we make a valid conclusion about the future? Modern futurology is developing so-called scenarios 5,6 that describe possible futures (there are always several) and the pathways that lead to them. First, key factors are collected that may play an important role in a given question (e.g. “global risks” and “nutrition”). Then, these factors are rated according to their assumed impact and checked for plausibility. In a final step, several futures are created with distinct characteristics. In addition, several creative techniques are used, such as roadmapping that designs an ideal future and describes the way to this future. Design Thinking makes it possible to retrieve and bundle the knowledge and creativity of a group to obtain new ideas.
1 Kunstler, Barton (2008): The ancient oracles still speak. In: Wagner, Cynthia G. (ed.): Seeing the future through new eyes. Bethesda: World Future Society. 2 Kahnemann, Daniel (2011): Thinking fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 3 Slezak, Michael (2013): Saving time: Physics killed it. Do we need it back? New Scientist. Nov. Issue. 4 Spinney, Laura (2015): The time illusion: How your brain creates now. New Scientist. Jan. Issue. 5 Shell (2016): Shell Scenarios. http://www.shell.com/energy-and-innovation/the-energy-future/ scenarios/new-lenses-on-the-future/earlier-scenarios.html; 21.05.2016. 6 Fink, Alexander, Schlake, Oliver, Siebe, Andreas (2001): Erfolg durch Szenario-Management: Prinzip und Werkzeuge der strategischen Vorausschau. Frankfurt/M.: Campus Verlag.
ANCIENT AND SHAMANIC FUTUROLOGY Ancient traditions used various divination techniques 7. The Hittite cultures used oracle boards 8, observed the flight of birds and performed extispicy, as did the Romans 9,10. We have heard of the legendary Oracle of Delphi 11 of ancient Greece and the seeress Vileda and rune oracles in ancient Germania. We still find contemporary shamanic oracles with animal bones12 (Ditaloa) and divination boards13 in South Africa and a poison oracle using chickens with the Azande in Central Africa14. The Yoruba 15, 16 in Nigeria read the future by throwing cowrie shells and the Lakota read signs on specific stones. The Tuvinians still use a stone oracle and perform scapulimancy 17. The prophecy of the Oracle of Delphi was executed by the seeress Pythia in an altered state of consciousness, supported by psychoactive substances. The oracle’s authority was Apollo as the divine wisdom who talked through Pythia, surely not without a pragmatic, human influence. As we can deduce from answers that were recorded, the oracle was a mixture of wisdom, prophecy, political conflict management and counseling. The Tuvinian stone oracle18 is questioned publicly for all important decisions, often in the case of upcoming journeys or lost cattle, questions that are of high relevance to a nomadic culture. The basis of the oracle are 41 pea-sized, selected stones whose wisdom provides answers to the questions. The divination expert blows the question into the stones and lays them out on 3 x 3 fields, according to a small number of rules. The fields form a grid for the dimensions starting position, processes and outcomes as well as past, present and future. The respective aspects of these dimensions are then combined to an overall statement. In this respect, the Tuvinian oracle is similar to the creative technique 7 Curry, Patrick (2010): Divination – Perspectives for a new millennium. Farnham: Ashgate. 8 Haas, Volker (2008): Hethitische Orakel, Vorzeichen und Abwehrstrategien. Berlin: de Gruyter. 9 Annus, Amar (2010): Magic and divination in the Ancient World. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. 10 Wildfang, Robin L. (2000): Divination and portents in the Roman world. Odense: Odense Univ. Press. 1 1 Fontenrose, Joseph (1978): The Delphic Oracle. Oakland: Univ. of California Press; Raphals, Lisa (2014): Divination and Prediction in Early China and Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. 12 Makgopa, Mokgale, Koma, Magaelane (2009): The Use Of Ditaola (Divination Bones) among indigenous healers in Sekhukhune District, Limpopo Province. Indilinga. Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 51-58. 13 Binsbergen, Wim van (1996): Regional and historical connections of four-tablet divination in Southern Africa. Journal of Religion in Africa. Vol. XXVI, No. 1. pp. 3-29. 14 Evans-Pritchard, Edward E. (1973): Consulting the poison oracle among the Azande. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. 15 Okey Onongha, Kelvin (2014): Towards a Missiological Model for Worldview Transformation among Adherents to African Traditional Religion in Yorubaland. digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/ viewcontent.cgi?article=1118&context=dissertations; 21.05.2016. 16 Bascom, William (1978): Sixteen Cowries: Yoruba Divination from Africa to the New World. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press. 17 Oelschlägel, Anett C. (2005): Deutung und Wahrheit. Zwei Divinationspraktiken bei den Tyva im Süden Sibiriens. http://plural-world-interpretations.org/oelschlaegel2005fsetdeutungundwahrheit. pdf; 21.05.2016. 18 Ibid.
