Wow, this is a very long post. As I finish editing my comments, I find myself marveling at the length of my word document. So, as a courtesy to all of those who don’t have time or the mental capabilities to read almost six thousand words, here is a summary.
In this article, the writer puts forth the idea that mental illness, especially schizophrenia, is actually a symptom of a spirit trying to ‘merge’ with the person. This desire for the spirit to do so is brought upon by the person themselves yearning for a connection with their ancestral ties. The person who the spirit chooses is supposed to be a ‘healer’ and a ‘medium’ and ‘sensitive’. Thus, the ‘shamanic view’ is to either ‘merge’ the person with the spirit or exorcise the spirit if it is harmful.
I disagree with this perspective very vocally. Bluntly, I call bullshit. As someone from a long line of schizophrenics and asylum-goers, as someone who has a mental illness themselves, I call bullshit. See? I can’t even stop myself from swearing in the summary. I swear a LOT in this article.
Why do I call bullshit? Why do I even bother with this article? Simply put, it was shoved in my face. Literally, someone in person told me to read it, super excited that it would help me. Cue rage. But then I had told myself it was just one person… and then I saw it cropping up all over online. Pagan pages, Wiccan pages, all over Facebook. And just when I thought the trend was over and it wasn’t virtually cropping up any more- I ran into someone who began preaching to me about the ‘shamanic views’ despite being on life-saving psychiatric medication that they could not get off of in order to be a safe citizen.
That’s when I realized that this article was destroying lives. It caused an inordinate amount of pressure on me. It convinced this poor lady that she should not be on the medication she is- and may cause her to try stopping them. And why? For the promise of some gold star when we die? Not even. We’re supposed to take some random person’s word for it because he’s a ‘shaman’. Whoop dee fucking doo.
Alright, so what’s my arguments? Read on…
Oh, right, here’s a summary for y’all. (But please do read the whole thing). I disagree spiritually with the concept of spirits ‘merging’ with human spirits. As a polytheist I believe spirits are independent, autonomous beings. Simply put, we do not merge. Furthermore, I disagree with his notion that there is ‘no spiritual framework’ in the ‘West’ to interpret psychic phenomenon, causing us to mislabel psychic activity as insanity. We have a plethora of psychics and psychic beliefs. My nugget of wisdom: psychic activity is not madness.
So here, ladies and gentlemen, is what I see as being wrong with “The Shamanic View of Mental Illness”, or rather… What the Shaman Does Not See in Mental Illness
(And yes, do not fear, there is lots more to be coming from me on this topic of shamanism and mental illness)
The Shamanic View of Mental Illness
In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.
Wait a minute, all? Bi-polar, depression, the whole range? Alright. This seems ridiculously presumptuous but fine. Let’s roll with this lumpy turd of an idea.
What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé. These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.
One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study was how this country deals with mental illness. When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to “nervous depression,” Dr. Somé went to visit him.
Whoa man. Is this whole article and perspective built off of psychiatric wards in the 80’s? That’s quite a while ago for an article that’s still being circulated in 2017. That’s almost forty years ago – a long time in the academic world. Because in case you didn’t know, psychiatric institutions have changed since the 80’s, with a ton of these changes being brought on by those with mental illnesses demanding these changes. So psychiatric wards now are changed by those with mental illness for those with mental illness. But hey, let’s keep reading.
“I was so shocked. That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village.” What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop. This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation. As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself, “So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted.”
Oh. My. Gods. If all he knows about the complex medical system is one fucking visit into a psychiatric ward, then what does he really know? Ergotherapy exists. Psychologists exist and are available in schools, and there are therapists and hell, I even had a psychiatrist who was willing to work with me on my non-medication beliefs and told me which oils and natural remedies I could try. The ‘western medical system’ is far more complex than a bunch of people screaming in straight jackets.
Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world.
Stop! Hammer time. Wicca don’t exist, na na, na na, Catholic don’t exist, na na, na na. Ain’t got no spirituality, na na, na na.
