Shamanism in the Modern World

 

Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right. Henry Ford

Some people have direct auditory or visual communication with “the spirit world”.A more down to earth way of looking at shamanism is the ability to tune into your intuition. It is possible to identify negative energy and replace it with positive energy. We affect our own behavior and well-being all the time with things like self-talk and meditation. A very common example of a person becoming a personal shaman would be the use of affirmations. This is a highly effective way to change mindset and your own behavior, but only if practiced diligently.

Also effective, but expensive and time consuming, is going to a talk therapist, who could skillfully affirm you, and tell you things to boost your self-esteem. Alternatively, you could buy something like a guided visualization hypnosis program. That way you could use it wherever and whenever convenient, and there is only the upfront cost to consider.

Self-help programs such as Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, have been developed which, through self-talk, and tapping on acupuncture meridians, remove the negative energy and replace it with positive energy. 

If you look at behavior in a broader sense, we not only affect our relationships and our behavior with shamanism, but also on a micro level-- our biochemical reactions. It is in this way that we can see that shamanism can often produce profound physiological results.

A Wall Street Journal (JANUARY 10, 2012) had an article about the placebo effect. A study, published in the journal Health Psychology, shows how mind-set can affect an individual's appetite and production of a gut peptide called ghrelin (GREL-in), which is involved in the feeling of satisfaction after eating. Ghrelin levels are supposed to rise when the body needs food and fall proportionally as calories are consumed, telling the brain the body is no longer hungry and doesn't need to search out more food.

Yet the data show ghrelin levels depended on how many calories participants were told they were consuming, not how many they actually consumed. When told a milkshake they were about to drink had 620 calories and was "indulgent," the participants' ghrelin levels fell more—the brain perceived it was satisfied more quickly—than when they were told the shake had 120 calories and was "sensible."

"The results may offer a physiological explanation of why eating diet foods can feel so unsatisfying", says Ms. Crum, first author on the study. "That mind-set of dieting is telling the body you're not getting enough."

In this case, although they certainly would not characterize it as such, the researchers were the shamans, and altering a physiological process on a micro level, merely by using certain words. This shows the large effect that symbols (words) can have on physiology. If other people can have that effect on you, think of the possibilities of becoming your own shaman, using self- talk, EFT, meditation, and Lunar Alchemy.