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roadmapping, as it describes a pathway from the present into a specific future. The difference is that the Tuvinian oracle is significantly older and that spirits form the basis of insight in the Tuvinian shamanic system. When looking at the various methods of divination, we can basically distinguish between two approaches. In techniques such as the Oracle of Delphi, the future is predicted by a specific person who has a vision through a unification with the divine. A second method is to read the future by looking at patterns in nature. In the shamanic tradition, stones, shells, bones etc. are animated parts of the nature that make it possible to access a greater wisdom that is usually outside of human perception. COMPARING THE TRADITIONS While oracles receive their legitimation from a non-human sphere, contemporary future techniques are based on expert knowledge. Oracles use altered states of consciousness, immersion and intuition, while modern methods are mostly based on mental techniques. While oracles make predictions about whether a certain future can be achieved, modern methods offer alternative futures, including deductions but without a testimony, whether and which future can be achieved. In modern futurology, radical scenarios are usually avoided, as they are regarded as “plausible but rather improbable”, while ancient oracles are famous for statements lying beyond the realms of plausibility. SHAMANIC TECHNIQUES AND MODERN FUTUROLOGY Shamanic techniques are specially characterized by their use of altered states of consciousness and contact to spirits as the source of knowledge. This stands in contrast to modern futurology which is based on expert knowledge and empirical findings. The informational value of modern futurology will always be somewhat limited, as the complexity of the factors and systems involved only accepts alternative futures as answers. Therefore, we can either live with this uncertainty or use shamanism as an additional source for insights. In modern times, we often fail to look at the world from several perspectives, which reduces the quality and quantity of potential answers. Shamanic perspectives and techniques can help train cognitive dissonance and allow plural world views19. Thinking in systems, considering a wider context, involving ethics, respecting nature and considering longer periods of time are strengths of shamanic cultures that we should integrate, given our challenges to create a more sustainable future. We will not find ancient oracle techniques in the construction kit of modern methods of futurology and we certainly do not intend to. But we may conclude that shamanic techniques and modern futurology not only have contact points but can enrich one another. It might be worth it. 19 Oelschlägel, Anett C. (2013): Plurale Weltinterpretationen. Das Beispiel der Tyva Südsibiriens. Fürstenberg/Havel: SEC.
ANATOL DONKAN Tree of Life
FROM PRACTICE AND ART THOMAS SCHMITT ANATOL DONKAN ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC ANDREAS J. HIRSCH
THOMAS SCHMITT Medical practitioner
General practitioner, palliative medicine, psycho-oncology, pain management. Chair of Gruppe 94 – a non-profit organization for counseling and support for patients with a cancer-diagnosis. 2007 founding of a medicalschamanic outpatient clinic in Vienna. Work for practical application of „integrative medicine“ as salutogenesis, focusing on factors supporting human health and wellbeing, through interdisciplinary collaboration, spiritual pilgrimages etc.
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A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HUMAN BEINGS. THE MEDICAL-SHAMANIC OUTPATIENT CLINIC OF VIENNA Since 2007, there has been a medical-shamanic outpatient clinic in Vienna offered by the Gruppe 94 1. It aims at implementing a holistic approach in the treatment of people with diagnosis “cancer”. WHO OR WHAT HEALS? There have been arguments over the question “Who heals?” for a long time. My personal approach is as follows: “It is not medicine, but the human being who heals himself”. If we take this sentence to be true, it means that we can help the patient as companions, in many different ways. Our goal should be to activate and strengthen the patient’s self-healing powers again and provide him with the time he needs to heal. However, this also implies that the disease not only affects the body, but the person as a whole. Therefore, it is the doctor’s role to accompany the patient on several levels: on a physical, mental, social and spiritual level. This corresponds with the WHO recommendations on health.2 This task is too large for one person alone, which is why there is a need for an interdisciplinary cooperation with the goal of helping the sick find their own way to health. Each individual has the right to determine the building blocks he or she needs to regain health. This may sound simple and clear, but it is a difficult balancing act for the affected person, his or her relatives and the professional companions with respect to the decisions to be made. For the patient, there is no knowledge of the right building blocks to regain his or her health. Neither is there security when it comes to reaching their goal. In this way, individuals who are affected by severe illness come to a point where they reflect on themselves, their life and their death. They are often faced with a central question: “What are my self-healing powers?” Those who engage themselves with this topic will soon discover that self-healing powers are not only dependent on self-determination and influenced by aspects
See http://www.gruppe94.at/; 04.04.2016.
cf. http://www.bmg.gv.at/home/Gesundheit_und_Gesundheitsfoerderung#f0/; 04.04.2016.