Alright, seriously. As a Wiccan, as someone who was raised in a psychic environment and whose city boasts several well-running esoteric stores- bullshit. To claim that the ‘Western mind’ (thanks for lumping the vast multi-cultural experience of Canada into one gloop, dude) has no way to deal with the psychic world is to denigrate the vast field that is Western occultism and western esoterism. Catholics have mysticism, Wicca exists and… I could rant about this for days. Suffice to say that yes, we have ways to deal with the psychic world. We acknowledge it’s existence according to our own spiritual views.
In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated.
Alright, no. No, no, no. Psychic abilities are valued and looked up to. Tarot cards can be found in bookstores easier than candy. Mediums I know can charge exorbitant rates for their services. Those I know are highly respected members of their communities. Psychic abilities are not denigrated in Western Culture.
When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening.
Because Wicca don’t exist, na na, na na…. Alright I’ll stop. But seriously. When a spirit presents themselves to a Westerner, the Westerner can pop out a Tarot deck, knock on a medium’s door, pull out an ouija board, read some tea leaves, and so on and so forth. We are not unequipped.
The result can be terrifying. Without the proper context for and assistance in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane.
Wrong again! Many Westerners become successful mediums without ever being labelled as insane. In fact, those within the Western esoteric communities are reluctant to believe mental illnesses even exist (thanks to articles such as these). So no, a psychic is not considered insane. They are considered psychic, and praised for it.
Heavy dosing with anti-psychotic drugs compounds the problem and prevents the integration that could lead to soul development and growth in the individual who has received these energies.
Well. I am living proof otherwise, thank you very much. But don’t take it just from me. Take it from my grandmother too, who had murderous tendencies unless she was medicated, in which case she became a reliable and sweet homemaker. Oh, and also this random stranger I met who told me that they were bi-polar and getting messages to murder someone until they took their medication. How does medication that aids someone to become functional and balanced emotionally hinder them in any way? From ‘integration’ and ‘soul development’? I’m sorry, I developed during my mental illness the same way one develops from trauma. It wasn’t that the trauma itself was a good thing, and neither was the mental illness.
On the mental ward, Dr Somé saw a lot of “beings” hanging around the patients, “entities” that are invisible to most people but that shamans and psychics are able to see. “They were causing the crisis in these people,” he says. It appeared to him that these beings were trying to get the medications and their effects out of the bodies of the people the beings were trying to merge with, and were increasing the patients’ pain in the process. “The beings were acting almost like some kind of excavator in the energy field of people. They were really fierce about that. The people they were doing that to were just screaming and yelling,” he said. He couldn’t stay in that environment and had to leave.
Alright, as the resident psychic crazy person, let me ask this. What kind of spirit tries to hurt someone? If it’s causing the person pain and they know that medication is there to help, why not simply find another way? Oh, and was he sure these spirits were there to help? Because negative/destructive spirits exist. Oh, and let’s just point out that he left. He literally walked into the psychiatric ward, saw stuff that frightened him and which he did not understand (spiritually or otherwise) and left. Once gone, he drew a whole lot of conclusions off this very small experience. Finally, as a psychic, I’m just going to put it out there that not all psychics are right. That’s it, yep, i’m going there. Peoples, just because a shaman says he saw a bunch of spirits doesn’t mean that they actually were there. Within the polytheist community this is called UPG (unverifiable personal gnosis). The spirits may have been there doing what he says, or they may have not been there. Or, as has happened often with other psychics I know, he may have projected his feelings onto the spirits and assumed they were doing what he thought ought to be done subconsciously, that is, remove the medication. I’m not trying to denigrate him, I’m just saying to take his perspective with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of skepticism.
Personally, if I was to take a wild guess as to what was happening there, I would say the spirits were trying to adjust the medication to try and help influence the person’s illness. Because yeah, not all medication works all the time. So the spirits may have been trying to help, but they weren’t necessarily causing the illness. But hey, that’s my personal opinon. Let’s keep going.
