Many believe that shamanic healing is a psychological one.
The cure of disorders and diseases as well as journeys and rituals to gain power or to return in balance with the Universe are considered to just have a psychological basis.
When I started on the Shamanic Way, two female friends of mine - who were no strong rationalists - asked me how I was doing, I replied that I was much better and that a new Power had entered my life.
Then they said to each other: "He spends a lot of time in nature by practicing shamanism..."
"Which, at least, is good!"
"Especially for the psyche".
Therefore shamanism was good for body and psyche because of being practiced in open air.
Even many shamanic practitioners (and teachers!) believe that its effectiveness is just psychological and is able to cure so-called psychosomatic diseases (provided that they exist).
If there exist any powers, they must originate from the subject's psyche.
As a result, the Western neo-shamanism is very psychologized. E.g. the meaning of visions is supposed to be subjective: if you see a horse, it depends on what the horse means to you, i.e. the Horse does not exist as a spirit independent from the seer.
One of the most famed neoshamanic teacher teaches that the sacred herb or incense you can use for cleansing, depends on your tastes; he says: "the white sage gives me a sense of peace and cleanliness, but it's personal, it may have a different effect on you."
It doesn't matter that sage is welcome to benevolent spirits and vexing to the hostile ones: so either spirits do not perceive flavors (and therefore millennia of shamans and priests were wrong) or they are just individual projections of ourselves.
But what is the relationship between psychology and shamanism, in the native and ancient shamanism? None, really.
Because natives, until they get westernized, do not have psychological problems, and do not even understand what they are.
Yes, suggestion ... obviously a psychological one.
In a years-old interview, Aldo Carotenuto, a magnate of Jungian psychology in Italy, said while speaking about sorcery : "You cannot understand the magic of the old, if you don't know psychology".
He went on saying that when the sorcerer would put a "spell" on a victim, since the victim would believe in the sorcerer's magic power , they'd fall prey to a psychological suggestion and they actually got sick (of some psychosomatic disease, of course!) or an accident happened to them.
Carotenuto concluded by saying that sorcerers' power was based on fear and suggestion.
Is that true?
No way, it has no historical basis, it's just a fantasy of Carotenuto being suggested by psychology...
Years ago, I was spending some time at a Shuar (Amazonian) shaman's, one day he was visited by two enemies of his community. There was a serious cialis generico conflict with them and their intentions were very dangerous and hostile.
When they turned their backs to go away, the shaman - taking the greatest care not to be seen - blew something at them: two tséntsaks, invisible magic darts of the Amazonian shamans.
Then he told me and those of his house not to tell anyone that he had shot two tséntsaks at the enemies, otherwise the rumor would spread, they'd hear about it too and would run to another shaman to be cured.
Both men died in 3 o 4 days, one was crushed by a tree while deforesting and the other one got bitten by a snake.
Actually in the Amazonian tradition the shaman who uses tséntsaks to kill some enemy takes utmost care that the victims don't become aware of that lest they run to another shaman in time to be cured.
The psychological suggestion dreamed about by Carotenuto is exactly what is to be avoided!
(Incidentally, I want to point out that the use of shamanistic power to kill or do harm, is only eligible in tribal societies which don't have a judicial system nor prisons and other means of temporary punishment. In such environments, justice is entrusted to individuals or leaders - like shamans - who are supposed to administer it strictly in order to protect their community from extinction.
As my teacher, Jua, said: Spirits do not allow any use of lethal powers in modern Western society!
Those who do it will be hardly stricken by the cosmic Forces.)
Psychology as a discipline certainly exists. Men create disciplines and
they certainly exist from that time on.
But do psychological phenomena exist? Have they always existed?
If you read any work of ancient literature before the nineteenth century, unless you distort the meaning of what you read, you will find almost no trace of psychological problems.
The characters of Homer and of Greek tragedies or the Divine Comedy or the Bible have ethical, moral dilemmas, social problems, love problems, spiritual problems, but they never or almost never have psychological problems.
A modern reader may wonder how you can tell if a problem is or is not a psychological one. It's easy! Psychological problems are internal, they only concern the inside of a person, they may originate from some real occasion, but are not related to anything real.
For instance, if you love a woman (or man) but you cannot win her or his heart, or if you are hesitant between two women, you are facing a problem of love. If, on the contrary, as it occurred to a guy who wrote to me dozens of requests for help in a couple of weeks, if you're concerned and distressed at the very idea of getting married, this is usually a psychological problem. It does not depend on the woman (in fact, in the mentioned example, the guy never said anything about her!) neither on real barriers.
Here's an easy criterion: if there is anything in the external reality, by changing which the problem would disappear, then the problem is real. If not, then the problem is psychological.
How could it be that the ancient literature never mentions psychological problems?
Someone claims that ancient authors were not able to describe the motions of the psyche!
Really can anyone believe that geniuses of literature like Homer, Dante, Aeschylus, whose shoe laces no modern author is fit to tie, geniuses able to beautifully tell anything, were not able to describe a trivial depression?
The truth is that ancient peoples did not speak of psychological problems because... they had none.
Some admit this and claim that their minds were less advanced than ours.
Just read such a Greek philosopher as Plato or Aristoteles, and you'll realize that it is a nonsense.
Psychology and also the so-called human psyche, full of its insoluble problems, was fabricated in the mid-nineteenth century and it hasn't quit harassing modern men and women ever since...