relevant to one’s lifestyle such as relaxation, joy for life, a healthy diet and physical activity, but also on external factors. Our worldview is determined from the outside. Our social network, families, partners, friends and communities have a strong impact on self-healing powers and define our survival time and life quality – just like values that no one can measure, such as love, trust, hope and confidence. In this context, one’s own belief also plays a large role. The essence of shamanism lies in working with power that is used to heal, whereby “healing” is not limited to the person’s physicality and mental state but goes much further by transcending temporal and spatial limitations. Today, the term “spirituality” is often used to describe this area. US anthropologist Michael Harner has carved out the core elements of shamanism. According to his definition, a shaman is a person who uses an altered state of consciousness to journey into non-ordinary reality where he co-operates with helpers / helping spirits and is helpful / works miracles.3 This draws a line between shamanism and religion and makes it possible to employ the former as a personalized therapy. This holistic constitution of shamanism can help the patient expand his or her own worldview. It grants each person the opportunity to become active himself / herself and be in charge of the path to their own health. This individual approach has proven to open new doors for patients in the medical-shamanic outpatient clinic. THE MEDICAL-SHAMANIC OUTPATIENT CLINIC We can make out two large groups of people who have visited the outpatient clinic so far. One of these consisted of people who had already had previous experiences with shamanism and were looking for a confirmation or reinforcement of their path again. They had often been discouraged and confused by family members or partners, but also by doctors. Fears were fuelled and threatening scenarios presented. The other group comprised those who were open to shamanic work but had not had any kind of experience with spirituality and did not identify with any religion. However, they felt that they were missing something. The active and “official” consideration of spiritual aspects through physicians and practitioners of the medicalshamanic outpatient clinic is helpful for people who are severely ill. In 1958, Alice Morawitz-Cadio observed in her book “Spiritual Psychology” on this subject: “His [the person’s; note of the author] soul is of a dual nature
3 Michael Harner (1996): Shamanic healing: we are not alone. Interview by Bonnie Horrigan. Alternative Therapies. Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 69-75.
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where two worlds meet, the temporal and the eternal, he is a product of two worlds. It is impossible to comprehend human nature in its entirety if you only look at its worldly part; […]”4 The medical-shamanic outpatient clinic usually takes two hours. In the first hour, a doctor and a shamanic practitioner create a current image of the patient’s situation together with the patient. The aim is to capture the person’s way to health. For this purpose, various perspectives – medical, psychological, social aspects of the patient, his or her life story, own beliefs, etc. – are taken into consideration. At the end of the hour, a critical summary with suggestions is provided to strengthen the path in various areas such as medicine, psyche and social issues. Before the shamanic intervention, the patient decides whether enough trust has been established to work with the shamanic practitioner. If there is trust, the shamanic intervention takes place. The outpatient clinic ends with a short concluding discussion. The described session in the outpatient clinic is free of charge. If the patient expresses a wish for further sessions, the patient and the shamanic practitioner negotiate further steps. EFFECTIVE AND SUSTAINABLE The first 50 patients of the outpatient clinic were scientifically monitored.5 The patients were questioned by means of two questionnaires 6 and an interview before and after visiting the outpatient clinic. In addition, sustainability was checked after three months. Immediately following the shamanic intervention, all 50 patients indicated improved sentiment, a feeling of peace and alertness. Overall, the result was a highly significant one. Although no significance could be observed in a variance analysis within the framework of a written catamnesis after three months7, 31 out of 40 patients stated that their experience with the medical-shamanic outpatient clinic changed the way they deal with their illness.
4 Alice Morawitz-Cadio (1958): Spirituelle Psychologie. Wien: Amandus. p. 57; transl. AMH. 5 Pohler, Gerald, Schmitt, Thomas, Uccusic, Paul (2009): Die Ärztlich-Schamanische Ambulanz in Wien: Erste Erfahrungsberichte. promed komplementär. Nr. 02/2009, pp. 26-29. 6 Steyer et al. (1997): Mehrdimensionaler Befindlichkeitsfragebogen. Göttingen: Hogrefe; Lohaus und Schmitt (1989): Fragebogen zur Erhebung der Kontrollüberzeugungen zu Krankheit und Gesundheit. Göttingen: Hogrefe. 7
The sample comprised 50 individuals; after three months, 4 of these patients had died, of 6 patients no written catamnesis was available.
At an individual level, there were several specific experiences, from pain that was healed via long distance to unexpected progressions of the disease. Until today, roughly 400 outpatient clinics were performed. Almost one third of all patients continued to seek shamanic interventions and one third used the broad complementary services of the Gruppe 948. As a palliative physician, I regularly experience the phenomenon that patients who were about to die in a hospital face a phase of physical recovery once they are brought home. Oftentimes, this results in an extension of their lifetime to a few more weeks. This phenomenon is caused by the strength patients experience from â&#x20AC;&#x153;being at homeâ&#x20AC;? that helps him or her recover physically. The success at the medical-shamanic outpatient clinic can be understood in a similar way: By including shamanic reality, through the influence of spiritual principles, human forces are released that strengthen hope, trust and confidence. This can do a lot, and it can even lead to miracles.
See http://www.gruppe94.at/; 04.04.2016.
