The Need for a Spirituality Focused on Healing Free of Politics
By Michael Harner
Dear Friend of Shamanic Healing,
Hope for humanity in the new century was abruptly shaken on September 11, 2001, by the horrific attacks that brought tragedy, pain, and suffering to thousands. With the end to such crimes and their aftermaths not soon in sight, the need for a spirituality focused on healing and free of politics has never been more relevant.
We all have work to do, and I am gratified to report that many persons trained in our programs have been active in working shamanically to alleviate the suffering and pain of those who have been injured emotionally, spiritually, and physically, as well as to help the spirits of victims who have traumatically left this life.
Shamanic healing is not a panacea for the world's ills, but it provides a way of spiritually helping others that was almost eradicated in much of the world. The suppression of shamanism, including by the Inquisition, is only one of many examples through the ages of religious extremists in major civilizations killing innocents on the alleged behalf of their major spiritual deity.
That kind of consciousness, which many of us had hoped was becoming a thing of the past, has intruded again into human life, literally with a vengeance assisted by modern technology. It is a product of faith which is truly blind, for its fanatics depend upon the words of others rather than the sight that could be provided by their own direct spiritual experience. If they had relied upon first-hand knowledge instead of faith, they would have discovered their god's truly compassionate nature, as have all of us who have visited deities in shamanic journeys and successfully enlisted their help in healing.
What then, can we do beyond the healing work in which we are already engaged?
We can help others learn that they do not need to depend upon theocracies of any tradition to give us our spiritual worldviews. Such views cannot really be dispensed wholesale; they must be individually earned. The classic shamanic way is to accept one's own responsibility and potentiality to achieve first-hand knowledge by personally entering the spiritual realms.
This is the spiritual democracy of our ancient ancestors, before state religions arose and attempted to destroy individual spiritual independence. The recent attacks by terrorists have not only been on political democracy, as is often noted, but on spiritual democracy as well, for underlying their ideology is a belief in theological authoritarianism. Their stance is the opposite of that of the shaman.
Helping persons acquire their own spiritual empowerment through shamanic training continues to be a major focus of the Foundation's work worldwide. Increasing numbers of people around the world seek this training, for there is a growing desire for spiritual democracy. Regularly, I receive e-mails from individuals in totalitarian states, both theocratic and secular, who wish more information on the way of the shaman. An evolution of spiritual consciousness is underway. There is a race against time, however, and the Foundation, with your support, is doing its best to hasten this evolution throughout the Planet.
The Foundation's programs are all intended to help return spiritual authority to the individual. As part of this effort, the research programs provide cross-cultural resource material from hundreds of societies for the discovery of underlying shamanic principles and practices which then inspire the origination of exercises in core shamanism. The exercises, in turn, furnish openings for each person to accumulate first-hand experiential evidence of a nonordinary reality that is deeper than any specific culture. Each year the resultant educational programs provide thousands of persons with tools for the revival of shamanism and shamanic healing in the West.
Outside of the West, the Foundation's Urgent Indigenous Assistance and Living Treasures of Shamanism programs help preserve and revive shamanism where it has been threatened, or even virtually eradicated, by political, theological, and other external forces. Our members journal, Shamanism, and its directory of individuals and drumming circles, helps develop a worldwide community for healing and mutual help that can interact democratically without any central authority.
At the Foundation, we want to continue to contribute to the evolution of a democratic spirituality dedicated to healing in alliance with compassionate spirits. I invite you to be part of this effort by joining us or, if you are already part of our circle, by renewing or even upgrading your membership. Donations are also highly important.
With hope for humankind and all our relations,
P.S. On behalf of the Foundation, I honor all of you who have been working to help and to heal. Let's see what more we can do!
Please consider joining the Circle and receive the Foundation's journal, the Shamanism Annual as part of your benefits.