Weird health;Mind amp; Body

16th October 1998 at 01:00
Out of sorts? Try spiriting your problems away. SHAMANISM

In common with most of the New Age healing therapies that caught on in the early to mid 1980s, shamanism takes a holistic view of human well-being. But rather than muck about with pressure points, energy flows, scents, herbs, or even your inner child or higher self, shamanism taps directly into the spirit world.

It is based on the theory that disturbances of mind and body are caused by spiritual inbalance, also described as a loss of power or soul. When this happens, "inappropriate" entities (modern shamans never talk about "evil" spirits or demons) make themselves at home in your body and can be shifted only with the help of more kindly spirits.

Shamanism, or "mastery of the spirits", has been around since pre stone-age times. The word is said to derive from the Tunguso-Manchurian word shaman, meaning "to know". Adherents say everything that exists, including inanimate objects, has its own powerful spirit or energy.

These spirits surround us in a parallel dimension (where our ancestors also hang out) but to harness their power you need a shaman or "walker between the worlds", a kind of cross between a witch doctor and a spiritualist. The shaman drums or dances himself into an ecstatic state until transported to "another reality", then summons tried and trusted spirit friends to come and sort you out. A rattle is usually used for this purpose.

Next, as the patient lies peaceful and relaxed, a kind of spiritual adjustment takes place that shifts "stuck energy" and re-empowers the soul. Some people say they feel and see things during this process, while others feel hot or cold. When it's over, you should have been disconnected from undesirable influences and reconnected with more beneficial ones.

But it may take three or four sessions and if the spirits (for reasons best known to themselves) are not in the mood to help, it may not work at all.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today