FROM PRACTICE AND ART
ANATOL DONKAN Buchu, Wind of Freedom
ANATOL DONKAN Artist
Born in 1955 in Tunguska, Siberia, Russia. Member of the indigenous people of the Nanai on the banks of the river Amur in Eastern Siberia. 1975 helmsman for fishing fleet. Artistic work to revive the tradition of tanning fish leather and of wooden “effigies” sculptures in the tradition of the Nanai shamans. 1992 diploma from University of Khabarovsk, Russia – research topic: shamanic cult figures at the Amur. 2007 foundation – with Mareile Onodera – of Amur Art Museum in Viechtach in the Bavarian Forest, Germany.
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THE ARTIST ANATOL DONKAN IN CONVERSATION WITH ROLAND URBAN
WE NEED TO FEED THEM – ON EFFIGIES, ART AND THE NANAI PEOPLE1 WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR PEOPLE, THE NANAI? Alright, so I was born by the Amur, the city is called Tunguska. In my time, all children were sent to homes. The Sovjets thought that the Nanai were not good for the Sovjet idea. I myself lived in three different children’s homes for a total of 15 years. The other Nanai children were there too. Other than that, I only saw Nanai people when I was out with my uncle, for example. Or when parents of the other children came. I myself didn’t have any parents. My passport says: “Russian citizen, nationality Nanai”. After living in the homes, I completed a marine training in the fishing fleet and then studied for the second time – art. I had known about art before, had always done practical work, painted, built. But art studies were not possible before perestroika. Moreover, people said that it wasn’t a job. Fortunately, there was a scientific centre for Geography in Wladiwostok. And there worked an older man, Nikolai Batanowitsch Kielje, also Nanai. I told him that I was in search of knowlege about the Nanai. And he said: “Why? No one is interested in us.” I met several Nanai at that time. A woman said to me: “Donkan, you are our relative.” That was the first time that someone had said something like that to me. I told her that I was especially interested in figures and fish leather. I asked her if she knew anything about that. “Yes – normally, that is a forbidden subject. But many of us still have figures, especially the elderly.” I went back to Nikolai Batanowitsch Kielje with this information. He taught me the history and the culture of the Nanai. I created figures and displayed them. Russian science supported me, however, they said I had to also make art – claimed that the figures were religious objects, not art. I answered a little rebelliously: “For me, that’s art, not for you.” For me, the figures are part of a religion. They belong to spiritual culture. But no one wanted to make such figures. People said: “Shamans do that”. But
1 The Nanai, an ethnic group that speaks a Manchu-Tungus language, live in the area of the Amur river in the southeast of Russia and the northeast of China. The river and fishing are of great cultural importance. Their main food source was fish, but they were also hunters. Shamanism had a high relevance in the tradition of the Nanai. (cf. Hoppál, Mihály (2002): Das Buch der Schamanen: Europa und Asien. München: Ullstein. p. 82f.; Bulgakova, Tatiana (2013): Nanai Shamanic Culture in Indigenous Discourse. Fürstenberg/Havel: Kulturstiftung Sibirien. p. 9).
there were no shamans anymore. Nikolai Batanowitsch was no shaman. But he knew what he was doing, was an expert. When I made a figure for the first time, I found out: “Uh – we have to feed it. And pet it.” I found it out on my own. And then Nikolai Batanowitsch explained to me what I was actually doing. WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN THESE FIGURES? Actually, small sculptures lead me to the effigies. There are different amulets with interesting proportions. Someone explained to me: “That is not only aesthetics, this figure has its purpose, it is made for something specific”. And then I saw a large figure for the first time, in Kandon. And I said “I want to make these large figures, not the small ones.” I had a very strong feeling at that moment – I want to do that, exactly that. This unrest almost drove me. I went to museums, looked at figures and thought “Ah, this figure is from there, this figure was made by this guy, this one from that.” I see a figure – and I see the story. THE FIGURES ARE PART OF THE SPIRITUAL CULTURE OF THE NANAI. WHAT IS THEIR CONCRETE SIGNIFICANCE? Well, there are different kinds of figures. There are soft figures made of grass or turf. Then there are hard figures made of wood. Once, there were also sacred bronze figures, small figurines. In the old days everyone used to have one or two wooden figures at home, so-called “Grandpas” and “Grandmas”. They are household spirits – in human form, with a simple body and blue eyes. People reckon that blue-eyed spirits were very strong because they were connected to the cosmos. The figures were fed by the homeowner. He spoke with them and pet them. And then he said “Grandpa, let’s make a Grandma for you. You are so alone.” These figures were treated like members of the family. They still exist today. When I ask someone, “Do you have a figure at home?”, then I hear “Yes, somewhere. Oh, he is very dusty. And I have to feed him, too.” There are also figures of good luck. They were used when there was lightning or rain. Then, there are family figures. Each family had their own totem animal that protects them – like a tiger, a bear, a leopard or a sturgeon. And then there are also shaman figures. Great shamans were travellers. The shaman went to a place where he had to carry out a certain task. For instance, he had to help if there was an unfulfilled wish for children or do something for people who were dying or the dead. There was a ceremony for people who
