Shamanism and Psychology

The scientific dogma

In the eighteenth century the new religion, "Science", decreed that only material things existed and non-material ones were not real. Or, even if they existed (e.g. the Christian God, who was "tolerated") they were supposed to stay outside the universe and not to affect it in any way. Practically speaking, they didn't exist... This is a true dogma, like the virgin birth and the immaculate conception.

Spirits therefore could not exist. But since in fact they existed - and still exist - they had to be a product of the human mind!

The ancients knew that many of their thoughts, fears, intuitions came from the souls of the dead or from other spirits passing by, spirits that were later seen as angels or devils.
After the dogma of modern science we have been educated to think that these "spirits" are not external to us, but portions of our minds and their suggestions, their voices, their happy or sad moods are mere products of our brain.
While children still believe and speak with hostile or inspiring spirits, as they grow up their beliefs are carefully uprooted by educators until they fully adjust to the dogma of scientific materialism.

The invention of psychology

Sigmund Freud psychoanalyzing a client lying on the famous couch.

Wandering Spirits cause fears, illness or bad thoughts, just as do alteration of intestinal flora cause diarrhea or do a virus cause a common cold. Some of these spirits live in a symbiosis with us, just like do the bacterial flora, but they are not us. And they may be removed and replaced, like the bacterial flora .

But according to scientific dogma, all psychic phenomena originate from the brain, and so the spirits who were like animals uproaring in the backyard or vagabonds outside the door, whispering strange things into our ears, have become part of us and have been received in our homes!
An ancient man suffering from melancholia would go to a shaman who'd expel the melancholic Spirit, giving him back his health. But, if melancholy is part of us, it cannot be sent away and will turn into an incurable depression.
When a disease is a part of you, you cannot get free of it in any way.
It is no longer a "psychological" belief.
It is real: when you believe that these spirits are part of you, that they are legitimate tenants of your person, you let them get into the house. Before the scientific dogma, they had no power. Then we gave them the power by opening the doors and by considering them our close relatives.
Once inside the house, it will be difficult to get rid of them.

Actually, according to psychology, it is impossible, because they are part of you. You can not send away a part of yourself, instead you must "transform" it. But since it is very difficult to change a Spirit's character as well as a person's, the Spirit usually remains what it is and you do not heal.

After the scientific dogma it has become necessary to have a discipline dealing with these spirits, who initially were just vagabonds or allies or friends or visitors, and all of a sudden have become masters.
The psychologists saw that many tendencies and feelings were totally foreign to the nature of the client, but since there could not be external spirits affecting the client, they had to be part of him or her, and so they called them complexes (supposedly a part of the psyche separated from the rest, with its own feelings and wishes).
And if pepole are not aware of such wishes, while they also act to fulfill them, rather than concluding that they lie under the influence of a foreign spirit, psychologists fabricated the 'unconscious', an actually non-existing area of the psyche, which should be part of us, but we would not know anything of.

The psyche and the iwianch

Shamans know instead that in the human psyche there is almost nothing, it is an ephemeral and inconstant entity, reflecting almost like a mirror the images and voices of Spirits it comes into contact with.
The world is populated by an amount of spirits - iwianch' in the Shuar language - most of which are almost powerless and harmless. The natives say that they wander in the forest, but only children and very fragile people are afraid of them.

If one of them sticks to and affects you, a limpieza (cleansing) of a modest shaman is only needed to get rid of it.
Now in our modern world all harmless iwianch's have been embodied in us, they've been told that they are masters, are part of us and so they have gained an undeserved power.

The psyche is really sensitive to the mood of each wandering iwianch', like are eyes sensitive to every puff of air or to an increase or decrease of light or humidity or dryness of the atmosphere. A gust of wind reddens them and dust makes them tear. Temporary phenomena that go away in a few minutes or at most some hours without leaving any sign, sometimes by doing nothing, sometimes by sheltering from the wind or removing a dust grain from our eye.
Psychology instead told everyone that redness and tearing are "internal" phenomena, that wind or dust are part of us, that the dust grain cannot be removed, but it's to be "understood"(?) and cared for.
Obviously, our eye will remain red and continue to tear. Until it gets used to the dust and it recovers, unless it gets a stye or a conjunctivitis. And thus power is given to an irrelevant phenomenon that will turn to a real disease!

Psychological problems are totally unreal

In spite of what most psychoanalysts and psychologists make us believe, psyche (unlike the soul!) lives in an eternal present, and has few links to the past or to the childhood.
As I said earlier, we can recognize psychological problems because they are they are detached from reality and, again, the practical criterion to recognize them is to wonder if any objective change in life may solve the problem.
Anyone who is fairly objective can immediately understand how the psychological distress does not concern the life experience, much less the past. The only reason why the psyche is easily convinced that his problems date back to the past or childhood is that ... past cannot be changed! In this way we don't risk to discover that the problem is unreal and it remains what it must be: unsolvable.
And the "sick" basks in its insolubility.
Actually, the psychological problems are insoluble because... they just shouldn't be solved!
It's like trying to change the reflection on the surface of the sea or to calm the waves down: waves will calm down on their own when the wind changes or the moon moves away.
We can verify that that psyche does not have links to the past or to our life experience by observing the people who give great importance to their psychological problems: as a shaman, I unfortunately meet lot of people affected by psychological problems. All of them always tell me about their abstact psychic disorders, but they never say anything solid about their own lives.

I asked a young woman, who was completely enmeshed in her psychological problems, to talk about herself, well, when I read her email reply I could only understand that she was a woman and that she had or had had a husband, because she happened to vaguely mention him once while describing her psychological dilemmas.
It was not clear however: where she lived, if she was poor or affluent, if she was still married and the marriage was happy, if she had children, if she had a job and which, how old she was (!) e.g. if 22 or 78...
And she was supposed to talk about herself in the mail!

This is not an extreme case, even those not so trapped in the web of psychology, when worried about their psychological problems, get uprooted from real life.
The reason is that psychic phenomena for the most part do not depend on us, but on spirits we have nothing to do with, they are just passing by and are completely foreign to our lives and experiences.
We'd just need to let them pass, or if they are tenacious, chase them away by a simple ritual or have them sent away by a shaman.