In the Dagara tradition, the community helps the person reconcile the energies of both worlds–”the world of the spirit that he or she is merged with, and the village and community.” That person is able then to serve as a bridge between the worlds and help the living with information and healing they need. Thus, the spiritual crisis ends with the birth of another healer. “The other world’s relationship with our world is one of sponsorship,” Dr. Somé explains. “More often than not, the knowledge and skills that arise from this kind of merger are a knowledge or a skill that is provided directly from the other world.”
Uhm, okay. Why is he mingling the roles of a healer and a messenger? They’re kind of different specialties. Furthermore, this is all based upon his specific world-view. And as a polytheist, I believe that there can be many different world views, and many can be true and correct all at the same time- for different deities.His world-view may not apply to, say, Asatru deities or Egyptian ones. Just saying. Moving along…
The beings who were increasing the pain of the inmates on the mental hospital ward were actually attempting to merge with the inmates in order to get messages through to this world.
Allegedly this is what the spirits were doing. Allegedly. Not all UPG can be true, and we must take it with a healthy dose of salt. So allegedly, this is what the spirits were doing. My spirits have been quite content with my medication, and urged me to take it, thank you very much. … Also, ‘merge’, what are these spirits, body-snatchers? Spirits are not supposed to ‘merge’ with another soul. Every soul is unique and stands alone. This is his world-view, but certainly not mine. Spirits, according to me, do no such ‘merging’. They can stand by our sides and talk to us politely, thank you very much, they know how.
The people they had chosen to merge with were getting no assistance in learning how to be a bridge between the worlds and the beings’ attempts to merge were thwarted.
Well if these spirits were indeed there, why didn’t they try another method? Tarot cards? Crystal balls? Tea leaves? For crying out loud, spirits are intelligent, autonomous beings that can change their ways. If they saw that their efforts were landing their chosen humans into the psychiatric ward and plunging them into distress, why didn’t they stop?
The result was the sustaining of the initial disorder of energy and the aborting of the birth of a healer.
I just want to point out the dramatic language here. ‘Aborting of… a healer’. As if it is some sort of death for someone to get treatment and proper care.
“The Western culture has consistently ignored the birth of the healer,” [Again, this must be why we have n so thing as Wicca and esoterism here, (sarcasm)] states Dr. Somé. “Consequently, there will be a tendency from the other world to keep trying as many people as possible in an attempt to get somebody’s attention. They have to try harder.” The spirits are drawn to people whose senses have not been anesthetized. “The sensitivity is pretty much read as an invitation to come in,” he notes.
Waiiit a minute. So the spirit moves from one person to another. If the spirit leaves, then why isn’t the person cured after that? This makes no sense considering that mental illnesses are long-term conditions, not something someone cures themselves from like the flu. Furthermore, these spirits sound pretty damned rude, hopping from one person to another and trying the same old methods that they know produce harm. Spirits are intelligent, peoples! They can change their ways!
Those who develop so-called mental disorders are those who are sensitive, which is viewed in Western culture as oversensitivity. Indigenous cultures don’t see it that way and, as a result, sensitive people don’t experience themselves as overly sensitive. In the West, “it is the overload of the culture they’re in that is just wrecking them,” observes Dr. Somé. The frenetic pace, the bombardment of the senses, and the violent energy that characterize Western culture can overwhelm sensitive people.
Argl. Repeat after me. Sensitivity is not equal to mental illness. One is mental wellness, the other is mental illness. They are not the same thing. Period. Also, mental illness occurs across all historical periods and nations. It is not, as the author carelessly implied, a ‘Western’ problem. Yes, Western culture is not perfect but NO, it is not the root cause of mental illness.
Schizophrenia and Foreign Energy
With schizophrenia, there is a special “receptivity to a flow of images and information, which cannot be controlled,” stated Dr. Somé. “When this kind of rush occurs at a time that is not personally chosen, and particularly when it comes with images that are scary and contradictory, the person goes into a frenzy.”