FROM PRACTICE AND ART
wanted to have children – and then they had a child. When people died, their souls were invited, the shaman shaped a figure; the soul was installed in the figure, accompanied by a ceremony. And then the shaman took the soul again and brought it to a certain place. And he also made figures for the sick – different ones, depending on the sickness. Human beings have a soul, the sickness also has a soul. And the soul of the sickness entered into the human being. The shaman took the sickness’ soul and installed it in a figure. And he said “Stay here. I will give you cigarettes and food.” And then he turned to the patient and said “There, now you can breathe deeply.” The patient who had been ill may have still been weak, but he was healthy again because the shaman had removed the sickness. And when he felt well again, it was asked “Where is the food?”. The people had already prepared everything. The figures for the souls of sicknesses have different shapes. Before the soul of a sickness was even installed in the figure, the shaman fed the figure to lure the soul into it. He said: “Look, all is good here.” And then the soul entered the figure. And he said “See, I told you all was good here. Do you like your little house? We can smoke and drink. Now you are drunk. Now you leave.” and then he took the figure and put it into the cupboard. The Nanai used to have a locked cupboard at home where this figure was placed. People did not take the figures out but the shaman could open the cupboard and see right away what was happening. If the sickness had come back – or if another shaman had come. Then he said “Ah – he has already …”. And the patient told him what the other shaman had said. Then the shaman replied: “Ah, he did it right. But we will do something else too.” And he repeated the process, for example. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE NANAI TODAY, COMPARED WITH THE HISTORICAL NANAI? WHAT ABOUT SHAMANS? ARE EFFIGIES STILL USED? When Russia opened its gates, the tourists came. And the Russians from the tourist industry said to the Nanai: “Could you make little sculptures? Amulets or something similar?” As a tourist attraction. And many people said: “Alright, I can do that, like a bear’s hand, for example.” Veterans thought they could earn money this way. You could see veterans with all their medals and a small drum. They drummed and sang. No shaman’s songs, but travelling songs to entertain visitors – sort of like this: “We have guests and will give them a little bit of shamanism.” And the people paid. I would say that these people used shamanism for their own purposes. Back then – during perestroika – shamans did not dare to say “I’m a shaman”.
I know that the Nanai were aware of and experienced the powers of the figures. I spoke with a female author once who said: “We had a shaman in our family. He died and left many figures behind. We threw them into the river Amur.” I asked: “Why?” and she answered: “The figures carry unrest.” People were afraid of harm. Just like Alexander. He experienced misfortune in his childhood. In the village where he lived, there was a sacred mountain. Alexander’s father had a construction company and he said: “We use the stones from this mountain to build houses.” The other Nanai said: “No, you are not allowed to do that.” The construction team took the stones anyway. And all of them had an accident. Later on, Alexander made impressive figures. But then there was another misfortune: He stabbed his brother. Of course, the people said: “We told you. You made this figure – and now the damage is done.” Yes, there are such unbelievable stories. People do not make proper figures like back then – during the time of the shamans – anymore, that’s what I think, at least. There are figures from the Sovjet period in our museum, when they were forbidden. Among other things, we have figures made by female shamans, also by great shamans, male or female. Female shamans are very reserved. For example, they say: “Come, let us shamanize a bit.” They don’t do that for tourists, but for themselves. VERY FEW EUROPEANS ARE INVOLVED IN SHAMANISM. WHAT EFFECT DO THE EFFIGIES HAVE ON THE PEOPLE HERE? When people see my work, they go to a certain figure straight away. And then they look at it and contact it. And they say “Donkan, can you tell me what that is?”. And I say “This figure is a bear or this figure is that, etc.” And they ask: “Can I buy this figure?” And I answer: “Do you want to?” When a person makes a figure herself or himself, it is physically exhausting. But in the end, when it is finished in its physical form, the person sees their figure. Some people do not believe that they did that themselves. They are closely connected with the figure and do not see it as a work of art – they see it as something that is alive. They immediately know that they have to feed it. Or smoke together. And tell a story. Yes, I have experienced that many times.
FROM PRACTICE AND ART
ANATOL DONKAN Bearspirit with Fishcreature
ANATOL DONKAN EFFIGIES IN THE TRADITION OF THE NANAI The artist Anatol Donkan creates wooden sculptures in the tradition of his Siberian ancestors. These effigies are part of the spiritual culture of the Nanai, whose revival and conservation he is dedicated to. Donkan puts an emphasis on the function of those sculptures as spiritual objects over artistic aspects of their design and their aesthetic value. The tradition of the Nanai contains figures in human form, representing ancestors, as well as animal figures that provide protection and shamanic figures. Such shamanic figures are usually made for a specific shamanic healing work for people or the souls of the deceased.
