Illness And Soul Medicine

Today, we are just beginning to make inroads to understanding the intricate make-up of humanity. More than the single parts of body, mind, and spirit – or the total sum of the whole, it is the vast inter-relationship of these connected networks which baffles contemporary science.

While science based medicine has made strides in understanding and manipulating basic physical mechanics in health maintenance – it has yet to exceed the confines of its discipline to discover the core of wholeness, and the cause of illness.

On the other hand, many ancient and traditional indigenous societies have a different approach to illness intervention. They realize that wellness and sickness are not determined solely upon what they observe outwardly, but also by what they see and know inwardly. More emphasis is placed upon the state of the soul, and the connection of a person with the essence of nature – than just the state of one’s physiology.

Soul based medicine maintains that the state of the soul affects and impacts the overall health and well-being of a person, and that the physical often mirrors its condition. According to this point of view, just treating the physical is an incomplete approach to healing – like tending to a symptom without reaching the core.

Ancient and traditional healers, priests, priestesses, shamans, medicine men and women – spent a life time of training in being proficient in both the physical and non-physical aspects, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of illness, in order to maintain the harmony of members of the community.

We should require more of our health practitioners.

For instance, were you aware that the etymology (origin) of the term psychology means “study of the soul”, and of the term psychiatry means “healing of the soul”. Yet the disciplines as practiced respectively in contemporary society only “study” and “treat” human behavior, with little or no focus on the state of the soul. This is interesting, insomuch that the root word in both terms is Psyche… who was the Greek Goddess of The Soul.

There are too many people who have received partial care, and live marginal lives – because the core disharmony within has never been addressed and resolved.

Isn’t it about time for an expanded practice and view of healing and wholeness?

Shamanism – An Alternative to Modern Medicine?

The internet, television, and other news sources are sounding the alarm announcing new protocols for the treatment of diseases. These diseases range from Alzheimer, cancer, diabetes, MS, to Parkinson’s. Within this shout-out is near condemnation of pharmaceuticals and praise for other approaches. The intent here is not to list these approaches or to specifically discuss all of them. One among the many does require attention.

There is a proliferation of shamanic healers and practitioners within the United States. Dozens of organizations offering advice, membership, seminars, and certification abound. A bulging gold mine lights up the horizon of possible candidates for healing.

At this point, it is helpful to define shamanism. There is no need to trace the etymological history of the word. Shamanism is not a cult nor is it a religion even though there is an abundance of evidence that suggests a belief in a divine power circumnavigating the universe. Shamanism is an ancient form of healing. A shaman, despite some attempt to label them as a priest, is simply a healer, that is, one who knows remedies for certain physical issues.

One of several significant markers that distinguish a shaman from a doctor is the recognition that illness may not be just physical, but emotion based. Treating the whole patient is a 40,000 year old approach that is catching on in the 21st Century. Another difference between a shaman and a modern physician is the division of reality into three realms: upper, middle, and lower. And that leads to a third difference: A shaman uses spirit guides as he or she treats a client.

The shaman has a wide knowledge of herbs; whereas, the modern doctor has a depth in what drugs to use. The shaman is nature based and the physician is most likely man-made chemically based. There is a sound movement to make more “drugs” natural based which from some quarters is praise worthy.

A fundamental issue arises from a cleverly clothed advertisement or testimonials praising the marvelous wonder of shamanic healing. Whenever a practitioner proposes a “cure” be very cautious. If you have a pain in your side a shaman may not know that it is appendicitis, indigestion, blocked bowel, or cancer. Accepting shamanic healing as an alternative to modern medicine is a grave mistake. And no pun is intended.

Alternative leaves a bad taste. It implies that there is a better way and that may not be the case. Supportive and interrogative medicine suggests treatment along with current medical practices.