No, it does not always cause a ‘frenzy’, thank you very much. What about catatonic schizophrenia? And of course, let’s focus only upon schizophrenia when there is a whole field of mental disorders out there.
What is required in this situation is first to separate the person’s energy from the extraneous foreign energies, by using shamanic practice (what is known as a “sweep”) to clear the latter out of the individual’s aura. With the clearing of their energy field, the person no longer picks up a flood of information and so no longer has a reason to be scared and disturbed, explains Dr. Somé.
The person is not always ‘scared and disturbed’! They can feel euphoric, ecstatic, ‘in tune’ with the universe!
Then it is possible to help the person align with the energy of the spirit being attempting to come through from the other world and give birth to the healer. The blockage of that emergence is what creates problems. “The energy of the healer is a high-voltage energy,” he observes. “When it is blocked, it just burns up the person. It’s like a short-circuit. Fuses are blowing. This is why it can be really scary, and I understand why this culture prefers to confine these people. Here they are yelling and screaming, and they’re put into a straitjacket. That’s a sad image.” Again, the shamanic approach is to work on aligning the energies so there is no blockage, “fuses” aren’t blowing, and the person can become the healer they are meant to be.
Yelling and screaming? This is stigma! It does not reflect many experiences of schizophrenia!
It needs to be noted at this point, however, that not all of the spirit beings that enter a person’s energetic field are there for the purposes of promoting healing. There are negative energies as well, which are undesirable presences in the aura. In those cases, the shamanic approach is to remove them from the aura, rather than work to align the discordant energies
Oh really? I would say any spirit causing harm and/or not being respectful needs to be removed! And can I point out that at this point, the theory is either to absorb the spirit or exorcise it? Can I point out that personally this has never worked for me, and that quite often when a person is having an episode there are no intrusive spirits present? If this theory were true, a good smudging/exorcism ritual would do the trick. Here’s a hint: it does not work that way. I have tried and no, smudging does not work any better than a placebo.
Alex: Crazy in the USA, Healer in Africa
To test his belief that the shamanic view of mental illness holds true in the Western world as well as in indigenous cultures, Dr. Somé took a mental patient back to Africa with him, to his village. “I was prompted by my own curiosity to find out whether there’s truth in the universality that mental illness could be connected with an alignment with a being from another world,” says Dr. Somé.
“in the Western world as well as in indigenous cultures” what- are we fundamentally different and he needed to prove we were similar?! This is ridiculous.
Alex was an 18-year-old American who had suffered a psychotic break when he was 14. He had hallucinations, was suicidal, and went through cycles of dangerously severe depression. He was in a mental hospital and had been given a lot of drugs, but nothing was helping. “The parents had done everything–unsuccessfully,” says Dr. Somé. “They didn’t know what else to do.”
With their permission, Dr. Somé took their son to Africa. “After eight months there, Alex had become quite normal, Dr. Somé reports. He was even able to participate with healers in the business of healing; sitting with them all day long and helping them, assisting them in what they were doing with their clients . . . . He spent about four years in my village.” Alex stayed by choice, not because he needed more healing. He felt, “much safer in the village than in America.”
To bring his energy and that of the being from the spiritual realm into alignment, Alex went through a shamanic ritual designed for that purpose, although it was slightly different from the one used with the Dagara people. “He wasn’t born in the village, so something else applied. But the result was similar, even though the ritual was not literally the same,” explains Dr. Somé. The fact that aligning the energy worked to heal Alex demonstrated to Dr. Somé that the connection between other beings and mental illness is indeed universal.