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ANATOL DONKAN Snake-Bear
ANATOL DONKAN Rider of the Bear
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ANATOL DONKAN Adecha, Protective Figure
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC Painter, illustrator
Born in 1969 in Vienna, Austria. 1997 diploma in architecture, Technical University Vienna. 1992 to 1993 sculpture with Michelangelo Pistoletto, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Illustrated the German language editions of “Shamanic Stories from Tuva”, 2011, and “Shamanic Songs from Tuva”, 2013, by Prof. Mongusch B. Kenin-Lopsan. Numerous solo exhibitions including Ethnographic Museum, Vienna, 2012, Ethnographic Museum, Warszaw, 2011. 2015 children’s book “Florian Featherlight”.
FROM PRACTICE AND ART
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC – ANDREAS J. HIRSCH
WHAT IS THIS THING ABOUT THE MAGIC PEARL? THE STORY OF A HEALING In the children’s book “Florian Featherlight and the Quest for the Magic Pearl” the young hero journeys to another world to bring healing for his sick brother. On his journey Florian finds allies in animal shape, who help him to master a number of adventures: Orlando, the bird, Genoveva, the gnu, Ursula, the toad and – sheep on the wing. Florian has to get past the valley of the screaming rocks and dive into the depths of the ocean. He encounters slimy giant garden snails and snappish turtles. A wise woman finally guides him towards the destination of his quest and he enters a cave full of hungry monsters. In a dream he has been shown the magic pearl. The true secret of its healing power is revealed to him only at the end. This is the story of the pearl as Florian hears it from his helper, the little bird Orlando: A long time ago in a little village by the shores of the big ocean a vicious disease raged. This disease was not only severe, but also strange: it befell only children. When more and more children perished, the elders of the village went to see the wise man, who lived in a cave high up in the mountains. They walked for three days to reach the wise man, whom they found already waiting for them in front of his cave. Even before they could express their wish, the wise man said to them: “Our ancestors gave me a message for you. You have to find the healing pearl in the depths of the ocean and bring it up. But the journey to the ocean bed is full of dangers. Only he who is truly honest in his intentions can find the pearl. Only a pure heart can bring the pearl into the village.” There were many young men who went on the search. They were competing, who of them would be able to stay under water for the longest time. Each of them desired to stand out and be praised as the saviour of the village. But none of them succeeded in finding the pearl, some never returned from their quest. In the village more and more children contracted the disease. More and more of them died. The small group of adventurous young men, who used to gather on the beach, became even smaller and smaller and rarely did one of them embark on the dive into the depths of the ocean. One day little Pedro went to the beach
alone. Everyone knew that Pedro was somewhat slow and some even felt that Pedro was not quite right in the head. So the young men laughed at Pedro. – Do you really think that you would be able to do it, weakling that you are? And Pedro, who was rarely ever heard speaking aloud, answered to them: – This is not about me. And he vanished in the waves. It was difficult for Pedro to orientate himself under water. So he thought: Maybe I can find a hint, and someone else can follow it and find the pearl. As Pedro was looking around, a giant fish with his mouth wide open came towards him. Pedro saw that his final hour had come. While he waited for the fish to snap shut with his sharp teeth, he noticed a light in the fish’s mouth. The light radiated from a small shimmering pearl. Pedro cast a questioning look at the fish. Since it seemed to nod, Pedro gathered all of his courage and reached for the pearl – and the fish allowed him to do it. Pedro took the pearl and put it in his pocket. The young men on the beach did not believe their eyes when Pedro returned with the pearl. One of them even tried to snatch the pearl from Pedro. But Pedro swiftly ran to see the elder of the village, whom he found sitting together with the medicine man and complaining the hopeless situation in the village. The wise man saw the pearl and reacted immediately. He took it, bowed to Pedro and carried the pearl to the house with the sick children. He placed the pearl in the middle of the room and within a single day all children were on their way to recovery and able to return to their families. Soon all of them were healthy again. The vicious disease was quickly overcome. Then the wise man knew that the time had come to bring the pearl back to its place in the ocean, so that it would be available for others in need. This was to be done in a public ceremony the next day. But during the night the pearl disappeared. Explorers, who had come from a distant country, had learned about the pearl’s healing power and had stolen it while it was still dark. They desired to make use of its power in order to become rich. But in the hands of those greedy men the pearl seemed to have lost its power. One of the researchers was so disappointed that he threw the pearl away. So it made its way into the sea again. The king of the fish gathered the pearl again. It had not lost its power, but simply refused it to people with wrong intentions. But the story had saddened the king of the fish and so he decided to bring the pearl to a safe place. He carried it to a green volcanic island in a distant world and handed it over to be guarded by a giant dragon, who lived in a cave inside the volcano. Excerpt from the book: Uccusic, Alexandra, Hirsch, Andreas J. (2015): Florian Federleicht und die Suche nach der Zauberperle. Wien: Edition Kastanienfluss.
