Some of the initiations that Shamans need to go through can in themselves create Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Once initiated, the inner gates of deep consciousness are accessed and the world for a Shaman, never looks the same. There are realities that the human brain is not designed to participate in. Many of these can stretch thinking to a point of no return. This is where Shamans can help a person going through a psychotic episode. Not only can we relate in a very experiential manner, but we can also empathically understand our clients at a level normative science professionals cannot offer.
It’s also the way that Shamanism participates in this reality. Out tradition hits the ground running with the idea that Cosmic Love is all around and within us. We don’t believe in “survival of the fittest”. That implies impersonal, lonely competition and struggle for life. We believe in Mother Earth (Pachamama) nurturing us while we enjoy blessings and lessons. Becoming lost within your mind, for a Shaman is not such a scary proposition, because we acknowledge the person’s identity (the one that gets lost) as one of many parts of what it is to be human. For Shamans, it’s the Soul where the priority is placed. The Soul is Divine, limitless and indestructible, so regardless of how horrific the psychotic experience is, the Soul is always intact.
The ego tends to be loud in our minds. This is why psychological trauma is so present in the life of the affected. This is also why Shamans are so successful at dealing with it…because we can hear it. Over the years, I’ve tried to come up with ways of describing what a Shaman does, but recently, I just decided that no one word can truly describe it. Nowadays, in social settings when asked what a Shaman is, I tend to reply very watered down and evasive answers. I currently believe that if a Shaman can assist in your life, you’ll be directed to one. All people are in their own Path of self discovery anyway and there are many vehicles one can use to navigate it. I share this because ecclesial or linear thinking will not have the capacity to understand a Shaman’s healing process. For a Shaman this perfectly fine, since ultimately we are each our own Shamans, as one of the definition goes: “shaman is the one who knows…“.