Or rather, as someone who also traveled to Africa (Uganda) to try and heal, here’s another version of what happened. Mental illnesses have ups and downs. Calmed by the slow pace and less rigorous life style that was void of any past triggers, Alex relaxed. The flare of symptoms may have gone down to an unnoticeable level regarding such a lifestyle. My symptoms seemed lesser in Uganda, because less was expected of me. My confusion was far less noticeable because I was no longer expected to do math. The slower pace of life also allowed me more time to do my things, which again made my confusion seem less present. Did my symptoms go away though? No. They seemed better because the framework against which I was held was looser. This is what I believe happened to Alex.
After the ritual, Alex began to share the messages that the spirit being had for this world. Unfortunately, the people he was talking to didn’t speak English (Dr. Somé was away at that point). The whole experience led, however, to Alex’s going to college to study psychology. He returned to the United States after four years because “he discovered that all the things that he needed to do had been done, and he could then move on with his life.”
The last that Dr. Somé heard was that Alex was in graduate school in psychology at Harvard. No one had thought he would ever be able to complete undergraduate studies, much less get an advanced degree.
Oh Mah Gawds! A person with a mental illness succeeding! Quick, that must mean he is healed! Because there is no such thing as a successful or academic person with mental illness! Or… er… he is a successful person with a mental illness? There are lawyers who are schizophrenic. It doesn’t make them any less sick, it just means they are coping well. Read between the lines here people. Alex’s flare went down (as can happen with mental illnesses, there are ups and downs) and he went on to being successful. Was he ‘cured’? There is no mention of him no longer having schizophrenic symptoms. He was simply successful. Did he still hear voices and have delusions? Very possibly.
Dr. Somé sums up what Alex’s mental illness was all about: “He was reaching out. It was an emergency call. His job and his purpose was to be a healer. He said no one was paying attention to that.”
After seeing how well the shamanic approach worked for Alex, Dr. Somé concluded that spirit beings are just as much an issue in the West as in his community in Africa. “Yet the question still remains, the answer to this problem must be found here, instead of having to go all the way overseas to seek the answer. There has to be a way in which a little bit of attention beyond the pathology of this whole experience leads to the possibility of coming up with the proper ritual to help people.”
Longing for Spiritual Connection
A common thread that Dr. Somé has noticed in “mental” disorders in the West is “a very ancient ancestral energy that has been placed in stasis, that finally is coming out in the person.” His job then is to trace it back, to go back in time to discover what that spirit is. In most cases, the spirit is connected to nature, especially with mountains or big rivers, he says.
In the case of mountains, as an example to explain the phenomenon, “it’s a spirit of the mountain that is walking side by side with the person and, as a result, creating a time-space distortion that is affecting the person caught in it.” What is needed is a merger or alignment of the two energies, “so the person and the mountain spirit become one.” Again, the shaman conducts a specific ritual to bring about this alignment.
Alignment? Merging? What is this, a case of possession?Ancestral spirits are ancestral spirits, nature spirits are nature spirits. To merge with spirits is like an invasion of the soul. I completely disagree on this from a personl, UPG perspective. And yes, that is personal, but yes, I am still going to disagree on this point. I find it silly. I believe spirits are distinct, autonomous, and do not merge. Period. Energies can be exchanged, but that is not the same thing as ‘merging’ as he so speaks of.
Dr. Somé believes that he encounters this situation so often in the United States because “most of the fabric of this country is made up of the energy of the machine, and the result of that is the disconnection and the severing of the past. You can run from the past, but you can’t hide from it.” The ancestral spirit of the natural world comes visiting.
Well great, this should not be a problem for Wiccans, who are used to dealing with the natural spirits, invoking them and … whta’s that? Wiccans still have mental illnesses? Mental illnesses were there in ancient times when we were mythically (Pseudo-historically) ‘in tune’ with nature? Oh, bummer. So I guess it’s not about nature then, is it?
“It’s not so much what the spirit wants as it is what the person wants,” he says. “The spirit sees in us a call for something grand, something that will make life meaningful, and so the spirit is responding to that.”