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC Florian Featherlight
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC FLORIAN FEATHERLIGHT AND THE QUEST FOR THE MAGIC PEARL For her first children's book the painter and illustrator Alexandra Uccusic created drawings that display key moments of the story in visually rich tableaus. It is landscapes from another reality that the young hero is travelling on his quest to find help for his little brother. The drawings make Florian's journey visible, allow us to feel the facets of his emotions and to live through his human and spiritual development. Phantastic animals generally hold a strong position in the works of Alexandra Uccusic. For series like “Geziefer”, “Furs and Fins” or “Under Water” she created entire animal worlds. In “Florian Featherlight” human figures meet phantastic animals from another reality in landscapes that let – like a stage setting – another world come into existence.
FROM PRACTICE AND ART
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC Florian Featherlight
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC Florian Featherlight
ANDREAS J. HIRSCH Photographer, author and curator
Born in 1961 in Vienna, Austria. Member of the Faculty of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe. 1986 Ph. D. in Law, University of Vienna. Books on Pablo Picasso, Tina Modotti and Friedensreich Hundertwasser. 2009 until 2014 curator of KUNST HAUS WIEN. Exhibitions for instance about Henri Cartier-Bresson und Linda McCartney. Projects of own photography recently at Month of Photography Vienna, 2014, and RE-READING THE CITY, Ars Electronica Festival, 2015.
FROM PRACTICE AND ART
ANDREAS J. HIRSCH
TRANSFORMING HATRED – A CHALLENGE FOR SOCIETY, SCIENCE AND SHAMANISM CASTING A LOOK AT CONTRADICTORY PHENOMENA The situation is confusing and unsettling. One does not need an inclination towards apocalyptic visions to understand that we humans are driving the world towards two tipping points, beyond which our survival as a species turns out to be more than doubtful: There is the profound destruction of the ecosphere, which is the basis of our own lives, and there is an erosion of even the most basic standards of civilisation, which takes place across societies, ethnic and religious groups and the international community. A symptom that specially meets the eye is the rising tide of hatred as the embodiment of destructive emotions in all their forms: Eruptions of hatred sparked by everyday occurrances of seemingly little relevance; unrestricted hatred spilt across social media against strangers and refugees, against people holding religious beliefs or opinions different from one’s own; terrorism in new dimensions which seems to leave no spot on earth in safety. There is – in parallel to that – another phenomenon with an entirely different dynamic taking place, which goes mainly unnoticed by the general public: the renaissance of shamanic skills and ancient knowledge. Right in the middle of the rich industrial nations, who have abandoned their monotheistic religions in favour of a belief in technology, the ideology of unlimited growth and capitalist consumerism, people appear, who not only deem spirits to be real, but who consider all of nature to have a soul. Seemingly “sane” individuals bring back an animism from the stone ages right into the middle of societies, they introduce themselves as shamanic practicioners and set out to heal people, communities and nature with methods that go back tens of thousands of years. CHANGING A LONG HISTORY This “renaissance” of shamanism – which is in fact a revival of shamanic knowledge and a re-learning of shamanic methods – is preceded by a long history of defamation, suppression and prosecution of people practicing shamanism, which was done by churches of the Christian faith as well as by the agents of enlightenment and modern sciences. The long tail of this history still prevails in the scientific communities in the guise of the
prohibition of certain lines of thought. They have cast upon themselves a number of sturdy taboos, most prominent among them the acknowledgement of spirits and the concept of the soul as surviving the bodies’ death. Consequently most attemps to build bridges between those – seemingly incompatible – positions turn out to be highly difficult. But the exclusive claim of the sciences to all areas of insight has long started to show cracks. As high-minded as all initiatives to build bridges between shamanism and science may well be, as much are they part of a long outdated narrative, an old tale of hostility and incompatability between those two ways of looking at the world. This tale has lost its usefulness, since sciences have reached the inner limits of their world view and since the events – more precisely: the situation we humans have created – leave us with no more time left to continue telling this tale. It is high time to create anew the story of sciences and shamanism. Sciences and ancient knowledge are well capable of working complimentary to each other. This requires at least two things from the agents of both areas: Cultivating the ability to hold two contradictory statements true at the same time and allowing this contradiction not to be something to be merely endured, but to become fruitful in one’s own life and work. And a good portion of pragmatism, which has been an integral part of shamanic practice for tens of thousands of years. POSING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS We should start learning how to pose the right questions, if we wish to avoid wasting further time with fruitless debate of old disputes following those downward spirals of anger and hate. Subsequently we should strive for answers – applying the new virtues in handling contradictions and collaborating in a spirit of pragmatism. No longer should we ask who has a monopoly on truth – it will be no science and no religion, that may claim ultimate knowledge of the truth. People practicing shamanism clearly do not claim to be the ones holding such exclusive truths. They also know that there is no boundary between humans and the “environment”, but a unity of them. Therefore even questions as well meaning as those about “saving the environment” are to be considered “wrong” questions insofar as they still cling to an outdated and mechanistic repair-oriented approach and not a holistic view that would demand a much more profound change of mind.
