I always love J.R. Haule's writing on shamanism. Here's a great article: 

Taking Direction From the Spirit In Shamanism and Psychotherapy

Generally speaking shamans have good reason to be leery of psychology, which historically has dismissed shamans as schizophrenics, epileptics, and hysterics. Jung, who at least does not pathologize shamanism, nevertheless seems to denigrate it when he says that shamanism works out of a “primitive mentality” which sees the psyche as “outside the body,” whereas we denizens of the 20th Century West have no choice but to view the psyche as “inside.” What separates shamanism and psychotherapy, in short, is a clash of metaphysics. Mainstream psychotherapy -- including much that is Jungian -- locates the real “inside” and constructs a topography of drives, instincts, archetypes, complexes, and the like to explain our experience as the result of “interior dynamics.” Meanwhile shamanism locates the real “outside” and maps a greater cosmos comprised of a Lower World, Middle World, Upper World, and the entities that live in them, in order to explain our experience in terms of “exterior dynamics.”

To be fair to Jung, I must point out that when he referred to the shamanic perspective as more “primitive” than his own, he added that these are merely two metaphorical options, that neither is “better” than the other, but that as a “modern individual” he had no choice but to locate the psyche “inside,” for that was where he experienced it. I have long been... Read more

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  • Excellent article. Thanks for posting it

  • Interesting stuff. I tend to think that we are most "shamanic" where chiron shows up. The reason why is that chiron is where the "break" is and so we are able to "let things in" in a type of unity whereas with other areas we are not.. Hence, we are wounded, but the wound creates the ability to connect with others in a way we would not otherwise. Our defenses are "more down" wherever chiron is.

    As far as inside or outside, I'm not entirely sure the distinction matters. I think Ken Wilber is on to something with his ideas on holons. Both of them are orientations, but I'm not sure either of them are truer than the other. My own view is pragmatic. Use what works.

    • Thanks for the comments, Joe Bill. I agree with you about Chiron. On that note, do you--or does anyone else--have any good articles or book references about the "wounded healer"? I am interested and have a colleague doing some research in the area and would love some resources....

    • Hi Bonnie,  yesterday I  posted a link to Dr. Lance Owens' seminar on the Red Book.  At about the 20 minute mark of his first talk in that series titled "C.G. Jung: The Puzzle of Story and History",  Owens goes on quite a riff  (for almost an hour) about Chiron as that myth relates to (and shows up in) Jung's life.

    • A good resource from a sociological/astrological perspective is Chiron Rainbow Bridge between the inner and outer planets by Barbara Hand Clow.

      I'd say it's probably the best published material I've found on it that treats it in a more academic manner.

    • Thanks for the recommendation! I'll check it out.
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