Way to blame the fucking victim. What he basically said is ‘you wanted it, so you got it’. Wow. Thanks dude. Here’s an idea: STOP BLAMING VICTIMS. Plenty of people try and reach out to nature without calling a mental illness upon themselves. If this were true then every spiritual person would be having a mental illness, which is simply not the case!
That call, which we don’t even know we are making, reflects “a strong longing for a profound connection, a connection that transcends materialism and possession of things and moves into a tangible cosmic dimension. Most of this longing is unconscious, but for spirits, conscious or unconscious doesn’t make any difference.” They respond to either.
WOW! Just when I thought it couldn’t get better! More victim blaming iced onto the cake!
As part of the ritual to merge the mountain and human energy, those who are receiving the “mountain energy” are sent to a mountain area of their choice, where they pick up a stone that calls to them. They bring that stone back for the rest of the ritual and then keep it as a companion; some even carry it around with them. “The presence of the stone does a lot in tuning the perceptive ability of the person,” notes Dr. Somé. “They receive all kinds of information that they can make use of, so it’s like they get some tangible guidance from the other world as to how to live their life.”
When it is the “river energy,” those being called go to the river and, after speaking to the river spirit, find a water stone to bring back for the same kind of ritual as with the mountain spirit.
“People think something extraordinary must be done in an extraordinary situation like this,” he says. That’s not usually the case. Sometimes it is as simple as carrying a stone.
You know, that does sound like a lovely ritual. But what do we do if it doesn’t work?
A Sacred Ritual Approach to Mental Illness
One of the gifts a shaman can bring to the Western world is to help people rediscover ritual, which is so sadly lacking.
WOW, again. As if Muslim, Catholic, Neo-pagan, Wiccans, and Buddhists have no rituals whatsoever. That’s it y’all, shamans hold the key to the spirit world, they’re the only ones who know the truth, even though academically we can’t even agree upon what a shaman even is, and they all believe vastly different things and perform vastly different rituals. Just- bullshit. Alright? There’s plenty of rituals in the Western world, and no, we do not need shamans to guide us. We have our priests, priestesses, Imams, and monks.
“The abandonment of ritual can be devastating. From the spiritual view, ritual is inevitable and necessary if one is to live,” Dr. Somé writes in Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community. “To say that ritual is needed in the industrialized world is an understatement. We have seen in my own people that it is probably impossible to live a sane life without it.”
Sane?! Wow, this is just a *teensy * bit discriminatory. So what if some of us are leading ‘insane’ lives? And atheists, are they insane? Atheism is not a mental illness, thanks. The hollowness of a lack of religion is not the same thing as a mental illness. Plus, people have fully functional religious lives AND serious mental illnesses. The two are not exclusive!
Dr. Somé did not feel that the rituals from his traditional village could simply be transferred to the West, so over his years of shamanic work here, he has designed rituals that meet the very different needs of this culture. Although the rituals change according to the individual or the group involved, he finds that there is a need for certain rituals in general.
Argh. Again, we have rituals.
One of these involves helping people discover that their distress is coming from the fact that they are “called by beings from the other world to cooperate with them in doing healing work.” Ritual allows them to move out of the distress and accept that calling.
All the mentally ill are healers? Or just the schizophrenics? Also- what if this fails? Plenty of people have tried the ‘spiritual’ path of integrating with their mental illness’ symptoms. It fails. Spoiler alert to my whole blog: been there, done that, no success. Not even a shred thereof, and I can channel energy and be pretty damned psychic. So what then? Here’s the problem with this world-view: it does not allow for the reality that I (and many others) experiences of spirituality NOT being the answer to mental illness and that medication allows us to lead normal lives. That’s why this view is flawed, y’all. It’s not a case of the ghostbusters, it’s a case for medication.
Another ritual need relates to initiation. In indigenous cultures all over the world, young people are initiated into adulthood when they reach a certain age. The lack of such initiation in the West is part of the crisis that people are in here, says Dr. Somé. He urges communities to bring together “the creative juices of people who have had this kind of experience, in an attempt to come up with some kind of an alternative ritual that would at least begin to put a dent in this kind of crisis.”