FROM PRACTICE AND ART
But what are the “right” questions? We find them in those stories from the infancy of mankind, which we call “myths”. Following those most ancient of all narratives we should ask how we can restore the equilibrium that has been disturbed by the actions of humankind. An equilibrium of cosmic existence, of life on this planet in all its diversity and complexity and a maturing development of what we humans are as part of all this and can be in harmony with the whole of existence. TRANSFORMING HATRED What shape should our work on restoring such equilibrium have? Where should it set in? Where should we start? Dealing with hatred that we meet everywhere and that hides inside ourselves as well is a key aspect of this work. To transform hatred’s destructive dynamics into positive emotions – ultimately: into love – requires a personal as well as a collective and cooperative effort. This is a task for all of us, wherever we live and work, within the framework of our own capabilities, with the means of what we are able to see, to bear and to impact. Each contribution is equally valuable, each and everyone counts. We can start everywhere: living together day by day in societies, researching and teaching in the sciences, working creatively in the arts and cultures and going back and forth between the worlds in shamanic practice. Finding out about the paths and methods of such transformation of hatred into love starts in the area of our own activities – where we know our way around, where we are experts in a practical or scientific sense of the word. In this process we will be able to clarify how knowledge of different origin can work together in a complimentary manner, how methods – be they as seemingly different as scientific and shamanic methods – can constructively work hand in hand. On this path it will also show, if we can turn around a downward dynamic that is bound to lead into the abyss and be able to perform a true transformation.
ALEXANDRA UCCUSIC Florian Featherlight
PRESERVING, STUDYING AND TEACHING SHAMANIC KNOWLEDGE ON CORE-SHAMANISM AND THE FOUNDATION FOR SHAMANIC STUDIES
US-anthropologist Dr. Michael Harner discovered and formulated the basic principles of shamanism. These principles are the essence of his comparative studies of different shamanic cultures which he had conducted in the Upper Amazon region, in Saamiland, Mexico, the American North West and the Canadian arctic. The development of core-shamanism is grounded in those universal characteristics and techniques of shamanic work, which can be found across cultures. Independent from individual cultures, core-shamanism contains the essential power and principles of shamanism and makes them accessible. For those who are in danger of loosing their shamanic traditions or, - as is the case in western industrialized nations – have already lost them, core-shamanism offers new access to shamanic knowledge. Founded by Michael Harner in 1979 as the Center for Shamanic Studies, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies has, for more than 35 years, represented an approach to shamanism which is characterized by respect towards indigenous cultures. The Foundation is devoted to the preservation, the study and the dissemination of shamanic knowledge. The faculty of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies holds workshops which primarily impart the shamanic knowledge and techniques, which are indispensable for shamanic divination and healing work. This all happens based on modern science and western ethics, with consideration for contemporary living conditions. At the same time the Foundation supports cultures, where living shamanic knowledge has survived up to the present day. As a non-profit organization the Foundation is strictly committed to the well-being of the community. The European branch – the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe – is worldwide the only multinational, multicultural and multilingual faculty in the area of shamanism. Here, in particular, lies its importance in co-shaping a modern shamanism, with the responsibility to build bridges. Bridges between shamanism and science as well as between spirits and humans, for the benefit of present and future generations.
IMPRINT Editors: Mag. Roland Urban, Dr. Andreas Hirsch Translations: Anneliese Heinisch, Peter Fleming Graphic Design: Doris Sommavilla, die gestalter Proofreading: Natascha Uccusic, Peter Fleming Printing: Kontext Druckerei GmbH, Linz Publisher: The Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe, Mag. Roland Urban, A-4224 Wartberg ob der Aist, Untere Reitling 26 © 2019 The Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe © 2016 for texts and portraits: the authors. © 2016 for the images: Mag. Anatol Donkan (p. 11, 48, 55, 61, 63, 64-65), DI Alexandra Uccusic (p. 20-21, 27, 33, 39, 69, 70-71, 72-73, 78), Linden-Museum Stuttgart. Foto: A. Dreyer (p. 6-7, 19) All rights reserved. 3rd edition The reprint of the english text by Michael Harner with kind permission from North Atlantic Books.
For a long time, shamanism and modern science stood in a difficult and conflictual relationship to each other. Now, the realization is spreading that those two paths of human knowledge can complement each other in a meaningful and useful way. The contributions in this publication from disciplines such as anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, mathematics and futurology as well as the practice of a medical-shamanic outpatient clinic and of artistic work illustrate the inspiringly broad range of world interpretations and the encouraging potential for constructive solutions flowing from a collaboration of shamanism and science.
T he Foundation For Sha m a nic Studies www.shamanicstudies.net