Uhm… there is a lack of ‘coming of age’ markers in Western culture… but this has nothing to do with mental illness. Mental wellness maybe. Illness though, no. Big difference y’all.
Another ritual that repeatedly speaks to the needs of those coming to him for help entails making a bonfire, and then putting into the bonfire “items that are symbolic of issues carried inside the individuals . . . It might be the issues of anger and frustration against an ancestor who has left a legacy of murder and enslavement or anything, things that the descendant has to live with,” he explains. “If these are approached as things that are blocking the human imagination, the person’s life purpose, and even the person’s view of life as something that can improve, then it makes sense to begin thinking in terms of how to turn that blockage into a roadway that can lead to something more creative and more fulfilling.”
Ermahgerd! A basic ritual format! Did he not notice that this is performed commonly within Wicca? Did you really not notice the heaps upon heaps of Western esoteric practitioners chanting ‘let the negativity go, embrace the light’? Or did you just think Westerners had no actual spiritual practices…. Oh right, that’s the flawed basis for this article.
The example of issues with an ancestors touches on rituals designed by Dr. Somé that address a serious dysfunction in Western society and in the process “trigger enlightenment” in participants. These are ancestral rituals, and the dysfunction they are aimed at is the mass turning-of-the-back on ancestors. Some of the spirits trying to come through, as described earlier, may be “ancestors who want to merge with a descendant in an attempt to heal what they weren’t able to do while in their physical body.”
“Unless the relationship between the living and the dead is in balance, chaos ensues,” he says. “The Dagara believe that, if such an imbalance exists, it is the duty of the living to heal their ancestors. If these ancestors are not healed, their sick energy will haunt the souls and psyches of those who are responsible for helping them.” The rituals focus on healing the relationship with our ancestors, both specific issues of an individual ancestor and the larger cultural issues contained in our past. Dr. Somé has seen extraordinary healing occur at these rituals.
Okay Westerners, NEWSFLASH! Ghosts exist! Oh wait what? You already knew that? You all know someone who sees ghosts? Okay, nevermind then.
Dude! How many times do I have to say that Westerners have their own beliefs? That Catholics have prayers for the dead in purgatory, that many mediums will channel ancestors and bring in the white light for angry ones and what have you? It’s there! We even have TV shows about mediums, for crying out loud!
Taking a sacred ritual approach to mental illness rather than regarding the person as a pathological case gives the person affected–and indeed the community at large–the opportunity to begin looking at it from that vantage point too, which leads to “a whole plethora of opportunities and ritual initiative that can be very, very beneficial to everyone present,” states. Dr. Somé.
Here’s a different perspective. Denying the biological roots and victim-blaming is bad enough. Do we need to get the whole community involved? In that case, it becomes bullying and may cause an unhealthy amount of pressure upon the person. We need to realize that mental illness exists. We need to give the mentally ill support, yes, but also some fucking privacy. It’s no one else’s business how my day goes. It’s my own choice if I want to talk about my hallucinations. Does that mean anyone else in my community is impacted by my private biological affairs? NO! We would not say the same thing about recognizably biological illnesses, so why inflict this view upon those with mental illness who already suffer from peer pressure to perform as well as neuro-typical people do?
Excerpted from: The Natural Medicine Guide to Schizophrenia Chapter 9), and The Natural Medicine Guide to Bipolar Disorder (Chapter 10). Stephanie Marohn.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to replace medical care. You need to consult your doctor regarding any change in your medication. The author and publisher disclaim any responsibility for how you choose to employ the information in this books and the result or consequences of any of the treatments covered.
My Disclaimer: Here’s another idea- if your article is urging people even subliminally to get away from their precious and life-saving medical care- then maybe it doesn’t need to be published. K, thanks, we suffer enough discrimination already, we didn’t need it to be shoved in our face from so-called ‘spiritual’ people.